Chapter 1 : Chapter One
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Some people try their entire lives to fit in, but every once in a while, a girl comes along whom is just dying to stand out. And in a world where everything is black and white and everyone wants to think the same, standing out is quite often the hardest thing to do.
But then, in an even more unique phenomenon, multiple girls whose only wish is to stand out, find each other, and in a moment as rare as that friendship is born.
In the Cowboy Capital of the World, otherwise known as Bandera, Texas, the most exciting thing that happens is the stock show in January. After that the year is spent preparing for the next year’s stock show with rodeos every other Saturday at the town dude ranch. With a population of just under one thousand, Bandera is the epitome of a tiny western town.
As in any small town, the kids had known each other since the very first day they stepped foot on the elementary school’s grounds. The girls run track and cross country, while the boys play football and basketball. A select few girls become the varsity cheerleaders, the Golden girls, and select few boys become the varsity football players, the Golden boys. Everyone else falls into place below them, and that’s the high school cycle.
On Fridays in the fall and winter the entire town crams itself into the only football field for fifty miles, to watch the varsity boys play, the cheerleaders jump up and down in skimpy uniforms that showcase glinting bellybutton rings, and to watch the band, more commonly known as, The Marching 100 perform at halftime.
So on this Friday, September 1, 1994, three teenage girls sat front row, flutes in lap, with bored looks upon their faces. Picking at the nonexistent dirt underneath her fingernails in the first chair was Alexis Garner. Her deep brown eyes glazed over as she stared down at her fingernails, and her brow furrowed as she recalled the argument she and Melissa had gotten into just before class. It had been rather pointless really, Melissa just dictating the lives of everyone else again; nothing unusual. Bitter resentment poured through each of Alexis’ thoughts without an end until a stout, short man interrupted them.
“Alexis!” he snapped. His face was frustrated as Alexis looked at him, her eyebrows pulled together and a questioning look on her face.
“Yes, Mr. Fluke?”
“Is there a reason that you’ve decided you don’t feel like playing with the rest of the band?”
“Not particularly,” she stated coolly, her trademark, defiant smirk creeping onto her face.
“Then maybe you’d like to play for the band, all by your little lonesome?” Fluke’s sarcastic tone irked her, but instead of replying, she picked up her flute and played the entire piece of music flawlessly; as she finished she looked up to Mr. Fluke, who was fuming with repressed anger at her perfect playing of the piece.
A small laugh sounded from Alexis’ right, where Melissa Murray and Caitlin Love sat. Fluke’s eyes flew to their chairs, and he looked upon them with angry eyes.
“Something funny, ladies?” he snapped. Caitlin’s face turned angelic as she looked at him through huge ocean blue eyes.
“No, Mr. Fluke. There is nothing remotely funny about this situation,” she replied, each of the words delicately laced with a sarcasm that Fluke did not seem to notice.
“Put your instruments away,” he growled, storming off to his office, where a couple loud crashes were heard a few moments later. The three flute players were grinning uncontrollably as they stood up.
The rest of the band looked at them; most of them wore devious smiles, though some were disapproving.
“You heard him. ‘Put your instruments away’,” Melissa mimicked, grabbing her case and walking over to her instrument locker. The sounds of instruments being grabbed and disassembled began to take over as she and the others talked about their plans for the weekend.
“That was brilliant, Caitlin,” Alexis praised her from the bottom most locker.
“Every day,” Melissa added, laughing as she leaned against the bars, waiting for Alexis and Caitlin to finish.
“You’d think, after last year, he’d be smart enough to not let us into band,” Caitlin smiled, standing next to Melissa.
“Yes, well he couldn’t afford to lose the best flutist in all of Texas, could he?” Alexis grinned up at Melissa, her earlier annoyance with Melissa forgotten.
“I’m not the best,” Melissa grinned sheepishly as her hair fell in front of her face, covering it.
“Melissa, you got first chair All State last year,” Caitlin pointed out with an eye roll.
“Alexis is first chair in band this year!” Melissa argued as the bell rang, and the three girls began walking to their next class.
“That’s because you were caught skipping the day we had auditions to make out with a certain somebody in the auditorium,” Alexis teased, a mischievous grin upon her face.
“And you still got a higher chair than me!” Caitlin pouted as she plopped into her seat in English.
The three girls laughed carelessly as the bell rang once more, signaling the beginning of class. Mrs. Hoover walked into the classroom, her short brown hair flopping around wildly on top of her head. Her personality was just as wild and misplaced as her hair was.
“Now, class, due to a schedule change we now have a student aide. He’s a Junior this year, and I expect that most of you know him from the basketball team. Mr. Derek Willis,” she announced as Derek strode through the door. A few girls sighed, staring at his six-foot-three-inch tall frame, blue eyes, and curly blonde hair.
“Right on time,” Melissa smirked as she looked with her head tilted to her boyfriend.
“You knew?” Derek asked as he sat down on the spiny chair right in front of Melissa’s desk.
“Of course I did,” she smirked playfully.
“How on earth did you figure that out?” he asked, smiling at his brilliant girlfriend.
“You forget, honey, I have connections everywhere,” Melissa grinned, flicking her red locks back over her shoulders as she leant forward to look more closely at his preciously perfect face.
“That, and Caitlin happened to be walking by the counselor’s office yesterday when you were getting your schedule changed,” Alexis grinned from beside Melissa.
“Alexis!” Melissa complained as they laughed. “I had him going there!”
Derek’s laughter ceased slowly.
“You know you’re exceptionally adorable when you pout,” he smiled as he gracefully stood and sat next to her. “Melissa, I’d go anywhere for you,” he whispered into her ear as he wrapped his arms around her.
Melissa sighed contentedly as she leaned into Derek’s chest, pointedly ignoring the few angry scoffs that echoed from around the room. As sad as it was, Melissa was used to it. People were envious of the fact that she wasn’t the prettiest, skinniest girl, yet she still had the best athlete in the school as her boyfriend. Childish and as ridiculous as it sounded, it was true.
To be quite honest, Melissa often wondered how she had managed to catch Derek. He was her perfect match in so many ways. Like, he wasn’t afraid to just be completely retarded in public. Once, the two of them decided to go to a local Wal*Mart, just because they were bored, and Derek read her little kids stories for hours. He was also a complete romantic.
“I really want to do something,” he admitted, tapping The Little Engine That Could on his lips, looking thoughtfully at Melissa, who watched him appraisingly for a moment.
“You can do it,” she encouraged, taking a step closer to him, smiling as she thought of the allusion to the children’s story. He bit his lip softly, then closed the gap between them and pressed his lips softly to hers. Sparks flew right there in the middle of the kiddy section at Wal*Mart.
There was nothing better than that.
Alexis’ life wasn’t nearly as easy as it looked from the outside. Yes, her father was unbelievably, filthy rich. Yes, she had almost everything she could want material-wise, but she was missing one key element in her life…Love.
And as corny and unbelievably selfish that sounded, it was the one thing she always wanted.
Alexis stared down at the blank page in front of her and began doodling absentmindedly. Her wrists began to show, and she pulled her hoodie farther down over her wrists. They were turning a brilliant purple color after last night’s incidents.
Yesterday had seemed to end so well, until Bradley Walters dropped her off in front of her house, and she noticed a sleek, black Mercedes sitting in the driveway. She bit her bottom lip and rolled her eyes.
“Looks like my favorite person in the world is visiting tonight,” she muttered to Bradley, who was currently leaning in for another kiss.
“Meredith?” he asked, pausing to watch her reaction. She nodded slightly before closing the gap between herself and Bradley. He wasn’t boyfriend material for her, and she wasn’t girlfriend material for him; but on those days when they were both bored, and single, they would meet up, and have quite the fun time in the back of his car.
Bradley was a sweet guy, a Senior and Co-Captain of the Varsity football team. He had actually become one of the people who knew her best, but he was never the type to settle down, and neither was she.
“Want me to come in with you?”
“No, I’ll be fine,” her chin jutted upwards, indignant of him thinking that she of all people would need a protector.
Alexis stepped out of the car, blowing Bradley a kiss as he reversed out of the long driveway. The large granite door scraped the floor loudly as she entered the foyer, crossing her fingers that she could escape up the stairs before Meredith or her father, Henry, could spot her.
“It’s about time,” a soft voice snarled from behind her, causing Alexis to jump.
“What’d you mean, Meredith?” Alexis snapped, hanging up her jacket.
“Who was that boy you were kissing?” Meredith neatly changed the subject.
“Spying on me again, Mer? Sorry you don’t have a love life of your own.”
“Listen here, brat. Do you really want to hear about the crazy monkey like se-”
“No. I really don’t,” Alexis cut her off. As she turned to walk up the stairs, two inch long, red nails gripped her tightly about the wrist, piercing her skin painfully.
“Let. Go. Of. Me.”
Alexis punctuated each word with a vicious glare.
“Make me,” her step mother snarled quietly. A loud crack resounded around the room, and Meredith cried out stepping backwards.
“Touch me like that again, and I’ll cut your damn hands off,” Alexis growled, turning up the stairs and slamming her bedroom door.
Life isn’t always fair, I suppose, she thought sullenly.
Caitlin hated lunch and fifth period. The two worst periods of her day, every day. Melissa went to her advanced theatre class, and Alexis went to her dance class, leaving Caitlin entirely alone during first lunch, and her athletic class.
It only increased her spirits slightly to know that Alexis and Melissa had different lunches as well; Caitlin wasn’t the only one suffering. Caitlin stood in the line, her brand new purse hanging tauntingly on her shoulder. It was her pride and joy, her baby, an original, sleek, black Tommy Hilfiger bag.
Clothes and accessories were Caitlin’s forte. She could match an outfit together in seconds and looked good in basically anything. It was something that was highly admired by most girls at the school, and highly envied by all.
“Number?” Caitlin dully registered an annoyed sounding voice. “Hello! Miss Love? Your ID number?”
“Oh!” she finally realized that she was standing at the front of the line, and everyone was waiting on her to order. “Um, a water and a kit-kat, please. 18776.”
One of the gray haired lunch ladies handed Caitlin her lunch, and then began to help another student.
“Hey, Cait. Wanna meet up behind the band hall later?” a boy called out as she walked past.
“Not even in your dreams, O’Connor,” Caitlin replied, not turning around to acknowledge his comment. She continued making her way to the Athletic Hallway to change into her work out clothes.
She couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief as she sat down in front of her locker and took a sip of water. This was Caitlin’s safe place, this was where Caitlin could be independent. Running wasn’t exactly a team sport, not in most cases anyways.
“Ready to break your record today, Cait?” Taylor Green’s voice asked from beside her.
“Most definitely,” she replied, turning her big blue eyes in Taylor’s direction. Taylor and Caitlin were the top two runners in the school, and because of that they had formed a strong, uncomplicated friendship.
“You wanna partner for cool down after we finish?” Taylor offered.
“Sure,” Caitlin grinned as she bent down to tie her shoe laces. “I’ll meet you out there, okay?”
“Sure.” Taylor turned to leave, pausing in the doorway. “Caitlin?”
“O’Connor is a jack ass; don’t let him get to you.”
Taylor’s eyebrows pulled together concernedly. At first Caitlin was speechless. Could she possibly know? No…Taylor must have just heard the comments in the cafeteria.
“Oh…Yeah, I know…Thanks, Taylor,” Caitlin mumbled, looking up to smile slightly at her friend.
“No problem, dear.”
Author's Note: Hello everyone, I hope you enjoy the edited version of this chapter; I had my wonderful, amazing, talented beta PhoenixFlames (Drue!) look over and correct it; so you shouldn't have to suffer through my horrible grammer anymore! (:
If you could please leave a review, I would truly appreciate it. And I will return the favor!