I have a family related to me by blood, but they’re not a family. There is no love
towards me. Instead there is abandonment and sometimes abuse.
I have no one to talk to about my life—not that I would anyway. It would only bring
I have no friends at school, not even acquaintances. No one talks to me, looks at me, or
even sees me most of the time. I was content with that. No one could ask about the facial
You could call me a loner. I kept to myself and didn’t attempt to make friends. The
teachers only called on me when they were going around the room.
The teachers, though, paid more attention to me than the students. That was only from the
high marks I always have. Being as I had nothing else to do, I paid attention in
class—thus making me eligible for marks between 95’s and 100’s.
So that’s my life.
Or, at least it was until I met that boy.
Chapter 1-These New Feelings
The words on the paper on the floor stared up at me. Every word, every problem, every
rule was memorized. If someone were to suddenly ask me the formula for the percent of
error, I could recite it instantly, correctly, and without it being in front of me.
I stared at the candle flame before me. It danced on the half burned wick throwing moving
shadows onto the walls.
If you were to compare us, the only way we were the same was that we were both alone.
Otherwise, we’re total opposites. The flame a light in the dark. Something to look
forward to. Myself, nonexistent. And invisible heartbeat.
Sighing, I reluctantly blew it out. I pulled the thin blanket over me and set my head on
my arms for a pillow. The only sound was the laughter coming from the kitchen. I had been
given my daily bread and glass of water about an hour or so ago. The painful hunger in my
stomach was small, due to the small servings of food I had grown used to.
Slowly, my eyelids drooped and I lost consciousness shortly after.
I finished the test quickly in math the next morning. I didn’t bother checking my
answers as I turned the packet over.
I started hearing all the pencils writing and erasing over and over only just then.
People around me were groaning quietly in frustration. I would be hearing complaints about
the test throughout the day in the halls as class after class took the test.
Vallers Middle School was divided into four one story buildings. Each building housed a
separate grade; fifth, sixth, seventh, and eight. Each grade had four or five main
Every student in every building had friends, except me. Students choose friends who were
like them. A jock, a cheerleader, a geek, a nerd, and so on. Each clique mostly stayed
together. But I didn’t belong to any of the cliques or groups. No one was like me.
The groans got louder after Miss Marling started announcing time was up.
“Put you pencils down and hand in your tests please. Time is up. No exceptions.”
The class slowly started getting up and walking to the front of the room. Each test was
handed in with a ‘thank you’ from Miss Marling.
“Another perfect score from you, eh Haily?” she said after I handed her mine.
I merely shrugged and walked back to my seat.
The bell rang as I gathered my books from inside the desk. The students around me chatted
happily with their friends. I ignored them and walked from the room.
The hall was crowed with the eight grade teens. As I predicted, the ones who had already
take the test were telling their friends how hard it was.
Vallers’ eighth grade building was a plain one. Classic red exterior bricks, eggshell
colored plaster interior walls and no stairs.
The only difference today was all the bright neon colored posters covering the walls.
Each was centered on a different student’s campaign for council president with catchy
slogans and rude remarks about competition members. It didn’t really matter what they
put. I would always wind up being a popularity vote in the end. Who had the better poster;
who’s a better student; who made the winning touchdown; who had more friends; who was
I was paying no mind to where I was going. The path was always the same to the same
classes’ everyday. Maybe that was why I didn’t notice I had drifted to the opposite
side of the hallway to avoid bumping into anyone.
My books banged to the floor as I stumbled backwards into an open locker slamming it
shut. I sunk to the floor holding the back of my head and dizzy.
I heard a loud grunt in front of me and the person I crashed into fell to the floor as
“Owe,” I moaned quietly still holding my hand to my head.
The voice that answered my moan was deep and husky. Kind of like an Indians.
“Oh, are you okay? It sounded like your head hit that locker pretty hard.”
I moved my hand from the back of my head to look at it. There was a spot of blood on my
fingertips the size of about half a dime.
“I’m fine.” I said looking up.
He had blond hair that was cut to hang just to the bottom of his ears. He had a dark tan
that made his light blue eyes look bright. His lips were a strangely light shade of pink
for a boy and there was a small mole just below the right corner of his mouth, His thin,
golden eyebrows were brought together in a concerned crease of his forehead.
“No you’re not. You’re bleeding,” he argued. The fact that he really cared for my
welfare was clear in his voice.
I blinked. “I’m fine. I’ve had worse.”
He shook his head. I still think I should take you to the nurse.”
One of his friends took the moment to intervene.
“Eric, the chick said she’s fine. Come on, we need to get to science.”
“Go on without me. I’m taking her to the nurse.” He stood up and offered his hand
down to me smiling.
I took it graciously.
I didn’t know what to say as his friends walked away and he bent to the gather both of
our books. People usually didn’t even glance at me—much less talk to me. Or even
insist on taking me to the nurse.
“I-I’m fine. Honestly. I can take myself to the nurse if it’s necessary. You
shouldn’t be late because of me.”
He didn’t hand me my books. He held onto them instead. He reached into his pocket and
pulled out a red and white bandana. “Here, put pressure on it. It helps stop the
I took it and obeyed without arguing this time.
“I play hockey and foot ball. Head wounds can be more serious than they seem,” he
said turning towards the nurses’ office and taking a few steps. “You coming?” he
asked when I didn’t start following him. I nodded and started walking slowly.
The walk was silent. I was intent on keeping it that way. He apparently didn’t.
“What’s your name?”
I hesitated for a moment. “Haily Sandra Smining.”
“What’s with the full name?”
“I don’t know. It’s just the way I’ve always presented my name.”
He snickered. “You’re a very serious person, you know that?”
I didn’t answer, just stared ahead. What’s the point of talking to someone who will
never notice me again after this?
He took my silence the wrong way.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you.” He paused. “Opps, I’m sorry. I didn’t
tell you my name. Eric Bradly Boyer. Nice to meet you.” He stated his whole name the way
“Don’t you mean ‘Nice to crash into you?’” I raised an eyebrow.
He laughed. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
I didn’t understand and of this. How was it that someone was talking to me this much?
And that I was making them laugh! It didn’t make sense. It was unnatural.
He led me into the medium sized office. The nurse looked up from her desk and smiled at
Eric. She looked at me confused.
“Hello Eric. Who’s your friend here?”
“I’m not his friends.” He frowned when I said that before he could say anything.
“I just crashed into him in the hallway.”
He snorted. “No, I crashed into her. I actually made her hit her head into someone’s
locker. It was bleeding but I don’t know if it is anymore.”
The second bell rang. Could it really have only been a minute that we were talking? I
didn’t think it was possible.
The nurse stood up from her desk. “All right, dear. Let me have a look.”
I took the bandana from the back of my head and held onto it. Did he want it back?
The nurse had me sit down on a stool and turn my back to her. I winced as she parted the
hair gently from the spot where my head met locker.
After a moment of comforting silence, she let my hair fall back into place.
Opening a mini-fridge, she pulled out an ice pack and said, “It’s not too serious.
It’s not bleeding anymore but you’ll have a good sized bump there for a couple of
days. Just bring the icepack back when you’re done with it.”
I shook my head slowly. “No thank you. I don’t need it. I’m fine, really.”
She frowned but put it away. “Come back and get it if you want it.”
I stayed silent.
The nurse turned to Eric. “It’s a good thing you brought her down here. It could’ve
turned to a concussion.”
Eric stood up. “She wasn’t going to, Mrs. Geovini. She kept saying she was fine. I
had to tell her head wounds can be worse than they seem.”
“I seem to recall you needing the same excuse your first football practice.” She
laughed. “So brave as to say it was nothing when you needed 15 stitches.”
He laughed with her. “Yeah, I’ll never make that mistake again.”
I didn’t join in on the laugher as I inched my way towards the bench where Eric had
left our books. I picked through them and took mine.
Mrs. Geovini had stopped laughing and had already singed us both late slips.
“Eric, escort her to her next class. We don’t need to be worrying about her fainting
in the middle of the hall when no one’s around.”
“Yeah, that would be bad.” He laughed and picked up his own books. I was already
outside the door.
He hurriedly caught up with me.
“So what’s you next class?”
I said nothing but walked into my French class. Eric stood in the hall for a moment
frowning before returning to his science class.
There was a pop speaking quiz today. Mr. Calish had accepted my pass and let me study for
a moment before quizzing me. I passed with a perfect score—like always.
For some odd reason, I couldn’t concentrate for the first time in English or Social
Studies. It didn’t really affect me in any way, but it was the reason I found I
Eric Bradly Boyer.
He had taken the time to care for me and now I was regretting not just walking away.
His soft blue eyes were the main detail of his face I had focused on. They had sparkled
whenever he had laughed, or just smiled. But they were incredibly dull when he frowned.
And that was what I had left them as.
I almost felt guilty.
I wouldn’t allow myself to make ties with anyone. That would only lead to questions
about what’s going on at home, and that would lead to trouble.
But, the major question remained. Could I deny myself these new feelings?