So Emma and Lily were also signed up to be debutantes like I was. We decided to do it because our mothers encouraged us to do so, and it gave us an excuse to buy beautiful dresses. Of course, it would be in another month or two, and we were supposed to have an escort. Emma already had an escort, one of our friends from school who was very sweet in offering. Lily had her boyfriend Isaac while I had no one.

Like I said, Connor doesn't count.

Maybe Connor could be my escort, now that I thought about it. He looked good in a tuxedo, and it would just be for a night. I decided to take my chances and ask him about it the next time I see him. By now, he should've forgotten about the home video and ceased in the teasing.

Did I mention Talia was also doing this? Among the crop of debutantes, she was probably the one who stood out the most. I have to admit she was the one who could organize, be a little overbearing, but the girl knew how to take charge if necessary. I guess it's because of her mom. Goodness knows what Natalia Delacruz does everything in her life…

I did my best to hold nothing against Talia since she seized the part in the play. I knew that I wouldn't feel as worse if it was a musical, so I decided to focus on other things. Technically, I could've been the understudy for her part, but an UNDERSTUDY under TALIA? Rivalry knows better games than that.

Stuck in student government, I fiddled with my pencil as the brainstorming began for the upcoming dance. It would be awhile before we got to the date though we needed to have a name for it by next week.

Truth be told, I was the only one working on it because the people around me knew I was the most creative person in the room, which was, I guess, true. A number of people encouraged that I do AP Art, but what was the point? I know how to draw and apply myself to putting things to paper, and I never enjoyed when someone told me how it should be done. I found more freedom in the performing arts anyways.

I propped my head on the heel of my hand as I stared at a blank sheet of paper. It was a slowly gloomy day, and I was feeling drowsy just thinking about it. I was thankful when someone pulled up a chair to chat and watch.

"Hey Amora," said redhead in front of me.

Meet Sam O'Heely. He's one of the sophomore senators, and he is a pretty nice guy. For that reason and then some, a lot of girls swoon over him—red hair, blue eyes, and chiseled body. That's enough for some girls to like him…well more like a lot. I was overjoyed when I finally got to know him, a person who didn't have a big head and was really a kind person. We were friends in a sense, talking here and there in this class.

"Sam," I said with a defeated smile. Really, I hated today. I wished it was Friday instead of Wednesday. People born on Wednesdays end up being clinically depressed. "If your day is a hell of a lot better than mine, I really, really don't want to hear it."

He shrugged and laughed quietly. When he didn't say anything, it was usually because he had a girl on his mind or because he had one of those moments of life-is-worth-it times… At the sight of him blushing, I put the blank sheet of paper aside and sat still, expecting him to tell me. He eventually would tell me.

"Well?"

"I'd rather not say who she is."

"Why?"

"It's…a little…embarrassing…"

"Fine," I said curtly. Jotting some notes down, I could think of several mottos for the next dance about the Masquerade. If we could pull it off, it would be a worthwhile night. I drew comedy and tragedy masks while Sam continued to squirm. Poor guy…he must like the girl a whole lot.

"I'm afraid you'll tell her."

"Sam, we're not in middle school."

"Yeah, I know."

"Who wouldn't like you?"

"I think she has a thing for Connor…"

"WHAT?"

"Come on, Amora. Everyone knows—"

"IT'S NOT TRUE!"

"Yes, it is. I saw—"

"NOTHING'S HAPPENED!"

"Stop interrupting me," Sam huffed. Nervously he ran a hand through his hair and winced. I on the other hand was on the verge of hyperventilating… "Everyone's noticed that Talia has a thing for Connor."

Inside I gave a sigh of relief, and then his words hit me. "Wait. Repeat that?"

--XoX—

I know what you're thinking: 'Geez, Amora, could you be anymore oblivious?' This is me nervously laughing because I thought that Sam thought that I liked Connor, and then this is me being quiet because of the shock. Truthfully, I tell you that in spite of my namesake I am oblivious to these things. Really I am. I mean…I never can tell when a guy likes a girl even when it's dead obvious. In this case, I thought Talia was trying to make me look jealous.

But Talia and Connor?! Ha, no way…it wouldn't work. Talia doesn't know Connor well, and I even wonder if he talks to girls other than me, Emma, and Lily.

And speak of the devil!

"How has your morning been?"

I gave him a smirk and didn't answer his question. Sometimes I think of life as a board game, and we are its players. Add some poker, and you know my own life. So right now I hold the cards and am flaunting that I hold the cards.

"'It went very well, Connor… Say Connor, I'm sorry that I've been avoiding you lately. I know that we're good friends in spite of you watching my embarrassing videos,'" Connor mocked me. Of course, any player knows that the only one holding the cards is the one who pulls the strings. "Tell me something you know that I don't."

I stared at him blankly, still not saying anything. We continued to stare at each other for the next minute or so with Connor occasionally grabbing a fry from my tray until Emma and Lily joined us.

"You two," Emma said, "don't you know it's not nice to stare?" Lily plopped onto the seat next to her as did Isaac Cummings.

Rolling my eyes, I continued eating my food knowing Connor was still watching me.

Emma only shook her head and whispered something into Lily's ear, making Lily giggle and whisper something into Isaac's ear. The poor boy looked at me and Connor in horror and then looked at his food gratefully. I wonder what Emma said…

"Connor, stop staring."

"I'm not."

"Whatever."

He pulled my tray of food between us for better access. Connor knew what made me tick and knew when I was ticked. He said, "As long as it has nothing to do with me, then I'm perfectly fine."

I gave him a death glare, but he only flashed me a grin in response.

--XoX—

A shallow person would tell Connor frankly and haughtily, but I'm not like that person. I don't know if Talia would do the same to me. I mean, she's my cousin…she really wouldn't do that to me, right? Okay…so she might. If she would, then I won't.

But why would she like Connor? Connor was everything different. He was never the center of attention, and he never challenged anyone. Connor was quiet and withdrawn; hardly showing whatever was on his mind. Sure girls like him for his looks, but I just think it's the whole mysterious thing about him.

Oh whatever…it's not like I have a thing for Connor. Maybe there's a slight attraction for him, but it's really slight. I mean…it's nothing like that.

The more I thought about it, the more Emma and Lily got suspicious of what I was thinking. I had to ignore it; elsewise, they would interrogate me.

But they still did.

"So…" Lily piped up, "…you aren't talking to Connor. He knows you know something everyone else doesn't know, and we wanna know."

We were at the pier watching the shoreline ebb and flow. It was a peaceful windy day, and it was days like these we would watch and talk about life.

She flipped a wave of dirty-blonde hair off her shoulders and gave me an all-knowing smile. "Do you like him?"

"No, I don't," I said emotionlessly. It's the truth I swear.

"Are you sure?" asked Emma, boring her brown eyes into me.

"Yes, I am sure I do not like Connor. In fact, it's not I who likes him. It's Talia, mind you two." The breeze brushed against my face and tangled with my hair wildly. The ocean breeze was getting stronger, and I know it would be time to go soon.

To my left, Emma frowned while the wind whipped her bangs into her eyes. She mouthed something to Lily who shook her head. I gave a sigh and rested my head onto my arms. My life wasn't complicated, not like Talia's, and I didn't want to be like her.

--XoX—

She gave a loud sigh the same way her cousin would when she wasn't feeling on top of the world. Closing her locker, she headed to her homeroom quickly before anyone spotted her. The thing was…Talia wasn't enjoying life without her father, who was once again in a place God only knows where. He was a powerful businessman, explaining her affluent background and school tuitions paid for years to come.

"Talia!" called a voice behind her. "Talia, wait up!"

Annoyed, she turned around and looked at Sam. They had the same third period, and she noticed he would always attempt to strike up a conversation with him. She had heard much in the halls about him, and how much he was adored though she never understood why he would be so nervous around her.

"Good morning," she said with a small smile.

"Hey, uh…I uh…wanted to ask you if you wanted to go to the movies with me…" He smiled at her, not aware that he brushed his hand through his hair again.

She tilted her head and looked at him blankly.

He felt somewhat of a fool for being so nervous. "I mean…er, it's with me and some friends. Amora's going, too! You should come! It's this Friday at seven… I can pick you up if you don't have a ride…"

"I have play practice 'til seven…" she said sadly. "And it's hard finding a ride."

His smile dropped a little, but he said, "If you want to go…I can stay and watch. It's no problem."

Unexpectedly, she gave a laugh.

"If you really want me to go, then I'll go. Just don't laugh if I mess up during my rehearsal, got it?"

Sam nodded and said, "All right, it's a deal. See you later."

She watched him go and turned to go her own way.

--XoX—

"What do you mean we're going to the movies? How come no one ever told me this until an hour prior?" Pause. "Hey! Don't hang up on me! I want an—"

"If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again."

Slamming the phone down, I gave a loud huff, but Connor just smiled at me again. I hate that he keeps on smiling at me. Other girls might like that, but I was never included in other girls.

When Friday finally came, I was relieved though feeling as though I should spite the world. Why did I feel like something bad would happen?

"I would've told you myself, but last I checked, you won't tell me what I didn't know. So…" he said, wiggling his eyebrows, "…I did the same to you."

I fought the urge to smile.

"Are you going to change out of those clothes?"

"No."

"Okay, wanna tell me what's going on?"

"It wouldn't be fair to certain people."

"Hmm…can I take a guess?"

I remained silent and grabbed yogurt from the refrigerator as he munched on the Lucky Charms cereal. Promising myself I wouldn't humiliate Talia, I kept my mouth shut. I would have at least one thing over her, and I also wanted to convince myself that Connor didn't have anything over me.

"Does it have anything to do with someone liking me?"

Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

"Yes, it does. So you know a girl who likes me."

Ignore him. Ignore him. Ignore him.

I knew he was enjoying this, and doing my best to keep a straight face, I stole a quick glance from him to see that he had this flirtatious—no, don't be silly—wicked grin. He should stop with that. Pride like that is too unhealthy for teenage boys.

"Is it you?"

"You wish," I blurted.

He pouted. "You finally say something." He got up from the kitchen counter and went into the den. Before he left he said:

"And here I was hoping it was you."


A/N: Reviews are much appreciated! I would like a good critique! Thanks 3