Hey all! Kuruk here!
This oneshot is a response to Quaintly Modern's challenge on The Scarlet Sky's forum. It's basically a story where Rick isn't too nerdy or weird for someone. I, the canon-lover, chose Karen... :D Though in retrospect I could've done a nice Riclaire. Bummer.
Well, I did this one, and I like it so...
Disclaimer: I'm currently in a legal battle to get rights to Harvest Moon... but they're not yet mine... DRAT!
Out of My League
Some girls, like Ann, although she'll never admit it, find that stuttering of Cliff's adorable. Others, like Elli, find the whole professional 'boss-employee' she and Tim have hot. Some like Popuri like a guy that wears purple like Kai, I mean, who wouldn't? Some girls like Mary have it for the guys like Gray that are sweet and thoughtful underneath it all. And others, like Claire, find the whole 'green skin and not human' thing attractive.
Okay, I don't like any of these. While some of them are a bit attractive (and others not... I'll never understand Claire's, for one), I'll admit, none of them compare to mine...
I don't know why, but there's something about those things that just make me think a guy's hot.
I mean, what can I say? Glasses are hot.
For a while, I didn't think there were any guys in Mineral Town that wore glasses... except Won, but the guy's just creepy... the looks he gives me when I walk into his shop just make my skin crawl. Well, anyway...
So I didn't think that any guys in town wore glasses.
You have no idea how sad that is.
Well, turns out I was wrong...
Rick has glasses.
I couldn't believe it when I finally came to the realization. Maybe the whole 'best friend' thing blinded me to anything attractive about him, but it just so happens to be that my best friend since I was seven wore glasses.
You have no idea how happy that made me.
I mean, glasses are something I love in a guy, but said guy's no use when they're jerks. Rick had the whole package. He was a nice guy, protective, dependable. He had a big heart and cared for his mom a lot (in case you didn't know it, a guy who cares for his mom a lot is a keeper). His personality screamed 'Karen's-future-husband'! The fact that he looked a little nerdy helped a bit too (if you've ever seen Rick when he dresses up for, say, a wedding, you'll see how hot he looks... and that nerdy looks hot too.)
When I noticed this I felt like an idiot for knowing the guy practically all my life and not realizing it before...
But I soon found out that me realizing that I liked Rick and Rick realizing that he maybe liked me were two very different things.
Rick is, well... dense...
I''m not shy like Mary... but then again, I'm not as direct as Ann. I can be when I want to be... but in matter like this, I guess I'm a bit old-fashioned. Call me sexist, or whatever, but sometimes I think a man should be the one that first asks the girl out... which is why for the past year or so I've been breaking my back trying to make him realize that he likes me, and that I like him too, and maybe I want to be more than best friends.
Ugh! How much effort does it take him to catch on to my flirting!? I mean, I've done everything from bat my eyelashes at him to lean in a little and close my eyes for a kiss... the guy just stares at me and asks if there's something in my eye, or if I feel a little dizzy.
And people ask why I drink so much!
So after about a year of useless, one sided flirting, you'll understand why I'm sitting at the bar, once again practically drowning myself with beer.
And tonight I'm about to give up.
What can I say?
After this year of all this stuff I've been doing... I've started to think that maybe I'm out of his league.
I know, people would say that maybe I'm the one who's too good for him. Man, they couldn't be more wrong.
Rick is the kind of guy that totally dedicates himself to someone. If you're one of those people, then let me tell you, you're one of the luckiest in the world. Popuri and his mom, they're the luckiest people alive. Just because Rick loves them more than anyone else in the entire world.
And I, the people say can be on the cover of magazines, or walk the runway modeling the hottest designers' new line, or the newest, most successful artist who's music will make her filthy rich... will never compare to the type of person that Rick is.
Because if you look at all those things that people tell me... they're all so superficial. "Oh Karen," my own mom tells me sometimes, "You're so beautiful honey. You don't have to worry about anything. You're lucky."
Yeah, so lucky.
Ever wonder how it feels to know the only reason someone wants to be with you is because you're a hot chick they can show off? I've been to the city before, even let a few guys take me to dinner every now and then. Not once do they talk about anything about themselves, talk about anything else about me but how 'hot' or 'pretty' I am.
Rick's so different. Sure, when you look at Rick you may not see someone hot or a model on the cover of a fashion magazine... but it's so much easier for him. Because when people don't look at your 'beauty', they tend to look beyond it. They tend to look at who you are.
And then they tend to love you for who you are. Not like you for how you look.
That's why Rick is so out of me league. Not the other way around.
"Are you sure you want another?" Ann asks me, a concerned look on her face, hands on her hips.
"Yes," I said, looking at her through my bangs, "Just give me another one, Ann..."
Ann sighed and complied, taking my cup and taking it to the tap to begin to fill it. "You know Karen..." she says while the amber-colored liquid begins to fill the cup, "Usually when you drink... you're laughing and having fun. Now you're just," she shuts the tap and gives me a weird look, "Dead."
I give her a cold stare when she hands me the cup. "Whatever," I say dryly, not letting on how true her words are.
She just shrugged and walked off to refill Duke's drink. I sip my beer for a while, not really thinking of anything when someone takes the seat next to me and gives me a flirtatious smile. "Yo, Karen," he said.
It was Jack, Claire's partner on the farm. I gave him the closest thing I could to a grin. "Hey."
He smiles at me and calls Karen over. "Can I have what she's having, and get her a refill?"
I looked down at my drink and notice that it's already half gone. I let Ann take it from me, ignoring the glare she gave me. I sit in silence until Ann returns with the drinks, gives me one last glare and leaves us alone.
"So," Jack says smoothly, the tone of his voice unmistakably flirtatious, "What's up with you, here all alone on a Saturday night?"
I laugh, really laugh. "Oh? Do you expect someone to be here with me?" I ask dryly.
Jack laughs right along with me. "A pretty girl like you, yeah."
I tried not to show that what he said ticked me off, but by the way his expression changes I can tell that he noticed it bothered me.
But not exactly how. "Whoever isn't interested in you is an idiot," he states.
I sighed and downed the last of my beer. "He's out of my league."
Jack looks at me incredulously. "Yeah right. More like he's out of yours. Only a supermodel would be in your league. Everyone else is just lagging behind."
I was so tired of it. "Get to the point," I snap, "You saying you're in mine?"
Jack looks a bit taken aback, but he continued, a cocky grin on his face. "You tell me."
I don't remember exactly what it took for Jack to even get me leave the Inn with me, let alone halfway to his house, but I do remember what stopped me.
"Karen!? Where the heck are you going!?" a familiar voice yells angrily.
We're almost to his farm and when I look towards the Poultry Farm, there's Rick, storming over, looking like he'd just seen his sister making out with Kai or something. I tried to turn my face away from him in shame for some reason, but he stops right in front of me, hands on his hips.
I feel even worse than before. So far beneath him for letting him see me so pathetic that I'd let Jack convince me that he just needed me to walk him home.
"She's walking me home," Jack says with that cocky grin on his face. He wrapped his hand around my waist. At the same time Rick's eyes light up in anger, I snap. My fist lunges back and it makes contact with Jack's face. He cried out and fell back just as Rick basically lunged out at him, only to trip over Jack's fallen, crumpled body.
Despite myself-- my anger at Jack, my embarrassment at Rick seeing me like this, and my despair at everything, I laugh. I just can't help it.
Maybe it's the way Rick's glasses are askew as he looks up at me, his face torn between anger and surprise at my reaction.
Eventually Rick gets up, comes to my side, a bit protectively, then looks down at Jack angrily. "Don't you ever do that again! Take advantage of her! You do it and I'll... kick your ass!"
My eyes widen in shock as Rick grabs my hand and leads me towards the Poultry Farm.
Never... never had I heard Rick threaten anyone. Not even Kai. The worst he'd done to Kai was tell him he didn't want him to see Popuri anymore. He'd never backed that up with a threat...
Not to mention curse. I've never heard Rick curse.
Rick leads me past the clucking chickens and into his house. He sits me down on the couch and begins to pace back and forth in front of me, hands going through his hair wildly, jamming in his pockets. I just stare up at him, a little lost.
"Do you want anything?" he asks, a little frantic edge to his voice, "Of course you should eat something, you probably need something to offset the alcohol..." I could just look at him as he basically talks to himself, "What do you want to eat? All we have is eggs... I gotta go to the Supermarket later... get some stuff for mom... I was gonna go today but mom needed someone to take her to the Clinic and then I had to walk her home and I was concerned about letting you go to the Inn about yourself and Goddess damn it I was right!" he screamed the last part, complete with punching at the air.
I could only stare at him in shock as he continued. "Damn it! You always get drunk, and I know that there are jerks out there like Jack that would do something like that... I should've gone, darn it!"
I'm suddenly angry now. "Really? I'm not a kid, Rick. I can take care of myself."
He gives me a withering look. "Oh really?" he snaps, "It seems you can't take care of yourself when Jack is taking you home with him!"
I flinch at his words, and am filled with the sudden urge to make him feel worse than he made me feel. "Yeah, well, maybe I wanted to go with him."
Rick flinches and looks at me, wide-eyed. "Y-you didn't..." he murmurs.
I sigh. "Why the heck do you care, Rick?"
He looks away. "I'll go make you your eggs now."
I get up and follow him to the kitchen. "Why do you care, huh?" I insist, cornering him and shoving my finger at his chest.
He looks at me and the stairs. At me and the stairs. I raised an eyebrow and when he met my eyes with his own he did something right out of a romance novel. He took me in his arms and kissed me.
I was shocked. He was kissing me... which sorta implies that he likes me... and as all these things were going through my brain I was missing out on our first kiss and wow, it seems that guys always get the wrong signals, huh?
He pulled away, looking dejected. "S-sorry..." he slaps his palm to his forward, "I'm an idiot!" he cries, "I'm so sorry... Goddess. You were going home with Jack... why would you love me? Me. Oh Goddess I'm such an idiot."
So I did what any girl would do when faced with such a grave misunderstanding. I kissed him again.
Let's just say that I'm stronger than Rick. I hate to admit it, but I am. So when I grabbed him and kissed him, I crushed him to my chest and made the kiss very unenjoyable.
Rick's lips froze up against mine... so after a few seconds of this I let him go and turned my face away. "What...? You really are an idiot, you know that? You really haven't noticed what I've been doing for the past year?"
He's too shocked to answer me. Typical, typical dense Rick...
"I've been flirting," I explained, rolling my eyes, "For a year I've been hoping you'd notice how I felt... you idiot... I thought... that you were out of my league..." I murmured the last part, looking down at my shoes as if they were the most interesting thing in the world.
"O-o-out of m-m-my l-l-league...!?" he flounders, face aghast in surprise, "Karen... if it's anyone who's out of anyone's league here it's m-,"
My lips made contact with his again, but only for a moment this time. "Don't say that," I growled angrily, "You're not out of my league. You idiot."
Our eyes were meeting and everything we needed to say had been said and... and... I leaned in and closed my eyes...
"I'll go make you those eggs now," Rick said, looking happier than he'd been in a long, long time.
No freaking way! Not this time! I pulled him to me. "No way," I said, a smile on my face, "After this long overdue kiss, we're gonna have a talk about signals... because there's no way you're gonna go make me eggs when I want a kiss..."
And then I kissed him... all the while thinking that... some things never change. Like Rick being dense... but others do... like us being together and discovering that maybe, we are perfect for each other.
Love of alcohol and being dense and all.
A/N: Like? I liked writing it.
XD I borrowed the whole 'old-fashioned sexist' thing from one of my best friends. So I'm dedicating this story to her, lol. Though she probably won't read it. o.O
:D Please review! Hope you enjoyed it!