Author's Note: Sorry this is so late! My dad needed my laptop for, like, ever. I just now got it back.
Oh, dear. I have tons of reviewers saying that they'll be sick if this doesn't end with Danny/Sam, a good number of reviewers hoping for Danny/Paulina, and the few reviewers who recognize it's just a story and it doesn't really matter what happens. This is exactly why I was worried about the ending.
As for Danny accepting Paulina way too fast, well, he's tried to confess his feelings twice to different girls at this point (Valerie and Sam), but they both said no before he even got a chance. So, to hear Paulina say that she loves him is something that he's been wanting to hear not just from her, but from Valerie and Sam as well. Doesthis mean that really he loves her? He's only fourteen; what would he know about love anyway? Plus, Danny doesn't always think things through first. His strong desire to be popular has caused him to act brashly in Attack of the Killer Garage Sale, Lucky in Love,and Parental Bonding. It's just his nature, really, and while we would want him to act one way about things, we have to remember that he is only a boy, a freshman in high school. I tried to imply the feeling as best as I could without going into a huge explanation, but I suppose I'll have to fix it when I rewrite this whole story.
The Luckiest Girl in the World
"Hey, Tucker!" said Paulina, holding her tray of food. She sat down next to him. "Where's Danny?"
Tucker eyed her suspiciously. "Paulina, how do you really feel about him? I mean, are you only interested in him because he's also Danny Phantom?"
Paulina smiled. "I really like him, Tucker. He's a wonderful person." She remembered how nice the tech geek was to her when the wish was in effect. "You're a wonderful person, too!" She hugged him.
Tucker was stunned. "Wow, Paulina." He knew that even if she was faking an interest in Danny, the Paulina from just two days before would never, ever hug him. "You've changed," he said.
"I have indeed," said Paulina, releasing the boy. "So, where's Danny?"
Tucker handed Paulina the picture. "What is that?" he asked, deliberately ignoring Paulina's query.
Paulina froze in shock. How did he get this? She hesitated before answering, "Well, it's…it's a picture of me and Danny, obviously."
"Yeah, obviously." Tucker rolled his eyes. "When did it happen? Definitely not last night. Danny's mom moved that lamp on the table next to the couch a month ago."
Paulina shrugged. "Oh, well…remember that one time when Danny and I were dating for a little while?"
"I do," said Tucker with a smirk, "but you don't."
Paulina stared at him. How did he know? She didn't remember, it was true; she had only the testimonies of her friends as evidence of the whole incident, but how could he possibly know that? "What do you mean?"
"You were overshadowed by a ghost during that time," replied Tucker.
Paulina blinked. That explained a lot.
"Sam says that that picture definitely used to have her in it instead of you. Is that true?" asked Tucker.
"Sam saw it?" Paulina's eyes widened.
"She picked it up after you dropped it yesterday. Did you somehow steal the original from Sam and doctor it?" asked Tucker. "You're gonna have to teach me if you did. It's an amazing job."
Paulina slowly shook her head with conscious effort. "I did not." Delphine did.
Tucker raised a brow. "Why are you wearing Goth clothes in the picture? In fact—" He stole a quick glance at the photo. "—those are Sam's clothes, aren't they?"
"I look good in black," said Paulina with a shrug, "and you can find those clothes anywhere. I still had them from this one party of Dash's." She cursed Delphine under her breath. Delphine gave her this picture because it was what she, Paulina, wanted, or did Delphine just want to play on her emotions for her own sadistic pleasure, just like Danny said? Did the ghost want this to happen?
Tucker looked at her calmly and asked, "Paulina, where did you get this picture?"
Paulina looked at the photo, then back at Tucker. "It's mine," she said simply.
"Paulina, did you—"
Tucker frowned. "Look, Paulina, you can keep that for yourself if you want, but at least give the original back to Sam."
"This is the original," said Paulina. And I'm not lying, she silently added. "Where's Danny?" she asked suddenly, her voice louder.
The abruptness of the question startled Tucker, causing him to answer without hesitation. "Oh, he's with Sam outside." He felt like smacking himself afterwards. He wanted Danny and Sam to be alone, to realize their true feelings for each other. Paulina had a way of ruining everything.
Paulina's mouth hung open in wonder. "Why…?"
Tucker searched his mind, trying to find some valid excuse. "Oh, just, you know—"
Paulina jumped to her feet. "You can have my lunch, Tucker." She ran out of the cafeteria, ignoring Tucker calling her name.
Danny and Sam walked in awkward silence around the school. Danny waited for the Goth girl to say something, but she kept quiet. Finally, he said, "I really do think you like nice in that outfit, Sam."
"Thank-you," said Sam, but her tone was empty.
They stopped underneath a tree and stood. Neither said anything for several moments. Finally, Danny coughed and said, "The weather is…nice."
Sam looked at Danny with an expression of longing, frustration, and sadness. "Why Paulina?"
Danny blinked. "Sorry?"
Sam reddened. "Danny, out of all of the girls...why Paulina?"
Danny stared at her, then looked away. "Why does it bother you?"
Sam groaned. "Because you're my best friend, and I don't want to you to get hurt!"
"You don't need to worry about me, Sam," said Danny quietly. "I can take care of myself."
Sam said nothing for a few seconds before taking a deep breath. "Danny, Sunday night…when I said that I…"
Danny looked back at her, his eyes reflecting a question.
Sam swallowed. "When I said that I didn't feel the same way, I…Danny, I do feel the same way."
Danny stepped back. "What?" He stared at her. "But…wait…what?"
"I don't know why I said that!" Sam cried. "I don't know! I don't know! I wasn't thinking! It isn't true! Not true at all!" She desperately fought her rising emotions, emotions that came out of nowhere. Why am I feeling this way? This isn't me at all. "I love you, Danny." She said it, but what effect would it have? "I love you." She chuckled. "The way you've been acting for the past couple of months…I thought maybe you felt the same way."
Danny swallowed and averted his gaze. He remembered the girl on the swing… "I do," he said softly.
Sam was surprised by this simple phrase. Danny explained further, "I do feel that way about you." He put a hand to his head and started muttering and shaking his head.
"Danny?" Sam's tone was concerned.
"No, no, no, no…" he moaned. "No, no, no!" He focused his eyes on her again. He looked disoriented. "Why are you doing this? Why did you say that on Sunday if…?"
Sam growled. "I already told you! I don't know! It just happened! I just did! I don't know why! Just believe me now, please!" She felt tears springing to her eyes. "I can't stand seeing you with Paulina."
Danny's eyes widened at her outburst. He studied her. "Sam, what's going on?"
Sam blinked away a bit of the wetness in her eyes. "Hmm?"
"You just seem so…emotional. I've never seen you like this." He gently took hold of her shoulders. "Are you okay?"
A feeling washed over her, a horrible feeling of impending doom. It was something she had consciously felt ever since the morning of the day before. The week before that, she had felt nothing; she only acted, never thought. She remembered angrily snapping at Tucker earlier, something that she would've never normally done. "I don't know," she said. "Yesterday morning, I woke up and I felt…horrible. Depressed, even. I felt terrible about everything, my life." She looked at him warily. "I hated myself for everything I was."
Danny dropped his jaw in shock and released his hold on her shoulders. "Do you still feel like that?"
Sam shook her head. "No, no! I managed to get over it as the day went on! What's weird is…I've never felt like that before. Never. To wake up one day with such a feeling is just—I don't know." She exhaled loudly. "I still feel kind of depressed, though. I don't know why. Nothing too out of the ordinary has happened to make me feel this way. Well, except for you and Paulina getting together, but I felt like this before that even happened…"
Danny moved his eyes about her face. He was worried. "Sam, maybe you could see…a psychiatrist or something—"
Sam glared at him. "I don't need to see a psychiatrist!"
"Well, maybe it's something that—"
"No!" yelled Sam. "It's not like that! I don't know how to describe it! It's almost like an artificial feeling, as if it's not really mine, but somehow, it is!"
Danny looked down at the ground. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you or anything, but I worry about you. I care about you."
Sam threw her hands up into the air. "Oh, just answer my first question! Why are you with Paulina?"
"Well…" Danny shrugged, not sure how to cope with the confliction within him. "I like her, too, and well, you said that you didn't feel that way about me, so I..." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "I just kind of…got caught up in it, I guess." So, then, were his feelings for Paulina real? He wondered this, but if they weren't real, then maybe his feelings for Sam and even Valerie were just as false.
Sam clenched her fists. "Danny, do you love Paulina?"
"I…" He sadly shook his head, not as an answer, but in an attempt to clear his head. "I thought I did."
Sam said nothing. Her shock turned into numbness that surged through her whole body.
Paulina ran, whipping her head around frantically. No, you don't! Oh, no you don't, Sam!
She finally spotted Danny and Sam talking together under a tree. She ran towards them and was surprised to find that they were not talking at all. They held one another's gaze with fierce intensity, as if in some sort of trance.
Paulina looked first at Danny, then Sam, then Danny again. "Um, what's going on?"
Danny sharply inhaled and tore his eyes away from Sam to look at Paulina. "Paulina!" he said breathlessly. Sam grimaced.
Paulina instantly brightened and put her arms around him. "I've been looking for you!" She kissed him and shot Sam a devious look. The Goth girl stood her ground.
Danny gently pushed the Hispanic girl away. "Paulina, you know…this isn't the best time right now."
"See?" shouted Sam, her voice shaking. "See? You like her!" She quickly swallowed. This wasn't like her. Why was she acting like this?
"No! No, I don't!" cried Danny.
"You don't?" Paulina was hurt.
Danny groaned. "I didn't mean it like that. Paulina, please. I need to talk to Sam alone."
Sam observed Paulina casually, aware of how close she was to Danny. She swiftly pulled Paulina away from him so that the two girls stood side by side. "Danny, which of us do you like?"
Danny said nothing. Sam sighed. "I promise I won't get mad, okay? I just…I just want to hear it from you."
Danny was quiet for a couple of seconds before responding, "I like you both."
"You can't like us both," said Sam.
"But I do," said Danny, "I do, and I don't know why."
The whole world seemed to be falling apart for Paulina. Perplexed and a little hysterical, she asked, "What is going on?"
"How could you like someone like her, though?" asked Sam. "She only likes you because she knows you're her precious ghost boy. I always liked you! I always liked both sides of you! Valerie hates your ghost half, Paulina hated your human half, but I always liked all of you!"
Danny sighed. His heart went out to his friend, to the girl that had always been there for him. "Sam, I just—isn't it possible for other girls to like me? You can't be so hard on Paulina. She didn't know before, and now she does, and just because you're the first girl I've ever actually…" He stopped.
"Yes, I didn't know before. Is that my fault?" demanded Paulina of Sam. Sam turned to her with weary eyes. "I didn't know before, but now I do. You're not the only one that likes all of him."
Sam glared at her. "I don't know what you're trying to do, Paulina, but I don't trust you. You've always treated us like we were no one."
"I've changed!" cried Paulina. "Doesn't anyone understand that?"
Sam released Paulina and said, "You should just pick her. She'd probably blackmail if you didn't." She didn't mean it. Of course she didn't want Danny to pick the Latina. It was just an outburst of emotion, a silent cry for Danny to reconsider everything.
"How would I do that?" asked Paulina, her hands on her hips. She was angry now.
"You'll tell everyone he's Danny Phantom if he doesn't date you, right?" Sam pressed. "Right?"
"No, I wouldn't," said Paulina, appalled.
"Ha!" cried Sam, throwing her head back. She had never felt so livid in her life. How was Paulina able to provoke that part of her?
"I wouldn't!" protested Paulina. "I wouldn't because I really do like Danny, and…" She turned to the boy. "You like me, too…right?"
Danny was sad and confused. He didn't really know what to do. "I do," he said.
Sam lowered her eyes and started to walk away. Danny grabbed her arm before she could get too far. "Sam, don't be like that. Please."
Sam blinked, puzzled by his disconsolate expression.
Danny sighed and turned back to the Hispanic girl. "Paulina, I'm sorry, but…I don't think this is going to work right now."
Paulina felt her heart shatter. She tried to move, tried to say something to him, anything. Why was this happening? They hadn't even been together for a whole day…
Danny shrugged. His mind felt clouded over. "You know, maybe we're too young for this anyway. We're just freshmen." He smiled resignedly and walked away. The two girls stared after him.
Paulina and Sam met each other's eyes. Sam glared at the other girl and asked in a low tone, "Where is my picture?"
Paulina felt a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach. She knew what the Goth was talking about. She could feel the photo in her pocket. "Your picture?"
"Don't play dumb," said Sam quietly. "I want it back. Where is it?"
"I really don't know what you're talking about."
"You dropped a photo yesterday. I picked it up. It was my picture, but instead of me, it was you! How did you do that? Why did you do that? Where is the real picture?" demanded Sam.
Paulina tried to look innocent. "You picked it up? Well, why don't you let me see it so that I know what you're talking about?"
Sam took off one of her school bag straps from her shoulder and swung the pack around to her front. She searched for several minutes. Paulina watched her, waiting patiently. Finally, the Goth threw up her hands in defeat and looked back up at Paulina. "I can't find it."
Paulina raised a brow. "Well, then, I'm afraid I can't help you."
Sam glared at her. "You did something. Last week…you did something. I don't know what, but you definitely did something. What are you plotting?"
"Nothing," Paulina answered truthfully.
Sam narrowed her eyes and briskly walked away. Paulina watched her leave, a pang of guilt hitting her with a terrible force. She really likes him. Paulina lowered her eyes. I…took him away from her. She thought she heard Delphine laugh, but quickly dismissed it as her imagination. How could everything go so wrong in such a short amount of time?
She straightened up. No more. No more lying and cheating. If I want Danny, I'll get him myself. No tricks. I won't give up. I will press forward.
The bell rang. She headed back to the school. Everything was different now. She was different now. The old her would've been angry and wanted revenge. Nobody broke up with the old Paulina. The new Paulina, however, felt fresh determination.
"Paulina, you're with Danny?" asked Star, running up to her in the hall. "Ha! I knew you liked him!"
Paulina smiled. "You were right," she said, "and someday, maybe he'll come back to me."
Someday seemed so far away and yet, so close. Maybe someday, she'd turn into one of the losers she used to make fun of, or maybe someday, she'd go back to her old, shallow ways. If that ever happened—
A thought mildly amused her, something that Sam said. Paulina grinned. If that ever happened, well, then she'd have something to blackmail the ghost boy with.
The End! Why does it end here, with so many unanswered questions? Two reasons:
1. While there were other characters thrown in, it was mostly a plot of discovery for Paulina, a search for understanding about human nature, about her nature. She slowly but surely made realizations about her life and even changed for the better. Her last lesson here was that she couldn't always have her way, that she could lose. She's not a completely transformed individual. Of course she still isn't perfect, but it's the beginning of the rest of her life for her. She sees things differently now. The story was mostly about her, and so it really was only obligated to end her conflict.
2. It's not actually over yet. Nope. This leads into Sam's own story of discovery which I felt like writing when I finished the planning for this story. I had so much fun with Paulina that I thought I'd give Sam a try. It's not in my profile since I really don't want to advertise something with no title yet. I want to kind of match "The Luckiest Girl in the World" where the word "luckiest" is meant to be somewhat ironic, but I just can't think of anything. I'm so lame...
And now, I know a lot of you are wondering this, and since there won't be a next section, Iwill answer it here. If you have another question that you really, really, really want me to answer, say so in a review or send me a message.
Why did it end with no pairing? Danny felt kind of flustered. He thought that he loved Paulina, but then he wasn't sure. So, he also wondered if maybe his feelings for Sam weren't exactly real. Something like that can really mess with one's head, you know? To end it with Danny/Paulina wouldn't have made any sense because their relationship wasn't built on anythingvery solid. As much as I would've loved for Danny and Paulina to get together, I just knew it wouldn't work. Ending it with Danny/Sam is the only thing that makes sense, but Danny isn't heartless like some ofyou guys. He wouldn't immediately take Sam after breaking up with Paulina. Not only that, but he doesn't know what his true feelings are at the moment for anyone. Okay, and now for a more practical answer. The story is about Paulina, so the ending needed to somewhat revolve around Paulina. For this kind of story, ending it with her being sad wouldn't work.It had to either be a happy endingor a bittersweet ending. Having her live"happily ever after" with Danny was obviously out of the question, so the ending had to be bittersweet. For it to end with Danny/Sam would only make Paulina sad and angry/jealous at the current point she is at in her life. No, she wouldn't have been happy that Danny had someone who was right for him. She did not change that much in such a short amount of time. So, the only option so that the ending worked for Paulina was to have no pairing at the end. But, you know, that'll make for a better sequel anyway.
I would really like to thank all who reviewed individually, but that would be a rather long list if I put it here, seeing as there are over 100 individual reviewers for this story(yes, I counted just to see if I could do that). So, maybe I'll send you guys messages. Well, I can't do that for anonymous reviews...I'll try and think of something. I really wish I could devote a chapter to it, but that's against the rules. But, in advance, thank-you! Even though a bunch of you probably hate it now...I'll make up for it with the sequel, I promise! You don't have to read it, I guess, but since most of you like Sam and hate Paulina, most of you will probably like the sequel more.
When is the sequel going to be up? I don't really know. In the near future, but there's no set date. I have to at least get the first 10,000 words done before I even think about it.