Click Five: "Access"

It was a simple twenty five minute walk from Giovanni's junior high building to the glorious Westlake High School campus. He was still two years away from officially being a high school freshman, but he looked forward to it with so much excitement that he could hardly keep himself still in his 7th grade classes any longer. He had gotten his first big taste of high school life when his science and math scores began to soar through the roof at Ballard Middle School, and since he was easily outshining the other students, even in the 8th grade classes, he was given access to special classes at the high school, just to see how he would do. He was granted the opportunity to walk out of his school early nearly the end of the day, and then study with the older kids. For him, it was like a VIP pass to the most awesome place on Earth!

Giovanni Ruschek, 'Geo' for short, was as American as any green eyed blond could be, and didn't even have a hint of his grandparents Czech accents. And even though his mother, Ava Ruschek, who was an English teacher at Westlake High, kept bits and pieces of her own accent, Giovanni made sure that it skipped him over entirely. He had been 13 years old for over a month now, and the need to be seen as 'cool' had become an all consuming obsession for him. He wanted to be around the popular kids. He wanted fancy clothes like the kids wear on television. He wanted all of the latest gadgets and games, new shoes, all the most popular music...he was building himself, what he figured, was a foolproof identity. To him, life should be a '90210', 'Gossip Girl', episode. With drama and girls and danger and parties...and to him, high school was the beginning of the life he wanted more than anything. He was beyond eager to start taking classes there. He looked up to the teenagers around him with a certain fascination. They were his personal version of the gods of Olympus, walking around him, maintaining dramatic and adventurous lives that he could only dream of being a part of someday.

Entering the library to wait for his mom to finish her class tutorial for that period, Geo looked around at the older boys and girls doing their individual projects. He smiled as he saw one boy leaning on one hand, falling asleep as he tried to read up on a few magazine articles for his next class. Coming from a junior high, where every move is guided and controlled by some kind of adult 'monitor' every minute of the day, Geo found the idea of even being able to fall asleep in the library so liberating. Hell, at Ballard, they couldn't even GO to the library by themselves The whole class had to go at prisoners or something. He just couldn't WAIT to start his life over in high school! Those are surely going to be the BEST four years of his life.

"Hiya, Geo!" Came a voice over his shoulder. Sighhhh...Jennifer Goodwin. A high school girl that worked in the library from time to time. A girl that Geo found unnaturally pretty, but was too terrified to ever tell her so. He was still so shy around girls. Perhaps it wasn't his time to figure that part of his life yet. But for her, he was certainly willing to start some basic training.

"Hi, Jennifer..." He said, attempting to appear mature and comfortable...and not really achieving either one. "I'm...umm.." He couldn't speak. Not to her! "I'm just waiting on my mom." He mentally slapped himself for making the comment. No, no, no! He doesn't want to be some little insignificant mama's boy! He wants to be COOL! He would have been better off if he said he was there DRUGS or something! "I mean....ah...I'm just.."

"You certainly are being a 'spaz' today, cutie pie." She laughed, her long, shiny brown hair crawling softly over her shoulders as she leaned down to lightly touch the top of his head. "Hey, when did you cut your hair?"

Geo decided that the boyish little Aaron Carter haircut he had before wasn't 'cool' enough. Instead, he tried to go for something with a bit more attitude, now wearing his hair short, with blond spikes instead. It's too bad that he couldn't do anything about the smooth, 'late bloomer', baby face looks that came with it. "Um...two weeks ago." He blushed, attempting to get his breathing under control. Jennifer Goodwin was nearly three years older than he was...but when has the heart ever known better than to fall for someone it can't have?

"Sweet! You're looking like a little badass right now." Jennifer smiled, running her hand through the soft spikes while he was suddenly taken over with a bad case of the infatuated 'wiggles'.

"Really???" He said excitedly, and then attempted to quickly pull his interest back so he wouldn't be so damn obvious. "I mean...yeah. That's what I was going for." Jennifer liked the feel of his new haircut, but at Geo's age, it doesn't take much contact at all to get certain biological functions stirring, and before he knew what hit him, he was forced to find a nearby chair and quickly sit down, making sure to put his backpack in his lap. He hated to pull away from her enchanting touch, but he would have hated getting caught with a boner MUCH much more.

Jennifer could be so unaware of Geo's affections most of the time. She simply found his cheerful antics adorable, and his bashful smile as just a side effect of him being so boyishly sweet. So she didn't have any idea how much she led him into a heavenly torture with ever wink and smile that she gave him. As far as she was concerned, he was too young to really entertain feelings like that. She had a few suspicions of a little 'crush' from time to time, but nothing serious. If only she knew just how advanced Geo's fantasies about her had gotten since he first started seeing her regularly during his high school visits.

"Smile for me, Jenny. I need something sweet in my camera before it malfunctions from the rest of the ugly mugs in here." Giggled Ren Hiriouki, now getting away from his class tutorial at long last. Ren was one of those cute guys that seemed to be everybody's friend, existing without a single enemy at all. He was practically 'hate-proof', as the other kids would say. Ren's jet black hair and dark brown eyes contained such a cheerful vibe. A beautiful boy of Japanese descent, who had made an addictive habit of carrying a small handheld camera with him everywhere he went. At age 15, he had made the decision to record every last moment of his high school life to remember later. His friends, his good times, his teachers...a video documentary of better and brighter days for the future. He wanted to capture it all.

"Get out of here with that. Hehehe, go on." Jenny grinned, and Geo couldn't help but feel an instant pinch of jealousy sting his heart as this...this...'other' boy walked in the middle of their private time and got her to smile. "Ren, this is Geo."

Ren turned the camera on Geo, and Geo tried to make some kind of street rapper pose, giving the camera a nod. Hiding his envy well, even on tape. "What's up little man?" Ren said, and Geo's face dropped a bit.

"Little man?" He asked. "I'm nobody's 'little man'..."

At that moment, Geo's mom walked over and kissed him lovingly on the top of his head. "There's my little man." She smiled, and Geo was instantly mortified.

"MOM!" He whispered through gritted teeth. Ugh! Why did she always have to do stuff like that in front of Jenny!

"Shush." She smiled, still smothering him in front of the cool kids. "Did you bring your homework?"

"Yes,'s in my backpack." He replied, increasingly frustrated with her presence. It was something Mrs. Ruschek was getting more and more used to these days. Her son becoming agitated and embarrassed by her in public, but still needing constant love and attention at home. It was a tricky balance sometimes, trying to figure out which was best for which situation. But seeing the red blush in his cheeks, and his apparent need to just curl up into a little ball and die a that very moment, let her know that she was intruding. So she decided to make her exit.

"Alright. I can take the hint. Just come see me after your class today, and we'll pick up some groceries on the way home. Ok?"

"Alright..." He grunted, rolling his eyes a bit to show off in front of his little 'audience' there. She remembered when such displays used to insult her. But Geo was a good kid, and had no problem figuring out when not to cross the line. So she built a slightly thicker skin to defend against it, and just tried her best to let him grow apart from her, little by little, without letting him run wild. Yes, a difficult balance indeed.

She left, and Jenny and Ren both said, "Bye, Mrs. Ruschek." Getting a smile in return.

Geo waited until his mom was gone before trying to get Jennifer's attention again. But Ren, once again, was able to gain access to her attention in a way that he couldn't figure out just yet. "Omigod Jen...check it out!" Ren said pointing the camera towards the corner of the library, were two others were standing. "Match made in Hell isn't it?"

The boy, possessing the kind of good looks that gave off a certain Paris Hilton type of snottiness from a distance, was Warren Vincent. A Sandy blond heartbreaker that was more charm than actual brains, but nobody seemed to notice. Either that, or they were too busy gazing at his light brown eyes to care. A well-known lady's man, it was odd to see him all cozied up with Tina Feckler. Tina was a rich girl who wasn't really a mean spirited brat...but came off that way sometimes. Simply because of the fact that she had always been daddy's little girl, and has never been without the best of everything. So the very idea of her not having exactly what she wants, precisely when she wants it, without any questions of any kind...baffled and frustrated her to no end. And it looks like right now...she wanted Warren Vincent. And he wasn't working too hard to pull away from her.

"Ewww! Please tell me those two aren't gonna start dating! That would be the most nauseating tabloid fairy tale ever." Jenny said.

"I know, right?" Ren agreed, focusing his camera lens on them and zooming in on their playful little exchange. "Total 'Brangelina' moment. They'd probably date each other just for the attention alone."

Geo feeling completely left out at the moment, said, "Yeah...that's gross Screw them." Naturally, he had absolutely no idea who they were or what he was talking about. All he knew was that Jennifer Goodwin was giving her sweet smile away to somebody else, and he kinda wanted it back.

Both Ren and Jennifer gave Geo a kind smile, and then Jen told them, "Well, I've gotta get back to work. I'll see you guys later."

"Sure thing." Ren said, and finally closed his camera for a moment. "I'll see ya later, k? Nice meeting"

"Geo." The boy told him, trying hard not to show any joy over his departure. Ren slung his bag over his slim shoulder, and Geo was left alone with his princes for a few minutes longer. "So...can I help or something?"

"Hehehe, don't you have a class in here in a couple of minutes?" She asked.

" teacher's not here yet. I thought...maybe...I mean, if you needed to lift anything heavy or anything..." Now, Geo was obviously smaller than Jennifer was, and his wiry arms would get sore from just pushing a pencil for too long while doing his homework. But he didn't let it keep him from making a valiant effort to be a gentleman. And Jennifer couldn't help but be flattered by that.

"Well, I don't have anything heavy to lift...but you can help me put books away for a while if you want?"

"SURE!" He said, swiftly pulling it back again. "I know, whatever." He'd do almost anything to be there. Anything to help. Just so long as he could keep her close...for just a few minutes longer. That's as close to Heaven as he's gonna get while he's alive.

Click Six: "Crossroads"

Janitor Melvin Foley had almost made it to the end of the day. There was only one bell left before the end of the day, and then he could start cleaning up after these little hormone driven, sticky fingered, unreasonably cocky, teenage mall rats! A job that he was looking forward to finishing quickly today so that he could rush home and try to get some enjoyment out of his weekend for a change.

Foley wasn't really sure when he began to hold the vast majority of high school students in such contempt, but he had become bitter and abrasive towards them in recent years. Something about them just bothered him immensely, and it was difficult to be surrounded by their innocent arrogance, day in and day out, for the last 6 years of his life. He was reaching a point where he could barely stand to look at them, as they reminded him of the scampering cockroaches that lived under his kitchen and bathroom sinks at home. He couldn't really pinpoint why he had turned against them...or perhaps felt that they had turned against him. But after being made to clean mashed potatoes off of the wall and ceiling after some lunchtime mischief...he just couldn't take any more. He was really hoping to wait until he got home, or at least until after the last bell when the kids were fleeing the building. But he just couldn't wait any longer, and knew exactly what he needed to do to calm his nerves again.

Foley moved swiftly through the sea of teens polluting the hallway, trying not to look any of the little bastards in the eye. He was sure that they'd be able to recognize the deep burning hatred he was beginning to harbor for them in his heart. It could be so hard to hide sometimes. He marched forward, seeing the usual teenage behavior in every hall. The cackling laughter of cracking voices. A parade of zits in varying size and a variety of colors. Stupid stunts done with the intention of getting noticed, if ONLY for a few seconds. Boys and girls kissing by their lockers as though they had any IDEA what the hell love was. Not to mention the self appointed 'alpha male' assholes, picking on any teen 'animal' smaller than them, just for the sake of asserting their position at the top of the social food chain. Sighhh...the faces change...but the game is always the same. Teenagers aren't 'people'...they're an entire species all on their own They need to have a Steve Irwin type of crocodile hunter to come in to high schools, spy on their predictable habits, and then jump on them...wrestling them to the ground only to tie them up with a rope and tag them to find them later. Foley really didn't like kids. He certainly picked the wrong profession. But whatever, it paid well. And it kept frozen pizzas in his fridge and batteries in the smoke detector. What else could he ask for?

Oh he remembers.

Foley took his keys out of his pocket, jingling them all as he searched through the massive selection. He could open any door in the school if he needed to, but hardly had an 'affection' for any one of them more than the golden key he had just taken up between his fingers. He put it in the lock and opened the door to the basement, steps leading down into the school's boiler room. It had become his own private bungalow. His personal 'Fortress of Solitude'. He moved inside, and was sure to lock the door behind him. He always did.

Hidden underneath the removable tray of his toolbox, Foley kept a rather sizeable flask full of cheap, bargain basement, whiskey...and had a big plastic bottle of reserves in the trunk of his car if he ever needed to 'reload'. His hands shook gently as he excitedly reached for the silver flask, and removed the top. The taste of the whiskey was like the sweetened 'tang' of fresh grapefruit on his tongue. He had consumed enough alcohol in his lifetime to not be really affected by the sting of the first sip any more. But DAMN if it didn't taste good! And the only time he lowered the flask was when he needed to breathe.

There was, of course, the lingering danger of getting caught by the faculty. But it was a small risk indeed. To be honest, the other teachers and school administrators, didn't really like Foley all that much. He could be extremely grumpy half the time. And when he was in a good mood...he was seen as being a very 'strange' and halfway 'crazy' individual. The kind of person that reminded you of those weird old small town hicks that warn the public of danger in those old 80's horror flicks. Only 4 months away from his 30th birthday, Melvin Foley already looked to be twice his age. A skinny, gangly, man, just above being skin and bones...with a permanently frowned set of fish lips, and bugged out blue eyes. Big awkward ears, and wearing a black skullcap to hide the fact that he was rapidly going bald on the top of his peanut shaped head. He knew that none of the faculty would actually want to come looking for him in the basement. He had a walkie talkie on his hip, and if they needed him, they would just call. That alone kept him from getting caught, and gave him multiple opportunities to come downstairs and get him a few sips every now and then...covering the scent of the whiskey on his breath with the spicy flavor of beef jerky that he kept in his overall pockets. And occasionally masking it with the menthol of a cough drop or throat lozenge. Whatever it took to keep his sanity and his job at the same time.

Thanks God he had at least ONE escape from them goddamn kids! He needed that. He really did. And God help the unlucky son of bitch who even ATTEMPTED to intrude on his little safe haven in the basement! God HELP them! They'd have to be fucking idiots to trample in on his garden of Eden.

At that same moment, on the other side of the school, "Dude...where IS this guy? You said he'd be here with the weed by now!" Rusty tuned Kyle's impatient comments out as he tapped his foot and waited for his 'weed connection' to arrive. "Rusty? What the hell, man?"

"Dude, shut up already! He'll be here!" They waited in the school parking lot by themselves, and finally...just as Rusty began to get anxious, the black Mustang drove onto school grounds, carefully rolling over the safety speed bumps and greeting his 'business' associates for the afternoon. "SEE? I told he was coming!" Rusty said, and the boys quickly walked over to the side of his car. "What's up, Dino?"

"Hey there, baby bear." Dino smiled, knowing that he was getting ready to snatch some unexpected extra funds from these two kids. "I hear you're looking for some 'wings' today. How can I be of service?"

"We got, like...30 bucks, dude. What can you give me?" Rusty asked, taking a crumpled up ten dollar bill from Kyle's hand to make an even thirty. Dino was hoping for a bit more, but what did he care. He was basically just giving them some skunk weed that he couldn't unload off on anyone else anyway. Kids don't know the difference. He could give them a bag full of lawnmower clippings, and they'd swear it was marijuana from the planet, Venus.

"I don't know, buddy. You sure you can't scrape up a little bit more?" Dino asked. "I've got some incredible shit here in this bag."

The boys looked at each other, but didn't have any more cash to offer. Kyle looked in the car window and asked, " you think that could just toss us a little on 'credit'? We can pay you more after the weekend..."

Dino scoffed at the sound of it. "You know...asking me a question like that, I'd swear you boys were high already. Catch you on the flipside, fellas."

"WAIT!!! Wait...!" Rusty shouted as the car started to move forward. "Come on, man! You can't just leave us with nothing. Don't you have something...uh...'less incredible' in there?"

Playing them like a violin, Dino gave them the illusion of generosity by 'allowing' them to have the bag for the thirty dollars they had. He gave it to them in a small Ziploc bag, that he slipped inside of an empty potato chip bag to hide the contents. "Pleasure doing business as usual, gentlemen." He said, and then looked over Kyle's shoulder to see Coach Gedrick approaching his car. "Ahhh shit." Dino sighed. "Pocket the stash, kids. Here comes trouble."

The coach, a fit, hard bodied man, marched over with an intimidating 'stomp'. And pushed Kyle and Rusty aside as he leaned down to put his hands on the Mustang window. "Welllll...if it isn't Dino Cruise. You know, I could be mistaken, but I could have sworn that you were expelled two years ago. Tell I mistaken?"

"No worries, Coach. I was just bringing my young friends here some lunch. Doing my one good turn for the day." Dino replied sarcastically with a smile. Gedrick had been a thorn in his side since his expulsion kept him from playing on the football team a few years back. The coach might not have said it out loud, but he still blames the kid for blowing the season for the whole team. Still...he wasn't supposed to be on school property, and considering that he had contraband on him, the sooner he could leave, the better.

"How about you do us a favor from now on, Cruise? Go do your 'good turns' off of the premises from now on." Gedrick told him. "You're not welcome here any more."

"Just passing through, Coach. I'd be gone already, but you decided to hold me up."

The coach took his hands off of the window, and Dino took off to leave the parking lot. Gedrick turned to Kyle and Rusty, who were frozen in their tracks, trying hard not to look guilty. "Well? What are you two pansies waiting for? Get your ass back in the building. Move it!" He barked, and they nervously took off to return to class.

Glad that they were able to get something to smoke downstairs at the end of the day, the boys were hardly paying attention where they were going, and ran smack into a freshman, knocking some books out of his hands by mistake. "Shit, I'm sorry, bro." Kyle said, and bent over to pick the books up for him. Funny...neither one of them even knew how picking up those books might have spared them from the tragedy that was about to take place in the next hour.

Darwin whispered a timid 'thank you' as they handed him the books back and apologized again. There were some decent people left in the world after all. But despite the random act of kindness, Darwin wasn't concerned with concepts like 'hope', and 'remorse', and 'future'. Those words were pretty much lost on him now. He looked up at the clock in the hallway, and saw the second hand ticking its way down to the zero hour. He mad sure to leave his backpack in his locker for most of the day, causing him to carry his books in his arms. He did it just in case any nosey teacher decided to go searching through it. Not to mention that he couldn't afford to have it slip from his shoulder and cause a misfire. Thinking back to it, he didn't even remember if he had put the safety on after loading it this morning. He wouldn't need it though. It would be better to just find Mitch, plug him five times before he had a chance to run...and save the last bullet for himself. No time for hesitation. No time for a conscience or for second thoughts. He's not going to be afraid any more. Not any more.

If only he had been given a chance. If only he could have avoided Mitch's radar altogether...he might have had a different life. He might have been given a choice. As Darwin looked down the hall, he saw a few girls gasp and giggle as they prepared for the ever-gorgeous 'Dorian Flynn' to walk by. Yeah, if it weren't for Mitch...Darwin could have been like Dorian. He could have been loved, and adored, and surrounded by friends. His life could have been 'easy'. But it's too late for that now. There's no reversing the already extensive damage to his identity and reputation in this place. The only thing he had to look forward to...was making it right again by balancing out the equation. So much for salvation.

As Dorian walked down the hall, he did all he could to avoid the idolizing stares of the giggling girls in front of him. But there's no way that they'd just let him pass unnoticed. He didn't even know what something like that would be like...being unnoticed.

"Hiiiiiii, Dorian!" The girls said with a swoon, their eyes devouring every inch of his firm young body whole, as he blushed furiously from the objectification of it. He mumbled a hello with a wave, mostly keeping his head down. But one of the girls stepped in front of him and said, "Good luck on the track meet after school today. You're gonna kick Hillside's ass today, I'm sure of it."

"Umm...Thanks." Dorian replied.

The girl, then, took a not-so-secret glance down at Dorian's crotch, and smiled. "Win BIG for us today, k? We'll be watching."

Dorian pretended not to notice, he always did. And simply said, "...Ok. Sure thing." And was happy to see Coach Gedrick come down the hall after walking in from the parking lot. Anything to escape the feeling that he was a piece of meat being dangled in front of a bunch of female wolves.

"Hey, don't go chasing girls on me now, Dorian! There will be plenty of pussy waiting for you AFTER the state finals. Got it?" The coach told him, and Dorian agreed. If nothing else, his dedication to the track team gave him an excuse to dodge the 'girl' question for just a little bit longer "Now, as soon as that last bell rings, I want all of you to go down to the showers, and get yourselves nice and limber before the meet. Get the water as hot as you can stand it. We'll get you guys stretched out and ready by the time the other team's bus arrives." Dorian nodded, but then just so happened to catch a glimpse of someone looking at him from halfway down the hall. The same cute blond boy that's been watching him during gym classes. The one pair of eyes that always gave him so much comfort inside. "Are you paying attention to me, Flynn?" Gedrick growled.

"Huh? Yah...I got it, Coach."

"Good. I'm looking for you to be our secret weapon today. Alright?"

Dorian nodded gently, his eyes still catching peeks at the boy down the hall. And he did his best to keep from smiling in the boy's direction. "Uh huh...." He said, hoping the coach thought he was paying attention.

Then he heard Gedrick shout out to the school janitor. "Hey, Foley! Did you get those showers cleaned up in the boy's locker room yet? We've got a meet today." The janitor mumbled something angrily under his breath and just walked away from him, keeping Gedrick's face frowned up even more than usual. "That guy is a fucking freak, you know that?" He turned to Dorian, who was now smiling at his admirer, and snapped him out of his fantasy. "Flynn...get down there RIGHT after the last bell today! You hear me?" Dorian nodded, and they went their separate ways. Lingering thoughts of that beautiful blond...with striking blue eyes that seemed to just give off this vibe that suggested that....he, and he alone, might just understand.

Striking blue eyes....

Just one of the many attractive features that made Jake Gordon sooooo alluring to Jason's heart every time he laid eyes on him. It was fate's cruel joke that placed his locker so close to his own, and as Jason saw Jake looking down the hall at something else...he felt a shiver in the center of his chest. He could barely put the combination into his lock as he tried to calm himself down. Martin rolled his eyes, so tired of seeing his best friend lust after someone from such a hopeless position. Not that Jason cared all that much. He knew gold when he saw it. And it glistened in the silken strands of Jake Gordon's soft blond hair.

As the coach and Dorian left the hallway, Jake went back to digging in his locker, and noticed Jason and Martin standing beside him. "Oh, hey. Sorry, I didn't even see you guys there."

"Gee, figure that." Martin sneered, hating the idea of being looked don on from his big golden 'pop-kid' pedestal.

Jason elbowed his friend in the stomach before he said anything rude, and told Jake, "It''s ok. Really."

There was an awkward silence as the two boys continued to rummage through a pile of paper and books. Then Martin decided to keep Jason's attention away from his big dumb high school celebrity crush. "So look, when I checked back at lunch, there was some stuff on the internet about the 'Houdini 3' breaking up something awful as it gets closer to the sun. It's like, the whole core is made up of ice. So the melting ice is basically the only thing holding the big rock together. It's gonna be one hell of a meteor shower tonight, Jason. I just know it."

Jake's ears perked up a bit. "The 'Houdini 3'? That's the big comet, right? Is that tonight?"

Jason smiled sheepishly, so overjoyed that he had been granted 'worthy' of Jake Gordon's attention. "Yeah! It''s gonna be really visible tonight. It would even be visible right now...but, you know...the daylight." He grinned. "But...once the sun goes's gonna be...beautiful."

Jake smiled, and it almost caused Jason Riley to melt right down into his shoes. Frustrating Martin all the more. "ANYWAY..." He said, taking Jason's focus back. "...You should come up to the computer lab and check this out. You're better at calculations than I am. Maybe we can find a better place to see the comet from."

"Oh, so you guys are going to go out and see it?" Jake asked.

"Don't you have somewhere to BE?" Martin asked, and got an even harder elbow in the side.

"Yeah, definitely." Jason said. "Um...we're going to the computer lab today to see if we can find the best spot. It looks like I've got some...last minute planning to do."

Martin could already see where this was going, and silently objected by widening his eyes in Jason's direction. Not that Jason could see him through the stars in his eyes. "AHEM!'s probably not going to be all that interesting if you're not into comets and stuff. And hadn't spent LOTS and LOTS of time studying them with your BEST friend so they could enjoy it together!" He said, doing all he could to pull back on the charging horse that Jake's smile had made out of Jason's affections.

"Actually...even if you've never seen's like, amazing. You can come if you're...not doing anything tonight." Watching the most beautiful comet in world history with THE Jake Gordon would be like TEN miracles to Jason, and he was SO hoping that Jake would say yes!

"Really? Well, actually...I don't have any big plans tonight. I mean, I'm going to watch the track meet when it starts, but..."

"TRACK MEET? Awwww, that's too bad!" Martin interrupted. "That's exactly when we were going to go. Shit. Ah well, maybe when the NEXT comet comes along, we'll give you a call! Scout's honor!"

It's not as if Jake couldn't see what Martin was doing. He just chose to ignore it. If anything, it made him want to show up even MORE for the simple fact that Jason invited him, and Martin didn't want him there. "You know what? Maybe I'll come along after all. The other team won't get here right away anyway. They're almost a half hour bus ride away. So maybe I'll come and meet up with you guys in the computer lab. Is that cool?"

"No!" Martin grunted, this time making sure to avoid getting elbowed again this time.

"It's awesome." Jason sighed. "'ll uh...I'll see you then."

"Definitely." Jake grinned, appreciating the dreamy smile Jason was giving him, but not really aware of all the mixed up emotions that were behind it. Jake could almost recognize something...'tender' in his eyes. An affection. A yearning. If Jake wasn't crazy...he could have sworn that Jason was...

"BUT I DIDN'T EVEN DO IT!!!" Came a loud voice as Jake, Jason, and Martin, turned around to see the school's main guidance counselor, Mr. Wyman, with Mitch close behind him...being held still by school security.

Mr. Wyman had heard this same bullshit from Mitch a million times before, and didn't have any trouble punishing him for a crime that he was SURE that he had committed. "Funny thing, Mr. Campinini...I have an anonymous witness that says you did."

"WHO???" Mitch hollered.

"Not important."

"C'mon, Mr. Wyman!!! I mean, why would I throw mashed potatoes on the wall and ceiling of the cafeteria????"

"I'm not sure, Mitch. But I suppose we'll figure that out when you come down to my office after school today. Won't we?" Mr. Wyman said with a sarcastic sigh. As much good as he tried to do with these kids, he truly believed in the idea that there were some who just could not be saved And once someone got themselves listed in that category, Wyman saw them as more of a threat to the other students than a challenge. Better they screw up their own lives than take some of these other good kids down with them. "I suggest you be on your best behavior for the last period today, Mitch. I'm pretty sure that you're gonna need a good story to get you out a three day suspension."

"This is CRAZY!!! You're just accusing me for no reason!"

"Not at all. You're just as equal as the other students, and yadda yadda." Mr. Wyman said. "Just be in my office after the last bell, and we'll make yet another appointment to see your father and talk about your behavior."

"This isn't FAIR!" Mitch protested, but Mr. Wyman never stopped walking, and hardly paid his loud objections any mind at all. Mitch was outdone, and looked over to see Ren Hiriouki recording the meltdown with his camera It angered him even further, and brutally shoved Ren out of the way as he stormed off in anger.

Mitch marched until he was so pissed off that he could hardly SEE any more! And that's when he rounded the corner and ended up pushing a featherweight little boy out of his way. "Geez!" Geo said, holding on to the wall to keep from being knocked over by the angry giant. Jenny reached out to help him stand upright again, and Geo flashed a dirty look to Mitch's back, but didn't say anything. He'd be pounded into dust if he said anything that the heavy handed bully heard out loud. And Geo didn't want that. Especially in front of his 'girl'.

"You ok?" Jenny asked.

"Yeah, of course." Geo replied. "Thanks."

"He's such an asshole." She said, and Geo couldn't help but get excited by the idea of her being on his side.

"Uh-huh...big asshole." He smiled, and hoped that his blush wasn't as 'visible' as it was 'hot' in his rapidly pink-ening cheeks. "I'm gonna buy a soda. You want one?"

"You don't have to do that, Geo. But thank you. You're a sweetheart." Jenny smiled, and they walked off to the Coke machine together as Mitch turned out of the hallway to burst through the door to the stairwell.

Not even knowing that Darwin was just one floor above him, in that exact same stairwell going over his 'plan' on how to finish out the last day of his life.

Darwin heard the door slam open, and even though it took a few seconds, it wasn't long before he recognized the rage-filled mumbling that was echoing against the walls. He knew that ball of angry shit anywhere. Mitch began stomping his way up the stairs in Darwin's direction. Why did he leave his gun in his locker??? This was it! This could have been the perfect opportunity! He could split his head wide open right now and be DONE with this! But despite the glorious opportunity, Darwin was unarmed, and his instincts instantly gave way to old habits. His adrenaline began to rush, his breath got short, and the fear of being hurt flooded his mind. He started trembling, and realized that it was already too late for him to run and remove himself out of the bully's way. Instead, he froze. And in seconds was soon standing face to face with the boy he despised more than anything.

Mitch could instantly see the terror in Darwin's eyes, and his already burning frustration singled him out. As it always did. Darwin knew that it was coming, and he braced himself as Mitch marched over and grabbed a handful of his shirt. "WAS IT YOU??? Huh?" He took another handful of Darwin's soft, light brown, hair, and clutched it until he was wincing in pain..his head pulled back from the agony of it. "Did you fucking rat me out, faggot???"

"Ahh! I don't know what you're talking about!" Darwin hissed through gritted teeth.

But Mitch only yanked harder. "Noooo...I think you snitched on me, pretty boy! I think you WANTED me to get sent to Wyman's office after school today, didn't you? Huh?" He slammed Darwin's fragile body against the wall, and got in his face, towering over the boy by at least six inches Outweighing the boy by at least 50 pounds. It was truly a 'David and Goliath' situation...but 'David' was without his famous 'rock' this time. "You trying to cheat us out of our time together after school? Is that it? Afraid I'm gonna beat the shit out of you again? ell, I'll tell you what, I plan to make up for every minute we lost today right after school tomorrow. You get me? Maybe I'll start off by loosening one of those pretty white teeth of yours!" He told him. Somehow...something inside of Darwin snapped. His capacity for fear and pain had simply...turned themselves off for a second. And he almost found a kind of sick pleasure in it. Because when he really broke it all down to it's basic parts...this was the BEST that Mitch could do. It was ALL he had. His best shot. And soon..none of it was going to matter any more. "I'm gonna spend the rest of my life making YOURS a living hell!" Mitch shouted, and Darwin couldn't help but laugh. Actually LAUGH! Right there in the painful grip of his torturer. "What the fuck are YOU laughing at sweetheart???" Mitch demanded.

But Darwin couldn't stop. In fact, his boyish giggles got even worse. "Hehehe...'for the rest of your...'...hehehe....hahahaha!"

Mitch gave him one last slam against the wall, and pointed a finger at Darwin's face. "Laugh it up, kid. You and me...we'll find out what's so funny when the last bell rings today."

"Hehehe...I'm sure you will..." He snickered, and Mitch slammed another door open as he left Darwin there to grin alone. Was it a psychosis settling in? Darwin couldn't tell. It didn't feel like it. It felt good. It was really almost over. Just one more class period. Just one more. He couldn't wait to see the look on the son of a bitch's smug face! He really couldn't.

Mr. Wyman's office, huh? He'd have to alter his plan a little bit...but when he got out of that guidance counselor office today...Darwin would be waiting. And next time...'Goliath' is gonna fall.

If you think that things are falling into place for all the characters you've met so far...then you're not looking for the wild card! Stay tuned! Because things are about to take a SERIOUS left turn! ::Wicked Grin::

I hope you guys are enjoying the story, and please let me know what you think at or stop by my website at and say hello! I'll seezya soon with more of the first chapter!