Hey, I want to apologize for taking so terribly long with this update, Grade 12 is a very busy year so far. Not that that's a good excuse.

Oh, and I really want to know what you guys think of Carter, He's a very new concept for me and I need some feedback. Thanks again, everyone!

Claimer: This is my story; this is fictionpress, not fanfiction. K?

Chapter 10: A group? Of friends?

"I'm really sorry! I was just really surprised, that's all." I squeaked as I held the bag of ice to Carters neck. He jumped slightly at the contact and closed his eyes. "No, I'm sorry, Ebony." I was startled at the apology, even though it seemed to fit with his personality. I would've just flipped out if someone knocked me out with a textbook, but he was just looking like it was his fault.

What had happened after I hit him was, odd. After finding out that he was still alive, I laid him on his back and called for the nurse. She came running, gave me a full scolding, and handed me the ice saying to bring him to her office when he was up to walking.

"I should have left you alone, like you wanted." Sighing, he looked at me with those ice-blue eyes, they were calm but sad. "I was just so desperate to have you like me, that I couldn't see that I was bothering you." I scratched the back of my neck and looked down. Awful was one word to describe what I felt. But what could I do?

"Carter, why do you want me to like you?" I looked at the floor. "If it's for my parents then..." He grabbed my shoulders and shook his head, which seemed to hurt because he stopped and winced before speaking.

"That's only part of it, I really respect you, and it seems like you need a friend." He smiled. "Or at least another one." I smiled a bit, before I really took in what he said. Another one. I had more than one friend. Someone, other than Brianna, who actually cared about me. The thought was strange, but very much welcomed.

"Thank you, Carter. I do need another friend. Though," I paused to give him a brief hug. "The concept of friends, in the plural, is sort of new for me." He grinned at me, and pulled me to him in a bone crushing hug.

"Ooo thank you Miss! Thank you so much!" I was having trouble breathing, mainly because he was squeezing my neck, but also from laughing so hard. "Okay, okay." I tried, and failed, to wriggle out of his grasp. "Now let me go; I can't breathe."

"Sorry" He let go and smiled at me, he seemed back to his normal, crazy self. We walked back to where I'd left Bri and Ethan; they were both sitting down and looked pretty downcast, though they both brightened when Carter and I approached.

"Ebb! You're back." She cocked her head to the side. "Why does Carter have a bag of ice on his neck?" I waved it off, I had no desire to explain that to her. "I'm sorry I overreacted, guys. I'm just not used to all the attention." Ethan simply laughed.

"You ready to work on the bike, Miss Daniels?" I groaned, which only drew another laugh from him. "Ebony is fine, thank you. And yes..." I elbowed him in the side, and the way he winced and smiled at me gave me a warm feeling. Belonging. Is the right word, I think.

"I'm ready. Are you?" He simply grinned at me and stood, his tall frame towering over me. "Always."

"What are you guys doing?" Carter asked, peeking over Ethan's shoulder. "Are you building something?" I nodded at him, thinking of my lack of talent made me chuckle. "Well, Ethan is. I'm just handing him tools." "It's a motorcycle." My tall friend explained further when Briggs looked confused.

"Too bad, I'm no good at fixing things. I am, after all, an artist." My eyes widened. "So that's your talent! I was wondering." I paused, yup, an eccentric artist fit my image of him perfectly. "So," I continued. "Are you a ninja on the side, or something?" I was, of course, referring to all the times he had just appeared out of nowhere. And dropping from the ceiling? That was enough to rouse suspicion. He grinned at me, and nodded enthusiastically.

"How did ya guess?" Bri nearly left a hand print on her forehead she smacked herself so hard. "Great, we have a ninja who's pledged himself to you Ebb." A grin quickly replaced the look of exasperation that was on her face. I didn't like that look, it could only mean trouble.

"Hey, Briggs!" He turned to look at my up-to-no-good friend. "Are you a rouge ninja? Self-trained? What's the story?" I didn't like where this was headed, but I was far too curious to halt the conversation. "Well, I was trained at a dojo, but I've been on my own for a while." Brianna nodded, as if she expected this answer from him.

"Well then, we appreciate you trying to protect our Ebb here." She patted me on the head. "But she already has Ethan here," She gestured, quite nonchalantly, at our confused male friend. "And he's doing a fine job protecting her." My eyes must have widened out to my ears by the look of amusement on my treacherous friends face. I glanced at Ethan for support, for him to call Bri out on her ridiculous claim; but he only smiled and casually, yet protectively, slung his arm around my shoulders.

"Yep, it was a good offer, but I can handle the protection of little Ebb here." He waved his hand dismissively. "Thanks for your time, though." I was frozen in place for two reasons.

One; Ethan had actually gone along with Bri's scheme.

Two; He had his arm around my shoulder.

That second one was causing me all sorts of confusion. It wasn't odd for a male arm to be across my shoulders, it just usually happens to belong to my brother or father. I snapped out of my confused state when I discovered Carter's face about 2 inches from mine. "Really, Miss. Daniel's?" I was still frozen, but he continued without waiting for my response.

"It's a pity, Ethan, that you don't attend this school." His had a triumphant look on his face. "But I do, you can't be with her all the time," I felt my face revert to a look of horror. "But I can!" He concluded. I was not happy; this was not going in a direction where I could see a favourable outcome.

I glanced up at Ethan, and he had annoyed look on his face, though I couldn't imagine why. I was the innocent victim in this, why should he feel aggravated?

"Perhaps I could attend this school? I am, after all" He smirked and pulled me closer to him. "a talented track star." His voice oozed sarcastic confidence, but I could tell that Carter thought he was serious. He stiffened at Ethan's comment, and I couldn't help giggling. Normally I chuckle, or snicker (giggling seems so, so girly) so this was an odd sound escaping from my mouth.

"Well then" Carter said, placing his hand on Ethan's shoulder. "I understand your desire to protect Miss. Daniels here, but you would have to apply next year, and I'm afraid that she will still need protecting before that." The two boys began to debate my need for a protector, and in the meantime my thoughts wandered.

Why did we accept Carter saying he was a ninja?

Wasn't this lunch break taking longer than usual?

Shouldn't I get Carter to the nurse before she kills me?

Why was Ethan's arm still around my shoulders?

"What do you think, Ebony?" I vaguely determined that it was indeed Ethan asking me that, but I had no recollection of hearing the previous statement, to which they were referring. "I think that we should get Carter to the nurse, Bri to class, and us to the shop to work on that bike. Okay?" Bri shook her head at me, but seemed to agree.

"I guess she's right. Meet up at Ebb's after school?" They all nodded before I could utter a word of complaint. "I guess I'll see you later…?" I said, though they were all gone but Ethan, and he just shrugged and we started the walk to the shop. We chatted for a while, but things soon fell silent; we worked and that was it. It was as if we were both thinking about something important; thought I was only contemplating whether or not my Mom would be pissed with me bringing over 3 people without asking.

Hey everyone! I know that this one is very short, and it took forever to get up, but here it is.

Thank you everyone who reviewed, it mean a lot to me. Give me ideas for what you think should happen! And Ethan and Ebony? Well? I know one person wants a romance, what does everyone else think?

~Issen Lei