I must apologize for this chapter, but let you know that though the Brian/Tori pairing seems hopeless, please read on!

CHAPTER 6 – Brian

"Do my laundry."

"Done." I say quickly. She seems to add more tasks when I hesitate. She already has me flirting with her friends that have a crush on me, not to mention a grueling task list. She has to stop soon.

"Clean my room."

I glance around at the mounds of laundry, but not wanting to hesitate I spit, "OK."

She senses my uncertainty. "When I ask for help, drop whatever you're doing and help me."

"OK," I say more speedily than before. She thinks for a moment, but has obviously run out ideas.

"OK, now go away."

I nod and am gone in a flash. God I hate catering to her. I haven't even done anything yet, but I know I hate it.

Out in the hall my father stops me. "Brian, buddy, how ya doing?"

I nod. "Fine."

"How's your friend," he pauses for a moment, groping for the name, "Vikki?"



"Her name is Tori."

"Oh, right. Who's Vikki?"

I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose in preparation of a bad headache. "Tori's name is Victoria. She likes to be called Tori, not Vikki. And she's fine."

"Good, good. I was just thinking…Spring Break is in a couple of months and I'm sure you two would like to see each other. Would you like her to come out here for Spring Break?"

"Why don't I go to Maine?"

He grimaces slightly. "I don't know her parents, and plus it's so cold there. What would be the point of Spring Break?"

"I could stay with Emily."

"Your sister's a busy girl, I'm sure she doesn't want her little brother living with her for a week."

"I would you know?" I ask louder than I want to. "You never talk to her, you abandoned her and me!"

He holds out his hands like a lion tamer. "Calm down, Brian."

I glare at him before marching into my room and slamming the door. After doing so, I replay the move in my head and groan; I probably looked like an angry toddler. I open my laptop, then shut it remembering Tori hates me and won't care about my family problems, but then open it once more remembering all of my homework. "The American Civil War," I type mindlessly, before shutting my computer and collapsing back in my chair. My paper can wait. My thousand-pound eyelids, however, will not.

X+X+X+X+X+X – Tori

"Hey Tori, guess what?" Elliott pulls on my shirt, looking up at me.

"What?" I ask with faux excitement. It's not like he can tell the difference.

"I live in Eliot Maine, and my name is Elliott!"


"Yeah. And, my teacher says I can read really good for my age."

"That's great!" I give him a high-five, which he has to jump to reach, but is still extremely grateful for. I don't bother to correct his grammar.

"I know."

"Hey buddy?" Todd kneels next to Elliott to get his attention.


"Do you think you'd maybe want to work on some homework in your room? Me and Tori want to talk."

Elliott drops his head in extreme disdain. "Fine." He turns to me with his big puppy-dog eyes. "Bye Tori."

I smile at him, crippled by his extreme cuteness. "Bye Elliott." I turn back to Todd. "And now?"

He cocks his head in one direction, signaling for me to follow. We end up in the woods with tons of logs strewn around, a good place for sitting, but horrible if you hate to trip. I sit down on an enormous log on the ground. Todd sits about a foot away on a log perpendicular to mine (no, your ears are deceiving you, I didn't just use a math term).

"So," I say finally.

"So," he replies.

"You dragged me out here, I expected you'd have something to say."

He laughs, looking down at his feet, then back at me. I can't help but smile when he does that. He finally shrugs. "I just wanted to get away from my brother. You won't talk like a 16-year-old with him around."

"That's cause I'm 15."

His eyes go wide. "Seriously?"

"Yeah," I laugh out.

He shakes his head, half in disbelief and half because he feels obviously stupid. After a quick laughter break from me, he speaks again. "So, do you have other friends, or do you like me too much to leave my side?" He asks it with facetiousness in his voice, though I know he wants an answer.

I giggle at his joke before responding with a more serious expression. "I used to. He left to live with his dad in Arizona."

"He? Were you two ever…more than friends?"

"No," I say quickly. "Uh, no we weren't. Just good friends."

He nods. "That's cool."

I smirk at him. "Uh, yeah I guess." He just stares at me for a while before curiosity kills me. "What?" I ask rather urgently.

He's quiet for a second, as if picking the right words. "Would you mind…if I kissed you?"

My mouth opens to speak, but no words come out. No one can ever really be prepared for a question like that. I think of Brian suddenly, and how he would react if he knew. I smile. "No. I wouldn't mind it at all."


I collapse on my bed, lost in my thoughts with a smile plastered on my face. He kissed me. He actually kissed me. He kissed me quite a few times, actually. I never though my jaw could get this sore without bubblegum. And he is such a good kisser. And judging by the noises he was making, I'm not too bad myself. Unless those were bad noises…I should call him.

I run across my room in a flash and grab my phone off its cradle. I don't dial his number, as I already have it under speed dial #7 (I'm hopeless when it comes to memorizing new numbers). Elliott picks up.

"Weren't you just with him?"

"Um, yeah, but I forgot something."

"Fine," he says, exasperated and disappointed that I didn't call to talk to him. "Todd! Pick up the phone!" I wince, as he forgot to take the phone away from his mouth before shouting. "One second."

"Thanks Elliott…" I say in an extra sweet voice. I can practically hear him struggling not to give in…he has a total crush on me.

"Hello?" Elliott seems relieved, because he hangs the phone up quickly and with a loud CRACK.

"Hey, Todd…hey."

"Hey," he says, and I can hear the proud smile on his face.

"I um…was that…was that good in the woods? Like, me? Was—was I good?"

I hear him chuckle on the other line. "At kissing?"

"Well…yeah." Another chuckle comes my way. "Well was I?"

"Yes, yes. You're a great kisser."

The smile makes a second appearance on my face. "Good. I have to go. Bye." Before he can respond, I hang up the phone and collapse on my bed once more.

X+X+X+X+X+X - Brian

Mr. McKenzie paces the classroom silently, the only audible noise being the light tap of his fingers against the folded up piece of duct tape in his hand. "It is vital," he finally says, triggering my attention, "that you guys understand this. Now there are a couple of you," he glances at me, "who are doing great." Moans and exaggerated eye-rolls erupt around me. "But others just aren't putting in enough effort. This same section will be your homework one again. Those of you who got everything don't need to do it. Everyone else, you have until Monday, so try your hardest." The bell rings as if he timed his speech, and we all rush out of the room.

I gather my books at my locker (surprisingly without the usual unfriendly banter) and hurry to History, which has become my new favorite class. No, it's not about the subject. Who needs to hear the same depressing stories about out glorious country 500 times? No, it's about a girl. Yes I said it, a girl. A girl who doesn't know I exist. Vikki But class with her is great. I sit in the desk directly behind her. She's close enough for me to smell the coconut shampoo; the same kind Tori always smelled like. Her petite body shifts impatiently all class long. Her artfully placed hair sways slightly in the soft breeze coming through the window. Everyday I have the urge to reach out and touch her…at least talk to her. But I can't. At least not if I don't want to be murdered by the entire football team. No, it's not the cliché, her boyfriend is the quarterback, blah blah. I don't even know what the quarterback does. No, but I've seen her wearing the oversized football jacket, no doubt a gift from her beloved. So no, I can never touch her. But I can always look…

"What are you staring at, perv?" Oh shit. "Did you not hear me, get your eyes off her."

The blonde with ice-cold eyes, who sits next to me, no doubt Vikki's best friend, is staring me down and attracting much more attention. "I glance nervously at her and sink down in my seat."

"Class, please settle down," comes the shaky voice of my 56-year old History teacher. Like I could really trust him to stop the 4, undoubtedly football players staring bullets into my back. I sink down lower in my chair, pretending to write notes on the paper I should be writing my Last Will.

I beg for class to go slowly, like it usually does, but the minutes pass like seconds and soon I'm faced not only with tedious homework, but also a hallway full of people who want to bash my head in.

"Hey perv," a deeps voices chimes out behind me. I drop my head low and try to keep walking but am soon stopped by a hand on my chest. I curse; of all the books I've ever read, not one has explained how easy it is to get beat up in high school, even just looking at a girl.

"It's not nice to walk away when people are talking to you," says the second guy, grabbing my shoulder tightly. I don't allow myself to flinch. Instead I stand still, not moving a muscle, not looking at anyone. I hear people shuffling around me and assume that people are gathering, ready to see someone get the shit kicked out of him. It's not the warmest feeling inside knowing that there are dozens of people surrounding you, with the ability to stop in impending beating, but they'd rather stand around and watch.

Conversations erupt around me, and I can hear the murmuring of whoever's holding my shoulder, but I'm not processing the words. All the sudden, before I have time to prepare myself—not that I'd even know how to—a fist comes crashing into my stomach. The wind is instantly knocked out of me, and I'm for some reason coughing, when I should be gasping for air. I bow forward, trying to catch my breath, which is obviously not the best idea, as I soon after kicked in the back off my knees, and knocked to the floor. On the floor, as you probably realized, is the worst place I could be in this situation, what with being near a dozen pairs of feet. Feet that apparently find in necessary to kick me.

I roll into a ball and stay still until I hear Mr. McKenzie's voice and the shuffling of feet trying to get away as quickly as possible. I uncurl onto my back, cough once or twice, and then take the hand Mr. McKenzie is offering me. We walk silently back into his classroom, where I sit with a loud grunt in a desk chair.

"How are you feeling?" he asks.

I shrug. "Not too bad." I keep my answer short and try not to give him any reason to talk more. My attempts to shut him up are in vain.

"Being the new guy can be tough. I know how you feel."

"No you don't! Jesus, everyone says they know how I feel, like we're all one fucking person. They don't know how I feel. You don't know how I feel. You know how you felt, but not me. We're different people. And when your grandma, or whoever 'close' to you died, did you have to leave your home, where you grew up, and travel 2000 miles to live with total fucking strangers who claim to be your family? When that happens to you, you tell me how quickly I should fucking get over it, but for know stop pretending you know."

Jesus, what is wrong with me? We were never talking about my mom. And I just completely snapped on a teacher, albeit an asshole. And are there actual tears streaming down my face?

Mr. McKenzie gives a little nod, again as if he knows how I feel and he knew how I was going to react. "Maybe…maybe you should take a break. Take the rest of the day off. I'll talk to the principle."

I nod and stand up quickly, ignoring the throbbing pain in my torso. "Sure," I say, slinging my backpack over my shoulder, and walk quickly and painfully out of the classroom.

Yes, of course. Home is what I need. Home sweet home.

Wow, that took a long time. Sorry to those who care. THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE REVIEWS YOU MAKE ME SMILE A LOT! That's her penname, by the way. But it's true, reviews do make me smile a lot. Hint hint.