Girl Code

By: L.D. Davis
Chapter One

“My notebook is missing.” I sighed as I dug through my backpack. I was about to freak out, but then I remembered that Leslie was last to have my notebook. She last had it in the one class we had together. “Leslie, look in your bag. You were last to have it.”

“Oh crap,” she said with her eyes wide and apologetic. “I think I left it there, under my seat.”

I sighed with exasperation as she searched her bag despite her admission. When she began to shake her head, I knew that she had, indeed, carelessly left one of my prized possessions in the classroom where anyone could pick it up and walk away with it.

“Leslie,” I said, trying not to whine as my shoulders slumped.

“I’m sorry,” she replied. “I was distracted and I put it down and forgot. I’ll go get it.”

“I’ll get it myself.” I walked away from her before she could respond and went back into the school.

It was a late afternoon in October and we had just left a meeting for the school paper. Leslie wasn’t much of a writer, but I loved writing with a passion. Leslie was in it for the photography. We had created many scenarios for our futures, like me writing bestselling novels and Leslie designing my covers. I wasn’t really sure how serious she was about the art of picture taking, but I was as serious as a heart attack about writing, which was why it was important that I found my notebook.

Italian was our second to last class. Anything could have happened to it over the past couple of hours. I was feeling a little anxious about it, so I picked up my pace back to Mr. Laredo’s classroom. As I rounded the last corner at full speed, I collided with Leo Pesciano. The books in his hands scattered in all directions onto the floor. Although I was a full-figured girl and Leo was already a tall and solid boy at fifteen, I bounced off of him and fell on my ass. I stared up at him, stunned.

“Damn, Tacky!” Leo said, using the nickname he had given me the first time I ever met him two summers before.

Up until the beginning of the school year when he was unceremoniously dumped into the public school system, Leo was a catholic school brat. He lived a few blocks away from me, so I’d sometimes run into him—though not quite so literally. I had disliked him since I met him that summer. I thought he was obnoxious and arrogant. Most girls drooled at his feet, totally taken in by his blue-green eyes the color of a tropical sea, thick dark hair, and his dark Italian complexion. I wasn’t a prude. I had no problem admitting he was a good-looking guy, but I most definitely was not a drooler.

“Go to hell, Pesciano,” I said as I got to my feet.

“You need to watch where you’re going, Tacky,” he said and started picking up his books and pushing them into his backpack.

“And you still need to go to hell.” I purposely bumped into him as I walked by, making him lose his balance and stumble but not fall. Damn.

“If I were you, I would be a little bit nicer to me,” Leo said at my back.

Amused, I asked, “Why is that?” I looked over my shoulder and my amusement immediately fell right off of my face.

Leo stood, triumphantly holding my notebook in the air over his head.

“I found this after class,” he said as I stalked toward him. “And I was going to return it the next time I saw you, but…” He shook his head slowly as he grinned down at me.

I stood toe to toe with him, too close for my comfort, but I wanted my damn notebook back.

“Give it back, Pesciano,” I demanded and reached for it, but he stretched his arm further.

“Be nice to me,” Leo said contritely. “And I may give it back.”

“I hate you,” I seethed. Again, I reached for the notebook, but Leo took a step back. I lost my balance and staggered forward. Unthinkingly, I put my hands out on his chest to brace myself.

“Oh, dolcezza, I love it when you touch me,” Leo purred.

I snatched my hands away and was preparing to throw another insult at him when he suddenly stepped forward, very much into my personal space. Before I understood what he was doing, he had wrapped one strong arm securely around my neck, pulling me against his body. I gasped as I felt the warmth of his body envelop me. The smell of citrus and leather, and something that reminded me of the beach, made my heart skip two whole beats. Where his skin touched my skin, I felt tiny prickles of electricity. I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t want to understand it.

“Get off of me!” I tried to pry his arm off from around me, but he was strong and determined.

“Let’s read together, shall we?” Leo suggested enthusiastically. He held the notebook in the hand of the arm that was securing me and used his other hand to open the book.