"Gabe!" called Jennie, threading her way through the groups of people to sit beside me.
"Hey, Jen," I replied, grinning at her and sliding my arm around her waist. "How come you're so late?"
"My dad was being a dick," she said. "Saying he needed to get ready for work and that I was a 'spoilt little brat'."
Secretly I couldn't help but agree with her dad but I just said, "Poor you," and tried not to listen to her rambling on about her hair or something. I'd tried breaking up with her before but she just didn't seem to listen, and whenever I complained about her to my friends most of them didn't understand. All they cared about was looks, and Jen certainly had them, but I was sick to death of her personality. All I wanted was a girl I could have a decent conversation with, and instead I was stuck with a spoilt blonde bimbo who only cared about two things; money and sex. We'd been dating six months and so far I'd only provided her with the first, wanting to make sure I was losing my V with the right girl.
"Are you even listening to me?"
"What the hell? You're supposed to be listening!"
"I'm sorry babe, I just sort of blanked out-"
"What, so I'm boring? Is that what you're saying?" she shrieked. "You know what, screw you! If you're gonna be like that then fine, I don't need you! I'll just go to Chase, he's already been satisfying my other needs for months." I stared at her, shell shocked. Then I whipped round to glare at Chase, probably the person I hated the most in the whole school. He sneered back at me.
"Well that escalated quickly," muttered Kevin, my best friend, from behind me. "Good job bro, sorted out an annoying girlfriend and an arch enemy at the same time, and it's not even nine in the morning." Then he grinned and I couldn't help but smile back. Kev's one of those people who can make you smile no matter what mood you're in, which was one of the reasons he was my best friend. Also he made great sandwiches.
"Sit the hell down!" yelled Mr Spiro, striding in and dumping a pile of papers onto his already overflowing desk. People meandered to their seats whilst Mr Spiro cleared a space on his desk for his laptop and opened up the register.
"Oi! Chase, I said sit the hell down!"
"Sorry sir," muttered Chase, sitting down at a desk at the back with Jen. Mr Spiro's one of those brilliant teachers who knows how to have a good laugh, but still gets respect out of his students and isn't afraid to discipline people if they do something wrong.
"What's up with him?" said Kevin from next to me, making me jump.
"Christ, Kev, you scared the shit out of me," I muttered. "And I dunno, maybe it's just because it's-"
"Excuse me?" said a quiet voice from the door. I looked up to see one of the most beautiful girls I'd ever seen standing nervously in the doorway.
"You must be, um, Ice-lynn?" said Mr Spiro.
"It's pronounced Ash-lynn," replied the girl, smiling slightly. "Don't worry, happens all the time."
"Well, Aislinn, welcome to 11C."
"Thank you, Mr Spiro. Um, where should I sit?"
"There's a space at the back next to Jen, or you could sit next to Gabriel, or there's a spare seat next to Evangeline," said Mr Spiro. I felt my heart speed up when Mr Spiro mentioned my name and found myself desperately hoping that this mystery girl would choose to sit next to me. As she walked past the delicious scent of raspberries drifted into my nostrils and I took a deep breath in, feeling weirdly empty as she went and sat next to Eva.
Throughout the whole lesson I couldn't get the new girl out of my head, and had to resist the urge to turn around and just stare at her as she worked. Although I'd only had a brief glimpse of her as she walked in and went to sit down, I felt as though everything about her was burned into my brain: her bright, intelligent green eyes; her thick, dark red hair tumbling down her back in effortless waves; her perfect porcelain skin; that beautiful, intoxicating smell of raspberries. Her voice was high and clear and her speech was elegant and understated, classy without being showy about it, unlike some of the other girls I knew, including Jen, who always bragged about how wealthy their families were and how Daddy had agreed to buy them a new Mercedes for their birthday.
"So what do you think of the new girl?" I asked Kev casually at the end of the lesson as we packed up.
"She's hot," replied Kevin. "I mean, I don't normally go for redheads but for her I'd make an exception. And she looks like she's a nice person as well. I reckon everyone'll like her, as long as she stays away from Jen and her lot."
"Yeah, but Eva'll look after her."