A/N: I wrote this a long while ago (sometime in late 2002) and wasn't happy with its place in a much longer story - one that will likely never be finished. I thought this particular scene worked better as a stand-alone. As much as I hate to jump on the bandwagon with this potential pairing, I couldn't resist.


The two-hour drive had seemed interminable, and I was glad to finally be back in Ocean Shores. I was anxious to see Trent, but I wanted to stop at the Shack to let my dad know I was in town first. I figured I could grab a bite to eat while I was there and then head to the beach to look for my boyfriend.

"Little Rocket Cuz, is that you?" Tito greeted me when I arrived. He gave me a big hug. Raymundo came out from the back and looked both surprised and pleased to see me.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

"I wanted to surprise Trent!" I exclaimed. "Oh, and to see you guys, of course," I added hastily.

"Ah, as the ancient Hawaiians said, the waves always return to shore."

I gave Tito one of my "that was so wise" expressions, while Dad just scratched his head. Raymundo gave up trying to make sense of Tito's latest pearl of wisdom and asked me how I'd gotten home.

"Oh. Well, you see, I, um, well..." I hated to admit to the temporary truce I'd called, but I didn't want him thinking I'd hitchhiked or anything. "See, I found out that Lars was coming home this weekend, so I asked him to give me a ride since he was coming to Ocean Shores anyway. So, um, Dad, if he shows up, would you mind giving him a meal on the house? To thank him?"

I hadn't planned on ever approaching Lars at school. Although we were both attending the same state university, we had different majors. I might have managed to avoid seeing him entirely, except that I came across him and a bunch of his new college friends hanging out at the student union one afternoon. When I overheard him complain that he had to drive to Ocean Shores for a family reunion, I'd found my feet heading towards his table, and asking if he wanted company for the commute. It wasn't exactly the first time I'd been desperate enough to ask for a favor from Lars Rodriguez, but it wasn't until after he agreed that I'd realized I had no doubt that he'd say yes.

Raymundo raised his eyebrows, although whether that was because I'd survived over two hours in Lars' company cramped in that ugly beat up sports car of his, or because I was asking him to treat Otto's greatest nemesis with a free meal, I wasn't sure. "Sure, Rocket Girl," he said, gesturing to show it was no big deal. I released a breath I hadn't realized I was holding, glad that we got that out of the way. At least I didn't have to feel like I owed Lars anything now, although he might have a different idea about that. It would be worth it, though, to see the expression on Trent's face.

I spied Otto and Twist at a table in the corner. Twister was filming his own private Babewatch with his camera, following every bikini-clad bimbo up and down the boardwalk. He could get away with it, though, because he had such an endearing grin to go along with his well defined...well, hey, he may be my brother's best friend, but I'm not blind, OK?

I snuck up behind them and grabbed their heads under my arms.

Their faces lit up when they saw it was me. It was obvious they'd missed me as much as I'd missed them. I sat and chatted with them for a while, my eyes traveling towards the boardwalk. To my surprise and delight, I soon spied Trent walking towards the Shack. In my excitement, I didn't notice the blonde he was with. I jumped up from the table, ready to run over and greet him with enthusiasm. Before I took two steps towards him, I saw him kiss her at the entrance to the Shack. It was a lot more than a peck on the cheek, and I felt the smile on my face freeze. Suddenly Trent noticed me standing there, and at least he had the grace to blush. He looked decidedly uncomfortable. The blonde noticed me as well and her lips curled up in a rather sadistic smile. I hoped her skin started to peel later.

The two of them approached, the bimbo's arms wrapped around Trent in a way that seemed more for my benefit. Twister and Otto had stopped talking behind me.

"Reggie! What a - pleasant - surprise!" Trent said. "Brittany," he turned to the smug harpy next to him. "This is Otto's sister, Reggie. Would you mind if I had a word with her?" That he wanted to speak to me privately was implied, and Brittany, who had draped herself over Trent even more as soon as they stopped at our table, sulked prettily as she disentangled herself from his body.

He pulled me aside a bit, and told me in a low tone that he was really sorry, and he'd wanted to talk to me about it, but had been waiting until I was home for Thanksgiving break so he could tell me in person. That I was a lovely girl, a lot of fun, that we'd had great times together, but that I was just "so far away" now, and long distance relationships just never worked. He went on to say that he hadn't meant to hurt me and he certainly didn't want me to find out this way and yadda yadda yadda. I could still feel the awkward smile pasted to my face. My cheeks were starting to hurt, and I prayed for a distraction.

I heard Twister whisper something to Otto, and hoped that one of them was going to save me. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw Lars walk over to their table and steal a fry off Twister's plate.

Trent was looking at me with pity, and Brittany was standing in front of the table, gloating. I looked in her direction and saw that triumphant smirk, and to be honest, that's the only reason I can come up with for my next action. I backed up a step closer to the guys, and said, "Wow, Trent, that's a huge relief. I actually came home this weekend because there's something I wanted to tell you in person, too," I said, a bit too loudly. Several sets of eyes were on me as I brushed past Brittany and slipped an arm around Lars. "Isn't that right, HONEY?" I asked. He almost choked on the fry he was eating.

"HUH?" that was Otto.

I looked back at Trent, who gave me a pitying smile. I tore my pleading eyes from Lars and felt that stony smile return to my face.

"Reggie, you don't have to pretend. I know you're feeling hurt, and I'm really sorry, but don't you think this is a little desperate? Besides, we both know you aren't a good faker." He glanced at my arm, still around Lars' waist. My fingers dug into his side, and I could feel the threat of angry tears as I wished the ground would open up and swallow me to get me out of this mess.

Despite the bustle of activity around us, it felt to me like the entire Shack had fallen silent. Except for the frantic heartbeat that resounded in my head, that is.

"Maybe she had to fake it with you, lame-o," I heard, "but I don't have that problem."

I looked up at Lars to offer him my silent thanks, and the next thing I knew, he leaned over and pressed his lips to mine. I was stunned. Lars was kissing me. In my dad's restaurant. In front of my brother. And his brother. And probably Tito and my dad, with my luck.

But most importantly, he was kissing me in front of Trent. That was the whole point, after all, and I forced myself to relax despite the fact that Lars' hands had dropped to my waist and turned my body towards him. To my complete and utter surprise, he gently tickled the edge of my lips with his tongue before slipping it inside my mouth.

There was no going back at that point, not without admitting I'd lied. I threw caution to the wind and kissed him back, eager to prove to Trent that he didn't know me so well after all, ignoring the fact that I was actually enjoying the feel of Lars' mouth on mine. My arms wound around his neck and my fingers found themselves in his hair as he deepened the kiss. I felt his breath hitch as I pressed against him. And here I'd thought Twister had a nicely developed upper body...

"REGGIE! " Otto exclaimed. Lars and I broke apart, both of us breathing like we'd just finished a triathlon. Twister just sat there, openmouthed, staring at his brother, whose arms were still around me. I dropped my hands from Lars' neck and a blush started up the back of my neck.

Trent looked at me and Lars, then at Otto and Twist, back to me and Lars, and finally at Brittany. Despite everything, I couldn't help but feel satisfied at the look of shock on his face.

"Well, Reggie, it appears that I owe you an apology," he said, looking at Lars rather nervously. "I really am glad to see that you have found someone...like I have..." He didn't LOOK very happy, but he and the blonde departed. As soon as they left the Shack, I let out a sigh of relief.

"What the hell was that all about?" Otto demanded.

Lars finally realized that his hands were still on my hips, and he released me abruptly. He put a hand behind his neck and looked at his feet. "Nothing," he muttered, then turned on his heel and walked out of the Shack.

Otto and Twist both jumped from their chairs, knocking them to the ground. Twister grabbed his video camera and ran after Lars, bellowing his name loudly as he sped along the shoreline in pursuit of his brother.

I put my fingers to my lips, watching as they departed. It was some time before Otto's voice broke into my consciousness.

"...I know that you needed to prove something to Trent, but LARS?"

I ignored my brother as I felt a smile tug at the corners of my lips.