Prologue

Life seems so easy. But, Natalie's life is just the opposite. Sometimes we have bad luck and bad days. In Natalie's life every day is a bad day. Her mother got divorced and the got re-married. With that they had a child named Evan who is her half-brother. Later on in life Evan killed their mother. Then, Evan's father (2nd dad) died from natural causes. Out of fury Natalie kills her brother. People say she's a murderer. Life isn't so easy after all. Over the past century they created divisions. Divisions separate regions and create a form of government for each region. They must follow certain rules by the Rule Handbook by Divisions. After all life is something to enjoy. Right?

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."

Dr. Seuss

I look at myself in the pond. I can't believe something someone so different could be so real. I gaze out on the dried lands and see dead flowers. Wondering what they were like and how they smelled, I lean my head back on the yellow grass. This used to be my mother's favorite spot until . . . . she died. My brother, Evan, was the one who killed her. I was sixteen and could've stopped him but, it was too late. I didn't know what to do. The only person left in my family would be my real dad. My brother used to be alive until he died this morning. I don't know why I had just killed him.

As I walk across the dead roses and tulips that used to be here I hear somebody calling my name. "Natalie! If you're hiding I will find you," Alexander shouted. I wonder if he can see the real me? The darkness in me for what I did. As a gust of wind runs by I see him across the pond that I was at about two minutes ago. Alexander is the only one I have left in my life. His bold blue eyes gaze upon me while I'm waiting for him to catch up. I look at him closely to see his flaws. But for some reason I don't find any. My chestnut brown hair flutters like feathers in the wind, covering my face. Alexander moves my hair behind my ears. I bite back a smile instead just nod. "I-I just killed my brother. I don't know why." I cry. I hear Alexander whisper he doesn't care. The big bell rings signaling that curfew will take place soon. "Look I don't needing your parents freaking out that you're not home so go." I say as I run home or what's left of home. I glance back at Alexander but, he's not there. I look ahead and see Alexander. I immediately run after him and embrace him for as long as I can. By divisions leaders they created a law that you may only show affection for a limit of 6 seconds. I blank out and just let go. I know I will see him again but, I don't know when.

I see parent's mothers giving me a dirty look and just ignore it. I just wish that they knew the good side of me. I don't know why but, they keep a very close eye on me. They think I'm a killer but, I forget that. Before me I see my home. It used to be nice and plain just the way I like it. But, now the roof is caving in and the front door is nearly off its hinges. I pace forward into my house and smell mold. I nearly choke from the aroma and find it hard to breathe. I find myself to be quite lonely sometimes. Sometimes I believe that there is still somebody out there for me but, there isn't. I sigh and move into the kitchen. Deciding is hard no matter what occasion. Salads are my favorite but, there's no more vegetation provided for me. Since, I have no job it's hard to make a living if the division only gives me what I need. I can't sit down and enjoy myself though I do wish. The alternative is just not eating because I've nearly starved myself for days now. I don't seem to notice how hungry I get. I hear a knock at my door. It was hard enough to nearly open the door. Alexander pops in the door and I quickly fix my hair. "Natalie, I need to talk to you. I know its past curfew but, I'll just stay here for the night." He sees me fixing my hair and smiles. I laugh and nearly smile. "Well I'm not sure if you want to stay the night but, I can't let you get in trouble. What do you need Alexander?" I say smiling. Alexander's eyes are so blue, his nose so straight, and his lips so tender. I'm about to blush until Alexander says, "You know you were just like your mother. I've seen her in the photos you used to show me" Alexander mumbled. Sometimes I wonder if fate connected us because if he died I would be alone. "Anyways I came here to tell you that a relative just came into town and wants to see you." He started, "I can see why you wouldn't be excited but, it's your dad. I could come with you . . . if you'd like me to." He said. "Look I don't want to make myself believe he is my dad. I've been so used to my stepdad until he died. My real dad is here but probably not to see me. He must be here to see somebody else. Just seeing him will not make me happy. I don't like to talk about him." I said frustrated. I keep my true feelings inside in case Alexander tells my dad. I don't see a reason for him to but, I need to make sure. "Have you met him yet? Do you trust him? Even better yet do you trust me?" I say. He nods but he's afraid to say so. "L-look you can stay here but, I don't want to hear you talk about my d-dad okay? I stutter. A tear drops from my face and Alexander wipes it away. We aren't in a relationship so; I don't want to feel like we are. I always had a crush on him since I was like twelve. He used to stare at me in class and pass me notes. I always threw them in the trash to make it look like I don't care but, I did. After a while he seemed to lose interest in me and start being independent and quiet. I never knew him to be shy and quiet but, I guess that's what happens when you don't acknowledge them. My phone rings suddenly.

"Hello," I say quietly. "Hi, Alexander gave me your number. I want to say I'm sorry things didn't work out but, I want to start over." My dad divorced my mother and then she got re-married and had my brother, Evan . . . . then I killed him for killing my mother. She was a caring mother who didn't do anything wrong to deserve that.

"Look I don't want to be mean but you had your chance." I say with sadness in my voce.

I guess he doesn't have anything to say. "I'm sorry but, your mother wasn't the mother you thought she was." he says with tenderness in his voice.

I hang up and look behind me. Alexander is in the doorway shaking his head. I know he doesn't approve the way I talked to my dad but, this is my life not his. He walks closer leans and whispers in my ear "I didn't know you to be this way." These harsh words sting me. "I've changed? You have no idea what I have been through. I remember that when I started to grow up and pretend I didn't like you. Until one day you stopped passing me notes. I was going to admit I liked you but, you stopped too. Now you are this selfish jerk." Alexander has tears in his eyes and I step closer. "You actually liked me?" he mumbles. I nod and start laughing. "Well you see . . . l-look I'm sorry for bursting out like that but, I was always like this. I still like you . . . but it's hard to tell you because of all this." I point out. I used to feel cool hanging around the older kids when I was younger. This time I wipe the tears from his face. I guess he is confused but he shakes his head and says "So, can I still stay here for the night?" He asks. "Yes." I say. We both go our separate ways. I go upstairs and feel the wind blow through my hair. The simple blanket is laid out and I sit on it. Alexander comes up with extra blankets from downstairs and lays them on me. I thank him and he silently goes downstairs. I watch the sunset go down. The beautiful hombre colors fill the sky with their beauty. The fluffy white clouds are steamy white and dropping along with the sun. I used to watch the sunset with my dad while he read me stories until I fell asleep.

There once was a princess named Natalie. She was the prettiest girl in the entire kingdom.

I always laughed at that part. My father was also somebody I will always remember.

As I lay there with these extra blankets I feel something behind me. It's Alexander. I guess in the middle of night he came in with more blankets and a pillow. I wonder where he got these. I get up and fix my hair. He was sleeping next to me. . . I can't get him out of my mind. I quickly and quietly take the warm covers and place them on Alexander. I rest the pillow under his head softly. He slowly starts to wake up and yawns. I look at him. I can't stop looking at him. I have to run downstairs before I blush like an apple. Something drops on the ground upstairs. The stairs creak as I run up the stairs. Thank god it's only him on the phone and he's angry. Obviously his parents aren't happy he stayed the night here. He hangs up and says "Look I got to go. I'll text you later." He packs up his things and folds the blankets. "Just keep the blankets. Their mine but, don't worry." I smile and wave good-bye. I start to clean the house a little and organize until my phone sounds.

Alexander: Hey, sorry I left so early. My parents weren't happy with me not being home. Sent at 8:08 A.M.

I text him back:

Natalie: It's okay. You want to meet me at the pond later 3. Sent at 8:09 A.M.

I still don't get a message. I hadn't realized I didn't eat anything yesterday till now. I walk down the creaky stairs, take a cold shower, and bake a piece of toast. It isn't fully cooked but, I still take it out. I try nibbling at it but, it just feels uneasy in me. I hear the door creak and drop my toast. Alexander's head pops in and sees me. "Hey, you didn't get my texts? I was going to look for you. You scared me! Anyways my parents said I was not to leave my room but, I slipped out the window. They should be on their way to my room now. I don't care but, I will get in trouble." Alexander whispers. I grin and say, "So, you snuck out of YOUR own house? I don't get why you still live with your parents." He nods. I pick up my half eaten toast and toss it in the garbage. I give him time to think about his next response but, he just looks around. "Well, I still live with them because I still have them," He sneers. I'm sorry I didn't mean it that way. I-I. . ." he apologizes. "I know." I say gently I rub my eyes and brush his arm with my hand. He knows the law about showing affection unless married. We all are supposed to know that. When we graduate high school we take a big test on them. The division's leaders had to watch us because they don't want us to cheat. They are very important to the divisions. He strokes my cheek and smiles. I laugh out loud and he walks away. "Hey… where are you going?" I say. "I can't be late to my own grounding." He sneers as he goes out the doorway. I look back at my phone and see my dad calling me. I ignore it and move on with the rest of the day.

When I wake up in the morning I see myself in the mirror. Looking in it reminds me of my mother. I look so much like her I sometimes forget she even exists. My phone buzzes; it's Alexander. He wants me to come over. I text him back saying no. I don't get a response from him until later in the day. I keep texting with him.

Alexander: Why? Sent at 8:00

Natalie: b/c your parents! Sent at 8:00

Alexander: they won't mind Sent at 8:01

Natalie: they will . . . end of story. Sent at 8:02

Making my way to the pond again I catch a glimpse of the mailbox. It's stuffed full of letters from months ago. I take all of it and walk to the pond with my bag full of old letters. "Natalie." Alexander shouts from behind me. I look back surprised he was behind me. "Hey, why didn't you respond to my texts?"

"Because I left my phone at home and I wasn't in the mood" I say

"May I join you? . . . In wherever you're going." he points to my bag.

"No. I wanted to read these." I point to my bag, "In silence." I say.

He cups my face with his hands and hugs me. His bold blue eyes look desperately in my eyes. "You don't really have a choice Nat." he whispers. 4 . . . 5 . . . 6 . . . I know exactly how he feels for me now. Exactly the way I do. We walk together in an awkward silence to the pond. I sit in front of him and he touches my hair.

"Your hair is so gold in the sun but, is brown." He says.

I look at him confused and see the same feeling on him. "I'm confused why you wanted to come with me." I ask.

He shakes his head in disagreement and says, "I didn't want to go with you I needed to."

Okay. I don't seem to understand what he really meant. He shakes his head again, "I'm just joking I came here to tell you I love you." He whispers. Before I let the words sink in he comes close to me and lightly kisses me on the cheek. I don't know if I'm scared or just surprised. Alexander has never expressed his feelings to me that way. "Natalie," he says. I love it when he says my name. Before I can say something he's at it again. But this time I kiss him back. Our lips touch and I don't ever want to let go. We both just sit there for a while and it looks like to me he has something to say. Alexander is the only one I want to have in my life.

"Could you give your dad a chance? You seem pretty lonely." Alexander whispers. Instead of saying sure I just nod. "By any chance do you think you would ever want to leave this division and come with me?" Alexander says.

"Yes." I say almost immediately.

"Do you promise?" he asks.

"I promise." I reply.

Later on that day, my phone rings. It's my dad. This time I will answer.

"Hi," I say.

"Hi. Are you doing anything right now?" he starts.

"Just cut to the chase. Whatever you need it better be important." I mumble.

"Okay. I would like to get to know you better. I mean you are my daughter. We could just talk like old times. How about at the pond," He pleaded.

First of all old times weren't the best but, I can see his position he's putting himself in. Secondly, the pond is somewhere I only like to meet Alexander. But I told Alexander I would give him a chance.

"Okay how about two? Does that seem fine?"

"Yeah sure," he replies.

We both hang up after that. I start to get ready because it's only a matter of time before I come face to face with my dad. I realize it's been so long.

At two o clock I arrive at the pond.

"Hey." I say to my dad as I walk up to the pond.

"Hi. I'm glad that you made it." He replies.

"How are you doing?" I ask.

"I'm doing great! How about you?" he asks all of the sudden.

"I don't really know." I say concerned.

"What's going on? N-never mind. I'm sorry that's none of my business." He apologizes " Anyways I was just wondering if you'd like to come with me back to the division I live in. I know it's a hard descison-trust me but, ill give you some time to think about it."

"Look I am really up for changing things and making them better but, I have a life. I know it's not the best but I have Alexander." I respond.

"Alright, I will see you tomorrow. Hopefully by then you make up your mind." He says as he walks away. He must not have gotten what I meant. I would like to reunite my family as well as start my own. Alexander is my love and Warren is my dad.

My real dad.

I still do not know whether I love Alexander or my dad. I could end up not going with any of them. As I walk back to my house I feel a little light-headed. What's happening? And I fall and let the darkness fade in my view.

"Natalie?" Alexander says. I am in his house and Alexander's parents are kneeling beside him. I can tell by the look of their faces that they're not happy that I'm here in their house.

"What happened?" I ask.

"You met have lost consciousness when you were coming home. I texted you like crazy and you weren't answering so, I came to your house only to find you laying in the middle of the street!" Alexander says.

"T-thanks I guess." I say with a bit of dryness in my voice.

"Mom could you go and get some water for her?" Alexander asks his mom. His mom and dad walk out and quietly whisper to each other. Alexander's mom fidgets with something. A ring. Alexander points to my pillow and I turn and look at my pillow. It's wet.

"What were you dreaming about? It must have made you cry. "he asks.

"I don't remember." I lie. I was dreaming about leaving with my dad and leaving Alexander.

"Well I guess it's over now so-," he starts to say until his mom comes in with a glass of water in her hand. I notice she took off her ring that was on a minute ago. She hands it to Alexander and he hands it to me. She could've just handed it to me. I sip it and taste the dryness in my throat. If that's even possible

"You should probably get going." He mom says.

Until now I realize she's still standing there. "Alright," I say. Alexander puts his hand on my shoulder forcing me not to get up. He eyes his mom who doesn't show a face. Alexander awkwardly eyes his mom while his grip on my shoulder has loosened. I quickly get up and nod at Alexander.

"Thank you very much Mrs. Kegan," I say as I walk to the door. I can hear Alexander shouting at his mom. I'm almost there until Mr. Kegan stops me and says, "I'm sorry for your loss- . . . –es" My eyes start tearing up again and drops of my tears land on my tank-top. The death of my mom and my brother keep coming up in my mind. I can't even see because my eyes are so watered up. Before Alexander reaches the front door, I go out.

"Natalie!" Alexander shouts. "Natalie come here." He still shouts. I look at him once and keep walking home. I keep hearing him until I hear footsteps. They're coming closer and I can tell they're his. This time I don't want any of his help. I start sprinting for my house. He's only a yard behind me. I run into my house and lock the door.

"Natalie, open up! It's me Alexander." He says. I ignore him, turn around, and sit. My back is to the door and I hear Alexander pounding on the door. The door starts to crack open a little and I can see his hair. I promised him I would go with him to another division when I'm older but, I just don't know. Then all of the sudden I hear a big thump and a crack. Alexander punched right through my door. I see him right there sitting up against the door just like I was but, in a reflection. His hand is bleeding. I look at it through the hole he punched. He's just sitting there silently looking through thin air. Again I'm at it. I'm looking at his flaws but still can't find any. He stops looking at whatever he was looking at and turns his head to me.

"How'd you do that?" I ask him.

"I was mad at you because you didn't answer me." He says softly.

"You really can't keep getting emotionally mad at me because I ignore you." I say.

"It wasn't that though I thought I heard you scream." He says as he clenches his fists. More blood comes out of his left fist. He gets up and starts to walk back home. I don't get what's with us by leaving because you can't get away from it forever.

"You know that promise I made to you. I will keep it but, my dad asked me to come with him." I shout loud enough so he hears. I can tell he's shaking his head in frustration. He turns around to look at me and all I see on his face is concern.

"Nata-," is all I get to hear before I black out.

Alexander's face appears.

I see him in the light of the sun.

We are having a picnic and he pulls out something.

Alexander whispers in my ear something I can't quite make out.

He says it again

"I love you" he says

"I love you too." I reply.

He deeply kisses me.

Eagerly.

Hungrily.

Desperately.

He lets go to get a breath.

He lays me down and stands up. Then, he kneels.

He pulls out a ring and asks me to marry him.

"No." I say because I can tell it's not real.

I wake up and realize it was a dream. The picnic wasn't real. Alexander is applying a hot cloth on my face and he takes a piece of bread and puts it on my lap.

"You obviously haven't eaten in days." He says with worry in his eyes. Before I could even touch the bread my phone rings. It's my dad. I answer it and get up. I walk into another room so Alexander doesn't hear. . . . When I finish talking to him I hang up and walk back to Alexander. I pick up the piece of bread and eat it. It feels so weird in my mouth. I don't even know what's in this. But something I do know is that Alexander is the only one here for me. I love him but, want to go with my dad too.

"You look like you could use some rest." Alexander says. I nod and lay back down.

The sky is dark and I see alexander sitting outside. He must have pulled a table and chairs out there because I don't remember there being any. I slowly walk out and he looks up.

"Come take a seat." He exclaimed. I take a seat and he pulls out some food.

"Eat." He ordered me. I take a few bites and he lays a map out of the region. I look at it closely and it had marks on it.

"Have you been thinking about who you want to go with yet?" he asks.

"Yes, and I already have my decision." I reply. "I'll go with you." I say. His eyes go wide for a moment.

"Ha-ha very funn-," he says but stops because he can see the seriousness in my eyes.

"Did you tell your dad because I'm pretty sure he was getting ready to leave?" he says.

"I talked to him earlier today." I state.

"Back to the map I guess." He proceeded as he points to it. "Division 9 sounds nice." He says.

"Sure whatever-," I say. Before I can speak the rest, he leans forward and kisses me. I look at him and he starts to lean back before I reach his head and pull it closer. Our foreheads are touching each other and I can't believe this isn't a dream.

June 14th 4098:

I walk back into the house only to find Alexander there.

"I can't believe we actually moved here. I mean Division 9 was only an idea and now it's coming true," I say.

"Yeah well sometimes we need to spoil ourselves." He says in response. I can see his eyes roll when he talks to me. He knows it and I know it.

"I love you." I say.

"I love you too." He says back. His knee touches the floor and he's kneeling.

"Will you marry me Natalie?" Alexander says as he pops up the silver box with a ring. His eyes water up. No matter where you find the water it is-whether it's crying, ponds or even under the faucet, it's a sign

"Yes." I reply. And this time I say yes because "You know when you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than you dreams." –Dr. Seuss