I came home that day exhausted, in all senses of the word. One day of school had never drained me as much as today had. Between Wren killing my moment and then my deciding not to let Mason Hill get to me anymore, I was beat. I dragged myself through the front door behind Jen and Natalie and went straight upstairs. Dropping my backpack inside the door, I closed it and walked to the bed I had pushed up against the wall. I flopped down on top of my quilt and felt my eyes close, not being able to keep them open any longer.

When I woke up, my mom was sitting by my head, brushing the hair out of my eyes and smiling down at me. "How're you feeling?" She asked in a soft voice.

"I'm fine, just tired." My brain felt slow, trying to bring me back. Gah, what time was it?

"Well dinner's ready. Do you want to come down and eat with all of us?"

"Yeah, just give me a minute and I'll be down," I said, rolling over onto my back and looking up at the ceiling, blinking my eyes a few times.

"Okay sweetie." My mom touched my hair one last time and then got up from my bed, walking out of my room and down the stairs.

After a few seconds I picked myself up off the bed and walked slowly out of my room. Sitting at the top of the stairs, I dragged myself down one step at a time on my butt like a little kid would. I just felt way too tired to actually walk the ten or so steps to the bottom. Sure it would take me half the time, but it was just dinner, no hurry.

Finally I made it to the end and pulled myself up using the railing for the stairs and walked to the dining room. I felt tired and all fogged over, no way was I getting any homework done tonight. How could I be this sleepy? I had spent the last week at home on either the couch or in bed doing nothing.

It really made no sense.

I walked into the dining room and sat down at the table, my family already eating all the food they'd piled onto their plates. Jen shoveled food into her mouth, while Natalie picked at her food and took smaller bites less often. My mother didn't even sit down at the table until my step-father was half done with his food. She kept racing back to the kitchen to get things she had forgotten.

No one talked at first, everyone just ate silently. Then finally when the plates started to empty was when my parents began to hold a conversation. I know studies showed that families all eating dinner together every night was a rarity these days, but it wasn't in my household. Dinner time was like designated family time, there was almost no way to get out of it, especially during the week.

"How was your first day back after being gone for so long?" My dad asked me, spearing green beans with his fork and putting them in his mouth, chewing slowly.

"It was…" I started, trying to find the right words to describe everything that happened that day. "Interesting, but mostly uneventful," I finished, opting for a vague response in hopes that I wouldn't get too many questions in return.

"Yeah, especially when he got in a fight with the new kid because he wouldn't get out of Kael's seat." Jen chimed in, smiling as she told our dad the story.

I looked up sharply and glared at her, not believing she had just said that. Why?! Oh, she would pay for this later; no way would I help her with math homework after this.

"A fight? You got in a fight?" My mother asked, concern in her voice, face slightly crinkled with worry.

"No, I had a little disagreement with someone. It wasn't a fight." I can't believe Jen had done this to me! Why couldn't she be more spacey and oblivious to everything like Natalie.

All Natalie thought about was trees.

"Yes it was! You were flat out yelling at him!" My sister protested, excitement sparkling in her eyes. She was enjoying this, not even realizing how much damage she was causing.

Okay, I take back my previous statement. Jen was just as oblivious as Natalie, but in the bad way.

"Jen," I said harshly through gritted teeth, trying to make her realize what she was doing to me. Both my parents had turned in my direction, my mom with that same worried expression and my dad with intrigue and a slight touch of anger.

"Well…" my dad prompted, voice holding the tone I had directed at Natalie a few seconds ago. His eyebrows were raised far into his forehead and his eyes were staring at me expectantly.

"I got to math this morning and this new kid was sitting in my seat. I asked him to move and he wouldn't. We argued a little and then eventually the teacher told me to just find another seat so I did. End of story, I didn't even get in trouble." I explained quickly and with the least amount of detail I felt I could get away with. I looked down at my plate and pushed my food around with my fork, not really feeling that hungry.

What a shame, my mom actually made something normal looking tonight.

"You shouldn't argue with people, it's bad energy," Natalie said airily, taking a sip from her glass of water.

"Thanks, I'll try and remember that next time," I responded sarcastically. I wondered if I could escape this mess by pretending to be sick. It might work if I said the right words, appealed my mother's nurturing side. I knew it was manipulative, but I didn't care. I was being attacked here!

"Your sister's right Kael, you should be nice to people," my mother said, taking a bite of food.

"A seat in a classroom isn't worth getting in a lot of trouble over. Think about what these little things will cost you," my dad chimed in, turning back to his food.

"I know mom, I'm sorry," I said hanging my head a little and making my voice softer and gentler. "Mom, is it okay if go back upstairs? I'm just feeling really exhausted right now," I asked in a soft voice, looking at my mother with my own specialized version of puppy eyes. Please work, please work.

"Oh… well, sure honey. Go on back upstairs and rest some more," my mother said, her demeanor immediately softening. I got up and left, trying not to walk too quickly because I needed to still seem a little sick. Sick people can't move very fast.

Especially in the hospital, because then their gowns would fall open.

Once I got up the stairs and into my room I shut the door. Going to sit at my desk I pulled my notebooks out of my backpack and set to work on my homework. Even with all the work I did during the week I was stuck at home I was still a little behind. I had a couple make-up quizzes to take in the next couple days that I needed to review and study for.

I hadn't completely lied when I said I was tired, but dinner had cleared the fog away from my brain. Now I was just trying to avoid thinking about Wren and Mason Hill. The whole event really wasn't even that important. There was no way Wren would win over Mason Hill that easily, I knew just from the way Mason Hill was with everyone. People didn't just completely change in a week, it wasn't possible.

Everything would be fine, tomorrow was a new day and I already had a plan.

I stood at the bottom of the stairs the next morning with Natalie waiting for Jen to come down the stairs so we could leave for school. Lifting my wrist, I glanced at my watch and was about to yell up the stairs for her but at the last second I heard a door open and footsteps come towards the stairs.

"Finally," I muttered as I saw the beginnings of Jen's figure.

"Sorry, let's go to school!" Jen said happily, bouncing towards the door.

Hold on a second, what was going on here? Jen didn't bounce, she was sullen and sarcastic with only a rare smile to share with the world. I stared at her as I followed her out the door and started to notice how differently she looked. Her hair was done, she was wearing more make-up than usual, and she had the new crystal earrings in mom had bought her last weekend.

Did she look like this yesterday? How come I didn't notice?

"Is there something special about today?" I asked her, walking up beside her.

"Nope! Why do you ask?" My sister said, smiling out of the middle of nowhere.

"You just look different today, a nice different," I said vaguely, trying to think about why she'd get dressed up for school.

"Hopefully, I got up early today. Natalie, watch out for the trashcan!" Jen yelled back, glancing briefly behind her. I turned around to see Natalie pause and look up from her book before stepping around the trashcan and continuing on.

"Well if that's the only reason…" I said, leaving off on my sentence in hopes that she'd confess to the real reason for her appearance today.

"Don't worry about it Kael," Jen said, smiling at me again before turning to smooth out her skirt as she sat on the bench next to the sign of the bus stop.

She had smiled at me more times in the past ten minutes than she had in the past month; something was not right.

The bus came soon enough and we all got on, Jen going to the back to sit with her friends and Natalie and I sitting together in the middle of the bus. Even after all these years I still maintain the back of the bus does not always hold the coolest kids. On our bus that's usually where Jen and her friends sat, the kids you couldn't talk to first because they all looked like they could kill you in an instant.

Luckily I had immunity because of my sister.

Natalie continued to read through the whole bus ride, leaving me in silence with only my thoughts for company. My mind drifted once again back to the incident in math class yesterday morning and I became ever determined to not repeat it. Just because I was gay didn't mean I had to fit into the over-emotional, drama queen stereotype.

Especially since I hadn't exactly come out of the closet yet. Yes, I had made it quite comfortable for myself in there. I put up a few decorations, found a nice couch to sleep on. It was nice, and I didn't particularly feel the need to leave. It had been rather easy to hide as I was, because of my sisters I had a built in female buffer. That, built in with my aversion to most people who were not named Mason Hill, had kept my family from asking questions.

The bus pulled into the school parking lot and I immediately headed to my math class. This time I sat in my seat with no intention of leaving. I would not be duped by some new kid who had a thing for the guy I claimed a long time ago. I had been going to this school for three years already, this was my turf and I would not be beat.

If you were here, you could see the determined expression on my face. But since you're not, you'll just have to take my word for it.

There were still several minutes until the first bell would ring, so I took out my reading book and opened it. I relaxed into my seat a little, looking forward to math today, partly because I finally felt like my old self, and partly because I knew I had already won.

After I had read a couple pages, the door opened and someone walked in. I didn't bother looking up, my mind too engrossed in the plot line of the story.

"I've read that book, it doesn't end like you think it does," a voice said from in front of me. I looked up as Wren sat down in the seat next to mine, his pink lips pulled up into a little smile and a lollipop bulging in the side of his cheek.

"Hm," I muttered, looking back at my book and trying to find the place I left off. Hopefully if just ignored Wren, he'd go away.

"You know, you're sitting in my seat," he pointed out, pointing one long pale finger towards my blue plastic chair.

"Am not! This is my seat, you just stole it from me. So now I'm stealing it back. Go sit somewhere else." What kind of outlandish claim was that?! I had been sitting in this seat since September, just because he occupied it for a week didn't make it his.

If it didn't count as graffiti, I would write my name on this chair in permanent marker.

"You were gone for a week, I haven't been gone at all. There's a difference," Wren said in a pointed tone, with a touch of condescendence. He pulled the lollipop out of his mouth and waved it in the air as he talked.

"No, not really. Bottom line is, I'm not moving. You can leave now." I turned away from him, happy to hear the bell ring a few seconds after I finished my sentence.

"You win today Kael, but we'll see about tomorrow," Wren whispered in my ear, before sauntering away and taking the empty seat next to my sister. I watched him walk away, unconsciously still looking at him for several moments after he had sat down. He looked over at me and smirked, winking and then bending down to rummage through his backpack.

I snapped my head back down to stare at my book, my cheeks feeling flushed and a little hot. I wasn't staring at Wren, I didn't even like him. He was annoying and always got in the way. I couldn't stand him and I definitely didn't like him.

So there.

Later that day I was sitting in American history, completely bored out of my mind. We were covering the period right before all the really cool stuff happened in the 1960's. Finally, a class that wasn't completely stuck on the American Revolution and Civil War. I knew they were important or whatever, but honestly, how many times did I have to learn about them? It had officially gotten boring after the second time.

I got out of my seat and went to the teacher's desk, asking for the bathroom pass. I didn't really have to use the bathroom, but there was half an hour before the end of the day and I was really bored. If I didn't get out of my seat and do something, I was going to fall asleep at my books.

Once she handed it over I left the room, humming to myself a little as I meandered through the deserted hallways. I looked in at the other students as I passed by the classrooms. Most of them looked just as bored as I was, I even saw a couple that were asleep.

I reached the boys restroom and pushed open the door, only to stop dead where I was standing.

There, pushed up against the wall, was Mason Hill.

With Wren's tongue shoved down his throat.

What the hell?!

a/n: im sorry this is so short and that it took so long. school kinda effed me this last week. then again, i don't really know how many people are actually reading this, although i hope someone is. reviews anyone?