Disclaimer: I - DO - NOT - OWN! Don't jam me!
AN: Sorry Author's Notes are lacking on two of these stories. I have tried to edit it, but that's this website for you.
Imagine, if you will, a newspaper.
You'll have heard the old joke, that they're black white and red all over. Of course, there they mean read.
This newspaper is red, although you cannot see it in the clean-cut black and white block print. It is red with the tales of suffering and blood.
By ironic contrast, the front of the newspaper is actually blue. A blue advert for a supermarket's deals, the blue school jumper in the last school photo ever taken of a high-school girl stabbed to death last night, the frustration in the blue eyes of the football manager whose team lost last Saturday.
However, most of the blue is contained in the huge photograph in the centre of the front page. The headline above is in angry capital letters, screaming as the paper is slapped down.
Such a paper was dropped on the table in front of Bernard Black, a few moments after the shop bell had rung. It was six o'clock.
He looked up at Fran Katzenjammer, who grinned at him, then blinked and bit her lip, becoming the picture of nervousness.
Now, Bernard Black was a lot of things. A chain-smoker, a drunk, a little bit of an idiot, slightly arrogant, an accomplished liar, a pessimist.
Normally, though, he was never giddy with excitement. Today, however, had decided to be an exception.
It was happening. Fran was finally, finally, going to say it.
She smiled in a nervous, jumpy way, and opened her mouth, parting her lips, to begin.
"Fran! There you are! I haven't been able to catch you all week..."
Manny trailed off as Bernard glared with incredible power at him. Normally, this would not be surprising, but Bernard had been cheerful since that night Fran had gone out with someone called Ryan, which made... five days.
He must be back to normal, Manny thought. This was going to make asking for that weekend off more difficult.
Fran also had steel in her eyes as she looked pointedly at Manny, but he didn't notice, and began babbling on at her about what had happened to some Hollywood celebrity lately.
It took forever.
When Manny was finally, mercifully gone, customers were in the shop, about ten. Hardly a romantic setting.
"Look at those two," Bernard muttered darkly, staring at a boy with dark hair carrying an instrument case holding hands with a curly haired girl clutching about seven CDs and a battered blue iPod.
"Have time to become a couple without friends hindering them. And one of them has been in the shop before! How dare they come back!"
"I think they're related," Fran offered, squinting. They did look alike. "Anyway, if we both know what's going to happen... why not just... happen it?"
"It is all about the perfect moment. Go and ask those two how they met. I bet it's romantic."
"Who are you looking at?" A customer was now peering round with them. Great, just great.
Fran waved a hand in the general direction of the couple.
"I came with them. It's definitely not that romantic."
"Why?" Bernard seemed unduly interested. Fran wondered if she'd have to start buying him teen magazines.
"She dropped the last version of this CD in some shop over the counter, and he ducked behind it and fought her for it. Not psychically. And ducked behind the counter, not the CD, I mean."
"What happened then?"
"Oh, she asked him his name, and when he said it she dropped the CD. Then she let him take it."
"It's complicated, and I'm late. Oh, has anyone ever told you that you look just like this guy on TV?"
And with that, the customer whisked herself away.
"Why are we so strange?" Fran asked Bernard, as if he might actually have the answer.
He thought for a moment, before muttering,
He turned to his paper for a moment.
"You know," he said, pointing to the front page. "That's like you."
"I look like a fourteen-year-old girl?"
"No, not that. That," he emphasised the last word, pointing to the headline TSUNAMI HITS.
"So now you're comparing me to a natural disaster? Hang on, that's actually kind of funny."
"Isn't it? It just fits, you know? Huge wave, crashing and taking everyone else down with it."
"Can you sail a boat, Bernard?" There was that honestly curious tone to her voice again.
"Is this still a matter of metaphors?" She nodded at him. "Then yes, I do believe I can. I might crash into some rocks, and we might be low on food some days, but we can make around the world in eighty days if that's what you're after."
"I've lost track of this hypothetical conversation, but I think that's what I'm after."
"That's good," he told her, smiling, then frowning. "I've lost track too."
"While we're losing ourselves, we might as well get carried away as well. You close up shop, I'll meet you upstairs."
Then she disappeared.
And so Bernard threw all the customers out at quarter past eight, and went up the stairs, to get drunk with Fran and then get stuck in a time loop of New Year's.
Only this time, he knew, he would be allowed to remember.
Read, Review, Refuse to make a Fanfiction author kill herself!
That's my new jingle. Catchy, huh? Anyway, please let me know what you think. It's not as long as Green, but it took a million rewrites to get this right. I'm sorry about the late update.
VOICEOVER: Remember the 3 R's!
*Jingle plays again*