My apologies for the big cliffhanger in the last chapter (even though I enjoyed it with a passion! Hehehehe!). Does this form of torture in online erotica classify as S&M? Anyway, if you were a part of the contest on my website, then you've already read this chapter and are waiting for 27 to roll around. If not, then enjoy! And let me know what you think at or stop by the website at (don't forget to sign the guestbook)
It feels really good to be back! :)

"New Kid In School:"
26th Chapter

As Jenny's lips touched mine, I was filled with a state of confusion that nearly knocked me unconscious. I was standing in the middle of a make out party, with all of my friends around me, kissing a girl on the lips! With my BOYFRIEND upstairs probably doing the same thing! I still wasn't sure if I should be worried about stopping the kiss, or worried about how my 'technique' was. She began to get more into it, gently grabbing the back of my head and running her fingers through my hair. Her lips began to churn slowly against mine in a slow passionate rhythm. I tried to relax, tried to silence the five billion voices in my head and just enjoy it. But the whole time I kept wondering if I was doing this right. Was she enjoying it? Was I even enjoying it? Grrr! With Ryan, the first kiss just sort of 'happened'. I didn't HAVE to think about it. But this was different. This was premeditated kissing, and I had better be damn good at it. After feeling like my chest was about to explode for a few minutes, Jenny broke our liplock and looked into my eyes. I only wish I could have seen myself at that moment. I must have looked like some kind of nut. She left me senseless, and I couldn't even breathe, much less SPEAK.

"Um...surprise." She said with a smile. "Did you...did you like it?"

"" The truth is, I think I DID. A lot, in fact. I felt a shiver inside of me, something that just filled me with this overwhelming sensation of excitement. I was still too confused to really focus my thoughts on anything. Whatever my bewilderment didn't take care of, the alcahol in my system covered up. I was completely speechless for a few seconds, but when I looked in her eyes, I finally managed to sigh, "...yeah. I did." And then I felt myself blushing. What the heck was wrong with me? I was acting like a little love starved schoolboy all over again.

Then, without warning, I saw her look around the room and find us an empty spot on the floor up against the wall. She smiled at me, and took me by my hand to lead me closer to it. I began to lose my breath again, terrified of what I was about to do. But my body kept moving, and it was like I wasn't even in control anymore. As scared as I was, I went along with it anyway, anxious to see how far this could go. We sat down, our backs against the wall, and as soon as we were situated, she silently reached for me again. Her lips and mine connected again, and I held her tenderly as I began to let go of my worries a bit and let my instincts take over. We made out in that corner for God knows how long, and it was awesome. It was somewhat different than how it was with Ryan and me. This felt strange, but in a good way. It was getting me hot, feeling her against me, sensing the tingles in her body as she indulged in her love for me. I remembered what Ryan said, not to move too fast, and let french kissing be her move first...but as soon as I thought about it, I felt her tongue timidly enter my mouth. It was wild. So much softer and slower than when I kissed Ryan. In a weird way, it was more innocent, more fragile and delicate. Kissing a girl was definitely a lot different than kissing a guy. Hehehehe and how many people actually get to experience both? Her body reacted differently than Ryan's. It was just so supple and soft, gently melting into me like a warm sponge. It was a breathtaking experience.

I began to slide my tongue over the top of hers, and our saliva mixed together as she moaned softly. We kissed and licked and sucked and chewed at each other for what seemed like hours. Never once coming up for air. My erection was rock hard, and I was beginning to wish that she would touch it...just once. I was totally content with kissing at first, and for a long while it was all I needed. But my thoughts began to change, and I suddenly found my hormones taking over. I wanted her to touch me, to kiss me, to wrap herself around me. I started to really wonder what sex with a girl would be like, and the idea really turned me on. Is there a chance for me to defect to the 'other' team? Who knows? The way I felt at that moment, a family and a white pickett fence didn't seem all that far fetched.

We were almost laying side by side on the floor at this point. I began to moan and hug her tightly against me, and this time, I knew she felt my 'excitement' brush up against her leg. But instead of pulling away from me like I thought she would, she instead threw one of her legs over me, and pulled me in even further. My erection began to grind into her, and this was getting way out of control. I mean, she was just kidding around, she had to be. This was once my best friend for crying outloud. And Ryan...what about my significant other? The agreement was to have some fun, kiss some girls, and leave. There was no mention of falling in love, getting drunk, and doing the horizontal mambo with one of my childhood friends. I backed off a bit and broke the kiss. She opened her eyes, panting slightly and smiling. She looked so happy.

"You're a great kisser, Randy. You know that?" She said, her hand brushing the brown locks out of my eyes. Good! At least SOMEBODY thinks so!

"You too..." I wasn't quite sure what to follow that up with, but it was only a second before she was leaning forward again. I couldn't help myself, I was hopelessly addicted. I kissed her again, and again, and again. My whole body quivered with this anxious jitter, and it just made me feel so alive. Her lips just kept begging me for more, and I couldn't STOP. I kept trying to rationalize things out, trying to find a way to not let this go any further, but everytime I broke the kiss, it was only seconds before we were involved in another one. It seemed like the room was getting hot, and my whole body felt weightless.

I had my eyes closed, but I still wondered if people were watching. If they were silently cheering me on, saying what a cool stud I must be for locking lips with a pretty girl like Jenny. I hope they were, I wanted them to look. Come one, come all...come and see Randy, the amazing 'I-know-he's-not-gay' boy and his lovely assisstant Jennifer.

My hands moved slowly up and down her slim sides, but when I moved up to a certain point, I felt a hump. A breast. I was sooo tempted to touch it, to feel it and squeeze it in my hands, but a part of me felt like a pervert for even thinking about it. So I simply strayed from that little piece of private property. I could feel her warm breath on my cheek, and from her quick huffs, I knew she was in ecstacy. And I got the same weird high from her excitement that I had gotten from Tyler's kiss earlier on. And I suddenly wanted to make this a night she could tell her grandkids about someday.

My heart was beating rapidly and my whole body was shivering. Not even Tyler brought out this kind of sensual pleasure in me. In fact, the only person to ever kiss me and make me feel this good was Ryan. Who was suddenly standing right over us!

"Ahem..." He cleared his throat, and I jumped out of her embrace, startled at his sudden appearance. He looked down at me, and grinned a little bit. He wasn't mad or jealous, but for some reason I felt I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar or something. "I hate to interrupt, but we gotta run. We're already late for curfew."

"Curfew? What are you talking about? We haven't even been here that long." I replied.

"Randy, dude, it's like 12:30 AM." He said.

"12:30??? You're shitting me, right?" How could that be? That would mean that I've been making out with Jenny for damn near an hour and a half! But it only seemed like fifteen minutes, I swear.

" are you coming or what?"

I stood up right away, struggling a bit to hide my erection, and helped Jenny to her feet like a gentleman should. I got lost in her eyes for a moment, and she smiled. "I...I had a great time Jenny. Thanks for the invite. It"

" too." She said. And then we kissed again before I turned to walk up the steps with Ryan in front of me. I stumbled a few times, and when we reached the top I went to lean on the counter and nearly missed it by a full foot, sending me reeling back against a wall.

"Randy?...Dude, are you...are you DRUNK???"

"" I said, but the silly smile on my face gave me away. That and the fact that I just started giggling to myself uncontrollably when he noticed. Ryan would have kissed me if he could, I could see it in his eyes. Instead, he giggled a bit too and helped me stand straight by putting an arm over my shoulder. As much fun as I'd had with Jenny, it felt good to have Ryan touch me again. Even if it was only to keep me from falling over. I knew I had some teasing to come, but who cared, it was a night to remember. And I was glad that I didn't chicken out. She liked me, she really did. Wow. ME...with a girl...go figure.

We both went to the dining room, where Tyler was kissing some girl under the table, and evidently blowing her mind. Why they were under the dining room table is beyond me, but she didn't seem to mind. I watched silently for a moment, remembering how Tyler's kiss felt for me, and wondering how she was feeling. Experiencing it for the first time. We politely intervened shortly after, and soon we were all driving back home. We giggled back and forth a little bit in the car, and traded stories about what happened. There was actually a conversation about GIRLS, and I had something to add! It was a whole different feeling. I couldn't wait to go to school on Monday. If I got all that attention before over a mysterious hickey that appeared out of nowhere, I couldn't imagine what this little adventure would bring me. I felt 'safe', and alive, and accepted. Maybe I was blowing the whole thing out of proportion, but I just couldn't control the excitement inside of me. I was on top of the world, and I didn't WANT to contain it. I didn't want to bottle it up and not let it burst out of my every pour. To think...this was a night that I could even tell my MOM about! It's not like when I first found Ryan. When I fell in love with him, I spent the first couple of weeks on cloud nine, floating on wings of love and staying weak in the knees 24 hours a day. But, who could I tell? Nobody. I couldn't share it, I couldn't even show my affections in public. It had to be hidden, locked away inside of me, never to reach the surface. But being able to talk about this openly, with anybody from my mom, to my friends, to any stranger in the street, seemed to intensify the feelings inside a million times. It was indescribable.

But by the time we got close to home, I began to notice something strange. Ryan kept asking about me and Jenny, and about Tyler and one of the few women he had been involved with during the evening, but he was leaving out a lot of details about his own little adventure. In fact, when I asked how it went, he basically summed it all up in a single, vague sentence. Then he practically avoided the subject, time and time again. I didn't push it while Tyler was in the car, so I waited until we dropped him off and I asked Ryan to drive around the block for a few minutes so we could talk. He didn't have any trouble with that, but he still seemed kind of quiet to me.

"So what's with the big mystery? Did you kiss Hailey or not?" I asked.

"Hailey? Yeah...sure."

I was waiting for something more, but he didn't want to add anything to it. "And....?"

"And what? I kissed her. What else do you want to know?"

"How was it? What'd she say? What happened? Gimme some details for crying outloud."

Ryan was visibly uncomfortable trying to get his words together, but he soon answered with, "Well, we were laughing a bit, and then we were talking. After a while, she was touching my leg, and then one time...she left her hand there. So I put my hand on top of hers."

"Cool! Then what?"

"Then...she kissed me. And, um, next thing I knew, it was time to go. End of story." Ryan got quiet, and just looked forward as he drove around back to my house. I know that there wasn't any big conspiracy behind this whole thing, but the fact that he treated it like one, confused me a bit. He stopped in front of my house and was waiting for me to get out of the car, but I had to ask him what was up.

"Ryan, I don't mean to really be a pest or anything, but is there something you're not telling me here? I mean, you act like you're hiding something." As soon as I said it, Ryan let out a sigh and leaned back in his seat.

"She...uh...she really likes me dude."

"No doubt. Hehehehe, who wouldn't?"

"No, Randy. I mean she REALLY, REALLY likes me. And she told me tonight that she was in love with me. That she has been for a long time now."

I wasn't really seeing what the big problem was with that. I mean, Ryan gets love notes and girlish giggles all the time. And he never really cared all that much for Hailey before anyway. I mean, he hardly ever mentioned her, and when he did, it was about how shallow she was. "...And, you don't want to hurt her feelings or something?" I asked.

"I don't know. I mean, it's just kinda weird, you know? Um...look, I just need to think about some things, ok? It's nothing you have to really worry about." And with that, I opened the door and climbed out. "Hey Randy..." He called out to me.


"I love you."

"I love you more. Always will." I answered. And then Ryan leaned forward to kiss me through the passenger window. No matter how wonderfully mindblowing Jenny's kisses were tonight, nobody could send me into orbit the way Ryan could with a single peck on the lips. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the taste of him for a few quick moments, and it was like I could feel the Earth moving. Or maybe it was the CAR that was moving! Ryan's foot had slipped off the break, and the car began to slowly roll forward. He broke the kiss and slammed on the breaks. The sudden unexpected motion had caused me to lose what little balance I had in my half-intoxicated state, and I fell sideways to the ground with a thud. Thank goodness for a soft lawn.

We looked at each other in shock for a second at what had just happened, then we burst out laughing. "Go home already, ya crazy fag driver!" I shouted out.

"Aww sleep it off ya damn drunk!" He shouted back. And with a sexy smile, he drove off. Instead of going in the house right away, I took a minute to savor the last remaining moments of a magical evening. I smiled widely, and layed back on the soft cool grass, looking up at the stars. I took the time to notice the crisp air around me, the sound of crickets in the distance, and the glory of the night sky all at once. It was sooo beautiful. I thought about the whole experience, and almost started grinning to myself out of pure joy. I had a smile on my face, my breathing was still rigid, my heart still racing. I'd try to explain the feeling, but I didn't want to analyze it. I wanted to ENJOY it. I must have laid there for a full ten minutes before finally going back into the house. Besides, I was already an hour past my curfew, no need trying to hurry my lecture for being late. But, knowing my mom, once she hears that I was kissing a girl, JENNY, no less...of all the girls in the world, she'll probably get all misty eyed and goofy again. She had a real soft spot for that kind of stuff.

I quietly slid my key into the lock, and snuck inside. I knew my mom wouldn't be asleep this early, not while I was out 'galavanting' or whatever she called it. But if I could just make it to my room, change into some sweats, and put on some music before she saw me, I could always pretend that I had been there for a while. It's only worked once, and only because she dozed off in front of the tv. Maybe I'll get lucky again.

"Welcome home, Romeo." Maybe not. I turned to see my mom standing in the kitchen, illuminated by the harsh light of the refrigerator.

"I kissed Jenny tonight!" I blurted out. Geez, Randy, nice segue! What the hell was THAT about? I could have built up to that a little better.

"You what?" She asked confused.

I repeated it again, and when I saw a slight smile appear on her face, it really made me feel good. I don't know if she was proud, or thought it was 'cute', or if she was just laughing at my pathetic attempt to get out of trouble...but whatever it was, it was nice to see.

She stood speechless for a second, not wanting to smile, but cracking a smile anyway. "Just...go to bed. You're a weird boy, Randy Stephens." She grinned. But at that moment, I couldn't go to bed. I was filled with this explosive energy, and I practically begged her to sit down and hear about my night. So we sat at the kitchen table, and it poured out of me. Every detail! Well...not EVERY detail. She was my MOM afterall. But it felt so incredible to tell someone, to finally feel something real and share it with her. God, I rambled on and on and on, non-stop for almost an hour. I had to consciously stop myself from shouting I was so overjoyed. And, when the story had been told, I finally sighed and relaxed a bit. Finally relieved of some of that excitement and awe. I don't think she got a single word in edgewise, and the way she was looking me, I don't think she was able to make much sense out of my ramblings. Hehehehe, but who CARED? I told her, and it felt great. If only it were that easy to tell her about Ryan...

I rose to my feet, and figured I'd turn in before she remembered I was late. She can't prosecute me the next day, there's gotta be some kind of mother/son law that forbids it. So I kissed her goodnight, and headed off to my room. "I'm gonna turn in. I'll see you in the morning." I said.

"Yeah, that's a good idea. You'll need your rest for tomorrow."

"What's tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow, my darling boy, is the day that you completely clean out the garage, the driveway, your room, and the kitchen." She said with a smile.

"WHAT??? But it's Saturday!" No way! I've gotta get out of this! Ok...I've got a plan. "Awwwwww mom...." If that doesn't work, I'm screwed.

"That won't work kiddo. You're screwed. G'night." Geez, I thought only vampire's could read minds. Grrr! Mental note: next time...drug mom's tea before the party. Then she let me turn in for the night. I was walking in front of her when I turned to go into my room, but I think I misjudged my distance from the door slightly, and ran right into the frame. She gave me a strange look, and I just kinda smled at her and hoped she wouldn't ask. Does this alcahol EVER fully wear off...for God's sakes it's been long enough. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine mom. Really."

"Were you drinking?" she said, squinting her eyes a bit to examine me closely.

Hide your thoughts, hide your thoughts. "Nope. Not at all. 'Yawn'...see you in the morning."

"Let me smell your breath..."

"G'night mom! Love you!" I said, shutting the door fast before I found myself mowing every lawn on the block this weekend.

I plopped down on my bed, and it wasn't more than a few minutes later that I was sound asleep. Sometimes, life is good.

Saturday morning. The brightest, most beautiful Saturday morning of the century...and I'm stuck in a dingy garage, moving junk from one side of the place to the other. It was one of those messes that seemed eternal. The more you cleaned, the more you realized that no matter where you put the junk, it isn't going to just disappear. In fact, it seemed to be growing. I grumbled and cursed at myself all morning until Ryan came strolling by.

"Garage duty? caught, huh?" He said. God...on a sunny day, his hair, his face, his legs...they were just flawless. He was DAMN cute for n reason at all. It was sickening.

"AND driveway duty, AND room duty, AND kitchen duty!!! I thought she'd have a heart."

"No such luck, I take it. Too bad, I got off easily."

"What'd you do?" I asked.

"I told my dad about Hailey last night. I think he was so happy to hear me mention a girl's name, that he was ready to marry me off to her. Hehehehe!" Ryan was smiling, but I can't lie...something about that little comment stung a little. I don't know what it was, but it was a little jab in the ribs, knowing that Ryan's dad was so supportive of Hailey so fast. It made me wonder for a second if his dad liked me at all.

"Yeah...sounds...good." I said. I put on a fake smile and went back to cleaning.

"Hey hey now, sour puss. Don't be like that. The wedding may be for her..." And he hugged me slightly from behind, whispering, "...but the honeymoon is all yours babe. K?"

"You are too perfect, you know that?"

"Nope. But I'm glad you're delusional enough to think so." Sometimes, I swear he really didn't know. A guy that gorgeous HAS to be aware of it. He HAS to be.

Ryan kept me company for a little while that morning, cracking jokes and laying back to relax while I toiled and labored right in front of him. I think he got a kick out of it. And almost an hour later, Tyler saw us hanging out and came over to join us. I brought my cd player out to put on some tunes and the three of us turned an unfortunate punishment into somewhat of a good time. We played around a bit, and I saw my mom peeking out of the window at us a few times, but she didn't seem to mind. She had spent most of the morning on the phone anyway, no doubt spreading my little adventure over the Stephens Family Network of gossip. She'd tell two people, who would tell two people, and so on and so on. And then five years from now, the news will FINALLY reach Aunt Beatie and she'd ask me about it like it was still a fresh rumor. It's just the way it goes.

The garage finally got to a point of looking decent, and the driveway had been cleaned and swept. So my two companions decided to hit the mall and said a short goodbye as I dragged my tired body into the house. We decided to hit the arcade on Sunday, and I agreed. Anything beats THIS.

Needless to say, I was completely exhausted by the end of the day, and I was barely conscious when Ryan called me on the phone later that night. "Dude, I jus got an awesome idea!"

"Huh...what?" I said, still a bit groggy.

"About tomorrow...since all three of us are going to the about we make it a foursome instead?" I could hear the mischevious smile in his voice, and I asked what he had up his sleeves. "Well, it's Sunday right?"


"And most people aren't busy on Sunday, right?"

"...yeah? And?"

"Well, I thought that maybe you could give a certain shy, clumsy, friend of ours a call and invite him to meet us there." I see what he's getting at, the devil.

"Hehehehe why me?"

"C'mon Randy. If I ask, there's a chance he might go. If YOU ask, nothing short of a nuclear war will stop him from being there!"

I thought about it a second and figured, "Why not? Let's put Tyler and Ariel in the same room and see what pops up." I grinned and Ryan got all excited about the idea. Even more so then I did. We laughed for a bit, and just before it was time for me to hang up, he got serious.

" really love you dude. That's never going to change." It was pure magic to hear, and I cherished every word. But he seemd to be saying it so quietly this time, almost whispering it.

"I love you too Ryan. God I do."

"I've gotta go. I'll call you tomorrow. K? I'll be thinking about you. Love you." He whispered, really quiet this time. It was as if the 'warden' had caught him out of his jail cell or something. And before I could respond with anything, he hung up. Weird little brat, getting me all lovey dovey and then just running off. Just as well, I had to search for Ariel's number anyway. I'd never called him before, I wondered if he'd be shocked to hear from me. I began to look forward to this whole little set up tomorrow. It would be AWESOME if we could get those two together. The shy guy and one of the hottest guys in school. What an image.

I found Ariel's number in one of my notebooks, and dialed him up. The phone rang twice, and a lady answered. "Hello?"

"Yes, can I speak to Ariel, please?"

There was a quick pause, like she never expected anyone to call for him. Hehehe, it was a bit awkward. "Um...sure...hold on." She said, and then she called him to the phone. I could hear him in the background, basically answering her with the same amount of surprise that she had with the knowledge that he had a phonecall. He walked over and picked up the receiver.

"H-h-hello?" His voice was even cuter over the phone. It was so clean and innocent, like a slightly deeper version of a ten year old's voice.

"Hey bud. It's Randy. What's up?"

It was almost as though I could see him with his mouth hanging open. ".....HEY! on! I've gotta switch phones...ok? Don't hang up, ok? I'm gonna switch phones....ok?"

"Hehehehe, 'ok'." He put down the receiver and yelled out to his mom to hang up the phone for him. You would have thought it was Christmas morning the way he reacted. I never thought my voice could bring that kind of joy to someone.

"Randy? You still there?" He asked a few seconds later. He was panting a bit, like he had just ran upstairs to his room top speed and shut the door.

"Yeah, I'm here."

"Cool!, what's going on?"

"Well, I was thinking, me and some friends are going to the arcade tomorrow, I thought you might wanna come hang out with us for a while."

"YEAH! Sure! What time?" He was getting more and more excited by the minute. I was almost jealous of Tyler for a second. Because if this worked out, he was really going to have something special. Ariel just had this...'something' about him. Something that made you smile, that made you just cherish him for the lovable little goof that he was. And the fact that he was damn cute and blessed with a personality from Heaven above, just made him as complete a package as Ryan was for me. Him and Tyler could be a perfect match.

"I dunno. About 2 o'clock sound good for you?" I asked.

"Yeah...I'll meet you guys there. you wanted to stop by and we could walk together." Ariel's voice got a little quiter, and it sounded like he was biting his lip gently as he waited for an answer.

"Hehehehe...Ariel, the arcade isn't exactly in walking distance, remember?"

"'re right. Um...okay, well I'll just meet you there then."

"Great." I expected him to say something else, but he suddenly was dead silent. I wasn't quite sure what was going through his mind, but I could sense what he was thinking. He didn't want me to leave, but he didn't know what to say to make me stay. "You still there?"

"Yeah..." He whispered. Then he got quiet again.

"...So me and the guys will see you tomorrow, and bring plenty of cash. K?" I tried to get him out of his dreamworld, and I think he could sense the conversation coming to an end. But he wanted to prolong it forjust a few seconds longer, just to savor every minute. I hope this wasn't being somewhat 'cruel' after breaking his heart not long ago. I wanted him to come along, but it was becoming obvious that if I wanted Ty and Ariel to have anything to say to one another, I was going to have to make myself scarce.

"Um...ok...I'll...I'll be there. Ok? I promise." He said. And he fumbled for a few seconds before he finally said goodbye. My mind wandered for a bit, wondering if he was laying back on his bed, completely breathless, thinking about me. Memorizing every word I said to him. Love can leave you so helpless sometimes, even after you know it wasn't meant to be. This is going to take time.

The next day, Ryan drove by to pick me and Tyler up, and we headed out. The whole ride we kept exchanging little grins back and forth, anxiously awaiting their FIRST official introduction. It'll be great to see the expression on Tyler's face when Ariel shows up. Tyler was looking especially cute that afternoon too, wearing his favorite shirt. And it brought out his eyes beautifully. Ariel was bound to be captivated in an instant. This was gonna be awesome.

We parked in front and got out of the car, filing into the arcade. On a Sunday it had a nice little crowd, but not as bad as a Saturday evening. So we got our tokens, split up, and waited to see what little tricks destiny was going to bring us today. I kept an eye on the door, and sure enough, Ariel showed up right on time. His boyish grin was illuminated by a billion flashing lights, and I waved him over to come join us. This was it.

Ryan actually gave up his game and turned around to say hello. That's when I saw Ariel's smile droop a little, just ever so slightly, before he caught it and replaced it with a fake one. It was like he suddenly remembered Ryan and I were a 'couple' and his heart broke all over again. That's not what I wanted. I didn't want him to think it was just going to be me and him...I DID say 'me and the guys'. I didn't want to hurt that boy any more than I already have. But he seemed to be taking it a little better this time. I don't think he was hurt so much as he was dissappointed. I wonder. Maybe he had visions of me inviting him out alone to cheat on my boyfriend. Hehehehe! It was almost enough to make me blush. BUT, that's not why he's here.

"C'mon, there's someone I want you to meet." I said with a big smile, and we led him around the games to find Tyler playing a shooting game in the far corner.

"Hey Ty, look who's here." Ryan grinned. Tyler turned around a little and instantly lost his concentration, and his token. It was almost a look of fear on his face, one I've never seen before.

"Hey....hi..." Tyler said, wiping his hands on his shirt and extending one out in friendship.

Ariel got extremely quiet, as was expected, and he looked down to the floor as he raised a shaky hand to meet Tyler's. Ariel's hair flopped gently in front of his eyes, and he whispered, "Hi..."

Ryan and I could only stand back and smile to ourselves, excitedly watching the two of them make contact for the first time. The handshake was such a gentle one. So frail and timid, like they were afraid the other boy had the plague or something. It was sort of funny to watch really. They both stopped talking and we all stood there for a second without saying much of anything. The meeting had taken place, but we weren't seeing any real sparks flying. In fact, I wasn't even sure they were looking at each other. Ok...what are we doing wrong here?

"Tyler...this is Ariel. He's been hanging out with us for a while. Ariel, Tyler is Ryan's best friend from back home. We were really surprised that you two had never met before." I was trying to get them to start talking, or at least smile at each other. But Ariel was too shy to even lift his eyes from Tyler's shoes, and Tyler was being too quiet to encourage anything.

There was another short silence before Ryan stepped in and said, "Well...let's play some games shall we? That IS why we came here!" And he dragged me off to another corner of the arcade.

"What happened? What did we not do?" I asked.

"Don't sweat it. We just had to bail and step out of the way. No way Tyler is gonna prove us right by drooling over Ariel in front of us. And Ariel won't make a move with the 'ever so sexy' love of his life standing there watching him. much fun as it would be to watch, we've just gotta back off and let themtalk without pressure." I swear, it seemed like he had a plan for everything. It made sense, but dammit! I wanted to SEE! Oh well. We'll strangle it out of Tyler later.

Ryan and I played a few games together, occassionally keeping an eye out for what was going on. But we saw no sight of them. Curiosity finally got the best of me and I left to go find them. "Randy...just let them do it on their own dude." Ryan said, but I needed to know what was going on.

"I will, I will. I just want to make sure they didn't ditch us or something." Ok, that lie didn't even sound remotely logical, but anything to see our progress. I searched around a bit, hoping to see them hitting it off somewhere and having a great time. Instead, I turned the corner to see them playing games right next to each other, but not saying a single word to one another. Grrr! Ok, a little intervention couldn't hurt. Just a slight nudge in the right direction, that's all. Nothing more, then I'll leave them alone. I swear.

I walked over and stood in between them. "What's up guys?" I said.

"Nothing. I've beaten this game a billion times. I guess I'm just playing it for fun these days." Tyler said.

I watched as Ariel lost some more money in the machine he was playing, and he cursed at it under his breath. "Well, why don't you come over and try this one Ty?" I said trying to get the two of them to play the same game.

"Actually, I beat that one too already." Grrrr! Come ON you guys! Work with me here!

"I guess I just suck at it then." Ariel pouted, covering it up with a gentle grin. "I'm not too good at these things."

"Well..." Tyler said moving a bit closer. "...first of all, you shouldn't burn off your extras so quick. Save 'em for the big boss at the end. And instead of fighting four or five guys at once, just scroll forward a little bit at a time. That way you only have to fight them in twos." Ahhh...there we go.

After a few more instructions from Tyler, Ariel let out a hearty, "Ohhhh...I see." I stepped aside as Ariel put in another token and Tyler moved in to watch and see if he got it right.

"That's better. Here, lemme show you something." Tyler said. He knew how to play these games like a violin.

"Whoah! Cool! Okay, so how do you do that?" Ariel asked.

"Like this. See?"

"Wait...okay. So I can do that whenever I want to?"

"Only when the bar is flashing. But don't waste it, wait until the screen is full and then give it to 'em."

"Do you think you can teach me how to beat this game?"

A wicked smile broke out on Tyler's face. "Not ONLY can I teach you how to beat it, I'll show you how to get such a high score the machine will explode from the glitch!"

"Sweet! Now how do you do that thing you did again?"

"It's forward, back, back, forward, and then a circle, like this."

"Gotchya! Now how do you beat this guy? He's always kicking my ass."

"Oh, that's easy! Lemme show you..." I stepped back, quietly moving away from the two of them, and leaned against the wall not more than twenty feet away. They didn't even notice I was gone. It was working! They were talking, even laughing with each other. It was awesome. They really did make a cute couple. The blond and the brunette, the timid and the sensitive. I took a moment and grinned to myself as I watched them interact as though they had known each other for years. It was one of those moments when you really do believe in fate, and actually get to see it in motion.

I smiled and started to walk away, when I heard someone call my name from across the room. I looked up to see Sam and Matt walking towards me. No!!! No no NO!!! If Tyler sees the two of them together, it'll ruin everything! I practically ran to meet them half way so Tyler couldn't see them. What were we thinking? Of COURSE Sam and Matt were going to be in the arcade on Sunday, they practically ran the place. "Hey guys, what's up?" I said.

"Nothing much. We haven't seen you here in a while. You bring your sweetie with you?" Matt asked.

"Um...yeah, sure. He's...uh...he's playing a game over there I think." I pointed to the opposite end of the arcade, hoping to try to lead them away from my 'work' with Ariel and Tyler. Matt was already to go over and say hello, but Sam gave me a strange look. And he knew something was up.

"What's going on Randy? You're up to something." Sam asked me.

"Up to something? No way. Just thought you might want to say hello or something." But suddenly, Ryan walked overand he looked just as surprised as I was to see them standing there.

"Matt...Sam...what a...surprise." He said.

"What is it with you two today? We come here all the time, you know that." Sam was really getting suspicious at this point.

"Nothing wrong here. Right as rain." Ryan said. And he threwan arm over my shoulder casually to somehow make us

Then it happened. Ariel and Tyler must have lost, because the came around the corner smiling and giggling, ready to tell us what happened. Then...crash and burn. Ariel saw Ryan with an arm over my shoulder and his eyes immidiately returned to the floor. His smile faded away and it was as if he was reminded of the pain all over again. He couldn't even look at me. Tyler, of course, stopped dead in his tracks. Seeing Matt and Sam walking in, practically hand in hand, and it brought back some bad memories of his own. Tyler had kept a sweet smile on his face for almost a whole weekend without once talking about them or letting the whole situation get him down. But now here they were, unintentionally rubbing his nose in it again. And that beautiful smile disappeared completely.

All six of us stood there, unable to speak, for a few minutes before Ryan finally broke the ice. "Well...we were thinking about taking off. I'm out of cash anyway. So...we'll see you guys later?"

Matt glanced quickly over at Tyler, who turned away shyly. "Um...yeah. We...we weren't going to stay long anyway. Just...dropping in, you know."

"I'll meet you in the car." Tyler said, walking off by himself. No! It was working dammit! It was working! Sigh...sometimes fate works for you, but most of the time it just sits back and laughs at you.

Ryan and I left, and had to basically snap Ariel's attention back into focus before he could join us. So much for an easy beginning. The ride home was dead silent. Mostly with Tyler and Ariel in the backseat, staring out of opposite car windows. They were both so involved in their thoughts, so stubborn about letting the pain go. Then again, I suppose it wasn't really their choice. We dropped Ariel off first, and when I got out to let him out of the car, he gave me a weird look. A look that almost said, in a subtle way, "How could you?"

"Thanks. Great time dude." He mumbled. Then he walked away into the house, never looking back once. Great. Well THIS little plan is going to hell.

I got back into the car, and we were quiet for a few seconds longer before I turned to Tyler and said, "I'm sorry Ty. We....we really didn't expect them to show up today."

Tyler looked hurt, but he was trying to control it. Just long enough for us to get him home. "Oh? But you knew Ariel would be there, didn't you? I KNOW what you guys were up to. You guys suck."

"What did we do? We weren't trying anything funny, we thought it would be cool to hang out on a sunday, that's all." Ryan replied.

"Cut the shit dude! Look, I'm not some pity case that you guys have to 'set up' with anybody. I don't even WANT anybody in my life right now. It's not fucking worth it!"

We drove up to Tylers house and he was in a hurry to get out of the car. He walked out and hurried off into his house without saying a word, slamming the front door hard enough to rattle the windows.

"We made a mess of things, didn't we?" I asked.

"No, I think it'll be alright. Tyler just needs a little time to get through this. Maybe we pushed a bit too hard, a bit too fast."

"They were getting along, Ryan. They were laughing and talking and having fun. If nothing else, they could easily be the best of friends."

"We'll see. I think maybe we should sit back and let nature take its course for now though." Ryan dropped me off in front of my house, and flashed me a grin. "See you tomorrow babe."


"You betchya!" We both giggled and then he drove off. I sighed to myself and by the time I hit the living room couch, I was about ready to pass out. Ok, so things don't always work out right away. I had a few more tricks up my sleeve. For right now, I had some leftover homework to finish before the next morning. Why oh why do I always wait until the last minute. Arrrgh! I can't wait until I'm in college. Nobody does homework in college! As for the weekend as a whole...I'd say it was a learning experience on many levels. I feel like I gained ten years worth of wisdom in just a few days. And thanks to me...the garage is spotless. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

There it is! I hope you guys enjoyed the stories (and the wait between them!). All comments, good and bad are welcome at or stop by the website at