CHAPTER TWELVE – Meltdown In The Library
The last period of the day was history with Mr. Wise. Today the class met in the library for a “free day” which meant two things. First, the students were to use their time intelligently, taking advantage of the library resources to finish their final reports. Second, everyone would spend the whole time chatting and fooling around.
History was the one class that Luann, Delta, Bernice, Aaron, Gunther, Knute, and Tiffany all had together.
Gunther and Knute arrived first and positioned themselves near the back of the library so they could talk about the incredible test results they’d experienced with Tiffany. Gunther was so excited, he couldn’t sit down.
“I was right!” he said, bouncing from foot to foot. “Did you see how Tiffany reacted? I was irresistible!”
Knute nodded. “You the man, Gunth. Tiffany just about jumped your bod in the cafeteria. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. But isn’t it weird that she didn’t recognize you? You have classes with her, and everything. You don’t look that different. How come she thought you were a new student?”
“Easily explained,” said Gunther. “Tiffany has simply never SEEN me before. She’s looked, but I just never registered on her radar.” Gunther beamed. “But I sure do now!”
“Yup, you’re a giant blip. So now what? Back to normal?”
“No, I continue the experiment, of course.”
“But you’ve proven your theory.”
“Tentatively. I’d like to confirm.”
Knute looked at his friend’s ear to ear grin. “You’re enjoying this way too much, Gunther.”
Glancing around, Gunther lowered his voice and said, “Y’know, maybe you shouldn’t call me Gunther. Call me… Rocky. Just to ensure the stability of the test.”
Knute laughed. “Yeah. The stability of the test. Whatever, Rocky.”
“This isn’t funny, Knute,” said Gunther. “In fact, this could be quite serious.”
Knute stopped laughing. “Serious?”
Gunther sat down. “I… I was quite moved by what happened in the cafeteria. I had feelings I’ve never felt before.”
“Yeah,” said Knute. “They’re called homerooms.”
“No, this is more than hormones. I believe I have… well, a certain affection for Tiffany.”
Knute flipped up his purple sunglasses and looked closely at Gunther; something in his face was different.
“Affection? Like, love? Are you saying you’re in love with Tiffany Farrell?”
“Shhhh!” hissed Gunther, looking around again. “It’s possible. I don’t know. I’ve only felt this way once before, with Luann. But this time it’s more intense, it’s more about… about…”
“About a little green dress. Dude, you’re just reacting to a pretty package. Everyone knows that Tiffany’s a ditzy, self-centered–”
“I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t speak of her that way,” said Gunther, glaring.
Knute flipped his glasses back down. “Oh, sorrEEE, Gunther,” he said.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Luann secured a table near the library entrance so she could watch for Aaron Hill. Delta and Bernice soon joined her.
“Made any more progress with Aaron?” asked Delta as she and Bernice sat down.
“No. After first period, Mrs. Granger called me to her desk to tell me how “inappropriate” my outfit is and I lost track of Aaron.
Later I saw him at his locker, but he didn’t notice me.”
“Didn’t notice? How could he not notice?” said Delta. “You look totally hot.”
“Probably ‘cuz he was with someone hotter,” offered Bernice. “Just like he is now.” She gestured out the window. Aaron and Tiffany were walking across the quad, leaning on each other, laughing at something. They looked like the two happiest people on earth. Luann glared. It was now or never. When Aaron walked in that door, Luann would be right in his line of sight.
She got up and stood in front of the check-out desk, positioning herself squarely in front of the door. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, put one hand on her hip, angled a leg back a little and tried to appear natural.
Meanwhile, Gunther had made up his mind that he wanted to really connect with Tiffany this time. He was even hoping to sit with her, maybe help with her final report. He felt he needed to catch Tiffany the minute she walked in so he went and stood at the checkout desk.
For the first time that day, Luann and Gunther saw each other.
“Luann??” Gunther hadn’t recognized her at first. He saw a girl in a mini skirt and a short top with her hair pulled to one side and he briefly wondered who she was. When he saw her face, he was amazed.
As was Luann. “Gunther?!” she said. “What… what happened?”
She thought maybe Gunther had been mugged.
Gunther looked down at his tattered clothes. “Oh, just a new look I’m trying out. I got tired of being Mr. Neatnik. But what about you? Wow!”
Luann was pleased that Gunther approved even though he was the last person she wanted to impress. “Just something cooler for summer,” she said, casually.
The library doors swung open and Tiffany and Aaron walked in, still laughing. Tiffany looked radiant, all blonde and summery. Aaron was handsome with his wind tossed hair and adorable smile.
Luann couldn’t decide who she wanted to strangle the most.
Gunther immediately leaned on the check-out desk and pretended to be looking at something. He tilted his head a bit when Tiffany got close and mumbled, “Hey. Tiff.”
Tiffany stopped. “It’s YOU! I’ve been looking all over for you!” She moved right next to Gunther. “Y’know, I didn’t catch your name before,” she cooed.
“I didn’t drop it,” said Gunther, pleased with his quick wit. He noticed Luann was watching with an astounded expression so he turned toward Tiffany and whispered, “It’s Rocky…”
“Rocky! I like it! Very sexy! Well, I’ll see you around, Rocky.” Tiffany hurried off to the restroom to reconfirm that she looked gorgeous.
Luann couldn’t believe what she just saw. Gunther glanced her way, gave a half smile and ran back to join Knute. During the exchange, Luann realized she’d lost track of Aaron. He’d slipped right past her, apparently unfazed by Luann’s stop-’em-in-his-tracks appearance.
“What was that all about?” asked Delta when Luann returned.
“Where’s Aaron?” said Bernice, looking at the floor by Luann’s feet. “I don’t see him dragging along, desperately clutching your ankle.”
“That was totally weird,” said Luann as she sat down, a dazed look on her face.
“Why? What happened?” said Delta.
“Have you guys seen Gunther today?” said Luann. “He’s a total Mr. Grunge. He says he’s trying a new look — and he’s calling himself ‘Rocky.’”
“Rocky?!” Bernice laughed too loud, causing Mr. Wise to glare from his position near the computers. The three girls leaned closer together.
“That’s not the weirdest part,” said Luann. When Tiffany walked in, she went completely ga-ga over Gunther. She didn’t seem to know who he was and she was all over him. I’m telling you, it was the freakiest thing I’ve ever seen!”
Delta looked around the library. “So are Gunther and Tiffany making out behind the encyclopedias, or what?”
“No, Gunther ran off and Tiffany headed straight to the restroom.”
“Like a goldfish outta water,” said Bernice.
“And Aaron?” said Delta.
“I don’t know. I was so stunned I didn’t even notice where he went.”
“I’m not getting this,” said Bernice. “Did Tiff honestly not know it was Gunther? Does he look that different?”
“No! I knew who he was. He’s Gunther with matted hair and grungy clothes. He’s like, bad Gunther.”
Delta said, “I wonder if this has anything to do with that survey he and Knute were taking at the mall, remember? They were trying to find out what attracts girls to guys. Maybe grungy won.”
“But that still wouldn’t explain Tiffany’s act,” said Luann.
Bernice said, “Maybe that’s exactly what it is, an act.”
“Girls!” called out Mr. Wise. “Cut the chitchat. Reports!”
Luann opened her history book and whispered, “Teachers always interfere with real education.”
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