Authors: Nikki Landis
She kissed me on the cheek and started humming as I walked away. I ran upstairs to brush my teeth, pausing to catch my reflection again. I ran my fingers through my hair and let the soft curls hang down to my waist. A little hairspray, some lip gloss, and I was ready to go.
Just in time. I grabbed my backpack and ran downstairs, nearly colliding with my grandmother. I placed a quick kiss on her cheek and ran for the door.
“Have a good day, honey!”
I smiled as I ran for Mariah’s car. The sleek silver metallic paint glistened in the morning sun. Her car was really nice. Mariah’s parents had given her the Chevy Volt on her sixteenth birthday. It was a hybrid, all electric. I didn’t know much about cars but I knew enough that this car was hot. She got a lot of envious looks in the parking lot at school.
Mariah’s parents had a lot of money. They gave her anything she wanted. Really. Anything. I could hardly imagine that kind of life. She was a little smug and stuck up at times but we were good friends, besties, and I liked her a lot. I was much closer to Emily though. She was more quiet and reserved by nature. She had an excellent sense of humor. I was relaxed and myself with her. We hung out when she wasn’t with her boyfriend Jarrod.
All of the windows were rolled down and the stereo was blaring some rock song that I didn’t recognize. Mariah always had the stereo loud, like there was only one volume her car could handle. It sometimes gave me a headache. I never said a word. It was her car. She could do whatever she wanted. And Mariah
did what she wanted. The thought made me smile.
Looking at Emily, I rolled my eyes. She grinned knowingly. Emily was seated in the backseat so I grabbed shotgun.
“Hey,” I said as I jumped in, my smile bright.
“Hi!” They both squealed at the same time. I giggled.
“What’s up? You guys look excited.”
“Guess what?” Emily asked excitedly.
“I have no idea,” I told her.
“Come on, Rhia. Guess,” Mariah said impatiently, smiling smugly.
I looked at her for a second. “Did you pass your biology exam?” I asked.
Mariah made a face. “No, well, yeah, but that’s not it.”
I could tell I was irritating her slightly. “You met a movie star last night who you fell in love with and now you’re running away to Las Vegas to get married?” I guessed again.
Emily burst out laughing. Mariah grunted.
thought it was funny. Mariah raised an eyebrow at me. I know she sometimes thought I was a little weird.
“Hmmm…someone asked you to prom?” I wondered.
“No, but thanks for reminding me about that. I may have to take drastic action soon. Keep guessing,” Mariah ordered.
Before I could say anything, Emily jumped in. “Let’s just tell her…the new guy is supposed to be at school today.”
“Really?” I asked. Finally something to be interested in.
“I heard from Brittany that he is really cute,” Mariah answered, a sly smile playing on the corners of her lips.
“How does she know that?” I wondered aloud.
“He came into Applebee’s restaurant last night with his family while she was working. You know she’s a hostess there, right? She said he was tall, very tan, and
. She said that she nearly tripped over her feet when he smiled at her,” Mariah explained.
Emily and Mariah both giggled. That
“I wonder if we’ll get a chance to see him today,” I responded. They both exchanged a glance.
“I heard he’s in your first period English class,” Mariah informed me, watching my reaction.
“What? Wait, how do you know that?” I asked, completely dumbfounded.
“Brittany got to school early this morning and waited in the office for him to show up. She made up some bogus excuse about one of her classes so she could wait around. He came in early to get his schedule and find where his classes are. Brittany let him talk to Mrs. Garner first, of course. She knows the whole schedule. After he left, she told Mrs. Garner she changed her mind and left but called me right away,” Mariah explained quickly, without pausing for a breath. I briefly wondered if her head would explode from lack of oxygen, but she did this often enough she probably had some kind of high tolerance.
Wow, that girl is crafty,
I thought. Brittany, I mean. Was her stalker certificate in the mail? I almost said the words aloud but I managed to hold myself in check.
“Is everybody that excited to see him?” I wondered.
They both just gawked at me. “Rhia, everybody in town seems to be interested in him but you. It’s the first exciting thing to happen in this dumb little place in years,” Mariah sighed dramatically.
Our city was pretty small, about ten thousand residents. The whole high school only had about five hundred kids, in total. I remembered what Mariah just said about it being exciting to have a new student. Ah, then I got it. Now I knew why they were so hyper when I got in the car. They were excited that I had the first class with him this morning.
“Oh,” I said, “I guess I’ll be able to tell you something at lunch then.”
“Rhia, his schedule has every class with you except for math,” Emily told me.
I froze. All of my classes with this guy? I was suddenly a little nervous. I wasn’t really good at meeting new people. I got anxious and tongue tied.
I thought. Yay me.
“You’re kidding!” I exclaimed, a little too excited.
Mariah saw right through my ruse. “Nope, that is so cool. I want details at lunch. Promise me you’ll talk to him,” she demanded.
“Um, I’ll try?” I meant it as a statement but it sounded more like a question.
Emily looked at me apologetically. Mariah narrowed her eyes.
“What’s his name?” I asked, making an effort to repair the damage already evident on Mariah’s face. That seemed to brighten up her mood.
“Kellen Sloane,” she told me dreamily. I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.
Just then we pulled into the small parking lot at school. As usual it was crowded with teens and buses. Mariah drove to the front and parked in the only open space left. Nobody ever parked in her spot, no matter how late she was. We climbed out as the bell rang and there wasn’t time for any more conversation. I was fine with that. Grabbing my backpack, I quickly slung it over my shoulder.
“See ya at lunch,” I called as I walked off, happy not to have to say another word.
Nikki Landis is the author of the
Fight for Light
novels. She holds two degrees, graduating summa cum laude in her class. Nikki loves to write romance, especially in the young adult, paranormal, post-apocalyptic, and fantasy genres. She lives in Ohio with her husband and amazing family. In her spare time she enjoys watching sunsets and curling up with a good book. Nikki loves to hear from readers.
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