HopefulI look at myself in the mirror, scrutinizing my appearance. I'm wearing a pale pink tank-top with a red cardigan, cutoff jean shorts, and hot pink flats. My brown hair cascades down my shoulders in loose waves, with a golden hair clip at the top. I have on blush, bright red lip gloss, and sparkly eyeshadow with mascara. All perfect. Hopefully.
I grab my iPhone 6, the newest version, and step into the small kitchen-slash-dining room. Kylie and Maddie are giggling over something at the table, and I roll my eyes. Mom hands me my silver messenger bag and blows me a kiss, which I return before opening the front door and leaving the apartment. I walk down the hallway and step into the elevator, quickly pressing the button for the ground floor. When it arrives, I flash a smile at the cute guy working at the front desk, and head outside.
The frigid air hits me hard, but I'm used to it by now. I jog down the street until I get to Jaime's Coffee, which has the best latte in the city. I order the usual - medium latte, with a swirl of caramel - and use the steaming hot cup to warm my hands as I leave the shop and walk to the bus stop. Right on time, it arrives, and I step on.
By the time I get to school, I've finished my latte. I drop the empty cup into the bin near the front of the bus, step off, and take a deep breath. Now the hard part begins. My eyes dart around, searching for possible new kids. Nope, none - just the same old girls and boys who gather on the steps each morning to take selfies. I shake my head. Amateurs. It makes them look desperate. I always take my selfie after school, in a spot where the background is actually nice.
Walking into the building, everything seems normal - but then I spot someone I've never seen before. His back is to me, but his hairstyle and backpack are like no others in the school. I run my fingers through my hair, take a deep breath, and pretend to check my phone while I wait for him to finish talking to the office. Every few minutes, I glance up to check, until finally, he's done. He turns around and-
But I'm not the only one. He kneels down, too, giving me a friendly smile. He even has dimples - how perfect can he get?
"Here, let me help you with that," he says, reaching down to pick up my notebook. As he slips it into my bag, he talks some more. "My name's Derry. Who are you?"
I swallow. Even with all my preparation, I freeze up - apparently when true love actually confronts you, it's much different than reality. "I'm Jessie," I say, my voice cracking. I swallow. "Jessie Littlefield."
Still smiling, Derry picks up the last of my stuff and hands my bag to me. "That's a pretty name."
I give him an apologetic grin. "Thanks, so is yours." Mentally cursing myself for my awkward reply, I scramble to keep the conversation going. "Um, and thanks for, you know, helping me pick up my stuff."
"Ah, no problem," he replies, winking. Before I can answer, the bell rings, and he stands up. "It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Littlefield."
"A pleasure meeting you, too." I whisper as he walks away.