Updated Writing 5!

Crushes

By C. M. Kittredge and A.R. Farrer

 

Prologue

Mason

“Yahoo!” Nikki cannonballs into the pool. I’m having my annual pool party to celebrate the last day of summer, September 2nd. Well, it’s technically not the last day of summer, but it’s the last day before we go back to school.

Nikki, Roger, Beth, Ethan, Jason, Sophie, and Kate were all invited. Last year I invited Lucille, but that was before she turned into a bratty everything-must-go-my-way kind of girl.

Nikki has been pretty much my best friend (that is a girl) since 4th grade. I was a new student at Ashton Elementary all those years ago, and she was pretty much the only person that was nice to me, so we became friends. Then there’s Ethan and Jason. I met them when I started middle school at Ashton Middle. They are twin brothers from California, but they don’t look anything alike. When they moved here, all of the 6th grade girls were drooling over them except Nikki. She was loyal and sat with me at lunch every day when Kate, Sophie, and all the other girls were sitting with Ethan and Jason. To be honest, I want to be more than friends with Nikki. I feel like we would drift apart if I didn’t make a move.

I swim over to where Nikki is talking with Beth and sneak up behind her. Beth sees me and is about to tell Nikki, but I put a finger to my lips. She nods and keeps talking with Nikki. I grab Nikki’s waist and pull her backwards. She falls on top of me and we go underwater. I can see Nikki scream, but I can’t hear anything since we are underwater. We swim to the surface together and I see that Beth is laughing hysterically. Nikki quickly lowers herself into the water until all but her head is submerged. Then I notice that her back is bare. Oh god. When I pulled her underwater, I accidentally pulled her bikini top off. I can feel my face turning bright red.

“Oh my gosh, Nikki, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to…” Nikki doesn’t turn around to respond because she doesn’t have a top on.

“It’s okay. Everything’s fine. I’m good,” She ties her bikini back on underwater, then stands up and faces me. For a second I think she’s going to hug me, but then she tackles me underwater. I can see her smile at me, then her face is gone. I swim up to the surface and look around, but she’s nowhere to be seen. Neither is Beth. They probably went inside to get some food. Then I have a bad thought: what if they left? Oh man. Nikki was probably embarrassed so she and Beth left. I run my fingers through my hair anxiously, hoping that they didn’t leave. I screwed up my chance with Nikki. Now she’s probably mad at me. Oh man. Oh man. This is not good. Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chapter 1

Beth

As I yawn and open my eyes, I see that my iPod screen is lit up. I have two notifications from Instagram. Nikki (@nickels200) and Roger (@roorooroger) liked my post about National Boys Hug Girls Day. It’s not actually a real “holiday”, it’s just a fun day when boys hug girls for no reason. I’m hoping that Roger gives me a hug today. That would be  awesome!

I wait until my clock says 7:00am, then throw my covers back and hop out of bed. As I slowly get dressed, my cat, Agnes, creeps into my room and jumps onto my bed effortlessly. When I try to pet her, she hisses and bats a claw. I sigh.

“Good morning to you too, Agnes.” I saunter into the bathroom to brush my teeth. As I glance in the mirror, I notice that my mascara from yesterday still hasn’t washed off. Yesterday was halloween, and I dressed up as a vampire. Nikki dressed up as a pirate, and we called ourselves the Vampirate sisters.

After I brush my teeth, I run downstairs and scarf down my eggs and toast. Just as I finish my cup of orange juice, Nikki’s mom’s car pulls into our driveway.

 

*****

Nikki

“NIKKI!!!” my mom yells from the front door, “It’s time to GO! We’re going to be late if you don’t hurry up!” I quickly finish putting on some mascara and hurry downstairs.

“I’m coming, Mom! One sec!” As I grab my backpack and tear my coat from the hanger, I realize that Coco is out of her kennel.

“Come on, you. Get in your kennel!” I pick her up and carry her to her kennel in my room. She’s a carmel-colored pug that I got for my birthday in May. She’s almost 9 months old now, and I have to take care of her pretty much 24/7. My parents don’t have time to take care of her because they both work full-time as doctors at the Bronson hospital.

When I finally get in the car, Jonathan, my baby brother, is having a fit. He cannot stand to be in the car for very long. That’s part of the reason why I’ve never been on any long road trips with my family. He gets fussy and starts screaming at the top of his lungs. It gets really irritating after about 5 minutes, so Mom and I have to start singing the ABC’s and Wheels on The Bus to get him to calm down. When we get to Beth’s house to pick her up, Jonathan is fast asleep.

 

*****

Beth

When we get to school, I hop out of the car after Nikki and we walk in side by side. Kate and Sophie are waiting for us right inside the entrance. They both look exhausted from last night. We went trick-or-treating for hours. At 11, we all finally went home.

“Hey girls! How did you sleep last night? You’re looking pretty tired,” Nikki sounds like she got all the sleep she needed.

“Yeah, I’m kind of tired,” Sophie yawns and blinks her eyes slowly, “How did you sleep, Kate?”

“Eh, I didn’t get to sleep until about midnight, but I’m not super tired. How about you, Beth?”

“I slept pretty well, actually.” For some reason, I sleep better if I go to bed really late.

“Anyways, did you guys see Mason and Roger trick-or-treating last night? I heard that they went in the same neighborhood as us,” Kate is practically stalking Roger and Mason. Ever since we told her and Sophie about our crushes, she has been reporting to us about their whereabouts and such. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a crush on one of them, the way that she follows them around all the time.

“If I saw them, I probably would’ve told you guys by now, so no, I didn’t see them last night. They may’ve been out there, but how would we know? It was pitch dark and they were wearing costumes,” Sophie practically takes the words out of my mouth.

“What she said,” Nikki nods toward Sophie.

“Yep,” I agree.

*****

Nikki

“Hey Mason! What’s up?” I try to make small talk with Mason while we’re waiting for Mrs. Luciano to get back from the teachers’ lounge.

“Not much, you?”

“Not much,” I decide to ask him if he was out trick-or-treating in my neighborhood. “Where did you and Roger go trick-or-treating last night?”

“We were in the Newbrook neighborhood for a while, but then we had my mom drive us over to Crandall. Where did you guys go?”

“We went in the Crandall neighborhood, too! I didn’t see you guys, though.”

“We didn’t see you and the other girls either.”

“It was pitch black,” we say in unison. I smile.

“We think alike, don’t we?” He smiles back at me.

“Yes, yes we do.”

“Class! It’s not the time to chat!” Mrs. Luciano yells at class. “This is mathematics!” The class immediately goes silent.

“That’s better,” Mrs. Luciano smiles bitterly. “Now get your textbooks out and turn to page 122.” There’s lots of rustling as we all get our textbooks out of our bags.

“We will be investigating decimals and fractions today. What’s an example of a mixed number?” A particularly bratty girl named Lucille raises her hand confidently.

“Yes, Lucille?” Mrs. Luciano says sternly.

“An example of a mixed number is 1¾,” Lucille says this as if she knows everything there is to know about mixed numbers.

As Mrs. Luciano drones on about how decimals can be converted into fractions and vice versa, I stare at Mason until I catch his eye, then I look away. I keep repeating this until the end of class.

 

*****

Beth

I can hear Mr. Fredericks starting his introduction and start to run. I’m late for biology. When I walk in, everybody stares at me. Mr. Fredericks just continues talking.

“We will be doing an experiment on how what we eat effects our health. I will tell you all the details separately, because you are all going to have different projects. Here are your partners: Julia and Sam, Carl and Scarlet, Maria and Grace, Roger and Beth…” That’s all I hear. Roger is partners with me! I almost scream “YESSS!” but catch myself just in time.

As Mr. Fredericks hands out our papers with the rubric and the details of the project, I try to think of something smart to say to Roger.

“This will be interesting, don’t you think?” That’s the best that I could come up with.

“Um, yeah, really interesting,” Roger doesn’t sound very excited about it.

I pick up the rubric and scan it quickly. I have a weird feeling that something is wrong here. It says that we’re going to be eating a frog. Roger notices it, too.

“Excuse me, Mr. Fredericks, but it says here that we’re eating a frog. Is there a typo or something?”

“No, there is most certainly not a typo, Roger. You will, in fact, be eating frogs for this experiment,” Mr. Fredericks sounds so sure of himself that, for a brief second, I actually believe that we’ll be eating frogs.

“You can’t be serious, Mr. Fredericks. Why would you want us to eat frogs?” Roger has an inquiring look on his face.

“I’m obviously joking, Roger! You and Beth will be eating different types of pastries and desserts.”

“Oh, ok. Phew!” Roger imitates wiping sweat off of his brow.

 

*****

Nikki

My Latin teacher, Mrs. Adler, smiles warmly at the class before beginning.

“To finish up our first unit, we will be doing a project on parts of speech. You will be paired up with someone of the opposite gender.” She smiles again and picks up a stack of paper. A wave of whispers overcomes the students as everyone wonders who they will be paired up with.

“I will hand each girl a sheet of paper with the other person’s name on it with the instructions.” As Mrs. Adler walks down the row passing out instruction sheets to the girls, I glance at Mason and hope that we are paired up, because he is the only person that I know in the class.

Later, while we are planning our project, Mason invites me to sit with him at lunch. I smile and say yes.

 

 

Chapter 2

Beth

Mason smiles at me from under his mop of black hair. I can’t help but smile back. Mason makes a funny face and I giggle. Mr. Henderson glances our way but since my back is facing him, he doesn’t see my face. I stick my tongue out at Mason and he stifles a laugh. I tear a piece of paper out of my German notebook and quickly scribble out a note. I fold it up into a tiny ball and throw it at Mason. It bounces off his shirt onto the ground. He goes to pick it up, but Mr. Henderson notices and quickly walks over to where Mason is sitting.

“Mason, please pick that piece of paper up and hand it to me,” I catch Mason’s eye and shake my head slowly. If Mr. Henderson reads that note and someone tells Nikki, I am dead meat. Mason looks apologetically at me before bending over and picking up the note. He hands it guiltily to Mr. Henderson. Mr. Henderson unfolds the balled up note and clears his throat loudly before reading out loud,

“Mason, I know this is gonna sound really weird, but I like you. A lot.”

Mason’s face turns bright red as everyone looks around, wondering who the note was from. I try to act like I have no idea who the note was from, but it’s hard. Soon enough, Lucille looks at me looking at Mason. She gets it. She totally gets it. I know that she will tell Nikki. Nikki and I will never have the same bond ever again.

 

*****

 

Nikki

As I walk down the hall towards the cafeteria, I hear footsteps and Lucille’s voice shouting,

“Nikki! Nikki! You’ll never believe it! Beth has a crush on Mason! She passed a note to him in class saying that she liked him and got caught! Do you believe me?!” I stop breathing. This cannot be true. Beth is my best friend, and she wouldn’t do something like that.

“You’re lying, Lucille. I can just tell by the tone of your squeaky little voice. Beth would never do something like that to me,” I know it’s not true.

“But she did, Nikki! You have to believe me! Why would I lie to you?”

“It is perfectly normal for you to lie to people, and everyone knows it.”

“I’m not lying, I swear,” she whispers into my ear.

This really freaks me out. Lucille only whispers when she is dead serious. Just then, I hear Beth screaming,

“Nikki! Don’t listen to Lucille! It’s not true!” I turn so I am facing Beth, take a deep breath, and yell,

“Beth, I cannot believe what you did! How could I have ever thought that you were my friend?!” I feel the need to punch something, someone, but I hold back. Instead I bite my lip and try not to cry as my eyes tear up.

“Nikki, I’m really sorry. It was a joke, really–,”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses, Beth!!! Just come clean and say sorry, for Pete’s sake!!!” In response, Beth glares at Lucille, then storms away, toward the cafeteria.

 

*****

 

Beth

“Nikki’s mad at you, isn’t she?” Sophie is famous for stating the obvious.

“Ya think, Soph? I am crushing on her crush, which is a big no-no. I’m even mad at myself,” I look over to where Nikki is sitting with Kate. Traitor, I think. How can Kate even think about sitting with Nikki? Nikki is a total jerk and she is most definitely my enemy.

Just then, I see Mason walk into the cafeteria. He is looking lost and sad. Nikki waves to him and he smiles in relief. He walks over to where her and Kate are sitting and sits right next to Nikki. Right after that, I see Roger walk in. I wave to him but he doesn’t see me. Kate waves at him and bats her eyelashes. He smiles goofily and walks over to her and Nikki. I decide to apologize one more time, just to see what Nikki would do in front of Roger, Kate, and Mason. I take a deep breath, stand up, and slowly walk over to where the four of them are sitting.

“Um, hey you guys,” I try to smile at them. “Nikki, I just wanted to say sorry again, for passing that, um, note. I didn’t know that it would hurt your feelings so badly, but you are sensitive sometimes.”

“Beth, don’t talk to me. I’m not your friend anymore,” Nikki doesn’t look hurt, like she did in the hallway earlier. Now she just looks plain angry. Mason slowly stands up from the table and walks away. Roger follows, then Kate. I turn around and walk back to where Sophie is munching on a taco.

 

*****

 

Nikki

While I walk to gym, I hear footsteps behind me. I know it’s Roger, but I don’t stop to talk to him. For one, I am late, and I’m not in the mood to talk to any boys right now.

“Nikki, wait up. I want to tell you something,” I speed up my pace when I hear Roger’s voice.

“Nikki! Wait!” I sigh and turn around.

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to know if I could walk to class with you, because we are both going to gym,” He sounds so sweet, so I give in.

“Sure thing, Roger,” I just hope he doesn’t have a crush on me. That would be weird and awkward.

When we get to gym, I head to the girls’ locker room and open the locker that I share with Lucille. She practically takes up the whole thing with her perfume and pinkness. She even has a pink diamond-studded mirror on the wall of our locker. I take my clothes out of the locker and quickly change into them before Lucille saunters in. I shut the locker and walk into the gym. I sigh as I realize that we are playing dodgeball today. I guess I’ll just sit out like I usually do. I walk up to the top of the bleachers and sit down.

It turns out that Roger is sitting out, too. He decides to sit next to me.

“So, Nikki. How are you?” He looks at me sweetly.

“I’m pretty good. How about you?”

“I’m fantastic! Although I wish we weren’t playing dodgeball today. It really sucks, doesn’t it?” He feels the same way about dodgeball as I do.

“Yeah, it’s not my favorite game.” I watch as Mr. Meyers puts the class into teams.

Roger looks around and leans closer. “Hey, um, Nikki, can I tell you something?”

Uh oh. “Um, yeah, anything, Roger,” although I hope “anything” doesn’t include him having a crush on me.

“I have a crush on Beth, but please don’t tell her or anyone else,” He quickly looks away, but I can still see him blush.

“I promise I won’t, Roger,”

“Ok, good. Thanks a bunch, Nikki. I have been wanting to tell someone for a while now, but all my guy friends wouldn’t understand and they would probably tell Beth,” Wow. I would have never expected this.

 

*****

 

Beth

During English, I try to flirt with Mason, but he looks straight ahead and acts like I

don’t exist. So he’s ignoring me just because I told him how I felt about him.

“Ok class we need to get started,” Mrs. Hamilton’s voice booms over the already quiet class. “Today we are going to work in partners. Mason you are going to be working with Beth, Jason you’re with Kate and Ethan you’re going to be with Lucille…,”

“Good luck man,” Mason told Ethan with the most concern in his voice that I have ever heard.

“Ok class get into your partners and I will hand out your assignment,” Mrs. Hamilton told us as she gathered up the papers on her desk getting ready to pass the papers out.

Mason gets up and starts to head over to where I’m sitting when Ethan grabs his arm. “Dude, you know that Beth is like, BFF’s with Nikki, right?” Ethan tries to tell Mason in a whisper but fails.

“Ethan, I know,” Mason tells him in a whisper but thank goodness that Nikki taught me how to read lips when we were younger.

“Mr. Miller please take your seat next Ms. Johnson,” Mrs. Hamilton said in a sweet but sharp tone.

“I was heading… Yes Mrs. Hamilton,” Mason stops and decides to not get sent to the principal’s office.

“Thank you Mason,” says Mrs. Hamilton.

Mrs. Hamilton passes the papers around for us to read over, because it is toward the end of class. As soon as the bell rings, Mason is out the door. I stay around waiting for Kate to pack up. As we walk out of the classroom I see Mason talking to Roger about something.

“Kate I have to go to the… the… bathroom. I’ll catch up with you later,” I say, turning away from Kate and heading off in the boys’ direction.

“Mason you don’t understand. If I tell you who I like, you will just make fun of me,” I overhear Roger saying to Mason.

“Roger, you are the only person that I trust right now besides Nikki,” Mason says. I knew that they were talking about me.

At this point I just couldn’t stand it any longer, so I marched over there. Or so I thought I did. There was no way that I was going to head over there. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t go over there but my feet didn’t listen to my brain. There I go with my head yelling at my feet to stop but they wouldn’t listen. I look up to see Mason and Roger are both glaring at me.

“Beth, what do you want?” Mason said in the scariest voice I have ever heard come out of him.

“I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry, Mason,” I say, or at least I thought I said. They both were still staring at me. I guess I didn’t say it out loud.

“ I… I… was just trying to get to my next class,” I lie.

 

*****

 

Nikki

As I walk to my next class I can’t help but look down the hallway. I notice that Beth is over by Mason and Roger. What is she doing? I think to myself.

“Mason, Roger, hold up,” I yell down the hallway to them.

“Nikki can you come here?” asks, well, yells Mason.

I really want to go down there and talk to Mason, but not to Beth. So I take a deep breath and head down the hallway, and as I come up behind Beth I hear her say that she was just going to class. The only problem is that her class is in the other direction.

“Hey guys,” I say as Beth leaves.

“Hey Nikki. How have your classes been?” asks Mason.

“Mason, I heard what Beth did to you during German,” I say, loud enough for Beth to hear.

The last thing I want to happen was Mason and I drift apart over something my BFF said or did. Mason and I have become very close over these past four years. Only until this year I have started to have a crush on him.

“What was she doing over here?” I ask, not wanting to sound jealous.

“Oh, Beth was just getting to class,” Mason replied, trying not to tick me off.

“Ok, but there’s another side to the hallway,” I say, just giving up on caring who knew how I felt about Beth.

“Nikki, just calm down,” Mason tells me as he embraces me into a hug.

“Thanks, I.. can tell him, Roger?” I ask, looking at him from Mason’s grip.

“Sure why not? It’s not like it matters,” Roger says with a glare.

“I won’t if you don’t want me to tell him,” I say, shaking out of Mason’s grip.

Ever since the first day of school there has been something different about Mason than the past few years. This is the first time ever that Mason has hugged me in the five years that I have know him.

“Mason knows that I like Beth,” Roger tells me.

“Ok,” I says as I turn around and smack my face into Mason’s chest that is as hard as his head sometimes.

The bell rings and the three of us head to our last class of the day. I’m glad that my last class isn’t with Beth, especially since I just can’t stand to talk to her today. I just remembered that today is the day that I take the bus with Mason, Ethan and Kate.

 

 

Chapter 3

Beth

Every time I walk into art class, a ball of anger forms in my stomach and usually ends up coming out of my mouth as words of anger. This is because Lucille keeps acting like Roger is her boyfriend, which he so totally isn’t. Not in a million years would Roger ever want Lucille as a girlfriend. She’s super bossy, mean, and everything has to go her way all the time.

“Hey Roger! Come sit next to me!” Lucille is already at it. Of course, Roger plops down next to her and sighs.

“Sure, Lucille,” Roger looks over at me and rolls his eyes. I roll my eyes back and make a funny face.

“Ok, class. Time to get to work!” Mr. Griffith looks around, smiling broadly. “You will continue working on your eye pictures.” Mr. Griffith is the best art teacher ever. He lets us do pretty much whatever we want to do. This week, we started working on eye pictures. He had us take close-up pictures of each other’s eyes and we uploaded them to our laptops, and now we are adding cool effects and editing stuff. When we are all finished with them, they are going on the school website for everyone to see.

“Oh my GOSH, Roger! I just LOVE your shirt! It’s like, SO totally adorable!” Lucille is trying to flirt with Roger, but he is ignoring her and is facing Ethan, who is sitting across the table from Roger. Now Ethan looks over at me and rolls his eyes. What is up with these boys? They just love rolling their eyes. I shake my head at both of them. Boys. Gosh.

Now Lucille is leaning against Roger and batting her eyelashes at him.

“Roger, can you help me edit this wrinkle out?” She points at her computer screen while still looking at Roger. “It makes me look like an old lady,” She wrinkles her nose in disgust.

“Fine,” Roger leans over to click on the blur setting, and Lucille wraps her arms around his torso and rests her chin on his neck.

“Oh Roger. Thank you SO much!” Roger looks very disgusted at this. Ethan looks alarmed. That’s it. I can’t stand any more of Lucille. I walk over to where she and Roger are pressed against each other and pull her off of Roger.

“Lucille, why are you always acting like Roger is your boyfriend? He’s not and will never be! Just leave him alone because he obviously doesn’t like it,” all three of them look surprised. I am usually more of the shy type. They definitely weren’t expecting me to stand up for Roger like this.

“Fine, Beth. Just know that you’re a complete jerk, and I’m never talking to you again,” Lucille crosses her arms and huffs away towards the girls’ bathroom.

“Thanks so much, Beth. I was getting really tired of Lucille clinging to me all of the time,” Roger looks relieved to have that burden off of his shoulders.

“I’m surprised that you didn’t stand up for yourself, Roger,” I glare at him.Just then, the bell rings.

 

*****

 

Nikki

It’s the last class and this means music. Music is the only class that I can express myself, also I get to hang out with Mason. But this music class was going to be different, I could just tell it was. That’s when I remember that we are getting ready for the big school dance that Ashton Middle does every year.

“Mr. Miller, can you start on the tuba for us?” Mr. Meadows tells Mason as he steps in to the classroom.

“But aren’t we just going to work on dance this week, Mr. Meadows?” Mason reminded him.

“Thank you,” I mouth to Mason.

“Ok girls go stand on the left side and boys go stand on the right side,” Mr. Meadows says as he starts up the music. “Just look across from you and step up to your partner,”

As I look up from my feet, I see a pair of dark blue Adidas with white stripes. Then I look up into Mason’s light blue eyes and jet black hair. “OMG” my brain yells.

“Ok boys, grab your partner’s waist, girls, put your left hand on the boy’s shoulder,” Mr. Meadow starts the music. “Now take your partner’s hand,”

This is the first time that I have held Mason’s hand. This is the first dance that is girls ask boys. I have to ask Mason before any other girls ask him. We just start to get the moves down when the bell rings.

 

*****

 

Beth

I try to pack up as quickly as I can so I don’t run into Nikki, but I fail miserably. Nikki walks up to her locker looking happy as a clam. I wonder why she’s in such a good mood. She doesn’t seem to notice me, and she’s humming happily. I decide to be as quiet as possible so I don’t bother her.

“Hey Beth! How’s it going?” Wow. She seems to completely forgotten to be mad at me. I guess won’t remind her.

“Hey Nikki! I’m doing pretty good. How about you?” I smile like I’ve had the best day ever. It’s pretty much been the opposite, though. First, Nikki got super mad at me for liking Mason, then Mason and Roger got ticked off at me, and now Nikki is acting like it didn’t happen, which, if possible, is even worse than facing the truth.

I finally finish packing up and as I’m leaving, Nikki stops me.

“Hey, um, Beth. I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for getting mad at you earlier. It’s no big deal. Do you forgive me?” Something isn’t right here. Just an hour ago, Nikki was furious at me.

“Uh, yeah… sure. I forgive you, Nikki,” I try to smile at her, but I think it looks like more of a grimace. As I hurry down the hall, I try to think of why Nikki would be so nice to me, when, just a little bit earlier, she was acting like we were enemies.

“Hey, Beth! Do you want to come over?” Sophie calls to me as I walk by her locker.

“Um, I can’t today. Sorry, Sophie!” This is true. I have a piano lesson, and I also have a lot of homework.

 

*****

 

Nikki

As I pack up I try and forget about what Beth did. I try and make it seem like I don’t hate her anymore. But I am still glad that I am taking the bus today. I hope that I have the chance to ask Mason to the dance.

“Hey Nikki anyone sitting there?” Mason asks as he looks down at me.

“No,” I try not to look him in the eye.

As more people pile onto the bus I see Kate get on and then glare at me. At least I saved her and Ethan a seat because if I didn’t then they would be sitting in the back and not anywhere near us.

“I hate you,” Kate whispers in my ear.

“Sorry. Just be glad that you have a seat near me,” I whisper back. “I also have to ask Mason something.”

“Ok,” Kate says with a sigh while sitting back in her seat.

“Hey, dude Ethan sit with Kate,” Mason calls out just as Ethan gets on the bus.

“Ok I’m coming,” Ethan calls back.

Well at this point in time I was glad that I wasn’t Kate. Even though Ethan was a good friend.

“Mason I… I… wanted to ask you something,” it was the first time I have ever been nervous around Mason.

“Ok Nikki. What is it?” Mason says without hesitation.

“I… I… was wondering if you wanted to go… go.. to the dance with me,” this is the hardest thing I have ever asked him before.

“Yeah, I would love to go with you,” Mason says with a sparkle in his eyes.

Oh my freaking god the guy that I like just said YES to going to the winter dance with me. This was the best thing that has happened to me this year and today.

 

*****

 

Beth

When I get home, I plunk down onto my bed and turn on my iPod. When I see who texted me, I get butterflies in my stomach. It’s from Roger. I know, it’s kind of weird that I have a crush on Mason AND Roger, but I can’t help it! Roger wants to know how I’m doing.

I reply with  “I’m doing great! How are you?”

He immediately replies with “I’m doing pretty good! Whatcha up to?”

I happily text back, “Not much, how about you?”

“I’m working on my homework and texting you. :)” He says.

Just then, my mom calls for me to come downstairs and help her with the laundry. I tell Roger goodbye, then run downstairs.

Later, during dinner, my dad asks about the winter dance.

“So, Beth, are you going to the winter dance?” I’m a little surprised. My dad doesn’t usually pay much attention to school events.

“Um, I’ll probably go with Nikki, Sophie, and Kate.”

“But honey, don’t you want to go with a boy?” My mom asks me with a smile.

“Um, not really, mom,” Although I am counting on Roger and Mason being there. For this dance, girls are supposed to ask boys, but I’m too shy. I’m planning to get ready at Nikki’s house, so we can go together.

“Do you want to go shopping for a dress soon, honey?” My mom is always looking for an excuse to go to the mall.

“Sure, Mom! I could ask my Nikki if she wants to go with us.”

“That would be so much fun, sweetie!”

“But I wanna go too, Mommy!!!” My little sister, Veronica, always wants to go to the mall with us.

“Veronica, maybe another time. This will be a special shopping trip for Beth and Nikki because they are going to a dance! Someday you will be old enough, ok?” Veronica crosses her arms and puts on a pout face. I just roll my eyes.

 

*****

 

Nikki

My house was the very last stop for the school bus, Mason’s was the second to last stop.
“Nikki do you want to come practice the dance at my house?” Mason says with a little hope in his voice.
“Sure, I would love to!” I say, looking into his eyes.
So as I was getting off the bus Mason took my hand to help down from the step. I was rethinking being mad at Beth because I knew that Mason liked me and not her. The end of today for me was giving people second chances.
“Mason, I have to call Beth,” I tell him.
“Nikki, let her call you first,” He says with so much confidence that I trust him.
“Ok, but I do have to call my mom,” I tell him with such a glare that he steps back.
“Ok, ok, I’ll let you do that,” Mason says with a laugh in his voice.
As I call my mom, we head inside. My mom really doesn’t like the idea of me going over to Mason’s house, and she never will. I tell her that I’m going to have dinner at his house, and that I’ll be back in time to watch Jonathan for when her and my dad go out for dinner.
“Hey Nikki!” Mason’s mom comes out of the kitchen to give me a hug.
“Hello Danielle!” I give her a hug back.
“What are you doing here?” Danielle asks very politely, trying not to sound rude.
“I was just coming to…” I am trying to explain but Mason cuts me off.
“We have a project to do and our music teacher wants us to practice for the winter dance,” Mason interrupts me.
“Oh, ok, I see,” Danielle says as she turns back to the kitchen.
Just then, I feel a tug on my hand so I look down, thinking it’s Mason getting me to move. But no, it’s his little sister, Sarah. Sarah is 11 years younger than Mason. He was in 6th grade when she was born. I remember that day because it was the second week of starting at Ashton Middle. It was during lunch. Anyways, I have to bend down to meet her eye to eye.

“Hey Sarah!” I say. I haven’t seen her since Mason’s pool party in September.

“Nikki, can you please play with me and my dolls?” Sarah asks with puppy dog eyes. They are irresistible, but this time I have to say no.

“Sorry Sarah, but your brother and I have to work on a project together,” I say in the saddest voice that I can.

“Sarah we need to get to work. Nikki can play with you later,” Mason says. I can’t help but laugh. Mason punches me in the arm.

“Sorry,” I say, trying to stop laughing.

After that, we head up to the office, where we can work in private. We start on our project for Latin.

“Mason, what do you think of when you hear my name?” I ask.

“What do you mean?” Mason replies.

“I mean that what goes through your mind when you here the name Nikki?” I ask, hoping he’s going to say something cute.

“I think of you and everything that I feel…” He trails off.

“Mason I want to tell you something,” I say, looking him right in the eye. Just as I am about to tell him that I like him, the office door opens. It’s Mason’s dog, Vanessa. She is a black and white Pomeranian who is only a few months old, like my dog.

“Hey girl,” I tell her.

I reach down and scoop her up into my lap. I love puppies. My pug has been a little stinker the past week.

“Ok Mason we should start on dancing,” I say with some hope in my voice.

“Yeah, sure,” He says, starting up his laptop so he can put on some music.

“Ok what song should we dance to,” I ask, looking at him.

“How about an upbeat song?” he suggests.

“Ok, sounds good,” I answer.

We start to dance and sometime when the music stops and we stop dancing something clicks between us. We get interrupted by the sound of a phone. Oh shoot. I look at my watch. It’s time for me to go. My mom told me she was going to text me when she needed me to get home.

“Mason, I need to get going,” I say, packing up my backpack.

“Nikki wait,” He says as he grabs my arm. “I just wanted to tell you that… that… I like you.”

“Mason, I have to go,” I say with tears in my eyes.

Mason grabs my arm again and pulls me in to a hug, a long one. But I still don’t want to deal with this today. Sadly, I have to leave before I can have dinner with him.

“Bye, Mason,” I wave to him at the front door and wipe a tear from my eye. I wish I could stay longer.

“Bye, Nikki,” He pulls me into one last hug before I walk down the sidewalk towards my house.

 

Chapter 4

Beth

After dinner, I decide to call Nikki about shopping for dresses at the mall. This is how the conversation goes:

“Hello?” says Nikki.

“Hey Nikki! How are you doing?” I try to sound enthusiastic.

“Oh, hi Beth. I’m pretty good. Um, how about you?”

“I’m doing really good! I was just wondering if you wanted to go shopping with me and my mom for dresses for the winter dance,” I am hoping she will say yes, because she might forgive me.

“I’ll have to check with my mom. One sec…” I can hear her put the phone down. A minute later, she picks up the phone and clears her throat.

“When would you be going shopping?” Now it’s my turn to ask my mom. I run downstairs to her office, where she is working on a news report for the local newspaper.

“Mom, when are we going shopping for dresses?”

“Probably sometime this weekend, honey,” She seems a bit distracted. I run back upstairs to my room and pick up the phone.

“Um, we will probably be going sometime this weekend, ok?”

“Ok, that works for me!”

“Awesome! We can pick you up from your house, ok?”

“That’s fine with me! Ok well I have to go now, so bye, Beth!” She hangs up before I can say anything else.

After I finish my homework, I decide to email Mason saying sorry about what I did in German. While I’m turning on my laptop, I get a text from Roger.

“Hey Beth,” is all he says.

“Hey Roger! Whatcha up to?”

“I’m just sitting around and texting you.”

“Same here,” I decide not to tell him that I’m emailing Mason.

“So, um… Beth. Can we meet in private tomorrow during lunch? There’s something I need to tell you,” I get butterflies in my stomach while reading this.

“Absolutely, Roger! Where do you want to meet?”

“Um, how about behind the extra tables in that one corner of the cafeteria?”

“Ok sounds good! Bye Roger!” I turn off my iPod and get to the email.

Ten minutes later, I’m done writing my super long email to Mason. I read it over before sending it:

‘Hey Mason! How are you doing? You know, I really think you like Nikki, and I’m like so happy for you! She is totally awesome, and that’s why she’s my best friend!  You’ve changed since last year. I really think you like her. You know, you should invite her over to your house sometime, ok? I think she would really like that, ok? I would also like to inform you that she has a ginormous crush on you, and it’s been that way since like 5th grade. She is like totally in love with you, dude! Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Sorry about today in German. I wasn’t thinking. Well bye!’

I think I may have gone overboard, but whatever. Who cares, anyways?

 

*****

 

Nikki

While I am babysitting for Jonathan my phone buzzes. I look down. It’s a text from Mason. My heart speeds up.

“Hey Nik,” I can’t find anything to say. I take a deep breath and think of something. Anything.

“Hey Mas. Whatcha up to?” There.

“I just got an email from Beth,” Oh my god what has she done now?

“What did she say?” I text back.

“Here, I’ll send it to you,” He says so as I wait for the email I just think how Beth could screw our friendship up more.

‘Hey Mason! How are you doing? You know, I really think you like Nikki, and I’m like so happy for you! She is totally awesome, and that’s why she’s my best friend!  You’ve changed since last year. I really think you like her. You know, you should invite her over to your house sometime, ok? I think she would really like that, ok? I would also like to inform you that she has a ginormous crush on you, and it’s been that way since like 5th grade. She is like totally in love with you, dude! Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Sorry about today in German. I wasn’t thinking. Well bye!’

“Nikki I’m sorry,” He says after emailing it to me.

All I want to do right now is curl up and cry. If this is Beth’s way of making it up to me she has done a pretty crappy job of it. Now there is no way of getting our friendship back.

“Mason, I’m sorry,” I type with tears rolling down my cheek.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” He asks.

“Because…” I couldn’t tell him that Beth was lying. But I had to. “Because I didn’t like you until this year,”

“So what you are telling me is that Beth lied to me,” He asks. Even over text I can tell that he is mad.

“Well, no. She liked you in 5th grade. I told her that I liked you this year but there was nothing I could do,” It isn’t a lie but also isn’t the whole truth.

“But…” He starts to text but just then Jonathan wakes up.

“Mason, I have to go. My brother just woke up,” I text him.

After all of this I really don’t want to go to the mall with my “BFF” or maybe not even go to the dance. But I have to go to the dance because I already asked Mason to go with me. There is only one person that I feel sorry for right now and that’s Roger because the girl he likes isn’t going to ask him out this year. There is only one thing that I can do.

“Hey Roger,” I text him not expecting him to respond so fast.

“Hey Nikki,” He says.

“Roger, Beth likes Mason also. I’m sorry,” I really can’t do anything right now.

“You’re joking, right?” He texts back.

“Sorry I’m not. I wish I was though,” I really do wish that I was joking. “Roger I like Mason and it makes this a lot harder for me than you,”

“What do you mean?” He asks.

I can’t say anything right now because I hear the garage door open. Ok. I’ve done everything I needed to do, right? Right then I realize that Coco hasn’t been outside since this morning. I run as fast as I can and let her out of her crate. Her and I run downstairs and I let her outside.

 

*****

 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Beth

When I wake up, a heavy weight descends onto my shoulders. Oh god. Nikki is going to kill me. She’s never going to talk to me again. This is my worst nightmare. I have sent a crazy, over-the-top email to her crush, I’ve embarrassed Mason in front of the whole German class, and I’ve ruined my friendship with Nikki. I am a horrible friend. I have to get ready for school, the last place that I want to be.

“Hey Kate,” I say as I walk up to the bus stop.

“Hey,” Kate says as she turns toward me. “Beth it looks like you haven’t slept in a week!”

“It feels like it,” I say, and it has.

“Oh my god it’s really cold out,” Kate says with a shiver.

We talk until the bus gets here. I’m hoping that she doesn’t talk about Nikki or Mason. I still haven’t told her about the email that I sent to Mason last night. Maybe I don’t have to tell her. If I told Kate about the email, then she would tell Nikki, who would tell Roger, and Roger would never talk to me again. But on the other hand, I like Mason more, so maybe it wouldn’t matter that much to me. As we get on the bus, Nikki glares at me. Oh no. Mason must have told her about the email, I think. Kate and I head towards the back of the bus. The bus starts to move. This is going to be the worst day of my life.

 

*****

 

Nikki

When Beth gets on the bus, I glare at her. She is practically my enemy now. It’s weird how much can change in just a day. Some things changed for the better, though. Like Mason. Mason just happened. I glance over at him sitting next to me. He is already looking at me, and I blush.

When we get to school, Mason walks with me to math, and he even holds my hand on the way there. His hand is soft. I’m glad it’s not sweaty, like some boys’ hands are. Eww.

When we get to math, Mason sits next to me. Like right next to me. He turns so that he is fully facing me.

“So are you excited for the dance?” I smile at him. He always knows what to say.

“Yup. I’m very excited. Especially since I’m going with you,” I touch his hand carefully.

“I could take you shopping for a dress, if you want,” Oh. My. Gosh. Mason did not just say that. My heart skips a beat. Wow. This is amazing.

“That would be a lot of fun, don’t you think?” He covers the awkward silence.

“Yeah! I’d love to go dress shopping with you!” Well that sounded awkward. I never thought that I would say that to a boy.  

“Class! Please! It is NOT the time for chatting. How many times do I have to tell you?” Mrs. Luciano glares at us. The class goes silent.

Math class passes in a blur of mixed numbers and improper fractions. When the bell finally rings, I am half asleep. Mason taps my shoulder.

“Hey, Nikki. It’s time to go, ok?” I jerk up and yawn.

“Sorry, I’m just really tired,” I rub my eyes and blink slowly.

“That’s ok, I’m tired too, so we can be tired together,” He smiles and puts his arm around me. I smile back. When I get into the hallway, Mason waves to me as he walks down the hallway to his next class. So far, this day is going pretty good.

 

*****

 

Beth

I have to run to catch up with Roger on our way to Bio. I try to talk to him and he wants nothing to do with me. He just walks faster so I slow down. He gets to the classroom before me. As I walk in the classroom I find out that today is the day that we get new lab partners. My new lab partner is Ethan. I’ve never liked him and I never will.

“Hey Ethan,” I say as I take my seat.

“I don’t want to talk right now,” He says, sitting down and looking forward.

“Do you know?” I must look surprised.

“Yes, I know that they’re dating. Mason and Nikki told me together,” He says, still looking forward.

“Wait, that’s not what I meant. And since when have they been dating?” I really can’t stand that he isn’t looking at me.

“Oh so they didn’t tell you?” Ethan says, finally looking at me.

“No. What I meant was do you know about the email,” I’m really confused now.

“Yeah, I know about that also,” Ethan says, looking forward again.

We sit in silence until the end of class. Now it’s time for German, oh god I was dreading having to sit by Mason. This is the last thing that I want.

 

*****

 

Nikki

Mason and I try to work on our Latin project, but there’s not much to do. We already finished the poster last night, because it was so easy. Now all we have to do is present it. While we are waiting for everyone to finish up, we chat.

“So when do you want to go dress shopping?” He winks at me.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe on Sunday?” I suggest.

“That works for me! Maybe afterwards we could see a movie?”

“I’d love that! Which movie?” I really want to see Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but I think it’s too girly and romantic for Mason.

“How about Skyfall? I’ve heard that’s a good movie,” Mason looks hopeful.

“Sure! Sounds good. We can figure out the times and stuff on Sunday,” I smile.

“Ok,” Mason smiles back.

When Latin is finally over, I realize that Mason has been holding my hand the whole time. How interesting.

 

*****

 

 

Beth

As I walk down the hall, I try not to walk past Mason and Nikki, who are laughing their heads off. I just need to get to the library. The last thing that I want to do is make things worse with them. When I get to the library, I run into Ethan.

“Ethan, hey,” I really don’t want to talk about the dance or Mason and Nikki.

“Hey Beth. What’s up? You don’t look so good,” He is looking me in the eye.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I look right back at him.

He grabs my arm and we go sit at a table in the back corner of the library. He finally convinces me to tell him about what has happened up to this point in time.

“Beth, why didn’t you tell anyone?” Ethan really respects me.

“Because the only person I used to tell now hates me,” I say as I look at him thoughtfully.

“Well what about Roger, Kate or Sophie?” He asks, taking my hand.

“Ethan, Roger won’t even talk to me anymore,” I really hope that I can talk to him, like I used to with Nikki.

“Beth, you can always talk to me, you know,” He’s the only guy that isn’t mad at me yet.

Ethan and I really don’t spend that much time together so it’s a lot easier to say what I’m about to say to him than any other guy.

“Ethan, will you go to the dance with me?” I ask shyly, looking away.

 

*****

 

Nikki

During lunch, I see Ethan and Beth sitting together. They’re even laughing. That’s odd. They’ve never struck me as friends that would sit together at lunch. I guess Ethan could just feel bad for Beth, and is trying to make her feel better. How pathetic. Meanwhile, Kate and Sophie are sitting on either side of Jason. I wonder if Kate has asked him to the dance yet. Last night she called me and confessed her crush on Jason. She said she has liked him since 6th grade, when he and Ethan first came to Ashton Middle.

“Hey, Nikki. Hello? Are you in there?” Mason is waving his hand in front of my face.

“Oh, sorry. I was just having a memory. It was nothing. But, if you really want to know…” Mason cuts me off before I can tell him about Kate’s crush.

“Nope, I’d rather not know,” He shakes his head vigorously.

“Ok, ok,” I hold my hands up in mock surrender.

I take a bite of my turkey sandwich and think back to yesterday, when Mason held my hand for the first time in music. It was wonderful. I felt invincible. Now, Mason’s hand is tapping out a quick rhythm on the table. I start tapping on the table along with him, and he notices right away. Our eyes meet, and right then, I know that Mason is my new best friend. He would do anything for me, unlike Beth. I glance over at her and Ethan. She’s laughing at something he said. I notice that his arm is draped casually around her shoulder. A pang of jealousy hits my stomach, but then I remember that I have Mason. I look over at him and smile. He is the best thing that has happened to me since my 13th birthday party.

It was a boy-girl party, and everyone says that it was the best birthday party they’ve ever been to. I invited Kate, Sophie, Beth, Mason, Roger, Ethan, and Jason. For the first four hours, we had a dance party. When it was really late, the boys left and the girls had a sleepover. We really got to know each other that night. We played truth or dare, which revealed some interesting truths, and we also stayed up really really late telling secrets.

I decide to ask Beth what she is doing with Ethan.

“I’ll be right back, ok?” I tell Mason as I stand up from the table.

“Ok, Nikki,” He smiles at me.

I saunter over to where Beth has turned all of her attention to Ethan, and she is no longer paying any attention to her lonely half-eaten salad.

“Hey Beth,” I put my hand on my hip and glare at her.

“What do you want?” She looks at me, angry that I’ve pulled her away from Ethan.

“I need to talk to you. In private,” I look at Ethan pointedly, who is suddenly really interested in his cheese and crackers.

“You can tell me right here, in front of Ethan. It’s fine,” Beth crosses her arms across her chest defiantly.

“No, really, I need to talk to you, and it needs to be in private, ok?” I say rather loudly.

“Ok, fine. But I’m not keeping any secrets from Ethan. Just know that.” What has gotten into her? She is suddenly obsessed with Ethan. I lead her over to the corner.

“Why are you hanging out with Ethan?”

“It’s none of your business! Back off, Nikki,” Beth looks at me like I’m a stranger.

“Beth, tell me,” I say forcefully.

“Why do you want to know, anyways? It’s my life, you know.” Beth tries to walk back over to where Ethan is looking really bored, but I grab her arm and pull her into the corner.

“Beth, what aren’t you telling me?”

“Gosh, Nikki. You’re so nosy sometimes!” She pulls away from me and runs over to Ethan.

 

*****

 

Beth

Nikki is on my last nerve. Now she is bugging me about why I’m hanging out with Ethan. I’m done dealing with her and all of the crap she puts me through. Ethan said yes to going to the dance. I’m so glad that no one had asked him yet.

“Sorry Ethan, Nikki is just bugging me,” I say as I sit back down next to Ethan.

“What’s up with you and Nikki now?” Ethan looks at me, concerned.

“She was just wondering why I was hanging out with you all of a sudden,” I am looking over at the table where Mason and Nikki were sitting.

Over the past few days, a girl who has been my best friend for about 6 years has turned into my enemy. How could I have been so stupid to mess things up with her? But what’s done is done. I need to let it go. The lunch bell rings and Ethan grabbs my lunch tray for me.

“Thanks,” I say as our eyes meet.

“Sure, anytime, Beth,” He smiles at me.

“Don’t you have English next?” I ask Ethan.

“Yup! You have it too, right?” Ethan looks hopeful.

“Yeah, I do. I’m bummed, though, because I’m paired up with Mason,” I make a face.

“Well maybe I could convince Mrs. Hamilton to have us switch partners. That way, I would be with you, and Mason would be with Lucille,” He suggests.

“You would do that for me?” I ask shyly.

“Well yeah, and not only for you. I wouldn’t have to be with Lucille anymore,” He says “Lucille” like she is some sort of disease that no one wants to get.

“Ok awesome! I can help you convince Mrs. Hamilton, if you want,” I suggest.

“Great! Let’s do it,” Ethan looks into my eyes.

I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about him, even when he’s right in front of me. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with him all of the sudden, but it works for me!

 

 

 

Chapter 5

Nikki

After lunch Mason walks me to gym. We have been laughing all the way there. There’s nothing that Beth could do now to ruin what we have.

“Thanks,” I say as I head off towards the locker room.

“No problem, I just have to go deal with Beth now,” He looks towards the English room.

I’m late again so I quickly change into my gym clothes and run into the gym. Thank goodness it’s kickball today. At least it would get my mind off of everything that has happened. I get to take my frustration out on the ball.

“Hey Nikki,” Roger is in the bleachers “You going to sit out this class?”

“No not today,” I look up at him. “I just need to get the frustration from the past few days.”

“Whatever,” He looks down at his shoes.

“Roger, tomorrow if we play a game that I don’t like, I’ll sit out with you,” I say, turning away from him and walking over to where the rest of the class is getting into teams.

“Ok, thanks,” He’s coming down from the bleachers now.

Oh no. If Roger’s going to hug me, I’m going to flip out. But no. He was just going to line up to play kickball with me.

 

*****

 

Beth

In English, Ethan and I try to convince Mrs. Hamilton to switch our partners.

“Mrs. Hamilton, Ethan and I have a great idea for a project we could do together. Mason and Lucille work together really well, too.” I look over to where Lucille is looking into a travel make-up mirror, putting Mascara on.

Mason doesn’t seem too pleased to hear that there’s a possible chance that he is switching partners with Ethan. Lucille is the worst person to be with for a project. She doesn’t do any work, plus, if she is with a boy, she flirts with him and they both get distracted and get a bad grade, just because of Lucille. So she usually doesn’t even have a partner. No one ever wants to work with her.

“Fine, I’ll switch your partners. But no messing around, ok? I don’t tolerate that stuff,” Mrs. Hamilton looks at us sternly, then smiles. “Remember to make it fun, though!” Ethan and I fist bump.

“Good job, Ethan,” I smile at him, relieved that I don’t have to face Mason right now.

“So, do you actually have an idea, or was that just to bribe Mrs. Hamilton?” Ethan asks me.

“Eh, I’ll think of something, don’t worry,” I reassure him. “I’ll call you tonight if I come up with anything, ok?” I tell him.

“Ok, and I’ll do the same. Wait, don’t you have an iPhone?”

“No, but I have an iPod. Why?”

“I have an iPhone, so I can text you. What’s your email for texting?”

“I can just add myself to your phone when class is over,” I suggest.

“Meet me at my locker, ok?” Ethan tells me.

When class is finally over, I go to my locker and get the stuff that I need for my next class, then I head over to where Ethan’s locker is. He already has his phone out of his locker and he is typing in his passcode. I take it and add a new contact. I put my email in and add my home phone number, just in case he wants to call me. I hand his phone back to him.

“Thanks,” He says.

“No problem! I’ll text you tonight, ok?”

“Ok awesome!”

I wave to Ethan and start walking to my next class, which is art. Today probably won’t feel so horrible because we are doing individual projects for the art show that’s coming up in December. Our choices are a painting, a drawing, or a sculpture. Mostly everyone chose a drawing, because it’s the easiest thing. I chose to make a sculpture, though, because I love working with clay.

 

*****

 

Nikki

After gym, I meet up with Mason so we can walk to music together. We laugh and talk about how horrible Lucille really is. Poor Mason got paired up with her in English. I feel really bad for him. Lucille’s the worst when it comes to partner projects.

When we get to music, no one else is there.

“I guess we’re early. Do you want to practice the dance while we’re waiting for everyone to get here?” Mason asks hopefully. Wow. I didn’t know Mason was into dancing this much.

“Ok, sure,” I place my left hand carefully on Mason’s shoulder and take his hand in my right.

“But what about the music?” I ask.

“We can dance without music,” Mason says confidently.

“Ok. Let’s do it,” I tell him.

As we start dancing around the room, Mason moves both of his arms to my waist. I put my arms around his neck. He pulls me closer, and I rest my cheek against his chest. I can hear his heart beating. It’s beating fast, like mine.

“Nikki,” he whispers into my ear.

“Mason,” I whisper back.

We stop dancing and just stand there awkwardly. Mason moves his hands to my shoulder blades and we embrace.

“What the heck?” I hear a voice. It’s not Mason. We push each other away and make it look like we were just talking. I can feel my face turn beet red. Mason looks really embarrassed, and I’m sure I look the same way. The girl who interrupted us is looking back and forth at Mason and I, trying to figure out what she just saw.

“Please, Scarlet, pretend like you didn’t see anything. Don’t tell Mr. Meadows, please! It would mean the world to me,” Mason pleads.

Scarlet smiles sweetly and strikes a pose.

“Oh of course, Mason! Anything for you,” She says sweetly, in a high-pitched voice. I roll my eyes at Mason and he smiles at me. As the rest of the class enters the music room, I start to feel less embarrassed.

 

*****

 

Beth

After art, I go to Ethan’s locker and slip a note inside. It isn’t like the note I passed to Mason in English yesterday. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s just a friendly note that has my street address on it. Just in case he wants to come over and hang out sometime. I had a long debate with myself on whether I should give him my address or if I should wait until he texted me. I decided to give it to him, because he might be too shy to ask for it or something.

As I pack up, I feel a surge of happiness. I guess Ethan is my new crush now.

 

*****

 

Nikki

While we walk to our lockers, holding hands, Mason and I talk about homework.

“Do you have English homework?” I ask him.

“Nope, do you?”

“I just have to read the book that we were assigned yesterday,” I roll my eyes. English is my worst subject.

“Do you have any science homework?” He asks me.

“Nope. Do you?” I say, hoping the answer is yes, because when we were in 5th grade, I was his science tutor.

“Yup,” He smiles. “I have to study for the test on Tuesday. Will you be my science tutor?”

“Of course,” I smile at him, secretly relieved that I didn’t have to ask him first.

When I get to my locker, Mason goes to his locker, which is two down from mine. I peek at him from behind the door of my locker. Maybe, just maybe, I could ask him if he wanted to come over and do homework with me. My mom would probably mind, though. Plus, we are already going to the mall and a movie on Sunday.

When I’m done packing up, I look for Mason. Usually he waits for me so we can walk to the bus stop together, but today there’s no sign of him. I wonder why he just left without saying goodbye or anything. Maybe he walked with Ethan and Jason. I feel a monster of anger form in my stomach. Mason is supposed to wait for me. He never leaves without saying goodbye! I need to find him.

 

*****

 

Beth

TGIF! By the time I get everything for the weekend in my backpack, it’s 3:30. Ethan is waiting for me outside the front door. We walk to the bus together. He’s always a gentlemen. He holds the doors open for me and helps me with anything.

“Beth, I was wondering,” He says, rubbing the back of his neck. “Do you want to go see a movie with me?”

“Sure! How about we go see Skyfall? I’ve heard that it’s a good movie,” I sound hopeful.

“Sounds good,” We sit down towards the back of the bus.

We sit in silence for the rest of the ride to his stop. He isn’t very talkative. I wish that I could tell him what I did to Mason and Nikki. If I ever told him then I would lose my crush.

“How about on Sunday?” He is shuffling out of where we’re sitting

“Ok! How about we meet at the mall and then go to the movie?” I look at him shyly.

“Perfect,” He leaves the row and walks off the bus.

 

*****

 

Nikki

I stumble onto the bus with a knot in my stomach. I looked all over for Mason and practically missed the bus. I wonder why he left so suddenly. As I walk down the row, looking for an empty seat, a weird thought occurs. What if he just dumped me? I can’t bear to think that. Why would he just dump me? I try to think of a reason, any reason. Was it something that I said? Was it of something I did? I can’t think of anything.

I find an empty seat at the back of the bus. I wrinkle my nose. It smells like a dump. Some jocks in the seats in front of me are messing around. One of them keeps looking back at me, like he wants to talk to me. Finally he turns to face me and says something.

“Hi! My name’s Nick,” He holds his hand out. I take one look at it and gag. It’s covered in dirt and sweat.

“Uh, hi. My name’s Nikki,” I say. All of his friends laugh. He gives one of them a high-five. I guess I look confused, because one of Nick’s friends says,

“I dared him to get a cute girl to talk to him. Also, it’s funny that his name is Nick and yours is Nikki. Nick and Nikki!” I’m taken by surprise. They think I’m cute?

“Do you want to go to a movie with me?” Nick asks. Again, I’m taken by surprise. Why would he ask me out five seconds after we met? I’m very confused right now.

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