"They seem to be getting along well," I muttered to Chrissy, watching Isobel and Elijah talk to each other.
"They're practically in love," Chrissy said, distracted by the cold water that was now up to her knees.
I walked up behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist. "What're you doing after this?"
Chrissy shrugged. "I don't know. You have something in mind?"
"I wanted to take you out to dinner tonight, if that's okay."
Chrissy smiled. "I'd like that."
"Would you, now?"
"I would, now, yes I would."
Chrissy kissed me softly on the cheek. I smiled. "Well, what are you in the mood for?"
"Umm...well, now that you mention it---"
Suddenly, a voice from behind me said, "Tom."
I turned. It was Rhea. She looked...well...actually I was having a hard time reading her face. She looked calm, but at the same time, she looked as though she was masking her true feelings.
"Yeah?" I asked quietly.
"Can you come here, please?"
Chrissy and I both started to walk towards her.
Rhea blinked. "Umm...just you, Tom."
I looked at Chrissy.
She smiled weakly. "It's okay. You go."
I nodded slowly. "I'll be back in a second."
I started following Rhea down to a more secluded part of the beach.
"What's this about, Rhea?" I asked as she stopped.
She held her arm, but said nothing.
"Rhea? What's wrong?"
She shrugged. "You're my friend, right?"
I nodded. "Of course I am, Rhea, but what's---"
"Friends help friends out, right?"
"Yeah, they do," I said, starting to frown a little bit.
Rhea shook her head. "It's crazy." She turned and started to walk away.
I grabbed her arm. "Wait, explain."
Rhea sighed. "Look, I like this guy. A lot. Joey. You know him, right?"
"Yeah, we've hung out before."
Rhea nodded. "I like him, like a lot."
I smiled. "You've made that point."
She blushed slightly. "I was just talking to him on the phone."
"Yeah, he was calling for school reasons, but it didn't sound like he was calling for school reasons. It sounded like he was calling just to talk to me, you know?"
"See, let me ask you this: Would Joey ask me out if he liked me?"
I shrugged. "Maybe. He usually likes to know a girl likes him before he asks though."
"But I'm not the kind of girl to just walk up and tell him."
I smiled. "Of course not. So what do you want me to do?"
"I had this wacky idea. What if I could find some boy, who doesn't like me, to flirt with me or something around him?"
My smile widened. "Ahh...I see. Jealousy. So then he'll ask if you are dating him, you say no, then you can start a conversation. Right?"
My smile vanished. "So you want me to find a guy for you?"
"No, no," she said quickly. "I want you to do it."
She looked as though she wanted to hide under a rock. Almost as if she didn't mean to say that. "Well," I said, a little uncomfortable now. "I'd have to talk to Chrissy."
"Yeah, yeah, of course. Remember, it wouldn't be anything serious. I'd just want you to like, play with my hair or something. Am I being weird? I'm being weird, aren't I?"
I half-smiled. "Nah, you're fine. But I'll talk to Chrissy and get back to you."
"Okay. Thanks Tom."
Chrissy wasn't as light-hearted about it as I thought she would be. Typical. "Look, it wouldn't be anything serious. It'd just be---"
"And you approve of this?"
"Well, I understand why she wants me to do it, and it's not like I like her like that or anything. So it should be fine, right?"
"Yeah, but how is that going to look? People are going to think you're a slut."
"Yeah, like I care." I laughed.
She smirked, but then swallowed it. "Still, I'm going to feel jealous."
"I promise I'll come home and play with your hair and flirt with you all night."
She smiled. "Well, that does sound nice. But still, it's going to make me uncomfortable."
"I promise it won't be anything serious, I promise."
She nodded slowly. "Okay. I trust you."
I looked down at the ground. "Good."
"And I love you."
I looked up, just in time to feel her lips kiss mine.
It was almost time. The bell had just rung and everyone was coming out of their classes. Rhea and I were leaning against the lockers when Joey suddenly came out of the classroom.
"We're right by his locker," I whispered, as Joey headed our way.
"I know, perfect, right?"
I shook my head. "You're a little too devious for your own good."
"Oh shut up. Now play with my hair and try to look hott."
I rolled my eyes. "I'll do my best."
"You know what I mean."
Joey came to his locker and opened it.
I glanced at Rhea. Okay, time to do this.
I reached over and began to twist a few of her hairs around my finger. I was feeling uncomfortable, to say the least, and Rhea didn't look too comfortable either.
Unfortunately, Joey didn't even seem to notice.
What else is flirty?!
Rhea glared at me. Then she mouthed, "More!"
I nodded quickly.
I put my hands on her shoulders and rubbed them.
This is too weird. Too weird.
Joey still wasn't noticing. In fact, he was just getting ready to close his locker.
Rhea looked distressed. Like it was all my fault. And it probably was.
Joey slammed his locker shut and was just about to turn away.
Suddenly, Rhea grabbed my shirt and pulled me forward.
Our lips came together.
Joey was now watching, so I closed my eyes and pretended like I was enjoying it. When in reality, I was so uncomfortable I thought I was going to die. I tried not to let myself redden, but I did anyway.
Rhea pulled herself away and gave me a look that apologized.
I didn't move until Joey looked away and began shuffling down the hall.
"Why did you do that?" I asked, a little angry.
Rhea shrugged. "I was improvising!"
I sighed. "Well, you got his attention. I hope it works out for you."
Chrissy was standing there, jaw dropped. Then I suddenly realized. She was pissed. At me. At least, she looked it.
"Wait, Chrissy," I snapped, dashing towards her.
She darted away from me.
She ran straight into the girl's bathroom.
I stopped running and stood by the door. She had to come out sometime.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no oh no!
I had to explain to Chrissy what happened. I had to.
The bell rung, but I didn't care.
Chrissy suddenly came out, and looked surprised to see me.
"What are you doing here?"
"I need to explain---"
"You lied to me."
"No, no, it wasn't a lie."
The conversation that followed broke my heart, but only for a few seconds, because then it restored my heart to a better condition than it had ever been in before.