A/N #1: Hey everybody. Long time, no see, huh? Sorry for not updating for who knows how long. School has been really taking up a lot of my time, and I wasn't able to fit in enough time to work on my fics. Well, I'm back for now. To be honest, I'm not sure how often I will be working on my fics this summer, because I might be attending summer school. But for now I will try my very best to work on my fics. Well, I know a lot of you have been waiting for this chapter for the longest of time, so I will just step aside and let you read. Hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer I am not advertising any of the name-products I mention in this story, nor getting paid for it. I'm just using these products because it's what we normally use.

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When Two Sides Meet

CHAPTER 9

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Ryan's POV . . .

I was feeling a little bit better after a shower. I no longer felt the frustration caused by today's events and I was in a good mood before tackling my first tutoring session with Tarren. Speaking of which, I believe I left her with Ian in the living room.

After my shower, I put on some clean basketball shorts and my summer league basketball shirt from my sophomore year. When I walked down the steps, I didn't find Ian or Tarren in the living room, but the television was still on.

I heard some voices coming from the kitchen, so I assumed that my dad was home. I walked into the kitchen and I indeed found my dad behind the counter, covered by a platoon of white bags with the smell of chicken and potatoes.

"Evening son." My dad greeted. He was wearing his khaki slacks and white long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled to his elbows. "I see you brought in a friend."

I tried to avert my expression from my dad. I know Tarren would agree with me that we are not friends, but I didn't want to tell that to my dad, and Tarren didn't want to mention that to him as well.

"This is my Trig tutor, Tarren Reid." I introduced. I couldn't help but notice the realization that dawned on my father's face.

"Oh that's right. You're Karen's daughter. I must say that the semblance is striking." My father said. "Would you like something to eat? I bought plenty of food if you are hungry."

I looked towards Tarren's direction. I could tell that she was contemplating about refusing my dad's offering, but Tarren doesn't strike me as impolite.

"Thank you. I appreciate your generosity." Tarren answered, which brought a smile to my dad's face.

"Excellent. Let's eat." My dad announced.

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7:45 PM . . .

I was standing by the living room window as I watched Tarren drive away in her Corolla. I had to admit, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, which was way past what I expected.

After we ate, she helped clean the table so we could have a place to work. Then we hit the books. I showed Tarren the chapter that I was currently studying, which is dealing with the various trigonometric identities.

So far, this was the worst chapter that I have encountered. There are just so many types of identities and I don't think my brain has the capacity to remember all of them. I was able to memorize the quotient and reciprocal identities, but the other ones are just a total blur. I get a headache just by looking at them.

But Tarren was able to show me a trick that Mr. Kurishira taught her that enabled her to memorize them.

It's really hard to describe the entire thing by words, but it does involve a hexagon. I was confused at first when she drew the hexagon, but as she spoke I actually understood what she was saying. She always said things in that melodic voice of hers.

WAIT A SECOND! DID I JUST COMPLIMENT TARREN'S VOICE.

That can't be right. I've known that girl for years, and her voice never once sounded melodic, especially when she was yelling or spitting fire at me.

But she didn't sound like that at all during my tutoring session. Her voice was filled with patience and was very soothing . . .

WHAT ARE YOU THINKING MILLER?! YOU JUST COMPLIMENTED HER AGAIN.

I shook my head. I don't know what was going on in there, but it certainly was foreign to me. Never in all my years of knowing Tarren Reid have I described her with the adjectives I had just used.

I walked away from the window and then walked up the stairs to my room.

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Tarren's POV . . .

I was driving my car from Ryan's house, and I couldn't help but think about the past hour and a half or so I spent in his house.

Believe it or not, it was actually pleasant. It was interesting to observe Ian, my sister's current crush. He wasn't much of a talker when I was there, but during dinner, there wasn't a minute that passed by where Ian was talking. Mr. Miller was just as my mom described him to be. You can obviously tell that he loves his son's. You'd have to blind and deaf in order not to notice.

After I helped the Millers clean up, I officially began my tutoring session with Ryan.

I have tutored a lot of people over the past 4 years in high school, but I have to admit that Ryan is already starting to become one of my best subjects.

Unlike the other students I have tutored, Ryan actually paid attention to what I was saying. Some of people I have tutored didn't care about their grade and only agreed to be tutored just because their teacher told them they had to do it.

But Ryan was taking this seriously. From my perspective, he was taking in every word I had to say and was very attentive and focused.

WHAT THE HELL? THOSE AREN'T WORDS TO DESCRIBE RYAN!

If anything, Ryan Miller is a conceited, self-absorbed, egotistical asshole. There are no positive words to describe that jerk, even though he did look good in the shirt he was wearing . . .

STOP RIGHT THERE TARREN! YOU'RE DOING IT AGAIN.

I don't know what is going on with me. I've never thought about these things before. And I have a feeling that this will lead me to something like no other.

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A few days later . . .

It felt good that I finally had a free afternoon. It is a very rare occasion for me to not have any homework or any other obligations that needed attending to. I usually have a ton of things to do right after school, and I do like to be kept busy. But there are just some days where I would like to take a break and relax.

I was dreaming of collapsing on my bed and indulge in an afternoon nap, but my dreams were shot to hell once Anna got it in her head to go to the mall and find my Homecoming dress.

I didn't tell her that I didn't have any homework today for the main purpose that she doesn't drag me to the mall again, but she still found out.

So I am now currently walking through our town's mall with Anna looking for a dress.

We've already been inside a couple of stores and we've still not found a dress. There were some dresses that I liked, but Anna immediately rejected.

"What's wrong with this one?" I asked, holding up a black spaghetti-strapped dress.

"We're going to a dance, not a funeral. You need something with at least some color." Anna answered.

"Black is a color."

"True, but it's a color that does nothing for you."

"Anna, we've looked at who knows how many stores. Why don't we just pick a dress at random and save us the trouble of looking for one?"

"Because looking is half the fun."

I let out a sigh of exasperation. I might as well just stop right now. Once Anna has set herself to something, she can be impossible to budge.

We browsed through two other stores coming out empty-handed and decided to take a break at the food court. We found a table after we stopped by Dairy Queen. Anna didn't seem that hungry because all she bought was a plain ice-cream cone. I, on the other hand, ordered a large size, Mint Oreo Blizzard.

"Tarren, if you keep on eating like that, you're going to make my job a lot harder by adding the factor that I would have to find a dress in a bigger size." Anna teased.

"Don't worry, I have a high metabolism." I talked back. "Plus, I actually make time to exercise."

"Hey, I resent that." Anna said feigning offense. "I'll have you know it takes a lot of energy to carry a load of shopping bags."

I couldn't help but laugh at her response. I was just about halfway through my blizzard when this group of guys approached our table. I could not help but notice that they were wearing letterman jackets, showing off their expertise is whatever activity they are involved in. Judging by the amount of letters and patches they each had, I would say that they were involved in at least two sports.

Another thing I noticed is that their jackets were of the colors of our school rivals, Leonard High School.

The rivalry between Wilmington and Leonard is exactly like the show, Saved by the Bell. Each school would do their absolute best in order to outdo the other.

Personally, I find the situation very cliched and trite. It's good to have some competition. After all, life would be rather boring if things came too easily. But all competitions involving Leonard and Wilmington are always ugly. Though it can be amusing at times, it just amazes me how people can approach this game like it's the end of the world.

Anyway, these three guys from Leonard High come to our table. From a distance I immediately discerned the identity of the one in the middle, who appeared to be the head of the posse.

His name was Phillip Freestone. I knew him because he went to Clark Junior High just like myself, Anna, Blair, Ryan, and a couple of others. After we graduated from Clark, Phillip had to go to Leonard since his home address was within their boundary line.

Most women, myself included, would think of Phillip as attractive. He had dark black hair, which he usually kept spiked up and he had very enchanting blue eyes. He stood at a height of 6'1 and was pretty lean from all the sports he did.

Another fact about Phillip is that he and I used to go out from the middle of 7th grade towards the beginning of our 8th grade. We first met in 7th grade since we had the same homeroom class, and after a few months of talking and seeing each other every school day, we became a couple. In my part, it was a very spontaneous decision. When he asked me, I didn't even show any hint of hesitation and accepted. Things were going fine during the first few months of our adolescent relationship, but once summer vacation ended and 8th grade began, things started to decline.

Then one day, I was waiting for him after school and he was taking a lot longer than usual. So I went looking for him. That's when I found him making out with Carolina Muncie. They were really into it because they obviously didn't hear my approach. When I cleared my throat, they immediately halted their lip locking. Phillip tried to search for the right words to say, but I just left after he found out I caught him red-handed.

He called me later that day with hopes of apologizing and continuing things like nothing happened, but at that point, I realized that trust for him took a sharp decline, and that's when we officially broke up.

During the first few days I tried to maintain the fa├žade that our break-up was nothing, but Anna and Blair were the only ones that knew how much it secretly hurt me. And the worst thing about it is that Phillip didn't seem genuinely upset about our break-up. In fact, he didn't waste anytime to find a replacement girlfriend, which only made it hurt even more.

But I can honestly say that I did get one good thing out of our break-up. And that is that Phillip Freestone is a complete jerk, if not any other negative superlatives.

Another fact about Phillip is that he loathes Ryan. In Jr. High, they were bitter rivals for all athletic competitions. I mean, they really took their rivalry to the extreme.

In class competitions, whenever they played, their only objective was to outscore the other, whether it's basketball, football, soccer, or baseball. They seemed to disregard the team and only focus on themselves.

But the event that caused their rivalry to eternal happened on our 8th grade Field Day.

In Field Day, which is basically Track & Field, girls and boys are placed in groups based on their height and weight. This made it more efficient in order to figure out who was the best. Since Phillip and Ryan were both similar in height and weight, they were put in the same group, which made the tension thicker than what it usually was.

Well anyway, the final event that Ryan and Phillip's group did was the 100m dash, which just happened to their best event. When they took their starting positions, every student at the school could feel the immense tension Ryan and Phillip were emitting. It seemed that every one was holding their breaths until the loud crack of the starting gun fired and officially started the race.

In that 13-second time span, people just watched to see which one will become victorious. I was standing with Anna at the finish line, curious to know which one will have bragging rights to this competition. But the result was just too astonishing to me.

They both crossed almost at the same time, but it turned out Ryan barely won, simply because he extended his foot long enough to reach the finish line. And therefore, Ryan was considered the winner, which just made Phillip resent him even more.

Although Ryan and Phillip attend different schools, it really evident that their rivalry still exists and is just as strong as ever.

Anyway, I wasn't in any mood to talk to my ex, so I motioned to Anna to gather our things and leave, but we were a bit late.

"Well, if it isn't Tarren and Anna." Phillip greeted, showing off a 100-watt smile. "It's been ages since I last saw you two. Allow me to introduce my friends, Andrew and Frank." He motioned the two buys behind him, he and friends then took the vacated seats that were next to our table.

"It's nice to see you too, Phillip." Anna said, but her tone indicated otherwise. "What brings you to the mall?"

"The guys and I were just going to cruise through it, but since we found you lovely ladies, I think it would be best if we accompany you. After all, it is our duty as gentleman to accompany beautiful ladies such as yourselves."

I rolled my eyes at his statement. If there isn't anything I can fault Phillip for, it is that he's always been a charmer. In Jr. High, he used that charm profusely, and I unfortunately was just one of the many who fell for it.

"I appreciate the thought and chivalry you and your friends are willing to bestow upon us. But Anna and I are not weak-willed women who desperately need to be protected." I retorted, which surprised him. "Now, if you'll excuse us, Anna and I will be leaving." Anna and I gathered what bags we had were about to walk past them, until I felt something wrap around my waist and bring me staggering down to Phillip's lap.

"You girls can't be leaving yet." Phillip said in my ear. I then glanced at Anna who was in the same predicament I was in, but in Andrew's lap. "Its been so long since we last say each other. So, why don't we just reminisce about the good ol'times."

"Phillip, I have no time to play any of your games. So would you let go so my I can continue with my business." I tried to pry his arm from my waist but to no avail. Years of participating in sports have caused him to develop a strength I couldn't outdo. Though that won't mean that I'm just going to accept this willingly.

"What if I don't want to let you go?" He asked hypothetically.

"I recommend that you take your hands off my friends, if you value that pretty face yours." A new voice emerged.

Everyone turned their heads to the direction of the voice. And all I saw was Blair, Ryan and a few of their basketball friends, and they didn't have happy expressions on their faces.

END OF CHAPTER 9

A/N #2: I just noticed that this chapter contained more of Tarren's POV, so I'll try to counter that by having Ryan's POV as the majority in the next chapter. Well, I hope you guys enjoyed this latest installment. And again, I'm sorry for the really long delay. I would really appreciate your reviews, good or bad. If you ever want to contact me, you can find my e-mail address and AIM and MSN Messenger SNs in my Author Profile. Well, that about covers this chapter. Hope to hear from ya.