Read Until Next Time (The Shooting Stars Series) Online
Authors: Michelle Maness
Until Next Time
Shooting Stars Book 1
Until Next Time
© 2012 Wendy Michelle Maness
This book is a work of fiction any resemblance to those living or dead is coincidental. This book may not be copied in part or whole without prior permission.
This book is dedicated to my husband. Larry, I am thankful for every day I have with you. Thank you for always believing in me and supporting me in my dreams. There is a little of you in every one of my heroes.
Katherine Mayfield glanced at the clock and swallowed a sigh as her teacher droned on and on. She was a senior, ready for the year to be over and ready to move on with her life. High school had grown old and she was excited for the next chapter. She already knew she would be going to UT Knoxville in the fall and couldn’t wait to leave. So far the year had dragged horribly and today seemed to be moving especially torturous; first period felt as though it would never end. It was the same routine, the same classes, and as much as she liked them all, the same friends. She was set to graduate in the top ten of her class, she was a good student; she was just ready for a change.
Katherine supposed it didn’t help any that she and her boyfriend of three years had just broken up. They had been happy and making plans to attend college together until he had spent the previous summer in California with his cousin and his family. She didn’t know what had happened and changed while he was out there but he had come home a different person. He had dumped her, claiming it was because they were now going different directions in life; he had decided to go to UC Berkley. Katherine was pretty sure it was more because she had refused to sleep with him when he had put pressure on her.
The classroom door opened and Katherine glanced up as the senior counselor entered with a new student in tow. His gaze was brooding as he scanned the room, his posture defensive, and his clothing that of an intentional misfit. His pants were at least a couple of sizes too large and his shirt equally as ill fitting. His scuffed up combat boots completed his look. Her gaze traveled back up to his face and she was immediately struck by his dark brown eyes that sparked defiance almost as though he expected trouble. He was tall and slender with shaggy brown hair, his nose straight and his jaw set in a hard line. He was clearly trouble and Katherine prided herself on steering clear of trouble so what was this odd pull she felt?
Adam avoided the curious gazes of the students who sat studying him as he glanced around the room. The usual mix of students sat in the desks; they were pretty much the same wherever his mother landed them. He hated starting new schools and he’d had plenty of practice over the years. He was ready for graduation; he intended to bid his mom farewell and bid farewell to this God forsaken Tennessee city his mom had dragged him off to. He wasn’t sure where he intended to go yet but Tennessee did not now nor would it ever make his list of places he wanted to live.
He found a redhead in the fourth row watching him curiously and arched a brow; he expected her to glance away. Instead she smiled widely at him and Adam smiled in return. She was cute: too cute. Girls that cute were always trouble.
“Okay, Adam, have a seat,” the teacher instructed.
There were two seats open: one behind the too cute redhead and one behind a guy in a football jersey. Adam decided to take his chances behind the too cute redhead; he and football players had never gotten along particularly well. He slid into his desk and found the redhead watching him with clear green eyes. She turned when the teacher started to speak and Adam found himself admiring the way the girl’s hair hung in loose curls. As soon as class ended the girl turned and smiled again.
“Hi, I’m Katherine, you can call me Kattie, all of my friends do,” she smiled and offered her hand.
Adam could only stare at her a moment; was this girl for real? She didn’t even know him and she seemed to be extending friendship.
“Adam Ellington,” he finally took her hand, it was soft and small in his.
“Welcome to Jackson and Northside, Adam; I’ll see you around,” she smiled as she stood and gathered her things.
Adam watched her move toward the door only to be stopped by another student. Her brow drew down as the guy spoke to her; she began to shake her head and seemed to be arguing. Adam found himself curious about their history. None of his business, he reminded himself and looked down at his schedule. He frowned; what were the numbers and letters beside his classes supposed to mean? He stood and went to ask the teacher.
“Kattie, if I wrote you a pass would you mind giving Adam a tour?” she requested.
“I would be happy to, Mrs. White,” Katherine assured her.
Adam didn’t miss the angry color in her cheeks or the way the guy she had been speaking with eyed him in dislike. Definitely some history there, Adam mused.
“Come on, Adam, this place can be a little confusing,” Katherine was smiling at him again. “There are four buildings and a few portables; we’re on the south campus now which is indicated with an S.” She went on to explain the letters and numbers and then gave him a quick walk through the blue and yellow hallways, library, and cafeteria.
“This building houses the south cafeteria; there’s a north cafeteria as well as a north and south gym,” she pushed the gym door open for the building they were in before she led him up a set of stairs to the second floor; she had already shown him the basement. A moment later they were crossing a breezeway.
“This building houses the drama department, band, art, chorus, and so on,” she explained. The building still smelled of new paint. She led him across a parking lot to another breeze way off the original building and into the middle building and explained that it housed vo-tech classes. They crossed another breezeway and entered a flat square building; Katherine made the rounds through it.
“Where are you from, Adam?” she queried. He had barely said two words since she had started her tour.
“Pittsburg most recently but I’ve lived all over,” he admitted.
“Then I am sure you have seen schools bigger than this one,” she cocked her head at him. His brown eyes were watching her closely; she shifted self-consciously.
“Sure, just not so spread out,” he shrugged.
“Originally this was the high school and the first building we were in was the junior high but they redid our system and now the whole thing is the high school. Jackson isn’t a large city but there are only three high schools to serve city and county,” she explained. “Northside here on the north end of town, Southside on the south end of town and Jackson Central Merry at…”
“Midtown,” he guessed.
“Right,” she smiled.
“So have you got all that?” she asked.
Adam studied her a moment.
“What?” Katherine frowned and glanced behind her.
“Just wondering why you’re being so nice to me; you look like one of the popular girls.”
“I’m a people person; I like people,” she offered.
“You must not have known the ones I’ve known,” he grinned at her.
“Probably not; I’ve lived right here in Jackson, Tennessee my whole life,” she smiled in return.
“I think I’ve got all that, thanks.”
“Sure,” she shrugged. “I’ll see you around, Adam,” Katherine turned and walked away.
Adam smiled as he watched her go. In all the schools he had been in and out of and all of the people he had met none who intrigued him quite like the one walking away.
Katherine smiled at her friends as she set her tray on the table and prepared to join them. The day had finally seemed to pick up once she got through first period and met their new student; she had found herself thinking about him on and off all day.
“Hey, Kattie,” Tessa greeted.
“Hey, Tess,” she returned as she slid into the seat beside her. Katherine and the brunette had been friends since grade school.
“Have you seen the new student?” Stephanie asked as she fanned herself. The petite blonde had been in grade school with Katherine and Tessa as well.
“I have, very hot,” Tessa agreed.
“He’s in my second period class; he never spoke a word the whole time,” Stephanie shared.
“He’s in my first period, Mrs. White had me give him a tour,” Katherine gained her friends undivided attention. She smiled as they all watched her avidly.
“So, tell us more about him,” Tessa prompted.
“He was rather quiet,” Katherine shrugged. “I did learn he moved here from Pittsburg.”
“There he is,” Tessa nodded as he emerged from the one of the food lines and scanned the room.
Katherine watched his gaze bounce off people as though he was uncomfortable meeting their gaze. When his gaze passed over her, it lingered a moment before he looked away and moved to an empty table at the side of the room. Katherine smiled as she stood.
“Excuse me,” she said to her friends and moved off without any further explanation.
Adam had just pulled his headphones over his ears and cranked up Nirvana’s In Utero when he felt a tap on his shoulder; he jumped and turned to find Katherine at his elbow.
“You startled me,” he yanked his headphones off his ears.
“Sorry,” she smiled, “I didn’t realize you were listening to music. Is this seat saved for anyone?” she nodded to an empty chair.
“Yeah, I’m saving it for all the groupies who will be crowding me at any moment,” he came back; she grinned.
“I’ll take that as a no,” she sank into the seat and propped her chin in her hand.
Adam found himself admiring the way her green shirt complimented her eyes.
“So just where all have you lived, Adam?”
“Boston, Reno, Los Angeles, and a few more stops in there. You said you’ve lived here your whole life?”
“Yes, boring huh?” she scrunched her nose up.
Adam smiled at the gesture.
“So, Adam, do you always make a point of finding an empty table and hiding during lunch?” Katherine asked him; he shrugged.
“I don’t know anyone.”
“You know me.”
“I just met you; I wasn’t going to barge in on your friends,” he argued.
“Did I not tell you I am a people person? I never meet a stranger. Come sit with us, Adam, be social, live dangerously,” she invited.
Adam found himself smiling at her, “Lead the way.”
Katherine was smiling as she stood and led the way through the crowded lunch room to where her friends sat. They immediately made room for him without question.
“Hey, everybody, this is Adam. Adam: Tessa, Stephanie, Mark, Mandy, Brandon, and Jack,” Katherine made the introductions.
“Hi,” Adam nodded and tried not to fidget under their scrutiny. He was suddenly having flashbacks to Sesame Street and the ‘one of these things is not like the others’ song; he was the ‘not like the others.’
“Kattie said you’re from Pittsburg,” Tessa, her eyes bright with curiosity, made conversation.
“Most recently,” Adam acknowledged.
“Where are you from originally?”
“New York but we’ve moved all over,” Adam shared.
“Is your dad in the army?” Brandon questioned.
“No, it’s just me and mom.”
“What do you think of Tennessee?” Mark asked him.