“You look like Shawn Mendes. Do you purposely try?” I asked, peering at the boy beside me curiously. He scoffed, slumping back into his seat with loud sigh before leaning back and closing his eyes.
Well, conversation over then.
I turned back to my work book, frowning at the board on the wall behind the teacher as though it would hold the answers. Speaking of which, my teacher was nodding off, but kept catching herself just in time. It became a game, watching her head fall forward before she jerked it back, scanning the room nervously to make sure no one had noticed.
“Who would even do that? Try to look like someone else?”
Jacob Green interrupted my teacher shaming, and I turned to glare at him with annoyance.
He had his arms folded, his trusty leather jacket still on despite the teacher asking him repeatedly to take it off. He was really broad for his age, but he didn’t ever go to PE or go to any after school clubs. He was the hottest guy in our school purely because of genetics, how unfair.
“I said, why would someone try to look like someone else?” he repeated, as though he was speaking to a child, which, by the way, I’m certainly not. I’m seventeen.
I blinked, wondering if he lived in the same world I did. I chuckled, shaking my head as I turned back to my workbook. It was pointless, I couldn’t concentrate, plus Jacob was clearly bored and wanting a conversation.
“Is that a real thing?”
Had he never heard of Instagram? Had he not seen the many photos of girls’ duck lipping, their faces caked in make up with a thousand mindless captions and hashtags? I had a few of my own in mind for them.
#pathetic #boreoff #fakers
Jacob was still staring at me expectantly, and I realised he was waiting for an explanation. I racked my brains, trying to think of a tragic impersonator that he would recognise; someone from his circles, preferably.
“Sarah Bannister. Ariana Grande. Perfect example,” I said gleefully, making him jump slightly with my outburst. It was true though, I was convinced when she finally took her million hair grips and hair bobbles out at night, her hair remained in that slick high ponytail. She even had her as her profile photo on all of her social media accounts, and then proceeded to upload as many photos just like that one as she could.
He frowned, sitting up and searching the class for her face.
“She’s not here, Jacob.”
“Jake,” he corrected me, and I stiffened. I had a problem with nicknames, and he was about to learn why.
“I can’t call you that, because I find nicknames tedious.”
It was easier to explain the reason before he asked, then at least we wouldn’t need to-
“Why do you ask so many questions?” I snapped with irritation, causing him to roar with laughter. This woke the teacher up abruptly, her pencil pot clattering across the desk whilst she desperately tried to claw them back in. She peered over her glasses at us, before frowning.
“Anything you’d care to share with the class, Mr Green?”
Along with the rest of the class, I watched him with interest. He disappointed us all by shrugging, then apologising politely.
“And here I was thinking you’d have that bad boy cliché thing going on,” I muttered with disappointment, when I felt someone tugging on my hair from behind me.
“Dolly wants you,” someone mumbled. I didn’t bother turning around, because that would only give her the fuel she wanted.
“Oi. Stop talking to Jake,” I heard her hiss from a few desks back.
I sighed inwardly, knowing to continue to do so would result in me doing her homework for the next twelve years. Dolly Hanson, beauty queen. Solid bitch. Also, Jake’s kind-of-girlfriend.
It wasn’t my fault he was sat next to me. I couldn’t care less about Jacob bloody Green- but he had walked in late and sat beside me- probably because it was the only empty seat available. Again, not my fault. I just didn’t have friends at this school. The friendship circles here were tight, and I much preferred my own company. But when it came to Jacob Green, I’d heard the whispers in the corridors, the canteen and even the school bus, you’d have to be dead to not know who he was.
Jake Green looks just like Shawn Mendes!
Jake Green is so hot.
Jake Green will be there, we have to be at that party!
“Bad boy what?” Jacob asked, stifling a yawn.
“Cliche,” I responded smoothly, pulling my timetable out of my bag.
“French,” he said quietly, making me frown at him. Was he possibly ill? Who randomly said languages with no probable cause? I suppose that saying was true- all that glitters is not gold.
“Pardon? Do you need water?” I asked with concern.
“You’re really odd,” he murmured, before pulling his phone out of his pocket. I noticed he had dirty fingernails, but his hands were soft and smooth otherwise. I had to use medicated hand cream because I suffered with eczema in between my fingers; but of course, he was blessed. “But you do have French next,” he added with a knowing smirk.
“How do you know what class I have next? Are you stalking me?”
I felt a ball of paper hit my head with a soft thud, and I sighed.
The bell rang, and I gathered my things together. I hated French and couldn’t understand why I had to study that when I was still studying my native tongue. Who made this curriculum up? We should have a social media class- that’s where the money was. YouTube sensations earned more than most doctors, I was sure of it. I began to dream of a class where you had to log onto your many different accounts and-
“Aubri, wait up.”
I stopped, turning to see Jacob Green following me, earning me a scowl from the other girls who were, for want of a better phrase, literally following him around like lost puppies.
The mind boggles.
“What? Are you sure you’re ok?” I asked, checking for any obvious sign of injury to the head. He shook his head in amusement, before stuffing his hands in his pockets.
“You’re funny. I’ve got French too.”
I blinked, unsure what he wanted me to say to that.
“You know, there’s also about twenty-five other people in there with us,” I said slowly, glancing around us with bewilderment. Why was he talking to me? Maybe it was a joke, a prank or something along those lines. I hauled my bag onto my shoulder impatiently, wishing he would reach the punch line already.
He laughed again, and I was rewarded with a glimpse of his pearly white teeth, even the back ones. He must brush twice a day at least- I even heard of someone brushing after each meal- I don’t know where they got that kind of motivation, I had all on with the twice a day thing.
“Aren’t you Atlas’s little sister?”
I bristled then, annoyed that was still how I was known. My brother, Atlas, was a legend around these parts. It was sickening, to put it blunt, he didn’t do anything to earn himself the social status he had, but for some reason, everyone adored him.
Including Jacob Green.
“Yes, but you were right the first time. I’m Aubri. I have my own identity and everything.”
“You’re really strange.”
“Really? Thank you.”
He did a double take as I walked away, pleased he thought I was odd, and strange. That meant I was nothing like most of the people here, that just wanted to fit in. I hummed on my way to class, only to feel a bony, vice like grip on my shoulders.
“Audrey,” drawled a voice, so sickly sweet I was positive a fairy died every time she swore.
“Dolly. It’s Aubri.”
“Same thing, old name, boring face. Why were you talking to Jake?”
Her heavily rimmed blue eyes bored into me as she prodded my chest with her bony finger.
“If you think he would look twice at you-” she started, mistaking me for one of his many followers. In reality, it couldn’t be further from the truth, I had absolutely no intention of falling for any boy in this school, no matter which celebrity they resembled.
“Oh, Dolly, as if! You’re much more his type, you are perfect for each other,” I said honestly, and was amazed when she nodded in agreement.
“Good. I’m glad you see it that way. Keep away from him.”
With that she shoved past me, her shoulder pushing into mine as I fell backwards slightly. I didn’t understand why she thought what I said was a compliment, in all honesty. I didn’t envy her; having a relationship where she had to circle him like a predator every time he spoke to a member of the opposite sex just in case he got a better option. What sort of existence was that for anyone to have? My thoughts drifted to my one and only friend, Fran, and her relationship with Jaden Fletcher, who was, according to her, the absolute love of her life. She didn’t care who he spoke to, or what he did, providing he turned up when he said he would, and gave her nice tickles when they watched Netflix of an evening.
See, now that was my kind of relationship- mature, companionable, reasonable-
“Bonjour, Aubri. Nice of you to finally join us.”