Ugh. This is so. Freaking. Boring. Here I am, sitting in Hell-oops. I mean Calculus, trying to take notes, but all I can think about is my soon-to-be trip to New Haven, Connecticut. I was going to visit my best friend of all-time, my partner in crime, the girl who moved away this past summer to go to Yale University. I haven't seen her in six months, and I miss her so much. Of course, I haven't told her yet. With my busy schedule and everything, I haven't even been able to talk to her in a month. Okay, so maybe my life as a couch-potato teenager isn't too busy, but let's face it; I, Andrew Canton of Manning High School, had had a crush on Jaclyn Clymer of Yale University for the past 10 years. You can't blame me, can you? Ever since she accepted my friendship on the playground of our old elementary school all those years ago, standing in all her curly brown-haired, green-eyed glory, I'd been crushing on the sweet girl who had always accepted my weirdness. I'm not kidding, I was such a weird child. I asked her to be my friend by asking her, "Hi, my name is Iron Man, will you accept my friend request?" She giggled and nodded, and then took my hand in her small one and brought me to the swings with her. In retrospect, it was really kind of adorable, if I do say so myself. But enough with all that sappy crap. She has a boyfriend, for god's sake. Yeah, his name is Bane, or Maimes, or James or something. Ya know, 'cause those names can be confusing…They've probably sucked face so many times that his lips are permanently duck-faced. That's a perfect reason to break up with him, right? Exactly! I think Jaclyn should listen to you, if not me, and break up with that dumbass bunny-boy of hers. Not that I've met him…but still! Okay, maybe I'm being too clingy now. But I have reason.

Anyway, my trip is the only thing going on in my mind, and I can't concentrate anymore. Giving up, I started doodling in my notebook. It was a picture of a scruffy-haired stick-person hugging a long-haired stick-person. I named them Cade and Jaclyn. 'Cause, ya know, it's not like any other two names would fit any better. I totally didn't make it look like Jackie and I, pfffffttt.

The clack of a ruler on my desk made me snap out of my drawing. "I see Mr. Canton is busy drawing him and his girlfriend, eh? Next time, however, I suggest you put clothes on them. And maybe try to refrain from doing this kind of doodling in my class, huh? Try biology, you learn a lot more about reproducing there. In the meantime, you can draw a pi shirt for the girl. It's more math-related. Good boy." My teacher, Mr. Williams, said to the class, earning snickers from around the room. He was young, in his early thirties, with black hair cropped short in the front. He would never be blatantly mean or punish a student. His punishment was always embarrassment in the subtlest ways, if you couldn't tell already by the way he told the class about my doodle. Now the class thinks that I'm a pervert or something. Great. I blushed a deep crimson, like a girl, really, and turned back towards the examples on the board. This was going to be a long day.

Finally, after 5 more classes' worth of doodling, I was able to drive home in peace. It was a rare thing, really. As much of a social recluse I am on the inside, I apparently come off as a social butterfly to the rest of the human population. Sure, I have jocks as friends and have had cheerleaders as girlfriends, but to be honest, I don't really like any of them. Yeah, I'll goof off with the guys and suck face with the chicks, but my only real friend was Jaclyn. I sound so pathetic right now. Basically, I'm popular. I'm a star-of-the-football-team,-gets-all-the-girls,-is-drooled-over-by-women-of-all-ages kind of guy. To the public, that is. I'm really a socially awkward guy who hides behind false pretenses. I usually have a girl who wants me to "tutor her", or a guy from the football team coming home with me to hang out, so it was pretty nice to finally be alone for once.

The minute I burst through the door of my two-story ranch house, I ran to the kitchen, kissed my mom, who was cooking dinner, on the cheek, grabbed an apple from the fridge, and ran up the stairs two-at-a-time into my room. I closed and locked the door shut, then grabbed my phone, a T-Mobile LG Rocker, and started to dial Jaclyn's phone number. My mom was a real estate agent who worked either at home or at her central office downtown. I have a six year old sister named Elani. She's actually my half-sister, but I loved her all the same. There's really no difference. Even though I hated my step-dad, her father, because he was bastard all the time, Elani was just a girl full of pure innocence. She's the most important thing in my life right now, because I need to make sure that she doesn't feel left out because of the fact that she doesn't have a dad anymore. My real dad died when I was 7. Three years later, my mom remarried my old step-dad, Mason. At first I thought that she never really loved my real dad in the first place, because I thought that it was wrong to get remarried. But I got used to it, and pretty soon, my mom got pregnant with Elani. By that time I was 11 years old and could tell that Mason wasn't a very nice person. He had a strong temper, and it just didn't feel right to have him around. Then Elani was born, and soon after, Mason started to come home smelling of alcohol. He would yell at anyone over anything, big or small. He used to yell at Elani when she was just a newborn because she would cry. Finally, one day, when Elani was 1 and I was 12, Mason and my mom got into a huge argument. I had been playing with baby Elani in the living room, when we heard yelling from the main bedroom. I picked Elani up and walked towards the yelling, and peered through the crack in the partially-open door. Elani was too busy playing with my tufts of hair that had been mussed because of our previous game to notice anything, so I was pretty sure that she wouldn't cry and give me up. "You lying bastard! You don't care for any of us, you don't care for Andrew just because he's not your son, and you don't care for Elani just because she CRIES! For crying out loud, Mason! She's a BABY! What the hell do you expect her to do, sing?! You never even cared for me. I always knew it, but I thought maybe deep down inside you did love me. But no, ever since Elani was born, you've gone out every single day, pretending to go to work, when in reality you were going to some PROSTITUTE. You're a DISGUSTING, FILTHY, INHUMAN CREATURE AND I WANT YOU OUT OF MY HOUSE!" I heard my mom yell right before I heard a loud crack and a high-pitched shriek. I heard fast and stern whispering and soft crying, then noises from the closet followed by footsteps towards the door. I quickly ran to my room, still carrying Elani and not wanting to get into trouble. I knew that they were Mason's footsteps. His loud, anger-filled footsteps were known to me by now. I set Elani down on my bed and peered through my door. There Mason was, holding a suitcase and his coat, opening the front door and walking straight out, slamming the door behind him. I waited a moment to see if he would come back. Satisfied that he wouldn't, I picked up Elani again and carefully walked towards my mom's room. The door was completely open, and there was my mom, on the bed, with a dark crimson blotch on her face in the shape of a handprint, sobbing and curled into a ball. "Mom?" I asked, confused. She looked up for a moment and gestured for me to come to her, and I did, hugging Elani so tight that she started to squirm. I released my grip, realizing that I had had a death grip on her. As I neared my mom, she pulled Elani and me into a hug, and we just sat there for hours until she calmed down. That was the first and last time I had seen my mom so vulnerable. Over the course of the next few months, my mom and Mason went through the divorce process, and finally, we were free. Ever since then, my mom and Elani are my first priority, followed by Jaclyn.

So there's my sob story. I don't try to think about it too often, it just makes me think about the things that could have happened if my dad had lived, or if Mason had stayed. If my dad had lived through his car accident, then Elani wouldn't be with me today. But I would actually have a dad who cared about me. If Mason had stayed, we would be living in a hell-hole. Mason being gone is for the better, for all of us, even if Elani doesn't have a dad. But I'm not too sure about how I feel about the prospect of my dad living. It was basically a choice between my dad or my sister, and I couldn't make that choice. So I don't think about it and enjoy what I have, no matter how vivid the memories of the past are.

There you go. You now know me inside, out, and back again.

Anyway, after dialing Jaclyn's number, I heard two rings before her peppy voice came through the phone. She was always quick to pick up my calls. "Andy! I've missed you so, SO much! Where've you been?! Oh my god, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you, I MISS YOU!" She shrieked over the phone, obviously having read the caller ID. She was the only one, besides Elani, who was allowed to call me Andy. Most people from school call me Drew, and my mom calls me Andrew.

I laughed, a real, deep, genuine laugh; the first in a long time. "Hey Jackie, I've missed you too. I'm sorry but I've gotta go soon, I've got football practice. But I just wanted to let you know that I'm going to be coming up to New Haven this Saturday to see you. That alright?" I asked skeptically. She shrieked. Again. That's Jackie for you. I chuckled to myself. "Duuhhhh! Omigosh I'm SO EXCITED!" She yelled into the phone. I laughed again. "Great, Jacks, my flight comes into New Haven at 10:00 am. I gotta go, see ya soon baby." I said and hung up, about to be late for the football practice that I had forgotten about until after I called Jackie. I grabbed my gear and my bag, told my mom where I was going, gave Elani, who was back from kindergarten, a quick hug and then left for practice.

Hey guys, I'm sooo sorry for such a long wait, I've been super busy lately, but I'm hoping to get a lighter schedule soon. I stayed up late last night just to finish writing this with immalikeuboy for you guys, so I hope there aren't too many mistakes.

Also, in this chapter, there's a slight...well, we'll call it serious...part, which I apologize for but immalikeuboy felt as though it would make the story as a whole better, and I think so too.

My spring break is coming up so I'll probably be able to add at least 2 more chapters in the next two weeks. Thanks for being so patient! Until then...

:D :D