FIRST CHAPTER

NEW TOWN, NEW LIFE

Lucy Kane was standing in front of their new house and was staring at it insecurely as if she expected the building to tell her how the things were going to be. She knew it was stupid to fear. All bad things were gone, one day she would completely get over it all. But even though… some part of her was shivering with the thought she had to face up the life again. The horrible life she had always feared of with all its complications and hardships. She was trying to be optimistic. This town looked lovely, their new house looked lovely, probably the rest of all new things would be lovely as hell.

But what would happen if something went wrong again?

She couldn't remember how many times she had started the things a new. In these periods Lucy was full of desire to go out and deal with everything ahead of her. To talk to people, find new friends, new goals. But who knows what, her shyness, her reticence or more exactly fear were screwing everything up. She happened to be the unwanted because she was unable to keep up with the other's rhythm and had to go back to her silent room, to her studies, to her drawing… After all, her only friends remained the pencil, the white paper and the paints. And may be it would stay that way for very long time.

The thought seemed more and more unbearable with every single day passing.

But what was she supposed to do not to fail miserably every time she tried to communicate?

Lucy didn't have an idea when it all started. Probably that happened when she was six and went to play with the other girls that were gathering in front of their block. But for her greatest regret they looked down on her and ignored her. That went on for some days and in the end the leader of the friends simply told her with all the tact possible.

"We don't need ugly things like you with us! Go and get some frog though even the frogs are prettier than you."

It was true that there were no signs of beauty in the little child in these long time gone days. She was too thin and all her bones were clearly visible, she had to wear glasses and she had just lost one tooth. Sometimes the children could be quite cruel without realizing it but she didn't know that at such tender age. That was enough to cut her fragile wings.

Probably it was stupid to isolate yourself of the world just because of that. And if Lucy had met some real friends at school who would show her she was appreciated and needed she wouldn't even remember of that little incident.

But that didn't happen. She was quiet and smart, always serious and a little sad. Most adults find her very sweet and wished their daughters were like her. She loved studying because for first time she felt good at something. The girl was a bit gawky, a disadvantage she got over later. But then it made her think she was good for nothing.

The worst thing was that she didn't know what was so wrong with her that was pushing the people away. And Lucy really tried very hard to make friends.

She must have been about twelve when she closed the door between the world and herself. Her parents were trying to find out what was wrong but she didn't feel like talking to anyone about her inner world.

The years were passing and then, at the sensitive age of sixteen happened one of the most tragic things that could happen to one girl. That even thickened the fog around her and she completely lost the way…

Now, a year later her family moved to a place so far away hoping that their daughter will be able to forget what happened. If someone could forget such thing.

Lucy leaned on the car and looked back at Gabriel and Hanna. They looked so optimistic about the future and it was clearly visible that their souls were clear of all doubts that were tormenting the girl.

She sighed deeply and prayed quietly that she would get some of their faith and hope.

May be it wouldn't be so bad. May be for first time in her life she would find something steady and everything would arrange. Perhaps she would find the real friends here.

She felt one hand on her shoulder and turned around.

"What's wrong with my princess? Perhaps the new palace doesn't satisfy her?" Her mother smiled warmly and hugged her. Lucy smiled slightly and replied:

"No, everything looks perfect. The house seems to be great."

"Now, why don't we see if it really looks that great inside, shall we?" Hanna took her by the hand and they both headed to the front door. Her father was already unlocking it. "Everything will be all right, darling."

"I know, Mum." She uttered with annoyance. "You haven't stopped telling me this since we set out for here. Give me a break, will you? You know I hate that phrase."

The woman laughed joyfully and Lucy sighed with relief that she hadn't felt her daughter's bad mood. Everything would be all right… How could she be so secure?

***

Few hours later she was unpacking her things. They had finished with the refurbishing of the house quite fast. It was weird. They were moving all their life with them and it took them so little time to place it.

Lucy was still feeling uncomfortable in her new room. She hadn't been like that even in the clinics. Actually it was quite comfortable there because it was good way to escape the world and the problems. It was also full of other girls with similar problems.

But here… it was different. Every single corner was screaming at her that tomorrow was her new day. The new day she feared more than anything. There was no choice besides going out and facing the truth. "What are you going to do, child?" The wind was singing in the branches? "Up or down? Pride or cowardice? What are you going to do?"

"I DON'T KNOW!" She felt like screaming. Then she squeezed her hands and tried not to think of this anymore.

While Lucy was arranging her CDs on a nice new shelve she heard the ring bell. She pouted with disgust. Her parents were checking the graveyard and the basement so she was the only person in the house.

The girl strolled down the stairs. Who could be? Probably their new neighbors had passed by to say "Hi!" It sounded quite unfamiliar to her though she had heard some people do that.

Her intuition didn't lie to her that time. There was an unknown woman standing in front of the door. She was about Hanna's age and looked nice and friendly: short, a little plump but not fat, with long red hair and freckled face. Her black eyes were shining brightly and salutatory. She was holding something covered with white cloth.

"Hello, dear." The stranger had purring, but a little greasy voice. "I'm Lora Anderson, and I happen to be your new neighbor. I live in the white-pink house there. I am here to welcome you and bring you some of my special homemade cakes." The woman put them in the girl's hands. Lucy needed few seconds to realize what was going on.

"Oh… very nice of you, Mrs. Hmm… Anderson." She said with fake smile and moved back. "Please, come in. I'll go to call my parents."

"Thank you a lot, dear." Lora said and entered without thinking much. She looked around with approving look. "You have already succeeded in arranging it that well? I'm impressed."

"Well, we are quite fast and organized." Lucy closed the door and they both went to the living room soaked with beautiful pastel colors. "Take a seat. They'll be here in a minute."

"It's all right, I can wait." Lucy was about to get out when the woman stopped her with her boring voice. "By the way, what's your name, dear?"

"Lucy, ma'am."

"Oh, how lovely! That's my sister's name." Lora giggled unpleasantly.

The young host just nodded politely and went to the back yard as fast as possible. "What is wrong with you? She is a nice woman who had come here to greet you and bring you some cake? How can you already say you don't like her?"

Well, she looked like a housewife who hasn't got much to do besides the cooking and cleaning. And that's why she totally loves gossiping.

Lucy sincerely hoped that first impression for Mrs. Anderson was wrong. But she was very rarely mislead about people.

***

How weird life is. Just a few minutes after they met Hanna Kane and Lora Anderson were already chatting as old friends. Lucy couldn't understand that. Her mother had always been strong and independent woman who hates gossips and nagging into someone's personal stuff. Someone, who would never just stay at home, take care of the house and the children. Even though she suddenly befriended a woman who was totally opposite of her. May be moving into this town wasn't very good idea.

Lucy didn't realize how they all turned out to be in Anderson's large dining room. Lora had supposed that the newcomers didn't have much new products and would love to have dinner with their new friends. Gabriel and Hanna accepted immediately. Their daughter didn't show any sign of disapproval though the storm of mixed feelings in her stomach.

And here she was, sitting at a big comfortable chair looking at her plate, which was full of more food than she was able to eat for whole day. Her parents, the sickening friendly housewife who couldn't stop talking and her husband Garry couldn't get enough of their company.

Probably it was Lora's idea to place Lucy just in front of her son Jimmy: a boy about her age, blond, blue-eyes, muscled, perfect… with dumb look in his eyes. "Simply perfect!" She thought sarcastically. "As if I'm in some soap opera. They all seem to be as stereotype characters from a teen movie. But… if I'm standing here in the role of the lonely cooped up girl then I'm probably like them! Sickening!"

He was making her feel embarrassed. From the moment they met his eyes didn't stop their march on her whole body as if he was going to buy her. She was just watching at her food and pretending not to notice that he was staring at her breasts.

Lora had obviously felt the silence of Lucy.

"What's wrong, honey?"

"Oh, nothing… I…" She coughed. "I just didn't know what to say."

"I see. I guess that you'll start school soon. There is no need to worry about it. The local high school is simply great. All the kids from this town are really nice… well, there are some exceptions. Some very problematic exceptions. But let's hope you won't need to meet them, Lucy. Jimmy might help you integrate in the atmosphere, right, dear?"

"Sure, Mum!" His eyes flashed in a way she really didn't like. "It will be a great pleasure for me to help you."

"Oh…" Her smile grew even faker. She had to become an actress some day. "Thank you a lot. Would you excuse me for a while? I need to get some fresh air."

"Of course. You are probably bored by us." Hanna smiled and took another bit of her roast potatoes.

"Why don't you accompany her, sonny." Garry turned to Jimmy and Lucy felt like dying. Alone in the darkness on the damned porch with that idiot! Who knows what he would try to do? And she was definitely not ready for these things. She wished she hadn't opened her mouth at all.

"I'd love to." He grinned sheepishly and went to her with heavy walk. The boy then offered her his hand. "Shall we go, my lady?"

She repressed her bore and just walked out without looking at him. Probably it wasn't the most polite thing she could do but she had got too much.

The night was cool and refreshing. Lucy felt the sweet breath of early spring very clearly on her skin. The air touched her black curls and she leant on the porch with half-smile of pleasure. All nocturnal romance was always affecting her that way. But for sure that wouldn't make her start making out with Jimmy. May be he wasn't so bad, but he wasn't her type. "Who is your type at all?"

"So… your mother said you were excellent at school. All reading and such things…" She hadn't realized when she had come to her.

"I guess that she is right."

"Weird. I've always imagined girls who read to be short, with glasses, a little ugly."

"How charming!" She thought with disgust.

"But you are so… so…"

"What?" She looked up at him straight in the eyes and that made him blush. Obviously he wasn't used to such direct contact.

"Nothing… I mean, you are gorgeous. You are one of the most beautiful girls I've known. And I know a lot of girls, really?" Jimmy leant on the edge and shoot at her with his perfect smile.

"Well, thank you." She said simply and looked away. This was getting on her nerves.

"You know what, I've never been too good at studying." He smiled again. "Oh, really? I would never guess that" I've always preferred being more active… physically. I'm into most sports. And that sometimes affects my grades very badly. I guess that someone… someone as smart as you are could help me." "Oh, no! That will be the beginning of my hell!"

"I would love to, but I'm usually very busy." She tried to refuse without being too rude. "Let's see what my new schedule will be and I'll see what I can do."

"Oh, that's fine." He tried to brush her cheek but Lucy moved a little. She felt quite naked in front of him considering the fact she wearing only light summer dress. Probably it was time to go back inside. "Lucy… did you have someone in New York?"

"Hmm, no…" "Not that it is any of your business!" "I don't have much time for this." She had no idea why she said that instead of figuring some good lie.

"Probably you'll find some time for someone in here?" He asked and tried to touch her hand.

"Probably… Look, Jimmy, let's go back. I'm a little cold."

She stood up and went away before he got the brilliant idea of trying to warm her in his hot embraces.

Her new life was starting quite bad.

Lucy just hoped that school would be as good as Lora claimed.

Author's Note: How do you like the beginning of the new version? I hope it's good. I haven't realized how crappy the old one was. If you happen to like it leave a review, please, I'd be grateful. Flames are accepted.