Disclaimer:I am not the owner of any registered, trademarked, or copyright holding noun below. Don't sue. I'm a college student and tuition is killer…
I should have known better. Time and time again, I found myself dropping my guard carelessly. It only took a window of about an hour for the damage to be done. In this particular case, it was my hair that was suffering.
My usually healthy-looking, blonde hair was now the unsettling color of split-pea soup. To add to the effect, a number of strands had picked up a shade of neon orange—a color that would make any highlighter hide in shame. With barf colored hair and bright carrot streaks, I had to admit that he had gotten me good.
Still confused? Let me explain, then. Name's April Oaken. I'm eighteen years old and a humble freshman at the Markson School of the Arts in upstate New York. At the last doctor's appointment, I was five feet and one and a half inches-yes, the half matters, and weighed about one hundred and two pounds. I've got glassy blue eyes that you cannot stare into for hours and relatively pale skin. By now, you should know I'm not too private about such things. Moving on to my figure, I'm oddly shaped—to say the least. My arms seem too long, my torso too short, and my legs just fine.
Oh! And I forgot to mention my God-given ability. Although you may not think so while watching me in my victim state, I am the queen of practical jokes. My philosophy has always been something along the lines of, "Life's too short, so live, laugh, and prank." Now, you may be thinking, "Pranks? Is she for real? Isn't that a bit too juvenile?" To you, I say, there is no greater joy than laughing so hard that your diaphragm begs for mercy and your hiccups get the hiccups. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.
Getting back to the matter of my hair, I quickly found out that shampooing it again did nothing to lessen the offending colors. The jerk had managed to switch my shampoo and conditioner with some similar looking goo that turned my hair into an irremovable vomit-inducer. I wasn't too upset; it was all in good fun and basically, what I lived for.
After testing a number of unusual substances on my hair, I was giving up hope. It was another one of my personal rules to admit defeat when the time came and move on to plan revenge. Some of my best pranks were born that way. Reaching for my Yankees cap to cover the abomination, I noticed a jar of peanut butter under my bed. Every other possibility had been exhausted, so I hastily unscrewed the lid and proceeded to slather my hair with brown spread—creamy style, of course.
And amazingly enough, it worked. The familiar blonde locks I had grown to love resurfaced as I washed the nutty paste out. Toweling my head off, I glanced at the clock and muttered an expletive. It was 8:40 AM and my class, on the other side of campus, started promptly at 8:45.
I pulled on the baseball cap, grabbed my bookbag, and dashed out the door with a huff. Payback would have to wait for another eighty minutes.
Two hours later, I found myself rummaging through my bag, looking for my keys. I'll admit, it's a flaw of mine. I am horribly disorganized and can never seem to find anything when I need it. "Oh crap!" I swore loudly as my keys dove deeper into the crevices of my backpack.
"You should try keeping it on a key chain," a female voice spoke—one that I was very glad to hear at the time. My roommate, Candace Sedgwick, stood before me in the open doorway with her arms crossed.
"Sorry?" I muttered while walking into our room. "It's just been a crazy day," I sighed.
"The door was unlocked when I got back from class," she stated quite sternly. Candace was a green-eyed, golden-haired being that looked amusing even when she was trying to be serious. Her authoritative tone, however, made me feel as though I was speaking with my mother.
"Sorry, again," I apologized. "I was in a hurry and locking the door slipped my mind."
"Just be careful it doesn't happen again," she continued in warning. "It's no wonder Hannigan can get in and out so easily. You're practically asking for it April!" I shrugged meekly while piling my textbooks on my unmade bed.
"I guess you're right," I admitted. "You should have been here this morning. I got out of the shower and you wouldn't believe what happened."
"What? Did he put itching powder in your towel? No wait, let me guess, he turned all the clocks back?"
I smiled at those fond memories. The only way to get better is to learn from your mistakes and your experiences. "No, even better! He did something weird with my shampoo and conditioner. It turned my hair this disgusting color with these blinding orange highlights," I said with unexpected excitement.
Candace made a repulsed face before responding, "You both are so strange. I wonder if his roommate goes through the same crazy stuff as me…" I shrugged again and reached for a notebook. "I'll see you later," Candace voiced, "I'm heading to the gym."
I nodded in acknowledgement of her response. "Oh, and hey! If you see Hannigan, tell him I'm still trying to get my hair back to normal," I added on.
"Why?" she asked with her hand on the doorknob. "You've already gotten it out."
"Sweet, naïve Candace," I tutted, "It's never too late to play mind games."
"Whatever you say," she replied, "Getting between you and Hannigan is better than getting on your bad side," she said before leaving with a smile. I furrowed my brows at her response and began plotting my revenge on Sean Hannigan.
Or should I say Shenanigan Hannigan—as he's come to be known at our humble school. Either way, he's the guy Candace was referring to, Sean Lochlan Hannigan. I know; could he be any more Irish? Apparently, yes. His characteristic red head of hair, coupled with his blazing blue eyes, spoke loudly of his heritage. The boy stood at about six feet and one inch and was as lanky as they come. Appearance aside, he lived in Johnson Hall—the dorm building right across from Emmet Hall, my dorm building. He was generally well liked and to my incredible entertainment, terribly awkward with the ladies. I suppose all the pranking forms a huge void of seriousness. I should know; if he's Shenanigan Hannigan, I'm Jokin' Oaken. Hey, don't look at me, I didn't come up with the names…
A couple of hours later, a sharp knocking on the door snapped me out of my scheming mode. It was three o'clock in the afternoon and much more temperate than it was that morning. I grumbled as I walked to the door and yanked it open. I was met with a face I didn't recognize. "I'm sorry, can I help you?" The Hollister wearing teenager before me only snapped her gum in response. "Hel-lo. Can. I. Help. You?" I all but signed out. Evidently, I'm snarky when interrupted from plotting.
"Oh, ya. Some guy outside wants me to tell you that he hopes you had a good morning."
I smiled in comprehension of her words; Hannigan was probably relishing in triumph all day. "Tell him, I did. And… also, that he had better watch his back," I conveyed to the girl.
"What?" she responded after another snap of her gum, "I'm not some message deliverer. I only did what he asked because he was kinda cute," she annoyingly explained. "Oh," her eyes lit up, "Are you guys dating?"
My face scrunched up with bewilderment. "No, what gives you that idea?" I asked, genuinely curious. Most people knew of our little "feuding arrangement," and those who didn't, never jumped to the conclusion of us being an item.
"It seems like it would make sense. I mean, what did he do for you this morning?" she questioned while picking at her nails. "Oh my god! I'm not part of some crazy morning after apology, am I?" she voiced with widened eyes. "Because that is just TOO messed up!"
"Who are you?" I asked flatly after rolling my eyes at her outburst. It wasn't everyday that I had random people assuming that I had slept with Sean Hannigan.
"Oh, duh," she tapped her head. "My name's Allison. But you can call me Allie," she said with an overly enthusiastic smile.
"Okay, listen up, Allie," I started. "That guy and I did not, are not, and will not ever be doing what you just thought. Got it?"
"Sure, whatever you say," she answered with disinterest. "So… would it be okay if I asked him out?"
Who the hell was this girl? And why did she think I had some authority over Hannigan. I was about to tell her to do whatever she wanted when I replayed my thoughts. An evil smile made its way to my lips as I spoke. "I guess so. But you might want to reconsider that."
"Huh? Why?" she asked with obvious confusion.
"Well, it's just that the guy you're talking about has a serious case of…back acne." Back acne? I was losing my touch.
Even so, the horrified look on the girl's face was priceless. Her face went from unusually cheerful to absolutely disgusted in a matter of milliseconds. "AUGH!" she shouted, "that's completely gross!" Allison/Allie didn't even bother to say bye before closing her eyes and dashing down the hall. I snickered with satisfaction. Markson was only a school of about five thousand students. It would only be a matter of hours before most of the freshman class was aware of Sean's unsightly condition, however imaginary it was.
The next day, I double-checked my shampoo and conditioner before washing away the smell of peanut butter. I didn't put it past him to run the same gag twice; nothing was for certain where pranking was concerned.
After swapping my pants for a pair of shorts, I moved to my desk to check Sean's schedule. "Calculus II, General Psychology, and Macroeconomics—my, my Hannigan, you've got a busy day," I thought aloud.
I smiled to myself before grabbing my backpack and an apple. In contrast to Sean's day, mine was completely empty. I had somehow managed to schedule my courses with Wednesdays off. While not the most ideal day to be free of classes, it was nice to have a break in the middle of the week, a good chance to catch up on work, if nothing else. Which was exactly what I was doing.
On that particular Wednesday, the floor study lounge was unusually empty. I situated myself into my favorite corner armchair before taking out my two ton Sociology textbook. Just because I pranked, didn't mean I brushed off school. For the next four hours, I fully immersed myself in experiments and theories. It was somewhere between altruism and authoritarianism that my stomach gave an unpleasant growl.
Impressed with the amount of studying I had accomplished, I decided to grab a meal at the dining hall. I was just about to turn the corner to the hallway with my room when I heard Candace's voice.
"Fine, fine. I'll do it. Just don't tell her—she'd kill me."
A satisfied laugh sounded before a voice spoke in response. "You're right, she would."
My ears perked in recognition of Sean's voice as I continued eavesdropping with more attention. "So you get the whole idea, right?"
"Ya, I think so. Are you sure you want to do this though?"
"I've only been planning it for a month now, so I'm pretty sure. Yes," he answered with confidence.
"You don't think you should do it a little differently? What if she doesn't fall for it?" I silently gasped at Candace's words. My own roommate had crossed over to the Dark Side.
"She will. She has to," he replied again with conviction. What made him so certain? I'd never know…
"Alright, if that's what you want to do. I just hope this whole thing doesn't backfire and blow up in your face. April's a bit unpredictable."
"Damn straight," I quietly huffed from my post around the corner.
"I know," Sean stated, "I'm counting on that." By this time, my curiosity was practically killing me. If he had some master prank planned for me, I'd have an even better one planned for him.
"Okay, so it's settled. Friday afternoon," Candace spoke. "Now get out of here before she shows up."
"Thanks a lot, Candace. I owe you," Sean said while walking towards the stairway. The same stairway accessible from the hallway I was currently standing in.
I bit my lip while scanning the corridor for a place to hide. The passage was deserted and all the doors were closed and presumably locked. I inhaled sharply before making a mad dash for the stairway—a quiet mad dash.
I reached the first few steps when I heard the sound of the door opening behind me. I quickly turned around and made it seem as though I was just getting back. I'm clever, I know.
"Oaken," Sean stated in greeting.
"Hannigan," I shot back, not looking him in the eye.
"I see your hair is back to normal," he said as he continued to block my exit at the top of the stairs.
'Nice going, April. You left it uncovered,' I mentally scolded myself.
"Yup. Seems your eyes are fully functional Hannigan," I said while climbing another step towards the doorway and him.
"I'm curious; how'd you get it out?"
"Peanut butter, really?" Sean went on, while making no motions to move.
"Ya," I supplied with a blank look. "And as much as I love talking to you in empty stairways—and by love, I mean incredibly dislike—I want you get out of my way."
He only smiled in response before taking two steps down the stairs. "No problem, Oaken. And don't worry," he continued, while taking a few more steps past me, "I wasn't here planning a prank."
"Fat chance," I muttered at his retreating form before heading to my room. The plan I had designed yesterday needed some serious editing. If Sean was going to recruit my roommate, then I'd just have to recruit his.
Twenty-four hours later, it was Thursday afternoon, and I had yet to enlist the help of Hannigan's roommate. With time running low, I decided to skip my 5:45 Sociology class and made a bee line for Johnson Hall around four.
Unlike the easily identifiable room numbers in Emmet Hall, the Johnson Hall dorms' numbers were largely absent. One had to navigate the halls with common sense and a keen sense of direction. Having frequented the building due to my craft, I quickly found Sean's room and knocked for a response.
A split-second after my knuckles connected with wood, the door swung inward to reveal a very shirtless individual. To my initial satisfaction and later regret, I let my eyes rake his body and take in the ridiculously pleasant sight before me.
"Hey, sweetheart. My face is up here."
My eyes snapped up with a jerk as my cheeks flushed fives shades of red. I could damn my hormones later, but at the moment, I could not deny that Arturo Martinez was a gift to womankind. Too bad he knew that all too well.
"Don't be embarrassed, babe. Girls have been rendered speechless with much less than this," he declared while openly gesturing to his delightfully defined torso. I shook my head in disbelief as I brushed past him and into the room.
"So, what can I do for you?" he smugly asked while taking a seat on his bed. Gorgeous and proud—a combination the world could do without. I sighed and remained standing before speaking.
"I've got a favor to ask of you," I started. "I need you to do something for me." It was only after the words had left my mouth that I noticed his eyes mentally undressing me.
"HEY!" I yelled at his roaming face.
"Sorry, sorry," he said with another smug smile. "Just returning the favor." I crossed my arms in front of me before narrowing my eyes in offense. "So, what is it that you want from me?" he questioned with one eyebrow raised.
I winced at the sexual innuendo and spoke, "I was hoping you'd help me with a prank."
His expression told me he was less than willing to comply. "No can do. You see, I have a strict no practical joke policy."
"Since when?" I hastily fired back.
"Since now," he stated flatly. The bastard was being difficult on purpose. My pulse quickened as my determination took the driver's seat.
"Listen, Martinez. You've got to—"
"Call me Art," he interrupted while pointing to a pair of panties hanging over his bed. I suppressed the urge to vomit when I read the words written on said underwear. "Nude ART is the best kind of art. XXX"
"You've got to help me! I won't take no for answer!" I shouted at him.
"Interesting. It's usually me who won't take no for an answer…" he replied.
"You're disgusting!" I shouted again. What good was an Adonis with the brain of Satan and the libido of an estrous animal?
"Despite how sexy you look when you're riled up, my loyalties lie with Hannigan. Sorry, babe," he answered with a grin. "Bros over hoes, you know." I laughed with skepticism in response. "To be honest, I'm surprised you haven't jumped his bones yet."
My skeptical laugh quickly turned into one of confusion and discomfort. "What?"
"You and Sean. The two of you seem to foster more sexual tension than I've managed to accumulate in my entire teenage livelihood." Cue another set of gagging actions by yours truly.
"What the hell are you talking about? Your ego is cutting off the blood supply to your brain."
"Joke all you want, sweetheart. I call it like it is." It shouldn't have bothered me, but the fact that two people had come to the same conclusion in the past forty-eight hours rubbed me the wrong way.
"Fine, whatever," I weakly countered. "Just don't tell Sean I was here," I said as I made my way to the door.
"That, I can do."
"Thanks," I expressed while giving his upper body a final perusal. Having a weak mind sometimes had its perks. "So, we're cool?" I asked when he rose from the bed and walked towards me.
"Yup. No hard feelings," he spoke while looking down. My eyes flashed in comprehension of his lewd words. I broke into a perverse laughter and closed the door in his face. So much for recruiting the roommate…
The last couple of days had whizzed by. Ever since I had overhead Sean and Candace in the hall, my curiosity was calling all the shots. After returning from Hannigan's room yesterday, I was forced to endure an all-nighter for an exam I had forgotten about, effectively suppressing the urge to snoop around.
It was twelve thirty on Friday when I made it back to my room. After taking a two-hour test, I was ready to get my hands dirty. You see, as unorganized as I am, my roommate is part robot and unbelievably neurotic about her possessions.
I usually don't pick at her stuff unless I'm desperate. In this case, I was beyond desperate. My first inclination was to check Candace's giant desk calendar. You'd be the surprised at the kinds of things she marks down…her menstrual cycle for one. After a few seconds of skimming, I ditched the calendar and began to poke around for her day planner.
Although it was usually on her person, she never took it with her to the gym. I prayed to some trickster god that Candace was, in actuality, at the gym and very much without her planner.
Given a few moments to search, I gave a silent yelp of joy when I identified the leather-bound book under her pillow. I snatched it open and hastily flipped to the current week. There, in her diminutive, mechanical script was the information I was looking for.
Wednesday March 30, 2008: Buy more cotton swabs. Give payment to Dr. Schultz. Sign up for earlier lab for Friday.
The earlier lab session on Friday ended at two. So whatever she was planning to do would occur after that time. I gave the wall clock a quick glance before replacing her planner and grabbing my wallet.
Even if I had just about an hour to come up with a gag and set it up and work out all the kinks, I was confident in my ability.
I blew a few wayward strands out of my face as I stood back to admire my handiwork. Though the joke was nowhere near as amazing as I'd wanted, it would have to do. All in all, it wasn't too shabby of a job.
I stashed all the supplies under my bed and waited for the moment of truth to come.
At around two thirty, Candace walked in with a grin on her face. Usually a normal occurrence, her smile seemed unnaturally big that day. "What's up?" I asked in greeting.
"Not much. Just got in a really good workout. Pretty pumped," she said as she tore off her sweatshirt and kicked off her shoes.
"That would be the endorphins, Candace," I rationalized, "So, it's Friday."
"Yup, it is. And thank god for that too," she stated with a toss of her hands. Her sweaty blond hair stuck to her forehead as she slipped on a pair of flip flops and proceeded to talk. "I've got this huge final project due next week, but you know what?"
"I don't give a damn!" she gleefully yelled at me.
"Whoa, are you okay?" The Candace Sedgwick I knew would never say something like that.
"Yes. I'm one hundred percent A-OK," she explained with a Cheshire cat smile. I would have feared for my life any other day, but today, I was bent on catching Sean off guard.
"Are you going anywhere tonight?" my roommate suspiciously questioned. I responded in the negative with a shake of my head. "Cool. Can you do me a favor then?"
"Sure," I answered. I was having a hard time detecting the connection between Candace's odd behavior and Sean's imminent prank.
"I lost my key earlier today. I was hoping you'd stay in the room while I went to the Residential Life building to get another one."
"Erm…I guess that's not really a problem." If Sean did come by, as I anticipated him to, he'd walk right into my trap. If he didn't, then I was pretty safe in my room. It was a win/win for me.
"Really? Oh, thank you so much!"
"It's no big deal. Seriously," I honestly said. I'll admit, Candace was laying on her jubilation a little thick, but Hannigan was going down regardless.
"Oh, and also. Could I borrow your key to make the copy?" Now, this is when the neon "WARNING" sign went off in my brain. Without a key, I would be unable to lock the room if I wanted to leave. I assumed a sitting duck was exactly what Sean had wanted.
"Ya, here. Take it," I effortlessly tossed the key at Candace's still smiling face.
"Thanks again," she said before leaving. The door clicked when it closed, leaving me alone and bored. I double-checked the triggers for my gag and started working on a paper for Monday. The mechanical patter of the letter keys eventually lulled me into a hypnotic state of remarkable efficiency. In a matter of fifteen minutes, I had managed to dish out an impressive introduction.
It was a harsh knock on the door that prevented me from returning to my argument against universal healthcare. I turned from my post to "greet" my visitor. "Come in."
It was Hannigan. His uncertain smile triggered a silent snicker from me. "Hey, Oaken," he started somewhat coolly. "Mind if I come in?"
I rolled my eyes at him. "You're already in, aren't you?" I stated.
"Right. So, um. This is going to sound really strange, but hear me out first, okay?"
I raised one eyebrow in response. The whole uncertain/desperate look was unbecoming of Hannigan.
"See, the thing is…" he continued, "I'm here to talk to you about some kind of truce." Both of my eyebrows shot up automatically. A truce? Was he kidding?
"You have got to be kidding me," I deadpanned. Of all the plausible things he could have said to make me fall for a prank, that was what he chose? Lame, Hannigan.
"No, I'm not kidding," he said with more conviction. "Give me a chance to explain, completely uninterrupted, and then decide if you want to call it quits."
I sighed before agreeing. It was refreshing to have your rival practically begging you for something. A girl has her ego to stroke too.
"Alright, here I go," he exhaled shortly. "I'd really like to come to some sort of cease-fire. Although practical jokes are basically in my blood, I think I have to stop."
"Why?" I asked with a brazen look.
"No interruptions," he jokingly reminded. "I want to stop this back and forth thing. I can't really say this any other way, so I'll just say it."
"Please," I urged rudely.
"I'm sure you already know this, but my track record with girls isn't exactly stellar."
"More like nonexistent," I muttered happily.
"Nice, Oaken. Thanks." I shrugged as he went on. "Well… I guess to remedy that, I've got this girl that I think I have a thing for."
"You're serious?" I asked with a poorly stifled chuckle.
"Seeing as you keep interrupting, I'll try to make this short."
"Much obliged," I appeased.
"Yes, I'm serious. You can make fun of me all you want later, but let me finish first. So, evidently, being known as the master of practical jokes and having people call you Shenanigan is not what girls want in a guy."
"Master? You? Please, don't flatter yourself."
"Damn, Oaken! Can't you shut up for one minute so I can finish what I have to say?" he snapped.
He glared at me before going on, "Are you willing to stop, then?" And then he paused as if to rethink his next words. "Truce?"
I stared at his outstretched hand in disgust. "You want to give up your creative outlet for some girl? I'm disappointed in you, Hannigan."
"Don't give me crap about it, okay? You girls go on and on about wanting a guy with a sense of humor, but when it comes down to it, joking around gets old way too fast," he affirmed with a defeated look on his face.
"Awww, did some girl dump you? Better yet, did she give you this ultimatum?"
He brushed aside my low blow of a question and took another step towards me. "Just drop all your questions and answer mine. Yes or no?"
"So, we completely stop?"
"No more practical jokes? Not even little ones?"
"No," he stated unenthusiastically.
"Damn it, do you enjoy driving me insane? Just tell me!"
"Apparently, I do," I said with a sneer. "And for the record, you're an idiot."
"And you're a pain in the ass."
"Charming. No, you really are an idiot. You're going to abandon the only redeeming thing about yourself. No more late-night stakeouts so you can sneak into a room, no more scheming and plotting, no more adrenaline rushes as you nearly get caught, no more sublime satisfaction when it comes to fruition, no more—"
"I get the idea," he said with a fixed stare aimed at my face.
How could he be so apathetic about it? It may seem overdramatic, but it was part of who he was!
"You're pathetic," I shouted as my frustration boiled over. "What vacuous hussy talked you into this?"
"Hey, I said don't give me crap," he retorted with a heated tone. His blue eyes blazed down at me as I rose from the chair and took two steps towards him. "And don't call her a hussy; it's uncalled for."
"Oh? So, she is vacuous? Maybe one of Martinez's leftovers? He did say something about bros over hoes…maybe that's how you guys work things out? A 'what's yours is mine' policy?" I rapid-fired, keeping my unnerving leer intact.
"This is to typical of you. Accusing left and right," he pointed out with another step, making us about a foot away from each other.
"Well, what am I supposed to think? You two are roommates. The guy has panties over his bed and emits pheromones 24/7/365," I exclaimed with a flourish of my arms. The rise in my voice instigated Hannigan further.
"As far as I know, she's nothing like that. And why the hell have you been talking to Art?"
"Now who's changing topics?" I asked with a jab of my finger. He recoiled slightly at my touch and took a step back.
"No one's changing topics. You just refuse to answer my question."
"Fine then, No." There, I had answered his stupid question.
"No?" he repeated with flashing eyes and a step forward.
"NO! Clear enough for you? Call me selfish, childish, whatever, but I'm not stopping just so some girl and you can…I don't know," my breathing hitched.
Barely a foot away from me, Sean leaned down before whispering, "I was hoping you'd say that."
My blue eyes snapped to his in complete puzzlement. His annoying face was way too close to mine and for some reason, the corners of his mouth turned up when I involuntarily moved closer.
One moment we were arguing, and the next, his lips were on mine.
With a mind of their own, my feet arched up and my hands tugged at his shirt. With a guarded sigh, he disconnected our mouths and nudged me away. "Ya…so…" he attempted with a smile.
My dilated pupils should have been indication enough as I basically vaulted myself off the chair and into his arms. "Shit! Oaken, you're—oomph!"
My tiny mouth dove for his as my legs automatically wrapped themselves around his middle. With one arm over his shoulder and one hand buried in his gloriously soft head of hair, I let myself go. His lips heatedly pulled at mine as his arms wrapped under my thighs. I smiled against his mouth when I felt his quickening heartbeat pounding against my own. He grinned back before leaving my lips and ravaging my neck. I trailed a few slow kisses across his jaw line before nipping at his earlobe successfully eliciting a moan.
Displeased with my upper hand, his lips connected with my collarbone and I let out a breathy laugh. He skimmed across to the other side of my neck before meeting my lips for another set of heavy kisses. He let out another groan when my hands found their way up the back of his shirt.
Even with a hazy fog lodged in my head, I processed his smooth acne-free back just fine. I could feel the strain in his back muscles when his hands left my legs to roam my lower back. (Lanky? My, how I was wrong.) His cool fingers drew circles on my sides and then wrapped around my waist, securing me to him. My insides did another topsy-turvy when his thumb pads caressed my hipbones. All the while, my mouth was still locked to his. Boldly, I grazed his teeth with my tongue after a particularly long open-mouthed kiss. To my approval, he leaned in and walked forward to sandwich me between the wall and him.
The cold, cinderblock dorm wall sent a jolt through my body and the haze vanished. I wrenched my lips from his and shoved at his chest with all my might.
"What? What's wrong?" he asked genuinely worried.
"YOU! Y-you. You, you…you," I stuttered with an accusatory finger.
"What!" he responded with anger. "Me?"
"You. You're sick! You, that was your whole angle, wasn't it?" I insisted while backing away from him.
"I swear, Oaken. What the HELL are you talking about?" he questioned with bewilderment.
I scoffed at his "act" and moved further away. In my unstable state, my eyes darted all over the room, refusing to lock with his. As they zipped past Candace's wall calendar my innards lurched.
"Today! You are a supreme jackass, Hannigan. And don't give me that fake, lost look. You come in here all desperate about some girl you're hung up on and then THAT?" I laughed incredulously as my arms flailed about wildly.
"Calm down. You're misunderstanding," he tried.
"Don't you tell me to calm down. I can't believe Candace helped you do this. You're worse than Martinez."
"You know Candace was helping me? So, then you know what this is all about, right?"
"I do now, bucko! You're a Grade A bastard and I hope you rot in the ninth circle of hell!" I collapsed onto my bed as a bout of manic giggles surfaced. "In any case, you win."
"I swear on my Camero, I don't understand anything you're saying." By now he was halfway into the room and almost hurt looking.
"You win. I lose. You got me, fair and square. Well, not exactly, but we never really play fair so…" I said as I sat up, relatively calmer.
He grabbed his head and squinted his eyes at my rambling. "Can you just explain to me what you think is going on?"
I gave a weak guffaw and understood, "Today's April first. I fell for your set up hook, line, and sinker." I hunched my shoulders in preparation of his jeering and cheering.
"Crap, that backfired badly," he said to himself. Now, I was the one confused. "I know today's April Fool's Day," he acknowledged, "I was hoping that some trickster god would make it work in my favor."
"Make what work in your favor?" I asked with peaked interest.
Sean's ears glowed a bright pink at his next words. "I had to talk to you about that girl. I wanted to know if you'd let me stop joking around."
"And you got your answer, didn't you?" He nodded affirmatively. "Then, where the hell did that crazy session come from?" I demanded crossly.
"You make it sound as though that whole thing was all me," he declared.
"That's besides the point! You went on and on about some girl and then you do that. It's low, very low. But, like I said before, it worked."
"You're unbelievable! You leapt onto me, and it took you quite a while to back away—you know that. So, don't go pinning this all on me." I opened my mouth to speak but he slapped his hand over my mouth and took a seat next to me. "I wasn't trying to prank you just now. Whatever I said was completely true. And if by win, you mean I got you to kiss me, then yes, I did win," he finished and removed his hand from my mouth.
"So, you admit the whole thing was a ruse?" I said with a set of finger jabs to his chest.
"No," he answered while grasping both my hands in his much bigger ones. "All I'm admitting is that I'm sorry if any of this offended you. And…and that I like you. A lot."
Caught unaware, my eyebrows shot up inquisitively as my eyes widened with apprehension. My mouth formed a cautious smile before opening to let out a real laugh.
"You're laughing?" he asked after hanging his head in shame. "I'm never going to live this down, am I?"
I quelled my errant laughter before asking my own question. "You're serious about what you just said?"
"Back to this again?" he groaned in annoyance. "I'm dead serious. I summoned every unsmiling, solemn particle in my body when I said that."
I yanked the collar of his shirt and pulled his head up to face mine. "It takes a bit getting used to, you know. The serious version of you. He's kind of vulnerable and endearing."
"And now I'm being mocked. This is just so humbling," he mumbled before I gave him a smack on the head.
"So, last time. I promise. It's April Fool's Day, you've got no prank planned, and you honest to gags like me, like me?"
He gave a hearty chuckle as he grabbed my face with his slightly callused hands. Jokes aside, the feel of his rough hands on my cheeks made me wonderfully anxious. "Though I can't exactly say why, I actually look forward to falling for one of your pranks. I used to play practical jokes for the sheer enjoyment of watching the sucker scramble and sputter about, but now…I'm not so sure. It's probably been a lot sooner than I'd like to admit, but lately I've been unusually happy whenever I saw you grinning at my victim state," he openly confessed.
"Ya, right," I said against his hand.
"I figured it meant something was off. I could be wrong, April, but I seriously doubt it…" At this, he let go of my face and rubbed the top of his head. "Besides, after that exchange a couple of minutes ago, I'd be a real ass if I said otherwise."
I blinked a few times to process all that had just been revealed. As the light bulbs flickered on in my brain, I formed a coherent sentence. "Cool, so tell me what you used in my shampoo."
"You ARE insane. A guy just poured his heart out and that's what's on your mind?"
"Pleeeeeaaaassssseeee, Sean," I begged, "It's been killing me."
"Only if you tell me where you got all of those phone books from. I was thinking of doing that a long time ago, but I couldn't find enough of—"
I rolled my eyes and grabbed his collar. "You talk too much." When my lips collided with his, I felt his resistance immediately. "What?"
"So, I take it, you like me too?"
"After that exchange a couple of minutes ago, I'd be a real ass if I said otherwise," I beamed.
"Happy April Fool's Day," he said softly before pushing a kiss to my cheek.
As you can probably guess, Hannigan and I quickly became a "couple" of sorts. (It's always the characters themselves that are the last to know they're great for each other—damn Martinez and Allison/Allie.) We did the conventional going out on dates, waiting for each other after classes, and making out whenever we damn well pleased. A pretty good deal, if you ask me. But here's the best part—we still pranked relentlessly.
After that historic Friday, I quickly made it clear that I would dump Sean's ass if he ever stopped playing tricks. Like I said before, it's too much a part of who he is. The same went for me. It worked out for the best though; we're always pushing each other for the next best escapade. Schemes, ploys, hoaxes, antics, monkeyshines, tricks, tomfoolery, jokes, high jinks—it all just makes us, us.
Just the other day, I snuck into the boy's bathrooms and stole all of Sean's clothes. It's simple, but it does the trick. And today, when I needed a pen for class, I found every writing utensil I owned covered with a thick layer of clear nail polish. He knows how far is too far, and I wouldn't have him any other way.
My only regret in all of this was how angry Candace got when she walked in that Friday and fell right into my practical joke. Real Canadian maple syrup and down feathers, you try getting all that off and tell me how happy you are…She calmed down after I told her about Hannigan and me though.
"Ready to go, Jokey?" Sean asked from my doorway.
"Yup, get ready to get your ass kicked at mini-golf, Shenanigan" I challenged as I followed him out the door. I know, we're too cute.
What can I say? I'm his fool and he's my fool.
Just wait until he gets back to his dorm tonight…boy, is he in for a shocker.
Phew, finished. Here's another onesie, wrapped up and posted for your enjoyment. Review if you liked it, review if you didn't. Character pictures can be found on my homepage—just click the link in my profile and hit OneShotPix. Oh, and that last line refers to another prank—nothing corrupt or dirty (teenagers and their pervy minds—tisk, tisk).