Alethia Syndrome

I look down at the tube of lip gloss in my hand, turning it over and over in wonder and afraid to test it because it'll ruin all my fantasies if it doesn't work. Marty has finally made all of his dreams come true and his discovery is going to change the world…although the presentation is a little worrying if you ask me – considering Marty is a boy and all. But I suppose he's always been different, just not that kind of different.

Feeling eyes on me I divert my own eyes from the tube of glittery pink gloss to look at the shaggy blonde headed genius staring at me from the other side of the bench. He grins encouragingly and puts a thump up, "Come on Avalon, smack on some of that and go dazzle people with your magic lips."

Swallowing I unscrew the cap and squeeze the tube, watching it ooze out onto the tip and looking for any signs – as if there'd be any, it isn't really magic, it's just science – any radioactive glow, any extra sparkle aside from all that glitter disguising it that would show that this tube isn't anything other than an ordinary tube of lip gloss. But there's none, and I'm pretty sure Marty made sure of that.

I wipe the gloss off onto my fingertip, just in case Marty doesn't want my saliva getting all over it, and then smooth it over my lips; as well as looking no different it also feels no different than any other run of the mill lip gloss. I take out my compact and eye my sparkling lips, and I've got to say – though I'm not entirely sure it's doing what it's meant to be doing – it makes one hell of a gloss.

Screwing the cap back on and sticking the tube in a jeans pocket I flash a smile at Marty, "I suppose it's time to test these magic lips out, huh? Don't they look kissable?" I kid with him, waggling my eyebrows; he usually ignores my little quips, and so I'm a little surprised when he answers.

"They always do," he says and then laughs a little nervously, starting to usher me out of the room very quickly, "ah, not. Get out of here you crazy girl, go terrorise the masses for me. I'll be sure to cut you ten dollars out of the many millions I make."

"Cheap ass," I tease, grinning as he pushes me out the door. I'm just kidding though; being his guinea pig is honour enough without even the ten bucks out of the – and he's being modest here if this stuff truly works – many millions he's going to make. It's a nice feeling when you're the one person your genius, adorable science partner decides to share his secrets with, "you're so mean."

"You know it Avalon." He ruffles up my hair and with a wink, closes the door behind me.

I sigh, looking around the halls for a victim and feeling a little dazed after so much Martin T. Fennel exposure; I admit, as much as it is my dream to become a journalist and make world stopping, flawless and endlessly intriguing articles – comparing to the person who made this wonderful journalistic tool, the tool itself is nothing to me.

I have it for Marty Fennel and I have it bad.

But alas he is destined for greater things and trophy wives, not wives who burp and have been known to sometimes chew with their mouth open – mostly because they're trying to talk and eat at the same time. Call me crazy but either of those things are doubtfully attractive to one as poised and neat as Marty.

I'm just happy to be his guinea pig and to be able to say I met the guy who cured cancer; he assures me that's next on his to do list.

Walking down the hall I look for possible subjects only to have one come barrelling up to me, brushing past my shoulder with force and causing me to teeter over and fall on my butt. Glaring and realising my victim as none other than Peter Farley I push to my feet and spin around, heading after him before he can get totally away; I'm not missing the chance to interrogate him – I've waited so long to figure out what's going on in that head of his.

"Oh Peter, why are you such a jerk?" Is my impressive opening question.

Peter stops right in his tracks, and turns around. "Well, it's a cover because I like you and no offence but you're kind of weird and my mates wouldn't accept me liking you and so because of my intense feelings and lust I have to overcompensate by acting like I hate you."

My mouth drops, and wide. Peter turns the colour of a particularly ripe beetroot and stiffly walks off in the opposite direction before I can say anything. Not being able to help but let out a snort of a mixture of amusement and disbelief; I cover my mouth with a hand and turn my eyes to the tube in my pocket. I pat it affectionately, "Boy, am I going to have fun with you."

As I look down at my pocket the pitter patter of footsteps nears and I spot two hot pink pairs of converse coming my way. Looking up, I face the beaming smile of my best friend, Lindsey May, and right by her side toying with one her long blonde curls is her study partner – study partner for whom her admiration is not strictly limited to his intellect. At least, by the way she looks at him when he's not looking, and by the way she is looking shyly at her feet right now while he messes with her hair and teases her.

They are the cutest couple I have ever seen, but they are so tragically not a couple. Both of them are completely oblivious to the fact that they each hold an ardour for the other that could rival my own one sided one to Marty. It's painful watching them dance around each other, all too afraid of treading on a foot to grab hold of each other and just tango.

And so, obviously; I have to do something about it. I have the power to change the lives of my friends for the better and what better way to practice for my future profession? It's a journalist's job to seek out and reveal the truth and I'm already half way there – now it's just the revealing part needing to be dealt with.

When they come to a stop in front of me Harry is still pulling at her hair like a five year old. I snort a little, and grin at them both, pondering which one I'm going to force into confession. On one hand it'd be funny to make Lindsey go all red, but on the other…she is my best friend, and it will rock her world if he blurts it out first. Besides, I totally owe her – it's not easy to have a really nosey, annoying best friend who is a hypocrite.

I mean I tell her she should just confess when I'd rather die than confess my own feelings to a boy before he confesses first. It'd be just humiliating if they didn't feel the same way. They'd pity you and I just couldn't take that. It's a matter of pride; I have way too much of it.

"What're you going to have fun with?" Lindsey tilts her head, smiling sweetly.

"Oh nothing, just…Harry?" I say innocently, fluttering my eyelashes in his direction whilst he drops a lock of her hair to stare at me bemusedly, "Do you want Lindsey here to be your girlfriend – ow!"

Lindsey kicks me right in the shins and glares at me. I put a hand to them and mouth what? at her innocently; gees, is there really any need to get violent with me? I mean the damage is already done, kicking me isn't going to suck the words back through my lips. I turn my eyes to Harry, rubbing my leg where Lindsey kicked it with her killer sparkly silver stilettos, and he's turned his to Lindsey.

"Nothing more in the world," is his whispered response, which causes Lindsey to nearly die of shock as she lowers her foot back to the ground – saving me from another kick to the shins, thank God – and opens her mouth, gaping like a fish.

I pat them both on the shoulder, "You kids have fun, stay safe," I say, walking off and grinning; what's next on the agenda?

I look around the hall, eyeing everyone with excitement. Each person holds within them something they don't want certain a person to know, and if I just nudge them a little bit everyone can achieve the same happiness Lindsey and Harry are probably experiencing right now. Just have to pick my targets wisely – and make sure the feelings are mutual.

I'm like a girl cupid; spreading love and hope throughout the high school, giving people what they long for but aren't brave enough to get themselves. After all I can't get what I want why not live vicariously through bringing other people together? It's really good of me I reckon. Other people might abuse this power – but me? I'm using it for good. Valentine would be proud.

Clasping my hands together, two young, blushing teenagers catch my eyes; it's beautiful, watching them like this. But it's about to get even prettier.

"Is it spring time? Because everyone appears to be pairing up." Marty plants a hand down on my shoulder and I look up, blinking innocently. He eyes me right back with disapproval, tightening his grip and leaning closer. I feel his breath tickling my cheek as he whispers in my ear warningly, "Be careful; I know your game, Avalon. You won't want to make a mistake with this, people might end up hurt – and who will they take their anger out on when they do?"

Sniffing, I push his head – which is alarmingly too close to my own – away, and slouch back over my desk to continue doodling in my notebook. "I don't know what you're talking about and even if I do – I'm just merely letting the truth out into the open – I'm not telling people what to do with that information."

"But you're forgetting the fact that the truth sometimes hurts Angela," he says, sounding a little peeved with me, "when I said terrorise the masses I didn't actually mean it. What are you going to do if you make something out of nothing and offend both people involved? Or what if one of them likes the other – but the other doesn't return his feelings?"

"His feelings?" I say slowly, eyeing Marty whose gaze has now suspiciously turned from my own, "Is this something that really truly annoys you Marty, or are you afraid of me finding something out?"

He seems to be struggling, as if trying to swallow his answer back, but it doesn't work. Marty straightens and squeezes my shoulder, "I'm terrified," he assures me with a look, before dropping his hand and making his way quickly to the teacher to get dismissed and go to the bathroom.

Dismissed from being in my presence, more like it; he's hiding something from me. Something about his feelings towards his special someone; a special someone whom probably isn't me. I look down at my doodling, and scribble over the veil I'd drawn on my stick figure. It's useless dreaming about something that isn't going to happen and if that special someone isn't going to be me – then so be it, so long as Marty's happy. But Marty can't be happy until he's with her and by the way he's acting I'm guessing he's not.

I'm going to have to fix that now aren't I?

But…who could it be? It might be Isabelle, she's always getting top marks in science class, and in fact if it weren't for Marty she'd be considered the smartest in class. Smarts in a woman is definitely something Marty finds attractive – I've seen the way he looks at Mac when I make him watch Veronica Mars with me. It's like he thinks she's one of those candy coated peanuts he likes so much; I'm pretty sure one time I spied him wiping a bit of drool from the side of his lip.

Or – or what about Rebecca 'Beck' Waters? She's definitely trophy wife material, looking at her is like getting hit by a bus on the ego. Only instead of stopping the bus reverses back over you, and then repeats a couple of times. Until your ego is reduced to a bloody mess on the pavement, guts lying everywhere, appendages flying and hitting passersby until they too see the phenomenon that is Rebecca Waters and join you until the whole road is covered in a wriggling mess of – well, you get the picture.

Although I've never quite seen any signs of Marty being superficial or anything like that. I'm just assuming his wife is going to be really pretty because he's going to be really rich and most rich guys you see – their wives are like glimpses of heaven, in the form of size six, big breasted women. But maybe Marty is going to be different, I mean; that girl Georgia Fields is always reading those books he likes at the library. Maybe he has a crush on her?

Huh. I am getting nowhere, and anyway…why search for Marty's perfect girl the old fashioned way when I have the perfect detective tool right in my pocket? Literally.

The bell goes right on time and smiling bitter sweetly I pull myself from my chair before I'm shoved right back in my seat, facing a pair of angry brown eyes. Shelly Parkes plants both hands on my shoulders, not looking very happy with me. Like at all. Her nails dig into my skin, and she hisses, "Thanks a lot."

"What's wrong?" I ask, pushing her hands away and crossing my arms over my chest.

"My boyfriend has gone back to his ex, the one that you know, cheated on him all the time back when they were together? I was slowly weaning him off but you," she stabs a finger in my direction, her eyes narrowing severely, "had to ruin all of my hard work in one second, with one question, and I bet you didn't think about the consequences now did you?" she leans in and chides darkly, "Stop sticking your nose into other people's business."

She straightens and walks off, leaving me and my thoughts to myself.

It's not like I meant for that to happen. I mean; I have good intentions, and for all I know maybe the 'ex' has changed? Maybe she truly does want to stay faithful. I admit I've been taking the simple approach with the 'do you like him' and vice versa thing. But the results haven't been too horrible for the most part have they?

Beside's that's all going to change; I will be a little more careful, just like Marty told me to...and speaking of Marty; I've got some plans for him. I just have to find out where he is. He's going to be so happy he'll change his mind about what I'm doing, he'll be thanking me for finally joining him together with the girl of his dreams; he will be. He'll just have to be honest with me – which isn't really all that hard because of these glossy lips of mine – and then everything else will fall into place.

Getting up from my seat I gather up my books, humming under my breath. When I look up I spot Lindsey leaning on the door frame, not looking very impressed for some reason or other. I smile at her, "Hey Linds, where's your other half?"

"Hiding from you like everyone else." She answers promptly and not a little coldly. I blink at her, bemused. What is she talking about? People hiding from me? But I'm the least scary person you'll come across in the planet. For one thing I have no upper body arm strength, let alone any other kind of threatening features apart from zero conversational skills and table manners. I'm just not a scary kinda girl. "I don't know how you're doing it but you're forcing people to admit to things they don't want to admit to."

Oh. She means that…but how is that threatening? I mean it's not like I'm getting everyone to blurt out their biggest darkest secrets – I'm just getting them to admit, and only in the company of their soon to be significant other, their feelings. In the end everything has turned out okay for both parties if you ask me. So what's to be afraid of? I haven't had any mishaps – well one. But what's one rain drop to a whole rainbow full of happy people?

I bring this very valid point up to her but she just stares at me. "Um, yeah well I hate to bring this up, and I hate that you don't know this already but Ange – people don't like being forced to say or do stuff when they're not ready. Some of the people have been so embarrassed by what you've made them confess that they don't want to even go to school tomorrow – I remind you that not everyone is so eloquent in displaying their affections."

Cringing just a little I recall a few blunt declarations coming from some footballers and meat heads, or you know; guys that tend to think with their family jewels rather than with their head. I have to admit they weren't quite so eloquent with expressing their feelings as some other boys; but they did get them across and that's the main idea.

"It'll turn out in the end, I'm sure those girls knew the boys meant what they said in the best kind of way," I say, laughing it off, "so what's the harm?"

"The harm is people are going to resent you for it. Would you like it if someone made you tell Marty your feelings?" She wants to know.

"That's different." I say and she starts laughing at me. Glaring at her, and feeling a little hurt for her blatant disregard for my feelings, I defend myself, "I'm serious. All of those people I set up liked each other but Marty doesn't like me."

Lindsey stops laughing and gives me an incredulous look, eye brows raised to the heavens. She opens her mouth, shaking her head at me like she just doesn't get it, "You know for someone who wants to be a journalist you aren't very observant. Are you blind, do you have some kind of mental defect I don't about? Are you just, I don't know, stupid?"

My jaw drops, "I'm stunned Lindsey, after all these years we've been friends and this is how well you know me? You know I get good marks for most of my classes, maybe not the best like Isabelle but you know what? I don't care. I'm smart enough to get an A and if that 'A' doesn't have a plus at the end with it that's okay with –"

Lindsey interrupts, shaking her head and holding up a hand, "I meant socially. Because socially, you've got to admit; you're a little blonde, sweetie."

But she's the blonde one, not me. My hair is completely not blonde, in fact it's black. I have absolutely no idea what she's talking about I mean if I'm socially retarded how am I able to set up all these people? How can I know they like each other if I'm not just the tiniest bit observant going about it? It's not easy when boys at this school pretty much flirt with everything with legs and a skirt. You have to pay so much attention to be able to figure out the difference between a girl they like – and one they're just playing with.

"What're you talking about?" I demand.

"You and Marty," and then she just smiles, waves and then I'm alone again; left with my thoughts again, all my confusing, nonsensical thoughts running around in my head on repeat.

Sighing, I rake a hand through my hair and make a frustrated noise; you and Marty? She says. What about Marty and me? Or Marty and I, to be more grammatically correct about it. What does she mean by any of that? For some truth gloss it still allows people to make things plenty confusing when it works its magic, it apparently doesn't matter if any of their answers are cryptic or not. Because she told me the truth and I still don't have any idea what she's talking about.

I hear a crash and look up just in time to see a book shelf come crashing down with Peter Farley on top of it and Marty standing above him, hands poised. Blinking at the scene I watch as Peter gets up from the shelf, only to be slammed back down again. He curses and attempts to kick Marty, but misses as Marty backs out of the way.

"God I hate you so much," Peter hisses, rolling over the other side of the shelf and pointing a finger at him, "you're just jealous because you don't have the damn guts to admit your feelings like I did; you're just jealous because now my name is the one she's going to be moaning when she falls asleep in science class."

I blink again, bewildered; I don't think I've ever seen Marty look this livid in his life – in fact, I don't think I've seen Marty livid period. He's just not an angry kind of guy; he's usually all smiles and thoughtful expressions. But thoughtful is definitely not the word to describe him now – unless what he's being thoughtful about is smashing Peter Farley right in the face.

Which he promptly storms up and over the book shelf to do. Peter squeals like a little girl, backing away from him and moving closer to me. Marty shakes his head, "Don't you dare go near her after what you just told me you little shit," he growls darkly, his fists clenching at his sides, and both arms tensing as they do. I can see his biceps pressing into his domo tee, biceps I never even knew he had before this moment. It makes me kind of wonder what else he's got going under that tee shirt of his.

Cheeks reddening at my not so appropriate thoughts I shake my head, trying to shake them all out of my brain; now's not the time to be contemplating how hot my science partner, and unrequited love, is. Even though he really, really kinda is beneath all of his nerdy clothes and shaggy blonde hair.

"Guys, stop," I say weakly, and wince at my poor attempt. "Stop."

But I'm ignored. Peter and Marty circle around the room like they're reenacting Lion King, hissing and growling and all while I stand by my desk, helpless to the way Marty's impressive show of testosterone is apparently affecting me. Oh God. I need a good slap to the face; this is just pathetic. I'm a woman and first and foremost a feminist one – this disabling of the senses is a betrayal to my beliefs.

"There's nothing wrong with what I said before, except for the fact I haven't made good on it yet; so if you'd just leave the room…" Peter drawls, with some gall considering the way he's backing away like a baby lamb to Marty's fox; it doesn't earn him any brownie points either, if the way Marty lunges at him again means anything.

They both come crashing to the floor in front of me and Marty twists Peter's hands behind his back, causing Peter to let out a howl of pain and kick his scrawny legs furiously, "Say it again and you'll have broken bones, Farley."

"Mercy, mercy." Peter moans, and Marty with a triumphant grin lets him go, getting up to his feet. Peter gets up just as quick, bringing his arm back and swinging his fist right into Marty's stomach.

Marty's jaw drops and his hands go to his stomach as he shoots Peter a frightening glare, but Peter backs off and runs right out of class before he can get to him. "Son of a bitch," he grins wryly, turning his eyes to mine.

"What was that?" I demand.

"He said some dirty things about you and it just drove me over the deep end," he says, brushing his hands off on his pants and then starting to walk towards me, "what're you still doing in class, Avalon?"

"Well first this girl came and yelled at me for getting her boyfriend and his ex back together and then Lindsey came in and berated me for my actions as well and then I was sitting in here because she mentioned something about you and I have no idea what it meant." I say, all in one breath. "And just now? You beating the shit out of Peter? It was frankly kinda hot."

I put a hand over my mouth – I didn't mean to say that last part! Looking at him in horror I spot the same glistening coming from my own lips coming from his. He's either wearing a whole heap of Chap Stick, or he's wearing the truth serum – I do not like where this is going for me!

"Hot, hey?" He says, eyebrows arching before a smirk forms on his lips and he takes the last few steps towards me and plonks himself down, cross legged on the desk in front of me. "Since you seem so happy sticking your nose into other people's business maybe it's your turn now."

Oh my God. Oh my God. No he is the absolutely last person I want asking me the questions that I've been asking other people; he's the one that my answers are going to be all about.

I open my mouth but he places a warm hand over my lips and tuts at me, "No that won't do at all, just tell me; what's the first letter of the boy you like's name?"

He removes his hand and I feel compelled to tell him the truth – but I won't and I can't. He can't make me tell him anything…he just…

No. No. My lips tremble, and I feel as if I can't breathe. The same feelings everyone else must have been feeling as I forced them into confession. It hurts not to tell the truth under the spell of the lip gloss; I've been putting everyone through pain, just for a little bit of fun on my behalf. I cover my mouth, squeezing my eyes shut as my face grows redder by the minute…but I can't let him know about my crush on him. I just can't.

But I also can't stop myself from blurting it out, "M," is the letter that passes through my lips, and he raises his eyebrows in surprise – pleasant or not, I do not know. But I can't let him get any more out of me. "No, Marty, please don't. I get the picture. I won't do it again I promise."

"What's the second letter?" He asks, and he sounds like he's clearly enjoying himself.

"A. Marty, that's not fair. I haven't asked you who you like so it's not fair to inflict this on me, it's. Not. Fair." I complain, glaring at him something furious. "Now please let's stop this and just consider your truth serum experiment a success, please?"

"What's the third letter?" He wants to know and I feel my cheeks flood red.

My mouth drops at his persistence, and the fact that in the face of my annoyance he is grinning like mad. It's like he's ripping a bandaid off a sore, and slowly. Any normal person would've just asked the name but no – Marty has to ask every individual letter, dragging out the punishment and making me even more embarrassed than had he just asked me once and gotten it over with.

"R. You are such an ass. I hate you Marty and if you don't stop this at once I'm never ever going to talk to you again. I'm the one that does the teasing here and hey – what's the name of the girl you like?" I smile in glee, trying to distract him from annoying me and the fact that I've near spelled his name out apart from two letters.

"Angela Avalon." Marty says, and then he drags my face down and starts kissing me.

In shock I drop all of the books I'm holding onto the floor and widen my eyes; looking at Marty's closed, light long lashed ones and feeling my heart speed up like crazy and my face burn up like a match to petroleum. And all the while as my heart speeds, my hands sweat, and my mind blanks Marty Fennel keeps on kissing me, placing feather light kisses insistently on my lips; begging for reciprocation.

So who am I to deny him that? Bringing my hands around his neck I start kissing him back and that's all the encouragement he needs; he jumps off of the table to back me into a wall, and then presses me to it starting to engage me in open mouthed kisses; kisses received in a style I am starting to like – especially when it's in a style involving Marty.

My hands twist in his hair and I can feel my breath near running out but I don't care, suffocation induced by his kisses is like suffocating in a big pool of gooey, all encompassing heaven; only he has other ideas, and he drags his lips from mine to let me breathe.

"Hello there, Ange, how's it going?" he cracks a grin and then; I find myself suddenly not caring anymore that his lips aren't on mine; because they're on my neck, doing something that feels just as good.

"Perfect," I murmur; and it's the honest truth.


One shot finished, ahem; added on a little bit more than I thought I would but I did indeed get it done. Thanks to my lovely friend apples ate my chocolate bar for the Alethia reference, as I couldn't figure out a name. Do you know how fun it is writing about boys bashing each other up? Because it is. A lot of fun. I think I should do this more often in stories. Maybe I should dedicate a whole story TO boys bashing the crap out of one another. Oh yeah. I'm feeling some pretty great ideas radiating off that. FANTASTIC ideas even.

I also think I'm sleep deprived again. God; you guys owe me. OWE ME.