Waiting Fate Online - By W.B. Kinnette

Prologue

Ten years ago — Seventh Grade

“Archer, right?” She smiled as she swung open the locker next to the one he leaned against.

“Yeah…” He looked over at the pretty brunette. He’d seen her around but had never talked to her before, and he couldn’t say for certain he knew her name.

“We went to elementary together.” She didn’t look at him while she dug through her locker, emptying everything into the bag sitting at her feet.

“We did?”

“Yep.”

“I… don’t remember you.”

She grinned as she rose to her feet. “They moved the school boundaries and transferred me halfway through third grade.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Kinda like they’re doing now?”

Her grin faded and her face fell. “Yeah.” It was the middle of their seventh grade year, but because of boundary changes again, half the school was being transferred to a brand new junior high across town.

The hall looked dimmer without her bright smile, and he wanted to bring it back. “But it’s only two years, right? Then we’ll be together again.” Realizing what he was implying, he felt his cheeks flame. “I mean, we’ll all be together again. In high school.”

That mischievous grin erupted across her face and made her big, dark brown eyes sparkle. “Of course.”

“Hey, Ivy.” Archer’s best friend, Austin, leaned around him to wave. His short, spiky blond hair poked Archer in the side of the face.

“Hey, Austin. Sorry you’ll have to get a new locker neighbor. Not my choice,” she said.

“Yeah, it sucks. Wish you weren’t going,” Austin said, and Archer wondered why Austin had never talked to her while he was around before.

“Have you been locker neighbors all year?” he asked.

“Yup. He’s gonna miss me quite a bit.” Ivy’s eyes sparkled again.

“Of course I am,” Austin said.

“Ivy! Come on — the bus is leaving!” A blonde girl, one whose name Archer did know — Gigi, called as she bounced on her toes by the doorway.

“Oh crap. I gotta go.” Ivy threw her arms around Austin and then Archer. “I’ll see you both in two years. Don’t forget me!” she called over her shoulder as she snatched up her bag and raced down the dull green-tiled hallway.

“She’s cute,” Archer said, watching her go.

“Yeah, she is. You should have decided that sooner.”

“Yeah, well, you could have introduced me sooner.” Archer frowned at him.

“Dude, did I not ever introduce you? How did that happen? I thought I did.”

Archer shook his head, his eyes following her tiny form as she disappeared in the crowds.

****

Three years later — Sophomore year

“Did you hear Ivy and Shawn broke up?” Austin said as he set his tray on the table and scooted a chair out with his foot. Archer sat in the cafeteria, surrounded by his four best friends — Austin, of course, Jay, Gunner, and Max. Archer looked up from his tray but said nothing.

“Yeah, I knew a few days ago,” Gunner said glumly, pushing his fork around his tray.

“Let me guess. You asked her out already,” Jay said and Gunner glared at him.

They all burst out laughing and Gunner forced a smile. “Yeah. She told me she wasn’t ready to date anyone else yet.”

“Well, yeah, dude. Ivy and Shawn were together for over a year. She’s not gonna date someone else the next day,” Austin pointed out.

“It’s fine. I’ll wait,” Gunner said.

Across the lunchroom, Ivy appeared in the doorway, glancing uncertainly around the room before retreating out of view. The breakup seemed to throw her out of her comfort zone. Every time Archer had seen her since, she’d been nervous and uncomfortable.

“I’m asking her to prom,” Max said.

“You’re what?” Gunner yelled.

Jay started laughing. “Gunner, you don’t have dibs on her.”

“I’ve liked her longer than anybody. You can’t ask her to prom. I’m going to ask her to prom!”

“It was my idea!” Max retorted, color rising to his already ruddy cheeks. His brown curls seemed to stand more on end than usual. Archer sat back, watching with interest.

“Well, that might not be true,” Austin said with deceptive mildness, his one brown eye and one green eye sparkling like he was excited at the prospect of a fight. The table fell silent as they all looked at Austin.

“What’s not true?” Max asked.

“That Gunner’s liked her the longest.” Archer’s eyes widened as he realized what Austin was about to say, but he wasn’t fast enough to cut him off. “Archer liked her in seventh grade. Maybe even since third grade. We can’t remember.”

Every pair of eyes turned on Archer and he glared, furious, at Austin.

“Have you ever even talked to