Chapter Two

Seven and a Half Months Later…

"Maria, we've got to talk! We just can't go on like this anymore", Sam said, letting go of my hand, which he was dutifully holding.

I stopped dead on my feet. "What do you mean?" I asked.

"I think you know. I just don't feel what I felt when we first went out. We're drifting apart, Maria, and you know it", he said, sighing.

I stepped closer to him. He took a step back. I frowned.

"Sam", I began. "Please don't".

"Maria, it's over. And I think you know that. We can still be friends, but this relationship is over".

He started to walk away. I ran after him.

"Sam! Sam! Sam!" I shouted.

He turned around. "Yes, Maria", he said, annoyance coated in his voice.

"You have some else, or your with someone else? Haven't you?" I said, not caring about the volume. No one cares about the volume of your words when your world that you thought was so strong, is falling apart.

He looked at the floor, and sighed. "Maria, please don't do this".

"You have, haven't you?" I asked. He didn't answer. "Tell me the truth, Sam!" I yelled. Heads of passing kids turned. Only, I didn't care one bit. I wanted to know.

He sighed. I knew I was right. "Yes, I do", he admitted. "Only I didn't want to say it, because I don't want to hurt you, because you were my first love."

Well, its too late for that. "That's no excuse. You should have been honest", I said.

"I know".

"So, you're saying that you cheated on me?" I asked, wincing in preparation for the answer. I never should have asked, I knew that it probably was too painful.

"No, I could never do that", he said. "Especially to someone who I have been going out with since the first day of school", he reached over to touch my face. I slapped it. He shook his fingers in pain. It was red, right where I've hit them.

"I see", I said.

"We'll always be friends", he said, trying to reassure me. Trying to make the pain less painful. Trying to get me not to hate him. Well, it wasn't working. I wasn't ready to forgive him. I wasn't able to not hate him. At least not yet. He couldn't be just a friend. Not now, anyways. It would hurt too much.

I nodded, biting my lip to avoid tears. "Alright", I said, still trying to avoid the tears that were forming in my eyes. It wasn't working that well.

He must have seen my face, and sensed that there were going to be tears on the way.

"Don't cry", he said, soothingly. "Please don't cry". He sounded like he was talking to a crying baby, while he, the parent, had been up all night, exhausted.

"I'm not all too sure if I can promise you that", I said.

"Try honey, try", he said. He went to hug me one last time. I tried to pull away, but he was a force that was much stronger than I was. Or ever would be. "It will be okay, don't worry".

"I'm not sure if I ever will Sam," I said.

"You'll find someone like I did, Maria", he said. "I'm sorry, but we're just not meant to be".

I nodded, biting my lip, still fighting that urge.

The bell rang, and we looked at each other one last time. Then, we went our separate ways, not to see each other next period, but forever. What we had was now lost at sea, and I was now drowning in a complete and overwhelming depression.

I walked around that day, like a zombie. But everyone let me be, let me feel the pain. Most of them saw that break up. They all pitied me, so that let me be.

Three weeks later, I walked into lunch, a complete zombie. I haven't eaten much since Sam and I broke up. I must have been at least a pound thinner than I was when we first dated. I was pale as a ghost, with dark circles under my eyes from all of the crying. My eyes were bloodshot, my hair tousled, because I had no reason to straighten it. I had no one to look pretty for. I must have looked like I just go out of bed.

My two best friends were gathered in a tight-knit circle around our usual lunch table. It looked like they were whispering, because their lips were moving, and no sound was coming from them.

"Hey guys!" I said. "What's up?"

Shannon, one of my choir friends, turned around. "You talk? That's the first time that I've heard your voice since the breakup."

My other friend, Beth, put her hand on my back. "You finally are ready to talk about it".

"Talk about what?" I asked cluelessly. I was trying to block Sam and his new girlfriend out of my head. I felt numb, but I knew that Sam would never fully escape my mind forever, and I would never be the same person that I was before I met him.

"Denials the first step towards dealing towards this", Beth tried to reassure Shannon. Shannon looked worried.

"But this ain't all too great either. You know shes hurt, and you know that she really needs to deal with it, if she ever wants to move forward again", she said.

"Uhh, hello. I'm right here", I said.

Shannon turned my way. "Maria, we know that Sam hurt you", she began.

"The whole damn school knows Shannon! How would you feel if the guy you thought was your true love went up to you and said that you weren't meant to be. And, the girl that he thinks is meant to be is some beautiful blonde cheerleader. Its like im Jen, and he's Brad Pitt. Everyone's watching me under a microscope. And you know what, it hurts, damn it, it hurts!" I said, deeply breathing.

They stared dumbly at me. Beth got up to give me a hug. For once, I let her.

"Maria, I'm so sorry", Shannon said. She clearly wasn't expecting my outburst.

I sighed. "Don't be, Shannon, it's not your fault. It's mine".

"You guys have been going out for almost a year. I think that you have a right to hurt. But, you have been hurting for almost three weeks. I think it's time for you to move on, or at least take the first step towards moving on", Shannon said. Beth nodded.

"You mean date someone else? I asked. "I don't think I can do that. I am just not ready.''

"No, but we really do miss your smile", Beth said. "Please, try."

I sighed. "I'll try. But I'm not making any promises."

"We're only asking you to try. That's all Maria", Beth said.

"I know. He just hurt me so much", I said.

"I know", Shannon said. "And one day, you'll look back on all of this, and laugh. Because, you're going to fall in love with someone who will never dream of hurting you."

"I don't think that I am ever going to fall in love again. I don't want to get hurt", I said.

"Just wait and see. You'll find the right person", Beth said. "It just takes time".

"Okay", I said, not buying it. Then, I opened up my peanut butter sandwich, and started eating. Food tasted good after not eating for a few days.

The next day, I stumbled into history, a few minutes late, because my teacher wanted to talk to me about me retaking the English test I failed. I took it during that black period, the clear and numb time of my life. I had a feeling that I was going to get a worst grade than the original.

I showed my teacher my pass, I then noticed that everyone was in groups. Everyone, that is, except Paul, who had filled out more of the worksheet than most of the groups.

"We're doing groupwork on Napoelon's empire", he said, handing me a sheet. "Your partner is Paul, because I assigned the groups while you weren't here".

I nodded, and walked slowly towards my target, dreading every second that I had to spend with him. Altough, I didn't personally know him, I still was not too fond of the male species.

He looked up. "May I help you?" he asked. His accent was so, amazing.

I was dumbfounded. "Uhm, Mr. Woods said to uhh work with you", I said. Man, I sounded like an idiot.

"Oh, well in that case, sit down", he said, jestering towards the seat next to him.

I simply obeyed.

"How much have you done?" I asked.

"Oh, I just finished. But you can copy it if you want", he said.

"Oh, no I couldn't do that", I said, scribbling my name on the top of the worksheet.

He pushed it towards me. "It looks like you have bigger problems than doing a history worksheet. Please, I insist."

I smiled. "When you put it that way, how can I refuse?"

He laughed. "Why have you been so depressed? I mean for the last few weeks I noticed that you have been kind of down."

I finished copying the first question. "Ohh, you probably heard about it."

He nodded. "You and Sam Spellman." I winced at the sound of his name. "Oh, I'm sorry. I bet you don't like the sound of his name."

I completed another question. "Oh, I don't mind. It just hurts to hear the sound of his name, you know?"

He nodded again. "But you are a lot better than that cheerleader Jen", he said. I blushed.

"Was that a compliment?" I asked, completing the final question, and placed the paper back on his desk.

"I guess", he said, shrugging. He grabbed our papers and handed them to Mr. Woods.

"Well, thanks", I said when he sat down. "You know for the compliment, and for letting me borrow your paper."

He smiled. I never really seen him smile before. He looked, well kind of cute. Not that I noticed or anything.

"You welcome," he said.

"So, how do you know so much about history and stuff?" I asked, changing the subject before Sam could be brought back into the conversation.

"I don't know. It just fascinates me", he said.

I nodded. "That's cool".

He perked up. "Really? Not many people think that only nerds can enjoy history."

"Well, that's wrong. I think you are a fasicanating person", I said.

It was his turn to blush now. "Was that meant as a compliment?''

I smiled. "Yeah, sure why not?"

He laughed. "Gee, thanks."

"No problem'', I said, smiling. I wasn't expecting him to be this, funny. Or this interesting. To me, he had always seemed like a perfectionist. Now, he seems human.

"So, uhm, you're reading Romeo and Juliet?''he said pointing to the novel in my stack of textbooks. I wondered if he actually cared about it, or he was just trying to make conversation.

"Yeah, for English", I said.

"Oh, we just finished that last week. What part are you on?" he asked.

"The part when Romeo and Juliet get married. We're almost done with Act Two", I said.

"Oh. Your English teacher is a Shakespeare freak, right?" he asked.

I laughed. "How did you know?"

"Most English teachers are. I think it's a job requirement", he said.

I laughed. "It must be."

The bell rang. As I gathered my books, one fell. He picked it up. Surprise, it was Romeo and Juliet.

"Have fun learning about the feuds of the Captulets and the Monatgues", he said.

"Thanks. See you tomorrow", I said.

He didn't answer. He was already out the door.