Classwork: Write in a genre you haven’t written before

I struggled with this one.  In part, I blame the flash fiction I’ve written.  I had a really hard time finding a genre that I hadn’t at least played around in before.  I suppose I should have written some magical realism, but I … well, I chickened out.  Instead, I threw together the first two pages of a short romance, which is a genre that I think I haven’t explored very much.

Maybe it was cheating?  I don’t know.  But you can read it after the break.

***

“Shit.”  Gary is staring at the computer screen, words failing to appear in front of him.  His fingers hover over the keyboard, drop to his lap, hover over the keyboard again.  Noor is online.  She’d smiled at him as he left Pre-Calc today, and his heart had done that little flip like it did basically every time he’d seen her.  Except this time, he’d told himself that he’d chat with her that evening.  He’d ask her on a date.

He had fantasies about how that date would go.  He had lots of them.  Some of them, he knew, were far less plausible than the others, like the one that went from the coffee shop to Noor’s car to … it wasn’t really clear in his mind, though what they did definitely was.

And as he stares at Noor’s little icon, with the green circle that promises him she’s there staring him right in the face, he fights himself just to do it.  His heart is pumping, pounding in his chest like he’s running, and he can feel his pulse.  He bites his lip, fingers plunging to the keys, and slams out one word.  He gasps, leaning back in his chair.  It’s too late.  Too late to pull back.  Will she speak to him?

He looks at the screen, caught on his hope.  The green circle is gone.  Noor’s gone.  She logged off just before he sent his message.  Gary presses the heels of his hands against his eyes.  Of course she logged off.  He waited too long.  Tomorrow, tomorrow he’ll ask her.  In person.

***

School the next day is a blur.  Gary bounces from class to class, barely paying attention.  He can feel that slowly growing pit in his stomach, the same old worry that Noor won’t want to talk to him.  It’s the worst thing he’s ever felt, just like last night.

He’s packing up his things in Pre-Calc, trying to time being done so that he can walk out the door with Noor, when Ulysses stops next to him.

“Gary,” his thick French accent makes Gary’s name sound oddly foreign.  “You have notes for History?”  Gary looks up at him, pausing in the middle of zipping up his backpack.

“Yeah, I’ve got them,” Gary looks past Ulysses, and realizes that he’s lost track of Noor.  She’s already leaving.  She’s talking to Sam, a hockey player with one of those horrible hockey mullets just like the rest of the team has.  She’s smiling, laughing at something he said.

“Fuck.”  Gary swiftly pulls the zipper shut and feels it come off in his hand.  “Shit!”

Ulysses looks at him sideways, “You are okay?”

“Yeah, I’m—“

“Gary Twofoot, your language is unacceptable.”  Mrs. Golofitte is standing by her desk, stacking up the binders that she used for today’s lesson.

Gary glances at Mrs. Golofitte, then back at the door.  Noor has already disappeared with Sam.

“Gary, you know that such language is unacceptable.”  Mrs. Golofitte’s hand has come up, the way it always does when she’s about to chew someone out.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Golofitte—” Gary says.  Maybe he can explain, even if it’s not the real reason, “—my backpack’s zipper just broke.”

Mrs. Golofitte glares at him.

“It won’t happen again.”  Gary adds hurriedly.  The teacher nods, and Gary sighs.  His day is wrecked.  Again.

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