All my life, I've loved a boy named Derek.
I don't know why.
Derek is a total knucklehead. His life is dedicated to 'balling', which I don't understand, but it seems like a waste. His friends are entirely too loud, and are driven solely by the hormones in their bodies. He treats his exes worse than dirt. He treats them like his property. He brags about unspeakable things. The teachers hate him. Derek is the stereotypical football-playing guy who happens to be shallower than a paper plate.
I might love Derek because he doesn't know I exist.
If he doesn't know I exist, then I can act however I'd like around him, because he won't notice it anyway. I can sexily sharpen my pencil one day, and put my feet up on the desk like a bad girl the next. And it doesn't matter, because Derek never notices me.
But other people do. Everyone else can see how hard I try around Derek. Except for Derek, of course. And the people mimic me. And the other people dare one another to smack my butt as they pass the sharpener. And the other people knock my feet off the desk. And they try to tell Derek. Derek glances over, utterly uninterested, then goes back to the iPod he snuck into class.
One day, Derek noticed me.
It was, without exception, the very worst possible thing to ever happen to me.
I was at a party. I already knew I was invited as a sort of 'joke contestant'. The cheerleaders didn't need to tell me anything. I could tell by the way the bravest little follower was commanded to hand me an invitation as her posse snickered in the background. The actual participation in the party was not my idea. That was the work of my father, who probably wishes he had a son instead, or at least a semi-normal daughter. I decided to humor the poor man. Perhaps the experience could benefit me in the far-off future. Even an idiot cheerleader would have been able to see the joke that was my fake internal optimism.
What's done is done, I thought as I waited on the front porch, the music already loud enough to raise the dead in the cemeteries in the next town over. Soon enough, the door opened, and some faceless drunkard pulled me in and handed me a red Solo cup. The reek of cheap beer oozed from it. I knew what alcohol could do to my brain, my only likable physical feature, never mind being my only constant companion, so I handed it to some other faceless drunkard.
In the thick of the crowd, I found Derek. Ever the life of the party. I sighed, and watched him participate in a drinking contest. Judging by his reddened face and noticeably delayed reactions, this was not his first competition.
As I watched him win the competition, I realized something. He would not remember a single thing that happened that night. I could finally meet him. A drunk Derek was still a Derek.
I thanked my lucky stars for Captain Jack Sparrow, and quickly pretended to be really tipsy. My movements became slow. I let my perfect posture slip. For the first time in a long while, I allowed my eyes to shine. I walked into the bathroom with my clutch and emerged with black eyeliner on, hazy and smudged.
I found Derek again, this time upstairs in a bedroom. No one seemed to be with him. I took my chance and walked in.
"You're, um, Derek, right?" He nodded, and said something I couldn't understand. I came closer.
"What?" I was right at the edge of the bed.
It all happened so fast. A door closed. Someone shoved me onto the bed. Derek came very close. He reeked of beer.
"Yoou fink I donnow you, but I knowyou. I knowyou wantme."
The Big Bad Wolf had me cornered.