This is a one-shot featuring Mike and Zoey. Yep, you read that correctly. I know that they aren't the most popular characters out there, for fairly obvious reasons, but all couples deserve a little bit of love now and again, don't they? However, as the title would suggest, this isn't the happiest romance story around. Obviously, MikexZoey is one of the series' strongest canonical relationships, perhaps even more so than BridgettexGeoff.
Posted on: 10th April, 2014
Word count: 2014
Mike stared emptily at the bowl of pale, gray slop sitting on the table in front of him. He'd lost track of how long he'd been on the island, though he was pretty sure that they'd had four—no, five—challenges so far. The days all seemed to blend into one when you awoke to Chris' insipid voice and Chef's sickening cooking every single morning. He sighed. He'd had enough. All he really wanted to do was go home. But he wanted to patch things up with Zoey first. He wanted her to know that he genuinely cared for her, and he wanted to overcome his disorder in the process. At least now that Dawn had been eliminated, there wasn't a risk of anybody revealing his secret. Unless, of course, Cameron broke his promise, but Mike couldn't imagine him ever doing something like that.
"Hey Mike!" a high-pitched voice called out from across the room, interrupting the silence. Mike practically leaped out of his seat, turning his head to glare rancorously at the intruder. His expression softened as he recognized the familiar giant glasses and red sweater of the short figure standing in the doorway of the mess hall.
"Oh, hi Cam," he replied without much enthusiasm, turning back to poke lazily at his breakfast, "what's up?"
Cameron responded with a simple shrug, which Mike was to engrossed in his meal to notice. Cameron gave him a puzzled glance as he walked to the far end of the hall, where Chef had left out several bowls of slop for the campers to eat, as well as a note explaining his absence. Too distracted and tired to bother reading it, the bubble boy simply took a bowl and a spoon and joined Mike at his table, sitting opposite him. He stuck his utensil into his food with great difficulty.
"This stuff is really dense!" he exclaimed as he attempted to remove the spoon from the paste. "I'm actually pretty interested in knowing what it's made of. I can't imagine that it contains any nutrients. Perhaps it's some kind of macromolecular compound, like a polymer?"
Mike neither said anything nor looked up, continuing to stare at his bowl in silence. Cameron looked at him with concern.
"Are you alright?" he questioned, leaving his spoon to rest within the thick mixture. "You don't seem yourself today. Sorry... I guess I shouldn't have said that. Um... Is your disorder acting up again?"
"No, it's not that," Mike sighed, looking up to meet his friend's gaze, "it's what happened the other day. You know, during the challenge."
"You mean with Vito and Anne Maria?" Cameron asked.
"Yup," Mike answered grimly. "Zoey hasn't spoken to me since. She's been avoiding me, and whenever I do get close to her, there's always somebody else around. She always looks disgusted when she sees me. I—I think she hates me."
"I'm not so sure," Cameron said in an effort to comfort his distraught friend. "I bet still likes you, she's just a little upset. I think that you just need to tell her how you really feel... and hopefully not kiss Anne Maria again. You need to prove once and for all that it's Zoey that you care about. Maybe you should just tell her the truth."
"It's not that simple, Cam," Mike muttered as he buried his head in his hands. "Every single time I try to speak to her, my disorder gets in the way, and if I told her the truth about my 'impressions', she'd probably just think I'm some kind of freak and never speak to me again. Ugh... I don't think we'll ever be together."
"Well," Cameron replied thoughtfully, "if I recall correctly, the Toxic Rats are all still in their cabin, and Zoey's with Anne Maria and Jo in the bathroom. If we head there now, we might just be able to meet her. Perhaps it'd help if we both talked to her."
Mike took a few moments to consider the proposition. If he and Cameron could get Zoey alone, then they might just be able to get her to listen to them. Anne Maria's presence would make make things a million times trickier, but as long as Vito didn't show up, things would probably go relatively smoothly. Cameron could probably somehow get him to revert back to his usual personality if things got out of hand anyway.
"I guess it's worth a shot," he concluded. "Let's go."
The two boys swiftly rose to their feet, leaving their cold bowls of gruel for the next unfortunate pair of hungry campers. As they left the hall, Mike shielded his eyes from the sun. The light instilled a new passion within him, and he smiled. He was going to talk to Zoey, he wasn't going to let his disorder get in the way, and he was going to set things right.
"Hello! Anybody in there?"
Mike pounded on the bathroom door for the umpteenth time. Deep down, he knew that he wasn't going to get any sort of response. He sighed and leaned against the wall, slumping to the floor in defeat.
"Um... Maybe we should just go back to the cabin and wait for them?" Cameron recommended, standing over him, "I'm not sure that they're going to be out anytime soon."
As if on cue, the bathroom door slammed open to reveal a gray, shapeless figure with short, blonde hair.
"Next time, try not to use so much hairspray!" Jo yelled over her shoulder as marched out of the building, holding a can of the said substance in her hand. She practically crushed it before throwing it over Mike's head and into the undergrowth. "Move it, maggot!" she shouted in annoyance as she batted Cameron out of her way like an insect, storming towards the cabins.
Immediately afterwards, Anne Maria hurried out of the doorway, enraged. "Hey, blondie! Where d'ya think you're goin'? Don't walk away from me! What'd ya do with my hairspray? Oh, it is on! You betta watch—oh, hi Vito!"
She winked suggestively at Mike, before running towards the cabins in pursuit of Jo. Mike watched her as she disappeared into the distance. How any guy could possibly like her was beyond him. She wasn't that attractive, and she certainly wasn't sweet like Zoey was. He'd considered telling her that he just wasn't into her, but he had a feeling that she wouldn't be so understanding, and Zoey would probably get the wrong impression if she saw him talking to her. He smiled and looked on in amusement as she scrambled around within some bushes beside the cabins like a wild animal, searching manically for her hairspray.
"Watching her pretty closely aren't you Vito?"
Mike stiffened as the all too familiar voice cut into him. He turned his head and looked up to meet the gaze of the girl he loved. She looked down at him with a passionate blend of fury and grief, her eyes glimmering as they formed the beginnings of tears. He was lost for words. He was too distracted by her distinctive red hair with its striking pink flower, her kind, pretty face with its radiant beauty, and, worst of all, her dark brown eyes, which encapsulated him entirely. They stayed there for a few moments, frozen and oblivious to the world around them. Cameron stood by and observed the whole scene in silent awe and anxiety.
"Well, I'm glad you find her so nice," Zoey said suddenly, her voice filled with bitter anguish. "You two have fun together. Promise me you won't go for Jo next. I guess it's good that Dawn and Dakota got out early, huh?"
She stormed towards the cabins, her head held high in an attempt to sustain her composure. It was all she could do to stop herself from bursting into tears. Mike wanted to stand up, run to her, speak to her, tell her the truth. But he couldn't do it. He was afraid that she'd reject him. All he could do was sit there, watching her walk away.
"Zoey, wait!" Cameron cried in panic, making the hasty decision to take charge of the situation. "You don't understand!"
The indie chick stopped and turned her head slowly, looking at the bubble boy in confusion. "What do you mean? You aren't seriously siding with him, are you Cam?"
"Please, just listen," Cameron begged. "Mike doesn't like Anne Maria, honestly! He's really in love with you! I know things have been rough, but it's true! Tell her Mike, tell her!"
Zoey was taken aback by the sincerity of Cameron's plea. She turned to look expectantly at Mike, who was still sitting with his back to the wall of the building. He looked back at her, his eyes meeting hers. He looked genuinely upset, a sight that sent a sharp pain through her heart.
"W—Well?" she stammered, now turning to face him directly. He stayed silent for a few moments, before opening his mouth slowly.
"Zoey, I... I..." he said, his voice trembling, "I lo—"
"It's challenge time!" Chris' voice barked over the intercom. "Campers, meet me on the other side of the island!"
"C'mon Vito baby!" Anne Maria's voice called from over by the cabins. "You 'n' I've gotta challenge to win! Leave those two losas behind and—hey, blondie, get back here!"
Jo jogged away from the camp towards the site of the challenge, with Anne Maria promptly giving chase. The jockette was easily able to outpace the jersey girl. Zoey gave Mike one last fiery glance before running after them, ignoring Cameron's cries of desperation.
Mike and Cameron were the last to arrive at the auditorium. Chris had already begun explaining the challenge, though neither of them paid him much attention. After some hesitation, Mike decided to sit next to Zoey. She refused to acknowledge him, and stared intently ahead at Chris. Mike followed her gaze and joined her in watching the host in silence for a few moments.
"I overheard what the other girls were saying earlier, you know," he said abruptly, not daring to make eye contact with her, "I, um, just wanted you to know that I really like your hair."
"Let me guess," Zoey replied sourly, not turning to look at him, "and your 'character' Vito likes Anne Maria's hair?"
"No!" he objected. "Vito isn't a character, he's—"
"You know what Mike," she snapped, "just stop. I'm tired of this. I thought that you were a nice guy, but you're either into me, or you're into her. Pick a side already or just leave me alone you jerk!"
Mike flinched at her last couple of words. She froze as she realized what she'd just said, as well as how loudly she'd said it. A dozen pairs of eyes were now staring at her, judging her. She went red and began to tremble. Her heart began to race and her palms went sweaty. Tears began to fight for their freedom once more as her anger gave way to sorrow. She buried her face in her hands and went quiet.
"What the heck did you just say to my boyfriend?" she heard Anne Maria hiss from behind her.
That was it. Without a word, Zoey stood up and walked away. She had no idea where she was going, but she wanted nothing more than to just leave the camp behind forever. She heard several different voices shouting at her as she left, but they sounded empty and distant. Mike didn't really love her. He probably didn't even love Anne Maria either. He was just like all the other guys back home. He'd charmed his way to her heart, then smashed it before her very eyes. Images of his kisses with Anne Maria flashed through her mind. He'd just been toying with her. He'd been toying with both of them, but Anne Maria was too blind to see it. He didn't really care about either of them at all. He'd used them.
And Zoey would never forgive him for it.