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His Friday Girls

As if having a hopeless crush isn't bad enough, high school sophomore Megan Linders has just been assigned a huge career project that her teacher claims will get her ready for the "real world". Problem is, Megan doesn't know if she wants to get ready for the "real world"-she'd rather think about a hunky guy with green eyes. Kyle Patterson is the kind of guy every girl wants to go out with. He's cute, friendly, and easy to talk to. So why, when he finally asks Megan out, can't she say yes? Because going out with him would mean living a lie. Is Megan willing to cast the truth aside to go out with the guy of her dreams?

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release


Melissa Ford

     Melissa Ford lives in rural Michigan with her husband, two sons, and three goats. During the day she assists students with their academic writing at the local community college; her evenings are spent driving her kids around, avoiding housework by playing Scrabble, and of course, working on her next book. Author of both adult and young adult fiction, she enjoys all kinds of stories-as long as they have a happy ending.

Reviews

"His Friday Girls is a tale of friendships and young love. Megan doesn't have much self-confidence, but will all that change as the story unfolds? Kyle is good- looking, friendly and easy to talk to. The characters are typical high school students living through the ups and downs of teenage life. The story is well written and held my interest until the last page was turned. Any young adult would love His Friday Girls!"

Carol Durfee -- Romance Reviews Today


"His Friday Girls is short but sweet. Young teenagers will sympathize with Megan's unease towards the high school dating scene and it will bring back memories for adults. Melissa Ford has turned out an enjoyable story of high school life, and in the end all I can say is I am so glad those days are in the past for me! For teenagers who will read this book, pay attention to the message that the author sends. Things are not always as they seem with your peers!"

Tracy Farnsworth -- Romance Reader's Connection


"Melissa Ford has written a light teen romance that encourages peaceful environmental activism and reminds readers that a young woman's value lies not in her looks, but in her mind and heart."

Romantic Times
Excerpt

Chapter 1

I SAT AT my usual table in the Great Lakes High cafeteria and watched one of my best friends, Roberta McGillis, sort through her lunch bag. Everything inside it cried out sensible, just like her. She hadn't said anything since she sat down, and seeing her eyebrows pulled together I could tell she had something on her mind, and I'd hear about it soon. She never wastes any time getting to the point.

She waved her red and white striped straw at me. "Megan, you need Kyle Patterson for your new club. If you get him to join, other kids will too. Once they do, you'll win them over with your enthusiasm and they'll stay."

She was nuts!

"Why would he want to join my club? He hardly seems interested in the environment. I don't have to have somebody like him. If people show up for the first meeting, great. If they don't, I'll worry about it then. Besides," I added hoping to change the subject, "Mrs. Winters just gave us another big assignment that's going to take a lot of time. I have that to worry about too."

To keep her from asking questions I looked down at my lunch. Kyle Patterson! I'd tap dance on the table to have him as a member of the new club I was starting, The Better Earth Club.

Maybe Roberta was right, he'd draw other students, but I'd never have the nerve to ask him to join. I wouldn't have the nerve to ask him anything.

Roberta sat across from my other best friend, Cara Thomas. "Cara!" I gasped in mock amazement, "I can't believe I see uneaten cookies in front of you. Are you sick?"

Roberta reached across the table and waved her hand in front of Cara's glassy stare.

I turned to Cara. She did look pretty bad. "Is it the assignment?" I asked, thinking of the bombshell our teacher dropped that morning. "Mrs. Winters said you could tell her what career you decided on tomorrow. You have twenty-three more hours to worry about it." The career study assignment definitely had Cara stressed out.

As I looked at my two best friends, I wondered how we'd gotten so close. Maybe it's because we're so different that we've stuck together since junior high.

There isn't really anything unusual about me. I'm a sophomore. I have shoulder length brown hair I wear cut into layers. I'm average height, get average grades, and have an average family. I even have an average sounding name, Megan Linders. I'm definitely not the type of girl you'd notice in a crowd. I wish I could say that I did stand out, that people noticed me, but there's just nothing that noticeable about me.

Roberta's really ambitious and very practical, except for the weird fact that she's addicted to soap operas, of all things. Although she is pretty, with shoulder length red hair and green eyes, she isn't that interested in boys and dating. She says that when the right one comes along, they'll both know they're meant for each other and fall in love.

Cara, who is a bit of a nut, is anything but practical. Her brown eyes sparkle with mischief. Her black ponytail swings behind her while she chatters on about whatever. She knows about every party and every new style before anyone else, and she's always on the edge of a new catastrophe. Today the disaster is the assignment Mrs. Winters gave in class.

Roberta looked at me with a curious smile and asked, "What weird thing has Mrs. Winters got you doing now?"

"This time it's actually pretty normal. We have to write a report on a career we'd like to get started on after high school. We're supposed to interview someone and spend time where they work. She said it will help us get ready for the real world." Cara leaned back in her chair and put aside her bologna and cheese sandwich to start on her cookies.

It's too much to ask Cara to decide on any one thing. For her, trying to pick out something she'd be excited about doing for longer than two weeks would be impossible. Glad to have the topic off of Kyle Patterson, I encouraged Cara. "Try not to worry about it too much. Besides, you can always use one of your parents. They both have such exciting careers. I'd love to be an entertainment attorney like your mom."

Cara smiled wearily over the table at me and sighed. "I know it seems like she does something glamorous, but really, she just sits in her office all day. Half the time she doesn't even see her clients, they just talk on the phone. I don't want to spend my life like that. I sure don't want to go into advertising either, like my dad."

Roberta perked up when she heard the word advertising. Everyone knew she had her whole future mapped out almost to the minute. She planned to go into advertising right after she graduated from college.

"What's wrong with advertising?" she asked. "Everyone needs products and services. That means we need advertising. It's very dependable income. Besides, if you're good you can make tons of money." Roberta has a way of making her opinion sound like fact. She's on the debate team.

Cara must have been in the mood to take her on, because before I knew it they were deep into a discussion of the pros and cons of an advertising career.

I looked away from them and my gaze wandered around the lunchroom. It was almost eleven thirty-five. Time to watch for Kyle. It only took me a few seconds to spot him.

He stood in the lunch line and if I sat up real straight with my head tilted to the right I had a great view. The past few weeks, watching for him had become the main event of my day. I loved watching him talk to other kids. He has a special quality, people are drawn to him. They crowd around him, talking to him or even just listening him.

I couldn't see it happening, but Roberta was right as usual. It would be great to have him as a member of The Better Earth Club.

I studied him as he stood among a group of other newspaper writers. His dark brown hair hung over the collar of his green shirt. A soft wave of hair fell into his eyes and he pushed it aside with an easy swing of his hand. He turned so I could only see his back, but I didn't mind.

I'd completely memorized the face that went with his broad shoulders. I knew the green fabric of his shirt matched the green of his eyes and that he'd be smiling at whoever he was talking to.

Lunch time and sixth hour were the only times I saw him. Kyle and I shared sixth hour class, journalism, where we worked on articles for the school newspaper, The Wave. We sit at opposite sides of the room, but that didn't bother me because that way I could watch him from a safe distance. Being near him didn't matter. I didn't expect him to have an interest in me, Miss Average.

"...Hello, Megan are you there? Why are you sitting that way? You look like you have a stiff neck." Cara looked at me as if I should have been hanging on her every word. "Are you with us?" she asked, making her voice sound weird.

"Sorry. I guess I phased out. What did I miss?" I tried to sound sincere. I hadn't told them about my secret crush on Kyle. I mostly hoped it would wear off so I could get on with my life.

"You didn't miss anything," Roberta said peeling the top off of her plain yogurt. "I'm trying to convince Cara that advertising would be a good career choice, but it's pointless. Cara's just like Angie on Nights of Love. Angie has spent almost three years trying new jobs. She's done everything from cosmetology to car repair."

"I'm not going to end up like that." Cara crossed her arms and giggled in spite of herself. "I'm going to have an exciting career someday." She shrugged. "I just don't know what it'll be yet."

We looked at each other and laughed.

"Greetings, ladies."

Still giggling, I looked to the end of the table. There stood Tony Schwartz with one arm behind his back while the other gestured a mock bow. His shaggy hair fell in his eyes. "May I be so humble as to request your company?"

Roberta shook her head. "Don't be such a weirdo. If you want to sit down, go ahead."

"It is my luck to come across three such charming and beautiful girls. It is an honor and a pleasure to sit with you." He pulled up the closest chair.

Cara smiled at his silly flattery, even though he said the same sort of thing all the time. Roberta and I looked at each other and shook our heads.

"My scholarly friend, good day to you!" Tony shouted and waved across the lunch room. My gaze followed his arm and stopped when it met with two deep green eyes looking our way. Kyle Patterson looked toward our table and his gaze settled on me. My heart skipped a beat.

I tried to smile back casually, but my face turned to stone. Instead of feeling relaxed and natural I felt like a gargoyle statue. Relief flooded through me when he turned around to sit with a crowd of seniors.

Tony turned to me. "Megan my dearest, I am in great need of your help. Our friend Kyle has given me this editorial to critique. I have come to you because our journalism teacher, Mr. DeAngelo, speaks so highly of you, and I do not feel worthy of such an important task."

"You mean you're too behind with your own stuff to read it," Roberta said with a joking smile.

Tony widened his eyes and pretended to look shocked, but he handed the folder to me. I glanced at the title and the name on the bottom of the red cover. Of course I was dying to read it, but I wasn't so sure I should since Kyle had given it to Tony.

Still, I turned back the cover and the title page. I started reading slowly, feeling like everyone knew my heart raced as I read the words Kyle had written.

The others went on talking, trying to decide which subs were worse than others. As I read, their voices merged with the rest of the noises in the cafeteria. I was lost in Kyle's words.

I wasn't surprised that the beginning of the editorial was well written. Kyle's work is in the school newspaper all the time. The topic shocked me, though. His essay advocated the use of recycled products. He wanted the school office to set an example for the students by using recycled paper whenever possible. He went on to say that the school should promote recycling because they were using up what would some day be our resources.

I'd never heard Kyle talk about recycling. His newspaper articles are usually about politics. A ray of hope warmed me, maybe he would be interested in a club organized to protect the environment. But how would I get the nerve to ask him to come?

After I finished reading, I looked up to find Kyle. I watched him as he talked with the boys at the table. The circle of students around him leaned forward, their eyes focused on Kyle's lively expression. I could see they hung on his every word.

While I sat staring, he turned and looked right at me. His handsome face lifted into a smile. A shock of panic and embarrassment bolted through me. I looked past him then down at his paper. He smiled at me? Why?

"What do you think?" Tony asked. "Mr. DeAngelo told me about the crusade you went on last year. He said you got the cafeteria to switch back to reusable lunch trays instead of disposables. I think that's great."

My gaze wandered back over to the exciting boy across the room. I wondered what it would be like to hold his hand; to walk through the park in the spring air. What was I thinking? Right in front of everyone!

Blood flooded into my cheeks as my daydream faded. I focused on the three faces in front of me. They stared at me, waiting for an answer.

I looked down at the paper in my hands to avoid their curious faces. "It's not like we got national TV coverage or anything. Mr. D. told us to write about something we felt strongly about. The rest just sort of happened."

"Just sort of happened!" Roberta spouted, looking at me in disbelief. She turned back to Tony. "It was fantastic. Megan got us to sit in the middle of the kitchen until they took us seriously. You should have seen the looks on the cooks' faces while they tried to serve lunch to the rest of the freshman. We told them we weren't going to budge until they agreed to switch back to reusable trays."

I listened to her go on describing the protest, wondering as I had before if I'd handled that whole thing right. Actually, I regretted what I'd done. We should have found a better way to ask for the change. Holding up the cafeteria and demanding they do what we wanted was wrong and I knew it.

I opened my mouth to tell Roberta, but stopped when she raised her hands in the air to continue. "It was the Megan Machine at work. When she's got her mind set on something there's no stopping her. Look at the club she's starting, The Better Earth Club. She is a girl who stands up for a cause."

I wanted them to know how I felt about the protest. "Really," I started, "I think--"

Tony cut me off. "I didn't know you're the one getting that club started. Kyle and I talked about coming to the first meeting to see what it's about." He turned back to Roberta and Cara. "Not only is she intelligent and beautiful, but she also has a purpose in life. A true Renaissance woman!"

I clammed up when they started talking about the upcoming first meeting of the club. I could have insisted they listen to me, but Tony's words rang through my head. He and Kyle had talked about my club. I tried to think of something to say. I wanted to say something intelligent sounding, something to interest Tony and get him to come to the meeting--and bring Kyle. But, because I'm the queen of averageness I did the average thing, which is to sit and say nothing.

"You're going to be at the meeting on Thursday, right?" Roberta asked Tony as he scooted his chair back to leave.

I pulled in a sharp breath and waited. Tony jumped up from his seat. "If it is meant to be, Kyle and I will be there. Thank you for you assistance, Miss Linders."

With another bow he said, "Farewell my lovely ladies. I shall remember this afternoon for all my days." He pushed his chair under the table and walked away.

The one time I'd really wanted a straight answer from Tony Schwartz he'd switched back to his goofy self. "Can't that guy ever act like a normal human being," I grumbled in disgust.

"I didn't know you and Kyle Patterson were friends!" Cara looked at me with a scowl and crossed her arms over her chest. Cara didn't like being left out on anything, particularly anything concerning boy-girl relationships.

"We aren't anything," I mumbled hoping they wouldn't notice my state of total shock.

"I'm sure I saw you and Kyle looking at each other. He smiled at you!" Cara studied me with her brown eyes.

Before I could change the subject Roberta pointed at me and said, "Megan! Your face is totally red. Do you feel okay?"

Cara nodded with satisfaction as she gathered up her plastic bags and stuffed her sandwich back into her lunch bag. "She feels just fine, Robbie. I'd say she probably feels great. Our friend has a serious crush on the one and only Kyle Patterson."

Roberta and Cara exchanged knowing glances.

"Bye, Megan. We've got to get going." Roberta piled her books. "We can't be late again or we'll be in for it."

They left me sitting at the table with my uneaten lunch. The secret was out. I had a major crush on Kyle.