READ THIS FIRST: I'll tell you upfront, this is not a LG, it is not even a MG. It's a JG. Some of you are right now flipping out, thinking, "This is way too weird!" Please don't close your mind! Please allow me the chance to present this story in a way that makes sense and is tastefully told, and hopefully you will be pleasantly surprised.

I am relatively new to fanfiction and I wanted to do something a little different. I wasn't able to look back at all 2600-plus Lizzie McGuire fanfictions on this site, but scanning the Summaries of the last 200 or so I did not see a JG ship anywhere. So hopefully this will be something original and refreshing.

If anybody is aware of any other JG's, please let me know, mostly because I am curious.

Also, when you comment, please let me know if you really think this is as weird as I seem to think you're going to feel it is. Not that I'm going to change the story I want to tell based on what other people may or may not think, but again, I'm simply curious!

ANOTHER THING: I'm rating this M, because there are going to be a few moments that might have more of an R rating than a PG13 rating, if this were a movie. I don't want to surprise anyone or offend anyone, so I'm letting you know upfront.

DISCLAIMER: I don't own anything about the Lizzie McGuire show, but I do want to thank the original authors and producers for creating such wonderful characters.

All that out of the way , let's proceed:

-

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is whether or not Lizzie McGuire and I ever actually got together. For some reason, everyone always wants to know that. The answer is yes and no.

We dated for exactly four months in tenth grade, starting on Valentine's Day, February 14, and breaking up on Flag Day, June 14, just after school let out for the summer. I don't know why I remember that it was Flag Day, that just sticks in my head. I'm full of all kinds of useless information. That's just me.

So that's the "yes" part of my answer. But the "no" part is because though Lizzie and I hugged and kissed and even felt each other up quite a bit, we never got much past that. So we never really "got together" in the fullest sense of everything that term could imply. If you really want to know the truth, I never actually "got together" with anybody like that while I was in high school.

Though I almost did, the summer after I graduated. And the weirdest part is that it happened with the most unlikely person. Well, maybe not the most unlikely. If it had been Lizzie's dad or her little brother, that would have been really weird and beyond imagination. But it wasn't with them, and it wasn't with Lizzie.

It was with her mom.

And I'm telling you now it's not unimaginable, because Jo McGuire, it turns out, is one really great lady, a fantastic, caring person. At a time when I needed a friend as much as she did, she was there, helping me as much as I was helping her. There was nothing sordid about it, so don't even think it. It was beautiful, and I'll never regret anything that happened. Except maybe what happened in the very end. Sometimes I still wonder what it might have been like, if only…if somehow…

And I also often find myself wondering if she ever wonders the same thing.

-

But that's the end of the story. I should go back and start at the beginning.

It was the hottest night yet of the longest summer in my life, and July wasn't even over. I had just finished my work shift and was standing out by the bus stop, when a silver SUV slowed and then stopped in the bus lane. The tinted window rolled down and I heard, "Gordo? Gordo? Is that you?"

Now Gordo was a name I hadn't used for a while. It took four years of high school, but I had trained almost everyone to call me Dave or David. Only very special people got to call me Davey. And only my oldest childhood friends Lizzie and Miranda sometimes slipped back into "Gordo." They did…and so did their parents.

I approached the vehicle and peeked inside.

Jo McGuire, Lizzie's mom, was at the wheel, an expression of amazement on her face. "Oh my God!" she exclaimed. "It is you! I can't believe it! Look how tall you are! Look how grown up and handsome! I almost didn't recognize you!"

"Thanks, Mrs. McGuire," I said politely, not quite sure if I should take her words as a compliment. Had I really been that much of a germ as a kid?

"What are you doing out here, Gordo?"

"Waiting for the bus."

"Are you on your way home? Come on, jump in. I'll give you a lift."

It took two buses and nearly forty minutes to get home by public transportation, so this was an offer I could not refuse. I jumped in the passenger seat, saying, "Thanks!"

Jo pulled the car back out into traffic and we were on our way. She turned and looked at me again, smiling and repeating, "Oh my God, Gordo! Look at you!"

Frankly, it was getting a little embarrassing. I didn't generally like to have so much attention drawn to myself, especially my physical appearance. We really are so much more than our physical appearance, don't you think? But I had worked really hard on growing about six inches since the last time I had seen her, almost two years ago, when Lizzie and I broke up, so it was really nice that she noticed and said, "You're so tall now!"

"Not so tall," I said sheepishly. "But taller than I was."

"And look at the hair!" she exclaimed. "I love the hair!"

I had decided to grow my hair out a little, and I could actually get it back in a ponytail if I wanted to, but most of the time I just let it hang, because frankly I liked the way my hair looked. So I agreed now, "Yeah. I like my hair too."

She looked at me, almost laughing. When we pulled up at a red light, she grinned mischeviously and asked, "Do you mind...?"

Did I mind what? And then she reached out and ran her hand right through my curls, surprising me at first. Was she coming on to me? That seemed impossible. But then I realized that most likely she still thought of me as that little kindergarten kid that was always over on Saturday afternoons, making hideaway forts with sheets and chairs for Lizzie and me to play in. We would play kickball or Tag out in the front yard, and on more than one occasion Jo McGuire had had to wipe my tears and put Neosporin on my scraped knee or elbow. To her, surely, I would always be that little boy.

"I must have missed seeing you at the graduation ceremony," Jo said when she was done feeling up my hair. "Right in the middle, Gammy McGuire had to use the little girls' room, but she didn't know where it was, so I had to climb down all those bleachers with her. We left somewhere around Ethan Craft and got back in time to see Danny Kessler. So I must have missed seeing you get your diploma. Oh, Gordo! I would love to have seen that. I'll bet your parents were so proud."

I cringed to hear her call me Gordo again, but I didn't know if it would be more trouble than it was worth asking her to call me David instead. There would be questions and more exclamations about how grownup I was, so I simply said, "Yeah, my parents are pretty proud."

"And where are you going to college?" Jo wondered. "I asked Lizzie, but she didn't know."

Lizzie did know. She probably just didn't like to talk about me. "I'm going to UC Berkeley," I explained. "My cousin Adam is there. I'm actually going to be renting a house with him and some of his friends."

"Oh, I remember Adam. But isn't he so much older than you?"

"Four years," I said. "He should be graduated by now, but he took a year off from school, so he's going to be a senior this year. Do you remember the summer he and I traveled around the country with our grandma?""

"Did you?" Jo asked. "No! I didn't know!"

Lizzie really wasn't communicating much with her mom, was she? At least not about me.

"Yeah, we had a great time with Grandma," I remembered, smiling. "She called us her two 'male escorts'. When I had to go back to school, Adam decided to travel around with her a little longer, 'gathering life experiences' for the novel he was trying to write."

"And did he ever write it?"

"Most of it," I said. "He keeps working on it, but school and real life keep getting in the way. I think part of the reason why he wants me as a roommate is because I'll help keep him on track, I'll help keep him disciplined."

"I think you will," Jo said. Even in the dark car, I could see her smiling at me. Then she said, "So! Going away to school. How exciting! Lizzie's starting at the community college, you know."

"I know."

"A lot of her friends are staying. She doesn't want to leave them. With Lizzie it's always been all about friends."

"I know," I repeated.

"It was so nice when you and Lizzie and Miranda were such good friends," Jo said, her voice tinged with a wistful melancholy. "I miss that," she said. "I miss not having you guys around. Those were happier days, don't you think?"

Now that was a tough one to answer! In some ways, yes. Hanging out with Lizzie and Miranda has always been a blast…until high school, when we all started to go our separate ways. But when I looked back on all the teenage angst, the peer pressure, the frustration of wanting to be grown up and independent, but nowhere ready for so much responsibility---no thanks! I was a lot happier now.

"Does Lizzie still see Miranda much?" I asked.

"Not a lot," Jo said. "She has so many new friends." I got the impression she did not exactly approve of some of these new friends. I really didn't want to talk about Lizzie, and was looking for a way to change the topic when Jo suddenly asked, "So what were you doing out there anyway, waiting for the bus?"

We were stopped at another traffic light, so I pulled up the left corner of my shirt, showing her the design. "Circuit City," I said. "I've been there about a year. I wasn't planning to stay through the summer, but they promoted me to Computer Sales and gave me fulltime hours with a raise in pay."

"Sounds like they don't want to lose you," Jo observed.

"I know my stuff," I said, hoping I didn't sound too cocky. "The money was too good to pass up. I'm saving for a car. My folks say I don't need a car if I'm going to Berkeley, but they also said if I show the initiative and save for one, they'll match me dollar for dollar. I'm earning as much money as I can in the next six weeks, then I'm out of here."

"Well, good for you, Gordo!" Jo said. "You have a dream and you're going after it. I always knew you would go far. You're so determined. And so smart. And such a nice kid." She looked at me again, and again there was that wistfulness about her. "And so handsome!" she added with a laugh. "You really have grown up, haven't you?"

Okay! I'd had all I could take! I didn't want to talk about myself anymore. New topic…new topic…then it hit me, as I looked across the front seat at Jo McGuire….

"You also look….well, not grown up exactly, but…different…"

She grinned wildly. "You noticed?"

"What am I noticing?"

"Something is missing, and something else has been added," she said, as if it were a riddle.

I kept looking at her. Yes, she was different. Her hair was different, for one thing. It was still that beautiful blonde color, but it was long, and it was down, not all piled up on top of her head like a rat's nest, like she used to. Even as a kid, I used to wonder why she didn't show off her beautiful hair.

But that wasn't missing, and that wasn't added. It must be something else---

"Your glasses!" I guessed.

"Gone!" she sang happily.

"Contacts?"

"No, better! I had the surgery. Feel the fear and do it anyway. It was so liberating to get past that, that it really inspired me for the next procedure I'd been thinking about for years and years."

"Procedure?" I questioned.

"Surgery."

"More surgery?"

"Cosmetic surgery."

I must have been looking at her blankly, because suddenly she laughed and said, "Oh, Gordo. I guess you're too much of a gentleman say anything, but take a look at these."

At this point she dropped her right arm from the steering wheel and pushed out her chest. Now it was obvious.

"I had them done," she explained happily.

"I see," was all I could say. It was a good thing it was relatively dark in the car, or she would have seen how deeply I was blushing. This was mad uncomfortable.

But Jo McGuire just laughed. "From barely B to fully C. I'm sorry! I probably shouldn't be discussing this with you, but I'm so excited about my new body I can't help but show everybody. You have no idea how good this makes me feel about myself!"

"Well, that's good that you feel good about yourself," I said. "But you didn't need to do any of these things, Mrs. McGuire. You were just fine the way you were."

"Oh, Gordo, you're so sweet…"

Of course, now that the issue had been raised, it was impossible not to look. That was the first really weird moment in a series of fairly weird moments over the rest of that summer. She was wearing this little stretchy tank top, all striped in pink and yellow and some other colors I couldn't see really well at the moment. What I could see was that she was clearly more stacked then she'd ever been before.

"But it's…it's…it's nice," I stuttered. "I mean, that you feel better about yourself than you did before. Always good to have a boost to the old self confidence."

"See? You get it," she said, in a way that obviously indicated there was somebody else who did not "get it."

By this time we were turning down the block into the neighborhood. The McGuires' house would come up first on the left, mine was a little further down on the right. "You can drop me at your house," I said. "I can walk the rest of the way. It's only five minutes from here."

"Even less," she said, and I'd almost swear she winked at me as she said, "now that your legs are longer."

We got out of the car in the driveway, and Jo said, "Would you be a sweetheart, Gordo, and bring in that bag by your feet?"

I picked up the bag. "Baskin Robbins! So that explains why my feet felt so cold. I thought it was just really good air conditioning in your car."

"No, it's Sam's favorite flavor, pistachio mint. You're coming in to have some, aren't you?"

"Oh, I…"

"Oh, come on, Gordo."

"But ice cream before bedtime always gives me the strangest dreams."

"Then don't go to bed right away. Stay a while and talk. I know Lizzie would love to see you. If she's home. And Sam. If he's home," she added with a sigh she could not quite hide.

There was something about the sad small way she said that and the way she sighed that made me feel it would be extremely rude and cruel not to accept the invitation. After all, she had been nice enough to give me a ride home. In exchange she seemed to want to revisit the past, at least in some small way. I was part of that past, and I got the impression she almost believed that if I walked into that house, the way I had walked into it a thousand times before over the years, somehow wrongs would be righted.

I knew I didn't have that kind of magical power. And I knew Lizzie would certainly not be happy to see me. If she was there. Hopefully she wasn't.

"What about Matt?" I asked. I would like to see the little guy, see how he was doing.

Jo laughed. "He's just cut his hair into the most ridiculous style," she said. "You have to see it."

"Okay," I said. "I'd like to see it."

So I followed Jo McGuire up the front pathway and walked into that house for the one thousandth and first time.