A/N: This is my first fanfic so be gentle with me...I accept constructive criticisms and such, but I'm still pretty nervous :)
I don't own Recess. It is the property of Paul Germain and Joe Ansolabehere as well as the Walt Disney Corporation

Gretchen's POV

The bell rings, signaling time for lunch at Third Street High School. After hours of advancement placement and honors classes, I'm starved for some social interaction. I walk out of the class, clutching my books to my chest, as the other kids' race to the cafeteria. I don't need to run. I already know where there is a place for me. As I draw near the cafeteria doors, I grow nervous. Is this the day they realize it? Will they finally see it? I open the door and my heart begins to race. I pass all the cliques on the way: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the drama kids, the Goths, the slackers, the geeks. I see the places we all should belong to. I reach our table in the far back corner and let out a breath I didn't know I was holding. "Hey Gretch!" they all say. I smile as I take my place next to Spinelli. I look around at us, the six kids who defy the social hierarchy, defy the norm. Hell, we defy logic.

"A new year. The beginning of a new experience in our young adolescent lives." Mikey says dramatically.

He's right, it's the start of junior year and the gang is still together. We have our own things but we always remember the group comes first. I look around the table, at the kids I've known since wild kindergarten days.

Mikey Blumberg, the lovable giant, blossomed in the years since Third Street Elementary. He still is all about peace and love. He's the self-designated and self-appointed mediator of the gang. He lost the baby fat and now he's all muscle. Mikey took his place on the stage where he belonged. He no longer sings in bathrooms. He's dominated the theatre department and is the president of drama, glee and poetry club. His dramatic flair is evidenced in his style choices. He's developed a preppy boy style, complete with hipster nerd glasses.

Gus smiles at Mikey and says "Hey, as long as I'm in the same school, I'm content."

Gus Griswald, it's sometimes hard to believe that he's the shy new kid we took under our wing seven years ago. He shot up in the summer between middle school and high school to a cool 6 feet. He was no longer the dwarf of our group. His confidence increased too. He joined the soccer team as one of their leading scorer and used his dodge ball arm as pitcher for the baseball team. He also headed up the aeronautics club, courtesy of his army brat lifestyle. The only thing we begged of him was not to run for captain of any teams! I mean, c'mon, he's like the definition of the saying: Power corrupts. Due to his jock status, he's been known to attract female attention. But he only has eyes for one Ms. Theresa LeMaize aka Cornchip Girl. She was starting her freshman year this year and Gus swore up and down he would finally make his move.

Spinelli threw a fry at Gus and said "You say the same shit every year, Griswold."

Spinelli, formerly known as Ms. Ashley Spinelli (but she'd probably kill you if you said it) or Spin, changed a lot since Third Street days. No doubt she was still as tough, brash and blunt as can be. But she grew out of her tomboy style and only used Madame Fist for the face of good. Her style is actually one of the best in Third Street High School without even trying too hard. Instead of defying gender norms, she defied style norms and ended up owning the hipster look. Every day, every one wonders what snarky comment rests on her graphic tees or jelly bracelets. No longer in short pigtails, she's gorgeous with long black hair cascading down her back. But her attitude change: now that's just because she's fallen in love.

T.J wraps his arm around Spin's shoulders and kisses her temple. "Now Spin. Of course he'd same the same shit. With friends who look as sexy as us, why the hell would he want to leave?" Everyone bursts out laughing.

T.J Detweiler, the smartest slacker I've ever known, is still the glue that holds us all together. Somewhere between middle school and high school, he learned how to make his procrastination work for him. He's now captain of the debate team, probably because of his ability to get anybody on his side. He's also class president the past three years running. I attribute it to his lucky red hat, the one still perched on his head at this very moment. He owns the "snapback swag", looking very urban bad boy in the Midwest. However, he's still the loyal friend with the big heart. He's channeled his lazy spirit and moved it into the sports field which helped his lose his chubbiness. He joined the football team as running back. The cheer squad, or the Ashley's mixed with other demon spawn, has been throwing themselves at him, but it all has been in vain. In the eighth grade, we locked Spin and Teej in a closet for four hours under the guise of Seven Minutes in Heaven, just so they could get their heads out of the behinds and realize they were perfect for each other. They've been together since. They balance each other out perfectly. When he needs motivation, she's ready with Madame Fist to punch the determination into him. Aww, how sweet.

"How's the first day back, Gretch? No rest for the geniuses, I see?" a voice whispers in my ear. I turn around and stare into the brown eyes that have a starring role in my fantasies.

Vincent, AHHHHH, Vince LaSalle. The all-around super jock, captain of every sports team and just. Plain. Gorgeous. He's the one man who could reduce my Einsteinesque IQ into brain dead category. I always feel so vain in my attraction to him because I adore his beauty. Since the days at Third Street, he knew his calling: sports. He's the football team quarterback, baseball team hitter, basketball power forward, soccer team's star center, runs track and field and swims. Oh, and hockey in the winter and volleyball in the spring. Sometimes I'm confused how all these sports don't interfere with one another. He and I are still competing against one another, but in friendly jest. However, I love that in spite of all his athletic abilities, he's truly learned the power of humility. He's nice to all around little guy and is friends with everyone. He doesn't let his skill go to his head and never abandoned us for better offers. He's also abandoned his lucky jersey as his standard uniform. (However he does wear it underneath all his uniforms for good luck). Instead, he developed the quintessential "Abercrombie boy" style, removing the flattop in favor of a low cut style. His sports keep him in mouthwateringly perfect physical condition. Swoon! I'm swooning! All Oppenheimer level geniuses are allowed to indulge in a moment of fan girling!

However, us being together is simple childish reverie. I shouldn't feel special when he compliments me. He's such a natural flirt. Me having the friends I have is a stretch. Me being with the boy I love is a sign of imminent world destruction. As per his "top dog" social ranking, he deserves to be with girls like the Ashley's. Although I wish he would choose someone with less Satanic DNA.

"Yup, We super geniuses stay up all night to plot our world domination. What about you, Vince?" I say.

He laughs. "I'm just coasting through like I always do. But pretty soon, I'm gonna need my FAVORITE tutor to teach me everything I've been sleeping through. And then I have to beat this tutor in about five rounds of COD." Vince says with a smile and a wink.

A faint blush tints my cheeks. "And who might that be? Your favorite tutor, I mean." I smirk.

"We'll she's one of the smartest girls in this school, maybe even in the world. A super genius, I've heard. And she's even one of the most gor-"

"Vince! Vinnie! What are you doing whispering in little old Gretch's ear? Is she deaf or something? Well, forget about that because we wanna sit with our favorite quarterback!" Ashley A. calls from the cheerleader's table. The little army of harpies begins to snicker.

"Can't you see I'm occupied, Ashley?" Vince says with false cheer.

"Not with anything visibly significant or attractive. Like, as if!" Ashley says with a sneer.

I duck my head in embarrassment, gather my books to my chest and stand. It's my Ashley plan of attack when they set their sights on me: always evacuate. "It's ok, Vince. I have some r-reading, err...studies; I wanted to catch up on in the library. I best be on my way."

"Gretchen, wait! Are you sure you have to go?" I hear Vince call out. But I'm already halfway out of the cafeteria.