Fumbling, awkward, and walking with a perpetual slouch, he was quite possibly the most unnoticeable being at Midtown Science High School. Even when in a crowd, he never quite seemed to be a real part of it. Those who spoke to him struggled to remember what exactly his face looked like afterwards, before forgetting the matter entirely.
The most that anyone could say about Peter Parker was that he was always alone.
That being said, one could hardly call him an outcast. The word “outcast” implies a certain degree of visibility; it implies that one could look upon him and think, “Look! Look how different he is. Look at how isolated he is.” But the fact of the matter was that Peter was invisible. He was as unobtrusive as one could get while remaining human.
And so it said quite a bit about Flash that he was able to not only just notice Peter Parker from twenty feet away, but also to recognize him by the back of his head.
“Hey, Parker!” he bellowed, causing everyone in the vicinity to turn their heads, the monotony of the regular school day slowly fading in place of a vague sense of anticipation.
It was this moment that would set off a chain of events that would make up the entirety of this story. Of course, this isn’t just Peter’s story. Peter, though a crucial facet of this tale, would only reveal the extent of his role later. Much later.
Flash stood at one end of the hallway holding a small bendy straw in his fist in a way that could only be described as menacing, flanked on either side by his companions Jacob Goldberg and Mark Andrews. A talented athlete with a penchant for basketball, captain of the football team, and a vehement, almost desperate hatred for his birth name, Eugene “Flash” Thompson was tall, handsome, and had a wholesome, All-American look about him that almost never failed to make a good impression on everyone he met. Of course, there’s always an exception, and that exception was when he, Flash Thompson, leered at Peter Parker with the intent to humiliate him in some way.
Similarly to what was happening right now.
“I’m talking to you, Parker!” Flash bellowed again, causing everyone to finally turn their heads slowly in notice of the subject of said yelling; a thin, unbearably average teenager in a large brown jacket and a skateboard slung over his shoulder who would soon prove himself to be the protagonist of the story.
His time was not then, however, and Flash certainly didn’t know the significance of his actions or how they’d affect his favorite human punching bag. Moving quickly, so as to prevent his target from avoiding the attack, Flash placed the bent straw to his lips and, puffing out his cheeks, blew a wad of saliva-covered paper at Peter’s face. The smaller teen flinched at the last second, and the projectile hit his left shoulder instead; the damage had been dealt, however, and the chuckles resonating throughout the hallway were only overcome by the raucous laughter of Flash and his friends.
This was what Gwen Stacy witnessed that Friday, and what she saw displeased her quite a bit. Though quite aware of Flash’s tendencies to bully students smaller than him (admittedly there were few who didn’t fit that physical description), firing spitballs at random people in the halls was too much. Gently pushing away everyone who was in her way, she carefully navigated through the congested hallway towards Flash, who’d been busy high fiving Mark.
“That was quite a show there, Flash.”
He spun around in surprise. “Gwen! Hey!” Flash exclaimed amiably, his expression much different from the malevolent smirk he’d worn just seconds ago. Smiling as he elbowed Jacob in the stomach to silence the boy’s giggling, he went on to ask, “How are you doing?”
He leaned against the gray locker beside him, hoping to look relaxed and nonchalant. Unfortunately for him, the casual conversation he’d been hoping for would be put on hold. With a movement so quick he’d nearly missed it, Gwen snatched the badly abused straw from his hand without breaking eye contact.
“Really? It looks like you were carrying this around all day.” She held the straw with two fingers, disgust clearly evident in her expression, and placed her other hand on her hip. “Do you really have nothing better to do with your time?”
Flash looked flustered, and, curiously enough, almost betrayed for a moment, and as he stammered in an attempt to think of an excuse it almost seemed as though he would actually apologize. But Jacob then chose that moment to start laughing about “being whipped,” and with a loud hiss of “Shut the fuck up!” and a well-placed kick to the knee, Flash opted to avoid the conversation altogether. He looked back at Gwen, who raised an eyebrow in quiet expectation. “I’ll see you in class, Stacy,” was all he grumbled before turning his back and walking away with the others.
Gwen looked behind her to talk to the victim of Flash’s tormenting; it was difficult to pick out that dark brown jacket in the sea of faces, all of whom had all but forgotten the incident entirely, and by the time she saw someone who might have been him, he’d turned the corner and disappeared from her sight.
“Parker,” Flash had called him, right?
* * * * * *
The next time Gwen Stacy saw Peter Parker, it was during the class period after lunch. She had forgotten that they shared a class (as most of Peter’s classmates were wont to do), and it was only the incident in the hall earlier that day that reminded her that Peter had even existed at all (this too, was an entirely normal phenomenon). Of course, Advanced Placement Biology was no place to hold a conversation (“Studying takes precedence over idle chitchat in a classroom,” her Dad would say), so all she could do was take a brief glance at him as she walked to her desk which, luckily, was in the row above his. She hoped somewhat that he would be looking up, so that she could give him a comforting smile, or reassure him that Flash wouldn’t bother him again. But Mr. Parker was hunched over in his seat, facedown, completely oblivious to the world around him and especially of her presence.
A brown jacket. Shaggy hair.
That was all Gwen could glean from the brief view of her utterly unremarkable classmate before she sat down and opened up her notes for the beginning of class. As she did, Gwen couldn’t help but wonder, had he seen her speak to Flash? Had he left beforehand? Could he have seen her and become embarrassed at her assistance? She had been assisting, right? As she pulled out the packet on phylogenetic classification, she wondered to herself if speaking with this Peter would be a good idea. Just as this thought passed through her head, Gwen heard a rustle behind her and the dull thud of books being placed on the desk. Before she could turn around, Professor Walton strode into the classroom and to his desk and pulled down the projector screen in a singular, sweeping movement.
“Good afternoon, everyone! Take out your packets and turn to page fifteen, and we’ll review the answers to the homework. Miss Bennett, please put your phone away, thank you. Now, my earlier classes seemed to have quite a bit of trouble distinguishing between polyphyletic and paraphyletic, so we’ll take some time to go over that…”
Gwen shut out all distractions and began to concentrate entirely on the words of her teacher. In but a moment, her mind was filled entirely with the intricate and deceptively well-ordered world of biology; a world where all life had a purpose, a niche, where everything could be attributed to and classified by scientific processes.
For about an hour or so, nothing else existed. Including Peter Parker.
* * * * * *
You know what’s fantastic? When I’m trapped behind a group of people walking too slowly down the hallway.
I know, I know, you’ve probably heard this all before, but this irritates me more than just about anything in the world. Almost, anyway.
I mean, I’m not in any particular hurry, myself, but when I’m trying to get to class and I suddenly encounter a barricade, you can’t exactly blame a guy for getting a little annoyed. I mean, you try coughing, you try sidestepping, you even tap their shoulders and ask them to go faster, but all you get is a condescending comment by a member of this human fortress.
What am I supposed to do? They’re about as impenetrable as a naval blockade. I could just as easily push through them as I could jump over them like some kind of crazed gold medalist.
Anyway I’m just venting here. I never do anything except just wait it out (sure, I’m not exactly happy, but I don’t actually say anything). To be honest I’ve never even asked them to move.
Maybe I’ll do that one day.
And if by some miracle that doesn’t work, I’ll bring a pole to school the next day so I can vault over everyone. I can’t think of a single reason why that wouldn’t be a good idea.
* * * * * *
“Oh, you’re home early! Don’t you have afterschool today?”
Gwen’s mother smiled at her quickly before turning back to the job at hand; a pan full of vegetables which required very careful sautéing if she didn’t want to burn anything. The kitchen at the Stacy household was the pride and joy of Gwen’s mother; Helen was always asking her husband to renovate some aspect of it, and, to the exasperation of the entire family, she was often a very convincing speaker. The latest changes consisted of the installation of new white lacquer cabinets, and a stainless steel sink with a matching faucet that could turn on and off with only a touch (the latter of which had been discovered thanks to an advertisement on the Food Network, curse them). Lately, Helen had even been talking about getting rid of the hardwood floors and replacing it with ceramic tiling to “fit the color scheme.”
Gwen’s younger brothers responded by quietly hiding the Home Furnishing magazines every time they came in the mail.
“No, Science Olympiad is done for the year, and Debate’s only on Tuesdays.” Gwen pecked her mother on the cheek before reaching over and grabbing a box of Cocoa Puffs from the counter.
“Try not to spoil your appetite, alright?”
“I’m just grabbing a few, Mom,” Gwen fibbed, leaning against the dark marble countertop (which hadn’t existed two months ago). “What’s for dinner today?”
“Well,” Her mother yelled, trying to be heard over the sudden, loud sizzling noises the pan was producing, “I found a recipe online! Vegetable naanwich with sun-dried tomato and goat cheese spread!”
“Mmhm…” Gwen popped two Cocoa Puffs in her mouth and nodded, her eyebrows furrowed. “Sounds… Complicated. And what’s a naanwich again? I guess it just, you know, slipped my mind.”
“Very funny, Gwen. It’s… Well it’s a type of…”
Gwen ate another Cocoa Puff while she watched her mother mix the vegetables somewhat haphazardly with a wooden spoon. It was truly a miracle how she was able to produce such complex and delicious dishes with the sloppy and absent-minded manner by which she prepared them, Gwen couldn’t help but think, as several chopped up bell peppers flew off the pan and onto the stove.
“It’s a kind of sandwich… Except… Oh, don’t bother me right now with questions. You’ll find out tonight, won’t you?”
“I suppose I will! Thanks, Mom.” Gwen placed the cereal box back in its corner and dusted her hands off. “That’s just what I want to hear from the chef. Well, I’ll be in my room, then.”
“Uh huh, okay.” Gwen’s mother mumbled distractedly. “Make sure to do your homework!”
With that, Gwen exited the kitchen and entered the living room, where her brothers were huddled around the TV and playing Mario Kart.
“Hi, Gwen.” They chorused, without turning around.
“Hey.” She leaned over to pick up a stray jacket lying on the ground and walked to the coat rack near the door. “Shouldn’t you guys be doing homework?”
“Yeah,” Phillip (the older of the two brothers) responded, obviously unconcerned with the schoolwork awaiting him. “What’d Mom say is for dinner tonight?”
Gwen carefully hung the jacket, dusting it off and straightening it. “It’s a special treat tonight! Veggie naanwich and goat cheese, mmm!”
The boys groaned simultaneously, though none of them took their eyes off the television screen.
“Goat cheese? Seriously?” Phil winced, before leaning sharply to the left in a ridiculous attempt at having his character on screen turn the same way.
“What the heck’s a naanwich?” asked Simon as he pushed Phil away from him. “Do you mean a sandwich?”
“Nope. I mean naanwich.”
“It sounds gross,” Simon mumbled.
“You’ve never even tried it,” Phil leaned to the right, nearly falling on top of his prostrated sibling.
“Get off of me! And you said you don’t like goat cheese!”
“I’ve eaten it!”
“No you didn’t!”
“Yeah, I did!”
“No you didn’t!”
“What the heck is a naanwich?” Simon insisted, wisely deciding to ignore his brother rather than continue the conversation.
“Are you guys kidding me?” Gwen laughed as she walked down the long hallway leading to her room. “Kids these days. Don’t even know about naanwiches!”
(A quick Google search revealed that it was just a sandwich using naan bread, which originated in India and was made of unbleached flour, water, gluten, expeller pressed canola oil, and fruitrim.)
(It sounded safe enough.)
Gwen was a studious young woman who took pride in her placement in the top of all of her classes. It wasn’t that she felt she deserved the position, of course, only that this was a result of the work she put in. And what work she put in! Science wasn’t so much schoolwork as it was a hobby; her biology and chemistry textbooks were worn from so many repeated reads. It wasn’t exactly a subject she could bond with others over, but nonetheless it remained her great passion in life simply because it was life. It unlocked the great mysteries of the world and opened new doors for humanity to step through, and she couldn’t wait to one day become one of the many noble people who strove to better conditions for the entirety of mankind.
Her bedroom reflected her bookish personality: two walls were covered by bookshelves that contained textbooks, encyclopedias, and other various intimidating-looking tomes. The small table next to her bed was covered in post-it notes used as reminders, which had messages such as “study for vocab quiz 6-14,” “call Rebecca about lab,” “Simon’s bday – look up games(??).” Under her bed was a box containing all her past homework assignments and quizzes, which she used as a study guide at the end of the year. Everyone who took a good look at her room would conclude the same thing: Gwen Stacy is quite the scholarly person (and even then, what an understatement that would be).
Of course, everyone has a certain duality about them, despite what anyone may think; one of the most prevalent ones involve the balance between intellectualism and recreation. Simply put, even the nerdiest people in the world need to have a hobby.
And so, putting her pencil down, Gwen opened up a new browser window on her computer and logged onto Facebook.
She had two messages and nine notifications; the notifications were all from a status she’d been tagged in, which had eventually devolved into a long conversation about who-knows-what between two parties. Gwen quickly untagged herself. One message was from Justin Chase, who was the president of the school’s Debate team, saying that the meeting would be postponed for fifteen minutes in order to take team photos. The second was from her penpal, Jane, who had given her a “brief” update on her fieldwork as of late. Gwen sighed; her tastes were more towards the field of biochemistry, so, despite their friendship and her love of science, reading these messages about astrophysics was always somewhat tedious (especially since many of her theories sometimes bordered on… metaphysical). She closed the window, promising herself that she would read it by the end of the weekend.
Before she could resume making headway on her homework, the door opened up to reveal a very disgruntled-looking Simon.
“Mom said it’s time for dinner,” he grumbled.
Gwen flipped the pencil once in her hand, trying hard not to look too amused. “Mom turned off the power to the Wii?”
Simon made a grunting noise which she interpreted to mean “yes,” and promptly turned and left. Gwen put down her pencil and stretched her arms high above her head; with a long exhale, she followed after her brother, feeling a mild pang of disappointment at the interruption.
“Where’s Dad?” she asked when she arrived at the dining table, a cursory look revealing a decided lack of a fatherly parental unit.
“Oh, sorry Gwen, I forgot to tell you!” her mother called out from the kitchen. “He called just a few minutes ago; something came up last minute, and he’s going to be late tonight.”
“Again?” Simon exclaimed, rolling his eyes.
Gwen frowned and walked into the kitchen and gathered a handful of utensils to pass out.
“Mom, are we allowed to play our DS’s during dinner?” Phil yelled (unnecessarily, since the kitchen was close by, but yelling was a default speaking volume of his).
Simon looked up in alarm.
“No, honey, you know you can’t.”
“But Simon brought his DS!”
Simon kicked him from under the table.
“Ow! Simon kicked me!”
“Simon,” his mother said calmly, “Go put away your game. And stop hitting your brother!” she added as an afterthought.
“Did Dad say what happened?” Gwen asked, cutting deftly through the loud argument that’d erupted from the dining room.
“Don’t worry, honey. He said it was relatively small. Unarmed robbery, I think it was?”
“Hmm. This is the third night in a row he’s come late, you know.”
The two of them fell silent for a while, Gwen slowly picking up napkins and her mother arranging the dishes just so. It was impossible to get used to, the feeling of anxiety that would inevitably fall upon them whenever George Stacy didn’t come home on time. Of course, it was also impossible to dwell on this thought in silence for more than a second; the moment was interrupted by a loud crash and a yelp, followed by a “Phil! Keeps! Hitting me!”
“You kicked me!”
“You told on me!”
“You shouldn’t have brought it then!”
“Boys!” their mother shouted, but the bickering continued without so much as a pause. “Ugh. Gwen, go and set the table. And try to get them to calm down!”
“Will do, Mom.”
Of course, it’s not easy getting two boys, brothers, no less, to stop arguing once they’ve started. Kind words eventually turned into stern words, which then grew louder and grew louder until Gwen found herself arguing with both Phil and Simon, who’d somehow stopped fighting in order to team up against their older sister, and shouting about voting her off the family and having her live on the roof. “They never act like this when Dad’s home,” she couldn’t help but think somewhat petulantly. Simon grew aware that her sister wasn’t focusing (thanks to some ancient instinct that existed since the beginning of time, when the first younger brother started fighting with his sister), and he then took the opportunity to tear off a piece of his napkin, roll it up, and throw it at Gwen’s face.
His aim proved true, and Gwen found herself kicked unceremoniously out of her reverie when she moved out of instinct and flinched clumsily to avoid getting hit. The small projectile bounced off her shoulder before she caught it in midair.
Simon and Phil cackled before high-fiving under the table. Helen chose that moment to finally enter the dining room, impeccable-looking naanwiches piled high on a large platter.
“Alright, everyone! Let’s eat!” she exclaimed, ignorant to her sons’ collective noises of disgust at the sight of the goat cheese spread. She did, however, notice her daughter’s lack of movement.
No response. She cocked her head and nudged her daughter once.
“Oh, huh? I’m sorry, what?”
“It’s time to eat, Gwen. Are you alright?”
“Yeah! I’m fine, sorry. I just remembered something that happened in school today.” Gwen stared down at her palm, where the wad of shredded napkin sat.
“Well, why don’t you sit down and tell us all about it?”
“Hmm? Oh, no, it’s nothing, really.”
* * * * * *
Call me old-fashioned, but I never really understood some of the decisions made by people in ice cream stores.
“Yes I will have the mint chocolate chip ice cream with a layer of gumballs between the ice cream and the bottom of the cup, and could you top that off with marshmallows, hot fudge, seven gummy bears, half a pineapple and a mango, yes hmm good yes”
I thought the whole point of ice cream was, you know, the ice cream. Nowadays it’s just basically like bread, where people use it as an excuse to eat different foods. And let’s face it, isn’t that what a sandwich is? An excuse for you to eat different ingredients? Sure, people will judge the shit out of me when I’m eating a piece of lettuce, a slice of tomato, or a thin piece of ham, but if I slap two pieces of bread around it, suddenly it’s acceptable.
Ice cream has become the bread of the dessert world. If I eat out of a cup full of marshmallows, chocolate sauce, gumballs and fruit, I’m the bizarre one who’s being gross. But if that cup is mostly filled with frozen yogurt or something, I’m completely fine.
The moral of this story is that I take ice cream very seriously and I need to learn to stop ranting about dumb things like this.
Oh, and before I wrap this up, many of you (or one, really determined person but I am kind of hoping this isn’t the case) seem to find it appropriate to ignore everything I say and keep asking about the state of my love life. This blog is for me to ramble about things that no one but me cares about, post things I find funny, or talk about science. If you’ll look carefully, none of that involves an in-depth discussion about my hopelessness with girls. I almost regret making that post last week.
But hey, you wore me down again.
Here’s some information about my unbelievably complex love life.
I am currently in a very special relationship, yeah.
She’s gorgeous, beautiful even, and she’s everything I could possibly want. Some people prefer those that are all dressed up and fancy, but I like her because I prefer more down-to-earth types. More simple, you know? My only regret is that there’s no way this relationship will last very long.
Her name is pistachio ice cream and out of every other option in this store, she may well just be my favorite. It’s a pity because this place is unusually hot for an ice cream shop, and soon she’ll be gone, but forever in my heart.
Now enough about that, for good this time. Did any of you read the Daily Bugle article on the new Stark tech this morning? It didn’t say anything new, but it did have an interesting angle on the propulsor tech being developed for mass markets…
* * * * * *
The weekend passed for Gwen and her family without much event. Her father phoned them on Saturday to let them know that the unarmed robbery had turned out to be a little bit more serious than they’d initially believed, and that he would be leading a stake out someplace in Harlem.
“Don’t worry,” he’d said, his voice crackling slightly over the line, set to speakerphone. Gwen and her mother and brothers huddled around it in silence. “I don’t see why I shouldn’t be home by Wednesday. It’s really not as bad as it sounds. What was that? Right. I have to go now. I love you, Helen. Tell the kids I love them, too. I’ll see you soon.”
There was a click and a long beep, and Gwen’s mother ended the call with a sigh.
“Alright everyone, back to work,” she said, clapping her hands together. “Phil, did you finish your homework? Don’t forget you can ask Gwen for help anytime, don’t look at me like that. Simon, did you clean you room? I don’t think you did…”
It was an unfortunately typical event, having their father away for several periods of time, and Phil and Simon were already groaning at having to do their chores. It was a little harder for Gwen to get return to her normal schedule, and she lingered a bit in front of the phone before forcing herself to turn away.
“I’ll do the dishes!” she said loudly, for everyone to hear.
“I wanted to do the dishes!” Phil exclaimed angrily, poking his head outside the room.
“Too late! I called it! You have to put out the trash.”
“I took out the trash last time!”
It was an unfortunately typical weekend.
Monday, however, brought about a degree of change! It so happened that on this particular Monday, something unusual happened; the Stacy family had Eggo waffles for breakfast.
* * * * * *
Usually Helen Stacy would wake up early in the mornings to make an unnecessarily complicated French toast, or bacon sprinkled with strange spices that she’d seen on the Food Network, but on Sunday night she had stayed up unreasonably late in order to finish reading a book her friend had given her the day before (something about tigers and floating islands and a boy on a boat). As such, for the first time in quite some time, she was too tired to get up early and make a “proper meal.” Instead, she dug deep into the freezer and pulled out an emergency box of frozen waffles that had been bought for just this sort of catastrophe. She normally wrinkled her nose at foods that took less than half an hour to prepare, but at this moment she was too sleepy to care. Unfortunately for her, she forgot another reason why she never used the box when she could.
“Waffles!” screamed Simon, jumping up and down in excitement. The noise woke up Phil, who, despite hating mornings more than anyone else in the household, managed to drag himself out of his room and into the kitchen.
“We—“ (and here he paused to yawn) “—never have waffles. What’s going on?”
“Sorry boys,” their mother said, stifling a yawn of her own. She rubbed her eyes softly, leaning against the countertop. “I stayed up late.”
“We’re having chocolate chip waffles!” Simon continued to yell as he ran around in circles, moving so fast that he even managed to avoid Phil's angry kick.
It was this shrill yell that awakened Gwen from her slumber; she moaned softly as she rolled out of bed, nearly falling over when her foot caught on the corner of her blanket. With a wobble she regained her balance and began walking sluggishly out the door and into the bathroom across the hall.
“Simon, will you shut up?” Phil croaked, sounding more sick than upset.
Simon disregarded his brother and ran to the living room, whooping as he did so. Phil was silent for a bit, and then:
“… Mom, can I have the first waffles?”
She nodded absentmindedly, and Phil decided then that it was safe to doze off for a little while. In only a few seconds, Helen could hear her son snoring lightly, and she very seriously thought about following his example. Her eyelids were slowly closing when the waffles sprang out of the toaster with a loud click! that almost made her jump. She carefully placed both chocolate-chip waffles onto a plate and slathered it with syrup, and, turning around to put it in the dining room, stifled a scream.
“Oh! Simon, where on earth did you come from?! How long were you even standing there?!”
Her youngest child stood there, grinning from ear to ear. “Is that mine, Mom?”
“No, this is your brother’s. Why don’t you go give it to him?”
The grin fell and was replaced with a glare that would have struck fear in the hearts of lesser men. But, being his mother, she was completely unfazed.
“Go on!” she said, not bothering to hide her yawn this time as she pushed the plate into Simon’s hands.
Looking more disgruntled than when his mother had turned off the TV in the middle of their game, Simon turned around and walked into the dining room. He dropped the plate in front of his brother’s sleeping face, making a loud clattering noise that failed to wake him up.
“Get up and eat your stupid breakfast.”
“Get up, I said!”
Simon poked his brother on the head twice, but all Phil did was mumble incoherently before falling silent.
“Aren’t you gonna get up?”
Phil reached out and swatted at the air, accidentally whacking Simon clear across the cheek.
At first, the younger boy looked as though he was about to cry. Then, a slow, Grinch-like sneer overtook his expression, and, moving slowly, Simon carefully placed the plate of waffles— still hot and covered in warm maple syrup—underneath Phil's nose. He raised his hand high up, and—
“YOUR WAFFLES ARE READY!”
— brought his hand swiftly down on the back of Phil's head.
The blow had been harder than he’d expected, and he had also underestimated the extent of his brother’s reaction. Rather than lean forward and cover his nose in syrup, Phil jerked forward and had his face collide with the waffle with a loud squelch. Without so much as a gasp, Simon turned and ran. Sputtering loudly and waving his hands in the air in confusion, it took Phil a moment to peel the breakfast item off of his face with a bellow.
“I’ll fucking kill you!” he bellowed, crushing the waffle in his hand. He rose from his chair and took chase after his brother, syrup dribbling slowly down his wrist on one hand and a second waffle (also slathered with syrup) in the other.
“Mom! Mom! Phil's gone crazy!” Simon screeched.
“What are you two doing? Phillip, stop it! Both of you listen to me! Stop it! Hey! THAT’S ENOUGH!” shouted their mother, chasing after them with an appalled expression on her face.
It was at that precise moment that Gwen stepped out of her bedroom, her hair freshly toweled and dried and wearing a clean shirt. She stepped into the living room, wondering what in the world was going on. Simon ducked between her legs and slid under the coffee table, but Phil wasn’t so lucky. Diving forward, he accidentally skidded on the wooden floor and let go of both waffles. They sailed in a high arc above everyone— Phil and Simon stared in terror, their mother soon joined them— and both of them landed in Gwen’s hair.
The ensuing horror cannot be described in words.
* * * * * *
And so, Gwen Stacy missed her bus, as did her little brothers. She went back into the bathroom and showered once more, while her mother just pinched the bridge of her nose multiple times as she sent her two trembling, whimpering brothers to their rooms. Gwen had to be driven to school, and, came to school much later than usual. She decided to make her way to her first period class, and that is how, for the first time, she spoke to Peter Parker.
* * * * * *
She hadn’t noticed him, initially. She had been walking to English and trying hard to appear composed, and having a difficult time of it since she’d been so angry earlier that morning. Having missed the bus, she could no longer stroll easily through the halls and instead had to rush with the rest of the student body to first period. Gwen was doubly upset at this, since the mornings before the beginning of class were when she would contemplate her schoolwork and have a bit of quiet time before the hectic day began. She felt herself being pushed on all sides by the different students; it was madness! She felt like she was in a herd of cattle! Tired of rubbing shoulders with everyone, she turned down a different hallway in an attempt to escape the crowd. Luckily for her, there were less people here (although traffic certainly remained congested).
It was then that she saw him, or the back of his head at least. She couldn’t be sure it was him from where she was standing, but she did see a glimpse of a skateboard over his shoulder. It couldn’t hurt to try and move a mere ten feet ahead in the crowd to check.
She walked carefully, forgetting her bad mood entirely in her attempt to appear as casual as possible as she slowly made her way to his side. There were many people, but thankfully they didn’t protest much when she slipped past them with a hurried “Excuse me.” There was a large crowd of girls walking at an unusually slow pace in front of them (which explained why traffic was so bad in what was usually a relatively crowd-free hallway at which everyone was moving along), that made catching up to him easier. With a final “excuse me” and a slight nudge, Gwen finally found herself walking by him, side to side. Trying to remain as subtle as possible, she glanced at him as quickly as she could.
She was fairly certain it was him. Dark, shaggy hair, oversized coat; yeah, it was him, she was positive. It had to be Peter Parker. Gwen looked straight ahead, trying to think of a good way to open this up. “Hey I don’t think you remember me but I talked to Flash and I don’t know for sure but I think that he will stop bothering you so no need to worry for a while at least.” No, that was more than just ridiculous. It was just plain stupid.
Luckily for her, she didn’t have to think of a conversation starter. It came to her.
She had noticed that the group in front were laughing and jostling each other, completely oblivious to the pace at which they were traveling, and after a particularly loud guffaw from one of the girls up ahead, the boy beside her released a small, almost imperceptible sigh. Gwen smiled and turned her head.
“You’d think they’d notice by now that there’s a mob building up behind them, huh?”
He jerked in surprise, and stared at her, eyes wide and incredulous. He glanced behind him, over both shoulders, before looking at her again. Gwen bit the inside of her cheek trying not to laugh.
“Yeah, I’m talking to you!” she said in her most friendly voice (which, for the first time, struck her as obnoxiously cheery; she toned it down a bit). “Sorry, I guess it is a little weird, talking to random people in the hallway. Am I bothering you?”
“What? Um, oh, no, no you’re not,” he mumbled. He coughed twice and spoke again, louder this time. “I mean, uh, no, you’re— you’re not bothering me.”
“Oh, okay then.” She looked straight ahead and the two of them took another few, slow steps. “I just wanted to ask you if Flash has been bothering you again. Well, I mean,” Gwen turned and faced Parker again. “I saw what he did to you on Friday. It was immature and stupid and embarrassing for everyone.”
“Oh. Er, right.”
She examined his face closely, trying to discern from his expression what he may be thinking. He didn’t look like he was trying to hide anything. He just looked embarrassed. Was he embarrassed at her bringing it up? Gwen pursed her lips and decided to continue this line of conversation. “I talked to him about it, though. I don’t know if you saw, but I did. I mean, I can’t guarantee he’ll bother you again, but I don’t think you have to worry… For a little while, anyway.”
She bit her lip, trying to get her thoughts in order.
“Why, though?” Peter asked, his voice clear and stable for the first time in this brief conversation.
“I’m sorry?” Gwen turned to look at him again, and he seemed to flinch.
“I mean… Why are you talking to me?” His eyes widened and he began stammering again. “Uh, I didn’t mean, that is, I didn’t, you, I, you don’t bother me or anything, it’s just, you…”
Gwen watched as his face slowly turned a shade of pink, and decided to spare him by interrupting.
“It’s okay, I understand if I seem kind of… forward.” (he protested weakly that she wasn’t forward at all but Gwen continued) “I just feel kind of… responsible for the things Flash does.”
She took a deep breath. The moment of truth, she thought wryly.
“He asked me out two weeks ago. We were on a partner project together for one of our classes, and he kind of just… blurted it out. I told him no, and I feel like I upset him more than I let on.”
Gwen looked at Peter, who was staring intently at his feet. She wasn’t sure if he was listening.
“Anyway, I guess what I’m saying is, I feel like he’s been lashing out because of me. And so, it’s sort of partially my fault that he embarrassed you that Friday. I just hope that he doesn’t bother you anymore. If he does, could you let me know? If you want?”
Peter nodded, glancing up at Gwen.
There was an awkward silence that stretched for what felt like several minutes; Gwen opened her mouth to try and break it, but was beaten to it.
“Uh, my class is… is over there.” Peter gestured wildly to someplace behind him, nearly smacking the person behind him with his skateboard. “I, um, have to go.”
Still looking downwards, he pivoted and began to push against the flow of students, eliciting many cries of “Hey!” and “Watch where you’re going!” He disregarded everyone, turned down another hallway, and disappeared entirely from view.
Gwen Stacy stared after him. Had she embarrassed him? Maybe he had wanted to forget Flash entirely? Was it because she’d spoken to him out of nowhere? That was generally not something that happened often. He had seemed intensely uncomfortable throughout the conversation…
Gwen Stacy stared and wondered why Peter Parker disliked her so.
* * * * * *
I know half of you were wondering about how my situation with the girl was going, right?
Ha ha well 71 very determined people (or maybe one really, really obsessive dude, although like I said before I hope that isn’t the case) have finally convinced me to give an update on what’s been going on!
And when I use the words “situation” and “update,” I mean it completely ironically. Some of you apparently didn’t get the sarcasm when I made that last post. To that I have to say the following: you guys really need to learn to read the tags (check for #this is sarcastic), and you also need to learn that life isn’t exactly a Nicholas Sparks novel! And if it were, I think it’d be even worse, since cancer, war, or some other external factor will end up tearing me away from my love interest only to lead to a brief and heartbreaking reunion only to be torn away again, but it’s okay suddenly because this separation has allowed me to suddenly become closer to my estranged family member and why do people read those books, they’re all the same…
Right I was telling my story, anyway
Here is what is going on
Those of you at home may want to sit down
This is not for the faint of heart, so if you suffer from cardiac diseases or something then I suggest you close this window
This may get also get pretty detailed, so if you’re younger than 18, then stop reading
Here we go
Nothing ever will happen.
Nothingness stretches out in the horizon as far as the eye can see, farther than space
This is the state and the inherent nature of the relationship between her and me, and this is how it will stay until the both of us are six feet under.
In fact, one could even say that my chances with her are in the negatives , considering how I always somehow manage to make myself look like an idiot in front of her. But I can’t even look like a regular idiot in front of her, can I? No, I need to go and look like the biggest moron in the school. Perhaps the biggest moron in the state. I wouldn’t be surprised if she wants to give me an MRI to see if her theory is correct: that I’m the most stupid person to be found in the northern hemisphere.
So yeah. That’s my story. That will always be my story. Now stop flooding my inbox with intrusive messages about my love life. Go pursue your own instead, creeps.
Keep this up and I’ll have to turn off anon.