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"Will?" I whisper without breaking my gaze as the building disappears behind us. "Thank you for this."

He takes my hand into his and I fall asleep, smiling.

I wake up as he's opening my door and we're in my driveway. He reaches in and grabs my hand as I step out of the car. I can't remember the last time I fell asleep in a moving vehicle. Will was right, I am tired. I rub my eyes and yawn again as he walks me to the front door. He wraps his arms around my waist as I raise mine around his shoulders and we embrace again. He squeezes my waist tighter and moves me closer into him. Our bodies are a perfect fit.

"Lake, I already miss you," he whispers in my ear. A chill runs down my body as his breath warms my neck. I can't believe we only met three days ago; it seems like we've been doing this for years.

"Just think," I say. "You'll be gone three whole days. That's the same length of time that I've known you."

I didn't think it was possible, but he pulls me even closer. "This will be the longest three days of my life," he says.

If I know my mother at all, then we've got an audience, so I'm relieved his final kiss is nothing more than a quick peck on the cheek. He slowly walks backwards toward his car, his fingers sliding out of mine, eventually letting go. My arm falls limp to my side as I watch him get into his car. He cranks the engine and rolls down his window. "Lake, I've got a pretty long drive home," he teases. "How about one for the road?"

I walk to the car and lean through his window, expecting another peck. Instead, he slips his hand behind my neck and gently presses me toward him, our lips separating as they meet. Neither of us holds back this time. I reach through the window and run my fingers through the back of his hair as we continue kissing. It takes all I have not to swing open the car door and crawl into his lap. The door between us feels more like a barricade.

We finally come to a stop; our lips are still touching as we both hesitate to part. Our breath rises in small waves of fog as it meets the cold air.

"Damn," he whispers. "It gets better every time."

I plant a small peck on his mouth. He does the same. We continue back and forth until I start to laugh. "I'll see you in three days," I smile. "You be careful driving home tonight." I give him one final kiss as I pull away from the window.

He backs out of the driveway and again straight into his own. I'm tempted to run after him and kiss him again to prove his theory. Instead, I avoid temptation and turn to head inside.


I turn around just as he shuts his car door and jogs across the street toward me. Did I leave something in his car? I wait for him to say something else to explain what he's doing, but instead he just smiles as he gets closer.

"I forgot to tell you something," he says as he wraps his arms around me again. "You look beautiful tonight." He kisses me on top of my head, releases his hold and turns back toward his house.

Maybe I was wrong earlier-about me liking the fact that he didn't compliment me tonight. I was definitely wrong. When he gets to his front door, he turns around and smiles before he goes inside.

Just like I had imagined, my mother is sitting on the sofa with a book, attempting to appear uninterested as I walk through the front door. "Well, how'd it go? Is he a serial killer?" she asks.

My smile is uncontrollable now. I walk to the sofa opposite her and throw myself on it like a ragdoll and sigh. "You were right Mom, I love Michigan."


"But I can tell by watching you

That there's no chance of pushing through

The odds are so against us

You know most young love, it ends like this."

-The Avett Brothers, I Would Be Sad

Chapter Three

I'm more nervous than I had anticipated when I wake up Monday morning. My mind has been so preoccupied with all things Will, I haven't had time to process my impending doom. Or rather, my first day ever at a brand new school.

Mom and I finally had a chance to go shopping for weather appropriate clothing over the weekend. I throw on what I picked out the evening before and slide on my new snow boots. I leave my hair down for the day but slide an extra band onto my wrist for when I want to pull it back, which I know I’ll do.

After I finish up in the bathroom I move to the kitchen and grab my backpack and my class schedule off of the counter. Mom began her new night shift at the hospital last night, so I agree to take Kel to school.

Back in Texas, Kel and I went to the same school. In fact, everyone in the vicinity of our town went to the same school. Here, there are so many schools I have to print out a district map just to be sure I'm taking him to the right place.

When we pull up to the elementary, Kel immediately spots Caulder and jumps out of the car without even saying goodbye. He makes life look so easy.

Luckily, the Elementary is only a few blocks from the High School. I’ll have extra time to spare so that I can locate my first class. I pull into the parking lot of what I consider to be a massive High School and search for a spot. When I find one available, it's as far from the building as it could be and there are dozens of students standing around their vehicles chatting. I am hesitant to get out of my car, but realize when I do that no one even notices me. It's not like in the movies when the new girl steps out of her car onto the lawn of the new school, clutching her books, everyone stopping what they're doing to stare. It's not like that at all. I feel invisible and I like it.

I make it through first period math without being assigned homework, which is good. I plan on spending the entire evening with Will. When I woke up this morning, there was a note on my jeep from him. All it said was, "Can't wait to see you. I'll be back by four. I've missed you so bad."

Seven hours and three minutes to go.

History isn't any harder. The teacher is giving notes on the Punic Wars, something we had just covered in my previous school. I find it hard to focus as I literally count down the minutes. The teacher is very monotonous and mundane. If I don't find something to be interesting, my mind has a tendency to wander. It keeps wandering to Will. I am methodically taking notes, trying my best to focus when someone behind me pokes my back.

"Hey, let me see your schedule,” the girl directs.

I inconspicuously reach for my schedule and fold it up tightly in my left hand. I raise my hand behind me and quickly drop the schedule on her desk.

"Oh please!" she says louder. "Mr. Hanushek is half blind and can barely hear. Don't worry about him."

I stifle a laugh and turn toward her as Mr. Hanushek is facing the board. "I'm Layken,” I tell her.

"Eddie," she responds.

I look at her questioningly and she rolls her eyes.

"I know," she whispers. "It's a family name. But if you call me Eddie Spaghetti I'll kick your ass!" she threatens mildly.

"I'll keep that in mind," I laugh.

"Cool, we have the same third period," she says as she inspects my schedule. "It's a bitch to find. Stick with me after class and I'll show you where it is."

Eddie leans forward to write something down and her slinky blond hair swings forward with her. It falls just below her chin in an asymmetrical style. Her nails are each painted a completely different color, and she has a variety of about 15 bracelets on each of her wrists that rattle and clank every time she moves. She has a small, simple outline of a black heart tattooed on the inside of her left wrist.

When the bell rings, I stand up as Eddie passes me back the schedule. She reaches into my jacket pocket and pulls out my phone and starts punching numbers. I look at the schedule she has returned to me and it’s now covered in websites and phone numbers; in green ink. Eddie sees me looking and points to the first web address on the page.

"That's my facebook page, but if you can't find me there, I'm also on twitter. Don't ask me for my myspace username because that shit’s lame," she says, strangely serious.

She scrolls down the remaining numbers jotted on my schedule with her finger. "That's my cell phone number, that's my home phone number and that's the number to Getty’s Pizza," she says.

"Is that where you work?"

"No, they just have great pizza."

She moves past me and I start to follow her out the door as she turns and hands me back my phone.

“I just called myself so I have your number now, too. Oh, and you need to go to the office before next period."

"Why? I thought you wanted me to follow you?" I ask, feeling slightly overwhelmed by my new friend.

"They have you in 'B' lunch. I'm in 'A' lunch. Go switch yours to 'A' lunch and meet me in third period."

And she's gone. Just like that.


The administration office is just two doors down. The secretary, Mrs. Alex, makes rolling her eyes a new form of art as she prints my 'new' new schedule just as the second bell for third period rings.

"Do you know where this English elective is located?" I say before I leave.

She gives me somewhat lengthy and confusing directions, assuming that I know where 'Hall A' is, and ‘Hall D.’ I wait patiently until she's finished and walk out the door, more confused than before.

I wander across three different hallways, entering two wrong classrooms and one janitor's closet. I round the corner when I finally see 'Hall D' and feel some relief. I set my backpack down on the floor as I place the schedule between my lips and pull the rubber band off of my wrist. It's not even ten in the morning and I'm already pulling my hair up. It's that kind of day already. I gather my hair in a bunch and pull it through the rubber band twice. I pull at my hair to tighten it inside the band.


My heart nearly jumps out of my chest when I hear his voice. I turn around and see Will standing next to me with a confused look on his face. I pull the schedule out of my mouth and smile as I instinctively wrap my arms around him. "Will! What are you doing here?"

He hugs me back, but only for a second before his hands wrap around my wrists, removing my arms from around his neck.

"Lake," he says hesitantly. "Where…What are you doing here?"

I sigh as I thrust my schedule into his chest. "I'm trying to find this stupid elective but I'm lost," I whine. "Help me!"

He takes another step back against the wall. "Lake, no…" he says, putting the schedule back into my hands without even looking at it.

He's horrified to see me! He turns away from me and clasps his hands behind his head.

I don't understand his reaction. I stand there, waiting for some sort of explanation when it dawns on me. He's here to see his girlfriend! The girlfriend that he failed to mention. I snatch my backpack up and immediately start to walk away when his arm reaches out and pulls me to a stop.

"Where are you going?" he demands.

I roll my eyes and let out a short sigh. "I get it Will. I get it. I'll leave you alone before your girlfriend sees us." I'm trying to hold back tears at this point, so I step out of his grasp and turn away from him.

"Girlfr-no. No, Lake. I don't think you do get it." he says.

The faint sound of footsteps slowly becomes louder as they round the corner to Hall D. I turn to see another student barreling toward us.


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