That fall, when I was to go away to college, I'd been expecting to leave everything behind. My quirky mother, her just-as-quirky husband, my three half-brothers and all my so-called friends, everyone and everything in Willow Lake, the small town in which I'd spent my previous eighteen years. I'd been planning it since June, before high school was even finished. I'd applied to NYU, Penn State and a few others, and had been accepted to all of them. I finally decided on NYU since it was the furthest away from Willow Lake, Idaho that I'd applied to. So, I was ready, everything was packed by mid-July and I was headed east in the middle of August. You may be wondering why I was so anxious to get out of there, away from the people I knew and loved and out into a world of strangers and scary situations. But I, as an eighteen-year-old girl, just didn't belong in a house with my mother, a thirty-five year old housewife, step-father, a forty year old businessman, and three half-brothers who were all under the age of ten. I needed to get out.

My mother and father were seventeen when I was born, high school seniors themselves. Up until I was three months old, everything was fine and dandy, they were happy together and planned to get married that summer. They planned to be together forever. But something happened, and to this day my mother isn't sure what it was, but my father told her he couldn't handle it and he wasn't ready. So they broke up. My mother raised me with the help of her parents, who loved me to death. I never had a father.

I was already almost nine years old when my mom, a college graduate, met Thomas Blueburn, co-owner of his family business. She started spending all her time with him. He moved into our house only six months after they'd met and he wanted so badly to be a father-figure to me. I tried to let him, I really did, but I hadn't had a father up until then and knew I was better off without one. My mom was pregnant just after my ninth birthday, just as they began making wedding plans. Thomas proposed to my mother "before" they knew about the baby, but I think he had already suspected it. At this point, I was still expecting them to break up and I'd never see Thomas again. Even as a child, I didn't believe in 'forever'. But Ryden was born just two months before my tenth birthday, and two months after the wedding. Confused yet? My mother was ecstatic; she finally had "a real family". Ryden was barely two when they sat us down and told us they were having another baby. I was at that stage where I didn't want another baby around, and Ryden was just confused. It seemed like those nine months went by in a day, and Troy was born the next fall, just after I turned thirteen. By that point, I'd had enough. Ryden was now an annoying three-year-old and the baby cried all the time, it seemed. I began hanging out with my friends more than I saw my family. And I was fifteen, Ryden was five and baby Troy was barely a toddler when it happened again. Oliver was born to "complete" our family, or so my mother told us. I stayed away as much as possible but was stuck babysitting more often than not. I loved my brothers, don't get me wrong, but I wanted to be with my friends when I was fifteen, not at home every weekend because my mother and her husband wanted to go out dancing. Who went out dancing, anyway? They did, I guess.

Which brings me to when I was eighteen; the year that changed everything and that I'll never forget. Never. How could I forget? A girl never forgets her first love, especially when it happens in a crazy way like it happened to me. And so my story begins.