"Guys! Guess what! I just got my report card from Mr. Adams!"

We had obviously been necking. In fact, we would have kept on kissing, had it not been that we recognized the voice – Amanda. Aka: Ana. Our best friend, and cover for the first year of our relationship while we had been getting everything settled without the whole 'fag limelight' deal.

We're remarkably open now.

To tell the truth, both of us had known Ana since maybe third grade, but it took a humorous and no little spectacular miracle to bring us all together as friends in the ninth grade. Well, technically I was in tenth then, but I took one for the team and I am repeating that year (cough, not, they were gonna make me repeat anyways).

"Oh? What did you get, Ana-girl?" Trust Mike to pull out of lust induced daze first.

"You know very well what I got…" she gave us one of those patented girl smiles that just oozed 'I told you so' while at the same time charming the sox off you. Ana actually reminds me a lot of my little sister in casual conversation, but we, at least I, in particular know better. She's actually got quite the baggage. Why we get along so well.

Well, anyways. Her coming upon us kidding again reminds me of the first time we really met. Boy was that actually one of the highlights of that year.

"…Hey…Mike. Since we've decided I'm still 'unsure' about my…orientation. Shall we test it with a kiss?" Contrary to popular belief, Mike suffers no delusions about being friends with me, like everyone assumes. I'm not a pity case, for him. He knows damn well who I am, and likes me for it anyways. Especially my habit of trying to weasel a kiss outta my soon-to-be boyfriend.

"Dude, you haven't even asked me out on a date yet. Your title is still 'best friend'." Never mind a few weeks ago when he jumped me while we were playing Super Smash Bros (don't ask) and the wrestling match turned…amorous, to be polite.

"…Really. Can I be 'friends with benefits' if I have my wicked way with you?" He laughs. Oh yea, now I remember why I put up with him.

"Whatever, lets just go. You are still willing to take me home without me promising obscure bed-time favors, aren't you?"


"What makes you think it wasn't an offer," he winks. Dammit. Friends. Friends. Oh fuck it, maybe I should just ask him out on a date, already. ...But where do you take your date if you still don't quite understand them, even after being friends with them for all of a year now? The movies, of course. Duh.

"…Well. As lovely as those obscure offers must be, I'm gonna have to suggest I drive you to the movies, so that we can official have our first date. So that I can kiss you." Playfully, he hits me while smirking – I refuse to rub my arm, it does not hurt. It does not hurt, I repeat a few more times. Little 'tard knows he can pack a punch too. For that, it's going to be a spectacularly crappy movie.

I tell him as much.

He just laughs more, and as soon as we hit the steps leading to the upper parking lot, we take off. Him a split second before me, but he's a freaking wrestler, I'm the one on track. Contrary to popular belief, I do not smoke, though everyone else in my family does, but I like my lungs alive so that I can run. Running is what keeps me sane, until I met Mike anyways.

Naturally, I win the contest, though now that we're in a relationship, am I supposed to let him win? Eh. How exactly said contest came to be, I couldn't tell you for sure. But I know that it's fun. How? I can't exactly tell you. Heh. But we're not very orthodox people, so now that we're so close to being boyfriends…hold onto your nerdy glasses folks, because there's gonna be a lot of Lord of the Rings marathons blowing your way.

We both agree Orlando is kick ass as Legolas. I bet you can't guess why (I swear, the movies were made to be a gay man's dream…eye candy for all types of viewers).

He's out of breath. Ha.

"I can't believe that little stint has you out of breath, little hobbit!" What did I tell you? I may be a sophomore with a horrible reputation…mature I am not. Little bit of geek, I am. And he's just short enough to pull off hobbit.

"Never fear, I can take you down in a moment, oh stupid one." He cheats. Mental note to self. That one goes right up there with his ability to quote nearly every movie he's ever seen off hand.

"Not if you can't catch me."

"What are you running from, exactly? You cannot see me, for I have the ring!" He fancies himself as Frodo. Oh help me. He likes Elijah!?

'Argument' completely forgotten, this is one tangent I cannot just ignore.

"…You like Elijah?"

He blinks at me from over the hood of my car. A nice, homely, little Toyota Camry that my half brother gave to me when he went to college. It smells horribly like cigarettes, despite all of my frequent attempts at getting rid of the fetid stench. Then he just shrugs unenthusiastically.

"…Oh I get it."

I'm about to go on another mind-tanget, but Mike interrupts the musings- "Mind out of gutter," he says knowingly. Cue open doors; lecherous grin, polite smirk.

He knows me well already.

"What movie, then, oh smart one?"

"How To Scar a Teenybopper in Fifteen Seconds or Less! It's a new release." Before he knows what I'm up to – or can reply to that remarkably stupid title I just pulled out of my ass…I lean in and crush him against the car seat. Kissing him, of course, not killing him. Duh.

If humans can purr, I think Mike has a corner stone on the market. It sounds a little like a groan, crossed with a moan, and just a plain mewl. Freaking sexy as hell. Hormones, I thank thee for thy gifts of pleasure inducing touch. I back off after what seems like ages, though it's probably only about a few seconds or so. He licks his lips, looking a little out of it, and I feel accomplished.

We're staring at each other in mute satisfaction – it was nothing like the little number we participated in a few weeks ago with the pseudo-fight. If he was contemplating not taking the final step to boyfriend-hood, I'm completely sure he is now. How could he not be with that too look foreword to?

It is about then, of course, that Mike – always able to recover faster than me – sets about righting himself, and freezes in the process of tearing his eyes from mine and buckling. Staring in mute horror over my shoulder. So naturally, I turn to look, expecting a giant pus leaking alien slug from the planet Xzulug 2.5.

Instead, I see a hapless girl looking for the entire world like a deer caught in headlights. Binder that had obviously previously been in her arms, now on the pavement, soaking up the muddy water of a puddle. Her mouth is open. She is staring at us.

Oops, I'm guessing she was there long enough to see…

She looks familiar.

…. Tricia? Sandy? Mandy?

"…Amanda…" Mike whispers. There we go!


"Do we threaten, cajole, or evade and deny this…Amanda chick?"

"I…I don't think…she's not exactly…well…she's socially inept, I don't think she has any friends here to tell. And… if I… had to hazard a guess…given that she provides me a lot… of… entertainment in my English class by reading…uhm, well… interesting stories."

"Are you telling me she's a yaoi fan girl?"


"Never mind." I mention I have a little sister, yet? In my opinion, we should probably just kill her now, and spare the world from her. Put her out of her misery.

Just then, though, when it seems we could stare at each other all day and then some…she reaches down to pick up her binder. Seeming to gather her composure, blinking rapidly and closing her mouth. And then she looks down at her soggy binder, with the most comical expression ever, before swearing. Loud. Loud enough for both of us to hear and crack a smile….

It just doesn't really seem to fit coming from her. Short mouse brown hair, 'heart' shaped face, and an oversized blue sweater with normal jeans…all she needs are glasses to complete the 'shy, book girl' façade. She – er, Amanda, whatever, looks at us undecided for a moment. Then starts to walk away. Then turns back. Looking hesitant again. Mike, the little 'tard, waves her over without consulting me.

He opens his door, and stands just outside leaning on the hood of my ridiculous Camry. Seemingly ready to jump in and have me take off should somehow this…boring girl work up the nerve to attack him. Who knows what these fangirls are capable of!?

She takes a step or two over. Before stopping maybe 5 feet from my side of the car. Looking cautiously at me the entire time. I'm about ready to say I don't bite. But it looks more like she's thinking 'what the fuck is a guy like Michael doing with a guy like Stryker!?' But, then again, that's what I would think in her position, and I can't really read her facial expression. That's either slack-jawed surprise, or she normally looks a little confused.

"Uh…Yea…Hi…uh….I won't say a thing. Honest…uh…Michael, you know me. Well… Math together, um, you read my stories."

…Is Mike flushing? Ooh, so he thought he was being all sneaky like and she caught him! Ha! He is not going to live that down!

"Y-yeah…eheh…'preciate that…uhm…see ya later, then…?"

Amanda blinks. Looks at me. Looks at Mike. Hoshit, what is going through her mind now? I think I almost preferred numb shock with a little ode to deer-in-headlights reaction. Contemplative thinking isn't a good expression on young women. It makes me want to run screaming like a little girl to the nearest bomb shelter.

"…Terribly rude of me, very presumptuous, yeah, but you might wanna know this…" Oh, great, she has a big vocabulary, as well. She can probably afford to read in English class because she's a literary genius.

"…But uh…Michael…everyone kinda already thinks you 'n Stryker have something going on…I mean…uh…well…Yeah."

To my surprise, Mike actually seems to get the point she is trying – and failing, at least in my case – to bring across. "Yea, that whole bad-boy image is kinda synonymous with gay, isn't it, these days?" She nods. Whoa. What?

"Yea. So, uh. I think…uhm…yea." She turns away, and I think finally! Before she turns back again. Mike still hasn't moved.

"OnelasthingIknowthisdoesnotcomeasanysurprise…." She pauses for a deep breath, and wow, I'm impressed, she's talking so fast I can barely understand a word she's saying. "…Butyouguysmightwanttoratherplayitdownuntilyoufigureoutyourrelationship first…?" And then randomly, she pauses again, before continuing more calmly. "Next time…It might be someone worse than me…and, uh…that kind of limelight will hurt if you are unprepared." She looks haunted as she says this, turning on her heel.

I think she's gone for good.

Nope, lo siento, false alarm.

"Wait! Amanda!"

"Call me Ana. Yes?" Well, she obviously has composure back. And given that, I'm guessing that the first chunk is probably an automatic response. If I was saddled with Amanda as a name… (well, as a male, I'd probably shoot myself at the first available opportunity)…I'd want to change it too. Ana, though? Eh. Could be weirder.

"Ana. Uhm. I hate to take advantage of this…but I know you are in lots of prime places to…shall we say…overhear…certain gossip?"

"Ahuh, yea, sure, no problem. Contact information? Email easiest for you? As you might have guessed I have no life and I'm always on it." One thing you can continually trust about girls like Amanda…er An…oh whatever…they make outstanding leaps of mental thought at precisely the right moments, but are denser than a concrete block at others. Well, at least that's my opinion.

Mike blinks. "Uh, yea, actually, email works. Do you-" Before my boyfriend/Friend-with-benefits can ask for paper of something, she has a pen out miraculously from one of her pockets…? And…low and behold, she's a leftie. Interesting. But she's already pushed up the sleeve to her jacket, and all I can think is 'wow, ever heard of a daily planner!?'

That's pretty rich, coming from me…but she has notes basically all up and down her forearm. Sheesh. It's a wonder she doesn't loose her mind in the many twists and turns. And it's a wonder teachers don't think she's cheating on tests.

"Uh right. Uhm," I can tell Mike is as thrown as me by the sight in front of him, "It's random, underscore, fan at hotmail."

"'kay. If I hear anything, I'll send it. My email is silently, underscore, waiting, hotmail as well."

"Okay. Sounds good. Great! Thanks!" Odd Girl walks away; Mike slides back into the car – crisis averted. And I stare at him like God just came down to Earth and proclaimed Mike his next heir. Or, maybe, I just don't quite follow thought patterns that are not mine or focused on lord of the rings very well.

"Can I go back to kissing you now?" I ask innocently. Sure that my confusion is still obvious on my face. I'm trying to pretend like that whole interaction didn't happen. "No, silly. Two reasons, one? Aman- Ana is someone you can trust…when she works up the courage to 'warn' you it's because she's heard some stuff. She told my friend – you remember Dillon? – a couple days ago about the assholes planning on breaking into his locker. And two, we still have at least one movie to go to. More, if I don't like it."

Right. " You really are a tease." I say as I finally start my car and pull out.



"Green cheese!" I quip.

Oh, I'm brilliant.

They both laugh, and I smile as I put my arm around Mike, only to have him lean back against me – somehow we have perfected his system in the car that's not exactly spacious nor designed for couples that like to spoon. It is still taking some time to get used to, though. His close contact needs (turns out he is a closet sap, who knew?). Ana climbs into the back of the car, with this big contented smile on her face.

Is it just me or has she been smiling more often lately?

I consult my walking search engine. "Hey, Mike. Is it just me or is Ana smiling more often recently?" I manage to ask my boyfriend covertly while starting the car. It's Friday (it took forever to convince her parents we weren't going to go off and kidnap her and let us drive her places), and Ana didn't stay for tutorial, so we're all going to the movies. Like the day we met. Heh.

She doesn't react to my comment, just staring out the window with a dreamy expression on her face.

He sighs, and I know I'm missing something painfully obvious. I just look back at Ana as she stares out the window with this whole dreamy I'm-some-where-else-at-the-moment-go-away look on her face. Oh dear god. Spare me the melodrama.

I groan.

He just laughs.

"So, Ana, who is he!?" We are beyond personal space, at this point, I think.

"More like who is she, Ben." Mike snickers. Whoa. Apparently, she can still surprise us all. Well…Me. I smile as I pull out onto the road. One happy ending deserves another, I guess. And of the people I know…Ana definitely deserves her own happiness. Selfless, annoying, intelligent, know-it-all that she is.

She's a Lord of the Rings fan…and thus, we must stick together.