Via: Daily Prompt – Juicy
Whispers trailed her all day, fire licking at her ankles. She felt the heat of the eyes boring into the back of her skull. Mostly hostile glares – those would be from her fellow female students. There were some appreciative glances, too, from boys who suddenly conformed their minds to the idea that she wasn’t so homely after all. LJ smiled ruefully to herself but could not blame them for their curiosity. She was the juiciest piece of gossip to hit Carson High in months.
This story picks up from a piece, Crush, I wrote previously. Though it may be read as a stand-alone, you might want to read the earlier installation before proceeding. Or…
The drinking fountain outside the auditorium was awfully crowded today for after school hours. LJ wasn’t fooled. She knew everyone was waiting to find out if it was true that Juan was going to mentor her for the audition of the lead female role in the upcoming musical. She sighed, shifted her weight to her other leg and waited patiently for Juan to turn up. She knew a few of the girls in the crowd but was glad they hadn’t approached her. What would she say if they asked her outright whether she was meeting Juan? What if he changed his mind and didn’t show up?
She rested her chin on the top-edge of the Trapper Keeper she was clutching against her chest for protection and looked down to concentrate on her nails as though to make sure the aubergine polish wasn’t chipped but truly hoping to avoid any eye contact that might invite engagement. Just as she was wondering whether she should just enter the auditorium alone and wait for Juan inside, a shadow fell over her. She looked up to find Juan’s beautiful face smiling down at her, an angel of mercy.
“You came,” she whispered stupidly.
His grin, if possible, grew wider. “Did you think I’d break our date?”
Our date. Her heart skipped at his choice of words and she shook her head, as much as to dispel her dangerous emotions as to negate his assumption. “Sorry, no. I arrived pretty early and it turned out to be a long wait.” She tried and failed not to peek at their audience to determine their reactions to his appearance. Saying they looked thoroughly surprised didn’t seem to cut it.
Juan’s gaze followed hers and then was back on her in an instant. “I’m guessing these aren’t all your supporters, here to cheer you on.”
LJ grimaced, feeling acid hit the back of her throat. “Quite the contrary.”
Juan waited for her to elaborate, studying her. When she did not comply with his inquisitive regard, he urged her verbally, “So why are they here, LJ?”
She suddenly felt that her mouth was too dry to form sound. Grateful that the fountain was at hand, she shifted the notebook binder to her side and bent over to take a cool sip of water to unclog her nerves. She took her time, bidding her thoughts on the situation into a line that made sense as he waited beside her patiently. There really was just one way to approach this. Coming back up, she looked him straight on, ready to challenge him into running away with her next pronouncement. “They’re all actually here to find out if it’s true that Carson High’s star performer has really condescended to teach a mud person like me how to act in a musical.”
His bemused smile disintegrated to a frown. She watched his jaws clench, making his full mouth tighten sensuously. She wanted to kick herself for allowing her hormones to direct her mind even in the present circumstance, the reason why she was in this embarrassing predicament in the first place. Willing herself to stay put, she kept her murky brown eyes trained on his azure ones. She would be damned before she was the first to make a run for cover.
Seconds stretched into minutes as they stood there while Juan gauged what his next move should be. What he finally settled on was so beyond her realm of expectation that she had little time to react before he followed through with his promise a second time in their short acquaintance.
“There’s a kissing scene in the play,” he declared for all to hear. “I think we should practice that first.”
And then he swooped in to just that.