Dreaming of the Cat

Julie and Portman... go figure. Set during D2, when all the new and old Ducks meet for the first time. Just because we never saw how they all bonded, doesn't mean it was an easy time for anyone.

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Length: words

Awards: ,

Chapters: 10 Completed: No

Word count: 15,707

Published: 29 Oct 2006 Updated: 29 Oct 2006

[nextpage title=”Chapter One: Meeting Portman”]

Julie’s POV
“Hey babe, your Daddy must be a terrorist, ‘cause damn, you’re the bomb.” I whirl around to face a huge lumbering jock.

“And your Daddy must be Mummand Ali, ‘cause damn it seems like you’ve been hit one times too many in the head.” I shot back. He grins slowly.

“You dig okay babe.” He leans against the doorframe. He notices my hockey gear. “You play hockey too?”

“I’m a goalie.” I answer. He scratches his nose and chuckles.

“Well, let’s hope you don’t break a nail.” He gives me a sassy smirk.

“You’re so rude! Who do you think you are?” I ask, coldly. He grins wider and sticks out his hand.

“Dean Portman.” After he gets the hint that I’m not going to shake his hand, he tells me to call him Portman, since everybody else does anyway. I tell him that I’m like nobody else and will call him Dean instead.

“Say, is that seat taken?” Dean asks, after he gets onto the mini-bus and spots me. Before I can tell him where to go, he has plopped himself next to me. “I didn’t get your name.”

I open my mouth to answer, but he cuts me off. Doesn’t this guy let anyone get a word in?

“And I’m guessing it’s ‘Taken, but my boyfriend calls me, blah blah’ which is really five minutes ago—”

“Damn it!” I snap. “Don’t you let anybody get a word in? And no I am not ‘Taken’. I’m Julie. Julie Gaffney.”

“Charming name, pity you aren’t half as charming as your name.” He winks. I’m on the verge of losing my fist into his face when that annoying cowboy shows up.

“Howdy all.” He sits across from us. “I’m Dwayne!”

“Portman, this is Julie, otherwise known as ‘The Icy Queen’.” He shakes his hand. “You ride in rodeos much Cowboy?”

“Ya, we’ve met!” He grins cheerily at me. I swallow to stop myself from hurling. I dislike cheery people. Speaking of cheery people, here comes Tibbles. Somebody get me some Pepto.

“Hello kids!” He rubs his hands and looks at his clipboard. “Who do we have here? Let’s see, there’s you Julie. Dwayne and Portman. Where are the rest?”

Stuffed if I knew.

“Stuffed if I knew.” Dean voices my thoughts. I glance over at him warily. No signs that he’s read my mind on purpose. Just a coincidence… right?

I tuck my hair behind my ear and sigh. I really do have to stop letting my imagination run wild.

“Oh, goody. Here comes Luis Mendoza.” Tibbles grins cheerily. God, I really dislike him, he’s so patronizing.

“Yo.” Luis grins at us and shakes the bus driver’s hand before stepping inside and sitting down with us.

“Dean, you could sure learn some manners from him.’ I say out loud in my head. Just in case he can read my mind.

Obviously not since he just whistled at a girl walking past the bus. Or maybe he did hear me and is doing it to spite me.

Why am I getting so worked up over him anyway? As I am about to convince myself I’m not getting worked up, the infamous Ken Wu, griping onto a hockey stick as if his life depended on it, finally arrives.

“Hi.” He says shyly to Tibbles who gives him a pat on the back and a heartily laugh.

“Have a seat. Hope you’re all comfortable, ‘cause we’ll be driving for two hours!” He steps out of the bus. “Chuck them inside would ya?” He yells to the bus driver, pointing at all of our hockey gears and bags.

“Hey Kenny man.” Dean grins evilly at him. “Come and sit with us.”

He sits into the single chair over by our side. I give him a reassuring smile. I would give anyone a reassuring smile if I knew somebody like Dean was going to start picking on them, which is what Dean is doing right now.

Well, okay, he isn’t picking on him, just making him blush with all the foul comments he’s making about that girl who just walked past the bus. I don’t even blink. You kinda get used to that kind of talk if you’re on a team with girl crazy guys for a couple of years.

“I’m Dwayne!” Dwayne sticks out his hand at Ken, who looks relived. He shakes his hand. “So this is exciting, ‘ey?”

“Oh yeah. I can barely handle it.” Luis rolls his eyes as he steps over Dwayne so he is sitting next to the window and across from me. Ken looks like he’s just stepped into a parallel universe.

“Julie ‘The Cat’ Gaffney right?” Luis asks me, I nod. “Cool. My sister’s a fan of you.”

“So am I.” Dean winks at me.

“Is there something wrong with your eyes?” I ask with a icy glare.

“Nah!” He turns to Dwayne. “D’ya ride in rodeos much?”

“Ya.” He tips his hat, “My dad owns a—”

“Cool, I used to ride in rodeos.” He nudges me. “You know—”

“Oh really? Can you ride bull half as good as you talk it?” I cut in sharply.

“Oh you break my heart, you really do.” He covers his chest with his left hand.

“You have a heart?” I ask with mock shock. He grins slowly.

“And you just broke it.”

I decide the best thing to do is to ignore him and engage into conversation with Luis.

Author’s Notes:La la la, meant to make a note that this is takes place before D2. Just as the new Ducks meets up with the original Ducks. And huge thanks to the reviewers! I’m glad you liked how I portrayed Julie, D! As always, rock on!

[nextpage title=”Chapter Two: The Ducks”]

Julie’s POV
I will be the last to admit it, but at least I admit it, it wasn’t that bad meeting the Ducks. And okay yes, I did have fun at our first practice. And it didn’t hurt that Dean knocked over a few of them. But I gotta say, if I was worried about impressing them, then I didn’t need to. They were so out of practice that it wasn’t even funny.

Can’t say I was surprised. That usually happens to most teams. They get big headed and thinks they don’t need to practice.

As I’m reminded of all the long hours of practice on my team back in Maine, thanks to that train of thought, and waiting for Luis to sort out his bag so we can leave, Connie Moreau skates over. Yeah, the original Ducks have decided to stay behind and do, whatever it is that they do after practice.

“Hey, you know, you could stick around a bit if you wanted.” Connie informs us, mostly for Luis’s benefit perhaps.

She decides to tell us after we’ve showered and gotten changed?

“No, that’s fine.” I quickly answer before Luis can. “We have to get going back, to wherever we’re supposed to stay at.”

“Yeah, Tibbles’s sorting out a place where we can stay.” Luis says, backing up my lame excuse. Which isn’t really a lie anyway. Nor an excuse.

“Um, Julie?” Connie asks, glancing over at Luis, who tactfully goes back to his bag.

“Yeah?” I ask. I pray, which is stupid since I’m an atheist, that it isn’t a heart to heart.

“I know how it can be, being a girl on a team full of boys…” So this is a heart to heart. My prayers weren’t answered, never have been and never will, and you wonder why I’m an atheist.

“And so do I.” I jump in. “I was on a hockey team before I came here you know. For about four years.”

“Yeah, I know.” She answers with a beaming smile. “Just if you need a friend, and I have been there… well you know where I am.”

“What are wrong with the ones I’ve got?” Yes, I know I’m being rude. I’m aware of that. Quite frankly I couldn’t care any less. I’ve said before, I dislike cheery people, well I also dislike patronizing people as well. Hence the reason I almost fell over myself laughing when Coach Bombay showed up Tibbles.

But I do have a conscience, and that is why I held the ice pack on Tibble’s head when Fulton did that slamshot.

Also I don’t really feel like ‘bonding’ with the only other girl on the team. Just because we’re both the same gender doesn’t mean we have to be best friends.

All the same, I’m kinda thankful when her boyfriend skates up behind her because it looks like Connie is about to answer and not in such a nice way. I get that, she’s the type that doesn’t put up with another people’s crap. I admire that.

“Coming Connie?” Boyfriend asks, sending a suspicious look at Luis. I have a terrible memory when it comes to names. The only names I remember are Charlie, Connie, Fulton and Goldberg. Tibbles, Bombay and Ms. McKay don’t count.

“Sure.” Connie looks as if she wishes he would disappear off the face of Earth, so she could have her say.

“Seeya around.” I give her a little wave and slight smirk. I turn to Luis.

“Damn it. Are you going to take all day with that bag of yours?” I ask. He gives me a grin.

“I was waiting for you to finish talk to he-er.” He says the last part in a sing song voice. “Pity she’s taken though.”

“That reminds me, where is Dean?” I ask. “He said he was going to catch up with us.”

“He’s talking music with Fulton. Apparently they both share the same love of music and Fulton still can’t believe that somebody else in this world actually knows the bands he likes.” He nods. “The start of a beautiful new friendship.”

“Don’t get deep on me Mendoza.” I grab an arm and haul him up. “Let’s get Dean and get outta here.”

When we reach them, I give Dean an unnecessary hard tap on the shoulder.

“We have to go, Tibble’s still waiting outside for us.” I remind him. “And we’re ready to go.”

“Ah-ha Julie.” He grins down at me. “Was it possible that you were actually smiling before? I’m still unsure it was a smile…” He rubs his chin thoughtfully. I cross my arms and give him a mildly bored expression. He continues.

“Was it one of those rare moments where you forgot to be angry at the world and lighten up. What did you think Fult?” He turns to Fulton, who looks bewildered. “Was she smiling before, possibly laughing even?”

“Uh… sure.” He avoids looking at me in the face. He spots the wise cracking kid with glasses waving at him. “Anyway, gotta go.”

“Sure.” They knock fists. “Don’t forget to bring that CD.”

“I won’t.” He gives us a wave. “Later.”

“Later.” Luis calls out over my shoulder.

“Bye.” I say, then turn around to Dean. “Hope you’re packed because we’re leaving right now.”

“All packed and ready to go babe.” He looks around at the stands. “Where are Kenny and Cowboy?”

“Waiting.” I give him a look as if it is his fault. He doesn’t need to know that it was actually Luis who was holding us up.

“Hey this is way cool!” Luis exclaims as Tibbles opens the door to one of the hotel’s rooms. And it is. Even though it’s an one room with a bathroom only. It’s pretty huge though. Two double beds stood on each side between two drawers. And a—

“Huge screen TV!” Dean exclaims. I wish I could say he made love to it, but at least I can say he had that look in his eyes.

“Pretty fancy isn’t it?” Tibbles chuckles. “Don’t get too used to it though because once we’re in L.A you’ll be staying in a small place off campus at a local college.”

“Bouncy bed.” Dean comments as he jumps onto the bed. “Care to join me Jules?”

“Tempting but no thanks.” I ignore him and turn to Tibbles. “So do we get our own rooms?”

“Well, actually you do, since you’re a girl…”

“Aw man that isn’t fair!” Luis complains. Tibbles holds up his hands.

“You didn’t let me finish. But since Ms. McKay doesn’t live around here, I offered her to stay here and keep an eye you all. And she will be sharing with Julie, so constier yourselves lucky boys.” Tibbles finishes.

“Ha!” Dean laughs. “Julie has to share a room with a teaaaacher!”

“It doesn’t bother me.” I shrug indifferently. It really didn’t. I’ll admit it’s not my idea of paradise, but it’s better than being by myself or with one of the guys.

“Why don’t you make up your mind about who you’ll share with and you can get back to me.” Tibbles offers.

“I’m sharing with the Chinese dude.” Dean throws an arm around Ken’s shoulders.

“Korean.” He corrects. Dean shrugs.

“Whatever.” He grins. “Whaddya say Kenny?”

“Sure.” He drops his bag. “But can we have this room? ‘Cause I’m tired of carrying this around.”

“Ok!” Tibbles grins for the millionth time in the last five hours. “Is this arrangement ok with you two?”

Dwayne and Luis both shrug. I’m kinda surprised that Dean wanted to room with Ken, I thought he would have wanted to room with Luis.

He looks at his watch and rubs his hands together.

“Come out into the hallway for a sec.” He beckons to the door, we all follow him with bewildered looks. He points at a door at the end of the hallway of this floor. “See that?”

Well, well, what does he thinks eyes are for? Reading?

“Yeah.” Ken answers for all of us.

“That’s where you all will have dinner and breakfast.” He informs us. “Dinner is at 7:30 and breakfast is after practice. Which starts at 6am.”

We all groan. Tibbles is the only one who chuckles. Glad to know our pain is worth laughing over.

“Coach will inform you all of your timetables for the following week. Any questions?”

“When are we going to L.A?” Dean asks. Tibbles chuckles. Have I mentioned how annoying his laugh is?

“In two weeks. If that’s all, I’ll leave you to choose which rooms you want to be in.” He points at two more doors. “Somebody will be up here shortly with the rest of your bags.”

“When will Ms. McKay be here?” I ask.

“In a few hours.” Tibbles gives us a final cheerily smile. “I might check in at dinner to see how you’re all going. And try not to get into too much trouble.”

Dean laughs once Tibbles leaves.

“Oh yeah. We’ll try not to.” He shoots up his arms. “Pa-arty!”

Well, this should be fun.

Notes: Don’tcha love those notes? Lol! In case you didn’t notice, Julie said she’s an atheist, no idea why… re-aaaaaaaaaly. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone, I think she’ll be talking about it later on in the fic. *dances* Slainte!

[nextpage title=”Chapter Three: Deodorant, bouncy bed and imaginary guitars”]

Portman’s POV
I gave my deodorant can a critical look. No matter how much I put on, it never really works. I toss it aside and pick up my tub of ‘Styling Gel’. Yes, it is a girl’s product—say that to me and I’ll kill you.

I dig out a huge chunk of it into my palm and carefully apply it to my damp hair. That’s the thing, gel never really works if your hair is wet and if it’s dry it just ends up looking like a mess. You gotta do it when it’s halfway dry and wet. I quickly twist my hair into dreadlocks and wash the gel off my hands.

I give myself a quick lookover and decide it will do. I give the bathroom a quick glance over also and decide the mess doesn’t bother me. If it bothers Ken, he can clean it up.

I exit the bathroom and head into the main room, humming a song. I spot Julie on Ken’s bed and wonder why she’s there.

“Yo Julie.” I call out, she doesn’t answer and that’s when I notice the headphones on her head.

I get an evil idea.

Come on! Bouncy bed. Fine looking girl lying on a bed reading and listening to music. No idea what’s going to happen. If it was you I’d bet you would do the same as what I’m about to do.

“Aaaaaargh!” Julie yells once I land on her a thousand tons of bricks. I snicker gleefully.

“Hi.” I roll off her and onto the other side of the bed, pulling her headphones off. “What’re you doing on my bed?”

“It’s not your bed. I checked.” She gives me a smirk. “I didn’t want to come into contact with whatever it is that is on you.”

“Ooh, ouch.” I flip around so that I’m on my front.

“What is it with you guys putting so much deodorant on?” She asks with a disgusted look.

“You must have a sensitive sense of smell.” I sniff at my shirt. “I can hardly smell it and I have a really good sense of smell.”

She rolls her eyes. “Lynx, right?”

“Yeah.” I give her a puzzled look. “How did you know?”

“You kinda start to tell the difference between them when you have a tart for a older sister.” She flips over another page in her book. “And the names of them if her guys stays over night.”

I give her a raised eyebrow. It took me at least a year to perfect it and now I use it every chance I get. “Ouch again. But at least you can put that down on your resume. ‘I know every brand of men’s deodorant.’”

Now it’s her turn to raise an eyebrow. “So where were you?”

“You were waiting for me?” I place a hand over my chest and bat my eyelids at her. “How sweet of you.”

“Cut that out. It’s freaky.” She swats me on the arm. “And I’m waiting for Ken.”

“How come?” I mentally smack myself. Well, school! What else?

“I’m not just a goalie and a student, I’m also a hooker. Ken’s gone to get a few thousand dollars to pay me.” She gives me a look. “I guess it runs in the family.”

“Cheers, mate.” I grin, using an Australian slangword. “I was in the shower.”

“You were in the shower the whole time I was here?” She asks incredulously. She glances over at the clock. “I was here at least half a hour. You take longer than me.”

“No.” I shake my head. “You aren’t a guy. First I have to use the toilet.” She crinkles her nose at the comment. She looks really cute when she does that, I make a mental note to myself to say something disgusting to her at least once a day. “Then I practice the guitar—”

“You don’t own a guitar.” She points out.

“Sure I do.” I pick up an imaginary guitar and strum a few imaginary chords. “What did you think?”

“Oh yeah. The next Jimi Hendrix for sure.”

“Wow, coming from you babe, that’s a compliment.” I bow gracefully and pinch her on the cheeks. “Looks like Ken ditched you.”

“Yeah, it does.” I give her a surprised look. She rolls her eyes. “Don’t look so shocked Dean, not all girls convince themselves the guy didn’t stand them up.”

“Atta girl.” I give her a pat on the head.

“Cut that out.” She lunges towards me. “I’m not a dog!”

“Don’t touch the hair!” I yelp, rolling off the bed. She stops suddenly.

“Oh God. Don’t tell me you’re one of those types that’re like, ‘Ooooh don’t touch my hair!’” She says in a mock whiny voice. “I swear guys gets more like girls every day.”

“Because it’s wet.” I add quickly. “You didn’t let me finish.”

“Yeah, sorry for cutting in on that ten seconds pause!”

“Oh Christ, are you always this sarcastic?” And because I don’t want to start a fight, I quickly change the subject. “My hair is wet. You have to wait till the gel dries.”

“Are you vying for the rock star look?” She asks, picking up her headphones and wrapping them around her walkman.

“No. I like it because it looks cool.” I whip out my bananda from my back pocket and tie it around my head. “See.”

“Yeah, really cool.” She throws a pillow at me. “Whatever gets you to sleep at night.”

“This is who gets me to sleep at night.” I grin, taking out my wallet and tossing it to her. She flips it open and glances at the photo inside.

“Girlfriend?” She asks tossing it back.

“Oh yeah.” I grin at the photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar. “Whatever gets me to sleep at night, right?”

“Right.” She nods with a bemused look on her face. “Since it looks like Ken won’t show up, you wanna go see what’s going on?”

“Ok.” I glance at my watch. “May as well grab your books. School starts in twenty minutes.”

“Way ahead of you buddy.” She grabs her bag and hoists it over her shoulder.

“Little bookworm aren’t you?” I tease, grabbing my books. “Can I toss ‘em into your bag?”

“As long as you carry it.” She smacks her bag into my stomach and gives me an innocent look. “Oooh, sorry. Did that hurt?”

“Nah.” I grin, even though on the inside I’m yelling and doubling over in pain. “Right as rain.” I point at the door. “Ladies first.”

As soon as her back is turned, that is when I double over and silently yell a long drawn out swearword.

“So that’s what’s going on!” Julie rolls her eyes. I grin as I take it all in.

Luis and Connie flirting with each another, Jesse bitching at Dwayne who seems to be unware of it. Adam and Charlie arguing, Averman making cracks to Guy about Luis and Connie, Goldberg trying to convince Ken that he needs to eat more and the coolest of all of them—Fulton—just simply doing nothing.

“Yo.” I give Fulton a clap on the shoulder, he turns around and gives us a grin.

“I thought I would never say this, but I can’t wait till Ms McKay comes.” Fulton nods towards Adam and Charlie. “They’ve been like that all day.”

“Either can Julie, that’s why we’re here early. She couldn’t wait.” I give Julie a nudge on the leg.

“It was your idea.” She quickly continues when I open my mouth. “I asked if you wanted to check it out and you suggested that we bring our books.”

“And you said you were way ahead of me.” I point out.

“And I am.” She shrugs. “God what is it with Connie and Luis? Doesn’t she have a boyfriend? It’s unfair to lead Luis on like that!”

Fulton grins at me as we watch her rant on passionately about the rules of relationships.

“Jules! Julie!” I give her leg a shake. “Take a breath. Breath! Don’t forget to breath!”

“Leave me alone Dean!” She pushes my hand off her knee.

“It’s a free country babe, if you don’t wanna be around me, you can leave.” I give her a cheery grin. She told me she hates cheery people, so I’ve made it a personal goal to be annoying cheery to her at least once a day.

“I’m comfortable.” She gives me a glare. “I’m not about to move because some guy has made it his misson in life to annoy me.”

I give her another cheery grin.

[nextpage title=”Chapter Four: Show me yours and I’ll show you mine”]

Julie’s POV
The weekend has finally arrived and Coach’s decided to give us Saturday and Sunday off. Everyone wants to do something crazy that Saturday night. Except for me. I just want to curl up in bed and sleep all night. Ms. Mckay’s out all night to see a friend so it would also have been a great chance to ring a couple of my friends.

I hear the doorknob click and turn. I glance over at the bed. I wonder…

I run and dive into my bed as the door bangs open. I hear two loud snorts.

“Nice try blondie.” Dean laughs, I hear his footsteps as he strides over to the bed and strips the blankets off me. “So you go to bed with your shoes on huh?”

“In case there’s an earthquake.” I shot back as I stand up. “And, uh, for luck.”

“Well it’s sure not working since it looks like you’re coming with us. Just half your luck huh?” Luis peers over Dean’s shoulder.

“Why do I have to go?” I complain pocketing my keys and wallet.

“Because Ducks fly together!” Luis starts to flap his arms like a duck. Actually, scratch that… like an idiot. “Quack! Quack! Quack!”

I exchange glances with the ceiling. This is going to be a long night.

“No.” I say flatly.

“Where’s your sense of fun?” Dean whines for the hundredth time that night.

“I left it in bed.”

“It’s just a ferris wheel.” He whines again. “It’s not even a crazy ride.”


“Just this one ride. I’ll pay!” He swipes out his wallet.


“I even got you a present!” I snort. The so called present was an article from the newspaper with the Team USA rooster. He told me to learn everyone’s names since he was tired of my “nicknames” for them. I’ll never tell anyone this but I was actually touched.

“Portman!” Fulton calls out. “Come on! It’s the last ride!”

Dean lets out a loud groan and then shocks me by grabbing me by the shoulder and dragging me along.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” I shriek. I claw at his hand, but he doesn’t remove it.

“Oooh what’s wrong. Are you scared of heights?” He snickers. “I thought cats weren’t scared of heights.”

“Bad pun!” I snap and smooth down my shirt. “In case you forgot I have a sensitive stomach.”

“It’s slow. It’s like going in a… a car!”

“I hate cars.”

“Portman!” Charlie calls out. “Give up! The catlady’s not gonna come!”

“She hasn’t been on a single ride since we’ve been here!” Dean yells back.

“Here’ is Hell, aka an Amusement Park. Ok, that was a bit harsh, I have nothing against Amusement Parks. Except for the fact that it makes people want to force defenceless people to join in their little ‘Let’s go on every single ride’ game. After a quick glance at Dean’s watch, I get an idea.

“I’ll go on it if it’s before eleven. If it’s after eleven, forget it.” I cross my arms and look at him challenging.

“Deal.” He grins and looks down at his watch. His crestfallen face is enough to break anybody’s mother’s heart. “Jules…”

“We made a deal.” I point out. “You lost. Have fun.”

“Portman!” Luis calls out. “Hurry up!”

“This ride’s not wild enough for him!” Fulton laughs. Dean sends me a glare and jogs over.

“Smooth.” Connie laughs, I turn around and grin.

“How did you get out of it?” I ask.

“I threaten to break up with Guy.” She smiles smugly. “A few rides are enough, but all of them? No, no, no way.”

We both sit down on a bench in silence for a while. But Connie being Connie can’t kept silent.

“So do you have your eye on anyone on this team?” She asks.

Oh no.

“Not really.” I answer truthfully.

“What about Luis?” She turns to me, her face animated. “Did you know he speaks fluent Spanish?”

“Noooo.” She beams. Obviously she thinks she’s so special that she’s the only one who knows about Luis fluent Spainishness. Hmmm. Spainishness. Will have to use that sometime. But what she doesn’t know is that Luis cusses at Dean, Dwayne, Ken and I in Spanish, and in turn Ken starts to cuss at him in Korean. Then Dean starts to cuss at them in those different languages. Then I start to cuss at them in English, so it’s a huge foreign cussfest. And Dwayne… just watches. Ahhh sarcasm is wasted on her.

“What about Boyf-… Guy?” I ask, sharply.

“Hmm? No, I meant for you.”

So that’s why you drooled when you mentioned his name. I bite down hard on my tongue before I say it outloud. I smile instead.

“Nah.” I shake my head, watching the ferris wheel. It doesn’t occur to me that I’m trying to find Dean on it. “I’m not looking for a guy. I just came to play hockey.”

“Ok.” She shrugs and waves. “Jesse, Dwayne and Goldberg’s gotten off.”

Within five minutes they’ve all gotten off and we’re all arguing, minus me and Dwyane, about where to go next. In the end they all decide to play a few games at Intencity and then head over to Goldberg’s parent’s cafe. Deli. Whatever.

And within half an hour…

“Boy-Guy!” I exclaim as Dean bumps Guy and he spills all of his chocolate thickshake over me.

“Oh! I’m sorry!” He looks awkward, not sure what to do with his hands, not sure whether to or not to try and clean the mess off. Lucky for him he doesn’t otherwise we’ll be short one hockey player. Dean, however, is braver and attacks me with napkins.

“Get off me dammit!” I scream, everyone turns around and stares. I glare at all the nerds. They have no right to stare at me!

“Jules!” Connie shoves through Dean and Guy. “Are you ok?”

“No!” I snap. “Do I look a-ok?”

“You’re right.” She gives me a wary grin. “What happened?”

“I, uh, spilt my drink on her.” Guy turns to me. “I’m really sorry.”

“Nice one.” Connie scoffs. “Well, I better get you home and get you cleaned up. I think you’ll have to change though.”

“It’s ok.” Dean turns to her. “It was my fault, I’ll take her back to the hotel.”

Great. They don’t think I’m capable to bring myself back to the hotel and get changed.

“It’s fine.” I cut in. “I can take care of myself.”

“Julie, you are not going back by yourself. I’m coming with you and that’s final.” Dean steers me towards the front door.

“Come back after you get changed Jules!” Someone calls out.

Once we’re out of the door, Dean offers his jacket to me.

“No thanks.” I decline his offer harshly.

“I just thought, to cover up the mess.” He snaps. “All I’m trying to do is help.”

“Well, I don’t need it.”

“Fine.” We both walk back to the hotel in stony silence.

“I’m going to get changed.” I say as we enter my hotel room. I head over to my drawers and take out a pair of jeans and a top. “You can stay out here.”

“Aw.” He jokes, but bounces onto the bed and switches the TV on. It hits me that he never holds a grudge for long. I shake my head and head into the bathroom. I strip down to my underwear.

“Dean?” I call out, after a glance at my soiled clothes.


“Is there somewhere I can go to get my clothes washed here?” I ask through the door.

“Yeah!” He yells over the sound of the TV. “Hurry up! We need to get back.”

“I’m not going back!” I call back, pulling my hair out of my ponytail.

“Why not?” He calls back. I snort.

“Because I’m tired, pissed off, covered in chocolate milk… need I go on?”

“Pissed off? What’s new?” He says, unfortunately for him, I can hear it over the TV.

“I heard that!” I exclaim. I unfold my jeans. I hate jeans.

“Heard what?” He calls back. “We could go get ice-cream instead if you want. I’m not up for going back either.”

“Fine.” I call back and start to put on my jeans.

“Well, hurry up! You’re probably looking in the mirror! You’re so vain!”

“Shut up!” I pull my jeans up and promptly lose my balance and crash into the wall loudly.

“Are you ok?” He asks, I hear his footsteps coming towards the door.

“I’m fine!”

“Come on then!” He pushes the door open. His jaw drops open. “Uh…”

I say the first thing that comes to my mind.

“Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.”

[nextpage title=”Chapter Five: Sexual Tension”]

Julie’s POV
Luis winces as Dean storms out of his and Dwayne’s room. He winces again as he slams the door.

You would have thought after that little episode last night it would make me cringe to think about it. Except it doesn’t. I don’t even think about it. But the way Dean keeps acting is reminding me about it. And it reminding me is turning me into a total bitch. Yes, I’m aware that I gave him the worst pickup line a guy could ever use on a girl. Especially when she can use a really good come back, like… point out her boyfriend. And I realize it could make things ‘awkward’ between us, but why does it have to be?

“What’s up with you and Portman?” Luis asks, after I’ve shot Dean down for the hundredth time the following morning.

“What do you mean?” I ask, flicking through all the channels on Luis and Dwayne’s TV.

“Him acting… like a retard around you and you acting like… er, well you know. Mean.” He grabs the remote out of my hand. “So what gives?”

“He walked in on me while I was changing okay?” I take this, Luis gawking at me, as a perfect chance to grab the remote back. But he’s too fast.

“That’s all?” He asks, holding the remote out of my reach. I sigh.

“Well, when he walked in, I said ‘Show me yours and I’ll show you mine’. Happy?”

“You really said that?” He guffaws. “And you’re being mean because you’re embarrassed?”

“I’m being, as you so kindly put, mean because he’s acting like, as again you put, a retard.” I flop back on Luis’s bed. “He’s making it like it’s a bigger deal than it should be.”

“So, tell him that you weren’t embarrassed and he doesn’t need to make a big deal of it.” Luis shrugs. “And you two can go back to fighting over every single thing.”

“We don’t fight over every single thing. Just a… few.”

“You fight over everything because there’s sexual tension between you two.” Luis grins. “I’ve seen it all before.”

I hold back a laugh. Dean and I? Sexual tension? Me and Dean Portman? Yeah right.

“In case you didn’t notice, this isn’t a movie. If it was, I would be taller, thin as a rake, busty and more blonder.” I give him a look. “And you would be able to STOP on the ice.”

“And you wouldn’t be such a smartarse.” He shots back. “And also you wouldn’t be a goalie.”

“And Dwayne wouldn’t be such a show off.” I sit up. “And you, being the gentleman, would let me have the remote.”

“You can have it if you stop flicking through all the channels.”

“Deal.” I shake his hand and he gives the remote back. I give him a smirk and start to flick through all the channels as fast as I can. He screams and a pillow fight follows.

Portman’s POV
I lace up my roller blades, feeling deeply stupid about everything. I’m even starting to feel stupid about lacing up my blades for Christ’s sake. All thanks to Julie Gaffney.

As I’m skating through the park, I could have sworn that some of the kids were looking at me weird. Probably my own paranoia. I shrug at the thought and get another odd look from an old lady. I resist giving her a glare, things like that gets guys like me into trouble. Not to mention giving guys like us a bad name. I flash her a grin and quickly skate away from all the odd looks.

As I slow down, I feel a hard punch into my shoulders and my headphones gets torn off my head. I quickly spin around to beat the tar out of whoever did this.

“Dammit.” Julie pants. “Do you have any idea of how long I’ve been chasing you?”

“Jeez, you punch really hard for a girl!” I snap. “Do I have anything weird on me… or what?”

“No!” She gives me an annoyed look.

“Then why is everyone giving me odd looks?” I ask. She glances around.

“Dean, nobody is staring at you, let alone giving you odd looks.” She speaks as if she’s speaking to a small child. So it was my own paranoia. She falls to the ground. In the middle of the pavement.

“Julie?” I ask. She sends me a glare. I start to feel more stupid if that’s even possible. I could swear that everybody knows what happened.

“Why are you acting weird?” She asks.


“Yes. You.” She sighs. “I’m not embarrassed okay. So there’s no need to feel awkward and make it a huge deal.”

“I wasn’t.” I shot back. Weakly.

“The way you’ve been going on since last night, I’ll say that’s making a big deal out of a small accident. And that thing I said… okay, yes very embarrassing, but it was a stupid position, so let’s just forget it happened.” She shrugs. “And I bet you see more at a beach.”

“Ok.” I shrug. The truth is, I really don’t want to. Or maybe I do. No it’s not because I saw her half naked. If you must know the truth, I got that kinda feeling when I fell in love with my grade four teacher. Now that was a damn fine lookin’ lady. But this ‘kinda feeling’ was a tad bit more stronger than when I fell in love with my grade four teacher. Now to forget it would be better for me in the long run. But not to forget it then, well… I really dunno. Argh. Damn. Julie’s been talking to me and I’ve been staring into space and she really is about to kill me.

“Dean! Have you been ignoring me the whole time?!” She practically yells.

“No!” I quickly answer. “No, I haven’t! Honest.”

“Then what did I say?” She questions, crossing her arms.

“Have you been ignoring me the whole time?” I give her my best innocent look. Oooh. If looks could kill…

“You loser!” She yells, laying into me.

“Owww!” I start to giggle when I realize her punches really don’t hurt much. Or maybe she’s holding back. “You hit like a girl!”

“Oh really? What an amazing fact!” She pounds me some more. “Maybe it’s because, no it couldn’t be… I am a GIRL!”

“I’m AWARE of that!” I give her a knowing wink. She smirks.

“Glad to know it.” Then she gasps. “Are we flirting?”

“Well, you know when girls hits guys, that means they like them a lot.” I give her a cocky grin, she scoffs and starts to pound me. “I always knew it! You want me so bad!” I laugh and start to skate away.

“Shut up!” She continues to pound me.

“You really want me!” I snicker, trying to dodge her punches. They have strangely gotten harder.

“I’m beating you up to shut you up!” She clenches her fists.

“If you say so blondie.” I smirk at her clenched fists. It really must be taking all her willpower to stop herself from beating me.

“If I beat you, I would be thrown in jail.” I muse. Her eyes light up.

“Beat me up so I can get rid of you!” She laughs. “I’m kidding. We’re cool right?”

“As cool as cool can be.” I grin at her.

As cool as cool can be? Yeah right.

Author’s Notes:It’s about a week before they go to LA. Just thought I would clear it up. This fic is going to go up to the end of D3. So I think it’ll be a looo-ooong fic. Anyway Chap 6 and 7 were actually one chapter but it kinda got long so I decided to break it up in two parts.

[nextpage title=”Chapter Six: Sandwiches”]

Portman’s POV
We’ve all finished school and we’re all lying around, catching the last rays of sunshine.

“When’s Charlie and Goldberg coming back?” Fulton complains. “I’m hungry.”

Goldberg and Charlie has gone to Goldberg’s parent’s cafe and are trying to score some leftovers.

“What’s new?” Connie teased, Fulton sneers at her and throws a blade of grass at her. It lands on Averman instead, who jumps up and does a crazy dance trying to get it off. I can’t tell if he’s kidding around or being serious. It’s kinda hard to know with him.

“That’s the last time I try to get a laugh out of you all.” He rolls his eyes and sits back down.

So he was being funny.

I rub my eyes and stifle a yawn. I observe everybody. Fulton’s still trying to land a grass blade onto Connie who’s a good ten feet away in Guy’s arms. Everybody in between’s starting to get annoyed at Fulton. Jesse’s lying on the grass staring at the sky, yelling at Fulton every now and then to quit throwing grass blades. Dwayne’s larrassing his rope at the air, probably showing off for Connie or Julie’s benefit. Julie and Adam are talking about some book we all have to do for English. I feel slightly jealous, and trying to squash it away, I concentrate on Ken and Luis, who seems to be overusing long words to Ken. I know for a fact he studied the dictionary for those words.

“Cut it out.” I call to him. “It’s not going to work.”

He gives me a glare that translates; Say anything about Connie, you die.

“Would you cut it out?” Jesse yells at Fulton, I turn my head to see Jesse sit up, tear out a clump of grass with dirt attached to it and throws it at Fulton.

“Oi!” Fulton exclaims and does the same. Pretty soon they’ve started a war. Weapons must be grassblades with a big clumps of dirt attached.

“I guess this is the part where I slip away and hope they don’t figure out it was me who started it.” Connie kids.

“If you’re going to do it, you better do it NOW.” Ken says, dodging a flying clump of dirt. “They’re starting to look at you.”

“Ack! You’re right.” Connie scrabbles to her feet and runs away as Jesse lunges for her.

“And the Velvet Hammer has managed to dodge the Jesse-mister! Stay tuned for—” Whatever Averman was going to say next gets cut off as Fulton throws a clump of dirt at him in an attempt to shut him up.

“Look what I brought!” We all turn around to see Goldberg walking towards us with a box in his arms and a kid, probably his little brother, next to him. “Food and this.” He jerks a thumb at the kid.

“Terry!” Connie shouts and bounds over to him for a hug. Ok, so he’s Jesse’s infamous brother. I was close enough.

“Where’s Charlie?” Averman asks, after slapping a high five with Terry.

“Still in the car talking to his step-dad.” Goldberg answers, setting the box down on the grass. “What happened?” He asks, looking at the half bald ground.

“Grass fight.” Jesse answers, sending Fulton a playful glare. “Hey bro.”

Fulton doesn’t notice the glare as he has started digging through the box.

“Sandwiches!” I exclaim, “Alright!”

I swear Goldberg’s parents make the best sandwiches in this country. Take a roast lamb sandwich for example. Most cafes just put one slice of lamb on it and tons of butter, but the Goldbergs put at least 10 slices and practically no butter.

“You’re wrecking them guys!” Luis complains at Fulton and I. We both snort as he tosses some aside onto the grass.

“You were saying?” Fulton asks him. We both knock our fists.

“Hey guys! Treat them with respect!” Goldberg cries. “There’s plenty to go around.”

We all ignore him as we all dig into our chosen sandwiches.

“Here comes Spazway.” Averman comments. Sure enough, Charlie is jogging over to us.

“He’s a pain in the ass.” Charlie whinges as he flops onto the ground and picks up a ham and cheese sandwich.

“He is I’m guessing, your step-dad?” Connie asks. Charlie nods.

“And I stress the word, step-dad.” Charlie answers. “Charlie, let’s go out and play some softball, Charlie, I’m not trying to replace your father, Charlie my man! Buddy, what you say we both go and watch a bit of footy?”

“Ah, he’s trying too hard?” I ask. Charlie gives me a look.

“I know what you mean, when my Dad re-married, Maddy tried to be my best friend.” Connie pats him on the shoulder.

“Connie, you were eight.” Charlie picks up another sandwich, “You didn’t want to share your Daddy. And plus you were a tomboy.”

“Exactly.” She shoots back. “She wanted me to be just like her. She wanted me to wear pink dresses just like your step-dad wants you to build a cupboard with him. And I ‘stress’ the word, with. With, Charlie. He’s just trying to be your friend. Just give it some time and he’ll get less annoying.”

“How much did you want?” Charlie asks sarcastically, opening up his wallet. Connie just grins.

“It’s on me.”

“I saw Tammy Duncan.” Goldberg calls out loudly, trying to change the subject. Fulton looks up with interest, then quickly gives his sandwich all the attention a girl could ever dream of.

“Ooooh!” Terry snickers, looking at Fulton. “Does she still have the hots for Fult?”

“Oh man, she had it so bad.” Jesse laughs. He clasps his hands and swoons towards Fulton. “Oh hi Fulton! Let’s walk to class together.” Everyone laughs as he bats his eyelids.

“She wasn’t that bad!” Fulton defends, pushing Jesse away. “Get off me, your breath stinks.”

Averman starts singing the ‘sitting in a tree’ song.

“And Connie was worse.” Fulton points at her. “Hiiiiii Guy.” He says in a girly voice.

“Hey!” Connie exclaims. “That’s a lie!”

“After Guy pashed you after we won the peewees, you didn’t leave him alone a single second.” Fulton continues. We all laugh at Connie’s and Guy’s blushing faces. Luis looks slightly jealous. It could just be me, but hey.

“When one of the Hawks bumped Tammy over you went and beat up the whole Hawks team, when they did worse to Connie, you didn’t care!” Guy points out, changing the subject far away from him and Connie.

“Yeah! Because… well, yeah. Connie can take care of herself, she’s been playing hockey since she was a kid. Tammy hadn’t.”

“And the excuse keeps changing.” Jesse shakes his head. “Last time it was because they stopped her from doing a, and I quote, beautiful ballet thing.”

“Aw, leave me alone.” Fulton complains as we all fall over ourselves laughing again. “Go pick on someone your size.”

“Him? Look at you!” Terry points at Fulton.

“Exactly.” Fulton answers. “I’m bigger, so pick on someone your own size, namely Guy and Connie.”

“Connie’s taller too!” Terry exclaims.

“You’re just scared of her.” Charlie jokes, obviously glad the discussion about his step-dad is forgotten.

“And so you should be.” Goldberg snickers. Scared of Connie? Little Connie? They’re twice her size and they’re scared of her?

“You’re scared of a girl?!” I ask, everyone – except Julie, Ken, Luis and Dwayne – gives me a look.

“Let me put it in a way you’ll understand… Connie is like a girl version of you.” Adam pats Connie on the shoulder. “No offense Connie.”

“None taken.” Her grin, however, fades into a frown as he continues.

“She traumatized us for most of our childhood.”

“I wasn’t that bad!” She exclaims as I complain that I’m not that bad.

“I’m not traumatizing!” I add. “Am I?”

Everyone goes back to their sandwiches.

Well… that can’t be good.

[nextpage title=”Chapter Seven: Portman and Inner Portman”]

Portman’s POV
Maybe it’s me but it seems to me that Julie would rather hang out with me than the other guys. I have no clue since I seem to just annoy her half of the time and she gets along better with Luis and Ken.

“I hate traditions.”


“It’s pointless.”

Do go on.

“Just because they’ve been doing it for years doesn’t mean we all have to be dragged into it.”

She’s just getting warmed up…

“What’s the freakin’ point of it?” She sighs running her hands through her hair and tugging on it. “Have you not learnt by now that this is the part where you shut me up?”

“Not really.” I answer. So much for getting warmed up.

“You’re such a loser.” She pulls her hair back into a makeshift ponytail. Oddly enough I really want to touch it.

And there is only one way.

Pull it.

“De-aaaaaaaan!” She wails, “That hurt!”

“What?” I over-exclaim. I give her hair another tug.

“Cut it out!” She digs her nails into my hand. “And to think that I actually thought you might be nice.”

“Could say the same about you.” I grin, yanking away my hand. “Now I have to get a rabies shot.”

“That doesn’t work unless I bit you, you ass!” Yep. I definitely like getting a rile out of her. She is just… so cute when she’s angry. I give her hair another tug and she launches into a huge tirade.

“… And you’re in for a helluva lot of biting!” She finishes, referring to my comment about ‘rabies.”

“Oooh.” I wink and point at my neck. “How ‘bout there? That’ll give the guys something to talk about.”

“You sex-crazy perverted loser.” She punches me into the shoulder. Hard. “The more I know you, the more I dislike you.”

“Right back at ya babe.” I give her hair, yet, another tug. She yelps, before she can hit me, I tug it again, making sure it tangles through my fingers. It would be so much nicer under other circumstances.

“Ouch!” She yells, and tries to free her hair from my fingers and I snicker.

“Ever heard of a hairbrush?”

“I resent that!” She glares and stomps off into a photo-booth. I follow her.

“Get out!” She tries to shove me out.

“You don’t own this!” I shot back and sit next to her. “Therefore, free country.”

“Then let me out.” She tries to climb over me, but I push her back down. “I’ll yell.”

“They’ll just think something kinky is going on in here.”

“What the-you little…” She curses. She leans back and crosses her arms. “I really really really dislike you.”

“Do you have a dollar?” I ask, she digs out a few dollars from her pocket and hands me a dollar. Actually, she punched it into my palm. I flash her a grin and slid three dollars into the slot. “Hey blondie, smile.”

The camera flashes once. Julie does not smile.

“It’s this little thing you do with your mouth…” I grip her chin in my hand, she glares. I sigh. “You leave me no choice.”

“Oh yeah? What choice?” Her words comes out all jumbled up.

“Nope.” I start to tickle her.

“Quit it!” She giggles insanely. I hear the camera beep, signalling that it’s about to flash, I quickly move her head so it faces the front.

“Ow!” She rubs her eyes.

“Proof.” I nod and start to tickle her, she squirms up the wall.

“Proof for what?!”

“That you actually know how to smile.”

“Give it a rest!”

“What’s going on in there?” Luis asks, pulling open the curtain. Julie with messy hair and I, panting, isn’t really an innocent look.

“Ooooh!” Charlie sticks his head in. “Somebody’s been having fu-un!”

The camera flashes.

“Now you ruined it.” I complain.

“There is nothing going on in here! I came here to hide from him!” Julie snaps.

“Hey guys!” Luis calls out, “Photo time!”

They all clamour into the booth. We all have no space to breath, let alone hardly move. Averman, Banks, Charlie, Guy, Connie, Luis, Ken, Julie and Jesse makes a tight fit, but to fit Fulton, Goldberg, Dwayne and I is a terrible idea. I’m starting to get claustrophobic.

Everybody starts to whinge about everybody else’s body parts getting in the way.

“‘Ey! Smile y’all!” Dwayne calls out as the camera starts to beep. It flashes.

“One down, two to go!” Jesse calls out and covers Goldberg’s face, “The camera can only handle so much.”

“Oooh!” We all laugh, minus Julie, Connie and Ken, who’s squashed by at least three guys. Poor Ken, he’s so small that nobody notices him. He shifts, causing Luis, Charlie and Adam to shift over, causing Julie to shift into me and since I’m already squashed into the wall, I can’t shift over. Which means Julie is half behind me with her chin over my shoulder.

Not that I mind.

But the smell of her scent is ruined by a really foul smell.

“GOLDBERG!” Everyone shouts, he exclaims.

“It wasn’t me!”


Jesus. I fart once and I’m automatically on the bad smell list.

“It wasn’t me!” I complain, trying to shove Averman out of the way to get out, but because everyone is doing the same, it really isn’t getting us anywhere.

“Who was it then?” Fulton complains as I finally get out and suck in a breath of fresh air. I quickly grab the photo strips out of the box and pocket the ones of Julie and I.

“It was Jesse!” Connie yells. “He was sitting on me and… yuck!”

“I just wanna be like Goldberg!” Jesse shots back. Goldberg hits him on the head.

“Now what an experience.” Julie rolls her eyes and smoothes down her hair. “Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have to go back to the hotel and write about this in my Barbie journal.”

“Why ya have to ruin it?” Luis snaps at Jesse who shrugs and grins.

“I’m claustrophobic!”

Charlie grabs the photos out of my hand and hoots with laughter at them. Everyone crowds around him trying to get a glimpse of it.

“Hey, what’s the time?” Adam asks, Connie gives him the answer. “Oh crap. I gotta get home!”

“Cake-eater has a curfewwwww!” Jesse sings. He glares at him.

“Shut up.”

“We should get home anyway.” Fulton points out. “Jesse may not have a curfew but I sure as hell have one.”

“See!” Adam defends Jesse shrugs.

“So, I’ll see ya all at practice tomorrow.” Goldberg says, picking up his packpack, we all bid him farewell and then bid each another farewell.

“Why does Charlie get to keep the photos?” Luis complains. Julie gives him a look.

“You just want them ‘cause they have Connie in them.”

“It sure as hell isn’t because of Banks.” He shots back and watches Connie and Guy walk away hand in hand with a wistful look on his face.

“Give it up man.” I thump him on the shoulder.

“Mendoza men never give up.” Luis adjusts his jacket and heads towards the doors of the hotel. Dwayne follows.

“I bet if she wasn’t taken, he wouldn’t care.” Ken comments, shrugs and follows Luis.

“You know, that’s probably true. Forbidden fruit or something.” Julie agrees.

“Oh I dunno. She is pretty hot you have to admit.”

After she gives me an icy glare, I realize that maybe it wasn’t the right thing to say to a girl.

“Y-you know what I mean.” I quickly add. She scoffs and heads inside.

Now that was a great move!

“Jules wait up!” I quickly follow her, as I enter the doorway, she crashes into me on her way back out. “Going somewhere?” I ask with a quizzical look.

“The photos.” She answers, “What if Charlie got them?!”

“Why?” I ask, “You wanna put ‘em in your Barbie journal?”

She rolls her eyes. “I just don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about us!” She heads over the booth and looks in the box. “Dean!”


“They aren’t there!” She wails.

“Oh? Why is that so bad?” I ask, failing to mention that they’re in my pocket.

“Because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about us. As if I would be caught dead with you!” She pushes me. “How could you let this happen?!”

“Calm down babe.” I grab her by the shoulders.

“I will not calm down!” She yells. She’s really good at yelling. I pull the photos out of my pocket.


“Gimme!” She makes a grab for them, I grab her wrist with my another hand.

“Na-uh.” I shake my head. “Why do you want them?”

“Because I’m in them and I want to destroy them.” She pulls her wrist away. “I have rights you know.”

“You can have one.” I rip off one of them and hand it to her.

“It’ hideous.”

“Exactly!” I grin, “You can destroy it. But I’m keeping the other two.”

“Are you saying that I’m hideous?!” She exclaims.

“Pass.” I tease, she glares at me and stomps off inside.


“Julie!” I quickly chase her as she runs up the stairs. I grab her by the elbow to stop her. I’m surprised that she’s still scowling.

“Yes?” She asks, when I haven’t said anything for a good ten seconds.

“Uh.” I mutter and pull out my wallet. “See, I’m replacing Sarah for you.”

“What?” She asks with a confused look on her face. I pull out the picture of Sarah Michelle Gellar and hand it to her. She rolls her eyes. “Whatever.”

“See.” I hold up my wallet which now contains the photos of us. “You can slay me any day.”

“You’re nuts.” She hands me the picture of Sarah. “We all know you’ll put her back there anyway.”

“Nah, she’s history.” I crumble it up and toss it aside.

“You’re littering.” She points out and runs back to her room. I roll my eyes.

Trust her to say something like that. I glance down at the photos thoughtfully. Julie got the first one. The one where she’s looking cranky. It’s fine by me, she looks pretty when she laughs. She is cute when she’s mad, but even hotter when she laughs.

Those photos are so staying there.

‘You have a crush on her!’

I glance around warily, wondering who said that.

‘Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah! You like her!’

I realize it’s the inner Portman inside me saying that.

‘You wanna marry her!’

“No I don’t!” I say forcefully. Out loud, a few people glances at me. I blush and quickly head to my room.

‘You blushed!’

Go away or I’ll beat the tar out of you.

‘She’s pretty hot don’t you think?’

She is.

‘Therefore you lurve her!’

Connie’s hot, and I don’t have a crush on her. Just because Jules is hot doesn’t mean I have a crush on her. She’s violent, moody, sarcastic—

‘You love that about her!’

I hate you Portman.

I end the conversation as I bang the door open, Ken looks up.

“What’s wrong?” He asks, noticing my mood.

“Julie. She gets on my nerves.” I answer shortly.

‘You’re pissed off because you have a crush on her!’

Oh shut up!

[nextpage title=”Chapter Eight: Fulfilling Your Needs”]

Julie’s POV
No matter how many sheeps, cows, horses, pigs and any another farm animals, I still can’t sleep. It also doesn’t really help that the building across from this one has every single bleedin’ light on. And it’s shining right in my face. I could read a book with supersmall writing in that light. And it really doesn’t help that I freaked out at Dean and now I’m questioning my actions.

Even though I was feeling tired a couple of hours ago, I’ve started to feel restless. And the need to go out. And strangely enough, the need to hang out with Dean. And I’m going to fulfil the need whether anyone wants me to or not.

Before I can question myself on why I need to hang out with Dean or anything about him in that case (again), I quickly pull on a pair of baggy jeans and my team USA teeshirt. I bite hard on my bottom lip when Ms. McKay stirs. I hate it when people do that, scare the living crap out of you. I grab my jacket, the hotel keys and hightail it out of the hotel room.

I lift my hand to knock on Ken and Dean’s door, then pause and wonder what the hell I’m doing. But my hand seems to have a mind of its own as it bangs on the door.

I tap my foot and bang on the door again.

The door flies open and I glance down to see Ken.

“What do you want?” He asks, grumpily. His hair is tousled all over the place and he’s only wearing boxers.

“I need to talk to Dean.” I command. “Get him for me.”

“I’m not waking up Portman!” He looks at me like I’m crazy. I dislike that look.

“Yeah you are.” I point behind him. “Now go wake him up or I’ll scream the hotel down.”

“Julie, you obviously haven’t had the wonderful experience of waking Portman up, but be my guest.” He waves towards the room.

“Are you nuts?” I ask, “What is everyone going to do if they find me in your room?”

He stares at me for a long while. Then he sighs.

“I’ll get him.”

“You’re an angel!” I grin as he retracts back to his room. I slightly bounce on my toes. After a few sounds of muffled screaming, Dean comes to the door looking far away from happy.

“Looking good sunshine.” I tease, taking in his appearance. Messy hair, tired eyes, the tee-shirt he was wearing today, and skater shorts. I would be lying if I said he didn’t look adorable. Tired guys always look adorable.

“What do you want?” He asks, rubbing his eyes.

“I wanna go out.” I answer. “And you’re coming with me.”

“And how do you figure that?” He asks, crossing his arms and leaning against the doorframe.

“Because you like to hang out with me.” I answer simply. He rolls his eyes.

“I’m going back to bed. I suggest you do the same. Goodnight. Sweet dreams. God bless.” He pushes himself off the doorframe and turns around to go back inside, but I grab is arm with both of my hands.

“Please.” I give him my best sad puppy look.

“Do you know what the time is?” He asks, I shrug and shake my head. He sighs. “I’m going to bed.”

“I’ll go anyway! And if I get raped and murdered, you’ll have no-one to blame but yourself!”

“Julie, the only place you’re going to is bed. You know…” He makes squaring motions with his hands. “Blankets, pillow, sleep, sweet dreams.”

“Don’t patronize me.” I warn. He closes his eyes. “In case this is the last time we see each another, goodbye. It was nice knowin’ ya.”

An odd look, that I can’t quite place, crosses his face.

“Just give me a second. I’ll get changed.”

“You’re awfully chipper for someone so much like yourself.” Dean comments as we walk down the road.

“Someone so much like myself?” I ask with a raised eyebrow, he shrugs.

“You’re always moody, hating everything—”

“Dean, do you really want to continue?” I cut him off, he gives me a look.

“Touché.” He answers, pulling off Ken’s cap, that he stole, and bending the brim of it. He puts it back on.

“Are you going to tell me why you wanted to go out. With me all of people?” He asks.

“If I bumped into a huge dangerous guy, well Dwayne would do something stupid and get us both killed. Ken, he’s small and Luis… he’s small too. Don’t worry, you were my final choice.” I shrug as I finish answering.

“Geez.” He snorts. “I feel so special.”

“You are.” I shrug again, then quickly add. “In your own weird way.”

“Oh thanks!” He pulls the cap lower over his forehead. “You didn’t answer my another question.”

“And it was…?”

“Why did you want to go out?”

“I felt like it.” I shrug. “Don’t you ever feel like doing something and you really have to do it.”

“Yeah. Never felt the need to get out of bed in the middle of the night to go out though.” He ruffles my hair. “You’re one weird chick Gaffney. A weird chick, but still a babe.”

“You know how to woo girls.” I say sarcastically. He gives me a baffled look.

“I know.”

I roll my eyes in response.

“What?” He exclaims. I shake my head.

“Just shut up and walk.”

“No and I will not walk any further. I’m going back to the hotel.” He gives me a tired glare.

“In order to do that, you’ll have to walk.” I give him a huge fake grin. He gives me a confused look.

“Don’t confuse me when I’m tired.”

“You’re always confused anyway.” I tease. His face twists into more confusion if that’s possible.

“That’s not true.” He says, sitting on a low fence. He leans back onto the rail fence behind it. “You’re the one who confuses easily. You’re blonde.”

“If we’re going to be stereotyping each another, you’re a jock. Jocks have no brains.”

“You’re a jock too.”

“I don’t look it.”

“But you look blonde.”

“Blondes aren’t jocks. They’re ditzy cheerleaders.”

“Cheerleaders have bigger boobs.”

“Are you saying that my boobs small?!”

“Maybe. Lemme touch them and see.” He reaches out to my chest.

“Get off me you pervert!” I slap his hand away and stomp off, my face growing warmer every single step.

“Don’t run off, I don’t wanna chase you!”

I spin around and give him my best death glare. “The point of storming off is that you don’t chase the person that’s storming off.”

“That’s screwed. Come on, come back. I promise I won’t talk about your boobs.” He crosses his chest with his hand. “I swear.”

“Strangely enough, I really don’t believe you.” I cross my arms, still at least twenty feet away from the slimebag. And to think that I might have… It makes me psychically ill to my stomach to think that I might have, very possibly, liked the little scum.

Which of course I don’t. It all adds up you see. Me + tired = not thinking clearly. And not thinking clearly makes me think that I have feelings for people. Any people. Not just Dean Portman. Definitely not him. No feelings. All gone now.

“Are you going to stand there all night glaring at me?” Dean asks. I shrug my shoulders.

“Maybe.” I uncross my arms. “Are you going to keep being a over-sexed moron?”

“Maybe, what about you?” He asks, crossing his arms.

“Are you calling me an over-sexed moron?” I exclaim. The nerve of that guy! “Me?”

“Maybe, are you?”

“Am I calling you one or am I calling myself one?”

“You tell me.”

“Bite me.” I spin around and walk away. I hear Dean laughing.

“You know, this was a good idea. Coming out here and everything.”

Great. Now he’s following me.

“Go away you little scumbag!” I push open a gate, not really caring what’s behind it. All I care about is getting away from Dean.

“Little?” He scoffs. “Try big scumbag.”

“You got that right!”

“Oh yeah.” He says with a suggestive tone.

Now, that doesn’t sound good. Not the way he said it…

“Oh my god!” I stop and twist around. This move shocks him because he tumbles over me. “You-you-I hate you! I really hate you.”

“What did I do?” He asks with an innocent look.

“You were implying… you know!” I huff with disgust and start walking.

“No I don’t know.” He says falling into step with me. “Implying what?”

“I’m not getting into this with you.”

“Julie.” Dean stops, I continue to walk. “Stop! Jules! Look around you!”

I stop and glance around.

This can’t be good.

Because it’s past midnight and we’re in a graveyard.

[nextpage title=”Chapter Nine: Jeepers Creepers”]

Warnings: This chapter takes place in a graveyard, there will be talk of death and God. It was the only way I could think of how to get Portman to spill something to Julie which will be in the next chapter or eleven. And also to get Julie to talk about her beliefs. So in other words, a heart to heart. If this kind of thing offends you, then don’t read it. And I also must say that this is a fiction. Nothing to do with me, so don’t bother flaming me, (Yes you know who you are) because it won’t change the fact that I wrote it. Thank you.


Julie’s POV
“Julie!” Dean complains. “This is giving me the jeepers creepers.”

“Oh ho ho.” I grin, “Are you telling me you’re scared to be in a graveyard?”

“N-no.” He shrugs, “The fact that it’s about one in the morning and the fact that there’s at least thousands of dead people buried six feet under us is creepy!”

“They won’t kill you.”

“It’s not funny!”

“Maybe you shouldn’t have picked on me!”

“You started it!”

“You’re such a baby!” I snap and turn away from him.

“Come on, let’s go back.” He whines.

“Oh poor little scary Dean. Do you want me to hold your hand?” A twig snaps. I grab Dean’s arm and he jumps. I laugh.

“Would you cut it out?” He hisses.

“What’s wrong with you? It’s just dead people. Half of them are probably rotted away.”

“Shut up!”

“Are you telling me that you’re scared to be in a graveyard?” I ask, he shrugs. “It’s just dead people. There won’t be any ‘spirits’ or ghosts floating around. We won’t go to hell because of walking in a graveyard for damnsake.”

“Are you honestly telling me that it isn’t creepy for you?”

“Uh-huh.” I nod my head.

“I don’t believe you.” He smirks. “You’re bluffing. You’re waiting for me to freak out and drag you outta here because you don’t wanna admit that there is a little scared shy blonde bunny somewhere in there.”

“You think I’m bluffing?” I ask, he nods. “Then leave.”

“Not without you.”

“Aw, you’re sweet.” I say with the sincerely of a snake. “If we cut through here, the sooner we get to the hotel.”

“I rather the long way. I mean come on, who could resist not spending time with you?” He gives me a, at least I think it’s supposed to be, charming grin.

“Do you have a graveyard phobia or something?” I ask, continuing to walk.

“No.” He sneers. “Do you?”

I give him a deadset look.

“Yeah, that’s why I’m not scared to walk through a graveyard.” I say sarcastically.

“You’re morbid. Why can’t you be a normal blonde chick?”

“Define normal.” I say, dodging a tree branch.

“Well nice for starters…”

“I am nice!” One look at his face makes me reconsider my answer. “Well, sometimes.”

“It’s like you have permanent PMTs or whatever they’re called.”

“PMS you ass!” I turn around and give him a punch in the shoulder.

“A normal girl isn’t that violent either.” He adds, then looking around. “There’s so many tombstones…”

“Ya don’t say.” I glance around.

“How many do you think die a week?” He asks uncertainly. “Or a day even.”

“And you call me morbid?” Then I shrug awkwardly, “Maybe one a week. I dunno.”

“Whaddya think happens to them after they die?” He asks after a few seconds of silence.

“They turn into skeletons. And like I said before… eventfully rot away.”

“I didn’t mean that.”

“You mean like heaven or…?” I ask, avoiding looking at him.


“Nothing.” I answer bluntly.

“Nothing?” He asks. “Nothing what?”

“Nothing happens to you after you die. It’s like a toy car’s battery dying. It can’t go on. Nothing happens to it. Just collects dust.”

“Unless you put a new battery in, so that’s like afterlife or something.”

“Except with humans, nothing happens. It’s just black.” I snap my fingers. “The lights gone out.”

“Well, that’s a cheery way of looking at it.” He gives me a tiny poke in the back. “I take it that you don’t believe in God?”

“Whatever gave you that thought?” I ask grabbing his hand. “Don’t poke me. I hate it.”

“There was this thing on TV the other day. Atheists usually don’t believe anything happens to you after you die.” He pokes me again. “And I’ll poke you if I want.”

“And you do?” I ask referring to his first statement. He shrugs.

“It’s nice to think that there is somewhere to go after you die.”

“Like Heaven and Hell?” I ask.

“We-ell.” He chews his bottom lip. “I’m not sure about the whole Heaven and Hell thing. I don’t believe that something bad will happen to you if you’ve done something wrong. And you’re sorry for it. And Heaven… well you know ‘My Girl’?”

Instead of teasing him about watching a movie like that, I just nod and let him continue.

“Well there’s this part where the little chick, Vada, is talking about what she reckons Heaven’s like. Everyone rides horses and if they fall off, they land on a cloud…”


“Well we always have our definition of what Heaven is like when we’re kids. It’s always some huge magical place. Yet we don’t want to go there. Why’s that? Then we get older and we don’t wanna think about it. And when we’re asked about it we always answer ‘Oh hopefully I’ll go somewhere nice after I die’. What happens to all those unicorns, clouds, neverlasting chocolate milkshakes, famous people and all that? When we’re little kids and ask our parents what happens to us after we die, they feed us a whole bunch of B.S about how wonderful Heaven is. And if we do something naughty our grandparents tell us we’ll go to Hell for it.” He pauses, and when he doesn’t notice I say anything straight away, he rolls his eyes as he adds. “Great, now you think I’m a psycho. A rambling on psycho.”

“I already knew you were a psycho.” I elbow him in the ribs. “An over-sexed psycho.”

He chuckles and we lapse into silence.

“So… why don’t you believe in God? You lose your faith or something?” Dean asks me.

“Or something. I didn’t have it in the first place.” I frown at the ground. “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

“I’m assuming you mean ‘it’ as in God? God is everywhere…”

“Is He?” I ask sarcastically, then punch at the air. “Did you see that? I just punched Him in the face.”

“Wow, you’re really pissed off about this topic.”

“Ya don’t say. If God does actually exist, he has a sick sense of humour. This world is just a story to him. He screws up everyone’s lives. Good people die. Bad people live on. Innocent people go to jail, bad people get away with everything. Look at all the stuff that goes on in the world, war, murder, rape, crimes… You’ll meet a family right, and then you find out a member of the family died. She/he had so much going on for them blah blah blah. He was a good kid, always did the right thing… yet he dies. Why? And that excuse ‘God has a plan’… that’s just bull. Does He like those people so much that He has to kill them and bring them up into “Heaven” with Him?” I ask, air quoting Heaven. Before Dean can answer, I continue. “And what about people that kill themselves? Does God make them do it? Whisper into their ears that the world’ll be a better place without them? ‘Cause if this world is just a novel to God, then I suggest He lays off the angst a bit. You hear that? Your novel sucks!”

Dean looks… scared after I yell the last bit. I chuckle weakly.

“And you called yourself a rambling on psycho?”

“I already knew you were a psycho babe.” He grins. But the look he got on his face when I was talking about suicide and when he went to get changed before we left the hotel crosses his face again. “What do you think of suicide?”

“Uhh… why?” I ask, because knowing me I will have a very classic foot in mouth moment if this kind of subject isn’t personal.

“Just wondering.” He gives me a challenging look. “Never thought I would see the day where you passed up a chance to express your opinion.”

“I’m not!” I snap. “I was just wondering is all.”

“Making conversation.”

“Yeah and I’m Madonna.” I shot back. He raises his hands.

“Jeez, I was just wondering.”

“If you must know, I think it’s pathetic.” I glance over at him excepting… what? I’m not sure. A break down? Yeah right. I mentally roll my eyes at myself. His expression is neutral.

“Why?” He asks.

“Why do you wanna know?”

“Because I do.” He smirks. “And don’t hold back.”

“Don’t you worry, I won’t. I hold no responsibility for your reactions.” I tuck my hair behind my ears. “People who attempt suicide are people that can’t handle life. Hence the reason why it’s pathetic. And people who attempt suicide over their love lives are more pathetic, take Romeo and Juliet for example. It’s setting a bad example. It romanticise suicide. There’s nothing romantic about it. Romance is flowers and love letters.”

“Yeah. I hate that too. I hate it when people try to kill themselves over someone.” He scratches his chin thoughtfully. “What about depression though?”

“Depression? That’s a bit different isn’t it?” I ask. “I mean those people have to go on medication and yeah…”

“Maybe.” He frowns. Then frowns some more when he looks around. “This so called short cut…”

I look around too, somehow we’ve managed to walk off the path and inbetween tombstones. This is so so so so not good.

“I guess we can say we’re standing on dead people.” He looks down and steps beside a tombstone. He looks at me. “You got us into this mess, you get us out of it!”

“Me? If you hadn’t started picking on me I wouldn’t have gotten pissed off and I wouldn’t have walked into a graveyard! You get us out of this mess!”

“Jeez, always blame me why don’t you?” He snaps. I give him the hugest cheerily grin I can plaster on my face.

“I think we’re lost.”

“That’s just fantastic!”

[nextpage title=”Chapter Ten: Portman’s Brother”]

Warning: Suicide

Portman’s POV
“We can’t be lost. We just have to find the fence.” Julie glances around.

“Yeah that’s good Einstein. It would help if we had a bit more light.” I scowl at her and she scowls back.

“Well you think of something! We can’t stay here all night!”

“All night?” I snort. “I’ll say we have a few hours before we get our arses to practice!”

“Well… no duh!” She snaps and turns away from me. A very classic Days of Our Lives moment. I’m just waiting for the music.

Sarcastic? Me? Never. Except when I’m pissed off. And creeped out.

“I know!” I poke her shoulder. “We’ll just wait for a car to pass this place and it’ll give us some light.”

“Yeah all of three seconds. That’s a big fat help.” She turns around. “And don’t poke me!”

“It’s worth a try anyway.” I shrug and sit on a tree stump.

“So what do we do while we wait? Play poker?” She asks, sitting beside me.

“We could replay the sex scene from Titanic…”

“You’re gross.” She scoots away from me. I scoot closer.

“You love it.” I grin as she scoots away again and ends up falling off. She stands up and brushes herself off.

“I’m starting a Dean-haters club.” She snaps as she sits next to me.

“What’s the point?” I ask, “It’s not like anyone’s gonna be in it!”

“This is going to be a long wait.”

“It wouldn’t have happened if you had just stayed in bed.” I point out. She ignores me.

I sigh. The only thing she’s made sense in the past five minutes is, it will be a long wait. Especially since I’ve realized how hungry I am.

“It’s strange.” Julie comments. “Just when I think you’re human, you go and do something stupid like saying that.”

“Could say the same thing about you.” I grin. “Just when I think you’ve got a heart, you go and—” Whatever I was about to say gets cut off as she punches me in the shoulder.

“Let’s not talk.”

“Aw.” I say in a whining tone. “Why don’t you tell me about all those little pony clubs you were in.”

“I would. Except I was in zero pony clubs.”

“So what club were you in? Bitch at the world club?” I ask and laugh as she punches me. Again. I heard somewhere that how many times a chick punches you, that’s how many times you’ll sleep with her. At the rate she’s going…

“You’re not funny.” She snaps. I shrug.

“Just as well.” We sit in silence for a few more minutes. For the life of me, I really don’t know why I tell her this. What I’m about to tell her. Maybe it’s because of all this talk about death. Maybe it’s because we’re in a graveyard. Maybe it’s because I know she won’t treat me any differently if I tell her. Maybe it’s because I need to tell somebody. But whatever the case, I tell her.

“I had a brother you know.” I glance over at her.

“Had?” She questions. I nod slowly.

“He died.” Before she can react, I begin the story.

It was about a year and a half ago, it was James’s birthday. He was havin’ this huge bash, so him and I were setting everything up at our house. Our parents were out at some cocktail party, which was perfect for James to have his party. I was so sure I was in the way, since he was turning seventeen and I was just a thirteen year old kid, but he kept insisting that it was ok with him. That was what was so cool about him, he didn’t see me as a little kid…

Taking a deeper breath, I plunge deeper and later into the story.

It was starting to get late. There were beer bottles all over the place, sleeping bodies and cigarette butts, which were, thankfully, in ashtrays.

“Come on bro, you better get to bed.” James said, clapping a hand onto my shoulder as I was surveying that. I turned around and faced him.

“Hey dude, it’s your birthday.” I said pointing at the clock which read five am. He gave me a tired smile.

“Yeah I know. Did you have fun?” He asked.

“Yeah!” I answered. The truth was, well really not. But it wasn’t a bad time. Just kinda all the ages thing, I wasn’t old enough to understand the real fun of it. Plus James didn’t let me drink much, just one glass of light beer. But all the babes made up for it, and I knew a lot of his friends, so overall, it wasn’t too bad. “So, seventeen, is it cool? Does it feel cool?”

“Aw shucks little brother.” He teased as we headed into my bedroom. “I haven’t been seventeen long enough to know if it feels cool or not.”

“Where are we going for your birthday dinner tomorrow, I mean, tonight?” I asked as I climbed into bed, still in my clothes, he didn’t object. Every year for our birthdays we got taken out for dinner. Our choice of place. “Whatever you do, don’t choose LaPez.”

LaPez was this huge fancy restaurant, black tie only. I hated it, I also hated the food. They never fed you enough and charged you way too much for five mouthfuls of steak.

“Dean, can I tell you something?” He asked. The fact he called me Dean was enough to make me realize he was being serious. I slowly nodded. He went on, “Oh man… I’m scared. I don’t… I don’t wanna be seventeen…”

I couldn’t believe he was laying this onto me. Why was he telling me this? I’m only a kid, I know nothing.

“Does it mean I can’t act like a kid anymore? Does it mean I can’t play videogames at Timezone? I start college in a few months. God, I don’t want to go to college. If I had one wish…” He raked a hand through his hair and sighed. “I’d repeat this year all over again.”

I stared at him, he was gazing into outer space. I don’t even think he noticed I was there.

“I’m scared of growing up. I don’t ever wanna grow old. I just wanna keep on bein’ sixteen. Y’know… when I was a kid, I used to be scared of dying. I would cry myself to sleep with those damned images of skeletons in my head. Old bodies turning into skeletons.”

By now, I was getting a bit freaked. But I felt mature at the same time. My brother, whom I always looked up to, was confiding into me. He trusted me.

“Hey, I’m sorry man.” He said, ruffling my hair with his hand. “I’m just tired. I don’t mean to be all drepessin’ on you.”

“Nah, it’s cool.” I said, giving him a smile. He gave me a smile in return.

“I’m just gonna kick everyone out of here and go to bed.” He stood up. “Whaddya say, we have pancakes in the morning and clean up before Mom and Dad gets home?”

“Yeah.” Then lighting up the mood I added; “But I ain’t cleaning up. It was your party, your mess.”

“Smart alec.” He grinned affectionately, gave me a hug and left.

When I finally got to sleep, it was restless and uncomfortable. When I woke up, it was nine am and the sun was shining through my window.

I wondered vaguely why James didn’t wake me up earlier. He always was an early riser. Even when he went out partying all night. Still this was a bit different, it was about five am when I went to bed, so it must have been much later for James who still had to kick the sleeping bodies out.

When I stepped into the hallway, I noticed that the living room was tidied up a little bit. Not as clean as we would have planned, but just tidied up a bit. Like a couple of bottles stacked up together and the ash trays emptied out. I guessed that he did it before he went to bed to make it easier to clean in the morning.

I galloped into his room, itching to wake him up, with his hangover, but he wasn’t in bed. The bed wasn’t even unmade.

I started to get an eerie feeling. The house was way too quiet, if he had left he would have left a note by my bedside. Or woke me up and told me. I started to get all those thoughts into my head. Something happened to our parents, something happened to our dog and I being the moron I was, didn’t even notice that she was out the back, like she always were. Hell, I even thought something happened to James, which would have been stupid of course.

Nothing could have prepared me as I walked into the kitchen and saw his body sprawled over the tiled floor with a puddle of blood by his body.

I panicked. My first thought was, he had been shot. I knelt down by his body and quickly shook him. His body was still warm, despite the nurses telling me he had been dead for a few hours before I found him, as his body rolled off his hand. There was a huge ugly gash on his hand, under his hand was a broken vodka bottle which he obviously fell on top of and cut his hand on. And I saw his face. He didn’t even look peaceful, he just looked drunk and pained with a bit of smeared blood on his left cheek. I couldn’t stand it, so I looked away and stood up.

My hand was shaking as I grabbed for the phone and holding the phone to my chest, I stepped over his body to his other side. Where there was no blood or spilt vodka. I shuddered as I sat, legs crossed, by him.

And from that moment, I knew nothing would ever be the same again. I knew there would be no more of James and Mom’s friendly bicker at the dinner table. No more fighting over the remote control. No more complaining about cheesy family photos at Christmas. From now on, all the photos would only contain Mom, Dad and I. If we ever talked about James, it would be in past tense. I would have nobody to look up. There was so much I wanted to tell him. Who the hell were I supposed to talk about girls to?

Rage surged through me as I picked up the small white bottle, I didn’t need to read the label. I knew what they were. I threw it as hard as I could across the room. Along with a few another things. Your older brother doesn’t just die. He doesn’t die and break up a happy family. He doesn’t freaking die on purpose and break up a happy family. Your older brother doesn’t tell you that you’ll both be cleaning up the house and making pancakes and just kill himself before you can even do those things.

When my parents came home, not only did they find the kitchen a mess, but also me also a mess, clinging to James as if my life depended on it. I don’t remember that, the nurses reckoned it was shock. But I remember being really angry. I guess it must have been then, before I went into shock.

I mean, Christ, the stupid bastard barely turned seventeen.