I first talked to Danny when I was just fifteen years old. That was before I dyed my dirty blond hair a dark brunette and actually started wearing makeup thanks to my Senior girl friends I would meet come fall when I would make the Varsity Basketball team as a freshmen. Before Meredith had those miscarriages and got so depreesed but then miracualsy recovering from her moods when she found out she was pregnant for the seventh time, that time would be the charm; nine months later we welcomed little Andrea. Before my biological mom came back into my life like a hurricane and before my brother Kade went all Army freaky because of Kirsten's stupid older brother, Marc. But I guess now that I thought about it as I drove to school, it all worked out somehow. If it wasn't for Marc irrevocably befriending and convincing Kade to join the Army, practically stealing my own brother and best friend away from me. After Marc happened, he would always choose him over me, always.

It was a Tuesday and my hair was all loose and waved out in its natural way. I didn't have time to straighten it that morning, so I had left without hardly a glance in the mirror. I had thrown on a blue sweatshirt and my favorite jeans with a huge gaping hole in the right knee. And I had seen Danny many times before in the hallways, but that's when I called him Dan instead of Danny. Danny came later, much later. We would exchange smiles in the hallway, even if I had a bad day, seeing him smile at me made me feel a little better and I could always find a smile of some sorts to give back. He was a nice boy, everyone really liked him but he was sort of quiet and definitely not the boy with the greatest grades. But he had an amazing smile and soft looking blondish hair and these forest green eyes. Which I liked a lot since I had spent so many summers down at my grandma's farm way down in the southern tip of Illinois, and I would hike for hours out in the forests there. That place was so special to me, and since she had died a year ago, that made me remember fondly and bring me back.

That morning right before first hour was so different though, it was sunny but sleepy if that makes any sense. I mean, because the sky had been a pale yellow when I left my house. I was slowly getting my books together for Algebra and English when there was a shadow cast over me. I looked over to my right to see this incredibly cute boy, SENIOR (ahem) smiling at me and peering around the door of my locker. My heart sputtered and then beat again in my chest.

"Um, hi." he said and t hen laughed. I had never someone laugh like that. I felt myself start to redden and I looked at my feet for a minute and then back at him. "Look, I'm tired of just smiling at your in the hallway and wondering what your name is and all that."

"Okay, me too." I smiled and then I shuffled my books to my other arm and extended my hand to shake his. "Hi, my name is Bayla." I said and smiled at him again.

"Bayla?" he said and looked thoughtful. "I don't know anyone named that. Now I know I won't forget you." he said and shook my hand. I had liked how warm and soft they were. "Mine's Dan."

"Dan," I said and released his hand after holding it a bit too long than necessary. "You look like a Dan, definitely." I was already starting to like him and we barely knew each other.

He laughed again softly and leaned against the other locker next to mine, I liked the way he was looking at me. I liked how"You're a sophomore this year, right?"

I shook my head. "No, but everyone says that. I'm actually a freshmen."

"Surprising, just like your name." he looked up at the digital clock hanging from the ceiling and frowned for some reason. That was a good sign right? That he didn't lose any interest because I was a freshman? Most guys would turn and run, especially him. But maybe he wasn't like all the guys. He could be different, we could be different. "The bell's gonna ring in two minutes. Sit with me at lunch?"

"Yeah, sure." I blushed a deeper red and he smiled at me before turning and walking away down the hallway. Leaving me in a dizzy haze and my heart pounding erratically. No one had ever done that to me before in my life. It had felt like I had just run a mile in three seconds flat. I was late to class that day and it from then on that I would never stop thinking about Dan.