Second Time’s the Charm

“No,” Jennifer says, matter of factly, as she starts to walk away.

“What do you mean no?!” I ask, befuddled “I’m the most popular boy in school! Why wouldn’t you want to go out with me?”

“I just don’t like you like that. Okay, Austin? Now leave me alone.” Jennifer walks away to her circle of friends.

I stare, in disbelief, at her long cherry blonde hair. Why would she say no? All I asked was if she wanted to go to the movies with me sometime. It just doesn’t make sense. I’m popular. She’s popular. She should definitely want to go with me. Austin and Jennifer. Jennifer and Austin. It sounds so perfect. I just don’t get it.

***

“I just don’t get it,” I say into the phone. It’s about 10:30 pm and I still can’t forget about Jennifer.

“She’s just not into you. Forget about it,” My best friend, Connor says, his voice like a whisper. Whenever he does that, I know he’s getting annoyed.

“I can’t forget about it.”

“Look, I need to finish a project for Social Studies. I got to go. Try not to think about Jennifer, okay? Bye.”

“Bye.” I hang up the phone and collapse on my bed. I got rejected. And on Valentine’s Day, too. Valentine’s Day is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year; the perfect day to go to the movies with Jennifer. We would sip a soda together, share a popcorn, and hold each other’s hands. So perfect.

There needs to be some reason that Jennifer said no. Maybe she was in a bad mood. Maybe she forgot her lunch. If I had asked a minute earlier, would she have said yes? If only I had a second chance I might be able to make things perfect.

A second chance… A second chance, I think as I drift off to sleep.

***

I open up my eyes and look at my alarm clock. 7:30! I overslept! I’m going to be late. Again… Wait, I made sure to set my alarm last night because it hadn’t gone off yesterday morning. Did mom turn off the alarm?  I look over at my desk. Sitting on top of it is the Social Studies project that I finished last night. What’s going on? Am I still dreaming? I pinch myself.

“Ouch,” I yelp. I can feel it. Hmmm. Then how come it feels like yesterday? I get out of bed and go over to my phone. I turn it on. On the screen it reads February 14th. Valentine’s Day! Yesterday!….. I think for a moment. This is my second chance with Jennifer! Thank you, universe!

After I recover from the shock of re-living my day, I go downstairs to eat breakfast. My older brother, Jason, already left for school and Mom and Dad are still sleeping, so I’m all alone. I pop some frozen waffles into the toaster and wait.

After I’m done eating breakfast, I go up to my room to pick out clothes that will impress Jennifer, not the sweats and t-shirt that I wore yesterday, well today, no yesterday, I don’t even know.

Then I rush out the door and barely miss the bus and head off on my way to school.

Yesterday I talked to Jennifer before lunch, so today I’ll talk to her after lunch. Throughout my morning classes all I can think about is Jennifer. I can’t wait.

***

After lunch I go up to Jennifer.

“Hey Jennifer,” I say confidently, “ want to go out with me?”

“Ew. No, Austin. Bye.” She walks away, looking disgusted.

I stare in silence. Why would she reject me again? And even worse than before? I go over to the fence that borders the playground and sit down. I stare at my feet. Then, I hear foot steps. I look up. I see a girl named Phoebe sitting down next to me.

“Hi, Austin,” she says, quietly.

“Why’d you come over here, Phoebe?” I ask her, confused because I don’t really talk to her much, she’s not really in my group or Jennifer’s.

“You were alone. I came to see what was wrong.”

“Thanks,” I reply, “That was really nice of you.”

“What’s wrong, Austin?”

“I asked Jennifer out and she said no,” I tell her, wondering what she will think.

“Oh, maybe she just wasn’t the right girl.”

“You know what, maybe you’re right Phoebe.” I think back. I got a second chance and the same thing happened, but worse.  Maybe all I need to do is see what’s right in front of my eyes. I turn to Phoebe.

“Hey, Phoebe.”

“Yeah.” She looks at me.

“Maybe you and I could go see a movie sometime?”

“Yeah, I’d like that,” she says smiling, “I’d like that a lot.” She gets up and walks away.

“I”d like that too,” I whisper to myself.

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