Disclaimer: I don't own Jimmy Neutron.

Chapter 2: A Newfound Friendship?

Cindy sat in the library, looking at a book on Queen Elizabeth I. She had always admired the independent woman ruler who had never married. It wasn't like Cindy didn't plan on marrying or anything, but she liked the fact that Elizabeth was one of the best queens in the history of England, and she had ruled all alone. It proved women were capable of many things that men didn't expect of them, and it also encouraged Cindy in her ever-ongoing battle of trying to be better than Jimmy Neutron.

"Hey, Cindy," someone greeted her. She glanced up to see—who else?—Betty Quinlan. Did she really have to spoil Cindy's good mood?

"What do you want? I'm kind of busy," Cindy snapped in a whisper. She didn't really mind taking a break from reading; what she minded was the fact that it was Quinlan who was interrupting her.

"I was thinking...do you want to do something together?" Betty asked hesitantly, biting her lip.

Cindy's mouth dropped open. There was a stunned silence. "With you?" she finally managed to choke out. What was that girl thinking? Even before Cindy had noticed that Jimmy had a crush on Betty, they had never been friends. After all, Betty was one grade above them, and usually the sixth graders liked to steer clear of the fifth graders, which was one of the things that made Betty's friendship with Jimmy even more infuriating.

"Uh...yes?" Betty answered in the form of a question. She flashed Cindy a hopeful smile.

Cindy almost laughed out loud. "Get a life," she shot back, shaking her head. OK, so maybe she was being a little harsh, but did Betty seriously expect her to just forget all of those times when she had made Cindy feel rejected?

"Come on, Cindy. Let's put our childish behavior behind us just this once," Betty pleaded.

"Oh, so now you're calling me immature?" Cindy said defensively. "Just because I'm a grade lower than you. Well, if you ask me, you're the immature one."

"Cindy, that's not what I meant," Betty sighed, frowning. "I was genuinely trying to put aside our petty differences and be civil to you, even though you have treated me very unfairly whenever we're around each other."

"Unfairly? Unfairly?" Now Cindy was really furious. "Oh, so I expect that all those times you've made me feel like an outcast don't count, do they?"

"Cindy, what are you talking about?" Betty asked, perplexed. Cindy just shook her head. "Look, I really don't know what you mean by that, but I'm willing to forget it if you are. Why don't we start over, and go from here? If you still don't like me after today, you don't have to speak to me again. Deal?"

Cindy looked up at her warily. All she was asking for was a chance. Was Cindy willing to give it to her? Finally, deep down inside, she knew what she had to do. "OK, Betty," she sighed. "But I don't want you to pester me any more after this, and I mean it. Understand?"

Betty nodded vigorously, so Cindy stood up and brought the biography she was reading to the front desk. Betty followed and waited as the librarian scanned Cindy's card and the book, and then printed out the receipt. As soon as she finished, Cindy followed Betty out of the library.

"Why do you hate me so much, Cindy?" Betty asked as they were leaving the building.

"You should know," Cindy grumbled, not meeting her gaze.

"Just tell me," Betty insisted. "I really do want to understand, Cindy."

Cindy stubbornly remained silent. As if she was going to tell Betty all about her secret affection for the big-headed genius, Jimmy Neutron.

"This has something to do with Jimmy, doesn't it?" Betty asked knowingly.

Cindy stared at her. How in the world had she guessed? Maybe Libby was right about one thing—that she really wasn't so good at hiding her feelings. "I never said that," she huffed, turning her gaze to the ground below her.

"But I can tell," Betty replied. "Look, he and I are nothing more than just friends. I thought you knew that."

"Then why are you constantly flirting with him?" Cindy argued, becoming angrier as all the encounters that Betty had ever had with him were brought to her memory.

"In case you haven't noticed, I flirt with everyone," Betty laughed. "I guess it's just my nature or something."

Hmm. The first part was definitely true. If she wasn't mistaken, Cindy could even recall one time where Betty had been flirting with Nick Dean. "OK," she said slowly. "But will you at least just try to go easy on Jimmy? I mean, I don't really care either way. It's just that...well...I think he likes you, and it is kind of mean to lead him on like that." It was a lie, but hopefully one that would keep her true motives hidden.

"All right," Betty grinned. "So...you wanna go to the mall?"

"Sure!" Cindy replied. Even she was starting to believe that Betty wasn't so bad.

"And then we even bought matching outfits together!" Cindy gushed over the phone to Libby that night in her room. "Except mine's green and hers is pink. We were thinking of wearing them to school tomorrow. Or would that be stupid? Like we were trying to look like twins or something?"

"Whoa. This sounds serious," Libby commented. "You sure you're not sick, girlfriend?"

"I'm fine, Libby," Cindy assured her, shaking her head.

"Girl, you're tellin' me you spent time with Quinlan and enjoyed it? That's just too hard to believe." Now it was Libby's turn to shake her head.

"Yeah," Cindy enthusiastically confirmed. "She's really not so bad after all. She even said she'd lay off the flirting with Jimmy. Can you believe that?" A sudden realization came over her of what she had just said. "I mean, not that I would care!" she quickly added. And then in a tiny voice, "At all."

"So, that's what this is all about," Libby mused. "Become her best friend so she'll meet your demands and you can have Neutron all to yourself. I hate to break it to you, but I don't think that's gonna work."

"That is so not why we're friends, Libby," Cindy protested. "Besides, it's not like I do want Jimmy all to myself or anything..." She laughed nervously, twisting the telephone cord around her finger.

"Uh-huh," Libby responded, obviously not believing a word of it. "I just hope you know what you're gettin' yourself into. If you ask me, Quinlan's pure evil."

"Well, no one asked you!" Cindy snapped.

"Chill out, girlfriend. You don't hafta get all defensive on me," Libby replied, shocked at Cindy's tone.

"Right...sorry," Cindy replied. "Look, I'm gonna go to bed now."

"You have a good night," Libby said.

"You, too." And with that, she hung up.

I wasn't like she had expected Libby to understand. In fact, after all that time of "I hate Betty" and "Betty's the devil," she was sure that Libby would never get it. But was Libby right? Was Cindy only hanging out with Betty so she'd lay off of Jimmy?

Maybe that is what I'm doing, Cindy thought to herself as she stared up at the ceiling. It was all so confusing.

"Cindy? Betty?" Jimmy was staring at them in bewilderment the next day at school. Not only were they talking together like old friends, but they even had on similar outfits.

"Yeah? So?" Cindy snapped, glaring at him.

"Wow. I just never would've thought..." he walked off, shaking his head.

"So, I'll see you at lunch?" Betty asked, glancing at her watch. The bell was about to ring, and neither of them wanted to be late.

"Yep. I'll be there," Cindy confirmed. They both headed off to their classrooms in different directions.

"Nice outfit, Cindy," Libby whispered, leaning over in her desk. "Too bad I wasn't there when you bought it."

Those words instantly sent Cindy a pang of guilt. She hadn't meant to make Libby feel bad, honest! "Libby, I—"

"Welcome to class, children," Ms. Fowl's bird-like voice rang out. Cindy didn't have time to finish.

A/N: Well, the first chapter wasn't very different from before, but I added a lot to this one. I hope it's made the story better, because I feel a sudden determination to finish what I've started. I was reading over all of the old reviews and I feel bad for letting everyone down by suddenly stopping like that. It might take a while, because I still have My Happy Ending and Strange Memories to finish, and those are my main priorities. But I'll try nonetheless! Hope you liked Chapter 2, and please review! Thanks!