Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joe & Querty #1.3

Grace Conrad sat in the high school library doing the homework she was given today. Grace was a short girl with dirty blond hair--almost more brown than blond--she had a small frame, numerous pimples on her face and a slightly big nose. Grace was a quiet girl and mostly kept to herself. Few people even knew she existed.

Aaron Kimball was the exact opposite of Grace. Aaron was extremely handsome and one of the most popular guys in school. Aaron came into the library and saw Grace sitting at a table. He raised an eyebrow and walked over to her. "Hi," he smiled.

Grace slowly looked up at him. "Hello."

"I'm Aaron Kimball," Aaron began but Grace interrupted him.

"I know who you are," she said in a no-nonsense tone.

Aaron smiled. Awkward silence surrounded them as Grace returned to her work. "I know this may sound weird but would you want to go out?" Aaron asked.

Grace looked up again. "Like on a date? With you?"



This stumped Aaron. "I don't know. Because that's what kids our age do."

"Guys like you don't date girls like me," Grace said.

"Girls like you? You mean cute, intelligent girls?"

Grace smiled a little at Aaron.

Joe fixed his tie in the mirror then made a full turn to make sure he looked okay. He went over to his bed and slid Querty onto his left hand. "How do I look?" Joe asked.

"You look nice although I still don't really know why I can't go," Querty said.

"It's a first date, Querty and you don't really make the best first impression and I want everything to go smoothly tonight," Joe said.

"So who are you going out with?" Querty asked.

"She contacted me through email after that speed dating thing. Her name is Shirley."

"Well, I hope everything goes good tonight. Be home by eleven."

Joe took Querty off his hand and laid him down on the bed. "Funny, Querty. Don't wait up."

Joe and Shirley sat across from each other on the second level of the restaurant. Shirley was eating lasagna while Joe opted for a chicken meal. The chicken came as more of a game hen and Joe was confused as to how to eat it. He tried both picking it up and using a knife and fork and to be honest, he didn't know what the polite way to eat it was.

"I wanted chicken but...not a...tiny...chicken," Joe said, slightly embarrassed.

"Well my lasagna is delicious if you want a couple bites of it," Shirley offered and pointed a fork with some lasagna on it.

"Thank you," Joe leaned in for the bite.

"Oh, you thought I was serious..." she moved the fork away from Joe's mouth.


"I'm just kidding. Here," she moved the fork closer and he took the bite.

"Wow," Joe began, "that is good. Next time I'm getting that."

"You think there'll be a next time?" Shirley asked.

"Eventually, yes. With or without you. Hopefully with."

Shirley smiled. "So when do I get to meet Querty?" she asked.


"Querty? You've been talking about him all night. Almost as much as your mother and sister."

"Well, Querty...doesn't really get to meet new people."

"Why not?" Shirley asked.

"He can't leave the house without me because..."

"Because he's a shut-in? Does he have agoraphobia? That's so interesting."

"He doesn't have agoraphobia. He's just...different. I'm sure you'll meet him soon."

"How everything going here?" asked a waitress who suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

"Everything is delicious. Can I have a box to put my little chicken in? I'm going to take it home where I don't have dozens of judging eyes on me while I eat."

Bess Vanacore stared in awe at the sight of Aaron and Grace getting ice cream together. Nicki was sipping on her drink and talking about the numbers of stories she's had to go through since becoming school paper editor but Bess wasn't listening.

"What are they doing together?" Bess asked in amazement.

"Bess? Who cares? Aaron's a jerk and Grace is...well, Grace. After tonight you probably won't see them together ever again."

"But what brought them together? People like them don't just end up together."

"They didn't end up together. They are a high school couple. I'd be shocked if they lasted a month--hell, a week."

Across the street, Aaron and Grace ate their ice cream in near silence. "Thanks for coming out with me," Aaron said.

"You've already thanked me for that," Grace said.

"Sorry, I guess I'm a little nervous."

"Nervous? You've dated some of the hottest girls in school and you're nervous with me?" Grace chuckled.

"It takes more to impress a girl like you," Aaron said. "Those other girls, you only have to do a few things and they immediately fall in love with you but you--girls like you--you have to work hard to get and it's usually more interesting and worthwhile."

"Really? So why are you working so hard to get me?" Grace asked.

"No reason," Aaron said and he leaned in closer to Grace.

"Oh my God!" Bess shrieked from across the street. "They're kissing!"

"Yeah, that's great. Do you think I should should put the Homecoming ad on the top of page 4 or go with the editorial cartoon?" Nicki asked but Bess didn't hear and didn't answer.

Three weeks passed and Aaron and Grace seemed happy but soon, they broke up which took a devastating toll on Bess. Bess was in deep mourning for several days afterward but she was the only one who really cared that they had broken up.

"What happened?" Bess wondered out loud to Nicki.

"Who cares? It's just a stupid high school relationship. Can you please help me with this format layout?" Nicki begged angrily.

"Sure," Bess went over to Nicki but didn't begin helping her. "I should just ask Grace. I bet he cheated on her."

"Who really cares? I need to get this paper formatted, Bess."

"I'm gonna go find Grace. I'll be right back," Bess walked off and out into the hallways of the school.

Nicki rested her head on her desk and exhaled loudly.

"And you're okay with that?" Bess asked after she had found and confronted Grace.

"It was just sex. We took precautions. We both knew this relationship would go nowhere. It was just a little bit of fun," Grace explained.

"But he took your virginity."

"Yeah. He gets to say he took a girl's virginity and I get to say I slept with the most popular guy in school. Both sides win," Grace smiled.

"I don't get it..." Bess was confused but Grace just walked off. Bess went back to the journalism classroom and sat down next to Nicki who was still working on the formatting. "They were just kind of...using each other."

"That's great. Are you done obsessing over this idiotic high school side story?" Nicki asked.

"I guess. Now what do you need help on?"

Joe and Shirley walked down the sidewalk holding hands. They stopped in front of his house and they looked at each other. "Can I come in and meet Querty?" Shirley asked.

Joe looked from Shirley to the house. "I don't know. My mom is home and I don't know if..."

"It's up to you. You can say 'no' if you want," Shirley smiled.

"Yeah. Maybe just not yet. But soon. Querty is dying to meet you, too."

"Ok, I'll see you later. Thanks for the ice cream," Shirley kissed Joe on the cheek and got in her car.

Joe walked into the house and closed the door.

Shirley meets Querty; Principal Anschutz returns; Buddy gets evicted and Kip offers to have him move in.