The Cupid Effect, part 2:
I made my wish. I can’t wait for school tomorrow. I’ll find a time to show him it and when he sees it’s Craftkin, he’ll put it on and maybe fall in love with me. I’ll be happy if he just wants to be friends. Love is my first choice, but friendship is my second. P.S. I must remember to lock my diary and hide it from my big, know-it-all sister. P.P.S. I don’t want Adrianna to choke on anything anymore—just for someone to sew her yappy-little mouth shut.
Sealing the diary and engaging the lock with the key, Alyssa zipped it into its pouch, hiding it under her bed. As for the necklace she kissed the string and carefully tucked it into the front pocket of her pink backpack. She went to bed fantasizing about the necklace, enchanted by her wish, really working and she pictured walking down a winding path along a meadow, holding hands with Ethan Rodgers, giggling the whole way while Adrianna pointed at her all jealous. Finally, Alyssa fell fast asleep and woke up at the sound of her kitten alarm clock.
There was the entire class with all the students fervently completing all the independent seat work with a quiet murmur. Alyssa had the necklace firmly in her grasp when Ben noticed it. “Hey, what’s with the necklace?”
Alyssa held it up and muttered, “It’s all Craftkin pictures.”
“Cool. I didn’t know you liked that.” Ben had used this opportunity to take a break from his assignments, when Ms. O’Brien noticed he was off-task.
“Ben, are you done with your work? You should be on your vocabulary.” The teacher had every student’s attention wondering if Ben would be in big trouble. “I don’t think you have time to talk with other students.”
Reluctantly, Ben refocused on his work, but Alyssa had hoped that Ethan, sitting a few rows over, might have heard about the Craftkin necklace in her hand. Ethan remained completely unaware of anything over on Alyssa’s side of the room. Thinking really hard, Alyssa struggled with an actual plan that would get this necklace around Ethan’s throat. It looked like the only opportunity would be lunch.
Finally, lunch came around and Alyssa had already been nibbling at the food on her tray. Ethan went to the far end of the table and seemed to be a mile away from her. She would have to get up from her spot to give the necklace to him. If she was discovered by any of the lunch room supervisors, she would get in trouble and stand against the wall. Alyssa had never been in that position before. The risk of receiving a consequence weighed against her desire to present her special gift to Ethan. Eying her environment, she realized all the adults in the room were busy dealing with the usual troublemakers. Alyssa sucked in a breath of bravery, and pushed against the table, maneuvering away from it. Now she stood and expected for someone to say something to her. So far, she went unnoticed. Her eyes locked onto Ethan as he laughed with the other boys around him. With her hundred pound feet, so it felt, she stepped towards the boy she just couldn’t take her eyes off of, and her heart thumped in her chest. The palms of her hands sweated as she inched closer and closer. Alyssa rounded the table on the other end and had nearly made it to him, when Adrianna shot her hand in the air, shouting to any adult who could hear her, “Alyssa got up from the table.”
Oh no! Her mind screamed. Although she knew her heart was in fine shape, she thought she was experiencing a heart attack as Adrianna began snitching on her. Fortunately, no one had noticed and Adrianna struggled trying to get an adult’s attention. Alyssa continued striving towards Ethan, and he had noticed her approaching him. She was a quivering girl in a flower patterned short sleeve blouse with lacing around the edges, and Ethan was unsure of what to make of her.
“Hey…you’re not supposed to be out of your seat,” Ethan cried. “You’re gonna get in trouble.”
His friend Ben, black hair, mahogany skin, recognized the necklace in Alyssa’s hand. “Hey, Ethan. Check it out. She made a necklace with pictures from Craftkin.”
“Oh, yeah. Can I see it?” Ethan extended his hand, and Alyssa imagined her chest exploding from the unexpected interaction from this boy she so admired.
Alyssa slowly reached out to him and he took it, and Ethan enjoyed the pictures on it. “Wow. You even got Fred on here. I didn’t know you liked Craftkin. Will it fit me?” Ethan poked his head through and the gift she made for him was snugly around his neck. Instantly, he completely turned to look at her, and his Grand Canyon of a smile met Alyssa’s shy grin. “This is so cool. Can I keep it?”
As she nodded in response a voice came booming across the lunch room from Ms. Wendi. “What are you doing up? Are you done eating?” Alyssa shook her head in deadly fear. “Take your lunch to the corner table and you can just stand against the wall when you’re done. You’ll also have to stand against the wall at recess, too.” Alyssa noticed Adrianna’s gleam in her eye, happy that she was able to get another classmate in trouble.
Shuffling back to her lunch tray, Alyssa plucked it off the table and headed to the corner table for rule-breakers such as her. Ethan, she saw, was now unable to take his eyes off of her, and the other boys around him teased him that he liked her, nerdy Alyssa. Unhappy over the consequence, she was delighted that Ethan took to the necklace right away, and it appeared her wish had come true. Now, it was Ethan’s turn to leave his seat and he approached her, a serious infraction due to Alyssa’s status as a rule-breaker. However, he didn’t care if he got in trouble. Suddenly, he was compelled to go over to her and he wondered if this was what happened when people fell in love. His brain screamed, No, I hate love and girls, but I am suddenly in love with Alyssa.
Alyssa was so thrilled that Ethan had come so near to her. Despite shouts from Ms. Wendi to go back to his place at the table and threats of wall-standing time, Ethan stood inches from Alyssa and said, “So, hey. That’s a pretty shirt you have on. Maybe we can be boyfriend and girlfriend, which is crazy since I thought I hated girls.” The necklace string started to irritate the back of his neck, and Ethan went to scratch it at the slip knot. Instantly, it dropped to the floor, and a white athletic shoe came out of nowhere and stepped on it, ripping some of the pictures on it. Alyssa was quietly horrified that her special gift now lay in tatters. Tears welled up and she pushed her tray out of her way and cried into her arms.
Ms. Wendi, infuriated that Ethan would not respond to her voice from across the cafeteria, grappled his right bicep. “Hey,” she barked in his face. “Excuse me. I’ve been calling your name. Are you done eating?” Ethan denied being finished with his food, so she sent him to the opposite side of the room. Before he went, he noticed Alyssa’s emotional outburst and knew that her necklace was all ruined on the floor. He attempted to bend down to retrieve it, but Ms. Wendi again grilled him, “I guess you’re gonna owe me two days.”
“Well, Alyssa made a cool necklace, it dropped off my neck, and you stepped on it and ruined it. It’s probably why she’s crying.” As the lunch room supervisor added another day of consequences for back-talking her, Ethan set the necklace next to Alyssa. “I’ll make you a new one if you want.”
Lifting her head, Alyssa questioned, “But why?”
Shrugging his shoulders, he stated matter-of-fact, “That’s what friends are for. Duh. Girls are so weird.” Ethan went to get his food to serve out his punishment at the corner table on the other side, as Alyssa rubbed the stingy tears from her eyes, contemplating what he just said to her.
Even though I got into big trouble at school today, my necklace got ruined, and Ethan fell in love with me, but stopped, at least I know he is my friend. At least it’s a start. P.S. I’m never gonna take off the replacement necklace he made for me.
Alyssa locked her diary, sealed it in its case, and tossed it under her bed. She pulled her princess blanket and sheets over herself, and happily drifted to sleep while clutching the Craftkin necklace Ethan gave to her, soaking up the reality it came from him…the one she loved. Before she fell asleep, she fantasized walking hand-in-hand with Ethan all throughout the world. “Not a bad deal for this nerdette,” she whispered to herself.