Chapter 17:: These are the best of times

The fact that Reid Garwin had been "snagged and bagged" as some of the other girls were referring to it, was the talk of the school for the week that followed.

"Don't they ever get tired of plotting", I said to Reid as I narrowly escaped an 'accidental' drop of Eileen's drink near my skirt.

"It's the way of women. Plot, scheme, and blackmail," Nick said from behind his Entertainment magazine.

"So is that why you prefer men?" Caitlin giggled after her question.

"That and seeing you stick a needle into your bony butt every day isn't much of a turn on."

She threw her apple at him and he quickly shielded his face with the magazine, "I have a disease you dick."

"A diseased mind," Nick retorted.

Reid turned towards me. "I'd like to see you stick something in your," he stopped talking as I shoved my spoonful of yogurt into his mouth.

"This is such a dysfunctional table," Tyler said as he sat down next to Caitlin.

"You have no idea," George chimed in. Tyler looked at him and George's cheeks got slightly red. I narrowed my eyes at him and kicked him underneath the table.

"Jesus Christ Redden," Reid exclaimed. I'd kicked him accidentally.

"Whoops. Sorry. So what's the deal with Caleb lately? He's seemed kind of….not happy about our going official."

Reid exchanged a look with Tyler before responding, "It's nothing. He's just getting pissy realizing that we aren't his followers."

"Oh-kay, dramatic much?" Caitlin raised her eyebrows as she spoke.

I'd looked over towards Caleb's table as she spoke. He was sitting with Sarah, Pogue, and Kate as per usual. Kate, seeing me looking over, waved enthusiastically, a bright smile on her face.

"Looks like Kate's happy enough for the three of them."

Tyler laughed, "Kate's excited about the possibility of new girlfriends for her, not necessarily for us."

On that everyone turned to look at him, "For Reid, I meant."

"Mhm, sure," Reid responded knowingly.

"Anyway, what's the plan for the night, it's Friday, we have to do something."

"It's so cold outside I don't even want to go out anywhere, it's March, shouldn't this weather be breaking soon?"

"What about just hanging in the dorms, we could cook, play some games, watch True Blood."

"Now that sounds good."

At this point Reid held up his hands, "Whoa, cease rapid fire ladies."

"I say swap out True Blood for It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and you've got a deal," Tyler added.

As evening approached and everyone filed into the common room on the third floor Caitlin and I began making two huge pots full of Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper. Tyler and Reid had gone out earlier and gotten the meat. I looked over everyone. Nick, George, Tyler, and Reid had all shown up. However, Steven had shown up as well. George had told him about the gathering after school when he'd heard about Steven's recent break up, yet again, from Nicole. He wasn't the only surprise. I had gotten a hold of Kate after lunch and told her about the hang out as well. She'd shown up with Sara, Pogue, and Caleb.

Caitlin seemed to be on the same page, "Eleven growing high schoolers, maybe we should do four pans full?"

I looked over, "Probably a good idea." As we mixed up the ingredients and set all the pants to simmer for the next fifteen minutes everyone else divvied up into groups. Some watching It's Always Sunny, some playing board games on the floor. Reid, Caleb, Steven, and George, with help from Tyler, were playing poker at the table behind the couch.

I leaned over Steven's shoulders and scanned his cards as he was closest to the stove. There were two hearts on the table, an eight and a six. In his hands were a seven, nine, and ten, all hearts. A flush. I watched as he played it low key, pretending to hesitate to call when Reid raised. The confidence in Reid's face was obvious. When they got to the end of the hand Reid laid down his four of a kind and began to gather the chips. Steven threw his cards down, "Ooo, he just flushed you out Reid." Reid pushed back from the table, having bet all his chips in that hand, and joined me over at the stove.

"Who invited lug nuts anyway?"

"Jealousy doesn't become you."

He rolled his eyes, "Reid Garwin, jealous of a LAX guy? I don't think so."

"Good then you can take this plate to him," I said as I shoved a plate full of the finished Hamburger Helper towards him. Caitlin took Reid's vacated seat at the table and tried to get Tyler's attention, who was still teaching George how to play. We distributed the rest of the food and then went over to watch the show with Sarah and Pogue. Kate and Nick seemed to be in an increasingly competitive game of Phase 10.

Sarah moved over on the couch so that I could sit down beside her. "So Reid told me you were here on a scholarship, I didn't realize."

"Yep," I said evil-eying Reid.

"So am I, are you on the Temperance Mills one?"

"Yeah."

"Same, very impressive. Those are hard to get."

I smiled, for the first time pleased about someone recognizing the scholarship, "Thanks. Did you have to do the personal essay for yours too? Ten pages on self-actualization. Kill me."

She laughed, "Oh yeah, my stepfather made me write fifteen though. He would march around behind me while I was writing it and say 'Above and beyond Sarah'. I wanted to tell him to get 'Above and beyond the couch and get a damn job."

I laughed so hard I began choking and Reid slapped me lightly on the back. The rest of the night passed well and I was glad I'd gotten Kate to bring everyone over. Caleb had seemed to have a change of heart about Reid's new relationship with me and although Reid still referred to Steven as lug nut, they'd had a friendly game of COD in which Reid admitted defeat with a smile.

A/N:: Ahhh! I'm horrible at keeping on track with updates, sorry! Thanks for all the reviews J I'll put another chapter up this week!

R&R