A/N: Yes, I haven't posted in ages. I won't make any excuses this time; I was just lazy if you really get down to it. I've had this typed for some time, but was too lazy to finish the end of the chapter and get it put up. Then, I just didn't have the right mindset to want to work on this and got interested in several new stories-one I'm working on for a live journal writing challenge. So, this was pushed to the back burner. I can't believe I let this go for a month-which is about how long this has been typed up. Anyway, please enjoy this installment of my story-I pray that you haven't forgotten what's happened, even tho I fear I have done so a tad bit. Very very sorry for my delay.

Chapter 17

After a few weeks, the only thing left of the car wreck-that they learned was caused by a drunk driver who'd fallen asleep at the wheel-was a sulking Dil with a broken arm. He feared he wouldn't be healed in time for the Junior/Senior prom. That upset him more than the thought of his wrecked car because he could always work more and save enough for another car but would never be able to go to a prom with his old friends and brother.

Life was practically normal since the accident. The whispers about Marina even subsided since a new girl had found herself pregnant. The students all felt that a pregnant sophomore cheerleader was much more interesting than a happy pregnant girl who had willingly taken a social suicide. Marina liked Chuckie's friends more than she'd ever liked her own.

Marina had invited the gang to her house for a weekend, and it was free-for-all. They'd ate junk food until midnight and told stories about the past. Because of that, the lot of them had grown closer on that weekend. Everyone then shared their feelings and thoughts just so the rest would know where they stood.

Lil and Kimi became closer friends with Marina, and Lil took them to the mall quite often and made them go into the Baby gap insisting they had to buy clothes. Marina always blushed when they were in the store, but she found it hard to leave when they were ready. After spending a while in the store, she would be ready for her baby's arrival. Her parents had not been angry with her when she called and told them the news, which hurt a lot. She'd wanted them to show some sort of emotion, but they didn't. They just told her that they had enough room and money to support her and her child. Chuckie had told her she was lucky not to be in trouble.

Chuckie still hadn't made up with his father and was living at Marina's. He'd have Kimi bring some of his things from home to school for him to take to Marina's. Kimi missed Chuckie being home, but she rarely spent time at home anymore. She visited Phil more and more as time passed. They often went to the arcade for fun, but sometimes he took her to see movies-sappy, chick flick movies mostly, which made Kimi giddy.

Kimi was at Phil's, and they were in his room watching the movie Macbeth for their English class. They were to compare the movie to the play, and neither were too enthusiastic for the assignment. Phil was nearly asleep as his head laid in Kimi's lap. Kimi was resting against Phil's pillows and was more interested into the movie after starting it. It was annoying that the special effects were so bad, but it was understandable that they couldn't be much better for a movie made in the late 1970s.

Kimi absent-mindedly stroked Phil's thick hair, and he'd tense up at her touch. She wasn't paying attention to the fact that she was turning him on, but he rolled over and told her, "Kimi, if you keep running your hands through my hair, we're going to miss the end of this movie."

"But-" she started to ask what he meant, but it was only a few seconds before she caught on that he was talking about sex. She grinned wickedly and replied sarcastically, "Oh, I'm sure Mrs. Lawson would love to hear that we missed the ending because we were too busy having sex."

Phil laughed and focused on the movie again. Kimi laid her hands on his shoulder and paid attention to the movie as well.

On Halloween, Marina hosted a masquerade party at her house and left the invitation open to whoever wanted to attend. Of course, anyone without a costume would not be allowed in to the party. Marina stood in front of her full-length and incessantly tried to smooth the front of her dress-she was dressed up like Scarlet from Gone With the Wind. She sighed each time she attempted to smooth the wrinkles out of the dress, but that wasn't what she was really stressing over.

Chuckie stood in the doorway and watched Marina for a moment, and he withheld speaking to her until she let out a heavy sigh. "It's not the wrinkles that have you stressed out," he mentioned.

"I know." Marina agreed as she stared at the mirror and put her hand to her belly. "It's just-"

"You don't look pregnant yet, Marina." Chuckie replied as he walked over to her and gave her a hug.

Marina stared at the mirror again and realized that Chuckie did look like Rhett Butler. His red hair and freckles had clashed with his outfit, so he put temporary hair dye in his hair and let Marina put make-up over his freckles. Then, he wore his contacts. "I hope everything goes well tonight."

"Are you worrying just because you're the hostess, or is it deeper than just that?"

Marina blushed. "There's nothing wrong."

"That's not a lie." Chuckie said sarcastically. "Look, if you're worried that this party has to be good to make people forget you're pregnant, that's just not going to happen."

"I know, but I don't want them to think I'm not a good hostess now because I'm pregnant. I can still host parties."

"Shh," Chuckie shushed. "It's not important what they think. I'll love you no matter what."

Marina snuggled against Chuckie. "I love you," she said hushed since her face was buried in Chuckie's shoulder.

Not long after dark, Chuckie's friends arrived. Tommy and Rachel were the first there dressed as King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Rachel's hair wasn't red, so she had a fiery red wig on with a crown topping it-it was a smaller version of the one Tommy was wearing. It amazed Marina how authentic Tommy and Rachel dressed, and she was excited to see her whole house filled with people dressed up. Her heart was fluttering with excitement as Lil and Dustin walked in.

Lil was dressed like Cleopatra, and Dustin was dressed as Marc Antony. Lil had a large gold-colored metal headdress with pieces that looked a great deal like feathers. There were a group of the feather-like pieces that formed a oval atop the headdress. Lil also had a wig on because she didn't have hair long enough to show outside of her headdress. The wig had four large metal, that matched her headdress, pieces that clamped onto the two sides of the wig, one tress on each shoulder, every six inches down. She had a large, faux jewel necklace that appeared to be very, very heavy. Her dress was a very simple beige dress, and her feet were adorned in simple sandles. Dustin had a gold-colored metal roman helmet and armor. He also had a red cape that hung around him as well as a metal skirt-like piece.

Later, Dil and Kate-whom he met because of his injury-came in. Dil was dressed like a pirate with the frock, hat, boots that went up to mid-calf, and knickers. Kate, a natural blonde, was wearing a dress that could have been a ball gown because of its huge skirt. It was a light blue with white fabric that came out of the flowing sleeves. Her hair was curled and pulled atop her head.

Marina and Chuckie feared that Phil and Kimi were not going to arrive because they had not shown up even after the house began to fill up. Finally, Phil and Kimi arrived with a group of Goth band members. Phil and Kimi were dressed up in a Goth manner. Phil was wearing a black tank with straps and buckles that crossed over his chest and a mesh shirt underneath it. He wore baggy, black jeans with two pockets at his thigh and two nearly at his feet. There were also zippers that were sewed, slanted purposely, one above each pocket. He was carrying a black and white electric guitar on his back.

Kimi was dressed in a black dress with a corset top that pushed her breasts up, exposing a lot more than she ever had. The straps of the dress had tulle sleeves and tulle over the layered skirt. Her eyes were lined heavily in black and dark pink eye shadow adorned her eyelids while her foundation was very, very light. Kimi's boots were black leather that cut of mid-thigh and laced up to the top.

The others didn't know exactly what to think about their friends' outfits. It was a change to see their friends Goth. Overall, their outfits were approved of. Marina and Kate especially liked the outfits, but Lil sighed at the sight of her brother. Marina heard Lil mutter, "He's such a weirdo." Marina understood Lil's side of the issue; she was more Retro while her brother was Punk but bordering Goth. She bet that the two of them argued trends often when they were together.

Kimi and Phil helped the Goth guys, who were friends Phil had met at the arcade, set up their instruments and equipment. They were planning on singing at the party, which Marina had agreed to. In about ten minutes, the band began to play. Phil was on lead guitar, his friend Jack was a bass-player with brown dreadlocks-he wanted to be like the bass player for Evanescence. Tristan was the drummer and had dyed-black hair in a faux mohawk with the tips colored red. There was also Dexter who was a pianist, and he had short half-brown, half-black hair that was spiked up.

The crowds in Marina's house squeezed around to listen to Phil and his friends play a mixture of alternative rock songs. Kimi sang when they played Evanescence songs, and the many people there enjoyed the performance. There was clapping and cheering for Kimi and the band after every song. Kimi was hesitant at first for singing in front of basically the whole school, but she found it was a lot more fun that she had imagined.

A little while later, Phil and Kimi sneaked away and locked themselves in a fairly small nearly empty room. There, the two of them began to kiss and feel each other up. Neither of them pushed it further than that because so many people were around. It wasn't very long, about fifteen minutes before Phil and Kimi departed from the solitude of the room to find a commotion was stirring.

Phil and Kimi raced back where everyone else was to find Sonny swing a punch at Chuckie. Both of them cringed as Chuckie was knocked backwards and onto the ground. Before anyone could react, Chuckie was up off of the ground and decked Sonny right in the jaw. Sonny fell back and put his hand up to his cheek. "Is that the best you've got?"

Sonny jumped Chuckie and pinned his on the ground as he punched him over and over. That was when Phil, Tommy, and Dil jumped into the fight-of course Dil was limited in helping due to his hurt arm. It took all three to pry the lunatic off of their friend, but they succeeded. Phil was the one who shoved Sonny away as Tommy and Dil moved in front of Chuckie, who was slowly starting to sit up.

"What the hell's your problem?" Phil shouted.

Sonny pointed to Chuckie. "That son-of-a-bitch got my girlfriend pregnant."

"EX-girlfriend, Sonny. Your…EX!" Marina shouted. "Now, get the hell out of my house."

"FINE!" Sonny screamed as he exited the party. "But, you've made a mistake, Marina. You made a mistake by ever letting him touch you; and when you realize that, I won't be there to take you back."

"YOU WON'T NEED TO YOU ASSHOLE!" Marina screamed back. "It's not like you were ever there when you had my attention!"

The last anyone saw of Sonny that night was his back as he left. For a moment after his departure, there was an awkward silence. But people soon reemerged in their conversations, and they decided to leave their two-cents out of the situation.

Phil and Tommy helped Chuckie to his feet. "Are you gonna be all right?" Tommy asked.

Chuckie, two drying streams of blood coming from his nose, simply nodded. "I'll be fine," he said meekly.

"He fought like a coward." Phil remarked. "He had to pin you to get a good hit on you after he saw what you were capable of.

"Thanks, but I don't really want to talk about this now." Chuckie mumbled as he tried to maintain. "I'm not that fine."

"We could end the party." Marina suggested.

"No, you let the party go on. Everyone's having a great time. I'll just go lay down." Chuckie told her. So, Tommy and Phil helped Chuckie up to Marina's bedroom, where he laid down and almost instantaneously fell asleep.

"Poor guy." Phil said hushed as they left. "It's not like he had things smoothed out in his life, and now he got beat up."

"That Sonny is an asshole." Tommy replied. "He's just jealous because Marina moved on. He's one of those guys who treats his girl like shit then believes she'll just keep coming back for more. Damn, I should have laid into him."

"Yeah, me too." Phil replied. "Showed him what he gets for playing dirty."

Tommy and Phil were quiet until they reached the stairs leading back down to the party. "Funny how just a short time ago, I figured we'd lost Chuckie as a friend for good."

"Yeah, I know. Everything's changed so much. It's bogging Kimi down real bad." Phil added.

"It's still weird that the two of you are together… and having sex for that matter. It's just really weird since we've known her forever." Tommy replied feeling a little odd mentioning it.

"Well, that gave me a great basis to move on." Phil laughed.

"Lil doesn't give you credit. You still have your sense of humor." Tommy said.

Phil nodded. "She just chooses not to see it. But, I have been pretty dark lately, exhaustion mostly. I mean tests all the time, then I hang out with Kimi most nights-and thank God she's not grounded so severely anymore-then I work on my webpage. I just don't seem to have time for myself anymore, not that I'm complaining."

"Maybe you should." Tommy told Phil as they headed back to the party. "Maybe you should complain and take some much needed alone time. We'd all understand."

"I just like being with Kimi, though. It's weird when she's not around."

Tommy snickered. "Man, we've lost you. You really love her, and your world has adjusted itself to fit her into your daily life. Face it, dude, you're gonna end up with her."

Phil and Tommy reached the bottom of the stairs, and Phil stared hard at Kimi. "I really hope so," he replied to Tommy's comment.