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The chatter of teens filled the night, creating an idle noisiness. Occasionally a splash and a shriek drifted up the sand from where someone waded in the shallow water of the Pacific. Fashionably clad bodies drifted about, orbiting the school’s offering to the Water Polo Gods. The bonfire was dying out, the great scorched tribute to Captain Oats casting low amber light upon all in a fifteen-foot radius; beyond lay almost pure darkness bordered on the left by the lights of the city and on the right by the Pacific. It was out on this darkness that Seth and Summer stared, his left arm draped loosely over her shoulder and her right arm holding tightly to her waist. Standing close to him, Summer could feel Seth’s chest expand as he took a deep breath, and for a moment she actually believed he might say something fitting or even profound. Instead, what came out was:

“I was so right.”

Summer pulled away and turned to look at him, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. “What?”

“I was so right. Marissa and Ryan belong together.” Golden light flickered on top of his curly hair, but his face was obscured by shadow, leaving Summer staring incredulously into the hollow-looking space where his eyes should be.

“You’re crazy, Cohen. You just jumped from point A to, like, point Q. What would make you say something like that?”

“They wandered off down the beach together, like, twenty minutes ago, and they’re still not back yet! They’re clearly off getting their mack on.”

“As if, Cohen. They’re probably back and you just haven’t seen them. It’s not like you have the keenest powers of observation in the world.”

Seth held his hands out, palms up in a gesture that seemed to ask how he had come to deserve a fate such as this. “Hey now, my powers of observation are plenty keen.”

“You’re still wrong.” Summer crossed her arms. “And even on the off-chance that you are right, it’s so bad to say two people belong together. Didn’t you ever watch Dawson’s Creek?”

“Do I look like I have a vagina?” Seth mimicked Summer’s posture, crossing his arms over his chest and waiting for her explanation.

“Whatev. Anyway, Dawson kept saying, like, every five seconds that he and Joey belonged together and they were soul mates and all this crap. And in the end, Joey kicked his ass to the curb and got together with Pacey, who was clearly hotter. And Dawson had this terrible long, stringy, greasy hair. I mean, ew!”

Seth‘s head shook slightly. “Do you have a point?”

“My point is that if you say two people belong together, they’re obviously not going to get together, much less belong together. So you’re wrong by default simply for saying that.”

“Your logic is so flawed.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah. That’s an isolated phenomenon and has no grounding in real life.”

“The same exact thing happened on The Valley, only with different characters.”

“So the shows copied each other. Big deal.”

“The shows aired on the exact same nights for the entire arc. There’s no way they could have copied.”

“Okay, so the writers all have the same friends. It still doesn’t matter.”

“It does so matter!”

“Fine, it matters, but it’s not relevant.”

“How is it not relevant?”

“I’m not part of the couple in dispute, nor am I vying for the attention of half of said couple, therefore I am exempt according to the story you so articulately delineated.” Seth was smirking, barely containing a grin of amusement at how cute Summer looked all riled up like that.

Oh, so now he was mocking her? It was so on. “But that’s not the only example. Like on Gilmore Girls, this just happened like last month, Emily got all upset and tried to set Lorelai up with Christopher by inviting him to the wedding and he got all smashed and caused a huge scene and now Lorelai’s not talking to either of them and she’s happily with Luke again.” Summer’s look was haughty, triumphant, and incredibly adorable.

“But that doesn’t count either! Wasn’t Christopher half of said couple in dispute?”

“Yes.”

“And wasn’t he involved?”

“Only ‘cause Emily made him!”

“She didn’t make him get drunk, did she?”

“Well…” Summer looked doubtful. “No. But it still makes sense!” She was quick to recover.

“Plus it has a guy named Luke. Guys named Luke automatically void stories. Especially if they play water polo.” Seth was half-joking now, letting the issue at hand drop and paying more attention to the way the firelight lit only half of Summer’s face due to the angle at which she was standing. The features of her face, including that adorable pixie nose, stood out in high relief.

“Cohen!” Summer rolled her eyes and laughed. “Now you’re just being ridiculous, not to mention a sore loser.“ Her tone was reproachful but her eyes were soft, regarding Seth with affection in the soft amber glow of the dwindling bonfire.

There was only one thing left. Seth slouched in defeat, his head dropping and rolling back up. “I’m sorry,” he conceded. “I shouldn’t have said they were meant to be together because I obviously know nothing about what I’m saying.”

“Apology accepted,” Summer smirked, moving closer, snaking her arms around his neck, and leaning up to kiss him. What started as a chaste kiss to the lips quickly evolved as they parted their lips and tongues entered the mix, exploring domains that were at once familiar and entirely new. Seth’s lips moved down to her neck and she moaned, but pulled away and allowed her hands to slide down to his chest as she asked, “So, what do you say we get out of here?”

“But what about Ryan and Marissa?”

“Eh, they’re probably off getting their mack on,” Summer teased, drawing him in again.


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