Jen and the group watch Abby and Nial make a hasty retreat down the hall. Jen’s frowning to herself, but pulls a twisted smile back onto her face as she turns back to her friends.

“Abby can’t even hold her ground without her little nerd pet butting in.”

James laughed. “You can’t hold your ground without Erin and Darryl backing you up, threatening the competition. Sorry Sis, you lost this one.”

“Think whatever you like, James, I was going easy on her.”

James just smiles leisurely at her. “I’m sure little sis. I’m going to head to my next class, so I’ll see you guys later.”

As he walks past Jen, he turns and whispers right in her ear, so no one else can hear it. “Don’t you think she plays too many of your strings at once? She knows just how to hit you where it hurts.”

Jen shrugs, “You don’t know anything, James. And I know plenty about you.”

“So you do. Unfortunately for you, I know just as much as you do, and you know it. So does Abby, if I’m not mistaken. Consider that a warning.”

James continues on his way to class.

“What was that?” Darryl asks her, watching James leave.

“Just more brotherly love. Warning me not to mess with people who know too much.”

Darryl laughs. “You’d think he’d take his own advice.”

Erin looks over at them. “Have you guys seen Kathy? She was here a minute ago.”

Jen rolled her eyes. “She probably scampered off somewhere. She’s like a rabbit, one sign of trouble and she takes to her heels and runs. Don’t worry about her, she’s fine, and besides, we have English in five minutes.”

Erin nods. “I’ll find her after class then.”

Robin sighs, glaring at Erin. “I’ll go find her now. Boys! They don’t understand anything.”

She takes off in one direction, and Gianna surreptitiously follows after her.

After a moment, Robin notices.

“What’s up Gianna? Why are you following me?”

Gianna shrugs. “I’m worried about Kathy too.”

Robin watches her for a second. “I seriously doubt that.”

Gianna sighs. “Fine. Maybe I’m worried more about you than about Kathy.”

“Why the hell are you worried about me?”

“Were you really okay with the things Jen said back there? I suppose they weren’t so bad, but the implication was there, and especially since it’s coming from Jen, well, it must sting.”

Robin stares at her. “What are you even attempting to say? Spit it out Gianna, we don’t have all day, and I want to find Kathy.”

“Are you really okay with Jen making fun of people for being gay? I know that wasn’t exactly her main tactic, but it was there, so…”

Robin’s eyes narrowed, and her arms folded across her chest, her shoulders going back. “It’s maybe not the nicest thing in the world, but it’s only Abby.”

“It’s not ‘only Abby’.”

“So what?”

“You really want me to say it out loud, don’t you? Put all the pressure on me instead of yourself. Or are you just so in denial you can’t even admit it to yourself, let alone me? I’m seriously the last person you should worry about telling.”

Gianna smiles softly and Robin deflates a little, letting her arms fall and shoulders sag. “So let’s say I know what you mean. Let’s say it’s true. So what? Jen doesn’t really mean what she says, she just does it to get on Abby’s nerves. She knows it gets to her, or at least the people who support her. I don’t know if anything really gets to that freak of nature. Aside from her dad, who knows what that’s about.”

Gianna gives Robin a look. “Do you really believe that?”

Robin smiles. “I know way more about Jen than you do. Trust me on this one.”

“Alright.” She pauses for a moment. “So which one?”

Robin blinks. “What?”

“Which one, Kathy or Jen? I mean, I have my personal pick on which one’s not quite as straight as they seem, but orientation rarely seems to affect people’s desires and feelings.”

Robin just laughs a bit. “Why not both?”

“You’re bound to get hurt two times over that way.”

“I’m not so sure about that.”

“You must have a favorite.”

“I suppose I might.”

“You’ve got competition either way. Kathy’s got Erin and Jen’s got whatever her flavor of the week is, and I suppose Darryl but…”

Robin snorts. “Darryl.”

“I tend to agree with you on that.”

Robin shoots her a sly glance. “Speaking of competition, what about your little problem?”


“Nial!” Robin laughs. “Jen’s not exactly subtle, and she’s not going for accuracy, but she says everything for a reason.”

“That’s a whole different story.”

“I’m sure,” Robin says drily, rolling her eyes.