Thwack.

Some rubber contraption smacked into the side of my face, leaving my right cheek tingling. The impact wasn't particularly painful, but easily annoyed me beyond belief.

"Patrick! Are you blind?" I shrieked, whirling around in my chair to face my bothersome classmate who sat to my right. Patrick Donahue was an almost pudgy sophomore nearly topping my impressive height of seventy inches. His afro-like brown hair had been groomed into a well-managed buzz cut by his father's newly acquired spouse. Patrick had made is abundantly clear that he didn't care for her in the least, but put up with her near dictator antics for his father's sake. "Can you not see that I'm trying to read here?"

"Awwww... Is your poor little face hurt, Sushi?" Patrick cooed mockingly. It was a sad fact, but, as far as I knew, all teenage guys were either total idiots or hideous beyond belief. And it just so happened that Patrick was a combo package: He was extremely lacking in the brain cells department and was also as attractive as an elephant's ass.

"It's Sashi, you dunce. Get it right for once, will you, Patty?"

Only a month had passed since the school year had started, but it was already obvious that not a soul at Acefield High wanted to be here. It was also obvious why. The teachers were insufferably grouchy, snapping at anything and everything. And, in sharp contrast, the students were like the walking dead. Zombies unite! I began to drift off, but the ever-lovely Patrick had to bring me back to the present.

"Nah, don't think I can get it right; you're just too fishy and slimy and gross and-" Patrick began to list.

"Yeah, sure, Patty dear. At least I'm not a guy who wants to be a girl trying to be a guy but really failing," I interrupted. "It's not really working for you, hon. I think the closest you'll get to your dream is to just go gay like I know you are in your black hole of a heart. I have some friends I could hook you up with if you want..." I trailed off.

"Ha, ha, ha. That was almost funny there for a second, Fishy. Too bad I have my sights set on a pretty little lady," Patty dearest countered.

"Little lady? What, are you secretly sixty or something?" I chuckled into my hand.

"Say what you want, Sushi, but at least I'm able to find someone that will actually like me instead of just use me for some favors," he ended with a whisper.

As I opened my mouth to respond, the deafening bell chimed, signaling the end of lunch and the beginning of third period. Biology. Oh joy.

Ms. Donello was a nice person, but her voice was torture to listen to for eighty minutes straight. Every word, every syllable, it sounds like she's on the verge of tears. Not the most best voice to teach such a dull subject with.

"Now, everyone," she quavered, drawing in wheezing breaths after every syllable, "We will be starting the year with a unit on cell biology! Doesn't that sound thrilling?" A few gave halfhearted grumbles of "Sure" or "Whatever", and Ms. Donello, noticeably disappointed by the less-than-enthusiastic response, frowned slightly. I had to give it to her, she tried as hard as she could to get us into the class, but nothing really worked. Giving up on waking us up, she decided to go over the homework she assigned last class.

I understood what we read in the book, so I could freely zone out until she was going to start up today's round of notes. Now off to La La Land! Yippee!

Hm... Now, what should the topic of the day be? I tapped my pencil's eraser on the completed homework in front of me, I wondered what I could entertain my mind with for twenty minutes. What to think about, what to ponder? I sat in silence staring at the desk until a brainwave struck.

During the last seconds of lunch Patrick had said something a bit different from our usual banter. No matter how much we teased each other, we were decent friends at the end of the day. Normally we would just tease for a few minutes here and there, but we never really said anything that could hurt the other. Now, time to decipher Patty's sordid adieu.

The only part I really cared about was when he said something about people using me for little favors. I know I didn't have too many close friends, but it was to be expected, after all I had some trust issues that I was sorting through. Very few people made it to my "inner circle," as Patrick called it. I was very careful about all of this; I didn't want to get hurt again.

So, he thought people were using me, that much was obvious. Before that, he said something about people liking him for who he is. True friends maybe? Since there wasn't much to get out of that one little sentence, I put a rain-check on it for the moment, and instead rewound our conversation a bit.

According to the elephant's behind, he could find a girlfriend that liked him and wouldn't use him like people did to me. But if that was indeed the case, who were the ones who "used" me? Patty had implied that they were guys, but I was lost as to which guys they were.

I lifted my eyes from the black tabletop and let them sweep over the room, taking it in. Filthy fish tanks, snake cages, beakers, Ms. Donello, more tables, and random students. Nothing really interesting. I checked the clock and saw that Ms. Donello's tirade was losing steam and she would soon turn to her precious blackboard for an hour of dreaded notes. Time to come back to the real world.

I zoned back in for the last question of the review. "Blah, blah, blah, cytoplasm?" Someone answered with a few more"blahs" and the review session ceased. We took notes for the remainder of class and waited with bated breath for the bell to ring so we could leave the hell hole that is the biology room.

"Do we have any Physical Science homework, Sashi?" my lab partner asked.

"No." Connor let out his breath and walked across the hall. Connor was a sweet guy, a rarity in this school. It was fortunate that I shared all my classes, excluding study hall, with him. I knew by the end of the year he would be utterly sick of me and celebrate the summer where he wouldn't have to see me for a good three months until school restarted.

Could Connor be the person Patrick was referring to? I mentally shook my head at myself for even considering such a thought. Connor was probably the least likely person to use someone at all, no matter how little the favor was.

I escaped the dead rat smell of the biology room to a much more pleasant smelling room just across the hallway. Physical Science was a bit more practical than Biology, but twice as boring. It was like an introduction to Physics, which most of us would be taking our in senior year, so we would know the basics when we took the class. Time to begin today's main feature: Monotony: part deux!

The class, to the astonishment of everyone, went by in a flash. We hadn't been doing too much work, but we had to watch a movie in which Mr. Crazy-Physics-Guy explained Newton's first law twenty times and tried to make it interesting and entertaining to a bunch of teenagers. He was more stupid than entertaining, but at least there was no homework.

The final bell of the day screeched out through the halls and the students flooded out of their classrooms, happy to go home for the day. I, however, had to remain at school for an extra hour.

Since it was Wednesday, I had an International Club meeting. Being born and raised in little Acefield, I had not the slightest bit of foreign blood in me, but I attended the meetings anyway. After all, we got free food, and had the opportunity to sit around and talk about random stuff. Plus the past few had proved to be funny and unusual, so I figured I'd keep going until the boredom started to seep in.

I briefly stopped at my locker to drop off some books and then began to head down the rather ominous hallway to the Spanish room. The hallway wasn't ominous in a dark and scary way, it just seemed to go on for miles, and this gave people the distinct feeling of being trapped. I sighed and readjusted the straps on my bag and started the journey to the end of the world.

About half way down the hall, I felt someone's hip bump into my thigh. I looked down to see who had the audacity to commit such an act and saw it was just little Connor. Standing just slightly above my shoulder, he had the face of an adorable little brother with cheeks that begged to be pinched. His eyes were endless pools of chocolate, and with them he could convince anyone to fetch him the moon.

"You really need to start growing so you can do that properly, little guy," I laughed down at him and ruffled his brown locks.

"Well, at least I'm not some giant freak of nature," he said, sticking his tongue out at me.

"I'm perfectly average in height, thank you very much. I just happen to be on the upper scale of average."

"I'm just as average then at five foot four," he replied with a smirk.

"Yeah, maybe average for a girl," I countered.

Our banter continued for the rest of the walk as we tried to one-up the other. Connor, it seemed, had decided to join me in my quest for free international cuisine and had conned Mrs. Hernandez, Spanish teacher and International Club advisor, into letting him join the club although it had been meeting for several sessions already. I guess I wasn't the only one who could not resist Connor's adorable puppy pout.

When we finally reached the last door of the hallway, we discovered it to be locked with the no lights illuminating the room inside. After puzzling over this for a moment I saw the sign taped to the wall beside the door, which read:

"No International Club meeting today. We will meet again as planned next Wednesday. Mrs. Hernandez."

Well that was a bust. I had an hour to kill before my parents would be at the school to pick me up. I could have gone to the library and do some homework or something, but I wasn't feeling in a quiet, studious mood- more of a hyper, rebellious one.

I looked down at Connor by my side. "So... What should we do for the next hour?"

"I don't know. There's nothing really here to do except go to the library, which doesn't sound too fun right now," he replied, still looking at the cancellation sign.

What to do, what to do.

"Connor, darling, we need something to do," I attempted to say as suavely as possible. Unfortunately I sounded more like a farmer trying to coax a cow into doing something unpleasant.

"Well, Sashi, dear, the only thing I can think of is to find a janitor's closet and do some hot, passionate love-making, but that would only be fun for me. Too bad though," he said as calmly as he possibly could. He can be such a guy sometimes.

"Yeah, that could be fun, but I don't swing that way." He raised his eyebrows. "No lesbo action for me, Con," I added, sticking out my tongue.

"Damn, that sucks."

An awkward silence was born.

Connor leaned his back against the off-white wall and slid down to the floor. I copied his motions and stared straight ahead. Ever so slowly I slipped my left arm across my body so that it hovered mere inches from Connor's side. I extended my finger and jabbed him in the side, just below his ribs. He jolted to life as if a lightning bolt had struck him.

"What the hell was that for?" he yelped.

"The awkward silence got cancer so I decided to put it out of its misery. So sad. The poor thing wasn't even an hour old," I said, wiping an imaginary tear from my face.

"That's very nice of you. We can't have any cancerous awkward silences; its just wrong," Con added sarcastically. I vigorously nodded my head while he rolled his eyes.

"So since there can't be any silences, what should we do?"

"Talk about random randomness?" I suggested.

"Random randomness, huh?" I nodded. "What kind of randomness?"

"How about..." I thought for a moment, then added, "our most embarrassing moments!" I grinned evilly.

"How about anything but that?" Connor was desperate not to tell me anything I could use against him; I had a habit of letting something slip if I got too excited or nervous.

"Well, what do you have in mind then?"

Connor stared at the wall across from us for a moment before having a light bulb moment. "I know! We should see who can think up the worst, cheesiest pick-up line. Whoever loses has to use the winning one on someone tomorrow." Connor looked extremely pleased with himself for suggesting this competition. Evidently, he believed himself to be the king of bad pick-up lines. That was a mistake... and he was so going down.

"Winner gets to choose who the loser tells it to?"

"Naturally," he said cockily.

"Let the game begin," I announced.

The first time we played this game, we had ironed out the rules. The competitors would have five minutes to write down as many lines as they could think of and then would read off the four that they thought were the best. We got out of notebooks and pencils and began our duel. I placed the end of my pen on the bridge of my nose and rummaged through my brain for my favorite pick-up lines. I briefly glanced over Connor, seeing him hurriedly write down a few words only to cross them out a moment later. By the time the five minutes were over, I had the minimum four lines. I believed in the "quality, not quantity" motto. I may have had only four lines, but they kicked major boo-tay.

"Who's going first?" Connor asked.

"Lady's first, deary."

"Well, guess I have to go first since I'm more of a lady than you are." He paused for a second, and when I made no objections, clutched his heart melodramatically and cried, "Ohhhhhhh! Burn!" Did he really think that was an insult? Pathetic.

"Yeah, but for the most part it's okay for girls to be a bit masculine, but if guys turn girly, they're just plain gay," I finished with a triumphant grin.

"Yeah, whatever," he grumbled. He cleared his throat professionally and sat up straight for the delivery of his first line. "Do you have a mirror in your pocket, because I can totally see myself in your pants." He smiled.

"Psh. You think that was even a semi-decent line? That was horrid!"

"Nah, that was only my warm-up one; the others are infinitely better." Whatever, my turn.

"Excuse me, but I think I dropped something. My jaw!" It wasn't my strongest, but I always started out with the bad ones trying to give the little guy a bit of false confidence.

"How can you call mine horrid with something as crappy as that? Yours was a million times worse than mine. Let me show you how a pro does it." Some more clearing of the esophagus. "Do you wash your panties with Windex? Because I can really see myself in them."

"What was that? It's practically the same as your first one. At least have some originality!" Which one should I choose? I hate making decisions. I closed my eyes and randomly pointed to a line. "Hello, I'm a thief, and I'm here to steal your heart." Not the best line I've heard from this game, but certainly better than my first.

"How can that even be called a pick-up line? It's just an extreme failure for someone trying to be romantic!" Conner argued.

"No it's not! It's someone trying to be suave, but it sounds cheesy and stupid, thus making it the worst one we've heard in this game. So ha!" I ended with a childish sticking out of the tongue.

"Sure, sure. This one will murder yours though." He grinned demonically. "Hey...somebody farted. Let's get out of here." He pumped his fist in the air as if he had just won. I just started laughing.

"Okay, okay. That was the worst one so far. Wow." I laughed some more and finally calmed myself before adding, "Where in the world did you find that line?"

"We were in class one day last year and Kasey thought someone farted and naturally said that. It just kind of came to me as we were writing down our lines."

"Wow, Kasey is such a ditz."

"Yup."

Mini cancerous silence.

Just as I was about to poke Conner again, he saw my hand coming and nearly screeched, "What's your next line?"

Oh, I forgot about the game.

"Um..." I looked at my paper and chose the next one on the list. "Hi, my name is "Milk." I'll do your body good."

Before I had even finished, Connor had burst out in a bout of silent laughter. "Okay, that one totally wins for me right now. I'll do my last line, but I don't know if it will beat that."

"It won't; my line was pure and utter genius." He wasn't paying attention though.

"This is a bit long, but just listen anyway." He readjusted his paper and began to read it off. "Scientists have determined that the average time for intercourse is four minutes. The average number of strokes per minute is nine, and since the average length of the penis is six inches, the average female receives two hundred and sixteen inches or fifteen feet per intercourse. Three times per week, fifty two weeks in a year, so, 156 times 45 makes 7020 feet, or just about a mile and a half. If you are not getting your mile and a half, why not let me help out?"

"Oh my god!" I could only manage to get through those three words before I was lost to the

all-consuming giggles.

Connor stood up and took a little bow. "Thank you, thank you. You're too kind." His little show only made me burst into a new round of chuckles.

Once I had calmed down I reached for my notebook that had fallen from my lap during my laugh attack. "Well, here's my best one." I looked to make sure Connor was paying attention before I continued, "Your daddy must have been a baker, because you've got a nice set of buns." I waited for Connor's reaction, but I didn't hear anything, so I looked over to see him sitting as still as a statue. I waited for a minute or two before saying something.

"Connor, you still awake over there?" I was about to poke him, but he finally said something.

"That... was... perfection! You win hands down." He sobered for a minute. "Who are you going to make me say this to?"

I had to think about this one. I couldn't have him say it to one of the popular girls because they were too dumb to get it, and it couldn't be someone that looked halfway nice. So, who was the most misshapen girl at our school? "Darlene."

"Nooooo! Anyone but her! That's just disgusting." He cringed from the thought of even looking at her, let alone saying the pick-up line to her.

"Suck it up. You lost, so have fun tomorrow with your darling Darlene." I patted him on the head as I stood. The hour had passed and it was time for me to go home. "See you tomorrow, Con."

"Yeah, yeah. You still suck though, Sashi!" Connor yelled, still sitting on the floor.

I smirked to myself as I did my victory strut to the end of the hall.

Tomorrow was going to be amazing.


Thank you to my amazing beta Equilibrium!