Chapter Eighteen
-There Is No Shame In A Good Mango-

I watched Taylor with open horror. He was currently mauling a mango within an inch of its life.
"Oh my god, Taylor," I stared at him with disdain. "You're going at that mango like you're a lion with its kill, that hasn't eaten for a month." He looked up at me with wide innocent eyes.
"Rule eighteen, there is no shame in a good mango," he told me simply, before looking back down at his mango trying to figure out the best plan of attack next. I couldn't help being distracted from the smeared mango all over his lower face.
"There is shame in it, when you're ravaging it in public. You're a mess," I replied and he gave me half a smirk.
"Gotta enjoy a mango like you enjoy a woman. If you both aren't a mess by the end of it, you're not doing it right," he winked at me and I pointed into my mouth at the back of my throat.
"Urgh," I made my body pretend to convulse, mimicking vomiting. "You're so classy."
"Rule sixteen, people who use the word classy, usually aren't."
"You must use it all the time then, huh?" I asked him, sarcasm dripping from my words and he only smirked back at me as I started to ignore him, looking around.
We were sitting outside the cafe we usually went to for lunch, on the grass. We were waiting for a couple of people to show up after they finished class. It was a bright day and students were running back and forth. Some had heavy looking backpacks and serious faces. Others, like Taylor, had nothing more than a notebook and a pen. There were people spilling out of the busy cafe getting coffee or lunch, which was why we were on the grass as there were no more tables left. I loved this environment, it was like a bee hive and everyone had a purpose. It was everything home wasn't, people were always going somewhere and doing something, not sitting around watching cherry trees grow.
"Hey D-izzle," Taylor called out and I physically shuddered.
"D-izzle?" I asked with contempt and Taylor glared at me.
"Oh hey, dude!" a burly blonde came running towards us, leaving a red head girl and who I recognized to be Jane from the other night, still looking as sugar sweet as any girl next door should. They started walking towards us as Taylor introduced me to, uh.... 'D-izzle'. He was like a human tank. His shoulders were as wide as a v-dub Beatle and his tanned skin showing from his tank top, defined his muscles making them looking even scarier. He was what our dear Jersey Shore friends would call a 'gorilla juice head'. His hair was light and short and his eyes were warm, disarming and very blue. Turn him green and make him grunt angrily and this kid was The Hulk.
"Lockie, this is Darren. Darren, this is Lockie. He's Jakeys roommate." Taylor said and I had to hold in a laugh when he called Jake, Jakey.
"How's it going?" I asked as we shook hands and he smiled easily.
"So, you're the lucky one that got to put Jakey to bed last night?" he laughed.
"That you're fault?" I asked, letting my amusement keep it light.
"Yeah, sorry about that. We can get a little wild when we're reunited, comes from the high school days. Although the reigning shooter king wasn't around to defend his title last night. Who were you coercing into bed last night?" Darren turned to Taylor and he shrugged sadly.
"Just the books, buddy. No time to get lucky when I have paperwork to get done."
"You're getting soft in your old age, Cadley," Darren laughed loudly, slapping his shoulder.
"Taylor, where were you last night?" the red head demanded when she got to us with Jane by her side. "I had to carry this neanderthal back to his room last night, I didn't need to go to the gym this morning," she crossed her arms, "check out these guns! They're as big as Darrens now," she told him, nudging her biceps against Darrens tree trunk arms.
"Keep dreaming, Trish. You ain't got nothing on me," Darren scoffed.
"I beat him at an arm wrestle last night," she told Taylor confidently.
"Yeah, I heard that," Taylor laughed. "I also heard that you only won because Darren passed out halfway through the arm wrestle," he said and then stepped back with a smirk and a triumphant laugh when she reached out to slap him and missed.
"A win is a win, am I right?" she asked, looking at me and I nodded and shrugged, certain she'd try to hit me too if I disagreed with her. I may look like a guy but I'm a girl who has easily bruising skin like an apple. "Thank you! This guy agrees with me!" she called out and Taylor and Darren both rolled their eyes at her. Jane watched the whole scene with an amused smile on her face.

Apparently we were going somewhere when everyone, just sort of, started walking without any verbal cues or instructions. Taylor seemed really close to the red head, Trish, just like with Darren. I assumed they all went to school together. Taylor led the way with Trish under his arm, laughing and teasing her and I made idle chit chat with Jane and Darren as we hung back a little. Jane and Darren shared a class and had been partnered up for an assessment, which subsequently ended with Jane and Trish, Darren's girlfriend, meeting and becoming fast friends. We ended up at the basketball courts again and were met with a group of familiar faces. This was quickly becoming the place to be.
"Walters is on my team," I heard someone call out.
"Fine, we get Tay and Darren then," someone else called out. I looked for Taylor as I figured out who wanted me on their team. The skins team.
"Where's the love?" Taylor asked slowly, looking from me to the guy. " I thought we had something special when I was basically became your step dad that one fateful night?" he insulted in the best way he could... Implying he slept with someone else's mother.
"Screw you, Cadley," the guy grumbled, flipping him off.
"Walters doesn't want to play anyway," Taylor told him, brushing the insult away. "I'll play your team, Darren can play shirts." he looked at me knowingly and I returned my greatful glance as he walked past, ripping off his shirt and throwing it where I had put my backpack. Jogging off confidently onto the court.
"Hey dude." I was greeted by Jake as he sat down next to me, making me jump with fright.
"Hey!" I exclaimed, brightly and then realized I started doing the girly, excited bouncing in my seat and paying entirely to much attention to my crush and roommate and had to mentally kick myself up the butt. You're a dude, dude! "Uh, yeah. Hi..." I stammered like a moron.
"Sorry about last night if I did anything stupid," he apologized, frowning.
"No," I laughed. "Just drooled all over the foot of my bed when you passed out." I nudged him playfully and he gave himself a roguish grin.
"Yeah, I noticed that when I woke up... But yeah, just if anything uh, like, inappropriate was said. I was drunk out of my mind, I, uh, didn't know what I was saying," he mumbled looking nervous and distracted by his fidgeting hands.
"Uh... No...?" I replied and he nodded.
"Uh, yeah. Sweet. Cool. Okay." He stammered out, fast and then was gone before I could reply. Well. That was a new level of weird... I was pretending to be a boy, trust me. I knew weird. 

Majority of the guys were playing basketball and seeing as half of them were shirtless, I allowed myself a good perving session. Feigning my 'Manly-Interest-In-Manly-Sports', and actually indulging my 'Girly-Interest-In-Bare-Manly-Muscled-Manly-Man-Chests'. It was a nice way to spend my afternoon, not going to lie. I recieved a message on my phone as I chatted with people around me and it was from Jake who was sitting about seven people over from me. I waited a moment before opening it, trying to be cool about it all. I Sheilded myself and the phone from his direction.

'Hey, are you back on campus yet? :)'

'Just got back to my room, actually. lol good timing.'  I hit send and tried to act casually as I watched in my peripheral vision as he checked his phone. I smiled as he smiled down at his phone, before tapping away and then looking up again and sure enough, a second later my phone buzzed.

'Awesome. When will you be ready to meet up?' I chewed my lip as I studied the message.

'Half hour?'

I sent the message and quickly got my reply, I had half an hour to get back to myself. I could do that. I grabbed up all my stuff and was leaving as Jake called out to me.
"Hey dude, want to walk back to the room together?" He asked, coming after me as I got to the basketball courts gate. I bit back a groan and planted a smile on my face.
"I was going to head over to Kathy's, actually," I told him and his brow dropped into confusion.
"I saw her just before and she said she was up to her neck in work and was hiding away from everyone tonight...?" He tilted his head to the side, questioning me. My eyes went wide before I could stop myself. I'm going to kill her.
"Yeah, uh, shit... That's right. I forgot... she was studying tonight," I laughed half heartedly, smacking my forehead, weakly. "Yes, I'll walk with you." Great. No time to get ready and no excuse to get away from Jake to get ready. Freaken sweet. Just, god damn, peachy.

The closer we got the room, the more panicked I got. I had to somehow make myself look amazing enough to be on a date with Jake. I had less than half an hour before I had to meet him and I had to act like a normal person guy and not a weirdo as I watched Jake get ready to meet me in... I checked my watch nervously... twenty seven and a half minutes.

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