Karen’s Story

An apology to all my geeky readers.  I know the times on a lot of my references are off.  Tanya the Evil was out in 2017 and the new Superman was much earlier.  The Asian streaming service is called Viki and I believe it is only a few years old. Diamonds are the biggest ripoff in the jewelry world.  They are super common, but every mine is owned by one company that limits how many are released each year.  They have warehouses of them just sitting there.  Many come from horrible conditions in Africa.   Also, as everyone knows, David Tennant, the 10th doctor, is the best. Enjoy.

I often listen to love songs and wonder if the people on them have ever known love.  They are sad and mournful talking of deep feelings that transcend space and time.  I’ve known love and let me tell you I didn’t see much of that.  In my love, there was life.

I met Karen in college my sophomore year.  I saw her sitting there, wearing a t-shirt that said ‘There are only 10 types of people in this world, those who understand binary and those who don’t’.  Below that she wore skin tight, strategically ripped black jeans and a pair of cowboy boots.  She was pretty, but unconventionally so, with heavy freckles and bright red hair.  I knew she must be a computer major, as I was, but having never seen her I assumed she was either older or younger.  Either way, I thought of a place to start.

I walked over casually, although I’m it sure it looked forced.  I waved stupidly at her and asked what she thought of Mr. Bronstein’s class.  It was a bad pickup line and she knew it.  She turned and looked me up and down.  “You’re cute enough but you must be dumb trying to use a lame line like that.  Say something intelligent in the next 10 seconds and I’ll let you join us.”  her voice was a mixture of annoyance and amusement, and very, very sexy.

Thinking quickly I blurted “I think there are 11 types of people in the world, those who know binary, those who don’t and those that assume you do and make you write a 20 page paper on it”

She considered it carefully, looking me over again, her face wrinkled into a cute questioning gaze.  “Close enough.” she finally decided.  She motioned to a chair beside her and I sat, hands pressed tight in my lap.

I found discussion was on Calculus, a class I found both boring and infuriating. They were trying to figure out some formula or another, which went over my head.  Finally, I said “You know, any math that tells me there is no two, only 1.9 into infinity is logically flawed.  It’s designed for math majors to get a geekgasm.”

Karen and the two other girls seated with her looked at me like I had 3 heads and I shrunk down.  Then Karen laughed.  “You know, I never thought of that.  Nothing beats an integer.  Reals are for suckers.”

“Definitely.  Leave the decimals for the accountancy majors.”  I laughed

More bad math jokes were told and discussions of class schedules, which I assumed were for my benefit because Karen kept looking at me with her bright blue eyes when she gave it and the added “hint. Hint” at the end of every time and place.

“You have earned the right to walk me to my room, James,” she said firmly.  I arose and offered a hand like my grandma taught me.  “I never said you’d earned the right to hold my hand.  It’s going to take more than a bad calculus joke for that.”  I took my hand away and she grinned innocently at me.  “I live in Delphi.  I assume you know the way?”

“Of course” I responded

She rose and poked a finger at my chest “You better not be one of those boys with a girl in every dorm!” she glared at me “How do you know where my dorm is?”

I must have been glowing red.

You were

“Delphi dorm is right beside the cafeteria.” I blurted

She dropped her finger and smiled “Oh yeah.  You get a pass then. “ she waved her hands in front of her “go on, lead away, aren’t you the man here meant to walk a helpless little lady home.”

“You aren’t a helpless little lady, I think you could take me out,” I said

“You’re absolutely right, but can’t you at least act the part?  I got to keep my reputation intact.”  she smiled and I acquiesced with a mocking formal bow.

“This way my lady,” I said in a cheesy English accent.  This got the laugh I was hoping for.  We walked out the door, and she went quiet, which struck me as strange “Something wrong?”

She snapped out of it and said “NO!  Of course not.  You don’t think you’re the first boy to walk me to my room do you?” At that point I absolutely did.

Bully.  Don’t make fun of a young lady

We reached her room and we stood awkwardly staring at each other.  “No kiss,” she said finally “Maybe once you impress me, but man was that pickup line bad.”  she grinned clicked her key in the lock and disappeared.  I turned to leave and she popped back out “Breakfast, 8:30. We sit on the balcony on the far right corner. Be there.” Her door clicked shut and I walked home.

At 8:30 I had my tray of pancakes, bacon and two glasses of chocolate milk and stood on the balcony.  I saw them right where she said they’d be.  Walking over, I asked, “may I join you?”  Karen looked up, annoyed “If you couldn’t I wouldn’t have told you where we sit.  I thought you were supposed to be smart.”

I sat, redfaced, in a seat one chair apart from her.

And I called you a coward

“And you called me a coward”  

The discussion was revolving around where the best shows in the world were made. The debate had already edged out US stuff, and one girl held firm on British shows, declaring Doctor Who the ultimate in television.  Karen, oddly, talked about Chinese television, I suppose I knew it existed, but I didn’t know it was an option to watch in the US.

“Where are you watching Chinese TV?  Are you torrenting it?”  I asked.

Again she rolled her bright blue eyes “Streaming.  Everything is streaming these days, look it up.  I thought you were smart.”

Embarrassed, I decided to join the discussion.

You are fun to embarrass

“Hush, I’m telling the story”  as I was saying I joined the conversation “I’ve always enjoyed Japanese television.  Their game shows are crazy and everyone knows their anime is..”  I was cut off with a fork in the face.

“I KNEW you were a pervert, it’s written all over you.  You are into fanservice crap, aren’t you? All boobs and butts. I can’t believe men..alw”

I cut her off “I was going to say I enjoyed ‘Tanya the Evil’!”

“Loli stuff! Even worse!  We gotta get you on some REAL TV.  Tonight, 7:00, my room.  We’ll watch some Chinese drama.  Get you out of that pervy stuff.”

I was confused.  She was mad at me for being a perv but inviting me to her room?  I started to eat, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw her smile at me.

You saw that! You weren’t supposed to see that!  

“If you don’t want me to see things don’t do it.”

The meal concluded, we headed to class and I stopped and talked to her between classes as I was not so subtly told to. At 7 I knocked on her door.  She opened it and punched me in the arm.  She got right in my face, glaring.  I tried to look surprised, but all I could think of was that her breath smelled like strawberry.

Seriously?  You are a perv

“Can I continue?”

I suppose, but only cause you’re getting to the good part

“Thank you”  Anyway, she was glaring at me and poked a finger in my chest.

“How’d you get in here, huh, HUH?” another stab of her finger “Some hussy?  Are you trying to make me a side girl?  I’m no side girl!”

“No!” I responded “one of your friends let me in.  I ran into her on the way here and figured I would save you a walk to the door.”

She looked me up and down “I suppose that makes sense, but I’ve got my eye on you.”

She waved me inside.  Her room was a double but her roommate wasn’t around.  The bunk was set across from the TV.  She had the top bunk so we climbed up and I sat as close I felt was appropriate.  She slid 6 inches closer, and I turned red.

The show was interesting, sort of like an extended martial arts film.  I watched with interest and we discussed details, with her explaining the superiority of the form.  Every time we got into a heated discussion she slid a little closer til she was inches from me.  I was excited but she had always made the rules very clear so I didn’t dare make a move.

“Need a graven invitation?”  I looked down and her skin was nearly as red as her freckles.  I swallowed and kissed her.  It lasted just for a moment, then she pushed me away and stared at me arms crossed, still red and breathing hard. “So we kissed, do you think that means we can keep going?”

“I suppose not” I answered, confused.

“I suppose you kiss well enough.  Let me make sure you are good enough.  I don’t want to waste my time with a middling kisser.”  she bent over and kissed me, deeper than before. A moment later she sat up again, panting.  She again crossed her arms and squeezed her face into that cute scowl.

It’s not cute!  It’s serious.  You don’t take me seriously!

“Of course I take you seriously”  Anyways she stared down at me.

She held herself away, trying to keep her face serious.  She held it for a moment and burst out laughing “come here you”.  It was an interesting evening.

The weeks that followed were some of the most fun I’d ever had.

You just liked the kissing perv.

“Are you done?”

For now

We started arguing about everything.  I know that sounds bad, but it was never serious.  I would say something and she’s say something contrary to it.  We usually laughed our way through it, but it drove our roommates crazy.  The computer lab hosted game nights and we spent our time in Counter-Strike, Team Fortress 2 and Spacecraft.  No matter the game she would make sure to be on the opposite team and hunt me down.   While the rest of the players fought for the goal we were playing cat and mouse.  Admittedly, she usually won.

Damn Straight

“I thought you were done?”

I reserve the right to interfere as I please as long as you insist on telling this story

“Fine. It’s your day.”  We never did “couple” things.  No sitting and watching the sky, whispering nothings.  No cuddling I love yous.  We left that for the other couples.  We would be too busy discussing the merits of anime.  I finally he got her back on the perv thing when I found out she watched ‘Free!’

That show is about team spirit and coming together

“That show is about half dressed androgynous boys arguing in sparkles!”

Well.  Uhm.  Agree to disagree. Continue

We were only like the other couples once.

Oh god, do you have to?

“Yes,”  it was a cold night and we had somehow come up with $10.  That was rare since neither of us worked and so we walked to a mini-mart and argued about the latest Superman movie.  She argued it wasn’t even superman is was super Nazi.

He totally was

“No, he wasn’t”  I argued that they had to make him edgier for modern audiences.

Then I rubbed Guardians of the Galaxy in your face

“That was later.”  We picked up some slushies and jerky and headed home.  It was quiet while we slurped down our drinks.  It had gotten colder and she pressed close to me for warmth. I reached around her and I had to say it.  I looked into her eyes and she knew.  

“Don’t” she warned.

“I’m sorry, I have to.  I love you.” she spun and stared at me, eyes wet.

She started pounding my chest “Why? Why did you do that?  Now I have to say I love you too!”

“You do?”

Please.  This is embarrassing

“You need to be embarrassed now and again.”

She started crying “Yes.  Now it’s ruined.  Now we have to make goo-goo eyes and cuddle in the moonlight.  Go to romantic movies and kiss and all that stuff!”  She was getting hysterical.  “It’s ruined.”

“Tell you what.  For the next 10 minutes we say I love you as much as we can.  After that, I will explain why the sixth doctor kicks David Tennant’s ass.”

“Fine. You’re wrong and I can prove it.”

For ten minutes we held each other in the cold and whispered how much we cared

And then I totally schooled you on the Doctor

“The sixth is the best. Hands down.  We can argue about it later. We’re a little busy right now.”

I suppose

Life continued as normal.  School ended and we got jobs, a home.  We planned a future.  Then 3 weeks ago she said to me “You are and always have been a wimp.  Are you ever going to ask me to marry you?”

“Will you marry me?” I responded, surprised.

“Finally!” she rolled her eyes and kissed me “Let’s get the rings.  They’re waiting at the jewelers.  They are Green Lantern with real emerald. No blood diamonds for us.”

Now here we find ourselves at a Justice of the Peace with our families watching and angry caterers who had to plan a reception in 2 weeks because someone couldn’t wait.

“I know it’s not traditional vows and took way too long but it’s a story I had to tell. Is it Ok if I say I Love You now?”

Karen’s eyes watered as she stood in her Starfleet Captain’s uniform.  She looked at his Starfleet Engineer’s outfit. She had to remind him who held rank here.

“You jerk, of course you can.   Anytime.  The wedding gives you permission.  Don’t you know anything?  Why’d you have to make such a grand speech? You’ll make my vows look bad.  You’re so inconsiderate.”

“Of course.  I’m sorry I don’t what I was thinking.”

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

7 thoughts on “Karen’s Story

      1. I’m gonna be honest, part of me almost put Kaitlyn, but was worried my self-deprecating humor might’ve been missed and you would’ve REALLY thought I was an idiot after yesterday. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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