Disclaimer: Rugrat's is property of KlaskyCsupo; not mine.

Tommy Pickles ran a nervous hand through his hair. It was the first day of school. The first day of high school, to be exact. It was a whole new experience for him. Thankfully, he wasn't the only one of his friends to be starting school in a whole new environment. His buddies Phil and Lil Deville and Kimi Finster would be starting their first year as freshmen right along side Tommy, and honestly, that made him feel a lot better.

"Hey! Tommy!" A familiar voice called out.

Tommy was relieved when he noticed his best friend Chuckie Finster bounding up to him through the crowded hallway. He was kind of hard to miss with his bright orange hair making him stand out.

"Oh man, Chuckie. I'm so glad I finally recognized someone in this school." Tommy said once Chuckie finally caught up.

"I mean, wow! This place is so much bigger than middle school."

Chuckie nodded in agreement.

"Yeah. I thought the same thing last year, when I first started high school. But don't worry, T. You'll get used to it."

Tommy shrugged.

"Yeah. I guess. So, have you seen the others yet?"

"The last I saw of Kimi was right after dad dropped us off. She ran off looking for you guys. More likely Phil, though."

Tommy and Chuckie exchanged knowing looks. Everybody knew that Kimi and Phil liked each other. It was painfully obvious to everyone around them. The flirting and games of subtle footsies under the table didn't go unnoticed.

"Ummm…Chuckie?" Tommy asked.

"Yeah?"

"You do know where we're going, right? I mean, just because I don't, so I wanted to make sure one of us does."

"Well, it all depends." He answered. "What's your locker number?"

Tommy told him what it was and they started to it. They turned a corner and made a right. Tommy's locker was the third one to the left.

"Thanks, Chuck." Tommy exclaimed. "Now what do you say we go find the others?" He said as he finished putting his stuff in his locker.

The two made their way through the crowds, and as they were doing so, Tommy noticed something. He noticed that there were a bunch of different groups meeting in different places around the school. He noticed a group of Goths, a group of punks, some jocks playing basketball in the gym, the preppies and the cheerleaders (of which his snobbish older cousin was among), and some nerds who had already made themselves comfortable in the library. After observing some of the many different groups already made in the school, Tommy, being the typical high school student he now is, wondered where he belonged. Could the constant group of five, maybe six, he's been intimately and inevitably attached to for the past fourteen years of his life be his only definition in life- high school life atleast?

Finally, after what only seemed like hours of walking aimlessly in a strange, new place, something yet again caught Tommy's eye. He noticed something black and spiky sticking upward over the crowds of students. He couldn't conceivable figure out what it was, but he had some idea. He grabbed Chuckie by the sleeve and pulled him through the crowd. Tommy reached his destination in the corner and concluded that his thoughts had been right.

"Yo, T! Glad we finally met up!" Phil Deville gave Tommy a welcoming high- five.

"Yeah, 'cuz I see you did a lot to help with that." Tommy joked.

"Yeah, well, it's a big school. I didn't want to get lost."

Tommy looked over to where the Asian girl with the black, spiky ponytail sticking straight up was standing. She had a very unique sense of style. He'd always admired that about her. Today she was wearing flowered leggings with a leopard print blouse and a silk scarf tied around her neck.

"Hey, Kimi." Tommy greeted her.

She greeted him back.

Tommy looked over to Phil again. He looked different. For starts, his chestnut colored hair hung down, swaying in thick curls just above the tips of his ears, where he had gotten it pierced that summer. He had noticeably grown over the summer, both taller and muscular.

"Awww, man, you guys." Chuckie moaned, bringing his hand up and smacking his forehead lightly. "Look, I have to get to class. There's something I have to check out before the bell rings."

"C'ya, Chuck!" Kimi called as he made his way back through the crowded hallways.

"So, let's compare schedules." Phil grinned.

The three of them huddled into a small circle and looked over their papers.

"Alright!" Phil hooted. "Kimi and I have art together and science."

Tommy frowned. "Well, it doesn't look like Kimi and I have any classes together."

"That's alright, buddy." Phil reassured him. "You and me, we got period seven woodshop together." Phil's grin stretched even wider.

Tommy forced out a smile.

'Great.' He thought. 'Phil Deville around sharp objects and wood. Do one thing to make him angry and you're a goner, Pickles.'

The first bell of the day (and the school year) soon rang and all the kids forced their ways and struggled to get to their homerooms. Eventually, Tommy found his way to his room.

"Your name?" The teacher asked him as he entered her classroom.

"Pickles." He answered in a dry, scratchy voice.

The teacher scrolled down her list of attendance and found his name.

"Ah, Thomas Pickles. Son of Stuart Pickles, the infamous inventor." She said, a slight grimace plastered on her face. "Take a seat right over there." She ordered and directed him to a seat in the front row, the fourth desk to the right.

Tommy took a seat and frantically searched the classroom for a familiar face, desperately trying to come across someone he knew. No such luck. Tommy decided to rest his head and lightly dropped it onto his desk. He closed his eyes and wished he were back in middle school. It wasn't even the first period of the day and already he was miserable.

Suddenly, the class door swung open. Tommy picked his head off of his desk just in time to see a young girl saunter in, swaying her hips and swinging her hair in back of her. Tommy could only see the back of the girl, but so far, he liked what he saw. A lot. He started up at her hair and made his way down. She had hair the color of honey. She wore it long, naturally wavy. It reached down to her mid- back area. She had on a pale pink stretch shirt with a little glitter on it. He imagined the front of it said something like 'Princess'. Below her shirt he could see a strip of bare skin. He immediately noticed the tight hip huggers she wore. They were dark and also had a bit of glitter on them. His eyes worked their way down her legs and to her feet. She was wearing a pair of open-toed, black sandals and upon her toes were several rings. His eyes averted to her tan arm, which reached out and handed a tardy pass to the teacher.

The young girl turned around to face the class. Tommy read her shirt, which said 'Goddess' with gold, sparkly letters. He knew it!

Tommy whistled softly under his breath.

The sound of the teacher's voice snapped Tommy back to reality.

"Why don't you take the third seat from the right. The seat right next to Tommy Pickles, Miss Deville."

"Oh…my…God." Tommy mumbled to himself, sinking deeper into his seat, his face visibly red from self-embarrassment.

"Hey, Tommy." Lil said casually as she took a seat beside him.

Tommy felt the butterflies in his stomach flutter.

"H…Hey." He finally said.

Tommy absolutely could not believe that the beautiful young lady sitting next to him was his childhood pal, Lillian Deville. Not to say that he didn't think she was beautiful before. He'd always felt slightly attracted to Lil. He just couldn't believe that the tomboy everyone knew so well, who never cared about what anyone thought about her, had turned into someone so…so desirable. Tommy shook his head. He did not desire Lil. He knew her for his whole life.

'I've gotta be breaking some surrogate, sibling incest law.' Tommy thought to himself, disgusted with the thoughts that were running through his head about Lil.

"So, how do you like high school so far?" Lil asked Tommy sweetly.

"Just great." Tommy told her. "I got to homeroom late, so I made a wonderful first impression, I'm sure."

Lil laughed.

"Not as good as mine, I bet. Let's see, my day started off with me having no hot water while I was showering, courtesy of Phil, of course. Then, having no time for breakfast, I missed the bus, thus having to walk to school because mom and dad had both left for work already. Once again, thank you Phil. You think he could have atleast told me when the bus came." Lil rolled her eyes and smiled at Tommy.

'I can't be having these feelings.' He told himself. 'She's one of my best friends.'

The bell rang, indicating it was time for the first period of the day.

Tommy picked up his backpack and headed for the door, eager to get to his next class and avoid any more tardies for his first day. Lil grabbed his arm as he was about to reach the doorknob.

"Do we have any classes together?" She asked him.

They compared their schedules.

"We've got period five and the same lunch wave." She smiled again at Tommy.

"Look," Tommy said, looking away from Lil and back at their schedules.

"We've also got period three science. That's good."

"Good eye, Tommy." Lil said. "So, I'll see you in two more periods." With that, she gave him a wink and walked off, leaving Tommy defenseless in a war against his senses and his hormones.

…………………………………………………………….

Phil scrunched his nose and squinted at the formation of clay Kimi was intently poking and prodding at with a toothpick during second period.

"What's that?" He asked, raising his eyebrow in obvious confusion.

Kimi rolled her eyes and sighed deeply. "It's called art, Phillip. Something the creatively challenged have obviously never gained concept of."

"Hey!" Phil cried defensively. "What are you saying? I'm not creatively challenged!"

Kimi raised an eyebrow and glanced at Phil's project before smirking.

"Of course not, Phil." She said as she went back to her work, adding under her breath, "Just academically incompetent."

"Excuse me?" Phil questioned, taking his eyes off his project and looking at Kimi, who was biting her lower lip and in deep concentration with her own art venture.

"Hm?"

Phil sighed and went back to his own work before mumbling under his own breath.

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

………………………………………………………………

All throughout first and second period Tommy couldn't stop thinking about Lil. How she had changed over one summer. She certainly was not the tomboy that everyone had once known. How had this happened? Girls don't just…change over the course of one summer…do they? Tommy processed these thoughts over and over again in his mind. He spent practically the whole summer hanging out with Phil and Chuckie. How could he have not noticed Lil?

"Mr. Pickles? Mr. Pickles?" A voice echoed in his head.

Tommy snapped back to reality almost instantly.

"Mr. Pickles, I suggest you start to listen. This is high school, and let me be the first to tell, no one's going to cut you any slack. Not you're teachers. Not the bully's who steal you're lunch money and eye your girlfriend. And certainly not me." The teacher continued on with her speech about high school responsibility, prompted by Tommy's negligence to pay attention, much to his embarrassment and his classmates' amusement.

Second period soon ended and Tommy was more than happy to get out of there without being stopped by the teacher for a private lecture. He searched the hallway frantically for Chuckie. The chances that he'd even be in the same corridor as Tommy were slim, he knew it, but he was almost desperate. He had next period with Lil, and he didn't know how he should act…or feel.

Tommy made his way to third period science, feeling slightly discouraged at his failed attempt to find his best friend. He made it in the door just as the late bell rang.

"You must be Thomas Pickles."

"Sorry I'm late." He mumbled.

"No matter." The new teacher replied. "You're here, aren't you? That's what counts."

Tommy almost smiled. He was going to love this class.

"Just find yourself a seat, Thomas."

"Could you call me Tommy?" He looked around the room and spotted Lil at a lab station. She waved to him.

Tommy made his way over to her and sat down on a stool beside her.

"Hey." He whispered to her as the teacher started class off with some basic information.

"Hey." She said back. "Glad you finally showed up. Do you know how many guys I had to fight off to save you this seat?"

Tommy laughed. "Lillian Deville? Fighting off guys? HA!" He joked with her, but in reality, wasn't surprised in the least.

"Shhh." She hissed. "Not so loud." She looked around to make sure no one could hear their whispers.

She smiled at Tommy. "Is that surprising?"

He shrugged. "You did used to eat worms, Lil." He teased.

"That was when I was, like, two, Tommy!"

"Lil? Tommy? Do I have to separate you two? Their teacher asked, a humorous expression plastered on his face and a glint in his eye.

"No!" The pair replied in unison.

They managed to get through the rest of class with minimal conversation. Sitting next to Lil gave Tommy a chance to study her more clearly.

He noticed that she was wearing some light gold eye shadow and light pink lip-gloss. She had on a little blush, too. Tommy noticed how clear Lil's skin was. She didn't have a freckle or a blemish in sight.

Before he knew it, the bell rang.

"So, I'll see you during lunch?" Lil asked hopefully.

"Of course." Tommy answered. "Right after fourth period."

Lil nodded and went off to her next class.

Tommy breathed a sigh of relief. He made it through one class with Lil. That's all she was. The same old Lil, only now she had a new look. Tommy could deal with this just fine. No problem.

………………………………………………………………

"Hey!" Kimi snatched her bowl of jello back from Phil. "That is mine!"

Phil grimaced. "But Kim-iiii!" He whined. "If you take the jello, that leaves me with the carrot cake. I hate carrot cake!"

Kimi rolled her eyes and paid the cashier her two dollars. Phil followed close behind.

"Please trade with me, Kimi. Please?" Phil pleaded with her as they searched for a table.

"Why? I don't like carrot cake either."

"Please, Kimi? Please. Please. Please. Please. Puh-leeeeezuh?"

Kimi gave in, slamming her bowl of jello on his tray.

"I hate it when you beg."

"Aw, you love it and you know it. Thanks, Kimi."

Kimi rolled her eyes. "Hey, over there. There's Chuckie and Tommy. C'mon."

"Hey, guys." Kimi greeted as they sat down with the two boys.

"Hey." Tommy and Chuckie greeted in unison.

"How were the first four periods of you day, guys?" Kimi asked.

"Great." Chuckie said. "I managed to be in the wrong classroom for half a period before the teacher asked me who I was and told me that I didn't belong in his class. I managed to get a swirlie during third period break, and I walked into an open locker on the way down to lunch." Chuckie removed his purple- framed glasses and exposed his bruise to his friends.

"Ouch!" Kimi replied.

"Dude, did you even bother to go down to the nurse?" Phil asked.

"I figured if I were to go down to the nurse at all today, it would be because of the tack that's lodged into the bottom of my foot." He started to remove his sneaker before Kimi stopped him.

"Um…Chuckie, you don't have to show us your foot. Why don't we go down to the nurse now, okay?" Kimi told her brother. "You know, before it gets infected."

Chuckie gulped. "Yeah, okay."

At that moment, Lil came striding over to the table, carrying her lunch tray.

"Hey, guys." She said as she sat down next to Kimi.

"Hey." Kimi smiled. "I was just gonna take Chuckie down to the nurse, so I'm gonna have to leave you with your annoying brother and Tommy."

Lil smiled. "No prob. Catch ya later."

Kimi led Chuckie through the cafeteria and to the nurse's office.

She sighed. "Chuck, what are we gonna do with you?"

"Whaddya mean?" Chuckie asked, pushing his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose.

"You're like a magnet for disaster. I mean, you can't go one day without tripping over your shoelaces or falling down a flight of stairs. Really, Chuck." Kimi's voice held a slight humour.

Chuckie sighed and looked around the area. "You know what, Kimi? I think I can walk to the nurse's office myself. I'm not that mentally deficient that I can't find my way around a high school I've been attending for the past year. Thanks anyway."

With a huff, Chuckie quickened his pace and turned the corner, leaving Kimi alone and bewildered in the middle of the strange, empty hallway.

……………………………………………………………..

Tommy and Phil left the cafeteria together, Lil going the opposite direction to 'freshen up' in the bathroom.

Phil looked down the hallway and saw Kimi making her way over to them.

"Look, I gotta go to science class now. Catch ya later in seventh!"

Tommy watched in amusement as Phil ran over to Kimi and jumped on her shoulders. Kimi laughed and nudged him in the stomach. Phil took this as the perfect opportunity to grab her and put her in a headlock before heedlessly running down the hallway, Kimi close behind.

Tommy shook his head and smiled as he headed off to his own class. On his way through the door he met up with Lil.

"Hey, Tommy!" She exclaimed brightly, giving him a friendly hug.

"Ready to face algebra?" She asked as she linked her arm with his.

Tommy smiled. "As ready as I'll ever be, I guess."

They entered the classroom and Tommy felt like the most important guy in the entire school. He was able to make any boy in their class green with envy. He was actually arm in arm with, quite possibly, the prettiest girl in the ninth grade.

Lil led the two of them to two empty desks in the back of the classroom. A couple of guys whistled at her on their way to the back. She blushed and giggled flirtatiously in response. Tommy felt a wave of jealousy rush through him as he watched several other boys flirt with Lil.

Lil looked at Tommy once they took their seats in the back of the room.

"Jealous?" She teased.

"Hardly." He lied. "Besides, I've known you too long, Lil. You're like my sister. My obnoxiously annoying, boyish, gross sister."

"Gross?"

"Lil, need I remind you that you ate worms when we were kids?"

"Okay, didn't we already go over this? That was like a gazillion years ago!"

"Don't lie!" Tommy continued to tease her. "I saw you sneak one just the other day!"

Lil sighed and held up her hands in defeat. "Okay! Fine. You caught me. I, Lillian Deville, love to eat bugs. Especially the hard, crunchy kind with eight legs."

Tommy beamed with triumph.

"Class, let's get started." The teacher interjected. "My name is…"

As the teacher explained the course, Lil scribbled a note and passed it to Tommy.

Tommy-

Want to get together tonight?

Lil

Tommy made sure the teacher wasn't looking when he wrote back:

Sure. Where? At your house?

BTW- you don't have to sign your name. I know who you are.

Lil smiled and rolled her eyes.

Why don't we go see a movie? My treat!

Tommy swallowed.

Are you asking me out, Lillian Deville?

Lil grinned this time.

HA HA!

Sorry, Tommy, but you're too much like my brother.

That would be pretty weird.

It's been so long since we all hung out. It'll be nice.

Sure. Should I meet you there?

Hold your horses there, Tommy!

We have 'til this afternoon to decide.

Besides, I want to ask Kimi and Chuckie if they want to go, too. And, if I have to, I'll ask Phil.

Ha!

At that instant, their new algebra teacher turned his attention over to them.

"Thomas Pickles…"

"How many times does a teacher have to call on me when I'm not paying attention?" He mumbled so only Lil could hear. She giggled.

"Are you able to do the equation?"

"Um…what equation?" Tommy flinched as he thought of how academically inept that sounded.

"Were you listening or were you too busy passing notes back and forth with your friend, Miss Deville?"

"Well, um…see, sir…"

"Exactly what I thought. Does anybody who actually cares about their education care to answer the question?"

Tommy's face grew red with embarrassment. Not only did he humiliate himself in front of the whole class, but he looked like a complete idiot to Lil, he was sure.

"Don't worry about it, Tommy." Lil whispered. "I would have done the same thing."

Tommy just nodded, but he could feel his face growing hotter and hotter.

By the time the period was finally over, Tommy had gotten over his embarrassment and he and Lil had started to walk out of the classroom together.

"Mr. Pickles? Miss Deville? Wait here for a minute, would you?"

The three of them waited until the class was empty before resuming a conversation.

"I could tell you two were having a very interesting writing session. Care to share with me what that was all about?"

Tommy studied his math teacher for a second. He looked like he was in his mid- forties. He had black hair that was slightly graying. He had a good physique for someone his age, not skinny, but certainly not fat. He was the kind of guy his mother would have a crush on.

"Sure. We were just talking about our after school plans." Lil explained in her perky, upbeat way.

The teacher raised an eyebrow.

"But don't worry! It won't ever happen again. Sorry!" She added quickly.

The older man sighed and shook his head. "Since it's the first day of school, I'll let it slide. But it's high school now, kiddies. The big leagues. The next time I catch either one of you off task, it's going to be a detention. Understand?"

"Sir, yes, sir!" Lil exclaimed, lifting her right hand to her forehead in a mock salute.

Tommy groaned and shook his head, shrugging to his new teacher. "Too much caffeine. It keeps her awake during class."

His teacher nodded. "Well, make sure it keeps her focused. Now, head off to your next class. Enjoy the rest of your day, you two."

Tommy and Lil ran out of the classroom, both laughing. Lil leaned against the wall, catching her breath.

"I drink too much caffeine?" She questioned, regaining her composure.

"You must be high on something if you're going to salute our teacher on the first day of school."

"Oh, Tommy-boy, where is your sense of fun?"

"I think the possibility of a detention has pretty much diminished any thoughts of dancing on desktops or stripping in hallways that may have previously been instilled in my mind."

Lil rolled her eyes. "Well, I have to get on to sixth before I actually do get a detention, but I'll ask Kimi about tonight."

Tommy nodded. "Yeah. I'll ask Phil during seventh period."

Lil stuck out her tongue and shaded her arm over her forehead. "Ugh! If you must."

As they both headed their separate ways, Tommy called over his shoulder.

"And people say you're dramatic! Ptshh. Where does it come from?"

……………………………………………………………..

Sixth period passed quickly for Tommy. It was seventh period he couldn't wait for. He had to ask Phil if he wanted to go to the movies.

"So, Phil…" Tommy started once in seventh period. "Lil was going to arrange a movie night at the theater. She wanted to know if you wanted to go."

Phil shrugged. "I don't know. What movie?"

"Probably some chick flick. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't waste money to see whatever it is."

Phil lifted his head from his woodwork.

"Will Kimi be there?" He asked, his eyes sparkling. "Not that I really care, but will she?"

Tommy stifled a laugh. "You really have it bad for her, don't ya?"

Phil's face turned red. "What are you talking about? I do not like Kimi Finster as more that just a friend."

"Then why are you blushing?"

"Shut up!"

"Anyway," Tommy continued. "I don't know if Kimi's going. I haven't asked her. Lil said she would."

"Well, you know what? I don't even care if she's going anymore."

"Yes you do." Tommy muttered.

"No I don't."

"You do."

"I don't."

"You do."

"I don't."

The end of the first day of school finally came. Phil and Tommy walked to the bus together.

Lil, Kimi, Chuckie, Angelica, Suzie, and Harold were already on the bus together.

"Wow. There aren't very many people on our bus, are there?" Phil asked, observing the very scarce amount of people filling in the seats.

Suzie shook her head. "There aren't very many kids around where we live, atleast not our age."

Phil nodded. "Yeah. I guess so."

He sat down in the seat in front of Kimi and when Lou started the bus, he turned around.

"Are you going to the movies tonight?" He asked her.

Kimi wrinkled her nose. "Lil wants to see some chick flick. I could waste my time on something worth my time, like helping my dad out at the Java Lava. How about you? You gonna go?"

Phil shook his head. "I guess not. I might as well help you guys down at the shop. Do you think you'll need me?"

Kimi nodded. "Definitely. Chuckie has a study date with Nicole tonight, so we're gonna be short on help. You interested?"

Phil shrugged. "Sure. Why not?"

………………………………………………………………

"So, it doesn't look like Phil's gonna go tonight unless Kimi goes." Tommy said to Lil from his seat behind her.

"Yeah, seriously. They need to get over their egos and just go out with each other. Anyway, Kimi told me she was going to work at the Java Lava tonight. Phil probably will, too. In fact, I'll bet on it." Lil told Tommy before shouting across the bus. "PHIL! ARE YOU GOING TONIGHT?"

"I'M GONNA HELP KIMI, CHAZ, AND MOM AT THE JAVA LAVA INSTEAD!" Phil shouted back to her.

"Told you." Lil smiled.

"How about Chuckie?" Tommy asked, regretting he said anything once he saw Lil's face light up.

"I didn't even ask him." Lil leaned across her seat and tapped Chuckie on the shoulder across from her. "Chuck, are you going to the movies with us tonight?"

"What movie are you-" Chuckie frowned in realization. "Sorry, I forgot I had plans with Nicole tonight. I wish I knew earlier, otherwise I would have…"

"It's okay, Chuckie. Don't worry about it. Some other time." Lil told him sweetly.

Chuckie nodded.

"Suzie and Harold already saw the movie. And, be my guest if you wanna ask the ice queen." Tommy told Lil.

Lil shuddered. "Gah! No…Thank…You." She pouted. "I guess we'll just have to go another time, then."

"We can still go, Lil." Tommy suggested casually.

Lil grinned. "Tommy, I already told you before-"

"Just as friends, I know. Geez, Lil. Trust me, if I had any thoughts of dating you, they've quickly dissipated, and that's only assuming they were there in the first place. There are too many factors."

Lil rolled her eyes. "Name one."

"I'll name two!" Tommy said proudly. "One, it's a little incestuous and two, Phil would kill me."

Lil pondered this for a moment before nodding. "True enough. Alright, so meet me at seven-o-clock in front of the cinema. Don't be late! The second day of school is tomorrow-"

"Duh."

Lil ignored him and continued. "And my mom would totally wig if I was out past curfew. I don't know about you, but mine is still nine-o-clock."

"Mine, too."

"All right. Great. See you then, I guess." Lil stood up and started to walk off the bus.

Tommy wondered where she was going, but realized they had been talking up until Phil and Lil's stop.

"So, it looks like you got yourself a date, huh Tommy?" Chuckie moved a seat closer to Tommy and wiggled his eyebrows.

"Just because Lil and I are going to see a movie alone together, doesn't mean it's a date." Tommy protested.

"Uh huh. Then what's with the grin?" Chuckie asked knowingly. "And now the blushing. And the fact that you-"

"Could you lower your voice, Chuckie, please? I might like Lil more than just a friend but I don't know. It might just be a crush, but I don't exactly want it public knowledge, especially when there's a certain someone on a certain bus who could certainly find use for my personal life for front page of the gossip column at school. I just want to see how things play out tonight at the movies. Just, keep this between us, okay?"

Chuckie nodded. "Of course. You have my word." He grinned. "Tommy and Lil, huh? How do you think Mrs. Lillian Pickles sounds, Tommy? Or do you think she should keep her last name? Or what about if she…"

Tommy slammed his head into the back of the seat in front of him and groaned.

"Why did I have to say anything?" He mumbled to himself.

………………………………………………………..

Tommy stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom. He had just gotten out of the shower and finished brushing his teeth. Tommy ran his hands through his hair, spiking it slightly with gel.

"Hey, T! Watchya doin'? Do you have a date?" Dil asked, peeking into the cracked bathroom door.

Tommy shook his head. "Not technically. But…"

"You're going out with Lil, aren't you?" Dil asked, a huge grin plastered on his small face.

Tommy scowled. "Whudduya mean?" He asked. "Are you implying that I have a date with Lillian Deville, of whom I have known for the past fourteen years? Dil, she's like a sister to me."

"But a sister who you have the hots for."

Tommy made a face.

"I admit, that did not come out right, but you get my point. Even though you've known her for so long, it doesn't mean you can't feel attracted to her. I mean, it's human nature to feel attracted to someone who's hot. And Lil and Kimi are both hot!" Dil grinned.

"Glad I'm not the only one who thinks so; now if you don't mind I have a get together to get ready for with my very good friend Lil." With that said and done, Tommy proceeded to shove Dil out of the bathroom and shut the door.

"Don't forget deodorant!" Dil yelled as Tommy heard him run down the hallway.

Tommy lifted his arm and sniffed.

"Whew!" Tommy began to throw on deodorant as his mother called for him.

"TOMMY! HURRY UP OR ELSE YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR YOU'RE DATE!"

"OKAY MOM!" Tommy shouted back.

Tommy ran down the stairs and grabbed his coat, opening the front door for his mother before following behind her.

"So, you said you were meeting your date in front of the theatre, right Tommy?" Didi asked her son as they pulled out of the driveway.

"Actually, she called with a change of plans. Could you pick her up?"

Didi sighed. "Where does she live?"

"Right here!" Tommy shouted as his mother nearly missed the driveway.

"Christ Tommy!" Didi exclaimed once the shock wore over. "The Deville's? Tommy, do you have a date with Lillian tonight?"

Tommy rolled his eyes as his mother parked the car. "No, mom, I'm going out with Phil."

Tommy laughed at his mother's astounded expression and hopped out of the car.

"I'll be right back."

He ran up to the door and rang the bell.

"Hey, Tommy." Howie greeted the young boy in front of him. "Lil's just finishing getting ready. Hold on."

Howard called to Lil and momentarily she appeared downstairs.

"Now, don't stay out too late, you two. Aww. Young love. Never would have thought your first boyfriend would be Tommy Pickles, though."

Lil rolled her eyes before giving her dad a hug and a kiss.

"He's not my boyfriend, dad." She whispered to him.

Lil followed Tommy out to the car with one final wave to her dad.

"Hi, Lil." Didi greeted her as the pair entered the car.

"Hi, Mrs. Pickles! How are you?" Lil asked cheerfully.

"Good. I didn't know you and Tommy were going out. That's…different." She said as she backed out of the driveway and onto the main road.

Tommy slunk in his seat and slapped a hand to his forehead while Lil laughed lightly.

"Are you kidding? Tommy and I aren't dating. It just so happens that the rest of the gang couldn't make it tonight. Tommy and I decided to go by ourselves."

Didi nodded absentmindedly and responded with a distant 'uh huh' as she pulled in front of the cinema.

"You two have fun. I'll be back at nine to pick you up."

Lil and Tommy waved to her before getting into line.

"What are we seeing again?" Tommy asked, almost flinching to hear the name of the girly movie he was about to see.

Lil shrugged. "I'm more in a mood to watch a thriller instead of a mushy, gushy love story."

"Really?" He asked, a little too enthusiastically.

Lil grinned and nodded. "Don't think that sigh of relief I heard went unnoticed, Thomas. You think I'm that cold- hearted that I'd actually force you to sit through a chick flick, a guy's most formidable enemy? I'm insulted!"

Tommy shrugged. "You've done it to us before."

Lil thought about it for a minute and cocked her head to the side. "I guess that's true. So, whadduya wanna watch?"

They stood in line and pondered the possibilities before Lil whispered something in Tommy's ear. His face brightened and he grinned.

"You'd see that? I've been wanting to see that movie since I saw previews for it!" He exclaimed anxiously.

Lil smiled and nodded. "Of course I would. I'm not a complete wuss."

Tommy laughed sarcastically at this but didn't have a chance to comment, as they were next in line.

"Two please." Tommy told the teller what they wanted to see and handed her the money.

He turned around and handed a perplexed Lil her ticket. As they moved out of the way of others, Tommy asked her what was wrong.

"It's nothing…I just thought…well, Tommy, I thought we agreed that I was going to pay for my own ticket."

Tommy stopped in sudden realization. "We did say that, didn't we?"

Lil nodded.

"I'm sorry, Lil. I completely forgot. I didn't even think it would be a big deal."

"It's not." Lil reassured him. "I just wanted to confirm that it wasn't a date. Paying for my own ticket was just a reassurance."

Tommy sighed exasperatedly. "Lil, you go through all this trouble to ensure that we're not on a date. You're making it really hard to enjoy this with you, old friend to old friend, when you keep acting like I'm going to jump you any second. We've hung out together before, just the two of us. I've hung out with Kimi by myself. You've hung out with Chuckie. It shouldn't affect us now."

Lil exhaled a deep breath and turned away from Tommy. "Fine. Let's just go watch the movie before we miss it."

Tommy followed Lil to their show, quickening his pace to keep up with her.

The pair silently agreed to sit in the back row, where the five of them had been sitting ever since they were nine years old.

The movie soon started and the lights dimmed.

The pair walked out of the theatre in silence before Lil finally spoke. "So, that was pretty good, wasn't it?"

"Yeah." Tommy smiled weakly. He knew he would have enjoyed the movie much more if he saw it with Phil and Chuckie. He would have even enjoyed it with Lil- if she wasn't so hostile to him earlier. True, she didn't say anything after Tommy's little speech to her, but he figured the silent treatment was much worse than anything she could say.

Didi's car pulled in front of the theatre for the second time that night.

"How was the movie, kids?" She asked as they got into the car.

"Great." Lil said, getting into the front seat and smiling, a smile Tommy could tell a mile away was fake.

"Yeah, it was good." He mumbled in response.

The remainder of the car ride was silent.

When Didi pulled in front of Lil's house to drop her off, Lil turned around in her seat to face Tommy.

"Feel like walking me to my door?" She asked. Tommy was completely ready to say no. After the way she was treating him, acting like the prospect of dating him was the world's worst sin, he didn't want to give her the satisfaction of caving in.

She looked at him expectantly before he unbuckled his seatbelt and opened his side of the car door and then proceeding to open Lil's.

Lil gave a small smile as she looked over to Didi.

"Thank you, Mrs. Pickles, for driving us to the movies and picking and dropping me off."

Didi smiled and put a hand on Lil's shoulder. "Not a problem, sweetheart. You're welcome anytime if you need anything."

Lil smiled and made her way out of the car and the few remaining feet to her house, Tommy close behind.

Lil stood on the single step in front of her house in front of Tommy. Even standing on higher level than the young man standing before her, he was still slightly taller.

They stood in awkward silence for a moment before Tommy brought a hand to his mouth and coughed lightly.

"Thank you for coming with me tonight, Tommy. I had a good time."

Tommy's voice was cold, but not harsh. "If you're idea of having a good time is glaring at the movie screen and pretending you don't even know who I am, then I hate to be Phil when you're in a bad mood."

"Tommy-"

"I used to get you, Lil. I used to know what you were feeling and how you dealt and what was on your mind."

Lil swallowed hard. "Now?"

Tommy gave a small, sarcastic laugh. "I don't know. I feel like I haven't known you for a while."

"What are you talking about?" Lil asked him, her voice cracking with emotion.

"Lil, you spent the whole day reminding me how much I'd suck as a boyfriend. That I'm not good enough to date you. Maybe, Lil, I was attracted to you. And, yeah, the thought crossed my mind of what it might be like to be with you, but, those feelings are pretty much gone. They'll never fully leave, because, as much as I refuse to admit it to myself, they've sort of always been there. It just took me a while to realize it. "

They stood in silence for another moment.

"Goodnight, Lil."

As Tommy turned around to walk back to the car, Lil stopped him.

"Tommy!"

He turned around and Lil stepped off the front step to walk the short distance over to him.

She placed her hands on his chest and stood tiptoe to reach his lips with her own. After overcoming initial shock, Tommy placed his hands around her waist and returned her kiss, deepening it slightly, before Lil broke apart, tears brimming in her eyes.

"It's not that I think you're not good enough for me. It's because you're too good."

With that as her last remark, Tommy watched as Lil turned around and ran inside, slamming the door behind her.

Tommy couldn't help the smile that was tugging at the edge of his lips as he opened the door to his mother's car.

"So, any reason Lil wanted you to walk her to her door?" She queried her son.

Tommy shook his head. "Just wanted to say goodnight."

Didi nodded and drove them next door, home.