A/N: Hey guys! My name is Jay. I was feeling a bit nostalgic while watching reruns of Ned's Declassified and decided to put some rambles on paper. This is what came out of it.
Note: This takes place in an alternate future (the gang is 16, in 11th grade) where Moze & Ned never started going out at the end of the middle school. Though I loved the finale, I wanted to make the union of these two a little bit more tumultuous and complicated. Hope you like! I have four chapters put up thus far; I plan to write ten. Reviews are much appreciated, as always.
TIP 1: Don't be the jealous best friend and ruin her dates.
"I don't get it," Cookie says, a little too loudly. "Why are we spying on Moze and Loomer?"
"I told you," I answer irritably. "I'm pretty sure Loomer stole my sunglasses out of my car the other day."
Cookie stares at me, disbelief in his eyes. We are at Jo Burgers, sitting at a booth a few tables away from Moze and Loomer, who are too far away to spy on successfully, but too close to opt out our very convincing disguises.
"So let me get this straight," Cookie says, leaning onto the table, "you beg me to go out on a Friday night, put on a ridiculous Fedora hat and nun scarf, make me miss my own date with Lisa, just so you could get a pair of sunglasses back?"
I'm not listening. Instead, I tilt my head out of the booth (discreetly, of course) to see Moze throw her head back and let out a guffaw; you know, the genuine laugh that she only does when she thinks something's really funny.
Cookie swings his hand in front of me. "Okay, Ned, what's really going on?"
I sigh, taking off my own disguise and admitting defeat. "All right, I'm keeping an eye on Moze, okay? I have a bad feeling about this guy."
"Is that bad feeling called jealousy?"
"What? No! Don't be ridiculous. Moze is my best friend. I'm just doing what a best friend would do."
"A jealous best friend."
I shake my head, ignoring Cookie's ludicrousness. "I just don't trust Loomer, okay? He's been bad news ever since middle school. He dated Suzie, and she even said—"
Cookie rolls his eyes at the mention of my ex-girlfriend. "You can't take advice from Suzie Crabgrass. She was bad news herself."
He has a point. Suzie and I dated from middle school to the end of 10th grade. After all that time, though, she was the one who broke it off. I'm not going to lie: it was devastating. Sure, I've been told that your average high school relationship often gets hit with the brevity bug; few couples last more than two or three of months. But I thought Suzie and I were different. I thought that we'd be, well, forever.
Turns out, though, Suzie considered us something different. "I think that we're made to be good friends, Ned," she had said to me. "The truth is, my heart belongs to someone else. It's always belonged to him, and I can't believe it took me this long to realize."
"Who?" I remember murmuring, too astounded and hurt to even care about the answer.
"Coconut Head," she said, like it should have been obvious.
But even though it took me months to get over her, our break up had to be the best thing that ever happened to me. When I was free of Suzie, I began to see other things. After I finally stopped thinking of Suzie every moment of the day, I saw that life could be just as good without her. I started to do things I'd left behind when I was dating Suzie, like eating cheese dogs and not having to worry about what it'll do to your breath, or playing video games until the wee hours of the morning instead of paying for another chick flick at the movies. Most of all, though, I started spending more valuable time with Moze and Cookie and remembered just exactly what I missed the most.
"Plus, Ned," Cookie says now, breaking my thoughts, "you don't even know Loomer. And this is only the first date."
"Yeah, but Loomer was a total ass in the 8th grade. Moze wasn't even interested. Why is she giving him a chance now?"
It's funny hearing Cookie say this, of all people. I grew taller, but kept all attributes pretty much the same (including the whole guide thing). Moze was always evolving, in every way possible; everything she was in middle school, she was in high school, only magnified. She was taller, smarter, and more beautiful, if that was even possible.
But Cookie remained the same. He was still the same dorky, techy, and intelligent person that kept the three of us as humble and grounded as possible. The biggest difference is that he finally got the girl he'd be after all these years: Lisa Zemo.
"Look, you wouldn't be here if you didn't care about Moze," Cookie continues, but I begin zoning out as I notice Loomer reaching across the table and covering Moze's hand with his. "But I think you're getting really carried away here. I don't think Loomer has anything to do with why you're freaking out about the whole thing. You're jealous—"
"I'm not jealous," I insist quickly, sticking my head out a little more. Loomer's back is to me, but I can tell that he is leaning closer. Moze's face is uncertain, but she closes her eyes.
"You definitely are. If you're not jealous, then—"
Without hesitation, I stand up, my blood suddenly boiling and my legs flying forward.
"Ned?" I hear Cookie yelling behind me, as I move aggressively towards Moze and Loomer's table. "Ned! Where are you going? Are you out of your mind? Ned!"
But I don't hear him. I'm only a few feet away from their table when suddenly, I trip over the lumpy carpet under my feet and crash right into a waiter, who is carrying two full places with juicy cheeseburgers and fries. In incomprehensibly quick moments filled with many motions, the waiter loses his balance and sends the burgers flying into the air and onto Loomer's very nice and probably expensive polo shirt, while I stumble to the ground and writhe from the impact of the collision.
"Aw man. My clothes!" Loomer's voice rings in my ears, as I struggle to sit up.
"Ned? Is that you?"
My eyes fly open to see Moze looking down at me from her seat. I rub my head, already shooting myself from my lack of rationality tonight. "Shit."
A second later, Cookie is at my side. "Ned! Jeez, I saw the whole thing. Are you okay?"
I glance over at him, then back at the table. The poor waiter is trying to get the stains off Loomer, who looks angry and annoyed. Meanwhile, Moze is just staring down at me, confusion and hurt and concern etched on her face all together.
"Okay," I admit softly to Cookie. "Maybe I am a little jealous."