Chapter One

Chapter One

          Dear Diary,

          For months now I've been trying to get over my parents' accident, and I’m just now starting to make progress. I have no idea as to why I held on to something like that for too long. Why couldn't I have moved on sooner? Am I really that far away from being normal? I hope not. I must admit that I still miss them like crazy, and I wake up crying in the middle of the night just by thinking about them. And when I'm not thinking of them, I have nightmares. I don't know which one is worse. Crying myself to sleep and then waking up because of the same reason, or having nightmares and not being able to fall back asleep.

          Anyways, school's starting up again. I'm not sure how I'll get through it. All the attention and stuff. I've come up with something though, when people ask me how I am. I'll just give them a smile and say "I'm fine, thank you. It's been hard, but I'm glad you cared about me." That should do it right? I hope they don't press the matter too far, for I don't know how far I can go without losing it. I've been practicing though. I just hope it's enough.

          Well, I should probably be getting around. I have no idea what will happen, but I do know that if there's anything I'm tired of, it's being lonely. Every day I have to face this big house that they left me, with no companion, not even a dog. I might even take a cat, and you know how much I hate them. I just hope things will start to get better the more I manage to move on. The past is the past, and there's no changing it. It's time to forget and look forward to the future, whatever it may be.

Nina.          

          Nina Lockwood stopped writing in her diary and was surprised as she looked at herself in the mirror. There were no tears on her cheeks this time. She sighed and leaped off the window seat, putting her diary in one of the dresser drawers. Maybe I can do this. She wandered to her closet and carefully scanned over each item before deciding on dark jeans, sky blue tank top and a yellow Aeropostale hoodie. She decided to pull her boring, long. paper-straight layers into a high ponytail before heading downstairs.

          She made a small cup of coffee and scarfed down a blueberry muffin loaf. She sighed. Her parents would always make a huge breakfast on every new first day of school. No, she told herself. I'm not going to lose it already. Be strong Nina, c'mon. You can do this. Deep down, she knew that she was right. She grabbed her keys and hurried outside. When she reached the door to the sleek silver car, she suppressed another sigh. Dad's beloved Bentley. Her dad had loved this car, and thought that it would be in the best of care by leaving it to his daughter. Without another thought, she climbed in and began the fifteen minute from her house to Summit Falls High School.

          The whole way there, she practiced approaching any possible conversations about her parents and how she was dealing with the loss from several different angels. Parking at the far end of the parking lot, she made sure the car was locked before heading towards the school. No one bothered to acknowledge her as she made her way to the Main Office. The secretary looked up from her computer screen and smiled warmly. "Hello Nina. How can I help you?"

          "Is all my stuff still on my school file?" She asked.

          "Yes, I believe so. Why? If you don't mind my asking…."

          "Can I see what's on my medical record?"

          "Sure. Just come over here."

          Standing over the secretary's shoulder, she briefly glanced at the various types of medicine. That's not right. She thought. "Um, those shouldn't be there."

          "What shouldn't be there dear?"

          "My anti-depressant pills. I got a call from the hospital yesterday and they said I could be taken off them. You can keep the inhaler and the iron pills just in case though. You never know when I might need them."

          The secretary deleted the anti-depressant pills and turned to Nina. "All set then? Everything's ready for your junior year. God, a junior already. I feel like I'm way too old to be in this position."

          "Yeah, well-" She was cut off by the door opening. She turned.

          A young boy was standing just in front of it, looking slightly embarrassed. He was tall with pale skin and short sandy blonde hair. Cute, Nina thought, but probably the quiet kind. "I'm sorry, was I interrupting something?" He wondered.

          "Uh, no. I'm just finishing up. But I'm done now." She hurriedly collected her things and headed for the doors.

          "Thanks, I'm Patch." He smiled down at her.

          A faint blush began to creep up to her face, and she smiled back, hoping he wouldn't notice. "Nina." She let his gaze hold her there for a split second longer before pushing the door open and disappearing around the corner. She managed to make it to her first class without being confronted by anyone about her parent's death. Thank God, she breathed a small sigh of relief as she slipped into Mr. Gilbert's classroom.

          "Morning Nina." He nodded as she passed his desk.

          She turned to him briefly. "Hey Mr. Gilbert."

          He stared at her, waiting for her to say something else.

          "Oh, Coach Gilbert. Sorry. I forgot, Coach." She corrected herself.

          That was what he was waiting for. She returned his smile. "In the back Miss Lockwood."

          She nodded and sank into the desk he'd indicated. As she waited, she found herself anxious. Anxiety began to crawl into her stomach as she thought of who it was going to be. Who's going to be the first one? She wondered. Just then her friend, Victoria Pierce walked in. Oh God. Please not now. The bell rang as Victoria took her seat in front of the class, answering Nina's silent prayer.

          Mr. Gilbert called the class to order and began the typical "Welcome to another year at Summit Falls High" speech. It wasn't a very long speech, but still, it was the same speech Nina had been hearing for the past three years. When she leaned over to reach inside her bag, she noticed that someone had claimed the once empty seat next to her. Looking up, her breath escaped her in a small, low gasp. It was Patch.

          "And it's a great pleasure of mine to introduce our newest addition to the Summit Falls student body. Patch Castile."

          All eyes stared to the back of the room, where Patch sat at ease, comfortable and probably pleased with where he was sitting.

          "Now, I'm passing out a sheet for all of you to sign. It's nothing major so don't freak out or anything. It's just a normal sheet listing information about yourselves. You should complete this fairly quickly and when you do, trade with the person sitting next to you."

          As Nina got handed a sheet, she cautiously glanced around, looking for anyone else near her. No one. Alright. Just you and me then Patch. She said to herself as she began filling out the sheet. The information was typical, harmless questions but Nina wasn't sure how she felt about having to share her  information with Patch. He seems like a nice person, but what if there's a totally different person behind the mask?? I need to know how I really feel about him, and this seems like an okay time to find out.  She looked over at Patch. To her surprise, he was done too.  He looked over at her.

          "Done?" He wondered.

          She sighed. "Yeah, here you go." She said, as they swiftly exchanged papers. She was surprised at his handwriting. It was actually pretty neat for a guy. Oh God. She had a sudden thought. He's not gay, is he? She immediately chastised herself for the thought. She carefully but quickly read over his answers. Place of birth: Falls Church, Virginia. Birth date: June 30. No year? That's a little odd. I put the year on mine. Have you smoked: No. Do you drink: Rarely, only on large special occasions. Prized Possession: My car. A black Jaguar. Typical. Wait…a Jaguar? Wow. He must have a ton of money or something. Something that drives you crazy: The sight and smell of blood.

          At this, Nina frowned. Blood. The sight and smell of blood. How odd. I don't like blood either. She looked over at him, he was waiting patiently. She slowly gave his paper back to him. Coach Gilbert happened to walk by. "Done already?" They both nodded. "Well, get to know each other." He suggested. After he'd walked away, Patch cleared his throat. Nina turned.

          "Hello again." He began. "It's Nina, right?"

          "Yeah. Hi. So how long have you been here?"

          He shrugged. "In the town or here at Summit Falls High?"

          Nina thought about that briefly. "Um, whatever one you feel like answering is fine."

          "Well, I've been here since the summer, and decided to enroll for this year. I used to come here a lot growing up. I had family down here at one time. What about you?"

          "I was born and raised here. Been here my whole life. Pretty boring right?" Nina chuckled slightly.

          Patch shook his head. "I don't think that's boring. Traveling a lot. That can get pretty boring. Trust me."

          "Where have you traveled to?"

          "I've been all over the south and out west a little. I was up in Seattle until the summer. I've also been to Europe. London was alright but my favorite place was Italy. Especially Florence."

          "I've always wanted to go to Italy. What was it like there?"

          "Well, it's not what most people usually think. Despite the excellent food and tourist spots, it has a darker side. Or at least it did when I was there."

          Nina nodded. "When did you go there?"

          Patch thought back to his time in Italy. "Oh, a few years ago. I don't really remember much."

          "Are you thinking about being involved in any school clubs or sports?" Nina asked, wondering if she could rank him as one of the common stereotypes like a jock or skater dude.

          "Um, I haven't really thought much about it. I'm not really into playing sports, but I don't mind watching them on TV." He answered.

          "Oh that's cool. What's your favorite sport to watch?" She wondered. Just for fun. She thought. Maybe a conversation starter for the future. She noted mentally.

          "Football's not too bad."

          "Who's your favorite team?"

          "Um, State's probably the best in my book."

          "State's cool. Wait, Ohio or Michigan?"

          "Michigan. What about you. What sport do you like watching?"

          "Baseball. It’s the American pastime."

          "That's true. Who's your favorite team?"

          I'd never thought that I'd end up talking sports with a guy. A hot guy at that. "The tigers. Detroit Tigers." She decided to change the subject. "So, I read that you don't like blood."

          "Oh yeah. I never have."

          "I'm not the biggest fan either. It makes me sick."

          He frowned slightly. "You're squeamish?"

          She nodded. "Just a little bit. Its common when there's a lot of blood. I'm not too bad when it’s a little drop or two. "

          "I can barely handle it. It makes me sick too. Even a drop can make me that way."

          "So, what are your other classes?" Nina asked, moving on to yet another harmless subject.

          "Hold on." Patch said, reaching into his bag. As he pulled out his schedule, a paper tumbled out and landed face down on the floor. Nina's hand beat him there, and she picked up the paper. It was a picture.

          "Who's this?" She wondered, looking at the picture. As she stared at the picture a little more in-depth, she noticed a name and a year in fancy writing near the bottom. Ninabeth, 1519. She was taken by surprise at the startling resemblance between the two of them. They looked almost exactly alike. Like identical twins only several years apart. The only difference was that Ninabeth's hair was in elegant curls and in a proper pinned back style. "Why do you have a picture of someone who looks almost exactly like me?" When Patch didn't answer, she gave him back the picture, but slowly. "Who is she?" She paused. "Why won't you answer me Patch?"

          Coach Gilbert walked by again, and noticed the picture in Patch's hands. "Ah, a picture. I was just talking about a first name basis, but this works. Good job you two." Nina could only look up at him, incredulous as he turned his back and strolled over to another couple. When he was out of earshot, she leaned over to Patch again.

          "Patch, please tell me who she is. I won't ask you anything else about her. Please." She hoped she didn't sound like a desperate child.

          "She was an ancestor of mine. My family traveled to Italy, like I said, and we did some research on our history. She was one of the relatives we found there."

The End

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