Apologies for the long wait... I kind of lost my muse... To tell you the truth I lost all inspiration or desire to continue this story, which is why this last chapter probably seems choppy or maybe repetative.. but instead of taking it off the site (since there was only really one chapter left) I struggled to complete it. I hope you all haven't lost interest.
So, finally, I present to you, chapter 8!
Ralphie thumbed mindlessly on the cap of his Pepsi that he had just purchased at a nearby stand, staring at the dark brown liquid inside. He hadn't really wanted it; he had just bought it for the sake of doing something. He was pretty caught up in what he was doing with it though, just simply staring at it, the little bubbles sparkling in the bright light from the field lamps like little diamonds. It proved as quite a good distraction: he hadn't even noticed his soccer coach screaming at him to get off the bench when it was obvious he wasn't playing in this particular game. There was no way that he could have been so immersed however, that he couldn't fail to notice the gruff dark figure marching towards him.
"Woah... What happened to you?!" Ralphie asked, frowning at his best friend who had just stormed down the grass field and thrown himself on the bench that was also supporting the rest of the soccer team.
"Nothing," Carlos answered darkly. "What about you, you don't look very happy."
"Nothing," Ralphie said quickly. The two sat in an awkward silence for a few moments. Ralphie pushed the plastic of his Pepsi in and out; the crackling sound it made oddly satisfying.
"Why isn't Wanda with you?" Carlos asked suddenly.
Ralphie's mouth dropped open angrily. "Geeze Carlos, just because we're dating doesn't mean we have to be with each other every - "
"She's holding out on you?"
Ralphie choked on his own spit. "H - how'd you - "
"She told me she was planning to. Wondering if I knew how you'd take it."
"And what'd you say?!" Ralphie demanded.
"I don't know," Carlos answered, unscrewing the lid of his water bottle. "I have no idea..."
Ralphie didn't reply and sat on the bench a few minutes longer, looking at his fingers. Carlos was fidgeting slightly with the water bottle in his hands. Ralphie knew Carlos well enough to know that if his nerves were at an extreme before the games, he wouldn't be moving at all, resembling something closest to a statue. It looked like something else was bothering him this time.
He cleared his throat, completely at a loss of what to say next, so he simply wished Carlos a quick 'good luck' and went off to meet the others in the stands.
Only he didn't really want to meet any of them. They'd all be wondering and asking why Wanda wasn't with him. It was already known that the two of them would be arriving together. Or should have arrived together. He didn't want to have to go through any explanations. If he even had to give any explanations; Ralphie wondered how many other people aside from Carlos she had asked. Probably all of the girls. Maybe even Tim..
Ralphie stuffed his hands into his pockets angrily and kicked a loose rock on the ground. He was walking away from the grass field he realised. And was already making his way towards the center of the gravel field on the other side of the school. He stopped.
Ralphie bit his lip and turned back in the direction of the grass field. Wanda hadn't run in the direction of her house; she had run in the direction of the school. Was she still here there? Should he just suck it up and go talk to her? Ralphie was strongly tempted to go back and look for her, but his feet were also having trouble moving off the ground. He knew when he saw her he'd be at a loss of what to say, and it would just be awkward as hell. He hated it when he was in those situations. He'd miraculously managed to avoid them with Wanda since they started dating.
Ralphie swallowed and took one step towards the school. Then another, and another, and then he stopped again. The back doors of the school had just slammed shut; the noise made him jump. Ralphie turned his attention away from the field for a moment and saw the silhouette of Dorothy Ann running down the steps and onto the gravel field.
He frowned for a second; why was she leaving right before the game? "Hey! DA!" he shouted from halfway across the field. "DA!"
He saw her stop and turn. He broke into a jog so that he could catch up to her. "W - Why are you leaving so soon, the game's about to start," he panted as he caught up to her. He couldn't see her face properly, what with it already being eight o'clock and most of the school's lights illuminating the grass field on the other side, but could still tell she had been crying and felt startled.
"Er... What's up?" he asked, not sure what he was supposed to do next and mentally kicking himself for not just running back towards the grass field immediately.
"I'm going home," Dorothy Ann said, hiding her face behind her blond hair. Her voice sounded very stuffy. "I'm not feeling well." And she turned around and began to hurry off again.
Ralphie felt he should have probably followed her and tried to figure out what was wrong and comfort her and all that junk, but he really couldn't handle upset girls. Going back and straightening things up with Wanda however, was just something he'd have to do if he ever wanted to be happy with his life again.
He turned away from the retreating back of DA, and started running back towards the grass field.
Keesha chewed her now stale popcorn slowly; her eyes were on the game, but she wasn't really paying much attention to it. More of it was being given to the girl on her left who had shoved her way between her and Tim just before the start of the game. Arnold had asked Wanda tentatively, what was wrong. To which she had replied angrily, 'nothing!' before folding her arms, crossing her legs, and staring angrily out onto the soccer field. Everyone, including Keesha, had taken it as a sign that they weren't supposed to talk to her anymore if they didn't want any popcorn shoved up their nose.
Dully, she guessed that the problem probably lay with a dark haired Italian, but there was no way she would be asking Wanda about it anytime soon. She watched the game instead, wondering why she couldn't find Carlos on the field. He had been there earlier, she was sure of it..
DA was sitting in her room on her bed, all alone in the house, clutching a pillow tightly and holding it close to her chest as she rested her chin against the fabric. A book lay down in front of her as she sat cross legged; "Volcanoes and Earthquakes" was what it was called, and it was open to no page worth any particular interest to her. At least nothing written in ink. Inside it lay an old picture, though it had been preserved rather well, despite the slight yellow tinge on the corners.
Dorothy Ann closed her eyes as they filled with more tears. The picture had been taken when she had been in the third grade, at Ralphie's tenth's birthday. She could remember the day clearer than most, the picture obviously helping her recall the memory. She was standing in between her two best friends, Ralphie, who had a smudge of chocolate cake on one chubby cheek, and Carlos, who was the only one wearing one of those cone shaped birthday hats. The hat, though distracting as it was a violent shade of hot pink, was not what held her attention so intently. Carlos had his arm around her in the picture and she had her arm around his in turn, both were grinning widely at the camera. Carlos was holding two fingers above her head.
She stayed there, staring at the picture and whimpering into the fabric for several moments and felt like she could have done so until the end of time, wishing nothing more than to go back in time to when the picture was taken, where she didn't have to worry about the whole mess of boyfriends and girlfriends. Of crushes and not being able to take her mind off the boy that drove her crazy. She felt as though she could have just hid under the comforter until everything righted itself again, if only there had not been an interruption.
Suddenly, there was a loud thump on the her door. The reaction was almost instantaneous: Dorothy Ann jumped and felt her heart stop and her breath go shallow. There wasn't supposed to be anyone else in the house! Her parents had left for a movie and her sister was out with some friends. DA crumpled the tissue she had been holding in one fist and sat up straight, hardly daring to breath, staring at the white door. Whoever it was knocked again. She hadn't just imagined it. Her last hope faded away and Dorothy Ann just managed not to shout.
She dove under her covers, making as little noise as possible and prayed whoever it was would just leave. She even whimpered the word's 'please leave, please please...' softly and she closed her eyes shut and wished the nightmare to end.
The door thumped a third time. Dorothy Ann stifled a moan.
If her heart had been beating loudly before, it was nothing to how it was now. Dorothy Ann's eyes snapped open at the sound. The sound she could never mistake for anything else; the one she heard every night in her sleep, before she went to bed... The voice that always made her stomach jump into her throat whenever she heard it. Made her heart lift ever so slightly; one that she knew she couldn't live without..
A fourth knock.
"Dorothy Ann are you there?"
What was he doing here?!
"DA? I know you're in there, come on. Open up."
Dorothy Ann didn't answer, her heart in her throat, and her blanket wrapped tightly around her head as though it were a balaclava.
"DA, it's me - "
Well of course it was him! Go away! She wanted to shout the words out. But then he'd know for sure that she was in there. Why did she have to leave that blasted door unlocked downstairs?! Actually, now that she thought about it, she'd probably left it wide open in her distress when she came tearing into the house in the first place.
"DA... Please open up. I need to talk to you."
Dully, Dorothy Ann wondered what Carlos would think when he saw her, hidden underneath her blanket, pink eyes resembling the fabric, tears streaming down her face.
"Okay DA, fine, I'm opening it myself."
Dorothy Ann collapsed back onto her stomach and pulled the covers over her head. Maybe he wouldn't notice she was there.
"Three... two... "
Dorothy Ann did not move an inch, simply waiting...
"One - Okay, I'm coming in!"
She heard the doorknob turn and male footsteps enter. The steps stopped for a second, then continued towards her. As soon as they stopped again, Dorothy Ann felt her mattress sink a few inches as someone sat down next to her.
He knew she was there, it was too late; Dorothy Ann threw the comforter off of her. There was only one thing she wanted to say to him. One thing she need to make clear. And then, and only then, could she kick him back out of the house.
"I have not," she suddenly felt the rage bubbling up again, and she looked him straight into the eyes with her bloodshot ones, not caring if he noticed anymore, "kissed Gus. I never kissed him, and I never will." She glared at him, as if daring him to contradict her.
It was difficult to tell what Carlos was thinking, with the look of apathy he was giving her right now. He seemed to almost be looking past her. Dorothy Ann didn't care, she couldn't remember a time she felt angrier at him, couldn't remember feeling so much rage for something that seemed like it should have been so small and pointless. Couldn't remember ever being this close to screaming her guts out at him and demanding he leave her room this instant.
And then it happened before she had any idea what was going on. Before she was given any chance to react properly and before she could say what was really on her mind, she felt his lips crash into hers with such ferocity that her head was actually forced to move back slightly.
It wasn't how she expected it to be, nor how she had ever dreamed it to be, but she felt all the previous unhappiness and misery wash away from her with this single gesture. She let him linger, and she let her hand rise up to his face and cupped the side of his cheek. It was nothing like she had imagined it; it was better, but she had to make it stop. She had to know.
And so she pulled back and quickly asked before he could sweep her off her senses again, "Who - who won the game?"
"I dunno," said Carlos hoarsely, gasping for breath. "I left before the second half."
She eyed him carefully for a moment and she saw the look of desperation in his eyes.
"Dorothy Ann, the day I kiss Jill Green is the day I want you to kill me!" he said fiercely. "How could you even think - DA - "
"You left the soccer game - the final soccer game of the year - for me?" Dorothy Ann asked incredulously. The whole idea of it seemed almost too absurd.
"Couldn't concentrate." Carlos grinned, "Even you, who doesn't know anything about soccer, could tell I was playing horribly."
"I know more than you give me credit for!" DA insisted, but she couldn't help but smile. He continued to smile back at her and the two of them didn't move for a few seconds.
And when Carlos didn't initiate anything, Dorothy Ann finally took matters into her own hands, leaning forwards and kissing him in return. Now that it was done, and he was responding back so enthusiastically, she couldn't believe she would have thought this to have been so easy. But the fact that they had both lost so much time being stupid didn't bother Dorothy Ann, because she knew that this would not be the last kiss she'd be getting from him, and somehow knew that the time they had lost in the past would not be rued because she knew they had more than enough time ahead of them already.
Wanda. She was walking side by side with Tim, laughing at something he had just said. Arnold and Phoebe were walking steady in front of them, hand in hand. They had all planned to meet at the local pizza parlor after the game, and that's exactly where they were heading, exactly as promised.
Ralphie swallowed, and gripped the two little slips of paper tightly in his fist. He wanted to catch her and pull her away from the others before she had a chance to go inside. He quickened his pace, and his sneakers slid slightly on the damp grass and he hurried down a little knoll.
Too fast. He slipped and lost his footing and he slid down the rest of the hill. Ralphie heard the unmistakable sound of laughter in his ears and he jumped back onto his feet, his ears burning.
"Wanda," was all he managed to croak. He saw her look slightly surprised, and then look angry. She glared at him for a moment, before turning her attention back towards Tim.
"Wanda!" Ralphie shouted again and rushed across the street to meet her. He gave Tim a look that told him he wanted nothing more than to be alone with her, and Tim nodded and walked into the pizza parlor behind Phoebe and Arnold. Wanda crossed her arms and looked up at him through narrowed eyes.
"What?" she demanded in a low voice.
Ralphie swallowed. His hands fumbled for his pockets and he held out one balled fist, opening it slowly. He took a deep breath.
"I'm not just sticking around for the sex," he said firmly, looking her determinedly in the face. But she was no longer looking at him; her attention, as he had known it would, had strayed to the two little slips of paper that had been clutched in his fist. He saw her dark brown eyes widen and her expression change suddenly and he knew she had believed him.
"Ralphie," she whispered, almost speechless. She looked up at him, as if hardly daring to believe it. "Two tickets to Petrouska?!"
Ralphie nodded, and he suddenly broke out in a smile, encouraged by Wanda's own. Though she wasn't just smiling anymore. Her mouth had widened into the biggest grin she could have managed and she practically shouted with delight. Without further hesitation, she grabbed the tickets from his palm and threw her arms around him, burying her head into his chest. Ralphie returned the hug, and held her tightly. Words he desperately wanted to say were at the tip of his tongue, all it would take would be one last little bit of courage. But he didn't, it felt as though he didn't need to right now, so he stayed silent, and held the girl he loved as close as he could.
The pepperoni pizza was placed in the centre of the table that could comfortably seat eight, and promptly disappeared all but three seconds later. Keesha had only managed to grab one slice before the rest was hoarded by her ravenous friends. She frowned sadly at the one piece on her plate before turning to Ralphie.
"Ralphie! Don't hog it all!" she scolded, swatting him on the arm lightly. Ralphie had managed to place four pieces on his plate already, and one was already stuffed inside his mouth. Keesha grimiced with disguest.
"Yeah Ralphie," Wanda smiled and took one piece off of his plate before stuffing it in her mouth. Keesha felt her slight irritaion disappear as she watched the pair of them. Ralphie had picked up a bread stick was was now feeding it to Wanda. Earlier, the sight would have made Keesha vomit, but she hadn't liked what happened to Wanda after whatever spat she had had previous.
"Glad to see you two have made up," Keesha said happily. "And..." she shook her head, smiling, at the pair sitting across from her, holding hands underneath the table and waiting for the vegetarian pizza to arrive. "Congratulations you guys," she grinned.
Phoebe smiled back. Tim, who was sitting between the two best friends, rolled his eyes. "Wanda and Ralphie back together, Phoebe's now dating Arnold.. What's next - Carlos and - and - "
Alarmed at the expression that had suddenly appeared on Tim's face, Keesha whirled around in her seat so that she could see what he had.
The door of the pizza parlor opened and the little bell tied atop it jingled lightly. Tim's eyes widened and the pizza slice he had been holding drooped slightly.
But Keesha didn't find the sight nearly as alarming or surprising as Tim no doubt had. "Finally," was all Keesha muttered under her breath as the new pair joined the six at the table. Tim heaved a sigh next to her.
"Well, that settles it Keesha. You, me, tomorrow. Should I pick you up at seven or eight?"
Petrouska is a ballet, just incase anyone's unclear. And yay! It's finished:p Hope you all enjoyed the story. I have tons more plot bunnies floating around and I hope that maybe one will actually make it to this site soon!