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"Mik! Dude, where are you going? We haven't even finished the game yet!" cried Rain. His parents were definitely hippies when they named him, I decided offhandedly.

"I just need to get some air, that's all." I said. I was with Rain and Travis, my best friends, watching a taped hockey game of the Olympics at Rain's house. His parents weren't there because they were at work and we were celebrating our successful summer break by hanging out and slacking off.

I walked up the stairs from the basement, into the hall and out the door. I seated myself on the steps of Rain's porch and just thought about my life in general. It was my last week before high school and yet I felt so.unsatisfied. I thought this day would mean huge change but I felt the same as I always do.

Empty.

Some people might think I'm stupid for expecting fireworks or some kind of drastic change in myself but I did. I always loved dramatic stories and somehow, I think I might have based my life on those books. I doubt that my life is a tragic love story or a fantastical fairy tale but I think I want something more in life than a bag of chips and televised sports.

"What are you doing out here?" asked Rain, "Travis is starting to wonder what's taking you so long . . . so was I."

"Just thinking I guess."

"It's a miracle!" He paused as I mock glared at him, "But I'm trying to be serious. What's wrong? I know we usually don't have deep talks like you and Travis have, but I still care." Rain sat down beside me on the porch steps and sighed. We watched the still air on the streets for a few minutes in silence. Suddenly, he stood up.

"I know! We should get ice cream!" I laughed at my friend's obvious attempt to cheer me up and together; we walked down to the basement to an impatient Travis.

***

Travis and I were always best friends. When I was eight, I moved from New York to Vancouver and into Travis's neighbourhood. When I had gotten out of our car, I saw him playing basketball with his older brother. I walked over to him and introduced myself to the strangers. I had always been outgoing, even as a child. It turned out we had a lot in common; we were loud, unpredictable and very rambunctious. Travis was like my twin, except he was deeper than me, or at least showed that side of him more than I did.

As we grew up, we became closer friends then ever. From seeing each other every week, it became every second day until everyday after school. We met in the park across the street from the elementary school we attended and played for as long as we wanted too. Our parents always waited patiently, talking between themselves about adult topics. Travis and I were just satisfied with being with each other.

On the first day of junior high, we walked together inside of the huge foreign building. Our lockers were on the other side of the school so we split apart to face our fears alone. My homeroom was loud and filled with strangers that seemed to already know each other. I couldn't see a friendly face so I had walked up to a cute boy and introduced myself. He was a real class clown and we automatically became best friends. Ever since then, Rain, Travis and I have stuck by each other's sides all through middle school and hopefully, past it.

I shook my head and forced myself to face the present. Rain, Travis and I were in the ice cream shop and trying to figure out what flavour we should get. I goofed around with them for a while and then looked to see what I could buy. Stumped, I sat down on the red vinyl booths on the side of the parlour.

"Hey, my name's Michael. Mind if I sit here?" A guy around my age asked. He had short, brown spiked hair and steel blue eyes. I nodded and he sat down across from me. Travis and Rain were still play fighting and I figured, why not? I have nothing to lose.

"Hi, I'm Michelle but you can call me Mik. Everyone does anyways. So, when did you get here to little old Vancouver?" I smiled flirtatiously at him. Maybe I could finally get a date for the summer party Janice always has. Janice was my closest girl friend but she can be a bit ditzy at times. Every year she has the same party on the same day but I can never seem to find a date. I always end up going stag with Travis and Rain. I'm kind of worried about them because they're hot and funny but they never get any dates. He smiled back at me but then he glanced up and gulped nervously.

"What are you looking at, Michael?" I turned around and saw Travis, who was looking rather angry for such a nice day. "Hey Travis. What's going on? Why do you look so mad all of a sudden, anyways?" I looked at his hand, "Alright! You got me triple chocolate fudge, my favourite. Thanks, I owe you." Rain jumped up behind him and Travis sighed and sat down. When Rain saw Michael, his face clouded but he quickly grinned and sat down, trying to balance four scoops of ice cream on one cone.

"Uh, Mik? I'll see you around, okay? I have to go. 'Bye!" Michael dashed out of the ice cream shop and down the street in the sun. I must have had a strange look on my face because Rain switched spots and sat down beside me.

"You alright? Hey, he probably was just scared of your stunning beauty!" He put his arm around me and pretended to giggle girlishly. Rain and Travis both fluttered their eyelashes and swooned. I couldn't help but laugh and think, 'I have the best friends you could possibly have'.

"So what do you want to do now?" I asked. I had long ago finished my ice cream and Rain was sucking on the bottom of it like a straw. I started smirking, not being able to control my nasty sense of humour. He looked up at me and then down at his mouth. He gagged and ate the rest of it quickly. I started to drag both of them out of the booth but since Travis was six feet tall and Rain was five foot ten, I didn't stand a chance. I was only five foot five, it's not like it's my own fault. Damn genetics.

"C'mon you guys! I'm bored." I started to pout and get a puppy dog look on my face. Travis and Rain sighed and looked at each other, then at me.

"Okay, Okay I'm coming" They said in unison. I giggled and skipped out of the store, not without flipping my hair and laughing crazily. Travis always found it funny when I acted like a ditz and Rain came up behind me. He was skipping too and trying to flip his hair, though it's not that easy when you have short spikes on your head instead of long tresses.

"So, like, cha! What should we do now, girlfriend?" Rain asked. I couldn't stand it anymore and stopped to breath in between laughter. Travis was running to catch up to us and Rain sat down.

"Okay, let's see. Janice's party is in a week and none of us have dates. Want to scope the mall and make fun of Liz?" I said. Liz was the bimbo in our school. She ruled it, unfortunately. I couldn't stand her at all, even for thirty seconds. Every time I saw her she was always trying to get me to act perkier, like her. I hated people like her. Not like I'm saying I hate popular people, I have quite a few popular guy friends, but I hate people who tell me how to act or how to look. I'm a rocker punk and kind of a geek too. You couldn't classify me if you tried. 'Gifted and talented', I was a bit of a natural geek, I was a runner, but not on a track team, and was thoroughly addicted to junk food.

Rain and Travis looked at each other. I thought I caught a touch of jealousy in their eyes but they weren't mad at each other, I could tell. They looked rather resigned, if I could tell right and I was their best friend.

"Uh, Mik? I guess we're all right with that." Travis replied. I looked at Rain questioningly and he nodded. I shrugged and linked arms with both of them. I gave them an evil grin and we all started singing The Wizard Of Oz songs at the top of our lungs. I think we scared a few old ladies who gave us the evil eyes last time we did that.

***

We finally arrived at the street the mall was on and ended up singing Celine Dion songs on the way too. Of course, we weren't actually trying to sing, but to sing it as bad as possible. I could sing well, at least that's what my choir teacher told me. I dropped out of choir for the art program though; I was always an artsy person. Rain was good at singing too, at a few sleepovers we all had I heard him singing 'Oops, I did it again' by Britney Spears in the shower. I still won't let it go, a year and a half later. Travis is totally tone deaf but he kicks ass at playing the bass guitar.

I play drums and sing and Rain plays lead guitar and sings too. We formed a band but just for fun a while ago, but we kind of gave up after we got in one of our only fights we're ever had. Now we just hang out and once in a while, we get out our instruments.

"Hey, you guys want to hang out at my house tomorrow?" I asked.

"Sure"

"Whatever. Want me to bring my guitar?" Travis said.

"Yah sure. You too Rain. We don't want to get you too cocky about your playing skills. Someone still can't play their D minor scale!" I danced around him and started to sing, "Someone sucks at D minor, someone sucks at D minor!" at the top of my lungs. Rain swatted at me and Travis joined in with the chant. I jumped on Travis's back and he ran with me to the mall, with Rain chasing us to the entrance.

I ended up falling off and landing on Rain. We were all laughing hysterically and everyone was staring at us. Travis, Rain and I got up, brushed off our clothes and took a theatrical bow. I blew kisses at the security guards and when he turned around to see who made the kissing sounds I pointed to Rain.

"Rain! You shouldn't flirt with the security guards. They're only doing their jobs while you're a flaming hormone ridden boy. It's not polite, after we finish shopping you can ask him out on a date, alright?" I turned to him and lectured. He looked at me strangely and I gestured to the blushing guard. It looked like someone was suffocating Rain because his face turned crimson. He ran off into a department store and I walked up to the guard.

"I'm sorry, sir. I'm afraid he gets a little embarrassed about these things. Thank you for putting up with it so graciously. I think he has some issues to deal with." I put emphasis on the word 'issues' and winked. I left quickly and started laughing when I bumped into Travis.

"That was so funny! Let's do it again." Travis cried and I agreed so we found Rain again. All day we tried this out during our stay at the mall, every time changing who had the 'issues' for what person. We never got to look for dates but that was all right, I had fun and hung out with my best friends.

***

I was lounging on the couch watching a music video when Rain and Travis decided to storm my house. I heard the yelling and walked laughing up the stairs to the main hallway, where they were stuck in the doorway. I think both of them tried to get in at the same time because even though both were lanky and had swimmer's bodies, they couldn't fit in the door together.

"You know, we're gonna have to try that again with me too though. You didn't wait for me to play either! You guys sure are mean. Maybe I should just let you get squashed, after all, you deserve it." I grinned at them and grabbed Travis's hand to pull him out. I looked in his eyes and I couldn't move. They said so much to me, his eyes. They always had but never so intense. They were saying 'don't let go, please'. Rain cleared his throat and I let go of Travis's hand like it was on fire. I blushed and he looked embarrassed.

"Uh, could someone let me out please?" Rain hadn't seen Travis and I hold hands because his head was stuck to the side. I grabbed his wrist and he grabbed mine and I pulled him towards me. He fell on me and I felt a heavy thud onto my body.

"Comfortable?" I asked. After all, Rain was using my body as a human cushion.

"Yep." He stretched out, with his back on my stomach, and yawned, "Actually, I think I'll go to sleep with you right here."

"Well, we have never slept together before." And I gave Rain an exaggerated wink. I grinned at Travis and found him to be quite sombre, not at all amused. I looked at him questioningly; he didn't seem to be his usual, happy self usually.

"Hey Travis, you alright dude?" I tilted my head for emphasis on my concern and started to laugh as Rain arranged himself on me so his head was beside mine.

"Aw, we're just like twins Mik. And you even have a guys name too! Hey, we could be triplets. Travis, get down here on Mik. She's just like an air chair!" I punched Rain in the arm for that remark and smiled up at Travis.

"Lots of room on me. C'mon, join us crazies." I gestured for Travis to come down and he sighed and laid on Rain and me.

"Gained some weight, huh?" Both Travis and me smacked Rain on the head this time. We started to talk about who was hot in our school and who wasn't.

"Well, I think you guys are pretty good looking yourselves. Why don't you guys ever have dates for Janice's summer party? For that matter, why don't you guys ever have dates at all? Rain, you stopped dating after the grade eight proms. I remember because I was with that jerk, Spence. Anyways, Travis, I don't remember you dating at all, except for that brief crush on Dez, that girl in English." I asked. I was always kind of curious about that, but I could never find that right time to ask. I figured now was as good as ever to figure it out.

".Uh, I don't know. I guess I just couldn't find that girl, you know, the one who makes your heart pound and your knees weak." Travis answered. I reached up and gave him a one armed hug.

"Aw, that's so sweet. What about you, Rain?"

"Well I think that love is something that comes to you and you can't do anything to make it go away or to come again. It's special and I think I've found that girl but she doesn't know." I looked at Rain and he had a sad, soulful look on his face and his eyes weren't focused. I was really worried about them and I glanced concerned at Travis too. He look so sorrow filled, I could hardly stand to look at him. I felt my eyes start to tear and I felt really useless. Here were both of my best friends and I couldn't do anything to help them with their girl troubles.

"So I take it you aren't gay then? Not that there is anything wrong with that. Actually, I admire anyone who is brave enough to admit they're gay to the world; it takes guts with all the discrimination everywhere. Okay and now I'm rambling about this and I'm going to shut up now." I said. I had a very strong opinion on political issues. My debating teacher is actually scared of me now, after the genetic engineering issue.

"Nope, straight as they come." Travis said.

"Not gay, not bi, although I agree that there's nothing wrong with it." Travis and Rain shook their heads.

"So do you want me to help you get into the dating curve? Not that I'm good at that junk, after all, I can't get a date because Janice is so popular and everyone thinks that I'm dating one of you guys, or both." I laughed at that. Going out with Rain or Travis would be weird, wouldn't it? After all, they were my best friends in the whole world. Travis looked at Rain and they seemed to be talking to each other without speaking. We all did that to scare people and sometimes we did it together without meaning to at all. But I had no idea what they were saying and suddenly, they turned to look at me too.

"Sure."

***

Rain, Janice, Travis and I were piled on my couch in my rec room. When the guys agreed to let me help them, I enlisted Janice's help too. After all, she was popular, pretty and fun to be around so I figured she could think of some kick ass girls to set them up with.

"Well, let's think of what your main attributes are and what you're looking for in a girl. Things you hated would be nice too." Janice said.

"Well, I'm 5 foot 10", black spiked hair, green eyes. I'm spontaneous, crazy, skateboard, swim and I sing, dance and play lead guitar! Well, maybe not the dancing but everything else is true." Rain listed after getting a pile of pillows thrown at him. "I hate fake girls and I'm not even looking right now so I don't see what the point of this is." Rain looked at me for an explanation but since I couldn't think of anything, I just replied that it was something to do. Meanwhile, Janice was jotting everything down in a green binder.

"Okay, I'm not really looking either but I'll say this because I'm bored as hell. Even then, Mik can answer for me anyways because we've known each other for so long-"

"I'm surprised you put up with her for eight years already!" Rain announced and promptly got another pillow chucked at him.

Travis laughed and continued. "Anyways, as you all know I'm 6 feet tall-"

"Fie Fi Fo Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!" I cried and after receiving evil looks from Janice, I let Travis keep on talking.

"Red, short spiked hair, freckles, blue eyes. I like playing bass guitar, all sports, and most of all, I'm absolutely, positively insane!" He finished, bouncing up and down.

"Well, I think that last one describes us all." Rain said and put his arm around me.

"Don't you love us?" Travis said while putting his arm around me too. Janice looked at us when she was finished writing and quickly pulled out her camera to take a picture. Rain, Travis and I all made funny faces and Janice clicked it a couple times while we were posing like freaks.

Janice sighed. "I wish I were you, squashed between two very, very hot guys." Travis blushed of course.

"I know, I know. I'm am so very beautiful, aren't I, honey?" Rain said in a sappy voice and looked at me.

"Oi, luv, you outshine the sun!" I cried out loud in an exaggerated English accent and hugged Rain.

"Oh, we all love Rain, don't we? Kiss kiss!" Travis yelled and turned around to hug him too. We all laughed and I started to tickle them, of course we all landed in a pile on the floor. Janice sighed and turned on my Game Cube. I got it from my parents for Christmas; I guess you could say we're rich. I've travelled all over the world with my family but I think hanging around with my friends is even more fun. Soon my parents will let me take one of my friends to Europe but I haven't told Rain or Travis because I can only take one of them.

"Hey Travis! Get off of me so I can get a control pad. And Rain? You know I can kick your ass racing cars!" I cried and Janice tossed the three of us some controllers. Not moving from a haphazard twist of limbs, we played and heckled the computer players.

"Oh, c'mon! Nobody likes a priss, Mik." Travis yelled at me for cutting in front of him in the game.

"Just because you suck does not make me a priss. And Travis," I paused and knocked him over a cliff, "don't be a priss." I laughed as he started swearing and jumping up and down. Rain looked up from the television, saw Travis bouncing like a monkey and started to laugh hysterically, and eventually hyperventilate. After pounding him on the back we all got up and to get some food.

***

"You know, I don't think you're supposed to eat 'Rain's Everything Pizza' with milk and orange juice. In fact, I don't think anyone should eat that pizza at all, especially when you guys are cooking it." Travis said after giving us nervous looks. It's not our fault Rain and I can eat anything without gagging. After devouring my pizza filled with anchovies, peppers, meat, cheese, celery, chicken, cabbage, liverwurst, lettuce and mangoes, I managed to chug three glasses of milk and one of orange juice. I was just really hungry; actually, I'm always really hungry. I think I have a mutated metabolism because I'm skinny but I eat just as much as Rain, which is a lot.

"Hey! At least I don't eat as much as Godzilla over there." I said, gesturing to Rain, who appeared to be shoving a pizza with ice cream and hamburger patties down his throat. I think Travis turned green from seeing that. He was eating a piece of pepperoni pizza and a glass of Coke.

"What?" Rain mumbled, catching our eyes. It turned out more like 'muhath?' but seeing him everyday eat lunch taught me to understand the worst of 'Rain Speech'.

"You know, I feel like playing the drums suddenly." I said and dragged Travis and Rain down, still trying to finish the pizza he stuffed in his mouth. I ran down the basement stairs and into my garage where there were no cars, but our instruments were sitting on the carpeted floor. I picked up my drumsticks, waited for them to pick up their guitars and started to play Blink 182's 'First Date'.

"Honest, let's wait, make this last forever. Forever, and ever, let's make this last forever." I sang with Rain, harmonizing perfectly. Five years of playing has done wonders for our skills, I'd have to say we are the best I've ever seen playing in our high school. I finished off the song with a flourish on the cymbals and stopped.

"Do you guys want to try writing our own music again? I remember last time, but maybe we're better now." Travis suggested, leave it to him to try to reassure us. Two years ago we tried to write a piece but we ended up fighting because we all wanted something different for the group, since we all have different music tastes. Travis likes alternative, Rain is punk and I'm into rock. I don't really care, it's Rain and Travis who are opposed to playing each other's music. They only stuff we play is a combination of all three or a fusion of punk and alternative.

"Okay, but if we start to disagree, we stop right away." I said and looked to Rain for his opinion.

"Yeah, why not." He sighed. "We better start now, I have to go to this messed up family dinner later tonight." We all sat down on the couches in the side of the room and I got my pen and music sheets, while Rain and Travis unplugged their guitars. This would be a long afternoon..

***

I stared at the lead singer and guitarist. Travis, Rain and I were at a teen club, watching a rock alternative band perform (after a lot of arguing from Rain and a few bribes of a serious movie fest) and it turns out my favourite underground band, The Turnpikes, were playing. The four guys up on stage were from my school but a year older than us so they graduated last year. The drummer, Dean, was a metal head, covered with piercings and shaved bald. The bass guitarist was a popular guy, he used to hit on some of the sluttier girls in my grade. He was a blond 'god' but stuck up. The keyboardist was probably my type, dark and broody and the guitarist and singer was.. wow. He had purple spiked hair and pale skin with steel grey eyes. He was dressed like a punk with baggy pants and a hoodie but I've seen him around school dressed like a prep, a rocker and a jock before too. I think I was staring at him because Travis started to snap his fingers in front of my eyes.

"You all in there, Mik?" He asked. I probably mumbled something illegible so Rain decided this was a good time to drag me away from the wall and onto the crowded mosh pit. Finally waking up, I jumped up and down to the beat with Rain and got Travis to come over with us. We did that for a while, acting like maniacs, and soon we had a little spot by ourselves where people moved away from us. I caught eyes with the guitarist again and he grinned. I blushed and waved a bit, until Rain looked at me, and then the guitarist. He must have caught on because he looked surprised and it seemed to me he was mad, but I don't know why. Nobody had stepped on his toes or anything, so he shouldn't have been. He whispered something to Travis and he nodded and got the same look. Maybe it was a guy thing.