Her heart was pounding like crazy.

Joanna barely resisted the urge to lay her hand upon her racing heart. Nine pairs of eyes were all on her. The blinding light of scrutiny was on full force. Check out the fresh meat, the orbs seemed to hiss. The moment oddly felt like she'd been sucked through time and back to her first day of elementary school. All curious glances and judgey up-down-looks. The people were scattered around the room in small groups. In total, there were six males and three females. 

She stood there awkwardly, both hands clutching the strap of her bag thrown horizontally across her front. There was a stilted lull in animation before a boy with disarrayed dirty blonde hair walked forward and toward Joanna. He was tall, a few inches more than Joanna. His legs seemed to go on forever, the skinny jeans accentuating their litheness. 

Joanna, not wanting to look like the scared kid on the playground, walked forward to meet him halfway. The tall blonde smirked at this, like he had just been challenged. Suddenly Joanna wished she hadn't moved at all.

"Hey. Name's Noel." The blonde said, sticking out his hand in a manner that demanded she took it. Joanna did just that, adding a friendly smile.

"Hi. Joanna." 

Not letting go of her hand, the blonde leaned forward conspiratorially, "word of advice,Joanna, don't look like a scared dear in headlights. When sharks smell blood, they attack."

"Are they the sharks in this scenario?" Joanna asked with a head tilt towards the other occupants, her hand still encased in his.

Noel smirked, "that would be me," his eye brows waggled, "why do you thing I came over here."

Joanna held back the violent urge to scoff and pulled her hand back, clearly this guy was used to girls fawning over him.

"Come on, I'll introduce you." Noel said already walking back not even waiting for her answer. This guy was going to infuriate her.

Joanna was surrounded the instant she reached the now gathered group. A girl named Libby, at least an inch taller than her, slinkier and more vogue-esque greeted Joanna coolly and stepped back again with her green eyes narrowed like a cat's. A tiny, dark haired girl barely reaching Joanna's chin flung her arms around her. Joanna was startled but lightly patted her back awkwardly. 

"Sorry, I'm a hugger. My names Sarai." The girl said after she pulled back with a giggle. She fluffed up her already fluffy bangs and smiled brightly. Her brown eyes alight with excitement on her heart shaped face. The group groaned in unison, like Sarai had most likely invaded their personal space as well. Joanna found her adorable if not a little odd.

Moving on, a girl named Mel was next. She wasn't wearing makeup, but then with perfect olive skin and heavy dark eyelashes, she didn't really need any. Right now she had one elegantly raised eyebrow as she studied Joanna. Then the corner of her mouth tilted and she stepped back whispering to Libby, her dark eyes still on Joanna.

Before Joanna could say something she was passed around among the guys as they each introduced themselves. They all seemed friendly enough if not a little intimidating, except a young boy named Lee. He reminded her of her own little brother, even the beanie and hoodie he was wearing were similar.

Introductions and curiosity momentarily satisfied, several small conversations broke out among them once more, just like before she entered.

Then Joanna noticed him in the corner. He was set apart from everyone else and suddenly Sarai's voice was tuned out and curiosity got the better of Joanna. "Who's that?"

"Totally gorge right?" Mel whispered bumping shoulders with Joanna. "He's name is Aaren."

From where he stood, Joanna could see he had a lean, flat muscled body. Faded jeans and a tight t-shirt under a leather jacket of an unusual cut. His hair, dense, dark and wavy.

Joanna turned to Mel, "why's he all by himself?"

Mel shrugged, "barely said a word to any of us." 

"I would watch my back with that one." Libby piped up, folding her arms over her chest. "He seems off."

"What are you lot twittering about? Who's the prettiest?" Kit, a tall, lanky excessively tattooed boy said, leaning on Libby who promptly shoved him off. "Cause if that's the case, pretty boy in the corner over there has all of you beat."  

"So you find him attractive is what you're saying? Is there something you want to tell us?" Sarai giggled and Kit sputtered, cheeks blooming red, before flipping her off and Joining the boys.

Joanna, smiling from Sarai's contagious chuckles, turned back to the mysterious boy and felt startled when she met his eyes across the room. She begun to make a move to walk towards him when a loud clang sounded and the metal door was opened. 

In walked two girls. 

The last of the Finalists.








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