“How do you know I don’t like Shakespeare?” “I saw you roll your eyes when Mr. Dickhudt said his name.” “I just don’t think he’s the big deal that everyone makes him out to ...
He and Ruth had been best friends for two years now and they had been the best two years of his seventeen year old life. He immediately liked her the first time he saw her. It was one of the rare occasions when she wasn’t wearing a bow. She was wearing a headband, one that had a flower colored a dull brown surrounded by miniature leaves. It was simply beautiful, just like its owner. The glasses on her face lifted an inch as she scrunched her button shaped nose in order to write down the notes on the board which made him question the clarity of the spectacles knowing that their job was to make her see better. The teacher was discussing William Shakespeare, a man who defined the dimensions of love. He looked over at Ruth and saw her roll her brown eyes at the mention of the poet.
He wondered why she was rolling her eyes; Shakespeare was a love Guru. He knew how to get the ladies with his words. Nobody was immune to his sonnets. After class, he had gotten the nerve to ask her a question.
“Why don’t you like Shakespeare?” The girl had a look of surprise on her face but it quickly turned into one of curiosity as she faced him.
“How do you know I don’t like Shakespeare?”
“I saw you roll your eyes when Mr. Dickhudt said his name.”
“I just don’t think he’s the big deal that everyone makes him out to be. He’s makes everything so damn complicated. He’s makes these long lists of similes and metaphors when he can just say ‘I love you’. It’s not that hard.”
“Huh. Good point. What’s your name?”
“Patrick Stump,” He held out his hand for her to shake it. “It’s nice to meet you.”
Ruth smiled and took his hand. “I agree, Mr. Stump.” From that moment on, they were best friends.
“When are you going to stop stalking Ruth and ask her out?” Patrick jumped and quickly closed the door of his locker, earning a chuckle from his best friend, Pete Wentz.
“I wasn’t stalking her.” He muttered and watched Ruth walk away from her locker, probably making her way to her next class.
Pete shrugged his shoulders in response. “Stalking, creepily staring, I don’t see the difference.”
“I wasn’t staring, I was-“
“Admiring her?” Patrick glared at him and pushed past him, speed walking to his next class. Pete was right behind him, ready to plead his case. “Come on, Patrick, it’s only a matter a time before she finds out that you like her.”
“No, it won’t because I’m not going to tell her-and neither will you unless you want your ass to be beaten.”
“My ass will stay intact, but your eyes won’t if you keep staring at her like that. I feel like they’re going to fall out of their sockets.
“Leave me alone, Pete.” Patrick sped up in order to avoid another one of his talks about Ruth. Luckily for Patrick, he was almost to his class.
Pete called out right before Patrick entered the class. “I will if you ask her out!”
Patrick walked out of Pre-Calculus only to see Pete waiting for him. He was leaning against the wall next to the door with a grin on his face. “So, you have AP Literature next, don’t you?” Patrick blinked in response. “Ruth is in that class, right?”
Patrick closed his eyes in annoyance. “Yes.”
Pete’s smile got bigger and he gave Patrick a Pat on the back. “It’s the perfect place to ask her out.”
“Pete, it’s AP Literature,” Making sure he put emphasis on the AP part. “It’s not romantic and Mr. Falciani teaches the class. Even if I wanted to ask her out, I wouldn’t be able to. He’s like a hawk.”
“Really, Patrick? Have you never heard of passing a note in class?”
Patrick eyes narrowed into slits. “Of course, Pete.”
“Then write a note unless you have the guts to take out your phone during class and text her.” He grinned, knowing Patrick would never break that rule.
“I’ll write her the damn note.” He left Pete leaning on the wall and practically ran to class.
“Slow down, speed racer.” Patrick turned towards the voice he knew so well. Ruth smiled at him. She was wearing her red bow which made Patrick remember that Christmas Eve is tomorrow.
“Sorry, I was in a hurry.”
“You can never be late to class. You’re such a nerd.” Patrick couldn’t help but smile at her comment. Sure, it annoyed him when Pete said it, but it sounded endearing when she said it, like she was proud of him for being a nerd.
“That I am. We should take our seats.” Ruth nodded and they sat in the back like they usually did in order to avoid Mr. Falciani. Once the whole class was seated, Mr. Falciani went on rambling about homework and handing in quality work. Patrick tuned him out and started to focus on what he was going to write in the note. Hey, do you want to go out? Hi, want to go out? Would you like to go out with me on Christmas? Patrick sighed in frustration and glanced at Ruth. She was also not paying attention. He knew that if he was not listening, then she definitely wasn’t listening. He looked at his notebook, opened it, and quietly ripped out a page. He decided to start out small. He wrote, “What are you doing on Christmas?” He folded up the note and passed it to her. Ruth snapped out of her daydream and answered the note. “Nothing, I’m just hanging out with family.” Patrick wanted to hit himself for being so stupid. Of course she’s going to hang out with her family; it’s Christmas! “If it’s okay with your family, do you want to hang out?” Ruth smiled when she got the note and passed it back to him without answering. Patrick looked at her in confusion. “Yes.” She mouthed. At that moment, Patrick found it hard to suppress the big smile that took over his face.
Pete ran up to Patrick right after to class, trying to get to him before Ruth came out, but they came out together. “Hey guys.” He said, greeting them. They both turned their attention to Pete, halting the conversation they were engrossed in.
“Hey, Pete. How is life treating you?” Pete grinned at Patrick before answering Ruth. Patrick’s eyes widened knowing what Pete was going to say.
“It’s treating me like a God. How is it treating you?”
Ruth let out a small chuckle. “That’s adorable; you think you’re a God.” Ruth spoke as if she were talking to a six year old.
Pete let out a dry laugh and crossed his arms.
“Oh, don’t be such a baby. I’m doing fine, thank you for asking.” She smiled.
“So, has Patrick asked you out yet?’ Pete asked, making Patrick’s heart skip three beats.
Ruth looked confused and looked at Patrick before looking back at Pete. “If you mean that we’re hanging out on Christmas, then yes.”
“Yes! Yes, that’s what you mean,” Patrick forced a smile at Pete. “Don’t you, Pete?”
“Yeah, of course. Anyway, Patrick and I are having practice with Andy and Joe. Do you want to come?”
Ruth looked at Pete as if he were stupid. “When have I ever missed a Fall Out Boy practice?”
Pete nodded. “You have a point. Be there or be square.” Ruth pursed her lips as Pete walked away from them.
“And you’ve been friends with that guy since birth?”
Patrick nodded “Sadly.” Ruth chuckled and linked arms with him, making Patrick warm inside.
“Guess what we have this period.” Ruth grinned mischievously as they walked down the hallway, making their way through the crowd of kids.
“Gym.” Patrick held on to his glasses with his free hand to prevent them from falling off.
“Which means?” Ruth was practically bursting with excitement.
“I hate Madball.”
The ball flew past Ruth and hit Patrick on the side of his face, his glasses falling from the impact. Ruth’s hands flew up to her mouth in surprise. It took her a minute for her to realize what happened before she went to Patrick’s aid. She picked up Patrick’s glasses and put them in her red hoodie in order to examine his face. “Are you okay?” Her hands were on either side of his face, her thumbs touching his blonde sideburns. One blue eye looked at her brown ones, showing that his other eye had been hurt from the ball. “Can you open your other eye?” Patrick’s left eye opened a little; tears were from falling from it, making the eye glisten.
“That hurt,” were the first words that came out of his mouth. Ruth smiled in sympathy and released her hands from his face. Patrick’s hand flew up to his eye and wiped the tears from it.
“Great. Now I’m crying from one eye. This is why I hate Madball. It makes people cry from one eye.” Ruth chuckled at Patrick’s dumb joke.
“I have your glasses.” Ruth pulled them out of her hoodie and handed them to him.
“Thanks. It would be difficult to see without them.” He smiled knowing Ruth would reply with a sarcastic comment. And to satisfaction, she did.
“Really? I didn’t notice.” Patrick laughed and looked around, finding out that no one cared that he got hit.
“I get hit, cry from one eye, and nobody cares.” Ruth chuckled and fixed his trucker hat.
“They’re all assholes anyway. Besides, I care.” She stated, looking into his eyes. Patrick found himself getting timid from her stare. If she looked at him any longer, he would start to stutter and eventually lose his ability to speak.
“Thanks. Um, can we just go to Pete’s now?
“Don’t you want to go to lunch?”
“Nah, we’ll just eat out of his fridge. He doesn’t mind. Plus, I don’t want to be here any longer.” Ruth nodded her head in agreement.
By the time they stopped talking to each other, the game had ended. It was only then that people started to ask Patrick if he was okay and apologized for not stopping the game when he got hit.
“Well, at least they kind of care.” Ruth pointed out.
“Yeah, after the game ends.”
“True, but they apologized. That’s got to be worth something.”
“At least it didn’t hit your throat or your mouth. You wouldn’t be able to sing. Now, that would be tragic.” Patrick shrugged.
“The band could have gone on without me.” Ruth just stared at him.
“Of course they could have, the band doesn’t need a lead vocalist.” She said sarcastically.
“They don’t. They could be an instrumental band.”
They approached Pete’s doorstep and Patrick knocked. A guy with a curly fro opened the door.
Ruth greeted him, unlike Patrick who had just walked past him.
“Hey Trohman.” She smiled.
“Hey Ruth,” He said, pulling her into a hug. “What’s his deal?”
“He got hit with the ball.”
Joe shrugged. “So?”
“In the face.” Joe held back a snicker and invited her in.
They walked into the house, seeing Patrick had joined Pete and Andy. Patrick was eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He also made one for Ruth and handed it to her.
“No problem.” His answer came out muffled. Ruth laughed and took a bite of her sandwich.
“Hey, Andy.” She greeted the guy with the red shoulder length hair with glasses.
“Hey, Ruth. How did gym treat you?”
“Really well.” She swallowed and took another bite of her sandwich.
“However,” Joe interjected. “It didn’t treat dear Patrick so well.”
“Do tell, Trohman.” Andy turned to Joe to listen to him. Patrick rolled his eyes and went into the fridge to grab two bottles of water; one for him and one for Ruth.
“Patrick got hit in the face playing Madball.”
Pete and Andy covered their mouths to stop themselves from laughing.
Patrick got the bottles and handed one of them to Ruth. “Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. Come on guys; let’s get the laughs out so we can be done with this.”
Once Patrick gave them permission, there was a burst of laughter from everyone, including from Ruth. But she was just laughing because of everyone else. Patrick just stood there and waited for everyone to stop laughing. When they did, Patrick looked around.
“So, we’re done? Can we practice now?”
“Of course, Trick. You know we love you.” Pete put an arm around Patrick.
Together, Pete and Patrick led the group to the basement. Everything was set up. The microphone stand was in front of the other instruments: Pete’s bass, Joe’s guitar, and Andy’s drums. Ruth sat on the couch that was conveniently placed in front of the band’s equipment. She set her peanut butter and jelly sandwich on her lap and drank some water as the guys were plugging in the amps and making sure everything was in order before they started playing. Once everything was in place, Patrick took his position behind the microphone.
After forty five minutes of songs, it was time for the band to play Ruth’s favorite song. The opening of “Homesick at Space Camp” flowed through her ears and her body reacted to the beat.
After a few seconds, Patrick’s angelic voice filled the room with the first verse. “Landing on a runway in Chicago and I'm grounding all my dreams of ever really seeing California, because I know what's in between is something sensual in such non-conventional ways.”
She watched the band in awe as they played in sync. “Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say. Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say. (Tonight I’m writing you) A million miles away. Tonight is all about "We miss you." (Miss you, miss you, miss you) Tonight is all about "We miss you now.”
Patrick grabbed a hold of Ruth’s attention as he sang the next verse: “And I can't forget your style and your cynicism; somehow it was like you were the first to listen to everything we said.” His smiled at the single audience member as he sang; His eyes stared into Ruth’s as the words flowed out of mouth knowing this verse was dedicated to her. Patrick had written this song with Pete. He pointed at Ruth as he sang the next line, not knowing that it was making her melt. “My smile's an open wound without you...and my hands are tied to pages inked to bring you back.”
He felt warmth inside as he watched her sing the chorus with him; he never lost eye contact with her. “Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say (Tonight I'm writing you) A million miles away. Tonight is all about "We miss you." (Miss you, miss you, miss you) Tonight is all about "We miss you" now.”
Patrick’s break in the song came and he felt very shy; he had never acknowledged Ruth in a song, especially in a song about her. He just looked straight ahead and sang because, as ironic as it was, he didn’t like performing in front of people. Ruth was a small exception. Still, she made him nervous because of the way she looked at him. He let the guys take the next line, “These friends are, new friends are golden. These friends are, new friends are golden.” He took a small breath before he joined them. “These friends are, new friends are golden. These friends are, new friends are.” He stopped singing and bobbed his head to the music his friends were making before singing again.
“Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say. Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say. Tonight the headphones will deliver you the words that I can't say. These friends are, new friends are golden.”
As Patrick and the other members of the band sang the verse, he noticed the huge grin on her face. He felt proud knowing he was the one who put it there.
“Absolutely amazing, guys.” She glanced at Patrick as she said it. “And Pete, those are beautiful lyrics.”
Pete took off his bass and swung his arm around Patrick.
“Thanks, but I can’t take all the credit. Patrick wrote it with me.” Patrick shook his head with vigor.
“No, I didn’t. Pete wrote this all by himself.”
“No, I didn’t. He wrote it with me. That’s probably why it’s your favorite song. It has a bit of Patrick in it.” Patrick felt the blush rise to his pale cheeks. He looked over at Ruth and knew she felt the same. Everyone could feel the awkwardness of the moment.
“Yeah, okay. Ruth, I’ll walk you home.” Ruth chuckled and started saying her goodbyes. She hugged all the guys before leaving.
“Don’t you think it’s stupid to walk me when I only live a block away?”
“How many times have you asked me this, Ruth?”
“And why do I always say?"
“I rather look stupid than leave you alone.”
Patrick nodded. “Exactly.”
“What are you doing for Christmas Eve?” She stuffed her hands in her pockets so they wouldn’t be so cold.
“I’m buying presents.”
“The day before Christmas? Don’t you think it’s a little late to be doing that?”
“Yep, it gives me a sense of urgency. I find presents faster that way.”
“Whatever you say, Trick.”
Once they got to her door, they hugged. “See you on Christmas.”
“Goddamn it, Pete. I can’t find a present for her anywhere.” Patrick and Pete had looked all over the mall to find Ruth’s Christmas present. The last place they hadn’t looked is in Hot Topic. “Pete, I am going to freak out if I can’t find her a present.”
Pete trailed behind Patrick holding a number of bags in both hands. His green scarf was swinging from left to right each time he took a step towards the store.
“Damn, Patrick. Can’t you help me?” Patrick whipped around and faced his best friend.
“I’m sorry, Pete. I just have to find her the perfect present.” Pete sighed and carefully set the bags on the floor.
“She will love anything that you give her because it will come from you, Patrick. You’re the one that’s lovable, not the present. The present will help though.”
Patrick chuckled and picked up several of the bags. “Thanks, Pete, but I would like to get her something meaningful.”
“And you think you can find something meaningful at Hot Topic?”
Patrick frowned. “You have a point.”
“We can still try, Trick. And there are other stores we can go to. This is not the only mall in New York.”
“It’s okay. If we don’t find it in here, we don’t have to go anywhere else.”
“Alright, man.” They walked into the dark and dreary store, searching for Ruth’s perfect gift. They looked through the several displays trying to find something she would like. Pete went to the back and looked through the band shirts, hoping he would find a My Chemical Romance or Panic! at the Disco shirt. Patrick looked in the front and sifted through the accessories, getting a little scared by the chokers and the spikes.Patrick called out to Pete to see if he was having any luck.
“I’m not finding anything, unless you’re planning to torture her.”
Patrick would have laughed at his joke if he weren’t on a mission to find something for the girl he likes.
“I don’t know, Pete. Maybe we should just give up.”
“I won’t let you. We’re going to find something, I promise.”
Patrick sighed and decided to talk to the employee behind the counter.
“What would you get a girl as a gift?”
“I don’t know.”
“You’re a great help.” Patrick muttered. He looked down at the glass case beneath him and fixated on an item. “Pete!”
Pete ran from the back of the room to the front. “What? Where’s the fire?”
Patrick eagerly pointed to the glass case. Pete crouched down and saw what Patrick was seeing. “That’s perfect!”
“Merry Christmas!” Patrick shouted into the phone, making Ruth a little more awake than she was a minute ago.
“Merry Christmas, Patrick.” He smiled at the sleepy sound of her voice.
“Are you ready to open up your presents?”
“Once I’m fully awake and choose to get up from my bed.” Patrick laughed thinking how he couldn’t wait to see her.
“Okay. Well, you better be ready to hang out later.”
“I can’t wait.” Patrick grinned at her answer, already picturing her face when she receives her gift.
Patrick watched Ruth as she exited her house. She was looking especially Christmassy. Even though it was cold, she was wearing a red dress that went down to her knees paired with matching colored converse. She wore it with a black jacket that accentuated her waist; she topped it all off with a red bow in her hair. He thought she looked beautiful.
“Hey, Trick.” She approached him in all her glory.
“Merry Christmas,” Patrick opened his arms and pulled Ruth in for a hug. She happily embraced him, knowing he would appreciate it.
“So, what are we doing?” She asked as they pulled away.
Patrick grinned. “We’re going to Toys ‘R Us. “
“Really? To do what?”
“Not so tough, are you, Stump?” Ruth stomped on the arrows as they lit up, making the game compliment her with sayings like “Yeah, you got it!” and “You’re a natural!” Patrick couldn’t keep up with Ruth; she was the Dance Dance queen.
“Maybe…not” He panted, trying to keep up with the directions the arrows were showing him. Ruth laughed at Patrick’s attempt to try and beat her. He looked like he was trying so hard and she wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
“Ca-can we take a break?” Patrick had already stopped moving and removed himself from the platform. Ruth shrugged and jumped off of the platform.
“Are you okay?” Patrick was bent over and clutching his knees.
“It’s just-as you can see,” he panted, “I don’t work out.” Ruth chuckled and helped him stand straight. She took off his hat so he wouldn’t sweat so much. She also slicked back his hair so he could get some air, even though she doesn’t like touching guys when they’re sweating. “Thanks.” Patrick grinned. She’s amazing. I don’t know how I’m best friends with such a perfect person.
“Do you want to leave and go get some fresh air?” Patrick nodded.
“Yeah, there’s a park near here. Let’s take a walk.” They left the Toys ‘R Us and walked towards the park.
“Sorry about that. I suck at exercising.” Ruth shook her head.
“It’s okay. Hey, Trick?”
“Is ‘Homesick at Space Camp’ about me? I mean, I don’t want to sound conceited or arrogant, but Pete said that you wrote it with him.”
Patrick felt himself freeze. He didn’t want to tell her, but he did. He was scared. But Ruth was waiting for an answer and he had to provide one for her. That’s why he asked her out in the first place.
“Yeah.” He said softly. “All of it is about you.” He didn’t want to look at Ruth. He didn’t want to face rejection, but most of all; he didn’t want to lose his best friend. All those thoughts were put to rest when Ruth pulled him in for a kiss. His arms immediately circled around her waist and kept her close to him. He adored the feeling of her soft lips on his; she tasted of vanilla and it was the best vanilla he had ever tasted. He missed the taste of her when she pulled away from him. She had a smile on her face and he felt like he was on top of the world.
“Wow. You liked my song that much?” Ruth chuckled and softly punched his shoulder. Patrick grabbed her hand as he was going back to her waist and intertwined it with his hand. He grinned at her and kissed her cheek.
“Well, aren’t we confident?” Ruth joked.
“You give me confidence. And I don’t care how cheesy that sounds.”
“So you know it sounds cheesy?”
Patrick grinned at her. “Yes, Ruth. I know it’s cheesy.”
“So, were you hoping I liked you back?”
“That’s a good line. You should tell Pete to use that in a song.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” He smiled.”
“I want to give you something.” He led her to a bench in the park and had her sit down.
“Are you proposing to me, Mr. Stump?” Patrick chuckled and pulled out the black box wrapped with a red ribbon.
“Not yet, Ms. Vidal.”
“EW, don’t call me by my last name.”
“Oh, but you can call me by my last name?”
“Yep. I’m cool like that.”
“You wish, but since it’s Christmas, I’ll let you think whatever you want.” Ruth smiled, knowing she had defeated him.
Patrick placed the box on her lap, letting her decide whether she wants to open it now or later. Ruth started with the red ribbon. Patrick knew her well; it was wise to give her gift that included red. She pulled it off and opened the box, revealing red wrapping paper. She chuckled and removed the paper revealing a blood red necklace. She let out a small gasp and looked up into Patrick baby blues. He smiled at her. “Do you like it?”
“Of course. I love it, Patrick. Thank you.” She pulled out the necklace and admired the glisten of the heart. The deep red just made her fall in love with it.
“It’s beautiful. Just like you.”
“Shut up, Patrick.” She chuckled. “You know I don’t take compliments very well.”
Patrick made her stand up and turn around so he could put the necklace on.
“Well, you’re going to have to get used to it if you’re going to be my girlfriend.” Patrick put the necklace around her neck and secured it. She turned around and wrapped her arms around his neck, her eyes looking into his.
“So, what does this mean?
“Figuratively, it means you have my heart.” Ruth would have replied with a sarcastic comment but her heart was too consumed with his sweet words. She smiled and kissed his cheek.
“And you have mine. Merry Christmas, Patrick.”
"Merry Christmas, Ruthie."