Ya hafta tell her, he told himself. Ya ain't gonna have a chance with her 'till ya do.
He gingerly traveled down the creaky stairs of the apartment building. When he finally reached apartment A, he hesitated before knocking softly on the door.
After a few moments, she abruptly opened the door.
"Hey, Len!" she remarked with a smile that soon faded into an expression of confusion. "Why'd ya knock?"
Lenny paused. God, she's beautiful, he thought as he stared into her warm eyes. "I...uh...wanna talk to ya, Vernie," he stuttered nervously.
Laverne squinted her eyes. "Are you feelin' alright, Len? Eat too many Wonder kabobs or somethin'?"
"Nah, it's nothin' like that," Lenny hedged, avoiding her gaze. "Can I come in?"
Laverne stepped back and opened the door wider. "Sure! Just watch out for all the clothes."
Lenny meandered into the living room and sat down on the couch. Picking up a sweater, he asked, "Why are they so tiny?"
"Shirl's makin' them for Boo-Boo Kitty." She rolled her eyes and sat down next to him. "So, what did ya wanna talk to me about?"
Lenny blinked anxiously. This is your chance! Tell her now. The words rang in his head, but when he opened his mouth to speak, nothing came out.
"Len? Lenny?" Laverne exclaimed, trying to break her friend's trance. "You sure you're feelin' alright? Maybe you should go home and take a nap or somethin'."
He shook his head. "Nah, I can't. Squiggy's got a hot date up there. Besides," he gulped, "I hafta talk to ya."
"About what?" Laverne inquired, a tone of frustration now seeping into her voice. "Look, Len, I'd love to sit here and chat with ya all day, but Norman's pickin' me up for our date in an hour, and I've still gotta get dressed."
Norman. Lenny had almost forgotten about him. "Where's he takin' ya?" he asked politely, attempting to conceal his disdain.
Laverne grimaced. "Ehh, another Policeman's Ball. I'm tellin' ya, Len, this is the third one I've been to this year. I'm startin' to run out of dresses!"
"Squig could always getcha one from his uncle's wax museum," he offered with a small grin.
She patted him on the thigh. "Uhh...that's ok, Len. Remember what happened last time?"
Lenny gasped for air. "Yeah." Despite his best efforts, he could think of nothing further to say. A moment of awkward silence followed until Laverne warily broke it.
"So," she began, her eyes darting around the room. "I guess I'll go get ready, unless you've got somethin' else to say."
Tell her, ya dope!, he advised himself. "Yeah, Laverne, there is somethin'," he managed to squeak out.
Laverne sighed in annoyance, but then she smiled fondly. "Why dontcha tell me?" she uttered in a surprisingly amiable tone.
"Ya got any milk?" Lenny blurted out. "Squig finished off the carton this mornin', and I wanna bake a cake."
Laverne raised her eyebrows. "Since when do you bake?"
"Since I met a girl I kinda like," Lenny stated softly.
Laverne beamed. "Aww, Len! That's great! I bet she's real nice."
He smirked, looking down at the floor. "She is." She's you, he thought.
"Well, I gotta get ready." Laverne got up from the couch and adjusted her sweatshirt. "It was nice talkin' to ya, Len." She walked over to the refrigerator. "Here's some milk. I'll stop and get more when I'm out with Norman tonight."
Lenny got up and advanced toward the door. "Nah, keep it. I don't feel like bakin' a cake no more."
"I knew somethin' was up. Go home and rest...oh, wait, Squig has a date," she realized. "You can stay here while I'm gone if ya wanna."
Shaking his head, he exclaimed, "Squig's date's gone by now." He hesitated. "I'll see ya tomorrow, Vernie."
Laverne grinned. "Bye, Len! Feel better!"
The beauty of Laverne's smile made Lenny's heart skip a beat. "Bye, Laverne," he said distantly. "Have fun on your date."
"I will!" Laverne yelled as he left the apartment.
Lenny stood melancholically in the hallway directly outside the door. Ya blockhead! What's the matta with you?, he scolded himself. Then, suddenly changing his tone, he hopefully proclaimed, But there's always tomorrow. He paused. Yeah, that's it. Tomorrow.
Carrying a contented smile, Lenny Kosnowski journeyed back up the staircase.