Surviving High School: Cliché Cliques

A/N: You guys are amazing. As you'll soon find out some of the chapters are named after songs because music has a big effect on my writing. Here's chapter 7.

-X-

Chapter 7: Fireflies

"I like to make myself believe that planet earth turns slowly. It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep….." I sing softly as I continue to paint the school mural. I made a deal with Principal Lone. I said I'd paint a positive painting for the school if my detention and the fight I had with Wayne don't go on my permanent record. It's so worth it.

"'Cause everything is never as it seems," someone sings softly. I crane my neck to the left making hair fall into my eyes from my messy ponytail. CeCe was standing there with a huge smile on her face.

"And what's got you all smiley?" I tease. She laughs and puts her bag down then hops up on the desk by me.

"I'm just truly happy for the first time in months," she answers. I put my paint brush down, wipe my hands on a nearby rag and pull her into a tight embrace that she returns whole heartedly.

"God I missed this," she whispered against my neck.

"You missed what?" I ask softly, stroking her hair unconsciously.

"This. Just being able to hug you and forget everything else," she replied. It comes as a surprise to me that I mean that much her, and then again it doesn't. This past month she's been trying to convince me that she cares. Now that I'm finally listening I wonder why I didn't forgiver her a long time ago. Truthfully I know that answer. I know it was that underlying insecurity that kept me from this. I guess that's another thing I have to thank Ashley for.

"I missed you," I finally answer back.

"You don't have to say that if you don't mean it Rocks," she mutters. I pull back from our embrace reluctantly.

"Why would you think I don't mean it?"

"Do you understand all the terrible unforgivable things I've done to you?"

"Yes." But I try not to think about them.

"I don't think you do. Rocky I left you in the dust when I got some popular new friends. Completely ignored you when you needed me the most just because I thought you'd never be happy again. We both think I'm selfish and that I believe I deserve everything in this world but the one thing I know I don't deserve is you." The sincerity of her words almost brings me to my knees.

"CeCe if you realize you don't deserve something good that's happened to you, that usually means it happened for a reason." She won't look at me so I take her chin and make her look at me. "Stop that. I've forgiven you CeCe."

"Yeah but I haven't forgiven myself," she says her voice thick with self-loathing.

"We all make mistakes CeCe. You shouldn't beat yourself up over this." She lowers her head. I can tell that she isn't going to listen to me, so I just take her hand and kiss her knuckles lightly. Her chocolate orbs follow my every move as I press her hand firmly to my heart.

"How do you do that?" she asks with a shake of her head.

"Do what?"

"And you don't even realize you're doing it," she chuckles.

"What are you talking about you goof?" I joke and playfully shove her. She grips my hand back and smiles.

"How do you just make everything better with a simple action? You're the only person that's ever been able to do that to me."

"Really?" She squeezes my hand lightly.

"Yeah, really." Her legs wrap around my hips to bring me closer and I don't protest. The hand that isn't holding mine cups my cheek. It moves subtly trying to bring my face closer to hers.

"CeCe stop," I whispered. Her legs tightened.

"How about you try that again but this time say it more convincingly," she whispers just a hair away from my lips. It's torture not closing the distance.

"Don't do this again. Please CeCe." My voice cracks at the end.

"What do you mean?" She asks searching my eyes.

"I just want to be friends." I know it shouldn't pain me as much as it does to say that.

"No you don't. Since the first day of school I've seen the way you look at me." She moves her other hand to cup my cheek. "Why are you denying this?"

"What are you doing out of class anyway?" I move from between her legs and pick up the paint brush again. She sighs and I'm already missing her warmth but I continue painting.

"I always skip geometry," she says nonchalantly. I turn and fix my disapproving gaze on her. She meets my eyes head on.

"You shouldn't skip classes," I whisper. She scoffs.

"I shouldn't do a lot of things," she replied then looked down at her hands and wrung them.

"Then why do you?" Her head is still down allowing her hair to frame her face with a curtain of fire.

"I don't know," she sighed. "Maybe because it's the fact that I'm expected to do them, you know?" I do know what she means. Having expectations on you is like having a cinder block tied to your ankle pulling you underwater.

"I'm sorry." I find myself saying. She finally meets my eyes again.

"Why are you sorry?"

"I'm sorry you go through that." She shakes her head.

"It's not your fault."

"No, it's not. That wasn't what I meant." I turn back to the mural. "I'm sorry that you don't get that other people's expectations doesn't matter. The expectations you have for yourself do." I could feel her stare on me.

"Only strong people can do that. And," she chuckles. "And I'm not strong."

"Yes you are." I say as my hand stops painting and I look at her in disbelief. "You're the strongest person I know." There's a silence between us. It's broken shortly after someone comes through the door.

"Hey babe, I brought you lunch. Do you want Greek salad or-"she stops when she sees us. I send a silent thank you to whoever is watching over me that Ashley didn't catch me and CeCe in a more intimate position.

"Am I Interrupting something?"

"Yes."

"No." CeCe and I answer simultaneously. Ash raises her eyebrow at us. "No you weren't baby." I walk over to her and peck her lips. She gives me a goofy smile in return. Out of the corner of my eye I see CeCe gagging and send her a warning glare.

"If you guys are doing something I can always come back."

"That's a wonderful idea." CeCe shoots me a look that I politely ignore.

"Actually CeCe was just leaving." I grip Ashley's arm and lean my head on her shoulder. My glasses slide down a little which Ashley pushes up with a grin. I look into her eyes if only to ignore the hurt in CeCe's. For once I allow myself to not care about her and lose myself in blue eyes desperately willing my mind to not turn them brown.

"Yeah I need to go. Bye lovebirds." She changes her tone from heartbroken to condescending quick.

"CeCe me and Rocky are going out to dinner tonight. You can come with us if you'd like." Ashley offers with a bright smile. CeCe seems to contemplate this for a moment.

"Can I bring a date?" She asks staring straight into my eyes. Ashley didn't notice or pretended not to notice.

"Of course and it's on me."

"Then yes I'd love to." CeCe smirked and my heart dropped. Seeing CeCe draped over some guy will not be the highlight of my night.

-X-

"I feel for you girl. Having to spend civilized time with CeCe? Oooh, you got it bad." I chuckled at Dina's statement. She had decided to help me restock books so I can be done twice as fast. CeCe and Leah were on graffiti clean up duty.

"Dina, I use to do it all the time. Me and her use to be best friends remember?" She stops what she doing and turns to me.

"Yeah I remember." She sounds very sullen now. I silently yell at myself for doing that for the second time today.

"Dina come on. I told you I'm getting over it."

"Okay Rocky, say you do get over being abandoned. What about the scars that are gonna be left behind? You'll always have those scars. And with those scars you have a chance of that wound being open again." I open my mouth to reply to this but nothing comes out. She's right.

"Sometimes by accident, but it hurts all the same." I agree.

"Well," Dina starts. "You can count on me. I'm not gonna let you down again." She finishes her statement with a dazzling smile. I chuckle.

"I truly believe you won't Dina." I flashed her a dazzling smile of my own.

"Wow Rocky. Way to choke a girl up." I chuckled again and dropped the book I had in my hand on the table. I walked towards her and wrapped her up in a hug.

"I'm sorry." I mock pout when I pull back. Dina just shook her head and smiled.

"Don't worry about it. Now enough of this mushy stuff. Let's go find you something to look hot in for your date tonight. Something that will surely impress." I nod eagerly although I wasn't sure who I wanted to impress more, CeCe or Ashley?

-X-

My stomach twisted into knots as I see CeCe and Tristan, the captain of the football team. They looked happy and carefree and relaxed and...in love. Don't get me wrong I'm happy that CeCe was happy but just the pure adoration in her eyes stirred something deep inside me.

"Rocky, I found the hottest dress for you." Dina's voice was a little too over zealous for me. She saw my far off gazed and looked to where my attention previously was. She sighed.

"You love her don't you?" I nodded. It's funny how she seems to know me better than CeCe. "Usually I would critique anyone else in your position and question why you would love someone who makes your life a living hell even though I ship Faberry religiously but I see that you aren't doing this purposely."

"That's what's killing me the most. I don't want to be in love with CeCe but I am." I looked away from the couple.

"I got you a present." Dina said undoubtedly trying to brighten the somber mood. She dug through her purse and then produced a box that said Acuve. I grinned at her.

"You got me contacts?"

"Yeah, I know you miss them and it just so happens that my cousin Vittolo works as an eye doctor. He owes my dad so you now have free contacts for life." All I could do is stare wide eyed. "Don't just stand there and gape. Try 'em on!" I took the box and walked to the body length mirror attached to a hair product stand. I pop in the contacts and smiled at my reflection.

"Wow." I whispered.

"Wow is right. I almost forgot you had those big brown hues." I playfully shove Dina. I feel eyes on me and I turn my head to see CeCe staring at us.

"Hello Chicago! Anyone in the house wanna show off their pipes? Then come on up here!" I look at the announcer on the stage; a light skinned man with clean cut hair and make a quick impulsive decision. I walk towards the stage all the while feeling CeCe and Dina's eyes on me. The announcer guy smiled at me.

"I was wondering if I could-"

"Yes, yes of course! Come on up. What's your name sweetheart?"

"Rocky." He claps his hands enthusiastically and raises the mic to his mouth.

"Alright everyone! Give a big hand for Rocky!" There's applause and suddenly this feels like an awful idea. The man gave me another smile reassuringly probably sensing my nervousness. "Just tell the band your choice, Rockstar." He whispers and winks at me as he passes. I smile gratefully and take the mic. I walk towards the drummer, guitarist, and the boy on the keyboard. I tell them my selection and they smile.

The music starts and I belt out the lyrics.

(Italic= lyrics, Bold= Flashbacks, Normal= Present)

Can count the years on one hand that we've been together

I need the other one to hold you

Make you feel make you feel better

I catch CeCe's eyes and I know she's thinking back to the same memory I am. Her dad had just left (2 years before he died when we were only 12) and I coincidentally visited her that day. She was curled into a ball on her bed crying her eyes out.

"I just don't understand why he'd leave. Doesn't he love me? What about Flynn?" I was holding her tightly to my chest with my own heart breaking as I saw the state of my best friend.

"Ce, sometimes people do things that they know will hurt someone in the process. Those are selfish people but sometimes you have to be selfish to make yourself happy." Gently I kiss her on top of her head. She nodded her head in understanding. "And for the record," I whispered. "Anyone who gives you up is an idiot in my book." I felt her smile against my neck.

It's not a walk in the park to love each other

But when our fingers interlock can't deny can't deny you're with it

"Rocky I'm sorry!" I was mad- no furious- with CeCe. She had told Ross Howard that I didn't like him when I specifically remember telling her I did. I mean who wouldn't? He was the cutest boy in 7th grade.

"This is a new low for you CeCe. If you liked him to you should have just told me then-"

"But I don't like him!" I stop to glare at her.

"Then why did you sabotage my chance to be with him?" I folded my arms over my chest and looked at her expectantly.

"Because, he isn't right for you. Matter of fact he's not even worth a minuscule of your time." She has this disgusted look on her face after she finishes. I roll my eyes and hand her a quarter for the use of 'minuscule' correctly.

"That's my decision to make then. CeCe you can't keep treating me like I'm fragile china. You always try to make choices for me, are you ever going to let me make my own choices?" CeCe had a blank expression.

"Nope." She answered easily then plopped herself on her couch. I stuttered for a minute not anticipating her bluntness. "What do you wanna watch?" She asks casually leaving no trace of what she just said.

"No!"

"I've never heard of that. What's it about?" Her face is scrunched up in confusion and I would have thought this incredibly cute had I not been so upset.

"No!- I mean no we aren't just dropping this conversation. Why can't you let me make my own decisions?" CeCe shakes her head at me and smiles.

"Rocks I'm your best friend aren't I?"

"Of course you are." I snort.

"That's why. I protect what's mine and Rocky whether you like it or not you're mine. I'm the type of girl that prefers whacky hijinks and clever, conniving plans instead of the logical way. I'm a lot to handle. That's just how I am and if you don't..." She sighs. "If you don't like that then you should get out now while I'm giving you an opening. Granted it won't be easy but you might get away." My heart sort of does this flip flop when she sounds so possessive of me. Her eyes stare into mine until she finally looks down her expression sorrowful. I sit beside her and snatch the remote.

"We're watching Dead Like Me." CeCe smiled and curled into my side. I lifted my arm and wrapped it around her. "And CeCe?"

"Hmm?" She looks up at me.

"I'm not going anywhere." Tears well in her eyes and when they fall I wipe them away then interlock our fingers.

Cause after all this time I'm still into you

I should be over all the butterflies but I'm into you, I'm into you

And baby even on the worst nights I'm into you, I'm into you

Let them wonder how we got this far

Cause I don't really need to wonder at all

Yeah after all this time I'm still into you

Day 1 of CeCe isolation was on a Friday morning. Only 2 months after CeCe's dad's death, 1 month after Ms. Jones won the lottery, and a little more than halfway through our freshman year. CeCe and I hadn't had a full conversation in weeks. In the hallways her friends would laugh at my awkwardness due to me trying to adjust to my new glasses. I felt like I used to before discovering dancing. Useless. Weird. Just awkward.

CeCe would always send apologetic smiles even though she could have stopped them if she really wanted to. But damn that smile made it all worth it. I knew what she was doing. She was using popularity to forget the fact that her father that had abandoned her suddenly died in a freak plane crash. I just wanted to be closer to her because damn it I was hurting to. And I needed a friend. Of course CeCe had her own plans though. She always had her own plans.

"Hey Rocks do you think we can do our movie night some other time? Jason wants to take me to this new Italian restaurant that's opening tonight." She smiles brightly at me as if she weren't bailing on me for the 3rd time. Jason was her new flavor of the week. I didn't like him, not that I liked anybody CeCe dated, but especially not him because he was always flirting with other girls and telling them words I clearly remember him saying to CeCe.

"But we had this planned for weeks I don't-"

"Rocky I'll make it up to you I promise." Then she pouts and I can't resit giving her what she desires so I sigh.

"Alri-"

"Thanks Rocks," she says before she bounces off to go talk to some other girl. Despite the stinging in my chest I still loved her as much as I did before. Maybe even more.

There came the night when I first met your mother

And on the trip back to my house told you that, I told you that I loved ya

You felt the weight of the world fall off your shoulder

And to your favorite song you sang along to the start of forever

I was nervous to meet Mrs. Jones. Even though I'd seen her a couple of times and she drove CeCe and I to ballet class once, we were usually with CeCe's dad. This was the first time I would really talk to her and I was scared. Who could blame me though, she a had license to kill and I was 11. There's also the fact that I believe in making amazing first impressions.

"Rocky relax, she'll love you." CeCe said when she realized my pacing. She acted no different then any other day. But this was a BIG day in my eyes.

"Do you think so?"

"Well yeah. What's not to like?" My face became warm at the compliment but it was ignored as I muttered for her to shut up while taking a pillow and hitting her with it causing a rampant pillow fight to break out.

The meeting had gone great. Georgia said she felt as though I was her favorite daughter (to which CeCe protested). CeCe was walking me up the fire escape to my apartment. When we stopped in front of my window we hugged. She was just about to leave when I grabbed her wrist. She looked at me with question.

"I love you, you know? No ones everyone been such an amazing friend to me." I said shyly. CeCe lit up. She tackled me into another hug.

"I'm so glad to here you say that because I'm pretty sure I need you more than air at this point." The radio was playing and Fireflies came on. CeCe started singing it at the top of her lungs. I didn't have the heart to stop her so I joined.

And after all this time I'm still into you

I should be over all the butterflies but I'm into you, I'm into you

And baby even on the worst nights I'm into you, I'm into you

Let them wonder how we got this far

Cause I don't really need to wonder at all

Yeah after all this time I'm still into you

The first time I realized I had more than friend feelings for CeCe was on a Wednesday and I was 13. I had a horrible morning complete with waking up late arriving to school on time thankfully but looking disheveled and out of breath. I couldn't pay attention in math class because of my exhaustion from the previous night spent working on my project. Then I remember in my haste I had forgotten my lunch money and I hadn't eaten breakfast either, needless to say I was starving. The worst of it all though was that CeCe wasn't in school to make me laugh because she had a doctor's appointment. But when I got home I found a note on my bedroom door saying to go to CeCe's. When I did all my favorite junk food was sitting on the coffee table along with the newest gossip magazines and movies. My red headed best friend appeared from the kitchen with an apron on that had 'Just Because I'm Fabulous Doesn't Mean My Cooking Is' written on it. There was what I assume to be pasta sauce on it. That's when I smelled the mouth watering scent that was very appealing to my empty stomach.

"Vegetarian lasagna is in the oven. Should be ready in 10 more minutes." I gape at her for a moment, wondering if she was superwoman. "Deuce texted me about your disastrous day." She clarifies. Dropping my jacket and house keys I take five long strides to get to her then wrap her up in my arms. "If this is the reaction I get for sacrificing a little bit of my time then I need to do it more often." CeCe chuckled into my neck. Her breath caused goose bumps to form. As her hands circled my hips I felt my heart beat faster.

"I love you so much." I remember blurting out.

"I love you to Blue Bear. You know I'd do anything for you." And I did know that. The first thought that popped into my head was what if I asked her to kiss me? It made me have a mini panic attack but I stayed collected through out the night. When I left for the night to go to my house she kissed the corner of my mouth. If it were one centimeter to the left we'd be kissing mouth to mouth, lips to lips, tongue to tongue. And I realized I wouldn't mind one bit.

Some things, some things just makes sense

And one of those is you and I

Somethings just, some things just makes sense even after all this time

It was our 7 year friendiversary and I had gotten her that purse at the mall she really wanted. We had been on 'Shake It Up Chicago!' for almost a year now and CeCe spent her check on a birthday present for her mom instead (even though I had to blackmail her to) so I thought she deserved an amazing present after such a selfless sacrifice. I was going to talk to her fashion gossip friend Sandy when I saw CeCe talking to her next to her locker. Now back then I was a bit...nosey and needless to say I might have eavesdropped a little on their conversation.

"So you wanna see that new horror movie tonight? I heard it's suppose to be super gorey!" CeCe chuckled at the blonde's enthusiasm.

"No sorry. Today is mine and Rocky's friendaversary." Sandy made this look of confusion to which CeCe questioned.

"It's just that...you and Rocky are so...different. Not really the good different where you balance each other out but full blown-nothing in common-different. I just don't understand how you two are best friends. CeCe shrugged. My heart was beating fast because I was practically hyperventilating to know what CeCe thought on the matter.

"Believe it or not we do have things in common. She may be a bit dull and dry sometimes," I frown at that. I'm not that dull. "But she makes me happy." My heart speeds up at the huge grin on her face. "That's all that really matters. In some weird irrational way we make sense." Sandy just smiled and asked if she needed help with buying me a present.

By then though I had walked away because I figured out what I was getting CeCe. She had been staring at this heart necklace in the mall and I spent all my savings, checks, and borrowed money from Ty to pay for it. It was simple and silver with our initials carved into it. She cried for hours then hugged me and didn't let go until the next day.

I'm into you

Baby not a day goes by that I'm not into you

I should be over all the butterflies but I'm into you, I'm into you

And baby even on the worst nights I'm into you, I'm into you

"Dad please don't go! Daddy!" I remember crying as my dad with silent tears left the house never to return. Mom caught him cheating with his assistant Jill (which he later on marries) and sent him packing. Ty was clutching me tight crying as well, preventing me from holding onto dad as he tried to leave. This isn't fair. I was only 13. I was already going through the panic of having a crush on my best friend now this. When he was gone with no indication of him ever coming back I retreated to my room and laid on my bed for a few minutes before my window opened and firey red hair could be seen.

"Hey." CeCe said quietly.

"Hey." I had replied with a hoarse voice from screaming so much.

"I heard the shouting."

"I figured everyone had." More tears come out and CeCe kicks off her shoe and lays right behind me and throws an arm possessively over my waist pulling my back flush against her front. If I were in a happier mood I would have laughed at the fact that the tiniest girl I know was taking the roll as the big spoon.

"I'll always be here Rocky. Even if it doesn't seem like it, I always will." I took comfort in the idea of something solid. Permanent. I peacefully dosed off not knowing how wrong I was for thinking that.

Let them wonder how we got this far

Because I don't really need to wonder at all

Yeah after all this time I'm still into you, I'm still into you

I'm still into you

"You know people think we aren't good for each other." I say one night when we're studying. Or when I'm studying and CeCe is painting her nails. She looks up a little.

"I don't really care what people think. I'm yours and you're mine forever. Simple as that. Besides, everyone has doubts about things that turn out to be the most amazing." She smiles as she finishes painting her left hand. I was still stuck on forever. This is why I fell in love with Cecilia Jones. People don't see this and that's the reason for their doubt and confusion. But to me, everything has a certain clarity to it as long as CeCe is by my side.

I finish the song looking directly at CeCe while the audience applauds. People never understood our friendship. We were polar opposites. Walking proof that opposites do attract. But I never had any doubts about us. I knew I'd love this girl for the rest of my life. Nothing would change that. I step down from the stage and before CeCe can get to me I grab a clapping Dina and pull her with me.

-X-

"Babe are you alright? You seem kind of...tense." Ashley's hands were on my shoulder trying to massage the stress out of them. Her hands felt so foreign that I couldn't help but shrug them off. I ignored her frown and got up and walked out the door to Dina's car. Dina smiled at me.

"So feel any better than you did at the mall?" I shook my head no and she to wore a frown. "I'm sorry Rocks. I wouldn't have taken you to the mall if I knew-"

"I know you wouldn't have Dina. I'm not mad, I'm just confused."

"Confused about what?" Ashley asked. I turn around and force a smile.

"About what I'm gonna eat at the restaurant." It was a shoddy lie but she seemed to believe it just fine.

"Well lets get you there so you both can figure it out." Dina attempts to lighten the situation once more for the umpteenth time. It works somewhat as we all pile into the car.

CeCe and Ashley have been glaring at each other since we sat down. Tristan has been trying to cut through the tension for the past hour. Even I couldn't dishearten the poor boys efforts.

"So Rocky, you really killed it at the mall. You know my friend's band needs a lead singer. Would you be interested?" Ashley finally breaks the stare off with CeCe.

"Wait what? I didn't know you could sing." I see CeCe smirking.

"Yeah, sometimes I sing but it's mostly dancing." I shrug as if it's no big deal.

"You should sing for the band..." Ashley trails off glancing at Tristan.

"Bad Angels." He provides.

"You should totally sing for Bad Angels" She sounds so excited I can't help but smile.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah!" Her and Tristan say simultaneously.

"Alright I'll do it." I agree.

"Cool I'll call Stan tomorrow and set it up." I smile and politely excused myself to go to the bathroom. But really I went out to the restaurant's garden. I needed a bit of air. Suddenly the skies are lighted up with green. Fireflies were floating everywhere.

"Beautiful huh?" I glance back at CeCe.

"Really beautiful." I agree with her.

"Though I do find other sights more radiant." I scoff and dig into my purse to produce a quarter to her. She smiles and takes it, her fingers lingering a second to long on mine.

"You lied you know." I blurt out taking my hand away from hers. CeCe looks lost.

"Lied about what?"

"You said you'd always be here, but you weren't. You lied." CeCe just shakes her head. She gets this far off look before she starts to speak.

"Remember when Stefanie called you a dumb bitch?" I nod. "She was kicked off the cheer team because of a rumor about a possible pregnancy. Remember when Jerry tried to shove his tongue down your throat?" Again I nod. "Black eye the next day he came to school." I look stunned at her.

"What are you say-"

"Joey hitting you purposely with a football, transferred schools for reasons unknown. Kaley saying you'll never achieve anything, viral video on YouTube of her popping a zit on her butt. Landon smacking your ass in the hallway, had sore balls for weeks." She looks at me with an unreadable emotion. "There are tons more. I was always here Rocky. You just didn't know it." I swallow hard and nod slowly. Fireflies are flickering all around us and I take my heels off and dance with them. After a moments hesitation CeCe joins me.

"I like to make myself believe that planet Earth turns slowly. It's hard to say that I'd rather stay awake when I'm asleep.." I start. CeCe smiles.

"'Cause everything is never as it seems." She finishes. We dance together clinging desperately to the fleeting moment of childhood innocence.

-X-

A/N: Oh my god! It's been far too long and I'm sorry. I've been super duper busy and my laptop crashed. What's funny is I actually finished this in the time frame of 3 days...so yeah sorry about the wait. Before I go I must say three things. 1.) ThatRandomWriter is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Thank you for never giving up hope! 2.) Still Into You is probably my new favorite Paramore song. Also I have a ever lasting love for Fireflies by Owl City. And 3.)...REVIEW!