Still holding the picture in her hand the young woman stares out of the window. There isnt anything different out there. The same road with the same trees and the same houses on the other side. She sighs and her gaze wanders back to the photograph. A young man is on it holding an even younger girl in his arm both smiling happily into the camera…

Chapter 1

"Sara come on, the bell will ring soon!" Typing the last letters into her phone the brunette with the light green eyes looks up to find herself face to face with her screaming friend Diana. "You're unbelievable you know that? It's the first day of school, you're already late AND you don't even bother to say hello to your best friend. Don't tell me you were writing to that stupid college boy. What's his name again?" "Well hello to you too and yes my holidays were great thanks for asking." Sara grins ironically at her friend then hugs her while Diana already starts dragging her in the direction of their class room. "Shut up! I have a right to be angry. You have maths with Miss Sue as well this year, right?" "Yeah yeah." The brunette sighs at the sight of the door to room 406. Math – what a way to start the new school year! But something else is bothering her too. Before they enter she grabs Diana's shoulder forcing her to stop and look at her. "One thing before we go in there: Just so you know his name is Tim and he's not just some college boy, at least not to me." Diana looks at her without as much as moving her eyes then she shrugs and says. "Whatever you say. Come on in!"

The bell rings just as they enter the room. "You're late." Miss Sue's tight voice cuts through the air and hits the two girls as they try to hurry to the last free seats. "Technically we were in class when the bell rang so I'd say we made it." Diana darts boldly back at their teacher. Even if it may seem different at the moment they don't dislike Miss Sue. She's actually quite nice and helpful once one gets past her severe Asian attitude and she's always fair. Maybe she's even rather nice than fair because Diana's still wondering how she managed to get a C last year. Someone must have helped her quite a bit. Also now Miss Sue can't keep up her angry attitude for long before she gives in. "Ok you two because today is the first day I'll let it slip. But don't be mistaken" the woman turns to face the rest of the students with an intense stare "I'm not going to be easy on you. This is a math class and whether you like it or not math will always be an important part of your lives."

"Still telling that lie?" Someone snorts from the back of the class room. Both Sara and Diana, finally seated on the last two empty chairs on the side of the first row, turn their heads to make out the source. Carrie a 19 year old with wild blonde rastas and black clothes sits casually in her seat drawing something in her notebook. Of course the girl who has to repeat for the second time would know! "Psst Diana! Do you have your calculator with you?" Don't tell me you did forget it already?!" "Not really it's in my locker and I didn't have enough time to get it before class." "Let me guess: too busy writing Tom. Oh sorry, Tim I mean." Sara sends her friend a death glare.

"If everyone paid attention…" short glare towards the left of the first row "I could start to tell you what exactly we are going to do this year. " Miss Sue's voice slowly fades away as she continues by presenting this year's subjects and upcoming exams. Luckily Sara isn't too bad at math. Not that she likes it – oh no! – but she gets the most important parts and made it more or less successfully through the last free years. She hopes that this year won't be any different. "… at the end of the term each of you is going to take an oral exam. This means you will be answering questions to any of the before mentioned topics during 15 minutes. Alone." Sara's head snaps back as she hears the last of Miss Sue's words. In her back anxious whispers spread from table to table and she can feel her best friend staring at her. Turning slightly she faces a panicking Diana. "I am going to die. Please Sara shoot me right now. I won't make it this year. I'll have to repeat and I'll be sitting in the back next to Carrie. We'll be painting each other's fingernails black during class and fail again and again and…" "Slow down D. I won't let that happen. As your best friend it's my duty to protect you from anything black, it does absolutely not suit you. Alright?" Even though Sara tries to sound lightly she knows D has a difficult year ahead of her. They all have. Last year of High School, the grades have to be good enough for college, everyone feels pressured. Just yesterday she had another annoying discussion with her parents. Telling her to focus and "do good". What do they think she has been doing for the last three years? Just hang around? The lesson goes on despite the horror of Miss Sue's declaration. They tackle the first of their so-called "subjects" …. The bell comes as an absolute salvation.

"Can you believe it? That was just one class and I already feel stupid and all I want is go back to doing nothing all day long." "Tell me about it. But wait, does this mean you didn't do anything during summer break?" Sara asks her friend a little confused. The two girls walk through the crowded hallway. "Duh! Of course I did. I worked at Pepe's Pizza which someone would know if she had bothered to read my texts or to write me back while being in Europe for like two months!" "Do you have any idea how much that would have cost me?" "I'm sure that didn't stop you from writing Tom, eh Tim. But how was Europe anyways? You an educated young lady now?" Before Sara even knows how to begin to tell about her voyage to the other continent two strong, male arms are twisted around her waist and she's being whirled through the air. "What up girlfriend?" Hers and Diana's best male friend Garrett screams giving his voice a very high-pitched, girlish tone. People in the hallway turn to look at him but he doesn't care. That's Garrett. "What up Bro?" Sara asks in return giving herself a deep voice before she starts punching him to let her down. "You're ruining my hair Rat!" She complains, winking at him and using his special nickname. Only his oldest friends are allowed to call him Rat. She feels her feet touch the ground again. As she faces Garrett he's pointing his index finger at her. "Nahaah you're ruining mine sweetheart!" Diana can't bear being excluded any longer. She wants to welcome her friend as well. "What about me? Does no one wanna ruin my hair?" "D you know your hair looks always perfect." Garrett says in a flirtatious voice. Then he hugs her. "Welcome back to the last year of High School. End time has begun!" He grins at his words and pulls the two girls in a group hug.

"Hm." Someone clears his throat behind them. "Do I have to remind you that this is a High School and not a place for the public display of affection? Shouldn't you be in your class rooms?" When they turn around to see who is speaking to them they are confronted with an unfamiliar face. Unfamiliar but very handsome. At least that's what the two girls think. His short but not too short dark brown hair leaps slightly over his forehead leading their gazes directly to his magnetic dark green eyes. They look rather angry at the moment but there's a spark in them as if he was somehow amused by what he sees. His lips form a thin line but the corners of his mouth are twitching as if he had difficulties to keep a straight face. "Didn't you hear the bell ring the second time?" It isn't a question it is a command with which he addresses the two girls and the young man in front of him. Get moving. Diana is about to open her mouth to give him a witty response but he rises his hand and says "Go."

The three friends waver away from him realising that the hallway is completely empty. "Shit did the bell really ring twice? I didn't hear a thing!" "Maybe that's because you were screaming too loud girlfriend." Diana looks angrily at Garrett. "Ok guys you can fight later. I've got to go to my English poetry class." Sara rushes away. Luckily her Poetry teacher is Mister Slack. He's very laid back and won't mind her being late. He likes her far too much for that. Still… late twice on her first day, surely not what her parents meant by "acting responsible". She knocks on the door and opens. "Miss Bernstein. We were already missing you. Come on in and take a seat. There's always a spot for you in the first row." Mister Slack smiles at her a bit too brightly when he gestures her toward an empty seat exactly in the middle of the first row. Two times first row, it can only get better!