I wasn't expecting to write here again, but I am desperate to overcome my writer's block, and this seems like a reasonable way to do it. I'm actually kind of excited to do this.

Despite the similarity of the titles, this is not a sequel to Not for Me and is not related to it whatsoever. This is a completely new story, and I do hope you enjoy it! Lastly, it's shame that I need to say this but…

Do not plagiarize this story. Please. It would really suck if that happens because then I would take it down. So don't do it.

Chapter One
Old Lady Ghost

The first time I laid eyes on Keegan Davenport, it was on the first day of junior year. He was a new student, and that day, as we students walked down the halls chatting, laughing, and asking each other how his or her summer was, we had absolutely no idea that a certain someone was about to take the school by storm. Actually, not just a storm—whatever is more powerful than a storm. That's how awesome Keegan Davenport was.

If truth be told, he didn't look too special when I first saw him. It was the first day of school, and I was running late because I missed the 7:47 bus, and I missed the 7:47 bus not because I overslept, but because I took too much time getting ready. Hey, it was the first day of school, okay? So sue me for wanting to look good. I was determined to start off junior year with a bang.

By the time I reached the school, I was sweaty, out of breath, and cursing myself for being so vain. My cheap eyeshadow was melting off my eyelids because the temperature that day was a whopping 39 degrees. I could feel beads of perspiration trickling down my neck and under my empire waist tank top. Even though I just had a shower that morning, I desperately wanted another one because the fruity scent that I hoped would stay in my hair all day was long gone, replaced by the stench of sweat. Perhaps I didn't reek at all, but it sure felt like it. All that hard work I put into looking good…gone. Needless to say, by the time I stepped foot into the school, I was a little cranky. I remember I was wearing my brand new yellow flats, which, I learned that day, do look good on your feet but give you seriously painful blisters. The things girls do for beauty are just so sad sometimes.

So anyway, I was a little cranky because my first day back from summer vacation was not starting the way I wanted and expected it to be. I had already gotten my schedule a few days before, so I knew that my homeroom was all the way on the third floor. I cursed my luck and half-ran, half-limped towards the stairwell. And that's when I saw him. As I lumbered my way up, I stopped mid-step as I spotted a really hot guy standing on the landing. Yes, Keegan was—is—really hot, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I did check him out as he reached into his backpack and pulled out a puffer.

And that's when I fell in love. Okay, not exactly since I'm very cynical when it comes to high school love, but I will say that that was the first time I became intrigued by him. He didn't notice me as he inhaled deeply from his puffer, and for some reason, I felt like I was intruding on something.

When he was done, he noticed me. He smiled. "Hey."

That was the very first thing he said to me. A simple "hey."

"Hey," I said, my crankiness vanishing, replaced by self-consciousness. I was very much aware of how I must have looked. "Asthma?"

He nodded. "Yeah."

Then I became aware of my own erratic breathing—remember that I had run to the school—and was almost tempted to ask to borrow his puffer. Of course, I didn't because that's just plain creepy. And no, my breathing wasn't erratic because Keegan Davenport was just so damn hot…okay, maybe a little.

"My name is Keegan. I'm new," he said, extending his hand.

I took his hand, and he got another point when he shook it firmly. "Nice to meet you. I'm Audrey." I smiled at him and tried to figure out in my head whether this meeting was a misfortune or not. On the one hand, there I was, talking to a real good-looking and real friendly guy. On the other hand, I looked like crap and was therefore probably not making the best impression.

Perhaps I should take the time to describe Keegan so that you'll get a better picture of him in your head. To be honest, if you're looking at him objectively, his "beauty" isn't any different from the conventional male beauty you see in chick flicks. He's tall, has an impressive athletic build, lustrous brownish-red hair, bright green eyes, radiant smile, blah blah blah. You've heard it all. His good looks sound like the typical good looks, and yet there is something so different about this guy. I can't quite put my finger on it, but when I see him smile, his smile is just so…incredibly genuine. So sincere, and it makes him look so damn good.

Oh God, I am so cheesy. This is embarrassing…

But I mean it. This guy is such a nice, warm, easygoing guy, and that's what made me like him so much. I swear he is friends with everyone. He doesn't have the slightest bit of arrogance in him.

Anyway, back to our first meeting.

"Nice to meet you, Audrey," he said, still smiling. He released my hand slowly, and I felt a slight tingle when our fingers accidentally stroked each other's palms. I swear it was an accident. I swear.

God, I am such a teenager, I thought ruefully.

"So it's your first day of school, huh?" I spoke up, trying to make conversation. Screw being late for class. Screw it.

"Yeah. I'm a little nervous," he said, scratching the back of his head as a…well…nervous gesture. Seriously, why did he have to be so cute?

I smiled at him. "Don't be. It's not like Graves Academy is the inspiration for Gossip Girl."

I had to give him credit for laughing at such a lame joke. What was even more incredible was that he actually did seem to find the joke funny. I owed it all to the first-day jitters.

"We're all nice people here. Really," I stressed. For some reason, I had this strange desire to make him feel better as much as I could.

"Thank you." He paused. "Aren't you late for class?"

"Um…yeah…" I said sheepishly. "But it's okay. Making a new student feel welcome is more important than going to math class. Besides, it's only the first day of school, so it's not like Mr. Philips is going to teach something important today. What about you? Aren't you late?"

"I have first period off. I considered driving to school just before second period starts, but I figured I could walk around the school—get familiar with it, you know? I'm a dork that way."

A hot dork. But I decided not to say that out loud.

"Well…I'd do the same thing."


"Nah. I'd sleep in like a normal teenager."

He stopped and frowned at me. "So are you saying that I'm abnormal?"

"I don't mean it in that way," I said quickly. "I'm sorry, I was just kidding…I don't think you're abnormal at all. In fact, you're so normal that I…" I paused when I saw him fighting back a smile. "Oh. You jerk." But I was smiling too.

"I'm sorry," he said, laughing openly this time. "You should have seen your face."

"Thanks," I said wryly, though my good humour remained.

"You're welcome, Audrey."

I liked how he said my name…really, really liked it. To a third-party observer he probably didn't say my name any differently from how others would, but to me it sounded…well…different. I was having so much fun that I didn't want our conversation to end, so I decided to take the plunge. I took a deep breath and said, "I can show you around if you want. The school's huge, so you'll need an expert to tell you the ins and outs."

"And you're the expert?"

"Sure. I've been wandering about here for two long years."

"You make it sound like you're ghost."

I laughed. "It's funny that you should say that because"—I pointed at a nearby hallway—"people who've stayed here after school, when the school's all quiet and empty, say that that hallway is haunted." I cleared my throat and made my voice all eerie-like. "They say they've seen an old hunchbacked woman wearing a black dress, her long white hair covering her face as she walks slowly, heavily, like she's bearing a great burden on her shoulders. Some say they've seen her stroking something in her bony hand with her rotten-looking nails."

His eyes widened as he turned his head, fixing his gaze on the innocent-looking hallway. Then he turned again and shot me a yeah-right-like-I'd-believe-that look. "I'm not going to fall for that. You're just trying to have your revenge."

"No, I'm serious!" I exclaimed. "My friend Georgia swears she saw her, and Georgia would never lie about something like that. And when she was telling me the story, I could see the goosebumps on her arms."

Keegan shivered. "Wow…"

"See? You wouldn't have known that if you were walking around by yourself. And maybe Old Lady Ghost would have shown herself to you, since you're all by yourself and the halls are empty."

"Okay, okay, stop."

I paused and observed him. I could see that his lips had gone pale—damn, they were still sexy. "You're scared, aren't you?"

"No," he mumbled.

"You are," I said gleefully. "That's so…" I was going to say "cute," but I stopped myself in time. "…normal. I was scared, too, when I first heard that story. But not so much now because I like that it gives this school character. Would you have preferred that hallway to be just another boring hallway where nothing happens?"

"Maybe," Keegan said. "I plan to join a few after school activities, after all."

"Oh, like what?" I asked, genuinely interested. Seriously, I had never been this interested in a guy before. It was scary and exciting at the same time.

He smiled at me. "Why don't we walk around while talking? I think I'll accept your invitation to show me around."

I felt a burst of happiness and did my best to hide it.

"Sure," I said nonchalantly. I think I even shrugged a little. "First, we'll walk down the haunted hallway…"

We were the only people walking down the haunted hallway. Some of the white lights were flickering, which added more to the effect. I snuck a peek at Keegan. He seemed a little nervous, but was trying to look unaffected. It was so endearing because here was an athletic-looking guy who was scared of a little ghost story. Seriously, I just wanted to hug him—it took a lot of willpower not to do so.

"Over there is the home-ec room," I said casually. "People say that two little girls died in there."


"This school has a lot of urban legends and ghost stories," I explained, still retaining my casual voice. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it."

"Seems to me that this school is the inspiration for Supernatural."

"Oh, I love that show," I said excitedly.

"Me too."

"If you love that show so much, why are you scared right now?"

"Because that show is just a show. This is real life. There's a difference."

"Hmm, that does make sense…kinda…but anyway, what kind of after school activities?"

"What? Oh, you mean…well, I'm not sure. Maybe student council…and soccer, to help with my asthma…and the chess club. I think that's all I can do for now because I have other things outside of school."

"Like what?"

He shrugged. "Well, my mom volunteers for JDRF, so I've been involved ever since I can remember. And back in my hometown, I played for the seniors in Glen Eris Lodge, and I plan to continue that here."

I suddenly felt like a worthless piece of shit compared to him. I hoped that he wouldn't ask me what my activities were because I wouldn't have anything to say besides: "Oh, well, uh…I move my arms and legs at the same time while I yell out a bunch of words." What made me feel even worse was that Keegan spoke as if these activities were all natural to him. And he didn't speak with an arrogant look-at-me-I-do-all-these-things voice; he just stated some facts, nothing more.

"I would say that you seem perfect, but I won't because you're probably not," I said after a brief silence.

He stopped abruptly and looked at me with a strange expression on his face. "What do you mean?"

"Uhh…nothing much." I shrugged. "It's just that…nobody is. Perfect, I mean. I mean…someone may seem perfect, but I'm a pretty cynical person. It just doesn't make sense for a person not to have a flaw." I paused. "Am I making any sense?"

He was silent for a while. Then he smiled at me—a real, warm, honest smile. "Yes. You are."

We headed towards the east staircase.

"Let's go down. I want to show you my hiding place."

"You have a hiding place?"

"Yup. I go there whenever I need some peace and quiet. You get those days, don't you? I don't know why I'm willing to show it to you, but…" I shrugged. "Maybe you'd want to use it sometime."

"Yeah," he said cheerfully. "Maybe." He smiled at me once more. It was so pathetic how I could never get enough of his smile. I could feel a knot forming in my stomach.

"Let's go then," I said, trying not to sound nervous.

I turned, took the first step down the stairs…

And that's when I stumbled and went crashing down. I don't even know how it happened since I'm usually not a clumsy person. I heard a sickening crack, then felt nothing but an excruciating pain on my leg. I groaned, lying on my back, and when I looked up, all I saw were black dots and Keegan's pale face. His lips were moving, but I couldn't hear what he was saying.

Then I fainted.

I started my first day with a bang, alright. But not in the way I wanted.

"Where is she? Is she all right? Oh, I'm going to kill that girl!"

My eyelids fluttered open. The first thing I noticed—besides the screeching that was coming from the hall—was the whiteness of the room and the strange smell in the air. I knew I was in the hospital. Hospitals were always white and weird-smelling. I groaned, and when I did, the person sitting beside my bed dropped her newspaper and rose quickly, leaning over me.

"Audrey? Are you all right?" she said gently, worriedly.

I groaned again. "Hi, Mom. My leg…hurts." It was up on a sling—which was also white—and looked like it had been bandaged fifty million times.

"Well, you broke it. I came as soon as I got a call from the school office. I was so worried. You've been knocked out for almost four hours, you know."

The door burst open and I saw my friend Georgia, her face flushed and her blond curls in disarray.

"You!" she hollered. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," I mumbled.

"Good! 'Cause now I can yell at you without feeling guilty! Cheerleading tryouts are next week, Audrey! How can you do this to me?"

Georgia wasn't usually selfish. It's just that…she was a senior and the new cheerleading captain that year, so she was really anxious to do a good and memorable job. Throughout the summer she kept on reminding me that she needed me to join the team when she became captain. I wasn't the best cheerleader in the school, but I would still be a huge asset to the team if I was part of it.

"Can't you just let me do a special tryout when I get better?" I said with a groan. I wasn't really in the mood to deal with Georgia's rants.

She paused. "I can…but you'll really need to prove yourself, Audrey. Otherwise people will say I'm playing favourites."

"Sure. I understand. I'll try my best."

Georgia bit her lip, then nodded. "All right, I'll let it go. For now."

"Thank you."

"What happened, anyway? You're not a clumsy girl."

I was silent.

"Wait a second…"

I looked at Georgia and saw an evil grin forming on her face. I stared at her warily. "What's that grin for?"

"This doesn't have anything to do with that boy now, does it?"

I shifted awkwardly on my bed. "What boy?"

"That boy who was with you. He burst into my classroom looking like he'd seen the Old Lady Ghost. But it turns out that he just saw a girl fall down the stairs. He told Mrs. Lawson what happened, told her that he had already called the ambulance with his cellphone but thought he ought to let the school office know so they don't get caught off-guard when the ambulance comes. He looked so scared, but he handled everything so well. I was really impressed."

I remained silent and allowed Georgia to chatter on while my thoughts strayed towards a certain someone.

"The whole school's talking about it. The sirens were so loud when the ambulance came. Classes got interrupted. I wouldn't be surprised if rumours were circulating right now about how you're in a coma with a bazillion broken bones, fighting for your life, surrounded by your family as tears trickle down their eyes. You know how rumours can get."

I groaned again. That seemed to be my thing now.

"But back to the main topic…who is this boy, huh?"

I glanced at my mom, who seemed to be as curious as Georgia. I could feel my face boiling as I turned away and looked out the door…

And who came in but Keegan Davenport himself? For a split second there I thought I had conjured him up, but as he approached slowly, I knew that he was real. He was holding a small brown pot with clusters of bright red flowers. I wondered if I looked decent. Probably not. Sigh.

"Hello," I said, trying to sound cheerful.

He smiled at me. "Hello. I brought you this. I thought maybe you'd prefer this over a bouquet."

"I do," I said truthfully. I wondered how he knew that. Perhaps he was just guessing? Either way, it was a very good guess.

"Are you all right?"

"Yes, I am. Thanks. This is my mom and my friend Georgia. Mom, Georgia, this is Keegan."

He smiled and shook my mom's hand, then Georgia's. "Georgia…you're the one who saw the ghost of the old woman?"

Georgia's eyes widened. "Yes, it was me! I swear it's true."

"What's this about a ghost?" my mom said curiously.

"Audrey told me that one of the hallways on the third floor is haunted," Keegan explained to my mother. "I thought she was joking at first, but when I saw how serious she was, I believed her. Plus, it helps that she's a good storyteller." He chuckled. "I admit I was a little scared when we were walking there. Probably lost my man-card."

The three of us burst out laughing. I could see that my mom liked Keegan.

Georgia grinned. "You're all right, Keegan. Will you take care of my friend here?" she said unabashedly.

I would have shot her a murderous look, but Keegan would have seen it if I had, so I didn't. Instead I just smiled and decided in my head to kill Georgia later.

"Of course," Keegan said. "She's the first friend I've made in Graves Academy."

And that was all we were ever going to become. It turned out that Keegan and I had very different schedules. We didn't have a single period together, not even lunch. I saw him so little that I began to feel ashamed whenever I caught myself still thinking of him after one month of barely seeing him. We only talked whenever we ran into each other in the hallways, but whenever that happened, it felt so…this is going to sound cheesy…right. We would dive into a conversation where we'd bounce jokes off each other, and while we were doing that, I would try to work up the courage to ask him out to a movie, only to chicken out in the end. Then, after a few minutes of talking, both of us would start feeling the need to get to our next class, and every time we parted, I'd be grinning like an idiot and feeling like one at the same time.

I could have joined the chess club (student council elections didn't happen until the end of the year, and even if it ran at the beginning, are you kidding me), but my intentions would have been obvious if I joined the club since I wasn't the chess-loving type of person.

Anyway, two months after meeting Keegan, I was out in the field watching the cheerleaders practise. I couldn't cheer just yet, but I was still very much part of the team. "Fuck it!" Georgia had exclaimed. "You're in the team—the captain says so!" I was kind of like the manager, and I'd sometimes help Georgia and Isabel, the co-captain, teach the new cheerleaders the moves.

So I was busy looking at my clipboard when my ears picked up a rather interesting conversation.

"Maryann," a sophomore named Olivia said, "you know that hot guy Keegan?"

"Keegan?" A pause. "Yeah, I know him! He's a year older, right? He's so hot!"

"Well, guess what? I heard he's going out with Hazel Clark."

My first reaction—not counting the wave of devastation that removed all feeling from my legs—was "Who?" It happened to be Maryann's reaction as well.

"Hazel Clark. She's in our grade. You know, quiet, shy, smart?"

"I'm still drawing a blank."

"She's skinny with shoulder-length brown hair. Big brown eyes, kind of like that innocent doe-eyed look."

Then it dawned on Maryann. "Oh, yeah, her! I remember now. She's sooo nice. I remember she shared her Twelfth Night with me when I forgot mine at home."


"God, she is sooo lucky. I think Keegan is the hottest guy in school. How did it happen?"

"They met in the chess club. Isn't that so cute?"

"She is so lucky!"

It was like hearing about one of those high school romances where the popular guy falls in love with the nerdy/loner/loser girl, and it made me want to puke my guts out. It would have been easier to hate this Hazel girl if she sounded like a psycho bitch, but she wasn't, which made me feel like the bitch, for still hating her. I stared at the paper on my clipboard without really comprehending what was written on it.

Keegan Davenport. Dating a girl who wasn't me.

It shouldn't have hurt—I barely knew the guy, after all—but it did. I guess it hurt because I began to think about the what-ifs: What if I had just swallowed my pride and joined the chess club? How could I have been so stupid? If I had been part of that club, would he have ended up with me instead?

God, how arrogant of me, I thought bitterly. Hazel Clark is probably ten times better than me. She probably volunteers at a freakin' orphanage and donates her bone marrow. Why would he pick someone like me over her? All I do is dance around in a short skirt shouting "Go team go." Actually, not even that—I only teach girls to do that while I stand in the sidelines.

As the two sophomores gushed on and on about how cute Keegan and Hazel were, I continued to self-flagellate myself. I sat down on the grass and pretended to write a bunch of stuff on my clipboard when, really, I was just doodling.

"Get a grip, Audrey," I murmured to myself. "It's just a stupid crush. It's nothing. Get over yourself."

Then I promised myself I would stop thinking about the what-ifs and could-have-beens. I would forget about Keegan Davenport. He was going to be just another guy who happened to go to my school. Just another guy that I was only slightly interested in—but that was all going to stop now.

But seriously, why didn't I try? Why did I just let him go? Well, it wasn't like he tried, right? Did he make an effort to get to know me better? No, he didn't. During our run-ins in the hallways, he could have asked me out, but he didn't. So there. He was never interested in me, so it was only for the best that I never let myself get to know him. Because I would have only ended up hurt, right? He still would have picked her.

One year later, Keegan and Hazel had established themselves as the most adorable couple in Graves Academy. Their fellow peers loved the idea of their love as sweet and enduring. I found it all wearisome, but I kept that to myself, of course. I didn't want to be crucified. Besides, I shouldn't care, remember? I made a promise to myself.

They were the Golden Couple of our school.

And as for me…I felt like the creepy Old Lady Ghost as I stood invisibly in the sidelines, a great burden on my shoulders as I delved into the what-ifs once in a while, no matter how hard I tried not to.