She Screams In Silence

Series: A separate addition of but related to The Mighty Queertet series

Summary: In the Queertet series, Maya is sort of overlooked. In Breeze, she gets with an argument with Taz about her ‘heterosexual fling.’ This is the real story behind it. What really happened that summer when Taz and Maya were broken up? This takes place the summer before they meet the Ducks. (Read this after reading Smoke, Snow and Breeze).

Dedication: To Star, of course! Thanks to her for being the greatest writer to ever hit the internet, and being MY co-writer! Oh yeah, and for letting me steal this little header, lol. Also to Saturniia for making the “Maya is a fifth-wheel” comment, it inspired me greatly. And finally to Aqua Lion and Stepherz for just being cool.

Disclaimer: I own everything in this story, except for Taz. She belongs to Star, and I’ll have her back before Star even notices she’s gone. Also, I don’t own Star Wars or anything else like that, if I mention them.

Notes: If you haven’t read “Smoke”, “Snow” and even the first bit of “Breeze” this won’t make sense. Well, it will, but it won’t be as interesting.

I had a really bad day. It’s getting harder to deal with it all, too. I accidentally slammed the fridge and broke a couple bottles. I had to clean up the whole mess by myself while getting screamed at by my mom. Then my dad gave me an hour-long lecture on how much my parents do for me and how I shouldn’t take them for granted after hearing me mumble something about my mom being a dumb bitch.

I think I should have stopped there. But I didn’t. I was in a horrible mood and I got into a couple more yelling matches with my mom.

Now I’m sitting on my bed with a numb arm. I can’t help it. Some people break things when they’re angry. I lash out on myself.

I never bleed. But I make these horrible scars that stay for weeks.

Taz would be upset. She hated seeing me like that, although it was never really as bad while we were in school.

I miss her. I wonder what she’s doing right now.

Probably not thinking about me.

We’ve been broken up for three weeks and she hasn’t called.

Not that I would expect her to after that last fight.

I roll over on my bed to face the wall. I feel a lump forming in my throat.

I remember what my counselor told me. Take a deep breath, count to 10, think of something that doesn’t make you upset.

I inhale slowly.











Ok. Something that doesn’t make me upset.

Drama class! I’m taking a summer drama class, which is really good. It takes my mind off of all the other stuff. There is a bunch of cool people in the class. There’s my old friend from middle school, Allyson. She has this friend, Colby I think his name is. One those drama geeks, a real artsy guy. He wasn’t bad at all, I guess, but he kept giving me those creepy guy looks.

Yeah, sorry, not interested. I’m only interested in one person, and not only is she of the other gender, but…

The phone rings.

Maybe it’s Taz.

I scramble off of my bed and run for the phone.

“Hello?” I ask breathlessly.


It’s not Taz. It’s Allyson.

“Oh. Hi Ally.” I hope I don’t sound too dismal.

“Listen, what are you doing after acting class tomorrow?”

Hmm, let’s see… feeling sorry for myself… missing Taz… writing random depressed thoughts into my already overfilled notebook…

“Why?” I’m not giving any answers until I know what she wants.

“Because we’re all going to go to Colby’s house and go swimming. His house is awesome, man you’d never believe it. He wanted to know if you could come!”

“He did?”

Ally giggles. “Uh huh! He thought you were really cute. So, you wanna come?”

Swimming with a good-looking guy that thinks I’m cute. What teenage girl wouldn’t say yes?

Me. That’s who wouldn’t say yes.

“I don’t know… I mean, I really don’t know him all too well, and I’d feel weird. Who else will I know?” I have a feeling I’m still not going to get my point across.

“A bunch of people from our old school-Megan, Billy, Joe, Dave, Carrie… Come on Maya! You haven’t seen them in like a year!”

I sigh. “Fine. I guess. Yeah. Whatever.”

“Good! Ok, so bring your swimsuit and towel and stuff to class tomorrow. We’re all just going to walk there. I can’t wait!”

“Neither can I.” I only sound half as enthused as her.

We say our goodbyes, and I hang up the phone. I look around my room. It’s so boring. I miss Taz’s room. The walls are covered in paintings, and it’s all around gorgeous. She has different murals on each wall. One of them features her friends, but she drew me in the center with rays of light radiating off of my body. I remember how much I giggled when I first saw it. It was weird, seeing an almost life size replica of me whenever I turned around.

I sigh and sit back down on the bed. After a few minutes I flop down, and turn on the TV. I press the play button for the VCR and smile to myself as The Empire Strikes Back comes onto the screen. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I watch as Han Solo starts to talk to Princess Leia in the Millennium Falcon.

Taz always used to re-enact this scene with me. She found it so funny that I love this particular part so much that I watch it over and over, so she finally learned the lines and used them on me whenever I was mad at her.

“Hey, your worship… I was only trying to help.” Han Solo defends himself as the Princess pushes him away.

“Will you please stop calling me that?” Leia is still struggling.

“Sure, Leia.”

“Oh, you make it so difficult sometimes.”

“I do, I really do… but you could be a little bit nicer sometimes. Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I’m alright.”

Leia stops and rubs her hand. “Occasionally… when you aren’t acting like a scoundrel.”

“Scoundrel? Scoundrel… I like the sound of that.” He starts to massage the Princess’ hand.

“Stop that.”

“Stop what?”

“Stop that! My hands are dirty.”

“My hands are dirty too. What are you afraid of?”

“Afraid?” She looks into his eyes.

He takes her hand again and draws her to him. “You’re trembling.”

“I’m not trembling.”

“You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.”

“I happen to like nice men.” Leia whispers.

“I am a nice man.”

“No you’re not. You’re…”

Her words are cut off as they finally lose themselves in a kiss.

I sigh. Why can’t my life be like that? With someone I really love? Someone that will whisk me away to another galaxy… of course, Han Solo did get frozen in carbonite only a little while later. And they didn’t unfreeze him for what, three years?

Leia and Han break apart as Threepio enters the room and Leia makes a quick exit.

A tear rolls down my cheek.

Author’s Notes: Here it is, yay! Kind of short, but oh well… I am working on another fic that is much more important! This chapter is more to estab—*stops and looks at Star guiltily* … set up Colby’s role in Maya’s life. Don’t act as if I’m giving away a secret! You already know what the bastard is going to do!

Dedication: The word ‘establish.’

I groan quietly and pinch away a bit of fat on my stomach. Lucky me, isn’t it? I had brought a regular one-piece suit, but after putting it on rediscovered a rip in the side. I hadn’t worn this swimsuit in ages, I knew about the rip, but had completely forgotten about it. Allyson had seen my dilemma and somehow managed to talk me into using the extra suit she brought.

Ally has a perfect body. Of course the suit is a two-piece.

I sigh, and open the bathroom door. I wrap a towel around my body. I guess I don’t really look bad, it’s just that I’m self conscious by nature. I hate wearing bikinis around people I don’t know. I think the only person I don’t feel embarrassed around is Taz. Of course.

I walk down the hallway. The house is huge but kind of like one big circle. I think I can find my way back out to the pool without any help.

I finally make it back to the kitchen after losing myself a few times. Our host Colby is standing it the fridge. He looks up as I enter the room.

“Oh hey cutie!” He gives me a lopsided grin.

“Um, hi.” I’ve actually been trying to avoid talking to this guy. In class earlier he tried to be my partner for our daily exercises, but I quickly paired with my friend Megan. At his house I’ve busied myself with changing and stuff. This is going to be the first conversation we’ve ever had.

“What’s with towel?” He asks.

“Um, oh, nothing, I just—” Damn me for being easily flustered. It’s not like I’m attracted to him or something. He’s cute, I can say that much. His black hair is kind of shaggy and scruffy looking, in the ‘I’m too cool to style my hair’ way. His bright green eyes stand out on his pale skin under a few strands of his hair. He has a few chains around his neck in typical cool guy fashion. He’s still flashing me a dazzling smile. Very cute, yes, but not my type at all.

“Can’t get out a sentence?” He asks, walking towards me.

“Um, something like that.” Dammit Maya, start a sentence without saying “um”! You’re going to make him think you’re a bashful young girl just begging for him to take her flower!

“You should take that towel off, you can’t swim with it around you like that.” He smirks, leaning against the counter about a foot away from me.

“Yeah, I was gonna take it off when I got outside.” I motion to the noise. Our friends are splashing and playing around in the water. I think I actually want to join them.

“Hey, you might as well do it now.” He shrugs.

“Well, I—” Before I can finish my sentence he rips the towel away from me. I stare at him in shock. I’m now standing clad only in Ally’s tiny bikini.

“See now, that wasn’t so bad, was it?” Colby laughs, keeping the towel away from me.

I cross my arms over my chest in resignation. I can see him moving his eyes up and down my body. It’s positively disgusting. His gaze stops on my stomach. He leans forward and points.

“What’s that?”

I look down. “Birthmark.”

“It looks like a butterfly.” He remarks, keeping his finger on my skin.

Yeah, it does. I remember how much Taz freaked out when she saw it. It’s an interesting coincidence that she is positively intrigued with that creature, and I happen to have a birthmark in its shape.

I back away from him, slightly uncomfortable with the contact.

“Oh, sorry. Didn’t know you were burned by my touch. Although, I do seem to have that effect on most girls. I guess I’m just that hot.”

Wow, this guy is amazingly cocky. I give him a skeptical look, and grab for my towel again.

He snatches it away, grinning. I walk forward, and make another attempt. He hops up onto the counter, sitting on it. I try to pull it away from under him.

I stop what I’m doing as he starts laughing. Oh god. I really hope he doesn’t think I’m flirting with him…

Ally comes in through the sliding glass door.

“Hey you two!” She stops and gives me an approving look. “Good, I’m glad that suit fits nicely!”

“Yup, it sure does.” Colby hops off of the counter, taking my towel with him. “Now come on Maya, you can’t show off that lovely body from the kitchen.”

I sigh and let Ally drag me outside. I hate men.

Author’s Notes: *sigh* I gave up Breeze for this? Oh well, I guess it’s not that bad. You hated Colby before? Get ready to want to punch the f*cker. Why did I put that star there? I’ve used the word enough… anyway, read.

Dedication: Alison for being a great friend. Even if she’ll never read this.

“So, did you like the movie?” Colby puts his hand on my lower back as we make our way out of the theater.

“Yeah, it wasn’t bad.” I know I sound uncomfortable. I hope he knows it too. I don’t like where his hand is. I’d prefer if he didn’t touch me at all, but if he’s going to, I don’t want it so close to my butt.

As if on cue from my thoughts, his hand slips down a few inches.

I smother my sigh. How did I get myself into this mess?

Oh yeah. Allyson, of course, had talked me into it. Three days of incessant nagging and gross looks from Colby. I thought guys could be a little more discreet. I remember how hard Taz tried to hide her crush on me. She was so jumpy and stuff when I was around, it was adorable.

I’m not sure why that has any relevance, I just like remembering her.

Colby, his hand still on my rear end, turns to smile at me. “Where do you wanna go?”

I shrug. He probably wouldn’t like the answer ‘home’.

“Well, how about we grab a soda or something and just go walking a little?”

“Yeah, sure.” How bad could that be? It would probably be faster than doing anything else.

Colby and I start to walk through a park. Much to my relief, he moves his hand. It stops around my waist. Not perfect, but better.

“On second thought, do you just want to sit here?” He asks.

I look around. Yeah, I guess it couldn’t be too bad. Although now I’m going to have to listen to his bragging.

We sit on a bench, his arm on the back around my shoulder.

“You’re quiet.” He grins. “I like that. It’s hot, in that mysterious ‘I’m-a-secret-temptress’, sexy way.”

That’s nice. I force a smile onto my face as an answer. Jesus, stop hitting on me already!

He opens his mouth, as if to say something, and then closes it again. Good, I don’t want to have to hear you brag, you asshole!

Then he does something that I’m really not expecting.

He leans over, and kisses me square on the lips. Within seconds, his tongue is in my mouth and his hand is on my breast.


What is he doing?! What… what is this?! We’re on our first date, which can hardly even be called a date, and… he’s not supposed to be doing this!!!!!!

Colby backs up for a second, panting slightly. The little fucker already has a hard-on! This is way too disturbing, and I have to leave before it gets even worse.

I’m glad that I have my watch, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to check it. I feign surprise at the time, and clap a hand over my mouth.

“Oh, Colby, I’m so sorry! I have to get going, my mom wanted me home by 10.”

He looks disappointed. “Oh, well, I can walk you there if you want.”

“Yeah, sure.”

I can deal with that. I’d rather he did that instead of me having to walk by myself and be prey for the creepy teenage boys in my neighborhood.

We get up and start to walk towards my house. His arm places itself firmly around my waist, every once in awhile brushing my butt.

I hate boys. I hate boys. I hate boys.

We reach my doorstep in about fifteen minutes. Colby wraps his arms around me, and I can tell he’s preparing to give my intestines a thorough cleaning again. I quickly turn my head, and he follows my gaze.

“I think my mom’s watching… I’m really sorry, Colby. I’ll see you in class tomorrow, though.” I give him an apologetic smile.

“Yeah, that’s cool.” He doesn’t seem fazed at all by my outright lying. Jeez, can’t he take a hint? “I’ll see ya.”

He gives me a ‘quick’ kiss on the lips, and strolls off. I let myself into the house.

“How was your date, honey?” My mother calls from the TV room.

“Fine.” I call back.

“Did you have a good time?” My father asks. I can hear the sounds of the news, and I wonder if they’re even paying attention to me.

“Yes.” I yell with a tone of finality.

I walk into my room and slam the door behind me. Why am I so upset? I don’t even know. But it probably has to do with the way that I was just violated by that stupid asshole. God! I can’t even think straight.

I flop down onto my bed and turn on the TV. Friends is on. That’s good, I like that show. After watching for a few minutes, I notice the answering machine blinking next to my phone.

My mom had been sick of taking messages for me, especially since my friends had a habit of calling when I was still in school at Eden Hall. So, she got me an answering machine for Christmas last year.

I press the play button.

“Hi Maya! It’s Ally. Listen, call me when you get back from your date… I want to know all of the—”

I press the delete message button and cut her off mid-sentence. I expect to hear the three beeps signaling the end of the messages, but only hear one.

A throat clears on the tape. “Um, hi.”

I freeze. I know that voice all to well.

“I just need to talk to you. If you could call me back, that’d be really nice. Um, well… bye.”

Taz’s voice ends, and I hear the three beeps.

I pick up the phone and quickly dial the familiar digits. The laugh track plays on the TV as Chandler makes one of his token jokes.

“Hello?” The Irish voice picks up on the other end after only one ring.

“Taz, hi.”

She pauses. “Hi.”

“Uh, you needed to talk?” I ask nervously.

“Yeah. Well, actually. I just needed to tell you something.”

“Go on…” Jeez, Taz, get to the point! You’re killing me!

“Well, I’m going to Ireland for the summer, and I’m going to leave tomorrow. And I just thought…” she trails off.

“Yeah? Come on, Taz, I’m not a mind reader.” Oh, god. It comes out sounding way meaner than I had intended.

“Hey, I just wanted to see if you needed to say anything! I’m perfectly fine the way I am!” She says defensively.

“Well, you’re the one that called, you should have something to say!” I snap back.

We sit in silence for a few moments.

“I’m sorry.” We say in unison.

No giggles.

“I… I don’t know. I just wanted to tell you that I was leaving.” She says.

“Yeah. Will you have the internet?”

“Probably not often, but I’ll be able to check my email once in awhile.”

“Ok. Well, I’ll email you if I… you know, need to.”


“Well, I’ll see you.”


“When are you coming back?”

“August. About two weeks before term starts.”

“Ok. I’ll see you then, I guess.”

“Yeah. Bye.”


I hang up the phone, feeling very confused. That conversation was too full of subtext to even start to understand. I know Taz well enough to know that she meant more than what she said. The question is, what did she want to say?

I sigh, and the phone rings again. I pick it up quickly.


“I forgot to tell you to have a good summer.” Taz sounds uncharacteristically nervous.

“Oh. Well, thanks. You too. Pick me up a rock or something from Ireland.”

“Ok, I will.”



We hang up again, and I’m left even more confused than before.

“Come on, Maya.” Allyson pleads.

“For the fourth time, no.” I tell her. “And why are you so insistent? If you think he’s that great, why don’t you date him?”

“Oh, please…” Allyson groans. “First of all, we already tried that during last year. He’s not my type, I’m not his. Plus, you know I have something going on with Dave.”

I sigh. “Look. I just don’t want to. He’s not my type either!”

“You’ve been out with him four times in the last week. You can’t say you don’t like him at least a little.”

I have to stop and think about that. It is true. After I got over my initial fear and disgust of him, I found that he was really not a bad guy. A little pushy, a little horny, and sometimes a little full of himself, but still pretty sweet. He’s also really funny, and very talented when it comes to drama. He does the best impressions!

“See… I knew it!” Ally says happily.

“I didn’t say anything. I don’t want to date him. He’s a jerk.” I mutter.

“He is so not a jerk. Well, he is, but not when he’s head over heels for a girl, like he is for you.”

“He’s not head over heels for me. All he likes is my body.”

“That’s not true! Even then, so what? You get with him for the summer, have some fun, then go back to school and date some preppy intelligent boys like you must have last year.”

I roll my eyes. Taz… let’s see… preppy? No. Intelligent? That can be disputed. Boy? Definitely not. Truthfully, there are no guys that strike my fancy at Eden Hall. If I did have to date a guy, well, maybe I wouldn’t mind if it was someone like Colby…

I quickly clear my mind, realizing what I’m contemplating.

“Look, Allyson. I just wouldn’t work, because well…” I stop, knowing that it’s time to try a different tactic. Ally’s one fault is that she is a hopeless romantic. “What if I really fall for him? You know, if we really hit it off, if we even… fall in love? What then? I’ll just have to go back to school in two months and we both know he’ll never wait for me to come back.”

Ally pauses. When she starts again, she sounds a little regretful. “Yeah. You’re right. That… yeah.”

My call waiting beeps.

“Ally, I gotta go. I’ll talk to you later.” I don’t know who it is, but anyone has to be better than Allyson.

“Yeah. See ya.”

She hangs up and I click over to the other line.


“Hello! Is the woman or man of the house available?”

I sigh to myself. “No, I’m sorry, they’re out at the moment.”

“Well. That’s fine. Are you old enough to—”

I turn off the phone. I hate telemarketers. I stretch for a second, and then get off my bed. I walk downstairs into the kitchen and open the freezer to get a strawberry Popsicle. I’ve only just thrown away the wrapper when the phone rings again. I groan, and pick it up.


“Hey. Maya. Hi.” It’s Colby. He sounds odd.

“Oh, hello.” I wonder—hope—if he’s talked to Allyson.

“I… I just talked to Allyson.” Well, I guess that answers my question. Not that it was actually a question.

“Oh. Ok.” What else am I supposed to say? Oh, yeah, that’s great, now you know that I loathe you? Sorry that a girl has finally turned you down, hon?

“I… I don’t know. I guess I just thought that we might have something good going.”

He sounds so different, and I feel a pang of guilt.

“Oh, Colby… really, it’s not you, it’s—”

“You? Oh no.” He gives a short laugh. “It’s always me. This always happens when I finally find a sweet girl. I guess I’m just better of having a little fling with those sluts that throw themselves at me.”

“Colby…” I say with dismay.

“No, forget it. You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry for wasting your time.”

With that, he hangs up on me. I take the phone away from my ear and stare at it for a moment. I reluctantly click it off. That was weird. Totally different from the Colby that I’ve been out with four times in the last week. He was strangely emotional, even though he was obviously madder than a raging bull. If you put those two emotions together, does that mean he’s… hurt? Colby Lawrence… hurt? He’s actually capable of human emotion? I scold myself. That’s mean, Maya. Before I can think anything else, I realize that my Popsicle is dripping, and I now have strawberry juice all over my hand. I quickly stick the frozen treat back into my mouth and grab a napkin to clean up my mess.

I love long stretches of silence. They mean that I’m at peace and usually happy. Of course, that’s ironic because I am my happiest with Taz… and she is far from silent.

My parents have been in Chicago all day, visiting my Dad’s college friends. They should be home around midnight or one.

I’m just sitting on the living room couch, writing. I had a really good idea for a story. It involves a girl that has premonitions, and envisions her own death. She now has to find a way to stop it. Yeah, it’s been done, but I thought it would be fun.

The TV’s on but muted. I like occasionally looking up and seeing whatever happens to be on, but I want to keep my peace and quiet. I lower my pen to the paper and start to write again.

Ari looked down at her hands and saw the blood. It was all over her body and a large puddle was rapidly forming on the floor. What is going on? She thought.

Where is it coming from? Oh god… is it coming from… me?

Then as quickly as it had come, it was gone. Ari gasped and her knees went out. She felt a pair of strong arms grab her before she hit the floor and

I jump as the doorbell rings. Dammit, right in the middle of a sentence! I close my notebook and place a pillow over it. I’m very protective of my writing, and I don’t like to leave my notebook in the open… even if no one is home.

I walk to the door and open it.

Colby stands on my porch clutching a small bunch of tiger lilies and blushing furiously.

“What… are you… I mean, huh?” I stutter, crimson rising to my own cheeks.

“You told me that tiger lilies are your favorite flowers.” He mumbles.

I gaze at him in shock. His embarrassment makes him even cuter. Dammit, no, Maya! But as I continue to stare at him, I realize that it’s true. I’m definitely attracted to him, and it doesn’t help that he just brought me flowers for no reason.

“That is so sweet.” I finally say.

He shrugs and holds out the bouquet. “I guess I wanted to apologize again for being kind of a jerk. I just really like you. So I’m sorry, and maybe… would you want to be my girlfriend?”

I have to stop and wonder if he knows that he’s apologizing for, and how he was being a jerk. From the earnest look in his bright green eyes he seems sincere, but I still don’t know if we’re on the same wavelength.

I sigh, and feel myself giving in. I reach my hand out and take the flowers from him. “Thanks, Colby.”

He shifts uncomfortably. “You did hear the girlfriend part, right?”


“Oh, ok. I was just making sure you didn’t have selective hearing or something.”

I giggle and he flashes me a portion of his dazzling smile.

“Well, let me think about that part? I ask, and wince as his face falls. “I’ll call you in a little bit.”

“Yeah, ok. Uh, call my cell phone.”

“I don’t think I have the number.”

“Here.” He pulls a pen out of his pocket and writes the seven digits on my palm. He gives my hand a quick squeeze as he finishes. I make sure I avoid his eyes as he leaves and I go back into the house. I put the flowers in some water, and then sit down in my spot on the couch. 7th Heaven is now on the TV. I hate that show. I ignore it, and pick up my notebook to continue writing.

I can’t. My mind keeps wandering to Colby.

Why won’t I date him? Let’s put aside the fact that he’s… Colby. Ok. Number one. I’m a lesbian.

Not technically. Technically, I’m bisexual. I have liked my share of both boys and girls. So that shouldn’t be a problem.

Number two falls under the same category, but is much different and much more important.


I take a deep breath. She shouldn’t be an issue. We’re broken up, and plus… she’s in Ireland! But… what if there is a chance that we might get back together? I would never want anything to get in the way of our relationship.

Still. We’re broken up. We’re over with. I can’t just make her be the reason that I never get with anyone ever again. It’s time to move on, Maya. Get on with your life.

I make a quick decision and pick up the phone next to me. I dial the numbers on my hand. Colby picks up halfway through the first ring.


“Yeah. Um, I’d love to.”

“You would?” The sheer joy is evident in his voice.

I giggle. Why is it that he always makes me do that? I never giggle! “Yes.”

“Well, in that case…” I hear a tapping on the window.

I look over and my eyes widen in surprise as I see Colby standing on the porch, his phone up to his ear.

“Did you even leave?” I laugh as I get up to let him in.

“Nope.” He tells me somewhat proudly.

We both hang up the phones as the door between us is opened. Before I know it I’m in his arms, and his lips are on mine.

This time, though, I’m kissing him back.

Author’s Notes: The email addresses used in this chapter are fictional to go with the characters and aren’t real addresses. So if you send them mail, don’t blame me if some 50-year-old guy starts to stalk you.

Colby jumps on the table with a flourish. There’s a loud banging noise and the table shakes, but he grins and ignores it.

“Why, it could be Grease Lightning!”

“Ok good, stop!” Mr. Parchek says. “Watch that table, Colby. Don’t hurt yourself.”

Colby shrugs and hops down.

“You guys can take a break. I’m going to check on Marla to see how the scenery’s going. When I get back I want to see both Danny and Sandy’s in the carnival scene, please.” Our director skips off into the backstage area.

Our acting class has collaborated with the other “Summer Stage Life” classes. Acting, dancing, technical stuff, and art have all met to put on a grand production. We’re doing “Grease.” We auditioned and somehow I landed the leading role as Sandy Olsen. How ironic is it that Colby is the male lead, Danny? It’s really no surprise. He is the best actor in the class.

We don’t work together often, though. The parts are double casted and he usually works with Natalie, the other Sandy. I’m then stuck with Mark, the other Danny.

Sometimes I catch Natalie flirting with Colby. And sometimes I see him flirting back. But then I remind myself of the play and the roles that they are in. We’re acting.

Colby saunters over to me. I see Natalie scowling as he slides an arm around my waist and plants a kiss on my neck. I grin to myself. It’s so fun to make people jealous… god, I can be such a bitch! As Colby pulls away, I decide this is a good time to tell him what I’ve heard.

“This is it, you know. He’s making the decisions about who’s paired with whom today. I heard him talking to Mrs. Powell earlier… he said that we’re all working with good chemistry and it’s the carnival scene that’ll decide it.” I confide in him.

He grins and his eyes twinkle mischievously. “So we’ll just really have to turn on the heat.”

I laugh and we hug briefly.

“Ok, let’s practice.” He says, picking up his script. I know he doesn’t need it because I don’t need mine-and he has a much easier time memorizing stuff.

Colby is so much fun to be around in the theater. He is phenomenal to watch because he gets so into his performance. It is a high privilege to work with him, if you ask me. You can tell he really loves to act.

“Are we doing the song?” I ask nervously. This particular scene is the worst part of the musical for me. Sandy changes from an innocent girl to a sexy badass thing. I’m not very sexy badass-like, and I always get self-conscious. But I really want to be in the play with Colby (and show up Natalie), so I’m going to have to grin and bear it.

He nods and counts to three on his fingers. He starts the song confidently.

We’ve been working with the singing, acting, and dancing coaches every day for the past two and a half weeks. Opening night is in another two and a half weeks. One would think that five weeks is not long enough to put on a huge production like this, but putting in five to six hours a day gets a lot done.

I start my part and Colby winks at me. I fight back my blush.

We start to get into our act and he walks toward me. I shake my finger and back away.

By the end of the song we have our arms wrapped around each other. As we break apart I look around to discover that we have attracted a rather large audience. Mr. Parchek is grinning at us from the front.

“That was just a rehearsal?” he teases.

My face is—what else?—bright red. Colby is grinning at my side.

“She’s a great girl.” He pats my head and I elbow him in the ribs.

“Yes, definitely.” Mr. Parchek looks really pleased. “Why don’t you two try that again and then go work with Mrs. Gonzalez on the dance scene? I don’t believe you two have ever done that together, and it’s time to get working… only eighteen days until opening night!”

Colby and I exchange a surprised glance. There’s something about his tone that seems to be suggesting…

“Do you mean we’ll be in the show together?” Colby asks.

“After that display? Of course!” The director grins.

Colby whoops and picks me up to twirl me around. When he sets me down he leans in for a kiss. I push him away, blushing. There are too many people around.

“No time for that, let’s get to work!” Parchek roars from his director’s chair.

Colby grins at me, his Sandy, and starts to sing again.

I flop onto the couch in my living room, completely exhausted from today’s rehearsal. Colby sits almost on top of me and turns on the TV. I take the remote from him and press the “play” button for the VCR. “Grease” comes on.

Colby smirks. “How many times have watched this?”

I grin and shrug. Our director has taken a lot of choreography and lines from the movie. That’s fine with me—I watched it pretty much non-stop during fifth grade. I’ve also been watching a lot lately so I can get as into character as possible.

“You make a great Danny.” I say, snuggling up to him.

He kisses my head and winds his arms around my waist. We situate ourselves in a comfortable horizontal position.

As the movie progresses Colby’s hand start roaming in places they shouldn’t and I feel a little nervous. My parents aren’t home, they’re at work, but that makes me feel even more worried. We’ve been dating for three weeks exactly. That is not long enough for it to be right for Colby’s fingers to try and unbutton my pants.

I squirm away. He looks at me, imploring but unfazed. I shrug and turn my attention back to the movie. A few minutes later his hand is back.

I squirm away again and he sits up, clearly pissed off.

“What?” he asks.

I shrug again. “It… I don’t know. I’m not ready for that yet.”

“Not ready yet for what?” he asks incredulously. “It’s not like we were getting married… I was just trying to have a little fun, that’s all.”

“I don’t want to have that type of fun yet. I’m sorry.” I tell him, already waiting for the imminent explosion.

He gets a disgusted look on his face. “Lighten up. You’re not fooling anyone, we all know you’re easy.”

I want to say something in my defense, but I bite my lip to stop. It’s really no use. Colby gets like this sometimes. It’s better to let him run out of steam and continue like nothing ever happened.

As he rants I start to think of Taz. I haven’t thought about her much in the past few weeks. She would hate Colby. If she heard him talking about me like this, she would probably run off to find a pair of scissors to castrate him with.

At the thought of this scenario I snort with laughter. Colby pauses and glares at me.

“Something funny?” He asks coolly.

I look at him for a second. Up until this moment I have never been seriously scared of someone. But my body feels numb with fear as his eyes stare into mine.

I shake my head as an answer to his question.

“Good.” He says with a tone of finality.

He situates himself back on the couch and we—as expected—resume as if nothing had ever happened.

I sign onto my instant messenger and check to see who’s online. No one interesting… Nora, John, Leslie, and… Taz?!

I stare at her name for a few seconds and on a whim double click to send her a message.

When the window comes up it says “(*)Taz(*) may not reply because he or she appears to be offline.”


Then again, what was I going to say to her anyway? It’s probably a good thing. But I just have the incredible urge to talk to her.

I open my email account to send her a letter. When the inbox comes up I see that I have one new email… from Taz McDonald.

Damn you, Purple. You always seem to read my mind.

To: “Maya Hansen”

From: “Taz McDonald”

Subject: Hello

Date: Wed, 28 July 22:04:03-0600


You know, you really need to change your email address. Anyway, how’s your summer? Mine has been amazingly boring. Nan’s been sick all week, some sort of summer virus, and I’ve been stuck taking care of her. I don’t mind it or anything, it just gets boring.

I’ve been to the beach a few times. I’m burned to a crisp because I accidentally sat out in the sun for some 3 hours. You know how I get when I draw.

How’s the acting thing? Hope you’re having fun.

Ok. I can pretend that I didn’t have a purpose for writing to you, but I’m not good with tact.

I’m terribly sorry for the way we left things. Of course I feel like I had a good reason to be mad, but I’m sorry for provoking you. I was completely out of line. I want to try and work things out. I definitely think we can make it through something so stupid and petty. I really miss you, Hansen! I’ll call you when I get home.

That is, of course, if you want to work things out too. We don’t have to or anything…

Argh! Just write back, I guess.



I stare at the email in shock. I hit the reply button and start to type before I even have time to think.

To: “Taz McDonald”

From: “Maya Hansen”

Subject: Re: Hello

Date: Wed, 28 July 16:34:21-0600


First of all, it’ll probably be the 29th when you get this so happy birthday!

Anyway. I’m also sorry for everything that happened. You don’t know how happy I was to see an email from you in my inbox. I’d love to talk things out with you when you get home. Call me first thing. FIRST THING!

That’s all I have to say for now, I’m really tired from acting class. But dammit I miss you too! More than you could possibly imagine!!!! I can’t even write, damn you. Argh! Write me back as soon as possible!!


* // Maya ]

My hand lingers over the send button. As I signed my name, I had remembered something.


What am I doing? I’m dating him now! But… it’s Taz

I press the send button.

“So are you glad it’s over?” Ally opens a can of Coke, which promptly fizzes over and spills onto the floor.

“Fuck.” She mutters, trying to mop it off her shirt. I grab a napkin and quickly clean the mess on the floor. Once she’s de-sticky-fied, she smiles and asks her question again.

I shrug. “Kind of. It was fun to be involved, but now all of the pressure is gone.”

She nods as she drinks her soda. “Agreed.”

“Well, well, my little Sandy Superstar!” Mr. Parchek wanders over and claps a hand onto my shoulder.

“Hi Mr. Parchek.” I grin.

“I’m gonna get going, I’m too old to be partying late into the night like you young folks. But please tell Colby that it was great of him to have the cast party here, I can’t find him anywhere.”

“I think he’s upstairs somewhere.” Ally says.

“Well, just tell him goodbye for me. You girls have a good rest of the summer. Ally, I’ll be seeing you in drama class, right?”

“Yup.” She grins.

“And Maya, you sign up for this workshop next year! I think we’re going to be doing West Side Story next year, and I’d love to have you involved. Have a good time in Minnesota.” My director smiles at me again from behind his thick glasses.

“Of course.” I return the smile.

After he leaves, Ally and I make small talk again. I begin to wonder where Colby is. This are a lot of people here, but don’t you think I would have seen him at least once in the last half an hour?

Colby offered to have the cast party as his house, as his parents would be out of town for the night. The Lawrences are really lax with him. Sometimes I think they’re a little too lenient. How many other parents would let their teenage son have such a huge party this late at night, obviously without adult supervision? But oh well, he’s still a great guy.

“I think I’m going to go look for Colby.” I tell Ally, setting my drink down to leave the living room.

“You mean your booooyfriend?” She giggles.

I roll my eyes. “Allyson, you’ve had a month and a half to get used to the fact that we’re dating. And yet you still tease me about it?”

“You betcha. Now go get him, Tiger!” She gives me a light shove.

I chuckle, and start to walk upstairs. My boyfriend, who has an impish grin on his face, meets me halfway. He cuts me off before I can ask where he was.

“Hey beautiful! I’ve been lookin’ for you. Come on, let’s go, it’s too loud down here.” He grabs my arm and pulls me upstairs.

We weave through the hallways, stopping occasionally to talk to assorted members of the cast and crew. He finally pulls me into a closed door.

I flick on the lights as we step inside. I’m greeted by the sight of assorted awards, trophies, and photos. Clothes are strewn all across the floor, and a screensaver is on the computer on his desk.

“The stables of the Lawrence estate?” I ask, gingerly stepping through a pile of presumably dirty laundry.

“So I’m not exactly a neat person.” He shrugs, the grin still on his face.

I stop to look at a picture on a shelf. It features Colby as a young kid. He’s dressed up in a suit and is in the embrace of…

“Molly Ringwald?” I giggle, just loud enough so that he can hear.

“Hey, shut up. She was great in Sixteen Candles, and in The Breakfast Club. Plus, that picture’s already worth something. But just wait, once I’m famous, it’ll double in price. In fact, everything in here will be going for about a million bucks. If you want something, you can take it and I’ll autograph it for you. No charge.”

“And he’s modest, too, folks…” I murmur, turning around to face him.

He smiles, and approaches me. A few moments later I find myself waiting while he clears a space on his messy bed. He pulls me by the waist over to him, and I gently lay myself down.

As things progress, I start to wonder. What exactly am I doing here? What am I doing with Colby, at that? I know I’ve been preoccupied with the show and everything, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t control my life. And right now, I’m realizing that this isn’t what I want. Taz never replied to my email. It bothered me more than I would even let on to myself. Taz doesn’t play games, she wouldn’t send that email without good reason. But since she hasn’t replied, I don’t know what to think.

Colby has been getting weirder and weirder. Ever since the incident where he tried to literally get into my pants a few weeks ago, I’ve found that he gets angrier with me more often. Our relationship has definitely shifted to the more physical side, and I find that being in the same position as I am right now (under Colby) is a daily occurrence.

I’m scared of him. I’ve never been terrified of a person, not my mother or my father or anyone. But he’s got a strange power over me, and in the worst sense ever. I’m such a pushover. He’s walking all over me, and what’s worse is that I’m letting him. He’s never raised a hand to me or anything like that, but sometimes I feel as if he’s definitely not above doing it.

Maybe I’ve been stupid this whole time. I shouldn’t base my decision on whether I want to be with Colby or not on if Taz and I are together. I can definitely live to be single.

Listen to me. I’m talking as if I want to break up with him. But I do. But I don’t. What is he going to do if I try?

I snap back to reality as I finally realize that Colby has somehow slipped my shirt off.

“Hey, Colby… what are you doing?” I ask, sitting up a bit.

“Nothing, babe.” He continues to kiss his way around my collar.

“I don’t think I feel comfortable with this.”

“We’ve been dating a long time.”

“A month and a half is not a long time.”

“It is in my world.”


“What?” He pulls back sharply, glaring at me.

“I don’t want to argue. Let me just have my shirt back.”

He shakes his head defiantly. In alternate universe, I might find his non-cooperation humorous. However, we still happen to be in this universe.

“This is ridiculous.” I wriggle out from under him, and grab my shirt from the pile on the floor. All of my earlier thoughts seem to have given me a sort of boldness, and I head towards the door.

“Where are you going?” He asks, getting up from the bed.

“I don’t know. I think I’m going to find a way home.” I say, reaching for the doorknob.

In a two quick strides, Colby reaches me. He grabs me by the shoulders and slams me against the door. I cry out as he twists my arm out to a strange position.

The look in his eyes matches the intensity of the grimace on his face. I bite my lip, trying to fight through the pain. It feels like my arm is going to pop out any second.

He pulls me back towards him and lowers his face to mine. The kiss is rough, and I can feel the faint taste of blood on my lip as he pulls away. For some reason I’m reminded of Angelus from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I watch way too much TV.

He pushes me onto the bed again. Again, I ask myself… why am I letting him do this? I know there is a way to get out of this situation. Colby is not that bad of a guy. He won’t actually hurt me… will he?

I try to keep my mind off what is going right now. I think of everything imaginable: Politics, the environment, the last time I visited my grandmother, a few songs by Green Day, Star Wars, turkey sandwiches, and best of all… Taz.

I bite my lip and take in a sharp breath as a flash of pain rushes through my body.

“Are you ok?” He mutters in a low voice to me. “Should I keep going?”

I decide not to acknowledge him, and close my eyes instead. As he starts up again, I try to focus on all things good.

“Thanks.” I whisper to Megan as I get out of her car. She gives me a sympathetic smile, and waits until I’m inside of the house to pull away.

Everyone thinks Colby and I had a falling out. After emerging from his bedroom, I ignored all attempts he made to initiate some sort of contact between us. Not that he was falling all over himself to be around me, either.

I can’t believe we’ve done it. Of course, it can hardly be called ‘doing it’. I more or less sat there while Colby got where he needed to be.

I feel disgusting. Like a cheap whore.

And in the irony of ironies, Allyson told me where Colby was while Mr. Parchek was looking for him.

Making out with Natalie in one of the guest bedrooms. Apparently she was bragging about it while Colby and I were off together.

I walk straight to the bathroom that adjoins my own bedroom. I step into the shower and turn on the water. After a few minutes, my tears mix with the warm stream running over my body.

Does this count as being raped? When I think of rape, I think of someone being pushed into a corner and being physically being forced. That didn’t happen to me. I think it was my own free will, although there’s no doubt in my mind that this was the last thing I wanted.

I’m such an idiot.

I slide down to the bottom of the tub, and wrap my arms around my knees. This isn’t fair. I just need something to make it all go away.

I approach the small desk they have out at the front of the dormitory. One of the supervisors smiles at me from the other end of the table. I recognize her from last year, she was the advisor in the building next to ours. Brenda, I think is her name. She always had a lot more patience for Taz and I than our own advisor, Rita.

“Hi honey.” She says, pulling up a piece of paper with the heading “G-J”. “Hansen, right?”

“Yup. S-E-N.”

She uses a long red fingernail to scan down the list. She stops at my name, and looks up to smile at me.

“You’re in room 5 on the second floor.”

“Ok, thanks.” I hesitate for a second. “You couldn’t possibly tell me who I’m rooming with?”

“Oh, of course!” She consults the list again. “You’re with Theresa McDonald again! You two were very good friends last year, weren’t you?”

“Yeah. Thanks.” As I thought.

I sigh as I trudge up the stairs to my room, my arms full with one of my three boxes. I always bring a lot of stuff, because I’m going to be living in this place for the rest of the year. I don’t travel light as it is.

Room 5, huh? It’s definitely a different room from last year. Last year we were in the middle school dorm, way on the other side of campus. Eden Hall is split in half, middle school and high school. The younger kids rarely ever see the high schoolers, we’re always busy with our own stuff. This year will be my first year in high school, and I guess I’m a little nervous. It’s supposed to be really different from the lower grades.

I nudge the door of my new room open with my shoulder and step inside.

Just my luck. Taz is sitting on one of the beds, taking miscellaneous art supplies out of a box.

“Oh!” She says, getting up.

We stare dumbly at each other for a few moments. She looks the same, except for a few more freckles on her face. Must be from the sun.

“Hi.” One of us finally chokes out a greeting. I’m not sure who it is, it might be me.

“Um, I have more boxes.” I drop the one in my arms onto the floor, and quickly exit the room. Real smooth, Maya. Nice entrance/exit.

I come back upstairs with my other two boxes piled on top of each other. I stop outside of our room to let two girls pass. I recognize them from some of my classes last year: Vicky Starling and Sar Torrance.

“Hey guys.” I say, smiling at them.

“Hey Maya.” They respond in unison. They give each other a glance and giggle.

I try to refrain myself from rolling my eyes. I had almost forgotten about these two. They’re crazy… always finishing each other’s sentences and laughing about really stupid jokes.

“Are you going down to the auditorium right now? We’ll wait, if you want.” Sar offers.

“Auditorium?” I ask, shifting the weight of the boxes to my other side.

“Yeah. The Dean’s having an assembly to honor some new students or something.” Vicky rolls her eyes.

“Since when do we have assemblies to honor new students?” I wonder aloud.

The Looney Twins shrug in one motion.

“Yeah, I’ll be right there.” I push my door open again and set the boxes down. I look up at Taz, who now unpacking a box labeled ‘More Art Stuff’.

“Hey, did you hear anything about an assembly?” I ask, sticking my hands in my pocket.

“Yeah, I heard something about it downstairs.” She replies, not meeting my eyes.

“Well, I guess it’s right now. Do you want to go down there?”

“Sure.” She slowly gets off her bed and follows me out into the hall, where the two girls are still waiting for us.

Vicky and Sar give us a few strange looks as the four of us walk the few minutes to the Great Hall. They’re probably weirded out by the fact that Taz isn’t really talking at all. And the fact that Taz and I are walking about six feet apart.

As we take our seats in the back, I try to make sure that I’m not stuck next to Taz. Sar, however, goes out of her way to make sure that I am. She probably thinks that we’re still friends or something, despite the obvious fact that we’re trying to avoid each other. Sar’s not usually all ‘there’, though, and you can count on her not to catch something like this.

The Dean steps up to the podium with the Board of Alumni in the background. I swear, sometimes I really hate being stuck in a stuck-up preppy school like Eden Hall. But then again, the other choice would be being stuck in public school in Milwaukee… with Colby.

Thank god I got to come back to school. It was hell having to see him for the past week or so, because I’m truly scared of him. Although he’s barely kissed me since the incident at the cast party, I still don’t want to take any chances. I didn’t even tell him I was going back to school in Minnesota. I just sort of left. Hopefully he won’t be so mad when I go back that he hunts me down or something.

I’m crazy, I know.

The Dean rambles on and on about hockey and leadership and greatness. My mind obviously starts to wander. Although I went to a few hockey games last year, I’m not exactly into the craze like most others at Eden Hall. From what I’ve heard of Dean Buckley’s ramblings is that they’ve given scholarships to some really good hockey team, and they’ll be making the JV team. Ooh, Jordan Riley’s going to be pissed… he thinks he’s assured a spot on the team just because his dad’s on the Board of Alumni and his brother is Captain of Varsity. He’s such an asshole, I’m glad that he’s not getting to play.

Taz sighs. She’s probably even more bored than I am. My attention span is much longer than her’s, except when it comes to butterflies. She’s so weird. I don’t know anyone else that can just stare at an insect for hours on end.

The Dean is now about to introduce the new hockey team, the ‘Ducks’.

This sucks. I’ve never even stayed through an entire assembly at Eden Hall, Taz and I always skipped them together. But now we’re both stuck here doing nothing.

I’m about to make some conversation with her, to ask how her summer was (or why she never called me), but a long yelp and the sight of the stage curtain falling behind the Dean interrupt me.

The crowd murmurs for a few seconds as the mass tangled in the curtain tries to fix itself. Finally a few heads appear, all sporting helmets.

A tall boy with brown hair opens his mouth, and quickly closes it. He has dirt all over his face, but the blush is still evident.

“Uh, we’re the Ducks.” He says sheepishly.

I can’t help it. I burst out laughing. He just looks so stupid! Taz is also doubled over with mirth on the other side of me.

The Ducks? What losers.

We sit on opposite sides of the room, each making sure to appear busy to the other. I’m picking at the frayed hem of my jeans, and she’s playing with one of her bracelets. Yeah, we’re real busy.

“So…” She trails off, not sure where to go with the conversation.

“Yeah.” I say. What a conversation!

“How was your summer?” She asks.

I pause to think for a moment. Taz is not going to be happy to hear about Colby, even if I did (um, sort of) break up with him. Does just leaving the state without telling him count as breaking up? I sure hope so.

I make a quick judgment call. It’s probably better not to tell Taz about him. If it comes up in the future, then I can deal with it then. Right now I’m going to ask her something that I’ve been itching to all day.

“Fine. Why didn’t you call me?” I answer.

She closes her eyes briefly. In Taz language this means ‘I have a good reason but I’m afraid to tell you’. I wait to hear what she has to say.

In a few moments she sits up to face me, dangling her legs over the edge of the bed.

“This is going to sound stu—”

“Don’t finish that sentence, Taz McDonald. Nothing you say sounds stupid to me.”

She blushes a light red and concentrates on staring at her feet. Her blush deepens and I know that she is about to speak.

Sure enough. “I didn’t call you because some things are better said in person.”

“Like?” I ask, moving myself into the same position that she is in.

“I’m so sorry for all that we went through at the end of last year. Do you think there’s any way you can forgive me?”

“Only if you can forgive me.” We’re both blushing horribly now. Usually we make up fairly easy, but we’ve never had a fight so big. I guess it’s hard to be as outgoing as we are when we’re both so remorseful.

“Right, I don’t like this mushy stuff.” Taz always seems to read my mind. She hops up from her spot on the bed and scampers towards me. Scampering? That’s the Taz I know.

Instead of slowing down like a normal human being, she tackles me onto my bed. I squeal, but let her pin me down. I look into her eyes for a second, and my brow furrows with confusion.

“What?” She asks softly.

“Your eyes look weird.” I answer. They do. They’re blue, not purple.

“Oh, right. My eyes were itchy this morning, so I took my contacts out.” She grins.

“They’re pretty.” I grin back. She looks different with blue eyes. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t seen her in so long, but now that I’m looking at her, I never want to stop. I feel so fuzzy.

“You’re pretty.” She answers.

“You’re being silly.” I giggle. We’re both being silly. But I can’t help feeling giddy… this is probably the first time I’ve felt genuinely happy all summer.

She drops a kiss onto my lips and I quickly pull her closer to me. She makes the cutest noise against me and I smile through our kiss.

Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to get much sleep tonight.

Author’s Note: This actually ties in with a chapter Star wrote in Breeze, where it says that Maya and Taz spent all night “making up for lost time over the summer” and got to classes late the next day. Speaking of Star, sorry if the blue eyes bit was out of Taz’s character or anything. I was just noticing a person with beautiful blue eyes today and it stuck with me. Weird.

Eek, forgot to put this on the last one! Um, about the Eden Hall also being a middle school thing. Star and I both accidentally made a mistake in previous chapters involving Taz and Maya… we had them as freshmen, but we also said that they had started dating a year before they met the Ducks… but they met at Eden Hall. So I had to quickly cover up my mistake before anyone caught it (and I’m hoping I succeeded!) I have more notes, but they’ll go at the end.

Ooh yeah, look…

This sucks.

Right now I’m wandering around campus, searching for something to do. I would write, but I’ve run dry of inspiration. Since Taz and I were reunited about 2 weeks ago, all I’ve done is write. Now I just can’t be bothered. I’d watch a movie, but that would involve being in my dorm room. Taz is at home with the flu. Who gets the flu in September? She’s been bed-ridden all day and I’ve had to entertain myself. Why’d she have to be sick on a Saturday? Argh.

I decide that it’s a nice day, and maybe hanging out by the lake would be fun.

I trudge across the campus, trying to will away my bad mood. I don’t exactly enjoy being pissed off.

I spot a familiar-ish figure sitting by the lake. Adam Banks, my lab partner in Biology. I may not be a psychologist, but it doesn’t take a genius to see that he looks a little upset. I invoke the Taz in me and skip off in his direction.

He barely looks up as I sit down.

“Hi.” I say softly. I can only stay Taz-like for a short amount of time.

He nods, and we sit in silence for a few minutes.

“Not one for conversation, are you?”

He shakes his head, and sighs.

“Where are the Ducks?” I ask.

The Ducks have already definitely made an impact on Eden Hall. We all know who they are by sight, even if not by name. A lot of them are in my classes… Adam, Guy Germaine, Russ Tyler, Ken Wu… and Taz is friends with that big one, Fulton or something. Eden Hall is known for its snobs, and worst of all, its cliques… but the Ducks have even outdone Varsity Hockey with their togetherness. It kind of puts me off, seeing how they act like they can’t talk to anyone that isn’t a JV Warrior. Another thing… it’s funny how we all call them Ducks, when they’re Warriors.

My mind comes back to Adam when he starts to speak.

“I don’t know where the Ducks are.”

This strikes me as odd. Like I’ve just said, the Ducks are a very cliquey group. They don’t usually stray far from each other. So to see a lone Duck looking so dejected is a very strange sight.

I’m not close with Adam, well, at all. We’ve talked the necessary amount required in Biology class, but we’ve never had a conversation. I kind of get the feeling he could use a friend, however.

Time to find the Taz in me again.

“Hey, did you hear about what Jenna Sanders did today?” I ask him, racking my brain for something funny to tell him.

He shakes his head.

“Well, you know how we did that lab in Bio…” I pause, waiting for him to acknowledge me.

He nods. Wow, what a vocabulary this kid has. I’ll have to get him to talk a little more.

“So I was talking to Mr. Lewis, her teacher… I had to deliver a note for him from the office. She comes up to him and asks, ‘Hey, Mr. Lewis, why are we doing a lab on Moses?’ And he says… ’Mosses, Jenna… we’re doing a lab on mosses.’”

Adam lets out the biggest snort of laughter I’ve ever heard anyone give in my life. I grin at him gleefully as he tries to control his mirth.

“That’s great.” He finally lets out. “But it’s nothing compared to this…”

He launches into a detailed account of a time he was at his beach house with his parents, and his older brother met a girl. By the end of his tale, I’m laughing even harder than he had been when I told him my story.

“And your brother didn’t even know it was still attached to him?” I let out through my giggles.

Adam shakes his head, his face almost purple from laughing so hard. “Not in the least. You should have seen his face when we told him later.”

I take a deep breath and start to tell him about some of the antics Taz and I pulled last year. Soon we’ve both completely loosened up and are trading stories about different moments in our life.

As he tells me about an experience he had at some big hockey game, I smile to myself. Not out of laughter at what he’s saying, but out of my happiness.

Three months ago I hated myself. Colby didn’t help my situation much. But now I’m back at school with my girl, and it looks like I might have even made a great new friend. It’s a little too soon to tell, but I think this year is going to be pretty good.

‘Nother Author’s Note: Yeah, cheesy ending that’s not very good, but it’s an appropriate ending to this fic… because it was a cheesy no-good fic. I wanted to get a little more into her character (purely for my own purposes… I wanted to be able to write her a bit easier) and understand what she went through this summer. Basically I wanted to write something about Maya, but I’ve now realized that I can’t do something about her in Queertet verse. Or any other verse in which she’s paired with someone *snorts to self, remembering the conversation she had with her OC earlier* Well, it’s over and now I can work on Abnormal Like Me and *gulp* Something Quite Special and… YAY… Sun! Let’s just rejoice about that!

~Victory Thru Stars

Something Quite Special

Disclaimer: I don’t own the Ducks, Disney and Brill do. But I do own the plot and characters not of Duck origin (like the teachers and Marie and Maya).

October 5, 2011 7:43 PM
He fumbled with the buttons on his shirt and had a very anxious look on his face. He almost choked himself with his tie, unable to make the knot correctly. I finally stepped in front of him and helped him. In the background Fulton checked his watch.

“We’re late,” he said in his deep voice. “We should have been there thirteen minutes ago.”

“Well, if Banksie over there hadn’t tried to drown himself in the shower, we would have been on time,” Averman said from next to him.

“Or spent so much time on his hair,” Dwayne chimed in.

“Or changed three times,” Goldberg added.

“Give him a break guys, he’s just nervous,” I said, patting him on the shoulder. “But nervous or not, we have to leave, or else he won’t be getting married at all.”

“Okay,” Adam said, his tone a little timid.

“Okay to what, leaving or not getting married?” Luis asked from his spot in the corner.

“Hey, if you don’t want her I’ll take her!” Goldberg said with a grin.

“No, no, no, no, no,” he said, reminding me of a crazy person or something. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” He grabbed his jacket from the chair, promptly knocking the chair over. He tried to pick it up, but only succeeded in knocking it over the other way. Fulton stepped over and set the chair down with a look of finality. Adam gave him a sheepish smile, and turned around and walked into the door. I shook my head as my friends laughed. If Banks was this nervous before the rehearsal dinner, I didn’t want to know what he was going to be like the next day.

We entered the restaurant way past fashionably late. I was at the front of our seven-person train, and Banks was lagging at the other end. I caught Maya’s eye. She looked just as anxious as I had expected. Who could blame her? Her husband-to-be was forty-five minutes late for their rehearsal dinner. I gave her a thumbs-up sign, and let Les, Luis, Greg, Dwayne, and Fulton pass me to sit in their reserved places. I could see Adam hiding behind the doorway, looking a little ill. I pulled him over to me, and put a strong arm around his shoulder. He was looking at the floor. I led him over to our table. He looked up at his fiancé, and I could almost feel his knees give out. He grinned at her and all of his nervousness seemed to go away, reminding me of a certain 10th grader with his first girlfriend. He walked on his own to his seat, and took her hand.

“Sorry we’re late,” he said as I took my seat next to him.

“Don’t worry about it,” she answered. “But don’t let it happen tomorrow.”

I smirked across the table to Lena, the maid of honor. She rolled her eyes at the couple, who were now just smiling stupidly at each other.

I watched them as they stood at the imaginary altar, holding hands and practicing what was going to happen tomorrow. I couldn’t believe that this was happening already. It was almost as if I was the one getting married- it all seemed so soon. We were both still kids, what the hell was Adam doing getting married? I sighed to myself and shook my head to clear it. Okay, so we weren’t kids anymore- we were 26 years old and full grown adults. Just because I remembered Adam as the kid with the side part and too-big polo shirts didn’t mean that he was still that kid. I’m sure that he didn’t still think I was the little skinny kid that needed a haircut, constantly wearing my Ducks jersey.

Remembering the Ducks, I looked around the rest of the room. We were all here. For the first time in five years, all of the Ducks were in the same place. We had come from all over the world; some from far away, some from close by. Nobody would have missed this for anything. Maya and Adam came back to sit down for dinner, and I forced a smile onto my face. They brought out the food for the buffet, and I made a point to leave the table quickly. I grabbed a plate from the stack on the long buffet table and felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see Connie Moreau, a face I hadn’t seen for at least a couple of years.

“Connie, hi,” I said.

“Hi Charlie.”

Connie and I had never been especially close, but there had always been a good bond between us, probably because we were always around the same people. Her childhood sweetheart, Guy Germaine, had been one of my good friends since I was seven. Connie was now a pediatrician specializing in sports injuries in Milwaukee.

“Are you okay? You look a little sick,” she asked me.

“Yeah, yeah… I’m fine,” I said, taking a piece of chicken and putting it on my plate.

“Big shindig, huh?” she asked from behind me.

“Yeah, Banks’ mom went nuts, and Maya’s mom wasn’t exactly too calm either… and both of their father’s went crazy when they saw the prices.”

Connie laughed, but my mind was still elsewhere. I finished getting my food, and headed back to my table. I sat across from the bride and groom, who were surrounded by relatives and close friends. Connie apparently wasn’t finished talking to me, though. She pulled a chair away from the neighboring table and sat down next to me.

“You sure you’re okay?”


We looked at the couple for a few minutes until Connie broke the silence yet again.

“This is so weird. They’re-”

“Just kids,” I finished for her.

“Actually, I was going to say that they’re so happy around each other,” Connie said with an amused look on her face. “But I do think that I’ve gotten closer to solving your problem now. Are you mad?”

I shook my head no, but stayed silent.


No again.

“Then what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, okay?” My tone was much more insistent this time.

“Alright,” Connie sounded slightly taken aback. “Well, I guess I’ll talk to you later.” She got up and left the table. I sighed, finding myself alone even in the midst of tons of people. The next half an hour passed slower than any other I had ever known, with friends coming and going from next to me. I felt bad, totally blowing off the Ducks like that, and I knew it was totally out of character. When I was younger, the Ducks were everything to me. Now, they still were, even if we hadn’t seen each other in a really long time. I wanted to be able to smile and laugh and share stories of the past few years, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I wanted to spend time with Banks. But Banks was too busy for that now; Banks had other priorities at the moment. I knew I sounded mean and cynical, but he was my best friend.

Connie came and sat by me again, as I was cleaning off my plate.

“Charlie, please talk to me,” she almost pleaded. “Everyone’s really getting worried by you… you’re not usually like this.”

“Like what?” I asked, forcing a smile onto my face. “I’m fine.”

“If you’re fine, then come hang out with us.”

“What is this, seventh grade? Yeah, sure.” I followed her over to a small table that was crammed with twelve chairs around it instead of six. I squeezed myself into one in between Russ Tyler and Dean Portman, who both patted me on the back as I sat down.

“Hey Spazzway, glad you decided to join us,” Averman said from across the table.

I gave him a smile and the finger, and tried to settle myself into the conversation. But of course the conversation was one that I’d rather not have been discussing right then.

“They’re so great together,” Julie said dreamily. “Just like in high school.”

“Oh Julie, what the hell are you talking about? You hated Maya in high school,” Fulton snickered.

“Only because she made Banks suck at hockey,” Julie sniffed.

“Or else the Cat-Lady had a little something for him,” Goldberg teased.

“Get real,” Julie said, rolling her eyes.

I laughed, remembering exactly how much Julie had hated Maya. It really was because of the hockey thing, but we still loved to tease her about her weeklong crush on Banks during the Goodwill Games.

“How much of part did you play in their romance, Conway?” Guy asked me.

“I almost proposed for him,” I answered. They laughed. Maya and Banks had apparently noticed our little gathering, because they were making their way over to our overloaded table. I tried to hide my disgust as they stood next to us, their arms around each other. God, they were attached to the hip.

“Having a party without us?” Banks asked.

“Never! Come on, pull up a chair or two,” Connie said, trying to move her seat over. They sat down into our not-so-little group, and the conversation immediately swarmed around them. I leaned my head on my hand, not concerned on how bored I looked. If that’s what it took for Adam to notice me, fine.

Best man, huh? I felt more like a foreigner in the middle of an unknown country.

Author’s Notes: Forgot to put this into chapter one. Anyway, this is my first fan fic ever, and I love the Ducks, so it seemed fit that I lose my fan fic virginity to them. Um, let’s see… If you review, PLEASE be nice. Oh yeah! Christina Miller left a review on my last chapter: You’re right! I accidentally typed 2021 instead of 2011. I’m going to leave the year on that chapter because I’m too lazy to go fix it, but the real year for the wedding is 2011. Except in some chapters, like this one’s in 2001. Years’ll go by as I write. Um, the title for this chapter’s from The Middle by Jimmy Eat World. The title of the last chapter’s from some song too but I can’t remember the title or artist or anything… just the way it goes. So if anyone knows the song… let me know! Thanks.

September 1, 2001, 6:03 AM
The alarm was still buzzing. It had been going for three full minutes, and it was not a pleasant noise. I had been awake for at least a half an hour, but Charlie was still out like a log. I finally rolled myself out of bed, marched over to his side of the dorm, and shut off the alarm. My friend didn’t even move from his nest among the blankets. I pushed him a couple times.

“Charlie. Charlie!”

He made a noise that obviously meant that he wasn’t going to wake up.

“Charlie, come on. Wake up.”

He lazily opened one eye, then quickly shut it again and rolled over.

“Fine,” I said. “It’s too early to argue.”

I walked into our small bathroom and turned on the water. I grabbed an empty can of soda off of the counter. I had no idea what the can was doing in the bathroom in the first place, but it didn’t really matter. I filled the can with ice-cold water and walked back to my roommate’s bed.

“You asked for, Charlie.”

I dumped the water all over his face and mop of brown hair, and he instantly opened his eyes, sputtering. I smiled charmingly at him.

“Happy first day of sophomore year, roomie.”

I sat down at our regular table in the cafeteria next to Guy. Not surprisingly, his concentration was on Connie. It was as if he hadn’t seen her everyday over the summer. I turned my attention to Kenny, who was on my left. Apparently, during his summer in San Francisco he had found himself a girlfriend. He wasn’t the only one, either; Portman had started dating some cheerleader, Julie was still with Scooter, Charlie was still dating Linda, Fulton had hooked up with an old girlfriend from Minneapolis, and now even Kenny had a steady girl! I sighed inwardly. What was this? All of the Ducks suddenly decided to gain an interest for the opposite sex over the summer? For God’s sake, we were dropping like flies. I started to block out Kenny and focused on spreading the cream cheese evenly onto my bagel.

I thought about my own summer. I had spent the whole thing with Charlie, which had been great. We had stayed for a month and a half with his mom, then another month and a half with my family. We’d gone to a couple hockey camps, but had mostly taken the time to just hang out and have a good time.

Things hadn’t been good last year, after the Varsity incident. There were times when I didn’t even want to leave my bed, and I definitely didn’t want to play hockey. Hockey always meant a lot to me, but I didn’t think that people realized that it wasn’t the most important thing in my life. I’d never really gotten along with any of my family. My father worked a lot, and my mother was always off at some charity event or another. My brother was a lot older, and almost as bad as my dad. Joining the Ducks I realized how much I needed to be around people and have real friendships. But I’d always felt like an outsider with them, no matter how hard I tried. I tried to score as many goals as possible that first season, just because I knew it was the only way they’d end up liking me. I believe that I was right. The times during the Junior Goodwill Games were some of the happiest of my life. Even when I was hurt, my team… no, my friends were there for me. Charlie even went as far as to give up his place on the roster for me when I was healed. I started mentally calling him my best friend at that moment. I now know that I never had any real friends on the Hawks, and that they had only liked me because of my talent on the ice and the placing of my house in a certain district. When I was put on Varsity at Eden Hall, my belief in the Ducks was shattered. I was shoved into being the preppy rich boy again, the Adam Banks that they’d despised. It hurt so much to know that we were only friends because of my ability on the ice; that they were just like the Hawks. Even after I joined JV, I disconnected from them- like they’d abandon me the first chance they got. Losing Charlie was the hardest part. He hated me as a Hawk; he hated me on Varsity… my theory came to be that as long as he and I were on the same side of the line, we’d never fight. He was as wary of me as I was of him, but still willing to work out our friendship. During the summer we never talked about anything directly, but somehow things worked themselves out. I was all right with the other Ducks, but definitely not 100% better. I figured that I’d work on that this year, and make some friendships that would last whether I was shooting into their goal or the opposing team’s.

“Banks? Banks… Banks!” I was finally aware that Russ had been saying my name for a few minutes.


“I asked you if you knew that we had practice tonight.”

“Yeah, I did know.”

Russ turned back to Goldberg. “It’s not fair… it’s the first day back! Having practice is like teachers giving us homework on the first day of school.”

“I’m going to love his expression when Mrs. Bendtsen gives him a history assignment later today,” Charlie muttered to me. I smiled.

“Do you know what classes you have?” I asked him. “We never got around to comparing last night.”

“Right,” he said, pulling out his schedule. Portman immediately took it from him.

“Hey! We have Chemistry and English together! All right, already someone to pass me!” he clapped Charlie on the back, who had a look of uneasiness on his face.

I found that I had at least one class with each person on the team, and five with Connie. I didn’t know what to think about that. I didn’t know Connie well at all, and we had never had a real conversation. It was soon time for our first class, and I found myself walking to English with her. We talked the regular chitchat, trying to pass the time until we got into a classroom. I could tell that she was just as uncomfortable as I was. It made me sad to know that I really was detached from all of the Ducks.

The day passed slowly. At noon I walked into Chemistry class, a room full of people I didn’t know. From the looks of the students, the class was made up of mostly juniors, seniors, and maybe a few sophomores. My dismay elevated when our teacher, Mr. Davis, put us into a seating chart right away so that we could work on our first assignment of the year. I was seated in between a sleepy looking senior and a short dark haired girl. The tall redhead in front of me was turned around in her seat, talking to the girl next to me. I put my chin on my hand and tried to concentrate on the teacher.

“I’d like you to all turn to your lab partners. They’d be the one at the actual table with you. Now, say your name and a few words about yourself.”

I turned to the girl on my right, who smiled at me.

“Hi,” she said. “I’m Maya… um, well, I dance a lot and I play softball.”

“I’m Adam… people usually call me Banks, though. I’m on the hockey team.”

A look of recognition came on her face. “Right! You know Connie Moreau, right?”

“Yup, I know Connie.”

“Yeah, she was one of my good friends last year. You looked kind of familiar, and when you said you used to play hockey, it all made a lot of sense.”

“That’s cool.” I didn’t know what to say, so I gave her a generic answer. She seemed nice enough, I guess. I think she could tell that I wasn’t interesting in making conversation, so she turned back to her friend in front of me. I stared at the floor, trying to pass the time. Looking back on the day so far, I hadn’t had a very good time. In all of my classes I had either sat uncomfortably while my friends chattered on around me, or in an awkward silence not knowing what to say to whomever happened to be with me. It was depressing. I needed friends.

“Nice shot, Banks!” Coach Orien bellowed from the sidelines.

“Almost got that Banksie,” Julie called from in between the goal posts. I gave him a smile and skated back over to the line of players making shots. Charlie was in front of me. He lifted up his mask.

“Never got a chance to ask you,” he panted. “How was your first day?”

I shrugged my shoulders, which was probably hard to see through all of my gear.

“Just okay?” he asked suspiciously. I nodded.

“Mine was great,” Portman said from in front of Charlie. “Chicks everywhere.”

“Portman, might I remind you that you are one of the lucky few on this team that actually has a girlfriend?” Averman piped up.

“They were still fun to look at,” he responded.

“I’ll definitely agree to that,” Goldberg said. “There are some pretty fine looking freshman running around this place.” Most of the boys on the team made noises in agreement.

By this time Connie had skated up behind me. She rolled her eyes behind her mask.


I lay awake, staring at the ceiling. A few rays moonlight was coming in through the shades, and an owl was hooting in the distance. I sighed to myself.

“Banks? You awake?”

I hadn’t noticed the absence of Charlie’s regular snores in my hole of self- pity.


“What’s wrong?”


“Come on, Banks. Don’t lie.”

I rolled over in my bed so that I was facing the other side of the room, where his bed was. Could I really talk to Charlie about this? Sure, he was my best friend, but he was also their leader, good old Captain Duck. I thought for a moment about what I had just said to myself. What had come first in that sentence? My best friend.

“Okay, Charlie, you’re right,” I finally let out. “There is something wrong.”

“Good, the first step is always acceptance, my child.”

“Shut up. It’s just… sometimes I feel really hollow inside.”

“What do you mean?”

“Like I really don’t have any friends.”

“Don’t be ridiculous. Of course you have friends. What the hell do you think I am?”

“Well yeah, you, but what about the rest of the Ducks? Charlie, they can’t stand me.”

“Oh, come on. They love you!”

“Why? Because I’m a good player, or because I’m a great friend to them?” The last part came out sounding way more sarcastic and bitter than I had intended. Charlie was silent. I could tell that he was really thinking about what I had said and the way I had said it.

“What do you want to do about it?” he finally asked me.

“I don’t know,” I muttered. “I’ve been dealing with it for like three years now, I may as well just forget about it.”

“Adam, don’t say that.” It was interesting how he was now using my first name. “Just… talk to someone. Get to be good friends with them.”

“I guess.”

We lay in silence for a few moments.



“I’m glad you could tell me.”


September 10, 2001, 12:13 PM
I felt myself dozing off. My head slowly lowered onto the table. I strained to keep my eyes open and focused on ionic bonding. I leaned onto my arm, and slowly let myself drift into unconsciousness. I suddenly felt a sharp jab in my ribs. My head flew off of my desk and I looked around, alarmed. I saw that Mr. Davis was staring at me with a stern look on his face.

“Good job your little friend there saved you from a detention, Mr. Banks,” he said.

I turned to smile at my lab partner.

“Thanks,” I told her. She smiled a little and shrugged. Her redheaded friend, Marie, snickered from her seat.

“My friends think you’re stuck up,” Connie announced as she sat next to me in Geometry the next day.


“My friends. They think you’re stuck up,” she repeated.


“Marie and Maya. In your Chemistry class.”

“They do?”

“Stop asking stupid questions,” she reprimanded me. “What did you do to them?”

“Nothing!” I said indignantly. Wow, this really helped with my issues; some people I barely knew thought I was stuck up. “What did they say?”

“We were just walking in from running on the track a little. Well, Marie and me were running. Maya was just bitching a lot. Anyway, then Marie was making fun of Maya about how she bailed you out in Chemistry yesterday and Maya said that it wasn’t a big deal, because you’re an asshole anyway.”

I had to cut in at this point. “What? She doesn’t know me, I’ve barely spoken three words to the girl!”

“Okay, so I added the last part in myself. But she said that you’re kind of quiet and Marie said that you were probably just stuck up. So, my friends think you’re stuck up.”

“That’s stupid.”

“You’re stupid.”

As class started I thought about what Connie had said. Things had been going better for me for the past week. I had started to talk to Connie a lot, for lack of people to talk to. No, that sounded mean… she was really nice. By this fact I had automatically been around Guy a lot more, too. I was trying my hardest not to keep to myself or stick to Charlie’s side and be around more people. I hadn’t realized that I’d also have to work at making new friends, even if I had already decided that I needed them. If people thought I was stuck up, how was I going to make friends? Did the Ducks think I was stuck up? Ugh, leave it to some stupid girls to make me feel even more insecure about my friendships.

I entered the Chemistry room in a new mindset. Don’t be sheltered, don’t ignore everyone, don’t cut conversations short, I told myself. Maya was sitting by herself, writing something on her desk. When I sat down, it seemed much quieter than usual. I realized it was because her loud redheaded friend was absent.

“Hi,” I said loudly.

She looked up briefly. “Hi.”

That was it? Not even a smile, no conversation?

“Whatcha doing?” I asked.

“Filling out a form.”

“For what?”


“What something?” Wow, who’d have thought I’d sink to being annoying?

She put her pen down onto the table and stared at me with an apprehensive look on her face. “What’s your problem? You never talk to me.”

“Well, I just don’t want you to think I’m… condescending or anything.” I had to use a different word than stuck up. I’d probably already said too much.

A slow smile spread across her face and she started to laugh. Yep, I’d said too much.

“Talked to Connie?” she asked.

I nodded.

She burst out laughing. “Yeah, that was Marie that said that. I think it’s really funny that you suddenly started talking to me once you heard that… Marie would die if she was here.”

I could feel the redness rising to my cheeks. Oh, this was just great. Her laughter quieted down and she sat with an amused look on her face.

“I was filling out a form to send this thing I wrote to a magazine,” she told me. I was taken aback; I hadn’t expected her to actually talk to her after I had made a fool out of myself.

“You write?” I asked. I hadn’t actually thought that she had a brain. Then again, I couldn’t judge her by her flaky friend.

“Yeah, a lot,” she said.

“That’s cool,” I answered. We turned our attention away from each other and to the teacher as class began. I guess you could say that went well.

Author’s Notes: Wow I didn’t expect this to come so fast! YEAH GO SPEED RACER ME! Anyway, I’d like to thank my few reviewers, you really made me feel like I was doing something right :o-) Right, so this title’s from “Wonder wall” by Oasis. You know, looking at the rate this fic is going, it’s going to be REALLY long. I wanted to have a lot more concentration on Adam’s relationships with his friends before I got to the romance part (don’t act as if you didn’t see it coming- for Pete’s sake, he’s at the rehearsal dinner in the first chapter!) but it looks like Maya was a little too eager to get into Adam’s pants. Not really, I’m just saying that. Yeah, I’m a dork.

September 20, 2001, 11:45 AM
“And what’s with everyone calling him Fulton all of a sudden? I mean, it’s even on his jersey. Is his name just Fulton now? What happened to the Reed part? Is he like Madonna?” Averman continued. “What about Charlie? He’s now suddenly the greatest hockey player on the face of the planet. Doesn’t anyone remember that three years ago he could barely even skate? And come on… Guy? What the hell was up with that hat? Please, I can’t believe you were wearing that for over two years. And then there’s Banks, who can’t even make one goal without getting hurt!”

I snorted, and quickly covered my face with my napkin in an effort to hide the mess on my face.

“Banks, did milk just come out of your nose?” Averman asked, still in the middle of his rant.

Blushing, I nodded. The table erupted into laughter once again. Luckily for me, the bell rang just then, signaling that it was time for our next class.

“I’m not done yet! I still have Cowboy, Goldie, Kenny and Russ to do!” Averman called as we went our separate ways. I walked with Fulton and Portman down to my Chemistry class. They were going on to their Architecture class, which was only a few doors down from where I was.

“See ya,” I said as I entered my room. Sitting down at my desk, Maya gave me a weird look.

“You’re in a good mood,” she commented.

“Yeah, I am, aren’t I?” I answered, smiling. Marie and Maya exchanged a glance, and giggled. Marie turned around and set her head on her desk, trying to suppress her fit.

“What?” I asked.

“Um, you have a little bit of something on your face. I don’t know what it is, but its white and liquid and looks really gross,” Maya told me.

I laughed along with the girls and wiped the last bit of milk off of my face.

I hadn’t really realized what a change I had made in the past few weeks. Things were great. People were great. I loved life.

September 25, 2001, 7:27 PM
“Great practice, kids! Now go on and get changed. You’d all better go home and do that homework, too, I’ve been getting reports about a couple of you!”

I skated passed the Coach, laughing with my friends, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me away to him.

“Banks,” he said. “Hold on a minute and let me talk to you.”

I watched my friends skate off of the rink and walk into the locker rooms. Charlie was looking at me too, with a look of uncertainty on his face. I motioned for him to go on.

“Yeah, Coach?” I asked.

“Banks, I know you don’t want to leave JV.”

Shit. I had a feeling I knew where this was going, but I didn’t want to hear him say it.

“But Banks, I really think you are Varsity material,” he continued.

I lowered my eyes. This couldn’t be happening.

“Now, I’m not going to make any drastic decisions right now, because I know that you don’t want to leave your little pals. But please think about what I’m saying, Banks. You need a challenge, and you don’t always get that playing JV.”

I nodded.

“Now go on and get changed,” he said, patting my shoulder. I skated off numbly, trying to digest what had just gone on. The conversation halted as soon as I entered the locker room, assuring me that they had been talking about me. God, I hated it when that happened. I tried to ignore it and walked to my locker. I sat down to take off my gear, and the conversation slowly started again. Charlie came over to me, already half changed.

“What happened?”

“Oh, nothing, he was just talking to me about the game we have in a couple days,” I said, blatantly lying.

“What about the game?”

“Just… a new strategy.”

“So why didn’t he let the whole team in on it?”

“I don’t know, okay?” I said sharply. Everyone in the locker room stopped and stared at me. I kicked off my untied skates. “Just drop it, Charlie.”

“You got it Banks,” he said spitefully.

People slowly filtered out of the locker room until I was left all by myself. I slammed my fist against my locker, fighting back tears. The sound echoed through the empty room. I had worked so hard for this whole month, trying to make things good for the first time in my life, and now it was all going to go to waste because of that fucking Varsity slot. I swallowed hard, a small tear trickling down my face. I wiped it away angrily. I may have been weak, but I was not a crier. I pulled a t-shirt over my bare chest, and pulled a belt through my jeans. I left the locker room with thousands of thoughts going through my head.

The air was crisp outside but not quite cold. It felt good on my sweaty body. It was already dark, since Coach Orien had decided to give us a later practice than usual. I walked alone silently, trying to keep my mind off of hockey. I saw a small form in front of me, and realized that I knew who it was.

“Maya,” I called. She turned around, and stopped to wait when she saw that it was me. I had never talked to her outside of Chemistry class, and I still didn’t know her very well at all, but I could tell that she was upset. She was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a green t-shirt with the number five on the back. I quickened my pace a little and we started to walk together.

“What’s wrong?” we said at the same time.

Neither of us smiled.

“What’s wrong?” I asked again.

“Softball,” she said. “You?”


“What’s wrong with it? Connie told me you’re the best player on the team.”

“I guess.” I was quiet for a moment. I thought about my feelings about Maya. She was really sweet, and relatively easy to talk to. Of course, we had never discussed anything besides my lack of artistic ability and her passion for writing, and science class. But she wasn’t a Duck, which would make talking about this easier, and she seemed more or less trustworthy.

“Coach Orien is thinking of moving me to Varsity.”

“What’s wrong with that?” she asked. “I thought Varsity was supposed to be good…?”

I guess I couldn’t have expected her to fully understand. “Yeah, it is. Just never mind.”

“Oh,” she said, looking up at me. “I think I get it. You don’t want to leave your friends?”

I was still on the verge of spilling my guts to her. “Yeah, something like that.”

“Would they be mad at you?”

I finally let loose. “Yeah, they would hate me. This happened last year. When we first came to Eden Hall, I was put on Varsity and the Ducks totally abandoned me. It’s like we were never even friends in the first place. I didn’t want to be part of the Varsity crowd; I wanted to be back with my friends. And when I was put back on JV, it took me months to feel like they really liked me again. If they find out that he’s even thinking about putting me back on Varsity, there not only goes my hard work of making friends, but also my friends themselves.”

We stood silently in the middle of the sidewalk next to the school. She was looking thoughtfully off into the space behind me, and I had that damn feeling rush to the back of my eyes again, like they were going to spill over any second.

“Do you want to go somewhere?” she asked.


“Here, I’ll show you.” She took my arm and led me away. We walked past the pond, and past the girls’ dorms. I had never really been around this part of the school; the soccer and baseball fields were over here, and I didn’t exactly play those sports. There was a hill overlooking one of the diamonds, which she sat down on.

“I like being here. I don’t know why. But I’ve come here every time I needed to think since last year. And, from what you just told me, it seemed like you needed some peace, too.”

I nodded.

“Are you sure your friends would be mad if you did join Varsity?” she asked, picking up our conversation.

I nodded again.

“Then, you know, they’re really not your friends.”

I set my head on my arms, afraid that I was going to start crying again.

“Oh, oh God, I didn’t mean it like that,” she said quickly. “I just meant that you need to talk to them because they are your friends!”

She put her hand on my back. “Adam… Adam.”

The use of my first name stung me. No one ever used it unless they thought that I was fragile. I wasn’t a glass model in a china shop. I lifted my head defiantly, refusing to let myself break down. Maya could sense the change in my demeanor and took her hand back slowly.

“I was just trying to help,” she said quietly.

I looked at her, and could tell that she was sincere. “I know.”

I had never really looked at her, I guess. She was pretty, but as mean as it sounded, it wasn’t as apparent when you first looked at her. She was probably about five feet tall, a good six or seven inches shorter than me. Her long dark hair went all the way down to the middle of her back, and had several orange streaks in it. I remembered asking her once what the orange parts were all about, and she had simply said that it was a dying accident. She had beautiful eyes, a pure and rich brown. She wasn’t stick thin, but she was far from fat. One would probably just call her curvaceous. I laughed to myself. Where the hell had I picked up the word ‘curvaceous?’ I realized what had just gone through my mind. I was attracted to a girl. I had never been attracted to a girl. Yeah, I knew it was really weird; I was an almost-sixteen-year-old boy and I had never really liked a girl. For a while this summer I had even toyed with the notion of being gay. Charlie and I had spent a few nights talking it over, because apparently he didn’t know either, even with Linda in the picture. We finally came to the conclusion that we were best friends, and nothing more. We loved each other, but not in “that” way. I guess I had always seen myself as kind of asexual. The door didn’t swing either way; it was simply closed. But looking at Maya on that hill in the moonlight, I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was probably just because she was the first girl I’d ever really been around, besides Connie and Julie. And they didn’t even count, as much as they’d hate to hear me say that. I tried to remember how I had even started talking to Maya tonight in the first place, and remembered it was because she had also looked upset.

“So what’s up with you?” I asked, clearing my throat first.

She shrugged, and looked off into the distance.

“Oh, come on… I just told you everything…” It didn’t seem to work, and she just closed her eyes. I thought about taking a different approach, and fished around in my pocket, producing a handful of change.

“Um… 84 cents for your thoughts,” I said, quickly counting the quarters, dimes, and pennies. She let out a small chuckle, her eyes still closed.

“You know how I sent that thing to the magazine?” she said.

“Yeah,” I replied, remembering how she was filling out the form the day we had really started talking.

“They rejected it.”

“Oh…” I knew how much it had meant to her, and I started to put a sympathetic arm around her.

“AND I was cut from the softball team.”

I stopped my arm in midair and winced a little. Two rejections in one day? Not good.

“Man, Maya,” I said, resting my chin on my arms the way she was. “I’m really sorry… I know how much training you had put into softball.”

She shrugged again. “It doesn’t really matter, I guess. My nickname always was ‘Reject’ back home in Racine, so… yeah.”

“Is that where you’re from? Wisconsin?” I asked, recognizing the name of the small town a few miles South of Milwaukee.


“Why’d you come to Eden Hall?”

“I hated it where I was, and I got a scholarship for writing.”

“Are you happy here?”

“Sometimes… well, as long as we’re sharing…” She paused for a minute, and then turned her arm over to show me the underside of it. She leaned closer to me and used her finger to point at her arm. I didn’t have to strain my eyes to see the pink scars going from her wrist to nearly her elbow. I took my finger and ran it down her arm. I could feel nearly a dozen marks.

“When is that from?” I asked, a sinking feeling in my stomach.

“Whenever,” she replied, taking her arm away. “Don’t think that I’m some delicate little thing now, please. I’m not a freak. I’ve gotten help, I know it’s not good.”

“Good, the first step is always acceptance, my child,” I said softly, the words of Charlie echoing in my ear. She gave me a weird look, and I smiled.

“I don’t think you’re a freak, or that you need help, and I’m not going to tell you anything because I know how it feels. I mean, I’ve never done that myself, but I think I know how you feel inside. But I’m glad that you could tell me something like this. Besides Charlie, I’ve never really had a friend that I could trust, and that could trust me.”

“And to think, we’d never even had a real conversation until tonight,” she said softly. “I’ve never opened up to somebody so fast. Not even Marie has seen those scars, and she’s my best friend here at Eden Hall.”

I didn’t know how to respond, so I said the first thing that was on my mind. “Do you want to come to our game on Friday?”

She looked at me, startled. “No, I have softball-” she cut herself off in the middle of her sentence and laughed bitterly. “No, never mind… I don’t have softball practice. But I don’t know anything about hockey.”

“So? Just come to the game. I could probably even get Orien to let you sit on the bench, if I told him it was a project for English class or something.”

“We’re working on the book East of Eden in English. That has nothing to do with hockey.”

“Well… so? Come on, just do it.”

“Yeah, sure. But try to get me to sit on the bench, because otherwise I’ll feel like an ass. Wait, I’ll feel like an ass anyway, because I don’t know anyone on your team,” she said. I figured she was feeling a little uncomfortable at the sudden turn that our friendship had taken. I, however, was not used to being outgoing, and was going to milk it for all that it was worth.

“So sit at our lunch table tomorrow!” I said eagerly.

“Adam, you’re going crazy,” she laughed. She paused for another moment. “I guess it couldn’t be too bad… I already know you and Connie, and I have some classes with other people I’m guessing are hockey players…”

“Like who?” I asked, interested in who else of my ‘friends’ she could know.

“Well, Kenny Wu is in my History class, and so is Russ Tyler. I knew Connie’s boyfriend Guy, and Les Averman from gym class last year. And this girl I know, Linda, goes out with Charlie Conway.”

“God, I hate Linda,” I said, laughing a little.

“Hey, me too!” She said, laughing with me.

We stopped and looked at each other. Am I crazy? I asked myself. I’ve never been this outgoing with anyone before, especially not a girl… But as crazy as I thought I was, it felt right, even if I was more confused than I’d ever been.

“Well, I’d better go,” she said, getting up.

“Yeah, me too. I have some homework,” I said, following suit.

“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at lunch then,” she said somewhat shyly.

“I guess,” I replied, putting my hands in my pockets.

“Well… bye,” she said, starting to walk towards her dorm.

“Bye,” I repeated, watching her for a minute before I headed off to my own dorm.

I entered the room, whistling happily. Charlie was sitting in a chair with his feet on the desk.

“Hey Charlie,” I said, closing the door. He wheeled around in his chair, giving me an apprehensive look.

“What?” I asked, not remembered the last words we had exchanged.

“What’s with you?” he asked.

“Oh, right, the locker room,” I said, remembering. “Listen, I’m really sorry about that. I thought I had been having a really good practice, but Coach yelled at me a lot. I didn’t really feel like talking about it with the whole team there.”

Yeah, I knew it wasn’t right to lie to Charlie. It felt like I was cheating Maya out of the advice she had given me by avoiding the subject, and I didn’t want to do that. But I couldn’t talk about it just yet… maybe after getting a little more confidence.

“Oh, well Banks… you should have just said something,” Charlie said, an apologetic smile on his face. “I’m sorry too.”

“It’s okay honey, let’s never fight again!” I hadn’t even realized that Averman and Guy were sitting on my bed, back to back, until Averman had spoken out in a mocking voice. I gave him the finger and settled myself onto Charlie’s bed.

“So what’s with the good mood?” Guy asked.

I shrugged.

“I’d say a girl, but we all know that Banks is like an amoeba… he’ll just split in half to have a kid,” Averman joked.

I laughed along with the rest of the guys, but smiled inwardly. I didn’t feel like letting out my little secret crush, and what did one more thing to hide matter? At least this was something that made me feel good. I stayed quiet while my friends goofed around, thinking about the little scene on the hill. Maybe Maya was going to be just the thing to get me out of my pit of depression. Not to get ahead of myself, or anything.

Author’s Notes: This title’s from “I Won’t Spend Another Night Alone” by The Ataris (my favorite band, and my favorite song). I think my next title’s going to be from the same song, too… but that’s not a big deal. Anyway, much to my dismay I think that this story might have to be broken down into different parts of a series. But let’s see, because I really didn’t want to do that. I also want to take a minute to say that if Maya is turning out to be one of those main characters that is perfect, one that all the characters love because she’s beautiful, intelligent, funny, and flawless… let me know. Because she’s NOT supposed to be like that, she’s supposed to be far from it. I just don’t want my character to look unrealistic and I’m not sure how good of a job I’m doing. Thanks to Star and Aqua Lion for the reviews, and Golden Girl for the email. It’s good to know I have readers. :o-)

September 25, 2001, 8:32 PM
I walked into my dorm room, smiling to myself. Marie came out of the bathroom, brushing her damp red hair.

“I saw your little masterpiece in the bathroom,” she said.

“Yeah? Did you like it?” I asked.

“It was disgusting. Like the hairbrush massacres or something.”

I laughed out loud. I was constantly losing strands of my long hair here and there, and had been going crazy this morning after my shower. I had finally put every single strand of hair I could find onto the wall, making it look more like a big animal instead of an inanimate object.

“So where were you?” she asked, knowing fully well that my softball practice had ended well over an hour ago.

“I was just walking around.”

“Yeah? Did you make JV or Varsity?”

“I got cut,” I said, taking off my shoes and sitting on my bed.

“Oh.” Marie was quiet. I had already shed quite a few tears after getting my rejection letter from the magazine I had sent my story to, and she knew that I would be upset about softball, too.

“So… don’t get mad… but where were you, and why are you in a good mood?”

“I was just walking around,” I said. Marie was one of the most boy-crazy girls on campus, and I knew she’d freak out if I told her about Adam.


“No one.”

“Ha, see, now… if I wasn’t your best friend, I’d believe you. But your eyebrow’s twitching again.”

“Dammit!” My hand flew to my face. My eyebrow always did this weird twitching thing whenever I was lying.

“Now spill.”

“Don’t freak out.”

“I never freak out.”

“Yeah you do.”

“Shut up and get on with it.”

“I was with Adam.”

“Adam who?” Marie’s eyes widened and she started to laugh. “Adam from Chemistry class? Adam that you are so obviously in love with?”

I stared at her indignantly. “What the hell are you talking about? I’m not at all in love with him. I don’t even know him.”

“Yeah, whatever, cut to the good parts. Did he ask you out?”

I thought about his invitation to his game. Did that count as asking me out? Probably not. “No, but he did ask you and me to sit with him at lunch tomorrow.” Might as well have added Marie in, because there was no way I was going to sit at a table full of people I didn’t know all by myself. Plus, she’d kill me if I didn’t ask her to come.

“Both of us? Sure! And don’t worry, I’ll make sure he asks you out soon,” she said, flouncing off back into the bathroom to blow dry her hair.

“Shut up,” I sang back to her, smiling to myself and pulling out my history book. I opened it to page 231, and tried to concentrate on the Ancient Civilizations of India. But as hard as I tried, my mind kept wandering back to Adam. So maybe I did have a small crush on him… that didn’t matter, because he was clearly not interested. I didn’t take it personally at all. I may not have had as much self-esteem as I could have, but I knew from nonchalant interrogations of Connie that Adam wasn’t interested in girls, period. After tonight, though, I couldn’t help but hope that he did at least feel something. I was getting ahead of myself. The boy clearly told me that he was looking for a friend, so that’s what I was going to be for him. A friend. Yeah, a friend.

September 26, 2001, 11:03 AM
“I see him,” Marie said, pulling me towards his table of friends with her free hand.

“You’re cutting off my circulation,” I whined.

“And you’re being stubborn,” Marie plastered a smile onto her face as we reached their table. There was an empty seat next to Adam, who was giving Marie an unreadable look.

“Hi,” I squeaked as Marie grinded her foot down onto mine.

“Hey!” Connie said, getting out of her seat. “You’re actually going to sit with us?”

“Yeah, Marie’s finally getting over her fear of boys,” I said sarcastically, not being able to resist a jab at my boy-crazy friend.

Adam and Connie laughed, but the rest of the table stared at us somewhat blankly.

“These are my friends, Maya and Marie,” Connie said. “You know most of the people here, right?”

I nodded shyly. Marie was already working her charm, and was smiling flirtatiously at the guys, most of who were staring in awe at her. She sat down in a chair between Dwayne and Luis. I walked over to the remaining empty seat next to Adam, who smiled at me.

“Glad you decided to come,” he said.

“Well, I’m not doing anything Friday and I didn’t want to feel like an ass,” I replied. I was aware of Charlie, Connie, and Marie’s eyes on us. They had no idea what was going on, but I could tell that they all knew something was. I decided to ignore them, and concentrate on having a good time, getting to know Adam’s friends.

“Do you like Adam?” Connie asked me later that day as we jogged around the track for a third time.

“No. Why?” I replied.

“You two seemed like it at lunch, that’s all,” she responded, slightly out of breath. Neither of us found it easy to run and talk at the same time.

“We hung out a lot last night, and we got to be pretty good friends, I guess. He was having some problems with hockey, and I was having some problems with softball.”

“Yeah, Guy told me he flipped out in the locker room last night. But I guess things are okay now.”

It wasn’t my place to tell Connie about the conversation Adam and I had had, so I kept my mouth shut and nodded.

“He’s never had a girlfriend, you know,” she continued.

“Yeah, I think you’ve told me once before.”

“How about you? What’s going on in your relationship department?”

“I dated a guy at Hayden Academy for a long time, you knew that.”

“Yeah, what was his name? Cole?” she asked me as we started on our fourth lap.


“Yeah, that’s right, I met him once or twice. He was pretty cute. Whatever happened with him?”

“Whatever happens in any relationship? We broke up.”

“How come?”

I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t really feel like discussing Colin with anyone, especially not with someone who was so obviously trying to hook me up with a new boy. Our relationship didn’t exactly make me look like a worthy candidate for dating anybody.

“Well, you should come to our game on Friday,” she told me.

“Adam already invited me,” I said hesitantly, waiting for the ridiculing to start.

Connie laughed at me. “Ironic. So? You going to come?”

“Yeah, he even told me to get a note from my English teacher so that I can sit on the bench and pretend I’m working on a project.”

“He’s pretty smart. I say you should do it.”

“I guess I will.”

I took my mind off of Adam and focused on beating Connie as we started on our fifth and final lap.

September 28, 2001, 4:46 PM
The phone rang as I pulled my sweatshirt on over my head. I struggled with my shirt for a few moments and finally got my head out of it. I picked up the phone.


“Heeeellloooo,” a voice mocked me on the other end.

“Hey Kyle,” I said.

“How are you?”

“I was leaving.”

“Not yet you aren’t.”

“Yeah, I guess I can be a little late,” I said, flopping down onto my bed.

“Where are you going?”

“A hockey game.”


“School project.”

“You stupid slut, I bet your eyebrow’s twitching.”

“Dammit!” I giggled, knowing I couldn’t fool my old best friend. “Yeah, you’re right. It’s a guy.”

“Ah, yes… so? Would I like him?”

“I don’t know…” I said thoughtfully. “You loved Colin, but then later you hated him. He’s not anything like Colin.”

“Then I’d love him.”

“Yeah, you say that now.”

“Do you like him?”

“I don’t know,” I said truthfully. “I mean, I’d like to like him, but I wouldn’t like to have my friends butting into the relationship, which I already know they’d do.”

“Which is why it was easier having a relationship with a guy who went to a school twenty minutes away.”

“Exactly,” I sighed. I really missed having Kyle around all of the time. “But how are you? How’s Tom?”

“He’s really good… we kissed for the first time.” Kyle proceeded to tell me all about his magical night with his new boyfriend. Kyle had been openly gay for about a year, just about the time I had left Wisconsin. Of course, I had known the whole time, having known Kyle since we were barely able to crawl.

“That sounds very magical. And also very cliché,” I told him, once he was finished.

“Oh, shut the fuck up. You wish you could have our relationship,” Kyle sniffed.

“Yeah, you’re right, I do. But I’m going to be late,” I said, looking at the clock. “The game starts in four minutes, and it’s a six minute walk.”

“Have fun.”

“I will.”

“Call me later and tell me all the details.”

“There won’t be any details to tell.”

“Call me anyway.”

“Okay. Wait, when are you coming?”

“The twenty-sixth of next month.”

“And you’re staying for a week?”


“You’ve got to try to shadow me sometime.”

“I’ll make sure. Now, you go and catch your honey. Love you.”

“Love you too,” I replied, a smile on my face.

I hung up the phone and ran out of the room.

I jumped up and cheered with the rest of the team as the scoreboard changed to Eden Hall Mighty Ducks: 4, to Gregory Prep Badgers: 0. I knew nothing about hockey, but Adam must have been doing something right if he was the only scorer of the whole game.

“Way to go, Banks!” his Coach yelled. “Change it up, guys.”

Adam skated over to us and hopped over the siding. He sat down next to me and took off his mask. He took a quick drink of water and turned to smile at me. I could feel myself melting, even in the middle of an ice rink. I was definitely glad I came.

“You having fun?” he asked, slightly out of breath. I nodded, and brushed a piece of his wet brown hair out of his face. He gave me his token killer smile again. I felt myself blushing and turned to watch the game.

I shifted my weight to my other leg. Adam was showering in the locker room, but was taking a really long time. Most of his team had already come out. Adam finally walked through the door, a discontented look on his face.

“What?” I asked him. What could he possibly have to be upset about? The Ducks had won the game 11-1, and Adam had scored 7 of the goals. I then realized that this was precisely why he was upset. His coach had probably talked to him about joining Varsity again.

“Do you want to go and talk somewhere again?” I asked softly.

Adam nodded, and we left the rink. We walked for a few minutes in silence. I wondered what he was thinking about. I was worried about him, but I was also worried about myself. How did I feel about him? I didn’t want to start liking him if it wasn’t going anywhere. As if an answer to my thoughts, I felt a hand reach out to grab mine. My heart started to race, and I realized that it was too late; I already liked him.

We sat down barely three inches apart on the hill overlooking the baseball diamonds, still holding hands. It’s funny how something so little can mean so much, I thought, trying to contain my excitement. To me, holding hands was one of the best parts of going out with a person. Dorky, I know.

“Coach said that if I keep playing like that, there’s no way he can keep me on JV,” Adam said, breaking our silence.

“And I’m guessing you didn’t tell anyone about this?”

“No.” He looked away sheepishly.

“Aaaadam,” I scolded him, drawing his name out. I looked at him. “Come on. Just tell Charlie about it. He’s your friend, and we both know it.”

“I guess,” Adam sighed.

“No, don’t guess. Promise me you’ll tell him.”

Adam looked at me with his cool blue-green eyes, “I promise.”

“Good.” I knew neither of us really felt like talking about this anymore, so we let the silence take over. I thought about the small conversation that had just taken place. We had really reached a milestone in what I guess you could call our relationship: the first promise. I wondered if he would keep it, or if it even meant as much to him as it did to me.

“Do you miss your hometown?” Adam asked me.

“Sometimes,” I shrugged. “I miss my mom a lot, and kind of my step-dad, and there are a couple of friends I’m having trouble not being around, but that’s about it. How about you?”

“Not really,” he said, letting go of my hand. I tried not to let my disappointment show. As stupid as it was, I never wanted to let go of him. But to my surprise, he simply wiped his palm on the grass and then took hold of my hand again. He caught me looking at him and smiled shyly.

“I’m still sweaty from the game,” he said.

I laughed, and on a whim put my head on his shoulder. He gently rested his head on mine. We stay like that for the next hour, talking about our lives before Eden Hall, our likes and dislikes, and hopes for the future. Walking back to my dorm later, I noticed that we had carefully avoided the subjects of the opposite sex or our standings with each other. But wiping my own sweaty palms on my jeans, I had a pretty good idea exactly where we were headed.

Author’s Notes: Eh, this took me longer than the other chapters did. It was harder to write because I wanted to have something about the other Ducks, and not concentrate on Maya and Banks. That was tough because the plot’s still centered on our young couple. So here it is- my weak attempt to incorporate other characters into a story that is not about them. I’m really hoping I did a good job. Title is from “Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel. Oh, and this will DEFINITELY be a series. Already on Chapter Five and the first kiss hasn’t already happened? This is weird for me. I have to change the title of the story, so look out for that. Anyway, read this and PLEASE review. Thanks to Star for reviewing all of my chapters, you’re awesome! :o-)

October 6, 2001, 2:41 AM

Maybe it was a little creepy. But I was bored, wide-awake, and had been thinking about him. I sat in my desk chair, watching him sleep. The moonlight came in through the blinds, giving the room a slightly striped effect. I had always been bothered by the fact that our window seemed to let in the most moonlight. He was sprawled across his bed on his stomach, his left arm and leg dangling over the edge. He was breathing heavily, but not snoring. He never snored, and always made fun of me because I did. Most people looked at peace when they slept, but Banks always looked unnaturally happy. He lay there, his mouth slightly open in a half-smile.

The twitching of his leg startled me. He was probably dreaming. When I was little I had had a dog that always looked like it was having a seizure while dreaming.

I had been thinking about Banks all day. He had gone through such a change in the past week. I knew without a doubt it was Maya. It was so weird- Banks, interested in girls? Don’t get me wrong; Maya was an okay girl, from what I had seen of her. Linda said that she was a bitch, but by this time I had learned not to trust Linda’s opinion of people. She was a great girl, and I loved dating her, but she was a little bit too judgmental sometimes. Plus, Banks seemed smitten with Maya. She had been to three of four of our practices this week, and I had seen them holding hands all over campus. But Banks, being the guy he was, hadn’t told me anything about her. Connie had gotten the scoop from Maya, who had said that they had firmly stayed away from the subject of relationships, and were just friends. Connie had told me this with much mystification. The Ducks had been pestering me constantly for information. They figured that I knew exactly what was going on, and seemed a little peeved that I hadn’t told them anything. I wished that I could tell them, but I knew nothing.

In my mode of deep thought, I hadn’t even noticed Banks’ movement. By the time I saw him staring back at me, it was too late for me to jump back into bed and pretend to have been there the whole time.

“Charlie, what the hell are you doing?” he asked fuzzily, his head still on his pillow.

“I couldn’t sleep,” I answered. He wasn’t going to take kindly to hearing that I had been watching him sleep.

“So you were trying to mentally absorb my sleep?” he asked, fluffing his pillow up and putting his head back down.

“Yeah, that’s right,” I said, getting up from the chair and going back to my bed.

“Why were you really up, Spazway?” he asked me, closing his eyes again.

“I couldn’t sleep,” I told him again. Technically, it was the truth.

“And? Why were you sitting in a desk chair staring at me? Mesmerized by my beauty?” He turned his head to face the wall.

Eh, I might as well just ask him. “Speaking of being mesmerized.”

“Yes? Are you talking about when I slapped your ass at practice? I told you, it was an accident.”

“I meant Maya.”

“She slapped your ass at practice too?”


“Fine, fine,” he said, turning around and propping himself up on his elbows. “What do you want to know?”

“Do you like her? Are you guys dating? Basically, what the hell is going on?”

“Yeah, I like her, I like her a lot. No, we’re not dating. I don’t know what’s going on.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know?”

“I mean, I like her, but…” Banks looked slightly embarrassed. He sat up and leaned against the wall. I laughed to myself. He looked so white and bony in the lack of light; it was almost like he blended in with the wall.

“But?” I prompted him.

“Charlie, what am I supposed to do? I’ve never liked girls before, I’ve never even thought of girls before.”

“You… ask her on a date?” I suggested.

“I thought that asking her to come to our practice everyday pretty much counted for that.”

“You… hang out with her a lot?”

“I see her about five times a day.”

“Yeah, I know. I don’t know… just kiss her. When I kissed Linda, it changed a lot of things, and it pretty much defined our relationship.”

“I can’t kiss her.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve never kissed anyone.”

“Hey, if you’re asking me to help you prepare for that one, you’re way off, pal,” I said, getting under the blankets of my bed. He had basically answered my questions, and by now I was tired.

“You’re an idiot,” Banks answered, doing the same.

“G’night,” I said sleepily.

“G’night,” he answered. A few moments passed in silence. I was half asleep when I heard him say, “And don’t start watching me again.”

Fulton, Russ, Kenny, and I all sat together on the hill by the pond. Classes had just gotten out 45 minutes ago, and people were everywhere. The four of us were hanging out for an hour, until our practice started. We had asked Guy and Luis to come along, but both had politely declined. I could see them on the other side of the pond, Guy with Connie and Luis avidly checking out a cheerleader. Portman was actually getting extra help with his history homework, and Julie and Scooter were practicing a little early. I had also asked Linda to come hang out, and was periodically watching for her.

“I can’t believe you don’t ‘Scream,’” Fulton said incredulously to Russ.

“What can I say? I happen to like good movies,” he answered.

“Like Titanic,” Kenny supplied. The small figure skater ducked as Russ tried to hit him.

“Once. I was watching it ONCE!” he said loudly. I laughed along with Fulton and Kenny, and almost didn’t realize when Linda sat down next to me.

“Hi,” she said.

“Oh, hey!” I leaned over and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “How was your day?”

“Pretty good. I got a killer English assignment, though.” My girlfriend launched into a detailed account of the project, sounding much like a teacher.

My attention was taken away from her as a tall figure in khaki pants and a dark blue sweater sprinted past.

“Hey!” it called as it kept running.

“Was that Banks?” Fulton asked.

“I think so…” Kenny said, watching the figure.

“Hey, Banksie! You’re a hockey player, not a track star!” Russ shouted, cupping his hands over his mouth.

With that, Banks tripped and fell flat on his face. I couldn’t tell if it was intentional or not, but I still cracked up with laughter. My friend got up and started running again. We all watched with shocked amusement as he leap-frogged over Maya, who was sitting on the grass with another girl. I didn’t know Banks could jump like that, let alone run at all. Maya let out a shriek as he landed on his feet in front of her. Her redheaded friend was beside herself with laughter.

“Your crotch just touched her head!” I could hear Marie from way over where I was sitting. Banks simply laughed and sat down beside his new girl, if you could call her that.

“That was amusing,” Linda commented. “You know, I really don’t get why they like each other. They’re so different.”

I didn’t like where that statement was heading. I saw Fulton, Russ, and Kenny exchange a look. I decided to keep my mouth shut, not wanting to piss off Linda. Fulton, on the other hand, was eager to defend Banks.

“I guess,” he shrugged. “I think she likes Banksie a lot, though. I’ve talked to her a little, and she seems really cool.”

“Yeah, she’s nice if you like annoying little attention-grabbers,” Linda gave a laugh. “But Banks is kind of like that too.”

“Hey, Banks is a great guy,” Russ said, sticking up for our absent friend.

“Yeah,” Kenny continued. “So don’t say anything about him.”

Linda threw her hands up in apology. “I didn’t mean anything by it, I just said that they were really different.”

“Well, we’re pretty different too, sweetie,” I said, finally opening my mouth. “I mean, you hate hockey, I love it.”

“Hey, I don’t hate hockey! Plus, we both like pizza and Pantera,” Linda teased. She had a big smile on her face, but it just disgusted me. I tried to remind myself why I had started dating her in the first place. I came up with because she was sweet, pretty, funny, and she stuck to her beliefs. Well, at least the last three reasons. I put a smile onto my own face and made my voice as sugar-sweet as hers was.

“And they both like movies, punk music, and Italian food,” I told her, remembering what little information Banks had told me about Maya. The smile was quickly erased from her face and replaced by a scowl.

“Why are you acting like this, Charlie? He brings you down, and she’s bringing him down even more. The only reasons they like each other are because then they can have someone to bitch to and throw pity-parties with. If you can’t see that, it’s your own fault.”

I sighed to myself. I didn’t want to make her mad. Last time we had fought she hadn’t spoken to me for two weeks. We’d been dating on and off for almost a year, and I really didn’t want to screw it up. The only way to do that was to agree with her.

“You’re right Linda, I’m sorry,” I said, not meeting my friends’ eyes. I could feel them staring at me open-mouthed.

“It’s okay, I’m glad you can admit when you’re wrong.” Even to me, the comment sounded rude. I swallowed my pride and nodded. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Fulton shake his head with disgust.

“Well, this has been tons of fun, but I have to get to work on that project,” Linda said, starting to get up. She leaned over and gave me what she thought was a passionate kiss. “I’ll see you later.”

“Bye,” I called as she started to walk towards her dorm. As soon as she was out of earshot, my friends started up.

“She has got you WHIPPED!” Russ said. Kenny nodded, making whipping motions.

“That was sickening,” Fulton said. “You couldn’t even stick up for your best friend. Man, if some girl said that about Portman, or any of you guys for that matter, I’d have let her have it. Even if she was my girlfriend.”

“Oh, what would you know? You haven’t had a girlfriend that’s lasted for more than two days.” The comment came out meaner than I had expected, and I winced at the expression on Fulton’s face.

“Dude, lay the fuck off. I was just saying.” Fulton didn’t look angry, just defensive.

I sighed. “Yeah, I’m sorry. I’m just a little… I don’t know.” I looked at Banks in the distance. He was on his back laughing so hard that it looked like he was crying. Maya was in the middle of a story or joke, and Marie was rolling her eyes with a grin on her face. I hadn’t made him laugh like that in a long time. I felt a pang of what could be nothing but jealousy. I realized that it wasn’t fair to feel like that- I had Linda, and the rest of my friends. I should let Banks have his happiness. The thought then came to my mind- what did he feel like when he was around Linda and I? God, we must be awful, always kissing and touching and laughing… I suddenly found myself faced with the horrible emotion of guilt.

“Let’s go and sit by them,” I said, getting up. My friends shrugged, and followed me. We sat down by the two girls and Banks just in time to hear Maya finish up.

“And so there we were, seven people riding around in a Camaro with a dented hood, Danny’s erect penis, and followed by Aaron on a tricycle.”

Banks made a choking noise in the midst of his laughter and tried to sit up.

“What’d we miss?” Russ asked.

“The funniest story I’ve ever heard!” Banks cried. “Tell them!”

“NO!” Marie cut in. She gave us an apologetic smile. “It’s just that it’s really not that funny once you hear it for the fourth time.”

“Oh come on, you’re just jealous because you weren’t there,” Maya teased.

“Like I’d want to hang out with those losers anyway,” Marie grinned, knowing the comment would irk her friend.

The two girls started to argue back and forth. I caught Adam’s eye and made sure that he was paying attention to me.

“Have you kissed her yet?” I mouthed to him, already knowing the answer.

He shook his head. Ha, I knew it.

“Do it,” I commanded silently.

“Now?” he asked me out loud. Fulton and Russ stared at him, but no one else seemed to notice. I shook my head and mouthed “Tonight.”

“When?” he mouthed back.

“Ask her out.” I continued silently.

He gave me a dismayed look. I gave him a look that clearly read “What?” He motioned to all of the people surrounding us. I shrugged. He firmly shook his head. I shrugged again, with a sly smile on my face.

“YOU’RE the one who always leaves the curling iron on. See this?” Maya waved her left hand at Marie. “That’s from accidentally putting my hand on it.”

“Well it’s your own fault you’re an idiot!” Marie responded. The girls really looked like they could be fighting, if they hadn’t been laughing.

“I’ve never seen girls go at it like this,” Kenny said, awed.

“Getting turned on, little guy?” Fulton laughed. Kenny gave him a look. I decided to make my move, and cut into the girls’ argument.

“Hey, Maya,” I said loudly.

She turned to me. “What?” she asked shrilly.

“What are you doing tonight?”

“I already told Banks that I would go to his practice.”

“I mean later.”

“Nothing. Why?”

“That’s not true, we’re going to watch Pearl Harbor!” Marie cut in. “Come on… you promised a Josh Hartnett fest.”

“Because Banksie wants to take you out tonight,” I grinned.

“Never mind, we’re not doing anything tonight,” Marie said, the same grin on her face.

Maya and Banks wore identical embarrassed face. Banks was the color of a tomato, and Maya was letting her hair hang in her face.

“So? Banks? What time are you going to come to our dorm?” Marie asked him.

“I’d have to say about 8. Our practice is over at 6, and he needs some time to eat and get showered,” Fulton answered, getting in on our little scheme.

“Yeah, what’s your room number?” Kenny asked, smirking.

“Its 5, on the 2nd floor,” she answered. “So Maya’ll see Banks at 8.”

“Yeah, we should get going,” I said, getting up. “Are you coming to practice, Maya?”

“No, I think I’ll pass today,” Maya answered, still looking a little uncomfortable. “No offense,” she added to Banks.

“None taken.” He got up. “I guess I’ll see you at 8.”

“I guess,” she answered, a half-smile on her face.

“See ya,” Marie called as the four of us started walking towards the rink. I turned around to see Maya hit Marie hard on the shoulder. As soon as we were far enough away from the girls, Banks did the same to me. I yelped, not as much from pain as from surprise.

“Charlie!” he yelled, laughing.

“Man, that was good,” Russ said. “Totally makes up for the Linda incident.” Kenny and Fulton nodded in agreement.

“Linda incident?” Banks asked. “No, never mind… I don’t really want to know. I can’t believe you got me into this.” He shook his head, laughing.

Banks skated towards me, intent on scoring. I waited until he made his move, and then cleverly took the puck from him. I attempted to skate past him to my team’s goal, but he blocked me and took the puck back. He skated in and took the shot. Goldberg dived, but the puck went in.

“What am I supposed to do with her tonight?” Banks asked me, acting as if we weren’t in the middle of practice.

“I don’t know, what do you regularly do together on those nights when you’re out until curfew?”

“Sit on a hill and talk.”

“So sit on a hill and talk,” I said, making a breakaway for my team’s goal. He skated at the same speed as me, trying to take the puck away. He succeeded, and I fell over as I tried to make a sharp turn around. He skated back to his side and put the puck into the net.

“I will say something,” Fulton said, helping me up. “He’s really good at hockey.”

“Yeah,” Guy said from behind him. “I’m surprised Coach hasn’t moved him up to Varsity again, with all of the empty slots.”

Come to think of it, I was surprised too. But Coach Orien was a good enough guy to know that the Ducks wouldn’t want to be split up. I didn’t let it bother me, and skated over to the bench, where I switched spots with Dwayne. Banks came and sat down next to me, Connie going in for him. He took a drink of water and wiped his forehead.

“You think that’ll be good? Just go and talk?” he asked me.

“If that’s what you two do together, then definitely. It’d be too weird if you did something entirely new with her,” I answered. I suppose I knew what I was talking about.

“All right.” Banks took another drink of water, then turned to me. “Thanks Charlie.”

Six of us were squished onto one bed, and six on the other. “Reservoir Dogs” was playing on our small TV, and Banks was going nervously from the closet to the bathroom. I shifted uncomfortably in between Portman and Goldberg. Connie and Guy were under the blanket, giggling. I didn’t really want to know what they were doing. Julie was leaning against the wall at the foot of the bed, and periodically hit the giggling mass in the bed with a pillow. The rest of the Ducks were lined up comfortably on Banks’ bed.

“How do I look?” he announced. He was wearing his regular khaki pants with a dark green polo shirt. Everyone answered with a chorus of “Ugh,” “Nice Shirt,” and “Preppy!” He let his hands fall to his sides. “Then what the hell should I wear?”

“Wear something of Charlie’s,” Julie suggested.

Banks looked at me pleadingly. I sighed, and got up from the bed. I went to the closet and pulled out a green flannel shirt. I held it out to my friend, who gave me a dubious look.

“I’m going to see Maya, not Linda,” he said.

Everyone chuckled and I gave him a look. He shrugged, and crossed to the closet. He went through it. He finally gave up.

“I can’t wear anything of yours, it’s not me. And I don’t want to wear anything of mine. It’s too…”

“Preppy?” Russ supplied.

“Pansy?” Portman said at the same time.

“I resent that,” Banks said, not looking at either of them.

Connie poked her head out from the blanket, looking slightly disheveled. “Then just wear your Ducks jersey.”

“Yeah!” the rest of the team seemed to go for the idea. I pulled out his old jersey, back when we were still playing for peewee, and held it out to him.

“Come on,” I said. “I always wear mine.”

“Yeah, but you’re a dork,” Kenny said.

Banks took it from me. “You think I should?”

“Yeah, sure,” the rest of the room chorused. Banks shrugged, and went into the bathroom to put it on. When he came back out, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was relatively loose, but the sleeves came up halfway to his elbows.

“It’s a little short,” he told me, standing in front of the TV. I laughed, and held out his regular jersey to him. He struggled to take off the shirt he was wearing and put on the other one. When he finally poked his head out, our friends were yelling at him to get out of the way. On the TV, Mr. Blonde had just cut off the police officer’s ear in the infamous torture scene. I stood with Banks in the center of the room, and we exchanged a look as our friends were laughing and jeering at the movie. I smiled to myself as I heard the lyrics being sung on the screen.

“Clowns to left of me, Jokers to the right; here I am… stuck in the middle with you.”

“Good luck, Banks,” I told him as I ushered him out of the dorm. I sat back down in my previous spot. I didn’t mind the clowns or the jokers that were my friends, and I was definitely glad that I was stuck in the middle with Banks.

Author’s Notes: So I changed the title, finally. Anyway, sorry it took me so long to update, but I was working on Snow. * GO READ THAT!!! * I hope you like this! Title is from “Sucker” by New Found Glory.

October 6, 2001, 7:52 PM

I danced around the small bathroom, spraying perfume on my wrists. I thought for a moment, and then pulled the collar of my shirt away from me and made a quick spray of the scent inside of it. Hey, you never know. I sang along with the song that I had on, smiling to myself because of the lyrics.

“When you smile, I melt inside. I’m not worthy for a minute of your time. I really wish it was only me and you, I’m jealous of everybody in the room. Please don’t look at me with those eyes, please don’t hint that you’re capable of lies. I dread the thought of our very first kiss, a target that I’m probably gonna miss.”

Since I wasn’t big on makeup, I put on some lip-gloss and continued to sing.

“Let’s go, don’t wait, this night’s almost over. Honest, let’s make this night last forever. Forever and ever, let’s make this last forever. Forever and ever, let’s make this last forever.”

I whipped around when I heard laughing behind me. Adam was standing in the doorway, with a big smile on his face. Marie was behind him, laughing and giving me a thumbs up sign. I tried to hide my embarrassment, but I knew my face was bright red.

“Hi,” I stuttered.

“Hey,” he answered, giving me an amazingly cute half-smile.

He was wearing his regular khaki pants, but instead of his token polo shirt or sweater, he had on his Ducks jersey. Charlie had probably gotten him to do it. It was a slightly nice thought to know that Adam had been spazzing enough that he had gone to Charlie, of all people, for fashion advice. I actually liked his preppy look, even though it was nothing like me. I usually wore jeans and a t-shirt, with the occasional sweatshirt. Marie had tired to get me dolled up for the night, but after a brief yelling match and the throwing of a hairbrush, she let me choose by myself. I had selected my favorite pair of jeans (ones that made my butt look great) and an “I Y NY” shirt.

“Yeah, we can go, I just need to get my shoes on,” I said, brushing past him and Marie. I sat on the bed and grabbed my black Converse All-Stars and started to put them on. Adam walked around our dorm, gravitating towards my side of the room. He looked at my pictures, of which I had many. Marie stayed behind him, and I could tell she was monitoring him. The pictures he was looking at mainly featured Marie and I, along with a few other friends I had on campus.

“Is that your brother?” he asked, pointing to a picture of Kyle and I. We were both wearing swimsuits and had our arms around each other. It had been taken during the summer when we were on our vacation in California.

“No, that’s her best friend Kyle. He lives in Wisconsin,” Marie answered for me. “And don’t worry- he’s no competition.”

“Okay,” Adam said uncertainly. I figured he was more put-off by Marie’s sly comments, than the thought of Kyle himself. He moved on to another picture, one that I didn’t really want him looking at.

“Who are they?” he asked.

“Maya’s ‘cool’ friends from Hayden Academy,” Marie teased. “She hung out with them a lot last year.”

I didn’t know why I still had that picture up. It wasn’t good to have a picture with my ex-boyfriend hanging on me, and me enjoying it. But Adam didn’t seem to be concerned, and started to laugh at the next one.

“I didn’t know you were a ballerina,” he said, motioning to a picture of my friend Mallory and I wearing pink tutus.

“Shut up,” I said, finally finishing with my shoes. “Let’s go.”

“Take a jacket, sweetie, it’s cold,” Marie taunted. I ignored her, and opened the door. Adam waved to Marie, who raised an eyebrow and grinned at me. I grinned back, and followed Adam.

I had kind of guessed we would end up on “our” hill. We had made small talk during the walk down, mostly Banks telling me about his practice. Once we were settled overlooking the baseball diamonds, I turned to make conversation again.

“So, do you think he’ll end up actually moving you to Varsity?”

Adam paused for a second, then looked over at me. “You know, I really don’t feel like talking about hockey.”

“Okay.” I was slightly taken aback, but not upset. What did he want to talk about, then?

He leaned back onto his elbows, looking up at the stars. “Do you know anything about constellations?”

“Well, I know what Orion looks like,” I said, searching the sky for the assemblage of stars. “There.” I pointed to it.

“How about the dippers?” He asked, looking around the sky himself.

“Yeah, right,” I laughed to myself. “I’ve been searching all my life for them, but I can never find them.”

“Oh come on,” he said. “Look, there’s the big one right there.”


He leaned onto one elbow and pointed with the other hand. I followed the direction of his finger. Sure enough, there was the scalawag that had evaded me for all of my life. Had I really never been able to see it before? A mischievous thought came into my head, and I feigned bewilderment.

“Where?” I asked again. He pointed again, more insistent this time. I made the confused look on my face more evident, and he sighed. He pulled me by the back of my shirt so that I was lying back with my head right next to his. His arm was lightly resting around my waist. He traced the outline of the constellation with his finger.

“Ohhhh,” I grinned. He turned his head, his nose only just touching my cheek. I tried to smother my smile, but it didn’t work.

“You did that on purpose, didn’t you?” he asked softly.

I nodded, unable to contain my laughter. He shoved me away from him playfully, laughing. We soon sat in silence again. I glanced over at Adam. His amusement had turned to something else. It looked like he was having an internal battle. I was about to ask him if he was okay when he finally spoke up.

“So I’m sure Connie has told you that I’ve never had a girlfriend before this.”

Before this? That was awful presumptuous of him. Oh, who was I kidding? I was as good as his girlfriend by now.

“Mmhmm,” I answered nonchalantly.

“She hasn’t told me a lot about you, but I’m sure you’ve dated before.”


“Oh,” he looked uncomfortable. “Was it that Kyle kid?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “No way! Kyle has been my best friend since we were in diapers. That, and he’s gay.”

“Oh!” Adam laughed along with me. The silence passed between us again. I wasn’t sure whether I should say something or not. Thinking about it, I defiantly told myself that I wouldn’t make the first move. Adam would have to, even if it would kill him. But the most I could do was help him out a little bit.

“Beautiful night, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he grunted. Great, now he wasn’t talking at all, just making caveman noises. I sighed quietly. Time to really work the feminine charms.

“So, Adam… tell me what the Junior Goodwill Games were like.” First thing: always play for the interests.

“Well, they were pretty great. I mean, it was an international competition and it was fun to see how much the other countries sucked. Except Canada, and of course Iceland…” I nodded, and tried to actually listen to him. I found myself merely watching him, and the way his face lit up when he talked about those good times. My favorite feature of his was definitely his eyes. They were a world of their own, with so many different emotions behind them. I also definitely liked his body, which he was nicely growing into. He was tall and skinny, but had a fair amount of muscles. His smile always made me get that stupid tingly feeling inside of me, and it made me doubt whether I was even on Earth, as cliché as it sounded.

If it’s anything I hated, it was a cliché relationship. I wanted an original relationship, with feelings and ideas that you didn’t read about in books. I wasn’t out looking for my soul mate, or my true love, whatever either of those were. I wanted someone to make me laugh, to know what I wanted, and also to refuse to give it to me. The only key to a good relationship was understanding. And understanding could only come with fights. It was a harsh philosophy, but I had learned with Colin that there needed to be communication. I wondered what going out with Adam would be like, if we ever even got to that stage. I’d probably have to make all of the moves, but I figured that if we ever got past tonight, I wouldn’t mind that. I made myself listen to him again, intent on making my plan work.

“… And even when I hurt my wrist, Charlie was there for me. The best part of the whole thing was at the end of the championship game, and I gave him the flag. They gave it to me because I made the last goal, I guess. But I thought that he deserved it.”

Shit. I probably should have been listening to him. Oh well, there’d be plenty of time for him to tell me all of it again.

“Adam,” I cut him off. “What do you look for in a girl?”

Ha-ha, catching them off-guard was always a good tactic.

“Well, you, I guess,” he responded.

Dammit, he beat me at my own game. I tried to smile, racking my brain for my next move. I shivered exaggeratedly, rubbing my hands up and down my arms.

“Oh, are you cold?” he asked, right on cue.

I shook my head. “Oh, no, I’m fine.” I shivered again, aware of what Adam would do next.

“No, you’re cold,” he said, pulling me closer to him. He put his arm around my shoulder firmly. I smiled to myself, but made sure that he wouldn’t see. Next step: play hard to get.

“No, really, I’m fine,” I said, pushing myself away from him. He gave me a hurt look, but I dismissed it. He wouldn’t be looking at me like that soon. Ah yes, the deviousness of a young girl’s mind.

“Adam, have you ever had one of those really magical moments? One where you feel like you, or you and whoever you’re with, are the only people in the world?”

Adam thought for a minute, and then nodded. “Yeah. When we won the championship and I gave Charlie the flag. I don’t know- that seems to be a definitive moment in my life.”

I nodded. “I think I’ve had some, but I don’t know. My friend Kyle always tells me about these moments he has with his boyfriend Tom, and I don’t get it. I don’t get how someone can feel like that about another person. I mean, I’m not saying that it can’t happen, I’m just saying that I’ve never felt it before.”

If my hints had been rocks, Adam would have been stoned to death by now. Luckily for me, he had by now understood. He stared at me for a second, and then leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. He quickly sat back in his original position, his face bright red.

“That’s it?” I asked, grinning. I could see the blush spread from his cheeks all the way to his ears. I leaned over and kissed him on the lips.

October 6, 2001, 8:24 PM

I couldn’t believe that she had just done that. I sat shocked on my place on the grass as she pulled away from me. That’s what a kiss was like? It was that easy, yet that… fulfilling? Man, I had really been missing out.

“You okay?” she asked me.

“Yeah,” my voice cracked, much like a thirteen-year-old’s. I cleared my throat, and tried again. “Yeah.” Yup, there was my sixteen-year-old voice.

“Are we dating now?” she asked me.

Great, she just had to ask me that. I didn’t know what to answer! She was the dominant one; she was supposed to make the decisions. But whatever answer I gave was clearly the deciding factor of our relationship. If I bailed and told her that I didn’t know, she’d think that I wasn’t ready for anything serious. If I told her to choose, then she’d think I was a wimp. Basically, the ball was in my court and I had to make the decision.

“Yeah, it does,” I stated firmly. I really hoped she couldn’t see the tension in my face.

“Good,” she answered, pulling my arm so that it was around her shoulder.

I was so glad that she was making this easy for me. As her small frame leaned back against me, my eyes traveled to her arms. I had forgotten about her scars, but there they were, clear as day. My finger traveled across them. They seemed old, but one could never tell. Her eyes met mine and I could tell she wasn’t comfortable with this. I moved my hand away from her arm, and tried to concentrate on the moment. She moved her head up to kiss me again, and I felt myself getting lost.

“Well, I don’t know exactly where she goes… I just know that it’s in this general area!” The female voice was very whiny, and very familiar.

“Looks like we won’t have to look very far…” The second voice was also very recognizable.

“Hi guys.”

I didn’t know why we were still kissing. I had heard the Ducks coming… but I still hadn’t taken the hint. Now we were going to pay for our few moments of intimacy. Maya and I slowly turned around. Marie, Charlie, Fulton, Averman, Guy, and Connie were looking at us with much interest. This was just perfect. Knowing that there was no other way to get out of this mess, I quickly kissed Maya on the cheek and got up.

“I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” I was already pulling Charlie and the three other guys away towards our dorms.

“Bye Adam!” Marie was beside herself with giggles as Maya followed my lead and started to take her and Connie away.

Once the girls were out of earshot, the catcalls started. But for once, I was able to join in and laugh. Why hadn’t anyone ever told me about the wonder of girls?

Abnormal Like Me

Rating: R, because it’s slash. Also, it might have violence later on, and a bit of swearing. Depends what I do with it!

Dedication: To Star, because she’s my Star. Awww… how sweet is that? I’d also like to apologize to her that I’m writing yet another fic on the side of the Queertet series. But my muse decided to drop this on my head! Don’t worry Star, you know how the Queertet rules my mind. Oh yes, and think you for this heading once again.

Also, dedication to Stepherz and Joyful!

Disclaimer: Disney owns the Ducks. You know, I might not even return them when I’m finished… I mean, Disney’s not doing anything with them! Any characters not in the Ducks movies, though, are mine.

Notes: Argh, I know, I shouldn’t have taken yet another story under my wing… but I really like this one, and it’s going to be short-ish. Anyway, more stories are better than no stories. Chapters should be from Adam’s POV, if things change I’ll state it. First chapter starts in the last, oh, 3 seconds of the JV-Varsity game.

Archived: 28 Oct 2006

Chapter One: Bittersweet Victory

Goldberg looks around scared for a second, and then after the insistent screaming of almost every single person in attendance, shoots the puck in right before the buzzer.

We rush together. We’ve won. We’ve defeated Varsity.

I run at Charlie, making sure that he’s the first person that I embrace. The rest of the team collides with us, and we gather ourselves in a giant group hug. Even Orion joins in.

I hug Julie, then Ken, then Guy. The Bash Brothers catch me in the middle of one of their chest butts, but quickly back off when I yell about my wrist.

It takes me a few minutes, and I realize that Charlie is missing. I look around for him.

He’s engaged in deep lip-lock with a girl.

My heart rips in half.

Fulton grabs me in a headlock and ruffles my hair. I try to swallow the lump in my throat and laugh along with him and Portman.

Wow, what a bittersweet victory.

I bite back the tears that are threatening to spill out. How could I be so stupid? He’s a great guy. Perfect, actually. Ok, so he’s a little hotheaded at times, and he’s really stubborn… but he’s handsome and talented and smart and funny and…


Yeah, that’s right. What else could he be? He’s too perfect to be… abnormal like me. I’ve heard Julie complain before, “All the good guys are gay”, but I’m going to have to argue. All the good guys are straight, and fall for girls that look like something between a rat and a snake.

Who is the girl, anyway? She looks familiar, but I can’t place her. I know I’ve seen her before, but not with Charlie; I would have probably had a seizure if I had.

Charlie skates back towards us, cheering and hugging everyone. His girl smiles at him for a moment, and then leaves.

Charlie throws his arms around my neck.

“You did it, Banksie… see, you are a real Duck! Don’t ever say you aren’t again!” He yells in my ear.

I try to laugh and hug him back, but I know it’s a really weak attempt. He doesn’t seem to notice, and moves on to hugging Russ.

I skate off of the ice numbly. I’m glad that I can change in peace once in the locker room. As I’m leaving I hear everyone else coming in. They probably don’t even notice that I’m gone.

Once in my dorm room, I struggle to make the tears come out. I haven’t cried in weeks, but god have I wanted to. It always feels better to get out a good cry.

I’ve never felt so alone.

Why, though? He hasn’t rejected me. If anything, I should have expected this. I’ve been bracing myself for it for the past two years.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. I’ve known him for four years, and been in love with him for half of the time. I can’t pin down when I fell for him to an exact moment, but I know that it slowly just happened. And I was deluded enough to believe that he felt the same.

Through the years there have just been little things that have made me think that. Like the way that he gave up his spot for me when my wrist was healed during the Goodwill Games. Or that time in the first couple weeks of school when my room was being repainted and I had to stay in his. He accidentally came in while I was changing, and the electricity that filled the room… man.

Even when we fought a few weeks ago during the unofficial JV-Varsity match. He sounded like he was upset because he loved me.

None of that is true, of course.

Now I can’t believe what I’ve done. I’m not good at anything, just hockey. So I gave up my spot on Varsity to be with a guy that doesn’t even like me?

No, Adam, that’s not right. You gave up your spot for the Ducks, not just Charlie.

To hell with that! It was all for Charlie! Everything is for Charlie. He’s the only thing that keeps me going.

I wonder if I can talk the coaches into letting me back on Varsity. Because I can’t bear to look at Charlie anymore than I have to. Not now that I know that nothing is going to happen with him. My infatuation has to stop, and it’s not going to if I keep hanging around him.

My roommate comes in, a triumphant grin on his face. “Good job, Banksie! You were awesome!”

“Thanks Lucas.” I can’t really get used to him calling me Banksie. He only started after hearing the Ducks do it. Before, I used to be Adam. I prefer that instead of Banks, Banksie, Cake-eater, and any other nickname they come up with to use on me. I’m a real person for god’s sake.

Lucas is my roommate. He’s not on any sports teams; he’s not outrageously smart, or even outrageously rich. He’s just an average guy. That’s what I like so much about him. He doesn’t try to be anything he’s not, and he just makes me feel at ease.

“That was a great save you pulled, too—what luck, jumping in front of the goal like that!”

I shrug. I just wanted to win.

“Listen, your friends told me to tell you to go meet them in the cafeteria. They want to celebrate your victory, Duck-style.” The grin looks like it’s going to split his face. “And that’s a direct quote from that Averman guy.”

I shake my head, and lay down on my bed. “I’m not really feeling too good.”

“Oh, what’s up?” His smile falters a bit.

“Nothing, I’m just feeling a little sick.”

“Well, that sucks, you just winning a big game and all. Hey, you wouldn’t mind if I left, would you? Marco said that he was going to set me up with this chick Lily, maybe you know her… she’s one of the JV cheerleaders. Anyway, she’s really hot, and I…”

I fight the urge to roll my eyes. Typical straight freshman male. “Yeah, go ahead. I’ll just be here.”

“Ok, that’s cool.” He starts for the door again. “If I see the Ducks I’ll tell them you’re sick.”

I nod, and he closes the door behind him.

The party will be raging on for hours. But I don’t feel like attending at all. I’m just going to curl up here and die. It’s better that way. Because then I won’t have to watch Charlie break my heart some more. It’s unbelievable how much pain I’m going through because of him, and he doesn’t even know it.

Chapter Two: In the Middle Again

Only Varsity Coach Wilson would have practice this early. 6 am is ridiculous. Of course, they did just lose to the JV team last night. But leave it to Coach Orion to make the winning team practice at 9.

I walk into the locker room after talking to Coach Wilson. He said that he would have to talk to Coach Orion about it, but how would I feel about being an alternate for the time being? You know, be benched on Varsity, starting center on JV?

I didn’t know they could do that. But it’s what I’m doing now.

Charlie barges into the locker room. He always has a confident aura around him, giving you the idea that he’s hot stuff, and he knows it.

“Hey Banksie!” He says, giving me his trademark grin.

No, no… why does he have to be so damn cute?!

“Hi Charlie.” I croak out.

“You feeling better? Sorry you couldn’t come to the party last night. It was great!” He sets his stuff over near his locker, and starts to take off his pants.

This is why I always try to avoid him in the locker room. It would not be good for me to watch him get undressed. I mean, we don’t get naked, but still. The principle is the same.

“Where’s everyone else?” Yes, I’m aware that my voice has just gone up about three octaves. I try to clear my throat and sound normal.

“Oh, they’re coming. I was just up a little early, so I decided to be on time for once.”

I nod. It figures.

“Why are you here so early?” Great. Now he’s standing there in only a t-shirt and his boxers. I’m sure my face is the color of a tomato.

“I… needed to talk to Coach Wilson.” I stutter.

What’s Charlie going to think about me being [kind of] on Varsity? He hated me last time I was with the Warriors, and it wasn’t even by my own choice then. I try to remind myself that I went to talk to Coach Wilson because of Charlie, and that it doesn’t really matter what he’ll think.

But what if I lose my friends again? What if the Ducks hate me again? What if…

Adam, shut up. You knew the answer to all of these questions before you even woke up this morning and came to the rink. If it were that big of a deal to you, would you have even come to talk to the Coach?

The Ducks are one big clique. Everyone knows that. But in our big clique, we branch off into small pairs. Seeing that there are thirteen of us, someone’s the odd man out. That someone is me.

Russ and Charlie, Ken and Julie, Connie and Guy (yes, even though they broke up a month ago, they still act attached to the hip), Dwayne and Luis, Fulton and Portman, Averman and Goldberg.

I had someone before… good old Jesse. His mom has always been really sick, and it got especially bad this last summer. Jesse decided that he was going to decline the scholarship from Eden Hall to live at home with her. I can’t say I don’t respect his decision; I love Mrs. Hall like my own mother. But I sure do miss him.

“Why did you need to talk to—”

The rush of Ducks that enter the locker room cut off Charlie. I swear, sometimes the constant chattering that they make really does sound like quacking.

“Hey, Banksie!”

“What’s up, Adam?”

“Too bad you weren’t there last night, Cake-eater!”

I’m slapped on the back and punched on the arm about nine times. Finally, everyone settles into changing. Seeing as how I’m already dressed, I start to leave the locker room.

Charlie catches me by the arm, and pulls me aside. He has a troubled expression on his face. I get the strangest feeling that I’ve had a dream like this before. Any minute now he’s going to ask me where I’ve been all his life… I’ll respond with ‘right here, waiting for you.’ Then, he’ll lean down and give me the greatest kiss I’ll ever get, right here in front of the Ducks.

He opens his mouth to speak, and I wait eagerly.

“Why did you need to talk to Coach Wilson?”

I silently kick myself in the head. Adam, you’re an idiot.


“Come on you guys, let’s not be late… we want to keep Orion in a good mood.” Connie comes by and pulls me away from Charlie.

“Yeah, I for one do not feel like skating 20 laps today.” Kenny agrees, following us.

Charlie looks a little perturbed, but he follows us anyway.

Orion is already waiting for us on the ice. Much to Kenny’s dismay, he orders that we skate 20 laps, and then get ready for scrimmage.

“Banks come here.” He thunders. Why does he have to yell so early in the morning? I’m right here…

I skate over to him as my teammates start to do their laps. Charlie gives me a suspicious look. I quickly turn away.

“I just had a little chat with Coach Wilson.” Orion starts. “Do you want to tell me what this is all about?”

Good thing I had a speech prepared for Wilson. Now I can use it on Orion, too. “Yeah. I just… I love being with the Ducks and all, they’re a second family to me. But hockey is the most important thing in my life, and I want to be able to get the right challenges and training so that I can… go all the way.”

I almost choke saying the last part. I’m starting to sound like an echo of Jack Reilly. And here I am, just spending the past four years trying to convince myself that I was never a true Hawk.

Coach Orion nods. He looks satisfied with my answer.

“You’re ambitious. That’s a good thing. Yeah, I think our arrangement will work out just fine, then.” He claps his hand on my back. “You’re a fine hockey player, Adam, and a good kid. Now get to those laps! Don’t do all of them, just 15.”

I try to grin. “Thanks Coach.”

We enter the locker room, tired after a long practice. I’m at the back of the line, as usual, and I ram into Luis as everyone stops.

“What is it?”

“Hey, watch those hands!”

“Guys, what’s going on?”

“Why’d you stop?”

I’m lucky I’m tall. I peer over everyone else’s head. All I can see is a lot of white stuff. We slowly enter the locker room, and I see what the white stuff is.


They’re all over our stuff. Why did we leave our lockers open? The wall is written on in shaving cream again. It reads ‘Ducks Are Plucked.’

“What is this?” Averman asks as he touches his sweatshirt. “Did they glue it to our stuff?”

“It looks like it…” Fulton answers. “Maybe they used… spray glue?”

“Is there even such a thing?” Julie sounds really pissed off. Probably because of her budding romance with Scooter, the Varsity goalie. I’ll have to assure her later that he had nothing to do with this. We were always the outsiders on Varsity, and I got to know him pretty well.

I walk to my locker, and find that it is probably the worst of all. Feathers are all over my clothes, shoes, and extra hockey stuff… there’s a note taped to the back of the locker. I pluck it off the sticky surface and unfold it.

We heard about your little arrangement, Banksie. Don’t think we’re going to let you off half as easy as we did before. You’re always going to be a Duck, and we’re not going to forget it.

Captain Riley and the Eden Hall Varsity WARRIORS

I quickly crumple it up and shove it into my bag as Charlie starts to speak.

“I hope they don’t think that this is over with. We beat them at hockey; we’ll beat them at this. Get brainstorming, Ducks… we’re having a meeting at the pond at 2.”

He finishes switching his ice skates with roller blades, and leaves the locker room, still dressed in his practice gear.

The conversation starts back up again, but I stay silent. Great. So I’m going to be in the middle of yet another prank war. The Varsity is going to be out to get me, and once the Ducks find out that I’m on Varsity, so will they. It’s just like before—I wasn’t even doing the pranking, but I was still always the one to get the blame! How stupid are the Ducks? Of course Varsity didn’t let me know about the pranks ahead of time, they knew I’d rat them out to the Ducks.

I sigh, and dig my roller blades out of my feather-infested bag. I grab my stuff and shove it together. I can deal with getting the feathers off later. I put on my skates, and leave.

Charlie’s right. I do have to get brainstorming. I have to figure out how to get myself out the mess that I so easily made for myself.

Chapter Three: Operation Warrior Omelet

“Shhh!” Connie scolds Averman, cutting him off mid-joke. “Do you want to get us caught?”

He shakes his head guiltily.

It doesn’t really matter—we’re going to be caught anyway. Varsity was in detention when they put the Ducks’ clothes in the shower (Scooter told the Dean I wasn’t involved, so I wasn’t penalized) and the Ducks were in detention when they froze Varsity’s clothes. Plus, Varsity had been in detention again after the feather incident. Just because we’re jocks doesn’t mean that the administrators won’t be strict with us, no matter what the other students think. So I have to ask, why do the Ducks think we’re not going to get caught?

“That’s called being counter-productive!” Goldberg says loudly as Russ cracks an egg over his head.

“Can you not shut up?” Connie hisses again.

“Incoming…” Ken calls from Portman’s shoulders. A glob of shaving cream falls to the floor in front of them. The wall now reads “Warr ors”

It had been Dwayne’s idea, actually. He had suggested we get live ducks and set them free in the locker room, and wouldn’t it be funny if they laid eggs?

Yeah, he got a lot of weird looks for that one.

We finally convinced him that it would be a little hard to find live ducks in October in Minnesota. But Charlie had pushed the egg idea a little…

So here we are, armed with a dozen cartons of eggs in the Varsity locker room. We’re supposed to be splattering their clothes and shoes with about 8 eggs per player. Kenny and Portman are taking care of the shaving cream message that we do every time. It’s kind of funny this time… it’s going to say, “Warriors are scrambled.”

Averman has christened our mission “Operation Warrior Omelet.” Russ wanted to try to actually fry some eggs to put into the lockers, but we quickly suppressed that idea.

This is my first prank in the war of the hockey teams. Julie lovingly dubbed me a ‘prank virgin.’ I think I want to keep ‘saving myself’, because I’m really not having too much fun.

I sigh. I haven’t helped at all so far, just kind of stood there stupidly. I guess I should get to work. I look at the locker right in front of me. Just my luck. I can tell by the name on the letter jacket that it’s Scooter’s.

“Hey, are we doing Scooter’s?” I ask hesitantly.

“He’s on Varsity…” Guy says, but I see him glance at Julie.

She shrugs. “Guys’ right. He is on Varsity.”

Julie has been ignoring Scooter since the feather incident, despite his repeated attempts to talk to her.

I’m still hesitant. Scooter was the only one to stick up for me to Varsity when it came to the Ducks. I’m going to return the favor.

“Yeah, but he doesn’t take part in the pranks. I would know.” I tell her.

The Ducks all look at each other doubtfully.

“Hey, Banksie… don’t forget what team you’re on.” Fulton says uncomfortably. “You’re a Duck. Ducks fly together.”

I could tell him that he’s full of crap, and that he’s repeating a senseless motto fed to us in grade school. I could tell him that I’m not a Duck, and that he has no clue of what I am. I could tell him that technically, I am also on Varsity. But I don’t.

Instead I crack an egg, and drop the yolk into Scooter’s locker.

“Sorry.” I murmur to the absent goalie.

45 minutes and a carton of eggs later, I’m sitting in my dorm room trying to concentrate on my music homework.

“Write a 2 page essay on the classical style of music, popular in the 18th century. Standard 5 paragraphs, please.”


Lucky for me, there’s a knock on the door.

“Come in.” I call. It’s probably Marco, looking for Lucas. He’s not here, he’s getting extra help with his homework. I turn around, preparing to tell this to Marco.

Charlie and Russ step into the room.

“Hey Banksie! Whatcha doin’?” Russ peers over my shoulder. “Ugh! Forget that, it’s not due until Wednesday.”

“That’s only 2 days away, and I want to get it done now, since I’m not doing anything else.” I argue.

“But you are doing something! You’re watching Clerks with us!” Charlie snaps shut the book in front of me, and turns around my chair.

“You guys…” I roll my eyes. This isn’t the first time they’ve done this. They bring over a movie and we proceed to giggle like girls, on complete caffeine-highs.

All it succeeds in doing is make me fall more in love with Charlie.

Halfway through the movie, Charlie gets up from his spot next to me on the bed.

“It’s already 7?! I promised Linda I’d meet her 15 minutes ago. Sorry guys, we’ll have to finish watching later.”

I try to contain my disappointment as he rushes from the room. Stupid f-ing Linda. I don’t meant to grumble that last bit out loud, but I do. Russ doesn’t seem to notice, and keeps his concentration on the movie.

Less than five minutes after Charlie is gone, there’s another knock on the door.

“Come in.” I call again, this time sounding somewhat down and out.

Much to my surprise, Coach Orion steps into the room.

“Oh good Banks, you’re here. I was hoping I didn’t have to pull you out of class tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know, you’re going to be playing Varsity tomorrow. Cole’s still out because of Portman, and the second string, Hutchinson, has the flu. You’re free, right?”

My eyes widen with surprise, and I quickly turn to look at Russ’ reaction. He looks both shocked and curious.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m free…” I stutter.

“Ok, good. Be there to suit up an hour before the game. Glad we can depend on you, Banks.” Coach grins at me, and then leaves the room again.

The silence between Russ and I is heavily awkward. Very unusual for Russ Tyler.

“Varsity, Banks?” He finally asks.

I slowly nod.

“How come?”

I shrug. “Hockey’s important to me. I want to be able to go all the way. And being a starter on Varsity in my freshman year will definitely get me there.”

“Is that you talking, or your dad?”

My head snaps up and I suddenly become defensive. “Hey, shut the hell up. You have no idea about anything with my dad.”

“Ok, Adam.” Russ backs off. “But seriously, what’s up? Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’ve changed.”

“How have I changed?”

“Well, you seem more depressed lately. I don’t have to guess to know that it has to do with the Ducks. Anything you want to share?”

I shrug.

“Well, I’m not going to push, but you should know that I’m here if you need to, you know… talk. I may act like an idiot, but really deep down I’m a nice guy.”

I’m not sure whether to take Russ seriously or not. I decide to leave it how it is, and simply nod.

“I should probably get going.” Russ gets up, and shuts off the TV. After taking the tape out of the VCR, he turns to me again.

“Just remember what I said.” He grins at me, and leaves my room.

I sigh, and drag myself back to my desk. I slowly open my textbook again, and try to concentrate on writing my essay. But my mind keeps wandering. My thoughts are centered on three main topics right now: Charlie, Varsity, and the conversation I just had with Russ.

I suppose it wouldn’t be too bad to talk to Russ. He is nice, and he’d probably even understand if I told him about Charlie. However, I can’t right now. I’m not ready to trust anyone with this.

Chapter Four: Put On Your Game Face

I slowly enter the locker room. I have just narrowly escaped being caught by Guy and Averman. I hid around the corner when I saw them coming. There’s no way I’m going to be caught playing Varsity.

Am I the world’s biggest hypocrite? I ask the coaches to put me on the team, and then try to hide it from everyone else.

I should have told the Ducks. But I didn’t. Now they’re going to learn the hard way. Of course, they’ll be at the game. Maybe not all of them, but at least a few. Probably Ken, who has been at all of our other games; Dwayne, who has been hanging around Ken since Luis got a girlfriend; and Charlie, who has a new found interest in all hockey (even Warrior hockey) since Hans’ death.

I tried to convince Charlie not to come. I even tried to get him to do something with Linda instead. He suggested that he just bring her to the hockey game. Yeah, that’s a good idea.

The talk in the locker room stops as the Varsity players notice my presence.

“Look who it is…” Riley sneers.

Everyone in the room has an identical scowl on their faces. Even Scooter looks unhappy. I guess they haven’t forgotten the eggs. Of course, that was just yesterday.

I decide that the best course of action is to just ignore them and get ready for the game.

Riley saunters over and pushes me into a locker.

“You and your little Duck friends ruined a very expensive pair of shoes.” He snarls, grabbing me by the collar of my shirt.

“Save it.” I say, pushing him off.

“Oh no, no, no…” He grabs me again, his face inches from mine.

Coach Wilson, who chooses this moment to walk into the locker room, cuts him off.

“Riley, knock it off. Suit up, Banks.” He passes through us and opens the door leading to the ice.

That’s just like him. He knows that the Varsity idiots do to the Ducks, but if anything, he encourages them. He only punishes the team if pressured by the Dean and occasionally the Alumni Board. His main concern isn’t even hockey—it’s winning, and being State champs again.

Riley slowly backs off. “Only because we have a game to win.”

I sigh, and get ready to play.

We’re up, 12-3 with 2 minutes left in the game. Coach brings me onto the bench and pats my shoulder.

“Nice hat-trick.” He grins, referring to the three consecutive goals I just made. “I think Coach Orion was pleased, too.”

I glance around the stands and see the JV coach sitting with the Dean. He looks very ‘into’ the game. I let my gaze wander. I know I won’t be playing anymore, so I can afford to have my mind on other things. I spot a few of the Ducks sitting together. Ken yells as Adkins, the right wing, makes a goal. He and Dwayne stand up to cheer. Charlie and Russ are both sitting, staring at me. Russ looks solemn and Charlie looks really pissed off. As expected.

The buzzer goes off. We’ve won the game, of course. The Varsity team doesn’t cheer and rush together like the Ducks always do, but merely skate off the ice as fast as possible. They must be so used to winning that they’re completely void of the pride you get from it.

I’m one of the last to get out of the locker room. Riley tries to push me around a little, but Scooter stops him. As soon as everyone is gone, I think him, and explain how neither Julie nor I were involved in the egg incident. A white lie, but for the best. He in turn thanks me, and hesitantly admits how bad he has it for the Cat. I promise that I’ll talk to her.

I leave the rink to find Russ and Charlie waiting for me.

“Banks, what the hell is that?” Charlie explodes while I’m still two feet away from them. “You’re playing Varsity, and you don’t even tell me? I’m supposed to be your captain and your friend!”

“Shut up Charlie. Don’t start playing the Captain card.” I’m tired, and I don’t want to argue. But I know I sound more standoffish than intended.

“Fine. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m your friend.”

“You’re my friend, but you haven’t given me the time of day since we got to Eden Hall? You don’t even know anything that’s going on with me, Charlie. Not even me, either. You’re too busy feeling sorry for yourself, or hanging around with your girlfriend to pay attention to any of your friends.” I snap back.

I regret the words as soon as they leave my mouth, but I slowly start to feel better because it’s actually true. Charlie and Linda have been dating for three days and we’ve less of him than we do of snow in the middle of July. All the Ducks are complaining… now that he has his C, he doesn’t need us anymore.

Charlie’s beautiful face contorts with anger. “I don’t pay attention to you? I—no, you know what? Forget it. I give up on you. You’re a hopeless cause. Nothing but a rich, preppy, cake-eating Momma’s boy. I’ll see you around.”

His words have definitely hit their mark. Why is it that no matter how many times I’ve been called all of those things, they only hurt when they come from Charlie? I can’t feel my body as he storms off. Russ is left speechless.

“Wow.” He finally stutters.

I nod, tears already starting to spill out.

Russ has never seen me cry before. He looks surprised, and moves to comfort me. I pull away, hastily drying my eyes. I hate crying. I hate appearing weak. It only gives them more of a reason to judge me.

“Banksie, I think it’s time that we had a talk.”

“I’m fine.” I say hoarsely. “I don’t need to talk.”

“No, you do. I know I’m no Jesse, but you have to be able to talk to your other friends.”

I sigh with resignation. “Fine. Whatever. Let’s go.”

We find ourselves in his dorm. Charlie, his roommate, is thankfully not around. Probably out with Linda.

Russ sits on his bed and motions for me to do the same. I cautiously sit on the floor across from him.

“So start talking.” He commands.

I shrug loftily. He actually thinks I’m going to give it up that easily? “You brought me here. You talk.”

He sighs. “Fine. We can do this the hard way.”


“I know your secret.” He says.

I try to stop my head from snapping up with lightning speed. Calm yourself, Adam. “What secret?”

“Banksie. We all know, Charlie talks about it the most.”

“Charlie? Knows my secret?” It’s hard to hide the panic in my voice.

“So there is a secret.” Russ says smugly.

“I… I… yeah.” I give up. Ok, so he knows that I have a secret. And he says that everyone else knows, too. But… he can’t be referring to my feelings for Charlie. He can’t.

“It’s hard to hide when you’re in love with someone, eh?” Russ smiles at me knowingly.


“Huh? In love? Who am I in love with?” It sounds more like one long squeak than a sentence. Good job, Banks. If you weren’t being obvious before, you sure are now.

“Well Linda, of course.”

Shit bastard mother of ass hell damn piss bitch fuck.