I honestly didn’t expect Drew to be as grumpy as he was that day. As if he had been forced into returning to these club-meets, Drew slumped down into the seat beside me with no hello and barely more than a glance towards my face. Despite that, I pulled my shoulders back and looked calmly at my hands, waiting in silence for the other members to arrive. My minibus had arrived earlier than normal, and so had Drew’s, for I saw him leave it, but obviously he had been delayed by something to be this late in comparison with me.
I tired not to cast my eyes in his direction, but slowly I found myself watching Drew more and more, tucking a strand of my limp fringe behind my ear as I did so. There were things I wanted Drew to notice today, little things about my appearance that I wanted him to see. I had purposely rubbed a brush of blue eye-shadow gently over my lids, not to appear pretty or to attract him, but to make it so that he would have to take notice of me, even if the change made him confused. He could not be as confused as I was at that minute when the blush returned to my cheeks, deciding to stay throughout the hour.
At least, this time, I had made an effort, and, after missing the last two sessions, I needed to, not just with Drew but with the rest of the class. I noticed looks of sympathy from some of the girls across the room; blank faces were my other presents, as if those pupils had not even noticed my existence before today. Little good it would do them.
“So, Drew.” I swung myself to face him. “What have we been up these last couple of weeks?”
“You tell me.”
“You haven’t been here?”
He shrugged and turned away. Gritting my teeth slightly, I did the same.
Mr. Stevans began to chat in his usual garish way about the next project that we were going to complete in this and the last week. I sat and listened for once, my hands patiently folded into my lap. I would not let Drew see the way my recently-painted nails dug into my palms. This frustration would not get the better of me. That I had promised myself.
“Now, ladies and gentleman, we have been charged with designing a set of advertisements for this joint-schools scheme. All the advertisements will be sent to each of the five schools so that they will be able to raise awareness of this scheme in their own communities. It is my hope- as well as the hope of many of the staff here- that we will be able to do this again with a different year-group.
“To complete my idea, I’m going to split you into three groups. The first will work on designing posters to be printed out at the end of next session. The second will have a go at making a leaflet that outlines the core aspects of what we do, especially in Computer Studies club. Ha! And…the third will work on designing a website or two that will include quotes from members of the clubs, highlight what we have been up to, and have some delightful pictures. I’m looking for slogans too, people! Witty, sensible slogans.”
He then proceeded around the classroom from group to group, giving each pair a number, one, two, or three; my eyes followed him nervously, for posters were not my thing, and I didn’t count on enjoying scripting a leaflet. However, luck was on my side today.
“Annabelle, Drew. I hope you’re both better and raring to go. I’ve an exciting task for you guys: designing the website. You’ll find all you need on the database, under ‘CS- club pictures.’”
“Thanks, Mr. S,” I chirped politely.
After Mr. Stevans had trundled off, I spotted Drew rolling his eyes.
“Great!” I heard him remark beside me.
I addressed the computer, my eyes fixed to the log-in screen.
“Don’t be so pessimistic. I think poster work is far more drear than designing something that can be accessed by all online.”
“Oh, ‘more drear’ is it?”
“Drearier,” I corrected myself, but I knew that it was not my grammar he was mocking, but my vocabulary. I took another deep breath. “Look, Drew, I don’t want to argue with you again. I know that even you can admit that internet work is something that we both are good at, despite the differences in schooling.”
“Yeah, you like school; I don’t.”
Finally, I shot him a glare.
“Just get calculating the HTML, will you? Right now, I think we owe something to the club by our absences.”
Once again, he had not failed in making my blood boil. However, encouraged by the words of Mr. Stevans complimenting my choice of baby-blue background colour, I put all my effort into making this website the best I had ever done. I had learnt a lot since this wild idea had begun, even if none of it involved Computer Studies.