Nearly two weeks had passed and the friendship between The Boy and Odessa, evidently, grew stronger. They’d kept up with their agreed lunch meeting plans, and on days they ate together, he’d ride with her in her car, for convenience sake. As for eating lunch with the others on Tuesdays and Thursdays, The Boy, still a little reserved, gradually became at ease with the gang, Alec and Skyler aside. Even Randy, who’d been critical of The Boy before, was warming up to him when he discovered they shared similar tastes in classic rock bands. Several schoolgirls would, also, walk by their table in hopes that The Boy would notice them and break away from the people around him. Odessa noticed their inane behaviour, and would catch herself feeling uncomfortable about it. But to much of the schoolgirls’ disappointment – as well as Odessa’s devotee, Jacob – The Boy was noticeably relaxed sitting next to her. Whether they were having lunch together or with the lunch crowd, one would always walk the other to their next respective class, afterwards.

Although they’d exchanged contact numbers The Boy warned her that he usually kept his hotel room phone unplugged during the week because he found them “annoying.” And on the weekends he would be hard to reach, as well, since he liked to spend his time up in Llantano Mountain, although he would sometimes hang out with Alec and Derek, at one or the other’s house. But as it turns out, rumours of the Odessa and The Boy being romantically involved were starting to circulate, and she was the recipient of the occasional evil eye from a few jealous girls, most noticeably Gisella, who, on a few more occasions, would persuade The Boy to come with her to the Diner Vega. Nevertheless, Odessa was becoming more and more comfortable with The Boy, but she also knew about his excursions with Gisella, and often had to remind herself not to allow any feelings for him to grow stronger...

That was until one Thursday afternoon when school was over. Rather than bolt the classroom like he usually did, The Boy actually waited around for Odessa after chemistry class. Kiko and Odessa left the room together, and saw that The Boy was waiting outside by the classroom exit. His body and one of his feet were leaning against the wall, with his eyes closed, arms crossed, and hair tucked behind his ears. The two girls raised their eyebrows in surprise, and Kiko and mouthed “Oh snap!” to Odessa. Feeling their presence, The Boy opened his eyes and gave them a grin.

All three had begun walking towards Odessa’s locker. “So Tim, what’s up? I’m surprised you’re still hanging around school,” she teased.

The Boy chuckled. “Yea, well I’ve got a few minutes to spare. I’m actually going over to Alec’s place soon. His dad’s back in town, and he and Alec’s gramps want my opinion about what colour they should repaint the Jaguar they’ve been working on. ‘Something different, but something beautiful’ is, apparently what they’ve been requesting… as if I’m good to judge that sort of thing,” he chuckled again, and the girls smiled. He then became serious, and looked directly at Odessa, his green eyes penetrating into her hazel-blues. “But I do know another kind of beauty when I see one.”

Odessa returning The Boy’s gaze stopped walking and was starting to feel a loss of sensation in her body. “I could say the same thing,” she managed to squeeze out.

At that moment, Kiko knew it was her cue to leave. “Okaaay, I’m gonna go to Student Council meeting early. After all, it is my duty as class secretary to keep things in order, and make sure nobody starts throwing chalk and erasers at each other. Um, later guys…” Kiko said giving Odessa another glance before leaving stifling a giggle.

But neither had heard what Kiko said. They were now in an area where it was less crowded. The Boy stopped and stepped directly in front of Odessa. He brushed back some hair hanging on the side of her face, carefully tucking it behind her ear, his other arm stretched and resting against the wall. He took a step closer, keeping his gaze on her. “Odessa… I was wondering if–”

“Hey Tim, hey Odessa!” interrupted Tamzin who’d just turned the corner behind The Boy, completely oblivious to the fact that she’d ruin an intimate moment.

NOOOO!!! What was he going to say. Damnit Tamzin! Of all the times I barely see you in school, why now do you suddenly appear?!? Odessa furiously thought.

“Hey,” they both tightly greeted.

“I just saw Alec, Tim, and he told me to pass the message on if I saw you that he’ll be waiting by his car in the senior lot section. That way you can follow him to our house,” she instructed.

Hmph!! Talk about wanting to shoot the messenger!

The Boy quickly looked at Odessa. “Um… alright Tamz, thanks for the heads up.”

“Your welcome! Okay, I’ve got cheerleading practise to run to, so I’ll see you both later!” and Tamzin dashed off.

The Boy turned to look at Odessa again, but then looked down to the floor, his lips pursed. She was about to tell him to continue what he was about to say, until she noticed him looking very tentative; she decided not to push it. Finally, he sighed and looked back up at her. “I guess I’d better get going, huh?”

Uhh, not really!!! “It’s okay, I know the Buchanan men are counting on you,” she tried to stay cheery. “Maybe we could talk on the phone later on this evening?”

He gave her a soft look but shook his head. “I’m not doing this over the phone. But I’ll definitely catch you soon.” He took one of her hands and gave it a little squeeze, the quick touch feeling electric. The Boy took off, leaving Odessa to only looked after him, feeling very thwarted.

As she was walking to her car, Odessa had all sorts of questions running through her head, wondering what The Boy was going to say. She hadn’t noticed Gisella nearby, flirting with one of the guys on the football team. Gisella had spotted her, however, and said something to the player, gave him a quick a hug, and sashayed over to Odessa, leaving the young fella lustfully watching her before he went his own way. “Hello there, Miss McBain,” Gisella said, her tone sounding dodgy. “I haven’t spoken to you in a while. How are things?”

Odessa still distracted and disappointed about the scene earlier, sighed and shook her head. “What do you want, Gisella?”

“You know that’s a little rude, Ode. I’m here trying to strike up friendly chit-chat–“

“What. Do. You. Want. Gisella?” Odessa repeated coldly, teeth gritted and all.

Gisella was taken aback briefly, but then a scowl crept over her face. “Fine, I’ll make this short then, since someone here feels like being such an asswipe,” she said. Odessa threw her head back, shaking it. “I was just wondering what’s going on between you and Tim. There are rumours going around saying you two are supposedly talking,” Gisella inquired nosily.

Odessa crossed her arms and eyed the other girl carefully. “If there is something between us, what the hell business of that is yours?” she replied coolly.

Gisella deceitfully replied, “Oh now, ‘Dessi, don’t be like that. I’m just trying to look out for ya. You know clearup any misleading information, assuming the rumours aren’t true, that is…”

Odessa let out an annoyed chuckle. “You know what Jezebel, I mean Gisella, I really don’t have time for this,” and she started to walk away from her.

“Hey wait a minute! I want to know!!” Gisella demanded, rudely putting one of her hand on Odessa’s shoulders, and forcing her to turn around.

Odessa smacked the other girl’s hand away. “NO, godamnit!! There’s nothing, NOTHING, going on between us!” she exclaimed, unsure of what she was angrier over: dealing with Gisella, or the high-level confusion about what was -- or wasn’t -- going on between herself and The Boy. “And don’t you EVER put your hands on me like that again,” she said in a lowered voice, teeth gritted again.

Gisella stepped closer, slitting her eyes and smiling cruelly. “Oh don’t worry about that, sweetie. I’d rather have my hands on someone else,” she calmly taunted. And with that Gisella walked past her. She stopped in her tracks and turned around. “And Ode, you should really work on that awful attitude of yours. You aren’t going to get very far in life with it.” She gave a Odessa a false smile, and continued in her tracks.

It took all of Odessa to calm down and not go after her. “You are such a pathetic BITCH!!” she yelled to her, watching as Gisella threw her head back and cackled. A few other students, who’d witness the confrontation, stared at Odessa. Still annoyed with her “chat” with Gisella, she growled at the students. “And what the hell are you looking at?!?”

“Whoa! Easy there, Fiona! You’re going to pop a vein if you keep that up,” said a familiar voice behind her. There was only one other person besides her dad, her Uncle Michael, and occasionally Skyler, who called her by her middle name. She turned around and was relieved and happy to see it was her cousin and Skyler’s older brother, Tyler.

Odessa went from scowling to smiling. “Oh hey, Ty! It’s so good to see you! I thought you were coming in tomorrow?” she said, giving her cousin a big hug.

“Good to see you too, Fee, I think… although I’m worried you may slug me at some point,” her big cousin joked. “But Ace and I decided to come back a day early… So what just happened?”

“Ugh, it’s just that Jezebel… she continues to test me. Where is Ace anyway? He needs to get his so-called chick in check.”

“Hehe, he’s waiting in the car with Skyler. I was on my way to wish ol’ Coach McFadden good luck with the game tomorrow, but then I saw you two in each other’s faces… I figured I’d better get over here, before something happened.”

“Aw, thanks Ty. But, I’m fine now that you’re here,” she grinned.

“Hmm…well alright then. We were going to grab some grub afterwards. You wanna come with?”

“Sure!” Odessa said.

“It’ll be at the Diner Vega, though,” he warned.

She quickly changed her mind. “Wooo! Look at the time! I’d better get going now!’”

“Hehe, don’t be a little punk now, Fiona.”

“Ty please, if that witch is there I’d doing myself a huge favour… I swear she’s starting to give me an ulcer…”