Okay, so I decided to redo this chapter. I figured starting from the VERY beginning would be a lot better than doing it the way I had. But, please, if this chapter sucks more than the one I originally had, TELL ME! It would help a LOT.

SECRECY

Chapter 1

After my father died when I was six, my mother thought it was in my best interests to move me away from New York and to a town in California called Carmel. What made her think this was in my best interests baffled me, but I endured it nonetheless.

See, when I moved I left my best and only friend, Gina. Sure, she visited whenever she got a chance, but things just weren't the same without her. I missed her. Terribly.

A couple years later, my mom fell in love with this guy Andy. They met when he was putting an addition onto our house. Why my mom wanted an addition on our house when it was only me and her was completely beyond me.

Soon enough, her and Andy were getting married, and I was acquiring three step-brothers. I didn't really mind at the time, since it was someone that I could hang out with when Gina wasn't there (which happened too often for comfort). The one I really bonded with, though, was David, or Doc, as I liked to call him.

He is such a sweetheart, that one is. With his red hair, freckled face, sticky-out-y ears, and those adorable little glasses of his. Sure, he was about three years younger than me, but he had the mentality of a thirty year old. I even think he knew more at that age than my mom and Andy combined.

My mom and Andy had decided that it was best that all of us move into a bigger house together, to make it fair. He had started the renovations on the two-hundred and fifty year old house (that used to be a boarding house back in its day) and by the time it was done, it looked almost brand new, but in an old-fashioned sort of way, though.

Andy was good to me. I really didn't consider him a father figure, because he would never replace my dad, but he did have a certain place in my heart. It made me feel good that he made my mom so happy. And that's what I wanted, for my mom to be happy, because she hadn't been for so long.

I can freely admit that I was partly a cause of that lack of happiness. I know I wasn't the daughter she wanted. Wasn't the girlish, frilly, pink-loving daughter she had dreamed of. Instead, I wore black and often seemed very . . . rebellious, I guess the word would be.

It wasn't really because I wanted to be (well, the black I liked, I guess), but I had to. It was my job to.

What job, you ask?

Why, my lovely gift from God. The one where I get to help the spirits of the deceased move on to a better place, whether that be heaven, hell, another life, etc. But I really don't consider hell a better place, if you know what I mean.

But in shorter words: I see dead people.

Whether you believe me or not is entirely up to you, but its true. I see them — and speak to them, touch them — on a daily basis. Occasionally I'll get a break from it, but not often.

When we moved into the new house, Andy and Mom showed me my room. When I saw it, all I have to say is, there was a lot of pink. At the time — when I was eight — I didn't really care, since pink wasn't really that bad of a color to me then. But now, eight years later, I can't STAND it.

I mean, I guess it doesn't really matter, since I'm used to it, but it still bothers me from time to time. The two things I LOVE about my room, though, are the nice bathroom I get all to myself and the bay window that looks out over the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes I just like to sit on my window seat and stare at it for hours on end.

Sounds boring, but you get sucked in by its beauty and just can't peel your eyes away from it. Or, at least that's what happens to me.

My only friends I had there were my step-brothers (except Brad, he didn't seem to like me very much, but the feeling was mutual, I guess) and Jake's — my eldest step-brother — best friend, Jesse.

I remember the three of us going down the beach and building sand castles and then chasing down the ice-cream man to buy ice-cream.

Jesse befriended me, treated me like I was an equal, as opposed to being treated like crap, because I was a girl and had 'cooties', like the other boys did when we were that age.

I almost thought he was a girl, but he, uh, soon proved he wasn't when I questioned him one time.

Ahem.

Jake and Brad used to tease me, saying I had a crush on him, because I always wanted to play with him. I always denied it, because I really didn't know what the feeling was at the time.

And then when we were eleven, Jesse moved away. His parents had moved him and his four sisters up north more, but still in California. Jake and David and I always begged my mom and Andy to take us up to visit him, but it was just too far away to do so, they always said.

Through my adolescent years, I finally managed to get some friends besides Gina. These friends I met in school, Adam and CeeCee. They were like two peas in a pod. They befriended me instantly, too. The reason being: they were outcasts, just like me. None of us were considered normal, by any stands. But I guess that old saying is true. Birds of a feather flock together.

Don't get me wrong, I didn't forget about Jesse. Not at all. We kept in touch still, but it was getting harder and harder as the years passed. Then the last we heard, he had moved to Florida with his parents and sisters, because his dad was offered a really good job there, with all moving expenses paid for. That was where we lost touch. It was just too much of a hassle.

CeeCee and Adam and I went practically everywhere together. And it wasn't until I was about fourteen that I realized what was going on between both of them. I realized that . . . well, that they were in love.

You know, something you read in books and dream about, but never think it will ever really happen to you?

Yeah, that thing. Well, I could tell with CeeCee, at least. She was head over heals in love with him. Adam, of course, being the idiot he is, couldn't see it. But I knew he returned her feelings. The way he looked at her sometimes . . . its just really obvious. But, apparently, not to them.

But I didn't want to interfere with them. It wouldn't be right.

Gina visited every summer for about a month and hung out with CeeCee, Adam, and I. Adam complained that there needed to be a little more testosterone in the group; and we'd always joke back and say that there was none to begin with.

It was fun. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. But as a contrast to that, I still felt left out. I still . . . I dunno. I guess it was the whole ghost thing. I just knew I would never really fit in with any group, no matter what.

But then . . . then I realized that my school principal was like me. A mediator, I mean. And . . . well, sure, it was my school principal, but it was someone. I had never met another mediator in my life and it was probably the most shocking thing in my life at the time. And, well, he sort of became a father figure to me, I guess.

I know I said no one could ever replace my dad. Father Dominic, the principal, wasn't either, but he seemed more of a father to me than Andy did. No offense to Andy or anything.

CeeCee and Adam began wondering why I spent so much time in the principal's office all of a sudden and I just told them it was student council business, because, for reasons beyond me, my fellow peers elected me vice president of our class.

I know I mentioned how much of an outcast I am. Along with being an outcast comes never having a boyfriend. I know, pathetic. I was sixteen and didn't have a boyfriend.

But then, about a few months ago, a guy asked me out. And, I have to admit, he is really cute. But, I didn't really have a connection with him, you know? I didn't have that connection you should have with someone you're dating and/or like. So I turned him down. CeeCee called me an idiot for it and told me he was cute and everything, but she didn't understand.

Then Jesse called one day, completely out of the blue, saying he was moving back.

And that starts the beginning or my story.

A/N: So, yeah, like I said up there, tell me if this is really bad. But in a review, because we all love reviews.