I Know It Might Be Wrong, But...
Stacy has once again ran away from Steven. But unlike the first time, Steven was more determined to get an answer from her. This was why, like a creep, he had waited for her to come to school in the morning and followed her up to her classroom. He was not comfortable with it since he knew how much of a weirdo it makes him look, but he was not used to chasing after girls. Being so popular, he was too used to girls chasing after him, so he did not know how to approach one with finesse. But despite fearing being branded as a creep or a weirdo, his resolve for romance was strong, so he chased after Stacy - all just to ask her if her mom was single.
“WHY ARE YOU CHASING ME??!!” Stacy, in a state of panic, shouted at him when she noticed he was giving chase.
“Why are you running away?!” he shouted back.
“BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO LOOK AT YOU!!”
Stacy ran harder, but despite her best efforts, Steven was easily gaining in on her. Never mind the difference in genders, she rarely exercised and had average athletic ability, while he trained daily as he was an athlete for the school. Of course, Stacy would not have been able to outrun Steven even with a head start.
Steven easily caught up to Stacy and grabbed an arm. But, the sudden force of him pulling causes her to lose balance, so she stumbled and fell to the floor.
Stacy was not hurt. She was only in a bit of shock as there were other people around and she was feeling embarrassed that they saw her trip. The only damage done was to her eyeglasses, which had fallen off her face down to the floor and caused one of the lenses to crack. But otherwise, she was fine and simply catching her breath, which is why she did not pick herself up immediately.
The fall looked worse from Steven’s perspective though. He feared that he had injured her. But, he kept his composure as he picked up Stacy's glasses before taking her arm and putting it over his shoulder to help her get up and go to the clinic.
It happened so quickly that Stacy was not able to react or even tell him she was all right and what he was doing was unnecessary. She could have told him after the first few steps, however, but she became conscious at how close they were. Although, rather than finding the situation embarrassing, she was actually enjoying it. That was because she found herself in a situation she had not experienced before, and that is coming in close contact with her crush. This is why she kept quiet without complaining as she wanted to savor the moment.
Her only concern was the effects of physically exerting herself moments before. “Oh god, I hope I don't smell of sweat”, she thought to herself.
Not only that, she was close enough for her to sense the faint scent of Steven’s cologne, which she was enjoying greatly. But of course, she was not going to show it in her face as it would make her look like some sort of degenerate, so she tried to keep a poker face during the long walk to the clinic. Or rather, it looks more like a childish pout as she puffed her cheeks so the creepy smile on her face would not be obvious.
Steven, though, seeing the expression on her face, thought she was holding back the pain, which just caused him more worry.
At the clinic, Steven helped Stacy to sit on a bed. Stacy had gotten a high over the experience and Steven’s cologne, so she felt like teasing him a bit. She playfully complained to him “You really shouldn’t manhandle a girl”.
"I know, I'm sorry", he said solemnly as if he did not catch the humor or he just did not feel like following up on it. Either could explain why he was businesslike when he questioned her "Where are you hurt?"
The nurse was out, so he took it upon himself to check Stacy’s injury.
Still in a playful mood, she asked "You're not going to get an answer from me by being nice to me”.
“I’m being serious here”, he stated, almost in a scolding tone. He had his leg before during a basketball match, so he understands the seriousness of an injury plus the pain and inconveniences it can bring. It was no joking matter to him. “Just tell me where you’re hurt.”
Sensing that Steven was in no mood to humor her, but without losing her cheerful tone, Stacy finally confessed “I’m fine”.
Steven’s eyes widened in surprise and confusion by her response. He asked her, “What do you mean?”
“I meant what I said”, she answered. Then pointing to his chest, she continued “Apart from my glasses, there’s nothing broken on me.”
Steven had realized he had not returned Stacy’s specs yet, so he quickly took it from his breast pocket and handed it to her. As he was returning the item, he carried on with the conversation. “But that was a nasty fall.”
“Maybe, but you should have asked if I was fine before picking me up”, she replied as she inspected the eyeglasses that was just handed to her.
“Well, you could have said something”, he protested.
“Sorry”, she said, making eye contact with a cheeky grin. That was all she said as she was not going to explain why she had not said anything since the reason was embarrassing to admit, of course.
But rather than getting mad for making him do something pointless, Steven felt relief that Stacy was not hurt because of him. He took a deep breath to calm himself since adrenaline was still rushing within him. Then he complained “You shouldn’t make people worry like that.”
Still in a teasing mood, Stacy replied “Oh, you were worried about me?”
“Anyone would be if someone’s hurt”, he replied without a hint of hidden intentions.
Stacy’s heart skipped a beat after being shown a caring side of Steven. It also made her feel guilty for making fun of him while he has been nothing but sincere throughout their entire exchange in the clinic, so she decided to stop the teasing.
Although, now that he knows she did not need any medical attention, their time at the clinic was up. Realizing this, she opted to stall for time. Despite getting offended earlier for hearing her mom was more attractive than her, the event that followed had caused her mood to swing in favor of pursuing her own love interests. She wanted to talk a bit more with Steven regardless of whether classes were already going on. So, even if she had not wanted to put his kindness into question, she asked him “Is there a story on why you take injuries seriously?”
Steven looked at the clinic's wall clock to check the time, but he was in no hurry to return to his classroom, so he humored her with an answer. He told her that he had a serious leg injury in middle school and had to be put in a cast. The aches and the inconvenience was only half the pain for him. The injury happened in his final year in middle school and his team had a genuine chance of making it to the nationals, which he regretted not taking part of and had blamed himself for being unable to help and achieve this goal. Even worse, the injury was only major because he had ignored a smaller prior issue.
His answer was all that Stacy wanted to hear from her question, but Steven was suddenly in a talkative mood. His injury was somehow related to him liking older women, so to continue the conversation, he proceeded to tell the story without being asked.
“It was also then that I met a certain lady”, he said.
Stacy, however, was none the wiser on where this statement was headed. She thought it was still going to be along the lines of her question, so she just listened silently.
“When I was in the hospital, most of the people that visited me didn’t really feel like they were really concerned for me. You know how girls chase after me, right?”
“Uh-huh”, she replied as she started to wonder what he was getting at.
“I didn’t really mind the attention, but even when I was confined to the hospital, the girls kept confessing to me. I was at a low point in my life and those that visited me seemed more concerned about themselves, which just added to my depression.”
Stacy wanted to say something, maybe some words of comfort or insult those girls he was mentioning, but she was not sure what Steven was talking about so she continued her silence with a light grin.
“But the older ladies I met there were really nice. They always made sure I wasn’t lonely and I wasn’t beating myself up over my injury.”
“Do you mean the nurses?”
“Well, the nurses were nice to me, too, but that’s kind of their job. I meant the other patients.”
Stacy imagined a situation where Steven was surrounded by caring grandmothers, but by “older ladies”, what he actually meant were young adult women at least twice his age then.
“It was then that I started becoming more interested in romance.”
Confusion set in for Stacy. She was wondering why he had brought up romance, and more importantly, she was pondering whether Steven’s liking of older women extended to seniors. Regardless, she was not liking where the conversation was now headed so she started thinking how to cut it short.
“There was this lady I met only once and I haven’t been able to meet again...”
Unfortunately for Stacy, she was too late to make her escape.
“...And she kind of looked like your mom.”
Like a Pavlovian reflex, she started to panic at Steven’s mere mention of her mom. She jumped up from her position and looked to run towards the door.
“I have to get back to class now!” she exclaimed.
But in her hurry, after a couple of steps, she tripped over her own feet and fell to the ground.
Steven immediately kneeled beside her to see if she was fine, and this time he asked “Are you okay?”
Stacy replied with a groan. She was in genuine pain this time as her hands, which she used to shield her face from meeting the floor, took most of the impact.