Summary: Buster is distracted during studying, so Arthur tries to get to the bottom of his friend’s problem. When he discovers Buster has a crush on a classmate, he isn’t sure what to do, and unfortunately for the boys, things only get more complicated from there. Can anything come from these romantic feelings?
Can also be found here.
Arthur looked up from his homework. He and Buster were at the library together cramming for an upcoming geography test, but Buster didn’t look like he was studying. Arthur tapped Buster’s book with his pencils.
“Huh?” Buster cried. Arthur shook his head and got back to work. “What? What was that for? What do you want?”
“Whisper,” Arthur said through gritted teeth as Maria glared at him from nearby.
“Sorry,” Buster whispered. “What do you want, Arthur?”
“You’re distracted again. That’s like the tenth time this week I’ve caught you staring off into space. You know we have a test tomorrow, right? Do you remember why we’re here?”
“Yes, homework then studying,” Buster nodded. “What does my staring have to do with any of this?” Buster asked. Arthur groaned as quietly as he could, “Buster, this is important! Bitzi said she’d ground you if you failed another test. The new Bionic Bunny: Legends movie is coming out in two weeks, and you’re the only one I want to see it with.”
Buster sighed, “Yeah, Bionic Bunny: Legends,” he muttered. Arthur gave him a sick look. “What? What did I do this time, Mr. Fancy Pants?” Buster asked with an irritated tone.
“Bionic Bunny: Legends is the sequel trilogy we’ve waited our whole lives to see, and you’re just all ‘yeah, Bionic Bunny: Legends’,” Arthur mocked. “I can’t believe you! Tell me what you’re thinking about or I can’t study with you today.”
“It’s nothing,” Buster sighed. His sigh wasn’t one from exhaustion or irritation, Arthur noted. It was a different sigh, higher pitched. “Um, Arthur, why are you staring at me like that?”
“You have a crush on someone! Come on, spill!” Arthur whispered. Buster shook his head, “No, Mary Alice,” he mocked, laying his head on his book and trying to work through his homework questions.
“Buster, we’re sixteen. I’ve had crushes before. You haven’t yet. That’s the only reason I want to know. Come on, I won’t tell anyone,” Arthur said. Buster shook his head. “Buster, we’re best friends. Best friends tell each other these sorts of things.”
“Not here, okay?” Buster groaned. Arthur nodded, closing his book. “What are you doing?” Buster asked. Arthur smiled, “Your house, right now, I’ll race you.”
Buster groaned again, but he knew Arthur wasn’t going to let him off that easily. He closed his books too, but the race was off. Arthur agreed, and the two rode their bikes to Buster’s house. Bitzi had remarried and moved a few streets over from Arthur. They left their bikes in the garage before sneaking up to Buster’s room, trying not to awaken Buster’s new baby sister as they tiptoed upstairs.
“Okay, we’re in complete privacy,” Arthur whispered, knowing the drill for sleeping babies. “Please tell me.”
“Do you promise not to make fun of me?” Buster asked.
“Buster, it’s a crush! I’ve already been there, remember? I had a crush on the art teacher in seventh grade,” Arthur said. Buster nodded, but he still looked nervous. “Buster, that woman was ancient. If I could be honest with you about her-”
“You don’t understand. This is one of our classmates, not some teacher,” Buster said. He took a deep breath. “Fine, I…I have a crush on Sue Ellen.”
“On Sue Ellen?” Arthur asked. Buster nodded, “We have a few classes together, and I just…I like her, okay? I can’t explain it or anything. I just like her, like her…if you know what I mean,” Buster stammered, blushing vividly.
“Well I guess she’s pretty or-”
“She’s more than pretty, Arthur!” Buster exclaimed. In the next room, his baby sister started to whimper. The boys sat waiting for wails to begin, but she settled back into a sound sleep. Buster continued, “Sue Ellen is more than pretty, Arthur, she’s beautiful! Her curly hair and clothes from around the world make her exotic, gorgeous, unbelievable,” Buster sighed. “I really like her a lot, but I’m afraid to say anything to her. What if she says no?”
“I guess you could try. She’s never had a boyfriend though, so I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve never had a girlfriend either so I don’t know how it works. I guess you could send her a note or something. Wait, have you tried talking to her?” Arthur asked.
“Talking to her? Sue Ellen? You’re kidding, right? I can’t even look her dead in the eye because I get so nervous,” Buster smiled, laying back on his bed. “I need to try something, I guess, but what if she does reject me? What if she thinks I’m an idiot? What if she’s already taken?”
“We need advice. Who do you think we should ask that won’t blab to everybody?” Arthur asked. Buster shot up in bed, “No one can know, only you! Please, Arthur, you can’t tell a soul!” Buster begged. His voice got too loud before he realized, and in the next room, his baby sister cried loudly.
Arthur patted Buster’s shoulder, “We’ll think of something. I better go so you can study. Call me if you need anything.”
Buster nodded and walked Arthur out of his house before helping Bitzi with the baby. Arthur, meanwhile, walked home and tried to avoid DW and her friends while he studied, which was easier said than done. Luckily by dinner, they were all gone, but Arthur still felt strange, probably because of his friend’s news about his crush.
At dinner, DW and Kate fought for their parents’ attention, trying to out-yell their day to them. Jane nodded while rubbing her temples while David and Arthur stared blankly at the table. The noise was becoming unbearable when the phone rang.
“May I answer it?” Arthur asked, his ears ringing in the sudden silence as both girls stopped talking at once. Surprisingly, his father let him. Arthur picked up the receiver, “Hello?”
“H-H-Hello, i-is Arthur there?” a girl stammered.
“This is he,” Arthur replied, blushing slightly. What would a girl be doing calling for him?
“Oh, it’s you,” the girl panted, suddenly very nervous. Even though Arthur could hear her breathing, he said ‘Hello’ again to get her attention. “Oh, sorry,” she laughed nervously, “I…I should probably just go.”
“Wait, who is this?” Arthur asked. “Please, I want to talk. What is it?”
“Oh, um, fine,” she sighed. “It’s Sue Ellen. I wanted to know if…if you’d study with me.”
Arthur blushed. Sue Ellen never studied with anyone except Fern since middle school. She wouldn’t even let Brain study with her and he was the smartest guy in school. Her calling Arthur to study meant something and he knew it.
“Well, I study with Buster. He’d have to come too,” Arthur said. Sue Ellen sighed, “Oh, well, that’s okay. Seeyoutomorrowbye,” she said so quickly Arthur could barely understand her. The dial tone sounded and Arthur hung up the phone.
A few minutes later, after Arthur helped clear the dishes, he decided to email Sue Ellen and ask why she wanted to study in the first place. It took a long time, but she finally responded. It was a long email, and Arthur blinked at it before he began reading. He’d never gotten an email this long, not even from teachers.
Arthur skimmed through the first paragraph and realized this was no ordinary email. It looked more like a diary entry and Sue Ellen was spilling her cuts. She almost sounded-
“Oh my god she has a crush on me!” Arthur gasped, pushing back from the desk so fast he fell out of his chair.
“Arthur, are you okay?!” Jane called. Arthur gulped, “Yeah, Mom, fine!” he called back, getting on his knees as he reached for the phone in his room. He pressed the call button but he immediately heard DW laughing with one of her stupid friends. He hung up the phone and grabbed his things.
“Mom, can I study with Buster?!” Arthur called as he ran down the stairs.
“I thought you just left there,” Jane said from the kitchen. She eyed Arthur carefully when he was in view. He looked like he was going to study, so she shrugged, “Fine, fine, be back by nine-thirty.”
Arthur ran to Buster’s house and rang the doorbell. Bitzi answered carrying Buster’s little sister. She let him inside and watched with a perplexed expression as Arthur ran up the stairs. Arthur barged into Buster’s room without knocking. Buster looked up at him with a shocked expression.
“I just got…an email…from Sue Ellen. We’ve got a problem,” Arthur panted. Buster gasped, “You did NOT tell her-”
“Buster, I didn’t, I swear. This isn’t about you. It’s about me. She wrote me a love letter,” Arthur said, sinking onto the bed. “I have to tell her no. I have to convince her you’re the better guy.”
“Yeah, you bet you do,” Buster muttered.
“Buster, I never wanted this to happen! She called at dinner sounding weird, so I thought I’d email her to ask what was wrong. I thought she just wanted to study together, but…I think she wanted it to be a date. But even from the beginning, I told her we were study buddies. I would only go if you went. That’s when she got nervous and hung up.”
“She hates me,” Buster pouted. “This always happens to me. The girl wants you, not stupid Buster,” he cried.
“Buster, I’ve never had a girlfr-”
“That’s because they don’t have the heart to ask you! Muffy’s had a crush on you since like sixth grade, Fern since eighth! They love you, but me? No, I’m just a class clown. And now the girl I have my heart set on wants you instead,” Buster sighed. “Get out, Arthur, just get out.”
Arthur obeyed, but he didn’t go home. Instead, he walked the two more blocks to Sue Ellen’s house. Her parents weren’t surprised to see a boy with school gear at the door, but Sue Ellen was definitely surprised. She blushed and stepped outside.
“What are you doing here?” she asked softly.
“I need to talk to you about that email.”
“Oh, please, be gentle on me,” she cried, sitting on the front steps. “I never should’ve sent that, by the way. I feel stupid.”
“Well I feel even worse,” Arthur admitted, sitting beside her.
“You feel-but why?” she asked. Arthur sighed, “I normally wouldn’t do this, but it’s to help a friend, so…Buster has a crush on you. He just told me this afternoon, and I supported him. When I got your email, I went to tell him. Now he hates me because apparently all the girls are in love with me.”
“They are,” Sue Ellen nodded. “Fern, Muffy, Francine-they’ve all had crushes on you. And now me, but it sounds like you’re not interested.”
“For Buster’s sake. Look, I don’t know what to say to you about me, but I know what to say about him. Buster might play the class clown, but he has a good heart. I can’t be as funny as him, as cleaver as him, or as well-dressed as him. He’s the better guy. You need to like him instead.”
“It doesn’t work like that,” Sue Ellen said. She sighed, “Look, I know someone who has a crush on Buster, but she made me promise I wouldn’t tell a soul. So if I tell you, you can’t tell anyone, not even him.”
“I can’t promise you anything, but I won’t spread it to everyone. If I tell anyone, it’ll just be Buster,” Arthur promised.
Sue Ellen nodded, “Well, I guess that’s only fair. Okay…Maria has had a crush on Buster since like forever. She’s so quiet that she can’t figure out how to tell him, but she loves his jokes, his looks, his everything. See if he can like her, and…I’ll try to see if I can like Buster. But right now, I like you, and…I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” Sue Ellen blushed.
“Until Buster gets sorted out, I can’t say anything. He’s my best friend, and I’d rather hurt your feelings than his. Wow, that came out wrong-” Arthur blushed.
“I understand,” Sue Ellen smiled.
Arthur ran home just in time for his nine-thirty curfew. Before he went to bed, he wrote an email to Buster. He received it and his mouth fell open: “Wow, I thought she hated me!” he chuckled, logging off his computer and going to bed.
“Maria?” Buster said. Maria turned around and blushed crimson. Buster extended a bouquet of flowers, “These are plastic but I promise they won’t squirt you with water or anything. I just thought these would last longer,” Buster smiled.
Maria accepted them and the two walked away together. Arthur and Sue Ellen watched from nearby.
“So, how did you go it?” Sue Ellen asked. Arthur shrugged, “I just…told him like it was. It was like a paragraph…a few sentences…okay, it was one sentence,” Arthur admitted.
Sue Ellen smiled and took his hand, “Are you sure we have his blessing?”
A moment later, Buster walked past holding a very red Maria’s hand. The boys high-fived each other: Not only had they gotten their girls, they’d passed geography too.
“By the way, Arthur, I hear the new Bionic Bunny: Legends movie might get sold out, so I bought four tickets in case Buster wanted to double,” Sue Ellen smiled, showing Arthur the tickets. He blushed, “I did the same thing,” he said, revealing four more tickets. The two laughed together and walked off happily.
This is a theme from my Infinite Arthur Theme List Challenge. Let me know if you’d like more info.