Well you are the one, the one that lies close to me
Whispers "Hello, I've missed you quite terribly"
I fell in love, in love with you suddenly
Now there's no place else I could be but here in your arms...

- Hellogoodbye: Here In Your Arms


Chapter Five: Love

June 19, 2009

4:30 P.M.

The gas station was small and empty, all the pumps clear of cars. Well, except the one I was at. I leaned against the Hippie Mobile while I filled it up, watching the numbers increase on the screen. The sky was clear and open, giving the sun space to do its job while still giving the golden orb support.

I sighed. Who knew filling up your gas tank could be so boring? My gaze switched from the changing numbers to the convenience store connected to the actual gas station. Will, Sierra, and Dylan were milling around, picking up different snacks and drinks, seeing as they already devoured everything else.

"Pigs," I muttered, brushing a strand of hair from my face. Who knew New Hampshire was so humid? I sure as hell didn't. My capris stuck to my legs uncomfortably, chafing together when I moved and my white tank top didn't give me much relief either. The black hoodie from earlier was stuffed under the driver's seat for easy access if I got too cold.

Loud squealing echoed in the air and I looked over at the store. Sierra was the source of the noise, shrieking while Will tried to douse her in what looked like ice water, both laughing loudly. The cashier inside the store watched them, smiling and shaking her head. Although they broke up a few years back, Will and Sierra still seemed to act like a couple.

My stomach churned uncomfortably and I looked away, locking my eyes back on the rapidly increasing digits. Soon, I took out the nozzle and replaced it under 'unleaded' and scuffled over to the store, keeping my gaze and ears away from the two friends.

A bell dinged when I walked in and I was instantly assaulted with cool air. I sighed.

"Feels nice, huh?"

I grinned at Dylan and nodded, linking my arm with his as he headed to the counter. He glanced at me but I just blinked innocently. But my attention was soon demanded by the large hoard of junk food he was carrying in his other arm.

I made a face. "Are you going to buy all of that?" When he nodded I scoffed and slapped his stomach. "Fatty."

He rolled his eyes and mimicked my scoff. "Psh, bitch, please; this is all muscle."

"Flabby muscle, sure," I retaliated quickly. He glared at me while pouring out his items on the counter.

"Says you."

"And you have better sources of information?"

"Yes, in fact, I do."

"Your mom doesn't count, Dyl."

"…That was cold."

I laughed and kissed his cheek. "You know I love you, fat and all."

The clerk gave us a knowing look, which I ignored, and rung up all of Dyl's food. "Fifteen seventy."

"Holy Hell, Dylan! You just spent fifteen bucks in a freakin' gas station!"

He ignored me, paid the lady, and shoved everything into the plastic bag she handed him before walking away, flipping me the bird. I snorted and turned to the aging woman behind the counter.

"Pump seven," I said, handing her the money. While she typed in whatever it was she needed to type into the computer, I looked outside again, my eyes immediately finding Will. He was lounging against the van, talking animatedly with Sierra, who just watched while trying to stay out of range of his flailing hands. I smiled slightly. He always uses his hands to talk, no matter what he was talking about. If the subject was especially droll, his movements were less intense, more like gesturing then actual flailing. But if he was passionate about it, his arms were basically helicopter propellers, fast and dangerous.

"That's a nice young man you have there," she piped up, her small voice scratchy and hoarse. I jumped slightly, my hand snapping around to stare at the woman. She smiled.

"S-Sorry, what?" I stuttered, blushing when I realized I had started to daydream again. Her smile only grew.

"That boy who was just in here. He seems very sweet," she elaborated. And my blush darkened. Was I really that transparent? Oh, great, so if some random lady can tell I have an uber crush on Will, they probably all know.

Not like they didn't know back when. But I've made it clear to everyone that I'm over the whole thing. Which is, of course, a lie.

But what they don't know can't hurt 'em.

"Yeah," I muttered. The woman's (according to her worn-down nametag, her name was Gertrude) eyes twinkled, obviously realizing I meant more then just that simple word. Old biddy.

"Oh, that was just too sweet! Young love is so romantic. My Harry and I used to be just like the two of you, bantering and teasing. We still are, of course, even after so long—"

I blinked before my brain caught up. She was talking about Dyl. She thinks we're dating. She's way off.

"Ah, no, no! The guy who was in here with me, Dylan, we're just friends. It's never work anyway," I laughed, relieved she had no idea what she was talking about. Gertrude blinked and seemed to deflate a bit.

"Oh…well, why wouldn't you?"

I snorted. "I don't fulfill his requirements he has for his, ah…partner," I choked through my laughs, stumbling a bit on the last word.

"Oh?"

"Yeah. At least, last time I checked I didn't, but I'm pretty sure nothing's changed."

I left poor Gertrude looking confused and lost.

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

"Soo…are we gonna get a hotel?"

I glanced over at Gina blearily, blinked rapidly. It took a minute for her question to register in my mind and when it did, I shook my head.

Ah! Bad idea: now everything's spinning.

"Er…no, not tonight. We should be able to make it out of the state by…sometime tomorrow if we keep going, then we can stop at a hotel. 'Member, we only—" I yawned "—have so much money for hotels."

GiGi nodded uncertainly, staring at me. Gah. I know that look and I don't like it one bit.

She frowned, her Anxiety more prominent now. "Maybe you should let someone else drive, Cass. You look dead on your feet."

I almost shook my head again but stopped before I could make the world spin again. "No, I'm fine."

Her look said she didn't believe me but instead of voicing that, she turned away. The van was quiet, the only real sound being Roy and Tyler's snores. Roy's face was pressed against the passenger window, his open mouth creating fog against the glass while he snored. His body was scrunched up on the seat, which he had refused to lower when I offered it.

Boys.

Glancing in the mirror, I noticed that along with the two boys, Dylan, Alex, and Dan had all fallen asleep too, curled up in individual sleeping bags that kept them warm from the A/C I had on. It was still humid outside and if I didn't have it on, the van would be boiling.

But, I digress. Sierra was still awake, writing in an old battered notebook, a small book-light connected to the cover. I frowned and pressed a small button, igniting a bulb over her. She blinked and turned to me. I feigned ignorance, looking at the road while holding back another yawn.

"Well, this is Jazz signing off for the night," the DJ announced on the radio. "It's eleven thirty in these parts of our country, aka my bedtime. Rap at you tomorrow, same time, same place. Don't change that dial, though; Kelly's up next and she's got some crazy stories for you."

I yawned widely again, keeping it quiet to the best of my abilities. Unfortunately, someone noticed.

"You okay?"

I waved a hand dismissively; my slow thought process not realizing that whoever was talking to me wasn't Gina. Or female, for that matter.

"Fine, fine. Driving can just be…boring sometimes," I muttered. The person laughed.

"Then why are you still doing it?"

"Because someone has to? It can drive itself."

"So? Get someone else to drive."

"Gina," I sighed. "This is my car. I can't just hand the care of her over to some person."

This time, the person laughed loudly. "Wow, Cass, you must really be out of it."

I frowned. "Wha-?"

Then my thought process finally picked up the pace. The voice was most definitely not Gina or Sierra. It was distinctly male. I counted in my head, ticking off who was asleep. Then I flushed.

Oh jeez.

"Oh."

Will laughed again. "Yeah, oh. Come on, let me drive."

Still flushing, I shook my head. "No, no, I got it. Really, I'm fine."

"Sure, minus the fact you're practically delusional."

"I am not. I was just…temporarily confused."

"Same thing."

"Uh, no, not really."

"Yeah, really."

I sighed sharply. God, I forgot just how annoying Will could be.

"I am fine. I can drive."

He seemed to be equally annoyed with me, because he muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like 'stubborn little girl.' That…ugh, that ass!

"Hey! I am not little!" I cried out indignantly.

"Whatever you say, Love."

The brilliant retort I had ready dispersed at what he called me.

My old nickname.

-.-.-December 12, 1999-.-.-

The ground was dusted with the snow, no spot left untouched on the lawns that spread out across the neighborhood. A truck drove by slowly, leaving behind grains of salt to melt away the ice sheeted across the blacktop. Kids all around were yelling and screaming and laughing in delight, some having snowball fights while others sledded down the steep hill that led to the docks.

Will and Cassie were lying in his yard, spreading their arms and legs out before dragging them back to their sides, repeating the cycle innumerable times. They laughed, their high-pitched laughter echoing across the open air.

"Mine's gonna be bigger," Will crowed happily. Cassie stuck her tongue out.

"Nuh-uh! Mine is!"

"You're too short," Will commented. Cassie pouted and stopped her movements, trying to, with the grace of a six year old, stand up without ruining her precious Snow Angel. Will followed clumsily and grinned down at the two forms they had created.

"Ah! I told you so! Mine's bigger," he bragged, laying two hands on his hips while posing proudly. Cassie ignored him. Instead, while his eyes were closed, she balled up the soft snow, and lugged it at him, missing her mark by an inch. Will opened one eye.

"Wha-? What are you laughin' 'bout?"

Cassie covered her mouth, trying to muffle her snickers at the sheer obliviousness of her best friend. When he turned his back to her, trying to see what was so funny, she quickly made another snowball and threw it harder, the ball smashing against Will's coat. He whipped around, gaping.

"You hit me!"

"Nuh-uh! The snow did!"

"Liar!"

"I am not!"

Scowling, Will scooped up the white frosty water. Cassie squealed and ran, tripping slightly on the slick snow. The young boy followed behind, trying to aim correctly as his friend fled.

Unfortunately for Cassie, a patch of ice was under the snow, and as she ran onto the small spot, her feet gained no traction. She screamed and came tumbling down on the cold surface, grunting on impact. Unlike other six-year-olds, however, Cassie gasped and after a moment of shock, laughed.

Will rushed over, dropping his snowball. "Cassie! Are you alright?"

His brown eyes were wide, shining with worry when she looked at him. She opened her mouth to reply, looking at the ground coyly, than her arm shot up, smearing his face with cold snow. Will yelped and stumbled back, collapsing into a pile of the fluffy flakes.

Cassie's laughter doubled and she watched as Will hopped up, whining about the cold while simultaneously glaring at her with as much anger as a six-year-old could muster up.

She just grinned back, the picture of innocence. Of course, Will knew better. This was the girl that somehow caught his Playstation on fire when he was racing. This was the girl who broke all his Hot Wheel cars and managed to drop every last one of his one hundred and fifty Pokémon cards into the ocean.

If she was any farther from the word 'innocent', she'd be the Devil.

Still snickering, Cassie waddled through the snow and over to her pouting friend. "I'm sorry, Willie. I didn't mean to."

He just blew a raspberry at her. She kicked him, which quickly resulted in a full-out childish brawl.

Thirty minutes later and the two were in his room, both wearing band-aids in numerous spots on their arms and face, playing with his new automatic car. Oh, well, Will was. Cassie was watching..

"I'm booooored," she whined, pouting. Will ignored her, trying to maneuver his car out of the corner it was stuck in. When her complaint went unanswered, Cassie pouted, pulling at a snag in the burgundy carpet.

But, suddenly, a thought came to her. She sat up immediately. "Willie, let's play house!"

The boy made a face. "No way. House is for girls."

"I am a girl."

"But I'm not!"

Cassie tapped her chin thoughtfully before pointing at him accusingly. "You are not! When did you stop being a girl, Will?"

"I always a boy," he replied hotly, stumbling over his grammar, the statement still wrong.

Cassie gasped. Her turquoise eyes were wide in astonishment, the realization that they were actually different hitting her.

But her awe soon faded, replaced with her earlier excitement. "Oh, please, Will? You can still use your car! In fact, you can use it to take us places!"

Will almost rebutted but when he saw Cassie's wide blue eyes and clasped hands, his six-year-old self conceded. Besides, he got to play with his car AND Cassie now.

"Okay, so, you're gonna be my hubby and—"

"Hubby? What's a hubby?" Will interrupted. Cassie sighed heavily.

"I don't know, but that's what Mommy calls Daddy, so that's you're gonna be. Now, we need names."

"I wanna be the Red Ranger!"

Cassie blinked. "We're not playing Power Rangers, Willie. We can play that later. You have to have a real name—"

"That is a real name!"

"No, it's a Power Ranger's name."

"Power Ranger's are real!"

"Of course they are."

"Then why can't I be him?"

"Because we aren't playing' Power Rangers! And seeing as we aren't, you can't be Red Ranger. Sorry."

Will pouted.

"My name's gonna be…Louise Olivia Violet Elizabeth."

"But…that's four names!"

"No, it's not."

"Yes-huh!"

"Nuh-uh!"

"Yes-huh!"

"Nuh-uh!"

"If you can have four names, why can't I be the Red Ranger?" Will demanded.

"Because your name is Wilbur."

"What? Like that pig?"

"No! Not like the piggy! Like the name!"

"I don't wanna be Wilbur!" Will cried out. Cassie scoffed and picked up his little toy car, putting it facing the open door to his room. She slowly sat down on it, trying to get comfortable on the tiny plastic toy.

"Too bad. Come on, Wilbur! Let's go for a ride," she announced grandly, pointing dead ahead. Will grumbled loudly.

"Fine, L.O.V.E."

"What?

"Louise Olivia Violet Elizabeth: L.O.V.E. All those names are too long," Will stated and pressed down on a small button located on his remote to control the car. Cassie smiled widely at the nickname and prepared herself for the car ride her parents always enjoyed.

Neither one of them expected the poor car to break under the little girl's weight.

"You broke my car, Love!"

-.-.-.-.-.-.-

"Cass?"

I blinked, letting go of the memory and turned to face Will. He raised a brow.

"…Pardon?"

A corner of his mouth tilted upwards. "I asked if you wanted me to drive."

"Oh. No, I'm good."

"Wait, okay, let me rephrase: would you like to willingly let me drive or unwillingly?"

I gaped for a second before regaining composure. "Why do I need to let you drive, eh? If I have enough energy to argue with you, I have enough energy to drive."

Will scoffed. "Please, this is hardly arguing. Just a natural disagreement."

"Same thing," I mocked. Will rolled his eyes.

"No, it's not."

"Yeah, it is."

We stared each other down, my gaze constantly flickering to the road like the vigilant driver that I am. Although I may have forgotten some things about Will, his stubbornness wasn't one of them. He was almost a competitor for me.

"Come on, Cass, you need to get some sleep," Will urged. I ignored how good sleep sounded.

"Nope."

"Cassidy…" he warned, narrowing his eyes dangerously. I blinked back innocently, just like I used to when we were kids.

"Yes?"

"One more chance to give up willingly: let me drive."

I stared at him levelly, clutching the wheel.

"No."

I watched as he stretched over the small gap between the driver and passenger seats, wrapping a hand around the top of the gear shift. Before I could react, he shoved it up, the shift now stationed next to the P on the gears. The van stopped suddenly, and I jolted forward against the seat belt, which was abruptly unlocked. Right after that, my tickle spots (yes, as in 'more then one') were mercilessly attacked, emitting laughter from my lungs that echoed slightly in the van. My protests and pleas were weakened but soon, the attacks stopped.

I blinked and realized I was in the back, Will now climbing into the driver's seat. I gasped, trying to get air into my lungs.

"You cheater!" I accused weakly. He ignored me, placed the car in drive, and continued down the highway as if nothing happened.

The stupid bastard.

Well…now that I'm back here, I should get some sleep, right?

Officially too tired to argue against this mental statement, I grabbed one of the few unused sleeping bags and slipped inside, immediately curling deeper inside the thick cloth.

Consciousness slipped away quickly, leaving me in the unrealistic world called Sleep.


A/N: 'Ello loves! Another chapter up! And soon, too! Well...sooner than usual. I'll try to get up more updates, seeing as we are so insanely close to SUMMER VACATION! SQUEEE!

...I'm excited, in case you can't tell. And to top it off, I don't have to take my Math, History, OR ELA Final Exams! I'm exempt from both Math and History and I'm doing two scenes with my BFF'S for realz (-Breathtaking-) from Romeo and Juliet instead of the Exam! SO DAMN EXCITED!

Here be the reviews and moi's responses:

-Breathtaking-: ...Wow. What did you take this morning? I'm sorry to hear about your g-pa Loxton. But, like you said, at least he can see his loved ones again. And you better come to me if you start thinkin' bout suicide, missy! Oh my...I sound like my mother. Ah well, I could turn into worse people. ANYways, hahaha! The crack version! That is definitely true. I don't even keep up with that side anymore. I read the Shakespearean side instead. Much smoother. Thanks! I love your story too! XD Ok, well, stories... W/e.

monkeyberyl13: Lol. Isn't that just too cool, when you're thinking about something only to have it happen? Amazing. And I just reread your review and totally forgot to email you about the whole Beta thing... -is embarrassed- Sorry! I really meant to, but I'm getting all this last minute stuff for school and yeah...Sorry again. LE GASP! -sniffles dramatically- No likely the chapter? I shall go fall off a clif...No, wait- -BREATHTAKING-! Time for you to push me! Juuust kidding. Seriously, I'm happy you liked the chapter. :D

Fare thee well!