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Chapter 1


Walking down the hall from my psychology class, I greeted several of my friends warmly, as usual. My next class was Social Studies, and we had a test. I'd declined an invitation to a party last night, mainly because I had to study. And I didn't party on school nights. Or party, period.
" Sara! " cried Catherine. " Dear lord, did you hear the news? Katie failed the chemistry test! And Andrea didn't get her usual grade on geometry. Her average went down! "
" Catherine, " I began gently smiling softly, " by failed, you mean what, a B? "
She chewed on her lip, then quickly stopped, as she knew it was wrong and she was stricter - with everyone including herself - then Mrs. Bartain, who would scold you if you didn't chew your food at least twelve times.
" Well no... A B plus. "
" Catherine. " I smiled and gave her a knowing look.
" I have to get to class. I'll see you later. " Catherine nodded and went to her own upcoming class which was German.
" Oh and Sara! " She spun around, her brown hair waving wildly.
I turned around. " Yes? "
" Andrea ''did'' get an A minus. ''That's'' bad, right? "
I chuckled and shook my head. She knitted her eyebrows together.
" Oh Catherine. " I laughed.
I turned away, still smiling. Many students charged right past me, not looking at me but I didn't mind. They all ran freely, most of them were very big fans of sports or more creative activities. I heard their shoes slapping the ground, them chattering happily to their friends, and even others counting down the days of school left, even though there were four months left. Loud laughs echoed through the hallways. Boys whistled at a group of pretty girls walking by them.
This was my school. My friends and I weren't popular, but we were happy with what we were. We liked studying, and that was that.
I pushed open the heavy door of Mr. Rowel's Social Studies classroom. I dodged a spitball from one of the troublemakers.
" Hey, watch out girlie! " he laughed. His friends grinned at me. I pressed my lips together and ducked my head. Being a good student, I liked sitting in the front. So I did. I placed my books on my desk and pulled back the seat.
Mr. Rowel began the class with a quick lesson on the Beginnings of Human Society. He then called on a girl named Anna to hand out some worksheets.
'' All right now pick a partne... '' His voiced trailed off.
I turned my head find a girl with black and red locks in a completely ripped outfit breezing in through the door. She didn't look at anybody, just headed over to the back.
'' Yo Riley! Ya late! '' called out another one of the boys. They laughed as she ignored them.
Oh. Riley Parton. I knew her. ''Everybody'' knew Riley Parton. The bad girl. She wasn't exactly... Like a bully or anything... She was just really tough. ''Very'' tough. If you messed with her, or tried to get in her face, you wouldn't live to tell the story of what she did to you.
Mr. Rowel cleared his throat and clenched his jaw. '' Ms. Parton, you- ''
'' Call me Riley. '' She didn't look up from her boots. She just kept glancing at them, wiping off the mud on the floor.
'' Ms Parton! You may ''not'' wipe your boots on the floor! In fact, wearing boots in the summer and fall is against our policy here at Western Park. And may I add, that you are ''late''? ''
'' I got held back. Blame Mrs. Woodock, '' she replied in a bored, mono-tone voice.
I sunk back into my seat and sighed. She sure was asking for it. Kids around me awaited nervously for Mr. Rowel's reaction.
He furrowed his eyebrows. '' Forget it. '' He pasted on a tight-lipped smile and announced '' all right class, as I was saying, pair up! ''
I looked around for a partner. I was usually put with one of the last ones, as I didn't have friends in this class. Trinity Sanders was also looking around and I started to move towards her.
'' Trini- ''
'' Hey. Hey you girl. '' A guy raised his eyebrows at Trinity. One of the players. I sighed. If he was after her then they were going to be partners. First in class, then in bed. She blinked, then a slow smile spread across her face.
Something sharp poked me in the back.
'' Hey. Hey you girl. '' Riley Parton was mimicking the other guy. She snickered. '' I thought I'd say the same thing. '' She nodded to me.
'' We're partners. ''
'' Uh-uh... Okay. '' What else could I say? Nothing much if I was going to have a life in the next five seconds.
'' Um, so... Where is the earliest homininan found? ''
She shrugged. '' I dunno. ''
I opened my mouth into a little O. '' Oh, okay. It's only found in Africa. ''
'' Cooool. '' She yawned. Clearly she couldn't care less. Riley started fiddling with a strand of black hair, wrapping it around her finger, then letting it loose. She hummed a heavy metal song I recognized. For a minute I wondered what it would be like to just let loose, party, talk more, relax and not just study and study.
I shook my head and shuddered. My grades were everything to me. I ''did'' talk, and I had friends. I had everything I needed. I was happy.

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