Chapter 1

I got caught having a staring contest with the neighborhood cat.

And see, not only was he the neighborhood cat, but he was an old cat. Very old. Eighteen human years, to be exact. Which would make him what, in his nineties in cat years? He was orange and white with amber colored eyes. He seemed to have given up on cleaning himself some time ago as the white parts of him were now more of a beige color. His fur was matted and pieces of it were falling off of him. He was so thin he was practically skin and bones.

Yet he had a stare that could make you flinch. Uncompromising, unblinking, telling you he was the boss and he knew it. So even though it was my fence in my yard, he had every right to be there.

"Um, what are you doing?"

My head snapped away from the cat towards the speaker and I saw that blue-green eyes flickering with amusement were looking down at me from the other side of the fence. I felt my cheeks heat up a little.

The boy who was looking at me went to my school, and I think he was in my grade, but I didn't know his name. All I knew about him was that he was really quiet and kept to himself. I had only noticed him because he was in my lunch and I always saw him drawing in a sketchbook at his table. I had passed close by him a few times and caught some glimpses of his work, and what I saw was really impressive. He definitely had talent.

"I'm…uh…looking at the cat?" I replied, feeling a little flustered all of a sudden as one side of the boy's mouth curved up slightly and a small dimple appeared to the side of his mouth. He wasn't quite smiling but he wasn't looking at me as though he thought I was nuts either.

He nodded slightly. "I can see that," he answered. Then abruptly, as though we hadn't been talking at all, he walked away quickly.

I glanced back at the cat, who had watched the whole conversation with the same intense stare. A look of boredom came over him as he settled himself down on the fence, tucking his front paws underneath him. He yawned widely.

"This isn't over," I muttered to him as I turned and went into my house.


Tuesday ended up being the most frustrating day I'd had in a long time.

I had woken up late thanks to hitting the snooze button too many times, couldn't find the shirt I had wanted to wear that day, and gotten into an argument on the way to school with my younger sister Zoe, the fashionista, over skinny jeans, of all things. (I thought they were hideous and should have stayed in the eighties while she thought they were just awesome.)

The day at school wasn't any better either. I had forgotten to do my English reading and of course I was called upon by the teacher to summarize the chapters I was supposed to have read the night before. On any other day I could have done it easily, as much as I hated to talk in class. Instead I had just shaken my head and Mr. Blinn sighed as I heard some stifled giggles. My face felt like it was burning and I wanted to slide down in my seat and disappear. At lunch I was approached by one of the hottest, most athletic guys in my grade who wanted me to make a bracelet for his girlfriend. It was like pulling teeth to get him to tell me what he had in mind. Let's just say his athleticism may have caused him to lose some brain cells.

I was known around the school, in all the grades, for hand making beaded bracelets. I had first started making and giving them to my two closest friends, Trista Marshall and Brandon Phelps. Well at least I had given them to Brandon's female family members, since he was a guy. Brandon was extremely popular in our grade, intelligent, friendly, outgoing, and very good-looking with his (natural) blonde hair and twinkling deep blue eyes. He was tall, at over six feet, and athletic and toned. I had known both Brandon and Trista since we were five and throughout the years as our social statuses changed and Brandon gained a ton of new friends he nevertheless remained steadfastly loyal to Trista and me. It was through him that word had spread throughout the school of my hobby.

Trista was more along the lines of my own social status. We got along with pretty much everyone but we were not popular. I spent most of my time hanging out with her and occasionally Brandon would join us when his busy social schedule permitted it. I thought Trista was a beautiful girl. She had curly dark brown, almost black hair with pale blue eyes and a dark complexion. She always had a smile on her face and was thin and of average height. Frankly I thought the boys in our school were blind as none of them seemed to notice her beauty. But Trista tended to be shy and quiet until she got to know people better, so perhaps I couldn't completely blame them.

And me? I'm the short one of the three of us at barely over five feet. I'm not thin and not fat. I have wavy black medium-length hair and dark brown eyes. Most people seemed to think I was small and cute. Nothing too special.

In the middle of my crappy day I bumped into my art teacher from the year before, Ms. Sullivan, who asked me to come after school to her classroom as she had something she wanted to talk to me about. Even though I had been looking forward to making my escape at the end of the school day I agreed to meet with her.

When I arrived at her classroom I found it empty. Instead of desks the class had five tables with four stools at each one, as this was an art room after all. I took a seat at the middle table in a stool and dropped my bag onto the ground, wondering what it was she wanted to talk to me about. I really didn't want to be here. I put my elbows on the table and ran my hands through my hair, sighing a little at the same time.

I heard footsteps in the classroom and I took my head out of my hands, expecting Ms. Sullivan. Instead I found myself looking at the boy who had witnessed my staring contest with the neighborhood cat.

His eyes seemed to be appraising me and I felt a little uncomfortable.

"Hi," I said to him, wanting to be polite and maybe, hopefully, making a better second impression on him.

"Hello," he replied. His voice was deep and sounded slightly rough.

Before I could say anything else Ms. Sullivan breezed in. She was always energetic and on-the-go with a great positive attitude. "Hey, hey," she said as she whizzed by both of us.

"Hi," we both replied at the same time.

"I assume you two know each other?" she asked as she took a seat on top of the table in front of me.

The boy and I both remained silent and I gave a little half-shrug without looking at him. Ms. Sullivan looked between the both of us and grinned.

"Charlotte, this is Josh. Josh, this is Charlotte," she fired off quickly. I looked back at the boy, or rather, Josh, and he gave me a small nod.

"All right then," she went on and I turned to face her again. "Josh, why don't you sit down as I'll explain why I wanted to meet with the two of you."

I heard Josh shuffle towards the table I was sitting at and he dragged the stool that was next to me as far away as possible before sitting down on it. Did I have cooties or something? Or maybe he just didn't want to be near people who had staring contests with neighborhood cats.

"I called you both in here because both of you have heard, I'm sure, of the silent auction that I'm running to benefit the American Cancer Society." I nodded and she smiled at me. "I'm sorry to impose on the two of you but I need a few more items and I was hoping both of you could contribute some stuff or maybe even work together. I know you're really good at making those bracelets, Charlotte, and you have made some fabulous designs but maybe Josh can come up with some unique and different ideas as well for you? What do you guys think?"

I looked over at Josh who seemed to give me a look of indifference and he shrugged. Not really sure what I was getting myself into I turned back to Ms. Sullivan. "Sure," I heard myself answer her. I didn't think I had any other choice in the matter.

I seemed to have spoken for Josh as well since he stood up from his stool. "Ok then," he said, sounding a little uncertain. "Is it all right if I go? I have to pick up my sister from the middle school."

"Sure thing Josh," Ms. Sullivan responded as she stood up off the table. This little meeting seemed to be over as I stood up as well and picked up my bag. Josh gave me another look before turning abruptly to leave.

Feeling a little confused by Josh's attitude I called out a good-bye to Ms. Sullivan as I made my way out of her classroom and to the parking lot.


A/N: I know I know. Why is she starting another story when Seprans and Links should be finished first and not be on hiatus? But this story just popped into my head and I needed to get it out. I've got most of it outlined already. I think it will be fairly short and I hope to make it light and sweet and funny. Thanks for reading!