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“Dude, look at this weather.”

“I know.” Even Ryan’s ‘brooding’ voice sounded tinny over the cell phone.

“I hate rain. It already rained once this year. Haven’t we reached the quota?”

“I guess so, Seth.”

“Ryan, come over to the window. I can’t see you over there, skulking in the shadows. Makes me nervous.”

“Because normally you’re Mr. Cool.”

“Shut up, dude. What are you brooding about, anyway? The usual?”

“No, not exactly… I got tomato sauce on my pants. I think it may leave a stain.”

“So?”

“Dude, these are, like, hundred-dollar pants.”

“No worries, dude. Rosa’s a whiz with the laundry. And I just said ‘no worries.’ Because I’m totally Luke.” Without waiting for acknowledgement, Seth went on. “Oh, and get this. Summer and I? Were supposed to have this totally awesome romantic beach picnic tonight. I planned the whole thing so we wouldn’t have to go to this party Zach’s having for… something involving hairless chests. So now we have to go.”

“We as in you and Summer?”

“We as in you and me. I’m just supposed to meet Summer there. I need you for backup, man. Backup.”

“I don’t know, Seth.”

“Come on, Ryan. You can’t stay in on a Saturday brooding about your pants. Especially when the parents are out of town and we can do anything we want. Except we can’t. Because we have to go to this party.”

“No, Seth, you have to go to this party.”

“Ryan, man, don’t leave me in the lurch! It’s not Seth and Ryan without Ryan! United, we’re unstoppable… Divided, people get shot.”

“Fine… when do we leave?”

 

 

 

 

“Um, Ryan? Remind me again why we’re here?”

“Because Summer is.”

“Remember the last party we went to? Which, by the way, we went to because Summer was there?”

“Two words, Seth. Rage blackouts.”

“Come on, Ryan. Do you really think Summer could inflict as much damage as Luke and his water polo posse?”

Ryan merely raised an eyebrow.

“Right. Okay. This is just dandy… Dude! Jello! What an awesome party!”

“Seth, that’s not…” Ryan was too late.

“I didn’t know lime jello was so tingly in your throat. Whew.” Seth downed another tiny plastic cup of what was clearly not just jello.

 

 

 

 

“Zach! Zachary! Zachariah!”

“Hey, Seth. What’s going on?”

“We’re friends, right? I mean, even though I accidentally drunkenly blabbed about the tutor? And stole your girlfriend? Who you stole from me first?”

“Uh, sure, Seth.”

“Good. Because I am having a bit of a-- whoa-- problem.” Seth, at the ‘whoa,’ stumbled and nearly fell. Across, the room, Ryan spotted Seth and Zach and approached to help.

“I can see that.”

“No, no you can’t see my problem. Unless you have x-ray vision. Which would be awesome! But, um…”

“Your problem?”

“Right, my problem. I can’t feel my… um… my danglies,” Seth said in a stage whisper that was nearly a shout.

“Your what?”

“My danglies! You know, the, um, the dangly bits.” Seth made a vague waving motion in the general direction of his crotch.

“Seth, don’t say ‘danglies.’ That makes you sound gayer than Elton John.”

Ryan winced at Zach’s choice of words as Seth began to belt “Tiny Dancer.”

“Seth. Seth!”

“Ryan! Ry-an! Ry… Ryan isn’t short for anything, did you know that?”

“No, Seth, I didn’t. Thanks for telling me.”

“Anytime, bro. Anytime. But look. I’m having a problem. I can’t feel my… stuff. And I think Summer’s going to want to…” Seth made an amalgamation of several motions all leading to the general idea of ‘have sex.’ Zach winced. “But not here. Later.”

“You know, Seth, I’m thinking that’s not really going to be a problem,” Ryan said.

“Why?”

“Because it’s already, like, one in the morning. We need to get home.”

“What? Why? No parents… no curfew!”

“See, but the thing is, Seth, is that your parents will be back tomorrow. And you are going to be very hung over tomorrow. So the sooner you get home and get to sleep, the sooner you wake up, the sooner you get done being hung over. You need to get to sleep really soon so your parents don’t suspect anything.”

Seth considered this for a very long moment. “That is SO STEALTH, Ryan. Ladies and gentlemen, Ryan Atwood! From Chino! Like the pants!”

“Seth? Home?”

“Right. Going home. Being stealth.”

“Great.”

“Hey Ryan?”

“Yeah, Seth?”

“I still can’t feel my danglies.”

 


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