A/N: I'm still working on Hole, in case anyone is wondering, but this one popped into my head today, and I just had to write it. It's based on something one of the Primeval writers mentioned that never made it onto the screen. Here's part one. Part two will follow tomorrow. Also, I wanted to experiment with first person voice. I hope it works for everyone.
Did you ever love someone so much that you zoned out during a new episode of your favorite show and missed the best part, like where the time-traveling Doctor pretended to be a cowboy, because you were thinking about the person you loved?
Well, I do that all the time. It's ridiculous. I've had to replay so many shows that I'm seriously considering not watching them anymore. And sometimes, when I'm playing Diablo, I totally miss a perfect kill shot with my crossbow because a stray thought about this person sabotages me brain.
Said person is Abigail Sarah Maitland, or just Abby. She is gorgeous and teeny tiny but with so much fierce spunk you don't really notice how small she is until you're standing next to her looking down at the top of her beautiful blonde head. She has these big blue eyes that can flash from being kind to being annoyed in the blink of an eye. I know that annoyed look a little too well, to be honest. And when I crack a joke that she likes, her eyes crinkle and she smiles real big at me, like I'm the most brilliant bloke on the planet.
My best mates Tom and Duncan used to call her the "hot blonde," and that is an extremely accurate description. Sometimes I think she's too hot for me. I'm skinny and dress weird and have interests she doesn't like. But I've been told by some girls that I'm cute, whatever that means. I guess maybe it's my dimple. I hope Abby thinks I'm cute.
When I was dating this bitch named Caroline Steele, I swear to God Abby got really jealous. She was always scowling at me and complaining about Caroline. And later when I told Abby I loved her and not Caroline (long story, but let me just say that I was quite the hero in it), she didn't seem freaked out, and she didn't want to have one of those "let's be friends" talks either. She genuinely wanted to know if she'd heard me right, as if maybe she wouldn't mind it too much if I really did love her.
Anyway, me and Abby's been living together for two years, and I've decided it's time to ask her out. But it's a hard decision on account of us being best friends and working together. Plus, I live in Abby's flat and ride to work with her. If I screw up, my whole life could come crashing down around me.
Which is why I decided to ask my second-favorite person about it. My favorite person being Abby, of course.
"Professor Cutter," I say as I tap on the doorframe leading to his lab, "got a minute?"
Cutter looks up from his latest invention, an anomaly-predicting contraption. It looks like a giant slinky that some kid had gotten all twisted up, but he swears he can plot anomalies on it. I remain skeptical.
"Sure," says Cutter, moving a bit of plastic along one of the metal strands of his invention. "What's on your mind?"
I wander into the room and try to think of the best way to ask my question.
"Connor," says Cutter with one part amusement and two parts exasperation, "how many times do I have to tell you not to touch this?"
I jump back and let go of the slinky part I was playing with. "Sorry, I think better when my hands are busy."
He gives me a "get to the point" look.
"Okay," I say, "the thing is, me and Abby are good friends, yeah? But I kind of want to ask her out on a date. A proper date where I pay for things and open the door for her and stuff. Not a pseudo-date where we go to the pub and each buy a round of drinks like we usually do."
"Well that sounds nice," says Cutter, his mind obviously back on his invention. "Have a nice time."
"But I didn't ask my question yet," I say.
He glances up, eyebrows raised. "Oh, then ask."
"Well, what do you think?"
"Of me and Abby going on a date."
He frowns and appears to seriously consider it for a bit, though I suspect he's humoring me. "Don't bring your squabbles into work. And no snogging by the ADD."
"So you think it's a good idea?"
"Sure, why not?"
I nod, pleased. "How do you think I should ask her then?"
"Connor, surely even you have asked a girl out on a date before." He snorts and shakes his head.
"Of course, I . . . what do you mean 'even me'?! I had a girlfriend, you know. I asked her out all the time." I take a deep breath. This conversation is harder than I thought it would be. "It's just that it's Abby. She's not just anyone. What if she says no? We'll have to live together after that. Work together. Drive in together. It could all go horribly, horribly wrong."
"Then don't ask," he says mildly, as if it's not the biggest thing I'll have to do in my entire life ever.
"Don't ask? Have you not been listening to anything I've been saying? I have to ask. I'll go mad if I don't ask."
I do one of those silent screams. The professor might be brilliant in paleontology, but he was terrible at romance.
"You know what?" I say. "Thanks for the advice. I'll let you get back to . . . that." I wave my hand at his invention.
He calls out a "happy to help" as I close the door behind me.
I want to talk to Jenny next, being as she's a girl and all, but she's busy, so I stop by the armory where Stephen is cleaning a big hunting rifle.
"You and Abby, huh?" he says as he pushes a rag into the barrel of the rifle with a long skinny rod. "I don't see it."
"What?" I yelp. "Not see it. Why?"
Stephen grins. "Just pulling your leg, mate. You've been hung up on her since I've known you. I seem to remember you telling me you'd met your girlfriend the first day we worked together. It's only taken you—what?—two years to get up the nerve to ask her out."
I cross my arms and scowl at him. "Okay, A, she didn't fancy me in the beginning. She fancied you, yeah? So I couldn't ask her out then." I tick off each item with my fingers. "B, she told me over and over again that we were just buddies, pals, mates, etcetera. It does something to a guy's confidence, don't it? And C, I had meself a proper girlfriend. Caroline Steele, if you'll recall. Okay, she wasn't a real girlfriend in the end, but we thought she was one for a long time, which meant that I was not available. So I did not exactly wait two years, thank you very much."
By the end of my little speech, Stephen's lips are twitching like he's trying not to laugh. I know the signs because it seems to happen quite often whenever I say more than two sentences.
"Okay, point taken," says Stephen. "Good luck with that, and don't blow it."
"Don't blow it," I repeat, nodding. "That's kind of why I'm here. How do I do that?"
"Just walk up to Abby and ask her out. Be bold, confident. Girls love confidence. And don't do that bobbing thing you do."
"What bobbing thing?"
"You know, where you sort of look like one of those toys that bounce around on springs."
"Bobbleheads? I don't do that!"
Stephen sets the rifle aside, stands, and proceeds to bounce around and go back and forth in an imitation of me. "Hi, Abby, I want to ask you out, but if you don't want to go out, that's okay too. I didn't really mean to ask you out, unless you want to get asked out, then I do mean it."
"Very funny." I tell him, trying not to let my annoyance shine through too much, but I did not come here to be mocked. "I do not do that."
"Mate, you do." He sits back down and picks up his rifle. "It's fine normally, Connor, but it doesn't exactly shout confidence. Just ask her out, and don't beat around the bush. Be strong. You can do it."
"Be strong," I repeat, nodding. I can do that. I can. Maybe. I should practice in front of the mirror.
I thank Stephen and head to the gent's on the second floor, the one that's hardly ever used. A technician is washing his hands, so I enter a stall until he leaves. When the coast is clear, I stare at myself in the mirror and smile.
"Hi, Abby," I say, trying to look strong and confident. So far, so good. "Would you like to go out with me sometime?" I catch myself tilting my head to the side and sort of shrugging. "Or not," I say before I can stop myself. "I mean, if you'd rather just stay in we can do that too."
Oh God, I am doing exactly what Stephen said not to do.
I start over. "Abby," I say to my reflection. This time I don't smile. "You're coming out with me Saturday night on a date. Got it?" There, strong and confident but kind of a jerk too.
I sigh. This is much harder than I thought.
"Just what are you doing?" asks someone.
I whirl around. Lester is standing in the doorway, looking at me like I'm crazy. And I'm not sure he'd be far off.