Boys and Girls
“Well. What are you waiting for?” I say scowling at Glenn trying to be encouraging but probably sounding gruffer than I meant to be.
“What if I say something stupid?” says Glenn scratching his neck.
I look over at Tamara on the other side of the Quadrangle who is busy concentrating on her phone.
“Of course you’ll say something stupid. Just do it anyway.”
Glenn just sits there looking at Tamara like we are about to feed him to a shark or some other wild animal.
David throws a couple of fries across the table at him. “Just go will you.”
“Ow. Ok, ok. I’m going.” says Glenn finally getting up.
We all watch as he walks to his doom.
“Bet he can’t make a minute.” David says grinning at me.
I’d been coaching Glenn and while progress had been slow, I had a good feeling about this.
“Loser buys the drinks. I’ll have a Red Bull thanks.” says David smirking.
“Have whatever you want, since you’re paying.” I reply.
I don’t like taking David’s money, but he made the bet.
“Contact.” says Luke starting the timer on his phone as on the other side of the Quadrangle we see Glenn get Tamara’s attention.
She looks up from her phone and gives him a polite smile. He says something and she replies. He says something else and she bites her lip and looks away, then looks back.
“I wish I could hear what they were saying.” says Luke.
“Probably something lame.” says David.
I don’t say anything as we watch Glenn speak again and Tamara nods. She says something and Glenn hands her his phone.
“Now what’s he doing?” says David frowning.
“He’s not getting her number is he?” says Luke eyes widening.
“He is! The Muppet!” says David, while Luke shakes his head.
We watch them exchange a few more words before Glenn heads back to us with a spring in his step, smiling like it’s the best day of his life. Behind him Tamara heads off in the opposite direction like she has suddenly realised that she needs to be somewhere else.
“Forty three seconds.” says Luke stopping his timer. “Still, better than twenty seven seconds with Chloe last week.
“Before that Gemma pretended to take a phone call before he even got started. And you’re buying.” says David looking at me while giving Luke a high five.
Glenn gets back to our table, all smiles from ear to ear.
“That was great.”
We just look at him stonily.
“What? I got her number and everything.” he says.
“Give me that.” I say snatching the phone out of his hand.
“Hey! Jordan?” he says as I call the number and put it on speaker.
“The number you have dialled is not connected. Please check the number and try again. The number you have -”
“She gave me the wrong number?” says Glenn frowning.
“Muppet.” says David.
Luke just shakes his head.
“What did I tell you do?” I say.
“Ask her out?” says Glenn glancing at David and Luke. “But she said she had to think about it, so I got her number and I said that -.”
“Anything that is not an actual ‘Yes’ is a ‘No’.” I say. “What did I tell you about getting numbers?”
“Uhhh?” he says.
I can see why Glenn is top of the class. NOT.
“Boys, help him.” I say waving my arm in Luke and David’s direction while shaking my head in disbelief.
“Girls often give out wrong numbers just to get rid of a guy.” says David.
“Most have a fake number memorised.” says Luke.
“Oh.” says Glenn rubbing his chin. “So what do I do?”
“As soon as she gives you the number, you call it. If it rings you make her answer it and you ask her out. Most girls will laugh and say yes.” says David.
“And if it doesn’t ring, you make a show that you must have made a mistake and could she give it to you again. Of course you’ll both know she gave you the wrong number.” says Luke
“She’ll then give you the right number. Which you immediately ring.” says David.
“I’ll have a Red Bull too.” says Luke looking at me.
I take a note from my wallet and give it to Glenn.
“Three Red Bulls. And I’m expecting change.”
“How come I’m getting the drinks?” says Glenn.
“Because you’re a Muppet.” says David.
“Because I said so.” I say locking eyes with Glenn.
He looks down. “Ok.”
Just then there is a buzz on Luke’s phone. He picks it up and looks at it.
“Gotta go guys. Simone needs my help with her art project.” he says getting up.
“Give her one for me.” I say.
“But Simone doesn’t do Art?” says Glenn.
Luke laughs and shakes his head as he walks away.
“Muppet.” says David throwing some fries at Glenn.
“The Art Storeroom is the best make out place in the whole school.” I say. “Miss Ito is in her office with her ear buds in listening to podcasts all lunch time. Do I need to draw you a picture?”.
The photography darkroom was better but after Amanda and Ryan had been caught in there, the school had put a lock on the door. Good thing that Old Four Eyes had thought that they were only making out. If she knew what they were really up to, there would have been big trouble.
“Now will you just go and get the drinks.”
David and I watch him walk away, this time shoulders slumped, without the spring in his step.
“You were a bit hard on him.”
“Oh, come on.” I say. “He asks for my help. I give him pure gold; which he ignores and goes free styling. Then he complains that what I told him doesn’t work.”
“Fair point.” says David shrugging his shoulders.
We burst into Girls East, a riot of noise, all talking at once as everyone was keen to share the latest news.
“You and James seemed very chummy before bell this morning Trace.” says Mich.
“He’s asked me to see a movie Friday night.” gushes Trace.
“Shops Monday. Movie Friday. Must be serious.” says Em.
“Which movie?” says Bec.
“I don’t know. But I hope its Fifty Shades Of James!” says Trace.
“Ohhh” we all gush in excitement.
“What do I wear? The date’s only on Friday! I’ll never be ready by then!” says Trace wringing her hands.
“Don’t worry, we’ll help.” says Bec.
“Is Ryan still with Renee?” Nat says to me and bites her lip.
“No, that was yesterday. I think he’s with Tori now.” I reply and Nat frowns.
“What about you Kim?” says Em. “I saw you talking to Brian. Has he asked you out yet?”
“Well, not really.” says Kim. “He sort of suggested that I could come over to play computer games, but I’m not sure that counts as ‘going out’.”
We all shake our heads.
“No. You have to actually go out to ‘go out’.” says Bec.
“Unless you’re ‘staying in’.” I say.
“Yes, but usually you have to ‘go out’ first before you can ‘stay in’.” says Bec.
“Yeah. Usually.” I say nodding.
“You and Aaron were looking all loved up on the way to class this morning Sally.” says Em.
“Well, we went out Saturday afternoon. And we were having a great time.” says Sally looking doubtful.
“But?” says Mich.
“Then it went a bit Edward and Bella, so now I’m not sure.”
“Ow. Messy.” I say.
Suddenly Madeline puts her head in her hands and starts sobbing. We crowd around her.
“What’s wrong?” says Bec.
“It’s all horrible and my life is over!” wails Madeline.
“It can’t be that bad. Tell us and we’ll make it better.” says Bec.
Madeline has a few sniffs and wipes the tears away.
“I thought things were going really well with Bryce and he that he really liked me.” she says.
“You two look really good together.” says Mich, which only brought on a fresh round of sobbing from Madeline.
“It’s alright, you can tell us.” says Bec, giving Mich a stern glance.
“I really, really liked him. And he’s an arsehole!” says Madeline.
“All boys are horrible! That’s what I keep telling you!” says Ashleigh.
“And how would you know?” sneers Trace.
Ashleigh just scowls at Trace and folds her arms across her chest.
As a lesbian Ashleigh might be somewhat biased about boys.
“Well, perhaps not all of them.” I say. “And they do have their uses”.
I turn to Madeline and give her a sympathetic smile.
“What did he do?” I say.
“Well, I really, really liked him” she says.
Right. Got that.
“We went out on Saturday and I … I …” she says and bites her lip.
We all wait for her to say what’s coming next, though I’m pretty certain what it will be.
“I… let him go all the way and this morning on the bus he blanks me and sits with Tanya, and they’re all over each other!” she wails.
Bloody Tanya. That bitch!
Stealing other girl’s boyfriends is her thing. She is only interested in a guy if he’s with someone else. And once she’s got him, she just throws him away and moves on to the next one. Bryce would have known that and was just using Madeline to get to Tanya. What a bastard!
Suddenly I realise they’re all looking at me and Bec is giving me her ‘Well, do something’ look. Madeline is looking all small and frail.
Like a lost puppy.
That’s been left outside.
In the rain.
Boy uses girl and does a runner once he’s got what he wanted. Like that’s never happened before.
“Plenty of fish in the sea.”
“The best way to get over a boy, is to get under another one.”
“Relationships are what you do before you fuck someone else.”
But I don’t say any of that. Bec would kill me if I said that – again.
Being Queen isn’t all basking in universal admiration you know. With great power, comes great responsibility. I need to make this right.
What would Gaga do?
I go over to Madeline and take her hands in mine.
“Do you want him back?” I say softly.
“Not really.” she whimpers.
Either way, the solution is the same.
“Well, when we are finished with you he is so going to regret that he let you go. When he’s old and grey, he’ll still be thinking about you and what a fool he was.”
“Do you mean -?” says Mich.
“Yes, a makeover!” I say.
The girls all bounce around squealing with excitement.
“The shops are having a sale.” says Em. “I saw the perfect dress for you.”
“I can do your colours.” says Mich. “Earthy neutrals and bold statements are so right now.”
“Extensions would really work for you.” says Trace. “Have you thought of going lighter?”
Madeline is overwhelmed by all the attention. When we’re finished, she will have forgotten all about Bastard Bryce.
Bec looks over and gives me a nod. My reign is safe for another day.
All people, places and events depicted are real, just not in this universe.
© Paul Shipley