Author's Note: Okay, so this took more time to write than I had expected it to. For some reason, it kept coming out sounding rushed to me. I still don't think I have it quite right… but I guess I should let you be the judge of that. I hope you like it and I hope the next chapter is a little easier to write. Enjoy…


Chapter 5: Spin-the-Bottle (part 2)

A short redhead dressed in a cute, but too-short-for-words, pink floral summer dress approached the door to Larry Beale's massive house with a fidgeting brunette dressed in blue jeans and a polo shirt following close behind her. Suddenly, the brunette (looking like she was going to either throw up or wet herself), grabbed the redhead's shoulder and spun her around. "I changed my mind, Ruby. I'm not going."

The redhead laughed, as if doing so would make her friend's words a joke.

"I'm serious Ruby –I'm not going."

The redhead just laughed some more.

"Ruby, I mean it. I'm not going," and with that, Ren started walking back down the Beale's front walkway. She almost immediately felt a death-grip on her arm, stopping her from retreating any further.

"You spent the past two hours trying on every article of clothing you own at least twice," Ruby glared at her friend, "putting every last hair on your head in perfect place," she breathed out slowly, "You made me do and re-do your make-up," she started getting louder, "and now you're backing out?" With every word, the redhead seamed to get angrier. "Is that what you're saying?" she yelled.

"Um…" Ren smiled, and laughed nervously. "Yes?"

Ruby made a sound resembling something between a scream and a growl, and dragged Ren back to the Beale's door. "We're here. You're going to the party and you're going to have fun. Understand?"

"Understood," Ren nodded reluctantly, knowing full well that resistance was futile with her closet Trekkie friend. With no means of escape, Ren began primping herself one last time before they went inside. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. Smoothed her jeans down. Popped, then un-popped, then popped, then un-popped her collar. "Do I look alright?" she asked as she continued her compulsive behavior.

"You look fine." In a psychotic kind of way, Ruby thought, grabbing Ren's arm to stop the girl from fidgeting any more.

"What about my outfit?" Ren asked, trying to squirm her arm out of Ruby's grasp.

Ruby evened out her friend's collar with her free hand. God, this shirt is so last season. "Love it," she smiled.

"What about Tawny? Do you think she'll notice me?" Ren asked, turning positively green upon mentioning her crush's name.

"Of course she'll notice you," considering you'll probably end up throwing up on her. "Like any girl could resist your charms."

"And do you think-"

Ruby rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'm not exactly a rocket scientist, but I do think every once and a while," she answered without letting Ren finish the question. Ruby put her hand on the doorknob and opened the door, "Now for Pete's sake, let's go inside already!"

After four hours, the party had died down considerably. Only a handful of people were still there, and the people who were there were all sitting in a circle –a bottle in the middle of it. Both Ren and Tawny were part of the circle, albeit on opposite sides of it. Nonetheless, this was the closest they had come to each other during the party.

Ren reached into the middle of the circle, grabbed the bottle, and spun it. After an exceptionally awkward kiss with Ruby, Ren was no longer nervous about who the bottle would land on. It's not like there's anyone that would be more awkward to kiss than Ruby… Ren reasoned as she watched the bottle spin. I mean, she watched the bottle intently, unless it lands on… The bottle stopped spinning, and Ren slowly shifted her gaze to the person it was pointing to –the person she dreaded it landing on the most. Of course it had to land on Tawny, Ren thought, trying her best not to blush as she made her way over to the girl.

Tawny felt her heartbeat speed up considerably as Ren slowly crawled towards her. They hadn't spoken for nearly a year, and now suddenly they were at the same party, playing some stupid game, and Ren was going to kiss her. She was going to kiss Ren. It was weird, and that, Tawny reasoned, was why she suddenly felt butterflies in her stomach as her old friend kneeled in front of her.

"Uh… hi-ey… I mean… hi… er… hey," Ren greeted as she awkwardly tried to figure out what to do with her hands. She ultimately decided to place one on either side of Tawny's hips, immediately regretting the decision as she felt her face heat up.

The younger girl couldn't help but be amused by the unbelievably awkward situation she and Ren were currently in. "Hi-ey?" she asked with a smile and a giggle. "I see you still are an eloquent speaker."

Ren relaxed slightly into the feeling of nostalgia that washed over her. For just one moment, she'd let herself believe nothing had changed. "And I see you're still your normal sarcastic self."

The smaller girl feigned shock. "Sarcastic? Me?"

Both girls chuckled.

"Ha ha, great, touching reunion," Larry chimed in. "Now, could you kiss her already?" His input earned him a glare from Tawny, and would've earned him a glare from Ren as well if she wouldn't have been trying to calm the blush that had spread across her face.

"So… I guess… um…" Ren leaned in, but hesitated.

Tawny just rolled her eyes (it was just a stupid game) and placed her hands on Ren's cheeks, bringing the older girl's head towards hers, the butterflies in her stomach long gone. She bridged the last few centimeters separating her lips from Ren's, and kissed away the year they'd spent not talking. It had been a hard year with Ren avoiding her like the plague. She'd hate to admit it, but every time Ren had pretended not to see her in the hall or had "forgotten" to call her back, it had hurt her. Tawny got so lost in trying to kiss away that hurt that she didn't notice Ren's hands snake around her back and pull her into the older girl's lap, and she didn't notice her own hands move from Ren's cheeks to the back of Ren's head, trying to ensure that Ren's lips wouldn't leave her own.

"This is so hot!" Twitty decided to announce, causing the two to break apart.

Ren's eyes looked like they were about to fall out of her head when the events of the past few minutes finally registered in her head. She sprung up, which sent Tawny to the floor with a soft thud. In any other circumstances, Ren would have apologized, but just then she couldn't. No, she had to get out. She had an urgent and overwhelming need to escape.

And that's exactly what she did.

"Ren, wait!" Tawny called after Ren, but waiting was definitely the last thing on her to-do list. Of course, number one on the list was getting as far away from Tawny as possible and staying there until she could regain her composure –which will definitely not be in the near future, Ren thought, possibly in a year or two… or thirty.

Tawny had to sprint to catch her friend before she could make it to the door. "Please," the younger girl said softly but firmly, with a hand on Ren's shoulder trying to get the girl to turn around, "Please don't leave just because of some stupid game."

Ren remained silent, gently pushing Tawny's hand away, and reached for the doorknob. Tawny just looked on dejectedly as her friend walked out the door, shutting it behind her –and shutting Tawny out, yet again.

Fuck this, anger suddenly swelled up behind two blue eyes, I miss her, damn it, and I'm not going to just let her fucking avoid me for no reason for yet another year. Tawny re-opened the door and ran outside, nearly tackling Ren to get her to stop walking. "Do you really want to do this the hard way?" she asked the older girl who was simply refusing to stand still.

"Tawny, I just-" but before Ren could finish making an excuse, she found herself lying flat on her back in the grass with Tawny straddling her waist and pinning both of her shoulders to the ground. "When d'you learn how to do that?" Ren asked, letting out a small laugh despite herself.

"Tom Gribalski: Martial Arts Master –while you were giving me the silent treatment, I made a few interesting new friends," Tawny answered, making sure to emphasize the words 'silent treatment' with a glare. "So, are you going to talk now or are we going to have to stay out here all night?"

All night would be good… Ren smiled at the thought, but quickly shook it out of her head.

Misreading the taller girl's action, Tawny raised an eyebrow, "So… you're saying no, you aren't going to talk?"

"Huh?"

"You just shook your head no."

"No I didn't," Ren said simply, not caring to elaborate.

"Yes you did. I saw you."

"I didn't shake my head no."

"Yes, you did."

"No, I…" while Tawny was distracted Ren seized the opportunity, "didn't," she finished saying as she flipped herself onto Tawny and started tickling her.

"God, Ren… you're so… mature…" Tawny said, still able to dish out her sarcasm through her fit of tickle-induced giggles. Ren just smiled slyly and continued her assault, happy that –momentarily at least- she had the upper hand. "Come on… Ren… I'm not… 11 years… old… anymore… You can… stop… now."

"Promise me that you won't ask me any questions," Ren said, determined to keep the upper hand.

"Okay… okay… I promise…" the smaller girl reluctantly agreed, smiling only because she was still being tickled.

"And promise me that you'll let me leave once I stop," Ren added for good measure, sure that the girl squirming beneath her would agree to her second demand as easily as she had agree to the first.

But she didn't. "No," if Ren didn't know better, she'd think the blue eyes staring up at her had glossed over slightly. The owner of the blue eyes sighed and softly placed her hand on Ren's cheek. "No, I'll never let you leave me again."

Caught by surprise, Ren let go of Tawny completely, giving the smaller girl the opportunity to get out from under her. "That's not what I meant," Ren said, gazing at the girl now sitting in front of her, "I meant-"

"I know what you meant," Tawny said, standing up and offering a hand to Ren who took it and pulled herself up as well. "I'll let you go home," Tawny said softly, wrapping her arms around Ren. "But you're never leaving me again," she whispered, burying her head in Ren's chest. She wasn't much into physical closeness –she was a big fan of her personal bubble- but with Ren it was different. She smiled- she could hear Ren's heartbeat. It was soothing. It was comforting. It was just... nice.

"So, no more avoiding me, understand?" Tawny pulled away a little, giving her friend some space.

But Ren just pulled her back. "Understood."