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Chapter 1

With a groan I reach my arm over my face to shut off my alarm clock. With both hands I rub my eyes, and after a huge yawn I lay here. Looking up at the ceiling I think to myself, as if today wouldn’t be bad enough, now it will be. “Oh yeah, today school starts” I say out loud, my voice sounding dry and raspy. I just love the first day of school, at least it will be the last first day. That’s the great thing about grade 12, no more first days, unless you decide to go to college, which I have no idea if I will do that or not. All I want to do is get through this year with no problems. Whenever I have that stupid dream, something bad happens. I wonder what it will be today? I don’t even understand why I have that dream; it makes no sense to me. Maybe it was a movie I watched as a little kid and think it happened to me, but that is absolutely crazy. Who the heck turns into a lion? Unless you are a mutant or something bizarre like that.

Glancing at my clock it says 6:20 am. I do yoga in my room first thing in the morning. I usually only do 10 minutes, but decide that 20 minutes is best, especially after that dream. At 6:55 I get out of the shower, and then brush my teeth. Looking in the mirror I admire how average I look. I’m 5′5 and slightly curvy. I have light freckles across the bridge of my nose to my cheeks and straight chestnut brown hair, that falls down to the middle of my back with bangs that cover my not so average eyes. That is the only thing not plain about me, my eyes, which I try very hard to hide. For some crazy reason, my grey eyes have flecks that change color with my emotions. I was probably dropped on my head as a baby, I’m sure Lillian would do something like that. Right now for instance my eyes are grey, with flecks of dark purple, I’m feeling frustrated. Great, now I need to relax again so there is no extra color in them! I can’t have another mishap of someone else seeing them. Very few people have actually seen them change color; I can count them on one hand.

Letting out a deep sigh I think to myself it is time to go and face the Collins. My mom decided to leave me with the Collins family, William, Emma, and Jennifer. I’ve been here since grade 9. Their daughter Jennifer is my age. William and my mom Lillian grew up together. Apparently they were good friends, really good friends, but she didn’t talk about him often. I’m worried Emma thinks my mom is trying to get him back. She always gives me weird looks like I am conspiring against their marriage. Jennifer is gorgeous, she is 5′6, very slender, with blonde curly shoulder length hair, and the deepest blue eyes I’ve ever seen. They all seem to share those deep blue eyes.

I wouldn’t exactly say we are best friends, but friends maybe. We don’t hang out unless she needs me as an excuse to go to a party. Her parents see me as responsible, so they trust her to be the same if I am with her. Unfortunately, their plan backfires every time. Then they make up excuses and a positive to everything she does. For example, last year on the last day of school they said “at least she has a designated driver” and “as long as she comes home with you and doesn’t go home with some boy.” What they didn’t realize is she had hooked up with her boyfriend Kevin Abbot as soon as we got there. Kevin is about 6′ with really beefy muscles, blonde surfer hair, and is the football something or other. Whenever Jennifer talks about what position he plays in football my mind shuts off, but apparently he is really good. I’ve never actually gone to a sporting event at school, or ever, and I don’t really plan to go anytime soon. I don’t understand how Mr. and Mrs. Collins don’t see what she does behind their backs, maybe if they actually noticed what their daughter was wearing then they’d know. I suppose they are too busy with their organic farm, store, and the two used car lots they own. I’m actually kind of glad to be staying here with them. I could never see Mr or Mrs. Collins leaving Jennifer their pride and joy with some random family and leaving for who knows how long or why.

This summer they all went on vacation to Mexico City. I stayed behind and said I’d make sure their employees showed up to work, and handle any problems that would come up. Mr. Collins said he would pay me a whopping $5000 and give me a good deal on one of the used cars. We are going to pick one out after school today. Mrs. Collins told me last week we would go back to school shopping after I pick out the car I want. I don’t shop at the same stores as them, so I’m sure it will just be me following her and Jennifer around holding their bags while they try on a million clothes that they don’t actually need. You should see their closets; you can fit my whole room in one! I’ll pick out a few jeans and t-shirts, maybe a new pair of sneakers. Jennifer and I are nothing alike. She shows a lot of skin, where I show as little as possible. If only it were socially acceptable to wear a paper bag on my head. She wears heals, while I prefer sneakers. All I want to achieve in high school is to be invisible and so far I’ve done just that. It is nice staying with a family that actually acts like a family.

I’m Riley. 17 years old, 18 in February. The girl with the weird eyes.

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