1 Perfect isn't easy

"What is one to do when one is stuck in a rut?"

"One is to stop referring to one's self as one," Rebel replied, taking a bite of her sandwich.

Dylan pouted at her friend, "You're no fun." She plunked her tray down on their table and dropped into the seat across from Rebel. "How are you doing, school wise?" Dylan asked.

Rebel shrugged, "The usual, I think."

Dylan grimaced, "How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Pull straight A's," Dylan said.

Rebel rolled her eyes, "You have straight A's too, Lin."

Dylan frowned, "Yeah but I have to study like non-stop and you just sit around on your guitar and still get like 99% on every test."

Rebel gave her a sympathetic look, reaching across the table to pat her friend's hand, "Psychology quiz?" Dylan thunked her head down on the table and let out a groan. "Aww, tell Momma Rebel all about it." Dylan sighed and then went into rant mode.

Dylan loved school, which many people she knew thought she was crazy for. But school had always been a happy place for Dylan. She loved the strange mix of humanity that she could always expect to find there and the way everyone seemed to be simultaneously miserable and glad to be here. She found the paradox quite entertaining. She also enjoyed how annoyed everyone always was when she bounced into class every morning.

The only thing she didn't like was tests, they always made her look like an idiot even though she was pretty sure she wasn't. "Look, it's just one test," Rebel said, in her usual logical way.

Dylan let out a suffering sigh, "But it's every test lately."

Rebel pursed her lips, thinking for a moment, "Maybe you just need to switch up the way you're studying for a while, either way, I'm sure it'll all be fine."

She stood up and went to throw out her tray. Maybe she's right, Dylan thought as she stood to join Rebel. I mean, when is Rebel ever wrong?

***

Let the record show that there is, in fact, a first time for everything. She was in chemistry, last period that day. Her teacher was standing at the front of the room reading out the lab partners for the rest of the semester. Dylan's name hadn't been called yet and a sense of foreboding began to settle over her.

Now her school didn't really have much of a hierarchy but everyone knew that there were 5 people you didn't screw with. They were the always out partying, possibly drug dealers that only showed up to class around 50% of the time. Everyone knew the kind and in her school, they were a special kind of weird. Like literally, that was what everyone called them, WEIRD.

W is for William Harlow, he was the player of the lot. He was tall and handsome with green eyes and tanned skin with light brown, perfectly sculpted hair. He had some new girl hanging off his arm every week. Dylan often wondered where he found them all, the school wasn't that big.

E is for Eli Martin, he was the school's class clown. A fiery redhead with bright blue eyes, he had more of a prankster charm to him than the model thing Will had going for him. He likely had a couple of months of detention accumulated, but it's not like he ever attended it.

I is for Immy Gertfond, she is the only girl in the group and is typically thought of as the school slut. She had brown wavy hair that was cut to shoulder length and she was constantly breaking the dress code in some way. She was rumored to have as many notches on her bedpost as Will.

R is for Ruben Colson, although no one was really sure if he was part of their group as he was only seen about once a week. He had missed school pictures and wasn't a part of any school activities that anyone knew of. Dylan actually had no idea what he looked like or if he even still attended the school. He was rumored to have one arm completely tatted with the other headed the same way. There was also talk that he may be rich but no one could find him to confirm if this was true.

Last but certainly not least was the person she was dreading, Dallas Lark. He was the muscle of the group, standing 6'4" with arms like tree trunks. He never smiled and never said a word to anyone outside of WEIRD but everyone was fairly sure he was either a gang member or a hitman. With his dark brown hair and black eyes, Dylan was half-convinced he was a werewolf. Dallas was the most feared guy at the school, partly because he was bigger than the school's linebackers.

Dylan crossed her fingers and her toes, hoping above all hopes that she'll get paired up with anybody else. But as our teacher went down through the list, her chances were getting slimmer and slimmer. They were the last two names to get called out, "Dylan and Dallas." Dylan groaned but then looking around she noticed he wasn't there. This day is finally looking up. You think she'd be smarter than this, you know what they say, after all, speak of the devil... Dallas walked through the door. She shot a glare at the ceiling. Apparently, someone up there had it in for her.

"Ah, Mr. Lark, nice of you to join us," her teacher said. "You're partnered up with Dylan." he immediately began looking around all the boys to see which one had an empty seat. It was only when he looked back at the teacher pointing at her that he realized. His eyes landed on her and she immediately looked away.

She stared out the window next to her as she heard a chair scraping as he sat down. She snuck a quick glance over at him and found his eyes were trained on the board. She refocused on the front of the room where her teacher was giving more information about an upcoming project. "Over the next two months, you'll be working with these partners on a series of experiments which you will write down observations for." The whole class groaned but the teacher just smiled. "You can use these last 5 minutes to get to know your new deskmate, you too will be spending a lot of time together. If your unhappy with your current partner, too bad, meet your new best friend."

Immediately some people got up to go talk to her while others actually tried to make conversation. Dylan let out a sigh before turning in her seat, "Excuse me." He didn't even acknowledge her presence. Thinking perhaps he didn't hear she reached out and tapped his arm, "Excuse me."

He turned slowly in an extremely ominous way and crossed his arms over his chest. She gave him her best hundred-watt smile, "Hi, I'm Dylan, it's nice to meet you. I already know who you are, I mean everyone knows who you are but umm... I don't really, like, know who you are. That doesn't really make sense, does it? But I mean to say is, like, I've heard rumors about you but I've never liked spoken to you, which you know, of course you know that because then you would have spoken to me and then I wouldn't have to introduce myself and we wouldn't be having this conversation. Well not really a conversation cause you're not saying anything, not that that's your fault cause I'm rambling. I'm going to be quiet now... in 3 2 .. okay."

Dylan turned back to face front, her face heating up. She took a quick peek sideways to find him still staring at her. She put her face in her hands, but then she heard what she thought sounded like a deep chuckle. She peeked her fingers at him but found him unchanged. Maybe she'd imagined it?

The bell rang a couple of minutes later and she grabbed her bag and dashed out of the class. She was almost out the front of the school when she realized she'd left her phone on her desk. She let out a whine before turning back around into the torrent of people trying to escape. She fought her way back through and finally made it to her class several minutes later.

She sighed when she made it to the door, glad she'd only been stepped on four times. She moved to open the door then someone shouted, "Wait!" She jumped nearly a foot into the air and spun around. She came face-to-face, well face-to-chest, with none other than Eli Martin. She leaped back smacking her elbow on the door. "Oww," she groaned.

He laughed, "You're a jumpy one." She blushed and he smiled, "So you're Dylan Vanderson, have to admit you're not exactly what I was expecting, but anyways the big goof over there noticed you left your phone on the desk." He shifted to the side and she looked around him to find Dallas, Immy, and Will standing a few feet back.

Will stepped forward and grab the back of Eli's collar, "Personal space, dude." He grinned at her, "Nice to meet you, I'm Will, the one with no boundaries is Eli, you already know Dallas, and the antisocial one who never puts down her damn phone is Immy, " he said emphasizing the phone part and giving Immy a pointed look.

She glanced from her phone and gave Dylan a half-hearted smile before returning to what she'd been doing and Will rolled his eyes. "Here you go," Eli said, tossing her phone to her. She barely caught it, hugging it to her chest when she did. "Thank you, " she squeaked, unsticking her back from the door. Will have her a heart-stopping smile, "No need to thank us, it's never a burden to help out a pretty girl."

Eli snorted at Will, "Don't pay attention to anything he says, he's a walking mush dispenser." Eli then stepped forward and linked his arm with her.

Suddenly, she was walking down the hall arm in arm with Eli Martin, "So, tell me about yourself. "

She gawped at him for a moment before recovering, "Uh, I like... pickles." She heard the others snicker behind them as Eli grinned at her, "I like pickles, too."

"I'm sorry, I'm not usually this weird," Dylan said, looking at the ground.

"No worries, I promise you can't possibly be any weirder then WEIRD," he replied, glancing over his shoulder at the others.

Immy groaned, "I hate that nickname."

Dylan looked back at them as Will shrugged, "I don't know, it's grown on me." Dallas just grunted and looked away. She frowned at this and Eli patted her hand, "Don't mind him, he's just shy, aren't you, boo?"

Dallas glowered at him and Will chuckled, shaking his head, "You'll pay for that later." Eli stuck out his tongue at them and Immy rolled her eyes with a small smile on her face. Dylan wondered how she managed not to walk into walls as her eyes never left her screen.

By this point, they'd made it to the entrance and Dylan extracted her arm from Eli's, "Well, it was nicer then I thought it'd be to meet you all." She immediately clapped her hand over her mouth, "No, I swear I didn't mean..what I meant was..."

Eli waved her comment off, "It's fine, we know what everyone says about us."

Dylan winced and looked at the ground, "Thank you for finding my phone." A car horn honked and Dylan looked up to see a large black SUV.

The window was rolled down and inside sat a guy with dark brown hair and black sun glasses. He tipped the glasses down so he could glare over the top of them. Will grinned, "Ruben, this is Dylan." He strolled over and threw an arm around her shoulders as Ruben rolled his eyes, "Would you stop being a man whore for five whole seconds and get in the damn car?"

"A delight as always," Eli said, turning to face her, "You got a ride or a car or something, right?"

Dylan nodded, "Yeah, my car's just over there."

She gestured to her tiny, vintage, orange Volkswagen beetle and Eli's eyes lit up. "Oh my gosh!" he squealed, "It's adorable." Dylan laughed and Ruben honked again, the others already in the car, "Get in the car or I will leave without you, Martin."

Eli looked back at her and she gave him a smile, "See you later, I guess." He nodded and waved as he took off for the car which had already started rolling away from the curb. He dove through the still open door which was pulled shut behind him and the car drove away.

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