A/N: This idea sort of came out of nowhere for me. Okay, actually it didn't. I like this guy and was reading Cross My Heart, and Hope to Spy, and everything just got me thinking so I hopped online, got the inspiration, and wrote this. It's mainly fluff-y and romance and kind of humorous because I am currently giddy.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Gallagher Girls Series which is rightfully owned by Ally Carter; nor am I making a profit from this fanfic, which is rightfully owned by me.
Stupid Magazine, part 1
Now, with my being a senior in a top-secret spy school and all, I was never one of your typical teenaged girls who hung posters of celebrities up on her walls and spent about an hour in just one store trying to decide which shirt went with which skirt (though my awareness of style and what was "in" increased fairly dramatically with the arrival of Macey McHenry.) And it also wasn't like me to obsess over an article that was titled "How You Know if He's Interested" that was straight out of a sugary-pink-bubblegum-pop teen girl magazine. So why was I sitting on my bed with that same sugary-pink-bubblegum-pop teen girl magazine open on my lap?
Oh that's right! Two words: my roommates.
Well, they were also my three best friends, but right now those three best friends were starting to highly annoy me. "Guys," I try again, "why am I even bothering with this? I still have to finish this report for COW and these files for CoveOps and—"
"Cammie, please," Bex says with a roll of her eyes, looking up from her thick stack of papers she calls her "rough draft", "who do you think we are?"
"Yeah, we already know you've finished all of your homework," Liz seconds Bex, not even looking up from her little lab station she's got going on there (Liz was experimenting with chemicals to try and make a new shade of pink, and right now the beaker looked somewhere in between magenta and fuchsia).
I frown. "Okay, but I still don't get why—"
I am cut off for a second time in less than 40 seconds (a new world record), this time by Macey.
"Look, I don't agree with all the garbage—heck I rarely agree with any of that garbage—that they put in that magazine," Macey says, pointing her nail file at the open magazine sitting in my lap, "but you girls could learn a thing or two from it."
I scowl. "So why am I reading this particular article?" I question. "Can't I just look at those 'who wore it better' sections?"
"No, because you've got a problem," Macey states simply, as if she were reciting the periodic table.
"Zach," all three chorused.
For a second I can admit that they honestly took me by surprise, but that quick second soon faded away and was replaced by exasperation and a little irritation. They're bringing up Zach again?
Okay, yes, Blackthourne was merging with Gallagher Academy and this year, our senior year, was a sort of experimental "trial" year, and yes, this meant Zach and I would be together again (whether either of us liked it or not), but with our lives not in any sort of danger like they had been when I first met Zach, there wasn't anything going on. Literally. (Okay, not literally.) Things were the way it should be—we attended class, we weren't breaking rules, we hung out as a group during free time…
It was pretty much your typical high school experience, minus the expensive mansion and limousines and high-tech equipment and learning to speak 14 different languages and getting extra credit for hacking into government systems. But you know; same old same old.
But like I said, without that threat, we were forced to pretty much be ourselves, no strings attached, no consequences or repercussions.
I wasn't sure if he was interested anymore. Sure we hung out, since Bex and Liz both had major crushes on Grant and Jonas (respectively) and because the senior class even with the boys was not such a big class. Sometimes I thought he was flirting, but at the same time I didn't; I thought he was just being… I don't know, Zach?
"There's no problem with Zach," I semi-lie, "he's just—you know. He's just Zach. And this time around, we're just friends."
"Who're you trying to kid, Cammie?" Liz asks. "You are still in love with Zach—"
"I'm not 'in love' with Zach!"
"Yes you are," Bex happily retorts, a smile on her face. "We're your best friends, Cammie, and we're also spies. We can tell."
I roll my eyes. "Fine, whatever. Think that I still 'love' him, that's your problem. But if anything, how would I know that he's still interested in me?"
Macey groans. "Look. At. The. List!"
But before I even can, Bex snatches the magazine from my lap and sits herself cross-legged on my bed, her eyes scanning the list. "If you're not going to cooperate then we shall read it aloud for you," she declares. "Now let's see this…"
I groan, grabbing my pillow and shoving my face into it.
This was going to be a long night.
"Okay, the first step here is 'watch his body language'," Bex reads.
"What about his body language?" I question.
"I was getting to that part! Jeez… anyway, here, it says, 'if he likes you, he rarely turns his back on you and he often leans towards you or tries to be close to you. If you're with friends or in a group, he's probably not too far away. If it's just the two of you, he may fidget.' Hey!" she giggles, "Zach does do all that! See Cammie, he still loves you!"
"He doesn't do all that!" I argue, but even as the words are barely out of my mouth, I think about it in my head.
However, Liz was the one who pointed everything out to me. And by everything, I mean everything, as if she had it fully detailed and in writing. "Yes he does! I mean, you guys are always the ones standing next to each other whenever we're in a group. And he always leans in to touch you—he stands so close that your shoulders almost always touch, and he always shifts every time you move or say something. Every time!"
All I do is roll my eyes because she's right. Until now, I hadn't paid too close attention to any of it, but Zach did tend to everything she had just read.
I glare at the open magazine on the bed. Stupid magazine article.
"Next," Liz says as she abandons her lab station and plops herself down on my other side, taking the magazine from Bex. "Hmm. 'Step two: notice his eye contact. If he likes you, he tends to look at you a lot. If he's the shy type, he quickly looks away once he's caught'."
I can't help but chuckle at this. Shy type? Zach? The words "shy" and "Zach" do not belong in the same sentence together.
Liz continues reading as if I hadn't interrupted. "'If he's not the shy type, he'll either try to catch your eye or, if you're already looking, try to hold your attention.'"
I thought for a minute, and I knew I couldn't find anything to say even if I wanted to, (which I totally did. Honest!)
Zach did tend to stare at me a lot, or at least all the time I had caught him staring. But because Zach was Zach and not shy one bit, he'd just smile in that curiosity-arousing I-know-something-you-don't smile he always gave me. I thought I felt he was always looking—in the Grand Hall, during class, passing through the hallways…
"Got anything to say, Cammie?" Macey asks in a slightly singsong tone of voice.
I grumble, "No."
"Great," Bex says, taking the magazine back from Liz. Were they purposefully trading who got to read next to try and throw me off? "Onto the next one! 'Step three: listen to what he says. If he likes you, and he gets nervous, he tends to talk about himself. Most guys feel the need to prove themselves.'"
Okay, this one really gets Zach. Well, aside from the "nervous" part because Zach didn't get nervous.
But he sometimes talked highly of himself, but I'd always assumed because he was either just cocky that way or he knew that him being superior to me in something annoyed the hell out of me. Never would I have thought he may be doing it just to impress me (well, it did, but everything about Zach impressed me, confused me, or did both). I guess that's why we're reading this article.
"Okay, no denying this one," Bex declares. "Zach most definitely talks about himself."
"I wasn't going to deny it!"
"Uh-huh," she says, unconvinced.
"Anyway," Liz interrupts, bringing us back to the crisis at hand, "let's just continue. 'Step four: be aware of touching. If he's interested, he enjoys having you next to him. He doesn't move away if you guys accidentally come into contact, and he may purposefully make contact with you, such as brushing your shoulders together as he passes.'"
This one made me blush, not just because it was true, but because I was suddenly remembered times that proved that it was true. He did always bump into me as we passed by each other, his hands would be on my shoulders or waist during P&E when he was trying to "make sure I was doing it right," he always seemed to shift whenever I did, and he was always brushing hair out of my face…
Macey sees my blushing, and doesn't have enough mercy on me to let it go unnoticed by Bex and Liz.
She smirks. "Jeez, Cammie, try to keep your thoughts PG13, thank you very much."
I glare, more heat rising to my face. Bex and Liz giggle.
"Just read step five," I grumble.
Macey takes the magazine from Liz's hands and gives it a look. "Okay, 'step five: watch his actions around other girls. If he likes you, he tends to treat you differently. Some guys flirt with other girls to gain your attention, and to make you jealous, so they may look at you while doing so.'"
"Zach doesn't really do stuff like that, huh?" Liz asks, and I swear I can hear disappointment somewhere in her voice.
"Because he doesn't need to," Macey reminds. "He's already got Cammie twirled around his finger, and he has other ways of getting to her."
"We love you, too, sweetie," Macey beams, handing the magazine to Bex. "Would you do the honors?"
"Gladly," Bex giggles. "Alright. 'Step six: watch him showing interest in things that you do, too. If he knows you enjoy something, such as a sport or a type of genre of music, he'll often bring it up. If you two have something in common, he may ask you to join him to also try and impress you, and to try and gain compliments from you.'"
Well, that was a pretty spot-on one, although I'm reminded why this was a magazine for teenaged girls and not for teenaged spies. Being a spy and all, it would make you look bad if you didn't know something your classmate liked. Personal secrets, probably not as much, but whether or not you were a hard-core rocker or were opposed to Christian music would be easily noted for a spy.
"Eh, we might not get anywhere with this one," Bex says, bringing me out of my thoughts. "Step seven says 'check signs for nervousness.'"
I was in full agreement. Like I mentioned before, Zach didn't get nervous.
"Not exactly," Macey corrects. "Zach's a spy, and we all know we're specifically trained not to show signs of nervousness, especially when we're in cover."
"Alright, then we'll skip step seven," Bex announces. "So, that brings us to step eight. 'Step eight: pay attention to his friends.'" Now it's our turn to smile. Macey and I grin at each other, then at Bex and Liz, who are beginning to color. Bex clears her throat and continues. "'If they know he's into you, they might tease him subtly when you're around, hint to you that he's interested, or even try to find out if you're interested too. If you do something that hints that you are, they'll often smile and/or look at him.'"
"I guess Bex and Liz aren't going to be much help with this one," I say, grinning wickedly, winking at Macey.
She plays along. "Yeah, I guess. They're usually too busy paying attention to other things about Grant and Jonas."
"That's not true!" they deny in unison, blushing as furiously as I had been a few minutes ago.
I roll my eyes. "Uh-huh," I drawl, mimicking Bex's words and tone.
Liz clears her throat, taking the magazine from Bex. "Never mind. Let's just keep going. 'Step nine: look to see if he imitates to you. Pay attention to things such as if you get up, he usually follows shortly after. Also, he may offer you to join him in doing something, such as homework, or subtly or directly asks to join you.'"
"Well that one's easy," Bex says. "Of course! I mean, Zach always invites you to do things with him, doesn't he?"
"We're friends, remember?" I remind with a shrug. "It could just be a friendly thing."
"But do you ever hear or see him offering the same things with anyone else?" Macey questions.
"Then obviously it means he's just trying to get to you," she points out.
I sigh. "What's step ten?"
"'Step ten,'" Bex reads, "'pay attention to teasing. If he teases you a lot, it may mean he's interested, or it could just be part of his personality. But if he teases you and doesn't tease any other girl that way, it most likely means he likes you.'"
"Case closed, Zach likes you," Macey declares. "Of course, we already knew that, but you just needed some convincing."
"He does not," I argue. "We're not even finished!"
"But he does tease you and no one else," Liz points out.
"Fine. Just keep reading."
Bex smiles smugly. "Alright, Cammie dearest, whatever you say. Next is 'step eleven: pay attention to hitting. Some guys mock-hit, or playfully hit you, as a way to show that they are interested, however it also may be a friendly gesture. You can tell if he's interested if he laughs while doing so. If you hit him back, you may be telling him you feel the same way.'"
This might not be the best of tips when you're a spy, but sure enough, it was all there.
"And last but not least," Liz exclaims before I have a chance to say anything, "'step twelve: listen for compliments. If you do something such as change your hairstyle or make-up, and a guy compliments, it's a good thing. This means he is deliberately noticing you. If you guys are good friends, this may also be a friendly gesture. But if he tends to compliment you very often, he is most likely trying to get your attention or hint that he has a thing for you.'"
"Okay, now it's official!" Bex squeals. "Cammie's in love!"
"Hey, I thought these were all signs telling me that Zach likes me?" I remind.
"Yes, and since we already know you love him back then you two are madly in love!" Liz exclaims.
I sighed, knowing there was no use arguing. Eventually, when it becomes late, we clean up and go to bed. I glare at the magazine, ignoring the giggles from my roommates (well, from Bex and Liz; Macey doesn't giggle, she just laughs) as I toss the magazine onto my nightstand and switch off the lights.
"Stupid magazine," I muttered.
The next day during breakfast, it was our usual group at the table—the four of us, plus Zach, Grant, and Jonas. Zach slides onto the bench beside me, causing soft giggles to be heard, causing me to kick Liz in the shin; kicking either Macey or Bex would just end badly on my account. Zach looks at me, then down at my glass of orange juice and flash cards where my breakfast was supposed to me, and playfully tsked.
"Eat, Gallagher Girl," he commands, cutting off some of his French toast with his fork and hovering it by my face.
I shrug. "Not hungry," I simply say.
"I think you're lying."
I smirk, which makes him blink in surprise. "You're right," I say, "I am hungry." And I grab both sides of his collar in my hands and smash my lips onto his. I hear the gasps around us, and a sound I presume is Zach's fork clattering onto the table, but I'm a little too distracted to be sure, (especially when he kisses me back just as feverously.)
And I can't help but smile into the kiss for a reason other than the obvious.
I can't believe what that stupid magazine has gotten me into…
A/N: Yeah, this one turned out longer than I thought it would. I thought it would be fun to write because Cammie and everyone else may be spies in trainings, but they're still hormonal teenagers with teenage problems, right? I did not make the reasons up, by the way, I just Googled 'em and clicked one of the search results.