WARNING: WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO READ IS FULL OF CHEESY CLICHES AND WHATNOTS. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. BUT DON'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.

Chapter 1: You Look Hot In Those Pink Pajamas

"Carli, honey! I need some help in here!" It was my mother, calling from the kitchen of our new house. Standing from the couch where I was lazily lounging for the past few minutes, I went there and had to fight a laugh after seeing her all tangled up.

Despite being 40 years old, you could say my mom was still really clumsy.

"Why are you dressed like a mummy, Mommy?" I asked her, grinning. "Halloween's not until a few months. Isn't it a bit early to bring out your costume?"

At that, her eyes narrowed, but I knew she wasn't serious. "It's not funny, young lady!" she said. "It didn't have to end this way if you were just willing enough to help me unpack in the first place. But instead, you let your poor mother do all the work while you sat there on the couch like you owned the world," she added, in an attempt to make me feel guilty.

It's best to say her charm didn't work this time.

Ignoring her being overly dramatic , I chuckled. "So, it's my fault now?"

"Yes," she responded almost immediately.

"Then sorry, Mom," I apologized, feigned guilt dripping into my words. "I deserve punishment! I am such a horrible daughter. Go on, punish me. I will accept it wholeheartedly for I deserve it."

She only laughed at this. "Don't worry young one," she then said, playing along. "Since I am feeling a bit merciful today, your punishment will be less severe."

"And what is that, oh merciful one?"

She thought for a while, tapping her slender fingers against her chin. "I know. Why don't you go upstairs and start arranging your room?"

The corners of my mouth twitched downwards into a frown. "Really, mom?"

So much for a mother-daughter moment.

"And there you go," I mumbled to myself as I hung the abstract painting - courtesy of my friends from art class back in my old school - on the wall, just above my bed.

It stood there, fitting its position perfectly, like a missing piece of a puzzle.

It had been two days since Mom and I moved into this place, some small yet relatively progressive town in California, miles away from my old friends and our old home. It was a challenge to her career - her boss thought she was fitting to be assigned to the company's branch here. And since she was a risk-taking, ready-for-whatever-challenge type of person, she accepted it right away.

"This is going to be a great change," were her exact words.

Brushing the dust off my shirt, I kicked the empty boxes to the side and slumped myself on my bed. I was tired, exhausted even. Heaving a sigh, I stared at the ceiling and let myself lapse into a stream of consciousness.

Five more days till senior year starts. I was, for a fact, excited and anxious at the same time. I'm starting at a new school and that means: new life, new people, a chance to create a new identity, and new memories.

My thoughts were abruptly interrupted with a loud knock on the door.

"Carli?" It was Mom.

"Yes?"

She opened the door and let herself in.

"I would just like to remind you about the dinner at the Haydens," Mom said, pertaining to her bosses. She walked towards my bed and patted my leg. "We'll be leaving in an hour. You better get ready now," she said and before I knew it, she was already gone.

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