Chapter 1 A New Beginning
"Here's to the end of a horrible first day of the last year of our high school career!" My nerdy best friend Matt cheered as he theatrically threw open the door of Bluesy, the underage karaoke bar in town. "Long gone are the days where we could lazily sleep away the summer! Now we must look into the eyes of our future, we must embrace it!" He punched his fist into the air as he swaggered in and I had to laugh. He was such a dork. Every head in the bar turned to stare at him. You would think that after being regular customers here for the last four years everyone would be used to his sudden outbursts. Apparently they were not. Matt had never really grasped the concept of entering a room unnoticed and pretty much lived off of the attention it earned him.

"Yeah yeah, can it will you?" Jason snapped pulling Matt's arm attempting to pull him to a table before he could embarrass us further. Everyone returned their attention to whatever they were doing before and were now muttering about this inconsiderate newcomer. We pretty much just shrugged them off, we're teenagers, we were used to the looks by now.

I'm sure that Matt has made it quite obvious that my friends and I have managed to survive our first day of grade 12. After this year we would all have to grow up and go our separate ways, live in the real world rather than the sheltered walls of high school. After this year, all of us, Matt, Jason, Alex, Katie, Rachel, Andrea, Morgan and I may never be able to get together like we do now. It's depressing really.

I watched from where I stood as all of my friends ushered Matt to a table, laughing amongst themselves. It was obvious that they didn't think the way I do. They want to have fun this year, treat it just like every year before. They don't seem to understand that after this year everything will change. Maybe it's because over the years nothing has changed.

Rachel is still beautiful. At least in my eyes. She always looks pretty to me without trying despite everything she does do. She always has the best clothes which has never been a surprise. She's a fashion person, always in with the new trends and able to pull everything off, even baggy track pants that have been in a dirty clothes hamper for a week. She is pretty set on what she wants to do in the future. She's going to college for fashion. She wants to be a designer but I think she would make a good model too.

Rachel may change her clothes and her hair, but one thing that will never change is her hatred for Jason.

How to describe Jason? I want to use the word weird, but we're all weird so that doesn't say anything about him. I suppose the next best word to describe him would be eccentric? Maybe? Jason always had this thing where he wanted to stand out even if he didn't really like what he had to do to stand out. He likes to rebel. He sees everything people see as normal as a challenge to be anything but. An example would be his blue hair and numerous piercings. He's lovable all the same. He gets grumpy at times, but he has his moments where he can be funny, whether he means to be or not. His plan for the future is pretty straight forward too; he has a knack for computers, skills that have long evaded me. He wants to be a graphic designer and if that falls through a computer programmer.

While Jason likes to put up a tough exterior, I like to think he has a little soft spot for someone. That someone is Katie.

Katie is a lot like Jason, especially in the sense that she wants to deviate from the norm. She even changed the spelling of her name from Katie to Kaytie just because she wanted to be different. I refuse to spell it that way; to me she'll always be Katie without the Y. She's the arty one, always managing to find something creative to do. It always amazes me what she can do with just about anything. Even her abstract stuff and things that I have no idea what they are look amazing. I never tell her that enough. Long gone are the days where we would draw stick figures for our school projects. She may have gotten a few inches taller and draws a lot better but to me she's exactly the same as when we became friends in grade 7.

Morgan in my opinion is the "responsible one". She always knows what's right and stops us from doing anything stupid. She is able to see every side of a situation and evaluate it. If she thinks something can end badly she lets us know and we've come to understand that her intuition is pretty reliable. She is fun though. She is always included in our conversations and starts most of our better ones. She has her moments when she gets really quiet and reserved but that's where we come in. There is no such thing as quiet when we're around. I almost feel bad for her sometimes because she is semi-sane and we're not. Not at all. She's really smart always with her 85 averages managing to beat Alex and I out by 2 percent every year. She plans to go off to school for god only knows how long to become a psychiatrist. She manages to talk everyone else down in our group, if she can handle us, she can handle any patient she may come across.

One person I would recommend to her in a heartbeat is Matt. In a word, Matt is crazy. I have to wonder sometimes if he has multiple identities. He is incredibly out there and has absolutely no filter whatsoever. Whatever he is thinking goes from his brain to his mouth in 0.6 seconds. It's insane. He will say anything that crosses his mind even if it's 'I wonder what ear wax would taste like'. It pretty much goes without saying but he is the one who manages to crack us up and completely confuse us at the same time. He also has this tiny thing where he likes to flirt with everything with a pulse. He likes attention. A lot. I don't think Matt really has any idea what he's going to do when he gets out of high school. His grades haven't been good at all, but maybe this will be the year he decides to buckle down and surprise us all.

Andrea is an interesting one. She's the friend who you can have a blast with one moment and be pissed off at the next. I don't say that to be mean, it's just the way we work. She has a tendency not to think before she does things. She likes to argue and has a lot of mood swings. When they happen I tend to avoid her for awhile. She is fun though; she has as many, if not more, stupid moments than Matt. It's almost like they are the same person only different genders. Andrea's crazy for animals, which is why she has decided that she would like to be a veterinarian when she gets out of high school.

Finally, there is Alex. Alex has been my friend longer than anyone else; we were in diapers together and were practically inseparable. That hasn't changed in the least. Wherever Allison was, Alex was and vice versa. He is my better half. I can tell him everything going on in my life, all of my problems and secrets in complete confidence. We keep each other grounded; always trying to help each other out if we're having problems. He is the kind of person that I can trust completely with my life and know it won't come back to bite me. He is my best friend in the entire world and nothing that happens this year will ever change that.

"Hey Allison! Do you mind helping us shut this moron up?" Rachel shouted at me from across the bar, covering Matt's mouth in an attempt to keep him quiet. Her attempts were futile, as I said before, Matt can't be quiet. It isn't even a matter of won't be quiet, he just can't.

I smiled at Matt who was able to continue a conversation despite Rachel's hand over his mouth. "Yeah, I'm coming," I walked over taking my seat in between Morgan and Andrea.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "This is pointless," she muttered removing her hand from Matt's mouth and wiping her hand, covered with Matt spit, on his shirt.

"Seriously though guys, we're seniors now! Do you have any idea what this means?" Matt asked quite enthused, slamming his hands on the table.

Alex rolled his eyes and let out a huff. "What does being a senior mean, Matt?" Alex asked like a parent humoring a child.

"We're the big men on campus! Or women on campus I suppose if you lovely ladies take offense to my terminology," all of us girls rolled our eyes simultaneously; Matt didn't even know what terminology meant. "There are three grades below us who look up to us as role models, we are what they aspire to be, we're their inspiration. We are molding the future of Harbecks High School. We should do our best to be the best we can be for the sake of the children below."

We all felt proud of Matt for the first time in collective memory. He was finally thinking about being a good influence and smartening up his act, it was great.

"That's a great way to look at it Matt," I congratulated.

"Yeah! Not to mention there are three grades of beautiful young women who prefer older men. Which means there are three grades of girls who all want a piece of 'The Matt Man'," he smirked to himself and everyone's opinion of him returned to normal. The skirt chasing moron.

"Sorry to say this Matt," I said feeling the need to bring him back to reality, "but I think that even the little grade nine's have better judgment than that."

"I beg to differ, my dear, sweet, Allison. Just because you haven't realized that you are head over heels in love with me yet, doesn't mean other girls haven't seen what 'The Matt Man' has to offer."

"Bad breath and B.O.?"

Matt's jaw dropped, "I resent that! I have a car! You're so mean," and with that Matt began to sulk in his chair and for a whole two seconds, said absolutely nothing. It was a miracle.

Morgan, always the sympathetic one stood and walked over to Matt patting his shoulder, "It's okay, we still love you."

"You're right!" He stood up like some god who had just been granted some amazing super power, "And there are plenty of other girls who love me too!" He grabbed Morgan's face and kissed her, "Thank you Morgan! Now if you'll excuse me, there are blonde twins over there. 'The Matt Man' is on the prowl." Poor Morgan just stood there totally mortified as Matt puffed out his chest and began his hunt.

Indeed there were twins. They were pretty, blonde, big chest, long legs, definitely Matt's type. The poor girls never saw it coming. I took a moment to pity them but there was another girl who needed my assistance. Morgan had just suffered the most horrible of ordeals, being kissed by Matt…

"Oh, Morgan it'll be okay!" every girl in our group chorused as we rushed to her side to comfort her. "It'll be fine, we just need to disinfect your lips, you'll survive, I hope."

While we were trying to save our friend's dignity, our male friends watched on, dumbfounded and confused.

"This is ridiculous, it was just a kiss," Jason said obviously not understanding the trauma one went through after being kissed by Matt. Sometimes it even requires medical attention.

Alex tilted his head and studied us curiously. "Yeah but it was a kiss from Matt, I think that's why they're like this," he said in an effort to understand the female mind.

"What do you think they would do if one of us kissed them?" Jason asked.

"Hit us? Why? Are you considering kissing one of them? Katie, perhaps?" Alex asked. Jason glared at him and smacked his arm.

"No, I was just curious, I'm over Katie…" he paused for a moment and his face fell a bit, "I don't think they'd hit you Alex," Jason said trying to change the subject and avoid the fact that he does actually have feelings.

"Right, Rachel would smack me because we're friends and I'm not supposed to kiss her, Andrea would smack me just for the sake of hitting me, Morgan may not hit me but things would get awkward, Katie would probably live with it though forever wishing it was you," Alex responded smirking with a knowing glance at Jason who turned a lovely shade of pink and again, tried to change the topic.

"What about Allison?"

Alex let out a loud huff and ran his fingers through his hair, "I don't even want to think about that, she'd take it worse than any of the others. It's not worth it, kissing her; everything between us would change…"

"I hear you," Jason sighed, "that's why I can't try anything with Katie, I'd rather be friends than nothing at all and I don't want to lose her…" Jason went quiet as he buried his head in his hands.

Alex patted his shoulder, "It's okay, we've all been there. Love stinks."

"More than Matt when he hasn't showered," Jason muttered, defeated.

"Yeah, but the thing is, sometimes, you've got to take a chance, who's to say Katie doesn't feel the same way?" Alex asked.

Jason glared at him in between his fingers, "You exist to confuse me and make me think don't you?"

Alex laughed, "What can I say, I do my best. I do think you should try though."

"Maybe."

Morgan should be okay by now I thought, giving her one last pity pat. It wasn't a long kiss so I didn't think she would need too much comforting and counseling. I sat down next to Jason and joined in their conversation.

"What's up?"

"Nothing," Jason muttered. I gave him a look and turned to face Alex. Did I do something to make him mad? I didn't know but I was pretty sure there was only one thing on his mind and it wasn't something I did.

'Katie?' I mouthed. Alex nodded. I turned and gave Jason a big hug, probably big enough to snap his spine. He was a stupid dummy, "you should tell her," I whispered, a huge smile on my face.

"Yeah… I know…" I patted his shoulder and hugged him once more before a loud shriek echoed through the bar.

"I can't believe you Matt!" Everyone in the bar turned in the direction of an angry blond screaming at Matt. "Trying to pick both of us up at the same time! You should be ashamed of yourself!" With that, she dumped her banana smoothie over his head and stormed out the door flipping him the bird.

"April wait! We can look past this! Give me another shot!" Matt pleaded wiping smoothie out of his eyes. When she didn't return, he had to accept defeat. He turned to his other blonde who looked just as unimpressed, "May, babe, you know I loved you more."

"Whatever, kiss this," she said calmly as she too dumped her smoothie on his head and walked out the door.

Matt sulked back over to us covered in yellow and pink and not very happy. "Being a senior sucks."

He didn't even see a third smoothie being flung his way. We all looked at Andrea who was holding MY empty smoothie cup, "What?" She asked, "It looked like fun."