"Our school education ignores, in a thousand ways, the rules of healthy development."

- Elizabeth Blackwell

River couldn't believe he'd just spent the last hour talking to the girl who could ruin his life.

At least he could say he'd been in slightly more awkward conversations than that; particularly one that involved his father and his father's third wife. But that had been another memory long passed and better left dead in his opinion. In truth, there wasn't much he remembered fondly without connecting those fateful dots to the situation he'd found himself in last night.

It had been a long night but he'd managed to finish everything that was due for the day. The last day of the week thankfully. After class he could go back to his room ad crash for the rest of the day.

"Hey?" He turned his head and blinked his blurry eyes into focus.

Ty… of course.

"Yeah?" He responded dimly. The teacher was lecturing about things right out of the book again. He might as well skip World History for all the affect it actually had on him. All he needed was the homework but… the school loses money when you're absent so the idea of him missing class was obviously out of the question.

Because the school totally needed the money. Right?

"You are going to the party tonight, right?" He dragged out the word right as though he was talking to a child. "Or do you have to study… again?"

"I'm really tired man, I don't know."

"Come on Berkeley." Ty groaned. "You can sleep when you're dead."

Whoever thought up that fucking saying probably died sooner than they would have liked.

"Actually you need sleep to live." River commented before forcing down a yawn. "Without sleep you start to hallucinate and then well… you die."

Ty raised a curious eyebrow before blowing that off.

"It's a figure of speech. You know what I mean."

"Oh know, I'll… see what I can do, okay?"

"Which means…?" Ty grinned with anticipation.

"Which means…" Damn, "I'll be there."


"But probably a little late. I'm going to catch a couple hours of sleep first."

Ty leaned back in his seat triumphantly.

"As long as you come man, as long as you come."

Was he the only person in the world who thought their friends were more hinder than help? Another waste of a night.

Zoe had only one real reason for liking Fridays. Her roommate, ever the loving companion, went home for the weekend and left her to fend for herself.

And Zoe loved fending for herself. She loved wearing horribly unfashionable clothes (and that was saying something considering she didn't have the best fashion sense in everyday life), she loved not brushing her hair all day, and she loved turning up music she wanted to listen too without getting banished to hell for it.

But… of course that last bit, which took up most of her weekend, was sadly not going to happen this time.

She couldn't really take an IPod from some strange guy. Not only was it insane but… she felt thoroughly guilty about the fact that apparently he had no money and yet he'd wasted a good portion on an object that wasn't a necessity. She could have accepted a gift if Daniel had burned all of her school books but an IPod. No.

She raised her hand and knocked lightly on the door.

There was no answer.

She was just about to try again when she heard the audible 'come on in' from the other side of the door.

"Uh hey." She smiled an appropriate polite smile and closed the door quietly behind her. "What's up?"

"I feel like a swallowed a bottle of Tylenol PM and now I'm suffering the consequences. You?"

"I'm… pretty okay." She returned.

He was laying across his bed, stomach down; both arms turned up over his eyes.

She could see him nod in acknowledgement.

"That's good." Came his muffled, groggy reply.

"If you swallowed a bottle of PM I don't think you'd be, um, tired." She said hesitantly.

His hand moved down and she could see his eyes gaze in her direction.

"You don't say." He shifted and sat up to begin untying his sneakers. "And what would happen?"

"Well… um… you're body would reject them and you'd throw them up."

His fingers stilled for a moment, just a moment, and he continued on.

"And why would you know that?"

"True Life?"

"Is that a question or an answer?" He asked indifferently.

Shoes off he swung around and sat cross legged, eyes directed on hers.

"Um… both." She shrugged.

He had a strange knack for making her feel slightly uncomfortable.

"Hm." His eyebrows lifted and then dropped before he bit his lip in contemplation. "If you say so."

She just realized maybe she wasn't the only weird one between the two.

"Is there something wrong? I mean are you sick or something?"

His mouth half turned in humor, he fell back against the blankets and sighed.

"I get a little, unusual, when I'm tired. No biggie."

"You don't say." She muttered.

"Is there something that you wanted? Or are you just here to marvel at astonishing conversation skills?"

"Oh well actually… here." She put the bag next to him on the bed. "Thanks for the offer but I'm not interested."

He lazily pulled open the bag and glanced inside.

"Do you know how rude it is to return a gift? It's actually quite insulting. And I would know. I come from money."

"Come from it, which is past tense. I think you'll live."

"Hey I resent that. It might be my future as well."

"Oh really? Are you going to suddenly win the lottery?"

He gave her a half hearted glare. "No. Didn't you hear the speech at the beginning of the year? I can be anything I want to be."

She crossed her arms and let a smile ghost her lips.

"That's only meant for people who can buy a position into whatever they choose to do or to people who were gifted with super abnormal freakish intelligence."

He lifted his arms and spread them.

"Um thanks… I love being called a super abnormal freakish intellect. I mean with compliments like that more often my ego might just get away from me."

"I didn't mean, I mean I didn't know I…" She could feel her face doing that thing it loved to do every time she made a fool of herself. "I-"

"It's okay." He laughed. "It really didn't bother me."

"Oh." She remarked lamely.

There was a moment of silence before he spoke again. "You know its okay."

"What?" She shifted on her feet.

"It's okay." He tapped is finger on the bag before reaching in and searching for something. "There's nothing wrong with offending people occasionally. It's healthy. Little mistakes… are healthy. So," He pulled a piece of paper out and sat up once again. His other hand pulled open the drawer of his night stand and came out with a lighter.

She watched it catch fire, "take your IPod back. It's not like I can return it now."

"No," She shook her head, "I'm still not taking it back."

He bit his lip again, this time longer, and played with the lighter as he did.

"How about… you take the IPod… and you can owe me? The work?"

"No, I said I wasn't going to-"

"I think that's a pretty reasonable offer." He lifted the box and burned off the plastic with the flame.

"Pryo fetish, I see."

He smiled vaguely and pried open the box. Taking out the earphones, IPod, cord, and throwing the stand back onto the bed behind him.

"Here," He grabbed her hand and shut her fingers around the three items, "enjoy."

"You know I had a nano before right?"

"If I'd known that," He explained slowly, "I wouldn't have bought you a video."

"You know you're kind of a freak." She stated and then continued. "It's nice."

"I'm glad you approve." He laid back again, stomach down, and motioned to the door. "Now unless you want to crash with me… or watch me sleep… could you turn off the light on your way out?"

"Yeah uh sure." She told him and turned for the door.

"I mean it though, if you want to sleep with me some time…" He trailed off, his voice joking.

"I'm going to pretend like that's the sleep talking." She countered before turning off the light.

"Well that's not very nice. If I had money you'd take me seriously. You know that's stereotyping?"

She bit down a smile and closed her eyes… then the door.

That really hadn't went the way she thought it would.

Um... I don't know if I've made this point clear enough but... PLEASE REVIEW. I don't think a review (I don't care if its one word) would be that much to ask for. Or... you could tell me some actors/actresses that remind you of someone. Or you could give me some songs for the story (or a character). ANY story of mine actually. Any character.

I had this teacher my first semester of college and every time I talked to him he would just say okay. I'd give him my paper and he'd look over it for a couple seconds and say 'okay', or someone would answer a question in class and he'd respond 'okay' and move on. The man drove me mad... and amused me quite a bit for some reason (he was teaching about popular culture and really seemed passionate about his work and thats just slightly insane to me).

What I'm trying to say is 'okay' is a nuetral comment to something. It doesn't mean 'thats good' or 'um... you need to work on this' or 'I... don't know?' in any depth. And by not reviewing I feel like I'm sending words out into the universe here. Like a flare gun on a deserted island that you have to know no one's going to see.

Just reply to my flare gun... okay? Because there's no Barnes an Noble on a deserted island, I fell knee deep into the river last time I fished, and living things in large bodies of water creep me out.

That sounded a little more off than I had the intention of it doing...