I am SO SORRY. We had people come in and paint our walls and the computer had to be unhooked for about two--three weeks and I was unable to access the computer. I am so bad at this. Ugh...Well, here's the next part. It sucks. Badly. I promise the next part (which I'm looking forward to, might I add ) will be MUCH better and more worthwhile! Hopefully.


"So, how much trouble did you get in?"

It was lunch. The room was filled with the murmur of conversations, the crinkling of sandwich wrappers unfolding, and the scraping of chairs as they shifted in and out from underneath the table.

Sean, Jay, and Alex were all sprawled out on five chairs. Alex had her feet up on the table, her cheek smashed into her hand as she stared glumly at the disgusting school lunch: green beans that wiggle like rubber bands, cold pasta that looked (and felt) like dead worms that drowned in the rain, and canned peaches that were dribbled with sour smelling juice.

There goes my appetite, Alex had thought as the large lunch lady dumped it on her plastic tray. Well, what was left of it, at least.

"Two days of ISS for 'attempted skipping,'" Jay recited. His headphones were resting on his large shoulder blades as he \ casually tipped back in his chair, his feet placed upon the seat beside him. Sean snorted and took a sip of his Coke, his body in a similar position as his best friend's.

"I still can't believe…" Alex sighed and rubbed her eyes. Jay glanced at her incredulously.

"Alex, what the hell are you worried about? It's just two days of ISS! It's not like you haven't had worse before. Besides, you're living with me now. No rules, no parents. Who's going to punish you?" Jay asked and Sean nodded in agreement.

"And," Sean was kind enough to point out, "Your mom didn't care what you did before. Why would she care now? She doesn't even know where you are." Alex rolled her eyes.

"Gee, thanks, Sean. You really know how to make me feel better." Alex replied sarcastically and grabbed her bag. "See you later, losers." She stood up and walked out of the cafeteria, careful to slam her shoulder into Heather Sinclair's lunch as she stalked by.

"Hey!" Heather cried as the yogurt spilled out and slopped down her shirt. The lunchroom roared with laughter.

"Nice," Paige whispered to Alex at the exit. Alex ignored her, her pulse thundering throughout her thin body.

She noticed…she said "nice" to me. She noticed me she noticed me she noticed me she noticed me she noticed me she noticed me she—

Alex's legs began to sprint towards the washroom, her feet echoing in the empty hallways. Her breaths came out in short rasps, and her clothes jingled like Christmas bells. She burst in the washroom and, oblivious to Darcy's bewildered looks, flung herself on the sink. She splashed water on her quivering face and closed her eyes.

She was tired…so tired…

The rest of the day wore on like a stretched roll of taffy. All of it was a massive, slow moving blur, a jumbled mess like an old dumpster. Alex's eyes barely stayed open as everyone inched along beside her. She caught glimpses of arms reaching around her, grabbing papers and passing pencils. Echoing laughs glittered in her ears like dull sparkles. Moving mouths were splotches in her vision. When the bell would ring, she would slowly drag her feet to her next class, unaware of what was around her.

It wasn't until right before seventh, the last period of the day, when she felt a jolt of life in her.

The hallway lights appeared dim in her eyes; an endless tunnel stretched along in front of her. She was wondering desperately if it would finish, she was tired--exhausted--of the race that everyone was participating in. Her legs were sore from pedaling.

Then she felt it.

Oh, God. No. Please no, not now—she thought frantically as she hurried to the restroom, her elbows knocking students out of her way. Her books fell onto the floor, her binder open like a gaping mouth.

Alex hardly made it on time. She emptied herself into the toilet, her retching blistered her ears. When she was through, she slumped against the chilly wall, her face pale.

"Alex? What's wrong?" She looked up to see Jay kneeling beside her.

"You're not supposed to be in here," She muttered groggily. Her voice sounded foreign to her, and it was frightening.

What's happening to me?