Copyright 2011 © Rebecca Garner. All Rights Reserved.

A Fake Secret

Chapter 1

I clutched my hands to the sturdy branch that broke out of the tree's main trunk. The branch curved out to the main tree's left about two feet above my head so my long arms reached it easily. I clasped my hands together behind the branch and pushed my right foot against the trunk with my left soon following. I then continued to swing my right leg up and around so that it too was wrapped around the thick branch my arms clung to. When i did the same with my left leg, i looked like a koala bear in the forest until i somehow managed to get myself atop it rather than hanging from it. Thus, i successfully climbed the tree in the school parking lot without any help. It was a sweet victory.

Of course this was all just a distraction for my body while my mind remained useless as it was made to endure Ashley's incessant ramblings once again. She stood a few yards away from me with her arms crossed and one leg standing adjacent to the other by the position of her hips. She looked more like one of a million Paris Hilton clones, if Paris Hilton was African American, than the one and only Ashley Cambell in that moment.

My judgment was maybe a tad bias in that though, since whenever i see girls in expensive clothes, talking about her "amazingly hot" crush since third grade, standing like that, my mind automatically classifies them as annoying bitchy clones of Paris Hilton, Hillary Duff, the Olsen twins, or any other popular, preppy, screw-up actress. I laughed at my own sarcastic tone, even when i only said this in my mind, and Ashley looked from her new shoes to my for the first time in the ten minutes we'd been talking (though it was more like in the minutes that she'd been talking and I'd been nodding politely and adding the occasional, vague and acceptable response to whatever she posed as a question or her tone indicated she wanted agreement). That's how it always was with Ashley, but i didn't mind much. It gave my ears something to listen to while my mind thought out math problems from class or contemplated my intro paragraph for the essay assignment we'd just been given. It was well used time in my opinion.

Ashley was looking at me. "Are you even listening? I was saying that he commented on my new shoes today. A boy noticed my shoes, think about that; since hes not gay, it means he likes me!"

"How do you know hes not gay?" I replied, trying to avoid replying to the much more tempting statement she made at the end. I loved her, but the girl was obsessed with this guy, who just happened to be nice enough to not make fun of her for her obviousness, just because he was "hot". I pitied her for the situation her feelings put her in, because ever since it somehow spread around the school that she liked Shane in the fourth grade, everyone had proceeded to make fun of her for it and shun her for no real reason. I had come to our school the following year and i liked how confident she was so we started talking. At this time, she was one of my best friends, and this was our seventh grade year.

"Because, Amber, a guy does not manage to be that damn sexy and a fag at the same time!" I laughed at this. Of course she'd say that.

"You're the one whose always lecturing me about how they have the right to marry, and then you go around calling them fags?" I posed the question with one eyebrow raised at her accusingly. I was now fully on the tree, with my rear end seated comfortably in the crevice of the ninety degree angle made by the branch and tree, looking down at Ashley mockingly.

"Oh shut up, you know what i mean." I laughed again, she shot me an annoyed look, and then continued blabbering about Shane. I didn't want to be mean and point out the obvious but, at least to me, it canceled out a guy's hotness if he was shorter than me by like half a foot, which Shane was. And i was shorter than Ashley, so he would be even shorter when put next to her. Plus, i didn't find him very attractive to begin with so in my personal opinion, Ash needed to get her eyes checked or something if she really thought he was as hot as she described him to her friends who hadn't met him.

Two guys walked out of the building to my left, Ash's right as she stood opposite me, and looked at me, sitting in the corner of the tree like it was whatever. I smiled at them with a look saying, "You got a problem?" and looked back down at Ashley as they walked off to the street beyond our circular parking lot. She was looking at me with a "eureka!" look on her dark features. I continued looking at her curiously until she finally mentioned the thought that had resurfaced in her mind.

"I just remembered something that happened today at lunch!" It was a Friday, only a couple months into the school year, and since our school was as good as a private school academy for nerds, nothing would've normally happened that was all that important to grab Ashley's attention, even on a Friday other than a fail game of football on the field.

"Well, are you going to tell me or keep in utter suspense till Monday?"

A wicked look appeared in her round brown eyes for a flicker of a moment, then vanished. I moaned on the inside, anticipating the game of "come on, just guess!" that was about to ruin my previously enjoyable afternoon.

"I'm not going to guess, Ash. You know i hate doing that!"

"Then i guess you'll never know whats on my mind. Its really good by the way."

My eyes narrowed, mocking her again, "I thought you were trying out this new, 'I'm not a gossip you can tell me anything,' attitude. If you force me to guess someone's secret from you, and am somehow hit with the miracle of getting it right, wouldn't that betray this person's trust in you and thus all you'd be is a hypocrite." And with that, i began my dissension from the tree. My Dad told me in the morning that he'd pick me up at ten past three, and my phone told me that was in two minutes. My feet hit the ground with a good hard, "thump!" and i landed facing away from my friend in the way i had gotten down. I was wiping my hands of dirt, and shaking the same from my shirt and new jeans when i felt a small hand close around my shoulder and yank me to face her.

"Ash, my Dad'll be here any minute now," I began.

"I know, which is why I'm telling you now. I'm a girl above a trustworthy person, so i have to honor the 'chick code', by telling you that i found out that someone likes you today." Now that got my attention! I'd always had very low self esteem about my slightly overweight status, and I'd never thought of myself as pretty, so to think someone liked me was helpful in that respect. This is because unfortunately, in our society, the opposite gender like you eighty percent on the time because you're hot. It was why I didn't have a crush at the time; i was different. I'm not going to lie and say i don't appreciate it when the guy i like is cute, or even by my perception, hot, but that's never the sole basis for my liking them. But then again, at that time I'd never liked anyone in a way that was more than just liking them, but less than actually loving them. Its called puppy love. And little did i know that with a simple sentence from Ashley in the next second, that would change.

"Who?" I managed to ask through my joy.

Her eyes were filled with a patronizing look as she knew she held the upper hand in this instance. And right when my Dad's white Chevy Excursion pulled into the circle of the parking lot, she whispered, "Damien!", in my ear. My heart dropped and i unhappily accepted the fact that i couldn't ask her any questions about this until Monday. With that, i hugged her as she gave me a knowing wink, and then i practically had to hold a gun to my head to drag myself away from her and get into the car. Damien Stokes was known to everyone in our grade as the biggest douche alive. What could he possibly see in me?