AN: So October becomes November, yes, but I hope the bigger message that you get out of it isn't my lack of timeliness but that I'm still alive in the fanfic community and I'm still going to finish this story. I think this chapter is utter crap and ridden with errors but hopefully you'll enjoy it. Or, rather, not, since this is where poor David gets his heart broken. So I guess what I'm trying to say is...fuck, I dunno. It's late and I still have a ton of homework to do.

I had thought no car ride could have been worse than the previous one. I had been sorely mistaken.

Although it took only about 20 minutes to get from Jake's to Kris Parks' crib in Chevy Chase, it felt like eons. I tried, idiotically, to make small talk with Sam, thinking there was the slightest possibility that I could get the conversation flowing again. For my efforts, I was rewarded with noncommittal shrugs and one-word answers.

"Now," I said, after Sam killed my last conversation starter, "whose party is this?"

"Kris Parks," she said, continuing to stare out of the window.

"And I'm supposed to know who that is...?" I said. I'm not gonna lie, I was getting a little sick of her short responses by that point.

Apparently Sam registered the tone in my voice, for she finally looked at me and blushed a little. "Sorry. She's this...well, she's one of the popular girls at my school - the ones I was telling you about - and, well, I don't really like her, but she invited me, Lucy and my friend Catherine. And a bunch of other people are going...well, I don't really know most of them but - "

I stopped her right there, for she was making absolutely no sense. "Let me see if I can get this straight. This is a party being given by a person you don't like, at which will be a lot of people you don't know, and we're going...why?"

Sam's blush deepened as she explained that Catherine had always wanted to go a party like this but never got the invite until now and Sam was basically going as moral support. I just shrugged and said, "Okay," convinced that the night most certainly was not going to get better at this party.

My suspicions heightened the minute we were greeted by Kris Parks, who - judging completely by looks alone - appeared to be the total antithesis of Sam. "Ohmigod, you came!" she shrieked as she opened the door. Ears still ringing from the greeting, I walked inside and prayed that I wasn't going to be bombarded by hundreds of screaming teens.

I wasn't, thankfully. Instead, every single person in vicinity suddenly became silent and stared at us with wide eyes. The music shut off. And then the whispers started. It was as if we had just walked into a giant beehive, that's how intense it was.

The more they whispered, the more I realized they weren't just talking about me being there. Judging by the way they were looking at us - both of us - and the kind of smirky way with which they were whispering, it was clear they were talking about us being there together. I glanced at Sam, who started her mad blushing, and my thoughts were confirmed. I grinned. As bad as it sounds, their unabashed gossip filled me with some strange confidence that maybe - just maybe - there was still that possibility that I haven't blown my chances with Sam.

"Hi, I'm Kris," Kris said, holding out her hand and jerking me out of my thoughts.

I took it. "Hi, I'm David."

"Hi, David," Kris gushed, smiling sycophantically. She continued to jerk my arm up and down, and proceeded to relay a some grade A suck-up about how my dad's doing an impressive job running the country and how she would have voted for him if she had been old enough.

"Thanks," I said, trying to take my hand away from her python-like grip. "That was nice of you."

"Sam and I are just the best of friends," Kris said, showing no signs of wanting to let go of my hand. "Did she tell you? Since kindergarten practically."

I nearly laughed at the look on Sam's face when Kris said this, for it was covered with the utmost loathing. Sam opened her mouth angrily, most likely to call Kris out on her lie, but her friend Catherine and her date had found her. While they talked, I finally managed to extract my fingers from that behemoth of a handshake and turned to Sam.

"Want a Coke, or something?" she asked.

Only I couldn't hear her because someone had turned back on the pounding monstrosity of music that was playing earlier. "What?" I said loudly, really starting to wish we hadn't come to the party.

"Coke?" she bellowed.

"Sure," I yelled back. "I'll go get it."

"No," she said forcefully. "I invited you. I'll get it. I'll get one for John, too. You stay here, or we'll lose each other."

I watched her fight through the thicket of gyrating and grinding bodies until some drunken (and totally underage. I mean, I know John won't do anything about it, but it's a pretty dumb move on the party planners' part) jocks approached me and started asking me questions like if I "got a lot pussy on the regular." I told them sorry, I'm allergic to cats - but I'm really not - and try to sidle as far away as possible without leaving the general area. But that wasn't the end of my woes. Within the next 10 minutes, I was approached by more shamelessly candid people who I really did not care to deal with at the moment. One girl, however, captured my attention by talking about Sam.

"I think she reaaally likes you," she slurred into my face.

"Really?" I asked eagerly.

"Oh sure," she said, leaning into me. I took a step back. "I mean, I was at the table when her and Lucy were talking 'boutchya and she kept denying that you two were going out, but it was in that kinda way that's like know, like, she was trying too hard to deny something?"

"Adamant?" I supplied.

"Yeah, that's it. She was toooo adamant. I got the feeling she was kind of like, 'I really don't think he likes me, so I'm not getting my hopes up, so I'll just keep pretending that I don't like him.' You know? I dunno. Anyway, do you wanna have sex?"

"Um, maybe if this whole Sam thing doesn't work out," I said absentmindedly, gently pushing her to the side. Although I totally did not appreciate (well, almost totally) her move on me, the girl had giving me exactly the impetus I needed to tell Sam exactly how I felt about her. Sure, considering her current state of mind, she probably did not give me the most trustworthy information to base such a decision on. But the girl's answer just seemed too perceptive to just ignore. And, after all, aren't people the most honest when they're drunk? I thought these things as I made my way throughout the crowd, and it only continued to boost my confidence.

After a long and unnecessarily arduous search for the non-alcoholic beverages, I eventually found Sam in a room off the kitchen talking to some guy. For a split-second, I feared she had ditched me to hang out with someone else. But then I noticed that she looked slightly bored as she listened to the guy talk rather enthusiastically about something, and figured she had been roped into a conversation against her will. The minute she saw me, she just simply brightened and I couldn't help but think that maybe that drunken chick was right.

"Hey," I said, returning the smile. "I wondered where you'd disappeared to."

"David," she said, "this is my sister Lucy's boyfriend, Jack. Jack, this is David."

I shook Jack's hand, taking all that I had within me to not burst out laughing. Jack was completely not who I had pictured as Lucy's boyfriend. I would have figured Lucy to date some football player, akin to those douches who came up to me earlier. This guy, on the other hand, appeared to be quite the character in his his army fatigues, ankh earring and a black overcoat (yeah, an overcoat. Indoors. Seriously, dude?) that screamed, "I am an anarchist, hear my rebellious roar!" The Hot Topic-inspired attire combined with this sort of imperious, fuck-the-world stance that was coming off him was, well, kind of laughable.

"David's in my art class," Sam said, clearly attempting to break the awkward silence that followed introductions.

"Oh," said Jack as he crumpled up his plastic cup (probably thinking he looked pretty bad-ass doing so), "you mean your conformity class?"

I looked at him questioningly. Sam glanced worriedly back and forth between us before saying, "No, Jack, it turns out it's not like that. I was totally wrong about Susan Boone. She just wants me to learn to draw what I see before I go off, you know, and do my own thing. You have to learn what the rules are, you see, before you can go around breaking them."

Jack looked at Sam as if she was speaking Esperanto. "What?"

"No, really," Sam said with more urgency and she proceeded to tell Jack what I had told her about Picasso. I listened to her, finally realizing what had fueled her initial skepticism of Susan's class.

After Sam did the whole Picasso shpeal, Jack just looked at her with disbelief and said, "Sam, I can't believe you, of all people, would fall for that pedagogic bull."

"Excuse me?" I said angrily. And my disdain increases.

Jack just raised his eyebrows at me and said, "Uh, I don't think I was talking to you, First Boy."

I opened my mouth to retort but Sam beat me to it. "Jack! What is wrong with you?"

"What is wrong with me?" Jack laughed bitterly. "That's not the question. The question is, what is wrong with you? I mean, you used to think for yourself, Sam. But now all of a sudden you're falling for all this 'draw what you see' crap like it's been handed down from the gods on a freaking stone tablet. What happened to questioning authority? What happened to making up your own mind about the creative process and how it functions?"

Now I'm not normally a violent person but the more bullshit that came out of this guy's mouth, the more I wanted to punch him in the face.

"Jack," Sam said exasperatedly. "I did make up my own mind. I - "

"Hey you guys," came a voice by the door. Momentarily distracted from the scene in front of me, I turned and saw Lucy, groaning inwardly with full knowledge of why she brought her gang of cheerleaders in tow. "Oh, hey, David, I've got some friends who want to meet - "

Luckily, Sam saved me from the meet-and-greet session by completely disregarding Lucy's presence. "I looked it up, Jack. David's right. Picasso was a technical virtuoso before he began experimenting with line and - "

"David," Jack said wryly. "Oh yes, I am sure David knows all about art. Because I"m sure he's had paintings publicly exhibited before."

As I heavily considered dishing out the many times my artwork has been regionally and nationally recognized - of course, ignoring the fact that being the son of a politician might have something to do with it - Lucy decided to join the conversation. "Like you have?"

I looked at her, surprised that she was challenging him. Jack looked pretty surprised too as he said, "Yes. As a matter of fact, I have had my paintings exhibited - "

"At the mall," Lucy retorted dryly. I couldn't help it, I smirked. Whatever negative impression I made of Lucy before completely evaporated at that moment.

However, Lucy's biting response did not seem to register as Jack continued to glare at Sam. "If I didn't know any better, Sam, I'd think it wasn't your arm you broke that day you saved this guy's dad, but your brain."

"Okay," I said, exceedingly pissed off. Now I really, really wanted to punch him in the face. "Look, dude, I don't know what your problem is, but - "

"My problem?" Jack exclaimed. "I'm not with the problem, dude. You're the one who seems so perfectly willing to let your individuality be sapped by a - "

"Okay," Lucy said, coming in between us and grabbing him by his coat. "That's it. Outside, Jack."

He blinked down at her stupidly. "But...Luce, this guy started it."

I furrowed my eyebrows in confusion. 'This guy started it?' What was he, five? I seriously wondered what Lucy saw in the guy. I got the impression she was considering the same thing as she led him out the door to the backyard. "Right. Sure he did. Let's just step outside and get some air. How many beers have you had, anyway?"

The minute they left, I looked at Sam and asked, "What's with that guy, anyway?"

Sam looked sadly out the window as she said, "He's not so bad. He just, you know, has the soul of an artist."

"Yeah," I scoffed. "And the brains of an orangutan."

Suddenly, Sam fixed me with this weirdly admonishing stare and said, "Jack Ryder happens to be very, very talented. Not only that, but he is a rebel. A radical. Jack's paintings don't just reflect the plight of the urban youth of today. They make a powerful statement about our generation's apathy and lack of moral rectitude."

I looked at her incredulously, refusing to believe what she had just said. It honestly sounded like Jack had paid her to memorize that drivel and rattle it off whenever its necessary. I searched her face for any indication that she was joking or something, but found absolutely nothing. It just did not make sense. I thought we were on the same page about Jack. Why was she defending him like that? I continued to stare at her until finally occurred to me. The thought was so unpleasant, I felt almost sick trying to get the words out. "What? Do you like that guy, or something, Sam?"

I heard giggles behind me and just remembered that the cheerleading squad was still behind me, but I didn't care. Sam immediately started blushing and stopped making eye contact, and I felt stomach sink to my feet. "Duh," she said nervously. "He's Lucy's boyfriend, not mine."

"I didn't ask you whose boyfriend he was," I said, wanting a concrete answer. But I didn't need it; it was all over her face. She didn't bring me here because she liked me or, hell, that she valued my company as a friend. She brought me here to make her sister's boyfriend jealous. She used me. It all - everything that had sucked about this night - made sense now. I was and felt like a complete and utter tool. "I asked if you like him."

Suddenly she meets my gaze and my eyes are begging her to deny it, begging her to tell me that I'm completely wrong about her. She looked at me for a long time with unease and...something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Finally, she opened her mouth but suddenly, someone yells, "There you are!"

To make matters worse, which I really didn't think was possible at that moment, Kris Parks' waltzed in with sixty other kids who were apparently dying to meet me. If I wasn't the president's son, I would have told everyone to fuck off. But since I am, I was forced to forget about the fact that I felt like complete and utter shit and pretend that I had nothing better to do than shake hands with a bunch of spoiled rich kids. I walked out of the room without a backwards glance.

AN: I'm sorry but can I just express how annoying Sam is for staying on Jack's balls for so long? There's nothing attractive about him. I mean, I know he's described as good-looking and all, but I pictured him as the douche-y good-looking type (you know, like the way Luke looks on the O.C. Even though I totally love Luke, but that's a whole 'nother tangent), which is simply not appealing. Because guess what? If you look like a douche, chances are highly likely that you are or were a douche sometime in your lifetime. Not that I'm speaking from personal experience or anything.

Okay, so reviews would be nice. I feel like I could have probably elaborated more on David's feelings but I got too impatient and figured I should just upload the damn thing. Story of my life, right? So let me know what you think about that, along with anything else that you noticed.

Peace and love. I'll peep ya in December. Hopefully.