Cruel Fates

by Deuce?
Entry 2005 Fireside Stories

I ran a hand through my short spiked brown hair and stared at Leana, who was looking up at me with that ever present adoring look in her blue eyes.

After a moment of hesitation, I decided to try diplomacy. “Look, Leana, I like you, but as a friend. And I don’t want to ruin our wonderful friendship by dating. Friends should never date; it never works out. It would kill the friendship, and I value our friendship too much to destroy it like that.” I sounded firm, but gentle, but inwardly I was cringing. I knew that line usually upset the chicks like her, but I just had to make her understand that I didn’t want to be her man.

I cursed inwardly as a hurt look flashed quickly across her eyes, even though she quickly covered it with an understanding smile. “Of course, David. You’re right.” She looked at the ground, tugging at the ends of her blonde hair, her face flushed with embarrassment. “I just wanted you to know how I feel, is all,” she added in a softer voice.

Damn it. Now I feel guilty, I thought. I didn’t want to hurt her, she just wasn’t my type. I tended to go for the tall, athletic redheads. Leana was short, slightly pudgy, and as I’ve already mentioned, blonde. The only things she really had going for her, the things which our tentative friendship were based upon, was her taste in books and her interest in writing.

I touched her arm lightly, not wanting her to be upset. “I really do value our friendship. You see where I’m coming from, don’t you?”

She looked up at me resignedly. “Yeah, David. I get it.” She half-laughed, more of a shrug of her shoulders. “Friends. Like everyone else.” She sighed softly, looking away. “Hey, I gotta go. See you sixth hour.” With that, she walked over to a group of her friends, who were waiting for her at the door of the cafeteria.

I shook my head and returned to my usual place in the lunchroom, a chair at the head of “my” table, with a few of my friends. Connor grinned at me. “Your turn, huh? Leana had a thing for me last year, you know.”

I scowled, feeling a shaft of annoyance pierce my thoughts. “Shut up, Connor. She’s a nice person, just a little flakey.” Shane chuckled.

“A little?” he teased. “The child is off her rocker. And it looks like it’s only getting worse.” He jerked his head, and I glanced over to see her watching me, a tear falling down her cheek, her friend Bree rubbing her back. As I watched her, she turned away, saying something inaudible to the gay blonde next to her, whose name I never remember.

Connor rolled his eyes. “Just ignore her, Dave. It’ll get better when she realizes you’re serious.” Shane nodded his agreement, and then we gradually turned the conversation to more normal, less serious topics.


In sixth hour, per usual, she was already in her seat when I arrived. She was scribbling furiously in a notebook, her blue eyes brimming with unshed tears. I laughed softly; at this point, she fit her favorite name perfectly, Dierdre- One who rages, or broken hearted. At the sound of my soft chuckle, she looked up at me, her eyes hard and hurt, and then she resumed her writing, her jaw set in an angry line. I couldn’t help but to wince slightly. She was pissed; I could only imagine the painful things she was doing to me in her writing.

When the bell rang, I quickly gathered my things and left. Normally, she’d join me, but today she was just too mad.

On the way home, I blasted Linken Park, but even their aural assault on my eardrums wasn’t enough to drown out the unease I felt for upsetting her. My mind continually lingered on the sight of that one tear slowly trickling down her cheek.

When I got home, I did the little homework I had, and then lifted weights as was my daily routine. Afterwards, as always, I took a hot shower. Normally, after the shower, I’d stand in front of the mirror and posture like Mr. Universe, admiring my hard earned muscular physique, but today I wanted to try to see what it was that Leana thought she saw in me. I wiped the steam off the shower door mirror and studied myself closely, trying to see myself through her eyes.

My hair was still the same short, spiky, dark brown it had always been, ever since the fifth grade. My eyes were still the faded jade color, and I still wore the same wire frames I’ve worn since the ninth grade.

My shoulders were broad and set like a football player’s, even though I refuse to play football anymore, since I hurt my knee playing it in middle school. Lifting weights is more my thing, anyways. I can bench-press up to 250 lbs, sometimes more. The proof of it is in my biceps and 6 packs, but she wouldn’t be able to tell because I typically wear large hoodies over a loose t-shirt.

I’m about average height for a guy, 5’7”, and I’m clearly not overweight. I don’t have a mustache, but I do have the start of a goatee. I toweled off, still not seeing what had Leana so worked up about me. I got dressed and went to my room, working on my newest novel, shoving my personal issues to the back of my mind.


The next day, I resolved to let her have her space, so, instead of going to lunch, I went and visited with my favorite teacher, Mr. James Orinda. He took one look at me, and promptly asked me what was bothering me. I mournfully told him my issue with Leana, and he listened. When I was finished, he chuckled softly.

“She came to me and told me she had a ‘major crush’ on you, to use her exact words. She’s devastated that you don’t feel the same.” He looked at me out of the corner of his eyes. “I told her not to worry about it, that you were in love with your writing, rather than a person, and that you weren’t good boyfriend material anyways. You’re too absentminded and easily distractible.”

I shook my head. “I just feel bad. I didn’t mean to hurt her.” Again, the image of the one forlorn tear popped into my mind, and I sighed softly, feeling yet another spasm of guilt.

He nodded. “I know that, Dave.” He glanced at the clock. “Lunch is almost done. You’d better get going. Oh, hey…good luck, man. I mean it.” I nodded silently, and left, feeling worse than as if I’d gone to lunch and had her mooning over me again.


I couldn’t help but to notice during sixth hour how Leana quite pointedly ignored me. I inwardly sighed. As we left class a full silent hour later, I hung back and waited for her. As she passed, her eyes downcast, I touched her shoulder. “Leana, I wanted to talk to you.” She looked at me, her eyes cold, but stopped walking. “Can we make this quick, David? I can’t miss my bus.”

I nodded and led her to the side of the hall, where we wouldn’t get trampled, leaving my hand on her arm. “Look Leana. What I said was callous.” A sort of puzzled look flashed across her eyes. Not wanting her to stay mad, I met her eyes and softly asked, “Am I forgiven?” My heart was racing as she stared at me, the hostility draining slowly out of her eyes.

She smiled gently. “I guess so, yeah.” I grinned and hugged her, which must have surprised her, because she just sort of rubbed my shoulder awkwardly. See, I’ve never willingly hugged her before; it’s always her hugging me, and me…tolerating it. Wanting to cement this fragile truce, I walked her to her bus, not caring I’d be stuck in traffic.

On the way home, I left my radio off, lost in thought. At the forepart of my mind was the look in her eyes as I asked her forgiveness. Her eyes had been misty with hope, adorations, and gratitude. The look in her eyes had stirred something I’d thought to have long ago fallen into disrepair; my heart. The look in her eyes was what had made me impulsively hug her.


As the weeks wore on and the weather warmed up, Leana’s ardor slowly cooled. Much to my discomfort, my newly reawaken heart began to warm up to her. The closer we came to the end of our senior year, the more I wanted to end my misery and ask her to be my girlfriend. It was a beautiful May Monday morning when I decided to go for it. I drove to school early and went to wait for her in the cafeteria, my heart racing.

As she entered, I looked up. To my surprise, a guy a little taller than her, with long black hair, had his arms around her waist. As I stared at them, dumbfounded, he bent down and kissed her on the lips. I looked away, feeling lost and confused.

When I looked up, she was heading towards me, concern in her beautiful blue eyes. I forced a smile to sit on my lips, highly aware of how my insides were churning with hurt, resentment, and a heavy burden of guilt.

“Hey Dave, what’s up? You’re here awfully early.” Again, the guy threaded his arm around her waist, and I felt the churning intensify.

I shrugged as casually as I could. “I was up early, so I came to school early,” I lied. I forced myself to chuckle. “So,“ I asked as nonchalantly as I could muster, “who’s your pal with the Roman hands?”

She giggled, her blue eyes dancing. “Oh…this is my boyfriend, Rich. He graduated from Dunham Academy last year. He lives down the street from me.” Rich looked at me, and I felt rather tiny under his gaze. He grinned crookedly.

“Dude, you look smaller than she described you.” I shrugged and the three of us made small talk until the two wandered off to be alone. I watched Leana go, my heart aching. How unkind that I should relearn to use my heart, only to have it ruthlessly crushed so by the cruel fates.