So ive gotten some comments about a love triangle starting to take shape between Damien, Amber and Jack. If you were hoping to see more of that in this chapter, im afraid this isn't going to satisfy your craving in that respect. Let me clarify though: this should keep you pretty interested and overall, im just hoping that the loads of information in here is enough for you to take in in one chapter :) Please leave me a review, theyre always responded to and always returned.

Love sick or Sick of Love

Chapter 4

I felt like that annoying little girl who sits with a rose plucking the petals, saying with each rip, "He loves me, he loves me not," until there were no petals left to be pulled. If one were to substitute love for like in that phrase, it was exactly how I felt. And it pissed the hell out of me. Who was this simpering, like-sick fool who sat around staring at the first hot guy who reportedly likes her? It sure wasn't the Amber I knew, nor the one I wanted to be.

Ashley had to be lying. She had to be, right? How could he, one of the- only god knows why- most popular guys in this tiny nerd school of ours have a crush on me? Ide be better of dating Jack! Wow, wow slow your roll there girl. Jack was a friend, confidante, not boyfriend. Not even close. But I would be so much better off liking him than Damien! I mean really, I only started noticing him in class because Ash told me he liked me. Then I only continued noticing him because, well, he's Damien how couldn't you? Plus all through seventh grade we sat next to each other in almost every frickin class!

Why was that stupid idiotic muscle in my chest being so...evil? Wasn't it supposed to bring joy and love to people or some shit like that? This organ made me like Damien. I wanted to cut it out and slap in the face. If only matters of the heart were so easy...

But alas, no. I fell for the bad boy. And I was falling hard. This year, in eighth grade, we only had Spanish class together thank god, a needed relief that might help me ease off the unwanted and unreciprocated feelings. But then, of course, he sat one seat over from me. And who was the one person sitting in between us? Cara. The girl who he never stopped flirting with. Like, ever. So every Tuesday and Thursday morning I would trudge to class with my notebook and pencil pouch, sit in my seat quietly, and listen as Cara and Damien talked and giggled for an hour. What girl wouldn't have done what I did? I mean really, put yourself in my shoes?

The next day, as I was making my way to Spanish, I grabbed the hand of another friend, Emily, to talk to her about something that happened the night before.

"Hey Ily?"

"Hm?"

"Do you remember that guy I was telling you about? The one I met on that writing website?"

"If you mean the one with Grundle as his last name, who you met on Yahoo! Answers, then yeah dumbass I remember. What of it?"

"Well...he asked me out last night... again." This wasn't the last time Jeremy had asked me out. It was the second, and we had only met online about two months earlier. We video chatted a bunch of times though, so it wasn't like he was really some thirty year old creeper with a trucker hat and a pot belly. I had asked on the website for help with editing a short story I was writing, and he had responded by emailing me. We got to talking, and I found out we were the same age. Then we video chatted, and eventually started texting. We was super nice, and hella sweet. He reminded me of Jack a lot, so I didn't mind talking to him. Plus, free essay and short story help right? But then he asked me out, and a problem arose in our friendship.

Usually, I would've jumped at the chance for a boyfriend. I was in eighth grade and still hadn't had one really: in my school, even though we were a bunch of nerds, that meant you were either ugly, or a prude. It was strange because if you'd had more than one boyfriend in only a year, that also made you a slut. Middle school truly made no sense to me. But this was different. We lived in California, and Jeremy lived in Georgia. How the hell was I supposed to date some random guy I barely knew, only through electronics, in another state, when I was head over heels in-like with some jerk. My life never used to be this difficult...

Emily stared at me expectantly. "And? What'd you say?" She practically yelled in excitement. She'd stolen my phone as I texted Jeremy once, and to say she approved was a gross understatement. I think she was in love with him. But I couldn't blame her, he was amazingly cute, had a southern accent, and called me every good name in the book. He was, in short, a perfect boyfriend. If only he weren't three thousand miles away.

"I told him I didn't think so, but I still wanna talk and what not. Hes so nice, and I cant deny his endless string of compliments havent given me an ego boost, but...its not fair to anyone when I still like blackberries." That was the code word for Damien. Middle school.

Ily rolled her eyes. "Really, again with the blackberries Amber? He's a no good, dirty,-"

"If you're planning on quoting the movie Holes, he isn't anyone's great great grandfather. And im pretty sure he didn't steal anyones pig either..."

"Come on girl you know what I mean! At first, I understood. We thought he liked you, it was logical that you would show interest in getting to know him better. But now? All he cares about is pretty little Cara with her perfect hair and clear skin and pretty regular eyes for an Asian chick."

"Does that sound like its bordering on racist to you, cus it does to me a lil bit."

"Amber, let him go. This may sound harsh but honey, he's just never going to be into you!"

"I know that, Emily!"

"Then why put yourself through th-"

"You think I want to like the biggest douche that walked this campus? I can't change the way I feel. I can't help the fact that I have dreams about him liking me in return, and us being together as a happy couple? Theyre frickin torturing me! Because I keep having visions of us being together, when I know it will never happen. I want to want out of this hold he has on me. But what the hell am I supposed to do? You can't choose who you l-"

"If you say love, im going to pimp slap you right here." I looked away from her. She wasn't getting it. Until I looked back and saw a fresh look dawn in her eyes.

"You do love him, don't you? Those eyes! Those are the eyes of some lovesick puppy dog, not the fierce bitch I know and love!"

"Don't be ridiculous, im not even fourteen yet how could I love him, or anyone who isnt family? Or friends, of course."

"Puppy love?" She was mocking me again.

What the hell was going on? I couldn't love him. Sure I knew him better than most people since we sat together like everywhere, but... dammit. I had no idea if this was the often rumored about emotion of the heart, but compared to the brief expositions ide had to crushes in the past, the way I felt now was definitely more than that. Those had lasted a week, maybe two tops, with one crush a year and usually based on the guys level of attractiveness. But this? I'de liked Damien since last year...a whole year without any slack on the force of emotions. If anything, they'd only gotten stronger the less I saw of him. He was never off of my mind, I replayed our conversations over and over again, trying to find every possible meaning for what was said.

I remembered the way I'de felt one day, in English class, seventh grade, when somehow the awkward question was asked to the girl across from me. " Hey, who do you think is hotter, Damien or Mark?" Everyone at our table froze. There were normally six at the table, but Mark had gone to get a tissue or a drink of water or something, so it was me, the girl across from me to whom the question was directed, Damien who was staring at me, and Noeli who sat next to him. The girl across from me, Kate, who sat next to me in math class too, was beside Danielle who looked shocked by the question too. I felt heat rising to my cheeks. Had I really just asked that? Where on earth did that come from?

Damien's gaze quickly shifted to Kate.

He cocked an eyebrow, expecting an answer. "Well Kate?"

She was staring at me, face as red as a Stanford t shirt. She probably wouldn't have appreciated the reference, were this any other time, since she was such an ardent fan of CAL state. She was a really honest person, could never lie to a soul, so I instantly felt mortified for asking her. I knew she thought Damien was super sexy. We'd had conversations about him in math class, with him sitting right next to us. That's when we coined the nickname Blackberries for him, so he wouldn't know we were talking about him.

She mumbled something under her breath and my heart went out to her. Why was I such a bitch?

"What was that Kate?" Damien asked, cupping a hand to his ear as if he hadn't been able to hear her answer. Why was he such a bitch? The insult immediately boomeranged back to me then; I had the unfortunate luck to have a huge honking crush on that bitch.

"Damien!" She let out on a roll of laughter. Well, it looked like Kate and I weren't that different. When embarrassing situations came along, we both couldn't help the flushed cheeks and the bits of laughter. Maybe it was our German heritage. It was the only genetics we shared.

When she finally managed to reign in her laughter, she smiled at me wickedly. Uh oh.

"What do you think Amber?"

My heart had dropped, quite possibly straight through the floor and right into the gates of hell, never to return. My response was the same as hers, and delivered with equal shame. Now it was our turn to have a little fun as he basked in the ambiance of our revealings. "Hey Damien, who do you think it hotter, Amber or Noeli?"

Oh shit, now my heart really was in hell. But then it was his turn to blush. Without hesitation, he smiled down at his desk as if...could it be...shyly? He did the same as both Kate and I had, by mumbling his answer at first. I copied the motion he had done to the both us, by sticking my ear out and asking, "what was that, I must have missed it?"

"Amber." I looked away quickly toward the wall, away from all their prying faces and hid behind my waterfall of hair to keep them from seeing the shy and relieved smile slowly creep across my face.

Now, I remembered the way I felt when he said my name. The returning of my heart beat, the pulse in throat and the butterflies experimenting with some eighties dance in my stomach. How happy that one word and its meaning had made me.

I couldn't look at Emily because of how confused I was by this surprising change of events. First, some Georgia boy was ardently fighting for my affections over the internet. Then, in a few seconds I was going to have to sit through Damien and Cara's latest flirting session. And on top of it all? I was in puppy-love with the bastard. I felt like I wanted to punch someone in the face. Its why I avoided Ily's gaze; I didn't want it to be her.