Chapter One

Maddie walked into the classroom and went to her usual seat in the back. Everyone was talking and laughing while they waited for the bell to ring. The teacher was writing notes on the board. Maddie took out her notebook and began doodling, drowning out the sounds around her. When the bell did ring and the teacher began lecturing, Maddie didn't even notice. She just sat there doodling, her dark brown hair falling forward onto the desk, covering her face.

Maddie's attention was eventually diverted when she realized that the entire class had gone silent. She looked up and saw that they were all looking at a boy who had apparently just entered the room. Maddie didn't recognize him. He must have been a new student.

"Sorry, I got here a bit late," the boy said with a laugh. He was tall and lanky, with dark brown hair. He was wearing a black, short-sleeved, button down shirt and blue jeans. He had a backpack slung over his left shoulder, and he was holding onto the strap with his left hand.

"And you are?" Mrs. Mahaffey asked.

"Noah White. I'm new."

"Oh, that's right! I'm sorry; I forgot you were starting today. Well, go ahead and take a seat. You haven't missed much."

Noah walked to the only empty seat in the classroom, the one right next to Maddie. The students started to whisper, and Maddie wondered what their fascination was. It was just a new student. She went back to her doodling. Mrs. Mahaffey told the students to quiet down, and continued with the lecture.


Maddie looked up, annoyed, to find Noah leaning towards her.

"Do you have a pen I can borrow?"

Maddie reached into her bag and got out a pen. She handed it to Noah without saying a word.

"Thanks. I knew I was forgetting something this morning," Noah said with a laugh.

Maddie ignored him. She continued not paying attention until class was over. When the bell rang, she immediately began to pack her things.

"Here you go," said Noah, holding the pen out to her. "Thanks."

Maddie grabbed the pen from him and shoved it carelessly into her bag. Then she left to go to her next class. She didn't like dallying in the halls, even though she had ten minutes. She preferred to just get to all her classes quickly. But the little time that she did spend in the hall walked to her next class, she heard all the students' conversations abuzz with gossip about Noah. Maddie figured the other students must have been really bored with their lives if something like a new student was able to become the most exciting event of the day.

Maddie made it through the rest of the day. When class was over, she went to the art room. It was her usual routine. She hated the bus, and her mother couldn't pick her up until after work, so Maddie would spend her afternoon in one of the art classrooms for as long as the teacher, Mr. White, was around.

Maddie opened the door to the room and walked inside. There were easels set up from a previous class. Maddie dropped her backpack down on one of the stools and sat in one herself in front of one of the easels. She heard some sounds coming from the storage room, and a few seconds later Mr. White came out.

"Oh, hey," he said with a nod. "You need some supplies or something?"

Maddie shook her head. She had all she needed in her bag. She wanted to work on a charcoal drawing that day. She took her supplies out of the bag and got started. Mr. White continued with his own work. After a while, he left to do something. Maddie barely even noticed, she was so entranced in what she was doing.

"Have you seen Mr. White?"

Maddie jumped, knocking the tray off the easel and sending all her charcoal pencils flying. She stood, somewhat hidden behind her easel and looked over at the door. It was Matthew West. He was a senior, a year older than Maddie, and he was very popular. He was on the basketball team.

Maddie just stared, not providing an answer.

"Have you seen Mr. White?" Matt repeated. Still Maddie didn't respond. "Hello? Anybody in there?"

Matt took a few steps towards her. Maddie was glued to her spot.

"Can you at least answer me? Geez, you're so weird. Forget it." Matt turned around and started to leave. He was blocked by Noah, who had just come in through the door.

"Don't bother with her, Man," said Matt, brushing past Noah and leaving.

Noah looked confused. "Alright then." He shook his head. Then he noticed Maddie. "Hey, you're in my stats class right? I'm Noah."

Maddie abruptly bent down and began to pick up her dropped utensils.

"Oh, here, let me help you." Noah dropped his bag onto the floor and came over to where Maddie was. He knelt down on the floor and started gathering utensils himself. "Have you seen Mr. White? He told me he'd be around here."

Noah grabbed the tray and dropped all that he had picked up into it. Then he held it out to Maddie. Maddie dropped in what she had gathered as well, then took the tray from Noah. They both stood up, and Maddie reattached the tray to the easel.

"So Mr. White? Is he around?"

Maddie didn't have to answer, because at that moment Mr. White walked in through the door. "Hey, Noah. Just give me like five more minutes to finish inputting these grades and then we'll get out of here."

"Okay." Noah took a seat on one of the stools.

"How was your first day?" Mr. White asked.

"Fine. Not much happened."

"Mom's going to be mad if you don't have anything to report."

Noah just shrugged.

Mom? Maddie thought. Suddenly she realized that Noah's last name was also White. The two were apparently brothers.

"Alright, Maddie, are you good to go?" Mr. White asked a few minutes later.

Maddie began packing up her things as an answer. She rolled up what she had been working on and stuffed it into her bag with everything else. The three of them all left the room together, and Mr. White locked the door.

Maddie headed to the front entrance to wait for her mom. She hoped that Noah wouldn't be coming into the art room often. In her mind, it had been invaded twice that day. Usually she had the place to herself, except for Mr. White. But he didn't bother her. Maddie felt like it was her own space, and she didn't like the thought of other people coming into it.