Chapter 1

Luckily, I'm on summer vacation!

Unluckily, I AM SO BORED.

I sat at the kitchen table, fiddling with a string and a few beads. I was trying to make a necklace, but it couldn't hold my concentration for more than five minutes. Nothing could.

Hmm, I thought. Delilah will be at Phoebe's show right now, Aurora and Brooke are both on vacation, Alec has a gig… So that leaves Patrick.

Delilah Horton (Phoebe was her little sister); Aurora Day, Brooke Penn, Alec Wilder, and Patrick Hudson were my best friends. We'd all met at Phoenix Boarding School for the Arts, where we attended. I was about to enter the seventh grade, but I still had another month to wait. Alec, who had been an eighth grader when we met, was going to enter his freshman year. This meant that he'd be in the high school building. I'd miss him, but not as much as Delilah would. (Delilah had a long-standing, unrequited crush on Alec. I don't think he knew. If he did, he was tactful enough to not mention it.)

Anyway, Patrick was the only one of my friends who would be available to call at the moment. I would've called him, but…

"So, Saffron, where should we go for our date tonight?"

…my older brother, Milo, had been hogging the phone for the past hour. Granted, he does this all the time, so I should be used to it, but it's so annoying! Saffron was his girlfriend of about 7 ½ months.

"Milo!" I shouted. "I wanna call a friend!"

"Later!" he yelled back. "Hmm? Oh, sorry, Saffron, I was talking to Adele. …Yeah, she's good. Yeah. Oh, okay." He turned back to me. "Saffron says hi!"

"Hi, Saffron!" I hollered.

Knowing I wouldn't get the phone for awhile, I decided to walk over to the library to use the computer, since my laptop was in use (thank you, Dad, for breaking your own laptop and using mine without asking). When I logged onto my email, I had a message from Brooke.

To: Adele Becker (ShiningStar67)

From: Brooke Penn (Dancer_Gurl_444)

Subject: London

Hey Adele!

I'm in London with my mom and stepfather right now. It's so-o great! I wish you, Delilah, and Aurora could be here. Today we went to a museum, and tomorrow, Mom is gonna take me shopping. I'll send you pictures, okay?

How are you? I hope your vacation is going well. Is Milo still going out with that Saffron person? She seemed nice. Tell them both I said "hi." Oh, yeah, have you heard from Patrick recently? I haven't had a chance to call him.

TTYL,

Brooke xoxo

I typed back.

To: Brooke Penn (Dancer_Gurl_444)

From: Adele Becker (ShiningStar67)

Subject: Re: London

Brooke—

London sure sounds like fun! I can't wait to see the pictures. I haven't heard from Pat since two weeks ago, but I'll probably call him soon. Yes, Milo and Saffron are still together, though I can't figure out why.

I can't wait for school to start up again! Except for the seeing Sophia again part. That bit I could reeeeeeeaaaaaally do without. ;) I wonder what seventh grade will be like? I'm also eager for us to meet the new sixth graders. So trusting, so naïve, as we once were. How times have changed, right?

Later,

Adele

Then I had an email from Delilah.

To: Adele Becker (ShiningStar67)

From: Delilah Horton (Duster4ever)

Subject: Visit

Hey. Are you still visiting next week? If so, the plan is: you drive up to Boston from Greensburg, stay a week, and then Dad and I will drive you back down. See you then.

I replied back that I was still coming, then decided to get off the computer and wander around Greensburg Square, where all the good shops and parks were located, for a bit.

I was browsing through the music store— Beats— when I bumped into someone. This someone was a lanky teenager with a stack of rock posters in his hands. His eyes were piercing electric blue, his hair black, but dirty blond at the roots, meaning that it'd been dyed.

"Alec!" I said, throwing my arms around his neck.

"Hey, Adele," he smiled. "I forgot, you live here, don't you?"

"Born and raised," I said. "What brings you here?"

"The yearly road trip with my parents," he explained. "We stop in this town nearly every time. My Aunt Sylvie lives here, so we visit her."

"Cool. I can't believe that you're gonna be a freshman!"

"I know, neither can I."

A woman with dirty blond hair called, "Alec! Time to go!"

"Augh, sorry, Adele, I have to leave," he groaned. "I'll see you at school."

"See you at school," I repeated.

***

Dad and I pulled up in front of a large blue house with a navy blue roof. Greensburg straddles the Pennsylvania-New York state line, so it had taken about 4 hours to drive to Boston. I was so glad to be there; I hadn't seen my best friend since June, and we had some catching up to do.

The door opened as we pulled up, and an elementary school-aged girl with curly brown hair came out. It was Clara, the second-youngest of Delilah's sisters. When she saw me get out, she stuck her head back in the door and shouted, "DELILAH! Your friend's here!"

A curtain to a window on the top floor moved, and I saw a girl with tan hair and hazel eyes lift up the window. She leaned out, and shouted, "Hang tight, I'll be down in a minute!"

"Okay!" I called back.

Delilah was outside in less than a minute. Soon, she was shooting out the front door, still in her bare feet, down the porch, and tossed her arms around me in a hug.

"Hey, Delilah," I said.

"Hey, Adele. What's up?"

"Oh, you know, same old, same old. How about you?"

"We went to New York in June," she said. "It was really great, there was an anime con there and Dad took me and Clara to it." I grinned; anime, video games, and manga were what Delilah loved best. She'd definitely fit right in at an anime con.

"Did you do that cosplaying thing?" I asked.

"Yeah, I dyed my hair green and went as Mai Shiga from Alchemy and Other Disasters. I got my picture taken five times!"

"Awesome," I said.

A tall teenager with blond hair came out. "Delilah! Mama wants us to help with lunch!" she called. The girl was Piper May, the oldest of the Horton girls. Her gaze flicked over to me. "Anna, isn't it?"

"Adele," I corrected.

"Oh, right, yeah, sorry," Piper May said carelessly.

Two more girls, Nicola, the youngest, and Phoebe, who was one year younger than myself, came flying down the sidewalk, with grocery bags in their hands. "We're back!" Phoebe chirped. "Nicky and I got the stuff Mama needed."

Nicola handed Piper May her bag, and then she saw me. "Who's that?" she asked.

"It's Adele," Delilah said. "I told you she was coming, remember?"

"Oh yeah…" Nicola said, apparently remembering for the first time.

Delilah picked up my suitcase. "C'mon, Adele, let's get your stuff up to my room."