I AM BAAAACK! *dodges rotten tomatoes* Yes, yes, I know it took a long long long long long long long long while! Since Easter. I am ashamed. *hangs head down* But to be truthful, this story is coming along very difficultly. I'm starting to lose the idea that I first had in mind for it. THIS DOES NOT MEAN I SHALL ABANDON IT! It just means the updates will take long now. And my interwebbies is NOT permanent (back at my mom's house for a bit) so...yah...but enjoy!


Chapter Three
The Wonders of School Society

Clyde stared at me as if I had lost my mind. Maybe I had. "What?"

"You heard me." I was practically gloating in my conviction. Oh, stupid, naïve me. "You and me will go out for a month. Then, once you 'have me', you'll realize that you're confusing your bro love."

Clyde looked confused. At least the tears had stopped shining in his eyes. "So...you're gonna go out with me?"

"For a month." I affirmed.

There was pause, and then tears poured down his cheeks. Seriously just poured; some country in Thailand was probably missing its monsoon season. I jumped back in shock. "Holy crap, why're you crying?"

"What?" The brunet actually looked surprised, and he touched his cheeks hesitantly. "Oh...I-I didn't even feel it." He sniffled, giving me a tearful smile, and I was reminded of when I gave that stupid, fluffy shark. "I'm just so happy."

Dear God... I sighed, resisting the urge to roll my eyes at him, pulling a bunch of tissues from my pocket and handing them to him. So many trees killed for him... Clyde took them gratefully, wiping his eyes.

"Come on." I gestured back to the parking lot. "Let's go sit in the car. It's cold out here."

"We're not going back to school?"

"Yeah, we are, but first and second periods suck, and if I'm skipping, I'm definitely skipping those." I led Clyde back to the car and we both sat inside as I turned the ignition and turned on the heater. I relaxed and closed my eyes. It was then when it hit me.

I had just agreed to go out with my best friend.

My male best friend.

And going out meant...

"So..." Clyde's voice made me wince. Damn, I knew he wasn't stupid, but why, oh why couldn't this be one time where he didn't think? "What do you mean by 'going out'? Like…actually going out?"

His voice had just the smallest bit of slyness to it, and I knew exactly what he was really asking. I'd set my challenge on the table, and now he was asking if I could really go through with it. This was it. If I wanted to back out, this was the time. Right now. I wanted to do it, I wanted to just say "I can't do this" and get it over with. I couldn't go out with Clyde, I couldn't go through with something like this!

But my damned pride, which I'd thought was good and dead for a while, did a Jesus on me and latched onto my lips, forcing the words, "Yes, actually going out. Publicly and everything." out of my mouth.

"Yeah, right." My eyes snapped open and I looked at Clyde, who only flushed in embarrassment. I don't think he meant for that to come out, much less for me to hear it.

"What do you mean, 'yeah right'?" I snapped back.

He fumbled for words, gesticulating wildly. "Well, come on, Token, you're straight. You can't do this. I mean, even if you were actually serious, you couldn't hold my hand with any romantic intention, much less kiss me or anything."

As stupid as it sounds, the words stung. What did he mean, I couldn't do this? Did he really think I'd wuss out or something? That I'd care if people talked or saw? Hell, I was a man on a damn mission, and if I was going to do it, I was going to do it! So yeah, I was going to date Clyde, and do everything else that came along with it! Screw appearances!

I'm embarrassed, looking back on my reactions now, but I can't help that I was an arrogant idiot. And with that determined mindset, I leaned across the seat, the dangerous look in my eye making Clyde jerk back until his head hit the window. I eyed him down, drawing closer and closer until I had trapped him there, my legs on my seat, hands gripping the seat on either side of him.

Clyde's face flushed darker than I thought it could go as I said, "Clyde, you're not my best friend if you're doubting me on this. I can do this. Watch me." And with that, I tilted my head a bit to the side, leaning forward to kiss him.

And had my hand slip off of the edge, sending my face crashing into my best friend's chest.

There was a pause in which I spat out Clyde's jacket, trying to heave myself up, and then I heard the brunet's almost hysterical laughter. Okay, never mind. Now goodbye pride. Total total goodbye: I'll never see you again.

"What was that?" He laughed. "Oh my God, and you called my attempt an epic fail! That was horrible! Just totally horrible!"

"Shut up." I muttered, finally able to get up. I sat up, glowering at Clyde, who looked like he was about to suffocate on his own laughter.

"You should have seen the look on your face!" He howled. "There was, like, this one moment when you were falling, and your face was all just like, 'Whaaaa?' Oh my God, it was hilarious!"

"Goddammit." Okay, seeing as I had done the equivalent of chopping off my junk and emasculating myself as a man, I had nothing to lose. I lunged across at him, with just as much intention to shut him up as anything else, and grabbed him by the shoulders, darting forward to lock lips with him.

I wish I could say I felt wrong, or disgusted, or even a bit sick; kissing Clyde should have been as wrong as tonguing my mother. Hell, I wish it had even been the opposite. I wish I'd felt a spark, a flame, or that a tingly feeling had started in my stomach and fireworks had gone off in my head or whatever it is that happens in cheap romance books.

But I didn't feel a single thing.

It was just the same as kissing another girl. Aside from my idiocy in elementary school, I'd never been in love with anybody. I dated girls, I slept with them, frankly, because I could, and just to chase some tail. I was almost as bad as Kenny in that regard. But kisses had never meant much to me and neither did they now, and so I was able to kiss Clyde as if he were just another girl I was dating. Which let me think, very wrongly indeed as I found out much later, that I could totally pull this off with Clyde and prove it wasn't real.

I let the kiss linger for a second before pulling back, meeting Clyde's wide, shocked eyes. Yes, hello, pride, glad to see you're back, I've certainly missed you.

And then he spoke. "Dude...that was so gay."

No, pride, come back! Come baaaack! I rolled my eyes, scowling. "No Clyde, I'm going to kiss a dude and it totally won't be gay."

He seemed to snap out of his daze, babbling. "No, that's not...I didn't mean it like that, I just meant that you actually went through with it, like, holy crap I wasn't expecting that, it just caught me so off guard I didn't have time to think and then you were k—"

As I was only inches away from his face, it was an easy matter for me to dip down and kiss him again, and thankfully, he shut up. This time as I pulled away, I saw that he was blushing.

"Th-that's actually really nice." He squeaked, and blushed even darker when I raised an eyebrow at him "I-I mean, y'know, j-just saying you're not a bad kisser—uh, wait, no, I m-meant—"

"Dude, chill." I sat up, resuming my earlier resting position. "We're going out, say what you want."

Clyde suddenly pouted. "This doesn't even count or anything. You haven't properly asked me out yet."

I was stunned. "Me? Why me; you're the one who wants me, Mr.I-liked-you-for-two-damn-years-and-never-said-anything."

He had the audacity to scoff. "Phht, that's not the way it works. The guy always asks the girl out, duh."

"Maybe in the eighteenth century. Where is this coming from, 'Sappy Romance 101'? Besides, you're not a girl." I shot back.

"It's common sense, stupid." Did he just call me stupid? "You're the one wearing the pants in this relationship, aren't you? Or do you want to be the girl?"

I laughed. "Hell no. I wish to retain at least that aspect of my masculinity." A thought struck me and I couldn't help but tease him with it, not expecting him to take me seriously. "Well, at least when we take it to the bed, we won't have to argue about it."

Clyde froze, his entire face and neck flushing scarlet and crimson. And I watched this most interesting reaction, a thin trickle of blood began to leak from his nose.

"Holy—!"

I rushed to pull out some tissues as he flailed around wildly in the small space, squealing, "I'm bleeding, I'm bleeding, oh my God!"

"Hold still!" I grabbed him by the chin, forcing him to stop moving as I wiped some blood off, holding the tissues tightly to his nose as I pinched it, cutting off the flow. "Damn, I thought that only happened in cartoons." I muttered.

"Sorry." His voice was muffled and nasally, but I could understand it well enough. He sounded apologetic. "I'm kinda anemic."

"Since when the hell are you anemic?" I grumbled, keeping my hand to his nose.

Clyde shrugged, unable to shake his head, seeing as I was still holding his chin. "Nah, it's just because I have such a crap diet. My mom says I'm missing iron; says I should eat more fish. Probably would have started to bleed anyway."

"My God," I sighed, shaking my head. "It's all the tacos, I'm telling you."

"Don't be dissing on my tacos." He grinned and I rolled my eyes again. And I figure...his earlier words made a tiny fragment of sense. If only to fulfill my role, maybe I should just play along with his request. After all, he maybe have been the one to confess to me, but it had been I who'd brought the challenge to the table. I should man up, or something. I looked at him, holding his gaze.

"Clyde...you wanna go out with me?" It was amazing I could get the words out as nonchalantly as I did.

He blinked rapidly, stuttering, "W-what?"

"Come on, you heard me. I'm asking you out." I checked to see if the blood flow had stopped. "So, you wanna go out? Yes or no."

Clyde hesitated, then grinned shyly. "Yeah...okay."

"Alright then. See; now we're 'officially' going out." We stayed like that until I was certain the blood had stopped, and then I put on my seatbelt, waiting until Clyde had done the same before I started the drive back to school. My best friend—and now temporary boyfriend—was off in his own little la-la land, wearing a smile the most punch-drunk idiot would have been hard pressed to beat.

I checked my watch as I pulled inside the school's parking lot for the second time that day, once again completely unnoticed. God, this school needed better security. I had judged my time perfectly, however; we had only a minute left before the bell rang for third period.

We got out of the car together and walked toward the door to the school's halls. This, right here, is where I began to feel a nervous fluttering deep in the bowels of my stomach. I wasn't nervous about what people would say or think of me—hell, I didn't care—but instead about what I knew I had to perform. From here on, from the minute the bell rang and people began to pour out, I would be tested. My very pride and determination would be tested as they both had never been tested before. I'd gone out with ugly girls, stupid girls, practically crazy girls, and I'd never felt such apprehension than at the thought of going out in public with my male best friend.

I took an inward breath. I had kissed him. I, Token Black, had kissed a guy. And frankly, it had been easy. Y'know aside from the embarrassment of such an epic failure, but I'd felt nothing, so I could totally do this.

I took a glance over at Clyde, who so far had walked in silence by my side in the few seconds it had taken my thoughts. I nearly started in surprise.

He was looking down, but not at the ground; he stared at my open hand with puppy eyes, and I saw an expression of curious longing in his face. A flash of understanding hit me, and my insides quailed a bit. I'd held Clyde's hand on more than one occasion. When we were kids, when he really didn't want to go someplace because he thought it was too scary and I had to drag him in there, but this time was different. Today, I had to hold his hand because I was his boyfriend. I had to hold his hand with some sort of romantic intention. Or the pretense of it, at the very least.

Clyde had his head somewhat down, so he couldn't see my gaze directed at him. I knew I had to take charge. This was my mission, was it? Here was my first chance to man up; I knew what I was required to do.

At that last thought we reached the door and I did indeed man up, stretching my hand out to him, entangling our fingers together. Somewhere inside, I was surprised, just a bit. It was just the same as holding a girl's hand. It didn't feel horribly different or uncomfortable just because he was a guy; it was still the same as anyone else. For some reason, that caught me off guard. As I said before, I'm not a homophobe, but...I don't know, I almost expected it to feel different.

I was also surprised at him though. Clyde wasn't a fat kid by any means, but he had a bit of pudge on him, and so I was surprised by how small his hand seemed in mine. I'd never taken notice of it before. He had delicacy in his fingers, not overtly slender—phht, no, he's a man for God's sake—but delicate, soft...I could feel his timidity of the moment, if that made any sense.

The bell rang.

Before I could look at his expression, I opened the door firmly and stepped in with Clyde at my side.

You ever heard the phrase, "Money talks"? That was never any truer than it was with me. I had friends I'd never known before, or even talked to, hanging out near me in the halls or classrooms, waving to me like they were my best buds whenever I passed. I admit it, I was popular, and I knew it. Only because I was rich. I'm pretty certain being the only black person in South Park had something to do with it too, but it was mainly the rich thing. I had never really cared, but you can imagine the stares and looks we got as we—well, I—strutted down the hall, students pouring from every door.

I saw Clyde's almost panicked expression from the corner of my eye, and he almost yanked his hand away from mine; I gave a not-quite-so-subtle yank and drew him closer, so no one could mistake what I meant by our interlocking gesture. I had to be bold. Our school's token—no pun intended, har har har—gay couple was Cartman and Butters, who had come out earlier in the year. Besides them, no one else had publicly come out yet, but pretty much everyone had been subject to the sight of them making out somewhere in the school. Kenny was known to sleep with both sexes, but even he kept his trysts to the more private side of discretion. So I was fully aware of the waves I was making in our school's existing state of affairs toward the socially acceptable.

Clyde however, seemed to have forgotten, or at the very least not thought about it until this very minute. I tilted my head in his direction, meeting his eyes as I gave him a languid smile, swallowing any shame I possibly possessed in my body to murmur at him. "Relax, babe." I chuckled, laying it on thick. I had to make it very clear we weren't bothered by the stares, because I was very well aware of the power of the public. They'd tear you apart if you gave them half the chance. And that would definitely get in the way of my mission.

The brunet by my side blushed at the endearment. The tiny pinprick of fear I saw in him didn't actually leave, but as we neared his locker amid all of the gossiping whispers he relaxed a little, and some of the less interested people turned away to resume their business.

Soon enough we were at our destination and I dropped his hand to let him open the lock, but didn't move away from him, instead leaning in front of him to watch him open it. I bent my head down a little, dropping the act for a second to whisper in a voice only he could hear.

"Little nervous?"

Clyde flushed a little, but his face had gotten so red over the last few minutes it barely made a difference; the only reason I could tell was because I knew his expressions. He withdrew his textbook for the next class, muttering lowly, "It's not me I'm nervous for..."

"What do you mean by that?"

It was the second time today—or was it the third?—that he'd looked at me like I was completely nuts, and the rising occurrence of such looks was making me a little nervous.

Clyde looked as if he wasn't going to say anything for a second, then looked away, glancing needlessly into his locker when he knew all he needed was his textbook. "I-I don't know how to explain it...I mean, I've always been your friend, but that's kind of all I am. I'm just 'Token's friend'. To the guys from elementary school I'm one of them, but to the school, I'm just some guy who happens to be friends with you. I wouldn't be much if I wasn't. But you," he looked at me. "You're Token Black. You're the most popular guy here; everyone knows you." His voice lowered a little more, and I leaned in further to hear it.

"Wh-what I'm saying is," He looked tortured as he said this, wringing his hands in a way that was reminiscent of Butters, "If a whole buncha crap is gonna drop on you because of this, then...then maybe we shouldn't do this. I mean, you don't really want to anyway..."

I was stunned, and just a bit touched. Trust Clyde to be worried about something like that. I really hoped I could persuade him to reason, because how could I lose such a good friend like him? There was a reason he was my best friend, y'know, besides the fact that he was awesome in his own strange way.

The warning bell rang and I reached over to slam his locker shut, tugging him back to my side in a continuation of my mission. To be totally honest, I felt the happy light of pride in me. I knew I wouldn't care if my so-called 'friends' left me; as I said before I was more than well-aware of the stature I held in school, and I knew that almost all of it was because of my money, not anything special or spectacular that I had done. Well, maybe the massive parties I held had something to do with it too besides the fact that I was black, but that's another story. But I looked forward to shaking things up a little. I knew that a lot of my 'friends' would leave the instant they found out I was with another guy. I didn't give a crap, I knew it wasn't real. But the looks on their faces when they found that out was another matter; I would have the ultimate privilege of seeing those same people come crawling back, begging for forgiveness.

Now, I know this sounds horrible. It is. But high school tends to be that way. And I admit that it was pretty vindictive of me to think this way. Does this make me a horrible person? Maybe. Do I regret it now? Yes. Did I regret it then? Oh hell no.

Besides, I was actually really happy at that point in time. Clyde's words gave me hope, that even if somehow this ended out horribly, we would still remain the best of friends. I didn't want to hurt him, and if he was as concerned for me as he was for my rep, then we would have no problems. This, of course, only cemented my notion that everything would work out my way.

We started walking again, and I saw Clyde's look of somewhat confusion that I hadn't responded to his worries. Just for the benefit of our watchful audience, I plucked the textbook from his hands and put an arm around his waist instead of intertwined with his hand, tucking him by my side. It was actually just like holding a girl, expect my girls usually wore skin-tight clothing and were giggling stupidly in my ear or something. Clyde just stayed a dark red as I leaned to whisper to him—to the public only sweet nothings, but in actuality the more innocent, "Come on, first off, you know I don't care. I'm only popular because I have money. Anyway, you do that homework for Peterson?"

Clyde seemed less nervous now that I'd steered the conversation into safer waters, and he relaxed in my grip, almost cuddling against me. "Nah, you know all that English stuff confuses me."

"We have a couple minutes before class; I'll give you mine to copy."

"Sweet, thanks, man!" The brunet perked up, back to his normal self, nudging me gratefully as we approached class, a normal smile on his still-red face.

We entered class amongst other whispering students, and I saw Stan glance our way, then continue arguing with Kyle. Obviously, not one of their own group would care. We came from a town that tested the very boundaries of reality; we really don't care who's gay or not. Not even Cartman, ha.

Mrs. Peterson just gave us a glance and went back to typing on her computer.

Clyde and I parted at our seats, and I grinned at him as I handed him my homework, whispering, "Should I kiss you goodbye?"

He flushed as he violently protested. "N-No!"

A couple of people turned to look, but Clyde only grumbled at my grin, sitting in a huff and very pointedly ignoring me. I only meant it as a joke, but it got me wondering instead.

Truthfully, I couldn't see why Clyde was acting all nervous now. While it touched me that he would think of me and my rep and all, I knew he knew that I didn't care for most people's opinions. Was there something else then? And that blush, what had that been about? It confused me...the girls I ha previously dated were always pawing at me, clinging to me stubbornly, while Clyde had tried to pull back his hand when we'd entered the building. If he was so attracted to me, as he claimed, why would he care about the others? What they thought? Shouldn't he be clingy too, or something? Seeing as he wasn't then...

Maybe by now—or all throughout this—you're wondering how I could do this so easily, how I could kiss and hold another male if I was really straight. The truth was, I didn't really think it was real. Not like I was delusional or anything, it's just that I didn't really see myself as going out with Clyde. Sure, I'd 'asked him out', I made a show of holding him, but that's all it was: a show. I was an actor playing out a charade for a purpose, and besides, I'd done this tons of times already with girls. What else do you call dating someone you don't even like besides a charade?

It seems a bit cruel, and yeah, looking back on it, it was. I was. It was stupid and arrogant of me to think so impudently, to use my best friend like that. Hey, I'm not denying it. But that's not how I thought of it in that moment, and that enabled me to stand up when class ended and stand over my best friend's desk, lacing my fingers through his on the wooden surface calmly,

"Ready for next class?"

Clyde only nodded an affirmative, face afire once more.

The surprised looks of strangers followed us around after classes as I held Clyde by my side but it wasn't like I gave a damn, and once I even made Clyde laugh as we passed Red and Kevin by her locker, both of who gave us incredulous stares. I nodded over to them as I whispered tot he brunet conspiratorially,

"You know she's totally jealous."

Clyde burst out laughing and I saw Red flush as he looked at her. I almost felt sorry for her; there was no way for her to know what we were talking about.

Lunchtime came and led Clyde through the lunch line to get what passed for food before going over to our little table in the courtyard. Craig and Tweek joined us a minute later, right when I had persuaded Clyde to take a bite of the food I offered him on my fork.

"Hrrghh!" Clyde started to choke as he saw them approach, violently coughing and spitting out half-chewed bits of food. They had both clearly seen what we had been doing, but I rolled my eyes and pounded on Clyde on the back dutifully, half-smiling as Tweek started shrieking, almost dropping the thermos he held in his hands as he rushed to Clyde's side, shaking him fitfully.

"Ngh, breathe, Clyde, BREATHE!"

I was about to tell him that Clyde was going to be fine and they were all overreacting but a touch to my shoulder made me turn around. Craig was there—I hadn't even seen him come around the side, damn—looking down at me with his blank expression. But I could clearly see the determination in his blue eyes. He nodded off toward the emptier side of the courtyard, and I stood up.

"Clyde, I'll be back in a second."

I don't really think he heard me, seeing as he was now red-faced, still sputtering, although now for a different reason as Tweek frantically punched him in the stomach. I think it was meant to expel whatever was lodged in his throat, but all it did was make Clyde look like he was going to throw up. Hopefully things wouldn't get too bad in the minutes me and Craig were gone.

We left the table as we headed off in the direct Craig had gestured to, and when we were sufficiently out of hearing to anyone who might have been around he sat on the nearest table top, leaning back as he completely ignored the bench. I had barely sat down on the actual seat when he started talking.

"So when did you start dating Clyde?"

I didn't answer for a second, busy smoothing down my jacket. Craig was a hard person to have a discussion with, and right now he had the upper hand: he was completely expressionless. He'd make a killer poker player. "You're not getting homophobic on me, are you?"

For some reason, this made him laugh. Short and dry, gone as soon as it started. I looked at him in askance, raising a brow. "You're gay?"

"You're not." He said pointedly, a statement. I decided to ignore that he'd never actually answered the question.

"So?"

Craig rolled his eyes. "Why're you doing this?"

I guessed it wouldn't really hurt to tell him the actual details, seeing as he wasn't one of the people I thought would be as stupid as the rest of the school's population. "Clyde confessed to me two days ago. And today, I made him a bet. A deal."

The raven flinched at the last word, and I was shocked to see something I never thought I would see in Craig's eyes. Pure, horrible pain. But I didn't get much of a chance to think about it as he said flatly,

"Cut it off. You don't want to do this."

I was a bit angry, actually. Not really at him, but just because I've always had a problem with people bossing me around. I know, another flaw. I've been uncovering them all lately, it seems. "You don't even know what's really going on."

His tone was wry, his expression slightly...self-loathing?

"I know a little something about deals, Token. The best thing you can do is just tell Clyde you don't actually like him." He stared off toward where Tweek was apologizing to Clyde, who looked a little huffy right now. "Spare him the heartbreak."


A/N: Dum dum dum duuuuuuuuuuum! Oh maaaai does this ring some bells? What evah could Craiggers mean by he knows deaaals? One of you out there must be able to line up the dots...xDDD Anyway, anyone who's reviewed the Lent AN before I doubt will be able to review this...but if you're really dedicated you could just hop over to my profile and send me a PM!*hinthinthint* xDD

Thanks to everyone who's still waiting for this, and thank you my pandaria for helping me so much lately! Everyone, go read Cynical B. Itch's stories. Like, now. they shall make you weep for PURE SHEER AWESOMENESSSSSSSSS.