A Friendly Word
By: Renay Walker
Disclaimer and Author's Notes: This is the sixth story in my "Crash" Series. I hate to disappoint, but there's no smut in this one either. The next one I promise, okay?
Summary: Ami vents and worries after the events of 'Little Earthquakes.'
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Ami Jackson, Adam Newman or Mrs. Jackson. They belong to Roger Damon Price, Thames Television, Tetra Television and Nickelodeon. All characters are used here without permission but no profit is being made. Melanie Casoas is mine, mine, mine.
Feedback: Keeps a writer happy! Tell me if you're liking the series, and I'll keep cranking them out! You can flatter (or flame me) at: firstname.lastname@example.org
"So, spill it kiddo."
Ami was pulled from her musings by the jabbing of an elbow in her ribcage and the voice at her side. She blinked in confusion a moment, trying to clear away the thoughts of a certain Tomorrow Person that inevitably clouded her mind these days and focused on the young woman walking through the antiques fair beside her. "What?"
Hazel eyes flecked with green and gold, a legacy from the woman's Brazilian father, met Ami's own in amusement. "You really don't expect for me to buy that innocent act, do you? I'm the one that taught it to you, remember?"
Averting her eyes from the all-knowing stare, Ami returned her attention to the antique clock she had been considering. "I don't know what you're talking about Mel."
Melanie Casaos rolled her eyes dramatically in disbelief. "You've been going to some other planet all day, and you're trying to tell me that you don't have something on your mind? I know that look and usually it involves a guy. So spit it out, little cousin or I'll throttle it from you."
Ami sighed. She should have known it would come to this. In seventeen years, she had never been able to hide anything from Melanie. Although her cousin was four years her senior, they had always been as close. Even when Melanie headed off to the States to attend a university there, they kept in touch via letters, emails and enough long distance phone calls to get Ami banned from the phone on several occasions. Mel was the only person in the world that was closer to Ami than any of her fellow Tomorrow People, and she treasured the relationship with her cousin. Even if the woman thought that Ami was playing games when she tried to tell her about the Tomorrow People; that was the only secret that Ami kept from Melanie these days, if only because her cousin refused to believe it.
A cursory glance around revealed that both of their mothers were still out of earshot, but Ami lowered her voice nonetheless. "You remember I told you about Adam?"
"The cute Australian?"
Ami couldn't help but smile. After all, that was the first description she had given her cousin of Adam Newman, and apparently it continued to stick. "That would be the one."
"What about him?" Melanie paused, blinked at the price on a wooden clock and quickly turned back to Ami. "Oh, don't tell me you still have that longsuffering crush on him - you do, don't you?"
"It's more than that," Ami decided to ignore Melanie's opinion of Ami's attraction towards Adam. Particularly considering that Melanie's opinion of that situation pretty much echoed Ami's sentiments on Jade's continued dreams of Megabyte. Besides, Melanie was convinced that at this stage of the game, there was no way a young man nearly four years older than Ami would have any interest in her beyond friendship. A conviction that Ami had been able to believe in until recent events.
"Oh, really?" Melanie was intrigued. "Did he ask you out? Is there something that you aren't telling me?"
"He kissed me." Ami said the words quickly so that they spilled out more like one word instead of three, the entire time keeping her eyes on the timepiece in front of her.
"Okay, lunch time. Time to ditch the mothers and have a real chat." With those words, Melanie grabbed her securely by the arm and began dragging her in the opposite direction.
Ditching their mothers was easier than Ami would have ever imagined, but the women were engaged in gossip and preparing to go to an auction which saved the two young women. Melanie bought them both lunch - deli sandwiches with chips - and while they ate, Ami told her everything. Beginning with the kiss outside the movie theatre and ending with events on the beach nearly a week past. She was choked with embarrassment by the time she finished and the words tumbled out so quickly that Melanie twice accused her of not taking time to breathe.
When she finished, she took great interest in the wrinkles in her napkin. She wanted to look anywhere except at Melanie. "So what do you think? It was wrong, wasn't it?"
"Did it feel wrong?"
Ami felt that unfamiliar heat rising and rippling through her body as her cousin's question caused her to reflect on the memory. Her mouth involuntarily twitched into a smile. "No, it didn't feel wrong at all."
"Then it wasn't wrong," Melanie announced, tapping a lacquered nail against the tabletop. "Is that what's got you tied in knots? You're having a sexual awakening? Has Aunt Sherrie repressed you that much?"
"No, that's not it," Ami looked up finally. "It's just that - well, I haven't really seen him or talked to him since then."
"He hasn't called? It's typical, it's a guy thing."
Ami shook her head, recalling several attempts by Adam to talk to her over the past week. She always brushed him off; she was too busy or too tired or whatever. The truth was that she was absolutely terrified to see or talk to him after what happened. "No, he's called. I've been busy."
"Well, you know how my mother is. She's been into this whole mother-daughter thing this summer. She says that she doesn't get to see enough of me or spend anytime with me because -"
"So, you're avoiding him?"
"No!" Ami protested, but meeting Melanie's steely gaze, she backed down meekly. "Yes."
"I don't know. I guess I'm embarrassed. And scared." Ami sipped her drink and nodded. "Definitely scared."
Melanie leaned back in her chair and studied her cousin thoughtfully for a moment. She's not a little girl anymore. The thought floated clearly across Ami's mind, and had it been anyone else, she would have taken offense. But Melanie was not being offensive, simply observant and Ami also thought she detected a bit of respect in the thought as well. "So, what are you scared of?"
"Melanie! It's Adam. And we - we -" Ami floundered at a loss for words, feeling her face flush with warmth. "What if he thinks I'm a slut?"
"I doubt that. He wouldn't be trying to contact you if he did."
"So what if he - what if he wants to tell me it was a mistake or something?" Ami asked, finally voicing her real concern. "What if he plans on giving me that whole entire 'let's be just friends speech?"
"You really like him, don't you?" Melanie prodded softly. She leaned forward, resting her chin on her folded hands. Concern and understanding flooded her eyes.
Ami nodded slowly, admitting aloud what she had long ago admitted to herself. "I tried not to, really. And it got easier. I just started to accept the fact that we were just friends and that we would never be anything else. And then we kissed." Ami paused, her body flooding with warmth at the memory. She felt the corners of her mouth turn up into a smile and she didn't care. The memory of Adam's lips against hers, his tongue in her mouth, his hands on her skin made her tingle all over. "It was incredible, Mel. All of it. I just want - I just want -"
"More?" Melanie suggested with a knowing smile.
"Yes," Ami smiled, lowering her eyes shyly for a moment. She lowered her voice as if those at the other tables even cared about their conversation. "Is this normal? To feel like this, I mean."
"If you're lucky," Melanie laughed. "Sometimes, the guy is a total loser. No skills, no technique. But when there's chemistry - yeah, glowing the way that you're glowing is pretty normal."
"I'm not glowing."
"You are! But it's wonderful!" Melanie reached across the table and squeezed her hands. "My little cousin is growing up, experiencing the world."
"Mel," Ami rolled her eyes, now growing slowly embarrassed by her cousin's too enthusiastic support and gushing. "It's not that big of a deal."
"Right. Whatever you say. Just keep on repeating those words and floating on cloud nine while you're at it." Releasing her hands, Melanie sat back in her seat. "You know that you have to talk to him though, right?"
"I know," Ami nodded. "But what if - what if it was a mistake to him? What if he just wants to be friends?"
"Then you grin and bear it. You've been friends for what? Three years? You go on being friends with him and chalk it up to a learning experience." Melanie paused and gave her an encouraging smile. "And you cry your eyes out and we eat lots of chocolate ice cream. But. What if he's dying to turn over a new leaf?"
"Weren't you the one who told me that Adam probably would never look at me like that? That I was too young?"
"That's when you were fifteen and he was nineteen."
"Well, I'm seventeen and he's your age."
"But you've grown up and I think it's pretty clear that a certain cute Australian noticed."
"I'll talk to him, fine," Ami decided, finishing the last of her sandwich. "But you're buying the ice cream."
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