"Luke!" Mom shouted from the base of the stairs. "Remember your contacts! I don't want you over at Logan's house without those things."

"Right, mom," I shouted back, tossing the case for my contacts into my duffle bag. I wasn't actually planning to wear the stupid things; I didn't need them. But, I figured I should keep up appearances. I walked over to my radio, plugged my mp3 player in, and turned on some rock music. I don't listen to the nonsense music, though - this was stuff I could relate to, stuff about being a reject, about everyone hating you, about being in a living - never mind. That's not important.

As you may have observed, I'm not the most accepted person in my neighborhood. I get picked on all the time by guys who think they're really tougher than me. I go to school and first thing in the morning, I get slapped on the behind because people think I'm gay.

I even like someone - a girl. Her name's Morgan. Morgan's one of the five people besides my immediate family who actually care about me. She's one of my very few friends. However, she can't know I like her. She wouldn't like me back, not that way. She knows I'm a loser. Plus, I guess the truth is probably that I don't want to be rejected by yet another person. I've kind of accepted my position at the bottom of the food chain - in a way. But, in another way, I can never accept it. I know I'm stuck at the bottom, but I won't surrender.

But I still can't work up the courage to even hint that I like Morgan to anyone except my very best friend, Cat. She stopped me from nearly killing this other kid one day.

All the guy had done was comment on something stupid I'd done in PE. On that day, though, it was enough to push me over the edge. I would've gone ballistic, if not for Cat.

I finished packing my stuff for Logan's, then told mom I was going out with the .22 to shoot behind Jim's place. Jim's a family friend, and he's got plenty of woods behind his house to shoot in. He's usually pretty cool; one time, I accidentally shot out a window in an equipment shack he had out back, and he joked with me that I could always come and fix it. Really, he didn't make me lift a finger.

A short while later, I was swimming with Morgan, Logan, Liz, Cat, and Isaac. I thought about asking Morgan then, but I didn't. I knew it was hopeless. That's my life for you.

The End

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