P. 1
Northern Lights

Northern Lights


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Published by Hazel Christine
[Last Updated: 08/24/09](*Author's Note: In Process) Catalina Levi Danielson lives with her Mother in out in the countryside of California. She spends the weekends at her father's in San Francisco since her parents are divorced.
But on one weekend that seemed to be normal a tragedy happens.
Catalina's mother is involved in a car accident and sadly dies.
Too depressed to care about anything else, Catalina decides to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
She's saved by a beautiful boy, whose name she never gets to ask for.
Her father then sends her off to Portland, Maine with an aunt she's never met or heard of.
That's where she meets Aiden Lexington and Kole... two irresitible, beautiful, and almost anti-social boys.
To her surpise both boys befriend her. Aiden's sister (equally as beautiful) doesn't seem to like the idea so much though... but keeps to herself.
What Catalina believes to be a wish come true for her... may just turn out to be something she never knew was even possible to exsist.
She'll have to figure out what Aiden's family hides underneath the beauty and intelligence, why she was sent to this particular place, and who, or what, she really is...
[Last Updated: 08/24/09](*Author's Note: In Process) Catalina Levi Danielson lives with her Mother in out in the countryside of California. She spends the weekends at her father's in San Francisco since her parents are divorced.
But on one weekend that seemed to be normal a tragedy happens.
Catalina's mother is involved in a car accident and sadly dies.
Too depressed to care about anything else, Catalina decides to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge.
She's saved by a beautiful boy, whose name she never gets to ask for.
Her father then sends her off to Portland, Maine with an aunt she's never met or heard of.
That's where she meets Aiden Lexington and Kole... two irresitible, beautiful, and almost anti-social boys.
To her surpise both boys befriend her. Aiden's sister (equally as beautiful) doesn't seem to like the idea so much though... but keeps to herself.
What Catalina believes to be a wish come true for her... may just turn out to be something she never knew was even possible to exsist.
She'll have to figure out what Aiden's family hides underneath the beauty and intelligence, why she was sent to this particular place, and who, or what, she really is...

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Published by: Hazel Christine on Jan 12, 2009
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Northern Lights

Hazel Christine

Chapter One: Dear God
Cold winds blew scattering the autumn colors on the leaves falling from
the trees along the gold grass. I merely watched the dancing of the leaves from my sitting place on one of the many green painted benches in Golden Gate Park. As the wind blew through my long brown hair, I sat and waited for my father to call and announce his arrival at the park to pick me up. My mother dropped me off here to wait for him because, ever since their divorce, my father and she could not be within twenty feet of each other without arguing. For that reason alone, I sat all alone in the park. People passed me with out even a glance my way. It didn’t really bother me anyway because, in actuality, I was quite use to being overlooked here in San Francisco. I finally got tired of watching people pass me by and sitting down, so with that thought in mind, I stood from the bench to venture the park surroundings. “Maybe I’ll get lost and not have to spend so much time with my father.” I thought to myself. Unfortunately, my cell phone rang right at that moment declaring my fathers appearance in the park. “Hello.” I answered already moving to the usual place where he would park. “I’m here.” He said in a monotone hurried voice. “I know.” I replied with the same monotone but added a hint of irritation. There was certain hostility between my father and me. When I was younger, he loved having me around, but now that I was at the age of 16, he found me a bore and nothing more than something that consumed his food and money. My father’s black Chevy Tahoe sat in the exact same place as all the other weekends when he would pick me up. My father was on his cell phone, as usual, yelling at his secretary, also as usual. “No, I said I wanted those files in today!” I situated myself in the car as my father kept yelling into his black cell phone. Without even a ‘hello’, he took the car out of parking and drove off out of the park. It wasn’t until he finally hung up with his secretary that he realized I was in his presence. “Hello, Catalina.” He greeted formally. “Good morning, father. How is work?” I replied with the same formal tone as his. “Difficult. I’d say extremely difficult.” I knew my father was talking about his employee’s being difficult rather than his actual work since he was a pretty damn good lawyer.

He was an exceedingly well organized, punctual, and proper, “get things done quickly” kind of guy while my mother, on the other hand, was mellow, sensitive, and calm, nature type of women. I was positive that is the reason for their divorce. “How is school going for you? Are all your grades A’s and B’s?” he inquired driving down the frenzied streets of San Francisco. “I’m sorry to inform you that I’m actually getting mostly B’s and C’s.” I stated to his disappointment. “Oh, I see…” he said with pure distaste in his voice. “Well, how about your friends…?” I raised my eyebrow with confusion. “What about them?” I questioned turning my head to look at him and try to study is expression. “Oh! So you do have friends!” the shock in his voice made me nauseous. I merely rolled my eyes away from him. “Yes, I do have a few.” I did fail to mention that the only two real friends I had were moving away this very weekend and instead of spending as much time as I could with them before they were to leave, I was here with my dad, whom would rather not have me in his presence. Stupid custody order. “Do you have a boyfriend?” he questioned with much interest. “Nope.” I exhaled an answer tired with the conversation. It was somewhat impossible for me to have a conversation with my father without getting bored after the first two questions he asked. My father picked up my irate mood and stopped trying to converse with me. It was a half hour drive to my father’s small house. I hated San Francisco with a passion that was hard to put into exact words. The houses were just too small and smashed between one another; it was simply ridiculous! I didn’t see how any one could live in this city with all the noise and crazy people driving. Oh, and don’t forget the extreme up hill and down hill streets that were scarier than roller coasters. My father’s house was right smack between a bright pink house and a dull blue house. If the house was a lot bigger and located somewhere other than this city, it’d be a fairly elegant house. But stuck in the midst of the city from hell, it looked more like a doll house. My father helped me with my one bag of clean clothes and my backpack, which was his way of being a ‘father’. I lived mostly with my mother and only spent weekends and summer vacation with my father. I preferred it this way since my mother and I had more things in common than my father and me. I did have an older brother, Jake, but he married only a few months ago to a woman named Stephañia and they lived in New York, another hell city, and rarely talked to me. I do believe he and my brother had a better bond than I did with my father. “Catalina, I have a meeting to go to. Will you be alright on your own for a while?” he questioned as he stood at the door of my room. I simply turned my head and nodded. He said nothing else and, then, silently left. After I finished putting away the few clothes I had, I sat down on the bed and looked out the window. Unlike my mother’s house out in the country, when I

stared out the window here all I would see was another small house with a window staring back at me. The window across the street had its curtains drawn hiding the life someone was having behind them. I wondered what that person or persons were doing at that very moment as I sat in the silent house. I wondered if there was a lively and happy family behind that curtain or if it was someone who was all alone like I was. A sigh escaped my lips. The house may have been quiet and still, but outside the cars passed by in a hurried speed making as much noise as they could in the process. In this city, it felt as though everyone was always in a hurry, like there was just no time to sit down and relax. This feeling made me incredibly uneasy. For me, I rarely had anything to do, so I spent my time reading or painting. Today, however, I didn’t feel like doing either of those things. To put it plainly, I was bored out of my mind. Boredom can be very dangerous in my case because of the fact that the only thing I’d have left to do was think profoundly about my life. In most cases, I hardly ever came up with good feelings once I’d start thinking. As I sat there, I gazed blankly out the window wondering if I’d make new friends after my old ones moved away. Don’t get me wrong, I talked to other people, but they weren’t people I thought I could actually fit in with. I just couldn’t imagine how my life was going to be in high school now. I took in a deep breath and then exhaled it slowly. Since there wasn’t much else to do, I decided to call my friends, they’re brother and sister that’s why they were moving away at the same time (go figure!). “Hello?” Lily answered. “Hey, how are you guys? Still packing?” I probed lying down on my bed with a smile creeping out from joy of hearing my friend’s voice. “Yeah, we are still packing. You’re with your dad right? How is that going for you?” she chuckled knowing how much I hated coming over here. “I’m all alone right now. So it’s going pretty good I’d say.” I laughed making my smile wider. “So are you guys leaving today?” I asked curious. There was a moment of silence where, I believe, she was calculating if, in fact, they’d be ready to leave by the end of the day. “Yes, I believe so. If not we’d leave early tomorrow. It all depends if my parents feel rested enough to leave today.” She declared. “Oh”, came out from my lips quietly. Someone called Lily’s name and said something to her that was hard for me to make out. “Listen, Cat, I’ma have to let you go. I need to help out here, but I’ll call you later alright?” “Yeah, sure. Tell your brother I said hi.” “Will do, bye.” “Bye.” I hung up and set my phone down with a sigh. “What the hell am I going to do now?” I thought. I was hoping the conversation with my friends would have lasted longer than that, now I had so much free time until it was a reasonable time to go to sleep. I grabbed my phone to check the time and to my surprise, it was only three in the afternoon; it’d be a while before sundown. “Ugh.” I set my

phone down deeply disappointed. I finally gave up on lying down and went downstairs to the living room where I could possibly find something to watch on TV. The funny thing about TV is that you could have a thousand channels and still find nothing worth watching. Frustrated, I turned off the TV and went back into my room to try and find something to keep myself entertained. The sun was already starting to set when I finally began to paint on the blank canvas I had been staring at for the past hour or so. My hand brushed and smeared paint over the canvas bringing to life the image in my head. Only red, gold and orange appeared in my picture. Autumn was the season I loved to paint the most. My mother loved love paintings and would hang most of them up while my father not only hated my paintings, but hated the fact that I’d rather spend time painting than socializing. It was seven when my father finally came home and by then I had drawn quite a few pictures. I heard his soft steps as he started walking to the second floor. I liked to think of these houses as one and a half houses since it was too small to actually be called a two story. There was a soft tap on my door before my father opened the door. “Catalina, how are you holding up?” He asked almost concerned. “I’m good father. I’ve been painting the whole day. How was your meeting?” I asked just to be polite. “Very well, I’d say. Have you eaten yet?” he questioned as I added detail to one of the benches in my painting. “Yes.” I lied since I didn’t want to stop painting just to eat. “Alright then.” With that said, he left me alone to keep on painting. A couple of hours passed before I was finally tired and decided to go to sleep. * “Catalina!” Someone shook my shoulder and yelled close to my ear. I groaned demanding to be left alone to be able to get some more sleep, but the shaking didn’t cease. “For God’s sake, Catalina, get up!” it was my father’s voice whom yelled at me and his hands shaking my shoulders. “What?” I whined opening my eyes and sitting up to see what he wanted. “It’s your mother, Catherine…” He had my full attention now since his voice sounded full of worry. “W-what about her?” I inquired anxiously rubbing the sleepiness from my eyes. “There’s been an accident.” His reply was just a little over a whisper and his eyes didn’t’ look at me, but instead, stared at my deep red comforter. I couldn’t really grasp what he was telling me. “Is she alright?” I choked out knowing that most likely she got seriously injured if his expression was as dim as it was. “No, Catalina, we have to go over there now. Get ready quickly.” My eyes swelled up with tears, but only a few slipped and streaked down my cheeks. My father gave me a quick hug then stepped away from my bed. “Be ready. We don’t

know how much ti-” he swallowed thickly stopping himself from completing the sentence. “She would want to see you right away.” I nodded closing my eyes causing some more tears to fall. I got ready in record time and was in my father’s car before he was. As I sat waiting in the car, I thought about how injured my mother could be. By the way my father’s tone was earlier, it seemed as though she was extremely hurt and possibly she could be ….dying. I immediately pushed the thought out of my mind. ‘No, my mother is going to be alright.’ I thought just as my father got into the car unsteadily. The whole two hours to the hospital where my mother was staying went by in silence. My head was filled with thoughts I rather did not want to have. My nails were chewed off to an imaginable small size from the anxiety by the time the hospital was in sight. My mother had just gotten out of surgery when we asked about her and visitation. “Only one at a time, though, and don’t cause her any sort of stress.” The nurse informed us. My father gave me a little push. That was his way of telling me to go first, which was best since just seeing my father might cause my mother stress. I nodded his way and started down the hallway towards my mother’s temporary room. She looked incredibly awful. There was no other way to describe it. Her forehead was bound in strips of cloth, I supposed that was covering the worst part, I wasn’t sure though. Her once beautiful face now had small cuts and drying blood all over. The right side of her face was swollen in various places. Her right eye was almost fully closed with only a small slit for her to see through, if it were possible. There was a cast on her right arm and one her leg. The rest of her body was covered preventing me from seeing anything else. “M-m-mom?” I stuttered out whilst I made my way to the chair that sat next to her bed. “Catalina?” her voice was hoarse and hard to hear. “Yes, mother, it’s me.” Her left hand searched blindly for mine. I grabbed hers and squeezed it softly worried that I might hurt her if I put too much strength into my grip. She didn’t say anything right away but merely focused on trying to breathe in the oxygen the tube in her nose was providing. “So,” she attempted to chuckle but it came out more like a rough cough. “How bad is it?” a small painful smile tried to leak from her lips. The chuckle I gave almost came out as a cry, but I knew tears would devastate my mother and that was no good for her right now. “Ah, not that bad. I think you need to redo your highlights, though, mom.” Keeping a light hearted structure was getting harder by the minute. “Well, that’s good. I feel like crap right now.” She tried to laugh again. “Mom, don’t try to laugh. It hurts you. I can tell.” Her eyes stared into mine stabbing my heart with her obvious pain that she couldn’t suppress anymore. Tears formed in my eyes and, even thought I tried my hardest to keep them from spilling, they rolled down my cheeks one after the other. My arms wrapped around

my mother’s fragile body. “Oh God, Mom!” I exclaimed with pain clear in my voice. My mother was crying now, also, and I felt terrible for losing my calm and causing her stress now. “I-I’ll be alright, Catalina.” Her voice spilt with sudden short cries. As much as I wanted to believe her words, there was still a fraction of my mind that told me nothing was going to be the same. “I really hope so mom…” I was screaming at myself mentally to shut the hell up and compose myself. My mother didn’t need this worry I was pushing down on her shoulders. “Don’t be so pessimistic, Catalina.” She tried laughing and succeeded, but then that laugh came more as a soft cough and that cough became a loss of breath in short moments. “Mom? Mom? Mom Breathe! Come on Mom!” my panicked voice shook as much as my hands did. With the rapid breaths she tried to take in, there were rapid beeps coming from the monitors. It was only a matter of minutes before doctors and nurses started flowing into the room and pushing me out the door. They rushed to my mom’s side trying to quickly figure out what was wrong with her. I heard myself screaming her name as one of the nurses forcefully pushed me out the door shutting it behind me. Another nurse came to pull me away from the door to make sure I didn’t try to force myself in. Tears that I had been trying to hold back now flowed from my eyes at an accelerating speed. I saw my father stand from the couch where he was sitting and come rushing to my side to put his arms around my trembling body. He sat me down on the couch and stroked my hair telling me to calm down because everything was going to be alright, but I could bring myself to actually believe it. Why couldn’t I have hope? Was I really just being pessimistic? No, something is definitely not right. I could feel deep within me. As the realization seeped in more deeply that my mother would most likely not survive this, the tears came faster. I didn’t know how I could possibly cry so much, but there I was with tears soaking my shirt as the fell. I tried taking in deep breaths to calm myself. Damnit this was my entire fault! I couldn’t keep myself composed enough to keep my mother from worrying and now she’s suffering. I closed my eyes so I could just try to stop crying. Crying would do anything to help my mother right now. I needed to concentrate on believing and praying that she will pull through this…because she will, right? It only took me a few moments until I fell asleep in the hospital waiting room. I wasn’t sure how long I had slept but when I woke up I was stretched out on one of the long couches and my father was no where in sight. I sat up lethargically rubbing my eyes and trying to focus my sight. It took only seconds for me to remember what had been going on before I fell asleep and that’s when I started to panic. How was my mother? What happened to her? Will she be alright? Is she alright? Is she in pain? Did she have more surgery? Is she in surgery right now? Did she pull through? Is she…dead? I swallowed hard and forced myself not

to think of that. My father came into sight with two cups of coffee in his hands. I tried to smile at the thought of having warm coffee down my throat, but at that moment I didn’t feel like I could be able to hold anything down. He handed me my cup of coffee with a smile that didn’t wash the stress away from his eyes. “Do you know how she is dad?” I asked once he sat down next to me. I could tell that he was trying to buy himself time because he took a long sip from his cup of coffee. “She’s in surgery again.” He said with a sigh. “Well, what have the doctors told you? I know they have told you something about her chances in living. Dad, please just tell me. I don’t want to be lied to right now.” I tried pleading with him still holding the untouched coffee he handed me on my lap. His eyes stared straight ahead for a few seconds. I presumed that he wasn’t going to tell me anything because of the silence he engulfed us in, but then his lips began to move as he spoke softly. “She has a lot of internal injuries, Catalina. The doctors are saying that… her chances, well, they’re-they’re,” his lips lightened into a thin line as he took in a deep breath. “Her chances are slim, aren’t they?” I asked to make things just a little bit easier for him. My father nodded as simply answer. I sighed once again feeling the water works coming on, but fought them back. I need to be calm and coherent at this moment. “She’ll make it, Catalina. Your mother is a strong woman. She just needs to fight and I’m sure she will.” My father tried comfort me with assurance, but once again I couldn’t believe it. He just admitted her chances were poor so how could be so sure that she’d live. Once again, why couldn’t I hope? It was getting frustrating that I just doubted everything. Perhaps, I was trying to get it through my head that my mother was going to die so when the news finally did come I wasn’t going to go crazy and possibly die inside. Yes, perhaps that was the reason for my lack of faith, but it didn’t do justice for my mother. I knew she was a fighter. I knew she was stronger enough to make it, to live and yet I doubted my mother’s will to live. “Mr. and Ms. Danielson?” the doctor questioned as he stood before my father and me. We both nodded to confirm the doctor’s question. “How is she, Doctor?” My father asked before I could open my own mouth to ask the same question. The hesitation from the doctor told me that he didn’t have good news. Either she made it through but she’s holding on by a string, or she’s not holding on at all. “We tried our best, but her internal injuries were too severe and…” I tuned out the rest of what the doctor was saying. Just from the small fragment of a sentence I knew what he was finally going to say. “I’m sorry, she didn’t make it

through. I’m very sorry for your loss.” My bottom lip quivered fervently. The tears had a mind of their own now. They spilled, more like poured, from my eyes. My hands found their way to my head so they could hold it up as I leaned down toward my knees to let the cries come out. “Dear God, no, no, no…” those were the only words that I managed to say even though there were so man other sentences in my head that begged to be spoken. My father’s arms wrapped around my tense shoulders once more trying to comfort me only, this time, he didn’t speak any words of reassurance. I’m not sure when the doctor left, or when he handed some papers for my father to fill out, or when he took my father to see my mother’s corpse. All I could think about was my mother, how she was dead and forever gone from my life. Everything else became a blur to me, the walk out of the hospital to the car, the drive to my mother’s house so I could get clothes, checking in to a local inn, and then finally lying down on one of the beds. I stared up at the white ceiling; the blank white ceiling that drifted me off to nowhere. My father never came into the room to check on me. Only once did he enter just to leave a sandwich and a cup of tea to “calm my nerves”. My nerves were fine, though, I was calm and I wasn’t hungry so I just left the plate and cup on the night stand and continued to gaze up at the ceiling. Unlike the other times when I would look up at my walls, I didn’t try to make shapes that weren’t there. I wasn’t bored, like other days, and I wasn’t trying to find something to entertain myself. All I wanted was to feel numb, to be numbed from the events that occurred today. I wanted to escape from this day and from the rest of the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Without my mother, I just didn’t want to live. I couldn’t picture myself as happy as I was with living with my father. He’d avoid me, most likely, and consume himself in his work. He’d take late meetings and work at his office instead of at home to prevent from having to face my depression. I would have to start a new school in the city I hate. But I do suppose it wouldn’t be any more different than going to the school I went to already since I had to make new friends anyway. My eyes began to sting from not blinking the whole time I contemplated my life from now on. It took much force for me to close my lids and let the moisture in my eyes soak them up and get rid of the stinging sensation. My eyes must have been incredible dry because I need more than just a little bit of moisture to get them to be fully soaked. That’s when the tears started pouring out once more. I gripped the covers beneath me to try and hold in the cries that were so desperately longing to come out from between my lips. The cries of sorrow and loneliness pained my heart inside my chest. There wasn’t much I could do now. I had no control of my life, if I did, my mother would still be alive at this very moment. Perhaps, I did have control while I was in the hospital. Maybe, I could have saved my mother if I didn’t cry the way I did, if I didn’t doubt and believed with all my heart that everything would be okay, but my mind didn’t want to agree with that idea. If I couldn’t believe life would be alright then, why would I believe

it now? ‘Don’t you know it’s gonna be alright?’ my thoughts tried to plead with me. I shook my head unable to accept it as true. No, nothing was going to be alright, I knew that for a fact so long as I was with my father. Sunshine suddenly spilled in from the window and streaked my face causing a shade of red to spill into my closed eyes. “Rise and shine, Catalina. Breakfast is on the table, come and eat something.” My father’s voice was unusually upbeat as he came to shake me awake. My eyes slowly opened to see the smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I’m not hungry.” I groaned turning my back to him. I could hear the deep frustrated sigh he gave. “You have to eat sometime, Catalina. Now, get up, take a shower to refresh yourself, and come and eat. I’m giving you five minutes to get up, alright?” I was going to say something back to him, but decided to keep it to myself; he’d surely be displeased with the comment I was going to make. I merely sighed and nodded my head. With that, he walked out the door leaving me to get up in a few short minutes. Even thought I desperately wanted to just stay in bed and not have to greet the new day in my life without my mom, I decided it would be best to get up that way my father wouldn’t bother me with his constant nagging. The water the splashed on my face was surprisingly refreshing. In some sense, I felt as though it was washing away the events that had only occurred yesterday. That feeling only lasted until the shower was over. When I began to slip into my clean clothes, the heart wrenching pain came back again into my system and I couldn’t handle to keep the calm, sensitive smile on anymore. I knew that we would have to arrange a funeral, obviously, soon and then call relatives about my mother’s…death. Argh, I just couldn’t think that word! Even when I thought it, my throat seemed to close up on me preventing me from breathing for a short while. I wanted to cry once more, right there inside the bathroom. I managed to finish getting dressed, fixed my hair, and brushed my teeth before I practically ran into the bedroom I was sleeping in and cried into my pillow. I knew, even with the small pillow over my mouth, my father could hear me from the dinning table just on the other side of the wall. In spite of this knowledge, my cries still came out louder and louder. There was no way I’d be able to inform the few relatives I knew that my mother had passed away or arrange a funeral. I was longingly hoping that my father would take care of it all since he seemed to be dealing with this much better than I was. Then, I wondered if he had told my brother already. He must have to him; I mean it was his mother that died. This lingering question made my crying stop and made me get up, walk to the dining room where my father was, and sit down with the untouched breakfast plate in front of me.


“Well, go ahead and dig in. I’m sure you’re hungry.” When he said those words I realized how much my stomach wrenched from the lack of food and began to ‘dig in’. I ate so quickly that the plate was clean in just a few minutes. My father’s eyes watched me as I picked up the last piece of pancake and shoved it into my mouth. It was a greatly satisfying breakfast that almost made me forget the reason I got up from bed. Almost. Pushing the plate away, I folded my hands in my lap and turned to look at my father who was busy sipping his coffee and writing in his notepad. His eyebrows furrowed as if he were struggling with a math problem. “Dad?” I asked aloud. He raised his eye brows at me in a way to let me know that he was listening. “Have you called Jake yet?” I asked truly curious. His pen stop scribbling onto the notepad and he finally looked up at me. “Yes, his plane should be arriving in an hour.” For some reason, it infuriated me that he didn’t mention this to me. Why hadn’t he told me that my brother was on his way here? I had a right to know. Maybe, I could have spoken with Jake earlier and I wouldn’t be having this breakdown. I wanted to yell at my father. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs for not telling me, for not letting me speak to my brother, but I knew that my anger wasn’t towards him. My anger was for the world. I sighed my frustration out and then left the table to go back into the room to possibly cry some more or go to sleep again. * For the next two days, I spent most of my time in bed only getting up to take a shower and grab a small portion of food to quiet my growling stomach. For the next two days, neither my brother nor my father came in to the room to try and talk to me. Family members that were just arriving to give their condolences to my father, brother, and me were especially talkative about the way I looked. When I would lock myself in the bedroom after the greetings were done, I could hear one of my aunts asking my father if I was eating. When he told her that he wasn’t sure because I spent most of my time in the room she replied, “That isn’t healthy for a sixteen year old girl, you should be more assertive and make her realize that sulking around won’t do anything to hide the pain.” I blocked out the rest of the conversation for I had heard it all from the many other relatives. The day of the funeral was the worst for me. I don’t think I ever stopped crying. My father and brother had to force me away from my mother’s grave into the car. While in the back seat with my brother’s wife, I tried to calm my tears because I knew they were growing exceedingly tired of my cries. My brother turned the music on to hide the sniffling coming from me. Stephañia pushed herself as far away from me as she could. Her head was resting on her hand as her elbow rested on the edge of the window. Her short blonde hair swept over her eyes covering her expression from me. I knew that she didn’t like me. I could feel the vibration of extreme dislike coming off her. I almost felt the same vibration

coming off my brother and father. Well I was sorry that I was mourning my mother’s death because it’s just so awful. I laughed inside from the sarcastic comment I made that they didn’t hear. Despicable, that’s what it was. How could they be so calm about this? Did they not have a heart? I tried not to think about it, and not to cry until my father dropped me off at the inn. Yes, he merely told me that they were going out to eat and then gave me the card key so I could go up to the room, alone. My father, brother, Stephañia, and I left to San Francisco the following day. My father had only three rooms in his house but it was enough since Jake and Stephañia slept in the same room. Jake only stayed in San Francisco because he had a week leave from his work and wanted to spend time with my father. My friends called me the day we arrived in San Francisco, but I didn’t answer. I wanted to be completely alone, so I turned off my phone, shut the window curtains, and locked the door. I stayed in my room and painted as much as I could. Autumn was no longer in my pictures. No, now black and white dominated the canvas. I knew I was bringing depression greatly upon myself, but I didn’t care. I knew I was alone now. My only two friends were five hundred miles away, my mother was dead, and my only family left avoided me like a contagious, deadly disease. Maybe I was contaminated. Maybe I was deteriorating from the inside out. What did it matter though? I’m sure if they got through my mother’s death in a calm state, they’d be able to go through mine just as easily. Who cared if I was dead? Maybe only two people in this whole world would, but they’d get over quickly. My mind was filled with negativity that I couldn’t push away. Why was I even living? I was only taking up space. I would much rather be dead and be reunited with my mother than stay here and be invisible. But what was I trying to prove? That I wasn’t invisible or a disease? No, what I was trying to prove is that death was the only way for me to get rid of all this pain inside. Yes, that was my point. That was all I wanted right now. “Yes, death.” My mind thought over and over while a smaller voice inside my head tried to scream some sense into me, but I didn’t want to hear it. I knew that in this dreadful city I could easily make my suicide look like an accident, if I really wanted to, that is. With one last look at the clock that read five p.m., I grabbed my jacket and headed out the door avoiding the “family” sitting in the living room. I could feel the stares of all the people walking around gave me. I hadn’t looked in a mirror in a few days, so I assumed I must have looked awful. But did I care? No, I didn’t because I wouldn’t have to deal with those stares for much longer. In my mind, I contemplated many ways to end my life. I thought maybe I could jump in front of a moving truck, but that might not kill me. Next, I thought about jumping off a building. I could have the few short seconds of euphoria as I

fell. But I scratched that one out too because it’d be difficult to find a tall building where I could get access to the roof easily. As I quickly walked through the streets, the golden gate bridge came into sight. ‘Yes,’ I thought, ‘that would be perfect.’ All I had to do was walk over to the bridge. There was a pay toll, though. “Damn.” I spat out shoving my hands into the pockets of my jacket. I felt a few loose papers and brought them out to dispose of them, but when I got a look at what it was-dollar bills-, I immediately shoved them back into my pockets and began walking toward the pay toll of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge. It didn’t take me that long to reach the middle of the bridge where it was clear water straight ahead because I ran the whole way there. People looked at me funny, but, once more, I didn’t care; I just need to reach the middle of the bridge. My lungs were filling up with icy air rapidly as my chest cave in and out with each breath I took. My hands gripped the red railing that was between me and the open space of air and water. In my head, I planned everything out quickly. I knew that if I stood, or sat, too long on the railing someone would pull me away before I even had the chance to fall. What I had to do was jump the railing immediately that way there would be no way anyone would be able to save me. I thought about the floating I would experience before I hit the water, and, then, considered making it a dive. Afterwards, I could let myself suffocate underneath the water. I have no idea why, but that seemed perfect to me. Fire would be worse, and falling from a building may not do the trick and only bring more pain. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath and then…I jumped. As I fell, I could hear the screaming and gasps from the spectators, but the wind rushing through my hair gave me a worry free sensation and I didn’t think of anything other than being with my mother again. My arms stretched out in front of me as I was nearing the water. I slipped in with grace and, then, I let myself float in the water. For the few short moments when I had enough air in my lungs to stay conscious, I examined the water. I felt like I was nowhere. There was blue all around that was all I could tell. My eyes closed and my mother came into my mind. She was happy and beautiful again. And I-I was going to be with her soon, forever with her again. My mind let my body become numb to the feeling of having no air, to the feeling of water seeping in to my lungs as my body desperately longed for some oxygen. I never once felt pain because I just kept thinking about my mother and the joyful memories I had with her. I believe I had a smile on my face when my body finally couldn’t hold on to life anymore. It was a smile that was happy to be reunited with my mother, a smile that was happy that I wasn’t invisible anymore, a smile that was happy that there was no more depression, a smile that was happy that life was over.


Chapter Two: Never Ending
Voices surrounded me again. ‘Was this heaven?’ I thought to myself in a
bit of a daze. I could tell my eyes were still closed because of the blackness that I was engulfed in. All I could think about was my mother and how much I wanted to see her. Was that one of the voices I was hearing? Could one of them possibly be my mother’s? I couldn’t really make out what the voices were saying, so I couldn’t make out an actual characteristic in them to differentiate one from the other. There was an abrupt push against my ribs. The weird thing about that was it hurt. Could you still hurt in heaven? If you could, then that would be total crap. Something, then, came pouring down my throat and into my lungs. Could it be more water? Was I still dying? The push against my chest came again thirty more times, followed by the sensation of something coming into my throat once more. This was becoming frustrating extremely fast. What kind of trick was this? Was I in heaven or purgatory? My eyes wanted to open so I could figure out what my surroundings were, but that’s not what happened first. First, my throat filled up with water. The water rushed up and out my mouth spilling out all over my face. Only after that did I open my eyes to look upon the most beautiful face I’d ever seen, and it wasn’t my mother’s. I must have stared at him without blinking because he started calling me, not by name though. “Miss, Can you hear me?” he asked, but I still gazed at his pale white face surrounded by shining rich midnight black short hair. His amazingly clear blue eyes mesmerized me into speechlessness. “Miss?” he asked again. My mind had so many answers and comments that I wanted to give him. One of them consisted of something like, “Oh yeah, I can hear you, handsome.” Another one was, “I must be in heaven because you’re an angel.” Of course they were all cheesy, but anyone of those would have been better than, “I’m dead, right?” there was scattered sighs and a few laughs. The beautiful face before me merely smiled. “No, you’re not dead.” I felt the ends of my lips pull down in a frown. What?! I wasn’t dead? What the hell happened then? “I gave you CPR, and brought you back.” He explained as if reading my mind, or maybe my furrowed eyebrows gave the question in my head away. “An ambulance has been called and it’s on its way here.” He kept explaining. He turned his face to talk to someone else beside him. Only then, when I was no longer held in his hypnotic gaze, I looked at my surroundings. It seemed like was lying down in a parking lot. There was a circle of people around me. From my point of view, all I could see was their confused faces and the thick clouds behind them. The beautiful boy looked back at me locking me in his gaze once more.


“What’s your name?” he questioned. I wanted to open my mouth to tell him, but I choked on my words. “The ambulance is here.” Someone yelled and sure enough, I heard the sirens and then the stretcher rolling over to the spot where I lied. They picked me up and lied me down on the long white stretcher. “Did you give her CPR?” one of the men asked the beautiful boy. He nodded and the man padded his shoulders and then came with the rest of the men as they took me to the ambulance. Once in the hospital, the doctor asked my name and a number where I could contact my parents. I really didn’t feel like giving it to the doctor, at first, but I finally gave in and told him the number. The nurse told me that I had to keep the oxygen mask on and breathe in profoundly. That was pretty simple, and it made me a little lightheaded too. As I sat there taking in my ‘profound’ breaths, I thought about the boy who saved me. In a way, I wished he hadn’t because I longed for death so badly at that point. But, now, I wasn’t exactly sure what was running through my head as I decided to commit suicide. Jeez, I knew life with my dad was going to be horrible, but driving me to suicide? That was almost comical. I wondered if my dad would see it that way, or if he’d actually see it as a ‘wake up’ call to actually be a dad to me. A smirk appeared across my lips and the golden green eyes came into my mind. He was so dreamy with his high cheek bones, perfectly defined lips, the smothering crystal blue eyes, and the luscious black hair that fell over his eyes. Too bad I would most likely never see him again. What a shame. My father stepped into the room at that moment. The expression on his face was unreadable. I tried not to pay too much attention on him and concentrated on taking those “profound” breaths from the oxygen mask. My father closed the door and stayed there with a look of frustration on his face. It was either frustration from my suicide attempt, or from the lack of coherent sentences that were rushing through his mind at that very second. “The doctor said you tried committing suicide. Is that correct?” I nodded. “They said that, from the information they gathered from the witnesses, a boy jumped into the water after you and pulled you to the land and then gave you CPR, is that correct?” I shrugged and then nodded. ‘CPR, eh? That requires mouth to mouth right?’I thought to myself as my dad began to talk away. ‘So that was the feeling I was getting in my throat. It was the air he was breathing into me.’ The thought of having those soft looking lips upon mine made my mouth water. ‘Why couldn’t I have been conscious while he did that?’ I frowned at the thought. “…maybe I have been a bad father to you in the last couple of days, but, Catalina, you just pushed yourself away from all of us we couldn’t do much to help you heal from your mother’s death.” I caught the last part of my father’s confession? I’m not sure exactly what he was talking about but it ended with me being the problem that caused my father’s negligence.

“Do you understand what I’m trying to say to you?” I nodded again still not knowing what he was trying to tell me, but I figured nodding would be the easiest way to get the conversation over and done with. “Alright, the doctor said you can leave. Let’s go.” I took one last “profound” breath and then set the mask down on the bed and walked out the door trailing after my father. My brother and his wife didn’t ignore my presence when I entered the house this time. No, now they stared at me like I was a crazy girl. Maybe their stare was justified because of the fact that I tried killing myself. That would pretty much put me in the same category as serial killers and those who saw the dead. I was going to go back up into my dark room, but my father stopped me in the process. “We need to talk.” He demanded. I sighed and followed him into the tiny living room. I sat on one couch and he sat on the other. “Okay, well, this isn’t exactly easy to start off, so I’m just going to say it.” He took in a deep breath and then began again. “How could you do something like that?” I opened my mouth to say something, but he just kept on going. “I can’t believe it. I gave you your space because I believed that would be better than pushing you to get out of the darkness and live your life, even if your mother was gone. I know your mother would have been greatly disappointed if it were she in my place.” In my mind I thought ‘If you’d have died I wouldn’t have gotten this depressed.’ It was an ugly thought, but it was the truth. Had it been my father whom had died instead of my mother, I would have been sad, yes, but having my mother there to comfort me and promise me that he was in a better place now, I’m sure I wouldn’t have gotten so depressed and I wouldn’t have tried to commit suicide. “You have no clue how disappointed I am.” Like he wasn’t already thinking that I was disappointment before? Oh, please save me. “I just don’t know what to say right now.” His eyebrows pulled together now as he began to think of more ideas and statements to tell me. At that moment, I felt a little bad about the whole suicide attempt and was about to say I was sorry when… “If this had gotten out in the press, my career would be ruined. Who would want a lawyer that has a suicidal daughter? I was lucky that the doctor agreed not to give out your name.” I could feel the anger rise within me. All he was thinking about was his career! He was only thinking about himself while I still was in extreme depression! My God what was wrong with this man? I didn’t want to sit through much more of his selfish crap, so I got up, without even asking to be excused, and stomped to my room slamming the door behind me. Just like before, my father never bothered me. He didn’t even come up to the room to tell me that my brother left; I only knew he did because I heard the voices down stairs. And then, there were no more voices.

As I had predicted, my father would leave early to his work and come back as late as possible. This went on for a whole week. I could have gone out and done drugs, gotten drunk, prostituted myself, or even tried to commit suicide again and he could have cared less. I felt so incredibly alone once more. I didn’t bother turning my phone back on; I didn’t even know where I had put it, but I didn’t care. There were no more pictures in my head that needed painting; I had lost interest with that too. There was just so much pain in me that didn’t want to go away. Why couldn’t I have just died? I wanted to die! Why don’t people respect the suicidal person who’s so very ready to leave? Why? Why?! Ugh, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I felt as though I was slowly building up all this anger inside of me. For the past two and a half weeks, I’ve just been holding everything inside me and, now, I was about to burst. I screamed. I screamed so loud and hard my throat began to hurt, and I was certain that, even with the cars making noise, the people walking right outside the house could hear my demented yell. My hands grabbed the lamp next to my bed and crashed it against the wall. I knocked everything off my dresser making sure to break anything that was glass or fragile. Next, I went to my closet and tore the clothes off the hangers and threw it all behind me not caring where they landed. My nostrils were flaring and I could tell my face was a bright red as I ripped the covers off the bed and kicked the mattress to the floor. The back of my bed frame had a mirror, so I grabbed one of the many porcelain dolls from the shelves and crashed it into the small mirror. The doll broke immediately and only cracked the mirror. I grabbed another doll and did the same. And then grabbed another, and another, and another, and yet another. The mirror hardly broke even though I smashed six porcelain dolls on it. I became so frustrated and kicked the mirror with a move I learned when I had taken karate in my younger years. The mirror fell to pieces in just three kicks. This brought a sinister smile to my face. I was going mad, insane, crazy, and all the other words that could describe the evil spilling out from my body. I kicked, pushed, smashed, tore, and destroyed anything in my sight. When I finally got to my bottles of paint, I ripped off the cap and forced the paint out of the container to spill all over the walls, floor, and anything that was on the floor. My three bottles of red paint ended up thrown on the dresser mirror to drip down to make the mirror seem as though it was bleeding. Only when I stopped to watch the red paint slide down the mirror did I look at the reflection of myself. There wasn’t much I could see because the paint only allowed so much of the mirror to show. I did see the way my eyes looked, though. They were wide and black staring back at me like a predator. My lips were dry and chapped, and my arms were covered in various colors of paint. My breaths came sharp and fast forcing my shoulders to go up and down at a vicious speed. I hated the reflection in the mirror; I hated the person I was looking at.

“You should be dead.” I said to my reflection through clenched teeth. My reflection mouthed the words back to me as I spoke. “You should disappear. No one wants you. You’re invisible and nothing. Go away. Go AWAY!!!” I screamed at the top of my lungs smashing my fist into the mirror to break the reflection and free me from myself. I could not tell if the crimson thick liquid flowing off my hand was red paint or my own blood, and I could not tell who I was anymore. I was no longer Catalina Danielson, a girl who was sweet, kind, shy, funny, smart, respectful, or loving. Now, I was some twisted, demented, suicidal maniac. My legs gave way and I fell to my knees in tears. What had happened to me? How did I lose myself so quickly? I just wanted my mother so badly. I wanted her comforting embrace, and heart warming words spoken in my ear. I wanted to feel her warmth against me once more. I wanted her to be alive. I was going through hell here without her. ‘No, you’ve been putting yourself through hell.’ A voice rang in my head and it spoke the truth. It’s normal to mourn for the death of my mother, but would I really want her to be acting as I was if the roles were reversed? I knew the answer was ‘no’, and that there was no justified reason for me to have gone all out of control as I had. My room was complete mess, and I knew that my father would, most likely, get home in a few more hours. If I really wanted to, I could have cleaned the room up enough so that he didn’t flip out when he saw it. But I was too tired to even get up from my place on the floor, and I knew he wouldn’t come into my room. If he hadn’t come into my room for the past week, what would make him come into it now, right? My mind was too exhausted to try to think about anything else; it begged for sleep and that’s what I gave it: sleep. I let myself huddle on the floor with the broken items all around me and slept. My father’s yelling woke me the next morning when he walked into my room. It was ironic that the one day it would have been best not to check on me was the day he decided to see how his “little angel” was doing. “Daddy?” slipped from my mouth in a childish tone. I’m not really sure why I fell in to a child like state. All I knew was my eyes became big and round and I began to protrude my bottom lip. “Don’t call me that!” he yelled storming out of my room. I sat up dumbfounded and looked around at the mess I had made. It was horrible and worse than I had remembered from yesterday. Honestly, it looked like someone came in to steal and then decided to pour paint all over the walls and break everything. My mouth was hanging open when my father came back with two suitcases in his hands. “W-what’s that for dad?” I question from my place on the floor. His steps were loud as he walked over the broken items on my floor. He didn’t even answer my question, but began to pick up the clothes from my floor and stuffed them into the suitcases. It didn’t take long for him to fill the two small

suitcases with my clothes, some of which had paint splattered all over them. He forced them closed and then walked out the bed room door with them and down the stairs. I followed still wondering what he was doing. “Dad!” I yelled out at the top of the stair case. He jerked around to look at me with fierce eyes. “What are you doing?” I questioned choking on the last fragment of my sentence as I began to feel the tears sting in my tired eyes. “You’re leaving.” My mouth could have dropped open and my eyes bulge out like the characters in the cartoons, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the tears rolled down my cheeks from my stunned eyes. “What do you mean? Where am I going?” I asked walking down the stairs carefully hanging on to the railing for balance. “I’m tired of this. You’re going with your aunt Claudia.” My eyebrows came together in confusion. “Who? But I can’t just go; she has to know also. I mean what if she can’t have me there?” I questioned reaching the living room as my father scrambled through his brief case for something. “She’s your grandmother’s step brother’s niece and I already talked to her yesterday.” He pulled out a check and handed it to me. As I went to grab it I asked, “So you were already going to kick me out even before you saw the room?” “Yes.” He spat out forcing the check into my hand. “That’s what your mother left you. It’s the life insurance that was only for you.” I stared at the check in my hand and then looked up at him still shocked at the fact that he was making me move with someone I didn’t even know. He laid my luggage next to me and then dug into his pockets. “Here,” he said handing me money. “Catch a cab to the airport. Buy a ticket to Portland. Claudia will be there to pick you up and take you to Portland.” I looked at the money in my hand. He had given me 400 dollars in fifties. He was so desperate to get rid of me that he would just give me 400 dollars in cash! “Wait, Portland?” I questioned. “Maine.” My eyes wondered the room. “How will I contact my so-called aunt and how will I know who she is?” I probed trying to find some flaw in his plan. He handed me my cell phone, the one I hadn’t seen in days, my wallet, another item I hadn’t seen, and a piece of folded paper. “The number is on the paper. Call her. You’ll be able to keep in contact with her when she shows up at the airport that way.” My jaw tightened. So this was it? What a father he was. “I’ll call a cab for you.” He left the living room in search of the house phone and I still stood there with the insurance check, 400 dollars, my cell phone, and the folded paper trying to sort through everything that had just happened in the last few minutes and in the last few weeks!


First, my best friends move away, my mother dies, I slip into depression and commit suicide- well, tried to at least- I have a nervous break down, and now my father is sending me to live with a aunt that I’ve never even heard of, let alone met, before just to get me away from him. It was only a few minutes later when the cab showed up and my father hurried me out the door and shoved me and my luggage into the cab and, then, hurrying back inside without another look back at me. It was dark by the time the airplane took off from San Francisco. I was lucky enough to have a seat alone so I wouldn’t be bothered by any one else or have to make conversation. Most of the people around me were oblivious to my presence, but I guess that is how it is in all planes. “Would you like anything miss?” I pulled my eyes away from the window to shake my head at the flight attendant. She nodded and left to ask the same question to the next person. The voices around me faded as I concentrated on the black abyss out side the small window. Of course, I could hardly see the stars to make small shapes out of; there was only black and the gray of the clouds. There was no other way to describe the sky other than gloomy, which reflected perfectly the way I felt. I could find no happiness since my mother died and I seriously doubted that moving to Maine was going to be any better. Could my unhappiness in this life really be never ending now? I decided to just call my “aunt” right when I got off the plane. Once in the building, I found a place where I could sit and unfolded the piece of paper. My phone was flipped open waiting for me to start pressing the ten digit number, but I could only stare at the number hand written on the paper. I gave out a sigh, closed my phone, and shoved it into my pocket where I was before. There’s a phrase, which, I believe, many people have recited in some way that fits perfectly to the way I felt at that very moment: “Have you ever felt completely alone in a room full of people?” No one knows who said it first or what language it was originally said in, but we do know exactly how it feels like. The building was filled with people wrapped up in their heavy jackets to protect them from the cold right outside the warm building, but I felt alone with no one to talk about my feelings with. When my mother was alive, I would always talk with her when I felt troubled. It felt good to finally get the stress or pain off my chest. Ever since her death, there was no one I felt comfortable enough with to talk about my troubles. My elbows rested on my knees as I leaned forward and cupped my chin in my hands pondering on what I should do next. My options were: 1) Cash the insurance check and buy a ticket to a place where I knew my relatives, 2) Stay here in Portland and try to get an apartment and live on my own, or 3) Call my aunt to go live with her. I’ve got to say that the second option interested me most, but knowing that I was the kind of person who should never by themselves (I could be extremely airheaded at times) I knew that I had to pick the third option.

I retrieved my phone from my pocket and flipped it open once more and began to press the numbers. It took me a few minutes to convince myself that I had to push the send button, but when I finally did I had to then try with all my might not to end the call. “Hello?” an unfamiliar voice answered. “Yes, am I speaking with Claudia Colin?” I asked in as smooth of a voice that I could conjure up. “Yes this is her?” I could here the anticipation her voice as she waited for me to tell her that I was the niece she was waiting for. “I’m Catalina Danielson; my father told me that he spoke to you about me staying with you.” “Oh yes! Are you in Portland?” she asked with great excitement in her voice that made me guess her age to be around mid and late twenties. “Yes, I suppose I should have called before my plane took off to inform you around what time I would arrive here so you wouldn’t have to stop your schedule to come and pick me up. Please forgive me, I wasn’t thinking at the moment.” It seems like I picked up on good thing from my father and that was the formal speech. “Oh no, no, no, don’t worry. I am not busy at all. It’ll take a bit to get there though. Is that alright?” she questioned worried that I’d reject her now because she’d be her later. “It’s quite fine. I shall find something to entertain myself with.” After all, I did have a bank account – there had to be an ATM somewhere in here – and an insurance check to deposit; I could go eat or find something else. “Alright then, I’ll be there as soon as I can, hang tight Catalina. Bye.” “Goodbye.” I shut the phone and then changed my focus to the many stores around me. I settled on going to a book store there and reading until she got there. “…So when he told me that he wanted you to come live with me I was like ‘What? That’s crazy.’ I’ve heard a lot about you, y’know? Ya, you and you’re mother were usually the main subject that your grandmother, my aunt, would talk about. Of course, it’s your father’s mother, but she was always so fond of your mother. It’s so sad that she died. I still can’t believe it. I wish I could have met her. I’ve seen pictures of her and let me tell you, you look so much like her! I’m so glad you do, ‘cause looking like your father would be awful! He’s so pale and very mean looking, but you have wonderful bronze skin and beautiful soft features. Ah you are just so cute…” Since I had gotten in the car, she had been talking like this as if she were a teenager herself. Here I was thinking that there’d be an awkward silence all the way to Portland, but, boy was I wrong. She just kept going on and on and on, it was pointless talk really. She was changing subjects like if we didn’t cover everything that was rushing through her mind we’d die. “Whoa, I think I should turn down the heater, it’s getting pretty hot in here.” She brushed her long blonde hair to her left shoulder and then set the heater to a much less intense temperature.

“So how have you been holding up since your mother died? Your father told me that he’s been trying to help you with the pain,” ‘Yeah, right, helping me.’ I thought rolling my eyes, “but he knew that he’d be way to busy too give you the attention you deserved, so that’s why he sent you here with me.” I sighed and turned to face her. “Well, I guess I’ve been okay, I only tried to kill myself once by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge, and I had a nervous break down just yesterday where I broke everything in my room and smashed my fist into my mirror.” I smiled as if I had said nothing wrong. Her face turned grim with uneasiness. I don’t blame her really; I would feel uneasy if I was with someone who had attempted suicide. “Well, dear lord, that is awful. Why didn’t you talk with your father my dear? It's not good to keep your emotions held in like that. I once saw this episode of the Dr. Phil show that was about this girl that was really depressed. I mean you could totally tell she was just from the previews. Anyway, it turns out that because of her depression she turned to drugs. Oh god it was awful. I mean why drugs? Really they may make you feel good for just a moment, but then it’s gone. Young kids these days don’t know what they’re doing. Back in my day, which wasn’t too long ago, don’t think I’m old or anything ha ha. Well, yes, where was I? Oh yes…” Her lips just kept moving with her words spilling out of them like a she was some kind of a talk show host that made their living on, well, talking. I only paid half attention to what she was saying; the other half was focused on the pitch black of the sky. Unlike the plane, there were brilliant stars scattered everywhere and a moon could clearly be seen. Tonight I would be sleeping in a foreign state, city, house, and bed. I’d be living with someone I knew nothing about. What if she was a murder that just never got caught? Or what if she was someone who was very abusive? Did my father really know this woman at all? From what Claudia told me, this was the first time she had spoken to my father since she was 9! Could he really careless about what happened to me now? If I could barely stand the few hours I have to spend in the car with her, how am I going to stand the next year and a half before I graduate and move out? All I knew is that this was going to be the worst year imaginable. The two story Victorian style house was out by itself next to a cliff where you could easily hear and see the waves crash up against the rocks. It was hard to believe that someone could live in a house like this all by themselves and not be frightened. “Come on, now, dear. Let’s get inside away from the chill.” Claudia suggested grabbing my baggage as she began to walk towards the front door. I stayed outside to look at the shining water just a little ways from where I was standing. The moon’s light glistened in the rolling waves as they crashed amongst the rocks. The ocean its self seemed to be uneasy. The way the waves crashed one after another as if they were trying to run away from the trouble to come.

“Catalina, dear, hurry inside!” Claudia called after me. With one last look at the ocean, I turned away and walked into my new life. When I woke up the next morning, I realized that I would have to ask Claudia for a ride to school since I didn’t have a car. The thought of having to sit through another one of her pointless talks right before my first day in hell school made my stomach churn. “Are you ready for your first day of school?” Claudia asked excitedly as I walked into the kitchen and stood before the dining table. “Not really.” I replied sighing. “Aw, well don’t worry. Actually, today we are just going to register you. You’ll only have to really go through two classes today. I would have registered you earlier, but I didn’t know all of your information. And your father called me so suddenly, so I couldn’t have possibly had enough time to do all this before today. At least you benefit, somewhat, from this, though, ‘cause you don’t have to go through a whole day of school. Yay, right?” I raised my eyebrow at her wondering why the fact that I’m registering for school at all is a good thing. If I had the choice, I’d drop out right now and go live in Canada or something, anywhere but here where I wouldn’t have to listen to her talk every second. “Here, now hurry and eat your breakfast so we can head off!” She gave me a plate full of eggs, bacon, and toast. Even though my stomach was completely empty, the food made me get nauseous resulting in me making up a lie to get out off eating. “I’m Vegan, and I’m allergic to bread.” Claudia’s bright smile turned into a disappointed frown that didn’t reach her bright eyes. “Oh, my, I’m deeply sorry, Catalina. I didn’t know you – well never mind that. We’ll see what we can get you on the way over there.” She smiled once more picking up the plate and setting it on the counter. She left out the door and I followed suit in mere seconds. The school was relatively large with three stories and many students finding their spots to wait before the school bell rang. I tried to walk in a way where I wouldn’t get noticed, but it seemed like everyone at this school knew everyone so they knew right away that I was new, fresh meat, so they stared until I was out of their view. Meanwhile, Claudia kept talking away about her time in high school and how she was best friends with the principle of the school, and so on and so on. Everything that came out of her mouth had no importance in my mind and went in one ear and out the other. “Stacy!” Claudia called out to a lady once we were in the main office. “Claudia, hello, what can I do for you?” Stacy inquired walking closer to Claudia and me. “Well, I’m here to enroll my niece here.” Claudia wrapped her left arm around my shoulders and gave me a little enthusiastic shake. I merely faked a smile and then pushed myself away from her grasp as soon as I could. “Oh, alright, step into my office so I can start getting all the paper work for you.” Stacy said motioning to the little door to the right. Now, Claudia had this

special talent of talking while she filled out as much of the information as she could. “Here, you fill out the rest.” She handed me the papers and then left the office to go chit chat with the rest of the office attendants. I tried to write as slowly as possible to avoid having to go to classes early before I just stopped writing all together. Claudia didn’t even come to check on me in the office, but just kept talking away. I reached into my pocket to retrieve my cell phone. Might as well call my father to let him know that I was all right and not dead, I’m sure that would truly disappoint him. He picked up on the second ring. “Hi dad.” I said in a soft voice. I could hear how he regretted picking up the phone by the way he sighed into the phone. “What do you want, Catalina?” He questioned with a great disturbance in his voice. “Well, I just wanted to let you know that I’m alright. The plane landed safely and I arrived with Aunt Claudia all in one piece. I’m registering for school right now.” There was a silence that followed that made me a bit anxious so I kept talking. “Yeah, I might not start school today but definitely tomorrow.” I chuckled nervously; the silence was killing me. “That’s great. I got to go. Bye.” “Love you.” I said, but it was too late; he had already hung up. I felt the tears sting in my eyes as I dropped my phone on my lap. I guess I did mean that little to him now. Before my mother died, it was on rare occasion when I would cry; but now that she died, it seems as though I cry whenever I get the chance. No one could see the tears running down my cheeks; all that was visible was the back of my head. No sound came from my mouth as the tears slid in so I could taste the saltiness. Meanwhile, Claudia made sure to have a conversation with everyone who was and came in to the office. I merely stared down at my lap letting my tear drops splash against my bronze skin and bit my bottom lip in attempt to force the cries that were trying to come out to stay silent. One slipped, though, even though I was biting my lip hard enough that my nerves began to tell me that the action was hurting me. I thought no one caught the cry that escaped my mouth; it would have been embarrassing if I was caught sobbing in the high school office. “Excuse me, Miss?” I sucked in air quickly when I heard this smooth voice from behind me. “I’m sorry if I’m being meddlesome by asking, but are you alright?” I tried to quickly, and inconspicuously, wipe the tears from my eyes before I turned to the boy behind me. “I’m… fine.” The last word slipped off my tongue in confusion as I saw who it was standing there.


There stood the boy with the same beautiful black hair that surrounded the same beautiful pale white face with those impossibly clear blue eyes from San Francisco. He stared back at me with confusion and astonishment. There we were with me sitting down on the chair with my body turned and my head craned up to face him and him standing by the wall with his hands in his pockets staring back at me. Nothing was being said between us. I think we were both trying to figure out how we could possibly be seeing each other once again after one day in San Francisco on the other side of the country. There was a distant voice calling my name, but I tried my best to ignore it by staring into the sapphire eyes in front of me. I began to bite my lip once more nervously as we sat, and stood, there in silence. It took about a minute for me to realize that it was Claudia’s voice calling me from the outer office. I blinked away from the boys stare and stretched my neck to try and find Claudia. “Yes?” I answered back finally finding her. “Have you finished that paper work?” she questioned. ‘Crap.’ I thought since I had procrastinated and had yet to finish the remaining three pages or so. “Uhm, I have like three pages to go actually.” I replied taking a quick glance to the boy still standing by the wall still staring at me with a frustrated look. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to figure out how I could possibly be here or maybe he was thinking that I’d be awed by his act of saving my life and I would, then, take it the wrong way and gain a romantic interest in him. The last idea bothered me a bit. If that had, in fact, been why he has such a concerned look on his face, then was he thinking that I so unworthy of him? Or maybe he just didn’t want to get involved with a suicidal girl. My eyes looked up once more to see him, but he had left with out my noticing. Claudia came into the office taking the boy’s place. “Well, hurry and finish, sweetie, so we can get to pick your classes.” I nodded and then turned my body around to finish the paperwork. I’ve got to say it was pretty hard to concentrate on the classes when my mind was filled with a plethora of thoughts. Could I be going to same school as the boy who saved my life? That look on his face, was it there because he didn’t want me to get too involved with him? But if it wasn’t because of that, then could I have a chance with the boy who saved me? Life suddenly got exceedingly more interesting.


Chapter Three: Dazed and Dazzled
My aunt decided to pick most of my classes. Well, in a way she had to
because my mind was completely lost in thoughts of the boy. The funny thing was that I didn’t even know his name. Of course he must have heard Claudia calling me so at least he knew my name. I didn’t try to sleep that night; thoughts of going to school the next day and seeing the handsome boy was enough to keep me up. I must have slipped into sleep at some point because, before I knew it, light began to spill in from the window. Waking up didn’t take long, and neither did getting ready. For the first time, in many days, I decided to pin up my long wavy hair to the side, put make up on, and slip into a pair of black jeans and the nicest top I had. When I came down the stairs to meet Claudia in the dining room, she almost spit out the coffee she was drinking. The smile I wore turned into a frown as I took her reaction negatively. ‘Do I look that awful?’ I thought and was about to run up the stairs when Claudia spoke. “My, my you look wonderful!” I gave her a shy smile and then walked down the rest of the stairs as gracefully as I could. I had a bowl of cereal in front of me as I sat down. When I took in the spoon full, the milk tasted funny. My face wrinkled in reaction. “Oh, I was sure I put in soy milk instead of regular cow milk.” Claudia sang out apologetically. “Soy milk?” I questioned. “Your vegan so of course you wouldn’t drink regular milk, right?” I suddenly remembered the little lie I said yesterday. Well, I screwed myself over with that lie. “Right, thank you Claudia.” I ate the rest of the cereal anyway. All the hunger I was trying to put off before suddenly caught up with me at that moment. I finished quickly, still very hungry, went to fetch my backpack, wallet, cell phone, and then brushed my teeth quickly. “Alright Claudia, I’m ready to go.” I sang out putting my backpack on. Claudia was setting her coffee cup in the sink when she turned around to see me. “Wow, you sure are brilliant today? What ever could have changed you mood?” she probed, but I merely smiled and shrugged. Claudia shook her head playfully before speaking again. “Well, I’m not taking you to school today, sweetie. You do have a driver’s license, right?” I wondered if she was letting me drive her car. I’ve got to say that it was a fairly nice car. Whatever her job was, it must have been paying her a good sum of money. “Yes, I have one.” Good thing my mother had pushed me to do so. The thought of my mother made my heart skip a beat with grief.

“Good, I was sure you would have one for some reason.” Claudia began. “I am letting you have my other car.” My eyes bulged out. “What?” she waved off my question with a swift motion of her hand. “I do expect you to at least pay the insurance. I hope you don’t mind getting a job. I just didn’t want you to become a spoiled brat in my presence.” I began to stammer an incoherent sentence until I could finally get the right words out of my mouth. “Oh of course I’ll pay. Wow, I can’t believe it. Thank you, thank you so much, Claudia!” I was so excited that I gave Claudia the most sincere hug I had given anyone since my mother’s death. After releasing her, Claudia reached into the pocket of her jacket a pulled out a set of keys. “Here, the house key is on there too. I hope you do like the car, it is outside.” She motioned toward the front door. It didn’t take me long to get out the door and spot the red car parked right behind Claudia’s black Lexus. “A Corvette?” I squealed in astonishment. Claudia was right by my side now. “You’re letting me have your Corvette?” I asked with my mouth hanging down in astonishment. She lifted her shoulders up and down casually. “Sure, why not? Now, you should hurry to school.” She walked with me as I went to the car still wondering if I had really just received the car of my dreams. “There, I put the school address there already so it should tell you which way to go.” She announced after pushing a few buttons on the GPS system inside the car. “Thank you, I can’t say it enough to truly show you how grateful I am.” Claudia smiled widely. “Don’t mention it, sweetie. You need a car to get around. Now to school young lady.” She closed the car door and then stood back. The engine started smoothly. “Have a good day at school!” Claudia waved off as I began my way to school. Once again, all eyes were on me as I got out of the Corvette. I began to feel my nerves kick in as I began walking to my first class of the day. The only problem was that I had no clue where that class was. There I stood, at the start of the school wondering where I should go, or if I should ask for help from one of the many students staring at me as they passed by. My eyes moved from that piece of paper containing my schedule that I held in my hands to the building up ahead. The first bell had rung and I still had not even gone in search of where my class could possibly be. I began to bite my lip nervously as I watched all the other students head to their classes easily. If I was trying to blend in, this was definitely not the way to do it. “Lost?” A voice from behind me questioned. I turned almost expecting to find the beautiful boy from San Francisco. To my disappointment, it wasn’t him; instead, there stood a boy only a little taller than myself with spiked red hair, white, but not pale, skin and dark blue eyes. I smiled shyly and nodded.


“Yeah, could you tell?” I tried to laugh. The boy smiled, which made his eyes squint a bit. “Oh yeah, here, let me see which class you have.” I handed him my schedule. “I’m Abe Beckham by the way. No relation to the soccer player, so don’t ask.” He chuckled. “I’m guessing you’ve been asked that many times before.” I stated smiling easily now instead of nervously. He nodded still looking at my schedule. “I’m Catalina Danielson.” He looked up at me then. “Catalina, eh? That’s a very nice name.” he gave me a one sided smile and then handed my schedule back to me. “You have your first class with me. We should hurry before we’re late.” He announced holding out his arm towards the direction of the building. “Alright.” I began to walk with Abe right by my side. “You know, you’re the first person to actually talk to me and not walk by and just stare.” I chuckled putting my hair behind my hair. “Really? Well, Welcome to Portland High.” We reached our Chemistry class right when the second bell rang. “Mr. Hampton, this is Catalina Danielson, she’s a new student here.” Abe introduced me to the teacher who was, I’d say, in his mid-thirties and growing gray hair like there was no tomorrow. “Hello, Catalina. Let me have all your attention.” Mr. Hampton yelled from his desk. It took just a little while before everyone was quiet and their eyes where on me. I should get use to having everyone stare at me. “Now, why don’t you go introduce your self.” My eyes bulged out at Mr. Hampton. He couldn’t be serious, could he? Did he really want me to stand up in front of the class and introduce myself? I couldn’t even introduce myself to him! “Go on, meanwhile I’ll find a seat for you and sign your schedule.” I wanted to speak to refuse, but I found myself being pushed to the front of the class by Abe. He walked to his own seat and gave me a thumbs up. I felt stiff as I stood in front to the class. “Uh…” I started to say with my eyes searching the student’s faces before they stopped on one student. It was the incredibly handsome boy who saved my life. ‘Oh God he does go to this school!’ I thought, finding myself pulling the ends of my lips up in a smile. Someone coughing averted my eyes away from the boy. “Oh, well I’m Catalina Danielson.” I stopped and looked at Mr. Hampton questioning him with my eyes if that was enough of an introduction. “And where did you move from?” I guess it wasn’t. “I moved from San Francisco.” I answered his question quickly trying to end the introductions that way I could sit down. “Who did you move with?” I almost sighed in irritation, but settled with glaring at the teacher. “I didn’t move with anyone. I moved here alone and I live with my aunt. My father is a lawyer so he disowned me easily because I tried committing suicide

after my mother’s death. Good enough?” I had no clue how the last sentence came out from my mouth, but it got the job done; Mr. Hampton stared at me bewildered and told me to sit down next to a boy named Aiden. “Aiden please raise your hand. Aiden? Aiden!?!” The handsome boy seemed to raise his hand almost unwillingly. Wait, I was sitting next to him!?! ‘Wow, this day isn’t turning out that bad.’ I thought as I walked over to the seat next to him. Most of the girls I passed seemed to give me an irritated look. I hadn’t been in the class for more than five minutes and already I made a bad impression. I suppose it’s normal, though, I wouldn’t have thought that mentioning my failed suicide would have brought a good impression on anyone. “Now, yesterday I began to talk to you about electrons…” Mr. Hampton began his lesson just as I began to sit down. My nerves were set off once I situated myself next to Aiden, and this caused my hands to get sweaty. “That’s an interesting way to introduce your self.” His voice startled me and it took a few seconds for my mind to focus on what he had said instead of focusing on his handsome face. “Oh, right, that whole ordeal. Well, I’m not exactly sure how those words left my lips to tell you the truth.” I kept my voice down as to not disturb the incredible lecture about electrons and their positions around the nucleus all of which I had learned already at my previous school. Aiden smiled and then held out his hand. “Aiden Lexington.” My eyes shifted from his face to his hand before me waiting for mine; I gladly held out my own hand to his. “Catalina Danielson, as you heard me say up there.” A small laugh left my mouth. He gave me another wonderful smile and firmly shook my hand. “Well, I’ll let you pay attention to this lecture then.” His gaze moved away from me and back to the front of the classroom. “Actually,” I began, desperately wanting to keep our conversation from ending. “I learned all of this at my old school, so I don’t really need to listen to this.” My lips formed a sly smile. His dark eyebrow raised in reaction to my smile. “I see. Well, Mr. Hampton is very good at boring the students to death with his lectures, but it’d be far too quiet for us to actually converse. How about we talk during break? I’ll meet you in the parking lot, is that alright?” I’m sure my eyes lit up automatically with the thought of spending more time with Aiden. “Yeah, of course.” I spent the remainder of the class trying to focus on the lecture, unsuccessfully, until the bell rang announcing the end of class, finally. I turned to face Aiden right as everyone began to pack their things to leave the class. “That wasn’t so bad was it?” Aiden had a smile on his face. “No, but I didn’t exactly pay attention either.” I laughed. His eyes were the most smoldering golden green color I had ever seen. I couldn’t focus on anything other than his eyes, that is, until he began talking.

“I should get going to my next class. Maybe I’ll see you around?” I nodded excitedly. “Sure!” he left the classroom gracefully, while I merely stared at him. “I see you’ve met Aiden.” Abe’s voice came from behind me and it didn’t sound too pleased. I stood and turned to him. “Yes, he is very nice.” Abe didn’t seemed too happy with my comment either. “He usually isn’t like this with anyone. I’m surprised he even introduced himself.” Abe said all this with a sort of sneer. “Come on, Abe, we’ll be late to our next class.” His lips formed a smile. “Yeah, let’s see what class you have.” He took my schedule once more as we began to walk out of the class. “Wow! You have choir? You must be a good singer!” “What?!” I yanked the schedule from his hands. When I got the darn schedule I never really looked at it. Why didn’t I pay more attention to what Claudia was signing me up for? “Oh, no Claudia, why?” I whined giving the paper back to Abe. “I’m guessing you didn’t choose that class?” I shook my head in response. “Can you just tell me where that class is so I can get it over with?” He laughed grabbing my arm to make me follow him. “I’ll just show you.” “Mrs. Rhodes, this is Catalina Danielson.” Abe introduced me once more. The class room was fairly big and had many students talking eagerly about their weekend. “Nice to meet you, Catalina. Why don’t you go ahead and have a seat.” Mrs. Rhodes suggested returning to the piece of music she had been organizing into neat stacks. Trying to avoid having to socialize with the rest of the students, I turned to Abe, who was most likely late to his next class. “You’re late, aren’t you?” I stated more than questioned. “Yeah, but I’ll be alright. I’ll see you later, then?” His eyes squinted with the wide smile his lips formed. “Of course.” Abe left the classroom and I stood by to the side of the classroom too nervous to sit down by the students. They all seemed so familiar with each other, so much where I could not just come and interject in their conversations. My eyes darted back and forth from one side of the class room to the other; their voices then all began to blend into one another until my ears drowned out all the noise and all that could be heard was my fast breathing and the accelerating pounding of my heart. Sweat beads dripped slowly from my forehead and accumulated in my fists. The nausea began to build so much that I needed to leave the classroom right at that moment, so with that thought I turned on my heel to leave. “Going somewhere?” a boy stood between the exit of the classroom and me. He was just as picturesque as Aiden except this boy had short red hair and the

clearest blue eyes. I stood there a bit stunned by his beauty. “Are you alright?” “Huh? Oh yeah, I’m fine.” My nausea was actually increasing as I breathed in the amazing cinnamon scent coming off the boy. “What are you doing still standing here? Why don’t you go sit down?” I furrowed my eyebrows trying to conjure the perfect answer so I didn’t sound like a complete fool. “Are you intimidated by all the girls and guys?” he questioned me curiously. “Uhm…” I began to say before Mrs. Rhodes decided to start the class at that very moment. “Okay class, we’re going to start off with our warm ups, so let’s stop all conversations and get ready.” She was about to start the warm ups, I believe, but then suddenly realized that I was still standing stupidly at the far side of the classroom. “Oh, Catalina, are you an Alto or Soprano?” it was fairly accurate to say that I had no idea what it was that she was asking me. When she said Soprano I immediately thought of the HBO show series. “Excuse me? I don’t understand?” I said softly knowing that I had most likely just made a fool of myself. “Have you ever taken choir at all before?” she inquired raising her thin black eyebrow to me. Reluctantly, I shook my head to answer her question. “Why are you in Advanced Choir then?” What?! Claudia signed me up for not just choir, but Advanced choir! The expression on my face must have been sour and looked incredibly foolish because the boy that still stood next to me chuckled underneath his breath. “Mrs. Rhodes, how about we start her off in alto.” My eyes shifted to the boy after he spoke. “That sounds like a great idea Kole. Catalina.” I looked up to meet the teacher’s eyes; they didn’t look at me too friendly, she was more annoyed with me I’d say. “Why don’t you go sit next to Kole?” I nodded and followed the boy, whose name I know now to be Kole, to a small group with three empty chairs. I sat down uncomfortably between Kole and a blonde with a fake orange tan. Mrs. Rhodes then began to talk to the class about some piece of music that they were singing, or were about to sing. To tell the truth, I had no real intention of actually staying in this class. The first chance I got, I’d go to the main office and beg them to change my class. “So, do you sing well?” Kole’s voice brought me out of my future plans for the class. “Uh, I really don’t know. I don’t sing very often.” His dark sapphire like eyes burned my sight with the brilliance coming off them. There was no possible way for me to look away from them. It would be like turning away from a god and damning yourself to hell. “Then why are you in this class?” He whispered softly blowing the fresh smell of mint across my face.


“My aunt signed me up actually.” I admitted looking away from his beautiful eyes. “I bet that sucks.” He chuckled. “Yes, it does.” I laughed. “I’m Kole Callaghan by the way.” “It’s nice to meet you Kole.” “The pleasure is all mine, believe me.” I was about to say something else, but then the singing began making me lose my opportunity to talk anymore with Kole. Ecstatic is one way to describe the way I felt when the choir class ended. My mind was just so incredibly lost throughout the period that I was more than happy when the bell rang and all the singing stopped. Kole was an amazing singer, though, and that was probably the only thing that made the forty-eight minutes of class bearable. “Well, you weren’t kidding when you said you didn’t sing.” Kole chuckled as he zipped up his backpack and straightened himself. “No, I wasn’t. I can’t read music.” I shrugged pulling on my own backpack. “We’ll have to work on that then. I’ll see you around, then?” I nodded and smiled as he turned to leave the class room. I stared amazed by the way he could walk so gracefully it looked like he was gliding across the floor instead of taking steps. Abe then showed up at the door motioning me to him with a wave of his hand. I gave a small grin and walked the few steps to the end of the class room. “How was class?” he questioned me as we walked my English class. I gave him a playful sneer. “That bad?” I merely nodded. “Cheer up; you only have one more class and then its break. You’ll have a good ten minutes out of class.” My lips formed a frown. Was that really how much time I would have with Aiden? I thought. It was such a little time. “So, I’ll see you at break?” Abe’s question took me by surprise, which made me stop in mid step. “Huh?” the expression on his face turned grim with my response, or lack of one. “Were you planning on being with someone else during break?” he changed the question possibly to get a clearer answer. I automatically felt awful for what I was about to tell him. “Yes, well, Aiden had asked me to see him at break.” My eyes didn’t have to look toward him to see the disappointment on his face; I could just feel it and it made my stomach churn. “I’m sorry. How about I go with you to lunch?” I immediately tried to cheer Abe up. “Yeah sure.” His smile was contagious; there was no way you couldn’t smile along with him. “So, this is where you go in then.” He said stopping in front of a room numbered twenty three.


“What class do you have to go to now?” I asked leaning up against the lockers behind me. The handle of the locker was actually pushing into my back which caused a small pain, but I didn’t move for the sake of trying to be graceful, something I lacked points in. “I actually have pre-calculus right now.” He declared somewhat afraid to show any actual interest in the math class. Was it that bad to announce that you were good in a certain subject such as math? I supposed it was since high school girls tend to look down on the boys with intelligence, or, so, I thought. “Wow, are you that advanced in math?” he immediately smiled and nodded. “Why? Do you suck that bad?” I chuckled at his statement and merely nodded. “Perhaps I can tutor you some time then?” A hint of flirtation seemed to wave off that suggestion. “Sure.” I smirked back. I couldn’t lie, Abe was an attractive boy, but he didn’t seem to compare with Aiden or Kole—what made them seem so god like? “You should get going before you’re late.” I suggested to Abe as I finally leaned forward and took the pressure of the locker handle off my back. Trying to hide my inelegance and be gracefully sure was painful. “Yes, I suppose I should. See you at lunch then. Bye!” unexpectedly, his arms wrapped around me in, what I think was meant to be, a friendly hug. Stupidly, I just stood there dumbfounded by the act; I hadn’t actually been hugged casually like that since…since my mother… “Bye.” The word left my lips softly and Abe walked off to my left where he disappeared from my eye sight. “Can I help you?” the teacher automatically asked as I stepped through the squeaky door. This time I didn’t have anyone to speak for me, and my mouth suddenly felt dry and empty of any words, so I handed her piece of paper showing my schedule—I was sure she’d be able to figure out that I was a new student. She grabbed the paper and took a glance at it before she signed off her name on there. “Catalina, there is a few empty seats, choose one and sit down.” She, Ms. Guevara, didn’t even look away from the computer as she imputed something in there. There were three seats available. The first was at the very front of the third row to the right. Next to that seat was a Hispanic looking boy with greasy looking hair and yet another blonde girl-she looked like a cheerleader to me. I decided against that seat. The second seat was located at the far back right smack in the middle of some skater boys- they seemed like trouble. The last and final seat was located at the left corner of the class room with a brunette girl with an unbelievable beautiful face right in front of the seat and a dark haired boy to the right of the seat-he seemed like that kind of boy whom kept to himself. I chose that seat. I walked down the row timidly. To everyone else around, I seemed like something new to talk about, the latest gossip, so to say. But to the girl that sat in front of the new seat I chose, she seemed oblivious to my presence. Her heart

shaped face, surrounded by silky, long, rich brown hair, had a pale complexion but it was more luminous, like a statue. Everything on that face seemed flawless: smooth marble like skin, perfectly defined lips, high cheek bones, a perfect nose that fit extremely well between the liquid blue eyes that were surrounded by the curviest eyelashes and defined eyebrows. Her eyes, though, were beyond anything I had ever seen. Although Kole had been the second on my top list of beautiful eyes—Aiden being the first—her eyes were just unbelievable. It was like staring into the innocence of time. No, that was no way of describing it. The color of her eyes, the sparkling blue, God must have poured the gleaming color of the sky and ocean into them. Of course, she didn’t realize that I was analyzing her like this, perhaps even idolizing, because her eyes stared off out the window to the left of her. As I finally took my seat, I wondered who she was and if in any way related to Aiden or Kole. They all had the same beautiful features; surely they had to have some relation, right? “Alright students, we have a no girl at this school as I’m sure you have all gossiped about by now.” Ms. Guevara spoke loudly trying her best to quiet the incomprehensible chatter. “Catalina Danielson is her name, just in case you were all wondering. Catalina, would you like to say a few words about yourself?” I shook my head slowly and tried to hide myself from the stares coming from across the room. Ms. Guevara didn’t seem too surprised with my answer, and looked a bit grateful that I didn’t take any time from her lesson of the day. “Catalina, do you know where the library is?” I shook my head once more. “Alright, um, Tanya, why don’t you show Catalina where the library is so that she can check out the two books she’ll need?” It’s funny the way life works, really, because the first girl I judged during choir class was in fact the first girl I was about to talk to. Her white teeth shined brightly against her fake tan. “Alright!” I reluctantly stood to go meet her at the door of the classroom. Against my naturally tanned skin, Tanya’s tan seemed more of an orange tint. I wondered if she noticed that too. I believe she did because her eyes kept skimming me over, but then again she could have been judging me the way I judged her by her appearance. “What brought you here?” my eyebrows furrowed with her inquiry. “Huh?” “Why did you move here to Portland, I mean?” She was trying to make some sort of conversation, perhaps so she could go gossip about it afterwards. “Oh, my mother died a few weeks ago, and my father sent me here with my aunt.” I decided not to repeat the whole ordeal like in my first period class; I didn’t need any more disapproving stares. “That sounds awful.” I nodded. After I assured her that I was quite alright, she began to go on about which people I should avoid and who I should associate with. Of course, she highly recommended that I joined her group of friends. “… we’re such a cool group. All the students here would look up to. I’m like not even

kidding! There was this one time when I accidentally…” I tuned in and out of her speech hoping that maybe she’d mention something about Aiden, Kole, or the girl who sat in front of me. When I figured she’d never get to the subject-she had some how drifted to talking about New York City-I decided that if I ever wanted to get information I’d have to ask her myself. “...Madison Square Garden is so wonderful and—” “Hey, sorry to interrupt you, but I’ve just had this question lingering in my head.” By now we were already on our way from the library and I was carrying one small semi-light grammar book and a much heavier and bigger literature book. “Oh, well, okay ask away.” I swallowed thickly trying to figure out the right way to ask her about them. “Do you anything about Aiden Lexington or Kole Callaghan?” Her eye brows raised and she sighed deeply, it seemed in annoyance. “So you’ve seen them then?” I nodded. “I think it’d be kind of hard to over look them.” She scowled at my statement. Did she have sort of bad experience with the two? “Yes, it’s hard to over look them, but you get used to it because they over look you all the time.” The distaste in her voice was crystal clear. “Oh, are they not friendly?” Of course they were friendly enough to me, and I’m sure she must have seen Kole talking to me during choir, so my question was only to annoy her. I chuckled inside to myself for my mischievousness. “Yeah, I’d say they aren’t. They think they are so much better than all of us that they can’t even associate with us. Even when you try to be nice to them, they ignore it. Ugh, it’s so aggravating. Aiden and Kole don’t date, did ya know? Well, at least they don’t date the girls here. I guess we’re not good enough for them.” It seemed as though she was extremely close to stomping her foot, crossing her arms and pouting. I tried my best to hide the laugh that was dying to come out. “That’s interesting.” “Yeah, it sure-freaking-is!” I went on as if she had not even said anything. “I had Aiden in first period and he was very nice to me. He even invited me to talk with him during break. Kole was sweet to me too. It’s hard to believe what you say about them.” I thought that my attempt at sounding innocent was crap, but apparently Tanya fell for it; her mouth practically hit the floor. “What? They talked to you?” I smiled and nodded. “Oh, yeah, they’re both very kind.” “Well, what did he tell you? Did he touch you? What—” “Oh well, thanks for showing me to the library, Tanya, it seems pretty quiet in there so I think we should stop talking.” I grabbed the door handle and opened the door before she could say anything else. I took my seat with a smile wanting to appear across my lips, but I subdued it until I was sure Tanya wasn’t staring at me in astonishment. After a few minutes, the chatter started up again. I was almost positive I heard Tanya say my name, but then again I could have just been hearing things.

Having nothing more to do since all my work was finished—I was amazingly proficient in English—I decided to stare out the window as the girl in front of me was doing so at that very moment. There were so many other things that I could have started to think about like my mother’s death, my father negligence, my new life with my aunt. The last few weeks for me have been hectic and incredibly life changing, and, yet, my thoughts were all about Aiden. After this period I’d be able to see him! The thought excited me more than it should have. In the past years of my life, I had completely given up on boys since they’d look me over all the time. Now, with the death of my mother and this move to Portland, was the worst time to get dazzled by a boy I hardly knew. It was naïve and pointless; my feelings would only get hurt. Even though they were nice and sweet to me it didn’t mean that they’d somehow sink so low to date someone like me. I was just being so stupid. A deep sigh escaped me and with the sigh came the name Aiden. The girl in front of me stirred a bit. My eyes shifted from the window to the girl. Her head moved slightly more to the left as if she was going to turn and face me, but I didn’t count on it. Then again, had she heard me whisper Aiden’s name, perhaps she was going to lecture me on Aiden just like Tanya did. I rolled my eyes just imagining yet another person telling me how I should stay away from him and such. “You’re new, aren’t you?” the girl finally fully turned her head to look me right in the eye. When she did, all my irritation and frustrated thoughts were lost as I stared into those eyes. “Yes.” I muttered. “I’m sorry to say this so abruptly, but you shouldn’t fantasize about Aiden.” Okay, irritation is back again. “What? Why? I mean, I wasn’t fantasizing about him.” My defenses immediately came up; I felt insulted in a way. “All you girls idolize him like he’s just some kind of possession, like he’s a god. I could tell you were new because you’re imaging him in your head. Most girls, now, have learned to look past him as he does them. I wouldn’t get you fantasies get out of hand if I were you.” I don’t know what shocked me the most: the fact that she just completely insulted me, or the fact that such a smooth and angel like voice could make an insult like that. “I—I, well, I wasn’t…” my voice trailed off. I felt the words I was looking, the insults I wanted to give her, were stuck in my throat—I was never the type of person so insult anyway. “Keep away from him if you don’t want to get hurt.” Her firm suggestion was more like a warning. The girl seemed so tiny, though, and I couldn’t see her getting into fights, but, still, it’d probably be best if I didn’t get on her bad side. The bell rang after that and she took off swiftly, just as graceful as Aiden and Aiden, leaving me no time to say anything back to her. I felt a little stunned at that point. I didn’t know if I should stay seated in the classroom or run off to the

parking lot to find Aiden. The girl did warn me to stay away, but Aiden asked me to see him, didn’t he? I shook my head and then decided to just meet Aiden. The words the girl in my last class had told me were still fresh in my mind and I was fighting against myself. I still wasn’t sure what the hell I was doing, but I was still walking to the parking lot. If the worst case scenario happened, I would just hide out in my car like the cowardly lion. “Catalina!” I looked up to see who was calling my name; when I saw the face it made my lips form a smile. Aiden was waving me down towards the end of the parking lot. He stood next to a shiny, midnight black car; it looked expensive, but I couldn’t say what kind of car it was from far away. As I walked, not too swiftly so not to seem anxious, towards him, I could feel the stares from the girls, and perhaps the boys too, clawing into my back. My hands were beginning to sweat from the anxiety; I had to wipe them a couple of times on my pants to dry them. It was hard for me to find the right words to say when I finally stood before Aiden. All I could do was smile awkwardly at him and hope that I wouldn’t stutter when I finally spoke. “H-hey.” I stuttered. I mentally slapped myself for doing just that. “Hey.” He replied back much smoother than how I had attempted. I couldn’t seem to just look him in the eyes because I knew I’d probably say something about how he was unbelievably handsome or the way his velvet voice seemed to give me goose bumps—the good kind—or something that would make me sound equally foolish. With that thought in mind, I decided to figure out what kind of expensive looking car Aiden drove. My eyes almost fell out of their sockets when I saw the brand. “You drive a Mercedes?” I more like stated since it clearly read ‘Mercedes’ on the car. Most of the cars here in the parking lot were fairly old. There were the few newer models of Nissan or Honda, but a Mercedes for a high school student seemed out of place here. Aiden chuckled at my statement. I didn’t know what to make of it; was he laughing because of how foolish I sounded? My mouth opened to say something that didn’t make me sound silly when something touched the back of my neck. I swiftly turned around and found Kole’s dark sapphire eyes only centimeters from my face. His eyes melted me in place and made me lose my breath. I wondered if he could hear my heart increasing its speed as loudly as I could hear it in my own ears. “Hello, Catalina, we meet again. I did not know that you were to join us during break.” The cinnamon scent blew against my face as he spoke making my mind go a little incoherent for a while. I wanted to speak and say something back to him, but it seemed as though my words faded as the worked their way up my throat. Then, when Kole’s index finger slid down my cheek, I thought my knees were going to give way. “Had I known that I was going to be in the presence of such a charming girl, I would have prepared myself for such a sight and try not to adore you too

much.” I gasped as his finger ran down my neck and then to my collar bone, and then a little lower… “Kole, please, maybe you should move away a bit. I think Catalina would like to breathe before she faints.” Aiden stopped Kole from touching me any lower than my collar bone. He chuckled a little at the end of his sentence, but his voice had a touch of irritation and firmness that made me turn to look at his expression, but all firmness and irritation had left by the time I looked. “I’m sorry about him, Catalina; he’s a bit of a flirt, believe it or not.” I shrugged it off. “It’s quite fine. Boys will be boys, right?” he gave me a faint smile, but I still sensed something wrong with his aura. I couldn’t pin point what it was, but I knew something was definitely bothering him. “Aiden, where’s Elizabeth?” Kole questioned as he leaned up against the back of the Mercedes. “In the car.” Aiden answered almost dully as he stared off. Kole, then, stepped away from the back and moved to the back seat windows perhaps to find Elizabeth. I felt a bit out of place and awkward with Aiden just staring off. There wasn’t much I could say but, then, I remembered something that I was yearning to ask him since we first talked. “Aiden,” he turned immediately to look at me. “Oh, gosh, I’m sorry, Catalina, I invited you here to talk and I’m just ignoring you.” I waved it off. “Don’t worry about it. It seems like you have a lot on your mind.” He nodded and stared toward his left. “Yes, I do, I suppose.” At that moment the wind slightly picked up speed. It ran through Aiden’s hair and tousled it causing a few strands to brush against the front of his eyes as he starred off looking at nothing in particular. It made him look like part of the natural beauty of the world. I admired him for quite a while before a small voice in my head reminded me that I had something to ask him. “I’m sorry, but I just need to ask you this and get it off my chest.” Aiden turned to look at me once more. “Yes, sorry, go ahead; I’m all ears.” I cleared my throat before I spoke. “I know this may sound ludicrous, but, did you save me in San Francisco after I jumped off the bridge?” His eyes widen and he seemed to stiffen. “Catalina, I—” Aiden was cut off my Kole’s voice. “Catalina, you haven’t met Elizabeth yet.” It appeared as though Kole was forcing Elizabeth to step out of the car. The first thing I saw was her arm and then she came into full view. I sucked in air and stood extremely still. The beautiful girl from my last class stood before me. I could sense the irritation and frustration coming from her. “Catalina, this is Elizabeth, Aiden’s younger sister.” That alone shocked me the most. The way she had explicitly warmed me to stay away from Aiden made it sound as though she were his girlfriend. “It’s nice to meet you Elizabeth.” I held out my hand to shake hers and when she touched me it made me feel cold and dizzy. ‘I warned you.’ It sounded

like Elizabeth’s voice in my head, but, maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me. I immediately retrieved my hand from hers and took a few steps away from her. “Likewise, Catalina. If you’ll excuse me, I have to start getting to my next class.” She replied walking past me sending a wave of a ginger scent my way. “The bell hasn’t rung yet, though.” I stated. She turned on her heel gracefully and then raised her index finger and right then the bell rang announcing the end of the break. My eyebrows furrowed in frustration as she raised her eyebrow at me and had an expression that read: ‘See? I was right.’ I sighed and reluctantly began to follow her. Kole came up behind me and put on of his hands on my back as we walked. “What class do you have next?” I checked my schedule quickly. “Creative writing.” I replied. That was one of the few things that I was good at doing. I wondered if I had picked that class, but I could not recall. “Ah, well Aiden has that class with you. I’ll see you later, then, maybe?” I nodded and smiled. He smiled back and then slid his hand away from my back and took off to his class. I turned around too see Aiden with his hands in the pockets of his jeans walking slowly towards me staring down towards the ground. There was a part of me that wanted to wait for him to walk to class together, but just looking at his expression-so contemplated—I decided to start off to class without him and let him think without my awkward presence. Aiden wasn’t much different in class. The only words he spoke to me were a suggestion for me to sit in the empty seat next to him, which he then fell silent and spoke no more only to stare off just as he had done during break. When the class had finally broken off into small groups and the chatter began, I knew that I had to bring up the San Francisco subject once more. During break he was just about to say something when Kole interrupted him, now, though, no one was likely to interrupt. “Aiden, I’m sorry I jus—” “Catalina, I know what you want to ask. I did not get to answer you during our break, but I will do so now.” Aiden stopped what he was doing and then turned to face me. He then seemed unsatisfied with something. That unsatisfying thing must have been that fact that there were a few inches of space between us, so he pulled me forward towards him desk and all. “Yes, I was in San Francisco those many days ago. I was actually there to discuss business matters with…family I have there. It was quite stressing what had been discussed while with the family and I thought that walking would help me think with more clarity. I walked without knowing where it was that I was going; I had no clear destination in my mind and so I let my feet take me to where ever. Next thing I knew I was walking across the golden gate bridge. I was walking quite peacefully, when out of nowhere some one pushes past me knocking me out of my pondering state. I saw this girl running, pushing, shoving through

people in a desperate manner. I began to then wonder what she would be running toward. Maybe she had lost her parents in the midst of all the people and now she was desperately looking for them. It was just a thought that ran through my head, though, but I figured she had her reasons for running. Still, I watched to see what she would do. She stopped in, what seemed as, the middle of the bridge and stood by the railing for just a little while. I then thought again that she was looking out towards the water admiring its beauty, but then she jumped the railing and dived quickly into the water. I remember my eyes widen and I gasped. I would have never thought that the young girl was running to kill herself. I was sure it was suicide because if it were a stunt she would have risen from the water only a few seconds after entering it. But she didn’t emerge, and I could see the worried and shocked faces of the people around; many of them were already calling 9-1-1. I knew they wouldn’t arrive on time to rescue her out of the water, so I jumped in. I found her as quickly as I could and then brought her to the nearest land I could find. I gave her CPR hoping desperately that I had gotten to her on time. She looked far too precious to lose life. Whatever that had caused her so much pain as to make her think that she needed to die I cursed to the deepest part of Hell. I knew there was a crowd already around the girl and me, but I was so focused on saving her life that I paid no attention to them. When she finally spat out the water that had filled her lungs, relief washed over me. Her eyes opened slowly until she finally looked at me. She asked the silliest question, but I was just glad she was alive even if she had intended to die. Her eyes were a wonderful golden green color that stared back at me with confusion. I couldn’t explain anything, though, because the paramedics took her away at that moment. When I had to return here to Portland, she would appear in my thoughts and I couldn’t help but wonder if she was well and what ever became of her. I have hoped that she was alive this whole time for the only purpose of saying…” here Aiden leaned in closer to me and then put his right hand on my neck, pulled himself closer to where his mouth was right next to my ear. His citrus scent amazed and dizzied me; I had nearly forgotten that we were in the middle of a class room. “You’re an idiot for trying to take your life, Catalina.” His breath was warm and sent a shiver down my spine. The way he spoke was so smooth and seductive I didn’t mind that he was, in a way, insulting me. When he pulled away from me, I was still dazed and dazzled just like I had been with Kole earlier during break. Aiden gave me a shockingly beautiful smirk and then turned to start putting his things away. I tried my hardest not to gaze at him, but it was a difficult task. I found myself smiling and then thinking about the recent way two gorgeous boys have dazzled me. It seemed as though, so far, the first day of school had turned out much more eventful than I thought it would be. I looked once more towards Aiden and smiled again. I was extremely grateful and content that he had saved me life or I would have missed this whole experience.


Chapter Four: Maybe More
When I had gotten home that day, I felt as though I was still in a dream.
Everything around me just seemed so lively and colorful—I could have sworn that the birds were chirping along with my humming. Claudia had not yet gotten home, so I decided to make a dinner—with all the energy that was just increasing by the second, I had to do something productive. Luckily, Claudia had her cabinets and refrigerator stocked with food; all I needed to do was decide on what to make. I decided that some lasagna would do nicely. I pulled out the pasta, pasta sauce, meat, and cheese and then hooked up some speakers to my Mp3 player and turned up the volume. Claudia was still not home when I placed the lasagna in the oven and still my energy had not died down. My cheeks were starting to hurt from all the smiling, but I couldn’t seem to stop stretching my lips into a wide grin. My hands would start shaking if I tried to hold them still as if they just couldn’t contain themselves in one position for too long. I had to put some sort of music on that would help me do something good with all the energy I had left in me. With my mother being Hispanic most of the music she would listen to was salsa, so I thought it’d be a good choice to dance off the way my mother had showed me. Dancing brought back many good memories of my mother. I remembered she the way would always dance while cooking and would drag me into her arms to make me dance along. I think I slipped into a dream because it felt like I was really in my mother’s living room dancing all over the place and laughing. My mother’s eyes would squint when she smiled. Her smile would illuminate the place though, without it everything seemed dull. She was so much more graceful than me that I wondered who I got the clumsiness from. If I had to describe her in one word it’d be life. My mother was so full of life I would have never believed that it would be taken from her. “Oh! What a great dancer you are!” Claudia’s exclamation stopped me in my dance. She applauded me excitedly as she entered the living room setting her purse and keys down on the couch. “Who taught you how to dance so well?” she questioned as I turned the mp3 player off. I looked up at her with painful eyes. “My mother.” I replied walking over to the kitchen to check on the lasagna. Claudia must have really seen how it caused me agony to talk about my mother, but she still spoke about her; I suppose to make me see the good memories. “She was incredible, your mother. Or so I heard from your grandmother. She was a very nature type of women, wasn’t she, very gentle and loving?” I nodded and gave her a weary smile.


She cleared her throat and decided not to dwell on the subject any longer. “What did you make there?” I pulled the lasagna out of the oven and on to the counter top. “Lasagna.” There were tears starting to work their way to spill from my eyes, but I didn’t let them. I had cried almost everyday since my mother’s death; there had been no cries throughout the whole day and I didn’t want to start. “Well, how was your first day of school? Did you make any friends?” Claudia seemed eager to know. “It was…pretty amazing actually. I made three new friends. All guys too, huh?” It had just dawned on me that the friends I had made were only male; I had never made too many guy friends. “Oh, really now? Well, come on, what’s their names.” I felt the excitement pour back into me and I couldn’t contain the information any longer-I just had to tell someone. “Well, the first boy I met is Abe Beckham—” “Oh I know his mother! He’s grown into such a cute boy.” Claudia had as much, if not more, excitement in her eyes as I did. “Yes, he is and he’s very sweet too. He helped me get around the school most of the day.” At the moment, I was standing by the counter still, but for the next to boys I was going to try and describe I needed to sit down so my knees wouldn’t give way. “The next two boys I’m going to tell you about, awh, there is just no exact way I can describe them to you. They were just so mesmerizing, amazing, beautiful, charming, friendly boys. Claudia, they are the reason my day went so amazingly well.” I sighed deeply just recalling the few hours of school. “Okay, well spill their names already!” She was just like a teenage girl anxiously waiting to hear the latest gossip. “Well, the first one I met was Aiden Lexington.” “Aiden Lexington?” her smile turned into a frown, but I continued on as though I had seen nothing. “Yes, Aiden Lexington. Not only did he ask me to spend the break with and was charming beyond all reason, he was the one who jumped in to save me when I tried committing suicide in San Francisco. Small world, isn’t it?” Claudia gave me a quizzical look. “Aiden was in San Francisco?” “Yes, he told me he had gone there to discuss business with family.” she remained puzzled as I continued. “I met Kole Callaghan later that day.” “Kole Callaghan?” “Yes, I had not known that he was a friend of Aiden’s until he met up with us during break. I’ve got to say, he said something enchanting comments that made me lose my breath a few times.” I stopped talking because it seemed like Claudia was not exactly listening anymore, but more like trying to figure out a puzzle. “Claudia?” she blinked and came out of her trance like state.


“Oh, sorry, dear. Did you meet Aiden’s sister, Elizabeth?” I was the one with a quizzical look now. “Yes, I did. Why do you ask?” “Did she speak to you?” she didn’t answer my question. “Yes, she did, I suppose. Again, why do you ask?” she didn’t answer again, but questioned instead. “What did she tell you?” I was starting to dread what it was that she was trying to get to. “Basically, to stay away from Aiden and I think she threatened me, too.” I began to remember the short unpleasant conversation I had had with Elizabeth. “Yet again, why do you ask?” this time she didn’t question again, but she didn’t exactly answer my question either. “You should take her advice. Stay away from Kole too.” Claudia stood from the table. “I’m sorry, I-I just remembered that I wanted to check the post office mail. I’ll be back shortly. Save some of the lasagna for me, if you don’t mind.” She hurriedly grabbed her purse and keys and walked to the door. “Yes, alright, bye.” I replied confused. “Bye, don’t stay up too late, sweetie.” And with that she left the house. I didn’t understand what it was that had gotten her so puzzled when I began to mention Aiden or why she agreed with Elizabeth about me staying away from him. What was so perilous about these boys that everyone kept telling me to stay away? I didn’t see any evil in them, but then again I was too busy being dazzled to try and find a fault in them. But then again, there must be something a little wrong with them if they were both dazzling a girl like me. I knew there were far prettier girls than me at the school, so why did they pick me to be the only girl—besides Elizabeth—to talk to? I didn’t know any answers to my questions, but I knew one thing for sure: I was hungry. My hunger always overrides my mind and with the smell of warm, delicious lasagna in the air, I just had to have a piece. I cut myself a slice and then sat down in front of the TV and forgot all about my inquiries. I was extremely anxious to get the school next day that I woke up earlier than usual. By the time that I had finished getting ready I still needed to wait another hour until I could leave the house and then get to school at an early time. My stomach made a growl and it gave me the idea of making Claudia and myself some breakfast. The night before I had not heard Claudia come back to the house, so, in actuality, I did not know if she was, in fact, home. Thinking about the night before made my head spin with confusing questions. What was it about Aiden and Kole that made Claudia so nervous? No, I can’t say that she was nervous, but she certainly didn’t like that fact that I was with them. What made me the most frustrated was that I could not figure out why she didn’t like it. “Good morning!” Claudia stepped into the kitchen in red boxer shorts, a black tank top, and black fuzzy slipper-so she had returned that night prior.


“Morning. Would you like some coffee?” I offered her as I poured myself a glass. It wasn’t such a good idea to add caffeine to my system when I was already maxed out on energy, but I couldn’t help it—I loved coffee. “That sounds lovely, why don’t you pour me a glass, yeah?” she stretched her arms out sighing deeply and then grabbed the cup of coffee I handed to her. It was amazing how she was so less serious today; it was such a contrast from last night. I found myself raising my eyebrow and looking at her tentatively. I still couldn’t figure out the reason for her reaction last night, and I was too timid to ask her about it. I handed her a plate of eggs, bacon, and pancakes and then set my own plate down in front of me. She gave me a puzzling look. “I thought you—” she began. “I quit. Time for some real food.” I smiled and chuckled, as did she. After a few moments, we were both done with our food. “Well, I’m off to get ready for work.” Claudia announced after a quiet session of us drinking our coffee at the table. She then place the cup in the sink and left up stairs. I wondered if she could feel my eyes as I was scrutinizing while we drank in silence. Once again, my eyebrows creased as I began to think about her. Only a few seconds later, I could feel the caffeine hiking up my energy to a new level. My eyes darted to the clock just above a calendar in the kitchen. I had about forty-five minutes left until it would be an appropriate time to leave for school. I decided that running around the huge yard surrounding the house would take up time and bring my energy level down to a healthy level. The air was incredibly fresh outside; far better than the air in San Francisco and reminded me so much of my mother’s house out in the country. It was like every breath of air gave me more and more clarity and made me forget, temporarily, about the perplexing situation that had started last night. All I could think about at the moment was the way nature seemed to make me melt into it and I was a part of everything. I was the wind blowing through the leaves of the trees to make them rustle. I was the scent coming off the beautiful, vibrant flowers. I was the waves crashing along the shore soaking the rocks. I was the ground beneath me with many years of history in many layers. For that half hour, I finally realized how peaceful it was to be one with nature as my mother had tried to describe to me once. There’s nothing truly like the experience to try and compare it. “Catalina, you should get to school, shouldn’t you?” Claudia snapped me out of my nature state and back to the real time. She was wearing a black, tight, knee length skirt, a hot pink button up shirt and a black jacket. She held a black brief case in her left hand and my backpack in her right. Her blonde hair was tied up in a bun neatly. She looked very professional and it made me wonder what it was that she did for a living. “Yeah, I suppose I should.” I replied walking over to her to get my things.

“I put your wallet, keys, and phone in there.” “Thank you.” I grinned grabbing the backpack and pulled out the car keys from the front pocket. She and I walked over to our cars in a synchronized manor even when we got inside the car. She pulled out of the drive way first and then I pulled out driving up next to her on her left. “Have a good day at work Claudia.” I smiled. “And you at school, sweetie.” She smiled back and then took off. There was a short period of time when I was behind her on the road until we spilt and went to our different destinations. There were still some stares when I got out of my car, and I thought it was because the word had gotten around about my attempted suicide. I was immediately regretting saying that just so I could sit down in first period yesterday. I decided to ignore the stares for a few seconds and reach over to the passenger’s side of my car and retrieve my backpack. A vast muscular chest greeted me as I straightened out—not to mention it made me jump and widen my eyes. “Catalina, how are you today?” Kole showed his pearly whites in a crooked smile that was just dazzling. “I’m great.” I choked out and smiled. I tried taking in a deep breath to cool my nerves, but I only took a big whiff of his scent—he was just so close!—and my mind went spinning. “And you were amazed that I drove a Mercedes and, yet, here you are with a Corvette, Catalina.” Aiden appeared around the rear end of my car examining the red color, I presumed. “Uhm, it’s my aunt’s. Well, she gave it to me sort of.” My words tumble over one another and made me sound slow. “It’s a very nice car.” Kole complimented. I was about to tell him thank you, but he spoke before I could even open my mouth. “It’s just like you.” Kole inched closer to me to the point where no breeze could pass between us. “You look stunning in red, very sexy.” My breaths became hard and short making my chest go up and down at a quick speed underneath the long, tight, decorated red shirt I wore. “Red’s my favorite color.” My words were barely whispers. “It suits you deeply.” Kole mesmerized me with his eyes freezing me against the side of my car. “Kole, will you stop. Just watching you flirt like that makes me nauseous.” Elizabeth’s voice came from my left side. She dressed amazingly in a lacey shirt and a knee length ruffled skirt. “Then don’t watch, Lizzie.” Kole remarked only turning his head to Elizabeth for just a second and then turned back to me. I wondered why Kole didn’t compliment Elizabeth, too. She looked far more stunning than me and, yet, he treated her with humor.

Aiden had not spoken since commenting about my car, and I had nearly forgotten about him with Kole so near me and his scent dizzying my mind every time I took a breath. Kole and Elizabeth began to argue—she had said something about hating that he called her Lizzie. With the argument escalating, Kole stepped away letting me take breaths that didn’t make my head spin. It also gave a chance to speak with Aiden. “Hey, how are you?” it was the best conversation starter that I could think of at the moment. “Oh, hey, Catalina, I’m okay. You?” He leaned up against the side of my car and crossed his arms. His eyes had looked at me briefly when I first spoke to him, but now they were staring off just like the day before. “I’m…fine.” I wanted to say something more. I wanted to ask what was bothering him and why he seemed to be so distant ever since Aiden had begun to speak to me yesterday, but I figured we weren’t exactly friends enough to ask him such personal questions. “Catalina,” this was Elizabeth calling me. It caught me by surprise since I was so engulfed in Aiden’s pondering expression. “Don’t get caught up in Kole’s charming words. He’s nothing but a deceitful boy only out to suck the life from you.” She had a small smile but her eyes were serious as they stared at me. “I’ll be sure to remember that.” I laughed. I had only known Kole for not even a day and he had been charming from the first time I spoke to him, but I obviously didn’t exactly know him. “We should start going.” Aiden announced. We all nodded and started walking. Kole fell behind with me as Elizabeth and Aiden walked ahead. His bright red hair was like fire as the wind blew threw it. I imagined that was how the sun looked like when it started falling away at dusk: bright orange, red, and yellow all mixed into one. His eyes and hair contrasted greatly against his skin; just like Aiden’s and Elizabeth’s. I still wondered if Kole was related to Aiden and Elizabeth—they must be. I didn’t realize that I was staring at Kole until his eyes fell down and gazed right into mine. “Do I interest you that much?” he asked with a devilish smile. I blinked my eyes away from his. “I was just wondering something.” I answered looking at the ground knowingly avoiding looking around me since I could feel the stares I was getting. “Wondering what?” The curiosity in his voice undisguised. “Are you related to them?” I cocked my head toward Aiden and Elizabeth. Kole raised his eyebrow. “Why do you ask? Don’t we look like just friends?” I wasn’t sure how to take in his answer. Was he insulted?


“Well, uhm…you three seem to have similar…uh…features.” There was no way I was going to say that the three of them looked like gods: Beautiful and flawless. There was no way in hell I was going to embarrass myself like that. “Oh, I see. Well, no we’re not related…by blood. His parents took me in, though, so we’re all kind of like siblings.” Aiden and Elizabeth stopped underneath a tree; Kole and I stood in front of them. The three of them sat down on the grass, but stayed standing too nervous to take a seat. I felt as though I was the odd one out. They were so majestic and I was just so plain. I looked around to see the many eyes upon me. There expressions were mixed: angry, jealous, confused, and thoughtful. There was only one person I wanted to look for in the midst of the rest. I caught a glimpse of Abe just as he walked away toward the east building. I didn’t see his expression, but I was sure it wasn’t a good one. “Do you like standing?” Kole’s smooth voice came from below—he was just a few inches away from where I stood. I shook my head and then sat down reluctantly with a sigh. It was silent for the remainder five or ten minutes—I wasn’t quite aware of time, nor was trying to keep up with it. The first bell ringing was the only way I knew that school was about to start. My first class was with Aiden, and it gave me mixed emotions. I wasn’t sure whether I felt happy to be sitting by him once more or if it frightened me that he could possibly stay silent like this for the period. I stood before the three of them. Even though my mind kept telling me to walk away as fast I as I could, I didn’t want to be impolite to them and just walk away so rudely. “Uhm, well, I should get going to my class. I’ll see you next period, Kole.” He nodded still sitting down in no hurry to get to class. “Elizabeth.” I bowed my head her way—for some reason I just felt like I needed to treat her like royalty. She did the same and then I took one glance at Aiden. “I’ll see you in class, Aiden.” I didn’t even wait for him to answer; I simply walked away with no rudeness intended. Once I got to my seat, I scooted it as far as I could from Aiden’s. There was something troubling him, and I didn’t know if my presence had something to do with it. Nonetheless, giving him enough space seemed like the only thing I could do at the moment. Aiden didn’t seem to notice the extra space between us. His eyes just stared blankly at the white board in front of the class room as Mr. Hampton gave us his daily lecture. Class seemed to drag on and I couldn’t concentrate on the chemicals Mr. Hampton was going over—not that I really needed to, my old school had covered this part of chemistry. Aiden’s stare did not waver—did he ever blink? “Homework tonight is on page one eighty-four. Do questions one through fifteen.” After announcing that, Mr. Hampton went to his desk and let the room fill with chatter. It seemed to me like Aiden and I were the only ones who were silent. His face still in the same position, his eyes also still the same. I tried not to look at

him, but I found that impossible with my eyes looking forward and his shape almost clear in my peripheral vision. I decided to face away and support my head with my chin in my right hand. It seemed like an eternity before the bell rang and Aiden left quickly and silently. I stared after him in amazed confusion. He still looked as graceful as he did the day before but there was no simple conversation like the day before. “I see he’s more like himself today.” Abe’s voice frightened me a bit. I had nearly forgotten that I also shared this class with. I shook my head away from the path Aiden had taken when left and turned it to see Abe. “That doesn’t seem like himself to me, though.” I sighed and began to find my way out of the small space between my desk and the desk to the left of me— Abe followed suit. “Well, you’ve only known him for about a day. Believe me, that’s him alright.” I could hear the sneer Abe’s voice but didn’t wan to think of it. It made me tense when he spoke like that. “So, would you mind if I spent lunch with you today, again?” I deliberately wanted to change the subject. “Of course I wouldn’t mind!” Abe’s sneer was immediately replaced by a huge grin. His eyes squinted as the smile grew wider. “Alright sounds great. I’ll meet by the tree like yesterday?” I questioned as walked through the hallway. He nodded just as he turned to take the flight of stairs up to his next class. I found myself still smiling as I entered the choir class. As I did, Kole immediately waved me down to sit by him once more. He spoke to me briefly about the music so that, maybe, I’d be able to understand it before class started. Sadly, the few minutes of teaching did nothing to help me and I was still as lost as ever. “Well, teaching you sure is going to take a lot of time. The beginning of class doesn’t seem to be enough though.” Kole had begun to talk away as soon as Mrs. Rhodes and retreated to her desk. “Ah! Yes! I have it!” His eyes stared into mine with triumphant. “I can tutor you after school!” I raised my eye brows in surprise. Why didn’t he just help me switch out of the class, that sounded much easier, but I could rob the excitement from him—it didn’t sound too bad to be with Kole more than just at school after all. “That sounds great.” I smiled back and tried to match his enthusiasm. Class ended soon after that and Kole made me promise that I’d spend the break with him—or them: Elizabeth, Aiden, and him. “I’ll see you then.” I promised and he, then, walked away with a smile still on his face. As I was reaching for my backpack to my left, I realized Tanya was eyeing my carefully. I wasn’t sure what she was trying to see in me. Maybe she was trying to figure out what was so special about me that Kole seemed so friendly and flirty to me? I wanted to turn to her and say: ‘I honestly don’t get it either.’ I


decided to ignore her instead and walked to my English class dreading having to see Elizabeth. Elizabeth took no notice of me when I walked right past her and sat in the seat right behind hers. Her expression and posture as just the same as the day before; it made me think of her more and more like a beautiful marble statue. I wondered if she stayed like that for the same reason as Aiden when we were in Chemistry. Maybe it had something to do with them, their family, and not me as I had thought it to be. How full of myself I must have been. When break came I was surprised when Elizabeth stood and turned to face me. “Are you joining us again?” she questioned. “Huh?” I knew what she was talking about, but it seemed like my mind couldn’t exactly process anything with Elizabeth standing there looking down at me as I sat in my seat still. “At break, will you be joining us?” she clarified resting her hand on her hip as she did. “Oh, yes. Kole made me promise I would.” The words were slurred together and I didn’t dare look at her—she didn’t want me around right? “Hmph, I wonder why Kole even bothers.” And with that she turned on her heel and walked away like she was a runway model. It’s hard to take insults from such a petite girl seriously, but I was still weak —emotionally and physically—and the words hurt, but they made sense. Why did Kole even bother with flirting with me? What would he get out of it? What made me so special? Kole was amazingly beautiful, yes, but he was also way out of my league. ‘Don’t get your hopes up.’ I told myself and then let out a long sigh before leaving the class. As I was walking toward the parking lot again, I could see the way everyone’s eyes were on me again. I felt violated, in a way, because I knew they were all judging me as I passed them and it didn’t feel right. Yes, it was odd for Kole, Aiden, and Elizabeth to socialize with them, but was it that surprising to see them speaking to the new girl? ‘They have to get over it sometime.’ “Hey.” I smiled nervously as I reached the Mercedes Benz. “Catalina, I’m glad you could join us again.” Aiden’s voice and smile made my heart race. “Yeah, I’m glad too. Kole made me promise that I’d spend break with you guys.” Aiden’s shot a quick glance at Kole who was standing right beside him. “Did he now? Well, you shouldn’t feel too obligated to keep the promises you make to this guy, I’d ignore him if I were you.” He poked Kole with his elbow playfully. “Ow, that hurts for two reasons. One, you jabbed me with your elbow. Two, why would you tell someone to ignore and not keep the promises they make me? Now that’s just rude.” Kole chuckled and then turned his attention to me. “So, Miss Danielson, tell me something about you. All I know is that you can’t sing-so you say—and you must like writing since you’re in creative writing.” He pulled


me to his side and then slung his arm loosely around my shoulders. His cinnamon scent hit me hard. “Uh…what do you mean?” The scent, god the scent just made it so hard for me to function. “Well, what are your hobbies? Where were you born? Family, friends, anything would be nice.” I made my eyes stare at the floor so I could focus on what to say and not Kole’s scent or features. “Oh! Well, hobbies, uhm…I like painting more than I like writing. I use to paint a lot before my mother…” I lowered my voice and faded out the last two words and then restarted the conversation on a different topic hoping that Kole wouldn’t ask why I stopped painting. “I was born in California. San Francisco. I moved more out in the country side of California after my parents divorced and lived with my mother. I have one brother, Jake. He lives in New York City with his wife, Stephañia. My dad still lives in San Francisco. All of my mother’s relatives have either died or moved back to Spain.” “Oh so you’re Spaniard?” Kole still had his arm around me, but it seemed it had gotten from my shoulders to a little higher than my elbow while I spoke. “Only half. My mother is from Spain and my father from, well, here. The United States, I mean.” My fingers were fiddling with my shirt, tightening the fabric of my shirt around and around my skin. “So do you speak Spaniard?” his question made me want to hold back a laugh. “It’s Spanish you dimwit.” Elizabeth spoke for the first time making her presence know. She was sitting in the backseat of the car—the door was open and all I could see were her legs. “Oh yes, sorry, Spanish. Do you speak Spanish?” “Yes, though, I only spoke it with my mother.” I answered feeling my heart ache as I spoke about her. I glanced over at Aiden—from the three he was the only one who knew about my mother’s death—and saw him just as he looked up to see me. His expression showed that he knew it pained me to talk about my mother. I gave him a small smile to tell him not to worry. After giving an understanding smile back to me, he turned his eyes away. Kole now had his hand on my waist and was gripping it some what tightly. When my mind finally processed that, my heart began to race again and I felt myself getting hotter by the second. Soon enough sweat would be running down my face; my hands were already getting damp. I was saved by the bell. The three of us left the car and began walking back towards the school. This time, Kole was the one in front and I lagged behind with Aiden. “See ya later!” Kole waved goodbye and took off in a different direction from Aiden and me. Aiden seemed less tense in class than yesterday. We had little conversations, but nothing like the first day of school. And then class was over and I was heading off to P.E.

“Alright, ladies, gather ‘round. Today we’re playing some soccer with the boy’s gym class. Girls against boys. Let’s kick some boy butt!” Ms. Anderson, the gym class teacher, announced. Some of the girls were happy to have a chance to beat the boys, others were happy to be around them and were already talking about which boys were the cutest, hottest, stronger, faster, and all that jazz. I was actually pretty good at soccer, though I never tried out for the team back home, and I was excited to get to play and take my mind off things. Soon enough, all the girls got on the field where the boys were already set to play. The whistle blew and the game started. A few girls ran for the ball, but most of them then stopped to watch the boys in all their glory. Some boys had their shirts off—it was a bit cold outside but running had made everyone’s body heat rise-that was enough to keep some of the girls from focusing on the game. I stole the ball from one of the “hot shot” boys who was trying to show off for the girls. When I kicked the ball right out from in between his legs, he stood there stunned for a bit. I passed all the boys easily and I only had about three girls actually playing. I passed the ball to the girl on my left; she then passed it the girl on my right, who then passed the ball back to me right when I was in position to make the goal. I kicked the ball and it floated right passed the goalie. The two girls and I cheered giving each other friendly excited hugs. “Nice going Catalina! That was great!” One of the girls told me. “Melanie that pass was just in time too! No wonder you’re the soccer super star!” the girl who complimented me now complimented the girl, Melanie, who had passed the ball back to me to make the goal. “Thanks, but I’m no soccer star, Rachel. Don’t exaggerate.” Melanie laughed and then the two were off to retrieve the ball from the boys. I stayed behind just in case Rachel or Melanie needed to pass the ball back my way. Both of them were great soccer players and Melanie—although denied it—was a soccer super star. Or, at least that’s what I saw. “So you actually play soccer and don’t just look at the guys?” I quickly turned my head to see… “Abe! Oh, wow, hey!” Abe also had his shirt off and he wasn’t a sight not worth looking at. He was clearly muscular and fit. His skin wasn’t the illuminate fair color like Aiden’s or Kole’s, but it was a nice medium between tan and white. “Hey, so we’re still on for lunch right?” He asked just reassuring. “Yeah, of course.” I grinned shyly. Abe was attractive and, with his shirt off and his chest heaving up and down, I suddenly felt so nervous by his side. “Catalina!” I heard Rachel yell my name and looked up just in time too see her kick the ball my way. I eyed Abe to see he was ready to steal the ball away from me, but I wasn’t about to let the happen. I caught the ball with my foot and then began to run towards the goal with Abe right behind me. There were a few times when my arm and hand brushed against his bare chest as I tried my best to keep away from. He tried to steal the ball away from me, but, in the end, I made the goal anyway. After doing so, I glanced back at him, my chest rising and falling

rapidly with each breath, and I gave him a triumphant smirk. He smiled back shaking his head as he tried to catch his breath. The game ended with the boys winning by just one goal, which Abe made. The rest of the girls from my gym class were saying their goodbye’s to the boys in a flirtatious way while Rachel, Melanie, and I were congratulating each other on the game. “Catalina, you should join the soccer team!” Rachel linked her arm with mine was we walked off the field—her other arm was linked with Melanie’s. “Oh, I don’t know, Rachel.” I wasn’t in the best shape since I let myself get weak during my depression. “I’m not in good shape right now. I’d get tired easily.” “But you can get back into shape! It’ll be easy, you’ll see. Don’t you think she should join the soccer team, Melanie?” Rachel turned her head to face Melanie, her short dirty blonde hair swayed with the movement. “Totally! Were you on the soccer team at your old school?” Melanie probed gazing at me with her green eyes. “No, actually. I just played for recreation, ya know? I never thought I was good enough for the team.” I admitted. The three of us had reached the girls locker room by now. “Well, you’re magnificent. Get yourself back into shape so you can try out. Soccer season is coming up soon so get to it girl!” Melanie’s enthusiasm was hard not to catch, the same with Rachel. “Alright, I’ll try out.” I gave in with a smile and tried to match Rachel’s and Melanie’s cheer. “That’s great!” they both yelled. “We’ll see ya around then, Catalina.” Rachel called as I made my way to my own locker. I found that I couldn’t stop smiling even after I had left Rachel and Melanie to wait under the tree for Abe. When Abe walked up to stand by me, I still had the biggest smile. “So, gym went well I take even though we kicked your girly butt?” Abe now wore the triumphant smirk I had given him when I made the goal. “Yes, it did. We’re not sore losers.” I laughed. “Hey, how about we take my car to lunch. My legs hurt from all the running. I don’t feel like walking.” Abe agreed with me and then we were walking off toward the car. The last two periods went by quickly. I was relieved when the bell rang announcing the end of U.S. history. My mind was packed enough even without all the notes I had to now know for the test on Friday. Mr. Fisher had told me that I had to learn the notes just like everyone else because he had only started giving them out last Friday and I should be able to get it all down in three days. Right, get the civil war down. Not likely. Now, as I walked to my car, both my mind and legs were sore. A nice hot bath seemed very relaxing. I decided to hurry my pace so that I could get home sooner and take that bath. I sighed just as I reached my car and leaned my arm against it so that I could rest my head on the make shift pillow my arm provided.

I felt exhausted for some reason. Perhaps all the running in gym class had finally caught up to me. “Gosh, Catalina, you need to start running more.” I said to myself in a sigh. “So is speaking to yourself in the third person a hobby too?” I inhaled and quickly turned to face Kole. Once again he was only inches from me. “Kole,” I exhaled deeply. “You scared me.” I put my hand over my racing heart. “I’m sorry; I just wanted to ask if you wanted me to help you with the whole singing and reading music thing today.” His arm came forward and his hand rest on the top of the car; he inched closer. “Oh, right sure. That’d be great. The-the sooner the better right?” His scent made it hard for me to focus. “That’s what I was thinking. I’m glad you were thinking that too because I’m gonna have to ride with you to your house. I already told Aiden to go home without me.” he tried giving me an innocent look. “Well, we’d better get going then.” He nodded and then pulled away from me to walk to the passenger’s side. Once in the car, Kole’s scent stayed quarantined in my car and traveled around the small space. Every time I took a breath, his scent was strong in my nose and I wondered if I should’ve let Kole drive instead since inhaling his scent mixed my mind up. “So, who do you live with?” He seemed to be trying to make any talk— silence must feel awkward to him. “My aunt. Well, she’s actually my father’s step aunt. If that makes sense.” He nodded staring out the window. It was only shortly after that when we arrived at Claudia’s house. “Is your aunt home?” He asked as I killed the engine. I shook my head. “No, she’ll be at work for another two hours or so.” “Hmm…” I began to get out of the car as did Kole. Once in the house, I hung my keys up and then went to the kitchen to find something I could offer Kole. “Are you thirsty or hungry?” I called out thinking he was still at the front door or in the living room. “Not at all.” his spoke in a whisper next to my ear with his arms sliding around my waist. “So, then,” I straighten into his chest. “We’re completely alone?” My heart began to pound louder and louder in my ears. I tried to keep my breathing at a steady rate but failed at that. “Uh…y-yes.” I squeaked out. “Hmm…” his arms wrapped around my body and then his lips went from beside my ear down to my neck. I never expected that this teaching lesson would be maybe more than just teaching.

Chapter Five: Secrets

Part of my mind was going insane with his scent so near and his lips so
soft on my neck. The better part of me was screaming ‘no, way too fast.’ And, although, Kole was so appealing, I had to agree with the screaming side of me. I had only known Kole for a day or two. If he wanted anything to do with me, it’d have to start off with a friendship first. “N-no,” I pulled away from his arms and leaned against the closed refrigerator door. “I’m sorry; this is just…way too fast. I don’t even know you that well. I don’t know if we’re even friends yet.” My gaze was focused on the floor. Kole didn’t say anything. He just stood there with his arms still stretched out and his hands lightly touching my waist. I decided that taking one glance at him to see his expression wouldn’t be so bad. I blinked my eyes up to him and saw him with a smirk upon his lips and his eyes soft and tender gazing at me. I was instantly trapped in the sapphires of his eyes. My hand gripped the handle of the refrigerator door to keep myself from falling. I wondered what to do. I didn’t know whether I should move away or wait for him to say something. I was just trapped. Finally, he sighed and let his hands fall from my waist. “You have a point. I’m sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. That was a stupid thing to do. You deserve more respect than that.” My eyes got wide. Damn. I didn’t want to make him feel like this. “No, no it’s okay. Uhm…why…why don’t we just uh, start the tutoring? I’m a slow learner, so the sooner we start the better.” I took small side steps away from the refrigerator and Kole until I was free and there was no possible way for me to be trapped again. Kole stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans and began walking towards me. “You suck that bad?” he joked. I exhaled, deeply grateful that it seemed like everything was back to normal. “I’d say so.” I chuckled and gave him a small smile. “Well,” I clasped my hands together. “How about we go into the living room and we can go over all this music stuff?” he smiled back and nodded. Kole was a great teacher, but I was a poor student. I was also shy. He would tell me to sing a note he had just taught me, but I was too timid and afraid I as bad. He had an amazing voice and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself by singing out of tune. “Look, I won’t laugh or make any faces if you get it wrong, I’m not like that. I’ll give you constructive criticism. Okay? Now, listen to the way I sing this and then repeat it.” His voice was amazing; I didn’t want to sing after he just showed off how great of a singer he was. “Come on, your turn.” I was extremely nervous. My stomach began to twist, my hands started getting damp; I felt my face get hot. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, exhaled, and then sang. It was only a few seconds long, but it felt like an eternity to me. When I finished, Kole didn’t say anything. God, I’m awful.


“Uh, gosh, say something, Kole. I know I’m bad. Damn, I told you I was.” I was rubbing my hands together anxiously. Silence was worse than getting criticized. Kole remained motionless; I didn’t dare look at his face. With the silence increasing, I decided it’d be good to end the teaching lesson. I began to gather the sheets of music. “That was…” I turned to Kole when I heard him speak and prepared myself for the worst. “Uh, how could you say you were bad? That was fantastic! Can’t you hear yourself when you sing?” I stared at him unbelieving. “I thought you were gonna give me ‘constructive criticism’. Ugh.” I felt angry with him for lying to me. I could take criticism, but when someone lies just to be ‘nice’ it makes me so frustrated. “Catalina, I wasn’t—” “Just don’t say anything.” I gathered the music sheets untidily too frustrated to put them in order. My hands, then, started shaking making it that much harder to get the sheets of music. “Catalina, will you just listen.” His hand came down on mine stopping me from trying to grab the music. I turned to face him with frustration clear in my expression. “I said I was going to give you constructive criticism, but only if you were bad. Catalina, you weren’t bad at all. Seriously.” He didn’t sound like he was lying, so I gave in. “Fine.” I replied. “Okay, well, I’d say your only problem is that you can’t read music, but other than that, you should just sing. Listen to the people around you, I’d suggest listening to me, and mimic the notes they sing. Okay?” I nodded. “Uhm I’m sorry I thought you were lying.” “It’s alright. Don’t be afraid to admit that you’re a great singer, don’t be modest.” He gave my hand a squeeze; I slowly pulled it from underneath his. “Okay, well, thanks for trying to teach me how to read music, that’s going to be a long process.” “You’re welcome. I’m a patient person and it also means I’ll be able to spend more time with you.” He smiled and winked at me, which made my cheeks feel hot and turn a light red. “Do you wanna keep the lesson going?” If that meant more time with Kole then… “Yeah! Uh, I mean, yes, that’d be nice.” We, then, went back to my lesson on reading music. We spent the next two hours in the living room as Kole tried to help me understand how to read the notes on the sheets of music. In two hours we made only a little progress, but it was better than nothing. I had learned how to read and then sing the right pitch of only three notes. I felt bad for Kole because he was going to have to put up with my slow learning for a while. Who knew until when his patience would last? “I think that’s enough for your brain to absorb in one day, don’t you?” Kole and I had already begun to gather and organize the sheets of music.

“Oh yes. It’s only a little but the civil war had already taken up most of the space.” I chuckled lightly. “The civil war? Well, through all that away so we can fill you head with music.” He looked like the spokesperson for reading music. It made me laugh. “Uhm, should you call Aiden to pick you up or would you like me to give you a ride home?” “Would you mind? It’s quite a ways from here, pretty much on the other side of town.” I shook my head answering his question. “Let me just write a note to my aunt and then I’ll take you over there.” He nodded and I took off to find a piece of paper and a pen. Just as I began to write the letter, Claudia stepped through the front door. “Hello? Catalina, you home?” I walked into her view. “Oh, hi, sweetie how was school?” she took off her coat and hung that and her keys. “It was good. You came just in time. I’m going to take one of my friends home. He came over to help me with some choir stuff. You don’t mind, do you?” “Mind what, dear?” We began walking toward the kitchen. “If I take him home, and well, now that I think about it, the fact that he came over.” I rested my hands on the table. “Oh no, on both subjects.” She smiled. “So, who is this boy?” her eye brow rose with curiosity. At that moment, Kole stepped into the kitchen for Claudia to see. Her smile immediately turned into a frown, no it was more like a sneer. “Hello, Claudia, how are you this fine evening?” Kole was polite despite Claudia’s look. “Quite fine, Kole.” Claudia forced out. Wait, she knew Kole already? “You met her already?” I asked Kole facing him with confusion. “It’s a small town, everyone mostly knows everyone here and Claudia knows my parents, so to say.” Kole answered my question, but the words seemed to annoy Claudia. “Yeah, what he said.” She then turned her back to us. “Best get him home, Catalina, it’s getting late.” “Uh, yeah, that’s true. Alright, I’ll be back in a bit then.” Her back was still turned to me but she nodded. Kole and I left the kitchen before the tension in there rose anymore. Something about Kole bothered Claudia and I didn’t want to cause any arguments between them. I quickly grabbed my keys, cell phone and coat. “Did you get your music?” I asked Kole at the front door as I put my coat on. It was amazing how cold it could get here. I was just so use to the warmth of California. “Yep.” He answered patting his pocket where the rolled up music sheets were sticking out. “Alright let’s go then.” The drive was silent. There was so much going through my mind I couldn’t think straight. Kole and Claudia obviously knew each other, but I didn’t feel like it

was on good terms. When I first spoke about Kole and Aiden yesterday, Claudia had told me to stay away. I didn’t know that she actually knew them, although that should have been clear by what she had told me just last night. It was going to be hard to have Kole tutoring me after school if my aunt didn’t want him around. Well, she didn’t exactly say that, but she sure gave off that vibe. “I’m sorry for the way my aunt acted around you.” I finally said breaking that silence that was initiated after Kole gave me his address to put in the GPS. He had been staring out the window ever since we left the house, but now he redirected his gaze to me. “It’s alright. She was polite.” He replied warily and then turned back to the window. I wanted to ask him more questions, but figured I shouldn’t bug him with my curiosity. I’d rather ask Claudia, herself, what it was about them that she didn’t like, assuming that she didn’t like them. “Well, this is me.” Kole announced when we arrived at the gates of an incredible house. “Push that button there, it’ll open the gates.” I did as he said and then pulled into the driveway—if that was even the proper word for it. I stopped right at the front of the enormous house. “Wow.” I coughed out when I had finally caught my breath. “What do your parents do for a living?” I probed amazed at the elegance and size of the house. “Uh, Jane, Aiden’s mom, is in fashion and Charles, dad, is a lawyer.” I stared at Kole. “A lawyer? Wow, he must be really, really, good. My father is a lawyer but he doesn’t own a house like this.” I still tried to see the entire house from inside the car. “Uhm…family inheritance helps too.” He added quickly. “Lawyers, also.” I nodded understanding. “I should get inside. Thanks for driving me. I’ll see you tomorrow at school.” He got out of the car and crouched by the open door to look in at me. “No problem. See you. Bye.” He smiled, closed the door, and walked away. I drove away slowly to admire the house as I did. * When I had gotten home that night, Claudia told me, in the nicest way, that she didn’t want Kole, Aiden, or Elizabeth over at the house. I asked her why, but she excused herself stating that she had some business to attend to. I told Kole about it the next day and he suggested that I’d go over to his house for tutoring. I agreed. Rachel and Melanie invited me to lunch with them during gym class. Abe was bummed but he seemed pleased that I was making girlfriends and that I wasn’t going with Kole or Aiden. The days went by quickly and before I knew it, the weekend had come and I still had yet to come up with some lie to tell Claudia—me + Kole’s house = angry Claudia.

“How was work?” I asked Claudia as we sat down to eat the dinner I had made. “It was good. How was your day?” “Good.” “Hmm.” We ate in silence with only the clatter of the silverware against the plates as sound. My lie still wasn’t perfected but I needed to get it over and done with. “Uhm, Claudia, I was wondering if it was okay if I stayed after school for a few hours everyday. There’s this afterschool painting class and I wanted to join it.” That wasn’t too much of a lie; there was an afterschool painting class. Claudia chewed her food before she answered, but, by her expression, it seemed as though my lie had worked. “You like painting?” she probed. I nodded excitedly. “Oh yes. I love it.”My lips formed a huge grin showing my enthusiasm. “Well, I don’t mind. Just make sure to bring back some paintings. We could hang them up here.” I swallowed a big chunk of my food and almost choked on it. “Uh, yeah, sure I’ll bring some back when I can.” Damn. I mentally slapped myself. I’d have to some how paint at Kole’s house so that my lie held up. “Claudia, do you mind if I go to the store and buy some paints and stuff? I want to get that for afterschool tomorrow.” Claudia smiled finishing the food on her plate. “Oh, sure, you should get going before they close.” A few short minutes later I had said goodbye to Claudia and was out the door. Not all of what I told Claudia was a lie. Actually, it was the truth, but I left one thing out: I was going to see Kole. I had to tell him about my new plan to cover my lie. After going to the store quickly to grab a few items, I drove to Kole’s. “Kole, its Catalina, I’d like to talk to you.” I spoke into the intercom at the front door. “I’ll be right out.” His voice rang out from the intercom. It didn’t take him long to get to the front door and let me in. The inside of his house could be described in one word: astonishing! As we walked to his room, my head kept turning, changing direction from up to down to side to side; there was just so much to take in. “So, where are your parents?” I asked out of curiosity. “Oh, they’re out having a dinner party at a friend’s house.” He answered grabbing my arm to pull me along since my footsteps were slowing as I looked at the many items along the way. “They won’t mind that I’m here?” I questioned remembering how bothered Claudia was because I had brought Kole with out her knowing. He waved my question off with a swift motion of his hand.


“No, they’ll be okay with it. That’s even if they get home while you’re still here. Those parties last for hours and hours. You don’t plan on staying the night, do you?” His inquiry caught me by surprise. I shook my head many more times than needed. “Oh, no! Of course not.” My eyebrows scrunched together as I tried to find the words to neutralize what I had just said. “I mean, no, I do need to get home soon. Claudia thinks I went to the store to by some paint supplies.” Saying that made me remember the reason for my visit. “Paint supplies, you’re gonna start painting again?” He probed. We, now, stood in front of a closed door. “Do you mind coming in my room?” My eyes shifted from the door to his face. Once again, I shook my head quickly; my throat seemed to dry and I couldn’t find my voice. He grabbed hold of my hand and led me in. His room was twice the size of mine and much more decorated—three days in Portland wasn’t enough time to get a room fully decorated. The room was decorated in an Irish style and it made me wonder if he was Irish. He did have the bright red hair, porcelain skin, and amazing blue eyes, but then again I could have just been stereotyping him. I wanted to ask to make sure. “Yeah, I’m going to start painting. Uhm, sorry for asking, but, are you Irish?” my voice was low and unsure. Kole chuckled lightly. “Is it all the Irish things in here that give that away?” He chuckled once more moving towards a black leather couch he had opposite of his television and sat down. “Uhm…yes, I didn’t want to just assume, that’s why I asked.” Although he was already comfortable sitting down on the couch and I was getting tired of standing, I didn’t want to be rude and sit down with out being asked. “You assumed right, though. I am Irish. So, are you going to stand there forever or come sit down by me?” he patted the space next to him. It was hard for my eyes to focus in one place as I walked attentively toward him. In the past three days I learned one thing for certain: being that close to Kole made it hard to breathe, think, or speak. I sat down leaving enough room for at least one other person to squeeze in and sit down. Kole didn’t seem to like the idea of having space between us; he inched closer and wrapped his arm around my shoulders letting it hang loosely. “You said you needed to talk to me about something, didn’t you? Or was that just an excuse so you could come in and see me?” Breathing started becoming a problem and I almost forgot how to speak. “Oh, no, I mean, yes.” He moved toward me one more inch. “Wait, no I-I came to,” One more inch closer, “well I did want to talk to you about something,” Another inch closer, “so I’d have to see you, right? Uh…” there was no space between us now; my whole left side was touching his right side. His body felt freezing against my skin it made me inhale quickly. “I’m sorry, I can’t help my body temperature right now.” His voice sent tingles down my spine as he spoke next to my ear.

“T-that’s okay.” I could only just breathe out the words. Stop being so foolish, I told myself, you came here to tell him something. Now tell him! I mentally nodded to myself and then took a deep breath ready to speak. “Uhm, Aiden,” I made a huge mistaken then: I looked into his eyes. I was immediately trapped. Hours, days, weeks, months, could have passed but all that would have mattered to me would be those eyes—those dark, sapphire eyes. I was mesmerized, unable to move or speak, and time passed—even if it was only mere seconds that did. “So, what did you have to tell me?” Kole questioned seemingly knowing that I would not be able to answer; he was right. I felt like I was going to faint into his arms if his scent kept making my mind disoriented. Get a grip, Catalina! I forced myself to blink and look away from his hypnotizing eyes. “Uhm, I lied to Claudia saying that I was going to join an afterschool painting class.” My head was turned away from his and I wondered if my voice was even loud enough for him to hear—I couldn’t even hear myself. “I told her that so I could come here afterschool because I knew she wouldn’t approve. Uh, what I’m trying to say, or ask would be better, if it’d be alright that I paint just a few canvas’ here? Claudia said she wanted me to bring some home and if I don’t she’ll know I’m lying.” I felt extremely relieved when Kole moved away from me and let fresh air clear my head. “Oh, it’s alright. I have no problem. Can you multitask?” my head nodded lightly answering his question. “Well, I should get home. The paint store must have closed by now and Claudia might be wondering where I am.” We both stood from the couch and he walked me out of his room and down the stairs to the front door. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?” He asked only to confirm. “Yes, of course. See you tomorrow at school then.” We both smiled and then I was out the door and in my car leaving the amazing house. * This was my first Monday at the school, the start of my first actual week and I was going to be late. Claudia had woken me up but I fell back to sleep in just minutes and she didn’t come back to wake me up again. When I finally opened my eyes I tried to focus my blurry sight to read the time on the clock. At first I saw 6:50 a.m. and then once my eye sight cleared that numbers shifted to 8:58 a.m. I practically jumped out of bed, took the quickest shower, threw some clothes on, grabbed my keys and ran out of the house. As I drove to school, I realized how messy I looked. In the rush of getting ready, I had merely ran the brush through my wet hair and smeared on only a little makeup. Still, I had bags underneath my eyes making it obvious that I was tired. 9:25 a.m. that’s when I arrived at school. I was practically half an hour late to second period. I ran into the class room right in the middle of a song. The singing stopped when I stepped in and I wished, at that moment, that I was

invisible. Mrs. Rhodes turned to me from the center of the class room with anger clearly showing on her face. “Well, thank you for deciding to show, Catalina.” Sarcasm was heavy in her voice. “I’m sorry, I oversl—” “Just sit down.” As I passed her I could have sworn she cursed my name, but I couldn’t be sure, I was just focus on getting to my seat next to Kole without meeting with the many stares directed towards me. Mrs. Rhodes started directed the class to sing before I even reached my seat; she must have been in a very impatient mood. Only a few minutes after we had begun singing, the phone rang. Mrs. Rhodes sighed angrily and then strode over to her desk to answer the phone. “Hello?” her voice had an irritated tone. “So, you overslept?” Aiden’s voice redirected my focus over to him. I nodded as an answer to his question. “I thought so. You’re singing more confidently, but not nearly loud enough.” “I’m a timid person. I fear criticism.” His eyes searched my face and then his fingers ran down my cheek, which made me forget how to breathe. In and out, okay I think I remember now. “You look very tired.” His voice was like fire, it scorched me from the inside out. “I am, uhm, tired even though I overslept. I just feel exhausted.” He gave me a small smile—the fire, it melted me. “Alright, class, let’s get back to the song.” Mrs. Rhodes tapped her baton thrice to the music to get the attention and focus from the students. The class ended more quickly than last week, probably because I missed the first half hour of the period. Kole dazzled me once more before he left the class room and I stared after him in awe. “I just don’t get it.” I turned sharply to see who had spoken. Tanya stood there with her hand on her hip and an annoyed expression was worn on her face. “What’s so great about you?” she gestured towards me moving her had up and down. “You’re just this suicidal, non fashionable, boring girl. What does he find in you? Especially today, your hair is so dull, with no make up on except the pathetic smear of eyeliner, and you look tired with dark bags underneath your eyes. And, yet, he talks to you with passion clear in his voice and touches you like…like, ugh, why you? Huh? Why?” Her eyes scrutinized my face, her lips were pursed, her arms were crossed, and there she stood waiting for me to answer as if I had an answer. “I…I can’t answer your questions since I don’t even know why. I’m sorry, but I need to go.” I turned to leave, but right as I did, she grabbed me by the elbow preventing me from leaving. “What are you doing with him?” her question confused me.


“What do you mean?” Her eyes narrowed and the grip around my arm became tighter. “Don’t play innocent with me.” When she saw that my confused expression had not changed, she decided to further explain her question. “Okay…maybe you’ll understand this way. What are you doing to him?” Her eyebrow rose and she finally let go of my arm to cross her arms and stare back at me. It took me a moment to figure out what she was talking about and then my jaw fell open. “You can’t be serious?” She merely stared back at me as if that would answer my question. “I-I’m not doing anything to him! I’m not that kind of girl. Ugh! I can’t believe you!” Her expression didn’t falter and it made me sick to think that she didn’t believe me. “You’re sick.” I told her turning right afterwards so I could leave once and for all. “Or you’re just lying.” she made this come out in a cough. I was, now, extremely annoyed with this girl. “Not all of us are like you.” I spat back after I turned back around to face her. She cursed and then her right hand smacked me across left cheek. The sound was loud and made the few people left in the class room stare at us. How could she insult me in that way? How could she think I’d sink so low just be with Kole? Jealousy, a voice rang in my head. Angry as I was, I didn’t hit her back, I simply thought about how badly I wanted prove her wrong to make her see how ridiculous that implication was. Her face was furious and I was calm—I didn’t like violence so I wasn’t about to start a fight. “I don’t have time for this. I’m going to be late.” I finally said and then left without another look back towards her. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Tanya said as I sat in my English class. Did she say that just to get to me because I didn’t clearly answer why Kole seems to interact with me more than other girls? What more did she want me to say if I didn’t even know why? Aiden seemed to be talking less and less to me and I wondered why. Why was Kole so talkative, sweet, and friendly while Aiden remained silent in class and hardly gave me a second look? And then another question came into mind: What was so wrong about Aiden, his sister, and Kole that made Claudia hate them—she hadn’t exactly said that, but I figured there was some hostility. I was so lost in my own questions that I could hardly hold up a conversation with Kole during break. Aiden didn’t speak to me during fourth period thus it gave me more time to ponder. I mostly stood out in the field during gym when I should have been playing soccer helping Rachel and Melanie with passes and goals. And then it was lunch time. “Hey, I didn’t see you in chem., were you late?” Abe’s voice sounded faint in my head as we stood waiting in line to order our food. “Cat? Catalina? You in there?” his hand waved in front of my face. My eyes darted from left to right trying to get oriented.

“Huh? What?” I must have sounded incredibly slow. “Were you late today?” He repeated the question. I nodded. “Oh, yeah, I overslept.” I stated quickly and then went back to pondering. He seemed to catch on that I wasn’t in the mood for chit chatter because he didn’t try to bring up another conversation. After lunch, sixth and seventh period went by in a blur. Before I knew it, I was sitting down on Kole’s couch waiting for my singing lesson to begin. Kole was moving about his room doing I don’t know what. Elizabeth came in at one point to announce to Kole that their parents would be home shortly she looked towards me and then I heard in my head: ‘What are you doing here?” It was her voice; at least, it sounded like it, or my mind was playing tricks on me. I couldn’t concentrate when Kole began the lesson. I was in and out of focus; Kole took notice of this. “Is there something on your mind?” He sat down next to me on the couch setting the music aside. I didn’t turn to him, but I nodded knowing that this would be a sufficient answer. “Well, may I ask what it is?” I nodded once more. “Then, what’s on your mind?” He was silently waiting for my answer, but I didn’t know what to tell him first. Perhaps in chronological order would be best, I thought. “Well, after you left choir, Tanya confronted me. She asked what was so great about me that you actually talk ‘passionately’ to me and touch me.” My forehead was creased as I furrowed my eyebrows recalling her question. “And what did you answer her?” I turned my head to lock myself in his gaze. Unlike other times when I would look into his eyes and be hypnotized by them, this time I felt free enough to admire his eyes but still remain in the same emotional state to where I stared back at him puzzled. “I said I couldn’t answer her question because even I didn’t know why.” He pulled his eyebrows together and seemed as if he were about to say something, but I wanted to continue before he did. “I began to think about Aiden during third period.” I decided to skip right over that part where Tanya asked what I was doing to him, that wasn’t something I wanted to bring up. “What about him?” “He…ignores me. I mean, from what I’ve heard, he’s like that to everyone, well except you and Elizabeth, of course, but he use to talk to me and now…he doesn’t. Did I do something to him? Say something that maybe offended or upset him?” I was still facing Kole, studying his expression to see if it gave away any answers, but it didn’t. “Thinking about you and Aiden made me wonder why Claudia is so hostile towards you. Just mentioning your name brings tension in the air. What is it about you that makes her angry? Is it even you? Could it be a grudge with your parents? And why are you three some what anti social? You keep to yourselves and, I’ve heard, reject every girl—or boy in Elizabeth’s case—that tries to be with you. Why? I mean you’re just not allowed to date, but, still, why do you talk to me? Why did you let me into your little group? Is it because I’m the new


girl? I just don’t get it.” Kole’s expression was unruffled and then he leaned in closer to me; his eyes began to hypnotize me. “You’re different than the other girls. It’s like you are pure and beautiful like nature. You’re natural; you don’t try to be something you’re not. You’re mother died, you wanted to die, and you father disowned you.” “I didn’t tell—” “Word gets around quickly in high school, but don’t change the subject.” He let his hands rest on my cheeks and stroked my lips with his thumb. “You’re like a breath of fresh air. You’re something new to taste, something deliciously new.” The last words were only said in a low whisper and then…his lips came down on mine. He took my breath away once those icy lips smashed against mine. I didn’t know how to respond; I was frozen. Kole obviously knew what he was doing; he held my head in place with one hand and let the other one slide down my arm. His lips moved across my unknowing own. Ice cold lips, but there was fire: hot, scorching, and melting. Breathing, how did I do that again? Out and out? In? Out? In and out? Yeah, that sounded about right. I breathed in making my chest heave out and press against Kole’s massive chest. My own body reacted to the scent that came with the air and the feel of his chest against my own. My arm reached out to find his neck and then my hands locked and I pulled my body closer to his. Kole mimicked my own actions. His lips moved from my lips to my cheek where he pressed a kiss. My eyes were next and then my forehead and then back down to my eyes, cheeks, and finally lips. His fingers were running down my neck, shoulders, and arms, icy fingertips that sent a shiver through my whole body. “Why…are you always…so cold?” I questioned in between kisses. His other hand returned to my head and got tangled in my hair forcing my head to move the way he wanted. “It’s because you’re body hasn’t warmed me.” He gasped moving one hand to the small of my back to push me closer still. “Warm me, Catalina. Let me feel your warmth against my cold skin.” His other hand fell from my hair to my waist and then both is hands began to find the end of my shirt. I didn’t realize what he was doing until I felt his icy fingertips on my stomach as he started pulling my shirt up. I immediately broke away from the kiss and dropped my hands to pull my shirt back down. His hands were underneath mine, but still inside my shirt. He stared into my worried eyes for only a few seconds and then removed his hands from underneath my shirt. “I’m sorry, Catalina. I got carried away.” his apology sounded sincere, but I didn’t know what to say. It’s okay? But it wasn’t okay that couldn’t be the right thing to say. Don’t ever do that again? No, that was too rude. “I…uhm…accept your apology. We both got a little carried away.” that seemed like the best thing to say.


Kole’s expression smoothed and his hand slowly reached for my own; I accepted it. We sat there for only a few seconds, with my head leaned against his shoulders and his chin resting on top of my head. A knock at his door separated us. “Come in.” he announced after scooting away from me a few inches. Elizabeth stepped slightly in. “Mother and father are home.” Once more she glanced towards me—no voices were in my head this time “Alright, tell them I’ll be right down.” Elizabeth nodded and then left. Worried that my presence here might upset their parents, I began to feel a bit hot and my hands fidgeted with my shirt. Kole’s hand came down on both my hands to stop them from shaking. His cold skin lowered my body temperature but sent my heart pounding from his touch. “It’s alright. They won’t mind that you’re here, but I think it’s about time that you’re ‘painting class’ ends anyway, right?” He smiled brightly. I nodded. When we walked down the stairs, his parents weren’t there—thank god. The idea of meeting the two people who made Elizabeth and Aiden made me feel nervous—surely they’d be just as beautiful and I’d sound stupid in front of them. “Well, we didn’t get much done today.” I laughed once we had reached the door and stepped out side. “We didn’t get much singing done, but we did get something else done.” His lips pulled up towards one side in a smirk. He grabbed my chin with hand and pushed it upwards. “Our little secret?” his voice was only a whisper. I nodded as much as I could and then he let go of my chin. I felt a little disappointed that he didn’t kiss me that my lips formed a frown. “I should…uh…get going.” I began walking toward my car with Kole right behind me. “I’ll see you tomorrow at school.” I was, now, in my car with the key in the ignition but not yet turned. “As always.” He stuck his head in the car and pressed his lips on mine. “Take care.” nothing more was said. He stepped away from the car, I turned the key to start the car, and then I drove off. As I drove back to the house, I began to think about everything. Only one of my questioned had been answered today and the rest still remained unanswered. Not only that, but now there were secrets. Lessons with Kole, was a secret, kissing Kole is a new secret, now. Claudia’s reason for disliking Kole and the Lexington’s that was a secret, too. Aiden’s reason for not talking to me could that be a secret? And what about the reason behind Kole, Elizabeth, and Aiden’s antisocial attitude towards the other students, was that a secret? I didn’t know if they were secrets or just unanswered questions. ‘Our little secret.’ His voice echoed in my head. “Kole…you’re my little secret.”


Chapter Six: Burn Too Brightly
Good morning, Catalina.” Kole’s voice was smooth, as always, as was his
icy hand as it slid down my left arm. I was crouched by the driver’s seat of my car reaching out to the passenger’s side for my backpack when Kole came up behind me. It was already the middle of the week, Wednesday, and Kole had made the habit of coming to greet me every morning—only Kole. “Morning, Kole.” I tried my best not to tremble underneath his touch. “How’re Aiden and Elizabeth this morning?” Kole had taken his hand away from my arm—any longer and I would’ve melted—and as now leaning against the rear end of the car. “They’re doing fine. Elizabeth is in her own little world of fashion and Aiden is in his…well, he’s Aiden: quiet, pondering, and trying his best to be invisible.” As Kole said this casually, my gaze had wondered off to the parked Mercedes Benz where Aiden stood with his arms folded on top of the car. His head was rested on his arm as he stared off to who knows where. I felt my eyebrows pull together as I tried to figure him out to no avail. “Yeah, he seems to be annoyed by me.” Kole chuckled lightly. “And a little annoyed with…you.” I jerked my eyes away from Aiden. “Me? Why me? I haven’t even been saying much too him. Only when necessary like in class.” I felt incredibly offended that Aiden was a little annoyed by me? What the hell did I ever do to him? “Well, sounds like that was the bell. We should start heading for class.” He completely ignored my question. I sighed, becoming a bit irritated, and then followed Kole out of the parking lot. All through class I couldn’t concentrate. My eyes kept shifting the textbook in front of me to Aiden sitting next to me. When I first came into the classroom, I saw that I had beaten Aiden and so I moved my chair as far as I could from his. When he came into the classroom he said nothing—just like all the other days— and, then, moved his chair further away from mine when I had gotten up to sharpen my pencil. A whole other chair could fit right between us with enough room left over. What the hell was going on? ‘Yeah, he seems to be annoyed by me, and a little annoyed with…you.’ Those words just kept ringing in my head making it hard to concentrate. I felt like confronting him about it. Maybe say something like: ‘So why the hell am I annoying you?’ or ‘How can I be annoying you when I don’t even talk to you huh?’ I knew I wouldn’t be able to say either of them, though, so I kept my thoughts just that…thoughts. The period ended not much longer after that and Aiden took off as graceful as any other day. What was his problem?


Abe, as usual, came walking towards me as I was packing my things back into my backpack. “So, are we gonna go to lunch together as a group again today?” It had become a habit for all of us to go to lunch together. “Uhm…I think so. I’ll ask Rachel and Melanie during gym.” I answered pulling my backpack up to my shoulders. “Alright!” Rachel and Melanie would be more than ecstatic to go to lunch with Abe and his friends. They all but drooled when we were around them and Abe was well aware this fact and, therefore, knew that going to lunch as a group was a done deal. “So, how are those singing lessons going?” He questioned. At one point during the last week I had mentioned my singing lessons. “I would say good, I’m becoming more confident in my singing and I’m learning how to read the music too.” “That’s good.” He commented just as we reached the door to the classroom. “Y’know you don’t have to walk me to the classroom. I mean, I appreciate it, but I don’t want you to run the risk of being late.” I had asked him several times if he was ever late and I had gotten the same answer all the time: ‘Nah.’ Even that didn’t reassure me because I knew that if one day he was, in fact, late he wouldn’t tell me. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you during gym, co-ed soccer again.” He grinned and then left. It seemed like Mrs. Rhodes didn’t feel like dealing much with the class because she ended our singing only about fifteen minutes into the class and then retreated into the back room. “Hey, Catalina,” Kole’s hand pressed lightly on my shoulder to grab my attention. “Yeah?” He pushed me closer to him so that he could whisper in my ear. “How about I take you out to lunch today?” I tried to remember how to breathe slowly and calmly and how to ignore the feeling that had ran through my body when his breath came upon my skin. “Uh…” “Do I leave you speechless?” Another breath upon my skin. “Uh, uhm…well, I think Abe, Jack, David, Rachel, Melanie and I were supposed to go to lunch together today.” How fast had I said that? Kole pulled away from being so close to my neck and his lips formed a smirk—such a lovely smirk. “You’re mine tomorrow, Catalina.” It was said so smoothly that I didn’t even mind that part that made it sound like he owned me. “Uh-huh.” My eyes were set on his face admiring everything about him and my body was still recovering from the breaths down my neck and the smirk. I heard a scoff from behind Kole and I figured it was Tanya—she must have been burning from so much jealously and anger.

Kole decided to use the remainder of the period as a pre-singing lesson while the rest of our classmates decided to get into their groups and gossip. Every once in a while, I thought I’d see Tanya and her group of girlfriends look over at Kole and me and make faces, but I could had just been imagining everything. “I’ll see you at break, then.” The bell had just rung and Kole and I were hurrying to put all the music away. “Yes, ‘til then, goodbye, Catalina.” I received a brilliant smile from Kole just before he left. The rest of the day went on without any great events occurring. Elizabeth hardly noticed my presence behind her in English as Aiden did during break and Creative writing. Gym went well and did lunch with the group—there was an enormous amount of flirting coming from Rachel, Melanie, and Abe. The only occurrence happened in my history class. “Catalina Danielson?” The teacher announced aloud just as I was finishing up the questions, which were assigned at the beginning of class. “Yes?” I answered. Mr. Fisher was sitting down at his desk with his arm held out and a yellow piece of paper hanging slightly from his hand. I stood from my desk and quietly walked over to his desk to retrieve the paper that was now on his desk instead of his hand. ‘Report to Main Office, Doctor’s Appointment, Will not be returning.’ I stared at the paper confused as I walked back to my desk to pack my notebook and pen into my backpack. ‘What the hell? Since when did I have a doctor’s appointment?’ Still confused and still staring at the paper hoping to make some sense of it, I walked to the main office. I walked through the door expecting to see my aunt there—surely she had made this appointment and not told me about it—but she was not anywhere in the office. Had she gone off to talk to the principal—they were friends, weren’t they? “Catalina.” Kole suddenly appeared at my side. “Holy—” “Sh, come on, let’s go.” His hand grasped my arm pulling me to the door from where I came. “Wait, no, I think I’m supposed to wait for my aunt. You see, I got this slip saying I have a doctor’s appointment and—” “That was me.” He interrupted now pulling me out the door and into the hallway. “W-what are you talking about?” “I persuaded the office assistant to write it so that you and me could get out of school.” “W-what? I don’t, I just don’t get it. What?” my eyebrows were furrowed in misunderstanding and my mind was spinning, and, now, we were standing in front of my car. “Give me your keys, I’m driving.” His hand was held out towards me palm up.

I recoiled from him shaking my head. “I can’t ditch school.” I whispered in disagreement. He sighed somewhat impatiently and inched forward. “You aren’t ditching school. It’s excused.” He quickly grabbed the paper from my hand and dangled it in front of me. “Come on, I’m taking you somewhere real nice.” His eyes stared into mine with the small ring of fire inside the larger ring of ice burning around his pupil. My mind couldn’t say no to him—I just couldn’t. I let my eyes fall away from his and then agreed. “Alright, let’s go.” He celebrated as I gave in and handed my keys to him. Green passed in a blur as we raced to Kole’s destination. I had asked him many times where he was taking us, but with no clear answer in return. I couldn’t find much else to do but stare out the window and listen to Kole’s singing. “So, what about our singing lesson? Are we going to be returning to your house in a bit?” “Sure. Maybe.” He had answered most of my other questions like this: seemingly agreeing but not clear. I gave up and sighed deeply. Two hours later, we ended up in Portland in front of what looked like a nice restaurant. After Kole killed the engine and took off his seatbelt, I switched between looking at him and the restaurant. “What…are w-we doing here?” The answer to that question seemed obvious—we were going to eat—but I didn’t get why he had to come all the way to Portland for that. “This is one of my favorite restaurants.” My eyebrows rose and I stared, still, not fully understanding. “And…you couldn’t take me somewhere in town?” He let out a small chuckle through the side ways smile his lips formed. “I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to see us and then word get back to Claudia. She’d bite my head off if she could.” I had to turn my head to the side and let my hair cover my face so that Kole would not be able to see the bright red rising from underneath my cheeks. “Shall we then?” he held out his hand waiting to receive mine. After just a few seconds—and after I felt my cheeks cool away from the redness—I gave him my hand and let him lead the way into the restaurant. The word “underdressed” doesn’t begin to describe the way I felt when I walked in with Kole’s arm wrapped around my shoulders. My mouth was literally hanging open as I tried to figure out which words to use at the moment. “K-kole?” I managed to mutter out tugging on his shirt like a little kid. “What is it, Catalina?” He questioned sweetly running his hand up and down my arm. I manage to move my eyes away from the elegantly dressed women in the restaurant and look up at Kole. “Look…look at the way they’re dressed!” I complained through clenched teeth.


Kole brushed his lips across my cheek and then whispered in my ear, “You look far more beautiful than them.” Although that was a very sweet compliment, it didn’t make me feel any better about the way I was dressed. The women in there had dresses that flowed out behind them like they were goddesses while I had on a pair of jeans and my favorite band t-shirt. Since Kole knew we were coming here (he was the one who planned it, gr) he wore black dress pants and a white button up shirt underneath a black vest. “Come on, don’t worry about them.” Kole tried to console me, but I couldn’t do anything else but worry about the way I was being stared at as we walked to our table. “Now, would you like to start off with a drink?” the waiter questioned handing us the menus. “Uhm…” I began not knowing what I should ask for. Would they have soda? “I’ll have sweetened iced tea, what about you?” Kole answered before I could. “I’ll have the same.” The waiter nodded and then left. I began to look at the menu to find the cheapest thing to order. Much to my surprise, the cheapest meal was fifty-five dollars and that was a bowl of bread sticks! My eyes grew wide and my jaw dropped; I couldn’t allow Kole to pay for this. How much money did I have on me? Did I even have my wallet? I frantically searched my pockets hoping to God that I hadn’t left it at home. ‘Damn it.’ I cursed in my mind. “Now, just choose whatever you want. Don’t worry about the prices.” I looked up at Kole and gave him a glare as if he was saying something utterly crazy, which I thought it was in a way. “Are you kidding me? I-I can’t let you pay for this.” Determined to pay for my share I stood from the table, walked to Kole’s side, and held out my palm in front me beckoning him to hand over my keys. He merely chuckled. “You want to take me out to dance?” He probed raising his eyebrow in delight. “No, I want you to hand over my keys.” “What for?” he inquired with his eyebrow still risen. I had to think of some other reason to tell him instead of going to look for my wallet; he’d never give me the keys that way. “I need to get my purse. I-I, uh, forgot…my cell phone.” I knew he wouldn’t believe it; I didn’t believe myself. His lips rose to one side as he slightly shook his head. “Catalina,” here he grabbed my hand that was still palm up waiting to receive my keys, “sit down and order something. I have money to spare, don’t worry about it please.”


“No, Kole, I just don’t feel comfortable with you paying for a meal that would be hundred dollars at the cheapest. No…” “Catalina,” He spoke softly, “sit down.” I shook my head and he sighed seemingly giving up. “Well, if it makes you feel better— ” “Yes, let’s do that.” I interrupted. “…I’ll pay this time and you pay the next time?” He continued on as if I had not said anything. I still didn’t want him to pay, but I’d have to seriously make it up to him on the next dinner…date? I mentally jumped with joy. That means there will be another day! The only joy I let show on the outside was a small smile letting him know that I agreed. He motioned me to sit down and I did so holding back the wanting to skip to my chair. When Kole had asked for the check, I didn’t even want to look at it. I knew that if I did, I’d faint just knowing that he’d be paying it and knowing that it would be expensive already made me want to fall off my chair. I still could not get over the price of the food even once we were in the car. How could I let him pay for that whole thing? I should have at least put in a little bit—half of the check would have been all the money I had in my wallet, which was still a lot. I decided that it’d be better if I just went home after I dropped Kole off—I had loads of homework that weren’t going to finish by themselves. “Thanks for the dinner. Even though it was too much for you to spend.” We now sat in my parked car in front of his house. “Catalina, I told you not to worry about that. Do you see this house?” I glanced out the window. “We certainly have money to spare even after buying this mansion. Buying you dinner would be like you getting a meal at Denny’s.” Kole was very convincing—the debate team would be a good choice for him. I let a sigh out in my defeat. “Well, how about I buy dinner next time? Is Denny’s good for you?” He laughed at my suggestion. “If it’ll make you feel better?” I nodded. “Alright then, it’s a date.” He leaned towards me and lightly kissed my lips. “See you tomorrow.” He gracefully maneuvered his way out of the car and waved goodbye. I waved back still recovering from the shock of the kiss. * Finally, after days of looking, I got a job. When I had commented to Rachel my job crisis, she suggested that I’d apply at the bookstore she was currently working at. “If you’re a book fanatic like me, you’ll love working there.” Indeed, I was a book fanatic, and working with Rachel was a big plus. The only bad thing about getting a job was the fact that I had to cancel my singing lessons with Kole. Trying to juggle homework, singing lessons, and a job was a tough task. Kole was understanding and also said that I had progressed far enough for the moment. “I always had this plan to somehow stay here after everything is closed, grab a flashlight, and just read all night. It’s not like I’d ever get bored with the

wide assortment of books we have.” It was a normal day in the bookstore—not busy but not lonely either—and Rachel was confessing the plans she had made since she began to work here. “I can only imagine the morning shift walking in and catching you asleep with a flashlight in had and you face planted in a book.” We both laughed at the idea. “Hey, look, Chicas, have you noticed eye candy Aiden has been staring in your direction since he arrived?” Maria’s comment took me by surprise. “I didn’t even realize he was in here.” I whispered as I let my eyes cautiously find him. His eyes met mine, and quickly I glanced away. “I can’t tell if he’s scrutinizing you or checking you out. His face is so serious.” Maria popped her gum and then went to attend a customer. Once again, I let my eyes glance his way, and I found what Maria said was true; his expression was very serious. “Ooo, Catalina, he’s staring at you that’s for sure. God, you’re so lucky. You have Kole already, Abe one step away from begging you to ask him out, and now Aiden seems to be interested in you.” Rachel was sincerely sweet towards me, even though I knew she liked Abe since Melanie confessed it to me, but I didn’t consider myself lucky. “Interested is vaguely speaking. By the way he looks, it seems like is interested in something far opposite of what you are thinking, Rachel.” My eyebrows furrowed as I watched him walk around and glance at me every now and then. “Hmm, you got a point there. Maybe he’s spying on you because you’re dating his brother.” “If he was spying he wouldn’t let me see him, where as here he’s clearly making sure I see him. And I’m not dating Kole; we’re just friends.” Even as I said the last part, I wasn’t sure if it was true. Kole and I were usually together at school—I’d be with him during break away from Aiden and Elizabeth whom looked sourly at us when we were together—and occasionally go out of town to eat, but Kole had not officially asked me to be his girlfriend. “Well, maybe he’s making it known that he’s watching you, like a warning, ya know? Oh, and sure you’re not dating.” She chuckled and teasingly hit my arm. I warmly smiled back at her. “Like a warning?” My eyes had got tired of following Aiden; I decided to leave the conversation there and go back to stocking the shelves. “Dating!” Rachel called out after me as I left with the boxes in my arms. “No we’re not!” I yelled back looking over my shoulder to see her lips form a smile as she greeted the customer at the checkout. I bumped into someone; I quickly turned my head back to apologize to the person, but my mouth had no words coming out of it once I saw whom it was. “Need help?” Aiden’s smooth deep voice matched the seriousness in his eyes.

“It’s alright. I’m quite capable of caring them. They’re not even that heavy. Thanks anyway.” I walked a few steps past him, and then tripped over my own feet. The boxes slanted forward inching closer to the ground before Aiden’s hands quickly and effortlessly stopped them from crashing down. His eyes were still serious, by somehow softened. “Here,” He grabbed the other two boxes from my arms. “Just tell me where you want them.” I nervously bit my lip and fidgeted with my hands. “Over here, in philosophy.” I took lead towards the isle as Aiden followed behind me. “You can just set them there.” He set them down and then stuffed his hands in the pockets of his jeans. His brown hair fell over his eyes as his head tilted downward. “Uhm, thanks for helping me with the boxes.” “You’re welcome.” We stood there for only a few seconds with complete awkward silence covering us. “I should get going. See you at school.” “Yeah, okay. See you.” I had the urge to ask him why he kept glancing at me as he walked around the store, but I figured it was better left unsaid. * I was ecstatic, to say the least, when Kole decided to take me out to the movies after work. “Yeah, I’m going to go catch a movie with my coworker, Maria, since it’s a Friday.” I lied to Claudia. “Alright. I might still be awake when you come back; I had to bring my work home. You have fun okay?” she chuckled. “Sure, I’ll be home in a while. Bye.” “Bye.” I still wasn’t quite sure what Claudia’s job was, but I knew it had something to do with herbs. “Are we good to go?” Kole whispered in my ear as he wrapped his arms around me. “Yep, but I’m driving.” I dangled the keys in front of Kole, which was a mistake; he snatched them in a blink of an eye. “Not anymore.” He chuckled as he walked me over to the passenger’s side and opened the door for me. I reluctantly got in as he made his way to the driver’s side. “What movie do you want to see?” Kole probed as we waited by the ticket booths looking at what was showing. “Hmm, Ooo, that one looks good!” I pointed to the romance movie. He raised his eyebrow. “Very cliché, but if it’s what you want…” I nodded quickly, “Okay, we’ll see that one.” We got the tickets, got snacks and drinks, and then made our way towards the room. Kole didn’t eat or drink throughout the movie, which made me feel like a pig with all the food I was stuffing in my mouth. Halfway through the movie I noticed the guy in front of us was dead asleep. The girl with him was too into the


movie to realize this. Kole, on the other hand, was unlike the guy in front; he was wide-awake and seemed to be observing the movie very closely. “I’m sorry I made you watch this.” I whispered in his ear debating whether or not to grab his hand. He made that decision for me; his hand firmly grabbed my and gingerly gripped it. “Don’t be. I like watching these. It’s like giving me tips on how to be more romantic.” His eyes stared down into mine the ring of fire burning crazily around the blue ice. His hand cupped my chin, pulled it upward, and then his lips fell on to mine. I forgot all about the movie; I had my own romance that was much more real than what was happening on the screen. Kole and I left theater hand in hand. I was still in a daze from all the kisses he had given me and a little embarrassed as I wondered if anyone had seen us. “Did you like the movie?” Kole questioned as we headed toward the parking lot with the crowd of people also leaving the theater. A huge smirk came across my lips. “Ooh yeah.” “Okay, well what happened at the end?” “Uh…” All I could remember was the beginning and the middle. Towards the end Kole and I were kissing or I had my head on his shoulders with my eyes closed. “Naughty, naughty, Catalina. You were thinking about the kissing, not the movie right?” I shyly smiled and rested against the car as we arrived there. “Maybe.” I replied shyly also. Kole wrapped both his hands around my face and pulled it up. “I liked that part of the movie the most.” Nothing more was said after that. His lips pressed on mine for what seemed like eternity. Kole slowly pulled away and then stared into my eyes. “So…” “Yeah.” I muttered softly. “Can I drive?” I could not help but laugh. “So, that’s what that kiss was for?” despite the fact that I couldn’t stop laughing, I managed to teasingly hit Kole’s arm. “Well, did it work?” he questioned reaching for my hand where I clutched the keys. I scrutinized him for a split second. “Fine. Only because I feel like taking a nap.” “Thank you.” He kissed my lips softly and then, once again, led me to the passenger’s side. “Catalina, are you in there?” Kole waved his hand in front of my face. “Huh?” I came out of my daze quickly. “Would you like to come in now?” I didn’t understand his question until I realized that we were parked in front of his house.


“Oh, uhm…yes, of course.” I fumbled with the seatbelt; my shaking hands were unable to figure out how to push the button down to release the belt. “Crap.” I sighed. What the hell was wrong with me? “Here.” Kole’s hands came down on mine moving them away as he did the simple gesture to release the seatbelt. “Are you alright?” his hands didn’t move away from mine. “I-I’m fine.” I think. Shakily, my head turned to face towards the window hoping he wouldn’t see the red rising in my cheeks or feel how my temperature was also rising. “Cat, you’re getting hot.” His hand had grasped my chin to turn my head so that I would be looking straight at him; that is, if I had let my eyes reach his instead of staring at our intertwined hands. “You look so unbelievably adorable when you’re embarrassed.” And, then, I felt cold lips on my warm ones. I let my eyes close and let him guide my lips and hands. His lips moved ever so gracefully upon mine and his cold hands moved mine to his neck where they clamped together in a firm grip while his hands embraced strands of my hair. Once again his ice-cold lips did the opposite of cooling, they burned my lips, melted them to his. I felt his hand on my back running through my hair and felt his lips running down my neck, then, I lost all senses. * My head felt as if I had been spinning for hours. I didn’t know what happened, but I did know that the car seat got very comfortable. When did the headrest become so comfy and soft? It didn’t even feel like leather anymore; it felt more like a type of cloth, a soft one. I couldn’t figure out what was on top of me either. It wasn’t heavy, but it covered my whole body in a warm embrace. It brushed against my skin like the smoothest…cotton? “How is she doing?” I heard a distant male voice ask. “Still unconscious.” A different male voice replied. “What did you do to her, Kole?” the first male voice questioned. “Nothing…” Kole replied with deception deep in his voice. Kole, where am I? I wanted so desperately to ask. “Okay, okay, I kissed her. I’m sorry but she has beautiful lips.” If I could have remembered how to blush, I’m sure my whole face would have been the brightest shade of red. “Take her home when she wakes up, alright?” I still could not recognize the first male voice. “Yes.” There were footsteps slowly fading, a door opening and closing, and then footsteps that faded away quickly. Kole’s hand ran down the side of my face slightly running through my mangled hair. “So beautiful.” I searched my mind frantically trying to find the right command to make my eyes open. It seemed like an eternity before my heavy lids slowly starting pulling upward. Next, I had to figure out how to move my lips and speak. I might as well have given up on that task because once I saw Kole’s blue eyes surrounded by their ring of fire my throat went suddenly dry.

“Hey, how are you feeling?” his sweet voice smoothly questioned. “Uh…fine.” I managed to say. “Thirsty.” It seemed as if my mind could only manage baby like sentences. “Oh, here.” Kole held my head up with one hand and raised a cup to my lips with the other. “There ya go. How’s that?” My throat felt better and my mind didn’t tell my mouth to speak in such a dim-witted way. “I feel a whole lot better, thank you.” My eyes got a good look at where I was. I wasn’t in the car and that would explain why the car seat felt much more comfortable. In fact, the reason for the comfort was because I was lying on Kole’s bed; I was in his room. He must’ve carried me all the way up here, but the questioned still remained: what happened? Kole must’ve seen the look of confusion on my face because he began to answer the inquiry I had not yet spoken aloud. “You fainted, I think, I’m not entirely sure what happened.” Oh god, the must’ve been incredibly embarrassing. I could only widen my eyes in surprise and try to repress heat from spilling out from my entire body. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I would do that. Gosh, how embarrassing. Did you have to carry me up here?” he nodded, “Oh God, I’m so sorry. Truly I am. I’ll-I’ll make it up to you. I don’t know how, but uhm… whatever you want just ask me and I’ll do anything. Well, I won’t do anything, but like I could make you dinner, or do your laundry, or homework. No, wait, I don’t think you’re that type of student. Well, I’ll wash your car, yeah?” Kole chuckled making me feel worse. “Oh, damn, now I’m talking too much, aren’t I? God, I should just shut up! I’m sorry. I don’t know why I talk so much when I’m nervous. A character flaw I suppose. Damnit, why am I still talking?! Argh!” I hid my face by turning over to hide it on the pillow. “It’s alright. Don’t you worry about it.” his eyes pierced through mine and it only made me feel dizzy again. I would’ve turned away from his gaze, but his kiss came so fast that I didn’t have time to look away; I only had time to close my eyes. The dizziness worsened as the kiss grew longer, and I felt as if I was going to faint in his arms. But, perhaps luckily, someone walked into the room, and cleared his throat to make himself know. Kole pulled away a few seconds afterward. “Kole, do you mind leaving my alone with Catalina for a bit? I need to address a certain matter to her.” My eyes almost fell out of the sockets seeing Aiden there. I felt embarrassed because he caught Kole and me kissing, but I was also timid. He hadn’t spoken to me in days and now he wanted to talk about something with me? “Sure, I need to get something to drink anything. See you in a bit.” Kole lightly brushed his hand across my cheek and then left. I nervously sat up on Kole’s bed leaning against the bed frame for support and tangled the sheets between my hands anxiously waiting for Aiden to speak.

He seemed to be just the opposite of what I was: composed, calm, and focused. I couldn’t look at him for some reason, but I fixated my sight on one of Kole’s walls. “What is going on between Kole and you, Catalina?” that was pretty straightforward. I couldn’t answer, though, my mouth and throat felt too dry to say a word. “I didn’t say anything when I first suspected something because I thought it’d be over soon. Kole has his little games with girls and then he drops them like that.” He snapped his fingers to emphasize the matter. “This, him and you, needs to end…today.” “W-w-why?” I managed to choke out with much confusion strong in my voice. “Kole is not someone you want to be with, and you’re not of our class.” “Class? Wait, because I don’t have loads of money like you I’m not of your class? From what century did you come from? Oh!” I quickly covered my mouth with my hand to stop me from saying anything else, not that what I said frayed Aiden’s composure. “We’re old fashion, lets say.” I still couldn’t keep a stare on Aiden; it was as if he was burning too brightly and my eyes could not stand it. “You need to leave and I don’t want to see you with Kole again.” “Or what?” Jeez, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “I’m sure Claudia wouldn’t like to know that you’re hanging around Kole, and much less dating him.” “But I’m not dat—” “You’re kissing him, that must be a whole deal worse.” He had a point. Claudia would freak out if she found out, and I’d probably be shipped off to some other distant relative, or under house arrest until I died. “Alright. It’s over. You won’t see me around him anymore.” I stood from the bed almost falling because my legs were shaking badly. From the corner of my eye, I thought I saw Aiden flinch as if to come help me, but when I looked at him, his eyes were turned away from me. I ran as fast as I could from that room taking the stairs two steps at time. I wanted to be out of there before Kole could come back from getting his drink. A huge relief came over me when I finally got into my car and began to drive away. But with the huge relief came a huge grief that sent tears streaming down from my eyes.


Chapter Seven: Crimson Door
All I could do was look up at my ceiling with my hands over my stomach, as I lied dead still on my bed trying to comprehend what had just happened. What was Aiden’s deal? He was amazingly sweet the first day I met him at school, and then he just turned cold towards me. They way he told me that I wasn’t up to their “standards” to be involved with Kole was harsh. To say the truth, I wasn’t hurt because I wouldn’t be able to be with Kole, I was actually more hurt because I thought Aiden liked me as a friend. For some reason, I believed I could be that one special girl that would get his attention when he ignored all the other girls. Guess I was incredibly wrong. “Catalina? Can I come in?” Claudia knocked softly on my door. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly hoping this would relive some of the nerves. “Yeah, sure. Go ahead.” I sat up and ran my hands through my hair as she stepped in closing the door softly. “How was the movie?” She questioned sitting down next to me on the bed. I shrugged my shoulders. “It was good.” I didn’t dare look at Claudia knowing that she was scrutinizing me with her eyes already. “Are you alright, dear?” her hand came down on my shoulder and rubbed my arm slightly. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just feel exhausted. I think I’m gonna go to sleep now.” I managed a small smile, one that hopefully was convincing enough. Claudia nodded her head and ran her hand through my hair in a comforting motion. “Alright, you have a good night okay? Get lots of sleep.” I nodded giving her a much more sincere smile. The smile faded once she left the room, though. The way she had ran her hand through my hair reminded me of my mother and the pain in my heart I hadn’t felt for sometime returned with much force. The tears raced their way down my face and on to my pillows forming a circular wet spot. I could not say when I fell asleep, but when I woke up it seemed as though the sun was already passed its midpoint and was slowly setting. My body felt sore from being scrunched in the fetal position all through my sleep, and my eyes stung when I tried to open them. It almost seemed like a normal day, until I remembered what had the night before. My hand ran through the tangled mess of my hair. My stomach grumbled, loudly. “Alright, alright.” I spoke to it and then hauled my lazy body out of bed. After a quick shower and putting my hair into a simple ponytail, I walked into the kitchen where an aroma of sweet maple hit me. Pancakes, sausage, and eggs were all set in a plastic covered plate on the table with a small note beside it. “‘Had some business to attend to, be home around eight in the morning tomorrow, love Claudia.’ Hm, okay.” “I have the whole house to myself and on a Saturday, whatever shall I do?”

I called Rachel and Melanie to come over to have a little girl party, but once they arrived, Abe, Shane, and Jack showed up. Then a few minutes later other girls came and other guys and before I knew it I was hosting this huge party with loud dance music playing and people I wasn’t sure even I knew were dancing all over the place. The doorbell rang and echoed in my head making it ache even more. Reluctantly, I went to answer the door and there stood a group of guys with a keg of beer. “Oh hell no! Go away with that crap!” I just the door in their face and walked away. The bell rang again after I was in the living room desperately searching for Abe, Rachel, or Melanie, but I didn’t go to open the door nor did I find any trace of the people I was looking for. “Hey, who has the beer?!” I heard someone yell out. “Over here dude!” I couldn’t have beer in the house, so I followed the voice and found the group of guys whom I had tried to get rid of at the door hand people cups of beer. I pushed through the people in front of me purposely knocking over their cups with beer until I got to that stupid keg. “Hey, what the hell?” One of the guys exclaimed as I quickly unscrewed the lid and tipped the keg over. The beer came spilling out. “What is your problem?!” He gripped my arms, threw me aside and stopped the keg from spilling anymore of their venomous alcohol. I tried to make my way back to the keg to spill the remaining beer, but I slipped on the beer that had spilt. “Crap.” I had beer all over my hands, arms, back, and legs. The guys whom had brought the beer pointed and laughed at me instead of helping me up. Those bastards, they were in my house and I had absolutely no control or authority. “Shit, Cat, are you okay?” Abe suddenly appeared in the kitchen and helped me up. “I wiped my wet hands on my pants as I held on to Abe’s hands to stabilize myself. “Yeah, I’m alright. Goddamnit, get that outta here!” I yelled pointing the beer. The guys once again laughed and then ignored me. “Come on, lets go clean you up.” Abe led me out of the kitchen and I was still fuming, debating whether I could go back in there and threaten those bastards with a knife; maybe then they’d listen to me. “Which one is your room?” Abe questioned as we stood at the beginning of the hallway. “This one.” I replied opening the door to the right of us. I let go of Abe’s hand and went straight to my dresser to find some dry clean clothes to throw on and then figure out a way to get all these people out of the house. I took a glance at Abe. His eyes wandered around my room, which was mainly filled with my paintings and pictures of my mom and me. He walked up to one painting and held it up.


“Is this your mom?” Out of all the paintings lying around he had to pick the one of my mother, the only one I ever painted of her. “Yeah.” I answered softly. He examined the painting closer feeling every brush stroke. “It’s very good.” He complimented. I simply shrugged and sat down on my bed with a sigh. “I had to draw it with her eyes closed ‘cause I couldn’t capture the life in her eyes. I had tons of her but when it came to the eyes I simply got frustrated and threw them away.” As I spoke, her face came into my mind and my heart felt pained. “Where is she?” Abe’s question caught me off guard. “Uh, well she—” I heard glass crashing right at that moment. “Oh my god, what was that?” my eyes opened wide and I hurried out of my room and down stairs. I had been hoping it was a vase that had no importance and was purely for décor, but what I saw was far from what I thought. “GET OUT!” I screamed out at the top of my lungs, but no one really heard me over the screaming music. So I took matters in to my own hands and unplugged the music. Everyone looked over at me, just what I needed. “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE! GET OUT!” they all looked at me as if I was crazy and then went back to their conversations. Some guy came and yanked the stereo plug in cable out of my hands and reconnected it to the wall so the music could start blaring again. I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew these people weren’t going to listen to me and they couldn’t stay here all night; eventually they would all have to go home. I pushed my way through people and found my way outside. I could hear the waves crashing against the hill, but could not see where the end of the land was. ‘I should just push people off the hill to their death.’ I sinisterly thought. The fresh air calmed my nerves, but the loud music could still be heard outside. I closed my eyes and tried my best to mute the sound. Slowly, the music started getting softer and softer until all I could hear were the crashing waves and rustling of leaves. There were many times before where, if I could just concentrate hard enough, I could block out the noise I didn’t want to hear. I mostly did this when my parents were actually still together but would argue all the time. My eyes were still closed; my breathing had slowed from the rampant breaths I had been taking and my skin was chilled by the icy wind blowing against it. I was in such in hurry to get out of the house that I simply forgot about the coldness and the worthiness of a jacket. I wrapped my arms around my small chest to try and give myself some warmth and looked out toward the water. Though it was hard to tell where the edge of the cliff was, the moon shining against the water was clearly visible. All I could do was stare off and watch the waves slowly calm down at the same rate my anger was calming. “Catalina…” My eyes shot wide open.

The voice in my head sounded just like… “Catalina…” “Mom?” My eyebrows furrowed as I recognized my mother’s voice calling out my name. “Come to me, Catalina. Come to me.” Her voice came from all around me. “Mom? Where are you?” “Catalina, join me. Come to me. Catalina. Forward. Come forward.” I did as her voice told me and took three steps in front of me. “Mom, where am I going? Where are you leading me?” “Follow my voice. Join me. Come forward, Catalina.” I stepped forward again only staring into the moon thinking that I’d somehow find my mother’s face in it. That’s when I finally saw her. Her face reflected in the water calling to me. “Just a little more, Catalina.” I stared at her face not trying to blink afraid that if I did so she’d disappear. “Mom…” “Catalina…Catalina…Catalina…” “Catalina!” Cold hands grasped my arms and pulled me back, shocking me out of my daze. I blinked and took in a deep breath as I saw how close to the edge I was. Not to mention what a nasty drop it would have been had I fallen, which brought my mind to remember the cold hands on my arms still gripping tightly. Slowly, I moved my head towards the side and followed pale arms up to a pale neck and a place face… “Aiden!” I tried to pull away from his grasp, but with no luck. Before I could say anything else he dragged me away from the cliff. “What were you doing?! You almost fell!” His yelling caught me off guard leaving me unable to answer him. “Catalina, answer me!” I didn’t say a word. I only looked back to the water where I had seen my mother’s face. It wasn’t there anymore. Had I hallucinated? “Catalina Levi Danielson, are you listening to what I’m saying?” My eyebrows pulled together. “How’d you know my middle name? I’ve never told anybody it.” I stared into his eyes waiting for an answer, perplexed. “It was on your school schedule.” He tried to lie. “The schedule only had my middle initial.” My eyes tried to read his eyes, but they were as still as cold stone. “What does it matter if I know you’re middle name. You still haven’t told me what the hell you were doing so close to the edge, practically half a step away from falling.” I rolled my eyes with the change of subject. “I don’t know. I heard…” How could I explain hearing my mother’s voice beckoning me to her without sounding delirious? “You heard…?” He pushed for more information, but I didn’t need to give him any explanations. Wasn’t he the one who only yesterday told me to stay away from his family? And now here he was trying to be Sherlock Holmes solving the mystery of ‘Why Catalina was so close to the cliff?’.

“What are you doing here?” The question seemed to catch him off guard for only a second. “I needed to come talk to you.” I raised my eyebrow at his answer. “I wanted to clear some things up about yesterday.” He further explained. I still scrutinized him with my eyes. His composed eyes only stared back at mine. “Fine, we can talk, but I’d like you to take you hands off my arms if you don’t mind. I can’t feel them anymore.” “Oh, yeah, of course.” He suddenly let go of my arms. A tingling sensation rose through my arms as the blood that was cut off from flowing by Aiden’s grip suddenly flooded through my veins. I rubbed my arms for warmth once more and struggled to figure out what to do next. Aiden said he wanted to talk, but stood there motionless without saying a word. “If we’re going to talk can we do it inside, my limbs are so numb I don’t even know if I have legs or arms anymore.” I joked clutching myself in an attempt to get some body heat to rise. “Here,” he took off his jacket and draped it around my shoulders, “I have a feeling that you wouldn’t be able to hear me over all that music.” He motioned toward the house with a nod of his head. I let out a deep breath while placing my arms through the jacket. “I didn’t think you were the partying type.” He confessed giving a small smirk that was even more dazzling than Kole’s; for the first time in a few days, his eyes softened up and the melting sapphire blue shined brightly. I tried to hide a smile. “Actually, it was just supposed to be a few friends of mine, but, I guess, someone said I was having a party and it just got a little out of control. “ I shrugged as if it was no big deal. “Hm, I’d say you’re lucky those hormonal guys haven’t started suggesting wet t-shirt contests.” And then right after he said that a holler came from the house. “Hey! We should have a wet t-shirt contest!” a male voice yelled. “Oh, hell no. Damn it!” I raced toward the house. I didn’t look back to see if Aiden had followed me or stayed put. As I reached the house, Abe came into view with a worried expression and then relief as he spotted me. “I was looking all over the house for you.” He said beginning to drape is arm around my shoulder. I moved before he could. “I TOLD ALL OF YOU EARLIER! GET THE HELL OUT!!!!” once again nobody listened to me. My head felt as if it was about to explode with anger and frustration. I had clenched my fist so tightly that I was sure if I put anymore strength into my grip I’d rip right through my own skin.


I walked into the living room ready to simply unplug, throw down, and smash the hell out of the stereo system when the music suddenly stopped; I wasn’t even any where near the stereo. Everyone turned to see who had once more ceased their dancing music and then everyone held still as they saw who it was. Aiden stood there with the cord in hand and the coldest, darkest, most unnerving glare I had ever seen from him. “Incase you didn’t hear Catalina scream this at the top of her lungs, twice, get the hell out. Now.” Unlike my screaming moments, all the uninvited people immediately made their way for the door scrambling over furniture and other people. In less than five seconds everyone had left the house. Amazing, he didn’t even have to raise his voice the way I had. The only people left in the room were Rachel, Melanie, Abe, Jack, and Shane. “I’ll see you guys later.” I heard Abe whisper to his friends. It was so silent in the house, Jack and Shane’s footsteps were audible even a few seconds after they were out the front door. I glanced toward Rachel and Melanie, whom both had apologetic expressions. “I-I’m so sorry Cat. I guess some people must’ve over heard us when we called Abe. We were at the basketball game and…a lot of people were around us.” Rachel tried to explain and apologize. I wasn’t angry with Rachel or Melanie. It wasn’t as if they had the intention of having a big party at my house. They simply thought that it’d be a bit more fun with a guy to accompany each of us. Melanie looked as if she were about to cry so I went over and hugged them both. “What were both of you doing while the party was going on?” I questioned. “Uhm,” They had both been enjoying themselves. No words were needed to confirm my suspicion. I still wasn’t angry with the both of them; had I been not so stressed about everything I would have tried to enjoy my first party. “Do you need help picking up all this mess?” Abe offered now freely wrapping his arm around my shoulder. “Uh…” I examined the room. It would take me quite a few hours, perhaps all night, to clean everything up by myself. “If you don’t mind…I mean you don’t have to—” “Alright, Rachel you take care of the kitchen,” Abe kindly ordered with a smile my way, “Melanie, you’re in charge of the dining room. I’ll clean the living room and uh…Aiden?” I had almost forgotten about Aiden. I thought he had left since he had been so quite and still. “I’ll clean up the hall way and check the bedrooms and such upstairs.” Aiden had been leaning up against the wall with his arms crossed over his chest,

but now he moved gracefully from there and walked right up to me. “You should rest. We’ll take care of this mess. We still have to talk later anyway.” He whispered ever so slightly in my ear. Boy, and I had thought that Kole was charming. Aiden’s voice sent the most unfamiliar chills down my whole body. “He’s right you should rest.” Abe interjected. It was amazing how much the testosterone level had risen in the room at that moment. “Afterwards, we can have the small gathering you had wanted in the first place.” “I think one gathering is enough for tonight. She needs to sleep, not stay up late.” Aiden’s tone of voice was firm, almost like a father telling his daughter that she had to go to sleep. “I do agree she needs to rest, but you’re not her father; she can stay up late if she likes.” “She’s been through a lot of stress this night. What would be best for her is to get some much needed rest to calm her nerves and ease her mind.” “Well, listen to Mr. know it all here, says he knows what’s best for Ms. Catalina. Obviously she should listen to you ‘cause she is only two and has no personal input on her own life.” Abe replied sarcastically. I walked between both boys, who seemed to be getting closer and closer to each other with every attack they said. “If you boys don’t mind, I need to get this place cleaned up by tonight. So, you go ahead and bicker at each other while we women do what we do best. You might want to turn down that testosterone too, makes me wanna take some estrogen pills just to even out the scale.” They looked at me a bit stunned, took a glance and sneered at each other and then began cleaning up. I didn’t feel like resting while my friends and Aiden picked up the mess. With that in mind, I quickly went into the bathroom, splashed my face with cold water and then back down to find some way to clean without having my friends push me away from doing so. Jack and Shane were now in the living room with Abe. Abe was picking up all the trash, Jack was putting every item that had been thrown around back into where he thought was its proper place while Shane vacuumed. Rachel was now spilling all the beer that was on the counter into the sink and Melanie was throwing away plastic cups, wiping up spilled beer mixed with soda, and crumbs of chips off the table. I decided to grab the mop and clean up all the liquids on the floor. “Catalina, I can do that. Don’t worry about it.” Rachel tried to stop me. “Come on, I’m just mopping. It’s not a mortal sin.” I teased; she laughed and let me keep on mopping. About two hours later, we had finally finished cleaning everything up. All of us were now in the living room admiring our accomplishments. “Seems about that time when everyone should be off to their houses and Catalina goes to sleep.” Aiden was the first to speak.

Abe was the first to counter the statement-go figure. “You’re not the boss of us, Aiden. We can stay if we like. Well, if Catalina would like us to.” He quickly changed is firmness seemingly remembering that they were in my house. The testosterone level rose once more and I couldn’t stand it. “Not to be offensive or anything, but I do feel extremely tired. Perhaps we could try this small get together some other weekend? Is that alright?” I was tired, but I also wanted to be alone with Aiden. We were supposed to talk about something right? Abe’s resolve melted away in resignation. “Sure, Cat, you need your rest.” Rachel and Melanie hugged and told me to give them a call tomorrow. Abe’s hug was a bit elongated, but I said nothing and simply told him to take it easy. Jack and Shane also gave me a hug, not as long as Abe though, and then left after Abe. Aiden stood there with his hands in the pockets of his jeans. I wasn’t sure if he was going to leave, too, or stay for to talk to me about whatever he had on his mind. “Well…I’ll see you at school?” I questioned. “You awake enough to talk?” I nodded slightly and then took a seat on the couch; he stayed standing. He seemed as if he was trying to plan out everything he was going to say before he spoke it. “I know I must’ve hurt your feelings with what I had said yesterday, but I couldn’t find any other to make you stay away from our family.” I had opened my mouth to say something but he put his hand up to stop me from saying anything. “It isn’t that you’re not up to our family’s standard that was just some lie I told you. Our family isn’t an arrogant rich family. They actually would have loved you, but knowing what you are wouldn’t quite run well if our families mixed.” “What do you mean ‘what I am’?” His composure melted away for half a second and then he was back to being poised. “If you don’t know, I’d ask Claudia what it is that she does besides her daytime job and what it has to do with you.” My eyebrows furrowed. “Oh, okay.” I replied even though I had no idea what he said meant. “I’ll leave you now. Since you don’t know about yourself, I can’t say much else. Have a good night. I’ll see you at school.” Aiden took leave. I wasn’t sure when he was out the door since I didn’t hear a sound. I was still perplexed by what he had just told me. ‘What I am? What is that supposed to mean?’ I decided to go up to my room and sleep off the confusion, but I knew I’d ask Claudia a few questions once she returned. *


The smell of sausage links woke me that morning. I didn’t know what time it was, but I figured it was past eight since Claudia did state in her letter to me that she was going to be home at that time. “Good morning, sleepy head.” Claudia greeted me with a smile. “Morning. What time is it?” “Ten o’clock. You don’t go to church right?” I merely laughed as an answer to her question. “Hm, so what did you do last night?” I almost choked on the orange juice I had just poured myself. Looking around the kitchen, the events from last night were unseen. “Uhm, I invited Rachel and Melanie over and we had a girl’s day. Is that alright?” She nodded taking a sip from her coffee cup. As we ate and I thought about the night before, I remembered my very brief talk with Aiden. My chewing became slower and my eyes wandered towards Claudia’s direction. How was a good way of asking her such a question? ‘Hey, Claudia, Aiden told me something that intrigued me…’? I don’t think so. “Claudia, what do you do, like what’s your job? If you don’t mind me asking.” She stopped chewing. Her normal cheerful look faltered for only a second before a great big grin reappeared. “Oh, well it’s a quite interesting job. I work with herbs.” She answered returning to chewing. My eyebrows were raised in a bit of confusion. She worked with herbs? How much did that pay her? It must be a lot since she could afford luxurious things. I got left with the question of what working with herbs had to do with me? I decided against asking her such a question and focused my attention on my food. Claudia went out later that afternoon with her friends. She apologized for leaving me alone but insisted that I should call Rachel and Melanie to keep me some company. I did just that. Both Rachel and Melanie were busy doing volunteering but promised they could be over in an hour and a half. I decided to take a shower and get dolled up just to pass the time. My long brown hair was curled, my green eyes had cocoa colored make-up around them, and I wore a black pencil skirt, a tight red shirt, and red heels just for the hell of it. I never really got dressed up and I hadn’t worn heels in the longest time, but I figured it’d be fun to doll up for once. The doorbell ringing drew my attention away from my reflection in the mirror. Finally! They’re here! I thought as I ran down the stairs in a hurry to see Rachel and Melanie. “I’m coming!” I shouted out as I was almost to the front door. With a wide grin on my face, I turned the handle. “I thought you guys were never gonna… get…here.” I stood there wide-eyed.

“Good Evening, Catalina.” Aiden stood beautifully before me. His clear blue eyes looked at me with the most enchanting stare. I couldn’t speak. “I thought perhaps you could join me for a small dinner.” He suggested in an almost chivalrous way. I still stood there dumbfounded not knowing what to say. Part of me wanted to immediately say yes, but the other part was unsure. Aiden had told me, practically ordered me, to stay away from his family and now he’s here at my house for the second day in a row. What did he want? “Uhm, okay. Give me two minutes.” I stepped away from the door towards the kitchen leaving it open. “Come in if you want.” I yelled out reaching for the kitchen phone. I dialed Rachel’s number and quickly tried to explain why I was calling off our girl’s night. “I’m sorry, I really didn’t expect him to come at all. I just wanna have him give me some answers. I hope you’re not angry with me?” I looked over my shoulder to see Aiden standing only a few steps away. When did he come in? I didn’t hear not even one step. “It’s alright I understand and I’m sure Melanie will too. Just make sure to call both of us afterwards to tell us what’s going on, kay?” I sighed in relief that I wouldn’t have my friend’s anger on the back of my mind through out ‘dinner’ with Aiden. “I will. Talk to you later. Bye.” Aiden took me a local diner. I mentally thanked him for not taking me to some expensive restaurant the way Kole had done before. I ordered something small not feeling much of an appetite. Aiden simply ordered an iced tea. “Aren’t you supposed to eat at dinner?” I pointed out happy that I had only gotten a chicken salad. His eyes looked up at me. Rushing calming waves of blue searched my eyes. “You have a point and I apologize. I asked you to join me for dinner and I’m not eating. I should order something else.” He raised his arm to call for the waiter, but I pulled it down before he could. “It’s alright. You probably aren’t hungry.” His other hand came over my own, which was still holding his arm. I twitched at the coldness. It was pretty warm in the diner how could he still be so ice cold? “Why are you and Kole always so cold?” He immediately retrieved his hand and arm. There were a few minutes of silence until I finally got the courage to say something. “So is there something you want to talk to me about?” “Did you ask Claudia about what I told you yesterday?” I nodded to answer his question. “So you know?” I nodded again. “Did she explain how we fit into this and why my family and Claudia and you don’t mix?” My eyebrows pulled together. What was he talking about? “No, no, no. I just asked her what her job was. She works with herbs. I didn’t see how that had anything to do with me, and thought it’d sound awkward asking her such a thing.”

“So you don’t know?” “Don’t know what?” I inquired with slight irritation rising. What was it that he wanted me to know and why wouldn’t he just tell me himself? I wanted to ask him just that, but our food arrived and I decided to focus on my food instead of him. That was kind of hard to do when I could feel his eyes on me. “Are you just going to watch me eat?” I questioned half way done with the salad. “Do you really know nothing about Claudia or your mom and dad?” “What the hell do my mother and father have to do with Claudia? Look, I never even knew of Claudia before this okay? I don’t know what you think I might know, ‘cause I’m seriously thinking you know something about me and/or Claudia that you don’t want to tell me. Why? If you want me to know so badly why not just tell me yourself and save me of this confusion?” My voice had gotten louder and harsher as I went on; I had to take in a big breath afterwards. “I can’t. It’s not my place to do so. I don’t see why your mother didn’t at least mention this to you. How stupid of her to leave you ignorant.” That did it. I stood abruptly with anger clearly shown on my face. “Don’t you ever call my mother stupid! She was damn intelligent and no rich snotty boy like you will talk about her that way. Thanks for the dinner. Goodbye!” I ran out of the diner infuriated and walked in long steps not knowing exactly where I was going, but knowing that I just wanted to but as much distance as I could from Aiden and me. Who did he think he was? He didn’t know my mother, didn’t know what she was like. He had no right calling her stupid. “Fucker.” I spat starting to shake from the irritation and rage. I just didn’t get that stupid guy. What did he want with me? First he’s all nice and sweet and charming, and then he starts ignoring and avoiding me out of nowhere and then orders me to stay away from his family, but ends up coming to talk nonsense to me. No, wait; first he saved my life (well more like screwed up my suicide) in San Francisco. Why did he let me live? I could be with my mother right now instead of walking in the freezing cold in a pencil skirt and heels in the dark with no idea where I was… Oh no. Where the hell did I end up? I didn’t recognize the street, the buildings, nothing. Well, of course I wouldn’t; I hadn’t traveled through all of Portland. I grabbed my phone hoping to call one of my friends to get me out of here only to take it out of my pocket and find it dead. Great. Just my luck. I thought stashing my useless phone back in my pocket. The neighborhoods then started to get a lot less ‘elegant’ and my heart automatically began to race faster, and my hand gripped my purse closer to my body. I could’ve just been stereo typing the neighborhood. For all I knew, it could’ve been filled with the nicest people in any neighborhood. But when I saw a gang of us trailing after me, I knew my instinct wasn’t wrong.


“Hey sexy legs,” one of the guys called out in a raspy voice, “what you got in that Chanel bag of yours. Must have some cash on you to be carryin’ a bag like that.” I tried my best to keep calm and made up a plan in my head. I would walk at my casual pace to one of the houses, knock on their door, walk in, and then explain the those boys were following me and I just needed to use their phone to get someone to pick me up. Sounded like a good enough plan. I knew that if I tried running they would easily out run me, especially since I was wearing three-inch heels. My planned turned sour when I felt one of them touching my arm. I jumped back at the feeling. “Your purse looks heavy I could hold it for you, so you don’t hurt your pretty little shoulders.” I yanked my purse away from him. “No thanks, it’s quite light, thank you.” I proceeded to walk towards my right in the direction of the nearest house, but another of the guys cut me off. “Going somewhere?” Keep your cool, Catalina. Just keep your cool. “Yes, my uh uncle lives in that house. He’s expecting me so if you’ll excuse me-” “Your uncle don’t live there. Now make this easy and just give us your purse.” I clutched my purse tighter. “Come on girly, we don’t want to hurt you, but if we have to…we will.” The first guy who talked announced in a menacing tone as he pulled out a gun from his pants. Part of me was screaming in my head telling me to just give them the bag and take off. But, another part of me was screaming not to. My mother gave the Chanel bag to me; I wasn’t about to let some thugs steal it from me. When they saw that I wasn’t loosing the grip on my bag, they began to close in on me. “Give. Us. The. Bag.” I took my chances and turned around to run as fast as I could. As I predicted, they caught up to me with no problem tackling me down to the floor as they did. “No! Let go!” I screeched as three of the guys picked me off the ground and stretched my limbs out so I no longer clutch my bag to my side. Another guy very forcefully pulled each of my fingers off the purse and yanked it away. That guy handed it to what seemed like the leader of the group and the one whom had referred to me as ‘sexy legs’. I hadn’t been crying even when the three guys had stretched me out, but I cried now hating that my mother’s precious Chanel bag was now in the hands of a dirty thief. I was now pushed up against the wall with three sets of disgusting hands upon me. “What should we do with her Charlie?” The guy holding my right side to the wall asked the leader.

“She’s yours. Do whatever you want. Just make sure to kill her afterwards.” My eyes shot wide open and I was about to scream, but Charlie covered my mouth with his atrocious hand. “Thanks for the bag sexy legs. Bye bye.” Before he left, the back of his hand came across my cheek hard; and with that he walked away. I didn’t know how I felt anymore. I was scared to death, but I was also mourning the loss of my mother’s bag, which also infuriated me. Stupid sons of bitches.


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