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Pea Soup for the Cynic's Soul

The Nervous Moment

Ron let his chin sink deeper into the cradle of his hands, sighed, and blinked wearily. The words of his English teacher were starved of attention; all he could think about was Allison, sitting two rows up and one aisle over. He couldn't see her face, of course, but her beautiful brown hair held him captive. In just another week, they would graduate, part ways, and Ron's chances to overcome his timidity would be gone.

He loved her fiercely, loved her warm smile and fluttery laugh, the elegance of her poise, and the crystal clear dewdrops of her eyes that seared his heart. But he was too shy to tell her about it -- curse that shyness -- and could only sneak sidelong glances at her when her head was turned.

The bell rang, jolting Ron to his senses. The end of another day. As usual, Ron and Allison would wait just outside the school's doors with the others who had to wait for rides. As usual, Ron and Allison would be the last ones to be picked up, and as usual, they would stand apart, wordlessly.

What heartbroken teenager could ask for a better opportunity than a quiet moment alone to strike up a conversation? Time and again, Ron had tried to break the ice, but his voice always caught in his throat. Then the moment would be over, and the opportunity lost. He'd try again tomorrow.

But he was running out of tomorrows.

Ron stood quietly amid the clamor of students just let out of school. He could feel his pulse pounding within him, in every extremity, and his heart felt like it would burst from his chest. He draw up his hand, extended his fingers, and tried to hold them steady. They quivered. He hated that.

What would she say? was always the burning question. He wasn't afraid of a mocking exclamation from her -- she had too much class for that -- but he didn't think he could take a false if polite mask of cordiality from her. The thought was too much to bear.

All this only served to make Ron more nervous. He turned his thoughts to other things and forced himself to calm down inside. The crowd was thinning now, and cars and buses were pulling out of the parking lot. The time was near. After an exasperatingly long time, yet sooner than he wished, they were alone.

He stole a glance. She was leaning against the wall beside the door, book pack at her feet, gazing casually into the parking lot. She was beautiful, Ron noted for the trillionth time, but what attracted him most was the life and enthusiasm in her eyes.

Talk to her, he told himself. Talk to her. But the more he urged himself, the more nervous he got, and with a sudden fear, he knew his failure would last another day.

No, he told himself, and something within him snapped. What could he lose? What could be worse than never approaching her at all? How much of his life would be spent wondering what would have happened if only he hadn't been so scared?

And then he realized something about himself. He wasn't shy. He was scared. It wasn't timidity that held him back but plain old fear.

If the thought of talking to Allison scared him, running with his tail between his legs displeased him more. Before his nerves could stop him, he turned and walked straight toward her.

He had done this before. He had tried to talk to her first by approaching her, to commit himself to his course of action without having to speak. It hadn't worked. He had backed out at the last second, pretended to be walking somewhere else, and passed her. In reality, he had nowhere to go and merely waited on the other side of the school building until her mother picked her up. But he would not do that again.

Allison looked up at him, and in that moment, Ron knew there was no turning back. His stomach was churning, and his fingers were twitching wildly. He thrust his hands into his pockets and hoped it didn't show.

"Hi," he said, and he could scarcely believe he had spoken. Had he, or was he just standing there like a dumb idiot?

"Hi," she returned warmly and smiled.

Oh my gosh.

"Uh," Ron said and realized to his utmost horror he hadn't the faintest clue what he was going to say. "I...just wanted to, uh, see if you were...ok." What the heck? Suddenly he felt foolish, and he knew only too well that this would be one of those moments he would remember for the rest of his life and wish he would forget.

"I'm fine," Allison said with a questioning look.

Ron nodded thoughtfully. "Ok," he said.

Now what? Turn around and walk back? He almost did but realized that would be just as awkward as standing there silently. Besides, the ice was broken. If he left now, he knew he'd never be able to break it again. What an embarrassing conversation this was so far.

"Um," Ron stammered one final time, and then the words just seemed to flow. "You know, I've been watching you for...I mean, not, like, watching you, but I wanted to, I've been trying to ask you for a while, uh...would you like to...go to the movies sometime?" He took a deep breath.

"Of course I would," Allison said, smiling even broader than before.


"You don't know how long I've been waiting for you to ask."

"Really?" Ron exclaimed, too delighted to contain himself.

"I've liked you for a long time, Ron," Allison explained, moving closer. "I used to hope above all hope that you would talk to me and ask me out. I never had the courage to do it myself."

"I -- I had no idea," Ron blurted, soaring in a dreamlike euphoria. "This is wonderful. Allison," he said, pausing at her name and savoring its taste. "Allison, I like you...a lot."

"I like you a lot, too," Allison said solemnly, looking at Ron with those piercingly beautiful eyes. Subconsciously, the two moved closer together. Ron felt the gentle warmth of her breath against his chin. His hands were still quivering in his pockets, but he no longer cared.

"I love you," Ron corrected, his voice low and even in spite of his inward elation.

"I love you, too," Allison breathed, and before Ron could question what he was hearing, their lips were pressed together. She kissed him firmly, wrapping her arms about his neck pulling him close.

"We've lost so much time," she said when their lips parted.

"I know," he replied, resting his forehead against hers. Somehow, his arms were around her; the realization was too much for him to contain. He hugged her tightly and gloried in her embrace. "I'm so happy!" he exclaimed, tears welling in his eyes.

"You've made my dreams come true!" Allison cried, moisture streaming down her cheeks.

"I love you!" Ron repeated, and Allison repeated it back. "Let's get married!" Ron blurted.

"Right now?" Allison replied in excited surprise.

"Right now. Let's run away together and elope."

"I'll never find anyone as wonderful as you," Allison said. "You're greater than my wildest dreams. Of course I'll marry you."

Ron had never been happier in her life, and he could tell from the look in Allison's eyes that she hadn't, either. Ron didn't know there had been that much happiness in the whole world. It was a miracle.

"Let's go," Ron said, holding her hand and leading her away. Allison jogged after him, their school books forgotten. What did they matter? They were in love, and they would be married and never be apart again!

"I love you so much!" Ron and Allison said together.

With high hopes and romantic dreams, Ron and Allison charged into the road, and a big truck ran them over dead.