My name is Astrid Ella Bailey.
Also known as my school’s loser nerd, my brother’s annoying sister and the daughter my parents never find time for.
Now that you know pretty much everything about me, let’s skip to the good part.
Let me tell you about the day that changed my life.
For starters, I woke up 30 minutes too late which sent me into panic mode. I was on an honor roll, never skipped class and made sure my grades were more than flawless. Hurriedly, I got up to take my everyday morning shower and unfortunately realized my idiotic twin brother used all the hot water. To make matters worse I bumped my pinky into a table and almost tripped over my ‘I Read YA’ door mat in front of my bedroom which I got when I went to a Reader’s Convention in Chicago last year.
Because of the cold water, my hair got hard to brush through and that led to me barely getting ready in time. That forced me to skip my reading and studying – that was what I usually did in the morning and not being able to fit it in my schedule immediately set me in a bad mood.
For breakfast, I took an apple with me and before I knew it, it was seven am and I was hurrying to my car. I threw my bag on the back seat when I heard my brother call after me.
“Astrid wait!” He rushed through the front door, trying to catch his breath. His dark brown hair was a mess and I guess he fell asleep too.
He now wanted a ride. It was a rare thing to happen but I witnessed it every now and again. I think it’s more than fair for me to introduce you to my world.
Like I said, I’m Astrid Bailey. While I would describe myself as a socially awkward seventeen-year-old girl with a serious addiction to books and anything book related, my brother was the social butterfly of my high school.
He is the captain of the Evergreen High’s football team, the star athlete and one of the most popular guys in school.
My brother Connor and I might be twins, but we are totally different. He’s super talkative whereas I’m quiet and pretty much mind my own business. He likes to slack off, taking the term couch potato to a whole new level and I like to be kept busy. He is highly – and I mean it – unorganized and popular while I’m... not.
But being twins and all, people expect us to be the same, act the same and love the same stuff. The truth is we just grew apart. It happened to a lot of people. We weren’t the first and we were hardly the last.
“What do you want now?” I asked quietly and walked over to the driver’s side.
“I need a ride.” Connor said to me.
“Call your friends.” I told him, trying to wave him off as I opened the driver’s door. My brother ran a hand through his annoyingly good looking hair and as my eyes met his, I felt his confidence radiate off him.
I sometimes wished I was blessed with his good looks. But I unfortunately wasn’t and that’s where my incredibly low self-esteem came from. Actually, I’m lying. It all depended on my mood and sometimes I liked to fish for compliments because it felt nice to have people say good things about you.
“They already left. Now, get in the car and drive otherwise we’re going to be late and you know I can’t miss my morning practice.” Connor ordered me before he slid into the passenger seat without waiting for an answer. I rolled my eyes, told him to fasten his seat belt and started the car.
I knew that coach has been pushing them extra hard this year for some unknown reason but I couldn’t care less. I hate football. Always have and always will. That’s mostly because my brother kept bragging about how good he was at it, use girls with its help and also because I sucked at it. It was just my choice to stay away for the greater good.
As I drove out of my driveway and then continued to drive down a few blocks. I proceeded to move forward when this idiot out of nowhere hit my car in the front. The impact threw me and Connor both forward, seat belts cutting into our lungs, forcing our breaths to leave our bodies. The hit wasn’t really hard; it was like driving those small cars in amusement parks and crashing into each other. I was still worried about my car more than myself... or Connor even though it hit his side.
My brother and I both struggled to unfasten our seat belts. There was smoke coming from the front of our cars and I had to cough a few times to get air into my lungs. I opened my car door and almost collapsed, if it was because of shock or the impact, I had no idea. Suddenly, I heard another car door open and close, but it was not Connor’s. My neck hurt when I looked up to the driver.
The driver was none other than Kai Asher – the school’s bad boy and one of the hottest, most attractive guys from school. Getting noticed by him meant your reputation would instantly go to thist and you had the honor of starring in school gossips for days – if he stuck around that long.
His dark hair and blue eyes were swoon worthy. Maybe it’s the way he smiled, showing his pearly white teeth, or the fact that he had been in detention more times than I can count but something was definitely clear about him. He could be on the school’s football team with my brother all he wanted and he could be one of my brother’s buddies but he was definitely trouble. No doubt about it.
“Are you crazy?!” I yelled at him. “How fast were you driving?”
I didn’t know whether it was from shock but I never would’ve yelled at anyone like that… except if that idiot almost killed me. My insides were shaking and I was surprised by the swirling emotions I felt inside. Confusion, anger, fear, shock…
“You came out of nowhere.” He ignored my question, running a hand through his hair. His voice remained calm, like nothing in the world could disturb him. Not even an accident. In which our cars were most definitely wrecked beyond repair.
“I was driving by the speed limit! How can you blame me for this?” I yelled at him. His calm manner fueled my rage and all my emotions. Just because he was popular and good looking, he always got everything he wanted. Girls caved in, guys followed his command – almost more than they did my brother’s – and he was annoyingly arrogant. But I mattered too. My opinion mattered.
“My car is ruined. Oh god, I’m going to be in so much trouble,” I said after a few moments of silence as the situation started to sink in. To keep my hands from shaking, I ran them through my hair to occupy them.
“Oh please, you’re such a typical good girl. All you worry about is not getting into trouble, getting high grades and keeping your parents happy,” Kai snapped, as if he actually knew me.
Looking at Kai Asher – the classmate whom I wasn’t particularly a fan of, especially in this moment – he seemed a bit angry but if you looked twice, you noticed he was actually smirking. I wanted to smack it away so badly and his comment irritated me more than I would care to admit.
“So, what do we do?” I asked, 1) because he seemed to have all the answers and 2) because I suddenly felt too tired to argue.
A thought came to me then and I felt horrible for not thinking about him before. My brother. I turned around immediately and barely now noticed he was talking over the phone a couple of meters back. He hastily finished his conversation and then turned to me.
“I see you two are done bickering. I called our parents and the police. They’ll be here any moment now and we’re all excused from classes today.”
My parents forbade me from driving my car – mostly because it wasn’t anywhere near the driving condition. I felt sad because that was my first car and it held so many memories of me and my two best friends, road trips to our favorite diner and my weekly road trips to the Winterheart bookstore.
When we got home the first thing I did was check my cell phone. I noticed several missed calls and texts from my best friend Adelaide. Instead of calling her back, I texted her a short explanation as to why I was a no show at school but I was also smart enough to leave out the part mentioning Kai Asher as the driver at fault.
I didn’t realize how exhausted I truly was until my eyes started to close and sleep took over.
It was dark when I woke up and there was loud music playing. At first I thought it was Connor playing his too loud. I wanted to yell at him, blurt out a few threats and then go back to sleep, but as I entered the hallway I realized the sounds wasn’t coming from that direction. It wasn’t coming from my house at all.
I followed the sound only to lead me to my window, where there was a light on in the house next door. To make things even weirder, that house had been empty for years. Nobody lived there ever since they started the reconstruction after a fire.
I drew the curtains to the side and opened my window. The sight in front of me shocked me and I was already at the point where I felt like nothing could surprise me by now.
Never in a million years would I have expected to see him – twice in one day – singing shirtless, doing some crazy dance moves while his every muscle stood out in his very, very hot body. Kai Asher’s dark hair was messy, which made his bad boy attitude totally work. His dancing was sexy and he sounded great. More than great even. If today hadn’t happened then I maybe would have even swooned over him. But I didn’t.
Instead, I was staring like an idiot until I got to my senses – which took longer than I wanted to admit – and cleared my throat. He turned around abruptly, his mouth forming a perfect smile.
If it was my turn to smirk as if I caught him doing something embarrassing then I wouldn’t have realized it. He seemed proud of it and teasing him about this… scene wasn’t an option.
“Hey, princess. I see you just can’t stay away from me, can you?” He winked, which he did a lot. What a flirt! And what was worse was that girls fell for his charms. Maybe I would’ve, too, if his attitude didn’t bother me so much.
Call me a drama queen, I don’t care. He should take responsibility for his actions and at least... apologize? I think that would be better than nothing.
I tried not to roll my eyes, partly because I had trouble peeling them off his body, and partly because I needed to be nice. If I wasn’t, this could seriously backfire in my face. So, I put my sweet face on and talked to him as nicely as I could. “Listen, can you keep it down? Some people are actually trying to do something productive like read, sleep, or maybe even study,” I said, and the response I got was his amusement.
“And singing isn’t productive? Don’t deny that you like staring at me without a shirt on.” Kai teased me, and I actually snorted when he gestured to his body.
“I do not! And I woke up thanks to your music,” I defended myself, but it was hopeless. I could feel the heat spreading through my cheeks while I forced myself to look at his eyes.
“Ah, so that explains the way you look,” he said to me, leaning his arms on his window and mimicking my position. We were a couple of feet apart, which didn’t seem far enough.
“Excuse me?” I asked him, almost unable to comprehend his words. There was a tree between us so that one could easily climb over. Our houses were built really close just like every house in the neighbourhood.
“Your hair is so messy, I thought you were going to a carnival,” Kai explained. I felt embarrassed, but I would not admit it. I may be a good girl, and that might be a blow—a popular guy from school saying you look horrible—but I knew when to keep my mouth shut for the sake of keeping my sanity.
Instead, I picked up the closest thing to me, which happened to be a pencil, and threw it at him. Needless to say, I missed. Damn you, sports! Why can’t I be good at anything? Ugh.
And damn it! I just realized that it was my good luck pencil. The one I did my math homework with, but being too proud to ask for it back, I opted for the better option. Insulting him.
“You’re an ass,” I told him. “Why are you even staying at that house?”
“I just moved here,” Kai explained with even more humour in his voice, as if this amused him to no end. I froze, and my face must have been freaking hilarious because he couldn’t keep himself from laughing. “Looks like we’re going to be neighbours, princess.” He gestured to the boxes in his room.
I groaned. I’d have to actually use my curtains from now on. “Just keep the damn music down,” I said and closed my window. I heard him laugh, but he did as I asked.