The bus rolled away, abandoning me here. Other kids raced around, all in groups, nobody alone. Everyone was either on the playground or headed there. One kid was unsuccessfully trying to climb the flagpole to the cheers of a large group of older kids. There were a few adults scattered about, but all of them were just standing there.

It was my first day of kindergarten, and I was scared out of my five-year-old mind. All I could picture was some big kid coming and swallowing me whole, or a swarm of them attacking me and tying me to the swings.

I adjusted the straps on my Powerpuff Girls backpack and began walking towards the playground when suddenly I tripped and fell down. The gravel scraped up my knees and palms. Tears stung my eyes. I wanted to go home and watch TV. I didn't want to be here. I didn't belong here.

"Hey, are you okay?" a loud voice called out. It wasn't the voice of a teacher but rather that of a tall redhead dressed all in black except for a pair of bright pink combat boots.

"I want to go home," I wailed unhappily.

The girl laughed. "We all do, princess, and you will for the rest of your life here. But hey, since you're here, why don't you let me help you up and we can go sit under the jungle gym and talk about it."

"Okay," I agreed. She pulled me to my feet roughly and dusted me off. She peered at my lemon yellow sweater and knee-length skirt with matching socks and little white patent leather Mary Jane shoes.

"Damn," she grumbled, ignoring my gasp at her language. "You dress like a Crayola."

"Well you dress like coal!" I screamed back, offended, and she laughed.

"My name's Tricia Ripple," the redhead announced. "But you can't call me that. You have to call me Tripp."

"Alright. My name's Xander Lex-Griey," I answered.

"Xander? Man, if I had a name like Xander I'd never change it," Tripp grinned. "Well, c'mon, small fry. Recess is over in twenty minutes, and I really want to know what's in that backpack of yours. I mean, who brings a backpack on the first day of school?"

"Me," I stubbornly answered. Tripp laughed. I cringed. She scared the hell out of me back then.

I was afraid of the big kids tying me to the swings. Instead, I met a kindergartner who listened to Korn and was constantly getting time-outs for drawing blood on our printout coloring sheets. I'm not sure which is scarier.


About eight years later, Tripp and I were cutting first period in the old gym when the skinniest boy I'd ever seen sauntered in with lime green hair that went in every direction imaginable.

"Is this first period algebra II?" he stammered.

"Is now," Tripp grinned.

Poor non-confrontational Dannie Finn was too shy to do the smart thing, which would be to drop the books and run like hell, so he sat down on the bleachers with us. We inducted him into our little twosome as we skipped the rest of the day. He was extremely reluctant, always would be extremely reluctant to do anything fun, but he's good fun to have around and, well, his mom gave him her van, so he's pretty much irreplaceable now.


So you've met my female best friend and my male best friend. In case you haven't noticed, neither of them were introduced as my love interest, but no story is good without a love interest. Up until about six months ago, this story would've been no good.

But six months ago, I met Indigo Xae.