There were all kinds of low and wrong feelings in Mary-Lou's heart. For one, it was relief that she was not the one who was disgraced by arguing and being homesick. Envy that that girl, Gwendoline Mary, was able to express her feelings so freely, not minding that her new schoolmates would scorn her. Irritation, both with Gwendoline for making a scene and with herself for being so hypocritical, when she wanted nothing more than to break down and cry, not to pretend to be strong.
Yet, there were also some better, more admirable feelings. She wanted to go and hug the poor girl, to tell her not to worry. However, the looks on faces of all the other girls dissuaded her from that and she hated her own cowardice, which she was still unable to fully overcome. She admired Gwen for being so strong and free, she admired Gwen for her beauty, her golden hair and her doll-like face, still pretty, even now when it was puffy and red from crying.
So, when she was alone, Mary-Lou went to Gwen. She went to her not because there was no else to go to, but because she wanted to. She did not mind Gwen being selfish for as long as Gwen gave Mary-Lou a little of her friendship, Mary-Lou was content. She was content with being allowed to brush Gwen's hair and feel the silky strands under her fingers. Her heart soared whenever Gwen smiled at her, and she was ready to do almost anything for Gwen.
Therefore, Mary-Lou was ready to forgive Gwen and give her second chance at friendship, even after the pen incident. Partly, it was from shame, since after all, she did betray Gwen for Darrell's sake, but it was also because she did like Gwen, really, truly, liked her, with all her flaws, in spite of all her flaws. She was still ready upon Gwen's single word, to become Gwen's slave, in exchange for just a few words of friendship.
It was one of the last days of the term, when sullen Gwen presented Mary-Lou with the pen she had bought as a replacement for the broken one. They were alone in a corner of the courtyard, all alone. Mary-Lou took the pen with shaking hand and thanked Gwen, who was already turning around to walk away.
"Gwen, wait!" said Mary-Lou.
"What?" replied Gwen, but she stopped.
"Please, Gwen, we can still be friends," said Mary-Lou, "I'll forgive you breaking the pen, I'll even forget about it. You bought me a new one, it's like nothing ever happened. Gwen, please, let's be friends again."
"Why?" said Gwen, "You have Darrell and Sally, isn't that enough for you?"
"But Gwen," said Mary-Lou, "I don't want Sally or Darrell. I want you."
"Then you should have thought better before choosing Darrell," said Gwen.
"I couldn't have Darrell take the blame for something she didn't done," said Mary-Lou, "I just couldn't have."
"I trusted you, Mary-Lou," said Gwen, "And you went after Darrell."
Mary-Lou felt miserable. It was true; all of it was true. She broke Gwen's trust, abandoned her, left her behind, and started being friendly with Darrell and Sally. She did not even say a single kind word to Gwen after she had been found. Instead, she left her alone and friendless. And now, at the very end of the term, she had the cheek to come back to Gwen and ask to be friends again, when she did not do even the least to deserve it.
Yet, Gwen had broken her pen to get Darrell in trouble. Gwen did not even say sorry, no matter how insincerely. Gwen hurt Mary-Lou to hurt others, when Mary-Lou trusted her. She knew that Gwen was far from perfect, but she did not know that she was so deceitful and malicious.
However, as Gwen stood in front of her, shaking with fury, tears welling in her eyes, Mary-Lou still felt the enchantment that drew her into Gwen's power. She was able to resist it now, but she felt that she did not want to do so. She still wanted to be friends with Gwen, even after all that Gwen had done. She could forgive and she did want to forgive. After all, there was no one else who wanted to be Gwen's friend and Mary-Lou did not want Gwen to suffer.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly, "Gwen, can you forgive me?"
"I do not want to," said Gwen, "It's all your fault. If you weren't nosing around, none of this would have happened."
"If I didn't do anything, everyone would blame Darrell!" said Mary-Lou, "It is your own fault! You broke the pen, so you should take the responsibility!"
"I bought you a new one, didn't I?" said Gwen, "You said yourself it's like nothing ever happened."
"Gwen, please," said Mary-Lou, "Don't be like that."
"Why shouldn't I?" screamed Gwen, "This entire term, that horrid Alicia makes fun of me, Darrell humiliates me over and over again, and now, you betray me! I have every right to be angry!"
With this, Gwen broke down into tears and Mary-Lou, disregarding what Gwen had just said, ran over to her and hugged the sobbing girl. Gwen did not resist and Mary-Lou stroked and kissed her golden hair, waiting until Gwen's tears ran out. Then, with one last, choking sob, Gwen pushed Mary-Lou away.
"I don't need you," said Gwen, "Just go to your Darrell and Sally."
"Gwen, please," said Mary-Lou in one last, desperate plea.
"I hate you almost as much as I hate Darrell and Alicia," said Gwen, "So go after them. You're all alike."
"Gwen," said Mary-Lou, "Are you the least bit sorry for what you did?"
"No," said Gwen, "Nothing of it is my fault."
Again, feelings she was ashamed of flooded Mary-Lou's heart. She wanted to slap Gwen and to throw the magnificent pen, which she had just received, at her, but she quickly suppressed it, whether from cowardice or sensibility, she did not know. Instead, she just turned away and walked away, without saying a word.
And yet, when she saw Gwen again in the next term, Mary-Lou felt a pang of regret in her heart. Maybe, maybe if she were a bit more patient and a bit more kind to Gwen, things might have turned out differently. However at that moment, Mary-Lou heard Darrell calling her and she turned to her friend with a smile on her face.