The prediction that started it all.
| Sixteenth death.
What if you were told you were going to die on your sixteenth birthday? The year you were going to drive, unlimited freedom, of course depending on your fuel gauge. The year the princess is supposed to meet the prince after being locked up for the first 16 years of her life. Of course, no moody King and Queen locked me up. Of course, I am not a princess. But I have been locked up, by me. I am the quiet girl in the corner, dark hair hiding my face. I have been hiding for sixteen years. And I had promised myself that as soon as the clock stroke twelve and my age status was altered by a year, I'd stop hiding. I would stop being invisible and the magic spell would break, as in the case of Cinderella. Of course, I am no Cinderella. My hair is long, wavy and dark for one thing and my skin is not angel white. My skin is tanned from reading under the sun on the beach. The beach is never populated, of course. It was the beach behind my Grandmothers shack. My grandmothers beach. It was beautiful. White sands, sapphire blue water. It was a secret. My grandmother's beautiful secret. I was the only other person to know her secret. And the secret will die with me. On my sixteenth birthday. As the secret died with my grandmother on her 86th birthday. The beach would die. I can't die. But according to Madam Misorosa, I can and I will. I will die on my sixteenth birthday.
I was surprised he couldn't hear it. My heart pounding painfully in my chest and he gave no indication whatsoever that he could hear it. Every time he walked me home he couldn't hear it. Not once.
Instead he talked over it , his voice barely sounding over my pounding heart. Like he didn't want to hear it, didn't want to know.
He pointed out the stars scattered across the dark, velvet sky and the moon gazing down at us. Down in the dark, dirty streets, my heart pounding. Down at Joey's golden, freckled face, his dark hair framing his flushed cheeks.
Maybe he was embarrassed, embarrassed of his best friend being completely, uncontrollably in love with him.
"Kate, why the silence?" He looked at me then and I had to struggle to stifle a gasp. I seemed to fall into his green eyes flecked with gold. He frowned and I scrambled to answer.
"Just...thinking." I looked down at my moving feet and I heard him sigh. My heart slowed. Had he heard? Did he know? It hadn't always been like this. But he'd grown quiet and I'd grown quiet, struggling to say the words to fill the silence. It was just like we'd grown aware of each other, of always being with each other, a girl and a boy.
"I hope you're not thinking...about Madam Misorosa's meaningless prediction." My breath huffed out of me, almost seeming to echo above our trampling feet. I felt his hand on my shoulder and I stopped. I looked up at him, blinking quickly through my hair.