Beck Oliver didn't have to try to make friends; they all came to him, one by one. At only 6 years old, Beck was the most popular kid in first grade. Heck, he was probably the most popular kid in his elementary school. Everyone liked him, well, almost everyone. There was one girl in 1st grade that wouldn't even look his way. That's why he first noticed her; because she didn't notice him. This confused Beck; everyone noticed him, what made this girl different?
The girl's name was Jade West, and as far as Beck could tell, she didn't talk. She always worked alone in class; never said a word to anyone even at lunch and recess. She had long dark hair and pretty blue-green eyes. She was about as beautiful as they came, and this confused Beck further. How could such a pretty girl have no friends? He wondered. He thought only ugly people had no friends.
But this girl was different than the other girls in his class. She didn't seem to want friends. She almost seemed to avoid them. Beck wasn't sure why anyone would purposely not make friends. His friends noticed her self-seclusion as well and made almost a game of trying to guess what was wrong with her.
"Maybe she's mute." Tyler suggested, as he hung upside down on the monkey bars at recess one day. "Why else wouldn't she talk? Probably doesn't know how."
"Maybe she's dumb." Offered Emma, who was sitting on the bars near him. She looked toward the others for support in her theory. "And she doesn't talk because she's to embarrassed to show it."
"Maybe she just doesn't like people." Grant tried. He and Alex were leaning on the sides of the monkey bars. "Maybe she's just like anti-social or something."
Beck shook his head. He was slightly removed from the group, watching the subject of their gossip intently. "I think it's something else." He insisted. The others groaned. Everyone knew that the quiet girl fascinated him, ("You SO have a crush on her!" they insisted almost daily) and attributed his denial to this.
"Oh yeah?" Challenged Grant. "If you're so smart, then why doesn't she talk? Or have any friends, huh?"
Beck shrugged, continuing to watch the dark haired girl, who was sitting under a tree near the edge of the playground, scribbling in her notebook as usual.
"I doubt she's even capable of making friends." Alex stated boldly. "probably one of those people who'll just be alone their whole life."
Again, Beck disagreed. "She's just different is all." He insisted. "I'm sure she can make friends, she probably just doesn't like us."
"I dare you to try and get her to talk to you." Tyler challenged. "Since you seem to know all about this girl."
Beck shrugged. "Fine I will." He accepted readily. After all, he had yet to meet a person he couldn't befriend.
From then on, Beck took every opportunity to try to get Jade to talk to him.
"Hi, I'm Beck." He greeted her the next day before school. Silence greeted him as she continued to stare straight ahead.
"Do you wanna sit with us?" He asked her at lunch . She shook her head and walked right by. Beck's friends laughed from their table.
"Looks like it's going well so far!" Emma teased.
"Shut up." Beck mumbled, tossing a French fry at her. This may be harder than he thought.
"Do you wanna work together?" Beck asked Jade the next day when the teacher told the class to pair up. She replied with a shrug and Beck sat down next to her. She did her part of the work in silence, ignoring his feeble attempts at conversation. Still, Beck wasn't deterred.
"What are you doing?" He asked her at recess. She looked right at him, something she rarely ever did to anyone.
"What do you want?" She asked suspiciously. "Don't you get that I don't want to talk to you?"
"Just to know what you are doing." Beck replied innocently, secretly rejoicing in a mission accomplished. She may not want to be friends yet, but at least he proved she could talk.
"I'm drawing." Jade replied shortly, going back to her sketch.
Beck laughed. "I know that silly," Jade scowled. "What are you drawing?"
Jade looked up at him again, trying to read his face. Did he really want to know? Or was he just making fun of her? Or proving something to his stupid friends? "Why do you care?"
Beck raised his eyebrows at the suspicious girl. "Can't I just wonder what it's for?" He laughed. "It looks cool."
"It's a cover. For the movie I'm gonna write when I grow up."
"Ohh you're gonna write a movie?" Beck replied excitedly, sitting down beside her. "Can I be in it?"
"No." Jade answered shortly, looking back to her work. "It's only for real actors."
"But I'm gonna be a real actor!" Beck protested. "I'm gonna go to Hollywood Arts and everything!"
"What's Hollywood Arts?" Jade asked. Beck grinned, happy to finally have the reserved girl's attention.
"It's a school for talented people. People who act and sing and dance and write!"
"I do all those things." Jade replied smugly. "Or I will."
"Then maybe we will go there together!" Beck smiled. Jade gave him a half smile in return, something she almost never did. Maybe this kid was okay. She thought. Maybe.
Slowly, Beck and Jade became friends, and best friends not long after. They sat together at lunch, in class, and at recess; talking about Hollywood Arts, their dreams, everything. Beck invited Jade over all the time and she came, though never extending the invitation to him. He sometimes asked her why this was, but she avoided the questions, ignored him, or changed the subject. Eventually he gave up on the idea that he'd ever see her house or meet her family, though she was practically a member of his. She got on well with his family, never caused trouble; his parents and his older sister loved her. He was convinced that they'd be friends forever and he voiced this all the time.
Jade however was wary; she had never had a friend, but figured it would end the same way her other relationships had. Her dad estranged her, her mom became an alcoholic, her nanny quit, her dad had got rid of her dog; Jade lost everyone that she cared about and knew that Beck would be no exception. They wouldn't even be going to the same middle school, and he would probably forget all about her within the first week of school. Besides, she wasn't even if he didn't, she wasn't sure she'd be going to Hollywood Arts, her dad had been opposed to the idea since she mentioned it in first grade. As fifth grade neared its close, he only grew more opposed, insisting her dreams would never put food on the table. So she tried to keep Beck at arms length knowing the closer they got, the more it would hurt later; and Jade West did not hurt.
"I can't wait til we go to Hollywood Arts together." Beck said one day as they swung on his swings in his backyard. He had noticed that Jade was being more distant lately, but attributed it to the school year ending. They were, after all, going to different middle schools, but Beck wasn't worried. They lived close to each other, and they'd go to Hollywood Arts together in just a few years. "Then we can be best friends again." Jade didn't say anything, just continued to swing in silence.
"You're sure to get in." Beck continued happily, "You can sing better than anyone in the whole school! And you can write and dance too. They'd be dumb not to let you in."
Jade shook her head. "It doesn't matter." She replied irritably. "Because I'm not going there."
Beck rolled his eyes. Jade was just being contrary, he figured. She did that sometimes. "What do you mean you're not going? We've been talking about it for years! And you're super talented. Of course you're going."
"No I'm not." Jade replied. "I'm not going to Hollywood Arts."
"But why? Don't you wanna be a performer?" He asked desperately, hearing the seriousness in her voice. He stopped his swing to look at his best friend. "Don't you wanna stay best friends?" He added quietly.
"It doesn't matter what I want." Jade replied coldly, stopping her swing beside him. "I'm not going. So just drop it, Beck." And with that, she slid off her swing and walked out the gate. Beck called after her but she didn't turn around.
She didn't speak to him at all the last few weeks of school. She went back to her first grade ways, spending as much time as possible alone, avoiding Beck at all costs. Graduation came and went without her saying a word to him. For the first few weeks of the summer, Beck called Jade every day. He even went to her house in a desperate attempt to fix their friendship but her dad answered and told him to stop bothering Jade; that she didn't want to see him. Beck thought he'd never see Jade again. At first he was heartbroken but as middle school came; he was immersed in a new life and began to forget. He began to forget about the dark haired girl.