It was Sunday night. Max, PJ, and Bobby had already headed out to the movie theater not far from the college campus.
The trio waited outside the small theater, which was not particularly crowded that night, and kept their eyes peeled for Shala and Miles.
"Hey, hey, what time are they supposed to get here?" Bobby said looking over at PJ.
"I don't know, he didn't say a time. I just assumed it would be tonight." PJ said scanning the parking lot in front of him. "I still don't feel right about this though, Max, maybe we should turn back now before they show up."
"What are you so worried for? I think this is pretty fun! It's been a long time since we've done this kind of stuff!" Max said cheerfully.
"Yeah, well I don't exactly have a great experience with movie theaters either (referring to the time he and Max saw a Horror movie back in Goof Troop)."
"Hey, what are you bozo's doing here?" said a deep voice coming from inside the theater. Tank had walked out with a very attractive girl that PJ recognized from the club the other night.
"Doin' some recon. Nothin' special." Max said nonchalantly.
"Haha, 'nothin' special', he says. That would explain why tubby over there is shaking in his boots!" Tank laughed looking at PJ, who was looking more and more nervous by the minute.
"Leave him alone, don't you have some Gamma business to do?" Max said, still enjoying the anticipation of the night.
"Nah, took the night off. Went to see a movie to ease my nerves."
"Forget nerves, what's with the girl? You on a date?" Bobby said, looking surprised.
"Double date. Ran into Miles and Shala a little while back. Go figure." Tank said pointing inside the theater.
"What? They were already in?" Max said, worried that he had missed something.
"Hey, you remember what were they talking about in there?" PJ asked feverishly grabbing Tanks arms.
Tank curtained his eyes and smiled, "'Nothin' special'."
"C'mon, we'll miss everything!" Max yelled over to PJ. He and Bobby were already at the doors. PJ soon raced over and joined them, afraid of what he was about to hear.
"What was that all about?" The girl with Tank asked.
Tank looked at her and shrugged, "I don't ask questions that I don't want answers to."
Once inside, the three made their way the popcorn machines, looking around carefully to see who was around.
"Hey, there's barely anyone in here." PJ said suddenly feeling less nervous.
"That's not too shocking, it's a Sunday night." Max said approaching the snack bar counter. "One large popcorn, please, extra butter."
"Are we going to watch a movie?" Bobby asked eyeing the snacks.
"Might as well. Who knows, they could still be in the theater."
"Hey, wait, you guys hear that?" PJ said, shushing Max and Bobby. The sounds of Shala and Miles talking were coming from a nearby hallway where the theaters were.
"Aww geez, this is bad!" PJ whispered loudly, "Whaddya we do?"
"How am I supposed to know?" Max said whispering back.
"This was your idea, man!" PJ whispered a tad louder.
"Just shut up and hide! We'll cover you." Max said waving PJ off as he and Bobby walked towards the hallway.
Out of desperation, PJ jumped and hid behind the snack counter, which greatly confused the cashier.
"Oh, hey guys, how's it goin'?" PJ heard Miles say.
"Just about to…uh, watch a movie…?" Bobby said looking at Max.
"…Yeah, um, we were just about to buy tickets!" Max said, thinking on his feet.
"Hey you! You forgot your popcorn!" said the cashier.
"That's okay, why don't you just give it to P-" Max covered Bobby's mouth before he could finish his sentence.
"We're gonna go…heh heh…um, enjoy your night!" Max said dragging Bobby over to buy a movie ticket as to not seem more suspicious.
"Okay…bye?" Shala said, she looked over to Miles, "Strange fellows."
"Maybe we should have told them all the good movies stopped playing?" Miles said rubbing the back of his head.
PJ was still behind the counter, looking for an opening to escape. He was regretting coming to the theater more and more, but he played it cool. The cashier, who was even more confused by what just happened, ignored PJ.
Soon, PJ heard the two walk closer to the snack bar, and they appeared to resume their conversation.
"So, anyway, what do you think? Is it something you'd wanna do with me?" Miles asked, his voice had a hint of urgency, but not pressuring.
"Yes, I already told you. I've only dreamed of doing something like that, it would be beyond cool! So… I would love to, but I need time to reflect and really think about it, y' dig?" Shala replied.
"Totally. Just as long as you think with your heart. Honestly, I don't think I could do this without you. We'd make the perfect team." Miles smiled.
"Well, it's hard to argue with the truth, man." Shala laughed.
PJ couldn't make heads or tails of what they were talking about, but his deep suspicion, he felt, was confirmed. PJ didn't want to pass judgment and assume Miles was going to take her away from him, but the conversation sounded very exclusive.
"Hey while we're here, why not get some snacks?" Miles said walking up to the counter, PJ shuddered. "Can I get a churro please? Want one?" He looked over to Shala.
"Nah, still full of popcorn."
"Okay, suit yourself."
"I'm gonna go outside and make a phone call, be back in a flash." Shala said walking out the door.
PJ sighed. Now he would just have to wait for Miles to get his snack and leave, then he could join up with the others in the theater. He still felt uneasy about the conversation, and felt pathetic that he was acting so paranoid, but he couldn't help feeling more and more desperate around Miles. He continued to lay quietly behind the counter, trying his best not to make a sound as Miles waited for his churro.
"BOOP DEEEE BOOOOOOP!"
PJ's face went white. His cell phone was ringing, loudly. He could hear Miles shuffling in his pants to find his phone, but PJ knew it wouldn't be long before he realized it wasn't his phone…or his ringtone.
After what seemed like hours, PJ grabbed hold of his phone and quickly hit ignore, not checking to see who it was.
"Hey, did you drop your phone or something? It may be behind the counter." Miles told the cashier as he paid for his churro.
The cashier looked down at PJ, who was silently pleading with him not to blow his cover.
"Yeah…I did. I don't bother picking it up though, it's about 200 pounds and covered with fur." The cashier said. PJ looked at him, annoyed.
"Oh…well, okay then. Have a good night, man." PJ heard Miles walk out the front doors.
"You're a jerk." PJ said standing up, and dusting himself clean.
An hour or so passed, and PJ was sitting alone at one of the tables nearby, lost in thought again. He wanted to turn a lot of the things he was feeling at that moment into poetry, but had left his poetry book at home (he would occasionally scribble on a napkin). PJ felt like the night was very anticlimactic, and pleasantly less hectic than usual, but he still felt like he needed closure.
Eventually, Max and Bobby showed up from the theaters, and came and sat down with PJ, who was still thinking to himself.
"Didn't think you'd still be out here. Did they find you?" Max asked.
"No." PJ said, feeling jaded.
"Wha'd they say?" Bobby asked, still eating popcorn he bought inside the theater.
"I couldn't really make sense of it, but from what it sounds like, I think they have really made some super special bond or something.."
"Super special…bond?" Max asked, bewildered.
"I could just be misunderstanding, but from the tone he was speaking in, I think he really wants to be with her."
"Well, I don't know what to tell you. That may not be the case, otherwise Tank wouldn't have messed with you like that, but if it is, what will you do?" Max asked.
"I don't care man, I just don't want to lose her, even if she doesn't like me the way I like her." PJ said.
"To be fair, most of its self-inflicted. Just be up front with her, man. She's a cool girl, just talk to her." Max said taking some of Bobby's popcorn.
"This is nothing like last year, Max. I don't wanna confess my feelings yet, I just want to hang out with her." PJ said taking out his phone and playing with it.
"Heh heh, wow, even Max wasn't this much of a bleeding heart when he liked Roxanne!" Bobby laughed.
"Not like I enjoy it, man." PJ said finally opening his phone.
"Well, I know spying was my idea, but I really think you should just talk to her about it…and don't freak out when you do." Max added playfully.
He stared blankly at his phone for a while, then closed it. Shala was the one who had called him just before while he was under the counter. He assumed she was going to break the big news to him, so as much as he wanted to respond to the miss call, he just put his phone in his back pocket.
"What are you doin' to that napkin anyway?" Bobby said looking at PJ scribbling on his napkin, now covered in pen ink.
"Just jotting down some poetry…sort of a habit of mine whenever I'm feeling down."
"Ohhhhhhhh…..huh, no wonder you write so much."
Max's eyes widened. "Hey! That's it!"
PJ and Bobby straightened up in their chairs with a start and looked over at Max. His voice echoed a bit more since the lobby for the theater was practically empty now (except for the cashier, who decided to pay them no mind).
"Uh….what's 'it'?" PJ asked, looking more startled than confused.
"Your poetry, dude! That's how you can reel Shala back in!" Max said looking rather confident.
"Peej, your poetry is what got Shala into you in the first place! If you just read her some poetry again, you'll be set!"
"Oh yeahhh! She's totally into this guy's work, huh?" Bobby said pointing at PJ.
"Okay, yeah, that all sounds great, but when will I have the time? She's always with Miles, and I'm too much of a wimp to ask her on a date, again."
"You don't have to." Max said reclining in his chair as if he was about to take a nap. "The Bean Scene has open mic nights, right? Just go to the next one and read your poetry aloud. She'll be there for sure."
"Yeah, look man that's pretty cool of you to say and all but-"
"But nothing, buddy, you've got this one in the bag. Even Miles can't out do you here."
"Okay, but did you forget I have stage fright man?" PJ said, "I'd freeze up on that stage and look like a moron. Why do you think I just stood on the sidelines last year?"
"You've gotta work on your confidence, dude. Anyway, if your gut feeling is correct or whatever, then this really may be your only shot." Max replied, still reclined in his chair.
"Go for broke Mr. Heartbreaker!" Bobby said patting PJ hard on the back.
PJ didn't say anything for a little while. He took out his phone again and looked at the missed call from Shala. Was poetry really the key to winning Shala's heart? And if it was, was it enough to out- do Miles?
"Fine, I'll do it…I guess." PJ said feeling a bit more confident, but mumbled at the end. He grabbed his pen firmly, "If it's the only way to win her back, then I'll do what it takes!"
"That's the spirit, Peej! C'mon, let's blow this joint, we've got work to do!" Max said getting up from his chair. PJ and Bobby followed behind.
"Poetry. Heh, who woulda' thunk it? You'll have her falling for you again in noooo time, bro." Bobby said playfully swooning and falling on PJ's shoulder.
"It's not going to work." a voice said out of nowhere. The trio turned around and saw the cashier still standing there, wiping the counter.
"Uh…what?" Max said.
"You can try if you want, but reading that girl poetry won't do you any good now." The cashier said smiling, not looking up.
"Okay mister, I-know-everything-smarty-pants-o-lot, how do you know? You some kind of psychic?" Bobby said pointing in the direction of the cashier.
"Like I said, do what you want." The cashier said looking up. "Maybe I know something, maybe I don't. It's useless." he said, continuing to grin knowingly.
Max, PJ, and Bobby got the feeling he overheard the full conversation Shala and Miles had.
"Whatever, man. You don't know the first thing about her. C'mon let's just go." PJ said walking out the door, with Max and Bobby by his side. He had gained newfound confidence that he had not had before entering the theater. Poetry, the only thing he was truly good at, could bring him closer to the girl he loved. Open mic night was his chance to expose his inner self, which was risky, but he was willing to do it if it meant having Shala back. However, with this newfound confidence, a black hole of dread and doubt formed at the pit of his stomach, and only grew larger as he walked out the front doors of the theater; the cashier at the counter still grinning knowingly at his back.
Okay so...yeah, i've been gone for a while haha. Out of nowhere I got super busy, and I hit writers block at the same time! But, yeah, sorry 'bout that. Anyway, review, rate, and follow if you like the story! I'll honestly be more likely to update if I get reviews letting me know who you guys like it (...or don't) :P