Better off Friends

Page 2


“Yes, I’m showing him around. Well” — I turned to Levi — “I’ve got to catch class. Good luck.”
“Oh, okay,” he stammered. “See ya around?”
It was at that moment I realized the look he had was fear. He was scared. Of course he was. I felt a pang of guilt but quickly shook it off as I walked to my first class.
I had enough problems as it was.
Emily got down to business the second we were in line at lunch that day.
“So what’s the deal with the new guy?” she asked.
I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. He’s okay.”
She examined a slice of pizza. “His hair is so long.”
“He’s from California,” I offered.
“What else do you know about him?” She discarded the pizza and picked up a chicken sandwich and salad. I followed suit.
I was so thankful that I had a girly-girl friend like Emily. My dad, as much as he tried, couldn’t really help me out with things like hair, clothes, and makeup. If left to his own devices, I’d wear jeans, sneakers, and a Green Bay Packers T-shirt every day, and eat pizza for every meal. And Emily was as girly as you could get. She was easily one of the prettiest girls in our class, with long, shiny jet-black hair, and dark brown eyes. She also had the best clothes, and I was so glad we were the same size so I could borrow them, although she was already way more developed than I was. At least I would have someone to go to once I needed a bra. I couldn’t even imagine how awkward that would be for Dad. For both of us.
“Um …” I tried to think about what else I learned about Levi. Now, too late, I felt I should’ve made more of an effort.
Danielle joined us, her honey-colored curls bouncing along as we walked into the cafeteria. “Is that the new guy?” She pointed to Levi, who was sitting by himself.
“He’s so skinny,” Emily remarked.
Danielle laughed. “I know, right? But don’t worry, if the ButterBurgers don’t fatten him up, the cheese curds and brats will.”
The three of us started walking to our regular table. Levi’s gaze followed us. We were used to this. Usually people liked to make little comments like “a blonde, a redhead, and an Asian walked into a …” But I always saw us as “the one you want to sit next to because she’s hilarious, the one you want to cheat off of in class, and the one all the guys have a crush on.”
I gave Levi a quick smile, hoping to undo some of the rudeness from the morning. He returned with a sad wave. I paused for a second, and in that second, I noticed the look of gratitude on Levi’s face. He was expecting me to sit with him or at least invite him over. I hesitated, unsure what to do. I didn’t want to play babysitter, but I also knew what it was like to be alone. And scared.
“Guys, I feel bad. Can he sit with us?”
When nobody argued, I approached Levi.
“Hey there — how was your morning?” I asked, trying to smile and be welcoming for a change.
“It was good.” The tone in his voice indicated that it was anything but good.
“Do you want to sit with us?” I gestured to our table.
“Thanks.” He exhaled deeply.
Soon the attention turned toward gossip of the I Really Know How You Spent Your Summer Vacation kind.
Levi sat next to me and picked at his lunch uncomfortably. He put his backpack on the table and I noticed a button pinned onto it.
“That’s not —” I stopped myself. What were the chances it was what I thought it was? It’d be way too random.
Levi noticed I was looking at the KEEP CALM AND BLIMEY ON button on his bag. “Oh, there’s this totally rad BBC show —” he started to explain.
I could barely contain my excitement. “Buggy and Floyd. I love that show!”
His face lit up. “No way — nobody knows Buggy and Floyd. This is insane!”
It was insane.
Buggy and Floyd followed the zany antics of Theodore “Buggy” Bugsy and his cousin/roommate Floyd. In pretty much every episode, Buggy got himself into some ludicrous trouble that Floyd had to rescue him from. And Floyd was always complaining about the situation, Buggy, and pretty much everything about society.
I felt a smile start to spread across my lips. “Yeah, my mom’s family lives in Ireland and I saw it when I visited them a couple summers ago. I have the DVDs at home.”
“Me too! My buddy’s dad is head of development for a production company and he was thinking about adapting it for here.”
I groaned. I hated it when a perfectly awesome show from the UK got changed for the US. Sometimes British humor did not translate and it would end up dumbed down.
“They’d totally ruin it,” Levi and I said in unison. Both of us were surprised for a second before we started laughing.
“Favorite episode?” He was leaning forward, his shoulders no longer up toward his ears.
“Oh, there are so many. The one where Floyd’s sister is about to give birth —”
“Blimey if I know where to get boiling water unless a cuppa tea counts.” Levi’s cockney accent was spot-on.
“Yes!” I slammed my hand against the tabletop.
“What’s going on over there?” Emily looked inquisitively at both of us.
“You know that British show I’ve tried to get you to watch?”
“That?” Emily shook her head at me like she always did when she found my little eccentricities amusing. She turned toward Levi. “You know about that?”