before it all happened
**January 17th, 2011**
I love standing in a hot cloud of steam and letting water run over me. A hot shower is the only constant in my life. No matter where I go, there is always a shower that’s waiting for me. My parents have been moving my family around a lot, so I’m always the new girl.
I currently am a junior at Ocean View High School, am in all honors and AP classes, and have straight A’s so I can get a scholarship to college.
I also play some sports for the Ocean View Sharks. I’m a goalie in soccer, a setter for volleyball, and I play a little basketball. I’m also in Chorus, all school plays and musicals, Art Club, am yearbook co-editor and President of the Student Council. I’ve been in Ocean View since the beginning of the year and my parents have promised me that I can stay in this school district until I graduate.
I have been to eleven different schools since my seventh grade year. ELEVEN! That means I was the new girl eleven times, so I kinda have the hang of it by now. It was hard going to all those schools, but thankfully I get to stay in one place for a while. I’m even able to make friends here. At all my other schools, I kept to myself because I didn’t want to get disappointed when we left, and leave all my friends behind. I knew that I would always be moved away.
Here, I have a lot of new friends, but Alli Starr is my very best friend in the whole world. We are practically joined at the hip. We can’t do anything without each other. Every morning, Alli will send me pictures of different outfit combinations and have me pick which one she should wear that day. She loves heels and anything girly. In that aspect, we are complete polar opposites. I’ll take a pair of sneakers, a tee-shirt, and jeans over some of the things Alli wears any day.
I’m not much of a girly girl. I mean I do like jewelry and that kind of thing, but you will never see me in a pair of high heels, a pink mini skirt, or makeup. That’s another thing. I absolutely hate makeup. I like how I look without it, and if others don’t, then so what?
Like I said before, I love taking hot showers. It clears my head and helps me think. But today I’m in a hurry, so I’m not able to stand and take in the steam. My alarm clock didn’t go off this morning so I have to hustle my butt in and out of the shower so I won’t be late to school.
Just as I’m turning off the steady stream of water, my phone starts to ring. I grab my towel from its hook, wrap it tightly around myself and step out onto the shower mat. I seize my phone out from under my clothes, where I had stashed it to keep it save from the water. Glancing distractedly at the collar ID, I start to move my thumb over the “End” button, but I realize it is Alli and hit the answer button instead.
“Hey All-Bear! Can I call you back? I just got out of the shower.”
“Hey Ana-Banana!” replies my best friend’s enthusiastic voice, “And no you can’t. It’s IMPORTANT!” She uses her serious voice to put emphasis on the importance of whatever it is that she called about.
“Ok, hang on. I’m going to put you on speaker phone.” I put the phone down on the counter and punch the speaker icon. “Ok, you’re set to continue. Now what’s so important that you can’t wait ‘til we get to school???”
“So are you sitting down? ‘Cuz if you aren’t, you’re going to need to! Okay! Are you ready for this?” she pauses for some dramatic effect, “I just heard on the radio that Snow Records is looking for a talented new artist to sign with!!!!! Anyone who thinks they have what it takes can submit an entry to the studio! I just had to tell you. Isn’t that awesome?”
“Yeah I guess,” I mumble as I brush my hair.
“You guess? You GUESS?! No. it IS awesome. You could enter it. You have the most amazing voice! You could put Taylor Swift to shame. And you know that’s a lot coming from me because I’m the biggest Taylor Swift fan ever.”
“I know, I know, but there’s just one little problem.”
She huffs into the phone. I almost hear her rolling her eyes. “What?”
“I don’t have a demo or a place to even record one. “
“Ok listen carefully. I’m going to go slowly. You… Can… Videotape… Yourself… Singing… An… Original… Song. OK?” she says, but just as I am opening my mouth to say I don’t have a video camera to use, she interjects, “You don’t have to worry about not having a camera. I have one you could use…” she trails off, lost in thought. “In fact I’ll video tape you myself. I have so many ideas for your video!”
“Ok Alli...” I say to get her to stop for a minute. “You know it’s really scary how you know what I’m going to say and can come up with an answer so fast. “
“I know. It’s a gift, just like my eye for fashion. Plus you’re my best friend. I know more about you than you even know about yourself. It’s my job.”
“Ok, well I gotta go finish getting ready for school… I’m late as it is. I’ll talk to you there.”
“KK. Bye. Oh and don’t think that I won’t have a plan of action to discuss with you before class.”
I laugh, tell Alli I’ll see her later, and hang up before she can add anything else.
I check the time and my eyes almost pop out of my head. I can’t believe I was on the phone for that long. It’s almost 7:30. I gotta go.
I grab my bag, throw on some sneakers and other winter apparel, and run to the front door. My mom is standing in the open door with my keys in one hand and some breakfast in the other. She smiles and says “Here Hun. Have a good day.”
“Thanks Mom.” I grab the keys and paper bag from her and give her a quick peck on the cheek. “Love ya!” I yell as I run down the driveway and jump into my car. In no time at all, I’m on the road with the heat blasting. Did I mention I hate the cold? I love snow with its fresh beauty, but I absolutely, positively hate the cold that comes with it. It takes about ten minutes by car to get to my school from my house. So by 7:45, I have parked my car and am on my way into the front building.
The parking lot is crowded with students who are chatting with friends. Some are trudging through the snow, wanting to get into the warm building like me and others are having snow ball fights. A guy picks up his girlfriend, threating to drop her into the snow if she doesn’t give him a kiss. She giggles and yells “Never” but soon she gives in. I turn from them and walk through the front doors.
As soon as I enter the building, I feel as if I’ve walked through a wall of warm air. Good. The heats on. I walk to my locker and find Alli standing right in front of it.
“Hey girl Hey! Ok so you are coming to my house after school today. No ifs and or butts. We will be recording you singing and blowing it all up. Then when we are all done, we will send it to Snow Records. Then, in a few days, you will get a call that will change your life forever. Get it, got it good!”
“Ok ok. I’ll let my mom know. Now, could you please move? I need to get into my locker.” I give her the puppy eyes and push my bottom lip out.
She pretends she’s offended by this and says “Fine. Whatever.” She moves two lockers down and leans against them, studying her nails as if she never had any before and they just appeared on her hand.
“Oh you know you love me, All-Bear.”
“No I don’t. I hate your guts!” she says while unsuccessfully trying to keep a straight face.
“Yes you do. I’m just lovable. It’s not your fault!” I wink at her and she shakes her head at me. “Come on admit it. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Do I need to pull some random stranger over here to tell you do to love me? ‘Cuz you know I will.”
“Ok fine! I do love you! There happy?”
I shut my locker and turn to her, “Yes All-Bear!”
“Whatevs Ana-Banana,” she rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out at me.
We walk to our first period class, which is Health. We still have a few minutes before class so I open my bag of wonder. Immediately the smells of banana bread waft up to me and my stomach rumbles.
“Whatcha got there? Oooh! Your mom’s famous banana bread! Can I have some?”
“Sure.” I break some off for Ali and we eat the luscious bread in silence for a few minutes. I savor eat flavor filled bite. The cinnamon and vanilla waltz across my taste buds as I chew. My mom’s banana bread is famous at my school. Everyone loves it. She adds a hint of peanut butter and a lot of chocolate chips to the bread, making it hers and hers alone.
All too soon, the bread is gone, leaving me feeling sad that there wasn’t more. I hadn’t even realized the health teacher, Mrs. Anthony, had walked in the room. She was now beginning role call.
“Fleur?” Silence. “Fleur? Does anyone know if Fleur is here?”
Just then the door opens and in walks Fleur. “So sorry Madame. I was just talking to Monsieur Viess.” Fleur is our foreign exchange student from France. She’s staying with the Smith’s, and Heath Smith is absolutely smitten with her. She’s a tall girl of 5’9” and is very slender. She has beautiful blonde hair that’s cut short and is very curly. Her eyes are as green and stunning as a lonely emerald that’s stuck in a black and white world. Everyone adores her. Especially Mrs. Anthony.
“It’s fine Fleur, but next time, please try to be on time.”
And with that, Mrs. Anthony resumes taking attendance.
“Here, Mrs. Anthony.”
And so on ‘til the whole class is done. Mrs. Anthony pushes her glasses further up her nose, sniffles, and shuffles some papers. Finally she seems to have found what she is looking for, as she takes a small stack of papers, gets up from her desk, and begins writing ”Nutrition Fun” on the chalkboard.
I open my notebook, take out a freshly sharpened pencil, and begin copying what she writes. I love health, it’s one of my favorite subjects. Everyone always complains about how much Mrs. Anthony makes us write but I don’t mind. I mean no pain no gain. Right? So what if our hands cramp up? At least we’ll be learning something valuable.
Mrs. Anthony stops writing so the rest of the class can catch up, so I take a break, seeing as how I’m caught up. I look around at my classmates. Everyone’s heads are bent down and they are scribbling in their notebooks furiously. My eyes pass over Alli, her whole posture saying “I hate this class…. It doesn’t do anything for me …. I just get hand cramps, then I can’t text!”
I smile and shake my head at her. Haha Alli! Maybe if you thought more about school and less about fashion and boys, you would have better grades.
Suddenly, I get that feeling that I’m being watched. I subtly turn my head side to side and try to see if anyone is watching me. I find the soul who’s observing me two seats behind me and one to the left. My breathe catches in my throat. It’s Logan Knight. And he’s staring at me with his alluring blue eyes. When our eyes lock, he flashes me his radiant smile that could make Leonardo DiCaprio’s look gross and yellow. He waves to me and my heart flutters.
Logan is the cutest guy at Ocean View and he’s an absolute sweetheart. He’s tall ( or at least taller than me), athletically built (he plays soccer, basketball and football), extremely smart( he’s right up there with me in academics), and , like I said earlier, super sweet. He has brown curly hair that’s rumpled in an “I just woke up and came to school” way.
He has piercing blue eyes that, when on you, beckon you to speak and assure you that he will listen to every word you utter. He’s such a fun guy to be around. Logan, Alli, and I have been the trio of best friends since my first day at Ocean View. They were the first two people I met when I first arrived here.
You know, come to think of it, Logan’s the cutest guy in all of the schools I’ve ever gone to. Even cuter than Andrew Diamond from Edward’s High School (I went to EHS my freshman year) and he was CUTE!
I smile back at him and give a tiny wave. Alli seems to notice because she “drops” her pen. As she bends down to pick it up, she clears her throat loudly and shoves a folded piece of paper onto my desk. I glance down at her and she gestures at the paper, giving me a pointed look. Once the pen is in her hand and her note has been delivered, she sits up and shifts her attention back to the black board. Mrs. Anthony is now explaining to the class that fat soluble vitamins and stored as access fat and water soluble vitamins are excreted through urine.
I pick up Alli’s note and look at my name scrawled across the top in her neat handwriting. ANA. I wonder what she wants now…. I open the note, careful not to make any noise while doing so. The note reads:
“ANA, stop drooling over Mr. Hottie over there.”
Horrified, I touch my mouth to see if I really was drooling. Thankfully I wasn’t so I write back:
“I wasn’t.! Don’t freak me out like that!”
I pass the note back to Alli when Mrs. Anthony is turned, erasing the board. As Alli reads, I hear her scoff. She scribbles furiously and practically poles my eye out thrusting the paper into my face.
“OH you know you were! You can’t help but go gaga over him! It’s ok… he’s a cool guy.”
I look over at Alli, giving her my best “I don’t like him” face, but she just shoots me a look saying “don’t even try to deny it.” Knowing she’d laugh, I give her an all teeth are showing smile. It usually makes her smile, but this time she’s stony faced. She rolls her eyes and starts copying what Mrs. Anthony is now writing. The rest of the class passes with the class silently copying their notes and Mrs. Anthony explaining what it was that she wrote on the board and what it means.
I collect my things when the bell rings and make my way to my locker. Alli is nowhere to be found but Logan is leaning casually against the locker next to mine. My heart flutters again.
"Hey," he says, flashing his wonderful smile.