Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chicken Sandwich: Chapter 6

Chapter 6: I Like You

A week passed, Paul had become the talk of the campus. Almost everyone heard what he did to the bullies and Jeff and Fred were just happy being with him. “Hey Paul you might want to take a look at this” Jeff said as Paul rose up from his short nap on the grass. Kara was walking with a tall and handsome guy and they seemed to be having an argument. “As expected the most beautiful girl with the most handsome guy on campus, a perfect couple I might add” Fred commented. “Kevin Yates, basketball superstar, and you were asking if she would go out with you last week. Well there is your answer Paul, a loud and clear no” Jeff added. Paul looked on as the couple stopped, “So what do you think they are fighting about?” he asked.

“I don’t know but I think you would want to stop that guy because he is hurting her” Jeff said and Paul saw Kevin holding Kara tightly on her arm and shaking it. Paul quickly stood up and walked towards the couple and as he drew nearer her could hear clearly what they were fighting about. “What do you mean it’s over? I told you I was not fooling around, it was just a friendly kiss okay?!” Kevin said. “Stupid! If it was just a kiss then how come you had your arms around her? How come it lasted around thirty seconds?!” Kara shouted back. “I got carried away okay! And you want to know the reason why I got carried away? Its because you would not even give me a single kiss!” Kevin lashed at her. “I didn’t want to kiss you because of your reputation, I gave you a chance to prove me wrong but you just solidified my claim! I don’t want to see you anymore!” she said and Kevin took a deep breath.

Kevin looked around and saw lots of people staring at them, he bit his lip and swung his arm to slap her. Kara closed her eyes for she knew what was coming, she heard the slap but she did not feel anything. She opened her eyes quickly and to her surprise she was staring at the back of Paul who had received the slap for her. Kevin too was surprised as he slowly dropped his arm, standing in front of him was Paul whose angry eyes were focused on his. “Who do the hell do you think you are?!” Kevin told him. “A guy should never raise his hand on a girl” Paul said softly. Kevin shoved him but Paul stood his ground.

Everyone was intently watching them, Paul’s eyes were focused and anger can be read from his face. “So you think you are a tough guy!” Kevin shouted in Paul’s face. “You slap like a girl!” he countered and everybody laughed. Kevin was so embarrassed and he again shoved Paul but he would not budge. Paul advanced closer and he stood face to face with Kevin and their noses touched. “Do you really want to go that way?!” Paul shouted at his face as he advanced forward and Kevin was moved back. “Do you really want to go that way?!” he repeated as he kept on moving forward pushing Kevin backwards until he tripped on a flower pot and fell to the ground.

Paul was still staring at him with his fists clenched and shaking. Two guys rushed to Kevin’s rescue and helped him up. “Let go of me!” Kevin shouted and Paul moved closer to his face. “Kevin back off now, he’s the guy everyone’s been talking about man” his companion said. Kevin moved backwards slowly but Paul inched closer, “Okay okay you win” he said as he raised his arms and walked backwards. People started clapping and cheering as Kevin and his crew walked away. Paul was still standing there watching them leave, his fists were still shaking but Kara tapped his back. Paul turned around and smiled at her “Are you okay?” he said and Kara was surprised with how fast his emotion changed, she managed to nod her head and smile back.
They walked toward Jeff and Fred who were imitating Paul and Kevin. Jeff was acting as Paul and he was pushing Fred back. “Do you want to go that way?” he said. “I want to go this way” Fred jokingly said and Jeff pushed him back until he fell. Kara laughed and Fred stood back up and slapped Jeff. “Hey what was that for?” he asked. “Kevin did slap Paul so since you were pretending to be Paul I had to pretend to be Kevin too” Fred explained and Paul suddenly burst in laughter.

Lots of people passed by their group and they were all congratulating the hero. Paul simply nodded at them and kept on bowing his head and sometimes flashing a mild grin. Kara was looking at him intently, she could see the hand mark on his face and she knew that could have been on hers. She reached her hand and touched cheek and Paul turned to face her. “Does it hurt?” she asked him, “A little, but it looks better on my face than yours” he said and Kara smiled at him. “Here something to take the pain away” she said and she kissed him on the cheek.

Paul touched his cheek and remained motionless; Jeff and Fred were likewise in shock as they had seen what just happened. Kara stood up and politely smiled at the two, “I have to go now, I have a class. Thanks Paul” she said and then walked away. “Dude what just happened?” Jeff asked as they both look at Paul who was still touching his cheek smiling. “She kissed him” Fred said. “If we could just rub our cheek against his then it would be like she kissed us too, right?” Jeff said and he looked at Fred. They both stared at each other for a moment, “Dude that would make us look like the two cowboys in the mountain” Fred said. “To hell with what others may think!” Jeff shouted and tackled Paul, Fred joined in as the three of them wrestled each other on the ground.

“What are you guys doing?!” said a female voice. The three stopped wrestling each other and they turned around to see. “Oh hi Diane” Paul said as they all stood up and tidied themselves. “I came as soon as I heard but it seems it was nothing after all” she said and she started to fix Paul’s shirt collar. “Kara kissed Paul on the cheek” Jeff revealed and Diane stood still for a moment and let go of his collar. “Come on Paul lets go home” she said and went ahead. Jeff and Fred were shaking their head and signaled Paul to go follow her. Paul caught up with Diane and he offered to carry her bags but she didn’t want to. This day was a milestone for them for they had their first ever silent walk home.

As they entered Diane’s room Paul sat on the corner and looked at her. Diane sat in front of her study table and brought out her notebook. She scribbled some texts and acted as if Paul didn’t exist. “Are you mad at me?” Paul asked. “No. Why should I get mad?” she replied. “Then why have you been ignoring me since we left school?” he inquired. Diane did not answer him and she continued scribbling. Paul stood up and went to her window and opened it. “It’s about the kiss right?” he uttered but still it fell on deaf ears.

“For the first time in my life I got kissed by a girl. I didn’t ask for it and I didn’t see it coming but she kissed me. Maybe it was her way showing her gratitude for what I did but I was not asking for anything in return. Was I happy? More surprised actually but yes I won’t lie to you I was happy. I was expecting you to be happy for me because you are my friend but it seems you are not. I’m venturing in unchartered territory and I was expecting you to be there for me but I guess I am alone” Paul said and he jumped out of the window.

Diane ran towards the window but she was too late, she saw Paul walking home with his head bowed down. “…because I like you” she whispered as tears began flowing down her cheek.

The following day Paul and Diane had their second silent walk, this time they were going to school. They were still seated beside each other inside the classroom but it was as if they did not know each other. Lunch time came and Diane found herself seating under a tree and she had a surprise visit from someone she did not expect. “You’re Diane right?” Sarah asked and Diane looked at her and nodded. “I am Sarah, may I join you for a moment?” she asked. “Please do, we are classmates in several classes right?” Diane said and Sarah nodded and smiled at her.

“I know we just met but I can sense that you have a problem. Do you want to share it with me?” Sarah told her. Diane sighed and looked at her, “Did you ever like someone but you were scared to admit that you like him?” Diane asked and Sarah nodded her head. “That even though you know he likes you too still you are afraid to tell him how you feel” Sarah added and Diane smiled and nodded. “So you have experienced that too?” Diane asked and Sarah laughed. “Not in the past tense though, I mean right now there is a guy I like but somehow am scared to tell him or even show him I like him” Sarah imparted and Diane became excited.

“I wished we became friends sooner Sarah, I didn’t know we had lots in common” Diane said and Sarah smiled at her. “You know what there is only one way out of your misery, you have to stand up and tell him what you really feel” Sarah suggested. Diane liked the idea but she became hesitant and so she shook her head. “Still afraid? Okay then if you do it then I will do it too. I will likewise tell the guy I like how I feel about him” Sarah suggested and Diane suddenly gained confidence. “Right, come on I will go first, come with me and I will accompany you later” Diane said and Sarah was surprised. “We are going to do it now?” she asked and Diane stood up and nodded. “We must do it now, you never know they might slip away from us” she said and they both laughed.

Meanwhile on the other side of the school campus Paul was having his afternoon nap while Fred and Jeff were pestering him. “Guys please stop I want to take a nap, I did not get much sleep last night” he told them as he put his arms on his head to cover his eyes. “Ooh having sleepless night thinking of Kara Miller” Jeff teased him. “Well I would have sleepless nights too if she kissed me, who wouldn’t?” Fred said. “Guys please let me take a nap” Paul reiterated and the two fell silent not due to his plea but for a girl standing near them. Kara signals the two to not say a word and they both nodded but Jeff thought of something else.

“Hey Paul before we leave you in peace, are you still thinking about going out with Kara?” Jeff asked. “Always, but just in my imagination though” he answered. Kara was smiling and Fred was giggling. “Hey Paul, in your imagination, how do you ask her out?” Jeff said and he suppressed his laugh and looked at Fred. “Well nothing spectacular, but if I would ask her in real life then I might not be able to utter a word or I might shake my body to death” Paul replied and everyone was silently laughing. “So in your imagination how do you ask her?” Jeff asked and Paul took a deep breath. “In my imagination I am brave I can do anything…It goes this way…Kara would you want to go out with me?” he said. “I would love to go out with you Paul” Kara replied and Paul slowly opened his eyes and saw her smiling at him.

Paul quickly stood up and was so embarrassed, he looked at his friends and they were laughing and giggling. “Kara, I’m sorry I did know you were here” he told her. “Yes I would love to go out with you” Kara repeated and Paul stood still in shock. “You would go out with me?” he asked and Kara smiled at him and nodded. “Why would you want to do that?” Paul asked and suddenly Sarah and Diane arrived. Kara looked embarrassed and her cheeks became red, she looked at Paul and smiled at him and said

“Because…I like you”