I woke up, stretched, and looked around the room that I shared with my best friend, Odette. She was still asleep under her powder-blue blankets.

Odette was a quiet, shy girl. She was extremely smart, but her fear of being in the public eye always got the best of her.

She was very pretty, too. She has long, blonde hair and bright blue eyes.

I can be very loud, and I am extremely outgoing. I am smart too, but I just don't devote my life to studying. I don't consider myself popular, but everyone says that I am the most popular girl in school.

I have long, red, messy hair and big brown eyes. I'm slender, but I'm also only 5'4", where Odette is about 5'7".

Then there's out other friend, Skylar. She's asleep across the room underneath her emerald blankets, her black hair fanned out behind her.

Skylar was smart, but extremely lazy. She rarely did her homework, but it was perfect when she did do it. She was purposely late to a lot of things and slightly snobby, yet she was best friends with innocent Odette and loudmouth me. Crazy, I know.

We live on an island off the coast of California. We're part of the North American Orphan Society, a large sanctuary that provides a living space, school, and community for orphans over 12, since we are the ones who have the smallest chance of being adopted.

We are all 16, and we met four years ago. My parents had been killed in a major car accident when I was 12; Odette's family and Skylar's family had been in the car that we collided with. We'd never met before that day, but now we're all best friends. The doctor's said that we were lucky to be alive.

So now we live here, on our island with all the other teenage orphans. We were happy here, although we often missed our parents.

I got up and started getting ready for school. Here in the sanctuary, we went to school all year, apart from having weekends and holidays off.

I was sitting at the table eating a bowl of fruit loops when Odette appeared out of the bedroom, fully dressed and hair perfect.

"Good morning, sunshine!" she said cheerfully, plopping down next to me and grabbing the cereal box out of my hand.

"Morning," I said groggily. I am not a morning person.

Once we were both done, we grabbed our bags and headed out, Odette nagging me to hurry up, otherwise we would be late. On a typical day, we made it to school right before the bell rang, thanks to me and my hatred of early morning.

Skylar was coming into school later than usual; she had a doctor's appointment that morning.

"Alex, wait up!" I turned to the sound of my name to see my other best friend, Mason, running to catch up with me.

My real name is Alexandria Charlotte McKinnon, but everyone just calls me Alex.

Mason Aniston was my best guy friend. He had ear-length, dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I'll admit that I used to like him a little bit, but not anymore, of course.

"Hey Mason," I greeted.

"Did you hear what Ms. Bryant has planned for us?" he asked.

"Isn't it called 'The Parent Project'?" Odette piped up.

Mason nodded, "Yeah, but she hasn't given us any details about it. It's weird, huh?"

"It's called 'The Parent Project'? That is weird…I guess we'll find out in class today!" I said, walking into the classroom.

The bell rang and Ms. Bryant walked into the room, her curly black hair swaying behind her, just like it always did.

"Class, today we will be starting a year old project," she started, "I call it 'The Parent Project', and during this project, if you agree to it, you will become parents!" she exclaimed gleefully with a smile.

We'll become parents? I knew that in some schools, they gave students baby simulators to take home for a while to see what it's like to have a child. Is that what Ms. Bryant is trying to do?

She continued on, "How many of you agree to this assignment? I warn you, this project will be with you for a long time, even longer than you might expect. You will have to be willing to make a commitment,"

Well, didn't she say that this would be a year-long project? Of course it would be for a long time!

Skylar walked in just then, looked at Ms. Bryant, "Sorry I'm late. I had a dentist appointment. If you don't believe me, here's a note. Whatever this stupid project is, it sounds big, so I'm in," she stated simply, her grey eyes locking on Ms. Bryant's.

"That's fine, Skylar. Sit down now, please," she said, "Now who agrees to this assignment?" she asked.

The entire class raised their hands. Some slowly, but eventually, all 28 hands were in the air.

"Great! Now, if the boys will please follow me into the hallway," she said, flashing her fake-whitened teeth at the boys who were now excitedly exiting into the hallway.

They were gone a very long time, but eventually, they returned with grim faces and a slower pace. None of them had a look of excitement on their face; it was mainly fear.

Mason's face was the worst. He was totally pale, and his blue eyes were very wide and distant-looking.

I turned around to face him. He was gripping the sides of the desk, staring at the middle.

"What did she say?" I whispered.

His eyes locked onto mine, "You won't believe what you just signed up for," he stated gravely.