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„This will be a great sleepover. And the best is that Michael has decided the M&Ms will not be present this time." Lyndz was happy that this time her brother was reasonable and would be at Marco's this weekend. It had cost her dearly but at least her friends and herself would have a sleepover at her house without any problems. Rosie, Kenny and Fliss all cheered at the last statement but Frankie seemed to be somewhere different with her thoughts. "Frankie, didn't you hear? This is great." Fliss said. "Yeah, what is it with you? You have been acting strange this whole day." Kenny added. Still there was no reaction from the brunette girl. "One, two, three FRANKIE!" Rosie yelled. Frankie looked up startled. "Hmm?" "Finally, she is with us again." "Tell us what is wrong with you? You seem to be dreaming or sleeping this whole day." Kenny said and Rosie added "She's been doing this for the whole week, if I remember correctly. Did something happen on the weekend, Frankie?" The addressed girl tried to keep her blush in check and said "No, I just have some trouble sleeping the last week and seem to drift off during the day. By the way I think I will go home and try to sleep so that I won't miss the sleepover because I'll be lying there sleeping. See you all tomorrow in school." Then Frankie disappeared as fast as she could. She did not like to tell the girls a lie but she reasoned that it hadn't been a real lie because she had had some trouble sleeping. The reason behind this, however, was a secret that she wanted to keep from the others. Rosie had been correct in her assumption that something had happened at the weekend.
Frankie had been laying on the beach, her dog was running around and she tried to tan. Lazily she studied the few other people at the beach and in the ocean. Or more correctly on the ocean, surfing. A boy her age came to her attention, he was only wearing shorts which showed his six-pack and Frankie couldn't help but stare. He was wearing glasses and was quite good at surfing. Only when he came nearer to the beach Frankie recognised him. It was Matthew, the Matthew, the boy who had been annoying her since she was little. "And I thought he was really cute." thought the terrified girl. "At least he doesn't know that I have been ogling him. God, does he have to flex like that. Bad thoughts. I hate him, he is annoying, he's Matthew. I have to stop looking." After her mental rant she finally was able to look away and searched for her dog because she didn't want to stay one minute longer at the beach after this mortifying event. She whistled and yelled and finally found her dog right at the foot of the one guy she wanted to avoid. But he wasn't alone; he was hugging a blonde petit girl in a bikini and kissing her on the cheek. Frankie's heart stopped a beat even though she did not know why and she felt ill. Thankfully her dog decided to come to her and she could leave the beach, leave the scene that had not interested her in the slightest. But who was that girl that was willing to kiss Matthew? Frankie told herself she only wanted to warn the girl but deep down she knew it wasn't that simple. However, this was a thought that had to be kept locked away and ignored.
This evening Frankie wanted to meet the other SOCs at the Beach Hut café and she was half an hour early. To her annoyance Matthew was there and with him was the blonde girl from the beach. The girl was laughing about something Matthew had said and then slapping him lightly on the arm. The arm that hadn't been this sexy before. "I have to stop looking at Matthew and finding him cute and handsome. This is not right. I can't think about him like that." That was the moment when Matthew looked up and saw Frankie standing there and watching him. He jumped to his feet and yelled "Francesca! Such a surprise to see you here." While talking he had come nearer and hugged her while whispering "Please, please, please, can you help me and be a friend so I can get that bimbo to leave me alone? Please, I owe you for that. Have a heart and help me." Something in Frankie had immensely enjoyed hugging Matthew and therefore she was stunned about her own behaviour and answer. "Sure. What shall I do? By the way you owe me big time." "Do whatever you want as long as she is leaving. Be yourself and tell her about my bad sides. I just want her to leave." Within 10 minutes the blonde had excused herself and went away leaving Matthew and Frankie sitting at the table together. Matthew sighed. "Man, that girl has been following me all day. Thanks so much, Frankie, for scaring her away." "Always been my pleasure to tell people the truth about you. And getting you to beg for that has made my day." "Yeah, I know. At least it worked. So I'm going home. Didn't want to go there as long as Blondie followed me. Have a nice evening." He smiled at her and their eyes met for a moment. Frankie couldn't look away and it was Matthew who broke the contact. They both blushed slightly and then Matthew was gone before Frankie had time to think about anything else she could say to insult the boy. Shortly after that Fliss had arrived and Frankie had to think about other things than one special M&M.
End of Flashback
On her hasty exit from the Beach Hut café Frankie hadn't realised that the M&Ms had been coming her way and she promptly stumbled into them. This had the effect of Matthew falling to the ground with Frankie lying on him. And once again their eyes met. "Hmmmhmmm." coughed Michael. Frankie was startled from her trance and scrambled to come to her feet while Matthew lay there and a smile started to appear as he watched the terrified girl. With one last glance to the boy Frankie rushed past the group and to her house. "What was that? Since when has Frankie been silent and not insulting us constantly?" asked Marco and Michael only shrugged. Matthew, however, laid on the ground and thought about the two times Frankie wasn't willing to look away from him in the last week.
The next day, the day of the sleepover, Frankie tried to be more attentive and had much fun with the other girls. It was especially helpful that this time the girls were alone at Lyndz' house and the M&Ms had stayed away, so there was no distraction from a special one and his mesmerizing eyes for Frankie. Only the next morning at breakfast the M&Ms made an appearance in Lyndz' house but stayed far away from the girls. This seemed strange and Rosie commented "I think there is something foul going on. The boys cannot just leave us alone. They must be planning anything." "Maybe they are just tired of us." said Frankie. The others looked at her. "Are you crazy? Delusional?" Kenny asked. "They never have been that nice without having something planned. If they ever tell us they want a truce I'll start watching my back and sleeping with open eyes." Frankie knew that Kenny was right but a small piece of her mind still hoped the M&Ms might just be nice. This would mean that Matthew wasn't such a bad person after all. And her thoughts about him wouldn't be totally strange and wrong. "It would be totally humiliating and embarrassing if the girls would find out what I've been thinking." thought Frankie, once again in her own world without realising what was going on in front of her. Only after getting hit in the face with a big splash of water she came back into the present and realised the others were fighting the M&Ms and their water pistols. Quickly she jumped to her feet, grasped Lyndz' glass of orange juice and poured it over Marco who had not been paying attention to the dreaming girl. The boy splattered and run out screaming "Now I have to clean myself. IIIIh, it's sticky." He was followed by the two others who were laughing hysterically at their third member and the girls who also laughed and high-fived Frankie. "Well, if that hasn't been a great ending to our sleepover I don't know what else is. But I have to go home now. Bye girls." Frankie said, fetched her stuff from upstairs and walked out of the house to her home.
She wasn't even around the first corner as she heard someone coming up behind her. "Hey, Francesca. On your way home this early? This was a fast exit you did there with the girls. But it seems this is your new speciality. So, why did you leave?" "It's none of your business, Matthew. Leave me alone!" "Ouh, hostile. That's a new one. If I buy you a smoothie, do you tell me why you seem to be running away from the other SOCs?" "No. There's no way I'm gonna go drink a smoothie with you." "Hmm, only last weekend you were willing, if I remember correctly." "Momentary laps of judgement. It won't happen again." "Ok. Then I will leave you alone. See you later, alligator." And Matthew sprang on his bike and drove away. Instantly Frankie felt bad and missed him. No she was relieved that he had left her alone, there was no way in hell she could feel anything else.
Because the girl knew her parents didn't expect her this soon she made her way to the Beach Hut café to think things through and hopefully convince herself that Matthew is still the same dumb person he has always been. Unfortunately the person she wanted to avoid was sitting there and sipping his smoothie. "Hey, so you have decided to join me. What kind of smoothie do you want? Strawberry?" "I'll buy my own smoothie, thank you very much. I also don't want to join you but only drink my favourite drink and enjoy the day." Frankie fetched a raspberry smoothie and sat down two tables away from Matthew. It didn't make much of a difference because the rest of the tables were empty and the boy could still talk to her but this was her way of showing him and herself that nothing had changed. Sadly, the blonde hadn't understood her signs and took himself and his drink over to the girl. "So, how was your sleepover last night without the refreshing presence of the best looking guys in this town? Still had fun or did you miss us terribly?" Frankie blushed at the last sentence but tried to hide it. Matthew, however, saw it and was secretly pleased he had this reaction on the brunette. "Aaah, I see. Yes, we are just too adorable for our own good." "You wish." said Frankie. "We had fun and enjoyed our evening. It's so much more fun when you are not there to harass us all the time." "Oooh, that was a blow to my ego. I would feel bad if I didn't know that I at least appeared in your dreams at night, my dear Frankie." And once again the girl blushed to her roots. "I have to go." She sprang up and left the café but only made it five steps before Matthew was beside her again. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to make you uncomfortable. Can I…can I bring you home?" He knew he sounded at least slightly pathetic but he wanted to spend some time with Frankie. The sound of the apology and the smile on Matthews face helped Frankie to get over her embarrassment and she nodded her consent. She knew that any other of her friends would think her totally crazy but she kind of liked the idea of spending time with Matthew. "Did the blonde girl find you again?" she asked to make conversation as they walked slowly to her house. "No, she stayed away. I'm glad, she was kinda creepy. But I also surfed at another beach to avoid bumping into her. I always used to surf at the beach behind your house and now I go to the beach at the other end of the school." "I didn't know that you surfed that much, I haven't seen you at my beach. And I go there nearly every day with my dog." "I know." "You know?" "Well…I have seen you there. Ahem." This time it was Matthews turn to blush and Frankie looked at him in astonishment. As she searched his face for an explanation their eyes met again. Blue stared into brown. The moment seemed to last an eternity but finally Frankie was able to look away. This moment had made her tingly all over her body and she didn't know how to react so she just walked faster and faster as if to run away from the boy. However, he easily kept up with her even though he also felt a strange feeling in his stomach, like butterflies. But that was way to unmanly to even think about. They both were walking fast but had stopped to make conversation. Only right around the corner of Frankie's house Matthew stopped abruptly. "Frankie, wait. I…ahem… I thought it was…ahem…nice…well, I wanted to say…ahem…have a nice day." With that he bent forward and kissed Frankie on the cheek. Then he turned around fast and ran away. Frankie stood there and touched her cheek. He had kissed her and she had liked it. Strange. She smiled and walked the last steps to her house.
Frankie spend the weekend in her room, dreaming about the kiss and all the little moments between her and the leader of the M&Ms. She knew that it was weird and that it couldn't go on like that but she wasn't willing to stop. "At school on Monday everything will be alright. I forget anything has happened and be myself. Matthew will be his annoying self again, the M&Ms are just little dumb people and my friends will be pleased to recognize I'm my old self again." This plan sounded okay to Frankie and with this she also had given herself permission to just daydream the Sunday away.
On Monday she was walking to school and it was only a minute before she would meet Kenny when she saw Matthew again. He smiled at her but didn't stop his bike. Frankie was confused until she noticed that Kenny was waiting for her only a few yards away. "Yeah, it would have been awkward to be civil to each other in front of Kenny." she thought. Then she run to her friend and asked how she spent the rest of the weekend and the two girls fell into an easy conversation. Frankie stayed true to her inner voice and forget about Matthew during the day at school, only smiled a little wider when she saw him. It was a normal school day, nothing out of the ordinary happened and the girls and the M&Ms stayed apart. Even tough they did not speak with each other Frankie noticed that Matthew was looking in her direction a few times and always smiled when he saw her looking.
After school Lyndz asked "How about a smoothie? We can discuss our homework together and relax before we have to go home and study some more." "Yeah, I'm in." said Rosie and Kenny and Frankie also agreed. Only Fliss had an apology. "I have to go home directly after school because I have to go to the dentist. But you lot have fun and think of me while I'm tortured." The girls walked to the Beach Hut café and drank their smoothies and talked about everything except homework. It was great fun till Lyndz told the girls some gossip her brother had told her. "Do you guys wanna hear the latest news? Michael has told me that he thinks Matthew is in love. He's always smiling and has left the other two on Saturday quite early because he "had to be somewhere". This is fun. We should try to find out who the unlucky girl is and warn her. What do you guys think?" "That is some news. But do we really believe something Michael says?" Rosie asked. "I mean, I know he's your brother but he isn't the trust worthiest person ever." "I believe him. He told me about it yesterday when we were playing soccer together." "Letting Matthew suffer because we told his beloved about him seems fun. Let's find out who she is." said Kenny. Only Frankie was silent. She knew whom Matthew had met Saturday morning and at whom he was smiling during the day. When she noticed the mentioned boy was leaving the Beach Hut café and the other two boys stayed she quickly packed her stuff and said "Sorry, girls. It's been too long and I still have to study. Have fun and tell me if you find out anything." Then she ran away hoping to catch Matthew on his way home. It wasn't as hard as she imagined because he was standing right around the next corner. "Oh, there you are. Are you waiting for someone?" she asked a little breathless from the sprint. "Well, yeah, kind of. I wasn't sure when she would appear." "Did you...did you wait... for me?" He blushed. "Yes. I saw that your smoothie was empty and I know you wouldn't stay much longer so I left early to wait for you. I can accompany home, if you want." "Ok." Frankie started to walk again and Matthew followed. During the walk home Matthew's right hand was brushing against Frankie's left hand a few times and both felt a tingle in their hands. They were silent, neither knowing how to start a conversation. At Frankie's house Matthew once again bent over and hugged Frankie quickly and kissed her on the cheek and then he was gone. "My, my, my. This absolutely has to stop, I can't do that." The girl thought but almost immediately she also thought about the way she felt when Matthew kissed her and she knew she couldn't stop that easy.
The next week this scenario was repeated daily, after school Matthew would wait on a corner where the other SOCs wouldn't see him and then the pair would walk home to Frankie's house. Their hands would brush against each other, Matthew would hug her and kiss her on the cheek and then disappear quickly. During school the pair would secretly watch each other. But all this wasn't mentioned in conversation between the two. They would talk about stuff at school and homework and their hobbies but never were their friends mentioned or the complicated relationship they had created. Frankie knew that she had to tell the others especially because they had started to think about the girl Matthew could be in love with. Lyndz had told them that Michael and Marco were sure that Matthew had a girlfriend but didn't know who it was yet. It was only a question of time till one of the 6 friends would notice something. But the brunette didn't want to mention anything to her friends because she herself wasn't sure what it was between her and the M&M. Maybe she should talk with him about that dilemma. But what should she say? "Hey, the others think you're in love and they try to figure out who the girl is. What shall we do about that?" No, this was no option. There also was the possibility Matthew only wanted to be a friend and not her boyfriend and then it would be humiliating and embarrassing to talk about him being in love. She had to find another solution. In this moment her cell phone ringed. "Hello?" "Hi, it's Matthew. Ahem… I wanted to ask if you might…possibly…want…" Frankie heard him take a deep breath and then he continued talking. "…want to meet me at the beach tonight at eight? I mean your beach." "Ahem, yeah, sure. I could do that. Where do you wanna meet?" "The entrance near your house?" "Ok, see you then." "Bye."
This evening Frankie wished she had told her friends about the relationship that Matthew and she had formed. She wasn't sure if this meeting could be called a date. It wasn't a typical date with him coming to get her and them doing some couple stuff like going to the cinema. But it was a meeting alone on the beach. Then an horrible thought occurred. "What if he is trying to humiliate me and all three M&Ms are present? He could have done this to show that he can get even me to fall for him. But he seemed to have difficulties to bring himself to ask me." At least she decided to go and see what he would want but not see that as a date. This way she also wouldn't get her hope up that there might be something happening.
She arrived exactly on time but Matthew was already waiting. He looked relieved to see her and hugged her quickly as she came nearer. "You came." "Yeah. Why not?" "I don't know. Maybe you didn't want to meet me alone. Or…well, ahem, I'm glad you're here. Do you wanna walk for a bit?" "Sure." They walked in silence for a while and were far apart. This time there was no brushing of hands. Finally Matthew started a conversation. "So…ahem…did you hear that Michael and Marco think I have a girlfriend?" "Michael told Lyndz about it. The other SOCs want to find the girl and warn her off you." At this Matthew grinned and sat on the beach. He gestured for her to sit with him. "And do you think they will find her and scare her off?" he asked with a big grin. "Well, as far as I know you don't have a girlfriend." Frankie didn't dare to look at the blonde instead she watched her hands. Then she felt him move closer to her. As he spoke again his voice was husky. "Do you want to change that fact?" She looked up and directly into his mesmerizing blue eyes. She bit her lip. Matthew was leaning closer and his face was only inches away. "Please, Frankie, be my girlfriend." He whispered. She closed he eyes and leaned closer and then she felt his lips brushing hers. First it was very soft but then his confidence grew and he kissed her harder. She felt his tongue dart out and touch her lips and she opened her mouth to let him in. The kiss was hot and exciting and as they broke apart Frankie had to catch her breath. Apparently Matthew also was out of breath because she heard him breathe as fast as herself. However, she didn't dare to look till she felt his hand at her face, caressing her cheek and then slowly turning her face to his. "So, does this mean you accept being my girlfriend? I know it is hard with our past and our friends but I really like you." He looked so hopeful that Frankie couldn't even think about anyone else. "Yes, I'll be your girlfriend." A look of relief flooded his face and she giggled. "Who'd have thought that we'll be together? With all the fighting and screaming." Matthew hugged his girlfriend and answered "Well, I liked you all this time. When we danced together at the school dance and you hugged me I knew I wanted to repeat that. I just needed a lot more time to find the courage to do anything about it. But now, I can hug you whenever I want." "What about the others? I don't want to shock them and just kiss and hug you in front of them tomorrow without telling them first." "Ok, what about that? This weeks sleepover you tell them and till then we keep it a secret." Frankie took a deep breath. The thought of telling her friends that she, Francesca Thomas, was the girlfriend of Matthew McDougal, an M&M, was terrifying. But she liked being hugged by him and the kiss had been fantastic. Then she noticed his face and giggled. "How about you convince me I made the right decision by choosing you as my boyfriend against my friends will?" "And what exactly did you have in mind?" "Hmmm…a kiss maybe. Yeah, I think that would be a good start." The second kiss was as exciting as the first one but it was rudely interrupted. "OH MY GOD! FRANKIE? What are you doing?" "Rosie. Ahem…you know…" "Hi, Rosie." "You better be silent Matthew McDougal. I don't know what you think you're doing but…" "Rosie, please, let me explain." said Frankie silently. She stood up and came to her friend. "Let us take a walk, ok? I'll explain everything." Rosie shot a dark look in the direction of Matthew and then stalked of with Frankie. Matthew lay back and thought of this evening, it had started out so good and Frankie even agreed to be his girlfriend and than she just had to leave. Why couldn't they have at least this one evening for themselves? But now that it was no longer a secret he better tell the other two before they heard it from Lyndz. He grabbed his phone.
A few yards away Frankie tried to explain to her furious friend what had happened this evening and the last two weeks before that. "I know, that it's Matthew but he was different when it was only us. I like being with him. And I agreed to be his girlfriend just a few minutes ago." "You what? But this is Matthew, one of the M&Ms. You can't be the girlfriend of an M&M. Oh my, this sentence just sounded so wrong." "Rosie, please. I was worried that you all would react that way so I couldn't even tell my best friends about it. I'm happy with Matthew and I want to be able to talk with my friends about it. Can't you understand that?" "But Matthew? Why him? There are lots of guys in our school, couldn't you pick someone different?" "I know. But please could you at least wait till tomorrow and I'll tell the others before school. And maybe you could support me?" "I don't know." Rosie sighed but finally gave in to Frankie's begging gaze. "Ok, I'll help you battle the others for your relationship with Matthew." "Thanks, you're the best."
The next morning Frankie was surprised to find Matthew waiting in front of her house. She hugged him and received a quick kiss and then the boy asked her "Are we still together? I mean, Rosie didn't look too happy. I don't want to come between you and your friends." "She has accepted it but I don't think she's happy about it. But she will help me when I tell the others before school. Have you talked to the M&Ms?" "Yeah, after you left with Rosie I called them. Once again someone who wasn't too happy. But I'm happy." While talking the pair was holding hands and walking slowly to school. When they only had a few yards Matthew let go of Frankie's hand and wanted to cross the street onto the other sidewalk but Frankie stopped him. "Stay." she said and took his hand. Hand in hand they walked to the others who were waiting inside the schoolyard. Rosie had started a conversation with Michael as she realised that the boys knew about the new pair. She thought the couple could need all support they could get and she was proven right as they marched in holding hands. The cries from the other three girls were loud and indignant. "FRANKIE!" Till the bell rang the girl in question tried to reason with her three best friends but to no avail. Rosie then told Frankie "Let them be outraged. They will come around and till then you can't reason with them. I'm sure Fliss will see the romantic side of it. Lyndz will speak with her brother and he will convince her because she may find the M&Ms dumb and annoying but she and her brother have a really good relationship and discuss everything vital in their lives. Kenny will take the longest but one day she'll realize she misses you. Just you wait and see."
This day during lunch break Frankie and Rosie sat with the M&Ms and the other girls were sitting alone and glaring at the traitors. The next day before school Fliss came to Frankie and said "You gotta tell me everything about your relationship. It's like Romeo and Juliet, so romantic. When did this happen?" It was just like Rosie had said, Fliss saw the romantic part. Lyndz waited till lunch break and then told Frankie that she couldn't understand why she had to fall for Matthew but that she would accept Frankie's decision. "You know, I can understand that you might see a different side of him that we don't see. Michael is also an M&M and I value his opinion most of the time. But don't tell Fliss and Kenny." she said. Frankie was happy that at least three of her friends accepted her relationship but she knew that it wouldn't feel right till Kenny was willing to forgive her. It lasted one week and then Kenny gave in. She and Frankie had a long conversation but finally all five girls could enjoy their lunch together again. During this time Matthew stayed with his friends and Frankie with hers. Only after school did the couple meet. It was a special routine which both enjoyed that he accompanied her homeevery day, hugging and kissing her goodbye.