I sat in the dark kitchen at the window seat overlooking the backyard contemplating my pathetic, shallow existence. I was curled up in a blanket my grandmother made me when I was a baby and sipped thoughtfully at a mug full of coffee. The sky was the color of ripe blueberries, and a few twinkling stars blinked out of sight in the early morning sky.
I heard the soft thuds of footsteps coming toward the kitchen and smiled as my father entered. His dark brown beard was beginning to get wisps of grey in it, and the hair in the middle of his head was beginning to thin. "Good morning, sweetie," he said with a tired smile. He yawned as he stumbled over to the coffee maker.
"Good morning, Dad," I said as I smiled tiredly.
"What are you doing up so early? I wasn't expecting to see you for another hour or so," he said as he poured himself some coffee into his favorite mug, a #1 Dad mug that my little sisters and I gave him for Father's Day when I was little.
"I couldn't sleep last night. I'm still getting used to this whole narcoleptic thing," I said as I yawned and took another sip of coffee.
"Don't you have a test today?" my dad questioned nervously.
"Yeah, it's in English over that book I had to read. I've been reading it over again when I wake up in the middle of the night. I know it pretty well at this point," I said as I watched the sky begin to change colors from a dark blue to bright pastels, and the stars begin to blot out from the sky.
"The sunrise is really pretty this morning," Dad said quietly as he began to make pancakes for my mom, sisters, and I.
"Yeah. I've been having to get used to watching the sunrise. It's not a bad thing to have to get used to," I chuckled.
"The sunrise is one of the prettiest times of day. Everything's waking up. I proposed to your mom at sunrise," Dad said as he flipped a pancake thoughtfully. The smell of pancakes and bacon began wafting towards me. I breathed in the wonderful smell of the combination of all my favorite breakfast foods.
"I'm going to go get ready for school," I said as I wrapped the worn blanket tightly around my shoulders, put my mug in the sink and walked out of the kitchen. I tiptoed past my parent's room, careful not to wake my mom, who was still lightly snoring. I crawled up the stairs and slipped into my room and shut the door quietly.
My room was painted a bright sky blue, and all the furniture was white. I opened my blinds to reveal the opposite side of the house, looking out into the cul-de-sac at the other houses surrounding mine. The sky was a bright sherbet orange with streaks of pink and red clouds. I sighed as I looked at the gorgeous sky. I dropped the blanket on my bed and walked over to my dresser and pulled out a pair of jeans and decided to just wear a white v-neck with it, and wore a long necklace my dad bought for me in Europe while on a business trip. I put on the worn black converse that I wear every day, then combed my hopeless brown curls. I quickly applied a thin coat of makeup.
"Alix!" Sierra shouted as she banged on my door. "Get up! Dad's making pancakes and he says that they are ready to eat now!" I heard the pitter patter of her legs running downstairs and then another door opening.
"Sierra? Did you say Dad's making pancakes?" Emma asked excitedly.
"Yeah! Hurry up or you'll miss them!" Sierra shouted from the kitchen. I heard Emma running down the hall and then down the stairs to the kitchen. I grabbed my backpack from beside my bureau and walked downstairs. I decided to stop by Ryan's house after breakfast.
I went into the kitchen to find my parents and little sisters surrounding the table with mouthfuls of pancakes, bacon and eggs. My mom sipped her coffee. "How'd you sleep, dear?" my mom asked as she looked at my already dressed self.
"Terrible. I woke up several times during the night and then finally couldn't fall back asleep at about four. So I came down here and had some coffee and finished up some homework," I said as I fixed myself a plate.
"I'm so sorry to hear that, hon. We have a doctor's appointment scheduled for you today after school so they can check up on you and see how you're doing. The nurse was telling me that there's also some boy about the same age as you who's become narcoleptic recently, strikingly similar symptoms as you, and she was thinking about having you two meet. Apparently there's this new drug that they want you to try because they think it will help," Mom said as she ate her food and sipped her coffee.
I sat down at the table and began digging into my stack of pancakes. "That sounds great, Mom. I'm heading over to Ryan's before school," I said, ignoring her whole doctor's appointment thing. I had tried multiple sleeping pills and everything they had given me, but nothing was strong enough to help. I knew that whatever it was it wouldn't work, but she was determined to stay positive about the whole thing.
"Alright, that's fine. I'll be picking you up early today so that we can beat afterschool traffic so that we can get to your doctor's appointment on time," she said, her blue eyes narrowing slightly as she saw I was avoiding that whole topic.
"Okay, awesome. Hey, Sierra where's my phone? Weren't you the last one playing with it last night?" I asked.
"Oh, yeah after Emma went to bed I played with it for a little while. It's on the couch in the game room I think," she said, pushing a big brown tangled knot of hair out of her face.
After scarfing down breakfast, I said goodbye to Mom and Dad and told Sierra and Emma that I would see them later. I walked out the front door and was saddened to see that the sun had changed to a light blue, and some small clouds dotted the sky. I walked down the street to the corner and crossed the road. Ryan's house was the first on the left, a two story red brick house. From the sidewalk I could hear shouts from Ryan's numerous brothers. I knocked on the thick wooden door once before walking in.
Ryan's mother had the unfortunate experience of having just one girl, Ryan, and having three sets of twin boys and two after that. I have a hard time keeping track of who is who, especially since one of the sets of twins are identical. Ryan has twin older brothers, then her, then her younger brothers. I can barely keep up with having two little sisters, and I can't imagine having eight brothers, and six younger ones. I waded through the sea of brunette and blonde boys all saying "hi" eagerly, some hugging me. I struggled to get to the stairs, and was halfway up when her mom spotted me. "Oh Alix how are you?" she asked with an already tired smile.
"I'm good how are you?" I asked with a smile, trying not to be rude. I just wanted to go crash on Ryan's bed.
"I'm hanging on by a thread," she said with a chuckle as she picked up one of the chubby toddler boys, already dirty.
"Well, good. I need to talk to Ryan about something but it was nice talking to you," I said with a smile as I ran upstairs. I passed by the other two bedrooms that the boys were crammed in. A few were running in and out in the hustle and bustle of getting ready for school. In each of the bedrooms there were two sets of bunk beds. I couldn't imagine having to share a room with three other people. Luckily Ryan had her own room since she was the only girl, and most of the boys were young enough to not need privacy yet.
I banged on her bedroom door three times and Ryan yelled, "Nate, I swear to God if that is you asking to borrow my clothes again I will knock you into next week."
I opened the door and flashed her a grin. "I'm not one of your obnoxious little brothers so can I come sleep on your bed?"
"Oh, Alix it's you. Yeah, be my guest. Is that weird narcolepsy thing acting up?" she asked as she pulled her wavy, dark brown hair into a ponytail.
"Yeah, I woke up at four this morning and couldn't fall back to sleep. It sucked," I said as I dropped my backpack at the foot of her bed then collapsed into the pile of blankets and pillows tucked into the corner of her room.
Ryan disappeared into her closet as she changed from her pajamas into regular clothes. "God that sucks, and here I thought not being able to fall asleep until one because I was watching The Office was bad," she said with a chuckle.
"Yeah that's pretty bad too," I giggled.
"Oh my God, speaking of sucking, I think my mom's pregnant again," she said with a groan.
"Are you serious?" I asked, shocked that her mom would even consider that a good idea.
"Well, I think she is. I'm not totally sure. But if it's another set of twin boys I swear to God I'm going to kill myself. I cannot deal with more brothers," she said as she rolled her eyes as she put on a little eyeliner and mascara.
"Would you seriously be cool with sharing a room with a baby if it's a girl though?" I asked.
"Well, yeah. I mean I've been suffering as the only sister for almost sixteen years. I honestly don't care if I have to share a room with my little sister. Plus it would only be for a couple of years," she shrugged as she came over and laid on the bed next to me.
"Well I guess you'll just have to see," I said thoughtfully.
"What's ironic though is that my mom had three miscarriages before my older brothers and she almost gave up with trying for kids altogether," she said quietly.
"Wow, that is ironic. Little did she know that she would have nine kids, possibly more," I said.
"Yeah, and plus the fact that eight of them are boys. God has a funny way of doing things because my mom really wanted to have two kids and both of them be girls. She also wanted them to be really girly too," she chuckled.
"I could never imagine you being girly," I admitted, trying to think of what Ryan would look like if she put on a heavy face of makeup and did her hair and wore frilly clothes.
"She tried to make me girly. But growing up with a ton of brothers made it impossible. Plus it's ironic that she let my dad name me, because she wanted to name one of her daughters Matilda and have them go by Mattie or something," she said.
"Wow. The irony never ends with your family does it?" I ask as I looked to check my phone for the time before realizing that it was still at home.
"Nope, never," she replied as she got up.
"Hey, I totally forgot my phone at home. Do you want to go with me to go get it?" I asked.
"Nah I need to eat breakfast and Henry has a school play or something and wants me to rehearse with him before we leave. I'll see you at school," she said as we both got up and headed for the door. We waded through the sea of boys and picked one of the younger ones up. "See you later!" she shouted over the shouting of all the boys.
"Later!" I yelled and closed the door.
I strolled back to my house and was surprised to be greeted by shouting. "You know, all of this is your fault. We would have more money if it hadn't of been your idea!" my mom growled as she jabbed a finger into my father's chest.
"Mom? Dad? What's going on?" I asked tentatively as I quietly closed the door. Mom's face flushed as she pulled her hand away from Dad and slowly clenched her fist. She stood up straight and forced a smile.
"Nothing's going on dear, nothing for you to worry about. What happened? I thought you went to Ryan's?" she said in a forced concerned voice.
"Well, I forgot to get my phone from the game room. Seriously is everything alright?" I said in a concerned voice.
"Yes dear, everything is perfectly fine. Your father and I just got into a little argument, nothing to worry about," she said as she straightened her skirt. "I need to go to work." She grabbed her bag from the dining room and walked out to the garage only stopping to kiss my father on the cheek and me on the forehead. "I don't know where your sisters are but tell them I said goodbye," she said shortly and walked out to the garage without another word. My mother was a lawyer in downtown Dorsten, Texas. My father worked for a large computer corporation from home, so he was able to pick me and my sisters up and drop us off from school.
Unfortunately since I became narcoleptic and there were a few other disasters, the fund for my car dwindled, so I relied on getting a ride to and from school from my dad. My parents didn't want my little sisters riding the bus, even if all of Ryan's brothers were there to look out for them.
I went into the game room and found my phone sitting on the couch and tucked it away in my back pocket without looking at it. I went upstairs to Sierra's room to find Emma crying on her bed and covering her ears, and Sierra attempting to soothe her. Emma's hair was still a mess and was wearing mismatched clothes. I grabbed Sierra's hairbrush off of her dresser and sat down and began to brush Emma's hair. "What's wrong, Emma?" I asked quietly.
"Mommy and Daddy were fighting and I got scared they are going to divorce," she sputtered through her tears.
"They aren't going to divorce. They love each other way too much. Mommy said for me to tell you that she said goodbye before she went to work. But we need to leave right now so Emma let's go put on a different shirt, okay?" I said as I brushed all the tangles out of her wavy light brown hair. She nodded as she sniffled a little. We got up off of Sierra's bed and went across the hallway to her bedroom. I went into her closet and picked out a different shirt for her and she quickly changed. We all then went downstairs, grabbed our backpacks, and met Dad in the driveway at the car.
"Emma? Are you okay, sweetie?" Dad asked as he swept up the nine year old girl in his arms. Her cheeks were still splotchy and her eyes were red from crying.
"Yeah, I'm okay, Daddy," she whimpered. He put her in the car and shut the door behind her while everyone else got into the car. My dad babied Emma the most since she was the youngest out of the three of us, but I didn't mind too much. I liked babying Emma as well sometimes.
The silence in the car was awkward as Emma sniffled in the back, so I turned on the radio to some music. After about ten seconds, Dad changed it to the news.
"Dad! I liked that song," I complained as I stared out the window at the few scattered urban neighborhoods.
"Well I want to listen to the news," he protested as we slowed down to the stoplight in front of Emma's elementary school.
"Can't you wait to listen to the news until after you drop us off?" I complained.
"Please stop fighting," Sierra whispered from the backseat.
"We aren't fighting. I just want to listen to some quality music before I'm cooped up in school for eight hours and can't listen to my jams," I said, smiling at her. She giggled and rolled her eyes and stared out the window.
Dad turned the corner and got in line to drop Emma off at school. Dorsten was an incredibly small town, and had two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. We moved to Dorsten several years ago to help take care of my grandparents on my mom's side, who have since past, but my parents fell in love with the town and decided to stay. We lived with my grandparents for a while, but then when Emma and Sierra started going into elementary school, we moved to the opposite side of town to the new urban neighborhood right down the street from the school. The elementary school was very quaint, and even though I only went to it for a year, I still loved it as if I had gone there for years.
Dad pulled the car up to the awning and a teacher opened up the door and let Emma grab her Disney Princess backpack and crawl out of the car. "Bye Emma!" we all shouted as she started sprinting towards the bright red doors of the school. She waved but did not stop as she opened the doors and disappeared inside. The teacher smiled at us and closed the door softly.
The next stop was Sierra's middle school. She seemed to be coping well with her first year of middle school halfway over. She was starring in the spring play, and had friends over all the time. The middle school was about a two minute drive from the elementary school, and the high school was right across the street from the middle school. Even though we could all very easily walk to our schools, my dad liked to drop us all off because he says that he doesn't feel like he's taking care of his daughters if he doesn't drop us all off at school.
"Dad, can we please listen to some music on the way to school?" I pleaded.
"Alright, fine. But just don't blast it or anything. I'd like to hear myself think this morning," he teased as he sipped a bit of coffee from his thermos. I turned on the radio to some alternative music and leaned back in the passenger's seat. I dozed for a few moments before my dad nudged me. Sierra was gone and we were sitting in front of the high school. "Hurry kiddo, you have fifteen minutes before the bell rings," Dad said as he looked at the glass doors of the high school.
"Oh, crap," I exclaimed as I grabbed my backpack and jumped out of the car. "See you later, Dad," I said as I closed the car door. I ran in through the glass doors and quickly went through the crowds of people until I got to the gym in the basement. It was hardly ever used unless there were basketball tournaments, but it was a nice, quiet spot to hang out unless there were couples making out under the bleachers.
I opened the door at the back of the gym and went into the hallway and into the abandoned girls basketball locker room. The basketball locker rooms had been rebuilt on the floor above by the nicer gym, but the old ones had never been torn down or repurposed. Henrietta was able to procure some keys to it for all of us, and honestly I didn't really want to know how she got them. I pounded on the old wooden door and I heard it unlock and open slightly.
"Who is it?" Henrietta whispered.
"It's me. Who else would it be?" I said, opening the door.
"Well sorry. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't some weirdo," she said as she let me into the locker room. We had pulled the benches over and made a circle, and someone brought chips and dip for breakfast this morning. Henrietta plopped down next to David, and Ryan was nose deep in Wuthering Heights, the book we had a test over in English today. Henrietta and David had been a couple for a couple months now, and were absolutely perfect for each other. Both of them were absolutely gorgeous, both blonde and had light colored eyes. David was the star of the lacrosse team, and Henrietta was the star basketball player, hence why we found out about the abandoned locker room in the first place.
"Ugh, this narcolepsy thing is really kicking my butt," I groaned as I laid down on one of the benches beside Ryan. She patted my head without looking up from her book and smirked.
I giggled as Henrietta said, "Oh yeah, how's that going? I still can't believe you just suddenly got that. That is so weird. Like I've been friends with you since we were like, twelve but you never were narcoleptic then were you?"
"No, I just started getting the narcoleptic symptoms right before my sixteenth birthday," I said.
"Oh man, that sucks," Henrietta said as she wrapped her arms around David.
"I think what's weirder is that literally no one in her family has narcolepsy either," Ryan murmured from behind her book.
"Oh, Alix maybe you were an illegitimate child?" Henrietta asked, not realizing the sting on her words.
"My mom did not cheat on my dad," I said in a clipped voice.
"Maybe you were adopted," David said after kissing Henrietta on the cheek.
"Adopted…?" I whispered as I stared at him incredulously. It's not that his idea wasn't preposterous. In fact it was the exact opposite of preposterous. I had gone through that "am I adopted" phase when I was about eight with everyone else, but I had ditched that paranoia long ago. I thought that it couldn't really be true though. Surely my parents would have told me by the time that I was sixteen that I had been adopted.
"Oh, come on, David," Ryan looked up from her book and rolled her eyes. "Her parents would have told her if she was adopted. She's sixteen years old for God sakes. Plus she looks a lot like her parents and her sisters. She probably just inherited it from her great-grandparents or something. Don't freak her out like that," she said as she glanced down at my face quickly before going back to her book. "Why are there so many Catherines…?" she murmured.
"Are you seriously just now reading that book?" I asked.
"Yeah. Duh. I've been helping Henry with his play stuff and some of the other little ones have been needing help on homework and stuff. But we've only got like five minutes until the bell rings so it looks like I'll just have to rely on Sparknotes to get me through the last half in History," she said as she closed her book and shoved it in her navy Jansport backpack. We all slowly got up and put on our backpacks and headed out of the locker room.
"Hey, Alix did you ever get my text?" Henrietta asked.
"What text?" I asked.
"Well, I tried texting you last night but then I found out ten minutes into the conversation that it was actually Sierra after she was oblivious to the fact that I was dating David," she scoffed as she grabbed David's hand and intertwined her fingers with his.
"Oh, yeah she does that when I let her play on my phone. It's kind of annoying," I rolled my eyes.
"Oh God you have no idea. Sometimes my brothers have whole conversations with you guys. I don't know how they can impersonate me so well," Ryan groaned.
"That is weird. Did Sierra ever do that with Leo?" Henrietta asked. I knew that the topic of Leo was inevitable in this conversation, but I preferred not to talk about him. Henrietta had tried to set us up, and it worked out for hardly a week before I found out that he was cheating on me.
"Oh, please. I don't even count me and Leo as a thing that happened," I brushed off her attempts to try and push us back together again.
"You know he was drunk at that party, and that's why he made out with that girl. He still talks about how hot you are all the time," Henrietta said, batting her eyes.
"Oh, yeah sounds like Prince Charming to me. Getting drunk and making out with random girls and talking about my apparent hotness," I rolled my eyes. Sometimes Henrietta forgets that neither me nor Ryan are partier types.
"Oh, come on. You and Ryan need boyfriends. I sometimes feel bad for you guys when David and I are together in front of you. Plus it would be so much more fun if we all had boyfriends and we could go out on triple dates!" she squealed. Honestly, I had no idea what the big hype was on dating in high school. It was obvious that Henrietta and David would get married after they graduated as high school sweethearts. Even though they had only been dating for a couple of months, they admitted that they were in love with each other a year ago, but he was waiting until he could date before officially asking her out. Plus, the fact that Henrietta was willing to wait almost a year before going out with him, and did not date or like anyone else during that time was impressive, especially for her. However, I had absolutely no expectations for high school dating. "Anyways, Alix check your phone for once in a lifetime and text me back," she said as she sent a quick text.
We all came upon the main hallway. The other little branches of hallways spread from what we called "The Dome". It was in the middle of the building with dome shaped glass over the top, and you could go anywhere in the school from The Dome. "Talk to you at lunch, guys. Love ya," she said as she blew both Ryan and I kisses and she and David turned around and walked to chemistry together.
"Bye, Henrietta, bye, David," Ryan and I both said in unison. We headed down the same hallway in silence. Soon she reached the point where she had to turn into the history hallway, and I would continue on to my Algebra 2 class.
"See you in English, Ryan," I said as we approached her turn.
"See you later, Alix," she said as she crossed traffic and went down her hallway. I reached my algebra class right as the bell rung.
I sat in the back corner of the classroom and pulled my binder out of my backpack. I quietly pulled out my phone and saw I had two messages from Henrietta, one from David, one from Ryan, and one from an unknown number.
I checked the first two from Henrietta, considering she had given me a hard time about not answering her texts. The first one read, "I'm having my sixteenth birthday bash in two weeks. Friday night. Bring your swim suit. Leo may be there ;) 3 XOXO" I rolled my eyes then opened the second one, "Alix? OMG answer your phone!" I replied, "Yeah I'll be there. No worries."
She instantly replied before I could check my other messages, "OMG cool beans! P.S. where's my heart?"
I replied, "And btw Leo better not be there or I'll kick your butt. 3"
She instantly responded, "LOL I was kidding. Kind of. I did invite him. Guess you won't find out 'til you get there ;) 3"
I decided not to respond to that. I then went over to Ryan's message, which simply said, "Hey". I decided not to respond since she was probably knee deep in Sparknotes trying to manage the millions of Catherines. I opened the one from David, leaving the unknown number for last. David's read, "Hey Alix. I know you may not be awake right now but I am wondering what to get Henrietta for her birthday. She told me she does not want anything, but I know that she does not actually mean that, but refuses to tell me what she wants. Would you mind relaying some ideas to me as to what I should get her? Best regards, David." David and I had an odd relationship, and always challenged each other in this way. It started out as a rant about how awfully people texted, and then we began texting each other in the most formal manner we could manage. I responded, "David, I would suggest possibly getting her some nail polish and some earrings? I know she was talking about how she found this pair that she loved online but did not have enough money for. I can send you the link if you are interested. Best regards, Alix."
I knew David wouldn't be responding for a while since he was with Henrietta, but it was good to get that text out of the way. I then checked the text from the unknown number. "How did you sleep last night, Allegra?" I was just utterly confused. I felt like the text was meant for me, but it was odd. I responded, "I think you have the wrong number. This is Alix, not Allegra."
I was about to put my phone away, but it buzzed. I expected it to be Henrietta complaining about me not replying to her tomfoolery, but it was from the unknown number. I hesitantly opened the text. "I do not have the wrong number." I was extremely puzzled. A small part of me knew that he did not have the wrong number, but I was still confused as to why I felt that way. "Who is this?" I tentatively typed. "My identity is irrelevant at the moment. You will find out soon enough. But I think the real question is who are you?" My initial reaction was to type "Alix Valerie. Stop avoiding the questions, stalker." But right as I was about to send it I realized that that was a very "Henrietta" thing to say, and realized that question was not meant to be answered. Not yet, at least. I quickly deleted the messages and pondered over what this mysterious person said.
I walked down a small dirt road, tall trees growing up high and stretching so they scratched the ends of their limbs against each other above my head, forming a sort of tunnel of foliage. I guess it could be romantic, if I had someone to walk with. I walked in silence, listening to the birds singing their songs to one another, hidden in the camouflage of the dappled sunlight and bright green foliage. I guessed I had walked for a long time along the trail before I saw the trees fade away, to reveal a sea of yellow. Curious as to what the sea of yellow might be, I ran ahead to the edge of the trail. I gasped with delight when I found the sea of yellow was, in fact, a large meadow filled with sunflowers. The bright sun shone brutally down among the meadow. It was probably in the early afternoon, judging on the sun. I looked out into the fields again to find a woman with her left side facing towards me. I felt an urge to call out to her. She wore a light blue dress and a floppy sun hat, but her long dark brown curls blew in the gentle wind and she clutched a handful of sunflowers in one of her hands. I carefully started walking towards her, through the field of flowers that went up to my shoulders. I got about a body's length from her when I suddenly was paralyzed in shock. The woman looked like me, in about 25 years. However, the eye color was wrong. She had bright light blue eyes like the sky, but I have hazel eyes. "Mom…?" I called out in a hesitant voice, barely above a whisper. She didn't seem to hear me, she just kept picking sunflower. "Mom?" I called out, my voice cracking. She turned and looked at me for a moment, puzzled. Then her eyes suddenly grew wide and she shouted, "Allegra!" She dropped her sunflowers and made a move to try and run and hug me her floppy sunhat falling into the dirt, but she disappeared the moment we were about to touch. I frantically searched around yelling, "Mom?!" "She's not here, you know. Not anymore," I heard a deep voice come from behind me that made me jump. I turned around. Jep Smith.
"Alix? Are you alright?" Mrs. Davis asked. She had her hand gently placed on my back, and the room was empty. The halls were very loud, and I realized I had slept through the whole period. I wiped my cheeks to find tears, and I quickly wiped them away.
"Yes, I'm fine. I apologize for sleeping through class, again. I didn't sleep well last night and I'm getting used to the whole narcoleptic thing," I said as I grabbed some papers that she handed me and shoved them in my binder.
"That's alright, I know that you are doing your best. I put in a copy of the notes and tonight's homework. I just wanted to make sure that you were alright because you started crying in your sleep and-"
"Thank you, Mrs. Davis, but I'm really quite alright," I said, cutting her off. "I'll see you next week."
"See you next week."
I rushed into the crowded hallway, to The Dome, and through the tiny hallway that was the short cut to the English hallway. I slipped into my English class just as the bell rang and Mr. Polish was passing out scantrons. I plopped into the desk beside Ryan and shot a glance at Jep Smith sitting quietly in the corner, filling out the information on his bubble sheet, completely oblivious to the fact that he just crashed my dream. "What's wrong?" Ryan whispered.
"I just slept through math class and had the weirdest dream," I whispered back as Mr. Polish handed me my scantron. As I took the scantron from his hand I saw Jep staring at me, his icy blue eyes piercing my soul, and he swept his black hair out from in front of his eyes. He smirked and winked at me, and I blushed and bent over my scantron. "I'll tell you about it at lunch."
The test was the least of my worries. I whizzed through the test and turned it in first, while thinking of the dream that had just occurred. There was no way that woman could have been my mom. It was probably just some dream spurred on by David asking if I was adopted. But there was a part of me that said that that was just what I wanted to believe. I knew that woman was my mother, with all of my heart. I wondered why I had ever imagined that Katherine Valerie was my mother. We looked nothing alike. She had light blonde hair that tapered at her shoulders, and bright blue eyes and fair skin. I thought perhaps I had just inherited my father's genes, but we really didn't look all that similar either. He also had blue eyes and wavy light brown hair, and a medium skin tone. How had those genes combined to create a child with curly medium brown hair, hazel eyes, and olive skin? That woman had to be, without a doubt, my mother. I felt completely sure of it. But how was I possibly able to see her in a dream if I had never seen her? What a peculiar dream indeed. Jep Smith, however, did not surprise me too much. He had been appearing in some of my dreams for as long as I could remember, even before he and his older sister even moved to Dorsten. He had only begun talking in my dreams in a peculiar way such as in the dream that I just had when I started getting narcoleptic.
"Does anyone still have a test?" Mr. Polish asked the silent room. No one said a word. "Alright, then you may talk if no one still has a test."
I turned to Ryan. "Are you going to Henrietta's birthday bash thing?" I asked.
"Well, you know that Henrietta wouldn't have it if I couldn't. Even though I'm not really much into parties I guess I kind of have to. She is one of our best friends. Somehow," Ryan said.
I laughed, "Yeah, she's something else."
"You are going to the birthday bash too right?" She asked nervously.
"Of course I'm not going to miss it. I wouldn't miss Henrietta's sixteenth birthday bash for the world. Especially since my one true love Leo is probably going to be there," I said, trying as hard as I could not to smile and start giggling.
"Oh dear God not that douchebag," Ryan said, rolling her eyes. "I can't believe that he cheated on you, especially drunk."
"But the fact that Henrietta still thinks we'd be perfect together or something is ridiculous. We were together all of like five days, and I think we had one conversation during that time. I barely knew him. I just went out with him because Henrietta said that she thought I would really like him. I honestly don't see why she thinks we would be a good couple," I complained.
"Well I think she really wants us to both have boyfriends. I think she gets lonely, being the only one with a boyfriend. But she's a really crappy matchmaker," Ryan said as she rolled her eyes.
"Oh I wonder who she'll match you up with once she gives up on me," I said, batting my eyelashes at her and giggling.
"There's some guy she's texted me about. She told me that he's coming to her birthday bash and she wants us to meet and thinks we would be 'star-crossed lovers'," she said, rolling her eyes.
"Oh who is this mysterious lover of yours?" I teased.
"Apparently his name is Josh, he's a junior, and is new to the school and on the boys' soccer team, but I've never heard of him," she said.
"Is he cute?" I asked, winking at her.
"Apparently he's one of the hottest guys on the team, which is saying something. Henrietta met him through David's brother who's on the soccer team or something like that," she said, studying her hands intensely.
"Oh, interested are we?" I teased.
"Well, Henrietta says he's a really great guy and she said even David and Matt like him, so I mean he probably is a really good guy. Plus if Henrietta says he's the hottest guy on the boys' soccer team he probably is the hottest guy on the boys' soccer team," Ryan said, defiantly defending herself.
"Yeah, true. So I had a narcoleptic episode in my math class and completely slept through class," I said, rolling my eyes.
"Ugh, you are so lucky that you can do that and your teachers don't even get mad at you," Ryan said, narrowing her eyes. She laid her head down on her desk.
"Yeah, I thought it was great like the first two times it happened, but after that I realized how terrible it really was to completely miss a class like that," I said, also laying my head down on my desk. The bell rang, and we both grabbed our backpacks and joined the crowd waiting to walk out the door so that we could go to lunch.
I didn't realize I was standing beside Jep until his hand brushed mine. I looked up to see who it was and instantly blushed. I felt the red hot warmth travel up into my cheeks and he smirked. "Sorry…" I murmured as I pulled away my hand.
"You're completely fine," he whispered, or at least I thought he did. It may have just been my imagination.
We walked out of English, through The Dome and into the cafeteria. We found David sitting at our usual little round table in the corner by the window. The sun shone through, but some rain clouds loomed ominously in the distance. "Hey, Alix did you get my text earlier?" David asked as he opened his milk carton. I never could comprehend the fact that he always was able to get into the cafeteria and get a plate before we even sat down.
"Yeah, and I responded," I said as I pulled my wallet out of my backpack.
"Alright, I'll check my phone," David said as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.
"Ryan, let's go get food. I'm starving," I said as I lightly punched her shoulder. She pulled out her wallet and stood up. We both walked quickly over to the line and waited.
"So what's the deal between you and Jep?" Ryan asked, trying to be casual.
"You know how complicated our relationship is. Like, I think he may have a crush on me, and I think he's incredibly hot and mysterious like every other girl does, but I'm not sure," I said, looking around to make sure he wasn't in earshot. He always had a way of making sure he was close to me, which I found odd but incredibly attractive at the same time.
"You should totally ask him out, even if you may get put on every girl in the school's hit list," Ryan said as she grabbed a plate of food.
"Are you crazy? I could never ask him out. Even if he did say yes, you know asking guys out isn't my style. If a guy wants to put up with me, he's got to put in some effort," I said as I grabbed my plate.
"I guess, but I don't see what's so wrong about just asking him out. Do you have his number?" she asked, raising her eyebrows at me.
"Well, no. But what would I even say? 'Hey I noticed you staring at me and couldn't help but think you like me and I really want your number because you're incredibly hot and mysterious.'" I said in a mocking tone.
"Oh my god, Alix it's not even that big of a deal. You ask a cute guy for their number, he gets the hint, and then asks you out on a date. Problem solved," she said as we sat down at the table.
Suddenly Henrietta appeared, carrying a Sonic bag and drink. She sat down next to David and started opening the bag and taking out popcorn chicken and tater tots. "Did I hear boy talk going on over here?" Henrietta asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Well, uh, no not really. Ryan's being ridiculous," I stuttered.
Henrietta looked at Ryan expectantly. "Well, she can't see that Jep blatantly likes her, and won't go up and ask for his number," Ryan explained as she took a bite out the spaghetti.
"Jep likes you?!" Henrietta explained, a thrilled look spreading across her face.
"Hush, not so loud. I said I think he may like me. Big difference," I said, looking around the table to ensure Jep was nowhere close by. I didn't see him, which honestly made me a little nervous.
"Oh em gee! I have to invite him to my birthday bash now for sure!" she exclaimed.
"You have his number…?" I asked quietly.
"Oh, honey. Haven't you learned by now that I have everyone's number?" Henrietta said as she looked up from her cell phone. "Well, I just invited him. Last time I tried to text him it took forever for him to reply so it may be awhile," she said.
"You've texted him before?" I asked quietly.
"Well yeah, like once asking about homework for health class," she said, taking a bite of her popcorn chicken and taking a sip of her drink. "Well, we'll have to see what he says," she said confidently. The conversation drifted elsewhere, but I was too zoned out to participate.
Suddenly, Henrietta's phone lit up. "Henrietta you got a text," I said, trying to hide my excitement.
"Oh and it's from Jep," she said with a mischievous grin and winked at me. "Aw, he says he has something to do that day and can't make it. Boo. That's too bad, hon. Maybe next time," she said, patting my hand consolingly.
I looked up at the clock on the wall and saw the bright, digital red numbers shining 11:30. "We'd better get to class," I said, grabbing my backpack and throwing it over my shoulder. I threw away my spaghetti, which I barely touched.
Without waiting for my friends to get up from the table, I walked out of the cafeteria and into the library. I had about five minutes before my health class started. I browsed the bookshelves for a good weekend read. Someone cleared their throat from the aisle next to me.
"Tell Henrietta I apologize for not being able to attend her birthday party," someone said in a deep voice, most likely the same person that cleared their throat. Jep Smith.
"Oh, um, yeah, no problem," I said as I nervously grabbed the first book I saw. I attempted to run to the desk to check out the book. He suddenly appeared at the end of the aisle and almost bumped into me, knocking the book out of my hands. He smiled and picked up the book for me and handed it to me.
"Why are you trying to run away?" he asked quietly and smoothly.
"What? I'm-I'm not trying to run away. I just… have to get to class right now," I stuttered as he started getting closer to me.
"Oh, well I'll see you later then. That's a good book, by the way," he said with a wink and disappeared around the corner. I didn't breathe until I heard the library door close.
"Why am I so stupid," I muttered under my breath as I went up to the front desk.
The librarian said with a smile, "Well hello, Alix. That's an awful good looking boy you were talking to. Who is he?"
"Oh, just some guy. I don't really know him all too well," I said nervously.
"And yet, you do," I heard Jep's voice say in my head.