Carol woke up to hear yelling. She rubbed her eyes, and looked at Boner, in his undershirt and jeans, who was against her wall with a deer-in-the-headlights look.
"Mr. Seaver, I swear..." he said, holding his hands up in a placating manner. "You gotta know nothin' happened."
"You were in her bed!" Jason roared.
"I'm too young to be a grandmother!" Maggie wailed dramatically. "I'm still hot, damnit!"
"Mom, Daddy, stop it!" Carol said, standing up on the bed, and then stepping in front of Boner.
Mike was standing in the doorway, looking like he was seeing an alien autopsy in real life. Ben was behind him.
"Boner didn't do anything wrong- we didn't do anything wrong!" Carol said vehemently.
"You really expect us to believe that?" Maggie huffed. "Pfft, please, Carol, give us a little credit!"
"How about giving me, your good child, a little credit?" Carol yelled loudly.
"Carol! He was in your bed!" Jason yelled.
Boner swallowed hard.
"And, I'm telling you that nothing happened! You can believe me or not, but you'll apologize to Boner!"
Maggie opened her mouth to speak, but Jason held a hand up. "Okay, Carol... one shot, what's he doing here, then, if 'nothing' is going on?"
Maggie nodded firmly.
"Sleeping!" Carol huffed. "I've... I've been having this horrible insomnia... for about two weeks now..." she admitted, sliding down to her bed. "See, after about a week, I was so sleep deprived I thought I was going to loose my mind. I went downstairs to watch a movie." she said softly.
"That was the night I stayed over with Mikey." Boner said quietly, sitting behind Carol on the bed. "See, I saw her downstairs, and we started talkin'. She said she hadn't been sleepin', so I brought her back up to Mikey's room, and the three of us played Tetris most of the rest of the night. Well, we were hanging out, talking... she actually fell asleep."
"Yeah, I remember that." Mike nodded. "She was acting a little punchy, I guess sleep deprived would account for that..."
"Well, that was the best I'd slept in over a week." Carol confided to Maggie. "The only time I'd slept in a week."
"Oh, Carol..." Maggie sighed, putting an arm around her sympathetically.
"Sleep deprivation can be very wearing on your health; you should have told me." Jason said sternly. "I'm a psychiatrist; I could have done something." he added.
Carol shrugged. "I didn't want to worry you. Besides, after I slept that well, I figured it was over, right?"
Carol shook her head. "It wasn't... The next night, I didn't sleep at all. I tossed and turned and paced my room and cried." she said, her eyes welling a bit. "It's awful. And, I got to thinking, 'what is it that got me where I could sleep the night before?', and then it hit me. I was more relaxed. But, why?"
"Playing Tetris?" Mike guessed.
"No." Carol sighed, running a hand through her long, thick curls. "It was talking to Boner, using his shoulder as a pillow... I felt relaxed and safe in a way I usually don't." she admitted with a light smile, and behind her, Boner flushed, a small, pleased smile coming across his features. "He knows what to say to make me feel better- in a way no one else does, or even tries!" Carol said, reaching for his hand. "He feels strong, and warm... and safe... and he smells like Old Spice." she mumbled. "It's... comforting."
Jason pinched the bridge of his nose. "Carol... if you're having trouble sleeping, you can't just depend on Boner to be your pillow. It's... inappropriate."
Carol bit her lower lip, blinking.
"We're sorry, Boner." Jason said in a very reluctant tone. "We shouldn't have accused you, but you have to admit how it looked-"
"I ain't as stupid as everyone thinks I am." Boner said quietly, causing surprised eyes to go to him. "I know... people think I'm not smart, but... if that's why I was up here, I would've made sure to set an alarm and got outta here before everyone got up. And, if Carol needs me to, I'd be here in a second anytime, everytime."
Carol gave him a watery, melty smile.
"Oh, Boner..." she sighed, playing with his fingers. "I..."
"So, are you two dating now?" Mike demanded.
"I..." Carol looked confused.
Boner bit his lower lip. "Mikey, it ain't about that. Carol's... Carol. She needed me, not... nookie."
"Right... still doesn't quite answer my question."
"Because it's none of your business!" Carol burst out, throwing a pillow at him.
"My sister and my best friend! Yes, my business!" Mike shot back.
Boner ran a hand through his hair.
"Ma, can you get Mike and Daddy out of here, please?" she begged. "Boner and I'll be downstairs in a minute?"
"Well... all right..." Maggie relented. "But, I'm timing you, and if you're not down in exactly two minutes, I'm coming up here!" she warned, dragging Jason and Mike out of the room.
"Maybe Daddy'll make you pancakes?" she half teased, giving him a smile.
Boner chuckled. "I somehow doubt your father wants to make me pancakes right now, unless he's gonna poison 'em."
Carol leaned up and hugged him tightly. Boner hesitated only a moment, and then he wrapped his arms around her waist tight, too, and lay his face in her hair.
"Thank you... I"m sorry I got you yelled at by my folks..." she whispered.
"It was more than worth it." Boner said softly, brushing her hair back from her face with gentle fingertips. "I'd face an entire firing squad for the getting to hold you all night, even though nothin' funny went on." he said seriously.
Carol flushed, pleased. "Really?"
Boner nodded. "Yeah... you're you. The smartest, hottest... sweetest girl I've ever known. I-"
But, he was cut off by her lips crashing down on his. His hands went into her hair, and they melted into the kiss. He wanted it to continue, but, alarm bells were going off in his head that Mrs. Seaver- who was much, much scarier than Mr. Seaver- was on her way up at any second, so he pushed back. "Okay, your mother is gonna catch us, and then I'll never be allowed up here again..."
Carol nodded, flushing. But, Boner took both of her hands into his.
"Right... let's go downstairs now..." she nodded.
Boner hopped up, walking out of the bedroom door with her.
"So... you got plans for the prom?"