(Cat's POV)

People tell me I'm crazy all the time, so I'm not really sure why I'm so upset right now. Maybe because Jade is scary and meaner than most people.

The bathroom floor is cold. And I know it's gross to have my cheek to the linoleum floor of a girl's bathroom, but I don't care. I can cry here. It's after school hours and the only people left are the teachers. If they come in, I'll stand up and brush my hands through my hair and walk out like I just peed because that's what people do in bathrooms. Jade won't find me here, she has much better things to do. Calling me 'a crazy person in desperate need of confinement' isn't the most fun thing Jade can think of.

I mean, I know I'm not exactly 'there', but it's not my fault. At least, I like to think it's not. False optimism is hard to muster, but I think I do a good job of it. And my thoughts are kind of all over the place but it's mostly a distraction and my mom says I need medication but I'm not worth the money.

See? I got lost there for a second. That happens sometimes. I get lost in my thoughts that jump from place to place and somehow I'm in a totally different place than where I started but I think that's probably because I don't want to be where I started.

I was talking to Robbie and he doesn't laugh at me like everyone else does. He's nice to me. Even his puppet, Rex, is kind of nice to me, even though the whole doll thing hitting on me is weird. I like the strangeness of it, though. I like strange things.

Anyway, I was talking to Robbie about the ballet class he's taking because he thought it was full of girls but actually there's only one. I was laughing with him and I said, "I bet you look fabulous in pink. Pink is my favorite color. It's the color of my underwear! Actually, it's the color of all of my underwear." And then I noticed a strand of hair in my eye and I picked it up and examined it like I had never seen it before and I said to Robbie, "Maybe I should dye my hair pink like my underwear!"

I didn't know Jade was walking by. I don't say much when she's around. She scares me. She's got the eyes of a hawk or maybe something even more vicious than that - a mountain lion. People instinctively shrink under them because it's like she can see the color of your underwear or something. It's freaky. She's freaky.

She paused next to Robbie and I and Robbie turned toward the locker like he was trying to hide but I just looked at Jade and smiled. "Hey, Jade! I like your scarf." I actually didn't, but I said it anyway. It was purple and it had silver, sparkly skulls on it. I mean, maybe I would have liked it if someone else was wearing it, but Jade makes everything she wears look like if you tried the same outfit, she would set you on fire. There's actually a rumor that she did set someone on fire, some girl that was hitting on Beck, but it was never confirmed by Jade. Or denied.

She curled a lip at me like a dog does to another dog and she flicked her brown hair at me and put one hand on her hip. I know this stance, it's the same one my mom does when she's about to yell at me. Jade's eyes, which are framed by far too much dark make-up that make them look bruised, crawl up and down me like she's trying to decide if I'm worth slamming into the locker. She's so mean, I've seen her do worse things to people have done nothing but look at her. She finally meets my eyes but I haven't lost the firm smile on my face because, I don't know, sometimes my emotions don't line up with my thoughts very well.

"Are you mentally challenged?" She scoffed and twitched her hair again. Finally, my smile fell, and I stared back at her with my hands on my hips.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I shot back at her. I say that a lot. Sometimes I'm not sure what people mean. I'm not good with sarcasm or anything.

"You must be," she continues, laughing. "You're a crazy person, Cat, in desperate need of confinement. You're aware of that, right?"

I stare at her for a while and take a step back until I meet the lockers. "I'm not crazy."

Jade laughs again and shakes her head. "Crazy people don't know they're crazy and definitely wouldn't admit it. I heard your mom sent you to the loony bin when you were a kid, is that true?" She's smirking at me now and I don't like it and I want to tear her lips right off of her pretty face.

I don't say anything because maybe if I don't confirm it, she won't believe it all the way. I mean, it is true. I was in a children psychiatric hospital when I was a kid, but I was really messed up then and I'm better now. I'm much, much better now. I think.

She snorts and starts walking away again. "Thought so." That's all she says and then she's out the door and for a short, weird moment I wish I was her. I wish I had normal thoughts because I know she has them. Everyone does but me.

"Cat," Robbie says next to me and I look at him with surprise. I forgot he was there for a minute. "Are you okay? You look like you're about to cry."

"Don't be silly." I smile and I know it looks a little manic because Robbie doesn't look assured by it like I wanted him to be. I laugh and touch his shoulder. "I'm fine. I have to hit the ladies' room before heading home, though, so I'll see you tomorrow. Bye, Robbie!" I spin on my heel and hum as I skip away. I don't really feel like humming or skipping but my feet do and faking happiness is a specialty of mine.

And I'm still here. I think it's been an hour maybe, I don't know, time doesn't really have a substance when your thoughts are all excited and ricocheting off the walls of my head. It's not like it matters. I have a phone but my parents won't call because they like my sane brother and not their crazy sister. Daughter. Daughter.

The door squeaks open. I sit there for a second until I realize my earlier plan of just standing up and getting out. I smile in practice and then I'm up, rubbing my cold cheeks to make sure the evidence of my crying session are gone. I smile at the door and when I step out I'm laughing. Standing at the mirror with her back to me and fixing her lip gloss is Tori.

She looks over her shoulder and raises her eyebrows, smiling. Tori's actually very pretty. Jade says she's ugly but she's not. Tori's got this long, pretty brown hair like chocolate and her skin is like lighter chocolate. I like chocolate and I like that Tori reminds me of it. She's all snug in this black skirt and a heavy green top that slides over one shoulder. I reach out and touch her shoulder and she just kind of watches me in silence. I think she's used to this, these things I do without really thinking about them. I curl my finger around her shoulder and finally look up. "Hey, Tori. You look really cute today. Don't worry, I didn't pee, so don't think I have germs or anything. Why are you still here?"

She laughs and doesn't even move away from me like most people do. "I was about to ask you the same thing." Tori had a kind of deep voice compared to mine but I liked it because it was like she was always stuck in flirty, sex mode or something. I'm probably the only one who thinks that, though. She leans against the sink and I take my arm back and hold it with the other, shrugging and still smiling at her. When I don't say anything, Tori coughs and straightens her back a little. I made an awkward silence on accident. I do that a lot. "I stayed after to help Mr. Sikowitz. Apparently we're doing a session tomorrow on how to act like the opposite sex." Tori frowns. "I had to fit Sikowitz into a wedding dress. I'm ... a bit disturbed by the image."

I laugh and she chuckles and then she raises her eyebrows at me again like she's waiting for something but I forgot what it was.

"Cat, why are you here?" She laughs when she says it but I don't feel offended like I would have had it been Jade. "If you were in the stall and didn't pee, what were you doing?"

I look over my shoulder because I kind of forgot what she was talking about. "Oh," I say, twirling around to look at her again with a smile that cracks my face in two. "I do some of my best thinking in the bathroom."

Tori just smiles at me and shakes her head a little bit. She thinks I'm weird, I bet, so I ask her, "You think I'm weird, don't you?"

Tori laughs again and she has a really pretty smile and plump lips and straight, white teeth like piano keys. Maybe that's why she's such a good singer, better than I could ever be, because she has musical instruments in her mouth.

"Yeah, I do," she says with another laugh, reaching out with her hand all warm on my cheek and she leans forward. I don't know what happened then, it's like all of my other thoughts went away for a second and it was just Tori there. There was silence in my head, like total silence, no thoughts running in the background. I even forgot about Jade for a second. I focus on Tori's mouth when she starts talking again, and she says, "But I like that about you, Cat."

She steps away from me and her hand is gone. The thoughts start buzzing again but I try hard to focus on her and I'm actually succeeding. "I like you too, Tori. We should hang out sometime, you know. One on one."

I feel like I'm asking her on a date and maybe I am. I want that silence again, and I want her eyes looking at me again like I'm not psycho. Even though I am. It's nice not to be reminded.

She nods. "Yeah, we should." She studies me for a moment like she's deciding something and I hope it's not whether or not she's going to actually follow through with that. "Busy Saturday? You could come over for a girls' night. You and me."

"I'm not busy." I'm never busy.

"Great." She grins again and explosion of noise that sounds like a circus comes from her pocket. I love the circus. It's all over the place, like me, and I like that a lot. I'm thinking about elephants and clowns before I realize Tori is already off the phone and smiling at me. "I've got to go, Mom's here. I'll see you tomorrow, Cat, and we'll make the rest of those plans, okay?"

"Okay. I told you that you look cute today, right?"

"Yeah, you did. Thank you. So do you. Very cute." She winks at me and it's really, really cute and I don't know how to take it but I know how I want to take it. If you know what I mean. And then she disappears out the door and I smile after her before grinning into the mirror.

Tori doesn't think I'm crazy, and that's all that's important. Tori is better than Jade. Way, way better.


This will probably be a very long, multi-chaptered Tori/Cat fic. I hope you enjoy it! Please leave reviews!