Matthew glared at himself. He finally got her to go out with him and now he had no fucking idea on where to take her. He took many chicks out, it wasn’t a big deal and he had no fucking idea why he was stressing over taking ________ out. They’ve been places alone, it wasn’t a big deal…before but now it was. He thought about the movies but nothing good was playing. He knew her long enough that she hated chick flicks. Maybe a dive bar, he could get in no problem but then there’s the other shit like him getting into a fight and she getting hurt. Maybe bowling that could work.
“Why don’t you take her to the movies?” he jumped. Artie was looking over his shoulder. He scowled at him.
“Nothing good is playing,”
“Ooh! How about that nice looking movie about boy meets girl?”
“She’d kill me, she hates those lovey dovey chick flicks and I don’t want to be around all that estrogen,”
“Well, it’s a first date, how about a nice restaurant?”
“That’s a maybe but I want to take her someplace fun,”
“Shit, you never thought this through with other chicks,” Alfred walked into the kitchen, then he smirked, “Aww dwoes Mattie lwike _______?”
“Just as much as you love your right hand and lube shit stain,”
“Stop it you two. I think it’s cute that Matthew found someone to give him a challenge,” said Artie, “Oh, why don’t you two stop by the bakery after hours! I can make it look so nice and you can have dessert!”
“I’ll think about it,” he said thinking of what Artie might do. He’ll probably turn that play into a pink, glittery shag pad. He shuddered at the thought and continued to think.
“And, be nice to her mother,”
“I would if she wasn’t such a bitch. Seriously, I don’t see why she takes that type of shit from her mom. I wouldn’t,”
“Most young ladies endure it because, well, it’s their mother. Usually they learn how to be feminine from their mother or friends,”
“Lucky for ________, Feliciana has been girling with her. Or else she’d be as feminine as her dad,”
“Her dad is fucking scary,” said Alfred, “Then again so is yours,”
“Dad is scary but I’m sure she didn’t have to learn to fight like I had to,”
“Dude, she can use a knife,”
“And she did beat up Alfred,” piped Artie.
“I LET her win,”
“She beat your ass and made you her bitch! But on a side note, her old man tolerates me so that’s cool I guess,”
“She did! You went wee wee wee all the way home,”
“And hide under Artie’s skirt,” said Allistor walking in.
“Allie!” Artie hugged her brother happily, “When did you get here?”
“Just got in,” he ruffled the boys’ hair, “Alfred, get my other crap out of the car. Mattie, come with me,” Matthew followed him upstairs to the guest room. Francis was away on business, so Matthew couldn’t ask him for advice, which was usually “use protection”. Tonight’s date was different from all the others he’s been on and Allistor knew it, “Overheard ye three talking. Girl trouble, laddie?”
“Sort of, I asked _________ out,”
“Finally, any longer I would have done it,”
“She doesn’t want some geezer lusting after her!”
“Geezer?! I have more stamina in my finger than you have in your body, lad. I could have her squealing and squirting in five minutes!”
“You started it! Anyway, here’s what you do, think of this as an outing instead of a date. Like you two are just friends again and I guarantee you’ll know where to take her,”
“Try it! You’re not dating her, ye’re getting ready to do out with her, strictly platonic, and she’ll be waiting at the door. Now where are ye two going?”
“The carnival that’s like twenty miles out of town,” Matthew looked at him, “You’re good,”
“Yeah I know. Have fun. Oh and don’t get nervous if she gets all gussied up, just saying. That’s what women do,”
“They want to impress us, not knowing that as long as she is herself and smells nice, it's enough,”
________ was getting ready for her date with Matthew. She had to get used to the idea of calling it a date. Why? It wasn’t like they never went out, but this would be their first time alone together for a few hours, especially after Valentine’s Day. She had no idea where they were going. She didn’t know what to expect. Her mother was onboard and even tried to help when she announced it last Wednesday.
“You have to wear a dress! You can’t blow this! This may be your ONLY chance to find a nice husband and maybe move out!”
“Sadly I live in the 21st century where having a career and education is an actual means of stability and pride. Besides, I never thought you cared about me going out,”
“I can’t wait to meet him! Who is it? Is it that nice diplomat’s son? Oh, how about Feliks?”
“No, it’s Matthew,”
“Matthew? Wait, Matthew Williams?”
“YOU’RE NOT GOING!”
“Of all the people, you’re dating that odd boy? That whole family is delinquents! He and that awful brother of his are the sole destroyers of our humble little town!”
“Our town isn’t perfect, it isn’t little, and sure as hell isn’t humble. Look, I know Matthew has a bad reputation but I’m going out on a date with him,”
“I forbid it! You’ll just go on a date with anyone who’d have you huh? What if it was that a bum on the corner? Huh, then again there’s no difference,”
“No matter what you say, I’m going!”
“Fine, if you wind up living in a shack in the woods with ten kids don’t say I didn’t warn you,”
Matthew knocked on the door. His palms were sweaty. He felt himself breathe heavily. He didn’t know why he was fucking nervous. He was never this fucking nervous. The door clicked. Her mother was staring at him. He glared. He didn’t care for the woman, not one bit. He honestly tried to be nice. He really didn’t like her mother.
“Hi Mrs. (l/n). Is ________ home?”
“Oh Matthew, I’m sorry. She’s sick,”
“Yes, the damnest thing. Sad really. She really wanted to go,”
“I know she did, that’s why she texted me saying she’ll be ready in five minutes,” the woman stared but simpered under her hand.
“Oh, right. Silly me. She’ll be done as soon as she finishes. I guessing you’re not taking her any place nice dressed like that,” he was wearing blue jeans, a white shirt, a red plaid over shirt, and his signature sunglasses, “It just screams I-never-going-to-amount-to-anything,”
“Just like your face screams fifty-something-year-old woman who wants to look twenty but know its not possible because her face is too saggy and ass is too fat,”
“How dare you?!”
“You started it!”
“Keep it up and you’ll never see my daughter again!”
“Like you care! Where is she?!”
“She’s here,” her father was in the living room. _________ was with him wearing her jeans, (f/c) tunic, and a black hoodie, “Matthew,”
“Mr. (last name),”
“You’re going to actually let her go out with this hoodlum?!” said her mother.
“You’re the one who insulted him first. He was polite,”
“He wasn’t genuine about it,”
“Like you’re not genuine about your age because you pile way too much make up knowing damn well the next time you see thirty it’ll be a hundred and thirty,”
“Get out of my house!”
“Off my property!”
“Honey, let him,”
“You always do things like that! You never take my side!” they started back and forth. ________ moved passed them and went to Matthew.
“Bye Dad!” Matthew held the door open for her as she trotted to the truck.
“Have her back at eleven,” said her dad in between the fight.
“You got it,” they were soon driving down the road.
She dreaded the awkward silences. After that little show with her parents, she wondered why he didn’t just drop her off somewhere. She glanced over at him. He had his sun glasses propped on his head. She liked his glasses but she loved looking at those purple hues even more. She knew it would take him awhile to say something so she broke the silence.
“Well there’s a carnival and I thought you’d like it there,”
“There’s one around here?”
“No, in the next town,”
“Nice! It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a carnival,”
“When was the last time?”
“Well around middle school. Feli and I went together during the class trip,”
“You and Alfred were banned after that frog incident and vandalism,”
“You helped, remember? You were look out,”
“Yeah and we escaped but Alfred thought it would be funny to sing I Feel Like A Woman while wearing Miss Alexis’ skirt, her lipstick, and the lunch ladies’ fishnets in front of the principal while we got away. You got in trouble for breaking school property after trashing the bathroom as a distraction so I could take the frogs to a safe place while school security stopped you,”
“Right, I remember now. And Alfred’s crime? I’m sure him singing and acting like a fucking woman wasn’t just it,”
“He ended Feel Like a Woman with a striptease, in the teachers’ lounge, charging ten dollars a peek,” Matthew face palmed at this.
“Fucking hoser. How do you know this?”
“Elizabeta paid him a fifty,” he laughed.
“I definitely remembered now. I also remember Artie apologizing to all the parents and Allistor making him wear a dress for a month. I think that warped him,” they laughed all the way to the carnival, reminiscing about old memories.
“What ride do you want first? And if you say anything is fine, I’m taking you back home,” she snorts and looked around. She spied something, grabbed his hand and dragged him to it. He reddened, feeling her hand on his. She took him to the Rapid Ferris Wheel. It was a normal Ferris wheel that was ten times faster than a normal one. From there, they went to the roller coasters next. Matthew figured if she could handle that, she could handle the Death Coaster. She puts on a brave face. She didn’t mind roller coasters but still the idea of being suspended in the air for a short period of time with little more than a bar to protect you still scared her. The Ferris wheel was different! You were only going in one direction, fast! But this was a carnival roller coaster! Who knows how rickety it was! While on it, she tried to herself mentally prepared. Matthew saw her gripping the hand bar before the ride even started. He gently puts his hand on hers.
“You’ll live. It’s just a ride,”
“I-I know!” the ride took off. She clung to the bar and held on tight. The wind whipped through her (h/c) locks. It spun went to and fro everywhere. Then, all it once, it stopped. The horror was finally over.
“Ride’s over scaredy cat,”
“Pfft I wasn’t scared!”
“Really? You weren’t scared?”
“Not one bit,”
“Where’s your arm?” She looked around and noticed that she had one arm on the bar and the other wrapped around Matthew’s arm in a death grip. She blushed and slowly lets him go, “Wasn’t scared huh?”
“Shut up!” she huffs but then smiled, “Thanks for letting me cling,” The Tunnel of Horror was next. It was rumored to be the scariest ride in the county. It was rumored to be so scary that there was “chicken exits” where people could escape when they got too frightening or disturbing. The operator was so confident that he willing to pay anyone fifty bucks if they completed it. The couple decided to see if it really was that scary.
“You can always back out. I won’t judge you too much,”
“Please, want me to hold your hand Mattie?” they got into the ride. As soon as they entered, they heard chainsaws, people screaming, blood everywhere, guts and things pouring out of fake bodies. Being around Matthew and Alfred most of her literately made her desensitized to blood and excessive violence. Hell most of the carnage was the brothers on a lazy day. Matthew found most of it hilarious.
“You do not get blood splatter like that from a bat! Fucking amateurs,” after the “horror” the scene in the tunnel turned pleasant. Then out of nowhere, a zombie hoard. They grabbed the laser guns on the sides and started shooting every single one. After the hoard, their car dropped down. _________ instinctively clung to Matthew as they landed. He looked at her. He poked her cheek.
“You’re safe now,”
“I-I know!” the car went through something like a twisted Disneyland where many of the characters were rotting, infected with the zombie disease. It was creepy but nothing damaging. Then they went into another room, they suppose it was the final room. It was a bloodbath with all of the twisted versions of fairytales with cute character getting maimed, ripped apart, blood gushing everywhere. __________ stared at it with silent admiration. Finally someone showed the twisted versions of fairytales.
“Eee! That’s where the bird plucks the eyes out of the stepsisters!” she squealed
“Really? I’m looking for the Little Red Riding Hood…oh there she is eating her grandma’s flesh,”
“Ick that does look too realistic. I like it! Oh the Girl without Hands and Pinocchio! That’s the scene where the boys are turning into donkeys and Lampwick is worked to death,”
“Not impressed, not until I see where Fox and Cat tries to murder him. Fuck! They did it!” when the ride was over, they were laughing hard. The operator stared at them for a few minutes, paid them, and backed away. It was apparent that these two were not normal people if they could laugh at everything in that horror house. They decided to walk around where the games were. As they walked, she spied something, something really, cute, it was a stuffed owl with glasses holding a book.
“You want it?” she didn’t know she was lingering and gushing at the adorable little thing. She nodded excitedly. The game was shooting the targets. Matthew took the gun and started shooting. He shot everyone down except the large one. He glared and kept firing at it. It wobbled and toppled by didn’t fall. The vendor smirked.
“Ooh, nice try pretty boy,”
“Fuck you, it’s weighed down,”
“Prove it,” he smirked. Matthew jumped over the stand and took the bottle target. He tipped it over to reveal rocks inside. He glared, grabbed the owl from its perch and gives it to her. He then grabbed the vendor by his shirt and closed the booth.
“Maple leaf, stay put for awhile. I’ll be done in a minute,” she nodded and stood guard as Matthew beat the shit out of the man.
“Thank you again Mattie!” said __________ as they walked away from the booth. She cuddled her owl protectively.
“Whatever; just keep that little guy safe for me,”
“I will. Will that vendor be okay?”
“Like I give a shit. That’s what he gets for trying to screw with me and my chick,”
“But did you have to keep his teeth as a souvenir?”
“It’s the only way he’ll learn,” they walked for a bit enjoying sideshows like the freakshow, then the Hall of Mirrors. _________ laughed when one of the clown jet streams spooked Matthew. He punched it instinctively. While laughing, she didn’t notice that she was backing into a mirror. She jumped when she saw a distorted image of herself. It was his turn to laugh. After that they went to the photo booth and took a few pictures. Getting Matthew to smile was a task in itself, never mind being silly. The pictures came out with her smiling and getting him to smile. She tickled his ribs. He cracked a grin but it went back to his frown. She smooshed her face at him. The smile lingered a little more on him. The coup de grace was when she kissed his neck and touched his hair curl. The look on her face was priceless. She laughed hard, making the final picture of his nooging her as punishment. When they left, her stomach growled. He took the hint and then headed towards the grub area. They passed a twelve level dunk tank. The dunkee was sitting at the top level and as he dropped from level to level, the water and substances became dirtier and dirtier. As people passed, the dunkee became the heckler.
“Hey Grandma! Betcha you can hit this! Really? Aww you need that money for medicine? Why you ain’t living forever! Hey four eyes you’ll need all four to hit this? What? What did you did say Sheldon? That’s who ya look like!” ________ and Matthew passed, “Oy sweetheart! I didn’t know ugly girls paid for dates!” __________ stopped in her tracks, “Seriously, what’s a good looking guy like that doing with a chick like you? Hey pretty boy, did you lose a bet or are you gay?” she glared.
“Matt, hold my owl,” Matthew stared as she paid for thirteen balls.
“Aww you think you can really hi—,” the man went down. He dropped to the first level, “Nice shot bitch! Betcha can’t—,” she did it again and again and again as the heckler dropped from level to level to level. Matthew watched in awe. She was surprisingly focused when she was angry. Soon she was down to her last two balls. She threw one and then the other, which sent him to the bottom into the mud below.
“Remind me to never piss you off,” Matthew and ________, after winning every prize from the dunk tank, decided to get something to eat. She was eating (favorite carnival food) and he munched on chili cheese fries.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,”
“You beamed him with a ball,”
“My ass,” he snorts, “But you look cute when you’re angry,” they two laughed and talked for ages, every now and then getting more carnie food like nachos, snow corns, popcorn, ice cream, however _________ had to stop at the kettle corn.
“Bad experience with kettle corn,” she said.
“Oh? What happened?”
“I went to the carnival a few years back and smelt this delicious popcorn! I didn’t know where it was coming from but I tracked it down. I found it in a little of no time. It was in these huge bags. I was about to devour it into nothingness and tasted sweetness. I thought it was just mistake and took another handful and realized it was all sweet,” he laughed.
“Poor thing. Yeah, it’s an acquired taste especially for popcorn lovers. Let’s get some funnel cake instead,”
“That sounds good! I didn’t know you had a sweet tooth,”
“I don’t,” he said rubbing the back of his neck. She smirked and poked his cheek.
“Aww I guess I don’t have to make you that recipe I found, now what was it again? Double chocolate brownies with a maple honey glaze?”
“I will fucking break up with you if you don’t!” she laughed.
“I’ll make them granted you go on the carousel with me after the funnel cake,”
He helped her onto the carousel. For some reason, she always liked going on the ride. It wasn’t just the lights, the music, or even the fresh air, she always liked the idea of riding something like this, bringing back a nostalgic feeling that she never felt. Her earliest memory of being on one was when she was a child. A kind man helped her on, she rode a black horse and looked out over the crowd, over at her parents, her mother telling her that it would the closest she could ever get to a pony without breaking its back, then around again to her father walking away, around again to her mother glaring at his direction, around again to them both staring at more “normal” children. She gripped the horse.
“Ever rode an actual horse?” she jumped from her thoughts.
“Yeah, but riding a bear is more fun,” she looks at him.
“You ride bears?”
“You should try it, it’s fun,”
“Umm…maybe a real horse first,”
“Or a moose,”
“Jeez Mattie, are you trying to die?” The ride started to go. She gripped the horse as it went up and down with the lovely music playing. She looked out into the carnival with a smile. It was different now, a lot different. Matthew stared over at ________. He liked seeing her eyes light up when she was happy and at ease. She looked so innocent and sweet smiling and looking over into the colorful lights. He gently took her hand and held it. She stared and reddened coyly. He loved when she was played coy. They stared at each other for a few moments. Both not really wanting this moment to end but eventually did. He helped her off and stole a quick peck on the lips. She reddened badly. They headed back to his truck. Then they spied something else Custom Cotton Candy.
“Keep walking, I’ll catch up,” said Matthew, “Oy, I want two of those, one (favorite flavor) and one maple flavored and if you know what’s good for you, it better not be American made,”
When they left the carnival, the pair headed back to town. Matthew then decided to make a detour. The night was young and he knew how to end it perfectly. He drove to a clearing in the woods. He stopped and they got out. He laid down a blanket and every time she tried to help, he made her stay put. They both stared at the stars. She snuggled closer to him. Matthew grinned. For the first time in God know how long, he was able to relax. No fighting, no running, no retaliation, just him and _________ under the stars eating cotton candy.
“Yeah, I really had fun tonight,”
“I’m glad,” he said pulling her closer, “it was either this or Chick Flick marathon,”
“It was Artie’s idea. I told him only he liked shit like that,”
“No, the carnival was great! Now I have a love for maple cotton candy and thanks to you I think I know the difference between Canadian made and American made maple syrup,”
“The American stuff tastes like shit, therefore all American syrup tastes like Alfred,” she laughed.
“At least let him defend himself, Mattie,”
“He knows he’s shit without me having to tell him face to face. You know, you laugh more when you’re away from home,”
“I’m more relaxed when I’m away from home, that’s why,” she said, wondering why the conversation was coming to this.
“I mean I like seeing you happy and shit and I just don’t fucking get it. You’re a good kid, hell any parent would be happy to have a kid who rarely gets into shit. I know Artie would, he has to deal with me and Al. It just pisses me off that your parents don’t seem to know how lucky they are to know that the worst trouble you get into isn’t that bad,”
“It scares me that outsiders like you can see it. Everyone in my family has been in some sort of heavy trouble, jail time, juvenile hall, and other things but everyone plays me out to be the bad one. The smart one but the bad one and it just hurts that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I’ll always be the evil, black sheep of my family,”
“Evil my ass. When someone needs something, you’re always there to help however you can. That’s why we like having you about. You’re just you. It’s strange but yeah,” he rubbed the back of her head, “I mean, I don’t want you to change,”
“I don’t want to change,”
“Then stop being your fam’s doormat. Then again, dating me is a good start,”
“Trust. Mom’s pissed about it but I like you so I don’t care,” he ruffled her hair.
“Come on, I’m getting you back on time,” They made her back to her house at 10:45. She hopped out and he walked her to the door. She fidgeted a little. This was really the end of her date.
“I had a really nice time, Mattie,”
“Me too. See you again next week?”
“Of course! Or sooner if you want, we can go to the arcade or something,”
“Sounds like a plan or I can take you to the rink,”
“I can’t skate…right,”
“Pfft not after I’m done with you,” he then noticed someone peeking through the window blinds. He knew that it was her nosey mother again. He smirked and decided to put on a show. He grabbed __________ dipped her right in front of the window and gave her a sloppy, obscene, messy kiss. He pulled her back up. She blushed furiously and leaned against the door to keep balance.
“See you around,” she slipped inside. He walked back to his truck and lingered. She went to her window and waved. He waved back and drove off.
“How was it?” Allistor looked up. Matthew plopped on the couch next to him.
“We had a good time. Went to the carnival, watched the stars, and took her home. No biggie,”
“Not too good, right?”
“No, I’m not doing that, yet! Give me some credit! Anyway, we’re going ice skating next weekend,” he headed upstairs, “Thanks for keeping everyone at bay for me,”
“Prepared for a million questions tomorrow,” upstairs, where he was finally alone in his room. He reached into his pocket and took out pictures they took at the booth. He hid it in his dresser all the while thinking about their date next week.
“Bon nuit my maple leaf,”