I honked the horn once and Katie sank into the black leather passenger seat of my black BMW 330xi. The first thing I noticed was how damn good she smelled: like apples. I turned and looked at her, a boyish grin on my face.

"What's that look?" Katie asked me, smiling.

"Nothing," I laughed. I pushed my right black Jordan down on the gas pedal and we went in the direction of Hoffman High School. I was reluctant, of course, because I really hadn't wanted the summer to be over. It was the first day of Katie and my senior year, our fourth and final year. It looked as if it would be fun but I would've much rather been vacationing (or maybe sleeping) than learning calculus, or something like that. Frankly, I hated school and I only went because of football and because my father probably would've killed me if I hadn't.

The sun almost blinded me as I parked in my 'Reserved: Student Body Vice President' parking space. I was still baffled as to how I was even allowed to run; I'd never gotten that good of grades and I skipped a lot more than I ought to. But, for some reason that is still unknown, my teachers all signed the 'consent' form. Hell, I only ran because Dane bet me that my teachers wouldn't let me. Dane Warren was one of my good friends and he'd lived next door to me for like ten years. He'd always been really involved in things like student council and I'd always made fun of him for it so he bet me that I wouldn't be allowed to run. But I was and I'd won.

"Welcome to the jungle," Katie laughed, opening her door and swinging her platform laden feet onto the pavement.

"But we're seniors, so it's our jungle," I pointed out. I heard Katie laugh as she shut the door. I got out of the car and grabbed my backpack from the back seat. I closed the door and, when I looked up, I was once again faced with the incredibly sullen, and slightly intimidating, school that was to be my home for the next year. The thought sent a shiver through my entire body.

"C'mon, Bryce," Katie said as she started walking towards the building; I followed her but since I'd started walking after she had, I was a few feet behind. And because of the distance that separated Katie and I, I was almost clipped by Dane's red '67 Mustang as he pulled into the student body president space, which was next my space.

"God dammit, Dane!" I laughed, whirling around and shaking my head at him.

Dane turned off the engine and sprang out of the car. He closed his door and bent over to check his reflection and prefect the messiness of his hair in the passenger side mirror of my Beamer. But, as he did so, I activated the alarm with my little keyless entry remote. The alarm beeped, startling him and causing him to jump backwards.

"Dick," Dane spat. I laughed at him and a smile spread across his face. "One of these days, I'm gonna kick your ass so bad."

"You couldn't kick my ass, Dane. You could maybe kick my ankles, but not my ass," I said with a grin. He laughed slightly, knowing that it was true.

Katie was next to me again. She slipped two fingers through one of the belt- loops of my jeans and tugged slightly. "I've gotta go see Lucia."

Dane, whose face was suddenly the home of a frightfully huge smile, jumped up and down in front of us. "Go, fight, win!" he yelled, throwing his arms into the air.

"Fuck off, Dane," Katie laughed sharply, whacking him in the stomach with the hand that wasn't attached to my pants. Dane stuck his tongue out at her and laughed.

And the reason for Dane's terrible cheerleading was an attempt to piss Katie the cheerleader off. She was captain of the Hoffman squad and, although she always insisted that she cheered just to have more extra- curricular activities, we all knew that she really did like it. Dane and I made fun of her sometimes but it had never really bothered her. He made the cheerleading reference that particular time because Katie had mentioned Lucia, who was the squad co-captain.

"Come on, children," Dane said, squeezing between us and putting an arm over each of our shoulders. Mind you, Dane was only 5'7" and, since I was 6'1" and Katie was 5'11" (actually, she was only 5'8" but she was wearing 3" heels, making her 5'11"), it looked pretty funny.

We walked into the building and to the senior hall like that, plowing through people as we went. At our lockers, Katie grabbed my white 'Hoffman Football' t-shirt and pulled me to her. Now that we were even closer together, I could smell the apples again. But I wasn't thinking about her scent as Katie's perfectly flat and incredibly sexy stomach pressed against mine, because there was definitely more on my mind. Katie and I were pretty hot for each other; I'll leave it at that.

"I'll see you in English," she whispered, her lips about an inch from my ear.

"Of course," I replied, trying to stay composed.

Katie kissed my ear and sauntered away. She had a way with me, she really did. And it was extremely hard for me to keep from jumping on her when she acted so damn hot. But I knew that was why she did it; to get me all worked up. It certainly worked, and you could tell that she knew it.

"Do you need a glass of water?" Dane asked with a smirk.

"Kiss my ass, runt." I shut my locker and impatiently waited for Dane. He slung his backpack over his shoulder, shut his locker and we were off to US history. I was looking forward to that class because I'd heard that Mr. Nolan would just talk and not make the class do anything. That was my kind of class.

Dane and I walked into the room and I immediately saw Devin Corbin, Natasha Tagger, and Andre O'Brien sitting in the back of the room, talking. We walked towards them but, before we even got close, Natasha spotted me.

"Bryce!" she shrieked, jumping out of her seat and running over to me. I froze in complete and utter fear and saw Dane, Andre and Devin laughing as Natasha threw her arms around my neck and gave me a frighteningly tight hug.

"Hey," I said, pulling my neck from her death grip. I put my hands on her hips and pushed her away from me. Without any other words to her, I walked away and sank into a seat between Dane (who had sat down) and Devin.

"How's life?" Devin asked.

"You even have to ask?" I sighed. My life was fine - great, even - but I didn't want to be there. I, more than anything, hated getting up before noon and I'd had to get up at 6:30 for school, so I wasn't very happy; not that I would ever be happy while I was at school. After my reply to Devin, I sort of zoned out (which wasn't at all uncommon for me) so I didn't catch anymore of the conversation that my friends were immersed in. But I didn't care because they always talked about the same damn stuff and it got to be quite repetitive.

Mr. Nolan walked to the front of the room and, as he straightened his glasses, I pulled myself back to the damn real world. He began to take attendance, every-so-often glancing up from the green attendance sheet in his hands.

"Bryce Montgomery," he said, after he'd called 'Mariah Miller.'

"Here," I said, as I slightly raised my hand. I noticed that when he called my name, a lot of the girls in the room turned and looked at me. . . . It was sort of strange but oddly intriguing too.

Just after Mr. Nolan called Andre's name, the door opened and a really hot girl walked in. She was tall and thin with long, wavy hair that was dark blond or maybe light brown. I think she saw me looking at her because she smiled in my general direction as she walked up to Mr. Nolan.

Dane poked me in the ribs. "Who's she?"

I leaned over towards him. "I was wondering the same thing," I answered, keeping my eyes on the girl.

Devin soon joined Dane and me in our staring. Andre didn't join in with the staring (and I think he was the only guy in the room who didn't) because he was busy writing. Andre was a pretty cool guy, but he was a writer and they tend to ignore the outside world when they're writing. Granted, he was probably writing a poem about the way she walked or the color of her eyes but it was a little strange that he wasn't looking.

Mr. Nolan cleared his throat and a fragment of everyone's attention shifted from the girl to him. Well, everyone but Devin, who's thin-rimmed glasses were now permanently fixed on her. "We're going to have a brief introduction," Mr. Nolan said. He stepped aside and all attention was on the girl yet again.

"My name's Giselle Renato and I'm an exchange student from Rio De Janeiro," she said, in the hottest voice I'd ever heard. She had an accent that was obviously Brazilian, since she was from Brazil. And then it made sense to me why we'd never seen her before. "I'm going to be here all year and I'm really looking forward to it."

"Thank you, Giselle," Mr. Nolan said. Giselle smiled at him and took a seat two rows in front of my friends and I. From where I was, I could see the back of her perfectly since no one was sitting directly in front of me. Even though she had her back to me, I could tell that she was gorgeous; the way her hair poured over her bronzed shoulders was the perfect assurance.

Dane poked me in the ribs again. "I call her!" he said with a laugh. I should've known he would automatically be in love with her.

I shook my head slowly. "Mine," I whispered.

Apparently I'd whispered loud because Giselle turned around and looked at me. For a second, I was slightly frozen in fear of her reaction but, somehow, I made myself wink. A smile played across her glossy red lips and her eyes sparkled mischievously. I was completely captivated by her smile but then she turned back around.

"Lucky fucking bastard," Dane laughed as I breathed a much needed sigh of relief.

For the rest of the severely boring class, I stared straight forward, not listening to Mr. Nolan as he described the basics of the class. Besides, why would anyone want to pay attention to anything intellectual when something as tantalizing as Giselle was in front of them. She - even though she hadn't done or said anything - had completely taken me. And I wouldn't look away from her. Not until I had to, that is.

I had second period - English - with Katie and she was already sitting down when I walked in. Next to her sat Lucia; a spunky, incredibly annoying red head who I could barely stand.

"How was first?" I asked Katie as I sat down next to her.

"Oh my god! Mrs. Reid is such a bitch!" Lucia began shrilly, twirling a frizzy red lock around one of her French manicured fingers. "She gave us a seating chart already! We don't even need one! I mean, come on! We're not little kids!"

I rolled my eyes and sat back in the hard, blue chair. I was not at all looking forward to listening to Lucia for the entire fucking year. But at least it was only one period; the year before I'd had two periods with her and I almost went completely insane. It was not fun.

The two classes that I'd had with her the year before - anthropology and chemistry - had been complete hell. Everyday that I had actually been there, Lucia had come in, sat next to me and talked me ears off. And, not only had she gotten on my nerves but she'd repelled others so I'd been left alone with her. How I'd actually lived was far beyond me.

Ever since I'd met Lucia, I'd been seconds away from killing her because of how annoying she'd always been. Lucia was loud and shrill and very few of the words that had ever come out of her mouth actually had any bearing on anyone or anything in the real world. It had taken so much energy out of me to keep from killing her, not that anyone would've missed her. And it was true; even Lucia's parents were annoyed by her. And with good reason - they'd lived with her for her entire life. The poor souls.

The bell rang and Ms. Ramsey waddled to the front of the room. Her pink face fixed itself into a smile and I was really afraid of what would happen after that because she truly looked like she was about to explode. I leaned back in my seat, hoping that it would save me in case her purple dress gave out and buttons flew my way. But, if that were to have happened, even I knew that I would've been a goner.

"Welcome to honors senior English!" she squawked. And, with only one sentence, her voice was already pushing me to my limit. "I'm looking forward to spending the year getting to know all of you!"

I turned to Katie and raised an eyebrow at her. With her left hand, she slapped my leg and her fingers landed dangerously close to something that I didn't want her to hit. I narrowed my eyes and pretended to be extremely mad. But my attention was drawn away from Katie when Ms. Ramsey began taking attendance.

"Kyle Amen," she said. I hated him, a lot. He was one of the 'sidekicks' of Brandon Madison, whom I wished would get hit by a train. The other two were John Tyler and Stan Fischer but they were always a little easier to tolerate; but only by a little.

"Here," Kyle said from the back of the room. I glanced over my shoulder and saw him sitting there, looking as stoned as ever, with Tiffany Lopez - one of the school's biggest sluts. Tiffany was hot but I'd never been with her, although I could've if I'd wanted to. But I had never wanted to because I'd always had Katie and she was the hottest girl in the school. But Katie and I weren't dating, we were just. . . well, for lack of a better term, we were casual sex buddies. We dated each other every-so-often but we usually called it off for some dumb reason or another. I think it was freshman year that we decided to do the 'friends with benefits' thing and it had worked pretty well. We'd only stopped once - when Katie had had a serious boyfriend - but we'd stayed in it during minor relationships. It was fun, it really was.

"Bryce Montgomery."

"Here," I said, nodding at Ms. Ramsey. She smiled at me but I didn't smile back because her smile sort of creeped me out.

I turned to Katie and gazed at her for a few seconds. Finally, she realized that I was staring at her. She turned her head very slowly and met my gaze. "What?" she asked, sounding a little aggravated.

"I'm bored as fuck," I muttered.

Katie shook her head and smiled. "What are you doing after football?"

"You, I hope."

"What makes you so sure?" The smile on her face was an evil one but I knew that she was kidding. At least I hoped that she was kidding.

"Unbeatable charm," I purred.

"Katelyn Souther," Ms. Ramsey called.

"I go by Katie," she said sweetly. Ms. Ramsey nodded and Katie smiled innocently. It was sort of funny how fucking innocent and angelic she was. She was tall and thin with long, blond hair and warm blue eyes and she was drop dead gorgeous, so she looked like everyone's idea of an angel. Everything about her (her looks, her sweetness, her attitude) made everyone think that she was this pure, virginal, little girl. If only everyone knew how damn wrong they really were. Sometimes I'd love to see the look on people's faces when they discovered that Katie lost her virginity when she was 13 (actually, it was about a month after her 13th birthday, so she almost lost it when she was 12), fucked a guy she wasn't dating, cheated on her boyfriends with that same guy, drank, and smoked weed. Katie was definitely not an angel. But we let people believe what they wanted because then no one ever expected bad of her and we were able to get away with anything.

"Meet me after practice," I said coyly.

"We'll see," Katie laughed.

"Bryce," Lucia said. I bit my lip in disgusting, hoping that she hadn't been listening to us but knowing that she probably had been. That was another one of the unappealing things about Lucia; she had a thing for eavesdropping and adding her two cents when they weren't asked for.

"What?" I asked, sounding overly un-amused.

"Who are you going to homecoming with?"

"I don't know." Why the hell was she asking me that? Homecoming was still two fucking months away! Besides, hadn't she realized that I'd probably go with Katie like I had the previous three years?

"Wanna go with me?"

"Not particularly."

The look on Lucia's face looked like she'd just been told she was dying. I thought she'd start to cry but she didn't, luckily. Katie's face was stuck in a look of shock but I bet she was totally longing to give me a high five. Silence followed and I completely enjoyed it, smiling triumphantly and wishing that someone would pat me on the back.

Once Ms. Ramsey had marked Amy Young present, she set the attendance sheet on her desk and smiled another pink-faced smile. "Welcome to honors senior English."

Yep, and you already said that, you stupid fat ass. I'd wanted to notify her of it but it would've come with some very serious consequences that not even I would've been able to stand. "I'm Ms. Ramsey but I bet you all knew that already. This year we'll be reading some Shakespeare, a lot of poetry and a couple other books that I haven't chosen yet. We'll also look at a little bit of Lord of the Rings."

Well shit. I hated the entire named curriculum. I'd gone to see Lord of the Rings and left about forty minutes into it because it had bored me to death. I wasn't in drama so I hated Shakespeare. Plus, the language he used was so fucking impossible. And poetry. . . my disdain for poetry was pretty self-explanatory.

"Will we be doing any creative writing?" a girl in the back of the room asked. I glanced over my shoulder at her and I was momentarily mesmerized. She was. . . well, she wasn't hot like Katie but she was pretty. The only reason that I didn't think that she was hot was because she was sort of plain looking. But she was very pretty, in a plain sort of way. She was the girl next-door type, if you will. She had dark brown curly hair that lightly grazed her shoulders and blue green eyes that were the most unique color I'd ever seen. And, unlike most of the other girls at Hoffman, this one wasn't wearing a revealing top; she wore a simple black t-shirt. Around her neck hung a thin silver chain with a tiny diamond cross dangling on the end. Ah ha, a religious girl. With a malicious grin, I decided that I needed to corrupt her.

I'm not sure how long I was looking at her but she finally smiled at me, though it wasn't much of a smile; it looked really forced and she looked sort of nervous, or maybe afraid. But I got that a lot, as odd as it was.

After the smile, I turned around and Lucia gave me a death stare. Katie bit her lip and, once Lucia looked away, she laughed silently. Thank god that Katie wasn't the type to get all pissed when I checked another girl out. Lucia, however, obviously was. We weren't together (and we never would be, by the way) and she was freaking out over me looking at some random girl. But, since I knew that it bothered her, I knew that I'd have to do it a lot more often.

The rest of the day went by quickly. I had Calculus with the church girl, whose name was Cameron Morton. I also had a class with a really hot cheerleader named April Flores. I think she was half Hispanic, hence the last name. I'd talked to April before but she'd gotten really hot over the summer so she definitely had more of my attention.

Football was boring, though not as boring as school had been. We ran a bunch of scrimmages, to prepare for our next game. We were playing Lauriette, who we'd beaten the previous year to win the state title. They were alright, but all of their starters that year had been seniors so graduation had hit them pretty hard. We'd beat them, easily.

After practice, I met Katie in the parking lot, where she'd promised to meet me after she finished with cheerleading practice. She was holding her cheerleading bag and talking to April, Lucia and - much to my surprise - Giselle Renato. It turned out that Giselle was staying with Lucia. It was a happy thought, knowing that I could easily get to know her with the help of Lucia, who would be stupid enough to tell me about Giselle if she thought it would get her time with me. The five of us talked for a few minutes before Katie and I slid into the car.

As I backed out of the parking space, April and Giselle waved at me. I smiled at them but didn't wave back. Instead, I sped out of the parking lot and turned all of my attention to the gorgeous girl next to me. Katie set her left hand on my right leg and let it slip slowly down to my knee. I took a deep breath to stabilize myself and suggestively raised an eyebrow at her.

"What?" she asked playfully.

"You know exactly 'what.'"

"If you get pulled over or hit anyone then I'll never do it again."

"Katie," I said slyly, "that only happens in the movies."

"You'd better hope so."

"I know so."

Katie suppressed a smile and removed her hand from my knee. Taking off her seatbelt, she slid over to me and, keeping her mouth firmly attached to my neck, began unbuckling my belt.

"What would I ever do without you?"

"You'd be very lost," she assured me. "But I'm not going anywhere so you have nothing to worry about."

"You sure?"

"It's too late to start a new routine, Brycey."

"Good point."