I know it took me a little while to get back to this, but don't think for one moment that it had anything to do with the fact that I don't totally and completely love everyone of you. The support for this story was off the charts in my opinion. It's really good to hear what you all think, especially when I'm out of my element.

However, this has been a bit of an eye-opener for me, but in a good way. I'm feeling more comfortable writing 'racy' stuff, which will hopefully translate well into my regular writing. Even more than that, I'm hoping that this'll give me the boost to go back to How to Hit Rock Bottom.

No, I have not forgotten about that one, jypzrose… :P

$4$

Well, I'm not paralyzed
But I seem to be struck by you
I wanna make you move, because you're standin' still
If you're body matches what your eyes can do
You'll probably move right through me on my way to you.

- "Paralyzer," by Finger Eleven


Zach wasn't the smartest guy in his class, but he prided himself on the fact that he did have his observant moments. And he knew he didn't have to be observant at all to know something was up. In a major way.

"Hey, Mage?" he asked, glancing over at his girlfriend of two years out of the corner of his eye.

She didn't say anything, too engrossed in her latest formula- she was trying to fix the glow-y white eyes thing that was currently plaguing her 'X-ray Eyes' concoction. Instead, she grunted, gnawing thoughtfully on the tip of her pen.

"What's… going on with Layla and Warren?" he asked, choosing his words carefully. He may not have understood the recent tension between Layla and Warren the past few days, but he knew enough. He had to watch what he said.

For her part, Magenta did stop working for a few seconds. She glanced up at him, arched her eyebrows, and then went back to work. After moments of silence went by, and she said, "What do you think?"

"I think that they're hooking up behind our backs," Zach stated, setting down his pencil. "And I'm just wonderin' why."

Magenta snickered. "First off," she began, "Layla and Warren only hooked up once, not several times. And the why was because they were drunk. But after that, there was no subsequent hooking up. There was just the one time. Layla's not dumb enough to repeat the same mistake twice."

Zach couldn't stop himself. He stared at his girlfriend, not sure if she was being serious or just sarcastic. She was known for laying it on pretty thick, but he wasn't always so stellar at catching her particular brand of humor.

"But… Mage, there's no way it was only one time," he said, thick eyebrows drawing together in confusion. "They've been disappearing for fifteen minutes- or more- at a time, almost everyday for a week now. I mean, what else could they be doing?"

She stopped working altogether, just so she could stare at him, completely in disbelief at what she was hearing.

"What are you talking about?" she asked, shaking her head. "You think Warren and Layla- Layla! My best friend and possibly the most innocent and naïve person I have ever met- are sneaking off, in the middle of class, lunch- even when we're all hanging out together- to hook up?" She continued to watch him, and said, "Y'know, I love you and all, but are you high?"

He snorted, finally breaking eye contact. He couldn't believe she didn't see what was going on. "And you call me blind…" he mumbled, staring down at his Heroes in History term paper.

"What did you say?"

He sighed. "Nothing," he replied. If she was going to pretend as if this wasn't happening, well, he could do the same.


Layla walked down the empty hallway, anticipation with a little bit of fear mingling together in the pit of her stomach. This was such a bad idea- this had been a bad idea for over a week, but she hadn't done anything to stop it. Hell, twice she started it on her own.

But, no, when it was over, and when she actually had more than three seconds alone to think about it, she knew that this was inherently wrong. She could not let this continue. If she didn't end it now, she would-

A tanned, sinewy hand snaked out of an empty classroom, grabbing her own, drastically paler, wrist and dragging her into the room. By this point, she was used to this little routine and didn't even blink twice.

Her back hadn't even hit the door when his mouth was on her neck, hands sliding under her t-shirt and tracing her slender figure. Her fingers dug into his scalp, whimpering slightly at his well-practiced movements. She needed to tell him… she needed to open her mouth and say…

"Warren," she moaned, tilting her head against the frosted glass door. Dammit, she needed to focus. This was getting preposterous. She was level-headed and rational at all times, but the second he put his mouth on her neck, she forgot each and everything that happened to be in her brain. "You've gotta stop doing this…"

He chuckled, and she tried her best not to feel his laugh all the way down to her toes. How was this happening? She should not feel so affected by every single little thing he did to her…

"You've gotta stop wearing these skirts," he replied, pulling one hand out from under her shirt to shove her knee-length cotton skirt up around her hips. With his other hand, he deftly unhooked her front-clasp bra under her shirt. "It's your fault I keep getting distracted."

She meant to laugh at his audacity, but it came out as more of a series of gasps as he shoved her panties down around her knees. "This is a bad idea," she finally managed to hiss, unzipping his jeans with one hand and yanking his head up by his hair until they were eye-level. "We- we should s-stop."

"Really?" he questioned, sliding a finger into her already slick center. Her insides clench, and she had to bite her lip to stop from crying out his name. "Because it certainly doesn't seem like you want to us to stop." This was followed by a second finger, and caused her to dig her short nails into his scalp and shoulder. "But if you want me to stop…"

His hand stilled, and she groaned, releasing her battered bottom lip from between her teeth. She tightened her grip on his scalp and pulled him closer, kissing him hard enough to send them both struggling for breath and scrambling for composure. "Don't even think about stopping now," she panted, tugging him a few inches closer so his body was plastered to hers. She wanted to stop hooking up like this, but there was no way he was going to stop midway through on her. She'd kill him.

When Warren continued with his mind-blowing ministrations, she breathed a soft sigh of relief and let herself fall back into the rhythm they had set in the past few days.

After all, bad habits were the hardest to break.


It was Friday, two weeks after it happened. He started a mental countdown that he couldn't stop after so long, even after everything happened. Even when he was lifting weights in the gym at Sky High, he couldn't forget any single detail of the last several days and he was convinced it was chewing him up from the inside out.

Layla and Will weren't really best friends anymore, but they were close enough that they still hung out once in a while. Will and Warren were still good friends, but for the most part Warren stuck with Layla. The only time he didn't, really, was in the weight room. After Will got his powers, he could easily bench press two or three cars, but he didn't have much to show for it. Meanwhile, Warren had the average strength of regular guy, but he worked out regularly, unlike Will. So while he couldn't bench press two or three cars (if he went maximum, it was around 200-210 lbs.; regularly, 160 lbs.), he definitely had something to show for it.

About halfway through Will's freshman year, he started working out with Warren in the weight room. They would lift, train, occasionally go out for a run around the school's perimeter, and, once in a while, they would talk. Not about girly shit Layla was always pushing on him, like emotions and feelings, but sometimes they'd discuss semi-important stuff, besides classes and teachers and lifting progress.

"I hear you and Layla got together at my party." Will started it off. He was usually the one to start off their non-conventional conversations. Warren was used to it by now- he just didn't want anything to do with this particular topic.

And, to be honest he really didn't have a flying fuck how to respond to that statement, so he just settled for a grunt and started his second set of reps.

"So I guess that means it wasn't just gossip," Will said, and Warren could hear the laughter in his voice. "Are you two going to start dating now?"

Warren set down the bar again stretching his arms across his chest so the burning in his biceps would fade some. "That would probably be a bad idea," he said, the angry rumble in the back of his throat belying his calm and collected exterior.

Will picked up a set of dumbbells- 120 lbs. each- and sat down on a bench across from Warren. "And why is that?" he asked, chuckling.

"Because that would not end well," he said, gritting his teeth as he started on his third and final rep. He couldn't decide at the moment if he was grinding his teeth because of the weights or Will.

"And why is that?"

"Because Layla needs space," Warren said, by this point gnashing his teeth. It definitely had nothing to do with the weights.

Will was snickering, the little shit. "Not from what I've heard," he said, grinning widely. "Apparently, you two are quite resourceful when it comes to finding empty classrooms and bathrooms and, oh yeah, utility closets."

Warren stopped, setting down the weights for a final time, and stared hard at Will. The younger guy had the decency to look sheepish for a few seconds. "I'm dating Jenny Frost," he said, by means of explanation. "She knows things. And tells me."

"You're dating my ex-girlfriend?" Warren asked, sitting up. When the fuck had that happened?

"Yeah," Will said, blushing a little and scratching the back of his neck. "I was meaning to tell you. "But you're kinda dating my ex-girlfriend, so it's even."

"How the hell does that make it even?"

Will shrugged helplessly. "I don't know. It just does."

Warren sighed, letting his head rest in his hands, elbows propped up on his knees. "That makes everything better," he groused, "'It just does.'"

Will stood up. "Hey, dude, don't get your boxers in a bunch because of me," he said, lifting up the entire rack of weights to do curls with. "I'm giving you the green light here. I know you've got it bad for Layla, and everyone knows it- 'cept possibly for Layla herself. But anybody with eyes could tell you that she's not exactly in this friends-with-benefits thing you two got going just for the fun of it."

He was silent for a long time, contemplating Will's words. Was it possible that he and Layla could actually work out? Their system of random hook-ups was doing fine at the moment, but every cell in his body was itching to make it permanent.

"Well?" Will finally asked, trying to goad a reaction out of his lifting buddy.

There was only one way to find out.


Layla set down the remote, letting her head fall back against the couch. Why did she keep doing this to herself? It was so dysfunctional. She was not made to be a friends-with-benefits girl. She needed a healthy, solid relationship to keep herself happy and in control, and, at the moment, she had anything but, and it was seriously throwing off her day.

Screw day. This was getting into the 'life' arena.

She got up, walking out of her living room and into the kitchen. Her parents wouldn't be home for a few hours, so she had the run of the house. Lately, that meant just spending her time pacing and obsessively checking her phone for any possible missed calls or texts.

This was getting way out of control. She needed to end it. Now.

She left the kitchen, half-jogging to the back of the house, in the dining room, where she left her purse on the table. She was just reaching for her cell phone to dial the oh-so-familiar number she had memorized by now when she heard the screened in back door swing open.

The door was always unlocked, and she spun around, eyes wide. She hated it when people surprised in on her. It was unsettling and unnecessary.

Sort of like her last two weeks.

It was Warren, of course, standing in the doorway, eyes smoldering like usual. Well, this was it. She'd had enough. She couldn't do it anymore!

"I can't, Warren," she whispered, backing up and out of the dining room. "I can't do this. It's just not right."

He crossed the room in a flash, backing her up against the wall, a situation she was not entirely unfamiliar with- in fact, as if on cue, her body was giving off all the right signs: breathless, flushed face, stomach tightening, and that damned, evil tingling in her legs all the way up to-

He kissed her, but it was unlike any of their kisses ever before. It was borderline sweet, in fact. No rush, no urging, just a simple, thorough, kiss.

"I want to date you."

Her eyes flew open with surprise, and she searched his face for any sign that he might be joking and seriously screwing with her brain. She didn't need the added pressure.

"Are you serious?" she whispered, auburn brows furrowing together. Christ, why did he keep on insisting on making her life hell? Okay, she hadn't been doing much these last few days to actually stop him (really, she was encouraging him half the time..), but that didn't change the fact that she really didn't need (or want!!!) the extra heartbreak.

He didn't answer, but instead leaned down and kissed her once more. There was a little more pressure, but otherwise it was the same as the kiss minutes before. Refreshing and almost sweet. Definitely words she wouldn't associate with Warren.

So she couldn't really be blamed when she kissed him back, albeit a little timidly. This wasn't (physically) any different from yesterday in Medulla's classroom, but it felt… better. Like there was less holding back, and more of a connection. Which was super weird, because they were only kissing.

He hauled her away from the wall and up against him, a swift moving sharply contrasting their languid kissing. The movement ripped a gasp from the back of her throat, and he used it as his opportunity to better reacquaint himself with the inside of her mouth.

Even though he had no problems pushing her, making her walk backwards, towards the front of the house, towards her bedroom, but never once did the nature of their kissing change.

Layla sighed, letting her fingers run through his hair and finally relaxing. She completely lost focus of everything, except possibly for the way his lips, teeth, and tongue felt against her own. In fact, she didn't even notice the way Warren's strong hands were not-so-subtly sliding up her blouse, inching up her sides and heating her skin until the shirt was halfway up her stomach.

She pulled away, letting him pull her shirt off the rest of the way. She couldn't stop staring into his eyes- they were always dark, nearly black sometimes, but there was a spark in them that made her feel the heat in his gaze. It left her breathless.

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" she whispered, inhaling slowly. She let her fingers traces the lines of his muscular neck, sharp jaw line, and threaded through his hair.

Warren grinned, and rested his forehead against her own. "I'm pretty sure that if I wasn't, I would be here."

She chewed on her bottom lip, and before she could lose her nerve, gave him a quick peck on the lips and pulled away, completely breaking from his (very comfortable) embrace. "Are you free on Friday night?" she asked, smiling sweetly.

For his part, he looked completely lost and speechless that she just pulled away after all his hard work. After a beat, he chuckled and shook his head, grinning. "Yes," he said, sighing, "You know I am."

Layla backed up down her hallway, never once breaking eye contact with him, until she reached her front door. Flashing him a triumphant smile, she twisted the doorknob and held the door out for him and said, "Good. I'll see you here, at 7. We'll go see a movie and get pizza."

He was still laughing to himself, but still never stopped staring at her. He followed her down the hallway and said, "Okay. Fine. I can do this. I'll see you at 7."

Before he could completely walk out of the door and say goodbye for the night, she grabbed him by the collar, dragged him close, and gave him one last kiss. It was hot and passionate, like their kisses in the past, but ther was something else lurking in the background: the promise of tomorrow. They were still going to be together. They were together.

She was looking forward to every minute of it.

"See you, Warren," she whispered huskily, and before he could properly respond (as she knew he was dying to do), she ushered him out of her house and gently shut the door closed.

And then all but collapsed against the door.

Layla grinned. Friday was going to be fun.

$4$

Alright, kind of an impromptu ending to this storyline, but the fact of the matter is, I broke 3,000 words (XD sorry, but small victories, as far as I'm concerned), and it ended the way I wanted it to.

When writing this, there was a good chance that I would turn this into a full lemon, but as I got closer to what I knew would be the ending, I realized that I wanted this to end sweetly, and without all the 'hotness' from the previous chapter. I hope you'll forgive me. :D

If I was a better person, I would write a sequel to this, because I have a feeling that's what you guys would request from me next. But the fact of the matter is, I'm not good at chaptered stories as it stands. Making a sequel to something would probably kill me. XD

If it makes you guys feel better, I'm almost done with a oneshot PWP (Plot What Plot?) that will also appear out here in the M section. So you have that to look forward to. ;)