This is an original story of mine and therefore any infringement on the rights entitled to me relating to my copyrighted work is hereby prohibited.

Please review. I started this as a way to break the slump I am experiencing on my other novel, and decided I liked it enough to post it. I'd really appreciate anyone telling me what they think.

For eighteen years, they told me there was no such thing as perfection. It was fool's gold, they said, untouchable, out of reach, unknowable. And for eighteen years, I believed them.

We are flawed beings, humans. I won't pretend any differently. We tend to be proud, stubborn, brash, and perilously unpredictable. We don't always learn from our mistakes, or take the high road, or think before we act. We don't consider the people we leave behind, or need the ones that need us in return. We change too quickly, fickle and unfair, and we persecute what we cannot rightly perceive. We don't always fall in love with the right person. We get lost chasing our dreams, and we make the mistake of growing up. And sooner or later, everybody becomes the person that they swore they would never be.

No, people aren't perfect. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. Neither was Shea, for that matter, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Not Nolan, either. Cole, Derek, Monroe- not one of them was even close. They were strange and they were flawed and they were beautifully destructive, but were mine all the same. I keep the memory of their faces and their pure them-ness locked in my head, jammed up against the events associated with it all. I keep them under lock and key, knowing that if I remember what joy I found in flaws I'd stop trying for better at all.

Let me tell you something that eighteen years of life in this world could never have prepared me for. It's something I learned alongside those incredible imperfections, the ones that ran with me in the guises of stupidly excitable teenagers instead of the gods we felt like. That summer, my eighteenth summer? It was devastating, painful, electrifying, fresh, infinite, so indisputably wrong, so inarguably right. It was heartbreak, car chases, runaways, fireworks, loud music, fast cars-everything I'd been able to avoid like a good little girl. It was every memory that I'd seal in a box in the shapes of photographs and souvenirs, hold tight to my chest until old age when my heart was so full with life and love and lessons it would have no choice but to burst. It practically destroyed me, ran my blood backwards til I was bone dry.

God, it was so perfect.