Disclaimer: I is no own Pokemon. No no no no no no no.
Starved For Attention
It was a bright sunny day as Brock Slate walked down the busy streets of Pallet Town. The little village had become a mini metropolis in recent years. Ever since Ash Ketchum had earned the title of Pokemon Master Pallet had become much more well known. It was a favorite for tourists, especially in the warm summer months such as this one. The country-like feel always felt so welcoming when Brock and Misty used to stay over at the Ketchum household all those years ago. But this time it was just Brock visiting the area for Misty was a full fledged citizen. She had bought a small house here to be closer to her boyfriend Ash.
Brock thought about how much things had changed as he made his way through, what seemed like, a sea of people. Of course, being Brock, he had no reservations to stop and stare at a beautiful woman walking past him. Women. That was the point of Brock's meeting with Ash that day. Yes, things had indeed changed. For you see, while Ash was in a relationship, Brock was still without a significant other. And Brock, of course, was upset about this. So he was hoping to gain some advice from Ash. Now ordinarily Brock might have felt embarrassed, and maybe even insulted to be given advice about women by his younger friend. However, in this case, his younger friend was known to have quite a few women interested in him, and he had nabbed himself a steady beautiful girlfriend, so there was no longer shame in listening to what Ash may have to say.
He could see his destination ahead of him. The Sunflora Cafe, a popular eatery in the area. As Brock got closer he could see his jet black-haired companion sitting at one of the outdoor tables, giving him a nod of recognition. Brock made his way over to the furthest corner of the property, which was basked in shade. The more Ash leaned back in his chair the less visible he became, until only the hand that was holding a cup of coffee could be seen.
Brock stopped in front of the two-seater table as a waitress approached.
"He'll be joining me. He'd like a cup of coffee, black," Ash, or Ash's hand, since that was the only part of him you could see, said as the waitress jotted it down.
Brock was quick to correct the order. "Actually, I'd prefer it with a little milk, and sugar-"
"No. Black, trust me," the hand said as Brock just waved off the correction to the waitress, and stuck with the black. Brock was getting a little confused, but shook it off, knowing Ash probably had his reasons.
"Anything to eat?" The waitress questioned Brock, who was trying hard not to look down her low-cut blouse.
"Huh? Oh! Um, I'd-"
"No food," Ash's hand cut off Brock, who was now becoming even more baffled.
"No food?" Brock questioned the shadow who quickly replied.
"We need as few distraction as possible today. Just a black coffee will be fine, thank you." The hand ushered the waitress off, while Brock could only stare.
'But I'm hungry.'
'Take a seat, Brock," the hand offered as the chair opposite Ash pulled out with the help of Ash's foot.
Brock ignored the gesture. He was getting a little fed up with Ash's strange behavior. "What's with you?"
"I hear you are looking for a favor...Care to make me an offer I wouldn't refuse?" Ash questioned in a low, husky voice, and a very bad New York accent.
Brock's lip twitched in agitation. "Ash, you are not the Godfather, so just sit up straight already so I can see you!"
Silence filled the area until Ash busted out of the shadows in laughter. His characteristic cheeky grin couldn't help but show itself as Ash's eyes smiled at his friend.
"Heh heh, it was just a joke! Lighten up!" Ash urged the unamused Brock.
"Joke? I now have no food!" Brock pointed out, angry at Ash's denial of a meal just so he could carry on with his silly game. He eyed Ash's now visible plate of pastries that sat tauntingly in front of him.
"Aw, calm down. Have a cruller!" Ash offered his biscuit-like treat to his squinty-eyed friend.
Brock forcefully took the pastry from Ash's hand, and finally sat down.
"I'm beginning to rethink this meeting," Brock grumbled while stuffing the cruller into his mouth.
Ash, trying to ignore his friends annoyance, decided to get down to business. Just the thought of Brock, his wiser, older, more knowledgeable friend asking him for advice, pleased him to no end. "So, what's up?"
Brock shrugged as he finished up his food, and took a napkin off the table to wipe the crumbs off of his mouth. "You know what I'm here for...How do you do it?"
Ash simply stared. He knew what Brock was referring to, hence the grin once again surfacing to his face.
"What's your secret? How is it that you have a girlfriend, and I don't?" Brock questioned, his voice conveying distress.
Ash's reply was cut off before he even got a word out.
"What is wrong with the world!!!!" Brock yelled out in vain.
Ash simply sighed as he watched Brock rest his head in his hands.
"Brock, this is not your fault," Ash stated, gaining Brock's attention.
"It's not?" Brock asked hopefully.
"No, this is the fault of women. Women who do not appreciate a good man like you." Ash pointed to the reassured Brock.
"So, you mean, it's not my fault at all? It's the women with the problem, not me?" Brock asked, glad that he hasn't been in the wrong.
".....Well...it's a bit your fault," Ash admitted as Brock facefaulted.
"Look, Brock, the thing is that you try too hard. Your approach makes you look desperate-"
"And women don't like that?" Brock asked, honestly unaware of the fact.
"No. It's a real turnoff. That's why I'm so irresistible to them," Ash stated cockily.
"What, Ash? What do you do that makes you attractive to women?" Brock inquired the suddenly mysterious Ash.
Ash leaned over the table while ushering Brock to do the same. "Okay, I'll tell you, but this has to stay between us. No one must know this foolproof technique," Ash whispered to his friend, who was peering from side to side to make sure no one was listening in.
"Uh huh." Brock's anticipation was growing by the second as he nodded his head enthusiastically. "So what is it?"
Ash pulled away from Brock, and relaxed back into his chair.
Brock was dumfounded at the reply. "....Nothing? What do you mean nothing?"
"Just what I said...Nothing," Ash repeated, a nonchalant smile crept to his face.
Brock simply blinked a few times, trying to make sense of Ash's words. But he soon will realize that there was no sense to Ash's words. "Why do I suddenly feel as if I'm in a Seinfeld episode?!" Brock questioned himself while the smile disappeared from Ash's face.
"What's wrong?! I came all the way from Pewter City for "nothing"?!" Brock was outraged as he bolted out of his chair. 'This was his big secret for getting women?!'
"Whoa, hold on, buddy! I'm not done yet," Ash continued somewhat nervously while trying to calm Brock down.
"You better not be done," Brock warned, taking his seat once again. He did not like being teased about women.
At that moment the waitress came by with his black coffee.
Ash began to laugh uneasily as Brock took the coffee, and glared at him. "Anyway, as I was saying....Um...Okay, Brock, I'm going to give it to you straight. It's the truth. I don't do anything. I mean, they just come to me. Get it?"
Brock was not satisfied with this answer, and it showed. Ash had never seen someone drink coffee in such a hostile manner before. He was surprised the glass didn't break when Brock slammed it down on the table.
"Well, you see, like I said before, you try too hard. You are a great guy, but because of the act you put on with women, they never get to see that guy. They just see a desperate, pathetic, lonely man, who can't seem to come up with a good pickup line."
Brock tried to control his anger, hoping Ash was going somewhere with this. "Your point?"
"My point is that you should turn the tables on them," Ash stated dramatically.
Brock was intrigued. "What do you mean?"
"Instead of you fawning over them, they will fawn over you. While you do what they usually do to you."
"Ignore them, and threaten to call the police/angry boyfriend/hostile Pokemon?"
Ash's face conveyed pity as he continued. "Noooo. You play it cool. You don't get excited, you don't overreact, you don't come on too strong. You just act natural. Be yourself."
Ash's words seemed almost foreign to Brock. "I don't follow you..."
Ash smacked his forehead, frustrated over Brock's cluelessness. "Don't act like you! Act like yourself!.....Damn it! How do I explain this. I mean, really, is it that hard of a concept to grasp? Just don't overdo it. Don't act so needy. When you are talking to a girl you like, talk to her as if she were a normal person. Don't put her on a pedestal. Don't treat her as if she's superior to you. And absolutely never let her think that you might like her more than she likes you. Got it?" Ash tried to catch his breath. He looked at Brock, trying to figure out whether he understood him now.
"....So, in other words, lie. Why didn't you say that before? Honestly, everything has to be so difficult with you." Brock shook his head in disbelief.
Now it was Ash's turn to be aggravated. "No, you don't lie...per say. You just act normally, the way you're acting now."
"So you're saying that if I want to get a girls attention, I should just treat her the way I treat you?" Brock asked, looking for reassurance.
"Exactly!" Ash was happy he was finally getting through to Brock. "Girls are no different from you and me. They aren't anything special. Trust me, they may look intimidating sometimes, but after you've see them in the morning...with no makeup...and their hair all over the place...with bags under their eyes...Well, lets just say you'd be much more scared than attracted to them," Ash stated wisely, speaking from experience.
"Okay, I guess your way of doing things makes sense, but this little strategy of yours would only work if I already knew the girl. What happens if I see a girl in the street, and I want to get to know her. How do I do that without letting her know how absolutely perfect I think she is?"
Ash noticed that Brock was speaking to him, but his focus was on a cute blond, who was peering into a flower shop window a few feet away.
Ash sighed at his hopeless friend who now had his classic goofball, daydreamy look on his face.
"Like the girl, Brock?" Ash questioned, already knowing the answer.
Brock nodded his head stupidly, not once taking his attention away from the girl.
Ash rubbed his chin, his eyes narrowing as if deep in thought. "Well, this situation is tricky. You need some bait."
At this point Brock turned back to Ash, confusion written all over his face. "Bait?"
"Yeah, something to hook her; grab her attention. Usually a Pokemon would work really well here. Girl sees a cute Pokemon. Girl pets cute Pokemon. Guy has girl's attention," Ash explained simply.
"Well, that's easy for you to say Mr. Pikachu trainer, but if I walk down the street with my Onix out, I'm going to be getting the kind of attention I'd rather not have.," Brock stated, staring at the girl longingly.
"That's easily solved. Pikachu is at home right now, but you could borrow my Bayleef. And remember, don't compliment her, just act natural," Ash reminded, referring to the girl who was still lurking outside the flower shop. Ash then handed Brock Bayleef's Pokeball.
"Are you sure about this?" Brock asked uneasily, while staring at the red and white ball in his hand.
"Of course I'm sure. Who's the woman expert here, me or you?" Ash questioned brashly.
Brock looked at Ash for a few seconds, a thought had just popped into his head. "That reminds me..." Brock began, a sly grin on his lips. "Misty tells me you're in the doghouse."
Ash blushed a bright red as embarrassment engulfed him.
"She said that you were acting like a big jerk. Something about you not paying enough attention to her?" Brock inquired, insinuating that he would like to be filled in on the details.
Ash chuckled nervously a bit before becoming rather annoyed at his girlfriend's accusations. "Yeah, well, you just heard Misty twisted side of the story. I'll tell you what really happened, and I'd just like to mention that I did absolutely nothing wrong," Ash defended rather loudly. "Misty and I were at the mall the other day, and I had gone to get us some pretzels to eat. Anyway, when I came back Misty was flirting with some lughead. I admit that I was a bit jealous at first, but then I saw that the guy she was talking with had seen me, and he was asking who I was. I saw her just wave me off, saying that I was nobody. That's when I knew that she was doing it on purpose. And this wasn't the first time she's tried to make me jealous either. So, since she was acting like a silly brat, I just ignored her. Then, when she saw that I wasn't going to react to the situation, she got upset. After we left the mall she said that she refuses to speak to me, because she's mad at me for lack of "attention"," Ash finished, while rolling his eyes. "See? Not my fault."
"Hmmmm," Brock pondered thoughtfully while twirling the miniaturized Pokeball in his hand.
"What?" Ash questioned in confusion.
"Well....Have you ever thought about why she is trying to make you jealous? I mean, from what you've told me today, maybe Misty's "lack of attention" claim was accurate?"
Ash glared at Brock menacingly as he growled out, "Would you just go over there and get the girl, so I can prove just how right I am about women!" Ash pointed to Brock's target.
Brock could only shake his head at Ash's outburst while he got out of his seat and made his way over to the flower shop. Just before getting next to the blond, who's heavenly perfume caught Brock's attention immediately, he let out Bayleef. Bayleef quickly greeted the familiar breeder with a cheerful "Bay Bay". Brock and Bayleef walked under the awnings that shaded the cafe and the small shops surrounding it, only letting little bursts of sunlight peek through.
Ash watched from a distance, taking note that the area had suddenly become a lot more quiet as the afternoon rush had come to an end for the day. The multiple white metal tables and chairs that used to seat several Sunflora Cafe customers were now empty, aside from Ash in his lonely corner.
Brock appeared to be right on time as the blond had finally decided to go into the little store. The bell over the door rung invitingly as she opened it. However, she barely had a foot inside when she heard a "Bay Bay" coming from behind her. She turned rapidly to see a slightly blushing tanned man with a adorable smiling Bayleef beside him.
"Oh how cute!!!" the girl said as she bent slightly to pet the creature affectionately on the head.
Brock, holding his breath, turned back around to look at Ash, who winked and gave him a thumbs up.
"Awww, is this your Bayleef?" She questioned sweetly as Brock observed her warm smile and stunning blue eyes.
"Uh...it-it's my friend's." Brock barely mouthed as the girl expressed her fondness for grass Pokemon.
"I love grass types. They are my absolute favorite! Your friend is lucky to have a Bayleef. I've always wanted one, but I've never had much luck with Pokemon," the girl explained as she switched hands on the large fabric beige bag she was carrying.
"By the way, my name is Caroline, what's yours?"
Ash watched with interest. It was now Brock's turn to speak.
Brock subconsciously gulped, the sweat pouring down his forehead. He wasn't sure he could get through this. He had to stick with the plan, he had to do as Ash said....He had to ignore the urge to-
"Ah!!! I can't help it! You are so beautiful! I've never seen such a serene goddess such as yourself before! You're perfect, and I'd regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't ask you to accompany me on a date!" Brock declared passionately.
The girl looked stunned as Brock took her hands in his own.
"Bay Bay?" Bayleef could only stare at the crimson Brock, awaiting a reaction.
After that scene Ash began to rub his temples, trying to relieve some of the stress. 'He's hopeless.'
Brock continued to look at the girl as her shocked expression slowly turned back into a happy smile.
"I'd love to go out with you! It's so refreshing to meet a man who knows how to treat a lady. And you're so cute too!" Caroline giggled.
Brock, Bayleef, and, of course, Ash couldn't believe what they'd just heard.
"Really? You mean it?" Brock was incredibly surprised. She nodded, showing that her acceptance was sincere. This caused Brock's grin to grow even larger.
Brock absentmindedly dropped Bayleef's Pokeball on the ground as he bolted to the flower shop entrance. The bell rang once more when Brock held the door open. "I believe you wanted to go in here?"
Ash watched Brock and Caroline disappear into the flower shop. He could hear Brock introduce himself just before the door shut behind them.
Bayleef, seeing that she was no longer needed, picked up her Pokeball with her mouth, and made her way back to Ash. Ash took the Pokeball, stroked Bayleef gently under the chin a few times, and returned her.
"Good job, Bayleef," Ash commented softly to the ball, before attaching it back on his belt.
Ash gazed at the shop, chuckling lightly to himself. "Good for you, Brock. Good for you."
Ash walked along the dirt road, making his way towards home. Basked in the warmth of the sun he thought of the events of the day. He was a little surprised at the ideas circling in his head at that moment. He kind of wished that Misty was there so he could tell her what had happened to Brock earlier. "She'd never believe it."
"Who is she?" a familiarly irritated voice questioned.
Ash quickly turned around and came face to face with the angry redhead.
"Heh-Hey Misty!" he greeted, fright present in his voice.
"Don't hey Misty me! Are you cheating on me already?! I haven't even stopped hating you yet to make this breakup official," Misty interrogated, her aqua eyes staring accusingly at him; her arms crossed, showing she meant business.
"No! I haven't cheated on you! I would never cheat on you!" Ash admitted earnestly as Misty's gaze began to soften at Ash's distress.
Ash then remembered his conversation with Brock earlier that day. "Besides, I think the only person we have to worry about cheating in this relationship is you. I'm not the one who flirts with every guy I see," Ash stated matter of factly.
Misty's insides began to burn from anger. "That is not true, and you know it! You're just a big jerk, Ash Ketchum! I don't know why I've even put up with you for so long. You don't deserve me!" Misty screamed out, her fist clenched tightly in rage.
"You got that right," Ash agreed, but not in the way Misty wanted.
Misty could only growl, too upset to say anything else. She turned on her heels, whipping Ash in the face with her long hair in the process, and began to storm off.
Ash watched her walk away, the thrill of the argument quickly subsiding. He then recalled something else Brock had said to him that day. 'I've really made her upset now. Just suck it up, Ketchum. If you don't, you might be making the biggest mistake of your life.' Ash sighed to himself. "Wait! Mist, please!" Ash called out.
Misty was going to ignore him, but something in his voice made her stop in her tracks.
Her back was still facing him, and they had several feet between them, but Ash knew that she was listening.
'Um...you look really beautiful today...Did-did you do something different with your hair?" Ash questioned, just trying to make conversation.
Misty was surprised at this comment. 'He never compliments me...What's he up to?' Misty turned her head slightly, so she could see him out of the corner of her eye. "Actually, I parted it to the side today. I'm surprised you noticed."
'She did?' Ash did not notice, but it was a happy coincidence none the less.
"Well, you look really...um...good like that."
An awkward silence followed as Ash tried to think of something else to say.
Misty, getting impatient, began to start walking again. Ash immediately noticed this, and tried to stop her once more. This time he ran up to her and grabbed her hand.
"What are you doing?!" Misty cried out as she felt a tug on her arm twirl her around so she was now facing Ash.
Ash stared into Misty's hard face. However, he could tell that her eyes betrayed her. She wanted something from him. Something that she should have gotten a long time ago.
"Misty, you are everything to me. I don't know what I'd ever do if I lost you," Ash said truthfully, while doing something he had just told Brock never to do. "Everyday I know that I am lucky to have you; to have such a wonderful, intelligent, beautiful girl like you." Ash could feel tears in his eyes as he looked at Misty. Her face was still rigid. Could it be that their relationship might really be over. Could it be that he'd pushed her too far? "Please, Misty, I'm sorry. I-" Ash didn't know what else to say. His mouth was left to hang open when Misty turned her eyes, which had been fixed on his all that time, away from him.
He then thought that his speech had been worthless.
However, that's when Misty finally spoke. "Why can't you say things like that to me everyday?" She raised her head to show to Ash that she was indeed smiling.
Ash breathed out in relief, a smile leaping his face as well. The smile was soon hidden, though, by Misty's soft lips pressing on his own.
She separated from him after a few seconds, but still stayed intimately close to his face. Her breath warmed his skin, her eyes stared deep into his.
"Brock is a genius," Ash stated, while still grinning.
Misty was extremely baffled by this statement. "Huh?"
"I'll tell you when we get home. But later, could you remind me to pick him up a few Playboys. I'd wanna give him something," Ash decided as Misty shook her head in mock disgust, even though she knew Brock would most likely appreciate the gesture.
Ash strung his arm around Misty's shoulders casually while she leaned into him, and they both made their way toward the Ketchum household where Mrs. Ketchum was bound to have something good cooking.
In the end, even though Brock was the one originally seeking advice, it was Ash who needed it most of all. Also, it seems that Brock was correct about what women wanted all along. He just had to find a women who wanted it from him. ^_~
A/N: *Runs away*