First Chapter: Introduction (Smells Like Teen Spirit)

The last day of summer vacation. The last day of freedom. The first day of school. The first day of pure hell.

Staring outside the car window, Malia gave a long anguished sigh as her mother sped in front of her high school narrowly missing a collision with another parked car.

"Mom, please be careful driving. You already received a ticket last month. Please, I am turning 18 soon and I do intend to drive my own car. You saw how high the insurance premium has skyrocketed and - - ..." Malia's mother threw her hands up in frustration from the steering wheel as she rolled down the car's windows.

"Those fu- Sorry sweetheart, did those damn mechanics do their job to fix the AC this time around? I have gone to them three times within the past month and I feel nothing but hot air."

"Mom, I am sure they are doing their job. The problem is this car. I have told you many times that you have to trade it in to buy a new car altogether." Malia briefly looked into the mirror as she reached in her purse for her lip gloss.

"You look fine as always. I am positive that you will come home with at least 10 phone numbers." Sarah gave a secretly-knowing smile and wink as she patted her daughter's smooth dark brown skin.

Malia cringed inwardly at her mother's words and opened the car door before her mom could embarrass her any further. "Wish me luck. Well I meant wish me luck for my first day ….not the phone numbers part." Malia gave her mom a quick kiss and closed the door. Looking out at the sea of students surrounding her, she recognized a handful of familiar faces. Making her way and squeezing through the crowd, she witnessed a student pulling away from his mother as she kissed his crimson-tinged cheek. Malia glanced at her purple watch and saw that she still had a couple minutes to spare before the warning bell. A few feet away, she saw the main door and walked through it while whispering to herself, "Brunswick High, here I come."

"Malia you are finally here! Kyle and I have been looking for you everywhere. Where have you been, girl? It feels like I haven't seen you in years even though we met up at the mall just a couple days ago. Here is your schedule and guess what? We all have the same classes together! Seriously what are the odds? Oh yeah and -" Lucilla seemed to go on and on as Kyle patiently waited his turn to greet Malia.

As his patience grew thin, Kyle gave up and bear-hugged Malia while ruffling up her dark hair. Slightly surprised by the sudden hug, Malia was left speechless with Kyle's new appearance. No longer could she and Lucy tease Kyle on his short stature and his baby fat. Standing before her was a recently tanned young man standing at 5'11'' who must have grown at least 5 inches over the summer. His short brown hair was curly and still wet from a shower earlier that morning.

"Wow it seems like Puerto Rico has done wonders on you. I almost did not recognize you standing there with Lucy. Hey, look at all the girls staring at you. Congrats, Kyle you are officially Don Juan de Marco now," joked Malia with a forced Spanish accent and smirk. Kyle's head dropped and his face reddened with embarrassment.

"So you see Kyle, I was definitely not overreacting. You are officially hot and it is just my luck that we are best friends. If we weren't, I would totally put a collar on you and claim you as my man," said Lucy with a cool edge as she raised her eyebrows.

Malia laughed softly as she shook her head at her friend. After being friends with her since elementary school, Malia was able to handle Lucy's blunt personality as well as her unique sense of style. Amidst the nearly 90-degree weather, Lucy wore a tight long-sleeved white top with a black-rhinestoned vest and grey long pants.

Once she noticed Malia's eyes on her outfit, Lucy quickly explained, "Think of it as starved-artist look coupled with a …with a …. with yoga pants? You like it?" With her infectious smile, spunky bob hairstyle, and olive complexion, Lucy had no trouble when it came to attracting guys.

"Yeah, Lucy. It's definitely creative and something I have never seen before in my life." Malia's hazel doe-shaped eyes glowed with laughter as she took in her friend's appearance. A polar opposite of Lucy, Malia had a deep chocolate brown skin tone and she stood at 5'8'' with an athletic figure and soft curves. After making the decision to start anew and cut her long and permed hair a year ago, Malia was confident in her own skin and she showed herself proudly with her growing curly afro. The trio heard the warning bell and quickly rushed to their first class, English. Being one of the late ones that arrived in the class, they were lucky to find a few seats left in the back of the class.

Clearing his throat, their new English teach introduced himself with a booming voice and smile, "Good morning class and I bid you all a warm welcome to a wonderful new school year. As most of you may already know, I am Mr. Thorn. I assure you that if all goes well I will not be a thorn in your side. No laughs? I see we have a tough crowd here this morning. This is my first year teaching and I hope that - -…" Malia and Lucy could not help but guffaw and roll their eyes at the utter cheesiness of their new teacher. Kyle motioned for them to shut up as he straightened in his seat and gave Mr. Thorn his complete attention.

As Mr. Thorn went on about the expectations of the class, a loud knock came from the door. Mr. Thorn walked to the door as the rest of the class took it as a cue to have their own conversations.

Raising her hands in disgust, Lucy complained, "Can you believe it? I am already getting sick of this class, I can't believe we have an essay due tomorrow. I mean c'mon, what a way to suck the fun out of the first day."

"Relax, Lucy, the world is still spinning. We just have to write an informal essay about ourselves and how we spent our summer," said Kyle as he leaned back in his chair folding his arms across his chest.

"True but I still kind of agree with Lucy. I know for sure that I really don't want to write another cliché essay about myself and aspirations. I might as well have saved the past essays that I wrote about myself." Malia impatiently began to tap her pencil at the edge of her desk waiting for Mr. Thorn to return.

A few seconds later, Mr. Thorn turned to the class. "Class, please quiet down as I have an important announcement to , I am not the only new person at Brunswick High. I would like to introduce a new student who will be joining us. Please give a warm welcome to, drum roll please, Jacob Miller." Mr. Thorn waved his arms to Jacob and then clapped his hands as the class remained silent.

"Jeez, can you say flamboyant and awkward," whispered Lucy.

"I will take that silence as a cue for you to say hello to the stage and limelight is yours, Jacob," said Mr. Thorn as he handed Jacob an imaginary microphone.

"Well, ah thank you for the nice introduction, Mr. Thorn. My name is Jacob Miller but I prefer to be called Jake. I am from Texas as most of you are guessing from my funny accent. And yeah I am here now in New Jersey." Jake gave a nervous glance at Mr. Thorn who gestured that he take a seat.

"Thank you, Jake, and I am sure the class will welcome you with open arms. Now let's get back to work!" Mr. Thorn walked over to his desk to pick up a stack of papers.

Lucy turned in her chair and leaned over to Malia and said, "I would do way more than just open my arms. Did you see him? He is fine!"

Malia begged to differ; he was not only fine but absolutely gorgeous. Never had Malia felt so entranced by a guy, especially a white guy to boot. Personally she was never a fan of the whole blond hair attraction, but she made a special exception to Jake. His medium-cut streaked blond hair showed just how much time he spent in the Texan sun. His tanned skin even seemed to rival Kyle's new tan, yet physically he was another level. Malia tried to avert her eyes from the deep green pools that Jake had as eyes, and she attempted to focus on the chalkboard. Failing miserably at her attempt to be focused, she looked up at Jake as he made his way down the aisle of desks. His white shirt was well fitting and not loose and it hugged the obvious muscles that he had underneath. The blue denim jean showed off his long and toned legs.

Accidentally bumping into Lucy who gave a slight squeal, Jake found and quickly sat in a seat next to Malia. He said to Lucy with a Texan drawl, "I am sorry for bumping into you like that. I hope I didn't hurt you."

As her face started to redden and the pitch of her voice went up she replied, "Haha, no worries really. I-I-it was nothing and I know it was a mistake." Lucy nodded her head in understanding as she shot him her brightest smile.

Is it possible that Lucy is nervous talking to a guy, thought Malia. She laughed silently at the flustering of Lucy, giving Kyle a surprised look. He in return just tilted his head in wonder with an amused expression. Malia then turned her head to Jake giving him a warm smile and nod. Jake stared at her for what seemed like 10 seconds with a blank expression before looking down at his own desk. Using her tongue to make sure that nothing was stuck in her teeth, she looked down at her dress for any stains. Turning head back into the direction of Mr. Thorn, she kept thinking about Jake and his cold rejection.