Anonymous reviewer: No, you're right. It does seem a little rushed, or like I could put in a part where there's some development between Nikki and Casey. I guess I keep Nikki's growing feelings quiet and maybe I shouldn't have, because it does seem like they just come out of nowhere without any notice. Though this was intended to be a short story, certain things should be drawn out if they can't be made clear by the reader on their own. But thank you for your input: it gives me something to work on in the rewrite :D Hopefully you can give me some pointers on how to clean up this chapter as well.

So, I'll let you all get to it, then.

Nikki wasn't at the next meeting. I wasn't all that surprised.

"It's quiet without Nikki," David pouted.

"She'll probably come barreling in late and I'll have to finish reading my book at home," Jeff predicted.

"She didn't mention that she'd be late, though," Kiki told them.

"Nikki isn't coming," I confessed. Three pairs of eyes turned to look at me. "We had a fight. She gave me my glasses back. She doesn't want to see me anymore.. That's why if I'm here, she won't be."

"If you got your glasses back, why aren't you wearing them?" Jeff asked.

I lowered my gaze and picked at my shoe laces. "Good question."

"What did you fight about?" Kiki wondered.

My face flushed. "Brie… She noticed that I liked Brie and thought that I was using her as a substitute. Because, you know, they look so similar. But really, they aren't actually. They're completely different people. And I told her how ridiculous she was-that it would be impossible for me to be doing that, because I would have to enjoy her company in order for her to be a substitute. And I never said that I did. Same as I never said I wanted to be even friends with her in the first place. She just assumed that."

The expressions of my listeners were not sympathetic toward me. Even David and Jeff, who had no idea who Brie was, were disapproving.

"I didn't tell her that that assumption had been right," I added quietly. "For however much she bothered me, I'm not angry. I thought I was. I should have been."

"But you're pretty happy you met her," Kiki deduced.

I obstinately bit my tongue on that matter. "So nobody knows where she is?"

"Never said that," Kiki took out her phone. A few minutes passed. "Yup. She's at home. I'll have Mom drive her over here." I stared at her expectantly. "Oh. Nikki has been living in my house for about half a year now. She moved out of hers due to some family issues and disagreements, so I offered her my place. My sister had just gone to college, so her room was free and Mom missed having another daughter to fawn over," she explained.

"Family issues?" I questioned.

Kiki's phone buzzed from a text message. After she read it, she said: "Mom came up with a good enough story. They'll be at the main entrance soon. Get goin', then."


If it wasn't for the fact that Kiki's mom drove away the second Nikki got out of the car, I'm pretty sure she would've dove back in the moment she saw me. She was that pissed.

"I don't want to see you," she declared openly.

"So you told me," I replied. Nikki didn't come any closer. She just stood in the middle of the parking lot. "Would you just talk to me?"

"Sorry, I'm not in the mood to feel depressed."

There was no way around it. "I didn't mean what I said," I blurted out. "Not in the way it came out."

"So you don't think I'm annoying," she said in a tone that clearly showed she knew I did.

"Yeah, you're annoying," I admitted. What was I going to do, lie? She made a disgusted face and turned away from me. "But only because you're right."

She didn't turn back around. "Am I?"

"You stealing my glasses has made this the most irritating week of my life. No doubt, I'm sick of everyone going crazy over my face. But it hasn't been all bad." She moved a little. "I've come out of my shell a bit. And I'm starting to like my eyes. For the longest time, I hated them because they were too different-too weird. Not pretty at all," I said, remembering the days of my youth when the same words had been flung at me by children my age.

"They're the most beautiful eyes in the whole world!" Nikki burst, whirling around.

I smiled at her. "And thanks to you, I believe you. Thanks to you, I'm becoming happy. I have friends that I'm actually grateful for. Kiki, David, Jeff, and you. Seriously."

She started walking toward me.

"You're brave enough to tell Brie your feelings, then, too?"

I shook my head. "You know what? I'm in love with her image. She's sweet, but not for me. And it's not like I could seduce a straight girl anyway."

Nikki's eyes lit up. "So…"

"There's nothing between us," I chuckled. "But I might enjoy the company of a meddling blonde rather similar to her." Nikki wasted no time in taking the hint and attacking me with a giant hug. "I'm sorry," I apologized.

She nodded and I heard her giggle a little. Given her impulsiveness, I was surprised that she didn't kiss me right then and there. But no. She waited until we were back inside Room 22, where there plenty of witnesses. And to my surprise, that suited me just fine.

Without my glasses, a lot of the things that the Universe threw at me suited me just fine.

Ah, another thing I keep in the dark! What happened to Nikki that caused her to move out of her home? Maybe another installment for the future?

Thank you very much for reading~. Don't hesitate to say something about what you thought, because this IS my first attempt at exploring the girlxgirl genre. Any tips and suggestions are appreciated.