Chapter Sixteen: Perfectly Content

Notes: As soon as I posted I got this evil, evil, oh-so-completely-evil idea. Read on, I dare you. Oh, and a side note, I don't own Young Frankenstein (but it's an excellent movie, watch it).

Gar rolled his eyes, frustrated, and with a little bit of violence that surprised me, he pulled me right back into himself. Then he sighed exasperatedly…

and kissed me.

For the second time tonight, Gar had kissed my cheek. "Happy Birthday, Raven."

I nodded dumbly, my heart still pounding. "Yeah, happy birthday…"

Damn. It was the third or fourth time tonight- if not today- I was almost certain he was going to kiss me. But once again I was wrong. Gar could not possibly feel that way about me. He was just my best friend, and I was unfortunate enough to fall for him.

Life is typical.

Guests were starting to leave, wishing me a happy birthday. I checked the clock, and seeing it was at least nine thirty I said to Gar, "So what are we going to do for the rest of the night?"

Gar shrugged back, "Who knows. Maybe watch a movie. Rich has tons, from old monster movies to Monty Python to Mel Brooks…"

"Sounds good," I agreed. "What do you want to watch?"

"It's your choice. It's your birthday." Gar reminded me.

"What do you say, Raven?" Vic said, strolling up to us, an antagonistic tone in his voice, "Because I say we should watch a romance. What about it, huh, Gar?"

A panicked look crossed Gar's face. "What do you mean, romance?"

"I mean a good ol' romance. You know, the kind with the clueless lovers and the things that keep them apart, much to the annoyance of the audience." He looked pointedly at me.

"Vic, are you sure you aren't a girl?" I asked him, just wanting him to shut up.

Vic rolled his eyes, "Quite sure, last time I checked. Now, Raven, can I talk to Gar for a second?"

I looked at Gar. "I don't mind," I gestured for Gar to follow Vic.

As Gar walked away Kori came running up to me.

"Raven! How are things going?" She asked, her eyes following as the rest of the guests had left.

I slumped. "Not so good, Kori. I mean, I thought they were, but now I'm not so sure."

Kori titled her head at me. "Explain, please."

I sighed. How was I to start?

"I was so sure he was going to…" My voice lowered, "Kiss me."

Kori gasped. "And did he?"

"No," I admitted glumly, "It's frustrating! I mean, I like him- I like him a lot, but I'm way too shy to tell him."

Kori nodded. "I can understand, Raven. I felt the same way as you, but now I know that it was worth it. I know how much courage it must have taken Rich to tell me."

I almost started laughing. Courage? Sorry Kori, that was all Vic…

Instead of laughing I nodded, "Yeah, poor Rich."

"Poor you," Kori amended, "You two are hopeless."

I sighed sadly, "Yeah, I know… but what can I do about it?"

Kori brightened. "If you're too shy, why don't you show him?"

My curiosity ignited, I repeated, "Show him how?"

"He wrote that song about you, didn't he?" Kori smiled, "So show him someway."

Some sort of fear froze my veins. Was she asking me to kiss him? "I couldn't. I'm discreet."

Kori laughed quickly, "The song was less than discreet, I know. And you, best friend Raven, are… how does Rich say? Dense?"

I scowled but had to agree. "Vic says I am."

A few minutes later we were relaxing in the TV corner.

Kori and Rich took the loveseat, appropriately. They sat, hands entwined. Vic took an lazy-boy armchair and was testing the spring on the foot rest with various objects, deciding which one was the best catapult.

This left Gar and I with the couch. In the back of my mind I wondered if they had planned this.

Gar and I sat with a narrow space in between us. As Young Frankenstein started, I moved a little closer to him. A few minutes later, he moved closer to me. Eventually, I wound up next to him, our legs touching.

It was very hard to breathe. I could smell him. My god, he smelled good. I could smell that smell for the rest of my life… I inhaled discreetly.

Vic caught me inhaling and gave me the biggest eye roll I've ever seen. He shook his head at me and watched Dr. Frankenstein III freak out on his students.

Gar yawned, stretching his arms above him. Then his arm settled down around my shoulders.

My pulse increased. Scowling inwardly, I willed my heart to behave.

No such luck, for now I could feel the rise and fall of his chest as he unconsciously pushed me in closer with his warm arm around my shoulders.

My heart accelerated.

Damn it, damn it, damn it. Get a grip, on yourself, Raven, I admonished myself silently.

His leg nudged mine. That was an accident, but it was also the last straw.

I stood up suddenly without warning, nearly tripping over Gar's long legs. "I'm gonna get a drink."

I walked away, trying not to fall over and regain a steady heartbeat. I could still heart it beating in my ears.

I was twenty feet from the drink table we had still yet to clean up when I heard Gar say, "Me too."

I could hear some snickers from the rest of them. I decided I wouldn't look at Gar as I tried to pour myself a glass of water. But it was no use. My hands were shaking.

"Hey," I said, annoyed that my voice was breathless.

"Hey," Gar said back, bumping his shoulder against mine.

I dropped the empty cup, my hands no longer able to hold on.

"Here." Gar handed it to me. I looked up at him, unable to speak.

We looked at each other, our gazes holding for what seemed like an eternity. I barely dared to breathe as our faces drifted closer.

Gar sighed and rubbed a hand across his face tiredly. "If I'm going to wreck this friendship, I might as well do it thoroughly."

I looked at him, bewildered. "What do you mean by that?"

Gar rolled his eyes. "Oh, the hell with it," and yanked me into his chest.

Then Gar's lips were on mine. It was very, very hard to concentrate, much less breathe.

I tore away suddenly. "Gar-"

"Shh," Gar whispered, stroking my face. "I have wanted to kiss you for so, so long… you have no idea. Since the day I first saw you, out of breath, black sweatshirt, ratty Converse and all… I knew that you would change my life. And then I fell for you, so hard…"

Gar stopped talking since his lips were otherwise engaged.

Again I broke away from him, my heart hammering loudly. "What if someone sees?"

"So?" Gar said, "Let them see. They've had us pegged to get together for months, I just didn't believe it."

"Neither did I," I whispered.

Gar's lips descended on mine, his hands drawing me closer to him. One hand lifted behind my head, holding my face to his.

With a gasp I moved back slightly, "Seriously, Gar, what if-"

"Raven," Gar said, laughing exasperatedly, "Will you shut up and let me kiss you?"

When I kept staring at him he elaborated. "Will you let me kiss you like I've wanted to for months?"

I nodded, and Gar led me away discreetly to a corner.

"Now," Gar said, pulling me towards him, "I am going to kiss you."

Then he kissed me, his lips moving against mine slowly, like he had all the time in the world to kiss me. I was sure he could feel the start of my heart; how it beat erratically and would occasionally stop. He just kept on kissing me for what felt like an eternity.

Then my need for oxygen somehow managed to overpower my need for his kiss.

"Um…" I wracked my brain, searching for some kind of conversational topic, "Where did you learn to kiss like that?"

Gar laughed and I wanted to die of embarrassment. He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. "Here, there… but it doesn't matter. I just want you, okay Raven?"

I nodded, pulling his face down to mine again.

After we broke apart again, our breathing ragged, he straightened and asked, "So, Rae, what are you doing tomorrow?"

My heartbeat quickened. Was he asking me out?

"Yeah, I am asking you out." Gar said, laughing again.

Crap. I had spoken aloud. I looked around for a hole to crawl into, so I could die of embarrassment in peace. "Um, nothing. Why?"

"Well, me and Vic were wondering if all of us, including the lovebirds, would want to go to the boardwalk tomorrow, since summer is so close and all."

"Yeah, of course," I agreed, my voice still breathless.

"Mmm. Good." Without missing a beat Gar leaned down to kiss me quickly, "See you in a few."

He walked away. I stared after him and suddenly realized my knees were shaking. I sat down in a hurry, resting my head against the wall.


So Gar liked me. That was obvious. He liked me, possibly more than he was letting on, since Vic had been hinting at Gar's feelings all night. And his kissing me had pretty much given his feelings away… and his kiss…

I broke out in shivers again and scowled at myself. Since when could Gar turn me into such a boneheaded mess?

Well, ever since I found out he could kiss like that.

I looked up to see Kori standing over me. "Raven, are you alright?"

I nodded, dazed. "Yeah. But I can't stand up."

"Why not?" She offered a hand, a concerned look in her eyes. "Did Gar say something?"

I smiled idiotically.

Kori smirked as she helped me up. "Oh, so he did say something to you after all. Congratulations."

My grin widened, "He didn't say anything. He didn't have to. His mouth did all the talking."

"Oh," Kori said. Then it dawned on her, "Oh. How was it?"

Feeling free and giddy, I flung my arm around her shoulder. "Excellent."

"So are you two together now?"

I shrugged. "I don't know. I think so. You just don't go around kissing friends and-"

"HA!" Vic jumped out of nowhere, pointing at me in victory, "You, my girl, are so busted. The secret's out. GAR LIKES RAAAVEN, RAVEN LIKES GAAAR!"

"You," I said slowly, "Are so dead." I jumped at him.

"Rave- what the- OW!" Vic yelped as I leaped at him and proceeded to punch every inch of him I could reach.

Rich pulled me off Vic and handed me to Gar. "Down girl."

"Yeah," Gar agreed, pulling me to him, "After all, we just got together and it would suck if he killed you."

"He wouldn't kill me." I stuck out my tongue at Vic. "Vic loves me too much."

"I love all of you equally."

"Aw, how sweet," Rich yawned. "It's time we repaid you and set you up on a blind date."

Vic turned pale. "No thanks. I'd rather not. Blind dates are baaad experiences for me."

"Blind dates are bad for everyone in general," Gar shuddered, "That's how I met my ex."

"Enough talking about an ex. You have a girlfriend now." I reminded him.

"Yeah, you're right." Gar kissed me very quickly and fleetingly.

Vic gagged, "Get a room."

Rich pointed left. "There's one over there."

I turned red.

Vic yawned. "Well, you girls better be going. It's late. We can finish the movie tomorrow."

Kori yawned, "Agreed, Vic. Come on Raven, Galfore's expecting us."

Rich turned to her. "Night, Kor." He hugged her and let her go reluctantly.

Kori rolled her eyes. With strength surprising from such a slender form, she viciously yanked Rich to her. Then she promptly kissed him. Rich seemed at first to be shocked, but he recovered quickly.

Vic, Gar and I back away, giving them privacy.

"Night Rae. And happy birthday," Vic wrapped me in a bear hug. "Let me know when the wedding is."

I scowled. "Love you too, you moron."

Vic climbed the stairs. "I'll be in the living room. And by the way, I'm planning the bachelor party."

Then he left me and Gar alone.

Gar reached out to find my hands and pulled me towards him. He kissed my hair, my face, then my lips. "Night, Rae," he breathed.

"Night," I breathed back, my eyes half closed.

Then he kissed me again. It was like the first time, only shorter, as he wrapped me up in his arms.

"See you tomorrow." I kissed him quickly and went up the stairs after Kori.

As I was on the top landing, I could have sworn I heard a "Yes!" coming up through the floors.

Kori squealed and tugged on my hand excitedly as we waited by Rich's front door. "I cannot believe it, Raven, we did it!"

She twirled in a circle, drawing me with her.

"Yeah." I was still dazed, "We did it. He likes me. I like him. He kissed me."

Kori smiled. "Rich did not know what to make of my kissing him."

I smiled back and punched her arm lightly, "You will call the shots in that relationship, you know? He's got it bad for you."

Kori grinned idiotically. "I know. That is why this is so wonderful."

Then Kori stopped herself, "Enough about me, tell me about you!"

I sighed happily and sank into an arm chair. "Where do I start?"

"How did he kiss you?"

"He said to me, 'if I'm going to wreck this friendship, I might as well do it thoroughly.' And then he kissed me…"

Kori giggled happily.

"My god, I was such an idiot. I kept drawing away from him and breaking off the kiss, but he just kept on re-kissing me." I jumped up as I saw Galfore's headlights.

It was raining slightly as I walked outside. The moon was rising. I raised my head to the sky for half a second, feeling the droplets splash on my face.

Could I have asked for a more perfect day?

Kori and I collapsed on her bedroom floor, pulling down various blankets and pillows with us. We kept turning over and whispering giddily, huge smiles on our faces.

Kori and I were still processing it- the boys we had liked for months had somehow become boyfriends. And it had rather conveniently happened on my birthday, which made my sweet sixteen my best birthday ever.

Kori eventually fell asleep, her breathing deep and even. I couldn't help but feel happy for her. Boneheaded Rich was perfect for her. Even though he could be dense, he just knew Kori inside and out. He could make her happy with one comment. Hell, all he had to do was smile at her, acknowledge her, and she was ecstatic.

I sort of envied her.

I sighed contentedly and rolled over, a ghost of a smile on my face. Months after dreaming of kissing Gar, it had actually happened. And it was much better than any dream of him.

I still couldn't believe that this had happened.

How did Garfield Logan, this boy standing by a trashcan I met one April morning, change my life so completely and so utterly? How did he transform me from this bitter sarcastic loner to this generally happy person with three best friends, and yes, a boyfriend.

My brain still couldn't wrap around it. Gar was perfect. He was everything. He was adorable, goofy, he tried hard to make me smile, tried even harder to make me laugh, he looked out for me, cared about me, let me cry on him numerous times… and he was an excellent kisser to boot.

Fatigue started to wash over me. Suddenly I was not afraid of anything anymore. I was not afraid of my father, my uncertain future, of Amanda and her threats- none of that mattered anymore, not with my friends and Gar by my side.

At about ten thirty am Kori and I rolled over. We blinked at each other.

"Did it really happen?" Kori asked, "Are Rich and I actually dating?"

I stared at the ceiling. "Yeah. It happened. Holy crap, it happened I'm dating Gar. I'm DATING Gar."

Kori giggled, "It is nice to know that it is finally, ah… 'breaking dawn' on you?"

I was too happy to correct her English. "Dawning on you, but that's close enough."

After showers Kori and I went downstairs, dressed. We ate breakfast in a patch of sunlight and giggled like schoolgirls about seeing the boys today.

At almost noon the boys came by in Rich's limo. We piled in, all of us grinning to see each other.

"Morning," Rich said to Kori, hugging her in the back seat.

"How'd you sleep?" Gar asked me, brushing my hair back.

"Like a rock," I answered, yawning again.

We chattered about unimportant things until we got to the boardwalk. We piled outside, waved goodbye to Bonnie and set off for the arcades.

Being seasoned locals to the Jersey shore, we planned to stay away from the beaches for a few hours. Instead, we terrorized the arcades.

Kori and I played DDR, failing miserably. Gar joined us, only to fail worse. Vic refused to play DDR, but he and Rich attempted to conquer Jurassic Park. They were mostly successful until they were eventually eaten by a T-rex.

Gar turned out to be a skee-ball champion. Kori had an exceptional skill at winning the crane prizes. I was horrible at racing cars, as I kept slamming into walls and other drivers.

"I am never letting you behind a wheel, do you hear me?" Vic said seriously, "You are scary."

"Oh shut up," I said irritably, crashing into yet another wall and proceed to ricochet into three cars, "I haven't done that whole driving school thing."

My virtual car was smoking badly after I had driven in into its forty-fifth consecutive wall. "And besides which, I suck at virtual car racing."

"Yeah, no doubt," Vic retorted smugly, winning first place for the third time in a row.

"Dude, no fair!" Gar whined, "I challenge you to a re-match!"

"Oh, you're so on, grass stain! Best two out of three!"

I rolled my eyes and decided to visit Rich playing pinball.

"So how are things with Kori?" I asked, coming to a stop next to him.

He smiled, his eyes watching the machine. "Great. They're really great. I'm glad you made me do this. I'm glad Vic nudged me."

I chuckled. "That was probably the best part."

"Mmm," Rich agreed, "So, on this topic, how are things with Gar?"

"Really, really good," I said, trailing off, watching him trying to pass Vic's car, "I still don't believe it's happening."

Rich shrugged. "That tends to happen. He has it so bad for you, you know?"

I nodded even though Rich couldn't see me. "That's alright, 'cuz I'm pretty sure I have it worse for him."

"That's debatable," Rich countered, "You just have it bad for each other in general."

After we had run out of arcade money we walked out of the arcades and onto the beach. Since New Jersey is one of the only states that actually charges money to enter the beach, we had to scarf up 5.00 a head.

"It's robbery, I tell you," Gar grumbled, kicking off his flipflops so he could walk easier in the sand, "It's insane. Why do we have to pay?"

"It brings in revenue and money. That's why we're all so rich in this area," Rich answered, laying down his towel.

"Yeah, well, we're locals. We should be exempt or something." Gar frowned.

"Only in a perfect world," Vic sighed.

Kori and I were busy applying sunblock before we realized that the three of them were running for the water.

"You coming?" They turned around to shout after us.

"Yeah, of cour-" The words died in my throat as I got a good look at them.

Oh my god, so that was what Gar looked like without a shirt.

I was well aware that I was staring. I simply could not help myself. Kori was equally openmouthed, staring at Rich. Even though he was my friend's boyfriend and my friend to boot, which made him off limits, I could not help but appreciate the hours that he had to spend in the gym.

"Oh my god," I said hoarsely, "They have to spend three hours a day in the gym. At least."

"How am I dating this man?" Kori looked at me, "And where did he get those muscles?"

"Martial arts?" I was still busy staring at Gar's chest.

"Come now, let us go in the water so they do not get too suspicious." Kori took off with a start.

I followed. How was I dating this piece of perfection, personality-wise, kissing-wise, and body-wise?

We splashed around for the better part of an hour.

Kori shrieked every time a wave came at her. I had not been to the beach in years, so I was out of my element. I kept forgetting the essential parts of surviving the large waves, like the fact you had to dive under them.

And stay out of the area where the waves broke, unless you were insane. Which Vic and Gar were. They decided to play a demented game of chicken to see who would run out of the way of the wave first. However the waves were not all that large today, but they had fun razzing each other anyway.

After we left, we went back to Vic's. We sat on his living room floor and watched TV for a while. His mother made us an excellent dinner.

I leaned back into Gar's arms, perfectly content. At the moment, I didn't care I had to eventually go home. Home was bearable now with Gar by my side.

The authoress says: The game of chicken that Vic and Gar play- where they sit where the waves break to see who gets out of the way first- is a game my brother and I have played at the beach. Yes, I'm a Jersey shore local.

Second, the whole "boys without shirts" scene is inspired by this one time after band camp where I saw three of my best guy friends (one of whom I liked) and just stared.

This chapter almost makes me sad. Why? The next one is the last one. -sniff-