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“Let’s make a bet.”
The girls of fourth hour Senior English huddled in, staring at Sheena excitedly. She smirked and leaned on her elbows on her desk.
“We have a big poem due in a week, right?”
The girls nodded their agreement.
“So… the girl that gets the lowest score on her poem… has to ask out Blue Henson and date him for an entire week.”
The girls gasped and giggled.
“Oh my gawd,” Chelsea whined. “You all know I’m an awful writer!”
They laughed and Sheena grinned mischievously, “That sucks for you, Chels!”
“Does it have to be Blue?” Chelsea continued, making a face. “He’s such a clumsy geek!”
“Those are the conditions! Is it a bet?”
All but two girls called out their approval. After another minute of convincing, Chelsea reluctantly agreed. The girls all turned to the last of the class to agree to the bet.
“Well, June? How about it?” Sheena asked.
“As if she has anything to worry about,” one of the other girls piped in. “June writes beautiful poetry.”
June sighed and crossed her arms over her chest, “Sure, whatever.”
“Great!” Sheena clapped her hands. So we have a bet! This time next week, we will gather to show our scores, and the loser with the lowest grade has to ask out Blue Henson that very day!”
Blue Henson couldn’t be bothered to pull his nose out of his book as he traipsed down the hallway. “I just know Robert is the one that stole the time machine and traveled back to 1846 to stop James from creating the Artifact!” he exclaimed excitedly.
The students that heard his declaration passing in the hallway snickered and whispered comments like, “What a weirdo.” Or “Freak!”
Blue was so enraptured in his story that he didn’t realize when the hallway came to an abrupt end. The witnesses around to see him smack straight in to the wall and fly backwards onto his back all paused in their hustle to laugh at the clumsy boy.
“He just ran into the wall!” a girl squealed to her friends and they chortled.
“What a loser!”
“I can’t believe he just did that…”
“Oh my gawd I’m laughing so hard it hurts!”
Blue’s face and ears grew hot and he sat up. He looked around for his book and glasses which had flown from his nose when his tailbone had connected with the hard tile floor. He found his book and pulled it close. He squinted his blue eyes and pushed his unruly blonde hair out of the way in vain. As soon as he dropped his hand again the messy locks fell back in front of his eyes.
Everyone continued to laugh. Was it really that funny? Blue felt around on the ground for his glasses. His fingers brushed the spectacles just as feet appeared on either side of them. He glanced up, but the body before him was blurred and dark. He pulled the glasses up and slid them onto his nose.
“Oh,” Blue breathed. It was June Maybury. The scary tomboy whom he had always admired from afar. She stared down at him blandly. Her black eyes gave off no emotion. Her short dark hair was messy, as it always was. The stern look on her face completely terrified him.
Blue jumped to his feet, clutching his book to his thin chest nervously.
“Sorry!” he shouted anxiously, because surely the reason she was giving him that look was because he inconvenienced her somehow. It was strange to have her attention; even though he HAD just run headlong into a wall, causing quite a scene. In the past, June Maybury had always been the one person in the high school unconcerned with his tumbles and collisions. Until now. It seemed that his clumsiness had finally captured the attention of everyone. How embarrassing.
June blew air out of her nose in irritation and glanced away. The other students in the hall had ceased their laughing and were now staring intently at the two.
“I ran into the wall,” Blue said sheepishly, face red as a lobster. As if he needed to explain. She must have seen.
June closed her eyes for a few seconds and then opened them again. “Date me,” she commanded, loud enough for the entire hall to hear.
Gasps echoed around the corridor, followed by shocked whispers.
The book slipped right out of Blue’s arms and he dove to snatch it up again. He crouched on the ground, hugging the novel to his chest, eyes averted.
“I, I,” he stuttered. “I am confused…”
June let out an exasperated sigh and grabbed Blue’s hand roughly, yanking him back to his feet. She dragged him away from the crowd and down the hall. Blue struggled to keep up with her but her stride was too long, too quick. He was jogging in order not to fall behind.
June finally dropped his hand when they reached the entryway to a classroom. She turned to him and announced, “You will walk me to class every day, got it? Meet me here after this hour is up.” She didn’t wait for a reply before turning on her heel and entering the classroom.
“Uh,” Blue stared after in astonishment. June Maybury. June Maybury asked him out. Well, she didn’t exactly ASK. June Maybury. His first girlfriend. His lips turned up in a smile that soon grew to a grin. He didn’t quite understand it, but perhaps this meant that his luck was finally beginning to change.
“I can’t believe you got a twenty-three percent on your poem,” Sheena said, leaning over to stare at June.
“I forgot all about it,” June informed her. “I had to write it the hour before English. I’m really not surprised the teacher didn’t like it.”
“I’m so happy,” Chelsea sighed cheerfully. “As soon as I saw the big fat red ‘54%’ written on my poem, I swore I was going to lose the bet. Thank you June!”
June rolled her eyes, “Whatever.”
“It’s a shame,” Sheena said. “What kind of poem could the great June write to earn her a twenty-three? Can we read it?”
“I threw it away,” June replied. “It was just a crappy spin of the ‘Roses are Red’ poem. I couldn’t think of anything to write about.”
“That’s what happens when you procrastinate!” Chelsea laughed. “Now you have to date Blue! Oh my gawd he’s so embarrassing!”
“A bet’s a bet,” she admitted.
“Don’t feel sad,” Sheena patted her back. “It’s only for a week. Then you can dump him.”
Blue was waiting outside the classroom for June at the end of the day. He was out of breath as if he had run the whole way to meet her. He was leaning against the wall as his chest rose and fell quickly. His blonde hair was standing up everywhere and his pale cheeks were flushed.
The class filed out of the room. Sheena and Chelsea noticed him and giggled, locked arms, and ran off, throwing glances over their shoulders at the boy. June appeared beside him and he straightened.
“Oh!” he laughed nervously, rubbing the back of his head. “You’re here!”
“Of course,” June replied blandly. She took his hand, “Walk me home.”
“Okay!” he followed her as she headed down the hall. His heart pounded furiously inside his chest. He stared at their clasped hands. He had never held a girl’s hand before. The feel of her soft, tiny fingers wrapped up in his intoxicated him. He eyed the backpack slung over her shoulder and gulped. He was her boyfriend now, right? He should offer to carry the bag for her. He opened his mouth to say, “Let me carry your things for you!” but the words never came out.
June pulled him out of the school and to the street.
They walked in silence down the sidewalk. Blue spent the time openly staring at June. He had seen her from afar many times throughout high school. She was very reserved. She mainly kept to herself, although she could sometimes be seen hanging around Sheena. Blue didn’t understand that. Sheena was the complete opposite of June. She was loud, outgoing, and very feminine. Blue had never seen June in anything but jeans and t-shirts. Her short hair was cut shorter than the other girls’ and she was better than most boys at any sport, especially basketball. She was exceptionally intelligent and spent a lot of her time in the library. That was where Blue saw her the most. He practically lived in the library. He loved fantasy and science fiction novels. He could spend hours lost in mystical lands living the life of numerous characters of all shapes and sizes.
June didn’t read the type of thing Blue enjoyed. He noticed that many times. June preferred to read about history. The World Wars, the Industrial Revolution, the Great Depression, and other things like that. But that didn’t deter Blue. The fact that she was even reading instead of texting or chasing boys mystified him.
Blue had noticed before, many times, how pretty June was, despite being an obvious tomboy. She had long eyelashes and a clear complexion. Her lips were red and full, and her cheekbones were high. The entire structure of her face affected the rate of his heartbeat.
Why did this girl want to date him? She had never spoken a single word to him before. In fact, no girls had. Or if they had, he never noticed. Blue knew he was weird. He was too clumsy and he looked strange. His blonde hair was always messy and flopped down in his face. He was tall, but incredibly thin. His arms were too long and his legs were too short. He had thin chapped lips, pale skin, and he held his head in a weird manner, jutting his chin out slightly, stretching his neck awkwardly.
Why did someone as pretty as June want to be his girlfriend?
He couldn’t think of a single reason.
Surely his luck was turning around.
June released Blue’s hand and he didn’t bother hiding the disappointment from his face.
“I’ll be going now,” she told him. “I will see you at school tomorrow.” She turned on her heel and walked up a porch. Blue hadn’t even realized they had arrived at their destination. When the door closed behind her, he was left alone once more.
But he didn’t feel alone.
June was quiet, and kind of cold. But she was his girlfriend now, right?
“Tomorrow,” he smiled. “Tomorrow I will carry her bag for her.” He headed back down the sidewalk, beginning the long journey to his house.
Three days passed. Blue walked with June to all of her classes and home each afternoon, never mustering up the courage to ask for her backpack. June remained aloof and cool. She didn’t speak much, and neither did he, even though his mind was swimming with conversation he wished he could begin.
The weekend came, and June was sitting at home in front of the TV when there was a knock at the front door. A few seconds later her mother called into the living room, “June! There is someone here to see you!”
June stood and walked to the front of the house. She paused when she saw him there. Blue stood in the doorway, hands in his pockets. When he saw her, his blue eyes went wide behind his thick glasses and his jaw dropped.
She approached him warily, shooing her mother away with her hands.
“Wow!” Blue said. “I’ve never seen you in a dress before, June!”
She glanced down at the yellow sundress before looking back up at him, “What are you doing here?”
“We are dating right?” he asked, cheeks growing red. “So I thought we could go do something today. All that, holding hands and walking together at school is nice, but it’s kind of elementary stuff, right?”
June crossed her arms over her chest, “What do you propose we do?”
His face lit up, “Put your shoes on! We are going to the carnival!”
“Let’s go on that first!” Blue pointed at a large rollercoaster excitedly. He pulled her to the line and then fidgeted from foot to foot as they slowly made their way closer and closer to the front.
June sighed. How did she let him drag her here?
“This is going to be so much fun!” he informed her, looking down at her with a huge grin. “I can’t wait!”
She could tell that he was ecstatic to be here. His blue eyes were twinkling and he was squeezing her hand tightly. She couldn’t help but admit that he was cute this way. Almost like a child. Or an overexcited puppy.
June smiled but ducked her head so he wouldn’t see it.
Blue stared at her for long seconds. Thoughts of the rollercoaster faded and he was caught up in June. She looked beautiful in her dress. She seemed different. Shy and warmer than she usually was. She clutched her wallet in her other hand and Blue got a sudden jolt of courage.
“Here,” he offered his free hand, “Let me carry your wallet for you! You haven’t got any pockets in that dress.”
June looked up at him in surprise. He smiled down at her. She lifted the wallet hesitantly. She dropped it in his hand and he slid it into the back pocket of his jeans.
“There!” he grinned. “That’s better!”
June’s cheeks grew hot, “Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it,” he replied. “Boyfriends are supposed to carry their girlfriends’ things for them. From now on, I’ll carry your books and backpack too, okay?”
June ducked her head.
“Our turn!” Blue released her hand and slid in to his seat.
June followed and the bar lowered onto their laps. She clutched it with white knuckles and gulped. There was no turning back now. It was too late to tell Blue that she had never been on a rollercoaster before.
The carts jerked forward and began their long ascent. Blue was giggling with glee, but June felt like she was about to throw up. Adrenaline pumped through her veins and sudden terror squeezed her lungs.
“Blue!” she grabbed his arm.
He looked down at her, “Huh?”
She squeezed her eyes shut and whimpered.
Blue felt her trembling beside him and he gulped. Was this his chance? His chance to go beyond elementary hand holding? He hesitated, and then wrapped his arm around June’s shoulders.
“It’s okay,” he told her. “I’m right here with you. Nothing bad will happen, I promise. Don’t close your eyes, it’ll make you nauseous.”
June leaned into his side and opened her eyes. She gripped his shirt tightly in her fingers. The coaster reached the apex of the first drop, paused slightly, and then plunged towards the Earth.
June let out a bloodcurdling scream right into Blue’s ear and didn’t stop until the long ride was over.
When the carts pulled in to the station once more, Blue’s ears were ringing, his shirt was rumpled and stretched, and June was clinging to him as if her life depended on it. When the lap bar lifted up, Blue had to pry her fingers from him so he could stand and climb out of the cart. He turned and held his hand out.
June stared up at him in surprise. Blue’s eyes squinted nearly shut as he showed her the happiest smile she had ever seen. His hair was swept back away from his face by the wind, and his glasses were perched on the end of his nose precariously. Heat flared up in June’s face and she took his offered hand. How did he do that? For a split second he looked… charming.
Blue helped her out of the cart and led her towards the exit gate.
“That rollercoaster is kind of scary,” he said. “We can go on something a little slower next. Sorry I dragged you on it.”
June looked at the ground, “No, I liked it. It was fun. It’s just… that was my first time on a rollercoaster. I was… surprised.”
“That was your first time?” Blue exclaimed, staring at her in awe. “You let me take you on your first rollercoaster! I’m so honored!” He pulled her behind him as he took off at a jog towards another large ride. “Let’s go on this one next!”
June smiled secretly and ran with him.
“I don’t need a stuffed animal,” June sighed. “You don’t have to waste your money.”
“No, no,” Blue waved his hand at her. “I can do it!”
He held up his ping pong ball and aimed. The object of the carnival game was to get the ball to land in one of the plastic bowls floating in a big tub of water that was constantly moving them around. To win, he had to get three balls in white bowls, or one ball in a red bowl, and there was only one size of prize. Giant.
He tossed the ball but it bounced off of the bowls three times before landing in the water.
“Crap,” he muttered and picked up another. “That was a warm up throw. This time for real.” He tossed it and it landed in the water with the last one. “Dang it!”
He went through all twelve ping pong balls and didn’t get a single one in a bowl; red or white.
“It’s okay,” June assured him. “Let’s go get some cotton candy.”
“Lemme try again,” he held up two dollars for the carnival worker. The man took the money and placed another twelve balls in front of Blue.
June sighed again, “Blue…”
“Which animal will you pick when I win?” he interrupted her, aiming carefully with his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth in concentration.
June looked up at the giant fluffy stuffed animals. She admitted they WERE kind of cute… There were three different animals. A horse, a cow, and a panda.
“The panda,” she replied. “He’s the cutest.”
“Okay then,” Blue answered, his throw landed in the water. “You just keep concentrating on that panda. I’m gonna win him for you. Just you watch!”
Three games later, Blue had become discouraged. “My last two dollars,” he muttered in disappointment as he stared at the lonely bills. “I have to win this time.” He traded the money for twelve more balls.
“Blue… you don’t have to…”
“Don’t worry June!” he looked down at her and smiled brightly. “You’re my girlfriend now! And this is what boyfriends are supposed to do for their girlfriends! Win them stuffed animals!”
June gulped and looked away.
Blue threw ten of the balls with no success.
“Must get the red bowl or you get nothing,” the carnival worker informed him.
“Thanks for reminding me,” Blue mumbled morosely. He sighed and picked up the eleventh ball.
“It’s okay, Blue,” June said. “Really…”
“No,” he denied curtly. “No, it’s not okay. My luck is turning around! It has to be! I just know it is! I’m not going to be the unlucky guy anymore! I’m sick of it!” he threw the ping pong ball angrily at the red bowl.
They watched as it bounced off of the bowl, soared high above the trough, collided with a stuffed cow’s pink udder, plummeted back down, bounced not once, but FIVE times off of the white bowls, and then finally ceased its movement in the curve of a red bowl.
Blue’s mouth dropped open and his eyes went wide. June and the carnival worker stared in awe and shock as the ball rolled around inside the bowl.
“I’ve changed my mind,” June said slowly. “I want that cow.”
The carnival worker snapped out of his daze and pulled the giant stuffed cow from the overhead rack. “Winner!” he exclaimed and handed the animal to Blue.
Blue took the cow and then leapt straight in the air with a whoop. “YEAH!” he screamed. He thrust the cow at June, “Here! I WON! I WON JUNE!” June took the cow and Blue punched the air in triumph. “I KNEW IT! MY LUCK IS TURNING AROUND! I DID IT! I DID IT!” He stopped jumping and grinned down at her. “I WON,” he said proudly one last time.
June stared at him for long seconds, eyes wide. He had a look of pure, innocent elation on his face. He was so excited about something so small and insignificant. No, it was important. It was important to Blue.
Quiet giggles bubbled up from deep inside June’s throat. She tried to hold them back, but it was impossible. She giggled and giggled until it grew into loud vivacious laughter. Tears came to her eyes as she laughed and laughed, hugging the cow that was nearly bigger than her entire torso to her chest. She laughed until her cheeks and stomach hurt and she was hiccupping uncontrollably. When she had control of herself at last, she smiled up at Blue and said, “Thank you. I love it.”
Blue’s cheeks grew red and he shuffled his feet, “It was nothing.”
And that made June laugh even more. “Come on,” she said, bumping her hip into him playfully. “Let’s go get some cotton candy. I’ll buy.”
June sat beside Blue on the bus with the stuffed cow on the seat to her right.
“Oh,” Blue drew her attention. He was staring down at his empty paper cone. “It’s all gone.”
June smiled and offered her half-eaten cotton candy, “Here, I’m full. You can have the rest of mine.”
“Thanks!” he took the pink bouquet of sugary cotton and immediately began devouring it.
June wiped the front of her dress absently. A chilly breeze traveled in through an open window near the front of the bus and she shivered, goose bumps raised on her bare arms and legs.
“When did they come up with cotton candy?” Blue wondered aloud.
“Huh?” June glanced up at him.
“When did they come up with cotton candy?” he repeated. “You gotta know. You spend more time in the history section of the library than anyone!”
“Oh,” June looked away, “Uhhh… yeah… like… the 30’s… or something.”
Blue finished off the cotton candy and tossed the two paper cones into the trash sitting near the bus’s back door. He felt June shiver beside him and he gulped. Here it was. His second chance to move beyond elementary hand holding. He took a deep breath and worked his nerves up. Carefully, he lifted his arm and dropped it gently around June’s shoulders.
She sighed and leaned into his side, resting her head on his thin shoulder. Blue’s heart pounded furiously in his chest. His body warmed like a furnace and he was sure she could feel it through the thin fabric of his shirt. She was cold, so maybe that was a good thing. Perhaps his heat would warm her up. Blue’s breathing was ragged, and he was sure she could hear it. Then again, she was so still, so quiet, maybe she was asleep. It didn’t matter. Blue smiled. Just being near her was enough for him. It had been the best day of his life. He loved being with her. They had ridden all of the rides, talked, laughed, and one of the carnival workers had even commented on how cute they looked together. Blue couldn’t be more proud.
Minutes ticked by before June whispered, “I had a lot of fun today, Blue.”
Blue’s heart stopped, “Me too.”
“Thank you for taking me out.”
“Hey,” he chuckled nervously. “That’s what boyfriends do, right? It’s like their job to make their girlfriends happy!”
“Yes, I suppose you are right.”
Blue smiled and rested his cheek on her soft hair, “Who could have thought a job could be so fun though?”
June didn’t have an answer for that.
“Hey Blue,” Travis said Monday morning in the hallway as Blue pulled his books from his locker.
“Hey Travis,” he greeted him cheerfully. His mind was full of June. June’s smile. June’s scent. June’s laugh. Her glorious laugh. He had never heard it before that weekend. He couldn’t wait to hear it again.
“Uh,” Travis rubbed the back of his neck uneasily. “I gotta tell you something.”
Blue looked at him, “What’s up? You seem kind of… weird.”
“Yeah…” he gulped. “Look, so it’s about June.”
“What about her?” Blue blinked at him in confusion.
“She’s not who you think she is,” Travis insisted. “The other week, in English, I heard the girls talking…”
“Only a few more days, June,” Sheena winked. “Then you can finally dump that guy.”
June stared down at her tray of food, “Yeah…”
“It’s going to be kinda sad,” Chelsea admitted. “He seems smitten with you. He’ll probably cry.”
“Don’t say that, Chelsea,” Sheena scolded. “Don’t make June feel guilty. It was a bet. Nothing more.”
June sighed and pushed her peas around on her tray.
“Hey June?” a quiet voice came from behind.
June straightened and turned around in her seat. Blue stood behind her, fidgeting from foot to foot anxiously. He didn’t meet her eyes. His blonde hair seemed flatter than usual, almost completely covering his glasses like creeping vines.
“What is it, Blue?” she asked.
“Uhm,” his face turned red. “I think… I think we should break up.”
June stared at him in shock. Chelsea and Sheena gasped.
“What?” she said and climbed to her feet. “Why?”
“Well,” he gulped. “It’s just… Travis told me… and it’s okay. I know you only dated me because you got a bad grade on your poem. I’m not mad. But… I don’t want to make you do something that you don’t actually want to do… so we should break up.”
A lump formed in June’s throat, “Blue…”
“It’s okay,” he met her gaze. Moisture was gathering in those blue eyes. “Really, it’s no big deal. I… you…” his chin quivered and he turned around hurriedly. “I’ll see you around, June.” He ran across of the cafeteria and then disappeared out of the doors.
The whole cafeteria seemed to grow silent as heads turned to stare at June. She stood as still as a statue, staring at the doors where Blue had run off. Her heart thudded painfully against her ribcage.
“Well,” Sheena’s voice sounded. “That problem kind of solved itself, didn’t it?”
Chelsea giggled, “At least now June doesn’t have to break up with him.”
“You should probably thank Travis, June,” Sheena called.
“I’ll bet he’s crying,” Chelsea whispered in amusement. “Did he really think June would just want to date him out of nowhere? Come on, I really thought he would have figured it all out before now.”
“Me too,” Sheena agreed with a laugh. “How gullible.”
“No more bets,” June mumbled.
“Hm?” Sheena asked.
June looked over her shoulder, “No more bets. Not if they end like this. You get that?” Her cheeks reddened and her black eyes flashed in anger. “If I hear you plotting another bet at someone’s expense, I’ll kick your teeth in. You hear me?” her voice had escalated to a shout.
Sheena stared at her in astonishment. “June…”
“Shut up,” June snapped. She turned and ran out of the cafeteria.
“So stupid,” Blue whimpered, wiping his tears away with the back of his wrist. He had run to the courtyard outside and was sitting against the fence with his knees pulled to his chest. “I can’t believe I actually believed it,” he whispered. “Stupid, stupid, stupid, Blue.”
He had been wrong. His luck had not been turning around. It had only gotten worse.
Making bets? The loser had to date him? Out of all the reasons a girl would ask him out, why’d he get stuck with the most painful scenario? He couldn’t believe he actually thought someone like June Maybury could come to have feelings for someone as clumsy and unlucky as Blue Henson.
“I hate high school,” he sobbed, pressing his hands to his face in despair. “I wanna go h-h-home.”
He heard footsteps on the gravel, approaching from the left. He quickly wiped the moisture from his cheeks and sniffed. He reached for his glasses, which sat on his knee. The footsteps stopped in front of him and he said, “Sorry, I know I’m not supposed to be outside during class.”
He slipped his glasses on and looked up. But the person standing before him wasn’t a teacher.
More tears slid down his cheeks and he took his glasses off again to press his fists to his eyelids, “You don’t have to pretend anymore,” his voice quivered. “Your bet is over. We can just go back to normal now.”
June slid to her knees in front of him. “Blue…”
“It’s not a big deal!” he insisted. “I’m used to it by now. I’ve always been unlucky. I’d be the only one with a fork on national soup day,” he chuckled but it only transformed into another sob. “I guess I don’t deserve to be happy,” he whispered. “My own mom named me ‘Blue’ for heaven’s sake. That should have been clue number one that I was going to have a pretty crappy, lonely life.” He dried his cheeks once more, ignoring the new tears that sprang up. He slid his glasses on and sniffed. “If it wasn’t you, it would’ve been some other poor girl, so you don’t have to feel guilty.” He stared at the gravel and added quietly, “Although none of the other girls would have made me feel as happy as you did in those few days we were a pretend couple. So thank you… for that. You were a good faker.”
June reached out and pressed something to Blue’s palm. She pulled her hand back and he looked down at what she had given him. It was a note. A single sheet of loose leaf paper folded up several times into a compact little square. He looked up at her in confusion.
“Open it,” she ordered, looking away as a blush crept across her cheeks.
Blue slowly unfolded the sheet of paper. Scrawled on it in pencil were four lines in June’s messy handwriting.
-‘Roses are red,
Bubblegum you chew,
Please give me an F,
Because I really like Blue.’-
His eyebrows pulled together. He looked at the bottom of the page where ‘23% F’ was written in red ink. Under the grade was a comment, ‘What does this even mean? You were supposed to write a SONNET, June. I expected more from you. I’m giving you a 23% only because you turned it in on time.’
He looked up at June in puzzlement, “This was the poem? The poem that lost the bet?”
June leaned forward hurriedly and pressed her lips firmly to his. Blue’s eyes went wide. Her lips were so soft and warm. So warm. He stared at her closed eyes and his heartbeat sped up. June Maybury. June Maybury was kissing him.
She ended the kiss and pulled back. She avoided his gaze and explained, “I’m… not good at expressing myself.”
Blue stared at her in astonishment.
June gave a little laugh and rubbed the back of her neck, “Cotton candy wasn’t invented in the 30’s, Blue. I have no idea when it was made. To be honest, I don’t know anything about history.”
“B-but,” his eyes grew impossibly wider. “But you are always reading history books in the library! I see you there all of the time!”
June bit her lip and said softly, “The history section was as close as I dared to get to you.”
Blue’s jaw dropped, “WHAT?”
“It’s embarrassing,” June murmured and covered her face with her hands. “I liked to watch you read, okay? But I didn’t want to look like a creeper so I pretended to be really interested in History when I wasn’t,” she dropped her hands and looked at him sheepishly, “I was only interested in Blue.”
Blue’s mind was reeling at the confession. “Wh-what are you saying?”
“You are unlucky, Blue,” June said quietly. “You’re unlucky because the girl that likes you is just a stupid, cowardly tomboy who always gets awesome grades in English but somehow just can’t find the right words to say to the boy she has been secretly in love with for years.”
He almost passed out when she mentioned the word ‘love’. “You LOVE me? Like… really, REALLY, honestly love me?”
June scooted closer to him on the gravel, “I wasn’t pretending to be your girlfriend, Blue,” she told him gently. “I was pretending to pretend.”
“Oh,” Blue reached out tentatively and wrapped his thin arms around her shoulders. He pulled her to his chest, savoring the warmth that flooded his entire body. This wasn’t elementary hand holding. June twined her arms around his neck and kissed him again.
“I’m glad you lost the bet,” Blue whispered, tangling his fingers in her soft hair.
“I didn’t lose,” she answered.
Finally, it looked as if Blue’s luck was turning around.