Author's Note: When I originally conceived this idea about eleven years ago, I had it in my head that Paulina and Sam would switch lives, not necessarily places. By that, I mean that Paulina would still have her own parents, her own house, her own name, her own style, her own looks, and even her own hobbies and interests. Basically, she'd be girly, but she'd also be unpopular and friends with Danny and Tucker. Likewise, Sam would still be goth and have her own family, but she'd be popular. The only thing that would really be switched would be their personalities. Sam would be stuck-up, Paulina would be expected to be more sympathetic and loyal. Sorry if that makes no sense, but I thought it was a cool idea...
Why did I change it? Eh...honestly, I gave into pressure from my reviewers. Everyone sounded so excited for them to actually switch places, and I didn't want to disappoint them too much. Do I regret that decision? Nah. I like what I ended up going with. This way would've certainly been interesting, though. It would've added some interesting layers to Paulina's discoveries.
So, here is the original way I wrote these parts. I didn't thoroughly grammar-check them, sorry.
The Luckiest Girl in the World
Alternate version of Part 12
Paulina opened her eyes with a little difficulty the following morning as her alarm clock blared. She reached over to her nightstand, turned it off, and let her head sink back into her pillow. "Mmm…Danny…" she moaned.
She bolted into a sitting position. "I mean Danny Phantom, of course! Not that loser…"
She spoke in her own voice. She looked around. It was her own room. She jumped out of bed and ran to her vanity, looking into her mirror. Her eyes. Her hair. Her body. She was still Paulina.
"But…that girl…Delphine…she said that when I woke up, I'd be Sam," whispered Paulina, perplexed.
She stared at herself, her eyes slowly hardening. "I'm so stupid. It was just a dream. I'm too quick to believe…I'm so gullible…"
Dolefully, she showered, dressed in her usual jeans and pink shirt, applied her normal amount of make-up, and placed the same pink clips in her hair. She slowly walked downstairs and into the kitchen where her mother and father were already eating breakfast.
"Hi, Mama. Hi, Papa," greeted Paulina glumly.
"Good morning, sweetheart," said her mother.
"Did you sleep well?" asked her father.
Paulina raised a brow. "You two are acting a little strange." She opened the cupboard and started making herself some cereal.
"How so?" her mother asked.
"I don't know…" Paulina poured some milk into her cereal, grabbed a spoon, and sat down between her parents at the table. She studied their faces. Their faces reflected kindness, but Paulina could see a hint of sympathy in their eyes.
"Well, you should hurry and eat, sweetheart," her mother said, standing and going to the sink to rinse her dishes, "Your friends will be here soon."
"Yeah, you took your time getting ready today," her father teased.
Paulina swallowed what was in her mouth and pouted. "I don't feel like going to school with Dash and Star today."
"Dash and Star?" Her mother frowned.
"Some new friends of yours?" asked her father.
"They're my best friends, Papa," corrected Paulina.
"Did you get in a fight with Danny and Tucker or something?" her mother questioned.
"Danny and Tucker…?" Paulina trailed off. She was really addled now.
"You three have been best friends forever," her father said, "Are you not anymore?"
The doorbell rang just then. Paulina jolted. "Uh, I'll get it." Abandoning her half-eaten breakfast, she ran to the door and threw it open.
There stood two boys who were considered losers by just about everyone in the school. Paulina met their looks of familiarity with a blank stare. After a few seconds of awkward silence, Danny cleared his throat and said timidly, "Paulina? Are you ready? Jazz volunteered to drive us today." He motioned to a pink Beetle parked along the road. A girl with red hair was sitting in the driver's seat. She waved.
Paulina tried to move. Her body would not obey her mind.
Danny and Tucker exchanged baffled glances. They backed away. "Okay, then…see you at school," said Danny as he started to leave with Tucker.
"No, wait…I'm coming," said Paulina, her muscles starting to work again. She called to her parents, "Bye, Mama, Papa! I'm leaving!" She grabbed her school bag, which was always by the front door, and walked out, closing the door behind her. She followed the two boys to the street.
"You feeling okay?" asked Danny, concerned.
"Yeah, you seem kind of out it," said Tucker. The three climbed into Jazz's car with Danny in the passenger's seat and Tucker and Paulina in the back.
"Oh, I'm fine. It's just morning," replied Paulina as convincingly as she could.
Jazz shifted gears and started the drive to school. Paulina observed the red-head. Danny's sister…I remember her…she was at Ember's concert…
"I don't know, Paulina. You just don't seem yourself today. Usually, you're all bubbly, but you seem mild now," said Tucker.
"Are you under stress or something?" asked Jazz, not taking her eyes off the road, "Have you been having problems with your parents?"
"Ah, Jazz. Don't psychoanalyze her." Danny turned his head to look at his sister. Paulina was in the seat right behind him, so she could really only see the top of his hair over the headrest.
"Seatbelt, Danny," said Jazz. Danny huffed. Paulina could see his hand reach for the belt and pull it across him. He fastened it securely.
"You two better have your seatbelts on as well." Jazz glanced at her rearview mirror to look at Tucker and Paulina in the back.
"Oh…" Paulina quickly put her seatbelt on as well. Tucker was already wearing his. Paulina looked out the window. She still had no idea what was going on. She wasn't sure how to assess the situation. She was still Paulina, that was for sure, but everything else was different.
Jazz then pulled up to Casper High. The three freshmen hopped out. Jazz then drove away to the student parking lot.
"So, you sure you're okay?" Danny placed a hand on her shoulder. The act of familiarity from him felt strange to Paulina. Danny and Tucker…they were her best friends now.
"Yes, don't worry. I'm fine," said Paulina. The three walked into the school. Tucker engaged Danny in a conversation about some new feature on his PDA. Paulina let her thoughts drift. Delphine…she said I'd trade lives with Sam. Does that mean that Sam is popular now?
They were at Danny's locker now. Paulina looked at the dark-haired teenager in wonder. Well, maybe now he'll tell me about the ghost boy. It was then that Danny's arm went through his locker.
Paulina's jaw dropped. Danny pulled his arm back out, but it was now carrying a school book. Paulina didn't blink. She didn't move. She simply stared in wonder and confusion at Danny's arm.
"Paulina, hello?" Tucker waved a hand in front of her face.
Paulina snapped out of her trance and cried, "His arm! Danny, your arm!"
Danny raised a brow. "What? What about my arm?"
"It just—I mean—it went through the locker!" Paulina gasped.
Danny and Tucker stared at her. "There is definitely something wrong with her today," said Tucker to Danny.
"Ah…nevermind," said Paulina, shaking her head. They must think I'm crazy.
A dark-haired girl wearing black, gothic attire strolled past just then. A swarm of boys were close behind her. Danny smiled and said pensively, "Sam…she looks so beautiful today, don't you think?"
"Wasn't it just yesterday that you said that you were over her?" asked Tucker.
"I said maybe, Tuck," replied Danny.
Paulina watched Sam intently. She looked the same as always except that she was smiling and flirting with all of the boys around her. "Why are you interested in that goth freak?" asked Paulina. It was then that she realized that that was actually her, Paulina. She was actually Sam. I just insulted myself!
"Paulina, I know you don't like her very much, and you have good reason to, but that one night…when I was with her…it was amazing. Magical, even," explained Danny.
What one night? I don't remember ever spending a night with him. Paulina smiled impishly. Maybe I should, though. Now that I'm Sam…I might be able to…Ah, what am I thinking?
"Er, what night was that?" asked Paulina, hoping that Sam didn't already know, though she had a feeling that the goth already did. Still, she was curious, so she took the risk.
"Uh, Paulina? You were there, remember?" Tucker said.
Paulina winced. "Oh, uh…yes. I remember now." So, what? Danny and I were together some night? And Sam was there, too? She put a hand to her forehead. Why don't I remember this?
"Do you have a headache or something?" asked Danny.
The bell rang. Paulina shook her head, "Oh, no. I'm fine. We better get to class." She started walking away.
"Paulina!" called Tucker, "Where are you going?"
Paulina turned around, "To Science."
"Why? Our first class is Home Ec.." said Tucker.
Paulina blinked. Oh, right. I'm Sam now. She smiled awkwardly, "Sorry, I forgot." She rejoined the two boys. As they started to walk away, Paulina looked at Sam one last time, who was opening her locker.
No, wait…that's my locker. Paulina caught a glimpse of a shrine to Danny Phantom in the locker, but it was black and much darker than the one that the Latina had in there before. That must mean that Sam's locker is now mine. Great, I don't know the combination to it. She saw Star greet Sam and pull her away.
I can't believe I'm hanging out with losers while Sam is hanging out with the cool kids! Paulina sighed. Oh, well. It's just until I find out more about the ghost boy.
"Paulina? Are you absolutely positive that you are alright?" Danny looked at her closely.
"I'm fine…really," said Paulina, but she knew that her "best friends" didn't believe her.
Alternate version of Part 13
Paulina found that she couldn't concentrate on anything the entire morning. Her wish had truly come true. It seemed strange to her. She wanted to ask Danny about the ghost boy every moment she was with him, but something inside of her kept silencing her questions before they could be uttered. She just didn't know what to make of anything. It was frustrating for her.
She sat in Sam's seats in all of Sam's classes. Why? Why did she still have her body, her house, her parents, but everything else was Sam's? Exactly what did Delphine do?
The Latina jumped at the sound of her name. She looked up to meet Danny's light blue eyes. Tucker was beside him, fiddling around with his PDA.
Danny shifted his weight. He looked uncomfortable. "Didn't you hear the bell ring?"
Paulina looked at the clock, but she couldn't get her eyes to focus correctly. "Did it?"
"Yeah. Do you not plan on eating? Again?" said Tucker with an amiable, teasing smile.
"Paulina, you have to eat. You're not fat," said Danny seriously. He opposed Tucker's banter with a true, caring tone.
Paulina blinked and inattentively picked up her school supplies. Her other friends never showed such concern for her. Of all the times she had skipped lunch before in an attempt to keep her slim figure, none of her popular friends ever said anything or even seemed to really notice. It was different to hear the boy that she had always ridiculed before look at or talk to her like that.
Danny gently took her arm and pulled her out of her seat. "Come on. There's sloppy joes today!"
Paulina allowed Danny to lead her out of the room. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Tucker's lips curl into a secretive smile.
At lunch, Paulina couldn't help but giggle at the irony of Danny making her eat when she had done the same thing to him the previous day, but as Paulina. She had never tried sloppy joes before. They had always looked incredibly fattening to her. After one bite, she wondered how she had survived so long without them.
"This is really good!" exclaimed Paulina, her mouth still full, not worrying about manners at the moment. She figured that as long as she was sitting with losers, it was okay to act like a loser.
"See? Eating is good, and meat heightens the senses," said Tucker matter-of-factly, "Now, if only Sam would realize that…"
"That eating is good?" asked Paulina.
"That meat is good," corrected Tucker.
"Oh, yeah. She's a vegetarian," Paulina rolled her eyes, "Danny, I told you she was a freak."
Danny breathed deeply. "She sure is pretty, though." Paulina took that as a compliment for herself and inwardly beamed with vanity.
"So, you're really not over her, huh? Yesterday, it sounded like your lunch with her didn't go that well," said Tucker.
Danny shrugged casually, but Paulina could see the sadness in his eyes. "She's just obsessed with Danny Phantom. It's just so weird that she likes him but not me," said Danny.
"Why would that be weird?" questioned Paulina, her mouth full with more meat. She swallowed the bite.
Danny and Tucker stared at her, both clearly puzzled. Danny opened his mouth to say something but was stopped when Sam suddenly appeared next to him.
"Hey, Danny," greeted Sam, an unfamiliar, seductive smile on her face. Her eyes reflected desire and ulterior motives.
Wow, is that what I look like? thought Paulina. Sam always looked kind of scary to her, but this time, she actually appeared sinister.
The goth sat down next to Danny and said, "I just wanted to apologize for yesterday. I really don't know what came over me."
Danny blushed. Tucker asked, "What are you talking about?"
Paulina realized then that she was talking about the kiss she herself had forced on Danny the day before. Sam grinned cheekily at her and said, "Oh, Danny didn't tell you?"
"Ah, Sam…not now," pleaded Danny. Paulina only blinked.
"What? What didn't Danny tell us?" Tucker was impatient.
Sam snickered and said, "Oh, it was amazing, Paulina. Danny tasted so good."
Paulina raised a brow. She didn't remember the kiss getting that intense. She remembered just putting her tongue in his mouth when he suddenly pulled away.
Danny's head sank lower. Paulina shrugged and said, "You're telling me this…why?"
Sam's jaw dropped slightly. She obviously didn't expect Paulina to react like that. "Well, I mean, ah…Danny! And me! We kissed!"
"Okay, whatever. I don't care," said Paulina. She knew that she was really Sam and that Sam had an obvious thing for Danny, but she was still Paulina as well, and she really didn't care. She also knew that Sam was really her, and that she, Paulina, loved to make Sam jealous in any way she could.
Sam's frown stayed in place for only a moment before she replaced it with another smile. "Well, you don't care because you know that you don't have a chance with him anyway. He could never fall for an ugly slut like you."
Paulina huffed, taken aback. "Who are you calling a slut?"
"Paulina, don't start…" beseeched Danny.
"Wow, you're not too bright, are you?" Sam stood, ran a quick hand through Danny's hair in a possessive manner, and walked away to rejoin the popular kids.
Paulina was shocked. Am I really that mean? She looked at Danny, who had his head in his hands.
"Dude, you okay?" asked Tucker.
Danny looked up and said defensively, "Okay, just so you know, Paulina, she kissed me. I didn't do anything."
"Danny, it's okay. You sound as if you think I'm going to attack you," said Paulina.
"You mean…you aren't?" asked Danny. He looked confused.
"No, it's fine. I don't care," said Paulina truthfully.
"I care, though," said a voice next to them. The three looked up to see a tall blond towering over them.
"Dash!" gasped Tucker.
"Did you guys tell Fenton how I feel about him being around Sam?" asked Dash menacingly.
"Wait, what are you talking about?" asked Paulina before she could stop herself.
Dash turned cold eyes on her. Paulina subconsciously shrank away. She had never seen him look at her that way before. The blond jock said, "I said that Fenton would be sorry if I ever caught him with Sam again. Did you geeks tell him that?"
"Well, yes, but—" Tucker began, but that was all that Dash wanted to hear. He abruptly grabbed the front of Danny's shirt, pulled him up, and growled, "You're gonna get it, Fenton. I'm giving you one last chance. Stay away from Sam." He threw the smaller boy roughly back into the table and stomped away.
Danny's eyes were wide with fright. "Hey, man, you okay?" asked Tucker.
Danny slowly nodded and sat back down on the bench. Tucker went on, "I did tell you, actually, but you just laughed."
For a moment, Paulina actually felt sorry for Danny. She looked back at the table of popular kids. She saw Dash reclaim his seat next to Sam. He's that protective of me? She shook her head.
The bell rang. Danny, Tucker, and Paulina were the last ones to leave the cafeteria.
Alternate version of Part 14
The rest of the day was just as confusing for Paulina. Everyone treated her differently. The boys ignored her and the girls made offensive comments about her that were just loud enough for her to hear. Danny and Tucker were the only two people who paid any real attention to her. In class, they made jokes about their teachers that actually made her laugh, unlike Dash who never said anything truly funny. She saw new sides of the two boys, specifically Danny. She never knew he was so much fun to be around.
In English, Paulina sat behind Danny, who sat next to Tucker. She could see Sam and Dash sitting next to each other out of the corner of her eye. Sam was applying some violet-colored lipstick while Dash was scribbling something on a sheet of paper.
Paulina was tempted to pull out her own make-up and mirror as well, but she resisted the urge. She knew Sam, the loser, would never do that. Then again, Danny and Tucker didn't seem to expect her to have Sam's personality, so maybe…just maybe…it would be okay…
Paulina reached into her bag slowly. I'll just make sure my make-up is okay. She grasped her mirror and was just about to pull it out when something zipped by her left ear and hit Danny in the back of his head, hard. He yelped loudly. The object fell to the floor next to him.
The entire class turned to look at Danny. Tucker frowned. Rubbing the spot where he was hit, Danny bent and picked up the item. Paulina moved her head to get a better look. It appeared to be some paper wrapped around something small.
"Mr. Fenton?" said a passive yet aggressive voice. Mr. Lancer stood next to him, his eyes narrowed. Danny kept the object out of view as Mr. Lancer said, "I'd appreciate it if you'd pay attention and not disrupt my class. I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you detention."
"But—I—Okay. Sorry," said Danny, defeated. Mr. Lancer scowled at him before moving back to the front of the class.
Paulina turned her head slightly. She saw Dash and Sam trying to suppress their laughter. Paulina couldn't help but chuckle as well. She covered her mouth with her hands to in an attempt to hide it.
By the way Danny was moving, Paulina could see that he was looking at the sheet of paper that Dash had thrown at him. I know it was Dash, thought Paulina, I saw him scrawling on some paper earlier…
Paulina saw the tips of Danny's ears redden. Tucker moved over to glance at it. Paulina tried to get a look at it as well, but she was not in a good position to do so. Sighing, she decided to wait until school was out for the day.
When the final bell rang, Paulina followed Tucker and Danny out the door. She was walking beside them when she suddenly found herself face-down on the floor.
Danny and Tucker immediately helped her up. The other students in the hall shrieked with laughter.
Paulina stood and brushed her hair out of her face. Sam stood before her with her posse of popular kids. "Nice one, loser." Laughing, she strolled away. The other kids taunted Paulina before following the goth girl.
"Sam tripped you," Tucker explained. The three started walking again.
"I'm so sorry, Paulina," said Danny, acting as if the ordeal was his fault, "She really can be nice, though…when she wants to be…" Danny rubbed the back of his head.
"Does it still hurt?" asked Paulina, deciding to not let Sam's behavior get to her.
"Does what still hurt?" asked Danny. He quickly put his hand down.
"You know what I'm talking about. What did he hit you with, anyway?" Paulina eyed Danny's right pocket. She saw Danny put the paper in there after he had looked at it.
"Oh. That." Danny shrugged. "It was just a stupid drawing."
"Wait, did you see who hit him?" asked Tucker.
"Yeah, it was Dash," said Paulina. She held out her hand to Danny. "Let me see it."
Reluctantly, Danny reached into his pocket and pulled out the sheet. He put it into her hand. "It was wrapped around a rock. I can feel a bump there already," said Danny, feeling the back of his head again.
Paulina gasped when she saw the picture. Dash was a terrible artist and had used stick figures, but the drawing still made her flinch. Dash had indicated which character were which with arrows and names. Danny was on the ground, his eyes were two small x's, his tongue was lolling out of his mouth. Dash had a foot on his chest. Sam smiled up at Dash. The blond jock had used red ink for blood, and Danny was covered in it.
"Wow, for stick figures, this is kind of graphic," said Paulina. She folded up the paper and placed it in her bag.
Danny and Tucker halted. Paulina turned back to them. "What? Why did you guys stop?"
"This is your locker," said Tucker with a quick gesture.
"Oh, yeah." Paulina moved in front of the locker Tucker had pointed out. She remembered that she didn't know the combination. She turned around to face the two boys again. "You know, it's not like I took out or put anything in my locker today. We don't need to stop here."
Tucker shrugged. "Whatever." He quickly opened his locker, which was nearby, and put in his books. He then took out his back-pack and shut the locker door.
"I need to go to mine, though," said Danny. The teenagers ventured to Danny's locker where Paulina saw his arm go through the door once again.
"There! It happened again! Surely you saw it, Tucker!" cried Paulina, grabbing the techno-geek's shoulders.
"What happened again?" asked Tucker, confused. Danny pulled on his back-pack and frowned as well.
"His arm! His arm, it…ah, forget it." Paulina shook her head.
Danny and Tucker raised brows. Paulina looked at Danny and suddenly remembered why she had wished to trade places with Sam in the first place. "Danny, there's something I want to ask you…"
She saw Tucker grin. Danny looked at her apologetically and said, "It's going to have to wait. Mr. Lancer gave me detention, remember?"
"Oh, yeah," replied Paulina, "It's not really fair, though. You didn't do anything."
Danny shrugged, but he was smiling. He quickly walked away.
When Danny was out of sight, Tucker said to Paulina, "Don't worry. Danny's starting to feel the same way."
He gave her a reassuring smile, but Paulina had no idea what he was talking about.
Part 15 was not meaningfully different from what was posted before
Alternate version of Part 16
In her room, Paulina stared blankly into her mirror. She saw her own face. Why wasn't she seeing Sam's?
She was unbelievably confused. She supposed it was okay. After all, she appeared to have at least traded lives with Sam, but it just wasn't what she wished for. Well, not exactly, anyway.
Her bed was cluttered with pictures that she had been going through. Instead of pictures of her with other popular kids, she found only photos of her with Danny and Tucker. There was one where they were at the park…one with them at an amusement park…another where they were eating at Nasty Burger… There were the pictures that were just weird, like the one with Danny and Tucker hugging, and another where they were in front of some sort of portal. Then, there were other pictures that confused Paulina…the ones with Danny Phantom.
They must all know him, but how? I need to find out. She cupped her face in her hands. She had no idea how long she had been sitting there looking at her reflection, thinking about Danny Phantom and how Tucker, Sam, and Danny fit in with him.
She wanted to be close to him again…to be in the arms of the boy she had fallen in love with. For some reason, it didn't matter to her that he was a ghost. She wondered if that was the reason she liked him so much in the first place.
Though lately, she had been having strange feelings about Danny Fenton. Whenever he looked at her, especially when he smiled, her heart would race. She'd feel a strange rush go through her. I don't like him, though! Paulina tried to reassure herself. He's such a loser! I mean, yeah, he's kind of fun, I guess, but come on! I wouldn't want to, like, hang out with him on a regular basis like I'm forced to now. I'm way too cool for that.
Her cell phone, which was resting on the dresser next to her, rang. She blinked and reached for it. Without even bothering to check who was calling her, she answered it. "Hello?"
"Paulina? It's Danny."
Paulina sat up straighter and replied, "Oh, hi! Aren't you supposed to be in detention?"
"It ended two hours ago. Mr. Lancer gave me so much work. My mind is exhausted," said Danny.
"That's too bad," Paulina said, not really caring. She searched for an excuse to hang up. "Listen, Danny, I'm going to have to—"
"Are you feeling better?"
"What?" Paulina asked.
"Tucker said you weren't feeling well earlier," explained Danny.
"Wait, you talked to him?"
"He just called me. He told me what happened earlier with Valerie." Danny sounded insecure, as if he wasn't sure if he should go on.
Paulina touched her cheek where Valerie had struck her. The swelling had gone down, but it was still a little pink. She had run up to her room right after Tucker's mom had dropped her off so that her parents wouldn't ask about it. "He did? Well, I-I don't know what came over me. It was just, uh, I don't know…" Paulina tried to search for the right words.
"You've kind of been acting strange all day, though. Is there something going on? Something that maybe I should know about?"
"No, no. Everything's fine. I just, ah, haven't been feeling well. I'll be okay tomorrow," said Paulina. She was glad that Danny couldn't see her. She knew that her face would've given away her lie.
"Well, Tucker also told me what happened when you were at his house…" began Danny.
This made Paulina a bit angry. She knew exactly what he was talking about. What business did that techno geek have to tell Danny about their earlier conversation? "Why? Why did he tell you? It had absolutely nothing to do with you!"
"What?" asked Danny, incredulous, "I think it had everything to with me!"
Now Paulina was perplexed. "What did Tucker tell you exactly?"
"He just said that you seemed worried about me, that you were asking strange questions about me."
"I most certainly was not! I didn't mention you at all! Why would I care about you?" said Paulina heatedly. She recognized too late what she had said.
"I—well—I don't know." Danny seemed hurt.
Paulina felt a small pang of guilt. She didn't like it, but she was supposed to be Danny's friend. She'd never learn anything about the ghost boy if she treated him the way Paulina would treat him.
"Danny, I didn't mean that," Paulina said quickly, forcefully, "I'm sorry. I just don't know what you're talking about."
"Okay, well, um, see you tomorrow." The call disconnected. Paulina, feeling horrible, closed her cell phone and heaved a big sigh.
"I can't believe I just did that. I have to remember that I'm Sam now!" she said aloud. She looked at the picture of Danny Phantom on her wall, which was still there despite the switch. I'm not really Sam, though. I'm still Paulina…in Sam's position. Sam is still goth and vegetarian, but she seems to be me personality-wise. This is so confusing.
Her eyes fell on a picture tacked to the rim of the mirror. In it, she was with Danny on a couch in a living-room, which Paulina guessed to be Danny's. They were smiling and seemed happy to be together.
Paulina hadn't even bothered to take all of the photos off her bed when night fell. She was far too tired, but her mind was too clouded with puzzling thoughts to let her get some much needed rest. Finally, around midnight, she managed to slip into a fitful sleep.
She dreamt again…
She was with Danny. She tried to talk to him, but he kept turning from her. Sam pushed her down and grabbed his arm. Smirking, she pulled him away into the darkness.
Everything faded. The blackness engulfed her again. Delphine stood there, waiting for her. "I came back because I know you have some questions for me."
Paulina didn't hesitate. "Delphine, what's going on? Why am I still me and not Sam?"
Delphine replied calmly, yet impatiently, "I know the desires of your heart. You wanted to switch places with Sam, but you didn't want to actually be her. I granted what you really wanted." She placed a hand on Paulina's shoulder. "I figured you'd prefer the comfort and familiarity of your own home, your own parents, your own body. Everything else is Sam's."
"Sam's personality seems to be mine except for her eccentricities. She's still goth, and she's still vegetarian, but she acts like me," said Paulina.
"And you are supposed to have Sam's personality with your own eccentricities, such as your vanity and gullibility. You need to be nicer to your friends, Paulina," said Delphine, rolling her eyes.
Paulina sighed. "I know. It's just so hard."
Music started playing. It started out soft, but then it grew louder. Everything started to lighten. "What's going on?" asked Paulina, looking around.
"You're waking up. Paulina. Try to be nicer. You'll never get what you want if you don't." With that, Delphine disappeared. The music was hurting the Latina's ears. She looked at her hands. They were getting harder to see…
Paulina woke up to her alarm clock and immediately shut it off. She sat up on her bed and stretched.
I have to be nicer, she thought, I'll apologize to Danny with all my heart, and then I'm sure he'll tell me about the ghost boy.
Her mind made up, she started to get ready for the day.
Alternate version of Part 17
Paulina ate a quick breakfast of cold cereal. She was pleasantly surprised that her cheek had taken on its normal color, but it was still a bit sore. Her parents were in the kitchen as well, acting just as strange as they did the day before.
"So, are you going to school with Danny and Tucker, or those other friends you were talking about yesterday?" her father asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
"Danny and Tucker, of course," answered Paulina, trying to sound like she really was best friends with the two boys, "Dash and Star are just other friends of mine. They're not nearly as dear to me as Danny and Tucker."
"Danny is a very nice boy, and very handsome…" Her mother trailed off, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Paulina's forehead furrowed at her mother's strange statement.
The sound of the doorbell filled the house. Paulina quickly dashed to the front door, forgetting to put her bowl in the sink. She grabbed her bag, called a hasty good-bye to her parents, and threw open the door, ready to greet her "best friends."
She stopped when she saw a red-haired girl instead. Jazz looked uncomfortable as she said, "Well, um, Danny and Tucker didn't want to come and get you themselves for some reason, so, um, they told me to."
Paulina blinked. "Oh, okay." She could see the two boys waiting in her car by the curb.
Jazz cleared her throat. "So, um, did something happen between you guys?" she asked in almost a whisper.
Paulina walked out and shut the door behind her. "Well, yes, actually, but I intend to make it all up today." She followed Jazz to her car and climbed into the back next to Tucker. "Hi!" she said, trying to sound as perky and affable as she could.
Tucker gave her a weak "hello" and turned to look out the window.
The car started to move. Paulina leaned forward to try to look at Danny. "Hey, Danny!" she said cheerfully. Danny met her gaze only briefly. Paulina could see that he was still sore about what she had said to him the night before.
"Paulina, is your seatbelt on?" asked Jazz in an overprotective manner.
Paulina sat back and quickly pulled her seatbelt across her lap and shoulder. She sighed. Danny and Tucker seemed very upset. She wasn't really sorry about what had happened between herself and the two boys, but she knew she had to make them believe that she was.
For the entire morning, Tucker and Danny avoided Paulina not out of spite, but because they weren't sure how to act around her. Paulina tried to talk to them, but they would just shrug and look away.
She had to carry her school bag around because she still didn't know the combination to Sam's locker. Her left shoulder was starting to ache from the weight. Normally, a guy would've offered to carry it for her, but none of the boys paid attention to her.
I can't wait to make a wish to be myself again! She kept glancing at the clock in the classroom, waiting for the bell to ring. She was sure she'd be able to get Danny and Tucker to talk with her at lunch.
Finally, the long-awaited moment arrived. The sound of the bell still vibrating in her head, she grabbed her bag and tried to catch the two boys as they headed out the door.
"Danny! Tucker! Wait up!" Paulina called to them. They kept walking, never turning to look back at her. She walked up beside them. "Hey, didn't you hear me calling you guys? Don't ignore me, come on!"
In the cafeteria, Danny and Tucker went in line to get their food. Paulina stayed at their usual table to wait for them. She watched them get their lunch, watched them walk, watched them sit at another table.
"What? That is so rude!" exclaimed Paulina. Furious, she stood. A hand stopped her before she could start walking.
"Did your friends abandon you, Paulina?" said Sam with mock concern, "They must have realized how much of a freak you are!"
Paulina said nothing. She simply pushed the goth away and stomped her way over to the two boys.
"I bet you don't have a date for the school dance this Friday, huh? No one would want to take you anyway!" Sam called after her, laughing. Paulina ignored her.
She stood before Danny and Tucker, her hands on her hips. "Hey, why are you guys avoiding me?"
Danny didn't look at her. Tucker spoke, "Paulina, Danny doesn't feel really want to be around you right now, and I'm supporting him because I care about him."
Paulina sighed and sat down across from them. "So, he told you what happened?"
"Yeah, and I couldn't believe it at first," said Tucker, "What is up with you? You really upset Danny!"
"Tucker…" said Danny darkly. He obviously didn't feel comfortable with the subject.
"I know, I know." Paulina tried to sound sincere. "I'm sorry. I really, truly am. I was not myself at all yesterday."
Danny said nothing. Tucker checked his watch.
"You guys, come on! I'm serious!" Paulina whined. She gently reached over and took Danny's right hand in her own two, causing him to drop his fork. He looked at her questioningly. Tucker was equally confused.
"Danny, I didn't mean what I said last night," she started, "I care about you…so much more than you know…" She smiled tentatively. "Please forgive me?"
Paulina could see the surprise in his eyes. For a moment, it looked like he was going to pull away from her. Then, he grinned and leaned in closer to her. "Paulina," he said, "That is really weird."
Tucker started laughing hysterically. Paulina let go of his hand. Danny laughed as well as he pulled away from her.
Paulina watched them for awhile, not sure exactly what was so funny. "Are you guys done yet?" she finally asked.
"No," replied Danny before breaking into another laughing fit. Tucker was trying his hardest to stop.
Paulina's eyes narrowed with boredom. Finally, the two boys managed to settle down. They looked at Paulina boyishly. Paulina just blinked.
"Okay, Paulina. It's okay. I…I think I can forgive you," said Danny with a big smile.
"Really?" Paulina straightened up.
"Yeah, I mean, you obviously just aren't yourself. That very, uh, odd apology proved it." Danny held back a chuckle.
Paulina blushed. "Well, I…ah, it doesn't matter! You really forgive me?"
Danny nodded. "Yeah, just answer me something…" He looked at Tucker before continuing. "Are you worried about me? Do you think I'll become something to fear?"
Paulina stared at him. "What?"
"Because, Paulina, there's nothing to worry about," said Danny, "I won't change for the worse. I promise you that."
"What are you talking about?" asked Paulina. He made no sense to her.
"You were asking me about him, remember?" said Tucker.
"Okay, I still have no idea what you're talking about." Paulina studied the two boys, hoping to find some kind of clue in their faces. "I don't remember asking anything about him."
"Oh, right. You were asking about Danny Phantom." Tucker shook his head. "Big difference, huh?"
"Stop it!" cried Paulina, "Just stop it, okay? You're confusing me!"
"Paulina, it's okay," reassured Danny, "Just know that I'll always be there for you."
Even though she didn't understand, Paulina couldn't help but smile at the affectionate tone in his voice.
Part 18 was not meaningfully different from what was posted before
Alternate version of Part 19
From her bed, on her back, Paulina stared up at the ceiling. It had been a couple of hours since Jazz had dropped her off. Her mother had made a wonderful dinner, as usual, but she hadn't had the appetite to eat.
She had looked at the newspaper article that reported on her encounter with the ghost boy on Dash's roof, but it was Sam in the picture. Her name had been replaced with Sam's. She didn't know why that bothered her so much. She had successfully switched lives with the goth girl, after all. Of course it would be Sam in the article. Still, it disturbed her to see Sam with the ghost boy in the picture…
Then again, Sam apparently knew him before I made the wish, thought Paulina. The photographs she had found…the ones with Danny Phantom, Tucker, and herself…but where was Danny? Danny also knows the ghost boy.
She closed her eyes. How do those losers know him anyway?
A Spanish melody started playing. Paulina recognized it as her ring tone and, halfheartedly, reached for it. "Hello?"
"Paulina! Quick! At the school! Danny needs us!" Tucker's voice…
"What? Why?" asked Paulina, noting the urgency in his tone.
"Ghost trouble! Get your Fenton Thermos, okay? He says he forgot his, and I don't know where mine is."
"Wait, Fenton Thermos? What's that?" questioned Paulina, but Tucker had already hung up. "Okay, well…I guess I should go…what did he mean by 'ghost trouble,' though?"
She ran downstairs and told her parents she was going out.
"Okay, just remember your ten o'clock curfew," her father said.
"Curfew?" Paulina was surprised. She had never had a curfew before. "Right, okay. Ten o'clock! Bye!" She ran out the door to the side of the house where her moped was parked. She secured her helmet and started towards the school.
He did say the school, right? Paulina had a little difficulty remembering the place Tucker told her to go. I think that's right. I wonder what Danny's gotten himself into?
The moon was only a thin shard that night, and the stars were dim and unexciting. Still, she rode on, her curiosity piqued.
Paulina parked her moped by the front sidewalk and took off her helmet. She looked around. She didn't see anyone.
"Was this some sort of trick?" demanded Paulina of the night. The night didn't answer, but a familiar voice did.
"Paulina! There you are! Get over here!" Tucker called to her from the side of the school. Without hesitating, she ran towards him. As she came closer, she noticed something that made her heart race.
The ghost boy was engaged in a fight in the air with a vicious-looking ghost that resembled a giant scorpion. Paulina stared at him, unable to move, to think, to breathe.
Oh, Tucker—when he called—he didn't mean loser-Danny needed our help, he meant ghost-Danny! Paulina was delighted to be so close to the white-haired boy again.
"Paulina!" Danny Phantom called down to her.
Paulina looked up, ecstatic. "Yes, ghost boy?"
"Wait, did you just call me—" Before he could finish, the ghost boy was thrown into the wall of the school. He gasped, trying to regain his breath.
Paulina ran to him. "Ghost boy! Are you okay?"
"Watch out!" shouted the ghost boy. The scorpion slammed into him, shaking the ground. Paulina lost her balance and fell.
"Paulina, what are you doing?" asked Tucker, helping her up and pulling her out of the way. The ghost boy blasted the scorpion with a strange, green energy blast.
"It's him, Tucker! It's him!" said Paulina breathlessly, clasping her hands together.
"Yeah, of course it's him," said Tucker, "Who else?"
"He's so dreamy…" Paulina sighed, then looked around. "Hey, where's our Danny?"
"What do you mean, our Danny?" Tucker moved her out of the way of another blast.
Paulina huffed. "You know…there's Danny Phantom fighting the scorpion, where's Danny Fenton?"
"Uh…is that meant to be some sort of deep, philosophical question?" asked Tucker, not getting it.
"No! What is with you and Danny? You turn all of my simple questions into something…well, not simple! Where—is—Danny?" Paulina strongly emphasized each word.
"Well…he's right there, of course." Tucker pointed at the white-haired ghost battling the scorpion.
Paulina growled. "No! Not that Danny, I mean—"
"Paulina, did you bring your Fenton Thermos?" asked the ghost boy, dodging the scorpion's sting.
Paulina's eyes widened. "Um…"
"Paulina, no! You didn't forget, did you? I told you!" cried Tucker.
"I didn't know what you were talking about!" Paulina was suddenly very embarrassed. "I'm so sorry, ghost boy!"
"Why are you calling me that? Wait—hold on—move!" screamed the ghost boy. Tucker ran out of the way, but Paulina was rooted to the spot with fear. The last thing she saw before the darkness plagued her was a bright green light and the glowing form of Danny Phantom flying towards her.
She woke up with a terrible headache. She felt feverish. Her forehead was wet with perspiration.
She was on her bed, under the covers. She turned to look out her window. It was dark. Two shadows were hovering over her.
"Paulina, thank goodness! I'm so sorry! How are you feeling?" asked one of the shadows with Danny's voice. Paulina's eyes began to adjust the darkness. She could make out the outlines of two boys…
"We brought you home. Your parents came in a little while ago, but we hid. They figured you just fell asleep. Danny flew your moped home, too," said Tucker.
"Flew? What do you mean?" asked Paulina drowsily, then faint realization dawned on her, "You mean Danny Phantom? The ghost boy? Where is he?"
"I'm right here, Paulina," said Danny, gently stroking her hand.
"What are you talking about? Where—what? I can't see him. I want to see him!" yelled Paulina.
Tucker quickly covered her mouth. "Quiet! We don't want your parents to hear! It's eleven o'clock at night!"
"Where is the ghost boy?" demanded the girl again.
"Paulina, you're—you're delirious. Just go back to sleep, okay?" Danny dabbed at her forehead with a wet cloth.
"I don't want to sleep…I want to see him…" Paulina's words slurred and faded, her mind wandered off. Her head still pounded as she drifted into a dreamless slumber.
Alternate version of Part 20
The sun streamed in through her window and implored her to open her eyes. Paulina groggily awoke, vaguely wondering where Danny and Tucker were.
And…what happened to the ghost boy? she thought. Stretching, she sat up and stood. She quickly regretted the action. Her head swam, her vision blackened, and her legs weakened. She quickly held onto her bedpost for support. She felt dizzy.
She breathed and slowly exhaled. Her head started to clear. Her vision slowly came back. She blinked and put a hand to her head, wondering what exactly had happened the night before.
Downstairs, she was surprised to see Danny and Tucker already there, sitting at her kitchen table.
"Hi, princess. Did you sleep well?" her father asked.
"Yes," Paulina lied. She looked at the two boys. "Um…what are you guys doing here?" She sat down next to them. She didn't feel like eating.
"Oh, well…we just decided to come early today. We have to take the bus anyway," said Tucker.
"Okay, that's cool, I guess," said Paulina, still not feeling that well.
"We should go. The bus will be here soon," said Danny, looking at the clock in the kitchen.
"Sure. Let's go." Paulina stood. Danny and Tucker did as well.
"Paulina, don't you want some breakfast?" asked her mother, holding up a plate of toast.
Just looking at the food made Paulina's stomach churn. She shook her head. "No, thanks, Mama. I'm not hungry this morning." She followed Danny and Tucker outside, calling a hurried good-bye to her parents.
They walked slowly to the bus stop. "Um, shouldn't we be going faster?" asked Paulina.
"Why?" asked Danny.
"You said the bus would be here soon," said Paulina.
"Oh, you know it won't come for another ten minutes. I just said that so that we could talk alone." Danny looked down at the ground, then back at her. "Paulina, I am so sorry. I didn't mean for you to get hurt! I feel so terrible. Are you feeling better now?"
"Yes, I'm fine," said Paulina, though she didn't mean it. She felt a chill go down her spine. "Anyway, why are you sorry? I didn't see you last night."
Danny grimaced in mental pain. "Oh, I know! I'm sorry! I tried to get to you before the blast, but it just happened so fast! I mean, all of sudden, you were on the ground. You were breathing strangely, and you started burning up. I was so scared! Horrified, even, because I was too late to save you!" Paulina could tell he was really upset.
They arrived at the bus stop. Danny put his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "Paulina, for a moment…I didn't know if you were going to make it…"
Paulina was blank for a moment. It seemed so different to have someone care about her that much. It was new to her, and it made her feel wonderful. She gently shook off his grip. "Danny, it's okay. Don't worry about it. I don't blame you." You weren't even there… To change the subject, she asked, "So, how long were you at my house?"
"A long time," said Tucker, "Till about two A.M.."
"Weren't your parents worried?" asked Paulina.
"Well, I called Jazz and got her to cover for me. Tucker actually went back to his house for a little while, then snuck back out," Danny informed.
"Hmm…" Paulina leaned against a nearby tree. "Two A.M., huh? Was I that sick?"
"Yeah. That scorpion ghost got you pretty good," said Tucker.
"You were shivering, but you had a fever. Then, when you woke up for about five minutes, you seemed dazed and said some…weird things. You went back to sleep, but you were still shaking. After a couple of hours, you started to cool down and relax. That's when we left," said Danny, then he glared at Tucker, "I wanted to stay, though."
Tucker rolled his eyes. "Danny, you know we couldn't stay. What would our parents think if they couldn't find us in the morning? Or what would Paulina's parents think if they just happened to see us in her room?"
"Hey, it's okay," said Paulina. She looked up at the sky. A cloud was covering the sun at the moment. "We have adventures like that all the time, huh?"
Tucker laughed. "Yeah, we do."
Paulina inwardly wondered if she would soon see the ghost boy again.
At lunch that day, Paulina still didn't feel like eating. Danny and Tucker rushed to get a spot in line. Paulina walked slowly to their normal table so as not to upset her stomach. Passing the popular table, she caught a bit of a conversation between Sam and Dash.
"Dash, just know that the only reason I'm going to the dance with you tomorrow is so that no one thinks I'm a loser who couldn't get a date," Sam said, "That's it."
Dash seemed dejected. "But Sam—"
"Dash, I told you. I'm only interested in the ghost boy," said Sam firmly, her arms crossed. She looked as dark as ever.
Paulina moved on, finally reaching the table and taking a seat. She waited for Danny and Tucker.
Finally, they arrived with their lunches and sat down. "Paulina, you sure you're not hungry?"
"Yeah, I'm sure," said Paulina. Her head was feeling better, but her stomach still felt unsettled.
There was silence for a couple of seconds. Danny cleared his throat. Tucker excused himself to get some ketchup for his hamburger.
"Paulina, I wanted to ask you yesterday, but…well, you know…" Danny swallowed. "The dance tomorrow? I was wondering if you—that is, if you want to, um—"
"Danny!" Valerie walked up to the table and smiled at him. She ignored Paulina. Paulina stiffened a little, remembering Valerie's punch the other day.
"Hi, Valerie!" said Danny, smiling broadly.
"Listen, Danny, you know the dance tomorrow? I don't have a date yet…I was wondering if you'd like to take me?" Valerie pushed a stray strand of hair behind her ear.
"Really?" Danny was stunned. He glanced at Paulina. "Well, actually—"
"He'd love to," Paulina said quickly, thankful for Valerie's proposal. She didn't really want to go to the dance, not as Sam, anyway. She wanted to be popular. She wanted all of the boys to beg her to dance with them. She wanted attention, something she knew she couldn't get as Sam. "You would, right, Danny?"
"Wait, what?" Danny seemed surprised. "Well, uh, sure! Yeah, I'll take you! I'll pick you up at eight, okay?"
"Great! See you then, Danny!" Valerie waved and practically skipped away.
Danny turned back to Paulina, incredulous and blushing. "Valerie actually wants to go to the dance with me? I thought she wasn't interested…" He stood, gripping his tray. "I'm going to throw my lunch away. I'll be right back."
As soon as Danny left, Tucker came back. He looked excited. "So, did he ask?"
"Did he ask what?" Paulina observed her nails.
"You know…did he ask you to the dance?" whispered Tucker.
"Oh. No, he didn't," said Paulina.
Tucker's jaw dropped. "What? He said he was going to! He really didn't ask?"
"Well, Valerie came over and asked him, and he said yes." Paulina shrugged.
"Oh, wow. I'm so sorry, Paulina." Tucker shook his head.
"Don't be. I don't care, honestly." Paulina could see Danny making his way back.
"Well, then, Paulina…I'll take you to the dance," Tucker offered.
Paulina blinked. He was trying to be a good friend. She wanted to say no, but then again, she was touched by his altruism. None of her other friends—her popular friends—would do something like that for her. "Okay, that's fine." She reluctantly accepted, though she kind of wished she had let Danny ask her. I'd rather go with Danny than Tucker…
Tucker smiled sympathetically. Danny came over and sat down next to Tucker and exclaimed, breathlessly, "Tucker, you won't believe what just happened!"
Paulina coughed. The techno geek looked at his friend vacantly. "You know, I probably won't."
Part 21 was not meaningfully different from what was posted before
Alternate version of Part 22
Paulina waited by the front door for Tucker to come and pick her up. Normally, she would've been excited and impatient for her date to arrive, but this time, she felt sullen and depressed.
She looked down at her new white dress that her mother bought for her that day. She knew that she looked beautiful, but what was the point if everyone at school thought she was a nobody?
"Paulina?" Her mother came up to her. "Oh, that dress looks gorgeous on you!"
"Of course it does," Paulina muttered, not caring if she sounded impudent.
Her mother frowned. "Is something wrong?" Paulina didn't answer. Her mother went on, "You know, you never told me who your date was…"
"It's Tucker," Paulina said indifferently, casually observing her nails.
"Tucker? Oh…" Her mother sounded disappointed.
Paulina shrugged. She felt disappointed as well. She hadn't found out as much as she had hoped about the ghost boy. She was so excited and had such high hopes in the beginning, but everything just seemed to collapse on her.
There was a knock at the door. Paulina slowly opened it to find Tucker in a dark grey suit. In the moonlight, he looked almost handsome.
"Hey, Paulina. You ready? My dad's taking us." He motioned to the car waiting nearby.
"Yeah, I guess," said Paulina. She followed Tucker out, not bothering to say good-bye to her mother. She sighed. I wish the ghost boy was my date. Then, we could just fly to the dance…
Danny walked into the gym where the dance was being held with Valerie by his side.
"Danny, I just want to tell you that…I mean, I still like you, you know? I don't think I'm really ready for a relationship, though," said Valerie, nervously tugging at her dress.
"I understand. Just friends, right? We can still have fun." Danny grinned and took her arm, leading her further into the room. Valerie blushed and leaned her head on his shoulder.
Paulina watched them from a wall nearby; Danny in his dark blue suit and Valerie in a long, red dress. They began to dance, and Paulina fondly remembered her dance with the ghost boy.
"Here," said Tucker as he walked up and held out a cup to her. Paulina took it from him, nonchalantly taking a sip of the red-colored drink. She watched Danny and Valerie twirl about on the dance floor. She whispered low enough so that Tucker wouldn't hear, "Loser love."
Tucker sadly watched the couple as well. "Danny's so lucky."
"How so?" asked Paulina.
"He has ghost powers, good looks, girls that actually like him…" He sighed. "I can't even get a girl to pay just a little attention to me."
Paulina wasn't sure how to respond. What would Sam do? She had never really had to comfort any of her friends. "Tucker, I don't see why you can't get a girl because you're…a…nice…boy…" Paulina struggled with the words.
Tucker smiled at her. "Thanks, Paulina." He stretched out his arms. "I just can't believe Danny didn't ask you to go to the dance with him."
Paulina turned away. "Don't worry about it. I don't care."
Tucker misinterpreted her reaction for hurt feelings, but he wasn't sure how to comfort her. "So, um, you wanna dance?" he finally asked.
Paulina shrugged. "Sure." She didn't actually want to, but she didn't have anything else to do. She allowed the boy to lead her out on the floor.
While she and Tucker danced, she offhandedly observed the others in the room. She saw Sam in a dark violet and black dress dancing with Dash in his normal light blue suit. Sam was keeping a good distance between the two of them while Dash tried to move in closer to her. Her shining black hair gracefully shaped her face. She wore make-up that beautifully accentuated her features. Paulina saw the goth girl in a new light. She's pretty. I wonder why I never noticed that before?
As she spun around, she also noticed Kwan in a black suit dancing with Star in a strapless, bright orange dress. She was blushing, her blonde hair elegantly pulled back, two curling tresses hanging down in front of her ears.
A glowing form suddenly rushed up through the ground behind Star, causing the back of her dress to flail up. Star shrieked and quickly tried to cover herself again. Kwan laughed. Other kids joined him as well.
What was that thing? Paulina wondered. "Did you see that?" she asked Tucker.
"See what?" Tucker obviously hadn't noticed.
Paulina shook her head. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Danny tense and shiver. She faintly heard Valerie ask him what was wrong.
Screams filled the air. Everyone stopped dancing to see a menacing, ghostly woman with her hair up in a net.
"The Lunch Lady!" Tucker gasped.
"She does kind of look like a lunch lady," agreed Paulina. Normally, she would've been scared, but she knew that the ghost boy would come. She saw Valerie say something to Danny before quickly leaving. Danny ran over to them as soon as she left.
"Can you believe this? I mean, really, can you believe this?" Danny seemed frustrated, not at all scared or panicked as many other kids were. He threw his hands up in the air and started pacing the floor, clearly vexed. "Every time! Every dance! These stupid ghosts always appear at the most inconvenient moments! Why? Can't they just let me have some time to myself, for once? I mean, really—"
"Danny, how about you rant later?" said Tucker. He motioned to the Lunch Lady, who was yelling at some students, blaming them for the absence of meat at the dance.
Danny huffed and quickly scanned the area. Most of the students had already run out of the building, and those who still remained paid no attention to the three. "I'm going ghost!" he shouted.
"Danny, what are you—" Paulina stopped mid-sentence. Her jaw slacked, her eyes widened. Two glowing rings encompassed the dark-haired boy, and where shy, pitiable Danny Fenton once stood, brave, heroic Danny Phantom was now.
Parts 23 and 24 were not meaningfully different from what was posted before
(This was the point I decided to change it so that Paulina would be goth. Ho snap, I forgot how much I had written before I decided to change it! Haha.)
(AND I even wrote out this rationale at the time, but since I didn't go with this idea, I never needed to explain it. I'll post it here:)
("You see, I thought of this story because I was wondering why everyone hated Paulina so much, why everyone wanted to kill her and not Dash or Kwan or even Lancer, why everyone thought that Sam was prettier than Paulina. [I, for one, think that Paulina is prettier. I prefer it to be that way, too. It's more realistic for Paulina to be prettier than Sam and makes a better rivalry between the two.] I wondered what the opinion would be if Sam had Paulina's looks and Paulina had Sam's looks. Would people still think Sam was prettier, or would they pick Paulina? Or, what if Paulina and Sam kept their personalities and just completely switched roles? Sam, a goth, sarcastic, popular girl that has a huge crush on a ghost boy, and Paulina, a vain, naive geek that helps Danny fight ghosts. Would people then hate Sam and love Paulina? Would there be Danny/Paulina fans and Danny/Sam haters? Or would people still instinctively hate Paulina and love Sam?")