2nd chapter- enjoy!

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Come a New Boy

Tuesday during lunch—exactly eight days after Matt and I became friends (yes, I've been counting)—I was sitting at my place in the Circulation Area of the library. It was a slow day for us Library Friends, so I decided to take the advantage and start writing the first part of my English essay.

Just as I was finishing up the introduction to my topic, someone approached me and slapped down a thin book an inch from my paper, making my period look like a comma.

"Hey!" I cried, looking up to glare at the responsible person. "You messed up my paper!"

"Sorry," the boy shrugged. "But I think you're over exaggerating." He peered at my paper, and I pulled it away.

"What are you doing?"

"Inspecting the 'damage,'" he grinned. "You're in Mr. Sander's class, right?" I didn't answer and just glared into his eyes. "Fine, don't answer. It's not like you're not gonna share it to the whole class."

"You're not in his class," I announced slowly. I would definitely remember a guy with dirty blonde hair and strange, narrow grey-green eyes who just exuded "bad boy" with his black leather jacket and the confident way he carried himself. In fact... he actually kinda looked familiar. Not that I like searching for boys like him during my spare time.

"I am." He replied. "Only I'm not your classmate. I'm a third year student."

I was just about to ask him how he knew of me, when it hit me—he was the guy who was the closest to Syrup and her friends. Of course. I think his name is Ryan, Bryan, or something.

"Whatever," I muttered, then I plastered a fake smile that I made sure rivaled his own. "Let's forget about that, okay? So, um, you wanted to borrow this book...?" I glanced down at it and almost let out a squeak. The book was entitled The World's Nightmare Stories and the cover was a jumble of horrific images. There was a ghostly pale woman with long black hair, this weird flying creature with only half of its body present, a man holding its own head, and other nasty stuff. How can they put those in the cover?

"Yep, that's it."

I rolled my eyes, resisting the urge to ask him what was so funny. Instead, I checked out the book, punched some stuff on the library's computer, and signed at the blue card stuck to the blank page of Nightmare Stories.

"You didn't put your name in the other card," I informed him, tapping the pink card beside the blue one with my signing pen. "You're really going to read this?"

"Why? Got a problem with it?" He mumbled as he took my pen from me.

"No. But you could have a problem with it. I'm not even sure why school allows such books to be borrowed in the library."

"It's not like the students are always gonna read some educational or classic books." He snorted, removing the pink card from its jacket. He handed back my pen and the pink card. "Besides, you're a library assistant... you can bring it up to the head librarian or something."

"We prefer the term 'Library Friends.'" I said dryly.

"Same thing," he flashed me a cocky smile and tucked the book under his arm. "See ya!" He added, waving a fair hand as he turned and swaggered away.

Sighing, I glanced down to take a look at the boy's name. Written in messy black scribble was the name Ryan Maxwell.


"Cindy, hey!" a voice called out.

I turned my head sideways and almost spit out the banana I was eating when I saw Matt approaching me.

"Whoa, whoa," Matt exclaimed. Upon reaching me, he knelt on the grass and patted my head awkwardly since I was still lying down. "Um, I think it's better if you sit up?"

"Right!" I let out a nervous, screechy giggle as I sat up and leaned against the trunk of my favorite maple tree. "So, uh, what brings you here?"

"I don't know, maybe the shade. It's so hot here I might turn into mushy banana. Especially with this cap on." Matt joked, looking around. "But seriously, nice spot you got here. Mind if I sit down?"

I shook my head as casually as I can. I watched him sit down beside me and place his Jansport on his lap—but he still didn't remove his cap. It was kinda cute, actually. The way the red brim practically covered his eyes...

"You know," Matt started slowly, "you always seem to hang out here after school ends."

It was true that most people would find me sitting under the shade of my favorite maple tree in the front lawn of the school, but I don't usually hang out there. Well, okay, maybe I do hang out there most of the time and contemplate on life and wait for people to randomly sit beside me and ask if I was alright, but whatever. It's not like I was gonna say that.

"Not always," I clarified. "I'm waiting for mom to pick me up. I mean, uh, my old car broke down recently so my mom's been picking me up till we get it fixed. But I guess that's what I get for buying a beat up, second-hand car." I finished with a sigh, but inside I was quite embarrassed. I mean, I love my mom, but it's kind of embarrassing telling a guy you only started hanging out with that your mom will be the one to pick you up.

Then, as if reading my thoughts, Matt blurted out, "There's nothing wrong with your mom picking you up." I gave him a curious look and he smiled sheepishly. "Sorry, I just had a feeling that you were, um... Haha. You know what? Never mind."

We were quiet for a moment, watching the after-school rush. Some were whispering as the passed by us, giving us questioning looks. Others ignored us, choosing to talk about school, their crushes, and their frenemies instead.

Finally, Matt broke the silence by saying, "Before I forget, Cindy, I have to ask you something." I turned to him as I hugged my knees close to my chest. "You... You wanna come to a party-"

"What kind of party?"

Matt blushed. "It's kinda embarrassing, but it's my younger siblings' party. My mom told me I can invite a friend..."

Younger siblings?!

"Sorry, but, uh, I'm an only child." I stammered. Why was Matt inviting me?

"Yeah. But I was thinking maybe we can hang out after their party? I mean, it would also be fun if you attended the party, then we can hang out later."

"Sure," I laughed. "That sounds fun." I think.

"Great!" Matt beamed. "I'll give you the invitation tomorrow?" He scooped up his bag and stood up, ruffling my hair. "See you later, Crazy Curls."

"What?" I gaped.

"Why? Would you prefer 'Merida' instead?" Matt teased, pulling down one of my red curls. He let out a childish giggle as it sprang back up.

"Merida?" I repeated. A mental image of the crazy-haired princess popped into my mind, along with my own picture—as if I was doing my version of a spot-the-difference game. Yeah, I was a redhead with curls that was pretty wild it was like lion already, but I never really thought to compare myself to Princess Merida's hair...

"Haven't you watched that Brave movie? With Princess Merida as the main character?"

"I-I have. But... you watched that?"

"Yup. The twins and I enjoyed it. Speaking of twins, I thought that the triplets in the movie were hilarious! Like the time they were-"

"Okay, so not the point!" I huffed. "The point is, my hair isn't like Merida's! I don't even know why we're talking about this."

"Because we're crazy." Matt teased, turning to leave. "Just like your hair."

I resisted the urge to stick my tongue out at him as he let out a joyous laugh. After he left, I lay down on the grass again, processing our conversation.

He wanted to hang out with me! I thought excitedly. In a party! And who cares if it's in his siblings' party? I still get to hang out with him... And he actually got a nickname for me (even if it wasn't that accurate).

Finally—I had something good to tell to Keisha.