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My life was crumbling ever since three years ago or maybe a little before that. I guess everything started with my sister, then my mother, my father, and eventually me. My brother never broke. He was always the tough one that looked out for all of us. We meant so much to him.

But he crumbled. In time.

I stayed in pieces and I watched as my siblings rebuilt their lives. My parents were gone. First her, then he faded away.

Here's the story of how I picked up the pieces of me and how I rebuilt my life—with help from my family, my neighbour, my best friend, my teachers—and from Jake, my ex-best friend, my ex-neighbour, and the sole person who had the most important part of me that I couldn't take away.

My heart.

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I never thought that I would ever be back here.

This town, that house…this school. It brought back so many memories. Memories that I wanted to get rid of.

"It'll be okay," Zach, my older brother told me. I was sure that my face was not showing the dread I was feeling in the pit of my stomach, but Zach was always good at reading my emotions, or anyone's emotions at that.

I frowned at him. Zach was only a couple months older than me. It was strange since we were both in the same grade. Many people thought that we were twins, though we didn't look very alike at all.

The truth is, Zach was born in January, and eleven months later, in November, I was born.

"Yeah, sure," I sighed. "No one should even remember, right?"

"Didn't Abigail tell you that?"

I smiled. He always remembered more of what Abigail said than I did. "She did. I forgot." I glanced back up at the school. Everyone was bound to forget by now—it had been three years.

But I knew that he would.

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"OH MY GOSH! IT'S EMILY CARTER!"

At first, my heart sped up thinking it was just an old acquaintance that I had known from three years ago, but Zach chuckled and seemed at ease. Then I realized I recognized that voice.

"Abby?" I smiled up at her. Abigail was my best friend since we were four years old. She used to live right beside me until we moved. She was heartbroken when she found out I was leaving the country. We'd communicated for three years by calling, texting and random emailing. Usually long-distance friendships didn't prosper, but we'd managed to make it work.

Abigail was tall for her age. She was shorter than Zach by an inch, which made her 5'10. Her red hair looked just as I remembered it—in shiny waves. She had light blue eyes and a wide grin on her face. She had gotten prettier, and I wasn't the only one that noticed.

"Hey Rodriguez," Zach said.

Abigail scrutinized him, "Hello Carter." She turned to me, "Hey Creature."

I laughed, "You haven't changed, have you?"

Her lips twitched, and I could tell she was trying hard not to grin even larger. "I said, 'Hey Creature.'"

"Hello Beast," I said smiling.

"Same old Emma," she laughed as I pulled her into a hug. She pulled away after a few seconds.

"So how was Scarlett High without me?" I asked.
"Boring. You should see Jake—he's changed so much!" She replied.
I suddenly thought about all of the memories that I had with Jake.
"He is the last person that I want to see," I growled.

"You still haven't gotten over what happened? You guys used to be best friends. Forgive and forget Emma," she replied to me. The hate boiled up in me, and I didn't want to talk about him anymore.

"Please Abby. I don't want to talk about this now—not on my first day." I gave her a pleading look.

"Fine," she sighed, surrendering. "But you're going to bump into him eventually."

"I'll try my best to avoid him," I promised. We walked into the school. "I have to go to the office and get my schedule."

"Oh alright, do you want me to come with you?" Abigail asked.

"Nah, it's okay. It's late. You should get to class. I'll have an excuse."

She nodded, "Okay then, maybe we'll even have the first class together if we're lucky!" Abigail waved before she turned and walked away.

The school really hasn't changed. It looked the same like it did three years ago. Nearby, I saw Zach catching up with a few of his old friends by the lockers. I recognized a few of them and I hoped they wouldn't recognize me. "Zach, remember your schedule!" I told him as I walked past.

He nodded, giving me a small smile, and continued his conversation with his friends. Zach always made friends quickly.

I walked to the school office, girls shooting me looks of jealousy and boys wolf-whistling as I passed. I rolled my eyes. Didn't they have anything better to do?

I entered the office. Wow, this place is exactly how I left it. I should have known, because the principal didn't really like change, which was ironic because every year he had new students.

I walked up to the secretary, "Good morning, my name is Emily Carter. I just transferred here and I would like to see my schedule."

She looked up at me through thick-rimmed glasses. She was an older woman with curly grey hair that framed her plump face. Her eyes were steel-grey and emotionless. She could've passed for a kind-hearted grandmother if it weren't for her obviously uncaring aura that radiated off of her. "Emily Carter." She seemed to be scrutinizing me, narrowing her eyes as if it would make her see me better.

"Yes, Emily, though I prefer Emma." I gave her a small smile.

"Well then Miss. Carter, I'll just go get your schedule, if you would just please wait here for a moment."

I let out the breath I was holding after she had left. I was sure for a second there that she would refuse to do anything, but I guess maybe she did have some warmth in her heart that I had not felt as of yet.

She came back not a moment later, handing me a piece of paper. "This is your schedule, and your locker number and combination is on it."

I'd forgotten about my locker. I smiled widely at her, "Thanks so much! Have a great day!"

She smiled slightly, "You too, Miss Carter. Have a terrific day."

The way she said that sent shivers down my spine.

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Day One

Chemistry

Art

Mathematics

Physical Education

LUNCH

French

Language

History

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After putting my bag securely into my locker, I headed for my first class of the day—Chemistry.

I knew I was going to have a bad day as soon I knocked at the door, pushed it open, and met a pair of light brown eyes.

Light brown eyes, tanned skin, black hair. His mouth was agape, just staring at me.

Oh, I'm screwed. So much for avoiding him.

It was him—Jake.

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