A/N: Thanks for reviews. I just started senior year of college so I'm sorry for the slow updates.
Break was not something I spent much time looking forward to. Back in the day, before Heather graduated, before Degrassi, break meant a fabulous vacation somewhere. Hawaii, ski trips, spa weekends, cute boys. Occasionally, my parents would let me bring Anya along and Heather would bring a date. We used to joke that we were "doubling" and it wasn't like I always minded the idea that the girl who was always there for me was there for more than friendly support. I was always proud to be seen with her. She was pretty and she didn't know it. As cruel as it made me, I did my best to keep it this way so she would always be mine and no one else's. Especially not Sav's.
To kick off these pseudo-romantic getaways, Heather always threw the biggest party she could possibly come up with. It always had to be a bigger party than Paige's most recent. If Paige just threw a huge Halloween bash for everyone at Degrassi, Heather would invite the hottest and most exclusive guests from Degrassi, Lakehurst, and Bardell to her Christmas bash. If Paige helped throw a beach themed mixer, Heather would throw a 1920s glam party. The themes were always elaborate enough that no one too poor or unpopular bothered to come. Except Anya, of course, who had me to keep her invited to things. People like Mia Jones tried to set her free, but her answer was always the same. I kept her afloat. I kept people from making fun of her braces, her dyslexia, her awkwardness. I made sure no one was mean to her except for me.
Fuck. I missed Anya.
Break was a little less exciting these days. Instead of Anya, I had Sav. Sav was sweet, but he wasn't my best friend since childhood who knew me inside and out. Instead of Hawaii I had our depressing new apartment. Instead of sunbathing or skiing I had unpacking, setting this place into permanent reality. Instead of themed parties, I had a themed restaurant where I served food in a cow print vest, forty hours a week. I wished I could feel above this job, but it was my only real shot at going to college now. Of getting away from here. Of having my happily-ever-after with...
"Uhm, miss," came a dry and demanding voice. "I think I ordered my eggs over easy," the woman looked down at her plate like it was crawling with worms,
and these are over medium."
The old Holly J would have told her to live with it, but Spinner taught me well the art of dealing with customers. He told me most of them were jackasses, but they were jackasses with money in their wallets. Money that I needed.
"Oh," I sighed. "I'm so sorry. I'll take that back to the kitchen and get that fixed for you right away."
"Yeah," Mrs. Torres said dryly. "It would also be nice if you could fill my coffee cup," she said, motioning towards a half-empty cup. "I've been waiting ten minutes."
Out of the corner of my eye I saw a ticket appear in the window. Table five's order was ready. They were one of those lovely families who always ate here before their kid's soccer practice and had less than half an hour to get in and out.
"Okay, I'll have that right up!" I said.
As I walked past with a tray of five kid's meals with smiley fries and a country fried steak, Over Medium lady pointed dramatically at her coffee cup. "Am I invisible?" she asked on my way back. "I was waving and pointing and you just walked right past me."
"Sorry," I said. "I had to deliver some food. Table five's in a bit of a hurry."
"I don't know where you get the idea that their hurry is more important than mine," Mrs. Torres said. "I get here five minutes before those clowns and you treat them like royalty! If you're the student council vice president, I can see why Degrassi is such a mess for my sons."
Sadly that one wasn't entirely undeserved. "I'll get your coffee right up," I said.
She shook her head. "I'm past playing games. Where is your manager?"
"Ma'am," I sighed. "I'm doing the best I can."
She laughed. "Well then, you might want to consider a different career path. My son could do a better job than you can."
I knew I didn't have time to argue with her. "I'll be right back."
"Jason, can you talk to her?" I pleaded with the shift supervisor. "She wants to speak to a manager and I'm really hoping not to have to bug him."
Jason chucked. "Mrs. Torres again?"
"It's no wonder Mr. Simpson was ready to snap," I sighed. "She's in his office every other day yelling her head off at him."
I wished I was gifted with Jason's ability to chill. "You gotta take this stuff less seriously," he said. "I think she's pretty much hilarious."
"Well somehow I don't," I said.
Jason talked to her and apologized on my behalf, which didn't do much good. She left me a dollar fifty tip, which I knew she could do better than. I sighed and pocketed it when I found Sav sitting in her place, beaming up at me.
"Thank God you're here," I said. "I am having the worst day."
"Then you should totally come hang out with us tonight," he said.
Us in Sav's world could mean any possible combination of people. Us could mean Sav and those guys who hung around Madam Degrassi. Or us could be Anya and Leia and Chantay and so forth. Or maybe us was Peter and Spinner, which was probably the best of the three scenarios.
"Who's us?" I asked.
"You know. Spinner, Emma obviously, Peter," he said. "Jane."
"Wait," I said. "I thought Jane wasn't coming back for break."
Last I'd heard from Jane, she was dating someone at school and was spending time with his family.
Sav laughed. "She wasn't. But then..."
I frowned. "Oh no. The new guy didn't work out?"
"Doesn't sound like it," Sav said. "It's too bad because they sounded really happy on Twitter and all."
"Never judge a relationship by its Twitter posts," I said. "This is going to be super awkward for her and Spinner, isn't it?"
"Nah," Sav said. "Emma and Spinner are like...I seriously have no idea how both of them went through middle school and high school together and never gave each other a try."
"Well I mean, I'm pretty sure she told me he dated her best friend," I said. "And they had kind of a nasty breakup. That would've made things pretty awkward."
Sav laughed. "So there is hope for us."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"Well you know. We've known each other since kindergarten and we never really hooked up because of Anya. But now..."
I tried to suppress how awkward I felt. "You're not asking me to marry you are you?"
"Course not," he said, though his voice carried more disappointment than I expected.
"Well uhm," I said, pointing off in some random direction. "I have to uhm...do stuff so I'll uhm...be right back.
Spinner's flat was a different place now that he was married. There was a bonsai plant on his table and a bouncy yoga ball near the couch. On the kitchen counter, there was a book called Vegan Cooking For Couples. If I hadn't believed Spinner loved Emma before, that was decent evidence. For another, it was...clean. Spinner was on the couch holding Emma and Jane was lounging in an adjacent chair, looking comfortable as ever. When there was a lag in conversation, Jane got up and said, "H J and I need to catch up. We'll be back."
"So...how's college?" I asked casually, as we stepped outside.
"Fine, forget that though what is this with you and Declan?" Jane asked.
I sighed. "It's not a big deal. We're just on a break."
"Breaks that involve other boys are never good," Jane said. "Trust me. Get too attached to Sav and then what happens when you go off to Yale with Declan and never see him again?"
"Sav's a great guy but I'm not going to get attached," I giggled. "We're just having fun."
She raised an eyebrow. "So were Declan and I but then Spinner found out and it messed things up."
"Well yeah," I said. "You were still dating Spinner. Declan and I aren't together anymore."
"Does he know that?" Jane asked. "Or is he sitting all by himself in Manhattan waiting for his princess to return?"
I laughed. "It doesn't have to be that dramatic."
"I remember you telling me the same thing," she said.
"Fiona says he's pretty upset," I said. "There's really nothing I can do about that though. Am I supposed to just not live my life?"
"I never said that," Jane said. "I'm all for the carpe diem thing but you have to figure out who you really want and make that guy your priority."
I realized we had walked quite a ways from Spinner's. "Are we going somewhere?" I asked.
"Are we?" she responded.
"You're avoiding Spinner, aren't you?" I asked.
She shook her head. "Dude, I'm over it."
"Except we've already walked like three blocks away now," I said.
"I'm over it it's just...seeing him totally perfectly happy with someone else like we were never even together, it's weird," she said.
I thought about the time when I thought Declan was with Tinsley and nodded. "I'm sorry."
"So who do you really want?" she asked. "Declan or Sav?"
"Who do I really want?" I asked. "You mean like...forever?"
"Yeah that's generally what the question means," Jane said.
"Not Sav," I said.
"Why not Sav?" she asked. "He's such a sweet guy."
I sighed. "Exactly! This is going to sound so bad but...sometimes when I'm with him I kind of get reminded of Blue. It's like I've got this nice, smart, friendly, confident side that he totally loves but I don't think he knows that deep down I'm the same Holly J."
"The same Holly J who tried to pry him away from Anya, you mean?" she laughed.
"Let's not even talk about the stupid crap I put Anya through this year," I said.
"No way, I want to hear this," Jane said.
I recalled the way I told her to act pregnant to make Sav look bad and lose him the student counsel presidency, only to have my entire plan backfire and result in Anya and Sav being more in love than ever for about five minutes after which Anya vowed never to talk to me again...again.
"Dude, let her go," Jane said.
"Excuse me?" I asked.
Jane sighed. "Please don't take this the wrong way but, you were always complaining about how she didn't have a life that wasn't either about you or Sav."
"What are you saying?" I asked.
"It seems like whenever you end up in a little bit of a rut you're back to teasing Anya," she said.
I stopped in my tracks and crossed my arms at my chest. "What's your point?"
"Holly J," she sighed. "Look I know you're going to hate me for saying this but it's almost like you have a crush on her."
"Okay, okay, hold it," I said. "Anya?"
"Look, a lot of people at university are bi. It's not even a big deal," she said.
In my mind "bi" wasn't much different from "gay." It was some alternate reality that I had no part of. It was a category where Marco and Riley and Zane and maybe Drew's brother although I never really heard the full story on him. Definitely not me.
"Okay I never said being bi was bad," I said. "But I'm not into girls. I never have been."
Jane couldn't stop laughing. "I'm sorry," she said, between giggles. "I'm really sorry."
"This isn't funny, Jane," I said.
"I'm sorry it's just," she said between giggles. "Okay when I met you, like right after shit went bad with Blue, I was super convinced you were a lesbian. Okay, don't hate me, but Spinner and I totally had a bet when you first started working at The Dot. He won when you confessed your love for him."
"No wonder he looked so amused," I frowned. "So this whole time you've thought I was into girls and you never said anything to me?"
"I don't like to make a big deal out of stuff like that," she said.
"So why are you doing it now?" I asked.
"I'm not making a big deal," she said calmly. "Who's making a big deal?"
I shook my head. "It's bad enough having to figure out if I like Sav or Declan but why don't you just throw Fiona and Anya onto the pile too while you're at it?"
"Fiona?" she raised an eyebrow with interest. "I didn't say anything about Fiona. Are we talking about ice queen who took your job Fiona?"
"No, we're not," I said. "Because we're done having this conversation."
"Oh, come on!" Jane said. "Fiona is gorgeous, of course you like her. You two would be cute. Too bad she's in Manhattan."
"Only for break," I said.
"Wait," Jane said. "She moved here? By herself? Without Declan?"
My cheeks started to feel hot.
"I came here because of you. You were supposed to be the one person in the whole world that I could trust.
I shook my head. "It's really super complicated."
"Excuses excuses," Jane said.
"She's like my best friend," I said. "Besides, Fiona is the straightest girl I've ever met in my entire life."
"What happened to not being into girls?" Jane asked.
"Okay I am kind of into girls but it doesn't matter because I'm dating Sav," I said.
"It always matters," she said. "I'm sure when she gets back in some dazzling new outfit and awesome new haircut and gives you a big happy-to-see-you hug, Sav will be the only thing on your mind."
"Okay, but I made a commitment to Sav," I said. "He's my boyfriend."
"Listen. Sav's cool and all but we already know he can't keep up with Holly J, Declan's cute but he's all the way in Manhattan plus you guys got in that big fight and Anya is straight and probably hates you by now but Fiona? Totally single. Actually lives in Canada. You've got the rest of this year to figure out if you like her or not without any male interference, so why don't you put it to good use instead of waiting to be reunited with Declan in college and have it be drama city?"
"I am so not doing this," I said.
She smiled. "It's your call. Few more months and senior year is over. You can either spend it with Sav or with Fiona. Like I said, your call."