Chapter 1 : one
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According to those horrid Young Adult novels, which I swear were written to fool naive teenagers, including myself, claim sixteen to be a magical age. Sixteen is the age when you meet a lovely boy who just miraculously turns out to be the love of your life. Sixteen is also the age where you enter a fantasy world and find out that you're meant for more than just school and home. You're the savior. Everybody depends on you. You're the hero.
But sadly, none of this is true. In fact, it’s just a bunch of bullshit that gets your hopes up, leaving you to spend your entire life wondering whether or not you’re ever going to get out of the same old boring world where the sense of adventure is lacking.
You want an example? I’ll give you one.
Name? Veronica Wilson.
Occupation? Student. Currently studying at Kings College London.
Current situation? Sitting in a fancy arse restaurant, having a bad date.
Now, if my life had followed the plot of those damed fantasy YA novels, then I wouldn't be suffering.
You see, this is where my life sucks. I mean, your best friend sets you up and on a blind date and since you’re practically dragged out of a dump of an apartment, the least you can expect is that your date isn’t an idiot.
Sadly, since the fates hate me, the case isn’t so.
The boy isn’t even remotely entertaining. His conversations consist of, “Blah, blah, blah, I’m better than everyone else.” This entire date has consisted of bad jokes and petty remarks.
“And that’s how it happened!” Annoying Alan laughed loudly, his fist banging on the table, attracting the attention of the near-by people who shot us dirty looks.
“Heh.” I said, weakly, attempting to laugh, but it just kind of came out oddly, like my throat was restricted. God. Somebody, please kill me now. I could have been at home watching TV or out with my friends, but instead I had to endure this idiot. I mean, during this whole time, he hasn’t asked a single question about me. It’s blah, blah, blah, I’m Alan and I’m so cool.
Well, Mr. Cool Alan can go and die in a hole.
Another hour passed slowly, taking it’s own bloody sweet time until Alan said, “Ready to go?”
“YES!” I exclaimed, jumping up, sounding more excited than I had ever sounded during this terrible three-hour date. He quickly paid the bill and I hurried out the door, with him following behind.
We stopped right out side the fancy glass decorated with cute pink flowers on the side and he turned towards me giving me a coy smile.
I gulped visibly. Oh, hell no. If he’s going to do what I think he’s going to I swear to God, I’m going to go throw myself off a cliff.
“Shall we start snogging?” I blinked my eyes and subtly shook my ears while pretending to scratch my head, and goggled at him.
Shall we start snogging?
HOW THE FUCK DO YOU EVEN REPLY TO THAT?
I tried to rack my brain for a suitable answer, which wouldn’t hurt his sodding self-esteem. “Err…no.”
Wow brain. Smooth. Real smooth.
Apparently, he didn’t hear my very direct answer but his eyelids began fluttering shut and he leaned towards me.
My brain immediately went into panic mode. SHIT. What do I do? I desperately tried to move away from Alan but his hands were on my hips, holding me extremely tight.
His chapped lips were almost on mine and I took the most desperate route out, “NO!” I screeched in his face. His snapped open and in surprise his hands retracted from my waist and I thankfully stumbled away in relief.
“What happened?” He sounded frantic.
“N-nothing. Nothing at all.” I gave him a maniacal grin while trying to sound as casual as possible. “I just, erm, have to go! Yep, go home. Kate’s probably waiting for me. Okay bye!” I said all of this under ten seconds and ran towards the bus stop, finally away from creepy Alan.
Yep. This was definitely one of the worst dates I’ve ever had.
I hate boys.
* * *
“Soooo,” Kate grinned at me, while shoving Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge ice cream into her mouth. It wasn’t a pretty sight, “How was your date?”
I glared at her, “Terrible. I can’t believe you set me up with this creep.” It was all Kate’s idea for me to go on a date. She thought I was too “anti-social”. I mean, just because I preferred not interacting with people doesn’t make me a total recluse.
“Liar.” Kate gave me a knowing look, waggling her finger at me. “I just texted Alan and he said that you guys had a great time!” I looked at her incredulously. “He said you guys even snogged!”
WHAT THE FUCK.
“No we didn’t!” I cried, outraged, with a slightly disgusted look on my face. Okay, very disgusted look on my face, “He’s lying!”
Kate didn’t seemed to care because she continued in a singsong voice, “So, I’ve set you up for another date on Friday!” I nearly spat out my chocolate fudge ice cream and was on the verge of strangling her skinny little neck.
No. Absolutely not. I will never ever go on a date with creepy Alan ever again. Even if he’s the last person left on earth, I’ll never go with him. I mean, the guy flirted with the pretty brunette waitress. Gosh! At least wait till I leave to do so! But since he had no decency, he did it right in front of me.
If that’s not low then I don’t know what is.
“I’m not going.” I said, determined.
“Why not?” Kate cried, putting down her bowl on the floor, with a thump, “I know you had a great time!” Kate, for all her good qualities, did lack the quality of not listening to people when necessary. If she’d already formed an opinion, it was very hard to convince her otherwise.
I sighed, exasperated. “I didn’t! I hated the date! I hated the restaurant! And most of all I hated Alan!”
“But I already set up a date!” Kate protested, “I can’t cancel!”
“I’m not going.” I said, firmly. “And that’s final.”
“I don’t care. The answer is still no.”
“Fine,” Kate sulked. “I won’t make you go on the wonderful date that you’re probably missing out on.”
Finally she agreed.
“You want to have a Merlin marathon?”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
* * *
I don’t know what the fates have against me, but they clearly and completely hate me.
Here I am, dressed up in a pretty lacy black dress, standing in the London underground, hiding behind a stone pillar from creepy Alan.
Wondering how I ended up here?
Well, Kate tricked me. As simple as that. There is something really wrong with my best friend. She told me we were going shopping to Oxford street but in reality she just came to the station to drop me, making sure that I went on my date with Annoying Alan. As soon as she saw Alan walk down the stairs, she rushed out, leaving me to fend for myself, leading to my current predicament.
I looked around for a way to escape, but he was standing right next to the stairs. And if I walked out to the other side, taking stair ‘B’, he would most definitely see me. He was currently standing near stair ‘A’, his blonde hair gelled back, his blue eyes scanning the station and looking repeatedly at his watch. His eyes wandered towards my direction and I immediately pressed my back against the wall, squeezing my eyes shut, hoping that he wouldn’t see me.
Why. Why. Why.
“You look stressed.” I heard a deep voice. I snapped my eyes open to see a black haired boy peering at me with his hazel brown eyes through his hipster glasses, with a slightly worried look on his face. I looked down at myself to find that I was completely flat against the grey stoned pillar along with my palms pressed flat against the wall with my feet so close that they might just become one.
I relaxed a little bit and peered to the left of the pillar, checking up on Annoying Alan who was still in the same position as he was before but the only difference was that now he was flirting with a tall blonde. I sighed in relief and turned back to the black haired boy.
“Yeah. I have a reason to be stressed.”
“Is it because of that boy standing there?” He pointed towards Alan.
“Don’t point!” I hissed, shooting his hand down, “You’ll attract attention.”
“Sorry, sorry.” He didn’t look particularly apologetic. Instead a slight smirk was playing against his lips, “He looks like a creep.”
Finally! Someone who has brains! I’m not the only one to think so.
“You have no idea.” I muttered.
“So,” He said, conversationally, “May I ask what you’re doing here then?”
“I’m supposed to be on a date with him,” I explained, sighing, running my hands through my own black hair, ruining my ‘messy up do’, “But he’s creepy and I hate him and I can’t leave because he’ll see me and I don’t know what to do so I’m hiding here!” I said all of this under fifteen seconds.
“Woah there!” He exclaimed, looking surprised, “You speak really fast!”
THAT’S NOT THE FREAKING POINT.
I looked at him desperately. “Help me.” I couldn’t believe myself. I’d just met the guy three minutes ago and now I’m asking him for help. I didn’t even know him. For all I know, he could be a freaking drug dealer.
But what other choice did I have? If you haven’t noticed (I hope he didn’t notice it), I reek of desperation.
The black haired boy looked at me for a moment and rushed over to where Alan was standing. Alan looked surprised when he approached him, but speaking in hushed tones, Alan nodded his head vigorously and rushed up the stairs.
Wow. That was fast.
I ran over to where hipster-boy was standing, leaned against the wall and asked him, happily, “What did you do?”
“Nothing.” He sounded casual, but there was a tone of urgency in his voice, “He’ll be back any moment. Leave!”
I didn’t need to be told twice. I hurried towards the stairs, giving him a grateful look and mouthing a ‘thank you’ to which he responded with a quick nod and a smile and I left the black haired boy behind, running for my life.
* * *
“Yes mum.” I said into the phone, which was being balanced against my shoulder and my cheek, while gathering my papers into a neat pile and shoving them into my blue binder, “College is fine.”
“Oh honey.” My mum’s soft voice came through the phone, sounding sad, “I wish you’d come home.”
“I have a life here mum.” I said, a pang of sadness going through me. It had indeed been a long time since I’d gone back home to my tiny little cottage by sparkling Blue Ocean in Cornwall.
“I know, honey.” My mum sighed, “But everyone here misses you. Even Ria. I hope she writes to you now that she’s in Hogwarts.”
In case you’re wondering, Hogwarts is a school where they teach magic. Yes, magic exists. Keep your socks on. I was just one of the unfortunate ones that didn’t inherit the ability to do magic so in wizarding world – I was known as a squib. Everyone in my family had it. Except me.
For a long time, I was a bitter about it. I still am, to be honest. But life goes on and you go on with it. I was happy in my world, but that didn’t stop me from wishing that maybe, just maybe I’d have an ounce of magic in me which I could use.
“She can’t mum.” I reminded her for the hundredth time, “She doesn’t know how to use muggle post, remember.” Muggle refers to anything non-magical by the way. “And I can’t exactly have owls running around here.” Yeah, wizards send their mail by owl. It’s quite odd really.
“Of course.” Mum said, realization gaining in her voice. She changed the topic. “So, do you have a boyfriend?” She asked, her voice dripping with curiosity.
I rolled my eyes. “No mum. I don’t.”
“Why not?” She demanded. Geez. What is with everyone’s obsession with me having a boyfriend?
“Because I don’t want one.” I tried to be as patient as possible but the irritation in my voice was quite evident.
“It’s high time you get one!” I rolled my eyes once again. I was certainly not having this conversation.
“Mum,” I said, cutting through her boyfriend rant, “I have to go. I reached the library.”
“You’re just saying that because you don’t want to have this conversation!” She
accused me, her normally gentle voice, sounding angry.
I grinned. My mum knew me so well. But I wasn’t technically lying. I was going to the library. I just wasn’t there at the moment.
Okay. I’ll admit. I’m a liar.
“No I’m not! I’ll talk to you later! Bye!” I heard a distinct ‘bye’ on the other side cutting the call and sighing in relief.
That was a close one.
* * *
Three hours later, I sat exhausted on the wooden chair in the library looking, glaring angrily at my extremely fat economics textbook. Ugh. Stupid fiscal policy.
Pushing my books aside, I laid my head down into my arms, resting on the wooden table. I wish I could just go to sleep here. I snuggled into my arms when I heard a familiar voice.
“You always seem to be in some sort of a situation when I see you.” The voice sounded amused.
I snapped my head up to find myself looking at the same black haired boy I had seen the other day at the train station.
“You!” I cried.
“Yes me.” He sounded even more amused than before. “I hope you remember.”
“Of course I do.” I snapped, “What are you doing here?”
He pulled out a chair and sat next to me, smirking, “Well I do believe this is a public place.” He looked around and pointed at the sign which stated, ‘open for all’.
“Ha-ha.” I responded drily.
“Don’t get your knickers in a twist.” He offered me a grin, which I returned. “I just wanted to see if any good books were there to read.”
“Your read?” I asked, surprised.
“Why is that such a surprise?” He laughed softly.
“Oh. No.” I said, slightly embarrassed. That was such a stupid question to ask. “You just don’t look the type.” I said, pathetically.
To my surprise, he smiled, raking a hand through his messy black hair which was sticking up in various directions. “I get that a lot. See these glasses?” He pointed to his hipster glasses, “I got those from reading too much.”
“I have glasses too.” I told him instinctively. God. Why. He probably didn’t want to know that. Control your mouth Ronnie. “But I prefer wearing contact lenses.”
He made a face, “Ugh. They’re irritating. Plus hipster glasses look cool.” I laughed and there was a lull in the conversation and we sat there in comfortable silence. Everything was so much more in focus now. Every letter, every word. Every texture. Every noise. It was all so clear. So distinct.
“Thank you.” I said suddenly, “For the other day.”
He shrugged, “No problem.”
There was a silence once again until he broke it.
“Do you want to go for coffee with me? There is a Starbucks nearby.” He said, giving me a hopeful look, “Plus it looks like you could use a break.” He eyed my enormous textbook along with my different coloured highlighters and pens which were lying on top of my thick notes with a slightly scared expression.
I bit my lip. I didn’t think it was such a great idea to go get a coffee with some I had just met. And after Alan, dating was a no-no.
But life was all about risks right? Taking chances? Having an adventure? It wasn’t a wild one with dragons and stuff, but I had a feeling that this was something I wasn’t going to regret.
I smiled at him, my answer ready on my lips.
hello and welcome to my new short story :) this has been laying in my MISC folder for months and i finally plucked up the courage to post it! do leave a review if you get the time :) all feedback would be insanely helpful (not to mention that i will be evry flattered if you do so ;) ) xx
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Merlin (BBC), Ben&Jerry's (Ben and Jerry's Homemade Holdings Inc.) , Starbucks (Jerry Baldwin) and Kings College London!
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