Chapter Three

I have English11 this morning – which actually happens to be my favorite class. I guess I write well, I get good grades in this class usually, but then again, my grades had always been good. Even after my family died I kept my grades up, I thought I owed them that much.

Walking down the hallway is always the same, I walk past people and they ignore me while I ignore them. If I bump into someone they don't usually apologize, they just keep on walking, as do I. I was silly to think that that wouldn't change. But like everything normal in my life, it changed.

"Lucia!" I hear someone calling from behind me but I don't bother looking over my shoulder to see who it is. I already know who it is; I could recognize that voice anywhere, which kid of scares me because I shouldn't be able to remember his voice that quickly, I only just met him yesterday. I hear footsteps sounding from behind me and before I have time to retreat into my English class Seth appears in front of me. He smiles down at me. Is he like 7 feet tall or something? After looking his over again I estimate that he's about 6'4, more or less. "Hey."

I don't say hi back.

"You have English now too?" he asks.

He has English now too! I sigh angrily but I'm sure that it came out more like a growl.

I nod and his smile widens as he suggests, "How about we sit together?"

"Sure," Without thinking, I answer him and then I glower at myself for how I answered. Sit with him in English? Seriously Lucia, are you trying to kill yourself?

"Sweet."

I look around to see people staring at us and all of a sudden blood rushes to my cheeks in a deep red blush. I was blushing, seriously? Get a grip Luce! I used to kiss people in front of crowds and not blush and now I'm blushing like a virgin – which I'm sad to say I'm not – just because Seth's talking to me. And Seth of all people.

"Are you blushing, Luce?" Seth asks a little too smugly.

I frown up at him. What did he just call me? Luce? That's what Uncle Byron called me. Mom and dad used to call me that and Aaron and Jenny picked up the habit from them. Some of my old friends used to call me Luce too. I know Luce isn't quite as pretty as Lucia but at the time it didn't really matter. Now it matters even less, but hearing Seth call me Luce made memories rush back into my mind, memories that I've tried so hard to forget the past year… "Did you just call me Luce? "

"Uh… yeah, why?" he asked hesitantly.

"Don't call me that, ever." I raised my voice at him before walking around him and into English and plunking myself down into a seat at the back of the room hoping Seth wouldn't follow me. But sure enough, he walking past all the other open seats and sat right next to me. I saw a few of the girls in the class glance back at him and then whisper something to other girls who looked back at Seth and then whispered back. They were probably wondering why he came and sat beside me instead of one of them because they obviously thought he was good-looking.

Just before the bell rang and Mr. Hardgrave walked into the room Seth leaned over and placed his hand atop mine and whispered, "Sorry." I looked down at his hand for a moment and I felt blush creeping onto my cheeks again but he removed it before I could say or do anything about it.

"Apparently we have a new student in this class today—is Seth Blakely here?" Mr. Hardgrave asked, his voice as rough and deep as ever.

"Yeah, that's me." Seth put up his hand.

"Class say "hello" to your new classmate."

There was a chorus of "hellos" and "hi's" before the room went quiet once more.

"I suspect that you will do well in my class Mr. Blakely," I could see the teacher eyeing Seth, trying to see what he was all about. He always did that to see what type of learner he was going to get out of a new kid. Apparently he thought Seth wasn't going to be a bad apple because Mr. Hardgrave's dingy lips curled at the corners into a somewhat half-smile.

"I'll do my best," Seth told the teacher with a – what seemed to be fake – smile.

"You can work with…" Please don't say my name… Please don't—"Miss. Owens today, she's one of my best students so she should be able to get you up to speed in all your assignments and what we are working on at the moment." I looked over at Seth to see him smiling at me, and then behind him to see Laurel Morgan—the "queen bee" and my ex-best friend—whispering to Katie Forbs—her right hand and new best friend—and looking lustfully at Seth.

I knew she was going to try something on him! What a slut! She must make out with a different guy every day! Wait… why would I care? It was Seth. Maybe if he went out with Laurel he would forget about me and finally leave me alone and then—

"—do you have a problem with that Miss. Owens?" Mr. Hardgrave's voice interrupted my thinking.

"Pardon?"

"I want you to show Mr. Blakely your assignment so he can read it over and then write his own, do you have a problem with that?"

Let Seth read my writing? No way!

"Not at all," I lied threw my teeth.

"Fantastic, as for the rest of you we'll be moving onto short stories—"

I heard Seth move his desk so it touched mine. He leaned closer to me and I could feel the heat radiating off of his body. "So, what are you showing me?" he asked, I could smell his breath, it smelt like mint toothpaste… and for some strange reason my mouth filled with saliva as if I were starved for him. I scowled at myself behind my hair so he couldn't see.

"Letters—we had to write three short letters but I wrote diary entries instead," I told him, opening my book and handing him the loose pieces of paper on the inside. "These are mine," I handed them to him and he started reading them as soon as the papers were in his hand.

The first read:

Dear Diary,

Why does life have to be so hard all the time? Why does the smallest gesture or smallest word have to mean so much? Why does everything have to be so complicated? Can't anything be simple anymore? My guess is no.

I'm sure every troubled teen writes this down sometime, somewhere, but I don't' know what else to say or do anymore. I wouldn't say my life is bad or anything—I'm just looking for answers that no one can seem to give me.

Is that because my questions are unanswerable?

Yet another question to add to my never-ending list…

Will it ever end?

Kate

The second read:

Dear Diary,

I'm gone. I'm alone. I have no one and I'm not important to anyone. I'm by myself and no one cares how I feel. I'm truly a lone warrior—the problem is that I'm tired of fighting. I can't take it anymore. The pressure is breaking me down. I'm going over the edge. My life is so screwed that nothing—and I mean NOTHING—can possibly make it better. Sometimes all I want to do is lock myself up in my bedroom for the rest of my meaningless life and cry all my problems away. I know that probably won't help, but who really cares? Oh right, no one.

So, to hell with life.

I'm leaving and never coming back. It's that or live meaning nothing for the rest of my life…

Goodbye.

Carol.

xo.

The third read:

Dear Diary,

It's like I don't understand anything anymore. Through the summer everyone changed so much. No I'm a misfit. Hannah, Jenny and Selena are all big breasted, flat stomached, bleach-blonde Barbie's. Nora is a Goth, Kelly is a part of the cheerleading squad and Madison is a full on jock. We used to be such a tight knit group and now all-of-a-sudden they're all different and totally disconnected. I don't understand how things got this way. Everything changed over one summer. Two months. And now I don't fit in anywhere. I sound pretty self-absorbed talking about how I don't if in anymore… but I'm not, really. I'm happy that they've found things that make them happy but I was a lot happier when we were all together.

Now we're… strangers.

Alyssa.

My writing wasn't… horrible, but it wasn't fantastic either. I was suddenly nervous about what Seth would say about my entries. But he was still reading… a forth one? What? I looked into my book and found my doodle paper missing from inside my book. My eyes went wide with recognition as I remembered what I had wrote of the opposite side of the paper.

"Give that back!" I whispered while I reached for the papers in Seth's hands and he didn't even try to keep the papers. I looked down at what he had been reading and I shook my head hard, wishing he hadn't seen it. He sat there for a minute, staring out into space.

"I thought you were only supposed to do three?" he finally said.

"We were," I was still looking at the papers in my hand.

"Why'd you write four then? And why isn't one addressed like the others?" he asked blankly, I knew that in the back of his head he knew that the last thing that he read wasn't for the assignment be he was just fooling himself. It really wasn't that bad, the writing. Really. I don't see why he would be so shocked.

"One of them isn't for the assignment Seth," I admitted, peeked over at him.

"They're all so… sad." He murmured while glancing over at me and holding me gaze steady with his.

"Yeah well…"

"Do you honestly feel all those things?"

"Sometimes…"

"I didn't finish the last one," he told me, "and I want to finish it. Can I read the rest?"

I sighed, "You weren't supposed to see that one, Seth."

"And now that I have I want to finish it… please?" he pleaded with me using his eyes and his voice. It was just like being double teamed because both things did more than enough damage to my resolve. "Come on Lucia it can't be any worse than the other ones."

"But it is! It's me putting my thoughts out without any boundaries, it's not for some stupid school project, it's the real deal." I told him.

"Please…?"

We sat there for a minute as I pondered. It wasn't that big a deal… but I was making it one. C'mon Luce, have some balls! And it was Seth, sure, I'd just met the guy but there was a part of me that made me think that I could tell him anything and he wouldn't run away. I knew it was stupid for even a part of me to think that… but I did. If someone ever asked me that I would deny it, obviously, but on the inside… I knew that there was something about this guy that was different.

And with a sigh, I surrendered my heart, placing the papers back in his hands and I put myself at the mercy of his mind, his heart and his common sense.