Become a Book Nerd
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The next day I walk into school with a smile. I’m kind of disappointed it’s Friday. I have to wait all weekend until Monday, and then we’ll be starting on the second song.
Dirk meets me at my locker, his expression stoic. But once he sees me, it turns into a smile.
Something suddenly occurs to me, “You know you won’t be able to wear those shades at the concerts.”
He tilts his head, “Why not?”
“Because uniform. You can wear the piercings, don’t worry. Mrs. Crum is okay with me wearing mine, usually.” I think on something else. “Speaking of uniform, when do we get our uniforms?”
“What are they?”
“Guys get suits, girls get dresses. Duh.”
He chuckles, “Duh.”
I put all my stuff away and turn to him, hands on my hips. “We have some time before the ten minute bell rings. What should we do?”
He just shrugs. “Let’s walk.”
It’s what everyone does before class, unless they’re sitting somewhere. We walk side by side as we pace in a circle. Crowds of our classmates are pacing as well, or are by lockers. As more students get here, we have to walk closer together in order to not get lost. One of my favorite parts of the school day is when we’re walking and our arms brush.
I hear a loud squeal from Victoria.
I look behind me in surprise, and Dirk follows my gaze. We stop walking for a moment to comprehend it.
Victoria is pointing at us, saying something to the girl next to her. She smiles, nods, and hurries away. Victoria skips up to us.
“I just told her to tell everyone you’re dating. BECAUSE YOU TOTALLY ARE.”
My face heats and I shake my head. “Victoria, you know we’re not!”
“You should. I mean, you are going to have to kiss in choir!” She says this loudly so anyone around us can hear. They turn their heads to look.
I grit my teeth, “Victoria, shut up!” I say quietly to her.
“What about Dirk’s opinion on this?”
We both look at him. His mouth is straight and pursed, the way he looks when people other than me talk to him (unless of course he’s smirking.) The only difference is that his eyebrows are up, a sign of being surprised. His face is dusted with pink, and it’s really obvious against his pale skin.
“Um, we’re not dating,” he says.
“You wish you were.”
After a long moment, “I won’t deny that.”
I look at him in surprise. Girls all around me look ready to kick my butt, their teeth gritted behind false, angry smiles. Guys start yelling and being loud, teasing Dirk for having a crush on a girl like me.
And—holy **** Dirk Knight has a crush on me… I have a crush on Dirk Knight…
The ten minute bell rings, this is when everyone begins the long walk to their first period cl***. Dirk disappears and I duck through the crowd to look for him. I can’t see him so I sigh and begin the walk myself. Victoria catches up to me.
“Amber… ask him out…”
“But…” Normally, I’d say ‘but he doesn’t like me back’. But, I guess he kind of does? “I can’t.”
“Because… I’m scared?”
“Ugh… fine. I’ll just have to work my magic myself.”
* * * * * *
I walk into first period, and Dirk isn’t there. A girl walks up to me, Marie, someone who was in the crowd earlier.
“Back off of him.”
I blink. “What?”
“You heard me! Back off of Dirk! Everyone knows you two have some sort of feelings for each other. So back off and give someone else a chance with him!”
I’m still confused, “…What?”
“Ugh.” She pins me to the wall, and I’m too surprised to fight back. “Tell. Dirk. You. Don’t. Like. Him.”
“But… why would I do that?”
“Because if you don’t… you’ll regret the very thought of your existence.”
I frown, realizing she’s threatening me. I’m actually surprised. People used to be scared of me. I push her, and she stumbles. “I’m not going to tell Dirk I don’t like him.”
She scowls, “If you don’t tell him until Monday morning, and request a new partner by then, you will regret it all.”
I cross my arms. “I doubt it.”
By this time, the one-minute warning bell rings, and she walks away from me. It was then Dirk walked into the room. He walks with his hands in his pockets, slowly to his seat. I decide to go to mine.
* * * * * *
“Clear the room.”
We begin stacking chairs. Mrs. Crum is talking to Dirk and hands him a CD, he looks at me, and motions for me to walk out to the stage with him.
Once we’re out of the room, I ask, “But we have the song down. What are we doing?”
“She wants us to practice one more time out here and then once with everyone else.”
I just nod and we keep walking.
Once we get out on stage, I look out into the crowd of seats and realize that there are people sitting in them. I see the Drama teacher standing at the base of the stage, the class of students watching her, then looking up at Dirk and me.
The teacher looks at me. “Oh! We’re just here to watch practice! Don’t mind us!”
I feel awkward.
Girls smile and wave at Dirk, giggling. He gives them a small wave back. The only eyes on me are glares full of daggers.
Dirk looks at me, he walks closer and whispers. “If you want, we can just ask Mrs. Crum to close the curtains.”
I shake my head, whispering back, “No, this will be good practice performing in front of an audience.” Our faces are very close…
He smiles and turns to put the disk in the CD player. I look at the group of kids sitting out in the seats. “U-um… we only have one song down. And… the rest of the cl*** is actually doing something different. We’re kind of… the odd ones out.”
“Would that be the reason you are practicing alone?” The teacher asks.
“Hm. all right.”
After a long, awkward moment, I look at Dirk.
“Do you have the thing ready yet?”
“I’m sorry – this is confusing…”
I snort, “It’s a CD player, how confusing can it be?”
I walk over to him, and crouch next to him at the edge of the stage. I examine the thing, and then press a button. The song starts.
“Holy **** how did you do that?”
“I pressed the play button, dimwit.”
Kids laugh and I suddenly remember we have an audience. Dirk seemed to have forgotten as well and his face lightly flushes.
He stands, and I press the stop button. Rewind.
I look over at Dirk as he’s in his starting position. “Ready?”
“Do I look ready?”
“You look like you have to pee.”
Laughs. I forgot about the crowd again. It’s very hard to see them; the lights are on the stage so it’s impossible to see into the crowd without paying close attention. And the lights in the room are dimmed so, double hard.
He snorts, “I’m not the one who chose the starting pose.”
“Are you ready or not?”
“Yes, I’m ready!”
I giggle, pressing play and hurrying over to my spot.
We begin the performance.
I know that the students watching us can’t hear our singing, but I love being able to hear Dirk’s voice with mine.
Once we get to the jump, some people gasp loudly.
By the time we finish, I’ve once again forgotten we have an audience. My smile is just as big and stupid as Dirk’s.
“This is so fun,” He says, fixating us.
I nod, “it—”
“AM I THE ONLY ONE WHO IMAGINED I WAS AMBER DURING THAT?” Some girl yells, making me flinch in surprise.
“I DID TOO.”
“SAME, GIRL. SAME.”
Dirk shakes his head, “We have to go back in there, now.” He walks away and I follow.
We practice the song as a class, and we’re shown the second song.
The song is Kids in The Dark.
For the rest of class, we practice shifting from the ending position of song one, to the beginning of song two.
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