Author: Emerald Imagination

Contact: PG-13

Genre: Humor, Romance, Angst

Disclaimer: I do not own anything here at all except maybe a tad bit of the plot. I also own no songs I may or may not use. Please, do not sue.

Prologue-

No one remembered her sixteenth birthday at school. She sighed. Well, she really didn't expect anyone to know, did she? Hazel didn't have many close friends; no one to have long conversations with on the phone every night, pissing off her parents with the monthly phone bill, no one to go shopping with on the weekend and end up not getting anything but not really caring, no one to confide into when something important was going on with her. But that didn't mean she didn't have any friends. Quite the contrary; Hazel had many acquaintances who she'd talk to during class. But, no one knew the real Hazel. The person she were inside. The secrets, the feelings, the opinions that made up the goddess who was her. Now, she wasn't the loner in school, but during break or lunch, she usually preferred her own company, enjoying the quiet time. Hazel either had her head in a good book, or a pencil in her hand, writing a story, poem or song that seemed to reflect her mood at the current time. People deemed her as quiet, but if she felt passionately about something, she would put her heart into standing up for her beliefs.

Now, back to this birthday. Sixteen is the coming of age. It's supposed to include stupid mistakes, blissful times, and moments you just want to cringe at. Sixteen means you get to drive, along with more responsibilities. Sixteen is supposed to be sweet, hence Sweet Sixteen. But people forgetting Hazel's birthday wasn't exactly sweet, now was it? She thought about this as she clutched her Algebra 2 book in her arms on her way home. She was not one to wallow in self-pity but it hurt her that not even her closest acquaintance had remembered. She remembered she had told her once… or so Hazel thought. The park which she walked through was quiet, which was slightly unusual. Usually, kids played in the sand, people and teenagers walked their dogs, and elders sat on benches realigning the newspaper, feeding the birds, or watching what was going on around them. But it was empty for a Thursday.

She sighed. Even locals forgot her birthday. Hazel clutched her book tighter to her chest, staring at the ground. Life is too boring, she thought, kicking a stray rock down the sidewalk and watching it bounce randomly. Hazel had a wild imagination, always thinking of something better than what she already had. People called her a dreamer, one for dramatic events happening to everyday people… in other words, her. If she happened to see a tall, thick tree, she envisioned someone was behind it, holding a gun, waiting for a random person to walk by… or she thought that one day, on her way from school, she'd run into a guy and he'd turn out to be her soul mate. Hazel's mind was always thinking of something knew, even if reality was standing still.

Turning a corner, she walked a few more yards, and then into her one-story house. Her mother was home, already cooking dinner. She breathed in the scent and smiled. Her mother was cooking her favorite dinner . At least families remembered birthdays. That was always a good thing. She smiled at her mother, placing her book upon the white-tiled bar and taking off her backpack. "Smells good, Mom."

Hazel's mother smiled a smile that was identical to hers. People always thought the two of them looked quite alike, and it was true. Hazel had her mother's height, standing at five foot eight at sixteen, as well as her breasts, filling out nice and evenly through-out the years. Her high cheekbones resembled her mother's as well as the identical face shape and the shape of the eyes. But she had her father's eyes. That was the one thing that separated her from her mother- the eyes. She said it was her most striking feature (besides her smile), that men would literally drop in the streets if they could see her eyes up close. She always believed her mother too. She loved her eyes. Hazel had your father's thick hair but clearly had herr mother's wavy style.

"I've got a cake in the oven," she replied, winking. "My baby is sixteen." Tears started forming in her eyes as Hazel rolled her eyes. "She's growing up right in front of me."

"Oh, Mom," she said, extending her arms out to give her a hug. "No matter how old I'll get, you'll always think of me as your little girl."

She smiled. "You know it." She turned, her back away from her daughter and began stirring the heated pasta once again. She smiled and walked out of the kitchen, picking up her things and headed toward her room. The house which the Browne's lived in was one story, with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, a dining room, living room, and kitchen, accompanied with a big backyard. Hazel's room was the first to the left in the hallway, and she walked inside, dropped the book on the smooth, white desk, and her backpack at the foot of her twin-sized bed. Posters filled her walls, not only of people like Collin Ferrel and Eminem, but of people she respected and admire. A Simpson calendar adorned her wall, as well as pictures of her, her family and friends, and places she wanted to visit. A big one was Ireland as well as England and Scotland and the Caribbean. Inspiring places, timely and historical places… any place but here.

Hazel plopped herself on her bed, deciding to save homework for later. She was too tired to concentrate, as well as too hungry, too hurt, and too thoughtful. She closed her eyes, and found that she could not reopen them, no matter how much she tired. Hazel did not realize how tired she was, but did not resist when sleep overtook her senses and she fell asleep…

Celia, or Cece, walked into the house, her backpack slung over her one shoulder. Her dark, messy hair was in pig tails, and she had dark freckles caressing her fair cheek. Her matching eyes look slightly aggravated, her body slumped as she threw off her backpack and plopped onto the couch. "Hey Mom." She picked up the remote, flicking off her black sandals carelessly and lounging into the grey-leather couch. Flicking through the channels, she silently murmured, "There's something I'm forgetting, isn't there?" She furrowed her eyebrows, crossing her legs and stopping at MTV. "But what could it be?"

"Ce?" her mother, Arah, glanced in the living room from the kitchen, over the bar. "You remembered your sister's birthday, right?"

"Oh yeah…" Cece replied, an epiphany flashing through her head. "Oh, shoot…" Realizing she had indeed forgotten her older sister's birthday, she jumped up, scratching the back of her head and staring at her mother, her brows knitted. People always said she had her father's mind, which was a compliment except for lack of focus as well as forgetfulness. However, she was incredibly bright for a thirteen year old in the eighth grade. She was in all honors and had a broad social circle. She loved being the center of attention, whether it be school, sports, or performing arts. Her and her sister were quite opposite, but complemented each other quite well.

"Do you think I can jet to the shopping center down the street and grab her something there?" she asked curiously. Despite being completely different, Cece got along very well with her sister. "Where is she anyways? She gets out, like, forty minutes before me." The top of her ears turned slightly pink from speaking so fast.

Arah smiled and studied her youngest daughter. Cece had her father's color and but, like her older sister, had been born with her mother's natural waviness. She had Arah's dark eyes, with flecks of gold and grey in them, the almond shape making them look larger and exotic. She also had her mother's body, the three females in the house with a natural hour glass figure. However, unlike her sister, she did not have a natural tan . "I somehow knew you were going to forget, Ce, so I got you something to give to her."

"Oh?" Cece quirked an eyebrow out of curiosity. "What did I get her?"

Arah smirked, tossing her hair over her shoulder, walking back into the kitchen and starting to stir the pasta again. "You'll just have to see, now won't you?"

Hazel woke up, the scent of her favorite dinner now stronger than ever. It's almost done. She smiled at this thought, and was just about to get out of bed when she realized something. This was just like every other birthday Hazel ever had. She furrowed her brow and leaned against the headboard, pondering silently. Ever since she could remember, whenever she got home for school on her birthday, her mother would be in the kitchen, fixing her favorite dinner as well as baking a cake in the oven. The cake was chocolate with cream cheese whip cream, spelling out, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Her sister Cece would forget, as she does with everything, but her mother would know this, and already have a gift set aside from her. Right when dinner was placed on the table, her father would walk into the house, tired from work but a bright smile on his face. Then, the family would eat, speaking of Hazel's day and joking. Next, once dinner was finished, her mother would shut out the lights, and bring out the cake, the family would sing Happy Birthday, very off-key, but still meaningful. Then, she would take the honor of cutting the cake, while Ce would hand out milk, and then they would resume conversation over cake. Finally, presents were distributed, one from each family member and then a big one from all three. Afterwards, the day was over and another day would begin.

Hazel scrunched her nose, shifting her back to accommodate her comfort level. Where was the fun in that? No mystery surprises. No wondering how many gifts she was getting this year or what kind of cake her mother might be making. No special little thing to set this day aside from the rest of the birthdays she already had. How long would this go on for? Hazel wondered. How long must each similar day pass… There must be more to life than watching the days go by. Not that she didn't appreciate her family, she knew she had more than most. But, she were bored. The family got along so there wasn't much fighting, and her family wasn't that keen on change. Hazel got that from her grandmother, or so her father said. She had passed away two days after Hazel were born, so she didn't really know her. But there was a connection between the two of them.

"Hazel!" she heard her mother's voice call from the kitchen. "Dinnertime!"

Hazel got up out of bed and walked out of her room and sat down in the dining room. Her mother smiled widely, her full lips curved upwards and put the hot pot into the center of the rectangular table. She sat in the seat where the custom colorful balloons were tied and, sure enough, her father walked into the door. His thick light hair was slightly out of place, and his eyes held a tiredness in them only someone with age and the burdens of growing older would carry… but he still smiled, despite of it. She couldn't help but smile back. Hazel was Daddy's girl, and everyone knew it. From the fact that she looked like him, acted like him, and thought of him made the two of them two peas in a pod. Cece was more like her mother; very feminine, shopping crazed, swooning over boys. And not that Hazel weren't that either, she just had a better balance of level-headed thinking to wistful dreaming.

"My baby's turning sixteen!" he said, dropping his briefcase in the den and walking back into the living room. He breathed in the strong scent and grinned. "And lucky for me, her favorite dinner his my favorite dinner!" He sat down next to his daughter, smiling, which revealed a slight dimple in his left cheek. He was an attractive man for someone who was forty, his body fit, his teeth strong and white. Yes, Hazel's family was quite an attractive one, both sides having healthy, strong and just plain good genes. Hazel suddenly realized how thankful she was for it as well.

Dinner went by rather quickly. The pasta was delicious, and she immediately grabbed at the opportunity for seconds. It was cooked perfectly, slightly hot, so when she began talking, it would cool. She hadn't realized how hungry she was until she took her first bite. Then, forgetting about manners and proper table etiquette, Hazel dug in, downing her pasta in less then ten minutes. Once her mother offered seconds, she held up your bowl and downed the second one as well. Hazel kindly declined thirds, but was thankful for the extra pasta so she had a scrumptious snack tomorrow after school. Then, cake was distributed and milk was passed out.

"Okay, honey," her father said, squeezing your shoulder. "Make a wish… but be careful because it might come true."

Hazel rolled her eyes at her father's slight superstition. "Oh Dad…" However, that didn't stop her from making a wish. I wish life was more exciting… with an unexpected twist. She blew out the candles, and suddenly, everything went black.

Author's Notes: So, what did you think of the prologue. It's boring right now, I know, but I promise things will pick up, alright? So please, please, please drop a line, telling me what you think. Now, a random poll because I tried it in A Change of Heart, and it really got me interested in all of you guys. Let's keep the first one simple. Why do you all love Captain Jack Sparrow so much, eh?