Note: This was written a long time ago. way before I realized the full potential of my misanthropy. And before I realized that this never happens in real life. I have thought about rewriting it with a different ending but it’s just too precious to change. And it got me an A in Creative Writing!

 

Vanilla Malted

Kim slowly opened the front door of the diner. Taking a quick glance around, she spotted her friends in a booth at the far corner. She walked over to them, strolling past the group of boys that were huddled over the jukebox. She lowered her head as she passed; she didn’t want them to notice her.

“Hi, everyone,” she said as she slid into the booth squashing her two friends, Jane and Anne, against the wall. “That test today was so hard. I’m so glad it’s over. And did you hear who got suspended today!”

“Do you guys see who’s over there, Kim?” Anne asked as she tried to squeeze her arm free. “It’s Joey!”

Kim nonchalantly turned her head. “So,” she answered, “he doesn’t even I’m alive. We could be the only two people stuck in an elevator and he wouldn’t talk to me.” She paused, changing the subject. “Joanna got suspended today. She got into a fight in Gym. She punched Michelle so hard that her pinky nail got stuck in Michelle’s cheek.”

“Why are you so negative?” Kim’s friend, Rachel asked, completely ignoring her story. “You’re smart, pretty and fun to be with. What else could a seventeen-year-old boy ask for?”

“Not just any seventeen-year-old,” added Jane, “he’s captain of the Lacrosse team and the baseball team.”

“So,” Kim answered again. “What would a jock want with me? I’m a straight A student and I’m on the Debate team. I’m not into sports. I’m not even a cheerleader. The jocks always date the cheerleaders. His girlfriends have all been cheerleaders. He probably thinks I’m a nerd.”

Rachel threw a French-fry at her. “You’re not a nerd,” she told Kim. “Would we hang out with you if you were a nerd? Anyway, he has every reason to like you just as much as any of those stuck up cheerleaders.”

Kim laughed. “He probably doesn’t even know my name. He only knows me as the girl-who-answers-all-the-questions-in Chemistry.”

“Ok!” Jane exclaimed. “Then why is he looking over here right now?”

Kim turned her head, obviously looking at Joey. She turned back around quickly hoping he didn’t notice her. “He’s probably looking at one of you guys.”

No he’s not,” Rachel said with excitement. “He is definitely looking at you. There’s no question about it.”

Kim looked again. Joey was looking at her! She gave him a slight smile. He returned a wave. Her face turned red. As much as she wanted to turn away, she couldn’t take her eyes off him. She was sure she looked like an idiot.

“Did you see that?” Anne screeched.

Kim kicked her under the table. “Shut-up, he’s gonna notice.”

“He just waved at you,” Anne kicked her back, “I think he’s noticed already.”

Kim was still blushing. Even if Joey never looked at her again, she would always remember his wave. She would always remember the brief encounter in the soda shop.

The girls ordered another round of sodas as an excuse to see if Joey did anything else. He continued to around with his friends, studying the jukebox. The girls gossiped as they kept a look out from the corner of their eyes.

“Ya know he broke up with Julie,” Jane said. “I heard that she liked his older brother. He caught them fooling around in the basement.”

Kim shook her head. “I heard Julie telling Lori in gym class that she broke up with him.”

“That’s perfect,” Rachel said, sipping her soda, “now you can make your move.”

“I’m not doing anything,” Kim said. “I already told you he doesn’t even know that I’m alive. And, anyway, according to Gail, he likes Teri.”

“I heard he likes Sharon.” Anne questioned.

“No,” Kim corrected her, “Sharon likes him, but he doesn’t want anything to do with her. She’s been with half the football team.”

“Look,” Rachel pointed excitedly, “his friends are leaving.”

Kim turned around again. He was at the door saying good-bye to his friends. He was now alone. She stared at him. She was amazed by his rugged, yet somehow gentle looks. He had on his Lacrosse jersey; Number 10. She loved the way it hung off his wide shoulders.

She continued to stare at him. She didn’t care if noticed. She stared at the way his brown hair just covered his ears. She stared at the way his jeans were bagging in the rear. She stared at his white high top sneakers. She continued to stare at his double knotted laces as he started to walk over.

“Snap out of it,” Rachel told her. “Here he comes.”

“Hi,” he shyly said to the girls as he reached the table. He focused on Kim. “It’s Kim, isn’t it?” he asked her.
“Yes, it is,” she answered through the lump in her throat. She wanted to take a drink, but was afraid she would spill it all over herself.

He shuffled his feet. “I was just wondering if you did tutoring?”

Kim sat up straight. She was talking to Joey. Her friends were silent. “What do you need help in?” she asked, her palms sweating.

“Well,” Joey started, “I know you’re good in Chemistry and with the test coming up, I was wondering if you could help me?”

This was what she’d been waiting for her whole life. “Sure, when is a good time for you?”

“Joey looked around. “How ‘bout right now. We can study here and then I can give you a ride home,” he paused, “if that’s OK with you.”

Kim looked at Rachel who was shaking her head “yes” She picked up her books and slid out of the booth. “Where?” she asked.

“Is my table alright? I’ll treat to you something. Do you want anything?”

Kim smiled. “How about a vanilla malted. It’s my favorite.”

 

 

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