Chapter 9:

Two Proposals

The Lonely Lovers Club

“Okay, Gus,” said Ginko. “What’s the deal?”

Willie, Ginko, and Gus had gathered in the hallway to discuss the details for a school dance proposal. Gus stood about a head shorter than Willie and Ginko. Normally, height was a sign of dominance in teenage boys, but Gus made up for this by dressing to the nines. Overall, he was extremely cute. Most girls would probably call him adorable. That would work to their advantage for the proposal.

“I don’t know. You tell me what the deal is,” said Gus. “I don’t know what to do. That’s why I asked for your help.”

So much for being cute. Gus was panicked. Willie and Ginko had seen plenty of nervous romantics, but this was next level.

“It’s alright, Gus. We can take it slow,’ Willie said, trying to calm him down. “Why don’t you start by telling us about Adam.”

“Right,” said Gus. “Adam is the guy I want to ask to the school dance.”

Gus spit out his words quickly, then went silent. Willie and Ginko passed looks to each other.

Willie said, “okay. How about you tell us what kinds of things he likes?”

“Well I hope he likes me,” said Gus. “I mean, I like him. But I don’t know if he likes me back. I don’t even know if he’s thought about me that way. I want to ask him to the dance. But I don't know if he will say yes or no.”

Willie was beginning to think Gus was just hyper all the time. Forget the proposal, it would be difficult just to hold a conversation with Gus.

Luckily Ginko was willing to try and talk to Gus again. “So are you friends with Adam? Do you guys talk much, or do you not know each other well?”

“What?” asked Gus in total shock, almost like disgust. “Of course we’re friends. We hang out every day. We have, like, 4 classes together.”

“Okay,” said Willie. “So you get along well?”

“Uh duh,” said Gus. “Obviously. I do want to ask him to the dance.”

Gus seemed to bounce between his two feet. Either he was a jittery person or he had just drank an exceptionally large soda.

“So you just want to go to the dance and have a good time with your friend?” asked Ginko.

Gus’ mile-a-minute personality seemed to crank into overdrive. “No. I don’t want to go as friends. I don’t want to casually ask him to the dance as friends. That’s the whole point.”

Ginko’s face went red. Willie could sense his temper beginning to flare. It was a frustrating conversation to say the least, but Willie could only imagine Gus’ stress. It seemed like most of this attitude was a reaction to extreme nervousness. Gus was scared to ask Adam to the dance. He needed the Lonely Lover’s help just as much as anyone else.

Willie spoke quickly to prevent Ginko from bursting into flames. “That’s great, Gus,” he said. That almost seemed to catch Gus off guard. It definitely helped calm down Ginko. “You’re close friends, but you want your proposal to say that you mean more than just friendship.”

For once, Gus responded calmly, “yeah, that’s right.”

“Perfect,” said Willie. “Now we need some brainstorming. We want a romantic proposal.”

Willie’s thoughts drifted into a daydream. Gus and Ginko also began to think. Willie made a mental list of the most romantic things he could come up with. Bouquets of roses. Scented candles. String quartets. At least two of those things could be used.

Ginko said, “What if we did one of those poster signs that everyone does. Make it a funny romantic pun or something. like , ‘I’m falling in love with you,’ and you could pretend to fall.”

Willie and Gus both stared at Ginko with looks of disgust. Willie could only imagine Gus’ lack of confidence in the Lonely Lovers club right now. I’m falling in love with you? Is that seriously the best Ginko could come up with? Willie had to put a stop to this right away.

“No,” said Willie. “No puns. That’s the least romantic thing you could come up with.”

“But everyone does those,” said Ginko.

“Exactly,” said Willie. “Everyone does those. We are not everyone. We are the Lonely Lovers Club. We have higher standards. That's cliche. And quite frankly we are better than that. We owe it to ourselves to aim higher.”

“Geez, fine,” said Ginko. “Save the speech. But I still think it’s a pretty good option to fall back on.”

“It won’t come to that,” said Willie. “I have a plan.”

“Really?” asked Gus without any sass for once.

“Oh yes,” said WIllie. “Gus. Do you own a suit?”


Sandra, Maria, and Miles stood around one of the school exits. They watched through the exit door’s windows. In the parking lot outside was a girl sitting on the hood of a convertible.

“That’s Rena?” asked Maria.

“Yup, that’s her,” said Sandra with distaste.

Miles didn’t really seem to notice Sandra’s tone. Cheerily, he said “yeah. You have to get us to go to the dance together.”

Miles stood a head taller than the girls. He was a rising track and field star and it showed. He was in peak physique.

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” said Maria in her calming voice. “We can definitely put together a proposal for you.”

Miles got excited while Sandra continued to peer through the window. Rena sat in what had to be an uncomfortable position on her car. She talked to a boy leaning on a black pickup truck next to her. Maybe she was trying to look cute or flirty, but Sandra was thinking she was just trying to show off her expensive convertible. It's hard not to notice a car when you’re having a conversation with someone who is literally sitting on top of the car. People will definitely notice your fancy things when you flaunt them like that.

The guy she was talking to was no different, of course. No high schooler should be able to afford a brand new truck. The boy’s name was Peter Donahue, and he was known to own a few elegant things himself. That truck was no cheap ride. It was the top of the line model with all the extra features.

“So did you have anything in mind?” Maria asked Miles. “Are there any special ideas you had for asking Rena to the dance?”

“Not really,” said Miles. That’s kind of why I asked for your help.”

“No problem,” said Maria with a smile. “We got this.”

“How well do you know each other?” asked Sandra. “I mean, do you get along well?”

Miles thought for a second. “Yeah. I think we know each other pretty well. I don’t hang out with her that much outside of our group of friends, but we see each other all the time.”

“Do you have any idea of what she likes in a proposal?” asked Maria.

“No idea,” he said. “She’s not in any sports or clubs either. So I don’t even know where to begin.”

“When you hang out, what do you do?”

“Whatever our friends are doing, I guess,” said Miles. “We usually go out to eat. Go shopping. I don’t know. Normal stuff I guess.”

“And how are her grades?” asked Sandra.

Miles was caught off guard, but answered, “her grades are average, I think.”

“What do her grades mean for the proposal?” asked Maria.

“Nothing,” said Sandra. “I was just curious.”

Maria rolled her eyes, but Sandra ignored her. Rena didn’t do any clubs or sports. She didn’t have outstanding grades. Sandra still had no idea why she was popular.

“Anyways,” said Maria. “It seems to me like she’s just a normal girl. And what you said sounds the same. Maybe we can keep this pretty simple.”

“That could probably be fine,” said Miles. “But I have no clue what to do.”

Maria said, “Maybe we could just do one of those puns that everyone likes to use. Those seem to work pretty well. Everyone likes those.”

“Ugh no,” said Sandra. “That is so overdone. Not to mention, super lame.”

“I don’t know,” said Maria. “I think it will be good to have some kind of theme. The pun will help.”

“I think a theme would be cool,” said Miles.

Sandra said, “We can have a theme. But no puns. Those are terrible. And besides, we have to come up with something better than Willie and Ginko. If we lose to them, I won’t hear the end of it.”

“Lose?” asked Miles.

“Don’t worry about it,” Maria said, calming Miles. She shot a look at Sandra, just like the look a parent gives their kid to say knock it off. Just as quick, she turned back to normal. “What should our theme be?”

Nonchalant, Sandra said “Something about rich girls.”

“I don’t think that’s a theme,” said Maria.

“Well whatever it is it has to be big. Something bigger than Willie can come up with. What are some fancy things?”

Sandra began to think. Rena was a rich, popular girl. Sandra could think of plenty of things those girls like, but none of which she could afford. She began thinking out loud.

“Horse drawn carriage? No. Too much could go wrong. Fireworks? We’d probably get in too much trouble. Massive piles of gold?”

“Okay now I know you’re just being ridiculous on purpose,” said Maria.

“I don’t think this is really helpful,” said Miles.

Sandra pretended to be offended at Miles' comment, but the look wasn’t very convincing. She knew her ideas were senseless. But she had still come up with more ideas in her brainstorm than the others, even if the ideas were bad.

“Hey wait,” said Sandra. “That actually was helpful. Miles, I hope you’re ready to wear something fancy. This proposal is golden.”

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