Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and settings are property of their lawful owners. This story is written for entertainment purposes only and no profit is made. No copyright infringement intended.

A/N: This chapter is light and girly. I have no idea where it came from but it refused to leave.

AT6 was great! Amanda is a true sweetheart. And her winks and wiggling eyebrows will be the end of me one day. xD And they're definitely making it harder to stay within the rating when I write. I've been working on chapter 15 today and it just keeps getting too flirty.


CHAPTER 12

Liz is a little quiet for a few days and we have several serious conversations about everything but once she gets over the shock, she seems stronger than ever before. We start going to the gym together, brushing up our hand-to-hand combat skills. It seems to help her get rid of the what-ifs or at least they don't bother her as much.

To my surprise the boy actually changes his his behavior. I even catch him slapping his friends on the back of their heads when they say something inappropriate. I don't think he's changed his attitude towards girls overnight but at least he's too scared to approach them at the moment. I'm quite proud of myself. That bothers me slightly because I achieved it by scaring the guy half dead but I've done worse things. Well, I haven't but... Anyway, I can live with what I did.

One evening I tell Liz that maybe I should moonlight as a superhero.

"You know, I find an asshole, break into his home and scare him to turn into a good guy and the world is a little better place in the morning." Truth is, I find myself missing the adrenaline a little but I hope it will pass.

Liz laughs at me and reminds me that superheros wear tights. I suggest that I could wear a wet suit. It looks like tights except it's cool. She laughs harder and gives me a smile that at the same time appreciates my plan and lets me know she would prefer if I was her personal superhero.


We manage to pass Valentine's Day with no bigger fuss but the main reason for that is that Jessica's birthday is the next weekend and the girls are busy planning. From the amount of planning meetings they have had during the last few weeks, I'd think they're plotting a wedding and not a birthday party.

I do understand, however, that it's a big thing for Jessica. She's gotten a lot of new friends this year, most of them outside school, and somehow I get the idea that it's the first big birthday party she's had, at least in a long time.

Liz has spent all afternoon at Grandma's place, doing last minute preparations, and I was ordered to arrive at six and not worry about about what to wear. I have a bad feeling about this but it's Jessica's birthday so I'm trying to stay positive.

I park the car, get the present and the flowers from the backseat and head towards the house. I raise my eyebrows when I see a girl walking towards me in a big, fluffy, pale pink princess dress. Oh God... A costume party. Liz told me not to worry about outfit which only means she has bought something for me. I just hope she's forgotten my superhero quip already.

"You made it!" It's only when the girl greets me that I realize it's Liz. She's wearing a wig with long, yellow hair that curls all around her shoulders. And the big, fluffy dress. All her normal clothes are either black, red or purple. Well maybe a few white ones somewhere in between. But I definitely haven't seen her wearing pastel colors.

"A costume party?" I ask as I let her take the gift from me and lead the way inside.

"A theme party," Liz corrects.

"And the theme would be..." I ask but Liz only smiles at me over her shoulder. Yeah, I figure it out on my own as soon as we step inside. This is a princess party. Everything is pink and sparkly and... fluffy. Well, almost everything.

"Liz," I say and grab a hold of her tiny sleeve, stopping her from going inside. "There are boys in here," I mumble and discreetly nod towards the two guys dressed as knights. Liz raises her eyebrows at me again, obviously amused.

"Yes, Jonathan. She did invite you as well, you know. That wasn't a clue enough that it's not an all-girls party?"

"Hey, I'm practically a brother in this weird family unit thing we have going on here, that doesn't count," I try to defend my point of view. I'm suddenly feeling very protective of Jessica.

"Jonathan!" the birthday girl calls and makes her way to us. Her dress is a lot more sophisticated, more of a prom dress than a costume. It's dark blue in color and it looks good on her.

"Happy birthday, princess!" I say and give her a hug.

"Thank you. Liz said every girl deserves one princess birthday party," Jessica says with a shrug and takes the flowers.

"You've never had one before?" I ask and she shakes her head with a quick "Nope".

"And you have?" I ask Liz, surprised.

"My sixth one."

"Did you wear pigtails? I always imagined you had pigtails when you were little."

"Maybe I did," Liz says with a wide grin. It's good to see her smile again.

I'm not entirely sure how the whole childhood thing works for us. Are we allowed to treat their memories as our own or should we come up with new ones? But none the less, I bet she would have been a cute kid. And probably too smart for her own good. But definitely cute.

I try not to think what our kids would look like if we ever get them. That's a little too much for my head to handle. My head is too old and my body is too young to be a father. I shake the thought away because it's not something we need to worry about right now.

The party is... interesting. There's eight of us teenagers, three boys me included, and Grandma but she does her best to stay out of our way. Liz made me wear the knight costume as well. I'm pretty sure, though, that the knights didn't really wear tights. She's probably just punishing me for the superhero quip but it's Jessica's birthday so I'm not complaining. Yet.

There's an incredible amount of food. Cakes, pies, pizza, snacks... There's even marshmallow pizza. With pink marshmallows. The scary part is that I actually like it.

We eat, watch a movie and play some silly games that I feel way too old to play. There's a sword fighting contest and Liz ends up kicking our asses, even in her fluffy dress and high heels. She's literally beaming when the results are presented and she gets a medal that's made of gold-painted carton. She probably made it herself for all I know.

Then we play a couple of rounds of spin the bottle. I have a hunch that's mainly because Jessica obviously has a crush on the older one of the boys, her neighbors or so I heard, and needs an excuse to kiss him. Wasn't this the sort of thing you did on your twelfth birthday? But Jessica seems to be having great time so I play along and do my best to have fun. I let Liz set the kissing dares, though, just in case I'm reading it wrong.

The others leave around eleven but Liz and I stay behind to help them clean up the place. Grandma steals my car keys, telling it's too late to drive, and we end up sleeping in the guest room. That's nothing new. Actually I'm pretty sure the room has been renamed as our room already. We even keep spare sets of pajamas in the drawer at the end of the bed, along with toothbrushes.

"So," I mumble once we get settled under the covers. "What's gonna be the theme of your eighteenth birthday, huh? No, let me guess! Star Wars?"

"No theme," Liz mumbles. "I was planning a quiet family dinner somewhere."

"Really? Because I think you have gifts for party planning. Maybe that should be your second job, you know? Science teacher and part-time party planner."

"I'm not sure if you're mocking me or praising me but luckily for you, I'm too tired to care," she mumbles and kisses my shoulder. "Goodnight, Jonathan."

"Goodnight, Liz," I reply.


A/N: I have no idea what an average 18th birthday is like in US but I guess it's not like this one. But I wanted to write a silly chapter so this is it. When I turned 18, I shaved my head and had 2 glasses of champagne. In that order. It was a great night.