Authors note: My new story…so, give it try. I don't know how often I'll be able to update it but I at least wanted to post the first chapter online. I've had this idea for awhile and thought it could be very romantic, dramatic, and humorous so…here we go.

Chapter One

My New Life in a Nutshell

I was sitting in the back of the classroom with John Linder. It was reading day and so he was reading. Reading day was every Wednesday at three. I enjoyed this time. It was pretty much the only time in my life where I felt useful. Appreciated. Needed.

"And…and…and…" Johnny repeated as his voiced trailed off.

"And?" I said briskly, "Finish the sentence."

"And…and the boy-the boy ate…the creek."

I shook my head with smile as I pointed to the word on the page. Johnny's glimmering eyes dashed from my face to my finger. Suddenly, he brought forth his index finger and pointed also.

"That's doesn't say creek," I remarked playfully, "What does it say?"

Johnny stared at the page awhile, a frown growing on his face. His lower lip quivered as he slowly scratched his head.

Then, his eyes brightened and I knew right away he had the answer. Johnny's eyes always did that, brightened up. To him, the whole world shined.

"The cake!" he screamed, his voice cracking.

"Yes! Now…read it all together."

"The boy…the boy ate…the cake."

I grinned. And so the boy had eaten the cake. And so Johnny had finished the story.

"I think that's enough reading for today," I said, closing the book.

"Is…is Judah coming back tomorrow? Is he…is he?" Johnny inquired urgently.

I smiled and patted his back, "Yeah. I'll be back tomorrow."

Just then, Shirley, the other Reader Helper walked into the rather empty classroom. She glanced around and then smiled me and Johnny's way. Her tennis shoes squeaked across the floor as her blonde curls bounced off and on her shoulders.

"Hey you two, it's time to close up. Mrs. Whitforth wants to see you in the office, Judah."

I smiled nervously, "Okay. Can I talk to you first though? I-I have something…I want to tell you."

Shirley nodded, "Sure. Johnny, you got a ride home?"

"My mother is coming…she's coming!" Johnny shouted.

Shirley beamed as she followed me slowly out of the room, Johnny along side her. We saw that he made it safely down the hallway before we walked to her locker. I was now sweating profusely and tripping over my own shoes. My hair seemed like a piece of fur attacking my head as my aching headache progressed.

Today was the day. Today was the day I told Shirley everything. I had only dreamed of dating Shirley Chantry since freshman year. Everything about her screamed me. As nerdy as that sounds, I believe I have a chance with her. Everyday I feel her stronger and with each passing moment I know she'll be mine.

I know it. I just know it.

"So, what's this thing you need to tell me?" Shirley asked in her perfect voice as she placed her history textbook in her locker.

I tried to lean against the locker all cool like but I suppose my gawkiness wouldn't let me. Instead, I ended up falling against it and then to the floor.

Shirley knelt down to my fallen body.

"Are you okay?" Shirley asked, touching my arm.

My mouth was wide open in disbelief. I had completely ruined the moment and any chance of salvaging it. Shirley was staring at me, her mouth parted in a little worry.

And somehow, the strangest and stupidest ideas came to mind. And yet, at that very moment, it felt wonderful.

"Do you like me?" I asked quickly.

I couldn't even pretend that the words hadn't spilled out of my mouth. They were already gone. And there she was, just gazing at me with a perplexed expression. At first my face was glowing with hope. Now it was downcast with shame.

What had I done?

"Um…I…" Shirley started.

"I've liked you ever since you told me I was great at chess," I quickly interrupted, "You didn't treat me like a nerd in my first year even though you were a second year. And even though I tripped and got bullied a lot you still cared for me. And if you give me time, seriously, if you give me time…I can learn to love you. And I won't leave and I won't…I won't do anything you don't like. Well…I'll probably do something you don't like…but I'll say I'm sorry and buy…stuff you like…for you. I'll be whatever you want. Whatever you say. I'll be-"

"Judah Truman, I have to pick up my daughter from elementary school. I need you in my office."

The words just spoken had definitely not come from Shirley's mouth. Instead, when I turned around, I saw Mrs. Whitforth. Her brown hair was in a boring ponytail and her lips were almost nonexistent. Her right foot was tapping rather loudly and seeing as I was still sprawled out on the floor; the tapping was even nosier in my ear.

"Can I have a minute?" my low voice said.

"Um…let's see," Mrs. Whitforth said in her sarcastic voice as she glanced at her watch, "No."

Shirley's eyes were piercing as I slowly stood up and straightened my shirt. And yet, when I glanced at her again, they looked relieved. She was relieved she didn't have to reply.

She was glad.

"I'll uh…see you later Judah."

I could only nod as Shirley slowly made her way down to the opposite side of the hallway. I lamely waved goodbye as I trudged behind Mrs. Whitforth to her office.

Not only did I feel dejected but I felt stupid, just pathetically and thoroughly stupid.

"She's a pretty girl," Mrs. Whitforth murmured, interrupting my pathetic and thoroughly stupid thoughts.

I nodded again. Words weren't coming at this point in time.

Soon, I was sitting in Mrs. Whitforth office, gazing at one of her family pictures. I was suddenly interrupted when she slammed a folder down on her desk. I glimpsed at it, noticing it had my name it.

"Alright Judah, I'm going to cut to the chase. There is no point in walking around the issue. You're…a genius."

I smiled a little, finding the blunt statement rather nice. I was however worried to see the same expression on Mrs. Whitforth's face.

"Thank you," I was able to mumble.

"You are," she continued, "I mean….being the principle of Covert High, I have time to only notice a few students. I have to say…you are quite noticeable. Being noticeable…can be a great thing. And then…it can make things interesting."

I slouched a little. "And by that you mean bad…I presume."

"Smart boy," Mrs. Whitforth replied.

She paused a moment, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. I took this time to roll my eyes and become annoyed. This was definitely walking around the issue.

"So…" I finally said.

"So…because you are genius and noticeable and…well, an all around good kid…the school wants to give you a break."

I abruptly sat up straight and my eyes widened. Without even thinking, I grabbed my folder. Several papers fell out as gasp escaped my mouth.

"I'm being expelled…" I murmured in puzzlement as I looked at the red writing on my folder.

"I know it looks like that but it really isn't," Mrs. Whitforth said quickly, "It's a just a break…you know, time off. Our school…we can't provide you with any higher level classes and the ones you taking right now are just so far below your skills. It would be wise for you to take a semester off."

This idea didn't agree with me.

"No…no! You just can't take my semester from me…I-I work hard, I get good grades, I'm in the reading program. This is all I have!"

"Well then right now would be a good time to find something knew."

I wanted to punch her. I know that's a horrible thought but I wanted to. I would never deny that. As I slowly picked up my folder, I felt numb. When I stuffed it in my backpack, everything was a blur. Could everything I cherish be gone in five minute meeting with my plain principle?

"Have a nice day," she said while I walked out.

There would be no such thing.

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I put my Ford pickup in park as I sat in the driver seat, waiting in the front of Beaumont High School. It was a rather cold day but I had the window open. I liked being cold. I suppose in some strange way it made me feel strong. I began to play with the keys that were still in ignition as I glanced at a small stream of students exit the big building.

I didn't go to Beaumont High school. As Mrs. Whitforth had put so nicely before, I was the genius of Covert High. So no, Beaumont was not me. And yet, I was waiting here, just waiting as the preps descended from the rich marble steps. I raised my eyebrow, now realizing how much grander as school my brothers was then mine.

This was my brother's school. Jaden is his name but I'd rather just call him my brother. I'd much rather not be associated with him at all but that's just wishful thinking.

My brother and I had to share the truck. Today was my day and tomorrow would be his. It was annoying but it worked and that was good enough for me. My brother and I didn't care as long as we could go to different schools. We already shared enough.

"Hey bastard, start the car now."

I blinked rapidly as my head bolted from steering wheel. My brother was hitting the car loudly as he quickly made his way around to the passenger seat. He forced my hands onto the steering wheel as he started the car. I sighed.

"What did you do?" I inquired.

My brother chuckled as I slowly made my way out of the school grounds. He glanced behind him a few times before slouching in his seat.

"What did you do?" I asked again

"None of your damn business," he whispered, his eyes closed.

I just shook my head, my auburn bangs tickling my forehead. Looking at my brother, I noticed his were doing the same. My green eyes darted from the road to him, as his green eyes glanced at me.

And then, for no good reason, we both smiled. Our pearly, unusually straight teeth showed through are small mouths.

We were identical twins. Most of our lives all we did was look alike.

"How did that 'courting' Shirley thing go?" Jaden asked me, his eyes closing again.

I shook my head, my smiling suddenly vanishing.

"I don't want to talk about it," I said reply.

My brother laughed, "I told you…no girl wants some chess playing, retard reading, nerd."

"They are not retards," I said, thinking of Johnny, "They just learn slower than other people."

"Yeah, whatever…they're a retards. They're teenagers with stupid brains."

"Hmm, and yet all this time I thought that was you."

Jaden glared at me in the corner of his eyes. I just grinned. It was a rare occasion when I won a verbal battle. Usually, my brother would have an even better retort. Instead, he just sighed, fiddling with his fingers. Something was up.

"Judah," he said after awhile, "I need a favor of you."

I beamed. Of course he did.

"And what would that be?" I responded, not paying much attention.

"I need you…" he started lowly, "I need you…I need you to be…me."

As I turned into our old subdivision, I waved to a neighbor. I hadn't even processed my brother's words.

"Judah, I said something," Jaden remarked.

"I know. I just decided not to listen to it. You know, kind like you do, with everything in my life."

Jaden sat up straighter, heaving heavy sighs. This almost made me disturbed. This was so unusual for my usually controlled, ultra cool brother. He was the pride of his school. Everyone loved him. And to be loved, you had to be perfect.

"What is it?" I said finally, almost feeling sorry for him.

"I already told you," his voice regaining it's edge, "I need you to be me."

"What? You want me to take one of your midterms…again."

"No," he replied, "This is a big favor."

"Spill it," I simply replied.

And so he did.

"Me and my band…we got a gig, you know, like some tour dates. It's in New York and it's for four months. It's only for adults but we're nearly eighteen. This is my only shot to make it big. School is getting my ass nowhere and mom won't believe me. What I mean is…I need you to go to my school for me. You can do whatever you want, I don't care. Just stay on the football team, date Leah, and don't ruin my rep. I have a best friend named Jacqueline, I call her Nel. We had a fight about her ballet class so just make sure you get us talking again. And for mom, just tell her I'm at dads. And with you not going to school, everything works out. So how about it?"

Either I ran over a squirrel or the car literally halted so fast it jumped. I was taking in some much oxygen; I could scarcely feel my mouth. My knuckles were white as my hands grasped the steering wheel for dear life. My green eyes were now a fiery red as my head slowly turned to my brother's face.

"Are…you…insane?! What…oh god…what-what even made you…I can't believe you! This is so convoluted…so…ludicrous!

My brother actually looked scared as my spittle sprayed his face. He grabbed at his door, realizing we were home.

"Don't you even dare about leaving…" I whispered in a deathly voice.

"I'll tell mom you're hanging out with those retards instead of taking standardized testing classes if you don't do this for me."

The words flew out of his mouth so fast they had to be planned. Suddenly, I shrunk back in my seat and my brother began to faintly smile. Instantly, I knew he had thought it all it. It was convoluted and ludicrous but it could actually work.

"You're insane," I finally murmured.

"But you'll do it," Jaden stated.

"No…I'm not," I said, "You can't just threaten-wait, how did you know I had the semester off?"

Now Jaden shrunk back.

"How did you know?!" I ask harshly.

"Oh shut up. Mom told me. Now you better do this for me. You don't have time to debate it. The gig starts on Friday."

"I have to go talk to mom," I murmured, not hearing a word my brother had just said.

"Judah…Judah, we don't have time for this! I need you to do this now!"

I just jumped out of the car and ran into our small but comfortable house. Right now it didn't feel to comfortable.

"Mom!" I screamed as I bolted into the house, "Mom!"

"What is it?!" I heard her scream from the kitchen.

As I quickly walked around the corner, I spotted her cleaning a chicken in the sink. Her wisps of blonde hair were sticking the sides of her face while the rest was up in a messy bun. I loved her and yet right now, all I could feel was hate.

"Why didn't you tell me?" I whispered.

A fight ensued. I don't know who won or lost but it didn't end well. It resulted in us both silencing each other and thus, we didn't speak. I ran to my room and shut the door loudly behind me. Seeing my academic awards and honors only made me want to scream. I fell on my bed, feeling the breeze come from my open window. I was cold and yet, I felt very weak.

As I rolled slowly into my bed covers, I felt a crunching noise. It ended up being a piece of paper.

"Homework I presume…" I found myself say.

But it wasn't. It was an old sticky note with a few scribbles of writing. I turned on my bed table light on and rubbed my eyes. As I gradually processed the words, my hand began to feverishly run through my hair.

Judah,

You took too long to decide. I'm on my way to New York now. We were always different. Live my life…see just how different we are. I'll know if you don't. And I'll tell mom about secrets. Believe me, I will.

Live life like your dying.

Jaden

And then…I did scream.

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Authors note: This is definitely like the introduction. I was really rushed so please just give it a chance. One review makes a big difference. Alright then, thanks for reading.