The history was started and then abandoned. There was nothing I could do, since I could not understand it. I would just ask the teacher for an extension and then get Anouk to help me, like she always did. When I woke up this morning, it was with a start. I lay in bed and looked up at the ceiling until I heard my mum yell that it was getting late and I should be thinking of getting up. I dragged myself out of bed and leapt over to the window. When I peeked out I saw Anouk opening her curtains. She smiled and waved, and then pointed at her watch comically. I laughed and waved back, I ran from the window and quickly got dressed.
When I got downstairs mum was in a tizz. "You'll be late!" she trilled, her cheeks puce. I walked over to her and took her hands, "Mum. Calm down! I won't be late. I'll just grab this apple here", I indicated to the piece of fruit on the counter, "and I'll go and meet An and then we will go to school", I told her slowly. She smiled, and slapped my arm, "You'd charm the birds out of the trees; if you had a chance. Well.. go on then, get out of here!" she teased, and she planted a kiss on my cheek. I picked up the apple and darted for the door.
When I got outside Anouk was already waiting for me. "Good morning Joshie", she grinned as I crossed the street towards her. I took in her appearance. She was wearing a tight, high waisted skirt with flowers all over it, and a lacey ruffled sleeveless shirt. She had on her favourite high heels. Despite her being my friend I had to admit she was stunning, in that European way she had. Her long curly waves were piled messily into a side bun and her tortoise rimmed glasses were replaced by contacts. I smiled, "Morning Noukie". She enclosed me in a tight hug. I was surprised that her scent overwhelmed me. It never did before. For a moment I didn't speak. "I've missed you!" she explained. "What's wrong?" I asked, sensing she was upset about something. "How'd you know?" she smirked looking back at me, her arms still around me. "Anouk! How long have I known you? Thirteen years? I know when something's wrong. What did he say?" I demanded. She rolled her eyes, she removed her arms and picked up her files and folders and books off the ground. "He didn't really do anything as such", she mumbled. "'Nouk", I chided, as we began walking. Somewhere deep within me I hoped that Greer had really upset her, and that she would cry on my shoulder, and give me permission to beat the life out of my brother.
"He called me a nerd", she finally admitted, when we were half way down the street. I nearly choked on the apple I had finally began to eat. I permanently called her a nerd, I suddenly began to worry that all those times I teased her had geniunely upset her. "But you don't mind it when I call you a nerd", was all I could think of to say. She smiled at me, and for a moment I felt paralysed. I quickly shook it off. "I don't mind it when you do it, but when Greer does it..I don't know. I guess when he says it I realise how incredibly different we are", she said sadly. I reached out and touched her arm comfortingly. Damn, she really liked him. "Nouk, don't listen to what Greer says, not many people do. Myself included. The only reason he isn't kicked out of school yet is because he's the football star. You know that. He doesn't know you as well as I do. He will though..I mean, if that's what you what", I finished quickly. She laughed. "I guess you're right. I mean you do know better than anyone", and she then seemed in much higher spirits.
As we continued the rest of the journey to school she chattered incessantly about the endless things she was doing right now for all the things she was involved in. Usually I would half listen, and say something completely unconstructive and then she would huff, but for some reason I was captivated by the way her massive eyes lit up, and the way her mouth moved when she talked to me. A tiny voice in my brain began to talk me. Snap out of it Joshua! She is your FRIEND! She loves you that way. Greer has her, not you. Then another stubborn voice replied back; I know that! But there's no harm in looking at her, is there? The other voice yelled back indignantly: DUH! Of course there's harm!
I tore my gaze away from her and looked at the ground instead. Oh god...this wasn't happening.