Chapter 9: Bradley gets rejected
In D.T., Ian and Mike were sitting next to each other as usual. Ian noticed that his best friend looked miserable and confronted him about it while Mr. Billet rambled on about the C.N. Tower and how it was an excellent structure.
“Nothing,” muttered Mike.
“Oh come on, there’s got to be something wrong; you look miserable.”
Mike stared into his dark green eyes. He had never been able to lie to Ian. It always seemed that those eyes were reading him. Ian’s eyes showed that his best friend really did care and was worried about him. Mike felt comfortable saying what was on his mind, knowing that Ian was there to comfort him. The other times when Mike felt lonely, Ian was always there to pat him on the back, make jokes, and try to bring him back to being positive. He wondered if another reason he felt comfortable around Ian was because of his height. He was the same height as Mike, five feet and two inches. Mike had never been a tall boy and his mother had always told him he would soon be growing taller. But at this point, he doubted it. There were a few differences between Mike and Ian like the fact that he had curly brown hair while Ian had short frizzy dirty blonde hair. But besides their differences, he felt they were pretty much the same.
“It’s just that Cindy…”
“Oh, that again.”
“No. It’s just that Cindy likes Bradley, I just know it. I mean…I bet Bradley’s flirting with her right now.”
Ian looked behind him. Bradley was leaning over the worktable and talking to Cindy as he built his birdhouse. Ian could hear how he was talking about how stupid the thing looked. To Ian Bradley was just a big shot talking, but he noticed that Cindy was giggling very childishly at Bradley’s stupid conversation about his birdhouse.
“Bradley’s doing a good job.”
Mike just looked down at the table and hoped that Bradley would soon break his finger with the hammer he was using.
Mike kept feeling miserable even after school. It was a Friday, yet it felt like the day would never end. He was waiting for Ian before he could exit the school doors. The last time they had spoken, Ian was still gathering books from his locker to put in his backpack. Mike leaned against the flagpole when he heard voices. It was Cindy and Bradley. Mike didn’t like to eavesdrop. but felt that he should.
“Bradley, I’ve told you time again, I don’t like you!” he heard Cindy cry. She sounded agitated as she shoved Bradley’s right hand off her left arm.
“This is because of Mike, isn’t it?” said Bradley angry that he was being treated this way.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about! Will you leave me alone?!”
Bradley was reaching for her arm again. “I bet you’ve been dating him every single day!” His lip was curled and it almost looked like he was about to spit on Cindy in disgust. “Oh come on, I know you like him!”
“It’s none of your business!”
“Fine! I never liked you anyway!”
Then he disappeared down the hill, his right hand up over his head trying to shield himself from Cindy’s view.
“So let me get this straight, you like Cindy but you don’t know if she likes you? And now Bradley has been rejected, so now you have a chance with her?”
“Yeah,” confirmed Mike, smiling. He and Ian were now walking home from school and Mike was extremely delighted after he had seen and heard that little encounter. “Ian, do you have any idea about how I can get Cindy to notice me? I mean, you have a girlfriend.”
“Just tell her you like her. How bad can it be?”
“Can you handle rejection?”
“I don’t know—I hope so. I’ve never liked a girl before.”
“Well when you feel you’re ready to tell her, hopefully she’ll have the same feelings for you. For the time being, talk about things she likes. Get her interested into something you’re interested in. Just be yourself, man. You don’t have to flirt to be noticed. Talk to her like a friend. I know it’s hard but the more comfortable you are with her, the more comfortable she’ll be with you.”
“No problem. Don’t worry about it, all right? It’ll get you nowhere.”
Mike felt that Ian made talking to Cindy sound too easy and he knew it was anything but. They were nearing Bedford Park Avenue and Jedburgh Road and Mike was trying to figure out which route they should take in order to head home. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to follow Bedford Park Avenue to Yonge Street or just continue down Jedburgh Road instead.
“Which route should we take, Bedford or Jedburgh?”
“Bedford. It’s much quicker.”
As Mike and Ian headed across Bedford Park Avenue, Cindy and her friends were heading up Jedburgh Road nearing Woburn Avenue.
“So why did you reject Bradley?” asked Amanda suddenly. They had been walking in silence for most of the walk home.
“Because he’s a jerk and all he’s ever been doing is trying to get me to bat my eyelashes and kiss him all over saying how great he is. Yuck. Besides, he always reeks of sweat anyway,” said Cindy rather quickly.
“But if you were ever teased or something, he would protect you.”
“I’m not going to date someone because they’d make a great bodyguard. Listen Amanda if you’re so interested in him, you date him.”
“Well then, don’t mention Bradley.”
“What about that kid, Mike?” asked Sarah Cornerstone. “Do you like him?”
“The kid she tutors?!” cried Rebecca Long looking at Sarah disgustedly. Rebecca had always been the counter-argument of Sarah’s remarks. Sarah was the kind of girl who was very observant and she’d noticed the way Mike had always looked at Cindy. Rebecca on the other hand was always criticising Sarah on her ideas.
“Well he’s cute, but I don’t know about him,” said Cindy unsure.
“Well, do you like him?” Sarah pressed on.
“Of course she doesn’t, she tutors him!” cried Rebecca frustrated.
It was clear to her that Cindy was not interested in Mike. To her, it was like a teacher falling in love with a student in the romantic sort of way. How could Sarah not see that was just wrong?
“Rebecca, shut up, I want to know what Cindy has to say.”
“Well, kind of…but I don’t know if he’s my type,” Cindy said still sounding unsure.
“What do you mean not your type? Like, he’s not muscular and maybe he’s a bit awkward but still—”
“Jesus, Sarah, can’t you see Cindy’s not interested in him?” said Rebecca rolling her eyes; she couldn’t believe that Sarah was so daft. She wanted to hit her over the head with a wooden spoon so she’d stop this interrogation.
“Well, no—I don’t know,” shrugged Cindy as her cheeks began to blossom a light red.
“You should date him and find out,” said Sarah, her green eyes sparkling.
“I think someone else is in love with him and it isn’t Cindy,” Rebecca hinted.
“Alright,” said Cindy. Rebecca was shocked at this remark. It seemed all her friends were losing their brains. “But I don’t know about this.”