Classic – how it should have been

A WAVERLY OWL KNOWS THAT YOU DON'T KNOW A GOOD THING TILL IT'S GONE

The snow-covered grounds of Waverly Academy looked like they belonged at the regal Buckingham Palace; the trees sparkled while icicles slowly dripped onto the pristine white ground. Callie almost didn't mind the ridiculously freezing temperatures. She huddled inside her faux fur Chanel coat, feeling bedraggled and glamorous with her dark Givenchy glasses clamped to her chilly face. Not to mention confused, she was weary of the curious glances she received from fellow pupils. Ever since Easy's unexpected return, their relationship, and more importantly the ever-present love triangle between her, Easy and Brandon had been dissected greedily by everyone and anyone.

Easy.

She already knew her choice; she merely wished that she didn't have to break Brandon's heart all over again, especially since it had been her dim-witted idea to jump back into a relationship with him. It had seemed like the perfect solution at the time, Brandon had been looking unbearably appetising and unavailable, and for a brief period she had found him irresistible. Maybe it was because now they had both had sex (with different partners at different times, granted) they were that much more experienced when it came to relationships. This time round it was entirely plausible that they would have their happily ever after, but where would that leave Easy?

She shook her strawberry blonde hair, chastising herself. It was best to keep things simple, be decisive, Easy was the one and she needed to break things off with Brandon . . . now preferably. Wavy strands of stiff hair stuck to her glossed lips making her scowl. Winter made looking good so very difficult. She clumsily tied her hair back with a red bobble, her baby blue woolly gloved hand ineptly moving, peeling one off she pulled out her BlackBerry Torch, dialling Brandon. She replayed the magical kiss between her and Easy to help build her rapidly diminishing resolve.

"Hey," Brandon pored over a catalogue, circling the items of clothing he liked. The new camel car coat looked very warm and ideal for the current wintry weather. He and Callie could make a day of it, purchase some warm clothes, drink cappuccinos on Brooklyn Bridge, and make a stop at Tiffany.

"Hi Brandon," her voice wavered as it usually did when she was being serious. Brandon instantaneously straightened.

"What's up Cal?" he had missed her, subsequent to the infamous party at the Dean's , the Dean himself had been none too pleased at the state of the house or Jenny and Isaac's initiative, plus his only daughter falling through the roof had been quite nerve wracking. Brandon was quite vexed, if Isla hadn't opted to do a daring stunt, their collective punishment would have been much more lenient and he and Callie would probably be doing it on his bed right now. Plus, for the first time in his life he actually felt sorry for Tinsley, who had gotten the worse of it, after Isla had blabbed about her homicidal sensibilities.

"I . . . We need to talk, it's urgent," Callie leant against the redbrick wall of her dormitory, feeling the inexplicable urge to cry.

"Sounds ominous." He commented lightly, when inside his mind was racing with all the possible horrific scenarios. What if she was pregnant with Easy's baby, or had some rare illness?

"Can you come to the gazebo; we should do this face to face?"

"Err okay; I'll be there in ten minutes."

Pulling on his jacket, he checked his reflection in the mirror before leaving the room. The gazebo was an odd choice for a pressing discussion; usually people engaged in more private activities minus clothing or any real dialogue there.

The roofed structure looked picturesque; he half expected to find Snow White cavorting with her Prince inside and not an unapproachable looking Callie, with masked eyes and resolute lips. Her lean, tights clad legs were crossed, she looked like she had been waiting a while.

"Hey there, gorgeous," he waved tentatively, feeling his anxieties surface up again at the sight of her worriedly biting her bottom lip. He sat beside her, rubbing his gloveless hands together for warmth, luckily his cream cashmere scarf kept his neck toasty. "So what is it?" he blew on his numb fingers, "Is everything okay?" he silently implored her to speak, the quiet was killing him. He brushed tendril of soft hair from her face and gently removed her sunglasses. They looked bizarre in the wintry weather and he found them quite daunting, the confiscation of them put them back on equal footing, moreover they were from last season's line. Fashion was something he knew about, inadvertently despite Heath's incessant remarks on his sexuality.

"Brandon," her lip wobbled when she looked at his kind golden brown eyes, her heart caved in a little. No matter what, he would always be the kindest, sweetest and best boyfriend she had ever had, she was actually a little scared to leave him behind for good. Easy, although the love of her life was unreliable, quarrelsome and self-assured, he didn't just faithfully accept that she was the best thing to ever walk the planet like Brandon.

"What Cal?" he let his hand fall, his mood deflating, he could sense something unpleasant for him coming up. He searched her hazel eyes, tenderly stroking her cheek before leaning in for a gentle kiss.

Callie was paralysed, she didn't expect him to kiss her, her plan was to just blurt out her vital desire to break up and then go see Easy. The feel of his lips were oddly thrilling, she expected now that Easy had come back the attraction between her and Brandon would recede, at least on her part. No, she definitely felt something. He moved closer, strong arms gripping her waist as his lips crushed hers ardently. She could feel that in the week or so they had spent apart he had missed her and that made her feel warm.

"There," his breath was laboured when he broke away, "That's better, now tell me what you needed to say. Nothing can be that bad now," he smiled surreptitiously.

Tears filled her round eyes, "I'm so sorry, Brandon. Really I am."

"For what?" he stilled, his expression frozen on his handsome face.

"It's just ... I wasn't expecting Easy to come back, but now that he has," she took a deep breath working up the nerve, "it would be dishonest of me to stay with you especially with Valentine's coming up. Easy . . . we're . . . I really want you to find someone, the person that you're supposed to be with because it isn't me."

Brandon felt his spirits plummet, her words faded into the vapour around them. Guiltily, he thought of Hellie and her big gray eyes like jewels shimmering with unshed tears as she witnessed him and Callie kissing, cheating. This was the second time Callie had dumped him for Walsh and he had more self respect than to just sit here and listen to her blather on about how perfect he was. Perfect Match was coming up and hopefully the boarding school gods were smiling down on him and he would meet the girl of his dreams.

"Brandon, say something," she ordered, a hand on his arm, "Please, I felt awful."

"You should," he stared her down. This was really it, he was never treading back into this territory again, and he was ready for something different. "I can't believe this," he shook his head in disbelief glaring at the ground and then peering up at the roofed structure, roses were painted on the white background. "I can't believe this," he repeated, anger creeping into his voice. He stood up, waving off her heartfelt pleas, "I need to be alone, and I'm going for a walk. I hope you and Easy are very fucking happy together," he spat.

An hour and a slippery walk later he had mellowed out a little, he thought of how stupidly he behaved with her. No other girl had made him transform into a loyal, floppy-eared puppy. Hellie had been fantastic and he had still managed to keep things in perspective. He had honestly considered getting Callie a promise ring, he had heard about how distraught she had been when she had lost Easy's amethyst leaving present. Stupidly, he believed that she would have cherished his and guarded it with her life; all their relationship had been about was competing with Easy. Right now he needed his new and improved life to start, one where Easy and Callie didn't exist. First, he needed alcohol and some of Heath's prattling to make him feel normal again, then hopefully they could play the new Call of Duty and fall asleep talking about all the other hot girls in their year and who the ideal perfect match would be. Heath was for some reason fixated on Isla, even though she had replaced Tinsley Carmichael in being the resident bitch.

He trudged into Richards, leaving snow tracks on the ugly carpet; his despondent expression alerted his tactless roommate to his current mood.

"Shit, Buchanan, tell me you didn't get dumped again." He let out a long whistle, "Fucking hell," he kicked the broken office chair from his reclining position on his single. In his favour, he did look genuinely sorry, so much so that Brandon could forgive the multitude of clothes on the floor including what looked like a forgotten purple bra edged in white lace with a bow in the centre. With a look of distaste he picked it up by the strap and flung it in Heath's direction, censure in his cheerless eyes. "Thanks," Heath swung it around, entirely at ease, "I knew you should have stayed with Hellie, you can't beat Swiss girls. . . or was it Swedish?" his baffled green eyes looked to Brandon, his impeccably groomed friend looked unconsciously devastated, but there was also a hint of resolve, a renewed sense of self worth. Good for him.

"Switzerland. She was from Switzerland," he collapsed onto his bed, generally glaring at life. "My life sucks."

"Not really," Heath protested, "I mean yeah, being dumped for Easy, is pretty bad but hey, you've already been through that once before and lived to tell the tale. Besides Callie is ridiculously high maintenance, you are so much better off. There are plenty of prettier girls in attendance at this school."

"Really, like who?" Brandon questioned, unconvinced, "And don't say Isla."

Heath glared, sometimes he really detested his superior friend, Isla was mouth-wateringly hot, a rival for Tinsley anyhow, "Fine," he relented, "There's Jenny, she's cute," he allowed, "And Sage still seems jealous of how you and Callie got back together, she's still hot for you. God knows why. And what about Alison Quentin?"

"Jenny's with Isaac," he declared miserably, pretty rosy cheeked Jenny would be the perfect girlfriend, a girl who would appreciate a guy knowing them and bringing them a warm cappuccino in the morning. Unlike the girls he tended to date who all deemed him effeminate. It was possible that they were just jealous that he looked better than he did, he grinned to himself. Heath threw a basketball at him, bringing him back to the conversation, "Huh, oh Alison," he thought of her for a second, recalling a pretty, diminutive Korean girl who was quite arty with radiant skin. "Didn't she date Alan?"

"Yeah, but they broke up over Christmas for some reason or other, you know she could be your Match." Heath suggested, "She's totally your type, well she's my type," he corrected, "So she should be your type." He sat up facing Brandon, eyes glittering with a plan.

"You don't have a type, and she won't be my Match, I guarantee it, my luck wouldn't allow for that to happen. I'll probably get Callie just when I never want to see her again or that Goth in Chemistry." He said wallowing in self pity.

"Hey, nobody knows what is going on under all that powder, you should learn to be more open minded and less picky," he defended. "When are the Matches released anyway, I really hope I get Isla."

"What about Kara, or have you just forgotten about her?" Brandon retorted in an uncharacteristically insensitive moment.

Heath was silent for a few seconds, rerunning the brief blissful relationship they had shared before it had ended due to his being a dick. He really missed her and had never in the history of liking girls – and he'd liked many – liked anyone as much, he suspected he may have fallen for her."I haven't forgotten," he murmured, looking frighteningly vulnerable and very un-Heath.

"I thought you were going to win her back, be a better man, as far as I can tell you're still the same slovenly, womaniser you've always been. Great plan, HF," he added sarcastically but not unkindly.

Heath bristled under his criticisms, "What is there to do? It's over. It was never going to work anyway, I bullied her for the better part of our time here, and no girl is going to forget that. She hates me, or she doesn't think about me which is worse. It's best to just cut your losses in these situations and move on," he stated firmly indicating the flimsy bra on his bed, "That was Marissa." He pushed the bra off the bed, bitterly thinking about how he hadn't slept with Kara at least that would have given him sweet dreams at night. Fantasy never compared with reality, even if he was a comic book addict.

Sensing that he had ruined Heath's mood too, Brandon relented, "Maybe she'll be your Match. Have you got her a Valentine's present?"

"Why would I do that?" he sneered, flicking through the numerous high definition pictures on his Samsung Galaxy. Kara shyly smiling at the camera; sitting cross legged at a Women of Waverly meeting; looking completely gorgeous in a pretty draped off white dress that showed of her tan. A borrowed diamond brooch fastened the material together, she wore that on their first official date, there were also some pictures of her and Brett, that he had had retrieved from his SIM after begging a Buy More guy.

"Because, you need to let her know that you're sorry. Trust me girls love presents, they make them feel special and prove that you know them. You need to get her something, because then even if she isn't your Match at least she'll be thinking about you when she is with her Match."

"Hmmm," he stroked a phantom beard, "The idea is appealing, and hypothetically what would I get her?"

"Jewellery," Brandon answered automatically, "Never fails. Don't go overboard and buy her a ring, it'll freak her out, unless of course if you're Easy Walsh."

"I don't know jewellery is quite impersonal, it doesn't prove that I know her and she's not really a jewellery king of girl. I think she'd prefer a book." Heath rationalised, showing some of his normally dormant smarts.

"No, it has to be jewellery. Get her a charm bracelet with specific charms, I saw that on an episode of 90210, Navid gave Adrianna one to win her back from some singer."

"You watch 90210," Heath snickered incredulously, "And you wonder why your Secret Santa got you a male stripper, seriously? Dude, you do not do yourself any favours."

"Shut up," he flipped him off, "Do you want my help or not? Trust me, it'll work."

"I could get her one with all her favourite superheroes on there: Wolverine, Batman, Batgirl, Kick-Ass . . ." he tailed off deep in thought, an excited gleam in his eyes. "If this works Buchanan, I swear I'll assassinate Easy for you myself. No worries, he will no longer keep you from you lady fair."

"You sound like King Arthur."

"Please," Heath yanked his slate grey laptop into his lap," If I'm going to be a character in that ludicrous tale it's going to be Lancelot, though imagine going through life with a name like that." He chuckled, rapidly typing in his password.

"It can't be any worse than some of the names people have today, the last time I went to a charity benefit by evil stepmother introduced me to a girl named Clementina. Not even Clementine, Clementina, and she was completely at ease with it."

"I wonder what they call her for short," Heath snorted.

"Clemmie," they both laughed.

"You know, that's nothing I met a girl called Litzy. She was really hot as well, I just couldn't take her seriously, totally ruined the vibe," Heath typed in custom made charm bracelets in the search engine, setting to work. "Anyway, seen as you helped me out with Kara, how are you about Callie?" he asked giving him his undivided attention. "I won't post it on Facebook, I swear," he tagged on as an afterthought, thinking guiltily of the time he'd sent a mass email of one of Brandon's treasured secrets, the email that had single-handedly destroyed his relationship. He wished blankies had never existed.

"I don't know, a little sad, very angry, but also kind of relieved I guess. When we were together I was constantly on edge and really self conscious, I didn't think I was good enough for her I was practically forcing her to cheat on me. I thought she was too good for me, now I suffer no such illusions. Hellie was a big wake-up call. I feel awful at how things ended between us."

"Why don't you go see her?" Heath scrolled through the search results, before clicking on a likely option.

"I can't just turn up at her boarding school without warning and freak the shit out of her. I've already been skipping German classes for weeks just in case she told her dad about our terminated relationship, and there's school and Perfect Match and. . . . "

"Okay could you shut up for a second and listen?" Heath stared at him, "You're acting like I'm asking you to move there, just go see her for the weekend, tell her you're an asshole and that you're deeply sorry and you've seen the error of your ways. Perfect rebound, Perfect Match will be waiting for you when you get back; they're released on Monday anyway."

"Monday, shit that's less than a week away. I need to resend my application form." Brandon smacked his head, horror dawning on him.

"What was wrong with the original? Too pink?" Heath teased, clicking on .uk and booking a last minute flight to Zurich in Brandon's name, he typed in his father's memorised credit card number. The mountain didn't come to Mohammed.

"No, dickwad, I filled it out so Callie and I would be matched with each other. I should give them a genuine one so I don't completely ruin my chances," he pulled out his cell, checking his email; there was a recent one from Callie sitting in his inbox which he promptly deleted. He then opened an already read email from the IT society that had the desired attached file. Opening the word document, he painstakingly filled out his name, academic year, date of birth, likes, dislikes, interests, hobbies, college choice etc. He made sure his answers were as honest as possible. Then saved it and attached it to his reply with a message explaining that this was the form that needed to be used, ten minutes later Cora clarified that this was the one going to be used.

"Okay, it's now official; you are departing from JFK airport at 5pm on Friday night and should reach Zurich at 3 in the morning." Heath announced sounding mighty pleased with himself.

"You did what?" Brandon yelled, determined that later today he would make an account on .

"Economy was all that was available on such short notice," Heath smiled angelically, "Hey you get a free holiday and a weekend romp with a Swiss miss, where's the gratitude?"

"I fucking despise you."

Meanwhile, Callie blew her nose still seated in the gazebo, Easy beside her, beaming at the news of her Brandonless state. She was all his, now and nobody else's. He felt so happy he could burst; military school felt light years ago, he comfortingly brushed away stray icy teardrops that clung to her hollow cheeks as she sniffled. "It's okay. Cal, he'll be fine, it's about us now. Just us." he wrapped an arm around her, merging their body heat.

"You didn't see his face, he looked really mad. He's never looked at me like that before. I feel like such a bitch, he was such a great boyfriend. Really thoughtful, loyal, he never cheated on me or even looked at other girls when I was around, and what did he get for it? Jack."

"Well, neither did I," Easy protested, a little bothered by her sudden respect of the supremely metro sexual Brandon Buchanan. Although in this last year they had learnt to get along, there was still something about his perpetual presence that irked Easy, he was a constant reminder of Callie's past, her one other serious boyfriend, whereas Easy had only ever really been serious about her.

"I think we both know that's not true," she glared at him, her gaze filled with unforeseen hostility. Jenny, it was still raw for her and something they hadn't really touched upon, how he had heartlessly dumped her for her roommate and then proceeded to mess that up. Thinking about it made her stomach hurt, she hated how uncertain and erratic she had been during that period. Desperate for attention, specifically Easy's, she had toyed with Brandon's feelings and terrorised little Jenny all because the love of her life had turned out to be an unreliable asshole. Temporarily, she amended, now everything was as it should be, but she didn't feel as safe as she did with Brandon, there was no guarantee that Easy wouldn't find the grass greener somewhere else and now they were sleeping together she feared it would hurt even worse. Brett was probably the only one of her friends who hadn't succumbed to Easy's charms; she still recalled the intense jealousy she felt when she heard Tinsley and Easy had hooked up at a secluded party in Alaska. She had barely paid attention to Brandon after that, her entire raison d'être being Easy Easy Easy.

"Callie, that's not fair." His dark blue eyes grew panicked, he needed to make things right between them, seeing her with Brandon at the calamitous party at the Dean's house had set his heart racing, she was the reason he'd returned. "I love you." he held her hands in his, "Jenny was a mistake, I'm not sure I can explain it. I know I freaked you out and that I hurt you but I didn't mean it, I just was really uncertain. I felt that I needed a sign or something so I could know that putting up with all your shit is worth it." He joked, kissing the corner of her downturned mouth.

"Thanks," she replied sarcastically, letting her hair loose again, she knew Easy like how it framed her graceful neck. "Did you get your sign then?" she asked half heartedly, thinking of Jenny's plenteous curves and bloomed cheeks.

"Yeah, the day that you had dinner with me and my Dad, you looked so nervous I just wanted to kiss you and never stop. I was really confused, I'm new to the whole love thing, I thought for a couple to be compatible they needed to be interested in the same things, like art, but I know now that's not true." His earnest blue eyes gave her food for thought; she really wanted to wholeheartedly forgive him.

"Besides, we are interested in the same things," she leant to kiss his delightfully cold lips, hands running through his chopped curls, "We're into each other."

"Yeah," he echoed kissing her neck, "And the Big Bang Theory."

"Exactly," she pulled him up off the bench, ready to leave the gazebo and watch an episode of the Big Bang Theory in the Dumbarton lounge. She would give Brandon some space and then maybe after Valentine's he'd be ready to be friends.