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A Better Life

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And all I wanted was a happy ending

A better life, just stay with me

(Letters and Love Notes - Go Radio)



[Sunday, 21:19] [METHzenbaum] Goody what kind of chocolates would you want for Valentines?

[21:22] [Goody] y ya askin

[21:22] [Goody] wouldnt lamb be a better person 2 ask bout this

[21:24] [METHzenbaum] Well yes… but she’s not online, so you’ll have to do

[21:25] [METHzenbaum] So what kind?

[21:25] [Goody] idk??? if ur askin this bc of ur ~~preshus gurlfrond~~

[21:26] [Goody] then i think she likes the one across campus

[21:26] [METHzenbaum] That’ll do. Thanks

[21:26] [Goody] but like… cant you give me chocolates too

[21:27] [Goody] im all alone on vday

[21:29] [Goody] sclhomo

[21:33] [Goody] shlcomo plez

[21:39] [Goody] at least bribe mabel or something i want to say i got chocolates TOO

[22:01] [METHzenbaum] No, thanks.

Schlomo almost punches the wall when Carmen’s later than usual the next morning. He’d been planning to give the chocolates to her after a few minutes of talking, but no, she just had to be late. Then again, she did mention that she usually took her time in the mornings, but… well, still.

Thankfully, he’d prepared a backup plan—wait for her after their first period, which they fortunately shared, talk a while, and then give the chocolates. Plan A had been more private, but publicity isn’t a big deal anyway. Schlomo could handle the teasing from Goody and Lambchops for a few hours.

It goes to show that he should have read his horoscope this morning to check his luck when Serena intercepts him before he can exit and asks for some notes. And because Serena is nothing but nice to him, Schlomo has no choice but to sit there and wait while she copies some of his neatly written notes. He watches Carmen skip off to second period forlornly.

Plan C is formulated on the way to his next class. The next time they’ll be together will be during their band rehearsal, right before lunch, and while it would be certainly inconvenient to have Goody in the same room as them, it would have to do. Not exactly the best gift-giving ever, but he swears Carmen was making this harder for him.

He waits for after rehearsal—they’re still trying to perfect Rooftop, Lambchops misses a beat every so often and Carmen’s voice cracks during the last chorus after a while—so he could maybe, maybe get lucky and Goody will leave before Carmen does. Much to his discouragement, as soon as he realizes Goody will probably be sticking around for some time to fix his stuff, Lambchops calls him over before he can properly approach Carmen.

“Can I borrow money again?” she asks, and Schlomo wants to bury his face in his hands. “Oh, come on, just a couple dollars, promise. Like, three. Five dollars and thirty cents, exactly.”

“It’s the third time this week, Lamb,” he protests, but he’s already bringing out his wallet when a thought strikes him. “Five… isn’t that…”

“Shh!” Lambchops hisses shortly, eyes wide in shock. “Have some tact! Just that, I promise, I’ll pay you back double, uh… tomorrow. Really!” she adds, when Schlomo gives her an incredulous look.

He laughs softly and hands the money over. “Goody’s allergic to nuts,” he says.

Lambchops rolls her eyes and takes the money before turning away, probably to hide the blush on her face. “Sure, whatever. Thanks, Schlomo.” She dashes out of the room faster than Schlomo’s ever seen her run before, probably so she can nab some chocolate quick and not get caught in a ridiculously long line.

Goody stares at her curiously. “She need to piss really bad or what?”

“Something like that,” Schlomo mumbles, sighing as he looks around the near-empty room. Carmen had left as well, of course. The day was half-done and he still hadn’t gotten anywhere near the girl, which couldn’t be spelling good things for him.

Before he leaves, he swears he sees Goody grin impishly from the corner of his eye. Schlomo turns around to look at him suspiciously, but the boy just returns the strange look, like he has no idea what Schlomo is glowering at him for. Schlomo grumbles inwardly and tries dredging up what he can remember about Carmen’s schedule.

Plan D is incredibly embarrassing, but he tries going through with it anyway, because honestly, he’s getting desperate and this is all starting to sound like a really terrible idea. He knows where Carmen sits during lunch, with Serena and Mabel, so Schlomo excuses himself from their band table and brings out the box of chocolates.

Of course, Goody sees it, because he’s Goody. “What do I see here with my two little eyes?” he sings. Goody is not good at singing. “Chocolates! So you really did buy some!”

“Well, duh,” Schlomo stammers, trying his best to get away from the other boy. Somehow, Goody had gotten hold of the edge of his blazer and was now trying to reach for the chocolates. “Goody, no, you’ll get yours soon. I mean, probably.” He tries not to look over at Lambchops’ direction, but he can almost feel the glare burning into his skull.

Goody lets go. “So you did ask Mabel?”

“Nope.” Schlomo takes off—Carmen sits rather far away from where they do, and if he doesn’t run now, Goody will most likely chase him to the ends of the earth. Once he feels safe enough to settle into a walk—now that Schlomo was gone, Lambchops was probably taking the opportunity to give her own little gift, too—he starts scouting around for Carmen’s usual table…

… but when he finds it, only Serena and Mabel are there, chatting about something or other. Schlomo almost stops right in the middle of the cafeteria, but thankfully, he moves right on time, otherwise a senior would have crashed straight to him, which would have made a messy scene. Although something at the back of his head is screaming at him to just head back to his table, he goes over to where the two girls are anyway, figuring it worth a try. “Excuse me?”

Serena looks up—Mabel is too busy inhaling some cold pizza to notice him. “Oh, hi, Schlomo,” she greets nonchalantly, playing with her spoon. “If you’re looking for Carmen, she had to take an English test today, else Ms. Sherman would have cut her face open.”

Mabel shoves the last slice in her mouth, chews it at the speed of light, and speaks. “Don’t let those chocolates go sticky,” she teases.

Schlomo forces himself not to blush. He blushes anyway. “I… well, um, right. Sure. Thanks,” he says, and gets the hell out of there, pretending not to hear the girls’ laughs. He can only handle so much embarrassment for one day.

When he gets back, Lambchops is suspiciously absent and Goody is attempting to wipe some dirt off his face. Schlomo cautiously takes his seat across the other boy and stares at him strangely. “Uh… did something happen?”

“Lambchops happened,” Goody says in such a matter-of-fact tone that Schlomo almost thinks it’s a good enough answer. When he looks at Goody’s face more, though, it’s actually not dirt he’s wiping—it’s chocolate. Schlomo decides he does not really want to know how these people deal with their love lives and tucks his own chocolates inside his bag.

Plan E is… there is no Plan E. Well, there was, until Goody decided to pick the exact moment Schlomo was about to head to Carmen at the end of eighth period, their last class together, asking for the homework for the day and whether or not it was possible to cram half a paper the next day. Schlomo treks home—the fact that Carmen rides the bus is like pouring salt on a wound by this point—with a very prominent frown and feeling like Valentine’s Day should have waited until he had good enough luck and timing.

When he gets home, he zips through his homework and ignores the thirteen unread messages from Goody, which he’s fairly sure is just his daily rant about Lambchops. After much contemplation, and a little bit of Facebook stalking to make sure Carmen doesn’t have plans for the night, he gets his chocolates from the fridge and heads over to her flat.

It’s not far enough for him to need to catch a bus or a taxi, but not near enough for him to not get tired, so it takes him about a half hour to reach the building, a modest little place just across a tiny theater, and when he does arrive, it’s almost ten pm and Schlomo can almost feel the chocolates melting in the square case.

At first, the obvious thing to do in this sort of situation is to throw rocks at her window like any self-respecting boyfriend would do. So Schlomo tries once, and summarily almost gets clobbered by his own pebble—he decides ringing the doorbell is probably a safer choice. Her lights are on anyway.

The suspense is almost overwhelming. It doesn’t help that when Carmen comes out, she almost slams the door on his face. “Agh! Carmen, wait!”

“I have a gun, don’t you dare—oh, it’s you, Schlomo,” Carmen says, rather calmly as she sets down the very real-looking firearm. Schlomo eyes it nervously before settling on the hope that Carmen happens to be rather good at making cardboard guns and leaves it at that. “So, you wanna tell me what’s so important you had to come here at… like… ten?”

He blinks, then remembers the chocolates in the box—then again, they’re most probably little piles of goop by now. “Well, actually, I was going to give you these,” he mumbles, gesturing vaguely to the case, “but most of them are probably melted right now, so, um, I’ll just go now or something…”

Carmen just stares at him for a little while, before, unexpectedly enough, she breaks out into a fit of laughter. Schlomo had kind of expected a “What, you went through all that? But I don’t even eat chocolate!”, or a “Oh, thanks. Mabel would like them,” or even a “Is there a special occasion today or what…?”, not the kind of laughter that would have her burned at the stake in the medieval ages.

When she finally calms down enough to properly register the very confused look on Schlomo’s face, she wipes away a tear and somehow manages out a, “Don’t you know who wears the pants in this relationship?”

“What,” Schlomo says, because that’s the only thing he can think of to say right now.

“Come in for a bit,” Carmen says, opening the door wider and waving him in. Schlomo gives her a strange look before entering. As soon as the door closes behind them, Carmen rushes up the stairs to her room, yelling something about making himself at home, which is a little redundant, considering Schlomo’s been in her house more times than he can count by this point.

He takes a seat and checks the chocolates first. To his surprise, they’re actually still sort of solid, though the one shaped like a star has lost one of its five points to the heat. Schlomo eats that one—caramel!—just as Carmen comes back down… along with a giant bouquet of flowers in her arms.

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” she says, quite enthusiastically, as she dumps the rather raggedy bouquet on his lap.

Schlomo gives her a very, very confused look, before prodding one of the bright red flowers carefully. It looks half-dead. “… Er, happy Valentine’s Day, but… what’s all this for?”

Carmen flops down on the space next to him on the sofa, automatically leaning to the side to rest her head on his shoulder. “Well, you need flowers on Valentine’s, don’t you?” She grins, plucking out a loose petal from one of the flowers. “I was gonna get chocolates. But then I figured that it’d be too boring for this holiday, so I got flowers instead! They were cheaper, too, the nearest flower shop from here was having a special discount. Though I kinda forgot to bring them with me a while ago, and I completely forgot they were there until you came over.”

It’s so absurd that Schlomo can’t help but crack a smile, too. “Well, I was gonna give you these chocolates since, like, this morning, but the universe was against me today, I swear. Hopefully you don’t mind half-melted shapes.” He hands the box over, but Carmen doesn’t register it entering her hands and slackens her grip. It topples onto the floor and spills the chocolates all over the place.

There is a moment of silence.

“You know,” Schlomo starts, “Lambchops threw her chocolate at Goody’s face, so at least you know that someone suffered more than the two of us did today.”

Carmen reaches down and scoops up the last chocolate that hadn’t fallen out of the box by some miracle—of course, it just so happens to be a heart, because along with being totally infuriating, the day just wanted to be really cliché, too. She almost pops the whole thing in her mouth, before thinking twice about it and breaking it in half, giving the smaller piece to Schlomo. “S’all good,” she says. “I’d kiss you, but your breath probably stinks of chocolate, so nah.”

[Monday, 22:44] [Goods] hows it going

[22:45] [mabebel] Well shes not replying to me so either shes eating her chocolates or theyre having really intense valentines sex

[22:45] [Goods] im thinking its the second one

[22:45] [Goods] slhcomo was literally dead on his feet the whole day

[22:46] [mabebel] I felt bad for him when he went to our table AHAHA

[22:46] [mabebel] He looked like he was going to cry

[22:46] [mabebel] Oh look i got a text

[22:47] [Goods] is it “shclomo was here” or smthng

[22:48] mabebel sent a photo


[22:49] [Goods] “valentines w the bae”

[22:49] [Goods] im goin to throw myself out of the window