Odessa was having what one would call, a bad “case of the Mondays.” She had hardly gotten any sleep the night before, due to a nightmare that she could barely recall. All she remembered was falling over a cliff, but she couldn’t remember where, why or how. In fact, it’s had been the second night in a row that she had awakened with the lasting image in her mind. Her parents had run into her room to check on her around 1:00 AM on that Monday morning, after hearing her scream. Odessa had been disoriented for a moment, but she soon came to. She assured her parents that she was “fine and was just having a bad dream.” Although they were reluctant to leave her bedside, they eventually went back to their bedroom.

Unfortunately, Odessa had trouble going back to sleep for the rest of the night, until 30 minutes to the time she needed to wake-up to go school when she finally fell asleep again. “’Fifi!! Wake up, Pumpkin, you’re going to be late for school!” her father bellowed, knocking rapidlyr on her door. With a sense of urgency knocked into her, Odessa woke up and began rushing to get ready. Damnit, damnit!!! I don’t want to be late! I was doing so well, last week! she cursed in her mind. When she got cleaned up, put some clothes on, and grabbed her schoolbag, she rushed downstairs.

“Are you sure everything is alright, ‘Dessi?” Evangeline asked, watching her daughter grab a granola bar and her keys.

“Yesfinethanks!Gottago!Loveyou!” she said rushing out the door.

When she managed to get to school she was already 10 minutes late, and unfortunately for her, her reserved parking spot for grade 12 students had been taken by someone riding a motorcycle. “OH WHAT THE HELL IS THIS?!” she angrily yelled in her car. But because she was already running late, she decided to let it go and park somewhere further away, usually reserved for underclassmen. As she was running up to the school she neared her occupied parking space, and decided to make enough time to leave an angry note to her space’s intruder. She scribbled:

To: You, yes YOU, Sir Prick!

Just because you think you’re some sort of bad-ass who rides a chopper, it does NOT give you the right to go stealing MY freaking space! It better not happen again, you little punk!!

From: An angry Odessa McB.

And with that, she folded up the yellow piece of scrap paper and tucked it underneath the bike’s seat. Soon enough, Odessa made it to her first period English class but she was now close to 16 minutes late. More to the point, she was completely dismayed to learn that she’d missed a pop quiz given 10 minutes earlier, and would not be able to make it up.

“I’m sorry but it’s your job to get here on time, Miss McBain. And because you were extremely late by my standards, I am going to have to assign you to an hour of after-school detention. Be here at precisely 2:40pm,” her English teacher, Mr. Campbell, gave notice. Odessa pursed her lips and closed her eyes. “You’ll have to do better than that next time,” added her teacher.

Unfortunately, for Odessa her troubles did not stop there. During her fourth period Advanced Photography class she discovered she had forgotten the photographs she developed over the weekend. “I cannot believe I left my pictures!” she moaned, slapping herself in the forehead. Her photography teacher informed her that she would be penalised 10% of her final mark for the assignment, with additional points lost if for each day she missed submitting it in. Right there and then, Odessa felt like throwing herself into traffic…

It was lunchtime and Odessa was at her locker. A couple of fellow grade 12 girls she’d seen around school walked by, heavily engaged in their conversation.

“Oh my gawd, that new guy is so freaking hot! I wonder if he has lunch this period. I can’t believe I’m even lucky enough to have at least one class with him!!” one of the girls gushed.

“Really? Oh man, you’re soooo lucky!! I heard he rides a motorcycle. I mean can he get any sexier??” said the other girl, as they both turned the corner.

Odessa rolled her eyes. I’ll bet it’s the same jerk that stole my space, too. As she was walking down the stairs to the school cafeteria Skyler caught up with her. “Hey Fee, what’s up?” she greeted.

Odessa sighed. She was not in the mood for cheerful banter. “Hey, Sky,” she replied miserably.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Well, let’s just say it’s been a crap day that’s all,” replied Odessa, and proceeded to tell Skyler a quick version of her morning.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Skyler comforted, hugging on her cousin. “But hey, at least the day is almost over! Oh yea, Kiko had to switch lunch periods because she dropped Human Anatomy to take Health & Nutrition. Unfortunately, that class is within the B schedule, so she has lunch after us.”

“Oh really? That sucks, especially since Derek has B Lunch, too. She won’t be able to escape from him this week, huh?” Odessa lightly chuckled.

In the lunchroom the two girls settled down at their table, along with their other friends: Jacob, a junior with a big crush on Odessa, and Randy and his girlfriend Nicole, both seniors. Odessa got up from her seat to grab a couple of napkins from the condiments tray, which was near the lunch queue.

“Do you want me to come with you?” an eager Jacob offered.

Odessa chuckled. “I’ll be alright Jacob,” she replied.

“Okay, well I’ll just keep your seat warm for you then,” he said and Odessa laughed.

As she was walking she heard faint talk about some new kid who rides a motorcycle from one of the boys in the queue, making her a bit vexed again as grabbed her napkins. Who is this freaking dude, anyway? As she returned to the table, she caught a bit of Nicole saying how a lot of the girls were sweating the new kid in the senior class.

“One things for sure, Gisella sure didn’t waste anytime trying to warm her way up to him,” said Nicole. “But it looked like he was totally grossed out by her. It was hella funny.”

“Go figure! That girl has no shame. I know she tends to ‘occupy her time’ with my brother’s friend, Ace, when he’s in town. I wonder if that little relationship will change then, if she snags the newbie,” Skyler noted. She was referring to her brother Tyler’s friend, Adam ‘Ace’ Chandler III, who was also a freshman at Penn State.

“Hmm… well, I’ve got a couple of classes with the dude, and I think he’s weird. He wears way too much black if you ask me, and what’s with his hair?” said Randy.

“Ohmigosh, Randy! Leave him alone! He just got here and you’re already ripping into him?” chastised Nicole.

“I think I saw him pull into the parking lot this morning when I was walking up to the school… that’s if he rides a motorcycle. Isn’t he friends with Alec?” Jacob asked.

“Friends with who?” said Alec, who was coming to join them.

“Oh we’re talking about the new Senior dude,” Nicole informed him.

“Ah-yea, he’s real cool, quiet and kind of keeps to himself, but still cool.”

"Ohhh, I remember now. You were talking about this dude Friday night." Skyler recalled.

“I dunno,” continued an uncertain Randy. “There’s something about him that seems kind of off. And who transfers into a new school during the second week of their Senior Year, anyway?” he inquired.

Nicole chuckled, “You know what Randy, I think you’re just jealous, because all the girls are sweating him and not you,” she teased.

“Pffft, please. He’s got nothing on me. Anyway, you’d better not be ‘one of those girls’ doing the sweating, or else” Randy teased right back.”

“What’s his name anyway?” Jacob asked.

Alec answered him. “His name is…”

The entire time the conversation was taking place Odessa had not been paying much attention, if at all. She couldn’t stop thinking about the bad day she was having: being late; her parking spot; the missed quiz; detention; her photographs with The Boy in it, the image of her falling in her crazy dream...

Odessa frowned. I wish I knew what all that was about! she thought. Then she suddenly recalled when she was looking over her photographs the night before seeing something bizarre in the third photograph she’d accidentally snapped. The Boy appeared to be looking directly at the camera; his eyes seemed dangerous and wild, accompanied with a bold yet seductive smile. It was a completely different expression in comparison to his previous mood. It was as if he was playing with her. How in the world did I not notice that the first time I looked at the photos? And how did his expression change so quickly? she wondered.

Perhaps it was all a coincidence, perhaps not…

Odessa shivered. “What’s wrong, Ode?” Alec asked.

She gave him a little smile. “Oh nothing, I just can’t wait for this day to be over, that’s all.”

Sure enough, AP Chemistry, the last class of the day finally came and Odessa was beyond relieved. She was even early to class, prompting Kiko to joke around. “O, I’m not used to this! Are you trying to give me a heart attack or something?” she said.

“Hahaha,” Odessa sarcastically replied. “Aw cheer up, Babe. I heard about you being late, missing a pop quiz, and getting detention. Boy, you’ve had a busy morning, huh!” Kiko realised. Odessa gave her a wry look. “Oh, you’ll be alright. What else can happen? It’s the last class, right?” Kiko tried to encourage.

“Keeks, nothing is over until it’s over,” said a wary Odessa.

Five minutes into lessons had started a knock on the door occurred. Ms. Corinthos answered her door. “Yes, may I help you?” she asked the person at hand.

“Uhh…yea. I’m new here, and I’m in your AP class,” said a young man’s voice.

“Oh, right then! Come on in!” Ms Corinthos said excitedly. “Class we have a new student! Can you tell us what your name is? I’ll also add it to my roll call list.”

Odessa had been inside the classroom supply closet at the request of Ms. Corinthos, looking for a large folder of plastic periodic charts for the students’ use. She came out of the small room, just in time to hear the brief introduction. “Ms. Corinthos, I can’t seem to find the…” she trailed off. She stood there shell-shocked, almost failing to believe who she was seeing, of all people. There were even a few gasps from some of the other girls in class, Kiko included. Sure enough, there stood The Boy dressed in all black. His blackened hair kissed his shoulders and partially covered his face. His green eyes, as striking as ever, seemed to lighten when he saw Odessa.

“Holy crap!!” she whispered softly.

Staring at Odessa, he proceeded to introduce himself to everyone. “Hi, my name is Tim Ganddonn,” he said in a deep, but quiet voice, as if he were only speaking to her.

Odessa was also staring back at him, but her panic-mode was rising and kicking into action. She could do nothing else but prepare herself for the inevitable…

“A-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo– ” the whole class turned to looked at her.

“Miss McBain, are you alright, dear?” asked a concerned Ms. Corinthos. The other students were just watching out of fascination and giggling, while a couple of others were saying “Bless you” in between sneezes.

“ – A-choo! a-choo! a-choo! a-choo! A-CHOOOO!!! ” Odessa finished, taking her face away from her arm, and all was quiet save for a few giggles.

And with a sense of déjà vu in the air, The Boy said “Bless you,” breaking the awkward silence, never taking his eyes off of her.

Kiko joked under her breath over to Derek. “Well, I’ll be! Talk about your chemical reaction, huh?”

“Nuh-uh! I’d like to think it’s more a chemical imbalance on Ode’s part,” Derek joked back

Of all the times Odessa had ever wanted to disappear into thin air, for that particular and beyond-mortifying moment, she felt like she could almost sacrifice her soul for such skill.