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"Jessa, scoot your booty over," Nikki urged as we settled into the bright blue bleachers. I hoped we weren't going to be here for long because these seats were uncomfortable. Honestly I think my butt bruises every time we have one of these stupid assemblies.

My two roommates, Angie and Nikki, sat on either side of me, waiting patiently for other girls to settle down so the assembly could start. I watched as many girls of different sizes, shapes, and ethnicities streamed into the gym. There weren't very many of us; in fact there were probably around 300 girls in the entire school.

Every fall, we had a start-of-the-year assembly where teachers reminded us about rules, dress codes, and other things. It was really nothing special, just routine now that Angie, Nikki, and I were in our junior year.

"When exactly do we get to leave?" Nikki complained as she squirmed in her spot.

"I'm sure we can sneak out when they start talking about expectations and dress code," I replied calmly as I surveyed the crowd of girls.

"Hey, do you guys know when we have to start getting ready for that...thing?" Angie asked conspiratorially from my left.

I gave her an amused look because she made it sound like we were about to rob a bank or something. Sure what we were about to do was a little rule-breaking but nothing major—just your average breaking and entering.

"That doesn't start until the evening," I replied smoothly.

"So, Captain, I heard that we're getting a new coach for cross-country this year," Nikki said from beside me—flipping her dark red hair over her shoulder. Nikki naturally attracted attention because of her bright hair and tall figure. Not to mention she was a naturally obnoxious person.

"Well, anyone is better than Ms. Price, I mean she slept through every single one of our practices," I said rolling my eyes as I remembered our old cross-country coach. She was lazy, and even the old captain didn't really care that much about what we did. This year everything would definitely be different because I had been named the student captain of our cross-country team.

Nikki smirked, "I hope we get a really hot guy to coach us. You know, we could do with some testosterone around here."

I snorted in response. Nikki, as well as being loud, was also very flirtatious. It seemed like one of the biggest crimes ever that her divorced parents put her in Grace Worthington's School for Girls.

Someone tapped on the microphone in the middle of the gym and it shrieked loudly in response before going silent.

"Settle down, ladies, settle down," instructed Principal Mantle. She was a thin, stern (and old) lady who exuded a sort of dominating presence. I suspect that it's because of her crisp black suit and tight bun. I mean anyone in a suit can look intimidating.

All the girls of Grace Worthington affectionately call her Principal Mental.

"To all of our freshman and new students, welcome to Grace Worthington School for Girls, and welcome back to the upperclassmen. This year we have some new changes, so Dean Carter will talk to you about that before we talk about the rules and expectations here at Grace Worthington."

Principal Mental left the stage—her sensible black heels making a resounding clack.

Dean Carter took over the microphone. Our dean wasn't as scary as Principal Mental, but she was in charge of all student discipline so it wasn't wise to get on her bad side.

Then again, she doesn't exactly have a bad side—in fact, she's the complete opposite of Principal Mental.

"Hello ladies! This year we have some very exciting changes so listen up carefully," Dean Carter addressed. I'm pretty sure she was a cheerleader back in high school; she just has that sort of bubbly personality.

"As you know, Grace Worthington always supports a charity each year round and this year's charity is...the American Diabetes Association!" There was some lackluster applause at this.

"But that's not all," Dean Carter went on smiling in that sickeningly cheery way of hers, "Since we are in the same school district as Bennett Prepatory School for Boys they will be working with us to win a statewide competition to see which school can raise the most money for the charity of our choice."

Well. That was unexpected.

"What?" Nikki practically yelled from beside me.

There was an outbreak of whispers as people tried to grasp what Dean Carter was saying. I mean, were we actually supposed to work with Bennett Prep, the neighboring all-boys' school?

"And," Dean Carter said above the whispers, "the winning school district will get new computers for the school library!"

At this news, the girls of Grace Worthington erupted into high-pitched screams of delight. Our school's computers were terrible.

"What?" I yelled excitedly along with the rest of my classmates.

"We've definitely got to win, even if it means working with those jerks!" Nikki yelled excitedly. I silently agreed with her, as I kept my eyes trained on Dean Carter.

"Hey! Do I need to remind you that my brother is a Bennett boy?" Angie asked from beside me.

Nikki glanced at Angie—silently contemplating her words. Finally she raised an eyebrow and replied, "Once a Bennett boy, always a Bennett boy."

Angie just rolled her bright blue eyes in response.

It took a couple of minutes for Dean Carter to get everyone's attention again, "I understand that our school has a...long history with Bennett Prepatory, but..."

I snorted quite unattractively when she said history. It was a well-known fact that Grace Worthington and Bennett Prep were complete rivals. In fact, I don't even know how old our rivalry is.

Of course the rivalry itself is passed down like Grace Worthington secrets but over time you don't just accept it—you understand it.

When I was a freshman I witnessed what the rivalry was really like when I saw a burly Bennett boy trip an unsuspecting Grace girl. In retaliation, another Grace girl dumped her can of coca cola all over the boy's head.

"I expect each and every one of you girls to be respectful and accommodating to the men from Bennett Prepatory."

I doubt that they could be called men.

"I'd also like to note that we will be splitting fundraising activities for the American Diabetes Association. We will be organizing half of them while Bennett Prep organizes the other half."

"Oh," Dean Carter took over from Principal Mental, "since both schools will be working together, we've decided that we'll also be combining some of our school's extracurricular activities. For one, the school newspaper from both schools will be working on a single joint school paper that will report all the fundraising events..."

Around me I heard several girls make sounds of protest.

"We will also be coaching several sports together like swimming, soccer, and cross-country to encourage health and fitness. Those teams will also be expected to help out with the fundraisers as well."

Oh no.

She did not say cross-country. She did not say cross-country.

I looked to Nikki for confirmation but she was turning a sickly shade of white, and I knew it was true.


The first year I was named captain and I had to deal with those jerks?

Dean Carter had moved on to the topic of rules and expectations but I could tell that I wasn't the only one still thinking about Bennett Prepatory and the statewide competition.

"Let's leave," Nikki whispered. I immediately nodded, and told Angie who rolled her eyes.

"Guys! I thought we agreed that there would be no sneaking out this year," hissed Angie even as she followed us out of the bleachers. I didn't bother to correct her, since we were sneaking out.

One girl gave me a particularly dirty look when I accidentally stepped on her toe. Oops. Finally, we were out of the crowded gym and in the quad of Grace Worthington.

"Where do you want to go?" Nikki asked as we navigated our way through lunch tables and the fountain located in the middle.

I shot them a small smile, "Let's go grab some pizza from Vik's Pizzeria."

As soon as the waitress set down the piping hot pizza we immediately grabbed it and bit into it. Seriously, Vik's food is heaven on earth. I mean you can't find such perfection anywhere else in the world.

"Oh my god, I have missed this food so much," Nikki moaned

"They're so good. No pizza even compares to Vik's," Angie agreed solemnly. I nodded my head. Vik's Pizzeria was the bomb.

Too bad we would have to go back to eating at our school's cafeteria. I mean, the food there wasn't bad, but like I said before, nothing compared to Vik's food.

The school itself was my home away from home, and it wasn't like we couldn't come back into town. In fact, we did almost every weekend since it was a five-minute walk away from Grace Worthington.

"Oh," Nikki exclaimed, her brown eyes widening, while quickly wiping all traces of cheese and tomato sauce from her lips. She even attempted to tame her wavy red hair. "Cute guy, two o'clock."

Angie and I turned around to scope him out. He seemed cute from what I could see, (which wasn't much) since his back was facing us. The boy was tall with shaggy brown hair that curled around his ears, and a nice backside. Er...I meant nice back.

But all three of us sighed heavily when we spotted the familiar coyote mascot on his red letterman jacket.

"Nothing special," I said bitterly while turning back around, "Just another Bennett Boy."

Nikki made a face; "You know they would be attractive if they removed those sticks up their bu—"

"Hey, we're not going to get into another Bennett bashing conversation okay?" Angie interrupted—shooting a look at Nikki. "We are going to enjoy this pizza and talk about our summers—not about those coyotes."

Nikki rolled her eyes and mumbled something incoherently but, nonetheless, ate her pizza and started a conversation about summer.

I just listened and let my eyes wander around the restaurant. If I had to pick my favorite restaurant in Hutcherson Oaks, this would be it. The pizzeria always had a wonderful vibe to it; like an old grandparent's home.

The floors of the restaurant were checkered black and white while the booths were a bright cherry red. Old rock and roll classics played softly overhead which complemented the vinyl records that hung on the walls. There were a few black and white portraits that hung on wall next to the kitchen that showcased music legends like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and of course the King himself.

It was perfect, and the food was probably the best part of it. It was no wonder that so many kids from both schools ate here constantly. The food was quick and delicious and the owners, Vik and Estelle, doted on their customers—treating each person like their own child.

But even Vik and Estelle weren't strong enough to bridge the gap between the Bennett Prepatory Boys and the Grace Worthington Girls.

The boys' boarding school across town was not something that a lot of people at Grace Worthington talked about kindly. Bennett Prep was the equivalent to dirt on the bottom of your shoe.

Over time I had to deal with my share of Bennett Boys and I can confidently say without doubt that they're all selfish jerks. Selfish, rich jerks. They don't seem to know the meaning of the word polite, or about common courtesy.

But it's hard to stay away from them since they are across town (a very small town at that). So of course we had to deal with them on a daily basis.

Like now for instance; without turning around I could tell you that on the other side of the diner a group of Bennett boys were eating some food.

It had always been that way—we kept to our sides of town and to our sides of a public diner. You couldn't change it; it was the status quo.

"So, Jessa, what did you do over the summer?" Angie questioned, effectively interrupting my train of thought.

I made a face at her, "I didn't get into any trouble if that's what you're implying."

Angie rolled her crystal blue eyes at me, "I wasn't, but I'm glad to hear it either way."

I stuck my tongue out at her. From the day I met her, Angie seemed to take it as her own challenge to "tame me" as she so kindly put it. I'm not some kind of dog for Pete's sake.

Anyways, I've become better since my freshman year. In fact, last semester I didn't even get one detention.

"I went to my grandparent's house and spent a lot of time with my dad," I answered while playing with my straw. "It was...fine."

"How did you celebrate the anniversary?" Nikki asked bluntly.

"Nikki!" Angie scolded while glaring at Nikki.

I laughed at Angie's reaction but I honestly didn't mind Nikki's question. It was one of the things I loved about her actually: her frankness.

Sure, she was tactless, but at least she was honest.

"It's fine. After six years you learn to deal with it. But we just did the usual: went to see my mom's grave and came home to spend time with my grandparents..." I replied, tucking a stray brown curl behind my ear.


Boy, you could cut the tension with a knife. Luckily Estelle chose that moment to bustle over to our table.

"Hi there ladies," she greeted maternally while a subtle southern twang crept into her voice. "It's good to see you kids back in town. Did you have a good summer?"

"Yes," we chorused.

"I'm glad," Estelle smiled genuinely. "It looks like the boys from the other school are back too," Estelle commented as she handed our finished plates to a passing waiter. "But my waitresses are definitely not complaining."

A mischievous glint came to her eyes as she looked behind her and we saw a few boys chatting up the curvy waitress behind the counter.

I'm pretty sure that Estelle blatantly ignored our similar scowls and scoffs of disbelief. I mean, who in their right mind would want to date one of those arrogant Bennett boys?

"They're quite handsome aren't they? Of course they're a little too young for me," Estelle joked as she turned back to face us. "Alright, you girlies take care now. Come back soon!"

And with that she left to head into enemy territory. I mean the other side of the diner.

"You know what, I think we should start heading back to school. Plus we still have to get ready for that... thing," Angie noted while glancing out the window to the sun that was barely over the horizon. It was clear that she was trying to prevent another conversation about Bennett Prepatory between Nikki and me, but I complied.

We moved sluggishly out of the red booths. My stomach felt full and I was vaguely sleepy.

John Lennon's voice serenaded us as we made our way to the exit. I could feel the heated glares coming from the Bennett area of the diner but I refused to give them the satisfaction of even glaring back at them. Instead I just held my head higher, and walked with Angie and Nikki confidently towards the exit of the shop.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a rather burly male making his way towards us. He purposefully bumped shoulders with Angie and she accidentally stumbled into me.

Well. That was rude.

"Hey!" I narrowed my eyes at the self-righteous jerk. You mess with my friends; you mess with me.

It seemed that Nikki was already on the guy's case since she was yelling furiously at the smug bastard.

"Hey, you can't just go around bumping into people. Don't you know how to treat a girl?" Nikki hollered at the tall guy. She had the slight advantage of being taller than Angie and I, but the stranger still had a good five inches on Nikki.

The guys sneered, "Do I look like I care?"

"Why you—" Nikki glared daggers, while her hands curled into fists.

"Hey, hey, hey, it was just an accident. Let's go before we get in trouble," Angie said immediately. Angie gave me a pleading look, and I helped lead Nikki out of the pizzeria. Despite my hatred towards Bennett Prep, I didn't want to give Vik and Estelle a hard time. They were good people that didn't deserve a rowdy group of teenagers fighting in their restaurant.

I could still feel the harsh glowers from the Bennett boys that were aimed at my retreating back. Once we were outside the pizzeria Nikki released a frustrated sigh.

"I cannot believe the nerve of some of those guys. Are they even capable of being nice? I swear if it wasn't for my promise to you Angie, I would have punched one of those guys in the face a long time ago..." Nikki ranted off in anger.

"Let's just go, it's been a long day," I sighed, laying my arm around Nikki and Angie's shoulders. "Plus there's still that thing that we need to do tonight..."

The moonlight and several beams from flashlights led the way into enemy territory. But even with the amount of light around us I could still here Nikki cursing every few minutes as her feet collided with new roots and tree trunks.

"I was never that short," Nikki whispered to me, impatiently moving aside stray branches.

I snorted in amusement. That's because Nikki was never short. She was always this unnaturally tall girl, casting huge shadows even at a young age. Angie and I always joked around saying that she was like a walking fire truck since you could see her bright red hair from miles away.

"Yeah, and I don't think I was ever that scared," I replied, motioning towards the freshmen that walked in front of us. They honestly looked like they were about to wet themselves... We walked in the back while two other juniors walked led the way.

"Jessa, you were always fearless...almost to the point of stupidity..." Nikki commented, almost tripping over another stray tree root. Smooth Nikki.

I glanced at her, trying to decide whether she complimented me or insulted me.

"I think we're almost there."

That broke my train of thought and Nikki and I hurried to reach the end of the small forest.

But of course there was one more thing standing in our way. Blocking us was a very tall fence that bordered a wide-open field, which looked rather menacing in the moonlight.

"Start climbing," I announced to the freshman girls. The fence was now the only thing that obstructed our way to Bennett Prepatory School for Boys.

You would think that a school like Bennett Prep would have more security, but if you knew your way around the back it was relatively easy to break into.

While the others waited around and contemplated whether there was barbed wire at the top of the fence (there wasn't), I latched onto the fence and started climbing. I swung my legs over the very top and jumped down to the other side of the fence, and motioned for the other girls to follow.

Most of them looked at me like I was crazy, but one bark from Nikki and they all started climbing. (Some of them complaining about chipped nails. Honestly.)

Once all of ten of them were on the other side, Nikki, Angie, and the other juniors climbed the fence. We were only able to take ten freshman girls at a time due to security reasons. Otherwise there were just too many girls to look after—we would be too conspicuous.

You see, as a freshman coming into Grace Worthington School for Girls you had to be...initiated. It was just one of the things you had to do, like graduating.

It was essentially traditional hazing essentially, but hey, the juniors get a kick out of it, and its kind of fun to get your adrenaline pumping by being troublesome. Plus school had not officially started yet so you might as well create some mayhem while you still can.

It wasn't that far of a walk until we got to the quad of Bennett Prep. Luckily, we didn't have to use our flashlights anymore because of the minimal lights in the hallways and around the quad.

Nothing much had changed since I had come here as a freshman for my own initiation.

I still remember certain parts of the quad like the statue of Sir Harvey Bennett who was the founder of Bennett Prepatory. Also, there was still the same square of tiles encrusted into the middle of the quad in the shape Bennett Prep's mascot.

Before we got to one end of the quad the juniors split up so that two would go to the other side of the quad. After a couple of minutes we were all in our designated areas.

"Alright," Nikki said, clapping her hands, and making everyone wince in the eerie silence.

"Now here comes the fun part," Nikki said, her brown eyes sparkling in the moonlight. I'm pretty sure a small, sadistic part of her was enjoying this a little bit. "You girls have to...streak...across the quad."

I heard mixed reactions within the group of freshman. A few gasped, some groaned, and more than half replied with, "You're kidding."

"Nope!" Nikki smirked, "Let's get going now. We don't have all night."

I watched as most exchanged uncomfortable glances with their friends. A few looked back at us juniors to see if we were really serious. I didn't feel that bad since the same thing happened to me when I was a freshman. We were just passing on traditions.

And then I saw the girl I was waiting for...

She slowly pulled her sweatshirt over her head and removed her shoes—all the while staring straight ahead at the empty quad. Then she swiftly pulled her shirt off and unzipped her pants. Finally she unhooked her bra and started on her panties. When they dropped to the ground she started sprinting—not looking back.

Soon enough the girl that was standing next to her started pulling her own shirt over her head, and other freshman followed her example.

After the first girl started to run across the quad Nikki and I turned around to stare at the statue of Nicholas Bennett—giving the freshman their privacy.

"You know, it's sort of like he's staring right at us," Nikki commented, squirming uncomfortably. I just ignored her.

Pretty soon the rest of the freshman were all running like their life depended on it, before disappearing into the shadows on the other side. The two other juniors would all meet them there.

Finally the last stragglers ran the length of the quad and joined up with their other classmates.

Nikki and I walked across the quad calmly to meet them all there before heading back to Grace Worthington.

"You know, for some reason I thought that this would be more exciting," Nikki said wistfully, as we passed the tile mural of the howling coyote.

"Yeah," I agreed as we followed the juniors and freshman back home. "It was a little disappointing wasn't it?"

But Nikki wasn't listening to me. Instead she was wandering towards a white gate.

"Nikki!" I hissed, only slightly annoyed. We couldn't split up in this dark in case someone spotted us, "What are you doing?"

Nikki turned to me her smile suddenly wicked and mischievous. I had learned early on that nothing good ever came from that smile.

"It's a pool," Nikki replied pointing to what lay beyond the white gates.


"So..." Nikki turned to me—her smirk widening, "I dare you to go take a dip in the Bennett pool."

I sucked in a breath. Gosh, how I hated dares.

No, I actually didn't hate dares—I loved them, but Nikki knew that I never turned down one. Maybe it's my own pride or the fact that I hate being called a chicken, but either way, I hated them because I could never turn one down.

What can I say? I'm an adrenaline junkie.

"Hey!" Angie jogged up to us, the hood of her black jacket covering up her curly blond hair, "What are you guys doing? You're holding everyone up."

Not taking my eyes off of Nikki's brown ones I replied, "Tell them they can go up ahead. I have a dare to do."

Angie groaned, "Guys, I thought you promised that you would not get into any more trouble!"

I glanced at Angie and smiled deviously, "Who said we were going to get in trouble?"

I heard her huff, as I scaled the gate easily. I heard it creak ominously as I swung my foot over the top and jumped down.

Despite already knowing that no one was there, I took a cautionary glance around the area of the deck. There wasn't any one in sight.

The pool was bright and mesmerizing as I made my way closer to it while quickly stripping down to my T-shirt and underwear. It seemed to beckon me closer—calling me from its very depths.

In a quick movement I closed my eyes, pinched my nose, and jumped from the edge of the pool. Goosebumps popped along my entire body as the cold water washed over me.

When I broke through the surface of the water again, I gave a thumbs up to Nikki who laughed out loud and Angie who was shaking her head.

I knew she wasn't too mad since I could see her smiling like, "My friends are such idiots."

I was smirking triumphantly as I climbed out of the pool—shivering and shaking but still very much happy.

The worst part was not getting dry properly, so I took my sweet time on putting back my jacket and shorts on again. I even started squeezing the water out of my brown hair when a sudden voice stopped my very heart.

"Hey! What are you doing?"

Uh oh...

"Run!" I whisper-yelled to my friends as I hurriedly grabbed my shoes and threw them over the gate, which I quickly climbed over. I didn't even bother to look back at the guy who had spotted me by the pool. But I heard him.

"Hey! Stop! Come back here!"

Yeah, right. Why would I do something as stupid as that? I don't need to be arrested before the school year even starts thank you very much.

Luckily both Angie and Nikki actually listened to me, and started to run. I quickly climbed over the fence, shoved my feet into my shoes and started running after them. I could hear pounding footsteps as the man tried to follow us, but I think we got a pretty good head start.

I eventually caught up with the two of them, and we navigated through the halls of Bennett Prepatory.

"Turn!" I yelled as we got to a corner, and in front of me I could see a wide-open field and the back fence that we used to get into Bennett Prepatory.

My lungs burned, but being part of cross-country I learned to deal with it and instead pumped my arms even faster.

"Angie! C'mon!" I encouraged, noticing my bookworm friend lagging behind. She was opposed to most physical activity besides dancing and I noticed that she looked very out of breath. "Just a bit farther!"

Finally we reached the fence and started climbing quickly. Taking a peek over my shoulder I noticed the guy that was following us was holding a flashlight at us, and was shining it at us. He looked like some sort of security guard from his uniform, but I wasn't bothered enough to actually check if he had a badge and everything. I was more preoccupied with getting away.

I swung my leg over the fence and was about to jump down when I noticed I was stuck.

Oh crap.

"No, no, no!" I mumbled frantically as I tugged my shorts from the fence. Some luck I had.

"What are you doing? Hurry up!" Nikki practically yelled at me. It wasn't time to make sarcastic comments but I couldn't help myself.

"Oh, you know I thought I would just hang out here until that guy arrested me..." I snapped, still tugging fruitlessly at my shorts. "I'm stuck Nikki!"

Oh man, oh man, if the security guy caught me I was going to be screwed. Completely and utterly screwed.

"Guys just go on without me otherwise you'll get caught too," I finally bellowed down at Nikki. I could see her scowling and about to say something heroic like "We'll stick together!" or "All for one and one for all!"

But I'd rather not get them into trouble when I was the one holding them up.

"Just go! I'll meet you at the Laundromat if I don't get caught," I replied. I shot Angie a pleading look—still trying to jerk myself free—and she understood, and pulled Nikki away from the fence.

I exhaled—glad that they got away, when I noticed the huge security guy coming even closer.

With a great big jerk of my shorts I heard them tear, along with a searing pain in my thigh, but I was free to swing my leg over the fence and jump down—sprinting into the shadows.

Thank god.

I was safe.

I slowed down once I made sure I was fully immersed within the small forest—catching my breath. I carefully inspected my shorts and noticed that the ripped jean part was hanging by a thread and underneath it was a long cut across my thigh where the fence slit into me also.

"Great," I muttered under my breath, while tearing the hanging jean part off—wincing when I saw the bloodstain.

I fished out my phone that was in my pocket—trying to use the light emitting from it to be my makeshift flashlight. I was so deep within the forest that I couldn't see much more than trees and the dim moonlight creeping through the foliage.

Then I found out that they had an app for it. I smirked as I quickly downloaded the 'flashlight app' and used it to navigate my way back onto the main road so I could go to the Laundromat.

The forest itself was very small, and could hardly be called a forest because of its miniscule size, but it bordered the perimeter of Bennett Prepatory except for the front, so if you went the right way you could eventually get to the front of the school—therefore getting to the main road.

The walk was sort of long and somewhat lonely as I kept to the shadows of the forest. In fact, my nerves were so high strung that I was half-expecting some axe wielding murderer to kidnap me. But at the same time I could feel adrenaline pumping through me from our close escape. I felt exhilarated and I couldn't keep the wide grin off my face.

Silly right? But it was the kind of thing that seemed possible in the moonlight. Not to mention I was still in enemy territory.

I kept myself busy by texting Nikki and Angie; telling them that I was all right and on my way when I finally made it to the main road.

The road itself was quiet and empty and the street lights helped guide me towards the Laundromat, which was cast in an orange glow. It looked like it was the only shop open besides the 24-hour grocery store next door. When I got to the store I let out a relieved sigh as I opened the door and stepped in.

Almost immediately I crashed into something hard.


And that's when I realized that the hard wall was actually sort of fleshy. Stepping back, I noticed that the person I had bumped into was wearing a simple white v-neck shirt and jeans.

My eyes traveled higher to see a strong jaw line, and soft lips. His nose was slightly crooked and a pair of beautiful brown eyes regarded me intensely. His dark brown hair fell into his eyes messily. He looked like he was around my age.

In Nikki's words: Day-um.

"Are you all right?" he asked while I practically swooned. Even his voice was a sexy, deep sort of rumble. I almost blushed at his words but I caught myself in time before I acted completely foolish.

Meanwhile he was giving me a thorough once over—his brown eyes lingering on my bare legs, torn shorts, and slightly damp hair (luckily the warm summer night had erased most of the evidence of my dip in the pool). And then his eyes met mine, and I instinctively straightened under his heavy gaze.

"Yeah, sorry about that," I replied stepping away from him. I examined the stranger once more, when I suddenly remembered the time.

I mean someone had to be awfully suspicious if they were hanging around a Laundromat at 1:30 in the morning. Seriously, who does laundry at this hour?

It was all very strange if you ask me.

For all I know he could be the axe wielding murderer I was talking about earlier except he uses his good looks and charm to kidnap poor defenseless girls.

Oh god...I was going to be his next victim.

"What are you doing here?" I blurted out, vaguely wondering if I could outrun this guy if I had too. I also gripped my phone tighter...just in case.

The murderer looked amused, if anything, "I could ask you the same thing. Who goes to the Laundromat without any laundry?"

I blushed and actually told him the truth, "I'm meeting some friends here..."

"Ah, I see," he replied, smiling now. God, it should be a crime for someone to look that cute. "Are you guys going to have a laundry party?"

"Oh yeah, it's going to great. You know: soap, dirty clothes, softener, washing machines... It's going to be the party of the century," I replied sarcastically.

The guy actually chuckled, "Too bad I couldn't be there."

I gave a wry smile before saying truthfully, "It might be better this way. For all I know you could be a murderer."

I vaguely wondered if being honest would help me if this mysterious guy really was a murderer, but I didn't really get a creepy vibe from him. As weird as it sounds I wasn't all that afraid of the guy.

The guy just looked amused, "I could be... You never know..."

He gave me a sexy little smirk before stepping around me, and gave me a two-fingered salute as he walked away from me. I was still standing at the entrance as I watched him walk towards the street and disappear around the corner.

It was then that I realized that I had actually never spoken to a boy my age so cordially before in Hutcherson Oaks. It was probably because all the boys around this town were from Bennett Prepatory.

...Oh no.

No. No. No. It couldn't be.

That just wasn't possible; no Bennett boy could be so nice. No Bennett boy would flirt with a Grace girl. No Bennett boy could be so handsome. There was no possible way that he could belong to the enemy.

I racked my brain trying to remember if I saw any kind of Bennett Prepatory mascot, insignia, or even color on the mysterious Laundromat boy, but I couldn't find any.

This itself was a hint because all most all boys from Bennett Prep proudly wore their school on themselves in some way, shape, or form. Grace Girls were similar in this way too; in fact I was wearing my old Grace Worthington cross-country shirt underneath my hoodie.

No. He must have been from the public high school. The public high school was located on the edge of Hutcherson Oaks in between the next town over. However, the Laundromat was definitely out of the way for anyone that lived near the public school.

Then again, why would anyone be at the Laundromat at this absurd time?

Before I could further analyze the mysterious Laundromat boy, Nikki and Angie came out of the Laundromat.

"There you are!" Nikki cried—bringing my gaze to hers. "I was starting to think that you were kidnapped or something."

I chuckled weakly, "No, I was here...I just ran into someone..."

"Oh, really? Who was it?"

I glanced back at the corner as if Laundromat Boy would show up miraculously. But I didn't see anything.

"Nobody," I replied, turning around fully to Angie and Nikki and smiling, "It was no one."

A/N: Wow I cannot believe that I've finally published this. I've wanted to do this for quite a while and now I'm both excited and terrified. I've only written stories on FanFiction and I don't have the comfort of familiarity anymore. It's like starting all over again and I'm very nervous about that. Anyways, I hope you liked the chapter! Any guesses as to who the mysterious Laundromat Boy is?

Review Challenge: What's your favorite color? Favorite food? Favorite ice cream flavor?

Thanks for reading and please drop a review if you get the chance! I'll update in about a week or so,