Just One Kiss

The bright mid-afternoon sun streamed into Peppermint Patty's bedroom. Peppermint Patty was laying on her bed. Her eyes were closed, but she was not yet sleeping. Thoughts of all the schoolwork she didn't understand, of old friendships gone sour, and of new relationships blooming between her classmates danced in her mind. Try as she might, Patty could not get those thoughts out of her head. The best thing to do would be to talk it out with someone, but her father wouldn't be home for hours. Peppermint Patty groaned in frustration.

As if on cue, somebody rang the doorbell. Peppermint Patty pulled a pillow over her head. If there was anybody she didn't want to deal with right now, it was door-to-door salesmen. She turned back to her thoughts.

A rhythmic tapping came from Peppermint Patty's window. She sighed again and slowly pulled herself out of bed. She rubbed her eyes as she walked over to the window. Somebody was throwing pebbles at her window.

That is one persistent salesman! Patty thought.

Peppermint Patty threw open the window. She glared at the rock-thrower, preparing to yell at them. The face she saw startled her.

"Marcie, what are you doing here? Don't you have to tutor Sally?"

"Sally canceled our tutoring session at the last minute. She said she's going on a date, sir."

"Figures," the brunette said, jumping out her first-story window. She landed right in front of her best friend. "Who's Sally dating?"

Marcie thought for a little while. "I never asked her."

Peppermint Patty shrugged. "I was just wondering."

The two girls walked from the side of the house to the Reichardt family's backyard. Clumps of flowers grew up from patches of grass. In the middle of the backyard was a large elm tree, planted the very day Peppermint Patty and Marcie graduated from elementary school. The girls laid down at the base of the tree.

There was a short silence as the girls thought. A worried frown crossed Marcie's face.

"Sir, are you concerned about Charles? Do you want to ask him out?"

This was not what the dark-haired girl had meant to say, but it was what she thought her friend wanted. If she had held out on her feelings this long, she could keep them quiet for many years more.

"No, no," Peppermint Patty said, rubbing her arm absentmindedly. "You know I could never do that. I mean..."

"I could ask him out for you."

"He's still all googgly eyed for the Little Red Haired Girl."

Marcie noted, "She's not so little any more, sir, especially around the chest."

Peppermint Patty looked away when Marcie mentioned the way the little girl had grown up. The Little Red Haired Girl was not the only thing stopping the sporty girl from asking Charlie Brown to go out with her. There was something else, something internal. She tugged at the collar of her favorite green-striped shirt as she tried to put that feeling into words.

"I... I'm not even really sure if I like Chuck... and... and..."

Peppermint Patty looked down, stuttering. She tried to find the best way to explain it to Marcie. The ideas were there, but putting those ideas into words was almost impossible. Oh, if only she was as smart as Marcie was. Then she'd have no problem explaining herself.

Eventually, Peppermint Patty sighed and turned to face her bespectacled best friend. "This is going to be confusing, I know, but... I don't even know if I like boys or girls."

Marcie nodded, understanding. "There's an easy way to find out if you like girls or boys. It's quick too, sir."

"What is it?"

Marcie tried to relax, controlling her breathing and closing her eyes. It wasn't like she had nothing to worry about. She and Peppermint Patty had been friends for a very long time. She recalled the time they first met at summer camp. She had asked Peppermint Patty what time lunch was. She remembered the time Patty had asked her to make a figure-skating dress, only to have a mess on her hands. She remembered when, in a moment of exasperation, she had explained to Patty that the kid with the funny-looking nose was, in fact, a dog. They had shared so many wonderful things in the past. Marcie's confidence began to slip. If this didn't work out, their friendship could fall apart. Was that really something she wanted to risk?

We were both in love with Charles, and we were able to work it out. We should be able to work it out, no matter what. Marcie thought, opening her eyes.

She leaned over to her best friend. Slowly, she pushed some of Peppermint Patty's mouse-brown hair behind her ear. Her hand came to rest on Patty's. The sporty girl stared up as her bookish friend took one final breath. Marcie kissed Peppermint Patty's cheek.

Peppermint Patty jolted away. Her eyes opened wide, and her free hand shot up to her cheek.

"Wha- um- I mean- er- wh-" Peppermint Patty stuttered, not-so-subtly moving away from Marcie.

Marcie removed her hand from her friend's, her courage crushed. "That... was the test... to see-"

"I know." Peppermint Patty stated, slowly standing up. She tried to hide her heavy breathing.

Marcie stood up beside her friend. "So..."

Peppermint Patty spun around, her mouth pulled back into an awkward grin. "Y'know, kid, I just realized, that book report we have for English, the one comparing the Beatrix Potter books, I have to go edit it." She began to run around the side of the house.

"Sir! Wait, sir!"

Though she ran as fast as she could, Marcie couldn't catch up to the sporty teen. Peppermint Patty vaulted through her bedroom window. When Marcie reached the window, Peppermint Patty slammed it shut. Peppermint Patty grabbed her binder from her backpack. The backpack fell over. Marcie tapped on the window, but Peppermint Patty just swung her binder open. She yanked a piece of paper out of her binder, causing it to rip in two.

Peppermint Patty half-yelled, "For this essay, you are required to compare and contrast three of the Beatrix Potter books listed below. One: Peter Rabbit. Two: The Tailor of Gloucester."

Marcie tapped on the glass. "Sir?"

"Three: Miss Tilly-Winkle Four: Tom Kitten." Peppermint Patty's speech was louder now.

"Sir, please listen."

"Five: The Tale of Samuel Whiskers!"

Marcie abandoned her tapping, the fruitlessness of her efforts only fueling her concern. "Sir! Please, sir."

"Or, The Rolly-Poly Pudding!"

"Miss Patricia Reichardt!" Marcie cried, her voice almost breaking.

The frantic girl stopped reading from the list. She looked through the window. Wild, frantic eyes stared back at her. The girl on the outside leaned closer to the glass.

"Can you meet me tomorrow at the wall? The usual time?"

Peppermint Patty nodded firmly. Marcie watched as her best friend, the one person who she felt wholly connected to, turned away and marched out of the room. She wanted to cry out, but the only thing to escape from her lips was a high-pitched squeak. She stared at the bedroom door, which was left wide open. The empty space where her friend had disappeared was like a black hole. Though a chilly wind began to blow, Marcie could do nothing. She stood at the window for five minutes, barely even breathing, praying that her dear Patricia would come back.

She never did.

\~/

When Mr. Reichardt came home, the sun had painted the sky in red tones. Peppermint Patty was not at the door. Mr. Reichardt found his rare gem sitting at the kitchen table. An untouched glass of milk was on the counter, and a photo album was on the table. Peppermint Patty was looking at the pictures in the album. Mr. Reichardt picked up the glass of milk and brought it to his daughter.

"Hey dad," Peppermint Patty said, barely looking up from the pictures.

Mr. Reichardt peeked over Peppermint Patty's shoulder. All the photos his daughter was looking at were of her and Marcie. There were pictures of the duo playing football, singing in the snow, dancing in their Halloween costumes, and even stargazing. Peppermint Patty slowly turned the page, revealing the very last photo. It was of the two girls sitting at their desks in school. In the picture, Peppermint Patty was holding an extra-credit assignment and frowning. Marcie was sitting behind her, in the middle of noting how her best friend had gotten yet another D-.

Mr. Reichardt asked if Peppermint Patty had had a fight with Marcie.

There was a pause. "Not exactly."

Mr. Reichardt encouraged Peppermint Patty to tell him what happened.

Peppermint Patty looked her father in the eyes. "She came over to our house today. We were talking about love and stuff, and I said I didn't know if I liked guys or girls, and she said there's a way to find that out really easily. She kissed me- just one kiss, just on the cheek. But, I panicked, and I ran away 'cause I didn't know what to do and... I ignored her because I was scared and..."

Mr. Reichardt asked his daughter what her answer was. His voice was calm.

"Please don't change your mind about me! I'm still the same kid I always was. I'm still your little girl, your rare gem. Please don't disown me, dad, I still love you. I still..."

Peppermint Patty's rambling dissolved into convulsive sobs. Seeing this, Mr. Reichardt wrapped his thick arms around his daughter. He consoled her, telling her that he would never, ever drop his little baby out of his life, and she could love whoever she would love. Peppermint Patty tried to wipe her tears on her father's shirt. Mr. Reichardt reached into his back pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. He handed it to his daughter, who wiped her eyes and dabbed at her runny nose.

The corners of Peppermint Patty's mouth turned slightly upward. "I see why Mom loved you so much. You care."

Mr. Reichardt let Peppermint Patty go. He walked over to his coat and took a paper bag out of the pocket. Peppermint Patty wiped the last of her tears from her eyes. Her father traded the paper bag for the handkerchief. Peppermint Patty opened the bag and giggled.

"Thanks, dad. I think I know what I can do with these."

\~/

As Marcie walked the short distance from her house to the wall, she made little movies in her mind, playing the possible things that could happen when Peppermint Patty met up with her. The first option was that she and her best friend would go back to being best friends, with no apologizing at all. Marcie pushed that idea away. Certainly, she and Peppermint Patty went back to being friends every other time they had fought, but those were arguments. Peppermint Patty had never run away or ignored her before. Marcie knew a new situation required a new resolution.

Another option was that Peppermint Patty would come to the wall and reject her, but still be her friend. It would be better than rejecting her and being replaced, but it wasn't ideal. She mulled over the issue in an attempt to decide which was worse. If Peppermint Patty stayed her friend, Marcie would be closer to her, but would be nursing a broken heart every time they met. If Peppermint Patty replaced her, Marcie might be able to hide her feelings, but she would be losing her best friend instead of just a lover.

The third option was one Marcie didn't even want to think about- Peppermint Patty not showing up at the wall. They might see each other, but it would never be the same. Peppermint Patty would find another best friend... but Marcie would be left alone. The thought made Marcie sick. She clutched her stomach and bowed over, wincing. Though she tried to keep walking, the thoughts rooted her to the spot.

"You okay, kid?"

Marcie looked up. A girl with a freckled face and a large nose was leaning on the wall. Marcie's eyes lit up as she recognized the girl. She ran over to who she hoped would still be her best friend.

"Patty! Hey there, Patty!"

Peppermint Patty smiled and waved at Marcie. "Scamper right over here on your little Bobby Orr legs!"

Marcie paused a few feet from the wall. She held back a laugh, straightened herself to her full hight, and began to run with quick, light steps. Peppermint Patty burst into laughter at her friend's antics.

"What on earth was that about?" Peppermint Patty could barely speak between her laughing fits.

Marcie grinned. "You told me to scamper, Patty. I scampered."

"True."

As Peppermint Patty's laughter subsided, Marcie mentally crossed off the final option she had thought of. Knowing her visit was for something after all relaxed her, but there were still the other two options.

Peppermint Patty changed the subject. "I was worried you wouldn't think you'd show up here."

"Honestly, I was thinking the same thing, but you are here. You're even early."

"I know," Patty said, standing a little bit taller. "I talked to my dad last night and he said I should come here early."

Marcie smiled, understanding. In the back of her mind, something warned her to prepare herself. The expression on Peppermint Patty's face warned the moment of truth was coming soon.

Peppermint Patty pulled a paper bag out of her pocket. She took a small item out of the bag and put it in Marcie's hand. Marcie examined the object. It was covered in silver foil, with a blue circle in the centre. A strong, refreshing, mouthwatering odor rose up from the object. The base of the object began to melt and mold itself to Marcie's hand.

Peppermint Patty put the bag on the wall. "What do you have?" she asked.

Marcie didn't even have to think about what the item was. "It's a York Peppermint Pattie."

The sporty teen nodded, but prompted Marcie some more. "So who do you have?"

Marcie froze. Initially, she thought she had misheard the pronoun her best friend used. Then the concepts began to fit together. She had a Peppermint Pattie in her hand. "Pattie", a small flat cake, sounds like the name "Patty". Therefore, she would have the name as well as the item. Or so Marcie hoped.

Marcie spoke hesitantly. "I have... I have you, Patty."

Peppermint Patty nodded, indicating Marcie's answer was correct. A thin layer of blush came up in between her freckles. Marcie's cheeks grew warm. Peppermint Patty took Marcie's hands in her own, drawing her friend closer. The girls' hearts raced. Peppermint Patty smiled as she looked down at Marcie. Keeping herself steady, Peppermint Patty leaned towards Marcie.

The sporty teen's nose brushed against Marcie's glasses. When Marcie realized what was going on, she shut her eyes. Her heart knocked against her ribs. She squeezed her best friend's hand, and the peppermint candy in her palm became squishy. A small burst of air blew onto her cheek.

Marcie found her lips against Peppermint Patty's. Marcie's temperature shot up. She stood on her toes, allowing Peppermint Patty to let go of her hands. The chocolate-covered candy hit the ground with a soft thud. Peppermint Patty wrapped her arms around her bookish friend, and the bookish friend relaxed. The pure passion of the moment ran through ever cell of her body.

Marcie felt the grip on her body lessen, and she moved back. She removed her lips from her friend's. Her heels came back to the ground.

She looked up at her best friend, stars in her eyes. "You're weird, sir."

Peppermint Patty stifled a chuckle. "I'm weird? You're even weirder, you dorky kid."

"Sir, I love you."

"I love you too, kid. But please stop calling me 'sir'. I'm not that butch."

Marcie thought for a second. "I suppose not... but you do pitch baseball, and you were the only girl to wear shorts on picture day, and-"

"Marcie!"

"Just making sure we're still best friends."

Peppermint Patty smiled playfully. "How about you take that 'best' off and switch it for 'girl'?"

"Girl friend... Oh, Patty!"

Marcie threw her arms around Peppermint Patty. Peppermint Patty placed a hand on Marcie's head. All the tension that had built up over the preceding hours had faded. All the agony and worry was gone. Marcie felt safe and secure here, next to the girl she had secretly loved for years. Nothing would make her feelings for the school-failing but sport-loving girl change. Marcie dreamed of years down the road. She could tell the story of their relationship, and how everything started with just one kiss.


Author's Notes: This is my first fanfic where shipping is the main focus of the story. This also appears to be the fourth Peppermint Patty/ Marcie fanfiction on this site.

The original reason I started reading Peanuts fiction and PP/M fiction in particular is because I was cast as Marcie in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. My theatre group made an extended cast version of the play. I think Peppermint Patty and Marcie could be a couple, even though Mr. Schultz said that they were to young. The Marcie character in my extended YAGMCB script has just enough Lucy lines to convince me that Marcie is not in love with Charlie Brown.

And because some people might ask: The girl who is playing Peppermint Patty doesn't know about my PP/M threory. I plan to keep it that way. I don't want to weird her out.