The next morning Ashley woke up, slightly groggy. But there was something different; it was silent in her room. Oh well, maybe I woke up before my alarm went off, she thought. Slowly, Ashley turned over in her bed and looked at the clock. At first Ashley thought she was seeing things. No, this can't be right, she thought. She viciously rubbed her eyes and then stared open mouthed at her digital alarm clock again. But now it was only a minute later then it was before.

The shock sinking in Ashley franticly scrambled out of bed slipping and sliding on her polished hard wood floors.

"Damn you," Ashley said to the floor rubbing the spot on her butt that had just made contact with the hard wood. Now normally Ashley loved her floors, she picked this room in the house just for the flooring, but right now it was a pain in the butt, literally and figuratively.

Quickly running down the hall and into the shower Ashley rushed to get ready, hoping she wouldn't miss the bus.

Will was, as usual, running late. But like just about every other day he hoped he would be able to managed to bum a ride to school with his popular, senior sister Lila. In Will's opinion most of her friends were hot so it was a good thing for him when they all came over and Lila didn't always mind when her little brother tagged along.

Will had stationed himself in the family room slowly eating his breakfast. From his perch on the sofa Will could see the bus stop and every once and a while he would check to see if the bus had come yet. About half way through his bowl of Wheaties, Will saw his bus pull up and leave. Good, now my Wheaties won't get soggy, Will thought and started to eat faster. Just like clock work Lila came rushing down the steps and he finished his cereal.

"Why haven't you left yet?" Lila snapped at Will. Uh oh, he thought, its that time of the month again.

"Uh, I was running late and I missed the bus," Will responded. He put on his best puppy-dog face and begged, "Lila, can I please, please, please have a ride to school today?"

"Sure," Lila said reluctantly. "But you better be ready in less then 5 minutes."

Will promptly jumped up and slipped on his shoes in one fluid movement and then ran into the kitchen and grabbed his book bag. "I'm ready now," he called to his sister. With a small smile Lila followed him into the kitchen and then lead the way out the garage door.

Ashley raced down the steps after waking her little brother Andrew. Rushing, she grabbed a pop tart and ran to the door. If she missed the bus it meant she would have to walk all the way to school. I mean Andrew couldn't drive her; he was in 8th grade for god's sake! As Ashley locked her front door, she could distantly see the bus leaving the bus stop.

"No!" Ashley wailed to no one in particular. Slowly she trudged to the main road and made her way towards the school. Ashley ambled down the road with her head hanging low. She was going to be so late!

Lila turned the car onto the main road and Will was staring out the window with a glazed look on his face. I wonder what's going through his mind, Lila thought. But she dared not ask him; he would probably bite her head off. Then suddenly Will's gaze seemed to brighten. He could see a head of long brown hair cascading down some ones back and onto their pink Jansport backpack. He watched as their hair waved in the breeze as they walked down the road.

That was unmistakably Ashley.

"Um, Lila could you slow down and pull over when we reach that girl?" Will sweetly asked.

"Why?" Lila queried. "Do you like her or something?" She paused and waited for Will's answer. As they neared the girl Lila got a better look at whom it was. "Wait a second. That's Ashley Johnson isn't it? That's Ryan Masterson's girlfriend!" Lila didn't even need a response from her brother to know she was right. "You better watch out around her, if word gets back to Ryan." she let her sentence trial off.

When Lila and Will became even with Ashley, Will rolled down the window and called out, "Hey! Do you need a ride?"

At first Ashley looked surprised to see Will hanging out the window of a car asking her if she wanted a ride. But then gratitude swept over her. Now she wouldn't be late! "Um, yeah, actually that would be great!"

Lila pulled the car over so Ashley could get in. When Ashley was situated in the back Lila started to go again. "By the way, I'm Lila, Will's older sister," she said looking back at Ashley in one of the mirrors.

"Oh, I know," Ashley, replied slightly giggling. "I'm Ashley Johnson."

"I know," Lila said.

"Okay, now that we are all formally introduced," Will said. "Can we get going? I really don't want another detention." At this comment Lila and Ashley both started laughing.

"I never thought I'd hear you anxious to get to school," Lila responded. "Usually he's trying to fake sick to get out of it," Lila added to clarify what Ashley already thought. Lila and Ashley had a good laugh on Will's account of actually wanting to get to school but after that the car ride progressed in silence. Not before long they reached the school and parted to go their separate ways.

"Thanks for the ride Lila," Ashley said getting out of the car.

"Anytime Ashley," Lila responded. "It was nice meeting you."

"Nice meeting you too," Ashley called while searching for Ryan in the throng on students outside of the school. Finally she spotted him and made her way over. He was standing with a group of their friends and looked slightly worried. "Hey," she said reaching the group.

Ryan spun around at the sound of her voice and to Ashley's surprise; he pulled her into an enormous hug. "When- when," Ryan stuttered. "When you didn't come off your bus, I got worried," he paused to take a breath seeing as he had said the last sentence very quickly. "I thought something had happened to you. Because you usually call me to tell me when your sick and no one knew where you were and your about 15 minutes late." Ryan was speaking very fast as though Ashley would disappear is he stopped talking or let go of her.

"Its okay Ryan," Ashley calmly said. Ryan was very sweet and a good boyfriend but sometimes the littlest things made him freak out. "I just missed the bus." Ashley finished her statement as though it was no big deal, but her friends all knew she had no other way of getting to school then walking or the bus. The one thing they were all thinking was, how did she get here?

"You walked?!" Ryan exclaimed looking both furious and concerned at the same time. What if she had gotten hurt! "Do you have any idea how far that is? You could have gotten hit by a car on the high way!"

"I didn't walk," Ashley said quietly, looking at the ground.

"How did you get here then?" Cara asked. But the question her head was screaming was, she didn't hitch a ride here, did she?

"Um, well it's a long story you see," Ashley, said apprehensively. Then she continued to explain this morning's events to a group of eager listeners. When she finished her tale Cara looked like she was about to burst, with excitement, and Ryan looked livid.

"Ah -" Ryan opened his mouth. But as soon as he started to talk to bell rang and drowned him out and Ashley sprinted towards the school.

Will was casually leaning against Ashley's locker. To him it was hilarious seeing her practically sprint down the hallway dodging random people. Ashley looked up a few feet from her locker and outwardly groaned. Will was standing next to her locker smugly smiling. "Get away," she snarled at him.

"What?" he asked smiling. "Don't you have any gratitude towards the guy that got you a ride to school?"

"Yes," Ashley replied in a strained voice. "I thank you for having your sister give me a ride to school." She paused slightly to take a deep breath. "Now would you be so kind to get the hell away from me?"

"Okay, okay, geez," Will said in mock sincerity. "Don't get your panties in a bunch." With his final statement Will coolly strode down the hall leaving Ashley furious. All she could think of was the look on Ryan's face when he heard Will Mitchell gave her a ride to school. She thought he was going to combust. Its all that egomaniac's fault, she thought.

As Ashley gathered her books she could hear the normal morning clattering in the hallways, so she didn't hear the footsteps sneaking up behind her. "Ashley," the deep voice said. When Ashley heard her name she nearly jumped a foot. It scared the living daylights out of her.

"Ryan," she said turning around. She could tell his voice from anywhere. Even in a noisy, crowded hallway.

"Ashley, I need you to be honest with me and answer this one question," Ryan solemnly said and then paused for her nod of approval. Ashley nodded. "You don't have a thing for," he gulped and then continued, "Will Mitchell, do you?"

Ashley looked relieved; this question was a no brainer. "Of course I don't!" she exclaimed. "I only have feelings for you," she purred in her most sultry voice. Ryan opened his mouth to say, "Good." But Ashley pulled him into a passionate kiss in the middle of the hallway before he got the chance. At first the kiss felt like as deep and meaningful as all the others had, but in the end it sort of fizzled out and Ashley slowly pulled away. "I need to get to class," she breathed leaving Ryan breathless and still in the emptying hallway.

When Will met up with his friend Ethan in their first class of the day, the first words out of Ethan's mouth were, "How was detention with the Johnson babe?"

"Well hi to you to," Will said laughing. "She was really starting to warm up to me during the detention but for some reason she won't talk to me today."

"Dude," Ethan replied. "I don't know man. You must have messed something up."

"Yeah big time," Will said still confused from what Ashley had said to him this morning. "I mean I gave her a ride to school this morning and when she came inside I was waiting for her by her locker. Guess what she said to me?" Will asked now getting mad. He didn't wait for Ethan's answer before continuing. "She told me to get the hell away from her! That little. ugh!" Will trailed off now frustrated.

"Um man," Ethan said. "She was probably mad cause her boyfriend probably didn't have a good reaction to you giving her a ride to school. And then you waiting for her by her locker probably didn't look good either. You got to think before you do things like that dude!" Ethan was now shaking his head in shame.

This was all sinking in now. It was probably that jerk of a boyfriend she had, Will thought. He was brainwashing Ashley into hating him! That had to be it. I mean he had been the perfect gentleman to her. Well apart from getting her that detention and yelling at her in Mr. Righter's office. He had been good! It was all Masterson's fault that Ashley didn't like him, Will convinced himself. And I am going to give this jerk a piece of my mind.

Cara practically pounced on Ashley as she was leaving her second class of the day. Ashley was shocked to have Cara almost jumping on her back in the middle of the hallway, but she knew sooner or later she was going to get drilled on the little details about her car ride with the wonderful, in Cara's opinion, Will Mitchell.

"So," Cara said trying to be nonchalant, but she could tell she was bursting with enthusiasm to find out what the car ride had been like.

"So," Ashley said back, stopping at her locker to retrieve her lunch. She stole a glance at Cara, who couldn't control her excitement, and couldn't help but laugh.

"What?" Cara said still giggly with anticipation. "You know what I want to know!" Cara said not able to contain herself any longer. I want every little detail!"

"Its not that big of a deal," Ashley said, "Seriously," She added seeing the look on Cara's face.

"Well what did you talk about?" Cara asked expectantly. What Ashley knew she really meant was did he say anything about her. Of course he hadn't. They had barely spoken the whole way to the school. But Cara didn't know that and Ashley decided she'd have a little fun with Cara's mind before telling her the truth.

"Nothing really," Ashley responded purposely looking at her feet. This was a sign that she was lying and she knew it was right to lead Cara on like this, but it was just too much fun.

"I know your lying Ashley!" she shrieked. "Tell me every little detail!"

"Okay," Ashley said seemingly reluctant. "Well I was walking down the street and I guess I caught his eye. So he called me over to the car and asked me if I wanted a ride. So I got in the car," Ashley said heavily. "Then Lila introduced herself to me and I returned the formality. Then - then," Ashley stuttered and trailed off looking down.

"Then?" Cara screamed attracting attention from the few students still in the hall. "Then what?" she said more softly.

"Then -then Will," Ashley gulped like this was hard for her to say. "Then Will said he wanted to get to school and -and Lila and I had a good laugh," she finished dramatically.

"Ashley!" Cara said hitting her shoulder. "I thought you were going to say that Will raped you or something the way that you were talking. God! Never do that to me again!"

Ashley just couldn't stop laughing and Cara looked at her in shock. "You -you thought that perfect Will had done something to harm me," she said in mock shock between bursts of laughter.

"Well I didn't know!" Cara said defensively. Then in a more dreamy tone she added, "The car ride just clarified that what I thought about him was right."

Ashley was about to respond to Cara, who in her opinion needed her head checked, but at that moment they entered the cafeteria and Ryan immediately whisked her to the side. He cleared his throat and shifted from foot to foot uneasily. "Um Ashley," Ryan started. "I want to ask you to do something for me. I know we cleared this up earlier, but it's just a precaution," he babbled on.

"What Ryan?" Ashley asked concerned.

"Uh, well I've heard some things, ahem, about that Will Mitchell character," Ryan paused and Ashley nodded as for him to go on. "And, um, I wondering if you couldn't," he paused and when he looked up over Ashley's shoulder he saw Will and gave him a threatening glare. "I was wondering if you could try to stay away from Will, for me, please?" he asked pleadingly.

"Anything for you," Ashley whispered into Ryan's ear. But Ashley was rather happy to hear his request. She was looking for any excuse to stay away from Will. He was egotistical and pompous but for some reason all Ashley could think of was the happy smile on his face this morning in the car or how good of company he had been in detention yesterday afternoon.