Disclaimer: The names are completely made up and if in fact they resemble the names of people you know, it's purely coincidental.
Moving had never been part of the plan. Since his birth, Todd Platt had lived in the Berkshire Mountains in central Massachusetts and he figured he'd live there for the rest of his school career, then go to college, fall in love, get married, and settle back somewhere near the mountains he so loved. He'd never expected to find out that the month before he was to start his senior year of high school, he'd have to move and adjust to a new school a year away from graduation. In some ways, however, he was happy. Surrounding himself with new people could change his feeling of just wanting to be done with high school and its shallowness so he could move on.
Todd was a complex young man. As a child, he'd always been small and scrawny, and in kindergarten, discovered he'd have to get glasses to correct near-sightedness when his parents realized he was suddenly having difficulty seeing objects clearly and having trouble with his coordination when he couldn't see where he was going. He was bright and bookish, and often would be bullied by the other children in the class about his size, his glasses, and his keen intelligence. His parents enrolled him in little league football and baseball to help develop his physical strength and his social skills. He loved sports- he loved to watch them, read about them, and participated in them but he didn't like the particular boys he was placed teams with because his intelligence was light years ahead of the others. Playing helped him become physically stronger so the other boys wouldn't pick on him so much but his size remained the same. He was still a small child.
In freshman and sophomore years of high school, he had grown considerably height-wise, but was still lanky and lacked hefty amounts of muscle. He tried out for the football team both years and although getting positive feedback about his knowledge and ability to actually play the game, he was told by the coach that he was too small and would have to build up some muscle before he could be placed on the varsity squad. Todd sadly watched as other boys who didn't play the game as well as him made the team because they were much bigger. He didn't think it was right and he watched as the team lost game after game because they didn't know how to use strength and smarts together.
He was a true student though. He still wore his glasses and was a straight A student. In his spare time he would study playbooks, sports reels, and watch tapes of local schools competing to get ideas to bring to the JV team that he played on. That team had two successful seasons with him playing and he was even made captain sophomore year because of his unifying ideas and spirit. On the downside, girls didn't pay too much attention to JV guys and because he was so smart, they couldn't relate to a lot of what he knew and could talk about.
Things changed slightly during the summer before junior year. All the physical training he'd been doing for years was starting to show and he grown considerably across the chest and shoulders. His parents finally gave in and allowed him to get contact lenses and all his closest friends said he looked really great. The shock came when he returned to school for eleventh grade and everyone took notice. The coach immediately offered him a spot on the varsity roster. Girls that had shunned him were now so taken with his physical appearance that they were practically throwing themselves at his feet, despite their previously stating that he was too nerdy or "just a JV guy." And Todd, not having every had that much attention given to him, went with the flow for a couple days before realizing that they really didn't care too much about him or they would've been friends with him from the start. He stuck with his own friends as it was they who'd been with him every step of the way, from kindergarten to that point in his life and he wasn't about to abandon them for some fleeting moments of meaningless high school drivel. His mother, Kate, said she was so proud of him for not leaving his friends by the wayside.
Then came his dad's announcement. Early in May, right after junior prom, Robert had sat the family down at dinner and told them they were moving at the end of July. He'd gotten a job transfer to an office in New York and the offer had been too good to pass up. Rob promised that Todd would go to a good school and that he'd talk to the football coach to give him a chance to try out for the team. And so here he was. Sitting in the driveway of his new house on Long Island, he watched the movers carry a large dresser from the truck inside the house.
The neighborhood looked fairly normal. The houses were close together, like hundreds of other suburban developments across the country. The lawns were all neatly trimmed, trees lined the street, flowers dotted the front beds of each home, and you could see kids riding their bikes up and down the block and shooting hoops .
"Todd, sweetie, help me carry some of these boxes in the house," his mother said from behind him. He jumped at the sound of her voice; he hadn't heard her come up in back of him.
"Sure, Mom," he said easily. He spent the better part of the afternoon carrying various boxes marked with things like "kitchen supplies," "movies," "bedding," and "miscellaneous." He didn't want to ask his mom what was in those miscellaneous boxes for fear that she wouldn't really know the answer. She was known to be a sort of packrat and it was sure to be some junk they really didn't need but that she couldn't bear to part with.
He took a rest around four o'clock and sat down in the front yard for a few minutes to rest his feet. The truck was now empty and the movers were just leaving. Todd watched the truck turn at the end of the street and disappear from sight. He didn't have a book to read as all his were still packed away, so he decided to take in the sights of the neighborhood and familiarize himself with the scenery since he would be now be living there.
A few moments later he spotted two teenage girls walking towards his house. They appeared to be about his age and looked like they were probably just taking a walk around the block. He tried to look as casual as possible as they passed and regarded him with friendly smiles but the image of one of the girls had stuck in his mind.
She was beautiful. Blonde-hair, blue eyes, and somewhere between five foot five and five foot eight in stature. She was thin, but not too thin, fashionably dressed, but not slutty looking, and he'd heard a sweet laugh escape her lips as she passed by, laughing at something her friend said. He'd never encountered someone as stunning as her before and he desperately hoped he would see her in school when he started in a few weeks.
Football season started a few weeks later and although he was the newbie with the guys, the coach quickly promoted him to first string when he realized how talented Todd was. A few of his new teammates resented Todd's beating them out until he outplayed them in practice and then they accepted their new roles. Todd thought they were even dimmer than the last bunch of guys he played with and to make matters worse, there didn't seem to be a single one that Todd could strike up some sort of normal conversation with, past discussing parties or what play they were going to run. At least on his last team there had been one or two guys he'd been comfortable hanging out with. It seemed like it would be a lonely season.
The day before school started, he met the football cheerleaders for the first time. They were inside the auxiliary gym practicing and his teammates were gathered around the doors ogling them. A brief glance around the gym told him that none of the girls were the beautiful girl he'd seen the day he'd moved in. He hadn't seen her since but he still couldn't get the picture of her out of his head.
"The girls look real good this year, don't they boys?" Joe Santangelo asked when they finally moved away from the door and headed outside.
"That they do," George Wykhoff agreed. "And is it me or does Melissa just get hotter each time she comes in?"
The guys nodded in agreement save Todd who had no idea who Melissa was. None of the girls had particularly impressed him. They didn't measure up to the girl he'd seen. Not by a long shot.
"So what did you think, Todd?" George asked.
"They're okay looking, I guess," he said. "But I saw this other girl walking past my house when I first moved in that totally grabbed my attention. I mean, truly gorgeous. I haven't seen her since though and I've been dying to meet her."
"What did she look like?" Joe asked.
"Straight blonde hair just past her shoulders, dark sapphire blue eyes, average height, thin but not too thin, sweet laugh-"
"Man, you got it bad," Damian D'Angelo said. "I hope she's not some loser."
"Or worse, a freshman," Colin Gregory chimed in.
"Definitely not a freshman. She looked like she was a junior or senior. And as for being a loser, that is certainly up for me to decide," he informed them.
They shrugged. "Whatever," George said. "But don't say we didn't warn you if she turns out to be a dog."
Todd made a face and ignored what George said. He didn't care what the other guys said; he was bound and determined to find out who the mystery girl was and even if it took him all year to do so.
Rachel Bleekman had always enjoyed the first day of school. She saw it as a fresh start, a chance to begin anew with new classes, new teachers, and the potential to meet new friends. As she arrived to her school, Seaview High on Long Island in her brand new silver Toyota Corolla, she saw the new two-story beige brick building standing proudly before her, a marble and granite engraved sign sitting beside the entrance proclaiming "Seaview High School, Home of the Sharks," and she took comfort in the knowledge that the school year had finally begun.
"I have cheerleading after school so don't wait for me," Rachel's twin sister Melissa told her as they both climbed out and Rachel set the alarm on the car. Melissa had yet to pass her road test- she'd already failed it twice- and was relying on Rachel to take her to school until she retook it again the following week. Rachel sincerely hoped Melissa would pass; Rachel was sick of hearing Melissa complain about her car. "Why did you have to get such a geeky car?" Melissa asked as she rolled her eyes. "How come you didn't get something cool like a Viper or a Jaguar?"
"Or like your BMW convertible that Dad said you can't drive until you pass your road test?" Rachel asked her with a sigh. "My car is a perfectly good car. It's new, reliable, and most of all, it rated first in all the crash tests which means that it's safe and it'll last me-hopefully- a long time."
Melissa rolled her eyes again. "You're such a dork." Suddenly she turned her head as she heard someone call her name. "Gotta go. Cassidy's calling. I'll see you at home. Ciao!" Melissa ran off to join her best friend, Cassidy Caldwell and some of her other cheerleading friends.
Rachel shook her head in disbelief, having a hard time believing how she and Melissa were even related, let alone twins. They weren't identical twins- not by any stretch of the imagination. Melissa was 5'9" tall, had dark, curly brown hair, brown eyes, and a thin- almost anorexic looking- cheerleader build. She was smart, but lazy, and as a cheerleader she was one of the most popular girls at Seaview. She had a new boyfriend almost every week and along with half the other cheerleaders, has a reputation for sleeping around.
Rachel on the other hand was slightly shorter, at 5'6", with straight blonde-hair that fell just past her shoulders, blue eyes and a thin but healthy build. Rachel was bright and hard working, took straight honors and advanced placement courses, and was involved with the orchestra, the honor society, the choir, and the school musicals. She was well known and liked, but not insanely popular as her sister was considered. Rachel was pretty, but didn't consider herself drop dead gorgeous as her sister did. More often than not, Rachel had to listen to everyone in school tell her, "I can't believe you and Melissa are related. You're so different." Rachel had heard it so many times that sometimes she thought that everyone might be right.
They had some things in common- like their DNA- but it didn't stop Rachel from questioning at least a dozen times a say how they were a part of the same family. And that's when Rachel remembered that each girl took after different parents.
Rachel physically resembled their mother and had inherited many of her personality traits: practical, kind, levelheaded, motivated, and musically inclined. Her mother had died three years ago in a car accident and Rachel missed her terribly, especially since they had been so close to one another. She still had her father though, which Rachel saw as more of a mixed blessing than anything else.
Melissa had always been the "Daddy's girl" in the family. She could shrewdly get anything she wanted from their father, much in the same way he could get his business partners to do his bidding with the large multi-national corporation that he headed. He had provided his daughters a large, spacious 20,000 square foot home with five acres of property on the waterfront, and employed a staff of housekeepers to maintain the house, one of whom, Elsa, lived with the family since their father was often out of town on business. Melissa had always loved their lifestyle and loved the glitz, the designer clothes, the fancy cars, and almost superficial attitude that accompanied what their life had. As a result, Melissa had grown to become smart, shrewd, manipulative, accustomed to getting what she wanted when she wanted. It didn't make her a bad person really- Rachel believed it was a high school domination thing- but in the meantime Rachel and her friends avoided Melissa and her friends.
Rachel shook her head as she headed toward the building carrying her viola and her navy blue messenger bag loaded with fresh notebooks, new pens, and things to hand in her locker as she counted the days until Melissa was retaking her road test.
She arrived inside and once she reached her locker, she opened it and placed her extra notebooks on the bottom and leaving all except two of her new pens on the top shelf. She took a roll of Scotch tape out of her bag and retrieved some pictures from her new binder to hang on her locker door. She was just finishing with the last photo, one of Rachel with her best friends, Alanna Hollborn, Kristen McKiernan, and Tom Sheridan, when she heard someone jiggling the handle of the locker next to hers. "Damn!" a deep male voice cried out in frustration.
Rachel calmly looked over and saw a tall, attractive boy she'd never seen before. He was at least 6'2" tall with short brown hair, deep chocolate brown eyes, and broad shoulders. She eyes wandered slightly over his physique as she mentally noted how good-looking he was but she kept it to herself as she chose to address the more immediate concern. "Oh, these things are always getting stuck," she told him nonchalantly. "You just have to know how to finesse these things. Can I see your combo?"
The boy raised his eyebrows in interest at her, but obediently handed over the slip of paper holding his locker combination. Rachel quickly glanced at it, then went to work twisting the dial on the locker- first right, then two turns to the left, then one more turn to the right- gave the door two solid whacks in opposite corners, jiggled the handle and watched the door swing open. "Voila!" Rachel proclaimed triumphantly.
"That was impressive. Thanks," he said in awe. He glanced up and down at his savior as he introduced himself. "I'm Todd. Todd Platt. I, uh… I just moved here."
Rachel smiled kindly. "I'm Rachel Bleekman," she told him as she reached to shake his hand. She noted his firm handshake and blushed slightly as she noticed he was giving her and up and down look. She quickly glanced at her outfit, making sure that her knee-length navy-blue skirt and baby blue shirt looked okay with her navy blue sandals. "And it's no big deal. Nobody's used that locker in two years since Deena Blocker moved away. I'm not surprised that it needed a little help opening up. Where did you move from?"
"Massachusetts. My dad got a job transfer," Todd told her. "It sucks that I had to move right before my senior year but there's nothing I can do about it now."
"Well, not now that you're here," Rachel pointed out. "But at least you're a senior which means you're still higher on the food chain than any of the freshman would be." She watched him pull out his schedule and stare at it blankly. "Do you need any help getting around?" she offered.
"I think I'll be alright," Todd said. "I know the building a little bit from coming back and forth from football practice.
"Football practice?" Rachel asked as she crinkled her nose. She generally wasn't too fond of football players and none of her friends were on the team. She was a little surprised too. Todd seemed to be too nice a guy to be a football player. "You don't strike me as the football player type."
"Not all football players are big and stupid," he told her, seeing her face.
"I didn't say-"
"Didn't have to," he cut in. "I've had to live with the stereotype of what a football player acts like since I was in junior high and yeah, I'll admit a lot of the guys have probably been slammed in the head a few too many times but I like to think that I'm not like the average football player."
"Well, you can intelligently defend yourself," Rachel noted. "Do you only date cheerleaders?"
"Depends. Can cheerleaders here carry on an intelligent conversation?"
Rachel laughed, somehow getting the feeling that he wasn't expecting a yes. "Based on the company my sister keeps, I'd say no."
"Ouch," Todd winced. "Let me guess. Your sister's a cheerleader?"
"My twin sister is head cheerleader," Rachel corrected. She noticed Todd raise his eyebrows and she added, "Before you ask, no we're not identical twins, I'm not a cheerleader, and we really don't get along all that well."
"Dually noted," he said with a nod.
Before either of them could continue on with their conversation, the first bell rang. Rachel checked her watch and nearly had a heart attack when she noticed what time it was. "Oh, man, I can't believe I lost track of time. I'm really sorry but I really have to go," she told Todd.
"Don't want to be late on the first day. I know that feeling," he said.
"Maybe I'll see you later?" Rachel asked hopefully.
"Seeing as we're now locker neighbors I'd say that's a safe bet," he said.
" Right," Rachel laughed nervously. She gave him a small wave and moved quickly down the hallway in the direction of her first period class.
Todd looked after her as she practically glided down the hallway, happy to have met a beautiful savior who could quite possibly end up being his first friend at Seaview. As he closed his locker and headed toward his first class, he silently prayed that he'd see her again before the end of the day.
Author's Note: This is my first post on Fiction Press. I really like reviews… but NO FLAMES!!!! Constructive criticism is okay, but don't be mean, cuz well, mean people suck… hehe! And as always, as with any story anyone will write, keep the praise coming too! Let me know what you think and if I should continue…