Most of my characters are high school seniors who are only sixteen-years-old, so you might be confused about that. In the Philippines, we don't have junior high school. We graduate from high school when we're sixteen or seventeen at the most. I hope that clears a few things up. If you have any other questions about the story or the setting, feel free to ask me through the reviews.


The moles on the back of Melissa Santiago's neck looked like the Big Dipper.

Lance Ordonez first noticed this while sitting behind her during Physics. He zoned out during Mr. Romualdez's soul-deadening discussion on gravity, and his eyes focused on the back of Melissa's neck. She wore her dark hair in a ponytail, so her moles were in full view.

Somehow, Lance thought her Big Dipper moles were endearing, and he immediately got pissed at himself for thinking that. He was dating the very well-endowed Samantha del Rio, and he wasn't supposed to find moles endearing. He was a guy. Boobs, gigantic ones in particular, were supposed to be higher than moles on the Richter scale of body parts.

To distract himself, he started looking around the room, and caught Ellen David, a thin girl with an elf-like face, staring dreamily at him, her head propped up by her elbows. With a huge grin, he winked at her. Ellen's elbows slipped off her desk in surprise, and her head almost banged against it.

Lance's grin widened when his eyes landed on Samantha. With sun-kissed skin from her Filipina mother and dark blue eyes handed down by her British father, Samantha defined hot. Her Angelina Jolie-like lips were in a pout, and she was looking at Ellen like she wanted to stuff a whole chalk box down her throat.

He started looking around the room again, and saw that his best friend, Jace Hernandez, was asleep, his textbook untouched in front of him. They had been best friends since kindergarten when Lance stole Jace's juice box… along with the Batman lunchbox that contained it.

However, his eyes soon gravitated toward Melissa's neck, magnetized by her Big Dipper-shaped moles. He groaned and kicked the back of her chair.

Just as he expected, Melissa's ponytail sailed across his face, as she turned around to face him. "What is your problem?"

He smirked at her in response, but then it occurred to him, for the first time, that Melissa was pretty, not so-fucking-hot pretty. More like reads-deep-books-and-wears-sandals pretty. With long dark hair, she looked like the kind of girl who wore floaty lace dresses in the middle of grassy fields.

When this dawned on him, his smirk turned into a leer. Since Melissa was the principal's daughter, he had tried to stay as far away from her as humanly possible.

Until now.

"How about you and me on Saturday night?" he said, his voice low. "I can show you a really good time."

"I'd rather eat my pen," Melissa said, her voice equally low. Before he could say anything, she turned back to the blackboard.

With a feeling of enlightenment, Lance realized she was mocking him. That didn't happen to him very often. Every time he served as altar boy during school masses, freshmen, sophomore, junior, and even senior girls all hyperventilated at the sight of him. They all cheered for him during basketball games, their screams reaching an almost inhuman decibel. Whenever he walked into a store, salesladies dropped whatever they were doing—hell, they dropped other customers—to ask if they could be of assistance.

Being mocked was an entirely new, not to mention unwelcome, feeling.

Undeterred, he kicked the back of her chair again. Melissa didn't turn around, but she tightened her grip on her pen. Lance almost smiled.

Bracing his arms on his desk, he inched forward until his mouth was right behind her ear, and whispered, "You know, aside from your pen, there are a lot of things you could put in your mouth. My dick, for instance."

He saw her shoulders stiffen, and knew he'd hit a nerve. Who knew toying with the principal's daughter would be this fun? But then he never saw her next move coming.

Melissa leaned back on her chair, still staring at the blackboard. He was the only one who heard the words coming out of her mouth. "Between your dick and my pen, I think my pen's a hell of a lot bigger."

Melissa's grip on her pen tightened, as she imagined it was Lance Ordonez's neck. His making a pass at her was an unwelcome new development. He usually went for girls with chests of the C to D cup variety, and it was obvious she was lacking in that department.

For the millionth time, she wished she could stick her headphones in her ears, so she could block him out. Knowing that Mr. Romualdez would throw a fit if he caught her listening to her iPod, Melissa turned to her best friend, Camille Olivares, who sat on the desk next to hers.

The amused smile tugging at the corner of Camille's lips told her that Lance's pick-up line hadn't gone unnoticed. When Melissa elbowed her, Camille pushed her thick glasses up her nose, and mouthed, "Ignore him."

Camille's advice was easier said than done.

Cliché at it sounded, Melissa thought God had been in a good mood when He created Lance. Lance Ordonez looked like an angel whose halo and wings had been ripped off. Sure, he had a small L-shaped scar on his right eyebrow and a smattering of freckles on his nose, but, aside from that, he looked absolutely delicious.

But his angelic face was only a façade.

Exhibit A: Lance had dated and broken the hearts of about twenty-five percent of the female population in Saint Agnes Catholic Academy's high school department.

Exhibit B: It was common knowledge that he had slept with a total of eight girls—nine if you counted the student-teacher during junior year—and bragged about every single one. His next target, Samantha del Rio, was a girl with breasts of the D-cup variety.

Exhibit C: Samantha del Rio of the D Cups and the prepubescent-looking Ellen David were ready to throw themselves at each other because of him, and he seemed to be enjoying every moment.

Exhibit D: He kept kicking the back of Melissa's chair.

Her chair shook for the fourth time that day. She gritted her teeth, cursing the day a Class A man-whore had been assigned to sit behind her. The school year had just started, and she didn't think she could take more of this for another nine months. She put her pen down, and faced him.

"Listen," she hissed. "If you don't stop kicking my chair, I'm going to—"

"Tell Daddy?" Lance's eyes widened, and he clutched his chest. "That makes my insides quiver."

"Is there a problem?" Mr. Romualdez's voice rang from the front of the room.

"No, sir." Lance perked up, and smiled at their teacher. "I was just regaling Melissa here with Newton's Laws of Gravity. She seems to have forgotten them."

Hearing Lance, Jace Hernandez woke up, and shook his head in a you-never-learn kind of way at him. The mysterious and almost narcoleptic Jace was more of Melissa's type, but it was obvious he was still hung up on his ex-girlfriend.

With dark eyes that could turn any girl into a puddle of hormones and a body that Camille once correctly called succulent, Jace was the only boy in SACA who could give Lance a run for his money when it came to looks and female adoration.

"Ms. Santiago, I know Mr. Ordonez is what you girls call hot, but, next time, try asking me, okay?" Mr. Romualdez narrowed his eyes at Melissa, pointing a stick of chalk at her.

Her classmates started snickering. Samantha del Rio, Lance's semi-sort-of-not-really girlfriend glared at her. Jace Hernandez went back to sleep.

"Okay, sir." Melissa wanted to sink into her chair, until the bell rang.

Deep down, she was seething. Even Mr. Romualdez thought she was an I Love Lace Ordonez Fan Club member. She glanced at her wristwatch, and saw that salvation was thirty minutes away.

Behind her, Lance was silent. Melissa stiffened, waiting for another kick. Five minutes passed, and she breathed a sigh of relief. Maybe Lance choked on his own spit. He seemed to have forgo—

He just kicked her chair. Again.

She heard Lance's arms slide down his desk, and she soon felt his warm breath against her ear. Against her will, goosebumps rose up on her arms and on the back of her neck. "You know, the word for today is legs."

"So?" She leaned back on her chair, unable to help it. She had to hear this.

"Want to go to my place and spread the word?" Lance said.

Before she could stop herself, she whirled around to face him again. "I could sue you for sexual harassment."

"Ms. Santiago, is Mr. Ordonez really that irresistible?" Melissa faced the blackboard again, and saw Mr. Romualdez looking ready to chuck an eraser at her. "The blackboard is over here."

"I'm really sorry, sir," she managed to say, sure her face was redder than Rudolph the Reindeer's nose.

Behind her, Lance snickered. She gripped the edge of her desk to stop herself from turning around, and hitting him with Physics: Principles and Problems.

Mr. Romualdez glared at her one last time, before returning to the wonders of Physics.

Melissa tried to get a grip on herself, but Lance kicked her chair again. And again. And again. To calm herself, she ripped a page out of her notebook, and crumpled it into a little ball.

Waiting for the right moment, she stared at the board. Lance Ordonez couldn't get away with this. She had to set him straight this early in the school year.

Mr. Romualdez turned his back on the class to write something on the blackboard, just as Lance aimed another kick at her chair.

She turned around and stuffed the crumpled ball of paper into his grinning mouth. Lance's eyes widened, as he tried to spit it out, looking like a cat coughing out a hairball.

Melissa was about to cheer in victory, when Mr. Romualdez's voice, apoplectic with rage, echoed throughout the classroom.

"Get out of my classroom, Ms. Santiago! Get out!"

Basketball ended thirty minutes ago, and Lance and Jace were the only ones left in the court. All Lance wanted to do was go home, but Jace had other plans.

"She compared my dick to a fucking pen." Lance dribbled the ball angrily, his red and white jersey wet with sweat.

"She's right." Jace smirked, his eyes on the basketball.

"Fuck you."

Jace's smirk transformed into a grin. "Who knows? She might have been talking about a highlighter."

"She was holding a ballpoint." Lance stopped dribbling the ball, and tucked it under his arm. He looked at his best friend. Jace wasn't even sweating, and he looked like he just walked out of the shower. For the millionth time, Lance wondered how he did that. "Deep down, you're laughing like a hyena, aren't you?"

"Maybe." Jace's eyes twinkled with laughter.

"Come on, don't hold it in," Lance urged him. "Laugh all you want. I won't be offended."

A loud guffaw erupted from Jace's throat.

In response, Lance hurled the basketball at his head. "You little fucker."

Jace swatted the ball away before it could do any real damage, his smirk never leaving his face. "I love you, too."

"And don't forget she stuffed a ball of paper down my throat." Indignation marred Lance's face. "I could have choked. As my best friend, it's your moral obligation to be slightly concerned about me."

"You're not dead, are you?" Jace looked unaffected by his tirade.


"So, can I laugh at you again?"

"I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation," Lance said, gesturing wildly with his hands. "That girl scarred me for life. I will never look at crumpled pieces of paper in the wastebasket the same again."

"That girl also happens to be the principal's only daughter." Jace quirked an eyebrow at him. "Messing with her wouldn't be wise."

Lance merely smiled. "I ask you, have trivial details ever stopped me?"

Author's Note:

I had to end the year with a bang. Here I am with another story. It's a spin-off from my other story, Get Over It, but you don't have to read GOI to understand Keeping the Distance. Hopefully, I can update this one regularly. I've already written eight chapters, so I've got my fingers crossed. Please read and review! Thanks in advance.