So, I know there are other stories I should be working on, but this is all that's coming to mind… oops.

Kiyoshi'sGirl64 and Kiyoshi

I try not to stare, but the new kid just draws my attention. He just sits in the corner, glaring at everyone. He doesn't eat lunch, doesn't say a single word to anyone. Maybe it's stereotypical, I don't know, but this… otherness intrigues me. I want to know who this kid is.

I point him out to Saki, my best friend. "You know who that is?" I ask.

She looks up and shakes her head. "Should I?"

I shrug. "I just thought you might. You always seem to know everything that goes on around here, whether or not it's your business. Figured I might as well ask."

"Jay," she sighs. "He looks… I really don't think he'd be interested."

"Who says I'm interested?" I demand.

"Jay," she says. "Stop. I've known you for almost eight years now. When you like a guy, I know."

"But I don't like him. I'm just… curious."

She rolls her eyes. "Keep telling yourself that, Jay. Just… when you realize you do like him… be careful. I don't want you to get hurt."

"Why do you assume that I'm going to get hurt, Saki?"

"Jadyn," she says seriously, using my given name rather than the nickname only she is allowed to call me. "Don't be stupid. You fall head over heels in love with a guy, and then he doesn't like you and you… hm. Actually, I don't really know how to describe what you do. You don't really get upset… but for a few days, you're not you."

"What is that even supposed to mean?" I ask.

"Actually," she says, "I really don't know. Just that I don't like it when you let your heart run away with your head." She nods to the kid still sitting in the corner. "And I can tell just looking at him that he's bad news for your heart, Jay."

I sigh. "You're probably right." I pick at the crappy cafeteria food I got because I woke up late and didn't have time to pack my lunch.

"You know I'm right," she says. "And stop looking so morose. It doesn't suit you at all."

"Whatever." Morose is the way I live my life. Well, sort of. I've got a sort of rollercoaster going at the moment. High, low, loop-the-loop, high, low, around the bend, upside down, high, low, pause to reload, start it all over again.

"Jay," she complains as we stand to dump our trays. "You're not going to be happy till you talk to this kid, are you?"

I shrug. "I don't really need to talk to him. I just want to know about him."

"Sure," Saki says, her trademark sarcasm coloring her tone. She rolls her eyes but says, "I'll see what I can find out about this new kid for you, mkay?"

"Thanks, Saki," I say. She doesn't answer, just grabs her bag off the floor and heads off to her sixth hour, the only class we don't have together.

I sigh. I might as well go as well. Not like I have anyone other than Saki to talk to anyway. No one wants to talk to Jadyn Angel Ellison, the freak of nature. No one except Saki that is. She talked to me in fourth grade, after all the others had decided I was weird. If you talked to Jadyn, you must be weird too. Except for Saki. Saki moved here after they came to the conclusion that there was something wrong with me. And everyone knew from day one that Saki was weird, with her long black hair and bright green eyes. She talked incessantly, unworried about what others might think of her. And her lack of worry about what others thought won me a friend.

I go to Spanish and sleep through it. I'm a junior, but even Spanish one is beyond me. I guess languages are not my forte. Whatever. I have physics and math. The semester started last week and I'm already counting down the days until spring break. Then I'll just spend my time sitting around with Saki. The others… they don't ostracize Saki like they do me, but they do keep their distance. Her personality leaves people feeling uncomfortable and at a loss for words.

The bell finally rings, releasing me from the hell that is Spanish class. Only one class left, fricking art. Saki convinced me to take it. I took the basic art class freshman year since it's required, but I have no idea what possessed me to take a drawing class. Okay, so it's not that bad. It's really laid back, and I like the teacher. But I cannot draw to save my life.

I walk over to the place the teacher has us keep our portfolios and pull out the piece I'm working on now. We're supposed to be doing portraits, so each person has a partner. The picture is a reasonable likeness of Saki, not good, but recognizable to anyone who's met her. Saki is sitting there when I walk in, and the moment I sit down she starts talking. "So I talked to the people in my sixth hour and even though it's my journalism class"—journalism. In this school, that's code for the people who want an excuse to be in everyone else's business—"no one really knows much about him. It's his first day here, his name is Davis Winters, and he never says anything. He's a junior like us. I wrote down a list of his classes based on who has what with him throughout the day. There are a couple we don't know, simply because no one had that hour with him. And of course, we don't know his seventh hour."

She slides the list across the table to me. I look down at Saki's untidy scrawl, the handwriting as familiar to me as my own. 1-unknown. 2-biology. 3-unknown. 4-algebra. 5-spanish. 6-unknown. "That's it?" I ask.

"He's been here one day, Jay. He doesn't talk. There isn't much more I can do for you. Oh yeah. In case you were wondering, he has third lunch." The sarcasm is back.

"Thanks, Saki, but I figured that one out on my own." The bell rings, and Saki groans. "What?" I ask.

"Don't look now, Jay, but I figured out what Mr. Mysterious' seventh hour is."

I turn around so fast I almost give myself whiplash. Sure enough, Davis Winters strolls into the classroom, seeming to bring with him a dark raincloud. No one except me and Saki even seem to notice. Everyone is working on their portraits, which are due two days from now. And, quite unfortunately, Saki's is the only one that looks like the real thing. Which is unfortunate, since she's drawing me, the freak of South Ridge High.

The teacher sees Davis Winters and tells him something. Davis Winters shrugs. The teacher points to the table Saki and I are sitting at, since it's the only one that has seats remaining. Davis Winters walks to our table and sits down, putting his head on his arms and looking as though he's going to sleep the entire hour. But then, without pulling his head up, he says, "She said to ask you what the assignment was." Davis Winters' voice is deep, strong, the kind of voice I can imagine whispering my name as he kissed me, preferably in the pouring rain. Of course, we all know that'll never happen, but I can dream, right?

I glance at Saki. She's the one with the photographic memory. She says, "We're drawing portraits. You just draw a portrait of one of the people sitting at your table. You can use whatever medium you prefer. Mrs. Tyler has charcoals—that's what I'm using—and regular pencils, that's what Jay is using—and she's got colored pencils, if you prefer that, as well as pastels, and markers, and—"

"I get the point." He cuts Saki off. It always bothers me when people do that to her—I do it all the time, but still. Saki, on the other hand, is entirely used to it and doesn't even seem to notice.

He continues to sleep. Finally I can't help myself. "Aren't you going start a portrait?" I hear myself ask. The main reason I ask is because I want to hear his voice again. Anything to hear him speak. That voice is enough to make me melt, even when he's not talking about anything more than a school assignment.

"Tyler said I'd be graded on effort rather than completion for this assignment," Davis Winters answers, still not looking up. I want to see his eyes. I want him to have the dark grey almost black eyes you read about in books. That combined with the dark hair would make him perfect. My knight in shining armor, come to rescue me and help me escape this nightmare that is high school. Foolish, I know, but still a nice thought. What could someone like Davis Winters ever see in me?

"Doesn't that mean you actually have to try?" I ask.

He bristles and sits up. His eyes aren't dark grey. They are a deep, intense blue, like the ocean. Beneath his dark brown hair, set in the face with the strong, almost square jaw, the hard nose that would look out of place on any other face, but on him it's perfect. Those eyes. They're intensity screams at me, and I want him to look at me and tell me he loves me. That's all I want from this world at the moment. Saki sees me staring at him and throws her hands in the air. "I told you so. I knew it. I told you so."

She's right, but I don't answer. I'm too busy waiting for an explanation for why Davis Winters has decided to grace me with the beauty of his eyes. He doesn't seem to have the slightest interest in what Saki is talking about. Then he says, "It'd take me fifteen minutes to make a better drawing of the girl than what you have on the table now."

I stare at him. "Did I wrong you in another life?" I ask.

He shrugs and puts his head back down on the table. "I just don't like stupid questions. I'll do the project tomorrow, and I'll finish it then. And it'll be better than any of the crap the rest of you have drawn." He seems to think a moment then raises his head to tell Saki, "Except yours. It'd take me a while to outdo yours."

"Cause I care what you think," Saki responds, sticking out her tongue.

Davis Winters ignores her and goes back to sleep. I frown. What did I say? Saki groans and goes back to shading and rubbing and erasing, creating the shadows on my face to make it more lifelike. She even gets the eyeliner right. It's not fair. I spend more than a week on this, an excessive amount of time on it with Saki in my bedroom giving me tips on shading and the use of lines, and then this kid thinks he can come in and say he can do better in fifteen minutes? "Not fair," I groan, imitating Davis Winters' actions and allowing my forehead to fall down and rest on the table. "Why do I have to suck at drawing?"

"You don't suck, Jay!" Saki objects. But she always objects when I cut myself down like that.

"Debatable," Davis Winters notes.

I don't lift my head up. Saki keeps badgering me to look at her for the rest of the hour. "Just because you're in a bad mood doesn't mean my project should suffer," she complains, trying to guilt trip me.

"It's still better than anyone else's," I remind her, still refusing to look up.

She gives up and less than five minutes later the bell rings, releasing us from the prison. Davis Winters doesn't move. Saki and I put the portraits away, neither of which has changed any over the course of the hour. As we pick up our shoulder bags and leave the room, I pause at the door to look back at Davis Winters. "Should we wake him?" I ask.

"This is why I don't let you go near guys, Jay," Saki says. "You get your heart set on one of them and it always falls through. High school guys are all jerks. Wait a couple years and you'll find someone in college, I promise. And, on top of being a jerk, that guy is arrogant and lazy." She grabs my arm and drags me down the hall, preventing me from waking Davis Winters up.

I just ask, "Did you see his eyes, Saki? They're beautiful."

"I saw your eyes when you were looking at him. And you're just as big a fool as the day we met, Jay. I don't want to see you get hurt again. But I can't protect you if you don't listen to my advice."

I shrug. The thing is, I don't really want Saki's advice as far as guys are concerned. Maybe I just like being heartbroken, cause what she says is always true. But I never seem to want to listen. Now is no exception to that rule.

The next day…

I crawl out of bed, pull on my jeans, my t-shirt and my bright blue converse and go into the bathroom where I wash my face, run a comb through my hair and darken the edges of my eyelids with black eyeliner. Let's see… today I have… psych test, physics test and—crap. I have to make up for an entire day's time lost in art.

Because of Davis Winters.

Can I just skip today?

But I meet Saki at the bus stop like normal. I'm not sure why, either. I'm not sure if it's because I want to make sure she gets her chance to finish drawing me—she would kill me if I skipped out on her today—or if it's because I want to see if Davis Winters' claims actually come to anything.

I breeze through the psych test in first hour, and Mr. McGregor drones on and on and on about British history for all fifty minutes of second hour. In third hour, however, I walk in to find Saki frozen at the door. Saki is never shocked. What's going on? I look past her. Oh. That's why.

Davis Winters is sitting in the corner. Our corner. The corner where only the freaks sit. Saki doesn't look to happy. "Where was he yesterday, if he's in this class?" she hisses as I drag her over toward the corner a little bit too eagerly. Why do I feel… happy to see him? Like Saki said yesterday, he's an arrogant, lazy jerk.

But I sit down next to him anyway, and Saki groans and takes her seat in front of me. "Why weren't you here yesterday?"


"On the first day?"

"Who needs English?"

He isn't sleeping today. His blue eyes are bright and alert and even more beautiful than yesterday. Oh, I can just imagine how it would feel to have him hold me in his arms… I sigh blissfully. "What were your names again?" he suddenly asks. "Saki and Jay or something?"

"Jadyn," I correct out of habit. But I don't mind the way Jay sounds coming from him. "But you can call me Jay if you want."

Saki stares at me. "Jadyn, you are out of your mind," she accuses.

Probably. But I don't particularly care at the moment. This kid has everything. Gorgeous eyes, thick hair, nice arms, mysterious almost bad-boy personality… he's perfect. Too bad he'll never see anything in little old me. Freak of nature. He's got plenty of girls to choose from here. And I guarantee they're all swooning over him just like I am. Saki is the only one who isn't like that. She couldn't care less what anyone thinks—especially guys—and is content being single.

I… I'm fine with being single, but I've never had a guy show any kind of interest in me. At all. Which is why I'm so desperate. I want to know that there's someone out there who might want me. Other than my mother and Saki, that is.

Then the Miss Hammons announces, "We're going to read some poetry today. Then I have a long term assignment for you." The class groans in unison. "Now, now, she says. It's not that bad. It's a partner project and it's meant to be fun." Saki and I glance at each other. Partner projects are never that bad when your best—only—friend knows you well enough that you know exactly what the other wants to do. And you know exactly how to talk them out of any stupid ideas.

We read the poetry and then she explains the project. I'm not really paying any attention. Saki'll explain it to me later. But then the class groans. Loudly. I turn to look at Saki. "What'd I miss?" I hiss at her.

"We're drawing names for partners," she answers. "We don't get to choose our own." This project just got a lot less fun. The only people who don't hate me are Saki and… Saki.

Then the bell rings and we're spared choosing partners. At least for today.

I sit itching in my seat all the way through sixth hour. The moment the bell rings I'm out of my seat and nearly sprinting towards the art wing. I get to see Davis Winters draw today.

But he doesn't. He sleeps again. And Saki draws. And I sit there lethargically. Why won't he draw? I want him to draw a picture of me. Or at least picture of Saki, if he really hates me that much. Then the bell rings and I trudge out of the classroom and down to the bus. "He's no good for you," Saki sings.

I ignore her because I'm a terrible person. I go home, take the anti-depressants I've skipped taking for the last three days and fall asleep.

The next day…

In English, we start by drawing names. Saki groans when she pulls out the name Houston. He's a perv who's been asking her out every other week since freshman year and "He just can't take the hint," Saki fumes as she sits back down in front of me, once again with me sitting next to Davis Winters.

It takes fifty minutes to draw names because Hammons apparently didn't think her drawing game through very well. Everyone's name is in the basket, so people keep getting drawn who already have partners, or they draw themselves. And for some ridiculous reason, she wants each partnership to have a girl and a guy. Not sure how that's going to work when there are two more guys than girls, but whatever she thinks is a good idea…

And then there are only two names left in the basket. And I'm not sure whether I should be excited or upset that I'm to work with Davis Winters.

He, on the other hand, has obvious feelings. He stands up and, right in front of the entire class says, "I'm not going to work with the fricking pretty boy fag who wears guyliner and girls' jeans."