A/N: So, the first romance story in this category is about a pairing that isn't even canon. Still, it's my absolute favorite pairing for NERDS and would be adorable if it were real. Flinch and Matilda just click for me. I don't know why, but they do. I even created a pairing name: Flinchtilda! Or Flintilda, I don't know if I should stick with those extra two letters or not.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this. I had a lot of fun writing it.
Don't forget to review!
The substitute teacher paced at the front of the classroom. "Mr. Pfeiffer tells me that you're learning about entertainment from the 1980s, yes?"
The fifth grade class nodded their heads in unison. In reality, for the past week, Mr. Pfeiffer had been telling them all about his favorite childhood cartoons, but "Entertainment from the 80s" was in fact the name of his lesson plan.
The substitute gave them a slightly wicked smile. "He also says that you have reports to read to the rest of the class," he announced, followed by a series of groans coming from the students. "You'll be called to read them in random order."
Flinch sank in his seat. He had been dreading this for what seemed like forever. He was terrible at public speaking. Sure, he had plenty of confidence, but he always ended up embarrassing himself in some way. And when you're a nerd, embarrassing yourself is never just ignored.
The substitute tapped his pencil on his clipboard as he scanned through his attendance sheet. "Who to choose, who to choose..." he murmured cooly.
His eyes landed on a name. "It looks like Julio is going first today!" Flinch cringed at the sound of his name.
As he stood up and made his way, shaking, to the front of the classroom, Flinch was met with catcalls and sarcastic shouts of "Look, it's Flinch!" He resisted the urge to reach for the gummy bears he was hiding in his shirt pocket, knowing they would just make the shaking worse. He nearly tripped when he turned around to face the class, eliciting even more laughter from the bullies.
Flinch cleared his throat and looked down at his paper. Sweat was beginning to form on his forehead. His foot was tapping on the floor involuntarily and he couldn't make it stop. He looked up at his friends for support. They were used to this happening, so they were ready with encouragement. Duncan nodded his head gently, Ruby flashed a sympathetic smile, and Jackson gave Flinch a thumbs up.
As much as he appreciated the gestures from the rest of his friends, Flinch was really looking in Matilda's direction. Because of her breathing problems, Matilda had almost as much trouble speaking as he did. She was the most sympathetic to these situations. Now, she locked eyes with Flinch, smiled, and mouthed, "It'll be okay, Flinch."
Flinch was beginning to feel a little better, but then the substitute impatiently said, "We're waiting, Mr. Escala." He suddenly felt all the eyes in the room on him again.
"Um..." he began. He drummed his fingers against the side of his leg to occupy some of his nervous energy, but it was to no avail. He attempted to read from his paper, but all that came out was, "Mmuzzt pyaai nah..." He stopped reading when he heard the roaring laughter of his classmates.
Flinch threw down his paper in frustration. When he had his upgrades, he could just turn a knob and he would stop stuttering. But without his harness, when he couldn't speak clearly, he just couldn't speak clearly. There was no way around it, and he was sick of it. He turned around and kicked the wall behind him, screaming.
The majority of the fifth grade class was snorting and guffawing at him, but Flinch ignored them. He fell to the floor and sat with his knees up to his head, shaking and twitching and rocking back and forth.
Afraid that the boy was having a seizure or something else serious, the substitute shouted over the laughter, "Would anybody care to accompany Julio to the nurse's office?"
One hand went up towards the back of the classroom, in the middle of a group of the only four kids in the room who weren't laughing. "I'll take him," Matilda replied as loudly as she could muster.
Flinch raised his head at the sound of her voice. He watched her walk up to him and reach her hand out for him to take. He shakily reached out and grabbed it. Matilda pulled him up and allowed him to lean on her shoulder. They were both pretty small kids, but Flinch was so distraught, he really weighed Matilda down.
The substitute quietly thanked Matilda as she and Flinch went out the door. When she closed the door behind them, they could hear him trying to calm down the rest of the class.
Once they were a good distance away from the classroom, Matilda turned around to face Flinch. "Alright, Flinch, you know that we're not going to the nurse. You're there almost every time we have a substitute. She can't help you because you're not really sick," she said.
"Yyepaa – " Flinch sputtered.
Matilda cut him off. "Oh my goodness, Flinch, take a few deep breaths! Calm down. I promise, it won't offend me or anything."
Flinch did as she asked and spoke again, this time more clearly. "What are we out here for, then?"
"Well, first of all, you were embarrassing your butt off in there and you needed to get out," Matilda replied frankly. "Second of all, I know how to calm you down. You need to work some of that energy off."
"And how do I do that?" Flinch asked.
Matilda motioned to their lockers, which they were standing in front of.
Flinch looked at her, slightly confused. "Really? You want to go to the Playground right now, in the middle of class?" he asked.
"What do you honestly think is more productive: training or listening to reports about 30-year-old cartoons?" Matilda responded.
"You have a point," Flinch said as he and Matilda stepped into their respective lockers, went through the metal tubes and landed in the Playground.
Flinch had never admitted it to anybody and didn't plan to anytime soon, but recently, he had started to look at Matilda as something a little more than a teammate or a friend. Yes, he had the beginnings of a crush on her. It wasn't that strong yet, but it excited him that she had been the one to bail him out.
Once the harness was on, Flinch suddenly felt relaxed. He was still extremely hyperactive and full of energy, but with the harness, he felt a lot more in control.
Matilda started walking in the direction of the supply closet. She looked over her shoulder and motioned for Flinch to follow her. She unlocked the door, revealing the weapons covering every wall of the room.
"Run around in here for a while. Use up some of that crazy energy you have," she said.
Flinch turned the knob on his harness. "You've got it," he responded before taking off.
Matilda lifted herself off the ground with her inhalers to give Flinch more room to run. He sped around the little room like a torpedo, bouncing off the walls like a pinball. He ran for a good ten minutes before he finally tired out.
He stood in the center of the supply closet, gasping for breath. Matilda lowered herself to the ground next to him. "You think you'll be able to read that report to the class now?" she asked.
Flinch grinned at her and nodded. "Definitely," he panted.
"Good." Matilda started to walk out of the supply closet and back up to the school hallways.
Flinch watched her. Suddenly, he shouted, "Wait!" and ran after her. Maybe it was the exhaustion or the embarrassment from breaking down in class, but he wasn't really thinking about what he was doing. It at least made sense when he touched her shoulder and said, "Thanks for helping me out." But he obviously wasn't fully aware of his actions when, before Matilda was even able to respond, he kissed her on the lips.
When they broke apart, Matilda looked at Flinch strangely for a few seconds while she grabbed around for her inhalers. Once she got the chance to catch her breath, she spoke. "Did you just kiss me?"
Flinch's eyes widened when he realized what he had just done. "Oh, wow. I – I'm sorry, I don't know why I did that.... That was... a little gross?" he stammered.
Matilda stared at him for a few more seconds before turning around and saying, bewildered, "Well, I guess we'd better get back to class. You've got a paper to read."
"Yeah. Right," Flinch responded quietly. He said it as if he were embarrassed, but when Matilda had turned so that she couldn't see him, he revealed a wide grin. He once again started walking back to class.
Little did he know that walking in front of him with her back turned, Matilda was also smiling.
A/N: Should I continue this or just leave it as a oneshot? I mean, I'll probably be writing a whole lot more about these two, but I don't know if I should continue this story specifically.