I changed the ending, at a suggestion from lukas10, who is, by the way, the best person ever on this site.

I hope you like this one a little better. I know I do =)

xxx

I didn't know how to react. Part of me was euphoric, soaring high. But the rest of me was terrified. I'd pushed him away. I'd hurt him by not answering at all, and humiliated him. He wasn't answering his phone. After the first six calls I made, he turned it off.

On Monday, he didn't pick me up for school. He didn't meet me in the hallways, and he wouldn't so much as look at me. I'd hurt him far worse than I feared.

When I got home, I sobbed into my pillow until I was all washed out. Then I went to my computer and typed up a long, embarrassing message to Cord. I poured my heart out, telling him all about Costi and how I'd hurt him. I left out the part that was worst- that I loved him back, and now it was too late.

I didn't expect such a quick response, but he got back to me nearly right away. 'Sounds like you really screwed up. I understand why he's upset.'

I stared at the message for a very long time, in shock. I'd expected at least a little sympathy. 'You don't even know the worst part. He'll never let me get close enough to explain.'

'Can you blame him? Besides, what explanation could possibly make it better?'

Cord was right, I'd been awful. But why was he acting so… mad?

'I hadn't planned on telling you this part. Why are you so mad? I can't stand it. I can't take any more of this. I only froze up because I was shocked, and because I was so happy. It took me too long to be able to think again, let alone to be able to tell him that I love him back. And now I've ruined everything.'

This response took much longer than the previous ones. 'He's a fool, then. Don't blame yourself. I was wrong, this is all on him, not you. He should have waited, should have given you a minute.'

What? Now I was really confused. He didn't seem so mad at me anymore. 'Why the change of heart?'

But Cord didn't respond right away. I stared at the computer screen and refreshed obsessively for a while, but he simply… didn't… reply.

What a mess.

I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't want to be alone in my bedroom with no Cord, no Costi.

I couldn't drive, but I knew someone who could. I called up Coll for what felt like the first time in ages. It rang… and rang… and rang… Until I was about to hang up.

"Hello?" he finally answered, sounding breathless.

"What's going on?" I asked. We'd long since stopped needing to go through the normal greetings with each other.

"Oh… I'm… Well, do you know that girl in our French Class? Annette?"

"You mean Indigo Lopez?"

"Yeah, her. Well…" I heard crinkling noises in the background and a giggle. Coll whispered something to someone and I heard a door slam shut. "We were studying."

"Studying," I repeated doubtfully. "Somehow, I really doubt that." Coll coughed and I could practically feel the heat of his blush from here.

"Well, erm. What did you want?"

Nice subject change, I thought. I managed, barely, to hold back my laughter. "I was going to see if you wanted to hang out, but now I think I'll just take a walk."

Coll's phone was jostled around and I heard more giggling. "Coll's got to go now. He'll see you at school," a female voice said just before the line clicked.

And suddenly I couldn't hold back my laughter. I was positively roaring with it. Guess he'd gotten over his little crush on me after all. Thank goodness. Now things could go back to normal.

Whatever that was.

I heard, distantly, a knock on the front door. Rather than run all the way downstairs, I crossed my room and peeked my head out of one of the front windows.

I would know that dark head of hair anywhere.

"Costi!" I shouted out the window. I pulled my head back in, blushing furiously. But my heart was beating so fast and I was dizzy with adrenaline, so I faced potential humiliation and looked out again, calling, "I'm so sorry, so sorry. I-"

He walked into the house, cutting off my apologies.

I sprinted to my staircase and half jumped, half climbed down to the second floor of the house.

Even though I was moving so quickly, Costi reached the computer room at the same time I did.

I opened my mouth to apologize again, but he held up his hand. "Aura," he cut me off, "it's I who should be apologizing. I didn't give you enough time. I was just so nervous. I didn't give you a chance." His gaze burned into mine. I wanted to look away, it was so intense, but I couldn't.

This hadn't been what I was expecting at all. Simply put, I was stunned. What a coincidence, that Cord had just been saying the same thing.

"You… But… I…" I didn't know what to say. "I love you."

I heard a quick intake of breath and leaned back against the wall, my knees suddenly weak.

"I know," he said.

"What?" I demanded. How? Had I been that obvious? How embarrassing.

"You told me," he said with a faint smile. He seemed far more amused than the situation called for, I thought, annoyed.

"I most certainly did not." I nearly ruined the illusion of control I was going for by stomping my foot.

"Aura… I can't believe you haven't realized it yet. I'm Cord."

"What are you talking about?" I demanded. Cord? But he was… "Oh, what are the chances?" I said after a moment, choking out a laugh.

"I really am sorry," Costi said. I nodded to myself. He sounded sorry, looked sorry…

And at this point, his apologies didn't matter. He'd come back. That was apology enough. "How did you figure it out?" I asked.

We knew each other well enough that I didn't have to clarify. "When you were sick at the same time as Ava, it was pretty obvious."

I felt less stupid for not realizing it then. How could I have known that Costi was Cord?

"I do love you," he told me again. Only I didn't freeze this time. Instead, I smiled.

XXX

Thank you, readers and reviewers. That's the end. Thanks for a great run. I would thank people specifically, but I upload this so far in advance that… well, it's not exactly practical. But don't think that your reviews aren't appreciated.

-Cait