Authors note: I posted this idea for a story on my polls and it rated pretty high so I'm just going to post the first chapter and see how it goes. If people respond, I might continue it. By the way, this story will get dark. Not horribly but it might disturb some people. So this is not some romantic comedy. So um…just preparing you.
The first time I saw Liam Newberry, I peed my pants.
It was a good thing Rooney had my back that day and gave me her culinary class shorts to wear.
I didn't tell her I had peed my pants.
I said my juice box had burst on me.
I would never tell Rooney that just looking at Liam Newberry had sent my bladder a'flowin.
I was a freshman at the time. It was my third week of school. I had completely despised my high school experience thus far.
For some reason, other high schoolers don't like freshmen. They think they're annoying, small…insignificant.
I had been pretty well-liked at my middle school. I wasn't expecting to come to a place where I had no existence. I could only be grateful for the fact that I had Rooney, my good friend since elementary school.
We banded together, trying to make our way through the obscenities of high school. The seniors looked like full grown men and women! It was so strange…bizarre. Where were the school plays and spirit weeks? They had been replaced with sex ed. classes and drug testing.
I didn't like high school. Not one bit.
Not until I saw Liam Newberry's face.
He was a sophomore…but oh, he could have easily passed for a junior. Maybe even a senior.
His hair was golden. Usually, I like my boys with nice brown or black hair.
But Liam Newberry made me adore golden. He was the prettiest blonde I had ever seen.
And his sapphire eyes!
No, I'm not talking about the typical blue eyes that go with every blonde haired guy.
I'm talking sapphire eyes, okay? As in, they looked like crystals.
His cheeks were rosy and creased with laughter lines, as if he smiled all the time. His teeth were straight and white and I heard he never had braces. He had a few freckles dotting across his nose but they only complimented him more.
I could've cared less about his clothes after his face but his apparel was perfect too. From the pieces of his wardrobe, I could tell he shopped at places like Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister.
And then….he was built.
Well, maybe not built built. But he wasn't your average skinny fifteen year old.
He was absolutely, positively, utterly, completely, fantastically…delicious.
And so my crush on him was born.
I never spoke to him during my first year at Merryweather High School. I just ogled at him from a safe distance.
Then during my sophomore year and his junior year, we were in the same AP Algebra class. I had done everything possible to skip ahead a grade and get into his class. I dropped my pencil in this class one day, on purpose of course. My heart burst when he picked it up.
And then he said…
And I took the pencil!
Oh, it was amazing. I was certain it was love at first sight.
We didn't talk for another six months. Not until he slammed me into the wall in his effort to get to class on time.
He hollered, "Sorry!" over his shoulder before he dashed around the corner.
And then, it was until my junior year, my current year at Merryweather that he spoke to me again.
"You want that?"
We were in the cafeteria line together and there was only one pudding cup left.
I shook my head. "No…you can have it."
He turned to me. He smiled…
…HE SAID MY NAME.
I didn't even know he knew my name!
It was a breakthrough, it had to be.
That had happened three weeks ago and it's still plaguing my mind.
He knows my name.
That must mean at last he's seen something in me and now we're going to be together.
"He said my name…my name. Juniper. He didn't even call me June. He called me Juniper. My parents don't even call me Juniper. I don't call me Juniper! But he called me—"
Juniper glanced up from her curdled looking milk. Rooney was glaring at her as she shoved her head farther into her chemistry book. Juniper shrugged.
Rooney shrugged. "What?"
"What's up with you?" Juniper muttered, "Usually you're happy when the God Newberry talks to me."
That's what she liked to call Liam—the God Newberry.
Rooney gave a begrudged sigh. "I am. But come on…we've been here three years and he hasn't said more than five words to you. Don't you think it's time to give the whole Liam fantasy up?"
Rooney shook her head. "What?"
"Seven," Juniper replied, "He's said seven words to me. That's more than five."
This is when Rooney flicked her forehead. Juniper squealed, rubbing her sore head before stealing one of Rooney's fries. Rooney laid her head on the cafeteria table, glancing around the room.
It was relatively quiet. There was always this constant buzz in the cafeteria. One soon got used to it. Everyone seemed to be getting along. Most people at Merryweather respected one another. As long as everyone didn't try to get too ahead of themselves or go too far outside of their comfort zone, everything was alright.
"You know, Liam has been your problem these past three years."
Juniper glimpsed at Rooney. "What do you mean?"
Rooney shut her math book and stuffed it in her hot pink backpack. Adjusting her jaggedly-cut, short brunette hair, she turned to Juniper.
"He's why you can't keep a boyfriend. You always get with some guy, compare him to Liam, become unhappy, and then you dump him."
Juniper laughed. "That is not true. I've had a lot of successful relationships."
"Todd the shrimp," Rooney said with a smirk.
"That was freshmen year…we don't talk about freshmen year."
"Fine…what about Ben Collin?"
"He was doing crack behind the school…and cheating on me."
"Didn't you cheat on him as well?"
"Not the point…"
"I didn't find him attractive."
"See, because you compared him to Liam!"
"Also not the point."
"He was married to sports."
"Liam doesn't play sports…hmm. What about Davey?"
"I didn't even date Davey. He said it wouldn't work because I talked too much about Liam…I mean…"
"AH HA!" Rooney exclaimed, "See, Liam is ruining your love life. You've got all these guys who would have been perfect if it weren't for the guy who has never noticed you."
"I think that came out wrong," Rooney mumbled.
Juniper bit her lower lip.
"Damn, you think…" she murmured."
The cafeteria seemed quieter now, as if all the students had become still so that they could listen to the two girls conversation.
"Look, I just don't want some guy to take over what little you have left of high school," Rooney gently explained, "You should find someone who loves you and recognizes you. Remember…he's already dated Rebecca, and Lizzie, and April…and—wait…is this coming out wrong too?"
"Sorry," Rooney whispered, "How about-how about you just don't date at all. See, my parents won't let me date so I don't have this problem."
Juniper grinned sinisterly. "And yet you've had a crush on that band drummer Adam Sikes for three years. What about that, little Missy?"
Rooney instantly blushed, sinking back in her chair. Juniper had hit a heartstring.
Adam Sikes. He was an okay looking fellow—nowhere near Liam Newberry status. But he was okay. He was very sweet and kind. He liked to spend a lot of his free time at soup kitchens and recreation centers. He had been in the band ever since his second day at Merryweather. Now he was the band's best drummer. He could certainly twirl his drumsticks.
At first, Rooney hadn't liked him very much. He was too quite and then also too loud for her taste. And then, one day, he was ordered to pick the prettiest girl out of the stands and bang his drum for her.
It's a stupid school tradition that has to be done before each football game. The band leader will choose one of the band members to step forward. The chosen band member then steps forward and is ordered to do something the band leader commands. Sometimes they have to run around the bleachers. Sometimes they have to do a little dance. Nothing ever too extreme.
But Juniper guessed the band leader had a weird sense of humor that day because he asked Adam Sikes to pick the prettiest girl out of the stands and bang his drum for her. Of course most of the students expected him to choose one of the gorgeous cheerleaders standing right in front of him. But instead, little Adam Sikes chose Rooney.
Rooney almost died that day from embarrassment. For, before she could escape, she was literally pushed down the bleachers and in front of Adam. And he banged his drum for her.
And ever since then…Rooney had had a thing for him.
But her parents wouldn't let her date.
It was a love that would never be hers.
It was almost as tragic as Juniper's situation with Liam.
"Can we not talk about Sikes right now?" Rooney said, picking at her lunch plate before shoving it away, "I hate that topic."
Juniper nodded. "Then can you stop telling me that Liam and I will never be."
"But you won't ever be," Rooney said, "NEVER. Just let it go. Find some other guy AND don't compare him to Liam. Please."
Juniper sighed. "Fineeee. But I won't be happy about it."
Rooney giggled, "I know. But I will."
"Alright guys, you need to imprint this into your brains, C is always constant. Always! C is constant. Constant! Say it with me now…"
"C is always constant!" the class said as a whole.
Mr. Ingle smiled, "Good. Now just remember that for the rest of your time in my Calculus class and you just might pass."
The class snickered at the comment before the bell rang. Like the plague, the classroom emptied within seconds, leaving only Juniper and Mr. Ingle in the room.
Juniper liked Mr. Ingle. He was a good teacher. Sometimes he would go horribly off topic but he always meant well. He actually wanted his students to pass which Juniper couldn't say for many other teachers at Mayweather.
Juniper packed her bag slowly, feeling a little sluggish from lunch. Gradually, she sauntered out the room.
Somehow, Juniper just knew Mr. Ingle was going to want to speak to her.
"Hey, June, can I talk to you for a minute?"
If my whole pharmaceutical career doesn't pan out, I'm so become a psychic.
"Yes, Mr. Ingle?" she whispered, walking to his desk.
"So you're a junior, right?"
She nodded. "Yeah. Sadly. Senior year won't come fast enough."
Mr. Ingle laughed as he began to erase the several formulas on the dry erase board. He glanced at Juniper.
"You know, I was talking to the guidance counselor about you and he told me some really interesting stuff."
"You were talking to the counselor about me?" Juniper said, quite surprised.
"Yeah. You're one of my best students. I can't not brag about you."
"Well anyway, your GPA is very impressive and your early SAT scores are pretty good as well. I'm certain you'll be able to get into any college you want."
"Well Mr. Ingle, I'm not thinking about college just yet. I'm still a junior."
"I know but...getting accepted into the college you want is not an easy task. Students who think about these types of things before their senior year tend to be ahead of the game and more prepared. You have the potential to be very successful at college. I just want to make sure you get to choose any college you want. And well…you're extracurricular activities seem to be…"
"Lacking," Mr. Ingle blatantly replied, "You quit the cheerleading squad. You got kicked off the softball team for falling asleep in the outfield. The chess team even petitioned to have all girls banned from game because you 'accidentally' threw a board at one of the members."
"He provoked me."
"June, please. You have to know that grades and test scores will only get you so far. You have to do something in your spare time. Something positive. And you got to stick with it. Otherwise…all of your hard work will be for naught. You know you have to have at least one extracurricular activity for at least a month to graduate."
Juniper mumbled under my breath. Somehow, that little piece of information had never crossed her path.
Man, today isn't going well. I still have a tea party with my mom and a couple of her skank friends and skank daughters later this evening. Hooray.
"Are you really serious?" Juniper breathed.
Mr. Ingle smirked. "Mandatory. Might as well get it over with now. Hopefully you'll stick with it and improve your high school resume."
Juniper groaned lowly, pursing her lips. Turning around, she began to look to the door.
"I'll look into it," she hollered behind her shoulder.
"You need it to graduate!"
After school, Juniper reluctantly tried to see if there were any extracurricular activities she could join. Romantic comedies emphasized meeting the love of one's life in the strangest places. Maybe she would meet her future partner in glee club. Or maybe she would make-out with her high school sweetheart in the auditorium
Maybe this won't be completely horrible.
Juniper wanted something in her life that would take her by surprise. That would make her go completely out of her comfort zone.
Being an only child has left me in the safe zone. The "don't get kidnapped by crack dealers and end up in a slave trade" zone.
I need a new zone.
After school crap might give me that zone.
And get my mind off Liam…
Turns out, when you try to join a club halfway through the semester, only the icky ones are left.
No student council.
No glee club.
Not even freakin debate team.
There was nothing.
Nothing except…the PC Squad.
Oh, the dreaded PC Squad.
The place where only guys with stunted growth but oversized brains gathered to discuss videogame reviews and cult films. The place that always reeked of cheese and dirty hoodies. The place where no student who dared to keep their reputation would ever go.
The only club left.
Mr. Ingles. May he burn.
"I'm just going for five minutes…five minutes, June," Juniper told herself, "Then I can tell Mr. Ingles I tried and that it just won't work out. Yes…yes. I'll have to."
Hesitantly gripping her clammy hand around the door knob, Juniper opened the door to room 369. With uneven breaths, she looked inside.
It was just as bad as she had imagined.
Males. Male nerds. Computers. Computers everywhere.
Videogames. Videogames abound. Females. Females nowhere.
Her. Her frightened.
"What are you doing here?" one nerd in the front asked Juniper.
Juniper looked at him, buckteeth and all. She cringed.
Not that having buckteeth was bad or anything.
He just looked horrendous.
"I, um, I'm looking to join your club."
All of the guys stared at her simultaneously. Some of them looked like they were about to faint.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I want to. Is there a problem?"
They sure were doing a good job of making me feel welcome…
"Yes, there is a problem," he said, standing up. He had to be 4 feet tall. "There are several problems. One, you are female and this is a strictly male only club. Two, admission into the PC Squad started at the beginning of the semester and ended during that time as well. And three, you must be invited into the club by a current member. You just can't waltz up in here and expect us to let you in."
Juniper tightened her grip on her messenger bag.
"You finished?" she asked.
The male nodded.
"Good, because I have a few problems for you. One, this school is against sex discrimination in clubs besides sports teams. Two, in the school code book, it says that a student can join a club at any point in the year as long as it hasn't reached its full capacity. And three, only four extracurricular clubs are by invitation only and that would be the math research team, the science research team, the ancient history research team, and the baking squad."
…Juniper had said it all successfully in one breath. Exhaling deeply, she watched as all of the nerd's jaws dropped to the floor. Especially the one who had mouthed off to her in the first place.
"You can have a computer in the third row," he finally whispered, "I'll give you a pamphlet…so you can know what we're about."
Juniper smiled. Victory was hers.
She had to try and ignore all the stares she received on the way to her desk. They could have at least been cute.
Not one PC squader was cute.
Juniper sat at her desk, which was quite a distance from the other desks. After a couple more glances, most of the geeks turned back to their computers. She turned her computer on as the leader of the group gave her the club pamphlet.
So the PC squad was a group of guys who made simple videogames using amateur coding programs for two hours and a half after school.
"This is so stupid," Juniper whispered.
She sighed, clicking on the internet icon. Seeing as everyone else in the club seemed to be in their own little world, she decided not to bother herself with doing anything productive.
Juniper glanced around, making certain that no one was looking at her Facebook page when she locked eyes with the creepiest creature behind her.
He had to have been gazing at her for awhile because, in a hurry, he tried to avert his eyes.
Lanky in structure but meek in the face, his eyes felt like shards of glass diving into Juniper's chest. They punctured her heart and made it stop beating. She clutched her shirt, trying to gasp for air. Pushing his dark black hair over his forehead, he looked intently at his computer screen.
But Juniper wouldn't turn away from him. It was just something about him.
Finally, his eyes momentarily looked at her.
"What?" she said, "Never seen a human with boobs before? Keep your eyes in your head, pervert."
Whirling around, Juniper began to check her friend's profiles and photos.
No person in this club was going to get the time of day from her.
Four thirty wouldn't come fast enough.
"We meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:30. We'll, ugh, find something you can do by next time. Keep in mind, newbies do the grunt work. So be prepared to run some errands on Tuesday."
"Fine. See you later…wait—what's your name?"
Scanning over the room, she smirked."Juniper. Juniper Davis."
And then Juniper walked out of the room.
The hallways felt cold and dark. Being at school after class hours was awkward.
Juniper walked to her locker and opened it up. It was so cluttered with pictures and books; she could barely fit her calculator into it.
"Now I'm going to be late for mom's tea party…awesome. I'm going to get a lecture…and a…a…"
Oh goodness, goodness me.
Juniper grabbed her locker door and hid behind it.
It couldn't be…but it was.
Liam Newberry. In the flesh.
Juniper tried to restrain herself from throwing up. She had never been alone with Newberry in her life. She could see every freckle on his face now, seeing some she had never even noticed before.
He looked frustrated at the moment. He was running his hands through his hair and pacing back and forth. He groaned after awhile before slamming his fist against one of the lockers. Juniper looked on with worry.
What could be bothering him so much? I've never seen him this upset.
Juniper, inching around her locker, pulled her shirt over her revealed midriff and tugged at her long, auburn hair.
Oh, he's so pretty. Too pretty.
Maybe he got dumped.
That would be wonderful!
Oh, Juniper, what a horrible thought! Why would you want your dream guy to get dumped?
So that you can have him of course…
Was Liam Newberry saying his eighth word to me?
Forcing herself into the open, Juniper dived into Liam's azure eyes and almost drowned.
"What are you doing here?" he asked in his soft voice, "Oh wait…you're in a club?"
Juniper's head bobbled up and down.
Liam smiled, pressing his right index finger to his lips. He looked Juniper over.
"What club are you in?"
Gotta think of a lie quick!
"Um…I'm in a culinary class. Ugh…deserts!"
It was actually Rooney's extracurricular activity, but it was the first non-geeky club Juniper could think of.
"That's nice…" Liam said, his sneakers squeaking against the floor as he walked around in circles, "I just got out of hockey practice. I've, ugh, never seen you in the crowd before. You should come to a game sometime."
"Oh. Okay." What a stupid response? Liam's actually talking to me and now I can't even think of one reasonable reply.
"Wellll…" he said, drawing out the word, "Maybe I'll see you around. You're um…Juniper…correct?"
I nodded my head. "Juniper Davis."
"Cool. And a junior?"
I nodded my head again. "Yes…and-and you're a senior?"
Liam grinned eagerly. "Sure thing. Bye, Juniper Davis."
Biting his lower lip, Liam gave me a low wave before sauntering down the hallway. Juniper's eyes traced after him and remained on Liam until he disappeared around the corner.
Completely breathless, Juniper fell into her locker.
She could neither count how many words Liam had now spoken to her nor could she understand why fate had tossed her such a wonderful card.
But she knew a corner had finally been turned.
Liam Newberry knew she existed.
And it had only taken three years.
That was certainly progress.
Authors note: I know it's a really slow start but I have a lot planned for this story. So I hope people review. Thanks!