Chapter 1

It was the worst thing that could have possibly happened to me. I wanted hide under a rock and never come out, and yes it was a rock hiding moment. I was walking down the hall on my way to third period when something large hit me. Bam! My whole body is thrown into one of the lockers, causing me to lose my balance and fall onto the ground. It took me a few seconds to realize two things. One: I was on the ground in the fetal position, my head throbbing and my nose bleeding. Two: This was my first day at Vintage High School, and everyone and their mother saw me.

I got up slowly, as my body became aware of all the eyes on me before my mind could fully count the exact number.

"I'm so sorry! I didn't see you standing there." I had no idea what his name was, but he was attempting to help me up, and I would have let him if I wasn't already mortified.

"I'm fine, really," I tried to say as my hands went to my face and tried to cover up my bloody nose. "But could you please show me where the nurse's office is?" I asked. He nodded frantically, and pointed to a room across from us. I shot up a quick thanks to anyone who would listen, and dashed into the room. When I got into the office, I saw the nurse sitting at her desk and one look at me had her shaking her head. She got up and handed me a tissue.

"Just hold your head down and wait until it stops bleeding." She told me. I took a seat in a chair that was semi-close to the door and put my head between my knees, a handful of tissue at my nose. I could already tell the blood was stopping, because I could finally get air into my nose again.

"I'm really sorry," The boy who knocked into me said and handed me my backpack, which I had dropped in the process of falling down.

"Thanks don't worry about it." I said, trying to smile up at him, but failing miserably.

"My name is Jack." He said, extending his hand, but then running it through his hair as he noticed my hands were a little tied. He looked embarrassed and very unsure of himself.

"I'm Sophia." I said, and finally sat up erect, my nose finally behaving itself again. When I looked up at him, I blushed profusely, a habit I couldn't stand. He was gorgeous, like Brad Pitt but not so old and married. I wanted to go and find my rock, the one I wished I could hide under. I knew my face was gross, and my strawberry blonde curls were no longer strawberry, but a bloody mess. He smiled at me awkwardly, shifting his weight and looking as if he didn't know what to do.

"So, this is your first day?" He asked, even though I had a feeling he already knew I wasn't from around here.

"What gave it away?" I asked as he handed me another tissue, which I tried to run over my face and not look like a total idiot.

"You didn't know where the nurse's office is. Everyone around here knows where it's located; people in this place are really into heavy sports."

"I might have found it eventually, not that I'm into sports, but I'm generally pretty clumsy. I would have whacked my own self into a locker at some point. You just beat me to the punch." I said smiling at my little pun.

"You have a good sense of humor, that's good." He said and laughed. His smile reached from ear to ear, and my knees went into jelly mode at the sight. The bell for third period finally rang bringing me out of my total daze and stupid facial expression. I got up, grabbing my bag and threw it over my shoulder. Before I could awkwardly depart from this already awkward situation, he grabbed my arm.

"Do you have anywhere to sit for lunch? Would you like to sit with me and my friends?"

"No I don't, but please, you don't haft to repay me or anything. This kind of stuff happens to me all the time."

He laughed and let go of my arm, "People are running to get to a class and throw you into a locker and cause you to bleed?"

"Well, no, but you know what I mean."

"Alright well, I really would like you to sit with us. Not just to 'repay' you, but to at least show you there are some other clumsy people besides yourself."

"Okay, then, I'll see you at lunch." I said, trying to sound as cool as humanly possible.

"See you." He said, waving slyly, and going to his class.

If I wasn't leaning against the chair, I'm sure my legs would have buckled beneath me. How in the hell did that just happen? One minute I'm trying to stay calm, cool and at least, appear collected, and the next I'm bleeding all over the place and I met a new friend, or rather, acquaintance. And to top it off, he was totally to die for, in the over dramatic sense. I wasn't this lucky, not by any shot. I was surprised at my ability to act less like a fool than normal. Usually I stumble over all of my words and put my foot into my mouth, I was actually able to form real sentences this time. I was glad my mouth behaved, and my foot was able to stay nicely on the ground beneath me.

On my way to third period I went to the bathroom, and thankful no one was in it, I washed the blood off my face. I did my best with the blood in my hair, but it didn't wash out well with the school soap and the science lab paper towels, the kind that don't soak up anything and are more water resistant than anything. I brushed myself off, faked a smile I didn't feel, and went to my class. When I got in everyone stared at me. My face flashed a tomato red as I hastily went to the teacher and very quickly explained about where I was. He was nice, and smiled, and told me to pick a seat in the back. I could have kissed his shoes I was so glad I was in the back and not the open seat at the front. When I finally got to my seat, I slouched as far as possible into it, and tried my best to hide my face with my backpack. To my great happiness, only a few people turned around and looked at me.

After my third period was over I went quickly to my fourth period, which was English. My teacher, who had the odd name of Chicowski, was very interesting. She wore what I immediately called "the Barney suit", which was a purple work suit, purple shoes and a green blouse. Everyone looked at her like this was normal behavior, so I smiled at her and took the seat she assigned, and once again kept more to myself. When the bell finally rang for lunch, I was both excited and also very nervous. I was glad I had taken the time during the weekend to walk around the school and become familiar with my surroundings, even though the cafeteria wasn't hard to find. All I really had to do was follow a horde of students into a very compact building that smelled like hotdogs.

When I got inside it didn't take me long to spot Jack. He was already walking toward me, a wide smile on his face.

"Hey!" He said and came over to where I stood, awkwardly and in the way of a few kids trying to get past. He took my hand and led me to the other side of the building which involved weaving in-between a lot of people and a handful of large tables. I was surprised at his kindness. I mean, it wasn't that people weren't nice to me or anything, but I couldn't say many of them acted like he did. He was very outgoing, and genially wanted me to fit in. Or so it seemed to me. I blushed once again, and kept in a large squeal of nervousness as he led me to one of the bigger tables. There sat five people. They all smiled up at me while laughing and eating. Jack took a seat next to one of the two girls, and he ushered me to sit next to him. I did and tried my best to look as comfortable as possible. Though, what I really wanted to do was run the other way. I was scared out of my wits, and completely out of my comfort zone.

"Everyone, this is Sophia." He said gesturing to the people around us.

"Hello." I said doing a very pitiful wave and trying my best not to avert my eyes.

"Nice intro Jack, she has no idea who we are." A very small dark haired boy with freckles spoke from across from me.

"Yeah, you need to actually say our names first." Another boy said, though much taller and bigger than the one who had talked previous. One of the two girls giggled and shot her hand across the table for me to shake.

"Hey, I'm Emile. This is Kenna," She said indicating the girl next to her who was smiling as awkwardly as I was. "The shrimp over there is Jace, and the big loveable guy there is Heath. The quite one across from you is Marvin" She said.

"Please, don't introduce me as Marvin. It's Mac." Mac said, his voice was much louder than it had been originally. He seemed like one of those people who rarely talked and kind of hid in the shadows, but when you did finally hear them, you listened.

"Oh come on, she needs to know your real name. What if someone went up to us and started calling you Marvin don't you think she'd get confused?" The girl Kenna asked, looking a little more comfortable than she had a few moments ago.

"Well, they wouldn't call me Marvin, because everyone knows to call me Mac."

"Oh come on Mac, you're name isn't that bad." Heath said and slugged Mac's arm.

"Yeah right, Heath Suzan Kenter."

Heath shut up pretty quick and turned a funny color of pink.

"Guys, come on, not now." Jack said, rolling his eyes. I was just glad they were being themselves. This was their element, I could tell. I just hoped I could fit in. I took out some apple slices from my backpack and just listened to them all talk. They switched topics frequently, and asked my opinion on a few things like, "What shade of pink is really ok for a guy to wear"? And "Was that not the weirdest movie of all time"? Getting towards the end of lunch, I was really glad Jack had bumped into me in the hall. Well, I used "bumped" lightly, but still glad it happened all the same. His friends were really nice, and seemed like they didn't mind so much that I was a weird new kid.

"So Sophia, what school did you go to before this one? Were they're a lot of hot babes there?" Jace asked and winked. He seemed like more of the bad boy of the group. His hair was jet black, gelled perfectly into place, but he had that kind of swagger that only the Fonz from the show Happy Days had. Kind of like he could hit the table in the cafeteria and everyone would just turn silent. His smile was huge, and pretty goofy.

"Um I guess so. My school was kind of small, so I've known everyone since those awkward elementary school days."

"Yeah that's kind of like here, same people, different year." Jace said and everyone joined in the conversation.

It was at that moment, as I looked across the cafeteria that I first saw him. It wasn't as if there was something special about his appearance. He was an average looking guy, tall with light brown hair. I couldn't see him too well, but I could tell he had light eyes. His clothes hung on him loose, and his smile was wild. I took one look at him and knew nothing was ever going to be the same for me again. He was walking next to another boy, who looked similar to him, with darker hair. It looked like he could be his brother, but I couldn't be sure from where I sat. When the first boy met my gaze, it felt like the entire world was muted. Like I had taken a remote and pressed the mute to the world. All I could do was stare at him, as he stopped in his tracks and stared back at me. I'm not sure how long we stayed like that, looking at each other, a sly smile forming on his lips. A secret dancing behind his eyes. In an instant, he dropped eye contact and the whole world went back to normal. I sucked in a deep breath, and for the first time in a few moments, realized I hadn't even bothered to remember how to breathe.

"Soooophia." Someone called my name, and I noticed it was Emilie.

"Huh? Yes?" I asked feeling rather confused.

"You looked totally spaced out, what are you looking at?" She asked and followed where my eyes had just been. She noticed the two guys I had seen, who had now taken a seat across the room at a vacant table. They weren't doing much, just talking with one another.

"Oh, that makes sense." She said and nudged Kenna, who did a swooning noise.

"Who are they?" I asked, and was surprised when Mac answered my question.

"That's Jamie and Troy Cooper. They're twins. They come from a pretty high class society, if you know what I mean." He rubbed his fingers together, as if to say they have a lot of cash.

Heath nodded, "Yeah they moved here when we were all in the fourth grade. They don't get along with people too well, which makes them keep to themselves most of the time. They throw a lot of wicked parties when they're parents are on business trips."

Kenna giggled and nodded her head, "They are drop dead gorgeous if you ask me. Something about those eyes, they just carry me away." She said, pretending to fan herself.

Mac smiled at them, "But too bad about their tempers. When they get going, it's like a rampage."

That really sparked my curiosity, "What do you mean 'like a rampage'?" I asked. They looked harmless from where I was sitting, but that doesn't mean something isn't boiling over the surface.

"Well," Mac continued as he turned and pointed at them, "The one with the dark hair, the taller one, is Troy. He is the one who can really lose it. I heard one time some girl snuck up and surprised him and he hit her pretty hard across the face. Jamie, the other guy, had to clean up his mess. Jamie is the tamest out of the two, but he's been known to have one hell of a bad mouth. He talks a lot of shit, and gets what he wants most of the time." It had been Jamie that I locked eyes with. From the way he was sitting, back to me, he looked tense, and I wondered if something was 'rampaging' inside his head. After a few minutes of more people gossip the bell rang.

In three minutes I had learned who to stay away from and who was 'safe' to talk to. It turned out Heath and Emilie had my next class, which was Human Communications. Yes, as it turned out, it was a boring as the name said it would be. Our teacher was nice and all, but the way she talked, she would even bore a wild animal to sleep. Heath and Emilie were pretty funny to sit with in a class. They each had their own faces for mocking excitement, and when we had a group session, they had half the class laughing with their conversations. I did wonder briefly if they were dating, because of the way they acted around one another, but didn't ask. I figured time would tell those kinds of things. I didn't need to over load myself with too much information for one day.

It was in my second to last class that I had with Jamie, the boy who caught my eye in the cafeteria. He sat relaxed on one of the wooden stools that faced the front of the room. Big wooden tables were spread out, allowing four people per table. When I did a quick glance around, I noticed only one seat was open, which happened to be the one across from him. I couldn't tell if this was a good thing or not. I wanted to believe it was, but my stomach was doing flips as if it had turned into a sky diver. It felt weightless, but completely all over the place. The art teacher, Mrs. Golick, was very informative. She showed me where my stuff would go, and where I would find all the art supplies. She also explained how we were starting a new unit, and that it was nice I wouldn't be completely behind. She motioned for me to sit across from Jamie. My palms began to sweat, and as I sat down, I did my best to avoid eye contact.

There was something about this whole thing that was getting at me. I didn't know what it meant, or what I was feeling, but I knew that there was something strange in the air. I knew if I looked at Jamie, my world would stop once again. My heart felt a little squeeze as I took my place across from him. He didn't look at me as I sat down, not that I looked at him, but I could tell from the corner of my eye that his focus was in front of him, where Mrs. Golick was setting up a slide projector. After a minute she turned out the lights and his back was then faced away from me, so he could look at the middle of the room. The unit was on Cubism, which I wasn't exactly brilliant at. I had taken art classes all my life, but was only good at one thing, charcoal. Anything else besides that, my art looked like a fifth graders. When she turned the lights out, I did my best to look at anything but Jamie's back, but I failed miserably. From where I was, I could finally tell what color his hair was. It was a dark honey, soft, and falling slightly over his ears. His shoulders were tense, but the rest of his body showed that he was relaxed. I wanted to look into his eyes and really tell what color they were, but not once did he look back at me. The girl who sat next to me, who I found out was named Joann, was very sweet, and briefed me about other art things that had already been done. She managed to steal my attention, but only briefly. When the lights finally came back on, and our assignment handed out, Jamie turned around and at last looked at me.

I couldn't even tell you what color the sky was. I don't even think I could have told you what paper was, even though I was holding it in my hands. His eyes were electric. They were a deep green, almost a hazel, and they pierced me like nothing had ever before.

"Hey." He said and smiled at me. It was mocking, and showed a darkness that made me, almost, snap out of my little trance.

"Er…Hey." I said, feeling like I was the world biggest idiot.

He smiled again and took out his paint brushes and water colors. That was it. One 'hey', and my world was already spinning out of control. The girl next to me, Joann, didn't seem to notice anything. She was smiling to herself as she began to paint in a cubism pattern. I fumbled with my paper, trying to put it down on the table, but missed somehow. It fell onto the floor and hit Jamie's foot. I wanted to swear so badly, that I almost did. He smiled at me again, picked up the paper and held it in front of me. I hesitantly took it, as he quickly let go.

"Thank you." I said, feeling my face heat up unpleasantly.

"Don't mention it." He said. He went right back onto painting whatever he was working on, and I continued to sit there feeling stupid. I finally got a set of water colors and began my own cubism design. After about twenty minutes I was pretty happy with my end result. The design was like a violin, mixed with earthy colors of green and brown. When I looked up from my drawing, I noticed Jamie staring at me.

"It looks like shit." He said, leaning in closer to my piece.

"Excuse me?" What did he just say? Did I hear that right?

"I said it looks like shit. Do you need to get your hearing checked?"

"You are a complete jack ass." I said, getting my best mean face on. I wasn't hurt so much as I was royally offended. I didn't even claim to be some kind of great artist. Who was he to just say stuff like that?

"Yeah, I've been told that once before." He went right back onto painting like nothing had just happened.
"I wonder why." I said, getting pissed off.

"Yeah, I wonder that myself." He didn't even look up from his picture. After that, the bell rang, and he was like a whirlwind getting his stuff together and bolting out the door. By the time I finally got my stuff together and got out the door myself, I was already late to my last class, which was Economics. It was as boring as the one at my last school, and when the bell finally rang to go home, I was more than ready to leave. The only upside to the class was the fact Jack was in it, though we ended up sitting on opposite sides of the room. When the class was over he came over to my side, smiling a wild smile.

"How was your first day? Aside from the whole me causing you a bloody nose thing?" He asked as we walked to our cars. I had forgotten to mention I had finally made it to being a junior, and along with such an upper classmen perk, I also had my driver's license. I honestly think I would die without my car, I loved it. It was a black Honda Civic, two door, and really "zippy" as my favorite uncle always liked to say. He followed me to my car as I thought about my answer.

"I think it was okay, well, actually, it was pretty great until my art class."

"What happened in art? Did you spill paint everywhere or something?"

"I wish. Jamie was there, but he was really mean. He said my art was a piece of shit...." I said trailing off, and my anger boiling over the edges.

"He said what?"

I regretted saying anything to Jack right away. When someone asks me a direct question, I always answer it honestly. Sometimes it gets me in a lot of trouble. My mouth had a mind of its own most of the time. I could tell he was getting defensive for me, and even though it was nice to see that someone cared, it was also not good if he caused a scene or a fight or something a guy would do.

"I don't know, he was just acting like a jerk." I said as we got to my car and I opened the door.

"Well, next time he does something, just let me know and I'll see what I can do."

"Um, thanks. I guess I'll see you tomorrow then?" I asked as I tried to avoid a very awkward situation.

"Yeah, the gang hangs out by the front, next to the flag pole. We usually get here early before class." He said, smiling sheepishly.

"Okay, I'll see you then." I said, closing my car door and starting the engine. As I drove to my new home, I watched as he stood where we parted, waving slightly, with a curious look on his face.