Kody Keplinger: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend

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Kody Keplinger The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
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    The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend
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Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn't think she's the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She's also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her "Duffy," she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren't so great at home right now. Desperate for a distraction, Bianca ends up kissing Wesley. And likes it. Eager for escape, she throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with Wesley. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out that Wesley isn't such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she's falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.

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I guess my eyes lost contact with my brain, because the next thing I knew, I ran smack into Wesley Rush.

That was the end of my good mood.

I stumbled backward, and all of my textbooks slipped from my arms and crashed to the floor. Wesley grabbed me by both shoulders, his large hands catching me before I had the chance to trip over my own feet and slam into the tile.

“Whoa,” he said, steadying me.

We were standing way too close to each other. I felt like I had bugs crawling under my skin, spreading from the places where his hands touched me. I shivered with disgust, but he misread it.

“Wow, Duffy,” he said, looking down at me with a cocky grin. He was really tall-I’d forgotten that, sitting next to him at the Nest the other night. He was one of the only boys in our school who was taller than Casey-at least six two. An entire foot taller than me. “Do I make you weak in the knees?”

“As if.” I twisted out of his grasp, fully aware that I sounded like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless but just not caring. I knelt down and began to gather my books, and to my intense displeasure, Wesley joined me. He was playing the Good Samaritan role, of course. I bet he was hoping some hot cheerleader, like Casey, would walk by and think he was being a gentleman. What a pig. Always looking to score.

“Spanish, huh?” he said, glancing down at the scattered papers as he grabbed them. “Can you say anything interesting?”

“El tono de tu voz hace que quiera estrangularme.” I stood up and waited for him to hand over my papers.

“That sounds sexy,” he said, getting to his feet and handing me the stack of Spanish work he’d swept together. “What’s it mean?”

“The sound of your voice makes me want to strangle myself.”


Without another word, I jerked the papers from his hands, tucked them inside one of my books, and stomped off to class. I needed to put as much distance between myself and the womanizing bastard as possible. Duffy? Seriously? He knew my name! The egotistical jackass just couldn’t let me be. Not to mention my skin was still itching where he’d touched me.

Mr. Chaucer’s AP government class consisted of only nine students, and seven of them were already in the room by the time I walked through the door. Mr. Chaucer gave me a dirty look through his squinting eyes, impressing upon me that the bell would ring any second. To be late was a felony in Mr. Chaucer’s opinion, and to be almost late constituted a misdemeanor. I wasn’t the last one to show up, though. That helped a little.

I took my seat in the very back of the room and started to open my notebook, hoping to God that Mr. Chaucer wouldn’t call me out on my near tardiness. With my current mood, there was no guarantee I wouldn’t start cussing at him. He didn’t, and we were both saved the drama.

The last student entered just as the bell rang. “Sorry, Mr. Chaucer. I was putting up signs promoting next week’s inauguration ceremony. You didn’t start already, did you?”

My heart skipped a beat when I looked up at the boy who’d just come in.

Okay, so I’m not quiet about the fact that I hate teenagers who date in high school and constantly rant and rave about how much they “love” their boyfriend or girlfriend. I freely admit that I hate girls who say they love someone before they’ve dated them. I don’t hide the fact that, in my opinion, love takes years-five or ten at least-to develop, and high school relationships seem incredibly pointless to me. Everyone knew this about me… but nobody knew that I was almost a hypocrite.

Well, okay, Casey and Jessica knew, but that didn’t count.

Toby Tucker. Aside from the tragic alliteration, he was perfect in every single way. He wasn’t a testosterone-loaded football player. He wasn’t an overly sensitive guitar-playing hippie. He didn’t write poetry or wear eyeliner. So he probably wouldn’t have been classified as the typical hottie, but that worked in my favor, right? Jocks, guys in bands, and Emo boys didn’t look twice at-as Wesley would have so delicately worded it-the Duff. I probably had a better chance with intelligent, politically active, somewhat socially awkward guys like Toby. Right?

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Toby Tucker was my perfect match. Unfortunately, he wasn’t aware of this fact. That was mostly because I lost my ability to form coherent sentences every time he got close to me. He probably thought I was mute or something. He never looked at me or spoke to me or even seemed to notice me in the back of the room. For a girl with such a fat ass, I felt pretty invisible.

I noticed Toby, though. I noticed his outdated yet adorable blond bowl cut and his pasty ivory skin. I noticed his green eyes beneath the lenses of his oval glasses. I noticed that he wore a blazer with everything, and I noticed the adorable way he bit his lower lip when he was thinking really hard about something. I was in… okay, not love, but definitely like. I was deeply in like with Toby Tucker.

“Fine,” Mr. Chaucer muttered. “Just keep an eye on your watch tomorrow, Mr. Tucker.”

“Sure thing, sir.”

Toby took a seat in the front row next to Jeanine McPhee. Like a stalker, I listened in on their conversation while Mr. Chaucer started writing the lecture notes on the whiteboard. I’m not normally such a creep, but lo-like makes people do crazy things. At least that’s the popular excuse.

“How was your weekend, Toby?” Jeanine asked through her constantly stuffy nose. “Did you do anything exciting?”

“It was pretty good,” Toby said. “Dad took Nina and me out of state. We toured the University of Southern Illinois together. That was fun.”

“Is Nina your sister?” Jeanine asked.

“No. Nina’s my girlfriend. She goes to Oak Hill High School. Didn’t I tell you about her? Anyway, we both got accepted there, so we wanted to check it out. I’m looking at a few other schools, but we’ve been together for a year and a half, and we kind of want to attend the same school to avoid the long-distance issue.”

“That’s sweet!” Jeanine cried. “I’m actually considering just doing some classes at OHCC before I decide what university I’ll go to.”

My skin had stopped crawling, but now my stomach was doing sickening somersaults. I thought I was going to vomit, and I had to fight the urge to run from the room with a hand cupped over my mouth. Eventually, I won the battle to keep my breakfast where it belonged, but I still felt pretty shitty.

Toby had a girlfriend? For a year and a half? Oh my God! How had I missed that? And they were going to college together? Did that mean he was one of those stupid, mushy romantics I mocked on a daily basis? I’d expected so much more from Toby Tucker. I’d expected him to be just as skeptical about the nature of teenage love as I was. I’d expected him to see college as a huge decision, not one that should be swayed by where your boyfriend/girlfriend got accepted. I’d expected him to be… well, smart!

He wouldn’t date you, anyway, a voice in my head hissed at me. It sounded uncannily like Wesley Rush’s unnerving whisper. You’re the Duff, remember? His girlfriend is probably thinner with bigger boobs.

It wasn’t even lunch yet, and I already wanted to jump off a cliff. Well, okay, that was overdramatic. I definitely wanted to go home and go to bed, though. I wanted to forget Toby had a serious girlfriend. I wanted to wash the feeling of Wesley’s hands off me. Mostly, though, I wanted to erase the word Duff from my memory.

Oh, yeah, and things got worse that day, too.

Around six o’clock that night, the guy on the news started talking about some big snowstorm that would show up in the “early morning hours.” I guess the school board took pity on us since we hadn’t had a single snow day so far, because they went ahead and canceled classes before the storm even hit. So Casey called at seven-thirty and insisted that we go to the Nest, since we didn’t have to get up early the next morning.

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