As Friends Come and Go

Chapter One


I don't own any brand names, companies, celebrities, events, etc. that might appear in this story. But I do own anything else, so no stealing. Got it?!

I swear, one day, heels will be the death of me.

"Today we're going to have a mock debate. The topic will be on capital punishment."

Groans erupted from half of the students in the room, while the other half, including me, was silent. Mrs. Robinson's expression turned sour as she snapped, "Fine, then! I'll pick two of you and have one of you choose the topic for yourself!"

Heh. If my best friend were here she'd say Mrs. Robinson was PMSing.

Her gaze swept the room, and I cowered, hoping desperately that she wouldn't choose me. Don't get me wrong, I usually love debate class, but right now my heels were killing me. Today's the last day I ignore the breaking-in rule.

"Mr. Adamson, I'd assume you'd love to participate in this activity."

I followed everyone's curious gazes and watched a guy in the corner smirk. "Why, of course, Mrs. Robinson, I'd assume you were right."

Just who was this person? I don't remember him in any of my classes!

I studied him, my interest piqued. His swept-aside jet black hair covered his forehead, barely covering his oddly light gray eyes. It was strange, his eyes. His gray irises were so light and lacked color, so that the irises would appear nonexistent if it weren't for a dark ring surrounding them.

They were hard, calculating, and set above a perfectly shaped nose and mouth. I could tell that he was bored, just from the way his jaw was set. His tan, hollowed cheeks gave off the impression that either he didn't eat much, or he worked out too much. Semi-broad shoulders were relaxed. He was tall, judging from his long, thin legs. Probably around 6'1 or 6'2. "Thin" was the very word I'd use to describe him, just on his appearance.

Then he was looking at me, I realized with a small jolt, turning the full force of his wolverine gray gaze on me. Finely plucked eyebrows were raised.

I turned red, and shifted my attention to somewhere else. His gaze was burning into the side of my head, but I'd spend an entire week in these stupid heels before I'd admit I was so aware of him!

"Miss Hunter, I believe you'd be more than willing to let your voice be heard."

I believe you're absolutely crazy if that was the impression I was giving you. But I couldn't possibly say that, now could I?

Instead, this was my reaction:

Pleasant smile. "Yes of course." Now if only I could make my way from my desk to that stool without embarrassing myself…

I grinned, and carefully stood up successfully. Then my foot caught on the leg of my desk and I tripped.

Some higher power up there must really have a sadistic sense of humor.

I just stared. It was hard to see upside down, but that Adamson guy was smirking with amusement. Damn him. Let's bring him down here and see how he likes it. Then I sighed, and slowly got up and made hurriedly sat down on the high stool before I embarrassed myself any further.

Someone in the class piped up. "Can guys and girls be just friends?"

Cool. That question was easy enough.

Mr. Adamson-whose-first-name-I-don't-know (Yes, I'm bad at coming up with nicknames, so sue me!) shrugged and answered smoothly. "I believe that there is no possible way that situation can exist."

What?! He even has a jacked-up opinion, damn him!

Maybe I should explain things a bit. I'm about sixteen years old, and I've never had a boyfriend, let alone kissed one.

Does that sound cliché? Well, it's true!

It's relatively easy for me to make friends with anyone. That includes the other half of the human race. Yes, I mean guys. Gasp!

Ever since I was little, guys have thought of me as a friend, rather than a potential girlfriend. And I've never been attracted to any friend of mine that would happen to be a guy. That would just complicate matters. In the end, I guess, I really was just one of the guys.

So, in conclusion, experience has led me to believe that guys and girls can be friends without attractions forming. At least, they wouldn't if we were really, really, really, really determined.

I gasped. "I object! Guys and girl can be friends!"

He rolled his eyes. "Says the girl who has never once had a boyfriend."

Well, that's true…Hey! And why does he know so much about me anyway? I don't even know his name! Then again, I was never really that good with faces, or names, for that matter…

Gasp! He must be stalking me!

Okay, I'm overreacting. I was friendly with everyone, so most people knew my name. I just didn't know theirs, that's all.

I resisted the strong urge to stick my tongue out at him. "Coming from the guy who's never had a gal-pal, it's rather hard to believe."

Oh, he just had to cock an eyebrow at that. "Gal-pal?" He repeated.

I nodded my head earnestly. Course, I didn't know for sure that he never had one, but he seemed like that type of person…

"Look, it's simply human nature. Guys and girls can't be friends. They'd just be too close, and attractions could easily form. And you know you can't fight human nature."

"Oh yeah?" I countered. "Then what if one of them was homosexual?"

"Well, that's different…"

I glared. We were arguing heatedly, and it already seemed as if the audience disappeared. But, I know they were still there, hanging on to our every word, because we were that entertaining. After all, our school's cable was down.

"Our dear classmate here," he sent a charming smile at the person who had suggested the topic, who just so happened to be a girl, and she blushed, eyelashes batting wildly. She really needs to go see an eye doctor about that…"meant normal circumstances, a pair of heterosexual girl and boy, is that right?"

"That's right," she sighed.

I'm disgusted already. Girls can be so shallow these days.

"That wasn't she said," I said through gritted teeth. "Isn't that right, Mrs. Robinson? Mrs. Robinson?"

She wasn't in the classroom. It appears as if our supposedly very responsible teacher has abandoned us.

"Teacher's gone!" Someone shouted. "We can skip class!"

That was the point where everyone ran out the door, in a very mad stampede for the exit. Adamson and I were the only ones left in the classroom now.

"Well," he said after a moment of silence. "That was interesting."

"Guys and girls really can be just friends," I said stubbornly.

"You still honestly believe that? Show me proof of that one day, and I'll believe you. But I can easily show you that it's not true."

Hmm. Interesting. He was so on.

"But I wish you luck with finding me after today. I'm guessing you don't even know my name?"

Well, about that…

"You don't know who I am either!" I protested hotly.

He lifted a finger to point at me innocently. "Ally Hunter. Just turned sixteen this February. Currently very single, and a virgin. Best friends with Kara Sommers. Younger sister of Kyle Hunter."

Well, maybe he did know a few things about me after all…

I'm still sticking to my suspicion that he's a stalker.

As if hearing my thoughts, he rolled his eyes. "And please. People these days will gossip about anything. I just hear things, that's all." He smirked. "How about I help you out a bit."

He walked near me, and whispered softly in my ear. Okay, he's way too close! Invading my personal bubble here! "The name's Zane Adamson. Remember it, know it, and love it, as you'll soon be doing."

With those parting words, he left the room.

"Don't tell me you're really going to do it." Kara's clear blue eyes stared at me incredulously.

I winced, feeling pain shoot through my feet. I bet, by the time I got home, blisters will have formed. "First off, switch shoes!"

Kara didn't ask any questions. She just kicked off her flats and waited for me to take off my heels. Kara's much, much better with heels than I am. She's a freaking ballet dancer, for heaven's sake! She's much more graceful than I'll ever be.

I slipped my foot through the flats and sighed heavily. Ah, much better. I'm just glad Kara and I have the same show size.

"You're a lifesaver," I informed her gratefully. Then my eyes flickered around the cafeteria. "So what were we saying?"

"You were thinking of sitting with those guys."

I followed her gaze to a certain table in the center of the room. Oh, I see now. Zane sat there, with all his friends. Well, I had to start somewhere to prove to him, might as well start now, right?

"Why not?" I asked her. "I actually know a few of those guys from my other classes."

"So?!" She shrieked. "There's a reason why no one's ever approached there before! They can be intimidating sometimes. One of them is on the football team!"

I sent her a look that clearly expressed that I didn't care. "I'm definitely not going to lose to him, Kar. Never!"

"Don't do this, Ally," she pleaded. "I care about you way too much for this to happen! Butting in is like committing social suicide. Zane could turn you into an outcast faster than a bat of an eye."

How come she knew his name and I didn't?! Well, Kara always did have a better memory than I did. I blocked out her words stubbornly. No need to stress me out any more than I already was. "I'm going. Are you coming with me?"

"Ally, no!" She grabbed to the end of my shirt, but in my vain, as I twisted out of her grip.

All right, Ally. Just close your eyes and don't think. It'll be over soon. You're a girl on a mission, after all. No one can stop me!

I sucked in a deep breath and made my way over to the table, smiling with as much charm as I could muster. I already drew eyes once I was within a two-meter radius, but Zane was yet to notice me. I couldn't say the same thing to the rest of his friends, however.

"Mind if I sit here?" I said more easily than I felt. Zane finally noticed me then, and his eyes narrowed dangerously.

"Aren't you in the wrong table?" One of them asked.

I think I must have sweat enough to fill a bucket with my perspiration. "Uh, no?"

There was an awkward silence. "Sure," a guy sitting next to Zane answered. I think he was in my physics class. Now if only I could remember his name…

"Thanks!" I answered, face brightening up. Zane's face darkened considerably, his eyes now a steel gray than his normal silvery gray. "Jack, right?"

He grinned, when I mentioned his name, I must have gotten one right, for once! Score one for Ally! Woo hoo!

So I plopped down in the center of the table, in the only available chair, which just happened to be right across from Zane. Don't look in his eyes; don't look in his eyes…

I looked in his eyes.

He growled at me. I shrank back, cowering behind the guy next to me. He laughed, clapping me on the back. "Relax, Zane! She's not going to bite or anything."

The conversation shifted away from us then. The rest of the guys joked and spoke about sports, it sounded, while Zane stayed resolutely silent. No, he seemed to find a new hobby: glaring at me. Relax, Ally, don't let him intimidate you…

"So do you think we're going to win the Olympics this year?" Jack questioned.

"Oh, definitely!" Another of them answered confidently. "We definitely have this one in the bag!"

"I don't know…China's got some pretty good athletes."

I fidgeted under Zane's unrelenting gaze. Jeez, doesn't this guy let a girl rest for a moment at all? I'm guessing not. He's a creepy stalker, after all. I figured that I wasn't going to have any peace this way, so I decided to join the conversation.

"Well, with all their great athletes, the game could just go either way, But we won't find out until August, will we?." I shrugged nonchalantly.

No one spoke. I looked around innocently. "What?"

"You're a girl," Jack answered slowly.

"So?" I asked indignantly. Don't tell me he's another sexist pig who believes girls can't enjoy sports.

"You're the first girl who's ever liked sports." He continued.

There was a short pause. Then, the guy sitting next to me (I think his name was Spencer?) exclaimed, "It's a miracle!" and then proceeded to ruffle my hair.

"Hey!" I shouted indignantly. "Rule number one, guys: no touching the hair!"

That didn't help at all. They all reached for my hair, joking and grinning, ruffling it in a way that made it so messy it looked like I had bed-hair. I growled, and then tried to mess up the hair of the guy's around me. Oh, it was on.

By the end of it all, we were panting, lunches completely forgotten. I grumbled, and pulled out my mirror, trying in a sad attempt to fix my hair. Then, after a total of two minutes, I just gave up and pulled it into a ponytail.

The guys had resumed to discussing the Olympics, occasionally including me in the conversation. I told you I was good at making friends.

Zane was still glaring at me, so I smiled mock innocently at him. "I know I'm pretty and all, Zane, but you don't have to just stare like that."

The table broke out with some of the guys crowing, "Burn!" and "She's got you there, Zane!" I just smirked, self-satisfied.

He just grinned, playing along. "You're right. I was so entranced by your beauty, Oh Great One. In fact, may I take you out to…err…speak with you a bit? Maybe in that secluded corner over there?"

The other guys continued to joke and jostle him. My eyes narrowed. Oh, he wanted to talk all right, just not in the way he had implied. But I'm not going to come with him! He's just too scary right now!

He smiled at me, his charm turned on full force. But I resisted it. "Come, now." His nails were digging into my skin. My eyes bugged out, holding back a squeak.

Then he pulled me out into the hallway, and he whirled around angrily.

"What the hell?!" He snarled. "Just what do you think you're doing, invading my table like that?"

Well, his personality sure took a 180. Is he bipolar or something?

I smiled innocently. "You said I had to show you proof of what we discussed during debate class. But I figured if I became friends with another guy, you wouldn't believe me. So I just decided to solve the problem, right at the source." I nodded at him. "You."

"You think that just by deceiving my other friends, you would earn my approval, just like that?" He spat.

I shrunk back. "Maybe." I shook my head, and my temper flared. "Well, what did you want me to do?!" I snarled, with as much anger behind my words.

He must have been surprised, because his eyes widened, just a tiny bit before they narrowed again. "Fine. We'll have it your way," he answered calmly.

"Yeah, well!" I stopped in my outburst, surprised. "Say what?"

"We'll have it your way," he repeated, voice perfectly calm this time. And I didn't buy it. It was even scarier than angry Zane. "If you can get me to admit that we're friends, I'll admit that you were right and I was wrong. However," he paused, "the same thing goes for you."

I see. If he had to admit that guys and girls could be friends, then I'm guessing for me it was the opposite. I had to admit guys and girls couldn't be friends. Well, no biggie! I can become friends with anyone! I can get along with just about everyone!

"And, I warn you Ally. I'm not going to be easy to defeat. You can't get me to accept you that easily." He watched me warily.

I beamed at him. "Oh, I believe I'll win in the end. After all, I love a good challenge, but I always end up winning."

He raised his eyebrows. "I see." Zane's voice dropped to a whisper. "But, thing is, I'm not one to lose either."

With those words, he watched me reenter the cafeteria again.

"I'm back, guys!" I exclaimed, sitting down at my chair. "Miss me?"

"You were gone for only five minutes!"

"Details, details." I waved him off. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Zane reenter the cafeteria and head towards our table.

"Hey, Ash." He poked the guy sitting next to me. "Switch seats with me."

"I thought you liked your seat!" Ash exclaimed.

"That was before Ally started sitting here." He flashed a smile at me. I fidgeted. This Zane was even scarier than calm Zane and angry Zane put together.

Ash moved to Zane's seat, and Zane plopped down next to me. "Hey princess," he murmured in my ear. "Miss me?"

Princess? What the hell? "Do you have a concussion or something? I think you're acting dillusional, Zane."

He chuckled, his arm slung around my shoulder. I turned stiff under the weight of his arm. "Such a sense of humor."

The guys watched us warily. "You guys together now or something?"

"Of course not- " I began, but Zane cut me off.

"Not yet, but," he flashed a smile in my direction. "She'll cave." He then pressed his mouth against my temple (I refuse to call it kissing).

What's going on? Why is Zane acting like someone gave him the crazy pill?

He murmured in my ear, tickling a few loose hairs, "I'll make you cave my way, eventually. Guys and girls are never just friends."

Oh. I get it now! He was trying to make me fall for him, in order to win this game. So that's what he meant when he said he'd prove his point!

…What a rotten way to win our game! That jerk!

I smiled at him, and shrugged his arm off. "So you guys free this week? I was thinking we could hang out or something. As friends." I stressed. I turned to Zane while sending out a bunch of vicious vibes. "You just have to come, Zane." I said through gritted teeth.

He chuckled. "Of course, honey." Well, duh, Zane would never back down from a challenge!

I'm just going to ignore his endearment, and the fact that the table was pretty crowded, so I was pushed up against his side.

The lunch bell rang, signifying the end of lunch. Everyone scrambled to hurry to their lockers, including Zane. I was left to catch my breath.

"What a day," I groaned, banging my head on the table. Kara walked over to me.

"So how did it go?" She asked.

"Bad," I said through gritted teeth. "Extremely bad. I'll explain the details later."

"I see…so listen, can we switch shoes back now?"

"What? Why?' I cried.

Kara smiled ruefully. "Need them for drama." She kicked off the heels. I just sighed and complied with her.

"Thanks, Kara," I said mournfully. "I'll miss those shoes when my heels give me a concussion!"

"I'll give them back when the period's over," she laughed. "Just bear with them for now."

I stood up, but my shoe got caught on the table again and I tripped.

Kara started cracking up. "It's not funny! Don't laugh at my inability to walk!" I protested. Then I sighed and laid my head back against the floor.

Well, I've officially established two rules to help win this game that I'm pretty sure I'll end up breaking in the end, one way or another:

1) Do not; I repeat, do not, fall for Zane Adamson.

2) No wearing heels after today. Ever.

A/N: I was listening to "So Damn Clever" by the Plain White T's while I wrote this chapter, but I don't think it really fits the story.

Don't know when the next chapter will be up! But look forward to it!