• I had been attending Northside College Prep for two years. I was beginning my junior year at the school and my education was going to be even more rigorous that usual. My schedule was packed, and my afternoons were devoted to homework and babysitting my two elderly grandparents and my irresponsible brother, Joseph. On top of that, I had to maintain healthy relationships with my closest friends and all the teachers and my elderly grandparents and my irresponsible brother, Joseph.
    My weekends were never relaxing. I was always being invited to go to the movies with girlfriends or go biking along the lakeshore with my boyfriend or had to attend some school related event. I was involved in a million clubs and was president of half of them. There was never a time when I could sit back and watch T.V. I even cheated about watching the most popular T.V. shows. I looked online to see what they were about so I could gossip with my friends about them. It was a constant popularity challenge. Ever since my parents died in a subway crash, I felt meticulously responsible for everything that happened. I was always the first to take the blame and I was never punished for anything. My grandparents spoiled my brother and me and they pretty much influenced the way everyone else treated us: “Stop picking on them. Their parents were killed two years back” and “Lighten the load of homework. They can’t focus with their parents on their mind”. But, I was determined to get as much homework as possible, if that’s what it took to keep them off my mind.
    However, this year would prove different.
    “Hey, Hailey, you coming to the beach with us after school?” asked a short friendly-looking blond girl that I recognized but couldn’t remember her name.
    “Of course! Look forward to it; I’ll meet you at the park at 3:15”, I answered, and walked away hurriedly. I had to report to the art teacher and inform her on the progress on the new school mural and I had to drop off some paperwork at the main office before my classes began.
    “Hailey!” it was Devin, my boyfriend since homecoming two years back.
    “Hey Dev”, I answered and pecked him on the cheek when the World History teacher was looking the other way. “What’s up?”
    “I was just wondering if we were still going to the movies this evening”.
    “Yeah, you having second-thoughts about it?”
    “No!” he said abruptly. “I just wanted to clarify if you were… busy or not”, he sighed. Devin was well accustomed to my fast-paced schedule.
    Devin was of an average height but above average when it came to looks. He had short messy blond hair and still blue eyes that reminded me of an icy winter ocean. His skin was pale, even after many hours in the sun practicing football. Devin was the rage of the school. There was much competition for him at the homecoming dance, but after he and I got together, the girls eventually accepted it.
    “But I’ll see you then?” I asked.
    “Yeah!” he said suddenly, as if breaking from a trance. “I’ll pick you up at 4:30 tonight”. I considered telling that kind blond girl that I couldn’t make it to the beach that afternoon because I was ill. She would respect that. Everybody did.

    Classes droned on slowly as usual. I took notes meticulously and completed all assignments with perfection considerably early, participated in class discussions, and aced my trigonometry test fourth period.
    I wasn’t expecting it at all. It was completely unpredictable. I was passing through the hall. Classes were still in session but I was dismissed early for I had to go over some business with the foreign language teacher concerning the annual trips to France and Japan. I had stopped for a moment to get a sip of water from the water fountain, but when I turned around I was surprised to see a tall, handsome young man standing behind me. He couldn’t have been more than a couple months older than me, if that. Even more surprising was, I had never seen him before.
    “May I help you?” I stuttered, trying not to let any water trickle down my chin.
    “Yes. You’re Hailey Malleroy?” he asked steadily. His voice confirmed his age.
    “I am. Have we met?”
    “No”, he said shortly and put his hands in his jeans pockets, smiling shyly. “I admire everything you do for the school”, he confessed, “And outside of school. You deal with Joseph very well”.
    “Joseph – who are you?” I asked, fear lingering in my voice. I considered him a stalker, possibly a murderer? How else would he know about me, my family?
    “Excuse my manners. I’m Will. I mean, my real name is Fitzwilliam Carole, but you call me Will”. I was slightly puzzled by this beautiful boy.
    “Nice to make your acquaintance”, I said, offering my hand politely.
    “The pleasure’s all mine”, he said mysteriously.
    “So, Will, how can I be of your assistance?” I asked.
    “I would actually like to speak to you”.
    “Shoot. I’ve got all the time in the world. Not literally, of course”. He smirked.
    “I mean, I would like to talk to you… privately?”
    “Sure, when would you like to talk?” I asked, forgetting all my shyness and common sense.
    “Can I take you to dinner tonight? You can pick the place”.
    “That sounds lovely”, I responded, forgetting all my previous engagements. Will just blew my mind, my thoughts. I couldn’t figure him out.
    “Right. Shall I pick you up around 5:00?”
    “5:00 sounds good. See you then, Will. Nice talking to you”.
    “Thanks, Hailey”.
    “Oh, here, I’ll give you my address!” I remembered he didn’t know where I lived, or at least he wasn’t supposed to.
    “Oh no, that’s not necessary”.
    “Excuse me?”
    “No worries. See you at 5:00, Hailey. Enjoy your afternoon”, he said, and, was it possible?, he seemed to disappear in front of my eyes. I should’ve worn my contacts today, it wasn’t good for me. But it did seem odd. Humans don’t materialize out of air.