Humble Pie

A/N: Sorry it took me this long to update! School's driving me crazy with busyness, and add to that my weak attempts to de-stress (as in, sleep) and have a social life and you have one very, very pissy teenager. And pissy teenagers can't write fo' shit.

I'm aiming for two chapters a month, except for next month (November). I won't be updating at all in November because it is Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), and I'm going to be trying to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days (that's about 175 pages). If the novel's any good, I want to try to get it published (so chances are I won't be posting it up here). But I promise that I will work double-time in December to make up for it, so don't go away. And if any of you would like to join me in the general insanity that is going to be Nanowrimo, you can register at the website (it won't let me post the link, butthe website isjustnanowrimo dot com- admire my subversive tactics - or dot org)If you do, good luck!

Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize (for example, if you see Pizza Hut, and think "store that sells pizza, must order one tonight," then chances are I didn't make it up). But everything else (for example, any flying pigs or interesting characters that choose to rear their heads) is mine. And if you want to do something with it/about it, let me know in a review.

Chapter Three

Part 1: Run Like The Wind

Alright, I admit I freaked out. But honestly, it was like seeing a ghost; He – Gregory – had groped my ass, basically ruined my fifteenth birthday, and then moved to California without so much as an apology! So I felt a bit (okay, a lot) bitter. I had every right to! And maybe I was a bitch to him that night, but he should have known better than to come on to me, as though just because my parents liked him, I would too.

He deserved to have his heart broken, and even five years later, the memories of high school beginning to blur and fuzz in my head, I knew I'd done a pretty good job of it. A pang of what could have been guilt caused me to bite my lips, After all, he was only sixteen – but I quickly squelched it. I had only been fifteen, had only wanted to have a good time with my friends on my birthday, and he and the Nut Brigade had ruined it.

Unfortunately, now I was in a tricky position. See, I'm the sort of person who holds grudges for years. For example, if Womanizer Frederick from my pre-Popular days (around seventh grade) turned up on my doorstep even now, I would kick him in the balls without blinking. My twenty-year-old self especially did not really believe in second chances and people changing and all that "bullcrap." Which officially should have put Gregory on my Axis of Evil (along with the living-dead Osama, the nuclear holocaust waiting to happen that called himself Kim Jong Il, Michael Jackson, and Frederick the Colorful Lady-killer). But there was the small issue of That Car – after all, who can stay mad at a man with a Jacuzzi and a Saleen S7?

It was war within my head, my internal golddigger attacking my pride with a sledgehammer but meeting strong resistance – and giving me a headache. It was the closest I'd ever come to a complete mental meltdown (which, considering the atmosphere I was raised in, really says something about how creepy I found this whole Gregory-Hot Millionaire Corelli thing). So I did what any intelligent girl would have done in my position; I put the photograph back in the drawer just as I'd found it, and fled.

My plan was to run home as fast as I could in the rain, drink lots and lots of coffee (forgetting that we'd run out of milk), curl up into a little ball and sleep until something good happened. Even if I had to pull a Rip van Winkle, conk out for twenty years, and wake up in time for the divorce I was sure the Hippie and the Scholar would get (simple physics: if both of them continued on their paths of complete incompatibility at the same rate, barring some catastrophe wiping out the planet, they were bound to fall out of "love" – or whatever misconception they were living under).

I only made it out of the elevator before I crashed into what smelled like curry and felt like a six-pack (abs, not alcohol).

"Where's the fire?"

Gregory. Marvelous. Just what I needed.

Part 2: Dinner Conversation

Gregory: So where were you going?

Me: I was – Mmmm. This curry's really delicious, what did you say it was called again?

Gregory: Malai Kofta, don't change the subject.

Me: What subject? You know, Gregory, I really appreciate you doing all this for me. I hope you don't mind my borrowing your clothes –

Gregory: No problem, and call me Greggo. And stop avoiding the freaking question! Now I'm really curious.

Me: I just felt like running?

Gregory: Riiiiight. So, Miss Makepeace, tell me something about you. All I know is that you were like the Queen Bee of our high school and you, um, like pretending you're the Roadrunner.

Me: What's there to tell?

Greggo: I don't know, anything.


How about we talk about the fact that you hit on me five years ago and when I turned you down you called me a bitch and a slut? Do you remember that Greggo? Huh? Do you? Do you? Midnight of February 28, 1999. And guess what – I' m not even a little sorry (okay, maybe a little, tiny bit) I broke your heart; you were totally out of bounds. Yeah.

Though your car is awesome. A Saleen S7! You've got to let me drive it some time. Seriously, forget sleep with you, I would marry you for that car. Actually, hey, not a bad idea. That way, I could afford that really, really super nice pair of shoes I saw the other day…You freaking hot millionaire, you.

Me: Well, my parents are crazy.

Greggo: Amen to that – Sorry, I mean, my parents are nuts, too.

Me: Yeah, you'd think there'd have been someone with the common sense to object at the wedding. You know, at the "speak now or forever hold your peace" bit.

Greggo: You're funny.

Me: Um, I know?

Greggo: But seriously, what do you think about Chzezchvsov?

Me: Who?

Greggo: He's this absolutely amazing writer, he just published an article about Australian political development in Foreign Affairs last week. I'm sure you've read it.


Some things never change.

Me: Well actually, I haven't had the time to pick up a copy of Foreign Affairs lately – I've been so busy with college, and then there are the parties and all that…

Greggo: Oh yeah, I forgot you were still in college. Do you think it was dumb of me to drop out?

Me: That's a bit of a heavy question.

Greggo: Sorry, I forgot. We were talking about you, weren't we.

Me: Kind of. More like parents in general.

Greggo: Gotcha. Yeah, my parents are pretty bad, too. I mean, all my dad ever cares about is – like – sports and money, and my mother's all "Shopping this, shopping that."

Me: Can we switch?

Greggo: Why? I think your parents are kind of cool – they're so dedicated to things they really care about, and they seem to really want to share that with you. My parents are just all about show.

Me: I never thought of it that way…But still, that doesn't change the fact that they're completely abnormal.

Greggo: What, you want them to be like everyone else's parents? Isn't that a bit high school of you?

Me: Didn't you just say you preferred my parents to yours? Isn't hypocrisy a bit high school?

Greggo: Prep.

Me: Nerd.

Greggo: God, I never thought I'd be having dinner with the Prom Queen.


You've done it once before, numbskull. Stop pretending you don't remember. Unless – you really don't…Interesting…

Me: Yeah, can you imagine if we're getting along so well together, what our ten-year high school reunion would be like?

Greggo: Too funny for words. But guess what I heard the other day?

Me: What?

Greggo: Jody and X are married.

Me: No way, you're frigging kidding me. Not Little Miss Happy Homemaker and Mister Slit My Wrists!

Greggo: Actually, yeah. I was kidding.

Me: Haha.

Part 3: My Best Friend Vodka

I'm not an alcoholic, not by a long shot. But after Greggo dropped me off at my apartment (yes, in the Car God, and yes, I was drooling), I was feeling more than a little confused. Salem wasn't helping a bit, either. What with her "Omigods" and "Who was that?"s and "I love Mav, Mav loves me"s, and my internal wrestling match (Car, Money, Ass, and Niceness v. Pride, Stubbornness, and General Weirded-Outness), I needed some kind of calming agent.

Who better for the job than my friend vodka?

Unlike the night I found Mav and Salem sleeping together (On my bed, the bastards), I was not planning on getting completely trashed. After all, I needed my wits about me to deal with the ordeal ahead (the stentorian task of getting Greggo to marry me).

So I washed down a couple of shots, and added one more just in case. A warm fuzzy feeling began to spread through my body, like my blood was being converted to molten gold. My headache/nausea/cramping/irritability had eased up, and best of all, the situation on the "Get Car v. Keep Soul" front had stopped acting like WWIII.

Salem, of course, was in bed. She believed very strongly in getting her "beauty sleep," putting it right at the top of her list of priorities (many, many notches above education and morals); she wasn't above skipping tests or stealing someone else's paper to supplement her own unfinished one if it meant getting "at least, like, 8 hours of sleep every night, so I can, like, be totally fresh like every day." So, with her snoring contentedly in the next room, I decided (rather blearily) to do something crazy-wild.

Okay, fine. I was pretty damn drunk by that point. I have no excuse for that, but I can use that as an excuse for what I did. Which involved nudity and open French doors (we were on the ground floor). As well as an "innocent" twelve-year-old boy (Innocent my ass! Those catcalls he sent my way…He was just lucky I didn't feel like hauling my drunk white self onto the lawn, or he would have been emasculated before he hit puberty), who when spurned, ran straight to Mommy. And Mommy strode across the small patch of grass separating the two buildings like the prow of a ship cutting water (though no ship I've ever seen has been painted the shade of puke of that woman's muumuu…or been even close in size to her butt).

She couldn't have found me at a worse point; I was draped lazily over the couch (still naked, but I'd invested in a blanket for warmth) tunelessly singing an ode to vodka.

Oh vodka vodka vodka,

Thy taste has no compare,

You give me a warm fuzzy feeling,

Like a Carebear.

Carebear vodka Carebear vodka

Doo doo doo doo

Dog poo poo poo poo


Mommy didn't appreciate the music. Nor could she comprehend "What in the Lord's name" possessed me to roam around naked with the doors open, as if I'd asked the snot-covered brat to come out at midnight and spy on me. I gave Mommy dearest a talking-to she would never forget for "barshing inno my housh and yellin' at me like she wuzz my muvver."

She said that someone had to. Which, to my ringing ears, sounded a lot like a "Yo mama" joke. So I suggested that she forget "American Beauty," and try to get a role in "American Porkchop" instead. The next thing I know, the woman is screaming the words "Sue your fucking ass off" repeatedly at the top of her lungs and dialing numbers into my phone.

Salem, could, apparently sleep through all this. But the second the word "lawyer" popped out of the Screecher's mouth, she was in the living room like a shot; the world of lawsuits and million dollar settlements was her playground, and she was always up for a game. Even if it meant preventing the woman from having me arrested. She flashed a few names that even I found impressive, promised Pervert Boy an Ipod and his Mommy a day at some spa or the other, and was shutting the door on the woman's retreating (but still magnificent) rear in a record three minutes.

My two options at this point were to: A. Thank her and have a warm, fuzzy chick-bonding moment, or B. Fake sleep/coma.

Guess which one I chose.

Part 4: Hangover Cure

1 cup of Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper

2 Pixy Stix (any flavor)

4 tablespoons of peanut butter (preferably smooth)

Whipped cream

Mix the peanut butter, Dr. Pepper, and the Pixy Stix together for three minutes to form paste. Top with whipped cream, and serve with 2 aspirin and a glass of water.

I was mid-stir when there was a knock on the door. Calling down all sorts of curses upon the head of whoever it was, I abandoned my strange (but delicious) curative treat and made my way to the door.

The first thing I saw was a posterior that deserved its own zip code. I had a hazy memory of it from the night before, so I politely asked it if it would turn around so I could see its face. It turned out to be Angry Lawsuit-Threatening Mommy, looking decidedly more cheerful than the last time I had seen her. I was immediately suspicious; in all my previous experience with prima donna mothers, mood swings were never good. This one seemed particularly nasty, which meant one of two things: either she had succeeded in having me evicted (or arrested), or she needed a babysitter. And with my head aching like it had never ached before, I almost preferred the former to the latter. Especially considering the leers I rather distinctly remembered receiving from her odious toad of a son.

"Is your roommate home?" Definitely babysitting: she wanted to keep Salem close, at least until the promised Ipods and spas made their appearance. Unfortunately, Salem had decided to actually go to her classes that day (which I'm almost positive had something to do with the "You fail, you get no money" deal she had running with her father), leaving me to nurse my hangover alone. I'd been looking forward to a day of R&R, with a bit of Car-God-Fantasizing thrown in. Now I'd be lucky if I escaped with my sanity intact; having grown up in middle-class suburbia, I knew a desperate woman when I saw one. I was right.

"Well, I was hoping she could watch Joseph for the day, but – " My hopes soared, only to plummet a moment later; "I suppose you'll have to do." I could have said no, but Bitch-Mom had a glint in her eye that was decidedly threatening. She beamed a thought at me, and I heard it loud and clear. You babysit, we forget about the song and strip dance…You don't…

I closed my eyes briefly, and when I opened them, the brat – Joseph – was in my kitchen, dirty fingers scooping lumps of my hangover cure into his greedy little mouth. His mother was nowhere in sight. I sighed and snapped the door shut. So much for my rest-cure…

Part 5: The Big, Bad, Babysitting Bitch

By noon, three hours after he'd made his entrance into my hitherto peaceful home, Joseph had:

-deleted several files off of my computer

-turned the kitchen into the site of WWIV (the third one was still going on in my head)

-dumped water all over my bed sheets

-cracked a window

-thrown a temper tantrum (and here I'd been thinking twelve was too old to act like a three-year-old)

-sexually harassed me to the point where I longed for baggy clothing and sunglasses

-discussed his various "wild" adventures in lewd detail. Apparently, he'd done things by seventh grade that I hadn't done until…Well, Mav was the first.

-driven me to an almost homicidal rage

-made me cry thrice

-topped the whole debacle off by mooning me when I refused to sleep with him

I was understandably cranky and very, very pissed off. So when Joseph decided to sing the most obscene songs he knew (involving the use of candy in ways I'd never thought possible), I snapped. And like in all good babysitter movies, I stormed over to the recalcitrant child and shook him by the shoulders until his teeth rattled. Or at least, I tried; sensing my intentions, he'd jumped out of reach to the safety of my sofa, still singing "It's the way you ride it makes the fellaz go…" I began screaming obscenities at him – loudly enough that I didn't hear the door open, or a masculine voice clear his throat.

So when I found Greggo standing in front of me, his face looking shocked and more than a little disapproving, the sound died from my throat. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I had my hands balled up into fists (the punching kind), and my face was red from shouting, my hair and clothes in disarray from dealing with the nasty little bugger all morning.

Worst of all, I realized that the last thing Greggo had heard was "I will slice you into itty-bitty pieces, run you through the blender, and feed you to your fucking mother if you don't shut the hell up right now." I fumbled to explain that it wasn't as bad as it looked (or sounded), and that the creature deserved it all and more, but Greggo just shrugged me off and turned to face Joseph. Too late I noticed that the brat was crying (crocodile tears!), and had stopped singing.

Greggo told that son of Satan to come with him, pulling him into my bedroom, while I was left gaping like a fish, my brain frantically trying to assess this latest development.

When they came out, not more than five minutes later, Joseph was grinning but Greggo looked grim. They sat down and turned on the TV, basically ignoring me curled up on one corner of the couch.

I wondered morosely whether pursuing Greggo wasn't an exercise in futility; so far, all things had been was bad – I'd dumped him on his ass five years ago, misguidedly asked my parents to help me woo him, alienated his sister, showed up on his street looking like a drowned rat, and now, worst of all, turned myself into the Big Bad Babysitting Bitch in his eyes. It couldn't possibly get any worse, and Glorious Car aside, I was beginning to seriously question my motives for going after the guy.

What did I have to prove?

A/N: Keep the reviews flowing! The more you review, the faster I write, simple psychology; if you make me want to get the next chapter up, I'll do it a lot quicker than if I feel like nobody cares (yes, that was a hypothetical self-pity moment, so deal).

Thanks to:

Tobias Fong – Finally someone reviews from a literary perspective! (Just kidding) Yes, you, as the reader, are supposed to know that the new guy's Gregory. Don't worry; I don't think there's anyone dumb enough to miss that one – except maybe Noli. And it's not even dumb on her part because you've got to remember, she's writing all this ex post facto, but while it was "actually" happening, she wouldn't have had all the bang-you-over-the-head-with-it clues you guys have had. I'm glad you like the story, and it's amusing to get a guy's opinion on it – you'll see if he dumps her.

The Gobbler – For some reason, every time I see your name, I think about the Riddler from Batman (the only superhero I tolerate)…Weird. But anyway, you're cool. You gave my other story a chance, too! I agree with you, the ending's kind of weak, so if I ever decide to something more with the story, that'll be the first thing I fix. Thanks for the suggestion!

Jessica Turner – Wow! I'm so thrilled you like this so much…And I didn't mean to leave it on a cliffhanger (oh well). But yeah, I've heard people use fucking that often; when I'm in the right mood (hyper beyond all belief), I use it a ton, too.

de Leon – You hate Mav? But he's so…Mav…Although I suppose he's turning into the bad guy a bit, isn't he? Totally against the rudimentary plans I had…And no, this isn't based on my life AT ALL. Noli is like my exact opposite, except when she's being sarcastic (that's all me, baby).

Kelyn – Thanks!

SxS – Such nice compliments…My ego's purring. And "school" and "nice" is kind of an oxymoron…But I'm trying to update as much as I can!