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Chapter 1

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Chapter One

Summer before Sophmore year.

"Taylor Anderson is the hottest guy ever!" gushed Madison as she leaned in closer to me to catch a better view of him moving across the cement basketball court in our local park.  To my right, Alyssa, who looked just like a younger Lucy Liu, practically burst an internal organ when she exclaimed, "I know.  I've secretly dreamed of marrying him since I was ten."  A pathetic sigh followed.

Disgusted with myself for somewhat agreeing with them, I rolled my eyes.  "Yeah, you and every other girl in this park.  Look around you, is there a girl here not into Taylor?"

Stunned, Alyssa flipped her long black hair and turned to face me, disbelief etching her face. "Don't you like him?  I thought everybody liked him."

Madison, still intent on Taylor, started to cheer as he made a basket.  Her sporty light brown ponytail bobbed up and down.  The whole bleacher area erupted as all the other girls drowned out any possible conversation.  Pausing, I allowed the fervor to die down.  Of course, he would prance around with that silly grin on his face waving to his adoring fan club.  I rolled my eyes again as the roaring grew deafening in response to his antics.

Please, could this get any worse?  The guy's got an ego the size of Madagascar.  Let's just inflate it more, shall we?

As if by some built in radar, fifteen-year-old Taylor's eyes honed in on me and my lack of enthusiasm.  His lopsided grin worked all of its charm on the crowd as he approached our section of the bleachers.  Flabbergasted, I became completely speechless when he hollered out, "Hey, Chloe.  What's the deal?  You weren't impressed?"

"Uh-" was all I could gasp out as every other female within a three mile radius turned in my direction, and I'm not one hundred percent sure it was even audible.

"Come on!  I bet I could get you to cheer for me.  To prove it, this next basket's for you."

All the girls let out a collective romantic sigh as he pointed his finger right at me.  I could have cheerfully crawled under a rock and lived there for five years.  Mostly because of my body's excited betrayal of his attention, He knows my name.  He called me Chloe.  He knows my name! my heart chanted as its speed tripled.  Mesmerized by Taylor's retreating back, I watched slow-motion movie like, as he rejoined the other players and laughed off their teasing remarks which were muffled by the pounding in my ears.

"Chloe?  Hello?  Earth to Chloe?" Madison's voice ebbed into my subconscious.

"What?  I'm here."

Alyssa chuckled and teasingly nudged me with her elbow, "You were saying?"

I stared at her blankly, "Uh, saying?"

"You know, about not liking Taylor?"

A smirking Madison came to my rescue, "Come on, Alyssa, she's just a little shell-shocked that's all.  Honestly, who wouldn't be?  Nobody can resist falling for him.  It's a proven fact."

Laughing at my dazed expression, Madison nudged me again.  "I would have to say the New Girl's got it bad."  Both of my so called friends and new neighbors burst into more hilarious laughter.

Taylor must've heard the chortles, because he paused during the game and glanced back in our direction.  Just as I was beginning to breathe normally once more he pointed right at me and winked.  In an instant my face was as red as my very berry lip gloss.  Taylor noticed and everyone noticed Taylor noticing me.  He winked again and flashed those one hundred watt pearly whites right at me.  I was a goner.  In the amount of time it takes a butterfly wing to beat, I was simpering and smiling back.  Madison was right.  No girl could resist the charm of Taylor Anderson, not even me.

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