Confessions Ain't Easy

Once-ler: Petshop Once-ler

Kenzi and Gertrude are mine as well.

"A-All right, look...I think there's been a misunderstanding. What I said the other night...that wasn't true. At all. The thing is, I'm not good at talking to people and it's even worse when it comes to things like this. I mean, it's hard for everybody, right? Anyway, I guess I panicked a little...okay a lot, because they kept asking and I wasn't really ready but I felt pressured to say somethi-"

"You're rambling again." Pet frowned down at the little gecko perched on the register. She was watching him with a patient, but bored expression. It had been an hour already and Pet had yet to get all the way through what he wanted to say. The gecko was constantly stopping him.

"Kenzi, I'm not rambling!"

"Yes, you are. I stopped listening five minutes ago." He sighed, knowing that this was going to be harder than he had anticipated. He slumped against the counter and scratched at his head, ruffling his dark hair. She was right. He was opening his mouth and just letting whatever came to mind pop out. That was a horrible idea. She'd get bored before he had a chance to say anything!

The slouch he'd settled into was beginning to hurt his back and he grunted as he buried his face into the crook of his arm, frustration burning in him. He felt like he was kidding himself. He couldn't even get it together enough to talk to her, why would she want him?

Something prodded gently at his arm. he glanced up to see Kenzi studying him with steady eye. Huffing, he tried to ignore her. "Look, if what's-her-name really-"

"Det!" His head shot up in annoyance. He blushed as she stared at him. "It's not her name, it's just...just what I call her." He made a face at the heat he could feel rising clear to his ears. She gracefully ignored his embarrassment, focusing instead on the eye he was peeking at her with.

"If...Det really is interested in you, you should just be yourself. Relax. It's not like you need to win her over or anything."

"You weren't there!" He pushed away from the counter and groaned. "I made such a mess of things! I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm not interested and I think I upset her..." Really beginning to stress, he pulled at his hair and began pacing the aisles, moving quickly. The shop's few residents peered at him from where they had bedded down for the night in various cages and perches. He bristled as the amusement in their stares and did his best to ignore them. He'd never been in such a state, frustrated and shaky, sick to his stomach. He paused as he came back to the counter. "I've screwed up! What if she doesn't like me anymore?"

"I like you!" A voice piped up from across the shop and Pet couldn't help rolling his eyes.

"Thank you, Gertrude." He looked toward the blue parakeet that was perched on top of an empty fish bowl in the front window and smiled faintly. She ruffled her feathers happily. "That doesn't help me much right know, but I appreciate the thought."

"If she's already lost interest in you it's not worth worrying over." He wandered back to the counter.

"That's a little harsh, don't you think?"

"It's honest, is what it is."

He scowled at this and stared at his feet. That wasn't true at all, he knew it wasn't. "Look, just take a few minutes to calm down. You're getting worked up and that won't help anything."

He didn't answer her. Instead he went to a shelf of cat toys and began sorting them back into their proper bins. Having something else to focus on for a minute helped to calm him a little. Work was good like that. He tried to regain his composure as he stood there. The gecko had a point, he was pretty easily flustered and it wouldn't help him fix anything. Now he was thinking more clearly as he had something to do, and he could focus on his main problem. What to say? Apologizing would just cause him to ramble again. He wanted to explain himself but at the same time he just wanted to get it out and have it over. His hands fell still as his mind began working itself through the paths he could take.

Breathing deeply for a moment, he turned to look back at Kenzi. She was looking at him expectantly. Pet set his jaw and straightened determinedly.

"I made a mistake." She perked up a little, realizing that he was talking to her again. "I just...I panicked. I'm sorry. I like you. I really do. A-And I want...well, I'm not really sure what I want, but I do want you if you'll have me." He stopped, uncertain. Would she want him? Why would she? He No, he couldn't start thinking like that. The gecko was smiling at him, unoticed, as he pulled at his hair again.

This just wasn't working. He couldn't decide what to say and even if he did, he would forget it anyway. Pet smoothed his hair back down and addressed the shop in general. "I'm going to think. The door's locked, don't bother me." Without bothering to see if they were listening, he slouched his way to the office and locked the door behind him. He didn't come out for the rest of the night.