“Mom? Have you seen my fishnet sleeves?! I can’t find them!”
    “No, and I wish you wouldn’t wear those to school! They look terrible!” my mom advised me.
    “And I wish I was born into another family!” I grumbled. Oops, too loud, I thought.
    “What?” my mom yelled.
    “I love you!” I shouted back. She chuckled as I ran for the door, and then cleared her throat.
    “You’re going to wear that to school?”She scoffed. I faced her, and then looked down to examine myself. I was wearing my knee length leather boots, a black leather mini skirt, and a black long sleeved shirt with my recently found fishnet sleeves and my backpack.
    “Good point!” I ran back to my room and tore off the “gothic hooker look”. I jumped to my closet and began quickly rifling through my wardrobe. I decided on my AC/DC “Back in Black” T-shirt, a pair of pretty beaten up jeans and my DC shoes. I fished my phone out of my forgotten skirt and called Maddy.
    “I’m gonna walk to school; meet you at the corner?” I asked.
    “I’ll call Vicky and tell her. We’ll meet you and Ryan there in, like five minutes.” She told me.
    “Cool, we’ll see you there” I said, and then she hung up.
    I stuffed my iPod and lunch money into my pocket, grabbed my backpack and dashed for the door.
    “Bye honey! Hey! I need you to--!” My mother began, when I slammed the door.
    I caught up with Ryan. Now, Ryan and I have known each other since preschool. Our first memory was when he stole my Barbie doll and popped her head off. I guess I started to cry, so he gave me his G.I. Joe to make me stop. Apparently it was “the sweetest thing” out mom’s had ever seen, so they started to set up play dates for us.
    “Hey DJ, wus up?” He smiled as he flipped his blonde hair out of his eyes. He wore his favorite Volcom tee shirt, baggy pants and Vans. I smiled and said “Hey” back, then told him that we were meeting Madd and Vick at the corner.
    “Good, I’m gonna need Victoria’s science notes.”
    “We haven’t even started the school year yet!” I told him.
    “And I’m already behind.” He smirked. I laughed and then turned to Maddy and Victoria.
    V tucked her waist length black hair behind her ear. She wore nearly the exact same outfit I was going to, except she had a plaid mini-skirt instead. Maddy had on her ‘Green Day’ American Idiot T-shirt with dark blue jeans. Her hair was dark brown, like mine, but her mom let her tip the edges blue.
    “Do I hear ‘155’?” she asked.
    “Yeah, DJ’s butt’s ringing.” Victoria teased. “But that’s okay, Plus 44 rocks.”
    Ryan pulled my phone from my back pocket.
    “City Morgue!” he answered in a British accent.
    “Ryan, I need to speak with Danielle, will you give her her phone back please?” I heard my mother ask.
    “Of course Mrs. Olenn. Here you go,” he handed me the phone.
    “Danielle, honey? I’m going to need you to babysit Matt tonight; I’ve got a meeting with a client, and I’m going to be home late. Will you make dinner? There’s a pizza in the freezer. Just put it in the oven. How ‘bout it?” she said.
    God, I hate it when she has meetings.
    “Uh, sure.” I agreed half-heartedly.
    “Great! I’ll see you tomorrow morning! I love you!” she hung up.
    “Crap! I gotta babysit tonight!” I exclaimed.
    “Oh! That sucks, we were supposed to go to the park and b***h about how crappy our teachers are this year! Your mom has the worst timing ever!” Maddy griped.
    “Well, how about, I go to my house, grab some movies and we all hang at DJ’s after school? Then we could b***h AND watch some cool movies.” Ryan said.
    “I like it. What movies?” I asked.
    “Umm… how about the—,” he began.
    JUST FRIENDS! I WANNA WATCH JUST FRIENDS!” Maddy yelled. We all stopped walking, staring at her.
    “Uhm, ok; crazy chick, we’ll watch that one.” Victoria said. We started walking again.
    “I don’t have that one" Ryan stated.
    “No worries, I’ve got it.” I promised. Maddy was smiling, happy that she had won. “Yeah, that’s the one.” she told me. “Ryan Reynolds is so hot in that one. Ooh!”
    “Whatever!!" Victoria smiled.
    Ryan scoffed as we walked up to the hellish building a lot of people refer to as ‘school’.
    “Uh-oh, here come the cheerleaders. And look, Remon’s the squad captain.” Maddy whispered in my ear.
    “Hey Ryan! I, like, love what you did to your hair! It really suits you!” Remon Prail squealed as soon as Ryan walked in front of her.
    “Hey, uh… it’s, Rebecca, right?” Ryan asked, faking his uncertainty. I coughed, trying to hide a snicker unsuccessfully. She shot me a look of pure venom.
    “Silly! It’s Remon.” She quipped, regaining her annoying perkiness. “We were in the same history class last year. Don’t you remember?” She bgegan twisting a lock of hair between her fingers.
    “Uhh… I’ve never been very good with names. Sorry.” He lied.
    “That’s okay. I forgive you. But, you really shouldn’t associate yourself with such losers! I mean, you could, like, totally do way better.” She eyed us.
    Then the bell rang before I could get a retort in. So, I settled for glaring at her as she and her cronies pranced away to ‘Preppy 101’. The rest of us ‘losers’ headed off to English class; the only class we all had together.

    Later, at lunch, when I was getting nachos, I saw this girl laughing. Now, normally I don’t notice people all that much, because I’m usually day-dreaming about the next Bones episode I’ll see. But the reason she jumped out at me was because of her sweatshirt. It read: “I HEART ROXAS” on the very front. It made me laugh, which made Maddy turn, which confused Ryan and made him straighten up, because he was talking to her, which caused Victoria to mess up on her homework, ‘cause she was using Ryan’s back as a table. Anyway, when everyone was through being disgruntled, and we got our lunch, I saw Kyle Klaw. He saw me, smiled and waved, then turned back to his friends. Victoria saw and nudged me, and so I just looked at her until we both burst out laughing.
    “What? Why are you laughing? Tell me! I wanna know!” Maddison looked from my face to Victoria’s, indignantly.
    “Nothing, it was nothing. Let’s get to the table before someone else grabs it.” I pulled Maddy into a one-handed hug, but when I released her she was still pouting. “I’ll tell ya later, I promise. Now, c’mon!” She agreed reluctantly.
    Ryan joined us at our table in the courtyard ten minutes later.

    “Danielle Olenn, wake up!” Mrs. Fleet barked. My head shot up. I hate when teachers use my full name. Sure, it may sound pretty, but it’s not.
    “Now, answer number three in your book.” She instructed. I groaned as I flipped to the right page, but before I could answer, the last bell rang.
    “Saved by the bell.” I heard someone behind me mutter as I left the room.
    I was smiling about my good luck, when I heard a soft, “Hey, Danielle! Wait up!” I turned, just as Kyle Klaw caught up with me at my locker. My heart did that fluttery thing in my chest and suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath.
    Okay, I guess I should explain. I’ve liked Kyle since the 7th grade. Our math teacher was assigning seats the beginning of the year, and she sat us next to each other. We got to talking, and I found out that he liked Social Distortion as much as I did. When we came to that profound realization, he gave me this huge smile that absolutely melted my heart.
    “Hi, Kyle, what’s up?” I was aware that my voice had gotten higher pitched than normal.
    “Uh… not much… how was your summer?” he asked. He wants to know how my summer went? How sweet! Oh, wow. I love his eyes… such a dark shade of brown…
    “Uh, yeah, it was good. I spent a lot of time swimming, how ‘bout you?” Damn you, highly pitched voice…and easily distracted brain! I thought to myself.
    “Mine was great. My dad drove me and my sister out to Los Angeles and we basically got to hang out there the whole time! So, um, anyway, the reason I wanted to talk to you was because I wanted to see if, maybe, you and Maddy, and Victoria wanted to go to the movies with me, Liam, James, and Jeremy on Saturday.” He looked at me expectantly.
    Ohmigod. Ohmigod, ohmigod oh, my God! He just asked me out! I think. Did he ask me out? He did just ask me out, right?
    “Uh, yeah, sure! That sounds like fun!” I answered finally.
    “Great! We’ll see you at the Mulitplex on Maine St. tomorrow. How does noon sound? Cool? Okay, bye DJ! Oh! Wait! Could I get your number so I could call you?”
    I gave it to him and he gave me his (I had to write it on my arm). As he walked away, his smile was so big, my heart dissolved into a huge puddle in my chest. I waved good-bye, and then giggled as I met Ryan at the end of the hall.
    “Are you okay? You just giggled. Should we go to the nurse?”
    I just laughed again and hit him in the arm.
    “Ouch,” he massaged his injury. “There’s the Deej I know and love! Hey Mr. C.!” He said as we rounded the corner.
    “Hello, Mr. Steller, Miss Olenn.” Mr. Carlucci was our Biology teacher. He was an older guy, but had a lot of energy. So far this year, he was the nicest to me.
    “Don’t forget tonight’s homework.”
    “We know, fill out the information sheet for you.” Ryan smiled.
    Mr. C nodded, and then walked into his classroom.
    We walked off campus in silence. I was still reeling about my plans on Saturday, when Ryan turned to me.
    “I saw you talking to Kyle. What did he want?”
    His face got all scrunched up around his eyebrows. It’s something I love to see him do, ‘because I think it’s so cute. Well, not cute, like Kyle cute, but still good looking. Anyway, I was kind of surprised that he saw, ‘cause I remember blushing when I was talking to Kyle, and I hate when my friends see me blush. It’s just a weird pet peeve of mine.
    “Uhm, well, actually… he asked if maybe me, Madd, and V. wanted to see a movie on Saturday with him and a few of his friends.” I studied his expression. I may have imagined it looking hurt for a second, but then he smiled a little bit.
    “That’s cool, ‘cause, haven’t you liked him forever?” he threw me a sideways glance.
    Relief spread through me as I replied, “Ha ha, yeah. So, anyway, since you don’t like Just Friends, would you mind helping Matt with his homework? Seeing as how you didn’t flunk out of 5th grade, I was thinking you could guide him through it all. Plus, he likes you more than me.” I hurriedly changed the subject, hoping that Ryan wouldn’t notice. I guess he didn’t, because he got kinda misty eyed, looked off into the distance, and said, “Ah, 5th grade, I remember that. Good times. I think that’s the year before everyone starts to realize that the opposite sex isn’t all that gross and infested with cooties.”
    I laughed as we turned onto my drive, where we saw Victoria and Maddison standing there with another girl. She had collarbone-length brownish blonde hair, while clutching a binder close to her chest. She was wearing black Tripp pants, with a sweatshirt that read “I HEART ROXAS” . I recognized her from the lunch line. That sweatshirt is pretty hard to forget.
    “This is Amber. She’s my Bio lab partner. She’s cool. Accept her.” Maddy glared at us, and then laughed, unable to keep a straight face. Amber giggled too, and then stuck out her hand for me to shake. It was refreshing to see that another girl does that. I thought I was the only one who did that anymore. I shook, and she said, “Is it okay, for me to be here? Maddison told me that we were going to study, but then Victoria told me we were going to watch movies. I hope I’m not intruding.”
    “Nah, that’s cool. Mi casa, Su casa.” I smiled. “So,” I said, “Roxas.”

    I have decided that Amber was officially one of us. She is totally into Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy and a lot of other Manga and Anime.
    We were sitting in the living room watching the end credits of Just Friends, when Ryan walked in and asked me where my Math notebook was.
    “I think it’s the 4th notebook. It’s in my room. Let me get it for you.” I started to get up.
    “No, no no, I got it. You stay here and finish with your girl time. By the way, I heard your mom say something about pizza? I’m not sure.” He smiled as he turned the corner into my room. I got up anyway to help him look for it, because my room is notoriously messy.
    I walked in and Ryan was studying at a poster on my wall. It was of The Ramones.
    I snuck up behind him, and then grabbed his shoulders playfully.
    “Yeesh! Ya scared the hell out of me!” he jumped.
    I snickered, then grabbed my binder off my desk and pulled out my math notebook for him. When I turned around, he was sitting on the floor cross-legged.
    “What’s up?” I asked. He looked troubled.
    “Nothing. I was just thinking.”
    “About…?” I prompted.
    “Well…do you remember Jade?”
    Sure, I remembered Jade. He was Ryan’s best friend next to me.
    “What’s up with him?”
    “He came up to me today, and asked me for advice.”
    “About what?”
    “He likes this girl-’’
    “Which girl?” I asked. I can be so nosy.
    “I’m not going to tell you, so you can just forget it.” He sounded testy.
    “Fine, just tell me what’s going on.” I sat next to him.
    “Well, he likes this girl.” He looked at me expectantly.
    “Okay, I gathered that much. What’s his problem?”
    “Jade really, really likes her, but she likes his one of his friends; well, not really a friend, more of a guy that just happened to go to the same school as him. But the point is that she likes him and Jade likes her, and it’s a very confusing love triangle, and I don’t know why he came to me, and I need your help and I’m hungry.” By that time, he had his face in his hands, and he was mumbling. I pulled his hands away from his face, and looked at him. He sighed, and shook his head. “Never mind, forget I said anything.”
    I just stared at him. “You tell me all this stuff, and then you tell me to forget it? C’mon, I wanna help.” I raised my eyebrows at him. “Unless there’s something you’re not telling me about this little predicament.”
    He quickly denied that. “No, you know everything. Look, I’m gonna go make that pizza, okay. It’s in the freezer?” He got up and left before I could answer.
    I walked out of my room too, and into the kitchen, where I heard everyone talking. I saw my three best friends, and a new friend. I don’t know why, but I can’t help but smile. I pushed my worries about Ryan and his friend to a side corner of my mind, and yelled to them all:
    Victoria threw up her hands, jumped off her chair and engulfed me in a hug, squealing. I laughed as Maddy came to hug me too, while Amber looked at us with confusion written all over her face.
    “Who?” she asked.
    “ME!” I yelled.
    “Well, DUR! I mean a date with whom?” she clarified.
    “Oh, Kyle Klaw. Yeah, we were talking after 8th period, and he asked if we-- meaning V, Maddy and I-wanted to go to the movies with him and some friends! I told him yes, so now, even if you have plans, you have to cancel them, because I’ll really need you guys! Oh! I’ll call him to see if Amber can tag along, ‘because I’ll need her too! I have to find the phone!”
    Amber grinned and turned to Ryan. “You coming?”
    Ryan turned away with a wry smile on his lips and said, “Nah, I wasn’t invited. ‘Sides, I have to meet some guys about some concert tickets.” He turned to us, “You guys go, and have lots of fun, and do whatever it is that people do at the movies.” Ryan should know—he was there almost every other weekend hanging out with Jade and some other friends of his, seeing the latest Sci-Fi flick, even though he’ll never admit it. Amber looked back at us, then said,
    “What friends are going to be there?”
    “Uhm, Liam, James, Jeremy and Kyle.” I ticked them off on my fingers. She said, “Well, Liam’s kinda cute, so, maybe I’ll tag along.”
    “Right on! I’m sure he’ll be pleased. But-hmm…” Victoria trailed off. “We’ll need to raid your closet. You can’t go wearing that. No offense, but if you really want to catch Liam’s eye, you’ll need to be wearing something—form-fitting. Know what I mean?”
    “Okay,” she agreed. “What do you suggest?”
    I rolled my eyes as Victoria began describing the outfit she thought that Amber would look best in. I left them to that and walked out of the room. Maddy followed.
    “What’s up? Are you okay?” she asked as we sat at the dining room table.
    Maddy has the power of empathy, I swear. She can pick up on my emotions so quick. I decided to spill my guts to my best friend.
    “When I walked into my room earlier to get Ryan my notebook, he asked me for advice about how one of his friends who likes this girl, but she likes someone else, and that someone else is a kind of friend of Ryan’s friend, but not really. I just didn’t know how to help, and I wanted to, ‘cause he looked so dejected. ”
    She nodded. “Well, maybe you should talk to Ryan’s friend.”
    “What will that accomplish?” I sighed, and then looked away.
    “Good point.”
    “Excuse me?” I asked.
    “You’re right.”
    “Whoa, this is a first. You admitted that someone else was right—not just you.”
    “Shut up.” Madd looked away, thinking. She began to tap her foot to a rhythm unknown to me. When she’s really thinking hard, she begins to beat out a tune that’s stuck in her head.
    “What song?” I asked.
    “Easy Target.” She absently told me.
    I smiled then reached behind her to the stereo. Soon, the sounds of Blink-182’s Easy Target began to pulse through the speakers. She grinned, then sang along with Mark.
    “Holly’s looking dry, looking for an easy target. Let her slit my throat, give her ammo and she’ll use it!”
    I joined in with her. “Caution on the road, lies, lies and hidden danger! Southern California’s breeding Mommy’s Little Monster!”
    When the song finished, we collapsed from laughing so hard. After wiping the mirth from our eyes, and when Maddy regained her breath, she thoughtfully tapped her chin, “I wonder what I’ll wear to our date on Saturday?” She gave me a look, that I knew meant she was planning something.
    My eyes widened when I realized what. “Oh, no,” I said. “No, no no no no!”
    “Please? Please, please, please, please, please?! “C’mon, it’ll be fun! You know that Vic would want to. Besides, she’d have so much fun picking out our outfits. And! And, I’m the most talented make-up artist there ever was!”
    That last bit was true. She’s so good; my mother even comes to her for make-up advice.

    I caved. “Okay, but don’t go overboard! You remember what happened last time?”
    She smiled guiltily. “Yeah, I remember.”