Chapter One





Quote by Henry Ward Beecher



Fifteen year old Taylor clutched her geometry text book as she walked through the halls of St. Bernadette's Academy High School. Her black and white checkered Jansport backpack was slung over her shoulder and her light yellow knit sweater was tied around her waist, over her khaki skort. She sighed and imagined going back to public school where you could wear pretty much whatever you wanted to.

Taylor could see the ticking clock all the way on the other side of the hall where her geometry class with Sr. Gretchen was. She had about another minute to get to class. Normally, she'd get there on time and this would be easy. But today, a large crowd of students had decided to gather right in front of Taylor's geometry classroom, and they were blocking her way into the door.

"Oh, sorry," Taylor mumbled as a large girl with tangly orange hair knocked her over. She fell down and her text book slid away from her, hitting the back of another girl's knee.

"Watch it, blondie!" the orange-haired girl snapped at her. She glared down at Taylor than kicked her text book even farther away. A bunch of other girls around her laughed out loud. Taylor pulled her wavy golden locks behind her ear and crawled over to where her text book lay. The girl who had been hit by the text book looked down at Taylor and helped her up.

"I'm so sorry, I didn't—" Taylor started.

"No, no, don't worry about it," the girl said. She smiled warmly at Taylor. "Your name is Taylor McKarthy, right? I'm Jessie Banks,"

Jessie extended her hand to shake Taylor's. Taylor smiled back warily and shook Jessie's hand. Jessie had pin straight layered dark brown hair. Part of it was pulled back with a small bejeweled butterfly pin. Her eyes were a deep golden color and her face was tanned perfectly. Compared to Taylor's golden waves and baby blue eyes, Jessie was much prettier.

"Hi," Taylor said quietly. It was her fourth day at St. Bernadette's and Taylor hadn't made a friend yet. Her family had transferred all the way from the country in Kentucky to a small city, Clarence, in Buffalo, New York. In Taylor's old town, there hadn't been any private Catholic schools. Adjusting to the environment was taking some time for her. But meeting Jessie made her feel a bit better somehow. It looked like she at least had someone to talk to now.

"So…" Taylor said, trying to think of something to say before she seemed mute. "Um, do you have any clue as to what's going on here?"

"Oh, yeah, definitely," Jessie said, as if it were obvious. "That list, next to the geography room," Jessie pointed at a piece of paper everyone was frantically trying to read. "is the Homecoming list. You see, last year we had about over five hundred kids come to our Junior High Homecoming Dance. I mean, we only expected three hundred or so of the four hundred kids in our junior high to come and maybe a few people from other schools, but it turned out that just about ninety percent of the junior high had invited dates from a bunch of different schools, who also invited friends, and so on. Point is, the dance was too crowded and turned out to be a disaster. So now, there is a new rule.

"As soon as that list, over there, and the junior high one goes up you can only come to the dance with one invite from another school if you sign up. And there are only six hundred spots; just enough for the six hundred kids in the high school. This means, for a handful of us, it will be like the dance had never happened.

"I know, I know, it's super confusing. But once you sign up all you have to worry about is your date and your outfit. You are going right?" Jessie finished.

Taylor looked wide eyed at Jessie. Did she even breathe in between sentences? Or did she hold in one big breath for that mile-a—minute pace she just spoke with? Either way, Taylor had to answer Jessie. Was she going to go to the Homecoming Dance? At her old school, there weren't any dances until 9th grade. She had never been to one before. Would she have gone to the dance at her old school this year if she was still there? She didn't know.

"Well, um, I wasn't planning on going actually," Taylor started. Jessie's face looked shocked and disappointed at the same time.

"So, you don't want to go?" she asked confused.

"I-I don't know," Taylor answered. The bell rang for what seemed a long five seconds and Sr. Gretchen immerged from her classroom, shoeing everyone who wasn't in her geometry class away.

"Well, you should go," Jessie said. She walked into the geometry classroom with Taylor. Taylor was embarrassed that she didn't know she was in the same class as her. "It was so much fun last year! They had great food, we got to dunk Mr. Barnaba in a water tank, and, of course, all of the girls wore these amazing dresses. I love to shop for dance dresses!"

Taylor smiled weakly. She didn't really have any desire to go to the dance, but why not? She could always just go with Jessie. It wasn't like she needed a date or anything. There weren't any boys at St. Bernadette's.

"Well…" Taylor said, starting to loose her battle to not go.

"C'mon Taylor! You can come with me! It will just be us girls. No stupid boys to worry about," Jessie pleaded. She sat down in a seat up in the front as she watched Taylor walk to her seat in the back.

Sr. Gretchen scowled at the two to stop talking, so Taylor just nodded her head yes and Jessie beamed.

For the rest of the class, Sr. Gretchen kept talking about all different sorts of math problems from last night's homework. But all Taylor could think about was the dance. Now that she was going, there was so much to plan; her dress, her hair, her make-up, and so on. One thing was already set though—Taylor would go to the dance with a friend; not all alone like she had been doing things for the past week.


"Mom, Dad I'm home!" Taylor called as she walked into her front door. She dropped her back pack by the bottom of the stairs and then walked into the kitchen to get a snack. She opened the cupboard door and pulled out a box of flavor blasted Goldfish and started eating.

Mom then came down the stairs. She was wearing her usual outfit she had worn every day since the move; a white button up shirt, tucked into a maroon skirt that went to her knees, paired with a pair of classic black pumps. Taylor's mom was the new assistant manager at a local inn; The Riverside Inn. It was another reason why Taylor came here; so that her mom could get a better job.

"Hey, hon," Mrs. McKarthy said, sitting down at the kitchen table and going through a pile of papers. She took a red pen and marked a few words on a document then went to the next. "How was school?"

"School was nice," Taylor said quietly. She continued to eat her Goldfish.

"Anything new happen?" Mrs. McKarthy asked distantly. She seemed to be more interested in her work than in how Taylor's day went.

"Um, not really," Taylor said, taking a deep breath. "Well, there is this dance. I met this girl and she said we should go together,"

Suddenly, Mrs. McKarthy's ear's perked up. "A dance? You met a new girl? Honey, this is good! This is great! You're making friends!" Mrs. McKarthy was ecstatic. Taylor on the other hand was a bit freaked about by her mom's reaction.

"Uh, yeah," Taylor mumbled. She didn't see how her mom was so excited just because she made a friend and was going to a dance.

"So…are you going?" Mrs. McKarthy pressed.

"To what mom?"

Mrs. McKarthy sighed frustrated. "To the dance, Taylor. Are you going to the dance?"

"Oh, yeah,"

"Any boys?"

"Mom, St. Bernadette's is an all girl school,"

"So, no boys?"

"No, mom,"

"Your father will be happy to know that,"

Taylor giggled quietly. Knowing her father he'd be more than happy; he'd be thrilled. Mr. McKarthy's job was different then most people's. His job was very complicated but basically he worked as an anger management instructor with mentally ill people. So of course, his job required a lot of patience and happiness. But if it was one thing he couldn't stand it was a teenaged boy. The idea of Taylor going out with any boy scared him. Actually, it frightened him.

"Well, if you want I could take you dress shopping this weekend," Mrs. McKarthy said excitedly. Taylor frowned slightly. She had already promised Jessie that she'd go dress shopping with her and she didn't think bringing her mom would be a good idea. But how could she say no? It would break her mom's heart.

"Oh, um, I don't know mom," Taylor said slowly. "The girl who told me about the dance—Jessie—well she said we could go shopping together for the dress. I already said yes. Besides mom, you have work. Thanks though,"

Mrs. McKarthy's face fell as she heard Taylor's words. Taylor felt horrible as soon as she said them, but to be honest she didn't want to risk her only new friendship by bringing her mom. Her mom could be pretty embarrassing when she wanted to and knowing her mother, this was the best opportunity.

"Oh, okay," Mrs. McKarthy said, sounding upset. Then, she made her face look optimistic and smiled. "You're right though. I wouldn't be able to take you anyways. I've been working twenty-four-seven lately. I'm lucky to even have a break now,"

"Mom, I'm sorry—,"

"Hon, don't worry 'bout it. I'm fine," Mrs. McKarthy said. Taylor sighed. Her mother wiped her wet hands, which she had just washed, on a towel. "Listen, I'm going to go check on work. I'll be back in an hour to make dinner for you and your father. He'll be here at six,"

"Alright. Bye, mom," Taylor said sympathetically. Mrs. McKarthy smiled and kissed Taylor's forehead as she grabbed her purse and left the house.

Well, I can't to anything about it now, Taylor thought. She sighed one last time and then grabbed her backpack which held all of the billions of folders which held her homework. She was dreading her homework, but there wasn't anything else to do.

After going through her extremely hard geometry, history, English, Latin, and science homework, Taylor lay down on her bed. Turning her head to her side, she saw the picture of her best friend, Jules who she had been missing for the past few weeks away from her old home. The picture was of Jules giving Taylor bunny ears while Taylor stuck her tongue out at Jules. Taylor sighed a sad sigh and closed her eyes as she remembered her friend. She hadn't talked to her since the day of the move.

Taylor stood up and walked over to her laptop, logging on to her IM account. On the side of the screen, the chat list said:

JCullen is online

Taylor quickly clicked on Jules's screen name and waited for the chat box to load. Once it did she started to type.

XOTayTayXO: Heyy Jules :)

JCullen: Tay, omg it's you!!!

XOTayTayXO: Man, it's good to talk 2 you…

JCullen: Right back at u, bub

XOTayTayXO: Haha, ur still as corny as ever!

JCullen: And just as weird. So…how's life in the big apple??

XOTayTayXO: Jules, I don't live in NYC, just in the state, LOL

JCullen says: Point is, how r u?

XOTayTayXO: I'll tell you 1 thing. I'd rather be back at my old school, with my old friends, at my old home. You know what I mean, eh?

JCullen: What, are you Canadian or something? Eh, I think-eh I know-eh what you mean-eh. We miss you sooooooo much-eh Tay-eh! You've got 2 visit-eh us sometime. Eh?

XOTayTayXO: Haha, believe me, I will. X-mas break will be devoted to my hometown in Kentucky with all of u guys. Speaking of all of u, how is everyone else?

JCullen: Good. Bella's got a bf…

XOTayTayXO: NO WAY! Who???

JCullen: Todd Hutchings 3

XOTayTayXO: Oh, I knew they would get together sometime. They're perfect for each other. How's everyone else?

JCullen: Same as normal. Allee and her swim team made it to the finals. They're competing tomorrow, Friday.

XOTayTayXO: Why am I not surprised… hehe

JCullen: I know, they rock! Oh and Rebecca is planning our (drum roll please) first ever Fall Ball! :) Oh, Tay, I wish you were here. You and I were supposed to go dress shopping, go to the dance together in a big limo, and both find AMAZINGLY hot guys to dance with!

XOTayTayXO: No, you were supposed to go dress shopping while I made my dress, you were going to go in a limo because my parents wouldn't chip in the money for one, and you were gonna find a hot guy to dance with cuz I'm not pretty like you are…

JCullen: Gosh, Tay stop being a party pooper! :) You ARE pretty, don't you get it?! Not even half of the girls in school are as lucky as you are, including me! The dress you were gonna make was amazing btw, and I'm sure ur parents would chip in the $ for the limo.

XOTayTayXO: Yah well, it doesn't matter now…

JCullen: Not quite my friend…

XOTayTayXO: Oh no. Jules has got an evil genius plan.

JCullen: Well, you can leave out the evil part. Genius sounds nice though. Anyways, I know your school is having a dance soon right?

XOTayTayXO: yah, it's next Friday…why?

JCullen: I say we at least carry out 2/3 of our plan we were gonna do on our first dance. Tell you what; we are both going dress shopping this weekend. NO EXCUSES. Send me a pic from your phone of three of the dresses you wanna get before you buy one and I'll do the same. We'll both help each other pick one out. Then, you NEED to find a guy at the dance to dance with once you've gotten the most prettiest dress ever.

XOTayTayXO : Sounds like a plan, except for the guy part. I gotta go. It's getting late.

JCullen: Oh right, different time zones. Okay, see ya Tay!

XOTayTayXO: Bye Jules, it was GREAT talking to you again!

JCullen is OFFLINE


Taylor smiled as she turned off her computer. She finally felt like she was back home—well, her home in Kentucky. She was talking with her best friend in the whole wide world, Jules, just as if it was another ordinary day.

Looking at the clock, Taylor realized how late it had gotten. It was five forty-five. Mrs. McKarthy had probably been home for a good hour and a half by now and Mr. McKarthy would be here in about fifteen minutes. She decided to change out of her school clothes and into her pajamas.

Taylor stripped the khaki skort, navy blue knee highs, elbow length white button up shirt, and yellow sweater off of her, replacing them with a lavender silk tank top and silk lime green shorts. She slipped on her pair of white fluffy Terry flip flop slippers, and then walked downstairs, ready for dinner.


Taylor zipped up her backpack, after repacking it full of all of her homework. She had just finished the dinner her mom had made her; homemade macaroni and cheese, cooked broccoli and carrots, and fresh lemonade. If it was one thing Taylor really knew about her mother, it was that she was an amazing cook. Every meal was as if it were a Christmas dinner.

Taylor looked at the clock and saw that it was only seven thirteen. She walked over to her book shelf and took out the book she was reading; Twilight. She loved this book so much. Jules had been reading it and was always raving about how amazing the book was. Jules was so addicted to it, she had dozens of vampire t-shirts and an Edward Cullen, who was one of the main characters, shrine in her closet. So, when she had gotten to New York, Taylor had decided to spend her last few days of summer going to the local Barnes and Noble, looking for Twilight. She had found it her first day in New York. The minute she had started to read it, she was hooked. In fact, she was in love with the fictional character Edward. It was an odd yet normal paradox because pretty much anyone who read Twilight felt the same way.

After reading five more chapters in the book, Taylor decided to explore her house. It has been more than a week, yet she hadn't even been in the attic yet and was dying to see what was up there. She put Twilight back in the book shelf and then walked quietly up the attic stairs that were right outside her bedroom.

The attic was pretty much like every other attic Taylor had been it. It was a small, cramp room with no carpet or painted walls. Cobwebs covered every nook and cranny and there were stacks of cardboard boxes, some of them her family's which they hadn't unpacked yet from moving.

One though, was not hers. It was a small box tucked away behind an old rocking chair that had been left in the house after the old owners had left. The box looked as if it had been rained on because it was worn away and the cardboard was peeling off. In capital black letters the words MARIA were written across the front. It was an unusual word to put on a box, but still, Taylor opened it to see what was inside.

Inside, were a bunch of old thingy-majigs and handfuls of useless do dads. But one thing caught Taylor's eyes; a jewelry box. It was made of mahogany woods and a gold floral border was wrapped around the lid. On the center of the front of it was a golden heart carved into the wood. Taylor opened the box and didn't find any jewelry but a bunch of paper.

Taylor unfolded the papers one by one, perplexed. "Letters?" she mumbled. Every paper was a letter, dated in the mid 1900s. They all began with "M," and ended with "Forever yours, Daniel".

"How odd…" Taylor said outloud. She put the letters back in the box and went to close it, when she heard a click and something fall from the box. She turned the box upside down and saw that a little compartment has opened up and on the floor was a ring. The ring had a gold band with a humongous purple amethyst dazzling in the center. But what really made Taylor confused was what was carved into the band; Mentire non è mai stato più dolce...

"It must be foreign," Taylor said to herself.

"Taylor! Are you up there?" Mrs. McKarthy's voice suddenly called from the bottom of the stairs. Taylor jumped slightly and tucked the ring back into the box, hiding the box under a blanket lying on the rocking chair.

Mrs. McKarthy appeared at the top of stairs. "Honey, it's just about eight, what are you doing up here?"

"Um, I…I…thought I didn't unpack my iHome. But, um, I forgot it is under my bed. Sorry," Taylor lied.

"Okay, well, why don't you go get ready for bed? I want you in your bed by nine-thirty. You can read or watch T.V. if you want until then," Mrs. McKarthy said.

"Alright, I'll be down in a minute," Taylro replied.

Mrs. McKarthy walked back down the stairs and when Taylor was sure she'd gone down the other flight of stairs, she took the box out from its hiding spot and ran back to her room. She didn't know why but she felt like she couldn't let anyone see this box. Maybe she just wanted it all for herself.

For the rest of the night, Taylor read all of the letters. They were all from this Daniel who was proclaiming his love for M, who must've been Maria, except for one. The last one written, in 1958, was much different from the others. It said:

July 18, 1958


I miss you with all of my heart. You don't know how much I've been thinking of you. Ever since we met back in May, there is nothing more that I want then to be with you.

This is why I am writing you this letter. I've been thinking about this very carefully and I've finally come to the decision to meet you again, very soon. I've arranged to fly to you in New York. I'll be there for four days, so that is how long you and I will have together before I must fly back and finish working.

I should arrive at the airport on August 2nd at four in the afternoon. Please meet me there. After that, I have a surprise for you.

I've enclosed in this letter a ring. It was my mother's and now it is yours.

Forever yours,


Taylor re-read the letter once more and took the ring she had found out of the jewelry box. She thought of how strange this all was and then slipped the ring on her right hand's ring finger.

She then shoved the box full of the letters under her bed and then turned off her light, ready to go to sleep after a long day.