Counter of Smiles
“And… There we go! That makes one hundred and fifty-seven smiles!” I step back from my wall, that’s a big whiteboard, and admire my large number of tally marks. The tally marks are to count how many times I’ve made people smile. So far, I’ve been counting for seven months, nine weeks, and twenty-two days. I always make sure I record the latest number in my book, just in case. My best friend, Eclipse, always asks me if it’s hard to keep track, and I tell her it’s not because I have a really good memory. My other best friends, Colin and Aubrey, ask me why I do it, and I have the same answer every time. It’s my mission to make as many people smile, to spread some positivity in this world. My goal is to make it to one thousand someday… but that’s going to take a loooong time.
“Asa! Your girlfriend is here,” There’s a shout from downstairs, from my twin brother, Daniel.
“Crap! I forgot we decided she’d come here, instead of me going over!” I panic to myself, putting down my whiteboard marker, and I rush over to my bed, make it, then toss all my papers into drawers.
“Coming!” I yell, racing down the stairs, and my girlfriend shrieks in delight when she sees me.
“Asa!” She quickly moves past my brother and comes over to hug me.
“Hey girl, how have you been?” I ask, quickly mouthing a thank you to Daniel.
“Well, much better now that I’m here,” She replies, as we walk upstairs. As soon as Courtney enters my room, she takes a long look at my whiteboard.
“You’re getting close to one hundred and sixty,” She observes, as she comes over and hugs me from behind.
“I’ll get there eventually. It’s all worth it,” Courts kisses me under my right ear, before sitting at the end of my bed.
“What happens if your tall marks disappeared? And your notebook was burnt, so you had no way of remembering?” She asks, forgetting I have a wonderful memory.
“Oh! You also have temporary amnesia,” I collapse onto my bed, next to her, poking her side, which makes her squeal.
“You’re so cruel, Courts. Do you want me to have amnesia and forget you?”
“Nooooo!” She whines, stretching the vowel.
“Hah. Thought so. To answer your question, I would still remember because I have it on my phone’s notes,” My girlfriend pouts,
“You’re so organised for smiles! You’re like… a Counter of Smiles!” She exclaims, and I can’t help but grin.
“Counter of Smiles, I like that,”
“When you reach one million, I’ll dub you as Countess of Smiles,”
“Wonderful. Shall we go?” I ask, and we turn to leave, but not before Courtney presses her lips to mine, leaving me breathless. She smiles,
“There, that’s one hundred and fifty-nine.” She winks, before dragging me out of my room.
“It’s your turn to choose where we go,” I remind Courtney, and she nods.
“I was thinking Tuesday Week B,” I smirk, at school, our timetable is divided into Week A and B, so that’s how we organise our afternoons.
“Ice cream parlour, then sit at the edge of the pier?”
“Yup, I’m paying today,” Courtney and I walk to the ice cream shop, swinging our arms, as our hands are held together.
"Look, Gerald," I hear an old woman say to her husband, "Aren't those girls the best of friends?" I try not to roll my eyes, yes, we're the ultimate gal pals. I gently pull Courtney's chin to face me, and then I kiss her. The old woman falls silent. 'Hah, take that.' I think to myself.
"What was that for?"
"Am I not allowed to kiss my adorable girlfriend?"
"You are, but why here?"
"Because I can...?
"Ok, but you look utterly kissable right now,"
"You're so cheesy, Asa,"
"I know, I'm so mature about it,"
"Don't give me cheese puns, Asa!" She chuckles, as we walk into the ice cream store, grinning. That’s one hundred and sixty!
“One mint chocolate in a cone, and one strawberry gelato in a cup, please!” She places our order and I can’t help but take in the sight of her. Ash brown hair that goes up to her mid-back, pale green eyes, and the fairest of skin. A true beauty, if you ask anyone. My girlfriend pays, hands me my cone, and tucks her wallet in her pocket as head for the pier.
“Is it good?” I ask her, as we sit down, our feet bare, toes dipping in the water. She nods rapidly, licking the spoon clean every time. I laugh, my wavy auburn hair slightly moving in the slight breeze. My phone vibrates, and I see that it’s from my mum.
“Do you want to stay over?”
“Sure, I’ll ask,” She puts her phone down, finishes her gelato, and then leans her head on my shoulder. I smile and run my fingers through her straight hair.
“You know, you make me smile so much, you’ll get one million without having to count anyone else’s smile.” She shoots me a pearly white beam, before kissing me on the lips. She tastes like strawberries, and it’s the sweetest thing I’ve ever known.
“Should we head b-back now?” She pants, and all I can do is nod.
Dinner is served quickly, as Daniel has to go to an important basketball game. One with his boyfriend in it, perhaps?
“How are you fairing with studying, Courtney?” My dad asks, before biting into a carrot.
“Well thank you, Jay. Some of it is a little hectic and tiresome, but I have ways to feel energised afterwards. She subtly pokes my leg under the table. My twin abruptly stands up,
“I have to to go!” He clears his throat, “I don’t want to be late.” My mum has a mild smile on her face,
“Have fun, don’t get into trouble. Leave your plate, here.” And with that, my brother is out the door.
“Are you girls good with staying upstairs tonight?”
“Sure,” I nod for the both of us.
“I’ll bring up something for you two, later. Enjoy yourselves,”
“You’re the best Mum, thank you!” We race upstairs and I quickly add a few more tally marks.
“I’ve been looking forward to this, for the whole night,” Courtney rubs her hands together, as we sit on my rug.
“Ha! Plus four, Asa, uno!”
“Are you trying to kill me?!”
“Muahaha, of course!”
“I- just win already,”
“Good game, good game.” My girlfriend stands up and does a victory dance. She suddenly yawns and stretches.
“Can I wear one of your hoodies?”
“Sure, not the white one though, that’s new.” We both get ready for bed, before lying down on my queen-sized mattress.
“Now, this… This is what I’ve been looking forward to, all night.” I quickly grab my pillow and whack it right into my girlfriend. After five minutes of chasing, and squealing, “Get away!” We turn off the lights, except for my fairy lights, and lie in the semi-darkness.
“Do you want a goodnight kiss?” I tease and she nods,
“Always.” After a while, we fall asleep, in each other’s arms.
I wake up the next morning, Courtney’s arms still draped over my waist. I rub my eyes and look over at my whiteboard. I carefully remove myself from my girlfriend’s grasp and tiptoe over to the whiteboard.
“Asa?” Courtney mumbles groggily, but I don’t turn around.
“SON OF A BISCUIT! I WASN’T DREAMING, IT REALLY IS GONE!” I shriek, startling Courts.
“Huh? Wha- What’s going on?” She clumsily comes out of bed and looks at my whiteboard.
“They’re all gone!” She exclaims, and I’m already dialling my friend’s numbers.
“Did you miss us so much?” Colin asks once they all pick up.
“Not the time, Cole,” I flip the camera, “They’re all gone!” Eclipse squints,
“There’s no smudges or anything, it’s perfectly clean…”
“Are you sure you didn’t wipe it off?” Aubrey asks, and Courtney laughs.
“Why would she do that?”
“Oh, hey Courts. Didn’t see you there,”
“Maybe it was magic,” Colin laughs, and I shrug.
“I’m so confused, I’ll take anything,”
“Let’s meet up at my place at 10, okay?” Eclipse says, and we all nod. I hang up, and we quickly get changed racing down the corridor to get downstairs.
“Oh hey,” I nearly collide with my twin, as I look over to the tall handsome boy next to him. So, this is Zach.
“Hello, there you two,” I say slyly, and my brother’s face goes red.
“Hi,” Zach smiles, unfazed. “I’m Zachary, pleasure to meet you,”
“Ooh, he’s polite,” Courtney snickers and Daniel bites his lip, trying not to smile.
“Heard you’re a basketballer, are you any good?” I ask, looking him up and down.
“I’m not that great,” He admits humbly, but my brother thinks otherwise.
“No, he’s lying. He’s terrific!” My brother interrupts, grinning like mad.
“We have to go!” He suddenly adds,
“It was nice to meet you.” Zach says before they head downstairs.
“Ah, young love.” I joke, and Courtney’s face lights up. I think back to last night, and how many times she smiled, which means I’m on one hundred and sixty-five.
“Let’s get some breakfast, then go to Clipse’s,” I tell Courtney and we both head downstairs.
“Sleep well?” My dad asks,
“Yes,” I reply exactly at the same time my girlfriend says,
“Like a baby,” We look at each other and share a grin, one hundred and sixty-six.
“There’s toast in the toaster,” My mum says, as a greeting and we both take a slice, before putting on spreads.
“Hey Dad, did you go into my room last night?”
“Why? Were you doing some-”
“No. I was just wondering because all my tally marks on my whiteboard have disappeared!”
“Neither of us went in your room,” My mum pipes up from the other end of the table.
“Why would someone wipe them off?” Courtney asks to no one in particular, “It wasn’t hurting anyone,”
“Exactly!” I exclaim, “I’m so confused…” We finish our breakfast, pack up, and Courts thanks my parents.
“Any time Courtney, get your parents to come visit, soon.”
“Thank you, I will.” We run over to Eclipse’s house, and when we’re halfway there, Courtney asks,
“You’re still keeping track aren’t you?”
“One hundred and sixty-five,”
“Do you want me to ring the door-” As she says this, the front door opens wide, and my best friend smiles.
“Hello, lovebirds, come on in!” Clipse winks, and we follow her into the little side room in Eclipse’s bedroom.
“Hey all,” I greet Aubrey and Colin when I walk in and they wave.
“The lovers decided to join us. How are you guys?” Cole raises his eyebrows and Courtney snickers.
“Ok, let’s get down to business,” I notice Aubrey holding in the Disney fangirl in her, so I quickly move on. “This morning, when I woke up, my whiteboard wall was spotless. All my tally marks are gone, and no one seems to know how it happened,”
“When was the last time you saw all the tally marks on the whiteboard?” Eclipse quizzes, she loves playing detective, even at eighteen.
“Before I went to sleep, which was at… Midnight, I think,”
“Hmm…” As Eclipse looks lost in thought, Colin asks me,
“What if you just redraw them, and set up a camera in your room?” I ponder about it for a second,
“That’s a good idea, Cole,”
“What? Are you saying I never have good ideas?” He jokes, and Aubrey laughs.
“I- Never mind,”
“I was kidding, Asa,” He lightly punches my shoulder and I grin back at him. Courtney is sitting behind me, braiding the ends of my hair. Eclipse suddenly rejoins the conversation,
“Let’s follow Cole’s plan. Set up your phone, or a camera, and start filming just before you go to bed. Make sure it’s charged, so it doesn’t die halfway through. Then, we’ll come back tomorrow, and review, okay?” We all nod in agreement and disband. That night, I draw fifty tally marks, set up my phone, on my bedside table, hidden by my books. I turn off my lamp, leave my curtains slightly open to let in light, and hit record.
The second my eyes flutter open, I check my phone and my whiteboard. The tally marks are gone. I review the video, and much to my annoyance, no one enters my room. At the three hour mark, the marks are there, but a minute later, they’ve vanished. I frown, maybe it is magic? I shake my head, maybe it doesn’t matter, I can always just write them in my notebook. I sigh, it’s so much nicer having my whiteboard full of tally marks. I stand up, get dressed and dial Eclipse’s number. She picks up on the second ring.
“Absolutely nothing. No one came in, one minute the tally marks were there, then a second later, they were gone!”
“How much do you believe in magic, Asa?”
“I- Well, there’s all this magic in books, and movie but…”
“Listen to me Asa, there’s a reason why I like to write goals and lists, there’s a reason why I like the small things in life. Because they’re magic. I’m telling you, it has to do something with this. Something is forbidding you to continue writing down those tally marks, we just have to figure out who.”
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Surprise, surprise! I managed to get three stories done in a week, (hopefully I can keep it up) so here is the third! I apologise for the really abrupt ending, the deadline was close, too close for my liking, so I just sent it in. Don't forget I really appreciate comments and feedback! :D
Really nice job! Everthing but the ending (which I don't blame you for) was perfect! One of my favorite!
Thank you, Annette! Yes, I agree, the ending was a little abrupt, hopefully, I can find a prompt that suits Part 2. Thank you for reading! :D
Hey Jasey! *surprised pikachu expression* What a beautiful tale! Thanks to Asa, I'm going to start my own tally mark count for smiles :) \ I loved how your characters are always so deep, and perfect! They're so lifelike, it's almost like I know them better than the back of my hand. I nearly cried when Asa's tally count was erased, and I cannot put into words how much I want a sequel. Keep writing, great job! Can't wait for more ;) Lots of love, Sythe
and why did I think of Counter being Counter as in the Kitchen Counter instead of Counter as in the Numeric Counter XD
Hello Sythe! Thank you for the wonderful comment, I’m so glad you decided to start your own tally! You should be getting a sequel soon... ;) Also you don’t know how much I laughed when I saw you wrote kitchen counter, I honestly didn’t think of it. Love, Jasey :)
Aw, no problem. I think I just got my first smile! Ah, I have a... peculiar way of thinking ;)
Aw, no problem. I think I just got my first smile! Ah, I have a... peculiar way of thinking ;)
Don’t forget to write them down, you don’t want them to disappear! And dw, I like peculiar. :D
Of course, I already have :) That's great owo! Thanks to you, I got motivated enough to write for this week's prompts. It's a Star Wars fanfic, have you seen Star Wars :D?
Hi Jasey! It's been a long time since I spoke to you or read your stories so I came to check them out! This is an amazing story, just like all your other stories! I like the dialogue you use while writing: It makes the story even more imaginable and realistic! Congratulations on three stories in one week!! I've never done three till now. Two, yes, but not three! I didn't find it abrupt at all, it was a great pleasure to read it! Keep it up!! :)
Hey Akshaya! Thanks for coming back to keep up with my stories, I appreciate it a lot. I’m glad you enjoyed this story, I had a lot of fun writing it, (especially Asa being so confused). It’s funny, I planned to do two stories, and ended up doing three that week, but last week, I didn’t write a single one. Funny how stumped your brain can become. :)
Of course! Sometimes we feel we can go on and on writing forever, and many other times, that feels like a struggle! :)
So true ;)
Upvoted all of your comments! :D
Thank you so much! I’ll do yours shortly
You deserve it, your stories are AMAZING! Thank you!!!!!!
I’ve upvoted your comments Kate, hopefully it helps!
THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes it helps a lot!!
This is adorable. The tally mark of smiles- Asa and Courtney- just, adorable.
You're too kind <33333
<3 <3 <3
AYYYYYY! I LOVE THIS STORY OKAY, ITS AMAZING. Those trippy sentences i can'tttt- There are a few grammar/punctuation errors that I pointed out :) , and the Mulan and Aurora Rising references are 👌. ALSO NOT INFERENCING ME THROUGH AUBREY OR ANYTHING 😂 😂 Also can I just say- your LGBTQ+ romances are so good, I love themm so much. They're precious and beautiful and their relationship is always illustrated so well. <3 Ily girly, Zoé :)
OK OK OK BUT THE TRIPPY SENTENCES WAS THE BEST PART- Thanks so much for ur feedback, I was watching you point them out, so I saw them already :) Glad you saw the references, I love adding them in subtly. ALSO YES WE STAN LGBTQ+ SO MUCH aaaaaand maybe..... I'll have another one for Valentine's Day :D
maybe? girl ik u and there's gonna be an LQBTQ+ romance for SURE.
OK OK U GOT ME, YES IT'S TRUE THERE'S A LESBO STORY ALREADY- XD
This is a very adorable yet thrilling story to read Jasey! Great work! Can't wait for part 2(plzz let me know when u have part 2!)
Thank you so much, Varsha! And we'll see.... Maybe there will be a part two- but for now, reading 'A Tally' should sum up some loose ends :D
Of course!!! <33 Yup, I read it!
Ooooo~ cliffhanger! This story was really good, I absolutely LOVED Asa's and Courtney's relationship (they're so cute!). Also, that scene where they kissed in public in front of that lady was SO satisfying.
Thank you so much! Also yes, it gave me great satisfaction writing that part. Glad you enjoyed it! :D