Hola! I've noticed that there aren't that many fanfictions in this category (only two right now, sigh) but I've literally read the first books in a single day because I couldn't put them down! Anyway, like a great story always does, I immediately want to get on and see if I can write a fanfic for it. I hope you guys like it (:

The Significance Series belongs to Shelly Crane, not me.

Full Summary: Elsie Gray always wondered why she was different, why she had a strange star tattoo on her wrist that only she could see, why her biological parents put her up for adoption. On her eighteenth birthday, she gets the best gift of her life: a boy who she falls instantly in love with. The only problem? Her current boyfriend is not happy, she has no idea what to think about this new guy, and she has to discover who she really is. Elsie's life was definitely not perfect before, but now she's completely lost in a world that she thought she knew.

Flaws & Love

Chapter One

Maybe I was just stupid for thinking that just because it was my birthday something would change. I guess it's just my fault for being overly hopeful. Who could blame me, though? It's not every day that a girl turns eighteen. I just thought that maybe there was supposed to be this big explosion or something, and I'd be catapulted into a musical number of some sort, where handsome boys would sing about how wonderful I was. Jazz hands and all. Of course, that was just a weird dream that I'd had a while back, but I digress.

My boyfriend of two years, Paul, was not here on time. I was starting to wonder if he even remembered my birthday. I really did not want to go through the whole episode of last year, when he had forgotten our two-year anniversary. If he could forget when we got together, could he forget the day of my birth? You bet he could. Paul was an expert at "accidentally" forgetting things that he couldn't find the motivation to do. He hated buying gifts, said that he never knew what I would like. Last year I told him that was just a cop out. Heck, I would've been happy with flowers, but he hadn't even gotten me that.

My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I fought with it for a second before finally slipping it out of my super skinny jeans. I was pretty sure that by the end of the night I was going to lose all the circulation in my legs, but you've got to do what you've got to do for beauty. And I thought I looked pretty good. The shirt was new, hidden in the folds of a loose, airy cardigan. And I was wearing my favorite ankle boots, despite the fact that it was summer, hence the skinny jeans.

I swiped the screen of my brand-new smartphone. Hanna had sent me another text. She was my best friend, but she sure wasn't good in the "make you feel better" department. She'd already given up on the idea that Paul was on his way to come get me, especially since he hadn't sent me a text or tried to call me. She actually officially gave up thirty minutes ago, when Paul was decidedly fifteen minutes late. There's nothing Hanna hates more than someone who can't be on time. It was a bit of an understatement to say that she and Paul did not get along.

I was about to type back to her when the phone buzzed again, signaling an incoming call. My heart jumped into my throat for a minute, thinking it was Paul. The familiar beat of my heart quickly settled back down when Hanna's number came up on the screen. I rolled my eyes. "Hello?"

"What a jerk. Dump him. Now."

"Hanna," I said with a sigh. "He's just late. Not break-up worthy."

"He's always late," she countered.

"It's just one of his flaws. You know that you can never find the perfect guy. You gotta love a guy, even if he does have annoying habits." Hanna was a hopeless romantic, with the idea of true, perfect love. I was the level-headed one that knew relationships were nothing like that. There was no Prince Charming. Real relationships were stressful and sometimes messy. They required sacrifice for reward.

She snorted into the phone, a very unladylike noise. Hanna was somewhat of a hypocrite, I guess, because when she decided that true love wasn't there, she wasn't the type to hang around and see if it would work in the long run. She had her agenda and she was intent on getting it. "A flaw is leaving his dirty socks on the kitchen table. Not being an hour late to pick you up for a date on your birthday."

"Um, ew?" I offered.

"Elsie. Get with the program. I love you,but you refuse to face reality. I swear you should've seen this coming." She sounded foreboding over the phone, her voice taking on a tinny, metallic tone. "I told you from the very beginning that he was bad news."

"You did not." I said bluntly, sitting back on my bed. My super skinny jeans were compressing my legs into sticks, but I couldn't work up the nerve to care. My fingers played idly with the chain around my neck – the last gift I'd ever gotten from my adopted parents since they died a few years ago. Ever since then, my two older brothers, Royce and Nolan, have taken care of me. They were my parents' only biological children, but the two brothers acted like I'd always been a part of their family, even though I hadn't come into it until I was two or three years old.

"I told you that I didn't feel right about him." Hanna said pointedly. I couldn't really remember that far back to when Paul and I had first gotten together, but I had a feeling that she was exaggerating. More likely, she'd been ecstatic that I'd landed a boyfriend. Like I said, she was a hopeless romantic, believing totally in the whole Cinderella story thing.

"You say that about everybody."

"And ninety-five percent of the time I'm right." Hanna said decisively. "I'm telling you Elsie, you can't let him walk around on top of you like this. You're not his friggin' doormat. He can't come stomping on you whenever he feels like getting the mud off his boots."

"Han, have you been hitting the donuts again?" I asked. She had an extremely low tolerance for caffeine and sugar. One cup of coffee was enough to make her start acting like this, making up weird metaphors, or analogies, or whatever the heck they were called. But she had a secret soft spot for donuts. Especially chocolate glazed.

There was a long pause, and then, "That doesn't matter. What does matter is your impending happiness! And it's totally not with I'm-always-late Paul."

"You need to drink a glass of water or something," I said back, ignoring her rant for the millionth time. More often than not, lately, all she ever did was bash Paul. I loved Hanna, and we had that whole best-friends-forever, I'm-going-to-tell-you-everything thing going on between us. But Paul was my boyfriend, and I felt like I needed to defend him some way. So what if he made me mad sometimes? "Besides, he's not always late. Maybe he had car trouble or something."

"Or something. You always make weird excuses for him, Elsie! You need to be happy."

"I'll work on it Han," I answered just as my phone vibrated with an incoming text. "Hold on," I said, opening up the message. It was from Paul. He was out front by the driveway, waiting for me. I closed out of the messaging screen and returned the phone to my ear. "He's out front. I've got to go."

"Wait!" She called out. I waited silently for her to continue, halfway down the hall before she said. "Think about it. Think about your happiness."

"Bye, Hanna," I said pointedly, pulling the phone away from my ear to press the big red END button. I loved the girl, but she was quite a handful, even after all of these years. Someone really had to be patient to be able to be her beau, or she'd run him into the ground.

# # #

"Happy birthday," Paul said, as I climbed into his car. He handed me a little wrapped box. It was just the perfect size to fit a nice piece of jewelry. See, I told myself, Paul hasn't forgotten about you. He would never forget about you. It wasn't wrapped, but that was okay. Paul was terrible at wrapping, which I learned during our first Christmas as a couple. I lifted the box's lid, preparing myself for what was inside. Maybe it was a gorgeous promise ring, or a dainty necklace, or even a funky bracelet. I pulled apart of the folded tissue paper and saw a… gift card.

"A gift card?" I whispered quietly, like my voice was just an echo. It was a gift card alright, for twenty dollars to the town's one and only video game stop. I stared at it blankly, wondering how I'd ever confuse a gift card with a shiny piece of jewelry. My stomach sort of twisted in knots, and I couldn't help but think of what Hanna had said. Think about your happiness.

It's the thought that counts, I chided myself. If all else failed, I could always use twenty dollars on a gift for Paul. Maybe even our third-year-anniversary, which was a short month away. I could even keep the card and just give it to him then. He probably wouldn't even know the difference. He'd be happy enough to get a down payment on a video game, since he was hopelessly addicted to his gaming box. Or whatever the thing was called.

"Thanks," I said as brightly as I could, dropping the card back into the little white box. I put the lid on it and unceremoniously dropped it into my bag.

"They're coming out without another game soon," he said, as if I were going to take interest in whatever new video games were coming out. I couldn't even play Mario Brothers. Every time we tried, I kept falling off the platform and dying, and Paul just got mad at everything. Honestly, what did he think I was going to use this gift card for? "It's supposed to be the best one of the year."

"Really," I mused out loud. Paul was a huge sucker for video games. It was pretty much his one weakness, besides banana bread. But banana bread took a long time to bake, and a promised trip to the video game store was much easier.

"Yeah," he continued, fingers tapping without a rhythm on the steering wheel. "It's got a ton of awards already." From my seat at shotgun, I looked over him again. I thought Paul was cute, but Hanna said I was biased and that he was just average-looking, with his cropped blonde hair, borderline pasty pale skin, and clear blue eyes. He was skinny and geeky and, according to Hanna, completely not my type. But we'd shared a few classes together, and he was always shy and nice. Back then, his cheeks flushed pink whenever our eyes met. I was attracted to his simple honesty and kind face.

"Cool," I said in reply, mentally tuning out. Seriously? Video games? A little voice in the back of my mind told me that Hanna was right. I pushed it away. Who broke up with someone because they weren't exactly what you wanted? That was a stupid way of thinking. Nobody would ever be perfect. It was a rule of life. It was something that you had to get used to. It was the ultimate sacrifice in love.

"So, while we're out, you want to go by the video game store?" Paul offered. I caught sight of him in my peripheral vision. He had one of those huge, goofy grins across his face. One of the ones that always made me smile back, no matter what mood I was in. The guy was excited at the idea of his games. I swear, he preferred his online friends to real ones.

I leaned back in my seat and sighed. "Yeah, Paul, go ahead."

"Thanks, kiddo." He said. I wrinkled my nose at him, but he didn't see. He was already looking out the windshield of his car, speeding down the highway. I didn't even try to correct him. I absolutely hated it when he called me kiddo. We were practically the same age. He wasn't even a full year older than me. I just crossed my arms across my chest, thinking that my super skinny jeans and flirty aqua blue top really went to waste. I'd gotten all dressed up for a date to the video game store, for God's sake.

Paul took the next exit and looped around to the other side of the access road. The video game store, Game Place, was located near the local drive-thru Mexican joint. I could smell the faint grease and peppers. I'd rather my boyfriend take me to sit in one of their sticky booths instead of flicking through another familiar rack of video games. Paul got his usual parking space and quickly turned off the engine. He was practically scrambling to get out of the car. He only ever moved this quickly when it involved gaming.

I followed behind him, sliding the old, worn straps of my purse over my shoulder. I stepped over the curb, nearly tripping, but I guess it didn't matter because no one was watching. Paul was already feverishly searching through the racks inside, and his old buddy Martin was behind the counter, smacking on yet another piece of bubblegum.

I opened the door, wincing at the annoying ding overhead that signaled my entrance. Martin looked lazily over at me, smacking and slowly forming a bubble. It popped loudly in the silent room, and I let out a heavy sigh. I might as well just flip through the racks of games for something to do. Paul, the weirdo, could literally get lost in this store for twenty minutes without realizing that I was just sitting around, waiting to leave.

Ten minutes passed. The door chimed again, and I glanced up to see who it was. Paul loved this store, so it was often a quick stop when we were hanging out and running around town. But it was rare that we have company in here, besides Martin or another worker behind the counter. While Paul was their most loyal customer, it wasn't saying much; the store was like a ghost town the rest of the time.

It was a guy. Not really a surprise, since guys are supposed to be more into gaming than girls. But he didn't look like a gamer, with a weird T-shirt that you had to be "in" to get get or nerdy glasses from staring at the TV screen for too long. No, he looked like he'd roamed in here by mistake. He twirled his keys idly around his finger as he looked around. Martin didn't even give out a greeting or an offer to help the guy find something. He seemed to know where he was, though, as he headed to the rack of new releases.

It was weird. I found myself totally entranced with just watching the guy. He was dressed fairly appropriately for a warm Tennessee night, his jeans just the right amount of baggy and his T-shirt a plain charcoal gray. He had a thick chain necklace around his tanned throat, the kind baseball players wore, and his hair was dark and hanging down over his ears. It was a little messy, like he'd just run through a rough wind to get here. An imprint of a wallet was in his back pocket.

I finally managed to make myself look away, and my eyes caught with Martin's. He'd been watching me watching the stranger, and if that wasn't weird enough, he popped his gum and let his gaze drift to Paul. It sort of felt like he was giving me a warning, like Martin was telling me to stop looking while I had a boyfriend in the same vicinity. I wrinkled my nose at Martin, though he wasn't really paying attention to me anymore. Instead he was folding his gum wrapper. Maybe making an origami bird or something.

I moved away from the rack, unable to not keep the new guy in some sort of line of sight. I flicked through the racks without really looking at the names, my fingers getting caught on the tags as I fumbled through the rows. The guy stepped away from the new releases, heading more towards the older stuff. As he drifted closer I felt the need to draw his attention. I felt like I should reach out and touch him. Like I should turn him around and make his eyes connect with mine.

The guy moved to walk behind me. I found myself holding my breath. I took a step to the side to let him pass, and felt myself get stuck. My purse straps had gotten snagged by one of the many tightly-paced racks. Giving it a tug, I tried not to look stuck, since that would be embarrassing. But fate had another idea, and at that moment the straps on my old purse decided that they'd had enough, promptly snapping. I scrabbled for my bag the moment I felt it falling away from me, but I wasn't quick enough.

Paul's gift card, still tucked away in its box, rolled out of my purse, as well as a tube of lip gloss and the notepad that I always kept on me, full of my secrets writings. With a huff, I struggled to find a way to bend down and pick up my stuff without looking like an idiot or being constricted to death by my super skinny jeans. I was starting to feel that one of them, if not both, was bound to be true.

I bent my knees and reached over to grab my notebook first, my most prized possession. It was just as important as my cell phone or my wallet, since it was full of lines. Sometimes poems, sometimes songs. A notebook that I would not want to fall into the wrong hands. A notebook whose contents were like the deepest interpretations of my soul.

Okay, a little melodramatic, but so what? They were important to me.

The guy turned around, and I saw him reach over to help me pick up my things. Already feeling flustered and definitely embarrassed, I wasn't willing to meet eyes with him. I was even having a hard time figuring out how to utter my thanks. Which was why it was a complete fluke that, right when I reached out to snatch up my precious notebook, he reached for it the same time.

Our fingers brushed.

There was an instant feeling that invaded me, a warmth that spread through me. Actually, it was less of a warmth and more like an intense heat, like a fire that ignited deep inside me. My veins warmed and froze simultaneously, and it felt like my head was starting to spin. I started to feel like I was drowning, like I couldn't breathe. My mind went blank for a moment, and then everything moved at once.

Well, I didn't move, but the pictures in my head did. I saw me. I was sitting at a baby grand piano, my fingers playing over the keys like they'd done so many times before. I could hear my voice, but it was muffled under a sea of fog. Someone was listening to me, leaning against me as I sang. I never sang in front of anybody, ever. My piano disappeared, and I was sitting on the beach, my feet dug into the sand. Someone sat beside me, the fabric of his shirt sleeve brushing against mine as the tides came closer. When the first bit of water washed over our feet, he leaned over and pressed his lips to mine. The beach whisked away, like it was sucked into oblivion, and replaced with a cutesy white house covered in flowers. I was holding a sun-tanned hand, our fingers gripped together so tightly that it almost hurt. It faded away into a new picture. I was happy, twirling around in a blood red dress, holding someone's firm but nervous hand. The face of the guy was blurred, but I could tell that he wasn't there to hurt me. He was there because he was doing something for me. Because he cared about me.

The me spinning in a bright red dress disappeared with a pop, and I reeled back, dropping my notebook onto the grimy floor. I let out a sharp gasp, my breath returning to my lungs in a rush. I blinked, my hands clasped together as if I could feel whatever had happened to me on my skin. The guy easily picked up my notebook off the floor, his other hand scooping up my lip gloss and the box that Paul had given me.

"T-thanks," I stuttered out. I reached for my notebook, instinctively avoiding his fingertips. Something was bothering me, though. It felt like there was something else with me. A different thrumming that I'd never felt before, settled behind my sternum. Oh my God, was I having a heart attack? Could someone literally die from embarrassment? I was too young to go.

"No problem." After a short pause, he added, "I'm Nick Jacobson." I managed to look up into his face, really look at it, for the first time since he stepped into the store. His eyes were a weird, turquoise color that leaned a little more towards blue than green. His dark hair, while shaggy and thick-looking, gave a slight curl at the ends. His lips quirked up into a half smile, highlighting his one dimple. He held out his hand.

"Elsie Gray," I said in reply, a little flustered as I forced myself to reach out and grab his hand. Our fingers brushed again, our palms pressing together. His fingers curled around my own. A rush of warmth spread across me, bursting over me like a dam breaking free. An intense feeling of wonder, followed by a soothing calm, washed through me. The weird, unnatural thrumming in my chest sped up with my own heartbeat.

"Elsie Gray," the guy, Nick, whispered. "Can I… can I have a word with you?"

So, what do you guys think? I hope you've enjoyed this little chapter so far. If you have any comments or criticism, please leave it in the reviews (we all know that everybody likes reviews. Ha.)

I intend to keep writing this, if only to fuel my want to write on the incredible supernatural plot that Shelly Crane has created (and I'm so jealous.)

All of the characters in this chapter (^see above) are my own personal creations. Anyway, thanks for reading. Peace. (: