"I hate Boss." Howdy muttered, kicking away water as he tried to walk with his knees bent. "I give up. Nina, give me the umbrella!" He demanded, trying to grab the umbrella from the short girl. Boss had called everyone, telling them to meet at their favorite pizza place. He knew none of them had gotten their driver's license yet, but he still didn't offer anyone a ride, besides Bijou.

Everyone else got rides from their parents, while Nina and Howdy had to walk together, since their parents were at work and she didn't have her umbrella. "Howdy, you move it around too much! It always drips on me!" Nina said, pulling it out of his grasp. "Poor Nina." He said, reaching for it again. "I'll try to stay still. Promise."

"Fine." Nina said, handing him the umbrella before she stepped closer to him. "That was quite rude of Boss not asking me if I wanted a ride when he picked Bijou up. Good thing you didn't have a ride, I don't like being alone." She added, smiling at him, missing the blush on his cheeks from her being so close and from her words.

"Let's go." He said quickly. "I bet everyone's already there and wondering where we're at." Nina nodded as they started walking again. "Stan must be worried." She said after awhile. "He said I'm a pretty girl and that there's pervs out there." Howdy rolled his eyes. "You have me, Nina." He said. She smiled at him. "Yes, I do." She agreed.

"Why did I even agree to coming?" Nina mused suddenly. "I don't want to go there, since Jesse works there."

"What, did you guys break up or something?" Howdy asked. Nina lips curled into a small smile, not her usual thousand-watt smile. "We broke up, considering the fact he's still in love with one of his ex girlfriends, and I love a guy I can't have." She admitted quietly. "I knew you loved Stan." Howdy said.

"What? Stan's my best friend, Howdy. I love him, but not in that way. The guy I love, he's in love with one of my friends. He is one of my friends. He doesn't even try to hide his love for her, even though she loves him like he's family and she has a boyfriend." She quieted, staring off in the distance. She was terrified, what if he figured out whom she was talking about? Then what would they become?

Her phone beeped, a distraction from her thoughts. She looked at the screen. A text message from Stan, R u 2 2gether yet? Nina's cheeks burned, suddenly realizing this was set up. Why Bijou took the umbrella, even though Boss had one, why Stan and Dexter didn't offer their best friends a ride, why Boss didn't offer her a ride, she should have realized it sooner. Stan told them.

I'm going to kill that boy Nina thought. You're dead, She text back.

We'll c 'bout that, he replied.

Stan smirked as he read her reply. I hate you. He shook his head. "She knows she loves me." He said aloud, chuckling. Pashmina looked up. "I feel really guilty about this. They could catch pneumonia!" She said. Stan rolled his eyes. "Pashy, babe, as Nina had told us a billion times, she never gets sick. Just cranky."

Bijou twirled Nina's purple umbrella against the floor, furrowing her brow. "Knowing Nina, she's not going to talk to us for a long time. Especially since I took her umbrella without asking." Stan rolled his eyes. "No, Nina will be thanking us for a long time. She's miserable, she thinks Howdy loves Pashmina." He said, arm around said girl.

Dexter nodded. "Howdy's miserable because he thinks Nina loves you." He said. Pashmina shook her head. "Love is so complicated." She remarked. Then her face darkened as she narrowed her eyes at Stan. "Do you love her?" She demanded. "Yes, Babe. I love her so much I'm trying to get her with the guy she loves." He said sarcastically.

"Just checking." She said quietly. He loves Pashmina, Stan! And you know it! He chuckled when he read the text from Nina. "See? Proof she thinks he loves Pashy." He said, showing everyone the text.

Dexter shook his head. "That really is sad. Here, let me text Howdy."

Tell her how you feel! Stop being an idiot! Howdy snorted as he read the text Dexter sent. Nina loves Stan, isn't that obvious, He texts back. "Texting fever today, huh?" Nina said, looking at her phone in anger. Tell him, Stan's message read. "Funny thing 'bout best friends: they don't know when to leave you alone." She said.

"Tell me about it." Howdy agreed. Nina watched as the rain came down harder. "It's winter, it's supposed to be snowing, yet it's still freezing." She mumbled. "Are you cold?" He asked and, without even thinking, wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer. She blushed, and, even though a voice was screaming at her in her head not to do it, she snuggled closer as they walked through the rain with only an umbrella to protect them. That and their unannounced love for each other, if one wants to go that far.

"This is taking forever." Howdy mumbled. He had to go to Nina's house, on the rich side of town, when she could have walked to his and they could have walked the five blocks to the pizza place. Instead, there was an added seven more blocks. But he hadn't wanted her to walk to his house. You have to protect what you love.

"Sorry. I mean, sorry for making you walk to pick me up." Nina said, nibbling on her lip. He smiled at her. "'S cool. I like spending time with you. I mean, since you usually hang with Stan and I hang with Dexter." He said. She smiled at him. "I like spending time with you too, Howdy." She said.

"And I really like you." She said quietly. "I really like you, too Nina." He said. "You do? You don't love Pashmina?" She asked. He stared at her. "I stopped liking her when I met you, Nina. I only pretended to like her to hide my feelings for you. Wait, you like me? Don't you love Stan?" He said.

It was Nina's turn to stare at him. "Stan's my best friend, Howdy. Besides, he's dating Pashmina and I like you." He grinned at her. He pressed his lips against hers, gently. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him like she needed him. Both of their phones beeped. Nina pulled away to get her phone out of her pocket. Howdy groaned at the lost of contact.

Have u 2 made out yet? Nina showed the text to Howdy. He laughed as he looked at his phone, showing it to Nina. Have you told her how you felt yet? Nina grinned at him mischievously. "I have an idea." She said, whispering in his ear. He laughed. "Great idea." He said. She sent Stan a text and giggled, looking up at Howdy. "Let's get out of the rain." He said, leading her to the woods, which was, luckily, close.

As they settled in the little shack in the woods, Nina sent Stan another text. She giggled as she wrapped her arms around Howdy's neck and she kissed him. "I love you." They whispered, smiling. They kissed again; unaware of the fact their friends were feeling guilty.

I told him I loved him, Stan. He told me he loved Pashmina. You're the worst friend. Ever. Stan groaned. His plan to get his best friend her happily ever after was an epic fail. I'm at the old shack in the woods. Don't know where he is. I'm hungry; can you bring me a pizza? You so totally owe me. "I owe her pizza for life. Because of me, she got her heart broken. Again." Stan said, sighing.

Dexter shook his head. "He told me he loved her. I can't believe he would tell her that. Maybe he fell out of love with her. He was pretty persistent on the fact that she loved you." He said. He felt guilty, too. And angry. He couldn't believe Howdy did that to Nina, after saying he loved her. "Let's bring her the pizza." Stan said, sighing as he went to the counter. "Poor Stan." Pashmina murmured. "Poor Nina."

Bijou looked sad. "Poor Nina is right. I had hope that they would get together, that Howdina would happen, that she'd finally be happy. She suffered from so much heartbreak. It's surprising she kept her head up and kept smiling." She said sadly. "That's Nina for you. She's tough as nails on the outside, vulnerable like porcelain on the inside." Stan said. Boss frowned. "Do you want me to take you guys?" He asked.

They nodded. "I'll go to comfort my sister." Bijou said. "I'll go, too." Dexter and Pashmina said. Stan nodded as the waitress came and handed him the pizza. "Talk 'bout fast service. Let's go." He said. The drive was quiet, each one thinking about poor Nina and how badly they were going to hurt Howdy. Stan didn't even wait for the car to stop before jumping out and running towards the shack, not caring about the pizza in his hands.

"Nina I'm-" He stopped when he saw his best friend, pressed against the wall, and Howdy making out like they were the only two in the world. "What the-" He began. Nina pulled back at his voice, lips swollen, and a dazed look on her face. She blinked when she saw him. Then she smiled. "Fooled ya." She whispered, grinning at his shocked look.

"Don't worry Nina I'll kill Howdy for you!" Boss said, stopping in his tracks at he stared at the couple. "What's happening here?" Bijou asked, looking from her sister to Howdy. Nina giggled. "Howdy and I were angry you guys butted in. We think we would have confessed to each other, anyway, without your help. So we decided to get back at you guys." She explained. Howdy grinned. "She came up with the idea. Isn't she awesome?" He said, pecking her lips.

She smiled at Stan before grabbing a piece of pizza. "Wasn't lying when I said I was hungry." Nina explained. Howdy chuckled. Nina frowned. "Sorry, you guys. But I like things to go my way. I don't like people interfering with my plans. Incase you forgotten, Stan, I told you I was going to tell Howdy how I felt." Her friends shook their heads, dumbfounded.

Nina Ribbon, of all people, had played a joke on them and nailed it.

"I love you, crazy." Howdy whispered. "And I love you, pizza." Nina said, grinning as she took a bite.

Happy New Year! It's eleven, and things are crazy at my house! Hope ya'll have a Happy New Year! Oh, and just a heads up, I'll be writing a few more Howdy/Nina stories.