A/N: Oh…oh hey guys! What's up? Me? Oh, yeah, I'm alive! Yeah, I know, crazy, right?! It's been, what…two months? Yeah, that's pretty cute…LSKDJLFKAJSD sorry it took so long. I'll have you know, though, that I've re-written this here little shit about twenty-five times. I literally have…I'd say four drafts of this thing. None of them worked right.

I'm actually okay with this

I put a lot of my heart (gag-barf-too-sappy-and-emotional-bleeehhh!) into this. So don't make fun of it DX

WARNING: This bitch is super-long. And the paragraphs are big. I would understand if you didn't read through it all because of that. But if you do read it all, I think you'll enjoy it :)


She arched her back, threw her fists into the air, and stretched with all her might. Popping sounds dribbled down her back, shivers surged through her arms, everything began to creak and groan until finally, with satisfaction, they flopped back into place. Her lids were heavy. Her shoulders were heavy. Her brain was heavy. Everything weighed a ton, especially as she attempted to inspect this textbook that lay splayed across her thighs.

With the light spring warmth bearing down on her shoulders, the brilliant sun chuckling above, and the birds rejoicing in the sprouting trees about her, the AP Biology material was dismal. Sure, the golden rays that splashed across it made it look cheery and so boarding-school-chick to be studying in the courtyard, but she knew better. It was boring.

Her gaze found its mournful way to her friends. They frolicked about, tossed a Frisbee, laughed and cackled and swore at the top of their lungs. And she was stuck with a test next period.

"How very studious of you, Miss Fay," a voice said, literal silk, it made her heart thump. It was pathetic now. She never could forget that tenor, the way his voice rode the air like crashing surf. It never failed to stir her, and she hated it, hated everything about it. But that didn't stop her from trying in every way possible.

She tipped her head back, and sure enough, in the glaring sunlight, there he was, in his usual button-down shirt and tie, just headed back to his classroom from lunch.

"Well, you know me!" she answered, and it seemed that gravity forced the smile on her face. She didn't want to smile. She never wanted to smile when she was with him because whenever she saw his handsome face, she secretly wanted to die. But the fuzzies in her tummy, the pink feeling that made itself very known within her, all those warm and buzzing feelings that he gave her always seemed to rip her lips back and plant a tried and true grin upon her features. She hated it. It was annoying.

"I'll expect another A out of you," he was smiling at her as well, and oh, how that made her tingle.

So does everyone else, she thought bitterly. But now was no time for bitterness. Precious seconds, those precious seconds, the very few that she had to speak to him, they were slipping away ever so quickly into the glaring spring sun.

"I don't know, man," she shook her head. "I'm really nervous."

"Oh, don't be," he chided her with the best of nature and the best of grins. "You know what you're doing. You always get yourself so worked up over these things, and then come away with a 90-something. I wish I could've been like that at your age."

"What were you like at my age, then?" the smile on her face, the heat in her heart, they were far too great and massive to be healthy. "I bet you were way better than you give yourself credit for."

"Heck no," he chuckled to himself, rather lost in the memories that she could practically watch like a slideshow playing across his expression. "I slacked more than I'd like to admit. But of course, that's my secret—wouldn't want to inspire you, now would we?"

How little he knew, he inspired everything about her. The blinks she made, the heartbeats she had, the breaths she took, they were all his. He should know better, silly man, he should've understood.

"I think you've had the opposite effect," she dangled the book up toward him, feeling an overwhelming amount of disgust for the stupid thing. Why couldn't she just be smart? "And yet I still don't understand Advanced Mitosis. A three-week unit, and I'm lost."

"It was a three week unit because it's so difficult," he said kindly, and to her blatant surprise, he folded his legs beneath himself and settled in next to her. The appearance of this situation slammed into her like he'd picked up a chair and hit her with it: the endless blue sky that was sweet and warm, the vibrant green grass that resonated its own heat, and the gorgeous man seated beside her, leaning ever closer to her in an attempt to see the book. To make it worse, to make it ever harder for her, the breeze that was perpetually saturated with salt from the sea wandered by and ruffled his auburn hair, pushed it playfully toward the cloudless blue canvas.

But then, he stopped. "Here, let's go to my room."

The way that phrase sounded, so dirty, so delightful, and it wasn't what he meant at all, she knew, but she could imagine.

"Wh-wha…?" she stammered as she watched him stand once more.

"Come to my classroom," he repeated, completely unperturbed. "I've got a teacher's edition book that would probably be better." And he sauntered the short distance that was left, disappeared into the building. It took her a good few more seconds to smack herself back to consciousness, raise her butt off of the grass, and sprint after him, her backpack flailing against her shoulder.

When she finally arrived in his classroom, he was pulling the book out from the confines of his desk.

"Sit right there, Blaine," he gestured to a desk just in front of the one that belonged to him. "Just let me find…the page…number…" he became distracted, flicking through the endless supply of pages. She scuttled forward, let her bag slip off of her shoulder and thunk onto the floor as she shakily took a seat. The same thing was happening again; it happened every single time he was within vision. She became short of breath, became aware of every little teeny tiny motion she made, trying so hard, too hard not to mess up, not to appear to be an idiot. So self-conscious, she was so self-conscious, she always screwed up.

"Alright, here we are," he said with satisfaction and plopped the book down as he took a seat beside her. The air that swirled into her was ripe with him, just everything about him, it was pregnant with.

The lesson went on. It wasn't dreadful, like she may have been expecting. She found reviews bitingly boring, and she assumed that no, this would be no different, and she would have to battle to behave and not embarrass herself by willing the weight of her skull to not come thundering down upon the desk in slumber. Instead, she learned. Instead, her brain thumped, thrummed, finally, she understood! How could she have not seen this before? This was simple, bare, necessity, elementary, my dear Watson! Oh, how foolish she felt for not understanding, for absolutely bombing on the quiz that, in retrospect, should've been a seamless A.

"So do you understand now?" he asked. She could see a grin begin to blossom onto his lovely expression. "You do. I can see it."

"Yeah, yeah, I do!" she was shocked, excited, thrilled, delighted, thrumming with knowledge, she understood! How could she understand? How did she get this, this impossible topic that she'd grappled with for forever? It was impossible, just impossible, so far out of her reach that it shouldn't have ever dawned upon her to come anything close to comprehension.

And yet she did. It was because of him.

"Thank you so much, Mr. Ridges—" her attention snapped from the book to him, and she was breathless. He was so close to her. He was so close, so indefinably close, she couldn't believe how close he was. Their noses, with a little help from them, could perhaps touch. He smelled so good, incredible, he smelled like fresh air, the air that had swirled around them in the courtyard, the one that had been kissed by the ocean. That ocean, that seamless blue floor of waves that was just a few minutes away from the school, could be found, perfectly emulated, in his irises. His shaggily-cut auburn hair lapped sexily across his brow, and God damn her if she wasn't witnessing perfection.

He was so close. The necessity to see the book had drawn them into inexplicably close quarters, pushed them together, their shoulders nearly caressed.

And that tantalizing smile was still drawn across his lips.

She leaned forward, possessed, unknowing, she had no idea what the hell she was doing. Her impulses shoved her forward, shoved her toward him, shoved her into oblivion.

Shoved her into embarrassment.

She only realized what she was doing, what she was trying to do, when a mask of horror flickered across his face. She only realized what she'd just done when he leapt back, staggered back, almost tripped over the chair he was sitting in to get away from her wandering mouth. Even when he was finally standing, he skipped a few steps more away from her as though she had the plague.

Her heart dove into her stomach, and she suddenly had to pee.

"What are you doing?" he gasped. A pink tinge highlighted his cheeks, made his eyes look all the more brilliant, all the more icy.

"I…" what did she say, what was she supposed to say? How did she do damage control on not just damage, but absolute wreckage, absolute carnage? Was there any way she could retain some dignity? She thought not, as she felt her dignity bleeding from her fingertips, poisoning the air around her, she had no dignity.

"What the hell did you just try to do?" he demanded. Stop it, stop it, he was killing her, she couldn't—wouldn't—let the words fall from her lips.

"I don't…" oh God, this was actually happening.

Her worst nightmare, here it was, manifesting itself.


She could've sworn she'd seen this in a dream of hers.


Soon, any second she would wake up, yes, she had to wake up, this couldn't possibly be real. She couldn't have just royally embarrassed herself like this.

"Get out," he snarled.

There was no waking up.

Her face drew into a smoothness, a strange, almost indifferent lineless mask of utter, jaw-dropping terror. Only her eyes betrayed her, betrayed the hurt, the fear, the mortification, the desire to crawl into a hole and swallow a grenade. They grew wide, grew infinite, she knew her inner depths could be seen, and she didn't bother to cover it up. She'd shown enough anyway.

"I said get out," he shoved a finger toward the door, and no, he didn't quite look angry, he just looked so uncharacteristically, so viciously cold that she wished with all her being that he would've looked angry. Anger was a passion. Anger was red. Anger was an emotion she could understand, something she could begrudge him, especially right now, with what she'd just attempted. But she'd never, not once, felt indifferent. Though she may have looked so now, she was simply frozen with shock, an icicle of too many emotions that she was rendered still.

Until he commanded she leave. Then, she was only too happy to jump. She snatched her backpack, grabbed her book, she was choking on everything she wanted to say to him. They all welled up in her throat, everything from "I'm so sorry" to "Fuck you, asshole!"

But instead of even trying to speak, she sprinted out the door, was halfway down the hall before it eventually shut behind her.

"You're messing up my schedule, big man," Barren complained. His hand lashed out, snatched up the beer not a second after the waitress had placed it down. "What was so urgent that Bar Night couldn't wait until its regularly-scheduled Saturday programming?"

"Excuse me for thinking you'd want to hang out with your best friend," Dan retorted good-naturedly, folding his arms onto the table and leaning onto them.

"Oh believe me, I do," he assured him after the alcohol had slid down his throat. "It's the wife that got grouchy. You know me, bro, I'm up for anything, I'm easy-going. But Danielle? Not quite. Don't ever settle down, man, it does you no good. Keep screwing bitches and taking numbers all your life, that's the way to live."

"I thought you loved Danielle?" he was a little uneasy now, worried for his friend, crap, what had he caused by asking him to their bar?

"Yeah, I do," he huffed, crossed his arms across his chest, balanced the bottle in two of his fingers with discontent. "But I mean…she's been kind of on edge lately. She's not the same, you know?"

"What's wrong with her?"

"Well, her mom tripped and fell this morning and broke her hip—"

"Barren! What? What are you doing here, then?!"

"Ah, don't worry about it," he shooed the exclamation out of the air, as if it was so easy. "Danni's there now. She wanted some alone time with Momma Baylis anyway; she just wasn't too happy about me going bar-hopping with my bud. Doesn't want me too sloshed." And he threw him a wink.

"Barren, if you need to—"

"Seriously, Dan, don't worry about it. I was just fooling around with you. Now enough about me—you were the one that called this bro meeting, so let's get it on! …Well…I mean the meeting…let's get on with the meeting…I'm straight…sorry to disappoint you…I mean, it's not that you're not an attractive male, which I'm sure you are, but I wouldn't know, because I'm a straight male, and we're just straight male friends—"

"Barren!" Dan was laughing when he cut him off. "I get it! I just needed to…I needed to talk to you about something, but I'm not so sure anymore."

He looked at him, confused. "What, you don't trust me anymore? What did I do?"

"Nothing, nothing," he shook his head. "It's just…I don't know if I want to tell anyone at all. It's pretty damn fucked up."

"We're all fucked up," Barren said cheerfully. "Just some a little more than others! Come, tell Doctor Eddis what's been troubling you." And he steepled his fingers before his boyish, grinning face, pretending to be the psychiatrist that no one would ever hire in a million years because he was nuts himself. His big green eyes glimmered with delight and anticipation, waiting for his friend to speak, waiting to be the good guy and help him sort his problems out, he felt good whenever he solved Dan's issues for him. He felt important because, secretly, he'd always been more than a tad jealous of him. Barren had never been the good-looking one of the two, and though he was indeed good-looking, Dan was simply more so.

"Well," he started uneasily, eyed his friend, what would he think. What judgment would thrum through his mind quicker than he could be corrected? "You've got to promise not to judge, okay?"

"Sure!" he was quick to agree. Just tell him, damn it!

"Okay, fine, then," Dan took a deep breath and tried to order his thoughts. "So today, I was walking back to my classroom from the teacher's cafeteria, and I had to cross the courtyard because it's so much quicker than walking through the entire school. You've seen the place. And so I'm walking, just minding my own business—and then there's one of my students. She's sitting under a tree, studying her AP Bio. We had a test next period.

"So I went up to her and said 'How very studious of you' and she said…something else, and I forget how, but we ended up in my classroom and I was helping her with advanced mitosis and it was going great and she was understanding it and getting it and I was getting excited and then she thanked me and she was just kind of looking at me and then—and then she tried to kiss me!"

Barren spat out the swig of beer he'd just drawn between his lips. The spray was just shy of raining down upon his friend's shoulder.

"What?!" he exclaimed. The few people that were in the bar turned and glared at the two of them.

"Shh, sh, sh!" he hushed him, smacked his arm in emphasis. "Do you want everyone in here to know?!"

"Are you kidding me right now?!" he ogled, eyes almost falling out, this was beyond anything he'd expected. He thought that maybe it was a little romance with a co-worker, not a student assaulting him. "What the hell did you do?"

"I jumped back and told her to get out," he muttered under his breath. The shocked reaction was what he was looking for; he wanted someone to feel just as astounded as he did, but no, he knew that when he told him the real reason he was so surprised, his friend would be absolutely disgusted with him. He would be sickened. And he would have every right to be.

Suddenly, Barren's face drew smooth. "Well, that was not a very nice way to handle it."

"I know!" he thrust his hands into his hair. Thick highlights of dark red flickered in his mahogany tresses when the moody lighting caught them. "I didn't mean to. I just kind of…reacted. I really didn't mean to."

"Chill, dude," he nodded sagely. "I'm sure she'll get over it. You teach juniors, right? She's a teenager, she'll find someone else. It's not a big deal. Sure, she'll feel embarrassed for a while, but when you switch her into another class, you're golden."

The anger that flared up inside Dan, the absolute fury, blinded him for a moment, threw his brain into irrationality, and he very well almost killed his best friend. His speech and the river of nonchalance that flowed beneath it crashed over him, made him shiver with rage, no, she couldn't just get over it. There was no way she could. He couldn't think of her doing that, couldn't imagine that he was so dispensable to her, couldn't fathom that her display was…was…simply hormonal!

"I don't want her to," he growled finally, forced it through his gritted teeth.

The beer bottle stopped, poised at Barren's lips, and he peered at him from around it. "Excuse me?"

"I don't want her to get over it," Dan sighed, slumping back into his chair, and let his head tip backward to stare at the dark-paneled ceiling. Somewhere in the corner, a game of pool was thwacking, the balls were rolling this way and that, ramming into each other, just like his thoughts. "I…I wanted to."

He didn't look up at his friend, just listened for his response. After some silence, he asked quietly, "Wanted to what?"

"Wanted to kiss her," his hands clapped over his face in frustration, in anger, in sadness, in everything that he couldn't name that was shoving at his stomach, demanding to be heard and demanding to be spoken. "I wanted to kiss her. I wanted to kiss her so badly. But I couldn't. I knew I couldn't, and so I didn't, but because I didn't I fucked everything up."

"Dude…" Barren wanted to run screaming out of the bar. This wasn't his best friend. This wasn't the man that always got the chick. This wasn't the man that always had everything under control. This wasn't the man that had always been so normal. "You're…a pedophile?"

"No!" his head snapped up, there was a light in his fiery blue eyes that he'd never seen before. "No, no, I'm not! I can't be a pedophile! I just…I can't be…" And now his face flopped into the palms of his hands. Never before had he looked so defeated, so sad, his shoulders were stooped low and his brow had a manic frenzy creased into it. He probably hadn't sat down once since the event today, hadn't taken his mind off of it for one moment.

After a moment of collecting himself, Dan continued. "I don't think I am. I really don't. I've never felt this way before, about any one of my students, and I've been teaching for nine years."

"Then why can't you just acknowledge that she's pretty or whatever and not feel anything?" his friend asked, completely not understanding at all.

"You think I know?" he looked at him incredulously. "You think I know why I want to be romantically involved with one of my AP Bio students when my hot twenty-five year old student-teacher has been hitting on me?! I don't, Barren, I just don't know." He shook his head again. "I mean, I've thought some girls had been pretty in the past, but I could think, 'Oh, she's pretty. She'll get a nice boyfriend someday,' and that would be that! But this?"

He took a long, hard draw from his beer for the first time that night.

"Well…" Barren said slowly. "How long have you felt this way? Because if you just started feeling like this now, it could be because she made the first move and you think it could be exciting. It could not be real." He wanted it to not be real. He wanted his friend to be normal again, to not be thinking about little girls, he didn't want to have to go visit him in jail.

"It's not like that," Dan answered, morosely staring at the condensation trickling down the side of the neck of the bottle. He could see it, easily picture that single drop as a tear upon Blaine's lovely face. She was embarrassed. He knew he embarrassed her to no end, mortified her, made her want to die. He knew it. He felt so shitty about it, too. But what was there to do? How could he fix this? How could he make this all okay again?

"When I first saw her," he went on. "It was different. I didn't think, 'Wow, she's pretty.' I thought, 'Wow…' That's it. Just wow. It was like 'She's pretty' or anything like that didn't need to be added. Clearly, she was, you know? I didn't need to acknowledge it. I just felt it. It was so…so…"

"So barf-inducing!" his friend twisted his face, stuck out his tongue. "What is this, the fucking Notebook?"

"I know, I know!" he groaned and scrubbed at his face, completely exhausted and utterly frustrated, but now he was also embarrassed. It did nothing for his situation. "Dude, trust me, I know. It's so…literally, there are no words to describe anything remotely about this girl. It pisses me off and exhilarates me at the same time. And I don't know what else to feel anymore."

"Have you tried getting over her?" he asked.

He glared at him. "Are you kidding me? Is that a serious question right now?"

"…So is that a yes, or a no?"

"Of course," Dan sighed, he resigned to his friend's ignorance. "Of course I have. I knew the second I met her that I was in serious shit. I've never felt like that toward anyone, let alone a seventeen-year-old girl. I was absolutely vicious toward her for the first few days. I was horrible. It stung…but I'd be willing to bet that it was worse for her. I just…I tried to get the notion of anything happening out of my head by ensuring that it wouldn't happen. If I could make her hate me, then it would all be okay. Sure, I'd be kind of sad, but what the hell, I didn't even know this girl. And I'd still have a job, a life, a home. So it was either try to get to know her and see where it went, or keep my sanity and stay away from her."

"And you chose her," Barren skipped straight to the point, not phrasing it as a question, merely stating a fact. "You chose her over everything you'd worked for."

"Eventually," he leaned back and nursed his bottle. "It was hard not to, though. I could see everything on her face. When I was mean to her, when I was nice to her, everything was just all over that face of hers, and I…" He fisted his hands into his eyes, he could see it now. He could see every little emotion flickering on her cheeks, watch her heart speak through her endless golden irises. It ripped him. "I gave up. I couldn't let go. Making her happy was…addicting."

"Yeah, well, apparently not addicting enough," his friend looked at him steadily. "You flipped out when she tried to kiss you. What if that had happened to you? What would you have done if she almost ate shit trying to get away from you?"

"I would die," he whispered to his palms. "I really think I would die."

"Triple that for her," he was just going to make this good and hard, wasn't he? "Considering she's a hormonal teen and all that jazz."

"Barren, you're really not helping," Dan said honestly. The desolation, the depression, the complete and utter abandonment in his voice, it stung Barren. He'd never heard him like this. He'd never seen him so torn, so ripped to shreds, so certain of what he wanted to do and certain that he couldn't do it. It was frightening to see someone he cared about come crumbling down. It was hard to see someone who always had such power be on their knees.

That was it, he realized.

This chick had brought Dan Ridges to his knees.

She had to have something.

He sighed. "Look, man, I can't tell you exactly what to do. You and I both know that you're pretty much going to get burned either way."

Dan was silent. Probably fuming, he thought, but he pressed on.

"And as much as I want to tell you to get the fuck over this little slut and send her packing," he paused, could he really say this to his best friend? Could he really do this? "I think…I think you need to do whatever you want to do. Hell, if you want it bad enough, you're going to do it anyway. And who knows? It could work out either way."

The words, they were bitingly bitter on his tongue. They tasted like ashes. He didn't believe in what he knew would be the outcome of his friend following his instruction. He knew it would all go to shit. He thought his friend disgusting, found this side of him revolting, and, admittedly, a bit of his respect had for him had washed down the drain, never to be regained. The two could've gotten married and had kids together; she would always be that teenage hussy to him.

But the advice was just vague enough, just indifferent enough, to imply either side, the right or the wrong.

Dan looked up, critiqued his face, analyzed him with his flaming blue eyes. "You think I'm repulsive, don't you, Barren?"

"I'm a little creeped out, I can't lie to you," he responded quickly, quietly. "But you'll always be my best friend. It doesn't matter how you deal with this." That much was true. He knew he'd never find someone as great as Dan, no matter how whacked out he was.

His best friend suddenly smiled. He now knew what he was going to do.

"Thanks, man."

He was going to go wherever the wind took him

The wind was not taking him in the right place.

He hadn't seen her for ages. Sure, he expected her to skip the test; I mean, it had been right after the little incident. But to skip three days worth of class? It was ridiculous. Of course, he'd always known her to be ridiculous, but this was ridiculously ridiculous. What, was he going to have to go stalking her? Because he had to find her. There was simply no other choice. He couldn't just leave things the way they were. But how was he supposed to get her, talk to her? She had to be careful; she only had to skip five classes to ex out of AP Bio—

He stopped in his tracks.


There was no way she would do that. She couldn't do that.

She wouldn't do that.

She wouldn't do that, would she?

If it was him, he would do that.

Oh shit.

He sprinted to his room, threw himself into his comfy chair, and ripped his blinds open. There, out the window, was a panoramic view of the vast courtyard. There, that was where she was last time, where he stumbled upon her, where the grass was thick and lush and alive and so were the kids that sprinted across it. But right now, it was quiet. Right now, there was only one girl out there, lying in the center of it, reading a book. It couldn't have been Blaine; this one had dark black hair, nowhere near the honey gold that would've been a red flag.

A plane skewered the sky, rode carelessly through the sheaths of beaming sunlight that splintered through the spaces of harmless white cloud. Its metallic sides glittered, glinted, winked as it plowed through, careened on through nothing and everything. It blasted through the walls of sun that stood in its way, laughed at the balls of cloud that tried to tackle it. They were nothing. It was everything.

Determination giggled in his chest. He would wait. He could wait. He knew her; she wouldn't skip five classes. It was simply against her nature. Sure, he would be petrified, absolutely hysterical until he saw her in her desk—one that looked barren, empty in the glaring fluorescence of the school lighting—but a secret, quiet confidence brewed within him as well. She was studious. She was responsible. She worried often. No, he highly doubted that she could completely disregard classes all because of one stupid mistake.

It pained him, though, that her stupid mistake was his only dream.

She sat with her knees curled into her chest. It sucked, she thought; on a Friday night, she was home alone. Well, technically not alone; her parents were home. But they never really did anything anyway, so they didn't count. In her opinion, she was home alone. She felt like a loser, but it wasn't too bad. It wasn't really like she wanted to do anything anyway. She just wanted to be anywhere but here. The air, that warm, sea-spray air that had once felt so benevolent, now it was pushing against her shoulders, pressing her in, cornering her. It was choking her, she didn't want to breathe, she just wanted to huddle up and die.

How could she have been so stupid? This was bad, even for her. Really, she'd done some pretty bad things in the past, but this? This was ridiculous. She'd been known to be ridiculous, but this was ridiculously ridiculous. It wasn't even just the kiss-attempt, it was the entire thing. Everything she'd done up to that point concerning him was stupid.

How could she let herself fall for him?

Stupid, stupid, why was she always the stupid girl? Was it her nature? Was she doomed for eternity to be that one girl, that girl, the one that always tells herself it's going to be okay, someone will love you one day, and then she falls for someone, thinks finally…this could be it, and it all blows up in her face, and she starts all over again? Was she destined to be the girl that people assure her that there is someone for everyone, that she was beautiful, that everything about her was a treasure?

She didn't want to be that girl. It frightened her, nearly sent her to hysteria that she could possibly be that girl. That girl always ended up the crazy cat lady, she was certain of it.

You should know that there is some boy out there who's going to like you for everything you are, including the parts of you that you don't like. Those are the things he's going to like the most.

Where had she heard that before? Where had that exact phrase been said? She had a strange, sinking feeling that it was from Glee, and the words had fallen from the delectable Mr. Shuester's mouth, but she couldn't be sure. How could she be sure, when so many things had said the exact same thing, just tweaked a bit? It was all the same. And it was all shit.

She was tired of hearing that over and over again. The more she heard it, the less she believed it. If it was going to happen, she just wanted it to happen already.

But no, here she was, alone on a Friday night, watching the sky bleed to death. She was here, watching the sky bleed to death, its blood a beautiful rainbow, powder blue to a thin line of green that looks kind of yellow at the same time to a strange orange before ending in a brilliant, exploding pink. These colors, these soft, pastel colors, they whispered to her, told her that yes, everything would be okay, that she would live and breathe—but not just live and breathe, she would thrive. Yes, yes, she would thrive because she had to thrive. She had no other choice. She was beautiful, and so she would thrive.

And yet these colors, these soft, pastel colors, they were punctured by the landscape. The radiance from the ending day had turned the terrain black, dead with farewell light, and the trees that bloomed with the spring were stabbing the magnificent sky. This, the black wall with jagged edges, this told her the truth. This reminded her that there was no hope.

Looking out to the smiling, kind sky, gazing out over the tips of the budding leaves that freckled the portrait, she thought to herself:

But I tried so hard.

Yes, she had tried hard. She had tried so hard, her hardest, tried her best. The one thing she had hoped for was that her best would be enough. As it turned out, like so many other things, it wasn't. It wasn't enough. It wasn't even close.

She was never enough.

She wanted to take a road trip. This had to be the worst case of wonder-lust ever. She wanted to get out of there with no plan in mind, just her and some music, a big, old, run-down pickup truck—the kind that still played mix tapes, the authentic kind, but also CDs. She didn't care where she went, but she wanted to get in the truck and go—fast, too. Fast so she could feel the breeze that walked hand in hand with all the other clichés. Fast so that the world was a blur, a whir of color, every color she could imagine but ones that she didn't have to name. She was tired of naming. She was tired of having a plan, or having no plan at all for something she should've had a plan for.

Her head dipped low, rested upon her kneecaps, and she sighed. The burning feeling welled up in her throat, but hell, she couldn't cry anymore. She wanted to—she wanted to feel some sort of release, wanted some way that all this desolation inside of her could be assuaged, she just wanted to feel a little better. It seemed too much to ask, though.

She knew what the problem was.

The problem was that at night, she dreamed that he was sent to her from Heaven.

The problem was that she couldn't think of love without his name.

The problem was that nothing new was sweeter than him.

The problem was that, despite all of this unyielding ache, he was changing her to something better.

A rush of warm breeze came to her, ran over her clammy face, and she pretended it was his palm wiping away all her tears, the ones she had shed when she was five, the ones she'd just shed, and all the ones she would shed in the future.

With the sigh of the wind came the whisper of the trees. She pretended that it was him, urging her, breathing to her:

Don't give up. I'm here.

But she knew she was searching for something that didn't exist.

"Alright, class, let's get started," he clapped his hands once, rubbed them together, feigning enthusiasm. "I'm sure you all loved that test a couple days ago, am I right?"

A collective groan. Yes, he knew, it was a hard test, and he hated giving it. But it wasn't exactly as if he had a choice.

"Ah, your enthusiasm is so encouraging," he smiled widely before giving his tie a little, habitual tweak. "But let's look at the bright side: it's over. We've got a new unit to study now. Excitement, people, excitement! Cellular Respiration awaits you all!" He yanked down the projector's white background, pressed the button on the machine itself, and went toward his desk to start the lesson.

"Are we going to get our tests back?" Carly asked from the front row.

"I'm afraid not," he answered her a tad irritably, for the question had kicked up some not-even-close-to-buried angst. "There is still one person that needs to take it—" he cast his eyes over to the desk, expecting only air to be seated there.

Instead, a beautiful young woman sat there, looking regal and dignified as ever, and completely unflinching beneath his gaze.

"Blaine," he finished quietly.

The girl's friend that sat in front of her twisted around and smacked her on the arm. "Hurry up and take the damn test. If I'm going to fail, I want it over and done with."

"You didn't fail," Blaine assured her, dubious. "You never fail."

"First time for everything," she quoted, but turned around and crossed her arms.

"So, Miss Fay," Mr. Ridges got the PowerPoint upon the screen, but was watching her intently, couldn't leave her face, gosh it had been so long, too long, he was parched for her appearance. The only thing different about her that he could place was that her shoulders were a bit too stooped, she looked a smidge defeated, she lacked the usual glitter in her eyes. But for everything else, she still looked flawless, perfect, he couldn't believe that about three days had done nothing to her vision of goddessness. It was astounding, really.

"So," he continued quickly, realizing he'd accidentally taken a pause to drink in her presence. "You'll come after school to take it then, yes?"

"If you like, Mr. Ridges," she conceded, there, yes, there was the flaw right there. Her voice was much too soft to belong to her, much too timid for her to be speaking to him. Usually she was brazen and bold and joked with him when she could. This? What was this?

Oh yeah. This was his fault.


"Very good," he sighed, turned back to the projector screen. "Let's begin."

He'd overheard. She was going out for lunch. But she was going alone. There would be no gaggle of girls with her, no one there, no one to inhibit him. He had to go. He had to follow her. This was the opportune moment, and he was certain he would never get one like this again. Not even when she came after school to take the test; he knew she would ignore him, give him the excuse, "I need to take the test, Sir." Yeah, like hell she needed to take the test.

So he watched her go into the parking lot, followed on her tail far enough to not be spotted, but close enough to see her.

I'm such a fucking creep, he acknowledged to himself, but he didn't really care. He knew he wouldn't do this if it wasn't absolutely necessary, if everything in his life didn't ride on this, on right now, on how he approached everything. He wasn't a stalker by nature, just by necessity.

He followed her out the exit, down the road, and onto the highway in the same manner. He gauged whether or not he was too close by the rearview mirror; if he could see her lovely eyes, her dazed and dreamy expression, then he was too close, and he would reluctantly fall back. But watching her drive, seeing that look of carefree absentness carved into her pretty face, it was intoxicating. He'd always seen some sort of feeling, some sort of emotion tattooed on her. Though it was one of the things he adored about her, seeing her at relative peace was beautiful.

But she was anything but at peace. Tears sat nestled in the corners of her eyes as she drove, careened on toward her destination. Yes, sadly, she had a destination, but it was okay. This was the middle of the school day—no one would be there, she knew it. And she'd lied to everyone about where she was going, so no one would find her. She never felt so liberated.

The radio cooed to her:

Just a few more miles and that awful town
Will render out of view,
And I'll cross my fingers
And hope your memory will fade
The interstate seems like my only means of escape,
But I know that you'll find me, you always find me

I'll be out of here sooner than you think.

She prayed, prayed with everything she had that yes, indeed, his face, his laugh, his smile, his silken voice, would fade behind her, dissolve with the school, the names that she was leaving behind for just this moment, this short hour that belonged only to her. Her pointer and middle finger literally overlapped each other as she gripped the wheel and sang low and slow to the sweet voice that poured from her speakers.

Exit 25.

Where the hell is she going? He thought to himself. This exit was far before town—well, technically, it was far past town, but they were supposed to be going into it. The school was a few miles past the last store, and they'd only driven a couple. Where was she headed to?

Suddenly, they hit a windy, snaky road, and he knew exactly where they were going. He continued to follow her. Soon, very soon, far sooner than he thought would happen, the road became swathed in sand, and his tires snarled and grated against the grains. The road was still there, to be sure, but the sand had simply decided to move in on top of it, carried by some wind that came from the blue endlessness.

In seven minutes exactly, she reached her destination. He continued past to look like he wasn't following her, but within seconds, he rounded about and drove into the parking lot she'd pulled into. Her car was already parked, she'd already vacated it.

The beach always looked amazing at high noon. Without the marshmallow clouds to mar the sky, the sun rained spectacularly down upon the sand. It stretched this way and that way, going on for so long, so long, but the eye could see where it ended. A dock at one end, a dock at the other, waiting placidly for their owners to return with their treasure, that boat that they guarded with their lives. But when looking out toward the ocean, it was easy to imagine that the beach, the sea, the sky, everything went on forever and ever, it was easy to pretend that infinity was really just a beach.

He didn't even bother shutting his car door. The sound it would make when it closed would be far too loud, it would alert her. And so, with magnificent stealth, he slipped from the driver's seat, crept toward her. No, he didn't crouch down low, or "get his arms T-Rex-ing" or anything like that. He simply slung his weight to the balls of his feet and padded over the cement toward her.

Innocent-looking shoes lay abandoned just beyond the edge of the parking lot. Sand had already begun to dribble into them. He hesitated for a moment, looked at them, appreciated them, but continued.

There was no turning back now.

The beach was doing wonders for her, he could see that. The breeze was wafting her hair away from her elegant neck, pushing it away from her shoulders. Her legs were being cushioned by the fluffy sand that pet and patted her. Her face was tilted upward, toward the sun, toward the azure abyss that spread buttery benevolence over her cheeks, kissed her like he never could, warmed her like he never could.

Though a smile wasn't painted on her face, though her cheeks weren't rosy with delight, though her eyes weren't dilated with excitement, he could see: she was happy.

"Hi," he said. Wow, good one, Dan, that was the best you could come up with? Hi? Want to get a smidge lamer, please? I don't think you quite ensured that she wouldn't pay attention to you.

But her head snapped back, and when her eyes met him, she literally appeared to deflate. All the shimmer that was in her expression, all the carefree glory that had bathed her moments before, it drained away, washed away in the sunlight that was showering her. Suddenly, her irises looked hollow. She looked defeated again. He wanted to leave.

"Oh God," she coughed, turned away and stuffed her face into her hands as he stepped forward. His legs folded beneath him, and if there was grass beneath him instead of sand, a tree to his back instead of the end of the beach, he would've sworn he'd been given a second chance.

No, no, this couldn't be happening, this couldn't be happening to her. Was he freaking kidding?! Did he want to torture her? Did he really feel it was necessary to rub it in her face, to tell her how dumb she was, to laugh and point at her and kick sand in her mouth? She'd never known him to be so cruel, never imagined that he could do something like this, something so horrible, something that could make her feel almost as awful as when she tried to kiss him.

"Do you want me to leave?" he asked her softly, quietly, the breeze almost took away the words, but no, she heard them. She thought it was a really stupid question, but maybe it was because she didn't quite know how to answer it.

"Honestly?" she said after a moment of hovering silence. "Yes."

His chest gave a great ache, but he didn't know what else he expected. Seriously, did he really think she'd say of course not in that chipper, happy tone of hers? Right now, she wasn't chipper. Right now, she wasn't happy. And it killed him, agonized him that he was the cause, it was his fault she wasn't happy. That's what he wanted above else—for her to be happy.

"I can't," he continued in the same pitch, looking down at her while she refused to return his gaze. "I need to talk to you, but I don't…quite know what to say."

"Well, go on then," she sighed heavily. "Just say what's on your mind, no censor. I can take it." She could almost hear what he was going to say. He was going to tell her she was stupid. He was going to tell her that she was insane. He was going to tell her that she was disgusting, that he had never in a million years thought of her that way, that he could never feel the same way, and though he was sorry for hurting her, she should have known better. She'd told herself all the same things, so it couldn't harm to hear them one more time. Sure, it would be different coming from his mouth, would sound strange and somehow more biting when coated in his sugary tone, but she was already dead inside.

He tried to piece together what he would say. Whatever's on his mind? How could he speak his mind when his mind was everywhere at once? Gathering his thoughts would've been harder than saying the truth, because in all actuality, there was only one meaning he wanted to get across to her. But he was just so certain, so positive that no matter how he phrased it, it would come out wrong, and he would fuck everything up. Again.

So instead, he decided to show her.

She felt a hand at her cheek, gently prodding her face to look at him, and when she finally did, when she finally conceded, she turned, and his face was far closer to her than she could have ever imagined it could ever be. She smelled him again, smelled that heavenly scent, the aroma of freshness, of freedom, of everything she wanted and thought he could be until it turned to rubble at her feet. His touch, his proximity, his smell—everything sent a thread of thrill ripping through her veins, exciting her every extremity, and she believed, truly believed for a moment that perhaps this was what happiness felt like.

And then she realized that this couldn't be real. This must've been pity.

"What are you doing?" she gasped, no, no, that didn't come out with the force she wanted. It was supposed to be spiteful, hateful, he was supposed to melt with the flame that should've erupted from her vocal chords. He should've felt like scum. He should've recognized them as the very words he'd growled to her in hate. But when she laid her hands on his chest to push him away, it felt too good, far too good to actually shove him, and so they just lay there limply.

"Speaking my mind," his breath tickled her skin, brushed over it like the ocean wind, and it felt magnificent, sounded more musical to her ears than the crashing of the ocean. This was what she wanted. This was all she wanted. It killed her to be certain that he was just dangling it in front of her because he felt bad for her.

Just as he was about to make contact with her mouth, she turned away, but didn't evacuate his nearness.

"I don't want your pity," she snarled under her breath. That was a little better, sounded a tad more of what she was intending. Because she'd leaned backward, leaned to get away from his delicious, dangerous mouth, she had to plant her elbows in the sand to stay upright. The problem was, he had to plant his hands, too. So now she was pinned, surrounded by him, engulfed by him in every perfect way possible, and she felt the heat of his chest right against her own. He was leaning over her. She felt protected by him, even though he was the thing she needed protection from.

"What pity?" he breathed, confused. What was she talking about? He didn't pity her. He cared about her, more than anyone should've been allowed to, but no, he didn't pity her.

"I mean, yeah, I'm embarrassed," oh gosh, she was getting breathless, this wasn't good. God damn, she just wished him gone, she didn't want him there. She hated that he turned her to a puddle of goo, and this wasn't helping her get over him one little bit. Was he insane?! He could lose his job for this, for feeling badly for her! "But I don't want you to do this because you feel bad for me. I'm perfectly fine, more than fine, I don't need—"

His hand reached up, molded to her cheek, he was looking at her with the most peculiar expression, one she couldn't figure out. It was so warm, so tender, that surely, surely—but no, no, stop, it couldn't be, no, he wouldn't, he couldn't.

He leaned in slowly, cautiously, and she lost everything she wanted to say. Her mind was gone, it didn't matter anymore; the only things that mattered were the placid sky, the endless ocean, the warm sand, and that face of his. The only thing she could do, the only thing she was capable of doing, was merely watch, be jolted, be electrified as he tilted his head to the side, let his skin play against her, feel the silk that was his mouth ghost across hers in barely a kiss.

"Is this okay?" he whispered to her, she could hear the tentativeness and the self-consciousness in his voice, though it was almost inaudible. The light tug on her skull that he made when he pulled his fingers through her hair felt so good, his gentle touch felt so good, she reached up, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pressed her lips full against his.

She didn't care. She just didn't care. It didn't matter if this was real or not, if he thought of her like she thought of him, because this was happening. So what if it was a one-time thing? She wanted this, she wanted him, and nothing else mattered—the thrum of her veins simply felt too wonderful, made her too dizzy and almost weary with happiness that she couldn't remember why she didn't want him to kiss her. She felt stupid, crazy for pushing him away even a little bit. It didn't matter. Nothing else mattered.

Blaine rested herself into the sand, and he followed her, refusing to let her out of his grasp so easily. He laid his forearms on either side of her shoulders, adjusted himself easily so that he was properly positioned.

The position worked for him just fine. He was lying between her legs. Gosh, he never thought he would end up here, never would've fathomed…

Her knee folded so that her leg was bent beside his waist.

She tasted so good. She smelled so good. She felt so good. With her hair tangled into the beach, her body pressed flush against his, right up against him, they didn't need to move to create friction, it was all natural. He kissed her a little more insistently, feeling his heart, his chest, swell too much to be contained, this was the best sensation in the world. He truly felt as though he could fly.

Without warning, her lips were gone, and he opened his eyes to see her staring at him. Their eyes met for but a moment before her gaze wandered, and he felt her fingers begin to wander, too. They walked along his forearm, and she watched them while he watched her face. She had a strange, lazy, dazed expression on her lovely features, and her touch reached his bicep. Bumpy ridges of knuckles ran along the muscle there, and she admired it, made sure to take in every detail of it, before she returned her attention to him.

Mr. Ridges looked blinding. Not just because of the sun behind his head, but because his face glowed brighter than the sun behind his head, because he was simply so radiant that he burned her pupils to a crisp. His searing blue eyes, his flawless skin, his sculpted cheekbones—those lips that she finally knew the taste of…it was all perfect.

"This is happening," she murmured to herself, ran her fingertips along his bicep again absently. Then, she reached up and knotted them into his messy auburn tresses.

He smiled, a genuine, iridescent smile. "I know. Amazing, isn't it?" And he swooped down to capture her lips once more. She didn't mind. She knew she sounded dumb, but she didn't mind that, either. She just didn't mind anything about what was happening right now. She was at the peak of anything she'd ever experienced before, this was the best thing that had ever collided with her bubble of a world and shattered it—she felt shattered, but with satisfaction, with beauty, like how sunlight gets shattered through a windowpane smeared by summer.

He pulled away this time, though. "For the record, I didn't…I didn't kiss you the first time because I was…scared. I wanted to, so, so badly, but I was too scared. I could lose everything…" The radiant, sky-like orbs searched her face for reassurance.

It was her turn to grin. Blaine arched her back, pressed herself into him, and as Dan closed his eyes and groaned quietly at her seductive touch, she whispered in his ear:

"Our little secret."

A/N: Wouldya look at dat bitch?! Look at that monster! Damn! I was thinking about making it into two parts, but then I was like "You know what? Fuck that. Those that want to read it will read it." So yeah, for those who read it, thanks! For those that read it and liked it, I love you!

My major thanks goes out to…*drum roll* Tumblr! Yeah, I know, weird. But I just discovered it, and I don't actually have one, but I stalk everyone else's, and it's just a beautiful thing. There are SO many quotes in this story that I found on there, and it would take far too long to cite them all, and I don't even know which belongs to who, so I'll just say NO PLAGIARISM INTENDED.

But there are a few things that I can cite because I DO know where they come from!

There aren't many though X( :
"…at night, she dreamed that he was sent to her from heaven" is ACTUALLY a twisted form of "And at night, I dream that you were sent to me from heaven."

"…she could never think of love without his name," is ACTUALLY a twisted form of "And I could never think of love without your name."

"…he was changing her to something better" is ACTUALLY a twisted form of "And all this time, you're changing me to something better."

They're all like basically the same thing, but I thought I just needed to make it clear XD. They're all quotes from the song Beautiful by Trading Yesterday. Go onto Grooveshark, set up a playlist filled with the songs from the album The Beauty and the Tragedy, and cry yourself to sleep from beauty. You can go onto YouTube, too, for them, if you like. Whichever. JUST LISTEN TO THEM. They're not available on iTunes, and they are no longer a band, but if you like John Mayer-esque music (as in the soft, sweet music, not him being a douche [even though I admittedly love JM]), or just relaxing music, THIS IS FOR YOU. I AM NOT TRYING TO PITCH IT. I GENUINELY ADORE THIS MUSIC AND I WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ITS PERFECTION WITH YOU ALL.

That song that was playing on Blaine's radio? I have no clue. Found the fucker on Tumblr, but I'm DYING to know what song it is. If anyone knows, give me a fucking holla please, because I want whatever it is.

Again, sorry I was gone so long, but I definitely think that the writer's block was moved because I just…rested for a while.

WAIT okay so I re-read all the drabbles, and my favorites are Leah and Sparks Fly. I would like your input as well! Which is your favorite? …I bet no one will answer this because this A/N is so fucking long, but if you're still reading, GOOD FOR YOU! And you have the patience of a saint.

I WAS ALSO THINKING about this. The Teacher and the Student has a good amount of chapters, and not a lot of reviews. I was feeling sorry for myself, being like "Dude WTF? Is it bad? I'm just not gonna write anymore for it. It must suck, if it has no reviews, so I'll just discontinue it. Yeah. That's what I'll do!" Then I realized I was being a douche bag, and I gave that idea up. Reviews don't mean shit. I love updating my teacher/student fetish/fantasy thread, and God damn it, I'll keep updating it because I want to. So there, self!

Also, HOLLLLLA at Weird Girl 101! Your review was sweet as cake :D.

I'm gonna end this pointless A/N now. Bye.

P.S. 21 PAGES OMFG. Mostly A/N. But what the fuck ever.