chapter one| things to consider

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There are many things that seven-year-old Finn Wrangley considered a nuisance: the unbearable heat wave that had taken over Michigan, the way his mother fussed over him, and when his father discussed the latest of politics with him, expecting Finn to somehow understand.

He didn't.

However, there was one thing that truly ground his nerves, and that was the way his mother insisted his hair be styled. It looked absolutely ridiculous, but he couldn't risk his mother going ape on him.

"Finn! Finn!" Mrs. Wrangley shouted, dusting her hands on her apron. Finn stood in front of his mirror, staring despairingly at his perfectly made hair. He so desperately wanted to fuss it up but feared the wrath of his mother. Sighing, Finn grabbed his pencils, bounding down the stairs two at a time. His beagle, Friday, greeted him at the edge of stairs, giving him a playful nudge. She'd been given to Finn a few days back and had already immersed herself into their family.

"I'm here!" he announced. Mrs. Wrangley pulled him aside, assessing any damage he might have done to the carefully assembled and planned outfit she'd laid out for him.

"Tuck in your shirt!" she chided, hovering over him. Finn frowned, but complied, shoving his shirt into his pants with attitude. Finn's mother ignored that and slid a plate of breakfast over to him, carefully watching to make sure he ate it all.

"Mom, you don't need to watch me..." Finn's blue eyes slowly rose from his plate, as his mother watched him silently. Friday scampered about, happy that Finn was awake and ready to play, or so she assumed.

"Your school starts any minute now," his mother said instead. "We wouldn't want you to be late on the first day, would we?"

"Morning, Honey." Mr. Wrangley placed a kiss on his wife's cheek before reaching over to grab a plate of breakfast. "How you doing, son?" he greeted Finn, who responded with a measly shrug. "Friday," Mr. Wrangley greeted, tipping an imaginary hat.

"Finn, sweetie, have you finished?" Finn's mother asked, her blue eyes unwavering. Finn stuffed the last piece of toast in his mouth, attempting a cheeky grin. His mother rolled her eyes at his antics but dismissed him. Finn, seizing the opportunity to be out of his mother's clutches, ran out of the door, grabbing his books as well. The usual early morning chatter filled the air and the sun shone brightly as Finn shut his front door. Children of his age were waving goodbye to their parents, their laughter bubbling as they skipped along.

Finn, for the life of him, could not get into the lively spirit. In fact, he felt like a ten-pound rock was being shoved onto his shoulders as he slowly walked to his school. There was nothing worse than being a new kid. He'd have to brave new waters alone, navigating through a carefully constructed social hierarchy. There'd already be boys who'd made up their gang, leaving Finn all alone.

If there was anything Finn Wrangley hated, it was being alone. Alone in the dark, alone while walking to school- whatever it was, Finn hated being alone.

"Hey! Blondie!" Finn stopped, turning around, looking wildly for the voice he was sure was directed to him. Self-consciously, he patted his blond hair, its rigid nature both comforting and irritating. A small girl rushed up to him, her long dark hair flying behind her. She was smiling so wide that Finn could make out the small gaps where she had lost her baby teeth. Her skin was tanned, and her eyes were a deep brown, a complete contrast to his.

"Me?" Finn asked, just to be sure.

"Yeah, you!" She ran up next to him, swinging her polka dotted lunch carriage. "How'd you do, neighbor?"

"Neighbor?" Finn looked back to his house, then to the one on the right. "Are you my neighbor?"

"Well, I wonder why I called you neighbor," she replied, sarcasm lacing her words. "I'm Jack," she introduced.

"Isn't that a boy's name?"

"And here I was hoping you'd be intelligent," Jack said haughtily. "It's a nickname, Blondie, short for Jacqueline." Jack made a face. "Isn't that a mouthful? Bleh."

"I'm Finn," Finn said hesitantly.

"Oh, I know." Jack pushed her hair back behind her ear. "I've heard all about you." Finn opened his mouth to ask more, but was cut off by Jack.

"Oh, look at the time! We're late!" Without waiting for her new friend, Jack took off sprinting, leaving Finn in the dust.

"Hey! Wait!" Finn scrambled to catch up to Jack as she ran past him and down into the school, laughing boisterously. Finn couldn't help but smile as he raced inside as well. His cheeks were red from the sudden burst of exercise as he scanned the empty hallways for any sign of Jack. The girl had disappeared, leaving Finn all alone.

Ah, how he hated being alone.

From the moment he'd stepped into the classroom, Finn couldn't wait for his lunch break. Having all the children's stares burn a hole into the back of his head was quite infuriating. He wanted to get out of the classroom and eat his lunch in peace. Finn followed the stream of children out into the courtyard. Immediately, tables were seized up, leaving no empty space for the new kid. Dejected, Finn faced the prospect that he might have to eat alone when he spotted a familiar face in the crowd. Jack was sitting away from everyone, alone, her back up against a tree. Finn started to walk over when someone stepped in front of him.

"Hey, you're the new kid, right?" A boy with dark hair blocked Finn's view of Jack. Finn sighed. He was getting tired of being labeled as just the 'new kid.'

"Yes," Finn said sullenly.

"Where you going?" the boy asked.

"I was going to sit over there," Finn said, pointing to the tree where Jack was sitting. She had yet to look up, lost in her world as she scribbled away in a little brown book. The boy burst out laughing, clapping Finn on the shoulder.

"You're new, so I'm going to give you some advice," he said. "That's Jack; she's crazy. You should probably avoid her."

"But-"

The boy cut Finn off. "Why would I lie to you?" He crossed his arms. "Trust me, you don't want to be friends with her. You can sit with me," the boy offered, looking over to where his table was filled with young boys all chattering obnoxiously. "or you can sit with the loon-face." The boy scrunched his nose as if the mere thought of that girl disturbed him.

"I...I-" Finn faltered, before making up his mind. "I think I'll join you."

"Great! I'm Tommy Baker, and you better remember that name," Tommy introduced. "Because one day I'm going to be the best baseball player ever! Do you play?"

Finn grinned. "I love baseball!"

"Cool! I'll introduce you the rest of the boys," Tommy promised. "And after school, we're going to the park to play. You should come!" Finn cast one last glance to Jack, who still hadn't looked up.

"I'll be glad to." Finn smiled, looking over at Jack one last time.

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a/n: so. i have decided to write a new story. goddamnit nandini why are you like this????

I DONT KNOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

well, if you liked it, don't forget to vote, comment, and share! I'm off to eat some pizza :)

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