"Because first impressions should be oh-so-great."
-Anonymous

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One

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"You know, if you walk any slower, the party will end before we get there." Andrea said with a mock-stern expression.

I scowled and threw my head back dramatically, "I don't want to go." I whined.

"You're not even wearing a bathing suit like I wanted you to. It's called compromise, my dear Bridget." She said.

"Compromise my ass." I said, still scowling, "You forced me to come."

"It's not my fault you give in so easily." She said, waving her hand dismissively.

I slapped her hand down and shook my head. It's funny how much best friends can get away with. This hyperactive red-head that walked in front of me happened to be my best friend, Andrea Macks. We were about as different as two people could possibly be. She was the outgoing, spontaneous, and spunky one. Okay maybe a bit obnoxious at times too, but I got used to it. So while she was the loud one, I was the go-with-the-flow type of girl. She was pretty popular—I wasn't. No, I wasn't a loner or a nerd or anything. I just wasn't popular. I was average. I was a perfect example of what you would call normal. And normal people usually go unnoticed. Unnoticed because unless you're either drop-dead-gorgeous or super hot, your social status isn't very high, hence my normal and invisible existence in the world. Andrea, now she was a different story. She had the looks, the brains, and the spunk to earn a throne on the social status pyramid. A lot of times, I find myself wondering why we were even friends. But then again, Andrea has a heart, unlike the other queen bees at our school.

We reached the entrance to the indoor pool. I hesitated, my hand hovering over the doorknob on the glass double doors.

"Oh, come on, Bee." Andrea urged.

"Why did I even come here?" I asked myself.

Andrea overheard me and laughed, "Because if you hadn't come, I would be terribly lonely and at lost with the world." She said dramatically.

I raised my eyebrows. "Sure, Miss Popularity." I said sarcastically. I glanced at the groups of girls waving to her as we entered. Lonely, my ass. I let my gaze travel over the group of 'populars,' as they're referred as. My eyes met with a guy I'd known to be Grey Huson, you know, the stereotypical star quarter-back on the football team, hot with a capitol 'H,' and did I mention he was staring at me? I felt my face burn and I turned away to face Andrea.

"Let's go say hi." She suggested, nodding over at the populars.

"Sure." I said. We made our way over to the group. I laughed when I saw Andrea wink at her boyfriend, Brett, who sat across the pool.

"Hey guys!" she chirped brightly.

She earned a chorused of 'Hey' and 'What's up?' I got a few hello's from the friendlier of the bunch. I nodded in response to my greetings and sat down in an unoccupied lawn chair. I took my ipod out of my pocket and turned up the volume to tune out my surroundings. I figured I'd wait until Andrea was done with her mingling.

I turned my lawn chair so that it faced the pool with my back to the populars. I had only been lounging for a few minutes when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

"Um, excuse me? I was like, sitting there." A voice said.

I pulled the ear buds out of my ears and turned around. I raised my eyebrows at Kelli Legila, head cheerleader and all that crap. "Um, you know there's an empty one right there." I pointed out, gesturing to an empty lawn chair that sat two feet away.

"Yeah, well. I was sitting here." She said, emphasizing 'here.'

I rolled my eyes and got up, I was in no mood to argue. I took a step forward and settled into the other lawn chair. "Yeah, because that would've totally broken your legs." I muttered under my breath.

She gawped at me for a second before giving me a scowl and sitting in the chair I had previously occupied. I smiled falsely at her and turned back to face the pool. A low chuckle sounded from behind me. I turned my head and once again, met the gaze of Grey Huson. He grinned. I blushed and managed a small smile back.

A few minutes later, someone tapped me on the shoulder again. I whirled around, slightly annoyed. "What?" I said, harshly.

Andrea stared back at me with a confused expression on her face.

"Oh, sorry. It's you." I said.

She grinned, "Who pissed you off this time?"

"Nobody." I said.

She nodded doubtfully but didn't press for information. "Oh, let's go talk to Brett."

"Okay." I agreed, jumping at the chance to get out of the group. "Thank goodness. I think I was suffocating from lack of intelligence in that area."

She laughed, "Hey, not all the cheerleaders are airheads." She said.

"Most of them are." I said. They were. I mean one time, I had told Kelli Legila's sidekick, Kristen Pierson to 'shut up and go jump off a cliff,' and then she gave me a confused look and asked why. I laughed at the thought.

"True." She mused.

"Hey! How are my two favorite girls!" a deep voice boomed. Andrea squealed as two arms snaked around her waist and she was picked up off the ground.

"Aye, Brett! Put me down!" she yelled.

"No can do, babe." He replied, giving me a wink. I laughed. Brett was just about the sweetest guy on earth. He was considered a popular, but he never hung out with them, which made me feel better about him and Andrea dating. Hey, as the best friend, it was my job to make sure she dates someone worthy of her, right?

"Bee, can you help me tickle your best friend here?" Brett asked playfully.

Andrea's eyes grew round in horror. "Don't. You. Dare." She said.

I clapped my hands, "Too bad!" I shrilled. I reached out and tickled her sides and she shrieked and kicked her legs. Unfortunately, one of her kicks connected with Brett's….well, you know.

He doubled over, letting go of Andrea. She and I dissolved into laughter, laughing so hard, tears came to our eyes.

"Damn woman." He muttered, "Why am I going out with you again?" he groaned.

Andrea gave him a quick hug, "Sorry—babe-." She choked, still laughing insanely. I pressed my hand against my mouth to try to stop the giggles. "Oh my gosh." She said, still laughing. "I can't stop laughing—no offence." She said to Brett.

"Offence already taken." He muttered, "Oh, Bee, why'd you have to tickle her?"

I gasped and wagged a finger at him, "Oh, no, mister. Don't you put the blame on me! You told me to! I was just following your orders." I said smartly.

"Karma!" Andrea sang.

I nodded in agreement. "Oh, sucks to be you, Brett." I teased.

He placed a hand over his heart, "That's it." He joked, "I'm not friends with you anymore."

I crossed my arms over my chest and glared at him mockingly, "If I go, Andy's going with me." I warned jokingly. Andrea nodded and hooked arms with me, giving Brett and imposing stare.

"Nevermind." He said quickly.

We all laughed, "That's so sweet." I said as he wrapped his arms around Andrea. "What? No hug for me?"

"Ah well." He said, pretending to think it over. He opened his arms and I took a step forward to hug him back. He swung me around in a circle and I yelped.

"Gosh! Not so close to the water." I said when he put me down, "I can't swim, remember?"

"Oh yeah." Brett said, "Then why are you at a pool party?"

"Ask your witch of a girlfriend." I grumbled, sitting down in Brett's lawn chair.

He guffawed, "You forced her to come to a pool party when she can't even swim?" he asked Andrea, laughing.

"Well I didn't force her to…" Andrea said, trailing off.

"Sure you didn't." Brett said, knowingly.

"Stop laughing!" I said, swatting his arm. "What if I accidentally drown or something?"

That only made him laugh harder.

"Good to know someone cares about my safety." I said sarcastically.

"Nah, I won't let you drown." He assured me.

"Do you even know CPR?" I asked.

"Nope!" he replied cheerfully, swinging Andrea around in his arms, "But I'm not the lifeguard, so if you die, you've got nothing on me!"

"Oh gosh." I said, putting my face in my hands, "Some friends I have." I joked.

He feigned hurt.

"Kidding." I said, poking his arm.

He patted the spot where I poked him. "Couldn't resist my awesome muscles?" he said.

"I can." I said, "She can't." I pointed to Andrea.

We all laughed. "Of course I can't." she said, "But as his girlfriend, I have a personal right to touch his arm muscles whenever I want." She smirked, "I'll make all the other girls jealous, except you. But only because you're not into Brett."

I laughed at the look on Brett's face. "There's actually someone who's not into me? What is this?" he said dramatically.

"Oh, yeah, your worlds coming to an end, isn't it?" I said.

He nodded sadly, "It is."

Andrea shook her head, "You egotistic boy."

"You want to swim?" he asked her.

She looked at me.

"It's fine." I said, holding up my ipod. "I'm covered."

"Sure?" she asked.

I smiled, "Yeah, and I know it'll be tempting, but don't drown him in the pool, okay?" I teased.

"You have no idea how much I want to kill him sometimes." She muttered.

I laughed and waved them off.

I watched them splash around in the pool for a while. I had never had a boyfriend before, I wondered what it'd be like. I thought of how Andrea's eye's always lit up when someone mentioned Brett's name. When they were together, they were both always smiling. They fought occasionally, but the fights had never lasted for more than two days. I laughed despite my bored mood, my senior year was starting in two weeks and I had yet to do anything special. People always said high school was either the best or worst time of your life. To me, it was neither. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. Supposedly, we everybody is supposed to make their high school years count. For me, the past three years had been just ordinary. Hell, I didn't even go to junior prom. I don't even have an ex-boyfriend to say, 'Oh yeah, when I was a junior, I dated this guy…' Nothing.

Andrea had once told me that first impressions are a big deal. Easy for her to say. She and Brett had met at a friend's sweet sixteen party. They had both been all dressed up and looked fabulous when they first met each other, so obviously, they had both gotten a good first impression. For me, not so much luck in the boy department. Sure, I had guy friends, but none of them liked me as more than a friend, which I was fine with, but still. And yeah, I had been asked out before, a couple times actually, but I never had an actual liking in any of them so I had turned them all down.

I tore my eyes away from the pool and let my eyes wander around the room. My stomach growled and I reluctantly got up to go to the snack bar. As I walked, a beach ball came flying my way and I took a step backwards to avoid the inflatable toy. Only, I stepped a little too far off the edge and lost my balance. I threw my arms out and flailed them nervously, trying to regain my balance. I managed only a small yelp before I plunged into the pool.

I kicked and helplessly tried to used my arms to help me back up. Oh, thanks a lot, Andy! I thought bitterly.

But then, I felt a pair of strong, muscular arms around me and I was lifted back up to the surface of the water.

I sputtered and coughed out water and grabbed onto the wall, hauling myself out of the pool. I wiped my eyes, which were stinging from the chlorine in the pool water.

"Are you okay?" a voice asked.

I looked up into the purple-blue eyes of Grey Huson. I nodded as he helped me up, coughing a couple more times. He thwacked my back a few times. I nodded my thanks.

Well, so much for a good first impression.


Author's Note

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-WhenAllSeemsDark