Chapter one:

The ringing noise of my alarm clock made my head bolt straight up and bumped my head on my lamp. The stack of books and papers on my table fell off and I let out a groan.

It took me a day to sort those books according to its dues and the papers alphabetically. My lamp is still on and I punched the alarm clock to stop it and my reading glasses are hanging on my nose. I looked around and see my room like a tornado has been in here. I got used to this every morning though, messy room, books and papers scattered, and me always bumping on my lamp when my alarm clock startles me.

I got up and rearranged the books and paper into a neat pile, not caring for its original arrangement I made before. I haven't changed my clothes since I came home yesterday and I stink. My hair is greasy and my face is dry, and looks very dull under the fluorescent light in my bathroom. I washed my face with a normal soap and water and brushed my teeth. I changed my uniform into clean ones and I packed my books and papers that I need for another day in school. I reviewed the whole night, just to get an A+ for this Chem. test this morning. I opened the window in my apartment and stuck my head out and breathed the morning breeze here in San Francisco California.

The horns of cars blare and all the people walking below me greeted my brand new day. I still couldn't believe that I am here now in the city, but I still miss Nashville; where I grew up.

The fresh air hovering day and night, the sound of farm animals and the galloping of the horses; I miss those little things I remember in Nashville. But now I am here in San Francisco, studying and away from my family, and I will do my best to graduate and get a degree in a University and have a secure future for myself.

I ate a left over burger in my mini fridge and headed to the stairs munching. Every day is the same, but I like it. Miss Franco, the one that owns the building greets me every morning I come down from third floor.

"Good morning, Kayla." Miss Franco greets, while sweeping the floor and a big smile just for me.

"Good morning Miss Franco" I greeted her, she's been like a mother to me since she gave me a room in her apartment. Sometimes she gives me advice and inspiration to go to school every day, and bake me cakes for my birthday.

It's been three years since I moved here in Richmond San Francisco. I started coming to Richmond High when I was in grade nine and now, I'm in grade twelve. It was really hard work, to maintain my grades up high. All the students there are really nice. They are so quiet around me every time I am near, so I can concentrate on my school works, and once there was this guy when I was in grade eleven, he gave me a jar of peanut butter which is really nice of him. A kid told me that snakes will pop out the time I open it, but I didn't believe, he's just jealous because people are giving things to me. I gave the peanut butter jar to a homeless man, who was very grateful for that, and then the next day I walked past him, he chased me. I wonder why he got mad at me after giving him a jar of peanut butter and he also mentioned he almost got a heart attack.

I got on the bus and got off when it reached the Richmond High. Students filled the front yard, chattering to each other and laughing, I smiled too. It is nice to go on a school where everything is perfect. I've known for the gang rape on school dance before but I don't think about it that much because I know that it'll never happen again, I just know. I waved and smiled at few students I know, but they didn't wave back or greet me. They must be really busy chatting and catching up on their gossips.

I sat at the back of the class in my Chemistry class, that's where cool people sat and I wanted to seat there today. The teacher walked in and announced that we will have the test today and I heard someone clapped its hand excitedly. And it was me; I can feel that I am also smiling like crazy. Everyone's eyes turned on me, glaring and giving me evil looks. I stopped clapping and I sunk on my seat; embarrassed.

'I know they didn't want me to make any noises, because they need to concentrate for the test, how silly of me and blew their concentration' I said to myself.

The teacher handed out the test papers in each row and I regretted that I chose to sit at the back. As soon as the Mr. Garci got on our row and handed the papers out, I can't wait to read and answer the questions.

"If you haven't got a test paper in front of you, please raise your hand." Mr. Garci said to the class. "You shall answer it in one hour, and time starts now." Then he looked at his watch. "And no talking during the test please."

I got excited too much and I almost snap the pencil I am holding. I turned over the paper and forcing myself not to look at the first question while I wrote my name on the top.

The whole world seems to stop when I started to answer the questions. All the words and terms that I need to write came automatically to me and my hand is probably going a hundred miles per hour. I finished the test exactly thirty minutes and I raised my hand so the teacher could collect my paper, but he seems not to notice so I kind of yelled at him. He didn't move or twitch or something, he must be sleeping, then he snored quietly.

"Mr. Garci!" I yelled again and he bolted his head upright from where he ducked before and he stumbled on his desk and his circle reading glasses fell off from his nose and struggled to find it on the ground.

The whole class laughed at him and I rushed to the teacher and tried to help him I also told him that I am very sorry, but when I get to him, he already found his glass and cleared his throat. The whole class didn't stop laughing. I looked behind me to tell them to stop but my gaze fell into Leon, the most handsome guy I've ever met. But I never met him, I just know his name, and he is popular and he has been in my geometry class and science class, and he played basket ball and football for the school. And I am not stalking him!

His laser-white teeth showing while he smiles at our poor teacher, and beside her is Leon's counterpart; Melissa. She has been titled by the whole student body as the 'Star' of RHS. She is also the captain cheer leader of the Pep Squad and the most popular girl in school. She turned to me and says,

"You are in big trouble, smart girl." She said, with her eyes glowing crazy blue then she flicked her ever perfect blonde hair. That made me check out my own chestnut colored hair. I touched it and tried to smoothen it, it is really not nice of me to look like this in front of the 'Star'. I got shy a little but I turned to stare at Leon and fantasize about him.

Mr. Garci cleared his throat again and he looks like he is about to cry, so the class stopped their laughs and now they are looking at me. "Miss Watson, come with me, in the office. Right now." The teacher said with his shaky voice, showing that he was embarrassed in front of his class, by me.

"Nice face, Kayla." Melissa said then the class broke into laughs again. I feel embarrassed too, you know. In front of Leon Collins. And the whole class.

I followed the teacher and we went inside a sound proof room. He looked angrily at me and says,

"Miss Kayla, I don't like you yelling during test okay," he paused and I just stare at him. "We don't want our top student to be in trouble, so we'll just pretend it never happens." He is still pretty shaken up but he walks away. I wanted to apologize again but he hurriedly came out the door.

The bell rang, which means, for the whole student body; freedom. I walked back to the room, where my bag is, and found Leon and he looks like he is looking for something. I entered the room and I'm sure as hell that I am smiling like a dork to him, not that I care. I mean he is here! Alone! Well, not totally alone, but with me too, in this romantic chemistry room.

Leon looked to me as confused as he was before and asks, "Uhh, Are you alright there?" I can feel my jaws getting numb because it's like five minutes since I smiled at him and he didn't even told me 'what a beautiful smile you have'. I am pretty sure that my eyes are just about to pop out of their eye sockets too, seeing the one and only; most popular guy in the school.

"What do you want?" he asked.

He stared at me more confused now and a little hint of fright, but I know he is a brave guy, or fearless even. I stepped closer to him to look at him closer and he took a step back, trying to grab anything that he can use as a weapon; and he found a meter stick, which our teacher uses every time he needs to draw a perfect line.

I was still smiling like a maniac and I thought to myself that he is out of my league, like way, way, way out of my league and my smile must be scaring him. I snapped out of it and moved quickly, and he thought I was just about to stab him or something he flinched and pointed the meter stick at me as if it was a sword, but I was going the other way, the seat where my bag is.

He didn't move from where he is standing and I grabbed my bag and headed towards the door and I stopped then turned to face him and I was just about to ask if he could sign my diary but I gave him my smile before and I ran outside the hall.

I slowed down so I am now walking and I am breathing heavily, I found a free spot under a tree and sat there, I got a little angry and slightly threw my bag on the seat under the tree. I let out a big sigh and sank my face on my both hands. I want to cry and have someone to tell my feelings about Leon but I have no one. I had no one since I moved here; I guess no one wants a country girl near them. Except for Taylor Swift maybe. Or Hannah Montana of Disney channel.

The wind breezes calmly and brushed the hair out of my face and it feels good too. I forced back the tears inside my eyes. I do not know what happen, and what reason I am in tears.

Another thing bugs me is that, why do I act like I am a dork whenever I am near Leon. I've been alone with some other guy before for example was Jonny Roberts. He is a skeletal of a boy and he is a math geek. We stayed inside a room for like ages and he was trying to make me go out with him. But he lives in Wisconsin now.

I gotta stop this disease before it could affect my studies. I cannot be distracted by some boy, even though he is really good looking and his killer smile is just perfect and it could melt me. And don't forget his sexy brown eyes and his ever perfect hair and I bet they are soft. And when he smile, a dimple appears on his left cheek and –

I gotta stop this. See? He is a distraction. He distracts me and it could affect my studies. I gotta stop thinking about him and fantasize about him, period. I stood up and I introduced in my mind the new Kayla Watson of Richmond High.

I walked with my chin up and my eyes determined and confident. I walked towards my English class when Leon is walking the opposite direction and he is talking to Melissa and the brunette girl Zoe. He didn't even looked at me but just seeing him talking, his perfect lips moving and smiles, his hair got smoothen by the wind.

Oh, no! I gotta stop this, really. I forced myself to close my eyes and my heart or mind is making me to open it and something inside me is helping me to not to look at him and I stomped on the ground two times, and convincing myself he is a distraction. He was just a couple of meter away from me and I do not know what to do, I circled on the place where I stood and decided to jump and duck behind a bush and my instinct kicked in and without any further ado I jumped and ducked behind a bush. In my defense, I have no other options left, but to jump out of the way and hide.

"What was that?" the brunette girl Zoe said, she sounds a little frightened.

"Some kind of rabbit?" Leon said to her.

"But it is bigger, like really big for a rabbit and," Zoe said.

"Zoe, let's just make the principal call the exterminator and check for it, it's not our business to hunt vermin" Melissa said.

Then they all walked away and continued their little chit chat. While I was peeking through the bush, something went click, click beside me. Then I heard two more click, click, and then I turned and see this kid.

He holds a big black camera and he is taking pictures of Leon, Melissa and Zoe. I looked at him, and he is so busy, he didn't want to be disturbed.

"Um, excuse me what are you doing?" I asked the kid.

"Shhh, you don't want us to blow our cover." Then another click, click on the camera.

"What? Stop that! You stalker! Who do you want? Melissa or Zoe?" I wanted to say to him that Leon is mine. But I shut my mouth before I can blurt it out.

"I'm not a stalker," he paused then packed his camera inside his bag. "I'm a secret agent"

"Huh, uh."

"No not really, I'm a paparazzi." He confessed.

"Why do you take pictures of them?" I want to have one without Melissa and Zoe in it.

"Told you, I'm a paparazzi, students here pay me to get pictures of the person they like." He stood up and walked away. But he tripped because his pants got caught on a branch and ran again.

"Weird." I said

I walked towards my next class which is Arts. I brushed the twigs and leaves off my clothes and head towards the Art wing.

I wish Leon is in my art class, so I can draw him, while he is sitting in this class. But instead I just drew our farm back in Tennessee. I drew our farm animals and the wide green grass stretching across the horizon. I also drew my favorite horse, Pixie. He is a beautiful stallion and soft mane and I really miss him now.

Again, another subject had finished and no one ever talks to me. Sometimes it bothered me that they are very silence around me but I just think that were on a test or something so we are not allowed to talk to each other.

On lunch I always seat in the library, reading sometimes or on the computer, researching home works and stuff. It is always the same and sometimes I ask myself if maybe I could socialize outside and make friends but I shoved the thought at the back of my mind and kept thinking that friends can be distraction and Leon is one of them even though he is really dreamy and STOP!

I scolded my mind, and convinced myself not to think of that gorgeous boy again but thinking that he is gorgeous is making me to fantasize more about him. I was frowning and murmuring to myself and making funny noises like grunting and moaning. I opened my eyes and all the students working inside the library were looking at me, so is our librarian, Miss Tricia.

I heard someone says, "Someone's off their meds again." Then couple of girl laughs echoed through the annoying silence in the library. I smiled at them immediately and turned back on my research assignment and let myself sink in my seat.

I used the bus to get to my apartment. I always feel alone when riding the bus, seeing place by place and I don't have any one to talk to or to talk about Leon. About how his gorgeous brown eyes melts my heart. I should probably stop thinking about him, just for now. Now that I was feeling a bit 'emo'.

I just wish that I could talk to someone, because I felt really alone. I never felt it before because I was so focused on my studies and maintaining my grades up high, higher than the buildings of San Francisco. I could use a bff right now. My bff back home is Jesse, the cowgirl. We've been together since kindergarten at Nashville. He always gives me a ride on a horse and together, we explore the unexplored and help me brush my horse Pixie and even talk about our crushes at school. But she's probably mad at me because I didn't even say goodbye to her when I decided to ran away and hitch a ride to San Francisco. I also forgot the hundred bucks I stole from my parents, which they earned for a week of farming and selling eggs at the market. They'll never gonna forgive me, including my own horse.

I remembered that day when I ended up somewhere in Downtown Richmond and I was shivering so badly and starving, Miss Franco saw me and gave me a ride to her apartment, she gave me new clothes and cooked me a hot soup. I didn't spend my hundred bucks for anything. I'm saving it for my tuition at school. Miss Franco gave me my own room in her apartment and every morning, she'll sneak in my apartment using her spare keys to enter my room and cook me for breakfast and leave maybe her change from her pocket and that I will use to get on a ride to bus.

Like I said before, she's been like a mother to me. She also paid my tuition at school and told me to keep my money. And it is still have it and haven't decided yet how, and where to spend it.

The bus stopped and I got off it. All the thoughts of running away and being alone in this place made me want to cry. But tears won't come out of my eyes. The sky has darkened a bit and the cold breeze from the morning is now a little harsh and it's colder. I walked to the apartment with my shaky legs. I don't know why. I took a deep breath and I want to be happy when Miss Franco sees me. I held my head up high and I thought of me being an intelligent woman.

I entered the main door of the apartment and saw Miss Franco, as always, seating inside her apartment and knitting a really huge blanket. "Hey, Miss Franco."

"Hey, child. How was school?" Miss Franco said without taking off her eyes from what's his doing.

"Pretty good. Lot of home works, as always." I said, trying to sound as happy as I can be.

Miss Franco stopped knitting and looked at me through her reading glasses with her serious but beautiful turquoise eyes. "Kayla, I know that you work hard at school. But make sure you are happy. I don't want my little girl to be lonely" her turquoise eyes smiled.

"I know, but I am happy. I'm happy that you found me," I paused "I am happy that you helped me and I'm happy with that" I forced a smile.

Miss Franco continued knitting and rocked on her rocking seat. I lied to her. But the part that I am happy because she found me was real. I am just feeling lonely I don't have friends.

That night, I was feeling restless; I can't stop thinking about Leon Collins. This is different; I am not fantasizing about him. I am just thinking the what ifs if Leon and I were together. Not that we're gonna be together. Just thinking.

What if Leon and I are talking in school and laughing with each other? I would probably be the happiest nerd in the world. I took off my reading glasses and landed my back on my bed. My lamp is the only source of lighting in my room, and I stare at my dark ceiling.

What if Leon and I are going together and he kissed me? I'm pretty sure his lips are soft and maybe it'll taste good. And I wonder if we're gonna do tongues.

That thought disgusted me and I'm pretty sure Leon will be disgusted too, so I skipped that part.

I tried to close my eyes and sleep well but images of him are inside my head. One is Leon, with his killer smile and another one is he is in his basket ball uniform, his bulging biceps showing and I imagined him do a three point shot and the crowd started to scream and cheer. Many pictures are still in my head and I can't sleep. Maybe I should consider taking sleeping pills from now on.

I still kept on thinking about Leon and picturing him in my mind. A couple of hours later I fell asleep. I slept with my favorite pillow locked on my both arms thinking it is Leon that I am hugging.