Chapter 1

It was just another typical day at the Stevens home. It was 7:00 a.m. and it was time for everyone to start the day. Everyone, that is, except for Louis. As usual, he was snoring away in his bed. Steve Stevens, the head of the household was all suited up ready for another day at the law firm. Eileen Stevens was all set for another day at the state capital. Sister Ren was away at college at Stanford University and big brother Donnie had long left home for college and hoping to graduate in a month. He was playing football and baseball at UCLA (he ended up losing his scholarship to Texas State Univeristy). Louis was seventeen years old, a senior in high school, and sleeping away.

"LOUIS!!" Steve screamed form the bottom of the stairs and continued screaming as he made his way up them. "Louis!!" he bellowed while opening the door.

Louis had now pried one eye open. "What is it, Dad?"

"Lou, you're just sleeping away while the rest of the world is getting ready for another day!"

"Loosen up, Pop. School doesn't start for another 20 minutes." Steve gave him a look for that "Pop" comment. "I mean, 'Father'," Louis corrected. So, for yet another day, what seemed to be the one millionth for Louis, he was getting up for another day at James K. Polk High school. Louis pulled on some khaki short pants, a white t-shirt with his trademark Hawaiian shirt over it. Some things just don't change. He made his way to the driveway where his prized car was parked: a 1987 blue Chevy Nova. It was a classic 1980's car: bad sparkplugs, oil needed to be changed and the car would always cough whenever it was turned on or off. Louis thought it was perfect.

So, Louis arrived at the school 10 minutes late, as usual. He pulled into his parking spot, the car coughed, Louis kicked it, smoke rose from the hood and he went running into the building. But he could not get very far. "Mr. STevens!" a familiar voice called. Oh boy, Louis thought. It was none other than Mr. Wexler. Two years earlier, when Louis was a sophomore at Polk High, Wexler left Lawrence Jumnior High to take the vacant job at the high school. "Mr. Stevens, are you late once again. What do you have to say for yourself??"

Louis looked all around him quickly hoping a good excuse would come to mind. "Well, Mr. Wexler, it's like this . . . I waas on my way but a huge banana truck turned over on Main Street and the road blocked for at least half an hour just with the monkeys, and then firemen showed up with the national guard and . . ."

Wexler just looked around in discontent with another one of Louis Stevens' half-baked, pathetic excuses. "Off to class, Stevens."

"Thank you, sir." Louis then dashed through the hallways towards the stairs and slid down the railing. He got to the bottom and stumbled while trying to get to his classroom. He was out of breath when he reached the door and the teacher stopped. "Louis, you're late," the teacher Ms. Parker said. Louis nodded and quietly got to his seat in the back next to best bud Alan Twitty.

Twitty said, "Lou, man, you're late again."

"Yeah, I kinda figured that out."

"What's goin' on?" his worldly pal asked.

"I'll tell ya later. But it's big I tell ya, big!"

So Louis and Twitty sat through and English lecture and waited for the long anticipated bell to ring. At 8:30 it rang and Louis buzzed out of that room leaving a trail of dust behind him. Twitty caught up with him and said, "OK, man, what is it? What's so big?"

"I can't tell ya. Here she comes."

The "she" that Louis was referring to was a blonde haired girl that Louis was currently falling for. Her name was Amanda. She was tall, thin, had beautiful blue eyes, but was dumb as a tack. Twitty rolled his eyes and shook his head. Like Charlie Brown, he mumbled "Good Grief" to himself. As Louis was telling his latest joke to Amanda, Louis' friend and on-again-off-again sweetheart Tawny Dean walked by. She shook her head in disgust and started talking to Twitty. "What Romeo doing now?"

"He's trying to impress that ditzy girl over there."

"I wish he knew just how stupid he looks."

"Well, he really thinks she's pretty, I guess. I mean, I haven't seen him try to impress a girl like that since . . . oops."

"It's OK, Twitty, it's over with, for now at least."

For almost four years Louis and Tawny had been in an inconsistent relationship. They'd date for a little while and break up. And then they'd get back together. And then Louis would do something stupid. And then they'd break up again. But they always remained friends. Louis still like Tawny a lot, but like any other 17-year-old guy, he was awe-struck by any and every girl that he came in contact with.

Tawny shook her head and said, "Later, Twitty."