Chapter 1—


Jake Robertson.

The proverbial bane of my existence.

He's got to be the most infuriating, irritating, annoying, loathsome… anyway, you get the idea. He has this insane ability to make me angry by just one look. One simple lift of an eyebrow or the twitch of a smile can and usually will set me off. It's absurd and irrational and I can't explain it.

Some people just don't get along.

A loud and booming voice breaks me from my musings. "Ms. Peterson!"

"Um, yes Mr. Wright?" I straighten up in my chair—a lame attempt at trying to show that I've been paying attention for the past twenty minutes of class.

"I asked you a question."

"What… was it?" I ask cautiously, only to get glared down by the mean-looking man at the front of the classroom.

"I suggest that—unless you plan on attending high school for a fifth year—you learn to pay attention. I'll see you for detention, Ms. Peterson."

I can't help a scowl from marring my features when Jake turns around to give me an infuriating smirk. I wish I could just smack him silly sometimes. Of course, I already have detention—I don't wish to add onto the sentence by committing murder in Calculus class.

"And Mr. Robertson," the teacher turns an evil eye on Jake, "since you find Ms. Peterson so interesting, I shall see you for detention also."

Jake turns around and gives a careless wave of his hand, informing Mr. Wright that he won't be showing up for detention. He never does. I don't understand why teachers even bother to threaten him with it any longer.

Sometimes I wish I could figure out Jake. Not that I find him interesting in the slightest… because I don't. I just don't get how he's able to get away with practically anything. It can't be because he's Mr. Charisma, because he angers pretty much everyone he comes into contact with. He's eternally indifferent and about as close to emotionless as a human being can get.

He just doesn't care.

So why is he able to do whatever he wants and not pay any consequences?

The bell suddenly rings, freeing me from the hell known as Calculus class. Why do I need to take stupid Calculus anyway? I can almost 100 guarantee you that I won't ever use it in my life. Sometimes I think high school is just a big waste of time.

But I'm sure it serves some type of purpose.

Now, what that purpose is, I couldn't tell you.

"Kat!" I hear the distinct voice of Audrey—the clichéd best friend since kindergarten. She's rushing towards me with an excited expression on her face. "Kat! Guess what? I got in!"

"You got in where?" I ask—assuming that she's talking about a college.

"I got into NYU!" she happily squeals, clutching the acceptance letter in her hands.

"Oh, that's so great, Audrey." I hug her quickly, before I hear yet another distinct voice… but this time it belongs to Jake Robertson.

"And where did you get in, Kat?" he says into my ear.

"I haven't heard back yet," I say through clenched teeth, wishing that he'd just move away from me. Christ, why's he always gotta get so damn close?

"Pity," he says as he begins to back away. "Although I'm sure that you'll get in somewhere."

"I swear, Audrey, I'm gonna kill him one of these days," I say to my still exuberant friend once he's gone. Not even Jake Robertson can kill her mood. Wish I could claim the same.

"Why do you let him get to you so much?" Audrey asks as we make our way over to our locker. We have to share one because there are so many freshmen this year that the school ran out of lockers.

"He doesn't get to me," I try to categorically deny.

"Uh-huh, and that's why you're practically shaking with anger." She gives me a poignant look and I'm forced to resign myself.

"Alright, so he gets to me. He's just such an insufferable jackass. Audrey, honestly, it's fine to sit there and laugh at me and tell me that I should just ignore him, but you don't actually know him. You don't have daily contact with him. He just… I mean, what the hell was that about anyway? Saying that I'll get accepted somewhere. I'm sure I'll get accepted to a much better college that he ever will."

"You think he'll be going to college?" Audrey asks.

"Who knows," I shrug. "Hey, listen, I've got detention after school today. Do you think you could wait around until four?"

"Yeah, sure. I probably need to go to tutoring anyway."

"Audrey, you don't need to go to tutoring. You just got into NYU. Your first choice. You're the smartest person I know."

"But that doesn't mean I should let my grades slip," she insists.

"Oh, for crying out loud!" I slam the locker shut at the sound of the bell. "I'm late for Western Civ. yet again!"

I give Audrey a quick goodbye and then take off in a mad dash down the hall. Stupid Western Civ. classroom. Why's it gotta be at the end of the hall? It makes it impossible to get there on time. Of course, I usually seem to be the only one who has trouble getting there punctually, but that's besides the point.

Out of nowhere, someone steps in front of my path and—of course—I run headlong into this person. It's irksome how I can be so klutzy sometimes. I actually have this big ink stain on my shirt from first period; I was extremely bored… what can I say? I look down in dismay, to find that my books are now scattered all over the hallway.

"I'm sorry," I apologize to the person.

"Kat, Kat, Kat…" the person circles me while leering at me.

"Should've known it was you," I mutter as I bend down to pick up my books.

"What's this?" Jake's attention focuses on my notebook. He picks it up and looks at it with his wide, blue eyes. He acts like he's never seen a notebook before.

"It's a notebook," I inform him as I snatch it away. "Thanks for helping me pick up my things," I sarcastically spit at him before taking off for Western Civ. again. I can hear Jake still laughing in the hallway when I reach the classroom.

The teacher—who's quite old and nearly deaf—doesn't notice me as I slink into the room. Luckily my seat is in the back and no one in the class cares enough about me one way or another to rat me out. It works in my favor, so I don't bother to be offended.

Mrs. Greene begins class with a boring lecture and my attention soon starts to wander. I eye the old notebook that had caught Jake's attention. What's so interesting about it anyway? It's just one of those notebooks where you put all your random crap. Like doodlings, newspaper clippings that are kinda off-beat, poems and just stuff like that. That isn't unusual, is it? Not that it matters if Jake thinks I'm weird. I mean, who is he to say a person's weird?

I flip to a blank page in the notebook and start drawing some weird concoction that's been floating around in my head for a while by now. It's strange how things have a tendency to pop into my brain and refuse to leave until I do something about it. Some might call it inspiration, but I call it annoying.

You know, I feel kinda bad for not being as excited as I should be about Audrey getting into NYU. I should be flipping out and screaming that it's amazing, but I don't know why… I just can't bring myself to do so. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for her. She's wanted to go to NYU since the 9th grade and has worked really hard to achieve that goal.

So why aren't I as happy for her as I should be?

Eh—I kinda envy Audrey. She's had her entire life figured out for as long as I can remember. I'm like Ms. Indecision next to her. I have no clue, even now—senior year of high school—about what I'm going to do with my life. For awhile I wanted to be a nurse, but considering that I have a queasiness about anything having to do with blood, I figured that wasn't the best career choice. Then I briefly considered being an entrepreneur and opening up my own little shop. But then I suck at anything to do with math, so I figured the business would be bankrupt in no time. Yet another pipe dream. Then I considered being a flight attendant. I figure at least that way, I get to travel and go to new places. But it's so clichéd and stupid that I can't bring myself to take it seriously.

So I'm lost in a sense.

I'm seventeen years old and utterly lost.

I wonder if the people who seem to have it together, really DO have it together after all. Audrey seems to… but she's probably the one exception. Hell, maybe I'm just the weird one who's lost in a sea of… high school.

It's awful.

I wish the year was over with.