Prologue

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Author's Note: In case you've noticed, I took this story down this weekend to do a proper re-write and hopefully make it a better story as a whole. This is the new prologue, and while the plot largely will be the same as before, I'm putting more emphasis on backstory this time around. I hope you'll enojoy it. Thank you for your patience and loyalty. This chapter is dedicated to my good friend, who was a wonderful sounding board for my ideas on the re-write. Love you, D. <3

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Mason Falls, West Virginia, 2003

“Class, please welcome Sebastian Stanton,” Mrs. Gruber, the elderly English teacher said in as loud a voice as she could. Her hearing was fading, so she always spoke a bit louder than everyone else, rendering her voice hoarse by the end of each day.

Lana Davies looked up from her notebook, where she was doodling hearts and flowers, to see the new arrival. Her parents had told her about the Stantons moving to town. Gerald Stanton was an old college friend of her father’s, and he was going to be taking over the position as CEO at Mason Books, the leading publishing house in West Virginia at the moment. Her father, Harold Davies, was a senior editor there and he’d told her Gerald Stanton had a son her age. He’d also told her Mrs. Stanton had recently passed.

“Would you like to tell the class about yourself, dear?” Mrs. Gruber said to Sebastian, who shook his head. “Um… all right, then. Take a seat and we’ll carry on reading where we left off last week, shall we?”

The dark-haired boy shuffled off to the left side of the classroom, where an empty desk stood waiting for him. Lana watched as he flopped down on the wooden chair, folding his arms and looking out the window instead of at the blackboard. Her dad had asked her to be nice to Sebastian Stanton, but from the scowl on his face, she wasn’t expecting it to be smooth sailing.

“Hi, I’m Lana Davies,” Lana caught up with Sebastian by the lockers. He was wriggling the lock, growing more and more frustrated when it wouldn’t open.

“So?” He looked over at her, his eyebrows raised. He had light blue eyes, she noted, almost grey, and his ruffled hair was a middle-brown shade.

“Our dads know each other…” Lana started to explain.

“A lot of people know my dad,” Sebastian cut her off, “especially when they want something from him.”

Lana frowned. He sounded much too jaded for being 13 years old. “Well, welcome to Mason Falls,” she shrugged. “Hope you’ll like it here.”

“Doubtful,” Sebastian scoffed and finally managed to open his locker.

“Okay… see you around,” Lana said and hugged her books to her chest, heading down the corridor. She didn’t know what she’d done wrong. She was only trying to be nice. Stupid jerk.

“See you around, Lala,” he called out after her, but when she turned around, he was already walking off in the opposite direction.

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