Chapter One

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"I think you should totally ask him out." Madison insisted. While she was squealing and pestering me, my other two best friends, Charlie and Grayson, looked on expressionlessly. Gray sighed deeply, and began picking at his nails. It seemed everyone was bored with the direction this conversation was taking, except for Madison.

I looked around the school cafeteria as if looking for some kind of distraction from this torture. That hope vanished the minute I laid eyes on the boring, grey tables and chairs scattered around, filled with chatting students who all seemed to be minding their own business. The wide windows that looked out at the forest didn't offer much of an exciting distraction either. I reluctantly slid my gaze back to Madison, who was looking at me expectantly.

"I don't even know if he likes me. Or if I like him, for that matter." I replied, shrugging at my childhood best friends uncertainly. Madison hadn't stopped bugging me about it ever since I had accidentally let it slip this morning that Ayden, one of the jocks on the football team, had winked at me as I was walking into school.

She took another bite of her burger and rolled her eyes. "That's why you should ask him out, genius. To find out."

"I don't want to be rejected. Besides, I can date in college. Right now I don't have time to be in a relationship. Midterms are coming up, and-"

"Bla bla bla." She interrupted, her mouth still full. "Talia, you've been saying the same thing since freshman year. Don't you think it's time for you to live a little? I mean, it's senior year and you haven't even had your first kiss." Both Charlie and Gray snorted at that, and I shot them a quick glare to shut them up before turning back to her. "Besides, you don't even have to date him. Just have a little fun, mess around!"

"Whatever. Anyway, what class do you guys have next?" I asked, very obviously changing the subject but still hoping she somehow wouldn't notice. Taking about boys made me exhausted, which was unfortunate considering it was Madison's favorite thing to talk about. I just never found the idea of dating appealing, and as much as I tried to understand why, I just couldn't figure myself out. 

I had grown up around Charlie and Grayson, so sometimes I thought witnessing the horrifying and gross truths about boys must have stunted my ability to develop romantic feelings. I mean, how are you supposed to be attracted to a guy when you've seen them turn their dirty boxers inside out to wear another day, or scratch their balls and sniff their hands. Gross.

But Madison saw everything I did, and she didn't seem to have the same problem. She had a new boy toy on her arm every week, so clearly it wasn't because of that.

"I have geography." She replied just as the bell rang, signaling the end of lunch. She got up and turned to me. "Don't think I've forgotten missy; I'm coming over after school."

I sighed. There was no escaping her. I watched her go, noticing for the millionth time all the hungry stares that followed her wherever she went. My best friend Madison was perfect in every sense of the word. Her caramel hair sitting just below her collar bones framed her delicate, heart shaped face and brought out her brilliant green eyes. As if that wasn't unfair enough to have the face of an angel, she also had a killer body, the perfect slope of her back merging with her soft curves. It occasionally occurred to me that it was weird to notice these things, but I pushed it out of my mind.

As an artist, I spent most of my free time sketching, drawing and painting. It was a natural instinct for me to notice beautiful details.

"Earth to Talia!" Charlie hissed, bringing me out of my reverie. I turned to find him already standing. He was staring at me with amusement twinkling in his deep blue eyes, partly obscured by the shaggy brown hair falling into them. "I know you have a habit of drifting off into your day dreams at the most inconvenient times, but try not to do it when we're running late for class."

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