CHAPTER ONE
Odessa stood and angrily glared at the class around her. After so beautifully presenting her poem, she received zero applause and twenty eight questioning looks, including the teacher. She put the paper on the teacher's redwood desk, scowled around with pursed lips, and said.
"My poem, "Pebble" is supposed to teach people a little lesson about the origin of something incredibly ordinary. This is the aspiring author's class, is it not? But apparently, it's just more nimrods," Odessa turned on her heel and faced Professor Norangum "Oh, and especially you." She made a half turn, her purple skirt swirling, and walked out of her seventh grade classroom.
"Is there one person in this world who cares to tap into me, beyond my appearance?" She strolled through the deserted hallways stomping her clogs, and causing many teachers to close their doors. Once reaching her dormitory on the fourth floor, she flipped open her trunk and stared into the square green mirror she'd had placed there for the last month. A girl with long black hair and green eyes stared back. She smiled sarcastically, revealing sparkling white teeth and no cavity fillings. Indeed she was very beautiful, but no one thought she was worthy of an opinion because of the tattoo on her right arm. The flaming red rose was something she had gotten when she was going through what could be called depression, because her parents divorced and she was living with her grandmother.
Of course her grandmother cared not about the girl's health, and had let her go gallivanting off to a party one night. Neither of them knew it was a make out party. A sixteen year old boy had cornered her and put her in the car after he had had one too many drinks. Though most people expect this situation always leads to a crash, he made her drive, because he'd heard the tall eleven year old could. They went to a tattoo parlor and told her to pick one out, that he would pay for it. And so she obliged, and had the rose put on her right shoulder. That was a year ago, and she was still paying for it. But after the tattoo, she drove him to a local Baskin Robbins, they had root beer floats, and decided to go steady.
She shut the trunk. Hard. She was tired of this boarding school, which her grandmother had forced her into going to. She walked around to her magenta covered bed, plopped down, thinking triumphantly about making it back to her room without getting caught, pursued, or questioned by a professor. Odessa rolled onto her side, and screamed. There was a slightly transparent figure sitting on the other bed, her pupils widened in fear, and she could just make out that the figure resembled a picture of her boyfriend. She stiffly rolled back over, relief and anger flooded and pulsed through her body. One of the girls who shared her dorm was standing behind a projector, and grinning.
"You sloth! I can't believe you scaring me like that! I thought Wilbur was dead!" Odessa was on her feet and yelling at the girl, Maryanne Sally Drew, who was silently laughing and pulling the negative out of the projector. She had apparently swiped it from Odessa's trunk while she stayed in the dorm sick that day. Maryanne faked sick almost every day of school. Wallowed in her Beanie Babies and threw darts. She'd gotten the room furnished personally. Her half was bright and cheery, and Odessa's was dull and routine.
"Have a sense of humor Junabee!" Maryanne plopped down still in her pjs and stared at the ceiling.
"I've told you Drew, don't call me by my last name! I hate it. If there's anyone I don't want to be related to it's my father. That's his last name." Odessa snarled. Maryanne shrugged and flipped her red curls out of her face. Rolling onto the floor and dragging down a Princess Diana Beanie Baby Bear, she opened her closet and turned on her boombox. She threw the purple bear at Odessa, who caught it and tossed it over her head.
"Those things are hideous. Keep it away from me." Odessa glared at the green boombox and turned away, while a rather stupid N'Sync song blared.

You might've been hurt babe
That ain't no lie
You've seen them all come and go, oh
I remember you told me
That it made you believe
No man, no cry
Maybe that's why

Every little thing I do
Never seems enough for you
You don't wanna lose it again
But I'm not like them
Baby, when you finally
Get to love somebody
Guess what?
It's gonna be me...

"Shut it off Drew!" Odessa yelled angrily. "That music is so stupid. The lyrics on some of those explicit songs make me want to puke. And if you don't have it on, you're at least walking through the corridors singing it at the top of your scratchy vocal cords!"
"Well gee, if you didn't like it you could say so, stop shouting and take a chill pill. Here in England it's characteristic to be calm. You ought to lie down." Maryanne laughed and walked around Odessa's bed and picked up her Princess Diana. To Odessa it seemed the bear was smirking. She turned away.
"What's the matter Junabee? Do you think the bear is possessed by your dead boyfriend?" Maryanne's turned up nose was scrunched up with muffled laughter. She tossed it around a bit then dropped it back into formation.
"Don't talk about Wilbur like he's worthless. And don't call me Junabee." Odessa was tired of this. She supposed the best thing to do would be to go down into the lounge room and study for her next class. It would be starting in about half an hour. She put her hands in her jean jacket pocket, gave Drew the finger through it, and went downstairs. Then came back up the stairs, got her bookbag, and went back, amid throngs of guffaws from Drew. The scowl had never actually left her face, so instead it just got worse. She wished so much to get rid of Drew.
While evil plans that would never work flew through her mind, she tried instead to concentrate her mind on her science homework. She was a good student, and normally had her homework done on time, but the night before the school had had a volleyball game and she left to go watch before finishing the 5 pages of questions. It wasn't going to be taken as a regular grade, mearly a zero or hundred according to whether or not you had done it, so one zero wouldn't bring down her average. A grin made it's way across her features as she thought about how, though she'd be doing a detention for skipping class, at least she could finish the homework for her favorite teacher.
His name was Mr. Smiter, but he insisted the entire class called him by his first name, Jacque. Odessa would never tell Wilbur, but she had such a crush on him. Sometimes when she was alone and thinking too much, she'd be ashamed of herself. She was just like one of her favorite characters in a book by Louis Sachar. Laura, from Sixth Grade Secrets. Wrote a declaration of love for her teacher. Odessa blushed. Love was a strong word, she preferred to think of it as, thinking he was a very attractive man, who just happened to look good in boxer shorts. Not that she'd ever seen him in boxer shorts, but you're talking about a poet/songwriter/singer/guitar player/short story writer, with an overactive imagination. Plus he wore black shirts that were tight and that helped with the imagery. She giggled. One of her favorite visions.
Suddenly she slapped her forehead. "Dork! You have to concentrate!" She thought. Glancing up at the clock, she saw that it was 20 minutes before her next class and she still had 2 pages. Front and back. She groaned. For a hunk, he had something going for homework.