Chapter 3:

The Beaver's Head

The Lonely Lovers Club

“You’ve got to be joking,” said Sandra.

The members of the Lonely Lovers Club stood in the school parking lot. Nearby school athletes were running laps around the grass practice fields. Somewhere in the crowd of field hockey players was Rose, Jaime’s future beloved. Or that was the plan at least.

The Lonely Lovers Club huddled around a piece of fabric laid on the ground. The limp, brown fabric looked like it was once soft and fluffy, but now it was matted, stained, and torn apart. Willie dropped a solid, brown orb the width of a car tire next to the fabric. It had white buck teeth the size of a hand sticking out of one side.

“This is the beaver costume?” asked Sandra.

“Also there's only one,” said Maria.

“Thank god for that,” replied Sandra.

“Obviously this is not exactly what we had in mind,” said Willie. “But this was the only thing the store had.”

It was a depressing sight. This was not the way Willie had painted the romantic picture in his mind.

“However, this changes nothing. The plan holds up.”

“Well I’m not gonna be the one to wear that thing,” said Sandra, adjusting her field hockey practice uniform.

“I don’t really want to wear that thing either,” said Jaime.

“I think you’re the one who has to wear it,” said Ginko picking up and inspecting the giant beaver head. “Woah. This thing is kinda heavy.”

“I think it would make me look… dorky,” said Jaime.

“No, Jaime, no,” said Willie. “This may not be the most ornate costume in the world, but showing Rose your shared interests is exceptionally important.”

Ginko put on the beaver head. He then wandered around the parking lot imitating the mannerisms of beavers. He pretended to gnaw on Sandra as the others continued talking.

Maria stepped in, “We should be careful Willie. If Jaime is behind the mask, Rose won't know who is standing in front of her. Besides, I think you’re the only one who has mastered the singing and dancing part of this plan.”

Willie thought about the comments. “You’re certainly right. I probably do know it better. And Jaime does need to be the center of attention.” Willie kept thinking as a car began to pull out of a nearby parking spot. Ginko continued to pretend to chew on Sandra as a beaver. “Jaime. You will do the singing. I will be your glorious backup dancer.”

The kids moved out of the street as the car began moving their direction. Jaime looked more nervous now than ever. Perhaps it was doubt. Maybe he was afraid of being rejected. But Willie wouldn't let those nerves win today.

Sandra, fed up with Ginko’s beaver antics, gave his big beaver head a shove. Instead of forcing Ginko away, this pushed the beaver head off of Ginko’s head. It bounced along the concrete parking lot… right in front of the moving car.

With a CRACK, the beaver head bounced away from the vehicle. Ginko and Sandra froze, wide eyed. Willie rushed over to the beaver’s head as the car drove away.

There was a clear crack and dent right in the middle of the beaver’s face. The buck teeth were now pointed to the eyes. The brown fur now looked closer to black. Any resemblance to a beaver was completely absent.

Sandra arrived to inspect the damage. To Willie's surprise, she did not apologize. She did not grovel and beg for forgiveness. Instead, she fought back a laugh.

“Sandra,” said Willie. “This is not funny.”

“I’m sorry, but it is a little bit,” she said, still giggling.

“It most certainly is not,” replied Willie. “Look at what you’ve done.” He held up the disfigured mascot head to Sandra’s face. Of course, this only made her laugh more.

“Oh no. Oh no,” said Ginko. He grabbed the head from Willie. He tried to bend and squeeze it, but if anything it made the damage worse. “Gosh, I’m sorry Willie. It just came off.”

“Well at least someone is regretful,”said Willie while shooting a look at Sandra. “But besides the issue of returning this rental, I’m not the one you need to apologize to.”

“Oh goodness. Yeah, what are we going to do about Jaime’s plan?” asked Ginko.

Jaime looked at the ratty costume then turned his gaze towards the practice fields. The field hockey team had just finished their drills and was now gathered on the sideline. Willie could barely believe it. The situation was grim, but now it was hardly salvageable.

“Not everything is ruined,” said Maria trying to calm the mood. “We still have Willie’s dance routine and a good pop song. Why don’t we try singing?”

“I was okay singing and dancing while I could hide behind a mask, but this isn’t really my speed,” said Sandra.

“It's your fault it's broken,” said Willie. “You should really be stepping up your game.”

“Oh don’t you go acting like this was a perfect-”

“Stop.” Maria interrupted. “We must stop. Arguing will only lead to chaos.”

With a deep breath, Willie agreed. “Yes. This will only cause tragedy within the Lonely Lovers Club. We build relationships, not destroy them. We must focus on creating the most romantic experience possible. Jaime-”

Willie turned to Jaime, but he was not there. Willie circled around to look for him, but he was gone. Everyone else was just as confused. “Where is Jaime?”

“Maybe he lost faith in us,” said Ginko. “We did ruin the plan.”

“What a disaster,” said Willie, falling to his knees. What could possibly be worse for the Lonely Lovers Club? Their first client of the semester ran off with his tail between his legs. Surely a poor reputation would spread around the school. And with no one believing in the hard work of the Lonely Lovers, countless loves would be lost.

“Hey, there he is,” said Maria. She pointed towards the practice fields. Jaime was walking across the grass towards the field hockey team.

“What is he doing?” asked Ginko. He began to take off after Jaime, but Maria put an arm out to calm him down.

They all watched as Jaime approached the field hockey bench. As the athletes walked onto the field Rose stayed behind, talking with Jaime.

“What do you think they’re saying?” asked Sandra.

Shhh,” said Willie.

“Don’t shhh me. You can’t even hear them anyways. They’re on the other side of the field.”

This time Willie did not say anything back. He was too caught up in Jaime. What was the boy doing? Was he going to perform on his own?

“What’s she doing?” asked Ginko.

Far away they watched Rose like a group of vultures. She had brought her hands behind her back. She leaned to one side. She gently tapped the toe of her shoe into the ground. Was she blushing? It was all too much for Willie. It was clear what was happening, right? He could only hope. The next thing Willie knew, Jaime was walking back towards them.

“What happened?!” they all asked as Jaime came closer.

Jaime kept walking past them as they stood frozen waiting for a response. He took a few more steps, stopped and turned around with a smile. “I just asked her out?”

“What did she say?” asked Sandra.

“She said yes,” replied Jaime.

“No singing?” asked Ginko.

“Nope. Just asked her out the old fashioned way,” said Jaime. He started walking away, but made one last comment, “Thank you guys. You made me realize how ridiculous I was acting.”

They watched as Jaime walked off. His aura seemed to change. He was nervous as a kid lost in a department store looking for his mommy. Now he was confident; walking around like he owned the store. Willie knew only one thing capable of that change. Love.

“Well I think it's safe to say the Lonely Lovers Club’s first mission of the semester is a success,” said Willie.

“What?” said Sandra. “We didn’t do anything. Our plan was run over by a car.” She pointed at the destroyed costume.

“You heard Jaime,” said Willie. “We helped him come to his revelation. And look at him now. He’s got a date with the girl of his dreams. It sounds to me like true love won today.”

“Well it still sounds to me like Jaime could have handled this on his own,” said Sandra.

“Don’t doubt the ways of true love,” Willie said as he grabbed onto Maria’s hand. “It works in magical ways.”

Taylor Victoria
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