Puppy Love?

Puppy Love
Puppy Love (Photo credit: pietroizzo)

As long as he had known her, Magnus Kroger had known that Jacquelyn-Claire Ulrich wasn’t as odd as everyone thought she was.

Far from it.

In fact, almost all the boys at Gareth Hall Academy (with a few choice exceptions) were in love with Jacquelyn-Claire Ulrich. Magnus frowned as he watched the boys, all who were blinded by their infatuations, try to speak to her, but most of them faltered or stuttered. Jacquelyn blew them off, knowing what they wanted, or she assumed that they were just being silly. To her, most of them were struck by puppy love.

But even she wasn’t immune to the effects of puppy love.

There was one boy in the freshman class who really shouldn’t be in the school at all. His name was Cadwallader Gruven, and he was known to be the meanest and ugliest boy in the entire school. He had a mental disability, which didn’t help him very much. He also disrupted many classes with his awful behavior and refused to do any of the homework. It was rumored that his parents, Glen and Daisy, had paid the headmaster an absurd amount of money to allow their son into the school.

And guess who the fool in question liked? It was none other than Jacquelyn-Claire Ulrich.

Magnus frowned as he watched that idiotic boy try to woo the plucky girl. As she had done with the other boys, Jacquelyn blew him off. She was constantly pushing him aside or telling him that he didn’t have much of a chance with her. It was true, though. Everyone knew that there was no way that Callie and Jacquelyn would ever become a couple.

Everyone but Callie, that was.

Magnus himself was dealing with the fact that he liked Jacquelyn, but there was one problem with that theory: Jacquelyn only saw him as a friend. In fact, they had been friends since kindergarten. Jacquelyn and her best friend, Sabrina Hattenschwiller, had made a pact to never date boys who they considered friends. Magnus thought that Sabrina was jealous because no boy would dare speak to her outside of the school.

One day, he saw two girls sitting outside in the gardens. One of them was Jacquelyn, and she was crying. “What’s wrong?” the other girl said to her.

“You won’t believe me even if I told you,” Jacquelyn cried out.

Christina Patrickson shook her head. “Was it Callie?” she asked.

“He said something to me that isn’t worth repeating,” said Jacquelyn. “I can’t believe him! Who is he to say something like that?”

“I’ll deal with him,” Magnus said with a strange look on his face. Whether or not it was anger at Callie for hurting Jacquelyn or a desire to make Jacquelyn happy, Magnus was going to face Callie Gruven. Maybe he was under the influence of puppy love after all.

Jacquelyn watched him walk away, but then she and Christina followed him. Several other students spread a rumor that Magnus Kroger was going to stand up to Callie Gruven. No one could believe what they were hearing; no one was able to stand up to the meanest boy at the school.

The boy in question said, “And who are you to stand up to me? Your parents aren’t rich, they’re not friends with the headmaster, and no one likes you! So, you better back down or else!”

“Well, I would, except that you insulted Jacquelyn’s parents and now, she’s unhappy. I can’t let that go at all,” Magnus snapped.

“Well, she loves me, so of course she’ll accept anything I say,” Callie snapped back, but he knew that that was a lie. No one insulted the memory of Irina Ulrich and got away with it. Even Mr. and Mrs. Gruven had to know that.

“You’re a liar,” Magnus began, but then Callie smacked him across his face, breaking his nose. Just then, Headmaster Sorensen noticed Callie and said, “Young man, go to my office now!”

“Who are you to tell me what to do?” Callie snapped back, but the headmaster grabbed his arm and dragged him back into the office. Immediately, the other students fell into chatter as they witnessed the near-fight. Jacquelyn gasped as soon as she saw Magnus; no one gave much of a thought to him and his broken nose. She said to him, “You shouldn’t have done that.”

“I know,” Magnus said as she held up a handkerchief to his nose. “But he shouldn’t say those things about your mother. She was a respectable woman who shouldn’t have died in that awful accident. How can you be with such a guy like that?”

“I thought that maybe he needed a friend, that me being his friend could help him deal with his disability,” said Jacquelyn, “but I was wrong. He acted like he liked me, but he was a jerk. How could I have made such a terrible mistake like that?”

“It’s just another lesson learned,” said Magnus. “Not all people with hardships are nice. Sometimes, it just makes them bitter and mean. Who knows what must have happened to Callie to make him be this way. I mean, his parents are nice and all, but how can he be so mean?”

“Who knows?” Jacquelyn said. “But what you did for me was…pretty nice, don’t you think?”

Magnus frowned. In all the years that he had known Jacquelyn, he didn’t think that she would be particularly impressed with him standing up to Callie. Especially since she spent a good part of her time attempting to befriend the disabled population of Gareth Hall Academy.

Now she was just another hurt girl.

“Well, I guess I better get going then,” Jacquelyn frowned as she stood up. She kissed Magnus on the cheek and took off with Sabrina following her. Magnus stared at them as they took off, never knowing what had just happened. Did Jacquelyn just silently declare that she liked him? Was she struck by puppy love as well? What was going on?

“You coming, Mags?” Magnus’ best friend Peter Hayden called him.

“Sure,” Magnus said as he stood up and the two boys walked to the nurse’s station. Magnus wasn’t about to revealed what had just happened between him and Jacquelyn. Not yet.

Even she needed to keep this a secret.

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