Advanced warning right here some of you will not like this chapter. Some of you might even hate it but we all knew it had to happen. After all it's only high school. Sorry this wasn't up sooner but motivation left me and when it came back I had to make sure it was absolutely perfect before posting it. Same disclaimer as always. Thanks for reading. Please shoot me a little something to let me know your feelings.

Chapter 64: Deny it, Dean

The next morning after getting dressed I exited my room then turned and shut my door. When I turned back around Dean was right there. I looked up at him as he placed his hands on my hips. I cocked my head and he lowered his then kissed me. I kissed him back until we both ran out of breath. "Well good morning to you too." I whispered as he rested his forehead against mine.

"Mmm, and what a good morning it is." Dean answered.

That's when my brain kicked into ruin the moment. "Dean, you're starting to scare me." I said.

"What do you mean?" He asked pulling back slightly. I ran my hand along his shoulder and looked away. "Lizzy, look at me," Dean turned my head towards him. "Lizzy, what is it?"

"I love the affection, it's so sweet and it really makes me feel good but a month ago you weren't this affectionate. You never told me you loved me the way you do now. You kissed me but not with as much passion as recently. It scares me that something's going on that you don't want me to know about."

"I would never do that to you. A month ago I was your knight in shining armor that had to earn your love and trust. I didn't want to go overboard and scare you. Before you I only cared that she at least pretended to be into me. With you I find myself wondering if I'm doing everything right, if you truly care for me, how much you're into this, and whether or not you're mad at me, and above all else if you are mad at me I want to know how I can fix it. I've never worried about that in my life." Dean said.

"So you didn't want to go overboard and scare me like you just did?" I asked.

"I didn't mean to. This is all brand new to me and I don't want to hurt you. I really don't."

"I understand."

"I want to keep your love and fulfill my duty as your prince charming."

"I really understand Dean, but I want you to be yourself and not worry about overdoing it. You love me the way I am and that's amazing." I said.

"Alright," Dean nodded.

"So breakfast," I said and he escorted me to breakfast. Charlie gave me this really weird look when Dean and I sat down. "What?" I asked.

"Nothing, it's just that you look too happy." Charlie said.

"Too happy? How can one ever be too happy?"

"It's like the time you found out Matt was playing his first minors game and sent you tickets to watch him play on Fulton's birthday where Matt scored the only goal."

"If it's been that long since I've been happy there must be something wrong with my life." I said.

"That's not what I meant. I meant that you're happier than you've been in a long time. I kinda like it."

"That made no sense what-so-ever." Dean said. "Basically he was complaining that you're too happy."

"It made plenty of sense, you just have to think like Charlie to understand and it wasn't really a complaint. It's refreshing to be this happy." I explained.

"So then it's a good thing that you're dating me?" Dean asked.

"In a roundabout way. After all you're the reason I am this happy." I smiled.

Dean kissed me and the rest of our friends gagged. We spent the rest of the day being lazy and I realized it was only two weeks until spring break.

Baseball practice stopped me from going to the hockey playoff game on the 22nd and then a game stopped me on the 25th but I resolved that nothing would stop me from going to the game on the 26th. Once again I felt a slight bit off to be pitching on the 25th as though something was wrong but I shrugged it off marking it down as though it was just being new to the school and team.

Earlier on the 25th Luis and I handed in our psychology project and Mr. Stewart convinced me to help grade them for extra credit. Personally I was glad to be through with the project.

Sure enough Saturday I watched as the Ducks took on the Cats in their toughest two games and won both. The party that night at the Eden Hall old gym was the biggest and rowdiest I had ever seen but that didn't mean it was any less fun.

March 28, 1998 started as any other Monday. Breakfast with the Ducks, a bunch of classes and then came the end of my Civics class. From there I headed with Averman and Guy towards their Art class which also happened to be the class Dean had just gotten out of. As I turned the corner I spotted Crystal Deam leaning against the locker and Dean looking down on her. Her hand was on his bicep and then like a picture from another life he leaned down and kissed her. I turned on my heel and looked at Averman and Guy.

"Guys, am I really seeing Dean up there in the black AC/DC shirt?" I asked.

"Blue bandanna, black jeans, grey backpack? Yeah that's him." Guy said.

"Can you tell him I'm not hungry? I think I'm going to be sick. Maybe I'll head to the nurse's office." I said.

"You sure?" Averman asked as Guy pressed a hand over my forehead.

"Yeah, cramps." I said knowing how to shut him up instantly.

"Ok." They both said backing off.

"Fult said you weren't at lunch." Luis said as I sat down in psychology.

"I wasn't feeling good. Spent all lunch in the bathroom." I said.

"Too much information," Russ said.

"You asked." I answered.

"He did." Russ said jabbing his finger in Luis's direction.

At the end of class once again Mr. Stewart handed me a pass out of my classes and I was thankful that I didn't have to see Dean. After classes I went back to my dorm and a while later Fulton plopped down on my bed.

"You're skipping baseball practice." Fulton said.

"Right now I'm not in the mood for anything, to include talking to you." I answered moodily.

"Tell me what happened. You look upset." Fulton said.

"Would you be surprised if Dean ever cheated on me?" I asked.

Fulton sized me up and then sighed. "I really want to say yes. I know how much he really likes you. Maybe even loves you. However I do know how he used to treat girls. Toss them aside when he gets bored. I'd be surprised he did it to you but I wouldn't be surprised that he did it." Fulton said.

"Would you kick his butt?" I asked.

"Lizzy, I don't want to get in the middle of it if it happened but you were my best friend first. You don't deserve to get hurt." Fulton said. "Now did something happen?"

"I ... not yet. I can't." I said.

"I'll go get dinner. Don't keep these things from me." Fulton said. I nodded and he left.

Before breakfast the next morning I saw Dean walking with Charlie and Adam. I grabbed his arm and spun him around before shoving him against the locker just down from the cafeteria. "Deny it." I snapped. "Go right ahead and deny it."

"Deny what?" Dean asked innocently. "How much I love you?"

"How much ... How—how dare you? I saw you yesterday."

"Saw me what?"

"How could you forget already? Do girls really mean that little to you?" I asked. His eyes cleared and he looked horrified. "Yeah that's right. I can understand her, she's a real piece of work and deserves it, but I never thought you'd do this to me. They warned me but I never thought you'd—I thought I knew you better. Stay away from me." I demanded. I spun on my heel and walked away. After a moment I turned back to him and slammed my fist into his stomach. I bit my lip then went into the cafeteria with Adam's arm around me.

"I know you don't want to talk about it." Adam said.

"Then don't make me. My heart is breaking; just let me eat in piece and keep the team out of it." I said.

"I know. It's none of our business." Adam said. He kissed my temple, gave me an extra squeeze, and then let go. After getting my breakfast I went over to the art girls and sat down.

"Everything alright?" Aly asked.

"Not in the slightest." I answered.

"We're here if you want to talk." Anna said.

"Thank you but tell me about you guys. What's going on?" I asked. So we talked about their lives and the upcoming musical before Bash walked over.

"You missed dinner last night and baseball practice. What has you so upset?" Bash asked.

"None of your business," I answered.

"I can't fix it—"

"It's not for you to fix. I love you Bash but stay out of my love life."

"I promised your brothers I'd look out for you."

"Now why would you do an asinine thing like that?" I asked.

"Because I'm your cousin and I'm supposed to." Bash said.

"Cousin as in ...?" I trailed off.

"As in your uncle Austin Johnson was my father."

"Oh, so now you've got to get involved too? Stay out of it." I snapped then stormed off to my first class. I was thankful it was Tuesday and I wouldn't see Dean until after lunch. Then I realized I should probably resort to calling him Portman instead as he was a lying jerk. After lunch Dean asked to speak to me but I just shook my head and walked away heading for my math class. After class I had baseball practice and instead of talking to anyone and giving tips I just stretched and began pitching.

"I know you're mad Lizzard," Mike said using the nickname the ball team had given me, "but baseball pitching is about speed and control not about how fast or hard you can throw it."

Though the catcher had a point I didn't really care. "Mike."

"No," he said catching the ball and holding on to it. "I know you're angry but you have to calm down. Put your focus on pitching and learning control. Don't focus on what he did to you."

I tucked my mitt under my arm. "But how can I ever trust a guy like that again?"

"You can't. Not in the same capacity. I know it feels like your heart is shattered but you're strong enough to pull through this."

"I guess and I do have you guys." I said feeling most of the anger leave me. "Hey the school board is having a meeting tomorrow. Do you think you could come with me?"

"Sure." Mike agreed. He smiled and tossed me the ball back.

At dinner the guys continue to try to make me feel better about how it really was Portman's loss and everything but I just wasn't feeling it. I had eaten half of my dinner before Alex said "Look sweetie, it really is his loss. You're beautiful and talented and he's an idiot for losing you."

"Dude, so not the right thing to say," Sam hissed.

"You look hungry Max, why don't you finish my dinner for me?" I shoved my tray in his direction then left the cafeteria. Later that night I rolled over to find myself sharing my bed with Guy. "Hello," I said in shock.

"Hi." Guy said.

That was all it took. Just that one word and I buried my face in his chest and cried. Though he wasn't my typical go to guy I knew I could trust him. The next morning just outside the cafeteria I overheard Guy confront Dean and how he never should have treated me that way. I shook my head and walked past them noticing Portman's hurt look. It almost broke my heart. Then as I sat down next to Luis and Julie, Bash walked to the other end of the table and I noticed him speaking in a low tone to Portman. Again he looked like he knew he was wrong and he felt horrible. When Bash walked away I slammed my hands down on the table. "Enough!" I said loudly.

"Lizzy?" Charlie asked.

"I've had it. Stay out of it." I said loud enough for the table to hear. I turned my eyes to Charlie. "You, Captain, are the heart and soul of the team. I know what Bombay told you. You, more than anyone, are the Minnesota Miracle Man. You kept this team together since the start of the fifth grade when you joined District Five Hockey. Not a single one of them got in Linda's face, as bad as she deserved it and when Fulton broke up with Jessica at the end of school last year not a single one of you got on him about it. I grew up with four brothers who brag as loud as a diesel engine. I know what guys are capable of. I've had boys dump me because my brothers pay them off. Things happen, so here's your only warning: this is between me and Dean. Yes," my eyes swung from Charlie to Guy, "I bawled my eyes out last night but that was not something he needed to know," I jabbed a finger in Dean's direction, "and yes, I know I've been hurt and down about it, but do me a favor, do both of us a favor, do like Fulton is doing and stay out of it. The only time I want you getting up in a guy's face or getting involved is when he lays a hand on me and that's only after I've put him face first into the floor. Do you think you can handle that?" I snapped, glaring around the table. Most of the Ducks nodded and the rest shrank away from me. I took a deep breath in and slowly breathed it out. Then calmer I added, "Thank you." I sat back down and went back to my breakfast.

After that I pretty much threw myself into baseball practice and games and as well as working on the play. The play went off without a hitch and the baseball team made a deal with the school board that if we could raise most of the cash for the new stadium they would donate the rest and by that summer construction was starting on our new baseball field. As for what happed after that well that's another story.

I did learn two things from that year though, first was to stay away from dating hockey players as it caused nothing but trouble. The second ... well that was that while sometimes When Ice and Dirt Mix you get dirty ice, most of the time you get mud and nobody likes mud.

And there you have it. Thanks to everyone for reading, liking, alerting, favorite-ing, and reviewing most of all. You guys are amazing. Also for those of you that liked this one so much, check out my what if story based on this one entitled: Giving Back. It's basically what if instead of giving up hockey completely when Matt dies, Lizzy throws herself into it. Then when she gets into trouble can Bombay pull her out again.

Also now posted check out the semi-sequel, as in set after this one in basically the same universe, entitled Love Story.