"All right, all right you high school students, it's time to get up and wake up. This is your host, Young LG and I say it's a beautiful day here in Pueblo Ville. I'm your start to your day and you're listening to Pueblo Ville Live, PVL all morning."
The radio blasts in my small bedroom, pulling me from a dream where I was running from a laughing group of kids from Burlington. My hands cling to the duvet over my head and I groan with the effort of waking up. The conversation that I had yesterday with Sora comes back and I'm suddenly fully awake. She wants me to hang out with her... without anyone knowing. Either I'm being taken along for the ride in a nasty prank, or she genuinely wants to ditch her popular crowd. Either way, her invitation is too enticing to ignore and I would feel awful avoiding her. Plus, she might let something slip about Guitar Guy. Knowing what lies ahead of me for the day gives me the extra push I need to wake up.
An hour later, I'm packing up my bag and turning off the radio before heading out. My slightly wet hair bounces off my neck in a high ponytail as I turn to lock the door of my house.
"Hey new girl," a voice calls from somewhere off to my left. I pivot towards my neighbour's place, where a frizzy haired guy stands in awkward orange shorts and a blue t-shirt. "You go to our high school right?"
"Our?" I ask, slightly confused since I only see him.
The guy just smiles widely at me and turns to someone inside the doorway of his house. "Yo, Tsukasa, is this the chick you were talking about?"
My heart speeds up instantly as the same mixed Asian guy steps from the shadows of my neighbour's porch, the guitar that I'd seen him caress lovingly before, is slung loosely around his right shoulder by the strap. His worn jeans hang loosely from his lean hips and another wife-beater, this time yellow, covers his chest, which I now see is lined with muscle. He smiles at me, revealing perfectly straight teeth which can only be a result of braces. He licks his lips and turns back to his friend.
"You ready to go?" Tsukasa's gravelly voice is low as he starts walking past his friend. "We're going to be late."
"Yeah, let's go," my neighbour responds and quickly follows behind him. I'm still trying to comprehend what the hell just took place, when he stops and runs back to the fence separating our houses. "Hey, do you want a ride?"
I'm shaking my head before thinking through what he's asking me.
"Oh, okay, well, then you better hurry up, class starts in fifteen." He smiles one last time before running back to Tsukasa's Mercedes. "I'm Tod, and you are?"
"Julia," I whisper.
He nods and drums his hands against the fence and winks. "Catch you later, J."
I stand frozen on the porch for a few minutes after they leave, only coming to my senses when I remember that I'm about to be late for class.