The Difficulty of Growing Up

Chapter 2

Blake held the paper out in front of him, urging Carl to take it. He was a little bit nervous about this whole ordeal, to tell the truth. "Read it, discuss it. Please do what you must so we can come to an agreement." Blake said nervously. Carl looked at Blake then the paper as he handed it to him. Carl took it and examined it. The formatting was formal, stating that their feud was hereby over. He studied it intensely making sure there was no mention of the petrified eyeball or any of his other possessions. There wasn't. Not even the tonsils. This made Carl feel a bit more suspicious. Carl let Hoodsey read it and all that time Blake cleared his throat nervously as Carl stared him down, hoping he had done everything right.

"Well, what do you think?" Blake asked with a cautious expression. "Is it up to par?"

"It's pretty fair." Carl said slowly. "Too fair… I noticed that it said nothing about the eyeball... or your tonsils..." Carl studied Blake's reaction.

"Did you want to mention anything like that? We could make adjustments if you wish." Blake replied, choosing his words wisely. Carl grinned knowing Blake did that on purpose. "Carl, they are your possessions." Blake explained as he took a small, polite sip of his chocolate milk. "Even my tonsils. Fair is fair."

"So, you’re really are serious about this?" Hoodsey asked as he put the paper down on the table after he also read it fully.

"Entirely." Blake said.

"No tricks?" Carl asked. "You're not going to tie us up, throw us in your closet and go look for my eyeball.. or your tonsils… or anything else you couldn't get a hold of..?!" He was still very sure that Blake was up to no good.

Blake looked stunned for a moment and started blushing a bright pink. "No! That's completely barbaric!" He yelled in self-defense.

"Okay, Okay. Calm down there, Blakey-boy.." Carl said. "We are just making sure nothing fishy is going on."

"I really just want to put it all behind us and move on." Blake said crossing his arms in front of him in a slightly irritated manner. "Is everything agreeable?"

Carl shrugged and leaned back into the couch. "Everything checks out, I guess.. I'll sign."

Blake rushed to hand him his fancy, monogramed pen and Carl signed the bottom of the document. He handed the pen back to Blake and he signed the document right under Carl's signature.

"It is official." Blake stated as he stood up. He held a hand out in front of Carl. "This feud has ended for good." Carl stood up without a word and shook Blake's hand firmly.

"So - um - do you two want to hang out this weekend...Possibly?" Blake asked in a hopeful tone.

"We will see how the rest of the week plays out first before we decide on anything. One step at a time, Blakey-boy." Carl said. "You are welcome to eat lunch with us though. We can go from there."

Blake nodded, He was extremely cheerful but was trying not to show. "Very well, then. We shall start our friendship anew tomorrow."

"We will see you later, Blake." Hoodsey said, checking the time. "Curfew."

"Same." Carl said as well, standing up getting ready to leave.

"Alright." Blake said. "Of course." He walked over to the intercom on the wall and pressed a button. "Winston." Blake said into the speaker.

"Yes, Master Blake?" Winston's voice rang out.

"Winston, could you get the limo ready? Carl and Hoodsey are ready to retire for the evening."

"Certainly, Sir."

"Thank you. That is all." Blake said and he turned back to the pair. "The limo should be ready in a few minutes. Please help yourself to some dessert, take as much as you please."

"So we can we, like - uh - take some for the road?" Hoodsey asked.

"Please do." Blake said. Hoodsey immediately started stuffing a few cookies in his hoody pocket. Carl glanced at Blake and he was just staring at him with a funny look on his face, maybe he zoned out for a second. Carl started to feel an awkward fog envelope him as he shifted his weight to one foot.

"Uh – Bathroom." Carl said and he started walking out the room. He needed to get out, the awkwardness was way too heavy. Carl walked himself down the hall into a large bathroom, locking himself in. He leaned on the door and started contemplating the situation in front of him. How was he supposed to go about this…? He was on good terms with Blake Gripling but he knows nothing more than chasing him away from his dog house. He knows nothing more than to mess with him out of pure sport. Is he forcing this on himself? He would like to think he wasn’t but old habits never really die when Carl Foutley is concerned.

"Uhm.. Carl?" Blake's voice quietly asked on the other side of the door. "Is everything alright?"

"Now Blake.. Would you really want to know that kind of personal info?" Carl asked as he walked over to the toilet and flushed it and turned the facet on for background noise.

"Uh… I-I suppose not…" Blake stammered. "Either way, the limo is waiting for you out front."

Carl grimaced at the door and turned off the facet. He opened the door finding Blake leaning up against the wall next to him, smiling up at him sheepishly. Carl couldn't help but grin at him. Blake's cheeks grew pink once more. "You coming to see me off, Blakey-boy?" Carl asked as he started walking to the grand staircase. Paying very little attention to Blake's sudden embarrassment.

"…S-sure." He answered, following Carl down to the front door. Carl opened the door and bid Blake a good night before stepping outside. Blake didn't answer right away. He gazed at him for a few seconds.

"Uhm.. Good Night, Carl." Blake said once he snapped back into reality.

"Hey Carl!" Hoodsey called from inside the limo. "What's taking you!?"

Carl started down the stairs and to the limo. Winston was holding the door open for him, as always. "Sorry for the wait, Winston." Carl said as he hopped into the backseat.

"Not a problem, Master Carl." He said airily before closing the door. Carl looked out the tinted window seeing Blake giving a very small, slow wave.

"Is Blake acting weird or is it just me?" Carl asked Hoodsey.

"I dunno, Carl." Hoodsey said quietly, looking down at his hands.

"Hey Hoods.. What's eatin' ya?" Carl asked noticing Hoodsey's non-typical mannerisms.

"I dunno, Carl.." Hoodsey repeated a little louder. "It’s just like… he's always been like that."

"What you mean?" Carl asked raising an eyebrow at his friend. "I never noticed any of that stuff. The stammering. The blushing… It's weird."

"He's always been like that, Carl… You're just noticing now because you're not preoccupied with something else."

Carl looked out at the passing houses thought the window. He tried to remember any other time Blake had acted like this but all he could remember is pranking him and running him out of his property. Nothing came to mind.

"Carl… I think I know what's going on with Blake.." Hoodsey said slowly, as if he didn't want to mention it.

"Lay it on me, Hoods." Carl said snapping out of his thoughts. He wanted to hear his opinion.

"Uhh… Now just keep in mind that this is just a thought.." Hoodsey said for insurance. "Uhm… I-I think… Blake likes you…"

Carl snorted involuntarily. "Well of course he likes me, Hoods. If he didn't then he wouldn't ask to end the feud."

"No, Carl.." Hoodsey said. " Uhmm…. I think he LIKES you. Like, Likes you…"

It took a while for Carl to figure out what Hoodsey meant but when it registered Carl's eyebrows shot up. He looked at Hoodsey, who was staring at him sheepishly, secretly wishing he had kept his mouth closed.

"..Like…a crush?" Carl asked. Hoodsey nodded quietly. "Did he tell you anything like that?"

Hoodsey shook his head quickly. "Nope. I told you this is just a thought. It just… seems a little obvious."

Carl placed a hand on his chin thoughtfully. Could it be that the younger blonde had developed feelings for him within the years they have fought? He wanted to know if this was true.. How could he find this out…? "How can we find out if this is true or not?" He thought out-loud.

Hoodsey laughed a little. "Well you could always ask him."

Carl thought about it and came to the conclusion that it wouldn't be any good. That would just be embarrassing on both ends of the conversation. Maybe he could trick it out of him. There could also be the possibility that this could just be how Blake acts when he doesn't have his guard up.

"Carl…" Hoodsey said.

"Hmm?" Carl asked not noticing the limo had stopped and the door opened up.

"Go home." Hoodsey said. Carl looked at him and he pointed at the opened door.

"Oh.." Carl said blinking. "See ya Hoods."

"Night." Hoodsey called out when Carl stepped out the limo.

"Good Night, Winston. Thanks again!"

"Have a wonderful night, Sir." Winston said as Carl walked to his door. Carl let himself in his house heading straight to his bedroom. Seeing his parents sitting on the couch watching T.V.

"Night, Momster. Dave." Carl called out while heading up the stairs to his bedroom.

He closed the door behind him and he plopped face-down on his bed. All this intense thinking is starting to hurt. Carl scanned through the numerous times he had caught Blake smiling at him. With that pink blush of his. Carl felt a grin creep across his face. He rolled over with the intention to lay on his back but he rolled right off the bed and landing hard onto the floor.

"Oof!" Carl called in surprise as he felt the impact of the floor. He sat up and rubbed his head.

"Carl?" Lois called upstairs in concern. "You alright up there?"

"Uhm… YEAH, I’M FINE." Carl yelled. He felt himself go pale when he realized what happened. "…I think…" This was starting to weird him out.


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