Prologue

Why is life so hard sometimes? I'm only 15 and I have already had more than my share of trials. A year ago, I was in a car accident with my parents and my best friend Daemyn. They all died and I was in a coma for two months. The only relatives I have are some first cousins once removed whom I have only met once at a family reunion. They can't take me in themselves, but they are looking for a family who wants to adopt a teenager. Yeah, good luck with that. I've been in "the system" ever since and still can't find my footing. That's probably because I keep getting moved. I'm now in my third home and my third school.

So far, this school has been the worst. I'm not a trouble maker. I like to keep to myself. I study hard. That's what you do when you don't have any friends. Books are my friends. If it's a book, I'll read it. Biographies are very interesting. Political books are always educational and when I just want to escape, fiction is the way to go. I enjoy all kinds of fiction too. Fantasy and Sci-fi are fun; romance can be hard to take, but sometimes I'm in that mood. What I love the most are the classics. Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorites. Anyway, that's me, Abby the bookworm.

Well, the reason this school has been the worst is because of this group of popular kids. For some unfathomable reason, they won't leave me alone. They torment me nonstop. I haven't done anything to them. Like I said, I keep to myself. Maybe that bothers them?

"Hey there Abby."

Here we go again. I ignore him.

"Whatcha reading?"

I continue to ignore him.

"Are you deaf? Or just dumb?" another voice askes.

I look at my watch and decide I will go to my next class early. Anything to get away from these morons. I put the book I was reading in my backpack and stand up. Before I can go anywhere someone grabs my arm. I try to shake it off, but the grip tightens. I look at the hand and then at the owner of it. Wonderful. It's Kaden, the group's muscle. I try to keep my expression neutral, but it's difficult. His hold on my arm is painful. I know there is no use in talking to Kaden. His IQ is in the basement and he's proud of it. So, I turn to their leader, Dillon. He's the mighty inquisitor.

"What do you want, Dillon?" I ask.

"I just want to know what you were reading," he answered. His expression was way too innocent. I glanced at Jeff and Cassandra who were watching, amusement clearly written on their faces.

"Why is it so important for you to know what I'm reading?" If I answer him will they let me go? I couldn't know what they would do. It was different every time.

"Why are you so reluctant to tell me?" he retorts.

"Because I don't see how it's any of your business." I respond. The grip on my arm gets even tighter. I gasped in pain. "Would you please tell your muscle man to please let go of my arm. I wouldn't want to have to tell the schools nurse how I got such a spectacular bruise." Kaden's grip loosened, but he didn't let go. I sigh. Dillon raised his eyebrows, still waiting for me to answer his question. I cave.

"I was reading Arguing with Idiots." Too bad it couldn't help me in this situation. It was a political book, not that they would know that.

Dillon's eyebrows go even higher and Jeff and Casandra's faces scowl and start to redden in anger. The vice on my arm gets tighter again and the meathead practically shouts in my ear, "Are you calling us idiots?"

"Why say something so obvious," I murmur under my breath.

"Chill out Kaden," Dillon tells his friend. "It's a political book written by a radio personality." I wasn't surprised Dillon knew. He is the smartest of the bunch. He actually got the best grades in the sophomore class until I came to this school. Now I'm giving him a run for his money. I don't care about competition; I just want a full scholarship to a good college.

"Can I go now?" I ask. The bell rings and I just want to get to class.

"Sure," Dillon answered. Kaden let go of my arm and I start to walk away. I only make it three steps before someone grabs me from the back of my collar. I almost fall and I feel the chain on my locket break. It falls to the floor. I go to pick it up, but Cassandra gets it first. She's the one who pulled me back. I guess Dillon's inquisition wasn't enough for her.

"Well, what do we have here?" Cassandra asks in a sing song voice. I hold out my hand and ask for it back. Instead she opens the locket and looks at the pictures I have inside. On the left is a picture of my parents. On the right is a picture of Daemyn. She raises her eyebrows. "Ooooo, Abby has pictures in here. You guys wanna see?" The group gathers around her to look at my dead loved ones. After they are done I ask for it back again.

"Actually, Abby dear, I think I'll keep it. But I'll let you have the important parts of it." Then Cassandra proceeds to rip out the pictures and throw them at me. I can't help it; I start to cry as I pick up the pictures. My parents gave me that locket on my fourteenth birthday. It is the only gift from them I still have. I can't decide if I should try to court their sympathy. I look at Cassandra through my tears. Her face is one of triumph. Finally, she was the one to make me cry. No sympathy there. I turn and walk to class.

If only Bridget was here. She is the only one in that crowd that is semi-nice to me. Her mom is my social worker, so she knows my story. I asked her not to tell anyone else. She did as I asked, but keeps trying to persuade me otherwise knowing that her friends might treat me better if they knew. I didn't want special treatment, although I was getting it; the bad kind. I decide to call her after school to make sure she's ok.

The rest of the school day passes without incident. I go "home" and my foster mother tells me my social worker is coming to give me some news. I wait anxiously for half an hour. Bridget's mom knocks on the door and is invited in. We sit down in the living room. Her smile makes me a little nervous. Then she tells me my relatives have found a couple that wants to adopt me. They even live in another state. It turns out the couple is wealthy and have connections that make the process faster. I leave tomorrow. I feel a wave of relief that I'm leaving this place.

I remember that I wanted to call Bridget so I try. Her phone goes directly to voicemail. I decide to write her a letter.

Dear Bridget,

I hope you are ok as I didn't see you at school today. I want to thank you for your kindness to me while I was here. Yes, I'm leaving. My relatives have found a couple who want to adopt me. I leave tomorrow morning to meet them. I'm sorry I don't have a way to keep in touch with you. It's probably for the best anyway.

Would you do me a favor and pass on these messages? I would appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Abby

While writing the letter to Bridget I decide to write a couple more notes.

Kaden,

I wanted to thank you for the bruise. I've never had one this bad before. Maybe I can get it entered in the World Record Book. A word of advice: it's better to use strength like yours to help people, not to harm them.

Abby

Cassandra,

Thank you for stealing the only thing precious to me in this whole world. Please take good care of it. Just so you know, tearing someone down doesn't make you any better, only worse.

Abby

Jeff,

Please take good care of Bridget. I know she loves you. I just wish you had followed her example and trusted her judgment when it came to me. It's good to learn from your mistakes.

Abby

Last but definitely not least:

Dillon,

I bet you are glad to see me go. You will be at the academic top again. I just wanted to thank you for making my life at school a living hell. Did you know that your name means "Born of the Ocean"? The ocean is a wonderful thing. It has beauty, power, it gives life, and it takes it away. It can be a great ally, and a fearsome enemy. Please remember you also have power. You have a mighty influence over the people around you. Use that power wisely, or it may turn on you. In my case I would say you used it foolishly.

Abby

I seal each note in its own envelope then put them all inside the envelope I would mail to Bridget. Now all I needed to do was pack my meager belongings.