Chapter 1: Good News

I walked out of British Literature feeling like the day would never end. I just listened to a 40-minute lecture on how Shakespeare probably stole all his stories from some writer we will never know about. I slowly walked to my locker that felt miles away. I dropped my lock on the floor. "Ah crap," I muttered to myself and bent down to pick it up. As I stood back up someone grabbed my shoulders and spun me around. "Ah!" I gasped a little too loudly. I almost slammed my head into my locker door as jumped up to see who was behind me. "When did you get there? Shouldn't you be on your way to art in the north wing?" I punched Alex in the arm in the friendliest way possible. He punched me right back.

"Mr. Edwards can wait, he won't miss me. I doubt he even knows I exist. I've got to tell you something really important. It can't wait." He pulled my hand towards the courtyard door, trying to run, almost hopping. "Come on Rose!" He looked really excited, like a little kid that just found out he had a lifetime supply of ice cream or something like that.

"Alright, alright, just let me grab my Chemistry book and I will come with you." I took a little slower looking for my book, just 'cause I knew it would annoy him. He stopped bouncing and glared. Success. "I know; I'm coming." I slammed my locker door shut and followed him out into the courtyard. Why did he have to come out here? It was absolutely freezing. The second I pulled the door shut behind me he exploded into a frenzy of excitement. Oh, that's why.

"I GOT IT! I GOT IT!" He started bouncing again. He looked like an idiot, even though I knew he was being totally serious.

"You did? When?" He didn't have to tell me what he was talking about; he hadn't shut up about it for weeks. He whipped out his cell phone in an instant to show me a picture of his new acoustic guitar. He was supposed to get it for his birthday about a month ago, but his dad had gotten stuck in California due to bad weather here in Boston and couldn't make it out for the surprise. He finally found out about it last Tuesday. It was just the one he's been dreaming about and talking about ever since I met him.

"Just yesterday afternoon, I was walking home from school yesterday when I saw this huge box on the steps." His face lit up as he talked. "I sprinted the rest of the way." I was glad he was excited. Somewhat because I wouldn't have to listen to the same stories every day of how he would spend all his time writing songs without an instrument to actually play the music, but also because Alex was my best friend, and when he's happy, I'm happy. The bell rang just as he opened his mouth to say something else and the sparkle in his ocean blue eyes disappeared. He looked disappointed.

"Tell me the rest later, okay?" I patted his shoulder as we walked back inside. "We can go to Sophie's after school." Sophie's was the best coffee shop in town; they made frozen hot chocolate—good even in the winter.

"Okay!" He was happy again. "See you then!"

As I made my way down the hallway towards the Chemistry lab, the thought of Alex's new guitar reminded me of my conversation with my mom that morning. She doesn't like the fact that I'm so into music. She wants me to follow in her criminal justice footsteps, but I just can't do it. My dreams lie within the strings of my guitar, not within the brutal back-and-forth nature of witness interrogation. Alex and I spent endless hours at each other's houses. We scoured YouTube for new songs, and the Internet for cheap copies of sheet music. We sang 'till our siblings screamed at us to shut up. I loved being with Alex because he was like my twin. I drifted off into a mirage of memories from when we were in elementary school. I had always felt like a big sister to him. He never really thought before he acted, and often came to me for help. I remember in 5th grade when he had a crush on Lizzie Caldwell. We would sit in the playground after lunch and just talk. He talked about how pretty she was, and I listened as his face lit up like the moon and he slurred his words together from excitement. My daydream was interrupted by a cracking sound and a shout.

My teacher, Ms. Hopkins, lowered her yardstick from the chalkboard and glared at me. "Rosalie Garner! Pay more attention or else I'll take 10 points off your participation grade."

"Sorry, Ms. Hopkins." I sat up straight and pretended to be completely focused on the notes I was supposed to be taking. I couldn't read her handwriting anyway so what was the use? As I stared blankly at the chalkboard I thought about what I would order later at Sophie's.


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