Excerpt 1

As I entered the outer office of Advance Power Solutions' President and CEO I started getting nervous. I wanted this job so bad I could taste it. This job, if I got it, would set me on a career path that I could only dream about a couple of days ago. After telling Miss Weatherby who I was, I looked at my watch. I was seven minutes early. I sat down and took Abby's note out of the inside breast pocket of my coat. The note that was once a source of shame had turned into a source of peace and inspiration.

Memories of that awful day came back in a flash. That day we all realized how horrible and selfish we were. We never thought about anyone's situation except our own. We only thought about what we wanted. That day my group of friends became closer than we have ever been. They already knew my stupid reason for torturing a girl who had done nothing to us. Cassandra and I had been the ringleaders. I was only thinking about a trip to Florida and Cassandra had been envious of her looks. We were all surprised at her confession. Cassandra was the most beautiful girl in school. Why would she be envious of Abby?

"Abby has natural beauty," Cassandra said. "I have to make sure my hair and makeup are just right. I have to work hard to keep my body the way it is. Abby just has to brush her hair and wash her face and she looks pretty."

Kaden and Jeff pretty much said they were just following us.

In that room, at that moment we made a pact. We promised each other that no matter who they were, no matter what they do or don't do, we would never pick on anyone again. Instead of ignoring new classmates at school we welcome them. The whole tenor of the school changed after a few months. Kids were following our example. There were no longer any clicks. Everyone was friends with everyone else.

"Ms. Alan, Mr. Latrell is here." Miss Weatherby's voice broke through my memories.

"Thank you Emily."

I looked at my watch. It was exactly 2:30. I was still nervous, but now I was grounded by the note in my hand and the memories that came with it. A minute later the office door opened and a blond girl came out and headed for the door. I looked up and saw Abigail Alan in the doorway. I had never seen a more beautiful woman in my entire life. Her dark hair was pulled back onto a bun, showing off the face of an angel. Her hazel eyes were the most striking mix of brown and green I had ever seen. I swallowed as I folded the note, put it back in my pocket and stood up.