Disclaimer: I'm not rich or Canadian. I cannot own Degrassi.
Title: "Inside Out" – it just fits.
Genres: General, Romance, maybe even Humor – the thing about Genre is that it really changes with every different reader
Rated: 'T' for bad words and… pretty much just for bad words.
Writing Tools: Microsoft Word, YouTube, Wikipedia, LaunchCast Music Video Player, Windows Media Player, Television, Nerds (the candy), and my flashdrive.
Tunes: "Take a Picture" by Filter, "1979" by the Smashing Pumpkins, "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis, "Bad Fish" by Sublime, "Lazy Eye" the Silversun Pickups, "Ride With Me" by Nelly, "Tonight, Tonight" the Smashing Pumpkins, "City Noise" by Scarling. And "Inside Out" by Eve 6 (for which this story is titled)
People: Orange, Orange, and Orange's alter-ego: Lime.
Author's Note: Written on a whim. I really should be working on Drunks, Lovers, Sinners & Saints but… I don't really do what I should. For instance, I should have been doing and English Project while I was writing this but I didn't exactly do that either. Hope you guys like it, it probably cost me a letter-grade.
(On a quick note: this is out of continuity. Like, majorly. Trying to place it on the Degrassi time-line would be impossible because it doesn't really fit in anywhere at all. Deal with it.)
It was one of those songs that had no beginning and no end. A nameless song, a faceless artist, and a tune she wouldn't be able to remember by the same time the next day. But there was comfort in the generic noise. Jay lay on the couch behind her, a joint drooping between two fingers of a hand that hung carelessly off the back of the couch. Sean had his place on the arm chair by the wall, Ellie and Craig were curled up and looking rather comfy on the loveseat across from him. Alex sat, propped up against the couch, Jay had a hand in her hair, her eyes were closed as she hummed to the song through the cigarette between her lips.
There was a faint buzzing in her head, but she was fairly proud that she had resisted the temptation to toke with them. Hell, even Ellie had taken a few drags. But she couldn't. She had places to be. But even though she didn't directly smoke, her focus was still slightly cloudy with what Jay called 'Second-Hand-High'. Sean occasionally stole half-jealous glances at Ellie and Craig who were discussing the meaning behind the music of some band only they'd ever heard of. Jay was zoned out, stroking her hair occasionally and singing the lyrics to what could have been any song, softly.
Alex allowed him to touch her only because she was completely confident in the fact that she had no romantic feelings for him whatsoever. She loved Paige. Loved, loved, loved Paige. Paige Michalchuk: Queen of Degrassi. When Alex had to swallow a fit of giggles she knew that she'd been in the poorly ventilated room a few minutes too long.
"You agree with me, right, Alex?"
She shifted her gaze to Ellie who was looking at her expectantly; head propped comfortably on Craig's shoulder, his arms wrapped loosely around her waist. Didn't he have a girlfriend?
"That Jessicka is the real musical genius behind Scarling."
"Oh, c'mon!" Craig's voice cracked slightly, "it's totally Chris Hejnal!"
"Who gives a fuck?" groused Sean.
The pair ignored him.
"Jessicka has some of the most lateral, artistic lyrics ever. She's the soul of the band."
"But Chris writes all the music! That stuff he does with the feedback?" he made high-pitched cranking noises and faux-guitar sounds, "Genius!"
Alex shook her head. There was only one way to end this debate, "You know who's a real musical genius? Robert Smith."
Their eyes lit up simultaneously and both began to prattle on about The Cure. Jay chuckled. Sean huffed. The song might have changed - it was impossible for her to really tell. Alex checked her watch. She exhaled heavily and began gathering her things to stand up, "Gotta go, guys."
"Awwww, Lexi," whined Jay, "it's only-"
"5:30. I know, I'm meeting Paige at The Dot in ten."
Alex rolled her eyes at him, "Fuck you, Jay."
"Love you, too, babe."
She slapped him in the back of the head and grabbed a questionably squishy apple off his table.
"This why you didn't smoke?" Sean this time.
"You're still kind buzzed, Al."
"I know, Ellie."
"You gonna be okay?" Craig was playing with her hair. Alex felt unkind words rising in her throat and shook her head. It wasn't her problem. It would remain that way until Ellie got hurt and she needed to make it her problem. Hopefully she still had a while.
"I'll be fine," she shrugged on her jacket and picked her keys up off the table, "but if I die you get my CD collection."
"What do I get?" Jay.
"You get me haunting your ass."
"I can feel the love from all the way over here."
"You get my leather skirt, Sean. I know how good you'd look in it."
He raised two fingers in farewell and went back to brooding.
They each called out various "good-bye"s and Alex parted, throwing a bruised peach at the back of Jay's head.
Paige leaned against the driver's side door of her car. 5:52. Alex was twelve minutes late. She pushed back the brief but smothering emotion that accompanied the fleeting thought that Alex just might be blowing her off. These thoughts were dispelled by the sound of rapid footfalls. Worn rubber soles slapping against rough concrete. She shifted so that she could see behind herself and wasn't disappointed.
The sight of her beautiful girlfriend was enough to dissolve her annoyance. Dark hair billowing ever-so-slightly behind her, arms swinging subtly, legs pumping… things bouncing exactly where they needed to bounce, even if the view was mostly blocked by her dull-green hoodie. Alex caught her gaze and smiled, slowing her pace, scuffed black Converse squeaking in protest at her abrupt change in speed.
Her hair was slightly messy, cheeks flush, chest rising and falling rapidly. She wrapped Paige up in a quick embrace, pressing a kiss to her temple.
"Hey, babe," she breathed, "sorry, I'm late. I missed the bus, had to hoof it here from Jay's."
Paige's brows furrowed in distaste, "Jay's?"
"Yeah," she caught the look on Paige's face and hurriedly continued, "look, it's nothing to freak out about. We were just-"
She sighed pulling back and running a hand through her tussled locks.
"You blew me off to get high?" she accused.
"No. They got high. I didn't… I wanted to. But I didn't, I swear it."
Paige sighed and looked away.
"Hey," Alex tapped her chin with one fist, forcing her to meet her eyes, "don't be like that, doll. I'm trying to be good. Really, I am," she exhaled and pulled the cheerleader into a half-willing embrace, "Look; how 'bout we go in, and I'll buy you a big ol' slice of pie? Any kind you want. Tonight's on me."
When Paige was unresponsive Alex tried again. In her squeaky voice, "You know you can't turn down a piece of pie. Sweeet pie."
Paige tried to keep the stupid grin off her face was successful for all of three seconds. She buried her face in Alex's shoulder to stifle her laughter, and when Alex tightened her grip on her she reciprocated. They stood there, sun setting quickly, lost in their own world for a few moments before Paige spoke up.
"I… I'm sorry, hon. I'm just… not entirely comfortable with," she fidgeted, "with you and Jay."
"Me and Jay? There is no Me-and-Jay. We hang out. That's it."
"He's still in love with you."
"But I'm not in love with him."
"You have history."
"We've all got a past, Paige. But right now, I'm liking my present."
Paige looked up and tried to discern the look on Alex's face.
"And," she swallowed hard, "it things keep on the way they have been then… well, I guess I'm going to really enjoy my future, too."
Paige beamed and pulled her into a long kiss.
Someone cat-called and they broke away, grinning. Alex thrust her middle finger in the general direction of the noise, never breaking eye-contact with Paige as she bumped her nose against her girlfriend's.
"So," Paige couldn't control the smile on her face, "you mentioned something about pie?"
The weather was perfect. A surprisingly warm night, clouds minimal, and, although it was well past eight o'clock there were still many couples out enjoying the ideal conditions. Alex and Paige walked through the park in comfortable silence broken only by humorous observations and soft laughter. Paige loved it when Alex was with her like this. Bad-girl exterior chipped away enough to show her sweet, soft inside. She frowned at the analogy, chalking it up the candy-bar the brunette had bought for her.
They walked leisurely, Alex holding her from behind. Her tan hands clasped over Paige's belt buckle, covered by a smaller pale pair. Alex's warm breath tickled her ear when she spoke to her in those low, hush tones Paige was certain she reserved only for her. The blonde pretended to be oblivious to the stares, the whispers, even the snickers. She knew the minute she reacted Alex would adopt her "You wanna piece of me, Assface?" persona and the laid-back mood of the evening would be broken.
"Hey," Alex nudged her girlfriend, "a fountain."
Paige turned in her arms slightly, amused by the innocent smile on Alex's face, "Yeah, so?"
Alex appeared scandalized before she sighed and gave her a look of mock-annoyance, "So much trouble," she tapped Paige on the nose, "if you weren't so cute I might not keep you around."
Paige smiled, "Gee, I must be the luckiest girl around to be with someone so… benevolent."
"What can I say? I'm a saint."
They managed to hold straight faces for a few moments before collapsing into identical fits of laughter. A middle-aged straight coupled eyed them warily from a park bench.
"C'mon," Alex placed a kiss to the side of her mouth and led her to stand in front of the fountain. The brunette reached into her pants pocket and withdrew a handful of loose change, selecting two pennies before returning the rest.
The soft blue-white glow of the fountain lights cast rippling colors on Alex's face. Paige thought she was beautiful. Not lip-gloss-and-hairspray beautiful, not magazine picture-perfect beautiful, not superstar beautiful. It was more subdued, a quiet, natural kind of beauty that came more from the soul rather than the flesh. She wondered if Alex was aware of her beauty.
Alex grinned, eyes sparkling as she pressed one of the small metal circles into the blonde's palm.
"Close your eyes," she began excitedly, "and make a wish."
"Well, Lexi, how very grade 3 of you."
The other girl rolled her eyes impatiently, "Just do it. Please?"
Paige could never resist the puppy-dog eyes.
She dutifully shut her eyes and made a big production out of tossing the coin into the water after she had made her wish. But inside she was ecstatic. This was one of the cutest things she'd ever done on a date. Alex was adorable. She was certain that if anyone who went to Degrassi saw her girlfriend as she did now they would shit kittens. She smiled at the expression. Alex was rubbing off on her.
She didn't have to look to know that Alex was smiling. Grinning even. A strange lightness consumed her, butterflies fluttering excitedly in her stomach, heart clenching delightfully in her chest. She looked back, saw Alex's large brown eyes resting on her, a gaze so full of adoration and strong emotion it made her feel incredibly… special. And safe.
It occurred to her all at once that Alex had fallen in love with her.
And with this revelation came another. She loved Alex back.
I love Alex Nuñez.
I love Alex Nuñez.
I "love Alex Nuñez," she honestly hadn't meant to say it out loud.
Alex blinked, slowly, face unreadable, "… What?"
Paige's mouth dropped open. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid. "Uh…"
Alex exhaled a bit, "Did you… did you mean that?"
Her brain screamed at her to run; quickly. Her heart pounded in her chest and she suddenly wanted nothing more than to curl up in a ball or say something witty to defuse the situation which had just become way too intense. Yet she did none of those things.
"Yes," she answered slowly.
For a moment Alex looked overwhelmed, "Wow," she breathed and said nothing more.
Paige felt her heart literally shattering into splinters. She began to pull away.
"No! Wait! Paige, I… I love you, too."
"You're just saying that because-"
"Because I mean it… I," she appeared nervous, "I've never said it before. Not to anyone I've ever dated. Because I don't think I was… with them. In love, I mean. But with you… with you it's different. I love you, Paige. I really do. You're the best thing in my life, right now - maybe ever. And I… I just… I really need you to know that."
Paige felt warm tears welling in her eyes. Alex noticed this also and appeared so panic-stricken that Paige almost wanted to laugh, "Oh, oh, no. Baby… don't cry," she brushed a few rebel tears from Paige's cheek, "Please don't cry?"
Paige just shook her head, smile blooming across her face. She rushed forward, grabbing Alex's face in her hands and pulling her in for a deep kiss. She wrapped her arms around the other girl's neck one hand weaving its way into dark locks. Alex pulled her closer, one hand on Paige's hip, fingers stretching to lightly cup the swell of her ass. Her other hand placed between Paige's shoulder-blades, rubbing soothing circles.
They didn't pull away until the older couple not-so-discretely coughed from their place on the bench. Paige pulled back, flushing, but feeling incredibly pleased with how the night had turned out. Alex's expression mirrored her own and she brought their foreheads together, breathe coming in low, warm pants.
"I love you, Paige."
She grinned, "I love you, too, Alex."
She felt strong fingers lace with her own, "C'mon," brown eyes twinkled in the glow of the fountain, "I'll walk you home."
Paige's brow furrowed, "But you didn't make your wish."
"Didn't have to," Alex smiled and pressed another soft kiss to Paige's lips, "already came true."
Paige brought Alex's knuckles to her lips and kissed each one as they walked, "Hey, babe?"
"Take the long way, 'kay?"
Alex never looked happier.
It was one of those songs that had no beginning and no end. A nameless song, a faceless artist, and a tune no one would be able to remember by the same time the next day. Alex smiled broadly as she bounced up from her seat on the floor in front of the couch. Jay looked her way, eyes bloodshot, mouth twitching into what might have been a smile. Craig and Ellie sat quietly on the couch, speaking softly as the drummer scribbled notes and lyrics furiously down onto the legal-pad that lay in their laps. Sean nursed a beer and accepted the joint Jay offered him gratefully.
"Where you headin', Lexi?" Jay asked sleepily.
"Going to pick Paige up from work."
"Yeah, her," she waved him off distractedly as she searched for her keys.
"Any plans after that?"
"Just hanging out."
"Don't you ever get sick of 'just hanging out' with that bitch? Have you even gotten laid since you started dating her?"
"Yeah, by your mom."
"Fuck you, Alex."
"Fuck yourself, Hogart," she replied good-naturedly grasping her keys triumphantly and rattling them above her head in victory.
Another rapidly browning fruit found its way to the back of Jay's head.
The door shut behind her with a click.
"Bitch," muttered Jay.
"You had it coming," Ellie replied distractedly from the loveseat.
"Yeah," he grumbled rubbing the back of his head.
The song might have changed. It was impossible to tell.
Jay took the joint from Sean and had a deep drag before passing it to Craig and Ellie.
"She's happy, isn't she?" he asked after some time.
Ellie paused and looked up, "Yeah… I think she really is."
"Good," he closed his eyes tightly pressing the heals of his palms into them until bright spots of color swam in the inky blackness, "Good."
End Notes: Review or I'll… I'll annoy you with empty threats!
Yeah, that sounds about right.