"So you can't give me a ride home either?" Jessica Olson asked in disbelief as she ran a hand through her brown curls in the hall of her high school after sixth period. It was the day before the Backstreet Boys concert in her town, and Jessica had been in a great mood all day...until she had remembered that her mother couldn't pick her up today, and despite the numerous people she asked, she couldn't find anyone to give her a ride home.
"Sorry, Jess," Linz, her best friend, apologized, getting books out of her locker. "Band. You know how it is."
Jessica nodded and then groaned. "Is there no one in this school who can drive me the five minutes to my house today?" she complained.
"Just walk," Linz suggested.
"All right, but if I get raped on my way, I'm coming back and blaming you," Jessica warned, narrowing her eyes.
Linz laughed. "Didn't you ask Sara?" she asked, referring to their other best friend.
"Yeah, she has tennis. Believe me, I've tried hard enough, Linz...you were my last resort," Jessica said dramatically.
"Oh, calm down. A fifteen minute walk won't kill you," Linz said.
Linz rolled her eyes. "You are so spoiled."
"No, just lazy," Jessica corrected.
Linz grinned and slammed her locker shut. "So anyway...can you believe the concert's tomorrow?" she asked as the two of them started to walk towards their seventh period class.
Jessica grinned back and shook her head. "No. I can't wait!"
"Me neither," Linz agreed. "I heard the show was incredible...even better than the last tour."
"That's what I heard. If so, it's gotta be pretty damn good. I mean, last time was amazing," Jessica pointed out.
"And A.J. just got that new haircut..."
Jessica's eyebrows shot up. "The purple spikes?"
Linz smiled slyly and nodded.
"Damn," Jessica remarked. "Now I really can't wait!"
"Hey," Linz protested, "you stick to your man, I'll stick to mine."
"Well...if I'm not mistaken, Nick does still have the blonde spikes," Jessica replied, licking her lips.
"Are you gonna cut class tomorrow?" Linz asked.
"Yeah, right, my mom would kill me if she found out."
"She's out of town," Linz reminded her.
"Yeah, but she gets back in the middle of the day tomorrow, and if she finds me out with the car during school hours, I'm dead," Jessica replied. "Besides, they'll probably be at the arena for a lot of the day, and the security around there is really tight."
Linz nodded as they two of them reached their classroom. "Yeah, you're right. I'm not gonna cut class either. Look, I have to run as soon as the bell rings, but I'll call you tonight. Have lots of fun walking home."
Jessica rolled her eyes. "Yeah, okay," she said sarcastically.
Little did she know, walking home wasn't going to kill her at all. It was going to change her life forever.
Looking back on the things I've done
I was trying to be someone
Played my part, and kept you in the dark
Now let me show you the shape of my heart.
Jessica hummed her favorite song to herself as she walked across down a residential street that afternoon after seventh period was over. It was actually a beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was clear, and it was about sixty-five or seventy degrees outside. Surprisingly, it was actually putting Jessica into a better mood than usual. Most of the time she was so tired she would collapse as soon as she got home, but today she actually had energy. Maybe walking home wasn't such a bad idea after all. It was a little dull, but it gave her a chance to think about things.
Crossing the street, Jessica switched from humming to singing softly on her favorite part of the whole song.
"I'm here with my confession
Got nothing to hide no more
I don't know where to start
But to show you the shape of my heart."
Jessica smiled to herself and stopped. Singing was one of her all-time favorite things to do—she was in choir at school, she took voice lessons twice a week, and she never shut up around her friends. Luckily, she didn't suck, so most of the time, they didn't mind. Actually, she was quite far from sucking. A couple of months ago, through a connection, she had sent a homemade demo tape to a few record companies. She hadn't heard back yet, which probably meant that they had stored it in that infamous circular file, but that didn't break her heart. She knew she would have to be very, very lucky to get signed on the first try. Hell, the Backstreet Boys had been together for a few years before they had gotten any results. And besides, as long as Jessica could keep singing, she would be happy. She had just gotten a solo in the choir show, and that was enough excitement for her for the time being.
Jessica smiled as she turned a corner onto a larger street, breathing in the fresh air. If she had her CD player with her right now, it would be almost perfect. Then she could be listening to her favorite group in the world and enjoying the beautiful fresh air. Her mind switched from that day to the next day, and she shivered. She could not wait until the concert the next night. Just thinking about it gave her chills. Tensing her shoulders, she pictured Nick onstage only a small distance away from her...gripping the microphone tight as his sweet, clear voice filled the arena...
That was when the Durango pulled up next to her and stopped.