So this is a story that I just started to write about a day or so ago. I'm trying to do it in a Sarah Dessen-y style. I guess we'll all see if I succeed in that later on. This is the beginning of the first chapter. It's not quite finished, but I'll put it up anyway and keep working on it then put up more when i get further. Enjoy!


Chapter 1

The first morning that I arrived in the new town was when I went for my first run in over 2 years. All of my emotions from having my life as I knew it taken away from me as well as my father, trying to convince me that everything was going to be okay, pushed me over the edge. I rushed to my room as quickly as I could and dug through the only thing in my room, my carry-on bag, until I found semi-suitable workout clothes and a pair of running shoes and blew down the stairs and out the door.

I didn't know where I was going, I just knew that I needed to get out of the house and let off some steam. For a while, I followed the small winding roads of the neighborhood we'd just moved into, but after a few minutes, it began to bore me. I ran further, looking for some kind of cut off into another area. I never found one. As I circled my way back home, I realized that we had moved into a full blown suburbia and the only time I could run through dirt and trees was if I cut through someone's prim and proper backyard.

I slowed as I passed the high school that I would be attending the next day; my father was having me start the day after we moved in, somehow assuming that we could get everything that was needed unpacked in a single day even though when we put all our belongings into boxes, he didn't mind not labeling anything. I sighed and ran the rest of the way back to my new house.

"Chloe," I heard my dad saying as I came through the door, "I know that this will be hard, but you can't go running off every time something upsets you." I turned around to look at him to show that I had heard what he said and went upstairs to my room without saying a word. Recently I'd become more of a mute around my dad than I had realized.

I opened the door to my room and stared around that the white walls that threatened to squeeze all the life out of me. I closed the door softly and looked around the room more. There was a nice window overlooking . . . a street. This was going to take some getting used to.

This town wasn't much bigger than our last, but the view when we lived in Maine was incredible. We lived in a small town on the coast and my room had the best view of all the houses. I could look out and see the ocean, tumbling along in waves of blue and white, stretching out across the horizon until that was all I could see. Now I wish that I had taken more pictures of the view; I was going to miss the ocean.

I looked out the window again and saw that it wasn't just streets and houses surrounding me. I saw that out my window there were huge mountains. I don't know how I didn't notice them before, but they weren't completely ugly. It was the nearing the end of fall and there were a few peaks that had snow on the top of them.

"Chloe!" my dad called from downstairs. "Can you come help me get the kitchen set up?" I slowly made my way down the stairs to help my dad for the rest of the day with unpacking. It took a lot longer than he had expected, but a lot shorter than I did. I'd assumed it would take at least five hours to unpack everything for the kitchen, but we seemed to get lucky that most of the kitchen supplies were in the first few boxes that I had peeked into. As I opened a box that didn't relate to the kitchen, I'd move it to the room that it related to which made the rest of the day move along faster as well. About six hours after he called me down, he told me that I could go back upstairs and set up my room as I wished.

I stumbled sleepily up the stairs. I hadn't gotten much sleep on the plane here. When I opened up my bedroom door, all I did was find my mattress in the pile of things on my floor, put it on the floor, and lied down. The movers weren't coming until tomorrow with the larger pieces of furniture, such as my bed frame, so I settled down as comfortably as I could; soon enough, I was asleep.

I was startled awake by my dad knocking on my door the next morning. "Chloe! You need to get up for school," he told me. I groaned and looked at the pile of boxes on my floor knowing that clothes I could wear only resided in a few of them. I rolled off my mattress and looked at the clothes I was wearing. They were wrinkled and dusty in places. That wasn't going to work. I picked up a few boxes, trying to sift out ones that were too heavy and ones that rattled too much. I found a hopeful prospect, but it only contained blankets. A few more boxes and I found clothes that would be appropriate for the weather in fall. I picked up the shirt and pants on the top, the ones that were the least wrinkled, shook them out, and put them on. I found a box full of shoes, searched for one that had a match and was putting them on as I stumbled down the stairs. My dad was sitting at the kitchen table with a plate full of toast and ten dollar bill in front of him. When I came down the stairs, he looked up and stood up to hand me the toast and the money as I rushed out the door. I thanked him quickly, grabbed my bag from beside the door where I'd placed it yesterday, and almost ran out the door.

I looked at the watch I had thrown on my wrist. I had ten minutes to get to school before I was late. That didn't include the time it was going to take me to get lost looking for a class when I finally got there. I placed both straps over my shoulders and wished that I still had my car that I had sold in Maine. We couldn't find a way to get it all the way to Utah and figured that I could use the money to find another car once we got here. But in the meantime, that meant that I was on foot to go everywhere. I was glad for the run I had taken yesterday so that I actually knew how to get to the school. I reached the parking lot about five minutes after I had my house. I slowed my speed to a walk as I entered the school so as not to draw more attention to myself than was needed. I glanced around and tried to remember what the signs that told where the classes were located were telling me. I wasn't going to have time to be scrambling with a map. I reached the office and hesitantly walked in. The woman at the desk looked up at me.

"Hello?" she asked.

"Hi," I said quietly. I cleared my throat and spoke up. "I'm a new student here. My name is Chloe West." A look of understanding came over her face. She opened a drawer and shuffled through a small stack of papers and handed me quite a few papers.

"So," she started, and I got the feeling that this was going to be a long-winded talk, "here is your schedule. It looks like you have American Studies first. And here you have a map," she continued as the pointed the next paper in the pile. She looked back at the first paper. "So your class is in room 206, so if you just look at the map-"

"Look, thank you, but I really need to get going. I don't want to be late on my first day of school here if you know what I mean," I added at the look at her face when I cut her off.

"Oh, of course dear. I'm sure you can find your way on your own. It's not too hard to figure out." She smiled at me as I turned and rushed out the door. I glanced at my watch again. Depending on how the clock in the school ran, I had between a minute and thirty seconds I guessed. I'd noticed on my way in that all of the classrooms I had passed on the main floor were in the hundreds so I assumed 206 would be on the second floor. I booked it to the closest stairwell and took the short steps three at a time. I reached the top and saw the bustling students all around me. I glanced up and saw the signs on the wall pointing the ways to classrooms. I followed, hoping my room wasn't too far away. I found my room right as the bell started to ring. With a sigh, I walked in. There was a boy that rushed in after me to a desk, but I just stood wondering what to do. I walked up to the teacher.

He looked up at me and didn't recognize me so he stuck out his hand to check the papers that I was still clutching tightly in my fist. I tried to flatten a few of them out before handing them over. He glanced at my schedule and then signed a paper underneath it.

"Okay . . . Chloe," he said as he looked at my name at the top of my schedule. "My name is Mr. Christensen. I am the American Studies teacher. If you would be so kind and find a seat of your choice, we could then begin class."

I glanced around the room and saw that there was only one open seat. I guess that made my choice a little bit easier. I ended up sitting behind the boy that had walked in after I had. I pulled a binder out of my bag and thanked my lucky stars that my dad had given me the idea to lot unload my school bag, but to just put it in a box with everything else.

I looked up, ready to take notes if need be, and the only thing I could see was the back of the head of the boy in front of me. He was taller than I had realized when he had walked past me in the doorway. Since nothing was going on in class at the time, I took a moment to examine the back of his head. He had slightly-too-long dark hair that was just long enough to have a little curl at the end of it. When he turned and looked at the person next to him I saw he had a thin face, not quite too thin to say bony, but not at all rounded. He had soft brown eyes and a goofy grin in response to whatever his classmate had said. But the one thing that intrigued me the most about this boy was that his hair was shining with water. It wasn't exactly soaking wet, but it definitely wasn't dry. As I looked at his hair, I saw a single drop cling to one of the chunks of hair and drip slowly from one piece to the next, making its way to his neck. When it landed there, he just reached back his hand and rubbed it off as if it was natural that he came to school with wet hair.

Just then, Mr. Christensen walked to the front of the room and abruptly started lecturing to the class. I wrote down what I thought I would need and hoped that I hadn't missed much from the switching of classes from different schools. I got absorbed into the lecture as he talked and wrote on the whiteboard of important things we needed to know.

Some time later I glanced up at the walls to find a clock. I found it, but was shocked to see that more time had passed than I had thought. It had already been over ninety minutes. I wondered how long the classes at this school lasted. As if to echo what I was thinking, the bell rang and everyone started to gather up their things. As I grabbed my bag and stood, holding my binder in my hand, I looked around me for a second. The classroom was full of books, not surprising. It was smaller than I had suspected it would be, but maybe some of the other classrooms were bigger.

I saw the boy in front of me stand up and I moved forward slightly to start making my way out of the isle. He turned and looked at me.

"So is this your first day here? I've never seen you here before," he explained.

"I, uh. Yeah," I finished lamely.

"Have you ever had a block schedule before?"

"A what?" I asked him, confused.

"Oh, apparently not," he said with a little grin. "We have four classes each day, every other day."

That explained why the class had taken so long to finish. "No. I haven't. We didn't have that kind of schedule in Maine," I said, getting quieter as I continued talking. He seemed so interested in talking to me. I didn't understand. Maybe that was just his personality. I hoped it wasn't going to be like this with every person that I met today.

"Maine?" he asked, impressed. I nodded. "That's a long way from Utah. Why did you move here?"

I opened my mouth slightly, stalling because I didn't want to have to answer that question. He could sense it. "That's okay," he said lightheartedly. "You don't have to tell me. My name's Ethan, by the way. Ethan Reynolds," he told me as he smiled at me.

"Chloe," I said simply, looking down slightly in embarrassment.

"Chloe." That was all he said. I looked up to see what was going on and I was shocked to see that he was almost out the door. During our conversation the line had moved quicker than I had thought it would. I walked quickly to catch up with the line as I pulled out my schedule to look at where my next class was located. Ethan turned around and saw me looking intently at the sheet of paper.

"What's your next class?" he asked me.

"Oh, Pre-Calc. With Mrs. Van-" I paused and looked up at him, not knowing how to pronounce the name. He grinned.

"We just call her Van. It's one heck of a lot simpler than attempting her whole name. Do you know where the class is?" I shook my head. He gestured for me to follow him. When we got to the staircase he told me, "So you're going to go straight when you get off the stairs. Then there's going to be a hallway going the left and a door to the right. You'll turn left and it will be I believe the second door. You have the room number so you may want to check that before you go in by the chance that I'm wrong." He smiled at me and turned to walk down the hall the way we had come. He waved before turning around all the way and was swallowed up by the hoard of students. I took a deep breath and made my way to math.

The day went on much the same. I met one new person, sat quietly in the back of the classroom and had teachers sign papers for me. After the third of four classes of the day, I was told by the girl I had met, Lily, that I was to go to lunch. In the chaos of the day, it didn't even think about lunch. She walked with me on the way down to the cafeteria. I realized that I hadn't packed a lunch for myself that morning. When I could saw a line of vending machines near the cafeteria, I told Lily I was going to go buy something and broke off from her. I looked at the drink machine and settled for a Coke. I walked through the double doors of the lunch room and found myself standing in the middle of chaos and not knowing where to go. I realized that I'd only met two people and that I didn't see either of them. I just walked forward past a few tables and was saved when I heard Lily calling my name. I turned toward the sound and saw her waving at me at a table that was packed with people.