Chapter 4: Pride
“So, you and Fordman, huh?” a voice asked forty-five minutes later.
I looked up from where I had been scribbling biology notes down about comsumers, decomposers and producers, to look into the beautiful muddy-brown eyes of Logan Hawkins. He had his seat turned towards me, and was tapping his biro on the table absent-mindedly. His gaze pierced into mine, and I felt a blush seeping into my cheeks. His blonde hair stuck up in spiky angles around his head, making him look like he didn’t know what a hairbrush was, but I loved the tousled look on him.
“Yep,” I replied, popping the ‘p’ and trying to ignore my feelings towards the handsome boy before me.
“Why? Last I heard you two were enemies, or something.”
“I guess there’s a fine line between love and hate, Logan,” I replied, using the line one of Noah’s friends had used earlier. I didn’t know why, but I wanted to cause as much pain for Logan as he had caused me when he chose Daisy over me.
“Yeah, but why him? I mean, I know you probably wanted a rebound boy, but—”
“‘Rebound boy?’” I asked, chuckling and shaking my head. He was really beginning to piss me off now. “Oh, please. I’ve been with Noah since before you ended things with me.”
Something changed in his facial expression, and it went from being snide and cocky to shocked and confused. I know that the whole point of Noah and I was to make Logan jealous and want to come back to me, but when he was being such a rude, obnoxious jerk, there wasn’t really anything else to do.
“Don’t act so surprised, Logan,” I said snidely, glad I was gaining the upper hand and inflicting pain on him. It felt good. “You had Daisy, I had Noah.”
At the sound of her name, Daisy’s head snapped up, and her blonde hair fell around her head messily. “Did I hear my name being called?”
“Don’t worry, Daisy,” Logan replied, barely sparing her a glance. His eyes continued to glare into mine. “Everything’s okay.”
She glanced between us, confused, before bowing her head and continuing on with her work.
I tried to do the same, not wanting to continue this awful conversation, but just then the bell rang, and I sighed in relief. I stood up and started hurriedly gathering my things. I was just about to leave when I was interrupted.
“I don’t believe you, you know,” Logan told me, tapping his pen once again on the desk as he shouldered his red backpack and continued to stare at me, his gaze piercing my soul. “That you were with Noah before I broke it off.”
“Maybe you weren’t the only one who got bored,” I replied, dropping him a sly wink before I grabbed my satchel and briskly walked out of there, feeling my heart palpitate loudly in my chest.
Already Noah was waiting for me outside, leaning against the plaster wall as if it were the only thing holding him up. I grabbed his hand and whispered, “Come on, Noah.”
He let me drag him along down the corridor, before I disappeared from Logan’s view with a smug smile on my face.
“I think we should go on a date,” I proposed to Noah at lunchtime, stabbing a piece of chicken in my salad and shoving it into my mouth.
Noah raised an eyebrow, smirking a little. “Wow, very forward, aren’t you?”
I glanced around the cafeteria, and spotted Chaska and Ciara waiting in the cafeteria line for food. We probably still had another three minutes before they came back.
“Come on, Noah. Be serious. We need to be seen outside of school as well. Otherwise people will become suspicious. I’m thinking Friday night, somewhere where we’ll definitely be seen. Bowling? The movies? The mall?”
“Okay, one: Bowling is a no-no. I am not wearing those dirty, ugly shoes. Two: In the movies it’s too dark. No one will be able to see us. And three: The mall? Seriously, Mar? You can’t honestly expect me to go to the mall.” He sounded like I had said bacteria clinic instead of mall, or something.
“You’re such a girl,” I whined, dropping my head into my hands and groaning loudly. “Do you have any bright ideas, sunshine?”
“Well…” he said, a smirk settling onto his lips. “I do have one or two…”
“If it involves breaking a law, vandalism, police, parties, drugs or alcohol, then it’s a no.”
He pouted. “You’re no fun, Marley. But, no, it doesn’t involve any of those.”
“What is it, then?” I asked, growing intrigued by this. This was a small town, and there really wasn’t much to do around here.
He leant over the table, almost as if afraid we’d be overheard, and whispered, “Friday night football.”
I scrunched up my nose. Football? Nothing sounded as attractive as being in a crowded bleacher with a hundred others, wasting my night in watching a bunch of sweaty jocks run back and forth on a field passing an oval ball around. If you hadn’t noticed already, that, my friends, was called sarcasm.
“Think about it for a second,” he said, probably already knowing I’d shoot it down immediately. “You could be cheering me on, your big, strong football man.” I snorted at that, and bit back a sardonic retort. “Plus, your precious Logan is on the team, so he’d see you cheering for me. And most of the school will be there.”
That gave me pause. I pursed my lips, thinking it through. It wasn’t really a bad idea. He was right. I would be there cheering him on like some loving girlfriend. It could be an opportunity to make Logan squirm. And the whole school would see Noah and I together.
“Fine,” I said after a moment. “But you’re buying me dinner afterwards.”
He shrugged. “We’ll go to Betsy’s Diner. The school normally meets there after a game to eat as well. It’ll be perfect.”
I sighed. It was working out pretty well for us, actually. Then I remembered something.
“But, wait, no after-parties,” I said quickly, needing to shoot down any ideas he may have. I shared a knowing look with him. “You know how it went for our parents.”
I was referring to the whole backstory of how our parents met. His mother, my Aunt Grace, and my father, Cole, had this huge pranking rivalry when they were our age. And it all started at an after-party when Aunt Grace spilled a cup of alcohol on my dad’s head.
After that, Grace’s best friend Annie—my mom—hit it off with my dad, and Aunt Gracie fell in love with my Uncle Matt. Now they were all good friends and somehow Noah and I had ended up here. Oh, memories.
“So, what should I… you know… wear?” I asked, picking at a cherry tomato.
He rolled his eyes. “I don’t know. Jeans and a t-shirt.”
I gave him a horrified look. “Hello! This is my first date with my boyfriend. I will not wear something as casual as jeans and a t-shirt.”
“Marley, I have seen you covered in mud, at school camp, in the mornings after our sleepovers… I don’t think what you’re wearing will really matter.”
I rolled my eyes. “It’s different.”
“Ah, I get it,” Noah said, waving his fork at me. “You’re not trying to impress me, but rather the school.”
I snapped my fingers at him, pointing at him with a small smile. “Exactly. You’re catching on, Noah.”
He rolled his eyes, something we both seemed to be doing a lot during our conversations nowadays. “You’re lucky I even agreed to this. I didn’t have to, you know.”
“And I thank you very much for that,” I said politely, nodding at him. “You won’t regret it.”
He harrumphed, just as Chaska and Ciara plopped down into their red cafeteria chairs with trays filled with food; things like yoghurts and nachoes and fries and juice. Like I said, we have an awesome cafeteria.
“What’s going on?” Chaska asked excitedly, glancing between us with her twinkling brown eyes.
“Oh, nothing,” I said nonchalantly. “Just discussing Friday night.”
“What’s happening Friday night?” Ciara piped in, opening her bottle of vitamin water and taking a long sip.
“Our date,” I replied, flipping my hair off of my shoulder.
“You guys have a date?” Ciara seemed almost on the verge of hysterics. Chaska was practically bouncing in her seat, too. They thought we had undeniable chemistry and we were meant to be together. Yeah, right.
“Uh-huh.” I smiled sweetly at Noah, who was glancing between us with a smirk of amusement. Time to wipe that smirk straight off. “I’m gonna watch my big, strong football man play at Friday night’s game. Aren’t I, snuggly-pie?”
His expression wiped clean as a slate, and as Chaska, Ciara and I burst out laughing, Noah dropped his head onto the table with a bang.
Hope that hurt, sucker.