Chapter 1

I stared at what remained of my room; completely struck at the fact that just a couple of hours ago it was filled my books, things, and mess. Now it just looked like an empty box. It didn't even feel like it was ever mine.

Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned and saw my mom, she stared for a moment and said, "Come on Nicole, we have to go. The van isn't going to wait forever."

I nodded and she left. I picked up my last box, gave one last long stare at what was once mine, and followed her out.

None of this seemed real; it felt like a dream that I was trying to wake up from. I looked at my house one last time. The living room I spent so much time in, the kitchen my mom loved; it was all gone. I looked outside at my mom waiting by the moving van and I knew I couldn't stall any longer. I sighed and headed out.

My mom didn't say a word; she just took my box, put it in the back, and got in the car. I got in and we left. Neither of us felt like talking, so we just rode in silence.

After a while my mom said, "Look, honey, I know it's been a tough day -"

I interrupted her, "Mom, it's been a bad year."

"I get that, but I want you to know you can talk to me about it. If there's anything you want to just get off your chest I'm here."

I rolled my eyes, "Mom, trust me, I'm fine. There's nothing I need to talk about."

"Nicole, you need to speak about it, if not with me than with someone. You've changed since all this happened."

I nodded and didn't say another word. I knew she knew I was lying, though. There were times I felt like crying and yelling at everyone. Times I just wanted to lie in bed all day and not deal with anything. But I knew couldn't do it and I knew I couldn't show it.

I got tired of the silence after a while, so I put on my iPod and zoned out. After a while I dozed off and when I woke up again my music was still on and we were still driving.

I turned to my mom, "How long have we been driving."

"About half an hour, we still have a while, though," then mom said, "Hey, why don't we get something to eat. You haven't eaten since breakfast."

I was going to say no, but then I felt my stomach growl, so I gave a small smile and agreed. She smiled and we found a restaurant.

After we ate we got in the car and started driving. We were still riding in silence, though.

Then mom said, "Maybe this move won't be such a bad thing. New place, new people; could be a good thing."

"Maybe" I said. I doubted it, though.

I dozed off again, and when I woke up the moving people were already putting things in.

We pulled up, and I looked at my mom. She gave me a small smile and said, "Welcome home."

I smiled, nodded and said, "Yeah, home."

We got out of the car and mom said, "Hey, it's been a long day, how about you just take your stuff and take a nap. I'll deal with the rest of the boxes."

I felt grateful, I had not wanted to deal with anything here, and a nap seemed like a perfect idea. I hadn't slept at all the night before.

I smiled and said, "Thanks, mom."

"Yeah, just tell the guys where to put your stuff."

I nodded and walked in.

I looked around the house. It seemed so surreal that this would be our new place. I tried to picture living here, but I couldn't. I had only known one home my whole life, and this wasn't it. I just rolled my eyes and moved on to the rooms.

I picked one, got semi-settled in and before I knew it I was fast asleep.

I must've slept for a couple of hours because when I woke up the sun was already down. I felt kind of scared; I didn't really even look through the house and it was really quiet so I didn't know where my mom was, or even if she was home.

I called out, "Mom"

She called back, "In the next room, Nicole."

I got up and went to her room.

"Hey mom, how long was I asleep."

She smiled, "About three hours, you really knocked out."

I nodded and said, "Did you finish unpacking okay?"

"Yeah, the movers did most of the work."

I nodded and smiled then sat on her bed.

She looked at me and said, "You hungry. I made sure to buy lots of snacks before the move."

"Snacks sound great, mom, where are they?"

"I put them in the cabinets in the kitchen. The TV's all set up, too."

I got up, kissed my mom on the cheek, and went into the kitchen.

Before I got out she said, "Nicole, do you think we'll be happy here?"

"Yeah, we can be happy here." Then I left. Secretly I had already hated this place. I wasn't used to it. I was so tired of change. But I knew I had to give this place a chance, for everyone's sake. Maybe even mine.

The next day at breakfast I knew my mom had something to say. She chewed slowly and stared at me like she had something to say. I knew I had to wait, though. With my mom things needed time to be put together, or else it could get bad. I tried to ignore her and waited for her news.

Finally, as I was finishing my juice, she said, "Nicole, um, now that we've moved pretty far I was thinking maybe you'd want to look at the schools that are around here."

"Mom, I don't want to go to another school. I'm going to be a senior and I don't want to have to go to go to a school that I've only spent one year at."

She looked at me and said, "Nicole, I don't even think it'd be possible to go to the same school, we've moved at least an hour away."

I rolled my eyes and said, "Fine, but only since I have to."

"I know you were looking forward to your senior year with your friends, but maybe you'll still have a good time."

I nodded, great something else to add to the perfect year happening so far.

But I'm getting ahead of my story. For you to understand where I'm coming from then we'll have to go back. Back when we were actually happy. Back to when normalcy started to spiral out of control. I hardly remember that time anymore. It seemed like it was years ago. We'll have to go back to the very beginning.