He was in a bad mood, and he made sure the entire world knew it. Sitting there all alone in his study, he spent the time grumbling and wallowing in his misery.

Outside the door, people whispered together.

“Why? What’s happened to him?”

“Well y’know what’s happened to him, Marmie.”

“No…really?”

Inside, he could hear them whispering.

“Shut up out there, the lot of you! Loud enough to wake the dead, you are!”

The whispers stopped.

He returned to his morose thoughts once more. There was a small mirror across the room. He studied his reflection, a task made more difficult by the dim light. Beautiful black hair, grown to a stylish length. Eyes you could lose yourself in. Tawny complexion most young men his age worked so hard to get. And he was brainy, as well as suave!

He smiled.

Amazing; who wouldn’t love me? he thought.

He scowled, and in his great rage, knocked an inkwell off the desk.

“Don’t be a breakin’ anything, lad. Still your father’s house and I don’t care what you’ve been through, I ain’t plannin’ on payin’ a fortune for it.”

He swore loudly. From outside came the yell:

“How’d I get such a wussy lad for a son? You’ve got something to say, come out and say it!”

He glared at the door, but did not move.

Instead, he began thinking.

How could anyone reject him? How? Why?

He got angrier and angrier, till finally, he began to cry. ‘A sign of weakness’, his father would say. But he did not care anymore. Nothing mattered.

He stretched out on the study room floor and stared aimlessly at the ceiling. He was thinking, thinking about all the things he had done wrong. If they’d been done to him, he would have had a proper brawl with that person. He had not been beaten up, but the credit for that went to the other person.

Proud. I’m too proud… he thought.

Who was he fooling by thinking himself to be handsome? Who was he trying to deceive by believing himself to be smart and charming?

He smiled bitterly and closed his eyes.

The door opened.

“Get out! I told you, I want to be alone! Too thick to understand that?” he said loudly in a hollow voice.

“Adam Zachary Ivans! I do not care how mad you are, or how sorry you feel for yourself, I have come to say something and you will listen!”

His eyes popped open.

“I have been going over things carefully, and I have come to the conclusion that you are nothing but a vain, cocky little popinjay and I wish to have nothing to do with you.” she continued.

“Good. Leave me alone then, like I keep telling you.” he said sarcastically.

A pause.

“Yes, Adam, as soon as I finish. As I was saying, you are annoying and you bring out the worst in me. I am better off without you.”

“And I am, without you.” he said. He knew she was getting frustrated.

“Well, Adam Zachary, as much as I hate saying this, there is no doubt in  my mind…or heart…that I love you. You seem perfect to me, even with all your imperfections. Love is blind, I suppose. And stupid, too. I can’t seem to fix this feeling—and I’ve tried—so I’m just going to admit it.

Without doubt, Adam Zachary Ivans, I love you. That does not have any implications on the fact that I hate you.”

He was smiling now.

She waited a few seconds and then began to leave.

“Wait.”

She stopped and looked back at him still sprawled on the floor.

“Close the door on your way out.”

She looked at him for a moment and then went out.

As the door closed behind her, he said dully,

“And wait…I love you too.”

She did not hear, of course.

He smiled and got up.

Then he went out to see what his mother was cooking.

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