Chapter One: Good Girl

I can't tell you the exact moment I registered that a basketball was coming at my head. It hit my forehead with such force that I fell backwards and I banged my occipital lobe on the wall behind me. Despite the fact that my middle name was Grace I was not a bit graceful. In fact, I was more like my crazy intelligent Grandpa Joe Milligan on my mother's side who is still under investigation for doing some deals with some pretty rotten people. I was like Grandpa Joe in the intelligent, crazy arena.

"Hope, are you alright?" My seventeen year old brother Kemen asked when he came to fetch the ball. Kemen and Mav like my two other brothers Adolf (twenty-three years old), Derek (twenty-one), and Arron (nineteen) ruled as kings of Singer High in their day. Soon hordes of high school jocks also known as my brothers' friends were standing over me in concern. You see this happens regularly if five overprotective brothers in your family and everyone in the school know they'll get their butts kicked if they cause me harm. I pray for the day I turn eighteen, but sadly I don't think anything would change. My dad will never ever let me leave my hometown of Singer.

All five of my older brothers were well loved by the population of our small-town Singer. I was not as popular. My father's shotgun put a wet blanket over any hopes of me having a dating life. All the males of Singer High were scared that Sheriff Dane McCall—my reputable and intimating father—would throw them in jail for the night if they so much as laid a hand on his precious little girl.

I nodded and sat up before they called my mother or worse my father. Former judge Dane McCall could be quite 'overbearing' and that was putting it lightly. How could you possibility get in trouble when your father has everyone in the town you live in spying for him? No, I'm not kidding. I wish I were.

"You have a red mark on your forehead." My eighteen-year-old brother Maverick—nicknamed Mav—remarked. It earned him a glare.

"What did the adopted girl do now?" My brothers' best friend Ravid Jameson asked. It was a big joke that I was adopted since I didn't act anything like the rest of my family.

Yeah, I'm adopted Ravid. You need to get a new joke because we all have that one memorized. I thought sarcastically. I would never say it out loud at Singer, but I would at Demount High where I took my advanced classes. Demount was my heaven despite the stereotypical queen bee with silicone boobs and tight clothes who was free to make fun of me because there was no family. I could sneeze without my father finding out.

"She didn't duck." Mav said.

It's not my fault you can't keep control of any ball—Not even your own. Ouch! That was pretty mean. I continued my thoughts inside my head as I did everyday. No wonder people thought I was so weird.

"That's obvious. She looks worse than usual." Ravid snorted. I had caught Ravid looking at me sometimes I wondered if that meant anything or he was just keeping an eye on me because he was friends with my brothers.

Ha! I don't look any worse than the time you got drunk so bad you tried to go up on our roof and fly. I had to save you from your drunken mania then you proceeded to barf your ugly guts up into our toilet.

I was relieved when the bell rang signaling that I could go to my classes at the high school in the neighboring town where I lived my alternate reality life—in other words at Demount I got to be who I wanted to be without my father knowing my every movement.

I love Demount because I actually have friends there, I don't have to worry about my father or my brothers, I can be myself, I can have fun, I can talk when I want to, I'm not expected to be Sheriff McCall's perfect little girl . . . it's like heaven for me!

Of course, my friends don't believe me when I tell them I'm a cheerleader or that I'm shy. At Demount I'm not in the popular crowd. I run around with the outcasts and I love every moment. I don't act anything like I do at Demount.

"Cheer!" Dritan Drachma called to me. 'Cheer' was my nickname. Dritan was gorgeous and alas, of course, gay. His hair was blonde and his eyes were blue. His smile was as bright as the sun on its best day. My mother would have sold my eldest brother Adolf to have Dritan's spectacular fashion sense.

I turned around to fell right into Gideon Cullen's arms. "The love of my life!" My other best friend Gideon exclaimed. Then the green eyed, black haired hunk planted a kiss smack dab on my lips. My brothers would have roasted him alive for that. And my father? Well, beware of firearms.

"Why does Hope get all the attention?" Deirdre Miner pretended to whine. Deirdre was a self-called nonconformist that had a tendency to wear heavy eyeliner and black clothes. Her black hair had pink, purple, and green streaks in it and her dark blue eyes could deliver glares that could harm egos. Deirdre tended to have an attitude although I think it came from her going home to her abusive stepfather every night. This stepfather was one of those people I wanted to beat the crap out of for hurting my friend. Sometimes I wondered if I should just report him to my dad even though Deirdre begged me not to because she didn't like the police.

"Darling Deirdre, Hope may be Gideon's love, but you are mine!" Dritan exclaimed in his over dramatic fashion as he threw his arm around her, which caused everyone to look. By now the three of us were used to the are-you-crazy stares.

"I can't believe it. I thought we kicked the entire rainbow pride and unfashionable population out of this school." My arch nemesis Madeline Pride remarked when she and her legion of followers spotted the three of us. She stopped in front of us and looked down on me. The downside about Demount being out of my father's reach was that I actually got bullied and picked on here. Madeline was composed of thirty plastic surgeries. We had decided that by now she should be the live-size Barbie in the Barbie commercials.

"What is wrong with being gay?" Deirdre asked.

Madeline ignored her.

"We can't get rid of the gay people or the unfashionable until we get rid of you, darling. You see you're probably gay since you find the need to deny the fact. And you fashionable? You're got to be kidding me. Maybe if you get rid of the knockoff Prada bag that is so last season, but so is plastic surgery. Nope, I don't think Demount stands a chance of reaching that goal with you around." I remarked.

She gasped. Then she turned and stalked off.

"That was great!" Dritan exclaimed as Deirdre gave me a high five.

"I love Demount." I sighed. I didn't want to go home. Maybe I should have brought my sleeping bag.

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"Young lady, you're going to eat every bit of that." My father ordered as he read his newspaper and I was presented with a plate piled high with steaks and buttery mash potatoes. When I didn't respond with 'yes, sir' right away he looked up at me as my brothers snickered along with Ravid, who was eating dinner with us as usual.

It was not good to set steak in front of a girl who was really considering on becoming a vegetarian. I should have argued. Afterwards when I looked back on it I think he wanted me to argue. Why would my father want me to argue with him? He wanted me to fight just so he could hear me speak. I don't speak at home and I rarely speak at Singer High. My father probably has heard me speak a full sentence since my first full sentence at three years of age. I just do obediently what everyone tells me to do. I really was tired of doing just that—of keeping my thoughts to myself and being so 'good'.

NOOOOO! I don't have to do what you say. I refuse to. One, I will not even the boys could accomplish finishing off this plate. Two, I am perfectly capable of deciding what to eat. Three, you can shove this plate up you know where because I'm not one of your rookies you can order around. I once again thought in my head. Are we seeing a pattern hear? It was really good I didn't say the last part because I would have really got in trouble.

I ate the whole entire plate and consequently became sick from it. I admit I am stupid.

Of course, being my idiot self I never expected the next thing that was going to happen.

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: If you want to see more please review so I know someone wants to see an update.

Demount High and Singer High are two different schools. I'm sorry if I did not make that obvious. Hope attends Singer for regular classes and then she goes to Demount for advanced classes for part of the school day. Basically she switches between two different schools off schools daily.

Madeline does stalk off a lot when she doesn't have a resort for someone's comeback. It's put of her personality. So expect that from her.

There will be some more about the McCall brothers, but I'm not for sure how much right now.

14-09-07: This story is complete. The plot is pretty good (in the author's opinion) although I wish it was more developed. If I ever get time for a rewrite I will probably elaborate on the plot and develop it more. And put more detail into it. This plot is fast paced I doubt you will be bored. It is fast paced purposely because I do not believe in wasting time even though I admit to rushing. I don't put a lot of detail into scenery.

Thank you to all those who have reviewed:

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Thanks for the reviews!

A Note to future reviewers: If you ever review anyone's story, do not start it off with 'This is not a very good story . . .' It will immediately put the writer on the defensive (at least it does for me) and if you had kick butt advice it probably won't be heard. I don't believe in bad stories in the world of FP. There's okay stories to awesome stories although I know some people's opinions differ.

The sequel to this story is up. It's title is Finding Hope.

I hope you find the reading experience enjoyable.