I wrote this short story when I was feeling rather bored after finishing my school certificate. It's rather simple, just two pages long but I thought it's about time I dug it up from the archives and actually let people read it. This after a crappy day of having my school tell me that I have to wait until Thursday to get my iPod back - after eight weeks of them having it in the school safe!! So here it goes, writing challenge short story take one! Snap!
Short Story #1: Unmasked
Today was the worst of the entire week. After dropping my bag by the front door and setting my keys on the smooth marble bench I noticed something small, pink and rectangular in the center of the kitchen table. My name, Carla, was inscribed on the front in elegant script. I picked the card up, half expecting my brother Redav to leap from out of nowhere and joke about me still being single. He was sixteen now with a girlfriend whilst I was twenty and still never been kissed. I sighed.
Inside the card was a silver bracelet and directions to my favourite restaurant downtown New York, a stylish place where the drinks were clean and everyone was nice. It was signed by a secret admirer, automatically making me fall into a state of disbelief. Nervousness gnawed at my stomach as I thought of what to do. What if this person had an ulterior motive? Were they really a secret admirer, or was it just one of my brother's friends organizing a trick?
I jumped as the phone buzzed in its holder by the wall. I got up and answered it, slipping on the bracelet as I went. My best friend Izzie spoke.
“Hey! So I was thinking that maybe we could work on our uni project tonight. Order some Chinese takeout and watch a fail comedy romance after,” she said. “Trixie, Nelva and Irrida are coming.” I groaned internally. Her definition of 'uni project night' was not to study, but to go out and get blind drunk.
“I think I'll pass,” I said, thinking of the card on the table. “I've got other plans.”
“Oh.” There was silence for a moment. “Alright. Some other time then. Bye!” The phone went dead and I put it down. I checked my watch, gathered the card in my hand and strode to my bedroom, quickly changing into my favourite jeans and a nice black shirt. It was simple but I liked the combination. I didn't want to dress up too much just because of a note and a secret admirer.
Gathering my keys later that evening I drove to the restaurant and parked in my usual spot, away from prying eyes but close enough for easy access. The streets were dark and deserted as I made my way to the entrance, the sign hanging out front flickering purple and blue. As I strolled inside I could feel eyes on me but I chose to ignore it, instead heading for the bar. A drink could do me some good, calming my nerves.
“I.D. please,” the bartender said. I shot him an are-you-kidding look and reached for my license, sliding across to him. He must be new, I noted. He smiled sheepishly and slid it across to me, brushing his black locks from his eerie grey eyes. “Sorry. It's just that you don't look twenty.” I waved him off with the request of a mild milk-alcohol combination and fiddled with the bracelet.
As I sat there and waited a man shuffled onto the stool beside me, smiling as he looked at the bracelet. I noticed that he was part nerd, part popular-looking, with his wide glasses and neatly combed black hair, parted at the side. His features were soft but acne dotted his chin; his green eyes were alight with intelligence and humour. Overall I didn't think I liked the guy much, but there was something about him...
“Did you like the gift?” he said, gesturing to the bracelet. “I hope you like silver. I've never had a fancy for women with gold.” I gaped. “I'm Enrique.”
“You're the one who sent me that card!” He chuckled and pushed his glasses a little further up his nose. I noticed that his fingers were long and graceful, his arms muscular below the taut fabric of his sleeved shirt. I felt bad for the guy. I didn't feel much for him at all and yet, that was why I was here. I was meant to meet him and see whether or not I felt anything for him in return.
He seemed to notice my disapproval and frowned, creasing his smooth forehead. I felt bad and rushed to reassure him, unsure of why. “Would you like a drink?” I said, knowing it was lame but it seemed to make him feel better. He nodded and ordered a Vodka from the bartender. My drink came and I stirred it slowly, only taking sips every now and then. He smiled, flashing his perfect teeth.
“I guess this is kind of weird,” he said, fiddling with his fingers. “Such a pretty girl going on a date with such a... nerd.” His voice was deep and warm, enveloping around me and warding off the chill in the air. He was sweet. “I shouldn't have come at all, but I'm sick of admiring you from a distance. I want to know you.”
He smiled nervously and a pang touched my heart. I smiled.
“Your courage is admirable,” I said, taking a sip of my drink. “I kind of... like that. I'm Carla.” His eyes lit with excitement and he downed the small Vodka the bartender placed in front of him. I was amazed. No guy I'd ever seen had downed a Vodka like that and seemed completely unaffected by it. He grinned.
“Now,” he said, rising from his seat. He gestured to the dining area where families sat together. “Why don't you come tell me what you'd like to eat?”
Later that night as the restaurant shut and we were moved to the streets I found that I knew a lot more about Enrique. Not only did he go to the same University as me, but he was also enrolled in the same class and revealed that he had admired me since the year had started. I told him about my brother and my family, my favourites and the things I couldn't stand. By the end I felt as though he knew me more than I knew myself.
We strode to my car exchanging small talk until I asked him if he had a ride. He shook his head and smiled.
“I needed the exercise and thought cabs would be around.” He shrugged and looked down the deserted street.
“Let me drive you,” I said. He smiled and extended his hand, palm up.
“Let me drive you,” he said, gesturing to my Mazda. I passed him the keys, letting him drive us across town to a row of small yet beautiful old houses. He parked by the front of a Victorian style house, its only illumination coming from the light over the front door. He smiled and passed me my keys, unclasping his belt. He paused and smiled at me.
“I'll see you at uni,” I said quietly. He didn't move though, instead reaching toward me with his smooth hands. They clasped my face and he leaned forward, gently kissing me. My heart leaped in my chest and I smiled. Who knew that I could fall in love with this guy? Now I understood why stereotypes were ridiculous. This guy was sweet, no matter what he looked like.
“Carla?” he said. I nodded, unable to speak. “Do you care that I look this way?”
“No,” I said, my response immediate. He grinned and pulled away.
“I'm glad,” he said. Then he started pulling at the angry red acne, removing his glasses and tousling his hair. I watched in amazement as he transformed before my eyes, turning into a model rather than an A+ geek. I gaped but his smile never faded. He took my hand and pressed it to his cheek, smooth now that he had removed the fake acne.
“It was a test,” he said quietly. “The girls I've dated... They only loved me for my looks. And so I decided to see how you would react, dating a complete geek. I am smart. I pretend to be funny, when I actually fail at it. I do sports and I go to sporting events, but I'm not mindless. I have feelings and I like that girls like me because of who I am and not what I look like.” He grinned and winked. “You're truly beautiful.”
I couldn't help it. I kissed him and wound my arms tight around him. My heart leaped and I couldn't help but smile. Single no more, I thought. My brother would be surprised. But I didn't care what others thought. I didn't care what Enrique looked like; I loved him. Today was the best day of my week...