How to Destroy a Cliché

Chapter 1

Stab My Heart, if You Please

But I don't care what they say
I'm in love with you
They try to pull me away
But they don't know the truth

Bleeding Love-Leona Lewis

"You know what? You're really infuriating," My tone was annoyed, but the hint of a smile played about my mouth as I picked a straw wrapper out of my hair. The trouble was, no matter how infuriating he could be, I could never stay fully mad at Benjamin Kingsley. And judging by the grin spreading across his face, he knew that.

"Don't deny it, Kit-Kat. You know you love me," he said as he rolled up a napkin and tossed it at my head.

Truer words have never been spoken. Why does he have to torment me like that? Or am I sending him telepathic messages through my mind? Am I just screaming at him 'Torment me, please! As if seeing your face everyday wasn't torment enough, Oh Mighty Tormentor!'

I rolled the straw wrapper in my hand into a tiny paper ball before tossing it at Ben as payment for the napkin. It bounced easily off his cheek, and he barely batted an eyelash at the contact. Stupid, weak straw wrapper.

Some automatic instinct in me made me tell him "You wish," before sticking my tongue out at him. He chuckled, cornflower blue eyes gleaming splendidly, even in the dim of the cafeteria's fluorescent lights. Those eyes arrested mine, and it took all I had to restrain myself from looking deeply into them as I was wont to do.

It takes a lot for me to control myself around Ben. But then again, I had always prided myself on having such a strong will.

I busied myself with emptying the contents of my brown paper lunch bag. Most of the students in school bought lunch, but for me, I chose to make my lunch. Why waste the money when I could just throw random food into a bag? Besides, over the years I had learned to play it up by making things to eat at lunch, and any time when I could use my superb skills in the kitchen was fine by me.

Ben licked his upper lips in anticipation. It was a ritual of his to steal food everyday from at least one person at lunch. Most days, he stole things from me because (and I quote) 'homemade food is much tastier than reheated school pizza, especially when it's been made by someone whose nickname is the name of a chocolate substance'. Shaking my head at his predictable actions, I picked up a chocolate cupcake and presented it in front of him.

As expected, he took the offering, dipping his finger into the sugary frosting and plopping the glob of it into his mouth. He smiled as his taste buds were overcome with the sweetness. I had made sure to add just a pinch more of powdered sugar, remembering his unbelievable sweet tooth. "I knew there was a reason I kept you around, Hanot."

An arrow through the heart would have felt better than what I felt then. I mean, yeah, of course there was no way he'd ever come to love me as I did him. I knew I stood no chance with him, especially when there were more obvious, better choices for him. But I had thought myself a friend to him. To keep me around my for delectable baked goods? Now that was really harsh. Why was I in love with this unfeeling jerk? Seriously, why?

"Don't look so sad, Kit-Kat. Here, I'll even share with you today," he presented me with a finger holding up another glob of white frosting. He waved it in front of my face, tempting me.

Oh, yeah.

Because, just like that mound of sticky, sugary goodness perched on his finger, he was irresistible. He was warm and gentle, like chocolate melting on your tongue on a hot summer afternoon. He was proud and stubborn, and he annoyed the hell out of you without meaning to but made up for it by being there when you needed him. He made discussing grass grow fun. I should know this, seeing as I had been the one discussing grass grow with him. He was that cookie that you could never get enough of. He was crème brûlée.

But now I just sound like a moon-stuck calf with a serious food addiction, so I should shut up now.

Eying him wearily, I grabbed a hold of his wrist to steady his finger. I did not need him sticking vanilla frosting on my face. He grinned maniacally, though, as he forcefully stuck his finger into my open mouth. The frosting practically dissolved on my tongue. I loved eating my own creations. Adding just a hint of nutmeg, along with the extra powdered sugar was just what the recipe called for. It was perfect. Just the way I like it.

And, all right, maybe the fact that I was licking the frosting off of Ben's finger made it all the more sweeter. I ran my tongue along the tip, hoping to find more frosting there but only tasting the salty, coppery taste that was all Benjamin. He was delicious, more so than anything I'd ever baked. I was tempted to bite his finger, pay back for that wrapper in my hair, but I thought better of it. Reluctantly, I pulled his hand away from my mouth.

Ben had a funny expression on his face when I looked back at him. For a moment, I worried that my little display of finger-gorging had grossed him out. But then I figured, he was the one who started the whole thing, so it was his problem if he was grossed out. Fortunately for me, I was saved from having to make a statement by one of our other friends pulling back an empty chair at the table and sliding into it.

Unfortunately for me, it was Violet Spellings. Ben's best friend.

"Hey, Vi." Ben greeted with a broad grin, broader than the one he had recently been giving me. I tried hard not to reach across the table and slap that stupid grin off his face.

I conceded to a congenial 'hello' before sipping on the drink I had packed in my lunch. I turned to the calculus notes I had laid out on the table. After lunch was my calc final exam, and I intended to pack all the information I could into my head until it felt like I would burst with all the knowledge. But still, even with that distraction, I couldn't help overhearing the conversation going on beside me. Ben was trying to feed Violet the cupcake I had given him. And, of course, he just had to use the same finger he had used with me.

"Come on, Vi. You'll love it, I promise," Benjamin goaded, stiking his finger closer and closer to her face.

Violet laughed accordingly, sounding like wind chimes clinking together on a cool, breezy spring morning. My laugh sounded like a foghorn because of its obnoxious loudness. It was one of the few things about me that I deemed as imperfect and hated with a passion. Of course, Violet's laugh was beautiful, like that old saying about music to your ears. Really, life was so unfair.

"I couldn't." Cue tinkling giggle.

"But it's tasty. Come on. It's almost as sweet as you are."

I wanted to throw bricks at the both of them and yell: 'Are you blind? I love you, and this flirting is not helping my already broken heart. Just stop it!'

Too bad Ben couldn't hear that through telepathy.

Violet giggled even more as Ben's finger landed square on her cheek. He chuckled and grabbed her head between his hands. "I'll get that for you."

And then he was licking her, licking her like she was popsicle and he was a child who just had to devour her before she melted, even though it might result in a brain freeze later on. And she just laughed along, trying to pull away, but obviously enjoying it more than she let on. And I just watched, transfixed with horror as bit by tiny bit of my heart fell away, like a diamond being chipped at or some better simile like that. It was like watching a car crash. Watching the two collide, come together, but not being able to do anything about it, so paralyzed was I.

A couple more of our friends arrived at the table, back from buying their lunches and laughing at the scene playing out before them as they set down their lunch trays. I wanted to yell at them to make the horror show stop. It was worse than watching a Hilary Duff film. And I loathed Hilary Duff films.

Dan McHale laughed out loud, "Get a room, you two. You're making the whole cafeteria steam up." He turned to one of my best friends, Nessie Simna, and commented, "It's like watching porn."

"Really, Dan," Nessie held up a hand, her telltale sign for 'ew, that's icky'. "Just because you're not getting any doesn't mean you can tell us all about your internet habits." Ness turned to me and gave me an exaggerated eye roll.

Ben grinned as he released Violet, pausing to lick away a patch of frosting from his bottom lip. Violet flushed a pretty rose color that complemented her light skin tone and ash-blond hair. I had always seen myself as pretty, but Violet was the epitome of beautiful. If we had been living back in the medieval times, there's no doubt that she would have been easily married off to a king.

I, on the other hand, would probably have been married off to some fat old baron with a pitifully small castle and not enough serfs for the land. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I'm a troll or anything. In fact, I've had many people say I was pretty. But standing next to Violet, my skin looked washed out and my chestnut hair not nearly as soft as hers.

Ben licked the rest of the frosting off of the cupcake, winking conspiratorially at Vi, who hid a grin with her dainty little hand. I felt sick.

I tapped my soda can, realizing it was empty. Taking the opportunity, I rose from my seat.

"Where are you going, Kit?" Nessie questioned at my sudden departure, her eyebrows raised.

I rose my hand and shook my drink, showing it was empty. "I need a new drink," I explained as I walked towards the vending machines on the other side of the cafeteria.

And, I added in my mind, a new heart.

Much to my displeasure, Ness jumped up from her seat. "Great. I'll go with you."

Figures. I just wanted to be in my own little Mope/Pity World, and she just has to tag along on my rainy day parade. That's just like Ness, blind to everything unhappy and gloomy. Can't she, just once, realize how depressed I am? Can't she leave me to sit in my own dark corner of despair? Last time I checked, moping was not a team sport.

Nessie leaned against a vending machine as I perused over my choices. Hmm...Snapple? Minute-Maid? The choices were almost endless. Decisions, decisions. This might take all day. Well, not all day because I had exams to take and all that wonderful jazz. Maybe just all lunch period. That would be much, much better than watching Ben flirt his ass off with Violet.

"Sometimes, they frustrate me," Ness commented as she stared back at our table.

I pretended to be more interested in a bottle of black cherry Powerade than what she was talking about. "Who frustrates you?"

"Duh. Ben and Vi." Oh. I should have known. Nessie rolled her eyes, a trademark of hers, but a smile graced her dark features. "Everyone's waiting for it to happen. It beats me how they haven't hooked up sooner. I already know Vi is, but do you think Ben's shy?"

"Ness," I stated, willing my breathing to settle down and not sound so rapid. "Boys who lick people's faces are not shy."

"Yeah, but maybe he's afraid of what'll happen. Like, maybe he doesn't want to jeopardize their friendship if it doesn't work out. I mean, childhood friendship isn't that easy to come by, and it certainly isn't something to waste," Nessie let out a long sigh, reaching up to turn my face in the direction of our table. I really wished she hadn't because now all I see is Ben's arm draped across the back of Violet's chair, and it made my heart flip over in my chest.

Only, not in an 'aw young love' flip. More like a 'holy crap my heart just keeled over and stopped beating' flip.

"They're perfect for each other," Nessie sighed once more, her eyes softening at the sight. Ick. I think I just puked in my mouth some. "Why can't we have what they have?"

Correction: Why can't I have him?

"Everyone's determined for it to happen soon. As in, tonight."

"Tonight?" I asked, my stomach churning over uneasily. Do not ask that question, Katherine Nicole Honat! Do not ask! "What happens tonight?"

Why am I so stupid?

Nessie laughed out at my expense. She patted my arm in a way that said 'Kit, you're too much sometimes, but I love you for that', "Kit, your memory sucks." I was about to retaliate because my memory is so much better than anyone else's, but she interrupted me. "The bonfire, remember? To celebrate us being rid of this awful place?"

"Oh, yeah," I cast a glance around the cafeteria, at the people I had known all my life. It was hard to remember that after tomorrow at graduation, I might never see them again. That after this day, I might never step foot in this school as a student again. Just a few more exams and then it was goodbye, high school! Hello, college! It left a sinking feeling in my gut.

"So, here's the plan," Nessie leaned in towards me, as if we were secret agents instead of graduating seniors. "Tonight, everyone will leave Ben and Vi alone. That way, they'll finally confess."

"But," I pointed out. "They've been alone together before, and nothing happened. What makes tonight so different?"

"Kit! Don't you see?" Ness grabbed my shoulders, shaking me slightly. "Think about it. The beach, at night, stars reflected on the lake, waves slowly crashing into the sand, our bonfire the only thing besides the moon casting light onto them. And, when the time is right, someone will send Ben and Vi to get more firewood. A nice stroll on the beach and then--BAM!" I jumped back as Ness slapped her hands in front of my face. "They'll be kissing in no time!"

As if Benjamin licking her wasn't enough...

"How do you know?" I just had to ask, turning my face away when I felt all the color drain from it. "They've been friends for what? thirteen years? Something could have occured before then, but did it? No."

Ness stomped her foot and breathed heavily through her nose. She was getting annoyed with me, I could tell. "Kit, just because you don't believe in love, that doesn't mean you get to be so pessimistic about everyone else's love lives."

Ouch. I inwardly cringed at the lie. Because I did believe in love. I believed in it a lot more than three years before, when I had told Ness and our other friend, Skylar, one night at a sleepover how stupid love was. That was my pre-Ben life. Now, I believed in love with almost every fiber of my being. I just had never gotten around to telling that to my friends. Besides, with both of them being on the pro-Ben/Vi campaign wagon, it wouldn't be so good to just waltz up to them and be all 'I love Benjamin Kingsley, and I want to run away and marry him on a remote island somewhere in the Pacific and have all his children and screw Violet because I want him all to myself'.

"I was just saying," I held up my hands in peace and finally made my drink selection. Talking to Ness about Ben and Vi was just as bad as being near the two of them.

When we walked back to our table, I noticed it was completely full. All of our friends were talking excitedly and waving their hands as they talked to each other. A smile flitted about my face as a sense of belonging came over me. Ah, those are my friends. My stupid, stupid friends. And I loved them all. One even more so than the rest...

I slumped down into my seat. Skylar had taken the seat next to me, and Ness was on my other side. Yep, my wingwomen were in place. Dan and Rocco were down a couple of seats, explaining to Sydney just how high they wanted the bonfire to reach tonight. On the opposite side of the table were Marcus, Dean, and Isabella a.k.a. Jelly Belly (nicknamed after her love of Jell-o), arguing about whether or not Spiderman would win against Batman and Robin if they were competing in a hula hoop competition. And right across from me was Benjamin...and Violet.

Ness let out an aggravated sigh, causing Marcus to turn to her and ask, "Aw, Nessie, baby, what's the matter? Do you need some lovin', dahling?" Marcus called every girl 'dahling'. It was his famous word and he could always make me smile by using it when I was in a bad funk.

Ness huffed, not appreciative of Marcus's endearments. "Give your lovin' to Kit, Marcus. She's the one who needs to get laid."

It was lucky I had only just opened my drink or else it would have been all over the table. Nessie had always thought of herself as our small town's so-called matchmaker, and she had been trying for years to hook Marcus and me up. Marcus was only too willing to go along with it, as he claimed to have been in love with me since diapers. I had no such feelings for him, and he understood this very well, so it had never affected our friendship, thankfully. Nessie believed that I was just denying my deep, hidden feelings for him.

Yeah, right. Like that was gonna happen anytime soon.

"I have no problem with that. What d'ya say, Kit?" Marcus leaned over the table towards me, wiggling his eyebrows at me.

"Really, Marcus," I deadpanned, sipping my drink. "I don't think you'd be able to handle it. You're just not man enough."

"Ouch, low blow, Kit-Kat. Low blow." Marcus slumped down in his seat again, but not without a wink. I winked back in a show of amusement.

"What about me, Kitty-Kat? Would I be man enough?" Dan called out to me. I shook my head, laughing.

"I'd be man enough," Rocco half-yelled. I could feel my face heat up in embarrassment as people began looking at our table.

"Not even close, Roc." I half-yelled back at him.

Once the laughing died down, it was Benjamin who raised his hand in the air and called out, "Guys, everyone knows I'm man enough."

There were wild hoots all around and laughter following quickly. I seemed to be the only one not in a state of good ol' humor. I replied, "Keep dreaming, boy."

Lucky for me, nobody had realized that I hadn't outright shot him down like I had the other boys.

Autoress's Notes:Yes, one more story before I go to bed. This story has been in my head for awhile now, and I finally decided to finish the first chapter today. I'm suddenly in a very writer-ish mood today. Must be the long weekend. I think I might even update a story tomorrow. I know, yippy!

This story started out just a bit longer than my usual stories. The first chapters are only like, one thousand words long. This one is over three thousand. Yay, go me! Just, please excuse the grammar mistakes and all that. It's 1 in the morning and I'm starting to get a headache from lack of sleep, so focusing on the words is kind of impossible for me. I managed to go through and fix it up some, but there's probably some more I didn't catch in there.

So, review, and tell me what you think. Tell me you love Benjamin. Because I love Benjamin. Oh, and happy Memorial Day to you all!