Preface

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"It was a cruel trick of nature that he could have any other girl on the planet, but whenever she looked up at him with those large sparkling eyes, he forgot how to even breathe. Jason Griffin and Kelsea Thompson have always hated each other...or so they thought.

When Valentine's Day rolls around, all the love in the air might finally make them reconsider their feelings for each other.

Can their hatred finally become something...more?"

"Hi class, this is Kelsea Thompson, our new student who just moved from Arizona! Say hi to her, everyone!" The warm, old Mrs. Hartwood introduced the timid looking girl cowering behind her.

Looking at her, Jason snorted. What a weakling. And ugly too! She was wearing hideous overalls, splattered with paint, and chunky glasses. Her one redeeming quality was the two thick, shiny braids hanging down from the sides of her head. It looked so soft, yet glossy, like he could almost see himself in them.

He felt a mixture of relief and disgust when the teacher placed her in the empty seat in front of his. He could now study that luscious red hair, but what a pity it was accompanied by such a hideous face.

He grimaced and she squeaked before sliding into her seat, never making eye contact with anyone.

The class resumed as usual for the next ten minutes, until Jason became bored and looked around the room to find something to entertain him.

His solution sat right in front of him. Those twin plaits that hung down her back hypnotized him with their silky sheen. He leaned right in. Just to touch. She wouldn't even notice a tiny tug.

However, he might have underestimated his strength and self-control, because when he grabbed ahold of one smooth braid, he yanked downwards and marveled at the softness.

Her head jerked backwards until it hit his desk. She glared at him, shocked, though her eyes were rapidly swelling up with tears.

His brother, usually the introverted one, surprised everyone when he leaned in from his desk across from hers and said, "Hi, I'm Matt. Your hair is really pretty. Do you want to be friends?"

9 years later

The hallways were decorated with colorful streamers. Students everywhere were decked out in red, white and pink. The couples in the hallways were busy sticking their tongues down each other's throat. Love was in the air, but the only thing Jason Griffin felt was bitterness.

He stormed down the hall, angrily shoving any lower classmen who blocked his way.

"Wassup, Ja—

"Happy Valentine's D—"

"Will you be my Valen—"

Instead of stopping to chat with his fellow classmates like he usually did, he ignored all their greetings and confessions of love. He had only one destination on his mind, and nothing was going to prevent him from succeeding. His thoughts were consumed by only one person, and he scanned the crowds furiously, trying to spot her.

Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a flash of color. There! Her back was facing him, talking to someone, but he would have been able to spot that fiery red hair anywhere.

"YOU!" he roared, marching towards her with his finger pointed accusingly at her.

He was close enough to see her companion. The other girl made eye contact with him, and casually remarked to Jason's target,

"Y'know what, Kelsea? I just remembered I left my binder in my Econ classroom. See you later!" She smirked and turned around.

"Lina, I swear to God if you leave me now—" Kelsea threatened. But she was only talking to thin air, because Lina had already sauntered off in the opposite direction. It was too late to hide, so the only viable option was to face the enemy.

She turned around leisurely, as if she had all the time in the world, knowing that her casualness would piss him off the most.

"Yes?" she asked calmly, raising her eyebrow. However, he did not miss the flash of anger that crossed her face before it settled into her current, unmovable mask.

Seeing her cool indifference riled him up, as he knew she intended, so he counted to ten before continuing. The bell had just rang, so the corridors were rapidly emptying as all the students hurried to get to their next class. Soon, they were the only two people in the hall.

When he responded, his tone was softer, but there was still no mistaking the fury and irritation in his voice.

"I heard my brother asked you to the Valentine's Day Dance tonight. And that you said yes," He stated brusquely.

"So what if I did? You hate me anyways, so why do you even care? Is wittle Jason sad that he's all alone on Valentine's Day because nobody loves him?" Her acerbic reply took him by surprise, but he refused to let it bother him. Much.

"No," he sneered, "I just want to know why my brother would want to hang out with a loser like you. He's my family, and I need to make sure he's not hanging out with the wrong people."

"Don't worry, I think Matt can decide for himself who the 'right people' are," She retorted.

She spun around, clearly finished with the conversation. Frustrated, he reached out and grabbed her arm. He didn't notice it, but a small smile had crept up her face.

When she turned back though, her face was impassive.

"Yes?" She asked, raising one eyebrow as if daring him to say something. All the words dried up in his mouth when he saw her, short yet imposing, glaring at him.

Without warning, she stepped closer to him. Chest to chest, toe to toe, space was nonexistent between them.

He drew in a sharp intake of breath. All at once, he noticed they were alone in the hallways. He took a step back until his back touched the lockers. Everything around him suddenly sharpened, and he tried to glance everywhere but at the beautiful girl pressed up to him, gazing up at him with wide eyes the color of emeralds that would have seemed innocent had he not known her so well.

No no no no no, Kelsea! He screamed internally. What are you doing? This is not how it's supposed to happen. He knew he was panicking, but for once, the suave king of the school had no clue how to handle a girl.

She lowered her voice seductively, "Is this really about me and Matt? Or is it about me and you?"

His throat was dry, but he managed to croak out a response.

"W-w-what do you mean?" he stammered.

She batted her eyelashes and placed her hand on his chest, right where she could feel the erratic pounding of his heart. She stretched until she was on the tips of her toes, leaned in even further, and whispered into his ear,

"I'm saying, I don't think you hate me as much as you claim you do."

His breathing was embarrassingly loud, but he couldn't seem to care, couldn't seem to focus, especially not with her so tantalizingly close to him. He just had to turn his head a little more…

Her warm breath felt like a gentle caress against his skin, and he shivered with pleasure when her lips briefly brushed over the patch of skin under his ear. The contact seemed to flip something on inside of him, and quick as lightning, he grabbed her and rotated their positions so that she was the one pressed against the lockers. Her eyes widened in shock, and he smirked at having the upper hand. His hand reached up to her hair, wanting to free it from that damn ponytail that she wore all the time.

He lowered his head until their lips were so close that they were breathing the same air.

Hoarsely, he whispered, "What makes you think that?"

Just as his lips were a millimeter away from hers, loud music burst from her phone.

She sprung away from him, her cheeks quickly taking on a bright crimson color. He felt the absence of her warmth and craved to have her be near him again. However, glancing down at the name on the phone, his mood darkened considerably.

"Hey, Matt," She said, sounding much more composed than what Jason felt. He was stewing in a bubbly cesspool of misery, confusion, and increasing resentment.

He waited for the sound of her boots to fade until he turned around and released all his rage in one punch to the locker behind him.

He wasn't sure which hurt more- his knuckles or his heart.

She waited until he was out of earshot before lowering her voice and answering, "I think it worked." She tried to sound casual, and hoped fervently that Matt couldn't tell how much her encounter with his brother had affected her.

His cry of triumph was loud enough to pass through her speaker and echo down the hall. Thankfully she was in another section of the school. Otherwise, their plan might have failed.

When she put the phone back to her ear, Matt was still celebrating gleefully.

"I was right, I was right, I knew it, I knew it! Admit it!" He sang.

Kelsea rolled her eyes.

"Okay, okay, you are the Wise One, the Oracle, the answer to all my prayers," She replied, rolling her eyes but also grinning at her best friend's antics.

"You know it! And I know you enjoyed it," He said slyfully.

"Whatever. Now, what's step two?"

The bleachers were full of cheering fans. It seemed like the whole school had come out to watch the football team's last game of the season. Most of the viewers were sign-toting teenage girls, carrying boards that had, "I 3 you, Jason!" "Marry me!" "Go Jason!", scrawled on them, accompanied by various hearts and glitter designs.

On the field, the players were taking a break during halftime. Jason glanced up in the stands and noticed all the signs, as usual of course. He threw all the girls a charming smirk, and his grin widened when he saw more than one girl swoon. At the same time, his eyes were scanning the chairs, trying to spot one girl in particular...

He felt a body press against his side. Trying not to look exasperated, he gritted, "What do you want, Nicole?" to the skinny blond.

She pouted, and though she evidently thought it was attractive, Jason had always secretly though she just looked like a pig with her lips pushed out like that.

"Come on, babe," She purred, "What do you say you come over after the game? Johnston's having a party and I know you want to go. Why not go with me, and we can have a little fun later." She winked, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind what "fun" was.

He grimaced, trying to detach her body from his.

"I told you, we're over. I don't want to get back with you."

Upon hearing his words, her face contorted into a nasty expression and she scoffed derisively.

"Is this about that ugly chick Chelsea, or Leslie or something? Because it's so obvious you like her, but guess what? Look up there." She pointed to the bleachers, where Jason could finally spot Kelsea sitting.

For a moment, the world stopped and came crashing down, crushing him. He wanted to scratch out his own eyes to stop the pain.

He couldn't seem to tear his gaze away from the two figures sitting to close together, sucking each other's faces off. The longer he stared, the more it hurt, but he just couldn't stop. Kelsea and Matt. Kissing. It felt like he was being punched in the stomach, in the throat, and he couldn't focus on anyone but them.

He was not generally a violent person, but seeing them, he wanted to haul his own brother off Kelsea and beat him to a bloody pulp.

Deep within the recesses of his mind, he registered Nicole's triumphant words:

"She doesn't want you."

"Ugh, all these girls are pathetic," Kelsea said exasperatedly, picking her way through the crowd to her seat as yet another one of Jason's fan girls screamed into her ear as they were cheering for the love of their lives.

Matt grinned at his best friend's grouchiness.

"Lighten up, Kels," He teased, "You should thank them because if you want to confess your undying love for him, he wouldn't really be able to hear among the hundreds of others."

She glared at him. "You're not funny."

"Oh, but I am. I am just freaking hilarious." He grinned. Seeing her unresponsive state, he decided to change tactics and cry, "No, don't ignore me, my love! Whatever will I do without my best friend?" He then proceeded to tackle her in an enormous hug.

Her cheeks reddened but she was still laughing nonetheless.

"Get off me, fatty. People are staring." She said, trying to sound angry but failing miserably.

He released her and his grin could have powered an entire city, it was so bright.

They watched the game for another twenty minutes, when without warning, Matt pulled her onto his lap.

"What are you—" Her response was muffled by his lips on hers.

Her eyes widened considerably. She continued to struggle until she heard him say, "Stop moving. Jason's looking at us."

She only struggled harder.

He pulled back a little bit, to whisper, "Look quickly if you have to, but he's talking to Nicole Peterson."

Kelsea casually stretched her neck over to view the star quarterback of her school. He wasn't that hard to spot, his sandy blond hair and athlete's physique making him automatically the center of attention. She winced when she saw Nicole rubbing her body up against Jason's, and turned towards Matt.

She kissed him back with renewed vigor, and he responded. It wasn't bad, kissing Matt, but there was really only one person she wanted to be with, and he was flirting with the hottest girl in school on the field.

After two minutes, they finally pulled away, and Kelsea exhaled in relief. He glared at her.

"I am NOT a bad kisser, Kelsea Thompson."

She giggled at his mock-anger. The corners of his mouth were quirking up too, and they both dissolved into giggles.

Soon, they composed themselves and turned forward to watch the game again.

Damn her infuriatingly sparkling eyes and her brilliant smile.

Damn her unnaturally fiery red hair ponytail that he could always pick out in a crowd.

Damn her always sloppy appearance, as if she just couldn't bother to give a shit of what other thought of her.

Damn her bright personality that always seemed light up any room she was in.

Damn her infectious laugh that made him feel like nothing could be wrong with the world.

Damn her for making him care.

Damn her for making him fall in love with her.

Damn her for falling in love with his own brother.

Damn her for kissing said brother up on the bleachers while he was trying to play, distracting him, making him play worse than he ever had in all the years he had played football.

"Griffin! You're off, Miller's on!"

"What? Coach, you've never benched me! You gotta let me play! I'm the quarterback!"

"Can't help it, Griffin. Your game is just off today, and until you get refocused, you're out."

Angrily, Jason plopped down on the bench. He glared up at Kelsea, who was sitting in the bleachers, acting all cute-sy and disgusting with Matt.

Silently, he cursed her. It's all your fault I'm here, Kelsea. Could you please stop being so selfish and stop that gross cuddling? It's really annoying and making my play bad.

He knew he was being irrational, but he hoped that his negative thoughts would reach her telepathically.

It didn't work. They were still smiling at each other, barely even watching the game.

Then they leaned down for another kiss, and he clenched his fists.

It took all his self-restraint to not drag Matt off of her and punch him.

Ok, deep breaths. She's just a girl, and this is your last game of the season. Stop thinking about her. Focus, Jason, focus!

He ignored the part that desperately tried to tell him to fight for the girl, and concentrated all his attention on the game.

By the end of the third quarter, Jason had shoved all thoughts of Kelsea out of his mind and was ready to go back in.

He played his best, and they ended up winning, 38-51. But even as he was hoisted into the air, he couldn't help but feel a hollow pang deep within when he glanced towards a particular couple sitting in the bleachers.

3 hours later…

"Quick, pass me the lip gloss!" "Help me curl my hair?" ""Does anyone have an extra mascara?" "Who knows how to do a perfect winged eyeliner?" "Someone zip me up!"

A chorus of frantic voices belonging to the group of girls rang out in Kelsea's room. Everyone was trying to get ready for the Valentine's Day Formal, and the bedroom looked like Barbie went on a rampage.

Red, white, and pink dresses, skirts, and makeup palettes were littered everywhere.

Their dates were due in 15 minutes, and those precious minutes had sent everyone in the room into a craze. Limbs were dashing out, desperately grabbing the last makeup brush, putting on the final touches. Earring were slid on, perfume sprayed everywhere.

All in all, it was hectic.

Kelsea was in the middle of the mess. She had to look her best because tonight would be the final step to her and Matt's brilliant scheme.

Stepping back, she admired her reflection. Her dress, simple as it was, fit her perfectly. Although it didn't go with the theme, her green dress brought out her eyes, making them look brighter than usual. Her sharp features were accentuated with makeup, and highlighted with the silvery accessories she was wearing. For once, her hair was loose and pinned to the side, flowing down to her waist like a luxurious, red waterfall. She had to admit, she looked good, and she couldn't wait for Jason to see her.

As she waited, she reflected on how much had changed since they first met each other.

She remembered how handsome Jason had looked even back when they first met. But his deep scowl intimidated her. Then, he tried to kill her by yanking on her hair! She had been strong and not cried, but it hurt a lot. Then, like the sunshine after a storm, she had made her first friend. Matt was nice, sweet, adorable and so fun to be around. There was that little problem that his twin was Jason, but she tried to stay positive. That just meant there were more opportunities for revenge!

Kelsea smiled at her devious antics. Oh, how smart she was, even when she was little!

The sixth grade camping trip. What a nightmare! Living in close proximity with her sworn enemy? All the things that could go wrong. Yet, shockingly, besides their usual bickering, Jason had ignored her and it was a blissful three days. On the last night, there was a campfire. She was miserable as she stared at her fourth marshmallow, burned, again, to a crisp. Did marshmallows hate her? Everyone around her seemed fine, and those s'mores they were munching on seemed delicious. She wished Matt was with her, but he had gotten sick, and couldn't go. Suddenly, she sensed a presence near her. Imagine her surprise when she saw none other than Jason Griffin.

"What do you want?" She snapped, trying to sound tough. It probably didn't have the effect that she wanted though, considering the fact that her barely repressed sobs had escaped into her voice. She sniffled and turned away.

"Here," He said, unusually kind. He was holding out a perfectly toasted, golden marshmallow. It was the kind of marshmallow that other marshmallows jealously looked up to, and he was giving it to her?

Naturally, she looked at it in suspicion and asked, "What did you do to it?"

He looked at her innocently. "Nothing!"

She continued to look at him dubiously.

"Then why are you giving it to me?"

The tips of his ears reddened, and he glared at her. "Fine! Don't take it! I just thought you would want one!"

Her eyes widened. "No! Don't!" She grabbed it. "Th-thank you," she stuttered.

"Don't mention it," he muttered.

As she sat there, munching on the gooey sweetness of the sticky treat, she started to realize that maybe Jason Griffin wasn't completely the Satan in disguise she thought he was.

The ring of the doorbell shook her from her memories. Their dates were here!

She hurriedly slipped on her shoes, gave herself one more glance in the mirror, and went to greet Matt.

When he was talking to someone else when she same down, so she did the only natural thing: take advantage of his unawareness and scare him.

"BOO!" She yelled, making him jump five feet in the air.

"JESUS, KELSEA! You scared the shit out of me!" He said, clutching his heart, "My life is 15 years shorter now."

Then, he seemed to notice her appearance, and he immediately shut up.

His mouth dropped open and he could only stare for a few seconds before regaining control of his body.

"You look gorgeous," He said softly, smiling at her.

She grinned bashfully.

"Thanks," she answered, pleased with herself. "Do you think Jason'll like it? Because if our plan doesn't work out tonight, I don't think we'll ever get another chance," she asked anxiously.

At the mention of his brother, Matt stiffened and something in the atmosphere shifted. Kelsea didn't know what it was, but she brushed it off and walked gracefully to the door.

"Well?" She called out to him, "You coming?"

"Bridgetown's 20th Annual Barbecue!" The huge banner hanging down from the entrance of the park welcomed all the citizens to the big event.

The midday sun was blazing and the park was filled with worried mother yelling after their children to put on sunscreen, children ignoring the frantic calls of their mothers, groups of fathers flipping burgers and hot dogs on the barbecues, and groups of teenagers hanging out in the shade, occasionally tossing a Frisbee or a football between them.

In the shade of a large oak tree, a beautiful girl with fiery hair sat, observing her surroundings with a slight smile on her face. In her lap was her precious sketchbook, where she was trying to capture the friendliness and general happiness that was in the air.

In fact, she was so focused that she didn't notice anyone had joined her until a hand had appeared out of nowhere and plucked her sketchbook right out of her lap.

Startled, she looked up. Then promptly narrowed her eyes at the abomination standing in front of her.

"Give. It. Back." She gritted, clenching her fists.

"Hey, no need to get so angry, Kels." Jason chuckled, tossing her sketchbook carelessly in the air. She tried to look unaffected, but he could see the way her eyes nervously followed its movement.

"What do you want, Satan's child?" She sighed, knowing that it was futile to try to get her book back while he was alert and standing up. Inwardly, she cursed her genes for making her a midget compared to his six foot tall frame.

He shrugged, ignoring her question. "What are you doing, sitting here all alone? No friends? You know, just because my brother went away to camp doesn't mean you have to wait here like a pathetic dog, waiting for him to come back."

Stung, she turned away so that he couldn't see how deeply his words affected her. Besides Matt, she only had a couple of other friends, most of whom she wasn't that close with. Her other best friend Lina was also away, on vacation, so she had been forced by her parents to come, all alone, to the annual barbeque.

"Then why are you even here? Just give me back my sketchbook, and then you can go back to whoring yourself out, and I can sit here and wallow in my misery by myself. Alone." She emphasized her last word to try to give him even more encouragement to leave, if he hadn't understood her message yet.

"Nah, I think I'm gonna sit here and annoy you. It's much more fun anyways."

She glared at him once more, but said nothing else. When she looked back, she chalked it up to loneliness that she let him stay there, and it was definitely loneliness that made her ask, "Hey, why did you break up with Nicole? Not that I care or anything, but isn't she the epitome of your perfect girl?"

He turned to face her and grinned slyly. "You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you were jealous."

Rolling her eyes, she shoved him in the arm. "Fine, don't tell me. I don't care anyway."

After a period of silence, he spoke up. "She's not my perfect girl. Someone else is."

Despite the hot day, the look that he sent her sent shivers racing down her spine.

Cars were pulling up to the school and the dance was starting to get into full swing when they arrived. Matt got out of the car first, and walking over to the passenger side, opened the door for his "date" to get out.

"M'lady," he joked, dipping his head in a bow.

"Thank you, kind sir," she responded, with a slight smile on her face that did little to hide her nerves.

They walked in, her hand in the crook of his arm.

"Wow, the Dance Committee did a pretty good job. These decorations look so pretty!" she said, trying to make conversation as her eyes casually swept across the room.

But he found her first. She felt someone's eyes on her and she turned around, already knowing in her gut that it was him.

When she turned around, he couldn't breathe. In his eyes, she'd always been beautiful, but tonight, she was dazzlingly perfect. Then, he dropped his gaze to her arm, and his heart plummeted. What else did he expect? After all these years, of course his stupid brother would notice her. Why wouldn't he, when she was standing there, smiling and looking more gorgeous than any other girl he had ever seen?

She saw him and smiled. Ha! She cheered in her head. He had definitely noticed her outfit.

Guess those hours of preparing weren't wasted, she mused. Then, something changed. His eyes darted down, and when they met hers again, they were hard. She felt a chill run down her back at the latent anger she saw in those orbs.

She turned around, briefly excused herself to Matt, and then tried to run after Jason.

Unfortunately for Kelsea, the music had started, and all the couples twirling around made it impossible to see him. She groaned, frustrated and sat down to wait for the song to be over. When it finally ended, she found his blond head amongst the sea of students.

Marching over, she positioned herself in front of him.

"What do you want, you annoying leech?" he growled.

Stung, she stepped back.

"Um, babe? Who's this?" A nasally voice asked. Kelsea glanced over and saw a pouty blond bombshell handing off his arm.

Suddenly feeling tired and defeated, Kelsea slumped and turned around to leave.

"Never mind."

Irrationally angry, Jason called out, "What? You're just gonna leave? After coming all the way over here? Please, stay, grace us with your presence, Your Majesty." His biting tone cut her to the core, and to her utter humiliation, tears started to well up in her eyes. Without dignifying him with a response, she rushed out the doors.

Watching her reaction, he felt immediately guilty.

Shit! Jason, you asshole! What are you doing? Go after her, you pussy!

Without an explanation, he ran out to chase down the girl that he had hated, and then loved, for the past 9 years. He saw a flash of green turning the corner, and sprinted down to catch up with her.

She heard his pounding footsteps and tried to increase her pace. Her shoes made her legs look sexy as hell but they were death machine traps that restricted most of her movement. Finally, he overcame her and grabbed her arm, forcing her to face him.

"Why are you here, Jason?" she asked softly.

He said nothing, but simply lifted her chin, and looked at her intensely, scanning her eyes for something, anything, that would give him a clue to her true feelings.

She was starting to feel uncomfortable with the way he was regarding her, as if he was knocking down all her barriers. "Seriously, wha—"

Her inquiry was cut short by his lips, swooping down and capturing hers in a searing kiss. She hesitated at first, but responded quickly, matching him with passion.

When they pulled away, they both were a little breathless. She tried to step away, but his arms were around her waist, and he didn't seem like he intended to loosen them any time soon.

She looked into his eyes with a mixture of confusion and hope.

"Why did you just do that?" she asked.

He grinned. "I've wanted to do that since ninth grade, you doofus."

"What? Why are you being all mushy and gushy right now? Two seconds ago you were Mr. Don't-Talk-to-me-I'm-Super-Moody and now you're all, 'I've liked you since ninth grade?' Seriously, what's going on? What did that kiss mean? Are you just toying with my emotions?"

"Kelsea, ever since that first day I saw you, I knew I liked you. But as I was about to introduce myself to you, I saw you look at Matt, and I knew it was over. And when you walked in today, looking like that, everything stopped for me. You're so perfect, and you have this total control over me, but you don't even fricken' realize it! Then, you had to go and be all cuddly with Matt which made me think that there really was no possible way you returned my feelings, when you once again completely changed my mind by coming over to me. You looked so hopeful, but by now, it was ingrained in me to want to hurt you and make you feel like what I felt, so I said the things I did. When I saw how much you were hurt by it, I realized that maybe you did care about what I thought, after all. Now, here I am, rambling on and on like a fool but I don't care because I have to tell you that I love you, Kelsea Ann Thompson, and I really hope you feel the same way." He took a deep breath and looked her straight in the eye, looking for her reaction.

"I'm not just saying that. I really do love you, Kels," he whispered hoarsely.

She rushed forward and threw her arms around his neck, barely able to contain her happiness.

"I love you too, you doof. And I have for a very long time."

Just as they were about to kiss again, he abruptly pulled away with a frown etched on his perfect features.

"What about my brother? What about all you guys were dating. I saw you kissing. What was that?" he asked with more than a tinge of jealousy.

She threw her head back a laughed, a light, melodious sound.

"It's nothing. Matt and I are just close friends." With that, she leaned in, but he drew back once more.

He tugged gently on one of her curls, marveling at its smoothness. It was just as soft as he remembered it was, all those years ago.

"Be my girlfriend," he whispered.

Smiling, she tossed her head back and pecked his lips.

"Only if you be my boyfriend."

From the deep recesses of the hall, somebody watched the blissful new couple, hugging and kissing and completely absorbed in their own bubble.

Matt's lips twisted in a cruel smile. "What, did you really think you were gonna get the girl?" he said sardonically to himself. Watching them made him feel like a knife was being stabbed in his stomach, but he also couldn't pull himself away.

"You're just hurting yourself, moron," he muttered miserably. Finally, he forced himself to drag his eyes away from the girl he loved and his brother, and turned to go back home.

In his haste, he didn't see where he was going, and he bumped into a person. A very small person, his mind registered before hurrying on.

"Hey!" The person yelled after him. "Aren't you going to apologize?"

He turned around and appraised the tiny blond who was now standing with her arms akimbo, and glaring at him.

"You knocked me down and you didn't even say sorry!"

His eyes were smoldering with rage, and she unconsciously took a step back.

"Sorry," he spat angrily, "Happy now?"

She nodded and they turned to continue back to where they were going. As she was walking to the bathroom, the girl thought about that boy. She had noticed a deep pain behind the eyes of her assailant, and was determined as ever to find out and ultimately fix that mysterious Matthew Griffin.