Chapter 1

New faces, new spaces, and new places. Three simple rhymes, but I couldn't bring myself to feel comfortable with any of them.

The last time I remember leaving my state was when I was about eight years old. Without my knowledge, my mom and dad had booked a week at Disneyland so that I could experience the whimsical land of princesses and animation, and I had enjoyed it.

However, as I grew older and my shyness started to become more evident, I didn't like to visit places where I didn't fit in, whether the destination was ten minutes down the road or four hours out of state, I always found a reason to not attend.

I was also an only child. As a young girl, I wished so many times for my parents to bring home a younger brother or sister for me to play with, however, once I reached the age of about five, that dream had started to fade. On top of the loneliness I felt at home, I also didn't have many friends growing up, and by the age of thirteen - when it became clear to all the students in my class that I didn't like to socialize - I was slowly cast as the school freak.

As the freak, I got bullied and teased regularly, but I knew that I had a hard exterior and I knew that if I didn't let their teasing and name-calling get to me I could make it through, and that's exactly what I did. That was up until a couple of months ago, when my life changed forever.

Three months ago, on a typical Friday night in town, my father had gone out with his friends. The only problem was that he didn't return home.

Now, since I didn't have any friends outside of my family, my father was incredibly close to me and when I heard my mother cry out in agony that night the police delivered the news of his death to us, I broke down myself.

The only thought that had been travelling through my head at the time was that I would never be able to see my dad again. No more gourmet meals, no more family movie nights, and worst of all, no more goodnight kisses from the most important man I had ever known.

The funeral was something I will never forget. The images of my father's body in the casket as it was lowered six feet into the ground will be imprinted in my mind for the rest of my life. The entire ceremony was filled with a constant line of tears streaming down my face and long lost relatives coming up to me as they spoke their condolences.

After the funeral I had stopped going to school for a couple weeks as I just didn't have the energy within me to fight off the teasing comments that would've surely been thrown my way. However, after two and a half weeks of mourning and being cooped up in my all-too-familiar room, I decided to take my mom's advice and return to school to finish up the last month with my head held high.

Returning to school was probably one of the stupidest things I could've ever done at the time. Since I didn't have any friends to help me through my hard times, and none of the students actually knew about my dad's passing, they still threw comments my way and treated me as though nothing had happened. It felt horrible because I was now not only dealing the death of my father, but now the comments of my idiot classmates. The only people at school who were sympathetic towards me were the teachers, who helped me catch up on my work and went a little easier on my course load before I sat my exams, earning me the rambunctious title of "teacher's pet".

Once the seasons changed and summer was upon the horizon, school let out and my life turned slightly brighter knowing that I wouldn't have to endure the teasing and torture at school for another two months.

Everything was getting better it seemed. My mom and I were slowly starting to revert back to the lives we had before dad died, and some days I even found myself smiling at the thought of walking down to the library to read.

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