Here We Go Again

Last time on AH we left Ethan and Jessie…with locked lips!

Jessie pulled back from Ethan quickly trying to hide the tomato that seemed to grow on her cheeks.

"Way to go Ethan, it took you long enough!" Kevin hooted.

Lizzie was grinning as she attempted to divert the group back to more serious matters. The challenge. Whatever was going to happen was going to start on Monday and they needed a plan of action. As the person who had called the challenge, Adrianne had the first battle, but Jessie had no idea what a battle like that would be, and technically, a battle plan would have been a good thing.

Sadly, after Ethan and Jessie had briefly locked lips, and it wasn't even a lock, more like a brushing of lips, all anyone could do was smile at the pair or crack jokes about how they "always new Ethan and Jessie would end up together."

Of course, with every comment, glance, and smile, Jessie tried to bury herself deeper and deeper into the cushions of the couch, and then finally standing up and leaving. Quiet wallflower that she is, no one even noticed she had gone until it was too late. Only a pair of celery green eyes watched her receding back as it made it's way up the stairs.

Jessie entered school with Lisa and Lizzie by her side. If only it has been a movie like scene, and the crowds had parted as she walked past, but no, even fame had not given her any privileges, and Jessie still had the ability to disappear in a crowd when needed. Monday was just practice for these skills once more, as everyone she walked past was talking about the challenge.

The click clack of heels on tile rung through the hushed hall and Adrianne came into view, Ben behind her clutching the Book. "Where is she?" Adrianne asked.

Jessie, nudged forward by the twins, cocked her head at Adrianne, a silent question with a clear meaning posed.

"Scavenger hunt." Adrianne answered, a smirk settling on her lips, eyebrows raised, "A scavenger hunt in the mall."

Well, there goes this round. "When and where?" Jessie tried to keep a slight tremor from her words but found it difficult, her voice keeping its hushed tone, a sound that kept the rest of the hall silent as a grave.

"Lenape Mall, tonight at eight, bring someone to help the other person and your camera."

Jessie nodded and turned to her locker without further acknowledging Adrianne's presence.

"You guys don't understand!" Jessie couldn't understand why Lizzie had so much faith in her but, somehow, she did, and that's what best friends do. "I'm going to lose, I can't talk to strangers, or boys and you know Adrianne will make sure most of the list is this boy or that boy."

"You seem to manage just fine with Michael, Kevin, Brian, and Ethan."

"Shut it."

"Oops, she's getting sassy, your turn Ethan!" Lizzie joked. "Uh das lederhosen schnitzel." She blurted after she had earned a glare from the teacher.

Ethan looked over at the mention of his name but noticed Lizzie's giggles and Jessie's angry red tinge, completely different from the pink of her ever present embarrassed blushes. He gave a half nod and turned back to his work.

"Look," Lizzie said seriously, after she had squashed her uncontrollable laughter at Jessie's insecurity, something only best friends can do, "All you have to do is say hello, my name is Jessie, be polite and I'm sure you'll charm them enough." The twin looked her over and continued, "And I will pick out your outfit tonight so they won't be able to resist you!"

"Halten Sie Mädchen auf." (Stop girls) Their teacher interrupted.

Jessie sighed and returned to her books not wanting to get in any more trouble. She couldn't keep her mind from the first leg of the fight for her social life for the rest of high school and the outfit that Lizzie would be stuffing her into later.

Jessie couldn't believe who Adrianne had picked as the judge for this leg. The rules of the Jefferson Book must be pretty binding for her to pick him. Sitting at the fountain in the mall holding two manila envelopes, was Michael. True, he hated Adrianne and had a good relationship with Jessie, but, he also was the most impartial person in the whole school. With this choice in a judge, Jessie finally realized what this meant to Adrianne and, that; whoever won would win fair and square.

"Come along Kevin," she said, ushering him to the "secret location" the game would take place at. Poor Kevin had been roped into accompanying Adrianne, making sure she followed the rules and to distract her from possible scavenger hunt finds. Jessie was lucky she had Lizzie working for her and could manage to call in a favor with the master of deviance, world domination, and annoyance himself.

"Helpers" as Adrianne had called them, were briefed prior to the game on what the player wanted them to do to or for the other person, but could truly do whatever they wanted once they were unleashed with the other player.

Adrianne followed two minutes behind Jessie and, astounded the shy brunette once more, when she entered the mall dragging Ethan behind her.

No one had known who Adrianne would pick, and Jessie didn't understand how Ethan could ever aid Adrianne. In fact, Ethan would be more likely to help the opponent.

"So," Michael announced, interrupting Jessie's logical thought processes, "You both have you digital cameras right?" With a nod from each contestant he continued, "Then, in each folder you have a list, some people, some things, everything must be documented with a photograph. If you simply photograph the item off the list, you will receive one point, if you are included in the picture with the participant's knowledge, then you receive two points. Ties will be broken at my discretion, be creative." He sighed and looked at his watch, "You have two hours, go."

Ten minutes later Jessie and Ethan had a game plan that should ensure the most people and objects in the most efficient way.

A family getting shoes at foot locker, a person throwing a penny in the fountain, and a penny from the fountain later, Jessie was walking into the loud, fragrant Abercrombie and Fitch to snap a shot with the male front model.

"Hi, how are you today?" The model asked at the front of the store.

Jessie looked down and gulped nervously, "Actually, is there any way I could get a picture with you?" she fumbled, waiting for a rejection.

"Sure," he answered good naturedly, giving Jessie a smile, "Are you sure your boyfriend won't mind?"

Jessie looked over at Ethan who had focused all his energy on giving the "Abercrombie guy" the hairy eyeball. "Oh," she answered quickly, "He's not my boyfriend."

The blonde haired model, who was probably a college student at the local university and was shaped like perfection, leaned down so Ethan couldn't over hear them and whispered, "Are you sure? Because he sure acts like an over protective boyfriend."

Jessie shot him a surprised look before remembering the set time limit, "Come on Ethan, take the picture."

As Abercrombie boy put his arm around her waist and smiled, Ethan growled through gritted teeth and said, "Say cheese."

With that, Jessie finally understood why Adrianne had wanted Ethan. When faced with situations like this, he would slow down the find, or even block it.

With only fifteen minutes left, Jessie was sprinting across the mall to the Hot Topic.

Ethan had been a pain with any task that involved a person of the male gender. Otherwise, Jessie didn't think she would have achieved all the things she had without him.

They entered the dark, slightly frightening store with people Jessie didn't understand in it. Jessie and Ethan quickly scanned the room for a male with unnaturally colored hair and at least two piercings.

Jessie spotted such a character manning the cash register, and, still confident from her experience with the Abercrombie model, who, even after he had told her his name, Tom, would always be the Abercrombie guy, bravely approached him.

He was tall with a wiry body, dressed in almost all black with an electric blue Mohawk, an eyebrow and ear piercing, and a lopsided, comfortable grin.

"What can I do you for?" He asked lazily, leaning over the Plexiglas counter, "A t-shirt, a trinket, or even a sticker?"

Immediately put to ease by his friendly demeanor, Jessie laughed, "No, nothing like that, just a picture with you if you could."

"We can do a lot more than that," He responded cheekily, giving her a wink, "If you'd like."

Ethan's brows furrowed and his face steadily grew more scarlet. Jessie noticed the signs of an Ethan bomb ticking to go off, "I'm sorry, I am almost out of time, Ethan? The picture?"

Ethan grabbed the digital camera ferociously especially as the punk hauled Jessie up onto the counter so she was about the same height as him. Before the pair was even ready, the flash went off, and both resembled startled deer in front of a Mack truck.

"Let's go," Ethan grumbled, turning to go out of the store.

"I'd better go," Jessie murmured, starting to slide off the counter.

A firm hold gripped her wrist and she turned back to see the clerk grinning, and producing a sharpie. "I'm Charlie," he said, writing on her forearm. "Call me."

Jessie nodded and walked towards Ethan, who barreled past her and quickly decked Charlie. "Who said she was available?" He yelled.

He stormed out of the store, acting worse than a girl who was PMSing and Jessie uttered a quick sorry, met by a slow smile from Charlie, "I may have deserved that, I'm not usually that forward, but he was acting like a bull anyway."

Met with Jessie's confused reaction he continued, "Don't get me wrong, I still want you to call me, but I wouldn't usually just give my number to a girl I hadn't even had a conversation with."

Jessie smiled at his ridiculous actions and ran out the store towards the fountain. Adrianne was already there when she arrived and Michael had been nervously looking at his watch. She had had only sixteen seconds left to spare when she slid into the group.

Michael's expression questioned her lateness and Ethan's angry stance, but Jessie just shrugged and waited for Michael to collect both cameras and tally the points.

His confused expression said it all when, twenty minutes later, he turned back to the group with a sheet in hand. "It seems we have a tie."

Jessie stopped slurping on the milkshake she had picked up while waiting for the results.

"Are you serious?" Adrianne screeched. "She got the same number of points I did?"

"Well yes," Michael said, "Now, for a tie breaker, before I think of some other task, did either of you pick up anything interesting while you were on the hunt?"

"I got the most adorable Kate Spade kitten heels in plaid and I can't wait to wear them at school tomorrow," Adrianne said proudly.

Jessie looked down shamefully, worried she had already lost, "I just got a guys number." She answered.

"Whose?" Michael asked, as if that would change who won.

"The guy from Hot Topic." She answered quietly.

"I think we have a winner," Michael answered, "Congratulations Jessie, you have to chose the next leg by next Monday."

Adrianne dropped her "adorable kitten heels" and groaned in frustration before stalking out the mall.

"Thank you Ethan," Jessie said quietly before giving him a light hug before heading out to her car and heading home, though not before calling Lizzie and telling her the news.

The next three days were spent searching for an appropriate game for their next match up. Finally, the next Monday Jessie announced it to Michael.

"Chutes and ladders."

A/N: Sorry this took so long I was swamped with school and field hockey!

Banana Phone, Iloveslash94, and Ciaconna

Thank youHH