This was an absolutely great idea to encourage a touch of creativity in our community. A long running project almost a year in the making! We got a random genre from anime and wrote a story based on that genre, along with the similarity of all of our stories needing to have the themes ‘couple‘ and ‘park‘.”. My genre was ***psychological***. I hope you enjoy:
It had been one of those days. No, worse. The stupid bus had run into some stupid unannounced construction roadblock, which meant that he had had to physically run the last five blocks to the office in his suit and uncomfortable shoes. Of course the light drizzle had picked up to a full-on downpour when he was still 5 minutes away. He had somehow managed to be only a very reasonable 10 minutes late, but Linda, the perpetually sour faced HR lady, was loitering by his desk as he got in. She didn’t say anything but he could have sworn she gave him a “look”.
As he sat down and turned on his computer, with his wet shirt clinging annoyigly to his body and his feet making an unpleasant squelching sound in his soaked socks, he looked over the deluge of nitpicky complaints in his inbox. The morning dragged on forever yet he hardly managed to make a dent in his workload. He swallowed a quick tasteless lunch and got back to actively wishing the horrible day over already, when he discovered his mistake.
He had made it two weeks ago and it seemed like no one else had come acroos it yet. This one was bad. Really bad. He could cover it up at least but it wouldn’t be perfect. Sooner or later someone would discover it and there would be consequences. He had gone into panic mode and cleared up as much as he could but once the adrenaline died down, his mind had gone blank. The rest of the day was a blur and he was now standing alone in the park.
He had decided to walk home in an effort to shake his mood off. It’s not that he particularly enjoyed walking but the apartment was a mess and he didn’t feel like dealing with it right now. The sky had cleared up and was a perfect afternoon blue. The earlier rain had left the grass a gorgeous rich green and the air smelled fresh and clean. The park was quite pretty at the worst of times. It was huge and very well maintained, with manicured lawns and a large manmade pond where people could throw chunks of bread at bored, overfed ducks. Various merchants with little food carts and artists drawing portraits or busking, were crowding the walkway. Yes, it was truly a very nice park, and with the pleasant breeze and the soft lazy atmosphere of the dying afternoon, it was downright beautiful.
All of this was completely wasted on him as he slumped down on the nearest bench. He stared unseeingly at the idyllic scene unfolding before him and wondered grimly if he could become a hot dog vendor when he got fired. He hadn’t even realized but now, he was gaping at a girl. She was quite attractive. On a normal day the sight of her alone would have been enough to put him in a good mood but today had beaten him down too much for him to be able to properly enjoy it. At least she hadn’t noticed him. With his luck she would probably think he was some type of creep or something. He looked away purposefully but found his line of sight straying back to her ever so often. She was simply standing on the edge of the pond staring out into nothingness. She looked a little sad. He wondered what was wrong. Suddenly, she turned and started to leave when he saw something fall from her coat.
Without thinking he called out to her and instinctively jerked himself up. She didn’t stop so, for the second time today, he started to run and picked up what turned out to be a well-worn wallet. He then ran after her trying to call “miss” in what he believed to be a clear but cool voice. He finally caught up to her and lightly brushed her shoulder. She turned, looking up at him wide-eyed and obviously uncomfortable. As he struggled to catch his breath he held his arms out revealing the wallet in his hand. As understanding dawned on her, her expression slowly shifted from fear to confusion to grateful relief. She was disarmingly lovely he thought. He had to make a conscious effort not to buckle as he felt his knees weakening.
– You…huff…you dropped hum this…
Smooooth, he thought to himself.
For some time they both just stood there. She seemed to have been transfixed and simply stared at the wallet in his hand, doing nothing. He was still breathing hard and trying to regain some sort of composure. Besides, he didn’t want to spook her, she seemed so fragile. Finally, he straightened himself out and tentatively started explaining the situation:
– I just happened to see… Just as he had started stammering out a description of events he hoped would hide the fact that he had been intently observing her, she reached out for the wallet at last.
She grabbed it and held it to her chest with tears welling up. She nearly managed to whisper out a choked “thank you”. This poor girl was clearly in some type of trouble, he had to help her.
-Are you alright?; he asked genuinely concerned. She looked up at him again with enormous wet eyes. She seemed to steel herself as she took a deep breath and shook her head just the slightest bit:
– Oh my, look at me.. I’m..I’m sorry….thank you so much, you’re really my hero.
He scratched his head a little embarrassed. She looked so earnest.
– Well, it was nothing really I just…
-No; she cut him off; you don’t understand. With the day I just had, I don’t think I could have taken one more piece of bad luck. You really saved me. Today was, just the worst, but you made it a little better.
She was smiling now. It was still a little awkward and a little forced but it was still a nice smile.
He returned the smile happily.
– Oh, I guess there’s a bad day epidemic going around.
He snorted a little. He realized it had come out a bit more bitter than he had meant it to. She didn’t look like she minded though and aptly retorted:
– At least you don’t work with the world’s bitchiest head of personnel. I’d say she was just some bitter old cat lady that needs to have some fun for once, but there’s no way cats would stand being around her!
She cut her sentence off abruptly and looked down embarrassed. She was actually blushing.
-I’m sorry, I got carried away… I’m sure she’s a fine lady, it’s just been such a miserable day. You must think I’m just awful…
Her voice was gradually drifting away and she appeared to be trying to make herself even smaller as she spoke. The effect was almost too adorable for words.
-Please, don’t apologize, he hurried to comfort her, I know exactly what you mean.
She sounded delighted so he continued. Before he knew it, he had told her all about his sorry day and the endless misfortunes that had befallen him. She had listened enraptured. Asked questions, but not too many. She had told him everything would work out and that he wouldn’t get fired. She was just being nice of course, there was no possible way for her to know that, but she had said it with this huge optimistic grin on her face, while looking him straight in the eyes, and for a second he believed it. In any case, it felt so nice to have someone trying to cheer him up.
The conversation continued at an easy natural pace as they casually strolled down the central path. They chatted about everything. He told her big things about his dreams and fears and disappointments. He told her little things about his favorite breakfast sandwich and how annoying it was when passwords forced you to use certain types of characters. She was so easy to talk to, such a great listener. She wasn’t like one of those spoiled girls who needed to make everything about themselves.
Without them realizing it, the sun had dipped below the horizon and when they finally looked around, the path they were walking was bathed in the lights of the street lamps but everything else was swallowed up in darkness. A few stragglers were still walking around and the last of the vendors were starting to pack up their carts. Her face became anxious once more and she started to shift her weight around nervously. This young woman is an open book he thought, amazed by how enticing she was no matter what emotions were dancing across her features.
-I can’t believe I let it get this late, I really wanted to do something to thank you and now…
She was distraught once more and he felt the only gentlemanly thing to do was to rescue her.
-Tell you what, it’s dark and I really can’t have you getting home by yourself, it could be dangerous. How about I walk you home?
-Oh wait, the ice cream guy is still here. He actually makes these amazing sundays. You can pick from a ton of toppings. How about we have something sweet before?
Her eyes were shining like a little kid’s. The thought of ice cream seemed to have solved every problem in the world. It was completely adorable. He hadn’t had the courage to ask if she was single although he had noticed she wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. He figured he could grab this chance.
-How about I get us desert this time and you buy me dinner next time? If she wasn’t single, surely she’d let him know, now. She was blushing…
-That sounds nice.
He wanted to celebrate, physically cheer.
-Alright, let’s get a couple of those fantastic sundays and I’ll get you home. Ummm….?
She was uncomfortable again. Squirming a little. He suddenly realized how all of it sounded! He quickly reassured her.
-No no, I won’t hear of it, how could a fine man like me let a lady walk through the night alone? Please let me walk with you, I need to get up early though so I’m afraid I’ll need to walk right back home…
He gave what he hoped was a gentle smile, just coky enough. He wanted to make her laugh and put her at ease. To show that he didn’t take himself too seriously, but she cut him off.
-Hum, you see I live kind of far so I was going to take a cab, but maybe you could come with me…
Even in the dim light he could tell that her face was bright red now. She was staring intently at her feet which couldn’t seem to stay still. It was a clumsy proposition and impossibly endearing. She probably didn’t even realize how much more seductive it was than if she had whispered a scandalous offer in his ear, like a femme fatale. No this was by far the best possible version of events.
-That would be wonderful, he said unable to stop a wide grin from spreading across his face.
-Really???!! Disbelief and giddiness seemed to be jockeying in her tone. Did she actually think anyone would ever turn down an offer like that? She had probably never been in this type of situation before.
It was like his answer had revived her. With renewed energy she started blurting out her plan at top speed:
-We can get the sundays and eat them in the cab, normally they won’t let you but they know me, and if we promise to be careful it should be ok. Oh and my place isn’t very fancy or anything but it’s nice, and the lady upstairs has all these plants on her balcony, and they sort of fall over the side so it’s almost like I live in the middle of some tropical jungle…
She looked up at him, then away. Embarrassed but happy. She was almost skipping towards the ice cream cart. Shyly, she put a hand on his arm and then link her own with his. He was probably blushing as much as she was by now but he didn’t care. They sauntered down the lane and were greeted by a smiling vendor.
-They have fudge, and caramel and strawberry sauce and this awesome peanut butter fudge thing and nuts of course and also pieces of toffee and marshmallows… Everything goes with the chocolate but the peanut butter and strawberries are my favorites. They’re not that great together sadly. I can never decide which to get.
-Well how about we get one of each and switch?
It was as if he had invented cell phone technology and given her her favorite present all at once. The depth of gratitude and admiration that radiated from her was indescribable. She hugged him briefly and simply said: “You Are A Genius”.
He ordered a hot fudge peanut butter sunday for her and watched the man piece it together, explaining how all the homemade sauces were made. It really was a small work of art. He was starting to understand her excitement. She looked at her phone quickly and let out a Yelp.
-Oh gosh, listen, the cabs are at the south side entrance of the park, where that blue arch is, you know it? (He noded) I’m just going to run over and grab one to make sure they don’t all leave. You come meet me as soon as you get your ice cream,?
-Ok! She started running then turned back after a few steps. Hurry !? She dashed off.
As he watched her get swallowed up by the night his mind went wild. He saw them giggling while devouring their treats in the cab, playfully stealing pecks with the excuse of tasting the other person’s ice cream. They’d burst into her apartment unable to contain themselves any longer and relish in the simple joy of each other. In the morning she would try to make him stay as long as possible, bribing him with an extravagant breakfast and only allowing him to leave after he’d promised to call soon. His co-workers would tease him for wearing the same clothes but secretly, they’d all be jealous. She would get along with his friends and only occasionally insist on alone time. Her mother would love him. Her dad would take a little longer to come around but eventually a strong mutual respect would form.
-Anything else sir?
He was jolted back to reality. His sunday looked even better than he had imagined. He shook his head no and reached into his jacket for his wallet and phone. He wanted to take a picture of it like one of those lame weirdos he always made fun of. He really wanted to remember tonight.
As he put his hand in his pocket, he found it to be completely empty.
So? Sooooo? How did I do? Did you guys like it? is it *psychological*? I had fun writing this so I hope it come through!
You should realy go check out the other genres on the theme. It’s just so entertaining to see everyone’s own take of the project. We have:
- Keiko gave us a nice and relaxing Slice of Life;
- AstralGemini turned the heat up with an Ecchi; and
- Plyasm kept us guessing with a Mystery
Let us know wht you think! If you want to do your own take, please do. I would love to read it!