A/N: Just an idea I had. I've been reading romance novels lately and have no money currently to purchase another, so here's my swing at one. XD Please review or it is pretty likely that I will only update this once in a blue moon…lol.


Prologue—

He had no cause to look at her standing in the midst of her friends in front of a not-so- trendy store in the middle of the mall. He had been the most popular guy in high school, and while not an outcast, she had not been the center of attention. There were much prettier girls than her, and he no doubt was surrounded by them on a daily basis. So when Elizabeth May was informed by one of her friends that Jesse Jarrickson, who had been accepted to college solely on his basketball scholarship, was staring at her from across the way, shock was an understatement.

"He's not staring at me," she said, scoffing at the bronze haired girl beside her. Heather, her best friend since grade school. Heather looked at her in disbelief and Beth knew she was sharing the same look with the two other girls they had come with.

"He is," Isabel, one of the two other girls insisted. "He's been doing it for at least the last ten minutes."

Beth rolled her eyes. "Okay," she looked up at the boy across the way, flushing ever so slightly as his dark brown eyes burned heat into her cheeks, "let's say for the sake of argument that he is staring at me. What does it matter? He's out of my league and I'm not into him anyways."

The girls seemed to except it with no real comeback. They had all just graduated from high school two months prior, and since all their college plans in order and their jobs afforded them enough free time to spend with each other, they found most of their hours spent laughing at old inside jokes inside the well known Clasetine Mall.

The four of them were all good friends. Heather and Beth had been best friends since kindergarten. Their parents were all well acquainted as well, and Heather's younger brother, Derek, had always had a thing for Beth, but the dark curly haired girl had never thought of him as more than the brother she never had. He was sixteen after all, far too young. Neither Heather nor Beth had dated or fallen in love, though three out of the four had concluded that Beth had experienced a heartbreaking summer romance the year before. She denied the speculation instantly, saying that the reason she'd come home so distraught was because her mother had informed her that her second cousin, an extremely close relative of the family, had developed bone cancer. The three were now especially skeptical, but decided to drop the subject indefinitely.

Isabel and Kristen, like Heather and Beth, had been best friends early on. The four ended up at a summer camp one year and had been inseparable ever since. Isabel and Kristen were next-door neighbors. Both were extremely artsy and were often confused for each other by strangers, both had shoulder length black hair, regardless of Isabel's glasses and green eyes and Kristen's never make-up-less face and amber eyes.

Out of the four of them, only Heather was into sports, and she was into all of them. Joey, Jesse's best friend, had made her acquaintance once or twice at games, but nothing more, and that was the closest any of them had gotten to the popular click. They weren't outcasts, but not even Kristen's exceptional talents as a cheerleader had gotten her (or either of them for that matter) a wink or a smile from one of the hot popular guys that had dominated the school.

For the life of her, Beth could not believe she was being stared at by Jesse Jarrickson. She had always admired brown eyes, regardless of her constant gloating over her own sky blue ones. She did not like how correct her friends were this time around in regards to the undeniably good-looking graduate. Usually Beth was the smartest of the bunch, having gotten the honor roll every year it was available, while the rest fell short by just a point or two. Jesse was rumored to be extremely smart, but there was no proof of it. All Beth had seen was his social skills and inability to focus in class.

When she was not with her three most favorite people in the world, Beth spent her time fervently reading romance books or writing stories of her own. At this very moment she wished she had decided to stay home and write instead of coming out. Jesse had apparently decided to move from his staring post and actually walk towards them. Her eyes widened in panic, and she turned the other girls away before they could realize what was happening.

"What's gotten into you, Beth?" Isabel asked, aghast and nearly shrieking at the abrupt movement. She said nothing but a muttered need to go home. Only Heather looked back to see if something had happened where Jesse was standing, but he seemed to have disappeared. To Beth's relief a cool breeze blew through the humid July night when they exited the mall. She praised herself inwardly at the realization that they had all come in her own vehicle. Hoping it would not be too suspicious, she requested Heather to drive them all home, and though eager to find out what event had taken place to cause Beth's abrupt change in temperament, she agreed to the task. The other girls settled into the back seat and began chatting almost immediately. They overrode Beth's mood change, accepting her excuse of being tired. Only Heather could tell something troubling had happened. As far as Beth herself, she could not explain the rapid panicked beating of her heart following the witnessed walk forward of Jesse Jarrickson towards her. She shook her head and tried to blink away the shaking of her fingers. Heather looked at her worriedly on occasion, but Beth hardly took notice. It was a passing thing, she told herself. In the morning everything would go back to normal. It wasn't as if she ever planned to see him again.

Back at the mall's entrance, Jesse Jarrickson stood, bottle of beer in hand and eyes gazing into the distance. Joey walked up behind him and looked in the direction his friend seemed set on.

"Hey man."

Jesse grunted.

"Beer…good?" he asked, finding the grunt a little strange. Jesse blinked and looked back at his friend. He smiled cheekily.

"Of course," he said, "Let's get you one."

Joey smirked, but allowed himself to be turned around and walked back inside the draining mall. The night was no longer young and though he didn't usually allow Jesse to coerce him into much, he decided to give in with the tiredness that had surprisingly overtaken him two hours earlier at eight o'clock.

Jesse tried to ignore the cooling sweat that had drenched him only moments earlier, but found himself unable to forget how enraptured he'd been with the curly-haired brunette chatting away in her cluster of friends from just across the way inside the mall. He thought he'd seen her at school a few times. Her friends certainly seemed to recognize him, but he could not place her name or how he knew her precisely – besides the fact that she had clearly been in his graduating class. Something stirred his memory but it was not clear enough to jolt any real facts. All he could remember was the natural sway of her hips and the graceful curve of her neck and the way her eyes lit up when she smiled and laughed. He had to get to know her. There was no going back now. Just five minutes staring at her and he knew he wanted her. As far as he could tell, she would not be pleased by that prospect. The challenge enthralled him even more.


A/N: Well, I'm certainly intrigued. Lol. Please review if you'd like this updated on a regular basis. Thanks for reading. And no worries, the chapters will indeed get longer as the story goes on. ;p