- Spotlight

I'm forced under the mouth of the door opening, the gusting winds whipping with a fierceness that my body simply can't cope with; the stormy seasons have begun, and along with it come its endless friends rain, snow, hail, and numerous other weather conditions that aren't fit for humans to step outside in. I glanced quickly at my wristwatch, it was noon, early classes should have ended by now. I fumbled with my duffle bag searching for my id card, the bitter cold continuously nipping at my tender flesh. My breath catches in my throat the iciness of it cutting me deep within my neck causing it to twitch.

Removing the I.D card from the side pocket, I scan it swiftly unlocking the heavy metal door, and then with the same haste closed it behind me creating some distance between me and the storm. It continued that was sure enough. The pelting rain's pitter-patter resonance echoed hollowly within the studio, as if the thumping beat of the heart. The automatic lock clicked lowly as I lower my bag to the smooth wooden floor and shrugged out of my raincoat.

To my right the light switch awaits me, my finger curls around it and upon my touch it flips upward alighting the ceiling with an elucidating glow that awakens the gloomily dim room. I walk back towards my bag, picking it up once more, I carry it to the center of the studio, and my street shoes are squeaking with the sounds of tiny rodents enhance the floors glossed appearance. There I remove my faded, torn jeans, and my baggy high school t-shirt, for the outfit underneath it laid dormant to drenched unneeded clothing that I had been waiting to discard for a half-an-hour. Kicking off my soggy shoes, and replacing them with ones more suitable for the next activity I stood facing the mirrors that had been watching my every movement since I'd entered the small room. My muscles contracted as I tensed under the light, I watched my body stiffen beneath my black tights with a perplexed awe. I wasn't one to become nervous nor stressed when dancing, it wasn't natural for me to feel this way. Yet here I was, fearing what I had begun, something that I was about to chase.

I hesitate before I pursue the control room; it was a small boxed red room above the studio that gave birth to the blood that flowed freely throughout my veins. I sigh in frustration, before ascending the concrete spiral stairs in the far left corner. Upon approaching the "sound stage" as they call it here, I push my way through the door, as if its own existence meant nothing. I recollect myself, gathering my thoughts as to why I was here in the first place. To dance with all my soul, to practice with all my heart, and to strive, and become the best that there ever was, but sadly my father doesn't except this dream of mine. Stepping in to the room and two paces to the left I find my music, the actual CD, a collection of classic songs remixed with a few R&B and hip-hop beats. After placing the CD inside the stereo, the beautiful effervescent music escalates throughout the room, feeding my wilted skin and rejuvenating my limp body. Then I find myself once more in front of the square porcelain mirrors, only this time I was swaying to the beat. Allowing all my pains, worries, and fears wash away, and allowing my passion to captivate my soul.

The sound of snare drums takes a hold of the beat, blaring louder than my pounding heart against my chest. So I moved gracefully on that beat my bare toes barely touching the floor, so I closed my eyes for a split moment taking formation again until I no longer thought of the routine. My body moves subconsciously, crafting free-style steps that I can't control.

This studio was my grandmother's; before her death she told me of her dream of a place where students would be able to study, and increase their talents of art, it's actually the only school in Portland only for kids 7-19. But no sooner had she made her dream a reality did she passed on --leaving us with nothing to do but sell it: a man came to us by the name of Roy Winters, he bought the Holland Art Institute, it being named after my grandfather. Roy Winters was a warm-hearted man full of compassion, and because he admired us for what we were trying to do he opened the studio to me for practice after and before classes.

I pause, catching my breath, and also to wipe the sweat from my brows. I close my eyes, and draw in slow breaths as the room begins spinning around me, my head is pulsating to the soothing sound of my heart, a rhombic beat that makes dancing all the more wonderful in my eyes. I glanced to the mirror, my creamy chocolate skin practically glow with a heavenly radiance that I, in all my years of dancing only dreamed of achieving. As the track ended, and so ceased the movement of my feet that once glided smoothly in one motion around the glossy wooden floor.

"Well if it isn't Kira, should have known you'd be here." A liquid voice says from behind me. I turn quickly, my breath catching in my throat with my heart joining it there soon after. It's Julia Evens, a second year student at the Roland Performing Arts Institute. She stands a mere five-foot-one, long dark blond hair, and possess a gorgeous drop dead smile that makes every boy within a mile range radius swoon at that sight of her, "you'll never change, will you?" She asks, resting her hands on her slender hips, "isn't today your first day back to school?"

I check my wrist-watch, ten minutes to one, I have plenty of time to make it home, take a shower, change clothes, and then be out the door in enough time to be to school on time. "Hello, to you too Julia, and yes, today is the first day of school. But what are you doing here; evening classes don't start for another three hours?"
She smiled her full lips curling in amusement, "same as you --practicing."

I gather my things swiftly, tossing all my belongings into my shaggy duffle-bag. Shrugging into my soggy hooded sweatshirt and sliding my bare feet into my also waterlogged white adidas, which were now stained blue, thanks to my pant-legs, then with the same haste left.

The September storm had calmed its fury, and was now only a little drizzle. Again I was alone with only the chilled wind at my heels, whistling and whipping around my ears. My once wavy brown hair was now damp and sloppily thrown back into a loose ponytail swaying freely with the blowing gust, I scowl dreading how horribly disgusting I must look. With a flick of the wrist I toss the hood over my head, hiding the now nappy, tangled mess of a jungle that I call hair from the rest of the world.
My house isn't far from institute it's about a good two or three blocks down, the actual distance is feared more than the walk, especially in drenched clothing I might add. So baring it and containing my raising anger was all that I could possible do. If only I listened to my mother this morning, she knew that I would be too lazy to even consider walking home after dancing for a complete hour and a half like I intended to do; I would usual shrug her off saying, "if I don't feel like walking than I'll catch the bus, no big deal." But if I'm remembering correctly she's bailed me out on more than one occasion…she's a "good Christian" and believes in saint hood, helping those who are in need even if that mean carpooling numerous times before the person who supposedly needed help learns to aid themselves. Oh, and if you were wondering who I was referring to, yeah I'm talking about me.

A half an hour passes and I finally approach my house; it is Victorian- in style- with a deep porch that wraps around the house in a mouth consuming way. The rusty black ominous gate, that my father constructed, greets me with the same squeaking screech of a tarnished door hinge as I draw near it. I ascended the stairs with the poise and grace of a ballerina, I have always been rather light on my feet much like a bird or a feather, even my mother explained various times to me that I knew how to do piques and plies long before I could even fathom the idea of walking, or crawling for the matter. But to be honest I think she was exaggerating, just a bit.
I dig into my left-side pocket removing the bundle of metal that was the house key. Counterclockwise is the method of opening the cherry wooden door that blocks my entrance to the house, "nice to see that your home, Kira." A smooth voice says as I step through the door.

"Hello to you too, mother." I reply dryly, tossing my bag to the side where many discarded street shoes and my school backpack lay. I slipped the hood from my mane of brown locks as I once again ascended the numerous stairs of my home. The wide oatmeal staircase moans with each movement, "be ready in fifteen." I shout, from the second floor. After I shower and dress, I go straight downstairs to grab a bite to eat. Two pieces of toast and a glass of apple juice await me on the sleek silver island in the middle of the kitchen, my father sat in his usual seat nearest to the back door reading his morning newspaper at the circular dinner table.

"Good-morning, sweetie." He says simply, without glancing up from his paper, "up dancing again I see."

"Good-morning, dad." I say, ignoring the last comment.

Wolfing down the toast, and guzzling down the juice I gave my father a quick kiss on the cheek say good-bye then rush back out the door. Once I appear outside, my mother at the sight of me started the car. The loud hum of the car roared to life, I shoved my things and myself into the passenger side of the car, which by the way is a late-model red Volvo that my father bought my mother for their fifteenth anniversary. "Did you say good-bye to your father?" she asks casually.

"Yes." I reply, in the same tone.

I turn and look at her as she drives from the curb, my eyes searching, waiting for her to continue. "I know it may seem like he doesn't approve of your dancing on the outside, but he is very proud of you, Kira. You've come so far, and achieved so much…" her words slowly became indistinguishable mummers, incoherent and unwanted. Though her intentions were good, nothing could excuse my father's disapproval of dancing, her word held nothing but emptiness for they were nothing but lies. She knew and I knew that they were lies and that why she told them to me, to give me a warmth and sense of pride that I already possessed without my fathers consent. And the fact that she doesn't approve of me dancing either doesn't make me feel any better.

We finally reared the corner of East-Lake High School; various other students crowded around the front steps of the three story brick red building. My mother's soft lips brushed against my cheek, and then she leaned over to kiss my forehead, "Don't worry too much about it sweet-heart, it's your first day as a junior! Be excited." I look straight ahead, my jaw tight and locked. A familiar rush of scorching heat flows through my body, I feel embarrassed, angry, and frustrated all at the same time. Why did I allow my father to get me so upset? If I am completely honest with myself, which I don't do often when it comes to my father, I really do seek he's acceptance.

"Bye, Mom. See you later." I said simply, as I stepped out the car leaving my mother to further contemplate the situation. I lifted my bag onto my shoulders one strap after the other as I fell into the buzzing bee hive of school. I was a moth drawn to the flame of high school, because by second hour I had forgotten all about my issues with my father and began to concentrate on the beginning on my junior year…it couldn't have come sooner.

Fourth period came in a blur of confusion, swirling in a vortex of numbers, words, phrases, and of course drama. It washed over me like the previous cold shower of rain brought by the stormy season, as if hail I felt it slow affect me like poison. This hour was lunch, the best time of the day, a time where I could loose myself in something that didn't take too much focus and attention. "Hey girl, can you believe we've finally made it to the eleventh grade? I mean were actually upperclassmen!" said Grace Adams. Grace, or Ace, or Gracey as she likes to be called, has been my friend since seventh grade. We'd came sisters, twin sisters at that, yet you'd never think we would be anything but acquaintances. She was a flaming red-head, tall, and lanky with a bubbly personality, while I on the other hand am…well you get the idea.
"I can believe it," I scoff, "it's the first day and I've already been assigned two AP Chemistry assignments, four pages of Calculus homework, three pages of French, and the day isn't even over yet!"

"Please!" she says, "You're so flipping smart you'll have all that done in an hour at the latest, don't start today girl, it's our first day back."

"Sorry, you know I don't mean to be so-"

"-Depressing," she interrupted.

"Yes," I say flatly, rolling my eyes, "it's just I've got so much on my hands at the moment."
She shook her head, she knew all to well what I was referring to. We enter the lunch room together, Grace carrying her sack-lunch, and me with nothing but an empty belly lunch. We scanned the packed cafeteria in search for the sights of seats. We took a few steps inside and continued to look around, "There!" Grace exclaims, over the growing volume of chattering students. She pointed to an unoccupied table near the window, a place uninhabited by East-Lake students, trash, and various other things that could be found lying about on the floors of the high school. "So-"Grace begins casually; entwining her thin fingers together, "what class do you have next?"

"Let's see, I believe I have Physics…" I reply questioningly, as we made our way towards the table. Once seated I flipped open my bag, and removed the small piece of paper that was my schedule from it, "yes, defiantly Physics."

"You know I think I have that class as well….but I don't know what period." She takes a bite of her turkey sandwich and then she begins waving it in front of me tauntingly, I willingly gave into her taunt snatching the sandwich from her very fingers and enjoying a bite of the deliciously delectable half eaten lunch.

"Jeez, Kira, and here I thought that you weren't hungry?" she says sarcastically.

I ponder that for a moment than shrug, "I guess I was hungrier than I thought."

Grace laughs at my response, "Fine. I'm going to get pizza, be back in a second." She stands, leaving the table presenting and holding herself with such, as her name was, grace and refinement. I envied her, more so than I would probably admit to. She seemed so…flawless so completely perfect. I could comprehend why I was so attached to her, she was everything that I wanted to be, and wanted to have. Awesome parents, who actually agreed and accepted everything they're daughter did, movie-star looks, and the perfect reputation. I mean, I was pretty, hands down, but she was something completely different than the word. Hell she probably defined the word!

I remained at the table fidgeting idly while she waited in line for lunch. I realized lazily that lunch would soon be over; I moaned lowly despising how short the period was. The clacking sound of Grace's metal tray shook me from my bitter thoughts, that shimmering sliver ringing throughout my ears, "I just went from whoa to hello!" Grace says, her eyes playing with a childish luster. She pointed towards a group of boys, who gathered around the descending stairs of the cafeteria. Through squinted eyes I peered over at them, I had previously overlooked them all when we first entered the chattering room of half-starving teens. But the one in particular that Grace seemed astonished by was center of attention among them.

He, of Asian features, stood a stunning six foot at the most; his skin was a very radiant shad of a milky cream, which appeared soft and tender at the touch. His lips were full and plump, and from what I saw he enjoyed licking them as he talked. He, like most other boys hair was the low clean cut, but it worked for him. In a way it almost defined his character….outgoing, social. His name is Dante Wong, he'd only gone to East-Lake for a year, and yet within that one year he had become the most popular boy that attended the high school. Every boy that crossed his path wanted to be him, and every girl that he met (much like Julia Evens) flocked to his arms. From last year's encounters of him, this behavior only encourages his ego. Dante's biggest flaw! "Oh, wrap him up I'll take him!" Grace coos, as she stares dreamily at him.

"Grace!" I squeal, punching her playfully on the arm, "You don't even know him. Plus you don't exactly roll in his circles…" Though hash it may sound, I was right, and she knew it. It would be tough trying to snatch his attention when every girl here was also lining up for his number.
"To be honest I don't understand what the big deal is, he's not even all that fine…" I lie.

"Yeah, whatever girl, you know that if he walked over here right now and asked for your number you would give it to him, nothing flat!"
I shrugged then tossed the empty sandwich plastic wrap aside, though there was a slight possibility that I would, I wasn't going to own up to it. In my opinion, basing a relationship solemnly on how attracted you are to that person's looks seems oh, I don't know around the circles of the imbecilic, and it's rather shallow. The bell rung, signaling the end of fourth hour and the beginning of fifth: Physics, yippee.

"Students please report to the auditorium directly for your 'welcome to the new year', assembly. Again please report to the auditorium directly for the welcoming back assembly." A voice boomed in static ululation over the loud speaker, the voice belong to that of the office attendant, A Mrs. Mary Williams. The entire student body stood in a hurried cluster to depart the cafeteria, weaving in and out as if the delicate needle and thread that held the school together in such a refined and fragile balance.

"See you at the assembly," Grace said quickly, dumping her tray in the nearest garbage can.
I turned my head sharply a questioning expression lingering, silently waiting to be answered, "What do you mean? Aren't you going now?" I ask stupidly.

"Hello, wake up. I'm on the assembly team remember? Joined last year…ringing any bells?"
The air was silent and still. I watched her leave in the clattering group of my fellow students, I started repacking my things at a snails pace, and all the students had long cleared from the scene. Leaving me alone, in a hazy curtain of slowness and melancholy that clouded the connection of thoughts in my mind.

Students spilled into the grand room, clustering around the stage that was dead center. The assembly progressed in a blur, much like the rest of the day.
An irritating buzzing sound that ceases to let up on a hot summer day while you're relaxing outside in the sun, yes, the monotone voice in which belong to the principal annoyed me more than sitting in the musty, gum infested auditorium seats. I sat eight rows from the front and two seats over from the wooden platform, my attentiveness once again slipping in and out of focus. Our principal, Mrs. Gage droned with a lecture about how this year (for juniors only) is our SAT year, and the importance and significance the score we get plays in our future…

"Hey," a voice came, calmly and smoothly.

I glanced up quickly, snapping my neck in the direction of the voice, it was Dante Wong standing backpack slung around his shoulder and an Mp3 player tucked away in his pocket.

"Mind if I sit here?" he asks automatically.

I looked around, gazing at all the empty seats that surround me, I shrugged and altered my focus back on the stage. Why wasn't he sitting with his friends?

"Let me guess, you're a writer?" he says looking towards me slightly, smiling.

"What?" I asked once again directing my full attention to him; he sat there flashing me a stunning smile, which dazzled me more so than I intended it too. Now that I was up close to him, what everyone was saying was true; his looks couldn't be matched by anyone at East-Lake. He truly was handsome, more so than I expected him to be, his face very mature and refined masterpiece, chiseled in all the right places, two almonds shaped chocolate brown eyes that drew me closer to him with each blink, as if a hooked fish being reeled for someone's dinner.

"Your major is Journalism, right?" he asks again, elaborating himself. "You look like, a writer."

I could hear Mrs. Gage continue to lecture on in the background of our small talk, her words meshed together. "No, Performing Arts, and Drama." I answer in a self-satisfied tone.

"Ah, then you must be…" he paused to collect his thoughts, "the infamous Miss Kira Thomas that Ms. Taylor keeps raving on about?"

I smiled inwardly, my insides burning slightly from my rapid yet alien excitement, it please me to hear that someone appreciated my work, unlike…my…fa…never-mind. I could feel the heat rising in my face; anger washed over me as I think back to this morning's event, "Yes, and your Dante Wong."

"Oh, so, you know me?" He chuckles lightly,

"No. Not really."

"Then how do you know my name?" he asks, disappointment lingering in his voice.
I shrugged then turned back to the stage; Mrs. Gage had finished speaking and was now seated with the rest of the facility. The corners of his lips turned upward, into a smile as he tossed his black hoodie over his head then changed the volume on his mp3. Okay, he was charming; in a stubborn pig-headed egotistical male sort of way.

"Now, without further ado here is your student body president, Miss Gwendolyn Thomas."

Yup, you heard that right. I didn't mention before that I had an older sister, did I? Well, all I can say about her is that, she and Grace fall into the same category. Like Grace she is also a perfect, just on a higher level, a much higher level. Gwendolyn or "Gwynn" (she doesn't like her name, she believes it sounds too proper) has ran this school since she first stepped through the double doors as a freshman, she's the type of daughter that all parents wished they had. You're all around overachiever.

Not only is she the student body president, but she is also captain of the varsity softball team, head of the year book, head of most committees including homecoming, dance, spirit-week, etc. As a senior she pretty much has the right, I suppose. Unlike myself, she has to uphold some sort of honor for being the eldest daughter.
My parents hold these extremely unachievable high standards for her, which she always seems to reach no matter what they are. As you can probably tell from my brief description of her, she my father's favorite. She walks to the podium, poised, and graceful with her head held high and proud. I sigh; my sister truly is a hard act to follow. I mean my parents must have been disappointed when they thought they were having another Gwynn, when in actuality they were getting me, this average brunette who doesn't like to follow the rules or do what she's told. So instead of another perfect child, they basically got a rebel.

"Good-morning, East-Lake!" She says cheerfully, as if to rejuvenate the entire student-body. "As you may or may not know here, the administration is very serious about upholding the school's impeccable reputation. At the outset of each school year, new curricula are carefully considered along with extracurricular activities. These are debated, implemented, and as a result, classes are both engrossing and tremendously challenging. Constructed and based upon each and everyone one's test scores, aiding us in expanding our range of knowledge and stimulating the mind. So with that said, let's start the school year off on a good note." She finished with a million dollar smile, I couldn't help but jealous. She had the entire school eating out of the palms of her perfectly manicured hands.

"That's your big sis, huh?" Dante asks, raising a questioning eyebrow.

"Unfortunately, it would seem that way, wouldn't?"

"Your cute, you know that,"he said looking up from his mp3 player and goes, then simply walked away without a second glance. I'm cute? What is that suppose to mean?

I don't know whether I should take that as a compliment or maybe it was just an observation, like oh, your face is nice so that makes you cute. Was cute decent? I honestly don't even understand why I was so concerned about his, he was nobody. Well, not actually nobody. He was somebody; I just don't know him personally. Soon after my sister finished her speech, that she's written and perfected at least twenty times before she'd ever spoken a word of it, the assembly team presented a short video welcoming the freshman to the school. The upper classmen were dismissed during this time. I was partially thankful for this, I remember sitting through that sappy, cornball student-made video.

Believe me, it isn't worth the watch, but now since we have early dismissal I have to seat through a thirty-five minutes of physics, which was cut short because of the assembly. At least I have that to be thankful for. (Two period of this class suck!) Now I'm standing in front of Mr. Collins physics room, my backpack slung tightly over my shoulder, I go inside and can feel all twenty of the students glaring impenetrable daggers at the back of my head as walk over to my assigned seat. I know it's mine because the teacher treats all his pupils as if we're in the first grade, writing their names on name-tags then sticking them on the hard-wood desks. I slide into my empty second-row seat, flip open my backpack take out my brand new purple gel-ink pen, and notebook and begin writing down what Mr. Collins has written on the chalk-board. He begins today's lecture on how the basic principle of physics is "the branch of science concerned with discovering and characterizing universal laws that govern matter, energy, space, and time." Now I don't know about you, but that went straight through one ear and out the other.

What the hell? All that was completely over my head! I look up slightly from my downward head position and the girl beside me is completely staring full on at me, I can feel her eyes penetratingly staring at me as if trying to melt the flesh off of my face. She's looking me over from head to toe, in a strange passing judgmental gawk. Although it's strange, and I may be just a little paranoid at the moment, but I think she was checking me out the second I stepped through the door. She just sits there tucking wisps of her raven black layered hair behind an ear because it keeps falling to her face. She begins tapping her French manicured nails on the desk, as if waiting for me to say "uh, hello, my name is Kira." But I'm thinking the exact opposite, my thoughts are traveling more along the lines of "excuse me, but why the hell are you staring at me? Please be my guest to take a picture, it really does last longer." She straightens out her Burberry plaid skirt and then looks away. Out of pure boredom taps her black Jimmy Choo's on the floor impatiently, clicking her tongue in sync sound. When the bell finally rings I stuff my notebook and pens inside my backpack, sling it over my shoulder than head to the hallway going directly to my slimy green colored locker. The girl from physics watches me as she walks pass, she tosses her sleek hair over her shoulder then joins few girls that are walking down the hall. They begin laughing hysterically at something she says, which leads me to believe that she's the H.B.I.C (head bitch in charge).

Okay, now what is that all about? First she stares at me for forty-five minutes and then continues watching me as she goes down the hall and probably is making some joke about me? I mean who does she think she is? "Hey girl!" Grace says as she approaches me from the far end of the hall, "whoa what's with the look?" I scoff then turn away, leading her to my locker. I start spinning the lock idly lining up the numbers of the combination. Grace is leaning against the locker to the left of mine with her books clutched tightly to her chest. I switch mine then toss my backpack inside then slam my locker shut. Grace is looking at me her face truly concerned, "uh, ok P.M.S. in the house." she half jokes, placing her free hand on my shoulder. I narrow my eyes, totally angry by the fact that she's joking at a time like this. I scowl, not necessarily in her direction, just in general, but I say absolutely nothing as I stand there slumped against my locker my arms crossed tightly over my chest.

Her smile quickly vanishes as she looks me directly in the eyes and asks, "No, but seriously. What's wrong, K?" Finally I just sigh and say, "This day just has been sort of stressful. My dad and I sort of had one of our moments today." I shrug, walking towards my next class. She follows beside me, her sun-kissed face longing for me to continue. I don't mention to her the brief chit-chat between Dante and me; it seemed so irrelevant to my frustration that I didn't bother. The two of us head to AP English, the only class, besides Performing Arts/ Drama that we have together (and my favorite too). The thing is once we get there I totally do a double take when I see Dante sitting in the second row seat opening his backpack to retrieve the standard school book edition of Hamlet.

Now I know it's impolite to stare but I couldn't help it, what are the odds of us having the same class? I mean if you went solemnly by his appearance, there's no way in hell you would have guessed that he'd be in AP English. Wow, I guess it's true what they say about judging a book by its cover. Creepy. "Do you see that Dante is completely staring at you?" Grace whispers, leaning in closer to my ear. I don't reply, I don't even look back to see if it's true because I already know it is. I can feel his eyes watching me, and it's really beginning to make my skin crawl. I mean what is today? Stare at Kira day? I slam my books on the metal desks; Mr. Dawson is the only teacher in the whole school with metal desks. He's a total modern day hippie, telling us he refuses to teach a class that sits on what used to be a tree then deface them by scribbling all over them. Now when I say hippie I don't mean the whole long hair, guitar playing, folk-music singing type of hippie. He's your free-will organic food eating, tree hugger. I look up just as the bell rings and see him stroll in as it's a care-free world and he doesn't have a class to teach.

"Class," he begins as he walks to his (also metal) desk and sets down his briefcase. "Please take out your Hamlet books so we can review what all of you were suppose to have read during summer break." I glance at Grace who is all nervous because she one of the many who didn't read the book. And now she's panicking as she flips through the book skimming through attempting to at least figure out the important aspects of it. I sigh and shake my head; she always does this wait until the last minute to get something done. It's not like Mr. Dawson isn't a understanding guy, I mean we both have had him since our freshman year and it isn't like he doesn't let things slide. He usually just smiles, in a compassionate understanding way then says "Don't worry; take a few more days to catch up on the reading."

"So Miss Thomas you didn't complete the reading?" Mr. Dawson asks, now standing in front of my desk.

I shake my head then peer up at him slightly dazed, "What?" is all I can say. He repeats himself, saying that he asked the class to raise their hands to all that did the summer reading and was surprised when my hand didn't go up. "Oh. Sorry. No, I did the reading." I say bobbing and nodding my head like a broken bobble-head. Mr. Dawson went back up to his podium and then tells us to open our books to page 59 so he can clarify a really important scene that happened on that page. After I flip open my book I fall right back into my daze daydream type world not really interested in listening to his voice at the moment.

"Psst! Kira, do you know that Dante is still checkin' you out." Grace whispers, cupping her chin and rest her head in her palms, and leaning in toward me. "Man he starin' hard too!" I look over my shoulder, attempting to be subtle and failing horribly at it I might add, and she's right. He's looking right at me, not even trying to look away. But I look away finally and focus my attention back on the board; I take a deep breath and try to calm my jittering body down. Ok, this day is getting really weird, I mean since when do I get all anxious when a fine guy looks at me? What is it about him that makes me so uncomfortable?

I took another deep breath; I just wasn't having a good day (I convince myself) as I partially lay my head down on the desk. Having to live in my sister's shadow for most of my life I've had worse days, but still this one ranks a close second. I looked up faced front, wistfully wishing that this class would hurry and end. Mr. Dawson's head is blocking the clock that's hanging behind him, I can't take two whole periods of this, there's just no way I can handle being in a class where someone is consistently gawking at me.