Nobody ever saw Caroline and Carl apart from each other. They were always together, every day at their school. They were always nice to each other, and never once became angry with each other, nor raise their voices impatiently, nor so much as raise a finger to harm the other.
Joseph, the school bully, became very upset at this, because he did not like the example they set for everyone, making it clear that Joseph was not a good person. One day, he decided to force a wedge between them. Valentine’s Day was coming. Joseph always kept his chocolate to himself, and never even thought of sharing them. Anyone who asked him would receive a hard punch to the jaw. “Have this in your mouth!” He was heard to shout.
This year, Joseph’s Valentine’s Day would be much different. Yes, this year, Joseph would utilize his chocolate, and force a wedge between Caroline and Carl.
During recess, when Carl was in the locker room, Joseph managed to catch Caroline alone.
"Hey, Carrie!” He greeted her with a smile. Caroline immediately knew he was planning something awful, and set her brilliant mind to figuring out what it is, and countering it in a polite, sweet way, as she always strove to do.
“Hello, Joseph!” She returned the greeting. “Do you need something from me? Is everything alright with you?” Caroline always asked that about everyone. She never wanted to be unaware of anyone’s hardships.
Joseph had to hatch his plan quickly; Carl would be out any minute now.
“Yeah, things are fine.” He said. “Hey… I was wondering. I don’t often share any of my Valentine’s Day candy, and I was thinking… it’d be a good time to change that. I figure that I’d give you my entire chocolate box this year, if you only do one thing.”
“Oh really?” Caroline’s eyes shone. Maybe Joseph was on the path to change! “What is it, Joseph?” She smiled brightly at him.
Joseph smiled mischievously. “I just need you to punch Carl in public for me. Then all my chocolates are yours, to do with as you please. Punch him hard enough to bruise him.”
Caroline was shocked. Joseph wasn’t changed at all. He just wanted to test her. But two could play at that game. She would agree. She just had to sound upset about it.
The sun rose early on Valentine’s Day, sending its bright rays across the flowing grass in the school yard. Shortly before school began, all the students were gathered outside, some desperately trying to finish their homework, others playing, their homework already completed.
Carl and Caroline were, of course, sitting together, making a game out of little pebbles on the bench. Caroline was nervous. She had never once hit Carl. But her counterplan was sure to be worth it. She even had Carl’s permission.
Just as the teacher rang the bell, Caroline got up, and hurled her tiny fist into Carl’s cheek.
Carl recoiled. For a girl, Caroline had a strong punch.
Never had Caroline punched Carl before. The entire school noticed. All the students gathered around, incredulous. Joseph was barely restraining his mirth.
The teacher came over, impatient, and found Carl with a black eye, and Caroline standing above him. “And just what is the meaning of this?” She cried out. She, too, could not believe it.
Caroline smiled innocently at the teacher. “Joseph made a bargain with me. He said he would give me his entire chocolate box today, if I punched Carl. Of course, I had to receive Carl’s permission first, but, knowing he would give it, I agreed to Joseph’s dare before consulting Carl.”
Joseph wondered just how much Caroline loved chocolate, that she would punch Carl for the first time in her life. “Hey Carrie, why’d you agree anyways? Isn’t he really special to you?” He added emphasis on “special,” hinting at a romantic interest between Caroline and Carl.
Caroline laughed. “Yes, he is! I’d never do anything to part with him. I never would have done this without his consent.”
The teacher glared at Carl. “Why would you let her punch your eye, Carl?”
Carl smiled. “She aimed for my cheek, but I figure she aimed slightly too high for that. I let her merely because she offered to share Joseph’s chocolate with me.”