It was now Friday and the first week of Llanview Senior High School was coming to a close. On the first day before school Kiko had made a small bet that Odessa wouldn’t be able to make it to all of her classes on time, with the loser paying for after-school grub at the Diner Vega. Surprisingly, Odessa proved her wrong all week, although there was a close call before her last period chemistry class on that Friday. Alec had stopped her in the hallway to ask if she knew what and where Skyler’s last class was. Odessa was already running on borrowed time but quickly responded while taking off again. Unfortunately for Alec, he didn’t catch a word of what she’d said. She hustled and bustled, and literally tripped into the classroom just as the bell rang. Kiko, who was at her table with assigned partner Derek Ward, was the first one to burst out laughing, followed by a rupture of laughter from the rest of the class. The chemistry teacher, Mrs. Lily Romolatti, told the class to quiet down. “All right class, that’s enough. Are you alright, Odessa?” Ms. Corinthos asked an embarrassed Odessa, as Kiko helped her off the floor.

Odessa replied, smirking at her best friend. “I will be when I get some food later on.”

“Well do try to be more careful when entering my classroom next time. I do not want to have to call for Derek's mother to come from Llanview hospital to the school, and repair the split heads of my students,” Ms. Romolatti teased.

Later on the two girls went to the Diner, a busy and popular after-school spot. Kiko simply ordered onion rings and a soda, but Odessa, who had anxiously been waiting all week to rub it in to Kiko, ordered the works: a double cheeseburger, large fries, a chocolate milkshake, and a brownie sundae. Carlotta Vega, the Diner’s manager, was taken aback at the order and asked if she was alright. But Kiko took it upon herself to answer. “If by ‘alright’ you actually mean ‘a complete mental cow’ then yes, Ode is alright.”

When their food was ready girls went to grab a table. “Mmmm, I’ve been thinking about this brownie sundae allllllllll day. In fact, I think I’ll want to order another milkshake to add to this wonderful feast,” Odessa taunted.

“Easy now, Ms. Garbage Disposal! You’ve already made me break the bank!!”

Odessa almost choked on her food giggling. “Kiko, I think your trust fund will more than make up for this little spending spree. Trust.”

“I’m still amazed that you were actually on time all week. I’ve got to give to ya, though. You’ve done well there.

“You see Keeks, you don’t have enough faith in your friends,” Odessa joked. “Besides, you’re only in one of my classes. There’s no way you would’ve know if I was tardy anyway.”

“Oh you better believe I have my spies, ‘Dessi. I don’t play games when I place bets! Anyway, have you seen Skyler, since lunch? I told her that we were gonna be here after school.”

“No, but interestingly enough, I did run into Alec just before chemistry class and he was asking me about Skyler’s last period class.”

“Yea, he asking me about some of her classes too,” Derek said, who was coming to join the girls at their table, hearing some of the conversation. “Daaaammnn! Who’s eating all this food?”

Kiko, still thinking about Skyler and Alec, raised her eyebrows with huge interest and ignored Derek’s question. “Really now? I wonder if he found her then and that’s why she’s not here.” At that point Skyler had just walked in to the diner. “Ah, well speaking of the devil, here she is now.”

Skyler joined the girls at their table, and sat next to Kiko. She noticed that most of the food on the table was more within Odessa’s space. “For Chrissakes, Ode! What are you doing with all that food?!?”

“Hey, I’m just trying to enjoy Keek’s money over here. That’s what she gets for placing bets on friends,” Odessa gloated with Kiko rolling her eyes. “Besides, there’s no way I’m going to finish it all. You can have some if you want, she said looking at both Derek and Skyler.”

“No, I’m fine thanks,” Skyler smiled with a faraway look on her eyes.

Noticing her spaced-out state, Derek couldn’t help himself. “Oh hey, Alec! I didn’t see you standing there!”

“Huh? Wh-where?” Skyler said looking around, causing everyone at the table to burst out in laughter.

“Oh ha-ha-ha, you guys. Let me tell you how hilarious you all are,” said a sarcastic Skyler, reaching for some of Odessa’s fries.

”Whatever, I’ve been noticing you two at lunch time all freaking week, and I’ve seen the way you two have been stealing looks at each other. It was becoming beyond pathetic, if ya ask me. Plus, O and Derek here say that Alec was asking about you today.”

Skyler beamed. “Really? What did he say???”

“Uh-uh, nevermind that. You have to tell us if he found you after school. I’ve already made a bet with Derek,” Kiko pointed out.

Skyler shook her head at Kiko and was silent for a moment, but she than sheepishly replied. “Well, he said he’s missed me and wants to know if I’m free later on today so that we can talk. I’m going to meet him by the Angel Square statue before the game.“

“Aww, you two are sooo gonna get back together!” gushed Odessa.

“Hey now, I didn’t say all that, chica!” Skyler exclaimed.

“HA! Yea, right! You know dang well it’s gonna happen! I swear you two remind me of my parents so much; it’s not even funny. Derek, get ready to buy me lunch next week,” said Kiko.

“How are your parents anyway? That’s if you don’t mind me asking,” Odessa asked.

“Well Mom is still over at Great-Aunt Dorian’s but I overheard Dad on the phone, and he was asking Mom if they could meet at The Palace tomorrow evening. I swear it’s ridiculous with those two. They’re all the more inspiration for me not to bother with all that marriage crap,” Kiko replied in a slightly bitter tone.

“Ahh, Keeks don’t say that! Not every marriage is the same you know. Different couples have their own unique relationships and ways of dealing with things,” Odessa tried to comfort.

“Yea, I mean my parents argue allllll the time over stupid things, also. Sometimes the fights are big, but they always manage to work it out in the end,” added Skyler.

“Hmmm, well with the pattern they follow I know my parents will get back together eventually. It’s just a matter of when. Sometimes, I feel like taking off and joining my brother in Texas,” Kiko said sadly. She and her brother, Duke, were close but was handling the Buchanan Enterprise branch in Dallas; Duke, unfortunately wasn’t close with his father, however. “But for the time being, I’m just gonna focus on you Sky,” Kiko continued with a mischievous smile.

Odessa looked out the window to check the weather’s sunny condition. Right you guys, I’m off. I’ve got to snap my photos for my Advanced Photography class, and the lighting is just right outside, “she said as she was quickly gathering her things.

“Can’t you do that this weekend?” Skyler asked.

“I would but the supposedly it’s going to be cloudy all weekend, and I don’t want to take that chance. But I’ll see you all, except for maybe Sky, who’ll probably elope with her man by the end of the day, at the game tonight.”

“But what about all this food?” Kiko asked Odessa.

“Ah, I dunno. Eat it or doggy-bag it for me. Later guys!” and Odessa, and like that she rushed out the diner.

For the past couple of days Odessa had been thinking about hard subject matters for photographs. Her photography teacher allowed each student to choose his or her theme, so long as it was tasteful. Odessa selected her theme to be ‘A Homage to Life’. She’d been snapping several photos for half-an-hour with the camera she’d ordered recently, driving to various places like the park and the pond by the hospital. She knew wanted to use black and white film, but was drawing up blanks for something really good to snap. Why the in the world did I pick a difficult concept? she wondered. She sat on a nearby bench and looked up at the sky and noticed the slightly darkened colour change. “Oh great,” she sighed. Suddenly, she had an idea and quickly gathered her things to go over to the memorial grounds, which was just a quick run on foot from where she was sitting. She didn’t know what she’d find there, but she was desperate for some sort of inspiration, even if it was from a cemetery.

She reached the gates of the grounds and walked around for a bit, until she saw someone – a young man – dressed in dark clothes and long black trench coat, squatting over one of the graves from about 30 feet away. Though his left side was faced towards her he didn’t see her, as he was deeply concentrated on one of the headstones. She didn’t want to disrupt his intimate moment, but she the way he was gazing at the grave…so tortured he looked, and, yet, so beautifully tragic. Odessa couldn’t help herself. This is the shot I’m looking for, she decided. Because his dark-coloured hair partially covered his face she felt like she had to get closer view of him. She stood behind a large tree near her, which would impede the young man’s view of her. She adjusted the speed and zoom of her camera, and snapped a photo of her squatting subject, making she sure she also got the small headstone he was gazing at in the shot. Then the young man stood up and brushed his hair behind his ears, revealing his profile even more. He was looking at the grave long enough for Odessa to adjust her camera again to prepare for another shot. With more zoom added, she noticed something familiar about the boy, and looked through her camera’s lens again. Those eyes, that face… Odessa gasped. It was The Boy from the auto shop! Ironically enough, she’d managed to stop thinking about him only a couple of days ago. Fortunately for her, she managed to steady herself to snap the photo.

Unexpectedly, a bird flew out from the tree she was under, startling Odessa. When she jumped she’d stepped on a small twig. She quickly hid herself completely behind the tree. Oh man, I hope he didn’t see me!! she prayed. She put her camera down and peeked from behind the tree to confirm he’d seen her. She was relieved to see that he was still looking at the headstone. Suddenly, as if finally sensing her presence, The Boy slowly turned his head towards her, his eyes, now cold and empty, fixated on hers. “Oh no!” Odessa whispered to herself, fearing that she’d offended him by spying on him, and that she’s start sneezing again. What if he knew I was taking pictures of him??? I have to apologise to him if I’ve upset him. She started to walk closer towards him. However, his expression seemed to soften slightly, with his original look of seductive torture she’d seen through her camera lens, returning. Odessa abruptly stopped walking; never in her life had she seen such a vision of a young male, especially up close and personal. About 20 feet separated them and there they stood, gazing at each other for a moment longer when her mobile phone went off. Odessa jumped again. She looked at her phone to see who it was. Turning away from his view she answered it. “Hello?” It was Kiko asking her if she wanted to ride with her to the game. Odessa didn’t hear Kiko because of the loud sound of a motorcycle go by on the other side of the thick wall of bushes. “What did you say, Keeks?” she asked. Kiko repeated the question, Odessa gave her consent and they quickly ended the conversation.

When she looked back at where The Boy was she was disappointed to see he’d already gone. Go figure! Why would he stick around? She thought. But I swear this guy is like a ghost or something, the way he just appears and disappears. Man, I wish I knew who he was! She was tempted to look at the headstone he was standing over before, but didn’t want to risk being too nosy, in case he was still around… somewhere. But one thing was for sure; she was really looking forward to developing her pictures now!