A/N: Alright folks. It's that time of year again. The time when all we authors get together and write all the strangest Suite Life pairings random drawings can give us. Yes, this is the beginning of the Strange Love collection! We encourage everyone to read, review, and participate with their own stories!
Connie sat at the smoothie bar sipping from Zack's latest fruity experiment morosely. Her boyfriend, Chuck, had dumped her...again. It was a regular occurrence but she was tired of it. She was tired of this constant pushing and pulling, tired of him making her feel like she wasn't good enough, tired of trying to defend him to her family, tired of being tossed aside the moment something better came along. What was so wrong with her that her boyfriends never seemed to want to keep her? Was she too peppy? Not pretty enough? Too clingy?...Too Connie? Was it possible to be too much herself? Was that it? Did she need to change herself to find someone who would love her?
That didn't seem fair.
She knew she might not be the most attractive woman in the world. Her hips were big and her hair was frizzy, but she was still pretty. At least she thought so. Yet whenever she was dumped it was always "It's not me, it's you," and "babe, have you seen her rack?," or "look at those legs!," and once "she's a model, you're...you." It hurt. It put a pressure in her chest that squeezed and squeezed until she couldn't breathe and tears were leaking from her eyes. It made her want to scream and shout and rail against the unfairness of it all, but she couldn't because misery blocked her throat. It made her want to hit things, break things the way she was feeling broken, but she never did. She never put her foot down and told them that she deserved to be treated better, that she was worth something, that she was bright and lovable and they would regret letting her go.
She was a nice person. She went out of her way to be kind and cheerful. She was always willing to help a person out. Always ready with a smile and some encouraging words. There was nothing wrong with that, was there? No, she told herself, of course there was nothing wrong with that. There was nothing wrong with being a good and decent person. Nothing wrong with wanting everyone to be happy and trying to make that happen.
Maybe the problem was that she always dated jerks.
It wasn't her fault really. There was just something about a leather jacket and a bad attitude that sucked her in. The desire to find the heart of gold under all that sneering but all she kept finding were lumps of coal. Looking for that diamond in the rough. Convincing herself that with a little tender loving care that hard exterior would be sloughed away to reveal the gentle teddy bear she firmly believed was at the center of every bad boy. But it never happened. The bad boys stayed bad boys. She gave them everything of herself and they gave her insults and a broken heart.
Still, she wanted to believe in that dream that Hollywood kept putting in the movies. She wanted to believe that the love of a good woman would change the hardened man. She wanted to believe she could be that good woman, that she could be somebody's leading lady, and that she would have that perfect romance someday. But not today. Or yesterday. Or a week ago. Or years before. It just wasn't happening for her. She wanted to be the leading lady, but she always ended up in the background.
She shoved her thoughts aside, sighed, and took another unhappy sip of her smoothie. All this thinking wasn't doing anything but disappointing her. Even in her own life she was only a secondary character, the quick joke used and discarded. She wiped at the tear trickling from her eye, didn't want it to smear her make-up. Just because she was miserable didn't mean she had to look it.
She went to lift her smoothie for another sip and found a pair of thin arms suddenly wrapped around her shoulders and a small warm body leaning against her back. She looked over her shoulder trying to see who was hugging her but unable to discern anything beyond female with long hair.
The person at her back started speaking in rapid-fire way that instantly gave Connie the identification of the speaker as Addison, "You looked like you could use a hug and my mom says I give the best hugs out of all our family because I have surprisingly strong arms and was always hugging things when I was little like my stuffed animals, the dog, the cat, my cousins, the boy down the street, even a tree once! Zack I want a Banan-o-rama. So I have a lot of practice giving good hugs and you looked like you could use one because you looked sad and you shouldn't be sad because you're Connie and you're always happy and you should be smiling. Anyway I hope you feel better because you're nice and you should be happy and smiling because you're pretty when you smile and it makes people happy."
When Zack put the smoothie on the counter Addison snatched it up and was gone before Connie could formulate a reply.
"That's, like, the twelfth smoothie she's had in an hour," Zack said with wonder watching Addison flutter around the deck and talking people's ears off, "She must be cruising on the best sugar high ever."
Connie absorbed that silently, thinking of everything Addison had said. That hug had made her feel better. A lot better. The pressure in her chest eased and she could breathe a little easier. She was still sad but it wasn't as crushing as it had been before. She was getting back to her old self. Addison's enthusiasm and pep were infectious.
Connie finished her smoothie and stood from her seat, the beginnings of her own sugar high tingling in her brain, and left to plan some Funtivities. She was feeling like some karaoke.
Pairing: Connie/Addison. Connie was the Activities Director on the S.S. Tipton, she has appeared in 2 episodes and is played by Jennifer Tisdale. Addison is a classmate of Zack and Cody on the S.S. Tipton and is played by Rachael Kathryn Bell.
If you're interested in participating in this year's collection here's what you need to know: The collection runs until March 20th, anyone is welcome to participate, and pairings are totally random. If you're interested in participating PM Lodylodylody and she will send you a pairing. If you don't like your initial pairing you get one do-over, but then MUST write for the do-over pairing. No incest pairings will be given out. Stories may be any rating (M stories will be posted in the M collection). You are welcome to request the type of pairing you'd prefer (m/f, m/m, f/f, or anything goes) when you ask for a pairing but remember the characters you receive will be assigned TOTALLY at RANDOM. No pairings that are illegal due to age differences. No depictions of or allusions to sex between adults and minors. If someone were given a pairing of an adult and minor, their story must be set in a time period where the younger character is 18 or over. The only exception to this is if you wish to write a story where the younger character is a minor and is portrayed as having a one-sided crush on or infatuation with the older character. All characters that have appeared in the Suite Life series are eligible to be drawn for these stories, including the crossover characters. All stories must be ONE-SHOTS, complete in one chapter. You are welcome to submit as many stories as you can write. For further details about the rules please visit the 'Strange Love 2010' thread in Lodylodylody's forum boards. Stories should be sent via docX to Lodylodylody, James Doyle (for T and below rated), and to SilverTurtle (for M rated). Have fun everyone!