“Hurry up!” Kendall shouted down to Matt and Jared. The three of them were on the hiking trail in Malibu, Kendall far ahead of the other two. “Jesus, what’s gotten into you?” Jared panted. “I didn’t know he had this much stamina.” Matt sighed. “Oh, look who it is. I spy an a Kendolt.” Immediately, the green-eyed brunette froze when he reached the top of the hill they were climbing. Sitting at the top were none other than Fanny, Megan, Chloe, Carly, and Sophia, all of whom were admiring the view of the ocean. “Are you kidding me?” Kendall rolled his eyes. “Hi, Kendall!” Sophia and Carly waved at him. “Hey, what’s up?” The brunette tried to ignore Fanny and the fact that Fanny beat him to the top of the hill. “Wow, Kendall. Please explain to us how we managed to beat you!” Megan laughed. “It’s because he’s destined to be inferior to us, obviously.” Chloe teased. “Well look what we have here.” Jared and Matt appeared behind Kendall. “It’s funny to bump into all of you like this!” Carly smiled.
The eight decided to continue the trail together, since Jared, Matt, Carly, and Sophia were relatively exhausted already. “So Fanny, I heard you got one of the leads in the upcoming play! Congrats, man.” Jared grinned at the Chinese male. “Thanks. I’m looking forward to playing the main villain. Something about being a Hun general and dictator that really resonates with me, you know?” Fanny beamed back. “So, Kendall, do you have a group for the Japanese movie project?” Sophia looked at him. “Well, not really. I’m guessing that the four of you are going to be a group?” “Probably. We had this idea to do a love story, but Fanny doesn’t want to play the love interest, so we’re still brainstorming.” Sophia sighed. “Well, I don’t mind playing that if it means that I don’t have to story-write.” Kendall offered sarcastically. “Wait, are you serious? Because I think Carly wouldn’t mind that.” She laughed. “Oh, Kendolt wants to be in our group?” Fanny looked back at the two. “I’m not against it. But he better not cram our style.” Megan smirked at her older brother. “Hey, Megan! That’s not cool! He’s your older brother!” Carly frowned, crossing her arms. “Older brother or not, just don’t do anything to embarrass us, okay?” Megan rolled her eyes. “Shut up, Meg.” Kendall stuck his tongue out at the younger girl.
“Okay, it looks like we’re at the end of the trail.” Carly pointed out. “Well, that’d explain why we’re at the beach. Not that I’m complaining!” Fanny grinned, running up to the water with Megan and Chloe. “Last one to the ocean is a Kendall!” He squealed, sprinting. “Well, good jobs, you guys.” Matt smiled at Kendall, Jared, Carly, and Sophia. “Ah, it feels great to be a the beach.” Sophia stretched her arms before falling back onto the sand. “Yeah, it does.” Carly sighed in relief, laying down with her. As annoyed as Kendall was to be dealing with Fanny, he had to admit, hiking as a large group of friends like this, it was actually a lot of fun. These kinds of simple times, where the only thing he had to worry about were classes, he knew he would one day miss this. “Ouch! I can’t believe you guys gave me crabs.” Fanny glared at the younger two girls, who were laughing at him. “Ew, okay that just sounded wrong. We didn’t give you crabs. We just put a crab down your trunks.” Chloe rolled her eyes. “False alarm, guys. Chloe did not fuck her gay brother. Oh-” Megan covered her own mouth. Everyone just went silent. “What?” They all looked at Fanny. “I totally called it.” Jared whispered to Kendall. “Oh. I thought that was obvious. Is this breaking news to everyone or something?” Fanny looked confused. “Well, I guess? We’ve known you since middle school, but we still love you, Fanny!” Carly smiled.
“Well, what should we do now?” Matt and Jared sighed to Kendall. The three of them were exhausted, still on the beach with the others. “Well, the five of us were going to go to Korean barbecue in KTown? Want to join?” Sophia offered the three. “Ooh, all you can eat?” Matt grinned eagerly at the thought. “Obviously. If it’s not all you can eat, it’s a ripoff.” Chloe added. “Oh, heads up!” “Ow!” Right at that moment, the younger Chiang was hit in the head with a beach ball. “Chloe, you good?” Sophia and the boys turned to see that it was Fanny who accidentally spiked the ball at his sister. “You fucker. I’m going to send you back to hell!” She charged at her brother. “You’ll have to catch me first!” Fanny laughed, sprinting off. “Don’t worry, Chloe. I’ve got this!” Megan grabbed and water bottle and threw it. Spinning, it knocked Fanny over. “Perfect. Getting crabs put down your trunks is the least of your problems.” Chloe grinned sadistically, crackling her knuckles as she caught up to her older brother. “Oh geez, don’t kill him.” Carly got up. “Fine.” Chloe rolled her eyes, stepping back. “Seeing you eat shit at the hands of a water bottle, that’s already enough for me to be happy about.” She smiled.
“Ah, this is the best.” Matt sighed, completely satisfied. He was slumped in his booth, stuffed to the brim with grilled brisket and pork belly. The eight of them were sharing a table at a Korean barbecue restaurant, Dream. It was a great day. Hiking, fun in the sun, and they were ending it with all you can eat Korean barbecue. Kendall in particular was happy, because he was sitting with his two best friends and Carly on one side. He finally got one-on-one time with her. Or at close as he’s really ever gotten before. “So, Kendall, do you know what you want to do after you go to college?” Carly asked. “I’m thinking about aerospace engineering.” He replied, a bit startled at her forwardness. “Oh, really? That’s so cool! I know Sophia is actually thinking about engineering herself.” She pointed out. “Oh, yeah, I am!” Sophia piped in; the girl was sitting next to the four. “But I was thinking pre-med with a biomedical engineering background. You know, got to keep my options open.” She added, grinning shyly. “How about you, Carly?” Kendall looked over at the girl sitting across from him. “I’m probably going into journalism. There’s something about reporting, it’s like history in the making, and I just love that.” The girl’s eyes gleamed with a deep-rooted sense of inspiration. “A journalist, huh?” Kendall drifted off. He was already imagining Carly, reporting the next big scoop in America. And there he would be, loyally tuning in every night, eagerly reading her every article, just being as supportive as he could of her and her dreams.
“Well, Kendall actually thinks he has a shot with Carly?” Chloe whispered to her older brother. Sophia, Chloe, Megan, and Fanny were all in the booth directly next to the other four. “I highly doubt it. Carly’s too put together and career oriented. Yeah, she’s nice to him, but she’s generally really nice to everyone anyways, so the way she’s acting, she only sees him as a friend.” Fanny dismissed the idea immediately. “If you’re talking like that, it sounds like you have seen Carly in love before?” Chloe wondered aloud. “Something like that, I suppose.” Fanny grumbled, chewing on his pork belly. “But it got really awkward really fast.” He sighed, reminiscing of a deeply embarrassing middle school moment. “Fanny, I like you!” A much younger Carly confessed. “You’re always looking out for me, and I could see myself living the rest of my life with you.” “Uh, Carly, that’s touching and all, but I’m gay, so that will never work. Sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.” A middle-schooler Fanny shrugged. The present-day Fanny shuddered at his words. He didn’t mean to reject his best friend so bluntly, but it was the truth and there was no point in hiding that from somebody he trusted. Looking back on that faithful day in 7th grade now, Fanny still felt really uncomfortable about the entire situation. He wasn’t expecting anyone, let alone a girl, to confess their feelings to him like that in his lifetime. Besides, he only had enough room in his heart for one person: himself.
“Thank you, Fanny!” Carly and Sophia waved as they were dropped off at the Grove. Both girls lived nearby that area, and they’d generally like to take a detour there before heading back home separately. “Well, looks like I’ve got to head back with my brother.” Megan rolled her eyes as she got off Fanny’s car, and walked over to Kendall’s. “Later, cool-peeps.” She grinned mischievously, waving at her friends. “Megan, what do you even see in those people?” Kendall scoffed at his little sister as she entered his otherwise empty car; Jared and Matt were already dropped off earlier. “Well, for one, they’re good people. I just like spending time with Fanny and Chloe. They’re funny, they’re hardworking-” “As hardworking as our parents? Those two have never worked a real day in their lives. They’ve just been skating by on their dad’s money. There’s no natural talent there.” The older brunette was fuming at this point. “You’re the only one who says that! Mom and dad, even Gil, they all love the Chiangs! You just hate them because they’re better off than us, but the truth is, Kendall, you’ll never be as talented as Fanny! Period!” Megan finished, before quickly realizing the severity of her words. “Look, Kendall, I didn’t mean-” “Shut up. We’re going home. And you’re never allowed to talk to me again.” Her older brother finished as the car took off. He was visibly angered to the point of being dark red, but he was deeply hurt by what his sister just told him. And it only made him dislike the Chiangs that much more. They even took his sister from his family.