Nikki's POV

The world around me was alight with sunshine. The leaves on the trees appeared to glitter as golden beams bounced off their reflective surfaces and the flowers of the garden seemed to stretch to get closer to the life giving rays. Virginal white clouds rolled through the sky innocently as a playful breeze drifted across the courtyard.

Around me students lounged around on picnic tables, doing various things. Most of them were just chatting or horsing around, but a choice few were eating or doing homework. And a group of guys were playing Frisbee – their apparent lack of aim making those around them potential and wary targets.

It was the last period of the day and all those people, along with me, had a free. And since it was just such a beautiful day, the weather still relatively warm even as fall was beginning to creep up on us, many of my fellow students had made an exodus for the outdoors.

I, for one, had settled myself down under a small tree in the soft grass, hoping for some alone time. I had always been a generally social person, which worked out, seeing as I rarely had time to myself. But like I said, it was strange for me to be alone, which was why I’d opted to spend this period in peace.

So I sat under my tree, my bag open next to me and my copy of To Kill a Mockingbird spread out on my lap as I made annotations in the margin. As per usual, I was swamped by homework. And seeing as I had work tonight, this was an ideal time to finish my assigned reading.

But apparently, it was not to be. Just as I was reaching for the apple that rested on my World Textbook, the serenity around me was shattered like glass. A rumbling like a dragon’s roar rolled through the courtyard and the ground began to quiver slightly as if an earthquake was impending.

Unfortunately for me, it was neither a mythical beast nor a natural disaster.

The thundering grew nearer and nearer as an ostentatious pickup truck appeared at the end of the drive – going much faster than any vehicle should in a school area. The black hulking mass approached the school, the obnoxious flames that were painted on the side flashing in the sunlight.

I winced as the growling monster pulled up at the curb – no more than twenty feet from my perch. All eyes were glancing at the truck as the window rolled down, all wondering about the young man with the buzz cut and stubbly chin that leaned out.

“Hey baby girl!” he shouted, uncaring of the crowd that kept throwing him glances. I immediately climbed to my feet, one hundred percent sure that I was the one being addressed.

“Carter!” I called back, trying to be heard over the engine, “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here to pick you up,” he explained, “Now climb in!”

I couldn’t keep myself from laughing as I jogged over to him.  All this shouting was just drawing unnecessary attention. I reached the truck, climbing up on the metal bar so that my head actually reached the window and I was now eye level with Carter.

“Well hey there pretty lady,” he said, grinning, “How’s about a kiss?”

I grinned back. “How about you turn off that obnoxious engine?”

“Anything for you babe,” he teased, smiling goofily at me as he killed the engine. The truck came to rest beneath me, meaning that I was no longer vibrating like a meth addict who just got out of Starbucks. The courtyard, no longer drowned out by the roaring of Carter’s beast of a truck, returned to its previous state. We got a few glances, but we were no longer the focal point of everybody’s attention and annoyance.

“Thank you,” I said primly, giving him a light kiss on the cheek, “Now what’s this about you picking me up?”

“I’m taking you out,” he informed me, “My friend’s band is playing at this club down in Fairview. He said he could get us in. What do you say?”

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