RandomStatisticsoftheDay: In the last chapter, the letter A was 80 times more frequent than the letter Q. The letter E was 119 times more frequent. Surprisingly, the vowel O was more frequent than the vowel A (usually that doesn't happen).

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Knockity, knock, knock, knock.

I stand at the door of Ms. Stele's English class and knock. Through the narrow slot of prison glass I watch as my favorite teacher shoots me a welcoming grin, and she drifts wispily over to let me in. Jesus, every time I see her I swear she looks just like Diane Keaton. Except not as fashionable, and I bet her boobs are saggier than Diane's were in Something'sGottaGive.

As a side note, if I weren't such a manly, masculine stud muffin, I'd say that thinking such a thing would make me instantly gay. But since I'm already gay and also pretty macho (I'm not exaggerating at all), I think I'm kind of immune to further gayification...

In any case, Ms. Saggy Keaton looks positively tickled that I've finally turned up, but returns to her desk anyhow and pretends to jot something down about my tardiness to keep up appearances. Isabel, on the other hand (my best non-Daniel friend), just glares at me; she's sitting in the seat Daniel usually sits in, the one behind mine. And today she's got her boots resting on my chair.

I walk to my desk and shrug my shoulders sheepishly at her, as if her mean, hazel-eyed scowl demands an explanation for my lateness. I wait a bit for her to move her feet so I can sit down, but she does not budge.

It hits me that she doesn't have any reason to be so bitchy, so instead of walking away like an idiot to find some other seat with the people I don't know, I make to plop down on my chair, shiny black boots or none.

She yanks them away just in time, before muttering angrily something like "Eresunweón." Or something like that. I think that means, "You're an asshole," but I don't know Chilean slang very well. Did I mention she's Chilean? Because yeah, she's Chilean. Once upon a time, she was an exchange student, but then her filthy rich dad decided to move here to middle-of-nowhere Maine because apparently he got bored of Chile, or whatever. And so now here she sits in all my classes, cursing at me on a day-to-day basis. She's also maybe a lesbian, and thus potentially one of my ilk, and I always end up in love with the girls she's probably fooling around with, so maybe she's okay...

I try to make nice with her by being playful, so I stick my tongue out at her childishly. She rolls her eyes likeabitch so I decide to be mad at her because she's mad at me.

Eventually, though, she realizes how overly nasty she's being, and soon the irritating buzzing of a conciliatory text starts up in my pants pocket, but I ignore it and instead pretend to listen to what Ms. Stele has to say about the lives and times of the Brontë sisters.

… And considering that it feels I've lived a rich, full life, grown old and died at least five times in the last ten minutes, it's not going well. Don't get me wrong; I love Ms. Stele to death, as a girly girl might say, but my fucking God does she like to ramble. On and on andonshe goes.

Naturally, I decide I can't hold up any more against this two-pronged assault on my senses, and I submit to Isabel's nervous texting so my ears can effectively tune out Ms. Stele's incessant yammering. My phone continues to buzz as I pull it sneakily out of my pants, and I make sure to shoot Isabel a dirty look before reading her several unread texts.

"Sorry," she's written a bunch of times, each one with more Rs than the last.

"What do you want?" I reply, playing hard to get. A few seconds later I hear Isabel's phone's stupid little ringtone, and I flinch. Bitch forgot to silence her phone. Ms. Stele kind of freezes like a deer in the headlights and stops talking for a moment, but I guess she decides she doesn't want to bother making a fuss about it, so she just makes an artificial little coughing noise and starts back up with her ceaseless monologue.

"Sorry," she types again, presumably for having risked getting us in trouble with the teacher.

I pull a bitch move and text back with a "k."

"Stop being a bitch," she says.

"NO U." She ignores that.

"Where the fuck were you for like the first half hour of class?"

"The bathroom."

"The whole time? Ew. Are you like sick or something?"

"No. I was spying."

"On who?"

I decide that's it going to take too long to type out a description of everything that went down in Biology, so I take out a sheet of paper and start writing down all the important stuff. A minute later, I finish writing down everything I felt need saying—all about Ms. Patterson humiliating me and everybody laughing at me and yeah. Theatrically I crumble up the piece of paper into the tiniest ball I can manage, and then chuck it backwards in Isabel's direction. She takes a really long time to read my note, so once more I get bored and resolve to start doodling again. This time, though, I'm drawing a picture of Daniel throwing a book at Ms. Patterson for calling me names.

Finally, she responds. "You still haven't told me why were you spying on Ms. Patterson..."

"I wasn't. I was waiting for her to be done with Danya so I could give try to make him feel better."

"A hug and a kiss?"

I groan, realizing I've just reopened a big ol' can of worms with Isabel. Long story short, unlike my mom or the school guidance counselor, she's the only one I don't lie to about my life, so she knows everything there really is to know about my hopeless unrequited love for Daniel. Needless to say, she likes to tease me endlessly about it, so every now and again she makes me "update" her with how much (or rather, how little) our relationship's progressed.

I pull out my phone again. "No. I lied. Forget it," I write. She doesn't buy it.

"How'd he react?"

I admit, I'm confused by her question. "What do you mean? It's not like I made out with him or anything. He might not have even realized that I kissed him..."

"You kissed him!"

Fuck, she's tricked me into admitting it... "Shut up," I type, angrily.

"What kind of kiss was it?"

"I dunno. A regular kind of kiss? I kissed his... like... his shoulder or something."

Isabel snorts loudly at the awkward places I choose to kiss people, prompting Ms. Stele to look up again, this time with that sad, offended sort of frown, and instantly I feel bad. "Zach, Isabel," she says, trying to sound authoritarian, "I'd like you two to stay after school for a few minutes, understand?" Isabel and I nod; Ms. Stele acknowledges walks over to collect our phones and, to my horror, the note I'd written Isabel, and returns to the front of the class. I stare up at the whiteboard, eyes unfocused, as she stands in silence, reading my note. Eventually she walks over to the recycling bin and tears up the note into itty bitty pieces before throwing away the remaining scraps.

Another ten uncomfortable minutes or so go by before finally the bell rings, signaling the end of school and the beginning of another likely uneventful weekend. Everybody files quickly out of the classroom, except for Isabel and I. Once everybody has left, Ms. Stele goes to sit down at behind her desk and presumably reads through our texts. Then she beckons us forward.

"You can have your phones back," she says. We make awkward faces at each other in silence as we accept them from our hands, wondering what kinds of things she might have picked up from our texts. I make sure to delete my texts regularly, but I dunno about Isabel...

She holds up her forehead with her hands for a few moments before at last, she sighs. "Why do you have to do this kind of thing during my class?" she begins, "Don't you spend enough time outside of school together to discuss this sort of problem?" She talks quietly, as if she's pleading with us rather than admonishing us, and it makes me feel super awful.

"I'm sorry," I mutter lamely.

"Yes, me too," says Isabel.

Ms. Stele nods once, acknowledging our apologies. I guess she decides she doesn't have anything more to say about our offences. "Well, I guess I'm not going to punish you two today, but please don't text any more in my class. It makes me feel like you just don't care."

"Jesus," I think, feeling terrible. But it only gets worse.

"Zach," she says, addressing me, "Now, how long would you say this thing between you and Daniel has been going on?" I love Ms. Stele as a teacher, but it's so awkward when a teacher decides she wants to get into her students' personal lives.

"Uh, I dunno," I say stupidly.

"Well, I for one have been noticing something brewing between you for a quite a while." All of the sudden, she smiles mischievously, and I know without looking that Isabel's face is suddenly brightened.

"I know, right?" says Isabel, excitedly. She smiles at her.

"Zach?" I gulp. "Are you really inlove with Daniel? Because to me it seems that he's just as infatuated with you as you are with him. You may not have noticed because you sit in front of him, but he stares at you with that look in his eyes all the time. He's so preoccupied with the back of your head, I wonder how he's not completely failing my class!"

She and Isabel seemingly share a laugh at my expense, and I blush.

"But seriously," she continues, still smiling, "why is it that you two haven't become an item? I daresay I can imagine you're practically inseparable outside of school..." This is true. "... And your attraction for each other is obviously overwhelming."

I stare down at the officy kind of objects that sit on Ms. Stele's desk, doing my best to avoid making eye contact with her.

"I guess," I say, "I guess I just don't want to ruin things with him. He's too important to me; it's because of his dad I don't say anything, really..." I start rattling off incoherent reasons why I shouldn't to tell Daniel, and Isabel makes that throaty noise that sounds like "ugh."

Ms. Stele shakes her head, "Zach, none of that stuff matters any more. Wake up! High school is almost over for you guys! You're seniors! If you end up going to different colleges because you were too scared to tell each other that it meant something for you to be together, how are you going to feel then? Every minute that goes by without you saying anything to him just brings you precariously closer to losing him for good."

Ouch. Just as she's finished talking, my phone buzzes again, and it sort of startles her because she's old lady. She picks it up.

"Uh, it's Daniel," she says, frowning. "It seems he's been suspended." It buzzes again as she's holding my phone in her hands. "... And, he's wondering where you are."

"Oh. Uh... he's probably waiting for me by my car."

"Well, then, I guess I won't keep you. But I'm pleading with you, Zach. In my opinion, you need to find the time soon to tell him how you feel. Please."

She gives me a look of exasperation, and I make to say something, but Isabel intercepts. "I have an idea!" she says gleefully. "My dad is going out of town for some neurology conference or something this weekend, so we can all have a sleepover at my house! That'll give Zach the perfect opportunity to fess up! And he's a chicken so he probably couldn't do it on his own, so I'll be there and I'll invite Eliza, and we'll make him do it! It's soo perfect!"

Isabel's beaming with what she considers to be a genius plan to get Daniel and me together. Stupidly, Isabel's father apparently hasn't (knowingly) let her have sleepovers with boys ever since puberty struck, so I guess the weekend he'll be gone iis one of the only weekends that will work for this kind of thing... In any case, Ms. Stele nods her head in agreement with Isabel's terrible plan, so I guess that means my fate is sealed.

"Great idea!" Ms. Stele says happily. "It sounds perfect to me." She gets up suddenly at starts putting papers in her bag, apparently in preparation to leave.

"Well, I've got a date for tonight," she says, still smiling, "so I think I ought to leave early to get ready. So, I'll see you two on Monday, then?" We nod as we get our things, and she shoes us out of the door as she turns off the lights.

"Let me know how things go!" she says cheerfully, already walking down the hall towards the parking lot. And then she's gone.

I groan, but Isabel's already on the phone with Eliza, who I think is either her girlfriend or someone who'll be here girlfriend very soon; I ask Isabel sometimes what her relationship is with Eliza, but she just looks at me like I'm stupid and tells me to stop asking stupid questions.

What a hypocrite... Anyways...

"She's coming!" Isabel shouts cheerfully. "This is going to be hella fun!" For some reason I rather doubt that's the case, but I don't have much time to bitch about it as she's already tugging me out the door and into the parking lot.

I'm trying to remember where I parked, but before I realize it, my eyes have locked onto Daniel, and by extension, my car. We catch his eye and his face brightens; he's waving at us adorably and I realize I can't resist. Soon enough, I'm sprinting and I don't stop until I leap into his arms.

The people who still haven't left are staring, but I realize that since I'm with Daniel, I really don't give a fuck. He wraps his arms around my waist to keep me from slipping down, and I ruffle his chocolate brown hair playfully.

"I can't believe you went and got yourself suspended, doofus," I say, laughing. He's laughing too, into my chest, and it feels nice...

"Yeah?" he says, still laughing, "Well if you didn't giggle like a coy little schoolgirl, I wouldn't have had to defend you, and Ms. Patterson wouldn't be on my ass for calling her a bitch." I twist his nipple in retaliation for the insult.

"Ow!" he cries, almost dropping me on my ass.

"That's what you get, bitch."

By now, Isabel's caught up with us; I look at her and I realize that she's smirking at our displays of affection, but I don't care about that either.

"Hey, Daniel," she says, suavely.

"Yeah?" he answers, poking his head out from under one of my arms.

"Zach and I decided that we're gonna have a sleepover at my house. My dad's out of town for the weekend, so we can get boozed up and swim in the pool. It'll be fun!"

He pulls back his head and looks up at me, and I sigh and nod, acknowledging what Isabel says as truth.

"Well, okay..." he says, finally. "But I gotta go home and get some stuff." I groan.

"But Dannykins," I whine, "I don't wanna hafta drive alltheway to your house. You live like twenty miles away from here. Let's just go to my house, and... you can take some of my stuff? It's not like I don't have any bathing suits and pajamas you can borrow."

He laughs. "Fine, I don't wanna go home anyway. But can we go now? I don't wanna be here any more."

And so, we three pile into my crappy Corolla and drive away...


Thanks to Jessica for reviewing the last chapter!