Chapter 1

The Mysterious Student

It was a nice sunny day to my distaste, and I felt absolutely horrible. "Why does it have to be so hot?" I complained as I walked to my fifth period. "I hate gym!" I said when I reached Danna and Lacey.

"Don't worry. It'll be over in 45 minutes!" Danna tried to comfort me.

"Oh, that's helpful!" Lacey said sarcastically. We walked to the locker rooms to change into our uniforms.
"I hate these uniforms!" I exclaimed.
"You hate everything." Holly said as she walked in.
"So not true." I replied. Holly was with her friend Franny. Both of which were her cousins. Then Brittney walked in with her crowd: Amber, Grace, and Zoë. All of which were stuck up in the clouds. Brittney is popular. Way more popular than Holly, Franny, Danna, Lacey, and I put together. But we really don't care. Even if Brittney had bad friends, we're still cousins. All of us are the same age, and almost always in the same classes. We're the quiet group and Brittney and her friends were the wise-crackers. All of Brittany's friends were mean to us when Brittney wasn't around.
"Hey, Lori!" she said excitedly. "Nice day isn't it?"
"Yeah, sure," was my only supply of an answer.
"It's supposed to rain tomorrow." She said twisting a strand of her hair.
"It is?" I asked, perking up. "Thunder, Normal, Sprinkle, or mist?" I asked.
"Mist." She replied, knowing the all too common terms. Thunder was a thunderstorm, normal was just rain, sprinkle was a light shower, and mist was just damp.
"Oh." I said disappointed by the little amount of wetness. We dressed in our uniforms and went to the gym. Our gym teacher walked in and told us to do the warm-ups.
"Everyone, I have an announcement!" She said, gaining our attention. "The schools are doing an experiment with the students. The schools will be fusing together. I'll read you the list of schools…" She continued on for a moment or two. "Any questions?" She finally stopped. Silence greeted her. This was unheard of. We were shocked, we were stupefied, we were…not complaining one bit.

The class passed quickly after that and it was off to lunch. I got in line and quickly paid my $3.40 to the lunch lady. "I can't believe this!" Trista was almost screaming. "We can't fuse. The school board hasn't even thought of fusing for five years!" Okay, so maybe some of us were complaining.

"If the school is fusing that means more students and crowded classes! And where exactly would the students go? Would they close this school and open a new one? Everyone would have to learn the grounds. There are at least a thousand girls at this school; if there is the same amount at the boys' school, then that's two thousand students trying to find their classes!" Marla was right beside her, for once thinking about everyone.

"They're not going to make us all go to the same school. They'll probably transfer half of the boys here and half of the girls there." Someone said.

"Personally I think it's a wonderful idea." Tammy, a usually quiet girl, spoke up. "It's a chance to meet new people. Don't our teachers always say to try new things? I think this is an adventure in disguise!"

"Why should we just kick this idea out at the mention of it?" Yesica, one of the school's, well, let's just say she's not a big fan of the "girl's only" policy, cut in. "And isn't it supposed to be an 'experiment?' At least that's what my teacher said." Now everyone was in a buzz trying to decide which argument they agreed with. I wasn't sure. I liked meeting new people and I liked my life now. 'What should I do?' I thought. I sat at the table thinking. 'It would be nice having a new school, but there would be crowded classes. Oh! I don't know!' I rolled the argument over in my brain until someone interrupted my thoughts.
"Lori! Lori," Lacey came out of nowhere. "Hey girl, whatcha sittin' all alone for?"
"I don't know. Waiting for you and Danna I guess." Realization dawned on me. "Where is Danna?"
"I don't know. I haven't seen her since gym." Lacey said obviously not worried.
"Hey, Lori!" Someone shouted behind us. It was Sarah McCrea.
"Hey, Sarah, what are you doing here?" She looked out of breath.
"Come on, look outside! There's someone here!" Urgency was in her voice. "Hurry up!" We followed her quickly and soon came upon a large crowd of girls hovering near the glass doors at the entrance of the school.
"What's going on?" Lacey asked. I pinched and squeezed my way in between the teenage girls trying to get a better look. Finally I reached the doors. I looked out and saw. "A boy!"
'This is an all-girls school. What's a boy doing here?' I thought confusion written across my face.

"Everyone calm down!" A voice boomed from across the room. "Because of the fusing program he is to register here. It's not a big deal, go to class." The principal said sternly. Mrs. Berming was always stern, and usually annoyed.
"You heard me. Go to class!" She didn't like her students swooning over something so simple. She whispered something to the secretary, Miss Farmer, and then went outside to direct the boy.
"Now I'll find someone to show you around. A student would probably be best since they're on the grounds more." She told him. "Let's see. Who's a good student?" She thought to herself.
"Lori Carone!" Mrs. Berming called out. I walked over to them, nervous about the position I found myself in.
"Lori, this is Nicholas O'Neil. Will you show him the grounds please?" She asked faking sweetness.
"Sure." I replied. I wasn't sure what being seen with a boy would do to my reputation but, why not? Couldn't hurt. Besides, the school was huge, you could get lost if you didn't know where things were.
"Okay, let's start with the office." I said. He nodded. I led him down the hall and pointed out all of the important rooms and people.

"Is Mrs. Berming always so…fussy?" He asked, and looked at me intently. I studied his form. Brown hair, brown eyes, an athletic figure. His hair was indescribably brown. It was a golden amber color with faint blonde highlights. His bangs were messy and so was the rest of his hair, but you could still see his eyes. Dark, deep, brown. Intently staring at me. Then his arms and chest, strong and tight, and on his stomach were traces of well toned abs: my weak point. "Usually there's something wrong if she isn't. How about we go to the commons next?" I decided if he at least remembered anything, he should remember the commons.
"Why is your hair so weird?" He asked, referring to the two buns on the top of my head, spikes of hair poking out at the bottom.
"Why exactly do you think my hair is weird?" I said icily. I happened to like my hair
"Well it's not like many people wear their hair like that." He shot back.
"Well unlike many people, I'm unique." I said, annoyed. "Now let's finish the tour." I headed to the commons area and proceeded to show him around. "This is the gazebo. Most students who use it are the ones with after school activities." I sated. I continued on for a moment before asking, "Any Questions?"
"Just one." He said. "What kind of music do you listen to?" I gave him a weird look.
"This is a tour, not a personality quiz." I was a tad ticked off. He looked away, and I decided to answer the question.
"Mainly country, but I'll listen to any almost any genre," I began. "What about you?"
"Usually punk rock or just rock, I don't particularly care." We started walking towards the library and, to his surprise, and mine too, I asked him a question.
"What school did you come from?" He looked at me.

"It's kind of confusing." He started.
"Try me." I challenged and stared, hoping for an answer.
"Well, alright." He paused. "I used to go to Windcrest then my parents transferred me to Firefield. When they found out the schools were fusing they put me back in Windcrest. And I'm glad they did. All my friends go to Windcrest." He stopped once they reached their destination.
"This is the library." I stated simply. I stated a few facts and waited for his response. Surprisingly, I was starting to warm up to him.
"Personally, I'd rather write, because you can be more creative in writing." Usually I wouldn't be this open with someone I only just met, but, there was something special about him that made me want to tell him everything.
"Me too." He said, startling me. "If I ever go to the library it's to write. Songs, poems, stories. I'm amazed with words. How they can show how we feel, how others feel." He stopped. It was official, he'd caught my interest. How could anyone know how I felt? I led him to the cafeteria. Neither of us spoke. Not a word. When we finally reached our destination, I broke the silence with the explanation of the cafeteria.

"Any questions?" I asked for at least the third time that day.
"No, but, out of curiosity what grade are you in?"
"I'm a senior." I replied simply. I decided the next place we should go should be the gym.
"This is the gym. Right now we're in the lobby, and, since there are classes going on, we can't go in the gym. Oh, and over there is the locker room. But, unfortunately for you, this is still considered an all-girls school so you can't go in them." I said, all in one breath. "Any questions?"
"Nope." So we continued on. We headed off to the board room.

"This room is where most of the after school meetings are held." I informed. All it really was was a large room with a long table and chairs. Not much to look at. So we walked to the elective building.
"This is the elective building. Most of the rooms are for computer classes." I pointed to each of them in turn and told the purpose.
"Any questions?" I asked, now bored stiff.
"Why do you ask that after each building?" He asked obviously bored too.
"I don't know. Does it annoy you?"
"Yes. Very much so."
"Then I'm doing my job." I then started leading him to the freshman grade building.
"I thought your job was to give me a tour of the school." He shot back, trying to either start up conversation or get on my nerves, I wasn't sure which.
"That's just the cover story." Was my clever reply. He didn't say anything. 'Obviously thinking up retaliation.' I thought, satisfied.
We entered the building and kids were crowded all around. Whether trying to get their locker open, talking to friends, or getting to class, neither of us cared. "This is the freshman building. The only reason you might be here would be if a teacher sent you." I told him, and smirked. "Any questions?" I smiled.
"Very funny… No." So then we continued onto the fields. "The fields are mainly used for soccer, tennis, softball, and one is used for a gym class." We then went to the sophomore and junior buildings.
"Again, the only reason you'd be here is if a teacher sent you." The next stop was the news room.
"You have to have a pass to go in, except, when you're a guide." I told him, devious smile in place.
"And finally, the senior building." I said. "Have you gotten your schedule?"
"Yeah. For first I have Mr. Brensen, second is Mr. Harp, third is Mrs. Garrison, fourth is Ms. Alston, then it's my lunch, after that I have Mr. Taylor and Mr. Ericks." He told her.
"You have Mr. Taylor and Mr. Ericks? Wow, so do I." I showed him the classrooms and made sure he was familiar with the building before we left.
"How are they supposed to fuse the schools?" He asked.
"I'm not sure. They could make some of the girls go to the boys school, and some of the boys come here. They'll probably do something over spring break. We'll find out eventually." We both stayed silent as we walked back to the office. Once we reached the office the secretary took care of him. "Bye, Lori." He said.
"Bye, Nicholas." I replied.
"Call me Nick. Only parents and teachers call me Nicholas." He said then we went our separate ways. 'My friends are going to freak when they find out why I got to miss seventh period.' I thought. 'Oh well. Maybe I'll see him again.' I didn't realize how soon that would come true.