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"I can't say this enough, but I really like this new confidence of yours. And from what I hear so does half the boys in school."

"Only half?"

"The other half are head over heels for me."

She blew him a raspberry before she said, "It's definitely easier without Cam and Will around."

"Tell me you already have a date for homecoming." Franklin's eagerness was catching as they walked arm-in-arm toward the cafeteria.

"I haven't decided yet," Stella confessed.

"But homecoming is two weeks away."

Stella had gone on more dates in the first month of school than she had in her entire high school career. A lot of them never made it past the first date, but Stella was encouraged by the fact that guys weren't intimidated to ask her out anymore. She relished every second of her freedom. It was already the second week of September. If she didn't narrow down her options she might end up picking the wrong guy.

She may go on dates, but it was only to find the right one. The guy she envisioned herself spending senior year with. Nothing too serious, but worth being her date to all the dances.

"Then thank goodness you're here," she said when they grabbed trays and got in line. "You're going to help me choose."

"Oh!" Franklin perked up. "Can I make a bracket like they do in sports?"

"What do you know about sports?" Stella sent him a disbelieving sidelong glance.

"Enough to know there are a lot of hot athletes."

This time, Stella allowed the eye roll. The situation called for it. She didn't doubt that between her and Franklin, they'd come up with the suitable candidate for her senior year boyfriend. And she wouldn't even have to hide him anymore. Ah, freedom. Oh, how sweet.


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