A/N: you know what happened in 'Duped'?? we all saw it, rite??? Yes, most of us did. So what was that the perfect opportunity for???

Disclaimer: characters are not mine.


Neglected by One, Comforted by Another

The tears slipped down her pallid cheeks. Julie couldn't stand it. This was really… This really sucked. Ben hadn't even been there in one piece to watch her play. He just had to go fight some Forever Knights with Kevin. And then he also had to go see the Sumo Slammers live action 3-D movie.

One fragile hand reached back and pushed the black strands away from her face. She couldn't help but laugh at herself. She had been so stupid. She had been an idiot for even thinking to rely on Ben anymore. How could she have trusted him in the first place? He was never there for her. He was never close enough to her. She'd kissed his cheek and seeing the blush spread across his face had been priceless.

Now Julie wished she had never done it. She wished she could steal back every moment she wasted with him. That night on the pier meant nothing more to her than a quarter on the side of the street did. She always picked up those quarters anyways so they could never be out in the cold or feel a sense of total solitude.

Hating him would do no good. She hated every piece of Ben, but that wouldn't make any difference. Her wasted time was never going to be won back.

"You look really down in the dumps, ya know that?" came a voice that she knew all too well. The one that laughed at the lame jokes. The one that was an idiot most of the time and struggled way too much in fights against Gwen.

And today, she had seemed downright pissed with him. Kevin just blew her off like she meant nothing to him. His feelings ran deeper than that, Julie knew it, but she wasn't about to underestimate or overestimate Kevin. He was a pretty strange guy with a different thought process than the rest of the world. She wasn't about to question him about his relationship problems.

Her brown gaze cast upwards to look right into Kevin's obsidian eyes, the Mr. Smoothy sign behind him glowing in the moonlight. "I don't have to seem happy all the time, Kevin," the Asian American replied softly, her voice taking on that saddened tone that no one had ever heard before from her.

"But it's weird when your not smiling and giggling like a little school girl." He perched himself on the bench across the table from her. His eyes were concerned.

Julie couldn't tell what he was thinking. She wished she could. "Well when my boyfriend's an idiot, what do you want me to do? Act like nothing's wrong? Pretend like he can't hurt me? Imagine that he was there and none of this happened?"

"Or you could think of things the way I do," Kevin suggested, pushing a soda cup towards her that she hadn't noticed before.

She didn't want to be talking to an ex-con and the guy who had been obsessing over Gwen for almost a year before asking the redhead out about her relationship problems. Kevin hardly kept in touch with Ben and Gwen on plans, let alone on emotional issues. She really wondered what had brought him to her. "And what would that be?"

"Ignore him. Ben's an idiot, we all know, but he doesn't see things until it's too late." Kevin kept his eye contact with her. "He's a moron and doesn't deserve someone like you. Especially not when he can get a girl closer to his own level of intelligence."

"Which would be…?"

"Most likely a dumb blonde fangirl who would be stalking him for weeks on end without a shower or any sense of personal hygiene. That would be very, very creepy."

Kevin's smirk made Julie glad that she wasn't totally alone. He was just as conflicted in his own relationship problems as she was in hers. "Maybe he wants a dumb blonde fangirl. Ben sure seemed interested in the one at my tennis match." She felt the waterworks flooding up to her eyes, but none of those tears would fall now. "Ben's an idiot."

"Didn't I already say that?" Kevin snickered.

"Yes, but it feels so much better when I say it," the black-haired girl sighed. She reached up and wiped a bit of the moisture from her vision. Everything was too blurry to see much.

He seemed to be sensitive right now. Kevin cocked his head to one side. "You going to be okay, Jules?" he asked, softly.

Definitely concerned. She could feel it radiating off of him in waves. "I think so." Taking in a breath, she had to check and see how his relationship with Gwen was doing right now. They'd hit another rocky patch at her tennis match with not being there to watch her and to support her. Julie wondered if she'd hurt Kevin and Gwen. She questioned if that was the reason he was spending time at Mr. Smoothy with his best friend's girlfriend. "What's up with you and Gwen?" the girl asked.

Kevin didn't reply for a few moments, but he was clearly thinking things through. His eyes were processing what all had gone down behind the scenes and maybe even considering where he now stood. "She's pretty pissed and I'm just trying to keep out of the way and out of the doghouse." Going silent again only lasted for a second or two. "I mean, I know it's my fault for not staying there, but I want to keep up in the ranks of the Plumbers and stuff. I would've stayed at the match, but we can't let the Forever Knights destroy Bellwood."

Julie knew his reasoning was honest. She understood how badly he wanted to be a Plumber just like his dad. For Kevin, there was no reason he couldn't have just gone to defeat the Forever Knights and gotten back when he could. Not like the two were very close or anything. "Sorry about that."

"Not your fault." He ignored the fact that he could've just waited and Ben could've stuck around at the game for just a little longer. And not like the movie was more important than his girlfriend's tennis match. "Forever Knights kind of ruined everything for you."

Blaming the villains wasn't what Julie wanted to do. "No. I still won."

"Without anyone to celebrate with," Kevin pointed out. He drummed his fingers against the table. "You know that Ben would've put off the movie if he'd had a choice, but the Forever Knights gave him an opportunity to separate into three and he wanted to try that."

There was silence. "I hate Ben," muttered the Asian American. She felt the tears racing down her face now, knowing that if her match had been any other day, none of this would've happened. It was her fault that she and Ben had been strained in their relationship and Gwen and Kevin had been suddenly ripped apart, their bond now hanging by a thread. "I hate Ben, so much."

Kevin reached over and brushed the tiny droplets off her pallid cheeks. "It's okay. Join the club."

Not able to do anything but laugh at that, Julie did. She felt the anguish vaporize from her system. Yeah, she was pissed at Ben, but so was Kevin. And an entire planet was pissed at Ben too. She could never be alone in hating him. "Is there a membership card I need or something?"

He had to chuckle at that. "Nope. You're just in." Kevin rose to his feet and started fishing around in his pocket for his keys. "Want a ride home?" he offered, feeling the metal in his pocket, removing it and then giving the keys a shake so they jingled.

Julie looked up at him. He had given her the comfort she really needed when Ben had just neglected her entirely. It was like a punishment for just existing. And Kevin had taken the time to find her and make sure she was doing alright after all the drama of the day. "Sure." She got to her feet just as he was turning away to head towards the car. "And Kevin?"

He only glanced back at her, ebony hair falling down his shoulder again.

"Thanks. For everything."

It was a mutual understanding and Kevin said no more. He would never understand how grateful Julie truly was to have someone other than Gwen watching her back.

She had been neglected by one, comforted by another.


A/N: not straight up Kevlie, but more of Kevin knowing that he needs to watch out for Julie because she can't always protect her heart from what's going on with Ben. Not like Gwen was much help either… don't forget about the little review button. Just click that and tell me what you thought!

~Sky