CHAPTER ONE

George sighed. He was watching the volleyball team practice. Jenna was among them. She went for the ball. Each move was calculated. She helped the team defend. She helped the team score. George immediately knew why she was team captain. He also knew why he liked her.

But Jenna was different. In elementary school she was quiet. In high school she was confident. Everyone loved her. She was popular. Everyone liked to talk to her. They looked up to her even for fashion. Jenna was set to be homecoming queen, prom queen-queen everything.

George? He was still awkward. He still had his puppet. He was the weird kid. People didn't mind in elementary school. They were weird too. In high school it mattered. He was too weird for most. He spent his time alone. No one wanted to hang out with him. He focused on his news stories. He wrote for the school paper. Most of his stories didn't make. He couldn't find anyone to interview. That changed when he found the volleyball team. Jenna was friendly to him. She'd always answer his questions. She kept him going.

He knew why he crushed on her. She was perfect. She was a goddess, an angel. He wanted her to be his everything. But he knew that couldn't happen. She had too many options, too many goals. A weirdo like George wasn't on the list. He was off limits. He'd only bring her down.

George told Wally about his crush. Wally told him he was the reason why he'd never get a date. George got his pronouns confused-who was the reason why? Then he realized who said it. He was talking to a puppet. He was voicing said puppet. The problem was from both of them. The puppet because he was strange and sometimes scary; George himself because…well the answer was obvious.

George focused on his work. He wrote articles for the team. They got published. The work was rewarding, so he threw himself into it. It made him happy. His work kept the depression away. But his crush only got deeper.