Blood Feud


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Laura and Lauren Daniels may seem like two ordinary identical twins. They have the same dark brown hair and the same warm brown eyes… But they’re hiding a family secret: they're werewolves.

The twins and their parents hunt only animals in the forest in their backyard, keeping watch over their town. Other than that, Laura and Lauren are just two regular teenage girls in high school with a crazy group of "anti-normal" friends and boy crushes—just like every other teenager their age.

Laura crushes hard on the new student, Matt Jenkins, who instantly becomes friends with her on his first day. He's cute enough, but she’s not big into boys like her younger twin is.

But when their town is threatened by a group of vampires hell-bent on revenge from some bad feud over blood that occurred many years ago with Mr. and Mrs. Daniels and their grandparents—and pretty soon the Daniels’find themselves in trouble; they need help. They end up getting it from two groups of unlikely allies... two groups of people whom the twins never suspected were Werewolves as well…

After all, they had known these people for the past few years!

Can the Werewolves defeat this bloodthirsty clan and their revenge-driven leader? Or will they lose everything—friendship, love, and family included??




This story involves werewolves, witches, vampires and the like, but mostly vampires & werewolves, and it will also include romance and action in it!


BTW: This is a simple, sweet Love Story—strictly PG! But overall, this story is rated PG-13 because there’s going to be violence, fighting, SOME gruesome imagery, and dark, emotional content in here. Blood will definitely be involved, just in case the title didn’t give it away :P

I really hope you enjoy this story! I know I’m not a great writer; I wrote the first part of this story down when I was in middle school, so the story line or sentence structure may not be up to par… I apologize in advance! So on that note, I gladly welcome any of your advice and ideas on how to improve my writing! Please point out mistakes, since I’m sure there will be a lot of them. It would help me a lot, so please and thank you!!!

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Chapter 1

It was the first day back to Olde Saint Louis High School from winter break, so there was still a thin layer of snow on the ground on that brisk Monday morning as I pulled into the parking lot with the other student cars. My identical twin sister, Lauren, was riding shotgun in my trusty Toyota Camry. I parked and shut off the car in our usual spot in the corner of the lot, getting out to get our bags from the back seats.

“Gosh, I’ve really missed school.” Lauren, my twin, sighed once she shut the door of her side, hefting the strap of her school bag over her shoulder. “Cassie and Jess said they’ve got a bunch of pictures from their winter trip they want to show me.”

“Oh really? I was sort of hoping they’d fallen into the Grand Canyon or something. Rylan would have totally celebrated.” I joked.

Lauren rolled her eyes and ignored my crude comment, much like she always did. Tolerating each other was sort of an art form, since it came with the territory.

I wouldn’t say she and I were exactly identical, but someone who hadn’t grown up with us our whole lives wouldn’t have been able to tell us apart. Whereas Lauren was skinny and an inch shorter than me, I was more athletically built than she was. Plus, our brown hair was styled a certain way, mine being more boring than hers because Lauren’s was cut into layers in order to add volume. At least, that’s what she told me. We were inseparable as we always were, and our steps in synch as we made our way towards the school.

We were almost to the front doors when I suddenly remembered something. “Crap, I forgot my book for English! You go ahead, I’ll see you in class.” Without a second thought I quickly raced back to my car; I really didn’t want to be late for my first class—I’ve never been late once and I wasn’t planning to start now.

I quickly found what I was looking for and locked the car back up, turning right around and started speed-walking back towards the school’s front doors again. My thoughts were a rattled mess in my head, and I wasn’t truly paying attention to my surroundings. So, safe to say my brain didn’t completely register the revving of a vehicle until it was a little too late.

I didn’t get very far distance-wise before I was almost being run over by a black and silver motorcycle that seemed to appear out of nowhere directly in front of me. I abruptly stopped and almost seriously lost it in my Levi jeans as the bike careened dangerously around me, narrowly missing me by a few precious inches, to park in the available parking spot—one in which I happened to be standing in at that point in time.

It all was over in a matter of five seconds, leaving me frozen in my tracks out of pure shock and terror as my heart was beating out a crazy rhythm so fast, it felt similar to having a heart attack. I could have been injured—or worse!—by an unobservant driver. Who in the hell did he think he was?

My mouth was opened, ready to tell this irresponsible idiot off for endangering and almost ending my life, when the guy took off his black helmet; I was rendered absolutely speechless, my mouth left hanging open in a ridiculous position as I stared openly at the boy in the black motorcycle jacket.

Well, crud. I almost yelled at a hot guy! And my god, was he drool-worthy… Now, I normally wasn’t ever overly-attracted to a guy before—even a celebrity, that was Lauren’s forte. So for the first time ever, I was left gaping like a starstruck fangirl at this handsome guy I had never seen before, who had almost ran me over with his motorcycle only a few moments ago. What was wrong with me?

 I was so distracted that I didn’t notice he had been talking to me until I saw his lips form into a smirk.

“You didn’t hear me, did you?” This situation seemed to amuse him greatly, and I couldn’t fathom as to why.

“What?” Coming back to life, I was able to focus my attention on the matter at hand, but my face flushed in embarrassment anyway at being caught staring; I never ever did that. Inwardly, I chided myself for acting like a complete fool while the guy on the bike continued to grin at me.

“I was apologizing for almost running into you. I honestly didn’t see you until the last minute, I swear. I feel terrible…I’m so sorry I scared you. Are you okay?” Those dark eyes of his swept over me in examination.

Something snapped within me as I remembered what I had been about to do earlier, before he had caught me off guard. “You idiot! What’s wrong with you? You could have seriously hurt someone! Do you want something like that on your record? You shouldn’t have been speeding through a freaking school parking lot. You need to watch where you’re going next time. Nobody’s invincible, buddy, so quit acting like you are.” I told him, indignantly. I was unbelievably angry and shaken up over my sudden near-death experience, who’d blame me? 

The biker boy’s expression switched from amused to serious at my tone, but I noticed a slightest twitch of his lips, as if he was fighting to hold back a smile. Hopefully he realized the seriousness of the situation. “Okay, look. I admit, I was being reckless and I sincerely apologize.”

Crossing my arms, I examined his face trying to find any slight indication that he was mocking me, but I didn’t find a thing. Despite the slight brashness to his tone, his face otherwise was a calm, stoic mask, as if he’d had many years to practice it. Even though he looked one hundred percent serious, that didn’t mean anything; I still didn’t trust this stranger. He must be new because I’d never seen him before in my life, but it felt like I knew him somehow. Was I going crazy? It would explain my initial star-struck reaction to him. That’s never happened to me about a boy before.

Maybe I was being a little too harsh and coming across as some naive, spoiled rich girl, but I was just put in danger for crying out loud! “You’d better be. Watch where you’re going next time, alright?” Then I kept walking because I didn’t want to keep yelling at him, that’s how angry I was. Yelling at him more was a lost cause, that much I knew. I didn’t want to be late either.

I walked straight to my locker once I entered the school building, which was down the senior hallway located in the large main hallway of the school. I only had a minute left before first period started, so I hurriedly grabbed all the things I’d need for my first class, still fuming over my closely fatal encounter with the hot stranger on a motorcycle. I didn’t want to think about him at all, because doing so would only make me more angry and I really didn’t want that right now.

I raced toward my classroom, trying to weave through the packed halls of Old Saint Louis High. Being a senior, I was extremely glad to be halfway done with my Senior Year; no more petty mean girls, immature spitball fights, or crappy high school lunches for me, because in a few long-months time, my friends and I were going to be somewhat-mature young adults, and we couldn’t wait.

I barely made it to Literature in time before the bell rang. I was very thankful that I was so athletic—I have soccer and cross-country to thank for that.

I shared my English class with my twin, so I sat in the desk next to her, plopping myself unceremoniously in my seat with a huff.

“It took you that long to find a stupid book?” My identical twin gave me an incredulous look, but when she took in my flustered appearance, her expression turned alarmed. “What’s got your panties all in a wad, girl? Is Steph up to her bitchy ways again?”

Instead of going through that whole ordeal again, I decided against telling her—at least not yet. “No. It’s nothing I really want to get into right now. Ask me later when I’m more calm, kay?”

Lauren looked like she wanted to keep grilling me until I spilled everything, but thankfully she let the subject drop, which was just as well because the teacher started started the lesson, passing out the syllabus to discuss our last semester of high school.




My classes were extremely slow as usual. With it being second semester, the teachers lectured us in every class. No matter how hard I tried to listen to them as attentively as I could, I found it harder to focus on what was discussed, losing interest pretty quickly; I’ve heard it all a million times before, and since I was a straight-A student, I figure I could get by with slaking off this once.

It wasn’t after my third hour when I started hearing of the rumors that had been flying around the school all morning. I wasn’t sure what it was exactly, but I probably could guess just who it was about. When I came across one of my friends in the halls, I stopped her and asked about it. If there was anybody who would know what was going on in school, it was Cassandra Davison.

“Hey Cassie, what’s everyone whispering about lately?” I asked curiously, wanting to find out what was going on. “Everyone’s been whispering all morning and I have no clue what it’s about.”

Cassie’s gorgeous green eyes grow wide with excitement. “You haven’t heard? We have a new boy in our grade, and I hear he’s super cute and hot, and all the girls are already crushing on him, even if they haven’t seen him yet!” She gushed dramatically. She’s always been a major girly-girl, so it’s safe to say her and Lauren got along real well.

So my hunch was right. “Really?” I should have known… I knew I wasn’t ever going to stop hearing about it until graduation.

“Yeah, I know, right? I haven’t seen him yet, but they can’t be too far off in their accuracy.” Cassie’s lips were stretched so wide in a goofy grin, it was very possible it could become a permanent fixture on her face. Glancing abruptly down at her expensive wrist watch, she chirps a goodbye. “Well, I’ve gotta go. I’ll see you at lunch, girly!” Cass patted me affectionately on the shoulder before she walked away to her next class, and I eventually did the same, shaking off all thoughts of the new kid. I needed to focus and hurry if I wanted to avoid the risk of receiving a tardy slip on my first day back. The world had to be against me.

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Chapter 2


I tried to forget all about the mysterious guy on the bike as I practically sprinted to my Sports Fitness class. Mr. Bussle, the gym teacher and the school’s wrestling couch, is a huge stickler for tardies and didn’t tolerate late students—even if they were straight-A students. Being the school’s wrestling coach, Mr. Bussle was a burly sort of man who was heavily built, with muscled shoulders and arms in contrast to his balding, sparse dark grey hair.

I raced into the girls locker room to hurry and change into my workout clothes with lightning speed. The other girls in my class were already there, primping and gossiping about cute boys and all that nonsense. Most of the gossip in my school was always about who kissed who, who cheated on who with whom, so on and so forth… It was absolutely ridiculous!

I grew to loath high school over the years I’ve been here; it was filled with petty males and females trying to be something they weren’t. If it wasn’t for my friends and my twin sister, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. Everyone in this town drove me crazy to no end that I couldn’t wait to get out of here after I graduated.


Only one more semester, Laura, then you can kiss these foolish hooligans goodbye forever…


The coach would usually give us roughly less than five minutes to get ready after the class bell rings before we have to be out on the gym floor for roll call. If we weren’t ready by then, Mr. Bussle made us all run 100 laps around the basketball court.

At the beginning of the hour every day, Coach would give us specific warm ups we had to do. Sometimes it included running fifteen laps around the basketball court, twenty push-ups, and fifty sit ups—today was no different. After our warm ups, Coach ushered us all towards the weight room stationed right next to the gymnasium so that we could work on strengthening our arms.

As I walked to the weight room with my gym class, the girls started whispering excitedly and giggling with each other. I was already so fed up with it. Even though we were high schoolers, everybody at this school still acted like they were back in middle school—pining after the all the boys they labeled "hot." I rolled my eyes at the very thought.

It was around that same time when my gaze landed on the new edition to the class—one whom I hadn’t noticed before. Until now.

Oh great…

He was standing off to the side, isolated from the rest of the group, his unusual demeanor automatically setting him apart from everyone else. Once I finally noticed him, realizing that he was the reason behind all the whispering and giggling from the girls, my brain came to the ultimate conclusion that Cassie had been spot on.

As usual.

The new guy, whom I had originally met out in the parking lot—where he had practically run me over—was most definitely tall and handsome, I’ll give him that. His short, dark brown hair was more styled now than before, the dark shade of blue that was his eyes still made my heart rate speed up—more than it already was. There seemed to be something about him that really drew my eyes to his figure, catching my attention; seriously, I had never felt this way for any guy before, so this was all new to me—not to mention weird.

The new guy was currently sporting purple K-State tee and silver basketball pants—all showing off his athletic physique. His athletically-built body was long and lithe, holding himself with a sort of self-conscious reassurance, and I think that was what drew the girls’ attention on him; the ones that were currently ogling him weren’t bothering to hide the appreciative looks they were giving him, much to my utter annoyance.

'Poor guy' was the unusual thought that goes through my head; it was uncharacteristic of me to feel as sympathetic as I did towards the strange new guy. If I received such attention, it would only get on my nerves. If everyone was watching your every move, scrutinizing and judging you, how could someone possibly live their life in peace? That’s why I preferred the quiet, invisible, simple life with no complications. I did have a secret to protect, if I wasn’t mistaken…

Entering the weight room, the class stood around the room in groups to wait for further instructions from the teacher; either sitting on the benches or standing. Some of my classmates hung out in closely knotted groups to chat excitedly to one another as they kept shooting sideways glances at the handsome new kid. Others—mostly the girls—all gathered around him, pestering him with questions and looking very eager to hear what he had to say. With my special hearing, I listened in to their conversation from where I stood off to the side, hearing every word as clearly as if I were right next to them, a part of their conversation.

“So, you’re Matthew Jenkins, right? How long have you been here? I heard you moved here from Oregon, right?” Stephanie Jordan giggled, doing her usual ridiculous hair—flip thing. Miss Popular Stephanie was just like every snobby, inconsiderate popular girl in every teen fiction novel I had ever read—she was also my arch—nemesis, so to speak. We’ve despised each other ever since we were young, always in constant competition with one another-at least, that's what Stephanie thinks. I, for one, could care less.

“Yeah, I moved here about a week ago with with my cousins at their house.” Matthew answered, finally speaking. His deep voice sounded pretty confident and not even the least bit nervous for a new kid; just like he’d been with me out in the parking lot. Despite his deep voice, it was also soft, if that made any sense…

“Oh yeah, you’re the Crowley’s cousin from up north!” Nicole exclaimed beside Stephanie. She’s one of Stephanie's faithful followers; Nicole Emerson was just a dumb, preppy wanna-be blonde, as well as Stephanie's closest and ditzy sidekick.

“Basically,” Matthew’s tone came out calmly and coolly. I noticed his voice drop lower in pitch—more so than it already was—whenever he was amused by something; the kind of voice that belonged to a sexy bad boy almost. Weirdly put, I know—it was the only way I could describe it. For reasons unknown, the very idea disgusted me so much that I felt like gagging, but Stephanie’s blatant infatuation with the unsuspecting new kid—and with every single eligible male in this entire school—just made me want to purge my body of my intestines right there on the sweaty weight room floor.

Everyone, including the whole town, knew the famous Crowley boys very well. They were the very definition of the word trouble-infamous for their trickery, sarcastic and up-to-no-good attitudes. They all lived together with their uncle in a house not too far down the road from where I lived. I’ve spoken to their parents before, but only when we managed to pass by them at the grocery store with my mom or something. I’ve also had a few strange and relatively awkward encounters with the troublesome Crowley boys, ones I wasn’t too keen on experiencing ever again. Besides that, I hardly know anything about them—except that they were annoying.

But I did know for a fact was that Lauren has had this huge, long-time crush on the nicest and shyest Crowley boy, Justin. I would teased her about it from time to time, mainly because she was too shy to act on her infatuation, which made it even more fun.

Stephanie’s obnoxious voice broke me out of my reverie and back to the unbearable present as she began to introduce herself and her snooty rich friends. “It’s so great to finally meet you! I’m Stephanie Jordan. these are my friends Nicole and Crystal.” Stephanie said with her signature "panty-dropping" smile she normally gave to the “hot” boys she was trying to seduce and flirt with. It showed off her horribly white teeth—which resembled vicious canines if you ask me. My stomach churned in disgust at the sight and I started seriously considering puking onto the floor for the third time.

I knew that trick all too well, for I’d seen it many times before, first-hand; Stephanie was trying to charm him, to ensnare the unsuspecting new kid into her glittering trap and use him to her own selfish advantage. She did it to every male at school—and because of that, she didn’t have any real friends, not really. The dim-wit was basically the school slut; notorious in having new boyfriends every week, then tossing them to the side like trash whenever she got bored. She was a criminal with a horribly fashionable taste in sabotage and spite.

“Since we’re doing introductions, I’m Jake Travison!” An overly enthusiastic Jake piped up, basically throwing himself into the conversation as he pushed himself through the throng of girls surrounding the new kid to shake the guy’s hand. Jake was your stereotypical school jock; popular, hot, and a renowned player—and he was also notoriously known to be Stephanie’s regular boy-toy on more than one occasion.

Their conversation started to bore me real fast, so I turned away so that I was’t looking at them anymore. My stomach felt queazy just watching it all unfold. I felt hopeless thinking of this new guy turning out like the rest of them, and it succeeded to disgust me more than Stephanie’s despicable self ever did. I had no idea why it bothered me that much; he wasn’t really worth worrying about. I barely knew the guy, and from what I’d seen of him so far, I didn’t even want to get to know him. Besides, I was perfectly content with my own special group of friends, and I didn’t need anyone else.

Out of nowhere, it felt like I was being watched all of a sudden as a sense of awareness overcame me. It wasn’t a creepy feeling; it felt more pleasurable somehow, and that fact alone was enough to freak me out. It was a new, foreign feeling I wasn’t used to, but I wasn’t sure what to make of it.

Discretely glancing out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the new guy was staring at me with those dark blues of his, and my body automatically tensed in reaction to his searing gaze. Matthew’s expression was blank and unreadable, so I wasn’t able to get any sort of read from him, but I began to feel a weird tugging sensation starting in my stomach. I couldn’t really explain it, but it was there. 

 God, his blatant staring was making me even more uncomfortable!

Werewolves had a heightened sense of awareness than most. We could sense trouble from a mile away, even before it started—basically like a premonition. It was 'wolf instinct, pure and simple. Though, most of the time it could come in handy—though other times, I wished I could remain blissfully ignorant.

Matthew’s new posse began to notice that their new idol’s attention was elsewhere, and they turned to look my way. Stephanie and her crew sent me a look of outright disgust when they noticed the object of the hot new kid’s attention.

“Who’s she?” Thanks to my acute wolf hearing, I was able to hear his question clearly from where I was seated on the other side of the room, and I immediately wished I couldn’t. I tried my best to pretend to be oblivious to all of the stares and glares I received. I absolutely despised all the attention, and I internally curse in my head. This could not be happening…

“Oh, that’s just Laura Daniels.” Stephanie answered flippantly, her voice laced with disinterest as she pointedly ignored my very existence like I wasn’t worth her time. She was trying hard to hide her obvious disgust at the thought that he was even slightly interested in the likes of me. “Her and her identical twin Lauren are both really weird.” Her tone was purely dismissive.

“Ah. Cool.” Was his reply, and all I wanted to do was disappear. I could still feel his stare on my back, never leaving.

 This was seriously starting to get annoying.

Thankfully, by that time, Mr. Bussle finally called the class to attention to begin the class period. “Alright boys and girls, we’re doing our normal routine today. Every one of you lug heads will bench press ten sets of twenty for today. Now get your scrawny butts to work!” He ordered, sounding very much like a drill sergeant. He turned his grumpy gaze to the New Kid. “Matthew, is it? Since you’re new here, I’m gonna partner you up with someone who can show you the ropes. It’ll makes my job a lot easier.”

I quickly turned my back on them trying to look busy while silently wishing I wasn’t there. Dang it, why couldn’t Coach pick Stephanie or Jake? I was certain they would be very eager to help the handsome, mysterious new guy. Plus, I didn’t want the teacher to call on me, but unfortunately, I knew that it was going to happen whether I wanted it to or not. 

All the teachers considered me their best student—someone who always turned in her homework on time, never giving them any trouble. They saw me as their most trusted student, as if I was leadership material. I was anything but; I liked to keep to the shadows and NOT be seen—I found that life was so much simpler that way. However, I could never remain hidden in the eyes of the teachers. There was no escape, no rest for the weary. Sometimes, being seen as responsible to my teachers could be a good thing—but in this case, it was most certainly a bad thing.

“Daniels can help you out. Laura, let him know all the rules and show him around, would ya?” It clearly wasn’t a question, and our gruff gym coach wasn’t going to wait for my answer; he just walked away without a word to hole himself up in his office, which left me on my own with the handsome, reckless new guy on my hands. Hurray…

Reluctantly, I turn around to face Matthew, giving him a half-hearted small smile. I internally willed my cheeks to cool down before I embarrassed myself further.

Matthew Jenkins gave me a wicked, crooked smile as he stuffing his hands in the pockets of his shorts and nodded his head at me in greeting. “Well, we meet again. Laura, is it? It’s nice to finally know the name to the girl I almost ran over this morning.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, not fooled by the charismatic charm he was trying to use on me. That horrible memory will be forever engraved into my brain, and I’ll be reminding him of his reckless driving every chance I get. “And it’s nice to finally know the name of the guy who almost killed me this morning so that next time I know what name to tell the authorities.” It was a jab to his ego with the intent to make him squirm with guilt. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to be working.

Matthew chuckled, not looking the least bit affected by my threat as his dark eyes twinkled, showing his amusement. "Again, my apologies; I’ll try to be more careful next time. Anyway, it’s nice to be meeting under normal circumstances this time.”

I tried to keep my face stoic and cold as I scrutinize him with my eyes, deducing him internally. Well, he seemed friendly enough, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything…

This terrible interaction between us was completely awkward, and I was totally at a loss for words; I wasn’t any good at this. Plus, I could feel Stephanie’s laser-like vision burning the back of my head as she glared at us from the other side of the room. It wasn’t helping the situation at all, but I try my best to ignore her; she didn’t matter to me one bit. If Miss Popular Slut was so mad, she was just going to have to deal with it.

I took a deep breath in order to calm my nerves. “Well, let’s get started shall we?” 

Nodding, Matthew followed my lead as I made my way to the bench press area on one side of the weight room. “I believe you know how to bench press, so I don’t have to tell you how to do that part. I’ll go first; I’ll start out with just the bar and then we can go from there.” I instructed, acting as casual and business-like as possible as I sit down on the bench with my back to the bar.

“Alright. I’ll spot.” Matthew walked behind me to stand on the other side of the bar, and I went ahead and laid down, lifting the bar eight times. Lifting weights in gym was easy for me; even a caveman could do it—if said caveman were a werewolf, that is. But maybe that was just me…

When I finished my set, I switched places with my new bench press partner so that he could do the same. Each time, we added five pounds to the bar after we finish each set. During all of this, I had to admit how good Matthew was at it. My eyes couldn’t help but drift to his nicely toned arms as I watched him bench press the bar—and apparently  so did Stephanie’s Snob Squad—the name I called her little posse. Right now, they weren’t bothering to hide how much they were gawking at Matthew as he lifted the twenty pound bar, no doubt staring at his heavenly muscles—

Whoa… WTH? Did I just think that about the insufferable new guy?

I averted my gaze, trying hard not to roll my eyes while I debated on whether or not I should puke right then; it was probably not a good idea, considering how Matthew was directly below me and most likely wouldn’t appreciate the gesture. I would scare the poor kid away for sure.

“So, you work out a lot?” It’s more of a comment than a question, as I attempted my hand at light conversation. What kind of a conversation started was that? What a way to make it obvious I was staring at him! 

I was horrific at this…

I cursed inwardly when I saw his smirk; he had noticed. “Yeah, when I can. My cousins have been taking me to the athletic club frequently the past week.” We both added another five pound weight on each side of the bar.

“So, how long have you been here?” He asked while I took my turn lifting the bar.

“I grew up here,” was all I said in between lifts of the bar, barely breaking a sweat.

“Cool. So, you’re a senior, too, right? Excited to get out of here?” We swapped places when it was his turn.

“Definitely. But I have no clue where I’m going to go yet, or what I’m even going to do.” I said from my spot behind the bar. “What about you?”

The new guy spoke easily while he lifted the bar at the same time, as if he wasn’t lifting a fifty-pound-and-above weighted bar. “I don’t know either, honestly. I’m just taking one day at a time, and I’ll decide when I get to that point. Lake Front High didn’t have any good offers that appealed to me. I lived with my grandparents up in Michigan before we moved to Oregon when I was eight. We occasionally went back up there for vacation at one of the big lakes.” He sat up as soon as he finished the set.

Something in the comment peaked my interest. “You used to live in Michigan? That’s awesome, I have a few relatives living up there!” Small world.

“Oh, really? Where at?” He looked up at me, our eyes connecting.

“I was born just around the Grand Rapids area. Do you know where Kent county is?” I added another ten pounds to the bar to make it thirty. “It’s the county I was born in.”

“That’s funny; it is a small world after all.” He flashed a rare, genuine grin at me from across the bench while adding ten pounds to his side. That grin caught me off guard; it was a disarming one that lit up his whole face, making him look even more handsomeness more pronounced—if that was even possible.

As Matthew lifted the bar, a chorus of loud giggles erupted from the other side of the room. The Snob Squad was at it again, gossiping amongst each other and casting sideways glances at Matthew as they watch him lift the thirty-pound bar with ease. This time I didn’t try to suppress my eye roll in response.

Matthew noticed it, too, and he sat up to glance their way—which only made them giggle even harder, much to my agitation and utter annoyance. Imbeciles…

“Don’t mind them. They’re always this Boy-Crazy about every single boy in this school.” I told him, sighing loudly. “Word of advice, even though Stephanie and her Snob Squad may seem innocent enough, they’re downright cruel and evil to the people who get in their way, or anyone they deem ‘a threat to their health.’” I shook my head at the memory that thought conjured up in my mind. I didn’t want to be reminded of the terrible thing that happened all those years ago; what’s in the past stays in the past.

Somehow, Matthew seemed to sense my discomfort as something flashed within the dark depths of his eyes, but he didn’t comment. Instead, we switched sides without a word.

After a moment, a smirk resurfaced across his face, more pronounced than before. “It shouldn’t be that hard to watch out for them; you can hear them from a mile away,” He joked. “They remind me of a herd of big fat elephants, anyway.”

I couldn’t quite help myself; I busted out laughing at the insult, chuckling a little devilishly at the mental picture of five blonde and brown-haired elephants, fat and bulging, as they trampled around in my head; it was downright comical.

Now that we got to talking, I couldn’t believe how easy it was getting to talk to Matthew. Now that I was past all the first meeting jitters, talking with him came easier and I could tell it was the same for him, too. I could tell he was still very guarded towards me, but I hardly cared. Right now we were just acquaintances carrying on a friendly conversation. To hell with what Stephanie and her snobby friends thought of it.

“So where do you live? Here in town?” Matthew asked while I performed one of our last sets. At that exact moment, my eyes fully focused on the shirt he was wearing—like I ever truly care what other people wore in the first place—but I couldn’t help but smirk. So he was that sort of person, huh? Very interesting…

“I actually live out in the country, ten miles from town,” I answered, unable to erase the smug smile on my face as I added, “Oh—by the way, I really hate your shirt.”

He sent me a look of confusion before throwing a quick glance down at his purple shirt. When he looked back up at me, he playfully flashed me look of mock-disgust. “Ew, you’re a KU fan?”

I nodded, glaring at the white Power Cat that was printed in the center of the purple shirt. “Yep, and a proud one at that.” I leered. This was too much fun.

We traded spots one more time. “Great, another KU fan. Just what I need!” Matthew huffed. “And I thought I had it bad enough that some of my brothers are KU fans.”

I laughed. I think it’s safe to say I was enjoying myself a bit too much. Maybe this boy was worth it after all? “Well then, they sure know what’s up.”

“Ha, sure.” He scoffed, lifting the bar a few more times to complete his set.

Once we finished our bench press workout, I had him try out the cardio machines. By the time class was over with, we ended up burning approximately 83.7 calories in ten minutes, the both of us feeling satisfied with what we had accomplished.

Matthew and I had to separate promptly afterwards in order to change back into our school clothes in our respective locker rooms, departing just outside the weight room door.

“See you around?” Matthew inquired, turning towards me while he slowly started walking backwards towards the boy's locker room.

“Yeah, sure,” I replied with a shrug as I walked in the opposite direction, towards the girl’s locker room. I gave him a small wave before I turned around.

In retrospect, walking backwards was probably not a great idea; just when I was turning around, I bumped right into somebody, and I stumbled a bit in surprise. I hadn’t been watching where I was going, and I instantly regretted it the moment I laid eyes on who I’d just run into.

Stephanie stood before me with manicured hands on her Nike-clad hips as she glared at me in outright contempt. “You think you actually have a chance with the new guy, don’t you?—wait, don’t answer that. I know you do just by the look on your ugly face. You’re a fool, Daniels; he’s way out of your league and you would do well to remember that.” Stephanie spat. Immediately, I became so furious. Who was she to tell me that?

I stepped right up to her so that we were face to face, and I returned her puny glare with my own. I refused to be pushed around by her! “You know what, Stephanie? You’re just jealous that he didn’t immediately fall all over you. You can’t stand it when a boy is immune to your deceitful ‘charm.’ I think he actually has some common sense! For his sake, I sure hope he doesn’t turn out like the rest of your overused boy-toys.” Anger boiled up inside me like an inferno. Before I could do something rash that I would regret later—not in the mood to deal with her infuriating attitude—I bumped my shoulder against hers as I passed, making my way towards the locker room. Once inside, I rapidly changed back into my school clothes. Someone had to put her in her place and show her that she wasn’t the Queen of Everything—or else I might do it for her.

Did I mention I really hate high school??

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