I don't own anything.

Chapter 1

First Days Suck

Claire Danvers inhaled deeply, clutching the thick textbooks to her chest. Teenagers rushed around her, either lounging about in the shade of the few trees around or walking with friends. The large, square building in front of her didn't seem to dampen their mood as they went about their daily business. Claire, though, was a little different. The building had an imposing feel to it, like it could swallow you whole if you stepped foot within a ten mile radius of it. So why was she there? Oh, that's right, her first day at Morganville High. She had to be there. Though why such a small, little hick town...?

Claire heaved another sigh.

Sunlight glared down on her and she shaded her eyes, trying not to roast in her jeans and T-shirt. But damn it was hot. Texas weather was something to behold. That was if you didn't mind boiling in your own sweat from the minute the sun rose to when it set.

No use just standing here, she thought resolutely, time to go in. Squaring her shoulders in determination, she strode forward, trying hard not to trip and stumble on the cracked concrete walkway. She got stares as she walked by; she could feel it. Well, what did she expect? She was the new girl. it was the unspoken rule of high school that anyone new is weird, and thus has to be stared at and isolated.

The inside of the school was no different. She felt rather than saw them give her a once over, examining her skinny-as-a-rake frame, the worn jeans, and the silky blue blouse. Letting her hair fall forward to hide her face, she scans her dark eyes over the halls. Claire snorted in disgust. The place was falling apart. It looked like a factory using cheap child labour. Her eyes flickered to the people looking miserable in the halls. Yeah, definitely cheap child labour.

But that wasn't important at the moment.

Claire pulled a folded up piece of paper from her pocket and tried to balance her books in one hand and unfold the paper with the other. After juggling the books, she finally managed to get the paper open.

Quickly scanning the page she murmured, "Class 305D, Science." A slight blush painted her cheeks as she clutched the paper to her chest, took in a huge breath, and marched towards the stairs. She didn't even look at the map of the school she had in her other pocket. It wa a small school, it shouldn't be so hard to navigate.

"Twenty minutes late! Oh yeah, this is the way to make an impression. Nice going Claire. Stupid, stupid, stupid."

She panted as she stumbled up another flight of stairs. How big was this damned place, anyway? Were they trying to kill her? The freaking place only had three stories! It shouldn't be this hard to find a stupid science room. Maybe she should check out that map, just in case...

After dropping every one of her books and fishing out the paper, sending a glare at the misbehaving literature, she groaned and hung her head.

The science room was in an entirely separate wing to this one.

Letting out another groan, Claire bent down and started to scoop up the books slowly. This was just not her day. Getting stared at, getting lost, being late...a sigh made its way past her lips. Perfect way to start off the day.

"Do you need any help?"

Claire looked up, startled, at the voice, and was immediately met with sparkling blue eyes. Wow, she thought dazedly, now he's hot. Fine wisps of blond hair hung in his eyes and even with his sorta pale complexion he was probably one of the most handsome guy Claire had ever met. His kind smile and the pretty looks reminded her of what an angel should look like. If she believed in angels.

"Um, are you alright?" the angel questions, his brows pulling together in concern. It was at that moment that she realized in her ogling she had forgotten to answer the question.

A blush coloured her cheeks as she stammered, "No. I mean, not no, I'm not alright, no as in I don't need any help. I'm good. Perfectly fine." Nice going, Claire, you just met the guy and already you've spoken like an idiot. Very nice.

Mentally Claire pushed that sarcastic little voice into a box and buried her under the periodic table of elements.

Despite her awkward dorkout, the angel smiled. "Good to know. I'm Michael, by the way. Michael Glass." He held out his hand and she took it with a tentative smile. It was hrd not to smile around him.

"Claire Danvers."

"Well," he said, pulling her to her feet by her hand, "Where are you off to, Claire Danvers?"

"305D Science."

The smile on Michael's face grew and Claire swore that her heart skipped a beat. Woah. It should be against the laws of physics to have a smile like that. "That's my first class. I'd be happy to show you to it."

"Thanks, that would be great."

They lapsed into comfortable silence, Claire sometimes sneaking peeks at Michael, Michael pretending not to notice. She replayed their conversation in her head and frowned a little as she realized something.

Michael saw the frown and was instantly concerned. "Hey, is everything alright? I didn't do anything to make you mad, did I?"

"What?" She briefly looked confused at him. "What could you possibly do? No, I was just wondering why you're not in class twenty minutes into the lesson." She gave him a suspicious look and Michael's easy going smile turned a bit sheepish.

"Right...you see, the new teacher wasn't there so me and Shane decided to leave for a little break...we were going to come right back! I promise." Michael briefly wondered why he was justifying himself to her. She looked to be around fifteen. But there was just something so...mature about her...like she was a teacher or a police officer or one of his parents. Now that was a scary thought.

A flash of guilt overcame Claire and she forced her eyes down to stare intently at her feet. "Oh...I see...well than, let's go," she said, straightening up. She walked forward a couple steps before turning and asking him in a slightly timid voice, "Aren't you going to show me around?"

Michael instantly brightened now that she was back to kind and timid. He led her to the other wing, talking amiably to her the whole way. The sound of their banter echoed down the halls.

When Claire walked into the classroom she would spend most of her school time in she was absolutely ecstatic. All she could see was the up to date Smart Board at the front of the class, the perfectly clean lab tables, the table of elements spanning an entire wall, and the clean, sparkling lab equipment. It was everything she could ever hope for. Better than what she had expected. Maybe...maybe she would be alright.

And then a paper airplane flew into her forehead.

She blinked a couple of times; what just happened? Looking down at the little paper plane, she kicked it lightly with her foot, as if it might suddenly leap back into the air and hit her again. She just got hit with a paper airplane. With that realization she finally saw past all the shiny lab equipment.

The classroom was full of chatting, loud, and completely oblivious students. They leaned out of their seats—if they were even in them to begin with—and spoke to people in voices that could be heard across the room. Boys leaned heavily on desks, eager to see down the girls' low cut tops. They were acting like they weren't even in class!

Anger coiled in her belly. She would not let them make science into a mockery.

The slam of her heavy textbooks on the teacher's desk startled everyone into silence. They watched as she made her way behind the desk, turning to face them, a disappointed glare on her face. It would be comical, seeing someone so small with such an angry expression, like an angry toddler.

"Quiet. This is a classroom; as soon as you walk out of here I don't care what you do. But in here, you will respect this classroom, science, and to a default, me." Her voice carried over them, full of authority.

"Why would we respect you?" someone in the crowd of rowdy teenagers asked.

"Because," she pronounced as she drew herself up, "I'm your new science teach, Ms. Danvers."

The room went entirely silent. Sweat started to pool at the back of her neck as she waited for a response. What were they thinking? She knew that she didn't exactly look like a teacher but she had the papers to prove it.

"Are you shitting me?" one guy asked, standing from his seat next to a pretty girl with dark hair. Michael discreetly shook his head at the guy. The warning was dismissed.

"W-well, no," Claire stammered. She had used up most of her bravado just to say that one sentence and she didn't know if she could fake it well enough. It didn't help that the guy who had basically just challenged her was hot. Messy brown hair fell in his eyes, making the dark colour of his eyes look almost black. He's tall; about six foot something; way taller than her. But almost everyone is taller than her. He looks well built but she can't really tell with his clothes on. Claire's face starts to heat at the thought. Oh no, she did not just think of a student that way!

"How old are you, anyway?" the guy continued to press her for information.

"I'm almost seventeen," was her indignant response.

His brown eyes widened and distantly Claire noted that they had little flecks of gold in them. Interesting. "You're sixteen?" he exclaimed.

The way he said it made Claire fidget with the hem of her shirt. So what if she was sixteen? She was smart. She had degrees. She'd gone to school and learned and did the other things that sixteen-year-olds had to do. She just finished up with the school part earlier than other sixteen-year-olds. There was nothing wrong with that. But he made it sound like a horrible error of the universe to have a sixteen-year-old teaching. Claire took great offence at this.

The sound of her textbooks slamming on the desks again made the guy flinch slightly. Claire glowered at him and hissed, "Sit. Down." He sat. "Now," she enunciated, "I may be young but I graduated at the top of my class and I know what I'm talking about. Just because I'm younger than you doesn't mean that you can bully me into letting you do whatever the hell you want nor will I be lenient if you start to slack off. Get the work done, do the tests, and do it yourself. I hate cheaters. If you even have an ounce of brain cells in your heads you will all shut up and listen or stop wasting my time." She raked her eyes over the class, meeting each of their gazes, before she let her gaze drop.

"Okay, enough of the angry teacher talk. Let's do some actual work to make up for the time I was...well—late to my own class." And just like that, she was back to the timid teenager that had first walked into the school. She turned her back and started to write on the board, going into a lecture on physics, a half-smile on her face. Aww, physics, such a simple science. Surely this should be good for the first day. If Claire had been paying attention to her class instead of day-dreaming than she would have noticed the looks and whispers between her students.

Michael sat down beside the boy who had spoken and whispered, "Give her a break, Shane. She's new."

"But that's why she won't get a break." Shane didn't even look at Michael as he spoke; he was staring at the new teacher. "She's like the shiny new toy that some will want to play with—and others to break."

Okay, so there's the first chapter. sorry if they get a little OOC sometimes but since I'm not Rachel Caine I can't write like her.