Forbidden Fruit:

This is the reason I haven't been updating A Very Different County. I hope this makes up for it.

Summary: Alex is 23 and just starting a teaching job, it is possible to be that young and teach, I was at a club the other night and met a 21 year old primary school teacher, though I was very drunk and he may have been lying, shakes head anyway... Marissa is in lower sixth, meaning she's 16-17 and in her penultimate year of senior school.
Its written based on the British school system.
Marissa is naturally best friends with the gang, and has only just started coming to terms with her sexuality, Summer knows and is very supportive as are Seth and Ryan, the rest of the school doesn't though, but do have their suspicions...
Alex is new to the school as you'll no doubt be able to get from my first chap...
Rating: I don't know, but knowing me there will be strong language, given the fact that my vocabulary is very limited with out swearing, much to my mothers shame...

Forgive me for its longness... I did not want to post it in chapters... ergo it became very, very long. Sorry.

Enjoy and R&R people please!


A

She stared at her reflection, she saw a young confident blonde girl, but in reality she knew she was nothing more than a scared little child. She finished applying her eyeliner, played with her hair at bit more, changed her top for like the millionth time and finally walked out of her room and into the kitchen to meet her flat mate pouring coffee and munching on toast.

"Hi." She sighed out, trying to sound excited but just ending up sounding nervous.

"Once more with feeling please Miss Kelly!" the girl laughed handing her the mug of steaming hot coffee.

"They're going to hate me Jode." She said sitting down, banging her head on the table.

"What you talking 'bout? You're going to be the cool hip new art teacher."

"No." she looked up at the brunette, now sat opposite her, "I'm going to be the dorky NQT who looks no older than them."

"Okay you could never look dorky Al, you're way too punk for that." She pushed a plate of buttered toast towards her, to which Alex just shook her head at, "And what the hell is an NQT?"

"A newly qualified teacher." She explained sipping her from her coffee and burning her tongue. "Shit! Ow! Buggery- fuck!" she ran to the sink and stuck her head under the tap trying to cool her tongue, hoping against hope that she wouldn't have to greet her co-workers with a lisp.

"Burn your tongue?" her flatmate asked, trying to suppress a laugh. Alex simply removed her head from underneath the tap, wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and sat down again, looking sheepish. "Anyway what's wrong with being an NUB?"

"NQT." she corrected.

"That?" Jodie continued, ignoring the interruption, taking a bite from the toast Alex had rejected. "You're young, hip and straight out of University with fresh ideas."

"They're going to hate me."

"Look, you're only teaching sixth formers right?" she waited for Alex to nod before continuing, "meaning the classes are going to be tiny and mostly made up of girls. It'll be fine. Plus they're not there today, you have the joy of them hating you tomorrow. Today its just the other members of staff."

"Always one with the helping aren't you!" Alex smiled, taking another sip from her, now cooler, coffee, "Anyway, you do remember school right?"

"Yeah, G-d I loved school, tonnes of girls in short skirts all wanting to find a way to rebel against their parents."

"Your teacher's must have loved teaching you Jode." Alex gave up and walked to the mirror in the hall, checking her outfit one last time. "Do I look alright?" she called back to the girl in the kitchen.

"You look fine." Jodie yelled back standing up.

"You have to say I look fine!" She responded leaning on the door frame watching her friend wash up. "You're my best friend, its part of the rules. You know the 'must compliment each other regardless of how shitty they look' clause."

"You're now babbling. Go to school." She waved her off with out even turning round. "I'll see you at five, five thirty and we can go out, have a drink. Find you some lady to take you're mind of those brats you're teaching."

"They're sixteen to eighteen year olds I'd hardly say they're brats."

"You remember what you were like at sixteen right?"

"Oh G-d they're going to hate me!" she sighed out slamming the door shut behind her.

------

Alex approached reception nervously, looking up at the building in front of her, knowing that tomorrow she'd be surrounded by kids, worried parents of first years, and teenager's wanting to be anywhere but at school. She took one final breath, ignored the voice in her head telling her to run, and walked into to the empty hall.

She looked round the corridor she'd found herself in and walked down it, hoping to find signs of life. She saw a blue sign telling her that the main office was to her left and followed it's directions. She looked round and found this room to be just as empty as the corridor she'd just left.

"Hello?" she called, "Oh shit I've got the wrong day." She said to herself looking around.

"No. It's the right day." A man popped up from behind the counter, "wrong building." He smiled at her and held out his hand. He looked to Alex as though he was twice her age, his hair had started to grey and was patchy in places. As there were no students he was just wearing a T-shirt and jeans, but Alex suspected that even if there were pupils around he still wouldn't be a teacher-y teacher, not one to dress up head to foot in tweed and over pronounce his words. "I'm John Downes by the way, I'm going to go out on a limb and say you're a new member of staff."

"Yeah." she smiled nervously taking his hand, "I'm Alex Kelly, I'm the new art teacher."

"Maths." He pointed to himself.

"What?"

"I teach maths." He explained with a slight laugh

"Of course you do." Alex shook her head feeling dumber and dumber by the second. "I'm sorry I've had a lot of coffee this morning, and I'm very nervous."

"Its understandable, you're probably terrified to meet your co-workers, who you think will all look down on you because you're an NQT." She simply nodded. "And even more nervous about tomorrow, about meeting the kids, terrified that they're going to be able to tell that you're an NQT at a thousand paces, and bully you because of it."

"Yes." When he put it like that her fears sounded tiny and insignificant, but to her they were like going on a blind date, or knowing that you're about to give the 'It's not you but me' speech to this really nice person…

"All the others are in the staff room," John told her, noticing that she'd gone off into her own little world, "getting briefed by Simon, bout the changes he's brought in this year. I tend to skip his 'Day before the start of term' speeches as they tend to go on a bit and no body listens to him anyway." He winked at her. "Simon's a tool, but a great Head, very dedicated to the kids, just as dull as hell." He smiled. "Common, let me show you to your department." He put down the papers he was holding and walked out of the building, into the courtyard which was bathed in warm autumn sun shine.

As they made their way through buildings, passed empty class rooms with bare walls, she slowly started to tune John out, he seemed very nice, but just as boring as Simon Chittim, the head teacher, who he'd warned against.

Alex had been here before, of course she had, for the interviews and to get a feel of the place before she started, but that was way before the summer. Before the prospect of actually getting a job hand sunk in. Now she took in her surroundings with a much greater sense of dread than she had before her interview, she took in her surroundings knowing that she was going to have to learn her way round school soon, she couldn't ask the students for directions, that just be way too embarrassing and she'd never gain respect from them if she did that.

He opened a door and held it open for her, ushering her through it. "This will be your class room, well I assume, its where the last Sixth Form teacher was anyway."

The room was dark red, with a huge chalk board in the centre of the furthest wall. There were sinks around the edge of the room, filled with empty jam jars and old paint brushes. There were remnants of blue tack on the wall where pictures had been taken down quickly, and odd splatters of paint on the wooden floor. There were a cluster of desks in the centre of the room, with a big wooden desk in by the board, which Alex assumed to be hers.

"Wow." She smiled looking round it, forgetting that John was still with her. "Wow." She repeated awe-struck, running her fingers over the worn old table tops, over the engravings that pupils had left when there teacher was droning on at them about something or other. The room just screamed history at her and she loved it, unable to hide her smile thinking that she would be teaching in this room tomorrow.
"Lets get you settled in," John smiled at her, waking her from her day dream of kids asking her for advice, and her colour expertise, "show you the rest of the school and re-introduce to you to your department head."

M

It was the last day of the holidays, she had a hangover and she was rudely awaken from her wonderful dream about Keira Knightly when her head came into contact with the corner of her beside table.

"Fuck!" she screamed to any inanimate object that would listen, instinctively slamming her hand against the point of pain, knowing it wouldn't numb the throbbing. "Fuck!" she yawned out, rubbing her eyes, trying to acclimatise to the new found light of her room. She fumbled around, looking for her alarm clock that had fallen off the table when she rolled into it. It read 9:37. "Fuck!" she screamed again, throwing it against the wall. "Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck." She grumbled to herself throwing back the covers, trying to steady herself so she could get to the bathroom with out bumping into anything. "Either my hangovers are getting worse or I'm still drunk." She told her reflection before she opened up the cabinet and found the wonders that were aspirin, hoping against hope that they would do more for the pain than simply rubbing her head. She ran the tap and splashed her face with cold water, trying to wake herself up properly so she'd be able to face her mother. She walked back into her room grabbed the nearest jumper and slid it on over her night dress as she ran down the stairs.

"Morning darling." Julie smiled overly sweetly at her daughter, "what are you going to do on your last day of freedom?"

"Shooting myself," she grumbled into the fridge, "I'm going out with Summer Mum, we're buying last minute school supplies." She said loud enough for Julie to hear.

"That sounds nice dear… don't drink from the carton." She said turning round finding her daughter draped over the edge of the fridge door draining the orange juice container. "How are you ever going to find a man if you act like that?"

"Well hopefully they'll love me for who I am." She sneered at her mother's back, throwing the empty carton at the bin, and missing. "Shit."

"Don't swear, I don't want Caitlin learning those words."

"She's fourteen, trust me she knows those words." She told Julie as she walked past the rubbish and sat in a chair, grabbing a bagel.

"I do wish you'd be a better example to her." Marissa smiled at her mother silently planning her death, taking out her rage towards her by viciously ripping apart the bagel. "We don't want two daughters failing their exams."

"Mum, I didn't fail them, any of them, and I got an A didn't I?"

"In Art," Julie peered over the top of her magazine, "Art does not count when you got a C in Maths and D's in Science and English."

"Tell Damien Hirst that."

"Please, the man pickles sharks, that is not art, and you certainly don't need to pass an exam in the subject to be able to do it."

"Whatever," Marissa glared at her mother standing up to leave. "I'll see you and little Miss I've-got-all-the-brains-the-sun-shines-out-of-my-arse for dinner." she walked up the stairs, threw on some clothes, grabbed her mobile and some money and left the house and her mother as quickly as she could.

------

She didn't know why she'd agreed to join Summer for a last minute sixth form shop. It was eleven o'clock by her watch and way too early to be in shops packed with parents panicking over they kids first day of school or teenagers trying to put off the inevitable by buying as little stationary as possible praying that they could squeeze just a couple, a couple more days out of the holiday.

She walked into the diner and found Summer with Seth in their usual booth. She slumped down next to Summer and stole a sip of her coffee before the small brunette had even realised she'd arrived.

"Wow your time keeping sucks Coop."

"I'm here aren't I!" she took off her sunglasses and put them on the table.

"My G-d! It's Kate Moss!" Seth laughed, "You look like shit Ris."

"What every girl longs to hear. It was a late night," she explained, "shut up and gimme your coffee."

"Say please!" he moved it so that is was just out of her reach. "Anyway you're not meant to be a 'big coffee drinker' now anyway."

Marissa snatched up the fork in front of her and held it about a centimetre away from Seth's eye. "You quote any more L Word at me and you'll be wearing an eye patch."

He gingerly slid the cup over towards her swallowing hard as he did so. "I'm so glad I agreed to come shopping with you two, you're such a ray of sunshine in the mornings."

"Where is Ryan anyway?" Summer asked, removing the fork from Marissa's death grip.

"Grounded."

"What he do?" Marissa asked putting the now empty cup down.

"He was caught sneaking in after being at Taylor's."

"I cant believe he's dating that freak. She's such a freak, she's like this big old freak, Freaky McFreakyson is what she is."

"Sum?"

"Yeah Coop."

"We got your point. Taylor's a freak. Breath."

"I'm good," she closed her eyes and took one last deep breath, "I'm good."
"Come on Walking bottle of Vodka, we need to get you some school supplies." Seth smiled, stretching out his hand to get Marissa out of the booth.

"Don't wanna."

"You've been putting this off all holiday, you need something to go to school with tomorrow." Summer tried to explain to her.

"I didn't want to buy anything until after I got my exam results, in case I failed, which according to my mother I did, so technically," she tried to gesture with her hand, "technically, I haven't been avoidy all of the holiday."

"Why are you staying on for sixth form anyway Coop, why don't you go to Art College or some thing?"

"Mum thinks I need to get A levels to be able to ensnare a rich husband."
"Still not had the coming out party? Oh there could be cake, blue cake to mark the occasion."

Summer hit Seth round the back of the head, "Way to be sensitive Cohen."

"I don't want a cake, and no I haven't told my mother I'm gay it would just be another black mark against my name."

"How is the favourite daughter, that is Caitlin?" Seth asked.

"Straight and had a shining report card." She said sliding out of the booth and walking over to the door. "Why do I have to go shopping?" she spun round and asked Summer quickly before she opened it. "I don't even know what classes I'm allowed to take."

"Well we know you're doing Art so lets start there."

"Grumble, grumble."

M

She woke up to find a banging on her door and her mother screaming through it.
"Marissa, get up its school today."

She pulled the covers over her head and swore at her care bear. I don't want to
go to school
. She reluctantly got up and headed into the shower still cursing her mother for not allowing her to go to art college, but no! You need A levels if you want to get a nice rich husband. Nobody's going to want to marry an artist. Her mothers voice rang through her head constantly as she got dressed, she threw her pencil case and her new pad of paper into her bag, ran downstairs grabbed an apple and left the house with nothing but a glare towards the mother and perfect little sister.

She walked slowly along the road, crunching on her apple, knowing that Summer would drive by and pick her up. She threw the useless core into a neighbours bush as Summer's convertible pulled over.

"Morning." She said sullenly to her friend.

"Wow, you really have taken chipper to a whole new level."

"Shut up Summer, you're all but into Oxford already, you got straight As. Me?" she glanced over at the driver as she fiddled with the radio tuner, just to get her hand beaten away.

"Leave it I like this song."

"Its way to early in the morning for J-Lo."

"Its never to early for J-Lo."

"Me?" Marissa continued with a sigh, "I'm doing Art, History, Geography and I have to find some teacher to beg and let me into their class with a C."

"Go for RS," Summer shrugged pulling into the school car park, "That department's a pushover."

"I don't want to do RS and be surrounded by a load of religious nuts."

"Hey!" Summer said, nudging her friend so she'd get out of the car, "I'm doing RS!"

"Fine." She sighed getting out the car and pulling her bag from the back seat, "I guess I could take that class, that way at least I'd have an ally."

------

Marissa looked at her timetable and sighed. She didn't want to do any of those subjects. She just wanted to do Art, but her stupid bigoted mother was a pain in her arse. She walked into her form room and slumped in the chair besides Ryan.

"Morning." He smiled handing her the remnants of his coffee.

"You're a life saver." She smiled taking the cup from his hand greedily, "Have I told you how much I love you?"

"There's a machine in the Common Room, of course you have to push your way past a load of arrogant year 13s who think they own the place to get to the lousy brown water, but I'm told it has caffeine in."

"Thank you." She smiled at him. "So what's the common room like then?"

"You wait your entire school career to get in there, wearing your own clothes in stead of some dumb old shirt and tie… Turns out its just a room with mouldy sofa's a couple of tables with a dictionary on a CD player that the year 13s control."

"Sixth form sucks." She laughed throwing the plastic cup into the bin and missing.

"I don't know why you insist on throwing every thing, your aim sucks," he smiled picking it up and placing it in the bin for her. "And anyway, sixth form does not suck, we have free periods and cute transfer students."

"Cute transfer students?"

"And no Taylor to tie me down." He smiled.

"So you finally gave into Summer and dumped her then?"

"No. She kept talking bout moving into a house of our own, and whether or not she should take my name, which apparently she shouldn't because Taylor Cohen doesn't have a very good ring to it. G-d that bitch is crazy."

"Finally with the listening!" She smiled at patted him on the back, "It took you a while but you got there in the end and that's all that matters."

"Shut up!" he laughed sticking his middle finger up at her, just as their form tutor entered the room.

"Ryan I do not want to have to start the year with issuing you a detention."

"We get detention in sixth form Miss?"

"Yes, just because you're not wearing uniform does not mean that you are excused from punishments."

"Sixth form sucks." He conceded to a smiling Marissa. "What you got first period then?" he asked quietly as Mrs Smith went through the register.

"Art with Porter. G-d he stinks."

"Porter's left. There's a new sixth form teacher this year?"

"Who?" he simply shrugged. "Well I guess I'll find out." she smiled standing up and heading to her first class.

A

Alex woke up to find Jodie sitting on her bed with a glass of water and a couple of aspirin.

"Come on, you get to go to work." She told her gently, trying to get her to sit up to take the head ache tablets.

"I cannot believe I drank so much last night," she moaned, positioning herself so that she could take the pain relief and rest her head in her hands at the same time, "do I have to go to work?"

"Yep." She smiled placing the empty glass on the table beside her, "unless you feel like becoming a hooker to pay rent, you got to face those kids with a hangover."

"I don't want to teach those brats about art." She sighed getting out of bed and walking over to her dresser to confirm her suspicions that she did indeed look like shit.

"Hey, I didn't think they were brats." Jodie laughed pushing her into the bathroom.

"That was yesterday," she explained over the noise of the running water, "today the throbbing in my head tells me that they will be brats just to spite me." she sighed, grabbing a towel from the rack and stepping out of the shower, "Its okay Jode, you can turn around now, I'm decent."

"You're never decent."

"Go to work."

"Don't wanna."

"I'll work at the café if you teach the kids."

"Cool, young impressionable girls in uniform-" she was cut off by Alex's hand coming into contact with the back of her head, "hey it was a joke!"

"Yeah, a joke that could get me fired, and never let me teach again."

"You don't want to teach anyway, you want to be an artist."

"But I do want to pay rent."

"And we're back to the hooker plan, I think this is G-d's way of saying He wants you to turn tricks."

"Get out of my room." Alex laughed pointing to the door. "Will you let me get dressed so I can go to school, so the kids can hate me, so I can come home and never wake up."

"That's a lot of so'ing maybe you should teach Textiles."

"Get out."

------

Her department head, Mrs Janet Linch, had given her all the instructions she'd needed yesterday. Janet had told Alex that as she would only be teaching sixth formers, she would be supervising all their classes, two lower sixth and one upper sixth group. Janet told her that the yr 13's pretty much knew what they were doing and might just need a couple of pointers here and there. The year 12's, however, would need more guidance as the A level course was very different from the GCSE course and so would require quite a lot of adjustment to get used to.

Alex was excited and nervous and worried and a whole other mess of crap that left her on such an adrenaline high after she'd left the school the previous afternoon after setting up her classroom to her liking. She'd put up posters of her favourite art work and rearranged the tables so it was less like a class room and more like an artists studio so that the pupils were more relaxed.

She still felt the need to come in early and prepare some more, despite her hangover and lack of coffee in the staff room. She found the room just as she'd left it the afternoon before, just with less dust that had collected over the summer, and now with a Starbucks cup on her desk. She looked at her watch, it was still only half eight, she had half an hour before her first class arrived.

She didn't know what to do, she had a lesson plan all sorted out, but what if the pupils hated her, what if they didn't like her style or her taste in art. All her anxieties built up again until she found she was leaning on the window sill, her head pressed against the cool glass trying to ease her breathing.

"Er…" a tall brunette poked her head around the door, "is this the lower sixth class?" Alex, swallowed hard, her first student, shit, she thought to herself before nodding quietly, "Great, I saw you and thought I was in the wrong room," the girl said quickly throwing her bag on one of the tables and sitting beside it. "So has the new bitch turned up yet?"

"New bitch?" Alex asked trying not to laugh at the girl's bluntness.

"Yeah you know, oh you don't know, you're a transfer student aren't you."

"Well actually-" Alex tried to correct her but found she was cut off quickly.

"Porter's left and so we have this new bitch, I bet she's really old and fuzzy and doesn't know shit about art. So you skiving off assembly too?"

"No." Alex smiled at the girl in front of her, not really sure of what to say.

"How come? Everyone has to go to assembly, and as your not in the hall with the rest of them you must be skiving."

"What's your name?"

"Marissa Cooper." The girl smiled holding out her hand.

"Hello, I'm Miss Kelly," she watched as the girls face changed quickly from a smile to anything but, "don't worry I'm not old and fuzzy and I hope I know something about art."

"Oh fuck!" Marissa slapped her hand over her mouth, "Oh shit I just swore in front of a teacher. Bollocks I did it again."

"Don't worry, I always used to hate assemblies too, and if I apologised every time I swore the only words out of my mouth would be shit and sorry."

Marissa slid off the table top and sat down slowly in one of the chairs, "Have I just totally screwed things up for the whole year now? Cause this is the only class I actually want to take and if the teacher hates me well…" she ran her index finger across her neck.

"I think you'll be fine, long as you don't talk to the rest of your teacher's like that anyway." Alex smiled, maybe teaching wouldn't be all that bad if all the students were this funny, "Well," she looked down at her watch, "assembly will be over in five minutes why don't you wait here, try not to swear as much, whilst I go find my self some more coffee." I'm going to need it.

M

"Er…" Marissa poked her head round the corner of the room, hoping she could skive off assembly if the teacher wasn't in the room yet. She was relieved when she just saw a blonde girl by the window, but she was too old to be in her class surely, "is this the lower sixth class?" the girl turned round and simply nodded. "Great, I saw you and thought I was in the wrong room," Marissa said quickly throwing her bag on one of the tables and sitting beside it. "So has the new bitch turned up yet?"

"New bitch?" The girl asked biting her lip. Wow, Marissa thought looking her up and down subconsciously, she's cute.

"Yeah you know," Marissa realised what she'd said the instant she'd said it, "oh you don't know, you're a transfer student aren't you."

"Well actually-"

"Porter's left and so we have this new bitch, I bet she's really old and fuzzy and doesn't know shit about art." She realised she'd said all that in one breath, so she tried to slow down. So this is the transfer student Ryan was talking about. "You skiving off assembly too?"

"No."

"How come?" Marissa didn't understand, "Everyone has to go to assembly, and as you're not in the hall with the rest of them you must be skiving."

"What's your name?" the girl asked quietly coming away from the window.

"Marissa Cooper." Marissa smiled at her extending her hand.

"Hello, I'm Miss Kelly," Marissa's face feel almost as fast as her hand, "don't worry I'm not old and fuzzy and I hope I know something about art."

"Oh fuck!" Marissa slapped her hand over her mouth, "Oh shit I just swore in front of a teacher. Bollocks I did it again."

"Don't worry," she reassured Marissa with her smile, "I always used to hate assemblies too, and if I apologised every time I swore the only words out of my mouth would be shit and sorry."

Marissa slid off the table top and sat down slowly in one of the chairs, "Have I just totally screwed things up for the whole year now? Cause this is the only class I actually want to take and if the teacher hates me well…" she ran her index finger across her neck.

"I think you'll be fine, long as you don't talk to the rest of your teacher's like that anyway. Well," she looked down at her watch and started towards the door while Marissa simply banged her head on the table, "assembly will be over in five minutes why don't you wait here, try not to swear as much, whilst I go find my self some more coffee."

"Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!" Marissa said to herself after her teacher had left the room. "FUCK!"

"Whoa!" Seth smiled as walked through the door, "I knew I was hot, but I didn't know I was 'Fuck!' worthy! Where's the new bitch then?"

"Turns out she's not a bitch." She said resuming banging her head on the table.

"Okay," Seth put his hand under her forehead to prevent her doing anymore damage, "you're going to get concussion before long and then you'll never be able to tell me what you did." He smiled, sitting beside her.

"I thought she was a transfer student."

"And?"

"When you see her you'll realise my head banging."

"If you say so Coop." Marissa raised her eyebrow at him, "Don't tell Summer I called you that, she'll hit me."

"What are you doing here anyway," Marissa asked noticing him start to unpack, "you're all brainy, shouldn't you be doing brainy subjects?"

"Maths, Physics, Chemistry and then I slum it with the thickies in Art."

"Don't say that, us artists with get an inferiority complex. You must be Seth Cohen." Miss Kelly smiled walking back into the class room with one of the plastic cups that Ryan had earlier.

"Ah my reputation precedes me," he smiled, "even amongst transfer students."

"Seth," Marissa smiled, "let me introduce you to Miss Kelly, the new teacher."

"Fuck!" Seth slammed his hand over his mouth, "Sorry, but aren't you a little too hot- I mean young to be a teacher." He corrected quickly.

"I'm 23." She smiled setting down her coffee on the desk, "should I wear a T-shirt that says 'I have been to university, promise'?" she asked Marissa who simply smiled back.

"It might help, if you don't want to be given a wedgie."

"People still give wedgies?"

"Welcome back to senior school." Marissa smiled at her.

-------

Marissa watched Miss Kelly as she ran through the curriculum with the class, explaining what they needed to do this year, about personal investigations, research projects and then their final exam in the summer. She was half way through talking about their optional life drawing classes after school when Tiffany came running in.

"I cannot believe I overslept on the first day of school." She laughed throwing her bag on the table and sitting down, looking around the room at everyone, "So where's the new teacher?"

"Okay that's it," everyone turned their attention to Miss Kelly, "tomorrow I'm wearing tweed and glasses on one of those gold chain things." She glanced at the clock on the wall, "Its five to, you guys clear off so I can prepare for my next class, and tomorrow we'll start some actual art."

Marissa felt at though she was talking only to her, it took her a moment to realise that there were other people in the room. She only started packing up her things when Seth kept nudging her in the side.

"Ris? Ris? Marissa!"

"What?"

"Get your arse up and go to your next class." He smiled sweetly at her. "What you got?"

"Er," she looked at her timetable, "RS with Summer."

"Cool," he said pulling her up of the chair, "don't tell her I called you Coop, please, I want to live to my next birthday!"

"You're secrets safe with me." She smiled following him out of the class room after steeling one last glance at the teacher, writing stuff up on the board. Should've known she was too good to be true.

A & M

She leant against her door, shutting out the noise of the busy London street behind it. It had been a long day. She kicked off her shoes and removed her jacket, throwing it on the table in the hallway.

"Jode!" getting no response she walked into the kitchen and pulled a beer out of the fridge, scanning it for anything remotely edible, finding nothing she opened the can and sipped from it as she walked into the main room.

"Holy fuck!" Jodie looked sheepishly at her from between a random ginger girl's legs. "I'm going to go." Alex told her setting down her beer and walking swiftly back into the hall grabbing her jacket again and walking back onto the street, to be met by a face full of the bitter autumn wind. "Now what?" she mumbled to herself as she prayed that the noise of the traffic would push out the sound of the girl moaning, that was playing in her head on a loop.

Five minutes earlier…..

Marissa banged her head on the table of the café, as Summer moved the plate of chips away so she wouldn't knock into them.

"It wasn't that bad," she tried to reassure her.

"I'm only in the class on probation." She complained to the table clothe. "If even Christians think I'm too dumb to be taught what does that say about my education."

"They don't think you're dumb," Summer smiled, "they just think you're lazy and trouble and therefore want to make sure you work." She lifted up the head of her friend, spat on a napkin and wiped the ketchup off Marissa's forehead.

"Ew!" She batted her hand away, "Sum that's totally gross."

"Well if you will lean on the table."

"I hate school, I hate lessons, I hate teachers, I hate my sister."

"You hate everything."

"I don't hate vodka."

"Coop! You're sixteen-"

"Seventeen in a month." Marissa reminded.

"…and its," she glanced at the battered old clock on the wall, "ten past five. Too early to be drinking, especially on a Thursday, when you have school tomorrow."

"Ryan would agree with me." She said sullenly.

"Yeah well Ryan thinks with his trousers."

"Sum, don't be like that." Marissa smiled at her bitter friend.

"He sleeps with anyone and anything."

"You're just annoyed because he hasn't come onto you yet."

"I am not annoyed."

"You love Ryan, you want to sleep with him, have his babies…" Marissa sang out loudly, getting weird stares off the two old women sat at the table next them.

"Will you not do that," Summer hissed at her, trying to get her to stop dancing, "I do not want to sleep…" Marissa had tuned out though, completely unaware that Summer was still talking, or even at the table, her attention had gone as soon as the bell about the door had rung, signifying that someone had just walked in.

Marissa watched as the blonde walked in slowly, scanning the tables for a place to sit, before heading to the back of the crowed café, plumping her self down in the corner.

"Miss Kelly…" Marissa said slowly and completely unaware that she'd said it allowed

"Coop! Coop! COOP!" Summer snapped her fingers in front of Marissa's face.

"What?" she asked with a slight shake you her head.

"You're drooling," Summer smiled, "and completely ogling over that girl. Just go over and talk to her."

"Its not that simple…" She sighed out watching Miss Kelly order.

"What you mean? She's clearly gay, look at her nails and don't get me started on those shoes."

"Her nails are like that because she's an art teacher."

"How you know that?"

"'Cause she's my art teacher."

"Oooh…" Summer said slowly, "You're totally screwed."

"Tell me about it." Marissa resumed banging her head on the table.

A

Alex looked up from the pathetic tabloid she was reading to find a toothless woman smiling down at her, she smiled nervously unsure of her presence until the woman pulled out a pad and remove the pen from behind her ear.

"What can I get ya Love?" she asked revelling more of her toothless mouth.

"Just a coffee thanks."

"Be right over with it Dear."

Alex followed her with her eyes, watching the woman limp away into the kitchen, but soon lost sight of her when she walked past two girls sitting on the other side of the café. She watched as a brunette tried to stop her friend from banging her head on the table. She smiled to herself before returning to the paper, praying that Jodie would have the nameless girl out of their flat soon.

------

She sipped from her third cup of foul coffee, skimming through the sports section when her friend sat in the chair opposite her.

"Wotcha!" she smiled steeling the cup away from her, "Fuck that's awful." Jodie grimaced, "what are you doing in this dive anyway?"

"Avoiding you and Miss Moany." Alex replied simply tossing the paper onto the next table. "You?"

"I saw you through the window and thought I'd bug you."

"How thoughtful." Alex said sarcasm dripping from every word.

"Plus," She smiled mischievously, "I thought we could do the whole tag team thing we did when you were in Uni, and get those two hotties," she nudged her head in the direction of the side of the café, "back to our place."

"I guessing double M-"

"More like double O!" Jodie winked at her.

"Ignoring that unnecessary adage, has gone then and" she scanned the small room, "what hotties?"

"You blind?" Jodie grabbed her chin so that Alex could see the table that Marissa was sat at with the brunette she saw earlier. "Dibs on the small one."

"Jodie they're sixteen!" Alex hissed at her.

"No way." She watched as her friend tried to assess the girls' ages, "The lanky one looks at least nineteen."

"The lanky one, as you so nicely put it, is in my lower sixth class."

"She's hot," Jodie acknowledged, "you should so do her in the supplies cupboard."

"And get me fired. Yes I see that working."

"But you're not denying that she's hot though." Jodie smiled victoriously. "Common…" she stood up and extended her hand as if to indicate for Alex to do the same.

M

"I think you may have to fight for you're art teacher." Summer smiled, looking in the direction of Miss Kelly's table. Marissa followed her gaze.

"No way… they're probably just friends… close friends."

"Your mother's right," she nodded patronisingly, "Caitlin is the smart one."

"Shut u- oh my G-d she's coming over," Marissa hissed furiously, "be cool."

"Oh honey I'm always cool."

"Honey?" she frowned at her friend, trying to ignore the approaching figure.

"Hi," the Latino smiled sitting her self in the vacant chair next to Summer, "me and my friend over there," she glanced quickly at Miss Kelly who was trying to hide her face, "had a bet to see which one of you got let out on the biggest bail?"

"What?" Summer matched Marissa's look of utter confusion.

"Well its just that you've stolen my heart!" the girl extended her hand, "I'm Jodie but you can call me 'H'oh my G-d'!" she smiled.

"EW!" Summer stared at her disgusted, "I don't date girls that use lines."

"But you do date girls?" Jodie smiled.

"I never said that." Summer smiled.

"You want another drink then?" Jodie pointed to the empty coke class.

"That's Coop's." she suddenly remembered that her friend was there. "Coop! Coop!" she repeated with more vigour, "stop staring at your art teacher!"

"HEY!" Summer watched as Jodie managed to snap Marissa out of her day dream. The girl cupped her hands and yelled across the room, "LEX! GET OVER ASS HERE!"

Marissa watched as her teacher rose quietly, I wonder what Lex is short for, she thought as Miss Kelly grabbing her jacket off the back of her chair and walked quickly over to the table, trying to avoid the stares of the other customers.

"Jodie! Will you remember you're in a small London café and not in a club in LA?"

"Oh," Summer said slowly, realisation dawning, "that explains the accent, you're Californian."

"How did it take you that long to work that out?" Alex asked.

"I was trying out my English accent." Jodie explained for her, gesturing for her to sit.

"We should be going Jodie." Miss Kelly glared at her, as if trying to say more to her friend with her eyes.

"The bill's not going to come down on you just for sitting down."

"Jodie your from Southern California please don't speak cockney."

"But I'm so good at it." she pouted at her.

"I'll see you tomorrow in class Marissa," Alex forced a smile, thoroughly annoyed, "Jodie we're going." she pulled up her friend and led her to the door, Marissa and Summer watched them leave.

"See!" Summer pointed to the door excitedly, "They're totally fucking, see how jealous she got!"

Marissa didn't care though, she just wanted to know why Miss Kelly was so cold towards her. "Whatever Sum," she sighed out, "I'll see you at school." She told her before standing up and leaving the small café too.

A

"What the fuck do you think you're playing at?" Alex spat at Jodie as soon as she'd shut their front door.

"I saw a girl, thought she was hot, so started up a conversation." She shrugged. "Simple as."

"I told you they're only sixteen."

"And perfectly old enough."

"You have no morals."

"And you have too many, that Coop chick was totally into you."

"Jodie!" Alex was suddenly furious, but was unsure why. "She's a student. She's my student to be more precise."

"Wow, you English people really are uptight about sex."

"I'm not uptight."

"But you do need to get laid."

"Fuck you Jodie!"

"I'm too much for you to handle Sweet-cheeks."

"URG!" she threw her hands up in frustration and stormed off into her room, slamming the door violently behind her.

M

"Coop! Coop! MARISSA COOPER!" she ignored the girl's calls from behind her and carried on manoeuvring her way through the street regardless of her friend's shouts. "FOR FUCKS SAKE MARISSA WILL YOU COME BACK HERE AND TALK TO ME!" She stopped suddenly, confusing the dog walked approaching her immensely, making him swerve around her.

"What!" she snapped violently at Summer once she'd caught up with her.

"What the hell is with the storming off?" she asked simply.

"What the hell is with you flirting with a girl?"

"Oh so you're allowed to experiment and I'm not?"

"Except that I'm not experimenting. I'm gay!" she instinctively rubbed her temples, feeling a headache beginning to form, "You're my best friends, you know this isn't some dumb school phase I'm going through to piss off my mother."

"I know." Summer sighed out pulling on her friend's hand encouraging her to start walking again.

"If I was just doing it to piss off my mother do you not think I would have told her by now, and believe me I can piss off Mum plenty without coming out to her."

"Lets take you home."

"Summer I'm not five and home is the last place I want to be."

And with that she left her standing there. Marissa just walked off, leaving Summer thoroughly confused

A

She laid on her bed drawing, she always drew when she got like this. Drawing was her safety net, it never let her fall, she could rely on it, pour out her heart and soul into it without ever having to offer an explanation.

This is why she adored art so much, it was all about interpretation, it meant something different to every person that looked at it.

"Hey," Jodie called through her door, "I've got you a coffee, a beer and a pack of fags."

"Don't say fags." She sighed getting up and opening the door, "You're American and I highly doubt you've got a pack of gay men." She looked at the objects in Jodie's hands before selecting from her peace offering.

"I didn't know what you were in the mood for." She smiled weakly.

"Thanks." She took the beer from her hand as well as the cigarettes.

"And anyway, British birds love it when I use their slang."

"You really can't pull it off though with the accent."

"Common," she pulled the girl out of her room with her free hand, "the Simpson's are on."

M

The knock on the door disturbed her from her musings.

"Sod off Mum." She yelled.

"I'm not Mum."

"Then sod off Catey."

"No." the girl said simply opening the door. "When you going to tell Mum you're a fat old dyke?" she asked simply leaning against the door frame.

"I'm not fat and old."

"But you are a dyke." Caitlin smiled closing the door and walking closer to her sister. "Summer's rung like fifteen times, and she says she's sorry for whatever she's done about thirty times." She said simply sitting beside her. "Why are you mad at her?"

"I'm not mad at her."

"You're mad at someone."

"You at the moment for calling me fat and old."

"Common," she stood up quickly and extended her hand for her sister to take, "the Simpson's are on, I take it the gays watch the Simpsons."

"Yes every single one of us, we like to see it as a daily dosage of a gay pride parade."

"Sarcasm works best when its shorter." she laughed leading her sister out of her room.

The non specific chapter

She woke up slowly, believing the beeping sound of her small alarm clock to be just another phase of her dream. When the noise carried on regardless of her open eyes she picked up the plastic clock and flung it across her room so that it smashed into tiny pieces upon contact with the wall.

She rolled over and buried her head under the pillow praying to any G-d that would listen that she wouldn't have to go to school. That she wouldn't have to face her.

------

She woke up slowly, the sounds of the radio not enough to properly wake her, she groggily slammed her hand onto the Snooze button before rolling over and burying her head under the pillow. She prayed to G-d that she wouldn't have to go to school. That she wouldn't have to face her. It was bad enough that after one day she was haunting her in her sleep, but to face her in the day as well…

A

"You in a better mood this morning?" Jodie asked as she walked into the kitchen. Alex shot her a half hearted smile before she stole her toast. "Hey!"

"What?" she smiled innocently taking a bite.

"You toast stealing whore!"

"You're just a whore." She stuck her tongue out at her before heading to the bathroom to get ready for school.

She shut the door and locked it behind her. She threw the toast out of the window and sat on the edge of the bathtub. Behind the door she didn't have to be in a better mood. Behind the door she didn't have to be fine. Behind that door she could just sit and panic and go back to being the frightened little girl that she tried to convince others that she wasn't.

------

The coffee had gone cold sitting there waiting to be drunk, as soon as it was placed on the table it wasn't touched again. The corporate cup ignored as she stared out of the window, lost in her thoughts, in her own world, so much so that it took her a while to realise that there was another person in the room.

"You should be in assembly." She told her quietly, avoiding catching her gaze.

"You didn't mind yesterday."

"That was before…"

"Before you're American friend came onto Summer in the café?" she nodded slowly, not really wanting to engage fully in the conversation, "She wants her number by the way. She thinks she was hot."

"I'll be sure to tell Jodie that her lack of morals has pulled her yet another young, vulnerable girl."

"Summer's not vulnerable."

"But she is young." She told her. "You may not think she's vulnerable, you may think she's strong but in twenty years and she's sitting in some therapists office she'll realise that she was young and certainly vulnerable."

She'd lost the tread though, she was no longer sure if she was talking about the girl from the café that Jodie had hit on, but she knew that she was young.

M

She'd left the house quietly, managing to avoid both her mother and her sister, who was being unusually nice to her. Her hands were dug deep in her pockets as she walked slowly to school. She head the hurried foot steps approaching but thought nothing of them, they were just another part of the morning noise, every one was walking hurriedly somewhere. She jumped a foot in the air though when she was tapped on the shoulder, waking her from her thoughts, bringing her back into the real world.

"Didn't you hear me coming?" Summer asked indignantly, as she caught her breath. Marissa simply shrugged, she wasn't entirely sure if she had heard the girl coming, she had heard footsteps but to who they belonged was another matter. "Still doing the 'I'm ignoring you' thing?" the girl asked keeping pace beside her.

"I'm not ignoring you."

"You didn't return any of my calls, I had to speak to Caitlin." She shuddered slightly bring a small smile to the taller girl's face. "So why you made at me?" Summer asked innocently.

"I'm not mad at you." She answered in the same monotone voice as before.

"That's funny, because I distinctly remember you leaving me standing on the street after being mad at me because I flirted with a girl."

"You're straight and in love with Ryan." She answered simply.

"Like anything can ever come of with Ryan, I mean he's Cohen's un-identical twin brother, and seeing as I went out with Cohen, I'm thinking not so much with the going out with Ryan." Marissa simply sighed and continued walking, not knowing what to say. "What? You think I'm steeling your thunder or something?" Summer laughed, handing her an apple, "And don't say you don't want it, I called at your house to pick you up and you're mum said you'd left without a word, implying that you hadn't picked up your morning apple."

Marissa simply pushed the apple back towards her friend as they approached the school gates, "I'm not hungry and I don't think you're steeling my thunder by flirting with a girl, I think you're a straight girl whose being an idiot."

"Just tell your art teacher that her friend was hot and that I want her number." She said slipping the apple back into her bag, "I'll leave you to stew in your own bad mood."

She left her standing in the middle of the playground. Some of the lower year boys were playing football waiting for the bell to ring, wasting time before the start of school, they shouted and yelled, annoyed that Marissa just stood there, in the middle of their game, not caring that she was in shock, simply watching her friend enter the main building.

The thought about bunking off. Just leaving. Going to the park, buying cigarettes and vodka, and just sitting under a tree, drowning in her own misery. She thought about leaving about not seeing her, for some reason though that thought scared her. However much she wanted to avoid her, she still had to see her.

"GET OUT OF THE FUCKING PITCH!"

The kid's yells woke her from her trance. A trance, that's all she'd been in recently, through out the summer she was either drunk or hung over, and now? Now, she was doing nothing but thinking about her. She'd swapped one trance for another, and yet her life was no better, no simpler.

She walked slowly of the boys' 'pitch', which was nothing more than bags and sweatshirts placed as goal posts, and into the main building towards her form room.

------

After registration, for the first time in years, she actually contemplated going to assembly. That's how much of a mess her brain was, she was torn between seeing her alone and total avoidance. If she went to assembly she wouldn't have to see her until class, when there would be seven others to distract her from her. But if she went to assembly she gave up her only opportunity to see her alone.
She approached the door cautiously, apprehensive of what she might find, scared of what she wouldn't. She opened the door slowly, tentatively, peering round the edge of it, prepping her self for what to come, doing it the twelve steps way rather than jumping into the deep end.

She walked in and watched her as she lent her chin in her hands staring mindlessly out of the window, completely unaware of her presence. She placed her bag quietly on the table, not wanting to disturb her, and simply watched.

"You should be in assembly." The voice came as a surprise to her, she didn't realise that she knew she was there.

"You didn't mind yesterday." She told her just as quietly, avoiding catching her gaze.

"That was before…"

"Before you're American friend came onto Summer in the café?" she watched as she nodded slowly, "She wants her number by the way. She thinks she was hot."

"I'll be sure to tell Jodie that her lack of morals has pulled her yet another young, vulnerable girl."

"Summer's not vulnerable." She laughed inwardly, trying to think of Summer as vulnerable.

"But she is young." She told her. "You may not think she's vulnerable, you may think she's strong but in twenty years and she's sitting in some therapists office she'll realise that she was young and certainly vulnerable."

"Ookaay." She said slowly, not really following the thread of the conversation anymore, not even sure if she was still talking about Summer. She sat down on the table next to her bag and tried to psyche herself up to ask the question that had been bugging her for the past twelve hours. "What's Lex short for?"

"Alexandra."

"Its pretty."

"Its because my parents wanted a boy."

"You're being weird today." Marissa smiled nervously, "and also you're not wearing tweed."

"I looked," she took a deep breath, "it turns out I don't own any tweed."

"That's because you're not like most teachers."

"But I'm still a teacher." She sighed, put the cup of cold coffee in the bin and walked out of the room.

A

She walked slowly past the class room, clutching at the plastic coffee cup, she was late, she prayed that the later she was the more people that would be in the class. She heard the sounds of an abandoned class, fixed her fake smile and walked into greet them

"Ah Tiffany," she laughed, "you're on time today."

"Chê bai!"

"And what does that mean?" she asked the smiling Asian girl.

"Its Vietnamese for, uh," her eyes darted around the room quickly, "good morning."

"Sure." Alex smiled walking towards her desk, avoiding the stares from Marissa, walking the long way round so she wouldn't have to pass her.

"What's it really mean?" she heard one of the girls ask as she placed down the coffee cup and leant upon the desk.

"Bitch."

She heard the class erupt into laughter, as she gripped the desk for support, preparing herself for the fifty five minutes left of the class.

"Right!" her fake smile back on, she spun round quickly, clapping her hands together with fake enthusiasm, "I believe I promised some actual art today." She watched as the class nodded their agreement, avoiding catching Marissa's eyes that had been fixed upon her since she re-entered the class room. "Lets start with some basic exercises as I very much doubt you did anything over the summer but party." She patted Seth on the shoulder and smiled sweetly at him, "Get on the table in the centre of the class, you are going to be our model." She watched as his face turned from excitement to utmost nervousness. "Oh common, when are you ever going to get to be the centre of attention for seven girls?" he nodded slowly, apprehensively got up and made his way to the centre of the room, taking of his jumper and throwing it on his chair, he started pulling up his T-shirt before Alex cottoned onto what he was doing. "Whoa!"

"What?" he asked now thoroughly confused.

"You can keep you're clothes on," she told him, "this isn't that type of modelling gig."

"Ohhh!" he smiled sheepishly.

"Just get on the table." She told him, walking back out of the centre. "Right girls, grab a piece of paper, as many different colours as you can find, move so you're in a circle."

The class burst into action, she watched as Seth struggled to get onto the table and the seven girls scrambled to find materials, and find the best place to sit and draw the only boy of the class. When every one was ready, Alex spoke to the class once more.

"Seth; strike a pose." She watched as he stood like a superhero on the front of a comic book, hands on hips, staring profoundly into the distance, all he needed was a cape billowing in the back round and he would have been Superman. "Girls; you have two minutes to draw him."

The class continued like that, with Seth standing for two minutes in various positions, while the girls around him drew him silently, with Alex offering points, tips and words of advice to help with their technique, until there were only five minutes left of the class, and the girls had piles of drawings of Seth beside them.
"Okay," Alex smiled, "You can get down now Seth," she told him sweetly watching him try and work out the best way to reach the floor again, "Wanna hand?"

"Please, I'm not good with heights."

"Dude," Tiffany laughed, "that so isn't a height!"

"Stop mocking him and help him down." Alex smiled. "Girls if you put your drawings in the draws I assigned to you yesterday and then get the hell out so you can get your next class on time. Seth you'll be allowed to draw something tomorrow I promise."

She went and sat behind her desk, after throwing away her second cup of cold coffee, watching the class leave and Marissa lag behind.

"Can I have a world please," she asked her after what seemed like an eternity of silence.

M

"Can I have a world please," she looked around the class room, expecting her to be talking to somebody else, after all Miss Kelly had practically ignored her for then entire lesson. She finished throwing her stuff into her school bag and approached her desk, where she watched Miss Kelly write a number on a piece of paper and hand it to her.

"What's this?" she asked examining the number to a mobile phone.

"Joidie's mobile. Like you asked for." She answered simply, turning her attention to the board behind her, where she proceeded to wipe off yesterday's chalk.

"Oh." Marissa was crestfallen.

"Why?" she asked not turning away from the board, "What were you expecting?"

"I don't know," she said with a shrug that Miss Kelly couldn't see, "but be assured, this wasn't it." she told her, picking up her bag and walking out of the class room. She stole one last glance at the teacher, staring at the board mindlessly, before allowing the door to slam behind her, her hand still clutching at the piece of paper pathetically.

She looked at her watch, she was already late for her next lesson, what was the point of rushing. She walked slowly to the girl's toilets, found them empty and locked herself in the middle cubical. She lowered the lid of the seat and sat down on the toilet. She went through her back until she managed to find both her packet of cigarettes and a lighter that actually worked. She inhaled deeply from the cigarette and just sat there thinking about her.

"Shit!" she glanced down at her hand and realised her fag had burnt down to the filter without her even taking a second drag. "Fuck!" she stood up quickly flushing it down the loo. "Fuck!" she ran her hand under the tap, where the cigarette had burnt her. Stupid slow reactions, stupid day dreams, stupid Miss Kelly, she thought to her self as she dried her hands. She reapplied her eyeliner, went though her excuses as to why she was so late, Miss Kelly wanted to speak with me, well she did, it wasn't that much of a lie, and walked to RS.

------

"Oh Summer I have a present for you!" Marissa told her as they walked out of RS and to the common room for break.

"Is this like a Santa kind of present or a black spot kinda present."

"Black spot?"

"Yeah you know, like in Pirates of the Caribbean."

"Why would I give you a spot promising death?" Marissa took in a deep breath, confused as to why every body was being all weird today, "Anyway... I'm thinking its more like a Santa kinda present." She told her handing her the phone number.

"What's this?"

"I believe they're referred to as numbers, and if you type them in the right order into a phone somebody the other end will answer it."

"I know what it is Coop! I mean what's this?" she asked waving the piece of paper in front of her.

"I see how that's different to what you said the first time." she laughed batting it away, as they walked through the door.

"Whose phone number is it dumb arse?"

"Jodie's." she said simply sitting next to Ryan, "Hi by the way." she said to the boys before quickly returning her attention to Summer.

"Whose Jodie?" Summer asked sitting next to Seth, "Hi too."

"The American."

"Do you ever get the feeling that we're in the way?" Ryan asked Seth, looking between the two girls thoroughly confused by their conversation.

"Oh my G-d you told your art teacher, and then she gave me her number!"

"Whoa!" Seth held up his hands, "Jodie's a girl! And now you have her number?"

"How many boys do you know called Jodie? G-d you're slow man!" Ryan laughed taking the piece of paper out of Summer's hands. "So you thinking bout learning to speak fag too?" he asked her passing the number back.

"Not thinking, but flirting with the idea." She smiled putting the number into her purse.

"More specifically she's flirting with Jodie!" Marissa smiled at her, stealing 30p.

"Hang on, does this mean you're out of your bad mood if you're giving me girl's numbers and taking my money to feed your coffee adiction?"

"I was never in a bad mood." Marissa answered sharply, getting up to go to the coffee machine.

"LIAR!" Summer called after her, making the year thirteens look at her weirdly.
Marissa thought about what Ryan had said as she walked back toward's their table, "What do you mean speak fag?" she questioned him sitting back down next to him as before, just with a cup of coffee.

"Well you have your own little language."

"I do?" she asked talking a sip of the coffee. "Shit!"

"Burn your tongue?" Marissa nodded sheepishly at Summer who was still all 'blushy' having received Jodie's number.

"Well yeah." Ryan said simply taking the cup away from his friend and sipping it from it. "That's not hot you pouf."

"Like that!" Seth pointed, "Once you're gay that's no longer an insult."

"But I call you a pouf all the time." Marissa looked between the boys, it was her turn to be confused.

"But I'm straight-"

"If you say so Cohen."

"Hey we dated, you're not allowed to say that."

"Emphasis on the ED; meaning I'm now free to say whatever I feel, and right now I feel you're not straight." She laughed.

"Please say that louder, there are a couple of girls in the corner over there that didn't quite hear."

"Oh no, we heard." They smiled at him as they walked out of the room.

"Face it man, you're out!" Ryan laughed, handing Marissa back her coffee.

"I'm sure there was a point to this conversation somewhere along the line." Marissa smiled around the group of friends, "other than outing Seth that is."

"The point is gays speak different. End of." Seth said simply.

"We do not," Marissa protested, "I don't speak any differently do I? Do I?"

Her friends smiled sweetly at her, one by one getting up and grabbing their bags off the floor, leaving her sitting alone with her cup of coffee and her free period, Do I?

A

She sat up slowly, completely unaware of the time, the clock still in pieces at the foot of her bed. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and threw the covers off. She got up slowly and walked into the living room where she heard music blaring out.

"What the fuck?" she watched as Jodie continued to dance, oblivious to her presence, around the room holding a see through Starbucks container, Alex walked across the room, shut off the CD player and asked her question again; "What the fuck?"

"I'm trying to get in touch with British culture." The American smiled holding out the container. "Ice tea?"

"The Cheeky girls are not British culture, they are freaks from Romania or somewhere east of Germany, who dance around in hot pants. And tea is foul. It is the creation of the devil. How many of those have you had," she pointed to the Starbucks cup, "you're on a major caffeine high!"

"About a cazillion," she said with a slight shrug, "I'm just getting my groove on for tonight when we go clubbing."

"Jodie, its," she looked at the clock on the wall, "two thirty in the afternoon, couldn't you get your groove on slightly later, like once I've woken up."

"Spoil sport!"

"But I'm your British spoil sport," she sighed walking out of the room, "that educates you about British culture so you can pull English girls."

"Damn right you are." She smiled following her into the kitchen. "We're out of milk." She told her as Alex went to grab a box of cereal out of the cupboard.

"You couldn't have got some while you were buying iced tea?" she asked putting the bowl back and shutting the cupboard, "Is iced tea even British?"

"I don't know, but tea certainly is, oh and scones."

"Oh dear G-d." She rubbed her temples, "please don't say scone."

"Scone, scone, scone, scone, lovely scones." Jodie sang dancing around her, " wonderful scones, scone, scone, scone, scone, sconity-scones."

"And to think we went to war too keep you guys in Britain."

"That was in 1812."

"No. No it wasn't. The 1812 war was completely different, the war of Independence was in the 18th century, when the Articles of Confederation was the constitution. "

"Oh." She shrugged once more, "Scone."

"You just like saying that."

"I do." She said with a nod, slurping from her ice tea.

"I'm going back to bed, wake me a six and I'll go clubbing with you."

"How are you tired, you've only been at work for three days and one of those days didn't even have kids, and so technically doesn't count."

"I got paid, it counts." She said simply walking back into the hallway, "and Saturday is the day of rest, hence the bed going back to."

"I thought Sunday was the day of rest, when the pubs open later and half the shops are shut."

"In that case, I'll educate you about Jewish culture, Saturday, Sabbath, equals day of rest."

"But I'm catholic."

"Then just drink your iced tea and quit bothering me." she smiled at her before shutting the door on her and collapsing back onto her bed.

"I'll be going through your stuff looking for your bowler hat and black brolly." Jodie called through the door.

"Don't say brolly."

"Brolly, brolly, brolly..."

G-d she's exhausting. Alex thought to herself as she tried to go back to sleep.

M

Marissa walked into the café with Summer in toe, to be greeted by Seth yelling across the small room, "They're finally here!"

"Cohen we're only," Summer grabbed Marissa's wrist and looked at her watch, 2:35pm, "five minutes late."

"Yeah I hardly feel it was worth the 'finally' shout across the café." Marissa agreed sitting beside Ryan at their normal table, with Summer sliding into the booth next to Seth.

"No not you two."

"Then who?" she asked Ryan, steeling his coffee.

"I don't know, he's been like this all morning." He explained to her, whilst signalling to the waitress, "Four more please." He told the toothless woman once she'd hobbled over.

"Our fake ID's!" Seth told them excitedly, handing them out.

"I've waited all day for you to tell me the good news and this is it?" Ryan asked holding up his.

"Do you not know what this means?"

"You're an idiot?" Summer asked innocently, examining hers, "I look hot in this picture."

"That we can go clubbing."

"Oh!" the others said slowly, realisation hitting.

"So where should we go on our first night of being 18?"

"A club." Marissa suggested, sipping from her coffee that the waitress had just placed in front of her.

"Well duh!" Seth laughed throwing a sugar cube at her. "I meant which one!"

"Oh we should check out that gay club." Summer clapped excitedly

"Wow, when you jump on a band wagon you really go all out." Ryan laughed.

"Hey!" Marissa hit him round the back of the head, "Being gay isn't a band wagon type of thing. But I do want to check out the club." She conceded upon thinking about it.

"I'm not so sure," Seth said, examining his ID, "what if a butt pirate tries to come onto me?"

"Homophobe." Marissa smiled simply.

"Butt pirate? Who talks like that Cohen?"

"You're more worried about his phrasing than his homophobia?"

"Well it was really bad phasing, in Summer's defence." Ryan said, biting his lip to stop from laughing.

"Shut up." Seth said throwing more sugar cubes.

"You know what homophobia really says about you man." Ryan continued laughing at his twin.

"I'm not gay."

"Then that's settled." Marissa smiled, "The gay club it is."

A & M

"Why did we have to come her so early?" Alex asked frustrated at the lack of people in the club as they approached the bar, "This place is dead man, its like a grave yard, just with less tomb stones."

"Because its two for one cocktails before ten, meaning we can get pissed on the cheap."

"I do like saving my hard earned money." She smiled looking at the menu.

"And, and this is my personal favourite, it means the girls get drunk quicker." Jodie laughed snatching the drinks list away from her, "Why look? You know you want a Screaming Orgasm."

"I was more in the mood for a Slippery Nipple." She laughed as Jodie tried to get the attention of one of the bar staff.

------

"Fuck its bloody freezing out here." Summer complained as they queued up outside, praying that their ID's would pass the inspection of the bouncers.
"Summer its like ten at night in September, what did you expect? Especially if you will come out in just a sparkling, stringy top?" Marissa laughed at her, as Summer rubbed her arms, trying to fend of the cold.

"And anyway," Ryan pointed out, "That group of gimps are doing okay."

"Gimps where?" Seth questioned, looking round the queue of people, Ryan grabbed his chin and moved his head so he was looking in the right direction, "Whoa that is way to little leather to be wearing."

"Common," Marissa laughed, pushing the boys forward, "The line's moving."

------

By the end of the two for one offer, both girls were slightly worse for wear, and made their way onto the dance floor, making they're way though all the other bodies, dancing to the beat of 'Its Raining Men'

------

"Did you hear that last track?" Summer asked, well shouted above the music, as they checked in their coats, "We had to come out on cheese night I hope its not like this all night."

"Dude, dude, dude," Seth jumped up and down excitedly pointing into one of the darkened corners of the club, "those girls are totally kissing."

"Seth," Ryan placed a hand on his shoulder trying to stop Seth from bouncing beside him, "look, they're like 19 feet tall, and really, really flat chested…" he motioned with his hand, but Seth failed to get his drift, "they're transvestites." Ryan eventually explained to him as Seth began gagging. "Lets get a you a drink shall we." He laughed, indicating for the girls to follow him to the bar.

"Summer, this place is great!" Marissa shouted at the brunette, looking around the room at the various types of people, ranging from the very butch women, to the men in fairy outfits, "Where did you hear bout it?"

"Oh my cousin's a fag, he comes here all the time, sometimes twice." She added with a wink, as Seth handed her a shot of tequila.

"1,2,3" they shouted together before throwing the liquid down their necks and sucking on the citrus slice.

"Lets get another one and then hit the dance floor." Marissa shouted above the music.

"I think I'm going to need at least five more before I dance." Seth said sceptically looking round the club, "Dudes kissing dudes." He shuddered before waving at one of the bar tenders to get another round in.

"He just needs to find the fun!" Ryan laughed.

---

I know you like me (I know you like me)
I know you do (I know you do)

"Oh my G-d I love this song!" Alex screamed at Jodie on the dance floor.

That's why whenever I come around she's all over you
And I know you want it (I know you want it)

"Oh my G-d I fucking love this song!" Marissa shouted at Summer pulling her onto the dance floor, after having more than the five shots Seth claimed he needed, consequently they left him at the bar chatting up a pre-op transsexual. Ryan didn't have the heart to tell him that technically she was still a man, especially as he was distracted by a couple of bi-curious girls, at one of the tables.

It's easy to see (it's easy to see)
And in the back of your mind
I know you should be home with me

In the mass of people on the floor, dancing to the music, Alex had lost Jodie, but assumed she was just in a corner with a random girl.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Don't cha, don't cha

Marissa's grip on Summer's hand loosened as they got further onto the floor. She didn't care anymore though, she just wanted to dance. She moved deeper into the sea of people. Then she saw her.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me
Don't cha, don't cha

Alex turned round, feeling hands on her hips, blinded by the music, she just kept dancing with the girl holding onto her.

Fight the feeling (fight the feeling)
Leave it alone (leave it alone)
Cause if it ain't love
It just ain't enough to leave a happy home

Marissa moved up and down her body. She was filled with the confidence that the tequila had given her. She knew what she wanted. She knew what to do to get it.

Let's keep it friendly (let's keep it friendly)
You have to play fair (you have to play fair)
See, I don't care
But I know she ain't gon' wanna share

Alex loved the feel of this girl against her. The way her hands roamed her body, the way her leg slid in between hers, the way her touch excited every part of Alex's body.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was a freak like me
Don't cha, don't cha , baby

Marissa watched as the girl opened her eyes and she realised who she was dancing with.

Don't cha wish your girlfriend was raw like me
Don't cha wish your girlfriend was fun like me
Don't cha, don't cha

Alex no longer cared, she didn't know if it was the alcohol, the music, the tension between them or what. But she knew she no longer cared. She crashed her lips against Marissa's.

That was it, the music drowned out, the people around them ignored. As their tongues battled, hands roamed more freely than before, skin on skin, flesh against flesh, it was just them.

A

She woke up with the feeling that she'd been run over by a truck. How much did I drink last night? she made her way, somewhat uneasily towards the bathroom to try and find something to kill the pain in her head. She stared at her reflection, I look like shit, she thought to herself before opening the cupboard above the sink.

"JODIE!" she called into the hallway, "WHERE ARE THE ASPRIN?" she listened for a reply but only heard the sound of TV from the other room, Why can't she ever remember to turn off the fucking TV? she thought to herself as she walked into the living room.

"Morning," she saw the brunette sitting cross legged on the sofa, in one of her t-shirts, eating dry cereal out of the box whilst watching cartoons, "Want some?" the girl asked, offering the box.

"I'm good." Alex told her holding up her hand, "Why are you wearing my shirt?"

"Oh this?" she pulled at the collar, exposing her naked flesh underneath, "I couldn't find my clothes, but I found this in your bathroom I hope you don't mind."

"And you're eating dry cereal because…?"

"You're out of milk and I was peckish." She said simply. She moved over, and indicated for Alex to sit beside her on the sofa.

"Can I ask you something, because for the life of my hangover, I can't honestly remember…" she rubbed her temples slowly, refusing to believe she was actually awake, "we didn't... we didn't... you know?"

"Have sex?"

"Yeah, we didn't did we?"

"No."

"Oh thank G-d." Alex let out the breath she didn't know she'd been holding, and sat down thoroughly relieved, but then thought about it for a second more, "you're what seventeen?"

"Sixteen." She corrected.

"Oh dear G-d!" she leaned her head in her hands trying to remember what happened last night, but just kept drawing blanks, "And you're in my flat why?" she asked eventually.

"I slept with Jodie."

And then it hit her. "Oh my G-d you're Marissa's friend!" And again, "Oh my G-d Marissa!" She slapped her hand over her mouth when flashbacks of the night before began to replay in her mind, "Oh my G-d I kissed Marissa!"

"You did a little more than that!" she laughed, pulling out another handful of Frosties from the box.

"How drunk was I last night?"

"How much you remember?"

"I remember a club, and I remember alcohol."

M

She'd been up for hours. It didn't matter that she'd gone to bed at some ridiculous hour in the morning, or that she was exhausted, she couldn't sleep. She'd tried, but whenever she'd closed her eyes she just saw her, or worse, flashbacks of the night before, and then the throbbing from in between her legs meant the she was oh so suddenly very wide awake again, no matter what she did to quell it, thoughts of last night kept re-entering her mind, pushing any thoughts of sleep right to the very back of it.

Instead she drank a lot of coffee and tried to rid her hangover the only way she knew how. She painted. She got lost in her art, time had no meaning in her art, everything was expressed through her, even her hangover went when she had a drawing in front of her.

------

"MARISSA!" she heard her mother call up the stairs, "AUTUMN'S HERE!"

It bugged her, that despite knowing Summer since primary school, her mother still refused to acknowledge that Autumn was not her name, regardless of how many times Marissa would remind her.

"COMING MUM!" she yelled back, putting down her pencil and running into the landing, peering over the banister to see Summer smiling up at her. "What you want Slag?"

"Marissa I don't want Caitlin knowing such words." Julie told her as she ran down the stairs.

"She knows such words Mum," she smiled taking her keys of the hook by the front door, "she uses such words Mum," she opened the door and ushered Summer out of it before turning back to her mother, "and according to the rumours, she is such words Mum." She smiled sweetly before shutting the door behind her and joining Summer on the street.

"Hey."

"Why are you so smiley?" Marissa asked trying to stifle a laugh, still picturing her mother's shocked face before she'd shut the door on her.

"I'm not smiley." She replied quickly staring around looking for a change of topic, "Hey," she pointed, "Isn't that Amie?" she asked her waving to the Emo across the street.

"Yeah, I'm not talking to her right now." She said simply, pulling Summer along so that they could put more a distance between them and her house, more specifically her mother.

"Why?"

"She hates clowns." She answered simply, as if it was the most obvious reason in the world.

"Why?"

"Saw this clown one time, gave her the wiggins and now she hates them on principal. There really wasn't a story there."

"And it bothers you why?"

"Jeez Sum when did you become Chris Tarrant?" the girl merely rolled her eyes at Marissa, "I have this strange love for clowns, don't ask me why."

"Okaaaaay." She drawled out slowly as they waited to cross the road. "I cannot believe that I've been in you're presence for what," she picked up Marissa's wrist and examined her watch, "a whole three minutes now and you haven't brought up the fact that you and your art teacher got all nipple sucky on the dance floor."

"Well I was waiting for you to bring up the fact that you and the American not only got asked to leave the club for indecent exposure, twice may I add," she smiled as the man turned green and the traffic stopped, allowing them to cross, "but you then disappeared and are you wearing the same clothes from last night?" Marissa asked suddenly only just taking in the outfit of her friend.

"So I may have gone home with Jodie."

"You whore!" she laughed. "Never put out on the, hang on, that wasn't even a first date."

"Meh!" Summer shrugged as she opened the door to the café.

"HEY!" Seth called when he noticed them entering, "If it isn't Little Miss Indecent Exposure, oh, and Summer!"

"Ryan control your twin!" Summer told him as she sat beside him.

"And," Marissa laughed hitting Seth round the back of the head, "I'm not as bad as her."

"You got your nipple out and had it sucked in the middle of the dance floor, Summer at least had the decency to be in a darkened corner."

"You're just jealous cause the only girl you pulled still had a penis." She said simply.

"Ryan!" Seth, resorting to the only thing he knew best, threw sugar cubes at his brother, "I can't believe you told her."

"He didn't tell me!" Summer whined hitting Ryan on the arm.

"Well Seth, blind drunk starting talking to this girl, failing to realise that he was a pre op transsexual, by the end of the evening, some where after you being asked to leave the first time, but before you getting asked to leave a second time, he kissed her, or should I say him?" he smiled looking directly into his brother's eyes.

"So Marissa made out with Miss Kelly huh?" Seth said quickly, "A tea-cher, that's way worse than me kissing a dude."

"She had a penis." Ryan tried to explain to Seth the gravity of his actions the previous night with hand gestures.

"Miss Kelly's a teacher though."

"Oh- oh- oh!" Summer clapped excitedly, "I saw her this morning."

"Well of course you did you slept with her."

"No Coop, you pitiful excuse for a species evolved above a monkey!"

"Okay Ow!" Marissa laughed placing her hand over her heart. "Please, remove the knife from my back before you speak again."

"Miss Kelly."

"You saw Alex?"

"Oh its Alex now is it?" Seth laughed.

"She sucked her nipple on a dance floor, I think they're beyond first name terms."

"Ryan. Will. You Quit. Saying. That. So. Loud. People. Are. Staring." She threw a sugar cube at him between each word.

"Anyway," Summer continued as the boys fought over who got to eat the sugar cubes that had been thrown, "it turns out that Alex," she rolled her eyes, "and Jodie are flat mates."

"And you're going to call Jodie back?" Marissa asked with a smile.

"I'm going to call Jodie back ergo…"

"Datiness!"

"Precisely."

"Are you completely lost too?" Seth asked Ryan looking between the two girls.

"Uh huh."

A

Earlier

"JODIE YOU FUCKER!" Alex screamed as soon as Summer had finally left their flat.

Summer had sat watching kids TV for an hour before realising that Jodie was not going wake up any time before noon. After talking to her for what seemed like eternity, Alex finally suggested that maybe she should go.

She'd found her clothes, got dressed, thanked Alex for the cereal, for letting her keep the toy from the box, for giving her Jodie's number as well as for promising to pass on hers, and finally left.

She ran into the American's room and proceeded to jump on the girls bed screaming. She was running on pure adrenaline and furthermore she was furious.

"SHE WAS SIXTEEN YOU GIANT TIT WANK!"

"Fuck off." She moaned hitting Alex in the shin before rolling over and placing the pillow over her head. "I have a hang over, its just plain mean to bounce and yell!"

Alex got off the bed and stole the girl's pillow away from her, "YOU. BETER. FUCKING. CALL. HER. YOU. FUCK. WIT." She beat her with it between each word, getting angrier and angrier.

Jodie sat up suddenly, snatching her pillow back and flinging it across the room, "WHAT THE FUCK IS RAMMED UP YOUR ASS?"

"SHE WAS SIXTEEN!"

"So?"

"SIXTEEN!" Alex continued to yell.

"YOU FUCKED A GIRL AGED FOURTEEN! HOW OLD WAS SHE?" Jodie didn't have the patience for Alex's high and mighty, 'Greater than thou' attitude.

Her head felt like it had been trapped in a vice all night. She couldn't deal with it, not without a cup of coffee and a least a dozen pain killers. She'd let it rip, she played all the information she had as the best friend.

"Twenty-two." Alex said eventually, it was barely more than a whisper.

"Pardon!" Jodie asked her angrily as she sat at the foot of the bed.

"Twenty-two." It was hardly any louder than the first time she'd said it. She knew what Jodie was doing. She was pissed, she'd been rudely awaken, and met with anger that shouldn't have been directed at her.

"How old am I?"

"Twenty-one."

"Right!" Jodie spat at her through gritted teeth, "Now you can either tell me what's really bugging you or you can fuck off and let me go back to sleep." Her tone softened as she watched her friend's face change, from pure and anger to utter disgust.

"I kissed Marissa."

"Good, I'm glad you finally got some, I was going to by you a coin operated girl, if you didn't get laid soon."

"I didn't get some." Alex said, staring at her knees.

"Well that explains the anger." Jodie sighed sitting up so she could talk to her properly. "Whose this Marissa chick then?" she asked rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"A student."

"What college she go to?"

Alex wasn't in the mood to tell Jodie that colleges and universities in England were completely different things. She just looked up at her friend as a tear silently slid down her face, as memories of the night before came flooding back to her. As the true realisation of her actions hit.

"Oh Baby," Jodie struggled to keep the sheet to her chest as she scooted down to the end of the bed, "You know I hate it when I see you cry." She tried to wipe the tear away, hug her and keep her self covered up at the same time.

"Look," she smiled, "unless you want to see my boobs, which are great I'll be the first to admit, you're going to have to stop crying, or at least tell me why, you know I hate secrets."

Alex smiled weakly and wiped her eyes, feeling pathetic for how she was acting.

"What's up?" Jodie tried again.

"Marissa's my student." she told her knees, watching damp patches form on her trousers where her tears were landing.

"When you say your student do you mean you claimed her in the name of Alexland? Or simply peed on her to mark your territory like a cat?"

"You know what I mean."

"Yeah." Jodie conceded. "What you going to do?" she asked softly.

"What can I do?" she sniffed, looking at her finally looking back at her friend, rather than at her knees.

"Did you just say that so you could have an ego boost?" Jodie said wiping away the remaining tears on her face.

"I like her though." She sighed out though, "If she were a few years older, or if I were a few years younger…"

"Or if you weren't her young hot art teacher?"

"Yep."

"You're screwed."

"You're always one with the helping."

"Hey!" Jodie raised her hands in defence, but then quickly lowered them again when she realised she'd dropped her sheet. "I'm naked here! What is it exactly you want me to do?"

"Trade lives with me."

"Nah, you don't get laid nearly enough for that to be worth while."

M

For the first time in months she woke up before her alarm, though she'd barely slept, she was wide awake, she was too excited to sleep, too pre-occupied with thoughts of her. She couldn't wait to see her again, to talk to her, to kiss her.

Summer had been texting her all night, telling her how Jodie had called, what they'd spoken about, when she was seeing her again, where she was taking her, what she was going to wear… eventually she just started ignoring the constant texts from her.

It wasn't that she wasn't happy for Summer, she was ecstatic, she had some one to do the whole 'being gay' thing with, she had someone she could talk to, be able to empathise with her situation. But what made her happiest was the knowledge who Summer was going on the date with. Jodie. This only increased her chances of getting Miss Kelly, Alex, whatever, to go out with her, that and the fact that they'd kissed.

She was woken from her thoughts by the sound of her sister thumping on the bathroom door screaming; 'Get out you bitch, I have to do my hair!' even this didn't phase her though. She simply unlocked the door kissed Caitlin on the forehead and went to get dressed.

"I'm still mad at you by the way." She called after her, as Marissa continued down the hallway.

"Guten Morgen!" She smiled happily at Summer when she opened the door to her.

"Ich habe nicht gedacht, dass Sie sogar zu den deutschen Lektionen gegangen sind, hat allein gewusst lässt, wie es zu sprechen."

"Whoa!" She laughed closing the door behind her and walking down the steps and onto the busy street, "You're going to have to speak English for that one, I only know 'good morning' in German!"

"Well aren't you all bright eyed and bushy tailed this morning, I didn't know that you came happy at eight in the morning."

"That's not what you said is it?"

"No." she conceded, "What is with the happy anyway? Not that I mind," Summer added quickly, "its just that its an unusual shade on you."

"I get to see Alex."

"You mean you're going to screw in the supplies cupboard."

"You're the whore in this friendship, not me."

"If you say so."

A & M

She sat there waiting for the inevitable. Knowing she would come, knowing she would talk, say something cute and want to kiss her, knowing that however much her head screamed 'No!' at her, her heart would want to kiss her back. Knowing that she wanted to do nothing but kiss her. Knowing that she couldn't, shouldn't, mustn't.

She walked slowly, apprehensively, to the door. She was nervous, her heart beating uncontrollably inside her chest threatening to burst. She pushed it open knowing she would be in there, not being able to wait to see her, thinking up a thousand and one cool to say and ruling them all off as cheesy.
"Hey." She smiled nervously, entering the class room with a walk she hoped represented that she hadn't been standing outside for five minutes thinking of what to say.

She sat there mutely at her desk. Seeing her again every thing changed, she was reminded of all that she'd forgotten; and she couldn't imagine how she could have ever forgotten. Seeing the way her hair hung loosely round her shoulders, seeing the tight fitting top she was wearing, seeing those enchanting, glistening blue eyes. Seeing her again full stop.

"Going for the monosyllabic thing you did last lesson huh?" She smiled anxiously, watching Miss Kelly, Alex, whatever, watch her, watching as her pupils dilated, watching as she subconsciously licked her lips. "What ever works for you." She sat down at her table, watching her watch her.

It remained like that. The two of them locked in silence, simply watching each other, both with subconscious smiles on their faces, neither knowing what the other was thinking, neither thinking the same.

When the rest of the class arrived in drips and drabs, she took the class as she had on Friday, with a plastic smile and too much confidence.

She spent the lesson as she'd spent Friday's. Half her mind on her work and her other following her with her eyes. She was drawn to her. She couldn't help it.
She was hot, funny, sweet, an artist, a great kisser, an amazing teacher… a teacher, her teacher.

She walked round the class offering advice and helping the students, half her mind on their work, and how to improve upon it, and the other watching her. Watching as she followed her with her eyes. When it came to helping her though, she didn't know what to do.
She stood behind her and watched her paint. Her work seemed flawless, her style was ragged and harsh, the lines scattered and confused… but it worked for her.

Her hand faltered. She knew she was behind her, she could feel her breath on the back of her neck.

She leant over her slowly and pointed to the top of her page. Her breath caught in her throat, as she felt her head turn and her attention turn completely on her.
She swallowed hard, trying to remember how to breath, "There need's to be more shadow by the shoulder." She told her, she lifted her chin so that she was looking at Amie posing on the table, "Look at the way the light is pouring onto her, you need to add the dark… you don't get one without the other."

Neither were looking at the girl on the table though.

The classroom emptied slowly, some quicker at putting away their paints, and washing their paint brushes than others, however none seemed so slow as Marissa. She and Tiffany were gossiping at the sink about Mile's new girlfriend, and how he had allegedly video taped them having sex.

Alex listened to the story and couldn't help but laugh to herself, wondering how the rumours ever got started and how dumb some of the kids must be to believe them.

"Girl's don't you have a class to get to?" she asked, realising that as Tiffany was talking to Marissa her brush, still poised under the tap, was so clean it looked as though it had never been used.

"Oh yeah I have physics!" she dropped the brush instantly, scooped up her bag and ran out the class yelling 'Bye!' as she went.

"And you?" she asked Marissa picking up the discarded brush off the floor and placing it in a jam jar with the others.

"My RS teacher's away so I got a free." She said simply, continuing to put away her things, surprisingly even slower than when she was talking with Tiffany.

"Well I have a load of year thirteen's in here in a moment so you may want to hurry up."

"No you don't." she said simply sliding her draw shut, Alex raised her eyebrow, she simply smiled and continued, "The year thirteen's are on a trip, bout university, or something." She shrugged.

"And you know this how?"

"Well for one the common room's emptier, there's not a queue for the coffee machine and I can get my arse on one of those comfortable seats…" she smiled, knowing that Alex was listening to every word she was saying, "Plus my RS teacher's with them."

"Oh."

"Yep." She sat down on one of the cleaner tables, "so…" she drawled out slowly, "where you going to take me out on Friday night?"

"I'm not taking you out anywhere." Alex said, rolling her eyes that the girl's forwardness.

"But we were all with the kissing… and the nipple sucking." Marissa pouted at her.

"I know but- Hang on did you say nipple sucking!" Marissa nodded, "Whose nipple?"

"Mine."

"So that would mean I did the sucking…" Marissa nodded again, watching as Alex sat down on the nearest chair trying to process the information, "Wow." She said simply, "Summer failed to mention that part."

"You spoke to Summer?"

"I found her on my sofa, half naked, eating dry cereal watching 'Rich and Nick in the House' on Sunday morning, when I was looking for pain killers."

"Dick and Dom in the Bungalow." Marissa corrected.

"Yeah.." she sighed, "You're friend always suck a…"

"Whore?" Marissa finished for her, watching as Alex struggled to find a word.

"I wasn't going to say that, but that works too I guess."

"She's really easy once she's had a drink... or five." she added upon thinking about it.

"So's Jodie." she nodded, realising that they might just be perfect for each other.

"So about the kissing…" Marissa smiled getting off the table and walking towards Alex, bored of the topic change.

"There shall be no more kissing. I was drunk you took advantage."

"I took advantage?" Marissa laughed, "I'm the sixteen year old here."

"Precisely." She agreed, "There shall be no more of the kissing. I'm your teacher-"

"Whose sucked my nipple."

"Don't interrupt." Alex stood up quickly as Marissa moved towards her. "The nipple sucking was a mistake. I'm your teacher." She said, trying to put distance between them.

"So you're not going to ask for my number, take me out for a drink and then not call me back."

"You're sixteen, I'm your teacher, you're twenty three year old teacher to be more specially."

"Stop saying teacher." She advised, "And please, if that's what's holding you back; there's you plus one age difference between Prescot and his bit on the side."

"Huh?" Alex was confused.

"Don't you read the papers?"

"I tend to skip to the sports section."

"You're so gay." Marissa laughed grabbing a piece of chalk off the front desk as she walked passed it.

"And so in the closet," Alex said, not taking her eyes of her, "parents don't tend to like their kids being taught by gays."

"It's the twenty first century, you need to loosen up." She told Alex, writing on the board.

"Okay then tomorrow I'll come in wearing a rainbow flag."

"I'd like to see that." Marissa said, continui9ng to write on the board.

"It was sarcasm."

"See you tomorrow Alex." Marissa smiled putting down the chalk, grabbing her bag and walking out of the room.

Alex watched her out of the door, before realising what was on the board. She smiled, She's not one for the bullshitting around, she thought to herself as she copied the girl's number onto her phone before quickly rubbing it off the old chalk board.

M

"So uh…" Luke said slowly as he approached the guys table at lunch, "Marissa can I have a word?"

"Depends." She said.

"On what?"

"No, that was your word." She said simply as the other three tried to stifle their laughter.

"I was, uh…" Luke's nerves were not helped by the fact that Marissa was watching him with a very bored expression on her face, "wondering if you wanted to, uh, see a movie, go out for a drink sometime or," he shrugged, "something."

"But Marissa's a lesb-" everybody simultaneously hit a different part of Seth to get him shut up, while Luke looked on bemused.

"She's a Lesbosian." Summer said quickly.

"A Lesbosian?" Luke questioned.

"Yeah," Ryan agreed, "her family's from the Island of Lesbos, they're very strict over there, and, uh, they don't let girls date until they're, uh, thirty."

"Oh," Luke said, "I totally know what you're going through," he put his hand on her shoulder, "my Dad's a Mormon." He told her, with a sympathetic nod and a sigh, before he walked off, disappointment etched all over his face.

"Lesbosian!" Marissa hissed at her friends.

"You try and find something that starts with L. E. S. B. that doesn't end in I. A. N." Summer explained, hitting Seth on the back of his head as she did.

"Great so now I'm a closeted Lesbosian." She sighed, banging her head on the table.

"Yeah, but on the plus side now you're Greek." Seth smiled weakly.

"Do I look Greek to you?"

"Good point." The others conceded.

A

"ALEX!" Jodie yelled throwing a cushion at her friend.

"W- w- what?" she asked shaking her head, trying to get it to focus on things that weren't Marissa.

"Finally, I've only been talking to a you shaped wall for the past five minutes." Jodie laughed, "You want a beer in what ever far away land you're in?"

"Uh, yeah," she nodded, staring blankly at the TV, "that would be good."

"Okay…" Jodie drawled out as she left the room.

Alex went back to staring at her phone, re-reading the text she was debating whether or not to send.

Hi, its Alex, I was just wondering what you were doing. TB.

She read it, and read it. It was lame, she knew that, but what else could she send, Hey I want to have wild passionate sex with you, I wondered if you were free?In the end she simply cleared the text and flung her phone across the room to stop her from texting the girl.

"There you go, mate." Jodie smiled handing her a cold beer.

"Don't say mate." Alex sighed going back to watching the Simpson's.

"Oh! Can you not be here tomorrow night?" Jodie asked suddenly.

"Why?"

"Summer's coming round."

"You're right I don't want to be here tomorrow night." she sighed turning her attention back to the TV.

A & M

Marissa ran into the art room, annoyed that she'd overslept, annoyed that she'd missed not only the first twenty minutes of the only lesson worth attending school for, but twenty minutes of Alex.

"Well isn't it Mrs Ward!" Steph laughed when she noticed Marissa leaning, breathlessly, against the door, "Did you leave your watch in the B & B?"

"Wow, maturity." Marissa nodded, trying to remember why she thought smoking was a good thing, "and here was me thinking we could be adults."

"Can't believe Luke asked you out man!" Tiffany laughed, moving her stuff so that Marissa could sit next to her.

"Hey!" she laughed, "I'm a catch!"

"If you say so." She said trying to suppress her giggles.

"Why am I friends with you?" Marissa asked.

"Cause I'm Asian," she said simply, "its affirmative action, or summat." she finished with a shrug.

"We don't have that in the UK."

"Oh, then its cause I'm totally adorable."

"If you say so." She laughed, knowing that Alex was watching her. Knowing that she'd heard every word of the conversation, knowing that she'd snapped her pencil when she'd heard about Luke.

….

Marissa did her usual thing of hanging back after class, she wanted to know if Alex would say anything, if she'd change her mind, as well as the obvious fact that she didn't really feel much like going to RS.

"Why were you late for my class?" Alex asked, not looking at her, trying to be as off hand as possible.

"I overslept, Mum didn't wake me up, and there was a queue in Starbucks." Marissa said throwing the last of her stuff in her bag as Seth, the last one in the class, left the room. "Why?" she asked walking towards Alex's desk, "Miss me?"

"No!" Alex said quickly, scratching the back of her neck.

"Aw!" she laughed walking round the desk so that she was in front of her, "You totally missed me!"

"No I didn't." Alex said taking a step back. "Whose this Luke bloke anyway?" she asked folding her arms.

"Whoa!" Marissa face turned suddenly serious. "We're not dating. Though you so blatantly want to."

"I'm you're-"

"Don't give me any of the 'I'm you're teacher' crap!" Marissa interrupted. "We're not dating, but we kissed. Don't get me wrong I liked the kissing. I'm all for the kissing. I personally want more of the kissing." Alex opened her mouth to protest, just to be met by Marissa raising her hand, telling her not to interrupt. "But we're not dating yet you get jealous when I might possibly get the opportunity to date others?"

"I'm not jealous." Marissa raised her eye brow at her. "Okay." She conceded. "So what if I am. There's nothing I can do. Its forbidden."

"Yeah but with out Adam and Eve we'd never have got Converse."

Alex sighed and rubbed her forehead. "I think you missed the point of that story somehow."

"Don't call it a story in front of the Christian Right… They'll burn you at the stake."

"Go to you next lesson."

"Don't wanna." Marissa pouted walking back towards her.

"You'll be late." Alex warned, able to feel the girl's breath as she got closer.

"So?" Marissa asked her lips practically touching Alex's.

"You'll get a detention." She tried to continue, her heart rate accelerating, beating away inside her chest as if it had a mind of its own.

"What's a little trouble?" Marissa smiled brushing her lips against Alex's.

She was powerless. With that simple move she was entranced. She did the only thing there was left to do, she pulled the girl closer and intensified the kiss. As their tongues battled, neither was aware that the door opened.

"Holly shit!"

They broke apart suddenly and turned towards the door.

"A Lesbosian? Try Lesbian!" He said walking further into the room.

"Luke. Ple-"

"This is the Luke that asked you out? Year thirteen Luke? Luke Ward Luke?" Alex asked looking between them.

"Focus." Marissa told her quickly, before turning her attention back to the mousy haired boy. "Luke, you can't tell anyone… It was nothing… It is nothing… So if you think about it… there's really nothing to tell."

"I thought the snide 'lesbo' comments were just jokes; a rumour. You know like Miles video taping him and his girlfriend. Or Amie turning tricks to pay for her trip to America."

"That's not true?" Marissa questioned.

"Of course not." Luke said sitting down slowly. "But you're an actual dyke."

"Luke don't say Dyke that's offensive." Alex said quietly.

"How!" he asked suddenly turning aggressive. "Its what you are right? Its like black people can call them selves Niger but if a white person does it they're a racist. So 'cause I'm normal; I'm a homophobe?"

"Luke!"

"Don't 'Luke!' me." he stood up. "You've been teaching me and you didn't tell me what you were." He looked Alex up and down before spitting at her feet.

"How does my sexual orientation affect the way I teach you?"

"Well for one, it explains why you give the girls in the class more attention."

"That's neither fair nor true."

"Well you seem to be giving Marissa a little one on one."

"Luke!" Marissa snapped at him. "Will you get out of you bigoted shell for just one second."

"Why? So you can explain to me how what you're doing is right, how its not a sin, how she's not perverted you, abusing her position as teacher."

The door opened, and more year thirteen's entered for their lesson, all unaware of the tension, filling the room with chatter and gossip, all oblivious to what they'd just walked into. There was no way Marissa could reply now.

"Marissa go to your next lesson." Alex told her.

"What about-"

"Just go." Alex told her not taking her eyes off Luke.

M

"You're late." Her RS teacher told her as soon as she'd walked through the door.

She glanced at her watch, "By two minutes." She told him sitting next to Summer.

"You're forgetting you're in this class on probation."

"And you're forgetting I don't care." She mumbled into her bag as she got out her books.

"What was that?"

"I said 'Yes Sir.'"

"I hope for your sake you did." He said before returning to writing something about Jesus on the board.

Summer slid over a piece of paper she'd been writing on, and nudge Marissa out of her angry haze.

geez Coop, bad mood much. you look like a 5yr old that just found out santa's not real.

ALEX & I JUST KISSED, she wrote back.

yes that really explains your total lack of happy.

LUKE CAME IN & CAUGHT US

omg

Marissa simply nodded balling up the note and throwing it in the bin.

"Get out!" Mr Gibbs told her blandly.

"What?" Marissa said, standing outraged.

"You come in late then you throw you're crap around my classroom."

"The only crap flying here, is the stuff coming out of your mouth."

"OUT!"

"Fuck this shit." She told him throwing her stuff back into her bag and storming out of the classroom, making sure the door slammed behind her.

Now what! she thought standing in the corridor.

A

"Get your hands off me." Luke told her as soon as she'd got him out of her classroom.

"Luke I need to make sure you're not going to tell anyone."

"Tell anyone that you're a dirty fag or that your screwing a student?"

"Either. Both." She shook her head. "The second one."

"What's in it for me?" he asked simply, staring her down.

M

It had just gone twelve o'clock and she was sat on her sofa eating the nearest thing she could find to chocolate, which turned out to be half of her sister's left over Easter Egg. She contemplated going back to school but she honestly couldn't face the prospect.

Her mood was foul. Not only had she been thrown out of her class, sworn at her teacher, meaning she probably wouldn't be let back in, she wasn't sold cigarettes because apparently company policy meant she had to have ID, but she was also out. As in really out. Not just a little out, as in people had their suspicions but… kind of out. But really out, as in everybody knew out.

Luke would have told every body. There's no way he wouldn't. The whole school would know by now. She could never go back.

What if every body was as small minded as him? She would be stoned. And not even the good, wholesome kind of stoned, but the painful, being pelted with rocks kind of stoned. And that was not a kind of stoned she wanted to experience.

She shook her head, trying to rid her mind of the tabloid head lines:

LESBIAN STONED. ANOTHER HOMO GONE!

And then a giant picture of a load of the BNP and the Christian Right celebrating underneath.

She skipped through the channels, finding one renovation show after another, wishing she had sky cable, but wishing she had cigarettes more.

And then it hit her.

If Luke had told every one that she was gay, he'd told everyone that Alex was gay. And that would lead to the inevitable question: 'How you know this?' She was going to get fired, and it was all her fault.

A
Earlier

"What do you mean 'What's in it for me?'" she asked rubbing her temples, trying to figure out why she had thought teaching obnoxious brats was a good idea.

"What I get for keeping your faggotry a secret?"

"Faggotry?" she shook her head, that wasn't the point. "What do you want?" she sighed.

"I want a lot of things."

"Cut the crap." She snapped at him. "What do you want that I can give you?"

"You. Me. Marissa." He said slowly, refusing to break eye contact with her.

"Fuck off. You're out of your mind."

"And you're out of a job." He said turning to leave.

"Wait!" She grabbed him by the arm, pulling him back so he was facing her once more. "What about just me?"

M

The chocolate wrapper laid abandoned on the floor, the TV ignored as Marissa slept on the sofa, only waking up again when Caitlin beat her with a cushion. She instinctively covered her face with her arms.

"I heard something interesting today." Caitlin told her, once she'd stopped hiding behind her hands.

"Yeah?" Marissa asked worried that she already knew.

"'Parrently you got kicked out of your RS class 'cause you swore at Mr Gibbs, then bunked off the rest of the day."

Marissa let out the breath she was unaware that she'd been holding. "Yeah." she said simply moving over so her sister could sit down, releived that was the only thing her sister had heard.

"You do realised that Mum's going to kill you right?"

"What else is new?" she laughed flicking through the channels again.

"Will you just tell her you're gay already, that way you have no reason to do this 'rebellion' thing anymore." Marissa raised her eyebrow at her sister. "I'm not saying your gayness is a phase," Caitlin added, waving her hand to emphasise, "I'm just saying it would piss Mum off more than enough and you could start working at school again, get good grades, get to uni, move out and then I could have your room."

"So you wanting to give Mum a heart attack is based on purely self less reasons."

"I'm like Jesus," she nodded in agreement, "cept without the beard and the dying thing."

"And modest with it."

"Yup." She smiled snatching the remote from her. "Oh Summer said to tell you she's coming by later as your not answering your phone, reading your texts or anything like that. She also asked me to check your not dead."

"In that order?"

"It may have been the other way round." Caitlin conceded switching the channel to some kid's show.

A

"JODIE?" she yelled as soon as she'd entered their flat. "JODIE?" she repeated slamming the door behind her.

"What up?" she asked emerging from the kitchen biting on a scone.

"You're eating scones now? Never mind." She said quickly, sensing a long winded explanation from the American, "I need you out of the flat tonight."

"No. You're leaving the flat tonight. I booked it ages ago."

"Last night is not 'ages ago'. Take her on a date, or have sex in a public place. I. Don't. Care." She told her simply. "I need you out."

"You bringing student girl back for a little after school tutoring?" Jodie smiled deviously, finishing her scone.

"No. Just don't be here tonight okay?"

"Not okay." She said placing her hands on her hips. "I told Summer we were going to rent a movie and not watch it."

"Okay how's this? You take her out on a proppa date, you know where you don't have sex-"

"That's not a proper date then."

"Dinner and then go to the cinema. Or vice versa. I. Don't. Care."

"You're strangely apathetic about a lot this evening aren't you?" Jodie smiled, know Alex was only one step away from snapping.

"I'll pay."

Jodie thought about it for a moment. "I don't do cheap dates." She told her.

"£75?"

"Done." She smiled walking back into the kitchen. "You know this works out well" she called out to her, "I get to go on a free date, impress a girl, have sex in a public place and you finally get laid."

"Yeah," Alex sighed, finally removing her coat since she'd entered her home, "Its a win win situation." she said sarcastically under her breath.

M

Marissa was relieved that the knock on the door gave her a reason to get down from the table. If her Caitlin mouthed 'Tell her!' one more time she was going to kill her.

She opened the door to find Summer smiling broadly, in yet another, low cut sparkling top.

"Hey." She waved.

"Hi.." Marissa replied slowly. "Its not that I don't love you, but why are you on my doorstep?"

"I'm going to see Jodie."

"You are aware of the fact that she doesn't live here right?"

"You're coming too."

"To see Jodie?" Summer simply nodded. "But knowing how much of a slag you are you're going to have sex with her. I don't want to have sex with her. Or witness you having sex with her. I know we're close but ew!"

"Will you get your head out of the gutter for just one moment please?" Summer said, hitting her on the arm. "Alex and Jodie live together. You can see Alex. I can see Jodie."

"And by 'see' Jodie you mean 'sleep with' Jodie." Summer merely shrugged. "You're such a whore. I swear you never put out this much with guys."

"Do you want to see Alex or not?"

"Yes please." Marissa smiled. "One moment." She ran back through the house, until she was back in the dining room with her mother and sister. "I'm going out. I'll be back later. If Caitlin says anything don't believe her, she's mad at me cause I, uh, read her diary." She told her mum quickly. "Bye!" she called as she ran back to the front door. "Ready?" she asked Summer still stood in the front yard.

"Eager much!" she laughed leading the way.

A

She was slumped on the sofa, watching the colours on the TV change, not really paying attention as to what they made up.

"Okay." Jodie told her removing the glass from her hand. "That's like the sixth straight vodka you've downed."

"So?"

"So you're drunk, as they were like quadruples!" Jodie said, moving the bottle far, far, far way from the blonde.

"So?" Alex smiled at her.

"You smell like a fucking brewery and you're not going to remember the sex you're going to have."

"That's the plan!" she giggled at her friend, trying to reach for the vodka bottle without getting up.

"How bout I go get you some nice strong, black coffee?"

"Can it be Irish coffee?"

Jodie placed her hands on her hips, "What, my drunk friend, is Irish coffee?"

"One with prettiful amounts of alcohol in." she smiled falling off the sofa failing to reach the vodka. "Whoops-a-daisy." She giggled rubbing her head. "That hurt."

"I'm surprised you can still feel given that three quarters of that new bottle's contents are now inside of you." She turned away from the heap on the floor when she heard the buzzer go off. "Look I'm going to get that." She told her. "Try not to drink anything while I'm gone." She sighed walking out the living room.

She opened the door amazed by what she saw.

"Who are you?" she asked the tall, blond on the landing, sharply, not wanting to leave Alex alone for too long ungarded with the vodka.

"Luke." he told her looking her up and down. "She told me she'd see what she could do, but…"

"Okay you're weird. Why are you here?"

"Uh, for the threesome. I know she claims she gay and all but I'm sure she just needs a bit of cock."

"Okay." Jodie smiled at him before slamming the door in his face. "ALEX! YOU'RE DRUNKEN ASS HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO!"

M

"Wow!" Marissa whistled, walking down the street. "Nice neighbourhood."

"Jodie said that its Alex's parent's." Summer said simply pointing to which house was theirs. "Parrently, they gave it to her when they moved to Spain. Alex is loaded."

"Dude."

"Yeah you should so become Civilised with her."

"Did that make some sort of sense that I'm just not in on?"

"Well you know- Luke?"

"Okay what's Luke got to do with anything."

"No." Summer grabbed Marissa's arm and pointed towards Alex's and Jodie's doorstep. "Luke!"

"What the fuck?"

The two girls stood rooted to the ground as they watched him pound relentlessly on the door.

"Is he trying to knock it down?" Summer asked, watching him continue knocking.

"I'm sensing a rage black out forming."

"Oh its way past formed; anyway he started it."

"How is that exactly?"

"Well he's going all kinds of green on their door." Summer told her, grabbing her by her arm, leading her towards Alex's flat. "OI! BUTTMUNCH!"

"Buttmunch?" Marissa queried.

"Not the time Coop." Summer warned. "LUKE!"

"Ladies." He smiled, turning away from the door. "Wow, four. Kelly must really want to keep this thing under wraps."

"What the fuck are you talking bout Luke?" Marissa sighed, climbing in the steps.

"You, me, her, Summer and this black chick." He smiled.

"Whose black?" Summer asked.

"The chick who answered the door."

"Jodie?" Luke simply shrugged. "She's Hispanic you biggotted fuck."

"Is she white?" he asked them.

Marissa had to hold Summer back to prevent her from lunging at him, whilst he simply stood there laughing at the pair.

"Okay Luke. Your BNP shaped ignorance aside. Tell us why you're here or I let Summer loose on you."

"Kelly asked me what it would cost for me to keep what I saw quiet, I said threesome."

"With who?" Marissa asked dumbfounded.

"Uh, me, you and her."

"Ew! How do I say this so you understand?" Marissa pretended to think for a moment. "I'm. Gay." She told him slowly.

"You just haven't found the right man." He smiled at her, as if to imply that he was Mr Right, "And anyway, if you have and ruled him out, is it really worth risking eternal damnation for? Even Ruth Kelly said it's a sin."

"She didn't say homosexuality was a sin she just didn't… rule… it… out…" Summer trailed off, realising that her point wasn't that good.

"Hang on whose Ruth Kelly?" Marissa asked looking between the two of them.

"The Minister for Women and Equality, ironically enough." Luke laughed.

"Yeah and another example of why the Christian Right shouldn't get into politics." Summer sighed, leaning past him to ring the doorbell. "Go home Luke."

"Fine, say good bye to your precious Art teachers job." He sneered at them.

"Being a lesbian isn't a sacking offence, you dumb arse, haven't you heard of the Human Rights Act?" Summer spat at him as her descended the steps and headed onto the street.

"Yeah but sleeping with the students is." He called back slamming the gate behind him as he walked down the street.

"Oh." She said simply before turning to Marissa. "Yeah she's fired."

"Uh huh." She agreed ringing the bell again, and then it hit her. "Hang on… how would Luke know where she lives unless-"

"She said yes." Summer finished for her, knocking on the door with sudden amounts of ferocity.

J & S

"WHAT?" Jodie snapped as she opened the door, "Oh sorry Summer, I thought you were that weird blonde kid."

"We sent him home." She told her.

"We?" Jodie watched as Summer stood aside, revealing Marissa sitting at the foot of the steps. "That Marissa?"

"The one and only, well not the only I'm sure there are other girls called Marissa-"

"Summer?"

"Yeah?"

"You're in babble mode, not that its not cute, but I kinda need the footnotes, I have a very drunk woman projectile vomiting all over the front room."

"Oh right." Summer smiled, realising that Jodie's bad mood wasn't caused by her incessant talking, "Marissa came to see Alex, who I assume to be projectile vomit woman at the moment."

"Yes." Jodie sighed. "I'd invite you in, put in the DVD I was planning on us not watching," she smiled, "but its really not all that pretty in there."

"I think Marissa needs to talk to her."

"Bout Angry Blonde Boy?"

"That and something about a threesome or a foursome or an orgy…" she shrugged.

"Here." She dug her hand in her pocket and pulled out the notes that Alex had given her. "Here's £75 go out, take her with you and I'll give you a call once she's sobered up, or making sense at least." She leant in and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm really sorry about this."

"No worries. I'll just have to teach you some more English slang some other time." she moved her head so that their lips were in contact, and slowly teased her tongue into the American's mouth. "Talk to you soon?"

"Count on it." Jodie told her before closing the door.

"Hey Coop!" Summer laughed jumping down the steps so that they were on the same level. "Fancy hitting the West End?"

A

She sat staring into the bowel of the toilet, not entirely sure of how she got there, but knew it must be somehow connected to the killer headache she had and the nausea she felt in her stomach. She flushed away the last of her sick, stood up, somewhat uneasily, and went over to the sink to wash her face and find some paracetamol.

She stumbled out of the bathroom and slumped herself on the sofa next to Jodie who was flicking through the TV channels.

"I feel like shit."

"I should hope so too."

"You suck at all things sympathy related."

"Look." She snapped turning off the TV and facing Alex. "I have just spent the last half an hour trying to get your sick out from behind the back of the radiator, making the room not smell of vomit and watching dumb soaps because I had to cancel my date in case you passed out or died of alcohol poisoning."

"Sorry." She said rubbing her head. "If it makes you feel better I think I have the Sumo from the Nurofen advert sitting on my head."

"A little." Jodie smiled handing her a glass of water. "Drink this and tell me why the fuck there was an angry blonde boy talking bout a threesome at our door."

"He saw me and Marissa kiss at school, he wigged out and went all KKK on us." She sighed draining the glass and passing it back to her, "I told him I'd sleep with him if he didn't tell anyone."

"You're an idiot." Jodie told her simply putting the glass on the table beside her.

Alex tried to gesture what went through her head when she agreed to have sex with Luke, but eventually just gave up.

"Marissa was here by the way." Jodie told here putting the TV back on. "She wants to know why the boy was here talking bout a threesome."

"Oh shit." Alex rested her head in her hands. "Tell me its going to be okay."

"Its going to be okay."

"No seriously, none of the best friend bullshit you have to tell me."

"You want the truth?"

"I want the truth."

"Luke will tell a teacher what he saw," Jodie told her looking away from the TV and directly into Alex's eyes, to make sure that she understood she was being deadly serious, "if you're lucky no one will believe him, but you'll be made to resign your post anyway, but hopefully they won't stop you from teaching because its his word against yours and Marissa's, unless Marissa is still mad at you in which case, she'll testify against you and you'll never be allowed to teach again." she paused, giving Alex time to let that all sink in. "Marissa will never speak to you again," she continued, "she looked pretty distraught earlier. She'll probably think that you were using her, go back into the closet and never have sex with a woman ever, live a miserable existence with about four kids by different fathers trying to fill the gaping hole in her heart."

"Oh my G-d!" Alex hit her with a cushion, "You're my best friend I cannot believe you just told me the truth."

"Sorry." Jodie said hiding behind her hands, "I mean Luke will get hit by a bus and you and Marissa will live happily ever after."

"Trade lives with me?" Alex tried again.

"You realise that that ever happening is even less likely now."

S

Summer rooted through Marissa's bag and found her keys, she opened the door as quietly as she could and carried Marissa inside.

"Why is it that for someone who is thinner than a stick insect you weigh like a tonne." Summer mumbled, trying to get Marissa to walk up the stairs.

"You calling me fat?" she giggled, bouncing off the wall.

"Shhhh." Summer warned, grabbing her so that she was standing straight-ish again, "Do you want to wake you're mum?"

"No! No! No! She'll kill me. She can't know I get drunk."

"I think she knows honey." Summer sighed directing her into her room and onto the bed.

"Thanks Summer. I love you." Marissa slurred, "You're my bestest friend in the whole wide world."

"I love you too even if I do have to carry your drunk arse home." she smiled, unenthusiastically, "I'm going to find you a bucket; just in case."

She walked downstairs and plumped herself in one of the kitchen chairs. Why is it that Marissa insists on drinking?, she thought to herself, staring into the fruit basket looking for the answer there. The whole time she'd been out with her, the only things she heard Marissa say were: Bitch, fucker, arsehole and several other swear words, non of which she strung together for form a sentance.

She went through her bag and pulled out her mobile, she scrolled through her phone book until she found Jodie's number, still stored under 'The American' despite having learnt and remembered her name.

"Hey," she smiled when Jodie finally answered. "How's your drunk girl?"

"Alex? She's fine. She's stopped throwing up, and is starting to talk in coherent sentences, so I think we're on the home stretch. How's Marissa doing?"

"She's now drunk and in the process of passing out on her bed." Summer sighed. "Look I just have two questions to ask and then everything can go back to how it was."

"Shoot."

"Did Alex agree to having a threesome with Luke to keep him quiet?"

"No. She wanted to protect Marissa, but she did offer herself. What was your second question?"

"Are we still cool, though our friends have a fucked up, pre dating dancey thing going on?"

"We're cool, but I should warn you, that I don't do relationships."

"Okay Shane." Summer laughed. "Arrogant much, what makes you even think that I want a relationship with you?"

"Well this phone call for one…"

"Look Jodie, you're nice and all, don't get me wrong, but you're my 'experimentation' if you will."

"I thought girls only did that in college."

"College! Hey you're talking to an Oxbridge candidate here." Summer laughed, "And I always have been ahead of my age group."

"What the fuck is Oxbridge?"

"Say: good night Summer."

"Good night Summer."

"Night Jodie." Summer laughed before flipping her mobile shut. "Now, if I was a bucket in Coop's house, where would I be?"

M

The pain in her head was intolerable. Drinking would be fun if it wasn't for the hangovers, as she walked around the house in search of pain killers, she wondered why she'd bothered to stop drinking? Her head wouldn't be hurting, she wouldn't have that morning after feeling as she wouldn't have a hangover. Plus there was the added bonus of still being drunk, walking around in that haze, not having to face the real world, not having to remember why she started drinking in the first place.

Finding the bathroom devoid of any sort of pain killers she stumbled down the stairs to search the kitchen.

"Coop?" a voice from the living room called. "That you?"

"Summer?" Marissa questioned, rubbing her eyes, hoping that that would do something to kick in her senses.

"Aye." She said simply walking into the hallway. "G-d Kate Moss has nothing on you." Summer sighed, riffling through her bag. "Here take these." she commanded thrusting a couple of aspirin before her friend.

"G-d I love you Sum." Marissa smiled, snatching the pills from her and swallowing them dry.

"Yeah you said summat along those lines last night." she rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Look your sofa's not so good for the sleeping. Now I know that you're not dead, I'm going home, showering and then going to school. I'll see you there." Summer sighed out quickly heading towards the door.

"Uh," Marissa said bashfully, "I'm not going."

"You're not going?"

"Why did you just turn that into a question, I told you I'm not going."

"Care to tell me why?" Summer said, letting go of the door handle.

"I'm guessing the line 'I don't wanna' isn't going to fly with you."

"Uh huh." She agreed simply. "Think of a better excuse."

"Luke will have told everyone I'm gay."

"So?"

"I'm not ready to come out."

"Look," Summer walked towards her, placing her hand on Marissa's shoulder, "Ris, sweetie, there is nothing wrong with you liking girls. You cant help who you're attracted to. And as for the Christian Right? Why would G-d make us all so different if He wanted us to be the same?"

"You got that from Saved." Marissa accused.

"Maybe." Summer smiled, "but my point still stands, you may be out, but don't be ashamed. You're still you."

"Thanks."

"Now get your avoidy arse up them stairs and ready for school. If you're not there I'm sending Ryan round and he drag you there if he has too."

"That's your fantasy not mine." Marissa smiled.

"Just go!" Summer laughed pointing up the stairs.

A

The pain in her head woke her before her alarm. She glanced at the clock, repaired and back in its place, the second hand slowly moving round, the minute hand making jerky, hesitant movements towards the twelve. She switched off the alarm before it had a chance to ring. She didn't need it to wake her so what was the point.

She sat up slowly, not wanting to do anything to sudden as to add to the throbbing of her head. She rubbed her eyes, the dried bit, of what ever it was that built up in the corner of her eyes as she slept, dragging across her skin making it itch.

She sat there staring at the wall opposite, ignoring the posters, the couple of canvases she'd hung, just staring at the vast white surrounding them. She sat staring at the wall opposite trying to compose a reason that would mean that she wouldn't have to go to school, contemplating phoning in sick, wondering how long she could simply not go before they fired her…

She threw the covers back and swung her legs over the bed, trying to face the day as if it were like any other, as if she wasn't about to have a review as to whether or not she was having and affair with on of the students.

Getting dressed slowly, she ran through a series of reasons as to why Luke would lie about her kissing Marissa.

He's homophobic and looking for reasons to get me sacked… He's angry because I gave him a D… He secretly wants me… He has a history of mental problems dating back to early childhood… It was a blow up doll he saw and I have a perfectly good reason as to why I brought it to school I, uh, just can't think of it right now…

She stared at her reflection as she applied her eyeliner, she was doomed. She tucked her hair behind her ears, changed her top again, re-did her hair and finally plucked up the courage to leave the sanctuary of her bedroom.

"Morning." She sighed out, as she walked into the kitchen and straight to the kettle.

"Just boiled." Jodie told her, not looking up from the paper.

"I didn't know you could read." Alex laughed, making a coffee. Jodie simply held up the paper as she discarded the spoon in the sink. "Oh, it's The Sun. So you're not actually reading, just staring at the model's fake tits."

"I'll have you know they only select girls with real boobs." Jodie told her folding it up, ignoring her friend's raised eyebrow. "Your parents sent a postcard. They want to make sure you're remembering to feed the cat."

"I should really tell them that it died shouldn't I." Alex laughed, rooting through the cupboards looking for some pain killers.

"You look very smart for an art teacher. This wouldn't happen to do with a certain girl you got caught kissing would it?"

"If you mean in the fact that I'm going to get called up in front of the Head today then yes."

"You realise if you dress smarter than you normally do, they'll realise that you knew this was coming and that-"

"Luke actually did see us kissing." Alex finished smacking her head with the palm of her hand. "I need to change." She said quickly, setting down her cup and running back to her room.

"Can I finish you're coffee Hangover Woman?" Jodie yelled after her.

"Like you're not going to even if I say no." Alex called back, trying to find something that screamed 'I didn't know that Luke was going to tell you that I kissed a student.'

M

A tap on the shoulder woke her from her trance, admittedly by making her jump a foot in the air, but it woke her nonetheless. She removed her headphones and shut off her MP3 player before acknowledging her friend.

"Do they have MP2s?" she asked simply as she shoved it in her bag.

"What?"

"Well they wouldn't have gone straight to MP3s, they must have been developed from something."

"You have way too much time on your hands Coop." Summer laughed. "What were you listening to?"

"The Prodigy's 'Smack My Bitch Up'"

"How very nineties of you."

"I'm all kinds of reminicy."

"About the nineties?"

"Yeah, life was simpler then." She told Summer with a shrug as she dug her hands into her pockets. "There was still a clear divide between the parties."

"Major was in power." Summer pointed out.

"We were still in Primary School."

"We were treated like kids." Summer corrected.

"The Telletubies were still shown, like all the time."

"You're basing your love of the nineties on The Telletubies?" Summer laughed handing her friend her morning apple.

"Not just The Telletubies." Marissa smiled sheepishly, biting into the fruit.

"Common lets find the boys and stop you from being all emo and reminicy as you so wonderfully put it." Summer smiled, grabbing Marissa's hand and leading her into the school grounds.

"I should go talk to her." Marissa finally admitted once they were in the building.

"And by 'her' you mean?"

"Her."

"Okay, I'll go find the boys then, you try not to get caught this time."

"Fool me twice, shame on him." Marissa said simply turning and walking to the Art Department.

"You have to stop using half phrases." She heard Summer call after her, through the swinging double doors.

The corridors were empty, the pupils outside, trying to suck up the last of the sun before autumn really set in, the staff all in the staff room trying to get as much coffee into their systems before they had to face their students.

As she approached the door, she felt her heart hitch in her chest, she didn't know why, but she was suddenly overcome with nerves. She was normally so confident and cocky around her, yet now, all that vanished, and anxiety took hold of her.

She ignored it though, shifted her stance, so that her whole demeanour changed, giving her the air of confidence that she normally showed, preventing the nerves from taking over, not willing to submit to them.

She pushed the door open and was instantly over come with her beauty. The last of the summer sun shining through the open window, illuminating her features. She watched silently as she paced, unaware of her presence. She watched as she bit her nails, her shoulders hunched, her brow furrowed. The nerves, that Marissa had forbidden from taking control, dominating her, preventing her from being just that. Her.

"Morning." She said quietly, allowing the door to swing shut behind her, causing Alex to jump slightly as the new found noise of the before soundless room.

"Hey." She said simply, refusing to stop pacing.

"What's with all the walking? Did you submit to the carbs?" Marissa joked, badly, walking over to one of the desks and sitting her self upon it.

"I don't believe in that bullshit."

"What do you believe in?"

"Trouble." She said simply, looking straight at her for the first time. "You shouldn't be in here."

"Why?"

"You should be out with your friends, doing whatever it is sixteen year olds do?"

"Reading Tattler, gossiping about the bitches we hate, talking about the wholesome activities we should be doing tonight like…" she paused as if thinking about what she was going to say, getting off the desk slowly and walking towards her before continuing, "our homework or bowling. Ignoring the fact that we're sixteen and are nothing more than adults in disguise."

"But you're not adults, you're still children?"

"Why? Because we're not eighteen, because the government thinks we're ready to smoke and get cancer, have sex and get pregnant, get married and face the inevitability of divorce, but we're not allowed to drink or vote," she was getting closer to her with each word spoken, "because in two years time we'll be so much more prepared for the rigorous task of ordering a drink, and getting drunk, ignoring the fact that we've been doing it since we were thirteen, or put a cross in the box next to a person's name who probably cares about the community as much as a bird cares bout the worm."

By the end of her rant, ramble, whatever her speech was, she was barely centimetres away from her teacher. She could feel her breath on her skin feel her heart beat almost.

"Well aren't you Miss Cynical this morning." Alex smiled.

"You care to disagree?"

"Not at all." Alex said simply, staring deep into the girl's eyes, but stepping back all the same.

"We're not doing anything wrong." Marissa told her quietly, searching her out. Trying to find out what she was hiding behind her eyes.

A

She'd avoided the staff room, she couldn't bare to face them. They were meant to be her peers, but she had nothing in common with them, she didn't need them judging her for something that may or may not be true. She didn't need them trying to suss her out, trying to work out if the rumours were true, trying to convey a subtle, but knowing 'I told you so' look to each other. None of them meeting her gaze.

She was the one that had allegedly kissed a student. The idea of innocent untill proven guilty was a sham. She was just cannon fodder for their gossip, she wasn't innocent until she could prove Luke Ward wrong. And even then, she'd never be truly innocent, she would always be the first accused, the one eyed with suspicion… She was the new one, the one they knew nothing about, all perfectly good reasons for her to be treated with hostility.

Instead she headed straight for her classroom, throwing away the paper coffee cup she'd picked up on the way to work. The liquid inside it had long grown cold. She sat down behind her desk, arranged her stuff neatly, then rearranging it, and moving it once more. Constantly searching for things to occupy her hands, keep her mind busy. Stop it from wandering. Prevent the risk that she might think about her.

She paced slowly around the small room, no easy task given the lay out of the desk. Her mind, how ever much she tried to stop it, always going back to the same thing. Her.

"Morning." She turned quickly at the sound of the intruder, having previously unaware that she was being watched.

"Hey." She said simply, refusing to stop pacing.

"What's with all the walking? Did you submit to the carbs?" She smiled weakly at the girl's joke, watching as she manoeuvred her way between the desks, carefully choosing, assessing almost, on which one to sit.

"I don't believe in that bullshit."

"What do you believe in?"

"Trouble." She said simply, looking straight at her for the first time. "You shouldn't be in here." She said quietly, as if she said it hoping she wouldn't be heard.

"Why?"

"You should be out with your friends, doing whatever it is sixteen year olds do?" She shrugged.

She tried to remember what she did when she was sixteen and came up trumps. All she knew is what she hadn't done. She hadn't gone to clubs, spent her time with her teachers over her friends and she certainly hadn't acknowledged that she was gay.

Gay. The word had become dirty, tarnished almost. The word that used to mean happy was now used as an insult. A yard stick for all that was wrong in the world. Yet the word lesbian seemed harsh and unforgiving. It seemed to her as if there was no middle ground.

No way for her to feel normal. Knowing that she was, but having a small minority tell her that she wasn't. And its always the minority that have a voice. It's the voice of hatred that's heard. The oppressed ignored, regardless of numbers, the minority fearing that when allowed to be free they'll take over… that they will be the normal.

"Reading Tattler, gossiping about the bitches we hate, talking about the wholesome activities we should be doing tonight like…" she watched as she slid off the desk and slowly approached her, waking her from her thoughts, bringing her back to the real world, the world out side of her head, forcing her to face it, "our homework or bowling. Ignoring the fact that we're sixteen and are just adults in disguise."

"But you're not adults, you're still children?"

"Why? Because we're not eighteen, because the government thinks we're ready to smoke and get cancer, have sex and get pregnant, get married and face the inevitability of divorce, but we're not allowed to drink or vote," she was getting closer to her with each word spoken, "because in two years time we'll be so much more prepared for the rigorous task of ordering a drink, and getting drunk, ignoring the fact that we've been doing it since we were thirteen, or put a cross in the box next to a person's name who probably cares about the community as much as a bird cares bout the worm."

By the end of her rant, ramble, whatever her speech was, Marissa was barely centimetres away from her. She could feel her breath on her skin, smell the sweet, intoxicating scent of her perfume, and knowing that her heartbeat could be felt by her.

"Well aren't you Miss Cynical this morning." Alex smiled, knowing that she was right. That Marissa may be a lot of things but she was anything but a child.

"You care to disagree?"

"Not at all." Alex said simply, staring deep into the girl's eyes, but stepping back all the same, fearing that her instincts would take control. Preferring the sanctuary of her nerves, her nerves preventing her from acting upon those instincts that would inevitably lead to the trouble she spoke of earlier.

"We're not doing anything wrong." Marissa told her quietly.

"Then why is it that I'm in trouble?"


This story for me is about mis-conceptions that we possess.

Marissa is trying to convince the world that she is an adult, dispite of her age.

Alex, though 'out' is still struggling with her sexuality, worried about others oppions of her, rather than living her life. Though confident around 'her people' as my mother so wonderfully puts it, aka the gay comunity, she is uncomfortable in the world of the straight population. Fearing judgement, condemnation etc.

I don't want to give this fic a definitive ending as I feel the message I'm trying to get across is far more successful without it.

Thank you for reading, what turned from a thing to avoid my homework into a political rant.

Reviews are always wanted. (I am a feed back whore)