A/N: Okay, so this is a story that I've been working with on and off (kind of like all my stories...but anyways). I'm just posting a bit of it for now to see how people like it.

Chapter 1: One Heck of a Loooong Bus Ride

She looked over her shoulder at the ruckus her friends were raising in the back of teh bus and laughed. Ally was sprawled out across the laps of Nate, Lily, and Jen. Erik and Aden were turned around in their seats, looking back as they counted down from 28 to 27 bottles of beer on the wall. She had been the one to start the song a few ages ago out of sheer boredom, and the rest picked it up and carried it through. From 80 to 70 bottles, nearly the whole bus had joined in, including Mr. McDonald, who was driving. Mrs. Nolan simply ignored it and fell asleep in the front. Cassidy shook her head, not understanding how that was possible. Probably had to do with the five little brats she was raising at home.

"Alright!" yelled Mr. McDonald over the roar, "we'll be there in about ten more minutes, so get ready to unload.

"But we're only at 21 bottles!" Lily retorted.

"Yeah, there are still...uh..." Aden paused

"21, you idiot," Cassidy laughed at him.

"Oh, right!" he exclaimed, beaming like an idiot, "still 21 bottles to go!"

"You can finish your song later. For now, get yourselves together."

As the bus came to a halt, Cassidy turned to Tim, who was on the seat next, grinning. "That was quite possibly the longest bus ride of my life."

He smiled back, chuckling. "No kidding. But you have to admit: it was entertaining to watch them act like drunken fools." She nodded in agreement as she started packing her backpack.

She had just shoved in her Walkman when she looked up to find Tim staring at her. Cassidy raised an eyebrow. "Something on my face?"

He blinked, snapping out of his reverie, and then mocked her expression comically. "Yeah, right there," he said, flicking her nose. Cassidy laughed, shoving his hand away as she wondered about Tim's absent state of mind. Something was definitely wrong with the boy. "Um, Cass?" he said, catching her to stay back as all the others loaded off the bus.

She smiled inquiringly. "Yeah?"

"Could...can I talk to you later, if we get the chance?" Cassidy furrowed her eyebrows. "In private. I just really need to get...something...off my chest, and I know I can trust you with a secret, right? So...please?"

Cassidy smiled brightly. "Yeah, sure, of course!"

Tim shot her a relieved smile. "Thanks, I appreciate it."

"Sure thing." She patted him on the shoulder amiably. "That's what I'm here for, right?"

"Yeah...thanks again."

"Hey Slow-Pokes! You coming or what!?" Jen cheerily yelled from the bus doors.

Cass turned to her, grinning. "Yeah, yeah, hold your horses. We'll be out in a sec." Cassidy and Tim herded off the bus together, joining the mass of chattering kids.

A/N: Heeeeey, another author's note! hehe. I wonder if anyone actually reads these things? Anyways, there's the beginning. I know some of the words are repetitive, but did you know that the thesaurus only has three synonyms for the word 'smile'!? There's 'smile', 'grin', 'beam', and 'smirk'. Geez. How am I supposed to switch things up if there are only four words for one meaning? And the meanings aren't exactly the same either! Bother. Okay, so I sound ridiculous and the English language is bad enough as it is, but still! humph.

Thank you for reading!