Early in the fall semester, Angela came back to the dorm room to find Stephanie eating a celery stick and sitting in the armchair which had been turned to face the door. "Where have you been? Iíve been waiting forever."

Angela suddenly had the urge to close the door and run the other way. "Ummm...what do you mean? Iím pretty sure we didnít have plans to do something together." She dropped her bag on the floor and tensed her legs, making it clear she was ready to do a Ralph Macchio Whooping Crane kick to Stephanieís head if the need arose.

Stephanie flinched and then overcompensated her attempt to look comfortable by casually crossing her legs and letting her spine droop along the back of the chair. "Do you really think you scare me? Please. Itís time we made up. I think we could be good for each other, given the chance." She blinked a little too often to be thoroughly convincing, but she was standing her ground - or sitting her chair at least.

Angela shrugged and found the other chair, grabbing her backpack and pulling out a prize Michaelangelo biography she had snagged at the library book sale. "Sorry we canít bond right now, but I have a date with chapter eight." She opened the tome and found herself acutely aware that Stephanie was still watching her, and still drawing from her Tub of Endless Celery Sticks. Crunch. Crunch. "Donít you need to put some peanut butter on those things or something to give them a bit of flavor?"

"What, and throw all the nutritional value out the window?" Stephanie tried to fasten herself around the potential conversation with both hands, certain that this was a breakthrough in the progress of their relationship. "You may look good now, but with the food Iíve seen you eat, youíre going to be in pretty bad shape in a few years. Donít you care about your health?"

Angela smiled despite herself. "As far as I can tell, my diet has done me nothing but good. You should have seen what I looked like before. In my mind I canít afford to skimp in the cupcakes and french fries department. In fact, Iím thinking of increasing my intake of crap to make sure I donít slide back into my former self. Come on, letís go split a nacho supreme and let bygones be bygones. Iíll even buy you a chocolate milkshake if you promise never to mention my health again."

Stephanie looked like she had been hit by the Whataburger truck. "I donít understand you. Donít you know that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind? You seem to care about learning things. You canít fool me into thinking youíre not intellectual. Donít you understand that your brain is alive and that it needs nourishment that is not deep-fried in fat or rolled in powdered sugar?"

With a flourish of her hand, Angela took on a regal tone. "You are quite passionate, Ms. Bowers. But you do not persuade. You are a one-note symphony, and frankly my dear I have already heard too many notes. Now begone and leave me to my Michel Ange, a healthy man if I ever saw one." After that (and a purely unintentional snort), Angela propped back open her book to page random and ever so slightly watched Stephanie to see what she would do next.

Stephanie took a deep breath and started again. "I have a confession to make." Angelaís ears pricked up in not-so-mock interest. Was this going to be good? Was this goody-goody finally going to get off her high horse? The words suddenly flew out of Stephanieís mouth into unbelieving ears: "I signed us up for the tennis tournament, and theyíve already scheduled us in a match against Julie Sparker and Beth Yonks. Itís in a week."

"What? What do you mean?" Angela almost fell out of her chair. "Are you completely insane? What ever happened to mutual consent in team sports? Are you trying to unilaterally reinstitute slavery with me as the first victim?" That being said, Angela regained her composure. "Whatever made you think I would want to be your tennis partner? I thought I made it clear to you that I donít want to do anything with you -- no offense -- much less sweat with you in public and in front of two other girls who are kicking our ass because Iíve never played a serious game of tennis in my life."

A bead of sweat broke out on Stephanieís forehead. Her sweat probably had the flavor of celery juice, thought Angela, pitying any poor fool in the unfortunate (and, admittedly, unlikely) circumstance of having to taste Stephanie Bowerís sweat. Stephanie spoke, her last gasp: "I just thought you should get outdoors a little. I know you spend all your time in the library when youíre not here. I think you would be good at sports if you gave it a try." In an attempt to boost her courage she had been focusing her attention on a hole in the wall, but glanced over at Angela briefly before finishing. "It doesnít have to be a competitive thing. We could do it just for fun, you know, to meet other people. To maybe get to know each other a little better?" Exhausted with this final plea she hung her head and stuffed the final celery stick into her mouth. It seemed to Angela that with every crunch Stephanie curled deeper into some kind of virtual dwarf star as she sat there, packing herself more and more tightly, as though at any moment she could explode into a black hole that would suck Angela into the void.

"OK, you win." It was purely out of self-defense that she said these words to the cowering, self-effacing girl in the chair before her. Angela had never been so afraid in her whole life.