See chapter one for disclaimers

Feedback to:

- This is dedicated to my infinitely talented partner whom I love and adore, to my Gem. Oh and did I mention worship? I worship the ground you walk on as well Sweetheart. Awww! Obsession, what a wonderful thing, huh? <g>

- I'd also like to thank those fantastic readers who have been sending me such helpful and encouraging feedback, especially my friend the magical Merlin and my new best pal, the super Spin. Thanks guys! And Jamie, I hope you enjoy this chapter...that is IF you're still alive and the anticipation hasn't killed you my friend! <VBG>


Chapter 7

"Ahh, c'mon Nicky!" Brad pleaded, using his big brown eyes to their full advantage. He defiantly ignored his girlfriend's efforts to halt his advances, and proceeded to stalk purposely towards Phil and Raven. Sensing his approach, Raven pointedly turned away from the feuding duo.

"Brad, no..!" Nicky whispered heatedly, glaring at the group of laughing cheerleaders who continued to egg Brad on.

"I wanna see what she looks like!" Brad whined, gently peeling Nicky's tapered fingers from his wrists. "You guys have been talking about her and Phil all week....she's gotta be damned interesting for her to remain the hottest subject for that long!"

Nicky halted, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. The LAST thing she needed right now was to come face to face with the girl whom she had been having really...personal dreams about. After the library fiasco on Friday, Nicky went home and thought long and hard about what had transpired between herself and the tall brunette, who lingered incessantly in her thoughts. She had decided that there was no underlying meaning in their interaction - that Raven's attempt to kiss her was just a product of an overactive imagination.... Right? After all, why the hell would someone as good looking as Raven find her remotely attractive? Sure, people called her cute and stuff, but it wasn't the same...and anyways, Raven was obviously involved with Phil, wasn't she? Nicky couldn't bring herself to believe that statement, even though Raven and Phil did seem to be growing pretty close as of lately... Phil just didn't seem right for the tall beauty.

"Urrggh!" Nicky fumed, stomping her petite feet on the linoleum floor. "Just be NICE!" She warned, waving a finger in her boyfriend's mischievous face. I can handle this, I can handle this! Nicky thought frantically. Yeah, keep telling yourself that Nicky girl, and you might also actually believe that you're not attracted to that sex goddess over there.... "Oh sweet Lord..." she mumbled, rejoining her clique and shaking her head in shame.

Phil ducked his head as the popular quarter-back strode purposefully towards their booth. Brad stopped by the side of the seats, stooping slightly to regard the new girl with the impressive shoulder span.

"Hi there, " Brad smirked, nodding in Phil's direction, and then turned his attention to the silent figure sitting opposite the awe-struck geek. The picture of chivalry, he extended a beefy hand. Raven looked up at the tall and impressive figure, weighing up his potential appeal. Yeah, this guy would definitely be considered handsome at the very least. Well, Nicky deserves the best...Raven thought, as she gamely took the large hand into her own.

"Hi," Raven ventured, looking Brad in the face for the first time. Brad had to struggle not to gasp as he took in the gorgeous creature sitting before him.

"Wow..." Brad mumbled. Phil grinned, safe in the knowledge that he knew exactly how Brad was feeling. He himself had reacted with uncanny similarity upon encountering the brunette for the first time, aside from the fact that he was in the process of being strangled by a telephone wire at the time! "I'm Brad Maitland. Welcome to Thursville!"

Raven nodded back at him, a small smile creasing her own face. Maybe this guy wasn't so bad, after all, Nicky didn't seem like the type of girl that would go out with just any old egotistical loser.

"Nice to meet you, I'm Raven." Raven said, letting go of his hand and dropping it back onto the table. An awkward silence filled the air.

"Hey!" Brad said suddenly. "Why don't you come over and sit with us, Raven?" He didn't want to lose sight of this incredible creature. Wow, and he thought that Nicky had been the best looking chick in the school....Not any more.

"Erm..." Raven was shocked at Brad's request. For the whole week, everyone from that darned clique (apart from Nicky) had used her as the butt of their jokes....and wouldn't it make them damn uncomfortable if I was to go and sit among them? she thought wickedly. "Sure." Raven said, picking up her soda and standing up. To Brad's surprise, he found that Raven was actually as tall, if not taller than himself. Raven glanced back at the dejected-looking Phil and grinned softly.

"C'mon Phil." Shifting to the side so that Phil could manoeuvre out of his seat, she rolled her eyes. "We've been invited over to see how the other half does things..."

"But..?" Brad started to protest - there was no way on earth that he would be caught dead with Phil. Then again, the evil gleam in Raven's eyes seemed more consequential than a little thing like popularity. "Sure. Come meet the guys...."

Phil beamed at Raven, following her lead to the cluster of students surrounding a bunch of tables in one corner. Raven's gaze immediately fell upon Nicky, but the strawberry blonde head was pointedly turned away from her, gazing out of the window with over-zealous interest.

"Hey guys...this here is Raven." Brad indicated for Donna and May to move over for the new arrivals. Phil clambered in beside May, whose facial expression indicated that she was not impressed with the embarrassing scenario.

"Nice to meet ya." Donny grinned at Raven, ignoring Phil's lowly presence completely. "How's about I introduce you to the gang?" Donny was only too eager to start up any conversation with this babelicious girl, even if she did look like she could snap his neck with one flick of her nimble wrist.

"Not likely," Brad snorted, positioning himself next to Nicky, so that he was directly opposite Raven. "I'll do the honours. Them two babes sitting beside you are Donna and May." He pointed to the stub-nosed brunette and the petite girl with dusky blonde hair.

"Donny is Donna's twin brother..." He nodded in the dark-haired boy's direction, and Donny promptly offered Raven a megawatt grin. Regarding him nonchalantly, Raven simply raised an uninterested eyebrow. "Erm...Ha, Ha. I'm Brad of course.....and that cute lil' red head there is Stacey and the dude next to her is Carl..." Stacey stuck her tongue out at Brad and then refocused her attention on her burger.

"And this..." Brad wrapped his arm tightly around his girlfriend who visibly winced in reaction. " my best girl, Nicky" He leant over and laid a sloppy kiss on her blushing cheek.

Nicky glanced up and was immediately caught in a pair of deep azure pools...Oh wow....How the hell could they be THAT blue??? Dreamy....

"Hi..." she mumbled weakly, managing a small smile for her boyfriend's benefit. She gulped audibly at the tingling she could feel in the pit of her stomach when she gazed steadily at the dark beauty in front of her. Stop it Nicky! Her mind screamed....Do you want people to know that you've got the urge to just jump up in your seat and drag Raven's luscious lips to your own...Whoa! I did NOT just think that! Uh-ohhhh! I'm in big trouble! Nicky gulped again, in an effort to clear her suddenly dry throat.

" Hi..." Raven mumbled back, her gaze caught in those verdant eyes.....she could just swim in those glorious emerald depths for days on end.....Raven bit her lip as she felt a sharp kick to her shin. Her razor blue eyes searched for the guilty party...only to then to soften in embarrassment as Phil looked back at her.

Ok, so he caught me gawking at Nicky....but who can blame me...? Raven glanced hastily around the table, observing with a certain amount of relief that her counterparts were too consumed in devouring their junk food to notice the heated looks passing between herself and Nicky. Her wariness appeased, she returned her longing gaze to the little blonde. Just look at those gorgeous lips...Hmmmm. The things I could do with those.....

Raven watched those pink lips curve up into a delicate smile and ran her own tongue along her red lips in reaction, mirroring the smile on the blonde's face. Nicky gasped, and stared back into Raven's azure gaze once more. Fervent desire assaulted her senses as she envisaged Raven running that tongue along her mouth, her lips parting and inviting the dark girl's passion into her...NO! STOP IT NICKY! Get a hold of your never act like a little wanton hussy with Brad, so don't start now!

Suddenly the Diner door burst open and in walked two other members of the 'popular' society of Thursville.

"So this is where ya'll are!" Maria stated in mock indignity, flicking back a stand of her chestnut hair. "Me an' Nate thought you'd all deserted us?"

"As if we'd ever be that lucky..." Nicky muttered, whilst dragging her gaze away from Raven and pasting a huge smile on her face for Maria's benefit. After what seemed like seconds, her eyes returned to rest upon Raven, who appeared amused by Nicky's comment. Nicky's heart skipped a beat upon realising that she had been responsible for that little lop-sided grin that erupted on Raven's beautiful face.

Nicky offered her a shy smile in return and for the first time in days she felt as if everything was going to be all right. Maybe Raven hadn't noticed that she had nearly made a pass at her...? Now if she could just control her body's reaction to the brunette, then perhaps everything would get back to normal. Yeah, really KNOW that the heat from the looks you've been giving Raven have enough current running through them to electrocute Principle Greener several hundred times over..Hmm, not a bad thought actually...Hee, Hee!

Phil turned to stare at the pretty cheerleader who stood beside the dark silent football player and gulped. He'd had a crush on Maria now for many a year...If only..Nah, she'd never be interested.....

"And just who do we have here..?" Maria questioned as she shoved Raven along, ignoring the earnest glare she received in response. Nate pulled up a chair from another table and set it down beside his friends.

"Oh hey, Maria!" Brad chimed, waving in her direction whilst maintaining his possessive grip upon Nicky. Raven noticed Brad's paw like hands grasping at Nicky's body and tried to calm herself down. No Raven, it is not an advisable thing to strangle a guy just 'cos you've got the hots for his girl, who he is presently hugging, holding...caressing...! Raven clenched her hands under the table to stop herself from doing some serious damage to the quarter back who was being so damn nice to her....

"Raven, Phil, this is Maria and Nate..." Brad indicated the said duo, and then went back to studiously nuzzling Nicky's soft neck.

"Hi there, " Nate said to both Phil and Raven.

"Soooo," Maria drawled, hooking one arm behind the seat where Raven was sitting, ignoring the dead eyes she was receiving from the amazon she was sat next to. "How long have you and Phil been seeing each other?"

Nicky's head shot up at this. No offence to Phil, but surely someone as gorgeous as Raven wasn't going out with....him? Raven deserved someone...more...more worthy, someone who would appreciate her and be by her side even when the going gets tough, someone like..... Nicky's eyes widened as she tried to wriggle away from Brad once more. Geez, you'd think he'd get the message, Nicky mentally sighed, resigning herself to being ineptly pawed for the next hour or so.

Phil nearly choked on his drink, causing the whole table burst into riotous laughter. Donny pounded the poor guy on his scrawny back in an effort to stop him from suffocating.

"We're only friends." Raven stated firmly, shooting dagger eyes around the table.

Maria shivered at the glacier look sent her way, retracting her arm and shuffling away slightly.

"So, " Stacey suddenly spoke up, having finally abandoned her greasy burger. "How long have you been in Thursville?" She was interested to find out just what precisely it was about this strange girl that interested her best friend so much. Surely she couldn't be all bad if Nicky liked her? Nicky was always a fair person who was good at judging people's characters, so just what was it about this stranger that Nicky has seen and not the rest of us, Stacey thought.

"Just under a couple of weeks now I'd say."

Nicky listened intently to what Raven was saying. She sensed that the tall girl didn't open up much to others, and was ready to memorise whatever information that passed from Raven's luscious lips.

"So where did you live before coming here? " Stacey persisted, determined to make this strangely stoic girl open up, even just a little bit. She watched attentively for some sign of emotion from Raven's passive countenance, a look of insecurity, an expression of apprehension.... Anything! Nope....the defensive ice mask was definitely back in place. Raven wasn't opening up for anyone. Nicky watched intently as Raven seemed to clam up even more under the intense scrutiny her friends were placing her under.....

"Is it true that your Mom's a whore?" Maria suddenly inquired, trying unsuccessfully to conceal a smug smile. She shifted away from the silent form sitting rigidly besides her, as if to disassociate herself from the brunette...She was certain that the scathing remark would draw a reaction from the stuck up bitch, quashing her self-assurance.

If possible, Raven's concealed hands clenched up even more tightly than before, forming two hard fists of repressed fury....Everyone at the table went silent, May and Donny decided to just stare at each other in nervous anxiety, Donna, Carl and Stacey watched on in fascination as the new girl refused to be baited by their snide friend.....

Nicky was disgusted, beyond furious at her 'friend' for asking Raven such a malicious question...Surely it wasn't true anyways, right....? Nicky's gaze instinctively sought out Raven's and she gasped at the pain she saw in those pale blue orbs. Raven's eyes harboured so much hidden angst, but as soon as Nicky's compassion became evident, the azure pools promptly glazed over, shielding any other emotions that may have been detected by the sympathetic blonde girl.

Phil looked over at his friend, not knowing what to do......What could he possibly do to help his friend, who looked like she was about to strangle Maria with her bare hands...Run can always just run away...! Ok, so it wasn't a master plan or an ultimate solution to this increasingly uncomfortable situation, but he could tell that Raven was going to lose it at any moment now. The muscles in her jaw were working angrily and the calm, deadly gaze that penetrated anyone who dared to be on the receiving end of it - which was not many, to be sure - was enough to frighten the Devil away! And, after seeing first hand what Raven was capable of when pissed off, he reluctantly admitted that he did not want to be around to see the resulting destruction that would surely occur. Some may call him a wimp, but he preferred to see it as self preservation.....Even Maria, bitch that she was, didn't deserve to be beaten to a pulp at the hands of Rae when she was angry...

"So, is it true? " Maria persisted, feeling rather pleased with herself. She was either unaware or nonchalant towards the fact that she was placing herself in an extremely perilous position. "Is your Mom a cheap hooker or what, cos my Dad said that..."

Maria didn't get the chance to conclude her sentence....and shockingly it wasn't Raven that snapped first. Nicky tensed her slender shoulders, rage filling her small frame as she quickly launched herself towards Maria, carelessly pushing Brad out of the way and seizing the brunette's wrist in a strong grip.

"Shut up! Just shut the hell up!" Nicky enunciated, her voice blazing with obvious ire. Everyone at the table - Raven included - watched in amazement as Nicky sidled out of the booth, smoothly jumping over the startled Brad. The extent of her anger seemed to make her tower over the utterly surprised Maria, who at this precise moment resembled a gasping and floundering fish rather than a fatally sadistic bitch.

"Who the hell do you think you are Maria?" Nicky hissed, maintaining her grip on Maria's wrist, bringing her face precious inches from the startled brunette's. Nicki carried on in defence of her new friend, hushing the stuttering Maria's verbal comebacks with a sharp look of pure fury....

Who would have thought that nice, gentle, bubbly Nicky could be so intimidating? Certainly not her boyfriend, who was currently looking on in absolute confusion at the unfolding scene...Shit! All he'd wanted was a chance to get a better look at the beautiful brunette...... It certainly wasn't worth all of this hassle to bring Raven over to his 'in' group..and it was a mistake that he determinedly vowed never to make again.... Raven may be a decent enough person, at a distance of course, but he did NOT like the way his girl, his Nicky, acted around this dark amazon.....Maria and Donna had been right, Nicky certainly DID act weird around this new girl....and Brad didn't like it one single bit!

"Nicky...sit DOWN!" The blonde footballer said, standing up and trying to get a desperate hold of his furious girlfriend, who was currently struggling to slap Maria in her snide face.

"Nicky! Pack it in...NOW!" He shouted, grabbing hold of his girlfriend's slender waist. Brad glanced frantically around the table for some assistance, his gaze locked on Raven's calm blue eyes.. "Well...?" He practically shouted, avoiding Nicky's swinging fists. When no reply was forthcoming, he picked the small girl up and dragged her away from the group. Raven watched this scene unravel with a somewhat clinical coldness.....To others it might seem as though she didn't give a flying fuck about what was happening around her, but on the contrary, she was just too damn surprised by Nicky's vehement defence of her...

Why the hell is she doing this? Raven wondered as she jumped up and stepped out of the booth, ignoring the fearful glances headed in her direction.....Even Phil was too frightened of how Raven might react should he go to her aid......He truly wanted to, but he just didn't want to endanger their fragile friendship. He'd never had a best friend before...and he sure as hell didn't want to lose Raven now that he had just found her.

"Brad! " Nicky squealed as he dragged her out of the Diner, her temper verging on explosive. "Get the hell off me! I'm gonna.."

"You're gonna do nothing Nicky!" Brad shouted in retaliation, placing his girl firmly down on the side walk. "What the hell did you think you were doing? "

" I...I was just..." Nicky closed her tired eyes and took a deep breath in a vain attempt to clam her irritated nerves...Oh gods, she could still see the pain that was reflected in those beautiful blue orbs of Raven' much pain...She couldn't let anyone EVER hurt Raven like that again......She opened her shimmering emerald eyes, glancing around, noticing for the first time that they were no longer inside of the longer in the presence of the beautiful Raven....

"Well?" Brad asked hesitantly, not liking the blank expression on Nicky's usually animated face. He still couldn't get over the shock of his gentle Nicky acting like a wild cat.

Shoving his hands in his trouser pockets, Brad impatiently awaited for an answer....Why couldn't it be easier to understand what was going on in that little blonde head of hers? Maybe it was just hormones or something, Brad guessed. Luckily for him he didn't voice his slightly chauvinistic opinion..otherwise Nicky would have exploded into a fit rage once more.

Nicky stared hard at the ground.... Then returned her gaze to Brad, but something out of the corner of her eye caught her attention...There walking silently down the deserted, dusty path was Raven.... her usually proud head was now slumped in woe, dejected shoulders drooping in defeat and utter rejection....

Nicky felt her eyes cloud, her heart thumping in tortured empathy. She swallowed a gulp of sorrow as she fought the overwhelming urge to simply follow the lonely brunette, knowing that any advances she made towards the ever skittish Raven would more than likely be rebuffed. She regarded the shadowy out line of her new friend until she had completely disappeared, like a lost Soul vanishing into a void of painful nothingness. Only then, did she reluctantly return her attention to a peeved Brad.

"We need to talk Nicky.." Brad said sternly, annoyed that Nicky was avoiding his attempt to sort things out. Just what the fuck has gotten into her tonight? A warped smile marred his countenance. Maybe if she actually let me inside of her...he eyed Nicky's supple young body and smirked, in every way, then we wouldn't have trouble communicating!

Nicky sighed deeply, running a hand through her ruffled blonde hair, the silky strands smoothly parting between her small fingers. Sighing once more in resignation, Nicky returned her full attention to Brad. "Sure.....But not here, Ok?"

Brad nodded eagerly, leaning over and taking hold of Nicky's little hand in his own beefy paw. "Come on then," he muttered.

Nicky followed his lead, walking towards Brad's new red BMW, prepared to listen to what her boyfriend had to say for himself....Taking one last lingering glance in the deserted direction of the dark-haired girl's departure, Nicky grudgingly seated herself into the leather up-holstered car, her thoughts swirling in a fog of confused chaos.

To be continued in chapter 8........

Return to Main Page