CHAPTER 1: The Gossip

So much has happened in the past few months. I think I'm still dazed from what has happened. I've never been the girl to win a bingo game or to have my raffle ticket number called as the winning ticket. I never thought of myself as the girl-next-door type. I think I can still remember the day when things started felt like writing on a new page in the book of my life; a new chapter. It was a new year; my sophomore year to be exact. I was glad that I could start the school year fresh.

I arrived at Elysian Academy earlier than most of the students, so I was able to unpack all my belongings in my dorm room. I was about done folding some of my clothes into my dresser when I looked through my dorm room window. I saw cars and a limo, lining up the horseshoe driveway in the front of the school.

I took a deep breath. A new school year with new expectations, new classmates, new teachers, and possibly new friends. Sophomore year.

Whenever I would think about my sophomore year beginning, I sudden sensation overwhelms me. It's a whole new start…kind of. Over the summer, I had my braces taken off. Yay! I had braces since fifth grade! Can you believe that? And I also have contacts this year. I'm near-sighted, so I only had to put my glasses on to see the white board and such, in my classes.

Even though I just got my braces off, and I now have contacts…I feel more confident.

Then I felt my cell phone vibrate on my desk. I peered at the screen to see an incoming call from Leah.

"Hey, Leah," I flipped open my phone.

"Hey, I'm here. Where are you Crystal?"

"In my dorm room. Where are you?"

"Outside of the dorm building…Oh! I see Rose and everyone." Leah's voice became distant as she tried to get our friends attention.

"Okay, I'll meet you outside." I stuck the cell phone in my shorts pocket and hurried out my room and down the stairs.

I walked out of the dorm building and spotted a cluster of girls amongst the groups of students, acquainting one another.

There were five girls including me who made up our group. It feels comforting to have a group of close friends. But we were the type of group that consisted of only girls. Sure we would talk to boys but when eating in the cafeteria or hanging out, it would just be us girls. When I finally arrived to the circle they created, we all greeted each other as if we haven't seen each other in years.

"Okay now that we're all here, I need to tell you about the news!" exclaimed Stephanie, flipping her dirty blonde hair over her shoulders and motioned us closer to her.

She was always reliable for the latest news and gossip going around school. Sure she sometimes hangs around with our group of girls but I didn't trust her as much with my secrets.

We all leaned in, creating a tight circle. My friends' suitcases and bags laid out a few feet away from us.

"There are new students here. There names are Hunter, Grant, Taylor…and oh gosh, I forgot. Whatever. But for some unknown reason, they all transferred over here. And they all are friends. I met some of them today…"

That was all I heard from Stephanie because I got distracted when a soccer ball bumped against my foot. I turned around and looked around, curious of where it appeared from. I saw a guy waving his hand, motioning me to kick the ball over. I kicked it over and received a, "Thanks!"

I turned back to the group, trying to follow what Stephanie was saying. "They're cute," Stephanie gushed, "Hopefully we see them at dinner tonight."

Ten minutes later, we all decided that it was time to see the dorm rooms and unpack.

According to Elysian Academy, there is a maximum of two people per dorm room. So I was happy that I got to room with Rose, my best friend since elementary school. Leah, the boy magnet, was rooming with Rachel. Cosette, the baby of the group, was rooming with Stephanie.

We were fortunate enough that all our rooms were in the same hall on the same floor so we could talk whenever we wanted too. Instead of some other girls in the building who had to go up and down the stairs.

It was 6:00 so we decided to head towards the dining hall, or the cafeteria as some kids call it. Dinner was usually served from 6-8 pm. We all had our dinner plates when we sat down at our usual rectangular table-occupying only half of the seats.

"So, are those new boys here?" Cosette asked curiously while trying to inconspicuously look around the dining room.

"I don't see them," Stephanie replied with a hint of disappointment in her voice. Stephanie was the only one, out of us, to have seen them and talked to the so-called cute guys. The rest of us were just waiting for Stephanie to point out who the guys were. Seeing is believing. Well…in this situation it is.

But honestly I didn't really care about the "new guys". I was still kind of confused about my relationship with Stephen. I met Stephen last year through my friend Kelly, who was a sophomore. Meaning that Stephen is a junior this year, just like Kelly.

I never really cared whether I would go for a guy my age or younger or older. I just happened to meet him, and…I started liking him. He just happened to be a year older than I was.

But let me be honest, we never went out or anything like that. We were just friends. Kelly introduced us, out of politeness I think. But it surprised me when Stephen went out of his way to talk to me the day after, even when I wasn't with Kelly.

It seemed to me that he was willing to put forth the effort to become friends. Once Kelly introduced us to each other, I just thought: Hi one of Kelly's friends. And I thought I would never see him again, but I was dead wrong.

Then I started to like him because he was one of the rare boys who actually gave me attention. I never had a boyfriend or anything close to what I had with Stephen. It felt different, fun. He didn't give a second look at Leah, the boy-crazed girl with big boobs and major flirting skills. No, he just kept talking to me. And that made me feel really good…And I found out he was smart, funny, and athletic.

So, you're probably wondering why I would be confused by Stephen's and my relationship. Well, we did talk like regular friends. But out of nowhere, he just stopped talking to me.

Boys can be so very confusing sometimes. Don't you agree?

And then after those days when he didn't talk to me, he started talking to me again. Weird, right?

But our conversations were very little; not as much as before when we met. Rarely, he would say something flirtatious, but he still wasn't the same.

Through the whole course of the his "mood swings" and "personality problems", I would go crazy about trying to figure out what he was thinking and then Leah, Rose, and I would agree: "Forget him. He's just wasting my time." So, I had the whole summer vacation to forget about him, but there were still some feelings for him—deep down inside me. The feelings for him only a little spark—almost dying.

"That's them," Stephanie breathed, silencing our different conversations with one another. We all looked where Stephanie was looking at.

"They're cute," Leah, the boy magnet, managed to say before the rest of us. The three guys passed out tables with their plates of food, settling at a nearby table. I only managed to catch a glimpse of one of the guys; tall with bronze short hair. I had to admit they were cute.

"The one in the blue is cute," Rose mused beside me. I looked over at her with an amused expression on my face. Rose turned her big hazel eyes towards me, her long eyelashes blinking against her face. "I'm so glad we're roommates."

I laughed, "Yeah me too." Maybe this sophomore year will get interesting...