## Thursday, 8 September 2016

### My fictional crush is...

"So, who do you fancy, then?"
"I'm 12; I think I'm too young to fancy anyone, really."
My bully hit me really hard on the arm. Thanks to the blazer I was wearing, it didn't hurt too much, but it was enough to make my eyes water.

This was the bully with the one-track mind (so said my mother, long before "x ${\displaystyle x}$with a one-track mind" became a thing); while his general desires seemed to align with most people of that age, he only seemed to consist of said desires and managed to connect absolutely everything to them. As if anyone else would do that. His conversations, whether or not they involved arm-punching, tended to float around the subject.

Chemistry was always a good lesson in which to have a conversation, as there was so much noise going on it was difficult for the teacher to listen in. The day before, my bully had managed to get a table-wide Q&A going about "what kind of sex you want to have", with three options that I'm failry sure were somewhat arbitrary:

(i) lying there absolutely still for "about 40 minutes" (NB. I have actually done this, and had an orgasm from it, so there!) - which is what I thought sex would be like anyway, so I chose that one;

(ii) just using your mouth - he didn't give any more details, which would have opened up a whole dialogue about what counts as sex, were we any older than 12;

(iii) "mad sex", ie. any sex involving movement, which was his sex of choice, and that of the girl sitting opposite him, with whom he kept claiming to want to have sex. Maybe he did, I've no idea. I didn't say much. If I did, he hit me on the arm.

He'd moved on to talking about crushes.
"You'd better tell me," he said threateningly, with a Joker-like grimace unfurling on his face. I suppose it was meant to be an ingratiating smile, but with my shoulder still smarting, he appeared to be a little more threatening.
I cast my eye around the class and fixated on the pretty, clever girl who sat next to me in Maths. Okay, I thought, she can be my crush; I'll make up some leading clues that he won't guess, but at least then he'll stop putting about that I'm gay.
"I'll tell you a letter," I said cunningly, "that's in her name, but that's all you're getting. It's a girl," I added, "if that helps."
"I'll guess," he said, confidently.

I gave him a vowel.
He hit me on the arm until I agreed to give him another letter.
I gave him another vowel.
He hit me on the arm until I agreed to give him another letter.
I gave him another vowel, upon which he worked out exactly who it was I was talking about.

Disaster. He was going to make it known that I fancied someone I genuinely didn't, which would be bad for me but even worse for her, because everyone I ended up fancying at school had an absolutely terrible time. I was, after all, generally disliked.

My mind raced about as fast as he was racing across the classroom to tell her. With about a microsecond to spare, I realised there was someone else, sitting on the same table, who had the right number of letters in her name and whose name contained the three I'd spelled out for him. I hauled him back, gave her as an alternative option (he told both of them), effectively doubling my problem but decreasing the efficacy of his taunts, as he no longer had a specific target to link me with.

Of course, both girls hoped that it wasn't them. As it was, truthfully, neither, I couldn't give an answer to either of their pointed, slightly desperate, questions - nor his. I needed, I reasoned, a distraction - invent someone to fancy who didn't go to our school, someone from primary or Woodcraft or nearby or something. I could claim to both bully and girls that I did, in fact, have a crush, but it was on someone else, and that I'd lied in the Chemistry lesson in order to stop getting hit on the arm.

I put this into practice in entirely the wrong way.

I'd been writing, for a couple of years, a series of fantasy books (short stories, really, but I wrote them in exercise books, so...) featuring a female protagonist named Harriet Harker. Harriet was brave and resourceful, the sole protector of a fantasy world (based mostly on Hyrule) against the rampages of the evil Lord Dark. Aided by her friends, a magical centipede and a renegade goblin, she always managed to save the day, Lord Dark's defeats always being accidental, such as his being swept away in a river, trapped under an avalanche, or having his entire castle blow up, forcing him to rebuild it. I'd brought these books, at one point, into school (as an "item of sentimental value" to display in RS), and everyone had read one.

So I put it about that the one I had a crush on was, in fact, Harriet. A fictional crush on a fictional person - it was perfect. At least it would divert suspicion away and restore the balance to normal, without any further dubious sexual malarkey from my bully, now he knew who it was(n't).

"Why couldn't you fancy a real person?" he yelled, next time I took my seat in Chemistry.
And, to show me just how wrong I was, he hit me on the arm.