Love; it's like lightning. One hit and, baby, it kills.

-Anonymous


Preface-The Pact

September 4, 2007

The sky was clear, dotted with a few wispy clouds here and there, but otherwise uncovered. The weather was beginning to change from summer temperature to the cooler atmosphere of fall. I pulled my sweatshirt tighter around me and frowned slightly at the reminder of the loss of summer vacation, the one time of year where teenagers can actually be semi-free; the one time of the year when we don't have to worry about tests and grades and teachers (unless you see them in the real world, which is unsurprisingly awkward when you do). It's the only time we can gather in large quantities on a weeknight and go terrorize the greeters at Wal-Mart; or Sam's Club.

I sighed and pushed my back off the ground, bringing my body into a sitting position. I turned to my friends who were seated around me, all of us creating a kind of deformed circle that, honestly, looked more like an obese triangle than anything else. "I'm gonna miss summer."

Sierra shot up from the grass, her chestnut hair frizzy around the edges as she stared back at me, her crystal blue eyes wide. "I know me too! It's not fair that we have to go back to school for nine freaking months." Her lower lip protruded slightly and she crossed her arms, turning her gaze to the ground, narrowing her eyes in irritation. She toyed with the hem of her dress, her manicure shining in the sunlight. Sierra was, no doubt, the pretty, smart, most developed girl out of us four girls.

Shuffling deeper into my sweatshirt, I appraised her dress with little enthusiasm. The dark green color was spotted with specks of white and black, the two shades blending in to the fabric of the dress. The hem came to about her knees, revealing a decent amount of long tan legs that were, currently, crossed. She tossed her brown hair over her shoulder and huffed.

"I am not looking forward to getting up in the morning," she announced to everyone. I silently agreed.

"Don't worry, sweetheart; you're not alone there."

Sierra and I looked up into the large oak tree near the outskirts of our pathetic tri-cle, watching our friend Heather climb down swiftly, her strawberry-blonde hair swinging in its ponytail. Her green eyes landed on us and her nose wrinkled. "Getting up at six o'clock every morning is going to be a pain in the ass."

Her tennis-shoes made soft squeaking noises on the damp grass as she walked over to the edge of the circle, kicking Daniel out of the way to make room for her bony-butt. Her small lips pulled back into a large, crinkly grin when he groaned and rolled away, rubbing his side while grumbling profanities under his breath.

I'm pretty sure I heard 'fuck' in there a few times, along with Heather's name. I decided to keep that to myself considering her quick-fire-temper.

She took her spot and splayed her legs out in front of her, spreading them and sighing happily, leaning back on the palms of her hands. Her green spandex shorts came just about mid-thigh and had the word 'endurance' printed near the waist band, which was in sight because of the fact she was only wearing a sports bra.

Heather and her sports; can't have one without the other.

"You didn't need to kick him, you know," Alex said. She looked up from her book long enough to see Heather roll her eyes before returning to the written words on the page. Her short black hair came to about her chin in the front and slowly got shorter the closer you got to the back of her head until the hair was about an inch shorter than the front. Her skin was a deep brown color that gleamed beautifully in any kind of light. She blinked and readjusted her oval-shaped glasses on the bridge of her nose, the grey color of her eyes magnified with the helpful sight-enhancer-things.

In case anyone missed that, I was referring to the glasses.

"I know; I wanted to."

Alex sighed and shook her head at Heather's reply. I smiled and turned to look at the boys, who were all splayed out on the grass. Daniel, who was now leaning against the trunk of Heather's tree, glared at the girl, grumbling under his breath incoherently. His blue eyes were the bright, unnerving shade that only a few people are graced with and were lined with thin lashes. His lips were pressed together tightly when he wasn't mumbling and his blonde hair was slicked back with gel. He wore a white tank-top, his legs covered with blue basket-ball shorts; his usual ensemble.

"I agree with Al; the kicking? Yeah, it wasn't necessary," he spat. Heather shrugged, waving him off. He just groaned and leaned his head back against the tree, glaring up at the canopy.

"Hey? Shut up," Roy grumbled, kicking Dan's foot. His long red hair was spread out around his head, his green eyes narrowed at everyone. I laughed; if we didn't force him out of bed on the weekends, I'm pretty sure he'd fall asleep and never wake up again. He scowled at me a moment longer than everyone else; I just grinned innocently. He yawned and, shooting another glare at me, closed his eyes, laying his cheek back on the grass. The freckles on his nose were prominent on his pale skin, the color looking even whiter in the sunlight. He was clad in a pair of ripped jeans and a rock-tee, the words 'AC/DC' written across the chest.

A loud snore echoed in the air and I turned my attention to Tyler, snickering. His curly brown hair was cropped and untamable, especially now that he was sleeping. His dark skin made him stick out against the lush green grass, his hazel eyes shut lazily. His white teeth shined in the light while his mouth hung open, emitting the snores and snorts. He decided to go topless today, wearing only a pair of kaki shorts that hung on his hips. Sierra laughed loudly, while Daniel grabbed a nearby pinecone, tossing it roughly at our friend. The cone thudded against Tyler's head and bounced away. The boy twitched.

And didn't move after that. I snorted, "I think Ty could give Roy here a run for his money for 'most stubborn sleeper.'"

Roy grumbled, "Very funny, Cassie."

I shrugged. "I try. Nice to know I succeed."

The last of the boys snorted and lifted his head from the ground, smirking at me. "Look who's been improving on her sarcasm!"

I made a face at him. His black hair tumbled into his eyes, the thick locks dangling around his face serenely while his dark brown eyes watched me. His full soft lips were upturned in a smile, his head cocked to the side while he sat up completely. I noticed how the black tank-top he wore clung to the contours of his chest nicely and the way his jeans rode low on his hips.

"Shut up, Will. My sarcasm has never needed improving," I retorted, sticking my tongue out. He laughed and lay back in the grass, staring up at the sky. I pretended to look away, turning my attention to the conversation between Sierra and Heather, secretly watching Will from the corner of my eye.

So what if I have a crush on one of my best friends? It's not that big of a deal, really; it'll blow over soon. You know, once I see the guys at our new High School.

"I can't wait to join the soccer team! It's going to be so awesome," Heather gushed. I blinked and sat there for a second, registering what she was saying.

"And cheerleading is going to be so much fun," Sierra added dreamily. Alex fixed her glasses and closed her book, smiling faintly.

"I can't wait to join the Drama Program."

I sat there, having a horrible epiphany, while the boys began to jump into the conversation (minus Roy and Tyler), talking about the sports they wanted to join.

We were all different in our own ways. We were almost polar opposites, a little of every personality mixed in our group. But I never even thought about what the consequences of our differences would be. Sierra would be joining cheerleading, Heather would be apart of the soccer team, Alex would perform with the drama students, Daniel would be in football and basketball while Will joined the football and hockey team. I was planning on going into the art and photography clubs while Tyler would probably go into boxing and Roy into some kind of writing class. We would all be doing different things; all except Dan and Will, who would both be on the football team.

We would all be separate, spread out, away from each other.

"Cassie?"

I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at my friends, who were giving me the 'get-the-straight jacket' look. I swallowed the lump in my throat before speaking, "Yeah?"

"You okay? You kind of…drifted for a minute," Heather stated. I nodded.

"Oh yeah, yeah, I'm fine. I just…well, I just realized that we're all doing our own things. Which is great, of course; it's just…between all of our activities, sports and drama and writing and art, we won't get much time as a group. You know, like, all eight of us."

They were quiet, staring at each other as if they just remembered there were more than two of us. It was silent for a while, all of us deep in our thinking, before Dan snorted.

"So what? We're all best friends! Our plans won't change that. Do you honestly have such little faith in our friendship that you think we'd all just stop because we're different?" he asked wryly. Will grinned widely and touched knuckles with the other boy.

"Of course not! Come on, girls; I know you have fickle relationships, but honestly!" he teased, rolling his eyes. Heather scowled, took off a shoe, and threw it at him; a loud thud and a surprised, "Ow!" echoed in the air before we all broke into laughter.

"We're best friends," Sierra cried out, throwing her hands in the air. "We've been best friends since, like, fourth grade! A little time separated won't change that."

Suddenly, Alex thrust her hand in the middle of our poorly formed circle, palm facing the ground. "Let's make a pact! From here on out, everyday after our various activities, we report to everyone. You know, so we can keep up with each other's lives."

Will put his hand in next, laying it on top of Alex's. "Saturdays are dedicated the group; that'll be our 'movie night,' for lack of a better term."

Sierra was next. "No one will come between us."

Heather cheered, placing her hand in next. "We go to everyone's games!"

Daniel softly laid his hand on Heather's. "If we get dates, we introduce them to the group. This will be a large occasion, like if you were to introduce them to your parents. We're each other's family, so we have to know who everyone's dating at all times."

"A bit overbearing, don't cha think?" Sierra piped up. I laughed and laid my hand on top of the others.

"If someone in the group is getting bullied, the others defend them; no matter what."

I felt a hand propped on mine and turned to see Tyler, rubbing his eyes with his unoccupied hand. "No making pacts when some of us are sleeping or otherwise unconscious."

Roy squeezed between Sierra and Alex. "Whose ever house we're at on Saturday's, they have to cook."

Alex laughed. "This is a long and involved pact, eh? Maybe I should write it down…"

She began to pull her hand out of the pile. That was like a trigger; everyone started yelling, telling her not to move.

"We have to throw our hands in the air!"

"You can write it down after the moment's done!"

"Don't you dare take your hand out of this pile, Alexandra!"

She blinked. "Okay, okay, alright! These conditions are our pact and nobody can break them."

"What if someone does?" I inquired curiously. She gave an exasperated sigh.

"I don't know! They can't sit with us at lunch or something!"

I nodded. "Okey dokey; everyone got that? You break this pact and no lunch for you!"

"Well, no grouplunch for you," Alex amended. I nodded sharply while the others gave their agreements, all of us trying to contain our snickers. After covering my amusement with a serious expression, I nodded at Alex, letting her know it was time.

We pumped our hands up and down, like teams do before they start the game. On the third time up, we threw our hands into the air, cheering loudly, our voices drifting across the empty field. I flopped backwards into the grass, grinning up at the sky. We all just sat there, breathing deeply, thinking over the conditions of our pact while Alex scribbled it all down in the notebook she brought.

We all really believed that we would be friends forever, no matter what obstacle we came across.

But I suppose that saying is true:

Nothing lasts forever.


Love is the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired

-Mark Twain