Hello, everyone! For those of you that are wondering why I took down my old story, "See You Tomorrow, Jamie", I decided that it wasn't going anywhere, but I still liked the idea. Hence, this one-shot was born! I think it's a lot more descriptive and more interesting than the previous attempts at this theme (the popular girl falling for the social misfit), and this story, in general, has a happier ending. As always, reviews are appreciated, especially if they have grammatical or styalistic suggestions. If you review, I promise to return the favor. I enjoy reviewing!

This is a part of the Rainbow Book series of short stories, so look for more short stories in the future!


My Zoë

My eyes burned into her from the other side of the room, moving along the line of her shoulder, getting tangled in her wavy brown hair. She was cute. Not beautiful like Allie had been, but definitely cute. She dressed for attention and wore too much makeup around her eyes, but there was an irresistible pull to her that made you stop and look again.

Her hair slipped in front of her face as she turned a page in her book, and she tucked it back behind her ear. There was a bar in it across the top, and four piercings along the outside. She had her eyebrow done, too- a small silver barbell with fake diamonds on each end. I hate piercings, but on her, they're only enticing, not scary.

I knew her name- Zoë Marcelle. We talked sometimes and nodded when we passed in the hall or when we were shoved close to each other on the stairs. I thought of her as my Zoë. Just mine. I wanted to gather her in my arms and refuse to share her with anybody, but I didn't have the courage. Whenever I caught anyone else looking at her, my throat would close up and I couldn't breathe.

Zoë turned another page in her book and peered over the top. Her eyes were large and brown and I could see the ceiling lights reflected in the irises. She was looking at me, watching me watch her. I blushed and stared down at my desk, ashamed that I'd been caught. I felt her eyes on me and a chill shot up the back of my neck.

I waited for a few seconds, gathering my courage, and flicked my eyes over at her for another peek. She was still staring at me, and she raised her pierced eyebrow when she caught me looking at her again. This time, I gave her a half-smile. Caitlin's First Rule of Dating- always look confident, like you mean all of your mistakes.

Zoë pressed her lips together and smirked. Then, she went back to reading Candide. I started chewing on my pencil eraser and stared at the blank sheet of paper I was supposed to be brainstorming on. I didn't want to come up with a thesis for Tess of the d'Urbervilles; I had too many other things to think about, like what I was going to do about Zoë.

I heard the rest of the class shifting around, so I looked up at the clock. 12:18, less than a minute until the bell rang. I stuffed my English folder into my backpack and was almost out the door before the teacher even dismissed us, trying to remind us to push in our chairs.

I smiled to myself as I walked to sixth period. Seeing Zoë was what got me through the day sometimes. She was my beautiful secret.

The next day, English was almost exactly the same, except we were discussing essay conclusions, not writing. I didn't pay attention. Instead, I kept trying to look at Zoë without her catching me. A few seats over, Jake was trying to catch my eye, and after a few minutes I gave him my I'm-in-to-you smile. Caitlin's Second Rule of Dating- smile a lot, like whoever you're smiling at is the greatest person in the entire world. No one can tell you're faking if you're good enough.

Jake grinned and nudged one of his goons in the ribs, jerking his head at me. Both of them started conferring in low voices, and I knew what would happen. Jake would tell the entire school about the vibes I was giving off. I was safe for another few weeks. Maybe I'd even go out with him or something, just once or twice. Then, I'd have to dump him, find someone new, and do it all over again before anyone got suspicious. Yes, Jake was acceptable. No one would ask questions. Or, more precisely, Abby wouldn't ask questions.

Abby and the rest of her social group, which included me, were sort of required to have a new boyfriend, or at least a new crush, every few weeks. It was one of the unspoken rules of the Bitch Brigade. The nickname had been started by the unpopular kids, the ones who hated us, but Abby had taken it and turned it into something cool.

I looked away from Jake just in time to see Zoë staring at me. I pretended not to notice her. Flirting with a girl is different than flirting with a guy. Caitlin's Third Rule of Dating- you have to move really slow, unless you're both obviously looking to hook up, like at a dance or something. But in 5th period English, you have to be extra subtle. It's different with guys. You drop anvil-sized clues and they still don't notice half the time.

The teacher started passing back homework. He smiled when he got to me and put my paper on my desk. It was an A-, and I considered revising, but decided not to bother. I looked at Zoë again. Her lipstick was dark, almost like the color of a mahogany stain. I wondered what it tasted like. She drummed her chipped purple fingernails on the desk.

Nothing about her made sense or matched. That was the intoxicating thing about her. She was different, so different than everyone else I talked to. She was the exact opposite of Allie, which is probably why I liked her so much.

Allie had platinum blonde hair and blue eyes and she went to St. Catherine's. She was the first girl I'd ever kissed. That was before I realized she was a popular closet-case that took advantage of pussy wherever she could get it. Caitlin's Fourth Rule of Dating- don't ever date someone that's more manipulative than you are.

The frightening part about Allie was how much she reminded me of myself. I was slowly turning in to her. I led the rugby players on (at our school, football isn't the cool sport, it's rugby) while secretly coveting their jealous girlfriends. I was starting to have thoughts that I didn't like. What if I did end up like Allie? I could probably get away with it. Use my influence to keep the right people quiet and get myself a few female friends-with-benefits.

More like slaves, really. That's what I'd been to Allie. She called me when she needed me, in between her dates. She didn't give a fuck about anyone. The thoughts were tempting, but so far, I hadn't let them get to me. I hadn't been with another girl since her, I didn't have the courage.

Zoë was the very essence of courage. She had it together, she knew what she wanted and got it. She was semi-respected, even by us, despite the fact that everything about her was a little off. Her mouth was a little too wide, and she didn't wear the same clothes as us, but when she smiled with the mahogany lipstick and looked at me with her made-up brown eyes, my insides twisted.

Two days later, after class, she grabbed my wrist before I could walk out of the door and pulled me back into the room. The rest of our class was already gone, and the room was empty sixth period. It was just us. Zoë let go of my wrist, even though I wanted her to keep touching me. She leaned against the desk and smiled. I looked at the diamond barbell in her eyebrow, her ears, and finally her mouth. I wanted to kiss her.

Zoë just looked at me for a minute, like she knew exactly what I was thinking. "You like me, don't you?" she said.

I was shocked. This was a total breech of protocol. Caitlin's Fifth Rule of Dating- Don't come on too strong, you might ruin everything. What Zoë should have done was leave me with a small compliment, some sort of hint, just enough to let me know that she'd noticed me. Actually, giving me the eyebrow three days earlier when she caught me staring probably would have been enough on its own.

I hadn't been expecting this conversation for at least a few more weeks, if ever. She might have been straight for all I knew. I wasn't blessed with an accurate gaydar. But apparently, Zoë wasn't used to following the rules that I had grown up learning, and since she was tossing the rulebook out the window, I didn't know what the hell to say. I tried not to look too surprised (see Caitlin's First Rule of Dating). "What makes you think that?" I asked her.

Zoë rolled her eyes. "The way you stare at my tits all of class."

"I do not," I said. I leaned forward a little and lowered my eyes, giving her my you're-incredibly-sexy smile. "I stare at all of you." I was slowly regaining control of the situation. If she didn't like me, and let slip that I liked girls, I'd just tell everyone that she was the one that had come on to me, and she was pissed that I rejected her. Caitlin's Sixth Rule of Dating- always have a juicy story ready if you need to defend yourself.

"My lips, you mean," she purred, stepping away from the desk, closer to me. She'd noticed. We were only breaths apart. Our noses were almost touching. I knew this part of the game, at least. "Want to tell me why?"

I leaned in to give her the appropriate first kiss. Caitlin's Seventh Rule of Dating- Appropriate First Kiss: slow start where your mouths just brush at first, open mouth (no tongue right away unless you decide otherwise in advance), sink your teeth in to the bottom lip at the end if you're daring.

But something strange happened. As soon as our lips touched, I forgot all my rules and just kissed her. I tasted her lipstick and maybe a little spearmint and another flavor that seemed to be just hers, and I had to dive back in for more. She tasted different than Allie, different than any other girl or guy I'd ever kissed. So much better.

"Because I was thinking of doing that, that's why," I said when I finally pulled away. We left after that, and both of us were late to our next classes.

We didn't see each other until English the next day. Zoë walked in wearing a low-cut tank top- no bra, probably- and a short black skirt that had a wonderful lift at the back. She was wearing the mahogany lipstick again (sometimes she wore a cranberry color), but she'd done her nails again in pink to match the tank top.

I completely ignored Caitlin's Eighth Rule of Dating- don't pay obsessive amounts of attention to a person after your first kiss, and stared at Zoë openly all of class. At least, it was open for me. No one else seemed to notice, but she certainly did, and she stared right back.

By the end of class, I had absolutely no idea what we had done all period. I had spent the entire time zoning, staring at Zoë's lips again and remembering what she had felt like, tasted like. I had the feeling that kissing her might become addictive. Her mouth was definitely made for it.

When the bell finally rang, everyone shot out the door to meet up with their friends in the halls. Jake gave me a look like he wanted to start talking, but I pretended to reorganize my backpack until he finally had to leave. When I straightened up, only Zoë was left in the room. I ignored Caitlin's Ninth Rule of Dating, too- don't ever seem desperate, always have a bit of a hard-to-get attitude, and pounced. Soon, I had her shoved against a wall and was kissing her like it was my last day on earth.

It was an interesting experience, something I wasn't used to. With boys, and with Allie, they'd always been the aggressors, the ones with their tongues shoved down my throat. This time, it was the other way around (although I didn't give her too much tongue... there is a time and a place for that, and your second kiss with a girl that might be your girlfriend and might be a booty call in your English classroom isn't it).

Zoë pulled her lips away from mine and latched onto my neck, sucking hard on my pulse-point. I let her, and gave her my Oh-god-keep-doing-that smile. Even if her eyes were closed and she couldn't see it, she'd sense it. Her warm mouth on the column of my throat was driving me wild, and I didn't care that I'd be sporting a big purple hickey for the rest of the week.

"There," she said, murmuring low against my skin, "now you're mine."

Now you're mine? I thought. I was supposed to be making her mine, not the other way around. Apparently, Zoë had different plans. I had a feeling that this girl wasn't going to be satisfied being just friends-with-benefits. She wanted exclusive access. Girlfriend status. Caitlin's Tenth Rule of Dating- remember how dangerous exclusivity is.

I had absolutely no idea what I was in for.

Zoë didn't meet me after fifth period the next day, probably because three tardies in a row get you an automatic detention, but she strolled calmly over to me at the end of class and handed me a note folded into a little triangle. I didn't have a chance to open it until seven minutes into sixth period. The note felt heavy in my pocket, and when I finally dug it out, I practically tore it trying to get it unfolded.

Ditch Abby and the rest of the Bitch Brigade after school.

3:10, second back door. I won't wait.

Zoë

I knew what I would do without thinking twice. Caitlin's Eleventh Rule of Dating- never turn down a tryst unless you absolutely have to. Soon, you'll be old and ugly and you won't be able to have them anymore.

Thoughts of Zoë and her lipstick and what Abby would do if she found out crowded my brain for the rest of the day. My notebook was completely blank by the time my classes were over. My grades were going to take a serious dive if I didn't start paying attention, but for once, I didn't really care.

As soon as the bell rang, I was out of my seat and off down the stairs before anyone else even had time to move. I dove into a sea of backpacks and shoulders and arms, calling out half-hearted apologies as I rammed my way through the tide of bodies washing towards the doors.

I separated myself from the rest of the crowd and headed for the sports hall, where the second back doorway was. I looked back over my shoulder, just to be sure no one was watching me. They might wonder why I was here since I wasn't dating a rugby player and Varsity didn't cheer this week (we'd just finished a competition and placed second). That's the thing about being popular, it's like you're always under a microscope.

Finally, I got past the locker rooms and all the way to the end of the sports hall. It was a small miracle that no one had noticed me, but part of it was timing. The sports players were changing. I pushed the metal bar forward and opened the door. I didn't see anyone when I got outside, just some trees and the mud of the playing fields. I looked at my watch. 3:06. I'd broken Caitlin's Twelfth Rule of Dating- be fashionably late, never early.

When Zoë finally got there, it was exactly 3:10. I wished that I'd made her wait. Squirm a bit. Then, I remembered her note. Maybe coming early hadn't been such a bad idea after all. As it were, I was the one waiting for her. She had this annoying habit of turning everything I tried to do around and making me look like a lovesick idiot.

Girls have different ways of saying hi to each other. Lots of it is body language, only a small part of it is verbal. Sometimes, we don't say anything at all. Zoë didn't waste her breath saying hello. She gave me a head-tilt and a smile from my own repertoire, the Hello-there-beautiful smile. I gave it right back to her.

"We have some things to talk about," she said.

"Yes." I mentally slapped myself as soon as I said it. Yes? I couldn't think up anything wittier than that? I was the queen of flirtatious witticisms. This girl was doing things to me that I wasn't sure I liked, but she was doing so many more things I was absolutely sure I loved that I didn't care.

"I'm not demanding when it comes to what I want," said Zoë. She stepped forward and gave me a look that told me exactly what she had in mind when she said 'I want'. But then she surprised me yet again. "I'm not asking you to come out to the entire school, but you have to ditch your boy-toys."

That broke Caitlin's Thirteenth Rule of Dating- always have a string of boys (or preferably girls) lined up to fill in just in case you have to dump, or get dumped by, your current lover. But for Zoë, I'd consider it. I "considered it" for a good two seconds before I said, "Fine."

"I'd ask you to lose your –friends-," she continued, emphasis on the word friends, complete with air-quotation-marks, "but I'm not expecting that, either. It would get you lots of brownie points, though." Again, a major twist here. I was the one used to awarding brownie points, not the other way around.

"We'll see." I should have said no right out. I hated Abby, but you know that thing about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer? It works. If Abby had it in for me, I wanted to be able to head her off. "Anything else?"

"Just this," she said, and then she backed me up against the door and kissed me. I don't know what it is with us and pinning each other against stuff while we kiss, but I'm not complaining. Everything about the way she kissed me, the way her mouth moved against mine, the way we breathed into each other, the way she liked to just barely trace my bottom lip with the tip of her tongue made my face burn.

My fears about being controlled faded. I didn't care anymore. All that mattered was that she was kissing me and I was kissing her back, and I wasn't going to worry about anything else. My inner exhibitionist was making the whole thing more of a turn-on. I have a bit of a naughty-girl complex. The fear of getting caught making out with another girl added to the high.

I could feel the warmth of Zoë's hands close around my wrists, and the body heat pouring through her clothing and mine. I almost expected her to slide a thigh between my legs. She pulled away, and I looked at her face. Her eyes were half-lowered and her lips were swollen and puffy and her cheeks were flushed. I was sure I was in a similar state of disheveled passion. Her lipstick was smudged a little, and I fixed it with the tip of my finger.

"I could fall for you, I think," Zoë said quietly. "Hard."

The next day at lunch, Abby and the rest of the Bitch Brigade couldn't keep their eyes off my neck. I knew how bad Zoë's hickeys were, I'd spent several minutes staring at them in the bathroom mirror that morning. Normally I would have put some foundation on them, but I'd felt regret as soon as I'd reached for the bottle.

The words that Zoë had said when she'd given me the first one, two days earlier, came rushing back to me- "Now, you're mine." I wanted to be hers, dammit, and I didn't want to put anything on the hickeys. Let everyone think I was a slut. I didn't care. The rest of my friends did the same damn thing. I just didn't feel like following the good girl image today (Caitlin's Fourteenth Rule of Dating- know when to look like a good girl and when to look like a slut).

Actually, it pissed me off how the rest of them got off on pretending to be virginal 'nice girls'. I got a few raised eyebrows as I sat down, but only Abby had the guts to comment. "Fun night?" she teased, patting my wrist. "How was he?"

"There wasn't a he," I said truthfully, unable to resist dropping a hint. "I spent all of last night at home." I gave her my best Of-course-I'm-not-lying-to-you smile.

"Fine, don't tell me," she said. "You know I'll find out." Both of us locked eyes, two alpha females challenging each other. I'd known this day would come since I first started hanging with Abby and her girls, and so did she. Both of us were breathing heavily, staring at each other. I clenched my fist until my nails pierced the skin of my palm.

"Come to the bathroom with me," she said. The other girls looked up at her hopefully, waiting for her to choose the rest of her entourage. She didn't, though, and the two of us went by ourselves. I walked behind Abby, listening to her heels click on the cold floor of the hallway. There was no one else in the hall. "You have some nerve," she said as we walked. "I like it."

"I hate you," I told her as we reached the bathroom door.

"You should," she said. Both of us walked into the bathroom and stared at each other until the door closed with a loud click that echoed around the small room. "I'm glad you finally took the plunge, babe," she said, tracing her fingers over my arm. "About time you cracked and lost the prudish attitude."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, stiffening and taking a step back from her.

"I'm not stupid," she said. "One of my favorite hobbies is watching people. Figuring out what makes them tick. And you, you I have figured out very nicely."

"Oh?"

"There's the way you get all tight when you kiss boys. No one else would notice unless they were looking for it. You're good at playing the part, really good. Then there are all the times I've caught you staring at me and other girls. It isn't hard to put together."

"So what are you going to do about it?"

"Take advantage of it. Duh." Abby said smoothly. She slid up to me and gave me her you're-mine-now smile. "You don't think you're the only one that's messed around with girls, do you? This situation is perfect for me. I get a new playmate and dirt on you at the same time."

Before I could think of anything else to say, Abby slammed her mouth onto mine and kissed me. A wave of revulsion and déjà vu crashed down over me, and I jerked away from her. The look on her face sent me hurtling several months into the past, when someone else had cornered me in a bathroom and offered me a choice. Abby was doing the same thing as Allie, except without lying and telling me she loved me.

"Not in your fucking dreams," I said. "Do whatever you want, I don't care anymore. I'd rather have the entire school hate me than be someone's dirty little secret again."

As soon as I said those words, I realized something important. Zoë was my dirty little secret, and I knew all too well how horrible that felt. I remembered all the times I'd pleaded with Allie to dump her boyfriends and come out so that we could be together. I never wanted Zoë to be reduced to a small, isolated part of my life where no one could see what she meant to me.

"Your choice," Abby said. "I'll give you a day or two to change your mind. I won't out you unless you make me, and it's only fair to give you time to get used to the idea. You'll be jumping my bones every lunch period before I'm done with you."

"Sorry," I told her, giving her my best you're-an-evil-cunt smile over my shoulder as I walked out the door, "I'm taken."

That afternoon, I waited for Zoë by the back door again. It was brighter than the day before, and the sun cast intricate, patterned shadows on the grass from behind the soccer goals. I felt her come up behind me before I saw her, and she looped her arms around my hips, kissing the back of my neck so lightly I shivered. I placed my hands over hers, and we stayed together like that for a long time.

"I have things to tell you," I told her in a small voice.

"What?" she whispered, kissing my neck again and resting her chin on my shoulder.

"Abby came on to me in the locker room. I'm going to ditch her and the rest of them and stop lying about who I am. I can find new friends. Better ones. And I have you."

"You know you're committing social suicide, right? Are you sure you want to do that for me?"

"I'm not just doing it for you," I said, "I refuse to be anyone's fuck toy."

"What about mine?" she said, squeezing me closer.

"Just yours," I said. I turned around in her arms and looked at her. "I don't believe I ever officially asked you. Zoë, will you be my girlfriend?"

She smiled with her too-wide mahogany mouth and her big brown eyes and said, "of course." Then, she kissed me, and never before had I experienced something so pure. It wasn't a forbidden relationship anymore, at least, not to me. It was just two girls in love kissing each other. And that's when I learned Caitlin's Golden Rule of Dating- don't ever make a list of dating rules for yourself to follow, and love with all your heart, and everything will turn out alright.