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Sweeter than Conversation Hearts

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Blue was so, so confused.

A few weeks ago, it was all heartbreak with an unopened box of chocolates, a crumpled letter, and lots of tears. The poor girl’s confession was rejected by the boy she liked for months. It was a shame that the moment she found the confidence to spill her feelings, her spirits were crushed in a matter of a few seconds.

It all happened right after Blue’s math class when the bell rang. He walked out of the classroom and saw the small crowd of students standing off on both sides of the hallway. They watched the two with hopeful smiles on their faces as if the girl pulled out a ring and proposed on one knee. Blue smiled with them, excited to see new found love between this couple where it’ll be coffee shop dates, late night conversations, and surprise back hugs.

Then there were quiet gasps, shocked faces, and disappointed head shakes. She balled up the letter and threw it at his chest before running off. He stood there and watched her go, appalled at the sudden reaction. The box of chocolates was dropped in the middle of the hallway when she ran, forgotten but still safely held together by a bright red ribbon. The spectators stayed for a moment before dispersing, whispering in hushed voices.

Blue didn’t know what was worse, the fact that the girl was turned down or the boy had to reject her publicly. It was embarrassing on both ends for the incident to happen in front of many students. The girl was laughed at yet pitied, while the boy was painted in a bad light. He shouldn’t have to say yes if he did not like her that way, but the reaction she gave made him disliked among his fellow classmates, especially friends of the girl.

The news about an awful rejection between two first-year students spread around like a wildfire, making it the gossip of the week.

Today though, it was quiet giggles, lovey-dovey glances, and long hand-holding. The two were seen around school as if they have been together for a long time. They showed a lot of affection towards each other to the point where it almost hurts to see their PDA. Everyone seemed to be just as confused as Blue when they saw the couple being sweet to each other. The day before, they were still in an awkward phase where they couldn’t look each other in the eye, even when partnered up for a group assignment during class.

Blue couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous at the fact that she made this whole love thing seem easy. He had been pining over one of the captains of the football team ever since he joined. Champ was a sweetheart towards him but he was oblivious to the subtle hints. All the small compliments, extra water bottles, and towels given to him looked nothing more than mere friendly gestures. At this point, Blue was definitely sure that he thought of him like a younger brother with all the shoulder pats and hair ruffles that he received.

The first-year boy was walking to the locker rooms for practice when he heard a voice calling his name. He turns around and sees Zol speed-walking to catch up with him.

“Hi Blue! I have a couple questions and it is for the sake of the story. Do you have time to talk?” She asks, a joyful grin on her face. The latter couldn’t help but smile too because he was excited to be a part of this fiction. He had read a couple of her stories before so it felt like an honor to be able to be a character in one like her brother, Zon. The only difference was she asked for permission while his poor older brother did not get any heads up beforehand.

He nods. “Sure! Can we do it while we’re walking to the football field? Practice is about to start soon.”

“That’s fine! Let me pull out my notes.” Zol says as he pulls out her phone. The two began to walk down the path together. “Alright, what kind of dates do you prefer?”

“Hmm, I like a lot of simple dates, you know, like going to the ice cream shop but staying at home is nice too. I haven’t really been on one so I guess I’m just basing it off of things I like to do.” Blue answers, watching Zol type what he just said on her phone. Without looking up at him, she asks another one related to dating. He responds to them easily but it makes him realize how lonely and desperate for a relationship he was.

How did that girl do it?

What was the secret to getting a boyfriend?

The two arrive in front of the locker room, just a few minutes early to practice. Zol continues to type before looking up from her phone. “Okay, I think I have everything I need. Thank you for being more cooperative than my stupid brother!” She tells him with a satisfied expression on her face.

“Of course! I’m glad to help you out with your work.” Blue grins. He was about to say goodbye to her but a thought came up. “Am I still going to be partnered up with Dew?”

“Well...I did plan on it...I mean, I’m already on the sixth chapter and the two of you are about to get together…” She replies, making him frown. Zol almost feels bad but she didn’t want to give up on her progress. “Hey, don’t be sad! It’s all fiction so you don’t have to worry about actually dating him like Zon was. In the end, him and Saifah did end up dating but anyways, cheer up! I promise I will make it good!”

“Can’t you just replace Dew’s name with Champ’s instead?” Blue suggests hopefully. He really did not want to be put in a relationship with the fourth-year who teases him endlessly by kicking over cones and throwing sweat-stained towels at him after practice. Champ was so kind to him while Dew was a bully. Even if the relationship was fictitious and just for a story, Blue still didn’t want to be together with him. Zol laughs and shakes her head.

“It’ll be a lot of work because I will have to change parts of the story too since Dew and Champ are really different from each other. I know you don’t like him but have some faith in me to write a nice story. I’ll even let you read it before I publish it online.” Zol offers, trying to cheer him up. The boy still had a sad look on his face. She sighs at his downcast expression. “Blue, if you really wanted to be in a relationship with Champ, why don’t you do what Nok did?”

Blue furrows his eyebrows. “Confess and get rejected in front of other students?”

“No silly, the other thing! You know...the real reason why Ice is dating her?” She grins cheekily, nudging him in the side. He tilts his head, confused. Zol realizes that Blue genuinely had no idea what she was talking about. She was about to tell him but then notices a couple of football players coming towards the locker rooms, two of them being Zon’s friends, Tanthai and Junior. Practice was about to start soon and he probably didn’t have time for an explanation.

“Listen, I’ll text you later, okay?” She says, patting his arm. Zol walks off but stops in her tracks a few feet away. She turns around, gives him a thumbs up, and shouts, “Thanks for the help by the way! You two are going to be number one!”

Blue scratches his head and watches her leave before realizing she did not have his number. “Zol, wait! You didn’t... nevermind.”

-♡♡-

[ xxx-...]: Hey, go to this link on your computer.

[xxx-...]: Call me when you’re on.

[xxx-...]: It’s Zol by the way.

Blue was weirded out at first when he received the first two texts until Zol clarified that it was her a few minutes later. Pushing aside the textbook on his desk, he went on his laptop and typed in the link that was sent to him. While he waits for the website to load, Blue quickly adds her number into a contact on his phone before calling her like she told him to.

“Hey Blue!” Zol answers cheerfully after picking up after the first ring. “Are you on the website yet?”

“Uh, it’s still loading. How did you get my number anyways?” Blue questions while tapping his fingers on his desk lightly. He looks at the gray bar move slowly across his screen, despite him never having any trouble with the internet connection at home.

“Oh, I got it from Tanthai. I figured that since you two are teammates, you might have each other’s number. Anyways, the website might take a little while to come up but in the meantime, I can tell you what happened between Nok and Ice.” She tells him.

Blue leans back in his chair. “I’m ready to hear about that confusing love story.”

“It’s sort of like that I guess. I mean, they are in a few of my classes so Nok’s crush on Ice was painfully obvious, but I don’t think she got the memo that he was definitely uninterested in her. The confession was awful too, I heard he made her cry really badly.” Zol says.

“He did. I was there, but he didn’t yell at her or anything like that. I’m pretty sure it was just a no, but I couldn’t really hear what he said. Can’t believe they’re together now after that incident.” Blue sees his computer screen load up a pink website decorated with too many colorful hearts, kissy-face emoticons, roses, and lipstick prints. In a bright white color, the words, “Sweethearts for your lover!”, stood out at the header of the page. “Um...this website looks weird.”

“Yeah, it looks like Valentine’s Day threw up all over it. Anyways, this is where Nok got her secret to making Ice like her. She bought candy from here, like the hearts with messages on them, and gave one to him. Next thing you know, the two of them are together!” Zol explains as he scrolls through the website.

Blue lets out a small laugh. “You’re joking right? This website is sketchy like it could give me a virus at any second. It also says that when someone eats it, they’ll fall in love with whoever’s name is on it. There’s no way this candy could make a person do that. Maybe Ice decided to give Nok a chance?”

“No, I’m actually being serious! I know it’s all weird but this stuff is legit, Blue. Not a lot of people know about this but I witnessed the magic happening with two other people like that new fourth-year and third-year couple from the Engineering Department! If this website was a scam, I wouldn't waste your time on it. Think about it, would Ice act all lovingly with Nok in one day?”

Zol was right. There was no way the couple would actually be that close when they were awkward yesterday. This website was suspicious with its strange format and how they sold candy that apparently worked in the same way as a love potion. The idea was impossible though, this kind of stuff only happened in cheesy romance films and books. He stares at the page, taking a short moment to read a paragraph. Before he could go on to the next one, Blue hears a door slam open from the other end.

“Did you take my phone?” Zol’s brother yells, Blue being unfortunate enough to hear his loud, angry voice as well.

“Wait, I’m talking to someone!” Zol shouts back before returning to a softer volume. “I’m going to have to talk to you another time but you don’t have to buy it if you don’t want to. If you do- Zon! Don’t take my laptop!”

Blue ends the call quickly to save her the trouble of explaining herself later on. He continues to read through the page, trying to decide whether it’s worth it or not to spend money on this candy. Zol told him that there were other students that were able to get into relationships because of this. There was the possibility that Nok was able to get Ice with it but the whole idea was bizarre.

If it ends up being a scam, Blue will be left with a box of conversation hearts, which isn’t his favorite candy, but it’s something sweet to eat at least. If it does work, he might get into a relationship with Champ as his first boyfriend ever. He could have the one thing he has been longing for ever since he joined the football team. Blue might be able to experience those ice cream dates where sundaes are shared, late night conversations about everything and nothing, or even the feeling of being curled up in sweatshirts that would look too large on him.

“It wouldn’t hurt to try it out.” Blue mumbles to himself as he hovers his cursor over a button and clicks on it.

-♡♡-

Blue had to wait sixteen days before the package arrived in the mail. The small pink box decorated with red and white hearts contained the candy that could make his wish come true. All of the conversation hearts were a pastel blue color with his name printed in a deep red color in bold, capital letters. It was a weird process to get them specifically designed for him, but nevertheless, the Sweethearts box did come in. He didn’t want to bring his hopes up too high but with all the waiting that he did, his expectations were up there.

The first-year decided to give one to Champ the following day he received the candy. He figured that he had to plan out how he should give it to the football captain without making it too weird. It was difficult for him to focus throughout the entire day because all he could think about was the pink box in his backpack. When the last bell of the day rang, he rushed out of the classroom and quickly entered the locker room. Since nobody else was in the locker room, Blue quickly changed into the football uniform. He was nervous, worried about whether or not the candy would work or if Champ would even take the candy.

Nok was able to get the boy she liked with this candy, so would he be able to do it as well?

His fellow teammates began coming into the locker room, greeting the youngest with nods and smiles. Blue returns their greetings with small bows before looking inside the small box. Champ was about to come in at any moment and he didn’t want to wait until the end of practice like he originally planned to.

A few seconds later, the three football captains come in. They were in the middle of discussing what drills the players should do today. If Blue wasn’t so anxious about his plan, maybe he would have been upset that he could not be a part of that. He waits for Champ to go to his own locker when he is done talking to Dew and Japan. He quickly takes a blue candy heart out before shoving his backpack into his locker.

Blue takes a deep breath before walking over to the older. “Hello,”

“Oh, hi Blue! Everything okay?” Champ asks as he places a hand on his shoulder. The younger could feel his heart beating faster and the heat rising to his ears.

“I’m alright, just thinking a lot lately, haha…” Blue lets out a forced chuckle, making him want to curl up into a ball and never see the light of day again. He was usually fine when he talked to his crush but this plan made him extra shy. Blue glances away for a moment before opening his hand to show the candy heart to him. “Umm…anyways…I got some candy and I was wondering if you wanted to try one. It even has my name on it too.”

Champ smiles and ruffles his head. “That’s nice of you to offer me one. I don’t like eating a lot of sweets but sure, I’ll-”

Before he could finish his sentence, a shirtless Dew snatches the candy out of his hand and shoves it into his mouth. Blue stares at him in horror, watching the other captain eat the candy.

“There’s no eating in the locker room.” He smirks before putting his red jersey on.

“Hey, it was just a piece of candy! Don’t be so mean to him!” Champ tells him, but the latter ignores his words and goes back to his locker. He sighs and turns back at Blue, who was staring at the ground. “I’m sorry he’s such a jerk to you. If you do have another one, I’ll take it.”

“Oh...umm...that was my last one. Sorry.” Blue lies.

Champ frowns at the first-year’s sad expression and pats his shoulder. “It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault. Maybe next time, yeah?”

Blue nods before walking off to let the older change into his uniform. He didn’t know why he had to lie about running out of the candy, he could have just given Champ another one from his box. Though, his plan was already ruined when Dew ate the candy. Blue facepalms himself and sits down on the bench. There was a small part of him that was skeptical about the effects of the candy and he is hoping that it could be fake now that someone else ate it.

The younger sighs and goes out to the field with the other boys, carrying some of the equipment. He walks behind everyone else and glares at the big white six on the back of Dew’s jersey. The thought of the mean football captain doing a complete 180 and being all affectionate made him almost sick to his stomach. He can’t imagine Dew buying him bundles of roses and heart-shaped chocolate boxes or even giving him the same attention that Nok gets from Ice. It would be too weird and out of character for him.

“The candy might not work anyways, so there’s nothing to worry about, right?” Blue accidentally says out loud. The boy in front of him turns around and looks at him with a confused expression. “Oh, I was talking to myself, sorry.”

Throughout practice, Blue kept looking over at Dew to make sure there weren’t any changes. Everything was fine so far, with practice running like any other day. He avoids the football captain by talking to the other boys just in case the latter decides to come over and tease him like usual. By now, he was sure that the candy was just a scam. Hours later, practice ends and the team goes back to the locker room, sweaty and gross, with the exception of the youngest who sat and observed the others.

Blue grabs the mop and puts the bucket filled with soapy water in a place where there weren’t any clothes hanging around, mostly to avoid having another incident with Dew’s shirt. He lifts the mop but is immediately stopped when someone grabs the handle. The boy turns his head and his eyes widen.

“Here, go change. I’ll do it.” Dew orders, taking it out of his hands. Blue stares at him, unable to move. The older would never do something nice to him, even if Champ forced the two to get along and act like buddies. The football captain gives him a loving smile. “Seriously babe, I got it.”

His mouth drops open at the word Dew called him. The candy was working. Everything that the seller claimed was true. Dew is going to fall in love with him. It was going to be cliche romance films and surprise gifts from the wrong person, the bully who has been a nuisance to him ever since he joined the team. The small boy rushes out of the locker room, nearly bumping into Junior on his way out.

Blue messed up, badly.