For some reason my computer is dead, and I can't post new parts to my story. Sucks to be me. So here's part three. The disclaimer's in part one, if you care to look.

Part 2


“Ava?” I called. I was standing in my bedroom doorway, calling out the open window to my new bunkmate. “Ava, are you here?”

“Yeah, Liz. I’m out here,” she called.

“Ava, I’ve had the worst day,” I began as I started out the window. “I left my damn Physics-” I stopped dead when I noticed Ava’s companion.

“JACK!” I said, throwing my arms around my cousin. He picked me up and whirled me around in a circle.

“Lizzie, Lizzie, Lizzie,” he said, putting me down and taking a good look at me. “You look beautiful.”

“You don’t look so bad yourself,” I commented. I took in my cousin’s shock of black hair and his intense green eyes… he could have been a movie star. “Actually, you look pretty damn fabulous.”

“Alright, alright,” he said. “Enough with the compliments, you’re going to make me blush.”

I laughed. “So I assume you’ve met Ava?”

“Ah, we’re old buddies by now,” he said, putting his arm around Ava and pulling her close. Ava blushed and gave me a Look, followed by a shy smile. I could tell she liked him. I looked back at her, giving a ‘what about Sean?’ look. Ava just rolled her eyes.

I laughed. “So what the hell are you doing here, Jack?”

“Actually, we’re moving into town,” he answered.

“Are you serious?” I asked excitedly.

“Damn straight. Aunt Nancy asked if Mom could come and help her out with the business until your dad gets better,” he explained.

I lowered my eyes a bit. Dad had been suffering from an extreme case of mono for several weeks now. His liver had not taken things well, and he’d had to go into the hospital the previous Friday morning.

“I’m sorry, by the way,” Jack said quietly.

I straightened up. “It’s okay,” I told him. “Well, it looks like it’s a big party at the Parkers’ these days! I know Mom will appreciate you two hardworking additions to our wait staff… what, you didn’t expect to live here for free, did you?” I laughed at their bemused faces. “I’m just kidding. You don’t have to work if you don’t want to, Ava. But you,” I said, poking Jack in the ribs, “will be scrubbing pans and dishes free of charge while you’re here!”

“Hey!” Jack laughed, grabbing me and tickling me. We struggled for awhile, and finally I pulled away, laughing.

“Seriously, Ava,” Jack began, “Why are you staying here?”

“She’s in town for a visit, and she’s my friend, so she’s staying here.”

Jack nodded, accepting my answer.

“Well look, I have to work in fifteen minutes, so I’m gonna go get changed. I’ll let you two get acquainted,” I said, winking at Ava and giving Jack the eye.

I entered my room through the window and grabbed my uniform, changing quickly in the bathroom. I couldn’t believe my luck – Ava and Jack seemed to be hitting it off! It would be great having my cousin around, and even greater for Ava to be making new friends. I sighed happily and went downstairs to work.

My mood was inevitably ruined as I walked out into the restaurant. It was packed, and my entire section was filled with messy families and loud teenagers. And, of course, Michael. I tried very unsuccessfully to ignore him except for in a professional manner, but when his third hour of fries and cherry coke (Tabasco on everything) ended, I was finished with my shift and sat down with him. “Why are you just sitting here watching me, Michael?” I asked him finally.

“I’m not watching you,” he told me. “I’m watching them.”

In my busy state, I’d neglected to notice the other sections. I looked in the direction of Michael’s gaze, finally resting my eyes on the last table before the bathroom. My jaw dropped. I could only see their backs, but that was definitely Maria’s blonde head leaning in conspicuously close to Max’ brown one. One of her perfectly manicured hands was resting against the back of her chair, and she was touching his shoulder ever so lightly every now and then. I looked back at Michael, who gave me a Look.

“You have to be shitting me,” I said.

“I shit you not, Parker,” he promised.

“Fuck,” I said.

Michael was saying something, but I wasn’t listening. With tears in my eyes, I breezed past my former best friend and my former boyfriend and banged my way through the swinging doors, up the stairs, and into my room. I slammed the door shut behind me, leaning against the door and crying. After a moment, I sensed a presence behind me. I turned slowly to see a slightly disheveled Jack and an even more disheveled Ava sitting on my bed. I laughed bitterly, and Jack stood and walked out the door in silence. Ava stood and straightened out my bedspread, then came over to me and put a hand on my shoulder.

“Would you like me to stay, or go?” she asked softly.

“Nothing personal, Ava…” I began.

“I’ll just go and find Jack,” she promised. “I’ll be back in an hour.”

I laid down on my bed facing out the window. I heard the door click softly behind me, and I let out a sob. That was the last thing I remembered before I drifted off to sleep.

I entered the high school nervously the next morning. I was terrified I’d run into Max or Maria, or worse, Michael. I walked toward my locker quickly, practically sticking my head inside once I’d opened the door. After a moment, I felt a hand on my elbow. I breathed in sharply and looked up. To my relief, it was Kyle. He didn’t say a word, just hugged me close. At that moment, I loved Kyle more than anybody on the face of the earth, and then some.

I let him go at the ringing of the first bell. “Thanks, Kyle. You have no idea how much I needed that.”

“Yeah, I do,” he told me.

“Oh…” I trailed off, wondering what to say next.

“Well hey, I’d better get to class,” he said awkwardly.

“Yeah, me too,” I said. I returned his smile, and he left. I watched him walk away, smiling slightly. I closed my locker, thinking that maybe today would be better than yesterday.

I turned to face Max and Maria’s eager and apologetic faces.

Scratch that better day thing.

“Liz, about last night,” Max began.

“It wasn’t at all what you thought,” Maria continued.

“We were just working,” Max explained.

“I had this ridiculous paper due for English today…” Maria started.

“…and I corrected it for her…”Max continued.

“…and we were going over those corrections,” Maria said.

“So that’s what last night was,” Max finished.

“Working,” I said.

“Yeah,” they answered together.

“Okay,” I nodded reluctantly. I didn’t really believe them, but I just didn’t feel like hearing them out anymore.

I turned the other way, and walked off toward History.

The day passed uneventfully, with little sign of Michael. I was glad of that; I didn’t feel like hearing his torments today. But just as my last class was over and I was walking out the door, a hand came out of nowhere and dragged me into the eraser room. I looked at my captor, not surprised at who it was.

“Michael,” I half-shouted.

“Shh!” he warned, pointing a finger at the vent that lent a spectacular view into Topolsky’s vacant office. They’d moved the counselor’s office some time before, and it was now locked and used for storage. But now I looked down in horror at the so-called study buddies, making out like crazy.

“Fuck me,” I whispered.

“He won’t be doing that again anytime soon,” Michael whispered almost imperceptibly behind me.

I turned around and stared at him a moment, then slapped him. Hard. He winced, and I left the room.

I went quickly down the stairs, fighting the crowds all the way. I ran down the hallway and tried the knob to the empty office, glad when it turned easily. I opened it slightly, trusting their lust and the pile of boxes I’d seen through the vent to keep me hidden from their view. The door creaked a little, and I winced. The creak, however, was covered by Maria’s loud moan.

“Ohhhhh Max,” she said. I peered through the boxes and all I could see was Max’ mouth attached to Maria’s neck. I watched for a moment, but when Max’ hand disappeared from view and Maria stiffened, rising up on her toes, I couldn’t take it anymore. I turned the corner to see my best friend with her hand shoved down my boyfriend’s pants, and his hand disappearing under her skirt. I stood there for the full minute it took them to notice me, and when they stopped dead, I left the office without a word. I stalked down the hall until I felt Maria’s little hand on my shoulder. I turned around, and without a word I slugged her across the jaw.

Maria cried out, and held her face. I stood there breathing hard, and barely noticed when her palm – the palm that, just a moment before, had been jacking off my boyfriend – came across my face. She turned around and stalked back into the room, letting the door slam shut behind her.

I ran back up the stairs and locked myself in the eraser room, some masochistic desire to know what was going on in that room taking over my body. I sat down by the vent and watched as Max took Maria’s face in his hands and kissed the spot where I’d hit her. He trailed his kisses down her neck and, as her breath quickened, onto her covered breast. Her hand found its way back into his pants, and I heard her let out a sigh as his hand once again disappeared under her skirt. Apparently, my interruption hadn’t fazed them. I broke out into tears again, my head in my hands.

At least an hour later, and several minutes after Max and Maria had fucked each other senseless, I walked out the door with a plan in mind. First stop, Max’ house.

I strode up his street with new resolve. I rang the doorbell, and when Isabel answered, I smiled and pushed gently past her. I walked up the stairs and entered Max’ room, and smacked him across the face. I was going to have to watch this violence thing. “Consider it over,” I said.

He started to speak, but I hushed him. “You’re not allowed to speak to me, ever again. Goodbye, Max.” With that, I walked down the stairs, said a quick goodbye to Isabel and Diane, and left.

Next stop, the airport. I drove the hour and a half it took, and took care of my business. I then headed straight to Kyle’s.

He answered the door in jeans and little else, and I laughed at the grease spattered all over his body. It was good to laugh.

“Sorry I’m a mess, I’ve been under cars all evening. What can I do for you, Liz?” he asked.

I handed him his new airline ticket.

“What’s this?”

“You’re going to Peru next week, Kyle.”

“What? I can’t take this, you’re supposed to go on the trip,” he said, confused.

“I think you’ll have a better time than I will,” I told him.

“Liz…”

“Just take it, Kyle. I caught Max and Maria fucking in Topolsky’s old office, and I don’t want to spend the next month with them. In fact, Peru isn’t nearly far enough away from them for me. I’m thinking I’ll take a trip to the North Pole.”

“Oh, Liz… I’m so sorry…”

“Don’t be. Have a good time with Isabel,” I told him, laughing as his eyes lit up. “G’night, Kyle.”

“Night, Liz,” he said.

I walked back to my mother’s car, finally realizing how exhausted I was. I drove the short distance home and trudged up the stairs to my room, where Ava was peacefully sleeping in her clothes on my bed. I smiled at her peaceful face, and went out onto the balcony to sleep.