A/N: Hey, people of FictionPress! I haven't posted anything on here in a very long while, meaning the other things that are on here I now believe to be somewhat under par, and I thought that maybe I should post something I actually liked. I wrote this a little while ago, and since it's not like I can really do much else with it, I figured, why not post it? I've never gotten very many reviews on FP, but maybe the third time really is the charm? This is a different style from the other things I've posted, so perhaps it will attract more readers.
I slammed my fist against the hotel room's door again, though I knew by now that the effort was futile.
"Damn it, guys!" I yelled. "Just open the door!"
All I heard from the other side was snickering, and a few whispers that I couldn't quite catch.
"If you don't let us out," I said threateningly, "I swear I'll blow both of your heads off with a grenade launcher. I'm serious."
I heard a small chuckle behind me, and I turned to look at the room's only other occupant. Felix Kink was standing by the window, his hands in his pockets. He was smiling slightly, and with the mood I was currently in, that pissed me off.
"What?" I demanded hotly. "Is something about this amusing you?"
He just continued to grin that little grin of his, and said, "They don't call her Blaze for nothing."
I was in no mood for comments about my last name, which believe me, I got a lot. With my temper, it was a running joke among my family, friends, classmates... Well, pretty much the whole town.
"That's not an answer."
"I know." He removed his hands from his pockets and walked toward me. "What I was laughing at was the fact that, one, you're most definitely not serious about the threat you made, and two..." He stopped a few feet away from me and paused for a moment before continuing. "You can't actually blow someone's head off with a grenade launcher. It'd be the grenade doing the actual blowing off of their head."
I stared at him incredulously. "Like I really care!"
"Well, you two have fun," came Jenna's voice from the other side of the door. "We'll come back in let you out in, oh... Maybe twenty-four hours or so. Bye!"
I resumed my pounding of the door. "Don't you dare leave us in here! Jenna!"
I heard a maniacal laugh that sounded like it came from Brittney, and then the sound of receding footsteps. I hit the door one last time before turning around and flinging myself face-first onto one of the room's two queen-sized beds.
"Argh!" I screamed into the bedspread. It turned out that the blankets did much less to muffle the sound than a good pillow would have, and I sat up with my ears ringing. "Why would they do this to us?"
Felix shrugged. "Maybe it's Practical Joke Day and we're just the only ones who didn't hear about it."
"April first is three months away," I said sourly. "I think they're just being mean."
There was a minute of silence, then Felix said, "So what are we going to do? Twenty-four hours is a long time to just sit around."
I raised my eyebrows at him. "We're going to find a way out of here. Duh."
He flopped down on the bed, turning to prop himself on one elbow so he could look up at me. "They sealed this room up pretty tight. The windows are somehow sealed shut, the lock on the door has been jammed... I don't think we're getting out."
"Are you going to sit there and be the voice of reason, or are you going to help me bash the wall down?"
He just shook his head at me, smiling. "Kate, stubbornness only does you so much good, and then it just wastes your time."
"Voice of reason, then," I said, standing up and walking over to the mini-fridge. Opening it, I saw that it was stocked with two 16 oz. bottles of Coke, a gallon of water, and four bottles of red wine. "What the hell kind of assortment is that?" I muttered to myself, grabbing the Cokes.
I closed the fridge, then tossed one of the bottles to Felix and cracked open the other one for myself.
He looked down at the soda in his hand. "How many of these are in there?"
"Just the two," I replied. "Along with a gallon of water and four bottles of wine."
"Wine?" he repeated skeptically.
I nodded. "Yep. I thought it was weird too."
"Not just weird," he said. "Rather enlightening, actually."
I frowned at him. "Meaning what?"
"Just that I think I finally get why your friends locked us in here."
Oh, no. He was not going to get away with saying that and then not explaining, which I could tell by his expression was what he was planning on doing. "Spill."
He looked seriously at me, then patted the bed next to where he was lying. I obligingly went over to sit cross-legged next to him.
"So we've been friends for a while, right?"
"Um, yeah," I said, wondering where this could possibly be going. "If you count six years as 'a while'."
He nodded. "And Brittney and Jenna both have male friends that they've known for a while too, yes?"
"And Brittney and Jenna both hooked up with their male friends a couple years ago, didn't they?"
He couldn't be saying what I thought he was saying. "What's your point?"
"What do you think my point is?" he asked, rolling his eyes. "They think that if you're friends with a guy, you must be wanting to be more than friends with him. My guess is that they think you're in love with me or something and just won't admit it. So this is their ploy to get us together."
I just stared at him for a few moments. Then I burst out laughing. I couldn't help myself. "In love?" I gasped. "With you?"
"You know, Kate," he said, "that sounded horribly like an insult."
"Sorry," I said, still too amused to be particularly apologetic. "You knew what I meant though." I paused, thinking about it some more. "I think you're actually right. It sounds just like something they would think. They always seemed a little baffled by my friendship with you."
He stood up, then reached down to grab my hand, pulling me off the bed and spinning me around like we were dancing. "That's excellent," he said, grinning. "Baffling people is one of my favorite hobbies."
We managed to while away three hours just chatting, but no conversation is endless, and we eventually came to a silence.
"Damn," I said, sighing. "I can't believe we've still got twenty-one hours to go. Couldn't they at least have left some board games in here or something? What did they think we were going to do for an entire day?"
Felix just raised his eyebrows at me, reminding me of our earlier discussion.
"Oh, right," I said.
Silence fell again.
"I'm wickedly thirsty," I announced suddenly, standing up and heading for the fridge. I pulled out the jug of water and grabbed a disposable plastic cup out of the bag on the counter.
The first sip told me that this was not going to be a good way to quench my thirst.
"What the hell?" I exclaimed after spitting the mouthful into the sink. "This is freaking saltwater!"
Felix frowned. "Saltwater? Are you sure?"
I sniffed the cup. "Yeah, I'm sure."
"That's weird," he said. "I didn't know they bottled saltwater."
"Me neither." I poured the cup's contents down the drain, then turned on the faucet to get something decent to drink.
Nothing came out.
"Oh, you have got to be kidding me," I said.
Felix came into the kitchenette and joined me next to the sink. "There's no water?"
I shook my head. "Apparently not."
He looked at the sink for a moment, then turned and walked into the bathroom. I heard a small squeaking sound, then a pause, then another squeak, and he came back out.
"Nothing in there, either," he told me. "Looks like someone doesn't want us to have anything to drink."
"Or," I said, "they only want us to have one thing to drink."
We both looked over to where the mini-fridge was standing open, revealing the bottles of wine.
"Okay, this is going too far," I said. "It's one thing to lock us in a room and hope we come to terms with whatever feelings we might have. It's quite another to force us to get drunk in the hopes that they'll get pushed out of us."
"You're telling me," he muttered.
I went back and sat down. "No way. That's low and cheap. I'll just deal with my thirst until they let us out."
He gave me a 'You're kidding, right?' sort of look. "So you know how I said there was the good kind of stubbornness and then the waste of time kind? Well, there's another category: suicidal stubbornness. You really shouldn't go twenty-four hours without any liquids."
I shrugged. "Then we'd better hope they let us out."
He just shook his head and sat back down.
I only managed to hold out for another hour. I poured myself one glass of wine and told myself that it would be my only one.
Unfortunately, when you're that thirsty, that's sort of like saying, "Oh, just one potato chip," when there's a whole bag in front of you. It's not really possible.
I ended up drinking four cupfuls of the stuff.
"Kate," Felix said, sounding worried, "you do realize that wine's got way more alcohol than beer does, right?"
I nodded. "Yeah. Don't worry, I'm not a lightweight or anything."
"I don't think you'd have to be a lightweight for that to affect you," he said, watching me sip at my fifth cup.
I shrugged, then noticed something. "Hey, aren't you thirsty?"
"I had a huge bottle of Snapple before we got locked in here," he replied. "Besides, I'm a bit more concerned about you right now."
I waved my hand. "I'm fine."
He didn't say anything.
"Seriously, Felix, I am." I stopped, then said, "Felix. That's kinda weird, when you think about it. Why'd your 'rents name you that, anyway?"
He reached over and took the cup out of my hands. "You've had enough."
"Nuh-uh," I replied, grabbing for it. "I'm thirsty." He held it away from me. Frustrated, I stood up to have more reach. "Whoa," I said, watching my surroundings slide in and out of focus. "Room's not s'posed to do that."
Felix quickly set the cup down on the dresser and moved over to prop me up. "I told you this was a bad idea."
I flipped back through my memories of the last couple hours. "No you didn't. You just said I shouldn't go twenty-four hours without a drink. And now I haven't." I grinned. "'S'all good."
He just tugged me over to the bed. "Lie down if you want the room to stop spinning."
I complied, but didn't let go of his arm when I did, making him fall next to me.
"Oops," I said, snickering.
He rolled his eyes, but made no attempt to get up.
"Hey, Felix?" I said, after the silence had stretched on a little too long.
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Did you know that nobody's kissed me in over three years?"
His eyebrows rose. "Why ever not?"
"Dunno," I replied, "but I kinda miss it. You know?"
"Would you kiss me?"
He sighed and rolled onto his back. "You're drunk, Kate. Besides, I thought we were going to avoid what your friends stuck us in here for."
"Did either of us ever say that?" I asked. "Really? And anyway, you could at least answer the question. I didn't say you actually had to kiss me."
There was a long silence, and I was beginning to think that he was ignoring me. But then he said, "Of course I would kiss you."
I propped myself up so I could see his face. "What do you mean, of course you would? Of course you would like 'we've been friends for ages, why shouldn't I' or of course you would like 'I think you're wicked sexy, I just never told you'?"
"Does it have to be one of the two?" he asked, a small smile forming on his lips.
"Well, what other options are there?" I asked. "When you say something like that, there are a limited number of reasons why."
"That is the most confusing 'hmm' I've ever heard in my life," I complained.
I flopped back down onto my back. "Are you really not going to explain?"
"I'm really not," he replied.
"Ugh," I moaned. "You're so annoying."
"Would you still love me if I wasn't?"
I rolled over so that I was lying right next to him and pulled his arm around me. "Mm, maybe. Prob'ly not."
"You sound tired."
I held up my thumb and index finger. "Little bit."
He glanced over at the clock that was sitting on the nightstand. "Well, four-thirty seems like a strange time to go to bed, but this day's been nothing but strange so far, so if you want to..."
I shrugged. "Don't care."
"You don't care that it's only four-thirty or you don't care if you go to bed?"
"Wow," he said. "You're practically incoherent. Is that the wine or the lack of sleep?"
My only reply was to mumble something that even I couldn't understand.
"Okay," he said, laughing, "bed it is. Maybe when you wake up you'll be a bit more sober."
He spent the next five minutes trying to convince me to move off his arm and get under the covers, but I was too out of it to care. In the end, he just let me doze off where I was.
When I woke up, it was dark out. I glanced over at the clock and saw that the red numbers said 3:02 AM. Well.
Felix was still asleep, and at some point he'd shifted so that he was entirely holding me, with both of his arms around my stomach. I knew that if I moved at all he was going to wake up, and I didn't like waking people up before I knew they wanted to be woken.
Luckily, I didn't have long to cope with the dilemma. I don't know if he somehow sensed that I was awake or if it was just a coincidence, but barely two minutes after I woke up, he did too.
"Kate?" he asked, whispering even though there was no one else around for us to wake up.
"Present," I replied, grinning.
He laughed quietly. "Good to know. How do you feel?"
"I dunno," I said. "How am I supposed to feel?"
"Hung-over, I would assume."
Slowly, the day before came back to me. "Oh, right." I took a quick stock of my condition. "Slight headache, dry mouth, fogginess," I listed. "Yeah, I guess I am. How are you?"
"I didn't drink anything," he said, sounding confused.
"I didn't ask if you were hung-over," I told him, rolling my eyes even though he couldn't see it. "I asked how you were."
"Oh... I'm fine. I think."
"Yeah." He paused. "I feel kind of off-kilter. I have no idea why. It's more of a mental thing than a physical thing, though, so I think I'll be alright."
"That's good." I stayed where I was for a few moments, then decided that I needed to get up and stretch. I attempted to do so, only to have my head throb horribly and the room go slightly gray around the edges. "Ohhhh, that's not so good," I moaned as my knees buckled and dropped me back on the bed.
"Careful there, Kate," Felix told me, sitting up. I glanced at him and saw that he was grinning. "You might want to take it slower than that. I know that with your irrepressible personality that could be difficult, but–"
"You are enjoying this way too much," I interrupted him. "Why don't you make yourself useful and get me a glass of water?"
"Um... There isn't any, remember? They turned off the pipes and stocked us with saltwater."
Oh. I had forgotten about that little annoyance. "We haven't tried it yet this morning," I said hopefully. "Maybe they turned it back on."
"That seems unlikely," he replied.
"But it's possible."
"Possible, sure. Probable, not so much."
"Just go check it!" I immediately regretted raising my voice, as it bounced around inside my head and made the throbbing that much worse. "Please."
Felix looked at me, concern in his eyes. "Alright."
A moment later, I heard running water. Then he was back with a plastic cup full. Plain water had never seemed so miraculous.
"Oh, thank you," I said, grabbing the cup and gulping down the whole thing in one go. The pounding in my skull lessened momentarily, and I was now mostly rid of the horrible swallowed-a-cotton-ball sensation in my mouth. "So I guess they turned the water back on."
He smiled. "I guess they did." He took my cup and went back to the sink, then returned with two cups. He handed one to me and then held his up. "Here's to the strangest, most unexpected turn of events I've ever had thrown at me."
"Hear, hear!" I agreed, bumping my cup into his. After we'd both taken a long swallow, I added, "And here's to kicking my two best friends' asses across state lines when we get out of here."
He laughed, and we touched rims again, drinking to what I thought was an extraordinarily good cause.
Most of the ten hours that we had left, we spent playing War, Go Fish, Rummy, and whatever other card games we could think of, using a pack of cards that we found stashed in drawer of one of the night stands. I know it sounds absurd, playing card games for nearly ten hours. Who could possibly do that, right? But Felix and I managed it.
"We have got to be missing an eight," I said, after I came up with yet another unmatched eight left over in my hand. "This is ridiculous."
Felix shrugged. "That's what you get for using a random deck found in a hotel room. Some little kid probably ate it years ago."
I snickered. "Bet their mom was happy about that."
"I bet it never even happened," he countered. "Random theory, Kate."
I scowled and stuck my tongue out at him, to which he replied by rolling his eyes. I leaned back in my chair and sighed. "How long until they let us out?"
He glanced at his watch. "If they keep their word about the twenty-four hours thing, the door should pop open in the next fifteen minutes or so."
"Thank God," I said. "I can't take much more of this."
"I'm not really that bad of company, am I?" he asked, looking faux-wounded.
"Yes," I replied snidely. "You are a complete nuisance."
He looked at me seriously for a minute, then cracked up. Which then of course made me start laughing too, and when I get laughing, it's hard to make myself stop.
Once I could breathe again, I said, "That really wasn't even that funny."
"Nope," he agreed. "I think we might both be going stir-crazy."
I was in the process of nodding my agreement when a memory popped into the front of my mind. My mouth dropped open. "Oh my God," I said, horrified. "Did I really ask you if you would kiss me last night?"
His eyebrows went up. "Well, that was random."
"Um, yes," he admitted. "No hard feelings, though. Your judgment was impaired."
"No hard feelings?" I repeated indignantly. "You said you would!"
His cheeks colored slightly. "I, on the other hand, was not impaired. Hard feelings allowed, if you want."
"Felix!" I exclaimed.
"Well, what should I have said?" he asked. "'No, I'd never kiss you in a million years'? Somehow, that didn't really seem right."
"So when you said 'of course'," I said, "you really did mean it in the 'of course I would because I'm your friend' sense."
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't," he replied, crossing his arms. "Why do you care so much?"
"I don't know!" I said hotly. Then I actually processed what he'd just said. "I don't know," I repeated more quietly.
He uncrossed his arms and leaned forward, a softer expression on his face. "Look, Kate, I think–"
The door slammed open.
"They don't really look like they're getting it on, do they?" Brittney asked as Felix and I both turned to look at the doorway.
Jenna shook her head sadly. "No, not really. It seems that our intervention has failed." She looked at Brittney. "Maybe we were wrong."
"Are you saying that you were planning on barging in here like that even if we were?" I asked. "That's just twisted."
Felix snorted, then walked over to them. "So far, I've had nothing bad to say to either of you," he said. "This time, though, you went too far. You could have seriously dehydrated Kate, you know that? Why don't you think your plans through a little better next time?"
Jenna's eyebrows went up. "What are you talking about?"
"Wine may quench your thirst when you're drinking it," Felix said, "but alcohol in general dehydrates you. And if you have nothing else to drink..."
"Felix," Brittney said, "you do know there's such a thing as a sink, right? It just so happens that it dispenses water."
He just looked at her, an expression of disbelief on his face.
Brittney glanced between me and Felix a couple times, then exclaimed, "Will somebody please explain?"
"So..." I began slowly, "...you two didn't turn off the water?"
"We didn't do anything to the water," Jenna said.
"Then who did?" Felix and I asked simultaneously. Apparently our thoughts had traveled very similar roads.
"I have no idea," Brittney said, "but I swear it wasn't us. Why would we even do something like that, anyway?"
Felix and I glanced at each other.
"Well," I said dryly, "considering the reason you locked us in here in the first place..."
Brittney scoffed. "Yeah, to get you in touch with your real feelings. Getting wasted more often than not just leads to random acts of lust. We only put the wine in there 'cause we figured it'd be a nice touch."
Jenna had been silent for a few moments, and now she looked up with an expression of realization on her face. "Brittney, do you remember the bellhop who helped us pull this off?"
Brittney nodded. "You think he did it?"
"I think he may have," Jenna said. "He only seemed to see this as a practical joke, so I can see why he would've."
I narrowed my eyes. "Let's go find ourselves a bellhop."
It was a few hours later that I finally got home. We'd found the bellhop fairly quickly, but then we had to yell at him a little, and then we'd reported him to his superiors, who had wanted a detailed account of what had happened... With the fact that I had thoroughly messed up my sleep schedule with our weird sleep hours in the hotel room and the fact that I was still recovering from a hangover, I was verging on exhausted.
But of course I had to face my mother before I could get any kind of rest. Every time something like this happened, I started looking forward even more to September, when I'd be heading off to college and my own independence.
"Kate, where have you been for the last thirty-six hours?" she asked, not even waiting for me to take off my shoes. "I try to be flexible, but you didn't even call. You told me that you four were just going to the hotel pool for a few hours."
I sighed, and proceeded to explain what had happened. "I'm sorry," I added, once I had relayed the story. "They took my cell phone and disconnected the room's phone so we couldn't call in outside help." And I didn't even think to contact you because I was too busy getting accidentally drunk, I added in my head, deciding that my mom didn't really need to hear that part.
My mom frowned, then looked me over. "You look beat, honey. Why don't you go get some sleep? I think I'm going to call your friends and give them a stern talking-to about imprisoning people without alerting the parents."
Okay, you know what? I take back what I said about getting away from my mom. Sometimes she was pretty awesome.
"Thanks, Mom," I said, hugging her and heading up to my room.
I didn't even bother to change into my pajamas, just flopped backward onto my bed. I quickly fell into that semi-asleep state, but I didn't immediately doze off like I'd expected to. Instead, I stared at the back of my eyelids as my brain went over everything that had happened in the last day and a half.
"My guess is that they think you're in love with me or something and just won't admit it."
"I'm a bit more concerned about you right now."
"Of course I would kiss you."
"Here's to the strangest, most unexpected turn of events I've ever had thrown at me."
"Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. Why do you care so much?"
What had he meant by that? 'Maybe I did, maybe I didn't.' Was he just being vague and cryptic so that he wouldn't have to hurt my feelings by being direct, or was he doing it so that he didn't admit to something that he thought would mess up our friendship?
And the fact that I was obsessing about this at all brought me back to his question; 'Why do you care so much?'
Then another moment popped into my head.
"You could have seriously dehydrated Kate, you know that?"
Why had he said that? I mean, I knew why he'd said it, but I couldn't figure out why he'd said that. What had happened could have seriously dehydrated both of us. I guess I'd been the only one in actual danger, but it could have happened to him too.
Oh, I was so confused. And the fact that I was confused was confusing me even further.
But then I fell asleep and ceased to care.
I cared again as soon as I woke up that night. Mostly because I was woken up by the ringing of my cell phone, and when I reached over to grab it, I immediately noticed two things: the screen said that it was 11:58 PM, and that the incoming call was from Felix.
I hesitated to pick it up, then reprimanded myself. Since when do I hesitate over Felix's calls, late or not?
"You sound like you just woke up," he commented.
I looked at the clock on my nightstand, just to make sure that my cell phone's clock wasn't wrong. "It's midnight and I woke up at three o'clock this morning. Why would I not have been sleeping?"
He laughed. "Okay, touché. But are you still tired now?"
"I just woke up," I said. "It's hard to tell."
"Well, I'm going to judge that you've had enough sleep," he said. "Get some decent clothes on and come outside, 'kay?"
"I'm standing in your driveway, Kate."
"Just come outside. I really want to talk to you face-to-face, and if you don't come out, I'm going to come up. You want to face your mom's wrath if she finds a guy in your bedroom in the middle of the night?"
I rolled my eyes. "She knows you, Felix, and she knows we do some pretty weird shit sometimes." Before he could protest, I added, "But I'm coming out, so don't bother."
I snapped my cell shut, then pulled on my sneakers and awesome black trench coat/duster thing. Trust Felix to do something like this.
I tried not to make too much noise on my way out, because I knew my mom was sleeping and wouldn't take kindly to being woken up. It wasn't particularly difficult, and I made it out to the porch within a minute of hanging up the phone.
Felix was indeed standing in my driveway, not that I hadn't been expecting him to be. He was generally good to his word. He turned when he heard the door open and smiled at me.
"You wanted to talk?" I asked, stepping off the porch and onto the cobblestone path that connected it to the driveway.
He shook his head.
I stared at him incredulously. "No? You woke me up and told me you wanted to talk to me, but you don't actually..." I trailed off as he walked toward me until he was standing right in front of me. "Okay, so what do you want?"
He just looked at me for a minute...
...and then he leaned down and kissed me.
Oh. My. God. I almost couldn't believe that it was happening. Had I never actually woken up? Maybe this was a really weird dream. The stuff I'd been mulling over right before I'd dozed off wouldn't have made that at all impossible.
But even if it was a dream... Wow. It was freaking amazing. Who would've guessed that Felix knew how to kiss like that?
He pulled back. "Sorry. I couldn't sleep because I just kept going over and over what happened today..." He glanced at his watch. "Yesterday. And I kept getting stuck on what you said under the influence of the wine and what I'd said... And I decided I just had to do that, at least once." He paused, looking at me in concern. "Um... Are you okay?"
"Why?" I asked. "Do I not look okay?"
"Not really," he said. "You look a little stunned."
"Well, I am a little stunned." I took a deep breath, trying to clear my head. Then I grinned. "You were seriously dwelling on that fiasco too?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Couldn't get it out of my head."
"Well," I said, "that makes two of us."
"So does that mean you're okay with this?" he asked, gesturing between the two of us. "I mean, you did break down into hysterical giggling when I suggested that someone might believe you were in love with me."
"I did," I agreed. "What can I say? I don't associate with my deeper truths much."
His smile was radiant. "I am totally taking that the way I want to take it, so if that's not what you meant, please set me straight before I get too excited about it."
"That's exactly what I meant," I said, wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling his head back down toward mine.
We were interrupted mid-kiss by my mother's voice saying, "Well it's about time!"
I released Felix and whipped around to see her watching us from the kitchen window. "Mom!" I said indignantly. "How long have you been there?"
She smiled slyly. "I wasn't in bed, darling. I was in here baking cookies."
Oh my God. We had just had that conversation with my mom listening in on it? I think all of my dignity died right there.
I turned around to share my horror with Felix, only to find him in a silent fit of laughter. I scowled at him. "You wouldn't be laughing if it was your mom."
He just shrugged and turned to look at my mom, still grinning. "I apologize for waking your daughter up in the middle of the night and forcing her to associate with her deeper truths, Mrs. Blaze."
"Don't be," my mom replied. "We all knew she needed it, we just didn't have the means to accomplish it. So thank you, Felix, for coming to your senses."
He saluted. "No problem."
"Oh, for Pete's sake," I grumbled. "Let's just go inside before we wake all of the neighbors up and allow them to view the spectacle as well."
Felix nodded, throwing his arm around my shoulders and walking with me back up to the porch.
Just before we went inside, he leaned down and whispered, "So does this mean Brittney and Jenna won?"
"No way," I said. "This was entirely of our volition."
"Right," he agreed, smiling. "Of course it was."
A/N: I really appreciate reviews. When I post something new and I receive nothing in response, I get this horrible, awful, ever-so-depressing disappointment deep in my soul. If anyone is reading this, please, spare me the agony! =P