Uniquely Flawed Logic

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5. Deal with the Devil

While Wes’ plan of guarding all things/ideas/areas of his girlfriend’s life, as well as his girlfriend’s actual person, from the likes of Nicolai Roman and his wooing had been very well intended, it unfortunately was not as successful as he had hoped.

It wasn’t that Wes hadn’t put enough effort into it, or that he hadn’t covered all his bases as well as he could (he was thorough to the point of lunacy, if anything). It was just that Nick, being not quite of this world, proved ridiculously hard to predict.

Wes tried; he really did, to guess the other teen’s plan of attack but there just…wasn’t enough information out there.

He had tried to scrutinize his memories of the other times Nick had tried to woo girls (people, objects…Wes was not a girl) but came to the startling realization that whatever the stupid jock had done with Annelea was as close to wooing as Nick had ever gotten. All the other times he had pretty much just offered to get his target drunk or demanded sex, and somehow or other, that had worked.

While such tactics pretty much guaranteed (with the exception of Annelea) that you weren’t going to have a stable relationship, Wes had to admit he was pretty pissed that they had worked at all.

Despite Wes’ annoyance, Nick was forced to find another way to prevail in his mission, and prevail he did. With no previous experience to pull from, the other teen had gotten a little creative.

Wes wasn’t entirely sure where Nick got the idea of flower arrangements, let alone the will to actually go through with them, but Wes suddenly found himself defending his girlfriend’s doorstep from haphazardly put together bouquets of dead flowers.

Yes, dead flowers. And they weren’t…it was obvious that some effort had been put into them. Nick had put great care into picking out decaying greenery and arranging them and tying them together with ragged, black bandanas. The notes he sent with them, while less than thought-provoking, were (and shouldn’t have been, but still frustratingly were) just the tiniest bit endearing. Because Nick was actually trying.

He wrote poetry, he complimented Gina’s hair; he did all the things a guy like Nick was never supposed to do. It made Wes torn between keeping the love notes as possible blackmail tools and burning them to a crisp as a measure of coping. The arsonist in him won eventually, but it sickened Wes to say he had actually considered the other option.

He burned the flowers sometimes too, when just chucking them in the trash wasn’t enough.

Unfortunately, Nick caught on to Wes’ preventative measures. While Wes had accounted for and destroyed all the welcome mat flower arrangements, he had not taken into consideration that Nick would try alternative methods of delivery. Apparently Nick had gotten tired of his loving efforts being burned up in flames, and decided to put an end to such demises by sneaking a bouquet into Gina’s locker.

Let it be known that Wes was not proud of the events that followed. He took very little pleasure in them, but as he had yet to inform Gina of the Nick ‘situation’, his hands had really been tied.

Still, he hung his head in shame every time he stumbled across the memory.

Wes had been moving to meet up with Gina at her locker before lunch, as per usual. Up to that point, it had been a very nice day. There had been no arrangements to destroy at Gina’s house, no sneak notes from Nick, just smooth sailing. Wes was in the good and clear and wanted to celebrate, maybe he would take Gina out, somewhere nice, somewhere that wasn’t P.F. Chang’s, she would like that and-

In almost slow motion, Wes had seen Gina peering into her locker down the hall. Her eyebrows were furrowed, an expression of curiosity taking over before she ever-so-slowly pulled out a horrible dead-rose corsage. It was black and wilted and dried up in a disgusting array of decomposition, pinned to a black bandana because Gina was just ”too badass to deal with ribbons“. Wes stopped, literally just stopped right there, paying no heed to the crowd of traffic jostling by.

He hadn’t thought to check Gina’s locker. He knew Nick was good but he didn’t think- but Wes should have because Nick broke into another school for Annelea (or was it two? There had been some kind of stealth mission Wes hadn’t asked about it) and now Wes had to go and explain the perpetual rain of stupid he had brought down upon him and his girlfriend.

It wasn’t fair, why did Nick have to be fixated on Annelea? What had Wes done wrong (aside from questioning the status quo)? Why did he deserve-?

Oh God there was a note.

As bad as the gifts of dead flowers were, the notes were always worse. What if Gina wanted to keep it? What if she thought it was funny, what if she framed it? Then Wes would never be able to escape Nick’s stupid-

And then she was looking up at Wes with a smile, her grin wide and bright in a way that left his legs wiggly for a second before he remembered how to use them.

Luckily, he didn’t have to recover his mobile functions so soon, because Gina made her way toward him, throwing her arms around Wes’ neck as soon as she was close enough.

“Thank you,” she said, leaning in and kissing Wes soundly on the lips, unbothered by the audience of the hallway. “You always get it just right.”

She whispered this as she pulled back, eyes coy and half-lidded. She waved the folded note at him flirtatiously before taking off to lunch, leaving Wes dumbstruck behind her.

The horrified feeling of shock didn’t fade for a long time, because Nick had…won.

It wasn’t a particularly wonderful feeling, but it was true.

Nick had successfully managed to create a token of affection that Gina had liked, that Gina had enjoyed. It had made her smile and had been created especially for her and- Dead flowers shouldn’t have been good, they were dead-

It wasn’t fair; Wes was going to have nightmares about this for weeks. And the note, the stupid note, it was another poem, one that Gina had found endearing with its blunt and impetuous effort.

It read:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I have sweet abs,

And should be with you.

The fact that she had thought Wes had written it was something with which he was still trying to cope.

Of course it wasn’t just Gina Nick was showering with “affection”.

Three times, read it, three times Nick had snuck over to Wes’ house to serenade him. And every time, Wes had to scramble out of his house via door, window, or sky light (it was complicated) to intercept the other teen before Nick attracted the entire neighborhood’s attention, or worse, Wes’ parents.

To be honest, Wes had been glad for Nick’s aversion to doors, because Wes could never in a million years be able to explain their little arrangement to his parents in a way that wouldn’t have him shipped off to military school. He barely managed to keep his place in drama club; his parents catching wind of this would ruin him.

The worst part was that the only way to get Nick to leave was to allow the other teen his serenade.

Wes had managed to compromise it so they did it in the privacy of Nick’s truck, which was, of course, remarkably awkward, especially when Nick switched his aim from songs about getting laid (“Touchin’ on My”) to songs about actual romance. The five minutes it took to sing “Iris” were the longest most embarrassing of Wes’s life.

He hated that Nick was trying so hard. It would have been a lot easier to make fun of him or ignore him if he wasn’t putting so much goddamn effort into it.

No, no, Wes would not be charmed by the fact that Nick was actually trying. He was not going to get walked all over, just like always, and allow Nick to ruin the whole point of dating.

The only reason he was putting up this much effort was for Annelea – Wes and Gina were just means to an end.

He did not allow this fact to embitter him, though it was tempting to wallow in resentment.

Wes needed a game plan. He needed something, or someone, to distract Nick from these shenanigans.

Because this wasn’t working.

Eventually, Nick was going to start bothering Gina on Facebook (Wes was surprised that the other teen hadn’t attempted to do that already) or another flower arrangement was going to sneak past Wes and Nick will have remembered to sign the card. Eventually, Nick would recruit the help of the rest of drama club or something and Wes would be out of excuses.

He was still trying to explain to Gina that he had just been trying to warm up for football after the last incident. They were walking, he couldn’t even remember where, all he remembered was that he saw Nick, with his guitar, and then Wes was throwing Gina over his shoulder and taking off in the opposite direction, not bothering to give her a heads up.

Wes couldn’t do that again. He wasn’t Seth (who was pure muscle and legitimate kindness to the point where Wes almost hated him a little). Wes wasn’t all that strong. Pure adrenaline was the only reason he hadn’t dropped her.

It was clear that damage control needed to be done.

Wes needed back up, he needed a savior, he needed…

He needed Annelea.

Like it or not, Wes had to go to that scary beast of a lady, dust off his knees, and grovel his little heart out.

There were no other options.

And if he came out even mildly successful, he was going to own Nick’s ass for the rest of eternity.

Not that he really wanted to do things with- You know what, never mind. Just, never mind.

He was a man with a purpose.

The results of Wes’ past encounters with appealing to Annelea’s sense of compassion may have (and by may, he meant definitely) persuaded Wes to hesitate bringing forth his new plea long enough for Gina to actually catch wind of what was going on.

He knew it had been inevitable, but he honestly hadn’t thought it would come around so fast.

Nick, being the crafty bastard that he was, had finally given up serenading Wes and had taken his guitar to where he had thought it would be more appreciated.

And the depressing thing in all this, was that it actually had been.

That was right, Gina, actually appreciated Nick’s odd public display of affection for what it was.

After the initial attempt, where she had assumed Nick had gotten lost (and started yelling the directions to Annelea’s house, and when that failed, Wes’ house), Gina realized Nick’s intentions.

Somehow, despite her repeated urges to fight against conformity, the use of one of the most cliché gestures of wooing appealed to her sense of romanticism.

Wes wanted to find it in himself to be indignant about the whole affair since Gina had a boyfriend, were it not for the fact that Gina had already explained to him when they had initially started dating that she understood Wes and Nick were a package deal. At the time, she had meant that in regards to hanging out, but Wes was beginning to see that Nick hadn’t actually been that far off-base about Gina being fond of him.

Wes still felt mildly scorned though, even if it wasn’t his right.

Nick was actually doing things with Gina and mind, consistently and with great effort, while Wes had spent the last few weeks destroying all said attempts at courtship, leaving him unable to produce any of his own. Aside from the credit-stealing for the corsage and a few dates he had managed to cram in when he wasn’t staking out his yard for signs of invasion like a paranoid lunatic, Wes had been kind of (and it pained him to say this) a neglectful boyfriend.

Add in the fact that he tried to deal with this situation all on his lonesome, meant that Gina didn’t particularly feel like talking to him now. She gladly accepting Nick’s attention, encouraged it even.

Wes would have thought she was trying to make him jealous if she wasn’t doing her damndest to make Nick work for it too.

Wes’ relationship now hung in a precarious balance. At the rate he was going, he would be forced to start from square one (or lower than that, because at square one he at least had the appeal of abs) and start trying to win Gina back over himself.

Yes, now because of that stupid, brain-deficient yeti of a best friend, Wes was going to have to compete for his own girlfriend.

That was how he had come to stand outside of Annelea’s window, praying that despite his previous failures and his total lack of intimidation, he could somehow pull off a win.

He could really use one of those right now.

Wes knocked to give a semblance of courtesy and waited patiently for Annelea to show up and deem him worthy of her presence. This time he had thought ahead and came bearing gifts, something that would be way more persuasive than his sob story.

He knew Annelea’s angle now. She didn’t do things just for fun, or to be nice, she made deals. She did something for you, you did something for her.

A twenty-four pack of Snickers probably wouldn’t be enough for her to take Nick back, but it would at least get her to listen. After that, she would set her terms and Wes would calculate how much self-respect he was willing to lose in order to make his life Nick-free.

Short of breaking any laws, he was pretty much game for anything.

It was a sad, sad day when Annelea held the keys to his happiness.

It didn’t take long before the curtains were pulled back to reveal the catalyst that had started it all, Annelea giving him a look of semi-boredom that was overshadowed with annoyance.

Tentatively, Wes held up the candy bars, shifting his weight onto his back heels in case things took a turn for the worse and he had to make a hasty retreat.

So this was what it felt like when normal people approached Nick when he was in one of his moods, right? Wes almost pitied them now.

There were a few tense seconds before Annelea nodded slowly, giving silent approval when she propped the window open. That was as much as an invitation as she was willing to give, and Wes didn’t hesitate, clambering into her room just as she disappeared from view. He slid the window shut behind him, using it as a distraction more than anything else, and reminded himself he was here willingly. He needed to stay. He had to get this done.

So far, so good.

When he had gathered the courage to look back her way, Annelea was sitting at her desk looking as in control as usual, amused even. Wes ignored the patronized feeling and laid the package of Snickers down on her bed gently, offering her a timid smile before sitting down himself, fidgeting.

No small talk, he reminded himself. Just get to business.

“I wanna make a deal,” Wes declared, glancing up from the hands.

Without his notice, they had decided to occupy themselves by wringing together until his knuckles popped. Smooth, he was not, but Wes had never been under the delusion he was in charge here.

Annelea tilted her head thoughtfully, an almost appreciative look on her face. “What do you want?”

“Take Nick back.” Wes wasn’t wasting any time beating around the bush with this one.

See, he had learned from his past mistakes. Annelea was mildly evil, and took great satisfaction in other people’s misery. Wes didn’t bother explaining why, didn’t give her a hint at how freakishly desperate he was (though by this point, she could probably tell), didn’t give her more ammunition to milk this for more than it was worth. He wasn’t going to offer her any insecurities to twist to her pleasure, and he wasn’t going to show her any weaknesses to manipulate. This was just a guy appealing to guy-he-sometimes-made-out-with’s ex-girlfriend on behalf of said guy-he-sometimes-used-to-make-out-with.

Unlike Nick and Annelea, Wes was actually nice, so he could get away with appearing to do things out of the kindness of his heart.

Sometimes it paid not to be ludicrously evil.

While this was a well-thought plan, there were still a few moments of silence where Annelea was waiting for Wes to complain about why this needed to be done.

Wes was onto her though. Annelea would get nothing from him.

When the silence continued, when an incredulous stare was added (and when the urge to fidget grew into an almost palpable thing) Wes gave a pathetic sigh and ran a hand through his hair in a “gosh I feel so bad for my stupid best friend” sort of way.

“He misses you,” Wes explained, all wide-eyed and earnest and…

Yes, lay it on thick. She doesn’t know what true goodness looks like, baffle her with you genuine caring.

Wes glanced back her way when he was feeling moderately successful.

He was met with a look that was far too amused, bordered on all-out laughter, and felt any hint of success that had been building deflate out of him with a pathetic whimper.

Why he thought he could cheat the cheater, he would never know.

Perpetual hope had always been his Achilles heel.

Wes sighed, this time legit, and cut the act. “Just take him back.”

“What’s he doing?” She asked, evil, eeeeeviiill seeping through because she wanted more misery, more.

How the hell did Nick find these people? And then miss them?

Sometimes Wes wondered how this reflected on their friendship, that maybe there was a seed of malicious intent hiding in his soul that only Nick could detect, but-

Now was not the time for (another) relationship crisis.

Wes built his courage and glared at Annelea, refusing to back down. “What do you want for it?”

More candy? Jewelry? An autographed copy of Twilight? Public displays of humiliation?

What. Did. She. Want?

Annelea wasn’t used to equipped-with-backbone-Wes. It was obvious she was disappointed by the lack of sharing going on. She narrowed her eyes, threatening, but Wes glared right back, twisting his eyebrows in a ridiculous manner because he knew he could never pull of menacing, so ‘manic’ was as close to a poker face as he was going to get with her. He might as well work that.

After a few seconds, it worked.

Annelea backed off with a laugh, mock golf-clapping at his efforts.

It was enough to make Wes relax. Finally, down to business.

The smirk she gave him bid for no goodness, it was knowing, but at least not a full-out taunt. “For that big a favor, and that long of a commitment, I’m going to want something a little more substantial from you Sulu.”

Wes rolled his eyes at the jab and motioned for her to continue, not really caring about her twisted foreplay. “Fine, keep going.”

Her smirk grew, but Wes offered nothing, knowing he was at her mercy. There was no point in fueling the fire.

Annelea stroked her chin thoughtfully, building up the suspense.

“I’m thinking man sex.”

“I’m not having sex with Nick.”

The words were out before he could even process them, before Wes had even really processed what Annelea had said because wait-

“Frottage then,” Annelea countered, not batting an eye as she lowered the stakes. “I’ve already seen you two make out, I’m going to need some kind of escalation here.”

Inside, Wes balked, sputtered and raged and stirred himself up into a righteous fury, but outside he was too tired and too used to indignation inspired by the likes of Nick and Annelea. He nodded slowly, and wondered when the hell he had gotten so beaten down.

There would be time to freak out about this later. Right now Wes just needed to survive.

Annelea raised her eyebrows, clearly surprised by the lack of protest on his part, and continued, eyes calculating. “You and Nick, on film-”


She backed up, curious by the display of fearlessness. She would probably prod him for more, but Wes wasn’t in a mental place where he could give it to her.

Instead he shook his head resolutely, ignoring her intrigue.

“I don’t want this to come back and bite me later,” Wes explained, laying down the ground rules.

He wouldn’t allow himself to be completely pushed around.

Despite the fact he was fighting the strong urge to dive out the window and never look back.

Keep it together Wes, you can still win.

Sure, he was going to have to have to… frot with Nick, but how bad could that be?

It would be awkward and ah…more awkward, but not necessarily bad.

Maybe they could get really drunk, that way he probably wouldn’t even notice who he was kissing They could work that right? Nick had been pretty intent on cuddling him the last time they had gotten completely smashed together. Maybe if he drank enough he could forget the fact that Annelea was watching.

Apparently, a little backbone was really all Annelea needed in order to appreciate his…situation, so she nodded slowly, smile growing on her face. “Alright, but it has to be three times.”

“Two,” Wes countered, because, what the hell.

It seemed to work, because Annelea smiled wider and shrugged. “Okay, two.”


Had he won?

Did she just agree to…? And then she would take him back?

No more trying to woo Gina, or woo him- Nick would be gone, gone, and Wes could go back to living a semi-peaceful life of maintaining straight A’s and keeping his girlfriend and drama club and football and-

And all he had to do was frot with Nick.


With an audience.

Yeah, Wes really wasn’t the winner here.

Luckily, his body managed to take over while his brain was busy bemoaning the tragedies that had fallen upon him, allowing him and Annelea to shake on it, sealing the deal.

“And…one more thing,” Annelea’s silky smooth voice broke Wes from his reveries, her hands folded under her chin in a picture of poised innocence (though Wes knew better). “You can’t tell him.”

Wes blinked. Reviewed what she had said, then blinked again. “What?”

“I want this to be organic,” Annelea drawled, smirk growing into a lethal thing.

“How the hell is this supposed to be organic if you’re watching us?” Wes sputtered, flushing.

Annelea shrugged, unconcerned. “Plan ahead. Pick a place where I can hide, lure him there, then do the deed.”

“Twice?” He wasn’t sure why he asked, maybe there was a subconscious desire to see Annelea’s amusement at the way his voice cracked, but the question was out there, and she was laughing, and he was doomed.

“Twice,” she confirmed. “And we already shook on it.”

Right. Yes, they had already shaken on it, so Wes was morally obligated to somehow manipulate his friend into frotting with him on two different occasions without arousing any suspicion whatsoever.

There was also the fact that Wes had made it abundantly clear that wooing someone didn’t involve physical interactions and- Why did he have to talk? He obviously wasn’t very good at it. Why hadn’t he learned?

Would he have to seduce Nick? Or could he just decide that sure, they were dating and…oh….oh, that was freaking brilliant.

Wes should have thought of that first, it was just like chicken! If acted like Nick’s plan was working, like Wes he really wanted to date him, there would be no reason for them not make out. One thing would lead to another and…

But if Nick didn’t really like guys (and therefore wasn’t actually attracted to Wes), he wouldn’t be able to go through with it. And then Wes could call him out on it, and then Nick’s entire Pimp-plan would collapse around him because he had to have two people to make it work and then he wouldn’t bother Gina and Wes would win, he would win and then he wouldn’t even have to frot at all.

Unless, of course, Nick, with his epic stupidity and delusions of grandeur, unless that human actually went through with it for whatever reason-

Well, hopefully it wouldn’t come down to that.

The fact of the matter was that Wes would still have his deal with Annelea to fall back on, so either way, he was covered.

Damn, Wes should have thought of this sooner. Seriously, he needed to get his head together. All this acting without thinking was not doing him any favors.

Nick must be rubbing off on him.

Oh, the humanity.

Annelea crossed over to the window just as Wes began to make his way back to his car, a Snickers bar already in hand as she called to him, “You have to be sober, too! No alcohol!”

Being the gentleman that he was, Wes restrained from letting loose a few choice expletives.

“What about him?” he countered, digging his hands into his pockets.

Wes had been doing well with haggling so far, he might as well try to work it a little more.

She looked thoughtful and took a bite out of the candy bar, tilting her head to the side. “Only one of the times,” she allowed finally.

With that, she disappeared back into her room, leaving Wes no room for argument.

Not that he had intended one.

Because Annelea was still freakishly scary.

Backup plan in place, Wes began to stew over his new plan of attack, i.e., plan make-Nick­-think-he-won-and-then-make-him-regret-it.

While it would probably turn out to be a bad idea, Wes also knew he would require a little help on this one.

Lucky for him, Russel was just the guy who wouldn’t refuse this breed of problem.

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