Chip Tolentino was a natural speller. Watching him up there on stage you'd think he was this relaxed in every situation.
It was obvious at the moment that he was not.
As he clutched his cell phone to his ear each new ring built up more panic in his gut. Should he hang up and try again? Dammit, Leaf, pick up the phone already!
. . .
The phone rang a lot in the Coneybear household. If it wasn't a machine trying to sell their parents insurance it was usually someone calling for one of their older siblings.
The younger Coneybears loved to intercept these calls.
When the phone rang they ran to peek at the caller ID. "Who is it?" Juniper loudly whispered after seeing Daisy smack her hand over her mouth. The young girl removed her hand and barely managed to say "Chip.." before bursting into a fit of giggles. The boy joined her and the two laughed for a solid three rings before realizing they should probably answer it.
"Coneybear residence." greeted Daisy into the phone after managing to compose herself.
"Is Leaf there?" Chip inquired, not stumbling over any words but not sounding nearly as confident as he'd have liked.
"He's in the shower right now!" blurted Juniper causing Daisy to snort. It wasn't a false statement although it did cause Chip to stutter unintelligibly into his end. "W-well, um, I guess just tell him when he, uh, gets out that I... just tell him to meet at the usual spot in the park now.. or soon... as soon as is convenient for him! Thank you. Goodbye."
After the phone was hung up Daisy leaned towards the bathroom and hollered.
"Leaf, somebody called for you!"
"Really?" Leaf shouted back sounding genuinely surprised. "Who?" While this was happening Marigold had come downstairs and was being briefed on the situation by Juniper.
"It was Chip!" Daisy informed him with a teasing tone. There was a noise that sounded like a shampoo bottle being dropped before Leaf squeaked, "Chip who?" as if he had fifty other friends named Chip.
"Chip your boyfriend." taunted Marigold causing the younger two to erupt into hysterical laughter. There was the sound of more shampoo bottles being dropped and a scrambling to shut off the water. There was also a yelp and the thud that was presumably Leaf slipping out of the shower. Soon he poked his dripping head out of the bathroom and questioned,"Wha- uh, what exactly did Chip say?" Juniper fell to the ground laughing and Daisy giggled, glancing every now and then at Marigold,"He wants you to meet him at the.. usual spot. I believe his exact words were," here she put on a sophisticated voice to mock Chip,"as soon as is convenient for him." Leaf's face broke into a grin and he shut the door only to then quickly open it up again and yell defensively,"Chip isn't my boyfriend!" before slamming it shut to hurriedly get dressed.
Leaf stumbled out not a minute later with an old patched up t-shit, purple and orange socks, and damp half combed hair. "Thanks for picking up the phone I'll be back later bye!" He chirped. He got about halfway to the front door before Marigold stopped him.
Daisy ceased her constant giggling just long enough to gasp,"Your pants..." before falling back into eminent laughter. Leaf looked down and, sure enough, he wasn't wearing anything but colorful boxers between his tattered shirt and striped socks. Turning a bright crimson he scampered back to the bathroom to grab his beat up khakis. "I'm sure he's just trying to be more efficient," Marigold teased. "Seeing that he's gonna be with Chip his pants probably won't stay on for very long anyways."
"Marigold!" Leaf cried in horror as he shimmied into his khakis. "I.. He.. I have to go!" he sputtered as he ran out the door. Marigold chuckled. They would have so much fun pestering him when he came home.
. . .
Chip sat patiently on the lone bench several meters from the playground that practically no kids played on anymore. Soon enough Leaf came jogging up and plopped down next to him with a breathless,"Hi!"
"Hello" Chip replied politely. "I hope I didn't drag you away from anything."
"Oh no, I came just as soon as was convenient for me." Leaf grinned. Chip stumbled over what he was going to say, "D-do your siblings always answer the phone... and then subsequently memorize everything the other person had to say?"
"Usually, yeah." He admitted. "I don't know how they do it. I guess they're just smart like that." Chip heard the hint of sadness in his voice and realized he didn't like hearing Leaf in that tone at all, so he blurted,"You're smart too, Leaf."
"Really! One of the smartest guys I know." With that he gave Leaf the most genuine smile he had in him. Leaf thought about how that smile matched Chip's sweatshirt in that both were warm and soft and kind of cuddly when you thought about it. Where as Chip was thinking about how he liked the way Leaf had only half combed his hair and how his eyes always crinkled around the edges even when he wasn't smiling. It was just like a description of a storybook character and... and Chip was never one to think with his brain. Well, not in situations like this. He had learned that during the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee with Leaf's sister. So his large word-filled brain was not to blame when he leaned forward and gently pressed his lips against Leaf's. His brain was to blame, however, when seconds later he jerked back, surprised at himself. What on earth was he thinking? He immediately tried to apologize,"I'm so sorry I wasn't-"
"Was that on purpose?" Leaf asked sounding one-hundred percent serious for once in his life.
"Did you. do that. on. purpose?" repeated Leaf slowly. Chip hesitated for a couple seconds before honestly answering,"Yes, I-" He was cut off by Leaf grabbing his face and smashing their lips together. After recovering from shock Chip relaxed into the kiss placing one hand cautiously on Leaf's hip and tangling the other in his short damp hair. Chip smiled into the kiss. They may have met years ago but this was still a very very very nice new beginning in its own way.
A couple minutes later Leaf floated back into his house humming cheerfully. Marigold looked up from her book and snickered,"How was your date?" She was thrown completely off guard when Leaf chirped back,"Chip's lips are soft." before disappearing into his room.