CHAPTER ELEVEN – Tiffany Falls Hard
The lunch bell rang and hungry students banged out of classrooms and swarmed toward the cafeteria.
Amber rushed to catch Tiffany coming out of Algebra class.
“Tiffany!” she called when she spotted her. Tiffany had a scowl on her perfect face.
“Ugh! That algebra test was AWFUL,” she moaned. “Who cares what the value of X is? Like I’ll stand in the shoe store and go, ‘Let’s see, shoe A costs X dollars, and shoe B costs Y dollars, which is 2.6 times more than shoe C, so…”
“Shut UP, Tiff! Listen, I have some big news,” said Amber.
“OHMYGOD! I made the color spread in the yearbook!!”
“No. I don’t know. Anyway, this is better.”
Tiffany scowled again. “I doubt that.”
“Ok, listen to this. You know those two dorky guys, oh, what are their names… the nerdy one with wiry hair and the skater dude with the backward baseball cap… you know.”
“Amber, you just described most of the boys in this school. Hold on, I gotta stop at my locker.” Tiffany turned the combination and opened her locker, revealing a small cosmetics warehouse. She’d installed wire racks to hold a stockpile of makeup. Another shelf was jammed with brushes, combs, clips, scrunchies, cans of hair spray and a hair dryer. Below that were lotions, colognes, fingernail polish and several trays of jewelry. The inside of the door had a mirror with a little battery operated light affixed above it. There wasn’t a book, pencil or single sheet of notebook paper in the entire locker.
Tiffany clicked on the light, selected a lipstick and began applying a fresh coat, watching in the mirror.
“Gunther! That’s the nerd’s name… and… Knute! Gunther and Knute,” said Amber.
Tiffany rolled her lips together. “Yeah, I know them. So?”
“Ok, so they’re both in my first period class, right? And I heard them talking about some kind of survey they’d done on what attracts girls to boys. They found that girls like slobby, jerky guys.”
Tiffany stopped her lip work and looked at Amber. “Excuse me? Girls like sl –”
“Listen!” said Amber. “So the nerdy guy, Gunther, has this new “look.” He’s wearing grungy clothes and acting like a cretin, picking his nose and stuff.”
“EEWW,” said Tiffany.
“Here’s the best part,” said Amber, stepping close to Tiffany. “Gunther has decided to test his little survey by seeing if he can attract, and I quote, “the female that 94% of the guys in this school would pursue.” Amber paused for dramatic effect.
Tiffany was now working some blush into her left cheekbone.
“Yeah? Who’s that?” she said.
“Who’s tha — it’s YOU, heliumhead!!”
Tiffany again turned to face Amber, one cheek Summer Rose.
“Yes! He’s going to see if he can attract you with his cruddy act! Isn’t this a hoot?” Amber began to laugh but Tiffany looked sour.
“What?” said Amber. “What’s wrong?”
Tiffany looked at the mirror and dusted her other cheek.
“Nothing. Just… 94% seems a bit low.”
Amber rolled her eyes. “Tiffany, listen to me,” she said, leaning closer. “I have the most excellent idea…”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
In the cafeteria, Gunther and Knute sat at a table near the door, so they could spot Tiffany. The plan was to intercept her before she got to the Jock Table. Gunther didn’t want her to have any distractions.
Gunther kept alternating his posture, first sprawling forward on the table, chin propped on his hand, then slumping back in the chair, legs askew.
“Which one of these looks better, Knute?” said Gunther. “Pose number one,” he sprawled forward, “or pose number two?” he slumped back.
“Better? For what?”
“For looking jerky.”
“Oh. Um… number one, I guess.”
“I concur,” said Gunther, leaning forward.
“But don’t say stuff like ‘I concur,’” said Knute. “Only nerds talk like that.”
“Ah. Astute observation,” said Gunther.
Just then, Tiffany and Amber walked into the cafeteria. They paused a moment, looking for their friends.
Knute elbowed Gunther and whispered, “She’s here, man! Go! GO!” Gunther lifted his head from his hand and looked at the door. Sure enough, there she was. The most beautiful, desirable girl in the school, stunning in her little summer dress, her glowing blonde hair freshly brushed, her face perfect in newly applied makeup.
Gunther’s hands went cold as blood rushed to his head.
“Hurry, Gunth! You’re gonna miss your chance!”
It was too late. The girls moved away, walking toward the Jock Table. Then, Tiffany turned. Her eyes scanned the tables… and stopped at Gunther. Her gaze lasered in on him, intense, intimate.
Her full red lips formed a tiny smile. Amber moved on, leaving Tiffany alone.
Slowly, Tiffany walked toward the boy’s table.
Gunther felt his chest throbbing. His face got hot. His throat grew a lump the size of a volleyball. A trickle of sweat ran down the back of his neck.
Knute was frozen, spellbound, then he managed to regain his senses. He turned and faced Gunther. “Gunth!” he hissed. Gunther blinked and looked at Knute. “Don’t clinch, dude! Be cool! Do the part!”
Then a soft, sensuous voice. “Hello. I’m Tiffany.”
Knute nearly jumped out of his chair. He looked up at her and grinned. “Hey, Tiff,” he said, his voice too high. “I’m Knute.”
Tiffany didn’t look at Knute, her gaze was fixed directly on Gunther, who was now in pose number two, leaning back in his chair, looking like a deer caught in headlights.
“I know,” Tiffany said. “But who’s this? A new guy in school?” Tiffany moved around the table and stood next to Gunther, looking down at his matted hair, his torn shirt, his ratty jeans. “You’re cute,” she said.
Gunther looked straight ahead, not even blinking. “Oh?” he said, barely audible.
Tiffany touched Gunther’s hair. “I’m always eager to help new guys get… oriented.” She said ‘oriented’ like it was a dirty word. “Let me know if you need anything, okay?”
“’K,” whispered Gunther.
“See you around,” purred Tiffany. Then she slowly walked away, each swing of her hips observed in silence by the two mesmerized boys.
When she was lost in the crowd, the spell broke and Knute spun toward Gunther. “Dude! You did it! You were way cool! Totally in control!”
Gunther leaned forward and collapsed on the table.
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