Justin Pierce must have decided that falling flat on my face in the gravel was penance enough for me; for something he wasn't really sure I'd done anyway.

I was constantly on the lookout for him, and knew he'd seen me a couple of times earlier in the week. But there was nothing. Something didn't quite jell there. I was definitely happy about it though, but I didn't want to give myself a false sense of security.

He could always be holding out I thought; lurking around this corner or that, waiting to pounce on his unsuspecting prey. I had to go in the same direction or pass by him each day going to class. I wasn't trying to tempt fate or anything; it's just there really aren't that many options open to you for getting through the school without being seen by someone you don't want to be seen by.

If you ticked him off, Justin's normal style of revenge was to sneak up behind you and give you one of his famous "jewel-crushers" and then you'd be walking funny the rest of the day. He'd whip your undies up your butt, hooking them, and you, on to the nearest high point which was often a door knob. It would all happen so fast, that you wouldn't know what hit you… the only thing you would feel was the searing pain.

I remember there was one of these poor year eight boys, who got in Justin's way one time, and Justin accidentally tripped and bumped into a post. Justin seemed to bounce right off that post and whipped behind this kid and pegged his undies on the balustrade of the stairs. The poor kid's eyes popped open so wide he looked like a little possum hanging for dear life off a tree. That was considered a milder form of "Pierce torture" and I for one, did not intend to come face to face with anything like that.

I'd managed to slip under his radar or something. Not that I'm complaining of course… I think his brain cells were finally synapsing or maybe something or someone else had taken his attention. It was really weird though as he hadn't paid any attention to Abigail either AND we'd seen him walking to school over the past few days, which seemed even odder as he was a lazy buggar and didn't like to trouble himself too much with walking.

Abigail on the other hand, wasn't too fazed by Justin's lack of attention. She kept making goo-goo-eyes at me every time she saw me now. Weird! I'd pleaded with Jane to tell her I was blowing the kiss to her and not too Abigail but Jane said she was getting so more pleasure out of watching me squirm each day on the bus than anything she could think of so… the answer was a definite NO!

Jane was such a pain sometimes… but then again, what did Seamus say? I won't get mad, I'll get even. So, I figured Jane's time would come, and then she'd be the one doing all the begging.

It was Thursday and we'd just finished off three periods of sport. I'd chosen mixed touch football. It was always a good laugh to see some of the girls play with and against us. Some of them were only there for the gossip factor… and to hang out with the boys of course. I was surprised Seamus didn't have the smarts to play as well. It would probably do wonders for his female interaction and communication skills – skills he had definitely been lacking in over the years. He was however, triumphant with Connie. She hadn't said one horrid word to me since meeting up with Seamus after the mass last weekend. Things were looking up for me.

Speaking of Seamus, lately I would be able to smell him coming before he would greet me in his usual way, with a wack on the back. He'd taken my advice with the personal hygiene suggestions, but had gone a little bit too far with the application side of things. He was a bit over-exuberant with applying the spray-on deodorant – especially on sports days - and now he just smelt like one of the old fellas that always met up at the local bowling club on a Friday night to hook up with one of the old women that would flood out of BINGO at six o'clock.

As we made our way to the bus, I decided to have another chat to him; this time incorporating the importance of moderation. I didn't think I could handle travelling on the bus for much longer. Now there was Freddy Piccolo the garlic muncher "sigh…you took my lovely Lizzy from me" on the morning into school and Seamus Gavin "the Connie conqueror and old man's perfume vat" in the afternoons. I was becoming desperate.

After our brief discussion on the pros and cons of deodorant, Seamus couldn't help himself… Abigail kept turning around smiling at me and Seamus would jab me in the ribs with his elbow, nodding for me to take a look ahead.

"You still haven't asked anyone to the dance have you Shaky? Ask Abby mate! Nobody's gone with in cooee of her because of Justin, and he hasn't come anywhere near you since you fell flat on your face; so I think the coast is clear. Go for it! Something tells me he's got his mind on other things…" Seamus ribbed me again then nodded and winked at Abigail. She blushed and turned her head.

"What's that all about, you big lug… you haven't been talking to her, have you?" Seamus' body language said it all… "You're a deadset dipstick sometimes you know Seamus!" I began to feel trapped.

"Oh, c'mon mate she's hot, you'll never get the chance to go out with a babe like her again in your life time. You know she wants you to ask her out and you can dress her up and have a bit of fun. Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton… You know! Wink, wink, say no more… The time is slipping away and you definitely don't want your name pulled out of a hat for a bookworm or a wallflower to be your partner for the dance – do you?" Seamus could be such a moron sometimes.

Soon it was Abigail's turn to get off the bus. She turned to me, and then looked at Seamus who jabbed me again with his elbow. When I didn't respond he moved his head ever so slightly as if it was a baby's rattle and mouthed something to her without saying a word. She glanced back at me pleading with her eyes. All I could do was look away. I WAS trapped and still had the rest of the ride to Seamus' place to hear him harp about lost opportunities!

Arrh! Where was Lizzy when I needed her?