Disclaimer: I don't own South Park.

Summary: Eric watches a movie that inspires a longterm game of dare.

Foreseeable Pairings so far: Thomas/Craig/Tweek, Kyle/Stan, Stan/Wendy, Cartman/Butters, Cartman/Kyle, Damien/Pip,
(There will be a lot more, if you're going to read this you should be prepared for anything. Though I do promise not to have totally random pairings that I don't at least create basis for within the story.)

1. I am no writer.
2. This will get explicit.
3. Generic high school drama.
4. Various POVS
5. Slash, Slash, Slash.

Chapter one
Planting Flowers in the Wall

One would think that bright yellow hair would stand out more against the dull blue shade of peeling paint on the cafeteria walls. Apparently not. The expression 'wallflower' doesn't even begin to cover this. I am NOT some colorful scented flower that happens to be creeping up the wall. Passersby would stop to acknowledge and admire a flower. The people closest to it would turn their heads and look at it, at least! Jesus Christ, look, God damn it! I feel more like I'm part of the wall, rather than sitting at the usual lunch table with my friends.

Not having anyone go out of their way to pay attention to me is something I'm more than used to, but usually Craig doesn't completely ignore me. Seriously, lately it's like, 'Yeah, I'd like to order one conversation with extra Craig and Thomas, hold the Tweek'.

Sighing, I tear my eyes away from Craig and Thomas' animated conversation, trying to ignore the pang of self-pity as I look at the faces of the other juniors at our shared lunch table. I'm the only one that isn't being paid any attention to. Sigh.

Our high school lunch tables are long, well, more like two normal sized tables attached to one another. Each table seats three people along a bench-like seat on either side. So, all in all there are six people per table, and two tables connected, so twelve people. The perfect number for our lovely group of friends. If you could even call us friends. It's more like… a group of familiar faces, really. Some of us don't really even know each other all that well. Hell, some don't even like each other. But somehow we always flock together, whether it be for projects or seating arrangements.

Somewhere along the line of our journey through the educational system, Stan's foursome had merged with Craig's. Don't ask me how or when it happened; I'm not even entirely sure. So as odd as it seems, Cartman, Kyle, Stan, Kenny, Craig, Clyde, Token, and I are all seated within mere feet of each other, enjoying our forty-five minutes of freedom together. Butters was wordlessly accepted into the group after having tagged along with Cartman regularly. Thomas was quickly forced to befriend us by Craig when he transferred in middle school (though he was 'forced' he didn't protest). More recently as we entered high school, Damien and Pip wormed their way into the free seats at the lunch table. Personally, I hadn't minded their presence at all, but a few others gave them hell for the first few months.

My grip tightens on my thermos of coffee as I eye Thomas wearily. Why was it that Thomas of all people commands Craig's attentions so fully? Gah! There I go again, feeling overwhelmed with jealousy. But damn it, I know Thomas knows how I feel about Craig! Just as this thought crosses my mind the boy in question glances over at me and shoots me a sympathetic look. See! See! He knows it's his fault Craig's ignoring me!

I really wish I could just work up the nerve to talk with Thomas alone. If anything we could come to some sort of agreement so we could both feel better about the current situation. Trying to talk to him couldn't hurt, right? Thomas is a nice guy. He'll understand.

I try to stifle my initial urge to conspire that Thomas is really some underhanded conniving bitch bent on destroying my happiness (and possibly even Craig's, in some scenarios). I should really try to put up a greater effort to keep those thoughts from even crossing my mind to begin with, as they are completely ridiculous. After all, Tweek Tweak always tends to jump to conclusions, and after all, Thomas really IS a nice guy.

Reassuring myself of this repeatedly is my way of coaxing myself into deciding what the hell I should do.

Being in love with one of my devastatingly MALE friends is bad enough, suspecting that I might actually have competition is worse. Not to mention Craig seems totally oblivious to both of our affections. Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if no one noticed besides Thomas and I. (We haven't even dared to speak about the subject, yet I'm sure Thomas knows I like like Craig just as much as I know he like likes Craig!)

The sound of a hand being slapped dramatically down on the other end of the lunch table jolts me out of my painful internal musings. God damn, I nearly fell out of my seat! "Jesus Christ, man! Are you trying to give me a heart attack!?" I yelp automatically in a rushed tone, my gaze snapping up to rest on Eric Cartman, who is standing with his hand pressed firmly onto the surface of the section of lunch table in front of him.

Everyone at the table has stopped what they were doing to direct their attention to heavy-set boy. There's a long pause. Everyone can tell Cartman is just soaking up the attention, but we are all too interested in what he has to say to deny him the satisfaction of having all eyes on him. Well, except or Kyle, he's pointedly looking elsewhere. He is going to be the most difficult to convince of whatever it is that needs convincing.

"We," Cartman begins, pausing to meet the eyes of everyone at the table, "are going to play a game."

"A game." Stan repeats in a flat tone.

"Yes. All of us are playing."

Clyde raises an eyebrow. "What if we don't want to play?" he asks, and there's a murmur of agreement around the table. Clearly everyone is weary to go along with anything that Cartman has come up with.

"You don't have a choice," Cartman replies firmly, his voice taking on an air of importance. "If this is going to work, we all need to go along with it. It's entirely a matter of trust. You wouldn't want to be seen as untrustworthy, would you Clyde?"

"What? I haven't broken anyone's trust if I haven't even agreed to play yet," Clyde shot back defensively.

"Cylde's right. Explain to us what the hell you're going on about," Token urges.

"Gee, I thought you guys would never ask," several pairs of eyes roll at the false innocence in Cartman's voice. "To put it in layman's terms, it's a game of truth or dare."

"Only, without the truth," Butters blurts out with a rush of hesitant excitement, apparently already aware of Cartman's plans.

"Thank you Butters. Yes, it's a game of dare. Whoever has this," Cartman holds out a small keychain for everyone to see. "Will have the power to dare any of the rest of us to do anything. Once the dare is completed, the keychain must be handed over to the one who did the dare."

"A unicorn?" Craig questions, eyeing the small figure attached to the chain.

"Yes. It's small and inconspicuous."

"Also, gay." Craig snorts, and I can feel Thomas tense beside me. Even a small disapproval of gayness from Craig and Thomas starts to get nervous. Hah.

…Wait, Jesus, I'm nervous too!

"Shut the fuck up Craig, no one asked you. Besides, it'll match your sexual preference," Cartman defends his unicorn casually, to which Craig growls and flips him off, looking ready jump up and attack Cartman. Token places a hand on his shoulder and forces him back down into his seat. He's so cute when he gets all worked up like that…

"Regardless," Kyle finally speaks up with an annoyed sigh. "That's the worst idea you've ever come up with, Cartman. It'll never work. Who the fuck would go along with that?"

Cartman smirks. "Ah, but Kyle, as I had stated previously, it's all a matter of trust."

"Oh, smashing! I get it, now!" Pip grins widely. "If you want the game to keep going, you have to trust that everyone will do what's dared of them. Though, at the same time, you can't dare them to do anything too horrible, or they'll refuse of course and the game will end."

"And we don't want it to end because….?" Thomas asks.

The grin that appears on Damien's face is a lot less innocent than Pip's was. "Because then you'd miss your chance to do the daring. Think of the possibilities…"

"If we can really trust each other to do whatever we dare them to…" Kenny continues, undoubtedly following Damien's line of thinking.

"I can see the potential," Stan admits, much to Kyle's chagrin.

"Yes but only in theory. It'll never work," he snaps.

"I thought you might say that Kyle. Which is why you," Cartman tosses the keychain to the redhead, "get to go first."

Kyle catches the little white winged unicorn before it hits him in the face. He eyes Cartman carefully, still obviously suspicious. "Fine… Cartman, go ask Wendy if she'll use some of her henna to apply a lovely floral pattern to your breasts," Kyle says smugly before adding, "Oh, and don't forget to be as sincere as humanly possible."

There are a few moments of silence before nearly everyone at the table bursts out laughing. Actually, Cartman is the only one who doesn't seem to find it amusing, though Butters, Thomas and I are trying to be nice and stifle our laughter.

Stan gapes at his friend. "Dude! How did you come up with that so quickly?"

Kyle just smiles.

"He obviously daydreams like a little schoolgirl every waking moment, thinking about how to outdo me," Cartman snaps, annoyed at what he has just been dared to do, though I think I spy a competitive glint in his eyes.

"No, Cartman, that's you," Kyle snorts. "Anyway, game?"

Cartman smiles as if everything is going according to plan. "Game."

All eyes are on Cartman as he struts away towards where Wendy is seated with her girlfriends a few tables away. When he gets there, he's sure to talk loud enough for everyone back at our table to hear.

"Hey Wendy," he begins as she turns to eye him suspiciously. "You're into that henna body art stuff, right?" he waits for her to nod "Oh, cool, I thought you'd be. Hey… I was just wondering if maybe you could, I don't know, give me a nice floral henna design." How he manages to keep the usual disgustingly false innocence out of his voice, no one knows. He honestly does sound sincere.

Wendy narrows her eyes. "Well… I guess I don't see why not. Why the sudden interest, though?"

"Oh no reason really, I just checked the weather last night and apparently tomorrow is supposed to be one of the last somewhat warm day of the year. I wanted to celebrate by not wearing a shirt while enjoying the great outdoors. Though I thought I might as well give onlookers something interesting to look at." This is of course a total lie, since it's already been snowing for a while. I guess he just needed a roundabout way of telling her he wanted the design to be drawn under his shirt. Clever.

She visibly pales. "Where exactly do you want me to draw the design?"

"Well I was thinking somewhere around my breast area, framing the nipples, perhaps," he says thoughtfully.

"Eric Cartman!!" Wendy half shouts, half squeals in disgust and surprise. The rest of the kids at her table have mixed expressions of shock and amusement. As Wendy pushes at him repeatedly to signal that he should go the fuck away now, the rest of her friends finally get over their initial shock and start laughing. Poor Wendy is redder than a tomato.

Cartman politely excuses himself and starts walking back. I think he takes his seat again, but I'm not entirely sure. Craig is currently clutching his stomach and gasping for breath, unable to contain his laughter. I'm vaguely aware that everyone else is in a similar state. Well, aside from Thomas and I. We're both staring at Craig. God, how is it not totally fucking obvious that we—

Craig just literally fell over from laughing too hard. Fell backward, right off the bench.

Just as I'm about to jolt up to get a better look at him, I freeze because I feel pressure on my lap; my head snaps downwards—Oh dear sweet Jesus Christ!! Th… Thomas's head. In my lap. Holy… wow… ohgod.. Okay, he's just looking under the table to see if Craig, who WAS sitting across from us is alright…

Craig who is probably lying on the cold cafeteria flooring with his hands sprawled behind his head while his legs are still draped over the bench. Everyone's asking if he's okay, he's probably blinking up at them cutely, his favorite blue hat slightly askew… and oh… oh God, oh Jesus, Thomas' head is in my lap!!

I just realized how very, very, hot I am right now. Oh god, why? WHY? Why me!? I'm going to die of a heat stroke right now, in the school cafeteria, while Craig is over there looking disgruntled and cute (I JUST KNOW HE IS!) and I don't even get to see it!

"SHIT! Are you okay Tweek…?" Comes Thomas' voice along with his trademark obstinacies.

He's sitting up normally now. Of course I don't realize that until my head snaps towards him at the sound of his voice and I nearly jump ten feet in the air while shrieking. Luckily Clyde had gotten up from his seat beside me to check on Craig, or else I would have crashed into him.

I don't get time to answer Thomas' question, because soon our attention is turned to commotion elsewhere.

"Wow Craig, it wasn't THAT funny." Stan says good-naturedly, amused as Craig is helped up and seated again. Everyone has seemed to clam down now.

Craig looks near scandalized as he brushes himself off. "No, dude. Eric Cartman, ERIC CARTMAN, just asked Wendy Testaburger, WENDY TESTABURGER to paint flowers on his boobs, and you're telling me that it's not THAT funny? Fuck you Stan," Craig gushes. "Cartman, dude, can I get a fucking high-five over here?" He asks, extending his hand, and appreciation towards Cartman (who obliges smugly).

It's after that high-five that Cartman slowly turns his attention to me. Wait, what? Me!? My eyes dart around in every direction, looking for any possible reason for him to be paying attention to me. There isn't one! Oh god, everyone else is starting to look now! I wasn't looking too jealous about Craig's approval of Cartman, was I!? WHAT IF I WAS!? They'll put two-and-two together and find out that I like Craig in a totally gay way! He'll hate me, they'll hate me, I'll be exiled from the group and forced to eat my lunch (well, drink my coffee, since that's all I have for lunch) alone in the boys bathroom! It'll be like the epitome of depressi—


"YES!?" I yelp, snapping out of my thoughts when Cartman finally speaks up.

"You've been… quiet."

"Have I!?"

Cartman nods thoughtfully. "Yeah. What's wrong, don't want to play our game?" Gah! I can tell he doesn't really care if I want to play or not! He's just asking questions for some sort of ulterior motive!

"No, I want to play!" I'm responding to his questions way too fast after he asks them. It's like I have some reason to act suspicious! Which I don't! Jesus I hate when people put me on the spot, it's way too much pressure.

"Cool, because I dare you to stop drinking coffee for a week. Better yet, no caffeinated products at all. Aaand nothing overly sugary. Game?"

"Game!?" I question before fully processing what he said. I shift my eyes back and forth between Cartman and everyone else frantically, inwardly cursing for allowing myself to be singled out.

Just as a look of approval crosses Cartman's face, I realize what I've done. I just agreed to a dare. OH JESUS I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER WHAT HE DARED ME TO DO!

"Good sport, Tweek. Now, I'll just give you this now because—"

"WAITWAIT, what did you want me to do again?"

Cartman sighs and answers my question slowly in a slightly sing-song voice, "No coffee. No Caffeine. No sugar. One week."

I gulp audibly, clutching my thermos of coffee tighter. No coffee…? I've never done that… It can't be healthy for me… what will my dad think!? Oh god, he's going to think I'm taking drugs or something and that's why I don't want coffee!!

"As I was saying, I'll just give you the unicorn now, since I trust that you'll complete the dare." Cartman goes on, tossing me the unicorn, which I catch with trembling fingers.

…One week. No coffee… "Um, o-okay…" is all I can manage.

Butters seems a little disappointed. "That's it?"

"What the fuck," Kyle breathes. He obviously expected Cartman to dare him to do something equally as embarrassing after THAT.

Cartman grins, offering a shrug. "I don't expect this to end anytime soon."

Now that I think about it, him daring me of all people was pretty anticlimactic. I almost feel bad for killing the excitement…

I turn to stare at Craig when I hear him snickering over something. Actually, he's staring at me with his hand over his mouth, trying to contain his giggling… Hahh… It really does sound like giggling too. Why is he so adora… wait, HE'S GIGGLING AT ME! What did I do, is there something on my face!? It's a bug, isn't it? An alien bug, sucking my brain out through my nose with a straw! Oh god, Oh Jesus…

"Wh-wha-" I start to ask before he lifts a hand to stop me.

"It's nothing, sorry." He bites his lip and chokes down a few more chimes of laugher before he speaks up again, "It's just, I just pictured you with the worst hangover in the history of forever. I mean, I've never seen you NOT drink twenty gallons of coffee a day."

I don't have the heart to tell him that I don't drink THAT much coffee, so I stay quiet, though I can feel myself offering him a small smile.

The bell rings around the time that the rest of the group starts fussing about how awesome it'll be to see me go into withdraw. Jerks. Bar Craig, he can watch me go into withdraw all he wants…

Lunch is over. Everyone gathers their things and starts flooding out the double doors and into the cramped locker lined hallways.

I trail behind the rest of the group like always, watching them talk amongst themselves. Without me. I don't really mind, but…

Fingering the little white unicorn still safely in my hand, I eye Thomas and Craig as they walk side by side ahead of me.

Perhaps… perhaps I have a lot to think about. A lot of decisions to make.

After spending the remainder of the school day plotting, I've finally decided on what must be done.

Immediately after my last class I intercept Thomas at his locker. "I need to talk to you."

He whips around to face me, looking started. "O-oh?"

I just fidget.

"Well, can't this wait for another time? My mom's waiting outside to pick me u—"

"Nope. It's an emergency; if you don't come with me right now innocent lives may be lost." I joke to try and lighten the mood. Though I know my tone was serious and flat. I'm too fucking nervous.

"Oh, hah I'm sure, but really, I have to meet my mom in the parking lot."

He sure is going out of his way to try and avoid talking to me. Normally Thomas would be happy to talk, he would at least offer for me to walk with him to the parking lot so I could say whatever it is I need to say. He must be expecting a confrontation about Craig, though I honestly didn't think he would be so insistent on avoiding it…

He makes the mistake of shutting his locker and I grab him by the elbow, dragging him out through the halls and out the doors of the school. It's the back away out, and I'm surprised to find that Thomas doesn't put up a fight at all; following along quietly while I keep a tight hold on his elbow. Finally, I come to a stop when we are a little ways into the woods behind the school, far away from the rest of the students.

He appears hesitant, as if he knows what I'm about to say. "Look, Tweek, don't do this. I don't want to ruin anyone's fun."

"I didn't realize I was such a spoil-sport. Whose toy box am I robbing?"

"Don't ply dumb," he starts in a clipped tone, but he looks me over wearily and his voice becomes softer, "What you're going to dare me to do, I won't do it."

"…What is it you think I'm going to dare you to do?" More importantly, why is he so sure he knows what I'm going to ask?

"I don't know Tweek but, gosh, you must have some idea what's going through my head right now!"

"Is it how Craig would look adorable in a sundress, because…" Okay, that was half of an attempt to lighten the mood again, and half accident. I really hadn't meant to bring up Craig at all, honestly…

He stares openly for a moment, a blush slowly spreading its way across his cheekbones. "N-no, but… wow, he would, wouldn't he?"

I nod, wondering if he has nearly as good of a mental picture as I do.

"…We really are similar aren't we?" he asks quietly. Heh, so I was right, he has noticed that our interest in a certain brunette boy is mutual.

"You mean with the overactive imagination when it comes to Craig? Sure."

A nervous laugh, "Yeah, but your imagination is overactive all the time."

"Can't argue with that…" I really can't help it. I've never grown out of my paranoia, but as I got older I learned to recognize it for what it was. I can't stop it, but I do realize when I'm being ridiculous.

"About the game," he brings up abruptly after a few moments of silence pass. "If you dare me to stay away from Craig, I'm not going to do it." His voice is more firm and sure than nervous now.

For some reason I feel unreasonably angry. Does Thomas really think I'm that mean of a person? What gives him the right to think that?! He doesn't know me that well; he's never tried to get to know me that well! "What, you can't bear being away from him even for a little while?" I snap, my voice betraying more emotion than I mean it to.

"Tweek," he says warningly.

"Daring you to stay away from him hadn't even crossed my mind!" I try to keep the anger out of my voice. "I wouldn't be able to stay away from him! What would make me think you're any different? Why would I think you like him any less!?" Why am I so angry that Thomas expected me to hate him instead of sympathize? Sure, I'm jealous that Craig pays him more attention, but I've never once blamed Thomas for that! If anything I blamed myself for not being interesting enough.

Thomas looks shocked at my outburst; he's backing away from me like I might attack him. I guess I don't blame him for being frightened, but the fact that he keeps accusing me of being a bad person, silently or aloud, it makes me want to prove him right. If he's going to think badly of me regardless, I might as well give him reason, right? Ehheeh. Even I know that logic of flawed, but…

"..Um, I didn't mean t-"

I cut him off by shoving him against the wide trunk of the large tree he's standing in front of.

He looks shocked and fearful again as I pin his arms above his head by his wrists.

This is silly, Thomas may be slightly smaller than I am in height but he is probably significantly stronger than I am, despite neither of us being well built. Still, he isn't making any moves to fight back.

"Stop looking at me like that," I whisper. He blinks but says nothing. "Jesus, I wasn't going to dare you to do anything having to do with Craig. What did I ever do to you to make you think I'm so horrible?" I ask gently, biting my lip and not really wanting him to answer that. What if I turn into a zombie every night during what little sleep I get, and go around attacking people… ohgod, Please don't let that be it, I'll never be able to sleep again!

Thomas opens his mouth to say something but I decide to cut him off before he speaks, not wanting to know about my terrible zombie escapades. "Can I ask… Can I dare you to do what I was going to dare you now?" I rush to ask before he can get a word in.

He gives me a weak nod and I release one of his wrists and slide my hand up to intertwine my fingers with his, pinning his hand above his head that way instead. The small white unicorn that I was holding is now trapped between our palms.

"I dare you to let me stay over your house for a week."

Thomas' eyebrows shoot up and I notice his blush from earlier has returned for some reason. Strange. "Wh-what?"

"Please?" Oh god, my voice is going to start sounding desperate soon…

"No, I mean… why?" he questions hesitantly.

"Oh. OH! I well, you know I got dared not to drink coffee for a week, and I just know I'll never be able to do it if I stay at home! It'll be way too much pressure, with my parents and all. They'll get offended or question my behavior."

Thomas lets out the breath he had apparently been holding… What? "I see. Why don't you just tell them it was a dare?"

"Because they told me if I ever gave into peer pressure they'd sell me into slavery." I state as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.

"Okay, why me then?" He asks, attempting to hide the small smile that tries to form on his lips. He can't fool me though, I see it! He thinks it's funny that my parents are going to sell me into slavery!

"…If you don't want to do it then you could have just-"

"No!" He interrupts, "I'll do it. I'm just genuinely curious, that's all."

"Well, I just…" God, how am I going to say this without sounding completely pitiful!? "Craig is really the only one that I would consider a good friend. It'd be weird to ask the other guys if I could sleep over… But, you know why I can't ask Craig." Jesus, I can feel my cheeks heating up at the thought of spending the night at Craig's house… In his room... While he's asleep… "I know we're really just 'friends' because we're both friends with Craig, but you're probably the one I feel most comfortable around other than him." I pause, chewing on my lip. "Sorry if that sounds weird…"

Thomas laughs. "No, no, it's fine. I get what you mean. I feel the same way. You're a lot less intimidating than Clyde or Token." He smiles at me and I smile back. "Sorry for jumping to conclusions, by the way. I don't think you're a bad guy at all, I was just…" he trails off.

"I understand." And I do. We're both probably uptight about the subject of Craig anyway, and even now we still don't really know how the other feels about the situation.

"What's so special about Craig that has us thinking we can't live without him?" Thomas whispers suddenly.

"Jesus, It's those fucking adorable crooked teeth, isn't it?" I reply, somewhat bewildered.

Thomas stares at me for about two seconds before he starts laughing hard, turrets induced obscenities spilling from his lips in between gasps for air as he doubles over, clinging to the front of my shirt while the other hand cradles his now sore gut. The hand he has wrapped around his own stomach is the one I had previously had my fingers interlocked with, actually, our fingers are still interlocked. He had dragged my arm down with his, forcing me to lean over at an awkward position.

I know why he's laughing, and I feel the same amusement he is feeling. It's absurd how totally in love we are with that boy, how everything about him seems so damn special. What's even more absurd is how neither of us seem to mind.

After he's finally clamed down Thomas slowly looks up to meet my gaze. We stare at each other for a moment in silence before his turrets starts acting up again, which seems to snap him out of his daze.

"Cock! I mean, shit! How long have we been out here!?" He straightens up, and digs into his pocket, pulling out his cell phone and checking the time. "…We need to go, now!"

I watch as he drags me along to pick up his backpack (which had been discarded a few feet away from us) before he starts rushing towards the edge of the woods.

"I wasn't lying when I said my mom was waiting to pick me up!" he explains fretfully as we make our way around the school building to the side the parking lot is on.

"Oh Jesus, I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to—"

"Don't be sorry. It's mainly my fault."

"But…" I want to argue the point, but when Thomas offers me a reassuring smile I sigh and change the subject. "What are you going to tell her?"

"That my rival for winning my male best friend's heart was pinning me to a tree."

I almost trip over my own feet, feeling my cheeks redden when realizing how that scene would have looked to outsiders…

"No," he laughs at my reaction. "I'll probably just tell her I was helping a friend with something. She'll understand." Smiling fondly at the thought of his mother he adds, "By the way, do you need to stop at home or are you coming straight to my house?"

"You're… really okay with me staying over?" I ask, a little shy to be accepted with open arms.

"Of course. My mom won't mind either. She's always happy to see I have friends."

If I were anyone else I would probably feel bad that his mother is so happy at the mere thought of him fitting in. My parents are the same way sometimes, so I know how that feels… "I don't want your mom to have to go out of her way without notice, so I'll just go get my stuff tomorrow, if that's okay." Tomorrow is a Saturday, so I can just walk there if she's too busy to drive me.

"Alright. So you are staying tonight then?" he asks as we near side of the building the parking lot is on.

"Yeah, if that's okay," I reply, now very aware that we are still holding hands, our fingers interlaced… Is, is it still considered holding hands if we're… not trying to? I mean, surely he doesn't realize we are, even I had forgotten we were. It just felt so natural I didn't even notice… Oh Jesus…

He must not have noticed because he's now speeding up as we enter the parking lot, now making a beeline for his mom who appears to be standing outside their car looking worried. She's the only one left in the parking lot, all of the other students and busses having left already. Oh god! What if she notices that we're holding hands! What if—wait, I have to stumble to keep up with Thomas now… it looks more like he's dragging me along rather than holding my hand, and as soon as we get within a few feet of his mom he drops my hand altogether (taking the unicorn that was sandwiched between our palms, even) . Huh…?

As I watch him explain things to his mother, I can't help but wonder… The way he pretended to drag me along and then dropped my hand all nonchalant like… he must have known we were holding hands that whole time. But then, why didn't he stop it to begin with, why did he let us hold hands for all that time…? Oh, sweet Jesus…

Thomas pauses briefly in his explanation to smile warmly at me and I smile nervously back, more confused now than I ever have been in my entire life.

Next Chapter: Kyle.