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Chapter I

7 years ago

Ever since elementary school, my parents have hired a service that would get me to and from school. They have always been strict when it comes to me. I never really know why because I have two more siblings that they could give their attention to, but whatever.

Today’s the first day of my sophomore year in Rock Lake Integrated School, and as usual, I’m running late again. I really should have showered quickly instead of spending time wondering how he is doing.

Getting out of the shower, I quickly snatched my uniform from the closet and put all the things I need in my small backpack. As I struggle to find my shoe and comb my midnight black hair at the same time, I heard the familiar honk of my service’s car. With one last look in the mirror and one glance at the entirety of my room to see if I missed something, I rushed down the stairs to the front door.

“Hi, Aine!” The driver greeted me as I got out of the front door.

“Hey, Max!” I greeted in return as I look up from fixing my shoe. When I saw my younger brother, Zeke, already seated and asleep in the car, I walked on laughing.

When I got closer, I tapped his head slightly. “What’s up Z? I told you not to play too much last night. I guess you're riding with me again. User.” I thought he will tease me back as usual, but he just let out a grunt once I got inside the car.

“Looks like somebody didn’t get to eat his breakfast.”

Finally, he answered, “Says the one who completely stopped eating one. Where do you exactly get all your energy from if what you consume is just a glass of milk in the morning?”

“From the prospect of getting to tease you every morning of course.” I laughed at him again. “and besides, you know why I don’t eat breakfast anymore.”

He didn’t talk to me for the rest of the ride to school after that. So, I just stared at the passing trees and the sky as the sun lightens it completely.

I never really had breakfast anymore ever since my Mom started working out of the country more often. Before, she would always leave food for us in the kitchen before she heads out to her small restaurant down by the beach. Now, she works at a food magazine company where she is required to travel to different countries as research, so naturally, she stopped doing so.

My Dad, on the other hand, is the one that is at home every night. He works as a machine operator in a textile factory. Since his job does not require him to travel, he is the one in charge of the house whenever my Mom is away. That means he is the one cooking, cleaning, and buying things for the house.

However, he does not have time to cook for us in the morning because he’s always tired from working the day before. Because we are old enough and don’t want to tire him before he even gets to work, we decided to handle it ourselves.

So I guess eating breakfast just makes me miss my Mom more. Weird, I know, but it just makes me feel like it.

While I’m daydreaming in the backseat, I didn’t realize that we are already at the front gate until my brother called me. “A! are you just gonna stay there? We need to hurry.”

“Okay, I’m coming. You need to chill.” I answered in return

After saying bye to Max, I and my brother went our separate way. Zeke is still in grade school, so his building is on the opposite side of mine.

Upon arriving at my building, I immediately looked at the bulletin board to see which class I’m in. I got so excited when I noticed that my other three friends are in the same class as me. Looking around, I saw Mabelle, Keeno, and Clary huddled near a tree.

“Guys! Did you see the list? I guess we’ll be together for a year again!” I called unto them while running in their direction.

Keeno was the first one to look at me. He is the only guy and the tallest one in our circle. He has this medium length, wavy black hair that is always a mess no matter how hard he tries to fix it. Upon seeing me, he tapped Clary and Mabelle for them to notice me too.

Clary is the innocent one in our circle. She just has this angelic look on her. With her long, straight brown hair and big doe eyes, you can never accuse her of doing anything wrong. Mabelle, on the other hand, always has this mischievous look in her eyes. She is the shortest one among us but is a great dancer. She has this curvaceous body and long, curly black hair.

“Aine did you hear?” asked Mabelle who looks so excited.

“That we are all in the same class? Yes! That was what I was shouting to you guys while I was running here.”

“No, not that. We heard you. In fact, we think the whole school did! With that loud voice of yours? Who wouldn’t?” Clary butted in.

“Ooh, our little Ms. Innocent is teasing someone. You better be careful. Somebody might hear you.” Keeno teased Clary back. Whispering the last part for added effect.

“Hey stop it! Look there he is.” Said Mabelle while pointing at the direction of the bulletin boards.

The rest of us looked at where she is pointing at. “Is that Killian?” asked Keeno.

I am shocked, to say the least. I thought he won’t be going to school here anymore? Does that mean Nathan’s here too?

I eagerly looked around him, but I did not see Nathan. Realizing that he is the only one who came back, I released a sigh.

“What? It’s just Killian. Maybe his family decided to move back here again.” I told them. Clary looked at me sympathetically. I guess she heard the sadness in my voice and said, “Maybe Nate’s here too. Who knows? It’s not like those two are tied at the hips or something.”

I just nodded in return and went to the direction of our assigned classroom. They all followed me in return.

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