Undying Devotion


Chapter 1

Amora's eyes shot open to the sound of her alarm clock's beeping. She lifted her hand and brought it down hard on the clock, causing it to stop. She looked at her calendar and groaned. It was 6:00 in the morning on a Saturday and now she was wide-awake. She hated it when she did that. Rolling out of bed, she decided to go and wake up her brothers across the hall.

It took a lot to make Amora Littlefield angry, so being awakened at this early hour was something she got over very quickly. She was always a very happy girl and with good reason. She had a wonderful life, though to others it may have seemed quite odd and confusing. Amora had been an only child, living with her mother, Elizabeth, since her father ran out on them when Amora was 11 months old. She'd never seen her father since then, nor did she care to. She didn't know anything about him, only that he left them with little money and even less chance of living a normal life. But when Amora was 4 years old, her mother married Fitzwilliam Navarro, a wonderful, kind, and loving man. Although she'd had barely any relationship with her real father, Amora kept the last name Littlefield when her mother became Mrs. Navarro. Mr. Navarro had two children from a previous marriage, twin boys, Alex and Aaron, who were the same age as Amora. The boys were complete opposites yet Amora loved them both as if they were her real brothers. When the three of them started kindergarten, it seemed as if life couldn't get any better. That is, until their parents told them they would be having a new addition to the family. When Amora was 6 years old, her mother gave birth to Caroline. The boys seemed hesitant to accept her, but Amora looked at her new sister as another blessing to her life. That wasn't how Amora looked at her now that she was 17 and Caroline was 11, but she still loved her just the same.

Amora crept across the hall and opened the door to her brothers' room. Seeing they were both asleep, she walked silently to the side of Aaron's bed. While she loved both of her brothers the same, Aaron had a special bond with her. From the moment they met they had become inseparable and that hadn't changed over the years. They were as close as two people could possibly be. When they had entered high school, Amora had become the envy of more than a few girls for living in the same house with Aaron Navarro. He was sweet, adorably shy, and one of the kindest and best-looking boys in school. Alex was just as attractive as his brother, but more people feared him than liked him. He was very protective of Amora and during the course of freshmen year alone, he'd beaten up over 12 guys who'd tried to mess with her.

Amora glanced over at Alex, who was sleeping soundly. Aaron was too, but he wouldn't be for long. Amora grabbed his shoulders and shook him violently. He awoke with a yelp and glared at Amora when the room stopped spinning. He opened his mouth to yell at her but she shook her head and pointed to Alex, who was still sleeping. Then she giggled and ran back across the hall into her room. Aaron sleepily got up and walked after her.

Closing her door, he grumbled, "It's Saturday, ya know."

"I know. But my alarm went off. And I wasn't going to be the only one awake in the house this early."

Aaron collapsed onto her bed and glared at her. "You should've woken Jello up."

"Now why would I want to disturb the peaceful slumber of my favorite cocker spaniel?" she asked, smiling at him.

Aaron gave her an angry look but then began to laugh. "Yes well... I suppose if he is to be cursed with such a stupid name, you may as well let him sleep."

Amora began laughing as well. Caroline had named the dog Jello and the rest of the family thought it was ridiculous. He was a dog, not a dessert. But their parents had spoiled Caroline rotten since she was the child they'd had together and whatever Caroline wanted, Caroline got. So the dog was affectionately referred to as Jello.

"Is there any particular reason you woke me up? Aside from the fact that you're insane?" Aaron said, his tone becoming spacey and soft, the way it did when he was falling asleep. Amora looked at him and was determined to keep him awake. She began to jump on her bed, causing him to become wide-awake again. He sighed as he waited for the room to stop spinning again.

"As a matter of fact, I did need your advice on something," Amora said as she stopped jumping and hopped off the bed.

"And what would that be?"

"The Spring Dance is in 2 weeks and I'm going to ask Marcus to take me to it," she said matter-of-factly.

Aaron rolled his eyes at her. "You say that every time there's a dance..."

"Yes but this time I'm really going to do it!"

Standing up, Aaron walked over to her and hugged her. "Amora, why don't you just go the dance with Oliver?"

"The same reason I never go to dances with Oliver," she said as she wiggled out of his arms. "I don't like him. He's a good friend but I just don't like him."

"Why? Because he's a year younger? Because you'd rather have him as a friend? Or because he's not Marcus?"

She glared at him. "Because I'd rather have him as a friend. Oliver's nice and everything... I just don't see myself with him."

Aaron sighed. Amora took his sigh to mean that he was annoyed with her decision. What she was wrong about was the reason he was annoyed. It was true that Aaron was tired of her drooling over Marcus Galmiere. He was a year older than them and one of the most popular boys in school. Alex hated him. Aaron wasn't too fond of him either, but Amora had been in love with him since the first day of kindergarten and they respected that. Maybe Aaron would've liked Marcus if he ever acknowledged Amora's existence. But the truth was that Marcus was as conceited as they come. He was popular and he only associated with popular people. And he only dated cheerleaders. Amora wasn't a cheerleader. Aaron was glad she wasn't, they were far too perky and fake for his liking. And he loved Amora the way she was. In fact, he was sort of glad Marcus never paid attention to her. Every time Amora gave up on going to a dance with him, Aaron would take her instead. He knew she was the only person he'd have fun with and although he didn't realize it at the moment, his feeling for Amora were deeper than that of a best friend or even a sister.

"Isn't he going out with Minerva Parkhurst?" he asked finally.

"Not anymore," she said with a smile. "They broke up Thursday. I heard it was a huge scene in the middle of the quad. Too bad I missed it."

"Amora!" Aaron laughed. "That's so evil. And who told you that? Rose?"

Amora shook her head. "Don't call her that..."

"Oh yeah... I keep forgetting... why did she have to do that?" he said with a confused tone. Rose was the fourth party in their incredibly tight-knit group. She'd been exactly like Amora up until they started high school. Realizing she didn't like doing things just to please everyone else and live up to other people's standards, Rose changed her entire look and attitude. To Amora, Aaron, and Alex, she was the same person she'd always been. But the rest of the school now found her "scary." She usually wore black clothes and fishnets, with a lot of black make-up. She listened to alternative music unlike the rest of her overly perky school, who listened teeny bop and rap. She listened to teeny bop and rap too, but only the Triple A (as she referred to Amora, Aaron, and Alex) knew that. She'd begged her parents all through high school to let her change her name. She hated "Rose" and it just didn't fit her personality. Her parents had refused for two years, but then at the beginning of junior year, they allowed her to change her name to "Black Rose," and now she wouldn't respond to anything but that. People found her name as just another reason to consider her "scary," since her last name was Darkheaven. Some people actually believed she was a witch. She found that amusing.

"Because she's happier this way, and no, for your information, she didn't tell me that Marcus and Minerva broke up. Alex did. He was there."

"Oh," Aaron said, his face becoming even more confused. He wondered why Alex would be so eager to inform her of their break-up. If Marcus ever did try to go out with Amora, Aaron was certain Alex would kill him before it got serious.

"Now, I know I'm not exactly Marcus's type, but I think if I were to, oh I dunno, run into him tonight at that club he goes to every Saturday night, he'd notice me for sure!"

Aaron raised a brow at her. "Mom and dad are never going to let you go. You know how they feel about Club X..."

"Well they won't know that's where I am, silly," she laughed. Seeing his concerned look, she stopped. "I hate lying to them just as much as you do, but this is my only chance... it's the only way... stop looking at me like that. It's not like you've never lied to them."

Aaron sighed. She was right, but he'd never done something behind their backs like this. "Are you sure about this, Amora?"

"Yes. I convinced BR to come with me."


"Well Black Rose is such a mouthful, don't you think?"

"Yeah but I highly doubt she'll appreciate that nickname."

"She lets me call her that. That's all that matters."

"And you mean she agreed to go within 5 miles of that club?"

"She agreed to go inside. She understands how much I love him, Aaron. Unlike SOME people."

Aaron blinked and felt as if he'd been punched in the stomach. He hated it when she said she loved Marcus. She couldn't possibly love Marcus. He didn't even know her name. She had a crush on him, yes, but love? It angered Aaron a lot more than it should have whenever she used that word.

"I know you want to go to the dance with him, Amora, but what makes you think he'll notice you tonight? He hasn't noticed you for the last 11 and a half years."

Amora scowled at him. "Because for the last 11 and a half years, I haven't been able to catch his eyes the way I will tonight."

"What do you mean?"

"When I was at the mall with BR last night we bought the most amazing outfit and I'm quite certain he'll take one look at me and ask me to the Spring Dance!" she said excitedly.

Aaron sighed and shook his head. Amora looked amazing in everything she wore. No one outfit could possibly make Marcus look at her any differently. He knew she'd be heartbroken once again when she came home that night and she hated to see her in pain, but she brought it upon herself.

"Alright. But don't say I didn't warn you," he said as he picked up one of her magazines and began to flip through it.

Amora gave him a dirty look and sprawled out across her bedroom floor, flipping through another magazine. The rest of their conversation that morning consisted of random comments about the dresses Julia Stiles and Katie Holmes were wearing, and the new way Joey Fatone was doing his hair. Both Amora and Aaron were content with that.


Chapter 2

"ALEX!" Black Rose screamed at the top of her lungs. Amora and Aaron laughed as she got up from the table and began chasing him around the backyard. Teasing Black Rose and playing practical jokes on her was one of Alex's main goals in life, the other being to protect Amora from the guys at school.

Today Alex had taken advantage of the cool spring afternoon by pouring a bucket of ice-cold water over Black Rose's head. Which was why she was chasing him in circles while Jello barked happily and ran beside them. Mr. and Mrs. Navarro had gone out for the day and they'd taken Caroline with them.

"Do you want to come with us tonight, Aaron?" Amora asked, laughing as Black Rose tackled Alex and began to punch him playfully in the stomach while Jello licked his face.

"I... I don't think I'd fit in there..." he said quietly.

"Oh come on, anywhere I fit in, you fit in."

"No, Amora... you fit in everywhere. I'm just not into the whole... dancing outrageously close to people I've never met before... thing."

Amora sighed. She wouldn't be half as afraid and self-conscious if he was there with her. But she decided to let it go. Something was bothering him, she could tell. She'd been trying to get it out of him all day but to no avail.

Black Rose walked back to her chair and sat down, a satisfied look on her face. Alex was still lying in the grass.

"What did you do to him?" Amora asked.

"I killed him. A just punishment, I dare say," Black Rose answered with a smile. Jello was now running around Alex in circles. "I think your dog is on drugs, by the way."

"He is not!" Alex said as he sat up. Although Jello was the family dog and Caroline had named him, Alex was fonder of him than the rest of the household. "He's just... really happy, that's all." Standing up, he walked over to them slowly and cautiously and sat down in a chair across from Black Rose.

"And what are you gentlemen doing tonight?" Black Rose asked, glaring slightly at Alex.

"Nothing," they replied in unison.

"Well at least you're doing it together," she laughed.

"You guys should really come with us to Club X," Amora said.

Aaron and Alex looked at each other and then at Amora.

"Do we look like "club" people?" Alex asked.

"Do I?" Black Rose countered. "I don't wanna go either, but I'm doing it for her."

"Come on, guys..." she pleaded.

Aaron sighed. "Fine."

"What?? Speak for yourself!" Alex said, crossing his arms.

"Have it your way. You can sit at home tonight with Caroline," Amora said, knowing that would do it.

"Ehhh... on second thought, maybe I will go. Just in case anybody tries anything with you," Alex said.

Amora smiled. "You guys are the best!"

Aaron and Alex were leaning on the side of their car waiting for Amora and Black Rose to come back. They'd stopped at Black Rose's house on the way to the club so Amora could change. Alex was watching a stray cat across the street, but when he glanced at his brother, he could tell something was seriously bothering him.

"You ok, man? I know this isn't exactly your idea of a good time, but we're not going to a funeral... you could at least try to look like you're not going in for a root canal or something..."

"No, it's just... I just felt like staying home tonight. But hey... Anything for Amora, right?" For as long as they could remember, their motto had been "Anything for Amora." She was more than a sister to them, it was hard to explain how they felt about her. They would do anything for her. Including making an appearance in Club X.

"Right. And the sooner we get there, the sooner we can leave. Here they come," Alex said as he hopped back in the car. Aaron looked up and his breath caught in his throat. Amora and Black Rose walked down the steps and towards the car as Aaron just stared at his best friend. Usually she wore such conservative clothing, but now she was wearing a tight black miniskirt with a black fringe top. She had on a pair of Black Rose's fishnets and her black hair was pulled back with a few curls falling down in front of her ears. She didn't look like herself, yet she was as beautiful as ever. Her voice snapped him out of his trance.

"Earth to Aaron... I asked if you liked it."

"Huh? Oh! Oh, yeah, I... um... yeah, I do," he stammered. He opened the door for her and Black Rose to get into the backseat and then he got behind the wheel. He could hear the girls whispering but he couldn't hear what they were saying and he didn't really want to.


Chapter 3

Once inside the club, Amora spotted Marcus right away. Aaron watched her get the look in her eyes she always got when she saw him. He looked away from her. He didn't understand why this was bothering him so much. Maybe tonight would be the night Marcus really would notice her. Then she'd be happy. So why was he starting to feel so sick?

Amora and Black Rose made their way across the club and stationed themselves not too far from where Marcus was standing with some of his friends. Alex motioned for Aaron to follow him and they walked over to a table where they could see and even hear Marcus.

"Trust me, she'll be back. She'll come to her senses. Once you date the Marc-ster, everyone else is only second rate..."

Alex rolled his eyes and muttered, "I hate him... I don't see what she sees in this guy..."

Aaron didn't say anything. He was too busy watching Amora. She was talking to Black Rose and swaying her hips slightly to the music.

Ladies leave your man at home
The club is full of ballers and their pockets full grown
And all you fellas leave your girl with her friends
'Cause it's 11:30 and the club is jumpin' jumpin' *

Aaron hated this song, but he couldn't take his eyes off of her. Marcus was an idiot for not realizing how wonderful Amora was.

"She deserves better than him," he said, still staring at her.

"I know. But try telling her that..." Alex said, keeping his eyes and ears on Marcus.

"Man, I really think you should get over her. Why don't you pick someone up tonight?" Jake Manzano, Marcus's best friend, was saying. "She was so... clingy. And she was kind of mean. I know a lot of other girls, nicer girls, who'd go out with you in a second."

"Every girl would go out with me in a second," Marcus said with a laugh.

"Then come on, pick someone up here," Jake said, looking around. "Oh wow..."


"Is that Amora Littlefield? Dang, she looks different..."

"Who? Where?"

Jake pointed to Amora, who was still swaying her hips to the beat of Destiny's Child. "She's in your homeroom. Isn't she gorgeous?"

Marcus shrugged. "She's ok, I guess. Nothing to stop traffic over. But yeah, she's cute."

Every word out of Marcus's mouth was making Aaron and Alex angrier and angrier. It was all Alex could do to stop himself from getting up and beating the crap out of him. Aaron's heart fell as he watched Marcus walk over to Amora and begin talking to her. Black Rose waited a few minutes and then excused herself, walking over to the table and sitting down with Aaron and Alex as Marcus and Amora began to dance. Alex kept his eyes on them, making sure he didn't touch her anywhere inappropriate.

"There," Black Rose said. "He noticed her. Now I hope she notices what brainless, pompous..."

"Ken Doll he is," Aaron finished for her. "That's what I've been telling her for years. He's a Ken Doll... he seems perfect but there's nothing to him. He's simple and stupid and brain dead."

Black Rose looked at him in astonishment. She'd never heard him speak so harshly about anyone like that. She didn't say anything, only followed the gazes of both Alex and Aaron, who were watching Amora and Marcus like hawks.

She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck
Thighs like what, what, what
Baby move your butt, butt, butt
I think I'll sing it again
She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck
Thighs like what, what, what
All night long
Let me see that thong **

Alex jumped up as Marcus's hands began to wander over Amora's body as they danced. Black Rose jumped up after him and grabbed his arms.

"Alex, calm down, they're just dancing."

"That is NOT just dancing," he declared, noticing that his brother's eyes were flashing murder as well. "That's... that's... that's NOT just dancing!"

Black Rose shook her head at him. "She'll be fine, come on, dance with me. It'll take your mind off of it. I swear she'll be fine."

Alex hesitated but agreed to trust Black Rose and take her word for it. He put his hands on her hips, but kept his eyes on Marcus's hands at the same time. Aaron tried looking around to see if anyone else he knew was in the club. It was hurting him too much watching Amora dance with that jerk. While his head was turned, she ran up to the table and startled him when she said his name, causing him to jump slightly and turn towards her. Marcus had gone to the bathroom and she couldn't wait another minute to tell Aaron the good news.

"Aaron! Ohmigosh! He asked me! He asked me to the Spring Dance!" she said enthusiastically.

His heart dropped for the hundredth time that night. He forced a smile. "That's... that's great, Amora... congratulations..."

"I can't believe it's finally happening! I was beginning to think dreams didn't come true, but now mine has!"

Aaron smiled again but said nothing.

"Oh Aaron, I know you don't like him, and maybe he is a little into himself---"

"A little?" Alex piped up as he and Black Rose stopped dancing and sat back down at the table.

Amora gave him a dirty look. "Look, you guys can leave. I know the three of you don't really wanna be here. But you can go now, Marcus will drive me home later."

"NO!" Alex and Aaron said at the same time.

Amora jumped slightly. "Geez... I'll be fine, guys, really. Go home. Thank you SO much for coming with me tonight, though, you have no idea how much it means to me that you guys did that for me."

Aaron and Alex looked skeptically at each other but it was Black Rose who answered. "Ok, Amora. Come on, guys, let's go." The boys didn't move. "Guys, come ON," she said more forcefully. Alex stared into Black Rose's eyes with a look of determination but it quickly faded and he stood up to leave. Amora smiled and ran back over to Marcus, who had returned from the bathroom. Alex and Black Rose had to practically drag Aaron out to the car.

Once they were outside, Alex pulled his brother to the side. "Look, I don't like him either, but she's crazy about him. So let her have her fun, ok? She can take care of herself."

Aaron just looked at him with a cold darkness in his eyes that sent a shiver down Alex's spine. Turning and breaking into a run, Aaron went back inside the club and grabbed Amora by the arm.

"What are you doing??" she cried as Marcus just looked at him in shock.

"I can't leave you here. Not with him."

"What are you talking about??"

"I don't trust him. Who knows what he might try to do to you?"

Amora angrily pulled away from him. "Stop it, Aaron! Can't you trust me for once in your life? You always make such a big deal out of nothing! Now go home!"

Aaron watched her turn her back to him and turn her attentions back to Marcus. His eyes filled with tears as he walked back outside. "Fine, let's go home," he said stoically as he got into the car. The three of them drove home in silence.

* Destiny's Child
** Sisqo


Chapter 4

Ring... ring... ring...ring...

Aaron was laying in Amora's bed waiting for her to come home. He hated fighting with her and he wanted to apologize as soon as he could.

"Hey this is Amora. I'm not in my room right now but leave your name and number and I'll call you back as soon as I can." Beep.

"Aaron? Alex? C'mon, one of you hasta be in her room right now. Guys?" a familiar voice spoke into Amora's answering machine.

Aaron dove for the phone and picked it up. "Asia?"

"Hey. Which one is this?"

"It's Aaron. Have you heard from Amora? It's almost midnight and I'm getting really---"

"Calm down, stud, she's at my house."

"What's she doing there?" Aaron asked. Asia was Oliver Hayden's older sister. She was a senior and even though she didn't seem to like Aaron or Alex much, she'd always been a good friend to Amora.

"Look, she agreed to let me call you, but I had to do a lot of persuading so you owe me big time for this, stallion."

Aaron rolled his eyes at her stupid nicknames for him. "What's wrong?"

"Just come over, ok? Oliver will let you in."

Aaron hung up and slipped out the window and across the yard. He knocked quietly on the door and Oliver opened it and looked at him shyly.

"She's upstairs in my sister's room," he whispered. "Don't wake my parents up, ok?"

Aaron didn't take the time to notice how kind Oliver was being at the moment. It was a truth universally known that Oliver had the biggest crush on Amora. It must have pained him to have Amora in his house and not be able to talk to her, since it was obvious she wanted to confide in his sister instead of in him. But right now all Aaron cared about was making sure his best friend was ok.

Opening the door slowly, he looked in the room to see Asia sitting on her floor and Amora laying face down on her bed. Asia looked at him and stood up.

"I'll be in the hall if you need me, tiger," she said with a smile as she walked out and shut the door behind her.

Aaron sat beside Amora on the bed and put his hand on her back gently. "Amora? Are you ok? What happened?"

Amora turned over and looked up at him, her face stained with tears. "I am so sorry, Aaron..."

"For what?"

"For not listening to you. You were so right. About everything. I never listen to you and I don't know why I don't. You're always right. That's so annoying."

"I'm not always right... but tell me what happened," he said soothingly.

"Well... everything was fine... Marcus was driving me home... but then he pulled over on a part of the road where there were no streetlights. And then he kissed me and I couldn't believe it... well but of course I kissed him back---" Aaron felt the knife go through his heart. "---but then he started touching me... and he was just... I mean it all happened so fast... and I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn't." Aaron's eyes flared with anger once again as she continued. "So I got out of the car but then he drove away because he was angry at me. And then I had to walk all the way home. Only I couldn't go home. I just couldn't face you. I'll never forgive myself for being so foolish and thoughtless..." she trailed off as the tears began to fall once again.

Aaron pulled her into his arms and held her while she cried. "It's not your fault... you liked him... you couldn't see what a jerk he was... but it's ok now, it's over. Nothing happened and it's over. He'll never be able to try and hurt you again. Alex and I will take care of him. It'll be ok, Amora, I promise." He held her for what seemed like forever before Asia opened the door slowly.

"Hey... I hate to interrupt, but I think maybe you guys should go home now. My dad gets up really early for work and he'll flip if he sees you here. Amora, are you gonna be ok?" she asked. Aaron looked at her. He knew Asia was a great friend to those fortunate enough to be able to call themselves her friends, but since he wasn't one of them, it was rare for him to see her as sweet and kind as she was right now. He smiled at her and she returned the smile for a second before shooing them out of her room. They walked home arm in arm and snuck in back in through Amora's window. She sighed and sat down on the floor.

"Do you want me to stay?" he asked softly.

"No, you can go to bed. I'm really sorry again, Aaron."

"Don't be. I'm just glad you're alright." He went across the hall and since Alex was still awake, he explained the whole situation to him. They agreed to murder Marcus on Monday as soon as they got to school. Alex fell asleep quickly, but Aaron stayed up and just stared at the ceiling for a while. He sat up when he heard music coming from across the hall. It wasn't the usual type of music Amora listened to because he was certain he'd never heard it before. He quietly crept across the hall and stood outside her door, listening to the words.

Love hangs herself
With the bed sheets in her cell
Threw myself on fires for you
Ten good reasons to stay alive
Ten good reasons that I can't find

Aaron began to recognize the song. He'd heard it once when he was in Black Rose's car. It was one of the CD's she listened to that made everyone think she was suicidal. He wondered how Amora got a hold of it, or why she was listening to it for that matter.

Oh, give me a reason to be beautiful
So sick in his body
So sick in his soul
Oh, give me one reason to be beautiful
Oh, and everything I am

Love hates you
I live my life in ruins for you
And for all your secrets kept
I squashed the blossom
Now the blossom's dead

Oh, give me a reason to be beautiful
So sick in his body
So sick in his soul
Oh, and I will make myself so beautiful
Oh, and everything I am

Aaron opened the door slowly. She was still sitting on the floor. She looked up at him when he came in and motioned for him to sit down next to her, which he did.

Miles and miles of perfect skin
I swear I do, I fit right in
My love burns through everything
I cannot breathe
Miles and miles of perfect sin
I swear, I said, I fit right in
I fit right in your perfect skin
I cannot breathe

Hey, baby, take it all the way down
Hey, baby, taste me anyway
Oh, you were born so pretty
Oh summer babe, we'll never know
And fading like a rose

Give me a reason to be beautiful
So sick in his body
So sick in his soul
I'll give you my body
Just sell me your soul
Oh, and everything I am will be bought and sold
Oh, and everything I am will turn hard and cold

And they say in the end
You'll get bitter just like them
And they steal your heart away
When the fire goes out you better learn to fake
It's better to rise than fade away

Aaron opened his mouth to say something but she put her hand up to quiet him.

Hey, you were right
Named a star for your eyes
Did you freeze?
Did you weep?
Turn to gold, baby, sleep

Hey, honey mine
I was there all the time
And I weep at your feet
And it rains and it rains *

Once the song was over, Aaron spoke. "What was that?"


"That. You don't listen to that."

"Yes I do." He raised a brow at her. "Ok, ok... it's BR's... she left it here the other day. I just... I dunno, it fits my mood tonight."

Aaron put his arm around her. "He's not worth it, ya know. You deserve so much better than him."

She looked into his eyes. "Thanks, Aaron. What would I do without you?" she sighed and she put her head on his shoulder.

"I don't know, but since you don't have a prior engagement anymore, will you go to the dance with me?"

"Of course," she answered with a laugh. "Don't I always?"

* Hole


Chapter 5

Amora spent all of Sunday locked in her room with Black Rose, listening to every angry chick CD Black Rose owned. By the end of the day, she had managed to convince herself that she didn't need Marcus nor did she want him. She also convinced herself that she didn't need any man, that all men were scum and not worth her time. Black Rose assured her that those harsh realizations would fade within a few days, but the fact that she didn't want or need Marcus would stay forever.

Amora walked into the school building on Monday completely over Marcus, but Aaron and Alex still had plans to kill him. They rarely saw him during the day since they didn't have classes with him, and Amora had managed to avoid him in homeroom. Things went normally and smoothly... until lunch.

Amora walked into the cafeteria and immediately sat down at her usual table with Black Rose, Aaron, and Alex. The boys were trying to figure out a way to publicly humiliate Marcus in front of the whole school. They had decided killing him would be a bit much, but this would be the next best thing. Amora was laughing at them and telling them that it was alright and they really didn't have to do anything when Minerva walked over to their table.

"Hello, Amora," she said with a sickeningly fake sweetness. Minerva hated Amora and everyone knew it. But because she was Amora, and she always gave people the benefit of the doubt, she chose to believe that everyone was wrong about Minerva. The truth was that they were right, however. Minerva was extremely jealous of Amora for two reasons. First, Amora was naturally pretty. She hardly wore any make-up, yet she was beautiful. Minerva was beautiful too, with the ten pounds of make-up she piled on her face every morning. The second reason was that Amora lived in the same house with Aaron Navarro and the two of them were closer than two people could possibly be. Minerva was certain that if it weren't for Amora, she would have been dating Aaron for years by now.

"Hi, Minerva," Amora said, smiling at her.

"I just spoke with Marcus and I must say... I never knew you were that type of girl."

"Excuse me?"

"Well everyone's talking about it by now I'm sure. He told me how the two of you hooked up at Club X Saturday night... well that did happen, didn't it?"


"And how you slept with him only a few hours later---"

"WHAT?!" all four of the occupants of the table shouted.

"That is NOT true, Minerva," Amora said angrily.

"It's not? Oh, I see. Alright, Amora, of course I believe you, but I doubt anyone else will. I mean, Marcus is the most popular guy in school, you know," she said as she walked away, a smile creeping across her face that they couldn't see.

Amora stared off into space, unable to believe this was happening to her. She was about to tell Aaron and Alex to go ahead and kill Marcus when Summer Heavenlyn walked over to them. Summer was Minerva's best friend. But when you're popular the way Minerva and Summer were, the main goal of life is to outdo each other. And thwart each other's plans.


"What is it, Summer? Do you wanna tell me what a shock it is that I supposedly "put out" and that everyone's talking about it?" Amora asked with anger and annoyance in her voice.

"No. I know you're not the type, Amora. And I also know that Marcus never said that. Minerva started that rumor. But don't worry, Minerva's always starting rumors that aren't true. No one will believe her. Especially when they hear how outrageous her story is. Everyone knows you'd never do that."

Amora looked at her. She wasn't sure whether or not to believe her. But she couldn't think of any possible reason for Summer to invent such a story about her best friend. So she smiled and nodded. "Thank you, Summer."

Summer walked away and Aaron and Alex continued trying to come up with ways to ruin Marcus. The bell rang and they still had no idea what they were going to do. When they walked out into the hallway, their mouths dropped, along with the mouths of the entire student body.

Posted all over the walls up and down the hallway, and every hallway in the school for that matter, were copies of pictures. One was a naked baby picture of Marcus, and the other was Marcus around the age of seven... wearing a dress.

"Looks like our prayers have been answered," Alex said before he burst out laughing along with his three best friends.

"But who did this?" Aaron asked.

"I did." The four of them turned around and looked at Asia questioningly.

"You did this?" Amora asked. "How?"

"I called Jake after the two of you left my house. I told him what Marcus tried to do to you and he got really angry. So he went over to his house on Sunday, stole the pictures, and then we made a hundred copies of them. I'd say the punishment fits the crime quite well, wouldn't you agree?" Asia said with a smile.

Aaron smiled and made a final decision about Asia. Not only was she a good friend and person, she was one of the most devious people in the school. Which meant he now held more respect for her than he did for most people.



Chapter 6


The rest of the week went by quickly. The whole school had heard about Marcus's actions regarding Amora and, along with the pictures that had stayed posted the whole day before the dean went around and took them down, his status went from "Ohmigosh, it's Marcus!" to "Ew look, it's Marcus." Asia got in trouble by the dean, but it wasn't too bad. She got Saturday detention for three weeks, but she was still allowed to attend the prom and any other social events that took place. She didn't mind, though. She'd never gotten in trouble like that before, and she felt this time it was worth it.

The following week brought a new student to school, one that Aaron could have done without. His name was Joshua Farnsworth, and his family was quite wealthy. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a doctor, so although Joshua fit the description of a spoiled brat, he was quite the opposite. Aaron would have become good friends with him, he was certain, but something stopped him from doing so.

Joshua had three classes with Amora. She befriended him since it was her nature to be kind to everyone, especially people who were new in town. Everyone seemed to like him and he was one of the most agreeable people Amora had ever met. He was charming and sweet and he complimented her whenever he possibly could. Aaron didn't like him at all, but he couldn't let anyone know that. His feelings for Amora were growing, yet he didn't even completely understand them himself so it would have been impossible to try and explain them to anyone else, even Alex. So he silently watched Joshua and Amora become closer and tried to hide his pain as best he could. He felt as if Joshua was taking his place in Amora's life. The idea that someone could do that was absurd, but to Aaron, it seemed as if it was happening. It wasn't long before Joshua was sitting with them at lunch as well, and he had even taken Aaron's seat, right across from Amora.

"I just can't thank you enough. I came to this school without a friend in the world and I expected to be shunned by everyone. But you welcomed me with open arms, Amora. No one's ever done anything like that for me before. Especially someone as beautiful as you," Joshua said at lunch the day before the Spring Dance. Aaron just rolled his eyes at him. Alex and Black Rose noticed this and gave him an odd look. Aaron had been acting strange all week and they longed to know why.

"Thank you, Joshua, you're too kind," she replied with a smile.

"I've never had friends that were girls before, and now that I've met you, I feel like I've been missing out. You're like a dream come true. An angel sent from heaven to help me adjust to this new area and this new way of life."

Amora giggled and hit him lightly on the arm. "Oh stop it, Joshua," she said with a smile. Aaron recognized her flirtatious actions and they only made him dislike Joshua even more.

"Would you consider going to the dance with me tomorrow night?" Joshua asked her.

Amora's eyes lit up. "Of course I will!" She looked at Aaron. "Isn't that great? Now you don't have to take me after all!"

"Yeah... yeah that's... that's great..." he said, forcing a smile. Amora didn't notice the hurt in his voice, but it didn't escape Alex and Black Rose's ears. They sent each other a look and then they looked at Aaron. He shrugged and rolled his eyes once again, mouthing the words "pretty boy" to them. They stifled laughter, thinking Aaron's reason for disliking Joshua was the fact that he fit the description of a pretty boy to a tee. They were content with that, and Aaron was content to let them believe that. He could never let them know how he really felt. Not now that Amora had Joshua.

"Speaking of the dance," Alex said, looking at Black Rose.

"Yeah yeah yeah," she said, waving her hand at him. "Of course I'll go with you."

Alex laughed. "Yeah, you know you can't resist me."

"No, I can resist you. I just feel sorry for you. I mean, come on, who else is gonna agree to go with you?" she asked with a serious look on her face that slowly turned into a smile.

"I hate you," he said flatly.

"And I love you too," she said with a laugh as she reached over and messed up his hair.

Amora was lying on her bed later that night when Aaron knocked on the door and came in. "Hey, Amora? Now that you're going to the dance with Joshua, I don't think I'm going to go," he said softly.

"What? Why not?" she asked, looking at him with confusion written on her face.

"Well, mom had asked me if I could watch Caroline tomorrow night but I told her I couldn't because I had to take you to the dance but now that I don't have to, I can watch her. But you go, have fun."

" ‘Had to' take me?" she asked. "What, do you feel like I'm your obligation? You asked me to go to the dance, remember? If you didn't want to go with me, you shouldn't have asked." There was a hint of anger in her voice. It wasn't because she was mad at him, it was because she was upset that he wasn't going to be there. Aaron and Amora always did things together, and school dances were one of the things they never missed.

"Of course not, I just... I think I should help mom out, that's all," he said quietly. The angry tone she was speaking with hurt him more than anything. He knew that she would get over it in about two seconds, but it was still killing him.

"But... well... if you don't go, maybe I should..."

"No, I want you to go," he said, cutting her off. "There's no reason both of us should be stuck with the pre-teen terror child."

Amora laughed slightly. "Alright, if you're sure..."

"I'm sure," he said as he left her room, walking quickly to the bathroom so no one would see the tears that were filling his eyes.


Chapter 7

Joshua picked Amora up for the dance at 7:00 the next night. She said a quick goodbye to her parents, since they were also getting ready to go out, and then hugged Aaron tightly. Alex had already left to pick up Black Rose.

"Are you sure you don't want me to stay with you and Caroline?" she asked.

"For the last time, no! Now, go, have fun," he said as he hugged her once more. He then watched her walk out to Joshua's car. He turned away from the window as his mother walked into the room.

"Are you sure you didn't want to go, Aaron?" she asked as she put her earrings on.

"Yeah, I don't feel like going out tonight."

"Alright. We're leaving now," she said as she kissed his forehead. Aaron sat down on the couch as his parents walked out the door to go to dinner and movie with Caroline. Once they were gone, he walked up the stairs to Amora's room and sat down on her floor. Now that he was finally alone, he had some time to think about his feelings and what he was going to do about them. He needed some music to soothe him so he picked up the first CD on a pile that was next to the stereo, put it in, pressed "Random" and sat back. He'd never heard the song before, even though it was Britney Spears. As he listened to the words, his heart sank.

There's a girl in my mirror
I wonder who she is
Sometimes I think I know her
Sometimes I really wish I did

But there's a story in her eyes
A lullaby of sad goodbyes
When she's looking back at me
I can tell her heart is broken easily

'Cause the girl in my mirror
Is crying tonight
And there's nothing I can tell her
To make her feel alright

Oh the girl in my mirror
Is crying 'cause of you
And I wish there was something
Something I could do

Aaron sighed. He wished there was something he could do, something that would make him feel better about his situation. Amora was his best friend, he should be happy that she finally found someone to make her happy. And he was sure he would be... if he was the one who was making her happy.

If I could I would tell her
Not to be afraid
The pain that she's feeling
This sense of loneliness will fade

Aaron shook his head. He doubted the pain and loneliness would ever fade.

So dry your tears and rest assured
Love will find you like before
When she's looking back at me
I know nothing really works that easily

Aaron nodded. He never thought a Britney Spears song could describe his life so well. As he thought more about Amora, he could just picture her dancing with Joshua, laughing and having fun. It was almost too much for him. There had to be some way to... No. Joshua was a great guy. Much better than Aaron, or at least that's how he saw it. It was better this way.

'Cause the girl in my mirror
Is crying tonight
And there's nothing I can tell her
To make her feel alright

Oh the girl in my mirror
Is crying 'cause of you
And I wish there was something
I wish there was something
Oh I wish there was something I could do

I can't believe it's what I see
That the girl in the mirror
The girl in the mirror
Is me

Aaron shook his head and let go of his emotions in the tears that flowed from his eyes as he grabbed a pillow off Amora's bed and buried his face in it. He hadn't been able to describe his feelings until this point. Now he realized it was quite simple. He was in love with his best friend.

I can't believe what I see
Oh the girl in my mirror
The girl in the mirror
Is me
Oh is me

'Cause the girl in my mirror
Is crying tonight
And there's nothing I can tell her
To make her feel alright

Oh the girl in my mirror
Is crying 'cause of you
And I wish there was something
I wish there was something
Oh I wish there was something I could do *

Aaron cried into the pillow until the song ended. He tried to compose himself. Crying over her wasn't going to solve anything. It would only make her feel sorry for him and the last thing he wanted was anyone's pity. He decided to listen to some more of her music and try and console himself for the rest of the night. Part of him wished Black Rose's angry CDs were still in Amora's room, but he decided he could find something else to help him through it. Amora had a few CDs that had some angry songs on it, he was sure of it. And the rest of her music was easy to cry to. It would be a long night, but at least he had solitude on his side for the time being.

* Britney Spears


 © 2000 Copyright held by the author.


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