What was I doing? I had lost my fucking mind. Honestly, how had I gotten myself in so deep with that crazy chick?

My head hurt and like the little pansy I was, so did my chest. "Fucking hell…" I released a long sigh and then beat my hand on my steering wheel with a growl a moment later. I didn't even know what happened. One minute we were fine, working on the swing and joking and the next… the next she was sobbing her damn heart out and nothing I could say was right. Not just not right to her, but even I knew the shit coming out of my mouth shouldn't be. I mean, why the fuck did I say I'd ask her sister out? Her sister was attractive, yes, but I had no interest in Shiloh. Shit, the only one I wanted anything to do with was Asabella because I was clearly whipped like that.

And then I went and mentioned the sleeping around? I wanted to be castrated apparently.

Oh, and that crying! Why the hell does a woman you like crying suddenly make you feel like the biggest ass in the world? It's like they can call you every name in the book and you won't bat an eye, but the minute a single tear leaks out and you feel like you deserve to be staked through the heart. Or maybe that was just me, since I am pathetic and all.

My aching head met my wheel sharply, sending out a weak burst from my horn. I wasn't even startled by it, so I just let my head continue to rest there, feeling more and more like a jerk every second. Not that I thought Asabella was innocent in the matter either. She was being a raging crazy bitch with her screaming our business to the neighborhood. Even her mother knew we slept together now… her mother was going to hate me. Which meant her father would too… Not that it mattered since Asabella and I were never going to date. Ever.

But god damn, even after all the shit she put me through - I still wanted to date her. That was where I decided I had lost my mind.

I lifted my head and rubbed my eyes, then scanned the front lawn of Asabella's house. I had to have been sitting out there for a good twenty minutes just lecturing myself and maybe contemplating bursting in there and telling her not to date that prick Alex.

Ok, well, I didn't know he was a prick, but I was not inclined to like a guy who stood between me and the girl I wanted. Which meant I wasn't really inclined to like myself either… I was such a fucking idiot.

I started up my truck, deciding once and for all that it was not a good idea to cling to a crazy girl and it wasn't appealing to look like a stalker sitting outside her house either. I drove off, heading back home to get some rest or maybe find a distraction for a while. Unfortunately, home didn't prove as much of a distraction as I would have liked.

"Yo, Ace! Back from Bella's place so soon? I would have thought you'd figure out some excuse to stay longer." I glared over at Dylan as those got to be the first words I heard coming in the house. "What's your problem?"

"Can we not talk about her? Please?" I sounded tired, even to myself.

"What's the matter, man?" He came over and clapped his hand on my shoulder, guiding me to the couch to chat. I knew the move well. I really didn't want to talk about it, but the minute I was sitting down it was like I couldn't keep it in if I wanted.

"I'm a fucking idiot, that's what the matter is," I groaned.

"What did you do this time? I'm sure she won't hate you forever." He laughed, but at my expression, his laugh subsided and he sank into the chair opposite me. "Will she?"

"I don't think she hates. I mean, she might, but this time it wasn't that." I paused and rubbed my hands over my face, feeling ancient for a twenty three year old. "I went to over to help out, like I told you earlier, and I met her sister and her nephew and everything was ok until Asabella and I were working on the porch swing. I don't know why everything goes wrong all the time. It's just like… I can't say anything correctly around her. I can't just keep my damn mouth shut. Somehow I ended up saying I'd date her sister and then she was yelling at me and then she was crying. Dude, she was just crying!"

"You made Bells cry? What the fuck, Ace?" Dylan looked at me like I was an asshole, but I already knew I was. I didn't need him reminding me, so I turned my gaze away. "And I really cannot believe you said you'd date the sister of the girl you've got the hots for. That's twisted."

"I wasn't serious. She was just pissing me off! She was like 'if you want to date her, just don't tell me' and I was just… I mean, seriously? I hate admitting this because I feel even more pathetic when I do, but I haven't even looked at another girl since I met Asabella. At first it was just because it was fun messing with her, but she really does make me laugh and she's maybe not the most logical person, but she's intelligent. Oh fuck…" I grumbled, but Dylan laughed and I knew immediately what he was thinking before he said it.

"You're totally in love with her! This is hilarious. I thought you just wanted to fuck her, but you really like her." I rolled my eyes at his amusement, finding none of my own. "What happened to no more serious relationships after Jessica crushed your soul? Nah, no. It's cool. You should date again like we all told you at the beginning. So when are you going to just tell Bells and go out with her?"

I groaned long, showing my emo agony to my best friend as I slid down my seat in the couch as if I could melt right off it and out of sight. "Never."

"Macen, come on! I'm pretty sure she likes you too. I think. Maybe. I mean, you guys have been getting along so much better recently! And don't think I don't know you two made out in the bathroom the other day. Yeah… I know everything." He made this strange face that I assumed was supposed to make him seem magical and know-it-all-y, but he really just looked retarded.

"She's going to date Alex."

"What? Alex? Who's… oh, that guy she took the call from at Paddy's? Why would she date him?"

"Because apparently he's perfect and I told her to." I closed my eyes and threw my arm over my face.

"You did what? Why the fuck would you tell her to date another guy, dipshit?" Dylan took his turn to groan and then he plopped down next to me and dragged me back up into a proper sitting position. I should have seen it coming, but I didn't, when he then proceeded to smack the back of my head. "Seriously? I love you, man. You're one of my best friends, but you are the biggest idiot in the world sometimes. This coming from me of all people too…"

"I know! I know… It's just… she cried and screamed everything that happened between us to the whole damn neighborhood. Her mother and sister both know she and I slept together and shit now… and I got so pissed off and then she was crying so at the same time I was feeling like an ass. I took her to the beach to cool off and it hit me on the way there that's she's crazy. She's crazy, Dylan. I don't need to date another psycho chick. So when she started saying I was confusing her, sending mixed signals… I panicked and I told her I was just playing with her. Because I am… was. Am." I threw my hands up, frustrated since I didn't know what tense to use. She was going to date Alex, so it was past tense, right? But if I used past tense it could be interpreted that I am serious now and that couldn't be. "Shit, she even said I acted possessive."

"Uh, well, duh." I looked at him blankly, not understanding his statement. "You did act possessive, man! She went on a date with Alex and you practically flipped. You found out she made out with me – after you ran off to your mommy - and you still got pissed. When we were at Paddy's and you thought I was going to sleep with Asabella, you went ape shit on me! Everyone can see your face and how it tenses whenever she talks about another guy or looks at another guy. It's actually sort of worrying, Ace. I thought you might shank me with a broken bottle at Paddy's the other day and I'm your best friend."

"It's not that bad…" I dropped my gaze to my lap and felt like the biggest loser. Had I really been that bad? Dylan really thought I would hurt him over her? Like, seriously hurt him? "Still, that doesn't prove why she thinks I was possessive. She didn't see that…"

"And I quote 'don't talk to me about other guys or I might make you demonstrate'."

"You were fucking eavesdropping? And I don't think that was a verbatim quote at all…" But it wasn't too far off. "And I just wanted to make her uncomfortable. I didn't do it out of jealousy or anything."

"Really? Why do I not believe that?" Dylan snorted and shook his head.

I stayed quiet for a minute, just thinking over what an idiot I was. How did I get to be so damn possessive of a girl I barely knew? "I don't even know her. I just know bits and pieces from her parents and what I've seen. I couldn't even tell you her favorite movie."

"Since when do you have to know everything about a person to like them? Sometimes there's just chemistry and you learn things as you go. Besides, favorite movie isn't important. Stuff like movies, bands, even colors, change all the time. Do you like her even when she's being a psycho bitch? Do you like her even when she's verbally abusing you?" He raised an eyebrow and took my silence as affirmation. "Then you like her. A lot. God knows why, but you do."

"I wanted to make out with her before she started seeing Alex. I wanted to satisfy this urge to be with her," I blurted out, sighing.

"That's definitely not going to work. You already slept with her once and the desire didn't go away, did it? So it's more than just some physical attraction thing you can satisfy and move on."

"I know, because when we got interrupted by a call from her precious Alex… I wasn't pissed we didn't get to finish making out. I was upset it meant he mattered more to her that she would pick up his call while she was with me." Dylan laughed, but then tried to collect himself. Meanwhile I grabbed my hair and let out a frustrated growl.

"You've got it bad. I mean, while we were talking, I thought it was fairly serious, but this is beyond. You're like… certifiably in love with her, aren't you?"

"I am not in love with her. I cannot be that mentally unstable or that far gone. I just can't." The prospect horrified me.

Dylan pat my shoulder, "Alright, alright. You're not in love. That's good then, right? So let's go get some drinks and pick up some chicks. That's what you need – a new girl. Don't you agree?"

I most certainly did not agree, but I wasn't about to let him know that. Then he would definitely never let go of the idea that I was in love with Asabella. "Yeah, you're right. Let's go."

"Go where?" I looked back to see Nora and Mike in the hallway. I couldn't even look at Nora without thinking of Asabella. I was the most pathetic man to ever live. A disgrace to men everywhere.

"Out drinking so Macen can forget about Bella and get laid!" Dylan grinned and pulled me up to a standing position next to him. I spared Nora a short glance to see her reaction, but I wished I hadn't. Her expression was not a good one. It was not reassuring or encouraging. In fact, it looked like she wholly disapproved of the idea. Yeah, I couldn't blame her for that.

Dylan dragged me to the door, "Let's go! You guys want to come with?"

"No, thanks. We've got plans, but we should go out tomorrow night." Mike shot us down and I had a feeling it was because of Nora's reaction. He was a good guy, thinking of his girlfriend like that.

I was practically yanked the rest of the way to Dylan's car and shoved into the passenger seat. I sunk into the seat after putting on my seatbelt and moped a bit while Dylan drove and berated me for looking so glum. Even if I agreed to go out, it was just so he'd shut up about that L word. It didn't mean I was actually looking forward to going out and flirting and shit.

And somehow we just ended up at Paddy's anyway. "Really? Paddy's? Because I'm definitely going to be able to pick up a girl at the bar where everyone saw me kiss Asabella and then nearly kill you over a misunderstanding the other day."

"Relax. There's bound to be a few girls who didn't see or hear about that." Oh, great. He was joking now. That was actually rarely a good sign when we were about to pick up girls.

I followed him inside reluctantly and sidled my way up to the bar. I really did want the drink though. It was a horrible habit to start and I knew it, but for once, the idea of getting shitfaced and forgetting my own name really sounded like a good idea. I had just gotten my Jaeger bomb in hand and was about to take it when someone tapped on my shoulder, "Macen?"

I turned to see a familiar face. A petite brunette smiled up at me and then pulled me down to kiss my cheek. God, this was going to be a horrible night. What the fuck happened to my luck?

"Hey… Jessica."


A/N: Last update for a while. At least a few days. Check my profile for a deeper explanation. I'm still writing, so no worries about that. It's not much of a cliffhanger, I'm not really good at those, heh, but I tried! I know what must suck the most here is that Macen only gets one chapter every 4 sooo Asa's POV is going to have to try and explain Jessica's presence. Oopsies!