Chapter 10: Cookies and Miscommunications

I was surrounded by idiots.

That's pretty much the only way I could think to describe it. Plain, old-fashioned stupid. It's the kind that you can only stare at, dumb-founded, when you first hear them, but when you review the stupidity in your head later, you actually develop a headache. And it was my luck that I was surrounded by them. Of course, not much could be expected from an Honors English course in high school. Considering that many of the people in the room probably didn't even deserve to be there, it was amazing they had made it this far through the year. I couldn't imagine how every one of the bottle-blonde girls managed to complete any of the reading assignments when they spent most of their days batting their overly-mascara-ed eyelashes furiously in – what I assumed to be – an attempt to woo the teacher. I was tempted to tell them that the teacher was, in fact, a woman, and although it was very possible she had lesbian tendencies, it's hard to be attracted to someone whose skin is tanned darker than their pupils.

I found it hard to believe that these were the elite English folk of my class, or – worse even – that there were actually people who possessed less of a brain than the morons I had to share fifth period with.

" – and I'm going to hand back your projects now." The teacher rambled. I found myself being distracted by the bright orange and purple sweater-vest she was wearing. It was amazing that two poorly mixed colors could actually make a person want to vomit. "Why don't you get with your partners, and I'll hand them back?" She smiled placidly, and I wondered if she was aware that it looked as though she had done a number of drugs in her youth. I reminded myself she probably had.

James seated himself in front of me. "I'm going to be pissed if we don't do well." He whispered.

I stared at him. "You actually think we have a chance of looking bad next to these pathetic fucks?"

"Excuse me!" A tanned, blonde, mascara-covered girl hissed from her seat. "I heard that!"

"What?" My face was completely blank.

"I said I heard that!" She hissed again.


"I said I heard that!"

"… What?"

"I said I – " She narrowed her eyes. "Oh, ha ha. You think you're so mature." With one last spiteful glare, she turned away from me. I almost applauded her on still managing to look stupid while doing it. I wanted to ask her if she even knew the definition of mature – or even ignorant, because that seemed to be another word she liked to call me – but it was possible such a loaded question could force her brain to explode.

James grinned at me. "Still pissing off the world, I see."

"If she's the world, I'm going to shoot myself." I grumbled.

"I want to let everyone know," the teacher interrupted, "that I was disappointed in your work. I expected you all to do better." She started slapping stapled piles of paper onto students' desks. I watched each and every one adopt a look of horror when they flipped to the last page to see their grade. When the 'I-heard-that' girl got her paper, I watched in anticipation as she flipped to the back page with her partner.

C minus. My eyes widened in horror when she actually smiled and hugged her partner. She was happy with a barely-passing grade. What a dipshit.

"Very good work, James and Colby. I'm impressed." Our paper landed in front of me, and James quickly scooped it up and flipped to the back.

"Guess what our grade is." He said, grinning.

I stared. "What about me makes you think I want to play a guessing game."

"Guess." He insisted.

"I don't guess."

"Just guess."


He sighed. "Fine." He turned the report towards me, grinning. An A plus was written in red ink at the bottom of the page. Next to it, the words 'outstanding writing' were spelled out in cursive.

"I figured as much." I nodded. I couldn't get too excited about the grade. I don't ever really remember a time when I hadn't gotten an A on something.

James let the paper drop onto my desk. "Well, if you'll manage your excitement for one moment, I'd like to suggest we grab some food tonight to celebrate."

"Consider it suggested."

"I'm not even going to ask whether or not that's a yes or no." He commented. "I figure whether or not that's a yes, Rachel will probably talk your ear off until you agree to go."

I rolled my eyes. Rachel and James had gotten particularly close over the last two weeks. At least, that's what both of them said. I had yet to see either of them in the same room together with the exception of this class. I was beginning to wonder if they had actually fused together and become one strong force in an attempt to annoy me. "She doesn't have any influence on my behavior."

"Just like she doesn't make you hang out with her and Violet every Friday night?"

"That's a personal choice that allows me to avoid her the rest of the weekend."

He nodded. "Ok." It was obviously he didn't believe a word I was saying. I found it highly annoying that he would actually believe that I would choose to spend time with her. I'd rather have a prostate exam. Or castration. There were countless less painful alternatives to spending time with her. Mid-thought, I heard the bell tone, and immediately every student made a mad rush for the door. It was amazing how much each of them had the same expression of determination and possibly a little fearful agitation. The scene would be complete if a poorly-dressed, bearded shepherd was shooing them along with a stick.

I gathered my things together slowly, and handed James the paper. "Keep it."

He raised an eyebrow. "What? You're not going to take it home to put on your refrigerator?"

I rolled my eyes. "Clever." He and I walked slowly from the classroom. Rachel had finally decided to stop following me after class, and instead I now had James claiming our classes were near each other. When I first realized she wasn't going to be following me, I was momentarily at a loss. I wasn't used to not having her next to me rambling on about one thing or another. It took some getting used to.

"So, I figure I'll be out of practice by seven-thirty if you wanted to go out for food."

"And if I don't?"

"I'll sic Rachel on you."

I eyed him steadily. "You wouldn't."

He laughed. "You make her sound so bad."

"As do you."

"Yeah, but I don't actually think she is bad."

"Saying you'll sic her on me has an alternate connotation."

He rolled his eyes. "You know I'm joking, but I know you're serious." He shifted his messenger bag onto his other shoulder, and in the process knocked into some girl that was passing.

"Ow!" She exclaimed. "Watch where you're going!"

"You do that a lot." I commented, stopping when he turned back to talk to her.

"Sorry," James grumbled, grabbing her arm and helping steady her when she stumbled. "I should watch where I swing things."

She yanked her arm from his grasp and turned, but when she noticed that it was James, her expression changed. Her eyes brightened, and she smoothed her dark hair. "Oh, James." She might as well have called him James the Magnificent. She used the proper tone. "I didn't realize – well – " she laughed lightly, " – you don't have to worry about anything."

I stared at her, feeling as though I recognized her voice. I wasn't so sure when she was bitching at him, but now that she had adopted that sugary-sweet whimper, I was positive I knew her from somewhere. I narrowed my eyes and concentrated on her face – trying desperately to place her somewhere – and then I figured it out. She was the girl who was clinging to James in the cafeteria when we were trying to work on our paper. He had called her an idiot. My eyes narrowed further in laughter, knowing he thought she had the intelligence of a dodo bird, and I suppose she thought I was glaring.

She looked funnily at me. "What?" She asked with much more attitude than I'm sure was necessary. She actually sounded offended that I was looking at her. As if she had to suffer through so many people looking at her, she just couldn't stand one more set of eyes. Give me a fucking break.

"Sorry." I forced a smile. "I just couldn't believe it."

If it were even possible, she gave me a nastier look. "Couldn't believe what?" I swear, her head actually shook back and forth a little.

I leaned towards her, and she immediately backed away, losing some of her cool. "That I never saw it before."

She stared at me long and hard. I could almost hear the wheels turning in her head. Did she really want to know what I had to say? "Never saw – what?" She asked cautiously.

I smiled broadly. "How much of a slut you are." I heard James make a sucking sound as he half-gasped-half-snorted.

Her eyes widened. "What?" She squawked loudly. She actually accompanied the squawk with arm flapping, and I had a strong her to inform her that mimicking a dodo bird actually fit her intelligence level perfectly.

I nodded. "I see it now. Everyone in the locker room was saying you look like a slut, but I didn't see it before. They were right about your hair."

"M-my hair?" Her hands flew to the long dark locks that hung around her face. Her eyes were clouded with worry. "What's wrong with my hair?"

I grabbed James by the shoulder and steered him away without another word. "Just let her ponder that question for a few days."

James laughed lightly. "Colby, if you upset one more prissy bitch today, you're going to be lynched by everyone on the hockey team, and I won't be able to do a damn thing about it."

"My knight in shining armor."

He pushed me. "I will be if bat your eyelashes for me."

"Fuck you."

"I thought so." He nodded. I used my handy peripheral vision to watch him run his hands through his thick, dark, messy hair. I had stopped denying my physical attraction to James a good while ago, and allowed myself the benefits of having my current attraction around me in plentiful amounts. It gave me something to think about when my mind wandered to sections of my memory rated strictly mature. Ever since denying it landed me with a bruised ass and Mom tromping through my bathroom getting full-frontals of me, I figured it was best to just admit my fault. After all, no harm could come from finding James attractive.


I was leaning against Rachel's car. I had been waiting for almost ten minutes, and if she didn't show up soon, I planned to break the window and just hijack the car. Granted, I had no intention of punching my fist through glass, nor did I actually know how to start a car without its keys, so I was banking on her showing up soon.

Sure enough, I watched her burst through the front doors and hurry as quickly as her winter jacket and heavy backpack would allow. She looked a bit like a turtle in fast forward. I had to give her credit for consistently looking exceedingly awkward. When she stopped next to me, she was panting so loudly that I couldn't understand a single word she managed to wheeze out.

"Excuse me?"

"I – I'm sorry – I – am – l – late." She leaned against the car and rested her hand over her heart.

I shrugged. "Whatever. Let's go."

She nodded and opened the car. Once she pulled from the parking lot, I felt her eyes on me. Feeling prematurely annoyed by the conversation I knew was going to start, I glanced at her. Her eyes fixed back on the road.

"What?" I sighed.

She shrugged. "I don't know. What?"

I chose not to answer. I wasn't going to play that game with her. If she had shit to tell me, she would whether I wanted to hear it or not. Unfortunately.

"So you're actually willingly hanging out with James tonight?" She blurted out after only a moments pause. The tone of her voice wasn't surprised.

"I never said that."

"Oh. He told me you were."

I glanced at her. "When the hell did he tell you that?" I frowned. "And why were you talking about me?"

"I was talking to him after classes."

"I don't believe you. I haven't seen you two talk for over a week."

"That doesn't mean we don't."

"Considering you're practically latched to my hip, I'd say my observation holds some merit."

She rolled her eyes. "I've been trying to give you space."

"Gee, I'm grateful."

"Anyway," she said, ignoring my comment, "are you going to go eat with James?"

"I don't know."

"If you're not, you should tell him."

"Thanks, Mommy."

"You're welcome, sweetie."

I scowled. "Don't call me sweetie."

"Don't call me Mommy."

Again, I chose not to respond. I stared out the windshield and cursed myself. I was going to go to dinner with James. I wasn't sure why, because I can't imagine that it would be more entertaining than staring at a perfectly white wall, but I still felt compelled to go. Hell, maybe I could figure out what the fuck was going on with him and Rachel. I'm not particularly interested in their life together, but it was starting to piss me off that they always managed to get together to discuss me when I wasn't present.

When I finally collapsed on my bed, I groaned when I realized I had a paper due the next day. It was for my government class. We had to write some political bullshit about the war in Iraq. I wondered if the teacher was actually aware that most of the students in the class were more worried about whether Mommy and Daddy would buy them that cool car than Iraq. Even if they did give a shit, most wouldn't be able to give more than an insultingly stupid "Bush is gay" response to any question about how the war went so horribly wrong. Not that I'm a political activist, but at least I can admit that my knowledge about the war is limited, and therefore my opinion is pretty much inapplicable.

I was spending the evening with James. That meant I had to write the paper now. Fantastic. I sat up and rubbed my forehead and set up my computer. Two pages shouldn't be too difficult to write. I had just opened Word when my door opened.

I glanced over my shoulder. "Christ. Give me a break."

"I want to know how it goes." Rachel said immediately.


"I want to know how your thing with James goes."

"We're not going on a date. If I recall, he'll be straight out of hockey practice, which means he'll smell like ass. Most people shower before dates."

"I didn't say it was a date." She said impatiently. "I just want to know how things go."

"Shouldn't your boyfriend call you up and tell you these things?"

"He's not my boyfriend." She said softly.

"Then why do you supposedly talk all the fucking time." I complained.

"What's it to you?"

"Well, considering often times I'm the topic of conversation, I'd say that's grounds for me knowing."

"We're friends." She said stiffly.

"Well, fuck, don't try to hide your bitterness."

She sighed. "Shut up, Colby. I don't need you mocking me."

"Someone's touchy."

Her face hardened. "Look, I was already rejected. Isn't that enough amusement for you?"

"There's always room for more."

"Fine." She turned to walk out the door.

"Give me a fucking break." I muttered under my breath. "Wait. I was just commenting on my observation."

"Just do me a favor and don't taunt me because James doesn't like me. I think that's punishment enough."

"He – doesn't like you?" I cleared my throat.

She seated herself Indian-style on my bed. "Why else would he turn me down?" She grumbled dejectedly. "He likes someone else." She looked at me quickly as though I should have said, 'oh yes, I know her.' When she realized I wasn't clued in on whatever she was telepathically trying to send me, she started to ramble. "It's probably some blue-eyed, blonde-haired, super-skinny bitch."

I shrugged. "Doubtful."

She ignored me and continued talking. "I mean, at least he was nice about letting me down. And he said he wouldn't tell his dickhole friends. I could only imagine what they'd say about me."

"I don't think they care enough to mock you." When she looked like she was about to start whining again, I continued. "They probably couldn't string a proper sentence together, anyway."

"Yeah, I guess." She nodded. Her dark eyes were glazed over in sad contemplation. It had to be the most attractive face I'd ever seen her make. Maybe it had something to do with her mouth being closed.

"I've got work to do." I said suddenly. She didn't respond. "That means get out."

"I'm not bothering you." Her eyes were still glazed over, and I wondered if she was thinking of a better life where things actually went her way.

"What's your problem?"

She blinked and her eyes focused on me. "My problem?"

"You look high."

"No." She shook her head. "I'm just thinking, I guess."

"Think somewhere else. I've got shit to do."

She stared at my face. "Am I ugly?" She asked suddenly.

I was momentarily caught off guard. "What?"

"Do you think I'm ugly?' Her eyes looked pained, like she knew what my honest opinion would be. I couldn't imagine that she was doing anything more than fishing for false compliments, but knowing that did nothing to alleviate my confusion. She had to know that I wasn't actually willing to tell her she was gorgeous just to help her deflated ego. Not that I'd imagine she would have one.

Trying to be as nice as possible, I searched desperately for something truthful yet not cruel. "Eh – define – ugly."

"What?" She looked at me as though I had just told her she was my best friend.

"Define ugly." I repeated lamely. Apparently years of being a dickhole did not do much in the way of improving my civil social skills. Who'd have thought? I was so used to calling anorexic girls fat, and girls who wore make up to hide their imperfections ugly. It was no longer a part of my nature.

"You know what ugly means, Colby. You're not stupid."

"Oh, you fucking think?" I snapped before I could stop myself. I cleared my throat. "Eh – well, just – eh – reword the question." I sounded like a fucking moron who couldn't put together a simple sentence to save his life. I wasn't exactly known for being wordy, but at least I could string together words well enough to sound intelligent. Not that that was very hard in a world where people used the words "like" and "so" and "uh" and "oh my God" and "sweet" and "totally" so liberally people have adapted to understand sentences that are made up of just those words. This "being nice" shit was a lot harder than I remembered.

"Never mind." She said, smiling. "I should probably get going anyway. You can work on your paper." She stood to leave, but looked so dejected that even I had to take pity on her pathetic existence.

"Christ, Rachel." I said, annoyed. I hated that she was emitting enough self-pity that I actually felt bad for her. "You can stay if you don't talk."

She turned to me, shoulders hunched, looking a bit like a dog that just pissed all over a new carpet and knew it was in trouble. "Really?"

"Yes." I said shortly. I turned back to my computer and tried to block out her existence. Unfortunately, I forgot to take into account that I had just invited Rachel – queen of annoyances – to sit in my room while I tried to concentrate. You know the sound of a rhinoceros breathing? Neither do I, but I imagine that if I heard one, it would sound a lot like what Rachel was doing. I swear to fucking God it sounded like she just ran ten miles and collapsed on my bed. What the hell was she doing?

I turned and glared at her, but she just smiled and continued breathing loudly. "Do you mind?"

She raised her eyebrows. "What?"

"You're breathing like a fucking tornado."

She flushed. "Oh. I didn't realize. Sorry." She reached onto the floor and picked up a magazine to read. She buried her face behind it, and her breathing quieted noticeably. Thank God. I turned back to the computer slowly, waiting for her to start breathing so hard it'd blow my hair, but it never came. I worked peacefully for an hour and a half before my cell phone rang.

I looked away from the computer monitor and answered the phone. "Yes?"


"Depends. Who's asking?"

"… James?" He said uncertainly.

"Oh. You." Of course it was him. I wasn't stupid. Who else would be calling me? My fan club?

"Please, hide your enthusiasm." He said sarcastically. "So, we got out of practice a little early. Do you want to meet me there?"

"Uh." I had no idea where 'there' was. "What?"

"Oh, that's right. You don't know where anything is." James grumbled to himself for a few moments before continuing. "I'll just come get you. Is that cool?"

"Sure." I said, trying desperately to sound anything but sarcastic. Having thought it over more, I realized that going to this dinner would probably be a bad idea. I didn't have anything of substance to say to James – or anyone, for that matter – so why would I sit in a crowded, noisy room with two hundred other hungry people and sit silently? What would I do? Admire the way the light played off of his hair? Yeah, that probably wasn't my thing.

"Good deal. I'll pick you up in ten minutes, all right?"

"What if it isn't?" I asked.

"I'll still pick you up in ten minutes."

"Bye, then." I hung up and turned in my chair. Rachel was looking at me expectantly. "What?"

"When is he getting here?" She asked urgently. I wondered what in her life could possibly make James' arrival so important to her, but I decided there was a good chance I didn't want to know. She probably had a shrine built and dedicated to him in her basement.

"Soon." Realizing that, I turned and frowned at my paper. It wasn't complete yet. Maybe I could get out of the dinner by –

"Then I'll go." She stood up and smiled. "We should do this again."

"What? Not speak for two hours?"

"No, hang out."

I shook my head immediately. "Don't encourage the unlikely."

She shrugged. "Whatever. I'll see you tomorrow." And she was gone.

I waited for the sound of the front door closing before I went downstairs to wait for James. Again, I was planning on running outside to meet him before my parents could sink their claws into his skull and suck his life from his ears. The last thing I needed was for them to start asking James whether he was potty-trained at the same age I was. If he didn't know, I'm sure they'd be more than willing to call up his house and ask his parents. When I walked into the kitchen, Mom smiled and beckoned me to come closer to her. I walked cautiously, unsure of what she was planning on doing.

When I was four feet from her, she reached out, pulled me closer, and wrapped her arm around my waist. "Honey, I made you chocolate chip cookies to give to Rachel. She can make sure they get to Mrs. Logan, ok?" She pointed to a plate of cookies that sat alone on the counter.

I stared. "She was just here for two hours. Why couldn't you give them to her yourself?"

Mom rolled her eyes. "They're supposed to be from you, Colby." Oh, well duh. Because when I think Colby, I think of homemade cookies.

"Yeah – ok." I cleared my throat. "I'm going out for dinner."

Dad looked up from the book he was reading at the kitchen table. "A date?"

"No." I stressed, feeling slightly aggravated that he was the second person to refer to it as a date. "I'm going with James."

Mom smiled broadly. "He's so handsome. If I wasn't married to your father – well, I don't know what I'd do."

"Be a pedophile?" I offered sarcastically. I wasn't sure that I liked Mom talking about wanting to bang my friends. It was slightly creepy – and very illegal. "He's picking me up soon, so I'll just go wait outside."

"Do you want to run them over now?" She raised her eyebrows expectantly.


"The cookies. Do you want to run them over now."

"Not particularly."

"But they won't be as fresh tomorrow." She argued, and she actually looked a little upset that her cookies weren't going to be delivered during their peak.

"I'm sure they'll live with day-old cookies."

"Colby," Dad said from the kitchen table, "just take the cookies over now. Stop arguing with your mother."

I sighed. "Fine." I said briefly, before snatching the plate from the counter and hurrying out the front door. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she purposely did this so she could see James. Realizing what that meant, I hastened my speed and knocked urgently on the Logan's door.

After several moments, Rachel's older brother, Tom, answered the door. He looked like he just crawled away from the computer after playing forty-eight hours straight. His dark hair was a dirty mess, his shirt and cargo pants were wrinkled, and his eyes were dull and puffy. "What?" He croaked intelligently. I wondered if his head would explode if I decided to destroy his computer. Probably not, but I bet his whole world would collapse.

I thrust the cookies into his arms. "Enjoy yourself." I said shortly. I hurried back down the sidewalk in front of their house, and looked towards my own house. I saw James walking across my lawn, unsuccessfully trying to smooth his dark, messy hair. I increased my speed, so that I probably resembled those old people who like to speed walk, but refused to actually break into a run. "Don't." I commanded when I was in hearing distance from him.

James turned quickly, obviously startled. "What are you doing outside?"

"Gardening after nightfall."

"Why did I even ask?" He questioned rhetorically. "Are you ready?"

"There was no preparation needed."

"Well, ok then." He smiled, and my heart jumped. I wondered if there was something wrong with my heart, and it couldn't take me speed walking. Shows how out of shape I was. We walked to his car, and his cell phone started ringing loudly. "What's up?" He answered. His smiled turned into a frown. "What? No. No, I don't think – well, you should have asked and not been an asshole." He sighed. "Well, I guess we'll see you there." He hung up.


"We're going to be eating with some of the hockey team."

"We are?"

"I told them what we were doing, and they thought it was an invitation." He shrugged. "Is that cool?"

"Doesn't seem like I have much of a choice." I really didn't. That much was evident when we sat at a table with seven other sweaty guys who all looked pumped up on adrenaline.

"Is this Colbree?" A red-headed guy with huge eyebrows asked. He had a plate of buffalo wings set in front of him, and a napkin tucked into his shirt.

"Colby." I corrected.

"Col… dree?" His face was masked in stupidity and confusion. It was making me mad.

"Colby." I snapped. I realized at that moment that there were actually people stupider than those who were in my English class. I had doubted it earlier in the day, but now I knew for certain. I liked to believe that there were intelligent people in this world, and that I might one day meet a few of them, but at this point, I kept getting constantly disappointed.

"Oh." He nodded and smiled. "Colsby. I'm Cliff."

I stared at him, deciding immediately that he was my arch-nemesis. Colsby? What the fuck kind of name is that? It's amazing how a person inability to hear properly could actually make me feel murderous. I felt the anger build in my chest, and it took every ounce of strength I had not to get up and punch him in the face. What the hell was his problem?

James started laughing and nudged me. "So, guys, this is Colsby." He motioned to me and grinned around at everyone. My eyes darted to James, and I glared. He was now my nemesis also. "That's Ryan, Phil, Cliff – who you've already met – Matt, Jose, Dan, and Will." James grinned innocently at me before turning to Cliff and taking a buffalo wing from his plate.


Forty minutes later, I had had enough. I couldn't stand listening to them talk about sports, and how so-and-so's slap shot was better than Phil's. They tried to include me occasionally, but I had no interest in engaging in any sort of conversation with them.

"So, Garnet – " they were referring to James. Apparently they liked to use last names as a means of communication. " – have you told Colsby about Tiffany?" Fuck. Colsby again. I was going to kill myself if people kept calling me Colsby.

James stopped smiling and his face immediately hardened. "Don't." He said in a low voice.

"Dude, come on," Matt chimed in, "it has to be the best story we have of you. I mean, you're so fucking perfect, and that's the one story you actually don't succeed in."

James shook his head. "Don't."

One of the guys – either Dan or Ryan, I don't remember which was which – grinned and started talking anyway. "So, like – " yeah, they over used the word like… surprised? " – a year ago – "

"Dude, it was two." Phil said.

Dan or Ryan stared momentarily and nodded. "You're right. So two years ago James had the hottest fucking girl aching to bone him for, like, ever."

I rolled my eyes. "Like, really?"

Not catching on to my sarcasm, he nodded. "Yeah."

I glanced at James. He was staring at the table with his face almost unreadable. Almost. He looked pissed. His face was red and his mouth was set in a firm line. His dark eyes were narrowed to the point of being slits. The napkin that had been sitting next to his plate was now being torn into little pieces in his lap.

"So, she finds out she's going to be moving, and she asks a mutual friend – being Jose – to try and hook them before she leaves." Dan/Ryan nudged Jose, who nods, because he's important to the story. I guess that was his fifteen minutes of fame. "Anyway, after a lot of work, we get it set up, and James just – "

"He doesn't." Phil said, laughing.

I stared, obviously missing the punch-line. "Uh… what?"

"She told us that she tried so hard to get him, but he kept getting all weird on her and asking her if they could just talk. And so they did."

I blinked slowly. I still hadn't found the humor in the story. So he wanted to talk?

"They just talked." Phil pressed.

Again, I blinked.

"All night long."

I blinked a third time. "I – guess he's a good conversationalist." I said slowly. All seven guys stared at me for a good five seconds before they burst out laughing. I glanced at James. His face was even redder. Without a word, he pushed his chair back, stood up, and left.

"Where's he going?" Dan/Ryan asked me.

"How the fuck should I know?" I asked. I stood up, thankful that James was finally ready to leave. "Bye."

"Where you going, Colsby?"

I glared. "My fucking name is Colby. Get it right." I turned and followed James' path, although I knew he was headed for his car. Sure enough, when I climbed into the passenger's seat, James was seated perfectly still, staring at the steering wheel. "So what's up?"

He glanced at me. His face was expressionless. "What, no comments?"

"About what?"

"You know what." He said in a low voice.

"Well, I pissed that you told them my god damn name was Colsby, but – "

"About the story."

"Oh, the one I didn't understand?"

He nodded slowly. "That'd be the one."

I shrugged. "Considering I didn't get it, I can't really comment on it."

He studied my face, I assume to assess whether or not I was telling the truth. After several minutes, he sighed and looked back to the steering wheel. "You seriously don't get it." I could almost see James' mind racing and aching to say something. I'm not sure what he was so upset about. Sure, it was a shitty story, but, Christ, get over it.

"I wasn't aware that there was anything more to 'get' than idiotic babble."

He shook his head and laughed humorlessly. "For be so fucking smart, you're pretty dense."

I narrowed my eyes. "I'm trying to be helpful. If you're going to be a dick, forget it."

"Did you know that I've never really had a girlfriend?"

"No, but then again I haven't gotten to that part of your biography."

"I've been pursued so many times, I can't count." He said softly, ignoring my comment. "Don't you think that's unusual?"

I stared for several seconds, and then nodded. I think I finally got it. "You can't get it up?"

James jerked his head towards me indignantly. "Yes, I can. Do I really have to spell shit out for you?" He looked incredibly upset, and I actually started to feel bad for not trying to figure out whatever was bothering him.

So again, I stared and tried to think. I reviewed the past few weeks in my head, and things that made no sense to me before started to wash to the front of my brain and hit me like a tidal wave. He disliked every attractive girl that came on to him. He didn't want to make it with Tammy, or whatever her name was. Tiffany. He liked someone that wasn't Rachel, and she kept giving me those looks. And it hit me. I couldn't believe it. All this time I had been complaining about people being stupid and dense, and yet I was the one who didn't fucking get it.

My eyes met his. He knew immediately that I finally understood. I had no idea what I expected to see in his eyes, but it wasn't sadness.

"Oh. Shit."

A/N: The end. FOREVER!

Just kidding. I hope you enjoyed the chapter, though. It was kind of long (and by kind of I mean really) but hey – Colby's no longer acting like a dumbass. Well, I shouldn't say that ;) At least he's starting to figure things out.

Anyway, I'm sorry this chapter took 8,000 years to get up. The new semester just started and I'm overloaded with work (as always). Thank you to all who reviewed, and I really appreciate the things you said. I know I was just being stupid about that ONE review – I mean, I don't usually let them get to me – but I'm over it now. It's all good.

So please leave another review. Let me know what you think.