Written by Ivica F. CM and all of its parts are owned by Vince Suzukawa,
and have been used with permission. All original characters are my own.
I'd just like to say that this story has no (repeat NO) effect on the CM comic, and has been done independently.
Comments, suggestions and criticism? Send it in to me, Ivica Folnovic
Now on with the story.
"Danged laces." Mikey grumbled as he knelt to tie his shoe. These shoes are just falling apart, he thought, maybe its time for new ones. Or he could just duct tape the laces onto the shoe, and just wait it out. He chuckled quietly to himself at the thought, and decided to schedule a little trip to the mall as soon as a time slot could be found.
Satisfied with the knot, Mikey would have rose to continue his morning jog, had not some unseen object crashed into his body. He laid stunned on the sidewalk for a second or two.
"Oh my! Excuse me!" Said a lovely feminine voice. A hand extended to the kangaroo, and before he was hoisted up, he looked at the body attached to the arm.
She was a lovely lupine, with everything seeming to be perfect, her body, her face, everything. Her face was blessed with a pair of hypnotic blue eyes, which Mikey could not help but to fall deep into. Her tail was swaying lightly, and just as hypnotically as her eyes. She smiled. Perfect teeth too.
"Sorry about that. Didn't see you. Name's Laura Fishburn." The same hand that brought Mikey to his feet shook his hand enthusiastically.
"Michael Hopkins." He shook back, her eyes leaving him speechless.
"Yeah, I know." How? "My roommate- you know her? Name's Kris. Anyways, she told me that I was just as loony as 'that Mike guy', jogging at this time."
"And you just figured that 'that Mike guy' was me?"
"Uh huh." She said, nodding at the same time.
"I haven't seen you around. New here?" Mikey knew that it was pathetic small talk, but he couldn't have her leave.
"Yeah, I- we, my family- moved here. Dad got transferred. We lived in Washington before. I didn't get a chance to register with any of the schools up there, and so I'm here." Mikey listened intently to the responding small talk. Maybe Laura didn't want to leave either.
A soft beeping suddenly interrupted the conversation. Laura looked up at her watch and gasped. "Jeez. Listen Mike, I've gotta go. Something I promised my roommate."
"Well, maybe I'll see you 'round."
"Hope so. I'll pay more attention next time." She laughed. "Bye." And with that she was gone. Mike had little time to simply say "Bye." To the retreating form's back.
Mikey stood motionless for a few moments, and continued his daily routine. Throughout the dawn, his mind would not stray from the lupine's face, and the oh so deep blue eyes.
Scott was interrupted mid-stretch by the dorm room's door creaking in. His roommate broke the protruding crack of light and stepped into the room. An odd, out of place grin was on his face.
"Hey Mikey, what are you so happy about? Did you run an extra mile or something?" The lizard joked.
"Or something. Met someone." The grin never faltered; it seemed to grow, as if Mikey was remembering the person. He was.
"You're kidding. Someone as insane as you to be up that early?"
"I don't see what's so insane about getting up at five and getting the day started with." Scott could only laugh. He took a quick gaze at the bedside clock revealed that the time was seven.
"My fine marsupial, it's seven in the morning, and I can hardly stay upright." He finished his stretch, as if to prove something and then dropped back onto the bottom bunk.
"Believe what you want to. I think its laziness." Was Mikey's response.
"Tell Kevin that."
Scott sat up. "Tell me about this someone," he said, raising an eyebrow. "Is she pretty?"
Even the mention of 'she' seemed to have an effect on the kangaroo. "Yes, she is," he said, his voice becoming dreamy, under a tone of sarcasm. "But I only talked to her for a few seconds."
"Does this lovely lady have a name?"
"Laura." That was it. Mikey just seemed to melt right there.
"Laura..." Scott said, repeating it a few times in an attempt to jog his memory. "She's that new girl. Canine, right? Yeah. She's a floor down."
Mike perked up. "How do you know that?" Scott could easily hear excitement in his voice.
"It pays to listen to the conversations of women, my boy."
"Well, thanks. That may prove helpful." Mikey was having a difficult time hiding immense joy. His insides were going into Fourth of July mode. He decided to end the conversation now, and went out of the room, after grabbing his essential books and daytimer.
Meanwhile, Scott's brain was scheming. This was one of those things that wasn't meant to be a secret. "And besides," he said aloud to no-one, "He never said that it was to remain between just us."
"You've got to be kidding me!" Cried Kevin. His eyes were huge, and with the grin on his face, he could have eaten a banana sideways. "We're talking about Mikey Hopkins, the I-don't-have-time-for-a-social-life Mikey?!"
"One and the same." Replied Scott. His face had a large grin too, as did everyone else in Room 303.
"So what did he tell you?" asked Brad.
"Nothing. If anything interesting happened, he didn't say."
"Him being attracted to someone is interesting enough." Laughed the feline.
"Her name is Laura, she's that new girl, came in from Washington. He knew less about her than I did. But he's hooked. I don't think I've ever seen him that interested in anything, let alone a person."
Tony, who had remained quiet the whole time (but still had a small smirk on his face) finally spoke up. "Y'know, I think it's great. He needs something to take his mind off of work. But I'm a little worried."
"Bout what?" Asked Brad.
"Lisa finding out..."
Laura was in her room, getting ready for the day. She stood in front of the pre-supplied vanity, while her roommate Kris stood impatiently beside her. "Hey Kris, you know that Mike you told me about?"
The ermine waited for a second. "Yeah. Did you meet him or something?"
"Uh huh. Ran into him would be the correct way to put it." She took another brush of her hair and continued. "You never mentioned that he's cute."
Kris couldn't help but giggle. "You really think so?"
"You sound surprised." Laura glared at Kris sarcastically.
"Well, you know, its not like he doesn't catch my eye either, but he's too busy for anyone."
"How can anyone be too busy for anyone?"
"His schedule keeps him moving a full sixteen hours a day."
"And the other eight?"
"He's a health freak. He spends those either sleeping or jogging. Did you know that Lisa, she lives a couple doors down from him, has been trying to get his attention since she's first laid eyes on him?"
"And how has she fared?"
"Not one date. He's just too detached."
"We'll just see how detached Mr. Hopkins can be..." smirked Laura, a crafty look leaping onto her lupine face.
There was no way to describe how Lisa felt when Tony broke the news to her. One had to deal with it in layers. She was filled with a kind of jealous hatred, but even she knew that it was superficial. Deep down, she was glad that Mikey might possibly return to reality. Deeper still, of course, she wanted to rip his throat out, and Laura's too. And as deep as you could get, she was disappointed. She was sad, to the point of being hurt that all her attempts were for naught. At the least, she thought, Tony was the one that told her. Had anyone else done it, someone would have likely lost an internal organ.
"I just don't know what to do." She said to Cindy. And it was true. For the first time in a while, she felt lost.
"You could just tell him how you feel." Was all that Cindy could say.
"Don't get me wrong, I don't mind him being attracted to someone. But he's hardly acknowledged me all the time I've been here. He sees her for the first time, and BOOM, he's in love."
"You don't think it's fair."
"That's right." Lisa sighed.
"Just go up to his room, and tell him. He'll understand. It'll probably get a big load off your chest."
Lisa nodded in agreement. She got up off her bed, and proceeded to 302. At each step, she recited what she planned to say. If it worked out that nicely, she thought, I could get on with my life.
She finally reached the door. She politely knocked, and was slightly surprised that Mikey answered the door. She realized for some reason, she didn't want to go on. But she did.
"Lisa, hey, how're you doing? I was just getting some work done. Do you need anything?" Mikey was no different, his words still a mile a minute, he was still Mikey.
"I need to talk to you." When she said this, Mikey sighed. She knew that he knew what she wanted to say.
"It's about Laura isn't it."
Mikey nodded and let her in. His voice seemed to change. It transformed from the neutral, superficially caring sound to a more honest, regretful voice. "I'm not sure what to say. I guess you're probably angry."
"It's strange. I can't explain it."
"You don't need to. I hope she feels the same about you." Here it came. "But I need to know why you've never... noticed me."
The kangaroo sighed again. "I, I can't really explain it. I suppose that I've noticed you, but I've always thought of you as- how am I going to put this without sounding like a jerk? - As a friend. As someone who I could trust, and have faith in. I like you. Don't think there's something wrong with you, but, ah jeez, I simply can't explain it."
"I guess I see you're point." She did. He was just as confused as she was. There wasn't more left to say. "Thanks for clearing it up." Lisa smiled.
"Likewise. You've relieved me of a big burden. I was worrying about how you would take it." He smiled back.
"Thanks." She got up, and gave Mikey a quick, friendly kiss, and left. Lisa walked back to her room, back to her own, light-hearted self again.
***The Next Day***
Mikey was once again having his morning jog. Today, however, he had his eyes open, watching for any sign of Laura. He was so preoccupied with looking for her that he crashed into her.
"We've got to stop meeting like this." Said Laura, sucking in Mikey's attention like a magnet.
"Sorry." It was his turn to help her up, and he did so. "It's nice to meet you again." He noticed that whenever she was around, he changed, becoming slower, more deliberate.
"Same here." She smiled, "I couldn't get you off of my mind for some reason."
"Me too." This was only partially true. Mikey never tried to get her out of his mind. "I was wondering, what were you majoring in?" Let the worthless small talk begin. Delay the question.
"Biology. I'm also minoring in engineering. What about you?"
"I'm triple majoring." Mikey noticed a change in Laura's facial expression. Disbelief? "Physics, economics and music."
"Music? Do you have any musical talents?" The face changed back, and a smile was on her face.
"I sing. I can play the piano a little, but I haven't really gotten a chance to do the latter." He could feel the question burning a hole in his tongue.
"No kidding. I took lessons when I was five. I personally prefer the guitar."
The question, angered at being held back, finally sprang out of Mikey's lips. "Will you go out with me?" It seemed to shock him more than Laura, who was now wearing a grin on her face.
"I was wondering if you'd ask that. Sure. When?" Something Mikey hadn't planned on.
"Uh, I don't know, how does Thursday night sound?" A negative look was her response. "Friday?"
"Sure. See you at... shall we say six? I'll meet you outside the Hall's main doors." She took a quick glance at her watch, and went off, waving goodbye. Mikey waved back, knowing that she could not see him.
Friday. That gave him three days to get everything ready. Michael Hopkins, who had never been on a date in his life, now had to learn everything possible about the field in three days.
Could be worse, he smiled, she could have agreed to Thursday.
Kevin was sitting at his computer, the latest in violent games bleeding across the screen, when a knock came from the door.
"Tony? Would you get that?" No answer. Kevin smacked his forehead, remembering that Tony left an hour ago (was it that long? And for what?). He got up from his chair, and went to answer the now repetitive, rapid rapping (Every time I sit down and have fun...).
The door opened to reveal Mikey, grinning and, for a second, still knocking at the now empty space. "She said yes, and I need your help."
It didn't take a med major, let alone an engineering major, to figure out what Mikey was talking about. "So you've got a date. Why would you need help? And more importantly, why me?"
"I just figured that you would be the best one to turn to."
Kevin's ego decided to take control, hearing this. "I guess so." Was said with slightly false modesty. The brain couldn't take it, and snatched control back from the id, and Kevin was back to normal before anyone could notice. "But what do you need me to tell you? There's a lot to know."
"To put it simply, everything."
A whistle escaped Kevin's lips. "That's a good amount. When's the date set?"
"Friday, at six. I think I gave you ample time."
"But how much have you dated." Kevin retorted. The kangaroo didn't reply. A sheepish look was on his face, which gave Kevin the answer as easily as the words. "So you can't really say you've given me a fair amount of time."
"Yeah. I guess so. Well then, can you at the very least tell me the necessities?"
The feline stopped a moment, and instead of pondering the question, pondered why Mikey's words slowed down when excited, instead of the opposite. All for the better, I suppose, Kevin thought. "Come in and I'll see what I can do for you." He led Mikey into the messy depths of his room, and sat down in the still warm computer chair. Mikey took the bed.
Kevin took a deep breath and began.
Mikey could only regret not leaving more time in his schedule for this.
***Friday, AKA the Big Day***
Mikey stood at the doors, waiting. His palms were heavily greased with sweat, an incredibly large problem for someone with fur. She's just making you nervous, floated Kevin's voice inside his head. Mikey took a look at his watch. It wasn't even six. He would never make it that long.
He was dressed, at Kevin's advice, casually, but not ratty. Clean long jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, (new) shoes, etc. But the clothes did not help. Really, none of Kevin's words helped. It simply made things more complex. The end result left him more nervous than if he hadn't gone to him in the first place.
Mikey was leaning against the cold brick wall when his watched beeped, informing him that it was six o'clock on the dot. And, like a ghost, Laura was there. It gave Mikey chills, from both how eerie her sudden appearance was, as well as her still stunning looks. She too was dressed casually, and it made Mikey a little more confident. Just a little. As she talked to him, he could only smile and move his head.
"It's great to see you!" Nod. "Hope you haven't been waiting long." Shake. "So what do you have planned?" No possible head movement for this one.
"I really hadn't thought of anything." Not a lie. "Maybe just dinner and a walk in the park..." He decided that trailing off would be the best way to end the answer. Didn't sound to planned out, or to loose.
Laura smiled. "Sounds great." Then she let out another question that Mikey had to make a quick decision on: "Where?"
Mikey's brain went into overdrive, trying to think of a good, inexpensive restaurant before she realized he was flying blind. "Do you know that place out by the gym?" Long shot.
"No. I think I've heard about it. Place with the good milkshakes?"
"Where do you get all this information from?" he answered, smiling right back at Laura.
"Kris doesn't know just names."
So there the two were. They sat in a small booth. All the while, Mikey's head was filled with Kevin's voice, dictating what to do. Say this, don't say that, act empathetic... now, etc. etc. etc. But he found it better just to shut out his friend's voice. After all, the first thing Kevin said was 'be yourself.'
"So you're really triple majoring?" She asked between bites of a massive hamburger.
"You heard right the first time." He was at the other side of the booth, a simple salad sitting before him.
"I know. I can imagine double-majoring, I've thought about it myself, but a triple seems like too much."
"Really, it's no different than getting up at five and jogging, and you and I both do that." A brief pause "You've got ketchup on your chin."
Laura made a quick wipe. "Thanks. Seriously though, with your schedule, have you had any fun recently?"
"Does this date count?" From Laura's reaction (modest smile), Mikey saw that he said the right thing. To a degree, anyways. Take that, Kevin. "No, not really, I guess. Tell me this though, what qualifies as fun?"
"The usual. Clubbing, parties, movies. C'mon, don't tell me that with all of the people you hang out with, you don't do any of that." Laura's expression changed to more like one of disbelief. Moreso when Mikey replied:
"And if I do tell you that?"
Laura didn't respond. She sat in her seat for a second, and dropped a few bills on the table. Then she grabbed Mikey by the arm and they promptly left their half-eaten meals behind in the pursuit of Laura's idea of fun.
They stopped walking when they reached a small street corner. Although the sun was still up in the sky, the sidewalk was bathed in the prismatic neon glow from the sign. Looking up at the sign, Mikey was blinded by the brilliant lights, and couldn't read it before he was dragged into its much darker innards.
Inside, the sounds were as loud as the colors outside were bright. A bass-heavy, techno beat played while a variety of people danced to it. Offside there was a bar, and some tables set around the dance floor.
Laura, still holding tight to Mikey's wrist, began to drag him onto the dance floor. "Don't tell me you don't dance either."
"It's not that I don't, it's that I can't!" Mikey pleaded, silently cursing the zero-traction of his shoes on the floor.
Laura's unending, mischievous smile only replied: "Everybody has to learn sometime."
Unable to come up with a good defense, Mikey was brought onto the multicolor-lighted dance floor. The music changed from a rabid, techno beat to a slow dance. Laura got close to the shaking, nervous marsupial and began to show him basic steps.
"I know you're a natural athlete, so timing is easy for you. Just keep your feet close to mine." A few moments later, she continued. "Close, not on... Okay, better." She continued giving pointers, and soon Mikey's natural learning talent had enough. He was dancing as if he had always known how.
The song ended, and yet another repetitive electronica tune began its unending rhythm. Rather than continue teaching, she dragged him back off. His resistance was just as strong as before. "I've been told that women's minds are impregnable," she started, "but I can't imagine something more complex to understand than you."
"Well, now I'm enjoying myself." Was the reply. The speaker was now smiling. Laura smiled back
"Do you want to keep dancing?"
Suddenly, for no reason, Kevin began to creep back. Once again Mikey couldn't decide what to do. The voices, the voices. If you continue, you'll end up making a fool of yourself. If you don't she'll think you're no fun. Take your pick. He would have frozen up entirely had not Laura given him the suggestion.
"How about that walk?"
Mikey nodded, thanking God that he didn't have to answer. Whatever it would have been, he thought, it wouldn't have been gracefully done. The two got up and left the club as quickly as they had entered it.
Dusk was beginning to at last seize the day, but it made no difference to Mikey. For once he had slowed down. On the other hand, it wasn't very kind to just jog the last leg of the date. Inside the park (a favorite place of Laura's- she had suggested it), there was a minute, perfect lake. The sun gave a wonderful golden sheen to it, and Mikey could only wonder how he could not bother with things this nice. And to add a cherry to the top of his euphoria, he and Laura were walking hand in hand.
It was true that Kevin still plagued his mind, but everything clicked into place, and the constant, confusing voice took backseat in Mikey's current state of mind.
"Lovely." His awestruck vocabulary was quite limited at this time, but the word summed it up nicely.
"You think so?"
Mikey nodded softly. "I'd want to thank you for the good time. I don't do this much." Never. "Thanks."
"I've had fun too. We should do this again."
Mikey took no time in deciding whether or not to agree. And they continued to walk in the park, watching the sun go down. Anxious thoughts of another date flew through Mikey's head, shoving out the last remnants of Kevin.
Author's Notes: Yeah, it may be pointless, but it should help clear things
1. I'd like to stress again that this has NO effect on the strip. Laura will not make any appearances there.
2. That's another thing. Laura's name may seem odd. That's because it's too close to actor Lawrence Fishburne's name. This is coincidental, since I decided on a first name (inspired by looking through old PC Games magazines- figure it out), and her last name just 'popped.' I have no wish to change it.
3. I'm sorry if you read this expecting Shakespeare. I'm not quite at that level yet. Sorry for any disappointment.
4. I'm only a high school student, so anything I mess up is because I'm clueless about college (there's a name of a support group for you). If you have any corrections or points to make, send them in by all means. I would truly appreciate it.
5. Please please please! Send in comments! I need to know! You can be critical, but at the least I'd also like to request no flames.
6. The ending is kinda corny I'll admit, but romance isn't really my thing (my dating skills are at the same level as Mikey's FYI).
7. And finally, thanks to Vince, Telus (my ISP), Microsoft (for IE4 and Word, which this is typed upon), Furnation (for hosting CM) and you, for actually reading this far :)
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