Rules of Attraction(6)

By: Simone Elkeles

“Who made up those rules?”

“Me. These are Tuck Reese’s Rules of Attraction. First, we start with personality. You’re smart, funny, and sarcastic,” he says, listing each one in the notebook.

“I’m not sure all of those are good things.”

“Trust me, they are. But wait, I’m not done. You’re also a loyal friend, you love a challenge more than most guys I know, and you’re a great sister to Brandon.” He looks up when he’s done writing. “The second part is your skills. You know about fixing cars, you’re athletic, and you know when to shut up.”

“That last one isn’t a skill.”

“Honey, trust me. It’s a skill.”

“You forgot my special spinach and walnut salad.” I can’t cook, but that salad is an all-time favorite.

“You do make a killer salad,” he says, adding that to the list. “Okay, on to the last part— physical traits.” Tuck looks me up and down, assessing me.

I moan, wondering when this humiliation will end. “I feel like I’m a cow about to be auctioned.”

“Yeah, yeah, whatever. You’ve got flawless skin and a perky nose to match your tits. If I wasn’t gay I might be tempted to—”

“Eww.” I slap his hand away from the paper. “Tuck, can you please not say or write that word?”

He shakes his long hair out of his eyes. “What, tits?”

“Ugh. Yes, that one. Just say boobs or breasts, please. The ‘t’ word just sounds so . . . vulgar.”

Tuck snorts and rolls his eyes. “Okay, perky . . . breasts.” He laughs, totally amused. “I’m sorry, Kiara, that just sounds like something you’re gonna barbeque for lunch or order off a menu.” He pretends my notebook is a menu as he recites in a fake English accent, “Yes, waiter, I’d like the barbequed perky breasts with a side of coleslaw.”

I throw Mojo, my big blue teddy bear, at Tuck’s head. “Just call ’em privates and move on.”

Mojo bounces right off him and lands on the floor. My best friend doesn’t miss a beat. “Perky tits, scratch. Perky breasts, scratch.” He makes a big deal of crossing both those out. “Replace with . . . perky privates,” he says, writing each word down as he says it. “Long legs, and long eyelashes.” He eyes my hands and wrinkles his nose. “No offense, but you could use a manicure.”

“Is that it?” I ask.

“I don’t know. Can you think of anything else?”

I shake my head.

“Okay, so now that we know how fabulous you are, we need to make a list of what kind of guy you want. We’ll write this on the right side of the page. Let’s start with personality. You want a guy who is . . . fill in the blank.”

“I want a guy who’s confident. Really confident.”

“Good,” he says, writing it down.

“I want a guy who’s nice to me.”

Tuck continues writing. “Nice guy.”

“I’d like a guy who’s smart,” I add.

“Street smarts or book smarts?”

“Both?” I question, not knowing if it’s the right or wrong answer.

He pats me on the head like I’m a little kid. “Good. Let’s move on to skills.” He shushes me, stopping me from contributing. Fine by me. “I’ll write this part down for you. You want a guy who has the same skills as you have, and then some. Someone who likes sports, someone who can at least appreciate your interest in fixing up that stupid old car of yours, and—”

“Shoot.” I jump off my bed. “I almost forgot. I need to go into town and pick up something from the auto-body shop.”

“Please don’t tell me it’s fuzzy dice to hang on your rearview mirror.”

“It’s not fuzzy dice. It’s a radio. A vintage one.”

“Oh, goodie! A vintage one, to match your vintage car!” Tuck says sarcastically, then claps a bunch of times in fake excitement.

I roll my eyes at him. “Wanna come with?”

“No.” He closes my notebook and shoves it back in my desk. “The last thing I want to do is hang around and listen to you talk about cars with people who actually care.”