(Disclaimer: If I owned Suite Life, I would've had a better series finale)

Discovering Love

Chapter 3 Forced to Face the Problem

London's POV

The sun rays hit my already tanned stomach. I stretch out on the lounge chair, trying to get more sun. Beside me is a nice glass of ice tea. It would seem to others that I'm totally relaxed. The reality is I'm doing this just trying to relax.

It's noon on Wednesday and instead of going to class I've been sunbathing in a secluded part of the ship that people hardly come to. A week and a half has passed since I told Zack the truth. Being in class with him all last week was so unbearable. He left me alone like I had asked, but every now and then I'd catch him staring at me and at Maya. And it hurt. A part of me thinks he's rubbing it in that he's in love with Maya instead of me. But I know in my heart that Zack is not the kind of guy to do something like that.

To spare myself more hurt I've ditched class the past couple of days. Not that that's a big deal since I always ditch class. To keep myself busy I've been doing things I usually do: shop, try out new clothes and make up, spa treatments. But no matter how hard I try I can't forget last week's horrible events. The worst part of all is even after everything that happened, I'm still absolutely crazy about Zack.

"Ahem."

I look up from the fashion magazine that I was attempting to read. Standing in front of me is a short man in a dark suit. "Oh hey Moseby," I say as cheerfully as I can.

He folds his arms. "London, why aren't you in class?"

"I decided not to go today. I really need to work on my suntan."

"You can't ditch any more classes," he says sternly. "Ms. Tutweiller will be forced to fail you and then I'll get in trouble with your father."

I feel slightly guilty. Daddy is always so hard on Moseby, even though Moseby is the one who raised me. I really ought to go to class for his job security. Yet just the thought of facing Zack makes me want to do anything else but that.

"I don't want to go to stupid sea school," I protest, my lips forming into a pout. "It's no fun!"

He ignores my whining. "Your father also told me that if you flunk out he will disinherit you."

I sit bolt upright. "WHAT! He can't do that!"

"Yes he can, London, and I have a feeling he'll actually do it. I know your father hasn't always been there for you, but he does care about you and wants you to get a full education." He gives me a long measuring look. "So I suggest you go back to class and face Zack. You have to face him sooner or later."

I stare at him in shock. "You know about Zack? How?"

"London, I know you better than anybody. I know that you've been missing class because something happened between you two. Besides, I heard you mumble his name before I got your attention."

I sigh. So much for hiding my emotions. "It'll work out all right," Moseby says encouragingly. "Now go to class, and don't forget if you need to talk about it, come find me."

I smile a real smile-the first one in what feels like forever. It's nice to know that there's someone on the ship that I can depend on. "Thanks Moseby."

I rise to my feet, pulling on my pink and blue cover over my new designer bikini, then head back to my cabin to change. Moseby's right. I can't run away from my problems, no matter how much I want to. I need to face them in order for things to get better. I can handle Zack I think furiously, I can!

When I walk into Ms. Tutweller's class ten minutes later, I feel my determination dissolve as soon as I see Zack. He looks good today in his black and teal T-shirt and jeans. This is going to be harder than I thought.

ZLZ

Zack's POV

"And then Nick told me that he could never be with someone who has 100 cats. I told him that I only had 56, but he still broke up with me," Ms. Tutweiller wails, breaking into more tragic sobs.

I roll my eyes. How did we manage to get from the Gulf War to Ms. Tutweiller's latest dump story? No wonder I'll most likely fail her class. I never learn anything. To distract myself I pull out the bag of potato chips that I had leftover from lunch hand start munching away happily. Only 3.5 hours until I'm free for the day.

The door of the classroom opens. I divert my attention from my sobbing teacher to see London enter. Mentally I sigh in relief. I haven't seen her in what feels like forever. I was staring to worry about her. Now I can finally start working on Cody's advice about getting to know two girls. I want to start with London, since I've known her the longest.

Ms. Tutweiller stops in mid sob. "Welcome London. It's good to see you back in the classroom. I hope you like it here, because you have detention for the rest of the week."

To everybody's surprise, London doesn't have a comeback. Instead she just slides in her seat and faces forward. Only London, Cody, and I are the ones who know why she's acting so strange. Ms. Tutweiller gives her a strange look then thankfully goes back to talking about the Gulf War.

I tune my teacher out, my eyes still focused on London. Her shoulders are hunched slightly. She's too beautiful in her blue sparkling tank top and jeans to be sad. I wish there was a way I could cheer her up. If only I could be alone with her. But she refuses to be anywhere near me.

Then it hits me. It's so obvious, I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner. London has detention for the rest of the week, and so far is the only one in the class who does. All I have to do is get detention too, then I'll have time alone with her. And knowing me, getting detention is not a hard thing to do at all.

I rip out a corner of paper from my notebook and shove it in my mouth. I chew it easily from years of experience. I know this is totally juvenile, but hey, Cody says I'll never mature. Then, taking out my overused peashooter from my backpack, I send the spitball at my intended target.

SPLAT!

The spitball hits the blackboard right between the words Gulf and War. Ms. Tutweiller spins around fast. "Who was that?" she asks, even though her eyes are staring at me accusingly.

Everybody in the classroom points at finger at me, confirming her suspicions. I grin innocently.

"You will stay after school too, Zack Martin. And I promise you, it won't be fun. You'll be scrubbing my blackboard from top to bottom."

I scowl as to not raise suspicion. Inside I'm grinning. Now I'll have the opportunity to make London feel better somehow and get to know her. My life is about to get back on track.

LZL

London's POV

My body is completely rigid. This can't possibly be happening. I've been spending all my time trying to avoid Zack Martin, and now I'm forced to be alone with him in a classroom. Fate is cruel.

Unwillingly I turn my head to look at him. His pale face is serious, but his blue eyes are glinting mischievously. I glare at him, feeling absolutely furious. All I get in return is a gentle smile. I turn back around and pretend to listen to Ms. Tutweiller. I'm determined to ignore him even more now, because I know this was no accident.

He had this planned.

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