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I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy: Characters Here is what the characters look like, but do not conjure up your own ideas of these celebrities, use the pictures I provided! lol. By the way, some of the characters I have given pictures for might not have appeared in the story yet but they will. And I'll update this as new characters join the story so check for new characters! =] Laurel Brookes - Leighton Meester Links: %20waldorf/GRLYGRLMZ/blair_waldorf1.jpg %20smiling/mellsaily/blairhead.jpg Adam Taylor - Alex Pettyfer Links: KKX3FU/s320/alex_pettyfer_1175095842.jpg %20pettyfer..%20%3C3 maybe without the spot... Leanne Chou - Brenda Song Links: enda_song_1835238.jpg Marshall Groves - Michael Cera Link: 9541.jpg

The Cheerleaders Nikki Richards - Tiffany Thorton Links: %20a%20chance/season%2001/promoshoot/tiffany-thornton-0019.jpg Natasha Kyle - Shenae Grimes Links: s/shenae_grimes.jpg pg btw, some of you may have noticed that i changed the actors for natasha and natalie but i just felt that shenae grimes suits natasha's personality 2

better, so yh! =D Natalie Fulham - Jennifer Freeman Links: got_served/jennifer_freeman/served.jpg

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 1)
I remember the last day I saw Adam Taylor, it also happened to coincide with the day I broke his heart. Back when we were the two geeky loner kids in Park Hill High. It all started when I dumped my books in my locker and cringed away from my reflection in the mirror. "It really is a crime to have so many mirrors all over the school, I mean in our lockers? Really?" I asked Adam; someone I wish I could call my best friend. "I think they're just so that you can always see how beautiful you look all the time," he replied with a smile. I smiled sheepishly back at him. See, if we were able to converse properly without him always commenting on what's not there; for example, my supposed 'beauty'; then maybe I would meet up with him outside school and I could be like every other teenager in the world and actually have a best friend. "So what are you doing for lunch?" he asked. "Canteen," I replied because it was a given. I mean when did Adam and I ever do anything different for lunch? "What about dinner?" he asked.

"Well I think there's some Chinese left in the fridge," I answered oddly, why did he want to know my dinner plans? Unless... Oh shit... Please don't ask me out again, please don't ask me out again, please don't ask me out again. I don't even understand why he 'likes' me. I mean I have really frizzy hair, and not Taylor-Swift-fabulous either. Not to mention my glasses, I might as well hold up magnifying glasses they're so thick, I also have the entire Ugly Betty works with my braces. And I never did think I was fat but at the beginning of the year I was washing my hands in the girls toilets and two cheerleaders from my year came in. One of them said "OMG, I'm so fat!" I casually rolled my eyes in their direction, excited thinking I was going to see the first fat cheerleader, like, ever. But of course the girl was nothing but skin and bones. The other then replied, "At least you don't look like, Laura or something." They both sniggered and walked out of the toilets. I usually would have hissed, "it's Laurel," and "I'm not fat, you guys are just anorexic bitches," but not that I like to admit it, I was kind of on the verge of tears. Adam looked at me expectantly and I shuffled my memory back to what he said. Oh right: "Well in that case, whaddya say you come over and we could watch a movie or something?" Damn it. I looked down at my feet. "Er," I murmured, again sheepishly. That seemed to be the way I acted around Adam a lot, awkwardly. "Or, I have the new Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic game on Xbox if you want to play that with me?" he asked with a huge smile on his face. Oh God, I was going to have to reject him again. I felt really bad about it every time I did it, but he had to understand, I just wanted to be friends. And he was my only friend; it really did put a strain on our friendship every time he asked me out. And not to mention the fact that I had used every excuse in the book, I mean really, the only thing left was for me to tell him that I had some socks that needed washing and I couldn't tell him that, he might have been a little annoying but he was my friend. He had been my friend ever since kindergarten and it wasn't until 7th grade when he started getting really weird and supposedly in love with me. Before that we used to be the best of friends but not so much anymore because two years later in our freshman year he was still a bit of a freak. "Well, actually, I asked my mom yesterday," I looked into his hurt face 4

making things up as I went along. "If I could date, and she totally forbade it so I'm really sorry but I can't." "Your mom's still on that business trip," he replied, his voice devoid of emotion. Damn it, forgot about that. "Oh, yeah, um, that, must have been, um, last week, no actually, the phone, there! We were talking on the phone," I answered, triumphant with a smile; but he looked as if he was on the verge of tears. God, I'm a bitch. "For God's sake Laurel, if you don't like me why don't you just say it? I mean I thought that maybe all those things really did crop up, your mom's birthday, you had too much homework, you needed to study, your cat's death anniversary, your hamster birthdays, all plausible things, but now I get it, you don't like me, but why don't you just say it?" Because it will hurt you? Because it's mean? "Why don't you just tell me that you find me so utterly repulsive that you can't even go on one lousy date with me? Why do you have to be such a bitch and lead me on all the time?" "Hey I do not lead you on!" I shouted loud enough for other people in the corridor to hear. "As if she could lead anyone on," scoffed some girl as the crowd around her chuckled. "Look, I'm really sorry, I just didn't want to hurt your feelings," I said trying to apologise. "Well it's a little too late for that," he said and ran off. I ran after him. "Wait," I called out. Adam is the skinniest and puniest guy I know but as I turned a corner he seemed to have disappeared completely. And that was the last time I ever saw Adam Taylor. Or so I thought. *** I got to Los Angeles yesterday and all I could smell was the stupid salty scent 5

of the sea. My mother has made me move schools in 11th grade. My life is like a really bad teen novel. I finally got my braces out over the summer, begged my mother for contacts, started using conditioner, serum and heat protection spray, obtained a new wardrobe and managed to rid myself of those 5 pounds that just wouldn't budge over the summer and I was finally ready to go to grade 11 and make some actual friends and if I was being really ambitious maybe even a boyfriend, but most importantly just to put an end to my general loner-ism. But of course that could no longer happen because I was no longer in dreary old Seattle, I was in stupid old sunny Huntington Beach in Los Angeles where I knew no one. Not that I knew anyone in Washington, well, I knew people, like their names but I didn't know know them, like, well you know what I mean. So now my life has been ruined and I am halfway across the country in a state where people barely wear any clothes. Well I am living in a beach house but still, they are wearing barely any clothes around here. Not to mention the fact that I have to go to school today. I looked at myself in the mirror. I no longer cringe exactly but I might as well since I am certain to look pale and pasty next to all the overly tanned people in this place. I looked around the numerous cardboard boxes in my room for my curling irons but of course this being my first day I couldn't find them and I was faced with the daunting task of facing my new classmates with flat brown hair. I put on a little eye make-up and wore some summery white short shorts that I wasn't expecting to wear until late summer in Washington and a tank top with some sandals. I grabbed my tote bag and set out for what was sure to be a horrible day. I got to school and found that my clothes fit in fine, thank God for that. Now the part of seeing if I actually fit in with my peers. I found homeroom with ease and surprisingly sat down in a seat in the back without tripping over something or exploding my pen all over some popular girls blouse. "Hey, are you new?" a small brunette girl on the desk next to mine asked.

"Well, have you seen me around before?" I asked. She chuckled - thank God for that, anything I said at Park Hill was ignored. "I'm Natasha Kyle, but you can call me Tash," she introduced with a smile. "I'm Laurel Brookes," I said returning her smile. A group of jocks strolled into the classroom and the guy who seemed to be the ringleader stuck out to me. He was tall and had broad shoulders with messy dark blonde hair and dark brown eyes. I squinted my eyes to get a better look at him, he looked familiar to me but that's impossible since the only person I was ever familiar with was Adam and there is no way Adam Taylor could have grown up to look like that. "Who are you looking at?" Natasha asked. I pointed at the blonde guy. He seemed to recognise me and started to stare at me with a perplexed expression. "OMG!" She exclaimed with enthusiasm. "Do you know Adam Taylor? Because my friend Nikki, is totally in love with him and-" What? That's Adam? No way. That guy is gorgeous and Adam was, well, not. But then the guy narrowed his eyes and looked disgusted by me as he sat down. I nervously gulped and nodded. I sure do know Adam Taylor. Natasha stopped her stream of conversation about Nikki and cut in with: "oh my Fuck, does he like hate you or something?" I gulped again as his expression went from disgusted to the kind of I-am-sogonna-make-your-life-hell expressions. I nodded again.

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 2)
Chapter 2 "OMG! Adam Taylor is expressing an emotion to you? You are so lucky!" Natasha riled on. "My friend Nikki is always trying to get him to-" Must move schools. Now.

Okay, let's not be drastic here Laurel, I thought to myself. I mean there are plenty of reasons why he would scowl at you. In fact, let's make a list, I like making lists. Reasons Why Adam Would Scowl At Me 1. He wasn't actually scowling, it was a trick of light. (There is a lot of light in LA.) 2. He scowls at everyone. (Very likely, he's probably all mean and vain now and hates everyone.) 3. He just sucked on a lemon before he came in. (Again very likely, I mean who doesn't like lemons? That way he won't get scurvy.) 4. He hates me for rejecting him. (Very unlikely, I mean who remembers a thing like that? I bet all he remembers is how good he looks in the mirror. I mean now he's probably the one rejecting girls. I mean he obviously doesn't acknowledge Natasha who is really pretty so what would he be doing with me on his mind?) So see, he does not hate me, in fact I think my safest bet is the lemon thing. Anyway I should not be concentrating on Adam Taylor of all things, I have just started a new school, I mean he should be the last thing on my mind. I wonder if the teacher will make me go up in front of the class and introduce myself, because there is no way I could go up and introduce myself in front of- nope, not thinking about Adam Taylor, not thinking about Adam Taylor, not thinking about Adam Taylor, wait a second, I see what he's trying to do there, by not thinking about him I am thinking about him therefore he wins because I am"So do you want to be a cheerleader? Because there's tryout afterschool, me, Nikki and Natalie are already on the team because we were like the only sophomores on the team last year," thank God for Natasha. "Um, I dunno, I suppose, yeah why not?" Cheerleading, now there is a good way to get a certain someone of my mind, except I've never done it before and I don't hold very high expectations of it. I mean it's just girls parading around in hardly any clothes in front of the guys. But if that's going to get someone of my mind then that it is. "Oh that is so great!" Natasha squealed. "My friend Nikki says we need prettier girls on the team because some of them are like horse-faced and-" "Miss Kyle, is there something you would like to share with the class?" a 8

middle aged man with thinning hair and a receding hairline asked. "Nope, I was just telling Laurel about the wide range of extra-curricular activities here at James Wood High sir," Natasha answered politely. Everyone swivelled their heads around to look at the mention of a new girl's name. I could have sworn that Adam scowled at me again, wow, he really likes those lemons. I bet if I craned my neck slightly I could see him sucking on one, I mean he was always a little weird about not getting diseases. Homeroom was soon over and I found myself walking with Natasha to science. Natasha was talking about something to do with her friend Nikki and cheerleading and mentions of a Natalie but I figured that if I nodded when she looked at me then I could get away with not listening to her. We got to room 236 and a very young and flamboyant looking woman was stood at the front. We crowded around her desk and she proceeded to introduce herself. "Hi guys! My name is Miss Trent and I'm going to be teaching you guys science this year, now I know that science is usually a drone but I plan on making it very fun and exciting for all of us!" she said with a huge smile. She looked around and everyone had on bored expressions and her smile slowly faded. I felt sorry for her being the nice person I am (excusing the incident with Adam -damn I'm thinking about him again) so I smiled back at her. Her face lit up again and she pointed at me. "You, what's your name?" she asked. "Laurel," I replied. "Okay Laurel, come over here and pick a name out of the hat," she pointed to a black magician's hat with white pieces of folded paper in it. I put my hand in, opened the piece of paper and read the name. Are you kidding me? I mean really? "Read the name out," Miss Trent instructed. "Adam Taylor," I said glumly.

"Right, where's Adam?" Adam moved slowly to the front next to me and I saw one of his friends, or 'cronies' as I prefer to call them, wink at him not very discreetly. "Okay, now you too are partners for the following two days and we are all going to work on projects of our choice about an aspect of science that interests you," ugh, two days? "It can be whatever you want, a Powerpoint Presentation, a how to guide, a model of the solar system, the possibilities are endless and it is up to you guys, to create them and then present them to the class. I want you to use your brilliant young creative minds to come up with whatever the hell you want. Now can all the girls line up next to the hat and pick out a name." The idea was actually very fun, but me teamed with Adam not so much. You know there is no point in trying not to think about him, not that I was doing very well before, besides it's all for science now. But I don't know what I was worrying about, like I said before, he has probably completely forgotten about me, in fact I should probably open with the lemon thing, I bet he would find that hilarious. So we sat down and I swivelled my chair round and smiled at him. He didn't smile back. In fact he just crossed his arms and wore a blank expression. And then there was this awkward silence, like this disgusting awkward silence where we just looked at each other. It made me want to rip my eyes out just so my screams would fill it. Or maybe just touch his face; did I mention how gorgeous he was now? I mean he has really nice defined cheekbones and his hair is all messy in a sexy way now. Okay, must say something. Now to ponder things to say, I could say the lemon thing, nope, that's kind of ridiculous. I could apologise, but then what if he doesn't remember 'the incident' and then I look like an idiot. I could just start discussing the project, but he obviously doesn't want to otherwise he would have said something by now. Okay so that's it, there is nothing to say. Nothing whatsoever, no combinations of words would not make me look stupid. "You know, I like lemons too," I blurted out. Oh god, oh god, of all the things to say in the world I picked the lemon thing? 10

I saw just the tiniest flickers of smile but then looked like he remembered something when his face wore that infamous scowl again. Great, it was probably just my imagination anyway. He looked at me like I was a moron and then the silence once again ensued. Okay the project, I will talk about the project. "So what should we do?" I asked. His reaction was as if I had never spoken. Yeah, I think he remembers the whole me-ripping-his-heart-out thing. Okay time to take the big leap and bring it up. Here goes nothing. "Look Adam, I am really sorry about the whole thing that happened back in 9th Grade but I honestly just didn't want to hurt your feelings and I'm sorry about everything and you might not want to talk to me ever again but we have to do this project together and we will have to communicate somehow to get it done so if you would open your mouth then we could get on with it quicker." Wow, now that is a very good apology on the spot, well for me anyway. He has to speak after that performance, not that I was acting. Oh my God (I'd like t point out I am not the type of girl that utters this phrase on a daily basis but this was one of the moments that allowed it) words were starting to come out of his mouth. I felt like a proud and happy mother with the anticipation of my child about to utter his very first words except for the proud bit, well maybe of myself not of Adam. "Okay, here's what we're going to do." Yay, victory is great. "I am going to walk over to get some paper and I'm gonna relocate elsewhere, you are going to stay here, make whatever the hell you want and sign our names underneath it." Yeah, i prefer the silence. "We will do the same thing tomorrow and then when we come to present these I'll make things up as we go along. Happy?" And then he left. That little bastard. I opened my book and wrote 'Cosmetics' and underlined it. I then wrote underneath it 'model for our homemade cosmetics - Adam Taylor'. Now just to make some red lipstick and blue eye shadow or maybe pink would suit his complexion better? I felt like letting out an evil maniac laugh but I did it in my head to be on the safe side.


Chapter 3 I sat down at lunch by myself in a corner on an empty table with a small sandwich. Usually I would eat more but I needed to get in and out of the cafeteria as soon as possible. Ever since I entered the damn place people had been whispering and talking whilst casting not-so-sneaky glances at me. I don't know what the hell it was about, maybe they treated all newcomers like this. Lucky me. I sat down next to Natasha on a table with two girls because 'Tash' said I could in math, one of the girls was blonde and very pretty and the other had black curly hair who was also very pretty, both of whom I presumed were Nikki and Natalie. But now after whatever had happened a blonde girl who I was sure was Nikki looked me up and down and said, "There's an empty table over there that we're sure would suit you better." I looked over at Natasha and she just gave me a sympathetic look away from Nikki. And that's how I got here, sitting by myself. I spied Adam getting up with his friends and laughing at something as they put their trays away. He caught me looking and wore that scowl again but this time I actually did see a slice of lemon in his salad, it may have been just a slice but really that does prove my theory. I scowled back at him and he looked a little affronted at first before his expression turned hostile once again. Then he walked out of the canteen with his posse and I couldn't help but look at his behind, it's not my fault his jeans are so snug, I wondered what a handful of it would feel like - pretty good I'm guessing. Good God, two minutes in this lunch hall and I'm staring and dreaming about a guy's ass who hates me, well not his ass, Adam Taylor, I'm pretty sure his sweet little ass doesn't hate me. For Gods sake Laurel, stop it! Whilst scolding myself for being such a pervert I was abruptly interrupted; as much to my surprise a tray plonked down beside mine. "I worship you, rejecting Adam Taylor, I mean seriously bravo, Leanne Chou," a small Chinese girl extended her hand to me.


"Laurel Brookes," I said shaking her hand. "I know, the whole school knows, in fact I think you may be more popular than Nikki Richards," she pondered. "Well done." "What? What are they saying about me?" I asked confused. It was probably Adam, I bet he was spreading lies, vicious lies. "Nothing, just that you're the bitch who broke Adam's heart back when you were both fugly, although apparently he was just shorter and more boyish but you were just full on ugly and he just wanted to go on a date with you but you thought you were too good for him and then he left because you broke his heart and then you found out he was hot and got plastic surgery and came here," she finished. "But don't worry, it's not one of my favourite things but I'm okay with plastic surgery." "I did not get plastic surgery!" I said loudly. I mean what a little bastard. Just like I predicted, vicious vicious lies! "Can I see your scars? I mean do you have them or did they fade? And did you get yours boobs done too? Because all the boys are discussing that, and they apparently know breasts better so are they?" she asked genuinely. I instantly covered my chest. "Seriously, I did not get plastic surgery!" I exclaimed. "Oh, well that's less interesting, but then there is the other thing, but you don't look like a whore, so whatever" she explained. "Tell me." "Basically you said you wouldn't date him but because you felt sorry for him you would do him a couple of times to make him feel better, but of course he declined because he realised what a vile cow you were," she explained further. "What a little lying bastard! I did not offer to do him a couple of times! I tried to apologise after he asked me out the a millionenth time and I made up some excuse and then he was practically in tears and then I ran after him but he must have ran all the way to California because I never saw him again," I said defending myself. "Ugh see, now that is why I hate Adam Taylor, good going girl, although if I was you I would have rid myself of the freak a long time ago," Leanne laughed out loud. "Who would have thought that Adam Taylor was such a 13

shithead? Sorry about that, is such a shithead." I laughed with her. It felt so much better not to be the only person in this place to share that opinion. Nikki, Natalie and Natasha walked by and dumped their trays at the tray spot and stopped at our table. "Don't laugh, you're hated," Nikki said plainly. "Well if that's on your judgement then I think that Laurel will take that as a compliment," Leanne replied. "Can't Laurel talk for herself?" Natalie asked. "Shut up," Nikki directed at her. "Can't Laurel talk for herself?" she repeated "Or has the surgery rendered her mute?" Natalie laughed and Natasha let out this hideous and desperate fake laugh whilst shooting me more sympathetic looks. "I didn't get surgery, Adam is lying," I said through clenched teeth. "Well it's your word over his and I don't usually tend to believe whores," Nikki stated. "I didn't do any of the other stuff either, he's lying, he's just annoyed that I wouldn't go out with him back in Park Hill High after he asked me out over and over again and I made up an excuse because I didn't want to hurt his feelings," I explained. "Yeah, like I said, your word over his, and I know that Natasha was stupid enough to actually say that you could come to the cheerleading tryouts, but I'm head cheerleader and your totally banned from them," Nikki said. "Oh the pain," I said dryly. Nikki shot me an evil glare and strutted off. Then Natasha skipped back. "I dropped my clip," she said. She then bent down to look for it and held it up to show me. "I actually have it," she whispered loudly showing it to me. "But I just wanted to say I'm sorry about the whole Nikki thing and I don't really believe the thing about Adam and you, so yeah forgive me, maybe we can hang out sometime, like inside, like away from other people," she smiled and I smiled back. "Natasha hurry the fuck up!" I heard Nikki screech from across the hall. 14

"I think that's my cue!" she whispered loudly again and ran back. "Coming Nikki!" Leanne and I looked at each other and laughed. "Ugh, I cannot stand Nikki," Leanne exclaimed. "Nope, she's fine, it's Adam I hate." "So how are you going to get back at him? Are we gonna just go for the boring way of confronting him? Or are we gonna go for some plain old sweet revenge?" she asked with a diabolical smile. "Well I have something planned, but that's for the day after tomorrow in science," and then I explained the whole project thing. "Although I was going to make my own lipstick but I think now I'm just going to pretend I made my own lipstick and use my red Revlon Colourstay instead," I added. "It lasts for ages, so hard to get off." "But really something must be done today," Leanne said with the touch of a psycho maniac to it which I decided to ignore. "But of course," I replied gravely and then we both laughed and started plotting the demise of Adam Taylor. Well not literally.

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 4)
Chapter 4 Leanne and I crept into the boy's locker room and breathed a sigh of relief that there was no one left in the room. Let the games begin. We began looking through lockers that were very conveniently left open, I guess men just are that lazy, looks like my mom was right about one thing. "I think this is his locker," I said finding Adam's clothes.


I unzipped my bag and stuffed his clothes in there and I couldn't help but notice that they smelt really really good, I brought my nose a little closer and sniffed around, mmm, he smelt of soap and just a hint of manly aftershave. "Maybe we should put the clothes in my bag instead because that way if he tells on you-" Leanne stopped speaking and looked at me weirdly. "Were you just smelling his clothes?" "No," I scoffed off. "Ew, why would I do that?" I laughed off, shit, now Leanne must think I'm a freak, which I am. Staring at his ass, smelling his clothes, what next, watching him change? "Okay," she said unbelievingly. "Hand them over." I reluctantly did and she pushed them down to the bottom of her bag. Leanne then got out a stink bomb. "Your brother really is amazing; I mean who would have thought we could get an egg stink bomb just by popping over to your house?" "Yeah well it's not that amazing when you find the stink bomb in the bottom of your wardrobe," Leanne replied. I opened Adams bag and found an empty inside pocket. I made a little hole in the egg and left the pocket slightly unzipped as I placed it inside just like Leanne's little brother had instructed. Now I don't recommend ditching classes on your first day but it's only gym, I'm sure I'll catch up. "Okay now we better get out of here before they get back," Leanne instructed and just as we were about to make our escape I heard someone moving around. "Shit, listen, there's someone here," I whispered. Leanne eyes widened as she heard it too. "Okay whoever you are, show yourself!" I ordered with a shaky voice, please don't be a teacher. "Just show yourself and please don't tell anyone about this, we have money!" "Do you have cash?" I whispered to Leanne. She just rolled her eyes at my question, maybe that was a stupid remark. "It's true we have money, we know you're here!" I shouted again, I just didn't know when to stop. "No one's here, especially not Marshall Groves," a shaky voice shouted back. I couldn't help but smile at the stranger's obvious lack of disguise. 16

"Marshall come out, we know you're here," Leanne shouted. "Please don't tell anyone I'm here," the same shaky voice said as a boy with very light brown curly hair appeared from a really big kind of walk in locker, he was dressed, I might add with his bag in his hands. "What the hell are you doing here Marsh?" Leanne asked, I hoped she knew him otherwise she's just calling some random guy 'Marsh'. "Well we're playing football today, and wait, I think I should ask the same thing to you, last time I checked this was the boy's locker room," Marshall stopped suddenly. "I am in the boy's locker room right?" He looked around and seemed relieved as he figured out he was indeed in the boy's locker room. "Yeah, so what are you guys doing here?" "What does it look like we're doing?" Leanne replied motioning to her bag and Adams bag. "Oh, you shouldn't do that, I mean I know he spread things about Laurel around the school, but he's a really good guy, he doesn't deserve that," Marshall said. "How do you know my name?" "Everyone knows your name, you're Laurel Brookes the girl who broke Adam's heart in his old school, by the way is it true that you have Chlamydia from screwing random guys?" "No!" I said offended. And as much as I hated saying what I was gonna say next I did it regardless being the stupid nice person I am. "And Leanne, I'm kind of with Marshall on this one, don't you think it's a little much, and a little immature? I kind of deserve what he said after what I did," I said, as much as I hate to admit it I was a bitch to Adam and as much as I don't agree with his ways of getting back at me I kind of had it coming. "Ugh, fine then, besides when did you fall in love with his Taylorness?" Leanne directed to Marshall. "Actually, he kind of saved me from some guys today, they played a bit of a prank but he just told them how immature and stupid it was and now I just need to get rid of the remnants of the prank," Marshall explained. "What remnants?" Leanne asked at the same time I got a glimpse of what was under his bag.


My mouth fell open. "Oh my God, you had a little accident didn't you? And not the pee pee type." Leanne's mouth fell open the same as mine as she caught a glimpse of it as well. "Oh calm down, it's just mayonnaise," Marshall said looking down. "Or it may be Miracle Whip, I'm not sure, but it's not what you think it is." "Who did it?" I asked Marshall as I lifted out the stink bomb which was starting to get a little whiffy. Leanne passed Marshall a tissue as he tried to clean off his 'mess'. "Brody Perry," he bit off. "Okay, a bit of a useless question considering the fact I don't know who that is, or barely anyone in this school for that matter, but where's his locker?" Marshall pointed at a locker near Adams and I opened it and again it was conveniently left open and put the stink bomb in his bag instead. "Why do these guys leave their lockers open anyway?" "It's just more convenient," Marshall replied. How ironic. I caught Leanne looking at me with annoyed eyes. "What?" I asked. "We're too immature to take Adam's clothes and put a stink bomb in his bag but not too immature to put one in Brody's?" she taunted with a weird gleam in her eye. "Well immaturity should be punished with more immaturity," I said wisely. "In fact that should be a saying." "You like Adam Taylor," she declared. "What?!? I do not like Adam!" I protested, well I might have before he spread all the horrible stuff but not anymore, well I like his sweet little- I mean, his behind. In fact I wouldn't mind touching- stop it. Stop it Laurel! "You can deny it as much as you like but you like him and you know it." "Whatever, let's just get out of here," I said hoping that that would put an end to that and she wouldn't question me further, well more like interrogate.


"Um, guys I think I hear the class coming back," Marshall interrupted. "Shit," Leanne remarked. We all shot each other panicked glances. "Marshall, where were you hiding?" "In here," Marshall said pointing to the very big locker that he had been in. "It's the cleaning ladies, well mans, closet. It's usually locked but if you just kick the door a couple of times then it opens and you can lock it from the inside, although someone else could kick it open again but if you're as quiet as I am then no one notices." "So what I just kick it?" I verified with him. "Yup, six or seven times." "Ugh we haven't got time," I quickly gave the door what I thought was a bit of a pansy kick but the door opened regardless. "Six or seven times?" "Well," Marshall said looking uncomfortable. "I usually, you know, get it in one, I just, you know, thought, since you're a girl, you know." "Yeah, we know you're a girl too, let's get in, they're coming," Leanne said cutting Marshall off. We all got in and it was very snug, a bit too snug. "Wait!" I said as I realised we hadn't put Adam's clothes back. "Pass me your bag!" "Ugh," Leanne groaned. "I was hoping you wouldn't notice." She reluctantly handed his clothes over and I opened the door of the closet and quickly stuffed his clothes back in what I hoped was his locker in a panic as I heard the sounds of a class of sweaty boys coming closer and closer. I skidded back to the closet and stuffed myself in. I tried to turn my head to face Leanne and Marshall but the closet was way too small for that. If it weren't for the gaps in the door which gave me a view of the locker room then I'm fairly certain I would have barfed. "Guys, where the hell are you?" I asked as I couldn't see or feel them anywhere. "We're hiding under cleaning supplies, it is actually quite a good hiding place in case anyone comes in, that way you're the only who get's caught and we can keep our record straight and maybe we can even qualify for valedictorian next year," Marshall said quietly. "And by we he means I, Marshall get your foot off my arm," Leanne said 19

screeching the last part. "Shh guys, they're coming," I whispered as some boys that I didn't recognise in football kits came in. They turned around and I noticed that they're football kits were much snugger than Adam's jeans around the um, gluteus maximus area. I squeezed my eyes shut as the other boys changed. I heard a small squeaky and girly giggle coming from behind me. "What are you laughing at Marshall?" I whispered very quietly. Marshall giggled again, "You're perving on boys in the locker room." "I have my eyes closed!" I whispered loudly which caused me to open my eyes and lucky for me it was all still very innocent, or unlucky, depends on how you look at it. "Fuck, I think we have rats," the guy in front of Brody's locker remarked. "I can hear the little shits scurrying about." "We don't have rats in the locker room," Adam assured him as they both sat down on a bench very close to me and started taking their shoes and socks off. I gasped, oh God, I was going go get caught, and expelled and then no other school would take me and then I'd have to be a teenage prostitute. "See," Brody said again hearing presumably my gasp. Well maybe they wouldn't hear me if they weren't right in front of me. "Shut up Laurel," Leanne whispered. "Oh yeah, I heard that," Adam said looking around the floor. "Well maybe they'll bite your balls off in the shower." Brody laughed, then he stripped his pants off and then his boxers. I squeezed my eyes shut completely and blocked their conversation off. I opened my eye a minute later and Brody had a towel around his downstairs and walked off to the showers. And Adam didn't have a top on. Wow. Let's just say I was more than impressed. He turned around to face his locker and his back muscles were pretty impressive too. And then he too took his pants off and again, for a former dork; Adams legs were also pretty impressive, what am I talking about? For any guy his legs 20

were impressive, now I understand the appeal of cheerleading, you get to see those in action. Then he took his boxers off. Good God. I tried to close my eyes, I really did, but I couldn't. I mean my eyes physically would not close. I strained to get them closed and just when I had my eyes almost there he dropped his boxers and bent down to get them and all his butt muscles flexed like crazy. Good God. I couldn't close my eyes now, it was physically impossible, literally. You can't see Adam Taylor's naked ass and not watch and savour the delicious moment. God, I am such a pervert. I'm going to be locked away and rot in hell for this. But it's really not my fault, God should have made women immune to this sort of thing. Or God should have made Adam Taylor's ass not so hot. No that would be just wrong. But the moment was soon over as he wrapped himself with a towel and walked into the shower which he had to turn a corner to get to, now he was unfortunately out of my view. I closed my eyes waiting for them to get changed so I would feel less like a pervert which was difficult right now and when I did I open my eyes after some time Adam was changed. Damn it! I heard Leanne groan. "What the hell is taking so long?" I was about to whisper shut up when Marshall sneezed, really loudly and the noise took me by so much surprise that I must have jerked my body somehow because next thing I knew cleaning supplies from the top shelf were tumbling down. I tried to stop them and breathed a sigh of relief as I heard no commotion from the boys locker room. But then there was a kick on the door and I went flying over a very large, very human figure. I looked up to find my self face-to-face, well body-to-body with Adam. "Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Adam remarked in a mocking voice and I swear he didn't seem to be making any moves to get me off him. Maybe that was just wishful thinking. So I reluctantly did the job he seemed so reluctant to do and I quickly got up to find myself looking at the entire boy's gym class as I felt myself go red from head to toe. "So, you watched me change huh?" Brody said with a flirtatious smile. 21

"What the hell is going on here?" came a loud voice as I saw what looked like a gym teacher in the hallway. "I can explain," I squeaked. I absolutely had no idea what to say. Looks like it's going to be teenage prostitution for me now, my mom is so not going to be proud. But right now I've got bigger problems to face.


I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 5)
Chapter 5 "In my office, both of you, NOW!" screamed the teacher. A bunch of boys chuckled quietly as we walked out to his office and Brody slipped something in my bag and mouthed, 'call me'. "What the hell was going on in there Adam?" the man screamed as we sat down in a very small office at an even smaller desk. "I'm Coach Bailey," he directed at me. "I'm Laurel Brookes," I replied quietly. "What, Miss Brookes, were you doing on the locker room floor with Adam in front of the entire gym class? Not to mention the fact that he is my star quarterback. You do realise your little shenanigans could get him off the team." Bastard, all he cares about is his precious little quarterback. Did I mention Adam Taylor is a quarterback now? I mean I would have never guessed that in 9th Grade, no one would have guessed that in 9th Grade. "Well?!?" Oh right, back to reality. I turned red. "We," I said emphasising the 'we', "were not doing anything on the floor!" I continued. "I was in the closet, and I fell out," I murmured quietly. "What were you doing in the closet?" he asked growing impatient. "Well," I started. 'Well' is such a great word to stall for time with. "I was in the closet, because, um, I dropped my pen." "How does that explain you being in the closet?" Adam asked incredulously. "Adam be quiet, you'll have your turn to talk soon son," Coach Bailey replied finally showing a bit of fairness. I peeked over at Adam and was glad to see that he was a little peeved that his favourite coach was not kissing his sweet little- stop it Laurel! God, I need to get a hold of myself. I think I need therapy. "I'm getting there," I said through clenched teeth at Adam, although really I was grateful that that slowed things down a bit and stopped me thinking about you know what.


"Anyways," and then this great idea came to me. Oh God, I'm not going to be expelled! I'm not going to have to be a prostitute. I could not deal with Chlamydia or any STD's for that matter, "so as I was saying, I dropped my pen in the corridor outside the locker rooms and as I bent down to pick it up this rat came out from nowhere and just picked up my pen and scurried off. "Now I was shocked, I hadn't heard rumours of rats in the school but evidently they were there. And this wasn't any pen, this was my grandmother's pen. When she first came to this country from England that pen and the clothes on her back were all she had with her. That pen had been given to me on my grandmothers dying bed and it has helped me on every test from then on. So naturally I ran after the rat; completely unaware of my surroundings; and found myself in a closet. "I eventually gave up, wiped my tears and was about to open the door to the closet when someone opened it from the other side and I fell out on top of Adam." "Is that all Miss Brookes?" Coach Bailey asked as if he almost believed me. People into sports really are that dim-witted, my mom was right; I should totally not go for a career in sports, not that I had the choice anyway I suck at it. I nodded and then both Adam and Coach Bailey burst into laughter. My mouth fell open as I pretended I was shocked they didn't believe me. "Well I never!" I remarked. Adam wiped a tear from his eye as they continued laughing. Coach Bailey stopped eventually and straightened up. "Now Miss Brookes, sorry about that, why don't you start with the truth?" "What? You didn't believe that?" Maybe people in sports aren't that stupid. "Coach isn't stupid Lor," Adam replied. Oh my God, he used to call me that before he hated me! Back in Park Hill! Not that I care of course. "The truth?" Coach prompted. Well I'm pretty sure there is some saying about that, the truth always comes out in the end? Yeah something like that. "Okay," I said reluctantly. "I was going to hide Adam's clothes to get back at him for spreading rumours about me around the school." Better they don't know about the stink bomb, well Brody's stink bomb. "You were going to do what?" Coach shouted at about the same time Adam 24

shouted, "You bitch!" "In my defence," I edged in. "I changed my mind and put your clothes back at the end because Marshall convinced me otherwise but then I heard you guys coming back so I hid myself in the closet." "Wait, where's Marshall?" Coach asked. "Um, he's at home, he texted me," I answered quickly. I think Marshall and Leanne might be stuck in that closet for a very long time, good they deserve it, ok Leanne deserves it, she is my partner in crime after all. "You had your phone on during school hours?" Coach asked in raising decibels. "No," I answered more quickly. Coach obviously didn't believe me. "Okay, I think I know what we're going to do with you, but first of all what was Adam saying about you?" "He told people about how back in our old school I rejected him when he asked me out and I was really ugly but then I found out he was good looking now so I got lots of cosmetic surgery and came here. He also said that because I felt sorry for rejecting him I would, er, do, er, certain favours for him and that I have Chlamydia, from, you know," I finished awkwardly but nonetheless having totally put me in the right. "Adam is that true?" Coach asked. "No!" he shouted. "I did not say any of that shit! She is crazy! What is wrong with you Laurel? Why would you make that stuff up?" he said shooting accusing glances at me. Wow, he is a really good actor, funny because back in Park Hill High in drama class he was the worst Romeo the world had ever had to endure, not that I was a great Juliet either. But if I weren't me then I would totally side with him right now. "Oh my God! Adam give it a rest! The whole school knows about all that stuff and everyone knows you said it so don't try and make me out to be the crazy one," I shouted back. "Coach, you can't believe her, why the hell would I say all that stuff?" he said to Coach Bailey about the same time I said: "Why would I make that up? You can ask the entire school!" "This is very interesting," Coach remarked. "How is it interesting? He is a horrible lying bastard, that's not interesting, there's plenty of those," I said testing out the swearing, Adam had done it at least twice and Coach didn't say anything. "Watch your language Laurel," I see how it is when you're not his favourite quarterback.


"I'll tell you what's interesting; it's interesting how this seemingly sane girl is a lying freak," Adam said back. "Okay, I got it, I could expel you both," he said seemingly asking us as be both shook our heads. "Or you could spend this entire week in detention together cleaning stuff and sorting your little argument out, in fact I'm feeling like getting the chewing gum of tables tonight?" "Detention sir," Adam answered as I murmured an "Mmhm," along with him. "Detention it is, see you guys tonight, we can meet up here, and Adam I would be grateful if you could walk the lady to her next class, here's a late pass," he handed us each a yellow slip. We walked out of the office and once we were out of hearing shot of his office I started talking. "Why were you lying? You obviously spread those rumours around, everyone has been telling me, Nikki, Marshall, Leanne," I accused making a list with my fingers. "Oh please, just shut up Laurel, Coach isn't here, you don't need to get me kicked off the team too," he said with hostility. "Exactly. Coach isn't here, so you might as well just admit it," I retorted. How dare he pretend he didn't say all that stuff? I don't care what his ass looks likes, Adam Taylor is now a mean little lying bastard. He regarded me oddly. "Oh my God, you really believe I did that don't you?" "Well yeah, everyone has been telling me just that," I answered. Okay, now I have a really bad feeling that I got Adam a week's detention for no reason. "Well I didn't. Okay? I'm sorry if someone has been making things up but all I said was that I don't like you because of what you did and that you're a bit of a shallow cow," Adam finished. I felt my mouth fall open, literally. "What? Is that meant to be an apology? Cos it's like the worst apology, ever. I am not a shallow cow!" Little bastard, how dare he call me shallow? And cow? I lost those five pounds, didn't I? "Oh please, you are so shallow. You wouldn't go out with me back when I was nerdy and actually interested and now that I'm a quarterback you're all smiling at me and trying to flirt about lemons? If that's not shallow then I don't know what is," Adam retorted. "I was not trying to flirt with you! Can't a girl just talk about lemons? You know, just forget about the lemons! Besides that's not the point, the point is you are a mean horrible little lying douche-" And then he kissed me.


Let me just tell you one thing: kissing rocks. I mean it's beyond that, it's like the best thing, ever. We should totally do this in detention. Oh God, Adam's right but I'm not a shallow cow, I'm a shallow slut. I pushed him off of me. "What was that?" I asked hesitantly. "We hate each other, we shouldn't be doing that. You shouldn't be trying to do that!" "Hey don't put this all on me, you kissed me back and don't try to deny it because you know you did!" Adam said stopping me saying what I was about to say which was going to be "No I didn't." "Okay, so we kissed, that's nothing, just forget about it, it never happened," I said. Please don't say it's nothing. Not that I care, it's just that that was my first kiss pathetic as it may sound. "Exactly, nothing, it was just a stupid kiss. I was just trying to get you to shut up." Oh. He could have just punched me. It would've shut me up and it would have hurt less. "What kiss?" I asked playing along. "I dunno." So we went to class pretending nothing had happened.

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 6)
Chapter 6 "Ah, Adam," the teacher said taking our late passes "Laurel, you must be new, have a seat, I'm Mr Jones, now the rest of the class have already paired themselves up for a Powerpoint presentation on the Civil War and we just have you two, Leanne and Marshall left, so would you two like to work together or some other sort of combination?" "I'll work with Leanne," I said quickly. I was not working with Adam in two classes. "Then I guess I'll work with Marshall," Adam answered.


I heard Brody laugh from the back of the classroom. And then the rest of the day was a bit of a lonely blur as school usually was back in Park Hill since Leanne and Marshall never did come back. I quickly texted "wre r u?" to Leanne as I made my way to Coach Baileys office. We had exchanged numbers before undertaking our then 'foolproof' plan in case anything went wrong, not a bad move. My phone vibrated and I checked Leanne's text. "We r still stuck in the f-ing closet coz people keep cumin and goin all the f-ing time, I am dyin here and marsh thinks he needs his friggin asthma pump, lol." I texted back "lmao." And put my phone off as I approached Coach's office. "Hello Miss Brookes, I've had the cleaners bring over these tables for you to get the chewing gum off of, here is a spatula, once you're done you can leave, if you need me then I'll be on the football field," and then he walked off. "Wait, where's Adam?" I asked. No way is he getting off while I have to dechewing-gum two tables. Even if he didn't exactly spread stuff about me around school. "Well he has a duty to the school, we're against those damn Eagles from East Compton and Adam is taking those boys down, so he'll make up for detention later," and with that Coach Bailey left his office and I was left with a spatula and a whole lot of chewing gum. I was at it for about an hour before a small receptionist peeked into the doorway of Coach's office and told me I could go. Finally. I got out of school and quickly walked home. I think my mom's meant to be home today but honestly I can never keep track when she's on a business trip and when she's actually home. I got home and surprisingly my mother was actually there for once. Great, I get detention on my first day and she's here to see it. "Hey mom," I said as I came into the kitchen. She was perched by the kitchen unit eating yesterday's pizza. "Hello honey, where were you today? I came home a little early to hear about your first day," she said chirpily but mom was dressed in a cocktail dress and had her short blonde hair all done up.


"And?" This was certain to get her off the topic of where I was. "And because I have a date with a client, but I came home earlier for you, so how was it? Did you make new friends? Or did you get 'reacquainted' with some old ones?" she said with an odd gleam in her eye. "Wait a minute, how did you know Adam went to this school?" I accused, I bet she set this up; she always had been best of friends with Adams mother, Martha. "It's great isn't it? You know how Martha and I are, so we were talking and I found out he was having a real great time here and was even a quarterback. Do you hear that honey? A quarterback! You've always wanted to date a quarterback!" Mom exclaimed. "No I haven't!" I said defending myself. I never said that! I would never say that! I mean who wants to date guys who randomly give girls their first kisses just to get them to shut up when girls want their first kiss to actually mean something and not be given from a mean horrible vain judgmental douche bag. "Honey, are you alright? You seem very deep in thought," mom said concern knitting her brow. "No, I'm fine, carry on," I replied. "Anyways, sorry, but I thought all girls wanted to date quarterbacks, I know I did when I was younger, anyways, so I was going to have to move a closer to the company's headquarters in America anyway and I thought why not Huntingdon Beach? That way you could get a quarterback. Besides Martha was always saying how Adam never really showed an interest in many girls except for this Nikki girl," my mother carried on. Are you kidding me? Adam went out with Nikki? Wait a minute why did I care? He can date whoever he wants even if it is that vain, mean, arrogant, self-centred - calm down Laurel! "But apparently they weren't really dating, they were just friends but she kept showing up at their house and Adam used to hide in his closet because the girl never believed Martha when she said he was out and the girl made sure to check in his bedroom," mom finished. "Now that is hilarious, wait 'till Leanne hears this," I said laughing. "Leanne? Oh my God, honey you made a friend?" mom said practically squealing. "Two, I've been working doubly hard," I said playing along with her 29

excitement. It really is a wonder mom has such a successful career, she's practically a child. "Oh my God, that is so great, oh honey I am so happy! We have to have dinner together! This is fantastic!" She whipped out her BlackBerry and started punching a bunch of keys. "Hello, Wendy, I need you to free up something around next week," there was a pause. "No, it's not a date, I'm going to dinner with some of Laurel's friends," there was another pause. "I know, I know you said my genes would make her popular," there was another pause. "I know it is a miracle, okay Thursday at six, fabulous, I know it will cut into my trip to Japan but this is much more important," and another pause. "Well I don't care about the damn company, I practically missed half of her adolescence, this is the least I can do," and another pause. "Fabulous, okay bye." She put her BlackBerry back in her clutch and turned to me. "It's all set; we're going to have so much fun!" "Ugh, please don't embarrass me," I groaned, but I kinda did want her to, I never did give her the chance to embarrass me in front of my friends. It's a right every parent should have, well at least they think they do. "As if, I'm as hip and young as parents get!" she said which was sorta true since she did have me when she was 19 but I'm not too sure about the hip part. "Anyways, so, Adam, you could totally bag him, you too would make such a great couple, imagine his cheekbones and eyes, with your hair and figure on my granddaughter, oh God, I'm getting so old." "Mom, I don't like Adam, we're not getting married, and you're not getting a granddaughter," I said wiping the smile off her face. "Oh please, I am, you just don't know it yet. Anyways, since you have friends now, do you think you'll be using that beer keg I bought for you last year because it's going to go off soon and if you're not going to trash the house with the entire 11th Grade then I may as well stop paying so much for our home insurance!" See what I mean? She is a child. She has always wanted me to have some sort of raving party with the entire school and trash the house so she could pretend to be disappointed with me and apologise to all the children's parents and maybe even bag herself a single father in the process. "No mom, I'm not going to have a raging party, and you can stop paying so much for home insurance," I replied. "Oh, I was hoping you'd tell me to get extra just in case." She said sounding disappointed. "Anyways, I have really exciting news! You're school just phoned before you came back!" Oh God, did they tell her about my 30

detention? And mom's excited about that? Knowing her she probably would be, maybe she'd think it would improve my 'rep'. "All the seniors broke into the school last night and used the pool for a party and have been suspended for this week and they are being punished another way as well!" She said with pure mirth. She's crazy, I knew it, it really is a wonder I'm as sane as I am, my dad must've been one boring guy. "Okay, I'm just going to go ahead and ask, why is that a good thing?" "Well haven't you heard? It was all over the prospectus for the school, every year the seniors get to go on some sort of fun trip to reward them for lasting five years in high school, when they are juniors, they do some sort of fundraising thing to get money to go, last year they went to Paris!" She squealed. "Oh my God, do we get to go instead? Is that they're punishment!" I've never been to Paris! Oh my God, it's the most romantic city ever; maybe Adam would fall in love with me! Oh God, did I just think that? What is wrong with me? I don't want him to fall in love with me! He's a jerk, why would I want a jerk to fall in love me? You know what I'll just erase all Adam-related thoughts from my mind. "Yes! Paris, you could go there next year! But this years seniors apparently didn't have enough spirit and they only fundraised enough to go camping in Kirk Creek Campground!" My face fell and it must have been very apparent because mom quickly jumped in with: "No but it's still fabulous!" "Ooo, is it in England?" I asked with excitement. I've always wanted to visit the British, they're so fancy and lovely! "Nope, it's actually in Northern California," she replied still very excited. "What? We're not even going out of state?" "Nope, but you do get to spend a week of school from this Saturday to next Sunday and we get to spend tons of money on camping equipment!" She squealed. "Not to mention camping with the school? How great is that going to be! I bet you and Adam will get together, in fact that is very likely. In that case since I'm your mom I'm going to have to pack you some condoms." "Mom!" I scolded. "I am not going to have sex with Adam whilst camping! I'm not having sex, period!" "Well I'm your mother, I need to be careful off these things, in fact, we 31

should probably get you on the pill," she pondered. "Mom!" I scolded again. "Oh fine then," she said whipping out her laptop. "But first we must buy you a tent." "What if they assign me a tent with a group? Which is most likely?" "Well then we have a fabulous tent for the beach!" "That is a good idea, but isn't it a waste of money?" I asked being reasonable. "I got a raise." "Well then let's get a pop-up one!" I said typing it in. "Oo, there's a pink one!" "But there's a purple one!" "Well we obviously need to get one each, it only makes sense!" And we spent the next hour getting me everything from sleeping bags and portable toilets to bicycles and a fishing rod. And all with next day delivery! How convenient is that? I really do have the coolest mom ever, even if she is hardly ever there.

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 7)
Chapter 7 The next day at school was rather uneventful except for the wide buzz across the entire junior year at missing five days of school and the squealing of Nikki and how she was going to need 'a big strong man to protect her' whilst stroking Adams arm which, much to my surprise, he didn't seem to enjoy, but then again, he did hide in his closet just to get away from her. Speaking of Adam, he avoided me like the plague and wouldn't even scowl at me anymore. Even at detention he scrubbed all the tiles that I wasn't near


(we had to clean the boys locker room) and even at Coach's suggestion for us to discuss our issues he wouldn't so much as look my way. Am I really that bad a kisser? There also seemed to be a lot of whispers and sniggers from everyone about what a 'perving slut' I was and Brody kept making eyes at me. However the day after that was much much better. Well it was going to be much much better after I had gone to science. I was doubly angry at Adam now, if he thought he could just go around kissing girls and then not talking to them the next day then he was wrong, he was very very wrong. Especially not this girl, you don't get to do that without looking like a drag queen the next day. Homeroom seemed to drag on and then I speed walked to science. When I got there I asked miss if Adam and I could go first and she smiled and said of course. I got out my memory stick and quickly opened up my presentation and turned off the interactive whiteboard so that when Adam came in he wouldn't see my masterpiece. The class settled in and Miss quietened them all down as Adam walked to the front. "Don't worry, I have given you a important role in the presentation so you don't have to make things up like you said before, just read the writing in red," I whispered in his ear as I turned on the whiteboard with the remote. "Cosmetics!" I said reading the title enthusiastically. "What?" Adam whispered in my ear. I looked at him, my face a picture of innocence, "You said whatever the hell I want." He narrowed his eyes at me and read his part glumly: "Presented by Laurel Brookes and Adam Taylor." We then read through a couple of slides on the history of cosmetics, chemical reactions, different cosmetic brands, the dangers of make-up and how to make red lipstick and blue eye shadow. I decided to go with the blue because I figured it with stand out on his skin better and bring out his blue eyes. I read out the title for the next slide: "Our Homemade Cosmetics!"


Adam then read out his part in red. "I am going to model our homemade cosmetics for you, wait, what?!?" He shot an accusing glance at me as the class laughed at his ridicule. "I am not wearing homemade make up," he said angrily. "But you just said you would," I said my face looking even more innocent that before. "Besides," I said leaning in as if to whisper a secret. "I didn't make the lipstick!" I pulled up a chair in front of the whiteboard and got out my make-up. "Come on Adam, sit down, model!" I started a chant across the classroom. "Model! Model! Model!" Leanne joined in with me, then Brody and eventually the rest of the class until Adam eventually grunted a reluctant "Fine" and sat down. I first got out my homemade cream blush and dictated how I made it. "You too can make your own eco blush with strawberries! I just mixed a of a cup of beet powder with of a cup of chopped strawberries and a teaspoon of olive oil in a blender. This amazing eco blush let's your pores breathe because everything is natural and looks great as Adam is about to show you!" I got a big dollop of the stuff on my finger and started to apply it on his cheekbones. "Suck in Adam, trust me, you'll look beautiful," I instructed but he just scowled at me again so I applied it more thickly. "Doesn't he look great?" I asked the class. Adam looked ridiculous and they all laughed. At him, I might add. "Although, if you make this at home I would advise using a little less blush," I said laughing at Adams red cheeks. "Now for my homemade lipstick," I said as I opened a small tin in which I painfully crushed my red Revlon colourstay in yesterday. I used my finger to apply it onto his lips, the same lips that gave me my first friggin' kiss just to shut me up. The reminder of this just made me apply it all the thicker. Although I must admit his lips are very soft, I wonder if he uses lip balm. "You were born for this," I whispered to him diabolically. "I mean really, it looks so great." I then opened another empty tin in which I had put my blue eye shadow in. "Now for my homemade eye shadow." Don't judge me, I researched it online and it is way way too hard to make eye shadow with two days notice. I got out a brush and brushed the eye shadow on thickly all the way too his brow. "And there it is. Adam looks great with just homemade cosmetics doesn't he? So next time try making some make-up yourself instead of pouring out loads on things that are filled with chemicals that will most likely react very badly with your skin."


I clicked onto the next slide and nudged Adam at the red lettering. "The End," he grumbled. "That was fabulous, absolutely amazing, come on everyone, give it up for Laurel and Adam!" Miss Trent said clapping along. "Laurel, why don't you go with Adam to the girls bathroom around the corner and watch the make up off for him?" "Um," I said looking at Adam's I-am-so-going-to-kill-you-the-minute-we-areout-of-hearing-shot-of-miss-or-any-witnesses expression. That's right, I read facial expressions really well. "I dunno. I think he can do it himself." "Of course not, he needs someone who wears make-up to help him get it off, go on Laurel," miss said. "Yeah I need you." he muttered glumly with a spark in his eye. And it wasn't the happy type. "Okay," I murmured sheepishly. Adam and I walked out onto the corridor and we got to the bathroom in silence but I could practically see him fuming. There was a small freshman in the bathroom and when she saw us come in she starting laughing very loudly but Adam silenced her with a deadly glare and she ran off. Then I started laughing out loud. Adam gave me a deadly stare as well but he looked so ridiculous that I just started laughing harder. "Oh my God, your face!" I said laughing harder. "You look ridiculous!" He cringed away from his reflection in the mirror and splashed his face with water. "Don't bother," I said between laughs. "It's all waterproof and the blush is oil based." "Get this crap off of me!" He snarled. "Okay, okay, I have some eye make-up remover that will get it all right off but, there's one condition," I said cheekily. "What?" he growled. "Let me take a couple of pictures of you with your slap on?" I asked carefully, if I wasn't very careful then he might just explode. "You're not going to put them online, or plaster them all over the corridors or 35

something are you?" he asked doubtfully. "No!" I retorted offended. "You know I'm not like that! Besides, I've had my fun," I said laughing again. The pictures really were for only me to laugh at; I truly wasn't that mean, despite what just happened. "Quickly." I quickly whipped out my phone and took a couple photos of him on his own his expression still angry. I then got one of us together with me smiling and Adams expression still very sombre. "Okay here," I said giving him my bottle of eye make-up remover and some baby wipes. "I can't believe you did this Laurel," he snarled as he drenched the eye make-up remover all over his face. "Well, maybe you should have worked on the project with me, I mean if we just talked about it or you weren't such a bastard then you wouldn't have to suffer the consequences," I said cautiously. "In fact if you think about it, it's all your fault." "This is not my fault," Adam growled. "You are a horrible person and I just didn't want to work with you, it was as simple as that, you didn't have to turn me into a hooker." "I am not a horrible person! You are a really really bad judge of character, I am not horrible and I am not shallow and I am not a cow! I'll admit that maybe I crossed the line and I am sorry but you should've have been a little nicer, because it is just mean to just leave me like that just because I just wanted to be friends in 9th Grade and I was too stupid to say that and I am sorry but there is no need to be so mean and tell the whole school about everything and let them come up with shit about me, and" oh fuck. I'm going to cry. No, no, no, no, I can not cry, I do not cry, I am Laurel Brookes, I don't cry. I didn't even cry at Titanic for God's sake, don't cry Laurel, don't cry. "Oh God, here come the waterworks," Adam groaned. Yeah, I'm going to cry. "You are so mean!" I cried, literally. "Oh no, don't cry, I didn't mean that," Adam said in a panic. 36

"Get me a tissue!" I cried again. And he quickly gave me a roll of toilet paper. "I'm sorry I made you cry, you're Laurel, you don't cry," Adam said trying to help. "I didn't think you'd really cry, you don't cry." "I know! But now I'm a stupid girl, and I cry," I blew into a tissue loudly. Well that must have looked very attractive. I looked up to find him awkwardly and hesitantly wrapping his arms around me. God, I repulse him so much he can't even hug me properly. "I am so sorry Lor," there's that name again. Will he stop doing that; he used to say that when he was nice, jerk Adam can't say that, it's wrong. "I didn't mean to hurt you, well I wanted to, but I didn't mean to, really, you're not horrible and you're not a cow," notice how he didn't say I'm not shallow? "You're the nicest girl I know. Well you were, before this," he said pointing to his face which still had smudged red lipstick, very faint pink cheeks and a little blue eye shadow. I laughed and he laughed too. "No, I don't mean that, in fact I really like this new look, I'm the only guy who can pull it off, don't you think?" he said looking in the mirror making funny faces. I laughed again and found myself softening towards him. He got out a baby wipe and leaned in really close and starting wiping my tears away. And then he leaned in even closer. Okay, major dj vu. "No," I said moving away. "Don't kiss me, you can't kiss me, from now on, I don't cry, we don't kiss," I said firmly. "You don't just go around randomly kissing girls." "I'm sorry?" he said with this puppy dog impression, he used to do that back in 9th grade and I always caved in, now it was even worse. How could you not forgive that? "Yes, good, you are sorry, we don't kiss, I am going, send the stuff back to me, keep it, chuck it, whatever. Bye." And with that I quickly ran out of the bathroom without a peep from Adam. Although I did feel his eyes following me the whole way.


I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 8)
Chapter 8 "Okay, so you have the purple pop up tent?" my mom asked over the phone. "Yup," I replied. "And I get to keep the pink one?" she asked hopefully. "Yes," I said chuckling. We had a big argument about that, ok it went like this: Mom: "Honey, can I have the pink one?" Me: "But mom, I wanted to take the pink one to camp." Mom: "Oh, but I was going to go on the beach with it, it matches my new bikini." Me: "Fine." Mom: "I love you honey, you're the best!" Very big for us. "Okay, and you have everything else you need?" she asked for the third time. "Yes mom," I replied for the third time. "Okay, pretend I'm kissing you on the forehead, bye honey, have a good time, call me when you get there, be wild, it won't really hurt your record if you have one detention, try not to get expelled though, bye!" she said sweetly. "Okay bye mom, see you in a week?" "Yes, I will try to get back before you do, bye." So I hung up the phone, Marshalls mom kissed his 'sweet lickle boy' on the forehead, he muttered a embarrassed 'mom', although you could see he loved her affection. Coach Bailey and Miss Trent, the two teachers that were


going to accompany us on the trip, appeared and told us to quieten down. "Okay kids, I know this is a camping trip," Coache's loud voice boomed. "But we are going to be spending about 5 nights in cabins and then 2 nights in tents, there is going to be five to a cabin so here are the groups." "Adam Taylor, Brody Perry, Nathan Seaton, Howard Brace and Marshall Groves," Miss Trent read out in her chirpy voice. "I have to share a cabin with Brody?" Marshall groaned quietly the same time I heard Brody start complaining, he couldn't finish though I saw Adam's elbow collide into Brody's side from the corner of my eye. "Yeah but your friends with Howard," I said encouragingly. At least he had a friend in his cabin, the likelihood of me ending up with Leanne is zilch and knowing me Nikki and I will probably be leftovers and end up together, ugh, I'd rather take Brody up on one of his disgusting offers. And there were a lot of offers. Some of them weren't even legal. I asked Mom and she told me they weren't legal after getting excited that I might commit my first federal offence. "Yeah, but Howards, such a," Marshall giggled, "nerd, I mean he makes me look cool." "Yeah but are you really one to judge?" I asked cheekily. "Adams right, you are mean," exclaimed Marshall as he made his way over to his cabin crew but I just stuck my tongue out at him and he smiled. "Laurel," I heard miss say, I should have been listening. "Leanne," oo yay, it's our groups! "Natasha," wow, that is lucky, I actually know and like Natasha. "Natalie," ah, I knew Leanne and Natasha were too good to be true, well, Natalie can't be that bad. "And Nikki." How very predictable. I should have stayed home. "God, why us?" I whispered to Leanne. We walked over next to our assigned group and slumped glumly as Nikki and her posse approached. "When I told miss I would prefer sharing a cabin with you two, I meant alone, not with that dike and that slut," Nikki told her cronies loud enough for us to hear. "Yeah, but Nikki, you're the one that begged Miss Trent if we could be with Laurel so that you could keep an eye on her and make sure she'd keep her 39

hands off of Adam," Natasha explained before catching Nikki's deathly glare. "Oh, were we not meant to say that?" Natasha said sincerely, I think she had actually blurted that out by mistake. "Sorry." Natalie let out a giggle but Nikki quickly silenced her too. "I don't know what you guys are talking about," Nikki said with a smile before flipping her perfect blonde hair. "Why would I want to be with her? She'd probably give me Chlamydia," Nikki joked. She looked at Natasha and Natalie and they both started laughing quickly. "Oh darling, you are so funny!" Natalie said between laughs. "Did I say you could talk? And 'darling'? Really? What are we, valley girls? Don't ever say that again," Nikki threatened and flipped her hair again. And so we went into the coach and proceeded to wait the 5 whole hours until we got to Templeton, California where Kirk Creek Campground was situated. "God, I hate Nikki, I bet she was the one that spread the rumours about you around," Leanne said as we settled into our seats. "You know, that does make sense, it sounds like something Nikki would do," I pondered. In fact it was incredibly likely. "What sounds like I would do?" Nikki asked as she walked down the aisle to get to her seat. "Make those rumours up about Laurel," Leanne interrupted before I could politely say 'nothing' and change the subject. "Of course I did, I thought your lesbian lover was in AP everything," Nikki said to me. "You guys should have figured it out by now; I don't like other girls associating themselves with Adam, he's the king of the school, and I'm the queen, what do you think that means for us? Besides he obviously has a thing for me, we don't need you to complicate things." "Oh, so he has such a big thing for you that he hides in a closet away from you when you come over?" Leanne blurted out before I could stop her. "Shut up, how did you know that?" Nikki said as her cheeks turned red. "Besides, he was just, um, cleaning out his closet, and he, um, needs quiet when he does that, so yeah, don't tell anyone." "Nikki, move, we need to get in the coach," a boy shouted and Nikki shot me 40

a dirty look and walked to the back of the coach. "Please, Adam is never going to be with her, he obviously likes you," Leanne commented. "Really?" I asked way too enthusiastically before stopping myself. "Because, um, that, um, means I'm, um, going to have to reject him again, so yeah, that, would, um, be very very bad," I finished awkwardly. "I knew it! You like him, I knew it!" Leanne said triumphantly. "I don't!" Marshall and Howard sat down in the two seats behind us. "Who does Laurel like? Because if it's Adam, then duh," Marshall said not very helpfully as he and Howard poked their heads through the gaps in our seats. "I don't like Adam," I said purely because I had to say something even if they didn't believe me. "It is quite apparent that a large majority of the female species find themselves infatuated with Adam Taylor so it is very likely that Laurel is as well," Howard said like, well, a dork. No other way of putting it but I don't mean it in a negative sense, Howard's dorkiness is somewhat endearing. "Well, I don't think he likes you," Marshall said. "Why not?" I asked rather vainly. Actually I can think of many reasons why he wouldn't like me, starting with how I broke his heart and all. "Not that I care," I finished rather pathetically. "Well, he thinks you're really shallow," Marshall explained. I am not shallow for God's sake. "Why? I am not shallow." "Yeah, Laurel isn't shallow," Leanne said in my defence. "Thank you! I am not shallow," I said for the second time. "Well he's always saying it, personally I think he's a little obsessed with you," Marshall said in disbelief. "And since when do you know so much about Adam Taylor?" Leanne asked 41

him. "Well, I do have nearly all my classes with him," Marshall said. "Besides, I asked him if he liked you once." "What?" I bet now he thinks I'm in love with him. Great. "When we were doing the Civil War presentation." "Great, now he thinks I like him just because he's hot," Leanne gave me an annoyed look at the 'hot' comment. "What? It's fact, there's no use in denying it! Anyways, I bet he think I'm doubly shallow now," I said glumly. "Well, it is fairly evident what you need to do to is prove him wrong," Howard said with an odd gleam to his eye. "What?" I asked carefully. "Well, it is quite apparent that you need to act as if you are going out with someone quite beneath your league, then they can dump you so that Adam will realize that you are not shallow and you like people because of their personality, not their looks," Howard finished. And it was very odd, but I thought I saw him make eyes at me for a second, a bit like Brody, wow, I am being imaginative today. "I don't know, isn't that, a little, well, not me?" I asked hesitantly. It really doesn't sound like something I would do, I mean I bet even my mom wouldn't advise that, okay she probably would, but that's beyond the point. "I'll agree it is a little out of character but I don't see why you shouldn't do it, besides; I have a perfect candidate in mind," Howard said with that odd gleam in his eye again. I can see exactly why I shouldn't do it. I mean it is plain mean to whomever I 'pretend' to date anyway, even if they are okay with it. Not to mention the fact that I really don't care about Adam anyway so I don't need to do any 'pretending' to prove him wrong. But then again if Adam believes I'm shallow then so does the whole school. I could handle Adam but the whole of James Wood High? No thanks. "You're right this is genius and I know who could do it," Leanne announced after a little thinking. "Leanne!" I scolded. "I though you hated Adam!" "Yeah, but you'd obviously be happy with him and then everyone else won't 42

think you're shallow also, and I know it's out of character but if you're going to be fake dating someone then I'm pretty sure I can be a romantic," Leanne added. "No you can't be a romantic, because I'm not fake dating anyone," I said firmly. "No, I'm fairly certain the person you would be fake dating wouldn't mind, in fact girls are like sheep, where one goes, others follow," Howard said wisely as if he had a wealth of knowledge on the female species, which, as mean at it sounded, I doubted. "In fact, I am fairly certain the person you would be fake dating would get lots of dates after your little stint with him." "Yeah, but who would agree to that anyway?" I asked, I mean the only guy who seems interested in me is Brody and I don't think he'd like the 'fake' part of our dating. Not to mention the fact that the likes of Brody and Adam are way out of my league, certainly not beneath it. "I can think of someone," Howard said, and nope it wasn't my imagination, he was definitely making eyes at my face. Well, a little south of my face. Great I have to fake date him. Ugh, it's not that I'm shallow, it's just that, well, Howard is a little creepy. "I like your thinking Howie," Leanne said as if she was connecting with him telepathically of something. "Marshall would be perfect." "Oo, I like that, I bet I could get a date with Natasha after that," Marshall said pondering it. "Ew, you like Miss-Can't-Get-Her-Head-Out-Of-Nikki's-Ass?" Leanne said with disgust. "What? She's so small and cute; I could carry her around in my pocket all day," he said with a sigh. "Mm hmm, if Marshall is willing then yeah, why the hell not?" I said ignoring Marshalls new found love, well, probably not that new. Marshall is so much better than Howard, for one thing, I'm fairly certain that Marshall is not attracted to me and he isn't creepy whatsoever. Okay, he's probably a little creepy. "Yeah baby, sure," he said in a sleazy tone. "Give us a kiss then." "Fake Marshall, fake," I said emphasising the 'fake'. "Although we should probably like hold hands or something on our way out." 43

"Seriously? Marshall? Over me? Howard Brace?" he said in a tone very out of character. "I hope you do realise that I am fairly certain that I will probably be a billionaire and now that you've snubbed me, you are not getting a penny." "Well sorry Howard, I didn't realise you wanted to be my fake date, and since Marshall already said yes, I can't really back out of it," I said easily. See Laurel? See how easy it was to let a guy down gently without breaking his heart in the process? Not that I'm suggesting Howard's heart has anything to do with liking me, a man's (well boys) you-know-what usually does the decision making. But I could have easily done that with Adam way back when. God I'm an idiot. "Not-a-penny," Howard enunciated before turning away from me and staring out of the window. Well that was indeed a big loss, although Howard did come up with the whole idea of fake dating, he is a lot like Marshall said, nerdy (not that I mind, that would just be hypocrisy), and very creepy. By the end of our journey Leanne agreed to spread the news that Marshall and I were completely in love and Howard and I swapped seats and Marshall pretended to whisper 'sweet nothings' in my ear, when really he was whispering all the lines to the last Star Wars movie which he claimed he had watched about 50 times. When we finally got to Kirk Creek I retired to my cabin (okay, I did some clever thinking and went there first to get a bunk) whilst everyone else went out and about to explore the place. "Hey Laurel," a girly familiar voice came from the door. I looked down from my bunk to see Natasha's small figure filling the doorway. "Oh, hi Natasha, what's up?" "I just, um, wanted you to know that, um, Marshall's, um," she said hesitantly as if she was coming up with something on the spot. "Um, a freak," she finished abruptly. "Oh," I said oddly. What do you say when someone insults your 'boyfriend'. "You're telling me this, because?"


"Well, you know, I don't think that you should go out with him, because, he's uh, a freak," she finished awkwardly. Wow, Leanne got news to spread fast. "Um, well, I um, really, really like him, and all his freakish ways," I said awkwardly. I need to pretend to 'love' him more. Acting is definitely not the way for me to go in the future. "Yeah, but you could have anyone you want, better people, people who other people like better than Marshall and his wonderfully freakish ways," she blurted. Then she stopped herself before saying anything more. That is so sweet; Marshall and Natasha like each other! I need to hurry up and get out of the way so they can live happily ever after. "You know, I know someone else who likes you, someone who, in the eyes of others, is cuter than Marshall," she said as if whispering a secret. "Who?" Let me guess, Brody? "Adam." People thinking I like Adam or visa versa, there's something new today. "Really?" I asked, again, way too enthusiastically. "Why? I mean, what would give you that idea?" I corrected coolly. "Well, I have a confession on my phone, by Nikki's boyfriend himself," Natasha said excitedly. "What? He's Nikki's boyfriend? What?" No way, he hates her, he hides from her. "Oh, sorry, Nikki makes us call him that around her because she says it's only a matter of time before he is that so we may as well get used to it but it's been a year and I highly doubt it, but Nikki does always get what she wants and Nikki-" she said babbling on about Nikki. "Yeah, yeah," I said growing impatient. "The confession?" "Right, I was ditching class the other day and doing my nails in the toilet and-" and so Natasha whipped out her phone, surprisingly without saying anything else and pressed play. A familiar voice played, it was me! "No, don't kiss me, you can't kiss me, from now on, I don't cry, we don't kiss. You don't just go around randomly kissing girls." I heard my voice back in the bathroom a few days ago.


"I'm sorry?" Adam's voice sounds very good on tape, it's better in real life, but still very good on tape. "Yes, good, you are sorry, we don't kiss, I am going, send the stuff back to me, keep it, chuck it, whatever. Bye." Natasha paused it. "By the way, mean much! Adam kisses you and you ditch him like that? Adam Taylor, he is Adam Taylor!" "Let me hear the rest of it!" I said trying to grab her phone. "Nuh, nuh, no, let me teach you some social etiquette missy, Adam Taylor kisses you, you kiss him back, Nikki would love to-" I got hold of her phone and pressed play. Natasha mouthed 'sorry'. "Ugh, Adam you imbecile," he said in that wonderful voice. "Stop kissing the girl, she didn't like you then, she doesn't like you now, you turn hot, doesn't matter, sure, Nikki Richards is all over you, even if she is really vain and shallow, she's no Laurel, before or after 9th Grade. And after, damn is she looking good? Forget about that, Nikki is all over you, so's pretty much all the other girls, okay, you're right, it's not possible, Laurel is asexual man, because you are hot," I heard Adam whistle and I couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah man, you looking good, you hot, you finger-lickin good, you bringing sexy back! Lor's asexual man, no one can resist the Adam Taylor!" he said the last part in a very deep and debonair voice. "I hope she isn't asexual. What would be better? Her being asexual or her not liking me? "Ugh, who am I kidding? There's nothing wrong with Laurel, she's great, it's me, I'm just, god, look at me talking to myself like an old person, snap out of it Taylor, really stop it," he stopped talking and I heard the shut of a bathroom door. "See, leave Marshall alone," Natasha said firmly. "Nope, Marshall's probably the love of my life," I said in a daze feeling slightly sorry for Natasha. I better not let Mrsahll find out that Natasha likes him too, otherwise he'd end it with me too soon. I don't want to be more of a laughing stock than I already am. What would Adam think? Well, I know what Adam thinks. She's great, she's great, she's great, there's nothing wrong with Laurel, she's great, I sighed silently. He thinks I'm great. "Uh Natasha," I said just before she left. "Yeah?" 46

"Why were you recording that?" As useful as that recording was, why she recorded it was very questionable. "Oh, Nikki says we should always eavesdrop on Adam and get it on tape. Oops I mean I just felt like it, yeah um-" and then she quickly ran out. Yeah Nikki's more obsessed than I ever will be. I'm great. She's great. There's nothing wrong with Laurel, she's great. She's great. Great. Great. Great. Great is a great word. He thinks I'm great.

I Rejected The Ugly Dork But Now He's The Hot Popular Guy (Chapter 9)
Chapter 9 I was awoken the next morning by Miss Trent screaming: "Wake up Girls, it's time to hike!" I was supposed to be prepared to be refreshed and ready to go hiking, but I hadn't had a wink of sleep last night. I had to keep lifting up my duvet to hit a certain someone who kept snoring ever since (as Natasha kindly explained) she got her 'deviated septum' done, which Natasha of course explained as, "she's snored like a dog ever since she had her nose job, I mean, um, deviated septum removed,". So I groggily got out of bed and sauntered to the bathroom. I opened the door and quickly showered.


I then gave into the loud banging on the poor old wooden bathroom door and opened it as Nikki came tumbling in. "Ow, what was that for?" she shrieked as she got up. "I opened the door," I said blandly. I'm really not a morning person especially when I haven't really slept. "I didn't know you'd be on the other side." Usually I would be a little more sympathetic as she vigorously rubbed her knee but I'm sure she didn't actually need that stupid nose job. "Well now I most likely have a bruise!" she shouted at me rubbing her knee as she reached for her hairbrush. "I knew I should have got leg insurance," she muttered as she starting brushing away quite roughly much to my surprise. Guess Nikki's not a morning person either, before you start getting ideas that's where my similarities with her end. Other than the fact we're both girls and the same age and...well you get what I mean. I put on some clothes and longingly stared at my bunk, it looked so warm and cosy. 5am was way too early a time to be waking up. I mean it's just hiking; walking a little less isn't going to hurt anyone. So our entire year filed into the canteen like the dead and lined up for breakfast. There were the occasional annoying girls prattling on (like Nikki) but the rest of us normal mortals all tried falling asleep standing up as Coach Bailey riled on about the safety of hiking. "Now kids," Miss Trent started, even she sounded a little less enthusiastic than usual. "We are going to go hiking in groups of ten since there is always safety in numbers; the groups are going to be with your cabin crew," fantastic, "and the other cabin next to yours." "That means that there will be five girls and five boys in each group," Coach Bailey finished for her in his loud voice. That is actually pretty good because that way I will be with Leanne and my 'boyfriend' whilst hiking. And Adam can be there too to see that mine and Marshall's relationship is completely genuine. Now I know what you're thinking, why should I fake being with Marshall if I know that Adam thinks I'm great? But that wasn't the point in the first place, because the entire school needs to know I'm not shallow. Besides, I don't really care what Adam thinks, it's not as if I like him or anything. I mean, why would you think that? Me liking Adam - pfft, that's like, like, Nikki not liking Adam or something. I totally don't like Adam Taylor. Anyways, so I put my bowl out and the lady behind the counter slapped 48

some cold lumpy grey gunk into it. I sat down next to Leanne, Marshall and Howard and observed the, um, thing, in my bowl. "What is this?" I asked carefully. "Um, I believe it is, in fact I am fairly certain it is meant to be oatmeal," Howard said putting some in his mouth before spitting it out. "Why is it grey?" I asked a little scared now. I supposed oatmeal did make the most sense but it looked more like cr- well I'm about to eat it so I'm not going to make that analogy but you know what I mean. "Well, actually, I'm fairly certain that, actually, I'm not quite sure," Howard said regarding it and for the first time not knowing something. It really was a good thing that mom had stuffed the pockets of my backpack with tissues and sick bags, she said they were in case I needed to be sick but also in case there was any nasty food that would be too rude to throw straight into the bin. I titled the plate expecting the food to fall into the bag but I had to whack the back of the plate a couple of times before it actually started to edge away from the plate. After everyone had somehow managed to eat breakfast we set out to hike. We were told to keep on the hiking trails that were marked with a blue hiking sign after every couple of metres and we would be sent out onto different trails that all ended up with the big cabin up top where we were going to celebrate with a 'par-tay' (as Miss Trent put it) which translates to some flat lemonade, stale chips and quiet teeny-boppy music in the background, I know I sound pessimistic but I have a feeling this day is going to suck. "Come here Marshall," I grunted since we were the first group to set out. I grudgingly took his hand and started walking. "Whoa there, calm down kids, get a room," Leanne joked as I carelessly kept my loose hold onto Marshall's sweaty palm. "How can you joke?" I asked showing her my red bloodshot eyes and glaring them at her. "Well, I'm a deep sleeper," she said with a shrug. I took my hand away from Marshall and wiped it on my pants before holding him again. "Do we really need to hold hands?" I asked him.


"I don't think it's necessary," he said carefully, wow, I think this is the first time someone has ever been even slightly scared of me. Way to go me. I took my hand away and wiped it again. "Why are you so sweaty anyway?" Leanne asked rather rudely in my opinion. Then again, I wasn't being an image of politeness myself. "There are bears, wild boars, eagles," he said looking around cautiously. "I'm too young to die." Leanne and I looked at each other before rolling our eyes and walking behind the rest of our group. After about twenty minutes the fresh air of the outside seemed to have woken me up and I started to notice the hesitant steps of our group. I looked down to the ground to see we weren't on what looked exactly like a hiking trail, more like just plain mud with a few patches of grass and a whole lot of trees. "Where the hell are we?" I demanded. Knowing that Adam would turn around I quickly took hold of Marshall's hand and held it lovingly. "Kirk Creek Campground, North California, I'm fairly certain the place is called Templeton," Howard answered swiftly. "Not that," I ground out. "Why aren't we on a hiking trail?" I said looking around more whilst pulling Marshall with me; we were completely in the middle of the woods, I couldn't see anything resembling a trail. "And where are the blue signs?" Leanne asked suspiciously as if just catching onto where we were, I could have sworn she was plenty awake before. "We're fine, we are, um, just taking a bit of a detour," Nikki said lying through her teeth. "Why did we go this way anyway?" I said asking the rest of the group. "Hey, don't blame us," Brody said putting his hands in the air. "Nikki's leading; she said she's done this sort of thing before." "And you believed her?" I asked incredulously, I mean seriously, Nikki of all people has been in the great outdoors hiking before? Please. Did they really think she spent this much time away from her nail file? "Why are we letting Barbie lead? I thought she just forced her way to the 50

front to be near him," Leanne added shooting dark looks at both Nikki and Adam who seemed to have no idea what was going on. "Hey!" Nikki squealed. "Yeah, I'm with Leanne on this one," I chimed in. "When aren't you with Leanne on something?" Adam asked rudely. I noticed he was almost imperceptibly shifting his gaze from Marshall to me and back again. "Exactly!" Natasha screamed. "Get your head out Leanne's ass Laurel! Leave her alone! Other people want to be with Leanne. Give the other people a chance!" "Hey, maybe I could just tell Leanne what you think about her?" I asked knowing we weren't talking about Leanne anymore. "Just let other people get up her ass!" she shrieked. "There are other Leanne's out there, leave this one alone!" Natasha looked around embarrassed and quickly shifted her gaze to her feet and murmured, "I haven't seen my masseuse in a while." "God, you're pathetic," Natalie directed at Natasha speaking for once. "Can we just carry on with the hike? Nikki is obviously leading us to the right place," she said kissing Nikki's ass once again. "So what if we're a little off track, Nikki will lead us back." "Exactly, come on, it's this way," Nikki said somehow making us all feel inferior with her tone of voice. "I'm not following you," I said firmly, no way was I going by the (as clich as it sounds) Queen of Mean's direction. "Yeah, you seem to be heading the wrong way," Marshall said cautiously, if he was scared of me then you can only wonder how he feels towards Nikki. She glared at him and he added, "ma'am," quickly. "Whatever, I don't need you freaks anyway," Nikki said tersely. "That wasn't very nice Nikki," Adam said to her. "Um, I didn't mean it," Nikki said quickly covering up her blunder. Ah, now I see why Adam occasionally tolerates her, she turns the bitch off when he's around, it all makes sense now.


"Well then apologise," he said as if it were obvious, which you know, morally it was. "Why?" Nikki scoffed laughing with Natalie whilst Natasha let out that hideous fake laugh of hers. "It's not like I meant it, I mean it was just a joke Adam, baby, I'm not apologising to them." "Don't call me baby," Adam cut in obviously still pissed with her. "Oh," she said sounding disappointed; I saw a real human side to Nikki for a second before she switched back to herself. "Whatever, I'm going forward, who's coming with me?" Natalie and Natasha came at her side at once and she looked at Nate (or was it Nathan? The guy has never said a word to me; I really have no idea who is) and he quickly came to her side to. Brody went in between Nikki and me, seemingly weighing his decision. "Sorry baby's," he said walking over to Nikki's side. "Three against two, I go where the majority of the hotness goes," he said joining the three girls on Nikki's side opposed to Leanne and I. "Adam?" Nikki asked expectantly. "I want to actually get to the top," Adam said staying put. "So I think I'm with Laurel." "Fine," Nikki said disheartened and with that they burrowed further and further into the woods. "Okay, let's go backwards then," I instructed turning around. "Um, no Laurel, we obviously need to go right," Marshall said laughing a little uncomfortably. "Honey," he added lacking any sweetness. "No," I said as if explaining it to a child. "We came from a trail that was back there, therefore to get back to it we have to walk this way," I said pointing back a little condescendingly. "It's a little obvious, don't you think, babe?" I added bitterly. "No," he said in a patronising voice. "We came from that direction, sweetums," he explained pointing right. "No, we came from behind sugarpuff."


"How would you know? You were asleep the whole way." And then we argued for a bit, but I was pretty sure we came from behind, I may have been half asleep but we came from behind damn it. "Wow, whole lot of love going around here," Leanne hinted. "Its okay baby, I'll just go this way with whoever wants to come along with me," I looked over at Leanne knowing she would come back with me. "Actually, I'm gonna stick with Marshall on this one," Leanne said awkwardly with unease. Adam who had been silent throughout our encounter gave us the pleasure of hearing his amazing voice, I mean really before high pitched and squeaky as a girl and now smooth, deep and frankly delicious, puberty can work wonders. "No, I'm pretty sure that Laurels got it right," Adam said agreeing with me. "Come on Howard, let's go." "Nope, I'm fairly certain my compass is telling me to go right," he said following it. "Fine then, all you guys leave me! Adam and I will be fine together!" I shouted as we started to part ways. "Oh, you guys will be better than fine together," Leanne muttered. Marshall quickly came back and we hugged as he whispered, "happy getting lost," in my ear. He then let go and kissed me on the cheek. It was a good thing Adam was behind me so he wasn't able to see my shocked expression. I blew Marshall an air kiss and he attempted to catch it with his hands and falling over whilst doing that, I laughed and turned around. "Let's go," I said as we walked side by side. And then the silence began. "So should we just keep going straight?" he asked after a while. "Mmhm," I murmured. And the silence continued, just the pitter patter of our hiking boots as we 53

walked. I noticed Adam open his mouth but then as if rethinking something he closed it again and started over. "You know, I just thought you should know something about Marshall," he said after a while. "What?" I asked curious. Is he jealous? That would be so cute if he was jealous... "He um, doesn't towel dry below his knees after he showers," Adam said quickly. "Oh," I said understandingly. Except I didn't understand, in fact, what? "Why did you tell me that?" "Just you know what they say," he declared. "What?" "Marshall puts his wet feet into his socks, humidity, warmth likelihood he probably has athletes foot," Adam diagnosed gravely. "So you're still working on being a doctor then?" I asked with a smile. "Yeah, but I just thought you should know that before getting into too serious a relationship with him, he's most probably got toe fungus." I burst out laughing. "What?" he asked seriously. "You need to know, when he takes his shoes off, there will be smelliness going on there." "Oh Adam," I said still laughing. "Is there anything else I need to know?" "Well... He itches his head when he's thinking so he's probably got headlice, and not to sound too Howard-ish but I'm fairly certain he has commitment problems and..." And we walked back together as Adam listed all the bad qualities about Marshall, why I don't know but they were all pretty amusing. And although I was having a good time, we never did reach a hiking trail and it was getting darker...


Chapter 10 "Adam, shouldn't we be there by now?" I asked, it was starting to get really dark, just past twilight but I could still see Adams face which I was thankful for since I was starting to get just a little scared. Just a little. "Uh, yeah, I think Marshall might have been right," Adam admitted as he looked around once more. We had given up getting to a trail an hour ago and had started trying to get a signal from our cell phones. "No, maybe if we just walk this way, we'll be closer to civilisation," I suggested holding up my phone again trying to call anyone. "Oh God, we're going to die in the forest aren't we?" Marshall did say there were bears, wild boars and eagles in the forest, and while he may be no Howard, he is usually right about things that may endanger his life and the possibilities of not becoming valedictorian next year. "Yeah, probably," Adam agreed casually. "Oh my God! You're meant to disagree, we really are aren't we?" I said on the verge of tears. It was bitterly cold, my teeth couldn't stop chattering, I was starving, my hair was sure to look a frizzy mess, my stupid backpack was really really heavy, I hadn't slept in over 24 hours and now I was going to die savaged in the stupid forest by a bear, part eaten by a wild boar, my remains picked up by a eagle and dropped on my doorstep for my mom to grieve over. "Hey, hey," Adam said soothing me with an arm around my shoulder, as horrifyingly, I felt a tear prick my eye. Fabulous, the second time I cry since like ever and it's front of Adam, again. "I was just joking, we'll be fine," he said as I wiped away my tears. God, that's exactly the type of thing Nikki would do - cry. "How do you know that?" I bawled like a moody hormonal teenager, I bet he didn't think I was 'great' anymore. "Well Nikki or Marshall and them lot will eventually get to the cabin and then Coach Bailey and Miss Trent will send out a search party and we'll be saved," he explained simply, he always was better at figuring things out. "We just need to make sure we're alive when they find us," he added cheekily which 55

caused me to cry again. "Even you think we're going to, sorry, know, we're going to die!" I said between sobs. What is wrong with me? I shuffled through the pockets of my bag and pulled out a wad of tissues and blew my nose into it. "Oh Lor," there's that nickname again, I sighed inside, not because of him calling me that or anything, just you know, memories and that. "We're gonna be fine, we just need to get a fire going, maybe build a shelter or something and wait for someone to come get us." I nodded and listened intently as he told me about his brilliant plan. "Awesome," I said as he finished. I picked a couple of very well and conveniently located bright red wild flowers and dropped a petal as I made my way through the forest looking for timber to stuff my backpack with. Well, dry wood as Adam had explained. He said he remembered a lot back from the old days of being a scout. Apparently the whole survival thing really interested him and he was obsessed with the outdoors. In fact I do vaguely remember Adam trying to get me to go on a date with him in the park in a tent for the night. I was flattered of course; I mean what kind of girl doesn't want to spend the night freezing in a park? I came across some dry looking wood that looked like it would catch fire easily and filled my now empty backpack with it. I had left everything else with Adam. Everything else being, a fleece, waterproof matches, a torch, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a rope, some extra clothes, a couple of packets of Ramen Noodles (and some smaller packets of instant noodles that fit in my bag better), two cans of baked beans, two large bottles of mineral water (because how could I possibly eat the noodles without water to boil them in?), a small pan (because how could I possibly cook the noodles without boiled water?), two plastic forks (what, am I supposed to eat the noodles with my hands?) and a large waterproof blanket. Mom packed my backpack with the sole idea that I would get lost in the woods, which I laughed off but the woman was clearly showing off her psychic abilities then. So Adam was building us a shelter (well he was building us a 'sapling' shelter, whatever that was) and I was picking up more dry wood and dry leaves and mounds of grass. After filling my backpack to the brim I dragged it along as I followed the red petals back. Hansel and Gretel really were genius.


"Wow," I breathed, Adam had practically built a tent out of my waterproof blanket and some sticks in the mud. "How did you do that?" "Well," he said with a smug smile. "It was pretty simple, I just dug the sticks into the ground, bent them across each other to form an arc. Then I wove some more sticks through the arc to hold it into place and just to make sure they don't collapse on us I wove your rope through and knotted it at the ends. Then I draped the waterproof sheet over them and weighed it down with some rocks at the bottom to keep the wind from blowing it off. If my scout guide could see this then I bet I'd get the stupid survival skills badge." "Well did you get your how to light a fire badge because I have the wood, leaves and grass," I said emptying my backpack out. "I don't need it, we have matches, pass me the grass," Adam cushioned the bottom of our shelter with some grass. "That'll keep our body heat in and stop it escaping through the ground, and let's be honest; it's a nice homely touch," he said with a lopsided grin. I smiled back as my knees started to give way a little, he really does have an amazing smile. "Wow, you know a lot about survival, what about the fire though?" "Well," he laid down the dry leaves and put the wood on top. He then put some stones around and lit the match on some of the leaves. "Ta da!" "I am impressed," I beamed as the fire flickered. It was really dark and I could see Adam a lot better now. "But shouldn't we put up like a flag or something? How are we going to be found?" But as scared as I was, I wouldn't mind not being found for a while, huddled into a little shelter near a warm fire under a fleece with Adam sounded very inviting. I know it doesn't sound like me in the least but I may as well just go ahead and surprise you with the truth, I kinda sorta maybe have a small crush on Adam. "Laurel," he said interrupting my thoughts and narrowing his eyes. "Are you listening to me?" "Yeah?" I lied feebly. "Well can you pass it to me then?" "What?" "The torch," he said a little irritated. 57

"Oh," I said turning pink and handing it to him. He turned it on and had a look around until he found another long stick (it is so convenient how many discarded long sticks there are in the forest). He then went through the contents of my backpack (which were strewn across the floor) and found a brightly coloured top of mine and made a rip through some of it. My jaw must have dropped open because Adam said: "Oh calm down, I'm sure you can buy another t-shirt anytime." He then tied the top around the stick which made a very stand-out-ish flag and stuck it into the ground. "That is so clever," I put in, not trying to sound too Nikki-ish by complimenting him every other second but it really did make a good flag. "How did you not get the survival badge?" "Some people just don't see greatness," he shrugged, I smiled and shivered. It was really really cold and also very dark. The only reason I could see anything was the fire, did I mention how cute Adam looks in firelight? I mean really all kinds of lighting look fabulous on him. "It's cold isn't it?" he asked making it out to be more of a rhetorical question. "Let's get in our shelter. Lady's first," he said in a really bad British accent pretending to be all gentlemanly. I laughed and got down to my knees before rethinking it. My stomach rumbled loudly and I got back up. "You think we could cook up some chicken flavoured goodness first?" I asked him, referring to the noodles. "Well, actually I hate to break it to you but we only have beef flavour," Adam said picking up two packets. "It's still food right?" "You couldn't eat the crap they gave us either?" he asked me, see, how alike we are? I shook my head and poured some water from one of my bottles into the pan which I held over the fire. It started to bubble and I added the contents of the noodles into the water. "Mmm," I breathed as I could smell the delicious heavenly aroma of dehydrated soya products. Usually I don't like Ramen Noodle much, but I was so hungry right now. "Do you have bowls?" he asked having a look through my stuff.


"Nope, we're going to have to eat from the pa-" "Those don't look too good," came a female voice. Oh God, our saviour! It's a shame she came before I got to huddle up with Adam in the shelter, but whatever. She came closer to us and I could see her properly now. She looked positively angelic. And she was vaguely familiar, in fact, she had the same dark blonde hair, same long gangly limbs and same bohemian style thrift shop bought clothes. Oh my God, or should I say oh my Mother Nature? "Rain!" I muttered half-heartedly. "Laurel! Oh my Mother Nature, Laurel! I never thought I'd see you again!" she squealed taking me aback by hugging me very tightly. Very very tightly. "Okay, difficulty to breathe here," I grunted. "Oh, sorry," she said letting go. "It's just that you have no idea how much I have missed you! You look great! I always knew your natural beauty would shine through! How have you been? How's school? Oh, you've grown so much, I lost count of what grade you're in!" she hit her head and laughed. "How's your mom? And is that creepy boy who likes you at school still stalking you?" She laughed again, if only she'd have hit her head a little harder. "Nope, he's still around," Adam said joking in a strained voice. "Um, I think introductions are in order," I said turning to Adam and mouthing 'sorry'. "Adam, this is Rain, my once stepsister." "But still best friend!" Rain interjected enthusiastically. "She's my dads ex-wife's daughter," I said ignoring her. "And Rain this is Adam, he's a friend." "But still creepy stalker boy," he said imitating her whilst shaking Rain's hand. Great, he's not going to let this go is he? "Wait a second, no way, you're him?" Adam nodded. "Okay, Rain let's get my foot out of my mouth and start over," she said giggling. "I didn't actually say you were creepy stalker boy, that was her interpretation, she was just asking me about if I liked anyone and I told her about you, I'm so sorry," I whispered under my breath to Adam really worried he was going to hate me forever, again. 59

"Whatever, it's cool," but his blue eyes still looked hurt. And I still felt like a shit. I really didn't say that, she was just pestering me about what it was like back home and so I told her the juiciest, well the only, bit of gossip I had. Regardless, I shouldn't have said anything about Adam, but it's not as if I thought he'd to hear or anything. "So what are you doing here?" I asked in an attempt to change the subject. "Well, I got expelled," she said happily. "And that's a good thing because?" Adam asked a little confused. "Well they were going to cut down this tree, and don't worry I wasn't going to live up to the tree hugger stereotype but no one would sign my petition! So I tied myself to the tree with a rope, which duh," she hit herself on the head again, "stupid! Because they just cut the ropes and took me to the principals office, and then um, well I said I wasn't going to go to their s-word lessons if they were killing the tree, which trust me is the only time I have ever sworn, like ever, and then I got a detention but I wouldn't go to the lesson, and then he expelled me, which I am so proud of, I mean I stuck to my cause, I rock! Who's with me?" she finished her long rushed story with her hand in the air. "Come on guys, don't leave me hanging!" So I put my hand up and high fived her. I mean she was my once stepsister, no matter how annoying she is. "Double whammy!" she screamed putting both her hands up towards Adam. He just looked at her and she put her hands down. "Okay, not that kind of guy," she muttered. "So what brings you to this neck of the woods Laurel? Literally!" she laughed again. "Get it? We're in the woods, but that's meant to be a figure of expression? And I used it in the literal sense!" she explained in between laughs. "Um, actually, we were on a camping trip with the school, but we kind of got lost," Adam explained in a bit of a monotone voice, it would be nice if he at least pretended to laugh at her jokes like I do. "Oh, I can get you back! I was heading to Huntingdon Beach anyway but I would much rather take you guys back to safety instead of facing a deathly wrath known as my mother," she said laughing at her own joke. Rain tended to laugh a bit too much. "Wait, you guys live in Huntingdon Beach? So do we," I replied as she nodded. 60

"Wow! What's your school? Maybe I could get a place!" "It's called James Wood High, you should totally come!" Adam egged on as I glared at him. "What do you think Laurel?" she asked, very excited, oh God, don't ask that. "Um, well, I think, we ought to get going!" I said with a nervous laugh and guided Rain along to wherever she was taking us.

Chapter 11 Rain prattled on about her boarding school and nodding along at intervals I had a feeling that Rain and Natasha would be great friends. "Oh my God, there's the cabin!" I shrieked completely interrupting her and running for the door from where I could dimly see lights from the windows and a police car at the front. "Oh God! Laurel! Adam!" Miss Trent ran up to us and hugged us while kissing the tops of our heads, I had a feeling this went way beyond the usual teacher student relationship guidelines. "You're saved! Oh God! Imagine it; losing children on my first ever trip! Oh the horror!" And she said that in a complete non sarcastic sense which I didn't think possible. "And God, what would I tell your parents if you died? John! I mean, Coach! They're saved!" Coach Bailey appeared out of nowhere and his face immediately flushed with relief. "Thank the Lord!" he said actually putting his hands up in the air. And then his face went red, deep dark red and a huge fat vein twitched on his forehead. "WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU TWO BEEN?!?" I flinched, I actually flinched. You don't just randomly bring that on to a student, it's scary as hell. "We got lost Coach," Adam said casually, he seemed to be a lot less petrified than I was, in fact he looked like he was used to it. God, what is wrong with Coach Bailey? He does this on a daily basis? Poor Adam... "LOST? LOST?!?" he screamed louder even though I didn't think that was possible.


"Careful there Coach, if you scream any louder you're gonna cause a landslide," Adam said wryly and I just stared at him in shock. Obviously Coach Bailey was a madman and he was trying to crack jokes? Jokes?!? But from out of nowhere Coach squeezed Adam into a hug. Um, what? Did I miss something here? "Oh Adam! What would I do without you? The team would have fallen apart! You had me so scared!" Coach rubbed Adam's prefect hair into a perfect dishevelled mess and looked as if he wanted to land a big juicy one on him. He then turned to me. "As for you, what the hell did you think you were doing?" Although in a much quieter tone, he still scared me as that freaky vein twitched from his forehead again. "Well," I started remembering that I actually had a perfectly good excuse this time; we got lost, simple as. "Laurel!" came a familiar girly voice as it echoed the same thing as Miss Trent. I turned around, it couldn't be who I thought I was, could it? "Mom!" I screamed and ran to hug her. She was so warm, there truly is nothing as satisfying as hugging your own mother, well maybe not as satisfying as hugging your own Adam but that's never going to happen since I've pushed him away the last two times. "Oh darling! Sweetie! Honey! You're alive! I knew the equipment would help! I told you, didn't I? That palm reader really did pass on some of her powers to me!" She shrieked hugging me tighter and tighter with each phrase. "Can't. Breathe." I choked out. "Oh, honey," she said loosening her grip. "And I know it is very cold in the forest," she whispered in my ear so that no one else could hear. "So let me know how you guys warmed up later!" she said with a mischievous smile. How we warmed up? I wish. "Mom!" I said my cheeks tinging pink. "We made a fire!" "Dammit! I knew the matches were a bad idea," she scolded before a concerned expression covered her face. "You are alright though honey?" "Of course, but how did you get here? Aren't you meant to be in New York or Japan or somewhere?" I asked completely forgetting where exactly she went this time around. 62

"New York, but the people we where supposed to meet where held up in a freak accident, no one was hurt though and so I came back home and then I heard about you and I rushed over but now you're fine! So it's okay!" she said hugging me again. "Speaking of which, who's in charge of these children?" "That would be me, I'm Coach Bailey," he said stepping forward. "Where were you when my daughter was stuck in the woods on the verge of death?" she asked coldly in a business like manner, oh great, I bet I would get another detention out of this... "That was no fault of mine, she was supposed to stick with her group who have all come back safely," he returned sharply. "Well you're the one that's supposed to make sure of that; shouldn't you have sent someone hiking with them? You can't just send a couple of teenagers out into the woods and expect them to stick to a trail," she retorted. "You're right, evidently that was not very safe and I'll make sure we don't do that anymore," he said agreeing with her and offering her a - was I seeing this right? - flirtatious smile? "But I think we need to discuss this further." Mom smiled back and I turned to her in disbelief. "I agree." "Well whaddya say we discuss it Friday night at 8, Miss Brookes?" "Yes, I think that is required," she replied cheerfully still trying to keep up her cold business demeanour but failing badly into excited teen. I continued to stare at her my mouth open. What in God's name was the woman thinking? "Although I'd much rather prefer it if you called me Emma." "That's a very pretty name, Miss Brookes," Coach said suddenly all gentlemanly. Mom chuckled and I watched their getting friendlier encounter with ever growing fear on my face. Why did she want to date Coach Bailey? Of all people, Coach Bailey? Oh God, what if she married him? He hates me! "Well then, I will see you on Friday Emma," Coach said interrupting my thoughts, dammit, what had they been saying all this time?


"I can't wait John." Oh that's right, they were just getting fully acquainted and onto first name basis. Fabulous. I may as well just change my name to Laurel Bailey now.

Chapter 12 I sighed into the window and then rubbed of the mist that my breath had left on it. It really was unfair that they were sending us back home just because we got lost; it's not our fault we decided not to follow Nikki's obsolete sense of direction and actually try to get back. Okay maybe I should have been a more trusting 'girlfriend' to my 'boyfriend' Marshall. So much for a buying a purple pop-up tent even if I did want the pink one. "Martha, honey, what are you talking about? Oh my God, no way, that did not happen!" Mom shrieked into the phone as she swerved the car and several other cars blared their horns. "You poor thing!" "Mom! Wear your earpiece!" I said loudly so she could hear me over Adam's mom on the other end. "It's okay honey, I'm gonna get off the phone in a minute anyway," but mom's attention was quickly off me as she gasped, "Arthur's taken you where? Wow! You lucky little-! Oh right, yeah okay, I will pass the message on, no it's okay, he can stay with us, mm hm, yup, okay then, bye honey!" My ears perked up at this new information, what was going on exactly? "Guys, do you mind if I meditate?" Rain asked and started since no one was listening to her. It really was unfair that she was seated in between Adam and me. "Adam I have some fortunate news!" Mom said turning round to discreetly wink at me. "Well, it may be unfortunate, depends how you look at it, but here's the thing, your homes experienced a bit of a termite infestation." Mom always did like to make it short and sweet. In this case minus the sweet. "What?" he shouted. "Oh, it's okay, Martha was getting groceries and Arthur was at work when 64

your bedroom wall kind of cracked a little where the termites had eaten away at the wooden framing of your house and then some of your roof slanted and collapsed a little on your stuff, but it's okay, everyone is fine!" she added to soften the blow a little. "What? All my stuff is ruined?" he cried wearing an adorable pained expression. "Actually, Martha was able to save your laptop and your school stuff!" "Oh yippee, I can still do my homework!" he said in fake glee as I giggled in the corner. "What are you laughing at?" he asked a little angry. "Nothing," I said putting on a straight face. "Well, anyways, when your house started crumbling in your parents called in the exterminators, who shall, by the way, be gone in a week." "So where are we staying?" "Well, it's not so much we, but you. Since you were supposed to be camping your parents took some time off work and are staying at a romantic inn in Vermont!" Mom said with a sigh. "What? They went to Vermont?" "I know! It's the most amazing little inn with a view, and there's a lake, and-" "Wait so where am I staying?" "You're mom said you can stay with us!" Mom turned around and discreetly winked at me. "What?!?" Both Adam and I yelled, well I yelled, Adam more of, well, spoke it. Rain opened her eyes and stopped with the 'om'-ing. "You people have no respect for the art of meditation!" She hissed before starting it all over again. "You can sleep on the couch," mom said winking again at me. "Or of course I could always get out Laurels sleeping bag and you could sleep in her room, because, you know, there's more chance of intruders coming in through the, um, front door, and into the living room, right Laurel?" she asked winking at 65

me again. Mom never did master the art of subtlety. "Wrong mom, I'm sure the intruders won't be able to get in through our security system," I assured her as she gave me a oh-come-on-it-will-bebetter-that-way look but I just returned with a mom-that-is-so-inappropiateand-I-cannot-believe-that-you-would-suggest-such-a-thing look but I'm not sure she got; it is awfully hard to get that much into one look. "Yeah, I'm sure I can sleep on the couch Miss Brookes," Adam said eyeing us strangely as if trying to figure out what was going on. Boy if he knew! "Oh fine, Laurel get some sheets for him out of the cupboard," Mom instructed trying to sound motherly although really I was relatively surprised she knew what I kept in the cupboard. "Okay, we're here, so Rain, where did you say you lived again?" Mom's pager beeped. "You know what, scrap that, I'll drop you off at the main road, work calls, bye honey," she screamed to me after dumping our stuff and driving off. Adam and I got out of the car and I struggled to carry my stuff up to the front door. "It wouldn't hurt to help you know-" I said turning round to see him carrying my other much bigger suitcase. "Oh, well, um, thanks," I finished awkwardly as he dropped my bag at the front door and started carrying his own. The Adam I knew would not have been able to carry any bags, but then again, I suppose after this afternoon I sorta know this one too, even if he thinks I'm a bitch all over again. I fumbled with the keys and opened the front door to let us in. "You can leave the bags here," I said pointing to the landing. You see usually I would have to take everything upstairs, unpack, fold all our clothes and iron them before coming downstairs to relax but I think I could forget about my neurotic habits for today. "Do you want anything to eat?" I asked as my stomach rumbled once again. "Yup, definitely," he replied enthusiastically as we walked into the kitchen to raid the fridge. "Ooh, we have leftover Chinese," I said opening the container of moo shu pork and instantly chucking it. "Wait, egg rolls usually last longer," I said reaching for the other container. "Or not. How about Pop Tarts?" We always had Pop Tarts.


"Sure, why not?" he answered. I popped some into the toaster then peered into a drawer and pulled out a couple of takeaway menus so we could have a proper meal. "So what do you feel like eating?" I asked showing him the various takeaway menus. "I could go for some pizza, always," he replied opening the menu. "Pepperoni?" "Excellent choice!" I said enthusiastically picking up the phone feeling strangely like we were on a date. If only. I ordered the food and then joined Adam in the living room. "You know, I've never watched 'Carrie' before," I said breaking the silence. Okay I know, it's clich watching a horror movie with the guy I like but I have a very good list to justify myself with. Reasons Why I Should Watch a Horror Movie With Adam 1. I will most definitely scream and get all scared so then Adam will hug me. (And he does have a very nice body to hug me with.) 2. I'll probably scream (most probably not genuinely) and then he'll realise what an adorable sweet girl I am and fall in love on the spot. 3. He might scream and then I could comfort him as he slowly releases his feminine side and cries and everything, and then we could be best friends and, wait no, best friends don't date, scrap that. 4. I might jump at a scary part and then my pizza would fall over his lap and then I'd have to wipe it off and things would get very hot and steamy. And now we have established I am a pervert... I always thought it was just boys, evidently not. Moving on. "Really?" he asked breaking my train of thought. "Nope, and ever since that 'Ugly Betty' episode with Betty and the pig blood I've always been intrigued," I said trying not to sound too eager. "And I think mom has it on DVD." I looked through our DVD collection where I knew 'Carrie' lay and fished it out. "Look at that, we do have it." So we put the DVD in and started watching it. "I don't get it, what's happening?" I asked not feeling very scared whatsoever. I probably didn't get it because we skipped the boring parts.


"She's got telekinesis powers," he whispered. "And that girl feels sorry for her so she told her boyfriend to ask Carrie out, and now they're going to prom." I watched as they were voted prom king and queen and Carrie was smiling as she walked up to the stage where she accepted her crown and John Travolta and his popular girlfriend stayed hid beneath the stage with a bucket of pig blood balanced on top of the stage. It all took way to long. Then finally the blood then fell on Carrie and she started going crazy and thinking people were laughing at her. Then she used her powers to try and kill everyone, and she did eventually succeed. The whole scene was all over quiet hilarious. Not exactly the horror I'd hoped for. I turned to Adam to see him stifling a laugh too. He turned to look at me and we both burst into laughter as Carrie walked out of the burning building still covered in blood. "Oh my God," I said trying to stop laughing out of respect for the crazy girl. "Her face," Adam said between laughs which of course only caused me to laugh some more. "Okay, that definitely was not scary," I said still laughing. I turned to look at Adam and we stopped laughing and just looked into each others eyes. I could have kissed him right there and then. I could feel him getting closer, the heat of his body penetrating into mine. I leant forward and I could smell his wonderful scent of just a hint of aftershave and soap that I'd become so familiar with. Okay, so maybe both horrors and comedies work in getting a guy to like you, take note girls, watch ridiculous horror movies with your crush. I let him put his hands in my hair and give me a sweet and gentle lingering kiss. I could taste the remnants of the Pop Tart in his mouth and his scent was just so overwhelmingly there. He let go but I was nowhere near satisfied and I could tell that he wasn't either. I barely took a breath before he was on me, the full length of us spread across the couch. I could feel every plane of his body and he kissed me anew. This time his hands seemed to be everywhere and it wasn't long before they slowly crept underneath my top. 68

Soon he was groping his way up and had his hands undoing my bra. I probably should have stopped him there but I knew that my mom would sure as hell back the manoeuvre, and really who was I to stop him doing delicious things to me? And to be honest I don't think I would be able to stop him if I wanted to. All Adam needed to do was to merely fix his gaze on me and I would be forever his. I didn't care how unbelievably corny that sounded. And then a door bell rang. At first I thought it was from the TV and ignored it but it grew louder and ringed more. Damn it. Way too ruin the moment. I pulled away from him, his lips red and slightly puckered from our kiss. "I should probably get that," I said starting to stand up, before I realised that I didn't have my top on, whoa, we did get far. I quickly picked it up and whipped it on. "Yeah you should," he nodded looking irritated and I stood up. Adam quickly kissed me again and I chuckled, "I'll be right back." I quickly walked to the door ready to retrieve the pizza, pay the guy as quickly as possible and rush back to Adam. And I should probably explain to him about Marshall, funny how my 'boyfriend' didn't cross my mind as I made out with another guy. But then again, it wasn't just any other guy. [Authors note: Okay, so this next part you guys might not exactly find, normal, or vaguely realistic for that matter, lol, but I am totally excited about this part and it totally spices up the next couple of chapters! And I have a feeling my male fans (should that be plural? Lol) will enjoy this because all boys enjoy action, right? But I need to take the ideas of my fans in hand, and if you guys think this is like not realistic whatsoever and completely takes the story away from like what its supposed to be about (like I dunno, high school crap or something?) and all then let me know because I totally have a different ending to this chapter in mind, its just that I really really like the way this one going to turn out....] The bell rang again. I opened it and then everything was a bit of a blur from then on. Two men dressed in black rushed in through the door. One of them grabbed me and shoved me against the wall. Then one more came into the house and 69

ran down the hallway into each room of the house. "Laurel, what's going on?" Adam asked coming through the door before being crushed by a guy. But Adam put up a bit more of a fight than me and got one of them to the floor before the other came back from the kitchen landed on top of him. He inspired me to fight and I kneed my guy in the groin and he groaned. I then punched his nose and although I'll be the first to admit that I don't give the best punch he groaned some more and I knew that I had caused some damage. If not serious then surely bruise worthy. "Bitch," he muttered. "You shouldn't have done that," he used his elbow to keep me against the wall and shoved something cold against my stomach which, as a ripple of fear pulsed through me, I recognised as a gun, but something made him stop. "Jason! Get a hold of yourself, she could be useful," spoke a man dressed in a black suit compared to the black jumpsuits the other guys wore, who hadn't seem to have done anything but stand on the threshold as the others went into action. "But boss, the girl hurt the little general!" Jason cried in a whiney voice that was very different to the gruff one he used on me. "Little" I mocked whilst chuckling at my own immaturity when he gave me a look that if looks could kill I would be stone cold dead on the floor, which I took as a sign to stop. His boss silenced him with a look and he just tied my hands with a rope. I turned to see the same being done to Adam and my heart clenched as I saw his cheek slightly redden and his face worn. "There's no one else here!" Another voice came from my mom's bedroom. "Okay then, so she's run off and left us her minions to play with," the boss guy said in an icy cold voice. "I must say not the noblest tactics coming from a GEM agent." "What do we do now boss?" The guys holding down Adam asked. "Have you tied the boy?" Adam's guy nodded. "Then we relocate to the living room, and drop the kids on the sofa," he said 70

walking past me and bringing an air of cigarette stench along with him. "So kids," my first instinct was to say we were 16 years old therefore should at least be referred to as young adults but the other guy filed in and it was clear they were all armed. "Where's the agent huh?" "We um, we don't know what you're talking about," I said a quiet voice, hoping and praying that they would just leave us alone. "Maybe the boy will," the boss guy said turning his attention to Adam. "I don't know either," Adam replied in a louder voice than mine but I could tell that he was scared too. "Oh really? Don't pretend you don't know, WHERE IS SHE?" he screamed and I shuddered and closed my eyes hoping that when I opened them next they would be gone and this would all be over. "Look, we know that a GEM agent lives here so you may as well spill." "I'm sorry but I'm not sure what you mean by a GEM agent." Adam's remark was followed by raucous laughter which carried on for several minutes. I turned to look at Adam weirdly as they all continued to laugh. "What are your names?" the boss guy asked wiping a tear of laughter from his eyes. "Adam Taylor, and Laurel Brookes," but Adam was barely able to finish saying 'Broo-' before the laughter once again ensued. "So you're trying to tell me that," the boss guy wiped tears of laughter from both his eyes this time. "That the son and daughter of two GEM agents claim that they don't know what the Global Espionage Ministry is?" "The what?" we both asked. "Boss, I honestly don't think they know," Jason said and the other two nodded along. "Oh they know, they've just been trained very well," boss guy looked at me and Adam with beady eyes and felt around his coat pockets and fetched out a cigar which I had a feeling was Cuban. "Send them to the kitchen and Ernie, stay guarding outside. Jason lets rethink our strategy." Okay so there's boss guy, Jason and Ernie. I noticed Ernie had a tattoo of a snake on his wrist as he guided us to the kitchen. I'd need all this information when recounting this to the police. When telling them that three crazy men 71

had broken into my home and claimed that my mom and Martha were agents at some made up thing. What was it they said again? That's right, GEM the Global Espionage Ministry. I felt an urge to laugh. Really, they should have tried to have been a little more creative when coming up with a fake name. I just don't get why these guys would randomly enter my house and start asking for someone that didn't exist. I mean a 'GEM agent'. Who would do that? I mean my obvious first suspect would be Nikki but I'm pretty sure even she wouldn't send three armed men to my house. Dealing with them might mean a broken nail or something. The guy shoved us in the kitchen and then shut the door. I listened to hear if he walked away but he stayed put outside. "There's two of us, and only three of them," I whispered to Adam so to make sure that the guy wouldn't hear. He nodded in response. "We've got a kitchen full of frying pans," I said stating the obvious, although looking back on that statement, maybe the kitchen knives would have been more appropriate. "I think we can take them down." Adam showed me a slow sly smile, "you read my mind."