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Postage

Ten crumpled sheets of paper lie scattered about the floor. Not one says the same as the next. They crowd around the base of the garbage can. They're all permanently tattooed with the ink of a tired blue pen, which once full, is now half out of ink. The room is quiet, sans the ticking of the clock on the wall. It's a constant reminder of how late it is. He can tell it's somewhere around midnight. His eyes are strained from the dim light of his nightlight his mom forces him to keep. But any light is better than no light.

His mother thinks he still snuggled in bed, footie pajamas and all. She thinks he is dreaming about his crush. But in all honesty, he hasn't slept in the past 48 hours. Not one wink of sleep. Every time he closes his eyes, she's there. It hadn't always been this way. He used to have better control. But then IT had happened.

It was just like any other Tuesday afternoon at school. Teachers were yelling at kids to get to class. He was with her, explaining the concept of a new gadget he had gotten. She seemed genuinely interested. She had to be or she would've noticed. He didn't seem to notice either.

When the janitor left with his mop neither had known. They hadn't even known he was there to begin with. And there was no sign that he was there. Preferably a Wet Floor sign. Because falling in front of your crush is a whole lot different than falling for your crush. But just as fate would have it, his crush fell too. Being a gentleman, he caught her before she hit the ground. But considering he was already on the ground, it wasn't much improvement. Though an awkward moment is probably better than a concussion.

Awkward just doesn't cut it. This was well beyond awkward. Her arms had looped around his neck in an attempt to stop falling. Her head had collided with his chest. His arms were still wrapped around her to keep her up. Their feet had even started a subconscious game of footsie it seemed. But that could be because they were both trying to find some stable ground to stand on. But once he realized their position, he was quick to learn there was no stable ground nearby. It had nothing to do with the wet floor that surrounded them either.

Not getting anything accomplished, he lifted her chin. Big mistake. The second he looked into her eyes, he forgot completely about getting up and to his next class. His eyes bore into hers. They had a new glow in them, something different. She seemed nervous, in a good way. If that were possible. Like that funny feeling he gets in his stomach before going on a roller coaster. Once you get on, the feeling disappears. It gets replaced with a happy feeling inside. Exhilarating really.

She wasn't in line for a roller coaster though. She was only sitting on the floor. In his lap. In a very compromising position. That outsiders would completely misinterpret. Nothing that would make her nervous. Unless she was thinking what he was thinking, which of course, wasn't very likely.

He had spent what felt like forever thinking about his proximity to her. Had they been any closer, personal bubbles would become personal bubble. That is, if it hadn't already. He wasn't going to make the move. He refused to be the one that joined the bubbles. He had tried too many times before and failed. If she wanted to share this bubble, she would have to be the one to make a move.

He wishful thinking got the better of him as he saw her face move in even closer. He could count the freckles on her nose. Or he could close his eyes and enjoy the moment, not analyzing it. He always thought he'd remember every detail to tell their grandchildren. The flavor of her lip gloss, the scent of her shampoo. He'd never be able to tell them he remembered how many freckles were on that all too cute nose.

Then again, fate took away what it had granted. A teacher barked at them to get to class, even though it must of started ages ago. He looked down at his watch. How had only 3 minutes passed? Father Time must be in cahoots with Uncle Fate. Brothers always stuck together through everything.

He sneaks into the kitchen in hope of finding some sort of caffeine. Anything to keep himself awake. He doesn't find any. Instead, he sticks his head in the freezer and pulls out a tray of ice cubes. Sighing, he drops into he footie pajamas, cringing as they slide down his stomach and legs. That girl was going to be the death of him.

He returns to his room, fully awake, and slightly wet. The ice cubes are starting to melt, but he can feel himself sweating too. He sits back down in front of his nightlight. He's still not sure of what to write. The previous ten drafts show that. He's not even sure of what he wants to say exactly.

They both know he likes her; that's a given. Which is why drafts one through three are tossed aside. Drafts four and five asked her to go on a date with him. Draft six one upped the previous and asked her to be his girlfriend. Don't even start him on draft seven. Threatening a girl to leave is not the best way to get her to say yes. Draft eight and nine focused on the future they could have together. He's not sure why he threw the tenth try out. Well, poor penmanship for one. Aside from that is was better than the previous nine. But it sounded like he was half asleep when he wrote it. Granted he hadn't slept for a good day or two, but he needed to do this. He needed peace of mind. Mostly, he needed a long nap.

He stared at his eleventh paper, determined to make this one perfect. He picked up his pen and wrote his message in big bold letters. Satisfied, he capped the pen. In the glow of the light, he fell asleep.

The next morning he ran to the post office. He didn't even bother to get dressed . The mailmen eyed him funny. First person of the day and they are clothed in footie pajamas. A few of them laughed while others held it in. He ignored it all and handed the women behind the desk the letter. Her name and address were in the middle. He left the return address blank, now thankful that he did. If they found out where he lived, he'd never hear the end of it.

He picked out a flower stamp and stuck it on the corner, paying the elderly lady. He made a quick escape, dodging the few people on the streets this early on a Saturday morning. He hurried back into his room. Thankfully his mother had not woken up yet. Now all he had to do was wait.

His mother grew concerned as he looked past the spinach and precut veggie burger on his plate. He had a bigger breakfast this morning. Two helpings of oatmeal. She kindly overlooked his small appetite at lunch considering that. But now, his solemn face, and he's still not hungry? Something was definitely wrong with her son.

A small knock was heard on the door. She smiled gratefully when she saw who it was and let her in. She offered her dinner, which was respectfully declined. Instead the guest took a seat at the table. The mother took note of her expression and started to pack away the leftovers. He still didn't notice anything. He was off in some distant other world.

Her hand covered his. Before he could question her, she covered him even further. She pulled away. Her hand dug into her pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. He already knew what it said. Taking it, he read it anyway.

We have unfinished business to attend to.

So worth the postage stamp.