Sunday, August 18, 2013

POPULAR by SUMMER DAY (chapter six: makeover)

Chapter Six 
Before school finished that day, I checked in on my art teacher, Ms Dash. I’ve been trying to get her and the physics teacher, Mr Henry, together for ages.
     Ms Dash is at least thirty and spends all her days hanging out with her great-aunt (highly admirable) but let’s face it, my teacher is not getting any younger and her life is going nowhere fast. Teaching reprehensible eighth graders might not be the best game plan for meeting a man or making a match.
     When I rounded the corner of the hall, Ms Dash was speaking to Miss Drusilla. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure Miss Drusilla isn’t same-sex attracted. I mean, I have seen her hunched over and speaking intimately with the female coach of the girls’ softball team, but I would never openly speculate about a teacher’s private life. That would be impolite. 
    Anyway, Miss Drusilla has always been mildly hostile to my suggestions of help but last semester, I offered Ms Dash  sustained advice in terms of clothing, deportment and what to say on first dates. She didn’t seem very thankful. In fact, I’d have to say the whole experience (for me) was quite an ordeal.
     I was happy to see her and Mr Henry sitting together at a cafĂ© recently, but I can’t say he’s been down on one knee over summer. There is no sparkler in evidence – fact. 
     By early afternoon, I’d barely seen Ethan, until I nearly collided with his most recent acquisition.
     Gigi was carrying her pompoms, which reminds me that Veronica and I intend to become cheerleaders this semester. We’ve been waiting for the right moment since elementary school and now it has finally arrived. I don’t mean to sound shallow, but cheering is a great social experience and our school’s team is almost exactly like the one in that classic film, Bring It On.    
    I’d arranged to meet Veronica and Hilary at the gate after tryouts when who should rock up but Ethan with his arm around his new flame, Gigi. She hovered near the gate, talking to a friend.
    “Is it safe for us to admit we know each other yet, Honey?” He asked.
    I nodded cautiously, “I don’t know. I don’t know if you have sufficient rep for me to make out your form.”
    “Mmm.” He looked slightly curious as I paused then he dangled his keys and clicked open the door for me.
    “Are you serious, Ethan? I’m not travelling in the back seat while you drive your new floosy around like she’s the queen of the world or something.”
    At that moment Gigi blew Ethan a little kiss as she waved goodbye.
    “Or something? Gigi isn’t coming. She has her study group.”
   “You mean she can read?”
   “Honey, she’s an honors student. She’s applying to every major pre-law program at college. I’m just lucky she agreed to even go on a date with me. Saturday night.”
   “Are you serious? What about Ariel?”
   “Ariel and I are just friends. Don’t look so sad, Honey. You are always telling me I have to be more social. I think I’m going to like it at this school. Okay, c’mon let’s go.”
    Veronica walked towards me in the distance.
    “Uh, it’s okay, I’ve got a lift.”
    “Your new friend?”
    “Sure. Hilary and I had study hall together.”
    “Hilary? The new girl? The one I noticed you monopolizing in the lunch room?”
    “Excuse me! I saved her from further public humiliation.”
    “And I’m sure she’s very grateful but…”
    At this moment Hilary, Veronica and Tyler arrived. Hilary blushed and smiled at Ethan who smiled back and both Tyler and Veronica said, “hi.”
    “I see you are very busy now, Ethan. We have to go,” I said quickly.
     As we drove off, I turned the music up loud. Hilary asked, “Who’s the hot guy?” and Veronica laughed.
    Tyler explained, “It’s Honey’s brother and cousin-in-law Ethan.”
    “In other words, we are related by marriage - not blood relations. Ethan’s older  brother is married to my sister. Really, we’re just neighbors.”
  “Oh,” she said, with a confused look on her face.
   “I can’t believe he’s decided to complete senior year at our school,” Veronica said excitedly. He’s – “
    “He’s what?”
    “He’s so good looking…”  Hilary said, sounding more than just a little awestruck.
    “Ethan is already way popular with the ladies,” Veronica added.
    As if I didn’t already know that, I thought. I mean, I taught him everything he knows. There had been lessons in man-etiquette, man-deportment, clothes combinations, how to ask a girl out. Honestly, I’d spent at least half a week coaching him, while he just lazed around by my Dad’s pool laughing at me, drinking soda and reading his stupid comics.
     I tried to drum into him the importance of first date etiquette, pre-date tooth brushing, flossing, ironed clothing etc. while he bored himself stupid gaming in front of our new flat screen and pretty much pretended to ignore every word I said.  Of course, he’d been soaking it all in. He’d never have been such a hit with the ladies if he hadn’t listened to my advice.
     “We’re here,” Veronica announced as we drove into my lush drive way.
      “I can’t wait to fix this,” Tyler added, framing his hands around Hilary’s ponytail.      “… Then we can work on our geography project.”
     Hilary looked skeptical.
     “C’mon,” I assured her, “This is going to be fun.”