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By the River
"Thea," he started flatly. "I... Whenever I talk to you, my heart starts to pound. I just think you're so cool and I feel so lucky to know you. I-I never really I had the desire to take this relationship to this length, not until I parked here. And it took me this long to figure out that I'm" he gulped. "Really attracted to you.

Thea stood rigidly as James began his explanation, too caught up in her own thoughts to really listen at first. Wait, you’re just now realizing what a catch I am? How was this not the first thing on your mind?

STOP IT! She ordered herself, actually listen to what he’s saying. Does that mean he loves you for you and not just your looks? And one of things that first attracted you to him was that he wasn’t like most guys, thinking only with his downstairs brain. Thea pulled herself out of her head to listen to the rest of what James had to say.

And all the things we ended up doing tonight were really things I secretly wanted to do all along. And the fact that you got mad because of me being so darn indecisive makes me so happy. You couldn't even believe how happy that makes me. And...

He paused. "I-I love you Thea. You make my day feel that much more great and... I wanna do this. But I want you to want to, not just to make me happy... so... I'm sure. I just want you to be happy. "


James had said that before, earlier this evening, in fact. Somehow now it seemed more real. This time she could swear she could hear the emotion behind his words. With those words her anger disappeared, and she returned his embrace.

“You know if you’d taken this tactic much earlier in the evening, we’d probably be on round two already,” she said with a sly smile.

By the River
The cool night breeze blew across her heated skin, but growing cold was the least of her worries at the moment. James came splashing out of the water, the excuses already tumbling from his lips. She couldn’t help but stare at him in disbelief. His mind is running a mile a minute? His mind should be on me! Isn’t this how this is supposed to work? Shouldn’t it be all about us? What in the hell do you have to think about?

James kissed her again, his hands going to her panties once more. She fought the urge to shy away from him. Oh, you know, I REALLY don’t think so.

James continued with his hurried explanation before Thea could respond. She glanced over that the car, recalling the already folded down back seats. Doubts and worries of her own began to fill her mind. Do I wanna go in the back of the car? I don’t know, do I? If I say yes, are you going to go back to being super nervous and suggest we go back in the water? How hot and cold can you run? If I say no, then I’ve been stringing him along, but how is that better than what he’s been doing to me? He gets into it and then… then I don’t know what the hell is going on.

And James’ intent look wasn’t helping matters any. Nothing seemed like the right answer any more. She wrapped her arms around herself in an effort to sort out her thoughts. It had all seemed so simple a little while ago. Was she really ready for this? She let out a sigh. Maybe she should just talk to him about it, but he’d never been comfortable with his feelings….

Gathering up her courage, she allowed her feelings of confusion play across her features. “I…I honestly don’t know. I was pretty sure it was what I wanted, but now…” she trailed off, uncertain of how to finish the sentence.

White noise and Titration
Marion watched in shocked horror as both of her lab partners not only did the same part of the experiment, but then both apparently lost interest in the experiment. Hello, what the hell man? What do I have to do? One more time, and then I’m gonna go ask Mrs. Heys for an extension or a new lab partner or something. She’d been understanding about Sarah’s SPECIAL problem, but now, NOW she had TWO of them to deal with.

Marion tapped the end of her pencil against her notebook trying to figure out what the best course of action was. Yelling had earned her shocked expressions, but apparently hadn’t helped any. Well, it had them focused long enough to start the experiment, but Marion could have done that all on her own. Although she figured Sarah had started on the math, but she wasn't even going to go there, since she'd ask the girl for help on it. Apparently that help wasn't coming and now it was being done at the cost of the rest of the experiment.

An evil smile broke across Marion’s face. She quickly sketched the results, taking extra time to carefully note the amount of liquid that had fallen in.

That accomplished she placed the three flasks that had changed color in front of her, then in a warped version of the shell game switched the beakers around as much as she could. Hope you were paying attention, to that last one.

Then replaced the flask of colored liquid with another, repeating the steps Will had done earlier. Then she began the slow process of refilling the burettes. Satisfied, she glanced down at her watch and noted the time and made a bet with herself to see which of her two lab partners would notice first.

By the River
"I... think we should get out of the water."

Thea blinked at him for a few seconds of all things she’d imagined he’d say getting out of the water hadn’t been anywhere on her list. Your hands are literally in my panties and now? NOW, we’re getting out of the water? Thea stifled a groan of frustration and took his hands in both of hers, pulling them free of her panties as she took a step back.

“If you think that’s best,” she said coldly and began to make her way out of the water. Get out of the water? Really?!? She was growing rather fond of the water actual. It was the first time she’d actually gotten James to respond to her affections and not only that he’d actually initiated some closeness on his own. This was the most affectionate she’d seen James, and she liked this side of him. She’d been beginning to wonder if he actually felt the way she did. She stalked out of the water and stopped looking over her shoulder at James, and let out a huge sigh. Why does he have to look so damn cute? She turned to face him; the sight of him standing in the middle of the river in nothing but his polka dot boxers made a small smile appear on her face.

Book pick up
Alex nodded and smiled at the compliment and at the description of their uniforms. She nodded her agreement that she’d try to make it to a game.

“Maybe it sounds sort of lame, but I think it’s interesting. I guess I can see why other people might think it’s boring. My sister thinks everything I read for fun is boring. Over winter break I read a book about the history of the bookshelf. She called me a dork the whole trip 'cause of that, but I thought it was a very informative read.”

Alex had to agree with Nick’s sister. In fact, she had said some of the same things about Roman’s choice of books over break. Although, the teasing was mostly due to the fact that he wanted to waste away his vacation reading, instead of joining her outside.

“Hey, that’s pretty good. I….I’m not sure that’s how it went down, but I’d be happy to help you too if you need it. It can be a team effort!”

I’m not sure how much her teacher would appreciate a team effort, Alex thought. But maybe what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.

Nick’s outburst was met by a “SHHHHHH!” from the librarian. Not seconds later, half the contents of a book shelf went tumbling onto the floor. The librarian sighed and rubbed her temple.

Alex offered the librarian a sympathetic smile, and was glad she wasn’t the source of her annoyance. She then pushed her chair back on two legs to survey the damage. Between Nick and Jessica they seemed to me making short work of collecting the books. Shrugging, she turned her attention back to Josie answering her earlier question.

“As far as I know, you won’t have to read Hamlet. It’s usually one Shakespeare play a year. Like I said, I read Macbeth last year and it’s Hamlet this year.” She leaned over and surveyed Josie’s poster again with a thoughtful expression on her face.

“As for your poster, you could make Lady Macbeth lighter and call it, like, her spirit in the room with him. Since you’re right, she didn’t actually kill Duncan, but she talked Macbeth into it and cleaned up afterwards. Although I’m not sure how that scene is a symbol. Are you going for betrayal?”

Dear Agony, Love Hatred
Samaya double checked Maria’s math and then grinned at her. “That seems right. The zero thing is weird, maybe she was just born or about to born,” she said with a shrug.

“But our math is right, so that is one down and one more to go. Give me a minute to read the next problem. I don’t know if it’ll help you, but read the question first and then go back a reread the information.”

Samaya then picked up her pencil, and used it as a guide to read the words in the next problem. She had underlined the important information and was glancing up at Maria to see if she’d decided on the same information when the bell rang.

Ms. R dismissed them with a reminder that anything not finished was homework and they had a test the next day, so they should be studying.

Samaya offered Maria a smile as she tucked the worksheet into her folder and slid it into her backpack. “Looks like we only have a couple problems tonight. Wanna get together and study later,” she asked grabbing the pencil off her desk and slipping into the front pouch of her backpack.

((Samaya continued in WAH WAH “I’m Holden.” BOO HOO “People don’t understand me.”))

Book pick up
“Sure, go ahead. The more the merrier,” he said, sweeping his hand over the table. Nick put his chin on his hand and tilted his head towards the newcomer.

Alex offered them both a wide smile and slid her backpack onto the table as she sat.

“You’re on sports teams aren’t you?” he asked Alex. "I go to almost all of the games. Let me guess.....swim team?"

Alex opened her mouth to gently correct Nick, diving was slightly different then swimming. However before he got that far he turned his attention to Josie and started explaining his book to her. Alex made a face at the explanation. Who read stuff like that for fun? It sounded like something her dad would be fascinated by. Nick then set his book to the side and skipped to another track.

“This is a really colorful table,” he observed while looking at the two girls. “I’m Nick, by the way. My name’s Nick LeMonde. Nice to meet you guys.

Alex smiled again and shook her head. What did he mean by colorful? Well, I guess Josie and I together do call a lot of attention to ourselves. Although the red is really bright, but Josie makes it work. Alex thought and gave a small shrug.

“Yeah Nick, we know. You wrestle right? I haven’t made it to many matches. They always seem to schedule them when I have practice,” she said then gestured down to her uniform. “I had field hockey today, but I also dive.”

She pulled out her copy of Hamlet as Nick leaned over the table to see what Josie was up too. “I had to read that last year,” Alex commented on the giant MACBETH that she’d written. “If you need any help, with whatever, let me know.”

Book pick up
((Alex Jackson continued from Splashdown! ))

“No thanks, my brother is picking me up later,” Alex called over her shoulder as she walked into the library. She looked contrite as the librarian shushed her. “Sorry,” she muttered in an overloud voice. Alex still wore the loose t-shirt and shorts from the shortened field hockey practice, though she’d abandoned the cleats and shin guards. Alex had decided to come to the library and get a head start on her homework, while she waited for Roman. Of course today of all days I let him have the car, she thought, a small sigh escaping her lips. Not really in the mood to be by herself, she noticed that Nick and Josie had claimed tables relatively close to each other. Tucking a strand of purple hair behind her ear, she made her way over to the table.

“You guys don’t mind if I sit do you,” she said this time using the whisper that was appropriate in the library.

White noise and Titration
"Uh, Maybe I should go ahead and start on the actual titration," Will said, more so he didn't have to deal with Marion than wanting to finish the experiment.

Maybe I should go ahead a start the actual titration Marion mocked Will in her head. Gee, what an amazing idea .Why didn’t I think of that? Oh! Wait maybe that is what I was so upset about. No, that couldn’t possibly be it. I can’t believe you’re actually gonna play this off like it’s all your idea. Whatever. See losing your temper doesn’t actually get you anything.

"And yeah, if you wanna do the maths, sure. You sure you don't want to do the fun bit?"

She watched Sarah open her mouth and then close it giving her and Will confused looks. She rolled her eyes, oh please, please say something, try to defend the fact that you’ve spent the first 15 minutes of class either MIA or worried about notes for someone else. Sarah didn’t say anything, instead so took the indicator and changed the substance in the flask yellow.

"I guess it's a base." she said to her lab mates in a voice barely above a whisper, "It's uh... a different colour now..."

Still trying to get her temper under control Marion simply nodded and sketched the second flash in her lab notebook.

"I can do the Math." she said, "You can uh... do the fun part and then I can do the Math and maybe Marion can fill the uh... flasks? Or I can fill the flasks and Marion can do the fun part with you? And I can do the Math?"

Oh, can I, really I can fill flasks? You mean we can actually do something to move this experiment along? Marion let out a soft sigh, counted to ten, and then counted to ten again. “Whatever you decide is fine,” she said impressed with herself that her voice came out sounding calm and even. “As long as we get finished by the end of the period.”

By the River
“Yeah... its really cold... No way we could swim in here." He said. And it was true. He wasn't expecting it to be this cold. He knew it was going to be cold, but definitely not THIS cold.

She nodded in agreement. “You have a point, but it kind of makes for an interesting contrast. Don’t you think?”

Thea turned in his arms to face him, pressing her chest against his. She froze as James’ fingers moved to her the band of her panties. She shivered in anticipation when his hands came to a rest there. She brought her hands around to his chest and caressed it, continuing her explorations. “Hmm,” she said and allowed her hands to trail down to his boxers. Not to be outdone in the initiative department, she allowed her hand to travel further down; she teased her fingers along his growing erection. She teased him for a few seconds, knowing that he’d grow uncomfortable if she pressed him. Dropping her hands, she brought them back to encircle his neck, grinding her crotch into his.

By the River
Thea felt herself begin to fall and suddenly she was in James’ arms. He laughed and she joined him as they worked together to get her back on stable footing.

"There you go!" He chuckled.

“Thanks,” she said. “I know this was my idea, but I’m not sure I’m ready for a real swim.”

Thea had barely regained her feet when she felt James’ arms pull her towards him. She slipped into his embrace easily and nuzzled at his neck as she felt his arms around her hips. Her arms sneaked under his arms to circle his back. Her fingers lightly tracing up and down his bare back, exploring the expanse of skin that she’d only felt through his shirts before. She leaned into the embrace and taking James’ initiation of it as her cue, she allowed her hands to continue their exploration, traveling up and down his back until they hit the edge of his boxers. She let her hands skirt down the outside of his shorts and rested her hands on his butt, pulling him closer to her.

Dear Agony, Love Hatred
Maria made a face. "I don't know how to do this. Samaya...help me out..."

Maria’s words took Samaya by surprise. Rarely had anyone ever asked her for help. She was usually the one that needed the help. Samaya had always struggled in school, and she was glad to be almost finished with it. She thought about how to phrase her answer. She’d been on the receiving end of harsh criticisms during her school career and knew how it felt to want to understand but not be able to. Did Maria really want to understand all of a sudden?

“Umm I don’t we should use Alice,” she said gently. “I was thinking Peter would be x, since that’s the information we’re supposed to be finding.” She penciled an x into the second column next to Peter’s name. “Right? I mean otherwise I think we have extra steps. Then James is twice as old, so that makes it 2x and Alice is…,” she stopped and absently chewed on the end of her pencil. “Alice is x-5?” She filled in the other two rows with that information, completing the second column. “Is it making any more sense?”

Dear Agony, Love Hatred
Samaya shook her head at Maria’s look of triumph, but smiled at the vote of confidence that Ms. R had just given her. She waited for Maria to settle and was about to ask her where she was stuck when she said, "So yeah, number nine. I hate word problems. It's like the teachers felt that math would be less painful if they disguised it with words, but somehow it just makes them worse." She giggled under her breath. "I'm Maria, by the way. But you probably knew that, right?"

Samaya looked at her unsure of how to continue. What did she mean by that? Was she playing some sort of game or joke? Of course she knew her name. They’d been sitting two desks apart for most of the semester. Samaya chose to smile at her; she picked up her paper and read the word problem aloud.

John is twice as old as his friend Peter. Peter is 5 years older than Alice. In 5 years, John will be three times as old as Alice. How old is Peter now?

“I think we need to make a table,” she said and sketched a very simply table three column table onto her paper. She then drew three rows. Last she put the three names, one in each row, in the first column. Once she finished she looked back up at Maria. “What do you think?”

((I know this may not be the hardest problem in the world, but I figured we both needed something to work from.))

White noise and Titration
Marion looked at her two lab partners in total shock. She was amazed that, one they’d been able to hear her comments in the first place, and two they'd chosen that moment to actually pay attention to her. She shrugged and set the liquid-filled flask in front of her again.

“You know what would be okay with me,” she asked, trying unsuccessfully to keep the edge out of her voice. “It’d be okay with me if we focused on the lab instead of worrying about notes for slackers who can’t even bother to make it to class. You know, I kind of need to pass this class for college. So if you could manage to focus and stop playing the victim long enough, we can actually finish this lab.” She stopped to catch her breath and to motion dramatically to the base-filled flask in front of her.

“See, I’ve already asked twice for help, especially with the math. So, you know, it’d be nice to get some extra input from my partners. You know, if it’s not too much trouble for you to stay with me for the remainder of the period. Now, if it’s okay with you, we’ll move on to the indicator phase of the experiment. So we can mark the second substance off our list.” She smiled sweetly at the two of them. “Feel free to jump in whenever you feel you’re able.”

Splashdown!
((Written in collaboration with BetaKnight. Paige Strand GM approved by Inky))

Alex watched as Paige started to focus on Aislyn’s words and began to take deep breathes once more. “What d’you think. Should we take her up to the nurse’s office?” Alex asked once Aislyn could actually spare a moment.

At Aislyn’s nod, Alex got on the other side of Paige. With Aislyn’s help, they managed to pull the shaken girl to her feet. “That’s it. Easy, Paige. We’ve got you,” Alex coaxed. “Just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other.”

Together, the girls carefully made their way to the nurse’s office, Alex rolling her eyes at some of the whistles and cat calls they earned as they walked the halls in their swimsuits.

The girls deposited a badly shaken Paige in the nurse’s office, explaining what happened before turning to make their way back to the pool area to retrieve their clothes.

((Alex Jackson continued in Book Pick Up))
((Aislyn McCreery continued elsewhere))

Dear Agony, Love Hatred
Samaya accepted the worksheet from the boy in front of her and got to work immediately. She placed the notebook under her desk to give herself room to work. She didn’t really need the notes, since the worksheet was mostly review. She worked though the worksheet steadily until a loud whisper broke her concentration.

“Hey, er, you. Samaya, Samaya right?” She looked up to see Maria speaking to her. Seriously we’ve been seating two seats from each other all semester and you haven’t figured out my name yet. “Yeah, long story short, I was kina spacing…” Now there’s a freakin’ surprise. You weren’t spacing, you were drawing there’s a difference. “I don’t know how to do number nine. Or ten. Help me out? Like, let me see your notes or something?”

Samaya sighed softly. she didn't want to give Maria her notes, for fear that Ms. R would think she was letting her copy. She couldn't risk getting in trouble this close to the end of the year, not with all the referrals she'd gotten for dress code violations. Finally she nodded. “Scoot your chair over here,” she said softly. She glanced down at number nine to double check what it was asking. It was a word problem wonderful. She began to mentally work through the steps her Resource Teacher had drilled into her head, until she’d pulled out the relevant information, that way when Maria joined her she’d have her facts straight and they could start working through the problem.

No Tap. But We're Okay With That.
((Jason being GM'd by me for the remainder of the thread thanks to decoy's permission.))

Alex looked to Jason who shook his head. “I think we’re good,” she said nicely, deciding maybe she’d harassed her brother enough for one night. The set of his shoulders was an indicator of how much he was annoyed. Oh-kay then, she thought, time to back off. It was just so easy to push his buttons sometimes. Although she still couldn’t bite back the snort of laughter at Roman’s claim to destroy them all. Choosing not to comment on it, she instead walked over to see if Samaya needed any help inputting their names into the computer. “That’s an impressive score, especially in formal wear,” Alex complimented her brother’s date.

Jason watched the interaction between the twins, amazed at the teasing that went back and forth between them, and yet the short time that he’d been with Alex, he knew that she cared deeply for her brother. Realizing that the current game was over he hurried to find a ball, so that he wouldn’t hold up the game once Roman returned. Selecting one he turned to head back to their lane. He stopped in his tracks at the sight of Alex and Samaya bent over the computer whispering to each other. Down boy, play it cool, he reminded himself, before he could get too carried away with admiring the view. He forced his attention back to his ball and his feet to start moving again as he rejoined the group.

Samaya smiled at Alex’s compliment. “I’ve been practicing with my siblings at home. We just got a Wii and their favorite game is bowling,” she explained as they finished inputting their names into the computer. Straightening she looked around to see where Roman was in line and whether or not they should start the game. Jason was only just returning with his ball, so she figured they could wait a few more minutes for Roman to return.

By the River
Thea grinned as James came towards her in a pair of polka dot boxers. She seemed to be doing that a lot tonight, smiling at her date. She watched him walk towards her and wade right in. She took James’ offered hand and allowed him to pull her into the water, which was somewhat colder than she anticipated. She was beginning to wonder if this had been one of her better ideas when James’ hand wrap around her. He kissed her then and she put her arms around him, pulling her close to him, greedily borrowing his body heat. She stayed like that until the water around her legs wasn’t freezing, and then she stepped away moving further into the river. A voice rang through her head reminding her not to stay too long in the cold water. Hypothermia can sneak up on you. She looked back at the shore, debating the wisdom of her choice and took another step. Not watching where she was stepping, her foot hit a moss covered rock. She slipped and pitched backwards, arms flailing as she tried to catch herself.

Dear Agony, Love Hatred
((Samaya continued from Art for Art's Sake ))
Samaya sat in the back of the room, her notebook opened. She’d been surprised at the beginning of the school year to find there were a few seniors with her. Samaya learned math at a slower rate then her peers, so had only been able to make it to Algebra 2 as a senior. She was getting pretty good grades in it, though she still had one period a day dedicated to resource.

Samaya looked over to Maria, as she let out a groan. Should have known that was coming, Samaya thought. She seems to go out of her way to make this class drag on. What was with her anyway? And what was with that uniform, like all the time. Hello, why would you want to wear the same thing every day? How boring!

Part of the fun was deciding what she was going to wear to school each day. Today she’d opted for a red spaghetti strap tank top, which of course was covered by a white sweater. She knew better then to tempt dress code with Ms. Rashandala. She’d paired it with a black knee length skirt and black sandals.

Apparently Ms. R felt the same way because the teacher suddenly snapped at Maria. Samaya’s eyes widened at her teacher’s tone. Wow! She hadn’t heard her raise her voice very often. At least Maria had the decency to answer politely. ‘Course that was quickly counteracted when Maria turned and rolled her eyes at some of the underclassmen.

Really, that’s a good plan, show off for the sophomores. Samaya let out a sigh of her own, as Maria started doodling instead of paying attention. No wonder she had to repeat the course, Samaya thought. Speaking of repeating courses, she should probably be paying attention if she didn’t want to end up in summer school. Samaya listened carefully taking notes until Ms. R finished her lecture, and then turned them loose to complete the assignment.

Art for Art's Sake
Samaya picked up the brush again and made quick work of adding flowers. “I think that’s all I can do for now. I don’t want the colors to run,” she said and then picked her little vase up carefully and returned it to the shelf it’d come from. One more day and it should be completely finished.

She returned to the table and realized that Jimmy and Meghan still seemed to be lost in their own little world. Glancing down at her watch she realized it was getting late. She smiled at Roman, “Looks like it’s time for me to head home. I’ve got a couple of dresses in mind, when I make my mind I’ll call and let you know,” she promised. Bending down, she retrieved her backpack from under the ceramics table and placed it over her shoulder. “See you tomorrow,” she said to Roman and waved at the other two, not that they noticed.

((Samaya continued in Dear Agony, Love Hatred))