• It was early one Thursday morning, the sky dreary and grey, covered by nothing but clouds as far as the eye could see, that I saw a new face at Ravenwood High School. Rain poured down at a steady pace, and a chilly breeze blew by, giving me goose bumps running all the way down my pale arms. I, at first, didn't know why he attracted my attention that quickly; it was like something in the usual scene of the brick school towering above tired and talkative students below, had been changed dramatically. It seemed like something had graffitied one long line bright pink on the red brick wall. He sat underneath the protecting, low-hanging leaves of the large weeping willow on the school's lawn, nose stuck in a book. He seemed to look like a pertty normal kid, and had a build that lead me to believe he was a senior. He had silky, jet-black hair wth bangs that hung low to shade his eyes. I strained to see what color they were, squinting my eyes until I discovered that they were a light golden-brown, like the color of honey. His skin tone was pale, just like mine, but slightly darker. Darn it! Was I the palest student in the entire school?

    "Morning, Lani!" came a familiar voice from behind me. I wheeled around on my right heel, coming face-to-face with my best friend since the second grade, Emilie Pitcher. Her long, waist-length, silvery-blonde hair had been tied up into a long, flowing ponytail. It was a fine as a child's hair, but shimmered in the sunlight like it was made of diamonds. She was short for her age, and had tanned skin from spending her entire summer vacation at the beach. Even now, in the middle of the year, it hadn't faded away. Her emerald green eyes, as always, were filled to the brim with cheeriness that I wished that I could posess in the mornings.

    "O-oh, hey, Emilie." I stammered, glancing quickly back at the boy. He hadn't moved an inch; oh, why did I even care? He was just the new kid, probably. Who cared?

    "What's wrong? You look kind of out of it. Are you feeling sick?" Emilie asked, quirking a curious eyebrow.

    "No, I'm fine, really. Hey, do you know who that kid is?" I asked her, pointing over to him. He flipped one of the many pages of his thick book, and continued reading.

    "Actually, I heard him talking to the secretary this morning when I went to turn in my old volleyball equipment. His name is Michael...something, I can't remember his last name. Anyway, he's supposed to be a freshman, just like us." she informed me. "Wierd, huh? He looks like he's at least eighteen."

    "Maybe he failed a few grades or something. Some kids have trouble in school, you know. No big deal." I explained with the shrug of my shoulders, refusing to believe that he was 15 or 16 years old.

    "I dunno, maybe. I guess we'll find out soon enough. He's got our classes." She responded. After a moment of silence between the two of us, she suddenly squealed, placing her hands on my left shoulder and shaking me. "Ooh, Lani, he's staring at you! 4laugh "

    I looked over at him, and, sure enough, my eyes instantly met his gaze. His stare was intimidating, but I seemed to be sort of drawn to it, like a moth to a light bulb at night. For a while, we stared at each other, completely quiet, until finally, I regained my voice and I approached him, saying, "Uhm, hey. Why were you staring at me? Do I have something on my face?"

    "Oh, no. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have..." he stopped to clear his throat, obviously embarrased, "ogled you like that. Forgive me. My name is Michael Benari. I am a transfer student. So, is your name as pretty as your face?"

    "I'm Lani Harvey." I told him flatly, unimpressed by his 'sweet-talk'. After all, I was well-aware that I wasn't pretty. I had porcelein pale skin, and light brunette hair that stopped at my shoulders, layered slightly, but naturally. My eyes were dark brown, and I had a few freckles on my nose. I was average height, but fairly skinny. I thought of myself as a twig. I turn sideways, and disappear. "And this is my friend, Emilie."

    "Charmed," he said with a smirk that made my blood boil. "So, I must have classes with you, right? You're freshmen?"

    "Yeah. Apparently, you do. You have Mrs. Talley homeroom, right?" I asked him, folding my arms across my chest.

    "I do. Well, according to my schedule, the bell is about to ring. Perhaps I should be going." He said in one fluid sentence, rising as gracefully as I had ever seen a guy sit up, gathering his things and placing them in his bookbag before walking away.

    "Huh." Emilie said as we began to walk in, the bell's siren like a sheepdog herding the flock of sheep to where they belonged. "Wierd kid. But cute. Obviously, he liiiikes you, Lani!"

    "Shut up, Emilie." I said with a little chuckle. "I just wonder why on earth he acted like that. So bizzare..."