~Prologue: Hello Summer~

Darkness. All I could see was darkness in my field of vision. It was eerie, yet calming, as if my time here in the unknown was preparing me for something...but what? Suddenly the blackness of my surroundings shifted-images and shapes whizzing past me at astonishing rates of speed. And then it was still. Looking around I noticed that I was on a stage, the spotlight shining directly on me. I wasn't sure what to do and as I looked toward the audience for some glimmer of support, I was amazed to find the red, velvet seats empty and devoid of life.

A sudden tap on my shoulder sent shivers down my spine, but I turned around anyway, hoping to catch a glimpse of this stranger. I stared up at the face of an older looking gentleman with striking features and dark, brooding eyes. I opened my mouth to say hello but this act was mute. Confused, I tried feebly to communicate using hand gestures but this mysterious, if not handsome man was as stoic as a rock, staring at me with those two orbs of enigma he called eyes. I was so transfixed by his gaze that I was surprised to notice him leaning mere inches away from my face. His expression had not changed but still my cheeks were tingling with heat. He put his sturdy arms on my shoulders and leaned in slowly. My pulse quickened and I could feel my face lighting up like a Christmas tree.

Closer...closer...closer. As his lips parted open I closed my eyes, not exactly knowing what to do though I knew what I wanted. But as the seconds passed I felt nothing. I opened my eyes and saw the man still leaning close to me, but he was not kissing me, not embracing me in a warm and rough embrace. No, he was whispering. Interested I leaned in with my ear to hear what he was saying, my prior embarrassment overridden by my curiosity.

"Wake up. Wake up. Wake up."

For a moment I thought he was speaking gibberish, but as his words soon registered in my mind, I found myself obeying his command.

With a groan, I turned over and looked at my digital alarm clock.

10:27 A.M.

For a second, I thought I had overslept and immediately scrambled out of bed to find my backpack. Just as I found it, however, I realized that there was a reason that I had overslept. Thank God, it's summer.

And what a relief it was. Three quarters of grueling college work was no walk in the park and I definitely needed this break. Still, I thought. Freshman year was a lot of fun. Hopefully these next three years will be even better!

Walking back to bed, I thought about the strange dream I had. The man on the stage was strikingly handsome, despite his mysterious nature. The thought of his mere presence was enough to make my fingers tingle. As I hugged my pillow, I sighed to myself, knowing that someone like that was likely out of the realm of reality for me. There's no Prince Charming in this fairy tale...

I was woken out of my revelry by my mother calling me from downstairs.

"Honey, are you up yet? I made you waffles!" she shouted.

"Yeah Mom, I'll be down in a sec!", I replied, trying to equal her loudness.

After performing my daily rituals of hygiene, I walked back to my bed and checked my phone that was sitting on the nightstand. Apparently my friend Gina had left me a text message when I was doing my...duties.

"Hey Nat, you sleepyhead! Mall later today? Got something for u to see!"

Rolling my eyes, I pushed a strand of hair from my face. Whenever Gina said that there was something for me to "see", it was usually not very good...for me that is. But still, she was a good friend and she meant well...most of the time. At the very least, I would get a good laugh out of whatever it was that she had planned, I chuckled.

My mom's booming voice rose through the door once again as I was put on my jeans.

"Honey! You ready?"

"Yeah I'm coming down now!"

Grabbing my phone, I opened the door and headed downstairs, eager to start the first day of summer.