Thirty-Three

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Receiving the call felt like I was distorted in reality. It was as if I could pinch myself in the dream and feel, despite still being asleep. But I wasn't asleep, because my ringtone certainly would have woken me up.

"You changed the book a lot," Dakota commented. "Like, a lot a lot."

"Is it bad?" I questioned.

"No, no, just the opposite! I love it. But why did you change it when you already had such a beautiful story to begin with?" she asked.

"I hurt someone with what I wrote, and I knew that if this book was going to be based on us, I needed to make it more about the journey of self-discovery and not the romance I was led to believe would lead me to zero," I explained.

"Ah, like in the book?" she sang, and I could just hear her smirk on the other line.

"No, like in real life. It's how I've always viewed the world," I responded, and I went on to explain how my essay was about how I was chasing zero, which she loved.

"That should be the name of the book! Chasing Zero. Everyone has their own zero, and people should learn to search for it instead of their positive numbers. The message is so beautiful, and it allows people to know that it is okay to not want to pursue a romantic relationship, because not enough people know that, myself included. This book could teach people," she rambled.

"Yeah, alright," I snickered.

"Which is a good thing too, because my boss loves it and wants it to be published," she added.

The phone almost dropped from my hands. If I weren't already sitting, I certainly would have collapsed, possibly falling and hitting my head and dying and never being able to see the lives I touched. Dramatic as always.

"They do?" I whispered. It was a miracle I could say anything at all.

"They want to meet you, go over a few things for the book, and they are quite excited to have you join them at Northwestern in the fall," she responded. That time I couldn't say anything. "Well, I have eighty essays to grade, so I will see you in class. Be sure to hand in your final project to me, okay?"

"Okay," I replied and hung up.

I let out a loud, joyful scream that sent my mom running into my room. "What's wrong? Why scream bloody murder?"

"I got into Northwestern," I exclaimed.

"Honey, that's great," she encouraged.

"And Dakota loved the book, and so did her boss."

"Wait," she deadpanned. "Does that mean what I think it does?"

I squealed, jumping up and down as my mom joined in. I was going to be published. My dream had come true. All the hard work I had placed into my writing finally had its payoff.

And the book did surprisingly well on the charts, peaking at number four and remaining in the top one hundred for thirty-two straight weeks. People loved it, and my fans were waiting for more from me. I wound up writing a book about how jealousy could consume a person into insanity and a book about a person who was able to heal people just by touching them and learned to use her powers for good rather than greed. Plus, a lot of my short stories wound up getting published along with my poems.

Five years down the line, and I was quite the famous author. People may have known my name, but they didn't know my face. People would claim I had the same name as the author, but many people were never able to connect the dots. It wasn't as though I was complaining. I merely wanted to touch lives, and no one needed to know my face to do that.

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