Later that night, Sam came over. He looked as troubled as I felt.
"What's up," I asked.
"Amber asked me to the dance..."
"Yeah?" I forced a smile. "What'd you tell her?"
"I told her I'd think about it." He looked at me, his eyes unreadable.
"Why?" Secretly, I was pleased.
"Well, I wanted to talk it over with you first. Should I say no?"
"Why would you say no? Unless you don't really want to go with her. We aren't dating though, and this is your decision. If you want to go with her, go with her," I told him, hating myself. But I didn't want to sound selfish by saying that I hated the very thought. Nor did I want to let Amber down... The way she looked at lunch, it was obvious she really liked him.
"But how do you feel about it? I want to know your opinion," he explained.
"But how is my opinion relevant?" I argued.
"Nikki, you kissed me!" He exclaimed, exasperated.
"Yes, Sam. I did. And that was an accident, a mistake. But I'm not the only villain here. You kissed me back."
"So you're saying that if someone you liked kissed you, you wouldn't kiss them back?" he retorted.
"That depends on who it was!" I shouted. "Wait, someone you like..." He never let me finish.
"That's not how I meant it."
"Really? Is that so? Alright, Sam. Fine," I stormed out of my bedroom to grab a bottle of water. Sam followed me quietly.
"Was it really a mistake, though? That's what I'm trying to ask, Nikki. Why did it happen?" His eyes pleaded with me, and I could tell he'd agonized over it just as much as I had.
I looked at the floor, shaking my head, silent. "I don't know, Sam. I just, I wasn't thinking. I acted on instinct."
"Your instinct was to kiss me?" He smiled a little, but it was sad. I didn't answer, and instead took a swig of my water.
"So? Where does this put us? What exactly are we? Should I tell Amber no?"
"I don't know what we are, Sam. But you decide what to do about Amber." I wanted to say, 'Yes, tell her no,' but I didn't. This was his decision, and he needed to make it on his own. Either way, I'd survive. I'd find a way. I may not be a happy camper, but I was a better actress than people gave me credit for.
"Thanks for the help," he snorted. He left me standing alone in my kitchen, fists balled and shaking.
Not even five minutes after Sam left, Amber called me.
"Hey, Nikki. So, I asked Sam, but he said he'd think about it. I couldn't tell what he was thinking about, but I really hope he says yes. God, Nikki, he's perfect. He's that Prince Charming every girl dreams of having to herself." I clenched my fist so hard I began bleeding.
Looks like dreams don't come true, do they, I thought, more than a little disappoined.
"I know, Amber. I thought that for a while too." He's not exactly perfect, though, I added to myself glumly.
We talked for a few minutes longer, and then I hung up. I was officially sick of people. I was tired of being let down, tired of being tugged around. It was almost better to be the stone-hearted friend of Lucy and the others, where I was virtually immune to feeling like this. Almost better.
I went to bed early, even though I wasn't able to sleep until an hour before I had to get up. I thought about calling my mom and telling her to call the school and let them know I'd be absent because I wasn't feeling well, but I didn't.
Skipping school wouldn't help anything and staying home wouldn't give me anything to keep my mind off of how miserable things had become.