O.K. so I know you all have a right to be mad for the ridiculously long wait. I know I'm pissed I didn't get this out there A LOT sooner (it's actually been collecting dust in my word documents for awhile.) It's been totally hectic in my world for quite some time now. I found out my Grandma had Stage 4 cancer, I've been trying to get all my collage stuff in order, and I've been showing a foreigner around the beautiful U.S. of A. so I haven't had as much time to work on this as I would like, but with some speedy input I think I can churn out another chapter by this time next week.

Sorry again for the delay and hope you enjoy chapter 5.

Disclaimer: I own nothing. Not even the dress I wore to homecoming.


Ten years is a long time to wait.

But it actually wasn't that bad.

Before the Unforgettable Field trip I had never actually paid any attention to the new music teacher. She taught the older kids and I didn't take her class; but I'm really glad we met that day, and not just because she saved me from total humiliation.

Mrs. Barnes turned out to be one of the nicest adults on the planet, and she was the first teacher at Umbrage Academy to really spend time getting to know me. She was a regular fieldtrip chaperone so we would talk during the weekend library visits; it was like having my own personal guidance counselor. It was the first time I could rant to anyone about my fantasy books, or my personal studies and know they would really listen.

It helped me from getting too depressed that I had almost had another adult who would listen.

Mrs. Barnes tried to get me into music; I almost joined orchestra just to spend more time with her. Two weeks was long enough to realize that I had no talent for it.

But Mrs. Barnes insisted that "every young woman needs a creative outlet." So I finally told her that I liked to draw.

I don't know why she was so surprised when she saw my notebook filled with sketches; I told her I got in that fight with Cassidy because she took one of my drawings.

"Well, yeah," Mrs. Barnes said when I reminded her about the fight, "But I didn't know you could draw like this. Danielle, these are incredible."

I blushed so hard; I swear my ears turned red.

Despite all my protests to the contrary, Mrs. Barnes declared me a fantastic artist and constantly tried to get me to enter my pictures in art contests and the like.

It was a bit of an ego booster to be perfectly honest. It also almost successfully distracted me from the fact that my only friend was a teacher. How lame is that.

But I started to get sad, just like any kid without friends is bound to do, and ten years was seeming like an eternity away.

Then Mrs. Barnes had her daughter transferred to Umbrage Academy for 5th grade.

Becky was who really kept me going all those years, I'm a little scared that if she hadn't have been around, I probably would have completely isolated myself from my age group.

We weren't BFF's right away. That was no surprise. Becky had that go-lucky attitude people loved, and she was "cool Mrs. Barnes" daughter, AND she was probably one of the prettiest girls in the school. So Becky was popular.

And me, well, I was "rabies girl"

Honestly we probably wouldn't have even been friends if Mrs. Barnes didn't try so hard at it.

She would invite me to sit with them at lunch, or she would "convince" Becky to buddy with me during school activities. I kinda felt like a burden really. It was like that for a year.

Then we were in 6th grade, and I actually understood the course material.

Mrs. Barnes asked me to tutor Becky, because she wasn't too great with math and science. Since it was Mrs. Barnes asking, I couldn't say no.

For about half the year the routine was simple; Becky would show up in my room with problems, I'd help her work them out, we would make awkward small talk, and then Becky would run off to hang with her cool friends.

Then Becky got her first "boyfriend" and stopped coming to tutoring all together.

His name was Chad Something-or-other and he went to the neighboring Fudge Academy for Boys. Now I know that sounds like some sort of chocolate factory, but it isn't. Fudge was the guy who founded the school decades ago.

Fun fact for ya, Fudge is a synonym for lie, cheat, and fabricate. It's incredibly fitting.

Chad was an 8th grader and all of Becky's friends thought it was "sssoooo cool" that she was "dating" an "older guy."

She would go on and on about him at lunch, oddly enough they "dated" for 4 weeks before Becky exclaimed that "he's the one" and that she was "so in love."

Of course I didn't hear any of this first hand, I wouldn't have heard it at all if her voice didn't carry so easily in the cafeteria.

It took another 2 weeks before he dumped her, after she had caught him kissing another girl, of course.

I'll never understand how so much drama can happen between middle school students in separate boarding schools.

I didn't get the courage for months to ask her why she came to me that night; tears strolling down her face, and sobs escaping her lips.

"You're my truest friend" she had said. She became my best friend that night, but the spot for my favorite person was already filled.

After the "Heart Break of 6th grade" Incident (as we later dubbed it) Becky and I didn't just hang out during tutoring and with her mom. We actually did stuff, just us, no school work attached. She gave me my first Pedi, I had my first "sleep over", she got me to watch those cheesy chick flicks, and I made her watch Star Wars. It was great.

I even told her about Balthazar. I wasn't going to, I really wasn't. But she was rifling through my notebook without my permission or supervision and came across his face.

O.K., so she came across multiple sketches of his face, and body, and store, and even a fully colored close up of his eyes.

"Who is this?"

"Who is wh-" My words stopped and my eyes went wide.

"This guy." Becky looked away from my notebook and toward my shocked expression; she flipped through the pages a few more times before a sly smile spread across her face.

"Danni, sweetie, does someone have a crush?"

I lit up like a Christmas tree and grabbed for my book, but Becky moved quickly out of my reach and flipped through more pages (I dedicated quite a few to that day in Arcana Cabana, specifically to Balthazar) adding commentary all the while.

"You know I always wondered why you never liked any of the local cuties, should have figured you go for older men. But what's with the duster cloak? And what kind of man where's that many rings? The long hair is kind of hot, I guess."

"Becky," I had begged "please give that back." I couldn't let her see the pictures with the plasma bolts, or of the Cockroach man, or of the nesting doll.

"Tell me his name, how you met him, and how much you like him. Then I promise I'll give it back."

Figures an 8th grade girl would ask those questions. But I gave in, I couldn't let her see anymore or I would have had to answer a lot of much harder questions.

"His name is Balthazar, we met when I got lost on a field trip when I was 10….he gave me my dragon ring." Becky's eyes went wide.

"Seriously? And you're just telling me about him Now? I've been asking for the story behind that ring since we met!"

She had, but I instantly regretted adding that bit of information. The goal had been to make her forget about the whole "how much do you like him" thing but I could see the questions bubbling up her throat. Becky never was good at containing her curiosity.

"So, what, you meet this guy and he's all like 'Hi, I'm Baltar, here's a ring'?"

"First off it's not "Baltar" his name is Balthazar. Second off…..actually that's pretty much how it went." So not exactly, but close enough to the truth. I was not about to tell Becky details and specifics; I enjoy having a friend my age who doesn't think I'm crazy, thanks very much.

"That is so weird."

"I completely agree."

"But you still didn't tell me how much you like him." Damn.

"I….H-he's…..God Becky I don't know. I haven't seen him in four years and I only knew him for less than half an hour." So there's no way she would understand if I was honest and told her that he was the most important person in my life.

"Would you date him?"

"Yes." It was automatic, no thinking necessary.

"Then you like him a lot."

"Yeah. I do."

When we got to high school nothing really changed between us. I was in all advance classes and she took as many music electives as possible. Even with being a "band geek" Becky was considered part of the "in crowd" but she never once ditched me. In fact, she spent more time with me than ever. Becky was always dragging me to parties I wasn't invited to and trying to get me to join clubs and go out with boys.

I didn't date. I usually left the parties early. I did join some clubs though. I was in National Honor Society, Latin Honorary Society, Beta Club, and (through Becky's insistence) Art club. Despite that, and despite Becky's efforts, my social life was rather lacking in high school.

Not that my social life got much better during collage.

Mostly I just focus on my school work and my Tesla Coil project. Sure I talk to my professors, and I have some friends inside my classes; but Becky's still the only person I actually hang out with. My mom and Steve moved back to NY a little after my freshman year began; I'd say we made an attempt to be a happy family, but that would be a lie and I'm still a bad liar. Years after the initial hostilities Steve and I still don't hit it off, but at least having my mom in the same state gave me a free place to store the stuff I didn't want to get jacked by a dorm mate. I don't stay with them during the holidays and I don't drive over for brunch; they've never even asked that I would. So despite having parental units nearby, I had no family life outside the Sister of my Soul, Becky. Which works for me; some people need a sister, a best friend, a roommate, and a party buddy but I just need Becky, my all of the above.

So, yeah, compared to my tenth birthday my life has been pretty mundane; but I can't ignore the nagging in my brain, that insistent voice telling me that it will all change tomorrow. It's been ten years, to the day.


So, yeah, that was Chapter 5. A few questions for all you guys who are still with me

1) What should Horvath say about Danielle's drawing? I'm no artist so I don't know what a sufficient "burn" would be.

2) This is incase the spacing didn't happen the way I wanted it to, how in blue blazes do you put chapters onto ff without ruining the way you spaced your story? It's driving me bonkers!

3) Any criticism is appreciated, did I do alright?

Give me your feedback and I promise to do all I can to have another chapter by next week! Thanks for keeping with me!

P.S. I solemnly swear I will not abandon this story for any reason except death, and even then I'll just possess someone with a computer to finish it. I'll try not to ever make you guys wait that long again!