Taylor Morgan held back a giggle as she walked across the sun-splashed grey asphalt. She knew that Amy was in the Science room, her face pressed comically up against the glass to make pig-nose. Taylor dared not even pretend to glance in her direction. The girls had sneaked into the classroom a few minutes earlier, quietly hurrying along the empty and echoing corridors until they reached the funky-smelling room at the end, to spy on Matthew and his friends. The boys commandeered the same bench for lunch each day and the Science room windows allowed a perfectly unobscured view of their territory.
Taylor stared straight ahead as she strode past the group, sure that any casual observer would think she was on a mission of the utmost importance. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the boys look up as she passed close by but they did not pause in their conversation. Harry was talking about some newly released video game and Jamie had his long legs stretched out so far in front of him that Taylor had to veer to miss walking into them. Her heart was pounding hard against her ribcage and she was almost making herself cross-eyed in her attempt to nonchantly observe the boys without turning her head. Was gorgeous, dark-haired, brown-eyed Matthew watching her as she strolled indifferently by She'd had a crush on Matthew since the beginning of the school term, when he'd arrived at the school as a new student, and she still didn't know if he liked her or even if he'd noticed her. Amy's role in this mission was to watch Matthew closely from her vantage point and tell Taylor if he looked at her for longer than the other boys did. Taylor had convinced herself that this would be a sure sign that he was interested.
Within moments, Taylor had passed the group. She walked faster, marching hurriedly towards the red brick corner of the building and then breaking into a run, already giggling at the thought of how clever she and Amy were. She raced along the side of the building, heading towards the double entrance doors. Taylor reached the doors just as Amy pushed them open from the other side, her arms thrust out in front of her, and the two girls collided in a mad fit of laughter and squeals.
"Taylor and Amy, no running please." Mr. Evans, the History teacher, had just walked around the end of the building and now stood frowning at them, his hands on his hips and his legs slightly bent at the knees with his feet pointing in opposite directions. His round glasses glinted in the sunlight and an errant puff of wind blew his grey-streaked hair up into two pointed peaks on the top of his head, giving him an absurd owl-like appearance. His hand-knitted brown jersey, complete with a thick, double cable-stitch band winding its way down the front, only managed to add to his overall birdiness.
Clasping each other tightly and weak-legged with laughter, Amy and Taylor staggered over to one of the low bench seats outside the gym and collapsed. Mr. Evans sighed deeply before turning and walking through the double doors into the school building. The doors clattered shut behind him, supplying a loud exclamation mark of exasperation to his exit.
Gulping for breath, Taylor lay her head back against the sun-warmed bricks of the building behind her. Her stomach hurt from laughing and was now cramping painfully. Her bladder was protesting and she needed to pee. She glanced at Amy to see that her face was pink and a fat drop of spit glistened on her chin. "Wipe your chin, you're drooling."
"Cheep, cheep," Amy spluttered, setting both girls off on another uncontrollable wave of laughter.
Finally, their fits of laughter began to die down as they slowly composed ourselves. Taylor leaned forward, her hands on her knees, and concentrated on steadying her breathing. She focused her eyes on an old patch of chewing gum on the asphalt and counted seconds: one-one hundred, two-one hundred. Too much laughing had scrambled her brain and turned her into a pile of jelly. She desperately needed to pee. However, first she needed to know if her mission had been successful. "Well Did Matthew look at me"
Amy shrugged as she fished around for something in her pocket. She pulled out a toffee, her favourite sweet and one that she refused to share, and expertly unwrapped it. "It was hard to tell," she said around a mouthful of toffee. "You walked past them too quickly. All the boys looked up but I don't know if Matthew paid you any special attention. I couldn't see their faces, just the backs of their heads." She hoisted her backpack up onto her knees and began to rifle noisily through it. "Do you have a spare eraser I've lost mine and I need it for Spanish class."
"Are you sure he didn't look at me" Taylor was bitterly disappointed, her earlier light-heartedness quickly evaporated and gone. She wanted to hear Amy say that Matthew had stared at her longingly until she disappeared around the edge of the building. She wanted their discussion to build into a long, drawn out conversation about how Matthew must be in love with Taylor as much as she was in love with him. She wanted to dissect the mission, piece by piece, and hear some proof that her adoration for Matthew was returned. She stared at Amy, willing her to say more, but the other girl was more interested in scrabbling in her bag. "Maybe he glanced at me for just a second longer than the others" Taylor prompted hopefully.
Amy shook her head as she yanked at the zip on her backpack, the zip that always stuck. Amy was the type of person whose shoelaces always came undone and whose zips always stuck. "Nope. I don't think so. Do you have a spare eraser or not" She stood up and looked over towards the doors, her mind already moved on.