I may not be a big reader, but even I've read enough crappy young adult books to know that I should be feeling sparks and seeing stars and all that shit right now, but I'm not. It's a nice kiss, I guess, especially compared to my last one (Krista Ramirez assaulted me after our last soccer game last season to "console me for the loss"), but my world keeps turning. Okay, I might get a bit dizzy, and my steadily turning world might get a bit smaller and more specialized—and by "a bit smaller," I mean "down to six feet, one inch high, about 185 pounds, a little bit broader than me, but not by much"—but really, it's not that big a deal.

Besides, it's only a few seconds—a few completely non-mind blowing seconds during which I'm not at all afraid of fainting like a fucking pansy—before Jordan shoves me away, wiping his mouth and totally ignoring my wince as I jar my ankle falling back. He definitely noticed it, though, I could tell.

"Dude, what the hell?" He has a weird tone in his voice, one I've only ever heard from him twice. Once after the first time he saw his mom after she left—he was twelve—and once after some opposing player fouled me and I got a concussion. I'm not sure what it is.

"Nothing." That was a lie. I totally know what it is.

"Like fuck! You just fucking kissed me, why the fuck would you even fucking consider that?" It's fury. Jordan's a lot more even tempered than most people think, but he's my best friend, I know him. He's only ever been this pissed twice in his life. Or three times now. But…

"I thought you knew." My voice is pathetically small. I did, right? I thought I thought he knew.

"Knew what? That you want me? That you're actually into it when I touch you, that you probably fucking jack off to the thought? That I've been naked in front of you way too often? That you're a freak?" I say his name. He ignores me. He may not have heard. He must not have heard. I can't get my voice very loud. "How the hell would I have known that, Sa—" he swallows, "fag?"

He doesn't understand. He doesn't know that that's not what I am, that I'm still just Sam. I want to tell him, but he keeps talking.

"Why the fuck would I have come near you if I knew?" He's grabbing his stuff. Why is he grabbing his stuff?

"J, wait."

I go to grab his arm, but he jerks it away. "Stay the fuck away." He still didn't hear me. I thought I was louder that time. He still didn't hear me.

I'm lost in thought, but I still notice when he leaves.


The next morning, I wait for Jordan. I never wait for him; he waits for me. That's how it works. That's how it's supposed to work.

I beg a ride from my mom.

She drops me off a bit from school, so people don't see.

I carry my own books.

I walk in, late as usual. Even the buses are already here. Alyssa doesn't say hi to me, but she's probably waiting by her first period. Sammy isn't around, but she's usually around for Jordan, not me.

I don't see Jordan.

I can't think of an excuse for that.

This isn't to say I'm being ignored, though. People are definitely noticing me. I'm not being ignored, I'm just not being talked to. Not something I'm really used to.

I'm not used to being tripped either, but hey, it was probably an accident, Ryan Krum has freakishly long legs. For a sophomore who hadn't finished puberty and hit his growth spurt yet and is about 5'3".

No one helps me up.

(It definitely wasn't an accident.)


It's a cliché in teen movies to have the popular kid fall from grace and realize that none of his so-called "friends" really cared about him after all. This is not that cliché. For one thing, I was never all that popular. For another, this is really no big. My school's not intolerant, just surprised. Third, I haven't really lost any friends. I haven't seen them yet. I've only seen, like, people. Acquaintances or whatever. And it's not like anyone's really been an asshole. They just whisper and smirk and don't talk to me. No big.

They all seem to know. I guess I'm fairly—was fairly? No, am fairly—popular after all; word's been traveling fast.

The character in that teen movie would probably fall in love with some geeky, but startlingly beautiful chick he'd been an ass to before. Problem is, I try to be decent to everyone, so who would I fall for?

In third grade, I brought in cards on Valentine's Day for everyone in my class except for Ursula Kent, because she smelled. She still holds a grudge for that. But she's cool now, and she doesn't wear her hair in a ponytail, so she's out.

She and her friends were the ones laughing when I opened my locker after second period and found a box of extra small condoms and a note saying, "Don't spread your AIDS." The lockers at our school are crap, they really don't lock at all. And I've heard that all condom sizes are pretty much the same.

I guess I've been an ass to Greg Matthews, but that's because he's annoying as fuck, so he's out as well.

Fuck. Even teen movie me is alone.

I wish I had a class with Jordan.


I'm actually really looking forward to fifth period History, for once. I haven't seen Alyssa all day. She's a weird girl, doesn't really follow the crowd. I'm sure she'll treat me the same.

She always comes in just before the bell. The class she has fourth must be far away, I've never asked. I think I'll ask today.

She walks into the room an instant before the bell and everything's normal. Her eyes slide right over my seat as she goes to sit down.

Music. She has music fourth. I see some sheet music in her bag.

I don't ask. We don't speak all period.


You know, it's funny, but when lunch comes, I don't want to talk to Jordan. I've been wishing I saw him all day, but I'm…yeah. Probably still psyched out from History, that's all. Alyssa's probably PMSing or something. It's no big.

Am I fooling you? I don't think I'm even fooling myself anymore.

Jordan's my best friend, though. He's been my best friend for an obnoxiously long time. I just need to talk to him.

I see him with a few of our friends from the team. I start to walk over, but stop. I just…want to prepare myself. That's all.

He's smirking.

They're talking about me.

I'm being paranoid.

They walk past me. If Tim Dalton, right fullback, hadn't knocked me back with his shoulder, I'd have thought they didn't notice me.

I wasn't being paranoid.

I don't have anywhere to go.

I sit at an empty table. I can't go anywhere else. They're all talking about me. I'm not even being some ego guy, they really are all talking about me. Not much happens here.

Greg Matthews comes to sit down at my empty table. I guess this must be where he sits by himself. I guess I'm like him now. Even though I'm totally not. But still.

"Why are you here?" His voice is pretty monotonous, but I have the feeling he's not using a friendly tone. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's pissed. Which would upset me, but I'm not going to be here for long. I just need to go through a bit, let this all blow over, and it'll be fine. I can just go back to my group. But I do need to stay here for now. With him.

I don't say anything. I don't think I can. I just look at him.

He sighs. "Whatever. Just don't talk to me." I guess he heard me.

They're all talking about us now. It'd be better if they weren't talking about us, if I wasn't associated with him, but there's not much I can do now.

They're probably not even talking about us. I'm being paranoid again.

I'm still not being paranoid.

I'm glad my ankle's fucked up and I don't have to go to practice after school.

I'll talk to Jordan later. When he's calmed down.


A/N: So, I was about to officially declare myself on hiatus, but last night, I couldn't sleep, so I wrote this entire chapter. It was 2:30 in the morning. Yeah. My inspiration came back. Yay.

Plot! Oh my lord, is there plot in this chapter? I do believe there is plot!

Thanks Vii Zee, and everybody else. You guys are fabulous.