"Elena, where did you go?" Zander cooed, holding his hand out for Elena.

"Oh, Zachary, I went to get you a present," she soothed, sitting comfortably on his lap.

To say that I was nauseous watching this would be the understatement of the century. God, watching them drool over each other was worse than watching… than watching… well it was gross; there was no comparison.

"And, what is it?" Zander asked, clearly excited.

"I have bought you a new carrying case. It shall be used for when you go on business. Isn't it lovely?" Elena held out a dark brown leather briefcase to Zander.

"My dear, it is lovely, I could never have asked for a better present."

"Really?" she asked, blushing as she glanced up at Zander.

"Really," he answered, smiling widely.

A comfortable—for them maybe, but awkward for me—silence descended, and the quiet music playing fit the moment perfectly. God, this was so cliché, I was just waiting for the two of them to dance off into the sunset, through a meadow with butterflies and dragonflies. I could seriously feel my IQ dropping as I watched this.

"Zachary, when shall we run away? My father won't let me marry until I'm out of school."

"Tomorrow my love, tomorrow we shall quit this place," Zander said back, his arm snaked around her waist as she leaned her head on his shoulder.

"Tomorrow is too late. Let us leave now, please?" she asked, looking—gag—lovingly into his eyes.

"Anything for you," Zander said, going gooey-eyed. They both stood up from where they were sitting on a park bench and slowly walked away, leaving the audience to sigh in unison.

I may or may not have groaned out loud.

"That was beautiful," my mom said, actually wiping a tear from her eye as she clapped loudly along with everyone else. "Who is that fine young man playing the lead character?"

"Zander," I intoned, sluggishly clapping along with everyone else as the whole cast came out on stage to bow.

"Stand up," my mom hissed, noticing that I was the only person still sitting while the crowd gave the crew a standing ovation.

Rolling my eyes, I made my way to my feet, and slowly clapped, looking—I'm sure—completely bored out of my mind. I was defiantly playing the spoilt brat card, but really, that was the worst torture my mother had ever inflicted upon me.

"Come on," my mom said excitedly, "Let's meet the cast!" Apparently since this was kind of a big deal of a performance, the cast and crew came out and sat at long tables in the main lobby for everyone to meet and congratulate.

My eyes widened in fright, "No, no, no, no, no, I'm okay; really, it ruins the experience for me when I meet the cast! I mean you can, I'm sure that would be cool for you but—"

"Come on, Tasha," she sighed, grabbing my arm and dragging me behind her. Oh dear god, someone up stairs must seriously hate me, for making me go and see him. God, when he sees that I came… oh no, oh no, oh no.

"Hi," my mom called happily, leaning over the table to be heard over all the other chattering in the lobby, "You were lovely! I am very impressed by your performance!"

"Thank you," the butler said, smiling widely, "It was a lot of fun!"

"Oh, I'm sure it was! Gosh, I wish my daughter was as enthusiastic about theater as you are!"

The guy smiled, obviously uncomfortable, "Well, thank you, ma'am."

"Come on, honey, let's go meet the stars. Congratulations and hopefully we'll see you in other performances!"

Trying to blend in with everyone else, I stumbled behind my mother, her grip still firm on my upper arm. In his euphoric mood he wouldn't recognize me… right?

"Tasha!" Oh, damn. I guess that would be a no to my last question. "Aw, honey, you came to see me?"

I glowered at him, my face heating up. "As, if, Zander, believe me, I would rather be anywhere else but here."

He smiled widely at me, "This must be your lovely mother, it's nice to meet you, ma'am."

Zander was standing behind the table, undoubtedly enjoying all the attention he was getting. My mom, clearly charmed, held out her hand, and he actually kissed it. "Oh dear, he is quite charmismic isn't he?"

"Oh my god, mom, can we just go?"

"Come on, Tasha, want to come back here and keep me company?" he asked, wiggling his eyebrows at me.

"I would rather inflict bodily harm than 'keep you company'. Really, I get enough of you during school."

"Ah!" he called out, stumbling back and holding a hand over his heart, "You wound me!"

"Oh grow up," I sighed, rolling my eyes.

"Tasha! I am astounded at how rude you are! Have I really been such a bad mother that you act like this to darling men?"

I blinked a few times at the seriousness of her words, "What?"

"Be nice!"

"What, to… to him?"

"Now, Tasha, I'm serious."


"Now, Tasha," she warned.

Dear, god, she's serious. Clenching my jaw furiously, I turned angrily back to the smug face of Zander, and just glared at him for a full ten seconds. My mother finally pinched me out of my staring contest, and I inhaled deeply, forcing a smile, "You did great. I'm impressed. Keep up the good work. Good-bye."

I then turned on my heel, all ready to walk away when my mom grabbed my arm and spun me back around. "Darling, he invited you to sit with him," she said, giving me a hard look.

"No mom, I'm tired, I have to pee, and I… I was nice, right? Can't we just go?"

"No, I'm going to go talk to all of the other cast members, you are going to stay here, or so help me god, I don't know what I'm going to do with you."

"Why are you doing this again? Can't I just—"

"No, you are going to stay here, because I'm embarrassed at how rude you're being! Be nicer, or I'll stay longer!"

My jaw was about on the floor by the time she was finished. I was so shocked, that I was still standing there, when she turned around and walked away. That was the first time ever that my mom has been pissed at me. She was actually—legitimately—pissed at me. What alternate universe did I just land in? "Looks like it's just you and me, baby," Zander said the smirk evident in his voice. Quickly spinning around, I leaned over the table and whacked him hard.

"What did you do to her?" I asked angrily.

"What?" he asked alarmed.

"What did you do to my mom?! Why does she like you so much?"

He started laughing at that, and looked down at me pityingly, "Sweetie, everyone loves me."

"Have you met me? I definitely don't love you."

"Well," he said, smiling widely, "You're not everyone are you?" Huffing angrily, I turned to walk away, when his hand landed heavily on my shoulder, "I'm sorry, that was mean. Come on around back, there's food and stuff."

"That's great," I said, not interested.

"Its good food, come on."

I sighed loudly, deciding to give. "Good food?" I asked, my eyes narrowing.

"Yes, free food," he said. I knew that this was the temporary peace treaty, and—against my better judgment—I decided to take it, realizing that I had nothing to lose.

"…Did you hear? They're friends..."

"…Yeah, I know them. He probably screwed her…"

"…Tasha and Zander… yeah, they're suddenly friends..."

Making a peace treaty with Zander was the worst mistake of my life.

I walked into school the Monday after the performance, and he just sidled up to me and we had a conversation. Yes, I said conversation. Not debate or argument but conversation.

Suddenly—honestly, I don't know when it happened—but suddenly we were friends.

He was suddenly… human.

And I was suddenly the hottest piece of gossip this side of Hollywood. Zander, being Zander, was all for the attention, soaking it up like a sponge. I, being me, shied away from the attention, and glared at anyone who said anything behind my back. Really, I didn't get the big deal. We're friends, whoop-de-do.

"Tasha," Corrine called happily, skipping over to me. "Hey girl, I hear you're suddenly friends with the infamous Zander!"

I groaned loudly, "and?"

She smiled widely, "Aw, come on, you really are that surprised that it's gossip?"


"You're arguments, no sorry 'debates'" she quoted, teasing me, "were epic. It used to be just… a thing: Tasha and Zander hate each other; the end. Now, suddenly, you're all buddy-buddy? Hm…"

"We still argue, Corrine, jeez, don't make me sound so soft," I scoffed, throwing my coat into my locker, "We just make peace now."

"Ah," she said smirking, "you… 'Make peace'?"

I blushed deeply at what she was implying, "Corrine Andrea! Hold your tongue!"

She laughed outright, leaning against the locker beside me for support.

"Screw you," I muttered angrily, shoving more into my locker.

"If you insist," Zander smirked, coming up to my other side, mirroring Corrine's stance.

I moaned loudly, "What do you want?"

"Aw, baby didn't miss me?" he cooed, laughing at the face I made at him. "Come on, I came to take you to class."

"Why do you guys keep laughing at me?" I whined, angry that everything I said seemed to be funny, when I most certainly was not trying to be. "And why are you brining me to class? I am perfectly capable of walking on my own, you know."

He rolled his eyes at me, "It's called being nice."

"Oh right, something you're just oh-so versed in, right?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at him.

"Compared to who, you? If so than yes, I'm a pro compared to you."


"What was that? Did you just call me a sweetheart?"

"Keep dreaming, dumbass," I snapped.

"What's with the names?" he asked, smiling widely, "What ever did I do to deserve such endearment?"

"I forgot your real one."

He smiled, "Ouch."

"Yeah, yeah, I wound you, blah, blah, blah, come on, let's go," I sighed, throwing my bag over my shoulder. "By Corrine," I said, waving.

"By sweetie, don't forget to be safe!"

My face flushed bright red, and I immediately turned and flipped her off.

"What did you tell her you had in mind for the two of us as I walked you to class?" Zander asked, making me flush deeper.

"Shut up, I didn't say anything. It seems that since we're 'friends', you must have screwed me, because apparently girls are incapable of being your friends unless they're fuck buddies," I snapped angrily, glaring at a pair of freshman as the stared wide-eyed at us.

"Enjoy the limelight, it doesn't happen all the—"

"Look," I huffed, pushing his arm off my shoulder, "I don't like attention. Got it? I don't like being fawned over, and I don't like being talked about. You may enjoy this to no end, but I don't. Got it?"

"Baby, come on," Zander smirked down at me, "You scared that what they say is going to end up being true?"

My mouth gaped open in shock, "What, I—you—they…n-no!"

Zander chuckled deeply at how flustered he made me, "Really, and that was supposed to convince me?"

"Open your trap again and it'll be the last thing you say all day," I growled angrily, shoving the door to my classroom open and leaving him laughing behind me.

"Corrine," I whined, dropping my tray heavily on the lunch table, "after two weeks, you would think people would be over the fact that we're 'friends'."

"I know babe," she said, not really listening to me.

"But they aren't! I still get a 'wow, they're friends' at least once when I walk down the hallway!"

"I know babe," she said again, staring at her notebook.

"And really, it's stupid that people are still talking about this!"

"I know babe."

I narrowed my eyes at her, wanting a little more sympathy than what I was getting. "And I'm pregnant!"

"I know babe."

"Did I also tell you that I'm getting married next month and you're the bridesmaid?"

"I know babe."

I sighed deeply, "Corrine?"

"I know babe."

I slammed my hand down on her notebook and raised an eyebrow at her when she finally looked up at me.


"I told you I was pregnant and that I'm getting married and all you said was 'I know babe'. If that's not something to be worried over, I don't know what is."

"I kno—pregnant? Who's the father?"

"Jeez, I wasn't serious; I was just trying to see if you were even paying a little attention to me," I said, shifting nervously in my seat.


"So, what's the deal? Why are you so off in la-la land?" I asked, giving her a look that told her I wasn't going to just let this go, she was going to give me an answer; no shit.

"I just… okay," she finally said, turning towards me, looking incredibly nervous, "So you and Zander… you guys are friends right?"

"Um… yes…" I started slowly, confused as to where she was going to take this.

"And you don't like him… romantically?"

I jerked back in shock, definitely not expecting that, "Rom… rom… romantically?"

"Yeah… like… have a crush on? Do you need a definition?" she asked.

"Well no, but… I just… romantically…? Hell no, I mean… no, I mean… I mean we're just… just friends, I mean… I mean he drives me up a wall, we aren't… we aren't… in any way… in any way romantically, um, involved," I stuttered out, my face tinged red with embarrassment. Why, again, were we having this conversation?

"Oh, okay… well I was just wondering if you… you were keeping something from me or something…"

"No, I'm not, don't worry," I said, smiling. It was obvious that she wasn't giving me the whole truth, but I didn't press her, instead choosing to shrug and change the subject.

"Corrine! I brought B and J!"

"Oh honey, I forgot to tell you!" Corrine called, running down the stairs.

"Look I—"

I stopped dead in my tracks, my eyes locked on her. Corrine had a bad case of sex hair and was wearing a guy's shirt and no pants. Awkward much? Yeah, awkward just about sums it up.

"Should I just… I just… um…?" I trailed off; moving towards the door, then towards the kitchen, then back again before stopping, and darting my eyes around the hallway.

"Just give me ten minutes and I'll be down, okay?"

"Um… alright…" I trailed off, meandering into the kitchen to put the ice cream into the freezer. I tried hard not to listen to what was happening upstairs, because I really didn't want to hear Corrine sucking face with some faceless guy. Thanks, but no thanks.

After a good fifteen minutes passed, I went into the living room to quickly turn on the radio, attempting to drown out any noises that may end up come out of her room… god this was discomfiting. For some reason I couldn't sit still, just knowing that sex could potentially be taking place right over my head.

"Oh come on, you've got to be kidding me," Corrine's voice floated down the stairs.

The other person's voice was muffled, but familiar. Great, she was going to date her way through the football team… again.

"Oh I'm sure," she said, her voice sarcastic.

"… seriously… come on…"

"Whatever, just move your ass downstairs, Tasha's waiting downstairs."

I couldn't decide what I was supposed to do. Should I look natural on the couch? Maybe turn on the TV? Grab a book from the bookshelf? Sit at the kitchen counter? File my nails? I ended up plopping down on the couch just as the two of them walked in.

"Corrine I—"

Oh hell no.

This isn't happening right now… I'm going to wake up and this will be a very, very, very bad dream.

"Hey, baby, miss me?" Zander asked, leaning against the doorframe… with no shirt on. Let's just time out for a second. Okay, Zander with no shirt on equals hott. Zander with no shirt on in my best friend's house after obviously being otherwise engaged equals grossness and a bad case of anger.

And suddenly, everything seemed to fall into place.

Last week, when Corrine was all nervous about asking me if Zander and I were secretly dating… she was asking because she wanted to hook up with him. Oh my dear god.

"Hey, honey, sorry, I had Zander over, and I completely forgot to call you." Corrine walked into the kitchen, out of ear shot, making this confrontation that much more unsettling.

A very obvious awkward silence descended upon us as soon as Corrine left. Not being able to take it any more, I finally said, "Uh… hi… I just… ice cream is in the freezer… I just… um… well… bye." I was trying to avoid his eyes at all costs, because I could feel something changing as we stood there: our relationship had just taken a turn for the worse.

"No, Tasha wait," he started, reaching out for me.

"Stop," I said, slapping his hands away, "I've got to… be somewhere."

"Tasha, what the hell," Zander called after me, as I stumbled backwards, before turning and walking briskly towards my car.

Zander and Corrine… Corrine and Zander… no, that didn't work, it didn't make sense. It couldn't make sense. They weren't supposed to be together! I mean I see enough of Zander to last a life time, but now? Now I will actually have to deal with him on an almost regular basis because they're, um, 'dating'.

"Tasha, why are you running away?" Zander asked, easily catching up to me and spinning me around.

"Screw off, Zander, I'm not in the mood," I snapped, glaring at his right shoulder instead of his face.

"Why? What did I do this time? I didn't even say anything to piss you off this time! I just—"

"Just shut up, okay? I don't want to hear it; I've got to go, good-bye."

I shrugged off his arm and all-but-ran to my car. Breathing deeply, I put my hands on the wheel and tried to relax.

Ignoring Corrine was all but impossible. Ignoring Zander was easy. They were now 'officially' a couple. It had been two weeks since that incredibly awkward encounter, and yesterday is when Corrine and Zander finally started their 'exclusive' relationship. Corrine, apparently, was actually trying to stay with one guy for longer than the week that she normally holds guys, because Zander may be the 'real deal'.

Shoot. Me. Now.

"Tasha, there you are!" Corrine called happily, skipping over to me with Zander hot on her heels. "Gosh, I've been looking everywhere for you! I've wanted to tell you first hand that we're dating!" I slowly looked up from the text book I was "reading" in the library.

"Cool," I said, trying to dreg up some enthusiasm, but I'm not exactly sure how well I did.

"Come on, it is cool!"

"Yeah," I agreed, "Sorry for the lack of happiness for you… I um… oh, homework, yeah, homework is stressing me out."

"Oh honey, I'm sorry! Homework is a bitch, I know!"

"Yeah, whatever though, I mean it's got to end eventually right?"

"Right," she said smiling, "that's the way to look at it." Corrine glanced over at Zander, "You can sit down you know, we won't bite… much."

He smirked, "Is that a promise?"


"Corrine," I quickly cut in, not wanting to hear what they were going to say, "Um, w-what are you doing for your biology project?"

"Oh! Thank god you reminded me!"

"What?" I asked nervously as she jumped out of her chair and slowly backed away from our table.

"Sorry baby, I've got to talk to Brittney about our project! You're cool chilling with Tasha, right Zander?"

"Of course," he said, smiling smugly at me.

"Wait! Corrine, I can ask for you, I—"

"Don't worry about it, Tasha; it'll only take ten minutes, tops."

"But I—"

Great; I had made it an entire two weeks not talking to the guy, and then Corrine just abandons me, and now I have no choice but to talk to him. Thanks best friend.

"So, Tasha," he started, turning his chair around, and sat in it backwards; with the back of the chair against his front, "You wouldn't happen to be avoiding me, would you?"

"I'm doing homework, sorry," I said insincerely, plugging my iPod in.

"Oh, no you don't," he said, yanking my ear bud out unceremoniously.

"Um, ouch," I snapped, putting my hand up to my ear.

"Sorry," he said shrugging.

"No you're not, give it back."

"Not until you tell me why you're avoiding me."

"I'm not avoiding you," I sighed, holding my hand out for the ear bud.

"Yes, you are, now tell me," he said, narrowing his eyes at me in a silent challenge.

"Look, I'm not avoiding you, school is just being a bitch, so I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings or whatever, but I'm sure you'll be okay."

"Why are you avoiding me?"

"Are you not listening to me or something?"

"You can probably BS your way out of these situations to anyone else, but I'm not buying it. Now, believe it or not, I want the truth, so tell me why you are avoiding me. Tell me the truth." I clenched my jaw at his speech, angry that he called me out on it.

"Look, I just... well… just one of you is going to get hurt, and so I was just showing that I didn't approve, because you're both complete players, and so it probably won't—"

"Which part of I want the truth didn't you get?" he asked, quoting one of my favorite lines.

"Look, go cry to your girlfriend. Sorry for avoiding you, okay? Great, glad we got that over with."

"No," he patronized, earning a glare from me; "I asked you why you were avoiding me. Excellent, we have the first step down, you admitted to avoiding me, now we just have to get to the part where you—what was that for?" he asked when I slapped his arm, hard.

"Would you shut up? I don't want to hear it."

He smiled faux-gently at me, "Look, if you're jealous, just admit it."

"What?" I squeaked.

"I said—"

"I know what you said," I snapped, grabbing my books, "But you're wrong."

"Come on, admit it!"

"Screw off, Zander." I yelled angrily, marching out of the library with everyone's eyes on me as I left.

"Come on, just admit it." I had avoided him all day, but when the bell rang… well… suffice to say, he found me.

"There's nothing to admit. Would you just drop it?" I snapped angrily. I dodged between the cars of the parking lot, slowly gaining speed as I tried to get away from him.

"No can do, sweetheart. I've got a nose for these things."

"You've got a nose that's about to be broken if you don't drop it."

He actually had the audacity to laugh; god, could he be any more arrogant? Seriously, I am not jealous. Why would I be jealous? I mean I'm friends with the guy—well actually, sort-of friends… oh I don't know, it's complicated—, sure, but I don't have a crush on him or anything! I mean… I mean yeah, he's good-looking or whatever, but… but no, no crush. Absolutely not, thank you very much.

"Don't you have somewhere better to be?" I through over my shoulder; by now I was almost at a run.

He obviously didn't get the hint, because he continued to follow me all the way to my car. "Come on, Tasha, just admit it."

"Which part of 'there's nothing to admit' did you not understand?" I glared. His smirk widened, as if he thought I was joking or something. I went to put my key in the lock, when he stood right in front of me, effectively blocking off my means of escape. "That's my car," I sneered, trying to get around him.

"Oh, this one?" he feigned innocence, "Mhm, it's comfy." He leaned back against the driver's side door, and just looked down at me, that awful smirk on his face.

"Yes, that one," I snapped, "Move your ass."

"No can do. As soon as you admit that you're jealous, I'll move."

"I guess we're going to be standing out here for a long time, because I have nothing to admit, and to think that you are just so… so full of yourself to assume that I would ever… ever be jealous of you, is—quite honestly—astounding. For god's sake, would you just get it through your head that I am not jealous?" I asked, breathing heavily as I stared up at him in defiance.

"I don't believe you."

I threw my hands up in the air in utter frustration. "Of course you don't believe me, because you are so god damned stubborn you aren't going to listen unless it's the answer you want to hear, right?"

"Oh," he said laughing, "I'm the stubborn one?"

"Yes, I did say that."

"Really, this coming from you, who's not admitting that, you've been crushing on me since freshman year?"

I let out a growl and slammed my hands against his chest, "How arrogant can you get? Jesus, you really think that don't you?"

He lifted his hands, gripped my wrists and leaned forward so that our faces were only centimeters apart. "No, Tasha," he murmured, "I don't think that; I know that."

Blinking rapidly, I tried to ignore the butterflies that were doing the conga in my belly. How the hell did he manage to do this to me? I don't need a man, and I certainly don't need a boyfriend. Butterflies leave me alone.

"Right now," he whispered, he eyes boring into mine, "You feel anxious, nervous even. You don't know what's going on because you're Tasha, little-miss independent. Not a care in the world for anyone else because you're so sure that you don't need anyone else. Right now, your heart is racing, it's getting harder to breathe, and your mind can't focus on anything because of how caught up in the moment you are. Right now," he whispered, getting even closer, "You want to kiss me, and you're scared shitless that I," he leaned closer, "May do just that."

"Z-Zander," I stuttered, trying to clear the fog in my brain, "Z-Z-Zander." He was right. Of course he was right. Everything he said about what I was feeling was true, and it scared me even more that he knew what I was feeling. Wait… did that mean he felt it too?

Oh, hell no, who am I kidding? Zander… is getting nervous over me? Puh-lease.

He smirked down at me, as I stuttered out his name again.

"You rang?" he whispered, our foreheads touching.

"Stop," I breathed. I'm pretty sure that my voice didn't come off quite as confident as I was planning, if the smug look on his face had anything to do with it.

"Admit that I'm right," he murmured, his lips next to my ear.

"No," I croaked, "Y-you're wrong-ong."

"You can't even talk right, and you're still trying to push me away?"

I blinked quickly, trying to clear my brain, but it wasn't working. I don't know who said it, because god damnit, it wasn't me, but I heard someone say, "I'm jealous. I'm jealous that you didn't choose me."

When he threw his head back and started laughing… well… he broke the spell that I was under when that happened. "I knew it. I knew you were jealous."

Swallowing quickly, I wouldn't let myself look at him, "Yeah whatever."

Instead of stopping, he laughed even harder at that. I don't know why I didn't try to come up with excuses and try to convince him that it wasn't true, but I didn't. For some reason, I wanted him to know. I mean, he was right. I've been crushing on him for a while. I didn't recognize it as a crush at first, but it definitely was. All of the arguing, the flirting, the sudden shift in conversation when things would actually get serious… it was all there, laid out in front of me, and I was too blind to see it.

"Oh man, this is so good, I knew it."

"Great, you know. You said you'd move when I admitted it, so I admitted it, now you move."

"Just wait, I'll move, just… oh man, wow." He shook his head back and forth like a true asshole and just started at me smirking, "Finally, the entire school is crushing on me."

"Great, now you've got everything you've ever wanted. I'm so glad I fulfilled your life's goal. Now move," I said, holding back tears. There was no way I was crying in front of him.

"Alright, alright, I'll give."

I quickly got in my car before he could change his mind, and rolled down my window just enough for him to hear me yell out, "Just so you know, I hope you're happy. I mean, it takes a certain kind of bastard to laugh at a girl when she admits she likes you."

Quickly pulling into my driveway I ran inside and up the stairs before I could check to see if anyone else was home. I ran into my bed room and pushed my face into my pillow and let out a loud, much muffled scream. "I just did that! Oh shit! The biggest player in the entire freaking school knows I'm crushing on him! Shit! Shit! Shit! What the hell was I thinking!?" By this time I was waving my hands around above my head and pacing a hole in my floor. "Oh god, what's he going to do!? Lord knows I'm never going to hear the end of this. And jeez, now I can't even get sympathy from my god-damned best friend because she's freaking dating the object of my anger!"

The look on his face when I looked in my rearview mirror after I yelled at him was burned into the back of my eyelids. He looked so shocked and… surprised, that I had almost gone off the road when I saw it. "Oh god, oh god, oh god, I just did that!"

Tears of self-pity were threatening to fall. Breathing deeply, I flopped back down on my bed and fell asleep almost instantly.

Three days.

It felt like weeks; months; years, even. Not days.

Corrine finally figured out that I was mad at her. She didn't know why, and there was no way I hell I was telling her, because they were purely selfish reasons, and I knew I was being a bitch about it. Whatever I guess…

But really, she was/is my best friend. Well, for being a best friend she is damn near oblivious. I dropped hints the day after The Incident, as I so fondly referred to it as, but all she would say is "oh, okay babe."

"Miss. Tasha, can you write up the answer to number three for me please?"

Snapping out of my daydream, I slouched to the front of the classroom, acutely aware of all eyes on me. As soon as I got up in the front of the room, my skinny jeans felt too tight, and my green shirt felt way too small. "You're just writing on the board for god's sake, Tasha, it's not like you're about to kill someone," I muttered quietly to myself.

"Now," the teacher said, after I was finished writing, "Can you please explain what you did?"

"Uh…" I started, looking out at the classroom.

I didn't mean to.

It just sort of… happened.

Really, how could I not have? He was sitting right there, in the back. Right against he wall, and don't people normally say, "when public speaking, stare at the back wall" or something? Well I tried to, but he was just… there.

My eyes wouldn't move, and for some reason, his didn't either. We just sort of kept staring at each other, before I felt my face heating up. "I… well I took the-the derivative of the function… then I just plugged it b-back in there, to get the, uh, the slope and then… the point and then… the graph…"

For some reason my eyes wandered to the back of the classroom again, and he was smirking at me; he knew what effect he had on me. Shit.

"Thank you, Tasha," the teacher said, giving me a clear dismissal. I avoided his eyes while walking back to my seat, and sunk down in my chair, trying to get the flush in my cheeks to go away. "For the rest of class…"

I couldn't pay attention. God this was embarrassing. I mean me, I'm freaking over some guy because I'm freaking jealous. I'm hopeless, weak, pathetic, and—"Tasha, you coming?"

"Wh-what?" I asked, glancing around the room to see it completely empty, sans Zander. This was so not going to go well…

"Hey," he started, standing in front of my desk, smiling down at me, "I wanted to talk—"

"I'm busy right now, sorry."

"Busy sitting in an empty classroom staring at the whiteboard?" he asked, raising an accusing eyebrow at me.

"I was just… just thinking about… about stuff."

"Yes, well I know you don't want to talk to me, and I know I kind of have a lot to make up for, because I—"

"Go away, Zander," I sighed, throwing my binder into my bag.

"No wait, okay? I've got to say this."

Clenching my jaw firmly, I tapped my foot impatiently, waiting. "Well?" I finally asked, "Believe it or not I don't have all day."

He swallowed hard, "I… okay… well… I just wanted you to know…"

"Spit it out, Zander."

"I… okay… I'm trying to make you jealous."

"That's what you have to tell me?" I asked, "You already know I am jealous, we went over this three days ago."

"I… no, I mean I'm trying to make you jealous," he said, trying to hint something to me that I was not getting.

"Yup, you just said that twice now."

"Come on, Tasha," he groaned, "I'm trying to make you jealous."

"Zander," I snapped, glaring at him, "You're starting to sound like a broken record."

He threw his hands up in the air, "You're actually going to make me say it, aren't you?"

"Say what?" I cried, getting just as frustrated as he was.

"I like you! Jesus, do you want me to spell it out too? I have for a long ass time now, and you're only just now getting it!"

I gaped at him in shock for a few seconds, before I started laughing.

"Why the hell are you laughing," he growled, glaring at me.

"Come on," I said, shaking my head, "You've got to do better than that."

He drew back in surprise, "Excuse me?"

I jammed my finger against his chest. "One: you've been a huge asshole to me since I first met you; two: you dated my best friend; three: you laughed at me when I told you I was jealous; Four: you dated every other thing wearing a skirt and had two legs. Should I continue, or do you get it?"

"Tasha," he sighed, stepping towards me, "Didn't I already say 'I've been trying to make you jealous'?"

"Yes, but—"

"And I'm dating your best friend, because it was the only way I could get your attention," he said, his voice dropping in pitch.

My breathing had picked up the closer that he got and my brain was processing what he was saying way slower than I normally would. By the time he was right in front of me I finally realized what he had said. "So that makes it better?" I asked, shoving his chest.

"No, that's the truth."

"I'm not saying anything to that," I said, avoiding his eyes.

"What? Why?"

"Why? Because, no matter how pissed or jealous I am of her, she's still my best friend. I'm not going to go behind her back just to… to… say that I… I…"

"…you… you?" he asked, trying to make me say it.

"That… just… nothing," I finally spit out, taking three big steps away from him, my mind clearing with every inch of space I put between us.

"This conversation isn't over, Tasha, don't think you can get away from me that easily," he warned, giving me a look that had me leaning against one of the desks near me, trying to look as discreet as possible.

"Don't hold you breath," I warned, trying to gain back some of my confidence.

"I won't have to," he said, winking at me, and sauntering out the door.

I got home that day from school, still in a bit of a daze. How did he always manage to make me forget about the important things? I had been thinking about how our confrontation would go. I had imagined how I would stand up to him, and bitch at him about laughing right in my face when I told him that I liked him. I imagined that I would do the angry bitch slap and walk away in style like they do in the movies. Well, look how far that went.

"Tasha!" Corrine cried, running at me as soon as I got up to my room. Tissues were everywhere, there was pint of ice cream on the floor and Corrine was wearing her break up clothes: tattered grey sweatpants, a white Pittsburg Pirates shirt, and her hair, it was a mess.

Oh shit. He broke her heart.

I was torn. It was horrible, but true. Part of me was shocked (and happy) that he did it, the other part was pissed he did.

"Honey, what happened?" I asked, as if I didn't know.

"He, he b-broke up with me!" she cried.

"What did he say?" I soothed, sitting her down on the ground against my back wall.

"He said that he was in l-love with s-s-someone else and that—that he didn't want to hurt me by being with me while he was in l-love!"

"He's in love?" I asked, my mouth dropping open in shock.

"I know! Isn't it romantic?" she asked, sighing.

"Wait, why are you crying if you're over it?" I asked accusingly.

"Because he told me who he was in love with!" she said, turning to me, her eyes wide.

"He did, did he?" I asked, shifting uncomfortably, praying it wasn't me, for her sake anyway.

"Yeah, he did," she said, a small smile forming on her face. "I'm so sorry baby, I feel like such an awful friend for dating him! That's why I'm crying! I felt so bad that you guys were in love and I went in and screwed everything up!"

"No, you didn't screw anything up, okay? I'm sorry he broke up with you," I said, giving her a big hug.

"I'm not!" she said, her face surprised. "Why are you?"

"Um… you're eating ice cream, I figured—"

"No, look, not even opened yet. We are going to have a good, old-fashioned girl time and then you are going to get all sexy and go to the party at Haden's house tomorrow night, so Zander can see you and declare his love to you and everything will be amazing."

"Corrine," I started, not sure that that was such a great plan.

"That wasn't an option," she warned, grabbing the remote and flipping through the channels.

"I can't believe I let you talk me into wearing this," I sighed, pulling on my shirt, trying to make it look longer.

"I don't know what's wrong with it," Corrine smiled, "You look hot in it."

Rolling my eyes, I glanced down at myself, "I'm not wearing any pants. These are… tights."

"… mhm…?" she said, obviously not seeing the problem.

"And my shirt barely covers my ass so you can probably see my underwear through the tights.


"And… and you couldn't have picked something normal? Like a skirt or a dress or something? I would have worn those. I like dressing up. This, though… this is dressing down."

"People normally 'dress down' when they're trying to look sexy," Corrine said, smirking at me.

"You're annoying," I mumbled, pushing the front door to the party open and pulling Corrine in behind me.

"Corrine!" A few people called from our right. Needless to say, Corrine was quite a partier, and although all these people were older than the both of us, Corrine was well known. Great, why did I come again?

"Alright, I'll be right back; I'm running to the bathroom, okay? Just stand here, look gorgeous and unapproachable, don't drink what anyone gives you, don't let any guy—other than Zander obviously—hit on you, if you see a guy completely wasted, get out of his way, and if you see Zander, look casual, okay?"

"Oh, is that all?" I asked, already forgetting what she said.

She rolled her eyes, "Just sit down over there," she pointed to one of the café tables out back, "and stay there."

"Yes ma'am," I saluted.

"Oh just go, for god's sake," she snorted, shoving me in the direction of the table.

I tried to keep my eyes only on the table, but for some reason my eyes gravitated to him. I saw him standing with a bunch of guys off to the side, drinking… a bottle of water? When I saw his eyes start to scan the room, I snapped my head back in the direction of the table and tried to look confident as I walked outside.

My hands were sweating, and my breathing was uneven when I got out side. Hopefully he didn't see me.

No, he should see me, I look sexy or whatever, right?

Doubtful… I can pull off pretty, sure, I can pull off cute, yes, but sexy? I don't think so.

"Is someone sitting here?" Zander asked, pointing to the seat across form me.

"Depends on who's asking," I said, shrugging one shoulder.

He smiled, taking the seat.

After a few seconds of silence, I leaned back in my chair, and stretched my legs out to the side of me. Was he looking at me? Should I say something? Where's Corrine? Is he even going to say anything? What will I say back if he does say something to me? Are we going to end up dating? I'm getting ahead of myself…

"I'm surprised to find you at a party, especially dressed like that," Zander finally said. I could feel his eyes on me, but I refused to meet them. I had to keep some semblance of wit.

"What's wrong with what I'm wearing?" I asked, daring him to insult me as I glanced down at my clothes.

"Oh, nothing's wrong with it," he said, "I'm just surprised that a girl like you is wearing clothes like that."

"A girl like me?" I scoffed, "Exactly what does that mean?"

"You're a girl, who doesn't like a lot of attention; with those clothes, sweetheart, you're going to get a hell of a lot of attention."

Rolling my eyes, I said, "Oh."

"So… did Corrine drag you here or something?"

"Nah, I wanted to see what the big fuss was."

"Over parties?"

"More or less," I said. I don't know where this confidence was coming from, but thank god it was there. Why was I even so… well… not confident around him anyway? I mean, suddenly we both admit we like each other and I'm a shy school girl, quaking in my boots. We always used to spar and have verbal battles, but now… god, this is complicated.

"Slow down," he said sarcastically, "I don't want too many details."

"Good thing I'm not giving them then, huh?" I asked, cocking my head to the side and glancing in the house at all the people. A few of them were watching us; that's embarrassing.

"Look," he finally got serious, "I broke up with—"

"She told me," I said, as if I wasn't excited about it, "She told me what you said too."

I heard him swallow and shift in his seat, my eyes still trained on the house so I wouldn't look at him, "She did… huh… well, um, what did she tell you that I said?"

Shrugging again, I finally met his eyes, "She told me, that you told her, that you loved me."

If I wasn't so nervous about he was going to say next, I would have whipped out my camera to take pictures just so that I could remind myself that it was possible. Zander just blushed.

"Oh," he said, "um… so?"

He lifted his gaze from the very interesting table, and met my gaze head on, his eyes simmering. "So, what?"

"Tasha," he sighed, rolling his eyes, "What do you have to say?"

"I don't know," I said, leaning forward, my forearms on the table. "Is it true?"

After a second of deliberation, he said, "Yes, it is true. I'm in love with you, now what do you have to say?"

"What do I have to say?" I asked back, leaning back in my chair deciding on a course of action. "I think that you have some explaining to do."

"Explaining? Do you need me to spell out what love means or something?"

I raised an eyebrow at his tone, "No, you need to explain why you laughed at me."

"Tasha," he said, exasperated, "I figured that would be obvious."

"Ah," I said, crossing my arms over my chest and stood up, "Yes, I see where it would be hilarious if I admitted I liked you. Excellent, thanks for clearing that up."

"What? No," he said quickly, grabbing my arm to stop me from leaving, "Sit down, please."

I hesitated for a second before complying.

"God, you know I've never had to actually have one of these conversations before? I never thought I would ever have the… pleasure of completely spilling my heart out to a girl. I especially didn't think I would be in a situation where I was being refused."

"Rejection builds character," I said insincerely.

He swallowed hard, "I was scared, okay? I mean the girl of my dreams just admitted that she likes me and… and I didn't know what to do. I know I screwed up, I know I've got a crap load of shit that I need to make up for, I know that. I just… I don't know… I was an asshole; you have every right to be pissed at me. At first I didn't know if you were just saying that, you know, to make me move or whatever. Then when you said what you said about me being a bastard… well I kind of realized what you were actually admitting and… I've been trying to get you to talk to me ever since."

I bit the inside of my cheek. This guy could break me in seconds given the chance. There is no doubt in my mind that as soon as something better comes along he'll drop me like last week's shoes. There is, of course, the off chance that he's being serious right now.

I've been crushing on him for a while, and it's not likely to go away any time soon.

"Got it," I said, shrugging.

"That's all?" he asked, his voice carefully controlled.

"That's all," I said, crossing my arms over my chest as I leaned away from him, staring at him intently.

"Are you kidding?"

"Does it look like it?"

His jaw clenched in anger and rejection. "Tasha, I—"

"Hold on," I said, holding up my finger as I pulled out my cell phone.

*eye roll* give him a break, sweetie, he really does love you…

3 Corrine

I sighed deeply, staring at my phone for a few seconds. There is a very likely possibility that he will hurt me…

Looking up at him I scrutinized him, trying to fish out the truth. Deciding to hell with it, I leaned forward so my palms were flat on the table, I started at him with as much sincerity as I could muster, "If you hurt me, I will kick your ass."

A slow smile formed on his face, "You will, will you?"

"Damn straight," I said, smiling back hesitantly.

"Get your ass over here, before I make you come over here," he said, holding his arms out for me.

I gave him a look.

Laughing, he said, "Please?"

"Okay," I sighed, as if it were a huge inconvenience, "I guess I could."

Smirking at me, he pulled me tight against him, and hugged me tightly. "You know I'm not going to hurt you, right?" he whispered, his arms locked around my waist. "Who convinced you?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Who texted you and made you change your mind?"

I grinned, "Corrine."

"Remind me to thank her."

"Say it again," I asked into his neck.

"I love you."

A huge smile broke across my face as I hugged him tighter, "Then yes, I know." Leaning back slightly, I big my lip before clearing my throat nervously, "Um… yeah, you—I—you—I love you too, you know."

He grinned down at me, "You better."

Author's Note:

Well, for some reason I can't write stories without jealousy being a prime theme! I tried to mix it up a little so that my stories aren't incredibly repetitive. Please, please tell me if they are!