2015 – Original Fiction Romance Version

evil author day full

 

 

Now here we have what happens when I have a dream that I loved, write down the concept and huge amount of backstory and without outlining or anything more, try to “pants” it to get to where the dream took place. If I go back to this, I will plan and outline a LOT to fix it. There are two versions of this story. This is the one focused on the romance angle. It has lots of holes and things not filled in and edit ideas, so you are warned, this is very rough. Plus song lyrics.

Disclaimer: I do own this concept and story.

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Journal 1- Joshua **** de la *****, beginning September 17, 2012

When tomorrow dawns it will be the fifteenth anniversary of my arrival here. The first anniversary I will celebrate as an adult. Thus my journal begins. Personally I find it more than a bit ridiculous that this will be of any use to anyone in the future, certainly not I, but it is the law, the rule, the tradition and so, I write. I sit here in isolation in some small town somewhere in the Midwest, I think it is Kansas but it may be Iowa or South Dakota or Idaho. I have been traveling for weeks now and I am losing track. I am searching but that is not what I want to write about now.

The beginning is supposed to be about reflection on the past. It is so mind numbingly ridiculous to me. Everyone knows it all already but nonetheless I write. Anyone else in a similar situation (though of course not exactly the same) would consider themselves American. Having come here at the age of 3 and been raised in America, going to public school in a large metropolitan area, speaking English at school, at home, everywhere. They would call themselves first generation American and be proud. But I am not just anyone and I did not come here from genocide or poverty in Europe or Africa. I did not escape political or religious persecution in Asia. I came here, like hundreds of others in my clans, through the portal. The portal from Elsewhere. From **********.

We were sent to escape the cataclysm that was occurring. So many children of the four main clans were sent through the portal with only the barest handful of adults. The ratio was something like 1 adult to 75 children. My parents were not one of the adults that came. I was a toddler and alone. My story is not unique. It is not odd. With a ratio like that the odd ones were those who had a close family member like a parent, grown sibling, uncle, or aunt to care for them directly.

I try not to dwell on it. It is the way it is and nothing can change it. There was a lottery of sorts before we left and I lost. I came here alone. Alright, that is being overly maudlin. I came with hundreds of others in my clan, of my blood, of my ***magic***. All but seven of them under the age of 12. But nonetheless, I was alone. There was no one nearer in blood to me than a fourth cousin, practically a stranger. Sometimes growing up, I wished I had been left behind to share the fate of my parents, my older siblings. But they wanted me to live and sent me here. To Earth. To America. To the portal that opened in the woods of Philadelphia.

I do not remember much of what happened that day. I was so young. But I do recall the pain of being in the sun as we emerged from the tree cover, the intense burning feeling from the UV rays filtered through a much weaker ozone layer than home. We were unprepared and we suffered until we discovered sunscreen. I still have a few scars from those early sunburns. Most of us do. The legends would have it that we should have burst into flames for our sins in the light of day. What sins could a toddler have committed that would lead to that horrible of a death? No, it was simply the lack of an adaptation to the strength of the sun here versus where we were from. Before sun protection was invented, yes, those few who came here as explorers or ex-patriots would have needed to remain indoors on all but the most overcast of days, but none burst into flames.

I have heard the stories of the responses that we got from the religious community, the fundamentalists still rage against us and many of the more stringent laws are due to their lobbying. They fear us and use religion and God to oppress us and control us. Many of them to this day, cults and groups, insist that we are demons from Hell and must be destroyed. I cannot count how many times in my travels I have been drenched in holy water or hit with a cross. The only times it bothers me is when it is made of silver because there is truth to that myth. There is something in our DNA that causes a severe allergic reaction to silver. I don’t burn but I do get painful hives and if it is held too long, I have an anaphalactic reaction and my throat swells and I have trouble breathing.

Other legends that they test are mirrors and photography. We show up in them. We have reflections and we are not invisible to technology. I personally like garlic though the smell can be overpowering since our senses are more acute than Earthlings. But I love the taste and it does not harm me. It gives a nice zing to food unless it is drenched in it which causes problems for anyone, not just my people. I sleep in a bed, not a coffin. I don’t sleep in the dirt. If I was buried alive, I would die from lack of air just like any other person. We can hold out breath longer than those of Earth because our lungs are larger and can hold more air and we regulate out breathing somewhat differently but I still breathe. I do not fly with or without wings and I most certainly cannot turn into a bat. That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The change in mass alone is insane!

We are not MAGIC! We are not SUPERNATURAL CREATURES! We are NOT soulless DEMONS! If you stick a stake through our hearts, yes, we die! So would any living thing! It does not make us crumble into dust and blow away. We live longer than those from here, typically to about 200 Earth years but we are not IMMORTAL! Arrrgghh! It is aggravating and you would think after fifteen years people would understand but many still don’t. They believe the myths and the legends. They claim that those who say otherwise have been brainwashed by us. That is another myth. We cannot glamor people into thinking things, we cannot read minds, the most we do is read emotions and then only of those we have shared with.

That is the problem there, I suppose. The sharing. The blood thing. We don’t grow fangs and we don’t hunt humans and drain them of their blood to keep ourselves alive. Our canines are more pronounced and pointed than Earthlings but we cannot suck blood through them. We share blood with closest family and our mates. Not soul mates, destined to be together through all eternity, just mates like spouses. And not just anyone we have sex with either, it is more personal than that. It is special. It is making a bond that connects us always. Whether parent to child, sibling to sibling, or mate to mate, it is deeply personal and loving.

It freaks people out. The first time one of us from the portal shared blood and truly mated with an Earthling, and it took, caused an uproar as had never been imagined. The ceremony, the sharing of blood and of bodily fluids during sex, happened to activate or over-ride or bring to the forefront a dormant bit of DNA coding in the former Earthling and they changed over the course of the next month. They became indistinguishable from one of us who was born Elsewhere. The only way to tell the difference was to measure mineral deposits in the bones after death, as was discovered when the backlash claimed the lives of the two bonded in a great fire.

Since then, there have been dozens of conversions. And these conversions have led to the most stringent of the laws. The SEPARATION laws. These laws are ones that are impacting me directly as I write this, in isolation, somewhere in the middle of the United States of America. I am searching, following a trail, hoping that this time I am in time but doubting it more and more each time I am too late. They are clever and they know how to use the laws to keep me behind them and to hide themselves. To hide her, though I believe she does not wish to hide. I hope to find her this time. I think I am close. I may be deluding myself but I think I felt her earlier today. If so, tomorrow may be more to celebrate than the anniversary of my arrival on this planet. It may be my bonding day. I can only hope.

———-

March 17, 2012, Philadelphia, PA

Joshua lay on his back on the wall surrounding the terrace, gazing up at the clouds as they streamed past in the high wind. His dark brown hair blew across his exceptionally pale face, the lighter blondish sections glinting in the dim light, the below shoulder length strands hiding his expression from the others lounging eating their lunches. It was third period, early for lunch perhaps, at only ten in the morning but the school had lunch periods all day long to accommodate the entire population. And, mused Joshua, ten is better and closer to noon than first period, 8:45.

Sitting next to Joshua with their backs against the balustrade that he lay on were his good friends, Mark, Ben, and Pete. A few feet away, eating their lunches on a nearby stone bench were two others, rounding out the group, Kendall and Sara.

Mark *** was tall and lanky with dark brown hair cut in a near buzz cut. He had hazel eyes and a fuzzy beard just starting to grow in. Ben *** was shorter, below average for a 16 year old guy, with dirty blonde hair that was cut short and spiked. He had brown eyes and tanned skin. Pete *** was tall, though shorter than Mark, with brown hair which he styled everyday with lots of beauty products. His eyes were also brown though not as dark as Ben’s eyes. He was very pale though he had enough of a glow to his skin to make it clear he was Terran.

Sara *** was a petite redhead, curvy and bouncy. In another life she could have been a cheerleader and probably led the squad but she actually tended more towards depressive pessimism than positivity and big smiles. Kendall *** was tall, abnormally so for a girl, she actually towered over everyone except Joshua. She stood at an even 6 feet, without heels. When she wore her favorite high heeled boots, she topped Joshua’s impressive 6 foot 4 inch frame. She had light brown hair which was naturally wavy and curly when short though currently it was crinkled and fell halfway down her back. Her eyes were a bright sky blue and her skin glowed with health and was surprisingly clear for a Terran girl of seventeen.

As Joshua sat gazing at the sky and brooding, Kendall finished the last bite of her peanut butter and fluff sandwich and downed the remains of her cola before squishing it into her lunch bag, ready to be thrown out in the recycle bin. She rose to her feet, stretched her arms over her head and laughed. The others looked at her bar Joshua who simply sighed out, “What’s funny, Ken?”

“You. You’re all broody and Healthcliff just because you got turned down for a date by a girl you have barely said a dozen words to before today. Fine, she’s gorgeous, no denying it, but she’s also a stuck up bigoted witch, a word that is actually spelled with a “b” in her case. Get over it and eat your lunch. She’s not worth getting sick over.”

Sara nodded her head. “Kendall’s right, Joshua. There is no reason for you to be so … depressed about this. Rebecca is a horrible person. I am in three classes with her this year and two last year. Kendall has been in class with her at least once and this year four times since freshman year.”

Kendall broke in, “Plus advisory. Our last names are two apart in alphabetical order, so not only is she in my homeroom every year, but most of the time when we are in the same class we sit next to one another because teachers are anal about seating charts and the alphabet. She is worthless, Josh. Absolutely, positively, completely worth no more of your time, energy, or thought. Get over it!”

Joshua rolled over onto his stomach on the wall. He sighed again and brushed his hair out of his face and turned his head towards Kendall. Dark brown eyes met blue. “But … she is so … just … “

Ben spoke up, turning his body so that he could see his friend, “She is a bigot, Josh! I had Government and Modern History with her last year. Her essay on the Rights of Humans was positively nauseating. I think it could have easily been written in Nazi Germany with Jewish substituted for ***vampires***. She kept using the word vampire and referring to the “walking dead” and “bloodsuckers” and that there should be even more segregation and stakings and that the vigilantes from five years ago were heroes not insane murderers and that the laws should be made so that scientists could experiment on ***vampires*** to help the “human race”. I wanted to stake her before she was done her presentation. The teacher gave her an A but also told her off for her prejudice.”

Kendall spoke again, “Seriously, Josh, she would kill you before she ever went on a date with you. If she had agreed, I would have kidnapped you or you would have been likely to disappear into some lab somewhere, never seen again. She is psycho about this. And, unfortunately, not brainless. Although, if she had been truly smart and dedicated she would have said yes and used the date to get to you and others you know. But she knows people who think like her and who are smart enough to come up with a plan like that so, I suggest being careful. If she suddenly changes how she acts or tells you she changed her mind, I would say no.”

Joshua sat up. “You’re just jealous of her. She is so pretty and smart and all. I really like her and she smells really good.”

Mike chimed in, “Don’t be an ass. Ken is right, she is no good. She’ll have you staked and baked before you said “Hello” to her. And as for smelling good, she just started wearing a new perfume, I heard them talking about it in gym. It is called, um, “*****” and it is supposed to be irresistible or something.”

Sara’s eyes widened. “Irresistible to ***vampires***! I read an article about researchers doing work on the pheromones that were most attractive to ***vampires*** and they were close to a breakthrough and it wouldn’t work on Terrans because it was subtle and only ***vampires*** had a keen enough nose to smell it enough to be affected. Early tests were too strong and general and dogs and other animals started crawling all over the test subjects and humping them. I bet they perfected it or she knows someone who is using her to test it and you are lucky she didn’t think ahead or you would be dead meat, Joshua. She would have lured you to a group of vigilantes and they would have killed you or maybe the scientists would have had you and you would be strapped down and they would take your blood and use you to test compounds on until you were insane and then they would kill you and no one would ever know because she would say you stood her up and even though we would suspect we wouldn’t be able to prove it and she would get away with it until we could get her alone and take our revenge but it wouldn’t bring you back but we would have satisfaction knowing we tortured and killed her for you but we would miss you and always feel that we should have done more and…”

Joshua broke in, incredulously, “Take a breath, Sara! Sheesh. A bit over the top there, don’t ya think? I mean, how do you get from her having a new perfume to me being dead and you all torturing her to death to avenge me? Chill out. You had a bit too much sugar with your lunch today. Your paranoia is showing way too much.”

Kendall laughed. “Yeah. We never would have let him go anywhere with her alone, Sara. We know what she is like and what she believes. We would have kept watch at the very least. And Josh, Sara and Mike are right about one thing. It is suspicious that on the very day she starts wearing this new perfume you go from never having spoken to her hardly to begging her to go out with you. You are never like that. I actually know some people who have bets about whether you even like girls at all.”

Joshua’s mouth sagged open, “People think I’m gay? I’m not! I like girls. Guys don’t do anything for me at all. I’m just – just – shy. You know that. I never know what to say or how to say it without sounding like a moron or something or worrying I have something on my face or stuck in my teeth or that I am smiling to much or not meeting their eyes enough. I just – I like girls plenty. Who thinks I’m gay?”

Pete laughed. “Exactly the point, J. You don’t just walk up to girls you don’t even know and ask them out. That isn’t you. But that is exactly what you did twenty minutes ago. You walked past Rebecca in the hall, stopped dead, turned around and asked her to go out with you tonight. When she said no, you said, “Tomorrow or this weekend or next week?” You don’t do that. You are too self conscious. Something weird happened and you shouldn’t be upset she turned you down, you should be wary about why you asked in he first place. Sara may be onto something. Yeah, her theory got a bit out of control but if she read an article about this research then it is out there happening. You can’t ignore that and Rebecca’s beliefs are right in line with someone who would test this for a bad reason. She isn’t one of those skanks who just want to date a ***vampire*** hoping to get bit, she is on the opposite end so think about this, Joshua.”

Ben input his two cents, “Yeah, think with your brain in your head not the one in your pants!”

“Crudely put but an accurate point, Josh.” Kendall sat on the edge of the balustrade next to Joshua’s head and ran her fingers through his wild hair. “We are worried about this, okay? Let us be your friends and help you out here. Think about all of this.”

Joshua sat up and slouched his shoulders forward, putting his head in his hands and his elbows on his knees, his long hair once more obscuring his entire face. “I get it, I guess. It did feel weird thinking back. I mean, it wasn’t like I was planning it or anything, to ask her when I saw her. I just walked past and needed to ask her out. I – okay – yeah, that is suspicious. I almost felt compelled. Man, I am stupid. And then I got so depressed over this when I would never have thought about her before half an hour ago. I hate this. I hate being different. Ugh!”

Kendall placed her hand on his back and began rubbing in circles lightly while Ben and Mike patted his shoes and Pete put his hand on his shin. Sara got up and knelt next to him on the wall and wrapped her arms around his bicep and squeezed. “We have your back when your mind is out of whack!”

“That’s what friends are for,” chimed in the rest in a well rehearsed answer back.

Joshua raised his head and grinned lightly at them. “And friends are the family you choose. Thanks guys.”

“You would do it for us, Josh. In fact, you have. When I had those problems last year with *** you were there for me to talk to and rail at and I know you and the others threatened him with something to get him to back off at the end.” Kendall smiled. “I appreciate your care even though it pissed me off at the time. We can all take care of ourselves but it is nice not to have to sometimes or at least to have back up.”

Ben nodded. “We are all there for each other. Ever since freshman year Bio.”

“And I’ve been there since fifth grade, Josh.” Kendall grinned. “Ms *** class. You had my back even then. Remember at recess when *** *** pushed me off the swing and you came up behind him during his turn and pushed it so hard he went flying off and rolled halfway across the playground. You got detention.”

“Yeah,” he laughed. “And you waited around after school and gave me your snack pass as a thank you and the next day I used it to get a bag of Skittles and shared them with you.”

She nodded, “And thus the legend began. You and me against the world and then we met Sara in seventh grade and Mike and Pete and Ben her in ninth and we stood up for each other and helped each other through all of the ridiculousness that is adolescence and high school.”

“Testing anxiety and the SATs,” sighed Ben.

“Boyfriends and their evil plans and plots to get us to put out,” giggled Sara.

“Confusions about sexuality and love,” put in Pete.

“Fights with jocks and arguments with teachers about fights with jocks,” said Mike.

“Pheromones and perfumes and idiocy, conspiracy theories notwithstanding,” agreed Joshua. “The six of us, together against it all. To coin a phrase…”

“ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL, WE STAND TALL!” They are spoke as one ending the phrase on a group hug, rolling off the balustrade onto the tiled patio, laughing and giggling as the bell rang signaling the end of the period and the warning to move to the next class of the day. They all stood up, leaning on one another and gathered their trash and their backpacks and waved to one another as they headed their separate ways to the rest of the school day, knowing they would meet up again after the last bell to do homework together and car pool.

The group of friends, minus Mike who had a job at a bookstore, lounged in various poses around the basement of Ben’s house. The lighting was dim from the high windows but the furniture was comfortable and the atmosphere relaxing. The teens had finished their homework and were now focused on relaxing and re-hashing the events of the day.

Sara, her legs hanging over the arm of the chair she lay in, brought the subject matter around to the issue at hand. “Have you made a decision about what happened with Rebecca this morning, Joshua?”

He ran his hand through his untamed hair. “i agree it was definitely weird and probably suspicious. That wasn’t like me, at all, at all. We know that. Was it because of the new perfume she was talking about? Maybe. If so, was it some sort of scientific test of a pheromone draw for me or my people? Perhaps. Was she going to lure me to a secret lab and experiment on me? No. If that was the plan, or her plan at least, she wouldn’t have turned me down.”

“That is logical,” said Kendall as she stretched out next to him on the sofa, her legs on the back. “And like I said, she is smart but not that smart. I would like to have an excuse to kick her butt only even if the perfume is what we suspect, she didn’t do anything other than cause you to embarrass yourself. And while that is humiliatingly painful, it is not something I can actually do anything about since it is possible she does not even know what the stuff is or does. I mean, if she did, she is smart enough not to be shocked by what happened but she was. She was floored.”

Sara nodded. “I heard her in the bathroom fifth period. She was ranting to one of her friends about how dirty she felt because you wanted to date her and how she was terrified you were going to use some kind of mind whammy to make her your slave, like you were Bela Lugosi or something from the movies. Really, the way she was going on and on and how her friend was reacting to her, I think she had been raving since she turned you down. If she knew what the stuff would do, she would have been prepared and had a plan in place to deal with it. But she had no clue you would ask her out if you got close to her.”

“My question is, will this happen again the next time you get a whiff of her perfume or whatever. Are you going to be able to control yourself?” queried Ben. “I mean, when it happened, you just lost it, any rational thought in your head.”

“I think, now that I know the possibility and won’t be blindsided by it, whether it is her wearing it or someone else, I think I would be able to override my response. I mean, it is calling to the deepest most primal parts with the pheromones, so my upper brain should be able to keep control as long as I realize something hinky is going on. And now that I know what it feels like, and that it can happen, I suspect that I can overcome it. I’m not a primate or Neanderthal. I am not ruled by my hormones, for the most part and if I suddenly want someone that I would never have before, I will take it with a grain of salt, leave the area and analyze things first. Not to say that I wouldn’t mind if you all had my back. After all, if they change the formula or whatever, I might not have a chance.” Joshua grinned wryly.

Pete opened his mouth, closed it again, then decided to take a chance. “We’ll have your back, J, but what about others. I mean, you’re not the only ***vampire*** at school. What if one of them gets ensnared. Or someone from another school. I mean, if Rebecca didn’t know what she had, then others could be in the same predicament. Don’t you think you should – um – well, you know – tell someone about what happened.”

Kendall groaned and Sara and Ben tossed pillows at him. “Who am I supposed to tell? I’m just one of thirty-six at home and the three adults aren’t related to me or any of us and they’re all Terrans anyway. They don’t care about this. I don’t have a clan member close to me in blood here, you know that. So, who do I tell? How? I mean -”

Kendall interrupted with a slash of her hand. “I hate that Pete brought it up but he is right. If this happened to someone else and Sara’s conspiracy theory came anywhere close to true you would beat yourself up for not preventing it somehow for years. But if you pass this info up the food chain, as it were, then you’ll have done all that you could and the weight will be off you and on them if something happens. The blood will be on their hands.”

“Who?”

“The council. Write a letter and mark it priority. That’s all you can do without direct connection to a clan member, right?”

“I suppose so. I just -” Joshua’s hands slammed down on his thighs. “this should not be my responsibility. And we should have more adults available who care! Damn it! I hate this!”

“We know, Josh. We know how hard it is for you but you need to find a way to do this. We need to figure it out. You don’t have a direct link to any adult members of the clans -”

“Like 80 percent of us kids. They brought us here and just leave us swinging, on our own, with Terrans who’re more terrified of us than not. Or just indifferent. Man, what was the point, ya know? I mean, yeah, fine, we’re alive but we’re alone. I mean, I’ve got you guys and that is so awesome, so much better than before was. You would think with over thirty of us living in the same house we would bond and be friends and stuff but most of us couldn’t care less about each other. Almost the only one who have any kind of connection are the ones who have siblings or at least close cousins in the same dorm house. I don’t. You all know that. I had siblings, I was told, but they were all older and didn’t come here. And neither did any adult closer than fourth cousins which is being a stranger. So I just write a letter or note to the council and hope that they take it seriously and no one gets hurt or killed because out clan system is so screwed up? I’ll still have blood on my hands if something happens because I know something hinky is going on, Kendall, but I can’t really do anything. I want to but the council is not going to believe some random letter. I don’t even have the codes that would truly mark is as urgent and not just a teenager’s fantasy. It is so frustrating!!”

Sara reached out to him and laid her hand on his forearm. “We know, Joshua. We want to help but we know even less than you. We figured this out. We have to figure out what to do now. We’ll work together to draft the letter and make sure it sounds real and credible. If they ignore it, well, that has nothing to do with us, just them. We know it will start at the bottom but if we’re lucky, maybe it will work its way upwards fast if it is made clear what happened and if they have been keeping an eye on the journals and know the possibilities. And if they do than they will take it seriously.”

“That’s a lot of ifs, Sara. Too damn many ifs. Not that we can do anything about it. We can’t. So, we just write it, make it as adult and serious sounding as we can, send it through channels, and hope to the heavens that it works and we stop whatever is going on. And maybe if we do, they will be so kind as to tell us what happened since we let them get major info. More maybes and ifs.” Joshua exhaled sharply and long, rolling his eyes in his exasperation.

“It’s all we can do, man. We gotta try and we really have nothing to lose. Let’s do this. Just present the info, don’t go all Oliver Stone conspiracy theory, just the facts, ma’am, just the facts,” put in Ben. “No speculation. No fantasies or fancies. Just what we heard and saw and what Joshua did. We should draft a copy now and when Mike gets here after work, he can edit it for us and we’ll send it on its way first thing tomorrow. Or rather, you will, Joshua.”

Joshua nodded. “If we’re going to do this, then lets get it done. To quote a great one: If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well it were done quickly.”

“English lit nerd,” coughed Pete. “Shakespeare prat.” they all laughed, happy to be together and to have a plan even if they all feared it wouldn’t work, at least they had hope. And sometimes, hope was all that stood between being able to live with yourself and feeling a complete and utter failure at everything. Hope springs eternal and these teens hoped that they would accomplish enough to be able to look at themselves in the mirror and each other in the face. They knew that if they didn’t at least try, they would never be able to accept themselves or each other if the worst happened and they needed to have each other to lean on.

Letter received from Philadelphia, PA, March **, 2012

Dear Council and Members,

An odd experience that occurred to me recently prompts me to send this letter to those that may understand what happened and have a chance of fixing it or responding to it before anything larger occurs. On March **, 2012, as I was walking down the hallway of my high school on the way to my locker, I passed a young lady whom I had barely spoken to in the past. I was hurrying and was breathing heavily and deeply. I got about three steps past her and was stopped dead in my tracks. I inhaled very deeply, spun on my heel and approached the young lady. Without even greeting her in any way, I reached out a hand and placed it on her arm and asked her to go out with me that night. When she pulled away and turned me down, I asked about the next night taking a step closer. She backed up and said no again so I followed and asked about the weekend or the next week. She spun on her heel, emphatically denied any interest in me and ran down the hall into a girls’ bathroom. As she got further from me I seemed to think about what had just happened rather than just reacting to it and I became flustered and embarrassed. I hurried to my locker and then outside where I proceeded to analyze what had happened with my friends. The entire situation was very out of character for me. I am a fairly shy person and have never come on so strongly to anyone like that. If it had happened in the past that I asked someone out and they turned me down, I dropped the matter at once and moved on. And I never touch people I don’t know well. My friends forced me to confront the oddities of the situation and get past my embarrassment.

Some notes that my friends brought to my attention about the girl in question:

Rebecca *** has strong beliefs about our race. They are negative beliefs and feelings. During the last school year she gave a written and oral report about the evils of our race, strongly drawing on myths and legends. She has been heard to publicly state that “all bloodsuckers should be staked, not allowed rights.”

That morning, one of my friends overheard Rebecca talking to a friend in class about a new perfume she had gotten from someone the day before. The friend claimed that it didn’t smell very strong and Rebecca said she found it unnoticible as well but it was supposed to be that way.

One of my friends had read an article about experiments in pheromones that attract our race and warned me about it after this event occurred. I am not saying this is connected although one of the strongest reasons I gave my friends for my actions at the time was she smelled really good.

I hope that this information reaches the correct personages who can deal with it effectively in a timely manner. If this perfume was connected to that article, Rebecca did not seem to know what it was. However, that does not mean that whoever gifted her did not. I worry about the implications of this and what it might mean in a wider context. Please feel free to contact me about this matter at any time.

Yours sincerely,

Joshua de la ****, of the Clan ****

It was once again an overcast day but not raining as the six friends sat on the terrace during their lunch period. This time, Joshua was on the ground lounging against the wall, with Ben and Mike next to him, Pete sat with his back against the bench which Sara and Kendall were sitting on. Kendall often joined them against the wall but as she had been wearing skirts the past few days, she did not chance it and instead sat more ladylike, up higher on the stone bench. They had been talking about how thankful they were to all actually have the same lunch this year. The year before they all had different times which was just as odd. But this year they were able to share this time together during the school day and they reveled in it. Freshman year, Sara and Kendall shared a lunch, as did Joshua and Pete. Ben and Mike were on there own. Sophomore year the two girls had lunch with Joshua, and Ben, Mike and Pete shared a lunch break. Junior year was the pain, Kendall had first period lunch, Joshua had third, Pete had fourth, Sara had fifth, Mike had sixth and lucky Ben had seventh meaning he could go home after sixth period although he often hung around to wait for them.

“So, did you send that letter on its way, Joshua?” queried Ben as he popped open his can of Pepsi.

“Yeah, I started it through channels this morning before I came to school. I dropped it at the office of the local clan. It will hopefully get to someone who can use the information quickly but there’s nothing I or we can do now.” Joshua took his jelly and marshmallow sandwich out of his bag, placing it on his lap as he reached in to get a baggie full of carrot sticks.

“Just keep an eye on Rebecca,” said Sara. She munched on an apple, having washed the skin before packing it.

“And keep an eye on Joshua, himself, guys.” put in Kendall. “Rebecca didn’t seem to know what was going on and they could give someone else the pheromone perfume who does know and catch him off guard again.” She turned to speak directly to Joshua after taking a sip of soda. “You need to be aware of yourself and your reactions. If you think something or someone is off, you need to tell one of us and get out of the situation you are in as soon as you can. We really don’t know how deep this thing goes or who is involved knowingly or unknowingly. Be careful and keep your brain in control of your hormones, not the other way around, got it?” She took a bite of her pita, filled with lettuce, spinach, and onions in a vinaigrette dressing before washing it down with some bottled water.

Joshua nodded sheepishly. “I got it. It is so embarrassing but I understand. I wish it was just Rebecca, but you’re right, it could be anyone and I wouldn’t know until I was caught up in it. Just, keep an eye out in case I get caught off guard again, okay? I hate having to ask, I feel so weak and helpless but I don’t really have a choice unless I want to take the chance that Sara’s most paranoid conspiracy theories come true with me in the starring role. I’m glad you all have my back, don’t’ get me wrong, I just wish you didn’t have to, you know?” He munched on a carrot stick.

They all nodded. “We get it, Joshua,” said Pete. “This is just how it is.” He drank down his root beer like he was chugging an actual beer.

Ben put in his piece after he finished his cracker, pepperoni and mozzarella pizza, “You can come hang out in my basement anytime, J. Pete and I won’t be there much starting next week because baseball practice is starting and then the season, but you have your key to the back door. I know you can’t go to Kendall’s ’cause of her folks and well the lounges at your place are just – well – pathetic and depressing.”

Joshua nodded. “Yeah, they are. You would think it would be more fun and upbeat but everyone just hates the place so much they just bring the whole air down. It could be party central like a college dorm but the place is more like a mausoleum.” He put the empty baggie back in his bag and unwrapped his sandwich.

Sara put in, “Well, I’ll come when I can but the push for the yearbook is starting, the deadline is coming fast and we’re having meetings all the time and I am on photo duty for the baseball team and other events like the school play and stuff so I am busy, busy, busy after school but if you need me, let me know and I will be right there keeping you safe from the insane bigots and their evil scientists.” She opened up a Tupperware container and started eating the chef’s salad that lay inside.

“Thanks Sara. I think.” Sara nodded peaceably.

“You are all welcome at my place. You all have keys, even Mike, who works more than he is in class. You know the basement is all separated from the house, no direct access, so my folks don’t care if you’re there as long as they don’t get complaint calls from your homes abut you not being there.” Ben packed his trash away as he opened up the mini Butterfinger that came with his lunch.

Kendall laughed wryly, “You know my parents don’t care where I am after school as long as I’m not “involved” in activities connected to the public school system. And once I’m home, you know I’m not allowed out again without one of them until the sun comes up the next morning. So, I stay out as long as I can. This year, they are even fine with me missing dinner. My dad’s working so much, he’s hardly there anyway and my mom prefers her solitude. So, as long as I am back by eleven on a school night or midnight on a weekend, your folks won’t be hearing from mine. I’ll practically move in to the basement if it doesn’t bother you. And that way, Josh will always have someone with him when he is there.” She took a final bite of her pita and grabbed a bag of dried peach slices from her bag.

Ben nodded. “Sure thing. Knock yourselves out. Just replenish any of the drinks or food you use within a week and we’re cool. You know the rules.” He wrapped up all of his trash and put it in his schoolbag.

They both nodded. “Sure thing, Ben. No worries.” Josh spoke authoritatively “We’re just glad you don’t mind us being there when you’re not.” He took the last bite of his sandwich and wadded up the wrapper, putting it in the paper bag he packed that morning.

April *, 2012

Joshua sat in the root cellar basement at Ben’s house, putting away his Calculus book, having finished his homework. Kendall sat across the round table from him, frowning as she wrote an essay on Shakespeare’s Hamlet and its morbid ending. She chewed absently on the end of her pen as Joshua got up and moved behind her rubbing her shoulders.

“Thanks, Josh. This essay is a killer. At least this is just the rough draft and I have until a week from next Tuesday to finish it. I mean, how much can you really say about the bloodbath that everyone ends up in at the end? Almost every main character in the play and lots of secondary or even tertiary characters end up dead either on stage like Hamlet or off like Ophelia during the course of the play. I guess Shakespeare believed that audiences in his day went for the action and disaster elements just like now. I compared it to ****. Mr *** is either going to love the analogy or flunk me for being so modern with it.” She arched her back under his magic hands, feeling the muscles loosening and the stress decreasing.

“He’ll love it. The play is about death, murder, suicide, depression, and more murder. It is more realistic than some of his other plays. I mean, Romeo and Juliet is famous and good and all, but unrealistic in the extreme. He is in love with this girl, mooning over her and sees Juliet and suddenly he loves her even though he doesn’t know who she is and they get married (at like 14) and run away together and then kill themselves because the other is dead, after maybe a few weeks. It requires a huge suspension of disbelief to buy into it.” He finished his shoulder rub and walked over to the stereo, turning it on low. The radio was on commercial and he flipped the station to a soft rock of the 80s, 90s and today channel.

“Well,” said Kendall, “love is an idiot. At least, as it is portrayed in media, movies, plays, books, whatever. I mean, I guess, people can be idiots about love in real life, too and that is where it come from but I don’t know. I mean, you were stupid with that whole thing with Rebecca but that shouldn’t count since it science not emotions. But then again, your other relationships that weren’t because of some pheromone perfume weren’t that smart either or didn’t turn out that way.” She put her rough draft in her school bag and got up from the table and flopped down on the plush deep sofa. Joshua sat on the other end.

“You don’t really have room to talk. You had a crush on *** ***. He was the world’s biggest jerk and treated almost everyone like dirt and beneath him. And he was stupid. But since he was good looking, you drooled over him constantly.” He sneered at her, with a deep chuckle.

“But I never dated him. I just drooled, as you put it, from afar. I never even tried to get a date, I just appreciated his ascteics. I knew at the time he was awful, personality-wise but he was seriously, truly, awsomely hot. He was built and sexy as hell. When he wore a tank top or even a tight polo shirt, most of the female population of school went into drool mode, Joshua. Granted, his inner beauty was more horror freak show ugliness but his outer beauty was worth looking at. Besidea, I was a freshman and he was a senior. There was never any chance for anything there. And I wasn’t looking for anything. If he had asked, I would have said no because I would have been creeped out due to the age thing plus I knew his rotten persoanlity.” She stretched her legs out along the seat of the sofa, burrowing her thin tight clad toes under his thigh to keep them warm.

“Well, what about *** ***? He was awful!” He shifted sideways and grabbed a knit blanket from the back of the sofa and spread it over their legs.

“I was in sixth grade, Joshua! And he asked me to the school dance and we spent the night on oppostie sides of the room and danced toghether all of once when everyone danced to the Electric Slide! We never did anything else, withre before the dance or after other than talk and paly at recess. And you know that perfectly well. The only reason he asked me in the first place was because you told him he wasn’t brave enoguh to. So, don’t even start. You, more than anyone, know tht I have never had a boyfriend.” She pouted and blushed.

Joshua reached a hand out to touch her shoulder. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m still on edge about the Rebecca thing. And you are right, even my normal reliationshops haven’t been good. I mean, there was *** in middle school who dated me three times and only because she wanted to see some movies that she couldn’t afford to on her own. And then in eighth grade there was *** who went to the graduation dance with me and asked me to bite her afterwards because she wanted to be a “creature of the night”. Turns out her favorite movie was “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and she fancied herself as Janet, I guess, or maybe Magenta. She was just weird. I was 13, for crying out loud.” He banged his head backwards on the rear of the sofa and grmaced in distaste.

“Well, it is a good movie and has some really catchy songs, you know. I happen to favor “Dammit Janet, I love you; Here’s a ring to prove that I’m no joker; There’s three ways that love can grow; That’s good, bad, or mediocre”, she sang. “I’ve one thing to say, and that’s Brad, I’m mad, for you too.” She chuckled. “Or there’s always another fave,” she began singing again, lightly, “I was feeling done in;
Couldn’t win; I’d only ever kissed before; I thought there’s no use getting; Into heavy petting; It only leads to trouble; And seat wetting; Now all I want to know; Is how to go; I’ve tasted blood and I want more; I’ll put up no resistance; I want to stay the distance; I’ve got an itch to scratch; I need assistance;
Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me; I wanna be dirty; Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me; Creature of the night; Then if anything grows; While you pose; I’ll oil you up; And rub you down; And that’s just one small fraction; Of the main attraction; You need a friendly hand; And I need action; Touch-a touch-a touch-a touch me; I wanna be dirty; Thrill me, chill me, fulfill me; Creature of the night.” As she sang, she began to move her body and her hands, closing her eyes and getting more and more into the song. By the time she hit the last line she was truly invested and almost panting with the emotions that come with the song.

Joshua stared at her, rapt as the teasing turned into this performance. He had troulble blinking as she became more and more uninhibited as the song went on. His eyes trackd her hands as they ran over her upper body and trced her face aas her eyes closed in the ecstasy of Janet’s song. His body reacted to the sensuality she was portraying and his own breathing hitched and then began to speed up. As she reached the final line, he shook himself, unnerved by his reaction to his best friend. My hormones must still be messed up from the perfume. This is Kendall! He consciously slowed down his breathing and attempted to push away the flush on his face before she opened her eyes and saw his stupidity all over his face.

Kendall sat for a minute after finishing, biting her lower lip as her breathing slowed to normal. Her eyes opened and she saw Joshua grining at her. “Well, I guess that is a favorite of yours. Have you ever wanted to be in the play? Maybe after we graduate you could see about getting into a musical theater local company. You know I think your voice is awesome. We all do. You should know that from how much we try to get you to sing.”

“I do love to sing and I guess I’m not a bad actress but I don’t know if I’m good enough to win in an audition. I obviously can’t get experience in school. My prents would skin me. But I don’t know. Maybe after we graduate. If you think I could do it. I don’t know. I’m not really thtat good.”

As if in response to her words, as the silence falls between them a song on the radio fills the silence, Katy Perry seeming to give voice to Joshua’s thoughts on the matter. “Do you ever feel like a plastic bag,
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper thin
Like a house of cards,
One blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep?
6 feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there’s still a chance for you
‘Cause there’s a spark in you

You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

Joshua began to mouth the words to the song, knowing his own voice was not up to singing a song that was sung origianly by a girl. But his lip syncing was beyond compare. He mouthed the words, “You don’t have to feel like a wasted space
You’re original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe your reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt, your heart will glow
And when it’s time, you’ll know

He spoke, “It’s true, you know. You are amazing, Kendall. Your parents really did a number on you, I know and killed a lot of your self confidence but you are awesom and can do whatever you put your mind to. I belive in you and so do Sara, Ben, Mike and Pete. Don’t let your parents screw up the rest of your life like they have the past seventeen years.”

“Thanks Josh.” She smiled gratefully, her eyes filled with tears that she refused to let fall. “I’m so glad you’re in my life.”

“Me too, Ken, me too.”

April *, 2012

Joshua sat on the sofa reclingin on the prillow arm, an open book in his hands as he read through his assignemtn. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare was what was being struggled with. His mind was racing as he read about the trials of poor Viola and her near hopeless love for the oblivious Duke Orsino. Granted, he thought she was a man, idiot that he was but he felt for her as she was forced to stave off the attentions of the woman the duke professed to love as she wooed her for him, while she longed for his affections herself.

As he finished the happy ending to the comedy, he reflected on the situation and his mind began drifting to his own recent change in feeling for a certain friend of his. He was finding himself more and more looking at Kendall in a new way, seeing her as the woman she was not the girl child she used to be. His best friend had grown up into a gorgeous woman and he hadn’t noticed it happening. Not really. He had realized when her figure changed and things but it had never really impacted him until lately.

He tried to ignore the feelings. Kendall was his best friend and he did not want to screw that up. He had always loved her but he felt that the lvoe was warping into something different in refcent months and he wan’t sure what to do about it. As he glanced over at her, seated at the table working on her advanced math, he felt his body stir and shifted in his seat, uncomfortable and hopeful she wouldn’t finsh soon because when she was, she would join him on the sofa and he wouldn’t be able to hide his rection due to the tight pants he was wearing. He tried to think of totally gross thoughts and after a couple of minutes, his body’s reaction subsided and he turned his attention back to his schoolwork, determined to stop thinking about her that way.

April *, 2012

It was a Friday afternoon and like usual lately, Joshua and Kendall were alone in Mike’s basement root cellar. They had both had very little homework for the weekend and had already completed it though it was not even four o’clock. Kendall had turned on Mike’s radio and hooked up her I-Pod to it. She put the songs on shuffle mode and sat on the sofa, her legs stretched out along the seat as normal. What was odd was that joshua was not on the sofa. He was wary of being too close to Kendall until his feelings had gotten under control and he was slumped on a dark blue bean bag chair across from the sofa where he could look at her but not close enough to be tempted to touch.

“I remember your face freshman year when *** *** agreed to go to the movies with you. You looked like the you were told that you had won the lottery and you wouldn’t have to share or pay taxes on it ever. That’s always the look on your face when you ask a girl out and they agree. You are just so thrilled you don’t think about all of the ways it has gone wrong. *** *** went out with you for three dates and then her boyfriend from Lincoln High found out and punched you.”

“I didn’t know she had a boyfriend. She was just trying to make him jealous. I mean, I don’t know what goes on around her neighborhood. We all commute to this school. It’s not like I lived near her.”

“Yeah, but just a couple of months later you asked *** *** out to dinner and a movie and that one didn’t even last the night.”

“She was – well – she isn’t stupid but naïve maybe. She didn’t know I wasn’t Terran and when she realized it, she freaked. She wasn’t a bigot, just scared and xenophobic, I think.”

“Then, spohomore year, you asked out *** *** who turned you down and you promptly asked out *** *** who is a friend of hers who accepted and who then poured a soda over your head when she found out.”

“It wasn’t like I asked them out the same day. *** turned me down and I asked out *** four days later. I think she just felt second best or something. I didn’t mean to hurt her.”

“Uh huh, and then that Decmeber you asked *** *** to go to the winter formal with you and BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“ BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH.”

“Well, like I said before. You have bad taste and worse luck when applying it to girls and romance. You seem to choose the absolutely wrong ones and for the wrong reasons.”

“Hmmmm. So am I cursed or just phenomenally unlucky or abysmally stupid about the opposite sex?”

Kendall just chcikled and smiled. “I don’t believe in curses.”

Joshua glared at her. “So its bad luck or rank stupidity, huh? Thanks!” He rolled his eyes. “You seem to have kept a close eye on me,” his tone shifted from playful to earnest, “You always looked out for me. Like with Rebecca. I am really glad you’re there for me, my best friend, kendall.”

“Always, Josh. I’d never turn my back on you. Whenever you needed me, I would be there.” Their eyes met and Joshua’s mind raced at what he thought he caught a glimpse of in hers.

Was that – desire? He thought, It looked like it. I’ve never seen her look at me like that before. Have I? And she knew my dating life practically down to the minute. Could she – I have to stop this. She’s my best friend. I love her but I can’t – wait, what? I what? Huh, I do, I love her so much. I never knew but I can’t do anything about it. I was just projecting what I saw. She doesn’t – she couldn’t – it was in my imagination.

Suddenly a new song came over the speakers. It was one Joshua had never heard before but he listened in silence to the plaintive words. They resonated in his head and heart.

Do you remember when I said I’d always be there.
Ever since we were ten, baby.
When we were out on the playground playing pretend.
Didn’t know it back then.

Now I realize you were the only one
It’s never too late to show it.
Grow old together,
Have feelings we had before
Back when we were so innocent

I pray for all your love
Girl our love is so unreal
I just wanna reach and touch you, squeeze you, somebody pinch me
This is something like a movie
And I don’t know how it ends girl
but I fell in love with my Best Friend

Through all the dudes that came by
And all the nights that you’d cry.
I was there right by your side.
How could I tell you I loved you
When you were so happy
With some other guy?

Joshua had a sudden picture in his mind of Kendall in a beautiful long gown, held to the chest of a tall, faceless man, her lips pressed against the man’s and her arms wrapped around his shoulders as she kissed him back. Joshua felt incredible anger at the thought.

Now I realize you were the only one
It’s never too late to show it.
Grow old together,
Have feelings we had before
When we were so innocent.

I know it sounds crazy
That you’d be my baby.
But you mean that much to me.

‘Cause nothing compares when
We’re lighter than air and
We don’t wanna come back down.

But I don’t wanna ruin what we have
Love is so unpredictable.

That was his very worry. His feelings were changing but if he made a move and lsot Kendall, he didn’t know how he would be able to go on. If they datd and then broke up, he knew the awkwardness would drive them apart. But … if he never took the chance and he had to wtch her fall in love with someone else, he wasn’t sure he could do it.

But it’s the risk that I’m taking,
Hoping, praying
You’d fall in love with your best friend

Joshus took a deep breath as the song ended and the track switched over to a Celtic instrumental song. “That song resonates with me. I’ve never heard it before but I feel like I wrote it.” Kendall’s breath hitched in her throat as she gazed at him unblinking. His eyes rose to meet hers, his filled with uncertainity and hope at the same time. “I’m taking the biggest chance of my life here, Ken, but I’ve fallen for you so hard. I’ve realized that like that guy, I’m in love with my best friend. I’ve been so worried that I would lose what we have but it could be so much more.” Kendall but her lip, her eyelids fluttering swiftly. “I’ve thought that you might be feeling for me something different but it may just be wishful thinking.”

“No. I – I – Josh, I’ve been in love with you for years. But I’m so afraid. I don’t want to lose you and I’m not sure I trust this, trust your feelings. You never even looked at me as a girl before. Not really, Josh.” She gnawed breifly at her thumbnail, then started palying with her hair nervously. “I want to believe Josh. But, I don’t know if I can.”

Again, as if the gods were listening, a song that was overflowing with meaning began on the I-Pod and they both jerked their heads around in shcok at the irony. It was “The Search is Over” by Survivor. And as the music began, Joshua once again took a chance and this time, began to softly sing as he got to his knees in front of the sofa.

How can I convince you
what you see is real
Who am I to blame you
for doubting what you feel

Joshua reached out and took her hands in his.

I was always reachin’,
you were just a girl I knew
I took for granted the friend I have in you

I was living for a dream,
loving for a moment
Taking on the world,
that was just my style

He gave a wry grin and rolled his eyes.

Now I look into your eyes,
I can see forever
The search is over,
you were with me all the while

Joshua lifted her hands to his lips for a quick kiss before placing them back in her lap.

Can we last forever,
will we fall apart
At times it’s so confusing,
the questions of the heart
You followed me through changes,
and patiently you’d wait
Till I came to my senses,
through some miracle of fate

Now the miles stretch out behind me,
loves that I have lost
Broken hearts lie victims of the game
Then good luck,
it finally stuck like lightning from the blue
Every highway’s leading me back to you

Joshua put his hands on her face framing it and gazing deeply into her eyes.

Now at last I hold you,
now all is said and done
The search has come full circle,
our destinies are one
So if you ever loved me,
show me that you give a damn
You’ll know for certain the man I really am

As the song continued to the chorus, Joshua leaned forward and placed his lips on hers, which trembled for a moment before relaxing and kissing back. Kendall’s arms wrapped around his shoulders, one of her hands palying with the hair at the back of his neck. Joshua’s hands moved from her cheeks to her shoulders and then behind her to her lower back as he pressed forward and she allowed him to lower her to laying on the sofa. His lips never leaving her as she opened her mouth beneath his lightly questing tongue, he rose esily from the floor and lay carefully next to her on the cushion, his body pressed tightly against hers as his hands began to roam over her body. She moaned into his mouth her legs twining with his, her foot rubbing against the back of his calf as her hands moved restlessly on his back.

His tongue carefully mapped the inisde of her mouth as her tongue dueled with it. His left hand played with her hair, his arm under her head while his right hand moved down to run lightly over her bottom. Kendall groaned at the touch and pressed closer to him. As the music played in the background they made out of the sofa, learning each others likes and dislikes, the areas that made each moan or shake, the places that made them shift uncomfortably, the spots that took them out of their heads into a space where all was sensation.

Evventually, after nearly an hour of making out, though no clothes were ever removed or even undone, Joshua pulled back and rolled onto his back, pulling her onto his chest to lay her head on his shoulder. “This is definitely worth is Kendall. I love you so much, and these feelings haven’t really changed for so long, I can’t believe I never saw it before. I never understood. I was too afraid to change it, to acknowledge it. I love you, ***baby***.”

Kendall smiled as she lay sprawled on her new boyfriend. Her hand drew lazy pictures on the shirt on his chest. “I’ve loved you for a very long time, Josh. And I knew it. But I never thought you would feel the same way for me. I never had a boyfriend because no one ever made me feel even close to what I feel for you or gace me the vibe that I might one day feel that for them. I just suffered in silence, watching you date, never looking at me as a girl, assuming you never really would. I’m so happy and in shock. I feel like this isn’t real, it can’t be, it has to be a dream and I don’t want to wake up.”

Joshua carded his finger through her hair. “It isn’t a dream. I just finally came to my senses and took a chance on us. And I am so glad I did.”

Introduce heroine, their early friendship, their descent into romance, the prom, graduation, the parental response, his search beginning

=====

And that is all I got to but check out the next for the non-romance version. It is … I can’t even describe it.

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