By Cassandra Freiborg

" Sometimes I just want you to care about me!" She practically shouted in his expressionless face. "I do care about you.." He murmured. Darian spoke in a certain softness as if Raina was a crystal glass, in which the slightest touch could cause her soul to shatter into an unspeakable amount of pieces. She believed him. And that she thought could be her downfall. For now the only thing for Raina to do was to believe him, the only on she had ever loved.
Raina was almost in tears now. Had she just said what she thought she'd said? She shook with the thought of it. For as long as Raina could remember, she had loved Darian. Everyone knew it too, even though she tried desperately to keep it secret. And now she had gone and told him. Raina was thin with black hair and eyes the color of the sunrise. Darian was blond and bumbling. Of course they were exact opposites. Did opposites attract? As for Darian, he thought Raina as more of a sister. Since the day Connor had introduced them, she had loved him. They knew each other like and old favorite book that one would read a thousand times.
Darian was always a happy go lucky kind of person. To the untrained eyes. To Raina, he was a dark cloud swirling with thoughts and emotions so intense that Raina thought he was a hurricane and would soon blow her away. He was depressed. Raina knew it and was determined to help. Slowly she had dragged him out of his storm and saved him. Raina had always pushed aside her emotions for Darian. She had always though it was a stupid schoolgirl crush. But it wasn't until she saw Darian and his girlfriend kissing that she literally stumbled into the harsh reality that she was in love. But Raina couldn't tell him, even if she did work up enough courage. If she did tell him, they would be sucked up into a hurricane again. Days drifted slowly by and relationships faded and knew friendships were born but Raina's love remained.
"What do you have against him anyway?" questioned Raina. She was becoming increasingly irritated by Beth her best friend. "I just think he is uh.lets see, how do I put this. he's faking it." She spoke proud and defiant. Their fights always went like this. Raina could never back up her emotions with words and Beth easily overcame her. "Faking what?" she asked. "Loving." she stopped. "Why can't you be more blond?" Raina grumbled under her breath. She look up, Beth was staring at Darian. "Oh uh.hi Darian." Raina said.

"Why is everything so damn confusing?" Raina cursed at nothing in particular. "Get a grip Raina." Spat Beth. She hated whining. Raina spent her Monday afternoons at Beth's house in front of the computer printing anime manga comics for the sake of something to do. Besides, it kept both their minds off their thoughts. Tuesday lunch was pretty basic. Connor rambled on about her newest crush then five minutes later would change her mind and choose another. Darian sat at the next table with this buds pelting our table with pity food. * Pity food- food provided by others who pity you. Connor grasped at the food only to find Beth has already snatched it and is now demanding a ransom. The ransom is paid and Connor continues to grumble about boys while leaving Beth and Raina to do nothing but listen or block out her mindless droning. Each one had a part of the day they despised.
Language Arts for Beth, P.E. for Raina, and the oh, so frequent encounters in the hallway for Connor. The reason for their stress? Boys, was there any other answer? Beth's issue was Danny, a tall blond like herself who seemed to have a way with the ladies. Like Raina, she could never even think about talking to him about her feelings. Beth was almost always sketchy around him. Raina had a different issue by the name of Craig. Although she still loved Darian she couldn't help but stare at Craig. He was just so hot! Tall, dark, handsome, mysterious, and quiet, what more could a girl ask for? His phone number perhaps? But of course Raina had connections and had obtained his number long ago. Raina knew it but there was tough competition. Approximately 475 other girls who would go out of their way just to catch a glimpse of him. Connor had a problem by the name of Randal. At every possible moment Randal would call Connor "Road kill" Of course this made Connor horribly upset but she enjoyed the attention all the same. She would however go on ranting about it all day causing her friends to flee into the dark corners of the hallway. Raina spent the day wandering the halls humming a song called "Running away" she sang to herself " Now I need you to tell me the truth, you know I'd do that for you."

Raina spotted Darian for the first time today. He was pestering another girl, desperately trying to tickle her. Blushing, Raina approached and greeted them both. Raina glanced at the girl in disgust. Just another one of Darian's victims. The girl snickered. Raina becoming annoyed walked away. Seconds later Darian came prancing up beside her with a grin on her face. " I thought I'd leave you two alone." Raina said in a wave of sarcasm. Darian dodged the wave. "I'm grounded again," said Darien almost proud of this. "Why?" questioned Raina. " I was at the theater with a girl for six hours unsupervised." Again he seemed proud. Raina stopped dead in her tracks. She choked on her words not knowing how to respond. "Uh, wow, ummm. how interesting." Raina stumbled with her words. Darian was getting bored so he wandered back to his current victim who was opening her locker.

Disgusted, Raina walked away trying to think of a song. Sighing deeply Raina headed to the bus where she found Beth angrily beating her head against the window mumbling to herself. Carefully Raina sat down.

Beth continued grumbling. "Calm yourself girl." Raina soothed. Beth stopped banging her head against the window and turned to look at Raina with a half crazed half broken look in her eyes. Raina hated that look. Beth was worried about Danny. "You ok?" Raina questioned softly. Beth mumbled under her breath angrily. Both sighing heavily, they looked out the window at the passing scenery. The ride home seemed to take forever.
Raina felt Beth twitch beside her. She followed Beth's gaze. "Danny." Raina said. Beth was beaming in delight, her sorrows forgotten. "Oh jeez." said Raina with a small amount of humor. Raina snapped her fingers in front of Beth's face. She didn't blink. "Beth.? Hello, Beth are you in there? BETH GET A GRIP!!!" Raina scolded. Why she tried to hide her feelings for him she didn't know. Beth was partially conscience again. Raina didn't speak to Beth again that night, her throat hurt.

"Feeling better?" her friend questioned with a deadly tone of malice in her voice. Raina hung her head. How could she have done something so incredibly stupid? Beth strided away. Oh boy, was she angry! But she had every right to be thought Raina. After all she had promised. She felt like such a worm! How could she have betrayed her best friend just like that? She hadn't even blinked an eye. "Damn." said Raina. She hated being sorry. Raina had, had strep throat and had gone to the nurse's office to whine and complain. (Who wouldn't?) She had spoken to Beth about a half an hour before. Standing outside her classroom Beth had said, "I need to talk to you." Cringing Raina tried to seem innocent and confused. It never worked. At least not on Beth. She couldn't hold her guard up for long. She confessed. Yes, she had told someone that she liked Danny. Actually she had told his girlfriend about it. Big mistake. His current girlfriend was a lowly 7th grader by the name of Alaine. She didn't like Alaine much. She was oh so very full of herself.
Raina sat in her chair all slumped over. A boy by the name of Wallace approached her with a sort of delicate concern. "What are you in for?" he had asked. "My throat hurts like hell and I'm very dizzy" Raina rasped. The boy moved away slightly. "The best thing for soar throat is some hot tea, honey and some lemon. Drink it, Drink it all. It's doctor recommended!" He said in a cheery voice. Raina smiled at him. The nurse had called; it was time for him to go home. He left and Raina was once again left to sit alone. She fiddled with the straps on her book bag. A girl continued to pester he for some paper. "I don't have any!" Raina tried to shout but failed miserably. She ignored them. Finally it was her turn to go home. She would be grateful.

Later that night, as Raina sit in her big round chair the phone rang. Every time she wished it was Beth. It wasn't. Sighing, Raina turned off the TV. What had she done? Jus then the phone ran. Raina flew out of her chair running for the kitchen. Turning the corner she slipped and fell, smashing into a wall. "Ack!" Raina screamed as she hit. She regained a bit of strength and clutched at the still ringing phone. She glanced at the caller ID. It was Beth.
Raina held the phone. Should she answer it? CLICK. "Hello?" Raina whispered into the phone. "Hi, Raina! What's up? How do you feel?" She blinked. Why was Beth being so nice? Just hours ago it seemed she could have ripped Raina's head clear off.
They continued talking for a while and Beth seemed to be ok. Raina was unsure. She felt really bad for telling Alaine about Danny. She seemed over it though. After Beth hung up Raina lay on her bed thinking how lucky she was to have good friends. Speaking of friends, why hadn't Connor come back yet? She had the flu and had been out for a week already. She was missing a lot of work. Raina drifted off into a heavy sleep.
She woke to her mom gently shoving her to wake up. "What?" she grumbled still half asleep. Her mom shoved a thermometer into her mouth. Gagging, she waited. Her mom had said that she should stay home today. She hated staying home. Her mom left and Raina drifted off again. Only seconds later it seemed her kitten Harley had decided to play with a string. Dragging it over her, he stepped on her face. Raina frowned. She sat up; her cat tumbled away purring like a motor. He quickly got up and pursued to rub up against her arm.

Back to school on Tuesday Raina was bored as ever. The day was uneventful as usual and the boredom was driving Raina up the wall. Sometime during the morning she had gotten it into her head that she had a miniscule red dragon called Rogerson who liked to dance around on her shoulder and fling confetti at unsuspecting people. She sat with Connor and Beth as they talked of Danny. Raina followed her imaginary dragon with her eyes as it flung confetti. Raina laughed at the thought of it all. " So anyway." Beth said " I think that blond over there would be a nice hook up for Raina." Beth discussed. " Saw what!" Raina snapped back to reality. Beth and Connor grinned evilly at her. Raina blushed. She turned around to catch a glimpse of the boy they were ogling. Raina sighed and turned around.
After lunch Raina sat in history class listening to a long lecture about the Great Depression. She yawned and chewed on a lemon starburst. She opened the notebook she and Darian wrote it. Darian was having trouble deciding what girl to go out with. He said his mind was playing tricks on his heart. Raina had that he needed to follow his heart not his mind. In response he had wrote that she was right and he was going to go out with Tammy and that she was sweet and perfect.
Raina stared at this response. Perfect? How could she be perfect for Darian, Darian was perfect for Raina!! "Damn." Raina whispered. Slamming the folder shut she stared back at the teacher who was scouting for his next victim. Raina averted her eyes.

Rain thought back to last year, and all the emotions she had felt toward Darian. He was practically crying for help, and the world turned its back. Raina never understood why, but she was the only one that had trusted him. Why she didn't know but no one bothered to ask, so she kept it to herself.
Raina picked up the phone to find Beth cheery on the other line. "Hey Beth, how's it going?" Raina questioned half in the conversation and half out. "Nothing extreme, what are you doing?" Beth asked. "Watching a documentary on Heroin." Raina said in a dry tone as she was some girl, shooting Heroin into her arm. "How very pleasant." Beth said sarcastically. "Eh?" said Raina. She didn't really comprehend anything at the moment, she didn't even know if she could. "Thinking about Darian?" asked Beth. Raina snapped out of her dizzy trance. "WHAT!?" Raina marveled. Had she just asked what she thought she'd just asked? "Uh." Raina thought about this a second. "Sort of, its just that, I really want to talk to him." There was silence on the other end. "Do you love him?" Beth said finally. Raina, who was half asleep before, was more awake now than any person should be. Another awkward silence followed. "Well? Do you love him or not? You have always said you love him like a brother. Is there more than that?" Raina was astounded. Where was this coming from? "Yes." Raina blurted "I do love him. and as more than a brother. It's just I don't know." Raina stopped, what was she saying? Her phone beeped. "My phone has a low battery, I better go." Raina hung up.

The next day Raina found herself at Beth's house listening to depressing music and reminiscing. "I've seen him kiss before." Beth bragged. "Really? With who?" Raina ordered. "Connor." Beth said in a sarcastic tone." At the Valentines Day dance last year. Remember?" Raina thought about this. Kiss? She didn't remember any kiss. Sure, Darian had said that he was going to kiss her. But she never actually witnessed it. Raina had fled the room after she turned and saw something she didn't want to witness. "No I don't remember. I wasn't there, remember?" "Oh yea! You ran out of the room after you saw." Beth cut herself off. She looked over at Raina who had this squished look on her face. She was trying not to cry. "I'm ok." Raina stated without and true emotion to back it up. Because she knew, she was not ok. "Sorry." Said Raina softly.

"Guess who I like." Darian exclaimed over a mouthful of food. Raina was sprayed with crumbs. "Oh gee, you haven't given me any clues. It could be anyone in the entire schools population. Heck, it may very well be the entire school's girl population!" Raina teased. Darian look un-amused. He looked at Raina with a twisted hurtful look on his face. "Oh please." yawned Raina. "You have got to be kidding.' Darian smiled. Raina looked at his face. He looked happy, but somewhere deeper; Raina saw some sadness as well. Raina listed some girls, " Jess, Kana, Sidney, Lauren." She looked at Darian. He had a disgusted look on his face. "What?" Raina mumbled. "Uh, I like Kana." Darian blushed. " FROG GIRL!!! You like Frog Girl!!!" Raina burst into laughter. " I sit next to that freak! Trust me friend, she would much rather kiss a frog then go out with you." Raina giggled. "You sit next to her? You are so lucky! I would pay to sit next to her!" Darian was becoming a bit awkward. Raina coughed. What a fool, she thought. Raina sighed. He knew how she felt about him. But all he did was ramble on about some new crush he had. How long is this one going to last? Raina thought. The bell rang. " I have to go to my next class. Bye!" Raina dashed away. He was getting creepy.
Raina dragged to her next class. Stupid boy, she thought, typical boy. Raina kicked the wall. "Darian you are such an idiot!" Raina shouted into the hall. Several of her classmates turned around. Raina blushed. "Sorry." She waved them aside. Raina barely survived Science class as she sat through the slow torment of her teacher drone on and on about what a constellation was. Raina glanced at Frog Girl. She was half asleep fidgeting with a frog key chain. Raina suppressed a harsh laugh. Frog Girl glanced at her. Raina became irritated. "What?" Raina mumbled. Kana smiled. Raina's eye twitched, she was giving her the creeps.
By the end of the period, Raina had made friends with Kana and was jokingly talking about Darian when he walked up. "Ack!" Raina shouted. She was just about to spill the beans about her feelings for him. "Uh, h-hi." Blushed Darian. Raina laughed. Darian glared at her. "What?" Raina asked, still half giggling from the awkwardness. The three proceeded to their next class and all was forgotten. .The next day...

Raina sat through science, engrossed in thought. She wasn't very hungry at all. Beth and Connor talked about boys and such, Raina wished she could mute them, but she had not that ability. Raina took her usual seat next to Frog Girl. Raina glanced. "Hey." Raina mumbled as a casual greeting. "Yo" she replied. "Listen," Raina said, "You know Darian right? The one who is always fawning over you? Well, he likes you and I can totally tell that he wants to go out. What do you think?" She was silent for a moment, then replied, "I've heard some things.." "Like what?" Raina drawled. "Well, supposedly he cheated on Connor when they were going out?" It was more of a question than an answer. "Uh, well, see, no on knows if he did or not. It seemed like it but honestly no one knows." Raina said half regretting it. "Well, I do like him, sort of, but I don't know." Kana replied. They both sighed. After about a week of going out, Kana, and Darian broke up. The next day, Darian had someone else on his mind. Meanwhile, Connor and Zach had hooked up and were a nice couple. By then, Raina had given up on Darian, "Lost cause..." she had told Kana, Beth, and Connor. Her new enfatuation was Marshal. Oh how she adored him. "Attention all eigth graders," the intercome blazed over head, "eigth grade week is scedualed for next week. The dance will be held on Friday. The days are as following: Monday is undecided, Tuesday, is no homework, non dressout day, Wednessday is undecided, and Thursday is Decade day. Also, Friday is sports day...for further information, please contact your homeroom teacher." Raina sighed. Then she heard Marshal, "Decade Day? Im going to wear a afro!" Raina nearly burst out laughing. Before she could stop herself she commented, "You!? In an afro? Ha ha ha..." Then, the bell rang, and Raina fleed in her embarassment. Several weeks later, Darian had gone through Kate, and was now hooked up with Pam. That was over after 2 weeks, and Raina was becoming annoyed. "Damn that boy, I can never figure him out..." Connor nodded.

Raina stared off into the abyss that was her school. "My God, talk about nothingness." she mumbled to Beth. She didnt respond. "Eh?" Raina mumbled. She looked around. Beth was spotted about 500 feet away talking to Darian, Danny, Connor, and Zach. Raina ambled over. The seemed to be talking about some Jackass stunts. She laughed. She liked that show. Jackass was a show on MTV, where a bunch of idiots use their spare time to do dumb things. One of these stunts, was to get into a shopping cart, and drive it into a blockade of some kind, and see what happens. And they wondered why Danny had broken his leg at least twice in the last 2 months. Raina noticed for once, that everyone was smiling, so she smiled too.

Funny, Raina thought, everyone was so happy back then......She snapped back into the present and grinned at Darian who smiled back sweetly. All I ever wanted, was to be with you...she thought. Maybe one day it will happen. As for now, I think Ill just love you from a distance because right now you make my soul shatter....