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Depressed Zach Anderson slugged into Baton’s Flower Shop after a very rough day. He looked and saw Kay Jamison at the counter who was engaged in a book and decided not to bother her. He started browsing around for some beautiful flowers. He walked by a row of flowers and saw an elegant bouquet of roses, red and pink. He decided back and forth if he should buy them or keep browsing. Finally, after ten minutes of deciding about buying them, he decided to buy them and thought, these would be perfect for her.
Zach went up to the counter to pay and said, “I’d like to pay for these please.”
Kay, still engaged in her book, didn’t hear him. He started tapping on the counter and she looked up. “Are you ready to check out?” she asked.
Zach nodded. “Okay, so that is $15.95 with tax. Anything else?” He shook his head no but said, “Oh, I forgot my wallet in my mom’s car. I’ll be right back.” He ran out the door. Kay looked at the flowers Zach was going to buy and thought, Man, even though I work here, I wish those were for me.
Zach came back with his wallet and for the first time, looked into Kay’s dark brown eyes and studied her face. “Are you okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Kay said. “I’m just reading a romance novel that’s really depressing.”
“Your face is all wet,” Zach continued.
“Oh, I have a tissue,” Kay replied, reaching into her pocket for a crumpled tissue.
“No, here, I’ll get it,” Zach said. He reached his hand up to her face and gently wiped her tears away. That was the first time a boy had ever done something like that to her, and his hand felt warm and soft against her cheek. But Kay didn’t say anything as he wiped away her tears. All she could do was gaze into Zach’s deep blue eyes. Once he was finished, Zach gently grazed her cheek and felt like he couldn’t pull his fingertips away from Kay’s face. He was in love.
“I wanted to buy these for someone else,” Zach said finally. “But I’ve been thinking it over and I’d rather give them to a beautiful girl who is standing in front of my very eyes.”
“Me?” Kay asked softly.
“It’s you,” Zach whispered as he continued to graze her cheek.
Then there was a loud, HONK! HONK! And a, “Zach, let’s go!” from his mom that interrupted their moment.
“So, how much for those flower’s again?” Zach asked with a cocky smile.
“$15.95,” Kay answered sweetly. He gave her a twenty. “Okay, so a twenty, $4.05 is your change.”
“Great. See you at school then,” Zach said as he let his fingers linger on her cheek for a minute or two longer, then left the store.
When he got back into his mom’s car, his mom asked, “So, what flowers did you buy?”
“Well,” Zach responded. “I bought a nice bouquet, but just now I fell in love with the girl at the flower shop and gave them to her.”
It was true. Zach Anderson had fallen in love with another girl. But, how dangerous could it be?
Zach strolled into Yampa Middle School with the fresh smell of autumn. Brittney Snow immediately started going all girly over him. “Hey Zach,” she said sweetly. “Did you get me anything?”
“Why would I get you anything?” Zach asked, gazing at Kay who had just walked in.
“Well, you called me yesterday and said you were going to buy me something because you felt bad,” she reminded him. Kay continued to walk toward him with her long brown hair blowing in the breeze from the wind of the open windows and her dark brown eyes gazing in his direction. When she got closer, he shut his locker and ran up to talk to her. “Zach…,” Brittney cried.
“Hey Kay,” Zach said.
“Hey Zach. Thanks for the flowers. I put them on the windowsill when I got home,” Kay responded.
“So Zach,” Brittney smirked. “Who’s your new friend?”
“Oh Brittney,” Zach said. “I meant to tell you. I went to the flower shop downtown to buy you some flowers. I met Kay and kind-of fell in love with her, so I’m kind-of breaking up with you. It was great going out with you. I hope we can be…,” Brittney’s face pinched up and she grabbed his shirt. “Zach Anderson!” she yelled. “If you say friends, I’ll kill you. Rethink this tonight and I will be overlooking this breakdown of yours.”
“Sorry Britt,” Zach said, smoothing his shirt. He then walked away with his arm around Kay.
“Can you believe that?” Brittney asked Amanda Sharp and Sharpay Evans, who had just walked up to her. “Zach Anderson just dumped me for a braniac!” Both girls shook their heads.
Back in homeroom, Zach met up with his friends Chad Danforth, Scott Condon, and Zeke Baylor. “Hey Captain!” Chad greeted him. “Practice after school?”
“Yeah, sure,” Zach replied.
After homeroom, Zeke asked, “So, did you work everything out with Brittney?”
“I dumped her,” Zach responded.
“You what!? Man, you dumped the most popular girl in school! Why?” Chad cried.
“I fell in love with Kay Jamison,” Zach said. The guys cracked up and looked across the hall at Kay, who was reading a book and walking down the hall at the same time. They saw her tilt her glasses upright as she kept walking down the hall. They cracked up even more. “Dude, that’s hilarious,” Chad said. “That girl is a total and complete bookworm. Nothing like you. But really, why?”
“I’m serious. I dumped Brittney because of her,” Zach admitted, gazing toward Kay’s direction. Chad tried snapping his fingers to get his attention. “You’re the captain of the football team,” Chad scolded. “You cannot be flirting with a brainiac. It would ruin our reputation.”
“Hey, if you’ve dumped Brittney, can I have her?” Zeke asked.
Zach shrugged and said, “Go ahead.” Chad slapped the back of Zeke’s head and said, “Guys! We don’t have time for our social lives! We have a big game coming up in two weeks! Focus!” Kay was quietly watching the talk between the guys and thought, Oh; I think I’ve caused too much trouble. Sighing, she slowly slugged away to her next class.
Later that afternoon, Kay and her two friends, Blair Allen and Victoria Hazard met up to do some homework in the sunny courtyard under the trees, but all Kay could do was talk about Zach. “I mean, he’s nice and all I can do is gaze into his deep blue eyes,” Kay gushed. “But I overheard his friends lecturing him, so now what do I do?”
“Whatever,” Victoria moaned. “But Chad is so cute.” Blair and Kay stared at her.
“Go for it girl,” Blair said.
“Go for what?” Kay questioned.
“Girl, go flirt with Zach,” Blair said. “Who cares what his friends say. Just follow your heart and you’ll fall right into his arms. Oh look. They’re practicing football on the field.” The girls started to walk over to the fence to watch the boys practice. Kay sighed as she watched Zach have the ball hieved by Chad to get him to run down the muddy early fall field to the forty yard line to catch it. He’s so athletic and dreamy, she thought. Victoria watched Zach do the same thing back to Chad and thought, What an athletic jock! Blair only watched in amazement. As they walked back to the shady trees to do their homework, Kay thought, Is the love Zach feels for me too strong for his friends to handle? That was the one burning question in the back of her mind as she and her friends sat down to do their homework.
Later that night, the Andersons were eating dinner and James Anderson said to his son, “So, I hear from the guys you dumped Brittney for another girl. Who is it and why’d you dump Brittney?”
“It’s nothing dad,” Zach respondded.
“Ooh! Zach and his girlfriend sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes Zach with the baby carriage,” his little sister Annie sang.
“Shut up Annie,” Zach snapped.
“You know son,” his dad said. “I liked it when you were dating Brittney, but you should really focus on football and not your social life.”
“That’s all I’ve been hearing all day!” Zach yelled, slamming his fist on the table. He got up, grabbed his dinner and stormed to his room. The rest of the Anderson's ate their dinner in silence. The next day, Kay met Zach at his locker and said casually, “Hey, Zach.”
Zach turned to see Kay’s shining brown eyes looking at him and replied, “Oh, hey Kay.”
She opened her mouth to say something, but heard Blair’s voice say to her, “Go ahead girl. Flirt with him!” Then she blurted out, “Have you seen what’s been going on between Victoria Hazard and Chad Danforth?”
Zach looked across the hall and saw Chad talking to Victoria and said, “Will you look at that. Hey! Chad lectured me yesterday about flirting with you and now he’s flirting with a Goth!”
“Oh, Zach?” Kay said with a flirty smile. “I wanted to know if you’ll go to the disco dance with me on Friday.”
“Oh,” Zach replied with a slight shock in his voice. “I was thinking about asking you, but sure.” When Friday night arrived, Zach got dressed up in a suit and tie and told his dad, “I’m going out. I’ll be back around ten.” He walked out and went across the street to pick up Kay. He rang the doorbell and Angela Jamison opened the door. She was a tall, pretty woman who also had brown eyes and her dark hair was pulled into a bun. Zach figured she was Kay’s mother and politely introduced himself. “Hello, I’m Zach Anderson,” he said.
“Oh, yes. Kay told me about you. Hi, I’m Angela Jamison, Kay’s mother,” her mom replied with a smile. “I also hear you are taking her to the disco dance.”
“That is true,” Zach respondded respectfully.
“Hi Zach,” Kay said, gliding into the room.
“Wow, you look great,” Zach said.
“Thanks. Oh, I see you’ve met my mom,” Kay said smiling.
“Indeed I have,” Zach respondded. To her mom, Zach asked, “Can I bring her back around ten?”
“That’s fine with me as long as she doesn’t get tired from staying out too late,” she replied. Kay grabbed her jacket and headed out the door with Zach.
They arrived at the dance and Zach quickly found Chad hanging around Victoria. He then excused himself from Kay to go talk to him. He strolled over to Chad and pulled him into a corner. “Man, you lectured me yesterday and now you’re flirting with a Goth. What’s up with that?” Zach asked.
“I’m not the captain of the football team. You are,” Chad replied, and walked back to Victoria. Zach went back over to Kay and asked her to dance.
“Sure,” she replied. Zach took her hand and they walked to the dance floor. They started to dance, then all of a sudden Kay was knocked away from Zach and Brittney replaced her.
“Hey, Zach,” Brittney said. “I bet you missed me.”
“No, Brittney. I really haven’t missed you,” Zach replied. Brittney was spun out of the way and Kay was found dancing with him again. He sighed with relief. But Brittney wouldn’t give up. She hipped Kay out of the way so she could win Zach’s heart. “Brittney, what are you trying to do?” Zach questioned.
“I’m trying to win your heart back,” she answered sweetly.
“I broke up with you Britt. It’s over,” Zach said sternly. All of a sudden, Kay snuck up behind Brittney and ripped the back of her dress.
Brittney let go of Zach’s hands and screamed, “WHAT DID YOU DO!?”
“I ripped your dress,” Kay told her. “You don’t have to thank me. I just want Zach back.”
Brittney ran off the dance floor. Zeke ran over to help her, but she yelled, “Get away from me tall person!”
Zach and Kay sat down for the rest of the night. But when the last romantic song started to play, Zach knew he had to ask Kay to dance with him one more time. But he also couldn’t stop gazing at her at the same time. He stood up, and held out his hand to her and asked, “May I have this last dance?”
She looked up at him and said, “Of course you may.” She took his hand and they walked right under the disco ball. No one else was on the floor. Zach put his hands on Kay’s waist, and Kay reached her arms up to Zach’s neck, so her hands encircled him. Zach pulled Kay close and they slowly started dancing. A bright blue light shined down on them as they continued to sway across the floor. Everyone watched the two even though they could only gaze into each other’s eyes. When the song was over, everyone applauded. Zach and Kay departed the dance. They started to walk back to Kay’s house with the bright moon shining above them in the clear night sky. “You didn’t have to walk me home,” Kay said.
“I did if I wanted to spend some more time with a beautiful girl on a beautiful night,” Zach said.
Kay giggled and said, “You don’t mean that.”
“Of course I mean it,” Zach replied. “I also escorted you to the dance tonight. Doesn’t that mean I should be a gentleman and escort my date back to her house?”
Kay blushed as he said that and replied, “Of course if you want to be a gentleman that would be the proper thing to do.” They continued to walk towards Kay’s house, talking and gazing into each other’s eyes. When they reached her house, Kay said, “I had a great time tonight Zach.”
“Yeah, me too,” Zach respondded. He continued to give her a deep gaze-in-to-the eyes look, and finally leaned in to kiss her, but the front door opened and a little seven year old girl poked her head out and said, “Hey, Kay. You’re home.” Zach pulled away and Kay uttered, “Madeline, go to bed.”
“Ooh! You have a boyfriend! What’s his name?” Madeline squealed.
“Go to bed,” Kay said with gritted teeth.
“Madeline Ann Jamison!” Mrs. Jamison scolded. “Get to bed now!”
“Oh, Mom! Why? I’m out here chatting with Kay and her new boyfriend,” Madeline cried.
“That’s Zach Anderson and it’s past your bedtime,” Mrs. Jamison respondded.
“Well, I better go. See you Monday, Zach,” Kay said, urging her sister into the house and letting go of Zach’s hand. He turned to leave, but the door opened and Kay popped out and kissed him on the cheek, then disappeared back into the house with a shy smile on her face. He ran back home with tons of energy. Life had just gotten a whole lot better for him.
After that night, Zach kept spending more time with Kay. But his friends started to get worried. He missed a practice here and there and they questioned his dedication towards the game. His dad tried getting him to practice at home, but he’d only practice for an hour or so before getting bored and running back in the house. One day, Chad and the guys met up with each other in the locker room. “Okay, we need to get Zach’s head back in the game,” Chad confronted.
“But how are we going to do that without him knowing?” Zeke asked.
“We’re going to get him to say some stuff about Kay,” Chad replied. Zach came down the hall and into the locker room and saw all the guys facing him. “What team here at Yampa Middle School hasn’t won a football championship? And how can they win if their captain isn’t giving his 100% in practice?” Chad started.
“Get your head in the game!” they yelled. “Guys, I’m sorry if I’m missing practice, but it’s not my fault,” Zach replied.
“You’re right. It’s the girl, isn’t it?” Chad asked. “
“Her name is Kay, and you’re flirting with Victoria Hazard. A Goth!” Zach defended.
“What about your team? Shouldn’t you put us first?” Chad asked.
“Get your head in the game!” they shouted. Zach had enough.
“Fine! To make you happy, I’ll forget about Kay!” At that moment, Kay was walking by the boys’ locker room and stopped when she heard her name. “I’ll forget everything I did with her,” Zach continued. “We’ll go out and win on Friday!” The guys cheered, but Kay thought, I knew this was going to happen. She slugged to her next class. A while later, Zach saw Kay at her locker and said, “Hey, Kay.” She ignored him and continued to take things out of her locker. “So, I wanted to tell you something…,”
She cut him off and said, “And here it is. I know what it’s like to carry a load on your back Zach. It’s cool. You have your friends and I have mine. It’s okay. So we’re good.”
“Good about what? I wanted to talk to you about coming to the game on Friday,” Zach responded.
“I’m not going. I have too much homework,” Kay said. “See you around. Go Tigers.” She then walked away from him with tears still watering in her eyes.
“Kay?” Zach asked.
Later that day, Chad asked, “Captain? Practice after school?” Zach shook his head no. “Why? The game’s in one week,” Chad said.
“I have too much on my mind,” Zach responded. That night after dinner, James Anderson said to his son, “Chad told me you cancelled practice today. Why’d you do that?”
“You want to know Dad? Fine my…,” He was cut off by Annie who had come into the room and said, “Did your girlfriend break-up with you?” Zach gave her an angry glare but decided to tell the truth. “Yes. I cancelled practice because of Kay.”
“You what! You cancelled practice because of a girl!? Zach, as the captain you can’t do that! It’s not about the girl Zach. It’s about you,” Zach’s dad yelled.
“I don’t care, Dad,” Zach said. “I don’t know what happened, but she dumped me today and I don’t know why. But I’m in love with her, Dad. The instant I was in that flower shop, gazing into her eyes, I fell in love with her. A deep love that I’ve never felt before.” He got up and left his dad and sister sitting on the couch as he ran to his room.
At the same time, Kay was talking to Blair in her room. “So, how’s the flirting going?” she asked.
“I dumped Zach,” Kay responded glumly.
“You what! Why?” Blair replied.
“I don’t know,” Kay said. “But deep down, my love for him is so strong, I can’t even bear it.”
“Then, why did you break-up with him?” Blair asked.
“I don’t know. It felt like the right thing to do,” Kay answered.
A day went by, and Zach and Kay seamed as miserable as ever. Blair and Victoria noticed it, but couldn’t find a way to cheer Kay up. Chad, Zeke and Scott noticed Zach’s quietness as well and he didn’t want to play football either, which the guys thought was really awkward. The only thing Kay could find that would make her cheerful was getting lost and engaged in a book to relieve the pain of her sorrow. Zach on the other hand, could only think about how his love for Kay was deeper than any love he’d felt before. The big championship game was coming up in a few days, and the guys found no way to urge Zach to play football again. Finally, they decided to tell him the truth. They strolled over to his house and knocked on the door. Annie answered the door and Chad said, “Hey, twit. Where’s your brother?”
“Zach! You have some people at the door!” Annie called. Zach came down, hoping to find Kay at the door so he could apologize. His smile disappeared when he discovered the guys standing there. “Oh, I thought you guys were Kay,” Zach said glumly. “That’s why we’re here. To talk to you about Kay,” Zeke said.
“Did you know Kay broke up with Zach?” Annie piped in.
“Yes, and we’re here to tell him why,” Chad said.
“Uh, Annie. I think Max Willman wants to ask you out. He’s in your room,” Zach lied.
“Wow, really? Oh boy!” Annie shouted, running to her room.
“Who’s Max Willman?” Scott asked.
“He’s Annie’s crush,” Zach replied. “So, what’s this about Kay?”
“Well, you know when we were scolding you in the locker room?” Chad asked. “Well, we kind of did that to get you away from Kay so you’d focus on football again.”
“Kay hasn’t talked to me for two days, and it’s all because my friends wanted me to play football again?” Zach moaned. “Great, you guys aren’t even my friends anymore because I can’t even get near Kay without her veering away from me.”
“Yeah, we know,” they said. “We’re really sorry and we want to help get Kay to forgive you.”
“Well, thanks for that. It makes me feel a little better knowing my friends will help me though this and were honest with me,” Zach said.
The next day, Brittney met Zach in the hall and said, “So, Zach. I heard Kay broke up with you, so I thought we could rekindle our romance again.”
“No, Brittney. I’m done dating you,” Zach said. He turned and walked right into Kay and she snarled, “Oh, hi Zach. I thought I dumped you for good.” He opened his mouth to apologize, but she pushed passed him, tilted her glasses upright again and continued down the hall with her book. Will Zach ever win Kay’s heart back?
As the week went on, many girls were swarming over Zach, but he just ignored them. He only had one girl on his mind, Kay. Two days before the game, he saw Kay with another boy. He asked Chad to check it out, and he told him, “It’s just a friend, but it looks like she’s flirting.”
“Oh, man! How am I going to win her heart back now?” Zach asked.
“You could sing to her!” Chad shouted.
“What?” Zach asked.
“At halftime, you could sing to her and tell her how much you love her,” Chad explained.
He went home and his dad asked, “Have you put Kay aside?”
“Nope,” Zach said, as he ran to his room. He sat at his desk and started to think. He spent two hours thinking and jotted down some notes. When he came down for dinner, his dad asked, “So, what were you doing up there?”
“I bet he was writing a love letter to his girlfriend telling her how much he loves her,” Annie said.
“No, I’m writing a love song,” Zach replied.
At the same time, the Jamison’s were eating dinner as well. “So, Kay,” her mom said. “I haven’t seen Zach around since he took you to the disco dance. What’s been happening?”
“I bet he broke up with her,” Madeline said.
“No, I broke up with him,” Kay muttered.
“Why?” her mom asked.
“I don’t want to talk about it,” Kay still muttered.
The next day, Blair met up with Kay and told her she had to come to the football game.
“Why?” Kay asked.
“I’ve been hearing a rumor that a special thing is happening at halftime,” Blair replied.
“It’s just a rumor,” Kay said.
“I heard it from the football players themselves,” Blair said.
“That means Zach’s going to be there,” Kay stuttered. “I can’t go. I have too much homework.”
“Please? You don’t even know what’s going to happen,” Blair stated.
“Fine,” Kay agreed.
A little while later, Amanda and Sharpay went up to Zach and asked, “Can we go to the after-party with you?”
“Sorry girls, but I’m waiting to win another girl’s heart back,” Zach said. “But why are you girls asking me? I thought Brittney would be asking me.”
“Oh, she’s fallen into the arms of Zeke,” Sharpay said.
“Really? Interesting,” Zach said. When he got home, his dad tossed him a football and said, “Tomorrow, you are going to bring that trophy home.”
“Yes, Dad. Yes I am,” Zach said. The next day, all Kay could do was glare. Every time Zach would look at her, she would return his look with a cold, hard stare. How hard could it possibly be?
That night, the sky smelled clear and crisp. The crowd was alive with energy and the feel for a championship win. Blair and Kay came down to the stands. The first thing Kay saw was the guy warming up on the field. Kay whispered to Blair, “Give me the cloth.”
“Why do you need a piece of cloth?” Blair asked.
“I don’t want to be looking at Zach,” she replied.
“Fine,” Blair said, handing her the cloth.
“Thanks,” Kay said, grabbing the cloth and tying it on her head. Blair looked down on the field and saw Amanda and Sharpay kiss Zach on the cheek for good luck. He wiped it off, but Blair said, “Amanda and Sharpay just kissed Zach on his cheek. Weird. I thought Brittney would have done that.”
“I don’t care,” Kay said. “I can’t see.” The game started in the clear night sky. The kick-off went and time passed. Zach made two touchdowns and the crowd went wild. By halftime, the Yampa Tigers were leading the California Rams 14-0. By that time, Blair told Kay, “Come on Kay. It’s halftime. You’ve had that cloth on for thirty minutes. They’re announcing the special event. Take off the cloth!”
“No way. Unless it involves me, I’m not taking it off,” Kay responded.
Down on the field, Chad was saying, “So here’s our captain Zach Anderson with our halftime special.”
Zach stepped up and said, “Thanks Chad. This special halftime show goes out to Kay Jamison. Kay, I know you turned on me, but if you’re watching this, it would mean the world to me if you knew how I felt about you.” Kay untied the cloth and looked down on the field to see Zach on the field with a microphone and listened intensively. “Guys, music,” he said. Then he began to sing,
“My love for you is as heated as fire
Burning inside me, I can’t keep it in any longer.
You’re the one, you’re the one I want.
Please hear me out, hear me out.
It’s been a short time that we’ve known each other
But I can’t hold this back any longer.
I love you my sweetheart, I love you with all my heart.
You made me see the real me,
I love you my sweetheart, I love you.”
Zach finished and walked into the locker room and everyone applauded. “Oh, he sang you a love song,” Blair said. “He’s so sweet, isn’t he Kay?” Blair looked at Kay and saw her gazing at the spot where Zach had sung and said, “Kay? Kay! Did you hear anything I just said?”
“I’m in love again,” Kay replied.
“So, you forgive Zach?” Blair asked.
“Oh, man do I forgive him,” Kay said, still gazing. The team came out and started throwing the football around. A minute later, the Rams came out and played. Thirty minutes later, the Tigers won. They beat the Rams 21-0. Everyone cheered and shouldered the guys. “So, you are coming to the party right?” Chad asked Victoria. “You mean, on a date?” Victoria asked.
“Yeah,” Chad replied.
Brittney ran up to Zeke and shouted, “Carry me away to after-party Champ!” She jumped in his arms and ran off. Zach looked for Kay but couldn’t find her. He went to the after-party but came back to the field afterwards. He told his dad, “I’ll walk home. I have some business to take care of.” He sat in the stands for a half hour. He was about to leave when he heard a voice say, “Hey, Captain.” He lifted his head out of his hands and looked up. “Kay? What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I saw you sing out here at halftime,” Kay said. “And my love for you is as strong as ever.”
“So you forgive me?” Zach asked.
“Love comes from the heart and soul not from scrap,” Kay said. Zach moved closer towards Kay and took her hand in his. Knowing that she forgave him, with his other hand, he reached it up to her face and gently grazed her cheek as softly as he did when he first met her. Again, he gazed deeply into Kay’s eyes, leaned in saw Kay was closing her eyes at the same time he was, touched her mouth with his and gently kissed her. Kay gently let go of Zach’s hand and moved her arms so they encircled his neck and was kissing him back. The bright lights came on as they eased apart and Kay slid her hands down to let them hang around Zach’s stomach, and Zach smiled at her as he let his arms hang where they were and stood there in satisfaction. At that very moment, neither of them questioned anything. Not about their relationship, not what was being together meant to Chad, Scott, Zeke, Blair or Victoria. Not even their parents. All they could care about was the sheer bliss of their happiness.