How Do You Feel: A Short Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
A unpopular nerd helps the new girl sort out her romantic problems with the school bully, while trying to find confidence within himself.

Submitted: May 27, 2010

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Submitted: May 27, 2010

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How Do You Feel?
Monday, February 8, 2008
Today is a good day, Willard thought as he walked into his third period. He hadn’t run into Bradley, or any other jock, that morning. But Willard had spoken too soon. Bradley walked in with the look of a hungry wolf on his face. As Bradley scanned the crowd his eyes came to rest on Willard, who immediately began to squirm in his seat. Willard knew what was coming next.
“Ah! Just the person I was looking for,” Bradley boomed. “How are you feeling today Willie?”
“Um… what?” Bradley burst out laughing.
“Willie come over here!” he said.
Come on, Willard thought, stand up to him! “Sorry Brad, I can’t,” Willard said defiantly.
“Excuse me?” Bradley asked, drawing out the syllables. “What did you say?”
“Nothing—”
“That’s what I thought. Now come here!”
Just DO it! Willard’s mind screamed at him. “No Brad! I really can’t.”
“I’m sure,” Bradley laughed. “Now get your sorry ass over here!” Bradley commanded, getting irritated. Willard reluctantly rose from his seat and studied the floor as he slowly made his way to the front of the room where Bradley was waiting.
Why can’t I just stand up to him? Willard wondered as he looked up to see a triumphant grin plastered on Bradley’s face. Willard wondered if he was some sort of prize.
“Willie, you walk too slow,” Bradley complained as Willard came to a stop in front of him. “So you know what I’m gonna do?”
“No,” Willard whispered, “what?”
“I dunno, but I’ll figure it out.” Bradley snorted as he grabbed Willard by the collar and pushed him out the door. As they trodded along, Willard noticed Bradley’s girlfriend watching him with a curious look on her face. She whispered something in her friend’s ear, which resulted in a long explanation of who Willard was. The girl’s curious look turned into one of deep puzzlement. She turned again to ask her friend something, which Willard made out to be, “But why? He’s so cute.” Just then they turned a corner and the girls were out of sight.
 
Wednesday, February 10, 2008
Willard walked into his sixth period, the one class in which he was absolutely safe. He was just starting to relax when he noticed Bradley’s ex-girlfriend. Willard had heard that she’d dumped him earlier that week. The girl scanned the room, noticed Willard, and walked over. As she placed her books on the desk in front of his, Willard stiffened.
What could she possibly want? Willard wondered as all the possibilities ran through his head.
“Hi,” the girl said sticking out her hand, “I’m Victoria.” Victoria was different than any other girl at school. She had her own style, straight out of the PacSun ads. Victoria was the kind of girl who stuck out like a sore thumb—especially in Terre Haute, Indiana. She had dark brown hair that almost hit her waist, and if the light hit it just right one could see hints of red. Her eyes were such a deep blue that they almost looked violet. Victoria was tall, but not too tall. Willard noticed that she was just the perfect height: if he kissed her he would have to lean in, but not too far; if he hugged her he could rest his chin on the top of her head; and if he put his arm around her she could rest her head on his shoulder.
“Hi,” Willard replied, nervously shaking the girl’s hand. “I’m…um…,” he swallowed, “I’m Willard.”
“I know,” Victoria giggled.
Isn’t this the way girls act when they like a guy? Can she like me? Impossible! I saw her friend tell her all about me. But still, maybe… no impossible! Stop being stupid Willard!
“Look,” Willard sighed, “I’m sure by now you’ve heard that talking to me is social suicide. So if you want to have any friends at all you should really stop talking to me.”
“Oh, I don’t care about that,” Victoria said as she sat down. “But doesn’t that make you feel bad?”
“You don’t?” Willard asked in surprise, leaving her question unanswered. Victoria turned to face him.
“No,” she replied simply.
“Why?”
“Because,” Victoria replied dramatically, “the high school social ladders are stupid.”“Yeah well, not much we can do about it,” Willard smiled.
“I know,” Victoria sighed, “but we don’t have to follow the crowd.”
As the teacher started class, Willard realized that he had just made his first friend.
Friday, February 12, 2008
Willard sat down at a lunch table in the far corner of the courtyard. As usual that side of the courtyard was deserted.
“Hey Willard,” a voice said from behind him. Willard turned and saw Victoria standing there with a big grin on her face.
“Hey!” Willard smiled. “How are you feeling today?”
“I’m good, thanks. Do you mind if I sit with you?” she asked. Willard noticed that she was a little hesitant.
Damn! I knew she didn’t like me! She’s probably over here because of a bet. “Sure. It’s not like you’re taking anyone’s seat,” Willard joked. As Victoria sat down he noticed a look of relief wash over her.
Was she nervous because she thought I would say no?
“So that history test was bogus.”
“Where are you from?” Willard blurted before he could stop himself. Oh. My. God. She probably thinks I’m the biggest loser ever. You IDIOT!
“Orange County, California,” Victoria replied, opening a bag of pretzels. “And no.”
“No what?” Willard asked puzzled.
“Orange County is nothing like the show ‘The OC’.”
“Oh, that. I don’t even watch that show.”
“Really?” Victoria asked surprised. “You are the first person I’ve met here that doesn’t.”
“Yeah, that doesn’t surprise me,” Willard said. A puzzled look crossed Victoria’s face but before she could say anything Willard said, “So tell me about yourself. What’s it like… living in California?”
“Truthfully, not that different. I went to a small school in California, so transferring here wasn’t that big of an adjustment. But you probably don’t care about that.”
“No. T—” Willard started to say. But before he could finish Bradley cut in.
“Hey babe!” Bradley said. Victoria gave him a stiff smile in response.
What? She’s still with Bradley? Willard’s heart sank.
“So, babe, I was thinking that tonight—”
Victoria cut him off midsentence, “Bradley, we were in the middle of a conversation.”
“Who could be more important than me?” Bradley asked turning to face Willard, “Willie? You’d rather talk to Willie? What… but… he... he—”
“Simple,” Victoria replied. “He is my friend. You are not.” At this Willard burst out laughing.
“Shut up Willie!”
“Sorry, did I make you feel bad?” Willard replied, still snickering. Bradley walked over and grabbed Willard by the collar.
“I said SHUT UP!” Bradley fumed.
“Bradley, leave him alone!” Victoria yelled. At this Bradley flew into a rage.
“You don’t tell me what to do you…you…y—”
“Is bitch the word you were looking for?” Victoria sneered. Bradley stiffened; he had never been taunted before, especially by a girl.
Oh shit! Willard thought as Bradley turned to face him.
“You know Willard,” Bradley said, “you can keep her. That filly needs to be broken. So why don’t you break her for me and when you’re done I’ll take her back. And I’ll enjoy—” Bradley’s taunt was cut short by a punch square in the jaw.
“Ahh man, what the hell was that for?”
“Don’t talk about her like that!” Willard replied through clenched teeth.
“I’m gonna make you pay for this!” Bradley fumed turning to leave.
“Oh yeah? You and what army?” Willard sneered as Bradley stomped off.
“WOW!” Willard said feeling invigorated. Did I really just do that? That was awesome! Oh crap! Bradley is gonna kill me!
“Thank you,” Victoria’s voice broke his train of thought.
“You’re welcome,” Willard replied. “Hey, do you want to hang out tonight?”
“Sure,” she smiled.
Wednesday, February 24, 2008
As they left their first class Willard couldn’t help looking over his shoulder at every turn.
“Stop fidgeting,” Victoria said.
“Sorry, I’m just nervous,” Willard said looking around.
“Oh my God! You are impossible!” Victoria sighed, “Bradley is not gonna give you anymore crap, OK?”
“That’s just not the way Brad operates, OK?”
“OK, whatever,” she replied indifferently.
“Why do you feel so strongly about this?” She started to walk away. “Victoria?”
“I’ll see you at lunch Willard.” Willard watched her walk away wondering what he had said wrong.
“Well, well, well,” Bradley said from behind him. “If it isn’t little Willie, longingly watching his girlfriend walk away.”
“Shut up Bradley,” Willard returned, looking grim. “This is none of your business. And besides, she’s not my girlfriend.”
“So what did you do,” Bradley sneered, “be yourself?”
“I’m not in the mood Brad.”
“Let me put you in the mood,” Bradley said, grabbing Willard by the arm and forcing him around. Bradley pulled back his arm, winding up for the punch. But the look on Willard face made him drop his fist.
“Just leave me alone,” Willard said trying to pull out of Bradley’s grip. Stunned, Bradley dropped his arm. Willard turned and walked away without another word.  
Neither of them noticed Victoria watching them from across the courtyard. As she watched them leave, her surprise turned to anger.
Tuesday March 2, 2008
Willard had just left his fifth period. He was on his way to his locker and then out to meet Victoria for lunch. On his way down the hall he heard hushed voices coming from one of the empty classrooms.
What the… Willard thought, as he walked closer to listen.
“But you said you’d leave him alone!”
Victoria?
“I know what I said, OK?”
And Bradley?
“Then why the hell do you keep beating him up for anyway? We had a deal remember?”
Deal, what deal?
“Yeah? Well, what part of that deal involved you going out with Willie?” Bradley was answered with silence. “Well, Tori?”
“We aren’t going out.” Victoria replied. We aren’t? “We’re just friends.”
“You are such a liar!”
“How so?”
“What the hell do you mean ‘how so?’” Bradley said, disgusted. “I saw you two Saturday night.”
Bradley was spying on us? What a creep!
“You saw that?” Victoria asked, sounding scared. “I was just… I mean I was trying—”
“Trying to what Victoria?”
“I just wanted a friend.”
A friend?!
“You call that being friends?” Victoria was silent.
For once I totally agree with Bradley.
“What about me?” Bradley said, sounding hurt. What about you? “I thought I was your friend.”
“No,” Victoria sighed.
Fail!
“Then what am I?”
“My ex-boyfriend,” Victoria said as she began to walk out the door.
Ouch! Willard chuckled to himself.
“But Tori, I love you,” Bradley said on the verge of tears.
Is Bradley crying?
“Do you?” Victoria asked. “Do you really love me?”
“Yes.”
Is Bradley even capable of loving?
“Then prove it!” Victoria said as she turned toward the door. Oh burn! Willard thought as Victoria walked out the door. Victoria didn’t notice Willard until she was in the hallway.
“Oh that’s just great!” she said turning and walking away without a glance backwards.
Where is she going? “Victoria,” Willard called. Victoria stopped and as Willard caught up to her he saw she was crying.
“Shh. It’s OK,” Willard consoled as he pulled her into a hug. Victoria pulled back a little and looked into his eyes. After a long moment, she reached up and pulled his face to hers. Willard tightened his grip on her as he picked her up and spun her around.


© Copyright 2019 Kay Nicole. All rights reserved.

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