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Don't Say You Love Me.

Chapter ONE:


That's the number of times my mother has been married.

The first day of summer before I started my senior year at Central High, my mother had married number eight. One morning, about week before that same summer ended, number eight was being thrown out of the house. I was eating cereal in the kitchen with Diego when I heard the engine of a car go full blast and then the sound of eight's car backing out of our driveway. Three months. That's how long this marriage has lasted, and it wasn't the shortest.

"Paul is gone?" Little Diego asked. Paul was eight's name, I never bothered learning their names anymore.

"Yes, my young padawan." I said with affection. Personally I thought all men were jerks. All men but Diego – who was still too young to be considered a man, he was only eight – and Diego's dad, Leo – at one point husband number four.

"Who wants pancakes?" My mother asked as she stormed into the kitchen.

"Me!" Diego yelled standing up in the chair. After every break up, Mom always makes pancakes, Diego is addicted to pancakes. Lucky for him, pancakes were a frequent meal at our house, Mom went through husbands, let alone boyfriends, as most people go through t-shirts. Hence, the pancake surplus.

"And you, Sam?" Mom asked.

"Nah, I'm full." I said, getting out of the chair, I knew this all too well. If I stayed, Mom would send Diego to his room to eat and then the guilt trip would start with her saying how sorry she was because she couldn't make it work with Eight. "I'm going to see Ella, ok?"

"Ok," Mom said a bit disappointed. "Its just you and me, big guy," Mom added to Diego.

I started towards the kitchen's door and when I got there I looked back. Mom had long forgotten about me – she has a short attention span - and she was talking happily with Diego as she beat the pancake batter. When you looked at her, in that brightly lit kitchen, you couldn't believe she had just failed at marriage for the eightieth time. She looked kind of happy, relieved, making jokes with Diego. I sighed, nothing had changed.

I walked out, hearing my mother's laugh drift up on that late summer morning as if nothing had happened. Husbands came and went, at least for her.

Ella lived right across the street. She had been my best friend since I moved to this suburb after Mom broke up with husband number three. One wouldn't think the Ella and me would be friends, we do have a lot of things in common but we're nothing alike. One thing we do share is our love for dogs, it was because of our dogs that we meet, actually. My mom had got me a Chocolate Labrador so I would shut up about how we had to leave the old neighborhood, and Ella had just gotten a Golden Retriever for her birthday. First day in the neighborhood, our dogs – still puppies back then - spotted each other across the street and they have been best dog friends since then. So have Ella and I.

"So, what's the plan for today?" I asked as I reached her side, Ella, as usual during the summer, was seated under the big three in her back yard with Moxie, her dog, running around. Fiaro, my dog, was with Moxie.

"No, Victor hasn't called." She said softly, trying to cover her misery. Victor was her boyfriend. Kind of cute, kind of a bad boy, just the kind of guy she liked. That's why, she has gotten her heart broken more than once. "He hasn't call in three days. What if he has tired of me?"

"Well, I don't think so, I mean, he has tagged along all summer, even when you haven't uncrossed your legs." I said bluntly. I would norally never say that, but with Ella sometimes you have to be a little coarse on the language so she comes down from Cloud #9.

"Hey! Don't use that language," She said sounding a bit mad, I thought, I really did, that it was just because she didn't like my way of speaking, not because of something else.

"Whatever," I said annoyed. Ella could be such a goodie-goodie sometimes. "Let's go to the Pool Hall Just you and me,"

"Ok," she said and got up. "Can Diego take care of Moxie and Fiaro?"

"Yeah, I guess so, he is just eating pancakes with mom,"

"Eight is a goner?"

"Yeah," I said, "Come on, lets go. It will be like in the non-eight, non-Victor times,"

"Hey!" Ella complained. Ella was always falling in and out of love, she had had a lot of boyfriends – 3 a year since we were twelve by my count – she loved each of them, puppy love for the most part, but with Victor… she had fallen hard for him, and that scared me a little.

"Let's go," I said impatiently. Ella just started towards my car, parked across the street. I looked back at her house, Mrs. Scott, Ella's mom, was waving good bye. I waved back. I had always envied Ella's happy, average family. She didn't have to watch weird men come in and out of her house every other day. Mr. Scott was a lawyer, environmental lawyer at that, and Mrs. Scott an Art Teacher.

My mother was a Literature teacher at Central High – thank god I never had to take her class, and when through life believing in the perfect romance, romance like in the books she taught about. My father, if you can call him that, runs his family's enterprises and is rich. In the last three years I had seen him a great total of four times, totally casual encounters when I went to his office to pick up my monthly support check. Lovely family isn't it?. I also have a sister, Lucy, well, half sister since her father was Mom's husband number one, and mine was number two. And Diego and Leo.


At the Pool Hall it was like usual. Without Victor being all over her, Ella caught the eye of practically every guy in the place – and is not wonder since she is a "total babe", as Victor puts it. Yes, Ella is very pretty, the kind of girl you can't help but to look at: 5 ft 5 inches of blond haired, baby blue eyed beauty – and big breasts thought she hates it when I point that out – if she were taller, she would be a model.

Me? Sweet, little old me? I'm 5ft 4 inches, brown hair, brown eyes average looking girl – I do have breasts though I'm not Pamela Anderson – and I'm ok with my looks, really.

Where was I? Oh, yes the Pool Hall… We were playing pool, guys cheering for Ella each time she had to bend down to make her shot. Most of our classmates were there, since it was too hot out to do anything else than being indoors, and the Pool Hall was one of the best places to kill time, they had the pool tables, some videogames, played good music and served Pizza and Burgers.

After a few games, it was time to eat something, I get very cranky if I'm not feed every couple of hours. While Ella ordered food – she always gets discounts – I went to wash my hands. Once I had washed my hands, I was scanning the place looking for Ella, when I bumped into one of the best looking things I've ever seen. Six foot pure male hotness: The guy had dark hair, if his biceps were of some indicative he obviously worked out, his jeans were hugging a really nice butt and, though his face in general was good looking, what caught my attention the most were his eyes: they were of a blue so pale it looked like gray, they were of the color of fog.

I was staring, and trust me you would have stared too… this guy was that good looking.

Then the guy put his hands on my shoulders and moved me out of his way very gentle, and he started to walk again. "See you later, Sammie," he said turning around briefly and flashing me with a smile. I know I wasn't smiling back, I hate being called Sammie, no matter how hot this guy was. Nevertheless, being called Sammie by a total stranger wasn't really enough to upset me on the day that the annoying eightieth husband of my mother's moved out and I was having a good "girls only" time with my best friend.

Before school started, I had to pay a visit to hell, meaning that I had to go to my father's house for an end of the summer party her mother always organized. The Witch – or my father's mother whatever you want to call her – was certainly something to put up with, she and her other witchy friends enjoyed comparing me to the other kids of their acquitances. And let me tell you, those kids were either witch material themselves or dull as dishwashers. However, my grandmother preferred the witch-y or dishwash-y kind ten times before me: the awkward- not-pretty-enough/country-club-hater me. So I had to put up with her saying how charming her friends grandkids were, and how disappointing I was.

But there wasn't any love lost between my grandmother and me, the same way there wasn't any love lost between her and my mother. I only went because it was one of the conditions of the custody agreement between my parents. I could live with mom, as long as I made mandatory visitations to my grandmother and father when it was required. And frankly, I preferred my careless mother a thousand times before the Witch, so I went.

Monday, back to school, I was having a good time. Ella and I were in the same homeroom so we were passing notes back and forth as Mr. Marsh went about the usual first day crap and handed over the schedules. The bell rang, and we headed out. Our lockers were in different ends of the hallway, so we split. Ella's first class was Literature with my mother, mine was French –which I already spoke because Leo taught me.

I was going over the locker combination –seventeen: my age; twenty: Lucy's age and eight: Diego's age - when I found out why Victor hadn't called Ella all week, and why she had been so mad at my "uncrossed legs" commentary.

"Yes, we broke up," Victor was saying to one of his friends a couple of lockers away from me. They might have broke up, but Victor forgot to mention it to Ella, she still thought they were and item. "And frankly I'm grateful, she is an ok shag but too mushy for my taste"

"I can't believe you nailed Ella Scott," the friend in question said.

"I told you I would," Victor said in return, smirking.

I don't know what came over me, I really don't. Ok, I do: Blinding rage, I think it's called. I've done this a thousand times. The point is that one second I was standing in front of my locker, and the next thing I knew I had slamed my fist into Victor Atkins' face.


End of Chapter One