My sour attitude didn't last long after I saw Lois was in school the following day. I wasn't given the chance to talk to her much before lunch came around again. When I sat down at her table with Nora and Andrew, I realized something was very wrong. They were all quiet and refused to look at me for very long before going back to pushing their food around their plates.

"What's up?" I asked.

Lois forced a polite smile. "Not much."

"Why weren't you in school yesterday?"

"We had things to do," Lois answered quietly.

I glanced over to Andrew for any clues of what might be wrong, but he returned with an annoyed look in his eyes.

"Um, so, a bunch of us are going to go see Misty Spotts in concert tomorrow night," I told them.

"Yeah, we know," Lois said.

"Do you guys want to join us?" I asked. "I can probably get you tickets."

Lois gave me a curious look. "How?"

I shrugged. "Money."

She laughed at my answer, and it was becoming more clear that the hostility at the table wasn't directed at me at least. "That's generous," Lois said, "but don't worry about us. We already have our tickets for the concert."

"Really? You're going too?"

Lois nodded, still forcing a smile.

"Well, do you want to go together?"

She shook her head. "No."

There was a long moment of silence where Lois avoided my eyes, and I was caught between two very distinct feelings of being welcome and unwelcome. I wanted an explanation, but they all seemed very edgy. I was scared of upsetting them anymore.

Lois scratched her head awkwardly. "Meredith talked to me this morning," she finally blurted out.

I held my breath while the words sunk in. "What did she say?" I asked through clenched teeth.

"She wanted to make the point very clear to me that you belonged to her, and I was never welcome at any more parties or concerts or anything she and you were involved with."

I slammed my fist down hard on the table as I shot to my feet. "Excuse me," I growled. I could feel heat on my shoulders and neck from my rage as I turned toward Meredith's table.

"You won't find her," someone called behind me. I turned again to find Nora smiling up at me. "She's gone home for the day."

"Why?" I asked. I saw Lois suppress a giggle and Andrew hide a smile behind his hand while Nora beamed proudly.

"She had a little accident in the bathroom," Nora explained.

"What?"

"Well, she slipped on the wet floor in the bathroom with her high heels, fell into a toilet and got a little dirty," said Nora.

I stared for a moment.

Nora hesitated before continuing. "That toilet was nasty too. It's been clogged for days with all kinds of yucky junk. Poor girl."

Andrew couldn't hold it in any longer. He burst out laughing, followed by Lois, both still hiding their eyes from me.

"Are you serious?" I asked.

Nora nodded happily.

"That's not nice," I said. I couldn't believe she was taking so much pleasure from the accident.

"Well, I didn't push her or anything. She fell on her own. It's all karma, you know."

I sat back down. "I didn't think you pushed her," I mumbled.

"Not that it's completely unrealistic," Andrew said.

"Hey!" Nora laughed. "That's only on special occasions."

So, by the end of the day, I had to endure another disappointment. Lois would not go with me to the Misty Spotts concert. Whether we'd be able to meet up afterward was still to be determined. I didn't want to accept this, so after soccer practice, I decided to go over to Lois' house for one last attempt to persuade her into going with me.

I pulled up to a very humble home in the middle of the neighborhood street. Hardly five feet of space existed between each house. There wasn't even room for a garage or a drive way, for that matter.

I knocked on the front door and waited a minute for a response. Eventually, the creaky hinges swung open with a younger, brown haired, freckled boy standing just inside, looking at me.

"Hi," I said.

One eye brow shot upward in bewilderment. "Aren't you Justin Wakefield?" the kid asked.

"Yeah," I nodded. This kid didn't look much older than thirteen or fourteen, and I was surprised to feel the need to remind myself that, yes, I was very well known in school. "I'm here to see Lois. Is she here?"

"Sure, come on in." He stepped aside and let me in. "I'm Zach, her little brother."

I smiled. "Nice to meet you."

The living room where I stepped into was small and cluttered with a big mess of newspapers, flyers for bands, pictures, and instruments. Beyond the stairs was the kitchen where a small television was blaring with sounds of an after school cartoon.

"Lois! You have company!" Zach yelled up the stairs over the roar of cartoon monsters.

No answer came from the second floor.

"You can just go up. Her room is the second on the right."

"I can just go up? Are you sure?"

"Yeah," Zach laughed, and I gave him a questioning stare. ...He returned it with his own. "Her friends usually don't even knock on our front door. They walk right in. Believe me, we're used to it."

The absurdity made me laugh, and I realized how much I envied their freedom, assholes on the soccer field or not.

I left Zach to return to his blaring cartoons in the kitchen and scaled the almost vertical stairs. Second door on the right. It was almost shut, besides for a tiny slither.

Knocking, the door was nudged further open, and where I feared (and hoped) I might find an embarrassing and awkward moment of seeing her changing clothes or naked, I only saw her feet at the edge of her bed, unmoving. Upon closer inspection, I delightfully discovered Lois was fast asleep.

She was laying on her side upon a made bed with a plaid quilt, knees tucked up slightly. Her loose, violet skirt exposed nothing above her knees, but her tank top was thin and fitted enough for me to clearly make out every shape and curve of her beautiful body. Her face was half hidden by a few soft strands of her long red hair, and she tucked her face innocently into her hands by the pillow.

I made sure the door was shut softly behind my back to block out those distracting cartoon sounds. And I marvelled at her beauty for as long as I could. When else would I be given such an opportunity to watch her undiscovered up close like this?

I slowly laid down next to her, mirroring her position, looking straight onto her angelic face. For many moments, she did not discover my presence, but soon stirred and opened her eyes.

It took her a few more moments to adjust her eyes and realize there was someone there next to her. Her eyes moved up to my face and visibly widened with shock. Lois' whole body tensed, a small yelp escaped her lips, and she instinctively jolted backwards. The end of the bed met her, and Lois dropped off the face of the earth and disappeared.

A loud thud came to my ears and an unhappy, "ow."

My laughter soon followed. Officially, my day had cheered up quite a bit.

Lois popped her head over the edge of the bed, eyeing me grudgingly. I was still laughing, and she merely huffed and pretended to act mad by turning her head away from me.

"Good morning, sunshine!" I smiled.

Forgiveness came quickly, it seemed, for she turned back and returned my smile. "Morning!" she sang. She popped up onto her knees on the floor and leaned her elbows over the edge of the bed. "And what brings my Prince to my humble cottage?"

"Freedom," I simply answered.

"Freedom? What was holding you prisoner?" she asked.

I raised my eyebrows. "Meredith, maybe?" I mumbled the words.

"Aw, yeah, you didn't look very happy at all when we were talking about her." Her sympathy was strangely minimal, and it was obvious she felt the happenings of the day weren't very important.

"I'm upset with how rudely she treated you. I'm sorry."

Only now, she giggled, trying to hide her face behind her hands. Oh, yes, she wasn't taking me seriously at all. "Don't apologize. She isn't your responsibility."

"What she said was completely untrue," I told her. "She has no claim over me, no say on who I invite where. You are always welcome."

"She's an idiot," Lois simply said. I caught a smile that was hiding a secret cross her face for a moment, but it disappeared quickly.

"Hm? So you aren't mad?" I asked.

To my great and pleasant surprise, Lois' response to my question was to lean over and give me a gentle kiss. When she began to slowly pull away, my lips followed, and we connected again.

Now. This was great, I thought. This kiss. Right here. Right now. Was there nothing more perfect in the world?

But then she pushed me back a little and leaned away, moving to stand. Her eyes were down with a smirk on her lips before she turned her face away.

While I was still wondering why she ended the kiss, I watched her walk to her dresser and simply begin to brush her hair in silence. "W..."

Then suddenly, her bedroom door swung wide open and Zach popped in with a sports bag flung over his shoulder. "Paul's here to pick me up," he said.

"Okay," Lois smiled happily to her brother. "Have fun at practice."

She turned to me and returned my look of wonderment with a cute, furtive wink.

"I will," Zach said, turning slowly to leave.

"Halt!" Lois suddenly commanded. Zach fell still. I had not seen what she had in Zach until I heard her ask, "what's wrong with you?"

She was right. Her brother was obviously feeling a bit down. "I..." he began hesitantly. He looked at me still on the bed warily before he locked eyes with his sister again. "I want to go with you to the concert tomorrow!" He stamped his foot rather immaturely as he belted out his whiny remark.

I nearly snubbed my nose up at the gesture, but suddenly Lois imitated it. She stamped her foot in the exact way Zach had (I suspected learned sibling habit). "I want you to go too!" She whined in Zach's same voice. "I'm sorry, my boy, but Mom says you can't be out in the city that late at night. Next time, I'll bring you though. Mom can't protect you forever."

Zach pushed his toe around and pushed out his lower lip to pout. "Okay."

Lois walked over and ruffled Zach's hair into a static fluff. "Go have fun now," she told him. "When I'm a famous rock star, I'll bring you with me across the world on my tour!"

They laughed together. Zach waved to me, then shut the door behind him, bounded down the stairs, and slammed the front door on his way outside. The fading sounds ended with car doors shutting and an engine moving away.

I was alone again with Lois, finally.

She giggled. "Sorry for pushing you away. I'm used to all the noises in my house, and I heard him coming up the stairs and thought it wouldn't be so great if Zach walked into my room to see you and me smooching."

I smiled and nodded in agreement, then sighed. "You know, you never answered my question."

"The 'are you mad' thing?" she asked. I nodded shyly, and she smiled that smile again. "No, I'm not mad."

"Meredith is just one of many in my circle who aren't very nice."

Lois sighed an exaggerated, heavy sigh. Moving quickly, she crawled back onto the bed and hovered over me. Then, she took my face into her hands and held me firmly still. "Justin, you are much higher than those fools you hang out with, and you know it. I know it. They know it."

My heart burst with love for her. I wrapped my arms around Lois' waist and pulled her down to lay next to me. I pushed strands of her hair away from her face. Taking my time. Savoring every last second of this embrace. Everything I saw. Everything I touched. Her shape. Her weight. Her warmth. The way she moved and twisted. The way she looked at me and smiled.

I pulled all of her into me.

I devoured her.

Conclusion

So, we've made it to the end of our story. What? That's it? Yup. But what happens to Justin and Lois? Well, I'll tell you. They live happily ever after, of course. BB Mabayu would have it no other way. They each possess the devine fingerprint on their foreheads as a chosen one. Our hero and heroine can conquer any obstacle that stands in their ways.

Justin and Lois will be happy.

The secret to being happy is easy once you find it. It is simply choosing to be happy. That's all it takes. The path toward such a realization is long, treacherous, and difficult. Then, you look back and find it really didn't need to be so hard. Silly. You made it hard.

It's not that you shouldn't take life seriously. It's that you should seriously enjoy it. Shit happens. Bad feelings suck. But you feel them, and then you get over them. Everything passes in time. And as long as you try your hardest to stay true and loyal to the good in the world, you'll be fine.

BB Mabayu is there to help you identify and clarify what is inside you. What makes you feel bad and why? It's not always an honorable reason. It doesn't have to be. Sometimes, evil is a product of humiliation, jealousy, and ignorance. Sometimes, it is front hurt.

Then, there is the good stuff that makes you laugh until you cry, the stuff you love. It is important to know the things you love. Give them credit, and don't deny them when no one else feels the same. I'm talking about the song on the radio that's very unpopular, but you love it anyway. Random kindnesses from strangers and simple pleasures like a favorite chair or a special time of day. They are all specific to you and wonderful for just that reason. No one can claim it as their own or take it away from you.

Justin grudgingly trudged along with his so called friends to the Misty Spotts concert that Friday night, upset that he was still unable to convince Lois to come with him still. Yes, Lois refused, but only to give Justin and his miserable and hilarious friends the surprise of their lives by opening the show with BB Mabayu.

The deal had been made Tuesday night when Lois refused Justin's amusement park invitation. They went to the city to meet Misty Spotts. They played a show for her and talked about the opportunities for them. The band is now talking to more people in the industry. Contracts are in the making. There's a lot to look forward to.

While Justin attends college, Lois will tour the world and soak up her well deserved admiration from the masses. And though their directions in life are different, our two lovers will join together time and again. They will be the best of friends and best of lovers.

It is a happy ending.