Chapter 1

"And then a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on, and then you cast your fears aside, and you know you can survive…" Taylor stood in front of the choir room as the melodic tune escaped her lips. The notes vibrated throughout the rafters, as the whole class watched and listened, captivated by the heavenly sound. A booming soprano melody poured from the petite, five foot stature. "…that a hero lies in you." As Taylor completed the ballad, the entire high school choir class burst into applause.

Taylor quickly returned to her seat, turning a deep shade of red. It didn't matter how many times she was complimented and told that she had an amazing voice, she was always embarrassed and had to be prompted in order to get her to sing. Her best friend often teased her that she was too great, amazingly talented and modest. What was wrong with her?

"Beautiful, Miss Rinker!" Mr. Bell assumed his position in front of his six period chamber choir. "Miss Rinker's amazing performance has just reminded me of something I had wanted to make an announcement about. Our school has been chosen to host a county wide talent contest. Singers and dancers from all throughout the county will be competing for a spot in a spot in a national televised performance. Who knows, one of you might be the next American Idol."

Sounds of excitement were heard throughout the room. "Are you like serious, Mr. Bell?" An excited redhead from the front row inquired.

The teacher smiled, "I'm very serious, Miss Schmitt. Well, it looks like Janise is interested. If anyone else is please raise your hand, and I'll pass out some applications."

A slender Japanese girl turned to face Taylor. "You have to audition. You will make it, hands down."

"I don't know, Lisa. First of all,"I'll never make it. And if I did, nationally televised…! Besides, my dad…"

"No, no excuses. You're trying out. You know this is your dream, and there is no excuse to hold you back. Taylor, you have an amazing voice."

"I totally agree. I second what she said." Interrupted Janise.

"Listen to the lady," Lisa instructed, "Mr. Bell, we'd like an application over here for Taylor."

"Wait, Mr. Bell…"

"Good, I know you'll make our school proud. Show West Brook County what Samuel Brown High School is made of."

Taylor received the sheet wearily. "I don't know, Lisa."

"Yes, you do. You're going to shine."

"I will remember what you said, so I can use it against you when I embarrass myself in front of the entire county."

"Shut up, you're such a diva. You're going to be amazing."

The bell rang and the two girls's evacuated the choir room and made their way to their lockers. "I can't stick around and talk," Taylor explained to her best friend, "I have to cook dinner for Jason, Dad, and me."

"Ok, I'll talk to you later."

Taylor made her way briskly down the quiet street of her small, rural Connecticut town. She pondered to herself about how the whole thing would blow over. What if she was to make it to nationals? The whole country would see her. The whole country would wonder who she was; pry into her life like every other poor sole who made their life public. The true reason for her modesty was that she didn't want people to know who she was. She didn't want her life story viewed by others. It was her own private business, and she preferred to keep it that way. She wasn't even comfortable sharing some of her personal business with Lisa. If she wasn't comfortable sharing some of her most personal thoughts with her best friend, what made people think she would be prepared to be seen by her whole county and possibly the whole country? Ever since her mother's death, her life had changed. Her family had changed. She didn't want anyone to know who she was. A girl from a single parent home who's father was not making it alone. She preferred to hide behind her long brunette locks, to keep the whole world outside. It had worked for her for the last four years, why change things now?