"Alice," Chris said.
She turned around and said, "Oh, hey, guys."
"Alice," Chris said again, "I'm sorry."
The smile faded from Alice's face and Chris said, "You guys were right, I've been a really bad friend."
Alice shook her head and said, "No, no, you haven't been a bad friend."
She paused and then said, "Well, yeah, you kind of have."
Chris chuckled and Alice said, "It's okay, I forgive you. Thank you for apologizing, Chris."
Chris smiled and hugged his friend.
They split apart and Chris' face fell.
Alice and I exchanged a confused look and Alice said, "Chris?"
Horrified Chris swallowed and said, "I still have to apologize to Leo."
"And Tae-Hyun," I said, "And Kathy..."
Chris gave me a look and I mumbled, "It's true..."
The bus arrived and we got on.
When we got to school, Alice and I had to drag Chris off the bus. Literally.
Each of us had one of his hands and we were trying to pull him off the bus.
"Come on, Chris!" Alice said, "You have to face them and apologize!"
"Apologizing isn't my thing! I'm awful at it!" Chris cried. He grabbed hold of the railing on the bus.
"Dude!" I said, wrapping my arms around his middle, "Let go!"
"NEVER!" Chris yelled.
"GET OFF DAMN IT!!!!" I screamed at him.
"Angie!" Alice said, letting go of Chris' arm.
I stared at my brother, "Geez, Chris. When did you get strong?"
"It kind of just appears when I'm under stress." Chris said, "TAKE THE HINT?"
I gritted my teeth and said, "Chris, get off the damn bus. We're gonna be late for class!"
I looked over my shoulder and said, "Alice! Grab his ankles!"
Alice's cheeks turned bright red.
She swallowed and said, "What?"
"Grab his legs and pull!" I said.
"But what if-"
Alice whimpered and grasped Chris' ankles.
"What... Are you doing?" Chris said in a 'you're idiots' tone.
The bus driver sat in quietly on his seat, playing on a Nintendo DSI and paying no attention to us.
"On the count of three..." I said, "We're going to pull you off the bus."
"Good luck." Chris said, tightening his grip on the railing, "But I'm not going out there."
"One..." I said, "Two... Three!"
Now, here's where I felt bad for Alice... And Chris.
In the process of trying to pull my brother out of the school bus, we did not succeed.
However, we did manage to pants him.
Alice let go of Chris' ankles and blushed, speechless.
Chris took one hand off the railing to face-palm.
"Oh my God..." He said, "Did that really just happen?"
Instead of apologizing like a good sister, I tightened my grip around Chris' middle and yanked him off the bus railing.
Chris screaming at me, his pants around his ankles, I dragged him away from the bus, across the schoolyard, and into the school.
"ANGIE!" Chris shrieked, "YOU SUCK! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?"
"It's karma, Honey." I said, dragging him to homeroom.
Chris slapped at my arms and said, "Angie, oh my God! LET GO!!!"
"LET ME PULL UP MY PANTS!"
"Uh-uh." I said, "Now you finally look like all the other boys."
I laughed at my own joke, but Chris didn't.
Then, someone said from behind us, "Now, that's just offensive."
I turned around, my arms still tight around pantless Chris.
Mouse, Leo, Alice, and Tae-Hyun stood in front of us.
Tae-Hyun's eyes were wide and his face was red. Leo and Alice's expressions were almost identical to his.
Mouse just rolled her eyes and said, "Do you really want to fit in that bad, Chris?"
Kathy and a few other cheerleaders passed by and Kathy stopped walking.
A goofy, delighted grin covered her face.
Kathy looked upward and, clasping her hands together, squealed, "Finally, the day has come. Thank you, God!"
"ANGIE!" Chris shrieked.
I dropped him and he fell to the floor.
Chris scrambled to his feet and quickly pulled his pants up.
"Were those horses on your boxers, Chris?" Leo said, raising an eyebrow and looking a bit disgusted.
"Unicorns." Kathy corrected, staring at Chris.
"You would be looking there, Leo." Mouse said.
Leo closed his eyes and said through clenched teeth, "Mouse, they were pink boxers with rainbow unicorns. Kind of hard to miss."
"Will you guys please stop talking about my underwear?" Chris yelled.
Most of the kids in the hallway turned to stare at us.
Chris was blushing as much as Alice did when she accidentally pantsed him.
"Please, try to take me seriously right now." Chris said.
"Ooh, bad timing, Pal." Mouse said, "It's kind of hard to take a man seriously when you know he's wearing unicorn underpants."
Chris glared at her and said, "Um..."
He looked from Kathy, to Leo, to Tae-Hyun.
Chris walked over to Kathy and said, "Kathy,"
"Yes?" Kathy said, practically drooling.
Chris looked her in the eyes and said, "I'm sorry I was so awful yesterday... And for a long time before that."
"Oh, you're fine." Kathy said, stroking Chris' shirtfront with one finger.
She giggled and said, stroking his chest with one hand, "You are so fine..."
Chris took a step back and said, "Okay, okay.. Umm glad we're good now."
Kathy gave Chris a flirty smile and Chris turned away from her and faced Leo.
"... Leo," Chris said, "I'm.... I'm really sorry. About yesterday, about how I've been acting... I was really unfair yesterday..."
Leo nodded and said, "Yeah, I get it."
Chris nodded back and Leo held out his hand.
"So, we're cool?" Leo said.
Chris nodded and shook Leo's hand, "Yes, we're cool."
There was an awkward moment before the boys let go of each other's hand.
"Hey, Chris." Leo said quietly.
"Hm?" Chris said.
"Thanks for pulling your pants back up before talking to me."
Chris hit Leo on the back and said, "Yep, no problem."
Then, Chris turned to Tae-Hyun.
"Tae-Hyun," Chris said sincerely, "I'm sorry. I treated you different from others and... I treated you unfairly, because..."
Chris blushed and looked at his feet like they were really interesting.
"Um..." Chris said, swallowing and looking at Tae-Hyun, "Because... I really like you. Like, more than... Just... Like."
Chris may have sounded like a kindergartener, but admitting that is a tough thing to do and I was proud of him.
Tae-Hyun stared at Chris like he didn't know how to react.
The interesting part was what happened next. Tae-Hyun blushed and stared silently at Chris.
"I, uh..." Tae-Hyun said, glancing in Leo's direction, then back at Chris, "Um, I.... Uhh..."
Chris nodded and Tae-Hyun was silent.
"I..." Tae-Hyun said, "I have to go."
Then, he turned and ran right down the hall and down the stairs.
Once he was gone, I said, "Alrighty then. I guess that answered my question."
Leo stared bug-eyed in he direction Tae-Hyun had just ran off.
"Leo," I said, "You okay?"
Leo looked at me, wide-eyed.
Mouse propped her arm up on Leo's shoulder and said, "Yeah, it's pretty tough, isn't it?"
"Wha..." Leo said absentmindedly.
"Figuring out that your best friend's a homo." Mouse said, actually laughing at herself.
Then she gestured to Chris and Alice and slapped her knee.
"Damn, I am so great." Mouse said, grinning.
Alice, Leo, and I all glared at her.
"It just doesn't make any sense..." Leo said, "What was that about?"
"I think he likes me." Chris said dopily.
"He's not gay Chris." I said, clenching my teeth.
Mouse looked at me and opened her mouth to say something, but didn't.
"I'm sorry, were you going to make Leo and I squirm by saying Tae-Hyun was gay and then give Chris a wedgie or something?" I said sourly.
Mouse shook her head and said, "He's not gay."
Alice, Chris, Leo, and I all looked at Mouse.
"Leo's right, that wouldn't make any sense." She said, "I know, I was pulling your legs about it earlier, but I think he's just nervous."
Now we were all gawking. Where did that come from.
"What?" Mouse said to me, "Would you take it easily if a girl confessed love to you? What about you, Alice?"
Alice and I looked at each other, not sure how to answer.
"What would you do if I guy said he liked you, Leo?" Mouse said.
Leo sighed and said, "Yeah, I'm sorry. I guess I was assuming too much from Tae-Hyun's reaction to that."
"Me too." Chris said guiltily.
Then he added, crossing his arms, "Now, why are you sticking up for him?"
Mouse shrugged, "None of you losers are smart enough to figure it out on your own."
I rolled my eyes and said, "Guess what, Chris?"
"What-" Chris started to say, but he was interrupted by a loud brriiinnnggggg!!!
"We missed homeroom." Leo said.
Chris fell to his knees and said, "NO!!! MY PERFECT ATTENDANCE RECORD IS RUINED!!!"
I grabbed his shirt and said, "Come on, Buddy, get up. Time for first period."
Chris glumly got up and we went to English.