Chapter one
"I don't care what my horoscope says, Danielle," said Adrian. "He
definitely does not like me. He has a girlfriend!"
Adrian Cowan was trying to reason with her best girl friend, Danielle.
Danielle had some ongoing idea that Carl, Adrian's best guy friend and
neighbor, was in love with her. Adrian herself had recently started seeing
him through new eyes. No longer was he the annoying, immature jerk next
door. Now, he had turned into a cute, sandy-haired man with a charming,
funny, and gentle personality. Adrian was really falling hard for him.
"But Adrian," insisted Danielle. "Listen to this; the love you've been
waiting for is right under your nose. Stop looking so hard and he will show
up at your door sooner than you think. That is so talking about Carl!"
Adrian sighed. "Danielle, Liz is his girlfriend. Not me. We're just
"I know Adrian, but-oh my God! Did I just hear a doorbell ring?"
Adrian cringed and peeked out through her mellow, pastel blue curtains to
see who it was. It was Carl standing on her front steps.
Stop looking, and he will show up at your door.
" , you didn't."
"Yes, I did. Don't lie to me, Adrian. It's Carl, isn't it?" Danielle raised
her voice with excitement. "The love of your life has showed up at your
door! The horoscope was right! I'm a genius! The stars don't lie! Adrian,
you-" Adrian put the phone back in its cradle, leaving Danielle to talk to
the dial tone. She could be so dramatic; she was an actress and, even
though they were just in the eleventh grade, colleges were already
requesting her for her acting talent. As a matter of fact, this week she
was starring as Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ in the school play. Adrian was
just the opposite; she was a backstage helper.
Adrian bounded down the carpeted stairs of her small house. "Coming!" she
shouted to Carl.
"Hello Adrian Cowan." As always, Carl greeted her with a pearly white smile
and mock formality.
"Hello Carl Raven," she said, returning his greeting. Some people say you
only fall in love once, but recently, Adrian has been falling in love every
time she laid eyes on this boy. His shaggy blonde hair was partially hiding
his dark brown eyes that she found so appealing, and his lean body was
something that could make even the most proper girl drool. He lived only
two houses away, but his cheeks were already pink from the cold.
He didn't need an invitation into her house-he knew it almost as well as
his own. He stepped in, and the warm, heated air greeted him. Carl loved
Adrian's house. It was small and cozy, and it reminded him so much of
Adrian. Nobody knew, but had been attracted to Adrian for a long time, and
not just as a friend. He never showed it, however, because he was certain
she did not feel the same way.
"You want something to eat?" asked Adrian, reaching into the fridge.
"Sure, I'll have a soda," said Carl. As he took the can from Adrian's hand,
his fingers brushed against her arm. Because they were around each other so
much, this happened often, but every time his pulse rocketed at the feel of
her soft, smooth skin beneath his fingertips. Stop it! He scolded himself.
She's your best friend; she can't be your crush.
"So how are things with Liz going?" she asked, reminding him of his
girlfriend. Carl liked Liz as a friend, sure, but he never actually thought
the relationship would go anywhere. He had asked her out merely to get his
mind off Adrian, and now Liz was freaking him out. She was a little
obsessed, she followed him everywhere, and she was constantly declaring her
love to him. Carl was going to dump her soon because she was creeping him
out so much.
"Well," he answered, "I guess it's going her." Carl, knowing
Adrian could keep any secret, decided to tell her. "She is getting really
weird, and I think I am going to dump her."
Adrian raised her head, making her shocking green eyes visible through her
locks of long, dark hair.
"Oh, that's too bad," she said, and Carl thought he could detect a hint of
sarcasm in her voice. "She really is in love with you." Adrian grinned,
bearing her perfect white teeth surrounded by luscious pink lips. "Oh,
Carl! I love you, Carl!" cried Adrian, mimicking Liz's high-pitched, often
abstracted, voice. "Carl, I am going to follow you everywhere until the day
I die!"
He gave a jovial laugh, as he always did when Adrian was present. "That's
actually a pretty good impression."
Adrian tipped her head back, taking a long sip of her soda, then responded
"She's not right for you. I say you dump her."
Carl paused, his soda halfway to his pursed lips. "She's not right for me?
What is that supposed to mean?"
For a split second, Adrian looked uncomfortable. But, as always, that
didn't last long. Adrian shifted her feet and sat down in a kitchen chair,
motioning for Carl to do so as well. "She.I don't know. She just has no
personality. She's not very fun, and she's too serious. I know you don't
like people like that."
Carl frowned. "How do you know that?"
"Well, you're a fun person, so you like fun people. Liz just isn't the
person for you."
Carl was starting to enjoy this. "And just who is the person for me?"
"Well." Adrian paused uneasily. Carl frowned, his brows knitting together
above his nose. He had never seen Adrian this uncomfortable. She was
usually in control and always had something witty and clever to say.
"Besides," said Carl, saving her from her awkwardness. "I'm going to dump
her tomorrow."
Adrian stared in shock for a moment. "You are doing it that soon? It's only
Tuesday!" she said.
"I know, but I have to get rid of her. She's driving me insane!"
"Well, good luck. She won't go down easy," said Adrian.
"No kidding." Carl, who was about to rest his head on his palm, snapped it
back up like an army soldier at the sound of the phone ringing.
Adrian groaned and pulled herself out of the comfortable chair. "It's
Danielle, I know it," she muttered, reaching for the phone.
"Hello?" Adrian paused, then shot a knowing look at Carl. "It's Danielle,"
she mouthed, waving good-bye to Carl.
"Is he gone?" Danielle asked inquisitively.
"Yeah, he just left, thanks to you."
"Well? Did he proclaim his love for you?"
"Okay, sorry," Danielle said.
Adrian chuckled at her friend's persistence. She finished her soda as well
as the one Carl left behind, and from where she was seated, tossed them
into the recycling bin. Being a track star instead of a basketball player,
both the cans missed the box. "Hey, Danielle," she said, getting up to
retrieve the cans. "Did you hear it is supposed to snow Thursday?"
"Yeah, I did! Maybe, if we got another snowfall after this, we will have a
white Christmas!" Danielle said enthusiastically.
Adrian laughed, then paused for a thoughtful moment. Feeling like a little
kid, she said, "We should go sledding on Mrs. Burbank's hill Thursday. If
we go right after school, maybe we can get some of her homemade cookies."
They giggled and reminisced about when they used to play everyday in the
old woman's yard.
"I have to go," Danielle said. "It is getting dark out."
Adrian chuckled. "Reading the stars again, are we?" Danielle went outside
every night and looked at the stars, trying to read them and see if they
told the future. If Danielle wasn't an actress one day, she was going to be
an astrologer.
"I will see you tomorrow," said Danielle. "And don't forget to buy tickets
to the play!"
"Danielle, I'm not even buying tickets. Remember? I am a backstage helper!"
She heard a small gasp at the other end. "Right," said Danielle. "Just
making sure you didn't forget that."
Adrian laughed. "Okay. Now, go read those stars! I want my horoscope
Danielle chuckled. "Yes, Ma'am."
"Bye Danielle." Adrian hung up the phone and got up from her chair, still
laughing at Danielle's lack of memory. A noise from the garage startled
Adrian. "Oh, hi Dad," she said bluntly when her father walked in.
"Hi honey! Where's your brother?" Adrian looked at her dad and saw his
enthusiastic eyes, so crinkled with laugh lines they looked like raisins
under his thick, blue-rimmed reading glasses.
"He's at work." Adrian's father wasn't very involved in their lives, but
Adrian thought it was best to keep it that way. He was not nosy, but if he
found something out, he had to find out all about it and help in any way he
possibly could. That might be why he spent almost every waking moment at
his clubs and organizations that promised to help everything from
endangered animals to world hunger.
Calling goodnight from the foot of the stairs, Adrian took the steps
slowly, two at a time, feeling the burning sensation in her weary legs. She
tumbled into her bed, overcome with such a strong, sudden wave of
exhaustion that she instantaneously fell into a deep slumber without so
much as kicking her shoes off.