Let me tell you. Everything you've heard about braces is grossly over exaggerated. After having them for nearly three years, I can confidently tell you the only time having braces hurts is when they've been tightened (or adjusted) or when you've done something wrong and gone and broke something. Now, this is a bit harder to do than it sounds, or for the careless idiots with braces out there, easier. Simply have caramel chews, a nut mix, and then dig into an apple without previously cutting it into bite-size pieces. By the end of this, you should have broken brackets, arc wires, and loose bands galore.

Really. Braces are easy. All you need to do is avoid some chewy candy, be careful with some foods, and brush halfway regularly. Having chap stick on hand is good too.

Especially since I have a bad habit of chewing my lips when they get dry.

Which is why it hurt when I smirked.

But I didn't stop. I saw no need. This was too funny, too mischievous not to smile, even though my lip cracked and began bleeding. Apparently, Bryce disagreed.

"Jesus fuck, Otis!" he swore at me, under his breathe, as the blood from my lip oozed and trickled down my chin. He leaned over in his desk to the teacher's, snagging a Kleenex before passing it to me. I rolled my eyes before pressing it to my smarting bottom lip. It stung, but I didn't move the tissue.

A girl at the front of the room blushed furiously as she recited a poem the teacher was forcing all the class to write. She paused, stumbled and mispronounced words until the end resulted in an awkward applause. I looked to Bryce and shook my head disapprovingly. What I was about to do was revenge for two things.

One, this ridiculous project. Write a poem about your closest friend. How you feel about then, what they are like, what they do, etc.

Lame.

And two, Brice had ditched me, yet again, to be with his girlfriend. Yet. Again.

The teacher sucked in a breath to choose her next poet to recite when Bryce's hand shot into the air. The woman actually flinched. Of course, Bryce just blurted out what he had to say.

"Mrs. Foxxe, Otis can't recite his poem today. His lip's bleeding everywhere, look! I think I should help him to the nurse. He might pass out from all the blood loss, and who will catch him if he does?" I glared at him angrily before throwing the wadded up, and now bloody, Kleenex at him. Licking my lip, I tasted a bit of the tissue stuck to it as I stood, grabbing a piece of paper that had been laying on my desk.

"It's ok, Bryce. My lip is fine, and I'm not going to pass out, unless you shove your groin at me again. But then, it wouldn't be from blood loss." Here I smiled mischievously. "I might pass out from this embarrassing poem I wrote out you. But then, it wouldn't be from blood loss again! I'm volunteering to go next. That ok?" I looked to Mrs. Foxxe, and smiled sweetly. It seemed to scare her either way, and she moved to sit down so I could have the front of the room to myself. I noisily cleared my throat and crinkled the paper. In the back, to my pleasure, I watched Bryce squirm, already embarrassed.

Oh, he knew what was coming.

I struck a pose and began, the simple poem committed to memory.

"I have a wonderful close friend named Bryce.
You can find him on the corner and have him for the right price!
He knows what he's doing, he really good at what he does,
But don't mistake it. It's for the money, not the love!
And here's a warning from me to dear sweet you,
If you ever see us together, you better run, because together we are B-O!"

A shocked silence punctuated the end of my poem (along with my strong man pose), before Bryce groaned and allowed his head to fall to his desk with a loud thump. The class twittered, and finally applauded me raucously. I bowed before taking my seat. Without lifting his head, Bryce spoke.

"I hate you. I was going to come over and hang out with you tonight, but now I don't know." He lifted his head just enough to stare at me angrily.

"Oh, but you need to see my newest sheets, my love!" I said, striking another odd pose and laying my hand on my cheek. "They're blue silk now." I resisted the urge to wink. Instead, I continued. "I know how you hate cotton, and your skin is too sensitive for flannel."

Bryce roared, actually roared. It was a sound of anger, annoyance, and frustration all rolled into one as he picked up the closest thing to him so he could throw it at me. Unfortunately for me, his choices were limited to a bloody Kleenex and a desk.

He choose the latter.

Standing and violently knocking the chair out from behind him, Bryce hefted the desk to about shoulder height before realizing the class was staring in horror. Quietly, he set the desk down and sat back into his seat. I smirked once more.

Oh yes, I had been baiting him.


Bryce and I have been friends since I moved here in 2nd grade, as ridiculous a cliché as that is. My first day consisted of him saving my ass from the schoolyard bully. He had smiled at me, only stopping for a second as he wiped the blood that had flowed from his nose as I had watched, teary-eyed.

It was then that I decided to grow my hair out, and why it was now waist-length. It was then that we learned he'd be moving. Bryce and I cried, believing we'd never see one another again when he moved into a house less than a block away from my own. Apparently, our parents had gotten into a bidding war over the house I had lived in almost all my life. It was then that we made promises to each other so rashly and foolishly, throwing the importance of the action out the window in a society that relied on the validity and power of a promise.

Tie a ribbon or a string on your finger to remember. That's just what happened in this world when a promise was made. An unbreakable bond of magic, love, thoughts, whatever formed, and tied your body and soul to the words of the promise When the promise was broken, so was the tie. A promise could never be forgotten, the physical proof of it reminding the one who swore everyday, and once broken, it can't be hidden. The tie broke if the promise was.

You only made a promise if you knew you could keep it.

Which is why I felt so foolish when I almost asked Bryce "Do you promise?" as he walked away from me.


Bryce hadn't spoken to me for the rest of class, and as we left the room, bell still ringing, he set a brutal pace for his next class. I followed, even though mine was in the opposite direction. He barreled through crowds of people as I followed easily behind him, using the path that he created. Finally he stopped and turned to me, glaring.

"Stop following me, stalker," he commanded. His mouth curved into a fearsome frown. I only stared, considering how to state my thoughts. No words came, so I turned from him, flicked my braid over my shoulder and began walking to my own class. Of course, my friend knew something was wrong and called out to me. "Wait! Otis, what do you want?" Stopping, I faced him. I knew there must have been an odd expression on my face, but he read it easily. "I'm sorry. Really, I am. Can I come over tonight and make it up to you?"

"I'm sorry," I also said. But the riot of noise in the hallway probably consumed my apology. Bryce must have read my lips and understood. He smiled and began to head for his class again.

"Bryce, wait!" I suddenly yelled, not thinking. I turned quickly, braid and bag flying.

"What?" he yelled back, also turning.

Do you promise?

The words tingled in my mouth, pushing at my lips, tempting my tongue. I imagined the promise forming, a tie on his wrist in black. I imagined it breaking only a matter of hours later, when he ditched me for Mandy again.

I smiled and shifted my bag. "See you then." Turning once more, I began walking. Normally I would have skipped in a situation like this, but I was too tired to try to dodge Bruce, the school's hired hall monitor. As I passed him, the stout man straightened from where was had been leaning against the wall next the door that led to the student parking lots. He began following , but it was only a dozen steps later when the bell rang, and my teacher for my next class, who was standing out by the door to his room, spotted me and gestured for me to hurry. Since I was then under the watchful gaze of my teacher, Bruce no longer felt the need to follow me. He turned and began stalking another student known for skipping. I sighed, annoyed.

"Come on, Otis. Is the word 'hurry' in your vocabulary?" the teacher asked.

"I don't know. My English teacher swears I know it, but I've never heard it in an honest conversation, Mr. Stone." The man chuckled and allowed me admittance into the classroom, excusing the tardy for the witty banter exchanged. I hurried to my usual seat at a large round table near the back where only one other student sat. By no means was I anti-social. In fact, Bryce and I were rather popular, just not with the people of my Art History class.

Mr. Stone was about to dive into his lecture on early Renaissance artists, when he remembered the girl standing auspiciously near the projector. By her nervous actions and unfamiliar face, it was obvious she was new. He turned to her, and spoke. Her responses were limited to nods and simple sentences. Finally, the teacher turned back to the class.

"Class, this is Chelsea Spalding, our newest addition. Seeing as there only two available seats, you'll have to sit next to Bryce and Dennis." Mr. Stone then turned to his projector, starting the lecture. My anti-social table-mate showed no intention of flagging down the new girl. Sighing, I shot my hand into the air above my head and waved. Chelsea smiled widely and practically flew to the table. She sat, dropping her bag.

"Um, Bryce was it? Thank you! I haven't met a friendly face yet today. And...," she glanced at the half of the table claimed by my table-mate. "Whose he?"

"Otis, actually, is my name. This lump of non-sociable matter is Dennis. He is very serious about his pancakes, so don't joke about syrup and batter around him." I responded, blatantly pulling out my cell phone to text the real Bryce. The girl watched me dubiously, for what I knew not yet.

"Otis? Otis Mackentire?" she asked, her eyes watching my fingers skimming along the keypad of my phone as I texted. I nodded minutely and she continued. "I've heard a lot about you and Bryce."

"Whatever you've heard, I'm guaranteeing you, it's not true," I muttered. Damned rumors.

"Actually, most of it is good."

"Oh." I was surprised. Genuinely surprised. "Really? And what have you heard?"

"Shouldn't we be trying to listen to Mr. Stone?" Chelsea glanced at the front of the room.

"Doesn't matter. We'll spend three more days on this decade. Now, what have you heard?" I pressed. For a moment, she hesitated before diving into the rumors and gossip.

"Bryce is known for being a lady killer, though everyone is still surprised he's been dating the same girl for so long." I doubt she understood the truth behind that sentence. "You happen to be famous for being adorably cute but for also having a very selective taste in women. Someone told me you rarely date." I tsked, but gave her a look, asking her to continue when she paused. "You have an adorable little sister that you spoil rotten, and when you, Bryce and her are together, crazy things happen. Not that they don't when it's just you and him. Many people have seen you two pretending to be gay together." Oh, God. She was actually ticking things off her fingers now. "Most people mistake you for twins, or at least brothers. There are some mentions of you to going to a school dance together?" Chelsea blinked and carefully examined what she could remember of what she'd heard. "Oh! And a girl in one of my earlier classes said I need to look at last year's yearbook. Something about you two being in drag. Apparently, you both looked pretty good." I groaned, and resisted pounding my head on the table.

"Mr. Mackentire!" Mr. Stone shouted from the front of the classroom, hand resting on the projector. I snapped to attention. "Who created this masterpiece?" The man smiled cruelly, knowing full-well I was out of the loop.

I took a foolish stab into the dark.

"Salvador Dali?"

"Bzzzzt! Wrong! Mr. Dali was born in the 1800's. Just a short time after the Renaissance. " I smiled at the small joke. "Anyone else know the correct answer?" he grilled the class. For a painful moment, no one showed an inclination to volunteering an answer, or even if they had one. And unexpected hand rose.

"Ms. Spalding?" he asked, tentatively.

"This is an early piece by Pisanello, and is actually a self-portrait. It is a lesser known piece," Chelsea responded, voice strong.

"Thank you, Ms. Spalding. Now, moving along...." replied Mr. Stone, obviously impressed.


I woke up to Mom yelling the food was done, Dad finishing a last business call, Lucy complaining about a certain little shit in her class, and a too loud TV. For a family of four, we made a lot of noise. Yawning, I stretched and turned off the TV before hoisting myself off of the Chaise Lounge and slunk into the kitchen. I blearily sat at the table and yawned again.

"I can not understand how you sleep so much," my mother complained. Lucy nodded, siding with my mother. Of course, being an eight year old, the idea of sleep was almost a punishment. Soon, she'd understand the joy of sleeping thirteen plus hours every week day, and the sixteen plus for the weekends.

"Take it easy on the poor boy. No fair you two ganging up on him," my father joked, entering the kitchen to take his seat. "After all, look at his friend. Of course he need to sleep over half the day, just to survive." I growled and grabbed a plate, violently piling food on it before I blindly dug in, ignoring the laughter around me.

After I cooled off and talked with my family, a small hand pulled on my sleeve. Lucy's large eyes stared into my own. She hay have been eight, but because of her biological mother's drug use, she was abnormally small and resembled a five year old. Smiling, I pulled the small girl into my lap.

"Yes?" I asked her, reaching around the compact body to the browning enticingly placed on my plate.

"Will you braid my hair tonight?" Those eyes stared at me again. Those eyes that seemed to not be able to make up their minds to be green or brown. I smiled malevolently.

"Only if you go take a both now and if you're done in," I glanced at the clock on the wall, "fifteen minutes. Lucy squeaked an took a flying leap. The moment her feet hit the ground, she took off running to the bathroom. I heard her feet skitter on the carpet as she rocketed into the small room. Mom and Dad shook their heads, but there was a look of admiration in their eyes. Only I could get her to bathe to easily.

I stood and meandered my way to my bedroom. Through the wall it shared with the bathroom, I could hear water running and copious amounts of splashing paired with girlish giggling. I shook my head. She was a pain to get into the bath but an even bigger to get out. Hence the 15 minute time limit.

I made a noise between a sigh and groan as I sat on my bed, pulling my cell phone out to check my texts and possibly missed calls. The screen told me it was almost eight, and yet Bryce still had yet to show up. He promi--, well, no, he didn't promise but he had told me he would be coming. My mind flared with anger, but mostly sadness as I opened my phone, hoping for an explanatory text from him, but all I found were texts from other friends, none mentioning him. I flopped onto my bed, frustrated and exhausted. My fingers continued to flip my phone open and closed idly, almost waiting for a call or a text, but it wasn't munch later when Lucy walked through my door in a bright pink nightgown and a towel piled on her head.

She let the towel fall, her wet hair following, and she looked at me expectantly, but I shook my head, lips pursed.

"I can't do anything to your hair when it's wet like that. I'm going to go take a shower, and when I get back, have it dry and brushed, ok?" She nodded, understanding as I stood and again meandered away, but this time to the bathroom.

The first thing I did as I entered the small bathroom was to undo my braid. I didn't bother brushing my hair, since it'd just get tangled again as I washed it. As I stepped into the shower, I turned the water on and let the heat steep into m body. Before long, I was wrinkled and pruney, but I stayed in the water, enjoying the feeling of the water beating against my skin. After I had cleaned myself, I stepped out of the bathtub shower combination and worked to dry myself.

I peeked into my room, checking on Lucy. She was humming happily as she brushed her hair. I smiled and entered, grabbing pajamas and the sort and changed quickly in the bathroom. As I returned to my room, the small girl moved so I could sit on my bed and she then sat again in front of me.

"So, what is it you wanted me to do with your hair?" She sighed, and looked back at me, rebuking me for my foolish question.

"I want it like that one pretty lady from Cousin Rick's show." I tilted my head, trying to remember who Lucy could be talking about. Rick was our cousin who was very interested in Japanese animation and culture. I didn't know much about his obsession, but we had watched a few shoes together. Lucy saw my lack of understanding and tried to better describe the pretty lady she was talking about. "It was from the one with really big robots. She was the one that the main guy wanted to kill, and," Lucy thought for a bit. "She was a princess, I think. And she had been friends with the one blond lady with the scary eyebrows." I tilted my head a little further, as if skewing the angle of my head would rattle around some of the knowledge inside it to reveal what Lucy was talking about.

"Oh! I know the one now. Uh…. Her name was something Peacecraft. And the show had 'wing' somewhere in the title. You want your hair like that?" Lucy nodded vigorously, and I set to work.

The hair style was simple, I mean, I was able to remember it after such a long time, and such a vague memory at that. Soon, I had the two small braids just under Lucy's temples complete. The character's hairstyle was then supposed to lead to the back of her head, where the braids met, and then simply fell. As I pulled the small braids to the back, I put a small band around them, and turned Lucy to look at me.

"Does it look good?" Her voice was all excitement, her hands clasped in front of her and tucked under her chin. I began making a face, and soon she saw my disapproval of the hairstyle. "What's wrong with it?"

"Makes you look old. 'Mere," I mumbled and pulled her around to me, my hands already undoing the matronly hairstyle. Sure, it worked on an animated character, but Lucy was only eight, and looked about five. On her, it just looked odd. The small girl sighed, and commanded that I do the normal, a French braid. Smiling slightly, I brushed my finger through her hair and separated it into the number of pieces and handed a few to Lucy.

"Ta-da!" I said not too long later. Lucy happily stood, kissed me on the cheek and ran to her room. Were cutting it close to her bedtime. Sighing, I brushed my own hair and braided it for bed. In the morning when I always took out the braid, my would fall in what a friend of mine used to call "sexy curls", which was the exact reasoning why I either showered in the morning, or my hair was always in a braid.

Sighing sighing sighing, I fell back onto my bed. It wasn't much later before I fell asleep too.


I awoke to my cell phone playing an annoying little jingle. I didn't actually have an alarm clock then, so I just made do with my phone. Grumbling, I rolled over and turned it off before staring dolefully at the ceiling.

The next thing I knew, I heard Lucy and Mom yelling before Lucy, being the little ball of energy she was, came skidding into my room and vaulted herself onto me. I sat up with an "oof!" before falling back, Lucy curled up on my stomach and chest.

"I don't want to go to school, I don't want to go to school, I don't want to go to school!" She whined into my shirt, as if saying the sentence three times would somehow make it a spell so she really wouldn't. I sighed, and wrapped my arms around her, and looked at my mother who was standing in the doorway, silhouetted by the light behind her.

Lucy had abandonment issues because of her real mother, and after a long and rather ridiculous court battle, we finally won the right to have Lucy as an official part of our homestead. Still, the marls the trauma had left on her were painfully obvious some days. Some days, it was all we could do to get out of the house without her clinging to us. Some days it was best to just let her.

"Mom," I started. "I should just stay home form school with her today. It'll be less trouble for us all if I did." My mother shook her head.

"She's already missed a lot of school this year. I don't think she can afford to miss anymore." I pursed my lips, thinking.

"Doesn't she have early dismissal today? I'll leave school early to pick her up, and take care of her for the rest of the day?" Mom sighed and waved he hand at me. As she turned away from her, I heard her mutter something about doing whatever we wanted, what did it mater any more. In return, I yelled something about making sure to call me out of school before I picked her up.

Lucy finally lifted her head, and looked at me with a teary smile. She nuzzled her face into my shirt again, and all I could do was smile and pet her mussed French braid.

"Let's get this knot out of your hair, and then we'll get ready for school." She nodded and as I stood, I easily picked her up with me. Some days, I could do nothing but hate Lucy's mother for what she forces her daughter into becoming, all the ways she had abused the poor child. It was almost one of those days, but instead, I just it be one of those days that Lucy would remember as an amazing day with her older brother.


I sighed loudly, and leaned back into the theater chair. I hated this class, and the only reason Bryce and I took it was to have at another class together. And it sucked terribly without him.

Of course, he ditches me the night before, so he evades me, and skips school the next day.

I grumbled louder and text rather blatantly, waiting for the theater teacher to scold me. Except she didn't, she continue helping the student directors with their script editing and casting, while completely ignoring her class. A few of the students were playing an acting game on the stage, while a few others were trying to choreograph a fight scene, but mostly, the students were sitting in the theater seats, talking. Only I sat alone, and few rows back, a gaggle of girls were talking. One of theme crying, and telling the others about the promise her boyfriend of three months had refused to make.

"And all I asked him to promise was that he'd always be there!" she wailed, and her friends tried their best to comfort her. It was amazing more people weren't crowded around. This was a drama class, and generally the students were drawn to crying girls, which usually meant drama on some sort of level. I shook my head. I knew married couples of three years who wouldn't dare promise that.

"He could have at least promised to try to always be there," one of the other girls countered. I think her name was Frances, but everyone called her Frankie. At least, I think it was. Regardless, I disapproved of her statement. Saying 'I promise to try' was an empty promise. One could promise to stay sober, and break their promise, but the could promise to try to stay sober, get drunk off their ass, then claim 'I tried!', show the promise-tie was still intact. 'I tried to stay sober, see? I tried!'

An empty promise was just as bad as a broken one.

Only a empty promise meant there were empty feelings behind it. It was a promise not meant to be kept, not meant to have faith in, not to be believed in, not meant to be made. I would rather have a broken promise than an empty one.

I almost turned to the girls to rip them a new one for their arrogance and for the shallowness on the subject, but instead continued to text other friends. Justin was claiming to have a left-over pizza at his house and was inviting some of his friends for lunch. It was tempting, but I was supposed to pick up Lucy today. I quickly texted back, asking if it would be ok if I brought Lucy along.

Most of my friends were cool, and liked Lucy. The partiers didn't know her. Maybe she'd have some fun with Justin and the guys and get over this bout of insecurity she was having lately. I didn't understand her, but I did love her.

The girls' voices behind me rose, and I was forced into listening to the on-going conversation.

"All I wanted to know is if we had the red string of fate!" the lead girl wailed, once more. I was beginning to tire of her wailing, and even now, I had to look back at her for being so immature as to believe in something like that. Everyone knew the legend, just as everyone knew it was just that, a legend.

The whole thing was, when someone found their true love, they were supposed to promise never to leave them, to always be there, and a small red tie would appear on the pinkie of the make of the promise, but also on the pinkie of the one the promise was made to, which was unheard of. Supposedly, this happened because their souls were one, and a promise made with one of them meant the other was tied to this promise too.

No one ever mentions the logic that if one half of the pair made any sort of promise, that the other should be forced into that promise too. Logically, it should happen, but then it would be easier to find ones true love. Make a promise, then find someone who does not recall making said promise, purposely break said promise to see if the associated tie would break, and lo and behold, ye hath found ye one true Love.

Too bad that legend didn't follow that logic. And it couldn't, as it was just that, a legend.

The girls sighed in unison, as if the were all imagining their one true love, a red tie on both their pinkies, tying their fates together, forcing their love to endure to the end of time. Oh, I could just imagine them biting their thumbs, a blush spreading on their cheeks. I could feel a few of their gazes focused on the back of my head, as if I were their destined one.

I almost made me want to throw-up. I lurched forward and texted wildly. Yeah, Justin, you better be ok with me bringing Lucy. David was wanting to do a sports night at his house in a few nights, which would be an excuse to avoid parents and girlfriends so we all could go out in the woods to drink. Maybe there we'd even drunkenly throw or kick a ball around. It sounded fun, and I would've loved to go, but only if Bryce went along too.

Where the hell was that bastard?

I nearly yelled in frustration, wanting to stand and angrily, punching my fists into the air, my phone clenched tightly in one until in my fit of rage, I threw it to the ground. Of course, I knew I would regret it if I did it, and though the drama kids would love the over-the-top-ness of the yelling and throwing of my phone, it would be embarrassing. So instead, I continued texting, and waiting for lunch to come, wanting it faster and faster, so I could escape to Lucy, and to Justin's for pizza.


My feet pounded on the ground as I walked up the neat pathway to the front on Lucy's school. A brisk Northern breeze blew, and I pulled my sweater just a little bit tighter around before I pulled the door open and stepped inside the building. It was a nice building, and I personally liked it. It was older, but the people running the school wanted to rebuild it. I just hoped they wouldn't rebuild somewhere else, then tear down this building.

I was early, and in the silence outside the school, I found a bench and sat. As I sat there, other parents began to show-up, parking around the school to wait for their kids. It wasn't long after the door opened and kids began pouring out. I stood and looked over their heads, trying to spot Lucy. When I did, I yelled and I watched with a warm feeling as her face cracked into a grin and she ran to me.

As her small body slammed into mine, I picked her up, and made some suspicious animal noises. Then I threw her over my shoulder and began stomping to my car. Lucy cried with delight and pounded on my back. For a little bit she tried to sound terrified, but her giggling ruined the act. I also smiled, and as I reached my car, I set her down. She sighed happily as her feet touched the ground, but didn't let go of me.

The other kids watched either terrified, or laughed too. They couldn't seem to decide if I was actually kidnapping her, or just playing.

Justin laughed when he answered the door and saw me, Lucy slung over my shoulder again.

"You gonna become a fireman with that technique?" he asked as he moved to let me in the house.

"Nah, I'm going to become a princess-kidnapper. Look, I already got one," I countered, and repositioned Lucy easily. Sometimes it made me sad how she was almost nine and looked 5. But in situations like this, I was completely ok with it.

"The other guys are in the kitchen," Justin told me as he shut the door and began leading me to the room where I was pretty sure the pizza lived. Once in the kitchen, I sat Lucy on the counter. Justin's family was pretty well off, and the kitchen was a beautiful room, even to my fashion/decorating inept view. Lucy looked around herself happily as I grabbed us pizza.

"So, you coming to the woods with us this weekend, Otis?" David asked, his mouth full of pizza. He stopped chewing long enough to take a swig of a dark drink in a glass. "Is Bryce going to come with us this time? Getting plaste--"

"Getting what?" I interrupted, and looked pointedly at a confused Lucy. David blushed a little, realizing what he had been about to say in front of my sister. Yeah, I love Lucy and all, but I don't want her knowing what I do on weekends with my friends. But mostly, I don't want her knowing so she can't tell my parents.

My parents hate my friends enough as is.

"Anyways," I continued, "I think I'll probably come, but I haven't gotten a hold of Bryce all day. What day were you planning on, for the party?" David stop to think for a moment.

"Friday night? Maybe Saturday afternoon?"

"Not Saturday afternoon," one of the other guys piped in, his mouth full of pizza. He struggled to talk around, and Lucy made a disgusted face at him. "You'd be done for the rest of the day. Definitely night." I rolled my eyes.

"Whatever," David replied, as if getting drunk and having a buzz/hand-over for the rest of the day was some insignificant reason to not get drunk at one in the afternoon. From there, idle chatter filled the time until Justin perked up, looking at the microwave clock.

"Well, guys, I think the period is about up. We'd all better head out if we don't wan tot loose out lunch periods." He grabbed the empty pizza box and headed out the door that I knew led to his backyard to throw it away. Stupid school rules. They would take away student's open lunch periods if they were late back to school too many times. All it did was piss of the students.

"I guess I'll see you guys tomorrow. I have to baby sit Lucy for today," I explained and watched as she hopped off the counter and grabbed my hand. I smiled a little. The guys smiled and said their goodbyes to Lucy before promising to text me later.


After playing with Lucy a little, I finally left her to her own devices, and laid on the Chaise lounge. Problem was, every time I lounged on the Lounge, I fell asleep. Which was bad, because I was supposed to be taking care of Lucy.

Bad Otis, bad. Go to your room, where you can have play time with Otis Jr. Bad, Otis, bad! No alone time in your room!

I did, however, fall asleep, only to be jostled awake by Lucy as she climbed into my lap, also deeming that it was time for her nap time. She curled up against my side as I shifted to make room for her. She sighed happily, grabbing my shirt and wadding it into fistfuls as she clung to me. Circling my arms around her, I closed my eyes, listening to her breathing as it slowed, mine mirroring it's process.

I was woken up again as Mom came home, her arms laden down with paper bags, which I suspected contained ingredients for dinner. She was talking loudly, complaining about work, her scrubs crumpled and looking a little worse for wear, when she walked past the Chaise, and looked down to see use curled up together. Immediately, she stopped talking, her mouth open wide, then a smile spread across her face. She raced off, and I heard her set down the groceries before she went to her and my dad's room, seemingly searching for something.

When she came back, she had her digital camera clutched in her hands as she fumbled to work it.

Why yes, my mother is technologically retarded.

Finally, she managed to turn it on, and pointed it in my direction. It flashed brightly, and I groaned, my pupils dilating painfully. I squeezed my eyes hut, and ducked my head, shielding myself from the flash with Lucy's head. I felt myself drifting off to sleep again as my laughed a little, and of course, took more pictures.


AN ~~ Alright fools, here's the low-down. I'm off to sell fireworks in a few weeks, and I want to get this posted now, so then all the people out there who love me (I know who you are!) can have something awesome to read while I'm gone. This was originally going to be a one-shot (It still might be, I'm not sure), and it may or may not eventually be slash. It is a major work in progress. I have a loose plot-line, but up to a few classes later from what is written, I don't have much more. Either way, enjoy.

Also, this is not beta'd. If anyone is interested in being a beta, please leave a review, and your e-mail, so I can get in touch. Thanks guys :heart:

And and and, reviewing would be amazing even if you don't want to beta. I love reviews! :heart:

Signing off, Hanna.