Something Quite Special

Banks meets a girl, and becomes a very different person during and after their relationship. Charlie helps him find himself, and they show what a real friendship is.

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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).

[nextpage title=”Sometimes I Feel Like I Don’t Belong”]

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.

[nextpage title=”It’s Only In Your Head You Feel Left Out”]
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.

[nextpage title=”Maybe You’re Gonna Be the One That Saves Me”]
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.

[nextpage title=”And Lots of Feelings That I Can’t Explain”]
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.

[nextpage title=”Clowns To the Left of Me, Jokers To the Right”]
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.

[nextpage title=”Nobody Told Me You Were A Sucker For A Kiss”]
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?