Disclaimer: All characters of Phineas and Ferb are the property of Dan, Jeff, and Swampy. The year or so that it took to update this belong to all of the soda, snacks, and Five Hour Energies that I'm about to drink in preparation for the next two weeks.
Chapter 5 - Fight For Your Right
Baljeet was never one to be short on words.
Or use short words.
Or even think of things for a short period of time.
Which is probably why he wasn't able to sleep at all that night.
So that was probably why he arrived in the lobby of the school that morning with red eyes and an attitude that would've put even Buford in his place.
This was the problem when you had a higher than average IQ and your brain ran through every possible scenario at the wee hours of the morning.
But at least he had a plan now. Or...something that his sleep-deprived mind had concluded to be a plan.
And there was the target. Right near her locker, almost as if she was waiting for him.
This was almost making things worse.
Ginger turned toward Baljeet as he approached, waving hello. "Hey, Baljeet. I'm glad you're here; did you get my message about--"
She must have seen his face, because she immediately snapped her mouth shut. He didn't even make a motion for his locker, only grabbing her by the arm.
"We need to talk."
She cocked her head to the side. "Baljeet, the bell just rang. Shouldn't we be getting to class?"
OK, now she was worried. She wordlessly let him lead him nearby to an empty classroom. She walked inside as he turned on the lights and locked the door.
"Baljeet, what is going on? I'm going to be late for class, and we still need to figure out our plans for ton--"
She turned around to see Baljeet's face, still as serious as when he walked in the door.
And there was something in his hand. Something really familiar.
All of the color from her face drained out in an instant.
"Wha...Where did you get that from?"
"You seemed to have forgotten it in the park last night.”
Ginger started sweating, not because of any sort of humidity, but because of the small red notebook Baljeet currently held in his hand.
Play it cool, she thought. Play it cool and you might leave this room with your dignity intact.
“Yeah, I was looking for my notebook this morning. I'm so glad you found it!” She put on her best smile as she reached for it. “I'm going to need that---”
Baljeet slapped the notebook onto the desk, cutting her off.
“You're going to need it for what exactly?”
So much for dignity.
“You...didn't happen to read any of it in there, did you?”
Just a stare from Baljeet.
“Listen...” She began to slowly walk toward him, her hands held forward. “You need to listen to me, Baljeet. I can explain all of this...”
“Oh, really?” Baljeet drummed the top of the desk as he continued to stare at her. "I would sure love to hear the clarification of these transgressions."
...Yeah, the chance for that dignity might as well evaporated into thin air.
"Baljeet..." She set her hand on his desk, her fingers right on her notebook. "If you really think about it, you are I aren't that different."
His cold gaze went even more frigid. "Really? That is the route we are going to do down?"
"We're both smart people. We have an affinity for the sciences. We both love annoying Buford."
The last one had meant to lighten the mood a little bit, but Baljeet wasn't having any of it. She continued on. "We're both meticulous planners. If...if you stop and think..." She edged her hand ever so closer to his."...What you do with your schedule...and what I do...is sort of the same thing."
Baljeet could do almost nothing but glare at her. Ginger was afraid that he was permanently stuck in that terrifying position. After almost a minute of silence, he spoke up.
"I am planning out my schedule and homework and a lot of things that I am now realizing probably do not need to be planned." He shook his head slightly. "But I do not plan people. I am not sitting down and trying to calculate someone else's every single move."
Backing off, Ginger stood there shaking as he began to pace down the length of the classroom.
"Do you think I am just some person that you can manipulate into doing whatever you want, Ginger? Is that all you think of me?"
"Of course not."
"Then what is all of this?" he angrily retorted, motioning to her notebook. "Suggesting we go to the park? Making sure Adyson is there with Buford? Her giving you supplies to help you?"
"She didn't know what I needed them for," she whispered.
"Oh! So you failed to tell her that you needed them for your scheme."
"Baljeet, I wasn't--"
"Has everything that has taken place within the last year just a lie? Were you really being nice to get your 'Help Thy Neighbor' patch, or was it just to send subliminal messages to me? The gift that you gave me two weeks ago? The clothes? Was that something just to buy my attention?"
"I wonder what is next on your list. Lure me over to your house. Set up the troop to throw a parade for me. Pay off the mayor to turn Main Street into Baljeet Boulevard. Anything to get my attention, ri-"
Baljeet did indeed pause, his face radiating with anger. He had just enough sense to notice Ginger's eyes were welling up with tears and her hands were grabbing the front of his shirt.
"I didn't...I didn't do all of this to just mess with you, Baljeet."
"Oh, really? Because it sure seems that way."
"You have to believe me. I would never do something like that to you."
Baljeet did not immediately speak. Instead, he plucked the notebook off of the desk and held it up to her face. He slowly and forcefully whispered his next sentence.
"Then why is there a notebook with a week's worth of plans directly related to me in your possession?"
Ginger stayed quiet, her hands now shaking uncontrollably. He took the moment to continue onward.
"Literally everything that has happened in the past few days has been in here, Ginger. You getting me my gift? I can understand that. But lying about Holly's whereabouts? Suggesting the park so that Adyson and Buford would be there, thus 'creating' a precarious situation? Planning to have some sort of fight or argument with your sister so that I would side with you? That is all in here."
Baljeet's vision began to grow cloudy as well, though the water in his eyes were there for a different reason than Ginger's. "Should I even begin to imagine what else you have subliminally doing to get my attention? How far are you willing to let me go back? A month? Two months? A year? How far back does this go? Does this not seem a little creepy to you?"
It would have almost been better if she had slapped him. Or punched him. Or kicked him in the shin. Or done any number of things that would have caused him physical harm. But the only thing she seemed capable of doing was looking in any other direction but his.
"I do not appreciate people lying to my face. Or manipulating me into doing what they want. As the old saying goes, I was born in the dark, but it was most definitely not last night."
Baljeet set the notebook down, the worst of his tirade ready to come out.
"And do you know what the worst part is?"
Ginger said nothing.
"The worst part...is that I don't even know if this (he waved around the room) was in your plan. You getting alone with me, you purposefully leaving your notebook for me to find, and now we're here arguing and all of a sudden you will say something that is surely going to make me forget everything that has happened. I cannot trust anything that you do now, because I do not know if you are doing it out of the goodness of your heart of if there is some sort of ulterior motive you have."
He leaned forward, his face inches away from hers.
"Are you really my friend, Ginger? Or am I just a...thing to you? A situation. A problem that you have to solve. Some sort of prize that you have to obtain. What am I to you? Right now? And just to let you know," he concluded, "you should think really hard about how you are going to answer that question."
He sat down in the nearest chair, his eyes not leaving Ginger's.
"So let us hear it. I am all ears."
And it was in that moment of his rage finally receding that he saw the Japanese girl's eyes start tearing up.
She couldn't get anything out.
Ginger started backing toward the door, and Baljeet realized his words may had cut her a little too deeply.
"I have to go."
She barreled through the exit, with the Indian boy shouting after her.
He ran toward the door and yanked it open...to see nothing but an empty hallway. Had Baljeet put two and two together, he would've realized that last night's abrupt departure was not an anomaly. Too bad he wasn't thinking about that.
He leaned on the lockers as he tried to clear his head. Crossing the line was not in his itinerary, but a small part of him thought it was just desserts for a situation gone terribly wrong. That small part, however, was overwhelmed by the fact that he had said several things, no matter how justified he thought they were, that had broken Ginger.
And now he was even more confused and upset than before.
Without even thinking, he threw his fist into the nearest supply locker. His feelings of anger had boiled over...
And was now rapidly being replaced by the feelings of pain.
“Aaaand I think I just broke my hand.”