[This #1667 Words entry is by Julie Jackson.]
“Is your name Google? Because you have everything I’m searching for.”
Tobey stared, incredulous at the horrible pickup line. He glanced at Melanie, whose frown told him that she did not like it, either. Brent gave her his high-school famous lopsided smile. Melanie rolled her eyes.
“Ugh. No. Go away,” she said dismissively, and he slinked across the cafeteria like a chastised dog.
“I’m resetting it again,” she announced to Tobey, and then rushed off to hide in the bathroom and say her spells.
The last three minutes reversed; Tobey saw people walking backward and spitting out food. He wished Melanie would leave him out of the time reversal spell, but he had agreed to sit with her because truthfully he could not tell her no. She had uttered some strange words over his head, and now he was stuck. At first, the pickup lines Brent came up with for Melanie were amusing. Some were even gut-busting ridiculous.
Do you have a map? Because I just got lost in your eyes. That one had made Tobey almost choke on his soda.
But, she had said the spells 11 times now, and although Brent had noticed her like she wanted, nothing had been accomplished except Brent had proven himself to be even stupider than Tobey thought. He had no idea what a sweet, smart, and quiet girl like Melanie saw in Brent, and her cloying attraction to him was becoming very annoying.
Plus, Tobey had eaten his cheeseburger four times.
Melanie returned to her seat, fussed over her clothes and lip gloss, and waited. Tobey watched Brent’s eyes glaze over, and he approached their table. Melanie smiled up at him.
“Did you have Lucky Charms for breakfast? Because you look magically delicious,” Brent said slyly. He stood there, waiting, with that same dopey grin on his face.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” Tobey said. Melanie’s smiled faded and she told Brent to go away again.
Before Tobey could protest, she was off for the twelfth time, muttering her bizarre words over an antique watch. Time reversed and his cheeseburger was whole again. He didn’t want it anymore. Melanie plopped back in her chair.
“Why do you even want a guy that needs a spell to notice you?” Tobey demanded.
“He’s so gorgeous. I love that crooked little grin. But, he thinks he needs a pretty girl, so that’s all he talks to. You know, the cheerleaders and the prom queens. If I can get him to talk to me, really talk, just once, then I’m sure he will see that he’s better off with someone like me. He’s dated all the prettiest ones in school, and dumped them all. So there must be something wrong with them. He just needs to be shown that looks aren’t everything.”
Tobey couldn’t believe that someone smart enough to write a time reversal spell and a love spell could honestly be this stupid.
“Maybe he’s just a player.”
“Maybe you’re just jealous,” she shot back.
“Of what?” Tobey asked.
“Shut up, here he comes,” Melanie whispered hurriedly, flipping her straight brown hair over her shoulder.
“Jealous of what?” Tobey insisted.
Brent reached the table. Tobey crossed his arms over his chest and waited. He hoped it would be a real doozy. He was not disappointed.
“Hey baby. My name is Brent. But you can call me…tonight.”
Melanie groaned and put her face in her hands, and Tobey burst out laughing.
“Oh my God! Seriously? No!” Melanie cried, and Brent slid quietly away, his glazed-over eyes never leaving Melanie.
“So what am I jealous of?” Tobey asked. He was not going to let this go.
Melanie glared at him, her pretty green eyes narrowed. He leaned into her face and glared back. A loud chorus of laughter from across the room caught their attention, and both of them glanced over. Brent was hanging on an overly-tanned bottle blonde at a table full of football players, and it appeared they were all looking at Tobey and Melanie.
“Go on and give her a kiss, Tubby Tobey. I’m sure she hasn’t had one in a while!” Brent yelled, causing another round of the chortling.
Melanie jumped up and ran to the bathroom. Her eyes were welled up with tears. Tobey sighed. Time reversed. Brent laughed then whispered something in the bottle blonde’s ear. He removed his arm just as Melanie was returning to her seat. Her face was streaked slightly but she at least appeared calmer. She gave Tobey a nervous smile.
“This is it, I just know it,” she said in a breathy rush. “He’s going to figure it out, and get it right this time.”
Tobey huffed but said nothing.
Brent’s eyes glazed over, and he sauntered over to their table. She looked up at him expectantly, and he gave her that stupid grin again.
“So what are you doing Saturday? I thought maybe we could hit the arcade and grab some dinner? Maybe lasagna at Vino’s?”
Melanie slowly turned to face Tobey. His question hung heavy in the air. Her eyes and mouth were perfect little O’s of surprise. Brent stared but said nothing. He blinked, stupefied, then slowly walked back to his table.
“Lasagna from Vino’s is your favorite,” Tobey told her, matter-of-factly. “But you don’t like their cheesecake. You would rather have my mom’s. She makes one every Sunday and always saves you a piece. She’s been doing it since we were in fourth grade. And I know you love the arcade, but all you ever want to play is skee ball. And, that’s okay. We can play just skee ball all day if that’s what you want.”
Melanie glanced at her watch and stood up quickly. Tobey’s heart fractured. He stared at the floor and waited to see her battered sneakers dash away.
Suddenly her wriggling hand appeared in the corner of his vision. He looked up at her and she smiled widely at him. Her outstretched arm was only a couple of inches away. Tobey swallowed hard and took her hand.
“I thought you’d never ask,” she said happily, giving his arm a pull.
She dragged him out of the cafeteria and into the direction of their next class just as Brent was making fun of them. This time, Tobey did not hear a word.
[Julie is 32 and lives in Little Rock AR. She keep her sanity by reading, writing, cooking, and rescuing abandoned rabbits, no matter how ungrateful they are.]
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