Keep Your Coat On

Shivering I press my arms above my chest, squeezing my shoulders, eyes watering with the cold wind beating down on them. I look down at my clothes and let out a snort at my idiocy. It looks nice outside, I told myself, nice, sunny and warm. But then – the sun went down, and I realise just because it's sunny, doesn't necessarily mean it's sweat-inducing hot outside.

Apricot sleeveless neck-tie top and faded (in a cool, it's meant-to-be-way) jean short-shorts leave a little bit of skin for the freezing cold wind to slap, over and over, till it's raw red and numbing from the pain of it. I rub my shoulders with my fingers and walk, ducking my head under a tree, and peering around for good rides...

When I am faced with the flashing, blinding light of "The Tunnel of Love" sign. Bringing a hand to my forehead I squint at it and spot people getting out of these little boats a fair way back with the sign printed on either side. Smiling, I close my eyes and think back to my villa by the sea, and can feel the rock of my dad's fishing boat and the sun on my back, the light breeze picking up my hair.

I open my eyes and my smile broadens. I've been feeling like I need a holiday and this, the boat and all the pretty blue water, is as close as I'm going to get to it. Letting my arms fall to my side I walk quickly in the direction of the Tunnel of Love, digging in my pocket for my wallet and slipping out five bucks. Upon reaching the entrance I notice that there are two, one for boys and one for girls.

Blinking, I can't help but think of why, but all too eager to get on one of the little boats I push forward, through the crowds of young teens standing around it, fingers at their lips, giggling their little thirteen year old faces off. As I'm about to step into the pink coloured hall I bump into someone and they mutter an apology, ushering to the hands that push him into the blue coloured hall beside the pink one.

Blinking again, I find myself being shoved even further forward as the throng of girls behind me make their decision and all burst into the little hall at once, pressing me up to the eight other girls in front of me who don't seem to notice or care, who are just standing there, looking to the wall on the side and looking away very quickly again.

Nonplussed I shove my wallet back into my pocket and cross my arms, eyebrows arched. I have no idea but I'm getting the feeling that everyone in this hall is really, incredibly nervous and giggly. But I also for the life of me can't figure out why...I mean, it's just a little boat ride, isn't it?

"Next please," I am pushed to the front of the line and a bored looking girl stares at me, holding out her hand and tapping her fingers on the desk. "Hurry up, please."

With a little bemused smile at her impatience I hand over my five dollars and go to wish her a nice evening when she waves her hand, "Next please," and ushers me away through the black door that seems to lead into an even darker room.

I let the door close behind me and look back, widening my eyes. Someone isn't having a very nice evening.

"Her loss," I shrug my shoulders and the smile is back on my lips as I search around in the darkness for the boat, hearing the water lap at the sides of, well, whatever it's lapping against. Stumbling blindly I see the light at the end of the tunnel and the dark, glowing water beneath it. I'm following it back to where I am, when someone clears their throat.

I look down and am thankful I didn't stumble off into the water at the edge, seeing the little boat, and the boy who bumped into me before sitting in it, glaring up at me. "Can you just get in so I can get this over with?" he wants to know.

"What?" I didn't know this was a ride for two. Or a ride for two if you didn't have a second person to go with, I mean. I definitely didn't sign up to go in his boat. I don't even know who he is. "Uh no thanks, I'll wait for the next boat."

The guy just stares at me, holding his head by the temples, his finger pads rubbing circles into them. He doesn't say anymore though. Just looks at me, kind of like he's annoyed and also not a little insulted.

Letting out a big sigh he shrugs, "Fine, but you'll have to go pay for another ride if you're so against me."

Against him? What does he mean by against him? I'm not against him. I just don't want to go on a boat ride with a person I don't really know all that well. If anything, that's what he is. Plus, he bumped into me before and didn't even properly apologise...

Even if his friends are the ones that pushed him in the first place.

"I'm not paying for another ride." I say flatly, eyebrows arching at him. How can he even make me pay for another ride? Does he have connections with the lady at the desk? It wouldn't really surprise me. They both look really mean and grumpy, and they both were rude to me.

"Good luck with that, little girl." Is all he says, turning his eyes away from me and leaning back in his seat.

I stare at him, blinking and clenching and unclenching my fists. The boat isn't moving at all. Not one teeny, tiny little bit. I blink furiously at it and look back for another boat, but can't see any to save my life. I look back to the guy and he's glaring ahead.

"Was that a threat or something? Are you and the desk girl in cohorts?" I want to know.

The guy slowly, sighing looks up at me. "I don't know what you're talking about, but it's giving me a headache –" he rubs his temples a little more and shuts his eyes tight, "no, it's giving me even more of a headache..." he looks up and flicks a finger at me. "Just get in the boat."

I blink at him, confused, opening and closing my mouth like a fish.

"You are threatening me." I observe, pointing a finger at him. "Look, I haven't done anything to you or that girl. In fact, I don't even think I've met either of you before so –"

"Get. In." He chides, and it only makes me get angrier. I mean for God's sake all I wanted was to get in the boat by myself and have a little ride before I met up with my friends at the Ferris wheel. But he and the girl at the desk have to ruin everything. I don't know what I did. I must have done something. What did I do?? "Just get in. So I can press the button. So we can leave."

"I'm not going anywhere with you." I spit, guffawing with disbelief.

"I'll make you." He says tiredly, his eyebrows arching threateningly. He shifts in his seat, as if threatening to grab and drag me into the boat with him.

"I'd like to see you try." I say with a roll of my eyes, looking down the tunnel path and wondering whether I can just walk out and demand my money back from the girl at the desk, but grimace when I see that the path alongside the water disappears in a couple of metres from where I am.

Maybe I can just go back in.

"You asked for it."

Oh my God. Oh my God. Look away, just look away at the pretty; I'm guessing green, grass. Don't look at him, don't let him see how red your cheeks are, just let your hair dangle in the way. Keep your head in that direction, Roxy, keep your head in that direction. Clearing my throat, and shaking away my nervous instructions at myself, I speak, "So that was you making me, huh?"

But he doesn't answer. So I cough a little, wondering if he even heard what I said. Peeking through my hair I see that he has, he's just rolling his eyes and ignoring it. I look away very quickly, not unlike the girls in the line before I got on the boat ride.

I've kind of guessed what kind of ride this is, now. I've kind of experienced some of the things that are meant to be experienced on this ride, even if those things were experienced very, very briefly before I was sat down in the seat next to him. And he, who also experienced those same things in this little boat, completely ignored me after them.

"Um, so it says on the sign for suggestions," I point at the little sign stuck on the inside of the boat and stab the words I'm talking about with a pink painted fingernail, "that you're supposed to be taking me to get some sweets after this, you know...I've been hankering for one of those big, rainbow coloured lollypops..."

I know, I know. I'm trying to be funny and it's not working. But if it's any consolation I'm usually better, if not by much, at it. Also it's understandable not to be so clear-headed after you've been what I've been through. Which is a lot more kissing than I'm used to.

I sneak another peek at him and smirk, looking away. He has my lip gloss on the edge of his lips. My lip gloss. I mean, I know I didn't seem so warm for the guys form a couple of minutes ago but now I'm starting to think he's kind of very cute. If a little antisocial and not very informed on the after-kissing-protocol .

Not that I'd know anything about that. But I'm sure this isn't anything like what's supposed to happen after you kiss a guy. That he just stops, shoves you into the seat in the boat next to him and ignores you, pretending like what happened well, didn't happen.

Even though it did, oh boy, it really did.

"You know I didn't know this was a two person boat ride or really what this boat ride was all about at all so I'm sorry if before I was a little rude I didn't understand what was going on." I tell him earnestly, making my eyes go all wide and my lips twitch down a little, like when I'm trying to get mum to let one of my friends sleep over. I'm not sure why I'm doing this exactly, but I think it's just natural extinct. Natural instinct! Me! With a boy! "But now I know what's going on. I get what this ride is all about. Ha-ha."

I elbow him a little but he's still looking ahead, ignoring me. A little put out I bring my elbow back away from his ribs and frown, disappointed that what went on wasn't going to go on anymore. I mean, I really seemed to like what was going on. With the lips, and the hands on the waist, and the speeding up of my heart.

Oh my God. I am a kiss slut. I've never kissed anyone before but I'm a kiss slut. I must be one of those girls that when they kiss a guy, any guy, that they cannot help but to kiss them back. I mean, is kissing a random guy – one which you happened to be mad at the time – back really such a good sign about my morals?

I wasn't supposed to kiss him back. I should have slapped him, or asked him what in hell's name he thought he was doing with those kissable lips of his. Without the adjective. I should have done something, something that certainly didn't include kissing him back. But I didn't. But I should have.

"Time to get off." I look up from where I sit, coming out from my thoughts and noticing I am still shivering from before. He seems to notice too, if the way the eyebrows he arches in my shivering shoulders' direction, is any clue. His hand is held out for me, and his, now I notice, dark brown hair shines in the rides' and shows' lights.

I take it in my own, and feel warmth rush up my arm as he pulls me up out of the boat. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," he mutters and I watch as he shrugs off his coat, taking it in his hands and –

Putting it around my shoulders.

"You look cold," he says, and before I can murmur a word of thanks, when I take my eyes from him to slip my hands through the coat holes, he disappears. I blink, narrowing my eyes and bringing my hand up for the second time that night to shade my eyes from the lights of the carnival, but I can't seem to spot him anywhere.

He is rude, he kisses me, ignores me, gives me his coat and then leaves.

I didn't even find out his name, or phone number.

Dolly holds up the coat and looks at the tag, murmuring to herself as I watch, packing my bag for school, muesli bar sticking out of my mouth as I much on the end, "Thane Richards, Thane Richards," she says in kind of a mantra, furrowing her eyebrows. She's been going on like this for about two minutes already, and she seems to be thinking pretty hard, too. "I'm sure he goes to our school."

"He goes to our school? Cool." I say, my heart speeding up a little and my eyes going a little brighter. It means I might bump into him, every now and then. Leaving possible time for kissing in the not-so-distant future...although, I'm not sure I'm meant to kiss boys I'm not going out with. "Hey Doll," I say tentatively and she looks to me, nodding her head, "what do you do when you think you like someone? I mean I thought it was just the kissing but I tried it with your brother and I didn't really –"

"You kissed my twin brother?" She spits at me, her eyebrows going way up.

Coughing, I nod a little, "And does he have a cold? Because now I have a cold and a swollen tongue. Your brother bit my tongue the other night."

I frown, shaking my head and thinking back. Kissing her older twin brother, Eric, was nothing like kissing Thane. For one thing he didn't seem to be into kissing me at all, and for another before what he was doing kicked in it wasn't nearly as nice as kissing Thane. But then he bit my tongue, and it bled – and that was just the last straw.

It must be just kissing Thane. I mean, he kissed me, and now when I'm doing my boring homework I can't even do it because I'm too busy filled with better, un-boring thoughts of him, daydreams of him, daydreams of him and me – kissing in the boat! Kissing at my villa at the sea. Kissing at the cafe down the street that I like...well, kissing at a lot of places anyway. It's not important how many.

Point is I seem to like kissing him and only him, if the way kissing Eric and our newspaper boy proved so unsuccessful is any clue. Which I'm thinking it is because our newspaper boy is pretty cute, and I've seen a lot of (silly) girls get crushes on Eric. If only they knew what kissing Thane Richards is like – if only I could do it again.

I have to do it again. I just have to. I'll go crazy if I don't.

"You kissed my brother? Eric? No wonder he thinks you're in love with him now." Dolly scoffs, raising her eyebrows at me all disapprovingly. "I had to listen to him, begging me twenty-four seven to keep you the hell away, when I thought he was crazy for even thinking you liked him."

"I know, isn't that silly?" I say, rolling my eyes. "Anyway, want to bike ride to school? Maybe we'll run into him on the way."

"Who, Eric?" she wants to know, looking bemused.

"No-ooo! Thane." I swat her playfully over the head and grab my bike helmet, looking determined. I'm going to find him if it's the last thing I do. I bring the helmet over my head and snap the clips shut, pulling the coat out of her hands and pulling it back onto me. If it's the last thing I do.

"There he is." I say, and the hallelujah chorus starts in my head as soon as my eyes rest on him. Looking from the corner of my eyes at Dolly, it doesn't look like it's bursting out in her head too. In fact, she looks like she's got anything but a hallelujah chorus in her head. "What?"

Dolly, looking at me, bites her lip, "It's never going to work."

She looks so sad, so sympathetic for me. But I don't believe her. I can't possibly believe her. I mean, it'd be ridiculous to. No one can kiss someone like that and not like them a little bit, like I like him a little bit. No one can. I try telling this to Dolly, but she shakes her little curly blonde head at me.

"No one but him, you mean," she says with a sigh, "he just broke up with his girlfriend, and you know what his girlfriend was, Roxanne?" I shake my head and she sucks in her breath. "His girlfriend was a gonna-be supermodel, she'd already been on a few ads for TV, you know that one with the shampoo? Yeah, her hair really looks like that."

All I can think of is; so? I mean obviously, she's his ex girlfriend for a reason and he's single now.

My hair may not look like a shampoo commercials, my teeth may not be as white as snow and my lips as un-chapped as his ex's would be – but I'm no shrinking violet, and I'm not going to give up on a guy just because the one he went out with before is so much more better looking than me.

Wait – wait. I may need to think about this. I look down at my feet, hiding under all of my honey brown hair and hoping he doesn't notice me or that I'm wearing his jumper. I mean, it's not like I'm going to keep it or anything. It's just that I want to wait a little longer before I have to give it back, before I have to talk to him again.

Without the safety net of it being really dark and so he doesn't know what the person he's kissing looks like. Because dismissing the fact that his girlfriend – ex girlfriend, is a super model? It's kind of a really hard thing to do if you think about it. I mean, she's probably way prettier than I am. She obviously is way prettier than I am, and everyone knows boys care about looks first.

Even my dad says so! And he's supposed to be nice and say that personality counts for more. And what if she's just some kind of wonderful person and there isn't anything wrong with her, that they just grew apart? What if he cheated on her? Oh my God, I'm in like with a cheat.

"Who are you in like with?" my eyes dart back upwards, only to discover Thane standing right in front of me, green eyes piercing into my brown dirt-colour ones. I mean brown. They're just brown. Not dirt colour. I'm sure his girlfriends were dirt colour – no, no that's mean. And she's a gonna-be super model. Her eyes aren't dirt colour. Thane raises an eyebrow.

"What are you talking about?"

Oh no. No more talking out loud for you, mouth.

"Nothing." I say with a shrug, looking away and over his shoulder, ignoring the speeding up of my heart. "Do you want your coat back? Because you can have it back...I cleaned it...even though I'm wearing it a little now I was just...just keeping it warm for you, you know."

He completely ignores my question. "I'm sorry about the other day; I had a really bad headache due to jet lag and I was getting kind of a cold at the time."

"Oh, so I got my cold from you." I say, nodding my head in realisation. "Not Eric or the newspaper guy. Anyway, want your coat back?"

I know. I know. I'm being a little hasty to get away. But I want to see just what this 'ex-girlfriend' looks know, before I go and try to kiss the guy again. I mean have a nice chat. Because I'm not that kind of girl, the kind of girl to kiss just anyone. Even if that 'anyone' seems to kiss better than both Eric and my paperboy, both said to be incredibly good kissers.

Besides. Thinking my thoughts out loud isn't a very good thing to do, especially around Thane. Especially when Thane is most definitely the kind of boy to go around, kissing girls he doesn't know at random. I'm living proof of it.

"Who is Eric? And the paperboy?" Thane asks, raising an eyebrow up at me and once again ignoring my offering of his coat back.

"Oh, just...just a couple of guys I know," I say and tuck a strand of my hair behind my ear before looking away. I unzip the coat and slip it off of my shoulders, pushing it to his chest, "Take it, alright? Thanks for letting me borrow it."

He is quiet a moment and then, "Did you bring any other jacket with you?"

I look up at him. "No but –"

Thane pushes the coat back to me, "Just take it a while longer then," I can feel his hands pressing through the coat and distinctly recall them pressing on my stomach while we were kissing, that one time, before he pushed me away and gently guided me to my seat. I step back and take the shirt out of his hands with a sigh and a roll of my eyes. "You're welcome."

He gives me but a nod of goodbye, and walking around me, disappears into the schoolyard. I look after the direction he walked in, and pull the coat back on. It doesn't smell as nice as it used to, after my mum washed off most of Thane's smell, but it still does faintly smell like him, still is making me feel a little giddy inside. I zip it up and shove my hands into the front pocket, narrowing my eyebrows.

"Damn."I say, and give my head a thorough shaking.

I seem to have it. Have it bad.

"Well shit," I say and refresh the page once more. But it doesn't change anything. Refreshing the page doesn't make Melaney Stuart look any less glamorous or hot. It's her school photo, too. School photos are always horrible. It's like they have this button to make everyone look stupid. I'm an image of surprise in mine; I look like one of those women on the news that have had too much plastic surgery. "She's so damn pretty."

I zoom in on her face, looking for the slightest zit, the slightest flaw in her skin. But there's none, none that I can find for the life of me. It doesn't even look like she's wearing makeup in this picture; it just looks like she naturally looks this way. Like she wakes up every morning and smiles the same sunny smile to her perfect sunny self in the mirror.

Zooming out when I realise, lost in my thoughts, that I've zoomed in so far that Melaney has turned all pixelated. But even a pixelated Melaney looks perfect. It makes me angry.

"What are you mumbling about?" I hear a now familiar voice and click out of the school website, spinning around in my seat. Thane looks down at me, his eyebrows arched. But when I go to open my mouth and change the subject, he holds up a hand and shakes his head, "Were you looking at a picture of my ex girlfriend?"

"That's your ex girlfriend?" I laugh, looking away and starting to slowly spin back to face the library computer when he puts his hands down on the arm rests of the chair. Clearing my throat, and smiling as innocent as I can up at him, I say casually, "I didn't know that. She's a looker, that one."

He just stares down at me, letting go of the chair arms and sticking his hands in his pockets with a prolonged, "Right," looking like he doesn't believe me at all. I snort and roll my eyes, crossing my arms. Okay, okay – so I was looking at her picture and knew it too, big deal. He is getting a little ahead of himself if he thinks looking at it had anything to do with him, though.

Even if it is the truth.

Starting to inch my chair back around again, this time him letting me, my heart pounds heavily. I can feel his gaze on the back of my neck, and it's making me breath a little faster, making my spine tingle as though it is not his gaze that touches me, but his fingertips. I don't know what to do, as there's nothing really I've got to do on the computer, so I just type in 'google' and wait for him to go away.

But Thane doesn't go away. He sits in the chair next to me, gaze still on me, and leans back in it, crossing his arms. I can see him in the corner of my eye. His short dark brown hair is all sticking up today, apart from his fringe, and he's wearing a tight fluffy white trench coat which is seriously questionable.

My gaze obviously lingers too long and noticing my gaze, he looks down before looking quickly back up and clearing his throat. "It's my mums. You have my coat."

I nod and look away. Thane frowns at me. But I don't know what his problem is. I mean, what am I supposed to be saying to him? Does he want to talk to me? But why? I'm not his friend. I'm not even sure what he's doing inside the library. He doesn't look like the type to go to the library, and none of his friends are in here either.

"It's cold outside." Thane says simply and I look up from the computer screen (is it still on the google homepage? Oh God, it is too!). "You want to know why I'm inside, it's because it's cold outside. I have a cold, my mum told me to stay warm. Speaking of friends, where are yours?"

His mum told him to stay inside and be warm. How very cute of him to pay attention to her. Aw. It just makes me want to give him a great big hug. Well, if he isn't well, so him. He's always looking at me like I'm of another species. It doesn't make me feel like it would be welcomed at all. The hugging, I mean.

Shrugging, I tell him the truth, "I have no idea."

Because I have no idea. All I know is; I was in here, telling them of how ridiculously good-looking his ex was, and half an hour later I looked back and they were gone. Something about them being bored and me being slightly obsessive and stalker-like. But it's not like that at all.

"How caring of you," he mutters derisively, and then pulls a book from next to a computer, that some kid's carelessly left there, onto his lap and opens it up. He shoots me an inquisitive look, "While I'm sure that google's home page is fascinating, do you want to look at the book of Illusion with me?"

The book of Illusion is one of those books you have to look at every which way to try and find the different pictures in the picture. I'm crap at it. I hate doing things I'm crap at, too. Which is why the idea of reading the book is so unappealing to me. I look at it like it's a dinosaur skeleton come to life in a museum, with added extreme distaste.

"Oh, that sounds heaps fun," I wheel my chair closer over to him, pasting a big smile on my face and looking over his shoulder at the book. "Let's have a go."

But what isn't unappealing is reading said book with Thane.

Looking through the leaves and poking my head around the giant trunk of the tree I batt a few out of my eyes and let out a huff of impatience. How long is he going to be at the park, throwing his dog the stupid Frisbee and his dog not fetching it? It runs towards it at first, and then sniffs it and wags its tail. It's hopeless! Not very interesting to watch, either. Watching Thane run is interesting to watch, though. It really emphasises how long his legs are.

My lips twist into a crazy smile and I step a little closer around to get more of a view, only my foot catches in a tree root. Flailing around, looking for something to grab and failing miserably, I trip over the root and then over my feet, and go tumbling into the drain between the oval and well, my side of the drain. My knees hit the cold cement and my bones complain, sending out little shoots of pain all through my body.

"Ow," I say a little bit miserably and I hear someone say my name. Thinking it's Thane, and thinking I'm dead for following him around, I let out a groan and bring my hands to my face. I look up and through my finger tips, only to my relief, somewhat, it isn't Thane. It's Dolly, with her hands on her hips and her cheeks pink from the cold. Her little blonde cocker spaniel wags its tail at me.

"Hello?" she says with raised eyebrows. "What do you think you're doing, miss I'm-not-obsessed-I'm-just-curious?"

But I am just curious. I want to know his hobbies and his likes and dislikes. I mean sure I could just go and ask the guy 'like a normal person' as I was told a couple of days ago by Dolly. But then he'd think I like him. It's a much more safe way of going about things, if you ask me.

Looking around I put a finger to my lips and whisper, self-conscious that if I'm too loud I might draw Thane away from his little dog and over to where I am, "I'm just taking an interest. I'm thinking of getting a dog. I wasn't here because he's here."

"You're allergic to dogs." She says flatly and I smile back blankly, she rolls her eyes. "You –"

"Hey, Dolly, was that Simons that just fell down into the drain? What was she doing?" I hear Thane's voice and his footsteps getting closer and freeze in my spot, looking up at Dolly pleadingly. She sighs and ushers for me to move out of sight. But there's nowhere to go.

Panicky I spot one of the little tunnels I was always so afraid to crawl around in, in case I got lost and a flood came and I drowned. Biting my lip, I see there's no choice, and crawl fast into it – hoping against hope I'm out of view. "I can see your big fat ass, Roxy, hurry," I hear Dolly hiss at me and I try and wriggle further down but to no great degree do I get any further. I gulp.

"What was that, Dolly?" he wants to know and Dolly lets out a nervous little laugh.

"Nothing," she says loyally, "and what are you talking about, Roxy isn't here."

I hear him keep on walking though and I frown, glaring forward into the darkness before spotting a flash of black crawl around somewhere near my hand. Looking down I gulp, and my eyes widen when I find a big, black spider in the space between both my hands, and it stares back up at me with all of its many eyes. I let out a nervous little laugh, and can't bring myself to move forward anymore.

"I heard a noise down there," Imagining him pointing down in the drain I suck in my breath and try to pretend the spider's not there, looking away from it and taking deep breathes. It's not that I have arachnophobia. It's just that I have the tendency to want to live and not be poisoned by giant black creepy things in drain tunnels. "And I'm positively sure I sure Simons fall down into the drain."

Dolly is quiet and then, "Maybe you're just seeing things you want."

Thane is also lead to be quiet, before he snorts out a, "Excuse me?"

The black creepy spider starts to inch towards one of my hands and shuddering at the thought of it biting me, and crawly around over my dying, poisoned body I start to inch slowly back – I realise that being caught is just barely better than being bitten by a spider and dying. But still, it's better.

"Hey I heard something again," he says and, looking over my shoulder and feelings the spider crawl faster towards me making me crawl even faster away, I spot him trying to move around Dolly who is suddenly hysterically laughing and waving her arms in his face.

"You heard nothing." She says, not very convincingly I might add but I give her brownie points for trying. I finally make my way out of the tunnel, and crawl around, facing the two of them who are still dodging around each other, Dolly trying to keep him from seeing me and him trying to get her out of his way. I inch up and am about to crawl back onto my side of the drain when my name is called.

"Hello Roxanne, what are you doing down in the drain?" It's Mrs Lowan from across the road, she's taking her daily walk, carrying bread and colourful packets of lollies home for her kids. She smiles at me and waves when she notices my noticing her. "You're always such a strange girl, tata."

Groaning I don't bother to push myself up onto the grass and behind the tree like before. I just stand there, not looking around. Maybe if he doesn't see my face he won't recognise me.

"Hey, Simons, get your short ass up here. I knew it was you." No such luck. I turn around, smiling meekly, and he raises his eyebrows at me. Dolly stands next to him, glaring at me a little but rolling her eyes and crossing her arms. "Get up here."

"No, I'm fine right here, I lost a..." I mutter something under my breath really quickly, hoping he won't catch any of it but from the look on his face he does.

"You lost your mind?" He says flatly.

Laughing under my breath at myself I nod, and start to dust myself off from being in the tunnel. "Yeah, and I think I found it so..." I motion towards the other side of the drain and force a smile, "I'm just going to be walking home now."

"You were spying on me." He says, once more with that flat, no-nonsense tone. I blink up at him and go to laugh off the accusation when he holds up a hand. "You were spying on me, behind that tree right there. I want to know why."

I look at Dolly for help. I mean I certainly don't know what to do about this. It's not like I go around spying on people all that regularly, it's not like I have to deal with the being-caught part. I've never had to deal with the being-caught part until today. Because I've never spied on anyone before today. Oh, and yesterday and the day before that.

But I truly, honest-to-goodness haven't been caught in the act before.

Dolly just stares back at me, arms still crossed, she shrugs a little after a couple of seconds of my intense staring back and sighs, "She wasn't spying on you, she was spying on him." She points to her brother, who spots her pointing and narrows his eyes suspiciously. Thane also narrows his eyes suspiciously. "It's my brother, Eric."

"Eric," Thane says, as if he's recalling something before he scowls, "the one that didn't give you the cold, is the paperboy here too?"

He looks back at me and rolls his eyes, before turning around and walking off his dog trailing alongside him. Dolly raises her eyebrows even higher, and I suck in my breath. I don't know what that sarcasm was about, but he doesn't seem too happy with me for some reason. He seems kind of mad, actually. Like I've done something to piss him off.

Dolly shakes her head at me as I crawl back over to my side of the drain and stand up, ready to go back home as he's obviously not going to tolerate me staring at him anymore from the looks of things. "Did you seriously tell him about making out with my brother and the paperboy?" she wants to know.

"Not in those words. I said they didn't give me a cold." I say meekly, with a little shrug.

"Roxanne, Roxanne, Roxanne," she says with a shake of her head before she tosses a hand in my direction, "just go home, run along."

Smiling, I give her a little wave and walk off in the other direction, back home, with someone's gaze boring into my back as I go. I have a feeling it wasn't Dolly's.

I pick up one of the DVDs and turn it over, and hearing the bell chime for the video shop I look around – and spot Thane walking right through the doors, hands in his pockets and cheeks red from the cold outside. He is wearing is mother's coat again, and I'm wearing his coat again. I figured it'd be safe seeing as it's the weekend and I won't likely be seeing him...

But I'm wrong, obviously. Because he's walking right towards where I am. I haven't talked to him in two weeks, either. I really hoped that the heart speeding would have gone away by now, but it hasn't, in fact it's even worse. It's beating harder than ever before. I put the DVD down, and gulping, make my way through the shelves into another section.

I slip past into end of a section, just in case he changes his mind and I need to change mine also, and very quickly. I press myself against the DVDs and look through the cracks, trying to stay as quiet as possible, but I see and hear nothing. Frowning, I step away and am about to move on to another section when I bump into someone's chest.

"Crap," I murmur to myself when I look up to Thane staring down at me. "Hello. I was just looking at this..." I pick one up from the shelf, "...DVD, so if you don't mind and let me get back to that I –"

"You watch porn." He says in disbelief, raising his eyebrows and crossing his arms.

Snap! Looking at the DVD I blink and eye the girl and guy on it, who are making more than just eyes at each other, my cheeks redden and I suck in my breath. Forcing a fake smile I hold it up higher, but unfortunately my voice gets a little higher too, "Do you have a problem with this?" I want to know.

"No." He says, grabbing the DVD off of me and putting it back on the shelf. "Because you don't watch it, and frankly –"

"So I can go now – "

"I have better things I want to be asking you about." He says and then he takes a step forward, making me take a nervous step back. He looks at me, narrowing his eyes and bending his knees so his face is level with mine, his green eyes directly in front of my brown ones, "I'm going down to your level, shortie, so maybe it means I'm the type of guy that goes around following people, being kissed by guys and not getting mad and kissing even more guys and wearing guy's jumpers –"

"Hey, hey, hey, silencio," I wave my hands in his face and frown fierce as I can back at him, showing him I mean business, "First of all, I'm the one who was in here first and second maybe you shouldn't have kissed me if you're going to get really mad and force the blame on me because I –"

" – You kissed me back so –"

"Well I'm sorry if I didn't sign a contract to be exclusive to a guy I'd only just met." I hiss at him, tossing my arms up in the air. Thane is acting like a total freak, like I cheated on him. But it's impossible to cheat on someone whom you weren't even going out with in the first place. "I'm sorry I kissed Eric, and the newspaper guy and I'm sorry I didn't go back and kiss you – but how was I supposed to know you wanted me to?"

Thane starts to go completely red in the face and he looks away, straightening up. His hand racks through his hair, and he grits his teeth, stammering, his face not getting any less red before he exhales, giving a little half-shrug. Crossing his arms over his chest defensively he splutters, in a choked sort of way, "I didn't want you to kiss me, okay?"

He doesn't even sound like he believes it himself, though. But he sounds like he wants to. Eyeing him I also cross my arms over my chest, raising my eyebrows, "I only kissed them for one reason..." I test him, and wait for his reaction. It's instantaneous, he looks at me and blinks, then noticing he is close to uncool eagerness, he looks away again. But he doesn't let it slide.

"Oh?" he says casually, attempting and failing to look bored.

"I wanted to know whether just kissing in general was out of this world awesome, or whether it was just kissing you." I say casually, with a shrug. But on the inside I'm not so casual, but at least I'm not epically failing at covering it, as he seems to be. On the inside my heart is doing loop-de-loops, and wondering whether after having a girlfriend like that, that he'd really want a girl like me. I really can't imagine why he would.

But he looks at me, a little suspiciously, and asks, "What'd you find out then, huh?"

My heart skips. I open my mouth, my brain cursing and my heart jittering nervously, each battling against each other on the decision of whether I say it or not, but the decision has already been made. I don't change my mind about things very easily. I clear my throat and hold my head high, "It was just you." I give another little shrug to hide my embarrassment of the words.

But it doesn't seem like I have anything to worry about if the way he reaches forward, putting his arms around my waist, and tugs me up against him – is any clue. Looking up into his sparkly green eyes he loses the blush, and instead smirks at me, "You're so freaking short," he teases, and I don't even bother to respond, and could not even attempt to because I am interrupted with his lips going down on mine.

Bringing my hands up to his dark brown hair, I smooth down where he spiked up his hair before, bringing it over his closed eyes and him bringing me up against the DVD shelves. Thane's lips move against mine, and they are soft and sweet, and I can feel his hands moving up and down my back, and the buttons of his mother's coat pressing into me.

His mother's coat. I giggle at the thought of it, accidentally, and am disappointed to report he pulls his lips back, raising his eyebrows at me, "Hmm?" he says before the DVD shelf, not being able to stand the weight of two healthy teenagers being shoved up against it, collapses behind us and us on top of it.

Closing my eyes and waiting for the anticipated pain, I find it coming quick and fast as the individual shelves and DVDs jab into my back. I open them again, looking to find a total domino effect going on, the DVD shelves behind the one we'd taken down collapsing to the floor also. All because of one – very hot – short make out session.

"Shoot," I say as Thane uses a much less ethical one, before he picks my head up in his hands and presses one, totally-wowing peck upon my lips before sweeping me up with him as he stands to his feet. I can hear angry footsteps coming towards us, but am too busy looking up at Thane. Who is also too busy looking at me – very sternly.

"So," he says in an exaggerated deep, commanding voice, narrowing his eyes at me, "we're exclusive now, got it? No more kissing Eric and paperboys. I didn't even know you very long, and you ignoring the fact I can even kissed you, and then kissing other boys, then reading books with me you didn't even like and I could tell – it made me crazy."

"Okay. Exclusive." I hear the steps stop somewhere near us, and an angry voice shouts in my ear. But I don't listen to the angry voice. "Do you want your coat back?"

But he doesn't. He doesn't answer again.

I'm so, so, so, so sorry I haven't been updating. I've been busy. Usually I'm so sick of having to write things I just want to watch movies because my literature class makes me write heaps and I've been snowed over with homework and laziness. But I'll try and get up a chapter of "Stupid Cupid" soon after I finish my lit work today.

Anyway. This is my entry to...

Annoyance's Ridiculously Happy OneShots contest

Here are the rules:

-- Has to be a One Shot

-- Has to be more than 2500 words - no drabbles please!

-- The main pairing must be het (boy/girl)

-- The story must be Ridiculously Happy ( Yes, all entries will be entered into my C2). That means no Angst, Hurt/Comfort. Lets all be happy! Romance, Humor and General are the preferred genres.

-- Add the phrase 'for the Ridiculously Happy OneShots contest' in your summary.

-- All ratings are accepted, but please keep lemons to a minimum.

-- The story must be in the category Fiction -- Romance

-- The story can be in POV of either the boy or the girl

-- Deadline for story submission is MAY 11

-- PM me the url of your finished story so that I don't have to hunt around for it.

--The story must use irony. (For example, the one thing the boy hates about the girl could be what finally causes him to realize his feelings for her. Be creative!!)

--The girl must be significantly shorter than the guy, and he should make at least 3 comments about this. (Ideally around 1 foot of difference in height.)

-- Submission starts on April 20

--Stories will be judged by voting. ( I'll hold a poll on my profile)

--You can submit a maximum of 3 stories.

Happy? Easy. Mine are always happy...and I think....I think I got the 2500 words covered. Just barely.