A/N - This is a completed short story.

To Pinch a Player

He was the epitome of cool. He could make wearing socks with flip-flops look sexy (not that he ever would). One look from him could make girls/women a puddle of quivering flesh and desire.

Fortunately, I'm not affected by him unlike many of my gender. That is of course easy for me since he is my brother. I mean like eww…that would just be wrong, and disgusting and, and…incest. Barf!

Anyway, getting more to the point. Growing up with a 'sex-god' – as one of my close friends so ardently put it – isn't easy. Since the tender age of ten, girls have been trying to use me to get to my brother. I mean, c'mon, you'd think that a sleep over consisting of six pre-pubescent girls would be pretty innocent. Wrong! It's not so innocent when your 'friends' climb out your window to perv on your older brother getting out of the shower. If you were wondering whether the rumour about the heart-shaped birthmark on his…um, backside was true, well it is. That's how the rumour started. My ex-'best' friend, Samantha, spread it around school the first day back. I refused to speak to her after that.

From then on I stuck to having a majority of guy friends. Sure I had a couple of female friends, but I never got too close.

In year 7, I met and became friends with Patrick (who is currently my best friend). Now, Patrick was and still is very hot. And I must admit I made quite a fool of myself over him because of my silly crush. It wasn't until year 9, me being as thick as I am, that I realized something was slightly…odd about him. We were watching the guys play a game of football when he comes out and says, "Geez, that Ferguson sure has a great tight end," referring to one of my brother's senior friends.

I, of course, thought I had some hearing impairment, thinking he must have said 'Geez, that Ferguson sure is a great tight end'. To which I replied, "Yeah, that's why I heard he's been offered a scholarship to play for a university team."

Pat looked at me in puzzlement before bursting out laughing. After that, we had a long chat, which included me confessing my little crush on him, and him confessing his little crush on my brother. Remember aforementioned 'sex-god' statement? Yep, that was Pat.

Well, finding out that Pat batted for the other team, or should I say, the same team, released me from my infatuation rather harmlessly, with little to no emotional scarring. At least I didn't turn him. That would have been a downer. But Pat reassures me he had an inkling yonks before he even met me. It came so gradually to him that he kind of forgot to inform me of his news. So he says. Bleh.

Having an unbelievably cool brother does have its highlights. For one, instant popularity! Well, that could just be because of my sparkling wit and personality…Nah. Two, you know all the moves guys use so you can stay away from guys who use them. No offence to my brother, I love him dearly and all that, but he's a player. He's even told me himself. He said, and I quote, "I'm a player, kid. Steer clear of guys like me." Great brotherly advice that I have clung to.

Over the last couple of years I've dated my share of what I term 'safe' guys. Non-threatening, non-assuming and non-hot guys. Don't get me wrong, one or two were pretty cute, but doesn't a girl, well this girl at least, dream of nabbing the hottest guy (with a great personality, as an added bonus) on the planet. A guy that will make other girls envy her. Shameless and self-serving, I know, but I'd like to have the opportunity once, before I settle down with another 'safe' guy, because truthfully, safe guys aren't all that exciting.

I'm now in my final year of high school, I'm allowed to make some reckless mistakes before I have to make my way in the 'big-bad-world', aren't I? My record is clean, no cat-fights, no detention, and no heart-break. I think I've done pretty well for myself.

I've always gotten what I wanted, snobbish as that may sound, but I believe if you set goals for what you want and figure out your game-plan to get it, you're most likely to succeed. It almost seems like not a coincidence that my year voted me 'Most Likely to Succeed'.

I know what I want, and what I want is what I've been avoiding for my whole schooling life. A player. A totally hot, too-cool-for-school, better than bananas, sweet-as-a-candy-caused-cavity player. Now all I needed was a game plan. And I know just the person to help me.


I twisted a lock of auburn hair around my finger as I listened to the ringing earpiece, waiting for someone to pick up the phone.

"Hello," a familiar, slightly husky male voice answered.


"Hey Becca," he replied with less enthusiasm, but with a smile that could be heard in his voice. "Your brother isn't here at the moment."

"That's okay, since I didn't want to talk to Cam anyway. It's you I wanted to talk to."

I could just see the expression on his face. Richard had been my brother's best friend since pre-school, and I knew him so well that he was just like another brother. It's actually strange how the two of them stayed such good friends, since they seemed like polar opposites, or at least looked it.

My brother was tall, at least 6'3, and he had the whole sun-tanned, blonde pretty-boy thing going for him. The only feature shared between my brother's and my own appearance were our grey eyes. Ricky, as I so fondly nicknamed him, was around average height, 5'10, maybe 5'11 on a good day. He had naturally shaggy, dark brown hair which he spiked off to the side in a miniature mohawk, he had a fondness for dying the tips of his hair different colours. The last time I had seen him, they had been a funky bright orange colour which really went well with his natural tan, taken from his Italian ancestors. He was a little thick around the middle, but it was from his solid build rather than fat, he always reminded me of a huggable teddy bear. Growing up he had struggled with weight problems but now in his early-twenties he'd gained more of a muscular frame. He had coffee-brown eyes which, although I dislike the taste, made me feel like I was getting comfy in a big, cushy chair with hot cup of joe, the first sip warming my insides. He was just that friendly-like. Unlike my brother, Ricky was the epitome of a gentleman, player title nowhere in sight.

"What's up, Becca?" he asked curiously, just waiting for me to blurt out something outrageous.

Well here it came: "I want you to help me pinch a player."

There was silence on the other end of the line.

"Ricky? Are you still there?"

"Repeat that again."

"What? 'I want you to help me pinch a player'?" I asked.

I heard a chuckle on the other end. "What kind of player were you talking about, Bec? A football player? Basketball? Hockey? Golf? And where exactly did you want to pinch them? I'm not really sure I can condone…"

"Shut up, Ricky! You know what I'm talking about."

"And why exactly do you want to now? After all these years," he asks incredulously.

I shrug, a little embarrassed. Admitting my motivation to Ricky made it sound a little juvenile. "Safe guys aren't exciting."

"Getting your heart broken isn't exciting either," he replied.

I thought he sounded a little righteous so I wrinkled my nose at him, even if he couldn't see it.

"I don't plan on getting my heart broken, Ricky."

"Do you think most people do?"

Grr, he had me there.

"Listen, I can handle it. Who says I'm going to fall in love?"

Richard snorted in disbelief. "Haven't you ever read a romance or watched a chick-flick? Destiny works against you. Falling in love is inevitable."

"Dude, this is real life, not a fictional episode."

"Dude," he mimicked me, "it could happen."

"Argh! Alright, it could happen, however unlikely. And if it did, what's to say I would get my heart broken?"

"Uh, didn't you mention something about a…what was it? Oh, that's right! Player." Sarcasm it seems is a favoured weapon of choice among friends and enemies alike.

"Are you going to help me or not?" I demanded, miffed.

He was silent again.

"Please…" I pleaded, pathetically.

"Show as much leg as possible and wear a push-up bra," he said, curtly.


"Show as much –"

I cut him off. "I heard what you said. Surely there must be more to it."

"Players," she could imagine him rolling his eyes, "are generally superficial, no offence to your brother."

"None taken."

"It isn't all that hard to get their attention. If they see a girl is trying to impress, they know she's fair game."

"Yes, but how do I go about standing out. How do I get him to chase me?"

"Was there anyone in particular you wanted to pinch? Just how high up in the food chain is your target."

"Callum Taggert." I sigh a little dreamily.

"That little pri…I mean, oh him."

"What's wrong with Callum?" I demanded.

"Nothing a bullet wouldn't fix," he mumbled grumpily.

"What are you talking about?" I ask, bemused.

"That guy thinks he's God's gift to women. His ego could span six states, including Texas."

"Aren't they all like that?" I enquire dryly.

I heard the defeated sound he made, imagining his disappointed face. I squirmed, I hated it when Ricky was upset with me.

"Just do what I said. It won't be all that difficult, he's been panting after you since he found out you were Cam's sister. Once he has you in his sights, play a little hard-to-get, but not too hard though. Then reel him in just before he breaks."

"How do I know when he's about to break?"

"You'll see it in his eyes," he muttered, before hanging up on me.


I paused to check my make-up in the rear-vision mirror, tugging at a lock of my hair in an absentminded gesture. My hair, which was usually tied in a ponytail for practicalities sake, floated freely past my shoulders in thick, auburn waves. I was trying to give this overtly sexy thing a go. It wasn't as if I wasn't feminine. I didn't dress like a tomboy, or even act like one most of the time. I just wore what I felt comfortable in (whether it was jeans or a skirt), not in an attempt to impress anyone. I didn't wear overly loose clothing and it wasn't as if I didn't wear make-up sometimes. I knew I wasn't bad-looking, some had even called me pretty, very pretty, I just didn't flaunt 'what my Mama gave me' as they put it. Yeah, well now I was flaunting what my mum, grandmother, and all my ancestors right up to Eve gave me.

I scooted out of my car, conscious of what the leather seat felt like sliding across the bare skin of my thighs. I was wearing a pleated mega-mini skirt (between mini and micro-mini), showing off my newly waxed length of legs. I had to admit, in this skirt it seemed as if my legs stretched forever, and I couldn't help but be impressed with my own appendages. I smoothed my skimpy top, trying to reassure myself it wouldn't rip apart if I twisted or bent over suddenly.

"Oh. My…Becca?" Patrick bounded over to me. "What happened?"

I felt like evaporating into thin air, my cheeks were so flushed. "I, uh…"

"When did you get breasts? Or should I say where, because they look –"


"- fabulous! And so real." he added as an afterthought. "Can I touch?"

"No!" I covered my face, mortified.

He wasn't finished though. I heard him cluck disapprovingly, which sounded strange from someone with such a deep voice. "Although, those clothes Becca…"

"I know, I know. I'm," I grimaced, "one of them."

He patted my arm in a consoling fashion. "Well, on the bright side, you are the hottest out of the 'skanktastics'."

Skanktastics was our (affectionate) pet name for anyone (male or female), that looked over, or should I say under-dressed. This was regardless of social position, personality, or morality.

After all this time of ridiculing the worst offenders, I was now joining their ranks. Oh, the irony.

Someone came up behind me.

"Hey, Pat. Who's the babe?" Gareth, a long-standing friend of mine asked ignorantly.

I turned around.

"Holy mother of…"

I rolled my eyes. "Hello to you too, jerk-off."

"Um, hi Becca. You look," he searched for a word I wouldn't take offence to, "nice?" it ended as a question, uncertain of my reply.

"Don't get used to it," I grumbled, trying to resist the urge to cover my fairly modest amount of cleavage.

"Did you notice she got a boob-job?" Pat asked in his irrepressible fashion.

Gareth manfully ignored his comment, resolutely looking anywhere but the area mentioned.

"Patrick! I did not get breast implants or any other form of surgery for that matter."

"They're real?" Pat asked in astonishment.

Even Gareth forgot his resolution and gaped at the topic of conversation.

"Oh, for Pete's sake! Could we please drop this conversation?" I cried, crossing my arms, irritated. Only after I realised it wasn't the cleverest move to make after my emphatic plea. The action clearly emphasised a fullness they had never noticed, indeed, I had never wanted anyone to notice before.

I quickly changed my pose, but not before I noticed outsiders taking an interest in our little group. I could see looks of puzzlement forming on faces, which quickly turned to looks of surprise and a little incredulity.

I think from the way I was garnering attention, by just standing in the parking lot, it was clear to all that something had changed. I hope it was only temporary.

The object of my…er, seduction just happened to pull up in the empty space next to my car.

I felt queasy. "I'm not ready!" I squeaked in a horrified whisper.

Pat looked around. "Not ready for what?" Callum caught Pat's eye. "Hottie at 3 o'clock," he hissed through smiling teeth.

Gareth was again ignorant. "Where?" he swung around looking for a chick in the vicinity besides Becca.

I slapped the upside of his head. "Doofus. Who do you think Pat's talking about?"

Gareth frowned and then grimaced. "It's so hard to remember he's gay."

"I shouldn't think why," I turned to Pat who was making 'covert' goo-goo eyes at Callum.

Gareth rolled his eyes. "I swear he's only this gay around you."

I patted his hand. "That's because all you talk about is sports. His eyes glaze over when people start talking sport."

"That's not true. We talk about the Sox and the Cardinals all the time. Hey Pat, tell her how much you love the Red Sox," he demanded.

Pat distractedly nodded. "Best football team in the world."

I grinned, knowing I had proved my point.

"Okay, so maybe he's not so good remembering what teams belong to which sports."

"A simple mistake," I nodded sagely.

Gareth shook his head, trying to contain his smile. He knew when he was beat.

"Hey, you must be new. Do you need a tour guide?" The deep sexy drawl sent a delightful shiver down my spine. As did the large hand that was laid gently on my shoulder.

I drew in a measured breath to compose myself. I turned slowly. Looking up to meet his eyes, I let a smirk settle on my lips.

"I've managed for the last three years just fine. I think I can handle it."

His magnificent green eyes widened as recognition set in. "Becca," he breathed.

"Callum?" I questioned coyly. I almost had the guts to flutter my lashes but I thought it would be an overkill.

"You look," I cringed, "great!" he turned that killer smile on me and I felt my knees grow weak.

I heard Pat smother a groan and a bubble of laughter burst from my lips.

Callum nodded at Pat and Gareth in greeting. Unlike most guys, Callum didn't feel uncomfortable around Pat since he had been raised by two fathers himself. Pat of course found this irresistible about him. I must admit, I found it kind of sexy too. And it would be convenient in the fruition of upcoming events. I grinned at the thought.

Callum noticed and raised questioning eyebrows.

I shrugged, smiling (I hoped) mysteriously. I linked arms with Gareth and Pat. "Well, see you in Art."

My companions and I headed for homeroom.

"What was that about?" Pat asked.

I made a noncommittal sound, letting a sly smile cross my features for a mere second.

Callum was going to be pinched. He just didn't know it yet.


Lunch was usually a mediocre affair, but today the cafeteria was abuzz with gossip. Gossip about me. Okay, normally I would say to anyone that thinks everyone is watching and talking about them that they're paranoid. I am not paranoid. I know everyone is watching and talking about me.

Pat was strutting around, striking poses, soaking up the attention to our group like a sponge. Generally acting gayer than normal. All the while I had to act normal, as if nothing was different. It was pretty hard when your friends just sit around gaping at you. The only one that hadn't taken a good long look at me was Travis, and that was because he had a long term-girlfriend he was absolutely loyal to. Even though, I still heard him mutter to himself while he refused to look at me, "Remember Sophie…remember Sophie…Sophie, you know, your girlfriend. Sophie bofee banofee banana banna bo bana…"

I think I should have been pleased with my success, but I just felt embarrassed at the attention. Still, I held my head up high, acting way more confident that I felt. I noticed guys noticing me. It was strange to be on the receiving end of so many propositions, since I had so little experience with them. Safe guys don't proposition girls. They ask if they can pin them. And I don't mean that in a lewd sense, I mean that in the honest-to-goodness old fashioned way. It's kind of sweet how some guys keep up old fashioned values and chivalry. But I'm not looking for chivalry at the moment.

With that thought, my eyes zero in on my target. He glanced over and smiled at me, mouthing 'Hey'. I ignored my quivering stomach and smiled back inclining my head, then nonchalantly looked elsewhere. I don't know wether it was his smile or indigestion, either way, anticipation slid through my veins.

Gareth nudged me. "Callum's got his eye on you. You better watch out."

I couldn't hide my smirk. "I'm not the only one."


I bit my lip. "Nothing."

He looked at me strangely but just shrugged. "You weird."

"You stupid."

"You ditz."

"You jock."

"You girl."

"You lame."

"You win," he gave up easily.

I grinned. Gareth never could be bothered with anything that took effort or thought. His motto was 'When the going gets tough, give up'. It was a surprise he turned up to school at all. The only reason he was passing classes was because of his photographic memory. He didn't even do his own homework, he paid his neighbour (a college student strapped for cash) to do it for him.

Patrick gagged, grabbing my attention. Then I saw what made him react so. I didn't bother to hold back my groan.

"He's mine, you skank," the girl obviously felt there was no need for pleasantries.

I wanted to raised my eyebrows at her and ask who she was calling a skank. If a skank could be measured by how little material one was wearing, she had me beat hands down. A definite contender in the Skanktastics. But I knew she would become hysterical if I ridiculed her appearance, and frankly I was in no mood to deal with a psychopath.

"What are you talking about Siobhan?" I asked her resignedly, even though I had a pretty good idea what she was talking about.

"Callum, you bimbo. Stay away from my man."

What was up with the name calling, what is she in? Fifth grade? Whatever.

"Whoa there…your man? Is there a tattoo on his backside proclaiming him your property? Honey, I've heard stories about that behind, but I assure you I've never heard your name on the same page let alone in the same paragraph," I said, bitingly.

One of the guys (most likely Gareth, the idiot) murmured, "Meow!" which was soon followed by laughter from the rest.

Siobhan looked despondent, but gathered enough gumption to stalk away, head held high. I almost felt sorry for the poor, deluded girl, but I knew what she was capable of, so I saved the emotion for someone who deserved it.

A guy that I spoke to in my History class came up to our table shortly after.

"Hey," he greeted shyly.

I grinned at him. "Hi, Beau. Hows it going?"

He ducked his head, glancing past his shoulder. "Alright…" he paused awkwardly. "Um…my friend thinks you're hot."

I felt sorry for him because he obviously did not want to be doing this. I knew someone must have pressured him because he was just such a nice guy that he couldn't say no. I hate users.

"And he didn't have the balls to tell me himself? How old is this guy, twelve?" I looked in the direction he had glanced before and almost sneered. I refrained because I knew it wasn't a pretty expression on my face.

Drusen Lafayette was grinning, or rather leering, at me. I felt sick in the stomach again, but this time it was from disgust, an emotion I had no trouble deciphering. He was a player, but in a whole different class to Callum. Drusen had no scruples. I'd heard rumours, bad ones. No one ever mentioned them in polite company of course, but it was whispered behind hands with heads drawn close together. The worst kept secret in the history of our high school.

I couldn't help but wonder at his attention. It was more than likely that he thought he was in competition with Callum. Pfft! Like he was even in the running.

I thought of Ricky. This situation had suddenly become a whole lot trickier, maybe even dangerous. I definitely needed to call Ricky.

Beau was fidgeting, sure he had offended me. I made the effort to reassure him even though inside I was seething and not just a little bit worried.

I was still reassuring Beau when the bell went. Amazingly, Callum suddenly materialized at my side like an apparition.

He grinned that arrogant grin of his, commandeering the use of my elbow to steer me through the maze of halls.

"What are you doing?" I didn't struggle, just limply followed his lead.

"We have Art. I thought we could walk together."

I was at a loss. I was supposed to be pursuing him, albeit discretely. I looked down at myself. Well, maybe I wasn't that discreet. It seems he had taken the initiative himself though.

This was way too easy. I wasn't sure I liked it because it meant I was not totally in control of the situation. The variable had taken form, and seized part of my power.

Callum steered me towards the table he normally sat at. I shrugged apologetically to the friends I usually sat with across the room. The two other girls at his table gave me hostile looks.

Great, it seems like every girl that so much as looks at Callum is entitled to a little piece of him. Everyone except me that is. I'm not even entitled to a single eyelash the way girls around here are acting.

Well, too bad. I want Callum, and I'm going to get him.

As if he'd read my thoughts, he turned up the wattage of his smile, his brilliant green eyes holding me in a trance-like state. Oh, but I loved those eyes. And that smile. I could dream about that mouth all day.

The teacher disturbed my dreamy thoughts, to tell us to choose a feature in the room (on a person or inanimate object) and depict it an abstracted fashion.

I wanted to choose one of Callum's eyes so I would have an excuse to look into them, but thought it would be just a little much. So instead I chose his inactive hand, deciding to give it a wooden look. His knuckles became knots in the wood, his fingers, roots twining and playing, like those at the base of a Willow, hanging over the edge of a river.

I looked over to find Callum staring at my lips intensely, for a heart-stopping moment I thought he was going to kiss me, but alas, it was not so. He started roughly sketching the outline of lips vertically. Soon I could see the picture unfolding in front of my eyes. My lips had been transformed into a bow from which a Cupid-like figure was shooting an arrow. A little cheesy, but it was beautifully done. Not in a cartoon-like fashion but with flowing lines that made 'Cupid' and elegant figure. The lips still looked like lips if seen on their own, but looking at it as a whole, its interpretation was clear. I suppressed my envy for his talent. I knew he had talent before, but seeing the way his hand moved with confidence and a certain finesse I sadly struggled with made me comprehend his artistic side. A side which was often over-looked.

He looked up to find me watching him. Before I could even get embarrassed he winked at me.

"I see you've found out my secret passion," he said sotto voice.

"Why keep it a secret? I can see you playing the role of tortured artist contemplating the deep meanings of life and art."

He laughed. "It would be fun, if only for a little while, but sadly I am a shallow creature, deep meanings are beyond me."

I was surprised he admitted to being shallow, but then I don't know him all that well. I guess I was being as superficial as he when I chose him for my target. Funnily enough, by admitting he was shallow he made me think that there was more to him than I expected. I hadn't thought he would have the self awareness to recognise faults, let alone the self possession to mock himself.

"Do you want to go to the mall after school?" he asked with a smooth smile.

I wrinkled my nose in what I hoped was a cute manner. Although I could just look retarded for all I know. I really should try new expressions out in front of a mirror before I unleash them in public.

"Sorry, I have to wash my hair," I widened my eyes innocently, twirling a lock of long auburn hair playfully.

The corner of his mouth twitched. "My loss."

I gave him a brilliant smile which seemed to set him in a daze, as if he were seeing stars. I was secretly thrilled and wanted to cackle with triumph, but thought that might lessen my feminine appeal.

When the bell went he offered to walk me to my next class. He had turned that smile on me again and I had felt a little overwhelmed, so for the sake of self-preservation I turned him down. He waved me off as I headed down a different corridor and to a class that would be infinitely anti-climatic after the last forty-five minutes next to most perfect pair of lips known to man kind.


I was grinning when I got home. I ran upstairs to my room, grabbing the cordless phone and began dialling on the way. It rang twice before being picked up.


"Hey, Cam," I greeted my brother in a rather sing-song voice.

"Becs! I thought you'd forgotten me," he said in an injured tone.

Grimace. I can just see those doe eyes.

"I see you every Sunday. Anyway, it's not like you pick up the phone to call me."

He chuckled. "Yeah, but I have a life. And no, you -" he paused, and I could hear a voice in the background. "Alright, see you later bro," Cam replied to the other person. He came back to me, "Now, what was I saying?"

"You were saying how you lead a sad, pathetic, lonely life and that you envy the stable and fulfilled existence I live."

He laughed again. "Oh, that's right. And no, you don't have a life. A social one anyway."

"I beg your pardon. I do too have a social life. And no," I paused mockingly, "bringing a girl home every other night is not a social life. It's called a breeding ground for sexually transmitted diseases."

"Oooh," I heard him snigger. Jerk.

"Nuff-said," I used our truce term. "Anyway, can I speak to Ricky?"

"What, need a date for prom?"

So much for having a truce term. "Argh! That was in junior high! My date's grandmother died."

"So he said."He laughed once more.

This was why I hardly ever called my brother, he always could aggravate me beyond reason.

"Put him on already will you," I growled at him.

"Sorry, no can do, he just left."

"That was him? Oh never mind. Bye," I hung up before he could say anything else.

Well, there went my good mood. I wanted to tell Ricky what had happened today, and get his input and advice, especially on the Drusen matter. I could have called him on his mobile but it seemed like such a trivial matter. I would just call him later, anyway there was always tomorrow.


By Friday I was becoming used to the attention, that and the fact that a student had been caught having an affair with the new male P.E. teacher, which had deflected most of the interest away from me. Guess those after-school training sessions had been about a different kind of extracurricular activity. I must admit the teacher, who was probably about twenty-five, twenty-six, had been very good-looking, very built, and very pleasant to the entire female population. Funny thing, he reminded me a lot of Callum. But I would really like to believe Callum had more morals than to have an affair with someone he had a social responsibility to.

I had gotten to know Callum a little more and although he had a majorly over-sized ego, there were times he could be so genuinely thoughtful and sweet, then there were other times (mostly when he forgot I was with him) when I couldn't believe the things that came out of his mouth.

Take yesterday for example, he tagged along after me to the library during study hall. I was looking for a particular book, and then he comes out and says, "Dang, but the freshmen have got racks on them these days."

I just turned around to look at him sceptically, but he was still looking at the girls. I turned to look at the girls as well. "I have to agree," I replied wryly.

He had twisted to look at me in surprise, and then scratched his neck in embarrassment when he realised I was being sardonic.

Okay, so I wasn't really surprised he said things like that. Rather, I was surprised he said things like that in front of me. It didn't seem like him to slip up like that in front of a girl.

We've had lunch together twice, once in the company of his friends, and the other in the company of mine. I declined his invitation to leave school grounds for lunch today and he looked at me like a wounded puppy. I couldn't help but smirk. This boy obviously had not seen my brother at work. Cameron had it down to an art form, Callum just couldn't compete.

Callum had been openly attentive towards me. He had asked me if I wanted to do anything after school every day since Monday. I've politely refused every time with enough twinkle in my eye to keep him coming back for more. I kind of resented the fact that he had not really taken notice of me until I started dressing differently. We had talked occasionally, but it wasn't as if he had gone out of his way to before. I guess I had made it clear over the years that I just wasn't interested in that type of guy.

I felt that there was something developing between us, I wasn't really sure what though. I knew I felt a certain fond affection for Callum, I sort of felt indulgent when he had his little slip-ups instead of being disapproving. And his smile still made me weak at the knees. He'd confessed to me he felt more comfortable around me, than with anyone he'd ever met.

Pat was torn between raptures and jealousy of the relationship forming between Callum and myself. I felt really guilty for not confiding my master plan to him. Pat is the bestest of friends, it was just that he couldn't for the life of him keep a secret like this. Knowing him, he'd just blurt it out during lunch to the guys, which wouldn't be so much of a big deal if he didn't say it loud enough for the whole cafeteria to hear. And believe me, in his excitement he would forget all about the invaluable use of hushed tones. Pat didn't have the stereotypical high pitched voice of a gay guy, he had a smooth baritone voice that reverberated and carried over distances. His words might be gay, but the way he delivered them sounded as if he could have been talking about sports with the guys. He had the sexiest voice, it could even rival Callum's deep drawl. It really was a pity he was gay.

Drusen had made a couple overtures towards me, but seemed to lose interest when I slipped into conversation the fact that my dad was a cop and my mum was a lawyer. I neglected to mention Mum was in corporate law and that my Dad was a US Marshal (that would have made him wet his pants!) and currently in DC for the next couple weeks.

It seemed everything was coming along according to plan.


It was strange, I had called Ricky on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and hadn't got through to him. I text messaged him Wednesday night and asked him to call me but he hadn't. Cameron said he was in a bad mood this week. Actually, he'd said "I had enough PMSing to last me a lifetime when I lived at home. I don't need this crap from my best friend."

I hadn't spoken a word to him since last week. When I called this afternoon Cam told me he had left as soon as he heard the phone ring. It almost seemed like…like he was avoiding me. I felt hurt and just a little sick at the thought. Why would he be avoiding me? I made up my mind to visit him before dinner.

As soon as the thought had formulated Callum called me on my mobile.

"Hey, up for a bonfire at the beach?" he greeted.

I hesitated.

"A couple of your friends are going. Gareth, I think and, um, I forget," he reassured me.

"Just let me ask my parents," I said, putting the phone, speaker down, on my bed.

I grabbed the cordless and walked into the hallway, dialling the familiar number.

When he answered I asked quickly, "Hey Gareth, are you going to the bonfire?"

"Yeah, are you going?" he sounded surprised.

"You think you could give me a lift?"

"Sure," he agreed without hesitation. "Pick you up in half an hour?"

"Thanks, that would be great," I said, and ended the phone call.

I quickly ran downstairs to the den. "Mum?"

She looked up from her book. "Yes, honey."

"Can I go to a beach party with Gareth tonight?" I mentioned Gareth because Mum had known him long enough, and knew she could trust him. Plus she was a big fan of his and was friends with his mother.

"Alright. Don't stay out too late, I know the boys at those parties get rowdy as the night gets on."

My Mum and Dad trusted me when I went to parties because they knew I wouldn't drink to excess, or at all for that matter because I became violently ill whenever I touched alcohol. Once I went to a restaurant and ordered Champagne Chicken, I spent the rest of the night throwing up and the whole next day in bed. The restaurant owner assured my parents that only a splash had been used. The doctors said I have some sort of severe allergic reaction to something in the alcohol, preservatives or something. I know when something has a hint of alcohol because I break out in a rash.

It's just as well I don't feel pressured to drink or feel I need to drink in order to have fun, unlike some of my peers. I'm comfortable enough in my own skin to say no.

"Thanks Mum," I said, giving her a kiss on the cheek. I ran back upstairs snatching the mobile off the bed. "Hello?"

"Still here."

I laughed. "Sorry about that. Mum said I can come. Gareth's picking me up in half an hour. I'll bring a costume and a beach ball. See you there?"

I could tell he was a little shell-shocked by the way I had taken charge and organised everything in barely five minutes while I had been gone.

I heard him chuckle. "Yeah, I'll see you there."


Friday night had been fun. We had gotten there early enough that there was still enough sun to play a couple games of volleyball. They started lighting the fires just before the sun went down in readiness to ward off the chill. There were several smaller bonfires scattered around and a larger central one that everyone seemed to hang around.

Callum had greeted me the moment I got out of Gareth's car, and had not been far from my side since. When he offered me something to drink I declined. He didn't question my decision, and I noticed he avoided drinking alcohol too. It was strange since I knew he drank at parties. I had seen him enough times. I assured him he didn't need to deprive himself on my behalf, but he just shrugged saying he could live without it.

When the night had turned colder he had taken off his jacket and draped it on my shoulders, then put his arm around me to keep me warm. I thought it was unbelievably cliché, but an incredibly sweet gesture.

It was after one in the morning and I knew Mum would start to worry if I didn't start back soon, it was just that Gareth seemed to be having a good time and I didn't want to end his fun prematurely. Callum seemed to understand, having interpreted my worried looks at Gareth and the way my lips pursed when I looked at my watch.

"Did you want me to give you a lift home?" he asked.

I know I probably should have been wary of being driven home alone with him, but I trusted him, oddly enough, and knew he wouldn't try any funny business. I don't think it's often you could say that about a known player.

I smiled gratefully at him. "Thanks, I'd appreciate it."

That knee-melting smile flourished on his face. "Anything for you."

It was a pleasant drive back to the suburbs, mostly in comfortably silence, but also a few different topics were discussed with ease.

I directed him to my house when we reached a familiar junction. When he pulled up in front I thanked him profusely. He insisted on walking me to the door. We paused on the threshold and I knew he planned to kiss me. Before he could lean down I stretched upwards to peck him on the cheek, and murmured thanks before smoothly manoeuvring my way inside without a backward glance. I knew he just stood there a while because the motion-detector porch light stayed on for a further few minutes.

I'm not entirely sure, but I think that player is almost pinched.


I can't believe it. Of all times, Ricky decided to stay with his parents this weekend, he had left on Friday night. I was sure I was going to see him today. He usually came with Cameron for Sunday lunch since his own folks live too far away now to visit every weekend.

I couldn't even drive over there and demand he tell me what the heck was going on with him. I rang his mobile a dozen times but after the first time when it rang out, it just went to voicemail after that.

Okay, so now I'm stewing with frustration and not just a little anger, with no one to take it out on.

My mobile took that moment to ring.

I didn't even bother to check who it was. "What?" I growled into the speaker.

There was a pause. "Well, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed," Callum teased gently.

"Sorry," I apologised insincerely. "I'm not in the best mood."

"Come out with me," he said quickly. "I'll cheer you up," he added in his arrogant, but charming way.

I thought about it. I had gone out with him on Friday, but that had been like a meet-up with friends rather than a date. If I went out with him now, it would be just me and him. A real date-date. If I did go out with him, would I seem a little too eager? If I didn't, would he think I'm not interested? Usually I loved decision-making, but this was just giving me a headache.

I took the easy option out. "Sorry, Mum'll be angry if I ditch the Sunday family lunch. It's the only time the whole family gets together." While it would be true that Mum would be upset, especially since my Dad wasn't at home, she would have let me go without complaint. The same couldn't be said for my grandparents though.

"Oh," the single syllable conveyed a certain amount of disappointment. "Maybe next time then."

I felt guilty. "How about tomorrow? We'll go out for lunch?" I asked.

"Sure, it's a date," he agreed keenly.

"If I didn't know better," I said coyly, "I'd think you were looking forward to it. Counting the hours, even," I teased.

He chuckled. "Who says I'm not?"


I was lying on my stomach reading on an exercise mat in the deserted gym opposite the boys change rooms. I was waiting for Callum who had just had P.E. class so we could leave for lunch. I heard the boys making a ruckus and several burst through the door, the noise they made echoing in the large gym. I saw Callum swagger out after the boys and was about to call out to him when I was beat the punch.

"Hey, Callum. That chick you've been hanging around, Rebecca or something? You gonna make a move soon or what? If not, I'll take her off your hands," one called out with a leer.

Another shouted, "Yeah, I'd tap that."

"What makes you say he hasn't?" Drusen, who I hadn't noticed, went and slung an arm around Callum's shoulders.

Callum shrugged him off. "I haven't."

"Oooh..." was the collective reply.

"Is she waiting for marriage or something crazy like that?" one jeered.

I was about to reply when Callum did it for me.

"I wouldn't know, you could always ask her yourself. But then again I wouldn't want her to come within a hundred feet of any of you deadbeats," he responded with disdain.

"Well haven't you become Mr. High and Mighty? We're not even good enough to have your left overs?" Drusen questioned scornfully.

"No. You're not good enough for her."

"You sound like a pansy. What, are you in love with her?" Drusen sneered.

I decided not to let it go any further because sensibilities were being offended and pride evoked, and I new if there was no interference soon there was going to be violence. Because that's just what males did.

I rolled on to my back, bent one leg at the knee and stretched the other into the air, supporting it with both hands behind the knee. "Oh, Callum," I called out breathily. "Could you help me," I pouted, "I think I've strained a muscle." I held the provocative pose, thankful I was wearing shorts instead of the skirts I had been sporting for most of last week.

The group turned as one to survey me. I could tell the average blood pressure level in the room had risen and quite a few boys were hot under the collar.

I held back a self-satisfied smile. I was rather impressed with my callous ability to use my body to gain advantage of situations. Me, the girl who would have picked brain over beauty any day. Well, I guess flaunting it all for the sake of peace was as good a reason as any. Maybe I should try out for Miss Universe? Think off all the people I could help by flaunting my body on a world wide stage.

Callum made his way over to me. Since his back was to the boys, he grinned in acknowledgement of my tactics. I winked back discreetly. When he was at my side he fell dramatically to his knees. "Baby, where does it hurt?"

I took both his hands in mine and guided them from ankle down my extended leg. I heard the boys hiss in appreciation as his hands slid across the smooth skin. I halted the curious hands mid-thigh. "Right there," I indicated the outer side of my thigh and moaned as if I were in pain.

There was a twinkle in his eye and I knew he was enjoying this to no end as he lightly massaged the area. "Don't you worry, I'll make it all better." He turned the gawking boys. "What is this? A peep show? Scram already," he growled to the others.

There were groans of disappointment as they filed out, the last of which was Drusen who spared one last sneer for Callum.

"You can stop massaging now," I said dryly.

"Oh, but I'm liking this position," his smile was wicked, which caused butterflies to start an Irish jig in my stomach.

I put my hands on his once more and guided them toward the knee, which by this time I'd retracted from the air. In a sudden movement I pushed him on his back, the weight of my knee holding him down as I leaned over him, grinning.

"Oh, but I like this position much better," I countered boldly.

"Works for me," he said, hands splayed in surrender.

I took my weight off him to stand up, holding a hand out to him. "I knew it would." I smirked. "C'mon, what's a girl gotta do to get a meal around here?"

"Strike a pose like that again, and you'll have a line of guys from here to parking lot ready to offer you whole lot more than Burger King," he suggested.

I laughed. "Maybe on another occasion when I have more time to discern what the best offer is. But I guess I can settle for you and BK today."

He wiped imaginary sweat from his forehead. "Phew. Thank the good Lord for that."


Instead of calling Ricky after school I drove over there only to be told by Cam that he wasn't going to be home for hours since he had afternoon lectures today. I stayed just long enough for Cam to question me about some 'rubbish' he'd heard about me and Callum Taggert, and why I was wearing little better than a scarf and underwear. Obviously I hadn't worn to Sunday lunch what I wore to school (if I had I never would have heard the end of it from Grandma Lily and Grandpa Joe, Mum would have just died of mortification on the spot) so he was surprised at my clothing choice. I evaded questions like a trooper, ducking and weaving through brotherly attacks, wading through protectiveness and love and fending off IBS (Idiotic Brother Syndrome). Finally when I thought I'd reached safe territory, he pulled out the big guns.

"Why are you so desperate to talk to Ricky anyway?"

Why was I so desperate to talk to Ricky? "I'm just concerned about him. His behaviour has been kind of erratic for the past week," I said to Cam. It was true. His behaviour had been strange and I was concerned. It just wasn't the sole reason I wanted to talk to him.

His nostrils flared as if smelling the lie by omission. Thankfully he chose not to comment. Brothers are strange creatures, altogether not quite normal or even human at times. On occasion they are callous or even down right cruel, on others they are generous and forgiving. It seemed like one of those times.

"So why is he trying to avoid you?" he asked, eyebrows raised.

Clearly, I spoke too soon. Dangit, where is his IBS when you need it.

"I don't have a clue what you're talking about," I spluttered, unconvincingly.

"What's going on Becca? Is there something you're not telling me?"

I cringed not wanting to lie out right to him. "Well…Ricky's kinda been helping me out with a project."

"What sort of project?" he asked suspiciously.

My eyes flickered almost imperceptibly, but since he was who he was, he picked up on it immediately, eyes narrowing.

"Aww, fish-lips. Is it one of the crazy schemes you always harass Rick about? Leave the poor guy alone! No wonder he's ignoring you. I would too. I swear it's a miracle you haven't planned world domination yet," he griped.

"It's on my to do list."

He rolled his eyes. "Figures."

I pulled a piece of paper out of my back pocket. "Yeah it's right here. 1) Finish high school. 2) Start College. 3) Finish College. 4) Get job. 5) Travel the world. 6) World domination. 7) Get married. 8) Have kids. 9) Retire at 60 (note to self - remember to hand world over to kids). 10) Have second honeymoon." Cameron was looking at me as if I were mad. "What? It helps me to stay focused," I said defensively.

He snatched the paper out of my hand before I knew what happened.

"Butter, minced beef, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, Cheerios," he read out loud.

I nodded seriously. "What else am I supposed to feed my minions? Cheerios is the stuff armies are made out of."

He flicked the list in my direction and I caught it before it floated to the floor.

"And where do you keep this army? In your closet?"

"In the garden shed actually."

"I always wondered why it smelt back there."

"Yeah, they like their baked beans."

Cameron shook his head in brotherly amusement, obviously wondering why he encouraged me.

"Some advice, beloved sister. If you want to catch Rick unawares stop trying to contact him for a couple days, he'll think you've given up. If you come here Friday afternoon, he usually gets back from the gym by three. I doubt he'll try to run away if you corner him."

I gave my brother a grateful smile, wondering why I ever thought he was a jerk.

"Oh, and you can bring my laundry back when you come," he said, tossing me a sack of dirty clothing.

I glared at him. Now I remember.


Callum took me to lunch on Tuesday, and on Wednesday I declined lunch but accepted an after-school rendezvous. We went to see a movie at the mall. He bought the tickets, I bought the popcorn and a drinks. We sat at the very back, where it was pitch-black and no one could see us. Not that there were many people there, just a youngish couple and a middle-aged man.

I'm kind of ashamed of myself because I don't even remember what movie we went to see. I just remember sitting there, blindly staring up at the screen, waiting. Just waiting for him to make a move. I remember that clearly.

I was strung tighter than a harp string, sitting almost on the edge of my seat. The moment I felt his arm slither across my shoulders I began to relax. This I knew I could handle. A grin had unknowingly taken over my features.

He had gently turned my face towards his, the touch of his fingers light because I needed no persuasion. I saw the light from the screen reflected in his disembodied eyes, they loomed closer until I felt the feather-soft touch of lips against mine. He paused waiting for my reaction. I let my lips curve into a smile against the press of his mouth. He took immediate action, drawing me into a lingering kiss that went on, and on, and on. I felt dizzy when we broke apart, totally satisfied to see the end credits rolling, and that the other occupants of the theatre had already vacated their seats.

The kiss had been fantastic, as I knew it would be. Well, he would have had enough practice to know how to get it right by now. It had been great, better than I had ever experienced before, but I felt something had been missing, something all my previous kisses had lacked as well, I just couldn't figure out what.

We walked out hand in hand and threw away our practically untouched condiments. A couple people Callum knew saw us leaving the cinema that way, and I had no doubt there would be fresh gossip about us tomorrow at school.

I shook the annoyance off, deciding to enjoy my time with him. It was strange, when I had planned all this, I didn't expect that I would make a friend. I hadn't really expected to like him at all, except for his looks. I couldn't help but cringe in full comprehension of my shallowness.

A girl in a transparent mesh mini-dress, crossed our path on the way the escalator and Callum tried to look away, he really did. At least for my sake, I know he tried, but how could he pass up the chance to look at a girl in her bra and knickers without having to go through all the work of getting her out of the clothing himself.

Actually, I had a hard time trying not to look at the girl myself. It really was amazing what some people dared to wear in public. Dared to wear at all, for that matter. I swear there were frills on her panties, like the ones you see on little kiddie costume around the butt.

When he'd finally gotten control of his eyes and gaping mouth, he shrugged apologetically, to which I couldn't help but smile.

"Yeah, I know. It was like a train wreck, you couldn't help but look," I replied wryly to the silent apology.

"Not a train wreck, exactly…" he objected and then pulled a face like he knew he had screwed up again.

I laughed. "Nope, that was a train wreck."

He grinned sheepishly. "I agree."


Thursday afternoon I was in my room trying to decide what to wear for tonight. Callum had said he was taking me somewhere nice for dinner.

Involuntarily my eyes kept straying to the phone. I had to really fight the urge pick it up and dial a number which my fingers had been programmed to press over last week. I had been really good. I hadn't picked up the phone all week except to answer calls, none of which had been from Ricky. Cameron did call once during the week to whine and moan about Ricky and ask me if he should dope his coffee. I advised against it, but had serious thoughts about reneging the statement when he made a comment about moving back home.

I was looking between a short, form-fitting red dress and the phone on my bedside table. The moment it rang I flung the dress aside, leaping over a bean bag couch that was standing between me and the phone.

"Hello!" I exclaimed eagerly.

"Well, you sound happy to hear from me," that smooth arrogant voice I had become accustomed to, answered.

I squashed the vague feeling of disappointment that rose in my chest. "Callum! Couldn't stand being parted for the next three hours, huh? I bet you called just to hear the sound of my voice," I imparted playfully.

"How did you know?" he asked.

"I have that effect on people," I said flippantly as I walked downstairs with the phone.

Upon entering the kitchen I found a large man raiding the fridge.

"Daddy!" I squeaked, stopping dead in my tracks and nearly dropping the phone.

The large man turned around with a huge smile on his face. "How's my baby girl?"

I forgot all about the phone I was holding in my hand. Out of habit I ran up to him and he swung me around in a bear hug. Dads were the best bear huggers the world over, no one could compete.

"You're back early," I commented as he set me down.

"Things were wrapped up earlier than we expected. Chanon is overseeing the trial, so I'm off for a week or two."

I beamed up at him. Since I only saw my father for sporadic periods I was always glad when he was home because he could always be called away again at a moments notice.

"Who's on the phone?" he asked with a half-smile.

"Oh no! Dad I'll just be a minute," I said and quickly turned out of the kitchen and into the family room. "Uh, I gotta go Cal. My Dad just got home. I'm afraid I'll have to take a raincheck on dinner tonight. Maybe another time?"

"Yeah, sure. Tomorrow, or maybe we could do something Saturday," he did sound a little put out, but he seemed to take it well since he knew I didn't see my father as much as I liked.

"Definitely," I agreed straight away. "See you at school tomorrow?"

"Yeah, see ya," he farewelled.

As I walked back to the kitchen, knowing full well my father would still be rummaging through the fridge, I realised I wasn't all that disappointed about the cancelled date. I think that was what was most worrying in itself.


Friday dawned, and I felt a swell of anticipation. Today, I knew, was a day of possibilities. Dressing at my skanky-best, I had to sneak around the house this morning because I knew my dad was an early riser. Hearing the Eagles coming from the den, I called out a quick goodbye and literally ran out the door. If my dad saw me in this get up, he would shroud me in a nun's habit before letting me out of the house. Luckily my mum always left for work at what I considered an indecent time in the morning.

When I arrived at school, Callum was waiting for me by the school entrance with one or two of his female flunkies. He grinned as I sauntered up to them, flicking a dismissive hand at the others he leaned down to peck me on the cheek when I got close enough.

"Careful, your true colours are showing," I teased.

"What kind of colours?"

"The kind that say you're a one gal kind of guy."

His smile was one of bemusement. "Well, there goes my reputation."

He dropped me off at my homeroom before heading for his own. Pat sat on the desk beside mine, and gave a half-hearted sigh.

"I can't believe you've got that hunk of burning beefcake at your beck and call. I forgive you for making the number one thing on my 'things to do before I die' list now impossible." He patted my hand reassuringly. "You can't help that you have a pair of killer stems."

I looked down at my legs. Long, lithe, lightly tanned. My mouth twitched. He was right.

"Eh, you win some," I said indifferently. Sometimes you can get lucky in the genetic gene pool lottery.

He snorted.

Gareth came over as soon as he walked in the door. "Callum is licked. It's all around school. And you are the girl that has made it happen."

Again I shrugged indifferently. "That's news to me," I said vaguely. I was pretty sure he was within my grasp, I just hadn't made the final moves towards pinching my player.

Pat rolled his eyes. "You've been different these past couple weeks, Becca. And I don't just mean your clothes. You haven't called me once this week,' he said, disgruntled.

I bit my lip guiltily. I must admit I have been neglecting my friends in my single-minded pursuit of Callum.

"I'm so sorry guys. I've been such a jerk lately. You know what? How 'bout you and the rest of the guys come over to mine this Sunday for lunch. Dad's home," I grinned. "I can probably persuade him to break out the Xbox." My dad was notorious among the guys for being able to kick all their butts.

Gareth's eyes lighted with glee, while Pat's excitement was for another reason.

"Better warn Cameron," Gareth stage whispered to me.

Pat would have pouted, but he swore never again since someone had once said it had looked like the back end of a cat. I had sworn it was a lie, and that he had a very cute pout, but since it had been said by a boy even gayer than him, it was as good as gospel. Personally, I thought that flaming queen had just been in a vindictive mood since Pat had turned him down. I laughed at the memory. Pat had said he liked his men…manlier.

"You all better offer to help clear up this time, or I swear you'll still be feeling my wrath by the time your kids reach puberty. If you can still have kids that is," I threatened darkly. Last time I invited them over for Sunday lunch I got stuck doing all the washing. Only Ricky had offered to lend a hand since Cam had split right after the meal knowing Mum would make him help me. I had washed, while he dried and put away. Ricky knew the place like the back of his hand having spent practically half his life here. Mum and Dad loved him like another son.

Gareth groaned but promised to get all the guys to help out.

Pat smirked. "Now that's the Becca I remember!"

The day dragged by slowly and it seemed like forever for lunch period to come around.

Callum was waiting for me outside my classroom. He smiled that killer smile at me and I realised something. I no longer felt weak at the knees at the sight of that smile. My stomach no longer fluttered when I was in his presence. Those wonderful green eyes of his no longer had the power to freeze me in my tracks.

"Becca." Callum pulled me away from the lunch crowds to an unoccupied classroom. He linked his arms loosely around my waist. My chin was tilted upward and he looked down into my eyes. "Be mine," he whispered. "Be my girlfriend."

My heart was racing, this was the moment I had been waiting for. Tears wanted to spill from my eyes though, because I knew what I had to say.

"Oh, Callum. I can't," I said regretfully.

He pulled away from me. "But why? You're the only girl that I've ever felt so comfortable around. You're beautiful, smart, funny, and you don't put up with my crap. I respect you. I've never felt so…" he waved his hand around as if it could explain some unexplainable feeling. "I think I could…you know," he looked at me pointedly, hands spread helplessly in front of him.

I thought of the way he checked out that cheerleader before he'd pulled me into the room, and smothered a smile. He'd done it unconsciously, I know, but it revealed his true feelings. "Callum," I said gently. "You don't love me."

He flinched at the word and I couldn't help but laugh.

"Callum, you're like another brother to me, a good friend at the very least. One that I can perv on," I added with a smile, for the sake of his ego. "And I think you see me as a friend as well. You've just never had a female for a friend before, so you can't tell the difference," I said trying to make him understand.

"But you're hot!" he blurted out.

I grinned at him. "Just because you think of me as a friend doesn't mean you don't find me attractive, it just means you respect me too much to treat me like your other girls."

"Don't you want to find out if we're good together? Friendship can sometimes turn into something more," he said matter-of-factly.

"Do you really think you could be ready for a potentially serious relationship?" I asked, knowing the answer.

The way his face contorted made me burst out laughing.

"I didn't think so."

He shook head vacantly. "So…you're my friend. That's a girl."

"And I'll add you to my collection of boy toys," I said with a playful grin.

"Nothing would give me greater pleasure," he said sincerely, a wicked twinkle in his eye.


Two weeks had passed since that telephone conversation with Ricky. Two weeks in which he had avoided all contact with me. Two weeks in which I had shamelessly flaunted myself up and down the corridors of my high school. Two weeks in which I have learnt that this was not who I wanted to be.

I tug at the frayed edges of my 'Daisy Duke' jean shorts, I feel ridiculous and cold. I'm unaccustomed to wearing them outside of the house. My newly acquired push-up bra was digging painfully into the tender flesh under my bosom and pinched my back and sides. The tank-top I wore felt flimsy and I was rather afraid I would spill out of my top at the slightest movement. I had considered wearing high heels but given the way I usually totter like a drunken person in them, I decided to forgo fashion and wear flip-flops as a health precaution.

I sat in my car, trying to scrape some courage together for the second time that day. I needed to see Ricky. To know what I was doing, to regroup my senses. I was close to hyperventilating when someone rapped on the driverside window.

I turned to stare into endearingly warm, coffee brown eyes. I wound down the window.

"What are you doing here?" Ricky asked me in that husky voice I hadn't realised I missed so much.


"Did you skip school?" he asked disapprovingly.

I shook my head quickly. "I had study hall for last period and was able to leave early."

He looked puzzled. "Well, come on in," he said reluctantly, turning and walking inside the building, up to the apartment he shared with my brother.

I followed more slowly, taking the time to lock up my car.

I found him in the kitchen making a smoothie. He poured the concoction into two glasses and set one on the bench before me.

"Thanks," I murmured softly, taking a small sip before putting the glass down again.

He surveyed me impassively over the rim of his own glass. "I see you took my advice. How was your transformation received?" It was strange, my clothes seemed to have no affect on him at all, I think I could have been wearing a sack-cloth bag and he wouldn't have looked at me any differently.

I giggled a little anxiously. "Very well. I didn't realise my friends would be so affected by it. They looked their fill, even Pat, but that was because he wanted to know where I suddenly got my breasts from."

The corner of his mouth twitched. He was familiar with Pat's antics. "You know you never needed to change your clothes to look beautiful. Some people are just blind to the obvious," he said gently.

I choked up. How was I supposed to reply to something as sweet as that? Me being me, obviously with something incredibly stupid.

"Callum asked me to be his girlfriend," I blurted out.

"Oh?" his voice turned cold.

I hesitated. "I-I turned him down."

He remained looking at me.

"I think it was the right thing to do, wasn't it?" I ask suddenly unsure of myself.

"Why are you asking me?" he demanded, a little harshly. He just about slammed his glass down on the bench, the force of it making half the liquid slosh onto the counter, unnoticed. "Why couldn't you ask someone else? Anyone else! Why do you always come to me with these fantastically idiotic ideas of yours?"

I trembled in the face of his unexpected wrath. I turned to leave, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me back to him. I looked into his eyes and saw something dark. I now knew what he meant about knowing when someone was going to break.

His eyes roamed over my face. "You drive me crazy," he breathed, before crushing me against him.

He brushed his lips over mine teasingly, a playful movement making me aware of him as something other than my brother's best friend.

This whole new sensation took over me and I slid my tongue along the seam of his mouth, taking the opportunity to suck gently on his bottom lip, encouraging him to deepen the kiss.

He groaned and I felt a shiver of excitement run through me. His mouth massaged mine with more vigour and his tongue did wonderful things. I was sure I would be seeing stars when I finally opened my eyes.

One of his hands cradled the back of my head tenderly, as the other held my body tightly against his, and oh it felt so good. His hand found a sliver of bare skin, and caressed it with his slightly calloused thumb, the lovely friction caused me to gasp. I wanted his hands all over me, roaming over my sensitised skin, creating this intense heat that I wanted to swallow me whole.

We were desperate, almost savage in our desire to devour one another. It was strange I had never felt this need before. It wasn't a matter of want anymore, but need. I needed to be this close to him otherwise something terrible might happen.

I let my fingers run through his hair, mussing his currently blue mohawk beyond repair. We broke apart breathing heavily. He leaned his forehead against mine, and we held each other for a long time.

I smiled a secret smile. The something that had been missing in all the previous kisses I'd ever had, well, I'd found it. It was something wonderful, something that no matter how good the kisser is they will never compensate for. Because if the person you were kissing wasn't the last piece to the puzzle, you would always be missing out on something.

"So what happened to that player you wanted to pinch?" he questioned huskily, breaking the comfortable silence.

"Players are overrated," I said, sneaking one of my hands down his back. "I've found someone better to pinch." I squeezed his backside. A giggle burst out of my mouth when he jolted in surprise.

"But aren't I a safe guy. Didn't you want excitement? Adventure?" he persisted.

"Honey, you're the biggest risk in my life. Can't get more exciting than that." I slid him a speaking look from under lowered lashes.

I tilted my head, remembering something.

"Hey, why have you been avoiding me for the past two weeks?" I asked a little crossly.

He looked at me as if I were thick. "I was jealous. Do you really think I wanted to hear you going on about that moron? About how great he is. How much you love the colour of his eyes. And how fantastic he was at kissing," he said as if it were obvious.

And now that I think about it, it probably was obvious.

"Callum really wasn't all that bad. But he's nothing more to me than a friend," I added quickly when I saw his face darkening.

"Hmph," he sounded noncommittal and I couldn't help but be delighted in the fact that he was jealous.

"Nothing would ever have happened between me and him. He's too much like Cameron," I smiled lopsidedly, wondering why I ever thought I wanted a player.

"What are we going to tell Cameron? Far out, what are we going to tell your parents?" he asked, starting to worry.

"The obvious, of course," I scoff.

"And that is?"

"I'm pregnant and you're the father."


I cracked a grin, smoothing a hand across his tanned cheek. A matching grin blossomed on his face.

"You were right," I murmured.

He pulled back to look at me. "About what?"

"Falling in love is inevitable," I whispered, standing up on tiptoe to press my lips to his once more.

Even if it's with the person you least suspect.


A/N - This is dedicated to all the readers and reviewers of my other story 'What I Want in a Guy'. A bit of recompence for my much delayed updates. Hope you like it.

Lol, this story was only going to be 5 pages, but it somehow stretched itself to 20+