While struggling for an idea for an ending to my other fanfiction, I managed to string more and more ideas together for a fic whom's basis of a plotline I'd had for ages. It takes place probably in the gang's junior year of highschool.


It was the third week of the month of October, and it was the week that proved to be most horrible, stress inducing week of Dorothy Ann's school career to date. There had been some pretty bad times before, like when she had been sick for a week at school and found out that she had a large test in physics the day she'd gotten back. There was that brief period of time Janet had been dating Ralphie and she'd taken to thinking she was welcome to sit at their table in the cafeteria and lecture them with how much better she was at packing her lunch than them, or some garbage like that. And who could forget the time everyone in the school had stopped speaking to her when she'd helped Phoebe protest against the school's fatty and greasy meat loaded cafeteria food.

The week had started out well enough, DA had managed to get the highest mark on a recent math test, and she had even been allowed to peer through one of the telescopes at the observatory where she worked to look at Saturn's rings. They were the brightest they had been in years. Though really, it was nothing compared to the real thing. She had also gotten a small opinion article published in Walkerville's main newspaper.

Actually, now that she thought about it, the beginning part of the week had been pretty good to her. The irritation first started in her early morning history class on Thursday.

Dorothy Ann grit her teeth in frustration and scribbled furiously, trying as hard as she could to blot out the inane chatter of the schools most beautiful, popular - and obnoxious - girls in all of Walkerville High. It was hard enough writing a six page essay on human migration in the middle east without having to listen to brunette with too long legs and too short skirt - Jill Green - , blond with stereotypical big boobs and small brain - Sarah Bruce -, and redhead with hair the colour of the most luscious red apples imaginable - Clarissa Noles, talk about who's makeup was the most resistible to water or who was the best looking guy in school.

"Carlos Ramone," said Jill suddenly.

Dorothy Ann's ears unwillingly perked up at the sound of the boys name.

"Carlos," she said again, her barely started essay lying forgotten beneath her elbows. "Best looking guy in all Walkerville highschool, no doubt about it."

"Latino," her blond friend sighed. "Gorgeous..."

"He's up there all right," Clarissa agreed, nodding her head so vigorously her perfect curls bounced lightly on her shoulders.

Dorothy Ann's stomach jolted and she frowned. They were talking about Carlos? Carlos?!!?

Her hand unconsciously tightened on her pencil and she could feel her ears growing warm.

She couldn't quite understand what her body was trying to tell her - well okay, maybe she could. The reason was obviously the fact that her and Carlos had been close friends since kindergarten, so of course she'd find the idea of other girls talking about him that way more than a little nauseating.

DA shook her blond head and tried to redirect her attention back onto her essay.

"You going to invite him to your party next weekend?" Clarissa asked hopefully.

"Is a school bus yellow?" Jill replied, flipping her straight brown hair back over her shoulder and smiling.

The knot in Dorothy Ann's stomach tightened.

"I'll ask him as soon as class is over," Jill continued. "He's always waiting outside the door after this period with that Arnold dork."

DA felt her blood boil. Now she had to listen to them taunt one of her closest friends?! What curse or act of unreasonable cruelty lead to their history teacher to decide that sticking her at the same table with these Barbie's was a good idea?!

"Bet he's just trying to sneak in more glances of me no doubt," Sarah said smiling.

"More like me," Clarissa said teasingly. All three girls giggled.

'He's waiting for me,' Dorothy Ann thought angrily. 'And he's not going to your stupid party either! Did they think he doesn't have better things to do than hang out with a bunch of obnoxious, giggling girls on Friday night listening to that horrible noise they called music?!'

Dorothy Ann pressed down so hard on her paper that her pencil lead snapped. How tactless anyway. Talking about party invites right in front of her, sitting at the same table. They were completely ignoring her. Like she was nothing more than an eraser shaving on their forgotten essays. Well of course that was expected - they didn't care about anyone but themselves - but they certainly didn't have to rub it in her face like this.

"Um, Dorothy?"

Her train of bitter thoughts interrupted by the sickly sweet sound of Jill's voice, Dorothy Ann looked up at the brunette, hardly daring to believe it.

"You finished with that textbook?"

Dorothy Ann narrowed her eyes.

"Oh never mind," Jill said, suddenly looking at her watch. "Bell's about to ring."

"Finally!" Sarah exclaimed as the signal to the end of class sounded. "I thought class would never end!"

Sarah and Clarissa started to pack up their bags with the blank essay pages they had while Jill dipped her pinky into a little pot of lip gloss and applied it. "Well gals, if I want to catch him I'll have to leave now. I'll meet you guys over at the picnic table closest the doors, kay?"

"Kay!"

But Dorothy Ann was up and out the door the second the bell had rung, before the girls had even started packing their bags. She needed to find Carlos first and drag him away from these giggling plastic dolls.

xxx

"Keesha." Wanda spoke in a quite uncharacteristic soft voice, which surprised Keesha slightly, but not enough to get her to look up from her locker.

"Mmhmm..." she answered mildly, more interested in finding her history textbook from underneath a pile of old notes and binders she hadn't had the chance to clean out yet.

"Keesha!" Wanda said again, a little more urgently this time. "Keesha, get your nose out of your locker and look at me! I need to tell you something!"

"I'm listening," Keesha said, still not looking up. She had found her textbook. Now she just had to pull it out from underneath all the loose papers without anything spilling from her locker onto the floor.

"Not here! Come on Keesha, we need to go somewhere where there isn't a crowded hallway!"

"Now? I have History next," Keesha said, stuffing her book into her bag and straightening up. "Can't it wait until lunch or something?"

"No!" And Wanda shouted this word with such fierceness and stress that Keesha actually backed up slightly and finally felt a little curiousity in what she had to say.

"Okay, Okay Wanda, what's up?" she asked, finally closing her locker shut.

"Just come on!" Wanda said desperately, grabbing Keesha's hand and, before she could protest, started to drag Keesha away from her locker forcefully. "I told you, I can't tell you here!"

"Yeah, but Wanda, I don't want to miss History again! Last time I skipped was because of you too remember? And that was just because you wanted lunch early."

"You're starting to sound like DA. Just please Keesha, come on. This is important!"

"Where are we going?" Keesha demanded as Wanda lead her to the schools front doors.

"Just come on!"

Keesha rolled her eyes and, though thoroughly irritated, followed her friend out the doors and into the blistering cold outside.

xxx

"Heey DA, wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?" Carlos whispered jokingly to her while their science teacher continued his lecture in the front of the room.

"Stop it Carlos," DA said angrily and her pencil lead snapped on the paper. "I'm not in the mood."

Carlos frowned and studied DA. She wasn't normally this short with him. Actually, maybe she was, but still... Something had to be bugging her other than him and his joking comment.

"What's up?" he asked prodding her in the side with the end of his pencil.

"Nothing!" DA snapped, looking determinedly down at her paper. "Stop it Carlos, I'm trying to concentrate."

"DA, I've written down more than you and I'm hardly paying attention..." Carlos pointed out. "What's going on?"

"Nothing!" she said it a bit louder this time and several people sitting in front of them turned around in their seats, including Tim.

Carlos looked quickly at them, tempted to shout at the prying eyes to tell them to mind their own business, but instead lowered his voice and spoke to DA again.

"Seriously, what's bothering you? Are you alright?"

"You're bothering me!" DA hissed and she looked so peeved Carlos didn't ask again.

He turned away from her back onto his notes. He wondered what on earth could be making her so short with him. Had she gotten a B or something on her latest test. Carlos snorted to himself. Yeah, right.. If that were true she'd probably be shrieking hysterically at her teacher or something.

"What's so funny?!" DA suddenly snapped.

"N - nothing," Carlos said quickly, surprised she had decided to start talking to him so soon, even if it was just to tell him off again. "Quiet, you're bothering me." He grinned as she shook her head and turned back to her own notes quickly.

"Family comes before Order, not the other way around," Carlos said casually, looking at her notes.

He saw her grip tighten on her pencil. "I know! I was just going to erase it!"

"You want to know an easy way to remember it?"

"No! I heard that Mnemosyne sentence already Carlos..." Dorothy Ann said disgustedly.

"Kinky People Come - "

"Mr. Ramone."

Carlos turned around and saw their teacher was no longer at the whiteboard, but standing directly infront of the lab desk he and Dorothy Ann shared. He gulped.

"Would you please stop talking for once in your life and let me continue on with the lesson!" he said said angrily, his hand clutching the yard stick in a white knuckled grip.

"Don't let me stop you," Carlos said, picking up his pencil again. He heard a giggle from the front of the room that could only have been Jill Green, a girl who spoke way more often in this class than he did. And he's the one who got told off?!

Mr. Runes gave Carlos one last warning glare before moving off and continuing his mind numbingly boring lecture. Carlos turned back to Dorothy Ann, who was looking surly again and scribbling furiously on her paper.

"It's me he's angry at, not you," Carlos said, noticing how her mood had darkened.

"Are you doing anything next Saturday?" Dorothy Ann asked suddenly.

Carlos paused. "Er - what? I don't know.. W - why?"

"No - no reason."

"Why, what's going on next week?"

The bell suddenly rang loudly right above him and his hands automatically went up to his ears. Why'd he have to chose the seat right under it he did not know. "What's going on next week?" he repeated.

"N - nothing," DA said quickly and began packing up her things. "Are you doing anything today?"

"Soccer practice after school," said Carlos, slinging his bag over his shoulder. "But I can do something after."

"Okay, Wanda said she'd bring a movie over or something," Carlos heard her say quickly. She looked a little nervous. What was going on?!

"Okay, yeah, count me in."

Dorothy Ann seemed happier after that which only made Carlos more puzzled than ever. But he didn't bother asking what was wrong again. They didn't have their next classes together, but Dorothy Ann and him always left science class together, sometimes with Tim, and walked as far as they could until they had to split off into their separate classes. So Carlos waited for her to finished packing up all her stuff into her pink bookbag, drumming his fingers on the desk absentmindedly.

When Dorothy Ann crammed the last book into her bag and swing it over her shoulder, he made to move towards the doorway.

"Miss Parker?"

Carlos heard his teacher call the name out from the front of the room. He turned to DA curiously, but she just shrugged apologetically. "I'll see you after school then."

"A - alright," Carlos said, as Tim walked up to his side. "See you then." He watched Dorothy Ann turn around and walk to the front of the classroom where Mr. Runes was waiting with Gus Mackerson. Gus Mackerson...? What the hell did Mr. Runes want with him and DA?

"Come on," Tim prodded him in the back. "You're blocking the doorway."

"Right," Carlos said, and walked outside the classroom to his next lesson, shutting the door behind Tim.

xxx

"Ok Wanda, we're here," Keesha said bitterly, rubbing her frozen fingers together and wishing she had managed to grab a jacket or something before Wanda had dragged her away from her locker. "What is it you need to tell me?"

When Wanda didn't immediately respond Keesha turned to her friend, only to see that Wanda wasn't even looking at her. She was also shivering, dressed worse for the weather than Keesha was, though she was wearing a touque at the very least. Her shiny black hair hung down from it elegantly. No matter how hard Keesha tried, she could never get her hair that straight. Just one of the things she was jealous of Wanda for that she'd never admit in a million years.

Wanda was now absentmindedly picking on the bark of the tree they were standing beside with her polished nails. They two were in the little stretch of forest that grew right next to the school's grass field. That's where Wanda's attention was now. Keesha followed her brown eyes and saw that Wanda was looking at Carlos and Ralphie in the PE class specifically. The two boys were as far as they could have been from them and still be on the grass field, next to the bleachers.

"Wanda," Keesha suddenly snapped, tearing her own eyes from the two boys to look back at Wanda. "You bring me out here in this freezing cold to talk, and you haven't said one word since we got here!"

Wanda jumped slightly, as though she had forgotten Keesha was here and turned from the field. She looked hopelessly at Keesha.

"Keehsa," she said, now sounding very matter-of-fact. "I'm late."

"... for what?"

"Late!" Wanda suddenly shouted. And it was then Keesha saw the desperation in her voice and suddenly understood.


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