Krista woke up with a start. She quickly glanced at her alarm clock. With a groan she jumped out of bed and hurriedly grabbed articles of clothing off of her floor to wear. Jeans, Aerosmith t-shirt, bright yellow chucks, the usual. Messily, Krista pulled her hair into a bun, grabbed her books and ran out the door. Halfway to school she looked at her worn out watch. 8:35. One hour late.

Crap, Peterson will kill me if I'm late for her class again, she muttered to herself. Running clumsily along with her bag falling off her shoulder, she made it to school in five more minutes.

Luckily when Krista arrived at school everybody was changing classes. There was a ton of commotion so nobody noticed her slip casually through the front doors and race towards her locker. Well, at least I missed Peterson's class, she thought to herself.

Krista hurriedly grabbed the books she needed, and jammed the unwanted ones in her locker. She was just about to slam her locker shut when she saw an all too familiar face appear next to her.

"Heya Krista," it was John. That bastard... she really wished she could say everything she felt about him right to his face. Right then just kill him the way he had done to her.

"What?" she replied as coldly as she could.

"Ouch, that hurt," he said sarcastically, "what's up?"

"Nothing, I'm late. Bye." she slammed her locker shut and stalked off, hoping he could sense that she was upset. Maybe even come after her. She knew it was stupid to still like him, after all he put her through. After all the pain he caused her, but she just couldn't help it. She still really liked him. More than anybody she had ever liked before. And the fact that he talked to her! Even if it was just to annoy her, or to lie to her, or to get her off of his back. He still talked to her.

"Miss Kriiiiiiistaaaaaa," a very unwanted, familiar voice rang through the halls. "How come you were not in my class this morning?" came the singsong voice of Mrs. Peterson.

"I came late to school." answered Krista plainly.

"Mmm.. okay well come in during lunch to get what you missed." Mrs. Peterson replied as she walked away, casually waving her hand behind her back, with the other clutching a Diet Pepsi.

God, I don't want to go... But Krista had no choice. Sighing she turned to go to her second period class, Art, her favorite. She sometimes got Ms. Mazeski to let her stay for the next period, or even through lunch. Maybe she could use her to get out of going to see Peterson.

As Krista strutted off to Art she saw a new face, only for a second, but she saw it. It was the most beautiful face she had ever seen. Quickening her pace to try and reach him before he turned the corner, she almost tripped on her own shoelace.

"Damn it!" she said louder then she had meant. The face had turned around and she swore her heart stopped beating, like in those old time black and white love movies you watch with your grandmother during Christmas break. Her face turned bright red, and she motioned to her shoes.

"Clumsy, untied lace shoes. I mean shoelaces." the face just looked at her. Not accusing, just looking.

"Heh, I do it all the time," he bent down to help her pick up her books, "I'm James. I just transferred from Florida."

"Krista. Nice to meet you. Where you going next?" she got up and dusted off her pants unnecessarily.

"Art. Ms... I have no idea how to pronounce her name." he chuckled and she tried very hard to maintain her composure.

"Oh, really? Me too. I'll show you where it is. Her name is Ms. Mazeski by the way."

"Oh. Ma-zes-key" he repeated, sounding it out slowly and deliberately.

They walked all the way to the 500 wing in silence. Krista was searching her mind desperately for something to say, but nothing came to her.

"Well, here we are..." she pointed to the door of the art room.

"Thanks." he said simply.

When Krista entered the room completely, she headed straight to the aprons and grabbed her favorite selection of paints and her self-portrait that she had been working on for the past couple of days. Everybody else was doing boring old "me" pictures, but Krista had decided to spice hers up a bit. She wanted to represent of each of her friends in herself. Her hair tied back with a seashell from Meg. Her shirt a creative masterpiece that might've been worn by Jules. A pair of extravagant earring-bubbles given to her by Pete. A beautiful friendship necklace that Chris had given her back in 6th grade. A tiny heart that was supposed to be a misshapen freckle, for John. Krista knew it was pathetic and weak to put him in her portrait, but she had started it way before all this happened, and she wasn't ready to let go yet.

"Wow, you're good." Krista jumped and turned around. James was looking at her painting over her shoulder, he seemed thoroughly impressed.

"Heh, not really, but thanks I guess." she replied modestly. "It's me with a little of my closest friends sporadically placed around my head. Heh." Krista laughed at her own stupid joke.

"Cool. You are talented. Hah, maybe I should take some lessons," he winked and walked off to go start his own portrait. Krista was definitely impressed by this new kid. She sighed and went back to her painting. Looking over it, Krista saw that the freckle wasn't the right skin tone. Whoops, she whispered as she painted over it.