When sixth period English ended at three o'clock, so did the school day. A nervous Kent walked up to Melanie as they were exiting the classroom and pulled her aside. She was dressed in a pink blouse and blue jeans, the former so quintessentially female it instantly made him think of Holly. Because she was starting to become the perfect woman, the one to which all others are compared to.
"Melanie," Kent said, "when I told you that I liked Holly, did you believe me?"
"You didn't tell me that you liked Holly," she replied. "You told me that you liked Claire."
A second later, Kent realized what had just happened, and he grumbled incoherently but accordingly. "Oh, no," he then said.
"Freudian slip?" she asked.
"No," Kent sighed, deciding to accept the inevitable. The inevitable that too much Gilmore Girls and the overreaction to Tom and Rusty's claims had forced upon him. With his own "I like Alexis Bledel" state of mind and their constant "you like Holly because she looks like Alexis Bledel" arguments, sooner or later Kent was going to end up in a corner with Holly. Of course, there was also Holly's Australian heritage, angelic demeanor, dazzling blue eyes, and divinely sculpted body. Even she couldn't have avoided such attractive features. He did love her for all these things. He just wished he could control the gravitational-caliber pull they had on him. If he could, maybe his rocket would finally be able to blast its way over to Claire, but alas, the required escape velocity was just too high. "No," he repeated. "It wasn't a Freudian slip."
"For what it's worth, then, I didn't believe you."
"I think I kind of already knew that, too," Kent said. "Mostly because when we first spoke about this, you thought I did like her."
"And you just admitted that you do," Melanie said. "Which means I was right."
"Does it still bother you that she's in dance? Or, and I'm just throwing this out there, does it only make you like her more?"
"Why would having the girl I like," Kent said, shocked that he was now saying such a thing about Holly out loud, "dancing around onstage scantily clad in front of everybody make me like her more?"
"Well, several reasons," Melanie said. "Number one: your attraction to her obviously has a sexual element to it. And there she is, wearing tight, naughty clothing for you. It doesn't take a genius to figure that one out."
"Okay," Kent nodded. But then there was the issue of him not being the only man in her presence during said scantily clad performance. If either him or her was alone, it would make her more like a stripper, but that was its own issue. Melanie addressed this with her next point.
"Number two: yes, she's showing a fair amount of skin in front of a bunch of other people besides you. However, if you're dating her, you have every right to turn to the other guys drooling over her and tell them, 'yeah, she's mine.'" She smiled. "Do you see what I'm getting at?"
"I am," Kent said, and knowing he could potentially crush another suitors' heart was a confidence-inspiring thought, but one that both he and Melanie knew he wouldn't really act on anyway.
"But I know you. You wouldn't go bragging about who you're with. You're too nice. Anyway, number three: this may or may not be the same thing as number two, but ask yourself: what would feel like to be the first one Holly runs into the arms of when the show is done? It's a special feeling."
"Can I ask you a question?"
"You just did."
"I mean another one?"
"You just did."
"A third…fourth one?"
"Yes, you can."
"Um, if someone let it slip that a guy had a sexy fantasy about you, how would it make you feel about the guy?"
"Crap," Melanie said.
"No, that's not it at all! Kent, did someone…it was Rusty, wasn't it? You told Rusty about a fantasy you had about Holly, and then he decided to just let it out right in front of her? And Claire, too, right?"
"I ran away after that," Kent said. "I couldn't take it. I thought she would think less of me."
"Honestly, Kent, I'd be flattered if a guy had a fantasy about me," Melanie said, an instant pain reliever. "I mean, as long as he's a nice guy like you and not some jerk. And if I know Holly, she's not going to care what kind of dirty thoughts you had about her."
"She almost kissed me today."
"And then you got ahead of yourself and she started to do a whole lot more?"
"You're good," Kent said. "You're like a benevolent Samara."
"So now what are you going to do?"
"Something I should have done already," he replied. "I've got to go." He said goodbye to Melanie and hurried over to the hallway where Holly, Rusty, and Claire met after school.
Upon arriving there, he acted quickly, stopping Holly midway through the combination lock to grab her by the upper arms, turn her around to face him, and then say, "You have breasts."
The backpack dropped out of her hands and she lunged forward to kiss him. She pushed him up against the wall behind him, mussing his hair while he rubbed her back and shoulders.
Thankfully, that fantasy ended right there, without the removal of any clothing.
"I have never been more turned on than I am right now," Holly said. Looking into those eyes of hers, he wanted to believe it, but just couldn't. All he did was acknowledge the enlarging presence of mammary glands in her chest. It was, after all, just human anatomy. If the mere vocal recognition of her girl parts was enough to arouse her, surely a pretty girl like herself would be a lot less innocent right now, but knowing her less than a week was still enough time for him to learn that Holly was in fact as pure as new-fallen snow, so much so that her last name was a tell-all to any doubters.
Figuring he had nothing to lose, Kent took things a step further when he added, "You have a vagina, too," which he felt incredibly stupid and rude for saying.
"And you have a penis," she said, an encore of what she'd said at lunch.
He let go of her gently, apologizing, but as usual she thought nothing of it. Stop being so damn sweet! Kent thought. Nothing's supposed to be this simple. Kent was starting to think that if he'd said the words, she would have sex with him no questions asked. Never had being with one's dream girl seemed so unfair. Life was supposed to be cruel, unforgiving, and at home and with other people, this was largely the case, but not with Holly. Had he pulled a Savage Garden, knowing he loved her before he met her and dreaming her into life?
"Subtlety," she said.
"Huh?" Kent replied.
"Earlier you wanted to know about subtlety. Or my lack thereof."
"Oh, right. Well, it's no big deal, you can forget I ever asked."
"Why? Did you figure it out?"
"No," Kent said.
"Oh, come on!" Rusty shouted. "Do I have to spell it out for you?!"
"Don't," Holly said, lifting an immaculate finger at her friend.
"Yeah," Kent added. "What's wrong with a little mystery around her?"
"The thing about unsubtle things is that they're not mysteries, you idiot," Claire said.
"Well, this one is to me, and I like it that way."
"And I like that you like it that way," Holly smiled. Perfection wasn't supposed to exist, but the more he looked at her, the more Kent found proof. "It makes you unique."
"No, Holly, you're uniqueness personified." Here it comes, Kent thought: the hyperbolic praise of the woman of your dreams. Take a deep breath, try not to get carried away, or you'll make a much bigger fool out of yourself than you have to. "Earlier when I said you didn't stand out in a crowd, I was wrong. I take that back."
"Was that supposed to be a compliment?" Rusty asked, and in retrospect, he had a point, but as Kent was about to explain, none of that mattered now.
"Holly, and I just love saying your name, it's a mystery now how I'm even able to take my eyes off you. You're nothing short of a goddess." He swallowed; this ridiculous declaration was about to become even more absurd, and yet it all felt so true, and to say it out loud cleansed his aching soul. He took her right hand and clasped it between his own hands. "You are the most beautiful girl I've ever met, the most perfect being on the planet, and I'm humbled to be your presence."
She smiled that glorious smile, and with her eyes told him how much she anticipated a continuation of this acclaim, but the more time passed, the more intense his emotions became, and the harder he found it to say them out loud. He had to stop himself. He'd already said too much.
Quickly he released her soft hand from his grip and took a few steps back. "Um…" he said nervously, "I'll see you tomorrow. Okay?"
"Okay," she said, smiling coyly.
Continuing to back away, he made his way up the stairs and towards the door out into the quad, and this risky behavior was made truly dangerous when he decided to keep talking. "I mean, I'll see all three of you, not just you, um, Holly. So, uh…bye then…." Having now reached the door, he bolted away, only to forget about the short stairway he'd ascended to get up to the door in the first place a few minutes ago. He yelped and tripped down the stairs, and from the hallway he could hear Holly gasp, but like similar incidents in many a comedy, he raised a hand (which they probably couldn't see) and shouted back to them, "I'm okay!"
"Okay," he heard Holly reply.
Back on his feet, Kent smirked at his own foolishness and at the ease with which Holly took his ridiculous overstatements, and he ran over to Tom, waiting as always near the area where the two of them typically had lunch, for much-needed advice about what the hell he'd just gotten himself into.