Chapter 1

"I'm so excited!" Kayla Perkins exclaimed with a jump in the air, as she waited for the people in front of her to move forward.

Allison Huffman, Kayla's closest friend, was behind her, as she too waited for the line to move forward. "I know," she said, "I haven't played a musical instrument since the third grade.

"What kind was it?" Kayla asked before taking a step forward as the line shifted.

"It was a recorder." Allison followed Kayla.

"What's that?" The girl's dimples were practically shining. She got excited about everything, even the smallest things. Kayla's highschool was starting a music class, and anyone interested in attending required trying out for an instrument to play. It was mid morning at the highschool, and a whole line of students were moving toward the music room.

"It's kinda like a flute," Allison answered. "You blow on it."

"Cool!" Kayla bounced into the air again. "Are you gonna play that now?"

"I didn't really like it. I'll probably try something else."

"Like what?"

"I dunno, maybe a cello?"
Kayla squealed, forcing looks from other students. The girl got loud at times, and people found that a bit odd and off guard. But it didn't bother Kayla that she needed Allison to zip her mouth and nail her feet to the floor. It was actually quite comforting to Kayla that she had people to correct her when she got a little carried away.
Allison placed her index finger up to her lips, telling her friend to hush up. And Kayla's voiced softened.

"That's like a violin right?" Kayla asked.

"Almost. It's bigger and lower pitched. I like that."

Kayla grinned and glanced up at the ceiling. "I wonder if I could play that too. We could be like twins!"

"Like Lizzie and Lola?"

"Yeah! Only we would be playing the same thing."

Lizzie and Lola Griffin were Kayla and Allison's close friends. They were identical twins and did everything together. Although they both played an instrument, they were pretty independent about which ones. Lizzie played the flute and Lola played the violin.

"Since they have been playing since they were little, they don't need to try out," said Allison, as she pointed ahead, telling Kayla that the line was moving.

Kayla proceeded forward. "I know, they already have their instruments."

"Would you really consider playing the cello with me?"

"Sure, I mean, I don't know yet, but I'll consider it"

"Perkins? On a cello? Don't make me laugh."

The two friends nearly groaned. That voice came from Tricia Couchman. She and her friends Krista Jane and Chloe Rancer, were standing a few people behind them. They were the Pink Girls, according to Kayla, because they were always wearing pink clothes and lots of jewelry. But it wasn't their fashion that made them famous. It was how mean they were.

"If you play a cello," Tricia continued, "then you will fall from your chair and hit the ground!"
Kayla didn't understand what Tricia was getting at, but she knew it was bad. Everything that came out of those girls' mouths was bad. Allison was already glaring at the three.

"Yeah, you're so small and weak," Chloe joined in, "you won't be able to hold that thing up!" She giggled with her friends.

Kayla looked down at herself. It was true that her size was small for a fifteen year old. She wasn't even five feet tall; her legs were short and skinny, her bust was as flat as a squished bug, and her arms were like noodles. The girl wasn't the strongest either. She always did poorly in P.E, even if she was giving it her best.
Kayla only frowned. The Pink Girls always got under her skin, but most of the time she didn't have anything to say to them. Mostly because they were scary if you ever said anything back to them.

"Why don't you guys just cool it?" Allison demanded, standing in front of her friend. "We are all in line to try out for a musical instrument. This class is not meant to be a bullying class!"

Kayla's eyes widened. It amazed her how angry her friend sounded, but it didn't surprise her either. Allison was always the type to express her feelings and opinions. It made Kayla feel warm, knowing that she was standing up for her.

The Pink Girls all rolled their eyes. "Don't have a freak attack," Krista said. "Nobody likes a whiner."

Allison huffed before turning her back to them. Kayla could see the anger in her friend's dark blue eyes. It's something that freaked others out, but never stopped the Pink Girls from continuing their bullying.

"Watch your back Huffman," Krista said.

Allison ignored her. "I can't believe those three are gonna be in the music class with us."

"Yeah, I know," Kayla replied softly. The thought of those three in there making fun of them over the sound of instruments playing gave the girl chills. She was starting to have second thoughts in joining the class.

When it was finally Kayla's turn to enter the music room, she hesitated. She still had time to tell Allison that she had changed her mind. But when she heard her friend say "Pick out something nice, girl," she pushed herself in.

Visions of the Pink Girl's saying mean things to her disappeared when she saw the room full of musical instruments. It was something she always wanted to do. Play music. She smiled.

"Don't be shy," a short woman with short brown hair said. "Come closer dear."

Kayla did. She was always shy meeting new people, but she always got over that once she got to know the people.

"And what's your name?"

"Kayla Perkins," Kayla answered softly. She was looking to the side, away from the woman.

"I'm Ms. Hannah. I'll be your music teacher this year. Do you have any music experience, Hon?"

Kayla finally stared at the woman. She was afraid to tell her that she had no music experience and she wouldn't be allowed to join the class. She would feel left out not being able to play music with her friends.

The girl remained quiet, trying to find the right words to say.

"Why don't you try a few instruments and see which one you like?"

Kayla nodded before Ms. Hannah picked up a small instrument with strings on it. In her other hand was a stick that Kayla had seen being used on these things on tv.
"This is called a violin," Mrs Hannah said, "and this is a bow. It's what you use to play. Want to give it a try?"

Kayla nodded again and took the violin with her right hand, and the bow with her left.

"Are you right or left handed?"

"Right."

"Switch hands." The woman took the violin and placed it into Kayla's left hand, and put the bow in her right hand. It was already starting to get confusing to the girl. "Now you put the violin's chin rest under your chin." She pointed to that black piece on the end of the violin.

Kayla did, and after that, Ms. Hannah placed her hand on the neck of the violin. "Hold it up. Now move put your fingers on the finger board, then move the bow on the strings. That's how you play."

Kayla stared for a few seconds, then did exactly as she was told. The sound was out of tune, not the way she had heard it on TV. It brought a frown to the girl's face. But what she didn't like even more was the feel. She hated how hard her chin felt on the chin rest. She hated the tiring feel of her arm stretched far and up.

"You got it," Ms. Hannah said.

But Kayla shook her head and quit playing. The she handed the violin back. "I don't think this one is right. I hate how it feels".

"You could get use to it."

Kayla shook her head again. She knew she would never get use to that thing. She had to try something else.

"How about a cello then?" The teacher sat down the violin, and picked up something almost identical to that, only it was five times bigger. She then got out a chair.
Kayla sat down in the chair, but she grew nervous when she saw that thing coming toward her. This was the instrument Allison wanted to try, and it was the same one that the Pink Girls mocked Kayla for being too small for it.

Ms. Hannah sat the cello in front of the girl. "Same as violin, hold the neck with your left hand, and move the bow with your right. Only it will be on the floor instead of in the air."

Kayla gave it a try. Just like Allison had said, it had a lower pitch sound to it. But just as Kayla tried the violin, it sounded out of tune.
"You got it," the teacher said once again.

Kayla continued, moving the bow back and forth across the strings. It wasn't as bad as the feeling of holding a violin, but something else was wrong. The girl started to lose her balance. It was as if the cello was pushing her down.

The girl leaned back and handed the cello and bow forward. "No, I don't think so." Sorry Allison, she thought. She didn't want to admit that the Pink Girls were right.

"Alright, perhaps a string instrument isn't the best for you." Ms. Hannah put the cello away and picked up something completely different . It was long and thin. She handed it to Kayla. "This is called a clarinet. You put the mouth piece into your mouth, and blow."

Kayla took a good look at the thing. it was only about a foot long, and she didn't have to hold a bow in her other hand. It seemed simple enough, so the girl placed the piece far back into her mouth, and blew.

It was the sound of terror. Like a bird screeching in fear. It was not the sound Kayla had hoped for. In seconds, she handed the thing back to Ms. Hannah, not letting her tell her that she would get use to it or she would get better at it. It was a no for Kayla.

"Alright, how about a trumpet?"

A trumpet! Kayla knew what that was. She had seen those on TV many times. People played them a lot in marching bands. She imagined herself marching around the front yard, playing the trumpet magnificently. It sounded like a lot of fun.

Kayla nodded and watched as Ms. Hannah picked up the brass and golden instrument It looked a lot like the ones on TV. She handed it to Kayla, explained how to play. It sounded simple enough.

She held it up with both her hands, placed the mouth piece on her mouth, and blew.
No sound came out. Kayla wondered if it was broken.

"Try again," said Ms. Hannah.

Kayla did, harder than before. A harsh growling sound came out of it, as the girl felt the instrument buzzing. She continued to blow, so hard her cheeks turned red.

"Perk your lips," Ms. Hannah shouted over the sound.

Kayla tried harder, but it was too hard to get just the smallest sound out. It felt wrong, and it sounded wrong. She stopped and breathed. Her cheeks were hurting already.

"Hmmm." Ms. Hannah studied Kayla for a few seconds and then snapped her fingers. "I think I know what would be perfect for a girl like you." She took the trumpet from Kayla.

A girl like me? What does that mean exactly? Kayla thought. She waited for the woman to put the trumpet back, and head for something completely different.

Ms. Hannah brought over something that was sitting on a stand, and had bars made of wood. "Come here."

Kayla did, and stared at the object curiously. She had never seen anything like it before. It looked nothing like a violin or even a clarinet or trumpet.

Ms. Hannah gave Kayla two stick looking objects. "This instrument is called a xylophone. You don't have to hold it up high or blow into it. It's so simple even you can play." The woman chuckled. "Give it a try. Use the mallets I gave you to beat the bars."

Kayla looked down at it and raised one of the sticks she was holding. She then went down on it and hit the object. The sound was wooden and peaceful. It reminded her of something the African-Americans would play. She hit it again, only a different bar, creating a new tune.
The girl played continuously. It didn't hurt her chin, it didn't hurt her cheeks, and the sound wasn't roaring. It was beautiful. Kayla grinned as she hit the bars.

Ms. Hannah nodded, also grinning. "This is perfect for you."

It is, Kayla thought. It's perfect.

Kayla told Allison the news when she finished her tryout, and Allison was more than thrilled for her. After she tried out, she told Allison that she did not decide on the cello.

"I wasn't able to hold it up," Kayla said. "They were right about me being too small."

"Don't worry about it, everyone is built differently, and you are perfect for the xylophone."

Kayla accepted that and stepped aside so her friend could enter the room to try out herself. It would be time for Kayla to return to class since her try out was finished, but it didn't feel right to leave without Allison.

Making friends was always a struggle for Kayla, but Allison became her first friend on the very frist day of highschool, and she was grateful for that. Having a close friend was a precious thing, and Kayla was going to stay as close to her as possible. Waiting for her was worth it.

"You're going to be a laugh in instrumental class," an evil and familiar voice said.

Kayla remained silent as she heard Tricia speak. Without Allison by her side, it was nearly impossible to stand up to the mean girl and her friends. Although, she forced herself around and stared at her.

"You will be tripping and falling and dropping your sticks."

It angered Kayla that the Pink Girls were still eavesdropping on her and Allison's conversations, but she didn't say anything about it.

Tricia continued. "If I were you, I would drop out while you still can. You don't wanna embarrass yourself. It won't be enjoyable for you to be in that class."

Kayla then had the courage to speak. There were some things she could stand up for. "I love music, I know I will like it."

"Not if you do terribly," said Chloe who had her eyes on her cellphone, "you will be a mess with how clumsy you are."

Kayle did not object to that remark, nor did she gave her input. She could only turn back around and stare at the door. There was a part of her that knew that what they said was true. She was a klutz, and that did make things more complicating for her. If she were to trip and fall and drop things, that would make her frustrated and do poorly on her task.

She didn't want to admit that, though. Especially to the girls who were constantly harassing her. She couldn't let them get to her. Although it was hard when she could feel the girls staring at her and hearing their giggling whispers.

Within minutes, the door finally opened and Allison stepped out. She seemed a bit surprised for a split second when she noticed that Kayla was still there. But it only made her smile. "Hey. Cello!"

Kayla's negative feelings disappeared when she saw her friend's cheerful face. She leaped up in the air. "Yay!"

"We are going to rock in Music class. Let's go girl." Allison placed her arm around Kayla's shoulder and began to leave the area with her.

No matter what the Pink Girls said, Kayla knew she was going to have a blast in class. Especially when she knew her friends would be right there with her.

Kayla's class schedule was a little different from last semester's. Instead of starting off the morning with math, she had to attend P.E first thing when the bell rang. P.E was not her subject, but lucky for her, Mr Leigh, who was her P.E. teacher last year, gave them an introduction on what they would be doing the rest of semester, which is playing Volleyball and Basketball. Although she wasn't thrilled about that, Kayla was still glad she didn't need to run any laps or do anything hard.

"It's only on Tuesdays and Thursdays," Allison had said to her, "don't stress over it." On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays they would be having Music class, while the other students who decided not to attend, had study hall. Kayla was very excited to start music the next day.

The second class for Kayla was History, which she didn't have with the Twins anymore, but she did have it with Cassie. History wasn't Kayla's favorite class, nor was it her worst class. But her teacher, Mr. Simpson was very nice, and the homework was easy to do. That day he had the class watch a documentary about World War II. It wasn't too exciting, but the topic did upset Kayla a bit.

And then next was Math, Kayla's worst subject. She and Allison had that class together this semester, and despite hating that class, Kayla walked with her friend happily to the classroom, completely forgetting about the last things the Pink Girls had said to her before leaving.

"More Algebra," Allison as the two walked.

"Joy," Kayla grumbled. "I hate math, it's too hard."

Allison nodded in agreement as she stepped into the classroom, where the other students chattered amongst themselves, waiting for Mrs. Allice, their teacher, to give them instructions. "Cassie always wrote notes for me and helped me," said Kayla, " I don't think I can survive without her."

"I wonder if she's even in this class with us this semester." Cassie was always writing down the notes for Kayla in a away to make her understand it. If she wasn't going to be in class with her this semester, Kayla wasn't sure if she could make it.

But those feelings didn't last once Kayla saw her familiar smart friend already sitting in a desk, her face buried in a book. "Cassie!" Kayla said.

Cassie slowly glanced up from her book and grinned with a wave. She never seemed nervous about any class, and was always ready for her assignments and tests. On top of all that, she was the most organized of friends, and Kayla envied that about her. She and Allison took a seat nex to her.

"I'm so glad you're here!" Kayla called out merrily. "You will make notes for me again, right?" She hated to be burden, but Cassie was her only hope.

"Of course," Cassie answered, "and I'll help explain it to you, too, as before."

"Great!" Kayla turned to Allison. "Um, do you think you could help Allison, too? She also has trouble."

"Oh, no no, I'm fine," Allison said with a smile. "I can follow and take my own notes."

Kayla was impressed, and felt a bit pathetic that even Allison, who also had trouble with math, could still take her own notes.

"I usually ask the teacher for help."

Cassie nodded and went right back to her reading, while Kayla glanced at the other students. She wasn't looking forward to attending part 2 of Alegabra 1, but she knew she could get through it with Cassie helping her, as well as having Allison by her side.

As Kayla walked to lunch with Allison and Cassie, the girl hummed, happy that Mrs. Allice didn't give them any homework. So far, she didn't have homework in any of her classes. "Are you going to be in Music class with Allison and me?" she asked Cassie as the three stepped into the cafeteria.

Cassie shook her head. "I do like music, yes, but it's not my cup of tea to be playing any instruments. I prefer Chior."

"Chior? You mean singing?"

"Mhm, that's gonna be an optional class next year."

Kayla also loved to sing, but she wasn't so sure she did well at that. But nobody probably wouldn't be able to tell if she were surrounded by other singers. "Look, there's Lola and Lizzie!" The girl hurried over and jumped in the seat next to her friends.

The Twins looked up at Kayla and smiled. "Hey Kayla!" Lola let out.

"Hi!"

Allison and Cassie took a seat across from Kayla, Lola, and Lizzie. The Twins were already eating their cafeteria food, while the others began on their sacked lunches.

"I'm so excited about Music class," Kayla started.

"Oh, so you really are joining?" Lola asked as she chewed on a bite of her chicken sandwich.

"Yes, I'm gonna play the xylophone."

"Oooh, those are pretty, and very simple," Lizzie said.

"Yep, that's why I chose it." Kayla's eyes were beaming as she smiled proudly, still not biting into her turkey sandwich.

"You're going to be close with the drummers," Lola explained.

"I am?" Kayla blinked, holding her sandwich up in front of her face.

"Yep, it's part of percussion. Drummers, cymbals, triangle, xylophone; they are all in the same group."

"Oh, but we will all still be together right?" She gulped nervously. The thought of being in the most exciting class ever without her friends made her stomach turn into a knot.

"The whole orchestra will all be together, yes," Cassie spoke. "But there are different sections. Percussion, strings, winds." Even though Cassie wasn't the musical instrument type, she still seemed knowledgable about it. Kayla wasn't surprised, since her friend read so many books.

"And Allison will be apart of strings?" Kayla asked. "She's gonna play the cello."

"Great, yes, she and Lola will be in strings," Lizzie replied.

Kayla nodded and finally took a bite into her sandwich.

"But since she and you are both beginners," Lola started, "Ms. Hannah has to make sure everyone plays on the same level. The beginners will be going to class an extra thirty minutes early so they can learn the basics. Then when everyone comes together, we will learn a song."

It all sounded very confusing to Kayla, but she trusted her new teacher, and she trusted her friends.

Kayla's next class was Biology, which she was grateful to have with Allison. She also noticed that Alex, another one of her familiar classmates, was there as well. She remembered having something in common with Alex, and that was that they both were victims of online harassment. Because of that, Kayla wasn't afraid to share her views and feelings with the girl.

"Next year we will be taking Chemistry," said Alex, "and I'm really looking forward to that."

Kayla wasn't so sure if she agreed. She loved Biology, but Chemistry was an entirely different thing. She would have to wait and see. She did, though, hoped that she would have it together with Alex.

Just like last semester, English was Kayla's last class of the day; and again her teacher was Mrs. Shake. Kayla loved Mrs. Shake, for she was very nice and open to so many ideas the students had, including Kayla herself. At the beginning of the year, her teacher even gave her a poster she could keep in her bedroom. The girl was disappointed, though, that none of her friends were in English with her, not even Cassie, whom was with her last semester. Kayla, though, knew she could survive, since she had the best teacher ever.

One other good thing about the semester is that the only classes that Kayla shared with the Pink Girls were English and Music. She was sure she could tolerate just two times, lunch time not included.

When Kayla got home that day after school, she immediately began to tell her parents about the instrument she chose for Music class, and that she still had her same teachers from last semester.

"That's wonderful, dear," Mom said as she put away groceries. "You start music tomorrow, right?"
"Yes! I will finally get my instrument tomorrow and start the class first thing!"

Mom turned to her with a smile. "I'm glad for you."

"You are going to do an amazing job, I just know it." Dad said.

Kayla told her younger sister, Sarah the news as well. The two didn't have very much in common, but when one of them was happy, the other usually always encouraged her. Their little brother, Roger, seemed a bit distracted with his video games, so he didn't give that much input on Kayla's news. But that was normal.

After Kayla woke up the next morning, she immediately jumped out of her bed and got dressed. Then she fed her golden retriever, Maggie, before brushing out her long hair and hurrying downstairs.

"Don't have a cow," Sarah said tiredly.

"Sorry, I'm just so excited about Music class!"

"Yeah, but you don't have to jump out like a pop-tart." One thing different between the two sisters is that Kayla was a morning person and Sarah was not. It was hard to tell for Roger, because he was either up late and getting up early, or going to bed early and getting up late.

Kayla rushed down her cereal before grabbing her shoes.

"It's not like the bus is gonna get here early." Sarah rolled her eyes.

"Just leave me alone," Kayla said softly as she grabbed her backpack. She knew her sister was right about the bus, but she would never understand Kayla's excitement, even if she was encouraging.

She waited for the bus longer than ever since she did her morning routine quickly, but Kayla couldn't complain. There was no such thing as being too early.

After Kayla did get to school, she and her friends talked about the class they were about to attend. What the twins said about the beginners starting before the most experience was true, so Kayla and Allison were to head to the music room right when the bell rings while the others waited in the library to review their homework.

When the bell finally rang, Kayla and Allison giggled excitedly and skipped down the hall to the music room. "My xylophone is gonna be right there when I walk in," Kayla said.

"Yeah, and so is my cello," Allison said as she grabbed a hold of the door knob and pulled the door open.

There were a few students already in the room, setting up and trying out their new musical instruments. The sound of strings and trumpets and trombones went through Kayla's ear. It wasn't as beautiful sounding as she had heard on TV since they were all beginners, but S

"My cello!" Allison said as she ran across the room.

Kayla paid no attention to her friend, and scanned the room for her xylophone. In seconds, she was able to spot it in the back left corner behind a couple students who were setting up their drums.

The girl smiled brightly and hurried over to it. It looked just like the one she had tried out with, and she couldn't wait to play it again. She leaned down and picked up her mallets, then raised them up slowly, ready to beat down on the bars.

Right when she was inches away from playing, Kayla felt a bump from another student who was in a hurry to get to his friend and have a conversation. The girl stumbled forward and dropped her mallets.

So much for saying "Excuse me", Kayla thought. As she leaned down, another pair of hands reached and grabbed a hold of her mallets. The girl blinked in curiosity and scanned up at the person who the hands belonged to.

A boy who was about a food and a half taller than Kayla, stood in front of her. He had wavy brown hair with matching eyes. He seemed so peaceful yet at the same time exciting. "These are yours right?" he asked with a small smile.

Kayla nodded slowly, not able to speak. He was one of the most cutest guys she had ever seen, and that was a lot coming from Kayla's perspective.
The boy moved his arm forward and handed the mallets over to Kayla.

Her eyes didn't leave him as she took a hold of them. She didn't even realize that her interest in trying out her instrument had faded away. It felt like forever before Kayla finally decided to say something.

But before she could even let out a "Thank you", the boy had left her with a smile, and began to set up his instrument. Kayla stood still for a about ten seconds, and then slowly turned her head in the direction he had gone.

He was standing about ten feet away, trying out what looked like to be the drums. The girl remembered that the Twins had told her drums were a part of percussion, as well as the xylophone. She and this boy would be playing close by from here on.