The Note

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: The Imaginarium
A short story inspired by the Imaginarium House One Word Prompt -- tear.

Submitted: June 29, 2017

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Submitted: June 29, 2017

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The Note

 

You have all known a lad like Mark; you might even have been just like him yourself. He is the one who sits on his own; the one who knows all the answers and gives them too, until he learns it’s better to play dumb sometimes. Mark is the butt of everyone’s jokes, a victim for the bullies to pick on when there is no one more fun for them to target.

 

At sixteen, Mark has never even held a girl’s hand, let alone taken things any further. He watches his classmates from a distance as they pair up. And he accepts that is how things are -- until a new girl joins his classes, one that really catches his attention. She soon becomes one of the popular crowd, one that hangs out with Kara, the undisputed queen of the class.

 

Her name, he learns, is Julia. Not quite Juliette but near enough to feed his fantasies. At first he is careful, not too obvious in his infatuation; a quick glimpse here, standing near to her there. No one will notice a thing. But then he wants more than just a glance. When he thinks no one is watching him, Mark will stare admiringly from afar. He’ll find opportunities to get closer to her, and once or twice they even exchange words.

 

It had to happen though. Someone had to see him and then the teasing started. Julia seemed almost as embarrassed by his tormentors as he was, though, and several times she smiled at him in sympathy. Of course Kara would tease her too, but good humouredly, not really trying to make her feel bad.

 

Mark was suspicious when he found the note on his desk. It was just tucked inside the cover of his maths textbook, just a corner of the folded paper poking out. He would not look at it in class. Carefully he opened the book, palmed the note and hid it in his pocket. Mark decided to keep it safe until he was on his own.

 

During lunch break he found a quiet corner, and once he was satisfied that he really was alone, Mark removed the crumpled up note from his pocket and carefully straightened it out. It was from Juliette....er, Julia; or at least that was the name written on the bottom of it.

 

Hi, Mark.

Would you like to meet me after school?

We could go somewhere on our own and

just hang out for a while.

I’d really like to get to know you better.

Julia xxxx.

 

Mark felt his face burning. How could she know that he liked her so much? But now the invitation had been made, perhaps he should be a bit more open with his feelings for her. After all, she had to be interested in him to have sent the note in the first place.

 

All afternoon, Mark struggled to concentrate but he found his eyes continually straying to the back of Julia’s head. She seemed as relaxed as ever, just working away, exchanging the odd word with Kara. Still, she was a pretty confident girl; not like Mark himself, always trying to stay out of notice and failing.

 

Louise hung back at the end of class. She was having problems getting her stuff to fit in her bag. As he passed her desk, Mark was surprised to hear her call his name.

 

Mark, listen. I know about the note....”

 

Mark stiffened, not knowing whether to stay and listen or to walk away. Should he make out he didn’t know what she was on about?

 

I just want you to know it’s not what it seems. It’s a set-up, a joke. I tried to persuade them to leave you alone but you know Kara. It was her idea, not Julia’s. But Julia wants to fit in and won’t go against her.”

 

Mark felt himself go red, then turn to white. It was nothing more than a joke. HE was nothing more than a joke. He was speechless, didn’t know what to do, what to say, where to look.

 

I just wanted to help, you know.....I can’t stand this picking on you.” Louise hoisted her backpack onto her shoulder and turned to leave.

 

Mark stood there, then said, “Thanks, Louise.” She rewarded him with a smile before disappearing in the corridor.

 

How could she? Julia? She was just setting him up for her and her mates to have a good laugh at his expense. It wouldn’t happen though. He’d avoid them, leave through the back exit. It would take him an extra ten minutes to get home that way but for once it would be worth it.

 

As he walked towards home Mark thought how strange it was that love could turn to hate so quickly. He tore the note into tiny pieces as he walked along, letting the wind scatter the fragments wherever they landed. He wanted it gone, it felt somehow contaminated.

 

And what was really so special about Julia anyway, he asked himself. She was no prettier than most of the girls, and obviously no nicer. No, he’d been stupid, had been saved from making a big mistake. But Louise? Now, she could be really special. He’d just have to see how things went!

 

 

 

 


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