Chapter 1

The first day of middle school is always tough. It may be especially tough for me, though. You see, my Mom and Dad just went through a divorce and we moved. I spend the school week at Mom's and I spend every weekend at Dad's. In the neighborhood my Mom moved to I have NO friends. This just may be the worst year of middle school yet. I may have to move in with Dad permanently. At least I have some FRIENDS there!

"Jacob! Wake your lazy butt up!" Mom calls from the living room. My room is through a door in the living room. "Yes?" I ask, drowsy. "It's your first day of middle school, are you excited?" asks Mom, cheerfully. "ugh, not really. Why did we have to move right before the start of school?" I ask. "You know why," Mom says. "Your father and I had a divorce and we went our separate ways." She says. "I know, but why did you have to divorce and move right before the school starts?" I ask. "I know this is hard for you, but you'll make friends in no time" Mom responds. "And how do YOU know that? We don't have the same personality as you! Do you know how hard it is for a person with autism to make friends?!" I begin to shout. "Just remain calm. Be yourself. People will understand you. Sure, some will be mean, but people were mean to me in school, too" Mom says.

I storm out the door and to the bus stop. "Hello, what's your name?" I ask a boy standing there. He just grunts. He probably has no time for "small talk", as Mom calls it. "Nice chatting with you" I say, sarcastically. The bus pulls up, and I get on. There aren't any empty seats, so I sit next to a girl with long, brown hair. "Find your own seat, scrub! I'm saving this for Austin!" she says, as she shoves me. Obviously, this Austin guy is more important. I sit in the only other seat left with space for one more. "Hey," I say to the guy next to me. "Do you like Kings of Buldana?" I ask. "What's 'Kings of Buldana'?" he ask. "Oh, it's only the world's greatest online multiplayer game. Set in present day India, you are either a king or resident trying to defeat the king for his throne" I explain. "Sounds... boring" he says. "Not at all. It's quite fun, actually. Each level is harder than the previous. If you're king, you can burn the residents to a crisp." I say.

"I'm Jacob," I say to the boy. "Michael, placer conocerte" Michael says. "placer conocerte" is Spanish for "Nice to meet you". "Nice to meet you, too. I don't speak fluent Spanish" I say. "Oh, that's okay. Neither do I" Michael responds. "Maybe you can come to my house tonight?" he asks. "I'd love to, but first, i need to check with Mom." I respond. "Okay, I understand" sighs Michael. The bus stops. "Talk to you later, Jacob." Michael says, getting off the bus.

I walk into the school, only for the principal to greet me. "You must be Jacob O'Neal, our newest student" he says. "That's me" I say. "You may not know this, but we have a dress code here, and if you don't follow it, you'll get a detention. If you get more than two detentions for not following the dress code, you will be suspended. And, if you break the dress code after that, you'll be EXPELLED! And you don't want that, do you?" he asks. "No, sir!" I gulp. "I'm just warning you, kid" he says. "We got off on the wrong foot, i'm Joseph, but you'll call me Principal Dickens" Principal Dickens says. "Yes, sir" I say.

I walk into homeroom. "Glad you could join us, mr O'Neal. I'm Mr. Thomas. Have a seat next to Andrew Smith in the back. Andrew is the kid I tried to talk to at the bus stop. "Hi, Andrew" I say. "Don't talk to me, Jack" he says. "Oh, uh, it's Jacob, actually" I say. "I know, don't talk to me Jack" He says. "Well, why not?" I ask. "You're talking to me! Hope you enjoy swirlies!" He says. I gulp. I have a bad feeling about this.