Authors: Sophia Sharp
(Book 1 of the Dream Realms Trilogy)
By Sophia Sharp
Copyright © 2011 by Sophia Sharp
Cover and art copyright © 2011 by Sophia Sharp
Amazon Kindle Edition
This entire book is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are al either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, persons –
living, dead, undead, or vampire – are entirely coincidental. Al right reserved.
~An Ordinary Life~
Laura Cubus lived an ordinary life, in a very ordinary school.
She went to a public high school in Vancouver, Washington, located the outskirts of nearby Portland. She had been in one place her whole life, and couldn’t imagine what it would be like having to move around while growing up. She knew every nook and cranny of the town she lived in, and wouldn’t have preferred it any other way.
She felt stable at her school. She felt normal. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and if that sometimes made things dul , so be it. There was nothing to complain about – but nothing to write home about either.
In fact, sometimes she found herself feeling bad for those people she’d read about in stories or see in movies – the kind who always founds themselves on the move, in a new environment, a new place, and always struggling to fit in.
Laura fit in at her school. She had a good group of friends who she had grown up with and loved with al her heart. At home, she had a happily married mother and father, a wel -behaved younger sister, and one large, rather bulky dog.
She never felt herself to be one of those people destined for greatness; and by al indications that life had given her, neither did anyone else. While she wouldn’t consider herself beautiful by any stretch, she had been cal ed pretty often enough in her 17 years of existence. She was pretty, but not spectacular. More or less like every other girl going to school with her. If it al seemed a little bit ordinary, so what? She had fun with her friends, did wel in school, and – as she knew al too wel – everybody around here lived the same way.
In fact, she considered her life to be nearly perfect. Sure, it was a cookie-cutter kind of perfect, but it was hers. Now, if she could only get Brady Shel to look at her twice…
That was her biggest problem, and by far the most pressing. That Brady Shel didn’t seem to know she existed.
Brady – of course – was the typical al -American high school heartbreaker. A star on her school’s lackluster footbal team, Brady had golden flowing locks that Laura had fal en in love with the first time she saw them. Eyes as radiant as emeralds graced his face, and he had an easy smile whenever he was talking to someone he liked. The problem was, he was never talking to
Laura has been completely and hopelessly
infatuated with him ever since entering high school. Back then, he was the shy kid sitting at the back of the class, the one who got picked on for being too smal , for having hair too long. Back then, she had been his only friend. They sat together that year in English class, and Laura’s heart would start pounding every time he came near. And she was sure he felt something for her, back then. But, in their youthful innocence, neither had the courage to do anything about it.
That al faded the fol owing year, when Brady came back to school tal , fit, and muscular. He had hit an unexpected growth spurt, and suddenly the same boy who was being picked on before transformed into the most popular guy in school. His athletic abilities developed just as much, and the same guys who were picking on him before became his best friends and teammates. And
became the jewel of every girl’s eye.
Laura thought she had some advantage, at first, for having known him before the summer transformation. But she learned it afforded her little in the way of standing out. Now, three years later, she was just one in a legion of adoring Brady Shel fans.
Which was why, at the start of spring semester in her junior year, she resolved to win back Brady’s attention.
But, on only the second day of the term, an unexpected turn of events forced her to postpone her plans.
A buzz had built among her classmates, as word spread that a new student would be transferring to their school next week.
It certainly wasn’t anything she expected. Her class hadn’t had a newcomer since the eighth grade, when preppy Joanne Stark enrol ed for a few weeks before her parents pul ed her out to place her in a private school. She had left as quickly as she came, yet people stil remembered her brief stay. Which was to say, a new student was a novelty that certainly got everyone’s attention.
What fascinated Laura more, however, was the way her school first announced the new student’s upcoming arrival. A very formal, terse letter was sent home, informing parents that a new transfer would be coming. And, noted in fine print at the bottom of the page, a single sentence said that this transfer student had been expel ed from a previous school on account of “physical misbehavior.” What that meant, the letter didn’t say, but rumors started flying around like arrows from a crossbow as soon as the letter was printed.
“I heard he got into a fight with a teacher.”
“I heard he put some guy in a coma, who’s now on life-support in the hospital.”
“I heard he…”
Laura looked to her friends, al seated with her at the wide cafeteria table, and had to rol her eyes. She was certain there was a simpler, less exciting explanation for the student’s arrival.
“We don’t even know it’s a ‘he,’” she reminded the group.
“Wel , what else would ‘he’ be?” Laura’s friend Stacy laughed. Stacy had long, bleach-blonde hair, and a year-round tan that Laura thought belonged more in California than rainy Washington. “A
? I don’t think a girl would get herself in trouble like that!”
“You never know,” Laura replied evenly. “For al we know,
might be the biggest, meanest girl to walk the face of the earth.”
“Here? Nuh-uh.” Mol y sat beside Laura, and frowned as she spoke. “Maybe somewhere ghetto like
, but here, on the west coast, the girls are al the same. Al like us. Pretty, petite—”
“—and delicate,” Laura finished the sentence, smiling. Everybody laughed. Al the girls poked fun at Mol y for looking too much like a porcelain dol , and acting the part as wel . Mol y took it al in stride, laughing along with al of them. It felt like the loving ribbing you might give a little sister.
“Anyway,” Laura continued, “I don’t think it’s going to end up even half as bad as the stuff we’ve been hearing.”
“But why would they send home a
,” Kel y, sitting beside Laura, spoke for the first time, “if it wasn’t something
?” The way she emphasized that last word made you feel like ‘something bad’ was the end of the world.
“Who knows?” Laura replied. “But I think it’s something much simpler. Like… what if the district required them to send the letter?”
“To alert the parents?” Kel y asked.
“Not to alert them by spooking them,” Laura said,
“but to let them know that the new student had been in some kind of trouble before. I think the district, or the school, are just watching their backs in case anything happens here.”
“In case this new kid starts a fight?” Mol y asked.
“…or mauls someone in the hal way,” Stacy mused. “Or attacks an innocent, fragile girl.” She winked at Mol y as she said that, which caused her to jump in her seat. That caused everybody to laugh again.
“Wel , I know one thing,” Laura said once they’ve settled down, “we’l al find out how much truth there is to these rumors in less than a week.”
~An Unexpected Encounter~
The fol owing Monday, Laura walked sleepily into her early morning Math class. She covered her mouth with one hand to prevent too big a yawn from escaping. She had walked to school by herself this morning, and while her house wasn’t too far away –
maybe ten or eleven blocks – the morning mist so representative of west coast weather had made her feel damp and clammy. Which was odd, because usual y she felt refreshed walking through the pristine, early morning mountain fog. She blamed it on the sun, which had decided not to come out today, making the start of a new week al the more miserable under cover of gray cloud.
She was also frustrated with herself by a lack of progress on the Brady front. Try as she did, she never managed to have that serendipitous encounter with him the previous week. They didn’t have any classes together, so her only hope had been running into him sometime before or after school, or between classes, in a neutral environment like the library or cafeteria or hal way. Or anything, real y. She’d even planned out what she was going to say:
‘Hey you,’ she’d call out to him with a smile. He’d
smile back, melting her heart, and walk over to greet
her for the first time in years.
‘Hey,’ he’d say shyly, looking down at his feet.
‘I haven’t seen you in ages, you know,’ she’d tell
him. ‘You know, it’s too bad we drifted apart the way
we did. I always cherished our friendship, and—”
uncompromising. “If you’d take your seat, please, class can begin?”
Laura came to with a start, and realized that she stood right in the doorway, blocking the entrance to the classroom from al the late arrivals behind her. Her teacher, Mrs. Mil burn, examined her harshly, frowning hard enough to make the white bun on top of her head start to quiver. Laura blushed, ducking her head, and hurried to take her seat in the middle of the room.
She sat down, placing her bag underneath the desk, and pul ed out a binder with al her math notes. Mrs. Mil burn didn’t take kindly to students who weren’t paying attention in class, and after the blunder just now, Laura didn’t want to draw any more of her wrath.
Almost everybody around her was already seated and looking to Mrs. Mil burn at the head of the class. Laura pul ed her jacket tighter around her, and looked to the front of the class, pen in hand, mimicking like she was paying attention. Mrs. Mil burn started talking about last week’s lessons, and the plan for the day, and other such things that Laura couldn’t force herself to become interested in. Instead, in her mind, she was chastising herself for the ridiculous interaction she just daydreamed about.
’ was the best she could come up with?
After an entire week in which she could have thought of something better? She shook her head roughly. She wasn’t going to win Brady over like that. In fact, she wasn’t going to win
over like that. She wished she could know what he thought of her.
he thought anything of her. Brady had the attention of nearly every girl in the school. What were the odds that he was going to pick her? Especial y when their paths seemed almost destined to never cross.
Her thoughts were rudely interrupted when
something large and heavy slammed into her shoulder. She looked up, and saw that it was a backpack, carried precariously by someone she didn’t recognize. Then her heart froze.
The new kid!
continuing to walk down the aisle. He didn’t even look at her when he apologized! Laura twisted back in her seat to look at him. He was tal er than average, maybe 6-foot-3 or 6-foot-4, and skinny. He wore the most inconspicuous clothing she thought possible: dark jeans, a hooded black sweatshirt, and plain but wel -worn Chuck Taylors. His hood was down, and she saw that he had long, straight black hair. She couldn’t tel from where she sat, but she guessed it was cut in the vintage Justin Bieber style, or maybe a touch longer. Not long enough to be considered emo, though.
He was making his way towards the very back, where a single empty desk awaited him. Laura kept her eyes on him. She was curious what he looked like – what his face looked like. He kept walking, slowly, his head tilted down.
Something about the way his shoulders slumped told her he wasn’t particularly thril ed to be here. She could sympathize with that: he was the most novel thing this school had seen in years, and she doubted he would feel anything less than an oddity among her peers until that initial interest wore off.
“Daydreaming again, Miss Cubus?”
Laura spun around, and found Mrs. Mil burn standing right in front of her desk, staring daggers at her. For a second, Laura felt like Mrs. Mil burn could see right through to her soul, see the very essence of her being. And her stomach clutched up in response.
“Or perhaps Mr. Sutherby over there has caught your attention?” She paused, just long enough for the snickers in the classroom to be heard. Laura could feel her cheeks grow hot. “Wel , since you seem to have taken such a personal interest in him, perhaps I should task you with getting him caught up in this class, hmm?”
Oh God, no.
“Yes, that sounds like a good idea to me. You can be the person responsible for his academic development in this course. Mathematics
a strong point of yours, is it not?”
Both she and Mrs. Mil burn knew it was not, and Laura felt her cheeks grow warmer and warmer by the second. “Of course it is, since you so very clearly have little enough regard for the course to pay attention to my lecture, which obviously means you can cruise through the material without any problems.” Laura cursed herself for failing to pay attention earlier. “So I’l tel you what,” Mrs. Mil burn continued, “you and Mr. Sutherby can come in afterschool today, to this very classroom, in order to begin your new assignment together. You’l come in every day after school this week, and you’l be getting him caught up.”
“But Mrs. Mil burn,” Laura began, desperately trying to protest, to say that she didn’t
anything to warrant the punishment. She was cut off as Mrs. Mil burn loudly smacked a ruler on her desk, causing her and nearly everyone around her to jump.
day this week,” Mrs. Mil burn said precisely, emphasizing each word. “I wil see you, and Mr. Sutherby, in this classroom at exactly 3:15PM every day this week.” Satisfied, Mrs. Mil burn turned around, head held high. Laura slumped in her seat. What a horrible way to start the week.
Just then Mrs. Mil burn turned around, a kind smile on her face. “Oh, I just thought of something,” she said sweetly, “that wil ensure your compliance. The lowest mark between the two of you in my class at semester’s end wil be the mark that goes on
your report cards.” Mrs. Mil burn nodded happily to herself, and returned to her position at the front of the classroom.
Laura groaned. By the time class ended 90
minutes later, she could stil hear the giggles from her classmates in her head.