Chapter 1

It was six in the morning, and I did not want to wake up. Not only did I not want to wake up, my mom was trying to force me to. The lights in my room were much too bright. I tried to cover my eyes with the blanket, but my mom snatched it away, threatening to throw ice on me. I groaned as my eyes crept open. "Bright light! Bright light!" I squeaked, imitating Gizmo from "Gremlins". Mom laughed and left me to get ready for school. I slowly sat up and got out of bed, trying to avoid opening my eyes. I stood up trying to remember where things were on my floor. I couldn't remember however, and in trying to keep my eyes shut, I stepped on an earring that I had lost the previous night. I picked it up. Luckily it wasn't broken. Yet. I had bad luck when it came to keeping things in one piece. That included me. My mom said I was in an awkward stage. I said I was an awkward klutz. You can imagine which explanation was more popular among my friends.

I squinted and glared at my mirror. I looked like a hag, but I blame insomnia for that. After losing the latest battle with my hair, I tried to pick out a somewhat flattering combination of my uniform choices. I settled for a white shirt and a navy blue wrap skirt that I thought was tacky beyond all reasoning. Dratted uniforms. Paired with my sparkly belt that I had found in the local consignment shop, it wasn't as bad as it could be. After going through my jewelry, I decided on my blue crocheted bracelet, my silver Celtic knot earrings, and some silver bangle bracelets. Werewolves beware.

Once again, I tried to make my hair look halfway gorgeous. My hair is a cause of continuous torture for me. It's long and so black you'd think I dyed it. People seem to think that I'm a Goth thanks to my hair color. They never seem to understand that you can have black hair without being Asian or dying your hair. I like my hair, but it never agrees with me. It always seems to get tangled or frizzy right after I brush it. So I usually end up just putting my hair in a braid. I decided to just brush it as much as possible and wear it down for a change.

I checked the clock. 6:30. I slipped on some shoes and my backpack. Picking up my purse, I hurried downstairs to get to school with plenty of time left to walk slowly. I wandered through the kitchen and out the door. The cool air felt wonderful against my skin. Since my room is in the attic, it gets pretty hot up there. I have to keep a fan going almost constantly.

I walked slowly as though I was in a dream. I must have looked funny as I practically danced down the sidewalk to my school. A song I had never heard came into my head, and I started humming. After a while, I got lost in the song. I started dancing on the sidewalk. The street was empty. No one would see the strange girl twirling on her way to school. Except . . .

"Do you always dance on your way to school?" said a voice behind me. I whirled around to stare at a gorgeous guy that looked like Apollo from Greek mythology. His hair was a dark blonde that shone like the sun was on it, even though it was cloudy. His eyes were a dark brown that I had never seen in a human before. Trying to regain my composure, I searched for a response in my head.

"No, I just . . . well, you see I . . . oh, never mind . . ." I know. What Shakespearean language. Note the sarcasm. I continued on my way, trying not to dance or hum to the song that kept playing in my head. He kept following me.

"I'm Nick. I just moved here from New Orleans."

"I'm Brighid." I was still trying to walk away. I had embarrassed myself enough for one conversation.

"Do people here always avoid conversations?" he asked in a joking tone.

I gave up walking away and settled to a slow pace. "Nope," I replied. "I just don't happen to be eager to embarrass myself further."

"Embarrass yourself? How did you do that? You're not that bad at dancing," he said, his eyes laughing. "You're not exactly a ballerina, but I didn't see you fall or anything."

I laughed. "I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult."

"How about an assurance that you didn't do anything to embarrass yourself?" He smiled. He had to be the most gorgeous guy I had ever seen. And he was talking to me. Me. As in that weirdo, Brighid. "Which Brighid are you named after? I've heard that there were three Celtic goddesses by that name."

"I don't really know," I answered truthfully. "Mom never told me." How was I supposed to know that there were goddesses with my name? He looked at me like he was trying to decide whether or not I was lying. I tried to change the topic. "What school do you go to?" I asked with real interest. If he went to my school, he might actually be in some of my classes! In my mind, I jumped up and down in joy while letting out a girly squeal. I know. I'm immature. But he was so gorgeous!

"Saint Josephine's," he answered like it was a tragedy. "You?"

"Same," I said. "It's not that bad." He gave me a look that said quite plainly, "Yeah, right." "Well, the food isn't that good. And the uniforms are downright tacky. And the classes aren't that interesting. And they give a lot of homework. But they let people sell and write their own magazines and newsletters instead of just reading the school newspaper, which is boring as dirt by the way."

He laughed. "You must be a cheerleader to have so much school spirit."

"Actually, Saint Josephine's is against cheerleading. They say that they aren't going to have any students 'prancing around in skimpy little outfits just because there's a game going on'."

"Do you have to take any religion classes?" he asked. I saw a hint of fear in his eyes.

"Nope. They're totally optional."

"Good," he said. "At my old school, they made us take classes on Christianity no matter if you were Christian, atheist, Hindu, or whatever. It was terrible, not to mention boring."

"Well, Saint Josephine's figured out a long time ago that they can't force religion on anybody," I explained.

"Cool." We arrived at school just as the bell rang.

"Well, I've got to go to class," I said. "The office is over there. Just ask me if you have any trouble finding anything."

"Thanks," he said. He smiled again. I swear my heart melted. So now it's just a big, red, melted puddle. Ignoring how insanely gross that was, I walked off to homeroom, hoping that I would have enough time to get my books after homeroom.