The next few days were going to be a total drag for Ruby. Since her two best friends were going to be in ISS the whole day, she was going to spend it all alone. Ruby wasn't exactly the outgoing type. She was lucky enough to have Chord and Quinn as friends.

The three of them made the perfect trio. First was Quinn, who was headstrong and rebellious. Last year, Quinn got a tattoo an hour after her mother, Tina told her not to. She used to be brunette until she dyed her hair blonde during the summer. Quinn was the type that would do dumb things, but she did know the right thing. It was up to Ruby to knock some sense into her from time to time.

As for Chord, he was the awkward but witty kid in school. In the sixth grade, Ruby and Quinn felt sorry for him because nobody would talk to him. Once they got him to talk, Chord became a new confident person. When one of the girls are upset, Chord always had a way of making them laugh by telling them a quick fact. Although he wasn't the smartest person, Chord was still the one with the most heart.

When she had no one around for her to talk to, Ruby would sit in class and wouldn't speak to anybody. She wouldn't even look at anyone if they pay her. Between classes, Ruby goes to her locker and heads straight to class.

During third period, Ruby had asked Mr. Powell if she could visit he counselor. After he agreed to it, Ruby walks out of class and heads to Ms. Lucan's office.

Out of all the teachers, Ms. Lucan was known as "the New Age Traveler." She was a vegan raised by her hipster mothers. The students and teachers think Ms. Lucan was weird because she recycles, volunteers for charities, and wears the same brown sandals everyday to school.

Ruby didn't exactly think that Ms. Lucan was bizarre at all. The one thing she heard about her was that she was the only straight teacher in school. Of course some of the faculty were uncomfortable with it, including students. When Ms. Lucan first started at the high school, a few kids gave her some hurtful comments and called her a hetero. But that was about three years ago and it hasn't happened since.

Ruby knocked on her door and opens it. Ms. Lucan was in a warrior pose in front of her desk. "Oh, hello," she pants as she stands up.

Normally, Ruby would expect this woman to be at her desk writing. She didn't really think anybody would be doing yoga in their office. "Hi, I'm here to talk to you, Ms. Lucan," Ruby hesitantly says.

"Yes, that is right. And you are?" Ms. Lucan sits in her chair as Ruby sits down as well.

"I'm Ruby Madison." She introduces herself. "You've probably never heard of me."

"That doesn't mean that I wouldn't want to know you." The guidance counselor giggles. Seeing the woman with her white outfit and brown sandals made Ruby think that she was Mother Nature. Ms. Lucan was a very thin and tall woman. Her eyes were emerald and she had long, wavey red hair completed with bangs that covered her forehead. She had some faded freckles on her cheeks and a kind smile that was wide and bright. "So, Ruby, what would you like to discuss with me?"

The teenager shook her head. "I-I don't really know where to begin. Honestly, I've never been here before. It's kind of hard for me to express myself and my feelings."

"Well that is why I'm here." Ms. Lucan informs her. "My certificate does say that I counsel and guide young people like yourself. It doesn't really say that, but I just wanted to make it sound more . . . amusing."

"My dad is a child psychologist." Ruby mentions. "He's been studying me since I was six. Sometimes I don't even feel like his daughter."

Ms. Lucan bites on her lip. "So there's tension between you and your father? How much tension are we talking about?"

For a moment, Ruby thinks over her entire life. "He wants me to somebody I'm not. Dad expects me to be more academic and responsible. Obviously, he doesn't want me to be me."

"Mm-hmm. What about your other dad?" She asks her.

"He'll listen to me. I go to him before my other dad because he listens to my side of the story more."

"Do you believe that he nurtures you more than your other dad?" Ms. Lucan asks her.

"Wanna talk about nurturing makes them grow better as a person? I'm barely got passed five feet." She figured that she could at least crack a joke.

Ms. Lucan studies at her carefully. "Something about you is a bit unusual, Ruby. I don't know what it is, but I can tell."

"Are you psychic or like the ghost whisperer?" Ruby asks her.

"No, it's just something I get. I can read off of people just by their facial expressions and mannerisms."

"I'm sorry but this is a bit creepy." Ruby tells her. "I'm not exactly an open book or anything like that."

"People tend to keep to themselves, but some of us can't help it. Is there anything specific I should know about you?" Ms. Lucan was ready to write something down in her notebook.

Ruby pulls a piece of her hair behind her ear. "There's nothing special about me. I'm not one of those girls who doesn't know who they are or who they're supposed to be."

Ms. Lucan writes something down and looks up at Ruby. "Your life doesn't have to be one of those stories. Just do something out of the ordinary today. My advice is that you make a change today and continue it for awhile."

"Like what?" She shrugs her shoulders.

"Well, you can pick up a new hobby, go to a place you've never been to, or make a new friend." The counselor suggested.

All the ideas spirals through Ruby's mind. "A new friend? I don't know about that. I'm not really great at making friends."

"It doesn't have to be a giant group of people. It could just be one person. Just one person."

Before anything else could happen, the bell rang. Ruby quickly got up and said, "Oh, I have to go to class. Thanks for the advice, Ms. Lucan."

"Anytime, Ruby." She kindly smiles at her.

For two periods, Ruby didn't really take Ms. Lucan's advice. She sat there in her desk in the classrooms and chewed on her pencil. None of the guidance she was given gave her any confidence she thought she had in her. Ruby figured that nobody would talk to her. She figured that nobody knew her at all so it didn't surprised her.

At lunch, Ruby sat in her spot next to the trash can. She playfully stabs her chicken with her plastic fork as she thinks very hard. Make a new friend, Ruby thought. How the hell am I going to make the most unlikely individual be my friend? I lived here my whole life and people look at me like I'm a disease.

"Hey, Ruby," a voice said her name. She looks up to find the familiar new kid from yesterday.

It took her a moment to study him. He was the same guy she met. Dark hair, olive skin, a bit bulky, dressed in plaid and jeans, and may have been about six feet in height. "Oh, hey, Derek, right?" Ruby responded.

"Yeah, I thought you didn't remember me from yesterday. Is there anybody sitting here?" He asked.

She nods her head. "Go ahead. Nobody really likes sitting here because of the pleasant smell coming from the trash cans." She sarcastically states.

Derek sat down and placed his lunch tray in front of him. "If that's your way of trying to get me to leave, it's not working." He jokes.

As Ruby takes a bite out of her chicken, she asks Derek, "Where'd you move here from?"

"I'm from Denton, Texas," he answered. "I moved here with my moms, my brother, Lucas, and my sister, Shaylee."

"Denton? What are you doing out here then? That sounds like a big city."

The guy eats a piece of bread and swallows it. "My mom, Carrie got transferred here. She's the principal at the middle school."

"Oh, really? That's cool. My dad works with kids too. He's a child psychologist." Ruby informs him.

"Psychology?" He says the word. "That fascinates me. Does he like work on different types of kids?"

"Mostly kids with phobias. He had to help this one kid who had a phobia for Santa Claus."

Derek raises his eyebrow. "How did that turn out? Did he dress up like Santa Claus or something?"

"Yes, he did. The kid scream and starting punching him. Then, he was cured."

He chuckles, "Wow, that's as weird as my little sister. She had imaginary friends and only talks to them."

Ruby shrugs her shoulders. "It's probably a sign of loneliness," she suggested. "Like me for today. I'm all alone."

He was curious about Ruby's response. "Why are you alone? Do you have friends or something? If you don't, I totally understand the whole Lone Wolfe attitude."

Before she could answer, Ruby took a sip of her Dr. Pepper. "I have friends. They're in ISS for a few days."

"ISS? Wait, so is that why you were in the office yesterday?" He asks her. "Because of them?"

Ruby nodded. "Precisely yes."

"Well they sound like the best of friends," Derek commented. "You don't have any other friends?"

She didn't want to answer his question. For Ruby, it seemed pathetic that she only had two friends. It's not that she hated making friends. Her only reason was that she would often be annoyed by her fellow classmates. Finally, Ruby answers, "I'm really not the social butterfly type if you know what I mean."

"Yeah, I do. I didn't really make a lot of friends yesterday. Everybody in my classes just ignored me and most of the guys made puppy eyes at me."

His little joke made Ruby chuckle. "That sounds interesting. Trust me they ignore you once they see you hanging out with me. I'm not exactly popular."

Derek shrugs his shoulders. "Doesn't bother me. Ruby, I'm not difficult. If you're nice to me, then I'll be nice to you. It's as simple as pie."

"You like pie?" She asks.

"Oh, I love it especially cherry." The more Derek goes rambling on about pie the more Ruby laughs. "I can't live without cherry pie. I love pie!"

Moments later, Ruby stops laughing. "Well you're definitely something else, aren't you?" She smirks.

"So what about you? Anything specific I should know about you." Derek raises his eyebrow.

This was the hard part for Ruby. At first, she thought that her personality was boring and plain. But it seems that Derek was actually waiting for her to say something. "I have a little brother named Cody, my favorite color is crimson, I have a fear of snakes, I wasn't tall enough to go on any roller coasters until I turned fifteen, my middle name is Donna, I love the Vanilla Bean from Starbucks, and I suck at making friends." Ruby could say more, but she was waiting for Derek's reaction.

He shook his head. "Seriously, fifteen?" Derek asked her.

She laughs in response. "Yes, I'm short. It's a curse! My little brother is almost taller than me."

"How old is he?" He asked.

"He's twelve," Ruby answers. "I know it's weird. I'm used to being the short one. You don't know how awkward it is when someone has to look down to talk to me." She takes a bite of her chicken. "Anything else you would love to know about me?"

Derek drank his Big Red in one big gulp and flatten it with his hand. "Yeah, I don't understand why cafeteria food can never be good. This tastes like plastic."

"It's not really the lunch ladies' fault." Ruby told him. "They serve it. They don't make it."

"Nobody's gotta food poisoning here, right?" He joked with her.

She plays along with it by whispering, "Legend has it that the meat is made out of the kids from summer school. When you're in the kitchen, you always hear their screams."

Ring! It was the school bell. Both Ruby and Derek grabbed their lunchtrays and threw them in the trashcan. After dumping her tray, Ruby lost Derek in the crowd heading towards the hallways. She went along with the rest of the students and headed to her next class.

For the first time in her life, Ruby was actually glad to have changed something. Derek was a real character with his way of getting Ruby to open up. Never before has she ever personally told anyone about herself. It was weird for Ruby to actually talk to people by herself.

Since she didn't want to waste her time looking for Derek, Ruby went to her locker to get her notebook for Mr. Mooney. Ruby didn't have a problem with Mooney at all. He was a forty-five year-old man who had two kids from his previous marriage. Now Mooney had another husband who was way too young for him. One thing about him that Ruby heard was that Mooney's new husband was half his age. The thought of a younger person with an older person made Ruby a bit uncomfortable although her dads were only four years apart. Another about Mooney was that he knows every little detail about history and manages to crack a short joke in between his lessons.

Ruby walked into the the classroom expecting another period of being ignored. Suddenly, her new friend says her name, "Ruby!" The young teenager turns to the left to find Derek sitting in a desk waving his hand for Ruby to walk over to him.

She walked towards him and sat in the empty seat next to him. "I totally forgot that we had this class together," Ruby sighs. "Sorry I wasn't here yesterday."

"Hey, it's fine," he assures her. "You missed the best part during this period when I had to sit back here because that short blonde couldn't see over my head." Derek pointed to Tara Campbell, who was even shorter than Ruby.

The girl nods her head and sighs, "The parks of being a hobbit."

Derek turns to her. "You're not a hobbit. You're considered a midget if you're under four foot ten, so you're good."

Ruby snorts, "Is that another law or something?"

"No, it's just something I knew off the internet," he informs her. "I know all the rules about court and laws, but most of it is just on the Internet."

Mooney walks into class and says aloud, "Hello, class, today we are continuing on with . . . " Ruby completely cuts the teacher's lesson off from her mind.

She was so focused on Derek Harvelle. Everything about him was just fascinating to Ruby. It interest her when Derek would rolls his eyes in class or when he bites his pen.

The more she watches him the more doubtful she becomes. Why was she so into this boy? Maybe Ruby was just lonely that she was desperate to make friends.

After the class ended, they didn't have any other classes together. Ruby sat in her desk waiting for school to end so she can see Derek. Never before has she been this excited to see someone. Then again, Ruby wonders why she was so anxious to see him again.

At last, the final bell rings. Ruby hurries out the door. She heads to her locker and quickly tries to open her combination lock.

Because of her impatience, Ruby had difficulty opening her lock. Finally, she got it open and clutches her bag into her hand. Ruby slams the locker door close and walks towards the gym where the parking lot was.

By the time she walks out there, most of the cars were already leaving. It always pissed Ruby off that she didn't have a car and she couldn't drive.

"Ruby." It was his voice who said her name.

She turns back to see him with sunshades covering his eyes. "Hey, Derek," Ruby says to him.

The teenage boy takes a deep breath. "You waiting for someone?" Derek asks her.

"I-I missed the bus," she faithfully lies to him. "And I don't drive. The last driving test I took was a major disaster."

Derek began laughing. "Oh, yeah? Come on, Ruby, how bad were you?"

It was embarrassing to tell him the truth, but Ruby was confident in herself. "Well it was the same old story. First, I could reach the gas pedal, ran a stop sign, and didn't slow down enough to turn. On the other hand, I succeeded in parallel parking."

In a matter of seconds, Derek Harvelle laughs at Ruby's little story. First, Ruby wished that she was lying. "So you need a ride?" He asked her.

Ruby bites her bottom lip as she thinks for a moment. "You got a car?" She questions him.

"Not exactly." Derek answers her. "Come along, dear Ruby." She followed the guy into the parking lot.

From the direction they were heading towards, Ruby wondered if her new friend's car was either the black Dodge or the red Ford F-150. But Derek kept walking in front of those vehicles and turned to the side of the Ford. Next to the truck was a 2010 Honda 750 Shadow Aero with a black helmet on the passenger seat.

"No way." Ruby gasps. "You have motorcycle?"

Derek grabs the helmet off of the seat and turn back to hand it to Ruby. "Yes, I do." He answers. "Put this on."

She looks at the helmet and brings her head up to him. "I don't wanna sound like an idiot or scaredy cat, but you're experienced with that thing, right?" Ruby asked him.

"My grandpa, Frank gave me this bike on my fifteenth birthday." He informs her. Derek grabs onto the handles to balance himself as he lifts his leg over to the motorcycle and sits on it. "In Texas, you drive one of theses unless you have a driver's license. You're gonna have to wear a helmet. According to the Kansas Statute, Chapter 8, Article 15, Section 8-1598, drivers 18 and under have to wear a helmet."

Another one of Derek's law references made Ruby smiled and roll her eyes. "You read the motorcycle laws of Kansas?" She chuckles.

"Of course I did. I have a passenger seat and foot rest, mirror on left side, and headlight requirement after sunset. This is perfectly legal so...hop on."

It was a simple decision to make at this moment. Ruby had met this guy today and he's offered her a ride home on his motorcycle. Instead of answering him, Ruby places the heavy helmet onto her head. She clutches onto Derek's shoulders and lifts her leg over the bike to sit down.

Derek starts his motorcycle in a few seconds. The sound of the motor made Ruby's palms sweaty. As Derek drives out of the parking lot, Ruby locks her hands around his waist. Her small hands felt the hardness on his stomach. His upper body had a thin layer of fat on top of his muscles. She found some abs through his shirt that could possibly be made out of steel.

"Which way?" Derek hollers as he drives through town.

Once they passed by Walgreen's, Ruby shouts, "Takes a left!" Derek does what she says and turns left. "Now keep going until you see that big blue house. When you see the house, go right."

After receiving the directions, Derek spots the big blue house and turns right. Ruby taps him on the shoulder to stop. He parks right in front of her house.

Ruby gets off his bike and takes the helmet off. As she hands it back to Derek, he bites both of his lips inside of his mouth. It caught Ruby's attention and she asks, "What the hell are you laughing at?"

Finally, Derek lets out his laughter. "You are not the type for helmet hair," he cracks up.

While he continues to laugh, Ruby finds her hair all tangled and expanded over her shoulders. She tries pushing it down and says, "Yeah, this is exactly how it is when I wake up. Anyways, thanks for the ride."

"No problem." Derek puts his helmet on. "Bye, Ruby."

"Bye." She watches as Derek drives away from her house and down the road.