Chapter 1: Swimming and Surprises
Rating: K+
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

"I promised myself a long time ago that I would never fall for a jock, Krueger."

Undeterred the blond in question held the present he had brought for her higher, sneaking a playful look at her over the top of it, "Good thing I wasn't a jock when we got together then…" His smile was hidden, but the tone of his voice revealed just how happy he was to have corrected her.

She scoffed, eyeing the article he was now swinging from side to side as if that alone was supposed to make it more appealing to her. He had a point—he wasn't, but his excitement was doing little to sway her. If anything, it was downright annoying to her.

"Touché," she sneered. "But I also promised myself I would never be that kind of girlfriend."

"Come on, it won't be that big of a hit to your 'bad girl' image. You know you want to…"

Patricia turned the page of her textbook, not at all interested in taking the bait for this conversation. She had homework to do and now thanks to him, old feelings to bury. The fact that Eddie had just joined a sports team had only reopened old wounds that she could have gone her whole life without thinking of.

Sure she had never dated him, but there was a time when she was younger and dumber that she too had fallen for resident jock Mick Campbell, just like every other girl in school. In her older years she had equated the brief spell of bad judgment to her hormones that had just began to run amuck. But back then, he could do no wrong in her eyes. He was popular and perfect and the only boy she was ever going to like…until it happened.

After one football practice he and his teammates had embarrassed her so badly, although most likely unintentionally, that she had since held a personal grudge against every boy who had even had the desire to try out for a team. She had watched it happen over and over; if the guys weren't pricks when they joined the team, they would be by the time the rest of them got done with them.

"I see those gears turning! Changed your mind yet?" he grinned, pulling her out of her thoughts.

How on earth was she supposed to be happy about this?

"You seriously want to be one of those jerks? They have their own special brand of awful, you know." She flipped another page without even looking at him.

He realized how serious she was about being against this and he lowered his arms in defeat, the smile vanishing from his face.

"Hey, I'm not like that! And since we're keeping score, I never planned to date a loud-mouthed Brit either. Sometimes things just turn out better than they seem to be when you give them a chance. You can't even pretend to be a little bit happy? I thought you'd want to support me, Yacker…"

"I do," she sighed upon seeing his frown. "And I guess I will, just…not that kind of support."

She wrinkled her nose and he scoffed, "You guess you will? Gosh, you're unbelievable sometimes!"

"Oh, what's the big deal? It's just a shirt, Eddie! Lots of people have them just like it; I've seen 'em all over campus!"

He took a few steps back, willing himself not to make this into something worse than it already was. He'd known what he had been getting himself into when he met her; this was just the way she operated. He probably should have known that she wouldn't be into this kind of thing, but the failed attempt hurt him just the same.

"You're right! What was I thinking getting this specially made in black for you? Never mind that it's the only one like it because I knew you'd like this color better. Nope, you're right, Yacker…total waste of time and money."

"Hey! I never said that!"

"You didn't have to!" he spat throwing the crisp Swim Club t-shirt over her trashcan. "I guess I'll see you later."

He slammed her door shut on his way out of her room and off in the distance she heard Victor scold him for it.

"Ugh, what's his problem?" she sneered, giving the freshly crumpled shirt a deathly glare in his absence.

Her annoyance fell into a frown at the sight of the unfamiliar lettering peeking from its folded material. He hadn't mentioned anything about the back design and she cringed at the possibility that he might've actually expected her to wear Sweetie's name around school.

She tried to ignore the shirt's presence in her room as best she could. For awhile she had even convinced herself that she didn't care enough to find out what was lurking in its fabric. But curiosity had eventually gotten the better of her and she braced herself for whatever disgusting clichéd cutesy saying she was about to unearth.

But to her surprise, as she carefully unfolded the black cotton, there wasn't a couply declaration or nickname, no possessive 'Eddie's Girl', or any of the usual obnoxious phrases people put on shirts like this.

Instead, on the back was one simple word in simple plain white lettering.


A/N: The way I would like to do this is to have each chapter be a separate stand-alone one-shot, but it all happens over the same span of time. So, they won't necessarily go together or continue chapter to chapter or even be in order of events, but they won't conflict within the same universe either.

Feedback appreciated, will continue if there is enough interest.