All right, I'm just sooooo sorry that it took me so long to write this for you. I just finished it, and I wanted to post it as soon as possible. I really want to finish this story, though, so I'm devoting all my fanfic writing to this one fic. I'm at least halfway through the next chapter, and I have a bit of the fourteenth written, too, but not much. I'm going to try to update this as soon as I can.

Again, I'm really sorry, and thank you so much for waiting.

Anatui


Chapter 12 – Ashamed. (Moira's POV)

Lucy's eyes snap up as I enter her bedroom, sighing and immediately taking up the bed that she isn't occupying, but they quickly flit back down to the page on which she's scribbling. "How has your day been?" she asks, her voice calm and bland, as if she doesn't care in the least. She may act as if she doesn't all she likes, but I know different. In the past several weeks, we've gotten to know each other much better. We're friends, I guess you could say.

I sigh again and shrug, not sure how to answer. What a silly question for her to ask really. We've seen each other all day, and she can easily tell when I'm not feeling well. She knows that something is bothering me. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if she knew everything about what's bothering me. Sometimes, I think she's psychic. "It's been all right, I guess," I admit quietly, "though it certainly could've been better."

Her pen flits across the page of her notebook quickly, and she responds without stopping. She's very skilled. I wish I could multitask like that. "One of those days, huh?" she says indifferently.

I purse my lips and snap, "What's that supposed to mean?"

As always, she answers bluntly, not afraid of my temper as I've noticed many people are. "One of the days that you avoid talking to Charlie Dalton for what's probably the umpteenth time." Her bluntness is probably what makes me enjoy her company most, though. It's not very often that you find someone so honest and frank in this time, especially a woman. She's very perceptive, too, I'll admit.

I, however, will not admit to her statement. Even if I know it's true. I just won't. I mean, I have my pride to look after. Being caught avoiding or even thinking about Charlie Dalton is just… wrong. It's just wrong. So I respond evasively, per usual. "What're you even talking about?" I say, pushing myself up against the wall, crossing my legs, glaring angrily. "Why would I avoid Dalton?—other than the usual reasons. I mean, he hasn't been any stupider than normal."

I'm very good at denial. I'm just not very good at getting Lucy to believe me. She laughs melodically and says, "That's the point. He hasn't been any stupider. In fact, I think he's rather improved, don't you agree?" In all fairness, I don't think anyone is really good at getting Lucy to believe them, though. Somehow, she just knows whether or not the person is telling the truth. It's a little bit creepy. Intriguing, though. And frustrating. Very frustrating.

"I don't think so, Lucy," I say, scowling. Dalton could never improve. It's just physically impossible. I'm sure I could get the Physics professor to agree to this postulation, too. "And if he were, how would that be any cause to avoid him more than usual?"

Finally looking up from her writing, she laughs again—this time in my face. She thinks I'm silly or crazy or something. "Because, silly girl," she says, proving my point, "if he's not being as stupid as usual, that means you don't have cause to hate him as much as you desperately want to. And to be perfectly frank, you like to hate him. It's so much easier to just hate him than trying to find something worth liking inside all that madness. Not to mention the fact that, if you hate him, you couldn't possibly have a crush on him, now could you?"

Lips pursed, I inhale deeply to prepare myself for a very long argument about this. She's in this to win, I know. It's what she does. If she starts an argument, she has to win it, even if she's wrong—which she is! (It's kind of funny, though, because that one thing is all we have in common.) "Oh, now you're being stupid," I snap, rolling my eyes. "I'm not avoiding him, and he's just as stupid as he's always been. End of conversation." Why can't I be the one to win the argument? I'm just as stubborn as she is.

She gives me this look of disbelief but turns back down to her paper. "If you say so," she replies lightly, pressing down her pen to write more, and I heave a sigh of relief. She's going to drop it. That's really all I want right now. Silence. No drama, no arguments, no complaining, no worries. Besides, I just really hate talking about him, which I know she knows, but she always has to push the matter, doesn't she? She enjoys it way too much. She relishes bugging me almost as much as he does.

A light knock sounds on the door, and we both look over to it to see Neil standing there, beaming as if there's absolutely nothing wrong in all the world. I guess in his world, there isn't much wrong at all. It's rather sickening. "Hello," he says happily, smiling at the both of us. And then, my presence seems to register. Shouldn't he realize by now that this is where I always am, considering he's always walking in on the two of us together? "Oh, there you are, Moira!" he says, grin still in place. "Charlie's looking for you, and nobody could find you."

I stiffen at the words, and my eyes dart across the room to eye Lucy suspiciously. I don't really think she has anything to do with Dalton's madness or his looking for me, but for some reason, she just seems to be the person at fault. Mostly because she's the one enjoying this. Turning back to him, I ask coldly, "Why?"

"Huh?" He's dazed, the poor boy—caught up his little world of Lucy-this and Lucy-that. Why don't they just getting fucking married already? They're so cute, it's disgusting. Of course, that might also have to do with my current state of bitterness and anger.

"Why is he looking for me?" I clarify carefully, not wanting to alarm him in any way. I'm sure he'd be willing to run off to his little best friends and ramble about how I'm avoiding Dalton like the plague—that is, if he remembers to. He'd probably forget after this coming Lucy-session. Gross, so gross.

Neil is apparently sane enough still to respond to my question in full sentences, though, so he hasn't completely been taken in by the ever-omniscient Lucy Nesbit. "I'm not sure," he says, furrowing his brow. "I think there was something about some poem he's working on, but I dunno. Sounded like an excuse to talk to you to me, but he seemed pretty serious."

On the opposite side of the dormitory, Lucy is laughing, obviously very amused by the situation. "Oh, Neil," she says amiably—the first hint of any emotion in her voice in the past couple days, I think. "Don't you know that nothing anyone could say could get her to leave me alone?" When she looks at him, she can barely take her eyes off him. And she thinks I'm head over heels. Yeah right.

Poor, innocent Neil, though, has no clue at all. "Oh," he replies, confused, "and why's that?"

A devious grin makes its way across the girl's face, and she's still beaming as she explains to him. "Because she's desperately avoiding him, and he's apparently too scared of me to enter this room." Oh no. Both of them have that look in their eyes—the one that means they think they're the only ones in the room. Now they will continue to have a conversation about me, but they will act as if I'm not even in the room.

"I don't know about scared, but he certainly thinks you're weird," I interject, attempting to stop the oncoming Lucy/Neil time.

But it has already begun. Neither of them even notices I said a word. "And why exactly is she avoiding him?" he asks. Damn him and his stupid questions.

God, I'm fucking screwed now. If Lucy isn't going to help me, how will I survive? And how in hell will I ever be able to avoid Dalton now? Not that I'm avoiding him, of course, but if I were, Lucy would probably be the one that I would turn to.

Lucy's response is… shall we say, a little out there. "Because she's in love with him, and she's afraid to admit it," she says with a happy smile on her face, as if she were commenting on the weather or her recent score on her history quiz. This girl is just… I don't know, but she's insane. Sometimes I just hate her, but sometimes I really just need someone to talk to who will listen. Of all people, I know she will.

Right now, though, she isn't being so compliant, causing me to roll my eyes again. That is so not true. There is no way that I am in love with Charlie Dalton—of every single person in the world, Charlie Dalton! I want to counter her words, but something holds me back. I'm just speechless, I guess. I didn't really expect that. It's just so wrong that I never would have even thought of it. She's insane.

Amazingly enough, even Neil gives her a funny look, glancing at me to take in my reaction before forming an opinion on the statement. He doesn't know what to say either, so he settles for hesitantly saying, "Are you sure?"

She twists her pen around in her hand, glancing between Neil and myself before responding assuredly, "Positive. He's been too nice to her for the past three weeks, and she hates him for it. Seriously, though, he's barely even hit on her, and you have to give him credit for the chivalry."

I'm not sure whether she is talking to me or to Neil, but either way, the answer is no. Even if it has been meant for him, I still reply angrily, "No, I don't." I don't like where this conversation is headed.

Even so, she ignores me. God, what is it about me that makes it impossible for the two of them to hear anything I say? They're just going off into their own little world. Can't I just have my friends back? Can't they just be normal? No, they just want to have their precious alone time. I'm not sure what exactly they do during this alone time that they have, but I don't think it's anything sexual—at least not yet. One day maybe, but not now.

Still standing in the doorway, Neil shrugs. "I have absolutely no idea what happened between them," he admits, "but it's driven them both mad. She's too scared to look at him, and he's being the nicest person in the world. It's weird."

He's right about the nicest-person-in-the-world bit. It is weird. But I am not too scared to look at him. I just don't want to look at him when he's looking at me, which he always seems to be doing. I don't want to give him the idea that I like him or anything. Only Dalton would ever surmise something like that from a single look in his direction.

"It's called being totally whipped," reasons Lucy, finally gesturing him inside the room, and he takes a couple steps past the door before finally settling in the empty chair. She's still talking, explaining. "They're madly in love but too afraid to admit it to each other. She's worried about her stupid pride, and he's worried that she's going to chop off his balls, which, I'll admit, is quite probable at this point in time."

He's curious more than anything now, and they're both bent on figuring the situation out. I really don't want them to do that. "Do you have any idea what happened between them?" he asks.

For the first time, Lucy shrugs. "She hasn't said a thing. But it started that night that you all went to the Indian cave for the Dead Poets thing." She's certainly suspicious, eyeing me carefully.

"Or rather," he corrects kindly, "when the two of them came back to her room to pick up her notebook, stayed for over an hour, and returned without it."

She turns back to him and nods in agreement. "Something must have happened then," she determined. "The next day, she was jittery and dazed, and if I remember correctly, Dalton didn't say a word to her. If that doesn't sound as if they're having sex behind everyone's backs, I don't know what does."

That's just going a little too far. I can handle all the ignoring me and the talking as if I'm not there, but her saying that I am having sex with Charlie Dalton is just too much. I would never do that. I just—that's so gross! The mere insinuation is disgusting me right now, and I finally snap. "Oh, will you two quit talking about me as if I weren't here!" I snarl, pushing myself forward on the bed.

The two continue, however, hardly noticing that I said anything at all. They're just great friends, aren't they? "You're right," Neil nods slowly, "something happened that night, but I'm not convinced that they had sex. I don't really think Moira would do that." At least someone has a little faith in me, but Neil and not Lucy? Frustrating.

Lucy nodes, though, in agreement and hesitantly responds, "Hmm, I can't help but agree. She most definitely wouldn't."

At last, the two turn to examine me, finally seeming to realize that I'm here. The jerks. They look at me as if they don't see me, though, and to be honest, I'm more insulted by that than by their ignoring me in the first place.

Sighing angrily, I say, "Would you two give up on it already? Nothing happened, let alone sex, and how dare you impugn my honor! I'm insulted by the very notion that… I could have possibly done that with him!" To an extent, I'm at a loss for words. I just don't have a response to that, I'm so appalled.

As soon as I close my mouth, Lucy gets a small little smirk on her face—and I know she's been plotting this conversation in that silly head of hers for the past three weeks, or almost that long. "Then, why, my dear, are you avoiding him?" she asks, raising an eyebrow at me. Damn her.

"I-I'm not!" I stutter unconvincingly. Yes, this is the perfect time for my voice and speech to desert me entirely. God help me.

Her smirk widens, and she continues with a devious glint in her eyes. "Well, if you're not, we'll just have to assume that you're having sex with him," she reasons, finally looking back down at her pen and paper, shrugging her shoulders nonchalantly. I know she's faking it, though. She's deathly curious. "I mean, it's the only really plausible explanation of why you two took so long to return, and why he's being so nice to you, and why you're avoiding him."

"We did not have sex!" I exclaim in my own defense, but it doesn't seem to be working on her.

"Hmm," she says as if considering, "I want to believe you, Moira, but I can't think of anything else that could explain it all. If you can come up with a better theory, believe me, I'm all ears. But until then, this is the only thing I can think of."

She's just fishing for answers now, and I'm too tired of this. I don't know what to say in response to any of that. Any denial only seems to prove positive in her mind, and I just can't deal with this. I can't. I don't know how.

Frustrated beyond belief, I push myself off the bed to my feet and leave in a huff. Part of me wants to dramatically slam the door behind me, but that would just be silly. I'm not a drama queen, and honestly I hate melodrama. I'm just frustrated, and I'll get over that eventually. Just once I've calmed down for a while. I just can't handle her nagging right now.

I have no idea where I am going, but I just want to be away from those two. They're too… just gross. I can hardly stand them. God, they're making faces at each other all the time, and it's so disgusting.

Maybe I've just been spending too much time with Lucy lately. Almost every time I'm there, Neil comes in, and they act like a couple. But they're not a couple. Jeez, what is wrong with them? If those two don't get together soon, I'm going to… I don't know, do something in my state of agitation. Mostly I just want revenge on them for saying all that stuff just then.

Sigh.

They're right, though. Not about the sex part, of course, because that's not going to happen. I am avoiding him, though, and I can't deny that to myself anymore. Ever since we went to that Dead Poets meeting when I ran off to get my notebook and… that happened—ever since then, I haven't been able to look him in the eye. I haven't been able to even think about Charlie Dalton without thinking about what happened.

God, I'm such a coward.

I push my way out of the building and into the chilly evening air. It's much colder than I thought it would be, but I wasn't really thinking about putting something on over in the uniform either. It's almost winter here, and I know that snow should be coming soon. To be honest, I'm ready for it. It'll remind me of home and Ireland, and I really just want to go home right now.

I'm a coward, I know.

I want to be home, where I know it's safe and normal. I don't like it here. I hate it sometimes. And I really hate most of the people here. But at the same time, I don't know how easy it would be for me to go home now. I've experienced so much here, and I love Lucy to death, even if she annoys the hell out of me. She's my best friend, despite my knowing her for only three weeks. And the Dead Poets are all great, too. Well, except Ricky because he's just a brownnoser and Dalton because… well, because of obvious reasons.

When at last I look around, I realize where I am. It's cold still, and the long expanse of the lake spreads out before me, glistening in the setting sun. It's beautiful really, and I sit down beside it and swing my legs over the side of the banks, letting them hang just barely above the water edge. Maybe I'll be able to relax here and sort out my thoughts, I decide, leaning back upon the ground and shutting my eyes.

A part of me seriously suspects that this was Lucy's plan all along. She wanted to get me out of that room, so that I would actually give her some space and some alone time with Neil—and so that I would actually talk to Dalton. But I won't. I just won't. I refuse. I don't want to talk to him.

If my theory is true, though, it obviously worked. I mean, I wouldn't be out here if it didn't. And now I'm a little ashamed. I actually succumbed to their peer pressure, even though I didn't want to. I didn't even realize that I was doing it, and I did.

I sigh and finally force my brain to turn off. I don't want to think about any of this anymore. It's just good for my mental sanity. Too much drama makes me want to shut out everything and everyone. I hate it so much, but it just seems as if a teenage life attracts drama. Well, I refuse to be taken in by that madness.

Footsteps sound in the distance, and a voice calls out to me, trying not to startle me. "Hey, are you awake?" Although I refuse to open my eyes, the owner of the voice somehow knows that I am. "I wanted to talk to you." I can hear him stopping next to me and then sitting down beside me.

I recognized the voice as soon as I heard it. Hell, I could have recognized him by the sound of his footsteps. "Can I ask you something?" I say curiously, finally opening my eyes and pushing myself up again. It takes me a moment to turn to him and look him in the eye, and Charlie Dalton looks back at me without any hesitation. I feel ashamed because I was too afraid to do that, too.

"What?" he asks, furrowing his brow.

I look away again and narrow my eyes in concentration. "Nothing, never mind. Don't worry about it." My eyes for some reason find my hands very fascinating, and I can no longer return his gaze. I'm so ashamed of myself.

He clears his throat slowly and says, "Listen, I'm really sorry about what happened." Amazingly enough, he sounds sincere. Not something I would have expected from him at all.

"You are?" I ask quickly, startled.

He hesitates for a moment, and when he finally speaks, his response isn't exactly what I had thought it would be. "Well, yes and no," he admits.

"What?"

"I'm sorry that it happened, but I've been working up the courage to talk to you about how I feel for a long time. Now I have a reason. And now I have a chance to be open with you."

When I look up at him, I'm curious. What exactly is he trying to tell me? Please don't let it be what I think it is. I'm not sure if I could handle that. I just don't want to complicate this any more than it already is. And it's already really complicated if you ask me.

But a part of me is wondering what is so special about him. What's the appeal to Charlie Dalton anyway? I mean, he's not exactly the most charming person in the world, which just makes me wonder if all the girls he talks about were only ever with him for the sexual appeal. That one kiss wasn't much to go on, though. I feel uninformed.

Before I even realize what's happening, we're both already leaning in, and his fingers are lightly moving across the buttons around my neck and undoing them. I don't stop him. I don't think I'd know how, even if I wanted to. Instead, I look up into his eyes, reach up to grab his tie, and pull his face down to meet mine, closing the distance between us. I need to find out if he can kiss as well as he seems to think he can. I need to find the appeal in Charlie Dalton. I'm desperately curious now.

His response is immediate, and he returns the kiss with more than equal fervor. I know he's been wanting to kiss me for a very long time, and I have to admit that my interest has been a little more than piqued. Before it even registers, our tongues are playing and fighting for the other's mouth, and he's ripped open the last two buttons on my shirt and is pushing it off my arms.

As soon as I'm free from my shirt's confines, I pull myself onto his lap and push him down to the ground, straddling his hips, my skirt flaring up and showing off my panties to the world.

I don't know why I'm doing this. I know I shouldn't. I know I'll regret it within the hour. My curiosity got the better of me. I shouldn't have—

I gasp into his mouth. His fingers are cold as they slip up my skirt and beneath my panties, and I can't help the whimper that escapes my lips as he begins to explore down there.

Taking me by surprise, he pulls away and rolls me over onto my back, hovering over me for a moment, hesitating. He's having a mental debate right now, I know it. He needs to seize what he wants, and right now, he wants me more than anything. I can tell from that excruciatingly large bulge in his pants and the way his eyes are boring into me. But he's hesitating, and I don't know why. Part of me doesn't want him to stop.

When he leans down to kiss me again, I meet him halfway, running my hands through his messy hair, down his neck and chest, toward his abdomen to undo the large belt buckle that's right in the way. He doesn't seem very impressed by my movements, though, as he pushes my hands away, which confuses me. He seems much more interested in touching every part of me he can reach than my touching him in the least.

He pulls away again, but this time he moves downward, his hands sliding down along my bare skin and then the confines of my skirt, which is rumpled and pushed up around my waist, displaying the lavender panties beneath. Gingerly, one cold finger slips beneath the thin fabric and lightly tugs at the elastic edge before delving between my hot, wet folds.

I can't help but moan.

Immediately, I feel bad. I shouldn't be doing this. This is teasing. I know he has feelings for me, and I'm taking advantage of that. But at the same time, it doesn't feel all that horrible because, even if he had no feelings for me, he'd still want to fuck me. God, does this make me a bad person? because I feel like a bad person right now.

But it feels so good.

He removes the finger, just as it was finally warming up, and before I can even begin to get over the loss of that finger, he's grasped the confines of my panties in his hand and ripped them away. I can feel a bit of a breeze, but that moment passes as he leans closer and, spreading my legs as wide as possible with his hands, plants a big, wet kiss on my exposed heat. When he extends his tongue into the sticky mess, I succumb to a long fit of moans and groans, my legs bypassing his hands' holding them apart and locking together around his shoulders. His hands eagerly move out of the way and down toward my arse, which they grip firmly.

My hands are clumping together tufts of grass hazardously and clawing the ground feverishly.

I moan his name more than once as he ravages my heat, no longer able to contain myself.

I want this. I want this so much. I don't want him to ever stop. This is far better than I thought it would be. I want this more than anything else.

I'm short of breath.

My breasts are heaving.

I need him inside me. Desperately.

I shut my eyes tightly in pleasure as I let out a deep, guttural moan.

When I open them again, I'm alone, half asleep on the shore of the lake, and it was all just a dream. I can hardly breathe, and it was just a dream. I'm lightly covered in sweat, and it was just a dream. My panties are soaked, and it was just a dream. My body is aching for him, and it was just a fucking dream.

God, I fucking hate you.

And stupid fucking Lucy and Neil. What I really need more than anything right now is them messing with my head. Everything would be fine if they just stopped meddling in my life. They just need to get together already, so that they get caught up in their own lives and romances. I'm perfectly fine rotting here on my own. I don't need their help.

Angry, I push myself to my feet and storm my way across the field back toward the dormitories and relative safety. Once inside, I'll be able to hide just as much as I really want to right now. Find a book and just read. Because I don't think I'll be getting much sleep tonight. That dream is all I'll be able to think about. And I don't want to think about it. I feel so ashamed. God, I hate that feeling. It's all I seem to be feeling right now.

The warmth of the building is nice, but I feel overheated almost immediately. God, I want to go home and get away from this madness. I think I'm going insane—more and more the longer I stay here, too.

When I reach the dormitory, the door is surprisingly open. Lucy's is shut, though, and I think I can hear her and Neil laughing together. I call, "Jessica?" as I step over the threshold, a little worried. I know she doesn't enjoy having the door open, so I'm confused. She always gets frustrated with me when I leave it open, so I slowly learned to do that as little as possible—or at least when I know she won't be there.

I receive no response, though, which is easily explained by the fact that she isn't even here. That startles me, too, because she's usually in the dorm in the evenings. Not to mention the fact that she was there when I was with Lucy earlier. The room is dark when I enter, and I quickly turn on the lights to try to find her.

"Jessica let me in."

I jump at the voice, immediately recognizing it, and turn to face Charlie Dalton, whom is sitting on my bed nonchalantly.

I'm going to kill that girl one of these days.