"Evil fell from your pretty mouth,

Wrapped in your classic voice,

Angelic in your syntax,

Demonic in your motive,

Your pretty eyes don't know that,

The water flowing from this well isn't fresh,

Demolish all that sets you up against your rising up,

Confessing all that's broken and watch the healing come…

Be swept away by this…"

-Flyleaf, Swept Away


I


Adelaide Norewood stood and stared at the school with her brother, Griffin, at her side. The twins looked at each other and sighed before turning back to the gray brick building. The words Mendocino County High School were painted along one wall. Students either hurried past Adelaide and Griffin to get to their classes before the final bell or hung out in the parking lot by their cars. Many stared at them, for they were the new kids, and were subject to such gawking.

Adelaide pulled her sweater tighter around herself and gazed up at the drizzling sky. It was barely September and the weather was already gray. She smiled in spite of herself.

"What?" Griffin implored, following her gaze.

"The weather," She replied.

"Oh. I figured you'd like it today. I felt the rain when I woke up,"

She stared at him.

"What?" He shrugged.

"God, Griffin. Do you even remember what mom said?" Adelaide scolded her brother.

"Of course I remember. She said to not talk about our 'gifts'. But no one's paying attention to us anyway," Griffin gestured to the students around them.

"You're so stupid. They're totally paying attention to us. We're new students. Have you learned nothing?" She hissed.

"I just wish we didn't have something to hide," He whispered.

"I know, Griff. I wish for that, too. But for the time being, we have to be careful. We were cooped up with each other the whole summer and now we can't slip up,"

"Whatever, Addie," Griffin rolled his eyes. "We should get to class."

"Yeah, fine." Adelaide hefted her heavy backpack higher up on her shoulders. She had five textbooks in it; Biology, Algebra 1, Spanish 1, AP World History, and Honors English.

She followed her brother to their lockers, which were side-by-side and top lockers. She took her Algebra and Biology books out and shoved them into her locker. The twins parted, and Adelaide walked to her first period: Honors English. When she opened the door to room 214, the teacher was absent, and every student in the class clumped around the desks, sharing how amazing their summer had been with their friends. Except one.

The one boy sat in the very back, next to the window. He was bent over a notebook and was scribbling furiously. Adelaide cocked an eyebrow at him but stood at the front of the classroom, waiting for the teacher. If she were in her hometown, she would've gone up to the boy, introduced herself. But she wasn't in her hometown. She was in some city in northern California; Mendocino. The town was known for its steep, rocky cliffs and beautiful oceans.

When the teacher finally entered the classroom, the students took their seats, and she handed her schedule to him. He grinned at her and shook her hand.

"Adelaide Norewood. I like it. Sounds like an Elizabethan-era name," He said, and she smiled softly.

"Thank you,"

"Why don't you go and take your seat, Ms. Norewood?"

Adelaide nodded and turned to the class. All sixty-four eyes were on her and she felt her cheeks grow hot. She searched for an empty seat and found one. It was in front of the boy in the back, and she went over to it and began to sit down, catching his gaze as she did so. His eyes were an ocean blue and made her blush even more. She loved blue eyes. Loved. Her brother had gotten their father's looks; dark blond hair, deep blue eyes and muscles galore. She, on the other hand, looked like their mother; light blond hair, green eyes, and a curvy body. She had always envied Griffin his looks.

The boy didn't say a word as she sat down, just looked at her for a moment and then went back to his notebook. As individual students droned on about what happened to them over summer break, Adelaide settled into her seat and began to inspect the classroom. Pictures and works of William Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Frost, and many other famous poets and authors coated the walls. Students' past projects were hung as examples for the new classes, and posters promoting anti-bullying stared at her.

"Ms. Norewood?" Mr. Fitzgerald implored.

"Hmm?" Her gaze snapped back to him.

"What did you do over summer break?"

"I, uh, moved here from Greece," She replied tentatively. The class erupted into a chorus of 'wows'. Even the boy behind her made a sound.

"Greece?"

"Oh, my god,"

"That's so cool,"

Mr. Fitzgerald waited patiently for the class to grow quiet, and when it did, he continued, "But you don't have a Greek accent,"

"No. No, I don't. Um, the only time I spoke Greek there was in public or at school. I spoke English at home. Plus, I lived in Baltimore until I was seven, so, that also attributed to my American accent,"

"Where did you live in Greece?" His brow furrowed and he folded his arms across his chest.

"In Porto Rafti. It's a town on the coast,"

"Very interesting. I'd love to hear more about it later." Mr. Fitzgerald grinned at her before pinning his gaze on the student behind her. "Mr. Allen. What about you?"

The boy looked up. "What about me?"

"What did you do over summer?"

"Mowed lawns," He shrugged.

"Well, at least you weren't wasting your time, Toby. Did you get paid for your services?"

"Not really," Toby already had his brown head bent over his notebook, his pencil scribbling feverishly.

"Alright, then." Mr. Fitzgerald nodded once. "Now," He clapped his hands together. "Let's talk Of Mice and Men."


When the bell rang for second period, Adelaide was relieved. PE was next, and she'd signed up for the swimming class. She had always excelled at the sport, for reasons unsaid. As she entered the locker room, she found her locker and opened it. Adelaide pulled her bathing suit, goggles and cap from her bag and began to undress. She wrestled her swimsuit over her hips then pushed her arms through the straps. After squishing her hair into the cap, and slid her feet into her flip-flops, wrapped a towel around her shoulders and trudged out to the pool, shivering.

The students were already lined up by the pool, awaiting instructions from the teacher. When the swimming trainer noticed Adelaide, she smiled warmly and waved her over.

"You," The coach began. "Must be Adelaide," She said.

"I don't know if I must be, but I am," She replied, and was rewarded with a chuckle from the teacher.

"I like you already," She grinned wider. "I'm Coach Montgomery, and it's nice to meet you,"

"You too,"

Gesturing to Adelaide's towel, Coach Montgomery said, "Towels go on those hooks over there," She pointed to the far wall. "And when you come back over, we'll be doing relays," She paused. "You know how to do relays, right?"

"Oh, yeah, I know how," Adelaide grinned as well.

"Alright, well, this time, since there are lots of students and limited lanes, I gave everyone a partner and you'll tag them after each relay. I put you with…" Coach Montgomery trailed off, scrolling her finger down the list of students on her clipboard. "Aha. Toby Allen." She looked back up at Adelaide, who nodded.

"Okay, thanks," She and the coach parted ways for a moment as Adelaide hung up her towel. Of course she would put me with Toby, she thought. The misfit and the new girl.

As Adelaide made her way back to the pool, she saw Coach Montgomery chatting with Toby, and they both turned to look at her. His blue eyes fell on her, making her blush again. She lowered her head and kept walking, silently cursing her snowy-white skin that showed any and all signs of embarrassment. She stopped by Toby and the coach, who departed. Adelaide watched her walk away before turning to her partner.

"You ready?" He asked.

"Yeah. Do you want me to go first?"

"If you want to," He shrugged. She rolled her eyes and nodded. Adelaide hated it when people shrugged; it was so noncommittal.

"Okay, then, I will," She poised herself at the edge of the pool, snapped her goggles over her eyes, and squatted into diving position.

"On your marks," The coach started. "Get set, go!" She blew her whistle, and eighteen students slid into the water. When Adelaide broke the surface, the world went silent except for the steady beat of her heart. Her arms moved through the water and her legs kicked out, propelling her though the lane. When she reached the end, she flipped over and launched herself off the wall with her legs, and she was sent gliding though the silky water. At the other end of the lane, she pulled herself up out of the water and tagged Toby, who dived into the water.

Adelaide pulled her goggles off and stared into the pool. The other students were barely at the far end of the lane. Coach Montgomery gaped at her, but she pretended not to notice.

"Adelaide, you made that lap in one minute exactly,"

Adelaide groaned.

"What?"

"That's still not the best I've ever done. I beat my record over the summer, but I guess I haven't been practicing enough," She sighed.

"You should try out for the swim team," The coach continued.

"I, uh,' Adelaide saw Toby coming back, so she poised herself at the edge again. "Don't really think that's for me,"

"But with you on the team, we'd be unbeatable,"

"That's exactly why. None of the other teams would have a chance, and how is that fair?" Toby came up and tagged her, and she dove under again.


Toby Allen watched as Adelaide slid through the water. He noted that she was like a mermaid, gracefully hurling herself off the wall and back in his direction.

"She won't go for the team," The coach said to him.

"What?" He looked at her.

"She rejected the idea of being on the swim team because she doesn't think it's fair if we win all the time,"

"Well, it really isn't,"

"Could you just talk to her? Please?"

"Why me?" His brow furrowed.

"Because right now, you're the best I've got on that team. And if we don't win, the school's gonna drop the program,"

Toby sighed and shrugged. "Yeah, okay. I'll try. But don't shoot the messenger if I tell you bad news,"

"I won't. Thank you, Toby,"

He shrugged again, and she left. When Adelaide came back up, he offered his hand and she took it. Toby helped her out of the pool.

"You know, you really should be on the swim team,"

"Why does everyone keep saying that?" She pulled her goggles from her eyes and looked at him.

"I don't know. I guess you're just a really good swimmer,"

She scoffed and smiled. "You don't know the half of it," She murmured.

"What?" Toby's brow furrowed.

"Nothing," She replied hurriedly, her cheeks red. She shivered. "I'm going to go grab my towel," She gestured to the towel rack.

"Already ahead of you," He handed the towel to her.

"Thank you," She seemed surprised. Toby shrugged and Adelaide rolled her eyes before walking back to the locker room. He stayed and watched her as she left; unaware that he was going down a forbidden path with no way of returning.


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