Chapter 1

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Every day was a cycle. Wake up, leave for school, come home, do homework, maybe see my best friend, and then go to bed. That was it. I ate throughout the day, of course, but I would like to assume that’s obvious. I met my best friend 2 weeks before year eight, he had just moved in to my neighbourhood, only one building between us. I saw him moving in to his flat, carrying a tenor saxophone, chords that appeared to belong to an electric keyboard, and 2 bags: one carrying symbols and one with sticks. He seemed to be my age, and like someone I would like to get to know, but all I could focus on was the fact that there was FINALLY another musician in my neighborhood. I hadn’t realized I was staring off in his direction until I snapped my head up and saw him quizzically staring back at me. I immediately felt a heat rise in my cheeks as I turned around and ran into my house.

            “Hey mom, we got new neighbours,” I said, trying to shake the mystery boy’s image from my mind.

            “Yes, I know! We’re going to go meet them soon, so be ready!” she responded.

            About 5 minutes later, she decided it was time to go. I checked to make sure my Vans were tied before popping in my headphones and walking out the door with my mom. We walked down the street, my mom carrying a batch of homemade cookies, me humming to some random song I had heard too many times to bother remembering. It wasn’t until I saw an identical pair of Vans stood right in front of mine that I realized we had arrived at the new house.

            I silenced my music and began to look up. I slowly took him in; his distressed black Vans, his fitted blue jeans, the white and red t-shirt adorning his muscular torso, the square glasses framing his deep brown eyes, and lastly, the mop of shaggy brown and blond hair half-hazardly placed atop his head. He was an Adonis, the embodiment of perfection.

            I was snapped out of my trance by my mother’s harsh nudge to my ribs.

            “Tyler, say hello, would you?”

            “Oh, um hi, I’m Tyler. It’s nice to meet you…” I hesitated, not knowing his name, though I was sure he had probably mentioned it.

            He laughed an infectious laugh before saying, “I’m Ashton. It’s nice to meet you.”

            We awkwardly shook hands, an uncommon gesture for two thirteen year olds to complete. We stared at each other for just over the normal time allotted for a hand shake, and then we both started laughing. He invited us inside, my mom accepting with her signature good-neighbour smile.

            “So Ashton, how old are you?” my mom asked, striking up conversation.

            “I just turned 14 last week,” he responded. His towering height definitely didn’t suggest his age.

            “Oh my, happy birthday! Tyler will be 14 in December,” my mom responded proudly. She was proud of my being a Christmas baby (well the day after Christmas, anyway), but I didn’t normally tell people. “I assume you’ll be at Richmond this coming year?”

            “Yeah, will you?” I didn’t realize he was asking me until I felt his awkward gaze.

            I shook my head, focusing back on the conversation and away from his looks, “Oh, yeah, I’ll be there.”

            “Awesome, I’ll know somebody then.”

            I was immediately thankful for my mom’s deciding it was time to leave after a few more minutes of small talk, as it was becoming increasingly harder to focus on the conversation. The best thing that came out of the conversation was the exchange of cell phone numbers between me and Ashton. He told me he would text me when he finished unpacking, but I wasn’t about to hold my breath.

            Later, I went for a run around the neighbourhood, being sure to avoid Ashton’s house. When I got home, I jumped in the shower, humming along to the McFly playlist playing on my iPod, and then absent-mindedly checked my phone. I was shocked to find “1 new message” written across my screen.

            “Hey. ~Ash” was written in the new window. He had texted me. Now it was just time to figure out a response.


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