Shortly after three, when the last classes ended, Cameron was in the parking lot on the north side of campus walking to his car when he saw Jimmy heading towards him. They met before Cameron could get to his vehicle at the west end of the lot, but Jimmy was quick to make this setback worthwhile. "Listen, man, I didn't want to say anything in front of Claire," he said, "but I'm interested in helping you out."

"Might I ask why?"

"As if you don't already know."

"Great," Cameron said. "Glad at least someone agrees with me."

"I'm sure most of the rest of us already do," Jimmy said. "They're just too scared of what might happen to them if they get caught."

"If?" Cameron said with a laugh. "Jimmy, we're talking about everyone at school seeing our faces as we rip Samara a new one! Rowan was right, you know, we probably will get expelled, and there is no easy way we'll get around that."

Now it was Jimmy's turn to laugh, and he did so louder than his peripheral friend. "Sure there is. We just have to find another way to fuck Samara," he said with a slight thrust forward and a grin. "Catch my drift?"

"Yeah," Cameron said. "Man, if you're just looking for a way to bone my ex, then I don't want you here, all right?"

"I'm not going to deny that she looks like a sweet ride," Jimmy replied, his eyes looking elsewhere as he likely imagined her under him, "but trust me, I'm with you all the way on this, Cameron."

"Good. So, what do you think we should do to her?"

"I think I've got a couple of ideas…."

Friday, December 7, 2007

"Why, hello, Your Majesty," a voice said from behind Jack as he was purchasing his pizza from the lunch cart. He turned around to see Samara standing there—though given what he'd been referred to as, it couldn't have been anyone else—and she exited the line to follow him.

"Hi, Samara," Jack said, slightly annoyed by her general presence and, to a lesser extent, by the unnecessary placement she'd taken in the line in order to tail him. "Remind me again how I came to earn that nickname from you?"

"Jack Dawson, Titanic, king of the world." She then pointed at him and added, "Resemblance."

"Okay," Jack said. He took a bite of the pizza and then asked, "What do you want?"

"Ozzie told me what you did," she said, and her face turned to a smile as she continued, "and now I want you."

Jack swallowed the morsel of food in his mouth as he glanced through the crowds of students towards Holly, Claire, Rusty, Kent, Jimmy and Tom, who were all sitting together eating their respective lunches in the north-central portion of the quad. "What did she tell you I did?"

"You know what you did," she smirked, and then she began to kneel before him. "And for that, I'm willing to get down on my knees to honor you," she said with a bow.

Naturally, several students in the area surrounding them took notice and made curious glances at Jack and at each other.

"Please get up," an embarrassed Jack said, quickly taking another bite of pizza as she arose. The delicious mix of hot cheese and pepperoni was indeed awesome, but following Samara's model and worshipping it was not high on Jack's to-do list. "What did I do?"

"You refused to help Cameron get back at me," she said.

"Oh, that. Well, of course I did, Samara, he's insane!"

"Right," Samara nodded. "Because who would want to offend a perfect specimen such as this?" she asked as she pointed at herself, specifically her chest and down her belly in a fully clothed yet sensual tease. "You did good, and you deserve to be rewarded."

Jack went along with her calling attention to her curvature for a moment, but then immediately changed gears. "Weren't you hitting on Josh just the other day?"

"He's taken," she explained, "and besides, he wouldn't have any of this. The fool. But you're single, and I'm sure you wouldn't turn me down, especially after a deed as noble as—"

"Uh, yeah, I would."

"What?" she gasped.

"Samara, are you just going to repeat this pattern? Jumping from one guy to the next until you find this supposed perfect man? Not only are you going to fail, since such a thing doesn't exist, you're also going to lose the trust of every guy you even try to hook up with."

"I thought you cared about me," she snapped.

"I do," Jack said. "You're not what I'd call a friend, exactly, but I still want to see you happy."

"Then sleep with me," Samara said with a shrug.

"That'd be more of a temporary happiness."

"And stay with me."

"That'd be dependant on how strong our feelings are for each other." He paused, took another bite of his pizza slice, and then, with his own shrug, added, "Suffice to say, Samara, that probably isn't very much."

"So that's it then?" She grumbled and looked away with a growing bitterness. "There's nothing between us?"

"Not now, not ever." Jack sighed and tried to reassure her. "But like I said, I still want to see you happy."

"I'll be happy when I have that bitch's head on a stick."

"I sincerely hope you're talking figuratively here."

"You know," Samara grinned as she returned her gaze to Jack, "she acts all sweet and innocent, and looks the part, too, but inside that little brain of hers," she said as she pointed to her temple, "she's a devious little devil. She gets it from her mother, no doubt." When Jack's bewildered facial expressions began to clue Samara in that he had no idea who the hell she was talking about, she finally growled a name: "Ozzie."

"This isn't Holly's fault!" Jack said. "It's mine for turning you down and yours for interpreting things that way, no one else's."

"The virgin must be sacrificed," Samara continued without missing a beat, and she then shoulder-bumped Jack (and made him drop his pizza, the horror) on her way towards her half-Australian classmate.

For a minute or so, Jack followed Samara en route, berating her partly for ruining his lunch but mostly for acting crazy over her break-up with Cameron. Being Samara, none of the complaints even registered on her radar, instead becoming gas on the flames. When she'd reached her destination, the gang looked at her with the expected annoyance, but none of them were prepared for what was coming.

"How's it going?" Holly asked casually.

"You set me up," Samara said, her finger pointed down at Holly. She briefly pointed it back at Jack to add that, "You knew he would turn me down! You knew it!"

"Dude, why?" Rusty asked sheepishly.

"Take a guess," Jack replied.

"I didn't know what would happen!" Holly said, retreating backwards into Kent's arms. "I just thought you should know what Jack did for you, that's all!"

"No, you didn't," Samara shook her head. Circling the group, she began, "You told me because you knew hearing about the good in him would make me seek happiness in his arms, and that when I tried to do so he would turn me down like the goody two-shoes he as. But here's the thing, Oz: while His Majesty's shoes are the real thing, yours are laced with lies."


"You're a whore."

"Now, wait just a minute…" Kent said, arising from behind Holly.

"Hey, you called her one once, Bruce, you just didn't know how right you were."

"Holly is not a—"

"It's in her blood."

"My Dad said the exact same thing about her at Thanksgiving, Samara, and don't you think that just because you're not as evil as he is that I'm going to put up with the same shit from you."

"Oh, would you just fuck him already?!" Samara bemoaned Holly.

"Samara, don't take the fact that you can't get a man out on Holly," Jimmy said as he grabbed Samara's shoulder and pulled her back. "It's your fault you treated Cameron like shit, and it's your fault Josh and Jack want nothing to do with you. If anyone's the whore here, it's you; you said so yourself when you mentioned you wanted to be the best at sex. There's a fine line between being reasonable and being ridiculous, and you crossed it."

Samara slapped Jimmy on his right cheek with a powerful swing of her arm. He cursed loudly and then Claire stepped up to say something.

"What the hell's wrong with you?" she said. "Don't you know how insane you're acting?"

"I'm insane?" Samara said.

"Among other things, yeah, you are," Claire answered, flinching when Samara looked ready to slap again. "Let's review some history, shall we?"

"Let's not."

"A year and a half ago, your older sister dies," Claire began, "which would be fucked-up enough if it weren't for the fact that you were on the elevator that did her in." Samara glared at Claire for having the gumption to even mention Hannah. "So you cope by making an enemy out of me, for no reason at all. That's strike one. Then, when you get a boyfriend, you use him for little more than sex to fulfill your desires…of besting me at everything. That's strike two. Finally, you whore yourself out to any man who seems nice enough to be Prince Charming, and when that doesn't work out, you attack my best friend as if it was ever her fault you were such an unlikable bitch. Three strikes, bucko, you are out."

"And yet, I'm the one everyone seems to think is self-centered," Samara laughed.

"But you are!" Rusty said.

"Why don't you just leave us the hell alone?" Kent said. "All you ever do is throw yourself in as though these people are your friends! We're not, Samara!"

"Maybe we could've been, once…." Holly said quietly. "But nowadays…."

"Sticks and stones," Samara said. "You'll all miss me when I'm gone."

"Samara, we want the best for you," Jack repeated his message to her from earlier. "Everyone does. But don't you realize that you're going about getting it in all the wrong ways?"

"Methods to madness," Samara replied in another distilled stock phrase.

"Or maybe you mean methods of madness," Tom said. "Can I make a suggestion, Samara? Take some time off. Cool down. Get your head straight. Because you're obviously stressed, and not just from the break-up with Cameron."

"Aren't you the guy whose mom was killed by a stalker?" Samara said, a bit of back story that had been withheld from disclosure until this ill-timed moment. She looked to the others, excluding Kent, who already knew, and remarked, "Tell me, who here feels safe around the child of a murdered stalker victim?"

"How the hell did you find out about—" Tom began to ask, until he was cut off.

"That's in the past," Jimmy said to Samara, "just like Hannah. Here's the difference: Tom's gotten over his loss. You haven't." He glanced back at Tom with a look that seemed to finally accept him into the group. "Now are you going to leave us alone, or what?"

Samara nodded, though her face suggested otherwise. "Fine. I'll go." As she began to walk backwards and do so, she said, "But I'm never wrong when I give my little speeches. I guess we'll just have to see how the rest of you do." She smiled one last time, pain not deeply hidden underneath it, and then left without saying another word.

"Boy," Kent said, "if it weren't for all the holiday cheer in the air, I'd be very worried about what's going to happen next."

"Doesn't the Christmas season have one of the highest suicide rates, though?" Rusty replied.