Unpopular

Leaving Home

Anna Zuki had never left the sanctuary of her hometown of Hoffmanburgville, Ohio. However, the summer after he freshman year of high school, she was offered a once in a lifetime two month stay at a sports camp that was legendary to her ears. To Anna, however, it wasn't only the first step to fame and fortune; it was a free ride to boy heaven.

Hoffmanburgville, a small town surrounded by a seven-mile wide ring of farmland, had not had any males born as a residence for thirty years almost. The only five boys Anna's age in the town were not likely to have girlfriends anytime soon.

Anna was average looking, aside from her large ears that seemed to stick out a lot to her. She had slightly wavy brown hair and gray eyes, which her father always said helped her have the best aim of anyone around. She was also stick thin because when she spent almost as much time asleep as she spent actively participating in a sport. Sports were Anna's life.

The only things that prevented Anna from packing her bags as soon as she got the offer were her three best friends, Beth Zimmerman, Cara Zani, and Dani York. However, they insisted that she go for three reasons. First, Anna loved sports more than anything else in the world. Second, Anna would write each of them a detailed letter once a week, which they promised to respond to. Third, she would return home with tons of juicy gossip and pictures of real boys. To these conditions, Anna agreed.

Her friends helped her pack. Beth created a list of what Anna needed as far as how many shirts, shorts, and so on. Cara picked out what Anna would actually bring, because her life was about clothes. Finally, Dani helped Anna squeeze everything into her one allotted duffle. It was also her idea to slip an extra outfit into Anna's pillow and to roll up Anna's nice dress for the dance into Anna's sleeping bag so it wouldn't wrinkle.

So, one week after school let out, Anna was ready for two straight months of nothing but sports and boys. After an extended good-bye from each of her friends, she hopped on a bus and went off to New York and Camp Karlton.

Sitting on the bus, a boy a year or two older than her took the seat next to her. He had tanned skin, wavy blonde hair, dark eyes, and the most handsome smile Anna had ever seen.

"Hey," he said. "Going to Karlton?"

Anna opened her mouth, but only managed to squeak, so she nodded her head instead. She was proud that she managed to do that.

He laughed. "I'm Harris… well James Harrison, but I go by Harris."

"Anna." She barely got her name out as Harris shook her hand.

"How'd you get in?" Harris asked. "I've been a repeat for two years now."

"Scholarship," Anna said.

"So, you'll be a freshman next year?"

"Sophomore," Anna corrected. She didn't think she looked too young, so this surprised her that he didn't even think she had started high school.

Harris lifted his eyebrows. "That's interesting," Harris said. What was so interesting about it, Harris never got to say because the bus stopped and several guys clamored on and pulled Harris to the back of the bus with them.

Anna was alone for another few stops, until the bus, which carried kids to three different camps, was so full, someone had to take the vacated seat nest to Anna. This time, it was a girl a few inches taller than six feet, compared to 5'3" Anna. She had thin black hair with blonde streaks and dark brown eyes. Her skin was very pale and Anna could tell the girl was a runner because her leg muscles were much more toned and developed than her arms.

"Hi," the girl said. She flipped a piece of gum into her mouth and offered Anna a piece as well. Anna accepted. "My name's Jackie. I'm off to Karlton in the sophomore program."

"Me too," Anna said. "I'm Anna"

"That's cool," Jackie said. "How'd you get in? Money or skill? I'm in because I have one of the fastest miles for females in the state of Pennsylvania, but we still had to make a large contribution to the camp aside from the tuition."

"Skill," Anna said. "They gave me the sophomore scholarship."

Jackie choked for a second and swallowed her gum while taking a long drink from a Gatorade bottle. Once Jackie had caught her breath, and flipped a new piece of gum into her mouth, she said slowly, "That belonged to Amber Franklin. She's had it since she was supposed to go into the 7th grade. She's that good that they admitted her on scholarship two years early. If she's here this year, she's going to tear you apart."

"How will I know who she is?" Anna asked.

"She'll look like she's going to a different camp because she'll be wearing a short skirt and a skimpy top," Jackie explained. "Blonde hair down most of her back and heeled sandals. Thick make-up and she'll be bitter because she had to pay."

The bus stopped and the doors opened. As someone walked onto the bus, a girl squealed. "Amber, it's been so long."

Anna looked up and shuddered. The girl was probably 5'8 plus her three inch heels. Her hair was bleached blonde and swaying at her hips. Her skirt was what Anna would consider a belt and her top covered less of her body than her bra. Thick blue eye shadow covered both of her eye lids.

As she came closer, Anna could see Amber's green eyes looked sharp. Her nose looked like a mini ski jump and her lips were thick and covered in a dark pink. Anna was disappointed to see Amber's ears were in nice proportions with the rest of her face. The muscles in Amber's arms and legs were very toned, and a four-pack was visible on her exposed stomach.

She paid no attention to Jackie and Anna as she passed. She sat down next to a girl dressed in a sporty fashion.

"How are you?" the sporty girls asked. "We still bunk mates?"

"I don't want to talk about it," Amber spat. She must not have realized that the bus began to quiet down to listen to her. Apparently, she was very important. She hissed, "I lost my scholarship."

Half the bus gasped in horror, even kids clearly going to the neighboring science camp. Amber, the most athletic girl most of them knew, had lost her scholarship. Almost none of them knew to who.

"I had to pay full price and I couldn't upgrade because it was too expensive," Amber whined.

"Oh shit," Jackie said to Anna. "Did you upgrade?" Anna shook her head. What was the point of going to a sports camp if she was going to return to a fluffy cabin every night? "She's going to be in our cabin."

"Maybe she won't know it was me," Anna said hopefully.

"Anna, everyone will know it was you. They have an award ceremony to present the winners."

"Brilliant," Anna said sarcastically.