I was still fuming from my encounter with Kathy and Jeremy. For the first time ever, I was in no way mad at Jarek. He had even tried to appease me, but it seems like that didn't exactly work.

I stormed into our house, praying to myself that Caroline would be nowhere in sight. Let's just say that she's always felt a dire need to butt into everyone's business.

Quietly closing the door, I peered into the house and saw my mom folding laundry in the living room. The house was completely silent, so I took this opportunity to confront her about the situation. Any other time would mean having to explain it when Caroline was around. "So when were you going to tell me Kyle died?" I asked as I leaned against the wall to face her.

My mom quickly jumped and dropped the shirt she was holding. She relaxed when she saw it was just her stupid daughter acting like a certain other person. "What are you talking about?" she asked me, picking up the shirt and placing it back into the basket.

"Kyle Jordan? Jer – I found out today." I said, quickly fixing my blunder.

"Oh." My mom's eyes softened, completely disregarding my slip. "Kathy finally got around to telling you?"

If she talks through Jeremy that is.

"Why didn't you tell me when you found out?" I pressed on. "You know how close Kyle and I were!"

"I know, honey." She sighed, rubbing her eyes wearingly. "Kathy told me she wanted to tell you herself. She wanted to be able to tell you in her own time."

"Whatever." I grumbled and disappeared out the door, simultaneously dropping my bag and picking up a random twenty dollar bill sitting on the table. I heard my mom call out after me but I swiftly closed the door, pretending not to hear her.

I felt bad pushing her away like this since I knew none of this was her fault. I just had to vent on someone innocent.

Not even considering my actions, I jumped into my car and started driving. I wasn't even sure where I was headed; I just knew I had some major business to take care of quickly.

I didn't want to do this, but I needed to get everything straightened out with Kathy. And fast, before anything really bad happened to our already strained relationship.

I walked into the restaurant, and sure enough, I was Jarek, Jeremy and Kathy sitting happily around a small table. I almost didn't have the heart to ruin their little pow-wow, but the only thought running through my mind at that moment was how much I hated Kathy.

As I made my way over, Jarek was the first person to notice me. Keeping his eyes focused on me, he explained something to the others and stood up. He started walking in my direction and I half-expected for him to stop and talk to me.

But no, he merely brushed past me and out the door. I felt my heart drop, but I couldn't let that get to me. I had come here for a confrontation with Kathy, not Jarek.

Approaching the table, I tapped Kathy on the shoulder. She didn't turn around, but I felt she already knew who I was. She muttered something to Jeremy. He nodded and stood up from his seat silently without argument.

He turned to face me, a sarcastic grin on his face. "For you, Stone." He snapped and retreated out the door.

Finally, it was going to be just me and Kathy. I sat down in Jeremy's former seat and situated myself so I could face her sitting sideways. "Kathy." I started, but she just as quickly cut me off.

"Don't start. Just listen, okay? I don't want you to say anything until I'm finished. Please, just let me do what I have to do before you bite my head off."

I looked at her and I almost wanted to forgive her right there on the stop. We may have been distant acquaintances for the majority of this school year, but at that second, I felt reconnected with the best friend I had months ago. But I quickly destroyed that part of me; I couldn't forgive her.


"Fine. Then talk." I snapped at her and leaned my elbow against the table top.

Kathy nodded and turned away for a second. I thought she had changed her mine, but she began speaking before I could move. "Jeremy and I have known each other for about four years." She began. "It began during a project in freshman year and we just became fast friends. We had designated days in the month when we'd just hang out at the park and talk."

"Wait." I shook my head in disbelief. She'd known Jeremy this entire time. How could I have never figured it out? I was her freaking best friend! I thought she was able to trust me and fill me in on situations as big as this!

"I told you to listen." She snapped, now glaring defiantly at me.

Wow, mood change anyone?

I put my hands up in mock surrender as she took that as her cue to continue. "He liked me ever since our sophomore year, you know? I always said no to him because I would feel like a horrible hypocrite. I always told you Jarek was up to now good and here I was, contemplating a possible relationship with one of his best friends. I knew you would hate me for doing it. I'd probably say that it was a week before the fight between Jarek and Trey. Do you remember that?" she asked, tilting her head slightly.

I couldn't help but smile as I nodded at that memory. I still visibly remembered managing to get that evil bastard Fletcher fired from his dean position.

"I finally gave in that day. Jeremy can really get to a person sometimes. That's how everything started, I guess."

I sighed and rubbed my eyes. Hearing how they got together was not exactly what I came out to hear. I didn't come out to not hear about her explanation for her behavior following the start of her 'blooming' relationship.

"What about Kyle?" I whispered behind my palms, not willing to look straight into her eyes. "What about completely ignoring us? And being a bitch to everyone asides from Jarek, Dom and Jeremy?"

Kathy brushed aside her dark hair and propped her face up on both hands. "I can't really explain that." She whispered. "Even I haven't understood why, you know? It started off more with the fight. When I saw Trey's reaction, it pissed me off. I didn't want to be around a person who couldn't be happy for me."

"Kathy, you know that it's just Trey's general nature to do that. You know he's always an asshole to the three of them. It's something you just have to accept after a while. Why do you think I haven't had a mental breakdown yet from his behavior?"

That got a slight smile from her, which just as quickly flipped upside down. "There's something you should know about why Jarek and his friends hate Trey so much."

"No, not yet." I cut her off. "Right now, this is about you. We'll get back to that later."

Kathy rolled her eyes at me but said nothing. "I wanted to find a group of people who would you know, accept me." She shrugged. "Trey didn't look like he would do that anytime soon.

"Everything sort of went downhill from there. I started hanging out more with the three of them. Then." Kathy paused for a second, turning to look at me with regret. "Kyle… died." She shook her head. "I don't even know why or how; my parents didn't want an autopsy after they heard he died after collapsing on a bus. I couldn't bring myself to tell you. You were never anywhere without Trey; it was as if he knew I needed to talk to you. I tried calling, but your mom always picked up, or some random guy. Who is that by the way?"

"My half brother." I muttered. "They moved in a week or so ago."

My former friend nodded, before looking down at her nails. "I wanted to be able to tell you directly. I always knew hot close the two of you were. Trust me, I hated keeping something as big as his passing away a secret from you."

"Then why didn't you just say something?" I finally snapped. I was tired of her playing the guilt card. All I wanted were direct answers as to why… and she was not giving them to me. "There was no way in hell any of us would get mad because your brother died."

"I know-"

"No, you don't." I interrupted. "If you knew you would have approached me some time during school. You wouldn't have had to act like a bitch to me earlier today. Why Kathy? Are you trying to prove something Jeremy?"

At her silence, I knew I had hit a sensitive nerve in her. I shook my head at the thought. She was willing to throw away all her childhood friends for some guy she randomly met doing a project. Least of all, a guy she knew nowhere as well as she did even Trey. Just to be acceptable and up to par in Jeremy's visions, she was willing to throw everyone of us aside.

"Thanks, Kathy." I snapped, standing up from my seat. "Good to know you think so highly of us."

I walked out of Cosi, brushing past both Jarek and Jeremy, who were busy smoking outside the glass doors. I didn't even cast as much as a glance in Jarek's direction. Right now, there was no one I needed to talk to; I didn't even want to bite off Trey's head for being an asshole.

Just when I was about to pull my car keys out of my pocket, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I sighed and stopped walking, already fully knowing who it was. "What do you want, Jarek?"

"How'd it go?" he whispered, his lips barely grazing my ear. Shivering slightly, I moved my head to the left, so I could see him out of the corner of my eye.

"Fucking terrible." I sighed, closing my eyes and unconsciously leaning back against his chest.

Deep inside, I knew this was another one of Jarek's ideas of fun. Get close to me and regain some of my trust before pushing me out the door as fast as possible. I thought I would stop following this vicious cycle, but I couldn't let the opportunity slide.

It was always perfect while the moment lasted.

"Oh really?" he replied, his hand slowly sliding across my waist. From behind us, I could hear Jeremy let out a disgusted scoff, which instantly transformed into a series of rasping coughs.

"Yeah." I said. "It's useless. She basically implied that as long as I hung out with Trey, she wasn't going to publicly announce me as a friend." At the mentioning of Trey's name, Jarek instantly tightened the hold he had on me before spinning me around to face him.

I was an arm's length away from him, but I could still see the burning fire in his eyes. "Count me in on that, as well." He snapped and walked back inside Cosi with Jeremy right behind him.

Letting out a long held breath, I stepped inside my car. What was with everyone hating Trey? I've known him for practically my entire life; I had never seen him do anything to annoy the three of them.

I disregarded the previous thought I had about not even wanting to physically hurt Trey Monroe. I knew I had to get this cleared up before something really bad happened between all of us.

I rang the doorbell, waiting for someone to answer. I had seen all five cars on the driveway, so I knew every single one of them were home.

Finally, the door clicked open. I saw Mrs. Monroe peer through the glass door before she fully opened the second part. "Come in! Why haven't you been around lately?" she cried, literally pulling me into the house. "Trey! JD!" Mrs. Monroe yelled as she led me into the living room. "Caya's here!"

From upstairs, I heard the fount sound of a distant scuffle. She sat me down on the couch and turned the television on. "Do you want anything? Water? Juice?"

I smiled up at her. "A water's fine." Mrs. Monroe had always been a second mother to me. Having four sons, she never had the opportunity of pampering a girl. And apparently, she had picked me as the lucky winner.

"Alright. I'll be right back." She hurried into the kitchen, leaving me alone in the living room. I picked up the remote, mindlessly channel surfing as I listened in on the drama unfolding upstairs.

"Goddamn it, JD! Why the hell do you have to barge into my fucking room everyday?"

"Because I feel like it! Plus, I'm taking back my charger. Find your own."

"You took my original one! I don't give a shit and a half if I stole it from you."

"I didn't take it! Sean took it; and that was about a month ago!"

"How the hell are you sure he took it?"

"Because he knows how to piss you off. Plus, you know he understand how attached you are to your phone."

"That asswipe, when I get my hands on him-"

"Both of you!" Mrs. Monroe suddenly shrieked, storming out of the kitchen with an empty glass in hand. "If you don't shut up and come down right now, you're going to be our waiters this Saturday!"

At that threat, both JD and Trey came storming down the stairs, still fuming mad at each other. They sat in their own chairs at opposite ends of the room as Mrs. Monroe came walking into the living room. "That took you long enough." She smiled, handing me a glass of water. "I'll be upstairs if any of you need me."

Only when her retreating back was out of view did JD dare to throw a pillow hard at Trey's head. "Fucker." They simultaneously hissed at each other before turning to glare at me.

"Whoa." I laughed, placing the glass on top of a coaster. "Back off, both of you." I loved coming to the Monroe household for this reason. In school, they were the 'cool' twins who never did anything immature or stupid. But here, that's exactly what they were.

"Sorry." Trey replied blankly. "So why'd you come over?"

At his question, I frowned slightly. How the hell was I supposed to answer that? Should I try a direct approach, or what? "Caya?" I heard JD say, snapping me out of my thoughts.

"Sorry." I apologized as I shook my head. "Um." I fumbled slightly for my words as I stared at Trey. "I was um, talking with Kathy earlier." Simultaneously, I saw both of their eyes cloud over, but neither said anything. "Trey, this is more for you than JD."

"Oh really?" JD blurted, leaning back against the sofa. "Well, I seem to have an inkling of an idea about where this is about to go."

Why was it that everyone seemed to know everything about Trey? I always knew he liked to have secrets, but why did everyone else seem to know it?

"Why?" I began, licking my lips as I looked up towards the ceiling. "Why do Kathy, Jarek, Jeremy and Dom hate you so much?"

At my question, JD burst out into laughter as anger resided in Trey. I shifted uncomfortably on the couch. Maybe there was no explanation why; maybe they were just another pair of rivals in our school. Maybe, I should have thought of that before I jumped to some major conclusions.

"Why would you ask that?" Trey hissed, while glaring at the still laughing JD. "And JD, shut the fuck up, won't you?"

I shrugged as JD attempted to calm himself down. "I don't know. Jarek and Kathy both implied that as long as I hung out with you, they wouldn't talk to me."

"Wait up." JD said, stepping into our conversation before either of us could say another word. "Trey, I thought you told her?" his voice was suddenly serious, his eyes penetrating.

I looked back and forth between the Monroes. Trey looked flushed and impatient, as if this conversation was the last thing he wanted to do on a Friday afternoon. "No, I haven't told her about it yet. But I will." He added hastily.

"That's what you said last time! You've had four years to tell her; I'd say it's about time. You can't keep it from her forever, you know. I might… oh I don't know." JD said, a malicious glint suddenly shining in his eyes. "Accidentally… slip."

"Don't. Don't you dare say anything!" Trey shouted, jumping up quickly from the sofa. "I told you I was going to tell her!"

"When? You know, you can't keep it a secret from the school. Soon, everyone's going to know that you're also related-"

"Come to our fucking barbeque tomorrow!" Trey yelled, completely cutting off JD from talking any further. And possibly revealing this 'secret' person who Trey was so afraid of discussing. "Just come tomorrow; it'll explain everything. Please."

I looked back and forth between Trey and JD. JD was sitting with a satisfied look on his face, while Trey looked absolutely flustered. I had never seen them like this, never. Both were always open about everything. But here Trey was, practically wanting to kill JD just to keep this little secret of his.

"Come tomorrow. Oh yes." JD chirped, smiling happily at me. "Then you'll discover the terrible secret that Trey refuses to tell anyone. It's not even that bad, why can't I just tell her now? Wouldn't it just make life easer?"

"No, it wouldn't!" Trey retorted, his voice flying up a couple octaves. "JD, learn to shut your fucking mouth alright?"

"After you learn to start talking." JD retorted.

"I can already talk! What are you trying to get at, you donkey raping shit eater."

Okay, I should probably take that as my cue to get the heck out of this house before someone brings out the heavy artillery.

"Um…" I mumbled feebly, "I'm going to go now." The two of them were so absorbed in their little argument, neither of them heard me say a thing. "Bye?" I attempted again, but the shouting only got louder.

Before anyone could stop me, I flew out the door and into my car. I couldn't stand anymore shouting; I was going to explode if one more person raised their voice by the tiniest decibel.

I drove out of the street and kept a steady fifty all the way back to my own home. I stepped into it, expecting to smell the usual home cooking in the air. But no. The lights were all off as I walked into the kitchen.

I went over to the refrigerator door as I noticed a bright yellow Post-It taped onto the door. Quickly scrawled across was a message from my mom. At Kyle's funeral. The Jordan's don't think it would be good for you to come. They're laying him to rest on Sunday. They wish for you to attend that.

Tears formed in my eyes while I read the note. How dare they assume it wouldn't be in my best interest to go? They knew how much Kyle and I cared for each other. And suddenly when he dies, no one takes the time to explain it to me?

I choked back a sob as I slid down the fridge. All the memories of Kyle and I suddenly poured back into my mind. All the times we had set off rockets in the yard, hit geese with slingshots, attempting to snowboard off the roof…

Those were times I could never forget. I knew I couldn't; even if the Jordans were attempting to make me forget. Whatever reason it was for, I was determined to not let their family win.

I shook my head. No. They were only thinking about what was best for me. They knew I was probably going to have a breakdown in the middle of the ceremony and run out screaming.

I heard the front door click open. I couldn't even bring myself to greet whoever it was. Footsteps approached me and for one split second everything was quiet, only my uneven breathing could be hear. Before I knew it, I was pulled into someone's arms. I opened my eyes and noticed I was buried into someone's chest.

"Hey." Cuyler's voice drifted into my ears. "Don't be like this. The Jordans are asses, every single one of them, except for Kyle. The rest think only for themselves. Don't let a bunch of selfish asses get to you."

I nodded at his words, but inside I was completely torn up. Kyle was my support before he had left for college two years ago. And now, in the blink of an eye, he was gone forever.

And I never had the chance to say goodbye.

At that, I instantly broke down into tears as I returned Cuyler's hug just as tightly. I heard him sigh softly as he slowly rubbed my back to calm me down. I let out a small cough as I looked up towards Cuyler.

I may not have known him very well, but I could tell that he was going to be another Kyle like figure in my life. I knew I could never forget Kyle Jordan, but I would eventually have to move on despite the pain it caused to even think I could forget about him at all.

"Cuyler?" I asked, looking straight into his eyes.

"Yeah." He muttered, keeping his gaze in front of him. I had a feeling that he was glaring at the yellow Post-It note, but I wasn't willing to turn around and ruin this little moment. This was the first heart to heart moment I ever had with Cuyler and I wasn't about to screw it up. With him disappearing left and right, I didn't know when the next time I would even see him would be.

I sighed and let a smile fall on my expression. "If you ever leave, I swear I'll run you through with a pole."

Grinning, he brought his gaze down to me. "Deal." He let out a laugh and ruffled my hair slightly. "But don't you think you could do better than a pole?"

"Shut up!" I retorted as he pulled himself out of my grasp. He shot another grin at me before leaving the house without another word.

That boy will never cease to amaze me.

Author's Note

Like I said, I'll be taking a small break for the sake of my friend before s/he has a mental breakdown. It's not in my place to discuss it, so it may be a while before I update. Plus, next week is our school music department trip, which basically means I'll be gone the entire week. Then the following week is Bamboozle time. :D I can't stop the excitement.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for reviewing! Since the last update I got a resounding 23 reviews. I don't have much time to do personal responses, I'll respond later via e-mail. But I will be answering some FAQs, that don't only apply to this chapter.

What is OSS and ISS?
I changed it earlier this month (April) so that the first mentioning is out-of-school-suspension. Anyway, that's what an OSS is. Obviously, ISS is an in-school-suspension.

Why is Jarek such an ass?
It's his personality. :D That's the way he is. But don't worry; we'll break him eventually out of that shell, riiight?

Will Kathy and Caya ever reconcile?
This chapter was a step-up for them, was it not? We'll just see how the rest goes with the story.

Is Cuyler a vampire?
Sadly enough, no. :D

Will you make Caya start cutting?
I'm sorry… but no. I don't think I'll be writing about a topic as sensitive as that. It's not her personality.

Why is Jarek so blind?!
Because that's the way he rooolllsss… no. Actually, he's not sure about what he wants. He's in a confused position. You'll see what I mean later.

Congratulations on making All-States!
Thanks guys. :D

And on a more personal note, Louise McNasty, you still have every right to hurt me if I never update. Or just as slowly. :D