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|06-02-2008, 07:58 PM||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2006
Tina 3: Casual Contact - By Id (~BBW, Romance)
~BBW, Romance - Tina and Matt sort through their thoughts and feelings
Tina 3: Casual Contact
(Click here for prior chapter)
Matt was, if nothing else, a creature of habit when it came to dealing with rejection. The day of the event was always tough. Most of the time he dealt with it on his own, but on occasion—as had been the case with Tina—Matt needed the cathartic release of spilling his disappointment out to Penny. He took things very personally—more so than he should have. It never occurred to Matt that many girls weren’t looking for relationships at all and would have said no to anyone, including some of the most sought after guys at RFK High. If he did happen to find a girl who was looking to date someone, then the chances that she’d be receptive to him were even lower, but not because of any fault of his own. Every girl had something different that they were looking for, and as Penny had pointed out, they all might have found different things about Matt that would have turned them away from him. In short, though Matt was a good guy who deserved a nice girl, he still needed luck to find one.
But, for the moment, these thoughts were far from the mind of Matt Sutherby. Right now he thought that every rejection was a reflection on him as a person, and he took each one hard. His feelings would swing from despair and sadness to bitterness and anger. He was, after all, a teenage boy and not exempt from many different emotions when it came to the subject of romance.
Many times he would forget about his crush through surfing the Internet, watching TV, reading a book, or doing his schoolwork. Whether consciously or not, Matt was smart enough to try to get his mind off of his recent rejection so as to try to stay positive about things in general. Though wallowing in self-pity gave a certain release, Matt knew it wasn’t healthy and that he needed to keep from getting mired in it.
There were times when it was harder to forget about a girl, when his usual tactics didn’t work. Matt would still find himself sighing over her when he’d see her in the halls at school and wonder if perhaps persistence might pay off in this instance, despite his determination not to ask out a girl twice if he’d been rejected the first time around. Usually, this would last about a week before Matt would talk himself out of hoping for anything more. If she’d said no once, she’d say no again. It was like trying to make 2 + 2 = 5. Matt + girl who rejected him = more rejection. With this simple equation, Matt would turn his thoughts away from his former flame and eventually they would light upon a new crush that he’d throw himself into wholeheartedly.
Unfortunately, none of this was happening with Tina Westley.
It was now more than two weeks after she’d rejected his advances and Matt found that he couldn’t stop thinking about her, no matter how hard he’d tried. When his wistful sighing persisted for a couple days after she’d turned down his offer of dinner, Matt knew that Tina was not going to be easily forgotten. As a result, he threw himself into just about any preoccupation he could find. He’d even voluntarily vacuumed the house one day, much to his mother’s pleasant surprise. Matt had started on a paper early. Though he was a good student, he wasn’t even close to being that good. He’d probably read about three books in a week while keeping up with all of his school work. He’d even watched an entire season of Scrubs on DVD in the past couple weeks. There was seemingly not a second of Matt’s free time that hadn’t been spent in one pursuit or another in an attempt to turn his thoughts from Tina Westley.
But none of this worked this time around. Whenever Matt went to US History, he couldn’t help but continue to gaze longingly at Tina’s back. He tried to snap himself out of his rapture, but his successes at doing so were only temporary. Soon enough he’d find that he’d dropped back into another reverie and rouse himself from that one as well. Even when he wasn’t in school, he’d find his thoughts turning again and again to Tina. He mentally chastised himself every time, but that never worked. He even made an effort to look at other girls to see if he couldn’t get himself interested in one of them—but they all fell short of Tina.
Matt was coming to the horrible realization that he might have fallen hard for Tina Westley, despite the fact that she’d rejected them. He just didn’t know how it had happened.
Tina still hadn’t sorted through her feelings in the fallout of being asked out by Matt Sutherby. Though she wasn’t as broken up about it as she had been at first, she was concerned with the way she’d reacted to it. It was completely out of proportion—in fact being asked out should have evoked none of the emotions she’d experienced. She should have been elated that someone liked her. After all, isn’t that what she was supposed to hope for as a girl?
In a way the situation had even been kind of romantic. They’d run into each other randomly in the halls, she’d dropped her books, he’d asked her out…it read like a scene out of a movie. But it hadn’t been wonderful at all. It had been a moment full of anxiety and awkwardness. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go at all.
It had taken two weeks for Tina to begin to properly sort through her emotions and everything that had gone on when Matt had asked her out. She’d been so busy with working and water polo and her regular schoolwork that she’d barely had time to see her friends, let alone think about things. But over the course of time she started to run through things in her head, slowly working through it bit by bit. By no means had Tina gained a handle on the situation, but at the very least she was trying to deal with the issue.
Tina had always considered herself as self-confident. It shouldn’t have phased her that she’d been asked out by a boy. But the fact that it did suggested to Tina that maybe she wasn’t as confident as she thought she was. Was it really that she didn’t like her body? Had she been repressing unhappiness at her physical appearance for years, and it had taken this event to trigger it?
Tina acknowledged freely that she was a stout girl (calling herself fat would have intimated a level of corpulence on the order of Tara Kelly, and Tina didn’t approach her). That was just how she was built. In fact, she’d told herself that so much lately that it was sounding like a broken record in her head. However, Tina had also taken a critical view of herself to see if that indeed was the case.
After quite a bit of examination, Tina couldn’t find anything about how she viewed her body wrong. She might not have been completely happy with it, but she was realistic and content with it. It was only when she really put pressure on her self-image that she would even say that she found many flaws at all. Sure, she wished that perhaps her thighs weren’t quite so large, but what girl didn’t? And, though she was big, Tina didn’t feel that she was especially curvy, even though she’d objectively say she had nice breasts and a decent butt.
But these weren’t things that really weighed on Tina’s mind. So she turned to the next logical factor involved—Matt Sutherby himself. Tina didn’t really know much about him at all. He was one of those people you knew of, but didn’t really know. Maybe it was just that she didn’t like Matt enough to want to go on a date with him. She’d never been asked out before, so she had nothing with which to compare her experience. But the more Tina thought about it, there was nothing objectionable about Matt. Tina even thought that there was a chance if she got to know Matt better he might be a nice guy. But she didn’t know him, and so maybe she wouldn’t click with Matt. Still, when she thought about it enough, there was nothing inherently objectionable about Matt that Tina thought accounted for her emotional response.
As a result Tina came to a conclusion that was more troubling than either previous cause would have been: the problem was not with her or with Matt, but that she had been asked out in the first place. When Tina thought through it in her head, she could find no reason why this should be a big deal. Thinking about it now didn’t make her uncomfortable, even though it had been awkward when it had occurred. Whenever Tina would arrive at this point as she mentally ran through things in her head, she only got exasperated at the inability to pierce the conundrum that had become her newly born “dating life”, if one could even call it that.
Somehow, Tina wanted to be able to talk about this with someone. Though her mother had always been supportive of her and ready to lend an ear to her daughter’s thoughts, concerns, and hopes, this time Tina didn’t feel comfortable sharing with her mother. She felt like she needed someone her own age, who could relate to her predicament (never once thinking that perhaps her mother might actually be able to help since she’d been in high school herself once). Yet she didn’t know who she could talk to. Though Katie Rollins had meant well when she’d probed her earlier, Tina for some reason didn’t feel comfortable discussing the situation with Katie. Maybe it was because Katie was so ideally thin, but maybe it was just the eagerness—if not her over eagerness—that didn’t sit well with Tina. Furthermore, Tina didn’t want to confide her thoughts or feelings in anyone else. The thought of doing so made Tina feel like she’d be vulnerable to the entire world, and that was the last thing she wanted right now. Though she didn’t know it, it was the same fear that had kept Matt from openly displaying his affections to Tina.
In the end, though Tina had tried and tried to figure out her predicament, she couldn’t. She still didn’t know what her problem was to begin with.
All of this was complicated by one circumstance: no matter how hard they tried, Matt and Tina kept running into each other.
It couldn’t be avoided that they were going to see one another in US History. As much as he didn’t want it to, every class meeting only seemed to renew Matt’s interest in Tina. Matt found it impossible to look at the front of the class without looking at Tina’s stout form three rows up and two seats to the left in front of him. He did his best to lose himself in Hoffendahl’s lectures—especially since not paying attention was just asking to be called on to answer some question—but eventually his concentration would break and there would be Tina.
Though Tina didn’t have to look at Matt all class long, she could sense his presence behind her all the same. Half the time she wanted to turn around and look at Matt, and it was only with the greatest restraint that she was able to keep herself from doing so. But she couldn’t help a glance over her shoulder as everyone filed out of the room for lunch. Sometimes she found Matt was looking back at her, and their eyes would quickly turn in another direction. Other times Tina would find that Matt wasn’t looking at her, but she still averted her gaze just as quickly as if he’d seen her.
If it had just been limited to these forced in class meetings, then things might have been bearable. After all, that was just a hazard of high school. However, it didn’t stop there.
Matt went out of his way to avoid Tina: taking less used hallways, hurrying or delaying his walks between classes, and even parking in a different section of the student lot. But all this did was throw Matt and Tina together better than if they’d both been trying to see the other. It seemed that neither of them could go a day without running into one another at least once, if not twice or three times.
They never said anything to each other when one of these fortuitous meetings would occur. Tina would put her head down and walk by Matt, whose eyes would rove the surroundings looking at just about everything but Tina. They’d walk on opposite sides of the hall, trying to put as much distance between one another as possible. Sometimes one would veer off down a side hall, even though the result might be that they had to navigate labyrinthine halls to get where they were going.
Regardless of how it happened, though, something changed after about two weeks of this all. Both remained less than keen on seeing the other—Matt due to the conflicting emotions of simmering hurt from having been rejected and the frustration of continuing to be attracted to the plump blonde girl, while Tina’s confusion over her own emotions made her uncomfortable about seeing Matt due to the way her heart beat a bit faster, though why she couldn’t say—but a change took place all the same.
Tina looked up as she found that in rounding the corner, she was once again going to pass Matt in the hall. There weren’t many people around, so neither one could squeeze against the opposite wall to lose themselves in the flow of the crowd to make it easier to consciously ignore the other. Nor were there any side hallways to cut down to avoid the meeting all together. As happened so often in this situation, there was no choice but to pass Matt.
Tina’s eyes snapped to the ground as she moved along the hallway, but seemingly of their own accord, they popped up again to meet Matt’s own gaze. Both looked away quickly as the distance between them decreased with surprising speed. But just as quickly Tina looked back up and before she knew it she mumbled, “Hi.”
“Hey,” Matt said back without looking at Tina or breaking his stride.
Neither one of them realized it, but for the first time since Matt’s failed asking of Tina out, they had spoken, and those two words broke an invisible wall between them. This isn’t to say that all of a sudden Matt and Tina began to fall over one another, but in their continued encounters, they began exchanging snippets of conversation.
It started off as simple, perhaps curt, one word exchanges, as in the initial case. After a week or so their greetings turned into a “Hello”. A couple weeks later, every once in a while a “How are you?” might be thrown in. Though the other person would usually reply “Fine” without much thinking about whether they were fine or not, Matt and Tina’s communication stepped up to a new level.
All the while each was quietly, unknowingly warming to the other so that a month or so later, though neither reveled in the presence of the other, it wasn’t quite so bad as it had been before.
“That’s it,” Matt said as he slid open his window with more force than usual.
Penny looked across the gulf with raised eyebrows. “Oh?”
“I thought I could deal with this myself, but it seems I can’t,” Matt said, “I need your help.”
“Blonde or brunette?” Penny asked. Matt never asked for help on homework, so it had to be a romance issue.
“Blonde,” Matt replied.
“Anyone I know?”
“Do I have to guess?”
“No. You’d never get it,” Matt said.
“That sounds like a challenge to me,” Penny said playfully.
“It’s Tina,” Matt said, cutting her off.
That stopped Penny. “As in Tina Westley?”
“Yeah,” Matt said morosely, “I can’t get her out of my head.”
“You’re still thinking about her?” Penny asked.
“Yeah. And this never happens to me,” Matt said, “Once a girl turns me down, I get over her in a couple days. Maybe a week if I really had my hopes up. But it’s been over a month Penny! I still want her! It’s infuriating because she’s already told me no!”
“That is interesting,” Penny observed, “I guess you really like her then.”
“But I can’t!” Matt protested, “She doesn’t like me! I don’t want to spend my life pining away for some girl I’ll never get. That’d be pointless.”
“Well—” Penny began to say, but before anything else could come out of her mouth, Matt interrupted her, obviously on a roll.
“I mean, she just stood there and said she was ‘busy’. She couldn’t even look me in the eye and say no,” Matt said.
Penny’s ear perked up. “What?”
“Don’t you remember how she turned me down?” Matt said.
“No…you never told me about it and I didn’t want to ask because you were obviously upset by it,” Penny said, now very curious to draw the story out of Matt.
“Yeah, I ran into her in the hall—literally—and I made some small talk and then I asked her out,” Matt said, obliging Penny’s curiosity, “And when I did, she just looked away said that she was busy with work and school and water polo and then she just left without saying anything else. It was like she couldn’t stand talking to me any longer, she just had to leave.”
“You don’t suppose that maybe she was embarrassed, do you?” Penny asked gently.
Matt shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know.” He didn’t really want to think about it any more than he had to.
Penny tapped her chin as she thought. “I need you to describe the event to me in as much detail as you can. I know you don’t want to, but please,” Penny said after a moment, “it’s very important. Tell me everything.”
After some protest, Matt begrudgingly did, calling forth every detail he could dredge up of that unpleasant event. Penny listened raptly, making mental notes as Matt went along. When he finished, Penny sat back and thought for a little bit.
“And you still have feelings for Tina?” Penny asked when she’d finished thinking.
Matt sighed. “I don’t know what it is. I look at her and I still find her beautiful, that’s for sure. I don’t want to, but I do. I…I guess I still like her. It’s just that I haven’t wanted to admit it because I don’t know what that would mean. I’ve never had this happen before. It’s…I don’t know. It’s just confusing and frustrating all at the same time.”
“I know,” Penny said. She paused for a moment before continuing. “I have a theory. It’s just a theory, and I’m not sure if it’s right or not. But let me think about it a little bit, okay?”
“And what am I supposed to do while you’re mulling over this theory?” Matt asked.
Penny shrugged. “Keep on pining away?” she suggested.
“Great,” Matt mumbled. That was the last thing he wanted to do.
Water polo practice was finishing up and Tina was getting dried off and changed in the locker room, which was filled with the chatter of teenage girls. Various voices would cut through the din every once in a while, like Patsy Fagan (who seemed to be able to heard in any cacophony) or the high-pitched giggle of Lynn Phan. In such a high energy environment, Tina easily forgot those pressing worries that weighed down on her at other times.
As was the nature of a locker room, it seemed like Tina was always sitting next to different girls as she got changed. Today it happened to be Tara Kelly.
“Nice work today, Tara,” Tina said.
“Thanks,” Tara said, “You did all right yourself. You’re always so good on defense. I really appreciate it.”
Tina shrugged. “That’s just what I do.”
“Yeah, well it makes me look good, so keep doing it,” Tara said with a smile. Tina laughed by way of response. “So, what else do you have going on these days?”
“Nothing much. Just working and doing this,” Tina said, “It’s not very exciting. How about you?”
“Liam O’Shea and I just got together recently,” Tara said, beaming. Tina could tell from her tone this wasn’t the first time she’d made the announcement, but that she wasn’t tiring of it either. “He’s really great.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Tina said with a smile. Talk of relationships wasn’t exactly what Tina wanted to discuss right now, but she didn’t want to rain on Tara’s parade.
“It’s funny, you know? Liam wouldn’t have been the guy I thought I would have gone out with, but it’s turned out to be really wonderful,” Tara observed idly.
The observation caught Tina’s attention. “What do you mean?” Tina asked.
“Oh, well it’s just that I never really liked Liam, before I knew him that is. We just ran into each other by accident one day and started talking. Before I knew it, I found out that he was a really nice guy and pretty soon I thought he was cute and it was pretty apparent he thought I was cute…so yeah. Next thing you know we’re dating and now we’re in a relationship,” Tara said, “I guess it just goes to show that life’s full of surprises.”
Tina looked at her watch. “Say, what are you doing right now Tara?” Tina asked.
“Nothing. Liam and I were going to get together to study, but that’s not until later,” Tara said, “Why?”
“Would you mind if we talked a little bit more? There’s something I think you might be able to help me with,” Tina said.
“Sure. There’s a great ice cream place near by,” Tara said with a smile.
“I realize what I’m about to say might not be precisely what you want to hear, but you asked for my help, so here it is.”
“Okay,” Matt said to Penny from his window.
“You’re still attracted to Tina,” Penny said.
Matt rolled his eyes. “Yeah. I already knew that. We’re trying to figure out how to fix that.”
“I know. Here’s the answer: don’t,” Penny replied.
“Don’t try to fix it. Keep on liking her.”
“That’s stupid. Why should I do that if she doesn’t like me?”
“Because sometimes you need persistence in dating! If everybody just gave up the first time they heard a no, then probably more than half the people in the world wouldn’t be with anyone right now,” Penny said, “Not everybody gets it right on the first try you know. I told Aaron no when he asked me out like four times, but eventually in the process I got to know him and now look at us.”
“So then you’re saying when a girl says no, she doesn’t always mean it,” Matt replied.
“No, that’s not it at all,” Penny saying, trying to keep herself from getting annoyed. Matt was just being combative to avoid discussing the issue at hand, “What I’m saying is that sometimes even though a girl says no, that doesn’t mean everything is over. Look, there are times when girls say no and they really mean it and it is better to move on. But there are also times when they say no, but the door isn’t all the way shut.”
“I’m pretty sure I’ve only gotten the former,” Matt said.
“Do you think Tina shut the door completely?” Penny asked.
“It seemed pretty clear to me that she did.”
“Matt, one of the most important things to learn in dating is how to read people. That’s the one key skill you need in dating and relationships. Tina would have been a lot more forceful with you if she was totally uninterested,” Penny said.
“If you’d been there, I think it would have been pretty clear that she wasn’t interested in me,” Matt said.
“No. If you had been paying close enough attention, I think you would have found out that Tina was surprised that you’d asked her out,” Penny said, “The little ‘oh!’, the awkward pause. Matt, she even said, ‘that’s nice of you’! And she was embarrassed too. You said she got flushed and left quickly. That wasn’t ‘Leave me alone, I never want to talk to you’. It was ‘I don’t know what to do, this is all so sudden’.”
“How do you know all this. You barely know Tina at all,” Matt said.
“I don’t know Tina, you’re right, but I am a girl—”
“Of course,” Matt interrupted.
“—and I talked with a couple people very casually without raising any red flags and found out that Tina’s never dated anyone before,” Penny finished.
“Just because nobody knows she’s dated anyone doesn’t mean she’s not dating anyone,” Matt replied.
“Are you trying to get on my nerves today Matt?” Penny said with frustration, “Look, somebody always knows when two people are dating. They’re so happy that they just can’t keep it to themselves. Their good friends usually know and Tina’s good friends are the water polo team. I talked to Morgan and Lynn and they’ve never even heard of anyone asking Tina out before. I think you might have been the first person to ever ask her out and she didn’t know what to do, so she just said no, got embarrassed and left.”
“There’s not much hard evidence there,” Matt said.
“Matt! There’s never hard evidence in relationships! They’re all about feelings!” Penny exclaimed, “Now could you stop trying to avoid the issue and just face up to the fact that you might have a second chance with Tina if you play your cards right? What about this situation is so horrible that you just can’t address it? Plenty of people would be overjoyed that they had another chance.”
That finally put Matt in his place. He hadn’t really wanted to believe that there could be a second chance. One no had always been so definitive for him that it closed out any possibility of further opportunities. To now think otherwise was…nothing less than world changing.
“And Matt, here’s the most important part,” Penny said, “You still like her. You really do. You wouldn’t be having so much of a problem about this all if you didn’t. Remember the first time we talked about Tina?”
“Yeah,” Matt said.
“What were you reading?”
Matt thought. “I can’t remember.”
“The Princess Bride. Just think about the fact that for his entire adolescence Westley was kicked around by Buttercup, but he liked her so much that he took it all. That’s what makes romance Matt. It’s not easy. It never is, but you know what? That’s just part of the deal,” Penny said, “And maybe Tina kicked you a bit too. I don’t think she meant to though. And I think she only did it because she didn’t know you at all. Don’t give up on Tina, Matt.”
Matt thought about it for a moment. The moment became a minute, and he just thought about it all.
“Okay. I won’t.”
“So that’s just sort of how things happened,” Tara said when she’d finished telling the extended version of how she and Liam became an item. In front of her and Tina were bowls that had formerly contained ice cream sundaes that had been finished long ago.
“Wow,” Tina said as she took it all in, “It sounds like everything just fell into place.”
“Well, the guys do most of the heavy lifting, but we girls have to give them some help,” Tara said, “So I’m sure that you weren’t interested in all of that just out of idle curiosity. Who do you have your eye on these days, Tina?”
“Oh, well, no one really,” Tina said as she shifted a bit in her seat.
Tara raised her eyebrows in a silent question.
“…It’s more like someone has their eye on me,” Tina said after a moment, “And I…well nobody’s ever asked me out before, and it was all just such a surprise and I didn’t know what to do or how I felt about it all and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.”
“Was it awkward?” Tara asked.
“It often is,” Tara reassured the blonde girl, “Boys are still trying to get a hang of dating. I don’t think most do even by the time they graduate. As hard as it can be for us, it’s hard for them too. It’s hard for everybody. Look, just don’t even worry about if you screwed up or not.”
“It’s just that I can’t stop thinking about it, that’s all,” Tina said, “I mean, it was almost upsetting.” Tina didn’t even intend to say that, but once it had slipped through her lips, it was almost a relief to have said it.
“Really?” Tara said with a bit of surprise, “Did you not like the guy?”
“No, no,” Tina said, “I don’t really know him at all. He seems like he’s okay though. I don’t know what it is, but just being asked out sort of threw everything upside down for me. It…just seemed impossible that someone would like me.” Once again, Tina wasn’t entirely sure what she was saying, but through talking with Tara and hearing about her experiences in dating, she finally felt that she’d found the person she could trust to pour her heart out to.
“Tina! Why should that be so surprising?” Tara said, somewhat surprised herself.
Tina just shrugged, unable to come up with an answer.
“Look, you’re a beautiful girl. Let’s be frank. We’re not thinnest girls, but trust me when I say that it doesn’t matter. You and I might not look like models, but I think we can safely say we’re still pretty good looking,” Tara said, “You carry yourself with such confidence too. That sort of confidence attracts boys much more than being thin. Just because we’re heavier doesn’t mean we’re unattractive. Trust me, if I can get a boyfriend, you should expect that you’re going to get your share of boys too.”
“That’s really nice of you to say, Tara,” Tina said. Being validated as attractive by someone else had an immediate effect on Tina, brightening her outlook. In one fell swoop, it restored much of Tina’s former confidence, except now it was buttressed by the fact that she had truly dealt with her size perhaps for the first time in her life, rather than simply accepting it as an aspect of her existence. Though she’d never been critical of herself, deep down her weight had been an issue, if perhaps just a peripheral one. To be reaffirmed in that regard boosted Tina’s self-esteem by more than she knew. “But the fact remains that I think I’ve made a bit of a mess of it with this guy. I don’t think I handled it very well.”
“That’s only a problem if you like him,” Tara replied.
“I don’t know if I do, but I think I should give him a chance,” Tina said, “Sort of like you did with Liam.”
“I really doubt that things are that far gone,” Tara said.
“Well you haven’t heard everything yet,” Tina said.
“So tell me and we’ll figure something out.”
“Okay, so one day…”
(click here for next installment)
"This won't take long. Unless they're doing the Hokey Pokey, in which case it might take a while."--The Lobe
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Last edited by Observer : 06-10-2008 at 07:28 AM.