CH 1. Hey There Delilah

"I don't think I can do this anymore, Del."

"Stop whining, it's just work. I swear I'll slap you if you say another word." I'm sure that I sound harsh, but I'm not. I have to go through this everyday that I have to drive Mae to work. We're employed at The One-Stop-Shop. An eyesore of a department store that sells pretty much everything except for food. She's always upset because she's stuck in the electronics department, and I don't blame her. She has to deal with quite possibly the most obnoxious customers ever to set foot in the store. That's why I'm so glad I get to work in books. Hardly anyone shops there. I honestly don't think most of the people in our town can even read.

"That's easy for you to say. Your section is so quiet that you're the only person who works it. You don't have to spend a five hour shift with Hewitt King. All he ever does is ramble on about computers or Warhammer. And he's always following me."

"You're exaggerating. He doesn't follow you. Besides, Hewitt is actually a pretty nice guy if you give him a chance. It's not like he's that big of a geek. He's quite normal."

"I caught him waiting for me outside the bathroom once."

I laughed and her brown eyes narrowed when called her a liar. She just flipped her blonde hair and turned to face out the window as I pulled in to the parking lot.

As we walked into the store I turned to her and said, "Look, if you're having such a problem, I can talk to Mike and see if he'll move you into my section."

She squealed in glee and nearly knocked over my 5"5' form when she hugged me. "Thank you!"

"Let go or I may reconsider."

"Okay, okay. I'm done. You are so lucky the manager likes you. You can get away with practically anything."

I sighed and headed for Mike's office, located in the front right corner of the store –between hardware and floral- and responded, "He'd like you too if you did your job. If you didn't spend your shift flirting or giving Hew a hard time Mike might actually be more willing to listen to your whining."

"He should fire me. We'd both feel better."

"If he had more staff he probably would, but he knows that there aren't many people in this town who would take a job here." I knocked on Mike's door and waited for him to answer.

"There aren't many people in this town period." Mae stated.


The door swung open and Mike wordlessly motioned for us to enter. His office is a small almost closet like room with bare beige walls, a small desk and three ugly green chairs- one behind the desk, two in front. The only thing on his desk was a computer that was rarely used for anything other then internet solitaire. "What do ya want, McDonnell?"

"Well Mike," I began, "I was hoping that, maybe, possibly, you could transfer Mae from electronics to books."

"Not gonna happen."

"Why the hell not!" Mae exploded. Mikes face began to take on an ugly scarlet shade as he tried to hold in his anger.

"Because you two will spend the whole shift giggling or gossiping or whatever the hell else you do."

"That's stereotyping!" She continued to shout while I frantically gestured for her to shut-up. "Just because we're girls, that doesn't mean we can't do our work with out talking."

"It's not because you're girls. It's because you're friends and that's all you ever do when you're together. Besides, I've just hired a new employee and he's been assigned to books. That means there's no space for you, Ford. No get outta my office and go to work!"

Outside the office Mae headed toward electronics so I went upstairs to books. There was a six foot, shaggy haired, blonde boy behind the counter I didn't recognize so I assumed he was the new employee.

"Hi. I'm Delilah," I extended my hand. He took it and shook, replying "Finn."

"So I guess we'll be working together."

He shrugged, "Guess so."

"Did Mike train you, or am I gonna have to do that?"

"Mike did."

"You're not much of a talker are you?" I smiled as I pinned my name tag to my Plain White T's concert shirt, then pulled my chestnut hair back.

"I don't have much to say. Work's not exactly a stimulating topic," he smirked, trying to be a smartass.

There were no customers around- there probably wouldn't be any at all- so I decided to try and keep this conversation going as long as possible. Mostly because there was nothing else to do except read.

"Well then, let's find something that will stimulate you." His blue eyes widened a bit but he tried to hide his shock/intrigue. Mentally I grinned. I can be a smartass too. "Conversationally of course."

"Of course."

"Where are you from?"

"What makes you think I'm not from here?" He was asking a question. Shocker. I was not expecting it.

"It's a small town. I know almost everyone," I replied.

"Pine Haven."

"Look, I'm just trying to be friendly. if you want to play your little aloof new guy routine, fine, but this job is boring. No one comes through here so if you won't attempt to carry on a conversation things are going to get real dull real fast."

He smiled. A real smile, not a grin or smirk, but a genuine smile. "Well aren't we just a little bundle of attitude."

"I can be. I can also make this situation hell for you if you keep acting like a jerk."

"Not necessary. I'll cooperate. My family moved here two weeks ago from Pine Haven because my dad bought the diner. It's really not much of a story, so I don't know what else to tell you."

"I know that diner real well. I've been going there my whole life. Too bad about Mrs. Jeffries though."

"Who's that?"

"She was the previous owner but her husband was in a car accident a few months ago and passed away. She decided it would be better if she and her kids moved in with her parents till she got back on her feet."

He shrugged, "That sucks."

"That's it? That's all you've got to say? Her husband died and all you can say is 'That sucks.'"

Finn looked agitated when he replied. "What do you want me to say? I didn't know this lady and I didn't know her husband. Sorry if I can't get all sympathetic."

I glared at him incredulously. "Is there something wrong with you? do have some sort of emotional defect or are just an asshole." Something sparked in his eyes, but I couldn't tell exactly what it was.

Finn opened his mouth to speak again but was interrupted when Mike the manager walked over. "Delilah! I need you to stock shelves."

"Shouldn't the new guy handle that. I mean, I am higher up on the food chain than he is."

"I don't care. You're the most obsessively organized person I've ever met, so you do it."

I rolled my eyes and made my way to the stock room, but not before giving Finn a nasty look and sharp jab in the ribs with my elbow. I can get violent when I want to be.

After work Mae attacked me in the parking lot asking questions about Finn. When the only information I provided was that he was a total jerk, she became very annoyed. "you spent an entire shift with the boy. How can you not know anything?"

"He wasn't very talkative, so there wasn't much I could do. Plus when I did ask him a question he'd brush it off with short, non-descript answers."

"Whatever. I bet you I could get that boy talking." She smirked devilishly and I shook my head in disgust.. I couldn't think of him the way she was obviously thinking of him. His looks could no where near make up for his horrible personality. So I replied, "Stop making me sick and get in the damn car."

The next day started out normal enough. I waited for Mae at my locker the before first period and she was late as usual. She showed up with Ella and her boyfriend Cody five minutes before the bell was due to ring. Ella was your typical shy farm girl with wild red hair and hazel eyes. Cody on the other hand was loud and obnoxious with shaggy, sand hued hair and green eyes, and he towered over all of us at six feet.

"Nice of you to join me," I feigned impatience but it didn't really bother me they were late.

"I brought coffee so be nice to me." Mae smiled and handed me the Caribou cup.

"Have I told you lately that I love you?"

"Oh no, she's quoting Bette Midler. I think it's time for a psychiatric evaluation," Cody smirked.

"Ha-ha. You're clever," I replied while giving him the finger.

"Mae said there's a new guy at you're work. Is he going to be coming here for school?" Ella cut in.

"I don't know and I don't care."

"I seriously don't know how you can say that Del," Mae rolled her eyes and turned to Ella. "This guy is hot. He's got the whole loner vibe going on. You should see him."

"Well it looks like your prays have been answered Mae because he's walking toward Mr. Key's class right now." I smirked as she and Ella snapped their heads around to get a better look. He must have felt their eyes on his skull because he turned and looked at our little group. His blue eyes locked onto mine across the fifteen feet between us and I hoped he could get the full force of the icy look I was sending him.

"Wow. He is cute."

"Traitor!" Cody and I screamed. They turned and stared in confusion, but before they could comment the bell rang and we headed off to our respective classes. And of course where was I headed? Mr. Key's Biology class. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

I went to my locker again at lunch time to get my Algebra book. When I got the door open a sheet of notebook paper fell to my feet. At first I didn't think much of it, maybe it just fell out of my notebook. But when I looked at it, it read:

Hey there Delilah
I've got so much left to say
If every simple song I wrote to you
Would take your breath away
I'd write it all
Even more in love with me you'd fall
We'd have it all

Oh it's what you do to me

I recognized the lyrics right away from a song by Plain White T's, but the hand writing wasn't mine and I had no idea how it got in my locker. I stuck in my bag so I could show it to Mae and Ella when I got to Algebra, then grabbed my book, closed my locker and went to class.

I sat behind Ella and next to Mae, so the second I was seated I showed them the note. While they read it Finn walked in and seated himself in the far corner of the room. I don't know why I thought I would go an entire day without him in one of my classes. I mean the school's not that big. Even if it is the only high school in our tiny county.

"I don't get it," Ella stated.

"It's song lyrics," I said.

"Yeah but why would someone put them in your locker."

"It's probably a joke. Someone thinks it's funny the my name is the same as the girl in the song."

"It's obviously a love note," Mae interjected.

I scoffed, "You're nuts. Who the hell would stick "love notes" in my locker?"

"Who cares," She replied. "Just enjoy it."