Chapter Two – Stars in Our Eyes

It's first period and I already want to melt into the carpet owing to my lack of coordination when picking up my pen from under my desk. Not only did I 'thunk' my head on the desk as a sat back up, but I think there may be gum stuck in there too.

I sat back in my chair, willing my face into a completely unreadable expression. Really, there are stars floating everywhere in front of my eyes. I pick one and watch it, buzzing through the air. It was so clear I felt I could touch it. Was this what made up my brother? A hundred buzzing pieces of light that forged themselves together into a god-like teenage boy in front of my mom's eyes. Just as real as everything else before her, but only visible to one person alone.

A private viewing that mom would rather watch over anything else in the real world. He sure was one manipulative jerk of a hallucination. My mum thinks the sun shines out of my brother ass. One day she wished he was still alive, and "poof!" there he was. I wish I could "poof" my history homework into existence but I'm pretty sure it's in my room somewhere, next to Henry's missing scarf. How could I have forgotten to bring it? What the hell, Natalie?

"Psst Natalie!" the girl beside me whispered. I jumped out of my skin. Too much Redbull.

Hailey Hadock giggled as she passed a perfect, peachy, scented and slightly sparkly note under the table. Everything from her curly handwriting to her symmetrical folding of the page was beautiful. Hailey's curls bounced as she turned back to answer the question our teacher had just attempted to spring on her. She made the whole class laugh, especially Jemma and Trista, our other beautiful best friends.

Don't you dare gag, I know this world is fake. My old guidance counsellor told me I could turn over a new leaf at a new school, so I have. The more perfect you appear on the outside, the easier it is to hide on the inside, right? No one suspected a thing.

So, my mum met your mum at the store last night.

As IF you never told us you have a super hot brother!

That is totes cool, Nattie! When can we meet him? ;-)

Need to copy my homework? LOVE YOOOOU! H xxxxxxx

My chest tightened. I'd kinda kill for a Valium right now, but instead I forced a smile. I turned Hailey's note over and scrawled:

You mean Gabe? Gross, she said he was hot? ha ha ha!

He's on a football scholarship at Yale.

Dating a model and hopefully staying in Boston forever. ;-P

J/K I miss him soooooooooooooooo much xxxxxxxx

I studied my hands, pretending to mourn the 'loss' of my 'brother'. With nothing to remember there is nothing left to grieve. There was so much wrong with this. I leaned over anyway and slipped the pink paper into my friend's fingers. Hailey gasped as she read my reply and leaned over to rub my back. Without a second thought she quietly passed me her homework to copy. Maybe I did need a friend afterall.

It's recess at last and I can finally text Henry. 'So… private school sux'. I lean against my locker waiting for his reply, even though I know he's at tech rehearsal for the school music night.

A girl can live in hope...