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Romance Teens & Young Adult Happy

[A Continuation of 'How to Slushy a Fuckboy' & 'How to Buy a Red Panda']

"What're you still doing up there?" Oliver asked, sitting in a steel folding chair within the row just in front of the stage. All of the screaming college students had cleared out, leaving behind a trail of discarded food wrappers and empty plastic cups strewn everywhere. Confetti speckled the stage as well as the floor, and the stage lights had been brought down, but he could still see her there. She sat in the middle of the floor up there, legs crossed like a kindergartener, sentiment written all over her glittering eyes. 

"Just thinking," the girl replied, her eyes shifting away from the empty venue to the boy in front of her as he climbed onto the stage. She couldn't help but notice the way the muscles in his arm tensed and then relaxed while he hoisted himself up. He looked so different than he had years ago... when they met. 

"What about?" Oliver continued, making his way over to her slowly. Karina's eyes followed the line of his body from his shoes all the way up to his face. He even dressed differently. Back then he would have been in some pair of grocery store brand running shorts and a t-shirt with a cheesy slogan. Now, in a pair of tailored trousers, stylish boots, and a button up that was tastefully loose she could see him as the man he really was. 

"You," Karina admitted with a cheeky smile, pushing herself up off the floor and onto her feet. She didn't look all that different to the boy, just more beautiful. Her clothes were still bold as ever, she wore a pair of platform boots, a see-through lace blouse and a pair of leather pants that fit her like a glove. Her hair, still sandy blonde as it had been in high school, now was cut to just graze her shoulders, a wispy bang complimenting her cat-shaped eyes.

"Shut up." Oliver blushed at the girl's words and let his eyes fall to the stage floor, meeting the girl finally, taking one of her hands. And just like that, she felt like she was a junior in high school again, embarrassing the boy during study hall. His look had changed, but his heart, big and soft as ever, remained the same. When he lifted his head, eye level with the girl, he spoke again: "You just performed for a couple thousand people and you're thinking about me?"

She nodded, intertwining their fingers where they stood center stage, searching the boy's eyes with her own. He looked proud, yet somehow unconvinced by Karina's words.

"How could I not think about you?" the girl went on to prove her point, "most of my songs are about you."

Oliver's face twisted again with flattery, his cheeks warming as he tucked a strand of Karina's hair behind her ear.

"Most?" Oliver teased, raising an eyebrow. Karina laughed, and pushed him away playfully, though Oliver didn't allow her to go far. Their hands drifted apart, but his hands quickly found a home against the girl's hips, pulling her in close once more. She felt her breath catch in the back of her throat as he held her body against his, her hands traveling up his arms slowly to wrap around his neck.

"Hey, love birds. They want the lights off in ten, so get a move on," called a voice from behind the curtain a little ways away. Oliver looked over his shoulder and snickered when he saw Danny there, still sweaty from the performance, patting his forehead with a towel. Once Karina's ex-boyfriend, now her bass player.

"Where's Drew? I thought you guys left already," Karina asked in a grin, talking to Danny over Oliver's shoulder.

"You know how he is, ran to the showers as soon as we got off stage," Danny said, shaking his head. Oliver connected the dots first.

"Oh. So that's why you're all wet... got it," the boy smirked, eyeing Danny. He wasn't sweating, he'd been messing around with Drew, probably fumbling amongst the outskirts of the shower, trying to avoid the water and failing. By the way Danny's eyes perked up, and a smile spread across his lips, Oliver knew he hit the nail on the head.

"Don't be jealous, Ollie," Danny winked, running the towel back over his hair as he let go of the curtain and it fell back into place, obscuring him as he walked off. Karina giggled to fill in the silence, amused by how well they all got along. Every now and again it would sort of hit her, the irony of her life, and she just couldn't help but laugh.

"What's so funny?" Oliver questioned lightly, walking the girl over to the edge of the stage. She followed, and let the boy help her down, holding her easily by her waist before setting her on the floor.

"Nothing," Karina shook her head, smiling as she walked hand in hand with Oliver toward the doors. He smiled too, but as he opened the door for Karina, he remembered something.

"Shoot. Your purse," Oliver said as Karina stepped out onto the sidewalk, the night sky a cool royal blue. Before she could reply he reassured her he would go grab it, and disappeared back into the venue. She stood leaning against the venue door, her arms crossed casually over her chest. Though it was summer the night was cool and breezy, and she wished she'd brought a jacket. Still, as she watched cars pass by slowly, listening to the hum of their engines, she couldn't help but glance up at the stars. They were just starting to speckle the sky, bleeding through the velvet blue skyline. Breaking the silence, a car pulled up in front of her and stopped. She felt gently concerned, hoping it wasn't anybody who might have recognized her. She loved interacting with fans of her work, but it was late in the evening, and had she been with Oliver she would have felt safer. But, luckily, it was just Summer.

"What're you doing out here?" the girl asked, her brown hair tied up in a bun, wearing her comfiest pair of shorts and a hoodie. She was something like Karina's manager, always by her side, always ready to listen. She couldn't imagine a better person to confide in.

"Forgot my purse inside, Ollie went to go get it," Karina smiled, walking over to the girl's car. She bent down and leaned her forearms on Summer's car door, poking her head in.

"Man of your dreams," Summer teased, rolling her eyes though she smiled warmly. Karina gazed down the street as a beat of silence passed, allowing for Summer to pull out her phone and send a quick message.

"I told him we're gonna go grab a drink at 7/11. He'll meet us," the girl said, gesturing for Karina to hop into the car with her. Karina obliged, tucking herself into the passenger's side. The girls listened to music softly play over the car radio while they drove, arriving at the neighborhood 7/11 in under fifteen minutes. They parked, and Karina began to climb out of the car, pausing when she realized Summer wasn't following. She looked back with a puzzled look, and Summer had an answer ready.

"Gotta call the wifey. I'll be in in just a sec," the girl reassured, pulling her phone out of her pocket again as Karina nodded understandingly and headed into the empty 7/11 alone. The icy blue glow from the lights inside was comforting to her, reminding her of all the times she'd spent there after school when she was younger. It had a certain energy about it. She knew others would find it to be odd, having a such a strong sentiment for a convenience store, but she couldn't help herself. As she scanned the aisles of snacks she picked up a few things, a bag of Cheetos for herself, and a package of Ho-Hos for Oliver. His favorite.

Turning around another corner she snagged a large cup from the counter and headed back toward the Slush Puppie machine, reminiscing once more. She couldn't help but smile as she remembered that first day she'd spoken to Oliver... what he'd done for her. She laughed under her breath as it all replayed in her head--Danny covered in multicolored slushy, the two of them running down the street like their lives depended on it, hand in hand.

Karina walked over to the machine, setting her snacks on the counter beside herself, and then started her usual routine. She layered the colors of slushy over and over again, making a rainbow in her cup. Once she was satisfied, she popped a straw into the top and took a long sip. The night's events, while amazing, had made her feel a bit tense. As she tasted the familiar treat she felt her body relax, and her anxiety decrease significantly. After recollecting her chips and snack cakes into her arm, she turned to head back to the counter to pay, but she stopped dead in her tracks.

Behind her, down on one knee, was Oliver, his eyes glossy. She felt her entire face soften as she looked down at him, her knees threatening to go weak. She stumbled back a couple steps and held onto the slushy counter, tears already forming at the corners of her eyes.

"Surprise," Oliver began, pulling a black velvet ring box out of his pants pocket. He shifted his weight a bit, swallowed a lump in his throat, and then softly began.

"It was six years ago when we spoke for the first time. I walked into the principal's office wondering what I'd done, even more terrified when I saw you. But then I saw that look in your eyes... like you wanted me. Like I could help you. And so I swore to myself that for as long as you'd let me stick around in your life, I would do my best to be what you need. I don't know how well I've done so far... but you've kept me around so I can't imagine I've done a bad job. At least I hope not. Anyway... I just wanna do this forever. I wanna watch you grow and change. I wanna buy you slushies. I wanna kiss you, and only you. I wanna prove you made the right choice back then, asking me for help. You had no idea that day, but when you chose me you chose me for good. No take backs."

Karina was crying by then, and so was Oliver, laughing softly through his tears as she watched the girl struggle not to sob.

"It's okay," Oliver reassured before he continued, "What I'm trying to say is... I know I'm probably not what you envisioned for yourself and there are a million other guys out there more deserving of being with you. But I can't let you go."

Oliver paused, wiping at his face as he was overcome by emotion. Karina dropped her things back on the counter and kneeled down on the floor with the boy, sniffling through his speech.

"I love you, Karina. I have since you kissed me on the cheek just down the road from here, since you almost got yourself expelled over a, frankly, pretty shitty nude."

Karina gasped, laughing as her vision blurred with tears. She wiped at her eyes with her knuckles, her breath catching in her throat again as Oliver opened up the ring box and revealed the diamond. It wasn't anything too large, but it heart shaped, and glimmered even in the dingy 7/11 lighting.

"You've already been my first... will you be my only?" Oliver smiled, trails of tears running down his cheeks and over his lips. Karina barely let him finish his sentence before she smashed her lips against his, tasting the salt of his tears mixed with her own. She nodded her yes against his mouth as they embraced, falling onto the convenience store floor in a big heap. When they pulled away they were both flushed, staring at one another with big, wet eyes.

"One condition," Karina sniffled, unable to hide her smirk, "You cuddle me before bed instead of that stupid red panda I bought you years ago."

Oliver blushed, embarrassed by her remark, but returned her playful expression, shrugging his shoulders before nodding, "Hmm. I think I can manage that."

June 02, 2023 18:09

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16 comments

John Werner
09:39 Jun 05, 2023

Great story, Brynn! Skillfully done! Thank you for sharing.

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Brynn Helena
11:14 Jun 05, 2023

thank you!!

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Mark VanTassel
17:53 Jun 04, 2023

This is a great set of stories. Thank you for sharing them.

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Brynn Helena
18:48 Jun 04, 2023

thank YOU for reading!!! i appreciate it :)

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Mary Bendickson
22:05 Jun 03, 2023

Another good one, Brynn. I do so like happy endings even if I don't always write them. Thanks for liking my BS&T

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Brynn Helena
23:19 Jun 03, 2023

me too!! thanks for reading :)

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Wally Schmidt
15:26 Jun 03, 2023

Love this series you have going. Absolutely nothing bad happens in them so they are rather different that way and buck the traditional writing advice of putting your character in trouble and then in more trouble to build the tension. But you have something here. Maybe I keep reading because the characters are just so sweet. Could it be the Ted Lasso effect is coming to writing and we don't need a lot of tension in our stories to keep reading? I'm going to have to think about this a bit more. Thank you, Brynn, for continuing the series and s...

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Brynn Helena
16:53 Jun 03, 2023

thank you so much!!! :)

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Ethan Elliott
07:12 Jun 03, 2023

Your ability to pop out stories so fast always amazes me lol, share your secrets!

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Brynn Helena
12:11 Jun 03, 2023

i have a long, LONG list of possible story ideas that i just pick from and tailor to the prompts on here so i have a never ending vault of ideas to choose from LMAO

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21:50 Jun 02, 2023

So cool you made a series out of this with the prompts. Sweet story again. :)

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Brynn Helena
00:02 Jun 03, 2023

thank you!! it's been a nice thing for me to relax and write about something nice. usually my stories lean a bit dark in nature, so it's been refreshing! glad you enjoyed :)

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Martin Ross
19:25 Jun 20, 2023

A great series — terrific take on modern relationships, as always!

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Brynn Helena
19:26 Jun 20, 2023

thank you!! :)

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Mike Panasitti
15:35 Jun 20, 2023

We have a trilogy. Will it evolve into a quartet? I'd be interested to discover how Karina becomes a pop star. Having her outwit a slimy agent or producer (with Oliver's help) would be a great plot twist. Just a possibility, but some more Helena-brand horror would also be welcome.

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Brynn Helena
16:08 Jun 20, 2023

a very interesting idea! i'll have to mull it over, i always love a slimy agent character (who doesn't?). i've been caught in a bit of a teeny-bopper, chick-flick writing wave lately for better or worse (started by this series, and spiritually continued in my most recent short for this week). i've been greatly missing writing horror though, i need to get back to it! as always, thanks for your comment :)

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