A Sorta Fairytale

Chapter Three: I Ride Alongside

July 2004


Sam sat on the steps outside the school, her chin in her hands. What was she still doing here? School had let out awhile ago; everyone was gone for the weekend.

But here she was, sitting with her elbows on her knees, glaring out at the front lawn. Right about now, Danny would be wondering if she was mad, why she'd called him an idiot.

He was so completely frustrating and thick-headed and shallow and a jerk and he walked all over her and Tucker and he never noticed anything and he didn't care about anything that even hinted at being more than an inch deep …

And she loved him; as angry as she was at him, she still loved him.

It was sort of pathetic, really. He didn't love her; he was too hopeless for Paulina. She had no idea what the hell he saw in her. Not that there was much to see; there was nothing to Paulina. She had her pretty face … and that was it. One day, that prettiness would be gone and then what would she have? Nothing, that's what. A fat load of nothing. Maybe then the stupid girl would realize what a stupid thing she'd done by throwing away Danny's affections.

"If she wasn't so popular, would you still like her, Danny?" Sam asked the cold cement ground.

"Uh, Sam? You know that's not Danny, right?"

Sam closed her eyes; the last person she wanted to see right now – aside from Danny himself – was his sister.

"Everything okay?" Jazz set down her books and sat down beside Sam.

"Everything's great," Sam said dully.

"You couldn't sound more convincing." Jazz smiled a little, touching Sam's arm.

"Would you give up on the saving the world act?" Sam snapped, her eyes flying open, pulling away. Jazz raised an eyebrow.

"You know who you sound like, don't you?"

Sam groaned, burying her face in her hands.

"What did he do this time?"

"Aside from being a real jerk, nothing." Sam paused, raised her head from her hands, and added: "Okay, so he yelled at me for saving him from that ugly gho … gorilla-of-a-math-teacher-we've-got." Sam glanced quickly at the other girl, hoping she hadn't noticed her slip-up. Jazz nodded, appearing to have missed it.

"Danny … Danny's a good kid. You're his best friend; you should know that better than anyone. He doesn't mean to make you mad, and I know he'd never try to make you cry."

"Does everyone know about that?" Sam sighed, turning to look at Jazz.

"Well … yeah, pretty much."


Jazz got to her feet after a moment of silence.

"Look, Sam. Danny never means to be hurt anyone. Sure, he's really annoying a lot of the time, but he's also a sweet heart … he just doesn't want anyone to find that out. Someday, Paulina's really going to regret rejecting him." She touched Sam's shoulder, tentatively. "Danny loves you, Sam, even if he doesn't know it right now."

At Sam's frown, Jazz laughed.

"You two are so obvious, it's disgusting."

" … Everyone knows about that too, right?"

"Yeah, that too."

Sam shook her head.

"Go home and don't stress over it anymore," Jazz advised. "He'll come around eventually."

Jazz gathered up her things and began down the steps. Sam watched her a moment.

"Hey, um, Jazz?" Sam called, before the older girl could walk away. She'd never liked Jazz all that much … but she was okay. Aside from her perfect do-gooder complex.

Jazz turned around, curious.


Jazz smiled.

"Hey, anytime."

Sam didn't know how long ago Tucker had left; but she was glad for the time she had by herself. She walked home alone; thinking about all Jazz had told her. Her head bent, the late afternoon sun beating down upon Amity Parks, cars whizzing their way home, children giggling as they played. She turned onto her street and froze when she saw Danny sitting on the steps in front of her house. How long had he been there?

He looked up, brilliant blue eyes widening when he spied her. He grinned nervously.

"Hey, Sam," he said, standing up and running a hand through his already messy hair.

Looking at him now, only a few feet in front of her, smiling sheepishly at her, she found she couldn't stay mad at him.

"Hi, Danny," she said, holding tightly to the strap of her backpack. "What … what are you doing here?"

He bit his lip, frowning a little.

"Um … Sam, I'm really sorry I was such a jerk and made you cry; I swear I didn't mean to," he said quickly, rubbing his arm. "I was just worried about you. I … I don't want to see you hurt. I couldn't stand it if something happened to you."

She tried to find the willpower to summon at least a bit of anger, tried to think of some nasty retort … but she smiled instead. The way he was looking at her, bright eyes wide, pleading her forgiveness … Sam rolled her eyes.

"I was trying to help you," she said.

"Yeah … thanks for that." He grinned, looking thoroughly relieved, and slightly embarrassed.

"What're friends for?" She shrugged, swallowing hard. She moved past him, toward her door, trying to hard to keep her heart from sinking. Jazz had told her not to stress over it … he'd get it eventually … but disappointment still gathered within her.

She loved him more than anything. She wished he could see that. She wished he could see his own feelings.

She turned the doorknob and pushed the door open. Danny wasn't going to figure out anything for a long while … or until Jazz got fed up with the whole thing and decided to tell him. Until then, there was nothing she could do but wait. Knowing that he loved her made it both worse at better; but at least she could be patient. Right now, it was nice to have her best friend back. Even if he was an oblivious moron.

"Uh … Sam?"

She stopped, one foot inside the house, and looked back at him. A lock of black hair had fallen into his clear eyes; he shifted from one foot to the other, rubbing his arm again nervously.

"You, um, wanna go catch a movie?" he asked, blue eyes wide and anxious.

She smiled and nodded, gazing down at him from the doorway.

Maybe he'd put the pieces together sooner than anyone anticipated.