Chapter 1: The Trouble With Reputations Is…

Carmen walked into her class and noticed a new, good looking face. 'New Kid.' She thought.

He was sitting next to where she normally sat so she decided to see what he was like.

She set her backpack on the floor and took a seat on the desk. "You the new kid?"

The boy looked up from his sketchbook and smiled, nervously. "Yeah…"

"What's your name?"

"Jack Mercer…"

Carmen stuck her hand out. "Carmen Johanson. Mercer… you Bobby's brother?"

Jack looked confused. "Yeah. How do you know them?"

The bell rang. The teacher, Mr. Smith, walked in.

"Miss Johanson. Please don't scare the new students." He said, jokingly. "And take a seat in your chair."

"Sorry." She sat in her chair and pulled out her sketch pad. "Hey, Mr. S! Guess what!"

"Oh no. Who'd you get in a fight with this time?" He wrote a few lines on the board. Then turned around. Carmen sat in the front row.

"No one! I got 2 new piercings! Tongue and another cartilage." She stuck out her tongue.

"That's beautiful. Now, please do us all a favor… and work on your sketches."

Jack leaned over to her when Mr. Smith turned around. "Did I miss something?"

Carmen shook her head. "I've been taking this class for 5 years. Straight A's all the way through. So he let's me sketch during class. Or sleep after party nights."

Jack didn't notice that when he was talking, Carmen would glance at him every few seconds then sketch more.

"What do you draw?"

"Basically anything. But don't move. You're my next victim." She smiled.

Jack cooperated and stood still the rest of the class. By the end, Jack had remembered every one of her features.

Carmen Johanson. A tough, punk rocker chick (don't call her that, though) with a bad reputation. She stood tall at 5'10" and she was pretty intimidating. A rebellious teenage girl, emerald green eyes, tanned skin, medium length, choppy, black hair with blood red highlights. She wore black jeans with self-made holes in the knees and upper thighs, a white beater and black hoodie with her band's name on the back. She had black and red Converse.

When the bell rang for class to let out, Carmen left the classroom in search of her friends. She was at her locker talking to Craig, Justin, Beverly (Bev), and her younger sister, Hailey. Hailey was 13 and Carmen was 16.

"You know me! You should know the answer to that question!" Carmen laughed.

"Are you going out with Josh or no? 'Cause I saw you 2 making out against your car, in the parking lot after school yesterday!"

"Bev, how 'bout this? I'll text you in my next class then I'll talk to you in lunch."

Jack walked up behind Carmen and tapped her shoulder. "Carmen?"

"Oh, hey Jack!" She introduced her friends and sister quickly then turned back to Jack. "What's up?"

"Where's the office?"

"Down the hall, in the lobby, first door on your right."

"Okay, thanks." Jack took off towards the office. Someone stopped him.

"Jack? New here, right?" The boy asked.

"Yeah. Why?"

"Here's a tip for ya. Stay away from Carmen Johanson. She's trouble…"

"What do you mean?"

The person didn't answer, he just walked away.


"Jack! Over here!" Carmen called, sliding over to let Jack sit with her and her friends.

Jack sat down between Carmen and Craig.

"Ok. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah! The movies. So were going Friday?"

"What movie?" Jack asked.

"Not sure yet. You can come if you want!"

Jack shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah. Sounds fun. But I gotta ask you somethin'." He paused.

"Go ahead…"

"Some kid came up to me this morning and told me to stay away from you because you're trouble. What's he talking about?"

"Do you remember what he looked like?"

"Kind of. Tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, kinda deep voice."

"Is he in here now?"

Jack looked around and pointed out a boy about his height, sitting at a lunch table with a blonde girl in his lap.

"That's Josh! He's dead! This is, like, the 5th time he's done this!" Carmen stood up and charged towards Josh and the blonde.

Jack watched her yell at him for a minute. Just as he was about to get up and go over, Carmen punched Josh in the mouth, causing him to land on the floor, on his back.

"How many goddamn times do I have to tell you! Stop telling everyone shit like that!"

The blonde was bent down next to Josh, acting innocent.

Everyone in the cafeteria, watched as Carmen stormed angrily out of the lunch room, grabbing her backpack off the chair as she went.

Justin pulled Josh off the floor. "Bro, I told you. Carmen only takes so much of your shit; then she gets violent."

Beverly and Craig dragged Jack out of the cafeteria to follow Carmen to her locker.

"CJ (her nickname), I think your reputation just broke through again." Craig stated, leaning against his locker (it was right next to hers).

"I'm outta here. I gotta go blow off some steam." Carmen said, walking out of the doors of the school to her car.

Keara, Justin, Irina, and Drake came out of the cafeteria.

"Where'd she go?" Jack asked.

All the teens looked at each other then replied all at once. "Skate Park!"

"She skates?"

"Hell yeah! We go down to the Skatepark after school everyday and then on the weekends! Sometimes it's just the 2 of us. Sometimes we bring friends." Justin said.

'Maybe that's how she knows Bobby…' Jack thought.