(I know what you're all thinking…I KNOW! Ahhh, don't kill me, please!)


Lying on the living room couch has become my new favorite pastime.

I mean, I can sleep or I can watch the Food Network, but you know what's best of all?

The fact that I can wallow in my own self pity all I want on that couch considering the fact that Ryan is still with Kate.

Yes. You read that right.

Ryan has officially been going out with the school slut since that day in the movie theaters. And you know what? It's not just me that hates them together. Derek even has enough sense to hate the fact that his best friend is going out with her, as well as the rest of the girls in our school.

I mean, come on, it's only right for Ryan to dump Kate… and go out with me instead.

But no.

That stubborn ass won't let me show him what a complete moron I was, and instead, prefers swapping spit with the walking disease.

Does anyone care to explain to me how that makes any sense at all?

'Cause I sure as hell can't comprehend it…

But anyway, I'm starting to lose hope that Ryan might actually dump that skank. It's already been two weeks, and all I see at school is them. Together. Holding hands and sucking face. (Gag me. Now.)

Which brings me back to the present.

I was currently curled up on my bed, 25 minutes before school started, looking like a complete mess. Seriously, there really was no reason to go to school, only to see them together, so the plan was to drop out and live my life as a bagger at the local grocery store.

Random? I know. Blame that on the workings of my brain at 7:00 am.

Groaning loudly, I rolled over and continued picturing my future self.

Being the best bagger known to man wasn't easy for most, but it'd be a piece of cake for me. It'd take me a couple of years, sure, but my successful bagging would promote me all the way up to the very prestigious cashier. No doubt about it...

Now, feeling just a tiny bit better about my pathetic life, I snuggled deeper into my blankets, planning to sleep peacefully for the rest of the morning.

Well, that was until my door was rudely thrown open, and before I knew it, I was tossed to the ground, blankets and all. "Get up, Riley." Growling softly, I flipped off the intruder, knowing who it was already.

Hearing a frustrated sigh, I continued, "I don't want to."

"I don't care what you want, Riley. Get up now or I will force you to." Derek said, as he ripped the blankets from over my face.

Seeing a serious look on his face, I lost all my fighting power, and turned to whining. "Please, I don't want to, Derek. Don't make me!" Dragging out all the syllables, I added emphasis by tugging pitifully on his pant leg.

Looking down at me with one eyebrow raised and a blank look on his face, he quickly turned and walked towards the door. Right before he left, he turned one last time and simply said, "Be ready in 10 minutes or I'll drag you to school, pajamas and all."

Flopping back to the floor, I turned my gaze to the ceiling, knowing the day was going to suck.

Damn all older brothers— no sympathy at all.

And you know what?

While I'm at it… damn older brother's best friends too.

Twenty minutes later, I was too busy hitting my head against the open locker door repeatedly to notice Justin and Sarah walk up. Well, that was until I hit a soft hand instead of the hard metal, but that's beside the point. Why can't I suffer in peace?

"Riley, get up." Justin firmly said.

"God, what is with people and getting up?"

Seeing blank faces on my friends as I turned around, I continued my rant. "Have you ever thought about the fact that I may want to be down here?!" Hmmphing loudly, I spun back around, and finished throwing the rest of my textbooks roughly into the locker.

I'll be the first one to admit that yeah, maybe I did kinda freak out on my locker. But it was with good reasoning.

Is it my fault when it doesn't shut? NO.

So you see…I had to kick it repeatedly until dent marks appeared and it finally got stuck on the hinge.

Taking a deep breath, I spun around and leant back on the now, very closed, locker door, and stared into the shocked looks of Justin and Sarah.

"What?" I asked defensively.

After a moment or two of awkward silence, Sarah turned towards Justin and patted him on the arm a couple of times. "She gets like that when her life is anything but perfect. I've seen it before, don't worry."

Um, hello? Am I not here?

"Thanks for that. I am here you know, and I can hear you just fine." I said sarcastically. Turning my head towards the couple coming down the hall, I waved my hand at the general direction as my stomach tightened up, and yelled loudly, "And how can my life be perfect when THAT is going on, huh?!"

Cringing at the sight of the love of my life wrapped around the STD-infested Barbie was not how I wanted to start the morning. Quickly turning, I waved goodbye, and ran down the hall, hoping to relieve the burning sight in my eyes.

It wasn't until I reached my classroom, out of breath, and a full five minutes early, that I realized the burning in my eyes was because of the tears that were threatening to overflow.

"How's it going, babe?"

"I don't even think 'shit-filled hell' could describe my kind of day." Sighing, I leaned my head on Justin's shoulder, while he sent a sympathetic look down to me.

Rubbing my shoulder lightly, we continued down the hallway on our way to lunch. "It'll get better, Ri. It can't get much worse than this, right?" Oh boy, how wrong you are.

A second later, I stopped dead in my tracks as I saw Ryan at his locker. Alone.

Should I?

"Go for it, Riley." Justin said quietly, almost as if he could read my mind, and gave me a gentle push from behind.

Taking the next 30 steps was like walking to my death. About three feet away from Ryan, he finally noticed me and stopped everything to stare at me with wide eyes.

Definitely feeling like a deer caught in headlights, I was this close to running the opposite direction, but something in his eyes made me stay.

Throwing the rest of his books in his locker quickly, he turned back around and rose to his full height, staring down at me. Suddenly intimidated, I shifted my eyes to the ground, trying to gather enough strength to continue talking.

After a few moments of tense silence, he sighed impatiently, and opened his mouth. "Riley, I have to go. Do you have anything to say?" He asked, tiredly, running his hand through his messy hair.

Knowing it was now or never, I rushed on, placing a hand on his arm to keep him in place. Sending a desperate look at him, I continued. "Look Ryan, I need to apologize. Please, you have to listen to me—"

But I couldn't finish, as I felt a rough, manicured hand rip mine from Ryan's arm, and a voice nastily interrupted me, "He doesn't have to listen if he doesn't want to."

Breaking my gaze from Ryan's, I turned to find Kate staring at me, her hand tightly hanging onto Ryan. "Get out Kate. This doesn't involve you." I said, growling lowly.

Sarcastically, she raised a finger to her chin and pretended to think, which I don't think is possible considering her brain is as tiny as a shit pellet. "Hmm, you know what, Riley? That's where you're wrong. It does involve me because you're talking to MY boyfriend."

Willing myself to keep from killing that bitch, I continued in a low voice, "This is private. It'll only take a minute, anyway."

"Does it look like I care? 'Cause I don't. You lost your chance, so just get the hell away from us." She finished, pushing me a back a little with her hand.

Stepping forward again, I pushed her back a step roughly, surprised when Ryan didn't bother helping his girlfriend. "Look bitch, just get out of my face for one minute. I have things to work out with Ryan and I don't need your attitude here interrupting me, ok?" I snapped back, not even caring that Ryan was seeing me insult his girlfriend.

"Wow, Riley," she started sarcastically, clapping her hands lightly; "I applaud you for switching everything around in that little head of yours. I'm the bitch? I don't think so. I'm not the one that uses people and then pushes them away and blames everything on them, because I'm so perfect that I can't make mistakes... unlike some people. It's never your fault, is it?"

Pausing momentarily, she waited for a response, but I couldn't help but keep silent, knowing everything she said was true. Feeling the pain start churning in my stomach, tears started flooding my eyes as I shifted my gaze towards my worn out shoes.

Barely controlling the tears from running down, I stayed in place, listening to Kate talk. "It was so obvious Ryan had feelings for you— everyone knew. You were just too stupid to realize it, but guess what? Now, you've ruined everything and lost your chance with him." Pausing a moment for emphasis, she continued. "Ryan has moved on to bigger and better things— like me. So just leave us and go live your pathetic little life. Alone."

Hearing the finality of her insults, my composure snapped and I couldn't control the tears any longer as they ran freely down my face. Looking towards Ryan, I hoped to find some help from him, but found none.

Backing away slowly, my heart broke even more when I saw the satisfied look on Kate's face and a blank look on Ryan's, their hands still connected. Feeling more tears make their way down my face, I turned suddenly, and ran down the hallway, away from them.

Not even caring that there was still two hours left of school, I dashed out the front doors despite Justin's shouts, and slowly made my way back home, crying pathetically the whole way.

Snuggled deep into the blankets of my bed, with Brandon next to me (after I sent the nanny home), I cried for the longest time, letting out all the pain that had been building up in me for the past two weeks.

Ignoring all the phone calls from Sarah and Justin, and surprisingly Derek (Great, now the whole school must know what happened.), I blocked out everything and turned to my precious corn.

But now, two hours later, still in the same position as I was in when I first got home, except Brandon was playing on the floor, my door was thrown open by none other than Justin, Sarah, and Derek.

Upon seeing me back in bed, Derek opened his mouth first. "Riley, get—"

Luckily, he was interrupted by Sarah quick enough. "Ooh, don't say it! She hates when you say that. Now, Riley, get out of bed."

Sitting up slowly, my hair tangled, my clothes rumpled, and my eyes swollen, I stared at them silently for a second. After a moment or two, I finally cared enough to answer. "No." I croaked out, simply.

Sighing sympathetically, Sarah turned to Derek and started pushing him out the door. "Talk to her later. We need some girl time right now."

Confused, he turned his incredulous gaze towards Justin, and exclaimed, "Then what about him?!"

…Too bad the door already slammed shut in his face.

"Ok Riley, now is NOT the time to be crying. You need to get your man back from that whore before she infects him anymore."

Unable to keep a smile off her face, Sarah interrupted. "Wow, Justin, the voice of reasoning and a poet." Seeing his confused face, she sighed tiredly, and continued. "You rhymed and you didn't even know it." She said, patting his head mockingly.

Were my two best friends seriously having this conversation in the middle of a crisis?!

Turning away from their stupidity, I groaned loudly, and flopped backwards onto the mattress helplessly. "My life is over," I mumbled pathetically, as they rushed over to comfort me.

"Do you really think I'd come over here, and not have a plan ready for you?!" Tilting my head to the side slightly, I looked into Justin's face. Well, not that he mentioned it…

"It's all set up— all three of us were planning it out on our way home, and it's foolproof…"

Two hours later, the plan was settled and I was more than half-way done with the preparations. Freshly showered, I walked towards Derek's room, which would've been unthinkable any other time but this.

Knocking softly, I pushed the door open a little more, and peeked inside. "Hey, Derek? You wanted to talk?"

Spinning around on his computer chair, he turned his gaze to me and nodded his head towards the surprisingly clean bed. Taking a seat, we were engulfed in an awkward silence. After a moment or two, I coughed slightly and met his gaze.

"Look Riley…" He started uncomfortably. Pausing slightly, I heard him mumble 'I can't believe I'm saying this' to himself, before he shook his hair out, and continued, though hesitantly. "Look. I never expected this to happen, but since you both are so damn hormonal, I guess it's time to accept that it's gonna happen sooner or later."

Seeing the confused look on my face, he kept talking. "I don't want to admit it, but I guess you two wouldn't be the worst thing to ever happen. I mean, he's a good guy, and you're… okay. So, if it means anything, you've got my blessing to steal my best friend away."

Truly touched, and slightly taken aback that these words were actually coming out from my older brother, the supposed imbecile, I could only manage a slightly out of breath 'Do you really mean it?!'

Sighing deeply, he rolled his eyes and replied. "Yeah, yeah… I mean, anything's better than Kate, which by the way, I'm gonna kick her ass, and you're not too horrible. And well, you guys really sucked at hiding it— I bet Brandon could even see it."

Raising my eyebrow slightly, I replied sarcastically, "I'm sure he could."

Getting up, I walked over to him, until we were only a foot apart. "I better go down and finish everything— he'll be here soon. But I just want to say thanks…that meant a lot to me." I said quietly, and reached over for a (dare I say it?!) hug.

He pulled me in tighter for a second, and we actually shared a moment. Not that it lasted long or anything considering he threw me away the next second and turned away, coughing awkwardly and ran his hand repeatedly through his hair.

Smirking slightly, I backed away quickly. "You're not that bad, considering you're the devil and all." Making a run for it, I laughed loudly as I shut his door just in time to dodge a flying, used sock.

Leaning back on his door slightly, I smiled as I went through what just happened.

After a moment, I shook my head disbelievingly, and moved off from the door, making my way down the stairs, a smile still on my face.

Brothers— can't live with them, can't live without them.

An hour later, I was finished getting ready up in my room, while Ryan was downstairs waiting in the kitchen, and the rest of the gang were hiding in Derek's room.

Taking a few, deep, calming breaths, I slowly made my way down the stairs, pausing momentarily when I saw Ryan slumped over in his seat on the kitchen counter, his head in his hands. The familiar heartbreaking feeling came back to me as I saw how much he was hurting.

Exhaling slowly, I walked the last couple of steps into the kitchen silently, praying he'd at least give me a chance to explain myself.

Coming from behind, I couldn't help it as my arms wound around his waist, and I pulled myself right up against his back, until my face was resting on the contours of his back. His heart beat so close to mine, and I couldn't help it as tears filled my eyes, remembering all that had happened in the past two weeks, but my resolve won over my heartache, and I tightened my arms instinctively when he tensed up, hoping he wouldn't throw me off of him.

"I'm so sorry, Ryan," I mumbled regretfully into his back, hoping to start things off.

Enveloped in a tense silence, I pressed a light kiss into his shoulder blade, and was relieved to feel one of his hands inch over and cover mine lightly after a few moments of hesitance.

Turning around slowly until we were facing each other, he stared at our perfectly intertwined fingers for a minute before he turned his sharp gaze into my eyes, trying to find something in them.

"Riley…" He said softly, almost inaudibly, before I interrupted him.

"No, Ryan. Please let me go first. I need to do this."

Pausing momentarily, I took a deep breath, and tightened my hold on his hands, before continuing. "I was a bitch." I said bluntly, pleased when I saw Ryan's eyes widen in surprise. "I'll be the first to admit it too. There was no reason at all to take out my problems on you, and the only reason why I did that was because I was upset over Sarah and you were the first person there."

"I'm not trying to make excuses because I know what I did was wrong. I just need you to realize how sorry I am for everything I've done. You mean so much to me, and I honestly cannot imagine life without you in it. These two weeks have been horrible, and it's my fault."

Feeling my vision start to blur with tears, I shifted my gaze downwards and swallowed the tight knot in my throat. Looking back up when I had composed myself again, I saw his supportive nod to continue.

"I understand if you still hate me after this, but I do need to get this out of my system." Tugging gently on his hands, I pulled him from his seat at the counter and started walking backwards towards the door leading out to the porch.

"Hopefully this shows you how much I really am sorry. I mean everything I've just said with all my heart…" I said softly, and with that, I opened the porch door and led him outside, where a picnic was set up.

Seeing his incredulous stare at the scene before him, with both of his eyebrows raised, I suddenly lost all my confidence in the silence that followed. "I know this probably isn't something you expected, but I— well, I tried to do something nice, and I wanted to cook you dinner, but these are the only things I know how to cook."

Breaking my hold on his hands, he turned around fully to take in everything. Looking at my pitiful attempt at 'dinner,' a sense of dread filled me when I turned only to find corn on a cob, canned corn, corn bread, corn muffins, (See a pattern here?), corn beef, pop corn, and corn flakes on the table.

Suddenly ashamed at my lack of culinary skills, I covered my bright red face with my hands and tried to stutter my way out of it. "Oh god, I knew this wasn't a good idea… I mean, I took this class a couple of years ago called 'All Things Corn,' but now that I think about it, I think they just ripped off my money. I mean, it makes sense now, since there was only one other person there, and she was probably the accomplice."

Sitting down on the bench, I continued my little rant, my eyes still on the floor. "Oh god, I tried so hard to make this dinner nice, but I can't help it that I don't know what else to make! Please forgive me— corn isn't bad, trust me. You'll like it. Oh man, and I know this is wrong and you're probably gonna kill me since you're going out with Kate and all, but I can't hold it in anymore... I really, honestly, love you. A lot."

After mumbling a bit more, Ryan interrupted with two simple words. "I'm not."

Breaking off from my rant, I looked up into his eyes, which looked softer, yet more intense, than they had before, and showed my confusion. "What do you mean 'I'm not'?"

Kneeling down on his knees slowly, so that he was level with my own eyes, he stayed silent for a minute, before he whispered, "I'm not going out with Kate anymore."

Hardly keeping my jaw from dropping open, my eyes widened considerably. "What do you mean you're not going out with her anymore? Since when?" I whispered, still too shocked at his statement, and pretty delirious from his close proximity.

The corners of his mouth lifted up into that familiar grin, before he grabbed my hands and intertwined our fingers again, rubbing his thumb against my knuckles gently. "Since this afternoon." Tilting his head slightly to the side, he moved his head closer to mine until there was barely any room left between us.

"I couldn't have her insulting my favorite girl, especially one that could cook a meal like this, now could I?!" He continued quietly, bringing a smile to my face, and with that, he closed the extra space between our faces, joining our lips sweetly.

Meeting his soft lips for the first time in over two weeks was like heaven on earth. Moaning, I couldn't help but break my hands from his and moved them up to his head instead, where I started running them through the short, curly hairs at the back of his neck, which only encouraged him to deepen the kiss, not that I was arguing.

Running my hands down to his muscled arms, I forced them to wrap around my waist, until there was no more room between our bodies.

Breaking from the kiss, I gasped in a breath of air before my mouth led me to his neck, which was turned slightly in my direction. Leaving soft kisses from his collarbone all the way up his neck, I finally made it to his ear, where I was able to whisper those treasured words. "I love you, Ryan."

Growling softly in response, he pulled away, and looked back into my eyes, our breaths still uneven. "I love you too, Ri," he declared, pecking my lips briefly.

"When did you realize you loved me?" I asked goofily, almost child-like with the amount of excitement in my voice.

Pretending to think, he got up and sat down on the bench, pulling me onto his lap. Resting his head on my shoulder, he continued. "Well, I guess I'd have to say when I painted you green in the third grade, and you still looked beautiful."

Scoffing in response, I couldn't help but roll my eyes, though his answer infinitely pleased me. "Flatterer."

"It's true! I've been in love with you forever." He announced, placing a soft kiss on my neck, making me shiver with pleasure. "Now, when did you realize you were in love with me?!"

"When my best friend started liking you, and I realized I don't like to share."

Grinning his now very adorable, not arrogant, grin, he turned me around to face him fully. "Darn, I should've thought of that sooner. Would've saved me years and we could've been married with kids by now."

Laughing loudly, I tried pushing him away, but he grabbed hold of my hands and wouldn't let go. "You're crazy," I declared softly, shaking my head from side to side.

"You love it." And with that, our lips met for the second time that night. And you know what made it that much sweeter? Knowing he was officially mine to call my own.

And not in that crazy, stalker-ish kind of way, but more of that crazy-in-love-oh-man-he's-MY-boyfriend kind of way…which is totally better.

Ryan had just slipped his tongue gently into my mouth, and we were enjoying ourselves perfectly fine, when we were suddenly interrupted by a loud cough.A few to be exact.

Breaking away suddenly, we both turned our heads to find Derek, Sarah, and Justin at the porch door, looking ecstatic. Well, Sarah and Justin looked happy. Derek was too busy mumbling to himself about how sick it was to see his best friend and little sister together.

Oh well.

He'll be seeing it a lot more around here, let me tell you.

I'll make sure of it…

Ten minutes later, while we were all enjoying my surprisingly tasty meal, Justin suddenly stood up and caught all of our attention. Raising his cup in a toast, he continued, "I would just like to say congrats to you two. And well, Ryan, you had it totally wrong the whole time 'cause well, I'd much rather make out with you than with Riley."

Oh yeah, life is definitely great.

FINAL AN: So the story is finally completed! It's actually pretty upsetting considering this is my first story ever, but it feels so great to actually finish something that initially started as a sudden urge to write at 3:00am one summer night/morning. Anyway, I originally wanted to finish this before summer ended, but due to my procrastination, I had all my AP summer work to do the week before school, and ever since my senior year started, it has been complete chaos. Whether it's senior events, SAT prep, college applications, or anything else, I never seemed to have the time to sit down and write this last chapter (It takes me a long time to write— usually more than a few hours.)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed He and Me, and I'd just like to take the time to thank everyone that left supportive reviews because that is what kept me going. If not for you, I never would've had the motivation to continue writing, especially since I'm more of a reader than a writer.

Hopefully, you felt this ending wrapped everything up, and I'm so glad you guys liked my characters so much. Once again, I apologize if you didn't find any 'creativity' in my very CLICHÉ STORY, but that's how I wanted it to be. I'm a big supporter of clichés and am an absolute romantic at heart.


---- (And to Lady Vagabond and AlmostTragic, who kept up with me for the most part, except for the last chapter, lol.)

THANKS: crazymonkeychick, xPink Blossomsx, rina, sillyome, Lucia's Puppet, Spiritus Sancti, pinkfluffyoranges, starXcookie, dyingofluv, aznxdragonxluv, Lena Niccolas, jekodama, chic rebel, Ruh, GnomesRWritersToo, Sally Can Wait, Sadistic.Nightmare, Emily111, special, Basketball Barbie, j.murda06, Twilight Sazuka, Edna Mode, DancingChaChaFruit, frizzy, CK Shorty, Lexi Elizabeth Walker, Ice Princess of Death, Dead on Arrival, Amy the Boldhearted, angels and effects, and volumptuous-vicky.

Answer some questions if you want-- I'm really interested in knowing what you guys thought:

1. What was your favorite scene?

2. What's the most memorable line in the story?

3. Who was your favorite character?

4. Did you feel the ending wrapped everything up?

5. Could you tell I was a first-time writer?

Final Stats:

-Pages: 85

-Words: 37, 395

-Favorites List: 28

(Not including author's notes.)

On a final note…


(Don't doubt the power of corn.)