A/N: Have an update for an early holiday present! I'm sorry I won't have much time to re-write and edit things for this story in the next few weeks because I'll be really busy. But you should be excited for me: I'm playing drums in a family band for a Christmas party Monday night and it's going to be super-special-awesome!


It was lunch time and I was sitting at my usual table with Tim and Brad. The past few days of school had been stifling and unbearable, and I thought I'd be in a bad mood forever at this point. Not to mention I was seriously considering changing schools and I didn't know how my close friends would react.

"Dude." Brad started. He had stopped eating and was watching me stab my fork into my perhaps-chicken, perhaps-styrofoam steak. "You look like shit."

You could say Brad had an eloquent way of speaking and danced around subjects. You'd also be wrong.

"Yeah, thanks, Einstein." I retorted, not looking up.

"Really, though," Tim cut in, "It looks like something's eating you, and something tells me it's not just everyone babying you. What's up, Ty?"

I gulped. This was the best time to tell them. "Yeah, you're right. Well, you know I'm having a crappy time here because of how everyone's been treating me lately. You've even commented on how people who didn't even know who I was before suddenly wanted to be friends. It's just weird, and honestly, I'm seriously considering changing schools."

I took a deep breath as I watched Tim and Brad process what I had just said.

Brad reacted first. "So you think if no one knows what happened, it'll be better for you?"

"Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. I don't know." I responded, shrugging. I was still waiting for them to beat me up for even suggesting leaving and going somewhere else.

Tim stared at his plate for a long time before saying, "I mean, it would suck royally, but I've seen how crappy you've had it these past several days. If changing schools would help you, then you gotta do it. After all, Carol's getting her driver's license soon, and we always have our phones. You just have to promise you won't completely ditch us after you leave."

Tim's response made me grin. Of course my best friends wouldn't ask me to stay at the school if it meant things would be crappy for me. And it was true that after Carol turned sixteen we'd have a much easier time hanging out.

I was beginning to feel a little better.


Adrian had contacted Cotton Hill High to figure out what their transfer process was that Friday. When he heard back from them on Monday, he asked me one more time if I was sure I wanted to do it, but I think he could tell I had made up my mind.

I would be changing schools over the district's Fall Recess. Because both schools were in the same district, the process was fairly painless. The waiting was a bit more painful, but finally the morning of my first day at my new school arrived.

I didn't have to wake up until an hour later than usual, and there still was plenty of time for a long breakfast. Adrian had woken up early to prepare a lesson plan, so I decided to try my hand at cooking.

The toast was a bit too light and the eggs didn't look very pretty, but it tasted all right. Adrian was still getting ready as I left for the bus stop.

There were a few other students waiting for the bus, which came only a few minutes after I had arrived. After a short ride, I found myself in front of my new school.

The school building was old and worn on the outside, but the inside held the liveliness of the students and took on a more comfortable feel. As I entered my new high school, I could immediately feel the electricity of anticipation hit me. This was it.

The cafeteria was the nestled inside of the hallways that led to the classrooms, and there were several groups of students sitting at the long, wooden tables.

Because I had taken the bus to school, I had about fifteen minutes before my first class started. I decided to walk around the halls to try and familiarize myself with the building.

After a few minutes, I could comfortably say I knew my way to my first class and to the nearest bathroom. You know, just in case. I wandered back past the cafeteria, and decided to sit at a seat in the far corner. There was a group of students chatting loudly a few tables away from me, so I took to watching them.

There must have been about eight or ten people at the table, a few girls, but mostly guys. There was a blonde boy with his hair cut into a faux hawk sitting atop the table, his face alight with a smile as he eagerly told a story. He was close enough to where I could see two large dimples on his cheeks. His eyes were a warm, chocolate color and kept on darting around to look at all his friends. He had an even smile with straight teeth, and his lips were a pale, pink color. I couldn't take my eyes off him. I think my heart must have sped up. I didn't realize my hands had been balled into fists until I pulled them apart and wiped my sweaty palms on my pants.

After realizing how long I had been staring at the blonde, I quickly looked around to make sure nobody had noticed. Good, nobody was looking at me. It would be troublesome if I already had a label slapped across my face my first day at the new school. The first bell rang and I took another glance at my new crush before leaving the cafeteria. I hurried to my first class, wanting to get a good seat.

Adrian and I had decided that when I transferred schools, we weren't going to tell any of the teachers or counselors about my parents. Even if someone tries to treat you normal, they'll inevitably hop on the pity train once they know you were involved in a horrible car accident that killed your parents.

The class was in a corner room on the second floor. There were a few students sitting in the back, goofing off, so I thought I'd introduce myself to my new teacher. I saw a woman sitting at a computer in the back of the room who looked to be in her fifties. She had long, black hair that was pulled into a bun, and pale skin that looked like it was pulled too hard against her frame.

"Excuse me." I said politely, walking towards her. She turned around at smiled at me, the wrinkles on her face doubling in count.

"I've been expecting you. Mr. Beaumont, was it?" At this, she lifted her hand and her fingers found their way to her lips. Her nails were painted a brilliant red color, accentuated by her pale skin.

"Yes." I looked down at my paper schedule. "Ms. Franks?"

She chuckled. "Please, call me Pat." I nodded, but didn't say anything. She waved her hand, excusing me, and went back to the computer. I made my way to a front-row seat, feeling that I would enjoy my English class.

Pat had a way of teaching class that made mundane things like learning the names of the parts of speech seem interesting and easy to remember. When I glanced at some of the students in the back, their faces appeared amused, though some tried to hide it.

My second period class was Health. In my other school, the health classes also doubled as sexual education, which was a pain point for many students. I had hoped this class would just cover general health. I had heard horror stories about watching videos of live births.

I wasn't going to be so lucky. When I entered the classroom, I was bombarded with giant posters of the female and male anatomies, lists of sexually-transmitted infections, a diagram of the pregnancy cycle, and a poster of a distressed girl captioned "Puberty: The Unwelcome Visitor?" There were other, smaller general health posters peppered throughout the room.

I sighed and found my way to a seat near the back, away from any of the students already in the classroom, and waited for class to begin. I could feel them looking curiously at me and had to remind myself they had already known each other for a few months now.

"Hey Marcus, did you hear about Kelsey Richardson?" A girl with ebony skin and wildly curly hair walked up to a boy with glasses and olive skin in the front of the room. My ears perked up.

"You mean Levi Adams' girlfriend?" He responded as she took the seat next to him.

"Exactly. I hear she's pregnant."

The two gossiped and shared stories that got more ridiculous each time. I stopped paying attention and stared at the posters on the walls until the bell rang. Not even five seconds later, the teacher came rushing in the room.

"Sorry I'm late, everyone. Oh, the new student's here." He pointed to me, and I could feel the entire classroom's eyes on me. "No time to tell us about yourself. Class, this is Taeyoon Beaumont, a new student at this school." He had slaughtered pronunciation of my name. I looked down to avoid meeting anyone's eyes. The teacher abruptly started into the day's lesson and yelled at the class to focus.

A few minutes after his lecture, he stopped and announced a Pop Quiz. I shuffled through my backpack to find my notebook, but before I could pull it out, I felt a tapping on my shoulder from the student sitting behind me.

"Hey, new kid, got a pencil I can use?"

I whirled around to find myself face-to-face with the blonde guy from this morning, my self-professed new crush. I tried not to let my eyes stay on him too long, but damn, I could see so much more detail from this distance.

"I may have an extra." I said quietly, willing myself to turn back around. I hoped that my cheeks weren't flushing. As I took extra-long to find my notebook and two pencils, he spoke to me again.

"I'm Dean. Let's be friends." I turned back around to hand him my spare pencil and he gave me a wide smile. I almost melted at how his dimples made his face look a little childish, yet still hot.

"Taeyoon, but you can call me Ty. Everyone does." I responded as I handed him the writing utensil.

I don't really remember what happened for the rest of that period, or the day, for that matter, except I had seen Dean again right after fourth period as he was going to football practice. He waved to me and said he and some friends would be going out to the movies that weekend, and asked for my phone number so he could invite me.

As Adrian came to pick me up, I made no effort to hide my good mood. He told me about a fair the fourth-graders were preparing for a science project and asked me if I wanted to get out of class and go see it one day. I agreed, it sounded like fun. I told him about how my English teacher was a kooky, old lady whom I was sure I'd get along with, how my Health class came from the bowels of hell, how I was one of the youngest students in my Math class, and a few other details about friends I'd made on the first day.

I talked all the way up until we walked through the apartment door. Adrian immediately went to the kitchen, put on an apron, and got started on dinner while I sorted out my homework and changed into casual clothes. As I moved my homework to the kitchen counter, he said, "So, new crush on the first day?"

I gave him a surprised look. "What are you talking about?" I decided to play dumb.

"Oh come on, Ty, the first day of school is never that great, no matter how great it is. And I can tell when you're lying, so come clean to me." He grinned and pointed the ladle he was holding at me. He looked so comical I couldn't help but laugh.

"You caught me. But you can't blame me, can you?" I was in too good a mood to try and be mean and tease my cousin.

Adrian had turned around and began stirring the soup he was making for a minute, before saying, "So, what's she like?"

I played along. "She has big, brown eyes, and a face that lights up when she's laughing. Um, she asked to borrow my pencil today."

Adrian paused for a moment and gave me a long look, then smiled. "You've ever had a girlfriend before?"

Well, it wasn't likely that I ever would have a girlfriend, but I hadn't ever gone out with anybody before. "No."

"How exciting!" He grinned at me and looked like he was going to say something else, but at that moment we were startled by his cell phone ringing loudly. He set the ladle down, wiped his hands, and then answered it.

"Hello, this is Adrian. Oh, Matilda, hi!" Matilda was the name of the real estate agent we had been working with. "Oh, really? An offer? That's wonderful!" Another pause. "They've... already paid the deposit? So that means they're serious! Oh my god, we're selling the house."

That caught my attention. I looked up right as Adrian turned around to me, and our eyes met. "We're selling the house!" He repeated to me, his eyes shining.

I felt like I was floating. Today had been the best day I'd had in a long time. Adrian continued to speak with Matilda for a few minutes more, asking for more details about the people purchasing the house. I began to hear a popping noise, and realized that the soup was boiling over the pot.

"Crap!" I gasped, jumping out of my chair and pulling the pot off the burner, the bubbling immediately ceasing. I looked over at Adrian, whose back was to me.

"Ty!" He exclaimed as he hung up the phone a moment later, whirling around to face me.

"It's a fire hazard!" I retorted, pointing to the stove.

He ignored me, walking up to me and wrapping his arms tightly around me, kissing me on the forehead. "The house is selling! And so quickly!"

"I know, it's great." I smiled into his chest. "But really, don't leave the soup unattended. And let me do my homework!" Adrian squeezed me one last time, then let me go, picking up his ladle again. I ran back to my chair, still feeling elated.

"My students' science project is taking off, Ty has a new crush, and the house is selling. What a great night." Adrian said, more to himself than to me.


I did get a text from Dean the next day. He told me the time and meeting place for the movies that weekend. I was elated.

I tried not to reply too quickly.

I was slowly getting used to life at my new school. I had made a few casual friends, but it was too soon for any of them to be as close as my old friends had been. Health class was still a bitch, aside from being able to see Dean there. He would constantly poke fun at the teacher and I couldn't help but crack some jokes, too.

Before I knew it, it was Friday.

I was eager for school to end. In my last class of the day, I found myself constantly staring at the clock on the wall. Of course, this caused time to slow to half its normal speed. The teacher was giving an especially boring lecture, and because most of us had just eaten lunch, it spelled out nap time.

I wasn't sleepy, but I'm sure I would have been if I weren't so excited. I started doodling on my notes, making monster faces out of the letters.

"And because everyone has been so attentive today, we're going to have a pop quiz. Right now." I heard from beyond my thoughts.

"What!?" Half the class exclaimed in near unison. The ones who were drifting off came to, the ones who had been paying attention smirked, and the ones who were already gone were, well, already gone.

Mr. Harold began writing several problems on the board. Some were related to today's lesson, but a few were from earlier this week. I groaned. I hadn't been taking proper notes because I was too far into dreamland by the time class started.

After about two minutes, Mr. Harold turned back towards us, fifteen problems written on the board. "If you don't finish all the problems before class ends, you will receive no credit. You may start."

I balked. Class ended in five minutes!

I ripped out a new sheet of paper and began scribbling out work like a maniac, trying to finish the problems. Just as I was getting to the sixth problem, the bell rang. The two students who finished brought their papers up to the front of the room, smug looks on their faces. How I wanted to slap those smug looks off.

"Anyone else?" The teacher called, satisfaction pouring out his eyeballs. A pause. "These two papers get credit, none else. You may leave."

Our class let out a collective sigh as we slowly pulled our things together, defeated. I wasn't doing great in that class, and depending on how he wanted to grade the pop quiz, I could be in some trouble.

I sulked my way outside, plopping down on a bench while I waited for the bus.


Back at the apartment, I was bouncing off the walls.

Not literally.

I had changed into my favorite shirt and a pair of pants that, after checking out my ass in the mirror several times, I decided would work.

Adrian wasn't home yet, but he had agreed to drive me to the movies, since I didn't want to be the awkward one who couldn't drive yet. I was going to have a hard time explaining when I was twenty-five that I didn't have my license because I had a hard enough time as it was just riding in a car. Because I had just barely turned sixteen, though, it was understandable.

I looked at the clock. It was three-thirty. I still had two hours before I had planned on leaving, and about one before Adrian got home.

An hour passed.

Another twenty minutes, then twenty more.

I was getting anxious. I sent a text to Adrian. I wondered if he had to stay late at the elementary school for something. I turned on the TV and started channel surfing, trying not to get too anxious. I hadn't heard anything from Dean the whole day, but because he had already given me the time and place, I couldn't complain too much about his lack of contact. After all, we were just barely friends.

I glanced at my phone. It was already past six.

I thought about sending a text to Dean to let him know I would be late. But then, he might think I was being too clingy. I'd send him a text at the very last minute, instead.

I was snapped out of my thoughts by a bolt of lightning, illuminating every inch of the apartment through the thin blinds. I ran to the window and pulled the blinds open just in time to flinch back from the sudden deluge of water pounding against the glass.

"Shit!" I yelled, startled. I could barely hear the clap of thunder above the heavy rain. Within just a few minutes, water had started pooling on the street.

If Adrian hadn't come back yet, there wasn't a chance he'd be here in time. I opened my phone and began messaging Dean. I almost jumped as another flash of lightning lit up the room.

"Hey, I won't be able to make it on time, sorry." I clicked send.

I sat down at the kitchen counter and decided now would be as good a time as ever to do my math homework. I flipped through my book until I found the chapter we were working with. As I started on the problems, I realized I hadn't written notes on the process of solving them, and this class was a bit ahead of the curriculum compared to my old school, so I couldn't breeze my way through them like I normally would.

I got frustrated. I hadn't heard anything back from Dean or my cousin.

I went to lie down on the couch for a bit, just to take a break. My legs started to get cold, so I grabbed a blanket and threw it over myself.

Within minutes, I began dozing off.

I opened my eyes and saw the ceiling moving past me, the fluorescent lights hurting my eyes. I could hear voices talking, but couldn't make out what they were saying. I sat up and realized I was being carried down the hall on a stretcher.

"Where are you going?" I asked, frantically. The people pushing me down the hall were wearing scrubs and masks over their faces.

"Where are you taking me?" I asked again. They ignored me, but instead pushed me through a set of double-doors. There was a badly beat-up car in the middle of the room, smoke coming out of it. I could see mangled bodies on top of stretchers behind the car, other doctors or nurses running back and forth between them.

And I knew that my parents were there. I tried to scream, to call out to them, but my voice wasn't working. I waved my arms at the people, but they didn't seem to notice me. They needed to help Mom and Dad! They needed to help them because they were hurt, they were in trouble.

"..." I tried screaming again, but nothing came out. I could feel tears streaming down my face.

Then, finally, my voice kicked in.

I let out an anguished scream as I came to. My eyes opened wide, though I couldn't see anything. I tried to move but was bound. My mind went into panic mode.

"Ty, wake up, Ty!" I stopped struggling. I forced my mind to pause and remember I had been dreaming.

"Adrian?" Adrian was sitting on the couch, holding me tightly. As soon as he realized I had come to, he let go and scooted a few inches away from me.

"Hey there, you awake now?" I nodded.

"I was just having a dream." I could feel my shirt sticking to my body and looked down. Hey, this was my favorite shirt. And then suddenly everything rushed back to me. The storm had hit, I got tired and fell asleep. Adrian was late and Dean expected me to be at the movies.

"Oh, shit!" I groaned. It was silent for a moment, and I could hear that the rain was still almost as strong as before.

"Not on the couch, I hope!" Adrian responded, looking at me seriously. My eyes opened wide and I met his gaze for a second, before the two of us burst out laughing. Satisfied I was okay, he stood up and went to the kitchen, flicking on the light.

I saw the time on the microwave—nine forty-five—and groaned again. I fumbled around for my phone and found it in my pants pocket. I checked my texts and saw I had three new ones: one from Adrian and two from Dean. I smiled and opened them.

The one from Adrian read: "Sorry ty so sorry! My meeting ran long and then that storm hit. Ill try to get back as soon as i can."

The first from Dean said, "im late too! :D haha" while the second read "damn! :( i cant make it out tonight. sorry man." The last was sent at six-thirty.

I was relieved. I immediately sent him a response, hoping it wouldn't be too late.

"So!" I heard from the kitchen, along with the sound of the microwave starting. Adrian was facing me. I decided to join him in the kitchen.

"So?" I responded, sitting down at the counter.

"It's the weekend and I don't think you have any plans...anymore." He may have looked a bit guilty. I heard a pop.

"Is that popcorn?" I guessed.

He grinned. "I thought we could watch some movies. You know, cousin...-ly bonding time and all. What do you say?"

"Sure." I plopped back down on the couch, right as my phone buzzed. I checked my messages and saw that Dean had responded. I eagerly sent him another text, excited for the contact.

Adrian was grabbing drinks and popcorn from the kitchen. "That your friend?" He asked.

"Yeah. Looks like the weather held him up, too, so I don't feel so bad." I smiled at him.

"Good, good. I really felt horrible, having to stay late at work. And when the downpour came I knew traffic would grind to a halt. Well, at least the weekend isn't wasted, yet!"

Adrian set the popcorn down on the coffee table and I started munching on it while he flipped through movies. "How about Resident Evil?"

I had heard of the video games but didn't know there was a movie. "They made a movie?"

"Not just a movie!" Adrian exclaimed with mock surprise. "These are the four best movies Milla Jovovitch has ever starred in!"

"Who?" I asked, sipping some soda.

"Okay, okay. Just hush up and enjoy." He said, dropping a DVD into the player.

As the movie came on, I thought it looked okay. It wasn't the best movie I had ever seen, but was entertaining enough.

A crack of lightning broke my attention when it lit up the apartment. Adrian didn't seem as startled as I was. I jumped again when the thunderclap pounded into my ears only a few seconds later. The storm seemed to be picking up, again.

About five minutes later, the electricity cut out. The TV flicked a few times before blacking out and I could hear Adrian's computer let out a desperate beep as the last bit power was sucked from it.

The only sound left was the rain beating against the building. Adrian sighed. "Well, dang. I'm pretty sure my flashlight doesn't have any batteries and I don't really have any candles around. Sorry, looks like we'll have to call it a night."

"It's okay," I replied. Not much we could do in the dark, anyway.