Only the Best of Friends

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Bells ring, signaling the start of yet another year at North London Secondary. Many are showing up for their first year of secondary school, and many are showing up for their last. All things considered, secondary school marks a new chapter in life, one that defines who you will become and what you will do.

The rain earlier that day had caused a few students to be tardy in their arrival, one of them being Zane Nathaniel Drake, goalkeeper for the school's football team, as well as a senior. His tardiness could also be explained by another thing.

He overslept.

Now normally, Zane wouldn't even dream of being late, especially on the first day of school. But today marked the beginning of the end for him. The night before, he would have admitted to being a bit nervous. But now, striding through the doors on his last first day of school, all of that nervousness was replaced by a cool confidence. He was given a pass by the school's secretary and made his way to his first class of the day: Italian.

"Ci scusiamo per il ritardo, professore." Zane spoke apologetically as he took a seat next to his best friend, who also happened to be taking the same class: Casey Jones.
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Anyone who knew Casey Jones, knew that she was never one to be late or tardie or anything of that sort. As she saw her best friend walk through the doors of the first hour Italian class that they had together, she raised an eyebrow and watched him sit down. She knew Zane better than most people, and she knew that he had more than likely just overslept. Either way, it was all amusing to Casey. The first day of their senior year, and he's already late.

As the class rolled by slower than what Casey had thought, she repeated the phrases the teacher said and then turned to her partner to repeat them. When the bell finally rang, signaling that the first period was finally over, Casey stood and walked out the door with Zane.

"Did you over sleep again?"she asked with a smile as she looked up at her best friend. She stopped to switch out her books and then continued following Zane down the hall just as she had the past four years at the school.

North London Secondary School had been a home to Casey and Zane sense their very first year there, and just as happy as Casey was to get out of the school, she was going to miss it. This had been the place where she learned everything she would need for the next year's of her life.

As Casey walked beside Zane she thought back to their first year as best friends at this school, back when she was even more shy that she is now.
"Yeah, I guess I did." Zane replied as Casey stopped at her locker. Zane walked on ahead, going slowly to allow Casey the chance to catch back up. Zane. Zane was looking forward to this last year, but still was unsure of everything from post-secondary to career choices. He knew that Casey, with her excellent grades, would have scholarships and invitations lined up around the block for her future schooling, but Zane had nothing. He was an average student, at best getting an occasional A-. He was good as a goalkeeper for the football team, but it wasn't enough to warrant any sports scholarships. He knew his uncle was offering him an assistant-manager position at his store, which was brought up just this past summer.

Zane reflected a bit on how the past summer went for him. As he thought a bit more, he started dwelling on the latter half of the break. More specifically, he was thinking about how right before school started, he caught his ex-girlfriend, Mallory, cheating on him. His emotions flared briefly before they quickly subsided as he muttered, "I still can't believe she would do that."
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"What? Who are you talking about?"Casey asked raising an eyebrow at her best friend, clearly confused. Although Casey was very good at reading people's emotions, especially Zanes, she was clueless on what he was talking about so randomly. Then she remembered his ex girlfriend as she walked by her locker standing by some friends.

Casey dropped the conversation, not wanting Zane to get angry, knowing that he could be very scary sometimes. As they kept walking to their next classes, Casey walked by a new guy who caught her eye as she noticed his stare. He was cute, she had to admit, but she was never one to be big on dating. Especially now that it's the last year before they all go their separate ways for life.

She quickly turned her head straight again and thought about the last boyfriend she had had. Matthew. He had broke her heart in two when he cheated on her the year before. She never really held a grudge about it though, she never held grudges on people unless it was against herself.

As Casey walked into her art class, something that she loved more than anything, she sat down at a table and waited for the bell to ring and class to start. The day had barely began but she was ready for it to be over.
As Casey went to what Zane could only assume was her Art class, he made his way further down the "Arts Hallway" into the band room. Zane quickly greeted the teacher, made his way to the closet, and grabbed the largest instrument case in there.

He opened the case and pulled out the cello loaned to him by the school. It was in pristine condition, mostly due to his near-religious obsession with keeping it clean. His hobby with this instrument was something only the other band students knew of.

As he began to play, Zane felt all of his negative emotions melt away. Soon enough, the class ended, amd the teacher pulled him aside.

"Take it with you, Zane. You have more than earned it with all your hard work these past years." The band conductor, Mr. Provost, spoke. Zane lit up even further upon hearing those magnificent words.

"Thanks Mr. P!" Zane exclaimed in response.

As Zane left with the instrument in tow, a few final words were spoken.

"I hope to see you perform for the school sometime."
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When Casey's art class was over, she had finally finished a very well-done drawing she had worked very hard on. As she held up the piece to examine it, she smiled at her work, obviously proud with the glow in her cheeks. After placing up all of her utensils and putting the art supplies away, she slipped her drawing in her bag, excited to add it to her collection in her closet.

No one really knew of the passion and love she has for drawing. Not even Zane understood how much art helped her. Although she was a very shy girl, Casey had a lot of things on her mind. A lot do things that she kept bottled up and wanted to get out.. the only way she knew how was through her art.

As Casey walked to her next class, she waited it out, excited for the day to end so that she could head to practice and then home to relax for awhile. The only sport that Casey really ever did was running. She wasn't skilled enough to do anything else, and she was almost too clumsy to be a runner.

Although she usually ended everyday with a twisted ankle or a sprained knee, Casey loved to run. She was one of the bests on the team too, coming in with almost 1st place I'm every competition she had competed in. She loved feeling the wind behind her and feel her hair swaying in the air. Just the thought made her smile.
The rest of the first day went by really quickly for Zane, as his other classes were simply "Welcome Back"s from the teachers. It also helped that he now had the cello, his cello, with him.

As he was going to his car he noticed Casey walking by, who seemed slightly exuberant for some reason or other. He gave her a quick wave, but was then forcefully turned around.

He found himself staring into the face of Derreck King, star kicker for the North London Wasps, who was flanked by his cronies: Valentine Rosik and Darien James, who were also members of the football team.

"We saw you come out of the band room, man. We thought you were cool like us, but then we have to catch you with those band fags," Derreck spoke ominously, "It looks as if we have to teach you a lesson."

That was all Zane heard before he felt a sharp pain on the back of his head and everything went black.
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Casey wasn't sure what exactly had happened, seeing it go by so fast. All she knew was that one second she was waving back at Zane, and then the next thing he was on the ground and she was hovering over him stopping a bunch of guys from beating him to a pulp. Although they had gotten quite a few good hits in, she blocked some from hitting him and instead got her. She didn't care about her right now though, she had to get Zane inside to the nurse.

After she got him on the bed and the nurse began examining him, she cleaned his cuts and patched them up before leaving Casey alone to fix her cuts and wait for Zane to wake up. Casey waited impatiently, wanting Zane to wake up so she knew he was okay, but she never left his bed side.

She wrapped her bruised wrist and put a bandaid over a cut on her cheek, but the bruises and cuts over her body were nothing compared to what Zane had been put through. She let a few tears slip out as she tried to wait for him to wake up.
Zane woke up after a bit and noticed, quite immediately, that Casey was sitting by his side. The next thing that he noticed were the cheesy, cliché nurse's office posters, allowing him to identify his location as the nurses office.

"Hey, did you see anything happen to the case I had with me?" Zane said weakly to his best friend.
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"I put it in your car. I don't think anything bad happened to it. You should be more worried about you moron,"Casey said shaking her head at him and chuckling a little."How do you feel? I can go get the nurse so she can give you some pain killers,"she suggested, worried for her best friend.

Casey waited beside Zane and sat patiently now that she knew he was somewhat least okay enough to wake up. As she sighed, she looked back at him and moved a piece of hair away from on of his cuts and put a bandaid on it."I hate you sometimes,"she says.
"Don't worry, I hate myself too, sometimes." Zane joked before entering a coughing fit. "You know, this probably means that I'm off the team."

Zane sighed after his coughing subsided, knowing he had probably taken a severe beating.

"Did you drive here, or did you ride the bus? Because if you didn't drive, I'm gonna have to take you home." Zane asked of Casey.
"Don't worry about the team right now. Just rest. I'll take you home and then I'll walk home from your house,"Casey said sighing as she stood up and took his keys out of his pocket, not wanting him to argue later.

"We can leave as soon as you feel better and are able to walk straight without falling over,"she said looking at him as she stuck the keys in her pocket and waited for the nurse to tell them it was okay to leave.
"Then let's go. I don't want to waste any time waiting for any small pains to go away." Zane said before getting up off of the cot in the nurse's office.
Casey rolled her eyes at her stubborn best friend and walked beside him towards his car. When they got there she made sure he was okay getting in the passage side before she hurried and buckled into the drivers side. After she started the car, a little nervous to be driving since it was always Zane who did that, she carefully drove towards Zane familiar house. After parking and turning the car off, she decided to help him inside.

After Zane was placed in his room and she was sure he wasn't going to fall off the bed or something, she handed him the keys and smiled. "Are you sure you're okay?"she asked looking at him."They got you pretty good."
"I'm fine," Zane said before letting out another bout of coughs, "Really, just trust me." Zane snapped his seat belt in place and leaned back into the seat.

"Can I ask you something?" Zane questioned.
"Of course,"Casey said curiously, looking over at Zane as she drove. "What is it?"she asked after a minute of silence.
"I saw you looking at the new guy earlier. Not that I'm going to stop you, but didn't you say you weren't interested in dating anyone after Matthew?" Zane said, trying to gather some information. Not that he would admit it, he felt very protective of Casey, even to the point of beating Matthew to a pulp after what he did.
"Well I wasn't. But I can't be sad forever, right? I mean.. I have to move on from Matthew at one point. I'm completely over him, but what he did still hurts and the best way to move on from that it try something different. I can't be alone forever. And besides, he's cute,"Casey said with a chuckle."I'm not saying I'm going to date him, but I might consider it.. who knows what can change between now and tomorrow,"she teases.

"How about you? Find any lucky girl to stir your heart?"she asked quietly,glancing at him.
Zane looked over at Casey and then shook his head. "No. Nobody yet. I guess I'm still hung up on Mallory. I thought she was the one." Zane looked into the back seat and saw his cello in its case. "I'll be fine now that I have the cello to distract me."
Casey sighed and chuckled a little,"If you say so. Here, we're finally home,"she said with a chuckle. As she jumped out, she turned off the car and locked it before helping Zane into his house. After Zane and his cello was in his room, she looked at him seriously.

"Call me later so I know you're okay. I can stay for awhile if you want me to watch out for you.. and I'm serious, do not be driving. I'll come over and pick you up for school tomorrow and if you need a ride anywhere else I can drive until I know you're okay,"she said smirking."Bye,"she said kissing his cheek softly before walking away.
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