Amore And Pizza

Hey, I'm Avery. I thought I had it figured out, ya know? I thought I had distinguished the difference between love and imagination. I was SO sure that no one could ever love me. Especially someone so extraordinary like Niall. But for once in my sob story of a life, I WANTED to be proven wrong. But I was right. Again.

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1. I Nearly Kill Someone On My First Day

     It was a Tuesday. I imagined my first day at a new school to be well, lonely. I'm not like most people. I dreaded beginning a new start...again. My daddy and I, (yes,I'm 16 and I still call him my daddy), moved a lot. He worked as a reporter, so we went where the story went. And the story was apparently here, in the big city of Denver, Colorado. About two weeks ago, a large gold deposit was found just outside of the city. And ever since, the entire state has been buzzing with activity. My dad was hired by the local news station to cover the story at every possible moment. Which meant we left about 5 days after the call.

     I've lived in various places, like Chicago and Miami, but this was the first place we lived that was further west than Wisconsin. I never knew my mom, she died when I was 2. Daddy told me she had cancer. I'm an only child, which I'm sure a lot of people would like to be, but I don't. I crave for craziness and dining room tables and crayon drawings on my door. Little sisters that would steal my makeup and big brothers who would protect me from high school jerks. Like I said, I'm not like most people. But anyways, back to another first day. I admit, I was a little nervous so I asked my dad to drive me to school that morning. 

     "Daddy, can I ask you something?" I bit my lip as I looked at him.

     "Sure Aves." My dad answered back. Aves had been my nickname since I can remember. My dad and I had the strangest relationship. We told each other everything.

     "Were you popular back in the day?"

     My daddy chuckled as I finished my question. "Back in the day? I'm wounded." He said this with a smirk on his face. I laughed with him. If you didn't know we were related, you wouldn't have put us together. What with my dad's graying hair and deep blue eyes, and my deep brown hair and gray eyes, we looked nothing alike. But I loved him anyway.

     "I'm sure daddy, I'm sure." I grinned widely as my dad pulled into the front of my new school. The building was bigger than I'd imagined; at least three levels. How was I going to find any of my classes? 

     "I have to work late tonight," My dad's words pulled me from my worries. "I need to get moved into my new office. Can you walk home? It's only about two miles."

     Great, I thought to myself. "Okay."

     I opened the door of our 1998 piece of crap car and looked back at my dad. "Love you daddy."

     "Love you too, Aves. You'll do fine." I watched my dad drive away with what I'm sure was a less-than-happy look on my face. I turned around to face my new school. It was a humongous red brick building with an impressive statue of a roaring tiger in front of the main doors. Off to the right was a large greenhouse with plants and vegetables of all sizes and colors. On my left was a courtyard with tables for eating when the weather was nice. This school was very nice. I prayed the people would be too.

 

     I walked into the school, where I found myself facing a long hallway. On each side of the hallway there were black lockers that extended all the way down, pausing occasionally for bathrooms and to branch of into other hallways. The walls were plastered with posters and banners with the school's colors: black and orange. It was the beginning of September, so everyone was fired up about homecoming in a couple of weeks. This school was HUGE! I was sure this was the biggest school I have ever been to. And that was a saying a lot.

     Students of every size, shape, and color bustled about. Talking, laughing, flirting, and even throwing around a football. The scene before me looked exactly like a scene from any high school flick. There were couples holding hands, looking happy even though next week their hands would probably be entwined in someone else's. Most of the girls stood in cliques, whispering and giggling. Most of the guys were pushing each other and whistling at the girls. Cliché overload.

     To my left was the school office. I walked in, taking in my surroundings. Grey carpet, black counter, and dark grey waiting chairs. I walked up to the counter, and asked the secretary if I could see the principal. She had a plump face framed by curly blonde hair. She smiled to me and said, "Go on in, dear," pointing me to a door to her left.

     I thanked her and walked up to the door, knocking on it lightly. A gold plaque on the door read "James Preston, Principal." My knock was answered with a muffled "Come in."

     I walked inside hesitantly. The office was a modern room with a hardwood desk, a plush leather chair, and two wooden chairs across from it. The man sitting in the leather chair was a seemingly tall, slim man with balding brown hair and brown eyes. He stood with pride, his calculating gaze unwavering from my face. He smiled ever so slightly at me when I walked in and motioned to shake my hand, reaching over his desk to do so. I winced at his callous hand and iron grip. 

     "Welcome to West Denver Memorial. You must be Avery Jackson." I nodded and smiled. "I'm your principal, Mr.Preston."

     "Hello."

     "Have a seat." He gestured to a chair in front of me. We both sat. "Here are your papers with your locker combination and schedule." Mr.Preston handed me a handful of papers. He began talking extremely fast. "I've informed all your teachers about you, so don't worry if you are a couple minutes late. If you are interested in any sports, tryouts start next week. Any after-school activities like drama or choir have sign-up sheets in the appropriate classes. If your GPA slips below a 3.4, you will be immediately cut from all extra credit activities. Although your record shows that neither of us should have to worry about this." He gave another small smile and paused for a breath. "Here's your student handbook." Mr.Preston handed me a small pamphlet. "Dress code requires you to have some semblance of a modest human being. We are not running a strip club here." I thought back to the outfits I had seen some of the girls wearing when I had first walked in. Right. I shifted in my seat and looked down at my light blue cardigan and jeans. No strippers here. "Keep the PDA to a minimum please. If you are caught vandalizing school property I will personally kick you into next week. I'm sure you will do just fine here, Avery Jackson."

     I blinked. This guy was more like a military general then a high school principal! I sputtered out a thanks and quickly rushed from his office.

     I looked down at one of my sheets and saw my locker number was 242, which was shown to be right around the first corner on the right. I found it quickly and finally got it open on the third try. I couldn't help but notice mine was the only locker not decorated with posters as I placed my jacket and bag inside. My schedule told me my first class was Writing. A sigh of relief swept through me. Writing was a passion of mine. My dream was to be a reporter just like my dad, though I hoped to have show of my own so I never had to move.

     As I started to walk in the probably opposite direction I was supposed to be going, I began to grow more and more anxious. This place was so foreign, and incredibly big. None of the hallways made sense, and I was pretty sure I was walking in circles. Soon, I was speed-walking and trying to act as if I knew where I was going. No one looked nice enough to ask for help. In fact, some of the guys looked a little too friendly, if you know what I mean.

     The first bell rang. Panic overtook me as the hallways cleared. I started running down the nearest hallway, desperately trying to find the classroom I was supposed to be in. The minutes passed, with still no luck at making any sense at this labyrinth of a school. I was practically flying down the halls with my notebook and pencil.

     If this had been in a movie, I would have been able to predict the next events perfectly. It was that cliché.

     I flew around a corner, and immediately crashed into someone. Hard. We both flew backwards, our individual papers flying everywhere.

     "Sorry sorry sorry! I didn't watch where I was going!" The words flew out of my mouth as I sat up, looking at my victim. And he was a cute victim. 

     "No, it was my fault, I'm sorry." The boy I pummeled into was without a doubt the cutest guy I had ever seen. He had the most gorgeous blue eyes that looked at me with concern in them. His tousled blonde hair was messy but for some reason I thought it fell perfectly. "Here".  He stood up, offering his hand to me. I bit my lip, but took it gratefully. His face was close to mine as he helped me up. I couldn't help but notice his muscles as he grabbed me. 

     "Hi, I'm Niall", he said while he picked up my books and handed them to me.

     "Thanks. Avery. Avery Jackson."

     "Avery Jackson" He gave a smile. "Are you new here?"

     "Yeah, I just moved here from South Carolina."

     "Cool, never been there. I've never been anywhere outside of Colorado actually", he laughed when he said this. Gosh, his laugh was amazing.

     "Hah, lucky you! I have been everywhere! My dad is a reporter so we kinda move a lot."

     "Well, I hope you stay here for awhile." He grinned.

     It took me a moment to process that he was flirting. I gave a shy smile back. "So Niall, what grade are you in?" 

     "I'm a junior. What about you?"

     "Same." I kept the smile on my face. His grin grew even wider.

     "Maybe we have some classes together." He took my sheet and looked at my schedule. "I have Writing first period too. I'll walk you there." He grinned at me and turned to go down the hallway I just came from. I followed him, wondering how today could be any better.

     "So do you have any hobbies?'' He looked at me waiting for a response. 

     "I play soccer, volleyball, piano and I sing. Piano and singing are more of just free time stuff, though. I want to sign up for soccer and volleyball next week."

     "Well soccer is co-ed, so we'll be on the same team." He grinned at me again. He smiled so much, his cheeks had to be in constant pain. But then I started grinning too. We were going to get to know each other better.

     "Great!" 

     Without realizing, I followed Niall into the classroom. Admittedly, I was on a bit of a cloud as I walked into the classroom I'm sure I had walked ran by a thousand times. Immediately we drew the attention of everyone in the class, and the teacher stopped speaking. Niall handed the man at the front a tardy slip, then went to sit in a chair. The teacher quickly looked at the slip, threw it away, and noticed me. He ushered me over.

     "Hello, Miss Jackson. Welcome to our school. I'm Mr.Gordon." He shook my hand and smiled at me, then turned to face the other students. "Class, we have gotten a new student today. I'm going to have her introduce herself." I looked at him cautiously, biting my lip. Ugh. I liked the teachers that just did all the introducing for me.

     "Hey, I'm Avery Jackson." I added a little shy wave to make it a little less awkward. Mr.Gordon smiled and pointed to a seat by a pretty redhead.

     "Avery I'll have you sit over there by Kalley."

     I walked past Niall and other people and took a seat by Kalley.

     I smiled at her, and she smiled back. "Hi."

     "Hi Avery. Where you from?" I told her about my fast-paced life. "Wow, you have lived in a lot of places. I was born and raised here." We talked a little more before getting shushed by Mr.Gordon. Kalley was nice. She and I ended up having almost all of the same classes. After Writing, we both walked to our class. We had a lot of things in common. She played volleyball, but not soccer. She plays guitar and sings. I told her about my singing and she said I should join choir. I told her I would think about it.

     My next classes were a combination of countless people I would never remember, many awkward introductions, tons of homework since I was super behind, and getting to know Kalley better.

     We hit it off nearly as quickly as Niall and I had. Kalley was cool, down to earth, and as cheerful as her fiery hair. We talked a lot in between classes, and since we had an almost identical schedule, she showed me to all of our classes. When lunchtime came, we both went outside since it was really sunny and warm. She invited me to sit with her.

     As we walked outside I got a real look at how many people were at this school. Hundreds of students from freshmen to seniors were roaming around. You could immediately tell who the cool kids were and weren't. Jocks in letter jackets sat next to girls who looked like they were only adept at dancing around a pole. Preppy kids sat reading while eating. The emo groups sat on the grass, probably baking in their all-black clothes. The musical people sang or played guitars, giving us all theme music to our lunch. Pure sporty guys and girls played mini games of soccer, football, or volleyball, often crashing into an innocent bystander.

     I had absolutely no idea where I would have gone if it wasn't for Kalley. If I had to pick a group, it probably would have been with the guys playing soccer. I wondered where Kalley fit in here. I was really expecting her to be sitting at the popular table with a bunch of gorgeous friends, but instead she sat at the nearest empty table and sat down. I sat across from her and dug into my sandwich. I didn't get why she was a loner. Kalley had these green eyes that looked like the green grass all around us. She had a splash of freckles across her nose that were the same color as her long, straight red hair. She must have had a boyfriend.

     I was proven right when a guy with black hair and almost the same color eyes came and sat down right next to her and pecked her on the cheek. His hair was flipped up in the front. I guess you would call it a quiff. He had a darker complexion, and both his ears were pierced.

     "Hey babe, who's this?" He nodded towards me. 

     "Zayn, this is my new friend Avery, she just moved here. Avery, this is my boyfriend Zayn." She smiled when she said "boyfriend" and looked at him. They were really cute together. I could tell they liked each other a lot. 

     "Hey." Zayn gave me a mischievous smile.

     "Hi."

     Another voice behind me spoke up. "I see you've made some other friends." I turned my head at the familiar voice. 

     "Niall?"

     "Hey." Niall grinned down at me.

     "You two know each other?", Kalley asked us.

     "We met this morning," Niall said as he sat down beside me. "Walked her to Writing."

     "Way to go Niall!" Zayn gave Niall a thumbs up, while Kalley grinned too.

     "Shut up Zayn!" Niall blushed and glanced at me.

     "So, you guys are all friends?" I asked, not noticing Niall's embarrassment.

     "Yeah, Niall, Zayn and I have been friends forever. But Zayn asked me out only a couple months ago." They looked at each other again and smiled. Aw. My heart tugged a little. 

     "And I've been the third wheel ever since," Niall pouted.

     "Oh, quit complaining." Kalley chided. "You could have any girl at this school if you just talked to them."

     "No thanks. I'm not Harry." Zayn and Kalley laughed.

     "Who's Harry?" I asked.

     Zayn turned to me. "He's a senior like me. Popular guy. Prince Charming. Total douche. Plays a girl like he plays soccer."

     "Which is very well," Niall filled me in.

     "Sounds like my kind of guy." All three of them looked at me in shock. "Kidding!"

     "Good." Niall smiled at me. I couldn't suppress the smile that tugged at the corners of my mouth.

    

     The rest of the day went really well. Kalley and I had 2 other classes together. When the last bell rang, we both walked to my locker and made plans to hang out this week end. I waved goodbye to her as she walked out to find Zayn.

     Turning to my locker, I grabbed my bag, jacket and truck load of homework I'd received. Was it weird I was excited to do my homework?

     I put on my jacket and bag and started to walk out the doors, sighing because I had to walk home. At least it was good for me. I couldn't believe how well my first day here at West Denver Memorial had gone. I felt like nothing could wreck it.

     Jinx.

     At first I didn't know he was talking to me. "Hey, new girl!"

     I kept walking, completely oblivious. In my defense, the term "new girl" could have applied to anyone.

     "Hey don't be like that!" All of a sudden, someone came racing around me, stopping me in my tracks. The first thing I noticed was his hair. Imagine a very attractive brown poodle. That's what his hair looked like. It was messy, swooshed to one side, and a colored like chocolate. He was tall, tan, and very good looking. I looked up into his green eyes.

     "Can I help you?"

     "Yes you can." He smiled, exposing his perfect teeth and dimples. "I'm with the school newspaper. I just wanted to have a little segment on the new girl in school. Mind if I took a couple pics?" Without waiting for an answer, he pulled out his Iphone and started taking pictures of my face. I heard the shutter sound go off multiple times.

     "Hey!" I turned away, so my back was facing him. "I do mind, thanks. I don't want to be in your stupid newspaper."

     "That angle works just fine. Your face doesn't have to be in it." I heard the shutter sound go off again. My face got hot.

     "What the heck?" I spun around, hitting the guy in the face. "My butt isn't going in the segment either!"

     Despite the fact that I had just decked the douche, he smiled. "What segment?" With a wink, he turned and walked away, tucking his phone into his back pocket.

     I fumed. "What a...uh...uh...oh whatever!" I turned around, viciously kicked a rock, and began stomping away, limping slightly. Did that really just happen? Really? What kind of school was this? I kept muttering to myself about no good boys and their obsession with butts when I heard a voice behind me.

     "Avery, wait up!" 

     I turned with a smile on my face, already knowing who it was that was calling my name.

     "Hey Niall." He ran up beside me and started walking next to me.

     "You walking home?", he asked. I nodded. "Me too. I live like 2 miles from here. Can I walk with you?" I nodded again and smiled. He smiled back. 

     We left the school parking lot, and began walking on a sidewalk towards the direction of my new house. We walked for about a half hour, spending the whole time talking. Niall told me about how he lived with his older brother Greg and mother and stepfather. I could tell he loved his family. He told me about how he played guitar and other things he liked. I was so caught up in listening to him I nearly got us lost. When he asked me about myself, I didn't know where to start.

     "Well, what do you wanna know?", I asked him, looking at the cars going by.

     "Everything," he smiled. So I told him. About my dad and seeing so many places and never really making friends and never having a boyfriend before. 

     "That last part you didn't really need to hear." I blushed.

     "Never?", He asked. I nodded. "Neither have I."

     "You've never had a boyfriend either?" I gasped mockingly.

     He laughed. "I meant I've never had a girlfriend before." He shrugged "I get shy around girls. Except for you." He smiled that great smile again. I bit my lip and looked at the ground. "And Kalley." I laughed.

     We walked in silence for a couple of minutes. The nice-and surprising-thing was that the silence wasn't awkward. It was comfortable. I continued watching the fancy, sleek, suburban cars go by. The city was busy with people coming home from work, school, and shopping. The silence stayed until we reached my house.

     The place was decent, cheap, and small. It had plain light blue walls, a stone path, a gravel driveway, and small front and backyards. It was nice for two people who would hardly ever be there.

     "This is it'', I said to Niall.

     "Wow, I only live a couple blocks from here." He pointed off to his right.

     "Cool. Well thanks for walking me home. And everything else." I grinned at him.

     "Yeah, anytime. Hey, do you need a ride tomorrow? Zayn, Kalley and I always carpool in the morning. It would be nice if you did so then I wouldn't feel like a third wheel." He laughed.

     "I would love that." 

     "Me too. I'll text you when we're here?" I nodded and gave him my number. Smooth.

     "See ya, Avery."

     "See ya."

     I turned and walked into my house that was not quite yet a home. But I had a feeling it soon would be. I had a lot of good feelings about Denver.

 

 

 

 

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