Well this is my first truly fiction story, most of my others are based on true life in some way. I hope it seems realistic, because I have never attended High School in America in my life, I live in London, where the school system is organised totally differently, so all my information is gleaned from movies and fictionpress.

I never considered life at the only High School in my small town dull, because I had nothing to compare it to. I had been born and raised here, in the same house my whole life. The only other places I had ever been were my Gran's house an hours drive away, every Thanksgiving, and the sea, once, because Mum insisted Dad's ashes should be scattered there. So I never once thought about there being more to life than going to school, doing my homework, going to church on Sundays, etc. Until Laila came.

Most new pupils came on a Monday, the first day of a new semester, so that was the first unusual thing about Laila. It was a Thursday when she roared into the school. I was sitting on the bench outside with my best friend Jessica, when she suddenly put down the magazine she was reading and pointed.

"Who is that?"

At first I thought she must be a new teacher. One of those eccentric and free-spirited type teachers, like in The Dead Poets Society. She pulled up by the school on a dark red motorbike, not a modern one, a really old looking bike, but with the expert eyes that came from having a mechanophiliac brother, I could tell that it was in perfect condition. She was wearing a black motor helmet, but you could barely see the colour under all the stickers stuck on it, the only one I could identify from this distance were a picture of a heavily made up man with long straggly hair and beard and a photo of Obama. As she stepped off her bike, she pulled the helmet on in one smooth motion, exposing vivid red hair beneath. She was wearing dark grey skinny jeans and an almost transparent deep blue blouse with tiny flowers on it, under a black leather jacket.

Both the noise her bike had made drawing into the school parking lot and the expert way she had pulled up in a space, narrowly missing Jake Bachman, the most popular guy in school's car, drew every eye around to her.

"Jesus." Said Jessica, staring at the girl.

There was already a crowd of people around her, not one of whom looked like they were heading towards her, but like they'd just ended up walking next to her by chance. I saw Hannah Taylor, Queen Bee and bitch extraordinaire, smile at her and say something; I couldn't hear what from this distance. The new girl smiled right back, answering as if she'd known Hannah her entire life. Ah well, I thought, there's a new addition to Hannah's clique, someone to envy and complain about, who all the boys would want to be with. There's another typical Miss Popularity. How wring I was.

I didn't see the new girl until English Literature, later that day. At our school we were allowed to sit where we liked, but of course I was too shy to ask her to sit with me. I sat alone usually, or sometimes with Eric, who used to live next door to us, and sometimes hung out with me out of a mixture of pity and habit. She sat next to a boy I thought was called Asher. I didn't know him at all, but in a school this size you end up knowing everyone at least by sight. He had pretty long hair for a guy, almost down to his shoulders.

Jake Bachman was sitting next to Hannah Taylor in the seat behind me. He reached forwards and poked me with a pencil.

"Hey Richards" He whispered, "What page are we on again?"

I was stunned for a few seconds. Jake knew my name? Or my surname anyway. He had these beautiful blue eyes, a weird shape of blue for someone with such dark eyes. I new everything about his face by heart. Oh, it was so gorgeous…

I snapped out of it.

"Page ninety-seven"

Hannah gave me a weird look and I realised I was still staring at her boyfriend. I noticed the new girl sitting a few desks away from me. She caught my eye and smiled cheerfully. Suddenly Mr. Hammond thumped the his desk with a ruler.

"Quiet down everyone! Now, any volunteers to read out loud?"

We were reading the Catcher in the Rye. When we were first assigned the book, my Mum tried to make a big stink out of it. She said it was immoral and ungodly, but the only other parent who could be bothered to join her was old Mrs Meyers, Annabel Meyers mother, who was about fifty, and it all died down after a bit.

Usually there were practically no volunteers to read, just a few nerds, but to everyone's surprise the new girl stuck up her hand right away. There were a few giggles but she ignored them all.

"Um… okay." Mr. Hammond looked a bit surprised too. "Erm… you must be Laila Jacobs."

"Uh huh, I just moved here from New York."

Wow. New York. No one I knew had ever been there, it was practically the stuff of legend.

"Well, then you should know a lot about the book, as it is set there."

"Yeah, it's one of my favourites." There were a few giggles at that as well, but she said it so sincerely you could tell she wasn't just sucking up, and she didn't look the part of a geek anyway, with her gauzy shirt, tight jeans and pierced belly-button.

She began to read slowly and clearly, with plenty of emotion behind the words. I relaxed, listening to her read. I loved this book, I had read it eight times. It killed me the way I had to purposefully fluff all my essays and stuff so my Mum didn't think I was enjoying this 'book of the devil'.

Later I was sitting on the grass outside the school, reading the Catcher in the Rye again, when I noticed Laila was sitting next to me.

"You like Holden?" She asked.

"I love the book." I said honestly. "It's incredible."

She grinned.

"I know, but do you like Holden? As a person, I mean."

I looked at her oddly. I'd never thought about it that way before.

"Yeah… I guess I do. I mean, he seems really real. And the way he talks is so cool."

"I'm glad about that." Laila said. "I mean, I know it's really weird, but whenever anyone started talking about how stupid or weird Holden is, I actually just want to turn around and slap them. I love the book. It's incredible." She laughed. "I'll probably end up killing John Lennon."


"Didn't you know? The guy who shot John Lennon, when they asked him why he did it, he showed them a copy of The Catcher in the Rye. Creepy, isn't it, how you can love something that caused the death of someone so awesome. You're Mary right? You're in my English class."


"Mind showing me around the school? I know it's tiny and everything, but I still keep getting lost, and Asher had to go to his guitar lesson."

"Um, yeah, sure. No problem."

"Cool. You don't talk much do you?"

I blushed.

"Not really."

"No that's good! People are always telling me how I need to shut up more, but I don't seem to be able to. You wanna swap numbers?"

I was, frankly, confused. Laila was talkative, outgoing, gorgeous, attracted attention like a magnet, and came to school on a motorbike. In short, she was the personification of cool. Why was she talking to me, Mary Richards? I was wearing old blue jeans with holes frayed at the knees from being pushed on the ground by my brother, and a faded pink sweatshirt. My hair was a sort of mousy blonde, my skin had no tan at all, no matter how much time I spent outdoors, and I wore no makeup, except a little lip gloss sometimes. Jake never once glanced in my direction; he was probably drooling over Laila already.

Well? Carry on? Or leave it? Please review I really need your opinions.