Chapter 1: Typical Monday Morning

So, why did I start out this story with a survey?

Because I filled out the survey on the day that happened to be when everything started.

I had been digging through my backpack that morning and found the form crumpled up under my history book, neglected until that moment. I quickly filled it out and turned it into the front office before walking to my locker.

This school year was going to be tough. On top of being one of the shortest people in my grade, I was taking AP English and Trigonometry. It's not like I was completely useless when it came to hard classes; I just didn't really like to be challenged. I was always afraid of failure, always afraid of embarrassing myself.

But I didn't have a choice. My mom thought hard classes would help me later in life, so there I was, trying to lift my insanely heavy Trig book into my locker. To add to my wonderful misery, my locker buddy - the person who had the locker right next to mine - happened to show up right at that moment.

"Good morning, Julie."

I felt a sharp pain in my foot as I turned to give the speaker a cross between a goofy smile and a grimace. Why was it that, after three years, he still had this affect on me?

"Hey, Miles," I said, my voice strained from the pain coursing through my toes where my heavy book lay.

I've known Miles since elementary school, but I didn't actually start having a crush on him until middle school. He was always that awkwardly dorky guy on the outskirts of my life, not really a good friend, but always there. I didn't really notice until seventh grade, when he walked in with clear skin and an absense of braces.

At first, I thought it was a silly infatuation, something that would fade eventually. But now, three years later, every time I was around him, I felt my heart pound and my face go three shades of pink.

Miles quickly bent down and removed the book off of my foot. "For m'lady," he said, his British accent completely wrong.

"Thank you, good sir," I replied, unable to keep from laughing. I quickly stuffed the book on the top shelf of my locker, making sure it was tucked safely away.

A semi-awkward silence passed between us. I mentally cursed myself for letting the conversation lag like that.

"You going to the homecoming game?" I finally asked, unable to come up with anything better to say.

He wrinkled his nose, and I tried to keep myself from staring longingly. "Are you serious? Nerds like me don't go to football games or any other sporting event. Besides, I'll probably have loads of homework and extra credit to complete that weekend, so the more time I have on my hands, the better."

"Oh." I mentally winced. Very smooth, Julie. Very smooth.

"Why?" His brow wrinkled. "Were you thinking about going?"

I shrugged. "Maybe," I said honestly. "I've never been to a football game. It seems like a lot of fun."

"Suit yourself." Miles rolled his eyes. "I don't trust anything that has to do with jocks."

This was one thing that bugged me about Miles: he had this weird prejudice against anyone that wasn't, in some way, associated with the, as he dubbed them, "nerds". He never really got along with the sporty people, or anyone else, for that matter; he liked to build up a wall to separate his kind from their kind. I really wished he wouldn't.

"I'll see you in class," I said feebly, shutting my locker door and turning quickly away. I didn't want him to see me grit my teeth in frustration.

I hadn't walked ten feet when I rammed into Will Wagner. If it was anyone else, I would have apologized and walked off. But this was Will Wagner - wholesome quarterback and most popular guy at school. So, naturally, my deer-in-the-headlights face appeared.

I may have hated Miles for being so close-minded about the jocks, but that didn't mean I hung out with them or anything. In fact, they really scared me. They seemed so loud and confident, unafraid of anything. Outgoing people weren't really my cup of tea, especially if they were self-absorbed.

Not to say Will Wagner was, because he wasn't. He was actually sort of nice, and this was further confirmed by his reaction to our run-in.

"Whoa, you okay?" he asked, holding out his hands to steady me.

My voice was squeaky as I managed to croak out, "Yeah. I'm good. Thanks."

"Sorry about that." He gave me one of his signature smiles. "It's Julie, right?"

I nodded, wanting nothing more than to slink away and never talk to him again. I guess God heard me, because the next thing I knew, Will's stepbrother, Marco, was making a big scene out of harassing Miles for lunch money.

"Really?" Will mumbled to himself, shaking his head. He turned to me. "I'll see you later?"

I nodded again, watching him walk off. I quickly turned on my heels and booked it to class, already knowing that today couldn't end soon enough.