Juliet's Date

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Art school students Ben, Jeff, and Juliet are the perfect trio of friends...almost. When Juliet starts dating things get a little tricky, especially for Jeff, because they're just friends and Juliet would never date a guy like him...right? Juliet may beg to differ.

Submitted: July 12, 2012

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Submitted: July 12, 2012

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BEN

You sit on your bed as you fool around with a picture on Photoshop, turning your photography homework into a portrait of your younger brother with evil red eyes and snakes for hair. You're thinking maybe you'll send it as a birthday card to him. As you darken the tone of the picture a shade, you slowly become aware of the tapping noise coming from across the room. You lift your eyes from your MacBook and look up.

Jeff sits at his desk with an open textbook in front of him, tapping a pen repeatedly in his right hand. It's apparent that he's not reading his book very closely, if at all. You glance at the time. You think you can guess why.

You save your picture and close your MacBook before hopping off the bed. You stretch slightly. "Hey, Jeff," you say.

He immediately looks up from his textbook. "Yeah?"

"I need a homework break," you say. "Want to go get milkshakes?"

"Yeah, sure," he says. He flips his book shut without even saving his page. "At the diner?"

"'Course," you say. Jeff's favorite. You grab your jacket and pull it over your shoulders. "Is there even a place that has better milkshakes?"

"Doubt it," he says. You notice as he glances at the clock. Poor guy. You grab your key and open the door. You need to get his mind off the fact that Juliet's date with Nolan Hayes started fifteen minutes ago.

JEFF

You follow Ben into your favorite 24-hour diner, glad for a distraction from your homework. And a distraction from…other things. A waitress leads you to your table, and you wonder what kind of milkshake you'll get.

"What's gotten into us," Ben says conversationally once you sit down. "Doing homework on a Friday?"

"Seriously," you nod. Maybe it's the fact that it's the first Friday in a while that it's only been the two of you.

Shut up, a voice in your head says. It was only a matter of time before one of you started dating.

Ben's been dating since before I met him, you remind the voice, thinking of Ben's girlfriend, a girl from back home.

Yeah, well, the voice says back. It was only a matter of time before she started dating.

Obviously. You sigh internally. It's a wonder no guys have gone after her before this. Or have they? Before your mind can delve into the strife of this sudden thought your waitress returns.

"What can I get you?" she says, holding a pad in one hand and a pen in the other. She's a short haired middle aged woman who's served you countless times before yet refuses to ever acknowledge that she recognizes you. You and Ben have many theories about this- short term memory loss, multiple personalities that are unaware of who the others have met, she's a robot that the diner uses because it's cheaper to buy batteries than pay someone wages, she's has twelve identical sisters, or, most likely, the two of you keep returning better looking than last time, rendering you unrecognizable, yet undoubtedly desirable.

Today, however, you're feeling the robot theory. You hand her your unopened menu. "Double ranch cheeseburger," you say. "Extra fries, please."

"And I'll have a triple stack of waffles with bacon," Ben says, handing her his own menu.

She doesn't look up from her pad. "To drink?

You look at each other.

"Oh, yeah," Ben says. "Chocolate milkshake, please."

"Make that two," you say.

She scribbles it down and walks away.

Ben sits back and stretches out on his side of the booth. You play with your napkin. Ben notices.

"Hey, that reminds me," he says, sitting up again. He grabs his own napkin and begins folding it. "A girl in my human figures class showed me this."

A minute later, his ordinary napkin is transformed into a pretty little flower.

"Wow," you say, impressed. "That's cool."

"Isn't it?" Ben says. "She showed me on paper, but a napkin's close enough. Our TA got mad at us for wasting supplies, though. Whatever, he's crap at teaching drawing, anyway."

"Can you teach me how to make one?" you ask him.

"Sure," Ben says. You push your napkin forward.

Just when you think you've gotten the hang of it, your food comes. You eat a French fry, considerably more cheerful, though your robot-waitress scowls when Ben asks for more napkins. She glances pointedly at the little flowers at the end of the table.

"She probably just wants one," Ben says as he digs into his waffles. "We'll leave one for her with the tip."

"Then she'll have to have something to remember us by," you say.

"Yeah, she'll-" Ben starts. He breaks off, his eyes catching on something behind you. He blinks, then looks back at you.

"She'll what?" you say, dipping another fry in ketchup.

"What?" Ben says.

"The waitress," you say, biting your fry. "You said she was going to do something with our flower."

"Oh yeah," Ben says. He glances behind you again, very quickly. "Yeah, she'll love it."

You look at him. "I guess," you say. Now Ben's eyes don't leave your face, staring a little too intently. "Um, Ben?" you say.

"Yeah?" he says, looking down at his waffles for a bite, then quickly back at you.

"Are…you alright?" you ask him slowly.

"What? Yeah, I'm fine," he says. His eyes dart behind you again, and this time he looks apprehensive when he meets your eyes again.

"What is it?" you say. You start to turn around to look.

"Jeff, wait-"

But it's too late. Without any warning, your eyes meet familiar pale blue ones. Your stomach falls to your feet when you glance at her companion, one handsome Nolan Hayes, and you realize that your waitress is leading them in your direction.

You turn back around and meet Ben's eyes again. He looks back at you apologetically. You hear them walking closer until the waitress seats them in the booth ride directly behind you. You come to the conclusion that she is not only a robot, but an evil robot. She walks away, and you hear Nolan speak.

"Juliet, I'm just going to go the bathroom, I'll be right back," he says. "Alright," she replies, and you realize she's in the seat behind you. You hear the squeak of the plastic booth as he gets up. He walks past you and Ben and to the far side of the diner. The door to the restroom closes behind him.

Everything is silent for a moment. Ben just looks at you. Then finally you hear her turn around in her seat.

"Hi guys," Juliet says. You turn. Her face is less than a foot from yours, and her arm hangs over your side of the booth. She meets your eyes again. She's got a light shade of pink eye shadow on, and it brings out her faded freckles.

"Hey Juliet," Ben says. She looks at him and smiles. She seems pretty cheerful, you notice.

"I should have known you two would be here," she says. She tucks a loose strand of curly honey colored hair behind her ear. She wears it in a bun, something you don't see very often, but suits her wonderfully. A yellow flower is pinned above her ear. Her eyes meet yours again and you look away. She looks at the table. "But what's with all these flowers?"

"Oh, Ben was just showing me how to make them," you say, looking at your pile. "We were practicing."

"I like them," she says. She holds her hand out. She wears a pretty pink blouse with a yellow floral pattern. The sleeve hangs loosely from her arm. You take one of the flowers and place it in her hand.

"You guys will have to show me how to make them," she says, looking at it.

"You mean you don't know how to already?" Ben says, teasing. Her love of floral patterns is not uncommon knowledge.

"Well, I-" Juliet breaks off when she glances up. You turn to see Nolan walking back from the bathroom. Juliet tucks an invisible strand of hair behind her ear and turns to face him. He smiles at her, then looks at you and Ben curiously.

"Nolan," Juliet says. Something in her voice sounds different, you notice, like it's the slightest pitch higher. "These are my friends Ben and Jeff. They come here all the time, I should have known they'd be here. Guys, this is Nolan."

"Hi," he says. You and Ben nod politely.

"Um, yeah, so," Juliet says, pushing another non-existent piece of hair behind her ear. She looks at you and Ben. "I'll let you two get back to your meal, then." She makes to turn around, but looks back at you. "Oh, and here."

She drops the napkin-flower into your hand.

Nolan sits down across from her and they start talking. You turn around and look back at Ben. He looks back at you gives you what you think may be an attempt at a sympathetic smile. You just look away and drop the flower back with the others. You look back at your burger and milkshake, which is probably half-melted by now. You're not very hungry anymore.

You attempt to finish your burger and have a conversation interesting enough to distract your ears from picking up pieces of the conversation behind you. Soon enough (or perhaps, not soon enough at all) the waitress comes with your check. The two of you pay and get up to go, leaving the flowers on the table. Ben managed to finish his waffles, but you couldn't quite bring yourself to down the rest of your fries. It's the first time you've ever left this place with food still on your plate.

You're not quite sure whether to say bye or not as you leave, but Juliet waves at the two of you as you walk back to the entrance. She meets your eyes one more time and a faint blush appears over the bridge of her nose. Nolan probably gave her a smooth, artsy complement. You lift your hand and wave back.

"Well that was…" Ben starts as you walk along the dark sidewalk, heading back to your dorm.

The worst meal ever, you want to say. You just remain quiet. After a few minutes of walking in silence, Ben changes the subject.

"Hey, when we get back to our room, want to play Nintendo?" he asks.

"Sure," you shrug.

"I'm debating, Mario Kart or Super Smash Brothers?" he says.

"Um," you say. "I don't know."

"No preference at all?" Ben says.

You look at him. It's obvious he's really trying to get your mind off of Juliet. You need to stop being in such a mood. Juliet can date whomever she wants, and you need to not let it affect you like this, because if you do you'll just be miserable forever. Besides, Nolan didn't seem like a bad guy. As her friend, you should be happy for her.

But…the thing you've been trying hardest not to think about is the fact that he took her to your place. The first time Juliet had ever been there was when you took her there, over a year ago, just when the two of you were becoming friends. Just the two of you type friends, when you didn't need Ben there anymore to have an excuse to see each other. When she had crossed the barrier of being Ben's friend that he met in painting class to being your friend, on her own.

It had been the week of midterms, and the three of you had met to study together in the student union. For some reason or another, Ben had to go early, leaving the two of you to study on your own. You sat there, perhaps for a half an hour or so, studying in silence. Finally, you looked up when you heard her sigh. She was rubbing her tired eyes.

"You know, it is getting a bit late," you'd said, looking at your watch. It was quarter till eleven. You glanced back up at her.

"I know," Juliet said, dropping her hands to her sides again. She leaned back in her chair and looked at you. Her curly hair hung messily over her shoulders, and she had a thin headband on to keep it out of her face. "I just still don't feel ready for this Greek art test, and it's tomorrow."

You looked down at your own books. To be honest, you felt pretty good about your own coming tests. You looked back up at her. "Yeah, I know what you mean."

"I just, ugh, I feel like I'm going to fall asleep," she said. She slumped her shoulders. "Either that or I want to tear my hair out."

"Please don't do that," you said, giving her a small smile. Really though, it would probably physically pain you if she did something to her long, honey-gold hair.

"I know, I know," she said, sighing again. You fell into another silence.

"Well," you started after a few minutes, a bit uncertain. Juliet looked up at you and you met her eyes. "It might be good to, you know, take a break. Get some coffee or something to boost your energy."

She hesitated. "I don't know. I still have so much to look over."

It was obvious that she needed a break, if not just to renew her energy but to lose some stress. You smiled at her. "It won't be that long. I know a good place down the street."

"Well…" Juliet bit her lip, looking back at you. You blinked. She sighed again and shut her book. "Okay."

You packed up all your things and threw them in your backpacks, slinging them over your shoulders. You made small talk during the walk to the diner, and when you got there and a waiter sat you in a booth, you merely looked across the table at each other.

"I never noticed this place," Juliet said, breaking eye contact and looking around the restaurant. You tugged a sleeve over your hand and looked around as well, nodding.

"Ben and I found it last semester," he says. "We come here a lot, I guess. They have really good milkshakes."

"Do they?" she said. She picked up a menu. "Maybe I'll get one."

"No coffee?" you asked.

"Nah," she said. She looked back at you and smirked slightly. "Though I do love it, don't get me wrong."

You smiled. "I think that might've been a question on our art school application. Do you like coffee: yes or no?"

Juliet laughed. "Say no and you're instantly rejected."

"No question," you said.

When the waitress came, you both ordered chocolate milkshakes. When they arrived, you watched as Juliet tried hers. She closed her eyes and fell back against the seat of the booth.

"You're right," she said, opening her eyes and looking at you. "That is really good."

"Would I lie about food?" you said.

She grinned. "I guess not. You and Ben should find a cooking school and be food connoisseurs."

"We've considered it," you said, shrugging. "But we prefer art."

Juliet only smiled again and shook her head, taking another sip of her milkshake. You drank them slowly, savoring the taste and your break time. Even after you'd scraped the bottom of your cups you sat there a bit longer, just talking. When you finally looked at your watch, you found it was nearly midnight.

"Oh no," you'd said, looking up at her.

"What, is it two in the morning?" Juliet said, raising her eyebrows, not quite as concerned as before.

"Almost midnight," you said.

She shrugged. "You know, I bet I won't do that bad on my test. I just worry too much."

"You'll ace it," you said.

She laughed. "Don't know if I'd go that far."

"I would."

She looked at you, the smile lingering on her lips. "Thanks, Jeff."

You shrugged, feeling yourself starting to blush slightly. You shook it off. The two of you sat there a bit longer, not quite ready to leave yet. Finally she made to stand up.

"You know, this was a really good idea," she said as the two of you pulled your coats back on and picked up your backpacks. "And that was a really good milkshake."

"Told you," you said, grinning.

Instead of going to study more, the two of you decided to head back to your dorms. When you got to hers, which was on the way on the way to yours, she smiled at you one last time.

"Night, Jeff," she said.

"Bye," you said. She closed the door, and you headed back to your own dorm, where Ben was already fast asleep.

You still go there with her, just the two of you, sometimes. But of course, you do the same thing with Ben, like tonight. It's perfectly fine for her to drink milkshakes with Nolan.

Besides, it doesn't matter, anyway. You're her friend, and she'd never date you in a million years.

~

The rest of the weekend proves hardly more eventful than Friday night. You and Ben go to the movies on Saturday and you spend most of Sunday doing homework. You don't see Juliet again until Monday morning, when you meet her for breakfast. You meet for breakfast every Monday morning before your separate ten o' clock classes. When you arrive at the dining hall she's already there at your usual table.

"Hi," you say as you sit down. You drop your bag on the seat beside you.

"Hey, Jeff," she says, smiling at you.

You smile slightly back at her. "I'll be right back, going to get some cereal."

"Okay," she says. She turns back to her bagel.

You fill a bowl with Cocoa Puffs and milk, grab a spoon and walk back to the table. You sit down. The two of you eat in silence for several minutes, until finally she speaks.

"So, how was your weekend?" she asks you.

"It was good. Ben and I went to the movies," you say.

"Nice," she says. She spreads some strawberry jam on her bagel.

"You?" you say. You look up at her.

She shrugs, eyes still on her bagel. "It was alright."

"Just alright?" you say.

"Yeah," she says. She looks up at you. You shove a spoonful of Cocoa Puffs into your mouth.

You fall into silence again. You finish your cereal and push it away. You grab a napkin.

"What are you doing?" Juliet says, watching you. You look up.

"Practicing my flower making," you say.

A smile plays on Juliet's lips. "Oh, right, of course."

You raise your eyebrows slightly at her. "Didn't you say you wanted to learn?"

"Well, yeah," she says. She glances at the circular clock on the wall near the food line. "But I think it'll take more than ten minutes."

You sit up and look at her. "You're a fast learner."

She rolls her eyes, but smiles. "Maybe you can show me later?"

"Sure," you say.

"Okay," she says. "We should get dinner or something," she adds.

"Alright," you say. "I'll tell Ben." Juliet looks at you. "What?" you ask.

She shakes her head. "Nothing."

You look back down at your napkin and fold a few more edges. You look back at her. "You're not like…busy or anything?"

She raises her eyebrows just slightly. "Why would I be busy?"

You shrug. "Just…I don't know…"

She watches you for a moment and sighs. "No, Jeff, I'm not spending all my evenings on dates with Nolan, if that's what you're thinking."

You feel yourself redden slightly. "Oh, that's-" You clear your throat and look at her. "You're not?"

She shakes her head and looks down at the near-completed flower in your hands. "No. He asked me, but…I don't know." She shrugs.

"But…you looked like you were enjoying yourself," you say.

She shrugs again and pushes the left over jam around her plate. "I was. It was nice. But I don't know, it just wasn't…great."

"I'm sorry," you say.

Juliet smiles and looks at you. "You don't have to be sorry, it's not as if I was in love with him." You smile back sheepishly.

"But I don't know, I mean…" she looks away and pushes a bit of hair behind her ear. She wears it down today. Her eyes meet yours again. "I enjoy having a normal breakfast with you more than a special date with him."

You blink. "Oh."

Juliet looks away again, and so do you. Neither of you say anything for a moment. She glances at the clock. "Um, it's almost ten, we should probably go," she says, and grabs her bag.

"Yes, right," you say. You look down and remember your flower. Juliet's already standing up. "Oh, hold on." Juliet pauses and looks at you. She rolls her eyes amusedly when she sees that you're completing the last folds of your flower.

"Finished," you say, and hold it up. You sling your backpack over your shoulder, then turn and hand her the flower before gathering your plates.

"Jeff-"

"I've got them," you say. You walk over to the dish return and deposit them, then meet her again at the exit doors. You walk outside together.

"Well, I'll see you after class, then," you say, readjusting your backpack straps on your shoulders. You turn to head in the opposite direction.

"Wait, Jeff," she says. You turn to look at her again. "Your flower?" She holds her hand out, your napkin flower resting in her palm.

You nod at her. "It's for you," you say. "Keep it."

Juliet blinks at you, then a small smile starts on her lips. "Okay."

You smile back at her. "See you later, Juliet."

"Yeah," she says. "Bye, Jeff."

You turn your separate ways to head to class. It's nice and sunny out, and the weather is a bit warmer than it was yesterday. You grasp your shoulder straps and smile slightly to yourself as you walk to class.

Because Juliet would rather have a milkshake with you.


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