Guilt seeped into me as my heart pounded furiously against my chest at the sight of the expression on Damien's face. He looked pained, physically even as he looked down at me with an urgency that his eyes could not conceal.

I opened my mouth, the retort I'd been prepared to throw back at him, slipping at the tip of my tongue.


He waited, his hold on my wrist tightening slightly but not painfully so.

"Hate is a strong word." Biting back my pride, I said in a hushed whisper, "I don't hate you."

A smile broke out on his lips immediately but knowing he'd get cocky over me, I quickly added, "That doesn't mean I like you either."

Grinning, he dropped my hand and I let it fall back to my side. That ever familiar grin grew wider across his face as happiness settled into his features, which only seconds ago had held a struggle. "That's enough for now, honey."

Groaning, I turned my back on him, heading towards the Spanish classroom. But this time Damien didn't follow. I looked over my shoulder when I noticed the absence of his presence by my side, the empty silence devoid of his voice joking and flirting with me as I walked. His form had retreated, skipping happily back down the stairs with a small smile on his lips. I stopped for a moment, and watched until he disappeared from view, unable to help myself from replaying the scene in my head, over and over again.

The emotions that I'd seen flit across his eyes had been so genuine, conveying raw hurt at the idea of my not liking him. He'd needed a reassurance that it was just a lie and I'd given him that reassurance. But why should Damien even care?

He was clearly one of the most popular guys in this high school. The attention he received, not only from it-girls and athletes, but nearly everyone including the teachers proved it. Why should he seek the approval of a new girl, who hours ago had been a mere stranger to him? None of it made sense...

I shook my head to myself, snapping out of my thoughts. It didn't concern me. I shouldn't care at all one bit who or what Damien was trying to be and pull off. Yet, as I walked over to Spanish class, I couldn't help but consider the possibility that the boy wore a mask.

The End

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