As usual Josh was running a few minutes late. I anxiously looked at my watch. We had forty minutes to get to school. Hurry up! Suddenly he came out of the house. Holding a green apple in one hand, and ruffling his hair with the other. I caught my breath. Then shock took over. His tall, muscular frame moved easily across the lawn, and his satchel was draped over his stomach. He was wearing his simple polo and jeans number. He smiled at me. "Good morning Joshie!" I grinned, trying to shake off the weird feeling that was building. He reached my side, the feeling got progressively stronger. Restrain yourself Anouk! But he smelled so good!
"Morning Noukie", he replied. I couldn't help but smile when he called me that. All of a sudden I threw my arms around him and hugged him tight. "I've missed you!" I exclaimed. I heard him sigh, "What's wrong?" he asked. What? Did he learn how to read minds? "How'd you know?" I asked, curiously looking up into his grey eyes. He smirked, "Anouk!" he exclaimed. "How long have I known you? Thirteen years? I know when something's wrong. What did he say?" Then I felt stupid, of course he would know. I was still stung after Greer's remark last night. I tried to convince him otherwise, but he wasn't buying it. "Nouk!" he remonstrated. I sighed and lifted my stuff off the ground.
"He called me a nerd", I admitted. He nearly choked on his apple, and he didn't say anything for a while. He looked worried. "But you don't mind when I call you a nerd", he finally said. I smiled, it was true I didn't. With Josh, I had no inhibitions. I was totally myself with him. Despite the fact Greer and I had been going out so long I still felt slightly uncomfortable around him. We were too different. Greer was immensely popular, and cool. I had a lot of friends, but I didn't follow in the same circles as him. I was rubbish at sport, and I preferred reading a book or watching a dvd with Josh than go to the lake every night of the week. "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 realize how incredibly different we are", I replied. He reached out and touched my arm, I was glad of the comfort. I knew I was being foolish, but all the same the comfort was needed. "Nouk, don't listen to what Greer says, not many people do. I 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", he finished quickly. I laughed, he was getting nervous. It was cute. Cute?! Cute?! What AM I doing? I am in the Twilight Zone? I shook myself again. Josh laughed. “What?” I asked, smirking at him. He raised his eyebrows, “Nothing! Nothing at all, you’re just funny”, and he took another bite out of his apple. I re-adjusted my satchel and my books then swerved around to face him. “Oh maaaaaatron!” I giggled, doing my best Kenneth Williams impression. When Jacque went to England for uni he brought every Carry On dvd ever manufactured. Over the summer Josh and I had watched every single one of them. He threw back his head and laughed. I reveled at the sound. It was the first time I noticed what a nice sound it was. Oh god what is going on? I automatically started laughing too. Soon the laughing petered out into nothing. For a couple of moments it was incredibly silent. I mulled over the situation. This was just silly, he was my friend. His brother was my boyfriend. And although I had managed to convince myself otherwise, I knew deep inside that something wasn’t right. Greer and I spent next to no time with each other, he pretty much ignored me except in school and we didn’t have anything in common. Whereas I could talk to Josh; about anything and any time I had to myself was spent with him. Stop it Anouk! You’re deceiving yourself!”
“You ok?” he broke my thoughts. I looked at him, his face was worried, he was probably panicking that he’d upset me again. He always did that. I smiled, “I’m fine, why?” I wondered, my palms under my books getting sweaty. He rubbed his hand over his hair, “Just wondering. You looked..thoughtful”, he smirked. I shrugged, “Now’s the only time when I actually have time to think”, I grumbled. He sighed, “I don’t know how you do it you know. You’re amazing. I don’t think people tell you that enough. I sure as hell couldn’t do what you do”, he was smiling warmly. My heart sped up a bit. He said things like that all the time, what’s so different now? “Thanks Josh”, I said quietly quickly looking ahead. School was going to be…eventful.