Signals for the Romantically Impaired

Part One


My best friend's hot
My best friend's hot
No matter what I do won't love me

Why don't you come on closer please
Yeah you don't know
I brush my hand across your knee
Just take it slow
Because I'm not gonna tell you all the things I might, like

Won't you apologize to me to me to me
For being such a tease a tease a tease
You know I'm not gonna tell you all the things I might like

My best friend's hot
My best friend's hot
No matter what I do you love me not
Woah oh oh, woah oh oh
Na na na na na naot
You love me not

My Best Friend's Hot--The Dollyrots


Sophomore Year


There was a boy sitting at her computer table. And he was sitting in her chair! Not that she had exclusive rights to them or anything, but still...it was her computer table. And her chair! She had picked that table, and that chair for a specific reason. Although it was tucked away in the back of the newspaper room, nobody seemed to realize its potential. It was secluded and remote, quiet and peaceful and the best location for writing. There was no one around it to annoy her or beeping machines like the copier or the printer at the front of the room. Other members or the newspaper staff didn't bother journeying to the back of the room because there was nothing of importance there. Other than her table. And her chair. Both of which had been stolen. By a boy.

Normally, she'd shy away and choose somewhere else to sit. She had never been comfortable enough around the male species to talk to them without stuttering. But this wasn't just some random seat in her math class taken by a more popular, more outgoing boy. This was her newspaper seat. She had carefully picked it the year before during freshmen year. She had sat there her whole freshmen year after school during newspaper meetings. She was attached to it. If this was any other seat, she wouldn't dare approach him. But this was one injustice that had to be corrected. Squaring her shoulders, Cathy Montgomery marched right up to the boy, tapped on his arm...

...and was rewarded by the most menacing glare she had ever seen. The look in his golden brown eyes was so intense that Cathy found herself drawing away from him. Such a hard look made her want to run away, tail between her legs, but those legs were frozen to the spot, afraid that if they moved, he'd attack. Who knew a single person could look so scary?

Wait a second, he was scaring her! Intentionally! And she hadn't done anything to him, that she knew of. But even the possibility that she had wronged him somehow was unfathomable. She was much too nice for that. Standing straighter, her hands balled into fists at her sides in indignance. What was his problem? Who was he to be angry at her? He was sitting in her chair! She should be the one glaring knives at him, not the other way around!

Opening her mouth, Cathy began, "You--"

"Ah, Catherine," a cheery voice rang. Cathy turned around to face Mrs. Damore, the supervisor of Grant High School's newspaper. Stout and round, Mrs. Damore was a flustered busybody who had a terrible habit of making things chaotic. Not a lot of people counted on her for anything because in the instance that they did need her for something, she always messed it up. Students figured that she was put in charge of the Grant Gazette because it was mostly run by the newspaper staff, and there was little else she had to do except select new members and give free press passes. But sometimes she even managed to mess those things up, as well. "I see you met Andrew."

"Andrew?" Cathy glanced over at the boy sitting in her chair, now focusing his glare at the table. Great, first he had to scare the crap out of her, now he just had to go and burn holes into her computer table with his satanic eyes. Giving him a quick once-over, she noted his dirt-colored hair, simple blue polo, baggy cargo shorts, and shoes so muddy she couldn't tell what color they originally were. What the hell was the importance of 'Andrew'?

"Silly me," Crap. Those words were a sure sign that Mrs. Damore was about to spill some mix-up onto Cathy. Placing a hand on the boy's shoulder, she explained, "You see, I accidentally picked too many people to join the paper this year. We have more journalists than stories, it seems. So, I'm partnering you and Andrew here to do the homecoming game article."

"But--" Cathy started.

"No buts, Miss Montgomery. I've reviewed both yours and Andrew's pieces from last year and decided that you two would complement each other really well." She grabbed an empty chair from the table next to the one Andrew was sitting at and put it next to the boy, who glared at that, too, as if it were the lowest form of scum. Then, grabbing a hold of Cathy, she forced her to sit in the chair and left them with a jovial command to "Get to work."

They sat in silence for a moment, Andrew glaring and Cathy wishing she was sitting in her own chair--and that Andrew would find a new facial expression because he was really starting to creep her out. Finally, before Cathy was about to give up altogether and tell Mrs. Damore she was leaving the paper completely, Andrew asked in a gruff voice, "What do you usually do?"

"What?" Cathy jumped, surprised that he was actually speaking to her.

"To gaher facts for your article, how do you usually do it?" he asked, pulling a blue Bic pen out from his messenger bag on the floor.

"Oh," Tucking a strand of cinnamon-brown hair behind her ear, Cathy set her notebook on the table and also pulled out a pen from her book bag. "I observe what I'm writing about for a couple of days, then I put together all my notes that I've taken."

"Really," He leaned back in his--her--chair and tapped his pen on his temple. "That's boring."

Her cheeks puffed in annoyance. "Well, what do you do?"

"I'm more hands-on. I like to actually do what I'm writing about. When I experience what I'm writing about, it's easier to write about."

"That's stupid," Cathy snorted. "How do you even get facts if you're so busy doing the experience?"

"I ask questions. I'm not exactly shy." He gave her a look that Cathy took offense at. Sure, she was quiet. And withdrawn. And maybe a teensy bit unsocial. It didn't mean she was shy. Or shy enough that you could spot it at first glance, like Andrew seemingly did. "And despite what you think, my methods usually result in good articles."

"Not good enough if you had to be partnered up." Cathy muttered under her breath. At receiving his cursed glare again, she ducked behind the long tresses of her hair, her face heating up. She hadn't meant for him to hear that!

"Yeah, well, look in a mirror sometimes, Montgomery, because you're in the same boat as I am," he responded agitatedly.

"Only because Mrs. D can't seem to stop living by her motto."

"And what's that?" he asked, a bite of sarcasm apparent in his tone, like he expected any other word from her mouth to be a personal assault at him.

"Da-more, da-merrier." came her deadpanned reply. And, to her complete and utter shock, Andrew threw his head back and let out a hearty laugh. People at the front of the room were looking back at them to see what was so funny. It only made Cathy sink deeper into her seat. She hated being the center of attention.

Wiping tears from the corner of his eye, Andrew held out a hand. "Andrew Howerd."

Taking his hand, she said, "Cathy Montgomery."

"Just to let you know, I still can't stand the thought of co-writing this article with you," Oh, good, there was the you're-the-scummiest-thing-in-the-world glare she had gotten used to. For a second, Cathy thought Andrew might've been bipolar. "But if it means staying on this paper, then I guess I have to deal with you."

"Gee, thanks. You sure know how to make a girl feel appreciated." And she dropped his hand as if it was the scummiest thing in the world.

"I'm here for the facts, not the girls. Now, let's trade chairs."

"Why?" The sudden change of topic had Cathy blinking in confusion.

"Because this chair sucks."

"No, it doesn't!" Outraged, Cathy jabbed her finger at his chest. "That is the best chair in the room!"

"Are you on pills? This chair feels like it's about to fall apart any second. And it wobbles too much. I can't concentrate with wobbling chairs." He stood up, his sudden movement causing the chair to skid back with a screeching sound as it scraped against the floor. "So, let me have that chair."

"No." Crossing her arms, Cathy settled back in the chair, firmly showing that she wouldn't budge.

"Why not?"

"Because, you don't like my chair. And it's the best chair you'll have ever taken a seat in. And until you fully grasp how wonderful that chair is, you're not going to sit in any other one."

"Now you're just being stupid."

"I don't care." Then, she turned to her notebook and uncapped her pen, showing that the discussion was over. "You are going to sit in that chair and you are going to like it."

He mumbled some profanity under his breath but didn't make any further attempt to rid himself of her chair. He sat down in it again, growled when it tipped over just slightly, and gave her another glare to add to her increasing collection. Hiding her face behind a curtain of hair, she let her mouth tip upwards in a small, satisfactory smile.


Three weeks later, the first issue of the Grant Gazette had been published and passed around the school for students to enjoy--even though most students just used it to chuck paper balls at their teachers. The same day it had been published, Mrs. Damore had rushed into the newspaper room after school and found Catherine Montgomery and Andrew Howerd sitting at their table at the back of the room, heads bent toward the computer screen and talking in harsh tones. At the abrupt sound of Mrs. Damore's hands clapping furiously together, the two jumped away from each other.

"Congratulations, you two!" their supervisor cheered. "I knew that pairing you guys up would be a good idea."

Andrew snorted and Cathy rolled her eyes at him, but Mrs. Damore did not notice their doubtful expressions and waved the newest issue of the Gazette in their faces. "Your article was just marvelous! It would have been front-page material, but the senior writers wouldn't have been to happy about that, especially because both of you are two classes under them. But still, it was terrific."

"Anyway, I have other news for you." the teacher clasped her hands in front of her and assumed a saddened countenance. "It just so happens that a student has quit the newspaper because he found it hard to fit on his schedule. So, now we need someone to cover the food drive campaign next week. You two can talk amongst yourselves and figure out who will take it."

Surprisingly, neither Cathy nor Andrew immediately took up the offer. Instead, they just stared at her with disbelieving eyes. Then, at the sound of Andrew's throat clearing, Mrs. Damore brightened, thinking he would volunteer himself to report the food drive.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. D, but we can'rt possibly do the food drive."

"What?"

Andrew explained, "We've already started research on the ecology club's new recycling efforts. Cathy was going to help them next week with distributing the recycling bins to each classroom while I wrote down observations on how the school responded to the attempt at making our school more environmentally friendly." He held up the notebook sitting on the table to show their plans for the next week. "And after that, we were going to begin writing a 'Farewell' article to Mr. Duncan because of his upcoming retirement."

"But, we can still do the food drive piece," Cathy announced. Andrew looked at her like she was crazy and pointed to the busy schedule in his notebook. Slapping the hand with the notebook away, Cathy said, "Each day, we can spend our lunch periods and free classes working with Ms. Kilton and the food drive committee and--"

"--still have time at the end of each day to work with the ecology club. And if we can move our interview with Mr. Duncan to Friday--"

"--but we have the band concert on Friday--"

"--so we can just invite Mr. Duncan to go miniature golfing with us after the concert. He likes to play miniature golf, and that way, we can take some more interesting pictures of him, so it seems like he's not just some old boring teacher--"

Mrs. Damore watched them continue with their ideas and planning, her delight growing by the second. These two were meant to write together, she was sure of it. Oh, how the newspaper would prosper because of them. People might actually read it now.


Senior Year


Cathy walked down the hallway towards the newspaper room with the feeling that today was going to be The Day. She knew that The Day was near and when she woke up that morning, she just knew it. It was a new day. It was The Day. In other words, it was The Day Andrew Howerd Realized He Was Desperately In Love With Her. Oh, yes, that Day.

Then again, thought the pessimistic side of her as she checked her hair in the window of a trophy case lining the wall, yesterday had also been The Day. In fact, every day had been The Day. It had been The Day for about half a year, ever since Cathy had realized that she was desperately in love with Andrew Howerd. It had been six or seven months before, when they were attending a skateboarding competition. Cathy's friend from the newspaper, Joe Burton, had invited her to watch him in the competition. Not wanting to feel out of place, she had taken Andrew with her. They had been talking with Joe during a break in the competition when an errant skate boarder had charged right for their small group. Joe had jumped out of the way, but Andrew had grabbed Cathy by the waist and dragged her out of harm's way.

It was then, with him holding her and glaring at the boy on the skateboard, her hands gripping his shirt after being startled by his action, that she realized her true feelings for her friend and partner of two years. After successfully scaring the crap out of the runaway skateboarder with his fierce glare--a feeling Cathy only knew too well--Andrew had looked down at her and cracked a joke about how they should write about the dangers of skateboarders to regular civilians, he had given her a grin. It was that small, crooked grin that had effectively and completely captured her heart. It was that grin, so completely different from his usual glares and smirks, that had set her heart racing and her cheeks heating and butterflies fluttered about in her stomach. Loving the new feeling insdie of her, Cathy had given him back a bright smile.

She had been certain that Andrew had felt that same feelings she had felt that day. How couldn't he? She herself had never in her entire eightteen years experienced something so strong as her love for Andrew. And she had felt some pretty strong emotions, such as the pride for the Gazette after it began to grow in popularity, joy when Andrew's and hers article had made first page, anxiety the first day of junior year when she had walked into school with her once waist-long hair cropped to just below her shoulders, and then humiliation when Andrew had accidentally singed her hair with the bunsen burner in chemistry and she had to cut her hair even more. But nothing could top what she felt when she had been in Andrew's embrace.

But even though it was so obvious that Andrew and she should be together, he hadn't said a single word about them romantically. In fact, things had continued being the same as they always were. They were still friends, still partners. Nothing else. Cathy had been prepared to wait for him. Andrew wasn't exactly what you would call a lady's man. Never once since she had known him had he even mentioned interest in a girl, let alone gone out with one. For a while, she entertained the idea that he might swing the other way, but that notion had been thrown out the window when she had seen him eying Keira Knightley once when she had forced him to watch Pride & Prejudice with her.

But she didn't mind that he was romantically challenged. Cathy had never been that comfortable around guys until she started hanging out with Andrew. Before him, she had been shy and quiet and hid behind her hair, but since being friends with him, she had shed some of that shyness and grown to a little more outgoing person. Granted, most of her friends were newspaper nerds, but still, at least she had friends now.

It wasn't until she was talking with some of those friends about a month ago that she realized she couldn't wait any longer. It had been after the end of the first semester at Grant High, and her friends had been talking about their plans and the colleges they would be going to. That set her to thinking that she didn't really have much time left with Andrew. Sure, they had applied to some of the same colleges, but there were no guarantees that they'd be accepted and go to the same one. What if they never saw each other after graduation? What if they stopped being friends? What if they passed each other in the street ten years down the road and didn't even recognize each other?

So, Cathy decided it was time that she and Andrew got together. She wouldn't dare confess her feelings to him. Sure, she had broken free of her shyness, but not enough to risk rejection and heartbreak from a boy so important to her. That meant she had to come up with a plan, something to get Andrew to realize how much they were meant to be together. It had taken awhile to figure out just what this plan would involve, but she had finally chose her course of action. And it would start today.

Plopping down in her chair at the computer table at the back of the newspaper room, Cathy smiled at Andrew, who had been waiting for her with his feet propped up on the table and leaning back in his chair. Sensing her gaze on him, Andrew looked up from the notes he had taken and asked, "Why do you look so creepy today?"

"Creepy?" she questioned, trying not to let her anger show. It wouldn't do well for her to get mad at him. Boys didn't really confess their love when you were mad at them. Even if they were totally in the wrong. She did not look creepy! She looked the same as every other day. So what if she had curled the ends of her cinnamon brown hair so that they looked like they flowed down her neck? And what was wrong with her dressing in a cute baby blue v-neck and low-cut jeans?

"Yeah, creepy." He put his feet down and his chair slammed on the ground. "You're smiling...and it looks creepy. And you have a pound of make-up on your face."

Well, excuse her for trying to look cuter in hopes that'd force him to see what he was missing by not confessing yet.

"I think you look hot, Cathy," a voice interrupted. The boy that it belonged to sat down on the edge of their table and winked at her. Joe Burton, whose skateboarding competition was where Cathy had realized she had fallen head over heels for Andrew, had moved to Grant High School the middle of their junior year and upon seeing Cathy, had immediately attached himself to her like a lost puppy. Tall, blonde, and handsome, many girls had declared themselves in love with him. But he had never paid them any attention. He was too wrapped up in Cathy.

Andrew rolled his eyes and pretended to throw up. He was friends with Joe, but was always annoyed at the way he carelessly hit on Cathy. Cathy, of course, thought this was a sign of jealousy, and had once questioned Andrew about it. His answer was that Joe could find much more productive things to do, such as, the newspaper, than flirt with someone that wasn't worth it. This response did not make her pleased.

"I mean it, Cathy," Joe went on. "Your looks are wasted on Howerd. You should come and work on the basketball article with me. We could go to the game this Saturday together."

"I wouldn't if I were you, Burton. She's creepy looking." Andrew smirked.

Tired of hearing his comments on how creepy she looked, Cathy pulled out a bag from her purse and announced, "I made cookies!" Waving the bag in Andrew's face, she asked, "Want some?" Because the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.

He yanked the bag out of her hand and looked at its contents. Then, throwing them down on the table, said, "Not really."

"I'll have them!" And before she could stop him, Joe grabbed the bag and jammed a cookie into his mouth. Groaning, he gave her a thumbs up. "Delicious."

Yeah, they were delicious! So why the hell didn't Andrew want to eat them? He was messing up her entire plan. If he didn't eat her cookies, how was she going to get to his heart through his stomach? Things like this never happened in the romance books she had read! What was she going to do now?

She wasn't going to give up, she decided. So, plan A didn't work. Plan A's usually don't work. That's why there are always plan B's. And Cathy was determined to be with Andrew. And when she set her mind to something, she accomplished it. If not, Andrew wouldn't be sitting in the same exact chair he had hated two years before.


"So, what ideas do you have planned for the next issue?" Andrew asked as he sprawled out on the living room couch. "The next issue comes out the week after the Valentine's Day dance, so that leaves us with almost two weeks to get an idea."

"Why not just write about the dance like we usually would?" Cathy asked as she punched a number into her calculator.

"Mrs. Damore already gave the article to Overman," he replied with disgust, mentioning the name of one of their rival reporters on the newspaper staff.

They were at Andrew's house, a couple of days after the tragic failure of plan A. He was playing some video game on his Playstation 2, and Cathy was working on her math homework. They were in a writing rut and couldn't figure out what to do for their next article. When this happened, they usually regrouped at one or the other's house and threw out random ideas until one stuck.

Cathy, more focused on her plan to get Andrew to confess to her, wasn't really in the mood to be thinking about the newspaper. Distracted, she proposed, "How about we write about the senior French students and their trip to Paris? We could interview some of them and have them give us some cool French phrases to put in the piece."

"Cathy, you dropped French sophomore year."

"So?"

"So, what do you know about cool French phrases?" He chuckled as he blew up some creature on the television screen.

"Hey!" she retaliated. "I know some French!"

"Really?" he asked as though he wasn't really convinced.

"Of course. I know enough French to not starve, know where I'm going, and ask where a castle is." she stated proudly (1).

"Well aren't you special?" Irritated by the mocking tone in his voice, Cathy threw down her math book and pounced on him, snatching the wireless controller out of his hand. "Hey! Give that back!" She tried to jump off the couch, but he had already grabbed her leg, so all she managed to do was fall back down again. He reached for the controller, but she shoved it under her back before he could get it and kicked her legs out so he couldn't get closer. Giggles erupted from her as he struggled to hold her down and not get kicked by her flailing legs at the same time. From the television screen, a man cried out as he was savagely murdered by the creatures he had previously been killing. Both of the teens looked at the screen to see the words 'Game Over' blinking back at them.

"Now you've done it." Andrew taunted, his eyes slowly moving from the screen to her face with a deadly sparkle. Crying out, Cathy sprang from the couch and ran away from him, but he followed close behind. Grabbing her arm, he pulled her to him and picked her up off the floor just as the front door opened and in walked Andrew's parents.

Andrew paused a second before dropping Cathy on the ground like a hot potato, waving at his parents and ignoring his friend's loud and mighty 'ouch'. Smiling as if this was nothing new, Andrew's dad walked into the hallway and remarked, "I thought I heard screaming. Hello, Catherine."

"Hi, Mr. Howerd, Mrs. Howerd," was the weak reply from the floor.

"Andrew, you really shouldn't drop your girlfriend on the ground like that. She has feelings, too." His mother frowned disapprovingly. Cathy tried very hard to not let the smile that was working its way to her lips to show. Andrew's mom thought she was his girlfriend. That felt really nice.

"God, Mom, Cathy's my friend. She doesn't care." Ouch.

His friend? His friend? That's all he thought she was to him? A friend?

What if...what if she was wrong? What if she was the only one who thought there was something there between them? Maybe Andrew didn't think of her like that at all. Maybe all that stuff from the skateboarding competition was just in her head. Because in Andrew's head, there was nothing there. Nothing except friendship.

"Catherine, will you be staying for dinner?" his mother asked.

Have dinner with her friend and his family? Have a merry old time with Andrew treating her as just a friend and nothing more, and all the while she would be pining away for him?

"I've got to get home, actually." she said, getting off of the floor. Andrew followed her back into the living room and helped her pack up the materials she was studying before their little game of war. "When do you want to think about more ideas for an article?"

Shrugging back his shoulders, Andrew mumbled, "Don't worry about it. I'll think of something."


Authoress's Note: Originally, this was supposed to be just a regular, cute one-shot....except it escalated into a two-shot....I hope. It might even turn out to be a three-shot, based on the way it's going right now. I haven't finished it yet, but it was already over 8,000 words and I figured I'd cut it off right here and save the rest for a second chapter. This was also supposed to be up on Valentine's Day and well....I started it on Valentine's Day and by the time I got over 6,000 words, it was already midnight. So, it's a few weeks late.....

(1): The whole conversation about French is actual true. This convo took place between my friend and I at lunch about a week before Valentine's Day, and I just had to add it in a story somewhere, so I incorporated it right here. Also, the friend who I was talking to...her little brother's name is Andrew. And so I kinda stole his name and used it for this story. Because her little brother is just so awesome. He's my buddy. And omg, his birthday is this weekend!!! Yayness!!

So, I'll try to work on the second part of this two-shot soon, but I'm not sure I'll be able to get to it. I've got to prepare a French presentation tonight, and English essay tomorrow night, Friday I have to work, as well as Saturday and Sunday. And any free time I have will probably go to relaxing and watching tv or reading a new book.

The song used at the beginning of the story is called My Best Friend's Hot by The Dollyrots. You should listen to it. It's amazing. I found this song after I began writing this and I was like 'Holy crap this song is perfect! yayness!' And so I used it for this story. I advise you to go to Youtube and find it. And perhaps listen to it while reading this....over and over again...like I did...

Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed this! And don't worry, I will not leave you hanging...or at least try not to!