A/N: Written for a request sent to me by kool-aidrocks2008 waaaaaaay back in 2008. Sorry it took me so long. This thing fought me every step of the way. The girls are 17.
Disclaimer: I do not own NDSSG or Tenchi Muyo. I'm just playing around with the characters.
Sometime in the last six weeks Moze was sure she'd gone crazy. Strange things were happening around her, things that are usually restricted to those awful animes Cookie pirated off the internet. She broke things off with Ned and suddenly she's the most eligible bachelorette in the high school. And the weird part was…it wasn't the guys that were hitting on her. It was the girls. All the girls.
Everywhere she turned there were groups of girls cat-calling her, sauntering up and trying some truly horrific pick-up lines, or just staring dreamily in her direction and taking pictures with their various cell phones and cameras. She'd tried to lodge protests with them about the photos but that only ended with the girls squealing nonsensically because she was talking with them. It was kind of endearing but mostly terrifying.
Even Suzie and Missy were not immune to her apparent charm. Though Missy had been terribly casual about everything and backed off when Moze had finally given in to Suzie's persistence and accepted an offer to date, if only to get all the other girls off her back. That acceptance had made the rounds of school gossip in mere minutes, and Moze had been confronted with some spectacular pouts and numerous innuendo from varying girls all along the lines that they'd be a better choice than Suzie (and a few cases where a threesome was offered), but Moze had ignored them. After all, she hadn't gone on the date with Suzie at that point and was determined to give her a fair chance, if only to give herself a break from all the attention.
She had gone on that date and been pleasantly surprised. Suzie was attentive and kind, if not very romantic or imaginative, but then neither of them had ever dated a girl before so they were in completely new territory. It was a nice date and now Moze had broken up with her first best friend and was dating her other best friend. Her female best friend. She thought it was good with Suzie. They had a lot in common so they always had things to talk about and they always had fun together no matter what they did.
The first time they'd kissed Moze had thought it would feel weirder than it did. She'd never kissed a girl before, it wasn't as frightening as she'd thought it might be, but it was definitely different. She'd thought it might have been as awkward as her first kiss with Ned had been, but it wasn't. They'd slipped together and fit in a way that she and Ned never had. They'd melded together, every curve sliding into niches neither knew they had, and just fitting. It was softer, smoother, more assured, and pleasant in ways kissing Ned had never been. It felt more natural, more…right kissing Suzie. See? Different. Good.
And that freaked Moze out a little. She liked kissing girls, well a girl so far, but it wasn't a large step to kissing other girls (and there were some truly attractive ones out there); that was something she'd never thought about before. She'd always thought she was attracted to guys exclusively. Hadn't even considered looking twice at girls before six weeks ago when suddenly she was Tenchi Muyo and every teenage girl in the county wanted to date her. She'd been forced to look at girls in a new way and discovered that actually she'd been looking at them this way all along and just hadn't registered it because she hadn't seen it as an option. Now, girls were an option. And suddenly her best female friend was her girlfriend, and all the girls in town wanted to date her. It was weird.
Of course, that couple status with Suzie hadn't dissuaded any of Moze's most ardent admirers.
Like the ones following her right now.
There were fourteen of them. Aged thirteen to eighteen years (the age group most attracted to Moze). School had just let out and she was walking home alone when these girls appeared out of nowhere! Seriously, nowhere. There was no place on this street to hide a group of people that big. But Moze didn't have time to think about the physics of viable hiding places. She had to run and run fast.
Moze didn't generally mind her fangirls. Most of them were pretty harmless. They'd sigh and bat their eyes at her, offer her baked goods or dates, then squeal and run off when she smiled at them. Not these ones though. No, these ones were dangerous. They were harmless when Suzie was with her, but she was alone right now, she was vulnerable prey for these particular predators. She'd let her thoughts wander for just a moment and they pounced! These ones were the hardcore rifle-through-her-trash and rip-off-her-clothes type fangirls. They'd gotten a hold of Moze just once before (her learning curve was steep)…she'd had to run home mostly naked after they'd stolen her clothes (which of course meant they'd followed her all the way home taking pictures for their personal collections), it had taken hours to wash the lip-gloss from her body, and some of the scratches still hadn't healed.
But again, not the time to think about that right now. It would only distract her from getting home quickly. She'd recognized some of these as ones that had gotten hold of her before and silently thanked whatever deities that were listening that she was a natural and trained athlete; only the most stalwart and hardy of these girls would be able to keep up.
So she was running and running fast. Ducking around corners and leaping obstacles forced several of the group to fall out. Even so, many were still on her trail and gaining.
She could feel their fingers brushing the back of her jacket, their hysterical screaming of her name and various declarations of love and loyalty ringing in her ears, spurred her to put on an extra burst of speed. She was pulling away, she could feel it. The sounds of their pounding feet were fading into the distance, their screams were quieting; just a little farther and she'd be home free.
Then she felt fingers scrape along her back again and a jolt of pure fear shot into her limbs and propelled her even faster. The only one in that group who could have kept up this long had to be that long legged brunette…if Moze remembered correctly the girl was on the basketball team. 'Aren't they supposed to be sprinters?' was her desperate thought before the girl finally got a solid hold on her and brought her to the ground.
It was a mob scene, comical in its absurdity. Moze found herself at the bottom of a dog pile of girls. All she remembered were tangled limbs, the sounds of torn clothing, and lots and lots of lip-gloss covered lips descending on her. She didn't know how long they had her, swarming her like vultures on a carcass, but they left as quickly as they'd appeared leaving Moze in a dazed heap upon the ground, her clothes torn to shreds yet miraculously preserving her modesty.
She lay there for a time trying to catch her breath and mentally cataloging her injuries, arms and legs flung wide to take advantage of the cool air.
It was here that Suzie found her some time later, staring blankly up into the clouds still covered in smears of lip-gloss from girls that weren't her girlfriend.
"Okay, that's it," Suzie said, startling Moze out of her stupor, "I can't deal with this anymore." There was anger in Suzie's voice, a fierce anger that Moze hadn't ever heard before. Not even in their rival days in middle school.
Since she still wasn't thinking all that clearly the only response she could make was an unintelligible, "Huh?"
"This!" Suzie shrieked waving her arms wildly to encompass Moze's dishevelment, her bits of clothing strewn on the ground, her bag flung twenty feet away, "I can't compete with all of them, Jennifer!"
Moze blinked, confused. "I'm not asking you to. I don't want their attention."
"So tell them to leave you alone!" Suzie stomped petulantly, her hands clenched into fists.
"I have, Suzie." Moze spoke as she managed to pull herself off the ground, holding her hands up in a universal gesture for surrender, "Many times, actually. They don't listen. You know that." She took several steps closer to Suzie, attempting to pull the other girl into a hug.
Suzie slapped Moze's hands away and took a long step back. She wasn't willing to listen, not now. "No! No! Don't. Touch. Me." Suzie ground out through gritted teeth. "That's it. I'm done. I won't fight these girls for you. I've been taking all sorts of shit from them since we've been dating, but this is the last straw. I can't deal with it anymore. They want you," Suzie said with a terrible finality, "they can have you. We're done."
"What?" Moze asked quietly, not sure she could believe her ears (they had recently been assaulted by fangirl high-decibel squeelage after all), "Suzie, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that you and me," Suzie's hand pointing between the two of them, "we're over. We are no longer in a relationship. I'm sick of taking their abuse. I can't deal with it anymore. It's not worth it!" She stormed off, not waiting for Moze to make a reply.
Not that Moze could have made a reply just then, she was still stunned from both the fangirl attack and Suzie's verbal barrage. Still, she was able to think, so think she did.
She wasn't particularly upset that Suzie had dumped her. Disappointed maybe, but they'd never been serious about their relationship. Moze was fairly certain that Suzie had only asked her out because she'd seen that all the other girls wanted her, and she'd turned it all into a sort of competition with the rest of the town's female population. Moze was a sort of trophy to Suzie, but she hadn't minded all that much. Their 'relationship' had gotten the majority of the admirers off her back and had opened her eyes to her own sexuality, so really it was no hardship for them to no longer be an item. Still, saying it wasn't worth it hurt more than she'd expect it to.
She fell back onto the grass and stared at the sky again.
"Wow. Looks like you've had a busy afternoon Mosely." This voice was a far cry away from the one Suzie had used. There was repressed laughter in this voice; which was nice. Moze had always loved to hear the smiles in people's voices.
Suddenly a face was hovering a few feet over her own as its owner bent at the waist to look at her. Moze quickly recognized the long shimmering blonde hair and twinkling hazel eyes as those belonging to Missy Meany.
Moze smiled, "You could say that." She closed her eyes as vivid memories as what she would now refer to as 'the Hunt' replayed in her mind's eye. She wasn't fond of being prey.
She heard Missy settle down beside her, "What happened?"
Moze opened her eyes, she'd never liked telling stories without looking at her audience, "You know that tall chick from the girls' basketball team? The brunette?"
"Do you mean Chrissy or Terry?" Missy asked with a slight scrunch to her eyebrows and a tilt of her head.
Moze had to think for a moment, "Which one has the perm?"
"Chrissy." Later Moze would wonder why Missy's response was nearly instantaneous (just how much attention does Missy pay to their school's female athletes?), but she had a story to tell now.
"Okay, what about her?" Missy prompted, rolling her hand in an impatient way.
"I was walking home and she was leading a pack of rabid fans after me. I was so close to getting away when Terry got a hold of me and brought me down. God, they were like hyenas. Right down to the yipping and weird laughing!" Moze shuddered at the recollection, wishing she hadn't remembered those laughs or the images of their grins in her mind's eye.
"I assume it was them that reduced your clothing to…" Missy made a vague hand gesture here that encompassed the rags that were serving to preserve Moze's modesty, "this?"
Moze sat up to look down at herself, she hadn't taken the time to notice exactly what the damage was. She was a little surprised that there was any clothing left at all, grateful but still surprised. She smiled ruefully. "Yep, this was them." Then she blushed, realizing that she was clad in what amounted to a bit more than a bikini (but not much) and having a conversation with a girl who'd hit on her less than a month ago.
Missy lifted a brow as she fought to keep her grin from escaping, "I see. I see quite a lot, actually." And here the grin won and took its position on Missy's face. Missy was clearly admiring the view, but not being so crass as to ogle. Moze was actually impressed that the other girl managed to keep her eyes mostly trained on her face; though doubtless she'd be curious to find exactly how many lip-gloss smears she'd find and where she'd find them…which was probably why the grin fast became a lascivious smirk.
She snorted and reached out to lightly slap Missy's shoulder in rebuke for the suggestive comment, but missed as the other girl leaned out of reach. Moze was too tired to try for another slap.
"I'll have to remember not to look over my shoulder next time." At Missy's inquisitive look she explained, "It slowed me down."
Missy laughed then said, "You could also probably drop your shoulder bag, too. Extra weight and all."
Moze nodded. It was good advice. So good she wondered why she hadn't thought of it herself earlier. Guess her mind doesn't work as well as she thought when she's under pressure.
"So," Missy smiled again, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, "you were savaged by brutes in ponytails and bad lip-gloss. Is that why you were laying here?"
Moze's demeanor changed, showing some confusion, "Mostly."
"Mm. Suzie found me a bit after the mob had gone…"
Missy tilted her head and put a warm hand on Moze's arm, "And?"
Moze took a deep breath and smiled sardonically, "And she dumped me."
"What? Why?" Missy had straightened up instantly in obvious surprise, an unusually sharp note entering her voice.
"She said she couldn't compete with all of them, and she didn't want to try." Moze's face crumpled into honest bewilderment and a little hurt, "What I don't get is why she thought it was a competition at all. I mean, she had me, where was the competition?"
"I don't know. But it sounds like she was being stupid to me." Typical, practically patented, Missy bluntness. "If I had you I'd certainly fight to keep you, whether it be a fight against all of your 'rabid fans' or just one girl."
Moze completely missed the heavy handed hint Missy had all but gift wrapped and delivered, and smiled obliviously at what she thought was Missy's friendly reassurance.
Knowing that Moze had missed her clue Missy stood and offered her hand to the tall brunette, "Come on. Let's go. I'll walk you home."
Moze allowed Missy to help her to her feet and bent to pick up her bag. She turned around to see a blushing Missy holding out her jacket and knew that she'd just inadvertently given the blonde an eyeful. "Thanks."
The jacket didn't cover everything, but it was enough to cover the essential bits so she wouldn't get arrested for indecent exposure. It was important that she not get arrested; first because it would look terrible on college applications, and second because you never knew what kind of horn-dogs you were going to find in the Californian suburb (she'd always thought that guy down the street looked shifty, that one with the bike and the smirk and way too much free time, she'd bet he's a peeping tom).
She was glad for Missy's company on the walk, even if they weren't talking. She could see some of her fans up ahead. They never chased her when she had company, a small courtesy. Moze didn't think she could handle another chase anyway; she'd collapse of exhaustion first.
"Hey, Mosely?" Well, it certainly didn't take Missy long to get uncomfortable with the silence between them.
Moze looked at Missy, trying to gauge what was on her mind. The blonde was fidgeting, twisting her fingers together. Moze thought she looked nervous. It was cute. "Yeah?"
"Wanna come to the mall with me tomorrow?"
"Uh, sure." Moze was a bit surprised. She and Missy had never been what one could call 'friends'. They'd never even hung out before today, not really. Their interaction in elementary and middle school had always been a little…hostile, and Missy hadn't even really talked to Moze outside of assigned group projects since they'd been in high school. Not until recently. Not until Moze's life took a turn for the weird and she was suddenly a babe magnet. Still, she was willing to give it all a shot even if she couldn't shake the feeling that Missy might have an ulterior motive. "What are we going for?"
Missy looked at Moze, mock offence in every line of her body, "What?" she asked playfully, "I can't just want to hang out with an old friend?" She batted her eyes innocently and smiled up at Moze angelically. They both knew that 'old friends' was not how their past relationship could be described.
Moze just lifted one eyebrow with a half smirk in place, knowing Missy was toying with her.
Missy pouted and rolled her eyes, "Fine. I have to find a birthday gift for my sister and want company. I figure you'll keep me from buying anything too offensive."
"Why would you buy your sister something offensive at all?"
"She and I…don't get along very well. She's older and apparently perfect and doesn't hesitate to rub it in my face at every opportunity."
"Oh. Bummer." She had hoped it would be a funny inside joke kind of thing, not twisted and sad sibling rivalry.
"Yeah." Missy shrugged, "No big deal. I'm only getting her something because my parents make me. And hey! Gives me a chance to hang out with you, right?"
Moze smiled and slung her arm around Missy's shoulders, "Right."
She had forgotten they were out in public, but once Moze heard excited squeals and outraged gasps she remembered the fanatics still watching her every move. She knew how this would look to them and winced inwardly. It would look like Moze and Missy were involved. She briefly considered removing her arm in an attempt to quell the gossip she knew was already being texted to all the kids in school, but the smile Missy had given her at the small comfort stopped her. A smile like that is worth whatever trouble might come her way.
Trouble certainly did come her way. She had just known it would. There was rarely a thing she did anymore that didn't garner some kind of attention from somebody. Walking home with Missy, putting her arm around Missy, and in full view of several of her stalker fangirls was bound to lead to nothing good.
There were certainly some wild rumors swinging on the gossip vine the next day at school. People were speculating what was actually going on in Moze's love life. Some were saying that she'd dumped Suzie for Missy; others said she'd been caught in bed with Ned, and Suzie had dumped her and she'd gone running after Suzie still naked but had run into Missy instead; still others said she'd cheated on Suzie with Missy and that's why Suzie had dumped her. Still, they all had one key fact right: she and Suzie were definitely broken up.
Moze heard all the rumors and more, though she declined to comment on most and outright laughed at some. Like the one that said she'd been having an affair with the volleyball coach and they'd been caught by Suzie having sex in the locker room and they'd both been kicked out of the school, or would have been had Missy not bribed the administration to allow them to stay in exchange for Moze being hers, that was a real doozy. She knew that whatever she did say would be twisted out of all context and taken in the wrong ways. With no way to quell the gossip, she had no choice but to let it run wild. She actually thought it was getting pretty entertaining. The less Moze said about the whole situation the wilder the rumors became.
Rumors that were fueled exponentially when Moze and Coach Richards were called into Principal Dart's office just after the bell had rung for third period.
He sat at his desk looking at the two women gravely for a moment before speaking, "I've been hearing some very disturbing rumors lately. Rumors that worry me. Rumors that could lead to some very serious consequences involving lawsuits, unemployment, and expulsion. Now, would either of you care to explain to me just what's going on?"
Coach Richards said, "I swear that whatever you've heard is wrong. I would never ever sleep with a student, Robert. I don't know where this rumor came from."
"Well, we do stay for late practices a lot," Moze pointed out unhelpfully. Richards glared at her as Principal Dart looked at both sharply. "Sorry, Coach, but it's true." Moze shrugged, "Teenagers watch a lot of TV and they want to make as much drama in their real lives as they can. We do spend a lot of time together, and even though it's perfectly innocent they don't want to believe that. They want us to be in some torrid love affair so they have something interesting to talk about, because heaven knows their own lives aren't as fascinating. They want to think that you seduced me away from my wholesome, proper relationship with my girlfriend, just like in the movies. And really, that isn't even the most interesting rumor that I've heard today."
Principal Dart steepled his hands in front of his face, resisting the urge to rub away the headache that was no doubt forming behind his eyes, "Miss Mosely," he said patiently, "can you tell me where all these rumors are coming from?"
"I can't tell you who started them, but I can tell you why I think they started."
"Oh," he said, "please do."
Moze took a deep breath to center herself before she launched into the events of yesterday. "I was mauled by a bunch of girls yesterday on my way home from here. They took most of my clothes. Suzie found me while I was still recovering and dumped me because she thought I enjoyed all of the attention I was getting from the crazies. I didn't have the energy to fight with her so I let her go. Missy Meany found me a while after that, let me borrow her coat and walked me home. Some of my more enthusiastic fans saw us and jumped to some pretty extreme conclusions. That's it. Coach has nothing to do with any of this. It's just the monstrous being that my love life has become making things…interesting."
Principal Dart sat back and stared at Moze like she was insane. "You expect me to believe that?"
"Actually, I believe it." Coach Richards said while eying Moze speculatively. Dart looked at her for explanation. "Things changed a few weeks ago. After Mosely broke up with Bigby. She's been getting an awful lot of attention from the girls in school. I remember she was late to practices a few times because she'd been waylaid by…fans, I guess you could call them. When she and Crabgrass started dating she stopped being late to practice, but there was always a huge audience of girls watching and cheering just for her. It freaked me out. I caught a few of those girls trying to steal things out of Mosely's gym bag. If she were alone, I believe they'd take the clothes right off her."
"You can go ahead and ask Missy, she'll tell you," Moze added as her two cents for credibility. "This is either Suzie's creative way of trying to teach me a lesson, or just the speculations of the people who saw me walking home with Missy yesterday letting the story get way out of hand."
"So there's absolutely nothing going on between you and Coach Richards that I should be worried about?"
Moze laughed at his earnest expression and the absurdity of the situation. "Nothing, Principal Dart. I promise. She's a little out of my age group. No offence, Coach."
Richards smiled and replied, "None taken. That's gotta be one of the nicest ways I've been called 'too old' for someone."
Principal Dart's gaze shifted between the two of them for several long moments before he relented. "Alright, ladies. I'll take you both at your word. Miss Mosely, try to keep your love life under wraps. You're both excused."
They left in a hurry. Moze shaking her head and Coach Richards weak with relief.
She returned to class and sat down to excited whispers and people wanting to ask her questions. The teacher quickly got things under control and continued the lesson.
Moze faced the same in most of her other classes; the news that she'd been called to see the principal spread fast. There was nothing she could say to make them stop so she didn't really try.
She dreaded what the lunch period would bring. All day she'd been the focus of too much attention. People's whispers, their stares, their questions. She was ready to pop from repressed anger at the whole situation. She was hoping to buy her lunch, sit in some quiet corner by herself, and eat in peace. She should have known she just wasn't that lucky.
She got her lunch just fine, and found a deserted table for herself. None of her admirers approached. She thought she was free and clear. Then Missy sat down beside her.
"So, I'm thinking we'll leave right after classes let out. I'm driving, so you'll have to meet me at my car."
Moze smiled, happy to see Missy despite the drama just walking with her yesterday had caused, "Hello to you, too, Missy."
Missy smiled sheepishly, "Sorry. Hi." Moze watched the blonde worry her lower lip with her teeth for a moment, "How's your day been?" she finally tentatively asked.
Moze snorted. "I've had better. I take it you've been hearing the rumors, too?"
"People keep asking me for confirmation," Missy laughed a little, "How much did I pay the principal? Was I really caught in bed with you? Am I dating you? How long were you cheating with me? Have I really seen you naked? It's crazy."
Moze rolled her eyes and flashed a quick rueful smile, "You should have been in the meeting with Dart, Coach and I."
"Speaking of, he called me in to confirm you were stripped yesterday by a bunch of crazies. What was that all about?"
"He thought Coach and I were having an affair. I told him that was ridiculous. Then I told him what I think started all the rumors. I told him to ask you if he didn't believe me." Moze shrugged, "Sorry."
Missy waved a hand, "No big deal. Got me out of a pop quiz." She smirked and said, "I should be thanking you."
A chuckle and a grin, "Well, in that case, you're welcome. Now, where are you parked?"
"Huh? Oh! Right. I'm in lot B; you'll see me at my car. Easy to find."
Moze nodded and went back to eating her lunch while Missy started on hers.
"So it's true then," an angry voice broke the comfortable silence as a long shadow fell across the table, "you really are with her now. That didn't take long. Maybe you really were cheating on me."
Moze looked up into the fuming face of a furious Suzie.
"Uh, Suzie—," Moze began, intending to tell Suzie how wrong she was and that she and Missy were only having lunch but that's as far as she got before Suzie interrupted with a raised hand and a snarl.
"Save it, Mosley." Suzie spat her name like it left a bad taste in her mouth, "I don't care what you have to say anymore." Here she turned to Missy and said as sarcastically as possible, "I hope you're very happy with her. Have fun fighting off the floozies."
Missy smiled radiantly. "Oh, I will," she replied, "I'll happily fight them because unlike you, I intend to keep her." Her smile turned a little dangerous and gave pause to Suzie and their impromptu audience, fear playing no little part in their states of temporary paralysis.
Moze just sighed, figuring this story would be all over the school in minutes and that there would be just as many versions of it as there were rumors earlier. She could already hear the ripple of whispers and hissed commentary.
Suzie, over her shock, hissed "We'll see about that!" at Missy, then huffed and stomped off already forming plans to ruin what she thought was Moze's new relationship with the intent of winning her back when it all went south.
Missy rolled her eyes at Suzie's retreating back, and then gave a pointed look to their still staring peanut gallery who reluctantly turned away. "Well," she said, "That was interesting."
Moze snorted, "Yeah, not the word I'd use." She shared a smirk with Missy and they both returned to finishing their lunches.
"So," Moze said, "Lot B, after school?"
Nodding, Missy confirmed their plan, "Then to the mall."
They finished the rest of their lunches chatting about anything that came to mind and trying to ignore the murmur of speculation rising around them.
Moze was never so glad to hear the final bell ring as she was on this day.
Not only was it releasing her from the torture chamber of rumors that classes had become, but it also signaled the beginning of her afternoon hanging out with Missy; an afternoon that she was very much looking forward to.
She'd never thought she and Missy would get along, especially not after the roughness that defined almost all of their previous interactions. She remembered all the competition and meanness they'd allowed to rule them in middle school and briefly wondered if this was a part of some elaborate revenge plan Missy had conjured up. But then she remembered the lesson they'd all learned in middle school when Ned had turned himself into 'The Revenger' and knew that Missy probably wouldn't bother. Besides, she thought, Missy has always been more of an instant retribution kind of girl not a long term planner.
Moze traveled the halls with great purpose, eager to get away from the gossip mongers and even more eager to get to Missy's car. She could practically feel people watching her as she made her way out of the school. She heard shuffling behind her and looked over her shoulder to see a group of girls tying on running shoes and doing stretches while staring at her intently. Oh God, they're gathering for a Hunt!
Moze hastened her pace and made it to Lot B and saw Missy leaning back against her little blue car.
"Better hurry," Moze said as she walked directly to the passenger side of Missy's car.
Missy gave her a quizzical look, "Why?"
Jerking her chin in the direction of the school and the pack of girls emerging from the shadows, "They're why."
Missy turned to look, her eyes went wide as the pack caught sight of her with Mosely, she could practically see their hackles rise as they bared their teeth in horrible masks of jealousy. She scrambled to get into her car, Moze not far behind, and managed to get it started and drove off just as the pack charged. They barely made it without hitting or getting hit by any of the rabid hunters.
"Are they always like that?" Missy was shaking a little with fear, she was glad to have the wheel under her hands to steady her.
Moze shrugged. "Pretty much. They take every opportunity when I'm alone to hassle me. I have to admit that I've been getting great cardio workouts since they've started these chases." Her flashed grin did nothing to calm Missy's nerves.
They fell into a slightly awkward silence as Missy considered this. She knew she wanted to pursue Mosely romantically, but she wasn't sure she could handle having the brand of viciousness she saw burning in the fangirls' eyes directed at her all the time. She looked over at Mosely who was leaning her head back against the seat with her eyes closed, obviously tired and stressed. She's so beautiful…And absolutely wiped out. Looking at her, Missy knew she would endure whatever those chicks could dish out and she would give it right back for the chance to be with Mosely.
Missy had always known a good thing when she saw it, and Mosely was most definitely a good thing. Sucking in a soothing breath she forced any fear she felt out of her mind and spoke, "You look tired. I could just take you home so you can relax." She hoped Mosely would stay with her, but she was prepared to put the brunette's needs before her own desires.
Moze opened her eyes and looked over to Missy, whose eyes were on the road before them, and she smiled gently at the consideration. "No. I'd rather go shopping with you. I've been looking forward to this."
Moze could hear the insecurity and surprise in Missy's voice and was charmed by it. "Yes, really. I can't often go out anymore without being assaulted. And those girls throw pebbles at the windows all night and try to get into the house whenever I'm there. Mom'll kill someone if they break any more windows. Probably me." She finished with a chuckle.
Tone flat, Missy replied, "Oh."
"Besides," Moze continued, "I'd really like to spend some time with you. Get to know you." Moze watched the light blush rise in Missy's cheeks thinking it made her look adorable. "I know we weren't friends in middle school, but I'd like to be now."
Missy felt her heartbeat speed up a little and a blush tint her cheeks. She replied quietly, "I'd like that, too."
They arrived at the mall without further conversation. Missy too tongue tied to speak and Moze too tired. But both perked up once the car was parked and they were headed into the stores.
"So," Moze began, "what are we looking for?"
Missy glanced over at her shopping partner and said, "I don't really know. I figure we'll look around and something will just jump out at us."
"Oh, don't say that," Moze shuddered, "Last time I was here it was random girls jumping out at me. Mom made my brothers form a protective wall around me until she was finished shopping."
"Whoa," Missy blinked.
"It was better than her initial idea." At Missy's quizzical look she continued, "She was going to lock me in the car."
"Why didn't she?"
"She didn't want the car's windows broken." Moze's deadpan delivery startled Missy into laughing and Moze grinned at hearing it.
"That's hysterical! Did your mom actually say that?"
Moze smirked, "Oh yeah. But only after Blake said I'd be a sitting duck out in the car. Better to just keep me moving around."
Missy shook her head, "That's crazy."
Moze just smiled. "Now, back to the problem at hand. What sort of stuff does your sister like?"
Shrugging, Missy said, "I don't really know. We've never been close. She's three years older. Near as I can tell the only things she likes are her sleazy boyfriend and pretending to be superior."
"I'm sorry, Missy. That sucks." Moze threw an arm around Missy's shoulders, oblivious to the pair of burning eyes that watched them from a distance, "But we'll think of something. You know how she dresses, right? Maybe we can get her a shirt or something…"
Missy leaned her head against Moze's shoulder and sighed, "Yeah, maybe."
Suzie was pissed.
Who did Missy think she was? Making a move on Jennifer when she hadn't even been single for twenty-four hours yet, and there she was leaning on her, touching her, laughing with her, how dare she?
They might be broken up but Moze was still hers. Would always be hers. And Missy could not have her. She had to ruin this date. Had to make them both see that they would never work.
Suzie cast her eyes around for a way to separate them. She had to make her move, win Mosely back, prove to them all that she was the best.
When her eyes found the honey tasting display, the venders dressed as bees, and bottles of honey ready for sale. There were buckets full of honey on the counter of the kiosk where the vendors dipped in spoons to draw samples for customers. It was those buckets that drew her eyes. If she could dump one on Missy she would have to go clean up and leave Jennifer all alone...ripe for Suzie's picking.
Suzie grinned to herself as she sidled up to the kiosk and while the venders were busy and easily slid a bucket off the counter and walked off with it, following Jennifer and Missy closely.
Closer and closer she walked, not noticing the venders spotting her and coming after her.
She lifted the bucket prepared to toss it. It would be glorious. Missy would never see it coming.
As she was about to tip the contents of the bucket over Missy's head an overexcited child barreled into her and the bucket spilled backwards coating Suzie in a wave of sticky gold. She froze completely, so shocked she didn't even make a noise. Jennifer and Missy moved on without ever seeing her.
"Hey, you!" Suzie looked behind her to see the bee-dressed vendors bearing down on her angrily.
She chucked the bucket at one and began running rather than face the bees' wrath.
Looking back over her shoulder to check the bees' positions she tripped and windmilled into a stack of specialty feather pillows bursting their seams and sending flurries of feathers into the air. She acquired a layer of feathers on top of her honey and was ready to scream.
She struggled up and took off once again looking like a molting chicken. This time with bees and disgruntled pillow makers chasing after her. Thankfully she escaped into the parking lot and fled to her vehicle.
Winning Jennifer back would have to wait for another day.
In the meantime, Missy and Moze passed an enjoyable time in the mall getting to know one another and having some fun window shopping.
"You know," Moze said, "I'm really enjoying this."
Missy looked at Moze sideways, "You say that like you're surprised."
Moze chuckled, "I am. A little."
Missy's raised eyebrow was enough of a prompt for Moze to continue.
"You have to admit this is a little odd," Moze said. "Last month you wouldn't have been caught dead talking with me and now here we are hanging out at the mall. It's a bit wild."
"Yeah, well," Missy said dismissively, "I've seen the error of my ways. You're actually pretty cool."
"Also," Missy continued mischievously, "I've always kind of wanted to be your friend."
"Really?" Moze looked surprised, "Why didn't you say anything sooner?"
"Like when we were fighting over the same guy? Or when you were dating him?"Missy raised her eyebrow, "I'm sure that would have gone over well."
Moze laughed and Missy chuckled with her. "Okay, so maybe we had to wait for this weirdness to happen."
"You mean for you to become lady-catnip or for Suzie to dump you?"
Moze rolled her eyes, "Both, probably."
They walked on in silence for a while, comfortable.
"Hey, do you think your sister would like that?" Moze pointed to a sale in a small shop where pretty scarves were being sold with small bottles of perfume.
Missy mused for a long moment, "Well, she does like scarves. And her boyfriend loves it when she wears fruity perfume." Missy tapped the back of her hand against Moze's stomach, "Looks like you found a winner, Mosely. Thanks."
Moze threw her arm around Missy's shoulders again and pulled her in the direction of the shop, "You're welcome. Now let's get this gift."
"Eager to be away from me?" Missy asked playfully.
Moze grinned, "Nah, eager to check out that sander display at the hardware store down there."
Missy laughed as they bought the gift and did indeed check out that display.
When Missy pulled up to Moze's house that evening it was with a light heart and a smile.
"That was fun," Missy said, "We should do this again."
Moze unbuckled her seat belt while nodding, "We should. Maybe a movie, or bowling."
Missy grinned, "Sounds like a date."
Moze grinned back, "Maybe it would be," her bravado faltered, "If that's okay with you?"
Heart pounding in her chest, Missy took Moze's hand and squeezed it, "Definitely okay."
Moze smiled, relieved, "Good. That could have been really awkward."
"Well," Missy said cautiously, "It might still be."
"I don't think we should jump into this," Missy admitted slowly, "You just broke up with Suzie. And we've only been friends for, like, a day. I like you, I really do, so I don't want to mess this up by moving too fast."
Moze squeezed the hand Missy still held, "Good reasons." Moze closed her eyes and nodded to herself, "Alright. For now, we're friends. You let me know when that can change."
Missy leaned over and kissed Moze's cheek, "I will."
Moze sighed and opened the car door.
"Goodnight, Jennifer," Missy said softly. It was the first time Missy had ever used Moze's first name.
Moze smiled beatifically, "Goodnight."
Moze closed the car door and walked up the steps. As she opened her door she turned back and waved to Missy watching her slowly drive away.
Even with all the rumors running around the school, Suzie going crazy, and getting called into the principal's office today had been a really great day. Missy had been wonderful company and they'd had a lot of fun together.
Friends, huh? Moze could definitely do that.
The next day the school was once again on fire with rumors about Moze's love life. Everyone knew she'd spent the day with Missy yesterday but some of them had information that Moze didn't have. Information like Suzie had followed them to the mall. It was weird, Suzie doing that, but Moze decided not to worry about it. If Suzie wanted to waste her time being a stalker then let her. She'd missed her chance.
Several days passed in which Moze and Missy hung out together all the time and Suzie occasionally stopped by to be rude to them. But they enjoyed one another's company and Suzie's sour attitude would not spoil their new friendship. Missy gave the gift to her sister, who actually really liked it Missy later reported. Moze had Missy over for dinner with her family, who knew their history and found Missy's attitude and wit quite charming.
They kept on in a blissful daze growing closer and liking one another more and more until soon a week had passed. Then two. In that time Missy caught some harassment from Moze's admirers but she took it in stride until it all became too much.
When she sat down for lunch Missy once again plopped herself in the seat next to her.
"Oh my God," Missy groaned, "The people here are insane!"
Moze set her sandwich down and faced Missy, warily she asked, "Are you okay?"
Missy's head thumped down on the table once, twice, three times before she swept her hair back and looked long sufferingly at Moze. "Do you know what your crazy fangirls have been up to?"
Moze slowly shook her head while delicately putting her arm along the back of Missy's chair.
Missy dropped her head on Moze's shoulder, "First they stole my backpack trying to get your number. Then they flooded my locker with shaving cream. Every class they've been passing me notes asking if I'm really with you or what, there were so many notes on my desk that the teacher gave me detention! Like it's my fault they're nuts. Oh, the best part is the body checking into the lockers and the glares."
Moze grimaced and rubbed Missy's back, "I'm sorry for all the trouble they're causing. We aren't even dating and you're catching all this crap."
Missy shook her head against Moze's shoulder, "I'm pretty sure they'd do this no matter what. It's probably why Ned hasn't been talking to you much either."
Moze squeezed Missy's shoulder, "Well, I'm sorry for it anyway."
Missy relaxed into Moze's side, "Thanks."
"Well isn't this cozy?" a snide Suzie asked as she sneered down at the table.
"Suzie," Moze said warningly.
"No," Suzie cut her off yet again, "I see how it is. I dump you and Missy here swoops right on in. Just like back in middle school with Ned."
Missy stood from her chair, "And just like you did when she and Ned broke up two weeks ago. Get over yourself, Suzie."
"Missy," Moze protested softly, wanting to remind her that they weren't actually dating.
Missy put her hand on Moze's shoulder near her neck and rubbed lightly while still glaring daggers at Suzie, "You're just mad because, like a moron, you let her go without a fight. I told you already I won't be that dumb. You want to throw down? We can do that. But I'm telling you right now it won't change anything."
"And why's that?" Suzie asked into the hushed silence of the cafeteria.
"Because," Missy said as she reached down to take Moze's hand into her own, "Firstly, she's not some prize to fight over. Secondly, I would never break up with her over something she couldn't control. Like what her fangirls do. And lastly, because whatever those fangirls might do to me, whatever you might do, she's worth it."
Moze stood saying softly, reverently, "Missy."
Missy looked up into Moze's face timidly but said firmly, "You are."
Moze smiled and wrapped her free hand around Missy's waist, "So are you."
A giant smile broke across Missy's face and she lunged up to claim a kiss, rocking Moze back on her heels with the force of their bodies colliding like that. Without breaking the kiss Moze managed to set Missy back on her feet and change their contact into something a bit more gentle.
Suzie watched and finally realized where she'd gone wrong. Moze had only ever been a symbol to her. Suzie was the queen bee of the school, social ruler, and part of that image was having the most sought after boyfriend or girlfriend in the school. Moze had been that sought after person and Suzie had wasted no time in snatching her up and solidifying her status. But that's all Moze had ever been, part of the status, Suzie had never really had romantic feelings for her. What Suzie had forgotten was that Moze had been her friend, her best friend, and she'd foolishly thrown that friendship away too. And here was Missy Meany, of all people, showing her how dumb she'd really been. Thoughtful, Suzie turned slowly on her heel and wandered out of the cafeteria. She wouldn't try to fight Missy for Moze again. But maybe...maybe they could try to be friends again.
When Moze broke the kiss she laughed a little and asked, "What happened to taking it slow?"
Missy hid her face against Moze's collarbone and grinned, "I changed my mind."
"So the friends thing?"
Missy shook her head, "Done."
Moze chuckled, "Good. I wasn't sure how much longer I could have gone without kissing you one of these days."
"Well," Missy drawled, lifting her head from Moze's shoulder, "Feel free."
So Moze kissed her again.
The cafeteria burst into a flurry of activity and soon the entire school was aware that it was official. The wailing sobs of dozens of brokenhearted fangirls shook the windows when the mass text message went out.
Jennifer Mosely and Missy Meany were an item. Dating. Together.
Ned Bigby, as he read the small screen of his cell phone held underneath his desk in chemistry, grinned then laughed. "Go Moze," he nodded approvingly to himself before his teacher snatched his phone out of his hands and handed him a detention slip. "Aw, come on Mr. Sweeney!"
A/N: Well, that took me long enough. I hope it was worth the wait. Please review.