Blake's perfect. But he's not real. He's Brad's ingenious plan to talk online to the quiet girl Anna that he's set his heart on - Anna who's the complete opposite of him, Anna that hates the very air he breathes.
Anna's falling in love with Blake, who in the flesh is actually Brad's cousin Ivy (the cocky heartless idiot of the family), and Brad's falling deeper in love with Anna. Ivy wants a bit for himself, which he's not allowed, and Brad's using Blake to push Anna closer to him as a friend.
Why is it that those who dedicate their lives to helping other people often need help themselves? And those who spend their life surrounded by people often feel alone? For Brad, it definitely worked like that. As he sat in the school canteen, friends jostling him, chatting around him, talking loudly in his ear, begging for his attention, his mind was elsewhere. Across the canteen in fact. With Anna.
Anna wasn't eating - there was nothing in the house that she'd wanted for lunch, and her mum still wasn't paying for cooked dinner - but she sipped her water ever so often as her hands whipped across the keyboard of her smart little laptop. He contemplated briefly about what she was doing, but of course, he already knew. Everyone in the whole canteen knew, the whole school, the whole town. She was keeping her website up to date.
Anna didn’t look like the Auntie type, but that’s what she was. An agony aunt. Anna the agony aunt. Her website got over 200 hits a day, some of which weren’t even local. Lots of people logged on, to get hints and tips, to ask for help, to answer quizzes, or to chat in her forum with other people with problems of their own, every single day. She had a huge network of supporters and fans and she might even go as far as to say friends on there. Masses of people looked up to her, relied on her. So why, as usual, was she sitting alone? As he watched, she absentmindedly brushed a strand of her long fringe out of her eyes, the other hand still rushing across the keys.
He yearned to go over. To leave his group of friends, so welcoming when you’re a part of them, so cold when you’re not, and pull up a chair beside her. He wondered how he’d feel. He’d heard her talk a few times, but her words had never been directed at him.
Anna used to have a best friend who she was inseparable from. Though they still conversed from time to time, it was getting less and less often, down to once a week at most, and only then on msn. Anna supposed she might have missed Fliss more these last couple of years, but she’d been so well distracted by her website. Anna barely had a family, just a mum. Of course, she had a dad, somewhere, but it had been years and years since they’d seen each other, and in almost all her life, she couldn’t remember a time where she’d walked into a household with all three of them home, and everyone be smiling. She and her mum didn’t talk about it though, because it was as her mother always said – he wasn’t worth the breath.
Brad’s family on the other hand belonged on TV. Parents and siblings alike had been blessed with beauty, but not only that, brains as well. And not only that, but the most rewarding of all family traits, was their compassion and genuine good and caring hearts. His little brother and sister were adorable, his older brother was his absolute best friend, and his mum and dad were as much in love now as they had been when they married 22 years ago. And even that didn’t look like it was ever going to change.
As far as people go, Brad and Anna were very much the exact opposites, and neither was the others type. But you know what they say, right? Opposites attract. But then again, it depends on just how opposite they are. Opinions are good, conflict over them is not. Not that Anna and Brad could fight, because they never even talked. Never even exchanged glances. Never even gave each other a smile. But Brad was determined to change that. And it was that very day, Thursday 10th February, at lunchtime, that he decided to do something. He decided he wanted to – no, needed to – be a part of the lonely little world she was caught up in.
And it is with this decision that it all started.
Chapter One – First Steps
What advice would you give to someone who wants help about getting over her ex boyfriend without being a complete hypocrite? It wasn’t as if I’d exactly had a lot of boyfriends; I hadn’t exactly had any, really. None that had lasted more than a week, and none of them had been in the last decade anyway. So how could I give person after person advice on a subject that I was barely familiar with at all?
Well, I didn’t actually know how, but I seemed to be able to do it pretty well. And never once had I had a single piece of negative feedback, so it would seem that at least some of the advice that I gave out to people was valid.
Sometimes I try to remember when and why I carried on my website. I know exactly when I started it though, and why. IT in year 8 we all had to create a website and that was the first idea that came into my head. But why I carried on with it, I don’t think I’ll ever know. Why people had started visiting. When it was exactly that I was the first person people would turn to with their problems. It struck me as ironic yet again as I struggled with my thoughts against the raucous noise in the canteen, that despite everything - all the people who relied on me to be there to talk to, trusted me, came to me the very second things went wrong, opened and poured out their hearts to me over msn or through my website – I meant nothing. Offline, I was just Anna. Not worthy of words, not worthy of even a smile. I meant nothing to them. And I doubted somehow that I ever would.
It was times like these, when I felt so alone in a room so full of people, so full of well-known faces, that I missed Fliss. I made a mental note to send her a text when I got home, and returned to the task at hand. How to get over a boy. It was hard to get a picture of the relationship this girl had just come out of when she gave me so little information to toy with. It could have been weeks and weeks long, months, maybe even years. Or it could have only have lasted a couple of days, and without knowing that, and a few other factors, it was almost impossible to help them properly. But still, I could try.
After the initial period of mourning and moping around, which I suggest involves burning photos, and any other memories of your ex you might have, there is two main paths you can go down. Mates and dates. These two paths were pretty self explanatory, and most of the time were successful in helping to ease an aching heart.
I typed this out for her and wished her luck, adding on the end of the message my help-msn in case she fancied talking in a bit more depth, which they so often did, signed it Anna and waited for it to send. Another person helped, hopefully. Another load of troubled eased, probably. Just another day in my life. Thinking about everyone else – anyone else, as long as I didn’t have to think about me.