PROLOGUE

Currently, a meeting was set in Vale Intermediate's cafeteria. A man in his late 20's was standing in front of a group of eighth graders and their parents, giving an informational lecture about a special program for the gifted. Meanwhile, a late middleschool girl stood amidst the crowd of students in her brightly colored clothing, but taken aback by the teacher who bore a rather earnest and engaging face.

The man, who had introduced himself as Mr. Haines, had striking features, one of which was his deep green eyes contrasting with the rest of his appearance. His hair was a shoulder-length blonde, befitting for his lightly toned skin; a small stubble graced his face. He spoke in a flowing manner, smoothing even the most coarse of words.

Mr. Haines often looked in the young girl's direction, giving her a mischievous smile every once in awhile.

The girl didn't listen very well; she kept her eyes affixed on him, and his alluring eyes. Her face would flush with warmth like the schoolgirl she was. Everytime he would look her way, she kept her gaze fixed in his direction, being truely daring for even just that moment. The sound dumbed out for a moment while her gaze stood, and then came back in a rising volume of sound, complete in anthem with Haines' voice returning to her senses...

"Well! That's all you little prodigies need to know about the program. Before we get on to the questions, remember that there are no dumb questions, just dumb answers. And I'm going to try my best not to give a dumb answer. So shoot away, but remember to raise your hand." He grinned as he said this, the eighth grade girl nearly swooned.

A bold girl dressed in what seemed to be ebony clothes shot her hand up. Her name was Kelsey Bryans, one of the honor role students in school; as well as being one of the smartest; despite her reputation as a "stuck up emo girl". She was the girl's best friend.

Mr. Haines blinked as if he noticed her for the first time, saying, "Yes? What's your question... err... your name please?"

"Kelsey. Kelsey Bryans."

"Ah, Kelsey. So what is it you wanted to ask?"

"So... you say you're an English teacher, where do you teach?" she asked, with a flirtatious undertone in her voice.

"I teach at Ashewood High. Hopefully that will be the school where you will go to," he smiled, directing the last part to everyone rather than at Kelsey.

The girl swooning over Mr. Haines raised her hand in a timid fashion. She was afraid of embarrassing herself.

"Your name?"

The girl's daring attitude disappeared. "A-Alice..."

"Well, nice to meet you, Alice. What's your question?"

"Um..." the girl's mouth hung slightly ajar, unable to ask the question.

Alice's peers laughed at her , seeing her sudden but obvious infatuation for the stranger; Kelsey, hiding her own face in shame of her best friend.

He frowned as he heard the comments her peers were sharing to eachother. They were about her. "Would you like to ask after the meeting?"

Alice blushed, and nodded.

Smiling, he turned back towards the entire group and asked if there were any more questions or comments. Not a word.

"Okay, I'll take that silence as a no," he chuckled, "Well, this ends our eventful meeting. If you're interested in this program and the challenges it offers, please consult Ms. Yu over there in the back. She will give you and your parents a form to fill out. Good evening, all."

And with the conclusion of Haines' statement, most of the kids and their parents headed towards Ms. Yu, and Mr. Haines as well. He seated himself at the same table as the woman was at.

Meanwhile, Alice and Kelsey remained at their original seating. They looked at eachother.

"What happened there?" Kelsey asked.

"Um... I... uh, don't know."

"Oh, you like him too, huh? There's no problem with that," the "emo girl" nudged at her friend playfully, "isn't this like your first REAL crush ever? And on a hot teacher, oooh... Makes ya want to skip summer and go to high school already, huh? Aren't you gonna go to Ashewood too?"

"'Real crush'?... I don't get what you mean by that, I have a boyfriend already, and sure, that guy's cute and all, but I wouldn't fall for a teacher..." Alice retorted.

"Oh no, don't bring up that online pervert of yours! And it's really obvious you do like him. With all that starin' and all."

Alice blushed, then looked in the direction of Mr. Haines, who appeared to be sketching away at a blank piece of paper. He caught her staring and gave a brief smile before going back to drawing.

"Woah, did he just smile at you?"

By the look in Kelsey's eyes, she was obviously taken by surprise.

"Um... yeah, he's been doing that during the lecture too, I don't know what's up with that. I think he might like me..." Alice fumbled with her silver necklace.

"Don't say that!" Kelsey smacked Alice in a playful manner, saying, "He doesn't even know you! How can you say he likes you? And he's probably just a program teacher being nice to a shy student is all."

"I... don't know." She frowned.

"Well, whatever. Aren't ya supposed to be talking to him now, and not me? Yeah, you gotta ask him that question. Don't get molested!" Kelsey giggled, and headed to the back of the room, where most of the kids and their parents were at. The line was half gone by now.

Alice walked over to Mr. Haines, not daring to look him in the eye anymore.

He looked up, giving her another mischievious smile. "Hello Alice."

"Um... H-hello." Alice pulled nervously at her shirt sleeve, then released it, sending it back to its original place. She repeated this a few more times.

"What question did you want to ask?" Mr. Haines looked around, then stood up, noticing a few of her peers looking at her "Ah, this is probably not the most comfortable place to be talking. Why don't you come with over to the stage and you can ask there?"

The brightly clothed girl was confused, but at the same time grateful. She nodded, and they headed over to the stage, where most of the school assemblies were held. By then the students were focusing their attention on something else, some even talking about Alice behind their back.

Alice started again with the sleeve-pulling, she stared at the ground.

She wanted so much to ask him more about himself. To find out the reason why he's been smiling so mischieviously at her. To even kiss and caress that handsome face, and hear him speak to her in his rather eloquent voice. But she couldn't. She may have to wait until she gets to high school. Thankfully her parents allowed her to choose what highschool she was planning on going to. However, she would have to wait endless months.

"I... will you be teaching English for freshmen... next year at Ashewood?" she felt her face turn red.

Mr. Haines gave a polite nod and kneeled down to reach eye level with his new student, his hand reaching out to pat Alice on the head.

"Of course."