Authors: April Marcom
Tags: #coming of age, #family, #danger, #sacrifice, #alien, #extraterrestrial, #love at first sight, #soulmates, #pianist, #new adult romance
“Hey, Julianna,” I said into the phone. “What
are you doing up so late?” She’s the New York City fashion-girl
sister I mentioned before, so it was three-something in the morning
where she was.
“I just finished a fantastic night out on the
town with the girls, and I thought I’d give you a call. I didn’t
wake you up, did I?” I could just see her with her shiny,
bleached-white smile in a black party dress that matched her long,
curly black hair.
“I figured you’d be awake, since it’s Friday
night. You’re probably at some big high school party right
“No,” I laughed. “Actually, I’m sitting out
front with Jo Hanna.” I’m all for having fun with my friends, but
out-of-control parties, speakers blaring, and date-rape-spiked
punch just weren’t my thing. I’d rather be chilling out in our
driveway with Jo Hanna anytime with the cool breeze rustling the
few fallen leaves around us.
“So what’s up?” I asked, knowing there must
be a good reason for her to be calling me so late.
“I just thought I’d call and see how you’re
doing, what’s been going on, what your plans are.”
She meant she wanted to know what I was doing
after graduation. “Mom called you.” I didn’t bother to hide the
irritation in my voice.
“Well, she’s worried about you.”
“So she called you in the middle of the night
to complain about me?” I could’ve sworn she was asleep hours
“No, she called me Monday and left a
five-minute-long message. Anyway, I have an idea, and I thought I’d
run it by you.”
“Okay,” I sighed, sure it was actually my
idea I was about to hear.
“We’ll need an intern this summer if you want
to come immerse yourself in the world of fashion. I could get you
the job. The pay’s not the greatest, but you could stay with me and
Mindy. We have plenty of space and it might help you figure things
That actually sounded like a really good
idea. Julianna was probably my favorite of all my sisters. She was
usually the nicest to me growing up, the least judgmental of my
less-than-perfect self. And going to New York to work for a fashion
company sounded like a blast. “I would love that!” I said. “Did Mom
say it was okay?”
“Not yet. I wanted to talk to my boss before
I said anything. But I’m sure Mom won’t mind, since she called me
“You mean your boss said it was okay
“Yep. So if you want it, the job’s yours.
It’s temporary, but like I said, it might help you know what you
want to do with your life.”
“It sounds like fun. I’ll talk to Mom and Dad
about it in the morning.”
“All right, just thought I’d throw the idea
“I’m glad you did. Thanks, Julianna.”
“You’re welcome. I’ll call back Sunday
sometime and see how things are going.”
“What was that all about?” Jo Hanna asked
when I hung up.
“Julianna wants me to spend the summer with
her in New York.”
“She said I could be an intern at the company
she works for.”
“No, no, no, no
. You can’t leave me
here all alone after graduation.”
“I’m not. Carlotta and Cassidy will still be
here. And I don’t even know if I wanna go yet.” Not totally,
“Yes, you do. You just said you’re going to
talk to your parents about it.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m going.”
Jo Hanna let out a long, ridiculously
dramatic sigh. “Of course you’re going.”
The gravel scratched my back through my
T-shirt as I scooted closer to her. “It’s just one summer.”
“Yeah, we’ll see. If I went to New York City,
I would never come back.”
Jo Hanna had wanted to visit New York
forever, but her mom always said it was too far away. And I
As crazy and scary as the whole Enock thing
had been, I ached to relive it. Just thinking about him felt good.
And he said he would find me again. I almost didn’t want to go to
New York—even though it sounded perfect—just in case he came for me
and I wasn’t here. But I knew I couldn’t put my life on hold for
a...whatever Enock was.
I knew I should at least consider my sister’s
offer. So I planned to talk to my parents about it first thing in
the morning. They would be paying for airfare and whatever else I
needed, so they would have to be part of the decision. And with
graduation only weeks away, I knew there really wasn’t much time to
* * * *
The enormous crowd erupted before the
announcer was able to finish.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d waited for this
day my whole life—no more school! And now it just felt weird. And
exciting. No more school lunches or Barbie doll cheerleaders. No
more pop quizzes or popularity contests.
I knew I wanted to go to New York. I just
wished I wasn’t still worrying about Enock all the time. My parents
weren’t so sure, though. Ever since I asked her about it, my mom
had been whining about all her kids moving far, far away the minute
they graduated. But I think she was finally coming around. And my
dad was pretty neutral. So I planned to bring it up again later
that night. For now, I had a big celebration lunch to go to.
“We’re finally free!” Carlotta jumped up and
down as she hugged me.
“No more high school.” Jo Hanna came over and
started jumping with her. She pulled up her graduation gown and
took a blow horn out of her jeans pocket, holding it up in the air
before she honked it loud enough that everyone in every corner of
the auditorium heard it. It was sooo embarrassing—until a dozen
other horns started blaring, too.
“Let’s hit the buffet,” I said, starving
because I’d been too nervous about being on stage to eat anything
“We’ve gotta find Cassidy,” Carlotta said as
we began pushing our way through the crowd, like half the people on
the stage were doing.
“She’s already down there.” Jo Hanna pointed
to the third row, where Cassidy was talking to her parents and
brother. I felt an adrenaline rush when my eyes met Phillip’s and
We were close to the edge of the stage, so Jo
Hanna jumped right off of it, even though we’d been explicitly told
not to for the last four years.
“What are you doing?!” Carlotta asked
“We’re graduates now,” Jo Hanna said. “What
are they gonna do, put us in detention?”
“Good point.” Carlotta grabbed my hand and
nearly made me break my neck, jumping off the edge and pulling me
“You’re nuts,” I said as we headed toward
Phillip was coming our way, I realized, which
made my stomach do a little somersault. “Hey, girls,” he said when
he reached us. “I was hoping I could steal Sara for a minute.”
“Steal her for as long as you want,” Jo Hanna
said, grinning at me. “We don’t mind.”
As they left us behind, she and Carlotta
leaned close enough to each other to whisper a thousand miles a
“So,” Phillip began, “I hear you’ve got a
crush on me.”
My eyes got wide and I swear my heart stopped
beating. I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out.
I was sure I was going to faint. How could Cassidy do this to
His dark eyes squinted beautifully as he
laughed. “You were always too young for me to notice how cute you
were until now.”
I got my bearings enough to grin, but didn’t
trust myself to speak just yet. Every time I’d ever tried to talk
to him, I’d magically developed a terrible case of the stutters and
humiliated myself completely.
“So, you wanna eat with me and maybe talk
about seeing a movie or something later?”
The voices bouncing off the auditorium walls
were getting way too loud, and the other graduates coming off the
stage and standing around with family members began to press in on
I cleared my throat, hoping that feeling my
voice hum a bit would help give me some control over it. “Sure,” I
“I haven’t seen you in almost a year,”
Phillip said as he turned so we could head to the outside area
where the food was being served. “What have you been up to?”
“Just school.” Yeah—aside from Enock, my life
was pretty boring. “What have you been up to?”
“Selling cars nonstop. Lots of time in the
gym...” He went on to tell me about his super fancy Porsche and
expensive apartment. And where he got his shoes. And his favorite
places to shop. And how much cooler his job was than college, which
is why he’d dropped out after only one semester.
My parents met me in the lobby and went
through the buffet line with us. Then we all sat at a big table
with Cassidy and her parents.
Of course, Phillip kept talking about
himself, not that I gave him anything else to talk about. He was a
lot more self-absorbed and boring than I remembered him being. By
the time we all finished eating, and Carlotta, Cassidy, and Jo
Hanna were standing by our table planning a fun weekend at the lake
for the four us, I felt kind of like I’d wasted my after-graduation
But there was still a graduation weekend to
look forward to. And from what I could hear Jo Hanna
saying—s’mores, hotdogs, ghost stories—it sounded like it would be
When my parents asked if I was ready to go
and Phillip asked if he could pick me up for a movie later, I had
to think about it. The last hour of listening to him talk endlessly
about himself hadn’t put him on the top of my “favorite people”
list. But I had been fantasizing about going on a date with him and
having him kiss me for years, so I said yes, and kind of floated
all the way to my mom’s car after he kissed me on the cheek.
I felt incredible—just graduated high school,
kissed by my major crush!
And I’ll admit I couldn’t help but feel a
little schoolgirl excitement. I couldn’t wait to go out with him,
whether or not his personality continued to be so bad. It was like
going out with a movie star or a gorgeous supermodel or
Of course, that would all change when I got
When we got home, I went to my room to try
and decide if I should change for my date with Phillip or not. I
liked the dark blue T-shirt and jeans I had on just fine, but it
didn’t seem like the right thing to wear.
First, I slumped onto my bed, strewn with
clothes and sheets, and got on my phone to check my e-mail, hoping
to see something from Julianna. But what caught my eye instead was
an e-mail with
“Please Come Sarafina”
written in the
subject line, and
“The Halvandor Clan”
listed as the
“Enock,” a soft whisper escaped my lips.
I opened the e-mail without hesitation and
stared at the picture of his human form in the top right hand
corner. The golden light wasn’t in his eyes, and he looked serious
and overbearing, but it was him, just as powerfully stunning as
before. Full of untamed feelings, I began to read.
The Halvandor Manor is currently in need
of musical talent, someone who will be able to play the piano
during evening meals and family gatherings for an unspecified
amount of time. You’ve come highly recommended to us by a Mister
Should you accept this job offer, you
will be provided with your own room, whatever basic needs you may
have, and three thousand American dollars per month. Attached you
will find a schedule of affairs. Please respond within twenty-four
hours. I look forward to hearing from you.
Please Come Sarafina
. I read the
subject line again. The strange excitement that had been building
since I saw the Halvandor name really peaked at that moment. Even
though the letter was extremely formal and entirely impersonal
aside from the subject line, it was from him.
I felt a rush as I jabbed at the button with
a paper clip on it and thought the cruel seconds I had to wait for
it to load might kill me. When it did load, I saw the information
for a flight that left from Las Vegas that very weekend and landed
Seriously? That threw me off completely,
because leaving the country for who knows how long to live with a
dangerous-seeming unknown race sounded crazy.
But my stomach churned wonderfully at the
thought of being with Enock again. I would have done almost
anything to see him, I realized, no matter what the cost.
I could call him right now
thought, desperately wanting to hear his voice. I wanted the magic
I’d felt with him before—more than New York, more than a certain
future, more than anything.
It wasn’t like me to be impulsive or risky,
but that’s just what Enock did to me.
I started moving the document around on my
cell phone screen, trying to find a phone number. But it quickly
became apparent that there wasn’t one. “That’s strange.”
My door squeaked as someone opened it and my
mom walked in. “Should I set a place for you at dinner, or will you
be eating while you’re out with Phillip?”
“I’m not going out with Phillip anymore,” I
said. As scary as accepting Enock’s offer was, I didn’t even have
to think about it. “And I’m not going to New York either.”
I felt cruel seeing how excited she was,
because I knew what I was about to say would probably break her
heart, but my heart gave me no choice. “I’m going to Norway
* * * *
My mom had been a teary mess since I told her
my new plan. It was a hundred times worse than when I’d brought up
going to New York, though. She threatened to lock me in my room,
and have me institutionalized until I started thinking