Chapter Two

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Six years earlier

I open the door to the administration office and walk the roll sheet to the secretary’s desk. Before I turn and head back to class, she stops me with a question. “You’re in Mr. Clayton’s senior English class, aren’t you, Miles?”

“Yep,” I reply to Mrs. Borden. “Need me to take something to him?”

The phone on her desk rings, and she nods, picking up the receiver. She covers it with her hand. “Wait around another minute or two,” she says, nodding her head in the direction of the principal’s office. “We’ve got a new student who just enrolled, and she also has Mr. Clayton this period. I need you to show her to the classroom.”

I agree and plop down into one of the chairs next to the door. I look around the administration office and realize this is the first time in the four years I’ve been in high school that I’ve ever sat in one of these seats. Which means I’ve successfully made it four years without being sent to the office.

My mother would have been proud to know that, although it leaves me kind of disappointed in myself. Detention is something every male in high school should accomplish at least once. I have the rest of my senior year to achieve it, though, so there’s that to look forward to.

I retrieve my phone from my pocket, secretly hoping Mrs. Borden sees me with it and decides to slap me with a detention slip. When I look up at her, she’s still on the phone, but she makes eye contact with me. She simply smiles and goes about her secretarial duties.

I shake my head in disappointment and open up a text to Ian. It doesn’t take much to excite people around here. Nothing new ever happens.

Me: New girl enrolled today. Senior.
Ian: Is she hot?
Me: Haven’t seen her yet. About to walk her to class.
Ian: Take a picture if she’s hot.
Me: Will do. BTW, how many times have you had detention this year?

Ian: Twice. Why? What’d you do?

Twice? Yeah, I need to rebel it up a little before graduation. I should definitely turn in some homework late this year.

I’m pathetic.

The door to the principal’s office opens, so I close my phone. I slide it into my pocket and look up.

I never want to look down again.

“Miles is going to show you the way to Mr. Clayton’s class,

Rachel.” Mrs. Borden points Rachel in my direction, and she begins to walk toward me.

I instantly become aware of my legs and their inability to stand.

My mouth forgets how to speak.

My arms forget how to reach out to introduce the person they’re attached to.

My heart forgets to wait and get to know a girl before it starts to claw its way out of my chest to get to her.

Rachel. Rachel.

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.
She’s like poetry.

Like prose and love letters and lyrics, cascading down

Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

I say her name over and over in my head, because I’m positive it’s the name of the next girl I’ll fall in love with.

I’m suddenly standing. Walking toward her. I might
be smiling, pretending I’m not affected by those green eyes that I hope will one day be smiling just for me. Or that red-as-my-heart hair that doesn’t look like it’s been tampered with since God created it specifically with her
in mind.
I’m talking to her.
I tell her my name is Miles.
I tell her she can follow me and I’ll show her the way to Mr. Clayton’s class.

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