It wasn't that I didn't have friends. I had friends, lots of friends. Well maybe friend wasn't the best word. I had what some would refer to as acquaintances. Yeah, I hung out with people, did things on the weekends sometimes, but I didn't have anyone who I told everything to. I guess I was kind of reserved. I hung out with girls more than guys, and it kind of bothered me. I wasn't as into the shopping and accessorizing as I was supposed to be. I didn't think that the heartthrob of some new boy band was the hottest guy I'd ever seen, and I didn't think that I desperately needed a boyfriend. I had never had one, and I guess that much was obvious. I had never tried. In my mind, I didn't think that one should have to try. So essentially these were the reasons that I was walking alone to Wendy's on my lunch hour. I was only 15, a lowly sophomore, unable to drive without a licensed adult, and not cool enough to have junior and senior friends willing to drive me places.

So imagine my surprise when I heard a car slow down and even stop next to me. I had my nose buried in a copy of the New York Times I had bought that morning at the 7-Eleven on my way to school, but I couldn't resist my urge to see who it was that had stopped next to me.

I groaned recognizing Ryan.

He grinned at my reaction and opened the door of his adorable little periwinkle beamer, "Hop in, I'll give you a ride."

I got in. "So now he's sending his cronies after me?" I asked, closing the door.

"How'd you know I'm a crony?"

"Um... well... I recognized you. I've seen you in the halls with Devon before. I wouldn't get into a car with a complete stranger."

"Oh. So what's my name, since I'm not a complete stranger?"

"You're Ryan."

He nodded, pleased, "We're going to the Wendy's right?"

"Yeah. How'd you know?" I asked, folding my newspaper and smoothing it out in front of me, trying to hide my nervousness

"I've seen you there before."

"Do you know my name?" I asked innocently.

"Of course. You're Sophie."

"Did Devon tell you that before he sent you out to talk to me?"

"Nope. I knew it. See, I'm not just any crony, I'm the head crony, right hand man to Devon, himself." He replied jokingly.

I laughed, "Wow, I get the head crony?"

"But of course, my dear."

"Why is he doing this?" I asked in all seriousness.

"Don't you think you should ask him?"

"I don't really know if I could talk to him." I replied, honestly.

He laughed as we pulled in to the Wendy's. When we got in I immediately ordered a quarter pound hamburger and a small frosty. Ryan and I sat down at a table near the window. He glanced at my tray, "You know most people would go for the Coke with the hamburger, but you, you go for the Frosty."

"I love Frosties. They're like God's gift to milkshakes."

"Hey, whatever floats your boat. Personally, I'm a ice cream cone man myself."

"Ugh, please." I said, sticking out my tongue at him disapprovingly. "The cone is so primitive."

"Like the Frosty is so advanced." He retorted quickly.

"At least it doesn't drip all over me."

"Hey neither does the cone if you eat it fast enough. Don't hate it just because you couldn't master it."

I laughed, "'Master the cone.' Wow that's something everyone's going to be jealous of."

We finished up our food and our conversation, and Ryan drove me back to school.

"So did you have fun?" He asked me.

I smiled, "Yeah, you're alright."

"So will you do me a favor? Since I'm so alright and everything."

"Let me guess, go out with Devon?"

"As wonderful as that would be, no," Ryan replied, smiling. "I just want you to talk to him. Ask him why he wants to go out with you, ask him to explain himself to you."

I actually hadn't done that, and as soon as he said it, I knew that I should have. "Alright. I'll do it."

"Thanks. You won't regret it."

I walked to my locker, not fully awake. It was 7:20, and I desperately wanted to crawl back into my bed. I shuffled over to my locker, but stopped when I noticed and recognized the person standing next to it.

I continued shuffling, "So is this ambushing me at my locker gonna be a daily thing?"

Devon grinned, "Not a morning person, huh?"

"More like not a Devon-in-the-morning person." I grumbled.

"'Not a Devon-in-the-morning person,'" He repeated, chuckling to himself. "That's cute."

I sighed, opening my locker, "What do you want?"

"I was just wondering if you, Sophie Masterson, would like to accompany me on a date sometime." He grinned after he finished, as if I should have been impressed that he threw in my name and everything.


"Why not?" He asked, furrowing his brown in confusion. "You do realize that I'm serious, right?"

"What do you want out of this?" I asked, ignoring his question. "I know you've got some ulterior motive."

He sighed, looking slightly abashed, "Well you were around when Breigh and I broke up, right?"

"No, but I may have heard about it," I lied.

"I'm hoping to find another girlfriend to maybe make her a little jealous." He said, looking slightly embarrassed at having to go through all this work.

I smiled, amused, "And let me guess, no one else would go out with you."

"You see," he said, slight embarrassment changing over to slight annoyance. "She's being really obnoxious about it. There are plenty of girls who want to go out with me, but Breigh's got 'em scared."

"Oh," I rolled my eyes, finally understanding. "And because I'm not up to par in her mind, she wouldn't even think of me."

"You're smart." He said, pointing out the obvious.

"Yeah, sometimes."

"So will you please go out with me?" He asked, his eyes pleading with me. "I'm a really good cause."

"No," I replied, trying not to look at him.

"You're being unreasonable."

"What am I getting in return for this?" I asked, wincing at my selfishness.

"Rides to Wendy's?" He offered. "Ryan mentioned how much you like the Frosties."

I grinned, amused by how simple he thought I was. "Um, as wonderful as that sounds, I have to say... No."

"Are you serious?" He asked, shocked that I could possibly resist his "charm:

"Yes." I replied, heading in the direction of my first period class.

"Where are you going?" He asked, following me.

"To class," I stated. "Some of us actually go, like regularly."

"I go a lot. More than necessary." He said, sounding offended.

"Of course you do." I replied, not bothering to tell him that one can't really go to class more than necessary.

"Would you mind if I walked with you?"

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.

"Because I'm trying to be nice," he said, easily matching his long strides to my short ones. "You're not making it easy."

I sighed, thinking that perhaps I was being unnecessarily harsh with him, "Alright. I'm sorry. You can walk with me."

"Where are we going?" He asekd, pleased with my change of attitude.

"The gym."

"Want me to carry your stuff for you?"

I thought about the weight of backpack that I had, of course, grown accustomed to, but wouldn't mind dealing without, "I guess."

He took it from me and swung it over his shoulder as if it had no weight at all, "So when are we gonna go out?"

"You and me?" I asked, surprised.


"Um, never." I replied.

"How about Friday, we could go to the football game?"

"Are you even listening to me?" I asked, getting a little pissed off by his persistence.

"So what do you think?" Rather obviously, he wasn't

I looked at him for a second to see if he was even fully conscious. He didn't notice. I got fed up and left. I walked into the gym and into the locker room, leaving Devon behind, confused.

I sat down on the little blue wooden benches in front of my gym locker. Kylie Ackers who had a locker two or three down from mine was already finished changing.

"Sophie, are you ok?"

Her voice brought me out of my reverie. I glanced up at her, and tossed her a grateful smile, "Um, yeah. I'm fine."

"I'll see you out there then."


I turned to reach into my backpack for my state-mandated gym uniform. Of course when my hand hit wood I realized that I didn't have my backpack. I groaned realizing that Devon had it. I slowly, very slowly, made my way out of the locker room. Devon was waiting for me. He looked incredibly cool and relaxed as always. Some of the more popular girls from the sophomore class had managed to flock over to him and try to flirt their way into his good graces. He took it all in stride, but I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was bored.

He glanced over at me and grinned. I froze, unable to force my legs to move in his direction. It didn't matter though, because Devon came over to me with his little entourage of giggling girls only a few steps behind.

"I was wondering when you were gonna realize what you'd left."

The group had caught up with him and I suddenly felt incredibly immature in my oversized overalls and Keds. "I um, forgot that had you it."

He grinned, "So, you want it back?"

I swallowed, still nervous, knowing that people were actually paying attention to this conversation, "Yes."

"You do realize what I'm going to do, right?"

"Um... maybe?"

"So I'm gonna ask you again. Friday night, the football game. Yea or nay?" He asked, dangling my backpack in front of me.

"I'll get my backpack if I say 'yea', right?"

"Well of course, I'm not that horrible."

I sighed, "Um, sure then."

"What was that?" he asked, pretending not to hear me.

"Yes. I said yes. I'll go with you."

He handed me my backpack. "Excellent. So I'll meet you by your locker at lunch, and we'll all go to Wendy's."

I smiled, "Yeah, whatever."


After Devon had given me back my backpack, I'd changed into my lovely sunshine yellow gym shirt and my navy blue mesh shorts. I still wasn't sure how the school had managed to bribe some innocent manufacturer into making shirts that unholy shade of yellow.

Usually during gym I participated as best as I could as a way to take my mind off of how incredibly stupid I looked. That particular day, however, I was unable to do so. People who I could've sworn had never spoken to me, were running up to me in droves. And of course, instead of basking in my newfound popularity, like any other normal person, I shied away from as many of the vultures as I could. Eventually I found myself lying supine on top of one of those dilapidated benches between the lockers, pretending to sleep.

"Hey. Are you alright?" A soft female voice asked.

I opened my eyes, curious about whom was standing over me. It was some girl who I didn't recognize. I gave her a rather wan smile, "Yeah. I'm alright. Thanks for asking though."

"No problem." She said, wandering away.

Less than a minute later I heard the sound of someone smacking on an especially odorous piece of grape bubble gum. I groaned and once again opened my eyes. The perfumed and perfectly made up face that stood over me alerted me to the fact that my previous visitor, had ratted me out.

I sighed, sitting up, "Yes?"

"Um," she paused to crack her gum, "You're that girl that's like," crack, "going out with Devon Matthews, right?"

"I wouldn't say that we're going out persay, but we're going to the game together on Friday."

"Well," crack, "like, how did that happen?"

I brushed off the initial insult, and gave her the benefit of the doubt. "What do you mean exactly?"

She looked at me as if I were stupid, "I mean: How did you get him?"

"I didn't get him."

She rolled her eyes, "You know what I mean."

I narrowed my eyes, "I don't think I do."

"How did someone like you manipulate someone like him into going out with you?"

I smirked. My hand was desperately itching to slap her, but no, I refused to sink to her lower than low level. Instead I stood up, forcing her to take a step back, gave her a disgustingly fake superior smile and said, "I really don't know. You'd have to ask him."

She tossed me an annoyed look and strode away.

Unfortunately, that was the most interesting encounter I had that day. People continued to talk to me, unfamiliar people. I knew why, but that just made it worse. It bothered me greatly that people were really as shallow as I had always hoped they weren't. I went to my locker at the beginning of lunch, praying that no one else would attempt to use me to help his or her social status. I was so preoccupied with my own thoughts that I didn't even notice Devon and Ryan at my locker until they spoke.


I shook my head, snapping out of it, "Uh, yeah, hi."

Devon smiled, "Good, for a second I thought that you were like ignoring me or something."

I looked at him for a second, just to see if he was serious. The degree of his self-absorption was kind of... well amazing, and the fact that he was completely unaware of it was cute... in a pathetic kind of way. "Um, no, I wasn't ignoring you. I was just thinking about how incredibly superficial some of the people at this school are."

He nodded, as I grabbed my stuff, "Superficial, right."

Ryan laughed.

I closed my locker, "The amount of people that have started conversations with me just because we're going to the game on Friday is... sad.

Devon grinned. "Yeah, you're liking the popularity?" He asked, displaying his lack of attentiveness to what I had previously stated.

Ryan stifled a snort, "Uh... I kinda doubt it."

"Um, actually. I'm not really fond of the basis for the conversations."

"Oh." Devon replied. "So you ready to go?" He asked, taking my backpack from me.

I paused, distractedly momentarily by Devon taking my backpack without my asking. "Yeah..."

Devon walked a head a bit, and Ryan walked with me. "I see that you aren't used to people carrying things for you." He was referring to my pause when Devon had taken my backpack.

I shrugged, "I guess it's nice, but if I can carry it myself, what's the point of him carrying it for me."

"Well, he likes to do it. Breigh would never carry anything, and she kind of trained him to do it without thinking. It isn't that he thinks you're incapable or anything."

I nodded, understanding. "She trained him, like one trains a pet?"

"Well yeah, kind of. She was very tactful about it though. He has no idea what she did, but I can see it clear as day."

"He doesn't seem to be the most...perceptive person."

Ryan cracked a crooked grin, "Perhaps not, but he is a really nice guy once you get to know him."

"Well I guess so," I said, trying not to judge Devon based on the two days that I'd known him. "But since we're just going to the one game on Friday, I don't think I'll get to know him very well."


"Well yeah, today's Tuesday, I can't get acquainted with someone in like three days."

He smiled, almost as if he knew something that I didn't. "Oh you'll get more than three days."


"Nothing." He replied innocently.