Author's note: Okay, here is the story as I've started over and rewritten. Some is the same, a lot is different. Hopefully you guys like this version better. Among the changes: Rearranging character relations, changing how some characters meet, and the biggest change: From 1st-person point of view to 3rd. I started in 1st because my last story was in 1st and I guess it was habit. But this story felt like a 3rd-person story the whole time, so I've tried to transition it to that. If you see any loose "I" and "me" floating around, that's why, and please let me know so I can change it.
I'm hoping I can get caught up to where the story was previously relatively quickly, considering that I can use some of the old material. We'll see. But let me know what you think.
"Okay, Casey, here's a question. Which would you rather be able to do: turn invisible or fly?"
Casey glanced up at her best friend Tori from her textbook and shrugged. "I don't know. Fly, I guess."
Tori tapped her lips with her pen and nodded. "Okay, why?"
Casey shrugged again and thought about it for a second. "Well, in the movies, don't the people who can turn invisible always end up being perverts? I mean, look at Kevin Bacon."
Tori smiled and pointed the pen at her. "Good point."
Casey picked up her orange highlighter and stuck it in her book to mark the page, then closed the cover and gave Tori what she hoped was a scolding look. "Why, exactly, are you asking me this? I'm supposed to be studying for my calc test. And you're supposed to be studying for psych." She should have known even the library wasn't a good place to study as long as Tori was there.
Tori tossed her blond hair over her shoulder and held up the magazine she was reading. "It's one of the questions in this quiz. It's of vital importance. It's going to tell me what kind of personality I have."
Casey snorted and opened her book again. "I can already tell you the answer to that. 'Disruptive.'" Still, she grinned as she stared at the words on the page. She didn't know how Tori did it – here Casey was studying her ass off so she could ace her exam, and Tori was reading a Cosmo. And yet she knew that Tori'd do just as well on her test as Casey would do on hers. Tori was irritating that way.
Silence fell over the pair as they continued reading. Then, as Casey finally found her focus coming back, Tori interrupted again, setting her magazine down and leaning across the library table. Casey vowed to ignore her this time. "Guess what I did today?"
Casey made a disinterested "Mm?" sound and didn't look up, hoping that would give Tori the hint. As usual, she was oblivious. Or didn't care. Probably a little of both. Regardless, Tori charged on.
"I asked out the hottie."
Despite her attempt to ignore Tori, Casey couldn't help but be a little interested. She looked up. "The one in your psych class?"
Tori nodded, looking pleased. "The one with the piercing green eyes and the buns of steel." She leaned back in her chair and wiggled her eyebrows at Casey.
"I take it he said yes?"
"Well, I didn't really give him an alternative." Tori grinned, and Casey found herself grinning back.
"I bet you didn't." Casey shook her head, then closed her book with a sigh. Studying wasn't going to happen now. "So when's the big date?"
"Tonight." Tori bit her lip and launched into her best puppy dog expression. "Um, there's one more thing…"
That look usually meant trouble. "What?" Casey asked warily, narrowing her eyes at Tori. "You're not going to borrow my car again, are you? Because it still hasn't recovered from the last time. And the smell…"
Tori waved her hand at her carelessly. "Oh, no, don't worry. Your car is not involved, I swear."
"So what is it then?"
Tori smiled broadly. "You're coming too."
"What? What do you mean?"
"Well, there's this friend… And you haven't had a date in so long, I thought it would be nice-"
Casey interrupted her with a slam of her fist on the table. "Tori!" A girl a few tables down looked sharply at her, and she cringed, mouthing the word "sorry" at her. Lowering her voice, she continued, "Tori, you know I hate blind dates."
Tori nodded, doing her best to look remorseful – and failing miserably. "I know, but I'm sure this guy is really nice. And besides, what bad could happen at a bowling alley?"
"We're going bowling?" Casey couldn't help blurting. "Who does that anymore?"
"Hey, it was his idea, not mine. I don't care what we do, as long as I get to touch that luscious body of his later." That was Tori, always subtle.
Casey sighed, resigned. She knew better than to try to argue. She usually just ended up giving Tori ideas. And Tori and ideas were a bad combination. "Fine. I'll do it. But if the guy is a creep, I'm bailing. And I have to get home early to finish studying for this test."
Tori beamed. "I knew I could count on you." She stood, tossing her book in her bag. "I've got to go. I've got Spanish in 15 minutes."
Casey nodded. "Good. I can finally get some studying done."
"That thing will rot your brain." Tori nodded at Casey's calc textbook, then winked and waggled her fingers at her. "Have fun!"
Casey shook her head and turned back to her book with a smile. "Bye."
The silence in Tori's absence helped immensely, and Casey was able to finish her chapter and work out the problems on the test study sheet. She tossed her scratch sheet in the textbook and closed it, leaning back in the chair and stretching.
How could Tori do this to her? Did she not remember what had happened the last time she'd tried to set up Casey? It had been a disaster of epic proportions. Okay, maybe that was exaggerating, but seriously, the guy had been pretty messed up – he had a police record a mile long, for God's sake. But when Tori had her eye on a guy, everybody else seemed secondary. Casey had just come to accept that. There wasn't anything personal in it, and Tori probably really did think she was helping. She just never stopped to think about the consequences for anyone else.
Well, if worst came to worst, Casey could just leave. It wasn't like Tori needed her there past the introductions anyway. And even if she stayed, what bad could come from a bowling alley? There'd be people, and it would be too loud to have to talk to the guy. She'd survive, and Tori would thank her later by making her brownies or something.
Still fuming but determined not to worry about it, Casey slid her book into her bag and the bag onto her shoulder. At least she still had her physics class to distract her.
The parking lot of the bowling alley was surprisingly full when Casey pulled up later that night. She hadn't figured it would be that busy, given that it was a Wednesday, and it was finals week. But apparently it was the hot spot to be. Casey had to park her car on the other side of the highway and walk over.
Not that she minded. She was just glad to have an escape in case tonight went badly - and she wouldn't be at all surprised if it did. Tori had called her wanting to know if Casey wanted to ride along with her, but no way was she going to trap herself here until Tori was ready to go.
Despite her apprehension, Casey still had felt compelled to dress up a bit - you never knew when the blind date might be Mr. Perfect - and she avoided the splashes of water in the street from a storm that had moved through earlier that day. She didn't want to show up with mud on her new khaki shorts and red tank top.
Of course, her hair was probably a lost cause. She'd curled the long dark strands, but the humidity that the storm had left behind was doing its best to undo the curl before she even made it inside. Another week and summer would be fully on.
Although the sun was going down, it was still bright enough outside that she paused inside the entrance to the bowling alley to let her eyes adjust. It was early in the night, but the building was already full of smoke, and she waved it from her face in disgust.
"Casey!" Tori's voice caught her attention, and Casey made her way over to a lane on the end, where Tori sat by herself, somehow looking both confident and anxious.
"So, where are they?" Casey asked as she sat down on the bench across from Tori. She had to raise her voice to make herself heard over the clatter of the bowling alley and the shrieks of a couple of kids two lanes down.
Tori shrugged and pushed her blond bangs from her face, a nervous habit. She glanced at her watch. "I don't know, but if they're not here in five minutes, I'm bolting." She lifted her chin and narrowed her eyes at Casey, and said in a deeper voice, "Tori March waits for no man."
Casey felt the corner of her mouth tugging upwards, despite her nerves. "Well, you want me to go get our shoes while you don't wait?"
Tori waved her hand at her as she glanced down at her watch again. "Sure."
The two guys arrived while Casey was at the counter renting two pairs of shoes for her and Tori. She turned around, shoes in hands, to see the backs of two heads. Tori was visible between their shoulders, beaming up at the taller of the two, who, as far as Casey could tell from this distance, had short sandy brown hair and wore a short-sleeved shirt and khakis. Psych-class hottie, Casey presumed.
Which meant the other was her blind date. She felt her heart drop into her stomach as she took in long hair so black it had to be dyed, tied back in a ponytail at his neck, and a long, black trench coat. When it was almost summer. Casey looked down at her own khaki shorts for confirmation.
"Oh God," she murmured. Yes, that sealed it. This was going to be a disaster. With a sigh and a roll of her eyes, she trudged back over to the lane.
Tori smiled and waved as she saw Casey coming. "Oh good, here she is!" Casey heard her say.
The two guys turned to her.
Psych-class hottie grinned at her and held out his hand. "I'm Jason. Jason Slate." He had green eyes and a nice smile, set off well by a subtle tan. Casey might have felt a bit jealous of Tori if she hadn't been thrown into shock by the second guy, the one in the trench coat. She barely registered shaking Jason's hand, instead staring awestruck at the other.
Confusion clouded Jason's face as he pulled his hand back. He glanced at the other guy then back at Casey and said, "Um, this is Donovan."
Casey held eye contact with Donovan for a few seconds longer, then dropped the bowling shoes on the bench and turned to a stunned Tori. To her, she said, "I'm sorry. I'll call you later." Then she spun around and stormed toward the exit, swallowing hard.
Darkness had fallen outside, but the humidity was still there, and it smacked into her like a Mack truck as she pushed her way roughly through the door.
Her mind raced as she stormed across the parking lot toward the street. Of all the odds... All the people in the world that she could have been set up on a date with, and it had to be Donovan Riley! Why did this kind of crap always happen to her?
Rage and confusion fought for supremacy within her, so she didn't even look before she stalked into the street. All she knew was her car was on the other side and she needed to get away from this place as quickly as possible.
About halfway across the road, her shoe caught in a pothole and she spilled to the ground, her knee ripping open on the concrete. "Son of a bitch," she hissed as she rolled over to a sitting position and looked at her knee. A bright light helped her see that it was definitely bleeding and would be just wonderful to look at for a while.
"Casey!" someone shouted. Her head jerked up to see Jason standing at the side of the road, his eyes wide and panicked. "Get out of the road!"
"What?" Reality slammed into her like a brick to the head and she realized the reason she could see her knee so well was because of the headlights from a semi-truck bearing down her. Its horn wailed, and she heard the screech of its tires as the driver hit the brakes. But it was moving too quickly. If she didn't get out of the road right that second, she'd be a part of it. "Oh crap!"
The second she'd realized her situation, her body had reacted stupidly, by freezing into place. Move, you damn legs, move! her mind yelled at them, but they stayed where they were, useless. She gasped and closed her eyes, wishing desperately that she was somewhere else, anywhere else but in the middle of that road.
Something hard and heavy hit her, knocking the breath out of her. A roaring sound filled her ears, and the wind from the passing truck blew her hair across her face. She opened her eyes.
Jason peered down intently at her, his expression a mixture of worry and something else she couldn't identify. "Are you okay?" he asked after a moment.
Casey swallowed and finally turned her head. They were lying on the far side of the road, Casey on her back and Jason half on top of her. Her bleeding knee stung in the breeze, but she barely noticed. "I..." she began, then looked back up at him. "What just happened?"
Jason glanced back at the road where she's almost been flattened. "Well, you just almost got killed." He pushed himself off of her and held out a hand to help her rise to a sitting position.
Casey blinked. "You... knocked me out of the way?" she asked weakly.
He shrugged and ran a hand through his spiky hair. "Yeah, I guess so."
She glanced back at the street again. "What are you, a football player? You knocked me a long way."
He wrinkled his brow. "Yeah, that was just luck, I guess. I'm no football player." He was giving her an odd, thoughtful look and it was making her nervous.
She cleared her throat and pushed herself to her feet. Her shaky legs promptly tried to dump her back to the ground, but Jason caught her by the arms. They stared at each other for a moment, and Casey could feel her face warming under his intense gaze. She looked away and tried to crack a smile.
"So, did I ever tell you about the time that I almost died?"
Jason continued staring at her for a second, then snorted. "You might want to think about quitting that hobby." His hands slid away from her arms, and she thankfully stood steadily on her own. Despite the heat of the night, she suddenly felt chilled and wrapped her arms around herself, staring at the ground. It was like the world had been spinning at warp speed and only now was slowing down. Her head whirled.
"Why did you follow me?" she asked after a moment of silence.
He grinned sheepishly and held up his hand, from which dangled her black leather purse. "You were in such a hurry to leave that you forgot this."
"Oh." She could feel her face turning pink again, and she quickly grabbed the purse from him. "Thank you." She started toward her car, then turned back to Jason. "It was nice meeting you. Tell Tori I'm sorry for leaving."
Jason nodded, his lips pursed like he wanted to say something. Then he smiled. "No problem. Just watch out for those trucks in the future."
She gave him a small smile and nodded, then turned and walked away, her previous anger evaporated.
Casey's anger returned the next morning, however, after a loud thudding sound woke her from a deep sleep. She groaned and rolled out of bed. Literally. Her knee touched the ground and screamed in pain, and she hissed. Who was banging on her door?
"What?!" she yelled as she rummaged for some jeans to pull on.
"Casey, let me in. You've got some explaining to do!"
Casey paused in her search and sighed. "Alright, alright," she muttered and opened the door for Tori, who leaned against the door frame and gave Casey a scathing glare.
Casey waved her arms at her. "Well, don't just stand there. Get in here and close the door. I'm not dressed." Not that anybody else on her dorm floor would be up at the ungodly hour of - oh crap. A glance at the clock told her it was already 10. She'd slept all night uninterrupted. It was a good thing it was finals week or she'd have slept right through one of her classes.
Tori shut the door and stalked over the Casey's desk chair, crossing her legs and giving Casey an expectant glance. "I'm in. Explain. Why'd you rush off last night? And why didn't you answer when I called?"
Casey pushed her hair back from her face and wrinkled her brow. "You called?" She picked up her phone and looked at it. Sure enough, three missed calls, all between 10:30 and midnight. "I must have slept right through it." She shook her head. Odd. She wasn't normally such a hard sleeper. And she hadn't even been that tired last night. Maybe near-death experiences took it out of you? She shrugged and slumped back down on her bed.
"I'm sorry, Tor. I just couldn't stay. Not with him there."
Tori raised an eyebrow. "Him who? Donovan? Why? I mean, he was kind of weird, and who wears a coat in this weather, but he seemed nice enough. Kind of quiet."
Casey snorted. "Yeah, well, he used to be nice."
Tori folded her arms over her chest and stared at her. "Just tell me, Case."
Casey sighed. "Okay, you remember that guy I told you I dated in high school?"
Tori nodded. "Yeah, the one you thought you loved but who turned out to be a major freak. What about..." She stopped and her mouth dropped open. "No way!"
"Yes." Casey nodded miserably. "He's that guy."
"Whoa," Tori said in her best Keanu Reeves impersonation. "But... I thought you said his name was Van."
Casey gave her the look, a small smile fighting its way to her lips despite the circumstances. "Tori... DonoVAN. Thank about it."
Tori exhaled, then nodded. "Okay, yeah, I can see why you'd freak then. I mean, if I'd been planning to marry a guy and then he went all Marilyn Manson on me, and I ran into him later, I'd freak too."
Casey sighed and let herself fall backwards into her pillow. "I can't believe this. How did this even happen?"
Tori stood and crossed the room to sit beside Casey on the bed. "It's okay. Jason said he's not really friends with him, he just has class with him and felt sorry for the guy."
Casey threw an arm over her eyes. "Great. Fantastic. So now I'm getting thrown the charity cases."
"Well, on the plus side," Tori said, patting Casey's arm, "I think Jason really likes me!"