A/N: Hello there! Welp, not gonna lie, I kinda forgot about this story for a minute... but I remembered! So its all good ;) I do want to keep going with this story and I want to say thank you sooo much to those of you who took the time to read and/or review! I really appreciate knowing there's someone out there who enjoys my story. :)) You're all the best! Enjoy the chapter!

"...and then he said super exasperated, 'I've wanted to be with you since we first met all those years ago. Jules, how can you not see that?'" Julie told me as we were sitting in Anatomy waiting for the bell to ring. "I stared at him for a second, then I just kind of...jumped on him?" she said, her face turning bright red.

"Cat! Oh my god. That's the cutest story I've ever heard in my life," I said smiling hugely. "I am so happy for you. I know you two are going to be so great together."

"Thanks, Darce. You're the best," she said, hugging me.

Just then the bell rang, and the two of us stood up. We were the only Ducks in this class, how weird was that? Julie and I went our separate ways, since we had different third period classes. I had Government with Averman and probably some of the other guys too.

The period passed without much event, just me and Averman and Dwayne catching up on what was going on in our lives. When the three of us got to the cafeteria, only Fulton, Russ, and Luis were there. We bought our food then went to go sit down with them. I still hadn't really gotten a chance to find out how everyone's summers were, so we all talked about that. From where I was sitting, I had the perfect view of the door so I noticed immediately when Jack and Charlie walked in together.

Jack was laughing really hard, seemingly at something Charlie said because he was chuckling and watching her with a smile on his face. Oh my god. Charlie totally liked her! This was so great.

I was so caught up in studying the two of them that I didn't even notice Adam until after he was sitting right next to me, and he nudged me on the arm.

"Aw, I missed you too, babe," he said, pulling my attention to him. I looked at him. He was smirking at me. "A little distracted, are we?"

"Shut up," I said, sticking my tongue out and smiling at him. "I'm sorry, honey, hi."

"Hi," he said, leaning down and giving me a kiss on the lips. I resumed watching Charlie and Jack, and when I saw them heading over I began waving at them until they sat down right across the table from us.

"Hey guys!" I said. "How are your classes so far?" I asked Jack. "Liking Eden Hall much?"

"Well, so far, everyone has been really cool," she said, glancing at Charlie and smiling. "And the Ducks, every one has been so great! You didn't tell me you played hockey, Darcy."

I laughed a little. "Yeah, I guess I forgot," I said, laughing at the incredulous looks on Adam and Charlie's faces. "It's really not that big of a deal!"

"Well, Charlie made it seem like a big deal," Jack replied. "Seems like your team is pretty good!"

"Good? Please. We've got this season in the bag," Charlie said, exchanging a high five with Adam.

I rolled my eyes. "Well, I guess we really won't know until the end, will we?" I said. "Regardless of how good we play, the Ducks are all awesome. Have you met everyone yet?"

"Yeah, I think so," she said, looking up and down the table, smiling and waving at everyone in greeting.

"I can't wait for you to move into the room, it's been so empty all by myself!"

"I know, I'm so sorry for leaving you alone! My mom likes to work on her own schedule," she said, rolling her eyes. "I brought some decorations, like lights and stuff. If you like them we can put them up!"

"I have a ton of posters and things, too! As soon as I'm out of hockey later we can put everything up." I smiled. I really don't think I could've gotten any luckier when it came to a roommate.

All of us Ducks spent the rest of lunch telling Jack about the school, our team, and tons of stories about all the shenanigans we've gotten into over the past few years. Everyone was laughing so hard at one story that Charlie was telling; I personally couldn't breathe. Charlie was going all out for Jack, apparently.

"...and then Fult drops the frozen chicken in the fire because apparently he 'likes it well-done.' The burning smell effectively ended the party, and we no longer let Fulton drink Ja ger."

"Oh my god, you guys are insane! I love it," Jack said, trying to catch her breath.

I took a deep breath and wiped a tear from my eye. "And theres plenty more stories like that to come, I'm sure. Isn't our goal to go completely buck-wild this year?" I asked, leaning across the table and giving Charlie our signature fist-bump-point handshake.

"You know it, sis!" he said, laughing. "However, I think at the moment it's time for us to head to class. Unfortunately."

"Bleeeegh," I moaned with a frown. "Pre calculus." Math was not my thing. "Jack, do you have a seventh period?"

"Nope, only three more classes till I blow this joint! Well, go to the dorms at least." Jack replied with a grimace and a little laugh.

"Alright perfect! You can get settled a little and then I'll be back after hockey just in time to help you finish up!" I said.

"Sounds good! Now, does anyone know how I can get to room 415 for Economics?"

"Yeah, I've got that class, too," Adam said with a friendly smile. "Are you ready to go?"

"Sweet! Yeah, lets go!" Jack said. "Thanks for being so welcoming, guys," she continued, speaking to all the Ducks, "You've all been awesome." Was it just me or did her gaze linger on Charlie's for a second longer then necessary? I need to calm down, I think I'm starting to get a little ahead of myself with this one.

After a kiss and a "see you later" from Adam, the two of them left for their class. "Alright, anyone heading to Pre Calc?" I asked the remaining Ducks.

"You're in luck, little sis," Charlie said with a grin, "I also have Pre Calc."

"Little sis?" I scoffed. "I'm a minute older little bro."

"Yeah, right," Charlie said. "Mom always said I was born first!"

"If you two are done, we should head to class. I'm in pre calc too," Portman said from the other end of the table, rolling his eyes at our antics. "Let's get this shit over with."

"Couldn't have said it better myself," I laughed, but with a little hint of pain. Math is the worst.

The period passed without much excitement, as could have been predicted, and I went on to Drama where the only other Ducks in the class were Connie and Goldberg.

"Goldberg?" I said to him when he walked into the theatre room. Connie and I were already sitting next to each other gossiping about our fairly eventful day. "Why are you in Drama?" Connie and I looked at each other and busted up laughing. I couldn't exactly imagine Goldberg performing a serious monologue.

"Hey, shut up," he said with a grimace. "I needed a new elective because they dropped graphic design. It was either this or playing tuba in the band, and I swore to myself in seventh grade that I would never pick up another tuba in my life."

We just laughed harder. "Well, all right then Goldie," I said as soon as I caught my breath. "Welcome to Senior Level Dramatic Arts. It's about to get so Shakespearean up in this bitch!"

"Hell yeah it is!" Connie said, giving me a high five and a "whoop."

Goldberg just stared at us like we were crazy. And maybe we were a little bit, but hey, its been a long day.

Drama was a series of ice breaker games and trust exercises in order to get to know the people who "would be our family for the rest of the year," as the teacher put it.

"Getting up on stage can be hard enough, but if you don't trust the people you are on stage with, you will never fully be able to become the character," our teacher, Mrs. Bernard ("call me Mrs. B!") said to the class. "We will have several shows throughout the year that everyone must participate in so if you aren't available for rehearsals than you are going to fail this class. Auditions for the first show are next Monday at three o'clock, and everyone must be there."

"Shit," I whispered to Connie and Goldberg. "We're going to be really busy this year." And I haven't even been to Student Council yet!

"I know," Connie said, biting her lip. "Had I know we had to do all these shows I probably wouldn't have taken this class."

As the bell rang we stood up and left the classroom with our spirits a little lower then when we started. We had a fifteen minute break again, so Adam and I planned to meet. He was waiting for me in front of my locker.

I rushed up to him and put my arms around him, pressing my face into his chest. I felt his arms snake around me, holding me tight.

"Whats wrong?" He whispered in my ear. He could literally always tell what I was feeling without even looking at me. I have no idea how he does that.

I pulled back a tiny bit so I could look at his face. "Nothing," I said with a sigh. "Drama was just a blunt reminder that I'm going to have absolutely no time for a life this year. Between a zillion APs and Honors classes, hockey, Drama, and Student Council, and all of that on top of college applications, I'm honestly not sure how I'm going to do it all. It's just a little overwhelming, you know?" I snuggled my head back into his chest. "Although I do already feel better just knowing I have you here."

"It's going to be okay," he said rubbing my back. "If anyone can do it all, its you."

I smiled at him and kissed him on the neck. He lowered his head and gave me a proper kiss, before pulling away.

"We should probably get to class," he said regretfully. "One more to go before you can let all your anger and frustration out at hockey practice."

"Alright," I said with a small frown, smoothing a piece of his hair back. "I love you."

He smiled, "I love you, too."

I tried to smile back at him, but I really couldn't. I think it came out as more of a grimace. He squeezed my hand one more time, looking a little concerned, before he turned and headed off in the other direction. I let out a deep sigh. I was not giving up on my perfect year, not yet. I could do it all. I could make it work. I know it.

I walked into Eden's Activity Office which is where the Student Council meets for class, as well as where we plan all our events, make posters, and organize pretty much everything else that happens at this school. I loved being on Student Council for the past two years, I just have a feeling with all the other stuff going on this year I'm not going to enjoy it as much. Not my smartest scheduling choice.

I sat down next to Kenny, who is also on his third year in Student Council. "Hey Kenny man," I said, giving him a little smile.

"Hey, Darce," he said back. Kenny has definitely broken out of his shell since the Junior Goodwill games. He grew about a foot and half and really matured into his looks. He started dating this girl Michelle about six months ago and they have been going steady ever since. A lot of the guys go through their cycle of girlfriends, and its usually kinda fun for us to have a new girl at the table for a while. Most of those girls don't last too long, but Michelle has become a pretty regular fixture.

Kenny and I have always gotten along especially well, probably just because of all the additional time we spend together in Student Council. He is always there to listen, no matter what. "We haven't had a chance to catch up in a while! How was your summer? I didn't see Michelle at lunch, how is she?"

Kenny opened his mouth to speak, when he was cut off by a voice coming from behind me.

"Darcy," a deep voice said. "long time no see."

I turned around, and standing there was none other than William Frank. Will was an attractive guy, right around six foot with dark brown hair and a pretty well built body. He's a senior and has been on Student Council just as long as I have. He is captain of the baseball team, president of about 20 clubs, and an active member of the debate team. Along with his impressive resume, he also has about half of the female population at Eden waiting in line to go on a date with him. Oh yeah, did I mention he's totally obsessed with me?

Okay, I know that sounds conceited. But its the truth! Ever since Freshman year, he has been hitting on me and asking me out, and that did not stop when Adam and I started dating. It sucks, because he really is a cool guy. If he wasn't so persistent I bet the two of us could be friends. But, you know, I kinda have more of a thing for blondes. I don't understand why he's been so persistent, its not like I'm his only option!

"Hey Will," I said, smiling at him. I mean, I'm not one to be rude! "How was your summer?"

"It was pretty good. Boring mostly, but relaxing nonetheless."

"Cool," I said, trying to direct my attention back to Kenny.

"Hey, Darcy..." he said, running his hand through his hair kinda nervously.

"What is it?" I asked, wary of another date offer I would obviously be turning down.

"Can we ... can we talk later?" He asked. "I know you're busy, but maybe we could meet for coffee at around six tonight? It's strictly a student council matter, I swear." He added that last bit probably anticipating what I was going to say next: no.

I took a deep breath and shot a look at Kenny. "I guess so," I said. "I won't be able to talk for long because I already have a bunch of homework to do, though."

He smiled, and I have to admit it was a little dazzling. I suppose I could see his appeal, you know, if I were looking for it. "Cool," he said. "See you at the Duck Blind at six!"

After he waved and walked away to sit at the other end of the room, I looked at Kenny. He was smirking at me. "Are you really gonna keep letting this go on?"

"Hey! I am not allowing anything to go on! How many times do you have to tell someone no before they get the hint?" I said, gesturing my hands exasperatedly.

"Well, maybe if you didn't agree to go on coffee dates..." Kenny said, his tone full of implications.

"It is NOT a coffee date. I am going to set him straight once and for all," I said, crossing my arms. "We will discuss this no further."

"Always the stubborn one, aren't we..."

I shoved him. "I said I don't want to talk about this! I'm stressed enough as it is."

"This shouldn't be this conversation that stresses you out. I'm not the boyfriend who you have to tell you're going on a date with another guy."

"I'm not going on a freaking date, Kenny," I said rolling my eyes. "He won't be mad."

Although, if we're being real, Adam does not like Will at all. I mean, can you blame him? I would not be okay with some girl asking him out all the time, so I shouldn't be expecting him to be. If I told him the whole situation, though, I know he would understand.

"Oh-kaaay," he said skeptically. "I'm just telling you what it sounded like."

I rolled my eyes again. Kenny didn't know what he was talking about. Right? Suddenly I wasn't so sure. Maybe he would freak out and get mad, just like I did this morning. I really do not want to fight with him again.

As the bell rang and I stood and gathered my stuff, I thought about my options in my head. I couldn't not tell him. He would know right away if I was hiding something.

I followed Kenny out of the classroom and we made our way to the rink. It was finally time for hockey. This first day of school certainly was dragging on, I didn't even want to think about how its gonna be when my teachers actually start giving real homework.

Mostly everyone was in the locker room by the time we got there, save for a few people, including Adam. I was glad he wasn't here yet because that means I could avoid really talking to him until after practice.

I hurried and got into my practice clothes so I could get onto the ice. While this had not been the worst day, it certainly was not the best and hockey was just what I needed to cool down. The second my skates hit that ice, I took a huge deep breath and felt instantly more calm. I did a few practice laps around the rink while everyone else gathered together. I saw Coach Orion come out from his office so I skated over to the group.

I looked around the group. It felt really good having the entire group back together again after a summer apart. Coach Orion was smiling, you could tell he really missed us all too.

"Okay, everyone!" He yelled out in his booming Coach voice to get us all to quiet down. "Its great to see you all again! Hope you guys had a good summer. We're back in school now so its really time for us all to get back into shape, ready to win first place nationally this year!" We all cheered. "Now, we're gonna be having practices every day at this time until three. Sometimes I'll schedule for us to go longer and sometimes I will schedule morning or Saturday practices. I hope you are all prepared for the amount of hours this is going to be, because we are getting serious this year."

My heart dropped lower than its felt all day. I knew we were going to have a lot of practice but I never really took into account my other extracurriculars and homework. And hockey was supposed to be my anti-stress time of the day.

Coach split us into two teams for a scrimmage. Adam skated up to me before we started.

"Are you okay?" he said, pulling off his helmet and looking concerned. "You seem a little ... off right now."

I didn't even take off my helmet because I didn't want him to see my eyes. "I'm fine," I said in a way that was trying to sound reassuring but was probably not reassuring at all. I touched him on the arm and skated away. Because honestly, I wasn't fine. My stomach was churning with anxiety and I couldn't think of anything to quell these thoughts. I think Adam could tell so he wasn't going to say anything until we were alone.

The rest of practice passed normally. I played hard, really hard, probably because I was stressed and that was my go to stress releaser. As soon as Coach dismissed us I stumbled into the locker rooms and stripped out of my huge, smelly pads as quickly as I could. The guys have always been really cool about letting us girls get the shower first, which is good because they are usually still ready before us. I practically ran to the shower because I wanted to make the most of the short time we had. Everyone was looking at me kind of weird, and I couldn't blame them. I was normally the one holding everyone else up before and after practice.

The second I stepped under the burning hot stream of water I felt a million times better. Right then I made a decision: I shouldn't waste my stress-free first few days feeling stressed about how stressed I was going to be. It's completely illogical! I should be taking advantage of this time, and conquer each hurtle as it comes. Thinking about the big picture is what makes my head feel like its going to explode, so I'll just avoid those thoughts.

I'd been so caught up in my thoughts I didn't notice when Julie and Connie got into the two shower stalls to the left of me. After standing in silence for a few seconds, Connie says, "What's your beef, Conway? You haven't been yourself all practice."

I rolled my eyes at her bluntness, but Connie has always been that way. "I'm fine," I say, and after realizing this is the first time all afternoon I said it and meant it, I added, "now. I decided I'm not going to waste my time being stressed now. Might as well make the most of the year while its fun, right?"

"Hell yeah!" Connie said, shooting me a huge smile. "I'm not gonna lie, you were being a total downer for a sec there."

I laughed. "I'm sorry. No more of that!"

"Thank god!" Julie said. "Because I personally could not be having a better day."

"Overall, I would definitely agree with you on that one. So, what do you guys think of Jack?" I asked the two of them as we were walking from the showers back to our lockers in our towels. "Doesn't she seem rad?"

"Totally! She fits right in with the Ducks," Connie said.

"I know!" Julie added. "I can't wait to get to know her better."

By this time we had made it back to our lockers, so the guys started to file out to the showers. I was facing the mirror brushing out my hair, which was extremely tangled, and from my vantage point I could see everyone walking by. Of course I saw Adam right away, and he was looking at me too. I turned around and gave him a smile, a real smile, and I saw him physically relax. He smiled back, and I felt bad that I had been worrying him. I waved at him and he waled over.

"You look better," he said, relieved, then seeing the look I shot him he added, " I mean happier. Let's go somewhere to relax after this. You need it."

"Thanks," I said with an eye roll. "But, yeah, that sounds like the best." I smiled. "Sorry I was being such a spazz. We'll talk about it later."

"You aren't a spazz," he laughed. "But I'm glad you're feeling better. I'll see you in a minute," he said, leaning in for a kiss.

"No!" I said, leaning out of the way. "You smell! Shower before you kiss me." I stuck my tongue out at him.

"No way!" He pulled me into his arms and kissed me all over my face. I was laughing and trying to push him away.

"I hate you," I laughed. "Now I smell again."

He looked down at me with happy eyes. "I love you."

I'm not gonna lie. I melted. I pulled him close for an intense but relatively brief kiss, then pushed him away. "You're such a dork," I said, smiling hugely.

He backed away, still smiling. "You love it," he smirked as he walked towards the shower.

I shook my head and smiled, and turned back to the mirror. I saw him turn around and walk away in the mirror before shifting my eyes to my own reflection. When I locked eyes with myself I was hit with another heart-sinking thought: I still have to tell Adam about my "date" with Will tonight.

Oh shit.

A/N: Well there ya go, ya'll! Hope you liked it! Please please please make my life and send me a review! Love you all xxx