Because, Sometimes . . . #1.
. . . you need to ask someone to love you—or your best friend. either way.


Mariella & Caleb

"Oh Mariellaaaaaa!" All I, Mariella Roberts, wanted to do was curl up like a baby, ignore the annoyingly, drawn out voice outside, and fall asleep—again.

It was summer,for goodness sake, so why was my sister screaming at me from behind the closed oak wood door anyway?

"Shut up, Hannah!" I roared, effectively wakening me up and eliciting a cranky growl from rising up from my throat.

"Mariellllaaa!" Hannah kept on going, setting herself up for certain death.

"What is it, you annoying little toad?" I finally got out of bed and stalked over to my closed—sadly not sound-proofed door—and opened it. Six-year-old Hannah smiled innocently at me, big blue eyes glistening and her perfect, strawberry-blonde hair curled into ringlets with a matching ribbon settled on her shiny locks. Her adorable, gap-toothed smile almost persuaded me to forgive her and pull the six-year-old into a bear hug.

Except the crust in my eyes reminded me of the early wake-up-call, making me hesitate before sighing dejectedly.

I'd get in trouble regardless, so all I did was smile, walk out of my blessed room with the huge four-poster bed and into the hallway.

Of course, Hannah followed like the adorable little pink-covered metaphorical puppy/sister she was and begged for cereal—she was hungry, apparently.

Maybe that was why she'd waken me up at—I glanced at the huge, grandfather clock in the hallway—and nearly died. It was only eight.

"Hannah!" I stopped in her tracks, turned and gave my sister a slightly troubling look that had Hannah just staring up at me. "It's only eight, sweetie. Why couldn't you wake up Mom or Dad?"

"Because they were sleeping!" I resisted the urge to sigh.

So Hannah let our parents sleep, but I need to do nothing but to attend to her stomach's needs?

There was just so much justice in our household. Really.

"Okay, sweetie," I finally let the sigh loose, "let's go get some Cinnamon Toast Crunch."

Hannah smiled, pleased, before bouncing her way down the staircase, a dejected me following right after the skipping little girl.

-x-

"Ohmygod, Teagan! It's SUMMER!" I screeched into my best friend's ear, eliciting a flinch from the aforementioned Best Friend Forever. Thankfully, the coffee shop we were in was empty of costumers except the two of us, so it wasn't like I was bothering anyone—except the staff and Teagan, apparently.

"Marieee!" Teagan screeched, rubbing her seemingly ruptured eardrum. "Inside voices, dear."

"Sorry," I mumbled apologetically, bending my head to the antique, Formica table in front of me.

"It's fine, but, geez, you really should start learning the meaning of 'inside voices,'" Teagan laughed, shaking her head.

Her perfect, red hair was pulled into a flawless ponytail, and, for a second, I was jealous.

Teagan Siobhan Callaghan was my best friend—has been since Kindergarten, maybe even Pre-K. She was gorgeous (Teagan meant "beautiful," actually, in Ireland), Irish, and probably the greatest human being slash best friend on this Earth. I'm not even kidding.

"You know what, Marie?" she asked, craftily changing the subject.

"Hm?" I was too absorbed in the pretty cappuccino-foam pattern the baristas had magically created for me when I'd ordered the mocha cappuccino.

It was in the shape of a heart, elegant and beautiful.

The bell jingled, then, interrupting Teagan's reply, but mine and Teagan's eyes were immediately migrating towards the six foot high, white wood door, framing the entrance to the coffee shop.

. . . And my jaw immediately dropped as my eyes caught sight of the most inhumanly beautiful guy on the face of the planet.

An idea flashed in my amazingly-working brain:

He and Teagan? They would make a freaking hot couple.

"Teagan! Teagan!" I squealed mercilessly, disturbing the silence that had settled over the baristas fighting soundlessly over who would serve The Hotness.

"What is it, Marie?" she asked patiently, totally oblivious to the piece of eye candy sauntering to the register to order his coffee. What was the matter with her?

WAS SHE BLIND!

Well, her pretty jade-green eyes were framed by stylish, aquamarine-framed prescription eyeglasses, but that didn't count. And she did prefer studying over hanging out with guys, though . . . so maybe that was why she hadn't even noticed like I had.

And then, in a split-second, I made my decision: I was gonna be their matchmaker.

Grinning evilly as I waited for him to finally get his order (I think the teenaged baristas working here for their summer jobs were too busy staring at him to properly make a cappuccino, actually), I plotted my attack.

First, I would ask him to come over here in my obnoxious way; then, I would "go to the bathroom" and leave them be.

It was foolproof.

But, as I initiated my obnoxiousness with a well-timed, "Hey there!" as he walked past our table, I totally wasn't planning on him tripping (he'd fooled me! guys that looked like that weren'tclumsy!) and spilling his cappuccino, which, for a split second, right before it was flung into the air, bore the cappuccino-foam-shape of a heart—just like mine—over me.

And the table, partly.

But not one drop had hit Teagan, for which I was glad. If a drop had hit her, her impression of Hotness Incarnate would be gone, just . . . like . . . that.

"Oh my God," he sped-talked, apologetically catching his gray-blue eyes with mine instead of with Teagan's. I wanted to yell LOOK AT HER!instead, but decided that he should at least finish apologizing—it was the least I could do, so when I did leave for the bathroom (for real, this time), he would lock eyes with her, she would realize that he was the gorgeous, most sweetest guy in the world (he'd apologized to her best friend!), and then they would fall in love, get married, and have babies.

And I—the awesome matchmaker that I am—would be the Godmother!

"I'm so sorry," he continued, and I patiently waited for him to finish, trying to ignore the dripping mess covering my shirt, and letting Teagan start to develop feelings for his sweetness with apologizing to her best friend (aka: me). She was a silent feelings-developer, you see.

"It's fine, it's fine," I waved it off, literally waving my hand in the air and splashing cappuccino at him, accidentally. "I should go to the bathroom—you know, clean it up. Erm . . . yeah. Here, why don't you talk to Teagan while she waits for me to come back?"

Trap set.

"Um, sure," Nameless Hottie said before he sat down in the seat I had recently vacated, thought better of it due to the drips splashing to the floor, and relocating to a different chair.

Teagan gave me a glare that exuded the fact that she knew what I was doing. Instead of cowering in fear, I just smiled sweetly at her and skipped to the bathroom, stopped after a few seconds because I might slip due to my soaked shoes, and entered the small bathroom, proceeding to dry myself using the dryer—save the planet. Ya know.

-x-

"So, Teagan, was it?" He was smiling, amused, knowing more than he was letting on, and Teagan knew it.

"Yep, what's your name?"

"Caleb," he replied. "Caleb Chambers."

"You do know what she's trying to do, don't you?" Teagan asked, amused, annoyed, and slightly confused as to why Mariella would actually plan to matchmake the two of them together.

Because, Teagan had noticed something Mariella hadn't: it wasn't she and Caleb who had connected; it was he and Mariella.

But how would she go about telling Mariella, anyway? Whenever her Best Friend set her mind on something, it was pretty hard to break her from it. She was going to need reinforcements.

And then she locked eyes with Caleb. Both shared knowing smiles, brought their heads together, and plotted, waiting for Marie to finally exit the bathroom.

-x-

Finally, after what seemed like forever in the bathroom, I was presentable, not coffee-drenched anymore, but my shirt was still slightly stained with the brown liquid.

Eh, oh well, wasn't this for Teagan and The Hotness?

As I reached our table, I realized that they were connecting—they actually were connecting! They were smiling and everything! I felt so proud of myself, I ended up slipping on the puddle (you'd think the employees would have cleaned it up by now, but psh), and falling into Inhuman Hottie's lap.

Ohmygod, Teagan was gonna kill me!

"Um, sorry," I mumbled incoherently, hurrying to stand up and only resulting in slipping again and falling—once again—into Strong, Dark, and Handsome's lap.

They were both expressionless, making my heart race instantaneously and my defense mechanism kicking in. "Um, I can't stand up, Teagan. It's not my fault! Pleasedon'tkillme."

Her smile was sweet. "Why would I kill you, Marie?" She turned to Tall, Strong, Dark, and Handsome. "Caleb, why do you think I would kill her?"

So his name was Caleb . . . I liked it. But my nicknames were awesome as well, you'd have to admit.

He shrugged. "I don't know, Teegs. Why would you?"

Teegs? Teegs? They'd bonded enough in the span of time I'd been gone to develop the nickname of Teegs?

"I don't know, Cale . . . maybe 'cause she plotted against us?"

Weakly, I protested, "I didn't plot against you; I plotted for you."

"For us, Marie? Really? Because Caleb and I? We didn't connect. Not like you two did."

I was confused, to say the least. This must be one of the more awkward moments in my short, seventeen-year-old life, but, well, my life wasn't exactly normal.

"What do you mean, 'you guys didn't connect'? . . . and that wedid?"

I was more than confused now; I was positively brain-dead.

"I mean, technically, right here, right now . . . we're both asking Caleb to love you."

"Well, not exactly love," he piped up, "but more of a very deep like."

"So, my matchmaking plan backfired on me?" Darn . . . "Hey, are you saying I need a boyfriend? That I need love?"

"Smart girl you are, Marie. That's exactly what I'm saying!"

"Oh." I was quiet now, absorbing this most distressing news that, yes, I was not the best matchmaker in the world.

But, hey, might as well go with da flow. "So, Caleb, what do you say? . . . Do you want to 'have deep like that might turn into love' with me?"

Teagan was proud, I could tell, and I blushed, suddenly self-conscious. He didn't even hesitate, a smile lighting up his gray-blue eyes.

"Sure. I thought you'd never ask."

"But—but—Teagan! What about you?"

"Don't worry about me, Mariella." She waved her hand in the air, looking expressly free as she smiled at me. "I'll be fine."

"Okay, then!" I chirped, grabbing Caleb's hand. He smiled as he looked at me.

"Want a cappuccino?"

"Oh, yes, you owe me one. Maybe we'll have matching foam-images! Like before!"

He laughed, and led me to the cash register, asking for two mugs and a latte for Teagan—I thought that was sweet, so maybe . . . maybe Ihad been the one falling in love with his sweetness.

Well, there must be a reason the baristas had given us the same foam-image.

And, maybe Teagan was right in pairing the two of us up.

Sometimes . . . you really just needed to ask someone to love you—or your best friend . . . which could eventually backfire.

Trust me.

-x-


so, this is part numero uno of a series, and i have no idea how many installments there will be.

well, anyway, review? please?


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