Chatterbox

Very short story… two pages, actually. Yes, this one was based directly off real life. No, I won’t tell you how. I think I wrote it in tenth grade, but I’m not sure. It’s pretty old.

Chatterbox

“You talk too much,” said Jack.

Keri lowered her eyes and played with the edge of her jacket. “Sorry.”

It was a pleasant fall day. The afternoon sun smiled lazily through the school bus windows, casting interesting shadows on the vinyl seats.

A horn honked, causing the three high-schoolers to turn in their seats.

“Hey, that’s my history teacher,” laughed Emma. She jabbed Keri in the ribs.

“Nice car,” Keri commented. “I thought those teachers weren’t being paid. Did you hear they might go on strike? Sarah told me…” She glanced at Jack out of the corner of her eye. You talk too much. Keri sighed and looked out the window.

Jack turned to Emma. “Hey, did you start your pre-calc homework?

Keri, Emma, and Jack all lived on the same street. They had known each other since second grade. Keri and Emma were best friends who knew everything about each other. But what Emma did not know was that Keri had liked Jack forever.

The next day, the three were sitting in study hall. Keri tapped her pen on her biology book, glancing over at Jack and Emma. Their heads were bent together, discussing chemistry homework.

It’s not fair, Keri thought. If I wasn’t stupid, I could be in chemistry, and I could be the one that close to Jack.

A laugh penetrated Keri’s jealous thoughts. She looked up to see Emma laughing at something Jack had just written on his paper.

What could possibly be so funny about chemistry?

Keri looked back down, aware of the fact that she was staring.

When she peeked up through her bangs, Jack was looking at her.

Study hall ended.

The students filed out of the classroom. Jack came up behind her and poked her in the back. “You’re awfully quiet today, chatterbox. What’s wrong?”

You talk too much.

“Nothing,” Keri whispered, and she dashed out the door.

“Hey, wait!” Keri walked a little faster, hoping to avoid Emma. It was no use. Emma ran up beside her.

“What’s wrong?” Emma put her hand on her best friend’s shoulder.

“Nothing,” Keri repeated dumbly. What was wrong? She wasn’t so sure.

“Anything I can do?”

Keri laughed dryly. “No, not really.”

Emma smiled. “Would good news help?”

“It depends.”

“Jack likes you.” With that, Emma slipped into her next class.

All through Algebra, words kept echoing inside her mind. Jack likes you. You talk too much. Jack likes you. What’s wrong, chatterbox? Jack likes you…

That afternoon, Keri climbed the steps into the bus, dreading what could come next. She was so confused about Jack right now, she didn’t know how she felt. I’ve liked him for years, and now I’m afraid of talking too much?

Suddenly, a thought struck her like an ax. What if Emma was lying?

She sat down in her usual seat, and Emma slipped in beside her. The bus started moving.

Jack wasn’t on the bus.

“Where’s Jack?” Keri asked, trying to sound nonchalant.

“He had to work today,” Emma glanced worriedly through her glasses. “It’s Tuesday. That’s when he works.”

“Right. I knew that.”

The two girls rode in silence until they were the only ones left on the bus. “So how do you know who Jack likes?”

Emma smiled knowingly. “I pried it out of him while we were working on our chemistry.”

“How?”

“We came across the symbol Kr, for Krypton. He blushed.”

He blushed? In all the years I have known Jack, I have never seen him blush! “And then what?” she asked.

“Well, I said ‘hmm, K.R. is Keri Randall’s initials’ and he said he knew. And it went from there.”

So that’s what the two of them were writing!

Twenty-four hours later, they were on the bus once again. As Jack sat down in the usual spot in front of them, it was Keri’s turn to blush. He blushed he blushed he likes me!

“What’s up?” he asked, turning around.

“Nothing much,” Emma replied.

Keri stared out the window.

“How do you think you did on the English test?” Jack and Emma launched into a debate over their latest novel.

Keri sighed.

The next thing she knew, Emma was getting off the bus. She lived in the second house, while Keri and Jack lived on the other side of the development.

Jack turned to her. “Did Emma say anything to you?”

Keri nodded. You talk too much, chatterbox.

Jack frowned. “And…”

Keri shrugged.

“What’s wrong?”

“Why do you keep asking that?” she asked quietly.

“Because you’re not talking,” Jack replied.

Keri turned to face him incredulously. “But you said I talked too much! And you called me a chatterbox!”

“I did?” Jack’s face registered surprise.

Keri nodded.

“Oh, Keri, I just meant those as a joke! I like when you talk. You’re an interesting person to talk to and listen to.”

They got off the bus and stood facing each other as it roared down a side street. The sun was shining, and the gentle breeze blew red-orange leaves at their feet.

“I’m really sorry about what I said, if you took me seriously,” Jack started. “I didn’t want you to stop talking.”

Keri smiled up at him. “It’s okay,” she said.

He put his arm around her and they walked home.