A/N: I have but one word to say: spandex. Decipher this as you will; but I shall say no more. ;)
Oh, yes, and some review replies:
Natasha5: I wish all stories were like that, too... mostly it just seems that my reviews always bring a sudden halt to FP stories, which truly sucks. Thanks for reviewing; I did add another chapter (obviously) so it wouldn't seem so much like a cliffie, so I hope it's liked.
Esquirella: You have no idea. That was agonizing to write. As for Tison's aunt... I agree. ;)
Rachizzle: Thanks a lot! Hope to see you review again.
amandine: I agree with you- so I added an epilogue. Here you go. Thanks for the review.
Naru Flower: Thank you. You will see I did review your story, although they did manage to get a bit botched. I emailed you to clarify. Thanks again.
Dusty-Attic: Thanks- glad you like it!
GetBehindMeSatan: Squeeable? I like that, I'll have to remember to use that one sometime. XD Your theory was supposed to be the idea after Chapter 7, but then I did notice that it seemed to cliffhanger-ish for a final chapter... so I added an epilogue. Thanks very much.
Green Eyed Pixie: Glad you think so, and also glad you liked it. Thanks for reviewing!
D.H. L'Orange: You're right. Here's an epilogue to help out with that. Hope you like. ;)
Thanks. I like Ray, even though I might have made him come across as
pretty mean... Here's your update.
"I can't believe you're going out with him."
Ray's blocking my exit through the doorway of the World Geography classroom, holding one arm out on the doorframe and leaning his body against the other side so there's no room for me to pass. He's wearing biker gloves, as usual. Shorts and a hoodie, and bulky skating shoes that lace up but don't tie.
He's staring at me with a deadpan, talk-or-I'll-kick-ass expression.
I raise an eyebrow at him. "What are you talking about? Move."
"You know what I'm talking about, stupid," Ray says, ignoring my command. "You're going out with Tison Reeves? What the hell is up with that?"
I shift my two textbooks to the other arm and give him an obviously impatient look. "There's nothing 'up' with that. I'm sorry for not asking your permission first, Your Royal Highness, but get off my case, alright? I really like him."
"He's a freak," Ray tells me incredulously, still not moving an inch. "I'm serious, Senith, man. In every possible way. He invites himself over to your house, and then he molests you in your sleep and picks a fight with your ex, and now like, what, two weeks later you're-"
"Ray," I interrupt. I've known Ray for as long as I can remember, so I know he can be a really cool guy when he feels like it, but right now I'm not in the mood to hear this. "Shut up and get out of the way. I've got to get home."
Ray folds his arms stubbornly.
I sigh, then look at him slyly. "You know, Ray, you're really sexy when you get mad."
He responds by flipping me off and flashing me his trademark fuck-you expression, but he moves a little off to the side. Just enough room for me to pass by. "Don't pull that shit on me. I'm entitled to my own opinion of your girlfriends and boyfriends. Brianna was a ho; Tison's really, really weird. That's all I'm saying. Hey, man, I need a ride."
I glance at him quizzically. "What happened to your car?"
"Oh, the car's fine. I just… don't seem to have a license at the moment."
"That's never stopped you before." I smile. Ray never really caught onto the concept of speed limits.
"So what are you saying exactly? That I'm not a law-abiding citizen?"
Yes, that's what I'm saying, but I see no need to reiterate and I let it drop. He takes my silence as confirmation to his first proposal and follows alongside me, his hands in his pockets.
He starts to say something but I interrupt him.
"I want you to be nice to him. Okay?"
"Who?" Ray swings his head to look at me. "Reeves? Be nice to him?"
"But he's…" His voice trails off as we turn the corner and his eyes land on someone leaning against the side of the stairwell. Tison's arms are folded and he's staring at the floor. He's wearing a black spandex shirt that's too long and goes down to the tips of his fingers. Over that is a red shirt with something written across it. He's also wearing chick pants that even Talia wouldn't be able to fit into, that bag down around his shoes.
He's so distracted by his thoughts that he doesn't hear us approach, and jumps when Ray bangs a fist against the stairwell.
"You're the only person I know who can sleep with his eyes open," Ray says dryly.
Tison glares softly at him. "I wasn't sleeping, stupid." Then he notices me behind Ray. "Oh… hi, Senith."
Ray doesn't give me a chance to say anything; he's determined to interfere as much as possible before I make him stop. "Look at his hair," he says to no one in particular; me, perhaps. "What did you do, dye it back?"
Tison's hair is dark brown again. He came over to my house last Sunday and got Talia to dye it, since she's the only person he knows of who can do it right.
"I got in trouble," Tison explains shortly. "Pink hair was against the dress code."
I choose to intervene at this point. "Hey, Tison," I greet him, stepping forward, and press our lips together briefly. His lips curve into a faint smile. He's undeniably cute when he looks like that; I wish I knew how to make him smile more often.
Ray winces. I catch the movement out of the corner of my eye.
"Aw, man, please. Not while I'm watching."
Tison turns red just a little; I cast Ray a look that says and-how-are-you-going-to-stop-me? and then fold the fingers of one hand around one of Tison's and say, "Come on, let's go."
Tison takes the passenger seat, and Ray sprawls himself across the length of the backseat and almost immediately pulls out a pack of cigarettes. I eye them with distaste.
"Don't get smoke in my car," I warn him. "Roll down a window."
Ray rolls his eyes at me, but shrugs and rolls down both backseat windows halfway. He pulls out a cigarette and his lighter as I'm starting the car and driving across the vast school parking lot.
"Hey, Reeves," I hear Ray say. "Care for a smoke?"
"No," Tison answers tonelessly, not even turning to look at the skater.
Ray is incorrigible. "You sure?"
"Do you have a death wish, Ray?" I say.
He shrugs again and blows smoke into the air in front of him. "Just asking."
There's quiet for a minute. I'm contemplating how I might kill him if he gets caught smoking tobacco when we haven't even completely left the school grounds. Tison's slouching down into his seat; the annoyance on his face probably means he's thinking something along the same lines. One of his thin hands goes up unconsciously to push some dark brown hair behind his ear to expose more of his faintly freckled face.
I like looking at him.
"So," Ray breaks into the silence. "Tell me, Reeves. How do Mommy and Daddy feel about you having a nice boyfriend like Senith?" He's gone into sarcastic-patronizing mode.
I could kill him.
Tison is scowling. "Fuck off," he says.
Ray doesn't know that Tison doesn't even live with his parents, or he wouldn't screw around like that. He's not that much of an asshole. Luckily, Ray picks up the warning vibe and switches to something else.
"Have you ever thought of making out with a chick, Reeves?"
Now Tison's pissed. He turns in his seat to snap at Ray, "Did you not hear me? I said, fuck off. I don't want to hear anymore of your stupid bullshit, and there's no way I'm fu-"
The only time he starts cussing like this is around Ray, I've noticed. "Tison, stop," I interrupt him. "He's only doing that to make you mad. He doesn't know what he's talking about. Ray, if you say anything else, I'm kicking you out and making you walk the rest of the way."
Ray shrugs a third time as if to indicate that he has no idea why he's being threatened, and stops talking. I give Tison a sidelong glance; he's scowling and rubbing his forehead. I don't know what it is about these two, but for some reason they can't stand each other. If Ray would just give him a chance, I know they could become friends; but I can't see that happening anytime soon.
This is torture for Ray. He drums the fingers of his left hand on his knee and stretches when I stop at an intersection. He clears his throat. "Can I say something?"
"No," I answer.
He frowns and folds his arms.
Tison tells him wearily, "You're a jackass, you know that?"
Ray looks pleased at the remark. "Yeah, I know." He finishes his cigarette and flicks it out the window.
I turn onto Ray's street and stop in front of his house, which is big and white and has a nicely trimmed lawn and shrubs. Tison raises his eyebrows at the sight of it. Ray doesn't really come across as the type of person to come from the rich snob neighborhood. I can remember back to when Ray was his parents' model of a perfect child; and then in sixth grade, he shifted abruptly from 'prep' status to 'skater punk' status, and has been this way ever since.
His parents absolutely hated the change. Personally, I congratulated him for it.
"Thanks for the ride, man," Ray says, opening the door and climbing out. "See you later." He smirks at Tison and waves before shutting the door and heading toward his house. I drive away.
Tison's leaning his head against his hand. "Why are you friends with him?" he mutters.
I shrug. "I've known him forever. He's really not as bad as he seems. He's just… he's not all that good with new people, you know? You just have to give him a chance, that's all."
Tison doesn't say anything. Maybe I shouldn't be defending someone who's an asshole to my boyfriend, but Ray's my friend. I don't know what else I can do other than hope that Tison won't resent me for it.
Then he asks, "How can you be so perfect?"
"What?" I look over at him.
He's rubbing his forehead distractedly again. "I mean, you never get mad at anyone. You're never mean to anyone. And me, I get mad at absolutely everything and everyone. I'm a…" He searches for the word. "…freak."
Ray's words from just a little earlier flash back into my mind. He's a freak. I'm serious, Senith, man. In every possible way. Both of them think so.
So why can't I understand why?
"No, you're not." I shake my head. Tison watches me. "I've never met anyone like you before, but that doesn't make you a freak. You shouldn't believe crap like that just because other people want to get on your nerves."
Tison half-shrugs, but I catch a faint look of relief on his face before it slips away.
"And just for the record," I add, "I am not perfect. I'm the farthest thing from perfect. So stop thinking that, okay?"
He obviously doesn't believe me this time, because now his expression is reading sure-whatever-you-say even though he doesn't answer out loud.
I stop in front of Tison's house when we reach it, and he makes no move to get out but instead looks at it resentfully.
"I hate my house," he says bluntly.
Tison sighs and shifts, making movements as if he's about to pick his textbooks up from the floor of the car, but not quite. "No. I just really don't like it, that's all." The thick soles of his shoes scrape a little across the floor mat. "Well," he says awkwardly, "I guess… I'll see you tomorrow."
"Yeah," I say, and lean in to kiss him. His lips meet mine halfway and are soft to the touch.
If I stare, he said before, I don't do it on purpose. It's just that I really, really like your lips, and I can't help it.
I press in more deeply, and he responds by placing his hands uncertainly on my neck and tilting his head a little. I wish I could pull him closer from the other side of the gap that separates our seats, but I'd have to break off the kiss to do that, and I know picking up where we left off wouldn't be possible at this degree. So I stay where I am, and wait till I feel the heat of his breath against my lips before taking it to a level I never went- and had never wanted to go- with Brianna.
In short, I've decided since I asked Tison to be my boyfriend, kissing is nice. And to think I never really thought so before.
Tison's the one that breaks it off in the end, looking somewhat surprised, and then turns a light shade of red. "Yeah, so," he mumbles, grabbing his textbooks, "bye, then."
He gets out of the car and closes the door behind him. I watch him leave.