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Chapter 2

“Mom?” I asked making my way through our apartment. My heart started pumping worry through my veins as I was searching every room for any sign of her. Our apartment was small so it didn’t take me long to get to the last room. “Mom?” I asked again as I peeked my head in the doorway. Oh my gosh. My heart stopped. My legs felt numb. I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I had been shot through the heart, every part of me wanted to scream and cry my heart out but I just couldn’t find the air. I ran to my moms side who was lying on the ground In a puddle of her own blood.
“Mom!” I cried. “Mom! No! You can’t go! Mom!”

“Mom!” I shot up from a deep sleep on the couch. Sweat dripped down my neck and my heart was racing a million miles an hour. I let one tear escape from my eyes and hugged my pillow tightly. A sudden surge of anxiety shot through my bones and I quickly glanced at my phone. It read 7:04. Shoot! I jumped up throwing my blanket on the floor and started digging through moving boxes to find some clothes. I think it were 2:45 when I came home last night. I lost track of time when I fell asleep on that bench. Throwing on some clothes and frantically rushing to grab everything I needed i tried to ignore the one thought that haunted me the most. Quite often I had nightmares of when I found my mom had finally gone home. Honestly sometimes I wish I could join her, wherever she was had to of been better than this. I ran into the bathroom realizing I looked like a raccoon who had just popped out of a trashcan I quickly wiped off the old eyeliner and applied more. I didn’t wear any other makeup, just eyeliner, it made my boring brown eyes stand out, not that anyone has ever noticed but it looks better in my opinion. I ran out the door with my shoes in my hands and cranked up my moms mustang. I would have told dad goodbye but he would have scolded me for not coming home last night and I was already an emotional wreck without him screaming in my face. I buckled up and hit the gas and drove as fast as I could, but still safe. Not but five minutes later I whirled into the parking lot and ran for the door.
“Hey!” A voice called from behind me. I stopped dead in my tracks. I know I didn’t do anything wrong but I couldn’t help but think, I didn’t do it! I slowly turned around and almost put my hands in the air, then remembered I hadn’t done anything wrong. Act natural, Hailee!
“What are you doing ma’am?”a tall man in a suit and tie walked toward me from his SUV.
“Going to school, what else?” I asked.
“Ma’am, I don’t know if your aware but school doesn’t start for another hour and a half,” the guy informed me. I stood in shock wondering what was going on? I could have sworn my phone said it was seven. Oh my god. Realization washed over me like water. How could I be so stupid. I looked at the ground and then back up at the dude.
“Time change.” I said to myself.
“What?” The guy asked.
“I’m from New York. It’s 7:30 there. I’m sorry sir, I’m just, ugh, gonna go wait in my car.” Saying nothing else I slid back into my moms mustang. How stupid of me. How could I not have known. Well, I better get comfy, I’m gonna be here for a while. Leaning back into my leather seat I took back control of myself and just breathed. Right when I was finally calm enough to rest my eyes my phone rang. It scared me to death but a smile spread across my face when I saw who it was. It was my best friend from back home, she was probably checking up on me making sure was up and at school.
“Hey!” I answered the phone.
“Tell me your at school! If you slept in on your first day I would have to come all the way to cowboy country, and it’s hot there so you better be at school!” My best friend, Avery, rambled.
“Ah shoot! Is that the time?” I asked her, trying to hold in a laugh.
“Hailee Hunter! I’m headed your way.” Avery said as if I left her no choice. I thought she were joking but when I heard her crank up her Dodge Challenger I knew my little fun was over.
“Avery! Stop your car, I’m at school. I’m just in the parking lot, this time change has got me crazy.” I told her. The phone line was silent, all I could hear was her putting her car in park.
“Now shouldn’t you be in school?” I asked.
“Look, when my best friend is a million miles away from me my top priority is no longer myself and my education.” Avery said.
“You don’t think I could make it without you?” I asked.
“Girl please, you’re a hot mess. Without me you would literally die.” She said. If only she knew how true that was.
“Yeah, no kidding.” My smile faltered. Silence rung through my ears as Avery put two and two together. I waited for her to speak but she never did. “Ave’s?” I asked her.
“Hailee?” Her voice trembled. A rush of protective best friend rushed through me as I sat up in my seat. “Yeah?” I answered in concern.
“How are you?” She almost whispered through the phone. Every part of me wished I was there to wipe the tears from her eyes.
“Oh Avery I’m fine.”
“Don’t say that Hailee! Look your life may suck and you want to leave but if you left just like your mom did imagine how I would feel!” Avery cut me off. Her words hit like a knife in the heart but every piece of that were true. I had never thought about it like that. If only she knew that I wasn’t planning on going anywhere, I wasn’t going to take the same path my mom did.
“A-Avery…” I was cut off by a knock on my window. “I-I have to go.” I hung up the phone without saying goodbye. Some friend I was. I rolled down my window to find Kevin and Andrew smiling down at me.
“What don’t tell me you guys go to this school too?” I jumped out of my car. I was happy to see them, it was dangerous for me to stay alone with my thoughts, I’d get so consumed, so cute boys were a great distraction.
“Well in our defense, you never asked.” Andrew shrugged.
“I guess not,” I said.
“Hailee, it’s hotter than hell out here, why are you wearing a hoodie?” Kevin asked.
“I…ugh…” I scanned the parking lot of the tiny high school searching for an answer.
“ I’m always cold so I come prepared.” I tried and made it sound as natural as possible. Gladly they bought it.
“Gosh, I don’t know how you could be cold out here. This is tank top weather, but that’s just my opinion.” Andrew smiled. Today he wasn’t wearing spurs, just his cowboy boots. He had wranglers on with a big belt buckle and a tank top. Kevin had on shorts and a tank top with rainbow sandals and a puka shell necklace. Average surfer dude
“What are you doing here so early?” Andrew asked.
“I take my education very seriously.” I hardened my expression so they’d think I was serious.
“Nerd!” Zeke, who I didn’t notice before, yelled from six parking spaces over. He drove the same kind of 62 mustang as me only his were black. Kevin jerked around with a look of shock on his face. “How’d you even hear that?” Kevin’s voice was high pitched and squeaky when he got worked up. Zeke lit his cigarette and headed off behind the school.
“Some friend he is.” I commented. I couldn’t help but think I was one to talk.
“He’s actually not that bad if you get to know him,” Kevin said. He was definitely the kind of person that saw the best in people, even when they were the worst.
“Call me lazy but that seems like a lot of work,” I said.
“Nah, I understand. He doesn’t let anyone in.” Andrew said.
“Well how do you guys know him so well?” I asked them.
“We used to know him well, Zeke and I grew up together, but ever since some stuff happened with him he’s a completely different person. He’s arrogant and he’s a player, been in jail a couple of times. Everyone knows who he is but he’s not the Zeke I grew up with, if that makes any since.” Andrew informed me.
“No, I understand that.” Even though I didn’t completely understand I wasn’t going to be nosy and keep asking questions.
“I don’t.” Kevin said. “It doesn’t make since.”
“It doesn’t have to make since, Kev.” Andrew said with a little aggravation in his voice.
“Your right, I’m sorry.” Kevin apologised throwing his hands up in surrender.
“Are we good bro?” Andrew looked Kevin in the eyes with the most apologetic smile.
“We’re good bro,” they did they’re ‘bro handshake’ and hugged it out. There bromance made me smile. They reminded me of Avery and I, only we stayed mad at each other longer, but not too much longer because we had important stuff to tell each other. Then the boys noticed me smiling.
“What?” Andrew asked me. Gosh he was so handsome. Oh but you know what this means, if I am going to like a cowboy I’ll have to get over my fear of horses. Love came with sacrifices and this would be a big one, but it’s not like I’d have a chance with him anyways, no girl like me would ever deserve a guy like him.
“Come on, do I really need a specific reason to smile?” I asked him. Slightly embarrassed Andrew looked at the ground, “I guess not.” He smiled looking back up at me. Suddenly I felt really insecure, suddenly I realized my hair was probably a mess and… why do I suddenly care about what someone thinks of me?
“No, there’s always a reason to smile!” Kevin begged to differ.
“Okay, like what?” I asked looking up into his big brown eyes that looked like puppy dog eyes.
“You know, like what are your reasons?” Kevin asked. My reasons? What were my reasons?
“My reasons are my friends, my family and this beautiful life!” Kevin gave an example. A sudden buzz from my back pocket made me jump. I pulled out my phone and it was Avery calling me.
“Sorry guys, I have to take this.” I told Andrew and Kevin.
“No problem, we’ll see you inside.” Said Andrew.
“Goodbye.” Kevin hugged me unexpectedly.
“I’ll see you in a few.” I waved them off then quickly jumped back into my moms car to answer the phone.
“Hot date? Or you just not talking to me?” Avery asked. I dropped my head and slightly smiled, she was hilarious when she was being a diva.
“Ave’s, it was just my friends,” I explained to her.
“Oh so all the sudden you have new friends? Why don’t you go ahead and find a new best friend while your at it.” Avery said. I assure you she’s bluffing.
“Yeah, because I can live without you,” I said sarcastically. Although I couldn’t see her I knew she was hesitantly smiling. The phone line was silent for the longest time. I knew she was trying to stay mad at me, because I would do the same thing to her. “You can’t stay mad a me for long, come on Avery, tell me what’s going on with Dylan?” Dylan was Avery’s crush since the fifth grade, bringing him up I knew she couldn’t not talk about him.
“Oh I hate you,” She growled.
“But you love me too.” I laughed.
“Dylan said ‘Hi’ to me yesterday!” Avery screeched.
“What was that? Ave’s! I think I got a bad connection!” I yelled. Yes I’m faking, but I know it’s torturing her.
“No! Don’t you do this to me! We’re talking about Dylan! Don’t you dare Hailee!” Avery yelled.
“What? Skkkkkkkkkk! I can’t hear you! Skkkkkkkkkkk! Beeeeeeep!” And that was my cue to hang up. Oh how I loved annoying her. She was such a pain in the butt, but she was my pain in the butt and I love her. My stupid smile quickly faded when I looked at the clock. Five minutes tell class! Where’d the time to? I jumped out and ran into the school. Here we go, Hailee, first day at your new school. Don’t blow it.

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