I woke up panting and I realized I was holding hands with Jep. His eyes fluttered open and he blushed. I pulled my hand away from him and stood slowly, wiping my forehead from sweat. He walked over to me and gently put his hands on my shoulders. I leaned in to kiss him, but he quickly pulled away. "I'm sorry, but I can't be with you," he said reluctantly.

"What?" I asked quietly, my heart breaking a little.

"I'm sorry. Believe me, I want to be with you so badly that it's painful, but I can't," he said, dropping his hands.

"Is this part of the stuff you can't tell me?" I demanded, glaring at him.

"Unfortunately, yes," he said, pressing his lips together as he looked into the distance with a look of contempt.

"What is so secret? Just tell me. You can trust me," I said quietly.

"It's not exactly a secret. I'm just afraid you're not going to believe me," he said, looking down at his shoes, his eyebrows furrowing in a mixture of anger and remorse.

"I will believe you," I said, lifting his chin.

"Alright, well, sit down. It's going to take a while to explain everything," he said. We walked over and sat in the two lawn chairs.

"Wow. I honestly don't even know where to start on this one. Um, well, for starters, that really is me in your dreams," he said nervously.

"What?" I asked, my eyebrows furrowing. "How does that have anything to do with you not being able to be with me?"

"Well, I'm getting to that. It's a lot of explaining, and a big pill to swallow," he assured. "So, well, I'm your Guardian. Basically I protect you from anything that would come to harm you. I'm like a bodyguard on steroids. I'm obsessed with you and I can't help it, it's part of who I am. I'm only your Guardian, no one else's."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," I said desperately. He was sounding crazy, calling himself my Guardian? What the hell even is that?

"Well, see, it's like this. Hear me out now, please don't interrupt. So basically on our planet Tyron, there are four dominating species, rather than there just being one like here on Earth. There are your species, which are the Dominants, and they have dream selves which can travel to other universes near their own when they are unconscious. Then there are the Guardians, who have a specific Dominant who they are completely obsessed with, and will do anything for. It is also very common for a Guardian and their Dominant to have a telepathic connection, such as ours. That is good because it indicates that we have a strong bond and it will most likely be a successful Dominant-Guardian relationship. I am a Guardian, but it is strictly forbidden for a Guardian and their Dominant to have any sort of love affair because among Dominants there are soul mates-"

"So you're telling me I'm from another planet, you are my 'Guardian', I have some sort of superpower and I am a completely different species?" I spat at him. I was thoroughly disgusted and disappointed in him. He was talking absolute craziness, and I wanted no part of it.

"No, wait, you have to listen. We are running out of time and-"

"Yeah, you're right. You are running out of time. I have to get home," I said as I turned away from him. I grabbed my backpack and opened the door to find Jane right about to open it.

"Oh, hey there Alix," Jane said. "I just heard some shouting and I thought I'd come check on you guys to make sure everything was alright."

"Yeah, everything's fine, but I need to get home, I would imagine my mom wants me home soon," I said as I walked past her and down the hallway. I heard murmuring behind me but I didn't stop. I soon heard footsteps following me.

The car ride home was silent. Jep sat in the front seat this time instead of in the back with me. My heart was torn in two. Of course the one guy who I thought was wonderful and in love with me has to be crazy. I glared out the window at the scenery speeding by, not even enjoying it, just wishing I was home already.

"Thank you for the ride," I said in a cropped voice as I got out of the car. I walked inside and heard my parents arguing in muffled tones in their room, and I couldn't make out what they were saying. "Hey Sierra, hey Emma," I said as I walked through the living room to the kitchen.

"Hi Alix," they both said in unison. They were watching some cartoon, so I grabbed a juice box and apple and joined them on the couch.

I pulled out my phone to see I had a couple unread messages. One from Henrietta read: "Hey girl… did you ever talk to that cutie Jep? ;) 3" I responded: "Yeah, but I don't like him anymore. He's crazy," I texted defiantly.

"Good afternoon, my good friend. I was pondering and I became curious as to whether your appointment with the doctor went well or not. I was just inquiring to see if you were all right. Best regards, David." My stomach fluttered then dropped to my feet. Oh no. I cannot get feelings for David again, especially now that he and Henrietta are dating. That is just a recipe for trouble. I quickly replied, "David, I was busting at the seams to tell you that my appointment with the doctor was successful. I got a new medication that they are testing out. I will keep you well informed on how it goes." I then texted Ryan and said, "Hey, come over." I also had a text from the same unknown number. The only thing it said was, "This is Jep. I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for forcing that all on you. Let me know as soon as possible when you are ready to listen. –J" I stared at the text for a long time. I didn't know what to do. It wasn't really his fault that he sounded crazy. Perhaps he was telling the truth. I shook my head to myself. There was no way.

I heard one knock on the door before I heard Ryan yell through the house, "Alix!"

"I'm in the living room!" I shouted over the TV show.

She entered and plopped down next to me. "You wanted to talk?" She asked.

"Yeah, let's go upstairs," I said.

We both lay down on my bed. I explained what had happened at the doctor's office, and told her how Jep told me he loves me, then proceeded to tell me that we were aliens from another planet, but we were different species from each other, and explained to her how he called himself a Guardian and called me a Dominant and how he was apparently my "Guardian", which meant that he was obsessed with me.

"Oh my God, well that's super creepy," she said after I was done with my whole spiel.

"But the thing is, is that I almost believe him. I mean, I found out I was adopted and I saw my mom in a dream and then she disappeared. What if what he said is right and I'm just being a closed-minded jerk?" I fretted.

"Well, seeing your real mom in a dream could mean a lot of things. I mean, I wouldn't really know, but I mean you could have a memory of her from when you were a baby, so you dreamed about her. I wouldn't take what Jep says seriously. I mean, you said that he was adopted right? Like was raised in the orphanage and foster care? There's no telling what happened while he was in there. He may have some sort of neurological thing going on that he doesn't even know about or something," she said. She did have a point. I had no idea what happened while he was in there, and I hardly knew him to begin with.

"Maybe you're right. But I do have another problem besides Crazytown," I said, smashing my face into a pillow in shame.

"Oh God, what is it?" she said nervously.

"My feelings for David are resurfacing," I groaned.

"Oh honey, no, you definitely can't do that," she said in a scolding tone.

"I know, but I can't help it! He's so perfect," I groaned as I pushed my face further into the pillow.

"He is pretty wonderful, but he's Henrietta's, and she's your best friend. Plus he is in love with Henrietta," she tried reasoning with me.

"You honestly believe he's in love with Henrietta? Oh please. She's not his type at all. I bet he just went out with her because he could date and she was in love with him and he felt bad for her," I ranted.

"You know that's not true," Ryan said, rolling her eyes.

"I just want a guy like David," I said, staring up at the ceiling, pulling the pillow into my chest.

"Well, I must tell you about the recent happenings with Josh," Ryan said eagerly.

"Oh?" I inquired, looking at her, interested.

"Well, Henrietta texted me saying that he asked for my number and she wanted to check with me to make sure that that was okay, for once. So I thought well, why not so I said yes. He still hasn't texted me but he's probably doing that whole wait three days thing that's part of the boy code or whatever," Ryan said excitedly. I hadn't seen her this excited in a long time about a boy.

"What's this Josh guy's last name?" I asked.

"Donatello," she responded.

"Josh Donatello. Sounds promising," I said with a smirk.

"Henrietta just went on and on about how hot he is, and she hardly ever gives boys that much time unless they are really hot," she said enthusiastically.

"It's a bonus that he's interested in you as well," I chimed in.

"I know! I'm excited because I haven't had a boyfriend since Devon, and even though I can easily go without one, they're still nice to have," she said, smiling to herself.

"Oh yeah I forgot about Devon. Didn't you guys break up because he moved?" I asked.

"Yeah, he moved to New York and I mean we were about fourteen so there's no way that we could have a long distance relationship like that," she said.

"I wonder what Devon's up to nowadays," I wondered.

"Well we're friends on Skype and we talk sometimes. We're pretty good friends but I would say seventh grade was when he peaked attractiveness wise," she giggled.

"Does he have a girlfriend?" I asked, raising my eyebrows at her.

"He just broke up with his last girlfriend a few weeks ago. But anyways, back to Josh. I'm just so excited about him. It's too bad the whole Jep thing didn't work out. I would've thought you guys would have been a perfect match," Ryan said.

I thought about what Jep was trying to say, about Dominants having soul mates. I toyed with the idea of it being true, and wondered what my soul mate would be like. He would probably be very handsome, charming, playful but serious, and would love to just do simple things and be happy. "Yeah, I would have thought we would be a good match too if he hadn't have turned out to be crazy," I said, rolling my eyes.

Suddenly there was a knock on the door. "Come in," I said. Sierra opened the door, holding a handful of papers.

"Alix?" she asked quietly.

"Yeah Sierra?" I answered.

"Can you help me memorize my lines? I'm having a really hard time with this one scene with Henry," she murmured.

"You're doing the same play with Henry?" I asked incredulously. I had no idea that it was the same play that they were working on.

"Well, um, yeah," she stuttered.

"Here, Sierra, I'll help you. I'm used to reading your part by now, and I've worked on it with Henry enough that I know it well enough now," Ryan said, taking the script from her. Ryan read through the scene, giving her a few pointers on how she can remember some of her lines, and how to convey the proper emotion through her words and actions. I had forgotten that Ryan used to act in plays in middle school, and she did one her freshman year, but then it got to be too much with her playing cello. She was a fantastic cello player, but hardly had time to focus on herself because she was helping her mother raise so many kids, especially since her dad was out of town a lot for business.

Sierra then skipped out of my room once they were done, but right before she closed the door she turned to me and said, "Oh, Alix, Mom says it's time for dinner."

"Well, I guess that's my cue to head back home," Ryan said as she got off my bed. We walked downstairs together and she headed out.

The family gathered around the round kitchen table, and we all ate in silence. I could feel the tension between my adopted parents, and I wondered if they were still fighting about the same thing as they were this morning. Usually they didn't fight like this. The usually would just yell at each other for a few minutes and then it was over. I couldn't help but feel like they were fighting about me, but I felt like that's usually a normal thing for a child to feel.

As soon as I finished my plate instead of hanging around to talk like we usually do, I stood up and washed off my plate and ran upstairs. I started to look at the notes and homework in my math class when I received a text.

It was from Henrietta, no surprise there. "Oh that's too bad darling. I was really hoping you two would be the perfect match. Oh well… I've got a surprise for you at my birthday party instead ;) 3" I responded, "Oh boy… what is it?" she immediately replied, "I can't tell you, you goof. That's why it's called a SURPRISE." I responded with, "Isn't that kind of against the point that it's your birthday though…?"

"Of course it doesn't sweetie. I'm playing matchmaker for you. Doesn't get much better than that 3"

"Oh God you better not be setting me up with Leo."

"I can't tell you yes or no to that. I don't want to give you any hints at all ;)"

"So that's a yes then."

"I CAN'T TELL YOU. Got to go ttyl 3"

"Talk to you later, Henrietta."

I finished my homework at about ten, and decided I'd better go ahead and inject myself, even though I didn't want to see Jep, even if he might only be a figment of my imagination, however at this point I wasn't quite sure what to believe. I had been so rude to Jep. I even promised to listen to him all the way through, but what he had said was so ridiculous it was impossible to believe him. I could shake the feeling that he was telling the truth, but it might've been because I wanted to believe him so badly. I just shook my head and opened up the case and pulled out the syringe filled with amber colored liquid labeled "Night Day 1. 8 hours".

Before I injected myself, I quickly said goodnight to my parents who were in the game room watching television, and to Sierra who was talking to her friends on the computer. Emma had already been asleep for an hour, so I tiptoed past her room, careful not to wake her. I changed into my pajamas and got ready for bed quickly.

I stared at the syringe and sweated a little as I cleaned the area. I have never given myself a shot before, and I replayed the doctor's words in my mind over and over how to do it. With a slightly shaky hand I injected the amber liquid into my arm and carefully set the syringe on the bedside table.

The sky was a dark grey, as if a storm was brewing, but I could see no definition of the clouds. I saw distant threads of yellow lightning stretching across the sky in elaborate zigzagging lines, and a low rumble soon followed many seconds later. However, despite the apparent lightning and thunder, there was no rain, and it appeared not to be raining anywhere. The ground was a grey dust mixed with the same grey rocks. Black skeletons of short trees that were about six feet tall were stretched as far as the eye could see. Big grey mountains shot up, surrounding this Skeleton Forest, and made a jagged outline in the horizon. There was no sun in the sky, so it was impossible to tell what time it was. I trudged along in the dust, looking around me. Jep was nowhere to be found, and I would like to keep it that way, at least for the time being. I decided I wanted to hike towards the mountains in the distance to see what type of land feature might be on the other side of them. I set off, just thinking about Jep and what he had said. He seemed so convinced that what he said was real, but it was just so impossible. He said that I was some alien and we were different species and it didn't make any sense. However, I was adopted and I have heard nothing about my biological parents, and I met my mother in a dream. But, like Ryan said, it doesn't really mean much that I saw her in a dream; it could have just been my subconscious. I sighed. Jep seemed to be so crazy. I should have at least heard him out, but it just seemed so ridiculous. I should just forget him and the whole thing.

"Alix? Where are you?" Jep said in my mind. I ignored him, and kept on plowing ahead through the thickening grey dust. "Alix, please stop ignoring me. I know you can hear me. I sense you are about to be in danger and I don't think I can make it to you in time unless you tell me where you are. I can't see you from where I've entered," Jep said again. He sounded really concerned.

I guessed it couldn't hurt to play along. "I'm in the Skeleton Forest. I'm heading towards those jagged mountains in the distance. I want to see what's on the other side," I told him through my mind.

"Do not go any closer to those mountains. I sense you are about to be in danger. Please don't move. Let me find you so that I can protect you," Jep pleaded.

"Oh please. There's not a living thing in sight. I'm not in danger. Stay away from me," I demanded as I began running through the grey dust. He responded to me but I couldn't hear what he said, partly because I was ignoring him and partly because huge gusts of wind began to pick up. They became more and more violent as I walked closer and closer to the mountains, which didn't appear to be growing in size whatsoever. I looked over my shoulder to see a small black dot racing towards me. After a few moments of intensely staring at it, I realized that it was Jep, and began sprinting as fast as I could towards the mountains. Suddenly, I stopped in my tracks and stared upward in amazement.

They appeared to come from the sky, thousands upon thousands of them. Little white butterflies fluttered down from the dark grey sky filled with lightning, and gently swayed down towards me. I innocently held out my finger, and one daintily landed on it. I giggled as more came down, landing on my feet, arms, legs, face, back, torso, until my entire body was covered in butterflies, slowly fanning their delicate wings. More and more came down, trying to get as close as they could to me. I began to get a little uncomfortable as the landscape disappeared from my vision and it became difficult to breathe because there were so many butterflies. It was absolutely beautiful. Suddenly I heard Jep's shouts, and the butterflies that were flying around began to fly faster.

Suddenly, I felt an iron grip around my wrist as Jep crushed about thirty butterflies. In a second, it felt as if someone had placed a vacuum on my lips, and everything went dark.