A Cliché Waiting To Happen

- Fine Pieces of Mancake and Black, Lacy Lingerie -


"No freaking way," Anna hisses, unfazed by the fact that Mrs. Bentley is practically dragging her onstage by the sleeve of her favourite 'I heart Orlando' shirt.

I shrug, aware that the drama teacher has been shooting the both of us annoyed glances throughout the entire time that I've been here.

Alright, so bursting into a fit of giggles during Danielle's part isn't going to earn me brownie points, but you try keeping a straight face when she tries to upstage the lead actress every time they have a scene together. Of course, Danielle got the part of Cal in 'Titanic', which is a pretty good part to get considering that the rest of her family have like no acting skill whatsoever, but my sister just couldn't be happy with that. She has always had her heart set on being the rose, onstage and off.

Pun intended.

I snigger as the devil herself stalks huffily offstage, alternating glares between the lead actress and me.

Technically, only the performers are allowed into the drama hall during rehearsal, but who cares for technicalities? I'm the ticket seller after all, and everybody knows that the ticket seller is the backbone of the entire performance. Without the ticket seller, the show couldn't possibly go ahead.

Heck, I'm practically the star of the show.

The Annie of 'Annie.'

The Harry of Harry Potter.

Ha, yeah, and being deluded sure is fun.

I sigh and stifle a yawn. It's four-thirty and I have nothing better to do than wait for my sister to finish rehearsal for the school play. My younger sister. It's times like these when I feel completely inferior.

Mrs. Bentley's frustrated yell snaps my attention back to the stage, where Anna is frantically trying to catch my eye, making gestures which could either mean that a) she wants me to give her all the details of Ric's truce straight after rehearsal, or b) she's having a seizure.

As she hasn't yet begun foaming at the mouth, I settle on the former.

"Miss Chong," Mrs. Bentley sighs in exasperation. "If you're not going to take being Fabrizio seriously, I'm afraid I'm going to have to recast the role. To somebody worthy of it."

Anna pulls a face behind her back. We both know that Mrs. Bentley isn't going to go ahead with her threat anytime soon. The amount of musical or acting talent in our school is pitiful. Truly disheartening.

How do you think Anna got a part?

But then, just because I didn't get a part in a play doesn't mean I have to be spiteful about it.

No, wait. Yes it does.

"Boooooooo!" I catcall. "Get off the stage, Chong!"

I hurl a pen lid in her direction and watch my feeble attempt at a throw land more than a metre away from the intended target. Yay. My physical abilities are progressing.

Mrs. Bentley shoots me a dirty look.

"And you, Miss Conroy, need to learn to keep your mouth shut. Since the moment you arrived, you've done nothing but disrupt our much-needed practice."

I swear, her nostrils are flaring.

She's mad at me. Me, Meggin Conroy. But I'm going to acknowledge that she is under great stress and that she probably isn't even aware of half the things she's saying, so I'm going to be generous and forgive her.

Anna looks on in amusement because she thinks it's hilarious when I get into trouble. It's a rare occurrence but, when it happens, she thrives on it. We have a healthy friendship, you know?

"Sorry, Ms.," I say meekly, bowing my head for good measure. "I'll be more mindful of all the hard work you're putting into making this play a successful one. Although, I'm sure it'll go nicely, if last year's play is anything to go by."

Aaaand, ka-ching.

Anna rolls her eyes as the angry look on the teacher's face dissipates. God, Mrs. Bentley looks like she wants to take me home and spoon-feed me lasagna. I guess a little lying goes a long way.

I mean, last year's play sucked. Seriously.

Ha, yeah, I'm one of those people. The kind that's got their lips permanently implanted onto the teacher's arse. Hey, it's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. And I do it better than most.

Not to mention that it's great for damage control.

"Well," she begins, looking absolutely flustered. "Let's get back to rehearsing. Anna, up where you're supposed to be, please. Caitlyn, from when Jack first notices Rose."

Caitlyn Bowen, who scored the role as Jack, nods and resumes her position, apparently used to Mrs. Bentley's mood swings and fits of distress, having played major roles in all of the school's plays since as long as I can remember. The kind of girl my sister worships.

This time I keep my mouth shut, and pretend to look interested in the play. It's not like Leonardo di Caprio is going to appear anytime soon and have mad, passionate sex with Kate Winslet. Not in our version anyway.

Um, not that I want to see Leonardo di Caprio having mad, passionate sex with Kate Winslet in our drama hall because that would be just a touch too perverted. Yeah, just a tad.

Caitlyn steps forward on the stage and gazes somewhere to the far left, where Rose is supposed to be. It's entrancing, really, watching her fascinated expression, as if she really is riveted by Rose. Which is disturbing, especially in an all girls' school, but all for the sake of drama, right?

No wonder she got the part of Jack. She's good.

I hold my breath.

Everything is silent, as if everybody else is also waiting with baited breath for something to happen.


I frown.

Something is supposed to happen.

"Anna! For Pete's sake, all you have to do is tap Tommy on the shoulder and look at Jack. That's your part in this scene. That's it. We've gone over it a hundred times!" Mrs. Bentley's distressed yell resounds throughout the entire hall. "Get off the stage! Rehearsal is over. We'll meet again for rehearsal on Friday, and I expect all of you to know your parts."

Anna, who had been reapplying her lip-gloss, scowls as the drama teacher looks at her pointedly. Her face is sour as she stalks over to where I'm sitting.

"Lip gloss?" I raise an eyebrow. "You pissed her off because you were reapplying lip gloss? Can't you learn to pick your battles?"

"You're the suck-up," she mutters, slinging her bag over her shoulder. "Not me."

I shrug modestly. "I do my best."

Danielle tugs on my arm impatiently. "Come on, Meggin. Ric's going to be there any minute."

Of course.

Let's all drop everything for Ric,

Only, I guess I should really stop with the sarcasm since we're supposed to be friends and everything. Sort of.

Argh. I'm so confused.

What are we, anyway?


I hadn't found a way around telling Danielle about the possibility of Ric working with Zia Maria. Especially when she'd overheard me telling her, but I'd oh-so-conveniently left out the bit about the truce so there's some relief there that she doesn't know about that. It's enough that my sister hounds me daily about putting in a good word for her during counseling.

Pfft, like I'm gonna bring that up around Lizzie. She'd twist it around somehow, and tell me that I'm harbouring deep, unfulfilled feelings for Ric.

Oh, God, why did I have to write that stupid date plan?

On the bus ride home, Anna's face brightens.

"Hey," she says, snapping an elastic band around her long black hair. "So before I get to meet this Ric, tell me about your truce."

Ah, now I understand the lip-gloss.

She'd made it a point to invite herself over as soon as I'd told her that he was coming. Something about him being that tall, dark haired and handsome guy with the motorcycle that she's been waiting for. Minus the motorcycle.

Oh, and the handsome bit. Definitely minus the handsome bit.

Hey, denial suits me just fine, okay?

I almost feel sorry for him, having to not only meet my Zia Maria, but have two hormone-charged girls gawking at him as well.

For the record, I'm not either of those two girls.

And I almost feel sorry for him.

Or should I feel completely sorry for him now that we're treaty-mates? Or truce-buddies. Or whatever.

"Shhh. Keep it quiet, will you?" In the seat in front of us, Danielle nods her head in time to her music, but my sister has always had a knack for overhearing things she isn't supposed to. "It wasn't anything. I don't know why you're making such a massive deal about it. I thought that, you know, he was gonna kill me for kneeing him in the groin and - "

"You what?" Anna bursts into laughter.

"Shut up," I growl, my face turning red. How embarrassing. There are only two types of girls who can physically assault guys and get away with it.

1) Perfect girls who are worshipped even more by guys when they display their total-kick-ass-ness and ability to look after themselves.

2) Crazy girls who have a death wish.

And I'm neither.

"We really need to work on your violence issues," she smirks. "Oh look, I like that house."

"Yeah, it's okay," I shrug, as I turn my head to see where she's pointing. "Anyway, long story short, we decided to, you know, have each other's backs. At least, until Lizzie lets us off our counseling sessions."

She looks like she's about to burst into laughter again. "Have each other's backs? Since when do you say something like 'have each other's backs?'"

I think I'm supposed to be insulted here.

"You are not coming home with me."

She grins.

"Yeah I am. Fine piece of mancake, here I come."

Should you be scared when one of your best friends is rubbing her hands together and cackling to herself in glee? Because, surprisingly enough, I'm not. It's an Anna thing.

This time it's my turn to laugh. "Fine piece of mancake! Ric is so not a fine piece of mancake. What is a fine piece of mancake anyway?"

Her look is one of revulsion. "I can't believe you don't know what a fine piece of mancake is. Have I taught you nothing?"

The bus lurches to a stop and, as a girl, who's wearing our rival school's uniform, heads down the aisle, she tugs on her arm.

"Hey, do you think a guy with hazel eyes, messy light brown hair, a killer smile and a wicked sense of humour is a fine piece of mancake?" she asks, as if she's actually seen the guy.

"Anna!" I hiss, mortified.

I hate her. I hope she gets thrown out on her arse as the bus drives off. I want to throw her out on her arse as the bus drives off. Maybe I should throw her out on her arse as the bus drives off. On second thought…I quickly work out the amount of effort I'd have to exert and decide against it.

The girl doesn't miss a beat. "Hell yeah. Why? Do you know somebody like that? Because, damn, I sure hope you're not letting him go to waste." She winks over her shoulder as she leaves the bus. "And if you don't want him, hook me up."

"He's a complete dickhead," I quickly say, but it doesn't seem to have a negative effect on her.

The doors close shut behind her, and as the bus rumbles to life again, I press my palms against my cheeks, which have become a lovely shade of red due to complete embarrassment. The last thing I want is for Anna to stop random people and include them into our personal conversations.

"You see?" Anna turns to me triumphantly, wearing a 'once-again-I'm-right-and-you're-wrong' expression, oblivious to my baleful glare. "Fine pieces of mancake. Uniting rivals everywhere. If the world leaders all had somebody to ogle together, there wouldn't be war."

Quite disturbing that she actually sounds as if she believes what she's saying.

"You. Are. Seriously. Retarded." I say the words slowly, to emphasise the fact that She. Is. Seriously. Retarded.

She snorts, waving her hand in a 'whatever' fashion. "Come on. Ric's had, like, a record of five girlfriends in the past year. He must be easy on the eye." She nudges me. "Go on. Admit it. You know you wanna."

Should I?


An image of Anna asking me stupid, embarrassing questions just to get me to admit that I think Ric's good looking while he's right there pops into my head. Which is what she's probably going to do, so I may as well let her win now. Before things get really embarrassing as they're prone to do whenever Anna's around. Or Belinda. Or Zia Maria.

Actually, now that I think about it, they're all pretty similar. At least, when it comes to going out of their way to embarrass me. Why do I surround myself with people like that?

"Okay, okay," I concede. "I admit that he's -"

"Hey," Danielle says, turning around suddenly and plucking her earphones out of her ear. "Are you talking about Ric?"

Anna nods in confirmation for me, because I'm too busy gasping for breath.

"Argh! Don't ever do that again!" I gasp, clutching at my heart. "You just popped out of nowhere and argh! You weren't listening, were you?"

God help me if she was.

See what I mean about my sister hearing things that she isn't supposed to?

If she'd heard me admitting that I think Ric's…erm…good-looking, (oh, gag) I'd never live it down. She'd go on and on about how he's been living right under my nose and I've never looked at him twice before except to hurl insults at him, and how she was right the entire time, and that if I ever dream of hooking up with him she'll hate me for life because he was hers first.

Blah, blah, blah.

As far as I'm concerned, she can have him.

Not that I'm going to put in a good word for her, because it's much easier to laugh at her obvious attempts at capturing his attention.

Like now for instance.

I quickly get up as the bus stops to let us off, and sling my bag over my shoulder, but she's too busy peering at her reflection in the window.

"How's my hair?" she asks, running her fingers through her newly highlighted hair.


I roll my eyes and turn to my dark-haired companion so that we can have a good ol' laugh at Danielle's expense.

"It's good," Anna says. "How's mine?"


"I'm going to be sick," I mutter, staring at my reflection in complete disgust, and believe me, that doesn't happen very often. Me staring at my reflection in disgust, I mean.

Mum beams with pride as she adjusts my tie lovingly.

"Aleric," she coos, trying to smooth down my hair. "Your first job interview."

I cringe. I hate that name.

"Now make sure you make a good impression on Ms. Sarcione. I think it's wonderful of Meggin to offer you the job and you don't want to ruin it, do you? It's definitely better than working at a fast-food chain, serving fifty calories of heart disease per customer. Getting up to nonsense during closing hours."

She says this vengefully, as if such a thing had ruined her entire life.

Best not to get into that.

"I don't think that I really need a tie," I begin. "It's not meant to be all formal or anything."

At least, I hope it isn't mean to be formal. But, I mean, this is the same woman who'd suggested that I wear a bra to hold up my gym socks when she'd figured out that I was posing as a foreign exchange student. And this had been the first and only time that we'd met.

So yeah, Meggin's aunt, or whatever she is, is pretty cool.

How come Meggin hangs with cool people, but none of it rubs off on her?

Or, wait.

I frown.

I really have to stop dissing her since…you know, the truce and all. I mean, seeing as we're peace-pals and everything. Haha. Peace-pals.

God, that's fucked.

Mum steps back and admires her handiwork. Geez, it looks like she's about to cry.

Shoot me now.

"Can I at least leave the jacket?" I plead, tugging on my tie uncomfortably. "It's thirty degrees outside."

"Twenty-nine," Dad corrects from the kitchen table. As always, his input is incredibly helpful. And, by 'incredibly', I mean not. "You know," he says thoughtfully, through a mouthful of Oreo biscuits. "I don't really think the tie suits."

Thank God.

Did I say that he wasn't helpful?

"So can I take it off?" I ask, hopefully, already tugging the ugly thing away from my neck.

Mum clucks her tongue in annoyance.

"Don't you dare," she warns, prying my fingers away from the tie. "And you. Shouldn't you be heading back to the car dealership right about now?" She gives my dad a pointed look.

Dad shrugs and decides to leave me to fend for myself, taking the packet of Oreos with him.


I guess, in that way, Mum reminds me of Aunt Nancy. Once you get her in a mood, it's every man for himself. Every man for himself and, if he can take the Oreos with him, he may as well do that too.

"I'll be back sometime around six-thirty," he calls as we hear him opening the door. "Ric, good luck with your interview and don't screw – Meggin!"

I frown.

And don't screw Meggin?

It's suddenly very hot in here and I reach up to tug at my collar again. Dad doesn't know about how I've been feeling around Meggin lately, does he? He can't. Even I don't know what I've been feeling around her, except that it's definitely not the way I've felt around her for the past ten years.

"Wouldn't dream of i - Meggin!"

She appears in the doorway looking slightly bemused as Dad leads her into the lounge with a huge beam on his face.

Ah, now it all makes sense.

I let my breathing return to normal.

"And here's the girl we should all be thanking," he announces, slapping her on the back so that she almost lands face first into the pile of ties that Mum has discarded.

Mum rushes over to embrace her like a daughter, which is pretty wrong considering the feelings that I've been having. Which are anything but brotherly and – God, we're not even related. We're not even friends.

"We can't thank you enough," she gushes. "He's applied for a few places, you know, but he's never got a call back. I don't think his teachers referred him very well. All his missed classes."

She eyes me disapprovingly and I find myself shrinking beneath her gaze. I'd been skipping classes for years and it's only now that she's decided to take notice. It's a bit like when she'd taken me shopping for the Start of Year dance. She wouldn't have done it before this year. There's a part of me that kind of likes all the attention she's been heaping on me lately. The other part – the larger part – just wants her to butt out. It's a lot easier to be cool when your mother isn't breathing down your neck every few seconds.

"And there was no way she was going to let me apply for McDonald's," I mutter, rolling my eyes skyward.

"I met your mother at a McDonald's," Dad breaks in, a boyish grin transforming his features. "Boy, the things we used to get up to when he had to close up during the -"

Mum silences him with the Look. He takes the hint and scurries out of the house, muttering something about 'not being able to say anything in his own household.' We all know who wears the pants in the family and, sadly enough, it's not the same person who wears the boxers.

"Anyway." Mum claps her hands, her smile back in place. "I'm being very rude. Would you like anything to drink, Meggin?"

She declines politely. "No, it's okay. I just came over here because Zia Maria's waiting back at my place for Ric, so I just thought that -"

"Of course, of course." Mum shakes her head sorrowfully. "And he's kept you waiting, hasn't he? Of course he has. Ric, get your butt over there now," she orders.

I scowl.

Playing the blame game, is she?

"Sorry about that," I mutter as I lock the door behind me. "They both got so excited about the interview and I couldn't get them to shut up."

Meggin doesn't respond and I turn around to find her trying hard not to laugh. And I can guess what she's laughing at, but I ask her anyway.

"What's so funny?" I demand. It's not often that Meggin gets to laugh at me – well, unless you count that time I'd tried to save her life or whatever, which is a pretty shitty thing to do when someone's just gone and risked his life for you. Even though, okay. So she hadn't needed saving.

"I'm sorry," she manages. "It's just that," and here she glances at my suit and tie. "It's just that, I mean, you're not going to meet the Prime Minister or anything. And the job definitely isn't some fancy schmancy office job. You look like my dad!"

Really! I'm wounded. Here I am, wanting to jump her bones, and she tells me that I look like her dad?

Oh my God.

I want to jump her bones.

"That's it," I growl, dumping the jacket into my mother's azalea bush. The tie follows and I gain some satisfaction out of watching that ugly thing smothered in dirt. And fertiliser. "Will you stop laughing at me now?"

She stares at me for a second and cocks her head to the side, deep in thought. If it had been anybody else, I'd have instantly assumed that she was checking me out. But this is Meggin.

Meg-gin. The girl whose bones I don't want to jump.

"Actually," she says, tapping her chin thoughtfully. "It'd look more casual if -"

She steps forward hesitantly and I hold my breath, having absolutely no fucking clue what she's about to do. She undoes the top two buttons carefully (hel-lo, is she trying to undress me here?) and smoothes out my collar.

God, I want to jump her bones.

"There!" she says brightly, looking pleased with herself as she steps back. "Much better. Or, I don't know, maybe you should roll up the sleeves as well. Zia's going to laugh her butt off when she sees you, but at least you don't look as formal as you did before."

I do what she says, not knowing what else to say. Because, God, I'd thought for sure she was going to try and undress me. Hey, it happens.

"Listen," she says suddenly, staring at me straight in the eye. I shift my weight between my feet uncomfortably, trying to banish all evil, disgusting thoughts. She's Meggin. Conroy. "It was a bit weird, you know. Me touching you and everything. Don't think I'm trying to, you know, grope you or something like that. I know what you think of me. I just thought that I'd…erm, just try to help you out. My Zia laughs at my dad for wearing that stuff. I didn't want you to, I dunno, look like an idiot in front of her or anything. I mean, if you did, she'd have to recruit me into the job, and I'm really not up for all the busy stuff that goes on in the market."

She laughs but it's more to break the silence than anything else.

I swallow.

This conversation has been the longest and most civil I've ever had with her and, God, it feels so weird. I try to break the awkwardness.

"So, in other words," I smirk. "You just wanted to feel me up."

She rolls her eyes. "Dickhead."

And just like that, everything feels normal again. She leads the way through the path to her house, and I follow right behind her, thanking God that at least my mother hadn't tried to gel back my hair.

I step inside and am immediately greeted by a strong, flowery smell, as if somebody had savagely attacked the house with one of those air fresheners just before I'd arrived. It's not as if I haven't been here before. Surprisingly enough, despite Meggin's dislike for me, I've set foot in the Conroy household quite a few times. Like the time I'd told that massive lie about Meggin doing the alcohol. Which had lead to us going to the counseling sessions.

Geez, that was only six weeks ago, but it seems like ages.

Their hallway is nice and cool compared to the heat outside and I take a few moments to flash a grin at my appearance in the mirror by the doorway.

As I turn away from my reflection, a pretty Asian girl appears out of nowhere and inspects me from top to bottom. "Hmmm," she mutters to herself. "Tall – not too tall. Light brown hair. Hazel eyes. Nice." She peers into my face and I take a step backward. "You don't, by any chance, have a motorbike, do you?"

"Excuse me?"

"A motorbike," she repeats impatiently, crossing her arms over her 'I heart Orlando shirt.' "You know. Vroom vroom?"

Okay, so she may be pretty, but she's also pretty crazy.

"Anna!" Meggin, who'd gone ahead, reappears with a frown. "Don't scare him off, alright? Besides, he doesn't have a motorbike."

The girl, who I assume is Anna, shakes her head sorrowfully. "Such a shame," she sighs, looking at me in disappointment. "Sorry. You're pretty cute but no motorbike, no chance." She jerks her thumb in the direction of Conroy's lounge room and I walk past her thankfully.

I don't know whether I should be flattered by the cute comment, or if I should be offended that the chick has decided to write me off just because I don't have a motorbike.

Ms. Sarcione has dark brown hair, cut short to her chin, which gives her a sort of fashionable look, despite the fact that she works a busy stall in the Victoria Market. She smiles at me from the couch and pats the seat next to her encouragingly. "Hi Ricardo," she greets me.

"He's not Italian, Zia," Meggin's younger sister rolls her eyes as she places a glass of lemonade in front of me. "His name's Ric, not Ricardo."


Yeah, she's pretty hot, I decide. Way prettier than Meggin. But she's something like…two years younger than me, which would make me a total cradle-snatcher.

From the corner of my eye, I can see Meggin smirk as she drags Danielle out of the room to give us some privacy. "Actually, his name is really -"

Oh, shit. I forgot that she knows my dirty little secret. Aleric. Lucky it became Ric and not Al. My life would have been entirely different if I'd been known as Al. An Al probably wouldn't have scored as much with the chicks as a Ric.

I silence her with a glare, which, scarily enough, reminds me of the kind of glare Mum gives Dad. Oh my God. I take after my mother. She shrugs and, to my relief, all three girls decide to stay in the kitchen and gossip about…well, me, I'm guessing.

"The shirt brings out his eyes," Danielle's voice drifts over from the kitchen. Even though I don't have blue eyes.

"So, Ric," Ms. Sarcione begins. "I want to keep this short and simple. As far as I'm concerned, you've already got the job, but I'm told it's professional of me to do the interview. Are you committed to your schoolwork?"

Uh oh. Schoolwork. Why did she have to bring up the schoolwork? I've never been committed to anything. Schoolwork, girlfriends – you name it.

Seeing the look on my face, her smile grows wider. "Not committed to schoolwork? That's awesome. I won't have to listen to you rambling on about bullshit quadratics or anything like that, then?"

Uhhh. "No, Ms. Sarcione," I answer her truthfully. Quadratics? Holy shit, I don't even take Maths Methods.

"Maria," she corrects. "Call me Maria. Meggin and Danielle call me Zia Maria, but you're not Italian, are you? Just call me Maria."

I'm about to nod, when something black and slinky catches my eye. It sits on top of the laundry basket by the couch, all innocent and, and…sexy. Whoa boy.

Please don't be Meggin's. Please don't be Meggin's. Please don't be Meggin's.

Maria turns around to see what I'm looking at and a smirk graces her lips. "Ah," she says, nodding toward the black, lacy lingerie. "I told Meggin not to leave that lying around."

"It's-it's Meggin's?" I stammer. I gulp. Meggin wears black, lacy lingerie? I think I'm going to get a nosebleed.

"Yeah. I keep telling her, but no, she insists on wearing it around the house." She says this airily and takes a sip of her lemonade, as if wearing nothing but black, lacy lingerie around the house is something quite normal. Yeah, if you live in the freaking Playboy mansion.

And speak of the devil.

"Zia, are you done yet?" Meggin asks, carrying a plate of cookies. She stops short when she sees exactly what has become the centre of our attention, almost dropping the plate in the process. Luckily, she manages to keep a hold of it. "Zia! Oh my God."

Which causes the other two girls to come running in.

"What, what?" Anna demands eagerly. "Is he shirtless?"

"My lingerie! Why did you leave it lying around there? I mean, oh my God. It's not my lingerie." Meggin sets the plate of cookies down and snatches the lacy black bra and panties away from the laundry basket. "She bought it for me," she gasps, pointing an accusing finger at her aunt. "From Milan. I swear to God, I wouldn't have it otherwise."

Both Anna and Danielle gather round to look at it closely.

"It's your size," Anna confirms. "Wow, Meg. I didn't know you wore that sort of stuff."

"It's the quiet ones you've got to watch out for," Danielle nods her head knowledgably. "And my sister is definitely one of those quiet ones. That's why she goes to counseling, you know."

"Wha-?" Meggin splutters, too flustered to say anything else.

In the middle of all of the chaos, Maria manages to keep a straight face and offers me a cookie. "Well," she says, her lips barely twitching even though I know that she's trying to hold in a laugh. She offers me her hand to shake.

"Ric Micallef, it's going to be fun."

And then, in true Donald Trump style, "you're hired."

It's been a while since we've seen Anna, and Ric's parents, so I thought I'd add them into this chapter to show that no, they haven't disappeared off the face of the earth just because they're not crucial to the plot. I mean, it doesn't happen in real life (as much as I wish it to happen when my parents and I argue) so it shouldn't happen here either.

Thank You To:

Aladailey: ::tries to breathe through all the glomping:: :P Seriously, it's not annoying at all. It's flattering that you'd take the time to e-mail me and try to boost my motivation, so I thought I'd be extra nice this time and update within the month. Thank you so much for following me through this story and being generous enough to read and review. : )

Greene: Heehee, I'm so glad that you think this story is funny. You've been awesome, sticking with me through most of my stories. :D ::glomps::

writtenreality: Ah…well two to three weeks is soon, right? ::grins:: And yeah, I'm glad that I finally managed to get them to have…erm…feelings for each other. I know I told you that there'd probably be The Kiss (le gasp) in chapter 14, but I think I lied. Whoops? Anyfish, thanks a bunch for all the support you've given me. You rock my cardboard box. ::dances the Macarena::

anonymous: Hmmm, yes. I must apologise for the lack of a 'kick in the story' but thank you for reading and reviewing anyway. :D Hehehe, do you live in Australia? I'm going to Canberra next year, though I'm not really looking forward to it. What's it like?

city-gal7: Yeah. Hehe, I thought I was gone for good too. I honestly hadn't felt the writing kick in a while, but I guess the bug came back. And now I'm back and better than ever. Erm…well…now I'm back, anyway. I wanna see what happens next too. Hehe. Nah, I can't wait to get into the real romantic side of it. I'm itching in my little cotton socks, but alas, I think I'm going to have to pace it out a little. ::shifty eyes:: Or am I? Eh, don't mind me. -- It's thirty-seven degrees right now and I tend to not make sense when it's as hot as it has been lately. But thanks so much for reading and reviewing.

Death Princess: lol. I was really worried about that, too. That the story wouldn't flow as well because I'd been gone for so long, but thanks so much for your comments. I'm glad you don't think that I've gotten rusty yet. And yes, definite progression happening. I was dying to speed up the process, but I guess I'm going to have to wait to write the fun bits. Hehe. I love guys who try to act 'all that' but are losers deep down. ::sigh::

chinx: I can't believe I updated either. Lol. Believe me, I was just as surprised, 'coz I know just how lazy and terrible I am. Teehee. I'm glad you liked the chapter and I'm glad you've stuck by this story for as long as you have. Thanks a bundles.

Typesour: Yes, crucial moments always happen when there's physical abuse going on. And yeah, hopefully the truce will speed up the process of luuuuuurv. ::cough:: Ahem. Is two to three weeks soon enough? Sorry, I'm not used to updating regularly, because I'm terrible like that, and I thank you so much for sticking with my story for so long. :D

QuOtAtA: Ah yes. That's my fault for not updating so quickly. No need to apologise. : ) I'm just glad that you've continued to stick by this story even though I've been baaaaad and lazy. B-b-b-bad to the bone. Thanks for reading and reviewing.

PandemoniumExpress: LE GASPE! I know!!!!! An update!!! ::faints from the shock of it all:: Thanks a bunch for reading.

pixy-dizzy: WHEEEEEEE. I am so, so, so absolutely happy that you like the story and that you think Ric isn't the typical male protagonist. I was worried that he'd seem just like every other one out there. :/ Your review was one of my favourite ones, and thanks for being an awesome reader. :D

Purple Battery: Thanks for reading and reviewing chapter twelve. You rock my cardboard box. :D

BlackFireyPhoenix86: Meh, I guess anything can happen when it's the two of them together. ;) Hehe, it took me ages to get it to rhyme, so I appreciate that you liked it. Thanks so much for sticking with this story and for being an amazing reader.

Salt and Vinegar Pringles: Oh my God? Are you serious? Melbourne Uni is the university that I want to go to. It's my goal, my dream, my aspiration. Maybe I'll see you there in two years. And thanks so much for keeping up with my story after so long. :D

Harmonized: AIIIIIIIIIIIIMZ! ::glomps you:: One of my favourite Fictionpress authors of all time. It's been too long since we've spoken, yes it has. Ah, yes. Sorry about that. Good offers, you had ;) but you know how all Fictionpress authors are – egomaniacs. And I'm no different. I love a good ego-boost and endless admiration was too hard to pass up. Teehee. MOOKIES AND w00tY thoughts have been received, and I will send YOU, yes YOU, yes YOU Amy Harmonized (teehee) an endless supply of rubberducks and more w00ty thoughts (because I LOVE rubberducks) in an effort to get you to post up Honourshill. ::whines:: When's it gonna be upppppppppppp? Arrrrrgh. Viktor Krum? :o I'm more of a Cedric Diggory fan myself. My goodness, I had to watch it again so I could cherish all the Cedric Diggory moments. But ::sigh:: the good ones are either gay, taken…or dead. : ( I hope you had a Merry Christmas, and have a Happy New Year too. And I'll see YOU, yes YOU, yes YOU Amy Harmonized, in the new year. :D

Marisa: Yeah, things are getting juicy. I hope you like this chapter. :D

psychedelic mishap: Sydney-sider, hey? I say we Australians should all just band together and go against the real bad guys of the world – those Denmarkians. Erm…Denmarkians doesn't sound right…sorry, I've always been bad at geography. -- Lol. Don't mind me. I'm just bitter because Prince Frederik is so incredibly awesome. Ehhh…I guess you kinda have to give him back, because well, erm then the story would just be about Meggin, which I guess would be fine, except that she'd have no male counterpart. Did you have fun with him, at least? He wasn't a total arse, was he? :P Anyway, thanks a bunches for being such an awesome reader. w00t. :D

Luna: Thanks a bunch for reading and reviewing my story. It's been a pleasure to have you because you're such an awesome reader. Anyway, I tried not to take as long this time. :D

fairhelena: The wild sex in showers? Darn! You ruined the surprise. :P Teehee. The police officer thing will be explained in later chapters, somewhere near the end, I think. ::rifles through her plan:: Yeah, near the end. It sort of hints toward…some things. X.x Yeah, that was vague. Hehe, anyway, thanks for reading and reviewing. :D

Bananalogic: Hehe. I'm glad that you liked that part. It seems a lot of people liked the whole Meggin kneeing Ric thing. Girl power or something, is it? :P I'm glad you like the chemistry because I wasn't entirely sure if it was that great or anything. Thanks for reading and reviewing. :D

Everlasting Dream: Eep. ::cowers behind a He-Man figurine:: Please don't hurt me. :P Please, not the sporks! Anything but the sporks! And the squirrels! ::shrieks and runs away:: Anyway, it might interest you to know that chapter 12 had been a recent update and so, the story had not been left for two years. Actually, the two years bit just might be the amount of time it's taken for me to get all 12 chapters out. Which is sad, I know. ::hangs head:: Anyyyfish, I'm flattered that you even remembered the name of the story, despite the seven months that it had taken me to update. So, here you go. An update within the same month of the last one. ::glomps::

Daughter of Magic: Awww, it always makes me go all warm and fuzzy when people say they love my story. It brings a tear to my eye, seriously, and I'm really thankful to have awesome readers like you. ::huggles::

Lady Katreina: Ahhh, I have no ingredients. Except for having totally kick-ass readers who inspire me and motivate me and everything else. And, hee, you read 'Do Us Part.' I appreciate that greatly, and thank you so much for sticking with this story for as long as you have. :D ::huggles::

limbo-gal: Aww, you also checked out 'Do Us Part.' Thanks so much.

aphorditeseyes: Thanks for wishing me good luck and thank you for taking the time to read and review. Hopefully, I'll see you in the future, but thanks anyway if not. ::huggles::

Flower-in-the-Night: Oooh. ::evil grin:: Do you really think that Ric's up to something? Hmm, I guess you'll have to wait and see. Personally, I just think it's because he's developed a sort of thing for her, but you never know. ;) I'm glad you like the story because I'm having a bunch of fun writing it. Hmmm…::looks through her plan:: they get together? You really think so? ::grins:: Is two to three weeks soon enough for you? Hehe, sorry, usually I'm terrible with this updating stuff.

Savina: Hooray! It's you! This chapter is for a late Christmas present and a New Year's present to all you awesome readers. Hehe, I'm glad that you find it funny. Honestly, I have no idea why people think this story is so funny, especially when I'm just being my usual, lame-ass self, but I appreciate it so much and I thank you for sticking with the story for as long as you have. Yes, 'tis a shame that Ric doesn't want to go to University. I'm very University-minded myself, but we'll see where the plot takes him. :D

Lonely Forest: No problemo. Thanks you for reading, reviewing and supporting this ficcy of mine. And, le gasp, you read 'Do Us Part' as well. :D I'm so thankful, especially since I'm not usually that great at writing 'dark' fics. Hope to see you soon. :D

Glissando: Meggin's probably not sane then. WHOO. I've been swobbled!…That's a good thing, right? Thanks for reading and reviewing. :)

lynst: o.0 Is Cheaper by the Dozen a book? I never knew. You learn something new everyday. Excuse my ignorance for not knowing. I'm so glad that you like the story and I hope you'll continue reading. : )

Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!