So it's been a little over a week and for that I apologize, but how about a nice long piece of fiction to make up for it? Yeah, that's right: It's super long! And super naked! (Action League Now, anyone? No? maybe I'm just a loser) So I hope you enjoy it. I know none of you know me in reality, but I recently got my hair cut(the first time in years) and I feel less creative as a result. So imagine we're really close friends and you understand how much that sucks. It's a shame we don't know each other. I best some of us could be awesome friends.

The rest of the period was a mixture of Lawrence ignoring me, Julie stifling tears, and Jessica visually threatening me, so I

The rest of the period was a mixture of Lawrence ignoring me, Julie stifling tears, and Jessica visually threatening me, so I was glad when the bell rang. I trudged my way to fourth period where at least Charlie and Chris would talk to me. Chris. I wasn't sure I wanted to talk to him. This was his fault. None of the errors of the night would have been mine if he had just left me alone to sulk in peace, rather than a mixture of yelling and holding back hair. So when I saw him sitting there in his desk in math, I couldn't help but hate him a little. Even if he was wearing that shirt.

The black and red striped polo that hung from his skinny frame only made me angrier. He was nothing like Tim. He never would be. Tim protected me. Chris lathered me in meat sauce and threw me to the sharks, or the wolves, or some other carnivorous animal with sharp teeth.

He looked depressed in his seat. The weird anger feeling from the weekend was rising from the pit of my stomach where I guess all undesirable feelings reside. As I took my seat he asked, "So how was your morning?" I didn't answer him. I sat resolutely with my arms crossed looking straight past him.

"That bad, huh?" When I still didn't answer a light when on. "Are you mad at me?" Though I didn't mean to, I betrayed the smallest bit of an expression that probably looked like "no shit."

"Don't hate me," he instantly fell to pleading which only made me madder. Now I knew how Lawrence felt, except I didn't because no one ever knew how Lawrence felt. But the comparison of myself to Lawrence, made Chris me, an analogy which softened my heart a little. I couldn't hate myself. And I couldn't hate Tim's shirt. Chris was lucking out.

He opened up his cell phone, pressed a few buttons and laid it open on my desk so I could read the text message on the screen. It read: Hey hotness, you busy after school today? It would have been a comforting text if it had come from Tara instead of Rebecca.

"And the next one," he said. I switched to the second text which read: We need to talk. Oh, do we need to talk. That's an unsettling message no matter who it comes from, but in this case it was from Tara.

"So how were your mornings?" Charlie asked as he approached us. Chris quickly took back the cell phone and shoved it into his pocket. There was a level of irony to best friends who were secretly dating siblings. They had more in common than they knew.

"Mediocre," was Chris's response.

"It was Lawrence." They both looked at me. My words were meant for Charlie though. "Lawrence was the one I yelled at at the party." Chris still looked stupid, but a spark went off in Charlie's eyes. "Have you talked to Julie this morning?" I asked. "She looks like she's been hit by a train. Oh, and Jessica sent some nondescript threats your way. General hunt down and kill stuff. You might want to put out that fire before it's too late."

Charlie nodded somberly. "What do you think I should do?"

"I don't know. I've got a couple of my own demons to deal with." I finally gave Chris some acknowledgement, even though it was ice cold.


"Whatever." Mr. Lafferty called the class to order which seemed like a godsend. Charlie took his seat a couple rows over and the rest of the period was filled with Chris's pathetic attempts to apologize and/or ask for help. Besides myself, Anthony was the only one who could offer him any solace on the situation. When the class ended I realized I just couldn't. I couldn't sit there and talk to any of them or sit with them or make sex jokes with them. I zipped up my bag and made a quick exit before either Charlie or Chris could stop me.

It wasn't as if I didn't know exactly where I was going. I knew. It's just that I knew it was a bad idea from the start, but I couldn't help it. It was the fight of flight syndrome, except when I fled it was to Zeke's corner and I found him sitting there lamely snapping his cell phone open and closed. When my shadow fell over him, he looked up. He offered up a rather pathetic grin.

"Shitty day?" I asked

"Aren't they all?" I nodded with understanding. Ever since his little fallout with Samantha, Zeke spent most his lunches alone. I'd visit him from time to time, but he wouldn't let me miss out on my friends.

"Can I sit here and not have you send me away today?"

He thought about it for a second. He seemed to sense my melancholy. Or maybe I just sounded pathetic. "Misery does love company." I leaned against the cool brick wall and let myself slide down next to him so that we were at an equal eye level. We looked at each other and smiled and for a moment everything was perfect. "So what's up?"

"I just need to be around somebody that's not them." I nodded in the direction of the table I usually sat at with Charlie, Charlotte, Grace, Chris, and others. I should have just said what I really meant which was "I just need to be around somebody that's not anyone but you." A strange stirring in my body made me look away from him. It was so much easier to talk to him on the phone because the temptation to kiss him wasn't there.

"So what's wronger than usual today?" He didn't seem to notice that I couldn't look at him. I slowly turned back to face. My hand was shaking. Clearly being this close to him was going to be a chemical impossibility. But then the strangest thing happened. Instead of firmly taking hold of his face and pressing our lips together, I started talking. I started from the beginning of the fateful night to the end, leaving out the parts about my own questioning sexuality and why Chris's little make out session was cause for any alarm. He smiled whenever I would mention any part of Julie's single status or misery, facts I'm sure he was already aware of, but didn't mind hearing again. And why shouldn't he? He had such a loving, devoted boyfriend.

He didn't interject with any questions, but listened intently to everything I said. His mouth opened a couple times, but always closed abruptly. Not talking had never been his forte and it really touched me that he could restrain his own comments about Chris and Julie and drinking and afterparties.

When I was finished he waited a few seconds to make sure I was truly done before he asked his question: "So now what do you do?"

"So now I wait pretty much. I guess I'll have to stop hating Chris and get Lawrence to stop hating me. Somewhere in there I'll have to talk to Charlotte. It's sad when your breakup is the least pressing issue in your life."

" 'I'm not the one who can forgive you.'" He repeated thoughtfully. "What does that mean?" I shrugged. "Well, who do you think it means?" The statement had baffled me before, but somehow when Zeke asked me, it clicked, because there was only one person I knew that Lawrence would protect so fiercely. And he was sitting right next to me.

"Wow, how drunk are you?" Lawrence asked with a smile. "I'm not. It's just…everything eventually works out, you know? The right people end up with the right people." He nodded and took another drag from what looked like a cigarette, but didn't al all smell like one. "So you finally id it, eh?" I was confused. "The right people" didn't include me in anyway on either side. "You and Zeke?" he locked his fingers meaningfully in explanation. The sensation started in my heart, which began beating psychotically. Beads of seat appeared on my forehead. My breathing quickened. I could feel my chest rise and fall rapidly. And I hit him.

I guess Mr. Gavard's noncommittal seating arrangement was a good thing when it came to people named Zeke with penchants for screwing up friendships. So far I knew two. But it screwed over guys named Anthony who are just trying to help. I was aware of one. When I had arrived in San Luis, I sat with Anthony in one corner of the room, while Zeke, Sam, and Lawrence occupied the opposite corner. Then, after their fateful kiss, Sam traded spots with Anthony. Then after our fall out, I took the initiative to return Anthony to his original spot while I sat with Lawrence and Zeke. today, however required a new arrangement, though I didn't realize it until Zeke and I entered the calss and found Sam and Lawrence inhabiting the two front spots. They both looked up when we walked in. Eight eyes somehow all met right then. I remembered the four of us sitting in the park one afternoon just laughing and making stupid jokes. And now? Now I averted my eyes and quickly walked to the other side of the room where Anthony sat looking at us with an apologetic smile.

"You just can't catch a break today, huh?" Zeke whispered in my ear. I nodded. I took the seat behind Anthony and Zeke took the seat beside me. Anthony's smile faltered for a second.

"It was Lawrence if you couldn't tell. He's the one I yelled at." Every time I mentioned it, it still made me nauseous. How awesomely I had screwed up. It was almost unbelievable. I started to shake again, but then a warm pressure held me still. Zeke's hand on my shoulder. So I knocked away my chair acting completely on impulse and unable to control myself anymore, grabbed the collar of his shirt roughly and smashed my lips against his.

Except I didn't. Not even close. But his hand was on my shoulder and that was good enough. Besides, the chairs are connected to the desks. My passionate daydream wasn't even physically possible. I was losing it.

"It's okay. I'm here for you." The last thing I needed him to do was whisper in my ear. The last thing. But apparently Zeke doesn't care what I need. So selfish. I pulled away with a sharp jerk that was nowhere near subtle. It was more of a spasm than anything else. He gave me a confused look. I gave him a fleeting smile before Mr. Gavard called the class to order.

I wish instead of English I had taken Alienation, because I would have an A right now and I wouldn't have to be sitting in such an awkward position. Anthony, Lawrence, Samantha, and, steadily, Zeke. Even Chris and Charlotte. The assignment for today was an essay. I threw myself into it entirely, ignoring any attempt from Zeke or Anthony to get my attention and left faster than anyone when the bell rang. I only had one more class to survive today.

Mr. McAldin is some sort of wizard, and not just because of his cartoonish grey beard. He has the power to magically take all the fun out of history, a subject that until my arrival in San Luis, I seriously loved. But his dull teaching method and monotonous voice was a godsend today because save myself, Anthony, and Lawrence, there hadn't been any sophomores at the party and AP European History happened to be a sophomore class. I've never been disappointed to hear the bell ring on McAldin's class until today. Because his room, ignoring its coma-inducing element, prevented me from screwing up anymore. I left the classroom with a million other people. I let the current pull me toward the front of the school where I had another date with destiny. Or rather Anthony.

The channel spilled out into the ocean, or rather, the front of the school. I stood around looking for Anthony. Half of me wanted to run away right then. To avoid the entire confrontation with Ant. But the other half was part of that damned Doers club. I surveyed the parking lot nervously. Where was he? He said right after school and as far as I could tell, that was now. My mind fell to figuring out what it was we couldn've possible talked about at the party.

"Zeke." I didn't have the chance because he was coming. I turned around to see where Anthony's voice was coming from. Except it wasn't Anthony, it was Chris. I started walking in the opposite direction toward the parking lot. "Zeke, come on, wait for me." I didn't want to talk to him. Honestly, at this moment, there was no one I wanted to talk to less.

Oh. Fuck.

I stood corrected. Because directly in front of me was the same silver Tahoe I'd seen on my last day in San Diego. And right in front of it was the man that had been sitting in the park when we were playing football the very same day. I saw him, and he saw me. Instantly my direction changed again, this time toward Chris.


I met him a few steps back. "Chris, I promise to forgive everything and never get mad at you again if you will just drive me anywhere right now."

"What are you talking about?"

Out of the corner of my eye I could see the man walking toward me. "Just…please."

He hesitated for another second before pulling out his keys. "This way."

I followed him to the car, a journey on which, thankfully he didn't ask any questions. The weather that day had started out splotchy and had gone from sunny to just plain miserable, which was ironic or coincidental or neither because on a non-weather-related front, it had started out miserable and remained miserable.

Once we were seated safely in his car, my body relaxed slightly, but not fully. We were still in the parking lot and he was still out there. I locked my door for extra protection. I noticed Chris was walking my movements with a careful scowl. "Zeke," he sounded worried, "what's going on?"

After waging an internal war for a few seconds, I looked at him with a half-hearted smile that was supposed to look coy and mysterious but probably came off as toothy and insecure. "Can you keep as secret?"

Interesting. Veeeeeerrrry interesting. The Tahoe? The guy in the park? It's like I had this planned all along...

But I guess Anthony's information will have to wait, and so will any attempts at reconciliation Zeke had planned? Well, except, maybe, one. And

Next time: You know what goes well with the truth? Mint chocolate chip ice cream on a sugar cone. Yeah.