He looked out the window, past the always watchful oak tree, past the crowds of milling children, past the trees in the woody distant… his eyes focused on a hardly discernable figure within the expanse of the blurring trees. He knew who it was. It was her. Ashlyn. Ashlyn Grey. The girl who never got along with anyone else.

His interest in her surprised even him. He had never been truly interested in a girl before. Sure, maybe quick glances, like, hey, that girl is cute, or something like that. But never like this. Whenever she was near him, he could feel his face heat up and hear the unnaturally loud ba-dump of his heart racing.

Her hair was always tied back in a tight, controlled knot, always glowing golden in the sunlight that streamed from above. Her hair flashed as it moved, throwing what seemed like sparkles across his eyes. She shined. He only watched. Her hair being loose, or, even better, untied was a rare occurrence. Like a rainbow. When her hair was down, it was like a rainbow. How the gold shined and shimmered, always leaving and never staying.

Her mouth, although thin, was endearing, causing him to literally shiver when he looked directly at them. He rarely saw those endearing lips curl up in a smile. Only when she was reading. Only then did she smile. And even though she smiled, it was sparse, rare, like the stars in the sky. So much darkness surrounded the brief glare of beauty. If you looked directly at them, there were so many, like I am sure she has many smiles in her past, just none that I can see all at once. Not like the stars.

Her eyes were an adorably hazel that sparked with interest when she was reading or listening to her IPod. He loved to watch her eyes change. It was the only way you could tell her emotions were changing. They were filled with so many colors, it seemed to him. Browns, light browns, greens, blues, dark browns, and even a small amount of yellow flared in her eyes. He wanted to know what they looked like, dark with passion. What would they look like? Would she ever look at him like that?

He watched as the teacher called for the students to come in from their walk. Her silhouette gradually came closer, moving faster than anyone else. That was another thing he loved about her. She was strong. Not like the pencil-thin girls all around him today. She had real muscles. She ran faster then nearly everyone, her feet flew like she was running through air. And her expression. She was never concentrating—like she never really tried. She looked casually in every direction, even occasionally running backward when something behind her had her interest.

He wanted to be the object of her interest. But he wasn't.

She ran closer, coming close enough so that he could see her whole face. She followed her peers inside, filing in behind them without speaking a word. At that moment, and he didn't know why it was that moment, he admitted it. He was in love with her. With Ashlyn Grey. The girl nobody liked. The girl who rarely spoke. The girl who was always in the back of the class, reading or listening to her IPod—or both.

She wasn't a beauty. She wasn't a monster, either. She was cute, just cute. He wanted her to notice him. To speak with him. To listen to him. He wanted to believe that they were soul mates. That would explain why he suddenly fell in love with her. Soul mates. Destined to be. He wanted that, because if it was so, he could be close to her, to look at her every day without fearing being seen.

Ashlyn, Ashlyn, Ashlyn Grey. Ashyln Ashlyn is my ray. The ray of sunlight every day. Ashlyn, Ashlyn, Ashlyn Grey. The bright spot of my day. The words filled his head, almost as if put there. Quietly, he repeated them, the words, just in a whisper. No louder. Only so that he alone could here. Only him. Only he knew of his love for her.

It was then that he knew he would never love anyone else. No one else had interested him before Ashlyn. It was inconceivable to believe that anyone else would. No one else was Ashlyn. He heard the girl's locker room open and then the sound of chatting girls exiting. A second later, the boys entered the mix of chirping voices. He turned just as the voices faded. He turned to see Ashlyn Grey just stepping out of the locker room. Her face was slightly red, her cheeks wet. And he knew, just as much as he knew his own name, that she had been crying.

He took a deep breath and stepped over to her. "Ashlyn?"