Wednesday, April 30, 2014

When Stephanie Wears Lipstick

Remember the Great Gatsby dance that happened a while ago? Well, before I looked absolutely smashing {right XD}, things were disastrous, especially with regard to the red lipstick.

1920's theme just demands red lipstick, which I proudly recognized the day of the dance during my last-minute Walmart run. {I definitely spent more on last-minute Crap-I-Guess-I-Kind-of-Do-Care-If-He-Thinks-I'm-Pretty stuff than I do on food for two weeks. I kid you not. I guess I do care if he thinks I'm pretty.}

However, while I did recognize the necessity of red lipstick, I was unaware that there are about a million shades of "red," and I was unaware that the wrong shade could make one look pretty horrifying.

Which resulted in me purchasing a shade that looked like this on me.

I thought it looked outrageous and scary, but I also figured it might just be the fact that I'm used to my lips being a loud shade of NUDE. However, after sending the above picture to Sarah and Cassidy, my fears were confirmed. They both forbade me to show my face looking like that.

I decided to ignore the lipstick issue and do other things, like paint my toenails and watch Netflix. Of course, the minute I left the mirror, I forgot I had on lipstick, which resulted in lipstick. getting. everywhere.

Yeah. I was pretty sure that I was just not meant to wear lipstick {ever}, but Sarah and Mom both strongly urged me to go to the makeup counter at the mall and get help.

So I walked into the nearest Belk, feeling like the goth kid on a mission at a country club, and found an official-looking woman. I eloquently explained my predicament to her:

"Hey. I have a 20's themed dance tonight and I need a shade of red lipstick that doesn't look horrifying on me."

She looked at me kind of funny, but told me to sit down and she'd help me. She had an accent.

"I'm goink to show you a treek so you don't have to wipe off every time. O-kay?" She turned to a veritable drawer of lipstick tubes. "You're want a like a RICH red. O-kay."

She set five or six tubes on the counter and said, "Hold our your fingers. Facing up."

I gave her my hand and she marked each of my fingertips with a different lipstick. "Now holt each one up to your leeps in the mirror and see which a one you like a before you try on."

At least, NOW I know that's what she said. At the time, I was too busy staring blankly at my hand to hear her.

Okay, I KNOW these are different colors, I thought firmly. I WATCHED her use different tubes of lipstick. They look different in the tubes...

But thinking that didn't help. The bloody smears on my fingers looked exactly identical to each other. I felt like a total male.

I looked up at her and she repeated her statement about looking in the mirror with my fingers to my lips.

"Oh." I turned toward the vanity mirror to do what she said.

Guys, I don't know if you've ever tried this, but it is ridiculously difficult to turn your fingers like that. Just try it. Palm facing out, imagine you have lipstick smudges on your fingertips. Put your fingernail against your lips, one finger at a time. Don't even bother trying to get your ring finger without the pinky.

Yeah. So, that was awkward. And guess what? The colors looked exactly the same in the mirror, too, and I was pretty sure they also all looked like the original, horrifying shade I was trying to replace. But here I was, in this chair at Belk, with the judgmental foreign lady staring me down.

"Um, this one," I said, wiggling my pointer finger. {And what if I'd liked the one on my middle finger?}

She applied Pointer Tube to my lips. {If you ever danced as a child, you know that having someone apply lipstick on you is an awkward and frustrating thing for both parties.} When she was done, I looked in the mirror. She told me that was my shade.

It wasn't. It looked terrible.

Of course, how could I really be the judge of that? Clearly I was colorblind.

Still, I looked at the tubes rather than my fingertips and selected a deeper, less bright tube to work with. Makeup Lady went to help another customer.

This second, deeper shade also looked ridiculous on me, but I snapped a picture with my phone and sent it to Mom. She happily replied that it was my shade. When Makeup Lady returned to me, she also told me that it was my shade.

"That a one's gonna look the best on you," she said.

As opposed to the first one you said was "my shade"? I thought sarcastically. But whatever. I had the OK from Mom, and I was finished try to be a girl for the day.

When Makeup Lady rang up the lipstick {declaring that she was not the kind of saleslady who would tell me something looked good just to make a sale}, the cash register said over $30. Despite the fact that that's my grocery budget for like two weeks, I forked over the cash so I could gtfo of that store asap XD

Moral of this story:  I'm not sure. Girls can be colorblind too? Don't trust makeup salesladies? Always ask your mom? Keep a savings account for unwanted beauty necessities?

Maybe it's "Even Stephanie will do girly things if she likes a guy enough."

*shrug* We'll go with that.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Fragments XII

- For me, one of the hardest things in the world is trying to do homework in the library basement. On one hand, it's quiet and studious and easy to concentrate. However, it's like I can hear the books around me breathing, whispering, listening, looking. It's like a thousand papery minds looking over my shoulders. I hear their thoughts and ideas murmuring around me and it is so damn difficult not to walk over and pick one up.

- PC texted me the other day, saying that if I ever needed anything, he would never ignore me. For the first time in months, I actually texted back, saying that I appreciated it and if he ever needed something specific from me, I'd do what I could. The irony? He ignored the text XD *adds nail to friendship coffin*

- Gerard told me that I can't go clubbing now that I have a boyfriend. Well, what he actually said was "I don't think your man would approve" when I suggested the two of us go out again.  Is he right? *sigh* Either he is, or it's one of those "It's-Different-For-Every-Couple-You'll-Have-To-Ask-Your-Boyfriend" things. I hate those things.

-The immediate difference in my mood once warm weather hits is astounding. Every year I'm surprised.

- I've had the song "Drop It Low" stuck in my head for probably five days now. I kind of like it. It gives me an unexplainable confidence.

- Is anyone else bewildered and disgusted by the slough of girls who love anchors because they symbolize refusal to sink in the storm of life? Do they not know what anchors do?

- Remember Yahoo!Avatars? I just now did. Good times. I used to spend way too long messing with my avatar's hair and clothes etc... I created an avatar for all the female characters in the Fire Fairy story. {I used to be kind of single-minded ;)}

- My Milton professor is still hot. {My family + Cassidy and I call him SMP:  Sexy Milton Professor.} I got to meet with him one-on-one the other day. His eyes are extremely blue and they sparkle. They actually. sparkle. And we interact like friends, bouncing off each other's ideas and amicably interrupting and getting these looks of excited inspiration. He's so young for a professor. But he has a son old enough to watch Sid the Science Kid. How old does that make him?

I am going to Google him. {...aaaaaaand that sounded so much more sexual than I intended.}

- He got his Ph.D. in 2011. So, graduate college at 22; two more years for master's degree would put him at 24; I'm gonna give him 4-6 years to get a Ph.D. Soooo, I can pretend with relative legitimacy that he might be under thirty.

Wait, NO. That would make him under thirty as of 2011. That was three years ago. Gah, he's like Jesus-Begins-Ministry aged now. *siiiiiiiiiiiiigh*

Not that ANY of this matters because he's married with a kid and I have negative a million genuine interest in ever being involved with a professor. But he's hot and I'm avoiding an international relations paper, so...yeah.

- Maybe a Pinterest pin called "50 Ways to Organize Every Room in Your House" fills some people with excitement, but it causes my eyes to widen in horror. I get overwhelmed by ice cream flavors, and that's a simple decision for immediate use. Don't even get me STARTED on things involving color.  "50 Ways" per hypothetical house room just sounds like a nightmare to me.

- I'm building up my tolerance of spicy food. It's already relatively high, but jalapenos can still pose a challenge if I eat a ton of them in a row. So I've taken to eating a ton of them in a row. I do like them.

- Gerard is definitely my best friend here at college. All the kind of "college moments" I expected to have as a child involve him. The midnight pizza runs, the talks by the fountain, the putting him between me and sketchy guys at clubs. You know last night we went to Raleigh and drove to the very top of a parking garage and got out of the car and just looked at the city. The night was mild and clear and breezy. We looked down at all the tiny people and talked about how funny it was that everyone had just as complete a backstory as us.

There were stars and city lights and the deepest feeling of mutual understanding I think I've ever felt. It was breathtakingly beautiful and almost a little confusing. We just stood there, perfectly comfortable, with our souls set quietly out in the open. I've been happy lots of times, but that night is a happiness I know I'll never forget.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

Happiness :)

Today has just been an immensely happy day. I've been working on my 14-16 page Milton paper all day, which is actually going well, and I am freaking in love with "Paradise Lost" anyway, so it's been absolutely glorious. I keep thinking "I just want to do this with my life!" and then I remember that I'm an English major, so for at least two more years, I can!

But also, I found out that one of my best friends is considering dating someone awesome. I don't really get excited about relationships, as you know, but I actually made a squeaking sound {in public, mind you} when my friend texted me. Ermagersh.

One of my unbiological brothers also told me that he thinks he wants to marry his girlfriend. {For those of you who know me in real life, it is NOT the unbiological brother who would make us all cry if he decided to marry his current girlfriend.} Again, I don't normally get excited about relationships, but this knowledge filled me with such happiness that it prompted me to write this post.

Also, Gem is pretty cool. Relationship gush is not my favorite thing, especially if I'm the one gushing, so I'm gonna stop there. But he makes me laugh every day, in this really different way. It's the kind of laughter that first fills you up with joy on the inside, and then comes out in laughter.

I hope you've had a happy day!


Saturday, April 26, 2014


You know I get stuck on small playlists. Here's what's been on repeat lately:
1. "Odd One" - Sick Puppies {Thanks to James}

2. "Yesterday" - The Beatles {Thanks to Daddy}

3. "Wicked Game" - Stone Sour {Thanks to Spotify}

4. "Can't Remember to Forget You" - Shakira and Rihanna{I know, I know} {Thanks to society}

5. "Sit Down by the Fire" - The Veils {Thanks to Gem}
I especially recommend "Odd One" and "Wicked Game" :) James showed me the former along with the comment "This reminds me exactly of you. Please don't be offended."

I listened. And I was flattered.


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pollen {warning: graphic}

Are you allergic to pollen? Because I think it might be the worst part about humanity.

It feels like there are a thousand fleas crawling inside my nose and sinuses. Every blink feels like my eyes are rimmed with sand:  a burning sensation crawls across my pupils and tears come in emotionless waves. My nose whistles and rattles, stuffed with crusty debris that will neither clear up nor be blown out, while liquid misery simultaneously pours out, signaling my eyes to water further.

I sneeze. Once, twice, three times, four... The force of the action wracks my body, sending stinging stabs of overwhelming fury and frustration. My throat reacts with weak tingles of protest. A coughing fit seizes for a moment.

My eyes water.

I try to keep them open, both because I need them dry and because I need to do Milton research. I have a 14-16 page paper due in T-minus four days. This professor expects more of me than any I've ever had before. A gentle pounding has begun in the back left corner of my head.

But despite the danger of watering, my eyes scream with the desire to shut.  I can't tell if it's the effects of the ineffective 24-hour Zyrtec I took twelve hours ago, or the lack of good sleep since probably last Monday night.

Last night was the worst. Hot and tangled, the sheets clinging and twisted, ripping me from sleep so my throat could harass me with elusive tickles. Nose crusted over, limbs throbbing from within, mind plagued with near-feverish notions of homework and relationships and moving back home.

Subconscious stress clawed its way to the surface of my mind, refusing to take form for fear of being recognized and properly defeated. Impressionistic swirls of urgency dug into my heart, joining my blood as it circulated around my body to my brain.

Sleep fled, but so did wakefulness, and I tossed and turned with hellish clenches of teeth and grippings of fists.

My alarm went off at 8:45, and though exhausted, I was relieved to be free of the obligation to try to sleep.

I smeared ChapStick over the cracked and bleeding surfaces of my lips. Mouth breathing all night.

Another day. Another day of pollen.

Exams start in three days. I'm not sure how to study when all I can think is "Pollen must be Satan's vomit."

Hope you're doing well :3


Monday, April 21, 2014

Three Tap Touch

We all {though Urban Dictionary says mostly males} do it , and I really thought we all knew the name for it, but apparently it's less well-known than I thought. Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to educate the masses. {By posting on a small blog that isn't even listed on my profile anymore. That's right.}

The three tap touch:  "The ritual performed...before leaving the house/apartment/room/living check for the presence of phone, keys, and wallet. Usually done by touching the front right, front left, and then back right pocket in succession to ensure said items are still in your damn pants." - Urban Dictionary.

My lovely friend James could use a good course in TTT-ing. In the six months I've been good friends with him, he has lost his wallet at his apartment, my home, and a grocery store {it was left in the cart}. He also routinely leaves it behind places, like at a cash register, locked in his Jeep, or his uncle's house in Baltimore.

That last instance is actually in the process of occurring.

Cassidy, my sister Sarah, and James drove six hours to see the Orioles {right?} play in Baltimore on Wednesday. They've been staying at his uncle and aunt's place on kind of a mini vacation. They were supposed to leave early this morning, so I texted Sarah at about 10am.

"On the road again?"

Sarah:  "Yes and no. James forgot his wallet. We're going to have to go back."

Considering they were supposed to leave "early," meaning probably 8 or 9, the neglected wallet is probably costing them two to four hours on the road XD

Me:  "I can't believe you didn't enforce the three tap touch. It's like you've never met James :P"

Sarah:  "The what?"

And thus. This post.

I hope you leave your computer enlightened and reminded always to tap yourself thrice before leaving your home, a grocery store, a cash register, your car, or your uncle's house in Baltimore.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Ginger tagged me with the Liebster Blog Award! :D Why thank you. I must now post 11 facts about myself, answer Ginger's 11 questions, and ask 11 bloggers 11 questions of my own.

Just the Facts
1. Really, all I've ever wanted was to be immersed in words. {Anyone who knows me knows that that sentence is somewhat of a lie; I've wanted a jillion other things, but the SPIRIT of that sentence is true.} Well, that dream is increasingly coming true! With the combination of school work and leisure activities, words make up like 12 hours of my day these days.

2. I got a text from someone today that was just a smiley face, and for the first time in my life, I didn't feel slighted. I just smiled to myself.

3. I wrote a midterm paper in one day this week, and I am completely confident about it. First time I've a) done a midterm paper in one day, and b) not been freaking out about a midterm paper. Not sure if I'm getting the hang of college, or just living in a fantasy world XD

4. I acquired Batman footie pajamas this week. And other assorted mind-boggling surprise blessings.

5. I almost didn't get paid for working all this semester so far because I'm lazy and retarded and didn't do my paperwork. But Student Services is giving me a break. Thank God.

6. My roommate just had a baby. She's been pregnant for nine months (obviously) and I didn't know. In my defense, she tried really hard to hide it. She wore huge clothes and complained about gaining belly weight and told absolutely no one (not even her own mother). I had my suspicions, but she kept denying that she was pregnant and I wasn't gonna call her a liar... I thought this stuff only happened in soap operas.

7. I just finished the book "The Casual Vacancy" by J. K. Rowling. It was really good, but complex and sort of vulgar to a distasteful extreme. But by the end, I could respect it. She IS an incredible writer.

8. I made my whole Brit Lit class laugh today. It was review day, and I asked "What do we need to know about the author bios?"

"Everything," he said plainly, in his direct, immediate, challenging way.

I held his gaze and gave it a second before saying, "No but really." And everyone just cracked up--including him. And then he answered me for real.

9.  I have a massive crush on the above professor.

10. I know a guy with a voice like Chris Hemsworth's. He sits next to me in logic class and asked me to breakfast with him last week.

11. I'm sitting in the tutoring center, listening to a guy tutor this girl in Western Civ, the subject I also tutor. He is way better at it than me.

Ginger's Eleven Questions
(1). What song is stuck in your head at the moment?
Lady GaGa's "Edge of Glory." And I could not be more unhappy about or bewildered by this.

(2). How many languages can you speak?
Just English, and mediocre Spanish. I can read Latin and Spanish fairly well.

(3). Do you believe in any conspiracy theories or other debatable phenomena?
Not even a little bit.

(4). What would you study/train to become if college was free and you could be guaranteed an ideal job afterwards?
:O Oh my gosh. What a fun question. Except...huh. I think I'd just be doing this o_o I'd be an English major, hoping to write and fight for truth. How satisfying :)

(5). Which job would you be least suited to?
A surgeon. I'm bad with maps, so it makes sense to me that I might accidentally cut out someone's kidney instead of their liver or something.

(6). Which places in your own country would you love to go, but just haven't gotten around to?
My friend Gabe is always talking about this epic treehouse in Nebraska. I'd really like to see that. Also New York City is supposed to be pretty cool. 

(7). If you had to move to a different time period permanently, which one would you choose?
Can I also move locations? If so, ancient Greece. If not, maybe, like, the 1930s. I think I could've survived the Great Depression and been way better for it. It's always fascinated me.

(8). What if you only had to go there for one week?
 Like, America during the 1870s, like Little House on the Prairie time. I think it'd be fun, but kinda boring, so I could probably only stand it for a week.

(9). A surprisingly topical debate: do you pour the milk or the cereal first?
I don't eat milk on my cereal.

(10). If you had to participate in a gameshow, which one would you pick?
Probably Wheel of Fortune. I'm not quite fast enough for Jeopardy, though I'd rather be on that show.

(11). What are the worst first names a person could possibly be given?
For boys: Harry (way too much can go wrong here), Elmer (what, the glue?), Bernard (just a nasty-sounding name)
For girls:  Gertrude (there aren't even nice nicknames for this), Prudence (sounds like "prune," forces your lips to purse in pronouncing it, and plus...who wants to be a prude?), Mildred (too close to "mildew")

My apologies to anyone with these names...>.>

My New Questions

1. What is your favorite flavor of muffin?
2. How tall are you?
3. How do you feel about tattoos?
4. What chess piece would you be? Why?
5. If you got 3 hours of sleep for 3 days in a row, how would you be acting?
6. What's your favorite mode of procrastination?
7. Do you actually read people's answers to these things, or do you just answer the questions and want people to read yours?
8. How did you feel about taking the SAT?
9. Do you know what SAT stands for {without looking it up}?
10. Have you ever been involved in unrequited love? Tell about that.
11. Let's pretend scientists just discovered aliens. What author/movie director got closest to what they're like?

11 Bloggers
No one HAS to do this, and anyone is WELCOME to do it XD I like to think I'm relatively laid back about tags, considering there's no way to enforce them anyway.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Teen Fantasy Ten Things

Ten Things We Learn from Teen Fantasy Media

1. A good enough one-liner gives any teen the right to walk away from his or her parents.

2. Villains you have killed are more dangerous than live ones. Why? Because they're never ACTUALLY dead, so believing they are just makes you vulnerable to surprise attacks.

3. If any two characters share a smile and a look that lasts longer than three seconds, they will have sex together at some point.

4. No one ever actually hates/ stays mad at someone forever.

5. No one is ever actually an orphan. It's just a loophole so that a long-lost parent can show up later.

6. It is totally possible to fall in love with someone knowing nothing more than their species (human/vampire/werewolf/witch/alien/etc.) and how many visible ab muscles they have.

7. If you open a closet or refrigerator door, there will be someone standing behind it when you close it. (You are also obligated to gasp daintily, briefly shut your eyes, and murmur,  "You scared me.")

8. Sex never complicates anything. It will never be distracting or dramatic, and actually fosters intellectual development as a couple.

9. There will always be a love triangle. If there isn't one now, then brace yourself, because it's coming.

10. All girls go to bed wearing full makeup and bras.

But ultimately, everything will totes okay, as long as you and your significant other make each other's love the most important thing in the world.


P.S. This is also the 600th post! Noice. Thanks for sticking it out with me :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Unexpected Hanging

{I wrote a real article! Yep, I got legitimately-ish published last week, in the Classical Conversations daily online magazine. Click HERE if you want to read it :)}

A judge tells a condemned prisoner that he will be hanged at noon the following week, but that the hanging will be a surprise. The prisoner will not know the day of the hanging until the executioner knocks on his cell door at noon the day of.

After much thought, the prisoner realizes that he will escape the hanging.  The “surprise hanging” can’t be on a Friday, because if he hasn’t been hanged by Thursday, there's only Friday left – therefore it wouldn't be a surprise to be hanged on Friday.

The surprise hanging cannot be on Thursday either, because if he hasn’t been hanged by Wednesday night {and Friday has been eliminated}, then he'll know the hanging will be on Thursday--making a Thursday hanging not a surprise.

By continuing this line of thinking, the prisoner decides he cannot be hung on Wednesday, Tuesday or Monday either.

So he retires happily to his cell, confident that the hanging will not occur at all.

The next week, the executioner knocks on the prisoner’s door at noon on Wednesday — which, comes as an utter surprise to the prisoner.

Everything the judge said has come true.


P.S. Totally didn't make this up. I heard it in BritLit class :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Lost Art

Can I just say how in love I am with the way words used to be used? Good gosh. I just finished reading Freud and Einstein's correspondence on war, and the way they address each other and form their thoughts gives me chills.

Why can't we articulate ourselves like that today? Why don't we CRAFT paragraphs instead of just hashing them out and hoping we get our points across?

Maybe it's just Freud and Einstein's older style. Maybe it just sounds better to me because it's DIFFERENT. Maybe in fifty years, people will read our blog posts and coo over how wonderfully we expressed ourselves.

Part of me thinks that would great, but most of me winces at the thought. If people fifty years down the road are so poorly educated and woefully inarticulate as to think that my clumsy thoughts are as well-put as Freud's...then there's just no hope for humanity.

I love the way old writers would convey meaning precisely, and yet leave the perfect amount of room for inference and extrapolation. Half of what they said was in what they DIDN'T SAY, and the recipients of their words were astute enough to catch the polite implications and file them duly away.

The fact that great words inspired me to write this post at all makes me even more sure of a truth I already knew:  to write well, you must read well. Reading good literature will always subconsciously push you to write better. It's like watching a movie that stars British characters. I can't be the only one who thinks in a British accent for a little while afterwards, right?

If you fill your mind with British accents, British accents will fill your mind. If you fill your mind with well-written words, well-written words will fill your mind.

Gah, there are a million things I should be doing right now, but I'm so in love with words that I just had to say something.

Being an English major is the best decision I've ever made. If I could marry words, I honestly think I might XD


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

{Just Another Directionless Excerpt}

{I wrote something controversial HERE. *wiggles eyebrows* What's your opinion on "slut-shaming?"}

"What are we talking about?" Jake asked, putting his plate down next to Megan. Megan glanced up and made a shrugging gesture with her hand. Her shoulder stayed still as she opened her mouth to reply:


Ashley interrupted her. "Caleb likes Meg."

"Ah," Jake said. "Tales of unrequited love at the lunch table. Classic." His voice was smooth with lofty sarcasm.

Megan's eyebrows pinched with concern. "What makes you think it's unrequited?"

Ashley laughed, her own eyebrows arching into her bangs. It was Jake who answered:

"When feelings for you are involved, when is it NOT unrequited?" Megan glared at him. "No, seriously," he prompted. "I'm resubmitting that question as non-rhetorical. When have you ever liked someone?"

"I mean, I did have a boyfriend once," Megan said. "What, you don't think I liked him?" She took a large bite of her hamburger.

Ashley made a high-pitched, non-committal noise. "I mean, you guys weren't really serious."

Pain spiked through Megan's eyes, which dropped to her stomach as if she expected to see a fist planted there. The mush of hamburger and bun in her mouth created a motionless bulge in her right cheek. "We were serious," she said simply. She reached for her water glass.

"Oh." Ashley blinked and gave Jake a look of shallow panic. "Really?"

Jake blinked and gave her the world's most hands-off facial expression imaginable. "It's not like she spills her guts to me in her spare time."

"Well, me neither!" Ashley's voice thrust desperation into their brief aside. "When someone never mentions their boyfriend, you get the feeling it's not a big deal... I mean, right?"

Megan squeezed energy into her eyes until her expression was passable as a smile. "It's fine, Ash. I guess I didn't talk much about him."

"Yeah, I didn't even know you had a boyfriend until weeks after--"

"But so this Caleb guy," Jake interrupted. His fork stabbed straight through his Thai food and made a dignified noise against the plate. "You don't like him?"

Megan rolled her eyes. "Let's not paint with such a broad brush, shall we?" Jake's eyebrows elevated. "Caleb is great. I'm just not interested."

"What's wrong with him?" Ashley asked, in the voice of someone arguing a lost cause. "He's gorgeous. He treats you right. He's smart. He's going places in life."

Megan shrugged. "He doesn't tip at restaurants." She took another hamburger bite. Jake and Ashley stared at her, mouths in varying degrees of openness.

Ashley look personally affronted. "You're not dating a guy because he doesn't tip?"

"Which you discovered, I presume, at an event where he paid for your meal?" Jake pointed out.

"Yep." She looked them both calmly in the eye, in turn. They exchanged glances.

"Is that the only reason?" Ashley asked. "Because you can just ask him to tip. Or you could tip."

"I think it's nice when girls offer to tip," Jake said philosophically. "Guys are expected to pay for meals, and I support that, but I think it shows consideration when the girl takes responsibility for part of the experience." He gave Megan a single nod. "Hey, maybe he was testing you."

"He cheats on tests," Megan offered lightly. Her lips turned up in the corners, but she didn't bother manipulating the look in her eyes this time.

"We've all done that," Ashley said, rolling her eyes.

Jake frowned. "Oooh." He shook his head and twirled his fork around his lo mien. "That is a deal-breaker."

Ashley turned on him. "What do you mean? You've never cheated on a test?"

"Not in college," Jake said. He jutted his chin out for emphasis. "This is real life stuff. Cheating isn't cool." A single chuckle escaped his throat. "What's his major? It's not pre-law, is it? 'Cause that would be ironic."

"I don't know," Megan said. She put her hamburger down and took one of Ashley's French fries. Ashley slid her plate closer to her friend.

"Well," Ashley began, clearly gearing up for an ultimatum.  "All I'm saying is that if you let every great guy go like this, you're literally asking to be forever alone."

"Not literally," Megan said, giving her friend a teasing look.

"Do you correct this Caleb guy's grammar too?" Jake said. "Because if you don't, I would start right away. It's a great way to make people not want to be with you."

"Very funny," Megan grinned.