The rest of the week went by well enough but by Friday the teachers had piled on the homework and I spent Friday night at the desk in my room, trudging through math, lit and German.  I saved German for last, because it was the most fun; I had to write a one to two page story, in German, of course.  I wrote a story about a princess who met a troll and fell in love with him only to find that he was actually a prince under a spell.  I thought it was a pretty good story and after writing it, I started thinking about what Yuuki had said, about writing a letter to Ian.  The more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  I knew there was no way I would ever be able to actually tell him that I liked him, but maybe I could if I wrote it down.  I had already determined that things would be different this year and I knew that if I didn’t do something, things would never change.

With my homework out-of-the-way, I pulled out an extra piece of paper, took a deep breath and then froze.  What was I doing?  There’s no way I could write Ian a letter.  Not one that I could actually give him anyway.  Maybe I could just write one for myself, just to vent a little.  The idea didn’t seem that bad and I started to write again, but then I froze for the second time.  If I was going to write a letter to Ian, I was going to have to make sure my mom didn’t find it.  I loved her and all, but a letter like that would be too embarrassing to have my mom read.  I wondered what I was going to do and then it hit me…I could write the letter in German.  Of course!  It was brilliant!  I could vent all of my feelings on paper without my mom ever knowing what I had written.

I immediately started writing, putting everything I had ever wanted to say to Ian in that letter.  The more I wrote, the better I felt and by the time I finished, I thought that maybe, someday, I could actually write a letter to Ian and give it to him.  I had half a second to daydream about that when Bills came charging into my room, whining, sending stuffed animals, clothes and my homework flying, with his over exuberant tail wagging.  I knew what his dramatic entrance meant, so rather than yell at him for wrecking my room, I got up and took Bills outside.

“Are you finished with your homework?” my mom asked as Bills and I came back in.

“Yeah.”

“Good,” she grinned, “I’m bored.  You wanna watch Gilmore Girls?”

“Sure,” I shrugged as I flopped onto the couch with a sigh.

Mom and I watched a couple of episodes of Gilmore Girls before she decided she should probably get some sleep.  She had to get up and go to work in the morning but since I didn’t have to work until the afternoon, I stayed up and watched Hairspray.  When the movie ended I was too tired to bother with cleaning up the mess Bills had made in my room so I just left it for another day and fell fast asleep.  I slept later than I had meant to and didn’t have enough time to clean my room and get to work on time, so I just left it.  With the nice weather and the beginning of the fall soccer season, Stan’s was busy and work went by quickly.  Maggie and Yuuki stopped by just before closing and invited me to spend the night at Maggie’s house.  A quick call to my mom and a brief stop at my house to pick up a few essentials was all I needed to do to get ready for Maggie’s.

That night Maggie, Yuuki and I spent the evening devouring a pizza, watching movies and discussing books, school and boys.  Matt joined us for the pizza and one of the movies, which would have really bugged Maggie four years ago, but ever since he started hanging out with the older guys his brothers brought over, he’d managed to mature a bit and his presence didn’t really bother any of us anymore.  Anytime we got together at Maggie’s house, Matt was there too, hanging out, just another member of our group.  He may have started out as Maggie’s annoying “little” brother, but as a freshman, towering over us at six-two, with his spiked blonde hair and dark blue eyes, he was anything but little and far from annoying.  Of course, as the brother of one of my best friends, I had no romantic interest in Matt whatsoever, he was kind of my own adopted brother, but after only a week of school, there was already talk about the hot new wide receiver on the varsity football team and I was certain it wouldn’t be long before the girls started flocking to his side.  I just hoped that when the time came, the popularity wouldn’t go to Matt’s head, he was too much fun to lose to the dopey masses that would inevitably be drawn to him.

The four of us discussed our first week of school over pizza and smoothies while Mystery Men played in the background and by the time the movie ended, our conversation naturally turned into a discussion over the guys at school.

“So what do you guys think of Drew?” Maggie asked as she swallowed the last bite of her pizza.

“Drew Phillips?” Yuuki asked in slight shock.

“Um-hum,” Maggie answered as she struggled to slurp her smoothie up a straw.

Now, usually whenever Maggie decided to bring up boys, Matt would take it as a hint for him to make his exit for the evening, leaving the three of us to discuss our crushes in private, but that night, Matt, for whatever reason, decided to stay.

“Isn’t he the drum major?” Matt asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Yeah, so what?” Maggie asked, a bit defensively.

“I don’t know,” he teased, “you tell me.”

“Nothing, I just asked what you guys thought of him, and why are you still here anyway?  Isn’t it about time you fried you brain on whatever game it is you’re playing at the moment?”

“It’s Medal of Honor, and I think Drew’s a bit of a pansy.”

“You’re only saying that because he’s in band and not football.  Not every guy in the world has to be good at sports.”

“Only the guys worth dating,” he grinned.  “Right Lyla?”

“Um…” I hesitated, not wanting to upset Maggie or admit to Matt that I liked a different type of footballer.

“Oh shut up,” Maggie snarled as she glared at her brother, “I’m not talking to you anymore.  What do you guys think of him?”

“He’s not bad,” I shrugged, not really knowing what else to say.  Yuuki was my only connection to the band world so I couldn’t really offer more than that.

“He’s really pretty nice,” Yuuki offered, “but I think he’s dating a flautist.”

“Already?” Maggie groaned, “school’s only been going for a week.”

“I think they were pretty chummy at the end of last year.  I guess it didn’t take them long to pick up where they left off.”

“Stink!”  Maggie cried as she took another sip of her smoothie.  “Well, maybe it won’t last long.”

“Maggie!” Yuuki cried in astonishment.

“Wow,” I chuckled, “you must really like him.”

“I do,” Maggie pouted.

“But like you said,” I pointed out, somewhat sarcastically, “we’ve only been in school for a week.  How can you possibly have that big of a crush on someone already?”

“I don’t know,” Maggie snapped, “how can you have a crush on the same guy for five years?  Seems to me that we’re both pathetic.”

“Ouch!” Matt exclaimed.  “Maggie, you’re so cold!”

“Oh shut-up,” she snarled.

“Oh, I get it,” I sighed as I suddenly deciphered Maggie’s unusually bitter reaction.  “You’ve liked Drew for a while now, haven’t you?  He’s the mystery man you wouldn’t tell us about last spring, isn’t he?”

“Yes,” Maggie groaned, reluctant to admit that she liked someone so completely different from any of the guys she’d ever liked before.

“You know,” Yuuki cut in, “you should have told me you liked him earlier, I could have warned you about his flighty, I mean flute-y, friend.”

“Geeze Yuuki, tell us how you really feel about the flautist,” Matt snickered.

“Hey, everyone knows it’s the drum line that keeps the band together, that’s all I’m saying,” Yuuki grinned.

“And it’s the football players that give the band a reason to play,” Matt teased.

“And it’s the band that fills the bleachers,” Yuuki retorted.  “Ever notice how the stands clear out after half-time?”

“Hey, before this gets into another band versus football duel, could one of you pass me the pizza?”  I asked.

“Sure,” Matt smiled as he handed me the box.  “So, you’ve really had a crush on someone for the past five years?”

“Um…” I moaned, reluctant to admit my pathetic-ness to anyone other than Maggie and Yuuki, “yeah.”

“Anyone I know?”

“I’m not really sure.  How familiar are you with the senior class?”

“I know you three and the guys on the team.”

“Then you probably don’t know him.”

“So you’re not secretly in love with a football player?” Matt asked, with what sounded like just the slightest hint of disappointment in his voice.

“Well that depends on what country you’re in when you mention football.”

“Oh, don’t tell me,” Matt groaned, “you like a soccer player?”

“Yeah,” I admitted.

“What’s his name?”

“It’s Ian,” Maggie chimed in, a huge smile suddenly plastered on her face.  “Ian Wallace.”

“Ian, huh?”

“Yup,” Maggie grinned, obviously glad to have her brother’s disappointment focused on someone other than herself.

“Well this is a sad day,” Mattie sighed melodramatically.

“Why’s that,” Yuuki asked.

“Because I’ve suddenly realized that the football team has some serious problems.”

“What on earth are you talking about?” Maggie asked, frustrated at her brother’s theatrics.

“When three high school girls get together to discuss boys and not one of them mentions a member of the football team, something’s got to be terribly wrong.”

“Oh, don’t feel bad Mattie,” I grinned, patting him teasingly on the back, “I’m sure there’s a group of girls somewhere out there that are discussing the looks of the newest member of the football team.”

Matt gave me a slightly dirty look but switched his glare to his sister when she chimed in with a remark about him being jealous.

“I’m not jealous,” Matt pouted, “I just thought high school girls were supposed to be all in to football players and stuff.”

“A lot of them are,” Yuuki assured him, “we just happen to be three who aren’t.”

“Don’t worry Mattie,” Maggie teased, “you’ll have plenty of girls drooling over you before the season’s over.  They just have to see you catch a couple of passes first.”

“Whatever,” Matt grumbled before he changed the subject.  “So what are you guys watching next?”

“I vote for Moulin Rouge,” Maggie chirruped.

“Sounds good to me,” I grinned.

“Me too,” Yuuki agreed.

“And that’s my cue,” Matt sighed as he grabbed the last piece of pizza and headed for the door.

“Aren’t you going to stay and watch the movie?” I asked.

“Nah.  I’m not really in the mood to listen to the three of you swoon over Ewan MacGregor.  It’s really pretty nauseating, the guy’s old enough to be your dad.”

“Oh, come on,” Maggie teased, “we all know that you’ve been in love with Nicole Kidman since you were ten.  We can all watch the movie together, you don’t have to leave.  We can swoon over Christian and you can drool over Satine.  It’ll be fun!”

“No thanks,” Mattie growled as he made a face at his sister and left.

“You know, there are times when that kid really gets on my nerves,” Maggie maliciously grinned, “but then I get to embarrass him like that and it’s all worth it.”

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