Moving On?

"Help me find a date for the party."

Water spurted out of Skye's mouth at my sudden declaration. I watched in mild amusement as she coughed and struggled to regain her composure. The long stretches of agonizing torture that had accompanied my last class had forced me to turn my attention inward and reflect upon things in order to escape the affliction, my relationship with Devin, naturally, being one of them. It had dawned on me, three minutes before the bell rang, that the reason that we weren't moving on indefinitely was due to our disinclination to let go of the past.

It was something that would be easily rectified with the introduction of a new love interest. Ok, maybe it wouldn't be easy because heavens knew I didn't want to see some hussy draped on the arm of my ex-lover, but it would force us to face reality of our delicate situation, a change that we desperately needed if we wanted to survive the rest of our senior year in harmony.

"Come again?" Lolita's voice cut through my thoughts, bringing me back to the present as she regarded at me as if I'd grown a second head.

"I said, I need a date for the party," I reiterated leaning against my silver Range Rover and tapped my fingers impatiently along the side when silent incredulity met my request.

"You bitch." Skye held out her skin tight Bebe shirt and stared in horror at the water droplets that had left the bottom part of chemise partially drenched. "Look what you made me do," she whined rubbing her top vigorously, which only succeeded in spreading the water stains.

I rolled my eyes. "It's water Skye. It'll come out, I'm sure of it."

"It'd better," the blonde grumbled.

"Are you serious?" At least someone was keeping track of the conversation.

"Dead ass," I nodded to Lolita. "I figured what better way to put some distance between us than with someone in the middle."

The Latina shook her head, her freed dark brown hair swaying with the motion. "I don't think that's a good idea Ange. You know he's possessive when any guy approaches you, let alone date you. Remember what happened to Matt?"

I winced at the name. Matt had been one of the guys I had used to get back at Devin when I caught him making out with some bimbo at a random party a while back. Granted, we had been taking a break from each other and had been equally drunk, but that wasn't the point. In retaliation, I had grabbed the first guy in sight to use for my diabolical purposes, something I'm not too proud of even to this day. I'd danced, seduced, and made out with him in a vacant bedroom in less than twenty minutes.

Rumors here at McKenzie High travel faster than the speed of light so it didn't come as a surprise when I heard from a reliable source that Devin had marched out of his second period class upon being told of my escapade, hunted down Matt's classroom on the other side of the school, barged in and proceeded to beat the shit out of him in the middle of the history class. Rumor also has it that it took five members of the security team to pull Devin off of the poor boy.

I didn't want anything to do with him when I found out. The asshole; who did he think he was? Had I gone around jumping every girl that he had allegedly been with? No, but that was only because I didn't have the time or energy to hunt down half the female population of our school. One of the problems I had with Devin was his lack of self-control and possessive behavior though I have to admit that on more than one occasion it resulted in a make out sessions that were hotter than Dante's fourth ring of hell. That night he had came to house where we argued for the latter part of the night about fidelity and such. Somehow, the dispute had manifested into an amorous tryst and before I knew it, I awoke in his bed the next morning after a full night of love making and forgiveness on my lips.

I fought the heat that inched up my neck. "Ah, yeah, I remember."

"To Matt," Lolita groaned, knowing full well the direction of my thoughts.

Guilt gnawed at my conscious. The boy had been humiliated so bad that he had to transfer schools because of his adamant refusal to show his face around our halls again. I winced. "Oh."

"Yeah 'oh'. You can't do this, not unless you want a full-scale blowout on your hands," she chastised.

"He's grown a lot since the Matt incident," I offered meekly.

"Angie, the guy growls at any boy that comes within a three foot radius of you for more than five seconds."

Getting frustrated, I pulled my mane of russet curls away from my face and used the band around my wrist to tie it into a ponytail, its weight creating unnecessary heat on the back of my neck. "Well what do you expect me to do? I can't do this break-up-fight-and-lets-make-up-and-do-it-all-over thing anymore. This is my last year of high school and I really want to end it on a good note."

"Ooh, I'm game. We haven't played matchmaker for you in a long time," Skye wriggled with barely contained excitement having finally gotten over the insignificant matter concerning her shirt. "But it's going to be really hard."

I frowned. Nobody was giving the answer I wanted to hear today. "How so?"

"Because Angela," Lolita stressed the syllables of my name on a long-drawn-out sigh, "the guys here know that approaching you means certain death, even if you're single. Devin has staked his claim on you, indefinitely, and believe me when I say that I don't know anybody that has the balls to go against him, even for you."

I rubbed my temples to fend off an impending headache. "Why does this have to be so complicated?" At this rate there was no way we were ever going to have a clean break. I didn't want to be trapped in this repetitive cycle. My stomach clenched with the knowledge of how things had turned out. Two years ago I had been positive that we would make it, that we would graduate and go on to the same college and still be every bit as infatuated with each other as we had been in the beginning.

I closed my eyes, the weight burdening my chest almost too much to bear. Oh the bliss of ignorance.

"Aw, don't worry Angie," Skye cooed throwing her arms around my neck. "We'll figure something out. There has to be an alternative to this inescapable, destructive path and we're going to find it."

I smiled at her concern and returned her hug. My friends were my lifeline and without them I would probably be in jail for attempted murder on five counts or strapped in strait jacket inside of a padded room. "Thanks. What would I do without you?"

"I don't know but if we don't stop all of this mushy crap I'm going to start crying soon." We laughed and parted ways, our merriment-tinged hope subsiding as our eyes fell on the only person who remained reluctant to take part in our joy.

Lolita pursed her lips together and readjusted the purse strap on her shoulder beneath our scrutiny. "Fine. I'll indulge this ridiculous notion, but" she held up a finger and allowed a smirk to play upon her features, "if I find out that you two hooked up over the weekend, will you and Devin please entertain the idea of seeking out a counselor to help with you all's problems? It'll make a huge difference in your relationship. I'm sure if it can work for my parents, it'll work for you."

I refrained from releasing the annoyed sound that had worked its way into my throat. Lolita refused to accept the dissolution of our relationship, stubbornly believing that we were meant to be together forever. For a hardass cheerleader, she was a hopeless romantic. Her endearing though contradictory nature had its annoying quirks, this being one of them. "Whatever Lita. So you in or what?"

"Yeah, yeah, I'm in. Conniving whores." She glanced down at her watch. "Alright, I've got to go to practice, come see me after practice and we'll brainstorm, k?"

I blew her a kiss as she picked up her things. "Love you babe."

"You'd better after all the shit I have to put up with you," she griped and sashayed off, the deliberate rocking of her hips as she walked away catching the attention of every male in the parking lot.

"And she calls me a whore," Skye muttered and threw her things into the back of her convertible. "Alright, I'm going to go home and do homework."

"And by doing homework you mean doing Will," I translated with a furtive smile.

"As always." She opened the car door and slid into the driver's seat. "Ta darling. Call me after you drop off Devin. I want to know every juicy detail of what went down."

I snorted. "Nothing will be going down, trust me."

"Oh sweetie," Skye gave me a pitying smile and shook her head while starting the car. "You're so full of shit. But that's why I love you. Buh-bye."

The cherry red BMW shot forward out the space and barreled out of the parking lot before I could get in a word. Shrugging, I unzipped my backpack, retrieved my notebook, and tossed the bag to the passenger seat. Now, on to football practice. I could count off a million things I'd rather be doing than sitting in on one of dumbest sports known to man, but being manager of the team required my attendance.

Heaving a sigh of long-suffering, I shut the door and grudgingly began the trek to the football field. The parking lot had emptied within the last couple of minutes, a few stragglers indisposed to leave the school property still milling about here and there. Why couldn't I be one of those anti-social people that could actually leave when school let out? I silently cursed the fates for bestowing me with a posse of gregarious friends that make me sign up for crap to be more social because it's not like I have an actual life outside of school. I'd like nothing more than to go home and curl up on my bed with a good book and a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey.

My mouth watered just thinking about my favorite ice cream. I inwardly kicked myself again. Damn it. I was going to kill Lita and Skye. Not only was I going to have to watch a bunch of armor and helmet clad morons bash one another around in an idiotic activity that I held absolutely no interest in for two hours, but I was also going to have to put up with indiscreet advances of my sort of ex-boyfriend. Fun afternoon, huh? Thank God the season would be over in a week. There was only so much a girl could take in a regular basis.

The steady crunch of gravel beneath my sandals died away as I stepped onto the grassy field. I almost lost my balance as my heels sunk into the soft land. Ah horse shit. I just got these like two seconds ago. Moving quickly, I slipped the new shoes off of my feet and held them up for inspection. Save for a bit of mud on either heel, they were fine. With the near calamity being over, I walked toward the bleachers.

Ahead I could hear the perky cheers from a group of overly vivacious, half-naked girls gearing up for the last game. I felt a smile curve on my lips as I made out Lolita amongst the throng of blondes and brunettes, her loud voice carrying on the breeze as she yelled at one of the younger females for being off on her timing. The girl was a tyrant and constantly demanded perfection. It was no wonder that the previous captain had bestowed her with the title upon graduating. It proved to be a great move as our squad had ensnared first place in the regional championships two times in a row with Lita leading them to victory.

Feeling my gaze, she looked up, grinned, and waved when she saw me. Returning the action to her and a few of the girls I knew, I continued on, not wanting to disrupt their practice any further. I walked up the steps of the bleachers, my feet padding soundlessly against the warm metal. Grateful that I no longer had to feel soil squishing between my toes, I climbed the seats and walked over to a girl sitting alone on the top row.

"Gracie, what's up?" I plopped down beside my fellow manager and tossed my stuff on the floor.

The brown-haired girl jumped with my sudden entrance and patted her chest while slanting me a mock glare. "Were you trying to give me a heart attack?"

"I don't know. Did I succeed?" I asked falling back against the gate.

"Almost. You know about my family's history of heart conditions."

"Ri-ight." My eyes scanned the field, the bulky figures in red and black slamming into each other in a frantic attempt to get the ball. "Did I miss anything meaningful?"

"Do you ever?" Resting her face on a hand, her face drew into a bored expression as she regarded the boys. "I don't know why I took this position in the first place."

"Because you thought it'd look good on your college applications?" I pulled my left foot onto my lap and wrinkled my nose in disgust at the collection of mud and grass. "You wouldn't happen to have a napkin?"

Grace dug into her purse and pulled out a Kleenex. "I don't understand the appeal of this sport."

"Yeah, you, me and the entire female population," I scoffed wiping away the layers of grime that clung to my feet.

"So," her interest pivoted from the scrimmage to me, "how's the married life, or are you separated again?"

Had she not been one of my friends, I would have gladly shoved her down the bleachers for treading heedlessly on such a delicate subject. I chucked the sullied napkin down the bleachers, promising myself to get it later. "Uh, we're over, over."

A dubious brown brow arched. "Over, over? Didn't you say that a couple of weeks ago?"

My eye twitched. "I know, but this time I'm serious."

"Indeed. So, if you're over, over, you wouldn't be bothered if I asked Devin out, right?"

"Of course not," I said airily, ignoring the insistent tug of jealousy at my gut.

She snickered, "Ok, I'm going to hold you to your word."

"You do that," I murmured absentmindedly, my hands balling in fists on either side of me. I made myself relax. Come on, I can't act like this every time someone expresses their intentions for Devin, I mentally chastised. "We're throwing a party at Lolita's place. You should come," I tactfully changed the subject.

Grace nodded, her gray eyes fixated on the field. "Cool. I'll be there. Mind if I bring a couple of friends? My brother just got out of juvie yesterday and I'm sure he'll want live it up a bit after slaving away in that hellhole for two years."

"You never told me your brother was in juvie. What'd he do?" I inquired, my interest piqued.

Her attention still focused ahead, she smiled bitterly. "Rob is the black sheep of the family. I never told anyone about him because I used to be ashamed of him. And with good reason you know. My older sister is about to open up her own practice, my other brother is about to take the bar exam, I am studying to go into law, and then there's Rob, who has an affinity for setting things on fire and stealing cars. But he's my brother and I love him despite his less than admirable activities." She laughed, but the sound was harsh and grating to my ears. "My dad is giving him one last time before kicking him out and disowning him for good."

Frowning, I wiggled my dirt free toes. "Maybe juvie has changed him for the better."

Grace gave an unladylike snort. "That'll be the day." She hit my arm. "I'll introduce you to him since you seem to have a penchant for bad boys." Her gray eyes twinkled.

"Yeah because that's exactly what I need, more drama."

Our idle chitchat went on for another hour as we waited out the end of practice. Every so often I could feel eyes roving over my body from afar, an unspoken entreaty to make contact not going unnoticed by me, but I refrained from giving in to the habitual inclination much to my amazement. Usually we'd be making goo-goo eyes and mouthing…ahem…certain desires at our discretion.

When the coach finally blew the whistle Grace and I were overjoyed that we could go home. The sun kissed the horizon to the west, its final, dying rays failing to deflect the coolness of an impending dusk that hung in the air. I said good-bye to my friend and bounced down the bleacher steps. Folding my arms across my chest as a chill breeze swept past my scantily clothed body, I stepped onto the cool grass and shifted feet as the players huddled in a circle.

I rolled my eyes as they yelled and roared an incomprehensible jumble of words that was supposed to psych them up for the game on Saturday. Men are idiots. Pure and simple. What woman in her right mind would consent to play such a pointless pastime where the risk of injury was higher than doing a wheelie on a motorcycle at top speed? That's what I thought.

Strong, muscular arms wound around waist and pulled me against a hard wall of chest, eliciting a shriek that was quickly silenced by a large palm over my mouth. "Did you miss me?" a voice smooth as silk whispered into my ear.

A shiver snaked up my spine, his painfully close proximity and familiar warmth clouding my senses, making it difficult for me to distinguish between reality and a world where only he and I existed, rendering me putty in skillful hands that could liquefy my insides with one touch, one word, one look. Catching myself before I fell to deep, I hastily extracted myself from his loose hold and turned around. "Why aren't you over there yelling with your people?" I fired the first question that popped into my head.

He cocked his head to the side and looked at me with quiet regard. His wet mane of tangled hair had been finger combed back, with a few, errant locks curled cutely on his forehead. His well-built physique was outlined quite nicely by the gray shirt plastered to his form. My heart leapt into my throat when his finger trailed down my arm and took hold of my hand. "You know I never do that shit."

"Right, must have slipped my mind," I chuckled nervously and pushed the organ currently beating a mile a minute in my esophagus back down to my chest. "Well, let's go. I'm ready for a nice, home-cooked meal and a shower." Preferably cold.

I blinked in surprise when he released my hand and began walking toward the parking lot without a second glance. Hurt wrapped its cold hands around my heart and squeezed but for a second until I realized my faux pas. He hated going home, if you would call it that. Though his parents were among the wealthiest in the country, their issues far outweighed the grandeur of being richer than the Hiltons and Oprah combined. His mother was of old money, her ancestors direct descendants of the Pilgrims and thus inherited a very hefty trust fund. His father, Colin Beaumont, was a business tycoon that owned about five booming industrial corporations, onshore and offshore.

It was a shame is mother was addicted to cocaine, on the down low of course because heavens forbid the press should catch wind of this transgression, and his father a money-hungry filch who'd sink as low as to rob an old woman of a cane. His constant pressuring for his sons to walk in shoes had lead Julius to boarding school to escape the torment and Devin to become a self-imposed jock, the exact opposite of what his father wanted of him, much to his chagrin. So his father, being the grand asshole that he is, didn't hesitate to make Devin feel like an outcast in his own family, boasting how Julius was a better student, smarter, handsomer, more popular, yadda, yadda, ya. I don't know how he deals with it. Every time I'm in the presence of that insufferable bastard I end up in a verbal spat with man, yet Devin always manages to keep his cool.

His pain was my pain and vice versa. And while Devin never displays his emotions on his sleeve in front of his father, I can feel frustration, anger, and hurt smoldering in an inextinguishable pit within him, fostering my hatred for him as well. He was alone in a glittering world of affluence and material comfort that many would kill to obtain but few are reluctant to endure. And I was the only one that understood.

Lengthening my stride, I pulled alongside him and slid my hand into his. Instead of acknowledging me with a smile or the typical venereal insinuation, Devin didn't bother turning my way, but squeezed my hand to show acknowledgement, the implicit message clear as day. He was going to need my support and I wouldn't hesitate to give it to him as always, but unlike the good old days, there would be no benefits with this friendship,… or at least that's what I told myself.

AN: This served to explain a bit about Devin's past and the issues revolving around the complications of Angie and Dev's breakup. Seems kind of slow, but will definitely pick up after the essential foundation has been paved. Too bad their lovey dovey scenes are almost through. TT Next chapter will be out quite soon since fall break is upon us. Thanks so much for the wonderful reviews and continue to tell me what you think. Ciao!