This story is set when Charlie Brown is seventeen years old (roughly ten years older than he is in the comics). I do not own Peanuts or any of the characters... I just like writing with them.
Why is it always me? I thought as I tried to pick my spilled lunch tray off the floor. But every time I tried to get up, I would somehow fall back down again. I could feel everyone's eyes on me, hear their laughter, see my hands tremble as I put my chocolate milk carton back onto my tray.
I knew my sister, Sally, was looking at me, probably embarrassed beyond belief to have a brother like me. The klutz, the buffoon.
"Here," Linus said, helping me back up on my unsteady feet. He took my tray and threw it in the garbage and pulled me out of the cafeteria.
"I don't know how you do it," he sighed, shaking his head solemnly, "but you seem to always find an opportunity to make a fool out of yourself."
My face grew hotter as he said it. I knew it was true, but having my own friend say it made me feel worse. I tried to not look at him as we walked to our next class, which was math.
Although Linus was two years younger than me, he had skipped fifth and eighth grade, getting him into the same grade as me, plus taking all the advanced classes. I sometimes got jealous at his intelligence. Not only was he smart, he was kind of handsome too, considering he was a geek. He was better lookin than me, at least. He was tall and lanky, and had dark chocolate brown hair that matched his large eyes. He was paler than usual, and I didn't know why; he had also seemed a bit more quiet, especially when Sally was near. I had considered the idea of him liking her, and it made me uncomfortable, so I pushed it to the darkest unoccupied corner in my head, and would forget it until I would see them together again...
I didn't blame him for liking her. If she wasn't my sister, I might have even fallen for her. She was perfect in every way, and I don't just say that because she's my sister. She had long, golden, hair that fell in soft curls around her face, and eyes even more blue than the sky. Her cheeks were so pink and rosy that the most beautiful rose in the world would be jealous of them. She wasn't too tall, but she wasn't short either. She looked best in her favourite blue dress with a silk purple ribbon tied neatly around her waist. But if Linus really did like her, he would have to wait, because she was currently going out with Franklin. And nobody in their right mind tried to pick up Franklin's girl.
Linus and I talked about the latest football game as we waited for the bell to finish lunch to ring. Thankfully, math, english, and history were all klutz-free, and by the end of the day I started to feel less embarrassed about the fiasco at lunch.
When the bell rang for school to get out, I walked to my locker as fast as I could, wanting to get home before I'd trip or do something stupid like that.
"Hey Chuck," someone from behind me said, tapping my shoulder and stopping me in my tracks.
"Hi Peppermint Patty," I said, not even bothering to look. She was the only one in the whole world who called me "Chuck".
"I told you to stop adding 'Peppermint'. It was ok when we were kids, but I don't like it that much anymore."
I nodded to show that I understood and turned to go, when she tapped on my shoulder again.
"Chuck, are you free tonight? I was wondering if you wanted to-"
I interrupted her. "I have homework tonight that I need to do." I was lying, I actually had no homework at all, I just didn't want to spend five hours playing ball with Peppermint Patty and keep messing up and have her laugh at me. I had had enough laughing at me for one day.
"It's a really big assignment, and I really need to do it-"
"You can do it on Saturday." She said with finality. There was no use veering her away from her idea now. "I was thinking we could go out to eat tonight."
I swung to look at her fully. It had been the first time I had really talked to her face to face in a while. I hadn't really talked to anyone face-to-face in a while, scared that they might see my face full of acne. But Peppermint Patty had changed. She was wearing her usual team shirt and sweatpants, but her face was completely different. For the first time in her life, I think, she was wearing makeup. I had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn't a trick of the light.
Her copper-brown hair was pulled back into a high ponytail, and she seemed to be growing out her bangs. She had finally gotten her braces taken off, and she had applied some bubble-gum pink lipstick. I noticed that her face seemed a bit less frightening and a lot more softer. And for some strange, unforeseen reason, a sudden lurch came from the pit of my stomach and the words stumbled out before I could think them through.
"Sure, that'd be great."
She smiled brightly and turned away, saying, "Joe's Diner. Six. Don't be late."
I turned automatically towards Linus, who had walked in only a second ago and had been watching this whole line of events with his mouth slightly open. I couldn't blame him, I was still trying to decipher what had happened myself.
Linus was the first to come back to his senses. "You...? Her...? Oh my."
"Tell me about it." That was all I could say. I opened my locker, grabbed my backpack, and left the school in a daze. I never got asked out. The revelation that I had been asked out made my head spin. I didn't even realize Sally had come up and started to talk to me until she punched my shoulder.
"Charlie! Did you even hear what I've been saying? Do you even know where you're going? We're five blocks away from home."
I looked around at our surroundings. It was true. I had been walking in the wrong direction since I left school. "Sorry," I mumbled, and turned in the right direction.
"Are you ok? You've been acting strangely ever since school got out. Is it the thing at lunch?"
"What? Oh, no. It's just that Patty asked me to meet her at Joe's tonight."
Sally stopped dead, her mouth sagging low. "She did? Charlie, do you know what this means?"
"Erm... She likes burgers?"
She rolled her eyes. "My brother, the dumb one. No, stupid. She just asked you out. This is serious. This is like, your first date ever. You need advice right now." She grabbed my elbow before I could stop her, and she pulled me away from our street.
"Where are we going...?" I asked.
"To the flower store. She'll love them, believe me. What time is the date anyway?"
"Ok. I think I'll be able to give you a few tips... but we'll need to hurry."