Summary: We all know the clichés. Popular jock falls for nerdy, shy girl. Girl falls for best friend's brother. Girl falls for brother's best friend. But life never works out that way. Clichés never work out in real life. You can only expect to find them in Meg Cabot books and Disney movies. Then he came to our school. Oh boy.

Chapter 8- Flip a Shit
I yawned as I wondered into the kitchen in my pajamas, thinking about how glad I was that the week was over. The first few weeks of the school year always end up dragging on forever. Especially when you have extra practice on Friday after school.

But, on the upside, we had just finished our first month of school, so that meant there were only nine more months until I was officially free from high school forever. Joy, that.

The boys were all at my house once again (they were practically always at our house). Whenever the boys came over, it typically meant I went to Allie's for a little while after soccer practice. And despite the fact that I had been home for two hours, I still hadn't seen my brother or any of his friends. It was getting a little disturbing, but it wasn't like I didn't know where they were.

Despite the fact that it was a little after midnight, the boys were obviously still goofing off in the basement. It sounded like they were playing Halo, judging by the random "ah, come on"s and the "you have got to be shitting me"s and the "how the hell did you do that"s. I thought I'd go join them after I got a drink. I stink at Halo (I don't have the anatomy necessary to have a natural skill), but I figured I might be able to get them to change games after enough whining about how it was their fault I was still up anyway.

I smirked slightly to myself. Dance Dance Revolution wasn't sounding like a bad idea. Or maybe Mario Kart if I was feeling extra vindictive.

Just as I was pulling a cup out of the cabinet, I heard someone shuffling into the room. Only one of my brother's friends would be willing to leave the chaos downstairs to come down to the kitchen. "Hey, Rory," I said without looking at him. "Who's winning?"

"Hunter, actually, but Jim's a close second."

I let out a slight 'eep' of shock, spinning around the face the source of the voice. That wasn't Rory. "What are you doing here?"

Alex shrugged, smiling sheepishly. "You brother invited me. Said something about I needed to make friends eventually or something."

"Oh." I managed a grin despite my surprise. Jim really needed to start warning me before he did things. Not that I minded Alex at all, it was just a little surprising to suddenly find him in my kitchen. "You need help finding something?"

He looked slightly embarrassed. "A Coke?"

"We've got that," I said cheerfully, going over to the fridge and pulling out a can. I couldn't help wrinkling my nose at it as I handed it to him. "Sorry about the caffeine free crap. The guys know by now to bring their own stuff, so I guess he forgot to warn you. Mom thinks if they have less caffeine, they'll be quieter."

He smiled slightly. "Does it work?"

I grinned. "You kidding me? Have you been listening to yourselves?"

He laughed slightly. "Finn said your mom flips one every time they come over."

"For the first few hours," I said, shrugging as I filled a cup up with water from the sink. "She has very, very good ear plugs so she can sleep though."

"If your mom doesn't like everyone being here, why don't you ever stay at your dad's?" he asked curiously.

I choked on my drink, immediately breaking into a coughing fit just as Cody appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. "That was a nice greeting," Cody said cheerfully, ignoring the fact that I was choking to head to the fridge himself. For as nice as they can be on occasion, but brother's friends can also be heartless dumbasses.

"You alright?" Alex asked, patting me on the back a couple of times. I nodded, my eyes watering. I wheezed a couple of times before finally straightening up and glaring at Cody.

He just shrugged shamelessly. "You survived, didn't you?" I just shot him a wry look, making him shrug again. He turned his attention to Alex. "We're about to change games because Hunt and Jay are being pussies about it. Anything you want to play?"

"DDR!" I threw in cheerfully, making both of the boys shoot me slightly disgusted looks. Coming from Cody, it was a relatively common thing. Coming from Alex, it just made me burst out laughing. It was a new look for him. "Oh, come on," I said as soon as I managed to get my laughter down to giggles. "You guys could beat me."

"You only own that game because you and Allie are obsessed with it," Cody said, shooting me a look. Suddenly, a grin crossed his face. "I'll help you convince them if you kiss me."

"Slime ball," I said easily, grabbing my cup and heading past them and down the stairs.

When I walked down the stairs, Jim and Hunter were still trying to take each other down with Halo. "My beautiful flower!" Finn cried cheerfully as soon as he noticed me. "I was wondering where you were."

"She's been home for two hours, sleeze," Jim said dryly, not bothering to look away from the TV. "And it's a damn good thing you didn't know it too, or you might've—SHIT! What the fuck, Hunt?! Where the hell did you come from?"

"I win," Hunter said, grinning smugly.

"I'm insulted that you think I would try to seduce your sister," Finn said, putting a hand over his heart and pretending to be offended. "I mean, seriously, who would do such a thing?"

"Tanner just tried, but I turned him down," I said easily, plopping down on the couch next to Rory. I eyed him carefully. "You're not drunk, are you?" He shook his head, looking amused. "Good. You're my best bet, then. Wanna play DDR?"

"I said I'm not drunk, Lils," Rory said, smiling slightly.

"Actually, you didn't say anything," I corrected, grinning. "And you're way better at it than these other idiots as long as you stay sober. It's either that or Mario Kart." All of the boys groaned at the mention of Mario Kart. It really didn't matter how many people played or what character I had or what track we raced. I owned at Mario Kart.

"I'm going to regret this, but I can't listen to dance music during dude night," Jim said just as Alex and Cody entered the room. I cheered happily. Cody snorted slightly in disbelief, but Jim just gave him a look. "Hey, if you're up for DDR, be my guest, but I'm not going to get my ass kicked and listen to awful music at the same time."

"It's your sister. Can't you shut her up?"

"The only way you can get her to shut up is to sneak up on her and kiss her," Hunter said, shrugging and grinning. I saw Alex stop mid-step in shock, staring at the back of Hunter's head in surprise. I couldn't help giggling slightly. It's hard to forget someone's new to a group when you get reactions like that all of the time.

"Just because I didn't beat you in Halo doesn't mean I can't kick your ass out here," Jim said good-naturedly as he started digging around for the game and necessary equipment. Hunter snickered shamelessly, but he didn't attempt to respond.

Alex plopped down on the couch next to me. "Do you always win these arguments?"

"Psh, no," I said, shaking my head. "They know if they let me win one per night, I'll leave them alone and let them do their own thing." I grinned at him. "And the reason Hunter knows kissing me shuts me up is because we dated freshman year."

"We've kissed since then," Hunter argued.

"You were drunk and tasted like vodka," I said shortly. "It was disgusting, and that's exactly why I avoid you at postgame parties now." Finn and Cody both snickered, and Jim rolled his eyes. I turned back to Alex. "And the reason Cody mentioned it earlier is because he's a shameless slime ball, but I'm assuming you'd gathered that already. And Finn… Well, he's just weird."

"And if anyone besides the three of us try to flirt with her, Jim will bash their head in," Cody finished, nodding decidedly.

"Not that I let them anyway, because they're all disgusting drunks." None of the boys took offense to that statement because they all knew it was relatively true. "But if you want a real secret, Rory's the best kisser in the room," I added in a mock whisper to Alex.

Rory flushed slightly and muttered, "Ah, hell," as Hunter and Cody turned to look at him in surprise. "When did that happen?" Hunter asked, looking bewildered.

"That football party we went to before school started," Jim said easily. "They were both wasted, so I don't see how she knows it was any good."

"I wasn't wasted!" I argued. He raised an eyebrow. "Tipsy, definitely. Wasted, no." I shot Rory an amused look. "Rory, on the other hand…"

Rory waved his can around mock cheerfully. "Don't drink and dive, kids."

Cody looked at Finn. "Did you know about this?"

Finn shrugged. "Sure. He kept babbling about it on the way home. Worst night I've ever spent being the DD, I swear to God. He felt like a dick for a week. 'Course I knew about it."

Cody turned to Hunter. "What about you?" Hunter shook his head, making Cody point at me. "You're supposed to keep the ex updated, Lils!"

"You sound like a girl," I said easily, jumping up as Jim turned the game on.

"Don't get excited, it was just on the cheek anyway," Finn said, smirking slightly. "I think you would have heard about it somewhere else if it were anything else." Hunter and Cody exchanged looks before shooting me glares.

I snickered. "Why do you think he's the best? Who wants to play? Rory?" Rory shook his head, holding up his hands in self dense. I turned to give Jim a pleading look.

"I think noob should have a chance," Jim said, moving back to make room for me. He knew better than to get between me and Mario Kart.

"I'm sorry," I threw over my shoulder to Alex.

"Why?" he asked in amusement, settling next to me without too much complaint. Obviously, he didn't know what he was getting into. Jim learned back in the first grade not to challenge me at Mario Kart, and each of the boys had learned their lesson shortly after meeting me.

"One, because my brother and his friends are assholes if they're still calling you the noob, especially if they're doing it to your face," I said, selecting Mario GP. Better to send the message now than to wait until later. "And two, because I'm about to kick your ass. You can choose first."

"I don't think I've played this game since my N-64 crashed in the third grade," Alex said, choosing Mario. Psh, classic choice. Boooooo-ring.

"Blows for you," Cody said, obviously smirking. "Do the third cup if she lets you choose. The first track on that one fucks her over ever time." I flipped him off without looking at him, picking Yoshi. Cody just laughed. "I'm just warning the guy, Lils. He's gonna lose anyway."

"Commentary from the peanut gallery is unnecessary and unappreciated, thank you very much," I said easily. "Which cup do you want to do, Alex?"

"The one with the puddles," he said. I gave him an odd look. Not because I didn't know what he was talking about, but because that was the one track he remembered out of all the tracks in the game. "You know. The one where it's raining and everyone keeps hitting the puddles? That one."

"I know which one you're talking about, I just don't know how you remember that one," I said, shrugging.

"Because he could tell from looking at you that you're awful at it," Jim teased from behind me. "Hurry up and kick his ass, Lils. I kind of want my video games back."

"You just want your guy time back, don't lie," I teased, selecting the track.

"I want guy time back," Hunter declared a little darkly. I had a feeling he was still wallowing a little over the fact that I had actually convinced him for a few seconds that Rory and I had made out.

"Aww, I'm sorry, Hunter," I said sweetly. He made a dark noise, but I didn't bother looking at him as the game started.

I wish I could say that the boys cheered for me out of longer friendship loyalty, but boys tend to defend their own when there's a chance of being beaten by a girl. And I wish I could say that they didn't distract me at all, but… they're boys, and they can be loud and obnoxious when they want to be. So they were a bit of a distraction.

I realized on the third lap of the first track that the reason Alex remembered that particular track was because he was good at it. He could nudge people into puddles better than anyone I had ever seen. When he won the round, it didn't really bother me because I was awful at that track anyway, sliding in at third. I got second on the second round because towards the end of the round, Alex had gotten one of the little blue shells that take out the person in the front, but he still came in third, so I wasn't too bothered. I dominated on the third round, but Alex ended up in second. At the beginning of the final round, we were tied.

"Are you sure you haven't played since third grade?" I asked suspiciously as the other boys snickered in the background.

Alex shrugged, grinning. "Dumb luck. You never know what the boxes are going to give you."

"Dude, watch out for the tepees," Finn said seriously.

"And if you do run into the tepees, just jump around a lot until they fall off," Cody added.

"And don't go for the arrows," Hunter chipped in. "There's a lot of them, but they're not worth it unless you know what you're doing."

"Will the peanut gallery please just shut up?" I asked, mildly exasperated. A large part of the reason Alex had been doing as well as he had was because of the added commentary thrown in by the guys. I knew all of the secrets of the game, and the boys wanted to make sure that I didn't have the advantage over Alex just because he didn't.

"Aw, Lils, it's good for the soul to lose every once in a while," Finn teased.

"It's not over yet," I said. I paused the game long enough to turn around and give him a grin. "And just remember that the next time a girl rejects you."

Finn grinned. "Girls don't reject me. They just reject Cody." Cody reached over and punched him in the arm, making Finn snicker.

I turned to Alex. "Ready?"

"Whenever you are," he said with a grin.

I nodded and started the game. On the first lap, Alex finished the lap first, much to the joy of the boys. I beat him in the second lap, but just barely. As we were rounding the corner for the tepees, Alex decided to try and get ahead by weaving through them. He ended up running into one of them, and the little creature in the tepee jumped on the back of his car, slowing him down. "Ahh, what is that thing?" Alex demanded.

"It's a baddie," I said easily, grinning. "They slow you down. A lot. You might want to get him off."

"That's it," I heard Hunter say from behind me before I was suddenly tackled from the side.

"No!" I yelled, falling over and losing my controller in the process. All the other boys cheered for Alex as he managed to round the last curve and cross the finish line. "That doesn't count! Get off me, fat ass!"

"Sorry, Lils," Hunter said, sitting up and shrugging with a grin. "Gotta protect my own kind, you know. Just the way it is."

I glared at him before glaring at a grinning Alex. "What?" he asked. "I didn't ask him to help me."

"Admit defeat with your head held high," Cody said.

"I can't be defeated if you all cheated!" I exclaimed.

"Rhyming won't keep you from being a sore loser," Finn said, shaking his head in mock sadness.

I looked at Jim, but he just shrugged. "Don't drag me into this. You interrupted dude night, so it's your own fault."

I huffed slightly, pushing myself up off the floor. "Fine, you dirty cheaters. I'll leave. But you didn't win, Alex. Rematch when the idiots aren't around."

"Agreed," he said, grinning.

"Good night, Lils," Cody said sweetly. The other boys echoed him as I rolled my eyes and headed back up the stairs to the main floor of the house. I couldn't help smiling slightly when I knew that they wouldn't be able to see me. Sometimes the boys can be so utterly ridiculous that I have to laugh at them. It certainly wasn't the first time I had been intentionally sabotaged, and I knew it wouldn't be the last time either.

I called Allie as soon as I got to my room. It rang three times before she picked up with a groggy, "Hello?"

"Did I wake you up?"


I glanced at the clock. 12:47. I felt a little guilty for calling so late, but this new development was something that I had to tell her about tonight or risk her wrath in the morning. "Sorry, but this is important."

"Me important or you important?" she asked, sounding slightly more awake.

"You important. In relation to me. And boys. Alex, specifically."

"I knew you had a good reason," she said, suddenly sounding cheerful. "Alright, what's going on?"

"Well, that extra car that was parked out front? We just assumed it was Cody's or his dad's or something, but it's not Cody's. It's Alex's."

"Alex is at your house?" she asked excitedly.

I laughed slightly. "If I didn't know any better, I'd say that you had a crush on Alex."

"Psh, no. New and fairly attractive object of interest, that's all. Plus, I like teasing you. Now give me all the details! You woke me up, so you definitely owe me."

"If I hadn't woken you up, you would have gotten mad at me!"

"I know."

I laughed and told her the whole story because, really, what are best friends for if not making you repeat things in payment for waking up in the middle of the night?


I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much Mario Kart I played in the process of writing this chapter. In case anyone was wondering what cup they were doing, it's the Lightning Cup (Luigi Circuit is the one with the rain, Sky Garden for falling off, Cheep-Cheep Island, and Sunset Wilds is the one with the tepees). Personally, I'm a total Toad fan. Just in case you were wondering. :)

I'm sorry this took so long. I've been filling out applications and getting a new computer after my old one crashed and struggling with five (yes, five) AP classes and stressing out over where to go to college. Any oddities in the chapter exists because it was written over a, oh, six month span of time. This is kind of random, but if anyone is/was stuck between two colleges when making your decision, how did you decide which one you were going to go to?