Here's the next chapter of Every Single Way. Thanks to BlackSpirals, SatisfyAnEmptyInside, the soul of water and K.T. Wood for reviewing! The first couple of chapters of this fic are quite short, but they get longer as it goes on, I promise! The next update will be on Wednesday.

"Hey, you'll never guess what!" Val came up behind his cousin, rubbing his already-messy blonde hair.

Alex ducked his head out of the way. "Stoppit. I'm trying to read."

"Oooh, the little bookworm's trying to read! There's a surprise. God, you can be boring."

Alex sighed, shutting his book. "Alright, you have my full attention. What is it?"

"Mrs Hanson kept me behind after class. The bitch has assigned me a tutor."

"Oh." Alex didn't really know what to say to this, other than Thank goodness, because you could really, really use one. "That's cool. But you know I'm happy to help if you need something…"

Val looked at him impatiently. "You're in the year below than me. It would be utterly embarrassing. Besides, you'll never guess who Mrs Hanson assigned me to!"


"Adam Evans!" Val sighed. "Can you believe it? I have the best luck in the world! Not only am I good-looking, rich and popular, I get to have Adam Evans as a tutor. What could be better? I've been after him for ages… and he's never even noticed me! Actually, he's probably just playing hard to get. I bet he found out that I love a challenge."

Val was famous for going after anything that wore a skirt or trousers. It didn't matter to him as long as they were good-looking. Since Alex had lived at his house, he had brought home about twenty different people for dinner, or to watch a movie. And these were just the ones he told his parents about. His parents were cool with the whole thing. His dad James always laughed and said that he was a handsome young man and it was good that he was dating. His mother, Carol, didn't really care what he got up to anyway. She was much more concerned with herself.

"Wait a minute," said Alex. "How do you know he even likes guys? Maybe he hasn't noticed you because he really isn't interested."

"Oh, you can bet that Adam Evans likes guys," Val nodded in a superior manner. "I can always tell. And anyway, it's common knowledge that when he moved here he'd just broken up with a boyfriend from his old town. And now he'll have to come round here to help out poor old Val with his schoolwork, and I can turn the lights down low, put on some sexy music… he'll be mine before you can say notch on my bedpost!"

"Don't talk about him that way!" Alex burst out. "It's so degrading."

Val sent a wide-eyed look his way. "Oh my God. Please don't tell me you have a crush on Adam Evans."

"What?!" Alex screeched, flushing. "Of course I don't! Just because I don't like you talking about him like he was a piece of meat, it doesn't mean that…"

"Aww, that's so sweet," Val said. "Alex has a little crush!" He patted Alex's shoulder condescendingly.

"I do NOT have a crush on him and I resent the fact that-"

"And it's so cute that the object of your affection is so obviously out of your league," Val continued. "It's a little embarrassing really, isn't it? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. Your secret's safe with me. And you know I'd step aside in a heartbeat if there was any possibility you had a even a remote chance with him, right?"

Alex rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say. Not that I like him, anyway."

"I would! You are my cousin, after all. But, sweetie- look at him, look at you. Then look at me. It's not something that's going to happen, is it? Honestly? And I certainly couldn't be the one who didn't give you a wake up call." He looked at Alex for a minute. "I mean, you're not that bad-looking, you know. I know you're short, but you're quite cute in a way. I'm sure there's some guy in your year you could ask out- he might not even say no! And I know you think everyone looks down on you because of your dad, but trust me, it's old news. And you're able to hide behind the Masterson good name anyway, even if you are technically a Gaskell."

Alex stared at Val, mouth dropping open slightly. Sometimes he really couldn't believe what his cousin came up with.

"Now," continued Val. "If you just stopped being so shy…"

"I'm not shy," Alex growled. "I'm just not loud. Like you."

Val rolled his eyes. "Whatever. If you just got your head out of a book, I'm sure you'd be able to find someone on your own level, and give up these ridiculous daydreams."

Alex sighed inwardly. What was the point? Val never listened anyway.

"You're right," he said, his voiced laced with sarcasm. "I don't know what I was thinking. Thanks, Val!"

Val beamed at him, oblivious. "Anytime, sweetie," he said.