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Senior Week Crush

Senior Week Crush

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She finally has a chance with the guy of her why on earth is she kissing her worst enemy?

Layla's been waiting her entire life for a chance to get close to her crush, Dylan. Now Dylan's finally single and he's started to notice her existence. He even asked if she was going to Senior Week, the last hoorah at the beach before graduation day.

Of course she's going, this is destiny calling. The only problem? She doesn't have a ride.

Unfortunately, her irritating arch nemesis, Jack Abrams, has the solution. He'll give her the ride she needs...on one condition. If Layla agrees to sing for his band, she'll have her dream vacation with her lifelong crush.

But once she's on the road with Jack, nothing goes according to plan.

Her first kiss is with the wrong guy, she starts to suspect that her lifelong crush doesn't even know her name, and the guy she's sure she hates turns out to be...kind of amazing. 

Main Tropes

  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Road Trip Romance
  • Rockstar Vibes

Intro Into Chapter 1

I’m the first to admit that I temporarily lost my mind. But really, when the guy you’ve been crushing on since forever turns your way in calculus class with that perfect smile and says, “What about you, Layla, are you going to Senior Week?”—you’re going to say yes.

Or at least, I did.

But try explaining that to Amy. My best friend was not having it. Backlit by the fluorescent glow of our high school cafeteria, she vaguely resembled a frizzy, red-headed interrogator as she peered at me across the aluminum table. I didn’t hold out on her. I described every minute detail as she ate her lunch of tuna on rye. I breathlessly told her everything, from the way his eyes met mine to the way he’d smiled in response to my answer. 

At the end, her response was not what I’d hoped.

“You said yes? Why?” Her freckled nose was scrunched up in disgust like I’d just told her I’d said yes to weekly accordion lessons rather than a week of fun on the beach. I knew what she was getting at—up until that life-changing moment, I had not, in fact, planned on attending Senior Week with my peers. But he had asked. I couldn’t say no.

Before I could explain that, her face fell and she let out a little sigh of disappointment. “Oh no….”

Oh yes. She knew me too well. Sometimes it was annoying. It wasn’t like I expected her to jump for joy over this plan, but a little support would be nice. But Amy had never approved of my crush on Dylan Yates, my next door neighbor since kindergarten. And, in her defense, up until a week ago, it may have been a bit pathetic. But now the tides had turned. With just days remaining before graduation, the moment I’d been waiting for had finally arrived. 

What was this cataclysmic event that shifted my fate forevermore? 

Dylan and Stephanie had finally broken up. 

When they first got together, way back in the fifth grade, I hadn’t been too alarmed. Even at eleven I knew that middle school relationships weren’t destined to last long. My older sister assured me that they had the lifespan of a gnat. Everyone knew that it wouldn’t last. 

Well, apparently no one told Dylan and Steph because they stayed together—sickeningly, disgustingly, happily together—for the next seven years. Seven! Who did that? It was like they were out to set some kind of world record or something. 

But then, last week, word had spread that the epic union of Stylan had come to an end. No one knew why exactly—and quite frankly, I didn’t care. I had almost given up hope. Almost. But now was my chance. I just needed him to see me as something more than the nice girl next door. And what better opportunity than Senior Week when there would be parties and concerts and bonfires on the beach? 

If that didn’t scream romance, I don’t know what did.

The only problem was, I hadn’t exactly planned on going. Truth be told, I’d made a bit of a stink about how lame it would be and how it was just one more way for the popular crowd to reign supreme over the rest of us losers. 

I imagine that was one of the reasons that Amy was scowling at me over her muffin. 

She was on some weird all all-natural diet that seemed to consist of a daily consumption of bizarre grains that I’d never heard of before. The other day she’d eaten a protein bar made out of cricket flour. 

I tried a bite and yes, it was just as disgusting as it sounds.

Hopefully some of her current anger was due to the diet and not my announcement.

“You are acting like an idiot.” Little crumbs flew out of her mouth when she spoke.

I leaned over the table, casting a quick glance around to make sure no one could hear us. “Please, Amy. I really, really want to go.”

It’s not like I needed her permission or anything, but I did need her car. And more importantly, her driver’s license. I was probably the only senior who didn’t drive but as far as I knew I was also the only one heading to New York City for college in the fall, and who needed to drive in the city? That’s what subways were for.

She set down the muffin with a little too much force and it promptly crumbled into a million pieces. “Look, even if I didn’t think this was a useless, ridiculous plan—”

Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence.

“I still wouldn’t be able to drive you to the Jersey shore. I’m going to visit my cousins in Maryland that week, remember?”

I fell back into my seat. Crap. I’d completely forgotten about that.

Some of Amy’s irritation over my plan seemed to thaw in the face of my pathetic sigh. 

After a moment of silence, she offered, “Maybe one of the others is going?”

‘The others’ were our friends in the theater crowd. But her expression looked doubtful as she spoke and I just rolled my eyes. Out of everyone in the theater department, Amy and I were probably the least… how shall I put it? Clicky? They weren’t mean bullies or anything, they just had a tendency to stick to themselves. They were definitely not joiners.

Not that Amy and I were social butterflies but we were slightly more well-rounded in our social lives. We were known to go to the occasional non-drama party and took part in some other clubs. Like Amy and her art class and me on the school paper. So if we hadn’t even considered going to the uber-joiner, popular-kid-getaway that was Senior Week, odds were the others hadn’t either. As a rule, our school’s arts and drama crowd tended to look down on anything that had the slightest tinge of school spirit. 

Normally, I turned my nose up at that kind of thing too, but this was different. This was my chance. 

This was fate.

I made the mistake of using the F-word with Amy and I could see her biting her lip to keep from laughing. Taking my hands in hers, her bright red curls fell over her shoulder as she leaned in toward me. “No offense, Layla. I mean, you know I love you more than anyone in the world and I think you are the best but… if Dylan hasn’t noticed you by now, after you’ve been right in front of his face his entire life, what makes you think he’ll notice you now?”

I braced myself against a stab of pain at her words. She was right, of course, but sometimes I wished she would at least pretend to believe that I stood a chance. I didn’t need her to like Dylan or believe that he was perfect, I just needed her to believe in me and what I knew to be true. 

That we were meant to be.

But she was still waiting for an answer and I knew she wouldn’t buy any more talk of fate or kismet. For an artist, Amy was terribly practical like that. So I found myself saying, “Because I’ll make him see me.” 

She blinked a few times as if surprised by my answer. That was when I realized I sounded far more confident than I felt. Still, her sudden change in attitude was heartening. Amy even smiled a little. “Well, that’s more like it.” She let go of my hands and crossed her arms over her chest. “Okay, so what’s the plan?”

Uh, the plan?

“What are you going to say to him?” she asked. “If you go, I mean. Are you going to tell him once and for all how you feel?”

Amy’s brows rose and her lips pursed as she stared me down. It was a challenge, pure and simple. There was only one answer I could give if I wanted to face myself in the mirror or truly be able to say that I gave fate every chance. I never ever wanted to live with regrets. “Yes.” I took a deep breath and said it a little louder and with far more confidence than I felt. “Yes, I’m going to tell him. No matter what.”

Amy’s face broke into a wide grin. “Well then, that changes things.” Jumping up from her bench, she reached out and grabbed my arm, tugging me toward the cafeteria door. “Come on then, let’s figure out how to get you to the beach.”

* * *

Finding a ride was easier said than done. Amy helped, despite her many and varied lectures on why this was a bad idea. 

To clarify, she approved of me sharing my feelings but thought I was stupid to go to Senior Week to do it.

“He lives next door, why do you have to drive to Jersey just to say I like you?”

Seriously? It was like the whole concept of romance was lost on this one. Probably for the best. We evened each other out like that. I was the romantic, she was the practical one. Just like she was loud and I was quiet. She wore trendy clothes, and I wore hippie-ish clothes—not for fashion reasons, mainly just because I liked to be comfortable and nothing was comfier than loose-fitting tank tops and long, swaying skirts. The biggest difference between us was in our looks. With her vivid red hair, curvy figure, and form-fitting clothes, Amy stood out. She welcomed attention and thrived on being in the spotlight. 

I, on the other hand, had a tendency to fade into the woodwork. I was short, petite, and had long plain brown hair that acted like a shield most of the time. The ironic part was, though she loved the spotlight in real life, I was the one determined to make it big on Broadway. I was the actress, the singer, and dancer. I was the triple threat. Amy, meanwhile, acted in the school plays but her true love was art so she was far more interested in the backstage roles like costume and set design.

She gave me a ride home after school—I might not drive but I was a senior, there was no way in hell I was taking the school bus. We were still half a block away when I heard it. Band practice. I couldn’t help but grin, even though Amy was rolling her eyes. I was leaning forward in my seat by the time she rolled to a stop in front of my house which was right next to Dylan’s. My parents hated Dylan’s band with a vengeance. Well, more like they hated that the band practiced in the Yates’s garage next door. 

But I loved it. 

I scrambled to undo my seat belt and ignored Amy’s pleading to just tell Dylan how I felt already so we could all move on with our lives. 

“Thanks for the ride,” I called as I slammed the door mid-speech.

I loved Amy but she just didn’t understand. 

The band was all there, obviously, and for the first time in a long time Stephanie was not. Do not squeal for joy, Layla James. Do not do it.

It’s not like I didn’t like Stephanie. It was hard not to like her, she was a sweet girl. Annoyingly pretty, perhaps, and way too chipper for my liking, but nice. Sooo nice. Unbearably nice.

But today Little Miss Sunshine was nowhere to be seen. It was just the guys in the band and they were finishing up one of their songs. I walked toward the open garage slowly. 

This was my chance. None of my friends could drive me to the beach, but maybe, just maybe, I could get a ride from Dylan. We were neighbors, after all. And he’s the one who asked if I was going.

I heard Amy’s car start to pull away and went into panic mode. My eyes flickered toward my own front door, which looked incredibly appealing. 

Man up, Layla. There were two weeks left before high school was over forever and mere months before I went off to New York for college at NYU. What did I have to lose?

I recognized the song they were playing—it was a fast-paced number that they always played at their shows. And yes, I had been to every one of their shows. Dylan looked adorable as ever on his bass but he was so focused on the instrument in his hands that he didn’t see me coming up the drive. The singer, Brent, a former student of Midland High was doing his typical talk-singing thing that he did, which ended up making him sound like a bad version of Bob Dylan. The song was almost over, I recognized the last verse. I slowed my approach so I’d reach the garage at the perfect time.

But then the lead guitar came to a sudden stop and so did my heart. The lead guitarist had spotted me. Oh no, not now.

“Lay lady lay!” Jack Abrams shouted that stupid nickname into his mic so the entire neighborhood could hear my humiliation.

Jack was my least favorite member of the band. Every girl wanted him, every guy wanted to be him…. And he knew it. So cool, so smug, so arrogant, he was pretty much everything I disliked in a guy. Also? He made me nervous. Not just because he was Mr. Too Cool for School but because insisted on calling attention to me with that stupid nickname every time he saw me. 

He was another senior but he’d transferred to our school last year and for a reason I could never understand, Dylan had befriended him and the two of them had started up the band, which was an instant hit among our peers. In my opinion, their popularity had more to do with Dylan than the actual music but whatever the reason, they were Midland High’s version of The Beatles. 

Jack was grinning at me now. No, not grinning. Smirking. I don’t know what I ever did to him but whenever I’m around he seems to go out of his way to make me miserable. Like now. I snuck a glance at Dylan but he was still frowning down at the equipment as he fiddled with a dial on an amp.

“Are you our new groupie?” Jack asked.

Yup. It was official. I hated him.

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