A/N: Just a fun little idea I got today. The chapters in this story will probably all be relatively short, and updated sporadically. I doubt I'll focus too much on this story. It's a romance, and I've got nothing planned, so, if this goes anywhere, your guess is as good as mine what will happen next. :)

Also, I tend to consider myself a nerd. But who doesn't, really?

chapter one

"lab partners"

I met Shane in elementary school. He was a geek back then, too. I remember watching everyone picking on him and joining in myself, simply because my buddies were. I wasn't really one to enjoy beating people up, but it was the way things were. It's the way things are, still.

His hair was firecracker red and always neatly combed. He had pale skin, freckles on his face, and his eyes were hidden behind the dorkiest pair of glasses ever made. I knew what he was the moment I saw him. Geeky sweater. Lame shoes. He was, and still is, a nerd. The bane of all existence. The worst form of life there was. (Well, aside from homosexuals and Protestants. And black people. But that's just according to my parents.)

There is an unspoken rule about nerds. You, simply, do not acknowledge them. Or, if you do, you are to give them negative attention only. It's… just the way things work.

The summer before ninth grade, the year before high school, Shane moved away. No one really knows where, since he didn't exactly have friends. Nobody missed him. No one even noticed his absence.

And now, in the fall of junior year, he's back.

I see him in my chem class. He sits at one of the middle lab tables, second from the front. Now, when you're on the football team, you need good grades to stay on it. I myself barely pulled straight B's last year. In high school, your view on nerds change. You don't ignore them when they're in the same class as you. No, they become objects, a shiny new bit of technology put out on the shelf to get you better grades. Little effort is needed to frighten or pressure one into doing your English paper for you, or completing the semester's math assignments so you don't have to do it. As it were, Shane has been assigned to be my lab partner.

"Oh, way to go, man!"

"You're so lucky! You're gonna ace this class without even breaking a sweat!"

"Heh, I know." I laugh along with them, but somehow the actual sight of Shane, sitting quiet with his eyes downcast, makes me feel almost guilty for wanting to use him.

The teacher tells us to sit down and I take my seat in the stool beside Shane, who stiffens noticeably.

I can't help but notice that he's not the same kid he was in junior high. In just two years, he's… changed. His hair isn't combed and dorky, but the slightest bit messy and longer than I remember it. The huge, geeky glasses have been replaced by a pair of simple square frames. He's wearing a brown pair of Chuck Taylor's and somewhat baggy jeans. His plain white t-shirt is definitely not tucked into his pants.

Damn, I think to myself, mentally whistling.

"Hey," I say, hoping to come across as friendly, "I'm Alec."

"Yeah, I know who you are," he replies. "Alec Peterson. If you forgot my name, it's Shane."

I barely hear what he says; I'm completely overwhelmed by the sound of his voice. It's gotten deeper. It's… musical. Holy crap.

The teacher talks for a little bit about nothing important, then hands out some papers. Book work on the first day of school? Yeesh.

"…Sooooo," I say, attempting to sound casual, "you know what we're doin' here?"

Rolling his eyes, he answers, "We're going through the book and filling out the worksheet questions… Didn't you listen to the teacher?"

I flush red in embarrassment. Great, now he's going to think I'm stupid, just like every other jock out there. Smooth, Peterson.

But why do I care if he thinks I'm stupid or not?

"Ah, yeah, right," I manage. "I forgot, haha. My bad. Lol." Shane's eyebrows raise and he looks over at me. Oh God. Did I really just say 'lol' out loud? Lord, kill me now.

He shakes his head and I just barely hear him mutter to himself, "And people think I'm nerdy." I turn even redder, and have no idea how to make sense of the letters and words on my worksheet, or in my book.

I'm the quarterback of the West Lake High School football team. I'm dating the head cheerleader, I'm ridiculously popular, and right now there's a nauseating fluttering feeling in my stomach? I'm so nervous I can't even read, and the grip on my pen is shaky? All because I embarrassed myself in front of Shane Hall? No— a nerd?

What the hell?