Hearts and Minds

By Kawaii Cherry Blossom

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Author Note:

Hi everyone. It's been a really, really long time since I've updated Hearts and Minds or done any writing at all. Thankfully, there have been a lot of people writing to me, asking when it is going to be updated, and it's because of you people that it finally is.

The way the fic was, I couldn't keep writing it, so I've had to make a few alterations. For one, there were way too many characters in the story, so I had to take some characters and storylines out. Sorry to those of you who were a fan of Sabrina – her storyline had to go, it wasn't going anywhere.

I've also taken the whole 'Pokemon' factor out of the characters' lives. I don't watch the show anymore, but I love the characters I have built upon in this story and that's why I want to continue it.

You should definitely read this from the beginning again, as a lot of things have changed. I really hope you all like the new, updated version. I don't get much time to write, but I am really going to try to keep this updated. Please keep me motivated with reviews though; that will spur me on!

Thanks for continuing to read everyone. :)

Also, thanks to Teneal for proofing this chapter for me.

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Chapter 1

Brand New Day

"Year 12..." were the words Mrs. Scott used to begin 2008 for the year twelve students of Viridian City High School. "Some students are scared of it. Some don't care about it. But no matter what you think or how you feel, it is going to be a big year for all of you."

Mrs. Scott's voice was emotional enough that you just knew she really cared about her students. Her blue eyes seemed to sparkle behind her stylish, black-rimmed glasses. Her frame was petite as she stood in front of thirty senior students in the school hall. Tucking a strand of her short, auburn hair behind her ear, she continued. "This year is the last before you go out into the world and become young adults with responsibility. But don't let me scare you, it's not all bad. For some of you, it will mean freedom, and others will be afraid to leave the safety of this school environment. Life outside school is pretty different - the real world isn't always forgiving and it's important to know who you are and where you stand."

Mrs. Scott turned to take some paper and pens from her desk. The students were silent as she walked to each front desk and instructed every student to take a piece of paper and a pen and pass the materials on. Her students were attentive. She was young and had only been through year twelve five years ago. She knew how they felt, and they respected that. Deep down, they were all afraid, even if they wouldn't admit it.

When Mrs. Scott was satisfied that every student had the required materials, she gave her instructions, "I want you to write down exactly how you're feeling at this exact moment. It doesn't only have to be about school. You can write about your life, your friends, what you want to achieve by the end of the year, whatever you're feeling right now. After you're done, I want you to fold up your piece of paper and hand it to me as you leave the room. I'm going to get you all to do this at various stages throughout the year. At the end of year, they will be given back to you. This way, you can open them up and read them, and see how you've changed over the course of the year. Oh and don't worry, I'm not going to read them."

A low murmur waved over the crowd of students as they discussed the task. A few rolled their eyes, looking disinterested. Others went straight into writing. Mrs. Scott sat behind her desk as she watched her students write.

My name is Ash Ketchum. I feel kind of scared, kind of excited about year12. I really want to do well with my grades, maybe even get straight A's. I am looking forward to getting out of school but I will miss being with my friends every day. Especially Misty. I love Misty. I love her more than anything and I want to tell her that so badly, but I can't. Because she's my best friend, and has been since we were 10. And I don't think she feels the same way I do, so I can't tell her because it would make things weird and awkward between us. I would rather have her friendship than nothing at all. So anyway, that's how I feel right now. Maybe sometime this year I will gather the courage to tell her how I feel, and maybe she will feel the same. If it's as simple as that...then I will be very happy.

Ash put down his pen and proceeded to fold up the piece of paper that held his biggest secret. He pushed a stray piece of his messy, jet black hair out of his eyes as he did so, before leaning back against his chair and glancing around the classroom. Though he tried to hide it, his chocolate brown eyes were focused on one person in particular – a tall, slim girl with fiery orange hair. He and Misty had been best friends since they were kids, but last year his feelings had changed. His heart would beat faster and faster when she came near, and his face would flush a deep red when they touched. His mother thought it was the cutest thing she'd ever seen, but for Ash, it was a burden. Misty didn't return his feelings. He couldn't even tell her because he was afraid both of rejection and of destroying the friendship that was so important to him. A voice snapped him out of his train of thought.

"Thinking about Misty again?" Brock whispered from the desk next to him.

Brock was Ash's other best friend, who, unfortunately for Ash, could read him like a book. Ash cursed himself as he realised that he'd been staring at Misty, and felt his cheeks blush.

"Huh?! What do you mean?" he whispered back, attempting to cover for himself. Brock laughed.

"There's no point denying it anymore Ash, remember? I know you, and I know you like Misty." Ash laughed off the accusation lightly.

"Why don't you just tell her?"

"Tell her what?"

"That you think she's pretty", Brock taunted, gaining satisfaction from the embarrassed look on Ash's face.

"I do not!" he said, loud enough that it stood out in the silence. A few people, including his teacher, turned to look at him. Embarrassed, he turned his attention back towards his brown wooden desk.

My name is May Pearce. I'm new to Viridian High this year. I came here from a small town because my dad has opened a new franchise of his business. I'm really scared of starting at this new school. I miss my friends from home and it's really daunting to think of making new ones, especially in year 12. All the people here seem so sure of who they are and what they want. I don't really know who I am and I hate that. I don't have much self-confidence and it makes me feel inferior. I want to be able to stand up and be commanding. I want people to notice when I enter the room. Not in an attention-seeking way, just in a confident way. That's all I want this year. Confidence.

May twisted her auburn hair around her finger, a nervous trait. She rarely wore her hair down, most of the time she wore it in pigtails but that hairstyle wasn't really 'in' these days, and she had to give a good impression if she was going to fit in here. It was weird to have to wear a uniform; casual clothes were the norm at her previous school. But this school was more prestigious, more serious. Her first morning had been hectic and her head was spinning with all the new information she'd learned in such a small amount of time. Her attention turned back to Mrs. Scott, then, as she stopped the class from writing.

"Alright students, pens down," she said with a slight smirk on her face. She walked forward, away from the desk at the front of the room. "Now I know it's nearly morning break, but I want to take this moment to introduce you to a new member of your year level."

May froze as she realised the teacher was talking about her. She was pretty sure she was the only new girl here. Sure enough, Mrs. Scott turned towards her.

"May, would you stand please," she commanded politely. May hated all the attention being on her but it wasn't like she could run away. With a nervous smile on her face, she stood and immediately felt thirty-odd pairs of eyes on her, staring her down, checking her out. May now knew how it would have felt to be on the front line during a war.

"May Pearce is new to Viridian and new to Viridian High. I'd like you all to make her feel welcome," she said with a smile. A few waves of chatter filled the air until their teacher hushed them once again. May finally got to stand down - had she been shot dead or was she still alive? She didn't really know at that moment.

"Ok class of 2008, you're dismissed. Hand your papers to me as you leave. After morning break, go straight to your first class," she explained and immediately, a few people got up to leave, as if they couldn't wait another second. "Oh, and Ash Ketchum, could you please come and see me before you leave. You too May," she added. A few 'oooohs' erupted from whom May guessed were the immature teens of the bunch as they filled out of the lecture hall.

A few minutes later, May had made her way down to where Mrs. Scott stood, and stood alongside a young man whom she guessed was Ash Ketchum. He was tall and quite handsome in a cute, boyish sort of way, with immersing brown eyes that for a moment, she seemed unable to take her attention from. Until he noticed she was looking at him.

"Don't look so worried Ash, you're not in too much trouble," Mrs. Scott said, a humorous tone protruding in her voice. She smirked as he appeared to sigh in relief. "I was wondering, since you're mature enough to talk during class," she smirked, "if you'd be able to introduce May to our school? You know, take her around, show her what she needs to know and introduce her to people."

May stole a glance from the boy next to her, and as she did he looked over at her with a smile. Nice smile...

"Sure," he replied happily, I can do that."

Mrs. Scott nodded. "Good. Well May, I hope everything goes well for you here. And if you ever need anything, let me know. I know it's hard being the new girl but I think you're going to be fine."

May nodded, feeling like she sincerely meant what she said. She was a nice teacher. "Thanks," she said.

"Alright May, it's time for the grand tour," Ash said, as if he had been delegated a really important job.

May nodded with a smile, "Lead the way."

My name is Cassidy Jones and I'm a terrible person. I did something horrible to the person I love most in this whole world - Butch. He means everything to me but I betrayed him. Why am I so stupid? I couldn't live without him; I don't even want to try. I don't know what to do. Everything is falling apart.

Cassidy Jones sent a look of distaste Jessie's way. Her navy blue pleated uniform skirt was hemmed too much, creeping at least 3 inches above her knees. It was supposed to be at knee level. She wore a black bra underneath her white short-sleeved shirt and her black high heeled shoes were anything but school appropriate. Needless to say, Jessie wasn't wearing her school uniform appropriately either.

"You look like a slut, Jess", Cassidy said, a mixture of disgust and pleasure echoing through her voice. Jessie rolled her eyes.

"Poor Cassidy, can't you hold your jealousy in anymore?" she retorted. Cassidy laughed.

"You must be joking! You look like you stepped out of a guide-book on how to be a hoe."

Jessie glared at Cassidy angrily; her words were like a paper cut to her heart, both irritating and painful.

"You know, I don't know how I could have ever been friends with you, Jessie. And you know what else? Our friendship is officially over!" Cassidy said viciously, before turning on her heel and stalking away. Jessie cursed her former best friend under her breath.

'Who needs her anyway? Not me. I don't need anybody. People just get in the way.

I'm fine on my own' she mused, though deep down she knew that she was trying to convince herself of this more than she believed it. Jessie had had one miserable friendship after another. They had all ended this way, and she had never tried to patch them up. Cassidy had been her longest friend, though their relationship had always been sour because they were always trying to get the better of one another. Perhaps she was simply meant to be alone, to walk solitarily. But did she really want to be alone? Jessie opened her locker door with a little too much force as this thought enveloped her. She looked down as James, who was standing nearby, glanced at her. He was a rich snob; he'd hardly ever spoken two words to her. He hung around with the other rich snobs, with perfect lives and perfect families, like Jessibelle and Giselle. They all made her feel like she didn't deserve to be at Viridian High because she was so poor. Her father had paid all of her school fees before he died and had worked so hard to pay for her to go to this school. She stood out from everyone else, though, and they made it known when they constantly taunted her. James wasn't as ill-behaved as the others. In fact, he'd always seemed like a nice person. But she wouldn't really know, because nice people don't get involved with the notorious, immoral Jessie, do they? Jessie could feel the familiar feeling of tears threatening to develop in her eyes, but forced them away. She never cried, not since her parents had died. What was the point? Nobody cared anyway.

My name is James Williams, and by the end of this year, I will probably be receiving my acceptance letter into a law degree. A degree I don't want. But my father wants it, because he's a lawyer, his father was a lawyer, as was his father...and so on. But he doesn't know that the dream he has for me isn't the dream I have for myself. I don't want to be a lawyer. I want to be free from his grasp and expectations and plan my future according to my own goals. But there's no way that's going to happen. So I guess I should just move on and be what my father wants me to be: a lifeless, unhappy clone. All I want is to be free of it.

James felt as if he'd just unloaded a bucket load of secrets, feelings he'd kept inside, unable to tell anyone. If his father found out that he felt the way he did about his career, he'd disown him, never forgive him. The Williams' family legacy was resting on James' shoulders, but to him, it was a burden, weighing him down like carrying a bar of steel on his shoulders, which he would never be able to put down.

The murmur of teenagers filled the air, getting louder and louder as they took each step. It was morning break, and after that was their first class. James made his way towards his friends - Jessibelle, Giselle and Gary.

Jessibelle Barton is my name, and I don't have a worry about this year because I know I'm going to get exactly what I want. I always do, I'm a Barton after all. That means...I will get straight A's, I'll get into the law school daddy went to, and I'll be with James. If I am missing one of those things by graduation, I will cut up my credit cards.

Jessibelle Barton tossed her shiny burgundy hair over her shoulder in a large display of attention, catching the eye of many a passerby. Giselle Davis, who sat beside her, did the same. They looked like a picture from a Viridian High advertisement - their appearances immaculate from their hair down to their shoes.

James laughed lightly as he walked up to Jessibelle and kissed her on the cheek.

"Looking gorgeous as always, Belle."

"Of course!" she smiled innocently at him. James rolled his eyes inwardly.

James had known Jessibelle all his life. Their families had been friends for many years because their fathers were both powerful lawyers in Viridian City. Belle didn't waste a second showing off that she was rich, beautiful, smart and talented. She beamed as a girl walked by holding a magazine with her on the front cover. James, on the other hand was more reserved about his wealth. He never bragged about it, and associated with all types of people, whether they were rich or poor.

"These people are all so daggy. I mean, look at that hairstyle," she said as she pointed to Misty, who was walking by. "I mean, I used to wear my hair in a side ponytail when I was 5."

"I know, I mean, get a fashion sense," Giselle agreed.

Misty sneered because she knew she was being talked about, and glared at Jessibelle, who scoffed back at her.

James rolled his eyes at the girls.

"Oh, leave her alone guys, not everyone has the same opinion as you do", James said angrily. Jessibelle raised an eyebrow at James' retort.

"What's the matter Jim? You're not turning softie on us are you?" Giselle asked, half in amusement.

James stared ahead, not answering her question. He didn't know why, but his friends' attitudes were bothering him to the point where he couldn't stand to be near them. What had changed? He didn't know.

'Maybe I grew up', he thought sarcastically, but didn't dismiss the notion. Perhaps he had grown up. Perhaps joining in with his 'friends' wasn't so fun after all. Perhaps he just needed a change, of everything. James sighed hopelessly. All he knew was that he couldn't be near these people anymore, and he walked away without a word, quickly solving that problem.

"What's with him?" she asked aloud.

"PMS?" Giselle suggested, and the two burst into a fit of laughter.

My name is Jessie and I hate everything. I hate school, home, friends, people, boys, money... I hate life. Why does everything have to be so hard for me? I look around and see everyone smiling, happy, and it makes me ANGRY! Why should they have it all and not me? Why am I so unlucky?

Jessie sighed as she sat alone in the cafeteria. She didn't usually hang out here but she didn't really have anywhere else to go, since Cassidy now hated her guts. The cafeteria was pretty much deserted, save for a few year eights and nines, and some people buying food. People usually spent their free time outside, especially in the nice weather like they were having today, but Jessie wasn't in the mood for the sun.

"Mind if I sit here?" she heard a male voice ask. Looking up, she found James Williams' emerald green eyes staring down at her. Snapping out of her state of self pity, she nodded. She and James weren't friends, but at the moment Jessie could care less. Though she was curious as to why he wanted to sit with her...

James sat on the chair across from her, putting a few textbooks down on the table.

"Hi", she said simply.

"How come you're not sitting with your friends?"

"I don't have any", Jessie answered sarcastically. "You?" James shrugged.

"Me neither."

"I don't know how you could ever have considered those losers friends in the first place", she said. James smirked.

"I had no choice. Jessibelle is a friend of the family." Jessie laughed.

"Poor family."

'Underneath all that make-up she's really pretty. I never noticed it before…' James thought as he laughed at her comment.

"So what are you going to do next year?" James asked, trying to make small-talk.

Jessie shrugged, appearing as if she could care less.

"I dunno. I want to be an actress…"

"Then you should. I've seen you in the school plays; you're really good at it."

"Thanks…" Jessie smiled. "But…"

"But what?"

"My step-father is dead-set against me becoming one. He says it's a joke's job."

"Oh…" James said quietly.

"I don't know why I'm telling you this," Jessie shook herself from her problems to realise she was telling them to a stranger.

"Sometimes it's easier to talk to someone you don't know that well."

"If I wanted to talk, I'd see a shrink," Jessie retorted. She didn't mean to be so negative but she was in a foul mood.

"Sorry," James apologised immediately.

"Don't be. It's not your fault my life sucks." Sighing, Jessie rested her head in her hand as she leant against the table. James was silent; he didn't know what to say or how to react to her.
"I kind of know how you feel," he spoke finally.

"I doubt it."

James smiled weakly, though a thundery cloud of sadness cast itself across his eyes. He said nothing for a few moments, leaving Jessie to wonder if she'd upset him, not that she cared.

"Hey Jessie?" James finally spoke again, looking up at her. The sadness was gone.

"Yeah?"

"I think you should go for it. Become an actress and be happy."

Jessie looked at him for a moment, studying the emotion in his eyes. Strangely, she couldn't find any… She found it strange, but pretended not to as she smiled meekly.

"Well…maybe", she said. "Thanks".

He smiled back, but Jessie noticed that there was still no emotion present in his eyes. They just seemed to be emerald pools of…nothingness. There was no spark, no energy. Just…nothing.

My name is Erika Fowler and I'm 18. This year I really don't want things to change from how they are right now. I have everything I need. Beautiful friends whom I love, good grades, a great family and a boyfriend who I love very much. I hope Tracey and I will get closer and closer as the year goes on. I just want this to be a year I'll remember.

"I love you," Tracey Sketchit said softly as he looked into Erika Fowler's midnight blue eyes. He leant in to kiss her gently on the lips, and she smiled as she kissed him back.

"I love you," she replied.

Tracey put his arms around her as she leaned back against the tall oak tree that they sat under. It was their spot, and they would meet each other every recess and lunch, and had done ever since they had started dating four months ago. It was far from where any of the other students sat, so they could have their privacy.

Erika picked up Tracey's sketch book and flipped through his drawings. He loved art, drawing in particular, and after school his intention was to go to art school to begin his career. Tracey glanced up as he saw somebody moving in the distance. His heart began to beat faster as he saw her long brown hair waving in the breeze. Her dark brown eyes turned to face him, desire emanating from her stare. The resentment that filled Tracey's heart at first glance faded and was replaced with hurt. He forced himself to look away, and turned his attention back to Erika as he heard her speak.

"Oh, I love this one!" she commented as she turned the page to a picture of a waterfall they had encountered on a day together in the summer. His drawing was as beautiful as the real thing.

"What a great day that was. So peaceful and calm. I wish we didn't have to come back to school," she said wistfully.

Tracey glanced back up again. Melody was gone.

"Me too. Back to the real world though, I guess," Tracey replied, putting his hand over hers. A smile graced her face as she looked up into his eyes.

"Are you scared about it? Year 12, I mean?" she asked. He nodded.

"Deep down, of course. But I know that it's just another year. The hard part starts after we graduate, and have to make all those life changing decisions that the teachers will be going on about all year."

"True. But at least you know what you want to do. I don't really have much of an idea."

"Well, I wouldn't start worrying yet," he said softly. "I have no doubt you'll work it out. After all, how could a beautiful girl like you have a problem fitting into any path you decide to take," he added. Erika smiled graciously.

"Did I mention how much I love you?" she said as she kissed him again.

My name is Tracey Sketchit and my favourite thing in the world is drawing. Next year I'm hoping to get into an art school and learn more about it, and hopefully make a career out of it. Last year I was completely in love with a girl named Melody. She was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, until she cheated on me with Gary Oak. I was so angry and hurt, and I couldn't even look at her for weeks after I'd seen them making out at a party. At the end of last year I started dating Erika, who is the nicest girl, and I love her a lot. Still, though, I can't help having these feelings for Mel. And I hate it. She hurt me; so shouldn't I want to stay away from her? Obviously not, since every time she looks my way, I feel myself dangling from her strings, like a puppet in her game.

"So where are you from, May?" Ash asked as they walked through the school grounds. He had already pointed out the huge heritage-looking school buildings where all the classrooms were located, the cafeteria, the huge oval set in the centre of the school, the areas where certain cliques hung out...

"I'm from a small town called Petalburg, not sure if you'll have heard of it. It's on the coast," she replied. Ash was easy to talk to - he was very relaxed and very nice. Still, May couldn't help but have this sickly nervous feeling inside her stomach. Getting to know new people was so daunting!

"I've heard of the place but don't know much about it, I'll admit," he said sheepishly, "Is it nice?"

"Yeah, it's beautiful," she said, feeling at peace when she thought of home. "Very different from here though."

"Oh yeah, the city lifestyle is kind of strange. I spent the first five years of my life in Pallet Town, before we moved here."

"Wow, big difference," she commented. He nodded.

"Those people over there," he continued with his 'grand tour', "are the rich, popular people who 'everyone looks up to' even though they treat everyone like dirt." May looked a bit shocked that there were such segregated groups in this school - it wasn't like this in Petalburg.

He went on to explain, "The girl with the red hair is Jessibelle, next to her is Giselle, and the guys are Gary and Butch."

May nodded. The four people he'd just pointed out were EXTREMELY good looking - they looked like models.

"Anyway don't be hurt if they ignore you or say something stupid and mean, it's natural for them and they do it to everyone."

The two kept walking, passing students of all ages from year's eight to twelve. After a few more steps, they reached a grassed area set away from the huge oval. Wooden benches with black wrought iron frames and matching tables were scattered throughout the area, most of them taken up by students eating and reading and gossiping. Finally they approached a table which Ash stopped in front of. Seated on the chairs were two girls - one had orange hair pulled up in a ponytail and bright eyes that looked the colour of the ocean. Her pale skin complemented her features and she was slim and tall. As Ash and May approached, the girl seemed to look straight at her, almost accusingly, as if she were checking her over for a murder weapon with her eyes. Across from her sat a boy with dark tanned skin and spiky brown hair. He gave May a gentle, welcoming smile as she approached.

"Hey guys," he said and they said their hello's, both looking interested to see who this new girl was.

May hated being the new girl.

"This is May. Mrs. Scott asked me to show her around," he turned towards her. "May, this is Misty and Brock."

"Hey," the girl, Misty, gave her a smile, though she still looked suspicious.

'Wonder why?'

"Hi May, nice to meet you," the boy, Brock, welcomed. "Have a seat," he patted the spare spot next to him and May sat down, as Ash took the spot next to Misty.

"Quick Mist, I need food," he said to Misty impatiently, who rolled her eyes as she handed him a bag of chips.

"Geez Ash you only had breakfast three hours ago."

"Anyway," he changed the subject, "May is from Petalburg, on the coast."

"Oh I've always wanted to go there, it looks so pretty," Misty said, and the suspicious look was replaced by a dreamy one.

"Misty wants to go everywhere," Ash explained with a smirk, and she replied by punching him on the arm.

It was pretty obvious to May that Ash and Misty were very close. Maybe that's why Misty was looking at May as if she was an alien?

"So May, why did you move to Viridian?" Brock asked, genuinely interested.

"My dad's business is opening up over here and he came out to make it happen," she explained.

"Wow, it must be hard starting at a new school now," Misty said.

"It is, I'm really nervous," May admitted.

"Well, you've got nothing to worry about," Ash said. "If anyone gives you any trouble, Misty will be happy to punch them out for you," he finished, and got up out of his chair as Misty sneered at him.

"You're lucky you moved," she narrowed her eyes.

Brock shook his head at the two. "Ignore them May, they're crazy. Seriously, this is a great school and I don't think you should be worried."

"Thanks." May smiled at Brock. He seemed really wise, like he knew more than his age should allow, but right away she knew she could trust him.

At that moment, a chime resounded through the school. Morning break was over.

"So have you guys both got English now?" Misty asked Ash and Brock. "I've got Chem with Erika."

Ash nodded with a look of dread.

"Yep," Brock confirmed.

"What about you?" Ash asked May.

"Ummm...I think it was English too actually..." she murmured as she rummaged through her school bag, looking for her timetable. When she pulled it out, she confirmed. "Yep, English with Mrs. Roe."

"Great, then you'll come with us," Ash said.

The suspicious look was back on Misty's face.

My name is Brock Slate and I'm 18. I'm sort of concerned about this coming year because I don't know how I'm going to balance home and school. My father left my mother, myself and my 13 brothers and sisters to 'become a better man' last year. Since that day, my mother has been a lifeless wreck, and she can't do much. So, I keep the house clean, look after everything my brothers and sisters need, iron, wash, cook, sew...etcetera. It's tiring to do that as well as school. But I'm the only one who can do it. And I don't have much confidence in my father coming home any time soon. I'm not complaining. I just hope I can hold it all together and be able to graduate. If not...I don't know what I'll do.

James got up to leave as he heard the bell ring, noticing that Jessie was in no hurry to get to her first class. He looked down at her and thought of something.

"Hey Jessie, do you want to meet here for lunch?" he asked. Jessie looked up at him in surprise.

"Well, sure. Okay…"

James smiled, his first real smile in quite a while, and nodded. "Great, I'll see you then. Good luck in your first class."

Jessie nodded. "Thanks. You too." As she watched him walk away, she wondered why someone like James, with everything going for him, would want to spend time with her. She'd never really given him a chance before, believing that he was just like his stuck up, snobby friends. But there was something about him that interested her. Sure, he was incredibly handsome, but there was something more. Something dark in his bright eyes that told her he was more than just a spoiled rich kid. But nonetheless, she would keep her guard up, she wouldn't trust him because trusting people always resulted in disappointment for Jessie. People always let her down.

My name is Butch Walker and I'm 18. Right now, life is great. I had a great summer with my girlfriend Cassidy, who I love so much, and now we're back at school together. Cassidy is my soulmate, and someday I want to marry her so we can spend our lives together. I know I'm young but I know that she's the one for me. I think this year is going to be great for both of us, and I can't wait to be standing next to her when we graduate.

"Cass," Butch whispered to his blonde girlfriend, turning quickly to make sure the teacher wasn't watching him.

Cassidy seemed to be staring into space, but she'd heard and turned her head to face Butch.

"You ok?" he asked. Cassidy had been very distant all morning, like she had something on her mind that was taking all of her attention.

In reply, she smiled, though Butch could tell it was forced. "Yeah, fine."

He nodded and gave her a reassuring smile before turning back to the whiteboard and the math problems on it. Something wasn't right here, he knew. Cassidy trusted him with everything. But there was something she wasn't telling him.

May's first class seemed to go by quite quickly and uneventfully. She was glad she had Ash and Brock with her because it made her feel at ease, if only a little, now that she wasn't completely alone. The bell rang for the fourth time that day, informing the students that it was lunch time.

"Finally!" Ash was obviously relieved.

Ash and Brock led the way out of their classroom to their lockers, where they grabbed their lunch and headed for the same table where they had sat at morning break.

Misty and another girl with black hair shaped into a clean bob, styled with a thick red headband, already sat waiting for them. She was quickly introduced to Erika, the girl with the black hair, who seemed nice. Ash, May and Brock took seats and pulled out their lunches.

"How was English Ash?" Misty asked him with a smirk. Ash replied with a groan.

"Please, it's over now, don't make me think about it again."

Erika laughed. "If you hate it so much, why did you take it?"

"Well, you know, I don't know what I'm going to do next year so my mom said I have to keep my options open and do all the common core subjects, just in case."

"Probably a good idea," Brock commented. "Do you like English, May? You seemed to enjoy it."

May nodded as she swallowed her avocado and cheese sandwich. "Yeah, it's one of my favourite subjects," she replied.

"Great! Then you can tutor me," Ash looked hopeful.

Cue suspicious look from Misty. May had noticed it and she answered uneasily.

"Well...yeah, sure, I guess I can do that..."

"I really still can't believe how fast our summer break went," Misty exclaimed as she opened the blue folder that sat on the desk in front of her.

"I know," Ash replied. "It sucks."

"So are you coming to Erika's tonight? We were thinking of hiring a couple of movies or something," Misty asked. She, Erika, Ash and Brock often spent nights at each others' houses, studying or playing video games or watching movies.

"Um...well actually I can't."

"Oh? How come?" Misty asked, curious about what other plans her best friend could have that she didn't already know about.

"I promised May I'd show her around town, you know, just all the main things. She's only been here a week and she's from a really small town so I thought it'd be a good idea. Plus, she said she'd tutor me in English so it's the least I can do."

A pang of jealousy hit Misty like a tonne of bricks, and she hoped it didn't show on her face. Thankfully, their teacher walked in at that moment and distracted them.

"Oh, ok," Misty replied with a nod, and he hadn't seemed to notice her discomfort. But then again, clueless Ash wouldn't notice it. Or her.

I'm Gary Oak. Writing stuff like this doesn't interest me, I've got better things to think about like which chick I'm gonna hook up with this weekend. Hahaha. That Misty chick is looking pretty hot these days, she's a fiery one too. And hooking up with her would REALLY piss Ash of big time. Anyways I should probably write about year 12....uh well I don't really need to worry because I know I'll get straight A's. It's gonna be a good year!

"Yo, Ash", Gary called as he made his way over to his locker. Ash dumped his books from his last class into his own and turned towards Gary. His suspicions built up right away. He and Gary had been best friends when they were kids, both hailing from Pallet Town, until Gary became part of the 'in' crowd and ditched Ash for all the rich, popular people.

"Hi Gary, what's up?" he asked in his usual polite nature. Misty always said that Ash was too nice sometimes. Ash smiled as this thought entered his mind.

"Well, I was just wondering…" he began. "Are you going out with Misty?" Ash had to stop himself from blushing as the question registered in his brain. His brain wasn't so considerate, however, and he coughed, which he decided was even more embarrassing.

"Me and Misty?" he asked uncomfortably. "No way", he said, laughing the question off like a joke.

"Well that's great!" Gary replied, a victorious look crossing his face.

"It is? Why?" Ash asked, almost panicky.

"Because I'm going to ask her out, now that I know I'm not going to get rejected", he explained, sticking his nose up in the air. Ash's heart sank and he silently hoped that Misty would reject him anyway.

"Well, thanks for the help Ashy Boy", Gary said before turning and walking away, a snide laugh trailing in his wake.

Ash didn't bother to cast aside the pang of jealousy that invaded his heart.

"So Misty, how was your first day?" Erika asked, brushing away her black bangs, which were blowing in the breeze.

"Ok," came an unenthusiastic reply.

"It's so cool that we're in our senior year. I can't wait until we graduate!"

"Yeah."

"It's so exciting!"

"Yeah."

Erika glanced at her friend. Her head was down and she was definitely only half listening.

"Misty? What's wrong?" she asked, concerned. Misty glanced up and forced a smile onto her face.

"Nothing. Everything's fine."

"Come on, I can tell something's wrong. Did something happen?" Erika asked. Misty sighed. She and Erika had been friends for so long that Misty could rarely hide her feelings from her. Not that she minded of course; she always felt better after she talked things over.

"Ash isn't coming tonight. He's going out with May instead", she stated.

"What? What are they doing?"

"He's showing her around town."

"Oh", Erika answered, unsure of what to say next.

"We always get together on Wednesday nights. And now he's ditching us for her."

"Hmm," Erika pondered aloud. "Am I sensing a bit of jealousy towards the new girl?"

"What? No. I just..." Misty began, but didn't finish. She shrugged.

"I wish Ash could see how much I care about him."

"Honestly, I don't think you should be worried."

"Why?"

"I've seen the way he looks at you, Misty. I think Ash likes you more than he lets on", Erika explained.

"No way", Misty replied, having already made up her mind. "He wouldn't be going out with May if he did. I mean, taking her around town? Sounds like a date to me."

"I don't know, Misty…"

"I guess I just have to face the facts. Ash and I will always be just friends…"

"Hey Misty!"

Misty turned, half out of curiosity and half out of shock, when Gary Oak called out her name. After all, why would Gary – one of the most popular guys in the school – talk to her? But there he was - standing right in front of her eyes.

"Hi Misty, how are you doing?" he asked, seeming more polite than usual. "Hi Erika."

"I'm fine, thanks…" Misty replied warily. After what Gary had done to Ash, Misty knew she had to be cautious.

"That's good. So I was wondering…" he started.

'Is he asking me out? What if he does? What do I say? Gary is bad news, right? Yes, he's bad news. Of course he is. He really hurt Ash. But he never did anything to me... I've always said that everyone deserves a chance… Maybe he does too. But I like Ash…' thoughts drifted through Misty's mind as she nodded, signaling for him to continue.

"I was wondering if you'd like to go out with me tonight," he asked, so confident that Misty wondered if any girl had ever turned him down.

'I like Ash, but he doesn't like me, right? So why shouldn't I go out with Gary? Ash can't tell me who and who not to go out with. But I'm love with Ash… Hey, wait a second… Ash is going out with May, so why shouldn't I go out with Gary? Maybe going out with Gary is just what I need to get over Ash…' Misty thought, a decision sparking in her mind. Though her heart was clouded with doubt, she found herself following her head's instructions, and nodding and smiling.

"Sure, I'll go," she replied. Gary smiled, again confidently. He'd probably done this a million times, after all.

"Great!" he said, looking rather like he expected the answer. Self-confidence radiated from him as he pulled his shades over his eyes coolly.

"You like French food, right?" he asked.

"How did you know?" she said, looking slightly shocked.

"Well, you look like the romantic type," he replied. Misty gave him a look, saying she didn't buy the explanation. Gary laughed loudly.

"Ok ok, I looked at your Facebook," he explained, and Misty let out a giggle.

"I'll pick you up at around seven," he explained. Misty nodded. She felt somewhat excited about the date.

'Perhaps Gary is just misunderstood… He seems really nice,' she thought as she waved goodbye to him. He winked at her before she turned away, and Misty felt her cheeks flush slightly.

'And really hot…'

"Wow, I didn't see that coming," Erika said as she watched Gary walk away suspiciously. "I don't know about him, Misty."

"I know he's got a pretty bad reputation but why shouldn't I give him a chance?" Misty reasoned.

"What about Ash though?"

"Like I said before, Ash is my friend. I could wait around forever for him and something which might never happen. Why shouldn't I take a chance with Gary?"

"I guess..." Erika was skeptical but tried to be positive. "Just be careful."

Ash, who was watching the scene from a distance, felt his heart sink like a boat with a hole in the bottom - a hole which had been viciously formed. He felt angry, jealous, but most of all, heartbroken. The tiny glimmer of hope that shone in his heart, like the bright light of a flashlight, ceased to glow. The light had lit up his heart with the hope that perhaps Misty could like him as more than just a friend. But this hope had been extinguished. He just had to accept it…

'Misty and I…'he told himself with all of the strength in his heart, 'Are just friends. And that's all we'll ever be.'

To be continued

Credits: The chapter title is a song by Alex Lloyd.