Throwing his hood up over his head, Deuce shoved his hands in his pockets and inched down the hallway, checking his peripheral vision for signs of them. If they found him, his life was surely going to just tank until his problem figured out how to solve itself. Hell, he'd even gotten up early and showed up to school before the majority of the other students just to be sure that he'd miss them.

So far, so good.

"Deuce!"

Damn.

Sighing in defeat, he lowered his hood and forced a smile at the duo of girls walking toward him, nodding his head in greeting as he inwardly cursed the likes of CeCe and Rocky. "Hey, Deuce. Didn't expect to see you here this early. What's up?" CeCe asked, flinging her backpack over her shoulder and flicking her bangs out of her eyes.

"Nothing much," he answered in a low voice, readjusting the headphones around his neck.

Rocky cocked her head to the side and looked at Deuce confusedly, one eyebrow raised. "Deuce, are you okay? You're talking kinda low."

"I'm fine," he insisted, keeping his voice barely audible.

"You sure?" CeCe pressed, red hair glinting in the fluorescent light as she flipped it over her shoulder. "It's really kinda hard to hear you. Are you losing your voice?"

Keep it together, Deuce, keep it together. "No, I'm perfectly fi-ine," he said, voice cracking halfway through 'fine.' Please don't laugh, please don't laugh, please don't laugh…

After about ten seconds, Rocky and CeCe burst out laughing, the latter of the two clapping a hand over her mouth and slowly turning red as Rocky doubled over, nearly in tears. "It's re-ally not that funny," he tried again, only succeeding in making the girls laugh harder. Note to self—questionable deed for tomorrow: put oatmeal in their lockers.

"I'm s-sorry, Deuce," Rocky struggled to get out between two giggles, "it's just that it's really f-funny!"

He pouted, crossing his arms over his chest and sulking as his friends continued to laugh at his expense. My God, I need new friends. Wonder if Ty's free to hang out this afternoon? "Nice to know I have fri-ends I can de-pend on," he said loudly, hoping to convey his message but failing, since CeCe and Rocky opted not to cease their giggle fit.

"Vy are ve laughing like idyits?" Deuce looked past his giggling chick-friends to see Gunther and Tinka, both decked out in their usual attire of sparkles, sequins, and general bedazzlement. Tinka raised an eyebrow at the two girls before directing her gaze at Deuce. "Vell?"

Deuce sighed and threw his head back in slight irritation. "CeCe and Ro-ocky think that my voice cr-acking is hilarious," he explained, half-expecting the two Hessenheffers to start laughing at him like CeCe and Rocky had.

To his surprise, they didn't. "Zey must have very small sense of ze humor," Gunther said, giving one last strange look at the girls and following his sister as she walked off.

A quick check to his watch told him it was almost time for class, so he grunted, gathered his stuff, and pointed at his still-laughing friends. "You two are de-ead to me." Not that he really meant it, but it felt pretty good to say, though they kept on chortling semi-loudly. Rolling his eyes, he grabbed both of them by the wrist and dragged them off to class.

It'll all be worth it later, he said to himself every time they'd laugh at him when he'd speak throughout the day. It'll all be worth it when the time comes. Just gotta keep cool, keep calm, and go get some new watches to sell in the hallway.