Memories for Tomorrow


You're Average Person :)
Thanks Jjinx for another great update! No worries, I for one, will wait patiently hehehe

man I thought Nadech was being serious at first of teh whole believing in Santa thing...LOl at the end....poor Marky boy


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 13

Now back from break, well rested and prepared for the second half of the year, everyone got together, having missed the school family just as much as they had missed their blood families while studying.

Upon returning, winter had taken over with a vengeance, and they could hear Taew crying, “Augh, why is it snowing so much! And it’s so cold! I hate this! I wish I was back home.”

“Who was being all romantic and playing like a princess in the snow?” Mark mocked. Taew grumpily hugged herself in her chunky sweater, giving the snowflakes outside a resentful stare.

“I have an idea,” Mario said while writing down notes, quite fed up with her annoying groans, “Why don’t you stop complaining, go outside and dance in the snow and maybe your knight in shining armor that you’re always talking about will find you so beautiful he’ll sweep you away to a tropical island and—HEY!”

“I have an idea. Why don’t you go stand outside and I’ll build a snowman around your stupid face!” she had kicked him under the table.

“Come on please! We need singers!” Beau begged Yaya. She was forming a team to compete in the upcoming singing competition set up by the campus involvement organization.

“Nooo, I can’t sing!” Yaya refused, shaking her head stubbornly.

“Oh please girl, like I haven’t heard you singing Bodyslam’s Dead Clock before, like, you think these walls are that thick?” Beau accused almost viciously in her desperation.

Yaya pouted, never realizing anyone would be listening while she sang harmlessly to herself.

“What?! Yaya bodyslammed a dead clock?” Mario asked, turning around in his chair, with one of his facial expressions worn whenever his ears selectively chose parts of a conversation that made least sense.

“NO.” Beau continued to plead. “Please Yaya! We need at least four people on our team. There’s me, Julie and I convinced Nadech, and you would be forever my favorite person if you do this just this once! Oh! And if you’re really nervous, we can have two of us do a duet! Pleeeeease!”

Yaya scrunched her face, torn between wanting to help her friend and being too shy to perform. “Let me think about it.”

“Fine,” Beau glanced at her cell phone. “Ok, how bout now?” making Yaya laugh and give in.

“Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Oh nice! I owe you one girl, thank you muchos!”

Nadech came up behind her and said, “Don’t get stage fright and freeze in front of the audience.”

She gasped, horrified by the thought, then reached up and rapped his head with her knuckles.

He winced, rubbing the spot. “What was that for?”

“I was knocking on wood.”

His brow creased, “What does that do?”

“When you say something unlucky, you take it back by knocking on wood.”

“Ooh,” he nodded in understanding of this new tradition. Half a minute later, he looked up, offended. “Are you saying my head is made out of wood?” his narrowed eyes on her stifling her laugh.

Mario dropped his Caribou coffee cup in the trash can as he was about to leave for class. He saw Taew standing by the door, sighing loudly as the snow continued to pile more and more. Rolling his eyes at her unceasing whining, he strolled up to her.

“Are you going to keep blocking the way?”

She shot him an irritated look before stepping out.

“You totally need to play the ukulele while you’re onstage!” Mai said to Nadech.

“Yeah, you’re getting really good!” Beau added, having listened to him play many times since the semester began.

He shrugged bashfully. “I could try and see if it works with the performance but I still haven't decided on the song. What about you all? Any other instruments you want to add?”

“Do any of you play the guitar?” Kim asked. They shook their heads. “Darn. I was hoping to get someone to teach me how to play.” She smiled. “Isn’t a guy who plays the guitar just so cool?”

Mark stopped twirling his pen and rolled his eyes. “Yes, that’s such a turn on.”

“Shut up.”

“You and Nadech could do the duet with ukuleles,” Yaya suggested to Beau before consulting with their teammate Julie. “Which songs do you want to sing?’

Pope and Om joined them and they discussed enthusiastically about the competition.

Kim was telling Great that as a Christmas gift, her parents had put in some money in her savings for a car. Oh, the excitement of having freedom and her own reliable transportation. “So hopefully by summer I can get my own car!” she grinned with excitement.

“Speaking of which, I was wondering if you would like to take a ride with me tomorrow to the movies.” They still hadn’t made up the two previous unsuccessful dates.

“Shoot,” she frowned, “I’m helping them out with the café tomorrow.”

“How about Thursday?”

“I actually have night class.”

“Saturday I have indoor soccer and work. Come on, there’s gotta be a time that works for both of us.”

“Do you have a lot of homework? If not, we could go Sunday?”

“Hey, that’ll work! Ok, Sunday it is.”

Pope nudged Great. “You see that guy over there?” They sneaked looks at the TV room where, through the glass wall, an Asian guy sat alone, a book open in front of him. Pope continued with an air of trying to impress with mystery, “I heard he’s a super smart guy. Got a full scholarship and transferred from Boston.”

“BOSton?” Mark repeated like that was some fantasy city from Mars. “So is he a first year too?”

“I think so.”

“He looks a bit older,” Yaya noted the facial hair on the mystery guy.


“Is he Chinese?”


“I’m beginning to suspect how reliable you are as a news source,” Kim said to Pope.

“I’ll handle this,” Mark said. He jumped over a footstool and went into the TV room. They watched as he tried striking up a conversation with the guy. After a minute where they could tell he was having a hard time, they saw him say good bye and come back out. He gave them a fake wipe of sweat.

“So?” Kim asked.

“He makes for a tough crowd. Anyway, his name’s Boy. He is from the east.”

“He said that?”

“Well, when I asked, he didn’t confirm or deny it.” Mark went back to his book, unaware that he had not helped confirm any of his friend’s questions.

“Have you seen Mark?” Kim asked Nadech and Mai as they passed by.

“He said he was working on a paper.”

“Ugh, he’s supposed to be helping them move tables in Minerva Hall.” She turned back to Margie. “Ok, so I’ll come get you at two and we’ll go over to prepare for the café,” Kim said. She and Margie parted.

Margie headed towards the science building. Though she was an art major, the university had a liberal arts program that all students had to complete and so she had picked a biology class. She actually found it really interesting, although the first few weeks had focused on population genetics with simple labs.

Reaching the lab room, she found their seats had been rearranged to work with their next team project.

“Margie!” Lily waved her over. “We’re working on our bean lab together!”

As they were waiting for class to start, Lily leaned over and said quietly, “Look, it’s the new guy.” Margie glanced over to see the guy that Yaya had pointed out to her earlier that week—the transfer student. “He’s kind of cute,” Lily said. “Like the brooding and mysterious type.”
Margie spared her a smile and another quick look at Boy before tuning in on the instructor.

“Hey, they’re expecting a snow storm and classes might be canceled on Monday,” Mario said.

“What are you wearing, O?” Kim inquired, taking in his orange and green scarf, red jeans and grey cardigan.

“Uh, clothes?” he said dully. “Anyway, as I was saying, since we might possibly highly likely have a snow day, I was planning on having a cook-out in the lounge Sunday night…well more like a cook-IN,” he corrected, “you know? So what do you guys think?”

“Depends,” Mai said, “who’s doing the cooking?”

“Me,” Mario announced proudly. He caught Taew’s look of contempt and made a face at her. “I CAN cook. And Margie will help me. And you guys too.”

“Sounds like fun!” Mai said. “Has anyone seen Mark? He has my calculator.”

“Here, use mine,” Om handed his over. She reached over and he grabbed onto her hand. They playfully fought, interlinked their fingers, and pulled for a moment. He scooted closer so they lied side by side on their stomachs.

“…and deviled eggs, and cheesecake and brownies,” Mario was reciting his menu to Kim.

“Are you sure you can handle all that?” she asked, "we don’t want our kitchen to be set on fire."

He ignored her. “And even if there isn’t a snow day,” Mario continued, “I’m still cooking so you all better be there to eat everything.”

“I can’t. Great and I are going out.”

“But it’s going to snow really hard,” Mario said as if his word was the word of Mother Nature.

“We’ll see,” she replied optimistically.

He made her a face. “Well it’s not like you’ll be out ALL night, so afterwards, you can still join us.”

Saturday. Mario held up two hats. One was black and green, a University hat, and the other was orange with a blue pom pom ball on its tip that hung down by his ear when he put it on.

“Mark, which do you think—“ He was surprised to find that Mark’s bed was empty. Surprising, seeing as Mark usually slept in till noon on weekends. Opting for the latter, he grabbed his keys and headed out to work.

Out in the parking lot, he shuffled through the snow towards his car and he had almost reached it when he realized another person was present. Taew caught sight of him at the same moment but as usual, didn’t greet him. She got in her car and set her coffee in her cup holder before driving off.

Five hours later, Mario stepped out of Chapter Zero, fixing his hat securely over his head. He got in his car and drove down the block, where another car was pulling away from its parking spot. It was Taew, but his mind was on the food he was going to cook tomorrow night, so he had no time to notice and feel impatient or anything much.

Snow was already rushing in flurries down, obscuring his vision now and then. He reached Autumn Avenue and was held up by a red light. When he could finally move forward, his attention was stolen by a car that seemed stranded ahead, lights flashing. About to pass it, Mario did a double take, seeing Taew outside of the car on her phone. He parked in front of her.

“…yes, please be here as soon as possible. Thank you.” Taew sighed huffily, closing her eyes in frustration for a second. “Cannot believe this…”

“What happened?”

She looked up to see Mario huddling by himself near her. “I don’t know. Something happened to my car…”

He grimaced in sympathy. “Will the tow truck be here soon?”


“I’ll wait with you.”

Very much taken aback as they had only exercised a restrained politeness with one another before this, she said, “Uh, you don’t have to.”

“Nah, it’s ok. I’m not in a rush. Oh, you wanna go wait in my car? It’s freezing out here.”

“No, I’m fine out here.”

He raised a brow at her. It was cold enough to freeze their breaths in midair, but she was still going to be stubborn? “Suit yourself.”

She expected to him to drive back to campus, but instead, his car didn’t move.

After what felt like an eternity with frozen ears, Taew was about to give in, but just then, Mario got back out again.

“Look, will you just get in so I don’t have to feel guilty about leaving you out there to get frostbite? Sheesh,” he rolled his eyes.

She tried to snobbishly stay still, but her teeth were chattering, so she was forced to stomp over and climb in Mario’s car. She was surprised to see how clean the interior was, with hardly a tissue or candy wrapper in sight. And she was definitely appreciating the heater he had running.
“How long do you reckon they’ll take?”

“I don’t know.” Just as she said this, the tow truck arrived.

After everything got cleared up and her car was taken to get fixed, she turned and saw Mario on his phone. He got off.

“Everything good?”

“I hope so. Ugh, my dad’s going to be so mad.”

“Well, let’s get going.”

She hesitated, as if riding with him would be agony, but really had no choice.

“Wait, where are we going?” she noticed they weren’t heading towards campus.

“To the grocery store.”

“What? Why?”

“I have to get all the ingredients for tomorrow night.”

She shook her head. “Why couldn’t you have told me earlier?”

“Why, so you could walk back to campus?” he snorted.

She scoffed. “I have a lot of stuff to do.”

“Well so do I and it’ll take too long dropping you off and driving back.”

“This better not take too long.”

“Hmm…” Mario held up two lemons in each hand, their perfect sun-bright skins gleaming. “Hm…”

“Will you hurry up?”

He shot Taew a sharp look. “I’m trying to pick the best quality. Just be quiet.”

“Ugh,” she muttered under her breath, patience wearing thin, as she followed him and the cart he was pushing through WalMart. They moved on and got two dozen eggs and some baking ingredients. Moving through the aisles, Taew grew more and more impatient.

“Organic? Or natural?” Mario wondered out loud, cocking his head in question at the varieties of cheese displayed before him.

“They’re the same.”

“Yeah, and you would know because you’ve worked at Sargento Foods before.”

“Why are you so picky? We’re wasting time.”

“Here, you can help me.” He handed over a list.

“Wha—“ she took the list and muttered, “Fine.” He was taking far longer than necessary and she couldn’t decide if he was doing it on purpose to tick her off or not and she was also trying to decide if she should be telling him off more even though he’d helped her.

Mario finally chose his cheese, got some juice and turned back to his cart that was suddenly much fuller than before.

“There. Done.”

He hesitantly picked up one of the items. “You could have gotten Hershey’s. Why’d you get Giradhelli?”

“It’s on the list,” she said.

“No, chocolate is on the list, which does not mean I want the most expensive one! Oh god,” he looked at everything else she had brought. “Don’t tell me you went around and just picked the most expensive stuff.”

“Well, aren’t those better quality?”

He gaped at her briefly before palming his face. “…rich kids…” he shook his head before wheeling his cart away.

“What are you doing?!” she was outraged that he was returning everything when she had taken her time getting it all.

“Not everyone’s bank accounts are limitless, ok?” He peered around. “Eh, forget it,” he shoved a bag of sugar into the pepper shelf when unable to locate the exact pile.

“Damn it O, will you just hurry up?”

“Yeah, you’re really speeding things up. You need lessons in poor college student grocery shopping.”

Taew was admittedly quite privileged and did not have to worry much about a limited budget. However, it was a blow to her pride that she could appear excessive or spoiled to others, so she paid closer attention as Mario went around to finish his shopping.

@Tubbytinker: Glad you enjoyed! :D

The transfer guy

(images credited to owners)


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 14

“You’re coming tomorrow night, right?”

They had finally gotten back to Clark Hall and stored everything away. Taew paused. She realized she should be grateful for Mario’s surprising graciousness, yet she couldn’t bring herself to behave gratefully in front of him. It just went against the animosity that the two had been building all year, and though she had to admit, shopping with him had been almost enjoyable, she didn’t think such outings or his companionship was anything she wanted to get used to.

“Look, you helping me out once does not make us friends, ok?”

He rolled his eyes over to her in exasperation. “It’s not like me sharing food with you is some legal binding contract that we have to be friends. I’m inviting you. If you don’t want to be friends, we don’t have to be.”

She frowned as he finished labeling his name on the egg carton. He was responding in such a calm manner that she couldn’t help thinking something was missing here. “Well, you don’t WANT to be friends either, right?”

He shrugged. “I’m not going to force it. Plenty of other people want to be my friends.” He brushed his hands together and left the kitchen, with Taew glaring after him.

“Phew!” Kim looked at the clock. It was almost time for her date with Great. That was when she glanced again at her window that showed a heavy drift of snow obscuring the darkness outside. She could not lie that she was not anxious about the weather conditions. Mario might be right after all about the storm.

And just as she was trying to make herself more optimistic, her cell phone vibrated. She opened up the alert from campus that there was a snowstorm in town.

Great, she thought. She was about to give Great a call, but he beat her to the chase.


“Great, have you heard?”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I’m actually driving at about three miles per hour back from work right now.”

“Oh,” she said sympathetically. “You be careful.”

“I will. But looks like we can’t go to the movies tonight.”

“Don’t worry about it. Oh, why are we talking when you’re on the road? Get back safe ok?”

“See you later.”

Kim sighed.

“You know,” Mario, decked out in a chef’s hat and checkered apron, was carefully measuring out some salt, “it’s kind of suspicious how none of your dates with Great have been working out.”

“What do you mean?” Kim and Margie were rinsing and cutting vegetables.

“I mean, they say third time’s the charm right? But that doesn’t even work with you two. Maybe,” he checked the oven, “the universe is trying to tell you that you guys just aren’t meant to be.”

Margie smiled wanly, while Kim snorted. “Please, don’t go all fate-rules-everything on me. I think if I want to be with someone and make the effort things will turn out right in the end.”

“But haven’t you learned anything from watching asian dramas that what you think is right is mostly never right, and what you think is wrong will actually become right? Take for example Fai and Jeed. They have a family feud. They point guns at each other, yet the couple is able to unite the family.”

“Yeah, real great example, because Great and I are totally Romeo and Juliet.” Kim looked up, “And in fact, if we were in a Romeo and Juliet love story, we’d actually die.”

“See? That’s just another one of fate’s tricks.”

“But if Romeo and Juliet were supposed to die, I don’t see any point in them falling in love at all. I mean, Shakespeare didn’t exactly say their families became buddy-buddy with each other afterward, so it was all a waste. AND that wasn’t even their real intention, the two kids just wanted to have sex.”

“Well are you going to deny them their human nature?” Mario argued with his ‘duh’ voice.

Kim looked at Margie. “What were we talking about again?” she asked, as she realized they’d gone off topic.

“You and Great,” Margie answered with amusement.

Taking a cautious look at the food on the plate, Kim asked quietly, “Can he really cook?”

Margie whispered back, “Dunno, I’m rarely around when he cooks.”

“Time to taste-test!” he declared. Hesitantly, they followed his lead, expecting the worst.

But on the contrary… “Hm. It’s not bad,” Kim said. It wasn’t incredible, but…

“I know I could work on it but you gotta admit it’s definitely edible,” Mario said proudly.

Yaya poked her head into the kitchen. “We finished setting up the TV room. Do you need help carrying stuff over?”

“Alright! Food and Disney movies! This night rocks,” Mark declared as Mai and Yaya shuffled through their movie choices.

“We’ve decided to watch The Lion King first.”

Aum arrived with Weir and their pal, Ken.

“Dude I remembering watching this with you guys when we were first years,” Aum said to Ken and Weir, holding up the cover of The Lion King.

“Oh yeah,” Ken rolled his eyes. “It was around the time you met Aff.”

“Oh god, I remember now too. You were like, totally worshipping the ground she walked on.”

“Remember we sang Timone and Poomba’s song?” They laughed.

Two years ago:

Weir and Ken crossed their arms seeing Aum come out of the dorm room dressed like they’d never seen before, slightly formally, his only ironed shirt clean and neat, without a tie, but giving him just as dashing of an air. What made the affair so serious was that, well, Aum seemed so SERIOUS about Aff. Not that his pals blamed him, for she was a lovely young woman and they were glad to see Aum happy. But that didn’t keep the other two from being a bit reluctant to accept that he had found such an intense interest in someone other than them, who had hit it off as friends right from their first college semester.

The two friends left out of this affair watched as Aum met with Aff in the lobby and bravely took her hand and they headed out for their first date.

“And if he falls in love tonight, it can be assuuuumed, his every days with us are history…” Weir stared at Ken weird until he joined in:

“In short our pal, is dooooooooomed.”

“Aren’t you guys going to keep eating?” Kim hissed at Mark.

“Well, it’s not exactly…y’know, must-have delicious or anything,” he glanced around to make sure Mario wasn’t listening, but didn’t have to worry, as Mario and Yaya were deeply engrossed in singing along with the Genie while he led ‘Prince Ali’ to the palace. “I’ve already had seconds.”

“More?” Om eyed Mai’s third plate.

She shrugged, “I don’t want to hurt O’s feelings. He did put a lot of effort into this for us.”

“I’ll help you eat up.”

Beaming at him, she sat close and they both bobbed their heads side to side in tune to the music.

“Damn, why did Beau have to pick this weekend to sleep over at the other dorm. She could have helped finished this faster.” Kim tsked.

“You think we can stop eating now?” Margie asked.

“Well, I’m done. Hey!” Kim looked over at Taew. “You didn’t eat at all did you?”

“I had dinner already.”

Kim scoffed. “Couldn’t have at least pretended to eat something?”

“I don’t want to eat his food,” Taew stubbornly crossed her arms.

“How come Great hasn’t called?” Kim wondered worriedly.

“I saw him come in a few minutes ago. He said he was tired and heading to bed.”

“Oh…” Kim distractedly chewed on her food, with Mario's words weirdly drawing to the surface of her mind. Could the universe really be telling her that she should just give up with Great? Just as she was about to scoff at herself, Mark came by and snatched something off her plate. She made a face at him and possessively pulled her plate away, forgetting that she was already full.

Later, everyone had helped clean up and were settling into their warm beds, protected from the harsh winds outside. Perhaps it was because the boys had different stomachs, or perhaps it was because the girls had consciously ate more of Mario’s food to show their appreciation, but that night, the girls dreams were haunted by familiar plots...

Margie cringed as thunder seemed to shake the earth under her. She was having a hard time finding her way in this enormous house, and the shadows seemed to bring every item in the house alive. But that was silly; how could candle holders and teapots be alive?

“This way!” a small voice called out.

She was startled at first, but the voice hadn’t sounded scary, so she stepped forward and suddenly, light appeared. A candle holder, lit with three candles, and sounding weirdly like Mark, was waving her over to the stairs.

“Go up,” he said.

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” The clock with Nadech’s voice asked.

“Of course! Please go up these stairs and to the room on the right, young lady.”

Obeying, Margie slowly ascended and found the room described. She went in hesitantly. In the middle of the room was a rose encased by glass. She was awed by its beauty and took mental notes so she might be able to paint it later if she could get hold of paint and brushes.

“What are you doing in my home!?”

Lightning lit up the room, and Margie stumbled away from a monstrous shadow. Her wrist was caught, and she looked up to see, not a beast, but a young man with a dark expression.

Margie woke up with a start as her roommate gave an abruptly loud snore. She glanced around the room and seemed to be able to find that beastly shadow everywhere, and what chilled her more was that he seemed so familiar.

For some reason, Yaya was overjoyed to see her legs and swung them around in the water. She had never appreciated them so much as she did at the moment, their strength and support for her. Odd, Yaya thought, still giddy while wriggling her toes. Then she tried standing up…and fell over.

A hand appeared before her in aid. Yaya stared mesmerized at the dashing fellow with the dark tresses. It was Nadech, who was helping her up from the sandy shore.

“Thank you,” she said…or tried to say. What was going on? What was wrong with her voice? And why couldn’t she stand?!

“Whoa!” Nadech caught her around the middle and helped swing her back up.

Yaya stared into his eyes that had never been this close before. “I…” she mouthed silently. She had to say something. What was the matter with her voice!?

Then, Nadech’s dimples appeared in a soft smile. “It’s okay. I know what you want to say.” He leaned closer and her heart swelled until their lips…Yaya woke up with a start.

She kicked her legs to make sure they were still working. Satisfied, she touched her tingling lips. And she realized she liked Nadech.

“Wake up!” someone roared.

Eyes now open, Kim looked at the dusty ceiling and furniture. Cobwebs laced over every corner and several inches of dust nestled on her blanket. She felt extremely well-rested. “Dang, I was asleep long.”

“Tell me about it,” a voice said, “But alas my princess, I have awoken you and we shall live happily ever after!”

Hearing this, she turned her head to the side in excitement, but froze seeing a gallant Mark in traditional royal Thai outfitting. Kim snorted. “Please, it’s only 6 am. For you, I’m not starting happily ever after till at least noon.” With that, she rolled over and dropped back to sleep.

Mai sat up and stretched. Only after she had yawned thoroughly did she take in her surroundings and realize she was lying on three beds pushed together. On the other side of the room were four other beds.

“Huh. Weird…” She stumbled down the stairs, and found herself in a very untidy kitchen. Smacking her lips, she said, “I’m hungry…” She heard a knock from the front door.

When she opened the door, an old lady in a black cloak held out a bag. “Fresh delicious gala apples my dear. Here, let this be a gift!” The lady pushed them into her hands and waddled away with a quiet cackle.

Shrugging, Mai was about to take a bite out of her first shiny apple. But…


Several voices yelled at her and the apple was knocked from her hand. “What’s your problem?” She demanded from…“Om?”

“Those were poisonous apples,” a really short version of Aum scolded.

“What about that old hag did you not get that she’s an evil witch?” Om huffed, thrusting the apparently evil apples at a three-foot Nadech, who ran to dispose of them. “I mean, her wart and her evil laugh and her damn apples should have been enough clue!” He, along with the seven short Aum, Great, Mario, Mark, Weir, Nadech, and Pope shook their fingers at her.

Mai woke up groggily. She mumbled, “Geeze, I was just hungry…”

Taew jumped up and down in excitement. “Do I get to be a Disney princess too? Please let me be Jasmine! Oh, oh, or Cinderella!” She squeezed her eyes tight and then opened them to see that a big house with lots of glass walls had appeared in front of her. The door swung open and out stepped Mario. He was looking…particularly handsome, even though she couldn’t quite figure out what was different about him. His skin was very pale and…his eyes were brightly golden brown.

Mario walked with easy grace until he was in front of her and she felt the breath knocked out of her with his beauty.

“Taew,” he smiled and exposed fangs.

Whoa, wait, wait, wait! All the other girls get to be in cute little romances and I get freaking Twilight?!

“Aw HaLE NO!” Taew came awake. “Why couldn’t I have dreamt of playing a lakorn nang ek?!”

Falling back asleep, she heard vampire Mario complain, “Psh, that’s what you get for not eating my food that I slaved over to make for everyone. And you’re not the only one who’s unhappy about the situation. I’m so freaking pale and there’s no sun around to give me back my golden color.”

Unfortunately, classes were not canceled the following day.


Food, food, food and more food...

"You're welcome."

Photos credited to original owners.


sarNie Adult
Ai yah, I am finally all caught up here jjinxx. As alway, I enjoy all of you FF. You are just one great

I am loving every cast in here, and love all of their sillyness. Lol... They are all just so cute!


sarNie Hatchling
thanks jinxx, ahh this made my day... i love the story line.. and the stories hahah genius! hope you write again soooon! xx


JJIINXXY!!! I can not wait to read this. I'll make some time this weekend. I really, really miss you na.

Good night!!!


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 15

Kim was rather in a hurry for her Speech class to end. Great had texted to her that he needed to talk to her, and even though it was in writing, she got the sense that it was something important. When her last class finally finished, she shuffled through the cold to Yulli Center and met Great in a corner of the dining area.

&ldquo;You missed out last night,&rdquo; Kim said, telling him about the impossible amount of food Mario had made, and the Disney marathons that even the third years couldn't resist getting into and competing who knew the lyrics to which songs best.

&ldquo;I heard,&rdquo; he grinned, which turned into a grimace, which became a serious face. &ldquo;Kim, there&rsquo;s something I need to talk to you about.&rdquo;


&ldquo;You know that I was really looking forward to&hellip;well, not getting to know you better, because we&rsquo;re already friends, but like, taking a step forward.&rdquo;

She nodded her comprehension.

&ldquo;But I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s fair that I&rsquo;m not being completely honest to you. See, I don&rsquo;t know if I only realized this last night, or if I was just trying to deny it, but either way, I have to tell you. I don&rsquo;t think we should take that step anymore.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh,&rdquo; she said, taken aback, disappointed, though not completely devastated. &ldquo;Can you tell me why?&rdquo;

He sincerely nodded. &ldquo;The thing is, in high school, there was a girl I used to date. I really liked her.&rdquo; His voice betrayed to Kim that he had more than liked this girl, perhaps even loved her&mdash;and most likely still did. &ldquo;And last night, when I got back to campus, I got a call from her and&hellip;hearing her voice, knowing she was calling me, I just&hellip;had to admit that I still DO like her." His brow scrunched up in sincere regret, as if he did not want to seem like an older guy who had simply been playing around with a beautiful younger schoolmate, because that wasn't who he was. "I&rsquo;m sorry.&rdquo;

Kim took a second, eyes averted, to try and sort her feelings and express her thoughts in coherent words--she did not want to seem like a weak naive freshman who'd been duped either. &ldquo;No&hellip;you shouldn&rsquo;t have to be sorry. I&rsquo;m glad you told me.&rdquo; She tried to smile. She was feeling disappointed inside, but chided herself for it. After all, she should be thankful that Great had enough integrity to be so straight-forward with her. Still, the sting was there. He was such an attractive person, the possibilities of what might have happened between them disappointed her. &ldquo;I really am glad. And I think it&rsquo;s a good thing that you found this out sooner than later.&rdquo;

He knew he was not going to be able to make her feel better right at the moment. &ldquo;I honestly wanted to give it a try.&rdquo; And he knew he didn't have to give her reassurances that no, no, it wasn't you, it was me, you're gorgeous, wonderful, you'll find the right one. Because he knew she knew it already.

&ldquo;I know you did,&rdquo; she sighed with a bright smile. &ldquo;We both did. Thanks Great, for being honest.&rdquo; She took his hand briefly. &ldquo;Are you and that girl&hellip;?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know. She didn&rsquo;t say she wanted anything, it was just a friendly call. But it was enough for me.&rdquo;

&ldquo;No way,&rdquo; Mario exclaimed after Kim had shared what happened to him. &ldquo;Great has a mystery love story?&rdquo;

Kim gave him a pointed look for his blunt curiosity.

&ldquo;Sorry. But you don&rsquo;t really want to wallow in disappointment and rejection do you?&rdquo; he pushed his glasses up a bit and kept typing. &ldquo;Damn, I need one more sentence to make this five pages. Let&rsquo;s see&hellip;The Aborigines&hellip;were, very, interesting, folks. There.&rdquo; He pressed the save button on the screen and drew in a deep breath like he had just rebuilt the Leaning Tower of Pisa and gotten it to stop leaning.

For the second time during photography class, Margie caught that transfer student, Boy, looking her direction. She tried not to let it bug her, but it was quite unnerving, especially because, for some weird reason, he reminded her of that dream she had had the other night.

&ldquo;Margie?&rdquo; Jacob whispered from the seat beside her, &ldquo;Do you have a pen I can borrow?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Sure.&rdquo; She handed over her blue pen.

&ldquo;Thanks.&rdquo; He smiled at her briefly before going back to his notes.

She looked to her right and once more, Boy was turning away from having just looked at her.

After class, she hurriedly stuffed her things in her backpack and headed for the door.

&ldquo;Margie!&rdquo; Jacob caught up to her.

Looking back at him, Margie was surprised to see Boy so close to the two of them. &ldquo;Um, I&rsquo;ve got to go now.&rdquo; She quickly walked away so she was beside Connor, one of her dorm friends. She didn&rsquo;t dare look back over her shoulder, sure that she would find Boy&rsquo;s eyes still on her and that might have made her too afraid to ever look at him again.

&ldquo;So I&rsquo;ll will do the opening, then Julie, then Yadech with their respective songs,&rdquo; Beau said.

Yaya glanced in a disgruntled way at Nadech, whom Beau had recently become lazy at naming during practice and dubbed the two of them with that combination name instead.

&ldquo;We are so going to rule the stage!&rdquo; Julie said after a particularly good rehearsal. Beau was chattering with her just as excitedly.

Nadech, sitting in a chair turned backwards, grinned, &ldquo;Yaya, did you think&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;I have to go now guys. See you later.&rdquo; Yaya dashed to pick up her backpack and get out of the rehearsal room so that Nadech was not able to finish his sentence.

Outside, she sighed in relief and roughly pulled her hat down over her ears. She was still confused about the dawning of her feelings for Nadech, especially not being certain since they had all rushed in from a dream, and things were not getting clearer as the days went by. He didn&rsquo;t act any differently, yet she seemed to notice every single little thing he did, from the way he used his hands when talking, to the length of his lashes when he looked down at his books. Because of this, she doubly focused on other things, like her classes, student government, and her plans for running for president of TSA.

&ldquo;Mark?&rdquo; She noticed him hurrying away from Ingleside Hall. &ldquo;What were you doing there?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh, j-just visiting a friend. Anyway, where you headed?&rdquo;


&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll come with. I seriously need to work on my assignment.&rdquo;

&ldquo;How&rsquo;s the Anthropology speech coming along?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Sh.t, is that due this week?&rdquo; he asked, face stricken with panic.

&ldquo;No, remember? The speeches start next Thursday.&rdquo;

He relaxed. &ldquo;Whew. Thank Buddha. You had me going for a moment there.&rdquo;

&ldquo;But don&rsquo;t tell me you haven&rsquo;t started yet,&rdquo; she raised a brow. &ldquo;What else have you been working on all this time you&rsquo;re away at the library?&rdquo; The last few times people asked Mark where he came back from, his answer was a studious and innocent 'library'.

He averted his eyes, and Yaya felt he was acting almost suspiciously. &ldquo;Uh, just&hellip;doing the research. I mean, I DO have other classes you know.&rdquo;


&ldquo;Anyway, how is the singing team coming along? I heard from Nadech that you guys are getting really good.&rdquo;

She absentmindedly tugged at her mittens. &ldquo;Yeah, we&rsquo;re doing well.&rdquo; Wanting to change the subject, she said, &ldquo;Can you believe in another month, we&rsquo;ll have Spring Break? Gosh, the year is going by fast.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll say. I wanna go camping. You and the others up for it?&rdquo;

She shrugged uncertainly. &ldquo;Maybe.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Otherwise it might just be a guys&rsquo; thing, I was thinking of making O and Nadech come along with me.&rdquo;

Yaya resisted the urge to wince as Nadech was once again mentioned. &ldquo;That sounds fun.&rdquo;

He snickered. &ldquo;Yeah, you look really excited.&rdquo;

Mark had left the library before Yaya. When she finally emerged, the sun was setting. She walked as fast as she could without slipping on the icy paths towards Clark Hall, hungry and thinking of the ramen noodles piled in their room.


No, it couldn&rsquo;t be. But her fear was confirmed as Nadech&rsquo;s face came into view&mdash;Yaya felt the crazy urge to strangle him with his scarf, just for making her so fussy about his presence lately&mdash;but his smile stopped her and she felt guilty for treating him so slightly. It wasn&rsquo;t his fault she might have developed a crush on him.

&ldquo;What are you up to?&rdquo; she asked upon reaching him.

&ldquo;So hungry!&rdquo; he groaned, shaking the bag of Lays chips he held. &ldquo;Hoping you ladies will share some ramen, since Fury is already closed.&rdquo;

She couldn&rsquo;t resist a bemused smile, and he offered her the bag of chips.

&ldquo;Want some?&rdquo;

She held out her mittened hands. &ldquo;Maybe later; my hands don&rsquo;t want to leave the warmth of these mittens.&rdquo;

He dug in the bag and brought out a chip, holding it up for her. Yaya&rsquo;s eyes grew wide, taken by complete surprise at his gesture of feeding her&mdash;it was so casual, and wouldn&rsquo;t have seemed out of the ordinary, usually, but considering her current dilemma... He was still waiting expectantly and she had no choice but to part her lips and lean in for the chip. Damn, she really should just strangle him here, him and his irresistible bag of salty, crunchy goodness, she silently grumbled. They kept on their way back to the dorm. Glancing his way, she saw that he was once again holding out a chip for her. Wanting to slap herself for being so silly, she smiled and pulled her mitten off, reaching for his chip.

Bad idea. She quickly shoved the chip in her mouth. Now she wanted to touch his hand again. Gosh, would they never reach the dorm? Nadech had not noticed her apprehension and was chattering about how hungry he was and how much he could eat and making a list of all the foods he missed from home. Her lips cracked a smile. Why in the world was she so opposed to her feelings for this boy? He was someone worthy of her feelings at least, she thought to herself. Not that she was going to let him know it. That is, if her feelings existed. Maybe she was just confused or yearning for a companion that was not a friend since Mai had Om these days and Kim was around Great a lot and even Beau was caught holding hands with James earlier. Yaya considered this seriously as they continued to share the Lays.

&ldquo;What is up with you?&rdquo; Beau asked, seeing Mai staring intensely at the vending machine placed next to the front desk.

&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t decide! It&rsquo;s between Cheetos, Potato Skins, or Lays. Hm, okay, Cheetos or Lays. No! But Potato Skins!&rdquo; She wailed, &ldquo;are so gooooood! Okay, so between Lays or Ch&mdash;I mean Potato&mdash;ARGH!&rdquo; She growled in frustration. &ldquo;Okay! LAYS or POTATO Skins!?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Lays,&rdquo; Came the answer of two harmonized voices.

&ldquo;THANK you!&rdquo; Mai entered her quarters into the coin slot and retrieved her yellow bag of goodies, looking up to see Nadech and Yaya just as the two reached into their own shared bag of Lays at the same time. As if they were watching a really cheesy commercial, but feeling that it was too coincidental and cute to be called cheesy, Mai and Beau witnessed the pair&rsquo;s hands appear out of the bag, holding one chip.

Yaya looked in awe as Nadech smiled and let go, offering it to her and reach for some more, unaware that she might have reacted strangely. Mai glanced at her own bag of chips and murmured to Beau, &ldquo;Man, I feel like I&rsquo;m unworthy of such a&hellip;romantic snack.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yeah, it&rsquo;s like Lays was meant for Yadech. You eating it would be just wrong.&rdquo; Beau heard a crunch and realized Mai had started the chips anyway. She shook her head, gathering her books as she left for Mai to take the next shift.

The morning of Valentine&rsquo;s Day. Margie shuffled through the snow towards her photography class, and was surprised to find a card on her desk. The shiny red heart painted on its front made her aware of the holiday she hadn&rsquo;t had much chance to pay attention to before.

&ldquo;What&rsquo;s that?&rdquo; Connor asked.

&ldquo;I&hellip;&rsquo;m not sure.&rdquo; She opened it up with two minutes left until class started.

If I should paint a portrait of you
I&rsquo;d use the night sky&rsquo;s ink to brush
Through your hair
The pure silk of wind would
Wrap around your pink skin
While the throbbing red of my heart
would color your lips

A red poinsettia accompanied this anonymous letter. Still wondering as the professor began class, she noticed the transfer student settling into his seat, concentrating on the lecture as usual.

&ldquo;Did you hear? Margie got something again from her secret admirer,&rdquo; Kim said.

&ldquo;Kind of a creepy poem though,&rdquo; Mario said through chewing a Hershey&rsquo;s kiss, &ldquo;I mean, using the blood from his heart to paint her lips.&rdquo;

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a poetic expression,&rdquo; Yaya peered up at him with a weirded look. &ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s quite original.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Still, how infuriating. I mean, why can&rsquo;t the person just come out and say he or she likes Margie? Why put up the mystery? I&rsquo;d toss the card and flower,&rdquo; Kim noted with an air of impatience.

&ldquo;Oh god, you probably don&rsquo;t even want my pathetic Kung-fu Panda Valentine card,&rdquo; Mario said in exasperation seeing Mai come into hers and Yaya&rsquo;s room with yet another box of chocolate from Om, which he had set behind the lobby&rsquo;s front desk for her. The first two boxes had been delivered personally by him at breakfast and during one of their classes.

&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Mai said, quickly snatching the small pink card he waved up at her from where he sat at her desk; Kim and Yaya were flipping through a book together. &ldquo;Of course I want your card too!&rdquo;

&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just jealous,&rdquo; Yaya said.

&ldquo;And I might as well eat this for you,&rdquo; Mario glumly held up a Hershey&rsquo;s caramel kiss that he&rsquo;d meant to give to her too, as he&rsquo;d been passing them out to all his friends that day.

&ldquo;I suspect Om&rsquo;s trying to give you cavities,&rdquo; Kim smirked, helping herself to the second chocolate box that lay open on the bed.

&ldquo;Then I&rsquo;m bringing you all down with me,&rdquo; Mai replied, opening the new box and placing it beside the second. &ldquo;Come on Yaya, I know you can&rsquo;t resist&hellip;&rdquo; she sang to tempt her friend.

Yaya daintily picked up another chocolate, one of her biggest weaknesses. &ldquo;Thanks! So are you and Om doing anything special for Valentine&rsquo;s?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think so. We both have exams this week so we thought we&rsquo;d just exchange small gifts. I honestly wouldn&rsquo;t have minded not even doing the gifts. Valentine&rsquo;s Day has grown more and more sketchy to me and I don&rsquo;t like the pressure it puts on people. It was much more fun when we were kids,&rdquo; Mai sighed as she unzipped her backpack, then paused, seeing her crowded room and realizing she would have too much to distract herself with. &ldquo;I should probably just go to the library.&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, it&rsquo;s freezing out. Stay, I&rsquo;ll get out, I have to go now anyway,&rdquo; Mario slid his candy wrappers into his Valentine&rsquo;s bag and headed out.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll go too.&rdquo; Kim got up. &ldquo;Oh, are you guys going to the Valentine&rsquo;s dance tomorrow night?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Exams,&rdquo; Mai repeated.

Yaya frowned, &ldquo;I think I&rsquo;ll pass also.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh come on. Don&rsquo;t pass just because you haven&rsquo;t got a date. I&rsquo;m going with O and we even convinced Margie to come along.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Really?&rdquo; Yaya asked, obviously impressed. &ldquo;Great. It&rsquo;ll be fun having her with us.&rdquo;

I feel so baaaaaad. I haven't updated in so long and honestly I'm losing inspiration for this story, which really sucks because I have SCENES for their second year ready, but just don't know what to fill up the space in between with. Grrr.

Tubbytinker: Thanks! I'm trying to work in movies and music and things.

kenann fan: lol I love all of them too, especially after writing this.

ukepearl: 555 Sorry, it was not very soon!

Dal: OH MY GOODNESS, I'VE MISSED YOU SO MUCH! Totally spazzed out when I saw your name!



Jjinxxy! Please don't lose inspiration! It is tricky having to write with this big of a cast & you are doing very well! I'm really enjoying all the chemistry between each character. I've been gushing & giggling all night. Please don't abandon this story. I'm sure you can come up with something to fill up before revealing their second year in college. This is an excellent story so far. Thank you! I've missed you so much. Besides lack of internet, I hope all is well for you. Please keep sharing your talents with us. You are quite clever. XOXOXO <3


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 16

&ldquo;And you have no idea who&rsquo;s been giving you this stuff?&rdquo; Taew asked Margie as they came down the hall. &ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t noticed anyone acting weird around you?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Well&hellip;&rdquo; Margie&rsquo;s mind flashed back to Boy and his constant glances at her. &ldquo;Um&hellip;no&hellip;&rdquo;

&ldquo;This is quite intriguing.&rdquo; Then Taew offered a chuckle, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s just hope you don&rsquo;t have a stalker. They say that like a third of college women get stalked.&rdquo;
Margie felt her neck prickle.


The girls looked up and saw Mario and Kim coming towards them.

&ldquo;Oh yeah, forgot I haven&rsquo;t given you yours yet,&rdquo; Mario dug in his bag and pulled out a Valentine card for Taew, to her surprise.


&ldquo;And a kiss too.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; she jerked her head back in shock, but then noticed him handing over the Hershey&rsquo;s candy. &ldquo;O-oh&hellip;right.&rdquo; She irritatedly accepted it and pocketed both, without thanking him. &ldquo;See you guys later at the dance.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Wow, good crowd tonight,&rdquo; Kim observed at the packed Yulli ballroom that had been transformed for the dance. &ldquo;Guess they didn&rsquo;t think so many people would show up.&rdquo;

Indeed, the room was an obstacle trying to move through, even as the quartet tried to edge along the outside, which had tables squeezed together for people to eat and drink.

&ldquo;Want to get some food first, or dance first?&rdquo; Mario roared over the blaring music.

&ldquo;Whichever!&rdquo; Kim yelled back. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going to dance.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Kim! Over here!&rdquo; Pope waved at them and while Mario and Yaya went over to the snack bar, Kim pulled a helpless Margie into the packed dance floor.

&ldquo;Glad you all could make it!&rdquo; Pope grinned. He took both of them by a hand and spun them around. Kim was soon dancing along with everyone else. Margie hesitantly moved to the beat in her own tight spot, as if afraid of bumping into others. She glanced up at the flashing lights, which winked through the room but for the most part did not assist her in distinguishing faces, and wondered where Mario and Yaya had got to. When she turned back, she was surprised to find Kim and Pope gone&mdash;probably having gotten pushed through the many other bodies dancing. Flustered to be surrounded so closely by so many people, she tried to push her way out and back to the tables.

Suddenly, Margie was aware of someone watching her. The pulsing party lights were not ideal for seeing in the dark, and every time a flash hit the suspected person, she couldn&rsquo;t catch his face in time; yet he stood perfectly still amidst the chaos of the party, staring in her direction.



&ldquo;Margie! There you are!&rdquo; Kim hurried to lead Margie away with her.

Mario waved them over to their seats. He slid cups towards them. &ldquo;Awesome that they have free food.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Hey guys!&rdquo; They heard the distinct jolly tone of Mark. &ldquo;Crazy party huh?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Ugh, it&rsquo;s boiling in here,&rdquo; Taew said from a seat next to Yaya, fanning herself with a hand.

&ldquo;Have a drink,&rdquo; Mark suggested. She pursed her lips at the cup, but took a sip.

Margie wasn&rsquo;t paying attention as they talked. She swept her gaze through the room. She felt like whoever had been watching her was familiar, like she recognized his features. But he didn&rsquo;t seem like the type to come to these parties.

Half an hour later of dancing and more snacks, Margie grew concerned about her friends. From the faint glow of the back lights, she could tell they were rather pink in their faces and Mario and Taew kept giggling next to each other over some joke about a troll and a bar, which was one of the least expected scenes she could have imagined occurring between those two. She then noticed the number of cups they had gathered at their table. Something dawned on her.

&ldquo;I think&hellip;&rdquo; when Margie had finally managed to persuade them all to leave the dance room and descend the stairs so they could leave Yulli, Yaya held up a thoughtful forefinger, &ldquo;we&rsquo;ve been intoxicated.&rdquo; As if the idea was too absurd, she shook her head and laughed, and Nadech joined in like they were sharing a secret.

Mark hooked an arm around Margie and Nadech, announcing, &ldquo;Guys, I just love all of you. I hope you know that. I love you so much.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Life is so hard,&rdquo; Mario was saying, sighing and shaking his head as Taew patted his shoulder, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just so hard, I can barely keep it in sometimes.&rdquo;

Taew nodded before bursting out in a fit of giggles and sputtering, &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what she said,&rdquo; and it wasn&rsquo;t long before the two were doubled over in breathless laughter. Margie pursed her lips in concern at them, shaking her head.

&ldquo;What happened to this lot?&rdquo; Ploy asked, spying them come into the dorm as she completed her round of night duties.

&ldquo;Um, I think they&rsquo;re just in a good mood?&rdquo; Margie tried to cover for them.

Ploy shook her head. &ldquo;Their drinks were probably spiked. Damn. Well, hopefully they&rsquo;re not too hungover tomorrow.&rdquo; She helped Margie return each to their rooms. &ldquo;Honestly, how did they not notice what they were drinking?&rdquo;

&ldquo;G&rsquo;night Ya!&rdquo; Kim called when they dropped Yaya into her room.

Yaya yawned, her head spinning slightly. &ldquo;Night&hellip;&rdquo; The bedroom was dark and somewhere in her foggy mind, she thought Mai must already be dreaming in sleep, and then forgot what she was thinking about just a second ago. She fell upon her bed and was instantly asleep.

While Mai had been studying, Om had dropped by, claiming he thought she would like a break. They shared some of her chocolates, wrapped together under one blanket on her top bunk with just a flashlight on, discussing Margie&rsquo;s secret admirer and wondering if the others were enjoying the dance. That was when he had linked one of her hands with his and began swaying side to side with her, pretending they were having their own dance. He leaned closer, shifting so he faced her and lifted her hand where he gently nipped at the chocolate stain on her fingertip. She hid her blush with her face pressing in his shoulder, so he nestled his nose into the crook of her neck. His hot breath sent tingles over her and she bit her lip before he swept her lips apart and kissed her deeply. He had pulled her onto his lap and then the flashlight went out; breathless, sugary mouths pressed passionately, somewhere along the way, she&rsquo;d lain back with his body covering her. This was the most intimate predicament they&rsquo;d been placed in before now. The novelty of it seemed to overpower any caution they felt. Om&rsquo;s lips were grazing over the dip in her collar bone and Mai&rsquo;s hands ran past his shoulders, slipping underneath the hem of his shirt to feel the sinewy strength of his back muscles and it was the blistering of her fingertips that urged him on, returning to her mouth, devouring her shallow gasps. Then they froze. The door opened and they heard Kim&rsquo;s and other&rsquo;s voices.

After a few minutes of silence, Mai peeked down at the bottom bunk to make sure Yaya really was asleep.

&ldquo;Go,&rdquo; she whispered. She could almost feel his silent groan of reluctance before he raised himself and placed a quick peck on her cheek. As quietly as possible, he climbed down and left. Mai didn&rsquo;t even want to imagine the humiliation of one of her best friends walking in on her and Om like that, though she would be lying to say she didn&rsquo;t want him to have stayed longer.

&ldquo;Wait til Aum hears what happened. And he was all excited about getting you guys wasted during his upcoming birthday,&rdquo; Great chuckled.

&ldquo;You guys got wasted last night? How?&rdquo; Mai interrogated. Nadech guiltily shoved the rest of his scrambled eggs in his mouth and mumbled about getting to class, taking his tray away.

&ldquo;We were barely buzzed,&rdquo; Mark corrected, &ldquo;No big deal.&rdquo;

&ldquo;But how could someone just slip alcohol into drinks like that?&rdquo; Mai appeared quite appalled. &ldquo;I mean, nothing wrong with wanting a drink, but doing that to unsuspecting people. That&rsquo;s just...&rdquo;

&ldquo;No one was complaining, I assure you. Besides, you guys could use some loosening up once in a while,&rdquo; Great said. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve thought about doing it to you guys before.&rdquo; He caught Mai&rsquo;s dropped jaw. &ldquo;What? Only to you guys, and only when it was a closed party,&rdquo; he said to assure a disbelieving Yaya sitting on Mai&rsquo;s other side.

&ldquo;Alright there, Om? Sorry for getting back early last night,&rdquo; Mark said through a mouth full of bread and butter.

Om looked at Mark. &ldquo;What do you mean?&rdquo;

Mark smirked knowingly. &ldquo;If I&rsquo;d known you were planning a V-day special for Mai, I would&rsquo;ve made sure we stayed at the party longer.&rdquo;


&ldquo;Tch,&rdquo; he chuckled, &ldquo;Saw you coming out of her room last night.&rdquo;

Om tried to ignore his and Great&rsquo;s stifled laughs, noticing that Mai had overheard and was determinedly avoiding the boys&rsquo; eyes too; she was glad Yaya had gotten up a moment before, wanting some tea, and hadn&rsquo;t heard Mark. &ldquo;Whatever. Nothing was going on.&rdquo;

&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m saying,&rdquo; Mark rolled his eyes, &ldquo;we came back too early.&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, we were just&hellip;&rdquo;

&ldquo;Reading bedtime stories?&rdquo; Great sniggered.

&ldquo;Shut up.&rdquo; He and Mai whispered.

Mai spared them flat looks. &ldquo;So immature&hellip;&rdquo; as Om took her hand, shooting sharp looks at Great and Mark.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m never attending one of those parties again,&rdquo; Taew said with disgust. &ldquo;Can&rsquo;t believe we had spiked drinks. No one can be trusted these days.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Not like you weren&rsquo;t having a good time,&rdquo; Kim said, &ldquo;Seemed to finally be letting go of useless rivalries. About time really, I can&rsquo;t stand you and O always trying to snap at each other.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What&rsquo;s that supposed to mean?&rdquo;

&ldquo;You haven&rsquo;t noticed how much time you spend arguing with him over pointless&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;No, I meant what about me having a good time?&rdquo;

&ldquo;With O.&rdquo;

This short response made even less sense. &ldquo;What the hell are you talking about?&rdquo; Taew asked, obviously not amused.

&ldquo;You and Mario,&rdquo; Kim casually ate her yogurt.

&ldquo;Me and Mario what?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Getting all cuddly together last night.&rdquo;

&ldquo;HUH?! Hell to the no!&rdquo;

&ldquo;You want proof?&rdquo; Kim smirked. She stuck her spoon in her mouth and opened up Facebook on her phone. &ldquo;See?&rdquo;

Taew gaped in shock. She couldn&rsquo;t imagine how much she could have drank last night to get that friendly with Mario. And the thing was, they weren&rsquo;t being physically touchy or anything, but just the cozy smiles on their faces were enough to give Taew shivers. &ldquo;Why is that on Facebook?! You better not have tagged me!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Tch, of course I did,&rdquo; Kim laughed, skipping off.

The singing competition was not for another month, but there was a Cultural Caf&eacute; to look forward to; it was a spring event during which the different ethnicities represented by Lawrence University could present entertainment and food from their different cultures. It was held that Saturday. Various performers from campus&rsquo;s diverse student body got up on the simple stage set up in the food court that had been turned into one big caf&eacute;, complete with booths where student organizations were handing out and selling products and food.

The evening performers had begun.

Pope whistled through the applause as Mai, Min and Beau had completed a traditional Thai dance onstage.

While a South African student was reciting his poetry, Nadech took a deep breath backstage.

&ldquo;Ready?&rdquo; Mark asked.

&ldquo;You&rsquo;ll do great,&rdquo; Mai encouraged.

Nadech nodded. He wasn&rsquo;t too nervous, but this was his first time performing in front of so many people, so he wanted things to go smoothly.

Out in the audience, the three joined their friends at a table.

&ldquo;Thanks,&rdquo; Mai pecked Om&rsquo;s cheek when he slid a cup of tea over to her.

&ldquo;You were amazing up there,&rdquo; he praised. &ldquo;Nadech&rsquo;s up next?&rdquo;

&ldquo;M-hm. Oh, I can&rsquo;t wait. His singing is better than I ever remembered and the song is such a sweet thing. It&rsquo;s perfect.&rdquo;

Yaya primly held her coffee cup with both hands, enjoying the low smooth voice of Jackson onstage, though she caught the mention of Nadech&rsquo;s name and immediately became distracted despite her deliberate efforts to not think so much about him.

When the next performer was called up, his friends cheered loudly as Nadech set up his chair in front of the microphone and settled in it with his ukulele. He cleared his throat, grinned at the table of his friends and began strumming his song&rsquo;s intro.

You might not see how much I love you
You might still have doubts about this man
Maybe you haven&rsquo;t seen my caring eyes
But you will understand one day

It was a Thai song, so the majority of the audience probably didn&rsquo;t understand a word of it, except that Nadech&rsquo;s terrifically smooth and slightly husky voice conveyed the feelings of adoration and yearning that were written in the song. Mai was swaying back and forth, unconsciously rubbing Om&rsquo;s hands with her thumb, when she glanced over at Yaya and held in a laugh. Yaya, eyes wide and lips parted, appeared to be in complete awe as she listened to Nadech&rsquo;s gentle voice that rang soothingly in the caf&eacute;.

&hellip;With a heart that is ready for you from someone like me
With the long period of waiting for you that should be enough
And it will probably make you realize it

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know why you&rsquo;re so surprised. Haven&rsquo;t you been practicing with him for weeks for the singing competition?&rdquo; Mai asked Yaya when the song was over.

&ldquo;Well yeah, but this is different.&rdquo; His performance onstage was not something she could have been prepared for. It was like Nadech had transformed into a different guy up there. But that was the thing. He hadn&rsquo;t changed at all. He was exactly himself which made it even harder for Yaya to deny that she was starting to really like him. She sighed.

March was quite reluctant to melt into spring, so there was still plenty of snow and sludge for students to watch out for as they traversed the campus grounds.

&ldquo;Where the heck have you been mister?!&rdquo; Kim demanded when Aum finally showed up. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been waiting for an hour and you promised to take us to the mall at three!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Damn will you just chill? Didn&rsquo;t Ploy tell you that she and I were training?&rdquo; Aum retorted. &ldquo;Unless you wanted to ride in the car with me all sweaty and smelly, fine with me!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Ugh. Just hurry up.&rdquo; She stomped to his car with Yaya and Mario.

&ldquo;Where&rsquo;s the third one?&rdquo; Aum asked, expecting to see Mai with them.

&ldquo;She&rsquo;s busy with her boyfriend!&rdquo; Kim answered. &ldquo;And Beau said she wanted to go but had to work.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I haven&rsquo;t seen that little Margie in a while.&rdquo;

&ldquo;She&rsquo;s scared of you now &lsquo;cause you keep bullying her,&rdquo; Kim strapped herself in the front seat.

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; Aum snickered. &ldquo;I do not.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yes you do,&rdquo; all three answered. Being the shy person that Margie was, she was especially vulnerable towards teasing, and even Aum&rsquo;s good-natured teasing could get her flustered; for example, he often teased her about her secret admirer and called her the innocent minx, pretending to wither under her beauty rays.

Nadech was singing "Puer Tur Talod Pai" by Sukda Patthasima.

Photos from the party:

*I do not own these images.


Sooo goood, Jjinxxy. Thank you for another humorous chapter. I was giggling. I hope Margie's story line isn't too creepy. Love all the pics you used.


sarNie Hatchling
thank you jinx! it's alright take your time :) i agree with dal... you're doing a very good job with such a big cast!
hope you are good and well and hope you have gained back your inspiration :D


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 17

Margie felt the cold air biting sharply in her lungs as she breathed in. &ldquo;Aaah&hellip;&rdquo; She shook her head and stretched, then leaned against the railing. The river was not frozen and she could see some birds drifting out in the middle. How nice it must be to be birds, she thought, to be free in the sky whenever they wanted and to float so effortlessly with grace on cold water, no worries in their minds aside from their next meal.

She sighed. She&rsquo;d like to be free from schoolwork for a while. Especially with preparing for her art final. It was driving her mad. She couldn&rsquo;t get a good enough idea down and that was hindering the rest of her project.

&ldquo;Oh shoot!&rdquo; She just realized she could have been using this time to observe the birds in detail and record it down in her lab journal for the five week biology field observation in class.

Margie turned to the right of the trail to head back into the building when a motion up ahead by the art building caught her eye. Was it just one of the numerous squirrels that campus seemed to be infested with? Moving forward, she saw a flash of color that seemed particularly familiar before it disappeared before she quickly turning to look behind her. She froze in surprise.

Boy was standing a few yards behind, arms crossed in a way that seemed to shield him against the world rather than the cold. He raised his eyes to see Margie, looking neither surprised nor acknowledging her presence.

How had she missed him before? How long had he been standing there anyway? Shivering, Margie once again turned to leave. She heard Boy&rsquo;s footsteps behind her. She paused. He seemed to stop walking too. Swallowing hard, this time Margie hurried down the river path, not pausing for a second until she was finally in front of her dorm once more and inside the doors. Only then did she dare peek outside. He was gone.


She jumped.

Beau and Mai glanced at each other. &ldquo;Are you okay? Where have you been?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&hellip;I was just taking a walk. Um. Yeah.&rdquo;

Mai frowned. &ldquo;You sure?&rdquo;


&ldquo;Well don&rsquo;t stay out too late. Come on, study session in the lounge. Or would you prefer the library?&rdquo;

Margie followed the two of them inside, heart still thumping.

&ldquo;Can I borrow that?&rdquo;

Margie quickly slid her stapled packet full of different water protozoans across the table to Boy without looking at him.

&ldquo;Thanks,&rdquo; he murmured, also not looking at her but focusing fully on his microscope slide while consulting the packet to identify which species he was looking at.

She didn&rsquo;t reply and instead lowered her eyes to her own microscope. As minutes passed, she forgot to feel nervous about sitting at the same table as Boy, becoming engrossed in searching out the fascinating minuscule creatures that crossed her screen almost too fast to catch up with. She made sure to record details in her drawing as she went on.

&ldquo;Remember to keep up with your observations! You need a total of ten to go along with your final write-up!&rdquo; their lab instructor announced.

Margie looked up at the end of class and admired her drawing of the protozoa. They were very interesting, as she&rsquo;d never gotten to see such tiny life forms before and study them up close.

&ldquo;Margie, have you seen this?&rdquo; Lily moved her chair over towards Margie&rsquo;s, holding out a piece of paper.

I shall declare myself in three days

&ldquo;What is it?&rdquo; she asked.

&ldquo;It was on the floor in your room this morning when I came by. I thought you dropped it.&rdquo;

The note had a drawing of a red poinsettia flower on it. Was this from her secret admirer? For some reason, she interrupted her own thoughts when her eyes were drawn towards Boy, who was stowing his things away in his backpack, though she had a feeling he had been watching her just a second before.

&ldquo;What do you think it means?&rdquo; Lily asked as they exited. But Margie just gave a shrug, perhaps hoping that if she didn&rsquo;t acknowledge the idea of her secret admirer, it might go away.

Margie showed the note to Yaya later.

&ldquo;Are you curious? Or excited to finally meet them?&rdquo; Yaya asked, eyes wide from the mystery.

Margie anxiously pulled her knees to her chest. &ldquo;I dunno. I&hellip;honestly wish they wouldn&rsquo;t show up.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What? Why?&rdquo; Yaya didn&rsquo;t understand being put off from someone who admired you.

&ldquo;Well&hellip;I think I might know who it is. But then again, I could be wrong. Will they want to date right away? I don't think I'm comfortable with that.&rdquo;

Yaya puckered her brow. &ldquo;It doesn&rsquo;t seem that simple.&rdquo;

Simple? Margie suddenly remembered something from a week ago. She was going to throw out a set of paint brushes that had been exhausted from use, when her classmate, Jacob, asked if he could have them. She&rsquo;d told him they were worn out, but he insisted and in the end, she gave them to him. When he reached to grab them, his sketchbook fell open on the floor and Margie found herself looking at a portrait of herself on the paper, led and coal tracing her eyes, nose, mouth, and hair in what could have been a mirror image.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a simple sketch when I was bored during class and had nothing to draw. I hope you don&rsquo;t mind&rdquo; was what he&rsquo;d said. But later, when he was at the sink with other students cleaning his materials, she passed by his easel and accidently knocked his sketchbook. Picking it up, Margie had marveled at how many drawings he had made of her. Pages were filled with her face from every angle, her walking form, her sitting form, even from the back. She&rsquo;d quickly returned the sketchbook, nervous and uncomfortable.

&ldquo;Faster, damn you! You need to make the mile in a shorter time!&rdquo;

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t see you running even half as fast as me!&rdquo;

&ldquo;That&rsquo;s because I don&rsquo;t need to practice! I&rsquo;m already fast after years on the track team!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Was it such a good idea for them to team up for the triathlon?&rdquo; Kim said, sitting on the floor of the field house and stretching her legs to prepare for a run.

&ldquo;Weir said that they&rsquo;ve been partners since they were freshmen and that this is how they always train,&rdquo; Mario said back as they watched Aum and Ploy shouting each other down from the other side of the gym. Apparently Aum hadn&rsquo;t met Ploy&rsquo;s standards for running the mile within six minutes.

&ldquo;You better watch out! I can already see a paunch on that belly of yours,&rdquo; Ploy said intimidatingly, pointing a finger at Aum&rsquo;s chest.

Aum gasped as if she had called him a scandalously bad name. &ldquo;Take that back!&rdquo;

&ldquo;We&rsquo;re heading to the pool to practice. You guys coming?&rdquo; Nadech asked. He and Mai had partnered up for the triathlon, while Om had paired with his friend Marcus.

&ldquo;Wait up,&rdquo; Om said, a towel hanging around his neck.

&ldquo;Dunno why you&rsquo;re trying so hard when you&rsquo;re going to lose anyways.&rdquo; Mai stuck her tongue out at Om before running away when he started chasing her.

&ldquo;Thank goodness she&rsquo;s only kidding around,&rdquo; Nadech said with a half laugh, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think I&rsquo;d be able to handle it if she began getting as serious as Ploy.&rdquo;

&ldquo;So there&rsquo;s running a mile, biking a mile, and then swimming a mile?&rdquo; Margie asked, with a slightly appalled look on her face. &ldquo;And you each have to do that before you finish. That is so hardcore. I don&rsquo;t know how you guys can handle it.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Most people use it as a chance to get fit through the weeks of training. It&rsquo;s really not a serious competition, but Ploy and Aum are dead set on finishing first.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m here! I&rsquo;m here! I&rsquo;m here!&rdquo; Nadech rushed into the practice room after his triathlon training.

&ldquo;Good, you have to perfect your song by tonight, got it?&rdquo; Beau said, all business-like, &ldquo;The singing competition is in three days&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;And then just another week until we&rsquo;re free for spring break!&rdquo; Julie cut in.

&ldquo;So if you guys don&rsquo;t want me to haunt you on your spring break, you better go out there with your best,&rdquo; Beau glared at them&hellip;and then smiled her bubbly smile. &ldquo;Just kidding. I know we&rsquo;re going to kick butt because we&rsquo;ve had so much fun and are great singers! See you, gotta get to work!&rdquo; she and Julie headed out of the room.

&ldquo;Whew!&rdquo; Nadech dropped his coat and pulled out his sheet music.

&ldquo;Imagine if they encored us,&rdquo; Yaya said, shaking her head with a smile. &ldquo;That&rsquo;d be pretty cool.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Would you sing something more for them?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Maybe&hellip;I dunno.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Maybe I&rsquo;d give them a taste of traditional Thai music, haha,&rdquo; Nadech chuckled, strumming his ukulele. He noticed Yaya looking relieved and smiled mischievously. &ldquo;Yeah, I didn&rsquo;t bring the trombone today.&rdquo;

&ldquo;If you did, I&rsquo;d kick you out,&rdquo; she threatened. As musically talented as Nadech was, he could be plain annoying when it came to loud obnoxious instruments. She stood on the platform but didn&rsquo;t sing. Instead, she closed her eyes and breathed in deeply.

&ldquo;What are you doing?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Just getting the feel of the stage. I don&rsquo;t want to get stage fright during the competition.&rdquo;

&ldquo;But you&rsquo;re not someone who gets stage fright,&rdquo; he thought to all the perfect speeches she had made in class and the presentations she made during TSA&rsquo;s meetings.

&ldquo;Well performing is different from giving speeches.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Okay, then practice now. I&rsquo;ll pretend to be the audience.&rdquo;

She smirked. Like that would help, since she was well aware that he was the only person in the seats before her and someone she was used to singing in front of already.

&ldquo;Hey!&rdquo; Her eyes flew open as she was whirled into a waltz, led by Nadech&rsquo;s arms. &ldquo;What are we doing?&rdquo; she laughed.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s called dancing,&rdquo; he replied, spinning her and then dipping her with the support of his arms. &ldquo;What do they call it here?&rdquo;

Yaya stared up at his eyes, an unresisting smile on her lips. As they straightened up, she turned to him with hands on her hips. &ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t Mai tell you that here, dancing is only done between people who like each other.&rdquo;

&ldquo;We like each other, don&rsquo;t we?&rdquo;

It took her a second of surprise before narrowing her eyes at his sneaky eyes. &ldquo;You know I mean a different &lsquo;like.&rsquo;&rdquo;

&ldquo;Fine, fine. Then I apologize. I didn&rsquo;t mean to do anything inappropriate.&rdquo;

She knew he wasn&rsquo;t going to fall for it since he&rsquo;d clearly seen many people dancing together before and wouldn&rsquo;t be dumb enough to assume something ridiculous like everyone in the West were polygamous or something. But even so, she played along. &ldquo;Well now you know better.&rdquo;

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s still really cold out here, isn&rsquo;t it?&rdquo; Connor asked, walking beside Margie from their class.

&ldquo;Yeah, March always seems worse than the months before it because I&rsquo;m already dying for spring to get here.&rdquo; Margie thought back to the Valentine&rsquo;s Day dance. Was that who she had seen? Her eyes slid to his coat. The color&hellip;

From the corner of her eye, Margie caught a hooded figure walking behind the pair of them.

&ldquo;&hellip;plans for Spring Break?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Huh? Oh, um, I&rsquo;ll probably just relax at home. My brother will be coming to visit too&hellip;&rdquo; She tried to not turn around in case she looked weird or suspicious, but that was definitely Jacob behind them.

&ldquo;Hey guys!&rdquo; Lily popped up, throwing an arm around Margie&rsquo;s shoulders. &ldquo;Ready for some dinner? I&rsquo;m starving.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll see you guys later,&rdquo; Connor said and started walking towards the bus stop.

&ldquo;Why are you so quiet today?&rdquo; Mario asked through a mouthful of pizza.

&ldquo;Isn&rsquo;t Margie always quiet?&rdquo; Mark asked.

&ldquo;Shush.&rdquo; Mario was one of the few who could differentiate when she was actually distressfully quiet.

&ldquo;Uh&hellip;&rdquo; Margie hesitated, &ldquo;Nothing much.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Sure? Wait,&rdquo; he pointed his fork at her, &ldquo;You&rsquo;re still worried about your art project huh?&rdquo;

She laughed uneasily. &ldquo;Yeah, exactly. And on top of that, I have three ongoing experiments in biology. And I&rsquo;m just really looking forward to Spring Break.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Tell me about it! Oh yeah, Chai&rsquo;s visiting right?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yeah.&rdquo; Margie was quite excited about that, as she was close to her brother, her only sibling. Aside from skyping, they hadn&rsquo;t seen each other in person in over a year.

&ldquo;Anyone up for a road trip?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Wait til summer,&rdquo; Mario replied to Mark, &ldquo;This is horrible weather for a road trip.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I thought you said you wanted to go camping,&rdquo; Yaya reminded Mark.

&ldquo;This is even worse weather for camping,&rdquo; Mario replied instantly. No way in hell would he go camping in this semi-freeze. In fact, even if the weather was perfect, he wasn&rsquo;t the type to sleep in tents and fish for his meals.

&ldquo;I wonder what Taew&rsquo;s doing for Break,&rdquo; Mai said. &ldquo;She said before the holidays that she might go back home again for Spring Break but it doesn&rsquo;t look like she wants to anymore.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Why? What&rsquo;s up?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I was thinking of having a sleepover at my house.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Ooooo,&rdquo; Mario said.

&ldquo;For us girls.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Whaaa? How come you&rsquo;re being exclusive?&rdquo; he pouted. &ldquo;And what about Nadech?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I was thinking he could stay over at one of your guys&rsquo; place. It&rsquo;s only for a night.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t worry, O, we&rsquo;ll have our own awesome guy party,&rdquo; Mark declared.

Mario looked from him to Mai and back. &ldquo;Nah, I want in on the girl&rsquo;s night. All you&rsquo;re going to do is play video games or something.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What. That is not the only thing I do, okay? Besides, my parents have set up a home theater and everything.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Nice!&rdquo; Mario said, &ldquo;Can we watch horror movies?&rdquo;


Sis/bro from a different, and father

Sniffin' out the secret admirer...skills.

Ploy and Mai say no to alcohol...unless you're with REALLY close friends

"Listen to me sing. Listen to me sing. Listen to me...don't make me take out the trombone!"




Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 18

&ldquo;There they are!&rdquo; Kim screamed while all their friends hooted to support Beau, Julie, Yaya and Nadech as they came out onstage to greet the crowd before three of them stepped back. And then, one by one, they began their solo performances. First, Beau raised the crowd with an energetic and upbeat tune, her charisma flowing through her voice and light dance steps. Next Julie took on her powerful vocal chords that awed everyone.

&ldquo;Damn! Julie&rsquo;s like a black Beyonce!&rdquo; Mark said.

&ldquo;Beyonce is black,&rdquo; Mai shook her head, since Mark was too busy cheering to listen.

Mario gave a sharp whistle when Yaya took the stage, even their friends&rsquo; jaws dropped as her sweet voice and&mdash;there was no other word for it&mdash;sexy dance to the Black Eyed Peas song wowed the crowd.

&ldquo;Who knew that Yaya had it in her? Ow owwww!&rdquo; Mark wolf called.

Next up, the stage darkened for a minute, and then Nadech appeared in a sleek suit that alone won him screams from the girls below.

&ldquo;OHMYGOSH this is Chin&rsquo;s song !&rdquo;Kim squealed, flapping her hands in extreme excitement.

&ldquo;Nadech looks so hot up there!&rdquo; Mai exclaimed as his silky voice began the song, his dark eyes gleaming, his smirk flirtatious, and sending a well-timed wink that made every woman&rsquo;s heart flutter.

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know what he&rsquo;s saying but he sounds SO effing good!&rdquo; Lily shouted, then hooted when the three ladies, Yaya, Beau and Julie joined Nadech in the dance, hip thrusts and quick steps that had the crowd hanging onto every movement. The performance ended with a thunder of cheering and applause, whistles and arms waving towards the high ceilings of the ball room.

A congratulatory party was held in the Clark lounge that night after the competition was done, with banners and streamers hung about. The winning team, pride of Clark Hall, consented to their friends&rsquo; pleas for an encore performance.

As before, the ladies took their turns, before the audience made up of many of their fellow Clark residents cheered as Nadech sang his song, which had turned out to be a different style from his prior performance.

&ldquo;Ohmygawd, Nadech is so hot up there singing Look Thoong!&rdquo; Taew yelled through the loud music and voices, jumping up and down to the song&rsquo;s rhythm.

Mario stopped jumping and gave her a look. &ldquo;How come when he sings it it&rsquo;s hot but when I listen to my look thong and mor lum you call me fobby?&rdquo;

She looked at him, then shrugged and continued hooting along with the others. Mario glared for a second before going back to dancing.

As Nadech stepped away from the spotlight while a CD replaced their live performances, he caught Yaya in a breathless embrace of happiness.

&ldquo;Admit it, you found me attractive,&rdquo; he quirked one brow while she rolled her eyes.

&ldquo;No,&rdquo; she denied for the sake of denying.

&ldquo;Liar, liar, pants on fire,&rdquo; he sang quietly, making her giggle.

&ldquo;Weren&rsquo;t we awesome?&rdquo; he asked, laughing.

She chuckled back, &ldquo;Yes, and I say this with the most modesty, we kicked butt!&rdquo; The two were already a part of the dancing mass while they continued glowing in their victory, moods untarnished by anything that night. Soon Nadech had her in a swooping slow dance, holding her close as he swung her around, settling down to a gentler, lazy sway. She her head resting on his shoulder as he tucked her shoulder under his chin, their hands remaining clasped in a comfortable grip. Each sighed their own content.

&ldquo;This is a good night.&rdquo;

&ldquo;M-hm&hellip;&rdquo; she murmured. When the song ended, he pulled away to gingerly spin her under his arm once and they exchanged warm smiles.

&ldquo;One more day, one more day, one more day&hellip;&rdquo; Mario continued chanting his survival prayer. The professor dismissed class after what felt like a lesson that went by twice as slowly, and Mario was one of the first out the door. Down the hall, he heard Great call out his name. &ldquo;No time, gotta go pack!&rdquo; he shouted back as he raced away. &ldquo;And where the hell is Mark when he has my favorite hat?&rdquo; he growled gently. There was no way he would have a good break without fully packing his essential favorite clothes and there was no way he could finish packing unless he had those favorite clothing items in sight.

As he was passing one of the girls floors, he remembered there was something he wanted to tell Margie, she he headed over. Walking by a door that stood ajar, he paused when he heard sniffling. Naturally curious, he immediately took a step backward to peer through the crack and recognized Taew. Something had to be wrong. Taew did not usually slouch in her seat, no matter how long she had studied, nor did she usually wear such, um, un-pretty sweaters, and the last thing Mario ever thought she could do was cry.

Reaching out his hand to push the door open wider, he stepped in. &ldquo;Taew, what&rsquo;s wrong?&rdquo;

Her head snapped up and her eyes&mdash;tearful and red, he noticed&mdash;widened. &ldquo;What are you doing here?&rdquo;

He rolled his eyes. &ldquo;&rsquo;S not like it&rsquo;s the girl&rsquo;s locker room or something.&rdquo;

She glared.

&ldquo;Okay. Sorry for not knocking. So you going to tell me why there&rsquo;s no mascara running down your face?&rdquo;

Taew swallowed before eying him with a hard stare. &ldquo;Do you find me that shallow?&rdquo;

He meant it as a joke, he was trying to lighten the atmosphere. She was usually so primped and prettily made up and it really wasn&rsquo;t something that mattered to him, just something that he noticed as a guy who noticed girls.

&ldquo;I&hellip;I didn&rsquo;t say it to&hellip;to judge you or anything.&rdquo; Despite her sullen looks, he grabbed the chair next to her, making it known he wasn&rsquo;t leaving. &ldquo;So what&rsquo;s the matter?&rdquo;

She glanced away. &ldquo;My car&rsquo;s irreparable.&rdquo;

He recalled them standing out in the cold. &ldquo;That sucks.&rdquo;

&ldquo;And I&rsquo;m not going to get a replacement. I&rsquo;ll have to ride the bus to the theater from now on.&rdquo;

&ldquo;At least the bus is free for students.&rdquo;

She turned to him sharply.

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; he asked, unsure why she looked like she wanted to slap him. &ldquo;It is free. And better than walking.&rdquo;

&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t know anything.&rdquo;

&ldquo;So what don&rsquo;t I know?&rdquo;

She didn&rsquo;t know whether to kick him out the door for intruding on her bad day or simply kick him for being so nosy. She buried her face in her hands.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not that bad.&rdquo;

&ldquo;YES, it is,&rdquo; she snapped back. &ldquo;It is bad that I&rsquo;m not getting a new car and I thought it was unfair at first and argued with my dad and was real mad at him because he was being so stubborn when he&rsquo;d never refused me anything before and then he got mad at me and argued that I was always too spoiled and what&rsquo;s worse is that I know he&rsquo;s not doing this to me to teach me a lesson, it&rsquo;s because we can no longer afford things the way we used to since his company is not doing well and he&rsquo;s too proud to ask for help from anyone and it hurts that he thinks I wouldn&rsquo;t understand this, that I had to learn this from my mom when my dad and I have always been able to tell each other everything and now he won&rsquo;t tell me what&rsquo;s the real problem simply because he thinks I&rsquo;m as shallow as everyone else does and won&rsquo;t look up to him anymore because he doesn&rsquo;t have as much money as before.&rdquo; She stopped, breathing fast, and looked up at the wall in front of her desk, lined with pictures of her family. &ldquo;I want to go home.&rdquo;

Mario blinked. Taew never cried, that was the impression he&rsquo;d gotten of her. She was the brave freshman, the willful woman, the natural dancer, the confident student who hadn&rsquo;t even felt homesick when school started, though her home was far away. Even when she had complained endlessly about the cold weather, she never gave the image that she was yearning for home.

Taew suddenly felt something settle around her shoulders and before she could say anything, he was wrapping her in her coat and pulling her out of her seat all at once. &ldquo;What are you doing?&rdquo; she asked, the sheer surprise from his actions keeping her voice steady, and she was able to remember to slip on her shoes before being dragged from her room.

&ldquo;What the; she yelled when he had led her outside to a late winter flurry. &ldquo;You know how much I hate the cold.&rdquo;

But he laughed, ignoring her complaints, forcing her through the white lawn and she shrieked when he threw snow at her face. Furious, she scooped up her own handful and shoved it in his face but when he could breathe again, he only laughed harder and his insanity must have spread because she was soon gasping with shrilly laughter too. When they collapsed on one of the benches, the cold seeped back into Taew&rsquo;s flesh and her lungs felt like frosted caves but she didn&rsquo;t quite mind it. It made her feel alive.

&ldquo;Just because you made me laugh, does not make us friends,&rdquo; she spoke up suddenly.

He chortled, &ldquo;Was I asking to be your friend?&rdquo;

She wondered how they could do this. Unexplainable though it was, she liked it, liked that they could sit and talk and hate on each other and be civilized all at once. They must be crazy.

She hadn&rsquo;t realized her head had fallen on his shoulder until her left ear felt much colder than her right ear. Taew sat up and sighed. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m going back in. I&rsquo;ll need to call my dad.&rdquo; Somehow, this was his intention and he&rsquo;d succeeded.

&ldquo;Hey,&rdquo; Mario said, making her pause, &ldquo;if you ever want a ride to the Theater&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;No,&rdquo; she cut him off curtly, &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think so.&rdquo; She left him to laugh by himself.

Margie sighed deeply. She had just finished presenting her semi-final, an in-progress canvas of primary colors working to form an abstract picture. Her professor&rsquo;s response had been encouraging, which lit up her mood and allowed her to look forward to the upcoming break. In time as she made her way to Fury Commons, she shook her head of its wide grin, realizing that she had been humming the scandalously flirtatious Thai song which Nadech had performed just recently.

The sky was darkening into that deep deep blue of night, making her hold her breath awaiting the longer summer days. She planned on picking up a sandwich in the Commons before retiring to her room and studying a bit for her last test tomorrow, after which she planned on going home to await her brother and having a complete family dinner.

When she came out of the Commons, Margie bit her lip and decided to take one stroll through the river walk, this being one of the warmest nights since their last snow fall; the air was just comfortable enough that the walk warmed her but not enough to need to take off her jacket. Her eyes averted from the distant stars when her phone rang.


&ldquo;Margie,where are you? I need your opinion on&mdash;&ldquo;

Margie glanced up, then behind her.

&ldquo;&mdash;but Kim wants us to go out to dinner instead of cooking, and O is still pestering to join&mdash;&ldquo;

Margie suddenly felt excessively chilled; the stars above seemed to dim and she felt an urgency to return to her dorm now.


&ldquo;Mai&hellip;I&rsquo;m on my way back.&rdquo; She gasped silently when a hand covered her mouth. Instinctively, she reached up to try and rip the hand away but it was pressing so hard it felt like her lips were being cut by her teeth and with her breathing stifled, she could barely fight as she was dragged amongst a patch of trees.

&ldquo;Don&rsquo;t be scared, it&rsquo;s just me Margie,&rdquo; a familiar voice breathed close to her ear and she was prevented from flinching away. &ldquo;I won&rsquo;t hurt you. Come with me and everything will be okay.&rdquo;

She was desperately still trying to pry his hand away when Jacob&rsquo;s fingers squeezed her hip painfully.

&ldquo;Margie, don&rsquo;t be scared,&rdquo; he voiced insistently.

She gave a muffled whimper.

&ldquo;Okay? I&rsquo;ll let go of your mouth if you don&rsquo;t scream. Wouldn&rsquo;t want to distract all the studiers would we?&rdquo; Slowly, Jacob drew his hand away from her mouth, crossing his arm around the front of her chest.

Shaking, she fought against her instinct to scream. &ldquo;W-what are you doing?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I want to take you away for the week.&rdquo;

She stiffened in disbelief, &ldquo;What?&rdquo;

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s Spring Break. We should take this opportunity to get to know each other better. To love each other more.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What are you talking about?&rdquo; she asked, unable to keep the panicked shrillness from her voice. &ldquo;What do you want?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Didn&rsquo;t all my little gifts and messages tell you already?&rdquo; He pressed his nose to her hair, she squeezed her eyes against the violation of her space. &ldquo;I love you. And I know you wanted to love me too. You liked my gifts didn&rsquo;t you?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Please. Let me go.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Now, now, don&rsquo;t be shy. I love that you&rsquo;re so incredibly chaste and innocent but this is our chance. Come with me Margie. Spend the break with me and I&rsquo;ll show you my devotion.&rdquo;

He&rsquo;s crazy, she thought. &ldquo;My parents&hellip;th-they won&rsquo;t allow me to&hellip;&rdquo;

&ldquo;Tell them you&rsquo;re going to a friend&rsquo;s house. You have lots of friends, don&rsquo;t you?&rdquo; And for the first time, she noticed an angry lilt in his voice, possessive almost, like he resented that she did have so many friends. &ldquo;But this upcoming week is all for you and me. I promise you&rsquo;ll like it.&rdquo;

She shook her head and tried to pull away but he kept his grip firm. &ldquo;No, please let me go.&rdquo; Would he hurt her if she cried for help? Margie glanced down the path at the blue pole that was supposed to bring the campus police when a button on the pole was pushed. Maybe if she could make him bring them close to it.

&ldquo;&hellip;just you and me, welcoming the spring with our new love,&rdquo; he was saying quietly, sighing against her neck.

&ldquo;Jacob,&rdquo; she swallowed her fear hard, &ldquo;C-can we please go talk somewhere? Somewhere else? It-it&rsquo;s cold out here.&rdquo;

He smiled at her, &ldquo;How about my car?&rdquo;

Breath hitching, she nodded jerkily. &ldquo;I-I might need to call my friend. She was on the phone with me before&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;Forget about them,&rdquo; he ordered harshly, before softening. &ldquo;This is going to be just you and me. In fact, I think I&rsquo;ll take these,&rdquo; he pulled her keys from her pocket, &ldquo;And get your things from your room for you. We&rsquo;ll be ready for our trip together.&rdquo;

&ldquo;But&hellip;&rdquo; How did he think he was going to get away with this? Yet, no one had come looking for her yet. &ldquo;Okay. I&rsquo;ll&hellip;I can wait in your car for you.&rdquo; She could get away while he was inside the dorm and inform the campus officers.

He turned her around to face him and his eyes gleamed, his smile wide. &ldquo;No. First, I&rsquo;ll take you to my place. That way, I know I can trust you.&rdquo; He leaned closer and closer and she knew he wanted to kiss her and it scared the hell out of her because she didn&rsquo;t want this stalker to touch her any more than he already had so Margie pulled up her knees to strike him in his stomach, then ran as he cringed in pain.


She yelped when he pounced on her, catching her legs, bringing her down hard. Her hands flew out, the cement tearing her skin raw but all she could think of was to kick away from Jacob. &ldquo;HELP!&rdquo; He crawled up to keep her pinned on the ground. Margie clawed at him, at whatever part of him she could reach, unable to see through her tears. &ldquo;HELP!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Why are you doing this?&rdquo; he asked as he struggled on top of her. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just trying to be with you.&rdquo;

With as much strength as she could muster, Margie shoved him off of her, slipping and crawiling to the blue emergency pole and jamming the button, just before he hurtled himself at her again. This time, he was not gentle, but pushed her forcefully against the ground.

"You're not playing nicely, Margie. I don't like this. Come, we're going to my place."

"NO!" She bit his hand, making him cry out, yet not letting go of her. But then they heard sirens.

Jacob was becoming desperate now, practically dragging her across the mud. Margie's eyes were hot with tears but she relied upon instinct to scratch and hit wherever she could. She wanted to get away. This was a nightmare, and she wanted to wake up.

All of a sudden, Jacob was gone. Margie was surrounded by people in uniforms, there was the breaking voice of walkie-talkies, and the sirens were ringing louder. The police had arrived.

"Are you hurt?" The officer standing before her wrapped a blanket over her shoulders. Margie could barely respond to her questions. "Miss, please, come."

They were all gathered in the lounge, shock and an underlying fury keeping them all silent and brooding. Only Aum seemed to have need of voicing his outrage, cursing under his breath and pacing like a wild animal around the room. &ldquo;Assholes like that on campus&hellip;the;if I had been on duty with the other officers I&rsquo;d have strung the kid up in a tree&hellip;&rdquo;

Margie&rsquo;s parents had come to fetch her home before her friends could ask so much as one question, and the long night had dragged on as the truth of what had occurred sunk into them. It was two am when Mario showed up in their midst, having returned from Margie&rsquo;s house. He was immediately attacked with questions and demands to know how she was.

Mario, more serious than they had ever seen him, sat himself between Nadech and Kim. &ldquo;She&rsquo;s with her parents. The police questioned her up until two hours ago and have the guy in custody.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What&rsquo;s going to happen to Jacob?&rdquo; Mai asked, with venom that implied she hoped he was punished severely.

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo; They all shared dark, almost murderous looks.

Ploy eyed all of their haggard faces. &ldquo;Margie&rsquo;s looked after for now. You guys have class tomorrow. Go to bed.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Who cares about class?&rdquo; Mario looked up, face shadowed with annoyance and frustration.

&ldquo;Mario, she&rsquo;s right. You need to get some rest,&rdquo; Kim told him. Instead of replying, he shrugged off her hand on his shoulder and strode from the room.

&ldquo;C&rsquo;mon,&rdquo; Mai took Yaya&rsquo;s hand after a brief reassuring smile at Om.

It's been a while!!!



You're Average Person :)
awww thanks for the updates jjinx. It was nice of Mario to cheer Taew up and gahh poor Margie, I was hoping Boy was gonna come to the rescue but thanks goodness she's safe


sarNie Adult
JJINXX I love the fact that you add 4+1 Channel 3 Concert in it! Love it.
Thank you so much for the update ja. *hug*


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 19

&ldquo;Can you believe that stalker that was going after Margie?&rdquo; Beau shivered. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m so glad they caught him. That just gives me the creeps. Poor girl.&rdquo;

&ldquo;She must be traumatized.&rdquo;

The girls sat around in a circle in Mai&rsquo;s living room, pillows and soft blankets strewn around. Their concern for Margie&mdash;whose parents had not allowed her to join her friends that evening due to the recent events&mdash;put a damper on their celebration of spring break and all were missing their quiet artist. While the girls verbally abused the stalker and vented about the overly-obsessive and dangerous people that seemed to be cropping up more and more often these days, they grew rather depressed about life.

&ldquo;I hope Margie&rsquo;s doing alright. You know, not that I would ever wish this happened to anyone, but I especially wish it didn&rsquo;t happen to Margie,&rdquo; Yaya said with a sympathetic frown. &ldquo;She always seems to have such an innocent outlook on the world and you can tell she was finally just starting to have courage in herself that I hate to think that she might have withdrawn even further from everything, even us, after encountering someone like that. I mean, how can you trust anyone anymore?&rdquo;

&ldquo;That may be true, but I think she&rsquo;s tougher than that. She has good judgment and was a lot calmer about the situation than I ever could have been,&rdquo; Kim said, &ldquo;And she has us, right? We&rsquo;re proof that you can trust people.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh? Like how you put snow in Mark&rsquo;s shoes the other day when you said you&rsquo;d do him the favor of going to get them?&rdquo; Beau snickered. It had been the sludgy kind of snow too.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m still a trustworthy person,&rdquo; Kim said with dignity, before returning to the matter at hand. &ldquo;Jacob was her secret admirer. She never could have expected for someone who claimed to like her to be some sort of&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;Psycho. What he did, scaring her, that was not anywhere near love. That was plain assault.&rdquo; Beau&rsquo;s indignation dripped heavily from her scowl.

&ldquo;Yeah. People like him&hellip;like that, is the reason we&rsquo;re all so jaded these days.&rdquo; Mai hugged her panda toy with a solemn expression on her face.

&ldquo;Where did the old times of innocent love go?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I know right?&rdquo; Yaya suddenly sighed up at the sparkling full moon through their window. &ldquo;I want to go back to the time when people had dates out in the open air; when waiting for a love letter was the most exciting anticipation; when simply holding hands was a thrill without having to think about what your next move would be.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Girl, that don&rsquo;t exist anymore,&rdquo; Beau shook her head. &ldquo;And I wouldn&rsquo;t want to wait days for correspondence. If my boyfriend doesn&rsquo;t answer a text I send him instantly, he better watch out.&rdquo;

Yaya laughed. &ldquo;I think love letters are so romantic. It&rsquo;s one of my dreams to receive a love letter filled with pet names and words that make me blush.&rdquo;
Mai, Beau and Kim smiled at their friend&rsquo;s feminine wishes.

Mario sighed again.

&ldquo;Not to point out you being a party pooper, and not that this is really a party or anything, and not that I don&rsquo;t know you&rsquo;re worried about Margie, as we all are, but man, stop sighing.&rdquo; Mark looked over to where Mario was slumped back on the sofa, looking listless and sullen.

Mario frowned once before conceding, &ldquo;Sorry. Not really good company tonight.&rdquo;

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s cool man.&rdquo;

Nadech was leaned back on his hands on the floor. &ldquo;Have you visited her since break started?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yeah, every day. She&rsquo;s just really quiet.&rdquo; Suddenly Mario jumped to his feet and kicked one of his empty soda cans. &ldquo;Goddammit, why the hell did this have to happen to her? Nothing ever happens to her, so I&rsquo;ve been telling her for years she needs to loosen up and not be so closed in on herself; that she needed to talk to people so she&rsquo;d have a fun and exciting life and the first time she experiences something out of the ordinary, it&rsquo;s all from some f.cked up as.hole trying to rape her.&rdquo;

His two friends nodded, face pinched with anger on Margie&rsquo;s behalf, but it could never equal to the sadness Mario felt, because he was closer to Margie, was her brother, her friend, her defender, practically her other half. He used to even tell her they were twins because their names were similar.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not your fault,&rdquo; Nadech said firmly.

Mario sighed.

&ldquo;What are you guys doing here?&rdquo; Mario and Kim asked at the same time.

&ldquo;We&rsquo;re here to see Margie,&rdquo; Mark and Beau said.

The guys and girls realized they were all determined to be there, so all quietly trooped up to the door.

Ding dong

&ldquo;Mrs. Balenciaga,&rdquo; Mario greeted a slightly surprised woman who looked like an older version of Margie, &ldquo;Is Margie still up?&rdquo;

&ldquo;She&hellip;yes, she is. Come in.&rdquo; She widened the doorway, and motioned to the stair, &ldquo;Why don&rsquo;t you all go on up?&rdquo;

One by one, they ducked their heads as they passed by the mom, climbing up the stairs.

Mark knocked on the bedroom door and Mario called out, &ldquo;Margie? It&rsquo;s us.&rdquo;

Momentarily, she was there, brows raised a bit in astonishment at the large group. &ldquo;What are you all doing here?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Thought you might miss my handsome face,&rdquo; Mark was the first to invite himself in, and the others simply followed until everyone was inside, leaning on the wall or desk, sitting on the floor or edge of her bed.

&ldquo;I hope we&rsquo;re not disturbing you,&rdquo; Yaya said. When her arms wrapped around Margie, she felt tears tumble past her lashes and spill on her cheeks. Yaya pulled back. &ldquo;What&rsquo;s wrong?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Margie, are you ok?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sorry, we didn&rsquo;t mean to--&rdquo;

&ldquo;Should we not have come?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh my gosh&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;If you want, Mark can leave.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Hey!&rdquo; Mark whipped an offended look at Kim.

Margie&rsquo;s lips trembled and then she gave a tremulous laugh and shook her head. &ldquo;Stay. All of you.&rdquo;

There was a knock at the door and Margie&rsquo;s mom stuck her head in before opening the door all the way. &ldquo;Honey, another friend of yours is here.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Margie!&rdquo; Taew flew at Margie, who was nearly thrown off balance from the force of their hug.

&ldquo;Do all of us get special hugs too, yo?&rdquo; Kim asked with attitude.

&ldquo;Only semi-special hugs,&rdquo; Taew said, and proceeded to embrace everyone.

&ldquo;You&rsquo;re back already?&rdquo; Mark asked.

&ldquo;How come you didn&rsquo;t call so we could come pick you up from the airport?&rdquo; Mario asked.

&ldquo;I got back fine,&rdquo; she assured, &ldquo;I just wanted to see you all asap. How are you?&rdquo; she asked Margie.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m doing better. And everyone&rsquo;s here now.&rdquo; Margie smiled. She couldn&rsquo;t help the warmth that tingled through her seeing how much support she had and how much she meant to all of her friends.

&ldquo;Alright, now the real party starts!&rdquo; Yaya cheered.

&ldquo;Mm. Where does your mom get this ice cream?&rdquo; Mark asked through a spoonful of the cold sweet concoction. &ldquo;Ah! Ow! Brain freeze!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Stupid! Leave some for us too!&rdquo; Mario demanded.

&ldquo;Have chips instead.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Uh, no. Those are mine!&rdquo; Mai yanked back the bag of Doritos.

He scrunched his nose. &ldquo;Ugh, forget you. I&rsquo;ll just have some Skittles.&rdquo;

Yaya slapped Mario&rsquo;s hands. &ldquo;Those are my Skittles!&rdquo; She, Beau and Nadech were playing poker using the candies as chips. Kim casually swiped her hand across the small desk so that the three players&rsquo; Skittles scattered and messed up. While they groaned and complained to her, Kim shared a secret smirk with Mario.

&ldquo;I was totally winning!&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, I was winning because I had the most yellow ones.&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, red was the highest, so I was winning!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Damn, you&rsquo;re tall,&rdquo; Taew wrinkled her nose enviously, looking at her and Mai&rsquo;s reflection in Margie&rsquo;s full length mirror.

&ldquo;Yeah, I was the awkward one in school because I used to always be taller than the boys. And then I got used to it and always played sports with them--and beat them. Remember that one time Nadech?!&rdquo;

&ldquo;That never happened!&rdquo; was Nadech&rsquo;s prompt denial.

&ldquo;Totally kicked his butt,&rdquo; Mai grinned before giving Taew a shove. &ldquo;Oh stop looking at your gorgeous self.&rdquo;


&ldquo;What? What could possibly be wrong with you?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I wish I had more curves,&rdquo; Taew tilted her head critically.

Margie asked, &ldquo;Like Kim?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh god, remember how many guys were chasing after her in high school?&rdquo;

&ldquo;You exaggerate,&rdquo; Kim rolled her eyes. &ldquo;You know who&rsquo;s really booty-licious?&rdquo; She pulled Yaya over and turned her around. &ldquo;Look at that! Feast on the booty!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Okay, AWKWARD,&rdquo; Yaya turned back to face them sternly.

Margie smiled. She felt a weight on her left when Mario leaned against her, then balanced out when Kim leaned on her other side.

&ldquo;You&rsquo;re still coming to school right?&rdquo; Kim asked.

Margie nodded. &ldquo;Yes. But my parents want me to live at home for the rest of the semester instead of the dorm.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh,&rdquo; Kim said with disappointment; despite understanding the feeling of protectiveness her parents are going through, Kim was still sad that the experience would mar her friend&rsquo;s presence in the rest of their lives.

&ldquo;But I told them I didn&rsquo;t want to.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Really?&rdquo; Mario said, surprised.

&ldquo;M-hm. I had to really fight for it and my mom is still unconvinced, but&hellip;I think my dad is kind of proud that I&rsquo;m trying this hard to just&hellip;I dunno, move forward, I guess. I don&rsquo;t want the rest of my life to depend on what happened that night.&rdquo;

&ldquo;And we&rsquo;re all going to be there!&rdquo; Kim added, &ldquo;I mean, I know the words of a bunch of young adults might sound unreliable but we love you and we&rsquo;ll always be there for you.&rdquo;

And Margie knew that was true, which was partially why she trusted in herself to not fall into the security of her home. Truly, the incident with Jacob scarred a part of her soul, but it would be unfair to herself if she clung to that unfortunate event forever. How would she grow? How would she be happy if she didn&rsquo;t continue to live her life? And even better, to live that life with people as great as the ones she was surrounded by right now.

&ldquo;Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!&rdquo; The others were encouraging the competition between Mai and Mark, who were each gulping down a can of Mountain Dew.

Kim face-palmed herself. &ldquo;I hope your parents don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;re crazy.&rdquo;

Margie laughed.

&ldquo;Next year, we&rsquo;re going on a road trip during Spring Break!&rdquo; Mark slapped the table. It was the last day before they had to head back to school, an unusually warm day, so they&rsquo;d gotten together at the local Perkins for breakfast. &ldquo;My brother didn&rsquo;t get to come home for break so we definitely need to make up for it twice over!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yeah, Taew got to go to California,&rdquo; Mai grumbled, though she knew it was because Taew&rsquo;s family resided there. &ldquo;Where&rsquo;d you say your brother is? He&rsquo;s the one in the picture on your desk right?&rdquo;

Mark nodded. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the one. He&rsquo;s in South Africa. He&rsquo;ll be back next fall.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Speaking of next year,&rdquo; Kim said, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been wondering if any of you are interested in living off campus next year in apartments.&rdquo;

Mario patted his mouth with a napkin, &ldquo;Kim and I have looked around at different places close to campus. It&rsquo;s slightly cheaper and we wouldn&rsquo;t have to worry about matching our move-in times with the school. Plus, more space! I really want my own kitchen and stuff.&rdquo;

&ldquo;But it&rsquo;ll be such a hassle getting to campus,&rdquo; Yaya said.

&ldquo;I have a car,&rdquo; Mario offered up enthusiastically. &ldquo;And we&rsquo;d pick something within walking distance!&rdquo;

&ldquo;I wouldn&rsquo;t mind,&rdquo; Mai said thoughtfully, &ldquo;but the residence halls are just so convenient.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yeah, you can roll out of bed and be in class all in the same ten minutes.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What do you think Nadech?&rdquo; Mario asked.

Nadech shrugged. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m cool with anything,&rdquo; he sipped placidly at his mug of hot chocolate topped off with whipped cream.

&ldquo;Well, think about,&rdquo; Kim ordered, &ldquo;because if there&rsquo;re enough people who want to, we&rsquo;ll need to find a place and figure out leases and stuff.&rdquo;

Aum watched with a grin on his face as Aff talked to and played around with the little elementary kids that she was surrounded by on the playground. She had volunteered at the local elementary school since her first year and was a favorite of the staff and teachers there. She was so great with kids, so patient and understanding of their young hearts that he was sure she would make the best teacher in the country.

Beside him was an empty swing which a little boy claimed. &ldquo;I want Miss Aff to live with me because she is super nice!&rdquo; he declared confidently.

Aum smiled softly at Eric, who was one of Aff&rsquo;s favorite students. &ldquo;Hate to break it to you little guy, but Miss Aff is already living with me.&rdquo;

Eric frowned. &ldquo;Is she your wife?&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, she is my girlfriend.&rdquo;

&ldquo;How come you live together already? I thought you had to be married to live together, like mom and dad.&rdquo;

He chuckled. &ldquo;You can live together if you love each other.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Oh,&rdquo; Eric seemed to turn that thought over in his head, then gave a little sigh, &ldquo;Still, it&rsquo;s confusing. You shouldn&rsquo;t confuse people like this.&rdquo;

The bell rang for the end of recess.


&ldquo;See ya Eric.&rdquo;

As Aff waved at the kids who were lining up to go back inside, and went over to bid the teacher good bye, Aum&rsquo;s smile grew wider, taking Eric&rsquo;s words into consideration. Yes, he shouldn&rsquo;t confuse people, he thought with a silent laugh.

&ldquo;Why are we here?&rdquo; Mario sighed.

&ldquo;O, if I hear another complaint from you again, I&rsquo;m tossing you over the railings,&rdquo; Mark said, rolling his eyes.

&ldquo;But I&rsquo;m cold,&rdquo; Mario pouted.

&ldquo;It&rsquo;s such a nice day out!&rdquo; Mark gestured at the sky where whiffs of clouds floated and the wind and sun kissed them all.

Indeed, it was possibly the warmest day of spring so far, and feeling too cooped up, the friends decided to take a break from studying and visit the park that was a twenty minute drive from town. The park consisted of lush forests newly greening from spring&rsquo;s magic, along with having multiple pools of water throughout and a hill with wooden stairs in its side for people to climb up to the top, providing an open view of the city.

They had just made it to the top of the hill.

&ldquo;The view&rsquo;s&hellip;not all that,&rdquo; Yaya admitted. It couldn&rsquo;t be helped though, with the city so close to the park and the park itself being small.

Meanwhile, Nadech was making use of his camera, having taken photos all day since they got there.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m hungry,&rdquo; Margie said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. Mai, whose arm was hooked with hers, nodded in agreement.

&ldquo;McDonald&rsquo;s anyone?&rdquo;

&ldquo;This place would be great for a photo shoot. Oh! Imagine in the fall with the leaves all red and gold!&rdquo; Kim said as they made their way through the trail of the forest. She stopped in her tracks. &ldquo;What was that?&rdquo;

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; Taew asked, peering around with the others.

&ldquo;There it was again!&rdquo;

Mario rolled his eyes at them drolly, &ldquo;Yeah, I heard it too. That was Margie&rsquo;s and Mai&rsquo;s stomachs growling.&rdquo;

Sure enough, one or both of their stomachs made the gurgling cry for food, making everyone laugh.

Yaya, who had skipped ahead of the crew, came rushing back at them urgently. &ldquo;Ohmygod you guys.&rdquo;

They kept laughing, not hearing her quiet gasp.


They went on laughing.

&ldquo;Will you bitches listen up!?&rdquo;

They all froze, this being one of the rare times that Yaya ever swore, and when they got over their surprise, they finally looked more closely at where she was waving them over to. They all hurried after her to peer through the trees to a clearing next to one of the natural pools where two familiar people were, one who was kneeling, holding the other&rsquo;s hand.



&ldquo;Shush,&rdquo; Kim said but before they even had to perk up their ears to listen to why Aum was on his knee, though anyone might have guessed it, they all saw him open up a small box where something that was suspiciously sparkly reflected the sun&rsquo;s light.

&ldquo;Holy mother of&mdash;&ldquo;

Margie clamped her hand down on Mario&rsquo;s mouth and luckily, the lovers were too wrapped up in each other&mdash;literally, they were hugging now in what could only be assumed as a confirmation of Aff saying YES&mdash;that they didn&rsquo;t notice anything or anyone else.

&ldquo;Oh my gosh, oh my gosh,&rdquo; Taew kept repeating excitedly.

&ldquo;They&rsquo;re. Getting. Married,&rdquo; Kim said, eyes twice as big as they usually were.

&ldquo;That is one big-ass rock!&rdquo; Mark was, of course, referring to the diamond ring on Aff&rsquo;s finger, not the rocks piled high all around the park.

&ldquo;And you have one big-ass mouth,&rdquo; Aum replied, turning to them with one brow cocked at catching them all sneaking.

But none of them cared to feel guilty, too excited by this new development, and rushing over to congratulate the couple with well wishes and squeals of encouragement.

&ldquo;When&rsquo;s the wedding?!&rdquo; Taew demanded.

&ldquo;This summer,&rdquo; Aum said.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;d really like it we could get married in Thailand where our parents are,&rdquo; Aff added.

&ldquo;Wow, that&rsquo;s going to be amazing!&rdquo; Mai clapped her hands.

&ldquo;And you&rsquo;re all invited!&rdquo;


The park was not particularly peaceful for the rest of their stay.

Hello Lovelies! It feels so nice to get an update in during these busy days. Hope everything is well for you all! Have a great night!



Wonderful, Jjinxxy! I love your writing. I'm an addict to your FF. This story is truly fun. Thank you!!!


Is your "nom" Fai-approved?
Chapter 20

Mario, Kim, Mark, Yaya, Nadech, Mai, Om, and Great were down in the lounge watching &ldquo;Eclipse&rdquo; together on a Saturday evening.

Mario looked up with intrigue, &ldquo;So&hellip;like, when a werewolf and a vampire shake hands, the temperature is normal then?&rdquo; The others looked at him, weirded out. &ldquo;You know, because one&rsquo;s so hot and the other&rsquo;s real cold?&rdquo;

They all then looked at him with wonderment, realizing what he meant.

After a few revelatory moments, Kim said, &ldquo;Who here&rsquo;s Team Jacob?&rdquo;

The rest started answering and Mario watched dully as, soon, everyone was debating over which guy Bella should have ended up with, without commenting on what he thought had been one of his cleverest remarks ever. He tugged his blanket tighter around him and got up for the bathroom.

Done with the bathroom, he grew curious where Taew was, since she hadn&rsquo;t joined them on their movie night.

Taew looked up from her laptop. &ldquo;Come in,&rdquo; she said, seeing Mario peek in from the door.

&ldquo;What&rsquo;s up?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Just watching lakorn.&rdquo;

&ldquo;You ditched our movie night for your own lakorn? Tsk tsk,&rdquo; he shook his head, helping himself to the seat on her bed beside her.

Taew shrugged. &ldquo;I do what I want,&rdquo; she said sassily.

He couldn&rsquo;t help smirking, and joined in to see what she was watching.

After about ten minutes, he said, &ldquo;How can you watch Sawan Bieng? I mean, I love Ken and Ann but&hellip;&rdquo;

&ldquo;I know, it&rsquo;s hard to love Kawee. But you know, this scene just makes me totally want to forgive him.&rdquo; The one scene currently playing was when Kawee had been searching for Narin and spends the night at Sam&rsquo;s place and he lays in bed with the memories of all the horrible things he did going through his head and he cries beautiful sad tears.

&ldquo;Uh huh,&rdquo; Mario nodded. &ldquo;But still&hellip;&rdquo;

She answers thoughtfully, &ldquo;But it made me think of&hellip;Voldemort.&rdquo;

Mario jerked his head back. &ldquo;Whaaa?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I remembered Hermione describing horcruxes to Ron and Harry and she said the only way to put back together a torn soul is by feeling painful remorse, right? And, Kawee hasn&rsquo;t killed anyone but what he did was also really bad and during THIS scene, he looked like he was really feeling remorse and that it was really painful to him,&rdquo; Taew concluded.

Mario turned back to the screen and watched and he thought he understood where Taew was coming from and that she wasn&rsquo;t trying to convince him, but that was just what the scene looked like to her and it oddly made a whole lot of sense.

&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t believe you were able to draw a connection between Harry Potter and Sawan Bieng.&rdquo; He blinked in disbelief.

&ldquo;Skills,&rdquo; she declared smugly.

&ldquo;Do ya&rsquo;ll know the cute shit I just witnessed?&rdquo; Min asked, bounding down to the lounge where the others were.

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; Kim asked.

Min held up her iphone. &ldquo;Look at this.&rdquo;

Kim leaning in, looked, then grabbed at the phone. &ldquo;WHAT. IS. THIS.&rdquo;

&ldquo;What?&rdquo; Yaya asked. She and Mark and a few of them put their heads together, and their jaws dropped.

&ldquo;WHOA BABY!&rdquo; Mark exclaimed.

&ldquo;HALE, we gotta check this out!&rdquo;

&ldquo;What is it?!&rdquo; Great called out as they were about to hurry up the stairs, since he&rsquo;d been too lazy to get up and actually look at the picture.

Mai answered, &ldquo;Min had a picture of O and Taew snuggling; I think they fell asleep together.&rdquo;

He snorted. &ldquo;Those two? I knew it all along.&rdquo; He yawned and got up off the couch to turn in. &ldquo;Night.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Night,&rdquo; she and Om replied. They were left alone since everyone else had gone up to bed, or to creep on the shocking scene of Mario and Taew.
Om checked over his shoulder to make sure no one was coming back in, then snuck a full peck on Mai&rsquo;s cheek. She gave a mock-glare at him before shuffling through the movies in her hands.

&ldquo;What do you want to watch next?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Mm&hellip;Let me think about it.&rdquo; He waited a few seconds, then pecked her again. She ignored it, though a smile was tugging her lips up.

&ldquo;You must be thinking real deeply.&rdquo;

&ldquo;This is helping me,&rdquo; Om grinned, and pecked her again. She smiled full out this time. When he went in once again, she turned her head in time for their lips to meet.

&ldquo;There, that should be enough to help you decide,&rdquo; she said, their lips a hair&rsquo;s breadth apart.

&ldquo;Uh-uh, wait, I need more help,&rdquo; he cupped her face to kiss her again, as she laughingly leaned away and he kept following with more smacks of their lips.

Great came to a stop at the door way, having intended to retrieve his blanket, but just walked back out shaking his head and sighing with a, &ldquo;All this cute shit going on. And me&hellip;.forever alone.&rdquo;

&ldquo;They&rsquo;re so cute in there,&rdquo; Katherine said to Beau outside her and Taew&rsquo;s room. &ldquo;I feel kind of awkward going in to wake them up.&rdquo;

&ldquo;OH MY BUDDHA WHAT IS UP IN THIS HOUSE!&rdquo; Mark yelled as he lunged through the door right past Katherine and Beau, followed by Kim, Yaya, Min, and Nadech.

Beau gave a flat look at Katherine, &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t worry, they&rsquo;ve got you covered,&rdquo; she said as they heard more shouts of scandal, along with Mario&rsquo;s &ldquo;YOU&rsquo;RE ON MY ANKLE!&rdquo; and Kim&rsquo;s &ldquo;HOW LONG HAS THIS BEEN GOING ON!&rdquo; and Min&rsquo;s &ldquo;POSE AGAIN! I need more pictures!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Damn, my back!&rdquo; Taew complained, leaning back to stretch. She glared resentfully at Yaya, who was lying on her bed, reading a book. &ldquo;Did you all really have to attack me and O the other day? Sheesh.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Well think of how strange it was seeing you two like that.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Ugh, I&rsquo;m gonna get Min back one of these days.&rdquo;

&ldquo;I dunno why you insist on being frenemies with Mario. It&rsquo;s almost as useless as me saying I don&rsquo;t like&mdash;&ldquo; Yaya stopped herself. She almost revealed her secret. She buried her face in her book.

Taew whirled on her. &ldquo;You like what?&rdquo; When Yaya ignored her, she went over and dragged her by the ankle. &ldquo;Yo! You can&rsquo;t just let things like that slip and expect to get away with it. Tell me who you like!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Augh! Let go! I don&rsquo;t like anyone!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Lies! I know you like Mario that&rsquo;s why you jumped on my back so hard the other day when we fell asleep in here!&rdquo;

&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t like O!&rdquo; Yaya yelled back.

&ldquo;Then it&rsquo;s gotta be Pope! You are so the type to like older guys!&rdquo;

&ldquo;No, just shut it Taew!&rdquo;

Taew&rsquo;s jaw dropped dramatically, &ldquo;I KNOW! You like Great! Oooo, all that time Kim and him had that thing going on you must have been so jealous!&rdquo;

&ldquo;THAT&rsquo;S JUST STUPID! I DON&rsquo;T LIKE GREAT!&rdquo;

&ldquo;THAT&rsquo;S BECAUSE YOU LIKE WEIR!&rdquo;



&ldquo;WHAT THE EFF NO I DON&rsquo;T I LIKE NADECH!&rdquo; Yaya gasped when she realized she&rsquo;d been tricked.

&ldquo;HA!&rdquo; Taew pointed accusingly at Yaya. &ldquo;So THAT&rsquo;S who you like!&rdquo;

Yaya clapped a hand over Taew&rsquo;s mouth and dragged her over. &ldquo;Be quiet!&rdquo;

&ldquo;How long have you liked him???!&rdquo; Taew demanded quietly.

Yaya miserably shrugged. &ldquo;I dunno. I don&rsquo;t even care.&rdquo;

&ldquo;You&rsquo;re just saying that because you like him so much!&rdquo;

Yaya groaned. &ldquo;Stop being so smart.&rdquo;

&ldquo;SO, are you going to WOO him?&rdquo; Taew asked excitedly with her girly hands flapping.

Before Yaya could reply, Mai popped in. &ldquo;Who&rsquo;s wooing who?!&rdquo;

&ldquo;Yaya is&mdash;&ldquo; Suddenly, Taew gasped in shock, jaw dropping at Yaya. &ldquo;Did you just punch me in the boob?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Um&hellip;maybe?&rdquo; Yaya said guiltily, having indeed punched Taew&rsquo; sensitive chest area. &ldquo;Well I&rsquo;ve been jealous of your boobs for a while now,&rdquo; she spluttered.

Taew nodded understandingly. &ldquo;I guess that&rsquo;s understandable. But please refrain from hitting the girls again.&rdquo;


&ldquo;Are you okay?&rdquo; Mai gave Yaya a weird look.

&ldquo;Yeah! Why wouldn&rsquo;t I be? You&rsquo;re the one who has a cold! Go back to bed!&rdquo;

&ldquo;That&rsquo;s such a good idea,&rdquo; Mai sniffled and shuffled out in her bunny slippers. &ldquo;Word of advice, don&rsquo;t kiss boys who have just recovered from colds, no matter how cute they are.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Haha,&rdquo; Yaya said nervously, &ldquo;Right.&rdquo;

When Mai was gone, Taew asked, &ldquo;What the heck? Why don&rsquo;t you want her to know?&rdquo;

&ldquo;BECAUSE,&rdquo; Yaya said, &ldquo;He doesn&rsquo;t like me in that way, and if I tell Mai, she&rsquo;ll go talk to him for me and it&rsquo;ll become blown up and HE&rsquo;LL feel horrible, and I&rsquo;LL feel horrible.&rdquo;

&ldquo;How do you know he doesn&rsquo;t like you?&rdquo; Taew demanded.

&ldquo;Well&hellip;I have a feeling he likes&hellip;someone else?&rdquo; It was hard for her to admit this suspicion, which was that Nadech harbored more than friendly feelings for Mai. Yaya felt positive that Mai was unaware of this, seeing as she was pretty much in love with Om, but it didn&rsquo;t make her feel better. She couldn&rsquo;t help thinking the way Nadech looked at Mai was unlike the way he looked at other girls and might or might not have to do with hidden feelings. Either way, she was not about to risk her own heart at the moment.

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m sure if you express your feelings and get him used to the idea, he&rsquo;d easily start liking you too. I mean, girl, you&rsquo;re gorgeous, you&rsquo;re nice and intelligent. What&rsquo;s not to like? IF he likes anyone currently, he&rsquo;d get over her fast.&rdquo;

&ldquo;NO, he wouldn&rsquo;t. Nadech isn&rsquo;t the type of person to get over a girl easily.&rdquo;

Taew could tell by the look on Yaya&rsquo;s face that this fact was something that both attracted her to Nadech, as well as made her sorry for it. &ldquo;Girl, sometimes it&rsquo;s in our hands to make men see sense. You could be letting go of your SOULMATE.&rdquo;

Yaya miserably shook her head. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t make this so serious. I&rsquo;m only&hellip;crushing on him. I&rsquo;m still young, I&rsquo;ll probably meet tons of new guys in the future and forget about him.&rdquo;

&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t sound like you want to meet new guys and forget him,&rdquo; Taew snorted.

&ldquo;You know what Taew,&rdquo; Yaya grumpily placed her hands on her hips, &ldquo;Just&hellip;just go back to sleep.&rdquo; Then she added, &ldquo;With O. Hmph.&rdquo;

Taew shook her head after Yaya left. &ldquo;You try so hard to help &lsquo;em.&rdquo;

Taew frowned when she got outside of her workplace, thinking the weather should hurry up and decide to stay warm already. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s already April, damn.&rdquo;
Her second semester felt like it breezed her by and soon, she and her friends would already be completing their first year of college. Taew felt proud of herself and a bit nostalgic as well, thinking of all the things that happened and things she went through with the others that would never be experienced for the first time again, but would instead live on as memories.

Just then, from the corner of her eye, she noticed a shadow from across the street.

The man who was walking on the other side was watching her and she looked over, he called over, &ldquo;Hey honey, need someone to walk you home?&rdquo;

She repressed feelings of disgust and kept walking the last few steps to the bus stop sign. Taew rolled her eyes as he made a few remarks at her. Just when she was about to lose her patience and tell him to leave her the eff alone, a car screeched to a stop in front of her.

Mario rolled down his car window. &ldquo;Hop in.&rdquo;

She did so without comment.

&ldquo;You know, you really should just ride home with me. I feel like such a jerk every time I drive past you waiting for the bus.&rdquo;

&ldquo;Well you don&rsquo;t have to&mdash;&ldquo;

&ldquo;Look, I know you&rsquo;re real independent and all, but friends don&rsquo;t let friends drive drunk. Wait,&rdquo; he looked over, &ldquo;I mean, friends drive each other home. Yeah, that&rsquo;s what I meant. And besides, you really want to deal with creeps like that guy back there?&rdquo;

She sighed harshly. &ldquo;I guess not. Ugh, why are there always creeps hanging around when all I want to do is catch a bus ride home?&rdquo; she frowned darkly.

&ldquo;Well, maybe&hellip;you should dress crappier,&rdquo; he suggested sarcastically, seeing her in her skinny jeans that hugged her body along with her snug peacoat jacket, and her low heeled boots. Her face was lightly make-upped and the passing streetlamps threw flattering shadows across her girlish features.
Mario, who was not stingy when it came to appreciating others&rsquo; good qualities, grudgingly admitted silently that she was very pretty.

&ldquo;What the hell? This is what I like wearing, why should it make a difference? And are you saying I dress like a hooker?&rdquo; she asked.

&ldquo;NO, did you hear me say that?&rdquo; he rolled his eyes. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think you look like a hooker. But guys are gonna hit on you if you look good all the time.&rdquo;

Taew turned her eyes on him. Was he saying he thought she looked good all the time? For some reason she refused to believe he actually thought so highly of her, so she said, &ldquo;But is it my fault? Why can&rsquo;t these people just restrain their dirty minds and let the rest of us live in a safer world?&rdquo;

&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not saying it&rsquo;s your fault and as someone who has four, practically five, sisters and a mother, I don&rsquo;t find it fair that women are victimized this way. But while we can&rsquo;t change things right away, we always have to be careful. Just try not to stay out on the sidewalk too long,&rdquo; his voice had softened a little in genuine concern for her.

She sighed. &ldquo;I guess so&hellip;&rdquo;

When they got back to campus and were walking to Clark Hall, she held up her chin. &ldquo;But I&rsquo;m not a weakling either. I could probably take down a guy if he got too annoying.&rdquo;

&ldquo;How, stabbing him with your heels?&rdquo;

&ldquo;Hey, don&rsquo;t look down on me. I&rsquo;ve been dancing ballet for fifteen years and that&rsquo;s made me all muscle.&rdquo; She flexed her bicep, unseen under her coat. &ldquo;Feel it.&rdquo;

Mario glanced skeptically at her petite figure, but obliged and was surprised to be squeezing rock hard biceps, just as she claimed. Observing more carefully, he saw that those tight jeans really did hug toned thighs and calves.

She strode on with a satisfied look, one that wasn&rsquo;t bragging but merely self-confident, which Mario had to admire. Even though he couldn&rsquo;t often tolerate her.

"Hey, by the way, thanks for the ride."

He grinned, "You're welcome."

Thanks for reading.
@Dal: So glad to hear from you, dear!