A Note: Hi. Lol. I've written stories before, but this is one is one of my favorite. IDK, it just gives you so much to think about. In this story, you've got sarcasm, romance, humor, anger, sadness, joy, and fluffiness. Who doesn't love a lil' bit of fluff in their pillows? I know I do. Lol. Well, enjoy. I hope you will. And comment, people. We wouldn't post our stories on this website if we didn't want feedback. We'd just simply leave it in a safe where no one can reach it. Duh!

20 Minutes in Heaven

I looked at her, and she looked at me. And as soon as our eyes connected we quickly became very interested in the amount of fur coats that were hanging on the coat rack next to us. I touched a furry sleeve and nodded my head. "I think this is . . . chinchilla." I turned to face her. She was giggling.

"Could be," she said. I giggled, too.

She ran her hand through her hair and I scratched the back of my neck. Where was this getting at? We were supposed to be making out. Or attempting to, at least. But here we were, standing four feet away from each other (this is a big closet) without an inkling on who would make the first move. I would, but, what if she didn't want me to? Or, maybe this is just all too uncomfortable to begin with.

This all started at this little get together that Clark McNulty was throwing at his house (or bash. It was supposed to be a bash, but, Clark can't throw parties for crap, so this ended up as a get together.) I was nice enough to show up, even though I was battling with my inner conscience whether I should waste my time. My conscience won. Like always. Anyway, I showed up. And when I did, I found Clarisse Frasier there. Now, mind you, Clarisse Frasier is amazing. She's cute with rosy cheeks and this long amount of wavy brown hair. She wears clothes that fit her personality. Shy, smart, sweet, caring, sensitive, but competitive all at the same time (she's battling Hogarth Gunn for Valedictorian). And, she's friendly. That's something that works for her. There's no way you can hate her. She's too nice. And she's funny when she doesn't even try. I mean you have people that make a very funny joke, and because the whole class laughs, that person just keeps going, trying to prove that they've got a funny gene inside of them. But Clarisse, no. When she makes a funny joke, it's funny. She won't continue. She speaks when she needs to. This is why teachers and faculty members adore her. Plus, she can dance. She attended Alvin Ailey Dance School in New York City from age six to thirteen. She moved here, to Florida, freshman year. She performed in the school production of Hairspray, so that's how we know she's such a gifted dancer. So seeing her at the party was great. That means that I could get to know her, since she's in only two of my classes and we sit far from each other. I'm talking a four-row distance.

So, it was six o'clock when she arrived; and boy was the party dead. There were only nine people there, not including Clarisse and I. Making that eleven all together. So, right near the time when everyone was getting ready to leave, at seven thirty, someone decided to make this party interesting by gathering us around in a circle to play "7 Minutes in Heaven." I think this game is stupid. What if you end up kissing someone that has a cold sore on her lip, but it didn't develop yet? C'mon. But because Clarisse decided to play, I chimed in.

One by one, people went, until it was my turn to spin the bottle to find out whom my lucky girl was. And, surprise, surprise, it was Clarisse. When the bottle landed on her, she blushed and cleared her throat a bit.

"Well, then. Go get your smooch on, Felix!" Clark said. Everyone started doing this stupid cheer and stuff, so I just got up, dusted off my knees, and walked slowly to the closet. I looked over my shoulder and saw Clarisse following me.

I wasn't shy. By all means, I was petrified. This girl is an "It" girl. And not the kind of "It's" you find very often. She was one of a kind, and she was going to kiss me. In this coat closet, under a small shade of light, with me. I was too lucky. I didn't deserve this.

Wait.

Hell, yeah. I did. After taking two honor courses that made me give up Friday and Saturday nights doing essays, I deserved it.

So here we are. Standing here.

I couldn't do this.

I was about to turn the doorknob when she touched my arm gently. "I'm not used to this. Sorry if I'm making you feel uncomfortable."

I chuckled and stepped back. "Wait, you think I do this for a living?"

She looked down and pulled her shirt. "It's just . . . you seem like a guy that does a lot of . . . No. Never mind." She looked at the coats again.

"No, go ahead. Tell me. I can take it." I really could. I'm used to getting rude comments. From my parents, my older brother, my bullies, girls who think they rule the world . . . I could take it.

She sighed and paused for a moment. She was scared to say it. Is it that bad? "You just seem like a guy who does a lot of . . . making out." She shook her head. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."

I stared at her. Then, busted out a hoot of laughter. "What? You think that I do a lot of making out? Are you kidding me? Ask me when the last time I had a date was. Go ahead. Ask me."

She shrugged. "When was the last—"

"Fourth grade, at lunch time, and you can't even call that a date because after she finished her pudding cup, she said she was feeling queasy and would be right back. She never came. She even forgot her lunch box." Telling Clarisse that was a really funny thing to do, seeing as how I have never told anyone that, even my best friend, Jonah.

She gasped. "That's harsh."

I nodded slowly. "Yeah, I know. But, it just goes to show that you should never tell your dates you like the Black Power Ranger because though the frog is not a fierce character, it still has a whole lot of secret weapons it can unleash, which makes it the secret weapon."

Clarisse laughed, and I laughed with her. "Well, I liked the Yellow Ranger. She was always the one without the skirt, which I found wrong. Why only the Pink Ranger? Just because of the color? They were—"

"Both girls, I know. I found it wrong, too." We laughed a bit more and then stood in silence for a good minute.

"Are you in my English class?"

I nodded, happy that she remembers me. "Yeah!"

"You're Felix Jorge. What you said in class the other day . . ." She started laughing.

"Oh, you mean my debate about cheese and the fact that it's unappreciated? I thought it was relevant for me to say that."

"But you got detention. Was it still worth it in the end?" When she asked me, she asked me with humor. I knew there was something great about this girl.

I shook my head. "No. It wasn't, because I ended up sitting right in front of Mr. Gaston. When he yawns, this whole gust of hot, misty, funky breath comes soaring at you. Disgusting."

She laughed a lot harder then. "He has the tendency to do that."

I nudged my head at her. "You've experienced?"

She shook her head. "No. Complaints. My friends Willow and Jacqueline have told me. They can't stand it."

I chuckled. "Doesn't he make breath checks? I know I do."

She nodded. "Me, too. I can't stand nasty smells."

"Well, then, how are you keeping up in this closet? Smells like spoiled cheddar cheese."

She giggled. I was doing a good job on keeping her entertained.

"So . . . what college do you want to go to?" I asked.

"Yale. That's my goal. Yale."

I nodded slowly. I couldn't even match her standards. I'm more of a C person. "Yale. That's a big commitment."

"It is, I agree. But it's a commitment I've been committing to since I was nine. Yale is my life. Education . . . I live for it. Knowing that there are things out there that I'm not aware of yet gives me a drive to go find them, you know? With Yale . . . there are things I can learn."

I stared at her. She was fully into this. But where was I? Sleeping under my pillow? Hiding under my desk at school? I don't even know what college I want to go to, what I want to major in . . . what I want to be. I was basically—

"Lost."

She stared at me. "What? I didn't catch that."

"Lost. I'm lost."

I slid down onto the floor, crossed my legs and wrapped my arms around them. "You can stand there and tell me what you want to do . . . where you want to go. But I can stand here and tell you nothing, because there's nothing to tell."

She crossed her path of the room and sat next to me. "What're you talking about? You have to know what you want to do in college. This is our senior year. We should have our futures pretty much mapped out already."

"No, Clarisse. That's what you think, but there are some people that don't have a clue. You see, we're in categories. First category is the people who aim to go to the top colleges and you've been working at it since forever. Second category is the people that think they know what they want, but get so confused that it drives them insane. Third category is the people who are forced to choose a major that they don't even want, but because their parents think they could be good in that field, their parents choose for them. Then, the fourth category is the people who don't have a clue whatsoever. They don't know what they are talented in, they don't know what their goals are, they just don't know. And I fall into that category."

There was a bit of a silence. I could feel Clarisse's eyes observing me. She looked away. She played with her shirt again, picking the lint off of it, one by one. I sighed.

"But, it's not like I don't mind. I mean, I don't. I guess it'll come to me. My talents, that is."

Clarisse didn't respond. I got a bit nervous. Oh, the things she probably thinks of me now. I can picture the battle going on in her head. On one side is a brick wall with rude comments painted on it and the bad Clarisse right behind that wall, ducking every few seconds and popping back up aiming for the good Clarisse's side, in which she hid behind a brick wall with sweet comments painted on it, doing the exact same thing. Duck or fire. Words flew out of the cannon's they shot, not explosive's.

Bad Clarisse's side: "He's pathetic."

"Don't waste your time."

"His failing habits will rub off on you. STEP AWAY CAUTIOUSLY!"

Good Clarisse's side: "He has the ability to do whatever he wants."

"He's a great guy."

"Maybe I can help him . . ."

And here I was, waiting to see who would win the battle of the consciences. Good Clarisse or Bad Clarisse. At this silent rate, I couldn't tell.

Until . . .

"I always found you quite interesting, Felix. Just something about you made me want to get up and say, "Hi." But I don't know what stopped me. Was I scared? No. I'm not that shy a person. Was I too curious for my own good? Maybe. But with you . . . you have this aura that just makes you so approachable and interesting."

I raised an eyebrow. "Uh, thanks for the compliment. Really, but what does this have to do with anything?"

She giggled. "I don't know. I can't even tell you why I brought it up. I just did."

I smiled. "To cheer me up?"

She looked at me. "Why? Did it?"

I shrugged and nodded. "Yeah. It did."

She returned the smile, and from that moment, I was mesmerized. She was too beautiful. I can honestly say I wanted to look away, but with a face like Clarisse's you just didn't want to. You don't even want to blink; because that's a second of her beauty you're missing.

"So . . ." she said nervously. She pushed a strand of her hair behind her ear, and the light reflecting off her pearl earring made it sparkle.

"So . . ." I nodded slowly. Awkward much?

Since it was pretty much silent, I stared down at my Converse's and noticed after having them for about a year now, that it was dirty. I mean, dirty. It had those black streaks on them, there was a piece of gum sticking to the side of it, and what part of the shoe that used to be white was now brown. Gross.

"I listen to rock music. A lot, actually."

I turned my head and looked at her. She said that response so quietly; I thought it was the closet walls that were responding. "Oh?"

"Yeah. I love Linkin Park. Their music is just so meaningful. It gets me thinking a lot about stuff . . ." She zoned out for a bit. I stared at her contently. Her eyes were facing front, but it looked like she was looking at someone far beyond the wall.

Just when I was about to say something, she blurted, "Have you ever gotten into a fight with your parents or your siblings, girlfriend, best friend, whomever. And to take away your anger, you listen to a song that has these heart-stopping odes?"

I responded "Yes" with my eyes. She noticed.

"Well, that's how I am with music, especially rock. It's not that Pop music, or Rap music doesn't have the same kind of song messages, but it's just that . . . with Rock music, you can really feel the emotion through everything they put out there. The hard chords on the guitar, the infamous pounding of the drums, the screaming vocals . . . it all blends in. Everything." She zoned out again. Wow. If someone would have come up to me randomly and say, "I bet you five bucks Clarisse Frasier listens to rock music," I wouldn't have wasted my money on that random dude. But, now that I see her for whom she is (I think), I would have bet my life savings.

"You know," I began, "people think you're quiet and reserved because you're book smart. People see that as prissy. They think you're too smart to talk to anyone. But that's not the case, is it?"

She looked at me for a short while with her big, amber eyes, and then folded her legs up, and laid her head on her knees, arms wrapped around them. "I hate going home. It's a depressing sight, really."

I shifted my body toward her. "What's so depressing, if you don't mind me asking?"

It took her a while, as if she was thinking about it, but then she gave into my curiosity, and picked her head up to talk. "My dad has this temper . . . No; he doesn't hit me or anything. It's just . . . he's a lazy guy. He sits at home in front of the TV all the time, watching the same channel. VH1. It's like nothing else exists around him except for that stupid TV." She stopped for a while. I had a feeling there was more to the story than just the TV problem, so I waited silently until she was ready to continue.

"My younger brother, Kale, is autistic. He does the weirdest things. It scares my younger sister, Fern, constantly. She is afraid of a load of things. She has brain damage." She sighed and heaved a load of breath. "My dad is always yelling at my mom, telling her to calm the kids down, but he doesn't even stop to think; to realize that both of his kids are ill in the head. He's self-absorbed, erratic, annoying, selfish . . . I can't stand him. And my mom . . . she has to work three jobs to support us. She's a waitress at a diner, a seamstress, and an assistant teacher for kindergarteners. Because she doesn't always make a lot, I work two jobs to help her. Dunkin Donuts as a server and I am assistant manager at a movie theatre. Because I make a lot with tips and all, I save those tips for my own personal needs, since I know I can't rely on my family for that."

I bit my bottom lip. I saw Clarisse shudder, her shoulders hunch up a bit, and I was wondering just what exactly was going through her head. A part of me didn't want to know, but, another part of me did. So, before the passive part of me got the chance to stop the nosey part of me from doing what it was about to do, the nosey part exclaimed, "You should leave home after we graduate."

With that statement, Clarisse jerked her head toward me, her face fixed in a state of shock. "What?"

I nodded my head. Sorry, passive side. But this was something nosey side had to do. "You have too much going on at home. Your parents don't have time for you, I presume. And, you hate it there. You have two ill siblings; your dad is a lazy asswipe, no offense—"

"None taken," she replied, her face still in shock.

"—and your mom is not doing anything about it. I say, you leave."

Clarisse squinted her eyes. "Why? Why would I leave? It's because of all of this my mother needs me. She's suffering. And, what more can she do? It's too much. She can't have a life because of my family. All she has to rely on is me. What'll happen if I'm gone? Her life will be miserable."

"She can leave your dad."

"Why would she do that? She needs him!"

"Why? Why does she need him? He doesn't do anything for her."

"He's her husband!"

I shrugged. "So?" I was beginning to get frustrated and impatient. Clarisse was covering up for her mom, but not in the right way. Her excuses were irrational and inexcusable. "Honestly, what difference would it make if he weren't there? Isn't that the way it is? He doesn't help out, but makes things worse. Constantly yelling, making your mom feel like crap . . . who wants that? I know I wouldn't."

"Well, you're not my mom," she replied. I sensed an attitude.

I stared at her. "Are you mad at me?"

"No," she responded, monotone.

I nodded. "Yeah, you are. Why, I don't know."

"Why?" she stared at me with angry eyes. "You make my mom seem like an irresponsible person when she's doing her best!"

"No, Clarisse. She's trying her best, but she's not doing her best. Doing her best would be to leave your dad, find a man who is willing to support his family, get psychiatric help for your siblings, and let you pursue your dreams by going to Yale. Right now, she's holding you back by not doing those things. You might not agree, but any rational person, who I thought you were, would agree with me. This isn't right. And, a part of me believes that you know that, but because we're talking about your mom, you won't admit to the fact that she's screwing up." With that, I stood up crossed the room and sat on the other side. It's not that I was mad at her . . . well, okay, I was mad at her. But I wasn't so mad to the point that I didn't want to be around her, it's just that I wanted to give her time to think about what I said. It's hard for someone to tell you the truth when you know it, looking vulnerable.

I looked down at the floor. I looked at the coats. I looked at the lights and nearly blinded myself, all just to make sure my eyes did not fall upon Clarisse. If it did, I would feel bad for what I said, and would automatically make her feel as if what she were saying was true all along, while also making me feel like a wimp, because I was too afraid to let the statement I said sink in to make her open her eyes.

It felt like a millennium passed by and I walked right through it. I was getting restless. But what I didn't get was why I was still in here. I had the chance to leave. I had the chance to walk away and let her have her space in this closet . . . whatever space she was to have. But, I stayed. Waiting. For what? A white flag to wave. For Clarisse to admit that what I said was true, because it was. No, I'm not trying to be "Dear ANONYMOUS," or Dr. Phil. I was trying to be a friend. Or . . . something more. At least she got the chance to see what kind of a person I am.

I guess I was in full blackout mode, because I didn't notice Clarisse get up. I also didn't notice Clarisse sit next to me and place her head on my shoulder. But, I did regain knowledge of what was happening when she called me. "Felix."

I looked down at her. "Yeah?"

"I want to go to Yale."

"I know, but you can't."

Silence.

"But, I will."

She looked up at me and I gazed down at her. Amazed. I didn't know exactly what she meant, but I had a good feeling that I inspired her to do something worthy of her life.

I faced forward and wrapped my arm around her shoulder. I smile escaped my lips.

Then the funniest thing happened. Just as I was about to ask her something . . .

"What're you maj—"

Our lips touched for about two seconds. We both quickly pulled away. She sat up and I looked at her.

We stared at each other for about a minute. Then, I did the unthinkable, one of my hobbies. I grabbed her hand and pulled her toward me, cupped her face in my hands, and kissed her. But this time, neither she nor I pulled away. Instead we accepted the kiss. And it wasn't a corny kiss like the ones in those Disney movies. It was real. It was intended. It was electrifying.

Next thing we know, the door opens and Clark looks exhausted. "Sorry. The door locks from the outside and we accidentally . . . wait, have you guys been kissing for twenty minutes?"

I looked at Clarisse, then back at Clark. "Twenty minutes?"

He nodded furiously. "That's how long you guys have been in here."

I looked down at Clarisse and she looked up at me. We had a moment. A silent one. You know those moments where you just look at the person, trying to absorb it, thinking it might go away by something, or someone named, I dunno, Clark McNulty (Which, I forgot to mention, has a name that sounds like a chocolate bar. I mean, c'mon. How can you walk around with pride when you have a name like that? There are cool names out there. The name Clark Kent made the geek world a revolution. Johnny Depp. A name like that can make a woman swoon, even if he wasn't famous, because the name 'Johnny' is just to die for, I guess. But then you have Clark McNulty, which just gives you an excuse to throw up, or a name that fits a fourteen year old computer-nerd-by-day-twenty-four-year-old-lawyer-with-a-body-to-worship-on-your-living-room-wall-by-night-on-a-dating-website that has red hair and a crazy amount of pimples on his face with a snaggle tooth the color of the sun's core. Imagine how yellow that is. I wanna meet his parents. Meet them; give them a slap, and then maybe a name book.) that has to ruin it.

"Clark," I said calmly.

He looked at me curiously. "What?"

"Get out, and close the door behind you," Clarisse said just as calmly as I did.

"But there are people that want to finish playing!" he exclaimed.

I shrugged. "So? Why is that our problem?" I smirked at him.

"You don't have anymore closets in this house?" Clarisse said impatiently.

Clark was thinking. Lord, this might've taken a while. "Well, I do, but—"

"Bye." We spoke in unison, and at that moment I knew she was thinking the same thing I was: this game wasn't over yet. Not by a long shot.

In fact, I say it was just the beginning of something big. Something epic. Something . . . OK. I'll stop now.

But you get it.