A/N: I know that "No Sugar, Sugar" has never aired in the U.S. so I watched it on you tube, and once I did, I really wished that we could have seen the French teacher that Miley talks about when the girls think Oliver has a crush on the school nurse. Because I wanted to know how it went, I wrote this. Enjoy!
The Trouble With Tinkles Truscott
"Explain to me why exactly I'm going to a French Club meeting with you. I don't understand French!" Oliver glared at Lilly, struggling to keep up with her stride, even though they were about the same height.
"Miley was busy and I didn't want to go alone. Besides, they don't speak French in the meetings. A lot of people aren't taking the class." She kept her voice even, but Oliver could tell she was hiding something. She had to be. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and straightened her beret. She had been wearing that stupid hat all week.
"Lilly, why are you joining the club?" He was doing his best to keep his voice even as well, but he knew the volume would raise soon if she did not start acting more like Lilly and less like a regular teenage girl.
"I told you, I just want to learn more about the culture." And after that statement, she reached in to her pocket to find the tube of lip gloss she had been carrying to reapply.
For weeks Lilly had been like this. She was in a perpetual day dream state and he could barely get through to her. It all started with that stupid French teacher.
Lilly watched as the girls around her touched up their make-up. She saw one girl furiously attempt to blend her dark brown eyeliner with her green eyeshadow at the corners of her eyes. Lime green. And coffee brown. Huh. Another girl three lockers down from her own was trying to get grape jelly out of the bottom of her white tee shirt. She looked so frustrated there wee practically tears in her eyes. She was using a bottle of Sprite and a hairbrush though, so probably not going to be working out for her. When Lilly saw another girl desperately begin to spray her already overly processed hair with some sort of product, she decided it was time to get to class before anyone attacked her for an extreme makeover. She became especially worried when Amber and Ashley began fighting over the same tube of very berry lip shine.
She knew they were eighth grade girls, but Lilly had never witnessed quite this much "girl prep" in the hallways before. At least, not when it was not picture day. And picture day was a few weeks ago. Had she missed something? What was going on?
She asked Miley and Oliver that very question when she met them in homeroom.
"New teacher," Oliver said before taking a big bite of a breakfast burrito. "What?" he asked around a mouthful of bacon, eggs, and potatoes. Miley and Lilly were staring at him. "I'm starving. My dad made me think I was going to be late, so I grabbed a couple of these on my way out. Microwaves are the best inventions ever."
"A couple?" Lilly asked brightly. With a sigh, he handed her the one he had already eaten half of and unwrapped another from the paper towel on his desk.
"What?" he asked again when he saw Miley was still watching him. "She wouldn't be able to eat a whole one anyway."
"Ookay." Miley focused her attention on Lilly instead. "Supposedly, the new French teacher is tres cute." She tried to ignore the fact that her two best friends were now devouring what looked like breakfast barf in a tortilla shell. She slid in to her desk behind Oliver.
"What does he look like?" Lilly asked curiously, spraying a little bit of egg across the surface of Miley's desk.
"Ugh. I don't know. I haven't seen him. And would it kill the two of you to keep your breakfast to yourselves?" Miley brushed the egg from the wooden top and her lip curled back in disgust when she watched Oliver wipe his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Sorry," Lilly and Oliver said in unison."
When Lilly moved to her seat beside Miley, Oliver made sure he swallowed all of the food in his mouth before he spoke. "Why is there a new French teacher anyway? It's the middle of the school year."
"Was he sick?" Lilly wondered.
"Don't you two pay attention to the morning announcements? Oliver, you used to do the announcing!" Miley chided.
"Yeah, until that guy threatened to break my face if I didn't stay away from his girlfriend. I let him have the job to impress her, and he let me keep my face." Oliver nodded his head seriously, then quickly added, "not that I was scared or anything. I just know how much the ladies like this face." His eyes shot back and forth between his two friends.
"Like who?" Lilly asked incredulously before taking another bite from her burrito. "Hey," she cried sharply as the burrito was yanked from her hands.
"That is the last time I share breakfast with you," Oliver hissed. Lilly opened her mouth to retort, but the teacher walked in and the bell rang, signaling the start of the school day.
Lunch that day was an interesting affair for the male population of the school.
"Lilly, can you pass the salt?" There was no response, and the salt did not move. "Miley, a little help here." Neither girl even batted an eyelash in Oliver's direction. He shrugged his shoulders and stretched his arm across Lilly's plate of food to grab the salt situated between the two girls.
At the other end of the cafeteria, the new teacher, Mr. Benoit, was being instructed on the finer points of lunch duty. The eyes of every eighth grade girl were focused on him.
"I wonder why he doesn't have an accent. Not that his voice isn't great." Lilly sighed, and put her head in her hand, her elbow propped over Oliver's arm.
"Uh, Lilly? Can you move your arm?" He questioned, trying to pull the salt back toward himself. She ignored him to listen to Miley's reply.
"He's not actually from France. He just studied the language in college. I heard he got to spend a semester in Paris though. How amazing would that be?" She and Lilly both sighed again.
Oliver rolled his eyes and yanked his arm out from under Lilly's.
"Ow! Oliver! You could have asked me to move!" She sat up and rubbed her forearm where his had smacked into it.
"I did!" He bit out, shaking some salt on to his mixed vegetables.
"Oh. Sorry." She had the grace to look embarrassed for about thirty seconds before the dreamy expression returned to her face. Lilly and Miley both sat ramrod straight with bright smiles as the object of every female's attention passed their table.
"Oh, come on," Oliver remarked. He's a teacher! This is just gross."
"Oliver's right," Miley pouted. She hated having to admit that. "He's just way too old for us… even if he is so cute."
It only took about a week for the rest of the girls in school to come to the same conclusion. The entire female population seemed to realize at just about the same time that no teenage girl stood a chance with the adult. There were still some dreamy expressions and a few half hearted attempts to get the new teacher's attention, but these were tempered by the surrender of any attempts at flirting or serious day dreams. This made the male portion of the student body breathe a collective sigh of relief. At least, that was how everything seemed.
As Monday morning dawned, Lilly pulled on her favorite pair of jeans and layered a turquoise tank top over a black tee shirt. She left her favorite knit cap behind, opting instead for the newest addition to her headwear collection, a black beret.
When she climbed into the back of Oliver's father's car, Lilly was greeted with a "what is on your head?" from her best friend.
"A hat?" She buckled her seat belt and rolled her eyes. Oliver tried to turn around in the front seat, but his dad stopped him.
"What are you doing? If you want to talk to Lilly, go sit in the back seat. You can't be twisting around like that."
"Oliver, back or front. Make up your mind before I start driving."
Lilly giggled. Riding to school with Oliver's dad was always much more interesting than his mom. Mrs. Oken may have been strict on occasion, but Mr. Oken was extra careful when his kids were in the car. Lilly had heard from Oliver this was a result of him getting pulled over for speeding when his own wife was a traffic cop, right after they had Oliver. Mrs. Oken loved to tell the story at dinner parties.
Oliver sighed, and got out of the car, slamming the passenger door behind him.
"It was supposed to be my turn to sit in the front," Oliver grumbled as he slid in next to Lilly. She commenced with another eye roll.
"If you could keep your eyes off me for a whole car ride, your dad would have let you stay up front," she joked. Oliver responded by sticking his tongue out at her, and the two of them laughed.
"So?" Oliver asked once his father started driving.
"So what? Sew buttons?" Lilly asked him cheekily.
"Ha. Ha. Clever. I mean, what's up with the flying saucer on your head?" Oliver tried again and his father shook his head.
"Flying saucer? It happens to be a very stylish beret." Lilly informed him.
"Isn't that a breakfast food?"
"That's a beignet, you doughnut!"
"Lilly…" came a voice from the driver's seat.
"I say doughnut with all of the affection I have for Oliver, Mr. Oken," she said sweetly.
"Yeah, right," Oliver muttered. "Why are you wearing it?" He reached up and flicked the tip of her cap up in the front, and she hurriedly pulled it back down to straighten it, swatting his hand away.
"Lots of people wear them!" she snapped.
"You made one coffee cup that didn't fall apart. That doesn't make you an artist."
"Hey, mine was better than yours."
"Still, you never even liked to stay inside the lines with crayons."
Lilly crossed her arms and refused to speak to Oliver until half way into the day when they were having lunch with Miley, and even then, the conversation was limited.
She had her tray pushed aside and was furiously printing information on to a green form.
"Is that a schedule change?" Miley asked.
"Why?" Miley pressed, licking the pudding from the back of her spoon.
"I'm going to see if I can switch into French next semester." Lilly's cheeks were a little pink when she gave the answer and Oliver almost choked on his apple juice.
"Switch from what?" he asked.
When Lilly did not reply, Miley answered, " my guess would be Spanish. She doesn't need two languages!" She shook her head, again wondering why they put up with him. Sometimes he was more clueless than her brother.
"You can't stop taking Spanish. Who's going to help me with my homework? Miley's almost as bad as I am!" Oliver tried to take the paper out from in front of her, but Lilly kept her left hand splayed across the green, covering her answer to the section, "Reason for Transfer Request."
"Hey, at least I can memorize all of the vocabulary," Miley protested.
"That's just cause you're used to memorizing stuff for 'the other side' of you," Oliver shot back. "Is this why you're wearing your little hat?" He directed this question at Lilly again.
"What is it with you and my hat? Is there something wrong with me wearing a hat that isn't a beanie or a baseball cap? You act like I've never worn anything else." Lilly signed and dated the bottom of the form as she spoke.
"No, I just think you're wearing it 'cause you still have a crush on Frenchie." Oliver set his bottle of apple juice down with a clunk.
"That's crazy talk. He's a teacher," Miley defended her friend. "She knows he's way too old, right Lilly?"
Lilly did not answer. Instead, she pushed her chair back from the table and picked her backpack up from the floor.
"Where are you going?" Oliver's voice came out sharper than he intended.
"Jeez, Mom. I have to turn this in, and I want to do it before the bell rings so I'm not late for class." She angrily ripped the paper from the table and stalked out of the cafeteria.
Oliver and Miley decided to ignore Lilly's little crush for the time being. She would get over it eventually.
A few weeks later and Oliver almost wished that Lilly had been able to get into the class. If she had, he would not be yelling at his best friend right now.
"What do you care if I left the meeting? You didn't even notice until it was over!" Oliver sped up, trying to get away from her now instead of keeping up with her as he had earlier. He had been nice enough to wait at the front of the school for her, but now it was as though he could not get away from her fast enough.
"What is wrong with you? I thought you would like French club! It's mostly girls, and you get to try pastries once a month. It's not like you have anything better to do on Wednesdays anyway." Lilly was almost jogging at his side when he suddenly turned to face her.
"Maybe I'm sick of seeing my best friend run around acting like an idiot!" Oliver's eyes flashed dangerously and Lilly struggled to remember a time when he had been this mad… at her. Why was he mad at her?
"I'm an idiot?" She gaped at him, not grasping his reasoning.
"Do you have any idea what Amber and Ashley have been saying about you? You've been saying 'oui' so much that they've been calling you Tinkles Truscott for weeks and you've been too busy being googly eyed to even fight back!"
"Googly eyed? That's ridiculous!"
"He's a teacher, Lilly. He's way too old for you. Wearing a hat and trying to learn the language is not going to make him magically fall in love with you!" He took a step closer to her, thinking closing the distance between them would somehow help her understand.
"Says the boy who spent two years stalking Hannah Montana!" She shot back, angrily taking a step forward of her own.
"At least she was my age! And obviously, I got over that." His jaw tightened and his shoulders tensed.
"There's nothing to get over! I'm just interested in the culture!" Lilly's voice went up another notch. She had always been one to believe that the loudest person won the argument, especially if they only stuck to one point and did not waste time coming up with new defenses.
Throwing his hands up in defeat, Oliver exclaimed, "fine!" and hopped back on to his skateboard, not bothering to look back as he hurried home.
Lilly opted for the beach instead of her house. If she went home in this kind of mood, her mother would just needle her later until she spilled everything. She was not in the mood to listen to another lecture on men, or for that matter, on her friendship with Oliver.
She trudged to Rico's, hoping to nullify her anger with a strawberry milkshake. Her mood made the walk even longer than usual, and she cursed herself for getting a ride to school that morning and forgetting her skateboard. Much to her surprise, a familiar face greeted her at the counter, the very subject of her argument with Oliver. And because of Oliver, she could not even muster up the care to attempt a conversation in French, or to even be remotely excited that she was getting to see him outside of school. Her frown deepened while she waited for the shake on her stool.
"Why the long face Lilly?" Apparently he had to wait for his order as well.
"My best friend and I are fighting." Her tone was morose and her expression did not change.
"Anything you want to talk about?" Mr. Benoit's voice was concerned, but he was a teacher, he probably mastered that tone while in college.
She barked out a short laugh in response, then said, "he called me an idiot."
"Well, I don't think he meant it." He pulled a pile of hotdogs toward himself as the blond girl working the counter set them down. "You're very bright." He chuckled at the confused expression that crossed her features. She made a mental calculation that he did not know about her grades outside of her Spanish class, or her academic abilities outside of French Club.
"You're going to eat four of those?" Lilly's eyes widened. That was not really advisable. Oliver had done that once, and he spent the night throwing them back up.
"No, I'm meeting my wife and my sons. She told me to bring the boys a snack."
"Oh." Her voice was small, and when she glanced up at him, Oliver's angry face swam in her mind's eye.
"Whatever the fight was about, you guys can work it out. Talk to your friend. I'm sure he doesn't really think you're an idiot." He nodded to her and walked off.
"Yes, he does, and I think he might be right." She muttered the words under her breath, then sighed, and asked if she could get the milkshake to go.
"Oliver, open the door! I know you're in there!"
Lilly had been alternating between knocking and ringing the doorbell for the last five minutes and she was growing impatient. The garage door was up and both of his parents cars were gone, so she knew neither of them was going to come out and yell at her for making so much noise. Glancing over at her own house, she made sure her mother was not heading outside to reprimand her. She decided to take a chance on the garage.
She climbed over a pile of toys that were going to be discarded and navigated through a field of sporting equipment to find the door at the back of the garage next to the washing machine. It led into the kitchen, and much like the door to her own, Oliver often forgot to lock it. She twisted the knob, but the door stayed shut. Of course he remembered today. He was trying to keep her out. She sighed and reached behind the dryer for the magnetic box she knew would be stuck to the back. Triumphantly, Lilly pulled the key out and unlocked the door.
"Oliver!" She stepped inside and scanned the kitchen for him. The volume on the television in the living room turned up and she headed towards it. "Are you not talking to me now?" Lilly asked him, walking in front of the TV, cutting off his line of sight.
He groaned. "Don't you ever give up?"
"Fine. What do you want?" Oliver turned off the television and leaned back with his arms crossed over his chest. Lilly thought he looked the same way he did when he was six and she took his favorite video home with her, conveniently forgetting to bring it back, but she was not going to bring that up now.
Lilly took a deep breath. "You were right," she said through gritted teeth, holding the Styrofoam cup in her hand out to him.
"Excuse me?" Oliver leaned forward on the couch. "I don't think I've ever heard you say that before." He was trying very hard not to smile.
"That's because you're almost never right." She shook the cup in his general direction.
"Almost never?" His eyebrows rose.
"Oliver, I'm trying to apologize, take it or leave it."
He stood up and grabbed the cup from her hands. "What is this?"
"Strawberry milkshake. Consider it a peace offering." She pulled off her beret and stuffed it in to her backpack, running her fingers through her hair.
"You aren't going to make me go to French Club anymore, are you?" Just because Lilly agreed that he was right, Oliver was unsure if that meant she was going to give up on her crush.
"No. My mom's been trying to get me to take piano lessons again for months. I quit when we started middle school, and she seems to think it would be good for me. I think I'm going to do that on Wednesday's instead." She had made that decision on her walk over here. "If you still want to go on your own, feel free," Lilly added.
"I think I'll pass. So, what do you want to watch?" He asked her, settling back in to the couch, liking the look of her blond hair framing her face without the flying saucer topping it off.
Lilly dropped her backpack on the floor and plopped down next to him, a smile spreading across her face. "Anything's fine." She was just relieved they were back to normal.
As Oliver turned the box back on and started to flip through channels again, he took a sip of the milkshake. "Lilly, this is almost gone!"
"It was a long walk," she told him innocently.