Rating: K (since it contains nothing inappropriate).
Extra Info: This is a short story that I wrote for twelfth-grade English class.
Originally written on October 2, 2012 (Tuesday).
Alison “Ali” Tylenda is fuming as she walks toward her locker. Students wave at her, but she strides past them, too angry to make small talk. Ali had spent the entire weekend waiting for her boyfriend to call, and he never had. He better have a good explanation for this, she thinks as she walks toward her locker.
Noel Sumling is waiting for Ali by her locker. When he sees her walk up to him, blonde hair with blue streaks hanging loose, her dark green eyes, he thinks to himself, God, I am so lucky to have her as my girlfriend. But he notices her angry expression, and his smile fades. “What’s wrong?”
“Did you forget to do something this weekend?” Ali asks.
“I don’t think so.” Noel racks his brain for clues. It’s no-one’s birthday, it’s not a holiday, and they hadn’t make any plans.
“You don’t think so?” Ali raises an eyebrow disbelievingly.
“Why don’t you fill me in,” he suggests, grabbing her hand.
“You were supposed to call me Saturday after your lacrosse game,” Ali reminds him. “I waited all evening Saturday, and checked my cell phone for messages like every five minutes. My mom thought I was insane because I never let my phone leave my side.”
“Sorry, I crashed after the game,” Noel says.
“You could’ve called Sunday.”
“I was visiting my aunt.”
“You could’ve left a message, Noel. You could’ve let me know whether we won the game. Hell, you could’ve texted me if you didn’t want to talk.”
“Ali. It was a busy weekend, okay? I’m sorry.”
“I call when I say I will,” Ali points out.
“You’re a girl.”
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Girls are better talkers.”
“That’s beside the point. And like I said, you could’ve texted me.”
They’re silent. Students trickle past them. The warning bell rings, but neither of them move. A girl steps up to a locker a little ways away, opens it, and shoves books inside.
“Why are you making such a thing out of this?” Noel asks finally.
“We’ve been going out since the ninth-grade. Why are you suddenly questioning everything?”
“I’m not,” she protests. “I just wanted you to call!”
“You could’ve called me,” he points out.
“That’s not the point,” Ali cries. “You said you were going to call me Saturday, and I waited all weekend!”
He shakes his head. “Don’t you think you’re making too big a deal out of all this?”
He sighs. “You’re right. I should’ve called, and I’m sorry.”
“I know why it seems like I’m making too big a deal out of this,” she says, “but it’s just that I have ideals about a relationship.”
“What kind of ideals?” Noel asks. “Share them with me, so I can follow them.”
Ali tells him the ideals.
“Consider them followed from now on.”
Within a week, Ali’s relationship with Noel has changed. He’s become the person she wanted him to be. He’s calling every night, e-mailing every other night, and texting her every few hours. Things are great between them; they’re constantly connected.
Ali gets to school early on Tuesday. She rounds the corner, and nearly has a stroke when she reaches her locker.
Noel is leaning against the locker, holding a huge heart-shaped box. “Here,” he says, handing Ali the box.
“Thanks.” Ali frowns. Valentine’s Day isn’t anywhere close, and the box looks pretty expensive.
“I wrote you another poem,” he says, handing her a sheet of notebook paper.
“Thanks,” Ali says again.
At lunch that day, Noel sees Ali in the cafeteria. “I have something for you.”
He hands her a shiny object.
“An apple?” And she sees a little ZipLoc bag attached to the stem. Inside the bag is a little note that says, “For The Fairest.”
“I know you like Greek mythology,” he says when Ali doesn’t say anything.
“Thank you,” she manages to say.
“Thank you,” Ali says to the delivery man. She brings in Noel's latest gift—a basket filled to the brim with her favourite candy (peanut butter M&Ms).
She takes the basket up to her room and squishes it in her closet with her other gift baskets from Noel. They’re all full of candy and stuffed animals. Notes that he’s written to Ali are splayed all over the desk, and bouquets of flowers—roses since Ali is a rose girl all the way—are sitting in vases on the dresser and on the bookshelves.
She sits on her bed. Sure, receiving gift baskets, notes, and getting texts on a regular basis are all nice, but she can't help but think that Noel hadn’t really done any of these things until she brought the subject up. And honestly, it’s getting to be a little much. Counting the basket she’s gotten today, she has eight baskets. In addition to the baskets, he’s sent balloons and roses. Each gift is accompanied with a note saying how much he adores her and how lucky he feels to have her.
Ali sighs. She’s brought this upon herself. She knows what she has to do now. And it hurts her. She takes out her iPhone and dials Noel’s number. He answers on the first ring, like he’s been waiting by the phone. Oh, God. “Can we meet now?” she asks. “Like at The Main Cup?”
At The Main Cup, Noel is sitting in a booth drinking coffee. Ali orders a frappuccino and joins him.
“So why’d you want to meet?” he asks.
She sighs. “I think you’re going a little overboard in demonstrating your affections.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, you bought me a brand-new computer.” She unzips her messenger bag and hands him a silver iMac. “Take it back to the store. I can’t and won’t accept it. I already have a perfectly good laptop.” He opens his mouth, but Ali interrupts him. “Please. Let me finish.”
“I have eight gift baskets from you,” she continues. “I have enough bouquets of flowers to decorate a wedding hall, enough stuffed animals to open a store, and enough candy to pack on forty pounds.” He smiles slightly, and so does she. “I just think those baskets—and this iMac—is a little too much.”
“Ali,” Noel says, “I bought you all that stuff because I was trying to make a point.”
“What? What point?”
“Romantic ideals are nice but unrealistic. You either have something like in the movies or you have something real. You can’t have both.”
“And in order to make that point, you bought me all kinds of crazy crap?”
“Talk is cheap. I wanted to show you, so I began buying you crazy stuff in the hopes you’d get a little freaked out. Apparently, it worked.”
“Oh, it worked. Definitely.” Ali smiles.
“Look,” Noel says, grabbing her hand. “Am I right in assuming that you conjured up the image of the perfect boyfriend after watching movies?”
“Yeah,” she admits. “I saw a few movies this weekend, and I guess I began to question things.”
“Ali,” Noel says, “fairy-tale endings don’t have to be the same. And just because an ending isn’t written like it is in Cinderella doesn’t mean the ending is any less happy.”
“I think I confused the terms fairy-tale ending and happy ending,” Ali muses. “But now I’m clear; I’ve got them straight.”
“And what’s the difference?” He smiles as he drains his coffee, raising an eyebrow.
“Fairy-tale endings made sense in the time period that the fairy-tale was written,” she says. “Time has passed since Cinderella was written; times have changed. Happy endings aren’t as extravagant as fairy-tale endings because the time period has changed. Happy endings are without glamor—fairy-tale endings were always glamorous—but happy endings, while they may be exempt of all glamor, are more realistic.”
Noel and Ali leave The Main Cup holding hands.
Thanks for reading. Please review.