Chapter 1

"Thanks for picking me up."

"No problem. What happened this time?"

"Stupid thing won't crank."

"I think it's safe to say it's time for a new car."

"Yeah, like that's going to happen. She won't even fix the one I've got, what makes you think she'll buy a new one?"

"Yeah, I guess you're right."

My mom complained on an almost daily basis before she got me the car because she was tired of always having to take me back and forth to school, as if it wasn't important enough for me to go. As if I was able to walk the eight miles twice a day to work and back home and go to my part time job at the U-Save. When we found the car, a 93 Honda Civic, it only cost $300.00 and she didn't think twice about getting it. I wish she'd at least had someone check it out first before she bought it. It's been broken down more than it's ran. But when it does run, I love it. No complaints. Thankfully, my best friend Zach has to drive by my house twice a day to get to school and back home again. He never minds picking me up and I usually never have a problem with it either except that it's getting home and to work that I have to deal with. He happens to be the high school quarterback and you'd think that he'd be happy with the popularity that automatically comes with it, but truth is, he's not. I'm the only one that he has ever shown is true colors to.

"you gotta work today?"

"yeah, I've gotta be there at 4."

"they don't give you much time for rest in-between school and work do they?"

"No, but I don't mind. I need the money."

"Why don't you just ask me for it? You know I don't mind."

"tempting but no thanks. I want to work for it not have someone hand it to me and me having to owe the one responsible."

"you're stubborn, you know that? too stubborn."

I laughed at that, "yeah I know, but you wouldn't have it any other way."

I used to have a secret crush on him but I got over it as soon as I realized he was way out of my league. But somehow, our family differences, and looks for that matter, didn't stop him from befriending me. His parents are rich. His father is a neurological surgeon and his mother is gunning for the district attorney's position. But despite their busy and hectic lives, they have never missed a single game. They simply love their son and they aren't afraid to show it. Which makes me a little uncomfortable sometimes because my own family, or lack thereof, is nothing in comparison to that. My mother, on the other hand, has never been to a single one of my games. She doesn't even know that I am the pitcher for the varsity softball league. She thinks that I'm always in the dugout, never actually needed on the team. In her eyes, I'm not needed at all. My mother is never at home and as you can tell, we don't have the typical mother/daughter relationship. She's never home and she's never cared very much for me. I swear she was biding her time waiting for the day I turned 12 so that she could legally leave me at home alone and fend for myself. There are a few good things I can say though. She always has food in the house. She pays the bills. And she never brings home her random "encounters" from work. She works two jobs. She's both a nurse, and a nighttime bartender. You'd think that I'd hate having a mom as a nurse because it means that I'd never be able to fake sick, but she's either never there, or she's too tired and drunk to notice. I guess for all intents and purposes, I should be really screwed up. I should probably stay out late, drink whatever I can get my hands on and smoke/sniff whatever drugs I can have access to but the truth is, I've never had those kinds of desires. Now, I do occasionally have a beer or two with Zach in his finished basement or if we happen to crash a random party after one of his games on Friday nights but that's about it. Overall, I'm pretty responsible for being a teenager. But not so much that I don't know how to have fun. Just his status alone as the quarterback of an undefeated team allows any doors to open for us. Never mind the fact that I've somehow managed to establish my own popularity. Still don't know how that happened. Despite that, I know a lot of the kids at my school laugh at me behind my back because of my mom's reputation. Age has always been just a number to her anyway. Now, do I have proof that she's slept with any of my fellow students? No. But I wouldn't put it past her. Not for one second. She doesn't even know who my own father is.

"As far as I know, practice hasn't resumed yet so I'm pretty sure I can take you to work and then back home."

"yeah, I remember what happened the last time you said that. I almost lost my job."

"Dammit, it wasn't my fault Luke got us busted and you know that!", he said with a rather aggravated tone but I knew he wasn't mad about it.

Aah, Luke...Where do I begin? Well for one, he's gorgeous and charming. An all-American jock. And a real ladies man too. And I've had a crush on him since the very first moment I locked eyes with his pale green ones almost four years ago. He and his family moved down here from New Jersey and it took almost no time for him to become the king of the school. He's an only child like myself and you might as well say he's being raised by a single parent too but his dad's never home because he works all the time. His mom on the other hand, has left all of reality. And no one knows why. She stopped speaking about two years ago. No warning or anything. And then about six months after that, she stopped responding too. They finally had to put her in a home. Luke took it very hard but he hardly ever let it show. At least not around our classmates. It was only around his true friends, Zach and myself, that he would talk about it and show how he really felt. It always took everything I had not to hug him and kiss him on that full mouth of his and not tell him that it'd would be alright. Truth was, it wouldn't be. The doctor's can't figure out what's wrong with her which means they don't know how to cure her. I've never seen her but from what I hear, Luke is a spitting image of her. Dark blond hair, pale green eyes and tall. A real knockout when she was younger.

Zach pulled up next to Luke's truck, in his usual spot in the senior parking lot. We got out and walked over to where Luke was waiting for us. For obvious reasons, you don't park there unless your a senior. If you did, whatever happened to your car was completely ignored by both school officials and local police. It was a given not to park there. But occasionally, we would have a new student park there and he'd come out at the end of school with a scratched up paint job, flat tires, and broken windshield wipers. It always took just one time and they'd never park there again.

"Piece of shit broke down again?" asked Luke, as he chuckled.

"Not everyone can have a dependable vehicle, ass."

"I think we should use your car for our next bonfire. What do you think Sara? That's about all it's good for now anyways," Zach joked as we rounded the corner.

"Might as well," I said as I both laughed and blushed at the same time.

Luke was wearing his football jersey, as was all of the football team today. It was the Lions vs. the Tigers and the whole school was more than eager for this game considering the Tigers had never beaten us before. Our team was undefeated and has been for the last six years. Needless to say, we are the school to beat. Luke looked especially good in his jersey because it hugged his chest and showed off the tan muscles that rippled underneath. It took all I had not to stare too much even though he seemed to either not notice, or not care.

"Earth to Sara! Hello Sara, you there? That was the bell...care to go to class?"

Damn, was that the bell...I must have been day dreaming...again..."yeah, I'm coming."...jerk...