First of all, I just want to say that if you're an old reader (meaning you read the first chapter before today) and jumped to Chapter 2 without re-reading Chapter 1, STOP! I made some additions to the last chapter, IMPORTANT additions, which you need to know about before continuing. So, if you fit the description above, please go back and re-read; otherwise you're going to be REALLY confused later on.
Secondly (a little less importantly) after looking over the first chapter, I realized something: Jeanette was acting spunky. Like, ridiculously, uncharacteristically spunky. Keeping this in mind, I tried to re-work the story a little to fit her personality better, but realized I couldn't, for two reasons: 1st, I need her to be strong-willed in order to properly support Brittany later; and 2nd, despite what the CGI's claim, I always imagined Jeanette would get a little feisty in her teenage years; at least when she really cares about something; like Simon, her sisters, or her grades. So I just wanted to say I was sorry; no one likes it when their favorite characters are tampered with, but it truly was unavoidable. I do believe that's it for now… So sit back, relax, and enjoy the second part of "Wounded Hearts."
He walked until he was around the first corner; then broke into a sprint. His feet pounded against the rough gravel and mud, as he headed back through the forest up to the main road. In the background, someone was calling his name, but he hardly noticed. The voices in his head were too distracting. Talk to her- no big deal- you hate me. The words resounded in his ears like a rusted old bell. I love you-what am I- if I said no. He ran until he was stumbling, but dared not rest; knowing somehow that running was the only thing separating him from his guilt. It was all him now. He had to keep going.
"Alvin! Wait up!"
Without turning around, he stopped in his tracks, hesitating. "I'm not going to spend my entire life following her… Trying to keep her happy…"
Blue Clad, the one that had been following Alvin, blinked in confusion. "I wasn't going to suggest that…" He sighed. "You know, Brittany really does love you."
"But I don't love her!" Silence. Dead silence. With an answer still expected, Alvin cocked his head around to peer at his counterpart, who had a surprisingly blank expression on his face. Somehow, Alvin seemed angered by this. "Why's she so much more important than me, huh? When the h*** will my feelings matter?"
"She takes your feelings into account a lot more than you do hers!"
A thousand thoughts raced through his mind; each a different way to argue this. Although it was true Alvin could be an awful friend, Brittany could be just as bad. Their friendship had always been this way. She once sabotaged Alvin's microphone to make his voice sound hoarse; but he had also sued her for indirectly wrecking Dave's new bike. She joined the school football team just to spite him; he disguised himself as Captain Chipmunk to humiliate her. She does something; he does something else. And, of course, they were constantly arguing. In the end though, it all evened out. "Whose side are you on?" Alvin shot as a desperate last resort.
"The right side… whichever one that may be." Both boys glared at each other for the longest time, before Blue Clad finally turned his gaze away. "Where were you planning on going, anyway? You know Dave likes us home right after school to take care of Theodore."
"I don't know. Maybe to the library. Maybe to Ice 'N Cream. Somewhere nice and quiet I could just think."
"Ice 'N Cream… that sounds pretty good right about now- mind if I tag along?"
Alvin shrugged his shoulders, as Blue Clad ran to catch up with his friend. The two walked together in silence. Occasionally, Blue Clad would clear his throat to speak, but would then glance at his companion and close his mouth. By the time Alvin felt up to talking again, they were already in town and seated at the ice-cream parlor. "Would you quit looking at me that way?"
Alvin rolled his eyes, as though it should be ridiculously obvious. "That over-analyzing-everything-I-say way. I feel like I'm a psychiatric patient or something."
Blue Clad leaned back in his seat, trying to take this all in. "What happened between you and Brittany?"
"You know perfectly well what happened."
"No I don't." As though trying to make a point, Blue Clad forced their gaze to meet. "All I know is what Eleanor told me; that you rejected her."
"That's pretty much all that happened." Alvin grinned, embellishing in his own cleverness.
"Girl talk!" Sundress announced. Without hesitation, she and Jeanette were to their feet, dragging Brittany along behind them. They needed to get her away from the boys; so they showed her from the lunchroom into the hallway, where they began to question her there. "So what happened?"
"None of your business!" snapped Brittany.
"Brittany, we're all friends here," Sundress reassured.
"Come on, Eleanor. Leave her alone."
"If she doesn't want to talk, she doesn't want to talk. Don't put her on the spot."
Brittany's eyebrows lowered, turning to a fixed stare in Jeanette's direction. "Jeanette…? Are you using reverse psychology on me?"
"No. I really think you should be left alone."
"But we could make her happy!" Sundress insisted.
"I'd be happier if you'd just shut up," Brittany shot.
Jeanette rolled her eyes. "Nice work, Ele. Very persuasive."
"Ugg… Fine," Sundress capitulated, "Let's talk about something else than. Something nice!"
"What the h*** is 'nice' at this school?" mumbled Brittany.
Jeanette's eyes suddenly sparkled with excitement. "Boooys!" she exclaimed.
Immediately, Sundress's face soured, almost as though she had just bit into a lemon. "Ugg, the last person I want to think about is Theodore. He's just a kid… a really sweet and amazing kid, but… he's still just a kid."
"Why don't you just ask him out, Ele? You know he likes you."
"How can you be so sure? He's probably just being nice!"
Jeanette had to smile at this. "The way he looks at you; the way he acts around you; it's different somehow… He really cares about you, Ellie. The things Theo does for you; like that private picnic he planned on Valentine's Day a few years ago, he would never do for Brittany or me."
"Alvin used to do that kind of stuff for me," Brittany whispered, looking to the ground as she spoke. Neither Sundress nor Jeanette could tell whether she was talking to them or to herself, but they listened either way. "He would try to impress me so much, but would then deny it if I implied that he liked me… He would come up with all these elaborate schemes to make a move, but would always back out last minute… I never could understand why. It's not like I would have rejected him…"
"So he was good to you?" Sundress clarified.
"Y-yeah…" Brittany answered. Her head dropped even lower, and although she wasn't positive, Jeanette could've sworn a tear was rolling down her cheek.
They gave her a moment to compose herself before Jeanette decided to change subjects. "So, anyway, Ele, I think you should-"
"I told Alvin I love him."
Both girls froze in place and turned wide eyed and open mouthed to face Brittany, who was acting surprisingly calm. She was no longer crying but looked somewhat irritated, if anything. "Annnnnd…?" they pressed.
"…and he doesn't love me back…"
"What?" Sundress and Jeanette shouted in unison.
Sundress stormed back through the cafeteria doors and loomed over the boys; pounding her fist against the table at which they sat. "Alvin, you idiot! How could you be so stupid? How could you say no?"