School is boring according to most teenagers but even more so when you're the smartest kid in class. Unfortunately for me, that's my reality and people always assume that because I'm smart it's all I care about. However, the truth is I’ve never even been given a chance to try anything else. I know, it sounds like a stupid lie doesn't it but it’s honestly the truth. See, my dad has always pushed my studies because he wants me to be a doctor like him and has never cared what I wanted to do or try. So, I was never allowed to try sports or other extra curricular activities that might interfered with my studies except when I’m with my best friend, Charlotte Harper, and her family.
“Ugh I hate mornings” I thought as I sat up on the edge of my bed. Rubbing a hand down my face, I picked up my phone and wasn't surprised to see one new message from Char saying “good morning." Dropping my phone onto the bed side table without replying, I headed into the bathroom for my morning shower before heading back into my room to dress for school. Dressed in my usual black jeans, band t-shirt, black zip up hoodie, and Vans, I quickly glanced in the mirror and realized I needed to do something to tame my teal and black hair. Running my hand through the longer top part of it, I realized it needed cut again. Sighing, I looked into my own caramel hazel eyes before grabbing my phone and book bag then heading down into the kitchen. Taking a deep calming breath outside the door of the dining room, I quickly went in on my way into the kitchen passing by my father at the table muttering “good morning father” as I did.
“Good morning son” he said as I made it to the kitchen door. Rolling my eyes, I pushed it open stepping inside before greeting my mom with a “good morning momma” and a kiss on the cheek as I passed on my way to the coffee maker.
“Good morning sweetie” she said as I fixed my cup of coffee the way I like it before leaning against the counter. Pausing what she was doing, she turned to look at me and asked “sweetie, are you not sleeping again? You look exhausted.”
“I'm fine momma. A little exhausted from all the homework they've been giving us lately is all. Hopefully, I'll be able to get to bed earlier tonight since it's Friday” I lied taking a drink. Truthfully, I haven’t been sleeping much lately because I had been trying to get an early admission for college to get away from all the strict rules my father keeps on me.
“I hope that's the case sweetie, you look like you really need it” she smiled sadly. Kissing her on the cheek as I put my cup in the sink, I told her “don't worry mom, I'm fine. Really.” As I pass my dad on my way out the door, he calls after me “study hard and don't let anything distract you.”
“Yeah yeah, that's what you always say” I mutter when I'm outside the dining room. Walking to my silver Camero, I let my frustration build to the point of explosion once I'm safely locked in the driver's seat.
“Does he even care about me really? It's like the only thing he cares about is me being a stupid doctor not that it's even what I actually want. Hell, I doubt he even realizes that I have never had a girlfriend, not because I'm focused but because I'm gay. I doubt he knows even one thing about the real me” I rant as I drive to the post office before school. Parking my car a few minutes later, I get out to go check my secret post office box that I use to send out my other college applications. Finding a letter from my first choice college, Columbia University, I quickly close up my box and head back to my car stuffing the letter in my book bag before driving to school. Pulling in the parking lot two minutes later, I roll my eyes at the football players and cheerleaders making out in the middle of the quad before getting out and putting in my headphones on my way inside. As I make my way to my locker, I passed by the remainder of the popular crowd most of which sent me glares. The only one amongst them that didn’t glare was the wide receiver and my long time crush, Dante Holden, who gave me a look I couldn’t figure out as I rolled my eyes before I looked away and kept walking no doubt incurring the wrath of the rest of the football team but not caring a single bit either way. While I silently dig through my locker for the books I need for my first few classes, Char taps my shoulder to get my attention. When I finally take out one of my headphones, she says “good morning Har. How come you didn’t respond to my message this morning?”
“Morning Char, I didn’t answer because I was in a hurry. how’s your morning been so far?” I ask not turning to look at her.
“Fine, same as usual. I take it yours went exactly as expected?” she asks from her perch against the locker next to mine.
“Yeap, same as always. Though, I was in a hurry because I ran to the post office before coming to school and I did get a letter from one of the colleges I applied to not that I’ve had the chance to open it yet” I told her finally closing my locker and turning to look at her. Her shoulder length bubblegum pink hair was pulled up out of her sparkling green eyes into a half ponytail and she was wearing her usual green tank top under a matching flannel that was tied up under her breasts with a pair of skin tight light wash jeans.
“Why haven’t you opened it? That would’ve been the first thing I did when I got it” she said. Changing the subject, I said “you look cute today, are you trying to get the attention of someone special?”
“Yes but don’t change the subject, Harley. I know how badly you want to get away from your dad. So, why haven’t you opened it yet?” she asked impatiently.
“Because, I had to get to school and alright yes I’m a little nervous. What if it’s a rejection?” I asked worried.
“Don’t worry so much Har, I’m sure it’s an early acceptance. Come on, let’s open it now” she said with a smile and a pleading look.
“Alright” I said turning my back towards my locker as I pulled it out of my bag. With Charlotte looking over my shoulder, I took a deep breath and opened the envelope removing the letter. Unfolding it, we saw the emblem for Columbia University in New York and the phrase “congratulations you’ve been accepted for early admission to our university.”
“Oh my god, see what did I tell you!” Char exclaimed happily as I reread the letter trying to hide my smile. Refolding the letter, I put it back in it’s envelope before shoving it back in my book bag.
“You were right, thank you Char. I’m so grateful you’re my best friend” I told her with a small smile that quickly vanished when I noticed those same jocks watching me intently before I turned away to walk towards my first class. Taking my seat a few minutes later, I silently gaze out the window waiting for the teacher to come in as I feel someone's intense stare. Rolling my eyes and ignoring whomever it is, I keep my headphones in and pretend even I don’t exist up until the bell rings and the teacher walks in. Taking out my headphones quickly as the teacher does roll call, I subtly glance around the room but quickly return my attention to the front of the room as the teacher calls my name for the attendance record. Silently raising my left hand, the teacher nods and continues down the list as I go back to staring at the outside world. Tuning out the rest of the class period since I’m pretty far ahead, I quickly get lost in my own thoughts.
“I can’t believe I got in! Ugh, why did I have to be born into a family like this? I wonder what dad will do when he finds out he’ll never have a daughter in law despite their belief that Char and I will date eventually. No wonder the football team hates me, I may have the brains and the looks, but there is no way I could ever be one of them not that I think that’s the sole reason they hate me. I’m not delusional enough to think any of those guys would be closet gays like me but damn I wish Dante was” I thought as my phone pinged alerting me to two new messages the first from Char and the second from my part time job. Opening Chars’ first,
[Congrats, I can't believe you got in!] then the work related one,
[Hey Harley, can you cover my shift tonight? My kid got sick and had to be sent home almost immediately today. -- Jada] which I quickly answered
[Sure, I’ll take care of it. Focus on your little one and try to have a good day] As I went to put my phone away, another message appeared from my BeYourself app that Char suggested I download a while back. It’s a chat forum that encourages its users to, as the name suggests, be themselves even if they can't in their daily life. Glancing around the room, I opened it to see a new message from a user called HellBoy007.
[HellBoy007: Hey handsome, how’s your morning been so far?] Chuckling inwardly at his casual attitude, I wrote back
[NerdyWannaBe18: “Handsome”? Not sure that applies since you have no idea what I look like or even if I’m a man or woman but I’ll play along for now I guess. My morning has been pretty average for me. Annoying parents, annoying teachers, and pissed off jocks. What’s new? How’s your morning been so far?]
[HellBoy007: Well, you may have a point there but with a name like NerdyWannaBe18, I’m assuming you’re a guy because no girl would be that straight forward without a cute adjective. I’d ask why everyone annoys you or is pissed off at you but I’m not sure we know each other well enough for that yet. My morning has been fairly average for me too though I will admit, I felt happy getting to see someone dear to me happy though I doubt they know I exist]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Well, I guess it won’t hurt telling you since it’s not like you know me in person or probably ever will. Yes, you're right I am a guy. My parents are annoying because mom worries too much and dad only cares about my grades since he want’s me to be a doctor like him. Hell, sometimes I think he doesn’t even consider me human just a robot replica for him to control. As for the annoying teachers, I mean who don’t they annoy? And the pissed off jocks are a given since all I have to do is look at them without any emotions evident on my face for them to glare at me for no reason. How would this person who means so much to you not know you exist?]
[HellBoy007: Okay, so maybe that was an exaggeration a bit. This person probably knows I exist since I’m on the football team at my school but only to that point as I’m practically invisible compared to the rest of the team aside from that. The person I like is a nerd like your username implies you are but I think there’s more too them than what they let the world see. I’m a little scared to even approach them for fear of them rejecting me for the most obvious reason or outing me to the entire school.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Hmmm... that does sound challenging though can I ask what you mean by “rejecting me for the most obvious reason?” I'm assuming you're gay and think this person may be straight. I just wanna clarify.]
[HellBoy007: Well, I guess since there’s no way you can out me I’ll tell you. You’re right, the person I like is another boy at my school and yes by obvious I mean he could be straight. I’ve never seen him with anyone other than his one friend though. So, maybe she could be his girlfriend. I just don’t know.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Oh okay, I can understand the feeling. I’m also gay and have a crush on a cute football player, not that I ever got the chance to tell him though since I soon found out he was straight which ultimately crushed me. You never know though, your crush could be gay too even if you've only seen him with that one girl. She could just be his one and only friend.]
[HellBoy007: I guess you’re right. I always just thought he was straight but really focused on his studies. Or maybe had a long distance girlfriend.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: I mean yeah that’s always possible too but don't count yourself out before you’ve taken the chance. Talking to someone is actually really nice. Maybe we can talk more often.]
[HellBoy007: What do you mean when you say “talking to someone is nice?” And yeah, I'd like to keep talking and maybe get to know each other better.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Honestly, I only have one friend IRL. Not because I don't want any others but because my dad is super strict and won't allow anything that could distract me from his goals for me. Hell, I'm not even allowed to have hobbies. So, no art, no video games, limited music, limited computer time, and only books he approved. He's very controlling which is part of the reason why I'm not even out to my parents and have never even had a boyfriend. My best friend and her family are the only ones who know the real me and are the only reason I’m up to date on pop culture even because she and her family treat me like a normal person when I’m around them.]
[HellBoy007: Oh wow, and I thought being an in the closet football player sucked. I'm sorry your own family treats you that way.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: It's okay, I'm pretty much used to it by now since they’ve been doing it since elementary school. Though, I have started applying to schools my dad doesn't know about. In fact I got an early acceptance letter today actually.]
[HellBoy007: Congrats! but isn't it a bit early to be doing college applications?]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Not if you're aiming for early admission like me. I want college to be the first real decision I make on my own. Of course, I'm going to have to tell my father I'm going for the medical program even if I'm not but it's a decision I want to make for myself.]
[HellBoy007: Hmmm... Then I support your decision even if no one else does. I know it's weird to have the support of a complete stranger but sometimes a little encouragement is all you need no matter the source.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Thanks. Why does it feel like you've given that speech a hundred times before?]
[ HellBoy007: Probably because I kind of have. See, my dad died last year and so I live with my mom and older sister who graduated from my high school last year. She and I have been helping our mom through the loss and trying to get our life back on track. Hell, it's even to the point where all three of us have jobs on top of school and stuff. So, it's a speech I give them regularly when we’re really struggling since we're all still dealing in our own way.]
[NerdyWannaBe18: Oh wow, I'm so sorry. Honestly, me complaining about my family seems insignificant compared to what you're going through everyday. Well, we should continue this between classes but the bell is going to ring shortly]
[HellBoy007: Yeah, ours is going to go off in 3... 2... 1...] *Ring, ring, ring*