Kisses Ain't For Bargain
(Commission for KillerMakaChop)
„You've gotta be kidding!“, Penny almost shouted across the school's hall. „Only four tickets? What in the world happened?“
With an embarrassed expression, Sally skimmed through the envelope again, which contained the long-awaited concert tickets for PowerHazard. „Yeah, the ticket service sent only four. I've called the service at once and they admitted the error. But they said they couldn't send another ticket, because the concert is sold out by now. They're paying the advance back, though.“
Penny gasped. This was a disaster. She and the gang were looking foward to watch PowerHazard live on stage since... well, since forever! Karma, Chastity, Daniel... They all had been so delighted after Sally had been able to get those tickets in time.
„What are we going to do now?”, Penny sighed. “We're five people, Sally, five! You know what that means: One of us is out!”
Sally shrugged. “Yeah, that's how it looks like.”
“Bet your butt, it does! Do you think anyone of us will volunteer to stay at home? No way! And I won't let myself force to miss PowerHazard either.”
“Me neither”, Sally replied determined. “It was the ticket service who fucked this up, not me. But someone has to stay at home. I guess, drawing straws is out of the question?”
Penny thought a moment, then she said: “How about a girls' night out? Us two, Kharma and Chastity?”
Sally blushed all over her face. “You mean, Daniel should lose out? Why?”
“Because he's a jerk. And it's not that I want to do this behind his back. Let's rally the other girls and talk to Daniel as a group. I think he'll understand. He's not that huge fan of PowerHazard. He's just coming along because he wants to be cool, I think...”
“Well, uhm...” Sally seemed not to feel comfortbale about this suggestion at all. “Okay, I'm with you. But you do the talking. I'm not good at bringing bad news, you know.”
Penny sighed again. “Oh that's just great! Alright, I'll talk to both Kharma and Chastity. You wait here until I'm back with the girls, got it?”
“Uhm, right here? Classes will start any minute...”
“You know what I mean, y'boob”, Penny snorted. “Just don't talk to Daniel until I'm back.”
Then she left Sally at her locker, looking for Chastity and Kharma. Hopefully, Sally wouldn't do something stupid regarding Daniel.
Sally watched Penny walking about, then she agitatedly shook her head. She couldn't believe that she just agreed to exclude Daniel on this activity. Her legs turned to jelly every time Sally thought about him. She had hopes to spend more time with him while at the concert.
But, on the other hand, she didn't want to let the girls down. Daniel's always been a jerk to all of them – a cutie of a jerk though – and she understood Penny's point. Maybe it was for the best – as long as Sally wouldn't have to deliver the bad news to Daniel.
“This day could really be better”, she muttered to herself as she closed her locker door. “Well, it could be worse...”
Sally stumbled backwards, when the cute, spectacled face framed by brown hair emerged behind the door. As always, Daniel was wearing one of his turtle neck sweaters. Sally gasped. How long had he been standing there? How much of the girls' conversation had he overheard?
“Oh!”, she said. “Good morning Dan! What's up?”
Daniel's cute eyes instantly went frosty. “Don't try to distract me, Sally. You're a bad liar anyway. I heard everything. You botched a simple task like ordering tickets and now you want to gang up on me to conceal your incompetence? I can't believe you'll make me the one to suffer.”
Sally stumbled back further until she was stopped by the wall. She desperately looked for somebody to help her out of this situation. But nobody in the hall was paying attention... We should they? As long as Sally wasn't screaming, nobody would care. But she didn't want to get Daniel into trouble because she looked for a way out of this awkward conversation.
“No I didn't...”, Sally tried to talk her way out. “I wasn't... I wouldn't...”
“Oh come on!” Daniel rolled his eyes. “I know, what I heard. You agreed to do this. And if the other girls agree to exclude me, I can't do anything about it. You're the one having the tickets and I can't possibly steal them from you. I can't demand one either because I still owe you the advance payment. You have the tickets, I'm at your mercy. My position is very unfavorable.”
So he admitted that he had no chance to get a ticket if Sally refused. Why didn't he just leave then? She was already blushing ro the roots of her hair.
“I-It's not decided yet”, she answered hastily. “If one of the other steps down, you can have her ticket.”
Daniel clicked with his tongue. “Oh Sally, you don't get it. You are in possession of the tickets. You could give them away to anybody of us you want. Isn't this a little arrogant of you to botch this up and then let the others choose who to exclude as long as it isn't you? Don't you feel bad about it?”
“Uhm...” Sally hesitated. Of course she felt bad to leave Daniel behind, as she would have about each other in the gang. But somebody had to... “A little.. yes...”
Sally became more nervous by the second. Would she get into trouble when Penny found out that she was talking to Daniel right now! But there was no way she could get away now. She had a feeling what Daniel was getting at, and maybe she should play along.
“Hey, I don't want you to stay behind, since you ordered the tickets and so”, Daniel went on. “But wouldn't it be fairer? Do you really want to leave me behind? Me?”
Sally looked away. Of course not! Daniel was the last she would drop. But she hated the idea to stay behind with nothing.
“W-What's in for me?”, Sally dared to ask.
“Pardon me?”, Daniel asked in surprise.
“I mean, if I hand over my ticket to you, I would have nothing. What would you give for me stepping down?” She hated to do this, especially without her friends knowing. But, on the other hand, she might please Daniel with it. Maybe she could express how she was feeling about him this way... “Doesn't need to be much, though.”
“You want a bargain?”, Daniel wondered, then smiled. “Well then... How about a kiss?”
Sally's blood went cold. What did he just say? She stared at Daniel in shock, unable to say anything.
“No?”, Daniel smirked. “I thought girls like to kiss boys?”
Sally gasped. Did he know about her crush on him? No, he still sounded like a jerk and a macho at that. But even if he was ignorant of her feelings, this was a one-time opportunity to get close to him. For that, she would even miss PowerHazard.
“Uhm, well...”, Sally stammered.
“Not convincend? Then how about one kiss every day until the concert? One per day, every lunch break, behind the gym? The exiting type of kissing?” Daniel winked, then turned away. “It's in three weeks, so there would be at least fifteen exiting kisses for you. Think about it until lunch break. I'll be waiting for you behind the gym then. You'll get your first kiss right away. Don't worry, I won't tell the others. Just tell them you gave me the ticket on your own.”
Sally was irresolute about this. It had such a corrupted touch to it.
“I don't know...”
Then the bell rang for classes.
“Just think about it”, Daniel repeated. “You won't regret it.”
Sally's breath went heavy. She had the opportunity to kiss Daniel several times! All she had to do was give away her chance to watch PowerHazard on stage. Of course, Penny would be angry for not getting her girls' night out, but, on the other hand, nobody would tell Sally what to do with her own ticket. In this country she had the right to choose on her own, even if it displeased some other people.
Sally didn't need to think long. Her choice was clear.
“I don't like the idea to gang up behind Daniel's back”, Kharma said after listening to Penny's suggestion. “He's a jerk from time to time, but he never spoiled the fun when we were out together. It's clear that somebody has to stay at home, but we need to talk this out. I don't want to be the loser on this either, but if I had to withdraw, then with reason.”
“Come on!”, Penny said frustrated. “We never had a girls' night out. Since middle school, we always had Daniel with us. Why don't we take the opportunity? I'm sure he'll understand. We'll take him along next time again.”
Kharma pushed the streak from her face to examine Penny with two eyes. That girl was a bad talker and reading between her lines was easy.
“You don't want him to ruin your precious group pictures, do you?”, Kharma finally replied. “You're always complaining about that.”
“No...” Penny faltered, her green eyes moving around. She had an awkward way of feeling caught. “Alright, yes... He always crashes the pictures with his silly poses... But that's not it!”
“Oh, that's it alright”, Kharma answered. “Listen... You tell Chastity about the situation and I will talk to Daniel in advance, okay? Let's meet after school and discuss this like reasonable people.”
“Uhm, it's not what I told Sally...”
“Of course not, because it was sneaky blather! We'll work this out and don't you dare to join boobs with Chastity against me. It's already a disaster you came up with it. We're friends, and we'll talk this out like friends, got it?”
Penny slouched her shoulders. “Yes, ma'am... I'll talk to chastity. No conspiracy et cetera...”
“Alright then. See you later.”
Kharma put her earplugs in, left Penny on the spot and looked for Daniel. She couldn't believe her own friends would try to work against each other. Just because the situation was difficult, there was no reason to conspire.
Kharma found Daniel very soon, right at Sally's locker, talking to her very discretly. Kharma was unable to unplug her ears in time, so she couldn't hear what they were talking about before Daniel left because of the school bell.
Sally looked very worried, but then left for class before Kharma had a chance to ask. She had to go to class herself, anyway. But Kharma smelled a rat. Daniel had a talent to make people feel awkward and she couldn't escape the feeling that he picked Sally for a reason this time.
Then, when Sally went past her – the girl didn't even seem to notice her friend – she heard her muttering: “...kiss... That's okay...”
Kharma startled. She knew, Sally had a crush on Daniel, who remained ignorant to be bone about it. Why would he talk about a kiss now? Not out of feelings, that's for sure. Kharma decided to have a word with him at lunch break.
When the bell rang for lunch, Kharma went after Daniel, who seemed to be in a hurry this time. Where was this wannabe charmer off to? He'd never miss lunch without a good reason. Then Kharma saw Sally again at her locker. The plain Jane of the gang hastily grabbed an envelope, put it in her pocket and went off into the same direction Daniel left to.
“Not suspicious at all”, Kharma said to herself and followed Sally at a safe distance.
She sneaked to the back wall of the gym. This place was covered with thick bushes and usually used by the smitten couples as hiding place for kissing and giving heads. Kharma tried not to get caught as she followed Sally, and took cover behind a tree when she discovered Daniel waiting for Sally.
“You really came”, Daniel noted calmly.
“I came, yes”, Sally answered with a shy voice. No doubt she felt uncomfortable.
Many people came in this place, Kharma thought. What's your great deal?
“I-I've got the ticket”, Sally resumed nervously. She pulled one from the envelope. “Nobody else knows.”
Kharma's face went dark with anger. So that's why they were meeting in secret. Daniel must've overheard Penny's plan to exclude him from the activity. Of course he would play his own game to get one of the tickets. All of this conspiracy because of a freaking concert!
Daniel took the ticket. “Thank you very much”, he said friendly, but distant.
“What about the kiss?”, Sally asked hesitantly.
Kharma gnashed her teeth. Seriously?
Daniel smirked. “The kiss?”
“Yes, a kiss every day until the concert”, Sally replied. “You promised.”
“Did I? Then let's get it over with fast.”
There it was again, his mischievous grin. He really blackmailed Sally into giving him a ticket behind the others back. The plain Jane didn't realize that he would to short business with no hint of romance.
Kharma couldn't stand this any longer. Blackmailing a girl with a kiss was as low as touching her private space for fun.
Before the two went to business, Kharma jumped out of hiding and yelled: “Are you out of your mind? Both of you?”
“Kharma!”, Sally said in surprise. “What are you doing here?”
“Yeah”, Daniel said. “A little privacy there.”
“You're blackmailing Sally behind our backs to give you a concert ticket?”, Kharma went on. “That's low, even for you. Why can't we talk about this in the group? There's no need for such bad bargains.”
Daniel startled at the unusual scolding by Kharma.
“It's not a bad bargain for me”, Sally explained.
“Unromantic kisses for the concert of your life sure are”, Kharma reminded her. “They're worth nothing.” Before Sally could react, she resumed: “Give back the ticket and we'll talk about it. No harm done so far, and this service error shouldn't get between us. We don't need bargains, we're friends, you morons!”
Sally was the first to seen convinced: “Maybe you're right. All this sneaky fuss can't be the real things.”
“Maybe you think so.” Daniel smirked again and raised the ticket like a trophy. “But I'll keep the ticket. Friends or not, there's no way I'll miss PowerHazard! The rest of you can pull straws, if you want.”
Sally looked at him in shock. He just reached a new level of jerk, and the blame was also on Sally.
Kharma groaned angrily. There was only one way to avoid beef among the whole gang. “Fine, you can have mine. I'm staying at home.”
“You mustn't!”, Sally nearly cried. “It's my fault! I'm not coming along.”
“It's fine”, Kharma replied friendly. “Just keep this between us. We don't want any more trouble.”
Now Daniel startled. “Wait, you're not coming instead? But Kharma, you can't to this!”
She knew it. Daniel wouldn't be so mean towards his best friend. So this way would teach him a lesson about being egoistic.
“I can”, Kharma stood firm. “Now put the ticket down. You look like an idiot.”
Just as Daniel lowered the shiny paper ticket, a magpie rushed down on it, tearing it in half between its talons and Daniel's fingers. With a devastated face, he looked at the shred in his hand, while the rest of the ticket was virtually raining down on him.
Sally stared at the scene, completely speechless.
“Now that's a just twist of fate”, Kharma laughed involuntarily. “Since this has been the personal ticket you demanded, we're both staying at home. I hope, nobody else steps down, because that would be bad luck for you.”
“Yeah”, said Penny annoyed. “As far as I know Karma, she gave her ticket to Daniel.”
Chastity leaned back, folded her arms and laughed. “Yeah, that would be just like her. I don't know what she likes about him, but she isn't the girl to have fun while another hasn't.”
The girl with the golden hair closed her eyes, thinking. Penny smiled at her. Chastity looked kinda cute when she was like this.
“What's on your mind?”, Penny asked, then thought for herself. “I don't like Kharma to sacrifice herself for that jerk. And I feel bad, because I think I drove her that way. Kharma thinks of others first, while my plan was quite egoistic.” She sighed. “Maybe I should step down and leave my ticket to Kharma.”
Chastity jumped up and replied firmly: “Don't you dare playing the martyr!”
She walked towards Penny, coming uncomfortably close. Penny didn't move an inch. Chastity had a quite attractive aura, so she didn't even try to evade her.
“You're looking forward to PowerHazard the most”, Chastity said unusually intimidating. “Admit it!”
“Then why do you dare to miss the concert?”
“I-I'm sorry!”, Penny stammered. “I just don't want to feel bad about being egoistic.”
Chastity laughed. Penny felt her warm breath, and she liked it.
“What's so funny?”
Chastity smiled and said: “There's nothing to have bad feelings about, because nothing bad happened. So you have no reason to miss PowerHazards for nothing. If somebody should step down, it's me. Kharma is my best friend. If she is so goodhearted that she steps down for a jerk like Daniel, I want to reward her kindness. And I want you to have fun at all cost.”
“But you won't! That's kinda unfair!”
Chastity's face came closer. “It's okay. I want you all to have fun and especially you to be happy.”
Penny frowned. What was this strange feeling? “Why me?”
The answer was a smooth, warm kiss right on Penny's mouth. Paralysed by it, Penny let it happen. Could it possibly be that feeling...
“Wow!”, Penny gasped after Chastity stepped back. “I mean... why did you...?”
Chastity smiled brightly. “Just opportunistic, that's all. Hate me all you want, but I don't regret it.”
How could she say that with a smile?
“Hate you?” Penny touched her own lips. “Don't be silly... It's just...”
Chastity winked. “Come on, let's talk about it later. Kharma will surely be happy that she can accompany Daniel at the concert. No need for silly acts.”