Chapter 1

There are dark clouds in the sky and the rain is pouring hard. The lightning is streaking across the sky like vines tangled around a tree. There is no thunder. It is only a picture that I am drawing. It is a black and white sketch of the world in eternal rain. That is highly unlikely that the world will rain every second of the day for eternity. I just imagine it in my mind. How ironic to be in a sun room drawing a picture of perpetual rain. It is a picture of the scenery outside the window except it's stormy in the picture and sunny in reality. I gaze at it for a moment and feel weird. I brush it off. It's probably nothing. Outside the window, the sun is setting and the sky is clear. My mother is in the kitchen preparing dinner. My father is watching the news. Apparently, some local hoodlums have vandalized the nearby park. My sister is in her room, listening to what I call "her music". As if Jessica wasn't enough, she has to listen to Ashlee too. Of course, she is during that age in which she has to sing along with songs that talk about love and boys. She is sixteen so it's her thing. I wonder if there is a direct connection. I am so glad I am a year older than her. It would kill me to have an older sister. No makeup is ever going to touch my face and skirts are definitely out of the question.

"Alex! Dinner! " It was my mother, obviously. I lost my train of thought about the whole older sister thing, but I think I it was for the best to forget about it. My mother, being a great cook that she is, had prepared a delicious meal of her famous spaghetti and meatballs. Of course, it wasn't just noodles and balls of meat; it was my mother's spaghetti and meatballs. She was very proud of this dish. It was the first meal she cooked with my dad on the night that they had moved into this house. They ate it off the boxes that contained all the furniture that would be soon arranged into the living room. They tell that story once and a while when we all sit down and have spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I was expecting to hear that story tonight. I helped my sister set the table, even though she insisted on doing it herself and that I was, and I quote, "Doing it wrong". I could smell the tomato sauce simmering and the homemade garlic bread baking in the oven. My dad finally came into the kitchen and ruffled my brown hair. I smiled at him.

"Hey, dad," I said to him. "I'm glad you could come in and help mom in the kitchen," I said with a big grin.

"That's a wonderful idea. You can take the spaghetti out of the pot and strain them," my mom told my dad with her dazzling blues, batting her eyelashes at him.

"Yeah, sure. That's why I'm here." he said and looked at me with his I'm-going-to-get-you-back face. I stuck my tongue out at him and he laughed. Things were going great.

Dinner had been great. After it, I sat on the couch and turned the TV on. It had begun to storm outside and the cable went out. I stared at the snowy background of the screen and decided it was not going to come back anytime soon. I got up from the couch and headed for the stairs. The lightning flashed outside and lit up the dark hallway. The cable might have gone out but at least the power was still on. I stopped for a second waiting for the power to go out because of what I had thought but the lights stayed on. It's funny how some things just don't happen in your favor. I guess I kind of wanted the power to go out when I was thinking about it but I shrugged. Stuff like that always made me smile in spite of most people who would be smashing the walls down because the power had gone out and they were thinking about the power going out. People are just so weird sometimes. It always bugged me how some people think that something happened specifically because of them. I smiled.

I went to the right to my parent's bedroom and knocked on the door. I was always taught to knock before entering to prevent certain awkward situations.

"Come in!" my mom called.

I popped my head in the door. My mom was on the bed wrapped in a vegetable and fruit patterned comforter. She had her reading glasses on and a Woman's World magazine in her hands. She lowered the magazine.

"What's up?" she asked. I had never exactly grasped the concept of my mother actually saying that but I was getting close to it.

"Nothing much. Where's dad?" I asked.

"He's in the bathroom brushing his teeth. Why?" she said.

"No reason. I just wanted to let you know that the cable's not working," I told her.

"No!" I heard from the bathroom. At least that's what I think I heard. It wasn't very clear. My dad was devastated. He loves his cable. Just ask my mom.

"It's ok, dad. You'll be fine." I yelled to him. My mom chuckled. I bet she was glad she didn't have to hear Dad screaming his head off over some guy in a black and white striped shirt making strange hand motions. She was never really into spots that much so she had to cope.

I walked down the hallway towards my room and my sister's door was open. I'm sure she only kept it open so everyone could hear "her music". By everyone, I mean me. I popped my head into her door.

"Don't you knock?" she said to me with her I-can't-believe-you face. I just had to roll my eyes.

"Sorry, I just wanted to tell you that the cable's out," I told her.

"Whatever, like I care," she sneered in her preppy little tone.

"Whatever," I mocked with my hand held out in her face. She giggled like a schoolgirl.

"You're such a goofball," she said.

I simply replied, "I know."

Finally, I reached my room. I was glad to be among my many rock band posters.