I sighed contentedly, rolling onto my back and stretching my arms above my head, groaning at the slight ache in my muscles. I slowly opened my eyes to see that sunlight had begun to filter through the edges of my curtained window, and snuggled deeper into the warm softness of my bed. Calm silence settled over my room as I slipped back into a doze.

Suddenly, and without warning, the loud, incessant beeping of my alarm clock filled that silence, jolting me out of my peaceful dozing. I rolled over quickly, smashing my hand over the 'snooze' button to make the beeping stop, and flopped back onto my bed, staring up at my ceiling dejectedly, knowing I had to get up.

Groaning and pushing myself up, I shuffled over to my bathroom, almost tripping on a stack of books piled near my bathroom door. In my bathroom, I closed the door and switched my shower on, pulling my pyjamas off as warm curls of steam lazily rose up from the shower. Opening the shower door and stepping in, I spent the next twenty minutes ignoring the world around me as warm water washed away the grogginess of sleep and relaxed my sore muscles.

Despite the peacefulness that had settled over me, the many responsibilities that I had to fulfil that day- biology test, student council meeting, basketball practice- filtered their way into my mind, weighing upon my shoulders until the warm water could no longer rinse them away.

I switched off my shower, stepped out, and wrapped myself in a white, fluffy towel.

Quickly drying myself, I moved out into my bedroom, shivering as the colder air brushed across my skin, and grabbed a pair of green basketball shorts from my drawer, along with a simple white tank top and some underwear.

Ten minutes later, I was downstairs in my kitchen, trying to salvage my burnt toast. I heard a car horn beeping from outside and glanced out the large, French doors of the kitchen, realizing that it was 8:15 and Christie was already waiting outside in her car. Giving up on my toast, I grabbed a muffin from the pantry and rushed out into the hallway, grabbing my backpack as I pulled on some worn, low-top converse. Running outside and locking the front door, I whirled around, almost losing my muffin, as Christie annoyingly continued to beep her horn, laughing at my dishevelled appearance as I quickly ran to her car and jumped in.

"Loser, couldn't you have at least dried your hair? You so need to start waking up earlier."

I glared at her, running my hands through my long, damp hair.

"I'd rather have longer sleeping time than nice hair, thank you very much." I retorted, leaning back into the car seat and starting on my muffin.

Christie snorted, flipping her blonde hair over her shoulder as she began the short drive to school. Christie was, and had always been, the type of girl who valued nice hair over sleep.

A comfortable silence fell over us as we reached the school, me finishing my muffin, and Christie no doubt worrying over whether or not she would see Michael.

Pulling into a parking spot, I grabbed my stuff and got out of the car. In front of us loomed a huge, modern looking building, otherwise known as Dallington High School. Tall pine trees surrounded the campus, and the sun was warm upon my skin as we walked up the steps into the school. Students were everywhere, laughing and talking outside in the nice weather.

Smiling slightly, I slung a companionable arm around Christie's shoulders, saying, "Damn, don't you just love our school?"

She grinned back, "Um, more like, don't you just love Southern California?"

We walked into the main hallway, and at that moment a bell started ringing, signalling the start of first period.

Christie turned down a separate hallway, calling out behind her, "See ya at lunch, Tay."

The main hallway turned into a steady stream of shoving students, and I found myself being carried along down the corridor. Shouldering my backpack, I pushed my way through the crowd until I reached my first period classroom. Entering the room, I smiled briefly at my history teacher, an elderly, and slightly forgetful, cat-obsessed woman named Mrs. Gillian.

Looking up from her book, she smiled, adjusting her glasses on her nose as she said, "Morning, dear."

"Taylor! Over here! Hey, oh my god, I love your hair today! The messy look is so in right now."

I winced. Turning slowly, I found myself looking down at the bright, too white smile of Summer Jennings.

Almost choking on the intense cloud of strawberry scent surrounding her, I forced a smile, saying nothing as I sat down in the empty seat next to her. Almost immediately, she began twirling a finger around her hair, snapping her bubblegum as she said, "So, like, party this weekend? The guys' basketball team has a game, so it can be, like, a victory party."

Summer Jennings. Blonde hair. Long legs. Tan skin. Pink bubblegum. Cheerleading outfit.

Reaching down to grab my history notebook out of my bag, I smiled once again, trying to look as excited as possible, saying, "Oh, yeah, totally."

She squealed, looking entirely too happy, and kept on talking, much to my annoyance. "By the way, Tay, I heard it from a friend, who heard it from her brother, who heard it from his cousin, that you have a thing for James Stirling?!"

"What!"I said incredulously, whirling around to face her in disbelief.

Obviously satisfied that she had finally gotten my attention, she giggled slightly, saying, "Oh my god, like, don't worry about it, me and him broke up ages ago and I'm, like, so over him."

I shook my head, and opened my mouth to deny it, but she continued, "And, you know, it would be so cute if you guys got together! I mean, you're both like so good at basketball, and you're both like totally hot, oh my god, your kids would be, like, the hottest jocks ever!"

She giggled insanely then, as if she'd made, like, the funniest joke ever, and slapped me playfully on the arm, saying, "Chill, babe, I'm just kidding!" and turned around to talk to some of her cheerleading friends behind us.

Still gaping at her in disbelief, I turned back around slowly in my chair. Staring, without really reading, at the notes Mrs. Gillian was writing in a loopy, old-fashioned cursive up on the white board, I shook my head again. Forcing the thoughts from my head, I grabbed my pen and began to copy the notes down.

Forty-five minutes later, the bell rang once more and French class was next. Turning in a 500 word biography, written painstakingly in the past tense, I sighed as my class was assigned another essay, this time in the future tense, due the next day.

A ten-minute break and 2 classes later, and 3 hours of homework for later that day, it was finally lunchtime. Reaching my locker, I twirled the combination in and opened it, chucking in my many books and bag. Slowly rolling forward and off the top shelf, a basketball fell out of my locker, landing on my foot and bouncing down the almost empty hallway, most of the students having left already for lunch.

Leaving my locker hanging open, and muttering under my breath in annoyance, I walked quickly after the ball as it reached the end of the hallway, slowing to a roll and somehow, beyond my belief, turning into the next hallway.

Turning the corner sharply, I bent to scoop up the ball, my hands moving through thin air as a pair of faster hands snatched the ball up.

"Got to move faster than that, Hampton."

Straightening up quickly, I pushed my hair out of my face, raising my eyes to look up into the smirking face of James Stirling. His dark eyes, covered slightly by his untidy, even darker hair, glinted in amusement as he studied my reddening face. A plain white shirt, tight over his chest and arms, and black basketball shorts covered his tall, lean frame. Leaning on his shoulder against the wall, he rested the ball against his side, his smirk turning into a grin.

Trying to grab the ball back, I snapped, "Yeah, right, because I'm so slow."

He laughed, moving the ball back out of the way, spinning it in his hands as he did so.

"Yeah, maybe not slow, but you know I'm faster."

"You wish."

At this, I jumped forward quickly, shoving into him and grabbing for the ball. My hands scraped over it, just barely getting a grip, before he tugged the ball back, circling it around his back smoothly.

"Hampton, I'm surprised, I thought you could steal better than that." James said, that insufferable grin still spread across his face, his eyes bright, despite their darkness, and he began to dribble the ball in between his legs, pulling moves I knew I couldn't even hope to do.

I scoffed, opening my mouth to retort, but he was faster, saying, "I mean, I can give you some credit, you are good."

"Oh, whatev-" I stopped short at this, completely surprised.

He continued, "Yeah, you're good, Hampton. Probably the second best ball player in our school. The thing is…"

I eyed him suspiciously, saying "Go on…"

"Well, the thing is," He moved closer then, bringing the ball up by his side again, and I noticed that the smirk had reappeared on his face. Leaning close, he tucked a stray strand of my hair behind my ear. Without warning, my heart began to beat faster, and the world spun out of focus as his head lowered towards mine. His hand resting against my neck, he felt the increase of my pulse, and his smirk widened. His breathe tickling my ear; he whispered softly, "You should be my cheerleader"

I shoved him off of me, anger pulsing through my body, flushing my face and pounding in my ears.

"You're a fucking jerk." I said, glaring furiously at him.

Laughing triumphantly, his grin was back, and he spread his arms wide, still holding the basketball, shrugging as he said, "Hey, can't blame me for wanting to see you in a cheerleading outfit, can ya?"

This only enraged me further, and I took a deep breath, trying to steady my temper.

"You're pathetic." I said, placing a disgusted look on my face.

Thinking that he had angered me into an outburst, surprise flashed over his face at my abrupt change in attitude, before being quickly replaced with a cool, calm look.

"Get over yourself, Hampton, I'm only kidding."

"Give me the ball, James."

I held my hand out for the ball, and James tossed the ball to me, adding a curt, "See you round", before striding down the hallway, leaving me standing there, twirling the ball in my fingers.

Sighing, I walked back towards my locker, shoving the ball back in and then slamming the door shut before it could fall out once again. Slumping back against my locker, I rubbed my forehead tiredly.

"Tay! Damn, there you are! We've been looking for ya since the start of lunch, we're all heading out for pizza, wanna come?"

Looking up, I saw Maya, Dannie, Julie, and Christie walking towards me. I grinned, hugging them as they reached me, saying "Um, pizza, hell yes!"

Maya heaved a sigh of relief dramatically, saying "Well, that's settled then! Me, you, and Dannie want pizza, and that so wins over Julie and Christie's weird craving for Thai food."

We began to walk down to the parking lot, my confusion over James Stirling forgotten as I listened to my friends' pointless conversation.

"Hey! Thai food is great, it's like ten times more healthier, and you get free chopsticks." Christie exclaimed, defending herself.

"You can't forget the free chopsticks," Julie added seriously, nodding her head in agreement.

"You get free napkins when you eat pizza." Dannie argued.

"Oh, good thinking Dannie, because I so don't have enough napkins."

"Shut up! Who wants free chopsticks anyways? You can't even eat with them."

"Yeah, only like half of the world's population does."

"That is so not true."

I turned to them, saying, "Did you know the fork was first used in 1589 in France, how weird is that when-"

I was interrupted with multiple groans and Christie's "Shut up, Tay!"

I grinned, muttering, "Fine, just thought it was interesting."

"Nerd!" Dannie exclaimed, pointing at me accusingly.

I laughed, jumping onto her back and saying, "Yeah, but you know you love it."

"As if!" She laughed, pushing me back and dumping me onto the grass outside of the school.

Walking to Christie's car and getting in, we drove off towards the nearest pizza place. I pushed all thoughts about James Stirling into the back of my mind as we argued stupidly over chopsticks and where they were invented.