It was a day meant for miracles.

That was her first thought when she woke up that morning, feeling for the first time that she had gotten enough sleep. For the first time in ages she had walked into the kitchen happy, and for the first time there was breakfast sitting on the table, warm and delicious and begging her to dig in. For the first time in a long time, the front-page article was about a peace treaty in the Middle East, not the death rate of people in Iraq. For the first time in a long time, her father was gone and on his way to work.

Her mother had the day off, so she finally arrived at school at a decent time. There were people already there; she didn't have to wait alone feeling like a retard for coming at six thirty in the morning, when school didn't start 'til seven forty. Her friends were all there, for once not making fun of her for coming so early. They stood under the overhang, laughing and talking and for once not spreading nasty rumors about the boy they called Dodger. The bell rang and they spread out, heading to first period.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He woke up that morning feeling like crap. His eighteen-year-old brother had gone missing two nights ago; there was still no word. His mother was still in bed, having drowned her worry in alcohol. The heater wasn't on, the room was freezing, his dad was on a business trip and there was no one in sight. He threw on what clothes he thought were clean and grabbed his backpack before running out the door; the bus was due any minute and he couldn't afford to be late. He hadn't done his homework again… there was no time to think about that now.

The bus was late again. By the time he got to school, the bell had rung and there was no point in running now. He slammed his fist into the nearest wall and sank to the floor, ignoring the throbbing pain. "Get to class, kid," a voice said, sounding extremely far away. He turned away and closed his eyes. (If you can't see it, it's not there). "I said, get to class!" The voice again. He stood and walked away slowly, feeling as if he were in a dream. Blood smeared his skin.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

She looked around for Dodger, but he was nowhere to be seen. She tried not to feel disappointed, tried to hide her feelings just like she always had. Her friends would never let her live it down. She tried to listen to her teacher, but her mind continued to parade daydreams of the boy across her vision. The door suddenly opened and there he was; her heart rose and she tried to hide a smile.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

He forgot his umbrella, he realized, when he walked into his first period. He slid into his seat and smiled weakly at his best friend, Zach.

"I heard about your brother," Zach whispered. "Has anyone found anything?"

"Nothing," he said to his desk. "Nothing at all." He doodled random designs on the front of his workbook, not thinking, just waiting. Waiting for what, he didn't know. Something amazing to happen. A miracle.

It was a day meant for miracles, after all.

The bell rang and the students filed out of the classroom where the dark grey-black clouds dumped their contents onto the heads of scurrying children. Dodger walked slowly, still unaware of the blood dripping off his knuckles.

"You're bleeding, did you know that?"

It was a different voice from before, female. He looked up to see the girl from his first period, the girl who always lent him stuff when he'd forgotten. Right now she was offering him a box of Band-Aids. (Who carries around Band-Aids?) He took them silently and put them on.

"You don't have an umbrella, either. Wanna walk with me?" She smiled at him. It occurred to him she was pretty, pretty in a natural way.

"Sure," he said, and they walked in silence for a while.

"They'll find him, you know. Don't worry about it."

People had been telling him that for a while, but for once he finally believed it. There was a small bubble of hope inside him, and for the first time in a long time, he smiled.

They seemed to stop at the exact same moment; some strange force moving inside them.

"If you ever need anything, I can help," she said softly.

They stood under her umbrella in the pouring rain. He pulled her into a hug and gently kissed her, thinking that for now, everything was right, everything could be okay.

It was a day meant for miracles, 'cause it was raining in California.