I didn’t bring up the mystery date. He would tell me when he was ready. Lunch break came and went, but Arpit still didn’t feel comfortable enough to tell me who it was.
I kept to safe topics, studies, gossip, the works.
By the time school was over, I was glad to get rid of this weird Arpit, who I could not figure out.
“Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then?” I had changed into my tracks. It was time for the try outs.
“Yeah, yeah.. Sure.” He looked around nervously.
I shook my head, I couldn’t relate to this dude. I had better things to worry about.
“Naina..” He called out as I was walking away.
Exasperated, I turned around “What!”
He ran towards me. “Do I..” he hesitated, “Do you think it’ll be okay?” He looked at me expectantly.
I didn’t have the heart, I relented.
“You look great, don’t worry. She’ll be swept off her feet.” I punched him slightly on his shoulder.
A smile touched his face. “You think so?”
I lied through my teeth, “Of course!”
“Okay, I know. I’m just nervous! Okay! I’m going now!” He waved and started walking.
“Hey Naina?” he called from near the gate.
“Yeah?” What more did he want now?
“Knock ‘em dead.”
“Oh! Go already!” I was already halfway to the ground.
“You were great today Naina, a little rusty. Nothing a little practice won’t cure” The sports teacher put a check mark next to my name.
I was panting hard. We had just finished the 100 meters race. I had come 3rd. And there had been 4 girls who had tried out. By default, all of us qualified to be a part of the 400 meters relay race.
I didn’t care, I was thrilled. “I’m on the team??” I was grinning from ear to ear.
He smiled wearily at me. “Just show up for the practice sessions.”
“I will. Thank you!” I grabbed my bag and rushed out. I had to get home and call Arpit!
I played with my gum as I waited for the bus to show up. At least it would empty at this time.
I wondered how Arpit's date had gone. I wasn’t too hopeful though. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved him and all but even I had to admit that he was no looker. He was of medium height, dark curly hair, chunky glasses, lanky build. Don't even get me started about his teeth. I wish I could say his personality was enough to shine through all that but he was really shy around girls. A real klutz actually.
I really hoped the girl had let him down easy. He was sweet in his own away, a real gem of a person. Someday, maybe when we were older, some mature girl would see that. I couldn't see any of the girls from my school doing that. At least not yet. They made enough fun of him as it is. Another awful thought struck me, Maybe it was some kind of sick joke?
I got on the bus and subconsciously looked at the window seat. I smiled to myself and made my way to the seat.
I still couldn’t figure out why Arpit hadn’t told me. I mean, it wasn’t like this was the first time he had gone on a date or something.
Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t realize when we passed St. Peters College. I usually never passed a chance to ogle at the marvelous gate which, I hoped, would soon welcome me with open arms.
“So how did you do today?” A voice pierced through my thoughts.
I turned around. The lame guy.