OK... haven't updated this for a week or two, so I figured it was time. BUT LOOK. I've made it up with an extra-long chappie. So you still love meh, right? ^^

Well... I took 3 years of French so I think it's all correct, but some of this could be wrong. Please tell me if it is!

I wished that French exercise could have lasted for the whole period. It was funny, really, the way that Chad and I talked like we'd been best friends forever. We had to talk in French though, since Madame picked the most insane times to come and interrupt our conversation to make sure we were actually doing the assignment. I pronounced nearly every word wrong, and sometimes I didn't even know how to say what I wanted to say. But that was okay, because apparently Chad was really getting it - he'd just correct me, or tell me how to say what I wanted to.

I'm not really sure which of us did most of the talking. We probably talked the same amount. I didn't learn a whole lot about him, since the exercise only lasted about fifteen minutes (merci, Madame! ... How do you say "grr" in French?), but I learned some. For example, here's how one of our conversations went:

Chad: "Je joue la guitare, et je suis un membre d'un ensemble musique." ("I play the guitar, and I'm in a band.")

Me: "Um... (yes, it really takes me this long to form a correct French sentence) avez-vous un chanteur ou une chanteuse?" ("Do you have a vocalist/singer?")

Chad: "Hmm... non, je ne pense pas." ("No, I don't think so.")

Me: "Ha-ha... (this is me stalling for time while I look for what to say) c'est dommage. Mais je pense c'est quoi je dèsire pour mon occupation..." ("That's too bad. But I think that's what I want for my job..." And that's when I kinda spaced out, thinking about my singing.)

Chad: "Tu dèsires pour être une chanteuse?" ("You want to be a singer?")

Me: "Oui... mais je ne pense pas ce je suis trop bien." ("Yeah... but I don't think I'm that good.")

Chad: "C'est drole. Tu as l'air d'une bonne chanteuse." ("That's funny. You look like a good singer.")

Yep, I did the play conversation thingy. But yeah, this is one of conversations we had. He plays guitar and is in a band, they don't have a singer, I was subtly hinting at him asking the rest of the band if I could be their singer... I don't think he got it. Were all guys this... bad at recognizing subtlety? Maybe. I'd have to research that later...

But eventually, Madame got us all back together to do the rest of today's lesson. Curse you, cruel fate...!

So Chad and I went back to our seats... and I returned to staring at the back of his head. Fun times. And we did our assignment, with stupid people (okay, okay, it was just me!) asking a bunch of questions. Maybe I'd get lucky and Chad would offer to tutor me or something... because I think he was getting an A and what was I getting? As I'd told Rukia and Orihime, a D. Minus. The last time I checked the parent assisting module, that is; it might've gone down to an F by now.

And at last, the bell rang. Man, why couldn't this have lasted longer? I was content with just looking at Chad forever - well, even if it was just the back of him. I didn't really mind. I'd had a crush on him since, like, seventh grade, do you really think I cared if it was the back or the front of him?

... Wait, forget I just said that entire last sentence while I do a facepalm, please.

So there I was, gathering my sh - err, stuff. Getting all my papers and notebooks straight, putting my pencils in my binder, sliding my French book onto the shelf. When all of a sudden, I noticed somebody standing over me. And when I looked up - okay, you get three guesses. First and second don't count.

Okay, okay, I'll tell you! Geez... no need to glare like that.

It was Chad. Did you really expect anything less? Even I pretty much knew it was Chad. It was like I'd suddenly gotten sucked into one of those teen-angst romance flicks in the last four hours. He was just looking at me. "Izumi?"

I felt like shivering as he said my name. His voice was great and the fact that he was using it to say my name was just completely, utterly... wow. Damn if that wasn't like crack to me... "Yeah?"

"Uh, well... do you know Ichigo Kurosaki and Uryu Ishida and...?" He just kind of trailed off, probably not wanting to say everybody's name. I didn't blame him, he must've have a lotta friends.

"I've seen them around, but I've never been introduced to them. Except this one time in fifth grade when I accidentally spilled some juice on Uryu and we're forgetting I said that right now," I added quickly, feeling my face heating up.

"Forgetting that you said anything." Chad smiled faintly and continued talking. "Well, I was just wondering if you wouldn't mind me introducing you to them. I kind of wanted to invite you to have lunch with us. I mean, if you don't already have lunch with your other friends."

I grinned. "Oh, Chad, you are hilarious. I think the only friends I have are Rukia and Orihime. And even then, I barely know them. I mean, I do have one other friend... but unfortunately she doesn't live in Japan so we have to communicate by e-mail."

"That's too bad. I'm sorry. But it's a mystery to me why you don't have more friends here. You're a really nice person."

"Awwwww, thanks. You too!"

"So... lunch?"

"Oh! Yeah, sure. That'd be great. What table do you guys eat at?"

He shook his head - as if knowing he'd regret the words he was about to say but had to say them anyway. "Actually... we have lunch on the roof."

I blinked a few times. "On the roof?"

"Yes."

"Like, the roof roof?"

I could see him rolling his eyes in his mind. "I don't think there's any other roof, but... yeah."

"As in... the very tip top of the building?"

"Well, there's a statue up there that I'm sure is a little farther up than where we sit, but... yes, I suppose it classifies as the top of the school."

"Like... two stories up in the air, supported by nothing by concrete and bricks?"

Even behind his bangs I could tell he was raising an eyebrow at me. "Izumi, is there something wrong? If you don't want to come, you don't have to. I mean, it's your choice..."

"No, no, it's just..." I picked up my books and started toward the door, sure he was following close behind. "I'm terrified of heights. I always think I'm gonna fall. And you've seen me in gym - graceful I'm not. If Izumi Suzume falls from more than ten and a half feet, Izumi Suzume goes splat and is a new stain on the pavement below."

It sounded like Chad wanted to laugh at that last sentence, but didn't know if I was being completely serious or not. "Well then, we'll sit in the very center, so you're as far away from the edges as possible. And don't worry - I won't let you fall. You trust me, right?"

I sighed, but smiled. "I let you talk me into the craziest things. Not being embarrassed by what happened in first period, having lunch on the roof... next you'll be convincing me to get a tattoo!"

"What's wrong with tattoos? I have one."

I blinked. "Oh yeah, that's right. I've seen it."

"Have you?"

"Yeah, in gym class when I..." Quickly cutting myself off, I forced the blush back down. "When I was on your team for basketball that one time, remember? You wore a tank top while we were playing basketball."

"Oh, that's right. I guess you would have seen it then."

"Yup!" Nope. Of course it I had seen it then, but that wasn't the first time I'd seen it. No, the first time I'd seen it was when I had been "studying" during one of our famous gym study halls. Coach Mitchie was absent, so the girls had a substitute and we were allowed to do as we wished. The boys, however, still had to do everything normally. (Ha! Being a boy sucks... hee-hee...) I hadn't actually been studying - I had been, of course, watching Chad. And he had a tank top on - well, that part wasn't a complete lie. And I saw his tattoo. It was a heart with angel wings, and around it were the words "Amor e Mort". As I'm not the smartest person around (understatement, I know), I looked that up and found that it was Italian, meaning "Love and Death". SO DEEP! And... my crush intensified. "And anyway, I didn't say there was anything wrong with having a tattoo. I like yours. But my mom would freak if I came home with a tattoo. How'd you get your parents to agree to it?"

Chad shrugged. "It wasn't really that hard. So... are you coming?"

I grinned. "Like I said, you talk me into the craziest things!" I blinked as I followed him up the stairs to the roof. "Maybe I will get a tattoo... how do you think a butterfly would look on the small of my back?"

"I think if anyone were looking there on you I would have to give them a little talk."


Apart from waving a little and saying "Hi, I'm Izumi", I didn't really talk to Ichigo, Rukia, Orihime, Uryu, Keigo, or... huh. Rukia and Orihime told me that other dude's name second period, and I already forgot it. Oh well, if he was important enough I'd remember, so it's his fault for not being important enough.

After Chad introduced me to Ichigo, Uryu, Keigo, and That Other Guy (which I'm just going to call him because I'm never going to be able to remember his name), he sat with me against the statue in the middle of the building. I happily opened my lunch bag and began to eat my dango and onigiri. That's when I noticed Chad didn't have anything, so I bumped his shoulder with mine. "You're not eating?"

"Forgot my money."

I held out a stick of dango and an onigiri out to him. "Here! I'm not gonna let my bestest friend go without lunch. We've still got like two hours to go! You know what'll happen if you don't have anything - you'll end up like me in gym."

"Like a klutz?"

"Like a super klutz, my good man."

"So... friends?" he asked, taking the food from me.

"Of course! I've actually wanted to be your friend for a long time now."

"Really? How long?"

I felt myself blushing, so I looked away. "Well... a couple years, I guess. Two, I think? I mean... do you remember in the eighth grade, when you saved Ichigo from that gang of renegade idiots?"

"Oh, uh..." Was it just me, or did he sound a little embarrassed by the fact that I knew about that? "You saw that?"

I shrugged, chewing on the stick from my dango. "I heard about it."

"You mean you saw that bandage on my face the next day?"

"Well, that... but when I asked somebody about that, they told me what happened. Apparently Ichigo told the entire school - except me, I guess."

"So... that was when you thought you'd like to be friends with me?"

"Yep." Once again, nope. My little... well, we'll call it an "unhealthy obsession"... with Chad started a year before that. I guess he'd switched schools or something and started his seventh grade year at our school. I wondered why I was lying to him. Normally I didn't lie. I kinda just thought if he knew I'd been infatuated with him for three years and didn't bother to do anything about it (not to mention that I stared at the back of his head and couldn't keep my eyes off him in gym class), it might've driven him away and then he'd never be my friend... and then I'd have nobody.

"I'm happy we're friends though, Izumi. You're a really nice girl."

"What about my klutziness?"

"That's just... a part of what makes you Izumi Suzume. You wouldn't be you if you weren't a klutz."

"Awwwwww, you say the most awesomest things..."

Out of nowhere, That Other Guy leaned over the side of the building on his knees. "Hey, Keigo! You gotta check this out - I just spit and it hasn't even hit the ground yet! I love how high up this place is!"

Easily amused as I was, I ran over to look. "Oh cool! Lemme see, lemme see!"

Before I knew what was happening, though, I'd lost my balance. I felt my legs curling up under me, and I couldn't move. I was falling... and from so high up... Oh my God, I thought, terrified, I'm going to die...

But I didn't fall and go splat. Somebody caught me by the back of my shirt and swept me back onto the roof, placing their other arm under my legs. And when I looked up to see who'd just saved my life - guess who it was? Chad, of course. (I mean, seriously. The clichéd romance demanded it, I suppose.) I just stared up at him, my eyes wide as they met his. The guy I'd had a crush on for three years just prevented me from falling to my death.

He just looked at me and smiled, then said the only thing I was thinking besides the fact that he'd just saved me:

"Izumi, you're so clumsy."