See chapter one for disclaimers

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LJ....I love you. Three simple words that have so much meaning, yet they can never even touch on the depth of emotions my heart feels for you. Baby, without the light of your love and the precious strength of your tender support I would never have made it through this dark time in my life. You're the one I're the one I need. My only one. Forever.
Thanks to all my friends that have stood by me. I love you all. My special thanks go to Lena and Alicia. Thank you buddies.

Chapter 18

"Don't! I don't wanna talk about it!" Raven growled as she walked down the darkened hallway, stalking past a bewildered Phil and an utterly confused Penny. Realising just how harsh her words had sounded, the tall girl turned back around and studied the disappointed and hurt expression on Phil's face. Christ, be nice Rae or you'll end up losing the only other true friend you've ever had.. "Listen Phil, I just need to" Raven sighed heavily and ran her hand through her snarled black locks, her laser blue eyes roving around desperately, searching in vain for the little cheerleader that had fled from her. "I'll see you back at your house later on...or whatever...."

"Hey!" Phil exclaimed, trying his best to simply accept Raven's need for solitude right now. "Well why don't I just meet you over at the Diner...say about 5:30 or so?"

Raven nodded her graceful head and gave Phil a small, half hearted smile before disappearing out of sight. Phil watched his best friend until she could no longer be seen. Chewing on his bottom lip thoughtfully, Phil turned to a quietly agitated Penny who was frowning with evident worry.

" W-what's wrong Philip?" Penny stuttered fearfully, her pretty brown eyes almost filling up with tears. The look in Raven's beautiful blue eyes disturbed her. Raven had acted as though she had been defeated or something. "Do you think that Coach Redburn got Rae expelled?"

Phil considered this fact and shook his head slowly. " I don't think so...well....I really dunno." Phil re-fastened his backpack and slipped the straps over his lanky shoulders.

" Maybe she just...." Phil stopped what he was saying when a flurry of golden hair streamed by. " Nicky?" Phil watched as the small cheerleader bumped into a couple of young students and then stormed off without even apologising. Huh? What's up with that? Phil cocked his head to the side and scratched the side of his nose trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with his two best friends.

" So...what do you think Philip? What's wrong with Rae?" Penny gazed avidly at the tall boy's wrinkled brow, admiring the way he so adorably scratched his nose when he was deep in contemplation.

" I'm not sure Penny..." Phil turned back around to regard the small plump girl. " But by the way a certain blonde cheerleader just stormed off, I'd bet on my allowance that Rae's troubles have something to do with Nicky Mayfair." Phil's gaze was directed back towards the direction where Nicky had run off in a hurry. " Now all we've gotta do is find out what's up....."




Oh God, Oh God, Oh God......Nicky's hands clasped the edges of the sink basin, and she stared into the mirror in front of her, her heart hammering erratically as her mind went over the events of the last half hour. What have I done? Nicky's bottom lip trembled, her shimmering emerald eyes threatening tears as she continued to stare blindly at the girl in the mirror. I don't look any different...but how can that be? I feel so....Urgggh! Nicky slumped her head and let a curtain of strawberry blonde silk hide her from the harsh realities of the world, even if the retreat was only momentarily effective.

" I kissed Raven...." Nicky whispered those words quietly, needing to voice what she had just done to make sure that it had really happened, that it had not just been another of her erotic fantasies that centred around the tall dark girl. The blonde cheerleader didn't know which situation would be worse, finding out that what just happened HAD been a dream or actually having to admit that it wasn't a dream and that she had in fact just practically been humping Raven's leg like a bitch in heat. Ohh shit! Nicky's head shot up and she glared at herself with accusatory green eyes. I'm a slut!

Nicky tilted her head backwards and rolled it around, loosening the tense muscles in her neck and shoulders. For some peculiar reason she had a sudden urge to giggle and she barely managed to control herself from falling into a fit of pure hysteria. Nicky closed her eyes as images of the tall dark girl touching her pulsating body and making her writhe with pure desire spiralled through her mind. " I kissed Raven..."

Nicky's hand drifted up to her face and two fingers ran over the swollen lips that ached slightly from being so well loved. Her other hand wandered over to her stomach and Nicky quietly gasped as a vortex of pure need spiralled around her, swallowing her whole until all Nicky could think of was Raven and the way her long tapered fingers had almost taken her to heaven and back in the space of five minutes.

The bathroom door suddenly burst open and a stream of girlish voices could be heard echoing throughout the ladies room, causing Nicky to guiltily snatch her hand away from the constant throbbing deep inside of her.

" And as I was saying to her, what a fucking bitch that Michelle girl was...well she just..." Stacy stopped in mid-sentence as she recognised the slumped form of her best friend and called out in greeting. " Hey there girlfriend! Where have you been Nicky?" Stacy skipped over to the still stunned blonde girl, ignoring the other less popular girls who had been listening with rapt attention to every word she had uttered.

Nicky turned to look at her cheerful friend and attempted to look at least somewhat normal and not as though she had just been having a sex rife lesbian groping session all over the locker room floor with Thursville's newest outcast. " Hi Stace." Well, ain't I oh-so very successful at doing the 'normal' thing, who woulda thought that I had just been touching Raven's gorgeous breasts. Nicky smiled with self deprecation, barely restraining a wanton groan as an image of those two luscious globes assaulted her mind before turning to lean against the sink. Nicky put her back to the heavily flushed girl in the mirror that taunted her with images and new memories of the often moody but undeniably sexy dark girl.

" So where have you been Nik? " Stacy instantly took up position at the mirror and set about gathering all of her cosmetics from her bag for use. Constant re-application - rule numero uno of how to always look your best. Stacy glanced over at her strangely silent friend and noted the peculiar glazed look that had taken over the small blonde's gaze." Nik...are you Ok?" Stacy halted her make-up top up to regard her best buddy with a critical eye. Nicky looked a bit....flushed..and rumpled. Uh-huh, someone's been making out! Stacy smirked and winked at her blushing friend.

" What? " Nicky noticed the speculative glint in her nosy friend's doe eyes and began to grow worried. Can she tell? Nicky twisted her fingers in the material of her skirt, then instantly smoothed it back down as she realised what she was doing. Does she know..that...that... Nicky almost jumped out of her skin as the door shut loudly as the other girls left the toilets.

" Have you and Brad been getting fresh during school time? " Stacy chuckled, a knowing smile creeping over her face. Sure, she wan't exactly pleased with the cocky quarter back at the moment, but if Nicky was finally getting more relaxed about sex, relaxed enough to start making out during a school period, then that was just fine. She had always wondered why her best friend wouldn't really participate in the usual girlie stories about their boyfriends such as who had done what with someone else. It was all part and parcel of being a cheerleader...but Nicky had always seemed reluctant to join in on any sex gossip discussions...which REALLY puzzled the little red head, because usually Nicky was the best talker amongst all of the cheerleaders.

Nicky stared at her friend in shock. " Brad?" She squeaked, noting herself that her voice was cracking. Another flood of arousal assaulted her body as she recalled the tall dark girl's fingers trailing up her skirt, those strong fingers caressing her flesh and making her squirm in need.....Nicky cleared her throat and returned Stacy's quizzical gaze. "I....errr....Brad?"

" Jesus Nik, eloquent much?" Stacy chuckled, highly amused at the thought that Nicky was stressed because now someone knew that she wasn't a total goody-goody. Stacy bumped Nicky with her own hip and nudged her with her elbow. " Sooooo..." The red head drawled," was it any good?"

" Was it any good?" Nicky reached up and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. Was it any good? Nicky swivelled around to look at herself in the mirror. " Urm....sure?" Nicky grinned slightly at Stacy and then turned back to the mirror again as she ducked her head down. Sure? Is that all that all you can say? How about amazing, deliriously exciting, utterly magnificent, goddamn fucking BRILLIANT! Nicky giggled to herself and tried to ignore the annoyed frown that Stacy was sending her way.

" Ahhh, c'mon Nik! You know you ARE allowed to tell me more than that...." Stacy put down her mascara brush and put one hand on her slim hip. " I mean, like I tell you everything that me and Carl get up to..."

Nicky winced at the sudden memory of having to listen for endless hours about Stacy's love life and just what it was that the two of them got up to. " Stace...I....I'm just not as comfortable as you are with....with all this."

Stacy stared hard at her friend. " And what is that supposed to mean Nicky?"

Nicky sighed and sent an apologetic look to her best friend. " I...." Nicky stopped and looked thoughtfully at Stacy. "I....."

" You....? You what? C'mon Nik, it's not fair. We're supposed to be best friends here and we never even talk about girlie stuff like this...and I want to. Why won't you share your stories with me? Huh? Do you not want me to be your best friend anymore? Is that it? You don't think I'm good enough to talk to anymore? Is that why you've hardly been hanging around with the gang over the last couple of weeks?"

Nicky sighed heavily once more, frustrated as to what she was going to say. Poor Stacy looked at her with disappointment and......loneliness. Stacy....Nicky wanted to reach out and give her friend a hug and reassure her that everything was Ok. She was annoyed with herself for not even noticing that her best friend in the whole world had been missing her, that she had indeed been ignoring Stacy....and instead been concentrating solely on Raven Vlade...and I can't stop myself, Nicky thought with sudden defeat. I'm becoming truly obsessed with her....and I'm loving every minute of it.

" Well!?" Stacy fumed, growing more angrier with each passing moment. She hadn't realised that Nicky's absence and distance over the last couple of weeks had bothered her so much and she hated feeling this vulnerable in front of anyone.

" know I love're my best friend and you always will be." Nicky's earnest and heartfelt words took some of the wind out of Stacy's sails, making her back off a little bit. The small red head had to gnaw on the inside of her lip in order to remain quiet. She was just itching to say something more, but she knew that she had to give Nicky the chance to explain.

Nicky shifted from foot to foot, uncomfortably aware that Stacy was watching her reactions with an eagle eye. How's about you just go with the truth Nik? Ok.....maybe not the TOTAL truth...." The reason I haven't really been...'sharing' all my sexual exploits with you because...well...." Nicky blushed, causing Stacy to reluctantly smile fondly at her. She could never stay angry with Nicky for too long...the blonde girl was basically good all the way to her soul and Stacy knew that Nicky would never consciously hurt anyone."..because there haven't been any."

Stacy stared at her friend, not sure of what she was saying. " Haven't been any what?" she asked dumbly, her mascara brush once more poised in mid air.

"Any sexual exploits..." Nicky licked her lips nervously, wondering what her friend would say. She knew that Stacy's response was going to be monumental, it was going to be ultra critical and over sophisticated in it's reasoning as to why she hadn't had sex yet, especially when Nicky had had boyfriend for years now. Nicky was tempted to scrunch up her eyes and block out the sight of the embarrassment that was sure to come her way any moment now when Stacy replied.

"Huh?" Stacy muttered, absent mindedly scratching her face in confusion.

Nicky opened her eyes and waited for the penny to drop.....waiting....still waiting.... Stacy continued to stare at Nicky with confusion. Oh God, do I have to spell it out for her? " Me and Brad...haven't...YOU KNOW..." Nicky's face flamed bright red, sending even the tips of her delicate little ears an interesting shade of pink.

"Huh?" Stacy mumbled, caught in a cloud of puzzlement that threatened to swallow her sanity. How is it possible that the head cheerleader and the stud of a quarter back haven't consummated their relationship....haven't screwed each others brains's blasphemy! Surely she's fucking joking?

Nicky cringed outwardly and winced as Stacy continued to gaze at her with an aghast expression written all over her pixie-like face. " Stace? Speak to me, huh?"

Stacy walked backwards slightly and grabbed a hold of the wall, trying to find a bit of stability in this obviously somewhat chaotic world. " You're STILL a bloody virgin?" Stacy gasped incredulously, tucking an errant strand of hair behind her ear."Well...shit! That fucking explains why you've never been one to chip in on the sex talks...Christ Nicky! The way Brad struts around, you'd think that you were more talented than a fucking whore....."

" Gee, thanks pal!" Nicky mumbled, ducking her flushed face behind a curtain of silky blonde hair. I KNEW I should have kept my trap shut!

" I mean....shit..." Stacy plonked herself on the counter top that took up the space running along the far wall of the girls bathroom. She stared long and hard at her friend and noted the agitated shuffling of Nicky's petite feet, feeling instantly contrite as she realised how shitty and embarrassed Nicky must be feeling. Christ, and you call yourself her best friend? All you've bloody done is criticise and attack her Stace! Get your ass over there and show your friend a bit of support!

Nicky tensed momentarily as she felt two small arms go around her waist. She was still feeling sensitive from her earlier actions with Raven...Nicky had to close her eyes and quickly control her breathing at the thought of the taciturn girl that had turned her life up-side down in a space of a couple of weeks. I'm not....not gay though! I'm not a dyke! She looked over at herself in the mirror for a moment. I don't look like one for Christ sake! Nicky tried to convince herself as she leant into her dear friend, accepting the comfort that the little red head offered. See! If I was truly gay then I would be feeling all hot and turned on by Stacy as well....but....Nicky gave her friend a brief experimental squeeze and felt nothing but friendly love and affection for the other girl....I sure as hell ain't getting turned on by Stacy! Hooray! Nicky grinned idiotically at her own thoughts and Stacy looked upwards to peer into Nicky's now laughing green eyes.

" So..." Stacy murmured, drawing backwards and grinning impishly back at her best buddy. " What's it like to be a virgin?" Nicky blushed and mock scowled at her friend, shoving the other girl slightly with her slender hip. " Ahh, c'mon Nik.....the only reason I ask is because it's been so long for me that I sure as hell don't remember..."

Nicky scoffed at Stacy's claim, flicking a speck of water at her boasting friend.

" That's nothing to be proud of Stace!" Nicky let out an indignant squeal as she was assaulted with a handful of dubious looking water from the tap. " Hey! Watch it Stace! Or I'll get you..."

" wish!" Stacy winked at her friend and grinned widely, ducking the onslaught of grimy water that was aimed in her direction. " Like you would know what to do with me if you ever got me!"

Nicky stopped still and smiled once more.....Hmmm, maybe a couple of hours ago I wouldn't have had a goddamn clue....but now.....Nicky sighed and grabbed for her bag, her thoughts surrounded with titillating images of a certain dark haired girl that drove her to distraction. She looked over at her friend...Stacy was a great person....but would she understand about Rae? Nicky shook her head and decided to just ignore what had happened between herself and the alluring Raven least for now.



" Rae? Rae? Where the hell are you pal?" Phil scratched the side of his head glancing quickly around his tidy room and closed his bedroom door in disappointment. Rae was supposed to have met up with him at the Diner over half an hour ago and when she hadn't appeared, he had hastily made his way back home in vain hope that the brooding dark girl would be there. But obviously to no avail.....Rae was no where to be seen. " Ahhh crap!" Phil mumbled, running a lanky hand through his brown curls. He flopped back on his bed and sighed heavily.

Phil closed his eyes and thought back to the confusing day that had occurred. What the hell is going on with everyone? He wondered in puzzled annoyance. He hated it when he was unable to figure things out. Like now! he huffed, aggravated at the situation that seemed to be going on between Raven and the blonde haired cheerleader. Phil slumped back onto his bed and groaned in utter frustration. Where the hell is she? he thought frantically, scowling at his illuminous sticker-ridden ceiling with absolute irritation. Phil pushed himself up on his arms and muttered to himself. Placing his feet on the lush carpeting that covered his floor, Phil stood up and attempted to make his way over to the window that remained open from earlier on in the day. To his abject surprise and shrieking horror, he never even made it as far as his desk when something strong grabbed his ankles and yanked hard until the skinny boy's spindly legs gave way, causing Phil to crash to the floor in a heap of awkward limbs and violent cursing.

" Ahhhh! What the fuck?!" Phil screeched, his hands waving around in fear and shock. " Don't hurt me! Arhhhh! P-please... Don't hurt me! Take the Tv...take the stereo...shit, take my ultra collectable and infinitely rare Star Trek figurines...just d-don't hurt me!" Phil continued to whimper hysterically, like any brave teenage boy is wont to do, that is, until a strain of decidedly evil snickering reached his ears.

Snickering? Hmmmm, now who do I know that snickers like that? Phil kept his head covered with one arm, you never could be too careful after all, but he did take the plunge and actually removed a couple of fingers away from his mud brown eyes, glancing around cautiously for the vicious ankle-attacker.

Phil peeked open his eyes a little further and stared back into a pair of electric blue eyes that peered back blearily at him from underneath his bed. " Raven?" Phil huffed, taking his arms away from his head, now that he knew he wasn't going to be dissected into a quadrillion itty-bitty pieces by some homicidal maniac....Hummph, talking about maniacs, though...Phil crept closer to the still chuckling figure that lay comfortably prone under his bed like a dirty limp sock. Raven seems..... suddenly cheerful, compared to the moody bugger that I was talking to a couple of hours ago.

" Hey! Rae!" Phil gasped, pulling himself close to the edge of the bed so that he could see Raven better. " Hey! Stop laughing isn't that funny. Ok, so you scared the shit outta me, but still....." The tall girl continued to giggle away hysterically, clutching at her stomach as though in pain, her gorgeous blue eyes hidden from view as tears of laughter trailed down her beautiful face. What the..? Who swallowed all the happy pills today, huh? Phil frowned and crept a little closer to his pal, slightly worried at her continued escapade of maniacal laughter. " What the hell are you doing Rae? What's so funny? What the hell is wrong with....."

Phil stopped still as Raven brought her other hand around and the dorky boy was assaulted with a shower of some sort of pungent liquid. " What the hell?!" Phil winced and held up one hand to cover his face. " Urrgh! That's way sick Rae! What the hell was that crap that you just sprayed all over me? Huh?"

Two bleary blue eyes snapped open to suddenly turn their attention on him. Raven licked her dry lips and brought her new best buddy to her lips....Ahhh, and who said that Jack Daniels couldn't take away the problems of the world? Taking a quick swig from the half empty bottle in her hands, the young girl winced as the foul tasting liquid travelled down her throat leaving a trail of uncomfortable burning for a brief second, until the discomfort was exchanged for instant warm drowsiness. Hmmm, that's much better! Raven sighed heavily and grinned back up at Phil. " Yo want sum of dis Philly boy?" Raven drawled, slowly shaking the bottle from side to side and wiggling her eyebrows at a frantic pace.

Phil reached out and took the bottle from Raven's fingers, hoping to prevent the pungent alcohol from sloshing over the rim of the bottle and onto his clean carpet. Mom will go stark raving mad if any of this stuff gets on her carpets, the lanky boy thought with a worried grimace on his face. Wiping a dribble of alcohol away from the corner of his eye where it had hit him, Phil crawled out from under the edge of his bed and reached for Rae's slender hand. " C'mon Rae... it's time to get out from under there..."

Raven looked at the young boy and pouted prettily, taking a few spare seconds to stick her tongue out at him in true rebellious style. " Don' wanna!" She said, sulking as Phil sighed heavily and crawled onto his hands so that he could reach for the reluctant dark haired girl.

" C'mon Rae!" Phil huffed and tried to restrain a giggle as Rae continued to hide her hands and pout at him, her silky black lashes whipping against her tanned cheeks as the more than slightly inebriated girl valiantly fought against the onslaught of Phil's advances of sensibility. " I need to get you out from under there Rae...because.... erm..." Phil quickly racked his brains as he glanced down at Raven who was still batting her hands in the air in futile defence, even though he had already backed up and stopped trying to pull her out from her little sanctuary. Phil grinned at the adorable expression of petulant determination on Raven's face. "... because if you don't get out from under there then my Mom will know you're here and she'll come and git ya!"

Phil chuckled as the tall girl gulped, uncurled her long form from her little safe haven and hastily scrambled her way out from under her comfortable lil' hiding place.

" Evil....blah....blah... your Mother's... pure evil..." Phil scratched the back of his head as Rae mumbled to herself, backing up as her tall form towered over him. " She here?" Rae whispered, screwing her face up at Phil in distaste.

Phil glanced away and attempted to wipe the amused expression off his face. Turning back to Rae, he watched as she swallowed another huge gulp of Jack Daniels causing him to wince as a grimace over-came Raven's weary face. " Strong stuff..." Raven muttered, dragging her feet over to Phil's bed once more and collapsing on top of it, mindless of her muddy boots that flopped all over his duvet.

" Yeah...I bet..." Phil said, shoving Raven's dirty feet off the nice clean duvet. He brushed his hand over a few smudges of dirt and placed himself there instead.

" Do yer wanna drink?" Raven mumbled, swinging the bottle over to her pal. Phil eyed the bottle suspiciously and shook his head. Raven stared at her friend and rose one of her eyebrows, sniffing in disdain at Phil. " Wimp..." The tall girl muttered. Phil scowled as Raven took another sip of her alcoholic elixir. I am not a wimp! He thought indignantly, glaring at his inebriated friend.

The skinny boy bit his lip, his eyes going back and forth from the bottle to his drunk friend. Why on Earth is she getting rat-assed when everything was seeming to be getting better...well, until her little tiff with Nicky this afternoon that is...Hmmm. Phil tucked his long legs underneath him and leaned over to see if Raven was still ...alive, never mind still awake. " Rae? We need to talk..."

"'at's all anyone ever does...I's gettin' sick of talkin' Frilly Boy.." Raven snickered at her own little joke and took another swig from the bottle. Christ! Phil thought worriedly....I need to get that bloody bottle off her right now.... before she gets any worse. Phil winced once more as Raven swallowed more the burning liquid in great big gulps. Talk about drowning your sorrows. She's gonna have one hulluva headache tomorrow. Now how'd I get the blasted bottle away from her without her getting all pissed off? Hmmmm.....

Phil scratched the back of his neck and leaned over Raven. " Errr...Rae?" Those cloudy sapphire eyes caught his and he gasped at the glimpse of pain he saw there...what is all that about? Phil reached out for the bottle. " Erm...I've changed my mind..can I have a drink now...?"

Raven glared at the scrawny boy and clutched the bottle to her possessively. " No!Ya didna want any before, so you'se can' 'ave none now! Greedy git.." Phil watched in dismay as alcohol poured out from the bottle onto Raven and even worse, all over his previously pristine bed sheets. Do not not panic....Mom will not kill you just because you dirtied the you have 'dirtied' the sheets before....just never with alcohol....ahhh! Why does life have to be so complicated? Phil ran a hand through his cow-licked hair and sighed.

" Please Rae?" He pleaded while reaching out for the bottle of Jack Daniels. " You're my best buddy right? And we share everything...right?"

Rae sat up abruptly and eyed him with a cold look in her blue orbs." Not everything! You can't have Nicky!" Raven pushed the bottle into his hands and crossed her arms.

" Have that...but Nicky's mine! Ya got's that Frilly Boy?"

" Ok! Ok! Sheesh Rae...chill out pal!" Phil sighed in relief as Raven seemed to settle down a little bit. " Nicky is all yours.....Ok?" Rae nodded accordingly and dropped her head slightly, hiccuping and trying desperately not to let her heavy eyelids close. should be all mine. Raven sniffled back a little self absorbed sob, she didn't want to be thought of as a wimpy cry baby after all, so she sure as hell wasn't going to break down in front of Phil, or anyone else for that matter.

" Well...are ya gonna have a drink or not Phil?" Rae slurred as she attempted to uncross her eyes that for some peculiar reason persisted in starring downwards at her nose. I don' wanna look at my nose goddamn it...." Stop it eyes!" Rae yelled out loud in abject irritation. Phil grinned and took a tentative sip of the alcohol that Raven had more or less totally consumed by herself. Not having really experienced the delights of booze before, Phil was a little unprepared for the full impact of strong alcohol.

" Fu-ck-ing heeeeellllll!" Phil screeched, his voice sounding like someone had just bashed his family jewels in. " Where the hell did you get this gut-rot Rae?" Phil shook his head violently in a vain attempt to clear his suddenly watered vision. Already he was starting to come under the influence of the potent toxin's that he had just gulped down.

With his eyes watering like crazy, the dorky boy glared at his friend with apprehension. " Shit much of this crap have you downed today?"

Raven grinned merrily and clasped her tanned hands behind her head, pushing her long dark locks out of the way with impatient fingers. " Enough to make this shit hole that we all live in seem bearable." The drunken girl's speech was slightly slurred, her low voice taking on a husky tinge that made Phil shiver. And enough to make the pain bearable...if that's possible. Raven sighed, trying to let her mind escape the ravaged memories of having someone as perfect as Nicky in her grasp...and then losing her.

" Go ahead...have some more Phil. It makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside."

Phil regarded Rae with a dubious expression settling over his homely face. Like I need any of this stuff to make me feel like that when you're just sitting there looking so cute....A brief image of the adorably shy Penny crossed his mind for a brief moment causing him to grin affectionately. Yeah...she's cute too. He directed his gaze back to the beauty on his bed. But still, Penny isn't in Rae's league...hell, no one is in frigging Raven's league! Phil watched Raven's face. It was obvious that the young girl was struggling to come to terms with something...something that was causing her an undue amount of pain. Raven snapped her head upwards when she realised that she was being watched.

" Drink!" Raven huffed waving a hand at Phil, trying to detract attention away from herself. She didn't want Phil asking her questions that she couldn't and wouldn't answer.

" Okay! Okay..keep yer panties on woman." Phil tipped the bottle backwards and drank deeply, gulping down the fiery liquid. " Shit!" He gasped, tears streaming down his flushed cheeks as a fuzzy warmth invaded his veins and crept into his stomach. Maybe I shoulda had something more substantial to eat before deciding to down this gut-rot, Phil thought, two deep frown lines furrowing his usually youthfully smooth brow.

Phil took another hefty gulp...and then another, the heedy alcohol making him almost instantly light headed. " I see what ya mean Rae." Phil croaked, trying his best to clear his throat that continued to burn as though some evil asshole had poured battery acid down his gullet.

Raven chuckled again and deftly swiped the bottle back off her buddy, hoping to swallow the last few dregs of Jack Daniels, but unfortunately it seemed as though Phil had guzzled down the last of the potent drink, leaving Rae with sod all. The dark haired girl dragged her woozy body upwards and swatted Phil over the head.

" Philly you greedy bugger!" Rae whined in disappointment." You've gone and drunk it all." Raven looked around the currently spinning room and groaned out loud, suddenly regretting her over indulgence." Why is the world so damn much fucking hard work? Huh Phil?"

Phil hunched his shoulders and slumped slightly as he stared at his best friend with glazed eyes. " Who knows Rae me old chum. Who knows..." The lanky boy stretched his arms into the air, a shit-eating grin fixed on his comical face causing his eyes to sparkle brightly. Hmmm, feeling a bit...woozy here, he thought to himself. Phil quickly changed his hands from behind his head and back onto the bed before he fell onto the floor in a graceless puddle of teenage alcoholism. " Who knows what the hell is truly going on in their lives Rae?"

Raven watched on in fuzzy amusement as Phil continued to assert his philosophical side. Phil dazed into thin air and continued to garble on. " Who knows why the sky is blue Rae? Why do birds fly? Why is the grass green? And how the hell did Principle Greener get that damn ugly?" Phil turned towards the evilly snickering Raven, his eyes meeting hers. Raven sprawled herself further on the bed, unwittingly looking super sexy and cute with her big blue eyes batting back at him. Arggh! If only she was straight!

Phil sighed, pondering at his misfortune and Nicky Mayfair's constant good luck. Phil turned his head and directed his gaze firmly on Raven's face, trying his best to ignore Rae's outer beauty and concentrate on the 'debate' that they were now having. " See, we don't know the answers to many of these things..."

" Ah-ah-ah!" Raven interrupted Phil's line of thought, holding one tanned hand in the air while the other propped her up." We all know why Green is an ugly son of a bitch." Phil looked on inquiringly waiting for a response. Raven shook her head and tried to clear her thoughts...nope...the alcohol was still holding her in it's intoxicating grasp.

" Greener is so fucking ugly because he looks like a freaking frigid bent bulldog's ass that's been chewing on wasps for the past 40 years!"

Phil goofed and held a hand over his mouth as Raven continued. " Yeah, he shoulda been drowned at birth....don'cha think Philly?" Phil nodded his head and continued to grin like a first class idiot. Hey, this alcohol thing ain't too bad once you get into the swing of it, the cheerfully chuckling boy thought. Phil watched in bemusement as Rae suddenly flopped down by the side of the bed and swung her arm around as if she was frantically searching for something of great importance.

" What're ya doin' Rae?" Phil asked, scratching his neck where another of his stupid jumpers and their horridly itchy material bit into his sensitive skin.

Raven grunted and cursed as her hand came into contact with something sharp. What the hell are you keeping under here Phil...frigging knife sets? Urggh! The fierce scowl soon transformed into a look of childish glee when her hand clasped the very thing she had been searching for.

" Rae? Raeeeee! What are you looking for? Huh? Huh!? Tell me Rae...huh?" Phil jumped up and down on the bed, enjoying the bouncy feeling of jumping up into the air momentarily before descending back down to the bed's soft surface.

Raven was tempted to start scowling again, especially when Phil's frantic bouncing almost resulted in her losing her grip on the bottle of vodka in her hand. " This is what I'm looking fer!" Raven cried triumphantly. Phil's eyes widened for a moment, before he reached his hand out for the bottle. Hell, if a couple of mouthfuls of Jack Daniels can make me feel this good, imagine what half a bottle of vodka will do!

" Yay!!!!" Phil shouted as Raven passed him the newly opened bottle. Raven smirked indulgently as Phil took a hefty swig and chuckled when the lanky boy almost fainted in shock at the sharp taste of the vodka.

" Take it easy Phil." Raven mumbled, before taking the bottle from her steadily swaying friend. Raven stared deeply into the forgiving depths of the clear liquid. Nicky...Nicky...why did you run away from me? Raven attempted to bite back another sob of hurt that only intensified when she thought of the blonde girl running away from her. Here's to oblivion, Raven mused sombrely, wincing as she then quickly took a huge gulp of the burning liquid before the painful emotions could assault her once again.




" Oh la de da...umm hmmm, looking good Stacy girl!" Stacy twirled around and winked at herself in the huge mirror that adorned her best friend's bedroom. " C'mon Nicky...we've got some last minute accessory shopping to do!"

Nicky paused in mid-stroke of brushing her hair and offered her friend a brief smile.

" Do we have to Stace?" Stacy threw Nicky a puzzled frown." I'm just not really in the mood right now." Stacy got up off her friend's big double bed and walked over to Nicky who sat looking at herself in the vanity mirror on her desk.

" My God!" Stacy bumped Nicky with her hip and the small blonde girl shifted over for best friend. Stacy reached out and placed a cool palm on Nicky's smooth forehead. " Is the infamous shop-aholic Nicole Mayfair sick?" Stacy chuckled and regarded her friend with a semi critical eye. " Come on, what gives Nik?"

Nicky sighed and put the hair brush down on the pine surface of her desk. " It's not...well, I just really don't feel up to going out and about right now." Nicky got up off the seat and walked over to her bed, her solemn green eyes regarding her friend with a glitter of tears.

" Nicky?" Stacy whispered, following her friend and coming to kneel by her. Seeing the unshed tears in Nicky's beautiful green eyes made her heart go out to the little blonde who was curled up on the big bed, looking so lost and afraid. " What's wrong Nicky? Sweetie, c'mon, you know you can tell me...."

Nicky burrowed her face further into the pillow that she was trying to hide in. What the hell am I doing? Making a show of myself...and why? I don't know why!! A vision of a mesmerising dark haired girl and an utterly adorable lop sided grin being sent her way suddenly sprung to mind. you don't know what's wrong Nicky! You're lusting after Raven.....a GIRL for Godsakes! What would you do if Stacy found out? Nicky peeked her head out of the pillow and glanced fearfully at her long time friend. Not to mention Mom and Dad! They'd...they'd kill me! Nicky gulped down the bitter pill of guilt and burrowed her head further into her soft fortress of feathers.

" Nicky?" Stacy continued to gently stroke the other girl's back in slow soothing circles, absolutely clueless as to what was upsetting her friend. A shocking thought suddenly crept into her mind. Maybe she knows....about Brad...and Maria. Oh no! Stacy looked down sympathetically at her best friend and cooed softly to the other girl. Stacy was no fool, she knew precisely what all those heated looks between the footballer and the bitchy cheerleader had meant...hence the reason she had had a go at her best friends boyfriend. If Carl even DARED to look at another girl, I'd rip his frigging balls off and shove them so down his throat that he'd be shitting them out for weeks on end! Argggh!

Stacy shook her head and tried to clear the vision of Carl with another woman out of her imagination. Calm down ain't helping Nicky here are you? No. So stop being a jealous witch and help your friend goddamn it!

Stacy was still at a loss of what to do. Nicky was just quietly crying into her pillows, so the red headed dragon did the only thing she could think of. She leant over and hugged Nicky's petite frame to her hoping that her friend would understand her tactile version of support and TLC.



Phil belched and looked around guiltily, covering his mouth up. Swivelling his head from side to side, the teenage boy realised that his mother was no where in sight and with this jubilant discovery he let rip another loud burp...for rebellious purposes only of course.

" Lovely Phil..." Raven muttered in half hearted disgust. " Where wus I anyways? Wot wus I talkin' about?"

Phil yawned and batted his droopy eyelids a couple of times. " You were telling me why YOU made the sky blue and stuff.....grass green....yadda, yadda, yadda....."

" Oh yeah." Raven mumbled, her jumbled mind trying to make sense of what was going on. " Grass is'd I manage that one...errrr...."

" Yeah Oh Mighty-One. How did ya manage that one? Huh?" Phil grinned, humouring his friend's apparent psychosis which was induced by the onslaught of over indulging in alcoholic beverages.

" Hey! No mocking the Mighty One Philly Boy or I'll give ya a good one!" Raven swatted her errant friend once more, asserting the dominant side of her character.

" I wish you would..." The drunk boy slurred jokingly, winking madly like he had a bloody hyperactive tick in his eye all the while grinning wildly at his friend.

" Dream on Phil..." Raven cleared her throat and scrunched her face up in concentration once more. Raven looked down assertively at her friend. " I DO know why the grass is green Phil!" Raven crowed triumphantly at Phil and gave the slouching boy a lop sided grin.

" Hummm, hummmmm. Go ahead Ravie, do tell yer lil' old pal how you managed to get the grass green. Does it have something to do wid chlorophyll or photo... photosyn ...photosyntha-thingy-majig?"

Raven shook her head vehemently from side to side, jet black locks happily flying around her shoulder like a dark silken veil. " Nah...that's not how it happened Philly Boy." Raven's eyebrows raised in thought as she searched her quite impressive imagination for an interesting answer. She pulled herself upwards and sat crossed legged, opposite Phil.

Phil smirked as Raven preened a little. Obviously she's come up with something else interesting. Raven had been regaling him with somewhat amusing, if not down right weird scenarios for the past half hour, all attributed to how she had so far influenced the world. Wonder how she's going to explain this one, Phil pondered as he tried to look half way intelligent. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite able to accomplish that feat, what with being unable to actually hold himself upright anymore. Ahhh, sod it! Phil silently cursed, slumping back against the wall.

Raven regarded Phil with a preening grin plastered to her face. Phil was pulling off that goddamn puke coloured jumper of his that apparently had been itching at him once more. Shit, how many knitted jumpers can one guy have?

" Come on, come on Rae!" Phil blurted, impatient to hear Raven's new imaginings.

" Hold on to yer frigging horses Phil...I need time to compose myself." Raven purposefully closed her eyes and hummed for a few seconds, knowing fine well that Phil was glaring at her with impatient annoyance. Clearing her throat, Raven started to explain herself. " all began because me and God are like that.." Raven crossed her fingers locking them tightly together. Phil cocked his head to the side and squinted at his friend in blatant puzzlement.

" Huh? How's that got ta do wid da grass bein' green?" Phil's slurred words amused Raven to no end, her constant chuckling echoing through the room as a dribble of vodka slipped down Phil's chin like a pristine raindrop, landing and splattering on the teenager's grey t-shirt.

" Just shut yer trap an' listen, alright Philly?" Raven mumbled, struggling to maintain her line of thought. She lurched upwards once more, trying to get more comfortable and assumed a semi-serious posture." Me an' God are best buddies...and a little bit more...God, well, She get's lonely sometimes and so She comes a-calling fer me every now and then."

Phil almost choked on his tongue as he regarded Raven with an incredulous look. Christ, here's to blasphemy! Phil raised the almost empty vodka bottle and then took another sip, saluting Raven's new 'accomplishments'.

" Well anyways, one day God came a-calling for me and I really didn't wanna go up cos I'd been suffering from an evil dose of flu and....." Raven leant forwards and placed one hand over her mouth, cupping her lips secretively. " It was whip and chain night and I just was NOT in the mood if ya know what I mean." Phil snickered and Raven smirked, each enjoying this little flight of lunacy. " But God, being the Almighty Chick that she is, sent for me anyways and she strung me up by my tootsies and flogged me all night loooong." Phil giggled, feeling the aching in his cheeks from smiling so much. Gods, I've never had this much fun in my life. Alcohol is brilliant! Wooo bloody Hoo!

" So...h-how's this got ta do wid the grass bein' green?" Phil asked, in between bursts of laughter. Raven waved her hands around in the air, indicating that she requested silence.

" This is how." Raven cleared her throat. " As we all know God is not infallible.....hence the reason we screw up all the time." Phil nodded sagely as Raven continued with her words of 'wisdom'." So after the long night me and God had together, unfortunately the Almighty Chick had caught the flu offa me and so when She was a-lookin' down on the earth once more, checking up on all of us, she felt a twitch in her nose and sneezed all over the earth..."

" Urrrgh!" Phil squealed, screwing his face up in disbelief." That's way gross Rae! Urrrgh!" Raven sat back looking very pleased with herself at having disgusted her buddy.

" Are you telling me that the reason that the grass is green is 'cause God's snot spread all over the land, making it green?" Raven simply nodded, smirking her head off.

Sheesh, Phil is such a little nancy. Raven thought as she watched Phil struggle to interpret this new 'imagining'. His steamed glasses were slipping off his lumpy nose once more and he constantly continued to blink his eyelids in a rather...strange fashion. But a totally adorable nancy, Raven amended as she watched the boy who was as close to her as any brother would be scowled at the thought of snot covering the grass to make it green.

" Sick man...that is sick!" Phil stated, trying to stand up and stop himself from grinning at Rae's antics. He failed at both and ended up flopping onto the bed in another fit of uncontrollable laughter.

" Yup...totally sick." Raven blithely agreed, smirking for all that she was worth. She shoved the skinny boy onto the floor where he managed to pull himself up with a little help from his buddy. " Wha'cha tryin' ta do Philly?" Rae inquired, gazing as the lanky boy stumbled over to the bathroom door.

" I'm goin' for a whizz...." Phil turned around and walked backwards so he could converse with his best buddy while still making it to the much needed destination. Peeing his pants in front of Rae was just NOT an option. " And then Rae my dear friend, we're goin' to go fer some food and drink!"

" We are?" Raven questioned, dragging herself off the bed and wobbling towards the window. " Alrighty then...I'll meet you in the back garden in five....go! Shoo! Go pee or whatever...see ya in a coupla mins pal..." Raven bounded over to the curtains and hopped out of the window before the teenage boy could stop her.

" One of these days she's gonna break her neck!" Phil mumbled as he stumbled to the bathroom door.

" No I won't!" cried Raven's voice from a distance.

Phil stopped on the thresh hold of the toilet, a distinctly shocked look on his face.

" How does she do that?" he pondered, grumbling as he struggled to get his fly undone. How comes these things always jam up when you need to get them undone the most? " Miss. Ears-Like-A-Hawk lives on...."

Outside Raven, standing safely on the ground simply smirked with a grin of self assurance on her beautiful was a shame that the confident smile on the outside wasn't felt as strongly on the inside amongst her confusion and feelings of abandonment. But like they say, alcohol can help to hide many pains.


To be continued in chapter 19........

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