I love my life. Everything about it. Okay, well, maybe not. I'm counting things besides the fact that when I was eight I caught my dad cheating on my mom. And my uncle's whole drug thing. I wasn't counting those things.
I mean, I have five amazing friends who I wouldn't trade for the world. I live in a well-off place in California, I have body that's physically capable of performing cheers and being a gymnast. I've got a cat named Cheezit… Well, he's not a blessing, but at least I have a cat. He's kind of retarded and runs into walls. Other than that, he's alright.
I've got a secret. My best friend is a guy. So, maybe it's not exactly a secret, but it's something even most of my friends don't know. Meg Douglas might think she's my best friend, but she's not. Will Jackson is.
Will is my very best friend. If I were five, I would say that he's my very bestest friend in the whole entire world forever and ever. But I'm sixteen, not five. Will and I have been close since seventh grade, where we totally bonded over his breakup with my old best friend.
I've got another secret. Juicier this time.
I've fallen madly in love with him.
No, I haven't liked him for years. It wasn't a "love at first sight" feeling. No, I didn't get butterflies. No daydreaming. No "Will and Audrey for ever and ever" on my binder. In fact, within the first five minutes of meeting Will, the only feelings I had were ones that involved me punching him in the face. Well, not really. But we did used to hate each other.
Now? I can't stop thinking about him. I've starting to feel those butterflies. And I'm beginning to day dream. I haven't written anything on my binder yet, but I get the feeling that's next.
Only problem is, the rest of the school has those same feelings.
See, Will is popular. He's not the most popular guy on campus, but he's up there. He's also hot. One of the hottest guys at our school. He's high enough on the "Westbridge High's Best-Looking" list to cause every girl in our class to have crushed on him at one point in time. Every girl in our school knows his name. And they all find him attractive. And it sucks.
Seriously, not even kidding. When we stand in line for lunch, I have to endure freshmen girls' stares blatant stares. They just—downright ogle him! Uh, awkward. Well, for me at lest. Will doesn't notice most of the time. And when he does, he doesn't mind.
Half of the female population at Westbridge High is convinced that they are going to marry Will someday. If I had a quarter for every time I saw "Mrs. Will Jackson" or "I heart Will" or "(Insert initials here) + WJ", I would rival Bill Gates' title as the richest man in the world. Only I'm a woman. Almost. As Britney put it so charismatically, "I'm not a girl, not yet a woman".
Will is one of those perfect-looking people. He could be a model, only, he's really skinny and he's whiter than printer paper.
But he does have long, chocolate brown hair and dark blue eyes. He's fairly bright and thoughtful—most of the time. (Remember, he is still a guy.) He towers over the majority of the student body, at 6'4. He has huge dimples. A butt-chin and he laughs a lot. Not just at the perverted jokes that guys tend to laugh at, but genuinely funny things that girls would not be disgusted at.
I always wonder why Will and I are friends. I mean, I'm not exactly a beauty. I've got really dark brown hair; I think my mom said the color was chestnut. It's naturally wavy, but I straighten it every single day. I've got brown eyes too. I'm also petite. I'm 5'2 and I stopped growing a year ago.
I'm not a model. Yeah, I'm skinny, but my figure is boyish. I hate it. I'm not a blonde hair, blue eyes girl. I'm not any of those things. Yet I learn to live with it.
Will and I met in the third grade. We were both in Mrs. White's class. We happened to be buddies for the entire year. Every other girl got to be with a girl. Every of other guy got to be with a guy. Except for Will and I. Apparently there were an odd number of guys and girls in the class. And I was the lucky girl that got to be with a boy. I still though boys were gross.
All the other little third graders were jealous of me. Even back then, Will was the class hottie.
"Audrey, you are soooo lucky!" All my little friends would exclaim. "Will is so cute!" We didn't use the word 'hot' back then.
I hated Will with a passion. From the very first day in Mrs. White's class. She announced that we would have a buddy that we would be partnered with for the entire school year.
"Sarah Johnson and Lizzie Sellars, you two are going to be buddies. Go sit over there, sweethearts." Sarah and Lizzie bounced to their new seats with their new best friend.
Then Mrs. White looked down at the next names on her list. She smiled, I still remember this, even years later. "Ah, yes." She said. "Our co-ed pair, one boy and one girl. Audrey Hepworth and Will Jackson, you two are going to sit next to Sarah and Lizzie, over in the corner."
I looked at Will. Will looked at me. I smiled sweetly, he was the new kid at school and I wanted to be nice to him. In return, he stuck his tongue out at me. I glared at him, then drug my stuff to the seat next to his. I sat down. In glue.
As soon as I felt it, I stood up, touched the glue on my pants, and screamed.
"Mrs. White! Will put glue on my seat!" I almost started crying.
"Did not!" Will stood up indignantly.
"Did too!" I screamed in his face and kicked his shin. I hadn't yet learned that boys are more vulnerable in a different place. I would learn later that year by accident. Of course, Will would be the recipient of my mistake.
"Will and Audrey, calm down. It's okay. Audrey, the glue will come out. Will, don't do that again or else you'll have to go to the principal."
"But I…" Will protested.
"I don't want to be his partner any more!" I whined at the same time.
"You two, enough!" Mrs. White was at her wits end.
Throughout that school year, Mrs. White had a lot of problems involving Will and I. We constantly pulled pranks on each other, tattled earnestly, everything in the book. I'm sure we gave her a lot of grey hair that year.
The rest of elementary school we were enemies. Will and I were put in the same class every single year. It didn't help that we would sit next to each other, since our last names were close together in the alphabet.
Middle school came; I had no classes with Will in them. I was so happy; finally I wouldn't have to deal with the arrogant jerk any longer. I knew it was too good to be true though, I didn't have that kind of luck.
Will started going out with my best friend. Her name was Kayrie, and yes, I know she spelled her name kind of strangely. She was the prettiest, most popular girl at school. She though unique names were cool. Her parents named her 'Carrie', she just changed it to 'Kayrie'.
Will was the most popular guy at school. He was thirteen at the time and he had just hit puberty, so he was starting to like girls.
It was well-known throughout the school that Kayrie liked Will. She even invited him to her thirteenth birthday party, something most other girls wouldn't dare to do. Plus, she didn't invite any other guys, it was just Will. Along with 28 female guests. It wasn't very subtle, but being blunt was Kayrie's style.
At that party everyone was in the pool playing volleyball or on the deck tanning. Will and Kayrie were two exceptions, they were making out in the shed.
Apparently Will had a thing for Kayrie too. But Will was the seventh grade player. He had already kissed five other girls. Count'em, five.
After that, hanging out with my best friend meant spending a lot of time with my rival as well.
During their relationship, I started talking to Will more. I only did it because Kayrie was convinced that he didn't like her. So basically, I was there to spy, and it was not under my own will.
Will was no dummy. He knew why had suddenly started being friendly to him. Why else would I—the girl that absolutely despised him—start treating him like a human being?
The vibes that Kayrie was receiving from Will were correct. He didn't like her anymore. She was too clingy and her personality was too forced for him.
I did not know this at the time, but Will kept feeding me exaggerated stories about his fling with one girl or the other. In turn, I would give Kayrie the message.
Kayrie broke up with Will. The school was in shock. Seventh grade's 'it' couple had broken up. The gossips were going nuts. Gosh, middle schoolers are so catty…
Kayrie's heart was broken. She still liked Will a lot. Unfortunately, Will didn't return those feelings.
Since Kayrie was my best friend, I felt it was my duty to talk to Will about what happened. I didn't want to get straight to the point, so we started talking about everything. From Mr. Turner's huge homework assignments to politics to our future.
Eventually I pulled together the courage to ask him what happened with him and Kayrie. He told me. He said how, in the beginning, he though she was really hot. He admitted that he still thought she was. But he couldn't stand her personality. He said he hated that she was a back stabber. He thought she was fake and a horrible person. Plus, she always wanted to be around him. He didn't mind holding her hand; he hated feeling like he was an actor in a show she was putting on.
That was what brought us together. His bravery in telling me something that I could potentially use to hurt him, if I were to tell anyone.
I opened up to him. I told him everything. I told him that even though Kayrie was my best friend, I didn't tell her anything. She was the Queen Bee of the school and I was her best friend. She loved to gossip. When our other friends for our clique weren't around, all she would talk about was how Amanda, Tiilyre (She's Brazilian, her parents are immigrants. They named her 'Tyler', not knowing that it was a boy's name in America. She changed it to be more feminine and exotic.), and Michelle were this or that. She gave me all the latest dirt on them.
I told Will how I had a feeling that whenever I wasn't around, she would do the same thing to me. So I retaliated by not telling her anything.
That was our initial friendship. Seventh grade through sophomore year we were best of friends. Nothing more. That all changed the beginning of our junior year. Where I realized that I liked him more than a friend.
And that's where my story begins.