A/N: So, I promised a quick chapter! Thanks for reading :)
"So this is the Halloween fair," Allison observed aloud as she and Greg entered the town on October 31. Considering that the town was very small, she was surprised at the number of booths and tents set up. She could see carnival games, fundraisers, merchandise, and food being sold every way she looked. All of the PPA students had come to the fair, as well as many more teenagers who Allison could only assume were from some of the public schools nearby. It was quite an event.
"You like it?" Greg asked. "This is one of the only PPA rituals I haven't gotten tired of over the years."
"Yeah it's cool," Allison nodded.
"The coolest part comes in the evening," Greg said. "The whole thing turns into a big party. It's awesome. You just wait." He took Allison's hand and they walked through the booths slowly, browsing.
"Oh look, there's a booth from PPA," Allison said, pointing over to the left. "It's the Make-A-Wish club. Wanna go check it out?"
"Sure," Greg said, and they walked over towards the booth. Allison saw Amber Volakis and James Wilson standing behind the table, handing out flyers. There were quite a few people crowded around. Allison and Greg walked up to an empty space next to Robert Chase.
"Hey," Robert said to her when she approached him.
"Hi," she said back, and Greg nodded in acknowledgement. Allison saw Robert's eyes rest for a moment on Greg's face, and he looked surprised. He must not know about us, Allison thought, and she found it strange that someone as popular as Robert wouldn't have heard about that piece of gossip. But she forced herself to stop wondering about Robert as James approached them.
"Hey Allison…Greg," James said from within the booth.
"Hey," Allison said. "This is a great booth you guys have. Did you set this up?"
"Amber and I did, yeah," James said. "We're hoping to get some money for the club this way, and raise awareness."
"It's a great idea," Allison said.
"Thanks," James replied. He looked over at Greg, who had remained silent during the entire interaction. "Um, Greg…can I talk to you for a second? Alone?"
"I guess," Greg said, looking apologetically at Allison before joining behind the table to join James. The two of them headed for the back of the tent, and Allison politely turned away so she wouldn't be watching them. Unfortunately, she turned straight towards Robert. Allison gave him a small smile and hurriedly looked the other way. She could still feel Robert's eyes on her, however, and it made her uncomfortable. She was just beginning to wonder how much longer Greg would be when Robert spoke.
"So, you're with Greg now, huh?"
Allison turned around. "Yes," she said, almost defiantly.
"Hm…" Robert said thoughtfully. "Well…be careful. He just—he had some trouble with drugs stuff."
Allison felt a sinking sensation in her stomach, but she forced it to go away. She wanted to ask Robert for more details, see what he knew, but from the look on his face, she knew that Robert wanted her to show interest. He wanted her to doubt Greg. So she refrained. "Greg is amazing," she said instead. "You're just jealous."
Robert smirked. "Maybe a little," he said admittedly. "Still," his tone became more urgent as Greg headed back towards them. "Watch out." As soon as Greg had reached Allison's side, Robert slipped quickly away into the crowd.
"Well that was strange," Greg said.
"Who, Robert?" Allison asked, wondering if Greg had heard their conversation.
"No," Greg said. "James."
"Oh, right. What did he want?"
"He wanted to tell me that he had a fight with Sam," Greg said. "And that maybe I was right about her."
"Well that's good," Allison said. She wasn't really listening to Greg, however; she was still thinking about what Robert had said.
"I don't know if it's good," Greg continued, oblivious to her distraction. "It's not really like him to give in like that…I wonder if he's met someone else…"
"Hey Greg," Allison interrupted. "Can I ask you a question?"
Greg looked at her, surprised. "Sure," he said.
"Did you ever…um…use drugs?"
Greg's expression became stony. He avoided Allison's eyes as he spoke. "Have you been hearing rumors or something?" he asked quietly.
"I don't believe them," Allison said quickly. "I just wanted to know…if there's anything that you wanted to tell me."
Greg sighed. He was quiet for several moments. Finally, he said, "Look, can we go somewhere more private? I have to talk to you about some stuff."
Allison's heart sank. "Sure," she replied.
"Lawrence, give it up, you're never going to make a basket," Chris said in annoyance as he watched his friend shoot hoops at the basketball booth. "You're wasting all your money."
"Hold on," Lawrence said in frustration. "I'm gonna get it."
Chris sighed. "Whatever," he said. He tossed the stuffed bear he'd won from the same game up and down in one hand. Unlike Lawrence, he had been able to make all the baskets on the first try. Glancing at the bear, Chris supposed he should give it to Rachel. After all, he hadn't talked to her since he'd kissed…
No. He couldn't let himself think about that. Whatever had happened between him and Maya was a mistake, and it wasn't going to happen again. He had to make himself believe it wasn't going to happen again. It was the only way he could stay sane, stay with Rachel, the girl he loved. Keeping Rachel was his number one priority.
"Yo, earth to Chris," Lawrence said from beside him. "I'm done shooting. Let's go."
"What?" Chris asked in confusion, looking up at his friend. "Sorry. I was zoning out."
"Clearly," Lawrence said. "What do you want to do now? Hey, maybe we should go meet Maya and hang with her for a little while. And Rachel, too, of course."
"No!" Chris said quickly. "I mean….sorry…let's just hang out for a while. We never hang out, just us."
"Uh, that's all we do," Lawrence said, eyeing Chris in confusion. "But fine. Let's get some snacks. I'm hungry."
"Alright," Chris said, following Lawrence as they headed through the crowd.
"Hey, what's with you, anyway?" Lawrence asked. "You've been kind of weird all day. Nervous or something. Spaced-out."
"What are you talking about?" Chris asked. "I'm fine." He hoped he sounded convincing.
"Are you and Rachel in a fight or something?"
"No, we're okay," Chris said. "Why—why would you think that?"
Lawrence shrugged. "I don't know. She just hasn't been hanging around with us for a while."
"Yeah, I don't know why," Chris said. His mouth was starting to feel dry. Why did Lawrence have to bring up Rachel?
"We could have dinner with her tonight," Lawrence suggested. "If you think that will help things between you two."
Chris thought about it for a moment. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, actually, I think that'd be a good idea."
"Alright," Lawrence said. "But just to warn you, I'm gonna see if I can get some other people to come," he said. "I'm not gonna be your third wheel."
"No problem," Chris said, looking down at the bear in his hands. He would find Rachel, give her the bear, and ask her to dinner. That should prove to everyone that he still cared about her. And the IDs for the boys had been made. There was no reason for him to be around Maya anymore. As long as he could avoid her, and keep Rachel from meeting her, there was no reason why Rachel should ever know what had happened between the two of them…right?
Greg and Allison found their way to a bench on the edge of the fair and sat down. Greg took Allison's hand in his and looked at her for a long time before he spoke. "I used to do drugs," he said finally. "Not a lot. But sometimes."
Allison swallowed hard. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't think I had to. See, I haven't used them at all since last June. It's a part of my life that's in the past and I wanted to keep it a secret. I'm sorry. I probably should have told you."
"It's alright," Allison said. She looked up into Greg's eyes, which looked sad. "Remy told me you used to buy drugs a lot."
Greg's expression immediately became cold. "She likes attention," he said. "She wants to cause problems. She wants to get people to listen to her."
"Oh," was all Allison could manage in reply. She wanted to believe Greg—she really did. But for some reason, she was still doubtful. "So you're saying you haven't done drugs at all…this school year?"
"Not at all," Greg assured her. "I promise."
"Okay," Allison said. Then she remembered something else. "If you only did drugs occasionally, how did Robert know about it?"
"Robert?" Greg asked in confusion.
"Robert Chase," Allison told him. "He was just talking to me earlier."
"Well, the first thing you need to know about Robert Chase is that he's a tool," Greg began.
"I know that," Allison cut in quickly. "I just wanted to know how he came up with the exact same rumor as Remy, if it's not true."
Greg sighed. "I was caught with some drugs in my room last year," he said. "Which was ridiculous, since I used way less than some other kids in the school. But I had the bag on my bed, and one of the teachers came in to check on everyone, and he saw it. Just my bad luck. It was one of the only times I ever bought the stuff."
"So what happened?"
Greg shrugged. "Nothing," he said. "I told them that I just found the bag. They trusted me. I wasn't punished."
Allison nodded. She felt comforted by the fact that the teachers had believed Greg. That meant she could believe him too. "Alright," she said. "Thank you for telling me. I'm not mad."
Greg smiled. "Good," he said. Then he leaned forward and kissed her. "Do you want to get some food?"
"I'd love some," Allison replied.
When Chris and Rachel arrived at the Japanese restaurant, they found that Lawrence had not yet arrived. Chris was not sure how many people Lawrence was bringing, so he told the waitress that they wanted a table for a party of four, and she seated them in a booth. As soon as she had left them, Rachel leaned into Chris's side with a smile. "Thanks for suggesting dinner," she said. "I was worried that we hadn't been spending enough time together."
"Me too," Chris said. "But don't worry. That won't happen again."
"Good," Rachel said. "I love you, you know that?"
"I love you too," Chris said. "And nothing will ever, ever get in the way—"
"Hey guys," a voice said from beside them. Chris looked up to see Lawrence, smiling at him and Rachel and standing next to a windswept Maya. Chris froze. Oh crap, he thought.
"Hey Lawrence," Rachel said cheerily, standing to give him a hug. "I've barely seen you all school year."
"I know," Lawrence said apologetically. "Oh, this is my date for the evening. Maya, this is Chris's girlfriend, Rachel."
"Hi, nice to meet you," Maya said, a huge, genuine smile on her face. She glanced over at Chris and the smile became more amused at the look on Chris's face.
"You too," Rachel replied. "Um, should we sit down?"
"Sure," Lawrence said. Rachel sat back down next to Chris, and Maya and Lawrence went opposite them. Maya took the seat directly in front of Chris, and Chris quickly pulled his legs in so they would not brush hers accidentally. She looked directly at him, and he couldn't help but stare back, couldn't help but notice how the wind had turned her cheeks a rosy pink and made her look more beautiful than she already was.
"How are you, Chris?" Maya asked, still giving him that amused look. "You look a little out of it."
"No, I'm fine," Chris said, smiling weakly. "Really, I'm fine. Um, should we order? Did you guys get menus?"
"Give them a minute, Chris," Rachel said with a laugh. She turned to Lawrence. "You've got to tell Chris to stop studying so much. He's acting all jumpy."
"Chris is a weird guy," Lawrence agreed.
"Hey, shut it," Chris reprimanded halfheartedly. He was practically sweating, and he could still feel Maya's eyes on him. The waitress came by with some water, and he began to chug it eagerly.
"So Maya, how do you know Chris and Lawrence?" Rachel asked.
"Oh, we worked on a project together," Maya said with a smile, winking at Chris. Chris glanced over at Rachel, who hadn't noticed.
"That's cool, what kind of project?"
"Math," Lawrence said quickly. "It was boring. How have you been lately?"
"Oh, I've been good," Rachel said. "Just struggling though chem class. You're so lucky you moved up to bio."
"Hey, if you ever need help sometime," Lawrence told her.
"Thanks, I might take you up on that."
"I might, too," Maya said with a laugh. "That class is pretty bad."
Lawrence shrugged. "It was okay."
"Yeah, if you're a genius," Maya countered. Rachel laughed, and Chris laughed quickly as well. But inside, he was far from laughing. What had he done to get himself into such a terrible situation?
When they had finished eating and paid the bill, Lawrence headed over to the restrooms. "I think I'll go, too," Rachel told Chris.
"Alright," Chris said, very aware that this was going to leave him alone with Maya. Maya didn't seem to notice, however; she was currently rummaging through her purse and seemed not to hear them.
"That Maya seems sweet," Rachel said in a low voice. "Think anything will happen with her and Lawrence?"
Chris forced a laugh. "No way," he said. "Not Lawrence."
Rachel shrugged. "Maybe not. Anyway, I'll be right back."
"'Kay," Chris said. As soon as Rachel had walked away, Maya bumped his knee with her own. Chris turned to look at her.
"Having fun?" she asked.
Chris gulped. "Why do you ask?"
"Only because you look like you had bad sushi or something."
"I'm alright," Chris said, wondering how many times he had said that today.
"If you say so," Maya said. She reached under the table and took his hand. Chris pulled it away sharply, causing hurt to creep into Maya's eyes. "What's wrong?" she asked.
"My girlfriend is here," Chris said, panicked. "I can't be—holding hands with other girls and stuff."
"Relax," Maya said, resting both of her hands on top of the table. "Nothing's going to happen."
"Something already did happen," Chris reminded her. "I don't know what that meant to you, that night, but, well, it can't happen again. Okay?"
Maya nodded. "Alright. If that's what you want. I understand."
"You do?" Chris asked in surprise. He had been expecting—or rather, hoping—that she wouldn't let him go that easily.
"Chris, I really care about you," she said. "And I want you to be happy. I don't want to ruin your relationship. So if you want to not see me anymore…that's okay."
She sounded so defeated, and Chris felt sadness well up inside him. "Maybe we can still hang out," he said. "Just not alone…wouldn't that be okay?"
Maya sighed. "I think we both know that's not a good idea. If you are serious about Rachel…we can't risk being tempted."
Even though Chris wanted to protest, he knew she was right. He needed to be away from Maya. He knew how she made him feel, and he didn't want to risk anything. But he needed to assure her that he did care about her. He couldn't leave her like this, feeling rejected. As he opened his mouth, however, Maya stopped him. "Lawrence is coming back," she said.
Chris looked up to see his friend approaching their table. "Hey guys," he said. "What did I miss?"
Maya took a deep breath. "Nothing," she said with a smile.
"Yeah," Chris replied with a sigh. "You didn't miss anything."