Chapter 1: The Plan

Layla felt numb. She didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the absurdity of it all. Here she was, prepared to spill her heart out to her best friend, only to have her world come crashing down with his simple statement. She was quiet most of the way to school; a million thoughts racing through her head, yet none of them resembled a solution to her current dilemma. What was she going to do?

Will seemed almost oblivious to her disappointment as he spread his good news to the rest of their friends. Zach promptly gave him a high-five upon hearing the news, earning an eye roll from Magenta. She gave her red-headed friend a sympathetic look, being the only other person Layla had dared her secret. That is, after her spontaneous confession to Warren yesterday evening.

In response, Layla shrugged her shoulders before turning back around and staring straight ahead, blocking out the surrounding voices. It's not that she was angry with Will. Who wouldn't like Gwen? She was pretty and popular, not to mention smart and well, the complete opposite of Layla.

This was all she could think about this morning at the bus stop after she approached Will excitedly (and nervously) and he dropped the bombshell that put her into this zombie-like mood.

She had made up a lie about going to Homecoming, not wanting Will to try and set her up or something just as ridiculous. She didn't think she could take having to amuse someone else for a night while the man of her dreams was hanging off the every word of that-

"Who are you going with?"

Oh, crap. Layla panicked, trying to remember names of boys she knew that didn't yet have a date. Zach was sure to ask Magenta, and she certainly didn't want to get in the middle of that drama. There was Ethan but… Layla wrinkled her nose at the thought. No, she needed someone equal to Will, someone who would make him extremely jealous, like Warren said. She could help but feel that tricking her best friend was wrong, but Warren said…

At that moment, Layla's eyes lit up and she turned to Will, trying to keep the smug smile off her face as she informed him that she would be going with none other than Warren Peace.

Will continued to gasp and stutter on their way to class and did nothing but complain about her choice most of the day. And it was weird, but the more he talked, the angrier she became. How dare he "forbid" her to go with Warren? It's not like she went around trash-talking Gwen to his face, especially when that was the one thing she would give anything to do right now.

Warren was actually pretty decent if last night was any indication, and she wasn't sure she liked Will's growing ego, to be completely honest. He made his choice, and she made that clear when she left him standing by the entrance to the cafeteria.

Layla slammed a bowl of salad onto her food tray and took a deep breath before searching for a table. She spotted Warren sitting alone, as usual, and decided to take the risk.

She set down her tray and he looked up with a glare, but she smiled in return. After quickly informing him of her plan, he immediately became defensive. It probably didn't help that the rest of the gang decided to sit at their table also.

She threw him a guilty look and was about to tell him to just forget it when she saw the happy couple coming their way, arm in arm. She laughed and pretended to flirt with Warren, which seemed to work when Will threw her a strange look on his way past their table.

Warren asked her if this was just to make Will jealous, and Layla had the sneaking suspicion that he would stand up and announce her stupid plan to the whole student body just to spite her. To her surprise, however, he smiled a toothy grin and agreed… but not before informing her that he would not rent a tux.

Layla stared at him, amazed that he was so cool about the mess of a situation she brought on. She couldn't think of anything to say as he stood up and walked out of the cafeteria.

Magenta nudged her and Layla snapped out of her trance. The rest of the table was looking at her as if she had grown two heads, but she just smiled sweetly and picked up her fork. As she ate the rest of her lunch, she couldn't quite shake the butterfly feeling she got in her stomach every time she thought of Warren's smile.