~BHM, Intrigue, ~~WG - a story about a boy, his belly, and his nose. Xander by Undine “Gimme a minute,” Xander called, pulling his ear buds out and minimizing his English Lit paper. He hefted himself out of his computer chair and lumbered over to the door as the knocking continued. “I’m coming!” He sighed, and muttered, “Adrian’s not here, anyway, and I know that whoever you are, you’re not here for me.” He peered through the peephole and felt a familiar jump in his chest. It was August, staring at the ceiling as she waited for him to answer. He turned the knob. “Hey, August, Adrian’s out right now…” Xander said, trailing off as e noticed the streaks of mascara and tears running down her cheeks. “Um, is everything okay?” “Oh, Xander!” she cried, throwing her arms around him. He awkwardly returned her embrace, gently patting her blonde hair. “What…” he began as she started sobbing, grabbing fistfuls of the back of his shirt. “Um…why don’t you come in for a while.” He guided her inside, where she grabbed the tissue box and flopped down on his bed. “He…he…” she hiccupped and then blew her nose. “What happened? Are you okay?” Xander stood a few feet in front of her, fidgeting. It was strange, her being in here without Adrian. She looked up at him, her blue eyes watery. “No!” she flung out angrily. “I’m not okay! He…that bastard…he’s cheating on me, I know he is!” Tears overcame her again. Xander opened his mouth, but stayed silent, unsure of what to say. “You don’t have to say anything,” she continued a few minutes later, wiping her eyes furiously. “I know he’s your friend and you don’t want to backstab him, but I know he’s cheating. I heard Chelsea More telling her little Alpha Sigma’s what a great screw he is in the food court today,” she finished miserably. “August, I…I’m sorry…” “Oh, Xander, why? Why did I ever think he wouldn’t do it to me? I knew what he was like, but I thought it would be different…I thought I could make him be a one-girl-guy… How could I have been so stupid?” Fresh tears came to her eyes, and she threw herself back on the bed, pulling his pillow over her face. “Hey.” He gingerly sat next to her and placed his hand on her arm. “He’s an asshole, August. You deserve better than someone who’d do that to you.” “I know.” Her voice was muffled by the pillow. “But I feel like such an idiot.” “You’re not an idiot. You just gave him something he didn’t deserve.” She peered out at him. “Huh?” He nervously ran his hand through his hair. “You trusted him…I mean, it’s good to trust people… I guess…I guess some people just don’t deserve it, and the only way you can tell is to put yourself out there, you know?” Silence. Then, “I guess so.” She sighed and swatted the pillow away. “Ugh. I’m sorry, Xander. I didn’t mean to come in here and dump this all out on you. I came hoping Adrian would be here so I could kick him in the balls.” Xander smiled at her. “Many have done just that, and it still hasn’t sunk in.” She scowled. “Figures.” “Just…don’t even give him the satisfaction of seeing you upset. Ignore him, don’t even call him out on it.” Her face brightened a bit. “Yeah…leave him wondering. That’ll drive him nuts, won’t it?” “Oh, yeah. He won’t be able to handle that you just don’t want him anymore.” Finally, a real smile. “His ego will be crushed. You’ll have to keep me updated on his moping.” She sat up and took his large hand in her delicate one. “Thanks, Xander. You’re a good guy.” He swallowed nervously. “Uh, thanks. I try.” “Seriously, like, how does he keep getting away with it? He’s been here two years…you’d think that his reputation would have gotten the better of him by now and all the girls would know what a player he is.” She was staring across the room at Adrian’s bed. Xander knew she was thinking of the nights she’d spent there. He was thinking of them, too, and wishing the noises coming from that bed hadn’t woken him up on several occasions. He said nothing. “Well, I guess I knew better, but I went after him anyway,” she admitted, making a face. “I must really be a masochist.” Xander picked at a thread on his comforter, not knowing what to say. “Gosh,” August said, smacking her forehead, “I’m so sorry, Xander. I just keep going. Please, tell me to shut up.” “Nah, it’s okay.” “You’re so sweet for sitting here with me and listening,” she said quietly. “So…who are you seeing these days?” He let out an involuntary snort. “What?” “Well, I’m seeing the insides of my books,” he joked. “My computer screen, the inside of the refrigerator…but the food court and I really have something special going. I think it might be the real thing.” August was staring at him, sweeping her blue eyes over his round figure and returning to his face, searchingly. She lifted her hand and brushed his hair off his forehead. “Xander…” Ice crept through his muscles, paralyzing him. “What?” Still she stared. Her fingers began a slow trace down the side of his face, trailing over his temple, his pudgy cheek, and brushing his jaw. She tilted her head, and whispered, “Kiss me, Xander.” “I…what?” he choked out. “Kiss me.” “Are…are you sure?” he asked. This was what he’d wanted, what he’d dreamed of, for the past two years, and here she was, telling him to do it. To kiss her. To enfold her with his mass and feel himself engulf her, so tiny and fragile, like a sparrow in a storm cloud. Her hand was on the back of his neck now, guiding his head down towards her. “Yes,” she breathed. “Kiss me.” “But –“ “Shh.” Her lips met his, and heat surged through his limbs like a tidal wave, washing away all traces of the icy hesitation he’d felt before. He eagerly returned her kiss, his arms embracing her and gently rubbing her back while she tugged lightly on his hair. It seemed like seconds or hours later when August lay back on the bed and he earnestly followed, not wanting to break their contact. “Ouch,” she complained, her voice muffled by Xander’s lips. “You’re squashing me.” He winced lightly. “Sorry…” “Just…here, lay next to me.” He shifted his weight to her side and stroked her hair, devouring her neck. She moaned slightly and squeezed his arm. Her skin tasted like strawberries, he thought. Strawberries and sunlight, just like she smelled. He couldn’t believe he was awake, and that this was actually happening. Gradually, the passion dwindled until they were simply laying there, Xander with his arms around her, gazing in wonder at the profile of her perfect face, and August still, her eyes closed. “Xander?” “Yeah?” She yawned. “I’m getting tired,” she confessed. “I’d better get back to my room.” “Oh, sure,” he said, moving away from her so she could rise from the bed. She sat up and stretched, then got to her feet. Xander sat up, but stayed on the bed a moment longer, trying to regain his equilibrium. “Well,” she said, making her way over to the door. “I guess I’ll see you, Xander.” He quickly rose and opened the door for her. “Uh, sure, August…” he said awkwardly. She smiled at him and touched his cheek. “Have a good night, Xander.” “You, too, August. Sweet dreams.” Her smile lit up the dim hallway as she glanced back at him over her shoulder. He waited until he saw her curvy little form disappear around the corner, and then closed the door and leaned back against it, blinking in shock. He’d just made out with August Dawes, the girl he’d been in love with for two long years. Two years of being casual acquaintances, of overhearing her complain that there were no decent men left in the world. Two years of watching her move from athletic frat boy jerk to athletic frat boy jerk, and then, worst of all, to his vile roommate. And he’d just spent the last half hour kissing her, feeling the heat of her body in his hands, the slow rhythm of her breath as he held her in his arms. He stared dumbly at his hands, then at his reflection in the mirror that hung on the closet door to his left. He, Xander Rockwood, fat, English-geek loser, had just made out with one of the sweetest, most beautiful girls on campus. And she’d asked him to do it. He grinned stupidly at himself and began singing under his breath as he returned to his paper.