A/N: I decided to start off the sequel with a recap of what happened before. I was going to put this under the sequel, but then I realized that it would make chapter 1 under 2 and that kind of bugged me so I'm making this it's own thing. Anyway, it started off with 24 pages of things. That was a bit much, so I tried to cut it down some. Now it's 22 pages. As you can see, my cutting it down wasn't that successful. Well, if you read and remember Do You Love Me? you don't have to read it. Or you can just skim it to trigger your memory. Anyway, thanks to everyone who read Do You Love Me? and is going to read the sequel which I'm posting after this!
Disclaimer: I recently acquired Zoey 101 and all the characters. I lost ownership over all of the characters I did own from "Do You Love Me?" and I no longer own "Do You Love Me?" itself. Oh yeah, and everything I just said in this disclaimer was a lie. lol. In other words, I still don't own Zoey 101 or any of the characters, with the exception of my own characters that I created in "Do You Love Me?" I own "Do You Love Me?" and this story as well.
Highlights from Do You Love Me?
"Dustin, come on! Dad's going to be here soon!"
It was the start of summer break and Zoey and Dustin were going back home for the summer. 8 o'clock at night. Their dad should've been there by now. "Dustin!" Zoey called again.
"Zoey, I have to find my lucky penny!" Dustin complained.
"We'll get you a new lucky penny," Zoey replied.
"It won't be lucky though."
"Dustin, will you forget about the penny?" Zoey looked around and sighed. Where was her dad?
"I'm hungry," Dustin whined.
"I'll go get some food. Stay here and tell me if Dad comes," Zoey instructed.
"Ok," Dustin responded, annoyed that she didn't really trust him to be by himself.
Zoey left, returning a few minutes later. As she was walking down the steps back towards Dustin, she saw him shout out, "I found it!" He ran out into the street and bent down to pick up his lucky penny. Zoey watched in horror as a car sped around the corner. It was dark. Dustin was so small and he was bending down so the driver couldn't have noticed him.
"STOP!" Zoey shrieked as she dropped the food and started to run down the steps.
Dustin stood up and the driver slammed on the brakes but it was too late. The car slammed into Dustin. Zoey was horrified. "NO!" she screamed.
Just then her dad pulled up. When he saw Dustin on the ground he ran over. The driver of the car was calling an ambulance. Zoey stood, frozen to the spot. No…it couldn't be…
"How about we put a little bet on that?" he suggested.
"What kind of bet?" Dana questioned.
"Since you say that you do hate me, and you're not just acting like you do, you have to act like you do like me," Logan told her.
"You think you know me so well," Dana muttered.
"I do!" Logan answered, without thinking.
Dana looked at him curiously. "Let's play a little game then," she suggested.
Logan sighed. "Ok," he gave in.
"What's my favorite color?"
"9," Logan countered. "Your favorite animal is a dog and your favorite type of dog is a chocolate Labrador Retriever. The only thing you miss about home is your dog, Pepper. When you were 6, you went to the zoo and a monkey tried to bite your finger. Your grandmother died when you were 3. While you may say you're afraid of nothing, you don't like spiders – but I'm not saying you're afraid of them. You broke up with your boyfriend because he was pissed that you were coming here. His name was Rich. He gave you your first kiss. The first words you said to me at the start of this year were, 'Wish I didn't have to see you again.'"
"Ok, so, my news!" Nicole exclaimed once they were out in the hallway. "I think Adam Mason likes me!"
"Hey, I have an idea," Logan began.
Dana looked at him curiously, unsure what to expect. "What?" she responded.
A smile crept onto Logan's face. "Instead of you making me go to class, lets just both skip class," he suggested.
Dana began to smile too. "Logan, that's the best idea you've had since I've met you," she stated.
Logan grinned. "They can only get better, honey," he declared.
Dana rolled her eyes at the "honey" comment but didn't say anything. "Now's your chance to prove it. What do we do instead of go to class?" she wondered.
Logan thought it over. "How about I get us a limo and we head on down to Beverly Hills for the day?" he proposed.
Dana's eyes lit up and she grinned. "I love that idea!" she shouted. "Logan Reese, if you pull this off…"
Logan grinned too. "What?" he prompted.
"If you pull this off…oh, what the hell. If you pull this off, I'll make out with you," she decided.
Nicole Bristow + Adam Mason
Adam Mason + Nicole Bristow
Mrs. Nicole Mason
Mrs. Adam Mason
Mrs. Nicole Bristow-Mason
Mr. and Mrs. Adam Mason
Nicole + Adam
"It doesn't seem right to just force ourselves to kiss like this," Dana blurted out suddenly. "I mean, the first two times there was kind of a…moment. Now, it's nothing."
"We can fix that," Logan whispered, taking her hand in his and stroking it lightly.
Dana looked into Logan's eyes and it sent chills up her spine. He'd definitely fixed that problem. Dana moved closer to Logan, if that was possible. It was like she was in a trance. She felt like she didn't have any control over what she was doing. She was just drawn to him.
Logan leaned in, once again, to kiss her. Dana closed her eyes and leaned in a little too. Logan closed his eyes and leaned in further. Their lips met.
"I…killed…my brother!" she choked out, between sobs. "I don't want to lose anyone else too!"
"Yeah! Great idea Michael! Adam, you know Nicole, right? Nicole Bristow? She's in some of your classes probably," Chase pressed him.
"Uhh, I don't know," Adam responded.
"Why not?" Chase questioned.
"She's not really my type. She's too…hyperactive," Adam explained.
Chase and Michael glanced at each other. Adam didn't notice. "But I have a friend who has a personality like her so they might get along," he continued.
Chase thought about it. "It's worth a shot," he decided. "What's his name?"
"Andrew Roberts," Adam answered.
"And…do you know Andrew Roberts?" Chase questioned.
"Eww! He's in one of my classes. He's gross," Nicole remarked, scrunching up her nose in distaste.
Chase and Michael looked at each other. That made it even worse. Chase looked to Zoey for help. "So? What did he say?" Nicole pressed.
Chase sighed. "He said you weren't his type but thought that maybe you could go out with his friend Andrew Roberts," he explained quickly.
Suddenly there was a knock at their door. Nicole opened it to reveal an extremely cute guy. "Hi, is this room 101?" the guy inquired.
Nicole was staring at the guy in awe so Zoey quickly stepped in. "Yeah," she replied.
"Zoey Brooks?" the guy quizzed.
"Yeah," Zoey said again.
"And I'm Nicole Bristow!" Nicole piped up.
"Umm…hi. I'm Ben Nichols," he introduced himself. "You guys ordered a pizza?"
"Oh, right! Yeah, we did!" Nicole babbled.
"Jim! Where's the pizza?" Ben called down the hall. Another guy, not as cute, appeared and handed Ben the pizza.
"I'm Jim…Walters. Jim Walters. That's me," Jim stammered until Ben elbowed him.
"Here's your pizza," Ben announced, handing it to Nicole.
Zoey closed the door and Nicole shrieked. "I think I'm in love," she decided.
Zoey smiled slightly. "What about Adam Mason?" she pressed.
"He's a jerk. Ben on the other hand is…amazing," she breathed.
Dana glanced behind her at the bouncer. "Logan, where are we?" she wondered.
Logan laughed. "We, Miss Cruz, are at an extremely fancy, high class, exclusive, super cool VIP party," he informed her.
He sounded so sincere. So genuine. So…caring. He was being so sweet to her. Dana knew she was falling. She was falling for Logan. Logan Reese. The biggest jerk at PCA. Formerly. Now…now, she didn't know. Now things were starting to change. She was seeing a different side of Logan. Why? she thought suddenly. Why was he suddenly being so nice to her? Why show her this nice, sweet, caring side of him? Could he-
Dana laid her head on his shoulder so she was looking up at him. Logan smiled at her. "You're beautiful," he murmured.
He seemed like he meant it. Dana still was surprised by this sweet side Logan was showing her. Then…she kissed him. She didn't know what she was doing or what had gotten into her but she didn't care. She was making out with Logan Reese in the middle of the dance floor at a fancy VIP party in Beverly Hills after skipping class and staying out past curfew and the works. And she was loving it.
"Why are we in here Logan?" Dana whispered.
"My dad's here," Logan explained.
"What?" Dana exclaimed.
"I didn't know he'd be here! I thought he was off somewhere working on a movie! If he saw us here, off campus, out past curfew, breaking almost every PCA rule there probably is, we'd be in so much trouble," Logan pointed out.
"Yeah, you're probably right. I'll check and make sure the coast is clear," Logan decided, opening the door. One problem. The door didn't open. Logan's breath caught in his throat. "Shit," he muttered.
Dana glanced at him. "What?" she asked, a little worried.
Logan hesitated. Should he tell her? He sighed. "I think we're locked in," he confessed.
Dana's heart sank. No…they couldn't be! Dana reached for the doorknob. It wouldn't budge. "What do we do?" she exclaimed, a hint of panic creeping into her voice.
"It's ok, it'll be fine. We'll…I'll call someone!" Logan announced, reaching into his pocket for his cell phone. It wasn't there. He tried his other pocket. Nothing. Where could it-"Shit," Logan repeated.
"What now?" Dana questioned, exasperated and a little nervous.
"My cell phone's still in the limo," he explained.
Dana's eyes widened in horror, though Logan couldn't see it. "Mine too," she realized. Dana collapsed into Logan's strong arms. "What do we do?" she inquired, her voice practically a whisper.
Logan held onto her. "It'll be fine. We're ok. Everything will be ok, I promise," he assured her.
Dana smiled. So maybe she was stuck…somewhere. She felt better about the situation. Logan would make sure everything was alright, she was sure of it. Before she knew it, she felt herself drifting off to sleep. Logan was stroking her hair. "I like you Logan," she murmured.
Logan waited until he was sure she was asleep, then responded, "I love you Dana."
Zoey yanked the door open and threw her arms around Chase. "It's ok," he assured her, hugging her back. The two boys entered the room. Nicole closed the door behind them.
"They could be hurt! They could be dead for all we know!" Zoey cried, the tears finally starting to fall.
Dead. Suddenly, it all clicked for Nicole. The only other time she'd seen Zoey this upset was when Dustin died. Her strange behavior as of lately had been because she wasn't really over his death! Nicole gasped, running over to her friend and hugging her. "Oh Zoey!" she whimpered.
"So, umm…I…I still don't have a plan to get us out of here," Logan confessed.
Dana blinked and looked around the room. "It's brighter now," she noted.
"Yeah, it's morning, there's a window over there," Logan told her.
"Oh," Dana replied. Wait a minute. She glanced over where Logan had pointed. A window!
Suddenly she burst out laughing. Logan was really confused. "What's so funny?" he asked.
"You idiot!" she exclaimed, still laughing. "We can climb out the window!"
Nicole Bristow + Ben Nichols
Ben Nichols + Nicole Bristow
Mrs. Nicole Nichols
Mrs. Ben Nichols
Mrs. Nicole Bristow-Nichols
Mr. and Mrs. Ben Nichols
Nicole + Ben
Logan sat up, but instead of getting up, he surprised Dana, and kissed her. Unlike the last time, this was most definitely a make out session. Logan held himself over her and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. He began to kiss her neck, and Dana felt herself start to lose all control. Then she felt Logan's hand making its way up her shirt. That brought her back down to earth.
Dana shoved him off of her, hard. Logan, unprepared, was thrown off onto the dirt. "You jerk!" Dana screeched, fixing her shirt and standing up.
"Dana–" Logan began, but Dana didn't want to hear it.
"Of all the stupid, disgusting, and…and…jerk-like things to do!" she shouted.
"Dana–" Logan tried again, standing up.
"I can't believe I was actually trusting you! I can't believe I was willing to be around you! I can't believe I actually like–" Dana quickly shut her mouth.
Logan mentally kicked himself. She really had liked him. And he blew it. "I'm sorry," he told her honestly. No teasing remarks or arrogant comments about her liking him. Just a plain, straightforward apology. "I'm sorry," he continued, "and I wish that you'll give me another chance." Dana opened her mouth to say something but Logan quickly exclaimed, "Let me finish! I…" Logan took a deep breath before pressing on, "I really like you Dana. And I shouldn't have tried that. And I should've known better than to try things like that on you. And I shouldn't have done it. And I'm really, truly sorry. And not just because I probably just blew all chances of you ever giving me a chance, although that is a reason. But also…I do feel bad Dana. So, I'm sorry. And…I'll leave now."
Dana was speechless. Thoughts were rushing through her head but she couldn't grab a hold of them. Finally, one thought was loud and clear in her mind, I love Logan Reese. Yeah, it scared her. It scared the hell out of her. But this time she didn't run from it. As Logan turned to walk away, Dana grabbed his arm and pulled him into a kiss. "Apology accepted," she murmured before kissing him again.
Logan couldn't refuse. He pulled Dana closer to him. They were so absorbed in their make out session, that they didn't hear the key go into the lock. They didn't hear the lock click open. They didn't hear the doorknob turn. They didn't hear the door open. They didn't hear the gasps of Zoey, Chase, and Michael upon seeing them. What they did hear was Nicole's shriek.
Dana shot up so fast she went rolling off of Logan onto the floor, pulling Logan down with her. The two groups just stared at each other. Dana knew there was no way she could blame this all on Logan.
"What were you guys doing?" Chase questioned finally.
"What did it look like we were doing?" Dana snapped, finally standing up.
"It looked like you were making out," Michael piped up.
Zoey looked from Dana to Logan, then back to Dana. "Explanation?" she offered.
Logan opened his mouth to try to explain it but Dana beat him to it. "Logan and I are dating," she declared.
The door opened. Nicole glanced up and felt her stomach do a little somersault. "Wow," Nicole mumbled to herself.
"Class, we have a new student," Mrs. Reedman announced. "Would you like to introduce yourself?"
"Sure," the boy replied with a shrug. "I'm Richie Maxwell. I'm from New York, I'm 17, I do have a car, and, yes ladies, I'm single."
Suddenly, Richie reminded Nicole a lot of Logan. He's a lot better than Logan though. she gushed in her head.
"Thank you Mr. Maxwell. Now, who here understands the context of this course well enough to be able to help explain it to Richie?" Mrs. Reedman asked.
Without thinking, Nicole's hand shot into the air. Mrs. Reedman was surprised. "Alright, Richie. You can go and sit with Nicole. Nicole, if this gets too much for you, let me know and I can assign someone else to help Richie," she declared.
Nicole was excited, nervous, and slightly confused. She was excited because she'd get to be with Richie. She was nervous because she knew nothing about what was going on. She was a little confused, because she'd been sure she was in love with Ben.
Just as they were about to head to their seats, the bell chimed and in came Ben. "Ben!" Nicole called.
Ben turned and saw them. He walked over. "Hey Jim," he greeted his coworker. "Hey. Nicole, right?" he asked.
Nicole nodded eagerly. "Yeah. Hi Ben!" she exclaimed.
Ben laughed at her excitement. "Hey Nicole," he replied. "And I don't think I know you," he noted, turning to Richie.
"You shouldn't. I'm Richie Maxwell. I just moved here from New York. Nicole's showing me around campus," Richie introduced himself.
Ben nodded. "Cool. I'm sure Nicole's a great tour guide," he remarked, grinning at Nicole.
Nicole felt her stomach do another somersault, just like it had when she'd first seen Richie. "Thanks Ben!" she chirped.
"No problem, Nikki," he replied, then hesitated. "Do you mind if I call you Nikki?" he questioned.
Nicole's eyes brightened at the thought of him almost having a pet name for her. "NO!" she shouted, rather quickly. "You can totally call me Nikki!"
Ben smiled. "Cool. Ok, well, I gotta get back to work. Later Richie, cool meeting you. Bye Nikki, I'll see you around," he remarked before heading into the back of the restaurant.
Nicole felt like she was melting. She was now positive Ben liked her. After all, he called her Nikki – which no one else did – and he told her that he'd see her around. If that didn't scream like, then Nicole didn't know what did.
"Do you like that Richie kid?" he quizzed.
Nicole was a little taken aback. "I-I don't know," she stammered. "Why?" she added.
Ben looked down. "Nothing, I just…I don't trust him, Nikki. I don't want to see you get hurt," he commented.
Nicole smiled. "Aww, thanks Ben!" she exclaimed, giving him a hug.
Ben was surprised but he hugged her back. He noticed Richie watching them. The two boys locked eyes. They seemed to be sending a warning to each other. The gaze was finally broken when Nicole pulled out of the hug, vying between embarrassed for hugging him like that and pleased that he hugged her back.
Completely forgetting why she had left the table in the first place, she made her way back to Richie, who, unknown by her, had been watching them the whole time. As soon as she sat down, Richie began to interrogate her. "Do you like this Ben kid?" he snapped.
"I-I don't know," Nicole stuttered, just as she had when Ben had asked her about liking Richie. "Why?"
Richie quickly looked away. "Well, you hugged him. And, I thought he seemed like a bit of a jerk. You deserve better than him, Nicole," he informed her.
"He clearly likes you," Richie pointed out.
Nicole was surprised. "Jim? Don't be silly, he doesn't like me!" she laughed.
Richie was weary. "I think he does," he affirmed.
Nicole thought about. Well, regardless, she didn't like him, so it didn't matter at all. No worries.
The word rang through Chase's head. Now he was angry. He'd never stopped liking Zoey once in the over 3 years they'd known each other! He loved her more than anyone ever would! The only thing he wanted in life was to know that she felt the same way about him that he felt about her! Angrily, he turned and stormed off towards the beach.
Zoey was surprised. What had just happened? Chase seemed so angry and upset now. She ran forward, chasing after Chase. She realized it was a bit ironic…chasing Chase. If she'd only known how Chase felt about her, it would be even more ironic. Chase has been chasing after her since he first laid eyes on her, after which he proceeded to ride his bike into a flagpole. Remembering that still could make Zoey laugh and Chase blush.
Zoey caught up to him and touched her hand to his arm. Chase stopped immediately upon feeling her touch. "Chase, what's wrong?" Zoey asked, her voice soft and concerned.
Chase sighed. Maybe he should just tell her. Maybe if she knew, she'd realize that she liked him too. Or maybe she'll hate me. he thought bitterly. He couldn't do it. He was too nervous. He couldn't predict what would happen. He couldn't know. He didn't want to risk losing her. He wasn't a daredevil. He'd rather be her friend than nothing at all…right? Then again, there's always that nagging "what if". What if she liked him too? What if they started dating? What if they got married? What if they lived happily ever after? Then things took a negative, bringing him back to square one. What if she got mad? What if she thought that was disgusting? What if she never spoke to him again? What if he became a loner? What if he never got married? What if she's just always been waiting for him to come clean and admit that he likes – loves – her? What if he told her now, and what if there was a happy ending? But, then again, what if he told her now, and what if there was a terrible ending? What if he lost her forever? What if he lost her friendship and the hope of there ever being something more? What if they never spoke to each other again? What if he could've made her fall in love with him? What if she already had fallen in love with him? So many possibilities and he couldn't answer any of them until he spoke up. Until he told her how he felt.
"Chase?" she questioned.
Chase snapped back to reality. He looked at Zoey. She was beautiful. She was amazing. He'd never know how she felt and what would happen until he told her how he felt. He had to do this.
Chase opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. Come on Chase! Just tell her already! he instructed himself. Zoey looked at him inquisitively. Chase took a deep breath. He tried again to tell her how he felt but, once more, nothing happened. He couldn't make the words come out. He decided to try something else. "Zoey, what do you think of me?" he inquired.
"You're one of my best friends," she told him.
Chase frowned. "That's it?" he wondered, his voice clearly laced with disappointment.
Zoey was surprised. Chase didn't like her like that…did he? No! They were just friends, nothing more, and neither one of them wanted anything more…right? "I-I don't know," she stammered, now unsure of what was going on.
Chase took a deep breath. Just tell her! he yelled at himself. "Zoey, I–"
Michael looked up from the TV, only to find, in his opinion, the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, searching the room for the sneakers in question. "No, sorry, but I'll help you look. I'm Michael Barrett," he introduced himself.
The girl stopped searching and turned towards Michael. "I'm Cassandra. Or Cassie. Or Sandra. Or Sandy. Or Cass. Or whatever other nicknames people can come up with," she told him. "My brother always calls me Casanova," she added.
"What name do you like best?" Michael asked.
Cassandra thought it over. "I never really thought about it. I like that my brother's the only one who calls me Casanova. Cass bugs me sometimes. Cassie tends to make me feel childish. Cassandra's so formal. Sandra's like a whole 'nother name. Sandy just isn't me. So…great, that leaves nothing," she realized.
Michael laughed. "What about…Casa?" he suggested.
Cassandra had to laugh at that. "It sounds so weird. It's bound to start getting on my nerves. Hell, I'm so restless I'll probably get tired of any name eventually," she remarked.
Michael grinned. "Then I'll just have to be extra creative," he declared.
Cassie grinned as well. "Best of luck to you," she taunted.
Chase, on the other hand, was definitely not smiling. "You guys go ahead without me. I have to get back to my homework," he lied, knowing full well that he was just going to go back to his dorm and kick himself for not telling Zoey when he had the chance. Then he remembered that he couldn't go back to his dorm because Logan and Dana were probably still there. Then I'll go sit in the lounge and reflect on what an idiot I am. he decided bitterly.
Zoey frowned. Chase seemed upset. Well, Nicole had interrupted whatever it was he was going to say. Maybe she shouldn't have invited them along.
"It's Friday, Chase! You have all weekend to work!" Nicole pointed out.
"Yeah, well, I'd rather have all weekend to not work, so, bye," Chase stated before turning and walking off, leaving Nicole and Zoey shocked.
"What a jerk," Richie muttered.
Zoey whirled around towards Richie, fire in her eyes. "He is not a jerk!" she yelled, catching the retreating Chase's attention. He stopped and listened as Zoey continued, "Chase is the nicest and sweetest person I know! No, forget that! Chase Matthews is the nicest and sweetest person you ever have or will meet! In fact, I'm the one who's just been a jerk because Chase was trying to tell me something when you guys came over and I invited you guys along without even asking him and now I think he's mad at me and I don't want him to be mad at me! So see – I was the jerk here and Chase was innocent! You don't know anything about anyone here so next time, think before you make judgments like that, or better yet, don't make any judgments like that at all – and especially don't make them about Chase because he doesn't deserve that! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go make sure he doesn't hate me!"
Zoey stormed off, but she didn't have to go very far. She turned the corner and literally ran into Chase. She stumbled backwards, losing her balance. She started to fall but Chase caught her. "Thanks," she mumbled.
"I should be the one saying thanks. I heard what you said," he told her.
Zoey blushed. "Oh, well, he had no right to be saying those things about you," she commented.
Chase smiled. "Thanks Zo," he whispered.
Zoey felt like her skin was entirely red. Why was Chase suddenly making her so embarrassed? She was usually never embarrassed around Chase.
"Zo," Chase began, "I think I should tell you what I started to say before."
Zoey's heart sped up. What's going on? she wondered. "O-ok," she stammered.
Chase took a deep breath. This was it. It was now or never. He was finally going to tell her how he felt.
Michael tried to think of a good excuse. "I felt bad that you'd have to run all by yourself. I thought you deserved some company," he fibbed.
Sandy didn't buy it. "Uh huh, sure," she replied sarcastically. She looked him straight in the eyes and questioned, "What's the real reason why you lied and told me that you love running when you really can't stand it? What could possibly drive you to do that?"
Michael gulped. Their faces were extremely close together. Cass was hardly even blinking. "You," he answered.
"Me? Explain," she instructed, not moving away.
Michael blinked rapidly. Damn this girl is something. he thought. "Michael," she said in a singsong voice, "you're going to have to tell me at some point."
Michael knew that statement was true. He was confident that she'd find some way to get it out of him.
"Dana, I love you."
Dana was very taken aback. She let go of Logan's hands, almost as if they were on fire, and took a step back. "W-what?" she stammered.
Logan looked at the ground. "Nevermind. We can just forget this ever happened," he told her.
Dana frowned. She cautiously took a step forward and tilted his head up. They gazed at each other until Dana turned away. She couldn't help looking away. She felt like Logan could see right through her. She'd built up a wall around herself and he broke it down, all by looking into her eyes. None of her secrets were safe. She couldn't take that. She couldn't handle it. She needed that protection. She wrapped her arms around herself and turned away from Logan.
Logan sighed. Look what you've done, you idiot! he scolded himself. Logan began to rub Dana's arms like he would if she was cold and he didn't have a jacket to give her. Dana shivered at his touch, but soon relaxed into his arms. Suddenly she did something very unlike her. She began to cry.
Logan was shocked at first, but quickly got over it. He held her in his arms and she just cried. She wasn't even sure now why she was crying, but she couldn't stop. Logan didn't try to ask her what was wrong. He didn't try to tell her whatever it was would be fine. All he did was let her cry and be there for her. And that was all she needed right now.
Nicole was shocked. They were arguing over her! Ben Nichols, who she'd been sure she was in love with last night, and Richie Maxwell, who sent her heart fluttering when she'd laid her eyes on him this afternoon, were arguing with each other – with increasing intensity – over her, Nicole Bristow!
"She does not! She likes me a whole lot better than she like you!" Richie growled.
"Yeah right!" Ben barked. "She likes me!"
"She likes me!" Richie snarled.
"She likes ME!" Ben continued.
Nicole needed to regain her senses fast. The boys were advancing towards each other and she was sure if she didn't step in soon, things would evolve from an exchange of harsh words, to an exchange of hard punches. "STOP!" Nicole commanded, catching both boys off guard. It was almost as if they'd forgotten she was there. "Stop fighting!" she pleaded.
Ben immediately went over and wrapped his arms around her. "I'm sorry, Nikki," he whispered, gently kissing the top of her head.
Nicole felt like her heart was beating at a speed of 5,000 m.p.h. She wrapped her arms around Ben as well and buried her head in his chest. Therefore, she couldn't see the menacing glares that Ben and Richie were still exchanging.
Ben stroked her hair. "Come on Nikki, I'll take you back to your dorm," he told her, his voice soothing.
Nicole turned towards Richie. "You know how to get back to your dorm, right?" she asked.
Richie sighed. He knew to lie and ask Nicole for help would be a losing battle. He decided it was in his best interest to just answer truthfully. "Yeah, I'll be fine," he assured her.
Nicole smiled. "Ok, see you tomorrow Richie," she declared.
"Bye Nicole," Richie murmured as she walked away. Head hung low, Richie gave them a bit of a head start, then proceeded to his dorm.
Nicole took another deep breath. "Do you like me?" she asked, her voice even faster than usual.
Now it was Ben's turn to take a deep breath. "I think you're a beautiful girl with amazing qualities, and I would love to get to know you better, so…yes, Nikki, I do like you," he confessed.
Nicole's breath caught in her throat and his words sent her heart fluttering and her head spinning. "Wow," she mumbled.
Ben glanced at her nervously. "Is that bad? Should I leave?" he questioned, the nervousness clearly evident in his voice.
"No!" Nicole exclaimed quickly. "It's not bad, and I don't want you to leave. I'm just…shocked. But good shocked. I…I like you too, Ben."
Ben smiled. "Really?" he inquired.
"Really," Nicole confirmed, returning the smile.
"So, uhh, would you like to…to be my…girlfriend?" Ben wondered.
Nicole felt her cheeks flush red. Her heartbeat sped up 10 times more and she felt like she was walking on a cloud. "Yes!" she chirped, obviously made very happy by this offer.
Ben smiled. "Cool," was all he could think to say. He gazed longingly at her, finally speaking the query of, "Can I kiss you?"
Nicole's heart jumped into her throat so all she could do to respond was nod her head "yes." Ben put his arms around her and placed a gentle kiss upon her soft lips. Nicole just wanted to melt into his arms.
Ben let her go and Nicole took out her key. As she was about to open the door, she hesitated. "Do you want to come in?" she offered. "At least until Zoey gets back?"
Ben smiled. "I'd love to," he whispered, taking her hand in his.
Nicole opened the door and led the way into her room, never letting go of his hand. She closed the door, removing them, in a sense, from the outside world. Little did she know, Richie had seen the whole thing and was thoroughly upset. He stormed angrily down the steps and out of the building, into the night.
Nicole and Ben? Zoey was surprised. "Oh," was all she could think to say. Then she realized that Richie had sounded somewhat upset in stating that. "Wait, do you like Nicole?" she inquired.
"No!" Richie replied hurriedly. He paused. "Well, I thought I might've, but I don't now. In fact…" he trailed off. A sudden thought occurred to him. "In fact," he continued, "I think I really did only like her because she was pretty and the only girl I knew. She's not really my type but…well, actually…I-I think I like you Zoey."
Zoey was clearly surprised, but also somewhat flattered. "Me?" she repeated.
Richie smiled. "Well, yeah. Why should I? You're smart, funny, beautiful, and just all around great," he complimented her.
Zoey blushed. "Wow. Uhh, thanks Richie," she responded.
Richie looked at the ground. "I know we don't really know each other that well but…I'd like to get to know you better. Would you consider going out on a date with me? We could double date with Nicole and Ben if you wanted. And if they didn't mind. But I really like you Zoey and I really want to get to know you better and spend more time with you," he declared, looking into her eyes.
Zoey's cheeks flushed a deep red but, luckily for her, it was dark, so Richie couldn't see it. She smiled. "Sure, I'd love to go out on a date with you, Richie!" she decided.
Dana sighed. She finally at least had an idea of why she'd started crying. "I've had a lot of shit happen to me and the way I dealt with it was to push it away. I built up a wall around myself. It was my protection," she explained. She took a deep breath before pressing on, "When I looked into your eyes, my one thought was that you could see right through me. Just by looking into my eyes, you could break down my wall and find out all my secrets. It scared me. And…my barrier was broken. I let my guard down and all those problems I'd been pushing away came flooding over me and I just lost it. I completely broke down."
Logan wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a hug. Dana rested her head against his shoulder and they sat there like that for a while. Finally, Logan asked, "Do you want to tell me some of those problems?"
Dana hesitated. She'd never talked to anyone about her problems – ever. By telling Logan…well, who knows what would happen. Who knows what it would mean. Dana sighed. "Ok," she agreed. Logan held her hand as she began. "When I was little, my grandmother lived with us. Us being my mom, my dad, and me. My mom at this time wasn't doing so well. Giving birth to me had really weakened her and messed her up so she was always sick. My grandmother was more of a mom to me during those early years. Then…" Dana felt herself beginning to choke up. "Then, one night – when I was almost eight years old – my grandmother died. It was all so sudden. She hadn't been sick or anything. One minute she was alive and the next she was…gone." Dana paused to recollect herself. She took a deep breath, then continued, "My mom was better than she had been when I was younger, so now she could take care of me, especially since I was old enough to have more independence. Then we started what I called the 'moving phase.' My dad was starting to have problems with drugs and alcohol so he could never hold a job that long, and never get another one in the area. After I while, I just stopped unpacking, knowing we could leaving in even a week's time." Dana choked back a sob. "Finally, my mom couldn't take it anymore. She told my dad that she was leaving and taking me with her until he could get his life back together. And that's what she did. I haven't heard from my dad since." A sob escaped her, but Logan didn't take her in his arms this time. Somehow, he knew that right now she needed to be strong. "My mom was never much of a mother. Even when she was feeling 100 – although that was rare. My parents hadn't planned on having me. I was just an accident. A result of a stupid mistake. My mom didn't know what to do with me. When I started rebelling against her, she did the only thing she could think to do, she got rid of me. She sent me here, to PCA. At the time, I was so angry with her. That's why I was more of a bitch when I first came than I am now. I didn't want to be here. I wanted to go home. But now, this is my home. Going to PCA is the best thing that's ever happened to me. But, even still, one of the problems I pushed away came from here too. That problem…was you."
"That problem…was you."
Logan felt his throat close up. "Me?" he choked out.
Dana nodded her head. She took a deep breath, then went on with her story, "The very first time I saw you, I liked you immediately. Then, the first time I talked to you, I thought you were an obnoxious jerk. Even though I knew what I jerk you were to talk to, every time I saw you, I still liked you, but then I'd talk to you, and hate you again. Recently though…everything's been…different. When I see you, my feelings are more…intense. And when I talk to you, it's been different. I like talking to you. I want to talk to you. I stopped hating you whenever I talked to you. Instead, I started to like you when I saw you, when I talked to you, and even when you weren't around. It was…confusing. But, I never let it show. I tried to ignore it. I'd constantly remind myself that you're a jerk and I hate you. Then, we spent the whole day together. Just the two of us. You were so sweet to me. You showed me a whole new side of you. I got to see, what I'm hoping is, the real Logan Reese. Then, on top of all that, we kissed. We made out. And…I liked it. So you're still a problem I have because…I can't understand it. I can't read you. I don't know what I feel. I don't know what I want or what you want or what's right and wrong and everything. I just…I don't know. And when I can't control something, I push it away. I couldn't control my grandmother's death, I couldn't control my dad's problems, I couldn't control our moving, I couldn't control my mom's stupidity at being a parent, and I can't control whatever there is or isn't between us. I don't know what's going on here. And…and you said…you said…well, y-you know what you said. Di-did you…mean it?"
Sandy grinned. "You still never told me why you ran with me, even though you hate running. Well, you told me it was because of me, but you never explained it," she pointed out. Michael groaned and Cass's grin widened. "You didn't think I'd really let you off the hook, did you?" she taunted.
Michael sighed. "I was hoping," he told her.
Cassandra grinned. "Hope's gone. Explain it to me. Please?" she begged, her eyes begging him to tell her, her lips in a pout.
She's hot! Michael thought. "Ok. It was because…I think you're cool," he explained. That was true, so he wasn't really lying to her.
Cassie scowled. "That it?" she questioned, clearly disappointed.
Michael suddenly felt guilty. He was, in some sense, lying to her. "Uh huh," he responded, looking at the ground.
"Ok then. Well, I had fun today. Thanks. Bye Mike," Sandra declared, then turned and headed off towards her dorm.
"Bye," Michael mumbled, his head still down. When he finally looked up, she was gone.
"Di-did you…mean it?"
Logan took a deep breath. Now's my chance! he thought.
Your chance for what? a little voice nagged at him.
My chance to take back what I said about loving Dana!
The voice shot back, Why? It's true. Maybe this is your chance to finally start dating Dana!
He argued back with it, What makes you think that Dana would want to date me? Or date anyone?
He was sure he could hear the voice laughing at that. Oh come on! You know her better than anyone! You know that she's not just going to have a fling with someone. She wants someone to love her. She wants you to love her. She just told you the dark parts of her life. Don't run away. Don't be an idiot! You love her, so tell her that!
Logan took a deep breath. What he said now would make or break whatever it was they had.
Ben just smiled. He leaned in and kissed her, firmer than he had before out in the hallway. Nicole's knees weaken. She was thrilled to be his girlfriend and thrilled to be kissing him. She felt Ben's tongue against her lips. Wow, he's moving fast. she realized, somewhat wearily. Ben sensed her hesitation. "Come on, Nikki," he murmured, just barely taking his lips off her.
Oh, why not. she decided, this time allowing Ben to deepen the kiss. After all, I do love him.
As soon as the door closed behind him, Nicole blurted out, "He asked me to be his girlfriend!"
Zoey smiled. "That's great! Hey, maybe we could double date sometime," she suggested, remembering Richie's idea.
"Double date? With who? You and Chase?" Nicole wondered.
"Chase? No, of course not! We're just friends! You and Ben double dating with me and Richie," Zoey explained.
Nicole's eyes widened. "Richie?" she repeated.
"Yeah, I ran into him on my way back to the room and he told me he likes me and asked me to go out on a date with him so we could get to know each other better," Zoey told her.
Nicole wasn't sure how this news made her feel, but she decided to at least pretend that it made her happy. "That's awesome! Of course we can double date! I'll tell Ben tomorrow!" she exclaimed. Then, eager to change the subject, she gushed, "Ben calls me Nikki. Did you hear him say that? He has a nickname for me! Isn't that sweet?"
Zoey smiled, glad with how the night played out. "Yeah, that is sweet," she agreed. Nicole babbled on some more about every encounter she'd had with Ben throughout the day, but Zoey wasn't paying too much attention. She was thinking about Richie. Things were starting to look up. Maybe they were actually going to get better. Her friends knew what had been bothering her, she had a date with a great guy…things were good, and she was glad.
"I…" Logan began. I can't do this.
The voice argued back, You can, you idiot! Just tell her you meant it!
"I…meant it," he stammered. "I-I love you."
A/N: There's the recap. I'm going to post the first chapter now. Don't worry, I'm not going to make you wait any longer. lol. Off I go!