Chapter one:

"Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?"

As you like it. Act 3 Scene 5 William Shakespeare

Life's not fun. Or happy. Or even worth going through. So I some how needed an excuse to go on living in Lakeview Terrace, the town I'd lived since I was born. But every reason I got was just plain stupid. I never fit in anywhere, ever.

So when I finally found someone, I was better, better than anything I had ever felt. I never imagined it would be a boy so unusual. A boy that I had spent one morning with before school at the local diner.

My mom went through phases trying to get me to be more like one of my 4 sisters. Antoinette, the beautiful cheerleader with long, curly blond hair. Then there was, Lillian the smart one with short, cropped blond hair. And Mary the independent one that was our school's student body president. You guessed it, she's blond. Lastly there's Beatrice, the athlete. She has long blonde hair that is constantly in a ponytail. Beatrice was the only one I liked. She was funny and outgoing, but she was too perfect. Just like all of them.

I got all the bad genes. I have my dad's flat, brunette hair and pale skin. I have deep blue eyes, one of the only good traits about me. Every time my mom tries to change me, I fail miserably. I was too clumsy to be a cheerleader or an athlete. I shy away from being alone and would rather die than have the spotlight on me. Now she was trying to get me to be more like Lillian. So she signed me up for tutoring other students. And that was how I met Rustle.

I walked into the small entrance of the school and slowly slumped toward Mr. Hawthorne, our guidance counselor.

"Good morning, Ellie," He said loudly. "Nice to see you here."

I just nodded and he waved me toward another boy sitting on the blue faux leather seats. This boy looked just as depressed to be there as I was. I thought that maybe he was on the same level as I was, Stuck being the disappointing one in the family, just like me. Maybe I could connect with him. No, I thought, someone like him would never like me on any level. This boy was tall and buff but the trait that drew the most attention was his startlingly red hair. I sat down next to him.

"Hello," I said awkwardly. "I'm Ellie." I held out my hand politely and slowly dropped it when he just sat there staring at it blankly.

"Hi, I'm Rustle." He finally said after it seemed like forever had past as he stared at my hand.

"Alright," Mr. Hawthorne said after a look out the door. "Since you two are the only ones who showed up today, I'm going to have to cancel this mornings tutoring."

I breathed a sigh of relief and I could see Rustle stifle a laugh. Mr. Hawthorne walked away after a long glance back out the large doors.

"So," Rustle muttered startlingly. "Would you like to grab a bite to eat before school starts?"

"Sure."

We walked across the street silently and he was the first one to speak when we had gotten into a booth.

"So, How did you turn out so normal?" he asked.

"Excuse me?" I asked puzzled. What was he talking about?

"Well, all your sisters are unnaturally perfect and you're really normal."

That was what he was talking about? My sisters? This brought on a new rage that I never knew I had in me. But of course. Almost every conversation I have has something to do with my sisters. But I was still angry, so I vented to this stranger.

"Why does that matter?" I said angrily. "Its not like I want to be anything like those pathetic Barbie's! I want nothing to do with them! Everything revolves around them. Awards, ceremonies, my mom, and my whole life are based on the fact that I am pathetically average while the future Miss. Americas are getting ready for another trophy!"

He looked at me like I just told him my whole life story. Then he composed his face.

"Wow, calm down. I was just commenting on how it's finally nice to find someone so down to earth that comes from the same family."

"Oh." Was all I could say. Was this boy really saying I was down to earth? Most guys just ask me why I'm nothing like my sisters. But this one, Rustle, seemed different, nice, kind, and amazing.

"So, you really do keep things bottled up don't you?" He asked with a grin on his face.

I nodded, blushing and said "I am so different than my sisters. I don't think I can take much more of it."

The rest of the morning we talked. We chatted about pointless things and deep, thoughtful things. He asked me about my family, but mostly we stayed away from that topic. He asked my favorite color and my favorite flower. He asked me if I had ever wanted to runaway from all of this, and to that I had no answer. We almost missed first period talking. I had never talked this much in my life.

Rustle had me wrapped around his finger the first time I met him. I knew he might be the reason I go on. The reason I wake up in the morning, the reason for my being. Last week no one would care if I was alive. But now one man would miss me if I left, one man could love me. I have one person to hold on to.

The next day, I got up and dressed and brushed my teeth just as I would on any other day. I went downstairs to find my father eating breakfast with my sisters. The reason this was so surprising was that my dad's job had him constantly away. Whether he was across the country or across the world, he was never here. I despised him for that. I ducked my head though, trying not to be seen. Unfortunately, my mother saw me at once and made me say an embarrassing hello to my dad. As soon as that was though I grabbed a granola bar and headed for the door. I jumped in my black SUV and drove toward purgatory.

When I got to school, I immediately saw Rustle—and he saw me. He immediately walked over to me, making me regret glancing over at him knowing this might be awkward.

"'Morning," He said. "How are you?"

"Fine," I lied. "And you?"

"Perfect… Now," He said making me blush. "Would you like to walk to class with me?"

"Yes, thank you." I said as politely as I could.

We walked to class and right when we passed the science lab I felt his hand in mine. I looked at him startled by the sudden touch, but in a good way. Obviously he took my look differently and dropped my hand. But cautiously I reached for it again and he looked down at me and smiled.

Since he was incredibly taller than I was, I felt very small next to him. Then I was distracted from my thought when I realized I was at room 612, my algebra class with Mrs. Tearnie. A wave of depression washed over me as when I knew he would be going to his class.

"'Bye." I said more gloomily than intended.

"Don't worry," He said noticing my glumness. "I'll be back after."

I nodded and walked into the room. I had Algebra first thing in the morning so usually, I started the day off badly. As soon as the bell rang my mood immediately shifted. I got even more excited when I saw him leaning casually against the crimson lockers. He looked up and I saw his eyes brighten as I walked toward him. Away from the misery of Algebra and all its wonders.

The rest of the day we got more and more comfortable around each other. He sat with me at lunch and when the day was over, I had to say goodbye to Rustle.


Chapter 2:

Stupid butterflies.

I woke up in a brilliant mood. I had a huge smile on my face when I walked down the stairs. I skipped through the butter, yellow walled room into the kitchen and kissed my father on the cheek. I could tell it surprised him because he jumped at my touch.

"So, why so cheery, pariah?" Antoinette sneered.

"None of your business, Barbie." I replied just as acidly.

"Girls…" My dad said.

"I know why," Lillian said. "Yesterday, Ellie was walking around school with Rustle Peterson. She was holding his hand!"

"I will kill you." I whispered in her ear.

"You're dating a boy?" My mother asked peeking her head in from the other room.

"Well not officially or anything." Lillian continued. She was such a blabber-mouth. "They've only been on one date."

"That's wonderful!" My mom oozed pure enthusiasm.

I rolled my eyes and headed for the door quickly, stumbling on the doormat. I jumped in my black SUV and drove to school. I sighed when I pictured his smile this morning. Hopefully he was just as excited as I was.

He was talking to Chris Mitchell when I drove up to school. He wasn't even looking at Chris but Chris just kept babbling on to Rustle about something. Rustle was looking down when I drove up but then Chris tapped him on the shoulder and pointed at me. I blushed and looked away but I could tell he was walking toward me to meet me by my car before class.

"Hey, Ellie!" he yelled from across the lot.

I smiled at him and I felt the butterflies fill my gut after every step he got closer to me. He was so perfect, so brilliantly amazing. Like nothing even fathomable. Nothing I have ever studied in my classes could explain this. Love, I've seen it in movies and millions of books but the feeling was of nothing imaginable. It was like he picked me from a thousand flowers, me of all people. Average, little me.

He put his arm around me and I wrapped my arm around his waist because there was no chance of me ever reaching his shoulder. We walked to class and people were staring at us, some girls were even glaring at me. Were they jealous of me? Well, that was something to think about.

When I was in Algebra I had a lot of time to think. Too much time, some people might think. Why was I getting something as amazing as love? Why was I going to be so lucky? Rustle was everything I asked for and so much more than I knew to ask. If I had known what to look for, would I have found him sooner? For the first time I was opening my eyes to all the possibilities of love and it was like I was seeing the sun for the first time. Taking my first breathe of clean air. Feeling any kind of feeling for the first time in so long. A heart can't hold all that space for so long, and now he was filling it and I was glad. I was the fortunate one in my family. I had heard my sisters throw around the word love a million times over their latest boyfriend, but everyone knows those relationships last days instead of lifetimes. Was I just a teenager excited over her first boyfriend? Does love really last a lifetime? I only knew of movies and books and plays but in reality, a lifetime really isnt that long.