Eight dark glittering eyes stared back at him from the glass jar and Peter blinked, a small crooked little smile creasing the corners of his mouth. You couldn't stare down a creature that didn't have eyelids. The spider was the first stage in his experiment and it had taken him hours of crawling around the woods behind the house to find the right type. He hated the outdoors, but it had been worth the scratches and brambles and small creepy crawly things. He shuddered involuntarily; hopefully if the experiment worked he'd never be afraid of the creepy crawly things again.
"Hi Webby, wotcha doin'?"
Once he'd recovered from being scared out of his skin, Peter Webb turned to his bedroom window where the elfin face of his neighbour peered over the windowsill. He felt The Blush start; she always did this to him. She knew how nervous he was around girls and even though she was a bit of a tomboy, Helen knew that he liked her, knew that she could turn him into a stammering beet red numpty with only a few words.
"Ooh, a spider," she said climbing into his bedroom. "I hate spiders." She shuddered and then looked around the room, her nose wrinkling with distaste. "Jeez Pete, you really are a typical teenage boy aren't you? Clothes on the floor, superhero posters on the wall, X-Box, I bet you've got a stash of dirty mags under your mattress too haven't you?"
"I have not!" he said indignantly as she make a feint for his bed, only to collapse on it laughing wickedly, picking up a book on spiders he'd borrowed from the library with an amused look on her face.
"Oh Pete, lighten up. I know you wouldn't dare with your father around the place, you being the ever obedient son and all."
"I'm not that much of a nerd," he protested softly, knowing that even as he said it his glasses, unkempt shock of hair and baggy clothes made him look the absolute stereotype of one.
"You're a nice nerd Pete," she said reaching forward and touching him on the arm with a smile.
The Blush once again flooded his senses and he smiled back shyly.
"So, what's with the spider?" she said brightly, saving him from further redness.
"Er... it's a sort of experiment."
"Nerd," she said shortly, then burst into laughter again at his dark expression. "All right, all right, no need to get tetchy. A spider in a jar, exciting stuff Webby, appropriate though."
"It will be exciting," he muttered. Then, desperate to prove his non-nerdness he blurted out something sure to impress the girl who sat coyly on his bed.
"I'm going to break into the school tonight, there's some stuff I need."
"Really?" Helen looked uncertain for a moment, and then leant forward, her eyes shining with excitement. "Wow, you're actually serious aren't you? What you gonna take?"
"None of your business," said Pete smugly, aware that for a brief moment he had the upper hand for a change.
"Well, you're going to have to prove you did it."
"I want you to bring me a present."
"Like what?" asked Pete, aware that he was rapidly losing the initiative as usual.
"I want the sign from the Headteacher's door. I want you to bring me 'Mr Jensen's Office'. You'll need a flat head screwdriver," she said smugly.
"What? Why the hell should I? Why should I do..." What he was about to say was cut off as she leant over and kissed him gently on the lips, giggling as The Blush roared up his neck.
YOU ARE READING
Romance / SciFi / Short Story - The Blush, something that happens to Peter Webb every time he meets a girl, but particularly Helen next door. Will she ever take him seriously, or will something unexpected come between them? A short romance with a little SF twist...