Chapter 3

Mary Jane Faass was a kind woman in her mid-twenties with a passion for history. She had short and unruly red hair with thick-framed glasses that covered up her large hazel eyes. Although Mary Jane was a sweet woman with an outstanding aptitude to teach, none of her colleagues or students took her seriously. Since she had a genuine personality, no one gave her troubles – but no one paid her too much attention either.

"Good morning, class!" Mary Jane yelled over her students' loud chatter, but no one heard her. "Um, I hope you had a great weekend break, but um –" She stopped talking when she noticed that no one was listening to her and continued shifting uncomfortably in her position at the front of the classroom.

Suddenly, there was a loud thump from the back of the classroom and everyone fell silent. Directing their attention to the source of the loud sound, they saw an unfamiliar face.

Arden's hand rested on her history textbook, which she dropped onto her desk in order to get their attention. For a few moments, the entire classroom was silent and everyone was still, as they waited for Arden's next move.

"You're in a classroom," Arden boldly scolded her new classmates. "Sit down, quiet down, and open up your notebooks. Do what you would do in any other class. Don't take advantage of her just because she's too nice to say anything." Her green eyes surveyed the guilty looks in the classroom, as everyone silently stared at their shoes in shame.

Everyone exchanged looks of guilt and understanding with one another, knowing their wrongdoings. If the school lost Mary Jane Faass, it would have been their faults. They decided to listen to the new student and obediently stop taking advantage of the nicest teacher on campus. Most students looked back at Arden with looks of fear, but most regarded at her with respect. No matter where she went, Arden carried her charismatic leadership along with her.

"Oh, you must be the new student!" The young teacher said, breaking the previous silence that Arden demanded from the students. She looked at the roster in her hands and read, "Arden West, right?"

"Yes, 'mam," Arden nodded. Mary Jane beamed at the sound of someone calling her 'mam'. No one has ever showed her so much respect, especially one of her students.

The young history teacher gave Arden a grateful smile and said, "Welcome to Lily League, Miss West. I hope we will have a great semester."

"Likewise," Arden smiled politely before opening up her notebook, ready for lecture. The history teacher continued to stand awkwardly at the front of the classroom, as her students looked at her expectantly.

"Ms. F.?" A student next to Arden called out in a low voice.

"Yes, Mr. Jensen?" She answered, gesturing to the tall jock in the last row.

"Are you gonna start class now?"

"What? Oh, right!" She said excitedly, as she walked to the board and grabbed a new piece of white chalk. "Today, we will be discussing The Great Depression."

Tyson was walking to his locker when Juliana "accidently" ran into him. "Oh my god, Tyson? Funny running into you here! Isn't this totally like fate?" She squealed, which annoyed him even more. He rolled his eyes and started to walk away, until she hastily grabbed his arm. "How about I let you walk me to class?" She offered him.

"As tempting as that sounds," he said sarcastically. "I'm gonna have to pass."

"But, why?" She whined, stepping in front of him to stop him from leaving. "A million guys are lining up to walk me to class, and I'm being nice by letting you!"

He looked at her with disbelief and said, "Then why don't you go bother them instead?" Then he walked away and left her alone to watch his retrieving form leave the hallway.

Oh, I see how it is, Juliana thought to herself. Playing hard to get, huh? Just you wait, Tyson. I will make you mine soon…

Colin sat in his Computer Programing 101 class and listened to his teacher lecture for an hour about concepts he already knew. When the dismissal bell rang, he hastily grabbed his belongings and bolted out the door to his fourth period class. He walked into American Literature and found that it was full of seniors. Hesitantly, he checked his schedule again and verified that he was in the right class.

"Ah, you must be the new student," Mr. Cobb, his literature teacher said, looking at his roster. "Colin Hill, correct?"

"Yes, sir." Colin nodded, taking an open seat in the front of the classroom.

Scott Mac and his football posse snickered at the new kid, and decided that he was their new prey. Their previous game transferred out of Lily League due to their constant bullying, so they were on the look out for a new target – which was now Colin.

Scott Mac was easily the most popular senior boy in Lily League thanks to his good looks and his charismatic charm. Another than being Juliana's older brother, Scott was also captain of the football team, the wrestling team's co-captain along with his best friend Brandon, and homecoming king for four consecutive years.

When Mr. Cobb walked out of the classroom for an emergency phone call, Scott's best friend, Brandon Wyatt called across the room. "Hey, new kid!"

Considering that he was the only sophomore in a room full of seniors, Colin turned around in their direction and acknowledged them with a raised brow. His lack of vocal acknowledgment influenced Scott to ask him, "What? Can't talk, kid?"

"Were you addressing to me?" Colin asked him.

"Yeah, I was." He nodded. "You new?"

"I thought Mr. Cobb already established that when I walked in, but if you must know – Yes, I am new to the school."

"You got a real attitude, don't ya, kid?" Brandon snarled. "Why don't we teach you a quick lesson?"

Colin scoffed and said nonchalantly, "If it's a grammar lesson, then no thank you." The entire classroom went silent, since no one was brave – or stupid – enough to stand up to Scott Mac and his friends.

"Why'd you say, kid?!" Brandon stood up, but his best friend stopped him when he spotted Mr. Cobb walking back into the classroom.

"Chill, bro." Scott warned him.

"What?" He asked disbelievingly. "We're just gonna let this little sophomore get away with smack talking us?!"

"Hell no, but listen – we'll get him after class, all right?" He assured his friend. "You almost got suspended again last week. Your dad said one more suspension and you'll get kicked out of the house and the team for good, remember?"

Brandon took a deep breath and sat down in his seat. "Right."

"Just wait 'til class is over. We'll give him a really warm welcoming to the school," he said, as his friends grinned and cracked their knuckles. "Let him know who's in charge around here."

"HEY SOPHOMORE!" Brandon called out to Colin, as students filed out of the classroom. Colin turned around wordlessly and had to look up to see the upperclassman's intimidating face. "You know that there's a paper due on Thursday, right? You're gonna write it for me."

"You have two hands and what seems to resemble a brain," Colin replied nonchalantly. "I don't see how you can't write it yourself."

The upperclassmen grew angrier at the underclassman's rebellious attitude – no one dared to talk to them the way he did. Brandon and his friends cornered Colin into a less crowded area in order to attract less attention.

"Listen, sophomore," Brandon said to him. "I told you to write my paper, and you're gonna do it."

"And who's going to make me?" Colin asked, challenging them. Scott and his three friends made a wall the shorter sophomore, blocking him from any witnesses in the hallway.

Brandon stepped forward and punched Colin in the gut. "I am," he snarled. Colin doubled over, grabbing his stomach and struggling to take in some air.

"This is our school, sophomore," Scott said, looking down on him. "You need to learn your place."

"Next time you decide to talk back to your upperclassmen," one of the boys said, kicking Colin twice. "Don't."

Suddenly, the fourth period bell rang, signaling Scott and his friends to leave. Before they casually walked away, Brandon towered over his victim and said to him, "I want an A on that paper, nerd." Laughing, he walked away from Colin and joined his friends.

Colin debated on whether or not to tell Arden and Tyson about the incident, but decided against it. As much as he trusted them with his life, he knew that he needed to grow up and learn how to deal with bullies on his own. Even though he wasn't the best fighter, he knew how to defend himself. Under Xander and his partners' guidance, his fighting skills have improved rapidly over the years. Only problem was that he wasn't allowed to fight back if he wanted to keep a low-key profile until the mission is complete.

After lunch, Arden and Tyson stood on opposite sides of the gym as they listened to Coach Tim Brown introduce them to the class. Tyson was exceptionally popular with the girls in their class and Arden was having no trouble getting attention from the boys either. After the class finally settled down from their hype, Coach Brown explained the rules of their regular dodge ball game.

"Girls versus boys," the coach said so loudly that his voice echoed throughout the fairly large gymnasium. "Ten players from each team will play at a time, so we can have two games today. Once you're hit, you're out – no questions asked. Last team to have a player standing wins. I want a clean game, no aggressive physical contact with any of the other players. If anyone violates any of these rules, you're running laps all period for the rest of the semester, got it?"

"Got it, coach!" Everyone agreed in unison.

He looked around the gymnasium and noticed a student missing. "Where's Scott Mac?"

"He's in the nurse's office, sir." One of Scott's teammates lied, covering for him. "He wasn't feeling good this morning."

"I don't believe that load of crap," the coach said, shaking his head. "He's ditching class again, isn't he? Next time you see him, tell him that if he fails gym he'll be kicked off the team."

"Yes, sir."

"All right, now let's play some dodge ball!" He blew his whistle, signaling the start of the game.

It was a few minutes into the game and the girls were down to only three players, while the boys still had five. Arden, who seemed to have quickly earned the respect of her classmates and coach, grabbed a red dodge ball from the floor and threw it at the player to Tyson's left side when he wasn't paying enough attention to the game.

"Shane – out!" The coach shouted, blowing his whistle. Arden and Tyson were so fast and strong that Coach Brown was completely sucked into the game. "Lorraine – out!" He shouted, signaling one of Arden's teammates to sit on the bleachers with the rest of her teammates.

As the girls were cheering for their teammates from the bleachers, Tyson took an open opportunity to throw a dodge ball at the last girl – beside Arden – remaining on the court, leaving Arden alone versus Tyson and his three teammates. "Go, Arden!" The girls shouted from the bleachers, as she grabbed two dodge balls and took out two boys at once. She smirked as Coach Brown blew his whistle loudly and shouted, "Blake and Joseph – out!"

She bent down to grab another dodge ball, while Tyson took the opportunity to aim towards her. As the ball was heading towards her, Arden easily dodged it while aiming at Tyson's last remaining teammate.

"Peter – you're out!" The coach shouted with another blow to his whistle.

Tyson and Arden were the only two left on the court, and the entire gymnasium fell silent as the two friends threw and eluded dodge balls thrown at each other. The game was so intense that not one person dared to make a noise, scared that their team would lose if they did. With only forty seconds left on the clock, Coach Brown was sure that the game was going to be a tied match.

At the last couple seconds of the game, Arden dodged a ball that Tyson threw then threw the ball that she was aiming at him. He easily dodged it and threw another ball at her. When she was distracted with dodging the previous ball he threw, he took the chance to throw a low ball at her leg – earning his team the winning title.

"Ugh, not fair!" One of the girls shouted.

"Yeah, that's cheating!" Another girl agreed.

"Coach, isn't that a foul?" One of the boys, who was cheering for Arden, asked.

Traitor, Tyson thought, glaring at his so-called teammate. Whose side are you on?

Coach Brown let out a breath that he didn't realize he was holding and shook his head. "That was a fair move," he announced. "Boys team wins!"

The boys cheered alongside with Tyson, as the girls ran over to hug Arden and openly welcome her to the school.

"That was seriously the most intense game of dodge ball I've ever played!" One of the boys, whose name was Shane, said to Tyson. "What's your name again, dude?"

"Tyson," he reintroduced himself.

"Well, welcome to Lily League, man!" Another boy, who went by Joseph, said and gave him a high-five. "You two have some sick skills!"

"Hey, is your friend dating anyone right now?" Shane nudged him, directing his attention towards Arden.

"Don't think so," he shrugged.

"Are you shitting me, man?!" Shane shouted. "She's freakin' hot and she destroys in dodge ball. That's my type of woman right there."

"Don't even think about it, man."

"Oh, I see." Joseph said, wiggling his eyebrows at his new friend. "So she is taken."

"What? No, we're not like that." Tyson explained to them.

"Sure, bro!" His friend said sarcastically.

Tyson looked over at Arden and saw that she was smiling with her new friends. He smiled at the scene and thought about all of the other times he's ever seen her smile like that. It was the smile that kept him sane – the smile that he fought to protect.

Hello Seashells, I've missed you all so much! I'm having such an awful writer's block recently, but hopefully I'll get over it soon because I am currently working on a sequel to For The Fans! Please stay tuned for my new stories and upcoming chapters to this story.

Also, special thanks to myheart4you and Amazing Cat12 for reviewing last chapter. You guys are amazing, and inspire me to keep on writing! :)

Stay inspired, my little Seashells! XOXO, Chelly