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If I Had to Pick Between You and a Bear

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College was supposed to be great. College was supposed to be the best time of his life. College was supposed to be where all of Ryan's 'legendary' stories would come from in the future.

What college wasn't supposed to be was another four years of dealing with Shane fucking Madej.

"Hey Ryan!" Shane said, resting his huge, stupid hand on top of Ryan's perfectly done hair. The audacity of the guy.

Ryan didn't even bother to turn back to look at him.

"What— are you doing here?" Ryan said, forcing the words out through his gritted teeth.

"Oh, didn't anyone tell you? I got in!"

Ryan shoved his hand away, turning around to glare at the amiable looking boy standing before him.

"Let me rephrase that. Why? Why are you here?"

"Obviously to get some cool degree or something, like everyone else, duh."

"I THOUGHT YOU WERE—" Ryan realized that he was yelling, and stopped immediately. He noticed how some people had already begun staring at them.

Potential life-long friends. Buddies. Lovers. Soul mates. All staring at him. Judging him. And it was all Shane's fault.

"I thought," Ryan began again, in a more calm, controlled voice, "I thought you were going to go... elsewhere?"

"Yeaaaah but remember when you had that mini-meltdown in my backyard where you told me you were going to the 'b-best university ever'? Well I thought hey, maybe I should give that a try."

Ryan knew if this had been a scene from a cartoon, his jaw would comically drop to the floor.

Instead he had a flashback to Shane's backyard; or as Ryan would later term it, 'The last time I'll have to deal with any of you jerks.'

A party. Loud music, and even louder lights. And an even louder Shane Madej, who would not, and could not, ever just seem to leave Ryan alone.

"You know what, you — you imbecile?" Ryan said loudly over the music, very angry, and very drunk, "You might've spent your high school years wasting that huuuuuge head of yours trying to come up with new ways to piss me off, but guess what, honey? Guess what!"

Shane grinned. "Did you just call me honey? Because I kind of liked it."

"GUESS WHAT!" Ryan said, the alcohol catching up to him in every second that went by, "I am going to the b-best university ever! D'you know the one? The one WHERE I WILL NOT BE SEEING YOUR STUUUUUUPID FACE EVER—"

Ryan didn't remember much after that. He's pretty sure he had passed out.

"Oh god," Ryan said, groaning, as Shane laughed.

How dare he laugh at my misery? The very misery he himself was causing me? Ryan thought bitterly.

"Well, at least I have someone I know here! I wasn't too keen on meeting anyone new," Shane said, ignoring Ryan's obvious frown, "Anyways, I think I gotta go. Haven't seen my dorm yet. I'll catch up with you soon!"

Ryan really, really wanted to say 'don't', but instead he forced a smile, and nodded.

"Don't miss me too much!" Shane then added, with a wink, and Ryan gave up on trying to look friendly.

Ryan watched on as the tall, lanky idiot skipped away, happily, without the faintest idea in the world that he had singlehandedly ruined Ryan's day, and most probably, the rest of Ryan's year.

And Ryan wondered why, whenever he thought back to that time in Shane's backyard, among his blurred memories of loud lights, and even louder music, he always remembered feeling the touch of soft lips against his.

As if they were meant to be, right there, in that very moment. Perfectly still, and perfectly in place.

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It had taken Ryan about three hours to calm down. And it took him another three hours to convince himself that it was all a nightmare.

He had just imagined Shane Madej. This could be the only logical explanation.

So, when Ryan saw his imagination waiting for him just outside of his classroom, saying that he was displeased would be an understatement.

"What... are you doing here?" Ryan said, a frown already beginning to form across his face.

"I was done with my class early so I thought, hey, maybe I should wait for Ryan."

Ryan sighed.

"You know you didn't have to do that. Like, seriously, please don't do that."

"I — I wanted to," Shane said, quickly, ignoring Ryan's last statement.

Ryan rolled his eyes.

"Great. Alright, then. Good bye," He said, beginning to walk away, but Shane blocked his path.

"How about coffee?"

Ryan looked up to meet Shane's eyes. Even back in high school, Ryan had always thought Shane's eyes were... secretive. Mysterious. As if Shane was always, always hiding something. As if Shane was meaning to say something else, but kept forcing it down, constantly.

Ryan's best theory for this was that Shane may, or may not, be a serial killer.

It sent a shiver down his spine.

"No thanks," Ryan said, as he side stepped the taller boy.

"C'mon Ryan," Shane said, beginning to walk behind Ryan, "I — I mean, I thought you'd wanna check out the café. You probably haven't gone yet since you don't want people to think you've got no friends."

Ryan stopped in his tracks.

"Excuse me?" He said, turning around to face Shane, "You think I don't have any friends?"

"No! Yes, I mean, it's only been a day, so I'm sure you'll make some —"

Ryan was embarrassed, not because it wasn't true, but because it was; and Shane Madej was the one who had said it.

Ryan had naively expected to make at least three cool friends as soon as he stepped into the area; you know, like in the movies.

But real life was completely different; no one had paid him a second glance, or even attempted to hold a conversation longer than a few seconds with him.

No one, except Shane Madej.

And it pissed Ryan off.

"Well, you should know that I already have—" Ryan lied through his perfect teeth.

"It's cute when you lie through your perfect teeth," Shane said, grinning.

Ryan was livid.

"I'm not l-lying," Ryan lied again. He could feel his face beginning to heat up, "And you know what? It's n-none of your business. I'll make friends when I want to — and I already have, made a friend, of course! Geez, go — go bother someone else for a change — I wasn't lying — just, fuck off, Shane."

Ryan stomped away, without looking back, fuming.

"So... was that a yes or a no?"