A/N: OK, so I am literally the worst person at updating stories EVER. I just never bother getting past chapter one, and I think it's because I worry that my stories won't make sense because obviously the plot in the show ends up being totally different. So here is an AU story, cos I can do whatever with it!

Pre-warning, I'm British, and have referenced high school and stuff, and my references may be way off, and my stereotypes of California may be completely wrong, many apologies!

I hope you enjoy it, please review etc, would love to know what you think, and whether a Nick/Jess AU like this works! Much Love, Lucy! xx

Nick Miller was not particularly athletic, smart, nor classically good-looking, but somehow he'd wound up in the popular crowd at school. Not the varsity, letterman jacket-wearing, cheerleader-dating type, but the funny guy that everyone knew, and couldn't help but like. Sure, he was a little on the grumpy side, but people liked it, and thought he was amusing.

He'd moved to LA from Chicago a year ago, and although it had taken a while to settle in, he was still the new kid, but in a good way, where everyone was still intrigued and wanted to get to know him. He'd passed the overall likeability test, and been accepted into a clique of people who were different to him, in the sense that they were cool and everyone in school wanted to be them. Nick wasn't entirely sure if he was comfortable with this; the idea that people lower down on the social scale hated to love him, since he was one of them back in Illinois. The popular crowd in LA were a whole different animal to the jocks in Chicago too, more superficial.

In his bedroom, he had photos of him with his brother and his father, taken on the other side of the country; and pictures from his leaving party he had with his small, close group of buddies. He'd known them his whole life and couldn't believe they'd be broken up…even if they'd hardly kept in frequent contact since he'd moved. He missed them, and was desperate to meet someone he just 'clicked' with, which was proving hard, since California is a completely different culture. Everything was different here. People hung out on beaches casually, and carbs were more important than baseball…even to the GUYS.

It was early morning on Monday, and Nick was getting ready for school that day. Luckily, on Mondays there were two free periods in his day, and so it was more relaxed, and a nice way to ring in his week/ During fourth period on his free he usually went to the beach with Joe, Alex, Luke and a few of the girls; one of which – Janey – had a slight 'thing' for him according to the guys, and they were constantly telling him to "tap that", but he just didn't like her THAT way. She was sexy and hot, but Nick was more a 'pretty and beautiful' kinda guy, though he'd never tell these guys that. He needed to get through the last 2 years of high school and he didn't wanna be alone for that!

The bus ride to school was long; traffic was a bitch, plus the crazy heat still got to him since he wasn't used to it. It seemed to make time drag when he was this uncomfortable. He sat at the back, but wished he hadn't, he would be one of the last to get off this thing. Two stops after he climbed on, a bunch of people came on; most he knew, but there was one he didn't It was the first day back after break, and so far this nerdy looking guy had sat in front of him. Nick silently pondered to himself if they'd be any more newbies. He liked it when newbies arrived, it made him less and less likely to be called "the new guy" by everyone, as there were replacements for that title.

He heard a commotion somewhere near the middle of the bus – someone bustling and apologising to everyone. A girl…a NEW girl. She had a brand new unwrapped large art folder under her arm, which clearly kept brushing peoples arms as she walked down the aisle to find an available seat. Hers was the last stop before school, so there were only three seats left. One was next to David Noble, a large kid who had a good relationship with his doughnuts. He took up the majority of the seat next to him, and Nick could tell by her face that she wasn't keen on the idea of one-cheek-on-one-cheek-off on a bumpy school bus ride. The second seat was next to Rose Chatswin. Rose was a pleasant girl, who was kind, but she clearly didn't use deodorant, and you could smell her if you were stood three people down, let alone if you were sat next to her. Again, Nick looked at the new girl's face to judge her reaction. She was relatively poker-faced, but he could see her eyes widen discreetly, as she turned around and faced Nick. The same Nick that had an empty seat in front of him. As she turned around to sit down, she swivelled her folder out from under her arm, to place between her feet whilst sat down, but on its journey round, it brushed past Nick's knee, as Jess took her seat. She turned around straight away, "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry, I've been doing that to everyone today-", she stopped suddenly. She just looked at him for three excruciatingly long seconds, and then smiled a beautiful smile.

"Hi…I'm Jessica Day…well, Jess, I hate being called Jessica. It's hot today, huh? I've just moved here from Oregon, so this heat is alien to me!".

Time passed, and Nick realised he was just looking forward, at Jess. He noticed he had a grumpy face on, which wasn't what he was going for, but he was simply transfixed by her. She was no Janey – no. She was so different to her, so…arty? Maybe he just thought that because of the art folder, but she seemed so interesting and odd, people don't just introduce themselves to one another, there were usually games involved at this age.

"I'm sorry, I'm just a morning person, didn't mean to be weird...or clumsy, with my folder and all…I'll leave you alone now."

"Nick, I'm Nick. Nick Miller, sorry, I'm just…yeah. It's ok about the folder, you woke me up in time for school so, yeah, we're cool".

She was new, and had moved from an entirely different state, so she'd understand his dislike for this temperature, and think the way some people were was a little bit odd, like the carb thing. She didn't seem the type to be obsessive over the latest Clinque, or read the nutrition section on packs of candy, or watch E! News to see what crazy shit Britney had done now. She was fascinating.

And then she did that smile again. It was perfect, and she was so chirpy even at 8:30am. He'd never believed in opposites attracting before, but he was starting to since he was The Grump, and she was JESS. Like he thought, she was no Janey, and this may just be that person he could click with.