Want a balloon?

They are from totally different strata of society, her being the popluar IT-girl and him awarded "Geek of the Year" every year.
But could one day in the park, a break-up and a bunch of pink balloons change everything between the two?


1. *oneshot*

So, if you ask just about any guy my age what he likes to do on a sunny Sunday afternoon, he’d probably answer something like ‘hang with my friends’, ‘take my girlfriend to a picnic’ or ‘play some ball’. Those are things that average teenagers do.

And then there is me, in the park under a tree, reading and thinking about the greater meaning of life or the debts of the universe. I know what you are thinking “OMG what a nerd!”

Yeah, I know. Trust me, I do.

I just don’t know what to do. I’ve tried going with the wave of what is considered to be the only thing to do – but I just can’t. It’s not me.

So I can with pride tell you that I have been voted ‘Geek of the Year’ every single year of High School so far – and won every single year. Yay!  I just don’t know where to put all the oversized fake horn-rimmed glasses I’ve gotten as the prize…

I closed my book and moved further under the branches of the gigantic oak. I made my way to the trunk, leaned against it and enjoyed the colder climate in the shadows where the burning sun couldn’t reach me. As I sat there, I heard a pair of familiar voices as they came towards me. Alert, I pulled back my legs and curled up in the shadows, hidden.

Luckily, Grace and Michael didn’t see me. They were the popular couple of my year – her being the stereotypical, cheerleading, long-legged, blond-haired beauty, and him being the best quarterback of the team, the one with the biggest six-pack that could make every girl swoon, and the one who hosted the craziest parties in the backyard of his parents’ enormous mansion.

They were, in other words, the complete opposite of me. Especially Grace. Oh God, just peeking at her from under the tree made butterflies come to life in my stomach. I totally blamed myself for letting my feelings for her evoke. I mean, if I really had wanted to, I could (and should) have stopped them from arising already back in second grade when she’d asked me if she could borrow my pen and I’d given her my only one, smiling like asking for a pen was pretty much the same as a serenade declaring her love for me. I still kept that pen in a box under my bed.

They stopped just beside my tree, talking. At first, I was just paying attention to the sound of her voice, not caring to listen to the words. Then, I noticed there was an edge to both of their voices – anger, upset. I started paying attention to their words, too.

“… believe me. Nothing! I swear to God, Mikey. Nothing happened!” Grace was in the middle of a sentence.

“Yeah, it didn’t look like nothing on those pictures,” he scoffed. He was about to turn away.

“No, please hear me out, at least! I don’t know where you have those pictures from, or how they even exist. I’d never be unfaithful to you! I love you!” Grace was on the verge of crying now, her voice high-pitched.

“Sure,” Michael said. “But not enough. You just couldn’t help but jump right at that prick Logan, huh? The temptation was just too big? I am gone for one weekend and I come home to this. I’m done. We’re so over!”

He stomped away, leaving Grace alone. She didn’t run after him like they always do in movies. She simply sat down on the curb, as if the weight of what had just happened was too much for her legs to bear.

I slowly crept out from my hiding place, still hiding on the opposite site of the tree. As I stood up I looked around, trying to figure out what to do. That’s when I spotted a man a few steps behind me. He had a bunch of balloons bound to a wagon that said balloons 1 dollar. He looked at me with a glimpse of something in his eyes – he was probably wondering what I was doing hiding under a tree.

“Can I have all your pink balloons, please?” I asked impulsively.

He grinned, any “God-I-think-you’re-a-freak”-glimpse disappeared from his eyes as he started pulling down the balloons, making a bunch I could hold.

“Are they for a girl ya like?” he asked as I paid him.

“Uh, no.” I stuttered. “I just want to inhale the helium, that’s all.”

He shook his head and walked off, whistling a tune I didn’t know.

I looked at the pink balloons in my hands. They waved as a breeze swept by. What on Earth was I doing? I’d bought the balloons impulsively, but now I had no clue what to do. Had I been of the cool ones – the trendsetters, the idols, the fearless leaders, I’d have joined Grace on the curb, offering her the balloons.

That was what I wanted to do. But did I dare? How would she react? Would she think I was a complete fool? She probably didn’t even know my name.

I peeked out from behind the trees, eyeing her on the curb through the green leaves. She sat there, her head hidden in her hands. I turned around, taking a few steps in the opposite direction but the picture of her miserable figure burned at the inside of my eyes. That did it for me. I couldn’t just let her sit there alone. I was better than that.

I turned around, walking with steady steps. I walked past the tree and out on the path. She didn’t notice me at all even though I was mere meters from where she sat motionless on the curb. Slowly I walked over there. I sat down about three inches away from her, hiding the balloons the best I could behind my back.

“Hey,” I said, sounding as masculine as my voice could overcome. She looked up, confused. I was stunned by how beautiful she was. Her face was perfect, her makeup not the least bit out of order. Woah.

“What are you doing here?” she said, frowning. I bit my lip, unsure of what to say. Why was I really here? I felt like a complete idiot for even thinking she’d ever look my way.

“It’s just … I heard you and Michael fighting,” I stuttered. “I wanted to make sure you’re okay. He was being a serious ass.”

Oh God, I sounded like a total creep! ‘Hi, I have been following you and your boyfriend, listening to your conversations.’ Ew. She’d surely walk away now, telling me what a creep I was and never to get near her again.

That’s when I noticed her eyes. They were filling with tears. Her lip trembled. A moment passed, us looking into each other’s eyes. Then, she cleared her throat and looked up, the blankness in her eyes slowly disappearing. A hard look replaced the sadness.

“Whatever,” she said, turning around.

‘Not like I want to talk to you about this’, her posture said. I looked at her back for a few moments before talking again.

“Look,” I said. “I know that you probably see me as a freak who should not even be allowed to go near you. But the thing is, you really look like a person who needs to talk to someone.” She sighed.

“Please, Grace,” I said. “Just hear me out here. I’ve got something for you.” I pulled the balloons out from behind me. Slowly she turned her head. The tiniest hint of a smile turned her lips upwards.

“Want a balloon?” I asked, smiling. “Or, you know, a bunch. I’ve heard girls like that kind of thing, you know, like in the movies.”

The tiny smile grew a bit as she accepted the balloons. She turned a bit towards me.

“Thanks,” she whispered, looking up at the sun shining through the pink plastic. We sat like that for a moment.

“What happened between you and Michael?” I asked gently, breaking the silence. She looked at me again. She was so beautiful! I’d never seen her so close – or, you know, if you counted her picture in the yearbook, then I had. But the real her … It was almost as if I was hypnotized.

“It’s stupid, really,” she said. “He saw some picture of me and … some other guy. But it was not like that at all! I mean, I had been drinking too much, I didn’t know what I was doing. He just jumped at me and I tried pushing him off, apparently someone took a picture … As I said, it’s just a stupid mistake. I’m sure it’ll all be okay. It’ll be fine. Just fine”

Her voice got quieter and quieter. She looked down. “Or so I hope”.

“I’m sure it will,” I confirmed. How could I not agree with her when it was clear she was close to a breakdown? Another silence occurred. I wondered what she was thinking about, a small crease in her forehead. She was looking forward at a lawn where a few kids were playing. I noticed she shot me a few glances.

This time, she was the one to break the silence.

“You’re really easy to talk with,” she said, smiling a bit. My heart started beating faster as if I’d just run a marathon. I smiled back; pretty sure I looked like a silly idiot or something like that.

“Thanks,” I said. “You’re pretty easy to talk to, too.”

Her smile grew. Her eyes were so beautiful! I could just stare at them forever. They were this deep blue color, but with some green spots. Just adorable …

I noticed that Grace was blushing. I’d been staring at her for some time. I looked down, embarrassed, and cleared my throat.

“Well,” she said. “Do you want to go grab an ice cream?”

“Yeah!” I said. I couldn’t believe what she’d just said! I’d never said a word to her until a few minutes ago and now she was practically asking me out! (Or, you know … almost) Way to go, dude!

I set off from the curb, standing up. Then I reached my hands down to help her up. She stretched out her arms, opening her hands. Then, the balloons flew away, up in the sky.

I took both her hands, gently pulling her up on her feet.

She didn’t let go of me as we stood, watching the balloons fly higher and higher into the blue sky.

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