Thanks so much for all the encouragement last week! I’m sorry I got so down, but it happens sometimes, and I’m trying to keep my road to getting my books published real.
You get to see the ups and sadly the downs.
But on to happier things! I’ve been making progress on the new book, Moonlight, and I’m very excited about the way it’s going. I feel like it’s really moving along now.
Also, in July I’ll be heading to Washington DC for the National RWA writing conference. I’ll be pitching Night Walker there, so I’m excited and frantically working to be sure I can make the most of the trip…
This week’s story is dedicated to my daughter, Panda. She’s just finishing her first year of Junior College, but I used to enjoy hearing stories and watching her with her group of high school buds over the years.
I’ve never written Young Adult books, but I do think it’s a really cool time in your life. You’re right on the edge of being an adult, but conscious enough to know you want to enjoy every last day as a kid.
So I hope you enjoy the story and maybe recognize some of your old high school friends…
Thanks for reading!
The Loser Group – Lisa Kessler
My name is Tina, and I’m a loser. Not in the Weight Watchers kind of way, this isn’t a self-help group. We’re just a group of friends in high school. Why are we losers? Well, I guess that would depend on who you asked.
None of us are very good at conforming. None of us get invitations to the kind of rich-kid parties you see in the movies. None of us play team sports to represent our school, and we’re not in ASB to plan crazy hair day. (What does having bad hair have to do with school spirit anyway?) So we’re not in the popular group or the jock group. We don’t fit in with the geeks or nerds, and we’re not in the marching band.
We’re originals, odd balls, the round pegs people try to shove into square holes. Or maybe we’re the losers because of Archer, or Jim, or Marcy. Or maybe it’s because of me and Amy. It’s really tough to know for sure.
The bottom line is, we love our Loser Group and we’re not about to change.
So who are we? I guess I should start with Archer. He’s a good guy as far as high school boys go. His parents were avid Dungeons and Dragons gamers, so his Mom named him after her best character, an archer elf. Thank God they didn’t make his middle name elf! He can’t shoot a bow and arrow, but he’s really good at Algebra II and always available for after-school Loser tutorials.
Then there’s Jim. He’s our group’s philosopher. He can ponder over something as simple as which Chuck Norris movie was the most kick ass. Before school let out last June, he tried to convince us that Good Guys Wear Black was Chuck Norris’ best film, but I’m a Delta Force girl all the way.
Marcy was on Jim’s side in the Chuck Norris debate, but we expected that. She’s had a crush on Jim for the past two years. He likes her too, but they’re both to shy to say anything. The rest of us are just sadistic enough not to tell either of them how the other one feels. If they haven’t gotten together by prom time, I’ll probably cave and tell Jim. Someone in our group should go to prom, right?
Amy is my best friend. We went to elementary school together, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. Well, not completely inseparable. She’s had a few boyfriends over the past couple years that cut into our girl time, but I don’t hold it against her. Just because I think most guys are a waste of oxygen doesn’t mean she has to shun them too.
So we’re the Losers, and we’re proud to be part of Granite Rock High. Well, most of the time we’re proud. Crazy Hair Day and Pajama Day are definitely not-so-proud moments.
I start my senior year of high school today. I’m in a quandary over what to wear, and my best friend, Amy, and I decided on a whim to dye our hair blue last night. It seemed like a great idea at the time.
Oh yeah, it’s gonna be an amazing year.
"Hey Loser!" Amy yelled and waved, flagging me down at her driveway.
"Nice hair, Smurf," I grinned. "Get in…"
I drive a cherry red convertible, and I’m also in charge of hauling Amy around for now. Her car died over the summer. We had a memorial service and shared our favorite memories of fun in her car. Then it was time to make carpool plans.
"How cool is this? We get to park in the senior parking lot this year!" Amy said. "We’re seniors! Us!"
I laughed, "Yeah, finally!"
But it did feel cool to pull into the lot right in the front of the school. I turned off the car and grabbed my notebook off the backseat.
"Tina? What’d you do to your hair?"
I turned around to find Archer walking toward my car. He’d grown at least five inches over summer, and suddenly his shoulders were broad and his neck was solid instead of the skinny Ichabod Crane neck I was used to. He looked… God he actually looked kinda… Hot.
I wet my dry lips and remembered how to smile. "You like it?"
Okay so he didn’t get a lot smarter over summer.
"Amy and I thought it’d be fun to kick off the year with some color."
Archer glanced over at Amy and then smiled at me. Oh my God he got his braces off over summer too! My heart fluttered a little at the sight of his new sparkling white smile. Good thing he still had some pimples left on his forehead or he’d be way out of our group’s league.
"You got your braces off." Way to state the obvious, Tina.
Why was I being such a dork? This was Archer. The same guy who dipped his french fries into his chocolate milkshake everyday at lunch. He tutored me for my math final last year; which I aced by the way. So why was I so nervous all of a sudden?
"Yeah, I got them off last week," he said. "I like your hair. I wasn’t teasing you about it or anything. I think it’s… cool."
"Thanks." I shook my short mop of royal blue curls. "I like it too."
Amy came over and gave Archer a big hug. "Wow, Arch, you got huge over summer! What’d you eat?"
His face turned beat red. "I dunno. Just food."
Amy smiled. "Well you look good, Arch." She looked over at me then. "Adios Muchachos! I gotta get to my Spanish class all the way over in the one hundred building. Meet you back here for lunch. Okay?"
"Yep, we’ll be here," I replied as Amy disappeared into the crowd. I looked up at Archer and started to smile. "I guess I better head toward my photo class."
"Can I walk you?"
"Sure," I said, ignoring the way my heart skipped a beat when he smiled. We walked toward the photo class, talking about nothing, but that was one of our specialties. It wasn’t until we reached the door that our conversation dried up.
"Thanks for the company, Archer."
My knees went a little weak when he met my eyes. We stayed like that for a minute until someone bumped into Archer’s back, knocking him in closer to me. He started to blush again, and I caught myself wondering when my friend got so cute.
"I guess I better go," he said. "Can I meet up with you later?"
"Sure. I have creative writing next period."
"So do I," he grinned.
"Cool. I guess I’ll see you there."
"Yeah," he nodded. "Definitely."
He started to go and stopped and turned around. "I really do like your hair, Tina."
"Thanks Archer! See you next period."
I watched him wade into the current of students and vanish before I went into my photo class. Plopping into a chair at the back of the room, I felt dazed and unable to wipe the smile from my face. Apparently my senior year was going to be full of surprises. Our group was changing. I thought about the way Archer had looked down at me, and my heart thudded. I grinned.
Yeah, this was definitely going to be a great year.