She was irresistible.

I don't believe there was really any other way to put it. On the outside, everything about and of her was nothing short of perfection. On the inside, she was in the rough, but still a jewel nevertheless. I---well, who wouldn't want her? Assuming you took a shine to members of the female gender, anyway.

Cautiously, I withdrew my thoughts of desire away, trying not to sound, even to myself, creepy or like some sort of stalker type. I'm sure she was a nice girl, but a whole summer had passed and she'd made some progress. I assured myself, almost as a total cop-out, that she had to be with someone.

Then again, I hadn't seen her with anyone in particular...Then again, it was only the first day of the semester...then again, again, I was reading way too far into this matter.

Ha, but seriously...Was she seeing anyone? I sidestepped the question and merely found myself back in front of it. The best way to find out would be to ask...But not up-front, of course. I'd just kinda ease around into the subject. As long as she still considered me a friend, anyway. I'd heard some things, but she couldn't possibly have changed THAT much over the summer.

Wait...Unless...What if she wasn't into guys? Was that too farfetched of a thought? Maybe, but it was pleasant. Seeing her with her body smothered up against-

"Mister ACOSTA!"

My eyes nearly peeled open as they unglazed. My head snapped up from the makeshift pillow my forearms created right as I realized the whole class was staring at me, as if the teacher had commanded them to. This hadn't come at a better time, since I similarly realized I had been doing some staring of my own, albeit blankly.

"...Is there something you find BORING about precalculus lecture?"

The venom of his words stung my whole brain.

" see, I was...kinda..." My mouth rushed for a rebuttal and fumbled horribly.

"Whatever. DON'T let it happen again." And there was the tackle.

It was my first day, and already a person possessing a limited grasp on the English language had burnt me. If the past years had been any indicator, this was apparently some sort of an annual tradition.

Now, I was still zoned out, but this time out of spite more so than boredom. It's funny how it worked...Rather than actually try to learn...well, re-learn math, I would stare blankly at the board and refuse to pay attention, or learn, because I was told to pay attention. That's a real winning strategy if I'd ever heard of one.

My concentration on doing nothing was broken, though, when the whole class seemed to asynchronously rise up and file out the door. In the midst of battle, three hours can certainly fly by quickly. Well, okay, so I'd been in spite mode for about 45 seconds. worked, somehow.

I really wasn't making sense even to myself. Shaking my head furiously, thinking perhaps I'd been pushed out of reality, I tried to clear my brain of any thought as I shambled out to the door.

Then, I saw her. All the blast doors in my head clicked into place and I was awarded the gift of actual focus as I saw her strutting down the walkway. Of course, she was, casually yet politely conversing with another guy right by her side. Even twenty feet away, I caught the scent of desperation on his breath, which probably smelled like...pickles or something. I don't know.

My fear of bad breath aside, I waited patiently to talk to her. Definitely a byproduct of raw weirdness, I could never bring myself to talk to a girl I liked in the presence of other potential "competitors." The way I saw it, on the path of meeting girls, anyone who I didn't know, who wasn't one of us, was one of them. Obstacles on this path came in the form of pretty much every other guy.

And probably some girls, too...But I actually wouldn't be too upset if that was the case...But then there'd be no room for me...But that would be nice to watch...But who said I'd be allowed to? Aye...My brain was about to melt. I really needed to talk to someone and not a moment too soon, since the two ahead of me were finally parting.

She was about fifteen feet past me, by her lonesome. I decided to walk a bit faster, nice and casual. Nice and casual...

I pretended I was in a hurry, slowly inching past her. Feint-glancing to my left, as if some fictional happening had seized my attention, I waited for her to say something to me. If she started the conversation, then that at least meant something. But what if she didn't? Then-

"Hi, Alex!" Her voice was like a heavenly choir person. Nice and casual, nice and casual...I turned over to my right.

"Huh-? Oh...Hey, Jenna!" My posture miraculously straightened itself out as I remembered.

"How are you?"

"Hmmm, I'm good. But more importantly, how are you?" Oh, smooth.

"I'm okay. Things are...going. I had an exciting summer, how was yours?" I bet she had an exciting summer. I blanked out...What did I even do over the summer? Oh, right...I sat around, watched TV, ate a lot, and gained a few pounds...totally productive.

"Pssh, boring. You know." There wasn't a natural response to that question, so I served again.

"You look nice today..." Wait, was she not attractive before? "Uh, I mean...Even for you." Great save! I smiled at it, and at her, but it wasn't just empty praise. She really did.

She blushed a bit as she glanced at the ground momentarily. My smile only grew warmer. "Thank you," gently escaped her lips.

"You're welcome...So, hey, what'd you do over the summer? Meet anyone interesting?" Okay, that wasn't exactly easing into the question, but I guess it had to do.

"Oh, I did ALL KINDS of cool stuff! I mean, it was, like, family business, but it was really exciting! Haha, I said that already, didn't I?" I simply nodded along, genuinely interested. "I guess I learned a lot."

That was for sure. Walking down the path, I felt this mysterious aura about her. She obviously had changed, but it all looked to be for the better. Well, we'd flown circles around the question; it was time to touch base.

"What exactly did you DO?" Right straight in.

She stopped; naturally, I stopped. Her smile subtly faded from her face. "I...I...We can't talk about it." She fidgeted a bit. Then went right back to smiling, this time mischievously.

The smile on my face vanished completely. In its place stood the bastard child of confusion and discontentment. She simply frowned. "I'm sorry, Alex. It's a secret..." I nodded. I don't know why, but I felt like I was out of the loop...As if she was holding it from me. I hated being such a pessimist.

She couldn't make up her mind about how she wanted to feel, since a grin beamed to her face once again. "Sorry, but I have to go! I'm...going to be late." She warmly pressed her thumb against my palm, easing off as she started breaking into a sprint down the walkway. "Talk to you later, 'kay?"

I simply stood there, as her name rolled quietly right off my lips.

The whole dialogue had left a bad taste in my mouth.

I watched her shrink into the distance, her skirt flowing gracefully with every little leap her shapely legs made. Nearly every head she passed turned, if not just out of curiosity. As she disappeared behind the English building, I let out a sigh.

I looked up at the sky. It was such a gorgeous day, so why couldn't I enjoy it? I guess I disappointed too easily. Oh yeah, and I read too much into such things, making even the most absolute positives seem negative through the magic of retrospect. That last chat was no exception to my rule.

Why was I so stressed, anyway? It was only the first day of school; I was sure I could meet new people. And it wasn't like I needed her. She already was a great friend. Besides, the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing was just a big headache...But having her there would sure be nice. Okay, so maybe the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing wasn't a headache...Grr, why couldn't I make up my mind?

Then it hit me: I was standing in the middle of the lose in thought. People were walking around me, and I doubtlessly was the topic of idle chatter starring That Idiot Back There or an alias thereof. Pulling myself back down from the clouds, I started walking...forward. Where to, I had no idea...yet. I took a gander at my watch. It was 12:03, and I had 52 minutes to kill.

My brain was fried from all my selfish, selfish thinking. Heaven forbid I think of myself all the time...Well, technically, I thought of her a lot, but it was always in the context of myself...Never mind that.

I took a few steps and promptly collapsed onto an awkwardly shaped bench to my right. Amply situated, I tried my best to clear my mind. Legs apart, I leaned forward until my eyes faced perpendicularly to the gray cement walkway. I rubbed my temples as I attempted to regroup...not that the rubbing actually helped, I just did it because...well, I don't know why I did.

Then, abruptly, I felt a stinging sensation right on my back. I knew that; it was a telltale sign skin was showing. Stupid shirt, not covering my whole back.

"Hey, you!" I knew that voice, and I bet that it wasn't even half as cheerful as her facial expression.

Casually...unslumping myself, I tried my best to maintain a casual, neutral facial expression. "Hey, Tiffany." My objective was to sound friendly but not overly enthused by any means.

I looked over at her. Yeah, I was right. She had apparently teleported right next to me, in a seated position no less, since I missed the whole "walking by me and sitting down" part.

"How are you, sweetie?" I gagged on the inside.

Tiffany was crazy about me. I could see that even in the eye of the storm. But the feeling simply wasn't mutual. I mean, she was nice to me and all...but, well, that was it. She was nice to me. When it came to dealing with other people, namely all the ones she wasn't madly in love with, she was a complete witch.

She was cute, without a doubt, but it definitely wasn't enough to pull the act. It was great to have a friend, and I really felt special for being one of the only people on this green earth who got along with her, but I really didn't want to take it any farther than that. And, if I bit, and she reeled in, how would she treat me then? I definitely didn't want to go there.

Besides, the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing was a big headache, right. Right? Right? I had to wonder if that last statement was an actual philosophy...or just a defense mechanism.

I finished gagging just enough to formulate a response. "Good." I kept my stark just-friendly-enough tone up.

"That's great!" It suuure is.

"It suuure is."

Wait, did I say that out loud? I suuure did. Ooh, that wasn't going to tide over well. Sarcasm ahoy!

"What's THAT supposed to mean?" And, if you look to your right, ladies and gentlemen, you will see the fabled Tiffany's-Nice-Girl-Act Mask coming off. Conveniently enough, I didn't blurt that one out, but only because it was too long and complex to remember.

"It means...That my doing good is certainly---suuure is--- great." Played with a hint of innocence, anti-sarcasm if you will. I beamed a cute little smile to go with my tone of voice. Good man.

"Oh! Hehe...Sorry," she said, scratching the back of her head. Sorry for what? Getting mad at me? Oh, it's no problem, don't mention it.

"No biggie."

"Sooo...Alex...How was your summer?"

"It was alright. You know."

"'Get a girlfriend?" Whoa, whoa, whoa, check.

"Nah." I had to take a moment to scoff at that last question. It was getting kinda hard to maintain my casual and friendly, read, not creeped-out, attitude.

"Why not?" Yeah, I'm such a sweet guy, yeah, I know. "You're suuuch a sweet guy, I don't see why someone li---"

"No reason." In completely predicting her next line, I forgot to elongate the word 'such'. Oh well.

"...I see." I looked at my watch, but I swear it had nothing to do with her. 12:06? Damn, time had moved to a standstill.

"Hey Tiffany, I need to go to class," In 45 minutes, "So I'm gonna go."

I slowly rose off the bench. She seemed to just be sitting opposite me, staring all-too-intently, but by the time I was halfway risen, she was mysteriously already on her feet. It was almost eerie...Who was I kidding? It was downright eerie.

She extended her left arm, leaning toward me; she wanted a hug. I knocked myself out and squeezed her tight. I could kid myself into thinking it was all for her sake, but I certainly couldn't spit at a big hug from a girl. I tried not to enjoy it too much. Part of me didn't want to take advantage of her, but another part of me, which I'd guess to be the more selfish one, wanted to convey my disheartened mood from my previous conversation.

"Bye, Alex!" Walking away, I gave her a halfhearted wave back, without any eye contact. Maybe that'd show something was wrong...She smelled nice.

12:07...I still had a good 45-plus to burn. Or kill. Or whatever.

As much as I disliked associating with her, Tiffany actually helped straighten me out, at least for the time being. I was starving, though; I guess waking up late and not being able to eat breakfast would do that to a person, but whose fault was that. Likely confusing Tiffany, should she still have been watching, I deviated off the main walkway and headed directly for the food court.

I think my brain really did fry itself. Or it at least had a power surge, anyway. The next thing I really consciously thought about much at all was the generic lunch I was currently engaged in.

It was a cardboard basket, or boat as it was officially known, the kind you'd usually find filled with nachos...just, this one had fries and a few lukewarm but generously sized pieces of chicken. Appropriately enough, it was called the chicken basket. Not the lunch of champions per se, but I was a man of hunger, food was food, and I wasn't going to push away a filling $2 meal.

Well, it should have actually been a $3 meal, since I forgot to get something to drink. Greasy cardboard boat in hand, I wandered back over to the cart to pursue a soda...When there were two people in the corner of my eye that caught my interest.

Setting my basket down on a vacant table, I ran to the top of the stairs leading out the food court (which happened to be a few feet below ground level) to take a look at them. They both were adorned entirely in white; quite dressily, I may add. But, before I was able to examine them, they promptly slipped out of my line of sight, with the beige walls surrounding the "food pit" changing from safety-slash-decoration to an annoying obstruction.

Even in its fried state, my mind began to wander in regards to the origins of those two. I mean, no one with even an ounce of sanity, or standards, would squander such a nice outfit for casual wearing, let alone be seen at a community college wearing such an ensemble; it was that nice. Regardless, I was officially intrigued, so I left the food court in pursuit.

12:11…I had time, so why not follow them?

The walkways were sparse at this time of day, since nearly everyone who actually cared about going here was currently in class. One would figure that the 12 o'clock hour would correlate to lunch and a break from classes, but for some odd reason that hour took place at 2. Odd men out, such as myself, had weird timetables that left large, hour-sized gaps in their school schedule. Not that I was concerned by any stretch of the imagination; time to recollect myself, as well as an excuse to kick back outside of the hell I nicknamed 'home life', not to mention eating lunch at a normal hour, was nothing but a plus.

But, these men…Who were they? They almost reminded me of the secret service…Just in opposite colors. I wasn't sure, but I think even their sunglasses had a pallid tint to them. It reminded me an old video game, where the concept of a man clad in colors opposite the norm wasn't odd whatsoever.

Okay, so maybe it wasn't fried; my brain, that is. It was working fast, but couldn't compare to my legs, caught in a power-walk for obvious reasons. The two enigmas ahead of me seemed to be doing the same, though.

Perhaps, and just perhaps, they were both a part of some rent-a-cop (or, to be more politically correct, private security) business. That would chalk up the fact they were dressed so nicely and on the campus…But didn't solve the mystery of the fact, well, of why they were dressed so, SO nicely. I guessed I loved their outfit, but anyone else would have already stamped that under the category "obvious" after even…I checked my watch…two minutes of mental exposition.

They were heading towards the North wing, which was kind of deceiving, since it should have been called the North-West wing. I easily presumed it was called as such because of the fact that, out of all the wings, it was the…Northest. Leave it to someone like me to nit-pick that, I'd suppose. But, the North wing; they were speed walking in its direction, and by this point, where they were headed was pretty obvious.

My psyche was filled to the brim with questions that were just filthy synonyms for "Why?" as to those men, but I refused to dignify any of them with a response. They'd finally reached the English complex and came through the entryway.

The English---okay, any of the complexes at this school, were made up of four rectangular structures, overseen by a pleasant-looking glass ceiling. In the midst of this compound shape was a center plaza, a hangout safe from the annoyances of rain and snow…Not that we ever got any of that out here, but that was beside the point. It's the thought that counts, right?

Regardless, they had entered the English-filled sanctity of the complex. With them out of sight and lacking regard for anyone who'd think it suspicious or weird to do so, I full-out sprinted to catch up with them. Slabs of concrete and benches whizzing past, I leapt up a pair of stairs and onto the oval 'track' surrounding the complex. I then casually slowed back down to a walk, followed almost immediately by my being hit with a ton of bricks; my god, I was out of shape.

Attempting to regulate my breathing and heartbeat artificially, I held my breath heavily and stepped under the glass roof. Even a lung-ful of oxygen would only last me a good three seconds or so, as I spat it out and desperately tried again. The scent of blood filled my mouth, as it always seemed to when I was tired.

But enough about me; I walked off the footpath some twelve inches or so, past a miniscule bed of wood chips and onto a peculiar gutter adjacent to the…ahem…English complex's southern building's west wall's northwest corner. Regardless of how physically exhausted I was, my wits (or lack thereof) could never be silenced. Never!

I skulked around said wall, inching toward said northwest corner. At the same time, though, my overwhelming desire to look 'normal' straightened out my back, stood me up, and then stopped me from flattening against the wall, as I strolled back onto the path and peered around a support pillar for the ceiling.

Once again, there they were. A calm expression inhabited their face as they…stood outside staring at the door?

No, they were staring through the door, looking into the room to be more precise. I was reminded again that I was just a regular bystander who had just happened to follow them to the English building (as if you know, I was going to an English class.) I walked out into the plaza, keeping a feigned careless interest in their activity...To be clear, the carelessness was feigned...Not the interest. Right.

I sat facing to their left. I casually examined their doings...They were apparently trying to find something...someone...inside of that room. As they began to turn, maybe in my direction, I quickly snapped back to staring blankly forward. Too bad I had no books, thanks to the first day of school, otherwise I would have pretended to be busy reading one.

It was then clear they'd had enough of the looking-through-the-door's-window game. Nonchalantly turning their heads toward one another, the one further away from the door decided to break the silence.

"Are you sure this was the right room?"

The other cleared his throat. "I was told it was room 304, North wing."

"You sure this is the North wing? This could be the West one." Seriously! They should have just called it the Northwest wing.

His companion merely frustration? "This HAS to be the North wing! What, are they going to have over three hundred rooms numbered the same way in every wing?" Oh, burned. I snickered a bit.

That's to say I snickered a bit too loudly. Four eyes focused on me and I pretended not to notice; I could have been amused over something else entirely. The one who had just been put down shook his head as they restarted conversation.

"Well, let's go in and check the other rooms." The two white-clad men nodded in unison. They walked a few feet to the middle door.

For the record, each complex had four buildings. Each one of those buildings had eight main rooms for varied use: classrooms, labs, illegal activities...whatever. Sectioned into four clusters of two, each cluster was separated, yet connected, by a cross-shaped hallway-lounge-storage room thingy. Teachers and staff in general could easily walk between rooms, get supplies, or just chew the cud in this spiffy hub room.

But how would they get in? Every once in a while, it was left ajar slightly or outright unlocked, but...The two walked over, and the joker pulled out a card, scanning it into...what else, the card slot.

The center door made that sound. Like an airlock door releasing pressure, but way too loudly, along with a well-defined click, the entrance slightly pushed itself open. Predictably, the two helped themselves inside.

Man, that noise sure sounded cool. But, seriously, who were those guys? They had staff cards, so they had to be with the school...Either that or they knew someone important.

Suddenly, the door of room 304 swung open, seizing my attention. Before I could focus, though, a figure dashed out in the direction of the center door, through my line of sight as toward the southeastern corner of the building.

It was Jenna!

I wasn't startled at all, but instead just alarmingly concerned...And, of course, a bit curious too. Needless to say, I followed suite and sprinted after her. Something was definitely peculiar about this whole predicament.

I was no track star, but I caught up with her pretty quickly. I called out to her, trying not to be too loud.

"Jenna." It kinda came out as a really loud whisper.

Still running, she looked back before slowing to a stop. Her cheeks were glowing scarlet, with tears welling up in her eyes. "Alex..."

"Jenna...What's wrong?" She'd begun to run around the east building of the complex; I walked around the corner with her.

"Alex..." Something about this didn't seem right, and I wasn't sure I'd like where this was heading. She looked ready to collapse, and I held her around the waist...just to be safe. She pressed up against me as I slid my arms upward, embracing her.

Her voice was as weak as her knees, which were shaking uncontrollably. "Help me, Alex..."

"What's wrong?" I pulled my head back so I could see her. She was literally crying on my shoulder, eyes tightly shut and lips quivering.

"I...I screwed up."

This was too strange. Even in her disarrayed, apparent sorrowful state, that aura...that energy...I could have sworn I felt earlier, racing through and around her, was still there. But she was nowhere near composed; why would it seem the same? This whole situation had gone from peculiar to just plain weird.

I safely assumed the two men in white were chasing after Jenna, so maybe standing out in the open wasn't the best of ideas. Looking to my left, the door to the "drink room," as it was so aptly named, stood conveniently.

I eased toward the door and Jenna followed, still semi-affectionately wrapped in my arms. I still couldn't help but wonder what exactly was going on inside her cute head...She knew more than I did...And I hoped I'd find out soon enough.

The door now needed to be opened, and with my hands occupied, it was no easy task. A simple hook-shaped handle...How could I get it ajar? I lifted my leg cautiously; normally I wasn't too careful about keeping my balance, but when you're the only reason that your dream girl isn't...Screw it. I let go of her for a second with one arm, long enough to turn the handle and pull. Of course, she was just fine...I guess there is such a thing as being too careful. Oh well.

We were in the drink room. As the name implied, this was a chamber that could have been used as a classroom, but was completely vacant, save for two vending machines against the wall.

I looked at Jenna. Her eyes had a completely vacant expression, like she was zoned out. She looked so fragile, yet so peaceful.

I cautiously kneeled down and eased her down with me. Right as she seemed to snap back into reality, I set her down against the wall and behind the first vending machine, obscuring her from the door. The room's other door was plastered with sports schedules, covering the window. Still kneeling, I grasped her hand with mine.

"Are you alright?" I asked her, as if I needed to.

Her eyes opened and met mine. "I'll be okay...Maybe...I hope so." Her face was still quite flushed, but dry of tears.

I smiled at her, and a faint smile penetrated her lips. I had definitely never been so glad to see her smile in my whole life. But what was wrong with her?

She wasn't diabetic, was she? As offbeat as it was, that was the only theory I could produce; she had diabetes and screwed up...Her blood sugar was too low. But that still didn't factor in the men in white...and the fact she could wholly capably run outside of the room before she wound up in the state she was in now. So that was out.

I was fresh out of ideas. The only thing left to do was ask. Simplest question first...

"Jenna...Those men. Are they...Did they have something to---"

Up and down, her head bobbed quietly. I couldn't even find a way to ask, but already there was an answer.

"Why...Who...Are they? Why are they looking for you?"

She leaned away. Shutting her eyes tightly, tears emerged again.

What the heck was going on?

I walked to the door, spying through the window. There wasn't anyone... At least, not that I could see. Why was I looking for them? I didn't know whom she was trying to hide from or even why. This was killing me...everything felt so surreal, like a dream. And it was time to find something out. I turned around, leaning past the drink machines so I could get a clear view.

Her name almost escaped my lips. Then, I saw her, still sad as before, clutching something in her right hand, held across her chest. Light bled through the cracks of her fingers, wrapped around whatever she was holding so dearly, which appeared to be attached to a tiny chain around her neck. She looked over at me, aware that I was completely clueless.

"Alex..." She almost panted out my name; she was breathing so heavily. She let go of the object in her hand, and it innocently came to a stop on her chest.

It was...Her necklace was glowing! But how?

There was no time to think about it. She, in her weak state, pushed off of her arms, trying and get up. In no position to object to her decision, and frankly a bit weirded out, I naturally dashed over to give her a hand.

My hands found themselves around her waist once again as she stood up without my help. It was good to see some strength returning to her as she stood---wait, her necklace...As suddenly as it seemed to light up, the necklace dimmed again.

I looked up at her. Then down at the pendant. Then back up.

"Did you...see that, too?"

Once again, a smile inhabited her lips, contrasting her sadly reddened complexion. She nodded.

This whole time, past standing up and nodding she hadn't seemed to move a muscle, gazing eye to eye with me for the better half of a minute. Needless to say, I was a bit thrown off when her hand suddenly started moving.

She gripped my left forearm. As she did, a combination of a shock and a chill ran straight up my arm and through my whole body. It felt...weird. But, just as quickly as it stopped.

Was that feeling...that sensation...just anxiety? Concern for her well being? Jenna was one serious conundrum, often presenting herself in the form of a riddle. Confusion over her was nothing new to me, but this was beyong serious. I glanced at my left wrist.

12:33...In the past thirty minutes, my perception of her moved from that confusing girl probably keeping secrets from me over her oh so wonderful summer...To an even more confusing, crying, emotional wreck...To the seriously even more confusing beauty that stood right in front of me. Her fluctuating demeanor was enough of a puzzle as it was, and her necklace only screwed up the equation further.

The last five minutes lasted an eternity. That's not to imply anything bad, though. Eternity blissfully dragged on, until two voices in the distance permeated the room.

I looked toward the door with the unobstructed window; they weren't there, but I remembered the sound of their voices. I looked back as her hand flew off my arm; apparently she remembered too.

Clutching her pendant again, she tugged on it, snapping the chain from around her neck. Her clenched hand lightly drilled between my fingers and her waist. She held my hand just as I had earlier, and...gave me the necklace. Why?

Her fingers delicately guided mine over my palm, necklace in hand, closing my fist. I didn't know what to think.

"Alex..." She murmured my name for what seemed like the twentieth time now. But I didn't think I would get tired of that any time soon.

Don't get me wrong, I was still beyond confused. I'd just realized...that chill...happened right as our hands touched together just a few seconds ago, again. Just like last time, it vanished before I even got a feel for it.

Her breathing grew heavy again. "Thank you..."

Thanks for what? No, seriously. I had no clue what was going on, aside from the immediately perceivable. The voices so far away started speaking incoherently, yet recognizably, again. I wished I knew what she was thinking...because then I'd at least have half a clue.

Lost in thought, I re-emerged right in time for the surprise of the year---no, of my life. Her lips lunged at mine, met before I even knew it, they locked together. I felt that chilled shock once again, along with the plain vanilla shock I'd just received from the girl of my dreams just kissing me.

The sensation coursed throughout my body. This was by no means my first kiss, but I'd never felt like this before. Things blew past surreal, ominously so, and at the edge of arousal, fear loomed.

Defensively, I stumbled back, just to be halted by the vending machine behind me. She followed, hands grasping my waist as mine were.

As many dreams of this scenario had admittedly existed in my mind, this was more awkward than I'd ever imagined it to be. We both stood with an unclassifiable passion, fleshiness overwhelming my tongue and fifth sense. Or was it fourth? I didn't care.

Jenna pressed herself up against my immobile body. As she pressed up against me, I could only imagine what would happen if anyone

With each beat of her heart against my chest, the sensation resonated through me in perfect sync with her pulse. I opened my eyes and couldn't believe what I saw.


The pulsing froze right at its apex, seizing me as Jenna pressed herself up against me one last time...

Only...this time...she seemed to be passing straight through me. Wait...

Through me?


I couldn't believe it, but I knew it was happening. I knew I saw it...and somehow, I felt it, too. Wisps of light beamed outward from me as her very essence seemed to be pushing right through me. I felt like my insides were literally being crushed.

Then there was nothing.

That aura, that energy of hers...that I had been feeling since I sprinted after her an eternity ago, flickered about. As the sensation coursing throughout my veins subsided once again, Jenna seemed to dissipate...disperse...into the air.

Then she ceased to be altogether. She was nowhere.

My legs finally gave out and my back slid down the smooth metal wall of the machine. My head was spinning. I collapsed into an awkward sitting position, at a complete loss for words...thoughts. Everything was so distant, and I was progressively becoming more and more tired.

What happened? Why?

I pressed my left hand, necklace enclosed, to my heart. I felt a sliver of it radiate through me as my consciousness was draining.

Where was Jenna?