Will never understood girls.
For one thing, his twelve-year-old sister, Georgia or Gee, told him that he’s the ideal type of guy that girls just liked: tall, dark, and handsome. This didn’t make too much sense to him.
He wasn’t always tall. It was just that in the summer of freshman year, he noticed that his pants just didn’t fit him like they used to. His once skyscraper-like father now didn’t seem so tall. In fact, he was two inches taller than his six-foot father, and he was still growing. Gee took it as a cue to use Will as her own personal ladder to grab the more unreachable places of the house.
Will didn’t get the dark part. He wasn’t very tan as far as he could tell. He had, what he assumed, a healthy complexion from spending most of his days under the sun playing basketball. It didn’t matter who he played with. He could be seen playing with his close friends, his dad, and even showing his sister how to shoot some hoops. “You idiot!” Gee would snap at him. “It’s cause of our lovely black Irish traits of blue eyes and black hair. That’s why all the girls think you’re... hot,” she says the word as if she wanted throw up.
Being called handsome was something he could live with. After having horrendous braces all through middle school, he finally entered high school without metal and much straighter teeth. Would Will look at the mirror sometimes when no one else was looking and think he wasn’t half bad? Yeah, he totally would, but who wouldn’t? He’s like any other self-conscious teenager hoping to not stand out too much in the crowd and fit in.
What perplexed Will even more was that he was never that popular with girls when he was younger, so this recent interest from girls during his high school career has left him stunned and confused. Will usually didn’t want to say anything stupid in front of them and would only answer as minimally as possible. It also didn’t help that Will had a very deep voice that cracked easily, which was something he was extremely embarrassed about. But, it only made him even more popular with girls.
“You’re crazy,” Will said, embarrassed. He could feel his cheeks flushing a bright red, a humiliating habit, he cursed his Irish ancestry for.
Gee rolled her eyes as she got up from her bed where she was reading a teen gossip magazine, “Will, all of my friends have the biggest crush on you. Half of them only want to come over just to see you!”
“What?” Will asked, not liking this fact that twelve-year olds were fawning over him.
“My poor, ignorant, older brother,” Georgia put her hand on his shoulder. “You need to get a girlfriend.”
Just the thought of having a girlfriend makes his cheeks blush even brighter. It’s not that Will never thought of having a girlfriend. He knew how his friends, one by one, started having girlfriends, and he wanted one. But, he was also so shy that he didn’t even dare ask a girl out.
“I... I... that’s none of your business,” Will stuttered.
“It is definitely my business,” Georgia said. “I think I have a say to who will be my future sister-in-law.”
“We’re talking about a girlfriend not a wife,” he groaned.
“Eh... Same thing,” she brushed his reaction off. “A girlfriend means someone who is close to your heart other than family. A girlfriend means someone who would potentially coming over all the time. A girlfriend,” she emphasized loudly, “who could be my sister.”
Now, he definitely didn’t want to a girlfriend.
The next day, Will quietly sat in his homeroom while scrolling through his phone sneakily under the desk. Mr. Redford, a conservative, old-school man, forbade all technology in his classroom even if it was for homeroom.
“So, Will,” Cara, the prettiest girl in his school sat right next to him. Maybe it was sixth grade when girls just seemed to be different from how they used to be. The boys all noticed how all the girls started to wear bras, and there was not one guy who didn’t notice how much Cara Bingley developed. Now, as a senior, Cara grew more into her body, and she wore clothes that would show off her figure but wouldn’t get in trouble with the school administration.
“Hey, Cara,” Will said casually, but he kept looking at his phone because he was too shy to look at her directly.
“I heard that there’s going to be a party at Cher Lucas’s house on Friday. Are you going to come?” she asked while moving closer to him. Will could smell her flowery perfume.
“Yeah, I think I remember Charlie mentioning about it,” Will said casually. Charlie was Cara’s twin brother as well as Will’s best friend. Even though Will has known Cara as long as Charlie, he still couldn’t get rid of his bashfulness in front of her. He adhered strictly to the bro code and didn’t dare to pursue his best friend’s sister.
“We should go. It seems like it’ll be a good time,” Cara said.
“Yeah, we should go. I’ll let Charlie know,” Will answered obliviously and messaged Charlie. The three of them would go to parties together ever since they started high school.
Will had a small group of close friends that consisted of the Bingley twins and his cousin Fitz, and they usually hung out together with other mutual friends.
“Oh, yeah,” Cara said disheartened but quickly recovered her spirits. “Did you hear that we have a new kid?”
“Really?” Will asked. Cara was one of his closest friends, but he knew that Cara was the center of gossip in the entire school. There was nothing that she didn’t know about everyone in the entire student body.
“Yeah, apparently, it’s a girl too,” Cara said and took out her phone to message her gay best friend Lou, who was a friendly guy but only to those he liked.
“Ms. Bingley,” Mr. Redford said. “No phones, and back to your seat.”
Cara grumbled under her breath and walked back to her seat as the morning announcements start. Once homeroom was over, Will walked out of the classroom to Charlie’s homeroom so they could walk together to English together. He noticed that Charlie was talking animatedly to a pretty girl who he didn’t recognize. Will assumed that this was the new girl, and Charlie looked totally infatuated with her.
“Hey,” Charlie greeted his best friend with the goofiest smile stuck on his face.
“Hey,” Will said back curiously at seeing his friend more animated than usual. Charlie usually had a cheerful disposition and was one of the friendliest guy in school, but this was a different level of happiness.
“Oh, this is Jane,” Charlie introduced them to each other. Jane smiled and looked like the quintessential girl-next-door. She was just Charlie’s type.
“Hey,” Will said, which sounded curter than he intended. He saw how Jane’s smile dropped a little and unconsciously retreated more towards Charlie.
Will berated himself for not sounding friendlier like Charlie with strangers. He didn’t intend to give a bad first impression.
“Don’t mind this guy,” Charlie playfully punched Will on the shoulder. “He’s just a little stiff when it comes to people he doesn’t know. Let’s get going to English,” Charlie led the way to English class and continued small talk with Jane.
“So where are you from Jane?” Charlie asked.
“I’m from New York City,” Jane said.
“Wow, that’s cool,” Charlie said. “So, what brings you over to Longhorn?”
“Well, my dad just relocated here for his job,” Jane said.
Will couldn’t a good time to enter the conversation. Should he ask her why she moved here in the middle of senior year? That seemed way too invasive, so he decided to keep his mouth shut as Charlie led the conversation.
“That’s cool,” Charlie said. “Well, English is taught by Mrs. Hoyt. She’s a bit of an old bat, but she’s nice. Hoyt’s also known to instigate big debates within the class, so be warned. Things might get a bit heated.”
The three of them enter the classroom filled with a mix of seniors and juniors. There in the middle of the classroom was another mysterious face that he didn’t recognize. The rest of the class was whispering about this mysterious stranger who sat in the middle of the classroom. New Girl 2 didn’t seemed phased by the attention. She just scrolled through her phone waiting for the bell to ring.
“Liz!” Jane exclaimed, recognizing New Girl 2.
Liz smiled sheepishly and put her phone away as she waved her hand casually in greeting. Jane sat right next to her, and Charlie followed by sitting right behind Jane instead of their usual seats in the back. Letting out a sigh at his best friend’s obvious motives, Will sat right next to Charlie but behind Liz.
“You guys know each other?” Charlie asked.
“Yep, she’s my sister, Liz. She’s a junior. This is Charlie and Will,” Jane introduced the two boys to her younger sister.
“Hey,” Will said as Charlie said at the same time, “Nice to meet you.”
“Hi,” Liz said with an impish smile.
Closer up, Will noticed the family resemblance between the two sisters, but they looked opposites in every way. Jane had strawberry blonde hair and looked like a preppy, nice girl, while Liz had dyed silver hair that popped out in the crowd and dressed like a rebel with her black leather jacket. Will could just imagine squealing in his head about Liz’s hipster fashion.
“Oh my god! She’s my fashion icon!” her sister would probably gush. Will needed to stop hang out with his little sister, or he’s going to turn into a teenage girl. He shuddered at the thought.
He also noticed how Liz had a nose ring that anyone could easily glance over. This girl screamed badass.
“You should take a picture,” Liz joked. “It’ll last longer.”
Embarrassed at being caught for staring, Will immediately went into his bag to look for his book.
“Don’t worry handsome. I don’t bite,” she winked.
No one had ever talked to Will like that before in his entire life. He opened and closed his mouth like mindless goldfish.
Who is this girl?