Chapter One

The Girl Next Door

I've passed my sanity and I'm falling,

In dark eternity, I heard you calling,

Life seeps away from the flesh of the dying,

It was my tears that answered your crying-



I felt like screaming from utter frustration. Here I was supposed to write an eulogy in verse for a vital English assessment with Justin Timberlake blasting full volume right next door!

My pencil trembled dangerously as it threatened to break from the building pressure of my right hand. It no doubt mean that my stress level was currently zoning into "Complete Mental Breakdown", and perhaps only inches away from "Delirious Homicidal Collapse".

This was my eleventh attempt at writing an A-grade eulogy – and I was failing miserably, as my waste bin overflowing with scrunched-up pieces of paper kindly reminded me. I was in my final year at Creswall High and I had to obtain perfect scores in all my subjects, not only to stay in the running for the fiercely competed valedictorian, but also to gain entry into an Ivy League college.

And if Justin Timberlake became the reason for me not getting a place in Harvard and being cursed to live the life of a garbage collector, then let's just say that I would not be one happy camper. At the least, I would be slightly murderous.

I groaned, rubbing my temples as I desperately sought to grasp inspiration for an assignment due in less than 24 hours. I cast an envious glance towards my window, irritated by the fact that I had to spend a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon agonizing over an eulogy. Normally, I had no trouble with English, but with booming pop music practically screaming into my room, it was hard to concentrate on writing a formal and dignified composition when you're hearing the obscene and disturbingly sexual lyrics of the Black Eyed Peas and 50 Cent at the same time.


I mean, who was the fool that dared to invent stereos? Stereos so powerful that they were capable of pumping out noise that passed effortlessly through air, distance, and walls. I had slammed shut the windows, closed the blinds, even stuffed on my aunt's nauseously pink fluffy earmuffs (of which I had sworn never to wear when I first laid eyes on it on my tenth birthday), but still Pop, Rock and Rap managed to get past those clearly faulty sound barriers. Mental note to self: sue Fluffy Earmuffs Incorporated on Aunt May's behalf.

And to finish the icing on the cake, I couldn't scream at my neighbor and give him a taste of my mind. The reason: he was Josh Mitchells aka Most Popular And Hottest Guy On Earth.

The title was obviously given to him by the rest of the female population at Creswall. If I had my way, he would be dubbed "Kill Me Now And Destroy My Stereos".

Though it was only today that I thought of that.

As Josh had conveniently decided to have a pool party with all the so-called (and self-proclaimed) "Populars" at my school right on the afternoon before my English assessment, I could not stomp my way to his mansion and promptly shove his stereos into his stupidly large pool without becoming a social road kill. Not that I cared about what it would do to my popularity (or lack thereof) in the Crewall High social hierarchy, but it was the unwanted attention that deterred me. The cheerleaders were living gossip machines and would spread nasty rumors in less than a millisecond, and the jocks, well, they were under the combined categories of "Not Very Nice People" and "Egotistical Sadistic Jerks".

All in all, marching over to Josh Mitchells' would effectively disintegrated my High School Social Strategy of Survival, one that I had proudly and painstakingly perfected over the years: "Never attract attention to yourself at all costs". Invisibility was a vital tool of survival that I learned in my years at Creswall after witnessing popular girls backstab and destroy each other at the same time nerds were singled out by their academic brilliance. I was somewhere drifting in the middle and that was where I liked it. Most people were oblivious to me and probably only heard of my name during Presentation Day where I got prizes, but since I was virtually unknown through the whole student body, they didn't give me a hard time about it. I kept to myself during class, sitting at the back of the room, and always chose the least conspicuous seats in the cafeteria. I wasn't generally a shy person, but I figured I should keep this up in order to maintain an unscathed self-esteem after Creswall.



One of the problems of living next door to Josh Mitchells was that he was my only neighbor.

I lived at the cul-de-sac of a very long street, with my house, apart from Mitchells', quite estranged from the others that were clustered at the start of Madison Avenue. My family had lived here since Great-Grandfather Edward eloped with Great-Grandmother Erica, and, because my father was a social worker and my mother was a nurse, it seemed that the Chester family would live here for another decade until I got a Law degree and saved enough money to buy a 21st Century house.

My house was, despite recent renovations to the kitchen, bathrooms and garage, primarily 1920's. It had a steep clay-tiled roof that sported a non-functional chimney and an old weather vane that was supposed to be shaped like a rooster but, through rust and general battering by the wind, ended up looking like a cocktrice from a science experiment gone wrong. There was a verandah with peeling blue paint at the front and a backyard brimming with the flowers and herbs that my Mom adored.

It looked, above all, particularly ancient against the Mitchells Mansion.

The Mitchells had moved next door about two years before I was born, so they had a modern design fashioned, , of course, by the best architect that money could buy and with the best materials that money could buy. The gleaming white walls of their four-story mansion was beautifully adorned with dark, gilded windows that overlooked the crystal blue pool. There were idyllic palm trees surrounding the pool, giving it an exotic air, and there were marble statutes leading the way up to the mansion, all elegantly crafted and stylishly chosen. Everything showed off their wealth.

I felt that it was unfair – why had the Mitchells, who were sitting on gold mines, decided to build a house, correction: mansion, at Madison Avenue of all places? And even if they were bent on living in Madison Avenue, why did they have to choose to be neighbors next to the isolated little cottage at the end of the street?

I blamed it all on karma. I really should consult my mother one of these days – she's Buddhist.

At the thought of praying, I looked back on the piece of paper in front of me and was inexplicably sad to find that I had only written four lines in the past 45 minutes. Great, just utterly fantastic. In my dismay, I reached out to stroke my cat, who always had a tendancy of making me more relaxed, but when my fingers contacted thin air, I realized that he wasn't there. Boo was a black and white tomcat with gorgeous bright blue eyes. I noticed that he was disappearing a lot lately and I wondered where-

Okay stop procrastinating and concentrate on the problem! Think, you've got falling/calling, dying/crying. What are some other rhyming words?

My brain searched and searched, slowly and painfully coming back to life again. I was close to giving up until-

Yes! Perfect! Eureka! I have found it!

But before I could scribble my ingenious idea down, a loud chorus of "OH MY GOSH!" exploded from the Mitchells' backyard and, like a small atomic bomb, blasted that brilliant thought clear from my mind.

No! my mind gasped in shock, reeling from the loss. I ... I can't remember it!

I snapped.

Rage boiled through my veins and I heard blood, thick and furious, pounding through my ears. I was normally pleasant-tempered with a slow fuse to my anger, but seriously: that was it! I was way too lenient with them, especially Mitchells, and-

Wait! Wasn't he in my English class? So shouldn't he be doing his English homework too?

Furiously, I wrenched open the curtains and glared at the congregated group that basked near the pool. I scanned the heads for that familiar- AHA! Found him!

It was then that I realized, all-so-clearly, why the girls were squealing before.

Josh Mitchells had removed his shirt and was only wearing board-shorts. His chest and stomach were extremely well-toned and athletic, his abs ever so apparent. He was attractively tall and his well-defined torso tapered to a narrow waist, all covered in a perfect body tan, golden smooth skin that glinted in the sun. Dark sandy hair fell irresistibly over his eyes, veiling those intense amber orbs, and swept past prominent cheekbones. To top it all off, he was smiling that ever-so-sexy grin of his, needlessly enhancing his good looks to his already swooning female audience.

Okay look away now, bad thoughts. BAD thoughts!

Just as I was about to tear my eyes off him, Josh Mitchells suddenly looked up. RIGHT AT MY WINDOW! I saw his eyes pierce directly into mine, so clearly in fact that I could see his black irises.

I did the only thing a normal girl would do – I squeaked.

And toppled off my chair.

This was an idea that I came up with recently and really needed to get out off my system. So how did you think it went? Worth continuing or not? Pray review and let me know!


And oh yeah, for legal reasons here is the disclaimer:

I do not own Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent or Nickleback in anyway. Damn.

But this story is mine. Mine with a capital 'M'.

Lastest re-edit: 15 Nov 11.