99% Faking It (Dating Dilemma)(9)

By: Chris Cannon

By lunch I was on a slow burn. When I went to sit down at our normal table with her, Nina, and West, the happy expression Lisa had worn this morning was gone.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing.” She frowned and pulled a piece of string cheese apart, but didn’t bother eating it.

“Uh-huh.” I opened my lunch and took a bite of my ham sandwich. Might as well eat while I waited for her to start talking. Eventually, she’d share. Another thing I’d learned from my sister: girls weren’t the type to suffer in silence.

“Can you explain guy logic to me?” she asked.

“Maybe.” I wiped my mouth with a napkin. “Depends on the guy.”

“You heard Trey this morning. I thought he was flirting with me.”

“What was that comment about?”

“He heard me gripe about how much I hated Mondays. He joked we might be soul mates. We talked on the way into school.”

Now I got it. “He probably was flirting with you this morning, but he might be the kind of guy who flirts with every pretty girl he meets.”

Lisa tilted her head and looked at me funny. “You think I’m pretty?”

Son of a…why did I say that? “You’re cute. You know that.” I took a drink of my soda like it was no big deal.

“Okay…back to the topic at hand. This morning he went out of his way to talk to me. I’ve seen him twice since then and I didn’t even get that weird head nod of recognition you guys do. What does that mean?”

How honest should I be? “Not trying to be a jerk, but the guy just moved here. He has options. He’s probably not looking for a steady girlfriend.”

“Is any guy ever looking for a girlfriend?” Lisa asked. “Because most of the time, guys seem to resist the idea of dating one person.”

“Maybe they resist it until they find the right person,” Nina said from my other side. “And once they find that person life is full of unicorns and rainbows. Right, West?”

“Yes.” West nodded in an exaggerated way, clearly not meaning what he was saying. “That’s exactly how it works.”

I laughed. Lisa didn’t. One of the things I liked about Lisa was that she didn’t fly off the handle like most girls I knew.

“Listen. This Trey guy might like you. He might like everyone. Why focus on him?”

She took a Twinkie out of her bag and broke it in half before taking a bite. “I don’t know. I liked the idea of starting fresh with someone. I can be whoever I want to be.”

“You can do that without him,” I said.

“How?” She gestured around the cafeteria. “I’ve been going to school with everyone here for years. They all have this idea of who I am.”

“That annoying girl in class who knows all the answers?” I teased.

She poked me in the ribs. “I am not annoying.”

“Fine.” I grinned. “You’re not that annoying. You’re just a nerd-girl who knows almost all of the answers.”

“Better than a guy who skates by making C’s when he’s smart enough to do better.”

“I told you. I have a system. Make A’s for the first half of the semester and then stop studying so I can glide down into the C range.”

“That is not a plan,” Lisa said. “It’s self-sabotage.”

I pointed at her. “Not a therapist.”

She pointed back at me. “Maybe I’ll become a therapist just like my mom to spite you. I’ll track you down after college and tell you all the things you’re compensating for.”

I snorted.

“Allow me to tell you your future,” Lisa continued. “You’ll graduate from high school and continue working with your dad in your family landscaping business. He’ll badger you into taking some business classes to help you learn how to run the company. You’ll be at your happiest when you’re outside planting things in the sunshine.”

“Sounds about right,” I said. “Now I’m going to tell you your future. You’ll get some sort of degree and become a writer or a librarian. One day you’ll call me and ask me to landscape your house with books.”