Beauty and the Geek Ch. 22byfrozenhero1©
PART 1 – Too Cool for School
Brian gasped, "They want the first six issues by December?!?"
"Marvel is re-launching their adult line of comics with the new year," Sam explained. "They want Captain Darkness to be part of that launch."
"We already have the first three issues done," Charlie chimed in. "We should be able to do three more issues in three months, right?"
Sam shook her head, "Marvel doesn't want to publish an origin story, at least not right away. They think Captain Darkness would be more mysterious if his origin is shadowy and unknown. I'm sorry guys, but your three existing issues won't work."
"We're fucked," Brian declared in defeat, sitting down on a plastic-covered loveseat.
The three friends were in the living room of Samantha's new apartment. Furniture and boxes were scattered everywhere as she had only been an occupant for one day. Brian had helped Sam move, driving all the way from Tallahassee to Miami with a moving truck. Charlie had joined his friends after work to discuss the recent offer from Marvel Comics; they had made an offer to publish Charlie and Brian's 'Captain Darkness' comic book.
Charlie agreed with his best friend, "Brian's right. He can pencil a page a day at most, but he wouldn't be able to start until I get new issues plotted. Plus, I'm not so sure about making Captain Darkness an adult book. We don't have enough swearing or nudity."
"Dude, we don't have any swearing or nudity in Captain Darkness."
"Well, you two need to think of something," Sam said, unwilling to throw in the towel. "This is your guys' dream. We're not talking about some small indie-publisher, either. This is the mainstream; Marvel Comics! If Captain Darkness takes off like I think it will, you two will be talking movie deals inside of three years."
"She's right," Charlie looked to Brian. "I'll throw in some F-words and you're really good at drawing breasts; you've been doing it since we were twelve."
"I know she's right," Brian replied, frustrated. "But tits aside, we're still screwed. Six issues by December? I mean, school is starting next week. With classes and study there's no way we'll have enough free time."
Sam sighed and moved to sit next to Brian, placing a hand at his back. "We'll figure something out, sweetie. Don't let it get you down."
Charlie watched the couple. Already the two seemed familiar, as though Brian and Sam had been friends for years. Brian seemed to gravitate towards her touch, and Charlie could plainly see the developing bond between them. Charlie was happy for his friend, and he silently hoped it would work out between Brian and Sam. She may not be the type of girl Brian usually drooled over, what with her somewhat-nerdy glasses and unkempt hair, but she was incredibly nice and had a lot in common with the boys. Of course, Sam was facing competition in the form of Haley, but Brian had sworn Charlie to secrecy.
"Couldn't they give us a couple more months?" Brian asked.
"I could ask...?" Sam offered.
Charlie shook his head, "No. No, this is our shot. Sam's right, we have to make the most of this opportunity. How many offers are we going to have to publish with Marvel-freaking-Comics? We can do this."
"How?" Brian looked to Charlie. Sam did as well.
"Well," Charlie began reasoning. "You're done with your summer job, and my last day at the comic book store is tomorrow, right?"
Brian nodded, "Yeah?"
Charlie continued, "So, school is the only thing standing in the way of us dedicating ourselves full time to the book."
"What are you saying?" Brian wondered.
"We take the year off," Charlie suggested. "We could have the whole twelve-issue arc done by spring if you and I worked at it every day and didn't have to worry about classes."
"Dude, you want to take the whole year off school?"
Charlie shrugged, "Why not? Tell me something; what's the best thing that could happen if we take a year off school and Captain Darkness is published at Marvel?"
Sam was quick to answer, "It could become a world-wide phenomenon, spawning movies, video games, and action-figures, making both of you gazillionaires."
Charlie nodded, "Right. And what's the worst thing that could happen if we take a year off and publish Captain Darkness at Marvel?"
"It sells like shit," Brian answered, "and doesn't make us a cent."
"In which case we go back to school and graduate a year late," Charlie's eyes lit up, "but at least we can say we took a shot at our dreams."
Brian was quickly convinced, "You're totally fucking right, dude."
Sam's smile lit up her face as she pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose.
"But what about Miley?" Brian suddenly worried.
"What about her?" Charlie asked. "She's always been supportive of our book."
"Maybe," Brian replied. "But she's been awfully excited about you two going to the same college this year, especially after the 'Brown disaster'."
Charlie waved dismissively, "She'll be cool with it."
"Have you gone completely insane?" Miley cried.
Charlie frowned, "I thought you'd be more supportive of this."
"You want me to be supportive of you dropping out of school?!" Miley threw up her arms and stalked across her and Charlie's bedroom. She was wearing a pair of blue track shorts and a clinging white sports bra, having recently returned from a run.
"I'm not going to drop out. It's only one year; if it doesn't work out I'll come back your junior year."
Miley started picking up clothes from the floor in a huff, something she often did when growing angry or upset.
"Baby, please -" Charlie started.
Miley leveled a glare at Charlie, "Don't you 'baby' me, mister. School starts next week already, and now you're planning on taking the year off? You transferred from Brown so we could be together, Charlie! I want to be with my boyfriend when I have lunch in the cafeteria. I want my boyfriend cuddling next to me during chilly football games. We were supposed to be together this year!"
"We'll still be together," Charlie reasoned. "We're living together, for crying out loud. And I can still cuddle with you at football games and meet you on campus for lunch. Every day, if you want."
Miley threw the dirty clothes into a hamper, "It's not the same."
"Miley, please. Stop picking up clothes and talk to me."
"We are talking," Miley growled, gathering up a pair of her jeans.
"You're being selfish!" Charlie accused.
Miley froze and gave Charlie a disbelieving look.
Charlie inhaled deeply before slowly letting out a calming breath, "This is my dream, Miley. Or one of them. Brian and I can't finish the book in time for Marvel's deadline if we're tied up with school. This may be our only chance; if we don't take it there may not be another. But school will always be an option I can return to."
Miley chewed on her lip.
"Miley, I can't do this without your support. I need you."
Miley closed her eyes and sighed, "You're right. I'm being spoiled and selfish. It comes with being an only child."
"You said this comic book is just one of your dreams...?"
"My other dream is to wake up next to you for the rest of my life."
"Oh, Charlie." Miley dashed across the bedroom floor and into Charlie's arms, "You are such a corny romantic."
The young couple took a moment to kiss, something they did often, and several seconds passed as they gently explored one another's mouths.
"Do you want to fool around?" Charlie muttered when the embrace broke.
Miley kissed his cheek, "I'd love to, but I can't. I promised Stacy I'd meet her at the campus book store. They're having a sale on used texts, and then we're going to see that movie about the five nurses. I need to jump in the shower."
"What am I supposed to do tonight?" Charlie complained.
Miley started to peel off her clothing; Charlie's presence didn't bother her at all, "Do you want to come hang with Stace and I?"
Charlie shuddered at the prospect at sitting through a female-bonding movie, "No thanks."
Miley snatched a towel and wrapped it around her tanned naked body, "What's Brian up to? I figured you two would want to get started on your comic."
"He's busy," Charlie lamented. "He said something about going out on a date."
"Boy, him and Sam are jumping in feet first, huh?"
Charlie lifted a shoulder, "I guess." The truth was Charlie didn't know who Brian had a date with.
"Good for them, I hope he's finally settled on Sam." Miley trotted towards the bathroom, "It's hard enough keeping one of you out of trouble, and I don't know how I've managed the both of you."
PART 2 – Two-timing Ass
Stacy tapped her chin as she regarded a large menu behind the snack counter, "Um, I'll have a small popcorn – lots of butter, and a large diet Coke."
A pimply-faced cashier stared at the space between Stacy's breasts. She was wearing a tight top that displayed ample amounts of cleavage, along with her tightest-fitting jeans.
Miley chewed on the inside of her cheek as she also considered the menu, "I'll have a large diet too, and a box of sour candies." She was clad in a tiny pair of tan shorts and a pink tee shirt; her dark hair was coiled into a seductive pile atop her head. The poor cashier didn't know which girl to stare at, his eyes roaming back and forth between the two beautiful twenty year-olds.
"Ew," Stacy commented. "I don't know how you can eat those sour things. They make me pucker and drool."
"It's better than getting popcorn between my teeth," Miley shuddered. "I hate that feeling."
"What's Charlie up to tonight?" Stacy asked as the girls received their foodstuffs.
Miley paid the cashier before stuffing the box of candies into her purse, "He's at home, I guess. I invited him to come along, but Charlie doesn't like movies where the actors don't wear spandex."
Stacy was actually glad that Charlie hadn't come along. She wanted to see him, he was one of Stacy's closest friends after all, but lately her feelings on Charlie had grown muddy. She couldn't help the recent emotions of attraction for Charlie, despite the fact that he was engaged to her best friend. Stacy understood that a relationship between her and Charlie was impossible, but sometimes the heart doesn't want to listen to reason.
"What about Chip," Miley asked, "have you talked to him since your date last week?"
Stacy paused at a counter to fetch some napkins and a straw. She smiled at the thought of Chip, "I haven't seen him, but we've talked. We're supposed to go mini-golfing tomorrow night."
Miley's face lit up, "Really?"
"Yeah. He's so sweet, Miley. God. You know who he makes me think of? He reminds me of..."
Miley glanced at Stacy, "Who?"
"Charlie," Stacy finally admitted as the two friends walked to a velvet rope and waited for the theater to become readied.
Miley reached into Stacy's popcorn and stole a few kernels, "Really? I guess I can see that."
"I mean, the way Charlie used to be," Stacy clarified. "Do you remember back in high school when Charlie was nervous all the time; so unsure of himself?"
"How could I forget?" Miley sucked some diet soda through her straw. "He was a total fidgety nerd. He was awkward around people, had no idea what to do in the bedroom, and his fashion style revolved around someone named Boba Fett."
Stacy couldn't help but giggle at Miley's apt description, "Why did you choose Charlie? I know he's a total sweetheart and everything, but what was it about Charlie that really clinched it for you?"
Miley glanced aside at Stacy's serious tone, "Why do you ask?"
"I mean, I know you're a size-queen and everything," Stacy teased.
"But what was the real reason you chose Charlie over all other guys? I just want to know, so I can keep my eyes open for Mr. Right."
"There are lots of reasons," Miley answered. "But if I had to pin down what separated him from all the other boys at school, I'd say it was because of the way he looks at me."
"How exactly does he look at you, again?"
"He looks at me like... like he picked me over every other girl in the universe."
Stacy did her best not to look jealous, drinking some of her soda. She glanced about the movie theater lobby, casually, and spotted a familiar face. "Hey," she pointed, "isn't that Brian?"
Miley turned and saw Brian in line at the ticket counter, "Yeah. Charlie said he was going on a date tonight. I wonder if he and Sam are seeing the same movie we are?"
Stacy continued to watch Brian, hoping to catch his glance and wave at him. But before she could gain his notice, Stacy saw a ravishing blonde appear from the restrooms and join Brian in line. They grabbed hands and kissed briefly.
"Oh my god," Miley froze, stunned.
"That doesn't look like Sam," Stacy noted.
"It's Haley," Miley growled quietly. "I can't believe that two-timing sonuva –"
"Miley," Stacy warned, "stay calm. It's none of our business."
But Stacy knew she was fighting a losing battle. Miley had been Stacy's best friend since kindergarten, and she knew all too well how easily Miley could lose her temper.
"Everything that boy does is my business," Miley claimed with a scowl.
Stacy watched as Miley stalked towards the ticket line. Lifting her soda for a sip, Stacy anticipated that the drama about to unfold would be even better than the movie.
Brian and Haley were still standing in line, smiling and laughing with one another, when the tsunami that was Miley hit them.
"Brian, you insensitive ASS!!!"
"Ow! What the –?" Brian flinched away as Miley started swatting at his shoulder.
"Miley!?" Haley looked surprised.
Miley stomped her foot and clenched her fists, "What are you doing?!?" She was staring right at Brian and ignoring Haley, for the moment.
Brian nervously looked around. Everyone in the theater lobby was turning curiously towards Miley's outburst, "Miley, you're causing a scene..."
"Like I give a fuck," Miley growled.
Stacy winced as she watched, fearing for Brian's well-being.
"Does Sam know you're here with this floozy?"
"What did you just call me?" Haley asked, her voice rising in irritation.
"You heard me," Miley turned her ire towards Brian's date. "I thought you were my friend but I don't make friends with boyfriend-stealing sluts."
Stacy's eyes went wide.
Haley could barely contain her shock, "Who are you calling a slut?"
"Um..." Brian had no idea what to do or say.
Miley snatched Brian's hand, "You're coming with me, right now."
"Um..." Brian repeated.
"Let go of him," Haley demanded, "you bony little bitch!"
Miley gasped, "I am NOT bony. I'm petite!"
"Well, take your petite little ass and go stick your nose in someone else's business," Haley hissed. "What Brian and I do is up to us, and you can butt out!"
"Oh," Miley tilted her angry gaze at Haley, "So I'm butting in, am I?"
"Yes!" Haley spat. "So get the fuck –"
"Jeezus, Miley!" Brian exclaimed after Miley punched Haley right on the mouth.
Stacy placed a shocked hand over her gasp when Haley landed on the floor, ass first.
Miley yelled, "Don't you dare tell me that Brian isn't my business, you harlot!"
Haley felt at her lip for blood and then looked up at the fiery-eyed brunette standing over her. She decided not to cross Miley any further.
Stacy appeared then, ever the calm and rational one. She grabbed both Brian and Miley's hands. "Okay guys, time to go. Come on, Miley. Forget about her, okay? Let's go before cops show up, or something."
Charlie was playing a game on his cell phone, thumbs a blur, as he stood in line at a fast food restaurant. He had grown bored at the apartment all by himself and ventured out to a nearby taco-joint.
"Next," a young female voice summoned.
Charlie pocketed his phone and stepped forward. He immediately recognized the girl behind the counter, "Darla?"
"Ohmigod," Darla gasped. "Charlie? Charlie White?"
"Yeah," Charlie nodded and smiled. "Wow, I haven't seen you since high school. You look great."
Darla looked much the same as she did in high school, plus a few pounds. Her long blonde hair was as radiant as ever, but she had gained a considerable amount of weight since graduation. Her breasts, Charlie noticed, were as prominent as always. Darla had been one of the popular-elite in Charlie's high school, one who largely ignored him, but she had caused a considerable amount of drama for poor Charlie at their prom. Charlie wasn't one to hold grudges, however.
"What have you been up to? I heard you were going to Brown?"
Charlie nodded, "I was there last year, though I'm staying in Tallahassee this year. I'm taking a year off school to work on my writing."
"A writer, huh? Wow, that's so cool." Darla smiled, "Say, whatever happened to Miley after graduation? Do you ever see her, anymore?"
"Actually, we're engaged."
Darla gasped, "No way."
"Yeah, we're living together in an apartment near campus. We haven't set a date yet, but we're pretty serious."
"That's so awesome. I had a feeling about you two, way back in high school."
Charlie laughed at Darla's obvious lie, "What about you? Are you going to school?"
Darla shook her head, "Nope, I've just been working. Things are going great though, I was just promoted to senior cashier."
"That's great," Charlie grinned.
"I know, right?" Darla flashed a big smile. "So what can I get for you?"
"I can't believe you hit her!" Brian exclaimed from the backseat as Stacy drove away from the movie theater.
"I can," Stacy remarked dryly as she drove. "Do you not know Miley at all?"
Miley was in the front seat, passenger side, pivoted to face Brian in the back. "I won't let some blonde bimbo come between us. Haley earned her fat lip."
"Come between us!? What the hell are you talking about, Miley? I'm not your boyfriend. You're the one who butted in, and then you hit her! Are you fucking crazy?"
"Don't you try to weasel your way out of this one, mister. If you want to date Haley that's fine, but you have to break it off with Sam, first. I'm your friend and I'm not going to let you turn into a two-timing ass-hat."
It took all of Stacy's will not to break out in laughter as she drove and listened to the verbal assault.
"This is fucking unbelievable," Brian complained. "You punch Haley, kidnap me, and now you're accusing me of being the ass? You've gone too far, Miley!"
"Just pipe down," Miley warned, unapologetic. "What is wrong with you? Sam moved here all the way from Miami to be with you, and you're already on a date with another woman?"
"You have to admit," Stacy looked at Brian through the rear-view mirror, "that's pretty low."
"Sam moved here because of that job you set her up with," Brian told Miley, trying to defend himself. "She didn't come here just for me."
"Whatever," Miley countered. "She never would have needed that job if it wasn't for you and Charlie. I thought you liked her?"
"I do!" Brian professed.
"Just not enough to be faithful to her," Stacy frowned.
"You stay out of this," Brian said to Stacy, "If I remember you did the exact same thing to me, with Adrian."
"That was different," Miley informed Brian. "Stacy never slept with Adrian. How many times have you been with Haley since that night of the house party?"
Brian looked reluctant to say anything.
"How many times?" Miley demanded.
"Twice," was Brian's sheepish reply.
Miley looked beside herself, "You're unbelievable, Brian, you know that?"
"Okay," Brian relented. "Okay. I fucked up, all right? Where in the hell are you taking me, anyway?"
Stacy wasn't sure of that answer herself, and she was the one driving.
"We're going to Sam's apartment," Miley decided, spinning in her seat to face forward. "Take a left up here," she instructed Stacy.