Animal Matchmaking

Summary: Francine Frensky has a huge crush on Brain. When Nemo intervenes, can she get up the courage to tell her tutor that she wants something more? Age 10 futurefic.

Can also be found here.

Francine was attempted to do homework when Nemo bounded into the room. He dropped a leaf onto her page before strutting around her bed. Francine scoffed at her crazy kitten as he kneaded the corner of her mattress.

“Yes, yes, you did good, Nemo, but I’m trying to study,” Francine said, tossing his leaf onto the floor. Nemo went straight from ‘loving fluff ball’ to ‘ninja-in-training’, diving on the leaf and chasing it into the hallway, nearly knocking Catherine over on the way out.

“Um, okay, your cat is like really weird,” Catherine scoffed, handing her the cordless phone. “You’ve got a call. Just don’t hog the phone all night because Kelly is calling with-”

“Yeah, whatever,” Francine huffed, shooing her away. “Hello?”

“Hey, Francine, it’s Brain,” said the guy on the other end of the line. Francine immediately blushed. She’d had a crush on Brain for a little while now, ever since he started tutoring her in math. But she couldn’t find the right way to tell him so far, so she remained quiet. “So, we missed our study session because of your dental appointment. Is there anything you need help with?”

“Yeah, these compound whatevers are driving me crazy,” Francine smiled. “And, if you’d like, I could meet you somewhere so we could look at it together. It’s up to you though. We can probably get through it over the phone too.”

“That’ll have to work for today, Francine. You know I work at the shop after school. We’re just in our slow period during normal dinner hours when pedestrian traffic slows,” Brain explained.

Francine nodded, “Well, here’s the problem I’m having.”

After a mere minute, Brain set her straight. The rest of Francine’s homework would be easy, but when the call ended, she was more disappointed than relieved. She was ten. She’d never had to ask a guy out before. Heck, she never wanted to ask a guy out. But now she wanted to spend more time with Brain on dates or something. She didn’t know what they would exactly do if they got together since they were only ten, but they could figure something out.

Francine sighed, finishing her work as Nemo returned. His leaf was a tattered mess, nothing more than a stem. Almost on cue, Laverne called her into the den to clean up his mess. Francine did it without question. Life with a cat meant doing such tasks from time to time, though she really wished litter box duty was easier.

Life in the Frensky household went on, but the next afternoon, Francine quickly noticed a problem. She came into the apartment and put her things in her room. She looked around for Nemo so she could take him on his afternoon walk, but he was nowhere to be found.

Francine sighed heavily. She had to meet with Brain at four sharp or she wouldn’t get to see him at all that day. She grabbed his leash and began walking the neighborhood, her backpack on her back just in case she had to go on without him.

As she turned onto Brain’s street, she saw Nemo jumping around a pile of leaves. Brain was with him, wiggling a stick to get him to chase it. He looked up when Francine arrived. She saw his leash and immediately knew the situation.

“Come on, buddy, let’s get you back home,” Brain called, luring Nemo to Francine’s feet. He dove at the stick with both paws, claws drawn as he watched that brown stick of wonders dance around the leaf-covered grass. While he was so determined, Francine clicked his leash onto his harness.

“Thanks for helping me. He can stay if you don’t mind him messing around in your room. I mean, I can keep him leashed-”

“My mom is pretty allergic to cats,” Brain said, leading the way up the street. “Besides, I’m working on a model of the Apolo 12 spacecraft, and I would hate for him to ruin my progress. I’ve got photographs all over the place too. My mom can’t wait until I finish so my room will be clean again.”

Francine nodded with a dreamy expression as they walked towards her apartment. Brain had only been there a few times, and all of those had been when they were at Lakewood Elementary together. He hadn’t been there since her crush developed-

Francine froze in her steps, her eyes wide with fear.

“What? Francine, are you feeling alright?” Brain asked.

Francine blushed crimson, “I just remembered, I, um…I have company over, embarrassing company. You can’t come inside. We’ll just have to meet up another day,” she said frantically. Brain nodded and began to speak, but Francine ran off before he could. He canNOT see my desktop! She thought, running home.

Brain had no idea what was going on, but he left Francine alone, getting back to his project as if nothing had even happened.

“Wow, Francine, I had no idea you liked Brain that much. What are you going to do about it?” Muffy asked. The girls were at lunch, and after two long weeks of suffering, Francine had to come clean to the one girl she knew would help, or the one girl she thought would help.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t even know if he wants a girlfriend. I know Arthur and Buster still play that stupid cootie shot game. I know he thinks it’s childish, but I don’t know if he actually likes girls,” Francine sighed. “What am I going to do?”

“Well if you can’t decide, then I can’t do much of anything,” Muffy admitted. “I have my own love life problems, you know. David from eighth grade and Thomas from seventh both want to go out with me, but I can’t choose!” she cried.

Francine sighed as the bell rang above them. Francine took her tray to the window, eagerly escaping Muffy’s clutches. She obviously couldn’t help, but Francine didn’t know if anyone else she knew could either.

She went home feeling dejected, but she knew an afternoon studying with Brain would cure her, if Nemo wasn’t going to mess things up. Francine had cleaned her room, removing all ‘I love Alan’ references from everything, but as she returned home and began her search for Nemo, she found her days had repeated themselves.

As she grabbed the leash and began her trek into the neighborhood to find her cat, the doorbell buzzed. Francine opened the door to see Brain carrying Nemo. He had a leaf in his mouth, a satisfied grin on his lips.

Brain laughed, “It seems he has a taste for elm leaves. You don’t seem to have them here, so he comes to my yard,” he smiled. Francine wanted to scold Nemo, but at least he’d brought Brain back with him. She rubbed Nemo’s head, tossing his favorite mouse toy to the middle of the floor. Nemo gave chase, disappearing down the hallway as the toy thumped against the wall.

“Sorry about that. I know your mom is allergic, so if it’s a problem-”

“Oh, it’s not. She even raked leaves after work last night, but she didn’t sneeze. I think she just has trouble with animals in small spaces,” Brain explained. Francine nodded, leading him to the dining room table. Catherine was already there with a mountain of work, so Francine led Brain to her bedroom.

Nemo was on the bed, grooming himself as always. Brain petted him as Francine sat in floor to begin working with the day’s issue. He eyed the work carefully and sat down, but when Francine began to explain her current problems, she noticed that Brain was looking out the window or at things around the room.

Oh no, what is he doing? Francine thought, stopping mid-sentence to watch him. Brain reacted to the silence, looking up as his cheeks flushed. Francine was confused, Why is he blushing like that? What is he thinking? Ugh, it’s going to drive me crazy!

“You were saying something?” Brain asked. Francine tried to continue, but she’d forgotten what she was trying to explain. Brain smiled, “It’s okay. I, um…do you mind if I ask you something personal?”

“Not really. What do you want to ask?” Francine questioned, shifting a little. Her heart began to pound in anticipation, but she had doubts. He could be asking her anything, from something personal about her to something personal about her room. She had trouble listening as he stammered through his words:

“I, um…I…Muffy spoke to me after class and said someone liked me. But she was being cryptic, and I was wondering…if you could help me. I mean, I don’t know if I know what to do, so maybe you know since you’re her best friend-”

Francine’s mouth was half open. Brain froze and stared. Then a small smirk formed at the corners of his mouth, “It’s you, isn’t it?”

“No!” Francine gasped. She blushed, “I mean, yes, but I don’t know! I just have a crush on you. I guess I wanted you to know that.”

“Well, I’ve, um…I’ve always had a little crush on you too. I just…I don’t want to be like Muffy and roam the town going to movies all the time. I have important projects to work on involving detailed and often perplexing conundrums. I’d need time to myself to complete them, unless you’re willing to help me.”

Francine smiled, “I don’t want all that cheesy stuff either, and I’m in like three sports. You’d have a lot of time to yourself. And I’d probably just want to eat lunch with you or something, nothing big.”

“So, we’re going out?” Brain asked. Francine smiled as her heart beat like thunder in her chest, “I guess so.”

~End

Theme 150: Flowers

Crushed Hearts Series

Author’s Notes:

1- Theme from my Arthur Infinite Theme List Challenge. Let me know if you want more info.

2- “Crushed Hearts” is a collaborative one-shot series where Arthur characters experience crushes. To see other entries to this series, see the Arthur Projects community on ff.net. For more info, let me know

3-I left this open-ended because I kind of want you all to fill in the gaps, or you can ask me too (just don’t expect quick results!). Basically these two are going to do whatever they want now that they’re going out, though that could mean anything at age 10. I hope you like what I have here, but I don’t know how finished this will get. If you want to write the next part, just let me know and I’ll willingly give you permission.

 

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