Happy 19th birthday to my best friend and ex-girlfriend, Embasan - go wish her a happy birthday!

While Ava was usually just a small red speck in the crowd, there was not a single person who did not take notice of her as she sprinted past her fellow students. Her last class of the day was held in the building furthest away from the buses and it took her every precious second to make it on time on normal days. Sadly, it was the Friday before her school let out for spring break and she wasn't taking any chances, especially when her stop had switched to an unfamiliar bus.

Her dyed hair whipped behind her as she ran past slower walkers and jumped over the occasional random backpack. Her blue and green beads jingled chaotically in her haste and her own backpack was flung from shoulder to shoulder as it continually slipped off with every step. More relaxed students jeered as she ran past and shouted after her - everything from encouragements to insults as she nearly crashed into a sophomore on a skateboard.

The pavement had no mercy for her five-foot-two frame as each step landed harder the one before, causing a constant shudder to ricochet from her delicate ankles up into her slender throat and down to her pumping arms. Her desperate eyes sought her bus number with a crazed fervor, the golden brown brightening in unadulterated joy. With a minute to spare Ava swung herself into the bus and, with her chest heaving, sat down heavily in the first empty seat.

Her spirit beads had gotten caught in her long hair, no matter that she had it in a ponytail, and the blue and green paint she had in full-force that morning had faded to almost nothing. Ava, though she had complained all throughout Spirit Week, was disappointed as she absently rubbed the green lip mark from her cheek - courtesy of her best friend, Maggie.

Ava sighed, her muscles finally getting a much-needed relax, and looked out of the window, only to pause as she noted her frantic and confused bus-mates. The small redhead scrambled to the front of the bus and waved them all down, shouting, "Guys! Hey, bus 212, over here!"

Curious eyes and grateful faces greeted her at the bus and Ava went back to her seat as familiar faces flooded the rest of the space. The influx of students brought even more noise to the crowded bus and one senior in particular was being incredibly nasty about the entire ordeal; Wrathia, a fellow senior Ava shared her art class with. The black haired beauty was nearly spitting fire and was just shy of cussing out the bus driver, who was in no position to scold Principle Bellarmina's only daughter.

Ava's lip peeled back in disgust at the girl's irrational behavior - the shorter girl didn't understand why Wrathia didn't just drive to school and save them all the headache. As if hearing her thoughts, the boy sitting in the seat over glanced at Ava's impressive scowl and snorted in amusement. The redhead shot the purple eyed boy a narrowed look and raised her eyebrow in response. The boy just tugged his beanie down lower on his head and waved toward the furious Wrathia. Ava, in turn, took a deep breath and planted her face into her backpack. She placed her hands flat against the seat in front of her and mimed hitting her head against it, getting a breathy laugh from the brunet.

Ava fought a smile herself but ultimately failed to stifle a giggle as the boy slapped both palms over his ears in exaggerated agony. Too involved in their mute conversation, both failed to notice that the bus had left the school and was already at the first stop. Flashes of blue, green, and other random colors went by, effectively putting their conversation on hold, and it took a minute before the bus lurched back to life.

The boy made a quick leap for Ava's seat when the driver wasn't looking and ended up splayed across the seats, both of their bags, and even Ava's lap. His combat boots were propped up on his own seat, his jean-clad legs taking up the aisle, his back squishing Ava's backpack to the seat, and his head took residency on her thighs. Ava flushed hotly and swatted at his rising hand but could not stop him from tugging on her ponytail. In retaliation, she pulled his beanie down to cover his eyes and accidentally brushed his lips; she snatched her hand back as if she burned it. Thankfully the boy was too busy trying to see again, only for him to laugh at her childish pout.

"Hey!" She flicked his forehead, her own smile tugging at her thin lips. "It's not nice to laugh at someone - or to, you know, lay on them!"

Ava bounced her knees and nearly jostled him out of her lap and onto the floor. He laughed and huskily replied, "Yeah, well, it d-didn't really seem like eith-ther of us are all that n-ice."

"I am plenty nice, thank you very much, good sir," Ava said, her chest puffed out as she held one hand to her breast in false indignation, her nose turned upward. She made no mention of his slight stutter, though it was strangely familiar.

The boy huffed out another breathless laugh. "Well then, if you're so g-good, then how about helping out a fell-low Samaritan?"

"Oh? And what does that entail, if I may ask?"

"Doing our civic d-duty in keeping each other company by enter-t-t-taining one another."

Ava's eyes followed his to the scowling Wrathia and her positively wicked grin sent pleasant shivers down his spine. She practically purred, "Entertainment you say?" The redhead pinned him with intense and bright eyes; the glint there only visible close up, gleaming like a star. "Now, what good Samaritans would we be if we didn't include Wrathia?"

The two again looked to the topic of their conversation, only to find her already looking at them. While Wrathia seemed to just skip over the boy on her lap, her greatest pleasure in life was messing with Ava. However, before the surly girl could say a single word, the two of them split into identical grins and waved at her. Thoroughly disturbed by the two, she turned forward with a quiet huff.

Near-silent snickers followed, only to be suddenly cut off by the bus stopping for the second stop. Yet the brunet did nothing but snuggle even more into the two seats, obnoxiously making it impossible for the students sitting behind them to get out. Ava groaned and covered her face with her hands, profusely apologizing for her new friend's lack of manners as she tugged on his jeans, silently pleading with him to move his legs. When that didn't work, and when Ava decided the boy on her lap looked a tad too smug, she turned to him and forcefully pushed him onto the ground. The waiting students sniggered at his disgruntled shock as they stepped over his legs.

Ava was tearing up from her laughter, her hands pressed against her stomach, and so couldn't see the sprawled teenager narrow his eyes at her. All of a sudden her face met cloth and muscle as he sat on her. Ava squawked and flailed but the heavy teenaged boy had solidly planted himself and refused to move.

The redhead struggled until the next stop, her cries for help largely ignored while some of their peers took pictures. When he finally moved, Ava gratefully sucked down a gulp of air before kicking the brunet in the butt, causing him to fall into his original seat. Much like Ava had just a few minutes ago, he scrambled to get rightened. He grabbed his backpack and smoothly swung it over his shoulder and ruffled Ava's hair as he passed.

Realizing that Ava still wasn't too sure of who he was, right before he stepped off, she called out, "Hey! What's your name, anyway?!"

The boy looked up and a look of incredulous disbelief passed over his face before settling into a bemused grin. "My name's Odin Arrow. You know Av-va, I'm little hurt; we do have the sa-same English class af-ter all."

Ava's jaw dropped and her hand instantly went to smack her forehead. Her face flushed red-hot yet again, she grabbed her backpack and held it tightly to her chest. Taking a deep breath, Ava planted her face into its rough fabric and screamed against it, her voice muffled well enough to keep the driver's attention fixated on the road.

The rest of the ride Ava hid in shame and even holed herself in her room the moment she got home. Any second not spent with Maggie or Gil, her homework, or her beloved art was dedicated to trying to apologize to Odin for just completely forgetting him. Ava often felt the memory of her immense shame press itself against her and she'd flush bright red in remembrance, which lead to Maggie latching onto her for the last three days of break; the green eyed girl was especially nosy when it came to relationships and the cheerleader wasn't taking a no from her childhood friend.

With the exhaustion that came with being busy everyday all day, Ava was glad to be back at school the following Monday even as she felt the senior year stress return to her shoulders. Ava fidgeted with the white dress Maggie had successfully stuffed her in the entire way to her first period—AP English IV: Literature and Composition.

Ava peaked her head around the corner and sighed in relief at seeing the room near empty. Maggie was busy clinging to Gil when Ava left the two and she remembered that Odin often came in at the last minute. She eyed a table near the back and shrugged before sitting down - the teacher normally didn't care about seating so the seniors taking the class had made a game of who could sit in the most different places. While she didn't actively participate, Ava had been crowned the winner every quarter due to her very early attendance.

While she got all of her materials and items out of her bag, Ava saw a figure slipping into the chair next to her. Figuring it was just Maggie in a little earlier than normal, Ava mumbled a hello, her eyes still scouring the inside of her bag for a pencil. A deep chuckle broke her from her concentration and Ava slowly turned around, only to be greeted with amused purple eyes. A squeak escaped her before Ava could control herself and Odin smirked in response before wiggling his fingers in a little wave.

Ava took a deep breath and rushed out, "Look I'm so, so, so, so sorry I totally just blanked on who you were but I promise that I knew you, kind of, I mean, uh, you looked really, really familiar but like that doesn't really mean anything because I still forgot you're name so, yeah, again, so I'm super sorry, oh my god."

A bark of laughter had her flinching in shock. Odin shook his head fondly and said, "It's f-fine, honestly. It's def-definitely funnier than you probably thin-nk it is."

All at once Ava deflated and flashed Odin a grateful smile, a look that had him rubbing the back of his neck, a flush spreading from his ears to the bridge of his nose. "An-anyway, it was worth it. That was the most fun I've ever had on th-that stupid bus."

"Well I'd do anything to get some entertainment out of messing with Wrathia," Ava giggled, her nerves pitching her voice higher than normal, but neither of them noticed. "Besides, anything for a fellow Samaritan, right?"

Ava gently nudged Odin with her shoulder, a soft look in her eyes that didn't escape him. Odin flashed her a grin and nodded once, "Y-yeah."

Before the two could get any further, Maggie bounded in, her voice loud and commanding, "Ava! Ava! Oh, you won't believe who I saw earlier—"

The black haired girl looked from a blushing Ava to an awkward Odin and her sudden shark-like smile caused them both to gulp. Maggie bounced on the balls of her feet once before rolling back onto her heels and twisting to sit at the desk to the left of the one the other two had claimed for themselves; all the while she kept her knowing smirk firmly in place.

A tug to her braid turned Ava's attention back to Odin, his fingers getting tangled in the unruly curls. "You know, you d-do look better in red than in gr-green or blue."

She immediately turned to curl into her backpack, her face once again burning at Odin's seemingly careless remarks. As Ava prayed to anyone listening to survive the day, she did not see the wink and two thumbs up Maggie sent Odin. Odin snatched his hands back from Ava and scratched his head, quietly hoping to not mess up when all he wanted to do was impressive Ava some more.

As for Maggie, she knew it was only a matter of time that the two got together and she was more than happy to help them along. At the rate they were going, she thought, they were going to need all the help they could get.