Peter wished he could have been more surprised at Gary's probable involvement in Troy's night of havoc two months ago. He had been giving Smith the silent treatment since Jim showed him the written threat. That was more to appease the king than anything else. Both he and Gary knew that he'd be back by next school year. This time, he would be sure not to tell anyone.
The great bulk of his friend Jim sat next to him on the pollen splattered school steps. Zoe plopped down on the other side of the King.
"Well kids, I'd say we've done good this year," she happily opened. "All things considered of course."
"Really?" Pete was unsure if he could see the positives outweighing the negatives. Jimmy and Gord broke up. Everyone hated his own boyfriend even more than they did a year ago. Troy was expelled.
"Well yeah! C'mon Pete, it was pretty awesome. I have a great boyfriend and I feel like I'm a lot closer to people here, you two included."
Jimmy gruffed, "I'd love to hear you brag some more."
"What? You're better off too."
"You're still the king around here, and every year that you are just confirms it more. You've got more heat under you to keep the cliques in check. And you came out of your first huge breakup alive."
"I'm going to be Head Boy again next year," Petey sheepishly chimed in.
"See! Overall, it was a good year."
"Next year will be better." A heat seemed to rise up in Jimmy. "I've got a plan to avenge Troy. Want it?"
"Definitely," Zoe agreed. Pete wanted in as well. That way he could keep tabs on it and warn Gary if anything got out of hand.
The three of them began to talk about what they hoped to accomplish next year (Jimmy's revenge, Zoe a more souped-up bike, and Pete to be in the top percent of the class) and what they would miss over summer vacation. As they chewed the fat, a very familiar figure walked by among the other passing students.
"Hey Gord!" Jim called out, no longer looking upset when he said the name.
Gord turned and took a few steps in their direction. He beamed. "James, Peter, Zoe! How are you guys? I feel like I haven't seen any of you in ages."
In reality, they had all seen him around, but his nose was usually pressed into a textbook. Daddy was no longer paying for his grades. "You look good Gordo," Zoe commented.
"Thank you very much. I found a delightful new brand of clothing. Limefig. They're simply marvelous, you like?" He did a little spin to show off his pressed khakis and soft green button up shirt, causing the three to chuckle. "So what are you doing out here?"
"Oh, you know, just bullshitting. Wanna join?"
"I would love to, really, but I have other plans to attend right now."
Pete sucked in his breath and hoped it wasn't audible. Gord declined an invitation from Jim. That was unheard of! He didn't want to see the king's reaction.
"Alright, next time."
And then they continued their conversation, Jimmy nothing but smiles.
Vance had been skulking around the campus for several days now trying to find his sweet Gord all alone. That bright afternoon was no exception. Every day he had been planning his outfits carefully, wanting Gord to see him in his clean school uniform. Maybe then the two of them would just be seen as students and not a prep and greaser. He hoped that would make his Mockingbird see him in a new light. Although, if he allowed himself an opportunity to be honest, he'd admit that their ex-social cliques were not the reason they weren't together.
Wading through the crowds of excited students, Vance finally caught a glimpse of his target. Gord was walking down towards the gym. What the hell is he going that way for? He'll get himself pummeled. "Gord," he called out and then felt like an idiot because that would only draw attention to the guy. Gord did see him and gave him a polite smile, even stopping to allow Vance to catch up.
"I've been looking around for ya everywhere!" he greeted when he finally reached Vendrome.
"Really? I'm sorry I didn't notice. I've been so caught up in my studies and grades and such."
"I owe you so many sorrys and I wanted to tell you how bad I felt for the kid being kicked out and—"
"All that isn't necessary, Vance. Honest, I'm passed it all, but thank you."
"Oh," Vance kicked a boot on the ground awkwardly. "Well, do you think maybe we could just talk for a while?"
"I would love that! I could call you over the break or we could just meet up next year."
"I kinda meant now. Before we gotta go."
"I am so sorry, but I have other plans." Gord gave him a quick pat on the shoulder and started walking away. "Really, we can do that some time. I have a feeling we will be great friends again," he called over his shoulder.
Vance watched Gord as he slipped inside the gym building, not catching any heat from the jocks. He'd been friend-zoned once again. "Ouch," he muttered aloud. A breeze blew through and made him shiver some. Maybe he'd be more comfortable back in his leather jacket.
Bif sat with his back against the wall at the top of the poolside stands. A small crew was working on cleaning out the newly emptied swimming pool. He swore he could still smell burnt grass through the open window. A smaller body lowered down next to him. The tall boxer looked over at Gord and smiled weakly. "You made it."
Gord grinned back. "I said that I would. How have you been holding up?"
"Fine. It's kind of a relief, you know. The guys all know that I'm not from money now, but they're too afraid to say anything about it. Besides, it's not like I'll be back here ever again." Bif had not actually been kicked out of the Harrington House, but Derby had not spoken another word to him.
Gord pouted a little. "Don't say that; you could always visit someday."
"I suppose I could. I mean, the new boxers will do well with some of my tips." He paused and looked at the friend he never realized he appreciated so deeply. "And it'd be nice to see you again too."
"Have you decided on a college yet?"
"No. I may take a year off; I could use a break from school."
"Do you miss him?"
"Yeah, but it's better this way."
The pair shared sad grins, no doubt thinking of the boys they'd never be so close to again. Bif jumped when he felt Gord's hand on top of his on the ground. "We'll be fine," he supplied in a low voice. "Life will be nothing compared to Bullworth."
Author's Note: Thank you so much to anyone who is reading this! I'm sorry for the extremely long breaks in the story, but we've come to the end now. I'm honored that people have taken some of their time to read this story. Thank you again.