.Chapter 12.

Floating on Cloud Nine (does this feel redundant and déjà-vu-like to anyone else?), I rode in the passenger seat as Lenny drove us home. I was so absorbed in my fantasies that I didn't notice, or more likely just didn't care, the black ominous cloud hovering over Lenny's head as she drove like a maniac.

The lack of "Barbie Girl" should have tipped me off.

"Why are you so happy?" Lenny's voice broke through my thoughts as she ground the words out. I glanced over at her and my eyebrows rose.

"Um, did we just come from the same place, or not? Or were you too busy being distracted by Teddy—whoa!" I clutched the dashboard fearfully as we swerved, her fists clenched painfully tight around the steering wheel. "Ohmygodwhatthefuckiswrongwithyou?!" I rushed out in one breath.

"Don't. Say. That. Name." She glared at me with a manic red glint in her eye.

"Mhm," I whimpered.

'God, Teddy, what have you done now…'


I hurled myself out of the car and kissed the ground, grateful for another chance at life. "Oh my god. I am never getting in a car with you again! Ever!"

Lenny scowled. "Oh, stop being a drama queen," she snapped.

I glared and pouted. "Fine. What crawled up your butt and died, anyway?"

She leveled me with a glare. "Oh, very funny. Nothing, actually. I just hate how idiotic boys are and how oblivious they are to girls' feelings. Obviously if they're not throwing themselves at you like wanton sluts, they're not interested. Well, I'll show you, you fucking asshole!" she ranted breathing heavily.

I stared at her with wide eyes. I blinked once. And then again as she heaved and her left eye twitched a bit.

"…Feel better now?"

She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "Much, thanks."

I just raised my eyebrows and nodded. "Psyyyy-chooo…." I sang under my breath.

She glanced over at me and stared, unblinkingly. My eyebrows furrowed. She just stared, strangely intense. I shifted uncomfortably.

She had to blink at soon. It was just…natural.


After a minute or so of her just staring at me, I finally broke. "What?!"

She blinked and cracked her knuckles ominously.

"I'm going to impale you with my fist," she said simply.

My eyes widened and I shrieked and dodged her as she lunged for me. I screamed like a banshee and ran in circles, Lenny following close behind. We both stopped, however, when my front door slammed open. My mother ran out of the house and I just stared at her stupidly as she held my old softball bat aloft threateningly. She blinked when she saw it was just me and Lenny. Then she spun around and walked back into the house, calmly closing the door behind her.

Lenny and I stared at the closed front door for a few moments.

'Okay…' I thought, mentally raising an eyebrow. Yes, I have mastered raising one eyebrow.

In my mind.

"Right. I'm going to leave now," Lenny spoke slowly. "See you tomorrow at school."

I nodded.

Jeez, parents are weird.


"What the hell happened while I was gone?" Jake stared at Jesse and me as if we had mutated and grown a second head. Together.

"Whatever do you mean, Jakey-poo?" I asked innocently, happily squeezing Jesse's hand as it lay intertwined with mine. Jake winced at the nickname (I honestly don't know why, I think it's cute) and his jaw twitched.

"I don't know," he began sarcastically, "Last time I checked you were still diving behind dumpsters to avoid him, and now here you sit all obnoxiously cuddly and holding hands like that. Did I accidentally walk into the Twilight Zone or something? Better yet, where's Ashton Kutcher and why has he sunk so low as to prank broke high school students?"

I had never seen Jake rant like that, so rather than answer his questions I just sat back and watched amusedly.

Jesse, however, must not have gotten the memo.

"You jumped behind a dumpster to avoid me?" he grinned and I could see laughter in his eyes.

I blushed hotly and bit my lip. "It was only this one time…"

He let out a bark of laughter and I pouted. What? I never said I wasn't chicken-shit.

Suddenly realizing something, I glanced around me, my eyes searching. "Where's Lenny?" I asked the group at large.

"Hell if I know," Jake responded, still sulking because he wasn't in on what happened last night.

"I haven't seen her at all this morning," Jesse told me.

I frowned. "Me neither. That's weird. Lenny's usually the first one here. Let's go find her!" I hopped up and pulled Jesse with me excitedly. Jake glared at me but stood anyway.

"And where do you suggest we look?" Jake asked me.

I cocked my head to the side as I thought. "I don't know."

Jake's face fell and I could've sworn I heard him mutter "Why did I expect anything else…" but he just shook his head and said, "Let's go look in the school."

I agreed and our little troupe headed off towards the double doors.

We all agreed to check the library first. It was closest, and it was also possible that she had gone in there to finish up her homework. Unfortunately, she was still M.I.A. and we were unceremoniously booted from the library after some disorderly conduct in public ("Why are you so freaking happy?!").

"Hey, wait," I held up my hand to signal the boys to stop. I heard yelling. "My Lenny senses are tingling…"

Jake rolled his eyes and Jesse just smirked.

I sniffed the air, and got really serious. I gave them a look.

"That way."

And I was off, running towards the yelling. I sped up half-way there because all the yelling abruptly stopped, and I was worried they'd killed each other. Rounding the corner, Jesse and Jake trailing closely behind, I stopped so quickly that I tripped and face-planted.

I don't recommend it to anyone by the by. Cold, hard, school tiles are not conducive to a good complexion.

Jake let out a bark of laughter when he saw my pathetic position on the floor. Jesse tried to hide his laughter.

An 'A' for effort, then.

Then it got really quiet.

Yeah, I thought so, assholes.

I slowly picked my head up from the floor and looked up into the eyes of a horrified Lenny and Teddy.

I groaned. "Oh, God, my retinas are burning."

Suddenly, the flames of humiliation ate Lenny. Serves her right.

I don't think I've ever seen her blush so red before.

She laughed nervously. "Hey guys…"

Jesse stared at her in mortification (O.o) and Jake was flabbergasted. Then, he just sighed, shook his head and walked away muttering some nonsense about a "lovebug" attacking "stupid highschoolers".

I resent that.

Anywho, you might be wondering:

What the hell is going on?

Or, if you happen to be a smart cookie, you may have figured it out already.

The thing is, Lenny and Teddy were "eating face" as Lenny so eloquently terms it. Quite viciously.

Poor Teddy was pressed against the wall. He looked mortified.

I slowly stood, brushing off imaginary dust on my clothing.

"Well!" I clapped my hands brightly. "At least now you won't be at each other's throats all the time. Well…figuratively. Please don't do it literally around me either. That's really…well, something that should be done in the privacy of one's bedroom."

Lenny stared at me in a way that said obviously, I'm going to kill you, so I decided now would be a good time to get out of there.

"Bye!" I waved, running in the other direction.

What are friends for, anyway?


"We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it,
But we tried to fight it,"

Lenny and I sang in unison at lunch, doing a little dance to match.

"Whoo," Lenny laughed. "I don't know about all that dystopia shit, but that song sure is catchy."

I nodded, taking a bite of my food.

After a rather…bizarre lesson in Literature full of Bette Midler, Billy Joel, and Phil Collins, there was plenty to discuss at the lunch table.

And I wasn't exactly too keen on reminding Lenny of her pending death threat on my life.

"So, are you and Jesse boyfriend and girlfriend now?"

I smirked. "Are you and Teddy?"

She glared. "Maybe."

"Aww!" I squealed. "That is so cute."

She stared at me. "Stop doing that. Seriously."

I pouted. "You're no fun."

"So are you?" she leveled me with her patented look that could make me cave every time.

I sighed, "No, not yet."

She glared. I winced.

"Well, we're just not ready to rush into a relationship yet. He's going to take me on a few dates first, and then we'll see."

Begrudgingly, she nodded. "I guess that makes sense."

I rolled my eyes heavenward. "Thank you so much for your blessing, father."

She laughed and shoved my arm playfully.

Just then, Jesse plopped down beside me in the booth. He grinned in a very boy-like fashion, and I found it was contagious. His hand immediately sought mine out and held it tenderly. I blushed, but didn't have the heart to pull away.

I looked across the table and saw Lenny smirking at me knowingly.

I smiled at her, thanking her silently.

Lenny suddenly perked up. "Where's Jake?"

I frowned in thought. "I don't know."

We both looked to the left and saw a sight to behold. Then we burst out laughing in unison.


Poor Jake was running for his life. It seems the love bug bit the dirt kid as well.

"Serves him right," Lenny said through her laughter.

I just nodded.

I love my friends.


I walked happily through my front door, content with the way my day went.

I saw Andy lounging on the couch, and as I walked by I greeted him like any soon to be step-sister would.

"Lenny sends her love, Dookie."

He growled ferociously, and I just giggled and sprinted into the kitchen. I saw mom and Tim in there, smiling over some papers. Heading to the fridge, I called to them over my shoulder.

"What are you two lovebirds so happy about?"

Mom exchanged a glance with Tim and he nodded. She looked back at me and smiled beatifically. "Tim and I have set the date for our wedding. It's in a month."

My smile dropped for a few seconds, but I managed to scrape up some happiness for them and give a soft smile to my mom. "I'm happy for you."

Mom's face lit up, and I suddenly couldn't be mad at her for anything, past or present that she had done. Everybody deserved their happiness, and if hers was with Tim, then so be it.

He wasn't that bad.

Tim smiled gratefully at me, and I nodded in understanding, taking a soda from the fridge and leaving quickly. I plopped down onto the couch in between Andy and the recently appeared Shelly to watch some TV.

Shelly snuggled up to my side, and I beat Andy senseless for trying to steal my drink. James even popped in once or twice, and I can tell he's getting more used to these new people each passing day.

Somehow, I'm beginning to think I could get used to this, too.


AN: So, it's been like, two months. I'm really sorry, guys. I'm not going to spout out excuses, but, you know, life. I am working on some new pieces. Well, that's the end. Ish. I may (and that's a very iffy may) make an epilogue some time, but I wouldn't count on it. The ending might seem a little rushed, but I do sincerely hope you all liked it.

PleasePleasePlease tell me what you thought about this chapter and the story as a whole. ConCrit is welcome, just not flames, please. Thank you so much to everyone who's supported this story thus far. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know.

This last song was "Situations" by Escape the Fate. Download it, yo. And the lyrics in this chapter were from "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel. Also a super awesome song.

Review Responses
justdance-gosh, have I told you lately how much you rock? Well, I'm telling you now. i hope you enjoyed the ending, and i really hope you'll read some of my stuff in the future. thank you so much for reviewing for the majority of the story. i appreciate it so much, and it makes me happy (and gives me hope as a writer) to know that you like it. thanks for reviewing .. Lindzi- yeah, keep telling yourself that. hope you liked the ending, love. chinny!! heehee. write more for UK. now!!!! (p.s. ready for homecoming? shopshopshop 'til you drop tomorrow. :) SummerBaby94- haha, i'm glad it's love, not hate. but yes, yes, it has come to an end. finally. sorry it took so long to update. :) i hope you liked the ending, though. thanks for reviewing. ihrtbks-thanks! and yeah, i tend to be attracted to those kinds of stories as well. the way i figure it, there's enough drama in life, i don't need every story i read to be equally as dramatic. and i treat myself to some fluff every now and again as well. and thanks for the food for thought about Teddy and Lenny. i've actually been considering that since you mentioned it. thanks for your review. sorry it took so long. (tear). Fleeting Moment- :). i'm sososososo sorry i've taken so long. forgive me? but yeah, here i am updating (two months later). thanks for reviewing, i hope you liked it!! Fractured Illusion- wow. i know i've already PM'd you, but still. thanks so much for your thorough critique. it was painful at times, but all of the stuff you said were some of my weaknesses and thank you for your help on that subject. i hope you still liked it even through the mistakes, and i really hope you like the ending. (hope it's not too fluffy.) thanks again for your reviews, though. they really helped me out.

Thanks again everyone who's reviewed, favorited, or put on alerts. Review!!