Chapter 1: Introducing the Characters

Melanie Manning sat in the front seat of her fathers ten-year-old Malibu, twisting a strand of her long, curly, blonde hair, as her father put the car into park in one of the faculty spaces. She continued to stare out her window, wanting to keep the silence between them until she could escape from the vehicle. She could feel her father turn in his seat to look at her.

"Are we not going to talk about this, then?" She could feel his cool blue eyes, that so identically mirrored her own, gazing at her intently. She didnt say anything. "Melanie, I had to tell you."

Melanie whirled her head around, sending her pretty locks flying in all directions. "Yeah, you did. But did you have to wait until the first day of school? Jeez, Dad!"

Granted, the news wasn't as horrible as Mel was making it out to be. It's not like her parents were divorcing after nearly twenty-four years of marriage. Her older twin brothers, Logan and Trevor, weren't losing their jobs at the local power plant, determining new ways to make electricity environmentally friendly, or not graduating from RSU with their Bachelor's degrees in chemical engineering. Her older sister, Mary Kay, was all set to graduate with her Master's and still get married in a couple of months. No, the only thing wrong with Melanie was the fact that her father was replacing one of Rockford Highs history teachers for the year to accommodate the teacher's maternity leave, and her forty-four year old father forgot to mention it to her. Oh, until the first day of classes.

Michael Manning sighed at his seventeen year old little girl. God, she had grown up fast. "I'm sorry I didn't give you more of a heads up, sweetie. Summer just kind of flew by..." his voice quieted to a whisper. That wasn't exactly the truth; he knew Mel was quite a drama queen and if he had told her sooner, she would have guilted him into passing up this amazing opportunity. He hadn't worked in a classroom since his family moved back to Rockford four years ago from that little town in Alabama that Mel had always called home.

Melanie let out an exasperated breath, shaking her head slowly. "Whatever, Daddy." She was so tired and they hadn't been fighting for very long. "I love you and Ill see you in AP American History." She leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

Michael smiled at her. She still wasn't too old to kiss her daddy goodbye and that made him feel pleased. He hugged her briefly. "Alright, sweetie. See you then." He let her open her door and slam it shut. He knew she was still upset, but she was over it. He collected his briefcase and stepped out of the car, locking it as he climbed out. He shut the drivers side door and headed into the teachers' entrance, off to find his new classroom.

While Melanie was sliding her messenger bag over her shoulder and straightening her jean skirt, complaining in her head about her father's lack of faith in her, another older car pulled into the student parking lot. Garrett Donahue, a senior and longtime resident of Rockford, climbed out of the driver's side, not even bothering to lock his doors. He had a backpack slung over one shoulder, a skullcap over his messy dark hair, and yesterday's jeans on his long, lean legs. He slammed his skateboard onto the ground and started boarding toward the front door of the school. He maneuvered around a group of students, yawning widely. He hated first days of schools- actually, he hated school in general.

Garrett slid to a stop outside the front doors, and bent over to pick up his board, slinging it under his arm. He opened the door, joining the line of students getting their schedules. He rolled his eyes as scared freshman and disinterested sophomores went one by one up to the front of the table. He finally made his way up to the table, smiling at the secretary, Mrs. Gregory.

"Well, hi, Garrett! How was your summer?" Mrs. Gregory was a nice lady who knew the names of almost every student returning this year. She rifled through the senior schedules, handing him his.

"It was okay, Mrs. Gregory. Definitely too short." He glanced at his schedule and grimaced. His locker was on one side of the building, while his first class was in the opposite direction. Just freaking terrific.

Mrs. Gregory looked almost ready to laugh. "Come on, Garrett. It cant be that bad. It's your last year!"

He smiled at the woman. "Right you are! Good morning." He nodded his thanks and went off in the direction of English. He glanced down at the rest of his day. English first hour, followed by advanced algebra, then creative writing, advanced bio, lunch, art four, current issues/sociology and finally first year German. It wasn't a horrible schedule, but he definitely was not looking forward to hearing all the rules, assignments, etc, on the first day.

As Garrett walked away, Melanie caught sight of him. She had been developing a serious crush on him ever since she had stopped dating his friend, Ryan Johnson. She would never admit it, of course. It was too embarrassing. She walked up to the schedule table.

"Good morning, Mrs. Gregory. How are you this morning?" She smiled brightly at the secretary.

"Well, good morning, Melanie, dear. I'm feeling just terrific, how about you?" The secretary spoke warmly to the young woman, all smiles.

"I'm feeling unusually perky." Which wasnt an exact lie; her attitude had definitely took a turn for the better when Garrett had walked past her. She accepted her schedule graciously. "Have a nice day!"

She walked away without really acknowledging the older womans goodbye. She didn't even bother to look at her locker number and combination because she was going to carry around her book bag today. Her schedule was quite possibly going to kill her: Chemistry, again, since she failed last year's course because she caught the lab on fire, then AP American history with her father, English, trig, lunch, art one, current issues/sociology and then drama. Drama was the only highlight of her day because that meant she got to drop all the crap from her life and then pretend to be someone else, someone better.

Mel sighed, glancing around for her best friend, Erica. She had no idea where that girl was, but she would find her later. They had a lot to talk about, since Erica had been gone all summer. Mel continued on her walk to the chem lab, smiling at everyone she knew and waving at people who waved her way. It was nice to be one of the more popular girls at RHS, but sometimes it was tiring being so happy and perky all the time.

Melanie turned the corner, and entered the lab. Here we go, she thought, crossing her fingers. Hopefully I don't blow up the lab again. Her face went into a grimace as she thought to the explosion that happened last spring. She seriously needed a tutor in this class

A/N: So, these characters are based off of characters my friend Shar and I created on an rpg we used to run. Melanie and Mike are my OCs: think of her looking like Taylor Swift, him like Leo from Charmed. Shar created Garrett (personified as Bam Margera), Ryan (think Johnny Knoxville), Matty who you haven't met or heard about yet (he looks like Brandon Novak), and finally Caleb, who you also haven't met or heard of yet (looks like Noel Fisher). This story is based on a plot we started on but never saw through: hopefully you enjoy reading it! All the other characters are my own creation to carry the story along. fyi ~Nelli~

PS: If contractions are horrible, or you get confused with quotes, it's because fp hates decided to delete all my quotation marks and apostrophes...