The One That Got Away
Title: The One That Got Away
Parts total: 1 of 1
Disclaimer: I don't own it. I don't make money off of it. I just use it to make other people happy. Suing me will only get you action figures.
Squiggy's first kiss happened when he was thirteen .
It had started out to be a rotten summer. Lenny was gone for most of it, somewhere in New Jersey with family. Laverne and Shirley had suddenly decided that Squiggy was to be ignored at all costs. And, to add insult to injury, his mother and step-father had made it practically impossible for him to be in the house for more than an occasional meal and a few hours rest at night.
He spent most of the time wandering around the neighborhood or sitting on the front stoop, admiring his moths.
About mid-way through June though, things changed.
As he was sitting on his front stoop, he noticed a car he had never seen before pull up and stop in front of his building. It was a very nice car so immediately Squiggy knew that the owners weren't from the neighborhood.
Out of the driver's side stepped a very well dressed man, tall with dark hair. From the passenger side emerged a beautiful woman with neatly done red hair and a pink dress. And, lastly, from the backseat came the only person that ever made Squiggy's heart truly stop.
A girl. About his age. Probably too short for her age. Half of her red hair was pulled away from her face in a neat blue bow that perfectly matched her dress.
She smiled at him as her family passed him going up the stairs.
The prettiest girl in the world smiled at HIM! Squiggy!
He sighed inwardly as he watched her follow her parents through the door.
The prettiest girl in the world who had smiled at him was in his building and he had been banned to the stoop by his mother.
"Just my luck," he muttered to himself before pushing himself to his feet and walking off down the block.
When he returned, he was surprised to find the prettiest girl in the world sitting on the front stoop in the exact place he had been before he left.
"Hello," the prettiest girl in the world greeted him.
"Hello," Squiggy replied. "Who are you?"
He kicked himself for being so blunt, but she just smiled, bigger than the first time. Big enough to make her nose crinkle just a bit.
"My name's Gretchen," she said. "What's yours?"
"People call me Squiggy."
She smiled her crinkly smile again, promptly making his knees go weak.
"Squiggy? That's a funny name."
"It's a nickname."
"Oh. I haven't got a nickname."
Her smile faded a bit.
"Oh. Want me to give you one?"
This time, she giggled and it was like music to Squiggy's ears.
"Would you like to sit with me?" she asked, patting a spot beside her.
Squiggy nodded eagerly and sat next to her, but not too close, fearing she might run off or punch him or something.
"What are you doing here?" Squiggy asked. "Are you gonna live here?"
Gretchen shook her head.
"No. We're just visiting relatives for a little while," she told him.
"Oh." He tried not to sound disappointed, but he was sure he did.
"Do you live here?" she asked.
"Yeah, in this building."
"Do you like it here?"
"It's okay, I guess."
"We drove here from St. Louis," Gretchen told him. "That's where I live."
"Do you like it there?" Squiggy asked.
"It's nice most of the time. Have you ever been there?"
Squiggy shook his head.
"I've been lots of places," Gretchen went on. "But, this is the first time I've been here."
Squiggy sagged a bit, feeling not good enough to even sitting on a stoop next to such a pretty, smart girl, let alone be talking to her.
"So, Squiggy," she said, rousing his attention once more. "If you were to give me a nickname, what would it be?"
He blinked and looked at her. She was smiling again, crinkling her nose a bit, her hazel eyes flickering.
"I don't know," he said shyly. "Something pretty. You'reverypretty."
The last sentence was so rushed and garbled he was fairly sure she hadn't understood him. But, she just laughed her pretty laugh and patted his shoulder as she stood.
"Thank you, Squiggy," she said politely. "I have to go in now. It's almost dark and mother doesn't want me out then. Think about a nickname tonight and tell me tomorrow, okay?"
Squiggy nodded dumbly and watched her disappear into the building.
He spent the few hours he usually slept racking his brain for an appropriate nickname for Gretchen. But, he just wasn't smart enough to come up with one that was good enough for her. Sure, he had thought of several. But, none did justice to the prettiest girl in the world.
Early the next morning, he perched himself on the front stoop, jarred moths to keep him company. He sat there for several hours, still pondering a nickname for his beautiful Gretchen, feeling more and more unworthy of her company as the minutes ticked by.
Finally, shortly after noon, Gretchen emerged from his building and happily sat next to him.
"Hello, Squiggy," she said, nose crinkling.
"Hello, Gretchen," he replied.
"Did you think of a nickname for me?" she asked.
"Yeah," Squiggy replied. "But, you probably won't like it. You'll think it's dumb."
"No, I won't," Gretchen assured. "Tell me. Please?"
Squiggy melted at the word "please" and knew, no matter what embarrassment he was about to face, he wasn't going to be able to tell her no.
So, he took a deep breath and told her.
"Birdie?" she repeated, nose crinkling in delight.
"I know it's not very good. But, I thought birds are pretty and you're pretty. It's not good. You don't have to use it, if you don't wanna. I tried to think of a better one. Really. But, that's¼that's the best I can do. I'm not too smart."
He sighed and stared at his moths.
"I think it's a nice nickname, Squiggy," she told him. "And, I want to use it."
"Yes," she affirmed. She scooted a bit closer to him. "Now, what have you got in that jar?"
"These are my moths!" he said proudly. "I know people don't think much of 'em, but I like 'em."
"They're very nice moths, Squiggy."
He blushed a tad at using her new nickname. The nickname she liked. The one that he'd given to her, the prettiest girl in the world.
Squiggy and Birdie spent the rest of the week together, sitting on the stoop or wandering around the neighborhood with Squiggy pointing out all the good things about it and telling her stories about the adventures he and Lenny had. The highlight of it all (for Squiggy, at least) was when, during one of their walks, Birdie took his hand and held it. He nearly passed out from the joy of it. The prettiest girl in the world was holding his hand!
After that, they held hands often, even when they were just sitting on the stoop together.
But something happened at the end of the week that was different. They had sat on the stoop most of the day and talked and held hands and watched Squiggy's moths like always. But, Squiggy noticed something odd about Birdie. Her smile wasn't making her nose crinkle anymore.
Maybe the prettiest girl in the world didn't like him anymore. That's why his mom left his dad in the first place. She didn't like him anymore.
They sat on the stoop in silence, Birdie holding Squiggy's jar of moths, watching them flutter about while Squiggy watched her. Squiggy sat as close to her as he dared and in a moment of what he might have thought was bravery, he laid his head on her shoulder.
Birdie sighed and Squiggy braced himself to be hit.
"I have to go home tomorrow, Squiggy," Birdie said quietly.
Squiggy swallowed hard. In all his joy, he had forgotten about that.
Not knowing what to say, he just sat there for awhile, head resting on her shoulder, watching the moths flutter in the jar she held in her hands.
"It's okay, Birdie," he said finally.
She sighed shakily and set the jar down next to her. Squiggy raised his head and looked at her. Birdie's eyes were filled with tears.
Birdie suddenly grabbed Squiggy and crushed him in a hug as she began to cry. After only a second of shocked hesitation, Squiggy held her just as tight.
He was sure how long they sat like that, at least until Birdie's sobs had quieted. Then she pulled away from him, wiping her eyes.
She slowly stood up.
"I have to go in now. It's almost dark," she said softly.
Squiggy stood up with her.
"Birdie, can I ask you something?" he said quickly.
She nodded, sniffling a little.
Clenching his fists, he spoke so fast it sounded like Latin.
He once again closed his eyes, expecting to get hit.
But, instead he felt Birdie's hands grasp his shoulders and her lips brush his.
And, so Squiggy's first kiss was a kiss goodbye.