A Convoluted Romance with Crazy

Fandom: Fired Up!

Pairing: Nick/Sylvia

Rating: M

Warnings: underage sex

Archive: Ask

Author: Lily Zen

Notes: So I just watched Fired Up and I love Nick. I love how he bounds from skirt to skirt like a jackrabbit but has this totally contradictory side to himself where he writes what essentially amounts to poetry about liaisons. Also, I love Sylvia. That girl is hysterical and I wish they would have given her character more of a prominent role. They didn't even bother giving her a last name. Anyway, so I thought what if Nick and Sylvia got together, how would that go? And this is what came out of that. I hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: Not mine.

He wasn't sure how it started or when, this weird thing between him and Sylvia. Maybe way back when during those first few weeks on the squad, competing at cheer camp. Of course, it didn't happen right away, but that was maybe the foundation for it. At the time he was pretty preoccupied with three hundred other horny girls sequestered in the middle of nowhere with only other chicks for company. God, did that sound like the opening line for a lesbian porno or what?


Nick's first impression of Sylvia was of a ticking time-bomb. She was hot and had the slender toning of a female athlete, but underneath that shell of pretty reserve was a big ol' sack o' crazy just waiting to be let loose.

And he was right.

During those first few weeks Sylvia slipped up a few times, unleashing her dark humor on the world at large in various off-hand statements like 'I want to cut the blond one.' Why did it not surprise him at all that she wanted to go into the air force and drop bombs on people?

Over the course of the next school year during which he and Shawn decided to stay on the team—fuck getting sacked by two-hundred pound mongoloids on the field, they'd rather do flips and shit—Nick got to know the girls more, especially Sylvia. He always kept a peripheral eye on what Sylvia was doing, just in case she snapped one day and pulled out a shiv. That's what he told himself anyway.

Sylvia ate junk food like it was going out of style—seriously, she ate everything and never gained any weight; Nick had a keen eye for that sort of thing—and listened to heavy metal and hardcore rap music. She liked to draw and all of her shoes (that he'd seen) except for her tennis shoes had doodles on them. When she wasn't with the rest of her teammates, she hung out with an odd little clique of losers that managed to take geek and stoner, and mash them together into one harmonious thing. Sylvia smoked clove cigarettes. Not often, granted, and Nick had never actually seen her light one up but he recognized the smell of it. She was always wound too tightly and Nick thought she needed a good fuck, but none of the guys who hit on her ever seemed to make her pause. Part of him wondered if maybe Sylvia wasn't like Bianca, you know, playing for the other team.

He speculated on that until second semester when, at a house-party celebrating homecoming, he stumbled on Sylvia and Adam, one of their class student council members, in the laundry room of the house.

Nick had been trying to find a place to take his own date for the evening—Belle, Beth, Brandy, something with a 'b'; she had hair the color of dark caramel that made a halo around her face when the light hit it just right and full lips that shone with her lip gloss like morning dew on a flower (he'd been composing a diary entry in his head already)—and she had suggested the no-doubt abandoned laundry room.

Pushing open the door to the room, he remembered freezing two steps into the room, once he realized it was already occupied, with his arm around the other girl's shoulders. Nick remembered thinking to himself very distinctly, 'oh my god, she's beautiful like that,' and feeling himself harden the rest of the way so fast that he was lightheaded.

Sylvia was sitting on the dryer with her head tipped back, resting against the window, and the guy was standing between her parted thighs. Her legs were wrapped around him, her pen-doodled chucks digging into the dude's jean-covered ass. They were grinding together in a slow, erotic rhythm. She had her eyes closed, dark lashes painting little crescent moons on her face. Her lips were moist and deep pink, though Nick knew her lip color was naturally that way, and they were kiss-swollen, giving them a slightly bee stung look. She was making urgent little noises as her partner kissed her on her neck and lower, and Nick could see enough to make out the sight of a lot of bare, moonlit-pale skin.

The guy looked up when Nick's hook-up made some sound, startling Nick out of his stupor. "Dude, occupied," Adam said when he turned around to look at them. Sylvia's icy blue eyes opened and locked with Nick's immediately. He felt the sleepy look of arousal in her eyes sear him inside and out.

"Sorry, bro, my mistake," Nick managed to get out and he turned, backing out quickly, but not before he saw Sylvia's sweet little rosebud lips curl up in a smirk.

He couldn't forget that moment. It haunted him even when he was balls deep in the other girl and it stayed with him for several months afterward. Even Shawn noticed something was up, which was fucking amazing because ever since he and Carly had started dating he'd been pretty remiss in his friend duties.

"What's going on, man?" Shawn approached him after practice as they were heading out to the parking lot.

Nick glanced over, feigning nonchalance, ignorance…y'know, whatever would get him out of this conversation fastest. "What?"

"You've been acting real weird. You were, like, staring off into space for a good three minutes today, and it almost looked like you were eyeballing Sylvia, except we both know you think she's insane so that can't possibly be the case, can it?" Shawn asked with a grin on his face, unlocking the door to his car and dropping his bag in the back.

"Nah, man," Nick scoffed, leaning against his car in the next spot, "Don't be retarded. I was just zoning out. She just happened to wander into my zoning trajectory."

"Okay," Shawn let the subject drop, sliding into the driver's seat, "Because, oh, what was it you told me? Oh yeah, don't shit where you eat. You running your game on Sylvia would be bad for the team, and you know it, so don't do it, dude."

Tipping his head back, Nick let out a rude laugh. "Me and Crazy? Don't think so. No worries, man."

"Good," Shawn agreed and pulled the door of his car shut, "See you."

"Later," Nick responded and circled around the front of his car to slide in the driver's seat.

Nothing else happened until a few weeks later. After the pep rally the squad went down to the beach with a bunch of other classmates, and like tradition dictated they lit up a bonfire of their own.

Nick hung out with Shawn and Carly for awhile until the kissy-face got to be too much for him, then he drifted over by the football guys. It was there watching Turk and Mookie be absolute morons (seriously, how those guys managed to get out of bed in the morning without an instruction booklet was beyond him) that he saw Sylvia slip off her shoes and socks, and start retreating further down the beach away from the bonfire and the people, completely ignoring the little nooks and crannies that some couples had commandeered for making out. She had her shoes in one hand and her backpack over her shoulder, and soon she was nothing more than a dark blob against an equally dark sky.

Without giving him time to second guess himself, Nick stood up and followed after her. The sand sifted in between his toes and underneath his foot, kicked up into his flip-flops, and it slowed him down. He thought he'd lost her or maybe she hadn't gone that way after all. He'd walked so far down the shore line that the light from the fire didn't come near to touching this part of the beach, and he was having trouble seeing. Then he tripped over something and stumbled, flailing as he tried to catch his balance and ending up on his knees instead of his face.

Laughter. Mischievous giggles in Sylvia's dulcet tones. Nick looked up and quickly ascertained that he'd tripped over her brown leather backpack that seemed to blend in with the ground in the darkness.

She was sitting on a small hill made from sand, legs folded like a pretzel, a dark, slender cigarette resting between her index and middle finger. The tip of it flared a bright red-orange as she took a drag from it and slowly exhaled. "Hey, Nick," she greeted casually, "What's up?"

"Uh," he was a little stupefied by the sight of her and hadn't really thought this far ahead, "hey." Smooth. Real fucking smooth.

He moved so that he was sitting instead of kneeling, legs splayed out in front of him.

Whatever Sylvia saw in his face right then, it made her grin, sharp and wicked in the moonlight, like an evil little fairy. "Were you looking for me?" she asked, her voice scarcely giving away anything.

Nick shrugged. "I guess, yeah," he answered honestly before he remembered that was a stupid fucking answer and said, "I mean, it's late and I saw you walk off by yourself. Dangerous, you know."

At that, Sylvia chuckled and her voice dipped seductively low when she replied, "Its okay, Nick. I'll protect you."

His mouth worked soundlessly. He didn't know how to reply to that. At his flummoxed look, Sylvia suddenly muttered a little sheepishly, "I'm just saying." She shrugged her shoulders and gave him a look of innocence. After almost a year, Nick was beginning to realize it was her poker face, her mask to hide behind.

"I didn't know you smoked," he blurted out uncomfortably.

Sylvia took another drag from her clove cigarette. After she'd expelled the smoke into the air, she murmured, "Just once in awhile. I go through a pack a month, maybe. It helps."

"With what?" he asked and was actually jealous of her cigarette when she placed it between her lips again.

"Stress," she said on the exhale, and it reminded him a little bit of a dragon, "I get anxious around a lot of people. You may have noticed." Her voice took on a teasing lilt. "I tend to blurt out weird shit when that happens. These…" She rolled the slender cylinder between her fingers and expertly flicked the ash off the end. "These help. They give me time to slow down and think."

"But," Nick began, "You don't smoke in front of the team."

Sylvia's laugh was a sharp bark and she said, "Are you kidding? Carly would freak out. You know how she is. I mean, I don't smoke often enough for it to affect my breathing or stamina, but she'd still freak out."

"Hm," Nick agreed wordlessly.

Silence fell over the pair of them and he felt Sylvia studying him in the darkness, her eyes cool and unreadable. "Why are you here, Nick? Shouldn't you be with your friends?" she finally got the courage to ask.

Nick shrugged and scooted on his butt until he was sitting next to Sylvia instead of a few feet in front of her. Blue eyes followed his every movement and then they were gazing at each other from an intimately close distance. "We are friends," Nick finally responded, and then he held out his hand. "Let me hit that," he requested, and waited until Sylvia hesitantly transferred the clove cigarette to his fingers.

He drew in, trying to remember the feel of it from those times that he'd smoked weed, because he'd never really smoked a cigarette before. Really, he only did it because it seemed like a gesture that Sylvia would understand, and he wasn't disappointed. As she watched him pull on her cigarette so that the end glowed briefly and the cloves crackled internally, something inside of her relaxed. They'd never been very close—Nick had always danced around her or kept her in his peripheral; they didn't chat very much the way he did with the rest of the girls on the team—but this right here was something they could share, something they would have that was completely separate from the rest of their lives.

Nick blew out the smoke, coughing a little at the end, and Sylvia chided him good naturedly. "It's not a joint. You don't have to hit it so hard." Bumping him playfully with her shoulder, she took the cigarette back. They smoked it quietly, passing it back and forth between them, and Nick eventually figured out what Sylvia meant when she made a comment about nicknaming him 'Hoover.'

When it was close to the filter, Sylvia carefully put the cigarette out in the sand and slid it back into a black box that was wider than it was thick. Most of the cigarette boxes he'd seen were little rectangles, but this was more of a square. He stored the name of it in his head as one of those little useless trivia facts he knew. When he asked her why she put the butt back, Sylvia looked at him askance and stated, "This is a beautiful spot. I didn't want to litter on it."

They subsided back into silence, staring out at the ocean as the dark waves rushed up onto the dampened sand.

"Nick," Sylvia saying his name pulled him out of his thoughts, "If I'm wrong about this, go ahead and say so."

"What?" he asked, his eyebrows pulling down in confusion, and then Sylvia was turning slightly, catching his lips with hers in a fierce kiss. Her lips tasted like cloves and they parted against his, catching his lower lip between her teeth and sucking lightly, her tongue tracing it while she still held it captive.

Groaning, Nick realized that this was a kiss to remember. Normally he was always the instigator, he kissed girls, and not the other way around, except this time Sylvia was kissing him, delicately tracing the groove between his lips with her tongue until he opened for her wantonly. His hand came up and cradled the back of her head, fingers diving into the long, velvety tresses while he supported himself with one palm planted in the sand. She explored his mouth thoroughly and one of her hands was resting over his rapid heartbeat. He thought maybe she was counting the beats or something. That would be a very Sylvia-like thing to do at a moment like this.

She pulled back when air became imperative and Nick opened heavy-lidded eyes to look at her flushed face as she sat back, trying to scoot a polite distance away even though his fingers were still entangled in her hair. He cleared his throat. "You're not wrong," he finally said, his voice a whole lot gravellier than he would have liked it to be, "But Sylvia…you know what kind of guy I am. You know how this is going to go. I respect you, so I'm not going to try and bullshit you, tell you that I love you or something."

Sylvia laughed, which wasn't the response he was expecting at all. Then she told him, "I don't want to be your girlfriend or anything, Nick. I just want to fuck you. I'm not stupid. I won't emotionally invest myself on a losing bet." At his look, she hunched her shoulders defensively and frowned. "Look, I'm not some untouched innocent, okay? I mean, you saw me with Adam. Did you think we were dating or something? No, because I don't want that."

Frowning in turn, he wondered, "So what, I'm just a dildo that can talk to you?" He wasn't sure how he felt about that.

"No," Sylvia said slowly, "You're Nick. Hot, experienced, and readily available for no strings attached sex." Her smile, when it came, was heady and inviting. He could get behind that, at least for awhile he thought, until he got bored.

Five minutes later they were writhing on the sand together and Nick was frantically trying to undo the little eyelet closures on her strapless corset top, already having tossed the light black hoodie she was wearing to the wayside. He was having a bitch of a time and Sylvia was laughing breathlessly, stilling his hands with her own and undoing them with much more efficiency. The top fell open, exposing her braless nipples to the night air, already tightened into hard little pebbles. He took one of those pink tips in his mouth, laving his tongue over it, and Sylvia arched her back in the sand with a strangled cry escaping her. With deft fingertips, he pinched and rolled her other nipple, making sure it wouldn't feel neglected.

Nick would have been content to explore just that little bit of her for quite some time, but Sylvia had other ideas. She hooked one of her legs around his hip and pulled so that his thigh was snug right up against her denim-covered crotch, then she rubbed herself against him like a cat in heat. Her hands touched his bare back and Nick realized she was pulling up his shirt.

He helped her in the task and whipped it off to the side, somewhere over by her backpack, and then he gasped because Sylvia was nibbling up the side of his neck and finding the spot behind his ear that made his eyes roll into the back of his head. In some vague corner of his mind, Nick was stunned because normally girls his age weren't quite so eager to reciprocate. They tended to do a lot of squirming and sighing, but in general they didn't know what to do with their hands, where to touch or how hard. Sylvia clearly wasn't burdened with feelings of anxiousness in this area of her life, because she seemed to be gleefully exploring whatever she wanted to.

Which was great. Different, but great.

She had unzipped his jeans and he was working at hers when she slid her hand over his erection, forcing his breath out in a trembling moan. "Syl," he croaked when she pulled his dick out and started stroking.

"Hm?" she murmured, and her teeth sank into his left pectoral, making his hips jerk and his cock start leaking.

"Oh, fuck," he panted, "Syl, I don't…I don't have any, y'know, protection on me."

Sylvia paused in her ministrations, her blue eyes examining him carefully, gauging his level of seriousness. Then she started laughing. "Jeez, Nick, what kind of player are you? Shouldn't you always be prepared?"

"Boy scouts, Syl. That's boy scouts," he responded as the girl resumed her steady tugging motions.

"Whatever," she muttered and lipped his earlobe. "We don't have to have intercourse. There's plenty of other stuff we can do without it."

"Yes, we can," Nick found himself beaming at her and he tugged her loosened jeans over her hips. Her red lace panties beckoned to him stronger than any siren call ever could have, and he traced the edge of the lace patterned flower petals lower and lower until he stopped over her slit. Sylvia raised her hips up to him with a tortured sigh. "Come on, Nick," she whispered, "Touch me."

How could a guy resist an invitation like that?

So he did, tracing over the swollen petals of her vagina, feeling lace and warmth and a hint of the moisture seeping from her wet center. Her head fell back, exposing her throat, and Nick did what he'd dreamt about since seeing her in the laundry room, trailing his lips and his tongue and, very lightly, the edge of his teeth, over her delicate skin. She made those urgent little noises in the back of her throat and that time they were all for him.

Sliding his fingers underneath her underwear, Nick let himself touch her hidden secrets, playing in her wetness until she was shuddering and writhing beneath him, her thighs trembling with tension. His balls were drawing up tight and he warned her in a choked grunt, "Syl, I'm gonna—" and then he was, hips jerking, jizz spilling out of him in quick pulses.

For a second it was like he was dying—time slowed to a crawl, his mind grew hazy—and when he refocused, he was propped up over Sylvia on one of his forearms, and she was cleaning him off with her black hoodie. "Uh, thanks," he mumbled, a little embarrassed that he'd come so fast and not even gotten her off yet.

Sylvia just raised one dark, slender brow and said, "Don't thank me, just get me off."

"That I can do," Nick replied with a quick grin and was relieved when Sylvia responded in kind.

He started kissing her again, really mapping out what drove her crazy and what didn't, and in the end he ended up with two fingers buried inside of her tight little cunt, his thumb gliding over her clit in rough, uneven circles until she clenched all over him and muffled a noise with her teeth in his shoulder, sending a hot pulse of lust flaring through him even though he'd just come and couldn't possibly get it up again so soon.

Afterwards, Sylvia kissed him and said if he wanted a repeat, he knew where to find her. Then she picked up her things, shoving her soiled sweater in her backpack, and headed back down the beach to the bonfire that it seemed they'd left a lifetime ago, looking for all the world like nothing had changed in the time she'd disappeared on her own.

Nick made it two days before he saw her again.

The thing about Sylvia was that she was really, really good in bed. He never asked how many guys she'd been with and she never offered up any more information than she had to. They'd been having sex for two months before he found out her last name for god's sake. Then again, he was terrible with names, so in all likelihood he'd heard it before and simply forgotten. Anyway, back to the sex thing: so, like, Sylvia was great in bed, a total freak. She did horribly dirty things to him and with him, and Nick enjoyed every minute of it. He began to crave it.

It was like all of Sylvia's pent-up crazy came out in the form of sexual deviance.

It was perfect. He got to have his cake and eat it too, because Sylvia was serious when she said she didn't want a boyfriend. So he saw other chicks and had Syl for his consistent piece of ass, and the two of them were so in sync Nick wondered if maybe he wasn't a little crazy too.

Then cheer camp rolled around again and it all went to hell.

There was a new guy there. A new, straight guy with one of the other teams, and he had it bad for Syl. His Syl. The new guy, Ryan, endeared himself to Syl and just always seemed to be there. It was killing Nick's libido when he did manage to catch Sylvia alone, which he admitted he was much more interested in doing now that someone else was vying for her attention, and utterly destroying his concentration when he was trying to seduce some of the other girls at camp. He just couldn't be bothered because all he could think about was what Sylvia looked like when she came with his dick inside her and how he hoped to god that fucking Ryan never got to see that look.

It was the middle of the day and Nick was sneaking Sylvia out of his dorm room while his bunkmates were still out when he snapped.

She was pulling on her clothes, the little shorts she practiced in, her sports bra and Tigers tank, when she mentioned off-handedly. "I have to hurry. I promised Ryan I'd meet him by the fountain."

Later on in a confused, frantic confession, Nick would tell Shawn all about that moment, the moment where this heavy black cloud of volcanic ash exploded inside of him and rained down like Mount Vesuvius on Pompeii, but in the heat of the moment there was nothing poetic about it at all. It was just Nick tugging on his shorts with vicious, economic movements and sneering at Sylvia. "Oh, and we wouldn't want to disappoint Ryan."

In an instant, Sylvia's whole posture changed, she stiffened and a deadly look crossed her face. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"You know what it means," Nick shot back.

"No, I fucking don't, Nick, otherwise I wouldn't have asked. So what the fuck does that mean?" She spat out her words with angry precision, balancing her balled up fists on her hips.

"It means I can't believe you're seriously going to fuck me and then go fuck him right after," he accused, tugging on his t-shirt. The look on his face, he was sure, was ugly and spiteful. Sylvia looked like she'd just been slapped in the face and her mouth gaped open.

When she did respond it was with a screeched, "You fucking bastard! Like you're one to talk! You think I don't hear about your little conquests? Gossip spreads fast, Nick. I know all about Tanya, Jennifer, Sarah, Alise, Courtney, and Sarah R. And that's just in the past week! So who are you to say something so…so hypocritical?" Sylvia screamed wordlessly and clutched at her hair with trembling hands. "I never say anything to you about them even though I wonder every time you're with me if you're thinking about someone else or if the body I'm touching was just pawed by some other skank. I never…say…anything, because that was the deal! That was the deal we made. You don't like it anymore? Well, fuck off!"

She flipped him off with both middle fingers and spun around on her heel, sweeping up her shoes and socks as she bolted out the patio door, clipping Shawn on her way out.

Nick stared after her dumbly, frozen in place. When his mind finally caught up, all he could think was 'did I just get dumped?'

Then Shawn was sliding the patio door closed and giving him that serious look that said, 'Nick, what have you done now?'

"Was that Sylvia?" he asked carefully.

Nick nodded slowly and sank down on the edge of his rumpled bunk with a hearty sigh.

"What was she doing here?" Shawn questioned, going to sit on his own bed.

Nick shrugged. He knew he was about to be in big trouble, which was the reason he'd avoided telling Shawn about his arrangement with Sylvia in the first place. In fact, they hadn't told anyone about it.

"Nick," Shawn prompted gently, "What happened?"

He looked up at Shawn and apparently whatever his best friend saw there was enough to give him an idea because he covered his face with his hands and yelled. Then he dropped them and said, "You hooked up with Sylvia, didn't you?"

Nick nodded, his blond surfer hair obscuring his features a little bit as he did so.

"Just now?" Shawn asked carefully.

"Yes," Nick said, then corrected himself, "Well, no. This wasn't the first time."

His best friend shot him a disappointed look. "How long?"

Waffling on the answer, Nick finally replied, "About four months, maybe closer to five."

"Shit," Shawn hissed, then grimaced. "Jesus, Nick, I asked you if you were into Sylvia and you blew me off. What the hell?"

"Look, I just…I don't know," he shrugged.

The two friends were quiet as Shawn processed this new information, and thinking back on it suddenly some of the secret looks he'd seen pass between Sylvia and Nick were making a whole lot more sense.

"So what happened?" Shawn eventually asked, and watched as Nick turned his face to glare at the carpet balefully. Then his philandering friend took a deep breath, opened his mouth, and began to tell him the story from the beginning.

It took almost two hours. They missed lunch and shooed Downey and Brewster away when they came back, and they were almost late for practice. But at the end of the tale, Shawn concluded that not only had he been a totally shitty friend for missing all of this, but that Nick had it bad for Sylvia, period, end of story.

"You like her," Shawn informed him, "Like really like her. Monogamous relationship kind of liking, you know, like how I feel about Carly."

"I do? You're sure?"

"Oh yeah," Shawn said and nodded when they resumed the discussion after practice, after he'd had a chance to observe Nick in full moon-mode and Sylvia still teeming with righteous fury. It made for an awkward practice especially as nobody else was privy to Shawn's information, so no one else had any clue why they were acting so oddly. "You are so ridiculously into her, dude. Granted, if Ryan hadn't come along, you probably wouldn't have gotten so possessive over her but…nobody screws a girl for five months that they don't have feelings for, no matter how hot she is, not if there's other poon that's just as easy to obtain."

Nick spent a lot of time reflecting on that until he finally came to the same conclusion, and then woke Shawn up out of a deep sleep just to tell him, "You're right. I have to get her back. Shawn, you have to help me get her back. I have no idea how to do that."

"Try apologizing," Shawn suggested grumpily, "Then grovel." He rolled over and went back to bed, but Nick wasn't done.

"Shawn," he whined, "Remember how I helped you out with Carly?"

His friend grunted a wordless reply.

"Well, this is reciprocity, my friend," Nick continued.

From across the room, Brewster groaned. "Shut up, Nicky. Some of us are trying to sleep. You should do the same."

Grinning evilly, Nick said, "Not until my good buddy agrees to help me win my girl. It's important, man."

Clearly fed up, Brewster resorted to threats. "Shawn, agree to this insanity right now, otherwise bad things will happen to you."

Huffing, Shawn ground out, "Okay. Now go to bed, Nick."

"'Kay. Thanks, buddy," Nick chirped, feeling rather smug, and climbed back into his bunk, thinking it was a good thing he could count on Brewster to be scary. In fact, he was pretty terrifying for a member of the rainbow twink brigade. Must have been that whole Virgo thing.

It wasn't until a few weeks later, long after cheer camp had concluded, that Nick finally came up with a solid plan to win Sylvia's heart…or something. Okay, he'd have been perfectly satisfied with just having her back in his bed, but he was really going balls-to-the-wall on this one. Might as well shoot for the stars. Maybe at least then he'd end up on the moon.

Shawn seemed to feel that the plan was a good one as well and had even congratulated Nick on its conception.

That Wednesday night in the middle of their summer break, Nick waited inside of Sylvia's house at her kitchen table, drinking coffee with her mom, Genevieve, while he waited for Sylvia to come home from work. Genevieve was a nervous little thing who smoothed her waitress uniform neurotically and Nick finally knew where Sylvia had inherited her anxiety issues from. He had come over about an hour ago to beg Sylvia's mom to let him wait here, giving her a PG cliff notes version of why he was there. Luckily, Genevieve seemed to have a romantic streak in her, something her daughter was sorely lacking, and let him have a seat.

Sylvia's step-dad wasn't home, for which Nick was rather grateful as he and fathers generally didn't get along well. They tended to view him with hostility since he was the one giving it to their teenage daughters.

Headlights reflected off of the white garage door as Sylvia pulled up in the driveway. Genevieve let out a little sigh of relief and reached over, patting Nick's hand resting on the table. "Good luck," she smiled, and then she stood up and swept her purse off the table just as Sylvia walked in the door wearing her work uniform—a blue polo shirt with the local craft store's logo in the right front pocket—and a tired smile.

"Hey, mom," she said and then froze, staring at Nick sitting at her kitchen table, "Uh…"

"Hi, honey," Sylvia's mom greeted her with a soft smile and a snatch of the outstretched car keys, "Your friend dropped by. Have fun." With that, she left a smooch on her daughter's head and closed the back door behind her. A few moments later the car started up again and left.

Looking around the kitchen, Sylvia hissed, "What are you doing here?"

Nick slid out of his seat and took a hesitant step forwards. "I've come to apologize," he admitted with all honesty, "What I said was uncalled for, and you're right, hypocritical."

"Yeah, well, too fucking late," Sylvia sneered as she dropped her backpack on the kitchen island.

"Come on, Syl," he began entering into the groveling phase, "Don't be like that. I miss you, and not just, y'know, the sex. I miss you." Nick stepped closer to the island until he was near enough to Syl to put his hand on top of hers where she was gripping the edge of the counter. "Please, Syl. I'm sorry," he reiterated, his voice low and quiet.

When she looked up at him, tears forming in her eyes made them look shiny, and she said quietly, "You really hurt me, Nick, when you said that…that thing about me and Ryan. I never even…it wasn't like that with him. Yeah, he was into me and I liked having that—somebody who was into me and paid attention all the time—but despite that, it wasn't…we never hooked up, and it really hurt when you accused me like that."

"I understand that now," Nick stated, "And I'm really sorry. Can you find it in your heart to forgive me, Syl?"

She rolled her eyes and a tear slid out without conscious thought, and she quickly wiped it away. "I don't know," she admitted, "I don't know, Nick, but I miss you too."

Squeezing her hand underneath his, Nick found himself saying, "Well then how about we start over, and you can let me know when I've earned it?"

Sylvia sighed and shot him a shaky smile. "Okay," she agreed.

A moment later she was bounding down the hallway of the small one-story house to change out of her work clothes and Nick was patting himself on the back because he honestly wasn't sure if he'd make it to phase three of the plan. Then Sylvia came back to the kitchen wearing a soft indigo t-shirt that made her eyes look very bright and very blue, with her black skinny jeans and another pair of colored-on chucks, carrying what Nick was pretty sure was the same black hoodie that she had used to wipe him off with that night so long ago on the beach.

Nick walked her to his car and opened the door—he did know how to be a gentleman, he had a mom after all—and took her out for a late-night picnic on that same spot on the beach wherein Sylvia confessed that he was doing a pretty good job of wining and dining her. They ate sandwiches on rolls with gourmet cheese and summer sausage, and drank bottles of some weird soda that Sylvia loved. Afterwards he plied her with his mom's homemade snickerdoodles, and they just talked.

When he dropped her off at home later, Sylvia leaned over the gear shift and planted her lips on his, kissing him until he felt like his bones were melting, fusing to the seat. She pulled away with his lip between her teeth, sucking lightly, and grinning after she'd released him. "You did good. Doesn't mean I forgive you quite yet, but keep trying." She winked and slid out the door.

So he did.

Eventually, about another four months later, they were officially-unofficially together, only that time it was a totally monogamous unofficial thing, and Sylvia was back to driving him insane and he was just fucking happy that he hadn't fucked up their weird little thing beyond repair. In fact, it was even better now, because all that crazy was his once and for all.

The thing about Sylvia and Nick was that they were absolutely perfect for each other in some weird, fucked up, totally kismet way, and whatever they had together—even if other people didn't understand it—was a whole lot more real than anything they'd ever had before. It was an understanding based on respect and desire and maybe even love, though neither one of them was naïve enough to use that word while they were still in high school. They made each other happy and that was a lot more than most teenage couples could claim.