"Smile for the camera," the photographer says. With a big smile on her face, Kansas Johnson looks straight into the lens with her messed up brown hair and big brown eyes that carry the innocence of a ten year old. The flash goes off, causing her pupils to dilate, and her innocence to slightly fade. After the effects wear off, though, her bubbly self gets up from the seat, and smiles over to her friends who she promptly goes and hugs.
Ross Patrickson, who's been as stuck as glue to Kansas ever since one fun fateful meeting in the first grade where Kansas came up with the biggest grin asking for a new friend. He, of course, had to agree, and the two quickly became attached to one another. They share love for many things, but no mutual love more so than the love of the outdoors. The two of them often go on hikes, and sometimes just stare into the sky. Not all friendships were so quick, though.
Crissy De La Garza, with the "I don't care" attitude didn't take kindly to Kansas first, but her personality's contagious enough to get even the laziest, angriest of teens on her side. Crissy joined Kansas and Ross sometime in the late second grade after she transferred from Sweeny, and was the new kid in class. Of course, the other kids tried talking to her, but no one had as much pull as Kansas. If she was going to be friends with anyone, it would be her.
Finally, there's Justin Knight to add the final element to their quirky little friend group. Yeah, he's sort of a jock, but he's a true friend when it comes down to it, and he'd do anything for their little group. Especially Kansas, who he sort of has a crush on. She knows it, and it's not really awkward because of how good a friend he is. Some wonder if he takes advantage of Kansas's innocence and kindness, but she dismisses any claims of this.
She is innocent and kind, at least in everyone's eyes that she knows. For the most part, she is, but she knows way more than anyone thinks. She makes good grades, but that's not the knowledge she has. She has roots in her little home town that many don't know about. In fact, even Ross doesn't know; Her best friend. It's okay, though. She likes life like this. People are nice, she's nice, life's nice. She wouldn't change a thing. She gives Ross a supportful smile as he goes to get his picture taken. Picture day:freshman year. Nothing's bad about that. New school? No problem. Upperclassmen? Bring them on. With her friends, absolutely nothing could ever go wrong in the world.
She looks over at him as he gives a small smile to the camera. He's always been a little shy. That's okay. His quirks are nice, and she wouldn't change a thing. Even though she's the saint in everyone else's eyes, in her eyes, he's the saint. Her best friend, Ross. Some people give him a hard time. That's okay. He'll get through it with her. She knows it. The flash goes off, and almost as soon as it does, Ross gets up to head back to his rock, Kansas. Without her, he doesn't know what he would do.
Crissy gets up and walks over to the chair. Even with all of her anger at the world, she's nice. She gets Kansas, Ross, and Justin. She's cool with them and they're cool with her. Everything's nice. Crissy looks over at Kansas's big smile and thumbs up, and rolls her eyes playfully. She looks at the camera with a closed-mouth smile that reflects her personality. He picture will be good, so will Ross's.
Finally, Justin gets up and walks over. He sits down, and looks over at the group. He looks at the camera, and does a pose. He puts his hand in a fist, and then rests his head on it. This makes Crissy roll her eyes, but Kansas and Ross chuckle a little. "Are you going to take it like that?" the photographer asks.
"Why not?" Justin asks. He shrugs, and adjusts the camera before the flash goes off. Justin overreacts, and starts stumbling around, leading himself with his hands, going over to Kansas and rubbing her head as though he was blinded. She laughs with delight, and Ross giggles. Crissy rolls her eyes. "Naw, I'm fine," Justin says as he returns to normal. His phone chimes, and he takes it out. All of a sudden, the happy mood changed in a second as he looked down at this tiny piece of black and red technology. Without saying anything, the group is enveloped with the mood, as though all of the teens already knew what the alert had said.
"Was there...?" Ross asks. He moves closer to Kansas, putting an arm around her as though to protect her from the phone alert. Justin nods, and his green eyes flash anger and a bit of fear.
"Yeah. The nut job killed someone else. Ours. She was nice," Justin says. Kansas reaches for the phone, but he retracts it away from her. You can't protect me.
"Who was it?" Crissy asks.
"It was Chandler Parker. One of the braniacs, you know her," he says. He doesn't mean to label people. He just does. Kansas holds tighter to Ross. She was her friend. Of course, she thinks of everyone as her friend.
"I'm going to kill the person doing this," Crissy says. Ross looks at the pure hatred in her eyes, and doesn't doubt for a second that she will...once she finds out who did it. Kansas may have connected the five previous ones, but this one stumps her. No family heritage, unlike the others. She's coming up, she knows...unless the pattern changed. She musn't tell. Her friends shouldn't worry. Ross holds Kansas, walking out, as she almost trembles from inner thoughts.