Contrary to the belief of the school body (save Virgil and Charlie), Zeke Thompson really wasn't a hateful person. Sure, he would beat up the occasional douche that threatened his friends or give the odd teacher his "Back-The-Fuck-Off" glare when approached about a missing homework assignment, but that didn't mean he hated everyone and everything. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find even one thing he truly loathed with all of his heart and soul - unless you ever ran into him on Valentine's Day.

As cliché as it may seem, Zeke could not stand that one day of the year. All of the gooey couple stuff flying around made him sick to his stomach. What higher being decided that it was a good idea to designate one day of the year for people to pretend that they were absolutely besotted with their significant other? And really, why did teachers think that it was a good idea to assign PROJECTS that day? And they weren't just regular projects, either. No, they had to be about FRIENDSHIP and LOVE and...

It was enough to make him gag. And now, because Virgil HAD to start dating that Stephanie girl, he had to witness all of this, not from afar, but up close and personal. All of the "Awww-you-look-adorable's" and "Oh-you-shouldn't-have's" and the stupid presents that were supposed to be symbolic or some shit like that. He was not going to sit around watching this.

No way in HELL. He valued his sanity too much.

And that was why, during lunch, he grabbed his things and abruptly got up from the table.

"Zeke, man, where are you going?" Virgil was, of course, addressing his taller friend, but his eyes never strayed far from the blonde bombshell in his arms smiling up at him. Zeke, of course, noticed and felt his lip curl into a sneer.

"Going to class," he grunted, heaving his bag onto his shoulder and inadvertently knocking Charlie in the back of the head with it. The 14 year old shot a glare at Zeke, which withered almost instantly under the intense look he was receiving. Grabbing his backpack quickly, he scrambled up and after the tall senior. Zeke was well aware that the small boy had to run to keep up with him, but he couldn't care less. All he cared about was getting away from Virgil and his girl.

"Zeke, wait! Come on, slow down!" Charlie called after him, racing to catch up. Finally, Zeke paused and allowed him to reach him.

"W-what's going on?" Charlie gasped, clutching at the stitch in his side. Zeke rolled his eyes.

"I couldn't stand watching Romeo anymore," he jerked his thumb backwards at the cafeteria as another couple came out, holding hands and gazing into each other's eyes, occasionally smiling and leaning in for a kiss.

"God, that is disgusting," Zeke scoffed as the two lovebirds passed them, still looking at each other and consequently almost running into him.

"Couldn't you be a BIT more tolerant, Zeke?" Charlie looked up at him, exasperated. He had heard all of this before and was, quite frankly, getting a bit sick of it.

"I mean, it's Valentine's Day."

"Christ, Charlie! Just because it's Valentine's Day doesn't mean squat to me, alright?!" he snapped, causing Charlie to jump back in shock. Seeing the look on his face made Zeke pause and try to control his anger.

"Look," he sighed, running his fingers through his hair.

"This whole Valentine's Day is a crock, alright? It's...it's just..." he floundered around, looking for just the right word to describe his contempt for the supposed holiday. He began to get flustered and he felt his anger return, his face burning. Biting his tongue, he turned away from Charlie and stalked off to his English class, leaving Charlie wondering what in the world was going on with his friend.

If Zeke had expected any relief from the day's nonsense in this class, he was sorely mistaken. The teacher, like half of his other teachers that day, had thrown together some stupid project. And of course, it couldn't just be any project. No, it had to be about MAKING FRIENDSHIPS.

But this teacher had gone too far. Mr. Johnson had set up a pen pal program with another school. And it wasn't just any school, nooooo. It was with Summerton High's rival school.

The class was in an uproar. How could he do this to them? And on VALENTINE'S DAY, no less! Almost instantly, most people decided that they would refuse to do the project. Rebel against the madness! This was an outrage!

And then, the teacher dropped the bomb: this project would mean the difference between a pass and a fail.

"Of course," he continued with an almost evil-looking smile on his face. "You will not have to write the first letter."

He held up a large envelope and proceeded to pull letters out of it, calling up the recipients. Grumbling, everyone got their letters and returned to their seats, ripping open their envelopes and scanning the letters.

"And finally, Zeke Thompson," the teacher waved the last letter in his direction. Shooting him a fierce glare, Zeke shuffled up to the desk and snatched up the letter before making his way back to his seat. The class had gone silent, save for the scratches of pencils as people scrawled out their replies. As he finally took the chance to examine his envelope, he noticed that the handwriting on the front was excruciatingly neat. Had he seriously been stuck with a popular? Groaning quietly, he ripped open the envelope and took out the letter.

Hello, Zeke! it began.

I suppose this may be slightly awkward for you, if only for the fact that I know your name and yet you had no clue I existed until you received this letter. To remedy this fact, I shall tell you my name now. It's Julie.

We were told to ask our "pen pal" questions, and so my first and possibly only question to you is: Are You Gay?

Zeke paused for a moment, rereading the question. Had she actually written that? He blinked and continued reading in hopes of some explanation. He didn't have to read much farther.

The reason I asked you this is simple. My older brother (an idiot, but I love him anyways) found out about the letter assignment, although I tried my hardest to keep it a secret from him.

Anyways, he thinks that, as we exchange letters, we will form a tight-knit camaraderie, which will then blossom into a sweet innocent love, and we will thus ride off into the sunset on either a horse or some kind of motorcycle - I suppose it depends on what sort of Prince Charming you are.

As I doubt that that explained my question sufficiently enough, I will spell it out for you, plain and simply: if you are gay, then this Prince Charming "fantasy" will not occur, thus making my brother wrong. Although I can assure you I really have nothing against homosexuality. It's just that then the fantasy would be rendered useless.

As I sit here at my desk, writing this letter, a thought has occurred to me: are we ever to find out what we both look like? I mean, obviously I have a picture of you in my head, but I want to know if it is accurate. Do you have a picture of what you think I look like? I would love to hear it. My picture of you is really quite simple. I think that you are tall and slightly scary-looking. Possibly brunet? Dark brown eyes are definitely a given, I suppose. A muscular build, I think, would look best.

It would be much appreciated for you to tell me just how accurate I was. Apparently, I have somewhat of a knack for guessing others appearances. It's been described as "spooky" before!

Alas, class time is up and I must stuff this letter into an envelope. Best regards!

Yours,

Julie

And THIS was his pen pal?

Maybe some girls weren't as boring as he had thought.

A/N: Um...Merry Christmas?

I'm not too crazy about the ending, but it'll work. Zeke's response will be in the next chapter!

Reviews and constructive criticism are definitely welcome!