The awkward girls never get the hot guy. That's always been a big rule among society (more specifically, high school) that everyone accepted and was understood amongst all people.
But, Audrey Cunningham, a socially awkward nobody is determined to prove that she can win over the hot guy with her (nonexistent) charm, grace (yeah, right), and winning smile (that will send people running in the opposite direction for cover).
Yeah, that will work.
Chapter One: That Awkward Moment When You “Feel The Breeze”
I’m—to put it nicely—on the verge of death.
As I glance at the track field in front of me, I find myself struggling to breathe properly, the gusts of air coming out in small puffs that do absolutely nothing to help calm my erratic heartbeat. My palms are slick with sweat, and I can feel the disgusting liquid start to line my forehead as the thought of the long run ahead of me fills my mind.
I don’t see why we have to run a whole lap, on our own, in front of the entire class. It seems like a form of torture to me.
Like running with a group isn’t bad enough.
Now, I have to embarrass myself in front of the whole class by showcasing just how uncoordinated and klutzy I can be (while they have front-row seats of course). And not to mention the fact that a lot of my classmates have their cell phones with them which they’ll use to document the (not so smooth) debacle.
“Audrey Cunningham!” The gym teacher’s loud and commanding voice sends a wave of fear down my spine as my breathing becomes even more ragged. If I’m this breathless when I’m not running, imagine how I’ll be after the run. “Come on up, it’s your time to shine!” More like my time to humiliate myself, I think, finding it hard to keep calm.
Turning towards my friend Melody, I rest my forehead against her shoulder. “I can’t do this,” I grumble, running a hand through my tangled hair, which resides in a messy ponytail atop my head. “I mean…all I’ll do is ruin whatever small chances at a social life I have!”
She lays her hands on my shoulders before gently prying me off of her, shooting me an encouraging smile. “You can do this Audrey! I mean, after all, you play softball, don’t you? That involves running, so you’ll do great!” She pauses to allow the words to sink in—not that that’s ever going to happen. I find it hard to comprehend the fact that I could actually succeed in this run. “And besides, we don’t have any chances at a social life, so you’ve got nothing left to lose!”
As much as I’d like to claim her last statement to be false, I know that it’s true—deep, deep down, where all the truths lie.
I’m about to respond to her (sort of) kind words, but the piercing sound of a whistle beats me to it, causing me to jump and almost trip over my untied shoelaces. “Cunningham! Get your lazy butt over here and run a lap,” the gym teacher yells, gesturing for me to join her at the starting line, her face literally as red as a tomato.
“I’m coming Ms. Hansen! I just need to tie my shoes,” I say, which actually isn’t a lie. Considering I almost tripped over my laces, I think it makes sense for me to tie my shoes.
“You had the whole time while the others were running to tie your damn shoes! But you were too busy gossiping!” Her voice is honestly terrifying and it makes me feel like I should crawl under a rock and die…but, I do my best to stay above ground, no matter how hard it may be. “Maybe next time you should stop focusing on boys and actually pay attention to your shoelaces!”
Her yelling is actually ridiculous, considering the fact that I just needed to tie my shoes. But, it’s to be expected after all, since I was one of the few unlucky people who ended up with the crazy gym teacher that bitches at you for no reason.
My life is just so perfect, isn’t it?
After a few seconds, I’m done tying my shoes and it’s time for the run. “Good luck,” Mel whispers to me, gently pushing me forwards toward the starting line.
I feel terrified…not to mention stiff and numb. It literally feels like I’m about to explode, and to be honest, that’s not an experience I particularly enjoy. As I wait for her to blow her (terrifying) whistle, the anxiety just continues to build up inside of me, causing me to feel depressed (and scared of course…) at the thought of running one-fourth of a mile.
Just as I’m about to conjure up some excuse to get out of this vomit-inducing activity, the countdown begins and I’m literally sweating bullets. “Three!” There’s a pause after that, and I glance around me, feeling even more anxious as I see all the eyes targeted on only one thing—me. And as much as I want to believe it’s because I look good today, I know that can’t be true (mainly because I’m challenged in the looks department). “Two!” Melody shoots me a thumbs up. “One!” I clench my hands into fists to contain all my nerves.
The whistle blows and I take off, almost tripping over a small pebble that probably couldn’t even cause harm to an ant. My shoes squeak against the ground, leaving the few people that can hear it laughing at my expense.
Yeah, real funny. It’s not my fault that my parents have a horrible taste in footwear!
“Don’t die, don’t die, don’t die...,” I chant to myself as I run, hoping that it will motivate me to actually make it through the lap. Unfortunately, all it does is make me feel like an idiot for talking to myself. The people watching me probably see my mouth moving and think I’m nuts for talking to myself! But, they have good reason to. I haven’t exactly been the most normal person these last few years of high school (and by last few years, I mean one year and a couple of months).
After talking while running becomes too hard, I keep my mouth hanging open, focusing on my breathing, until a few minutes later, when a nice voice breaks through the silence surrounding me—aside from the wind of course. “You can do it Aud!”
My eyes scan the track until I spot Melody jumping up and down as she claps for me, a huge smile on her face. “Come on! You know that you can do this!”
I expect that her cheering would spur some more cheers by the other students, but it isn’t like a movie, so while she’s cheering, everybody else is watching me, with their judging eyes that seem to know each and every one of my secrets, and let me tell you, there are many.
“This sucks,” I grumble, not liking running at all. I feel like I can’t breathe at all; like a train has run over my lungs and is preventing me from releasing carbon dioxide and taking in oxygen—or at least I think that’s what breathing entails. I didn’t exactly pay attention in biology last year, considering that my teacher was absolutely horrible, and never made much sense anyway.
Seeing that I’m now at the halfway mark, I pump my legs faster, hoping that it will propel me forward at a speed that will ensure I’m back with “the herd” as soon as possible. I don’t want to spend too much time running. I’ll never hear the end of it from my classmates about how slow I was, and how I need to improve.
Yeah, not exactly something I enjoy.
My hands are swinging back and forth as I run, providing me with energy that I so desperately need, due to my short supply of it at the moment. Honestly, I feel as if I’m dying while I run, and a stitch is even forming in my side—not to mention a burning sensation in my throat as well. It’s obvious that I’m not cut out for running.
But somehow, my teacher has deluded herself into thinking I’m actually good.
Big mistake on her part, to be honest.
And who has to suffer for that? Me! That’s right. I have to suffer because of a mistake that the stupid teacher made! If she had only underestimated my abilities (like all my other PE teachers who just let me laze around) then we wouldn’t be in this horrid situation! I wouldn’t be about to die as I cough my lungs out. No, I’d be healthy and well.
Doesn’t she want that? Don’t teachers want for their students to be feeling well?
Obviously my PE teacher doesn’t, because she keeps making us do exercises like this that make us want to kill ourselves.
“Come on Audrey! Get your muscles moving! What, are you on your period or something? That’s no reason for you to run that slow!” Great, so now she’s decided to embarrass me further now. As if the excessive running isn’t enough. Now, she has to bring up my special “time of the month” which I’d much rather discuss with anyone besides her…and my classmates who are now laughing at me, since I’ve now become the new laughing stock of the day—and possibly the week.
Thanks a lot, Ms. Bitch.
I continue to run, not really liking how it feels to have all eyes on me. This is why I could never be a model (aside from the fact that I’m not really model material—with my messy dark hair and awkward physique, I could never come close to any model).
Oh, and I could never be an actress either. Mainly because I’d probably end up messing each take by either tripping over something or accidentally breaking something. Anything along those lines, really.
Yeah, as you can clearly see…anything involving people watching me is something I would never succeed at.
So, that includes…basically everything.
I’m so screwed.
Not that I didn’t already know that before. Considering my track record of messing up on every big presentation with my awkward stuttering, always opening and shutting my mouth awkwardly without saying anything when my teacher asks me a question, and my awkward squeak I make when I try to answer the question, I think I’ll never be able to do anything in life.
And yes, I did use awkward multiple times. But that’s only because I’m an awkward person! It’s not like I can help it or anything! I was born this way.
Like Lady Gaga says, “I’m on the right track baby, I was born this way.” Actually, never mind. That quote means nothing. Because honestly, I know I’m not on the right track. I’m on the wrong track. The track of wrong-ness. The track filled with absolutely wrong stuff.
…I think I’m going crazy.
The running must be going to my brain!
Oh no! I’m going to end up in a mental institute and then die!
Okay, maybe I should be an actress. I certainly have the dramatics down. Especially in my mind. God, in my mind I am the most dramatic person you will ever meet. Oh, and with my family too, because I’ve lived with them for so long, I don’t care what they think.
Unless they decide to disown me.
Then, I’m becoming the perfect child.
I jolt out of my thoughts, looking around me with a sense of relief as I realize that I have completed three-fourths of the lap, and am now so close to relaxing and hopefully falling asleep without being caught. After all, we have another hour left of this horrible class, I might as well use it to the best of my ability. And by that, I mean sleeping like a dead person.
The breeze hits me right at my legs, which is actually really awkward to be honest, and I find myself just shrugging, not caring because I’m so freaking close to the finish line. I pump my legs faster, but within the next second, I find myself sprawled across the floor, my shorts lying down around my ankles.
Oh yeah, my shorts fell down in front of the entire class.
And the worst part?
They can see my Spiderman underpants.