- This chapter is dedicated to... guess who? YUP! My precious Gem! Thank you sweetheart, for just being there for me when I need you the most. I'd also like to thank my pals Merlin and Mary Keyes. Gemmy may indeed need those pins some time soon with all the flattery you've been spoiling me with! ( Gush! ) <VBG>
"Um, hey Mrs. Rogers? Is er - is Phil in?" Raven ventured, shifting uncomfortably as the small woman focused upon her with accusatory eyes.
"And you are?" Mrs. Rogers demanded, her pudgy hands resting on ample hips.
"The name's Raven, Ma'am," Raven stated with rare formality, although she was becoming increasingly incensed by this woman's militant attitude. To her utter surprise the harridan of a woman actually began to smile, transforming her features from hawkish to pleasantly placid.
"Ohhhhh....!" The woman gushed, wiping her hands on her apron and motioning for Raven to enter the immaculate hallway. "You must be the girl my boy's been chatterin' away about fer the last week?"
"Erm, yeah..." Raven mumbled, a flush colouring her countenance as Phil's mother turned to study her intently, eyeing her up and down as if she was future wife material. Mrs. Rogers gaze shamelessly roved over her jean-clad form, her beady eyes settling upon certain areas of Raven's lithe body with an almost morbid interest. I swear if she tells me I've got child bearing hips I am sooo outta here!, the brunette silently vowed.
"Well I'd just like to thank you personally for saving my little bunny-bukums from those mean gangsters that seem to hang around this town. 'Bout time someone stood up to those bullies!"Raven, somewhat disconcerted by this woman who was flapping her arms around like a headless chicken, simply nodded her head in agreement. If this was the genealogical stock that Phil originated from then perhaps it was better that they ended their friendship sooner rather than later, Raven mused silently as a small teasing smile graced her lips.
"MOM, who was that at the door?" Bellowed a voice from somewhere upstairs. Mrs. Rogers gave Raven a merry smile and rolled her eyes.
"Boys!" She winked at Raven as if she were a co-conspirator, "Such noisy creatures, huh?"
"Er, yeah." Raven agreed, smirking at the plump woman standing in front of her, only to cover her ears up quickly.
"PHILIP!" Mrs. Rogers yelled, her previously demure voice now echoing like a fog horn, "YOUR GIRLFRIEND'S HERE TO SEE YOU! I'LL SEND HER UP!"
There was a brief moment of silence and Raven wondered if Phil was gonna send her away.
"OK, MOM!" Came the reluctant reply.
Mrs. Rogers looked expectantly at the dark haired girl. She is a bit too tall for my liking, but at least she's beautiful, the middle-aged woman conceded, guiding Raven to the stairs. She had a decent looking son, so she didn't want any ugly grandchildren!
"Now I'm trusting you two to be on best behaviour!" Mrs. Rogers quipped cheerfully, trying to hide a knowing smirk. "His room is the second door on the right and remember, no hanky-panky!"
Raven strode up the stairs, purposefully putting plenty of distance between herself and the older woman, so Mrs. Rogers wasn't able to hear her chuckle wryly, "Not likely."
Raven's long stride quickly ate up the distance that separated her from Phil's room. The door was slightly ajar, so Raven silently entered the spacious alcove. The bedroom was surprisingly clean, considering it belonged to a boisterous teenage boy. StarWars posters were plastered all over the walls and several sci-fi-related objects formed a decorative decor. Phil was sitting on the corner of his blue duvet, his gaze directed away from her.
Raven shuffled awkwardly on her feet, unsure of how to approach Phil. Surely his stiff-shouldered stance indicated that he disapproved of her and of what he had seen? God, now even the geeks don't want anything to do with me! Raven thought angrily.
"Listen, it was a mistake to come here..." Raven growled, pride interfering with her need to make up with her new-found friend. Phil's rejection stung, because he was one of the few people that had ever shown interest in her as an actual person and not as an object to either hate, use or laugh at.
She turned away, striding determinedly towards the door once more.
"No!" Phil suddenly beseeched, springing up from his position on the bed. Raven turned around slowly and was unable to disguise the hurt on her beautiful features. Phil took a hesitant step towards her. "I - I'm sorry Rae," he said, softly.
Raven cleared her throat and frowned. Never one for heart to hearts, she didn't know what to say to her friend to mend their friendship.
"Raven," Phil spoke hesitantly as he regarded the powerful young woman standing opposite him. "I don't know how you can ever forgive me for.."
Raven's head snapped up in shock.
"Forgive you?..." She asked incredulously. " You haven't done anything that needs to be forgiven." Raven strode towards Phil's bed and sat gently down on the duvet cover, running an anxious hand through her snarled black locks. "It's me that needs to ask for your forgiveness Phil."
Phil stared in utter confusion at Raven's bent head.
"What the Hell are you talking about Rae? " He asked, joining his friend on the end of his bed.
Raven looked up and glanced at Phil. Wasn't he disgusted by what he had seen happening between herself and Nicky...? OH GODS! NICKY! What was the popular girl thinking of her now? Arrggh! She'll probably spread it around the whole God damned school that I tried to suck faces with her!
Phil watched as Raven's face contorted in to a multitude of emotions, one of which fear was very prominent. Raven stood up and started pacing around the room. Plucking up the courage, she finally verbally admitted what she had known was true in her heart for as long as she could remember.
"Phil....I'm gay." Raven stuttered, resting her eye level somewhere beyond Phil's shoulder.
"Hee, Hee!" Phil burst out laughing, clutching his stomach as he regarded the heavily-scowling girl who looked like - yes it was! - Raven was actually pouting! Hee, Hee!
"No shit Sherlock!.... Raven," Phil managed to gasp out, figuring he'd better explain his sudden burst of hysteria before Raven decided to make him one short of a threesome down below, "I kinda figured that out when you were practically drooling all over Nicki!" Phil chuckled once more at the flush that overtook Raven's dark features.
"I do NOT drool," Raven amended fiercely, crossing her arms petulantly over her chest. She struggled to prevent the grin beckoning at her lips from having full reign. Standing with her hands on slim hips, Raven towered over Phil's prone body. " If ya don't stop laughing, you'll regret it Philly Boy!"
"Yeah, right!" Phil scoffed. " I'm the best pal that you have around here....you wouldn't do anything to hurt me, now would ya?"
Phil realised his mistake too late as all 135lbs of Raven flew through the air and landed solidly on his slender body, tackling him to the floor and grappling him into an impressive wrestling move. Phil struggled vainly, flapping his arms around like a flailing fish, whilst Raven cackled wickedly.
"Ha! " Raven crowed triumphantly. "Who's laughing now, huh buddy!"
"Awww, Rae! " Phil twined, trying unsuccessfully to manoeuvre out of Raven's strong hold. God, does this girl have impressive biceps, Phil noticed, as the said muscles flexed against his throat. "I was just kidding ya! Let go! You win!" He choked out loud.
"'Course I do chump!" Raven said gleefully, loosening her grasp around his neck and sitting back against the side of the bed. "Soooo...." Raven mumbled, turning to look at Phil, "Are we....Ok?"
Phil looked at Raven, a girl who he had known for less than a fortnight, a girl he realised he himself was probably more than half in love with, a girl whom he considered to be his best friend.... a girl who was most definitely gay.
Phil sighed and looked back at his friend, who maintained eye contact with him. He'd stick by Raven through any troubles she may have...and he knew there was going to be problems, especially when her sexuality became public knowledge. Thursville would not readily accept differences of any sort...
"Yeah, we're Ok." Phil declared and leaned over to give the startled Raven a quick hug, much to Raven's discomfort...She just wasn't a touchy-feely kind of gal.
At that precise moment, Mrs. Rogers decided to make an appearance, rubbing her hands up and down in glee at the prospect of her boy finally landing himself a good lookin' girl.
"Ohhh, " Mrs. Rogers gushed at the startled couple. "Didn't mean to be interuptin' the two of ya. You'll be stayin' fer supper then Raven, hmmm?" She didn't even wait for a reply. "Yes, well I'd best be off to make the meal and leave you two love birds alone!" With that, the little tornado of a woman departed from the room.
Raven slowly removed Phil's arm from around her broad shoulders. It was all Phil could do to hold in the laughter at the panicked look on Raven's beautiful face. Raven slapped Phil in his stomach with the back of her hand before she sprang to her feet. All this mushy stuff was making her queasy.
"So, do you think she's picked out all the names fer our young-uns yet?" Phil quipped.
Phil with a lethal glare Raven emitted a deep growl, " Only when Hell well and
truly freezes over...."
"So what you gonna do about it?" Phil asked as he shoved another fish stick into his mouth. Raven threw a soggy fry at him which caught him directly on the end of his slightly crooked nose.
"Do you realise how disgusting it is to talk while you're eating?" Raven chastised, dipping another fry into the ketchup on her plate and launching it in Phil's direction once more. Phil frowned and wiped the red sauce off his face.
"Stop evading the question, Raven," Phil continued, ignoring the annoyed glance Raven was shooting his way. They had been sitting in 'The Diner' for the past hour, talking about the up coming school dance.
"I dunno Phil," Raven said, staring into space. Her mind wandered to a certain strawberry blonde who's image spent more time in Raven's thoughts than she cared to admit. Sighing, she turned her attention to the teenage boy who sat waiting for her to speak. "It depends on what Nicki decides to do really...how she will react to what happened." Raven frowned, " ....What almost happened I mean..."
"Such as whether she blasts to the whole school that I'm a freaky gay bitch, or whether she just ignores it." Raven glanced at her friend curiously. " Why? What do you think she's likely to do? I mean, you've known her for longer than me."
"Yeah, right! Known her and worshipped from afar!" Phil snorted as he took a sip of his milk shake. "Do you really think her kind would hang around me? Uh-eh, no-way! No one cool ever hangs out with me!"
Raven graced Phil with a scathing glance, "Jeez, thanks Phil. Nice to know how un-popular I am..."
"I didn't mean - "
"Quit it. It's Ok...Not like I care what everyone thinks anyway..." Raven grumbled.
Phil studied Raven's stoic face and grinned. "Yeah, well maybe you don't care what the average school kid thinks, but I don't think I'd be wrong to assume that what a certain little blonde now thinks of you after that interesting fiasco in the library is playing pretty heavily on your mind." Phil smirked at the deadly look Raven shot his way. "Ah, ah, ah, Raven! Don't go all grouchy on me pal. C'mon...admit it. You really like her, don't you? Hmmm?"
Raven's eyebrow rose as she crossed her arms. "It don't really matter what I think of her....she's not likely to just leap into my arms and declare her love for me is she? She's got a freakin' boyfriend for Christ's sake!"
"Whoa! Chill Rae." Phil reached out to pat the back of Raven's strong hands, which she quickly yanked away in embarrassment.
"Pack it in Philly boy." Raven growled playfully, launching another ketchup-smothered missile at his earnest face.
"Ok, Ok!" Phil laughed. Raven shook her head in amusement at her friend's antics, then suddenly sat still in the booth she was occupying. The back of her neck felt warm and she could feel someone staring at her....
"Phil, " she whispered, leaning slightly towards him. "Who just walked through the door?"
Phil glanced over Raven's shoulder as his eyes connected with worried green gaze.
"Oh, crap.." Phil mumbled, darting his eyes towards Raven. "The football and Cheerleading squad just walked through the door."
"Oh fuck," Raven muttered under her breath, desperately trying to resist turning around to look at the group that had just walked in.
"Shit!" Phil said in a sudden panic. "You won't believe who's coming this way!"
Raven stared at Phil, who's eyes were virtually bulging out of his head. " Who?"
Phil gulped, " Brad Maitland, Thursville's star quarter back and..."
...And Nicky's boyfriend...." Raven finished off Phil's sentence. "Great. Just
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