THE STORY STARTS in middle school, one of the first weeks of seventh grade. But really, it starts with a basketball.
Jack Avery walked through the halls of the middle school when a tall boy, one who would later become one of his closest friends, went running by and nearly sent him falling.
"Sorry!" The boy shouted behind him and kept running after a blond boy.
Jack merely shook his head and looked at the ground, where his science notes had fallen and scattered everywhere. He sighed and leaned down, pushing the papers together and trying to gather them up. Just as he had them gathered, a basketball came bouncing down the hallway and he let out a small shout, jumping up to avoid it.
Jack looked over as a raven-haired girl came chasing after the ball, her brown eyes wide as she glanced around before lifting her head and meeting his gaze. A small but dimpled smile spread across her face, eyes flickering with some obvious for of excitement that made Jack a little more curious about her.
"Sorry for this—um—everything." The girl gestured down at the ground, where Jack's notes were scattered again. She looked back up at him and extended her hand out, tanned fingers with a ring on her right hand met his own. "And a cliché running into each other introduction. I'm Hazel."
"I'm Jack." Jack spoke and watched her look around. This girl was definitely something he wasn't used to, she looked like her brain went a mile a minute.
"Nice to meet you, Jack. Now, if you don't mind." Hazel's eyes flickered around before she reached over, popping back up with the basketball in her hands. "I have to run. There's some guys after me that are kinda mad I stole this." She explained and spun the ball between her hands, a shy grin on her face.
Jack blinked a few times, eyes flickering from her, to the ball, to down the hall and back. "Why?"
"They wouldn't let me play." She shrugged her shoulders. Seemed simple enough, so he didn't question it.
A large crash came from down the hall and both Jack and Hazel snapped their heads in that direction. A group of slightly taller than average pre-teen boys with gym shorts and t-shirts on looked around before running down the hallway, right towards them.
"We gotta go." With no further words, Hazel grabbed Jack's hand and dragged him down the hallway, quickly running to get away with the ball under her arm.
The curly haired boy looked back as the basketball players ran over his papers and after them. "I'm so failing that quiz." He groaned and turned to run alongside Hazel. Better than dealing with the angry players. "If my mom kills me for failing a class, I blame you."
"I'll help make it up to you, okay? But we have to go!" Hazel said and looked at Jack, a hint of mischief in her smile. She looked behind them and pushed open the nearest door, shoving him into it and running in after him.
And that day, filled with mostly running after basketball players and a quick exchange of science notes, is what got Jack and Hazel to where they are today.
Friends. At least, that's what it seems.
➥ so that's how they met.
i'm excited to let the rest
of this story unfold