Title: The Strange Attraction Syndrome - Chapter Eighteen
Summary: Ten years is a long time to have an unrequited crush, but Tweek’s wait is just about over. So much for Craig being asexual.
Point of View: Tweek
I felt the earth beneath my feet
Sat by the river and it made me complete
—Keane, Somewhere Only We Know
Tweek’s point of view:
While Stan and Kyle had sex and then what was probably a short nap, Kenny entertained Thomas and I by bringing out his hookah so he could teach us how to blow smoke rings. I’ve always thought they were just a genuinely cool instrument to look at, and Kenny’s was no different. The base of his, the glass orb, was his trademark color: orange. It was infused with numerous shades and tones, resembling fire. There were a few bulges, round in shape and varying in size, making up the stainless steel pipe sticking straight up out of the base. Three hoses were attached to the sockets protruding from the pipe. In the bowl at the top, he informed us rose and vanilla shisha was inside. The coals over that were lit and inside the base, smoke was collecting, shifting and fogging up the inside.
Blowing smoke rings turned out to be a forte of mine. I had a variety of odd quirks—double-jointed limbs, could lick my elbow as well my nose, made strange noises with my mouth like water dropping and weird clicks; my tongue could often do strange things—and smoke tricks had now become a part of that. Kenny had even kept the hookah going until Stan and Kyle reappeared so that he could force me to show them. Thomas then proceeded to ask if Craig still smoked and, if so, then I should blow hearts his way. I didn’t find it as funny as everyone else did.
By then it was half an hour before seven, and all of us were getting ready. That was when I found out we were going to a fairly expensive restaurant and thought for sure that that was all the proof I needed, that everyone needed, to fortify my guess that Stan was definitely proposing tonight. Standing there in the bathroom, tucking my button up into my trousers, I looked at my reflection and started laughing at myself with my little thighs accentuated by my little slacks compared to Clyde’s girlfriend and her little boobs and her little figure. She had a boyfriend and I didn’t. Kyle was about to be engaged and I was nowhere close to even having a boyfriend. And I had to ask myself, Do other people fret over this as much as I do? Because I couldn’t seem to stop.
Stan drove us to the restaurant, and when we arrived, there was a small party there consisting of Bebe, Wendy, and Butters as well as others who had yet to arrive. Those who came later were Cartman and Red, fresh out of work. Stan was going to propose. Stan was going to propose. Stan was going to propose. Kyle was frantically exchanging glances with Thomas, Kenny, and I throughout dinner. He was clammy the entire time, fumbling around with his silverware and losing the food on his fork on multiple occasions. It was a relief to be able to laugh and hear others laugh at someone who wasn’t me. Compared to Kyle, I came across as normal. Even Stan had to cover his face quite a few times at his boyfriend’s uncharacteristic clumsiness. If I was reading into the man correctly, he seemed to be enjoying it about as much as I was.
Thomas and I shared a dessert of which was entertaining because we were whispering to each other about when the ring would show up. Was it hidden away in Kyle’s cheesecake? Would it pour out of the next bottle of wine that came around? What if Stan stayed as classy as his ring and randomly got down on one knee? The wait was making me nervous and Kyle’s anxiety was rubbing off on me even from across the table. But then dinner passed and no proposal was made.
That was when Stan informed us that he wanted us all to hang out at Stark’s Pond.
That was when I knew. I think we all knew.
So our group found itself moseying around the darkened park and the pond that’s been ever-present throughout our childhood and teenage years. There were just enough lights around to illuminate the shallow end of the water and the surface rippled, glittering exquisitely. The rocks beneath looked as though they were still warm from earlier that day, from the sunshine.
A lot of memories were held here and everyone got to sharing some of their favorites. Wendy brought up her and Stan’s ill-fated past—their many rendezvous’ at the pond—a thing of which Kyle hadn’t even considered an obstacle. He knew that he and Stan would end up together and he’d been patient as he waited for his best friend and Wendy to realize the same. Stan’s first confession to Kyle that he loved him happened here. Cartman and Kenny laughed about their camping experiences, someone brought up boating, Butters admitted that he’d play by himself just at the water’s edge when no one else was around. We’ve ice-skated here in the dead of winter. A murder investigation took place in the area at one point. This was our pond.
And Stan was about to add to it one more time.
He leaned toward Kyle and announced offhandedly, “So I talked to your dad just the other day.” My eyes narrowed suspiciously as I tried to figure out which direction he was taking. Everything that’s come out of his mouth I’ve associated with proposing, and every time I’ve ended up wrong. I just wanted it to happen already. Kyle wanted it to happen already. Most everyone quieted, though Kenny attempted to keep up a conversation just for distraction’s sake. The redhead turned away from the dying exchange to look up at Stan instead.
"Oh," was all he said at first. His brows twitched. "It was a good talk…right?" He sounded hopeful.
The smile on Stan’s face was contagious. Shoving his hands deep into his pockets, he shrugged for no reason, and said, “It was a really good talk.”
I wanted to feel Kyle’s pulse because he just about looked like he was shutting down. “Okay.”
Stan’s smile grew and then he licked his lips, nodding momentarily before turning toward the redhead. He made a show of adjusting his pants, causing anyone who wasn’t Kyle to stifle their snickers, and I could see that something was cradled in the cup of one of his palms. I didn’t have to see it to know what it was. My hand instantly sought Kenny’s. His fingers wrapped around my own and I had to hold onto him tight otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to keep myself together.
The look on Kyle’s face as Stan knelt down on one knee—it was beautiful. It was an unabashed look of repressed knowledge. He knew what was about to happen and yet this wild, childlike sense of obliviousness was trying to keep him away.
But then he said, “That’s right. You get down on one knee, bitch.” There was no controlling our laughter although we might as well not have even existed, because Kyle only had eyes for Stan in that moment. Big, green ogling eyes that were so serious, they grew consumed by liquid. He hadn’t been joking; it had been a threat.
"Kyle Broflovski," Stan addressed, voice tender. This was the voice that meant incomprehensible things to Kyle, I realized, because his hands started shaking and he eased himself to his knees so he could be level with Stan. Their eyes never broke contact and I had to look away from the intimacy engulfing them. "Can I have your hand?"
"Which one is it again?" Kyle asked, nearly mumbling. Thomas bit his lip at the redhead’s sudden cluelessness.
That smile of Stan’s reached his eyes, and then breached it, overflowing everywhere. “I think it’s the left.”
With that same aloof quality, the redhead wondered, “Yours or mine?”
"Yours," the raven haired man whispered. Kyle’s hand lifted limply as though he were jointless. His fingers fell into Stan’s and was held in a gentlemanly way. Cherished, that’s what that hand was. Stan brushed his lips against its knuckles. "Will you marry me?" And when Kyle nodded numbly, he requested, "Let me hear you say it."
"Yes," Kyle breathed. Tears spilt over his lash line. "Yes."
I had never witnessed happiness before tonight.