Okay, I think an author's note is necessary for this one. I'm super sorry for the lack of updates. I had begun this chapter a while ago, but then I wrote myself into a corner and couldn't figure out how to finish it. Luckily, I worked it out, and even though it's a bit rough, it's done. Only 3 more chapters after this (well, 2 chapters and an epilogue). Enjoy. {Also I realize now that I shouldn't have written a story about druggies when I know nothing about druggies…}


"You know those people who just seem like robots?" Whatsername asks, leaning against the wall of the apartment building.

"Yeah. Like they're programmed to make our lives miserable," I say and nod.

She giggles and climbs over to the edge of the fire escape next to me. "What if they actually are robots?"

"That would explain my parents," I reply with a laugh.

She smiles. "Give it here," she tells me, gesturing to the joint in my hand. I let her slip it out of my fingers and take a hit.

I watch the smoke curl out into the breeze. It's pretty nice out today-not too hot or cold. It's cloudy, though, and the sky's a light shade of gray. It matches the smoke nicely.

"Hey, Jimmy, did you have fun at community service today?" Whatsername teases, elbowing me.

I roll my eyes. "It was boring, as usual. You know I only do it because if I didn't I'd end up in fucking jail again," I tell her.

She shrugs and laughs again. "You sweep up a lotta dust, Jimmy? With your girlfriend, the broom?"

I elbow her now-gently. "I wouldn't cheat on you with a fucking broom." I chuckle.

"Good." She plants a sloppy kiss on my ear.

"Hey, guys." The sound of the sliding door makes me turn around. Danny's standing at the threshold, leaning on the wall and eating tortilla chips. "We're watching Back to the Future Part II. It's pretty fucking awesome while high, so you guys should come see."

I shrug and look over to Whatsername. "'Kay," she says, swinging her legs back onto the balcony and getting up. I follow her and Danny inside and into the living room.

Travis is over in the kitchen, washing his hands, which is the first time I've ever seen him do that.

"What's up, Trav?" I yell across the room.

He shakes his hands dry and comes over to join us on the couch. "Got some dye on my hands. Thought I'd try green hair this time." He points to his head, where I can see his formerly brown hair covered in bright green dye that he probably got for a buck at the drug store around the corner.

"Cool." I grab a handful of chips from the bag Danny's holding.

After sinking into the ratty green couch cushions and staring intently at the small TV for a long while, I groan and pull myself to my feet.

"I need to stretch my legs," I say, walking toward the apartment door. "Anyone care to join?"

"Sure," Whatsername chirps. "Excuse me, boys," she says, rising from her spot on the couch between Danny and Travis.

We walk through the streets for a while, not totally sure where we're going. She's not saying anything, so I don't try to start a conversation. If she wants to talk, she will. After a half hour of wandering around, we come to a small Chinese takeout place.

"Let's go in," Whatsername says suddenly, nudging my arm in the direction of the place.

"Sure," I reply, holding the door open for her.

"Such a gentleman," she teases and sticks her tongue out at me.

We order some dinner at the counter, and then we take our plastic bags with smiley faces on them and walk across the street to a park. Whatsername sits at the first bench we see, and I plunk myself down next to her. Five minutes spent inhaling spicy noodles, I look over at her. She's slowly eating her Kung Pao chicken, her eyes glued to the white paper takeout box in her hands.

"What's up?" I ask between mouthfuls.

She lets out a deep breath. "I'm not totally sure." She swings her feet back and forth under the park bench.

I wait for her to construe her thoughts, twirling my noodles around the cheap, plastic chopsticks. I look over at her again. She's still staring into her dinner.

"You know, ever since you came, I've been a lot happier than I used to be," Whatsername says quietly. She turns her head slightly to look back at me.

"Yeah, me too," I agree, nudging her shoulder with mine.

She sighs and puts her chopsticks into the takeout box. I shake my head when she offers the rest of the chicken to me.

"So," I say, leaning into her, "what's wrong?"

"Nothing, it's just…." She trails off, twisting the ends of her hair around her finger. "I just feel like it's all too good to be true."

"I—" I start.

"Don't bother trying to convince me otherwise," she says, smiling faintly. "You know how stubborn I am." She leans her head on my shoulder.

"Yeah, I know," I mumble as I stare out at the street.

"I wish it would last," she says quietly, barely above a whisper.

Happiness is a bitch. So many people spend their lives trying to get happiness, but when they finally become happy, happiness says "Okay, that's enough for you," and everything becomes shit again. And the sad thing is people don't seem to expect it.

Whatsername does, though. And I do, too. I can tell that at some point, my good life is gonna end. But for now, I might as well savor it.

When we get back home, Danny and Travis are in the same position as when we left them—flopped on the couch—except now Chris is with them. They're all munching furiously on microwave popcorn and watching a soccer game. Whatsername and I walk in just as Travis jumps up and spills popcorn on Danny.

"Fuck yes!" he yells.

Whatsername rolls her eyes and grabs some of the popcorn remaining in the bag.

"I guess there was a goal?" I say, looking at Danny.

"Apparently," he answers, brushing the kernels off of his shirt.

I stand over next to Whatsername and grab some of the popcorn, too. Just as I start to see what's going on in the soccer game, the apartment door opens and Cam walks in.

"Saddle up, boys," he says. "We're going on a field trip."