Revised as of 10/2011: My breaks got screwed up with this story and I'd basically pushed it to the very end of my to-do list, which really isn't all that long.
Instead of Moze growing up next door to Ned, it's Suzie, but the girls have their own personalities from the show. R&R! Just a note of some things that did & didn't happen; did: Ned kisses Jennifer at the 7th grade dance, she's actually his date. Faymen moves to the school in 8th grade & Jennifer goes out with him; didn't happen: Ned & Suzie going out, Jennifer acquiring the nickname Moze, the Field Trip.
"No, I can't be late again or Mr. Valor will definitely give me a detention," junior Ned Bigby rushed down the east wing of Michael S. Dukakis High School managing to enter his U.S. History class just before the late bell.
"Ah, Mr. Bigby, glad you could join us," Mr. Leonard Valor sat at his desk checking attendance, a few students taking their seats. Ned caught his breath just inside the room before taking his seat next to his best friend, Suzie Crabgrass.
"So, alarm didn't go off, you hit the snooze button, or you missed the bus?" the brown-eyed brunette whispered. "The second one, and the third one," Ned gave with a sheepish smile.
Ned had known Suzie all his life as the two were next door neighbors and had quickly become best friends. Suzie was more popular than Ned because she was a cheerleader and volleyball player, but she had always seemed to make time for Ned and their other friend, Simon Nelson Cook, or Cookie as they called him.
"So have you figured out what's up with Missy yet?" Ned shook his head, he and Missy Meany had been going out for nearly two months now, but all last week she had been acting very strange. She avoided Ned or just gave him a quick "Hey," or "See you later."
"Ms. Crabgrass, I'd appreciate if you didn't chat with Mr. Bigby and paid attention to my lecture instead. This information will be on the test," Valor slammed a ruler on the desk and Suzie quickly flipped open her notebook, Ned flipped his open as well.
"Jennifer, I just don't think there's a connection between us, you understand, right?" Jennifer Moseley couldn't understand. Had she done something wrong? Standing in front of her now former boyfriend, Billy Loomer, Jennifer's eyes welled with tears.
"No, I don't understand, Billy. We've always gotten along so well. Now after we've put three years into this relationship, you want to break up, why?" Loomer patted her shoulder. "We've changed over the years, I need to be with someone different, take care Jennifer," with that Loomer walked away from Jennifer as her third ex-boyfriend.
"Hey Jen, what's wrong?" Suzie along with Ned walked past having just missed the break-up.
"Billy just broke up with me. Why is it that every guy I've dated is all wrong for me?" Jennifer tried to wipe her smeared eye-liner with her hands before Suzie handed her a tissue.
"He's a jerk, Jen; he's still the bully he was when we were in middle school," Suzie said placing a hand on her friend's shoulder.
"Trust me, he's a lot worse now than he was in middle school," Ned rubbed his shoulder remembering all the beatings he had received throughout middle and early high school. Ned was now able to fight back against Loomer; he hadn't had any fights with the blond since their freshman year. He was still confused though as to how Loomer had been able to win the heart of Jennifer Moseley.
Jennifer was an A-student, volleyball captain, and had a slight temper at times, but for the most part, she was amazing, at least in Ned's eyes. Suzie and Jennifer had been friends since the second week Jennifer had moved to town in fourth grade. Ned had greatly enjoyed any chance to be around her, but she had never seemed the slightest bit interested in him as anything more than a friend.
Jennifer laughed at Ned's response. "Thanks you guys, I don't know what I'd do without you," Jennifer said with a forced laugh. The three juniors strode down the hall with Jennifer between Ned and Suzie. The girls headed off to math as Ned joined Cookie for Chemistry.
"Ned, guess what? I'm meeting Lisa's parents tonight, do you have any tips?" a tall African American boy with very short black hair took his normal seat next to Ned.
"Wow Cookie, I'll have to think as far as tips go, I haven't actually gotten to that stage with Missy," Cookie dropped his book on the lab table. "Well, let me know if you come up with anything, I'm too nervous to think," Cookie brushed his hand over his hair. "Why haven't you met Missy's parents yet? How long have you guys been going out now?" Cookie whispered as Mrs. Nelson entered the classroom.
"Tomorrow will be our two month anniversary," Ned whispered back retrieving his own book.
Cookie gave a puzzled look, opening his mouth just as Mrs. Nelson began to speak. "I guess we'll talk at lunch," he whispered focusing on the formulas in his book. Ned nodded before searching for his pencil.
"Where's Missy?" Cookie searched the crowded cafeteria for his best friend's girlfriend, spotting his own in the process. Lisa Zemo had been Cookie's obsession for the past three years, however she hadn't even give Cookie the time of day, mainly because she thought he was too shallow. The past summer had been different though, Lisa had seen a different side of Simon when the two worked at a local restaurant. Lisa had slowly become friends with Simon agreeing to a date in late August. The two became an item two days later.
"Her parents took a mid-week vacation, she said it had something to do with them always working on weekends," Ned replied as Lisa neared the table.
"Hello Lisa," Cookie greeted as Lisa took an open seat across from him. "Hi Simon," she blushed back. Suzie and Ned rolled their eyes; Cookie was officially out of the conversation now that Lisa had arrived, though both agreed that Cookie was definitely happiest with the petite brunette.
"She's on vacation, that's odd, when are they coming back?" Suzie sat beside a saddened Jennifer who was picking at her meal with utter disgust.
"They should be back tonight, I hope. I have something planned for our anniversary and I need Missy to be here to celebrate," Ned glanced to Jennifer wondering if she was feeling better being away from her typical popular crowd.
"How are you feeling, Jennifer?" Jennifer jolted from her trance to look at the blue-eyed owner of the voice.
"I could definitely be better, I'd rather go home than suffer through the rest of the day," she replied glancing back to her plate.
Why won't he just give up on her, especially since he does currently have a girlfriend, who isn't me either. Snap out of it, Crabgrass. Just like Jennifer doesn't see Ned as more than a friend, he doesn't see you as anything more than a friend.
Suzie disguised her jealousy well when it came to Ned. She truly had liked him since middle school as she and other girls started to notice how good-looking he really was, he was now nearly 6'2" and the co-captain of the Dukakis Soccer Team. She had always been able to tell him anything and she valued that quality, since she didn't always have the option with Cookie.
"There's got to be one class you're looking forward to." Jennifer shrugged.
"Not really, Suzie, although I guess study hall can't be that bad, maybe I can hide in the library before anyone hears about the break-up."
"Hey, we have the same study hall, I'll go with you to the library; I need to start reading more. All my teachers keep telling me it's the only way I'll pass their classes," Ned said smiling at Jennifer. She returned the action glad for such a sweet friend.
"Thanks Ned, some company will be nice," Jennifer noticed Ned's face brighten even greater from his usual cheerful spirit. The five teens quickly left the cafeteria as the warning bell rang.
"You never seemed like the kind of guy that goes out with Missy Meany, Ned. How did you two manage to become a couple?" Jennifer whispered as Ned followed her down an aisle of books.
"Well, I never expected you to go out with Billy Loomer. Why did you ever go out with him?" The name tugged slightly at Jennifer's heart as Ned placed a hand on her shoulder. "Sorry."
"I believe I asked you first," she looked into his blue eyes, her brown eyes glistening lightly with tears.
"I started going out with Missy after a party. We played truth or dare, we were dared to kiss, and I asked her on a date for the next day. We were a couple like a week later," Ned realized he hadn't let go of Jennifer and quickly removed his hand.
"I didn't start going out with Billy because of truth or dare," Jennifer walked further into the aisle, Ned close behind her. "We started going out the summer after eighth grade. We saw each other at a concert at the state fair and decided to hang out together the next day. We went to the concert that night as well and we danced together, I fell for him that night. We were nearly inseparable from then until well, this morning," Jennifer's voice faded as she pulled a book from the shelf and sat in a chair along the far wall of the library.
"Jennifer, if I was ever your boyfriend, I wouldn't let you go, he doesn't know what he's given up by dumping you," Ned knelt beside Jennifer's chair as she flipped through the novel in her hands.
"That's sweet Ned, but you're not my boyfriend. Missy is pretty lucky that she has you, any girl would be lucky," she stood and grabbed a different book before walking to the librarian's desk.
Why am I going out with Missy? I obviously don't love her; all I think about is Jennifer. Maybe I'm just tired or something, I have an entire anniversary dinner planned for me and Missy tomorrow night.
Ned stood and followed Jennifer out of the library back to their study hall classroom. His focus was still averted though, Missy was on vacation and Jennifer needed someone to comfort her, why not him?
"Ned, I think we should see other people," Missy calmly stated as her boyfriend's jaw dropped across the table.
"Missy, why would you want to break up, did I do something?" Ned's blue eyes filled with sadness as he brushed through his light brown hair, his gaze resting on the now empty plate in front of him.
Missy shook her head. "I just need someone more…mature," Missy refolded her napkin placing it next to her silverware.
Ned had definitely outdone himself with this dinner. A small candlelit table sat in his backyard, decorated by various torches. Rose petals covered the table's surface. Ned had even worn the suit his mother had forced him to get for special occasions, a royal blue tie hung perfectly against his light blue shirt and black jacket.
The dinner itself had been ordered from Missy's favorite restaurant in town, Martello's, it had been quite a high cost for Ned to be dumped. Missy was certainly not under-dressed though. Her blonde hair half up half down with curls framing her face and cascading down her neck. She wore a glittering gold dress with an uneven hem cut just above her knees.
She stood from her chair and tilted Ned's face to look her in the eyes. "You are an amazing guy, but I met someone else before we started going out, he wasn't ready for a relationship, but now he is. I'm sorry, take care though," just as Missy was about to kiss him goodbye, Ned pushed her back.
"Keep your pity and the kiss, now please leave my backyard," he stated removing her hand from his face. Missy grabbed her purse and marched out of the backyard beginning a long walk home.
"Honey, is everything okay, where's Missy going?" Laura Bigby stepped out the back door to find her son leaning against an oak tree.
"I guess she's going to find someone more…mature," Ned turned to face his mother who held out her arms for a hug. "Thanks mom, I'm just going to bed," he embraced his mom for a few seconds and headed back into the house starting up the stairs.
"I saw Missy storm off," Suzie sat at her bay window as Ned paced his room throwing off his formal jacket.
"Nothing good on TV?" Ned called to her, he knew Suzie was his closest friend, but it bugged him that she had been spying on his dinner with Missy.
"Ned, I know you think I was spying; I got back from Jennifer's house like just before Missy stormed off. What happened?" Ned stepped onto the small balcony that hung out below his window.
"She wants someone more mature, I guess two months older isn't mature enough," he replied leaning on the wooden railing.
"I never thought she was good enough for you, she didn't appreciate you in middle school or our other years of high school, why would she start now?" Suzie walked to the edge of her own balcony, just over a foot away from Ned.
"Thanks Suzie, so, how is Jennifer?" he loosened the grip the tie still held on his neck and unbuttoned the top button.
"She's doing better, what about you?" Suzie couldn't help but notice how a summer of soccer practice had left Ned quite nicely tanned.
He's still my best friend, no matter how well, hot, he looks right now. Maybe this is finally my chance for him to see me differently; I can comfort him after being with that skank Missy. He'll see how much I care about him and maybe we could actually go out, as more than friends.
"You know even though it was only two months, I thought we'd last longer than that. Maybe actually taking some time to be single will be good though. I always have a date, even if I know the girl isn't right for me," Ned's blue eyes pierced through Suzie's brown eyes.
"You'll find that perfect girl, maybe you've already met her and you just don't realize it," Suzie reached for his hand as he gripped hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. The two friends stood on their balconies holding hands and talking 'til it was nearly eleven.
For clarification, they are juniors in high school. Before Missy, Ned would go on dates w/ various girls he really had no emotion for. Suzie's most recent boyfriend will be explained in Ch 2, same about the situation between Ned and Jennifer. I know it seems like a Ned/Suzie story, but trust me it's not, looks are deceiving.
Revision note: I realize how much better my writing has gotten since I wrote this. The changes are reflected in later chapters, I think anyhow.