Never Felt This Way

.o.

I am so sorry for my long hiatus. School took over my life these past couple of months and now that it is finally out of session I can go back to doing what I love: writing these stories. Thanks to everyone for waiting and being so patient.

.o.

"Have you ever seen them in concert?" Ryan asked, gesturing towards Jet's Modest Mouse tee. The two of them had been browsing the record boxes and chatting for hours. It was refreshing to meet a guy who listened to modern rock-pop bands like Arctic Monkeys and Coldplay, but who also had an appreciation for the Beatles and Bob Dylan, and even knew every song from all the major musicals on Broadway at this very moment. He was like the best guy friend Ryan had never had. If anyone should be his twin, it was Jet. They hadn't come across one band or singer they disagreed on yet.

"Once, in 2006," Jet replied, a dreamy look in his eyes. They were just so effortlessly cool, ya know. And they weren't all high up on themselves at all so the whole thing was spectacular."

"Sounds great. It's hard to drag my sister to a concert. Unless its like the freaking Pussy Cat Dolls or something. Which I would never go see in the fist place," Ryan chuckled. "She will go to the theater with me though which is probably why I end up going to more shows than concerts."

"I know how you feel man. My sister is into that whole punk-emo scene. You know, she like practically worships Pete Wentz and all his little minions. She's in love with every band from the Fueled by Ramen label. Now they're all right ya know, but I'd rather catch a Dandy Warhols concert."

Ryan laughed and rolled his eyes. "Sister's huh?"

.o.

Troy, Oliver, and Sharpay waved goodbye to Ms. Delaney, hopped off of their stools and began walking around the bookstore, searching for Ryan and Gabriella.

"Where do you think they are?" Troy asked as they passed the history section.

"Probably making out amongst the stacks," Oliver replied with a sleazy grin.

"Oh, whatever," Sharpay said rolling her eyes. "If you were to find anyone making out in public, it would so be me and Troy."

Troy blushed a little and scratched the back of his neck. Believe it or not, he was really shy about stuff like PDA.

Oliver shuddered and pretended like he was going to be sick. "Oh god, Sharpay. Do you have to say stuff like that?"

"Yep," Sharpay answered defiantly. "You can't just say stuff like that, Oliver. Especially about Ryan."

"Fine, fine," Oliver said. "Just don't put those sick images in my head EVER AGAIN."

"Fine," Sharpay said with a grin. Oh, she always got what she wanted. Always.

.o.

After a good half hour, Gabriella decided everyone else was probably anxious to go grab some pizza. She picked up the three books she had decided to purchase and walked over to the music section to rouse Ryan from his record browsing.

"Hey Ry," Gabriella said sweetly, settling down on the floor beside him and placing her books in a neat pile on the carpeted floor.

"Gabby!" Ryan cried happily, kissing her on the cheek. "Gabs, this is Jet. Jet, this is my girlfriend, Gabriella."

Jet stuck out his hand and shook Gabby's small hand. "Nice to meet you," he said politely before turning towards Ryan. "Damn, Ryan. How the hell did you get a girl like her to go out with you?" The sarcasm was evident in his voice and the three laughed together.

Gabriella's cheeks turned a little pink as she laughed. She had never really thought of herself as pretty and it was weird to think that Jet and Troy and Ryan thought she was good looking. She had never gotten this much attention in Albuquerque. It was surreal. In fact, she wasn't sure if she liked the attention or not.

"I'm flattered, but really you've got it all wrong. Ryan's too handsome for me."

It was Ryan's turn to blush and Jet chuckled. "Aw man, you guys are like sickeningly adorable."

"That's for sure!" Oliver chimed in as he, Troy, and Sharpay entered the music section and spotted Ryan, Jet, and Gabby on the floor. "Wait! Who the hell is he?" Oliver appeared a little jealous of Jet. He didn't want any other wisecracking dude to take his place. He was the resident jokester. Not this messy-haired music prick.

Ryan laughed. "Oliver, this is Jet. Jet, this is Oliver. Brace yourself."

"Jet, huh?" Oliver said walking over to him and looking him up and down like he was sizing him up. So he was a little more muscular. He had some pretty sweet shoes. And he had a Foo Fighters record in his hand?! He couldn't hate this guy. He found himself squealing, "Dude, the Foo Fighters f-ing

ROCK!"

Jet laughed. "I think I'm gonna like Oliver," he said to Ryan.

Ryan chuckled and continued with introductions. "This is my twin, Sharpay, and her boyfriend Troy."

"Hi," Jet said, raising a hand in greeting. "What's up?"

"Hey" Troy and Sharpay said in unison. Troy chuckled a little before saying, "Well we better get to Geraldine's. Jet, you're more than welcome to come with. If you can…"

"Aw yeah. I'd love to!" Jet cried enthusiastically. "Uh, just let me go talk to my boss and see if I can go on break. Be back in like five seconds!" He then sprinted to the back of the store.

"So Jet seems pretty cool," Troy said to Ryan.

"Yeah, I guess," Oliver said, not caring that Troy wasn't technically speaking to him. "I mean, he has good taste in music at least. But I mean, come on, let's get real. I will always be the coolest. PERIOD!"

"Sure, sure," Troy said unconvincingly and then chuckled to let Oliver know he was kidding. He was actually pretty psyched about Jet. Maybe he could hook Oliver up with some girl. I mean Arden was so NOT showing up at the pizza place. Oliver had just come on way too strong.

.o.

Jet came flying back into everyone's sight a few minutes later, sporting a wide grin and two thumbs up. "I'm good. Let's go!"

"ALL RIGHT!" Oliver screamed, forgetting he was in a bookstore. "LET'S PIZZA PARTAY!"

Everyone rolled their eyes and followed Jet and a rather excited Oliver out the door.

.o.

"IS SHE HERE? IS SHE HERE??" Oliver began shout-whispering as they entered Geraldine's.

"Oliver, calm down," Sharpay said exasperated. "How about you just look?"

"Okay," Oliver said, raising his hand above his eyes and moving around the place like he was an explorer. He soon spotted Arden in a booth in the back.

"DUDE SHE"S HERE!" he screamed to Ryan.

"Wow, she actually showed up," Troy remarked, truly shocked.

"Aw," Gabriella sighed, relieved she had come. Oliver would have been positively devastated if she hadn't.

"Thank God," Ryan and Sharpay said at the same time.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" Jet screamed.

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?" Arden screamed back.

"Oh God, is she like your ex or something?" Ryan asked, wincing.

"My ex! Dude no way! She's my sister!"

.o.

"Oh," Ryan said quietly. "So I take it you two don't get along."

"Well we did UP UNTIL WHEN HE WOULDN'T GO WITH ME TO THE HUSH SOUND CONCERT!"

"Oh you know I would have gone if I could have. I actually respect them. You knew I had other plans that night!"

"Whatever," Arden sighed. "Let's just try to remain civil."

Everyone stared at the pair in shock, before cramming into the booth.

"Well, then this should be fun," Sharpay sighed heavily.

"So, uh, I was thinking…"

"Not now, Oliver," Arden sighed in an annoyed manner.

Oliver became very sad and quiet and sunk down into the booth dejectedly.

"Oh Oliver," Arden said softly patting his shoulder. "Just give me a chance to calm down ok. I really do think you're kinda all right."

"Really?" Oliver said a huge smiling enveloping his pale face. "OK, I'll just leave you alone for a second."

"OK. Great," Arden replied with a grin.

"Arden?" Oliver questioned literally a second later.

"Yes?" Arden replied, trying not to sound as exasperated as she had the first time.

"I think you're really pretty."

"Thank you, Oliver."

Satisfied that he had done his part, he then turned to Gabriella and proceeded to ask her whether she had picked up any "funny-ass-shit telenovelas".

"Oliver, telenovela means soap opera, not novel."

"Dude, really? Well thanks for telling me. I would have gone around sounding like an idiot whenever I said that." Oh Oliver you manage to do that without saying words in other languages that don't mean what you think they do.

.o.

Troy feeling rather guilty that he had invited Jet along, hunched over the table and said, "Listen man. I'm really sorry about all this. If I would've known…"

"Oh dude. It's fine. I mean you wouldn't have. Besides I want to be here. I just wish she wasn't."

Troy nodded and the two butted fists in some sort of macho "we're cool" kinda thing.

Sharpay rolled her eyes and engaged Troy in a fascinating conversation about headscarves. Bet he's having loads of fun discussing which color shade looks best with honey-wheat blonde locks.

.o.

Ryan called a waiter over and after much discussion the group ordered a large cheese, a large pepperoni and anchovies, and a large vegetable pizza, along with a round of various sodas.

Everyone was able to easily talk to each other; except for Jet and Arden who avoided each other like the plague. This made for a couple awkward moments but by the end of the meal, Jet had wormed his way into the gang much to Ryan's relief. He was really excited to finally have someone he could really relate to. It was cool.

.o.

Everyone began filing out of the pizza parlor, waving goodbye to Jet and wishing him luck on being able to get off of work earlier so they could all hang out later in the day.

He grinned and waved back as he raced over to the elevators to head back up to Nook's.

"So," Oliver said as he and Arden separated from the rest of the group so he could walk her back to the arcade. "Do I get another date?"

Arden smiled. "I don't know. Do you think you deserve it?"

Oliver made a 'psh-yeah" sound and replied, "For SURE! I mean, look at me. What's not to like?"

Arden chuckled as they reached the arcade. "OK. Fine. I consent to at least one more date," she said mock-formally. "Call me," she said as she walked into the arcade.

"BUT," Oliver yelled out. "I don't know your number."

"Figure it out," she called back to him, not even turning around to look at poor Oliver's shocked face.

Well here it is. I hope it wasn't too terrible. Thanks for reading!