"Okay, let me see your schedule," my best friend demanded holding out her hand. I pulled the little yellow slip of paper from my pocket and handed it over. I looked past her head at all the other students milling around before the first bell. All around there were people hugging and reuniting after a summer vacation apart. It was one of the few school days where happiness was a common feeling.

Rain compared the two time schedules and then handed mine back, a satisfactory look covering her face. "This is good, we have five out of six classes together."

"You expected something to change from what our counselors told us last year?" I asked. The AP kids always got their schedules set first, it was the purpose of all those end of the year meetings I had with my counselor. Rain and I were both in the AP system and had signed up for all the same classes, so it was expected that we'd have a very close set of classes. I didn't understand why she was expecting something to change during our two and a half month summer break though.

"There's always a possibility. Now come on, it's time for history." Rain pulled me along behind her, like I was some stray animal who had lost its way.

I'd always thought about being a cow, cows were cool. Well, except for the whole being slaughtered thing, but other than that, it sounded like a pretty good deal. Or maybe a horse… Except people liked to ride you, that was kind of lame. I think being a dog would be fun, as long as you had a good home. Most people liked dogs.

We got to history and took our seats, the teacher ignoring us for the first fifteen minutes of class in favor of his computer. I got out my stuff and then looked towards the windows, sneaking a glance at this one girl.


We'd been going to the same school for a few years, but I had never really talked to her. She tended to run with a different crowd than I did. She was like the token smart kid in a crowd of druggies and alcoholics. I always thought that that must've been a lonely place to be, at least Rain and I were almost the same in our ambitions and hobbies.

Ever head of that store called the Hobby Lobby? Hobby Lobby, it made me giggle. It rhymes, see? Hobby… Lobby… it's funny!

Okay, well maybe it wasn't that funny. It still amused me though.

Anyways, the teacher had starting giving notes, pointing to various details he had written on the whiteboard. I absent-mindedly copied it all down into the massive three-ring binder I was forced to carry around just for this class.

I hated that. When four out of my six teachers told me I needed a separate binder for their class, with all these ridiculous little tabs and notes and what not. I was not a pack mule and I did not have some big, strong man to carry around my book bag for me. Then they threatened us with notebook checks to make sure we were actually doing what they wanted. I always carried through for about the first month of school. Then I sat down and took out half of it, muttering many 'screw you's' as I sorted through the stuff I would no longer carry around.

And you know what? None of my teachers ever checked.

Except this guy, it actually counted towards my grade so I had to keep the notebook in my bag. It was terrible, not because the thing weighed a million pounds, but because I knew the binder would be falling apart a few months from now. I had a feeling that by the end of the year, the whole thing would be held together solely by masking tape.

Every chance I got I stole another look at Alex. I never caught her looking at me, so I figured I was safe staring at her for an hour every day. I just couldn't help myself, she was beautiful. Dirty blonde hair, matched with bright green eyes and slightly tanned skin. She had a good figure too, long and lean.

It was definitely one of my favorite things to stare at, that's for sure.

I turned my attention back to the teacher, scribbling down more historical details about something I would never need to know before turning to look back at Alex.

"Who are you staring at?" Rain whispered, eyes still glued to the board.

"No one, I'll tell you later." I couldn't risk anyone overhearing. I wasn't exactly forthcoming with my sexuality, not that it was a huge secret or anything. I just couldn't risk certain people finding out... like my parents. That would be bad, disastrous, World War III at my house. Classroom gossip just wasn't worth it getting out. Rain was going to have to wait.

"Yeah, well you're making it obvious."

"Then why'd you ask!"


I huffed at my best friend's slightly irritating words, taking once last glance before gluing myself to the board. I tuned into what the teacher was saying and copied down more notes. Why did we have so many notes in this class? It was at least two pages, front and back, every day. We were killing the environment here!

The bell rang just as my hand began to cramp up and for that I was extremely grateful. Rain and I began packing up our stuff, the whole process taking me longer since I was slow at putting things away. Some people just absent-mindedly shoved things in their bag, not caring if papers were bent or pens lost in between books. I cared though, everything had a place and the thought of bent papers made me cringe.

"Kailey, please hurry or we're going to be late," Rain urged, standing next to my desk.

I grabbed my notebook and the rest of my papers and stood up, resting my bag on one shoulder as I hurried out of the room. My best friend made it through the door okay, but I collided with someone as they tried to get through the door at the same time I was leaving. My books fell to the floor, papers scattering everywhere.

I heard Rain let out a large sigh of frustration as she turned to wait for me. "Why don't you go and I'll catch up, okay?" I said, not wanting her to be late because of me. We were both kind of anal about always being early, but at least I had chilled out some in the past year. Or maybe it was just because I was the one who was trying to get all her stuff up off the dirty floor.

Gross, germs.

"Sorry about that, I really need to watch where I'm going more," a soft voice said next to me. I looked up and realized for the first time exactly who I had run into.


"Oh it's okay. I shouldn't always be in such a hurry," I managed to get out; my whole body suddenly aware of her body so close to my own. She was talking to me, Alex, the girl I had been crushing on and lusting after for the past seven months was talking to me. Here's where the voice in my head squeals like a little girl.

"I'm Alex, by the way," she introduced herself, head still bent as she gathered up more papers.

"Kailey," I said, looking up to meet her eyes. They were so green, it was almost impossible. Even in those short moments, I noticed that her eyes held a touch of sadness, like there was something she was trying really hard to hide from everyone. Even if no one else could see it, I could, being able to read people had always been a certain gift of mine.

It came especially in handy when I was trying to find out who ate all the cookies in my house. My brother had stopped trying to lie to me about it, finally realizing he wouldn't be able to get away with it.

"Well, here you go," Alex said, handing me the notebook and papers that she had collected.

"Thanks," I said, smiling and getting up from the floor. Just then the bell rang and I let out a low curse. Explaining this to my next teacher was going to be a pain, she hated it when students were late.

"See you," Alex said, looking at me one last time before walking into the room. I left, walking quickly across campus before reaching my next class of the day. The teacher glared at me as I entered, but I shot her an apologetic look and she just pointed at my seat.

Yush! Got by without a scratch.

"What took you so long?" Rain asked, pulling out the stuff she'd need for the class.

"I'll tell you later," I said again, avoiding all the details I could. I just wanted for the day to be over, I really wanted the whole week to be over, but I would settle for this small victory. At least I didn't have a lot of homework to go home and do so far.

Later that day, but not quite soon enough for my tastes, the final bell rang and we were free. Free until tomorrow morning anyways. At some point it had started to rain, which I wasn't exactly prepared for. I mean, it was Washington, so rain was a given for a large portion of the year. I wasn't expecting it to rain today though, I didn't bring an umbrella.

As Rain and I reached the student parking lot, I looked out dismally to the far away spot where my car was sitting. My best friend and I stood at edge of the hallway staring out into the parking lot, still covered by the overhang.

"Go get the car and bring it closer. Here are my keys." I said, grabbing her hand and placing my car keys inside them. I didn't want to go out there. Sure, I loved rain, the smell especially, but I didn't want to get wet at this particular moment in time. My hair looked good today and my jacket didn't have a hood on it.

"I don't want to....you go!"

"No way, you do it!"

"You." I said as I poked her.

"You." She poked me back.

"How about we do it at the same time? That way we would both get wet."

Rain agreed, but not without grumbling first. As we ran to my car I used the little clicker thingy to unlock it and we pulled the doors open, hopped inside and slammed them shut before any more rain got on the perfect interior of my baby.

Ok, so I had an emotional attachment to my car. It was one of my most prized possessions though, sixteen had been a very sweet year for me.

"So are you going to tell me now?" Rain asked, buckling her seatbelt and placing her bag at her feet.

"Tell you what?" I asked innocently, wanting to keep her my little secret for just a few moments longer. I was happy just enjoying the moment I had with her, even if she said less than ten words to me and had probably already forgotten about me.

Well that part I didn't enjoy so much, but everything else was still good.

"Come on Kailey, just tell me! I'm dying to know here," Rain pleaded, turning to face me as I started my car and drove out of the parking lot.

"There's nothing to tell! You know I like her, I was just staring at her like I always do." My obsession with that girl was pathetic, I needed to do something or move on. Either way, I couldn't keep going on like this. Unrequited love was the worst because of the middle ground I was forced to stand on. Not knowing was horrible, rejection at least gives a final answer.

"Well what happened later?"

"Nothing, she helped me pick up my stuff and introduced herself."

"That's it?" Rain asked, sounding slightly deflated.

"That's it." I said definitely, pulling up in front of my house.

"Okay, well I'll talk to you later?" My best friend asked, hand on the door, ready to race next door to her house. Unfortunately, it hadn't stopped raining, but who knew? It might stop just as suddenly as it had started.

"Yeah, we'll talk later." The both of us got of my car, each of us racing to our own respective front doors. I unlocked the deadbolt and stepped inside, thankful for the warm comfort of my home. Shaking myself off a little, I took off the light jacket I was wearing and hung it up on the coat rack by the door. Walking into the living room, I spotted my little brother staring at the TV, occasionally muttering words under his breath.

"Hey, kid. How was school?" I said standing next to him, watching the TV screen.

"Pointless. Die!" He shouted at the game, body tilting slightly as he continued to play. I looked over at his PS3, a guilt gift from our parents for never being around.

I used to think that our parents buying us off with toys and clothes was horrible and that they should actually just spend some time with us once in awhile. Then Daddy handed me a credit card with no limit and I was bought. In any case, I had gotten used to not having them around much. It would probably be weird if they actually spent more than a few non-sleeping hours at home every day.

"Have you finished all your homework?" I asked, knowing I didn't need to ask, but felt obligated to do so anyways. I blame my maternal instinct.

"Didn't have any," Jayden said, rapidly pressing more buttons on the controller, body tensed up in concentration.

"Okay, any thoughts on dinner?"


"Alright, I'll be upstairs." I left my brother to his violent game and went to the kitchen, opening the door to the fridge and grabbing a soda before going up to my room.

I loved my room, it was pretty. I had it painted a deep blue; it was very serene and calming. Triple layer curtains, all different shades of blue, covered my windows. I walked over and pulled all three layers back, securing them behind little metal half-circles. I stared out the window for a moment, enjoying the rain as it pelted against my window. I would open it except it was freezing outside and I didn't like wearing heavy jackets inside the house.

Leaving the window I went to my desk and sat down, opening the top of my laptop and pressing the power button. Popping the top on my soda, I took a sip before setting it down on my desk as well. Reaching into my book bag I took out my binder for history, needing to organize some more of the hand outs the teacher had given us today. A note fell out of my binder as I removed some of the papers. Grabbing it in my hands, I opened it slowly, wondering where it had come from. Rain and I didn't normally pass notes; we sat so close to each other it was usually unnecessary.

What were you staring at? Hopefully it was something good. –Alex

I read the note slowly and then I read it again and then for a third time. Alex saw me staring at her, crap! Apparently Rain was right, I had been making it a lot more obvious that I thought! This wasn't good, if she knew I was staring at her, then she probably knew I liked her. That girl was not stupid; she would be able to draw simple conclusions.

I went into panic mode, immediately trying to figure out what I would do. I could do nothing, ignore the note and pretend like everything was normal. I could avoid Alex like the plague, and just completely shut her out. That wouldn't work though, it would make me seem like I had something to hide, that I was guilty. No, I would go with option number one. Alex didn't know anything for sure, and she had no proof. No, I was okay. Everything was fine.

I took a couple deep breaths, trying to calm myself. This wasn't worth a freak out, it wasn't even that big of a deal. She had just left me a note, so what? It didn't mean anything, she wasn't trying to be my friend or talk to me or out me. No, I was fine, everything was great.

I turned to my homework, determined to concentrate and get all of it done in a timely manner. I hated spending a whole evening on homework and besides, I had other stuff to do. I needed to make dinner and then if everything was done, Rain and I could hang out more tonight. Hanging out with my best friend seemed like a pretty good incentive.

Thankfully the week passed quickly, although my teachers seemed hell bent on killing me this semester with the amount of work they were assigning. That weekend it was raining, again, and it was unusually cold. I had been forced to wear several layers of clothing just to keep warm, even though my parents dutifully paid the heating bill every month.

"So we have that test on Tuesday, the paper due in two weeks and math assignment due Monday, right?" Rain asked, going down a list of our assignments. The semester had just started, but already I had papers and tests and a million other things to do for school. Rain had come over so we could do math together; the subject came easier to her than me and even though we weren't in the advanced class, it was still hard sometimes.

"I don't want to do this," Rain said after we finished the math, referring to the next assignment on our list.

"I know, all of these topics suck." Was this teacher serious? As I read the instructions for the project I could feel a headache coming. No way anyone could possibly come up with a more complicated set of requirements for a paper. "When's this due again?"

"Like…two weeks?" Rain said, looking up from her own set of instructions.

"Oh good, we have a whole week and a half to procrastinate then! Let's go out, it's a Saturday night. The last thing we should be doing is homework." I got up from the chair at my desk and went downstairs, trying to find my little brother. I looked in the living room, the kitchen, the dining room, the sitting room and finally I went to the study.

"Hey," I said, opening the door a little and poking my head in.


"What are you doing?"

"Reading," Jayden said, looking up and rolling his eyes at me. I guess it was an unnecessary question, I could see him sitting in a chair with a book. He just didn't read a lot, not that I ever saw.

"Okay, well Rain and I are going out. Need anything before I leave?"

"Nope, can I order pizza?"

"Yeah, you know where the money is." My parents had this jar she left on the kitchen counter that they always put money in so we could buy food. God forbid either of them actually go to the store or make dinner once in awhile. I had long ago given up on the hope of my parents ever being domestic though; they were way too into their careers for that to happen.

"I used your computer to check movie times, there's one starting in about twenty minutes." My best friend grabbed her coat off the rack and stepped out the door, walking towards my car. Thankfully the rain had let up to a light drizzle, but I took an umbrella anyways, just in case.

"Do you think I leave him alone too much?" I wondered aloud, thinking about my thirteen year old brother sitting at home all by himself.

"What are you talking about?" Rain asked, fiddling with the knobs on the radio, trying to find a station that was actually playing music instead of just commercials.

"Jayden, he's at home all by himself right now. Do you think I leave him alone too much?" Sometimes I felt like I wasn't doing enough for him, like I should be there more. No one else was there for him, I was practically his guardian, I had been for years.

"Kailey, he's fine. He's thirteen years old, he'll be okay for a couple hours."

"I know… Still though, maybe I should've brought him with us. It's not good to just leave him like that, all alone in a huge house. What if something happened to him and I wasn't there?"

"You need to stop worrying. You have a cell phone, if there's a problem he will call you. You can't be there all the time, you deserve to have fun too."

"I guess. I'm still going to call him before the movie starts," I said, parking the car. The both of us got out, my finger pressing the lock button on the clicker.

Rain and I walked towards the front of the theater to buy our movie tickets, the line blissfully short. As we stood in line I looked over the people. Several couples stood holding hands, obviously out on dates.

"Shit!" I said, jumping behind Rain and crouching slightly, trying to keep myself hidden.

"What are you doing?" Rain asked surprised, trying to turn around and look at me.

"Look at who's standing in front of the line," I whispered, poking my head out to take another look, ducking again quickly.

"Oh, hey look, it's Alex! We should invite her to sit with us," my best friend said rather loudly. Well, okay, she was talking above a whisper, but that was plenty loud as far as I was concerned!

"No! Don't you dare!" That was a horrible idea, what was she thinking? This was supposed to be a no stress night out, just us having fun. Alex couldn't come sit with us, that would be horrible!

"Oh come on Kailey, it won't be so bad. Alex!" Rain shouted slightly, waving her hand a little. Still standing behind my best friend, I looked up and saw that Alex had seen us and was walking over.

"Hey Rain, Kailey," she said, nodding her head at each of us.

"Hi, Alex." I pinched Rain on the skin of the small of her back, causing her face to contort in pain for a second before returning to her Stepford Wife smile. I smiled at Alex as well, not wanting her to realize how bad I was freaking out inside right now.

"So what movie are you seeing?" Rain asked cheerily, the three of us moving up in the line to get our tickets.

"That new one with the Panda? I forgot what it's called."

"Oh really! We're seeing that too, Kailey's been dying for it to come out for ages."

Oh god, please just kill me now. I don't ask for much, but a giant hole in the earth would be really appreciated right now.

"Are you here alone?" I asked, not seeing anyone else looking for her.

"Yeah, my friend flaked on me so I'm by myself," Alex said quietly, looking down at her shoes.

Rain elbowed me in the side, giving me a look as we moved forward a little more. I knew what she wanted me to do, I wanted it too but I didn't know if I had enough courage to do it. The girl made me so nervous…

"Y-you could si-sit with us if you wanted," I stammered slightly, mentally cursing myself for not being more confident. I sounded so stupid! She'd never want to even be in the same vicinity as me now.

"That sounds nice actually, if you guys are sure you don't mind."

"Nah, it's cool," Rain reassured Alex, shooting me a smile I'm sure Alex saw. It was one of those 'I told you so smiles.' If Alex didn't realize I liked her before, she sure would now; Rain couldn't make it more obvious something was up.

Eventually we got our tickets and made our way into the theater. Of course my best friend made absolutely sure that I sat next to Alex, so I ended up being in the middle.

"I hope you don't mind that Kailey and I tend to talk a lot during movies," Rain commented to Alex, taking out her cell phone to check the time.

"Is that true?" Alex asked me, her green eyes meeting my own dark brown ones.

"Yeah, it tends to annoy people a lot, but we can't help it. There's no way the two of us can stay quiet around each other for two hours." Every time I went to the movies with my best friend we got hushed at least once. Horror movies were especially bad because Rain was jumpy and would scream in the theater. No one liked to hear her scream, especially me because it usually was in my ear.

"That's okay, I like it when people talk to me during movies." Alex gave me a small smile, turning to look at some preview playing on the screen before the movie started. I blushed a little and stared down at my hands, looking over at Rain. Taking out my cell phone, I flipped it open and sent a quick text message to my brother, wanting to check in. He replied, saying that everything was fine. Feeling a little better I put my phone away and settled in to enjoy the movie.