-8-

Aidan's P.O.V.

"At least the sandwiches taste like food..." I mutter, all but attacking my lunch. Lexie and I are about halfway done with our holes. My hands are screaming, probably blistering by now. I should've seen that coming, I guess, but I was so tired this morning, I wasn't even thinking about it. I have some lotion in my bag; maybe it'll help.

Lexie walks at my side as we head back towards our holes. She looks around at some of the finished ones as we pass them. "I wonder how you get out once you're done..."

I laugh as the image of her stuck in a hole pops into my head. "Five feet down? Good luck."

"Was that a crack at my height?"

"Your words, not mine," I tease, fighting back a yawn. I guess the sun's making me tired.

She shoves me slightly with a smirk on her face. "You're such a jerk."

"And yet, you still love me."

"Someone has to." Then, it's her turn to be pushed.

"Gee, thanks! Love you, too! ...What's that?" There's something on the ground in front of us.

"What's what?"

I point at whatever it is. "That." It's a sandy color and- Did it just move! The coil-like thing unwinds slowly.

Lexie's eyes go as wide as mine. "Is that a-"

"I think so." All that registers is a hissing sound and beady eyes before I leap away from it. "SNAKE!" Suddenly, the ground isn't under my feet anymore and I'm looking up at the sky from inside a hole. "Oww..." I can hear the guys all laughing somewhere above me.

"Aidan? You okay?" There's Lexie. Bless her.

"Think so." Carefully, I start righting myself, using the walls of the hole to help me up.

"Here, gimme your hand."

This girl is an angel. A short, semi-twisted angel. "Thanks." I reach up and grab her hand, trying to grasp the edge of the hole with my other one.

"Ready? One, two... three!"

I jump, trying to pull myself out with her help. But instead of moving up, I feel myself falling back down. "Lex!"

"AAAAGH!"

Now I'm looking up at the sky again, and the guys are laughing hysterically AGAIN, but this time, I'm not alone in the hole.

"Augh, that hurt..." she mutters, trying to sit up.

"Try experiencing it twice; what the heck was that all about!"

"I'm sorry!" she yells back. "I didn't expect you to be that heavy!"

"Are you calling me fat!"

"No! I just thought you'd be lighter!" She stands up, dusting herself off, with me following suit.

The guys are finally quieting down from what I can hear, and I think a couple of them are coming towards the hole. " 'Ey, yo! You two a'ight?" That's X.

"Yeah, we're okay. Dusty, but okay."

He appears over the hole, Zigzag and Squid tailing him. He's grinning crookedly like he's trying not to laugh. "Need a hand?"

"No, thank-you. I've learned my lesson." I send a sideways glare at Lexie. I'm not really mad at her, but that failed attempt at help deserves some teasing.

"I said I was sorry!"

"Yeah, yeah. You guys might wanna move back a couple steps." I back up to one side of the hole, then get a tiny running start and launch myself at the opposite side. I manage to get most of my body over the edge; woot! Go me! That done, I pull the rest of myself out of the hole without too much hassle. I get my feet back on the ground, but one of them slides a little. "Whoa-" Someone's grip on my wrist stops me from reeling back too far.

"Man, you're a klutz," Squid taunts. I can feel myself flushing, both from embarrassment and anger.

X-ray laughs with him, then says, "Nice catch, Zig."

I look up at Zigzag, who's still holding my wrist like I might randomly fall over again. "Thanks for the save."

He nods, smirking. "Couldn't let ya fall in again. You probably would'a killed Sonic down there."

"Hey, it's not my fault she's- ...Sonic? That's Lexie's nickname?"

"Yeah," Squid answers for him. " 'Cuz she's so fast."

Makes sense, I guess. I turn back to the hole and look down at Lexie with a grin. "Well, aren't you special? You got a nickname." I help her out of the hole, tempted to drop her on purpose before she makes it out, just as revenge.

"Yeah, I'm named after a children's cartoon. I'm so special," she jests, straightening out her jumpsuit.

"You got one, too," Squid interrupts, tapping my arm.

Oh, this oughtta be good. "What is it?"

"Scratch," X and Zig say simultaneously.

Ha! Mine's cooler than Lexie's! "Hmm... I like it." I'm not sure why they gave me that name, though. It was either because of how I ended up here, or because of that bogus shot when I was playing pool against Magnet.

"Good, 'cuz you're stuck with it. Now get back to your holes, ladies," X commands. "Y'all got work to do."

It's amazing how fast he switched from being goofy to bossing us around. "Yes, sir!" I mock-salute, then grab Lexie's wrist. "Coming, Sonic?"

"Of course, Scratch."

Giggling at our private joke, we march back towards our dig sites. Before we're out of earshot, we hear one last comment from Squid: "Girls are freakin' weird."

Lexie and I share a smirk that says it all: he doesn't know the half of it.