Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
—Terry Pratchett

Chapter One: Introducing You to My Dilemma

Okay, let's start off slow, Mr. A (which, by the way, how did your date with my aunt go last night? You can just scribble in an answer below, after you've read my journal entry and everything, because I'm really curious. Did you pop the question yet? Well...actually, I guess I'd know if you popped the question, seeing as I'd be one of the first people that she'd tell...ask her to marry you already!), real slow. For one, this is more of a bonding experience than I was expecting to take part in this year, especially since with a teacher (turned uncle, if you ever manage to grow a backbone), and for another, this is kind of embarrassing.

So, slow it shall be: my best friend is Robert Gonzalez, and I would have never known I was in love with him if his older brother hadn't told me so. You see, when I finally realized I loved him, I was almost seven and still infatuated with Aladdin (what? Like that bare chest didn't turn you on), and I probably would've never even thought that I was destined to be with Robbie if his older brother, Roth, hadn't told me so. (Do you remember Roth? He graduated last year, head of his class? I think he was one of your best students, seeing as he's set off to go get his PhD in psychology...)

Now, a thing you should know about Roth—he doesn't really like his little brother. I mean, he loves Robbie and would've died for him, but in the long run he didn't like him much. I have no idea why, of course, since Robbie is so nice. However, that doesn't change the fact that Roth has had a thing against him since the moment Robbie came out of the womb. A thing, I'm betting, a lot of brothers have against their little brothers, now that I think about it... Anyways, the point is that I think he told me I liked Robbie just to mess with him, and me, consequentially.

I believe his exact words were as follows:

Roth: Hey, Jane—how long have you been in love with my little brother?
Me: Huh?
Robbie: Cut it out, Roth.
Roth: Yeah, I know, it would be pretty pathetic is she had a crush on you, right?
Robbie: Why would it be pathetic?
Me: Huh?
Roth: Because you're her best friend, talk about lame.
Robbie: So what if it's lame? And it's none of your business anyways, stupid.
(The two proceed to get into a fistfight, I watch.)
Me: I want to crush Robbie?

Bit of a rude awakening; if you ask me—personally I think he brought it up because he's always been jealous of Robbie. Because, no offense to him, but Robbie got it in the look department, as in, he got the good genes. While Robbie has always been fit, tall, with tan skin but really bright blue eyes, and a killer smile, Roth has always been about the opposite. Ever since I've known him he's been at least thirty pounds overweight, with a frightening case of acne, and has had long, greasy hair (I think he was going for the shaggy look, but all he ended up looking like was a crack-addict). Sure, he's got beautiful brown eyes and the same tan skin, but I've never seen him smile (not happily anyways, I've seen what can only be described as an evil leer, from the boy). Now, looks aren't what you should ever a base a person on, believe me, I know that (you've seen my childhood pictures—I was one scary looking kid. What with the baby fat, the braces, and the freakish hairdos), I'm not some shallow least; I hope I'm not. Looks don't really matter to me; they're just a bonus to a person who has a great personality. A good personality is a must, in my opinion, and Roth...well...he's kind of lacking in that as well.

I'm sure he's a nice guy; he just a tough guy. He's one of those guys that doesn't believe in being nice to people. He's...well, have you ever watched that drama House? Or the sitcom Becker? He's a mixture of those two doctors—he says what he wants to say, means it, and doesn't care how it affects other people. Which is a little disconcerting when you think of him as a future psychiatrist, now that I think about it... He has no bedside manner and he's always been that way.

He's the reason I fell in love with Robbie, I think, or at least thereason why it didn't become some kind of stupid kid crush. It was because of him and his taunting of me, that I never had loving Robbie far from mind. So, I guess I could call him least a dark, angry version of cupid.

The reason I even brought him up, actually, is because I'm supposed to go pick him up from the airport tonight. He flew in from Harvard for the holidays and no one in his family has the time to go pick him up. His mother is in a meeting, his father is in Oregon right now, and Robbie is out on a date...which is really bothering me, but I'll get over it. Because I know I'm not the only one that believes that Robbie is the perfect man. In fact, the greater half of the school's population believes this fact. At least ninety percent of the female population anyways. Which makes Robbie one very popular guy—yeah, he's a bit of a ladies' man, so what?

Everyone has their quirks.

I hate sunny days—see, there's a quirk.

Anyways, I've got to go pick him up now, but after that I swear I'll tell you about what happened last week. Because it was seriously embarrassing, and I'm very lucky that Robbie never noticed.

But that's later—crap, I'm going to be late as is! I gotta go!

Okay, that was an odd experience. A really odd experience. Well, I picked up Roth (I was ten minutes late, but his plane was delayed due to snow, so it all worked out well...except for the part where I had to wait an hour for him) and he was in fine form. I mean, he was...different.

I was sitting on a bench in the terminal, waiting for the plane to arrive and playing Novel with passersby. (Novel is a game where you look at a person and try to guess what their life is like. Hey, it helped pass the time.) I was looking at a teenage girl wearing a tight belly shirt that showed off her bellybutton ring and her flat tummy, the shortest black miniskirt I had ever seen, and come hither strappy black stilettos. Her hair was wavy and she was wearing the brightest red lipstick known to man. I was trying to think of a lifestyle that would all belong to, when someone dropped into the seat beside me.

"Looks like a girl my brother would be into." Announced the person, in a deep and familiar voice. I turned around, expecting to see Roth, but he wasn't there. Instead sat a tall guy with unkempt black hair and slightly retro looking glasses perched on his nose. They had black frames and were...sleek. Right...he also had smooth, acne-less skin, except for the five o'clock shadow—a shadow he looked good with...

His dark eyes looked back at me for a moment and then he rolled them, "Fine, she looks like a girl who's father never paid enough attention to her as a child. Because of that, she finds herself desperate for attention from other men—generally older men—and since we are all horny bastards, she's got our attention."

(Sorry for the language, by the way, but it's exactly how he said it.)

"Roth?" I whispered, staring at him in complete and utter shock.

Roth has always been great at Novel—except for the fact that the life stories he comes up with have always been more believable then anyone else's. Probably because he's actually analyzing the people, not making up funny stories.

He turned back to me and arched an eyebrow, "What?"

I shook my head to clear it and smiled weakly, "Um...nothing."

He rolled his eyes again, "Great, so where's my family?" He asked, climbing to his feet.


"—Let me guess; work, work, and since today is Friday, Rob's out on a date."

"Well, yeah..."

He stretched his arms over his head and arched his back, "Figures." He muttered darkly, But, of course, by that time, I was starring at the expanse of skin that was on display in front of me. One thing I've got to say, Mr. A, he's has definitely lost the baby fat. He looks like a guy that's been working out most of his time away at college, that's for sure.

Now, Mr. A, I'm not exactly known for noticing guys other than Robbie. Sure, I notice the hotness of guys in Hollywood (Lord, do I notice them...) so the fact that I was noticing Robbie's older brother was both shocking and disturbing.

Very disturbing...

But come on! He had a six-pack and he was shoving it in my face! (Alright, so it wasn't a very well defined six-pack, but it was there and it was muscle. Muscle where there used to only be a jiggle.) And, my God, I was lucky I wasn't salivating.

However, this is Roth we're talking about—he's not exactly known for his stunning personality. Or at least, that's what I was telling myself over and over again.

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair before adjusting his shirt and picking up the bags that he had sat down beside the bench. "And suddenly I can see the next two weeks flashing before my eyes." He muttered, then kicked my feet. "Come on driver, let's go to Dairy Queen—my treat."

Well, seeing as I've never been the kind of girl to turn down free ice cream, I jumped to my feet and lead my way to my family car. Looking back, I probably should have just drove him home, I would have saved myself a lot of awkwardness. However, the tune of an Oreo blizzard called to me, and I couldn't ignore it's call.

So, we ended up sitting in a booth eating ice cream. Roth glancing around the restaurant and nodding at people he knew, and me trying my hardest not to look like I was checking him out. When...well...I was. Now, I'm going to tell you what he was wearing, even though I know you don't care, but just so you can paint a picture in your head. He had on a pair of slightly baggy blue jeans (no girl pants for him, buddy) and had a leather belt with an over-sized belt buckle keeping them up. He had on a tight charcoal shirt on with orange headphones displayed on it and was awearing brown and red leather biker jacket over top of the shirt. He was also wearing a leather bracelet on his left wrist and a watch on his right (he's a lefty).

There, have the picture? Okay, then, now pretend that you're an African-American girl watching his every movement and ridiculing yourself about it. There, now you can feel exactly what I was going through.

"Still in love with my little brother?" He asked out of nowhere (or at least that's what it felt like...), eating a large spoonful of his Snickers blizzard. He looked into my eyes, almost mockingly.

Wait, it's Roth—he was definitely mocking me.

"Why would you care?" I asked, running a hand through my long, curly hair.

He shrugged and cracked his knuckles, "Since when haven't I cared?" He murmured and then smirked, "Besides, I want to know when it happens."

"When what happens?"

"When you crash and burn."

I blinked in surprise and fumbled with my blizzard, "What makes you think I'll crash and burn?"

"You're not Robbie's type."

"I'm his best friend."

"Yeah, but does his consider you a girl?" He asked, and then snickered. "I believe you know the answer to that."

See what I mean? Roth is not a nice guy. He's hurtful and rude, mean and cruel, snide and sarcastic, and so many other things. Oh, and now he's hot as well...will wonders never cease? What kind of cruel trick of fate is this?

"I'm sure he thinks of me as a girl." I replied stiffly, jabbing at my ice cream.

"Right." He said, stretching out the word.

"What makes you think you know anything about this anyways?"

He rolled his eyes and glanced away from me, "Who's a blood relation? It's certainly not you, you didn't have to spend your entire life with the dweeb."

"You're a year older than him."

He raised an eyebrow and then slowly nodded, "Yes I am, so I only had to spend eighteen years with him, big deal—I wasn't doing much that first year in life, anyways." He yawned and glanced at his watch, "Whoa, jet lag will hit you hard."

"You want to go home?"

He yawned again and grinned, "Naw, I want to enjoy your pleasant company—and by that, I of course mean that I want to toy with you."

"Why are you so mean?" I asked angrily.

"Why aren't you?" He retorted and then sighed, "Look, Tameka Janelle, you're going to need to grow a backbone if you ever want to survive in this world."

Gads, you seriously have to wonder why he always has to use my full name. Tameka Janelle, what was my mom thinking when she named me? I love her to pieces, but come on! I think he uses it just to get to me.

"I'll survive just fine, thank you." I replied scornfully, and dug into my blizzard with a vengeance. It was silent for the longest time, and when I finally looked up to ask him what his problem was, I saw him adjusting his jacket uncomfortably. I followed his gaze to see some of the people that had graduated from high school staring at him. He swallowed hard and ran a hand through his hair and turned his complete attention onto his blizzard. I found it a little odd, but I didn't say anything.

After another long moment of silence he sat up straighter and moved to stand up. Since I had already finished my blizzard, I stood up as well and looked at him questioningly, "Ready to go?" I asked, walking over to toss my trash.

"Of course I am, Tameka Janelle." He replied, smirking.

I glared at him, "Then get a move on, Roth Socorro, because I'm heading out."

"Aw, still upset because my little brother doesn't love you back?"

"Look, he just doesn't know that the two of us are destined for each other, okay?"

He nodded and tossed his blizzard container away, "Of course that's it, in the eighteen years that you've been friends, he's just never come across the obvious feelings he has for you." He laughed mirthlessly, "However, he's come across feeling for about every other girl in your peculiar."

I threw open the door and stormed out to my car, "Oh, shut up."

"You're still a virgin, right?"

I stopped at that question and immediately jerked around and sneered at him, "How on earth is that any of your business?!" I hissed (Mr. A, sorry—I know that this isn't very PG, but I'm reporting it back just like it was. I hope you don't dock my grade because of it), seeing red.

He did his evil leer, "Just as expected, you're just like the Virgin Mary—anyways, my little brother is not one, hasn't been for a long time, so why do you think he would be interested in a prude like you?"

"Who says I'm a prude?" I snapped (again, totally sorry for this Mr. A, I'm sure it's way more than you ever wanted to know about your girlfriend's niece), shivering in the cold.

"So, you're a slut and would sleep with my brother if he ever gave you the attention?"

"" I glared at his smirk and crossed my arms across my chest, "How about you, Roth, are you a virgin?"

He laughed, "Ouch, you think I'm far less experienced than my brother—that seriously hurts." He grabbed his heart dramatically and leaned against my car as though I'd shot him.

I narrowed my eyes, "You didn't answer my question."

He straightened and leered evilly, "Oh, so you want to know how many chicks I've banged?" He asked, his tone slightly mocking. (Again, my apologizes—Roth has a foul mouth, just to let you know for future references, it comes with that whole not caring about anything view on, whenever you see his name in this journal, just know that there are probably some bad phrases ahead. Okay?)

I gave him a look of disgust, "You don't have to be so vulgar."

"Oh, I'm not being vulgar, I could have said that much worse." He laughed and stared at me, "You didn't answer my question," he tilted his head to the side, "Do you want to know?"

I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. So I nodded instead, shooting him my evilest glare. He laughed at it and brushed snow out of his hair, "Okay then, I've slept with exactly no one." He smiled widely and I felt my knees give a little—apparently Robbie's not the only one with a killer smile.

I frowned, using the hood of my car to support me, "Then that makes you a virgin, just like me."

He nodded, "Yup, yup, it does." He laughed, "It also means that I've never had any scares like my little, stupid brother—would you believe that he actually had an HIV scare?" He shook his head, "That's some scary shit, I can tell you that. Glad I didn't have to go through it."

I stared at him in surprise, feeling like my world was crashing, "Robbie had an HIV scare?"

Roth shrugged, "He went a month without using any kind of protection." He rolled his eyes and stuffed his hands in his jacket pockets, "Apparently he had multiple partners that month, and one of them gave him and STD—he freaked out and started wondering about AIDS. What a time that was, makes you glad to be a virgin."

He rubbed his eyes and then raised both his eyebrows, "Are you going to unlock the doors anytime soon?"

"Robbie has sex with those girls?"

He laughed, "Why do you think he dates even the dumbest of girls?"

I unlocked the car doors and he climbed in, I followed soon after and stared out the front window for a long moment. I couldn't come to terms with the fact that Robbie was more experience than me...or that he was dumb enough to get a STD. He could've gotten a girl pregnant! What kind of moron...!

It was then that I took a deep cleansing breath and reminded myself that I loved him, and that I could get over it all. Everything would be fine once he realized he loved me...I just don't want the STD, so we may not be getting married like I always planned, because at some point he would want to have kids. I'm sure he would, anyways, and...well, okay, maybe I could deal with a sexually transmitted disease.

"Do you want me to drive?" Roth asked, and I slowly turned to look at him. The mocking glint was back in his eyes, and I was sure that he was enjoying my anguish. Enjoying it way too much, which is why I did something pretty stupid. Mr. A, I slapped him. I'm not a violent person, but I really smacked that boy. Him and his mocking, leering looks.

I think I was more surprised than he was, though his eyes did get really wide after I did it. However, a few seconds after his initial surprise, he started to laugh and leaned back against the car window. "Whoa, Janey finally grew a back bone!" He declared, shaking his head and trying to stifle his laughter. After a moment he cleared his throat and stared out the front window, "Driver, take me home."

Shocked, and a little upset, I complied, driving to the Gonzalez house as fast as I could. He didn't say anything for the rest of the ride, but he did keep chuckling to himself every once in awhile.

I hate him! I seriously hate that guy! He's mean and rude, and has no idea how to react to someone hitting him! Who laughs after that? You'd think he'd at least get angry—it would have been better if he tried to smack me back! Sure, I would've totally been freaked out and would probably have issues with men for the rest of my life, but at least it would have been an acknowledgment to the fact that I was angry enough to hit him.

Mr. A, why did he have to get so attractive?

A/N: Sorry it took so long to update, I have to compete with my brother and my dad for Internet time, and my mom is always trying to get me off so that she can play Spider solitaire. Anyways, it may be a little late, but here's the second chapter! Wow, this story is a lot more fun to write than I initially thought it was going to be (I kind of changed the plot line even more than I had before—adding a character that I personally really like) and now you know why she's so open with Mr. Abernathy.

rewind regrets: Thank you for the review, and I hope you enjoy this chapter as well!

Plinky: Congrats! I wish I could be a veggie (because of how I feel about animals), but I lack the kind of self-control one needs for sadens me... Thanks for the review! (How do you feel about the best friend now?)

bex17: I think all the girls have hot best friends because everyone wishes that was the case in their lives, but I don't know. The hottest guy friend I happen to have is gay, so I kind of wish that Ihad a hottie for a best friend-one that was straight. Anyways, I'm sure you can see by now that I'm taking a different spin on the story, and I hope you enjoy that a bit better. Thanks for the review!

C.X. Blackfeather: Yeah, I'm a firm believer in that saying: 'If it's too good to be true, it probably is'-and I like messed up and complicated characters a lot better than the ones that seem perfect in the beginning. For Jane, all she really sees is the good-she's kind of made him a god in her mind and with time, that may change. The story's not finished, and I actually like constructive crit-as long as it's constructive and not just cruel. And you're right on with Mr. A, and this will hopefully not be like all the other stories that start off like it did. Thanks for the review!

aknightsgoldenrose:I seriously like your penname... Thanks for the review and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

rock'n'roll junkie: Thanks for the review! And I hope you continue to like this story-and Jane! (How do you feel about Roth?)

Thanks you all again!