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By Emily_Hart All Rights Reserved ©

Romance / Adventure

Chapter 1 Friends are always there


I sat there on the Hill safely behind the Dome, looking out over the abandoned city overrun by Dwellers. Dwellers were people who weren't a part of Seris. They lived outside of the Dome. I heard rumors that they were nothing more than murderers, thieves, and drifters.

Even though that this part of Seris was off limits to Regulars, like me, I come here anyways (I had to get up two hours early just to get to school on time, since it takes an hour to get to the hill and back with fifteen minutes to sit there and think).

As I sat on the Hill, I thought about a better life, one on the outside of the Dome. I dreamed of my father, this was the last place that I had ever seen him. He's was a Dweller, but I'm told that he was dead now, but whenever I touch the Dome it feels like his hand is still on the other side of mine.

I remember my dad taking me here all the time before. I sighed, getting up and brushing off the too green grass off my legs. I grabbed my black school bag. I headed down the hill and crawled under the little part of the fence that was broken. My pants nearly got snagged on it, but I fixed it before it did.

I walk on the ever curving road, towards the school. It took me an hour to get to the little market by the school. As I pass on of the shops, I stop and stare at the familiar face of a girl staring back at me. With choppy, uneven, brown hair cut to about the mid-neck, big bright blue eyes, a couple freckles on the cheeks, and a pretty face, even without makeup on, everyone could tell that I was beautiful.

I didn't know why but I never liked guys staring at me, let alone myself. I walked away from the window and continued to the school. The school was a plain concrete building with Plexiglas windows. I walked into the big open space that was like a lobby. I signed into the front desk. She scanned my fingerprint and let me in. I walk into the hall that led off from the lobby, the one with all the lockers that lined the walls.

I headed towards my locker but stopped dead in my tracks. I saw the familiar face of Conner, the boy that I grew up with, but hadn't talked to for 3 whole months. He leaned against the locker to the left of mine so I couldn't hide him with the door of my locker. His familiar hazel eyes were trying to search my own bright blue. I quietly took the Home Pod from my bag and then put the bag in the locker. As I headed off for my First Class, but Conner caught me be the arm. I tensed up at that small touch.

"Wait, Avery, we need to talk." His eyes told me that it was important to him. I stared up at him, studying his already remembered face, the tiny scar that went through this right eyebrow, the friendly smile that never seemed to fade, and the blonde, slightly longer boy haircut I had grown accustomed to seeing.

"Yes, Conner," I whispered.

"It's about you. You really need to start talking to your friends again; we all miss you, Av." Wow, I hadn't heard that nickname in a while. "What do you guys want me to say, 'Oh hey guys, look I know that we haven't talked for a while, but I'm still grieving over the loss of my father, but I'm going to hang out with you, ok.'" I said a little louder than a whisper. He looked happy, not the shock I was expecting.

"That would be fine to say, but no sarcasm, please," Conner said smiling. "Look I have to get to my classes, if I'm late for history, you'll know how Mrs. Zane would react," I explained starting to walk away.

I didn't need to turn around to know that Conner was following. Just outside of class, Conner again stopped me, "Av, will you at least think about it?"

I sighed heavily, "Fine, I will just think about it, but no promises. See you at lunch." I stated in a normal volume.

"Hey, there she is. Good luck." Conner said giving me a hug, before walking away. It was a very awkward hug for several reasons. First off, I didn't return it, and two I had stiffened when he did. I walked into class and sat down. What am I going to do with him?

I sat down at lunch a couple of hours later. At first I was alone. When Conner saw me he picked up his tray and sat next to me. On his tray, he had a sandwich, a carton of soy milk, and a small salad. Being that we are chipped, the school knows our every need, which includes the nutrition that we need. That's how they knew that he was lactose intolerant.

I looked down at my own tray. I had a small baked potato, a small serving of beans, and a cup of vitamin water. I was very thin so I needed all of the vitamins that I could get. When I looked back up others had gathered. A Regular boy named Leo sat in front of me. I could see his nicer Regular clothes that meant that he lived slightly closer to the Army reserve. He had a slightly tangled mess of light brown hair that made him look like a little kid with his slightly pudgy cheeks and big blue eyes. Next to him sat a pretty girl named Davey Jackson. She had longish, thick, wavy, black hair, warm brown eyes, but wore the regulated uniform of the teen Army, a dark green shirt, camo pants and combat boots. Even without looking I knew that there would be a small knife tucked inside of the right boot since she was right handed.

Next to her was her brother Aaron. He has the same eyes, and hair color that Davey has, as well as the same uniform. The only thing that was different, besides the haircut (which he needs really desperately), was the fact that Aaron has a mischievous smile plastered on his face at all times. Not to mention he has ADD, or was it ADHD? Nope definitely ADD. I also had the twins sitting on the other side of me, Ellie and Lambus. They were blondes, 17, and they also were in the Army with Davey and Aaron. They were in the lower part of the Army, so they all went here instead of the Higher School toward the Center. Or Mid School, that was closer to the center, but was being used for the army training, weekends only for them.

I picked at my lunch as they talked excitedly about something. I wasn't really paying attention to them… until Conner nudged me with his elbow. I sighed and cleared my throat. It was enough to get me their attention.

"Everyone I'm sorry," I started. I had thought about what to say through all my classes. "I know we haven't had much time in the last few months to talk to each other." That's when I heard a girl snort, it was Ava. She was older the most here at the Higher School. 19 to be exact. She is a regular, but now she is on Stage Two for of the Army Test. The first part is physical, and the second, I don't know, but all of them have to take it if they are older than 18 years of age.

"As I was saying, I'm really sorry, it's just that I was having a hard time adjusting to my dad being gone, my mom working overtime, school, and practically being the only parent to my younger siblings. Will you guys forgive me?" At first everyone looked at me like I was a new species of butterflies and they were the first to see it. The next thing I knew everyone was trying to talk to me. Some of them were hugging me like they might lose me if they let go.

"I'll take that as a yes," I said though it came out funny with everyone hugging me. Then I looked to Connor; he was just sitting there with the biggest smile I've seen him have in a while.

Then I saw Ava. She didn't seem fazed that she got a friend back. But even her crabby mood couldn't shake my new one.

After lunch, I, Davey, and Aaron went to Physical Education together. Aaron was in the same grade as Davey and I, only because he held back a year in school due to severe ADD problems. He's OK now that he has medication to help.

We were running track today. I was a good distance runner. I liked running, but I haven't done a lot of running outside of school. Davey and Aaron both smiled. They, too, liked to run. They had to do a lot of it for a requirement being a part of the Army and all.

I quickly changed into my gym clothes. It was a loose white shirt and red basketball shorts. Sure they were boy shorts but I didn't like the girls' short shorts that everyone else wore. The coach Mrs. Taper, made us run 10 laps and then put in obstacles that we had to dodge. With the obstacles, we ran 10 more laps. I was glad that they allowed us to go our own pace because some of us were slower, or faster than others. I was in the faster range.

"I WILL SAVE YOU, FAIR PRINCESS!" I heard Aaron yell out, halfway through my 14th lap. Everyone started laughing.

After class, I showered and changed back into my normal clothes. Davey and Aaron quickly caught up to me.

"You know Av, since you're back to your old self again, we were thinking about throwing you a party, it's going to be at Conner's, OK. We will be giving you a little something to show you how much we care about you. Just stop by at about 4." Aaron said, slinging his arm around me. I smiled sheepishly, I knew that it was just him being nice, but I was still uncomfortable.

I went on my way home. Usually, I took the bus home because I needed to do homework and cook dinner. Dinner responsibilities fell to me since I was the oldest child at home. Not that I minded, I loved to cook. Dad was the one who taught me.

I went through homework on my Home Pad verily quickly. A Home Pad was a small electronic device that we were given in our first year of Lower School. It held all of our homework, a place that we could write essays and a way to email our teachers.

All Home Pads were silver. They came with a small plastic pen that tucked right inside for safe keeping. Since most of the younger children lost them they were easily replaceable.

Once I was done, I went to the kitchen. It wasn't much. It was one of the smallest rooms in the whole house, which wasn't saying much. It was well lite only because it needed to be for safety reasons. There was a small fridge to the left of the sink. There were cabinets above and below the sink, as well as to the side. There was a magnetic bar above the sink to hang up knives.

I pulled out the chicken that I thawed out last night. I started trimming off as much fat off of them as I could.

By the time Danny and Isabelle got home, I was nearly done with dinner. They were twins. They had the same eyes as me. Danny had short brown hair. He looked a lot like dad. Isabelle looked like a younger version of me, except with longer hair and more outgoing. They started to set the table while I stirred the peas. Once they were done I put them on the small table that we had. I pulled the chicken from the oven using pot holders and set it on the table.

That's when my mom came home from work. I could tell she had been working extra shifts. She was a factory worker for one of the above ground factories.

"How was work today, mother?" Isabelle asked. Mom sighed. She didn't like talking about it, but we always asked. That's what children were taught in our first year of Lower School. It was a force of habit for us.

"Fine; let's just eat," She suggested. After shrugging at my 14-year-old sister, we started eating. We ate in silence. Once we were done, I quickly did the dishes. Isabelle helped. I washed everything while she dried and put it away.

"I'm going out," I called out. It was mostly to my siblings. My mother didn't really care about where we went. Ever since dad left, she hadn't been the same mother that I grew up with. It was actually pretty sad. She still went to work. I could tell she wasn't doing as well as she could be. But by law, she couldn't be fired if no one else in the family worked.

"OK!" They called back. And with that I walked to Conner's.

A/N: This is a story that I plan on publishing. I posted it on here to find out if it was any good. If it isn't I will change it up and repost it chapter by chapter. Please review to this, I really need feedback. REVIEW!

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