Jerkwater

01 ♦ Chocolate

Zoom in, catch the smile
There's no doubt it's from you
Kylie Minogue

Douglas Gilbert was a 6-foot-5 tall young man with explosive behavior and a foul mouth to match. Other than Valentine's Day, babies, puppies, Skittles and High School Musical, he also hated being called Doug, singers that covered Joy Division songs and most of the people he had ever met – so it wasn't really a surprise to see him involved in another fight. And, because it didn't exactly take a lot to push his buttons, it was hard to even guess why he was punching the guy wearing a plaid sweater. Close to them, a pretty girl with black afro hair watched in horror, with her dark eyes wide open, uselessly begging the two men to stop.

With a swift swing, Douglas sent Plaid Sweater Guy to the ground and it was possible to hear a collective gasp go through the small crowd that had gathered to watch the show. Blood and concrete mixed when he spat out a gooey mix of saliva, platelets and red and white blood cells. His eyes glinted with anger before he raised himself off of the floor and ran towards the tall man with whom he was fighting. He managed to reach Douglas' jaw, though not fully, but with enough strength to make him stumble a few steps back. The dark-skinned girl let out a yelp, which was interrupted when her long fingers covered her own mouth. She was the only one actually afraid of what could happen, whereas the rest of the crowd seemed to be thinking of the event as something entertaining.

Seeing as her friend wouldn't voluntarily put an end to that amateur boxing match, Serena Taylor tightened her grip around the straps of her green tote bag and made her way to the two opponents as fast as she could carrying a binder, two thick books about American History and another one just about the Civil War. Her long, dark brown hair flowed around her face, almost framing it as she jogged – the brief effort enough to make her cheeks flush red thanks to the cold weather.

Douglas noticed Serena's approach and shot her a glare that was supposed to get the young woman to stop dead on her tracks, but had no effect other than causing her to roll her eyes for a moment. Plaid Sweater Guy was a few feet away from Douglas, so she took that opportunity to stand between them as an attempt to keep one from getting to the other. Her idea worked for a little over a minute, when Plaid Sweater Guy pushed her aside, making Serena fall flat on her ass and drop her things on the pavement. She didn't even have the time to get back up before someone crouched by her side, inquiring if she was okay. The girl claimed to be fine, while gathering the contents of her purse and, when she turned to gather her books, the stranger had already piled them on top of her Beauty and the Beast binder.

Smiling slightly, she raised her head to look at the stranger and properly thank him. He brushed it off as a random act of kindness and smiled back – the smile lighted up his face and made his dark blue eyes seem lighter than they actually were. Their attention was attracted by a loud growl and they turned to see Douglas prepare himself to beat the Plaid Sweater Guy even more. The delicate afro-haired girl seemed to get even more anxious when Serena jumped in the middle of the young men without blinking once more. At the same time she threw herself at her best friend, attempting to hold him back, the stranger that had helped her tried to keep the blonde guy with the plaid sweater under control. It took a few minutes for things to finally calm down and for the crowd to start dissolving. When she was sure it was safe to let him go, Serena released her friend and took a good look at his jaw, which was already turning green and purple.

"Do I want to know why?"

"He started it!" the curly-haired man said, sounding like a stubborn five-year-old child. "The dickhead was annoying me."

"Everyone annoys you, Gilb. Must be tough to have the world against you," Serena teased him lightly, trying not to laugh, even though she couldn't hide her amused smirk.

"I should take legal action. The fucking idiot was being racist."

The brown-haired girl couldn't really understand how the Plaid Sweater Guy had been racist with Douglas, considering that the two looked very similar, despite the fact that one was blonde with straight hair and the other had curly dark blonde streaks; but she suddenly understood when the black girl hesitantly walked over to where they were standing and offered a shy smile to Serena, introducing herself as Yvonne, a classmate of Douglas's. She then proceeded to profusely apologize for making him get into a fight and asked if his jaw hurt too much. Serena didn't miss the worry in the girl's voice or how Douglas sounded uncharacteristically sweet as he assured Eve that he hardly felt the stinging. As the two collected his things, Serena approached the stranger that had helped her to thank him one more time.

It was easy to see how handsome he was on that moment, after things had calmed down and they weren't getting unwanted attention. His dark brown hair was slightly long, split to the side and a few tresses occasionally covered his eyes, making him appear adorably charming. The slightly gaunt face with prominent cheekbones and thin lips gave him a serious look, especially so because he was talking to Plaid Sweater Guy, whose name should be Isaac from what Serena overheard, rather sternly. Whatever he had said had made Isaac angry, because he rudely grabbed his bag back and stomped away, cursing out loud.

Serena offered the brunette a smile, which widened a little bit as soon as his lips curved upwards in an uneven smirk when she cracked a rather lame joke about university boys with short temper. According to him, it was hard to believe that Isaac was pre-Med and wanted to become a pediatrician, because he liked children, when he could act so insensitively sometimes. The girl confided to him that Douglas wanted to become a lawyer just so he could tear apart all the guilty defendants' defense arguments, but she secretly imagined him jumping down on judges that didn't agree with his case.

Their flicker of conversation was cut short when Douglas stopped by her side, menacingly announcing that he was ready to leave and asking if Serena could give Yvonne a ride as well, since they were going to the same place. The stranger didn't seem to mind the rudeness and simply said he would see Douglas at Dr. Yudenfreund's class on Monday morning before smiling one last time to Serena and walking away. The girl decided not to ask anything, when she realized that her best friend was still comforting Yvonne.

They quickly got to the spot where Serena's car was parked. Given that she was supposed to pick her siblings up from school with a couple of their friends and keep them company for the rest of the day, the brunette had decided to drive her mother's SUV. Even though she didn't live in her family's home anymore, Serena was always around to keep an eye on her siblings whenever her parents asked her to do so. She lived just twenty minutes away with her best friend in a rather small, but brightly decorated, apartment.

After dropping the two at a café, Serena drove to her little sister's school. It was 2:05 PM when she finally made it there, but it was obvious that Meredith hadn't noticed the five-minute delay since she was happily chatting with her best friend and two of their classmates. Meredith was a second-grader at Edimon Academy, a private institution that heavily focused on science; a perfect match for students that loved physics, astronomy and crosswords. Meredith had a different hairdo for each day of the week and Thursday had been chosen as the French braid day. Her uniform – a white buttoned shirt and a plaid skirt matching her tie – was visibly wrinkled underneath the open gray coat, which was the same color as the leggings the girl was wearing. Meredith smiled and waved to her sister, after finally spotting Serena, and said a quick goodbye to her classmates before grabbing her best friend's hand and leading her to the SUV.

The two girls quickly hopped inside the vehicle and Serena drove off again, taking the first exit on the left, headed to Marymount Public High School. As she drove, the girls in the backseat kept the car noisy with their constant chatting. Katherine Vass, Meredith's best friend, was a beautiful blonde kid with artistic aspirations that loved talking. She was funny and outgoing and not much had changed in her demeanor since her mother's sudden death nearly six months before. It had happened in the beginning of the summer when Serena was in Florida with her roommate, reason why she hadn't attended the funeral, but she remembered her parents telling her how sad it had been. After the funeral, Katherine had spent some time with her older brother, who then moved to New Haven in the fall, right before classes started again. Serena had never met him, even though the little girl often talked about how much she loved spending time with her older sibling whenever possible.

Meredith was quick to find her brother in the middle of the crowd of high-schoolers making the way out of what they considered to be hell. It was hard to miss Bartholomew when he was ridiculously tall, standing at six feet and six inches, and rather thin – the combination of those two characteristics seemed to be enough for people to take for granted the fact that he was clumsy, which was the absolute truth. After years of shaving his hair short, he had decided to let it grow out. After an awkward period during which all the streaks would stay up no matter what he did, giving Bart the appearance of someone that had been electrocuted, his hair was starting to curl slightly on the ends. Even more recently, he had decided to make a band, which still had no name, no sound and no members other than him and his best friend, who hadn't been able to say no.

Bart was walking out with Joanna Richards, a girl that he saw only as a very good friend and that was obviously in love with him. She rolled her eyes when he tried to do a trick with his drumsticks, which he always carried around for some reason, and ended up hitting a young student passing by. As usual, Joanna had her thin red hair up in a messy bum with her bangs falling down, no makeup on her face, baggy jeans and a baby-look tee under her hoodie. She looked adorable, what meant that Bart would most likely never notice her – predictably enough he was more easily mesmerized by ample bosomed girls, especially so if they happened to be wearing skimpy outfits, but that was just a detail.

"Where's Ash?" Serena asked after greeting the two. Bart was going to ride shotgun and Joanna was sitting by Katherine's side in the backseat.

Ash was short for Ashley Wellington, Bart and Joanna's best friend. Everybody referred to them as the three musketeers – or the three stooges – because they were rarely seem apart. They did mostly everything together, given that Joanna was considered one of the guys thanks to all her sports knowledge and love. And she also cursed like a sailor, so the boys felt comfortable enough around her to use all the dirty words they wanted and to even have burping contests, since she normally laughed at them instead of gagging in disgust.

"He's not coming today. He has a job interview at Klop to fill their hamburger helper spot," Joanna told her.

"Oh. Lizzie works there. Maybe she'll recognize him."

"Can we go now?" her brother impatiently asked after Serena didn't immediately start the car's engine. "I need to get some band practice done."

"Well, Bart, don't you need the other members to actually have a band practice? Ash is your bassist and the only other one in the group besides you."

"I don't need him there to practice. I've got Joe to watch and Tilda."

"Tilda's a mini-fridge," Meredith pointed out from her place in the backseat as her sister drove out of the high school's parking lot. "It doesn't count."

"Blasphemy, Merry! Besides, a mini-fridge is waay more important than a bassist."

The Taylor residence was a two-story house with a small attic, where they kept boxes with old stuff or whatever they didn't use anymore, and a mid-sized basement that had been turned into a studio of the sorts to accommodate Bart's band practices. They didn't have a white picket fence, but the cheesy stone path leading to the front door was there and half-covered by a thin layer of snow. The architecture wasn't anything that made the house stand out and the interior decoration wasn't mind-blowing either, but nobody complained about it – after all, 573 Woodsmith Street was the place they had called home for nearly their entire lives. Serena's 1963 Chevy Impala occupied one of the three garage spots, so she parked the SUV next to it before telling everyone to hop out and hurry inside; the garage was the only room without indoor heating, so it was always too cold or too hot.

Bart and Joanna headed straight to the basement, but they could listen to the red-haired reminding him of the homework that needed to be done before the practice session actually started. The teenage boy just groaned in reply before pointing out that he'd bought a new Say Anything poster to add to his immense collection. Meredith and Katherine took over the dining table to do science exercises, finish an essay and start planning a history project that involved building a small-scale model that represented a scene from the period they were studying. Serena had some catching up to do, as her thick books proved, and decided to settle in the kitchen because her MP3 player and cupboards full of food were enough to keep her focused.

Most part of the afternoon was calm and quiet. Serena managed to get ahead with her reading and her little sister and Katherine had successfully done their project sketch and would be able to build the model over the weekend if their teacher green-lighted it. The three of them had great timing, because not more than two or three minutes passed before the house was filled with the horrific sound of Bart's drum beats. It wasn't a problem that he was playing with his drum set and making so much noise; the sad reality was that Bart wasn't any good at it and everything he tried playing came off sounding as if a rock star was beating the drums to death with their guitar, which was not a pleasant jingle to say the least. After five minutes, the noise suddenly stopped and soon Joanna and he were in the kitchen.

"Joe's kinda hungry. What's there for her to eat?" Bart asked his older sister, looking around the room as his friend rolled her eyes. He always did that whenever he wanted to ask Serena something that would give her trouble to do or get dishes dirty.

"Well, you ate an entire chocolate cake yesterday and that was the best we had to offer. There's some ice cream, but if Joanna's not at high risk of starving to death within the next twenty minutes I suppose I could bake her some cookies."

"Ok. We'll be in his room, unless you want help," the teen girl offered, but her suggestion was quickly tossed aside when both Meredith and Katherine insisted that they wanted to be the ones helping Serena with everything – they would even do the dishes and dry them if they were allowed to break the eggs and mix the flour!

Baking cookies with a recipe as simple as the one her mother had first taught her when she was seven years old didn't require that much help and definitely didn't cause such mess, but Serena couldn't deny that happiness to the little girls and lazily listed what they would need to prepare the mix. Out of the three, Meredith seemed to be the one having the most fun, especially when she confided to her best friend that her sister was teaching them how to prepare their family's secret recipe. Serena had to hide her laugh, because it wasn't such a secret what it took to bake delicious pieces of a vanilla-flavored mix with chocolate chips, but she wasn't about to spoil it for her sister either. Besides, Katherine had seemed to be slightly impressed and even offered to teach them her brother's secret spaghetti technique in return. A family secret for another, it was a good deal.

A second after the first batch of cookies was done; Bart was back in the kitchen with Joanna languidly following him. His sisters hardly had the time to warn him how hot the goods were before he threw one in his mouth and ended up burning his tongue. All four girls laughed for a moment, but took pity on him after watching the boy jump towards the fridge and pull out the first bottle of ice cold beverage he could find. Katherine then politely asked if they had another carton of milk, because she enjoyed drinking that when eating biscuits, but didn't want to risk getting Bart's germs. For some minutes, they stayed in the kitchen just eating and making small talk about school and general life while appreciating the snack.

Joanna and Bart had gone back to the basement and it was only a matter of time before practice was resumed. They could barely listen to Mr. Taylor's car when he arrived with his wife at six o'clock. Serena was almost done washing the dishes; even though the girls had offered to tackle the task, she claimed it was no problem and encouraged them to go play something or watch television. Before she could dry her hands and take off the floral apron her mother had, her parents were already inside the house and dropping their things on the dining table.

Mrs. Taylor was a high school science teacher and aspiring economist that enjoyed eating vegetables, practicing yoga and controlling the house's finances with an iron fist. She was one of the students' favorite teachers for being fun and competent while teaching and possibly because of the modern clothes she wore as well – Bart was always throwing glares at the boys that checked out his mother or claimed to have crushes on her. Mr. Taylor was an accountant at a big accounting firm and a borderline workaholic, always bringing work home or doing a few extra hours; but he was a present and loving father and husband. He particularly enjoyed picking on his wife for her healthy eating habits, taking her out to dinner simply to see her dressed up and surprising his children with gifts or rides just for the sake of doing it.

The first thing they did was greeting the girls and asking Serena if she minded doing a little babysitting on that night. Her parents had asked her to be there during the afternoon, but Mr. Taylor had decided that he wanted to take his beautiful wife for dinner because he'd been wanting to see how she would look like in a dress he had bought her. He even offered a small gift to Serena, a big orange ring with black dots that Mrs. Taylor claimed to look exactly like an African beetle, as bribery. The brunette accepted the ring, but was sure to tell her father she would've stayed with the kids even if he hadn't given her a present.

Meredith and Katherine followed Mrs. Taylor around while she got ready, so they could tell her all about their adventure baking cookies. Serena had let them do all the work, except for handling the oven and doing the dishes, therefore it had felt as if they had done everything on their very own. As the twenty-one-year-old gave tips to her father on what to wear or not, picking the silliest ties for him, Mr. Taylor didn't worry about repeating the same old list of rules and recommendations that hadn't changed in the slightest ever since the girl was ten. Just thirty minutes after their arrival, the couple was ready to leave. They kissed everyone, even Joanna and Katherine, goodbye and left in Mr. Taylor's car.

Five minutes later, as Serena put the dishes back in the cupboards, the doorbell rang and Meredith yelled out that she would get the door betting it could only be Katherine's brother. When Serena finally made it to the living room, she was surprised to see the handsome stranger that had helped her on that morning, the one that seemed to know both Douglas and Plaid Sweater Guy. Katherine took three seconds to run from the television to him, who easily lifted the girl from the floor. She laughed, carelessly throwing her blonde hair around and already telling him about how much fun she'd had there. Her eyes, which were bright green, sparkled as she offered to go get him some cookie leftovers. He smiled to his sister, adoringly, and accepted the offer, but asked her to first introduce him to the pretty girl standing close by.

"Oh. Serena, this is my brother, Nico," she quickly told the brunette and turned back to her brother. "I'll go get your cookies now. Can you help me, Merry?"

"Sure," the little brown-haired girl said and they hurried over to the kitchen holding hands and discussing whether they should wrap the cookies with plastic paper or put them in a small paper bag or plastic bowl.

"I hope Kathy wasn't too much to handle," he said after the girls had disappeared. "She seems to forget that my name's really Nicholas. She's the only one that calls me Nico."

"Oh, you don't like Nico?"

"I do, but people usually go for Nick. My mother used Nico as well."

"Kath wasn't any trouble; she's practically my second sister. I don't get to see them often, because of classes, even if they were difficult I wouldn't complain. Kath actually invited us over to try your secret spaghetti."

"She did?" he seemed to be a bit surprised by that and proceeded to explain when he realized that she'd noticed it. "Kathy doesn't usually invite people over to my house."

"Well…"

Serena was going to point out that Meredith had already spent time at his apartment in more than one occasion, but, before she could talk, the volume of the drumbeats when up and there was no way they could listen to each other without screaming. Bart was probably experimenting something new with his sound system as there was no other plausible explanation to why he would cause such an ordeal. Nicholas's blue eyes widened in surprise and Serena was sure he was making an effort not to cringe or cover his ears with his hands for fear of being rude.

"Why does it sound like there's an orca in your basement?" he asked instead.

"My brother got a set of drums and decided to learn how to play them."

"Today?!"

"Actually, he's been having lessons for the past month."

"How do you stand it?"

"My father's having the basement soundproofed tomorrow morning. He arrived home earlier yesterday and heard Bart playing for the first time," she chuckled when her father's shocked expression crossed her mind. "In the meantime, I've been using my trusty MP3 and, sometimes, cotton balls too."

Nicholas laughed, not quite convinced that the girl actually put cotton balls in her ears or that such technique worked, and then asked how long practice would last. Serena smiled when he winced at her reply that it could last from five to sixty minutes to whenever – it all depended on Bart's mood and inspiration. He opened his mouth to say something else, but was distracted when a teenage boy suddenly appeared at his side. They acknowledged each other by shaking hands after exchanging names before the girl planted a sloppy kiss on the blond teen's cheek and ruffled his neat hair.

Ashley Wellington shrugged when Serena inquired about his job interview, saying that Klop's manager had promised to give him a call on the next day to say if he'd landed the position or not. When Nicholas asked which spot it was; the teen seemed to hesitate a little before admitting he'd be a hamburger helper and quickly adding that the pay was better than if he worked at McDonald's or some other fast food joint. Serena offered them a bright smile, assuring him that everyone had to start somewhere; her best friend had started out washing dishes before working her ass off to become the chef's assistant at Klop.

Ashley shrugged his shoulders once more, running his hand through his dark blond hair, while claiming he didn't really want to make a career there; he just wanted some cash. His long term plan was to graduate high school and get into a university with a good engineering course. Both males smirked when she advised him to be dedicated anyway; if all else failed he could have some sort of career setback as a hamburger helper. The teen adjusted the strap of his backpack over his shoulder before saying he should go down to the basement and try to stop Bart's practice session before someone started bleeding through their ears. Nicholas seemed to be as thankful as the girl and waited until Ashley had gone into another room before making a comment about how Meredith and Katherine were taking so long to get his promised cookies.

His remark was followed by both little girls finally going back to the living room. Katherine bounced up and down with a Tupperware in her small hands. Nicholas shot them an amused glance upon realizing the two had cotton balls sticking out from their ears. Apparently, the brunette had shared her tactics with their siblings.

"Serena, can Kathy and Nick stay for dinner?" Meredith asked, ready to pull the puppy eyes if her request was denied.

"If they like pizza, I don't see why not. I was going to cook, but our parents went on a date and told us to order takeout."

"Ok. But, in return, I'll take you out for dessert," Nicholas proposed, making the eight-year-olds jump in anticipation and, while Serena smiled at the sight, she didn't seem to be so sure herself. "I'll even buy you a bag of Skittles."

"I'm more of an M&M's kind of girl, but I'll think about it," she replied with a smile and chuckled. "Just let me take your coat, get the three upstairs, and then we can decide the flavors."

Agreeing on pizza flavors was almost a challenge with so many different opinions to consider. Someone didn't like pepperoni, another one wanted extra cheese regardless of the flavor and there had been a request for garlic bread too. Finally everyone compromised and the group settled on ordering one big pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and a big one with pepper and mushrooms. When Bart suggested they should practice a bit more before dinner arrived, Joanna and Ashley quickly yelled out a no and he eyed them suspiciously. Thinking fast, the blond boy said they should play video games or watch a movie. They decided to go with the PlayStation, because all of them would never agree on a single film to watch – the three had very different tastes and then there were the little girls, Nicholas and Serena to consider as well.

In the end, Katherine and Meredith went to the latter's room to play with dolls, leaving Nicholas and Serena alone. The girl didn't take long to decide that she liked talking to Nicholas, who was so casual and comfortable that it was impossible to say they had just met. The conversation was flowing the entire time, ranging from music and books to movies and even cartoons. Every now and then one of them would crack a joke and, while his were actually funny, hers were so pathetic that people just had to laugh at them. When the pizzas arrived, he insisted on helping her carry the boxes and set everything on the dinner table. While their little sisters talked about other flavors they liked, Nicholas changed the subject to school, which hadn't been discussed up until that moment.

"Oh, I don't go to Yale," Serena said after he asked which was her major. "I was just there to pick Gilb up. He was going to help me study, but I let him off the hook after the fight. I study History at SCSU."

"It's an interesting major. Douglas is a close friend of yours then?"

"He's my very best one. We've known each other since diaper days and sealed our friendship in kindergarten, after he kicked a teacher's leg because she was being mean to me. Gilb doesn't like it when I tell people that he's a sweetheart."

"He doesn't play the sweetheart role often if he's one. Isaac sure knows it," he said with a small smile. "I think Zac was upset that Yvonne refused to go out with him."

"You study together?"

Nicholas shook his head in a negative way while taking a bite of his slice. He then chewed and swallowed it before telling her that he studied economy, Isaac was pre-Med and Yvonne was an Economic History major. She already knew that Douglas was pre-Law so there was no need to remind her of that. The young man then told her about transferring from Harvard to Yale so he could spend more time with his sister and how he'd met the people they were talking about. Even though Douglas and he didn't talk so often, he actually considered the explosive guy to be a friend because he could always trust Douglas to be blatantly honest. Serena chuckled at that, it was just so true.

After everyone was done eating, Nicholas reminded the little girls of his dessert offer and invited the three teenagers to join them. Joanna politely refused the invitation and put both Ashley and Bart to work by telling them to do the dishes while she supervised everything. Katherine and Meredith playfully whined until Serena finally agreed to go with them to a cute diner where the brown-haired female was sure she had never been before. The beige walls inside were littered with paintings and pictures in all kinds of frames, from metal or wooden to black or colorful. Some pictures showed food, other showed scenes from famous movies, of known cities or important people. The tables were either round or square with silver condiment sets on top and matching wooden chairs, but one of the sides had cozy booths. It seemed like a nice place to hang out with friends or a date; especially because it wasn't too crowded or noisy.

Meredith picked a round table in the back of the diner while Katherine headed to the bathroom. The seven-year-olds sat next to each other on the side of the table that faced the diner's doors so they could see if anyone arrived or left and made their siblings take the available seats. As soon as the four sat down, a plump lady wearing a sixties-inspired uniform walked over to their place and handed them menus while smiling warmly. The Vass siblings didn't even look at the carte du jour before making their orders. Nicholas settled on profiteroles with pistachios and chocolate ice cream, while his sister got a strawberry milkshake with caramel syrup. Serena took a few moments before deciding on a coffee-flavored sundae with extra whipped cream and her sister went for a banana split. As they waited for their goods to be delivered, Nicholas entertained them with tales about his sister's earlier days and the vacations they spent together. It wasn't hard to realize two things about the young man: he had a gift for story-telling and adored his sister more than anything else in the world.

The banana split was huge and Serena wondered if Meredith would manage to eat all of it, but her doubts vanished as soon as her sister allowed her to prove some of the sweet thing and she realized how delicious it was. Katherine offered everyone a gulp of her strawberry milkshake and seemed to be pleased when both older siblings refused it by saying they didn't really like things made out of strawberry, even if they liked the fruit itself. The little girls weren't particularly tempted to try the sundae because it was made out of coffee and decided to stick to their choices. Nicholas said they could eat his profiteroles if they wanted, but none of them made a move. While Katherine and Meredith didn't even spare a glance at his food, Serena would eye it every now and then. She'd never heard of profiteroles before, at least from what she could remember, and was curious to find out what they tasted like, but was too shy to take up the open offer he'd made.

His strong voice startled her when Nicholas stated again that she could have one of the delicious-looking profiteroles and Serena blushed for she hadn't noticed that he'd been aware of her furtive glances. With a small smile, she accepted his fork and carefully stabbed one of the sweets, noticing that the melting ice cream was dropping from it. She took a bite of it and wasn't surprised to realize they tasted as good as they looked. When she asked, Nicholas explained that they were made from a small, round baked choux pastry filled with a sweet filling, generally ice cream, and covered with chocolate syrup. The two didn't seem to hear their siblings' giggles at their sudden closeness over sweet food.

"I don't think I've ever eaten something that tasted this good," Serena stated truthfully; even her own chocolate muffins weren't that good and she was an expert at making them.

"These are the second best I've had. There's a French place in West Haven that has the absolute best. I can take you there some time if you want," Nicholas proposed and watched Serena take another bite of the profiterole.

"That'd be great actually. If they're better than this I'll sure have an orgasm," the brunette said before she could stop herself.

"What's an orgasm?" Katherine asked and Serena blushed even more. Nicholas smirked, obviously having fun with the situation and expectantly looking at the young woman to hear the answer as well.

"It's a big jolt of, uh, pleasure."

"How do you have an orgasm?" Meredith wanted to know.

"By eating chocolate," she replied without hesitation and noticed how Nicholas struggled to keep from laughing.

The little girls were satisfied with the answers and resumed to talking between them while eating their treats. Serena put the fork back on the plate and slumped down on her seat, hardly believing what she had just said to her seven-year-old sister and the girl's best friend. Obviously, the girl's sister thought she was a sexed up maniac or something of the sort, when the truth was that Serena's best friend had made one two many similes about food and sex that it'd eventually rubbed off on her.

"So, chocolate gives people orgasms?" Nicholas whispered in her ear and only then Serena noticed that he'd slumped down as well and moved his chair closer to hers so that he could speak without having their siblings listening.

"It's scientifically proved, ok? I've read it somewhere. Even Britney Spears said so."

"Oh, yeah, because she's such an expert, right?" he teased back and smiled at the speechless girl before leaning in even more, making her eyes widen a bit for a second. "You have some chocolate here."

He used a napkin to clean the corner of Serena's mouth and smiled at her. She smiled back at him after making a goofy face. Only when their siblings called their attention that Nicholas looked away from her.