Disclaimer: I own nothing.
The One That I Want
Petrified. Jean Havoc was petrified. In fact, he was shocked he was still moving, still breathing. His palms were sweating and he felt a bit shaky as he tried desperately to recall how exactly he had ended up in this situation…oh yeah, his no good friends, their dumb ideas, and peer pressure. He should have listened in grade school when everyone kept telling him never give in to peer pressure, it only leads to bad situation. No, not bad situations, terrible situations, he could only call this a terrible situation, potential social suicide.
'Oh no, oh crap, no. I can't do this.' He swallowed, his hands suddenly going numb. 'She's coming my way. Why am I here?'
He should have been asking himself why he was still moving towards her and not booking it in the other direction. Coming his way was the beautiful, talented, athletic, gift from the heavens, Bridgette Sprinkle. He cursed his friends to every level of hell for talking him into this. Why, why did he list to them? He'd love to turn around, go back, NO, run back but his traitorous legs seemed to be working to complete the mission assigned to them even without his permission. 'Damn you legs. Damn you military school.'
He paused, partially hiding behind a group a group of chattering freshmen. He watched as she broke away from her circle of friends, laughing and waving, to travel to her next class. It was only then as the pack of giggling girls began to separate that he spotted the true source of his anxiety: Celestial Gardens, or as most of the students called it the spring formal.
'I hate school dances.' Jean thought. He hated school dance on the same level that he hated being a nerd, which was also the level on which he hated being that guy friend who was just like a brother but girls just don't see you as dating material. His shoulders dropped and he let out as sigh as he threw himself a brief pity party. 'I hate my life.'
Lifting his head up he decided to cement his place in loser history and finish his task in shame of being rejected by with his honor for going through with it. He even gave himself a pep talk as he waited for Bridgette's approach. And as fate would have it, of course, it was always just his luck, she decided to go up the opposite side of the hallway.
'Who does that?' He growled in irritation as he bolstered his courage before beginning the battle to cross sea of moving people to the other side of the hallway, "her side" of the hallway. Contrary to popular belief, this was no easy task, certainly no walk in the park. There were the infamous groups of chatterboxes that wouldn't let you through, the roller-backpacks-of-tripping-the-innocent-doom, and of course the general flow of people going up and down the hall way. Not across!
'This whole this is absurd, stupid, I don't even like school dances so why do I need a date.' Jean always liked denial; it was so much easier than the truth. The truth was Jean rather enjoyed school dances he just hated the twenty or more rejections prior to some poor girl with an equally sad love life taking pity on him or having a friend call in a sister or friend or other girl with nothing better to do. It would also be easier if that were the whole truth, his love life probably wouldn't be so sad if it weren't for Roy-Evil-Jerk-Face-Mustang! It would also be easier if the two weren't such good friends, then he could hate him without feeling like such a heel later. 'If Mustang would just choose a damn date so the cute girls would stop rejecting everyone while the rest of us wait to find out if he's planning to ask them or not, I might actually get a date!' To make it worse, Mustang had a girlfriend. The problem, they broke up so often other girls actually stood a chance for the intermissions.
Jean had made it to the other side of the hall and was now directly in the path of glory, also known as the path Bridgette was taking to class. He stuffed his hands in his pockets since he wasn't quite sure what else to do with them at this time. Dumb move. Now he wasn't quite sure what to say and he was standing in the way, stopping her from going anywhere. He scanned his brain for any cool ways to bring his hands back out so that he'd have access to the "suave opening lines" Mustang had suggested he use. He cursed himself for putting his hands in his pockets and denying himself the availability of the words hurriedly scrawled across his palm. 'Damn it. Okay, just think, think. Something cool, something suave, something not stupid.'
"… Um … Hi …" He said and then wanted to smack himself, seriously uncool. 'Is that really all I've got? I couldn't have at least said hey or what's up … No, I went with the mega lame, hi, freaking hi. Argh, so lame. Fuck my life. Why does all the good stuff come to me afterwards? DAMNIT!'
"Hi." She smiled.
Jean grinned, 'Well, at least, she didn't just roll her eyes and walk away.' Unfortunately he wasn't quite sure what to say next. He had been obsessing over his lame intro and had completely forgotten the entire practice conversation he'd gone through with Mustang and Breda earlier. He managed to, at the very least, not chew on his lower lip or rock on his feet as was his usual habit in awkward situation. He grasped desperately at every corner of his mind for something to say. His eyes wandered over to the banner advertising the dance and then back to her.
"Um…" He hummed, stalling for time. He needed words. He didn't have a single cool thing to say so he went back to cursing his existence when the sound of giggling caught his attention. Not just anyone's giggle but the giggle of Bridgette Sprinkle. He paused in shock. 'She giggled?' It wasn't one of those "I'm laughing at you because you're such a loser" but one of those "hey you're kind of cute" giggles that often followed Mustang where ever he went.
"You're Jean Havoc, aren't you?" She grinned.
'Score! Easy question, you can't screw this one up, Jean. It's a simple yes, now say it.' Saying it was one thing, saying it and not sounding like a dork was another. He was trying desperately to contain his excitement and appear cool as he responded.
"Yeah, that's me, Jean…Havoc. And, uh, you're, uh, Bridgette Sprinkle, right?"
Rule #1 (according to Roy Mustang): Don't seem over eager, play it cool, like it's just coincidence that you're at the same place at the same time.
"Yeah, I am. You run in the park, don't you?" Bridgette smiled.
This was great. She'd noticed him. He hadn't noticed that she'd noticed him but apparently she had seen him running. He would have gasped out loud if it wouldn't have scared her off. It hit him as a shock, this wasn't just great, it was freaking amazing. He may not be exceptionally suave but he was physically fit and could match Roy in the gym any day, in fact, he was often better in that aspect since he was more brawn than brain and Roy was the direct opposite. In fact, once he'd been told he had a rather impressive physique by a girl. If he wasn't always so depressed from being rejected so often he might be in the gym enough to actually catch a girl's eye but none of that was important right now. He needed to focus. She had noticed him and had had a massive crush on her which meant if the stars were aligned in his favor, he might actually get a date for the date without being crushed twenty or more time prior to the dance.
"Uh, yeah. I go every morning and sometimes at night. I have to stay in shape and be able to handle the distance if I want a good review for the military." He replied.
"That's so cool, you've seem like you've got it all figured out. I like a man with a plan."
"Really? Because I love to plan. I'm a planner extraordinaire. I'm putting it on my resume and everything." He babbled.
She giggled again but this time Jean could swear it was a more flirtatious giggle. 'For the love of all that's good and right, please let that be a flirtatious giggle.'
"But, uh, hey, where about do you hang out? I've never seen you at the park." He said. Lie.
"I'm there every morning with my coach. I play tennis and since I'm in so many clubs after school we practice early in the morning. If I don't go pro then I plan to join the military as well." She shrugged.
"Oh really?" He faked surprise, still lying. "That's cool."
He wasn't lying about the tennis being cool. In fact, he rather enjoyed goofing around on the courts with his friends if they happened to be in a mood for tennis. He was lying about the fact that he was very aware that she practiced with her coach every morning. In fact he knew which court she played, the type of racket she used, the brand of the balls she played with, and the designer of her shoes. She had a wicked serve and was quite agile and to top it off, he would swear on his life that she didn't sweat.
"Yeah, I really like the game my dad got me into it as a kid."
"Well that's extra cool. It would seem we both have plans. What are the odds of that?"
She was giving him an odd look and as he replayed his response in his head it occurred to him not only how weird but how dumb that had sounded. 'Oh crap, crap, crap! That was such a dumb line. Now what? Don't panic. Where the hell is Roy when I need him? This was such a bad plan.' But stealing a glance at her now he could see that perhaps he hadn't completely killed his chances because she was still smiling.
"So…" She said slowly.
"Yeah, hm, so … um, so Celestial Gardens, eh? Who came up with that name, huh? What do you think that's going to be like?"
"I don't know, it could be fun I guess." She blushed.
"Yeah, fun, I mean, if you're into that sort of thing."
"You don't like dances?"
"No, no, I like dances. I just meant, not everyone does but if you like dances too we could, uh, you know … maybe go … together … it, uh, it might be fun, you know?"
"That sounds cool."
"Really?! I mean, uh, no, yeah, it's cool. Real cool, it'll be a thing."
'A thing? A thing? What the hell do I mean a thing?' He began to panic.
"Um, yeah, it'll just be one of those things, a cool thing. Like, um, going to school is a thing, a thing you do."
She was giving him that odd look again only this time there was no giggling and less smiling. His shoulders drooped.
"I'm not making any sense am I?" He sighed.
"No, not really." She said, shaking her head.
They stood in silence for a moment, checking the time, glancing around the hallway.
"So, uh, about the dance … I'll let you know, okay. I actually might have a tennis match that day. So, um, I guess I'll see you around. Bye." She said hurriedly before slipping around him and zipping up the hallway at a hurried pace.
"DAMNIT ALL!" Jean shouted, kicking a locker once she was out of sight. It only occurred to him afterward that he was in a crowded hallway and now everyone was looking at him like some sort of freak of nature. Wanting to kill himself, Jean blushed furiously and turned to run up the hallway and get somewhere that he could privately beat himself up for being such an epic failure.