Whispering Bluff, home to the Tennessee state conference finals football team, the Woodchucks.
Seriously? Who’d name their team that? On purpose?
Flint hiked her book bag up on her shoulder, shuffling through the dense crowd of kids high fiving and giving hugs. They all knew each other. She wished she just knew one person. Why did going to a new school always make her feel like she’d suddenly sprouted a third eye in the center of her head?
Cheerleader types were dancing in the halls, clapping and doing some sort of ugly routine while conspicuously tossing flirty glances at the football jocks walking around in their letterman jackets.
Boys were leaning against lockers, sizing up the girls like they were some sort of lunch special. Someone cat called, “Heya red, what’s your name?”
Blushing hard, she shoved past a group of kids blocking her path.
“Hey!” A girl yelled.
“Sorry,” she muttered and pressed on.
This place was so lame. When Dad had moved them, third time in five years, to Whispering Bluffs she’d been so not happy.
Wasn’t fair to go from L.A. to here. Nowheresville, Tennessee. She’d never even heard of Whispering Bluffs until his finger had randomly pointed to it on his map.
The map. The equivalent of a weegie board for him. Whenever he’d get that tingle that he’d stuck around long enough, out would come the map. A finger point later and they’d moved on. He’d always been the restless type, which was why carnival life had been perfect for him. A true Nomad in every sense of the word.
Dad was a big believer in karma and serendipity. A total hippie and prone to go whichever way the breeze took him. Which was usually no place cool, interesting, or remotely exciting.
Until L.A. That place had been alive and for the first time since mom’s death, Flint had been able to breathe and laugh again.
She’d even gotten to flirt with the cutest boy in school, Austin Issac. Soccer player, total stud, and he’d been way into her.
They’d had their first date planned--dinner at the local dive and a movie afterwards. He’d even owned his own car. A muscled up cherry red mustang. She’d been so excited.
But it was a date she’d never had a chance to go on.
Flint glanced at her sheet of paper. She had Chem first period, but couldn’t find it. It wasn’t like the school was huge, nothing like L.A., but there were a lot of hallways. Like an obscene amount of them.
She’d already had to backtrack twice.
“I’m pretty sure you passed me a minute ago.”
“Huh?” She frowned, glancing up and smiling into a pair of warm brown eyes.
Skinny, with a smooth face, and wavy brown hair, he seemed nice and friendly.
“Hi,” he stuck out his hand, “my name’s Abel. What’s yours?”
“Flint DeLuca,” she said, shaking his hand, shivering at the touch of his cold fingers.
He let her go quickly, wiping his hand down his jeans. Weird reaction, but then again, maybe he was self-conscious of his clammy hands. Lifting his brows, he glanced at the class schedule she held tight in her hand.
“You’re a Junior? And new, right? Either that, or you’re really into power walking.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “You know you did a total loop, right?”
She nodded. “Yeah.” Heat rose in her cheeks. “Why are the halls so long? I’m trying to find room, 201, but I get to 200 and then the next one is 202?”
He laughed. It was a nice sound. Open and friendly, and the butterflies dancing in her gut eased off a bit.
“It’s because the teacher’s union was smoking crack when they designed this place. You’re actually supposed to be two hallways down. I can walk you, if you’d like?”
Till tomorrow my little pearls!