chapter one

The first day of school was always an exciting moment for Emmeline Aurora Brave. For starters, the first day usually represented a clean slate. Anything shitty that happened the year before was almost always forgotten and people arrived from summer feeling like completely new people.

Emme cringed when she thought back to how her junior year ended. The love of her life cruelly humiliated her in front of the entire year. Her best friend Bryn Dwyer announced he was gay and effectively outcasted himself, herself and their mutual friend Sam Everett from the rest of the school. Not that Emme cared about popularity, but she did care about how her friends felt. Furthermore, her sister had been in an abusive relationship, only daring to escape when her boyfriend slapped Emme across the face.

But Emme refused to think about 2011 and all the dramas that had occurred. That year was over rover and a new year had begun. She planted a bright smile on her face as she walked from her sister's townhouse in the city, towards her school located right in the heart of Glenfield Coast.

Glenfield Coast boasted a population of 200, 000 residents and was a small chilled out city located two hours north of Auckland on the west coast of New Zealand. The place was a mini metropolis and was well known for its beautiful beaches, perfect weather and delicious seafood.

The sun shone brightly, birds sang in the small amount of trees that lined the dense brick streets and Emme could smell the ocean nearby, desperately wanting to walk towards it, but forcing herself to stay on track and get to school.

Emme could tell that her first day as a 7th Former was going to be great. She'd just had the best summer ever, spending most of her days lounging in the hot kiwi sun with Bryn Dwyer, Sam Everett and their two friends Kara Komova and Amelia Paske who both attended the catholic school in the Glenfield suburb of Wilford. That summer had been the best Emme ever had and was hopefully a good indicator of what to come.

Emme thought about the year ahead and couldn't help but get excited. She had a feeling that something incredible was about to happen and smiled to herself as she walked passed Starbucks only collide with a hard wall and then the concrete pavement. A sharp pain coarsed throughout her body as it made contact with ground and she groaned in absolute misery as she tried to figure out why someone would put a wall in front of the Starbucks entrance.

"Fuck!" a voice boomed, and she looked up to find some man towering over her, coffee spilt on his crisp pale blue dress shirt.

Emme felt her breath leave her as she took in the man's appearance. He looked like he was in his twenties because he did not look like the boys she'd frequented herself with. This guy was 100% MAN. He was blonde...honey blonde and his hair was short but a bit long on top, styled to the front of his head like a ducks tail. His eyes were blue...maybe electric blue and framed by long dark lashes which were framed by nerdy silver glasses that made him look not only sexy, but intelligent. Had it not been for the furious glare on his handsome face, Emme would've been absolutely mesmerized...instead she stared up at him in shock and horror.

"You stupid fuck!" he yelled and Emme forgot her pain and scrambled to her feet hurriedly,

"I'm so sorry sir, I- came out of nowhere!" she explained, her eyes wide with absolute embarrassment as she opened her bag and found the tissues that she always kept in her side pocket, in case her allergies kicked. She attempted to pat him down, but the man backed away from her in disgust.

"Get the fuck away from me." he snapped, "You stupid kid!"

Emme jumped feeling hurt begin to coarse through her veins, "I- I'm sorry." she said softly, "I'll buy you another coffee." she offered meekly, while the man shot her a look,

"Just get the hell out of my sight!" he said, his voice rich with fury. Emme didn't need to be told twice. She grabbed her backpack and pretty much ran the rest of the way to school, her heart pounding furiously in her chest for two reasons. The first being the fact that she was incredibly unfit, the second being the absolute terror she'd felt at being yelled at by that stranger.

Confrontation had never been her strong point. She'd never been able to defend herself and often ended up bursting into tears if things got out of hand. Her male friends were always telling her to man up, while her female friends laughed at the ironic nature of her name.

Emme Brave was in no way Brave.

The shock of being yelled at by that guy was beginning to hit her as she stood in front of her locker huffing and puffing, feeling tears begin to well up in her eyes.

She was a sensitive soul, and couldn't stand the thought of ruining anyones day. When she felt a hand clap on her shoulder. Emme cried out in surprise and spun around to find Sam standing in front of her.

Emme had known Sam since middle school and became friends after discovering their mutual love for a local rock band called Strukk. The pair began to invest all their spare time in creating their own band which included Bryn, Kara and Amelia. But the band fell apart due to creative differences one summer before 4th Form.

Sam was an unconventional kind of good looking. He was tall (about 6'4) and lanky, with smooth tan skin, big hazel eyes and dark shaggy hair. In his spare time, Sam was part of a punk rock band called Squeeky See-Saw, playing bass. The band influenced his look quite a bit over the years, and Sam had gone from a boy who ran around in shorts and stripey t shirts, to a teenager who lived in his black skinny jeans and band t-shirts.

A huge grin was on his face but it slowly began to fade when he saw the frightened look on her face.

"What's wrong?" He asked, his eyes hooded with concern for his friend as Emme struggled to get the story out,

"I. He. There. Umm." Emme stuttered, as Sam grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently in encouragement.

"Deep breaths Em. Deep breaths." he said in a soothing tone as Emme nodded her head and took three deep breaths, feeling her body relax and her head begin to clear.

"I just met the most horrible person." Emme finally started, feeling a bit calmer, "I was walking to school, and this man literally came out from I bumped into him and fell to the ground and he spilt his coffee all over himself, and then gave me the yelling of a lifetime."

"You should've decked him!" Sam said letting go of her hand and folding his arms across his chest as Emme shook her head.

"You know I'm not like that." Emme said and Sam chuckled,

"It's funny how someone whose last name is Brave, can be so timid." Sam teased as Emme began to open her locker. Staring into it's empty depths in despair.

"What's wrong with her?" another voice asked slightly higher than Sam's by an octave, Bryn.

"She just got yelled at by some jerk on the street." Sam explained as Emme continued to lean into her locker, trying to forget entirely about the incident. A large hand rubbed her back,

"Was he hot?" Bryn asked gently causing Emme to swing around to look at her friend in disbelief.

Bryn was one of those guys who just looked gay. His light blonde hair was always styled perfectly, he had flawless porcelain skin and high cheekbones and grey eyes that were framed by dark lashes. He often arrived to school in some ridiculous brightly colored suit, and never without a vest or tie.

A smirk appeared on Bryn's androgynous features and Emme sighed when she realised he was just messing with her. Sam chuckled at Emme closing her empty locker and then leaning against it.

"It doesn't matter." Emme said, "It was my fault and I should've been paying attention anyway." as the boys shrugged their shoulders.

"At least you never have to see the bozo again!" Sam said reassuringly,

"Amen!" Emme nodded hugging her backpack to her chest feeling a bit of relief from that piece of knowledge.

"So I know we've all got 2nd period music together," Bryn started changing the subject as he inspected his nails, "But what other subjects will bring us together this year?"

Sam and Emme pulled out their schedules and the three studied the papers curiously,

"Oh goodie we have 4th period gym together!" Bryn said his eyes lighting up, while Sam gave a roar of laughter,

"How the heck did you get into Advanced Math?!" Sam cried out laughing, while Emme shot him a look,

"It turns out I'm quite smart!" Emme declared, causing Sam to laugh even harder and Bryn to chuckle along with him. The whole thing was kind of funny. Emme had been stuck in cabbage math the year before and now suddenly she was in Advanced didn't make sense to her either, but she wasn't going to complain.

"Well I'm in that class too." Sam said grinning, "So if you feel the material is too advanced, feel free to copy my answers."

Emme gave him a dirty look as Bryn snapped his fingers in disappointment,

"Look's like its just gym and music I have to look forward to with you folk."

Sam looked at Emme, "We've got homeroom together, that'll be cool."

Emme nodded, glad she got to start the day off with one of her friends and the bell rang, officially beginning 7th Form year for the three.

"Speaking of which," Bryn started, "I'll see you lovebirds 2nd period."

Emme and Sam made a face at their friend as he left with a smirk and a wave. It had long since been established that Sam and Emme would never be anything more than friends. This had been determined one weekend while they were 14 years old and played 7 minutes in Heaven. The pair spent the entire time in the closet making kissing noises and trying to stifle their giggles as their curious friends listened from outside. The thought of being anything more, disgusted them both and even now that they were older the pair couldn't treat each other as anything more than siblings, even though they were such a good match for each other.

"Do you think this year is going to go well!" Emme asked as the pair walked to homeroom together, Sam shrugged,

"Fuck knows?" He replied, "But surely it couldn't be as bad as last year right?"

Emme nodded in agreement, "We all had a pretty shit junior year didn't we?" and Sam shrugged again,

"In the end, we came out stronger." Sam said, glancing at her, his lips curled up in a smile, "But let's not get all emotional on each other. Let's just appreciate the fact that the sooner high school ends, the better you, me and Bryn will be."

Emme held up her hand and Sam high fived her, "That's the smartest thing I've heard you say all morning."

"I'm a smart guy!"

"Smart Aleck more like it." Emme retorted chuckling, while Sam bumped her with his shoulder,

"Hater's gon' hate!" Sam smirked as he entered homeroom. Emme chuckled as she followed him. The events of the morning completely forgotten, and the morning seemed to fly by.

After homeroom, Emme had Woodwork, a subject that reminded her of her parents who were always fond of d.i.y. when they were alive. They died when Emme was six and Emme now lived with her older sister Brittany, or Britta as she preferred to be called.

Following Woodwork was Music, where she was happily reunited with her best friends. The three spent most of the period jamming and joking around, and the class ended way too soon for Emme's liking.

With a sigh she headed to her Math class with Sam after saying bye to Bryn. Sam was going on about how they three of them should seriously start up a band, but Emme refused to perform live.

"You're the most talented guitarist in this whole freakin country Em." Sam said in frustration, "How could you deny the world of your gift?"

"It's not easy is all." Emme shrugged feeling a bit irritated as Sam pestured her about the band. He knew where she stood on the issue and didn't understand why he had to keep going on about it. She was about to head into math when Sam blocked her way just before the door.

"Okay okay I know that I should respect your decision to never perform again." Sam started, raising his hands in surrender, "But jamming with you and Bryn today just sounded so right, and did you see how into it the rest of the class were as well."

Emme heaved a sigh. She hadn't noticed really. When she played guitar, all sense of reality left her and it suddenly became all about the music she was making. Music was her way of escapism, it wasn't a means of seeking attention.

"Listen Sam," Emme started, "I'm just not ready to perform in front of people. But...I won't rule it out, because we did sound amazing!"

Sam's face lit up, his lips grinning from ear to ear as he playfully shoved her shoulder.

"Just wait Em," Sam started, "I'm going to show you that performing in front of an audience is the best high ever."

Emme glanced at him uncertainly as he turned and entered the room and shrugged,

She followed him into the room, "Whatever you s- s-..." Emme stuttered, her voice leaving her completely as her eyes locked on the man who stood in front of the blackboard, completely focused on what he was writing up for the lesson.

Emme began to hyperventilate and darted out of the room and back into the hallway. Alarmed, Sam followed her, grabbing her backpack and forcing her to halt as she ran around a corner.

"What the fuck Emme?" Sam asked, his eyebrows furrowed in confusion,

"Th- that guy!" Emme spluttered trying to catch her breath, "Th- that's the guy. With the coffee. Who yelled. This morning."

Sam's eyes widened at the revelation before his face hardened, he reached for her hand but Emme backed away.

"I- I- can't go in there!" Emme said terrified,

"It's just a stupid math teacher!" Sam said, "If he starts hatin' on you, I'll punch him in the face or something."

Emme knew she should've laughed at Sam, but was still finding it hard to breath and focus, "I have to drop that class!" Emme decided, not noticing that Sam was pushing her back in the direction of the room. They still had a couple of minutes before the final bell rang, with kid's still standing in the halls or rushing to class, while Emme and Sam tried to decide what was going to happen.

"Deep breaths kay." Sam said reassuringly, "The guy is nothing but an asshole, and you know that if he tries to make you feel like shit, I will stand up for you. So don't even fucking worry okay and don't let this bastard ruin your day. That's my job kay!"

Emme smiled, took a couple of deep breaths and nodded, "You're a good friend Sam." she said gratefully, following him towards the class,

"Yeah well, you're my sis kay!" Sam said, "We're pretty much family. Let's not get all emotional over this."

Emme nodded, following him into the classroom timidly and then towards a couple of spare seats near the window. The teacher hadn't even noticed them walk in, and Emme let out a sigh of relief as she sat in a desk behind Sam and tried to hide behind his lanky frame.

The final bell rang and the teacher strode over to the door and closed it. As he did, Emme felt her stomach lurch, feeling trapped in what was eventually going to be an awkward situation.

She noticed that he'd changed his shirt and now wore checkered red white and blue dress shirt, that was rolled up to his elbows and exposed well defined arms.

"My name is Frederick Hunt and as well as your teacher, I am also the new Head of Math, so if any of you have any concerns relative to this subject, then please feel free to raise them after class, or make an appointment to see me." He said before heading behind his desk to call the roll.

Emme heard a couple of giggles and sighs. She could see that many of the girls in her class sat to full attention, batting their eyelashes and twirling their hair at him. She immediately felt sorry for them.

Little did they know that he was the scariest man in the world.

"Now seeing as it's the first day, and I don't know any of you let's just go around the room and introduce ourselves. As we do, please state your full name and just for fun your favourite song." Mr Hunt went on, as Emme felt her worst nightmare come to life. Her heart began to race and Sam looked back to shot her a reassuring look.

"As I mentioned before," Mr Hunt started, "My name is Frederick Odin Hunt, or Mr Hunt to all of you. My favorite song 'Invincible' by Muse." He finished as the girls in the room let out a sigh and the guys nodded in approval. Emme smirked, no doubt the girls were going to track down that song and listen to it over and over again. Emme like everyone else in the world was a huge fan of Muse, but she wouldn't say that they were her favorite. Emme's taste in music was wide and varied. She loved any sound with a beat and a rhythm. She saw Mr Hunt nod at a student sitting in the front corner closest to his desk.

Her name was Jenna Ashby, and Emme was as surprised to see Jenna in here as she was to learn that she was in this class. The girl was thicker than a ton of bricks, with only her looks to make up for what she lacked in the intelligence department.

Sam used to have a constant boner for the girl, describing her as the perfect ginger he'd ever seen. Until he ended up on a nightmare date with her. All Sam could say about her afterwards was,

'She doesn't even know who Tommy Emmanuel is! TOMMY EMMANUEL!'

"My name is Jenna Isabella Ashby," she said pushing out her tits and twirling her hair around her finger coyly, "And my favorite song is 'Toxic' by Britney Spears."

Mr Hunt nodded at her blankly and ticked her name of the roll before turning his attention to the next person.

As student after student played the name game, Emme began to realise that it was nearly her turn. She felt her hands begin to clam up and reminded herself to just breathe...but the thoughts of all eyes on her, including the eyes of the man that she'd completely pissed off that morning, terrified her.

"I'm Sam Everett." Sam said, standing crossing his arms, "I don't have a middle name and I don't have a favorite song, or a favorite band, or a favorite genre. I believe that there is a song for every moment, that everyone should listen to as many different songs as fuckin possible. My passion is music. I live it, I breath it and one day I'm going to conquer the world with it." He finished passionately before sitting down and turning to face Emme.

Emme looked into his eyes and took a deep breath before standing bravely to her feet. Glancing quickly up at Mr Hunt in time to notice the flash of recognition in his eyes before she glanced down at Sam.

"M- m- my..." Emme stuttered before stopping, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath, "I'm Emme Brave." she said softly, forcing her to think of a song that would help calm her down. As usual, 'Honey, Don't Let Go' came to mind, by her favorite band Strukk and as she imagined the smooth voice of the lead singer Dread floating through her mind, she opened her eyes with more confidence, "I'm Emme Brave and my favorite song is 'Honey, Don't Let Go' by Strukk." she said before sitting down in a flash feeling her heart constrict in her chest.

Sam grinned at her proudly and Emme let out a huge sigh of relief as the next person stood up and introduced herself. She was thankful that Mr Hunt didn't call her out in front of the class. Her heart rate returned to it's normal pace and Emme gave Sam a smile to let her know she was okay, before her eyes clashed once more with Mr Hunt's dark stare.

'Surely he couldn't still be mad for bumping into her?' Emme thought taking her eyes of him and staring into her hands, 'It was an accident afterall. Maybe I should take my own advice and drop this class.'

After the final student had done, Mr Hunt went over the work that he'd written on the blackboard and passed out worksheets for the class to complete. But Emme was having a hard time concentrating and ended up handing an sheet with no answers up for Mr Hunt to mark. By the time Emme had decided that she would definitely have no choice but to drop math, the bell had rung and lunch had finally arrived.

"Miss Brave!" Mr Hunt's voice boomed from the front of the room, "I would like a word if you don't mind."

But Emme did mind. She had no desire to exchange any words with him. The man was frightening and judging from the way he reacted towards her this morning, she was certain that whatever he had to say to her wouldn't be pleasant.

"I'll come with you." Sam said supportively standing and slinging his bag over his shoulder, Emme nodded and did the same. The pair weaved through students and desks until they stood at the front of Mr Hunt's desk, who was busy erasing the work off the board, ignoring students as they tried to engage him in conversation.

The last student, Jenna finally left in a huff, after Mr Hunt told her to go to the lunch before facing Emme and Sam. Mr Hunt looked at Sam and seemed to size him up,

"I need a word to Miss Brave in private." Mr Hunt said crossing his arms and daring Sam to disobey his command. Emme flashed Sam a desperate look to disobey Mr Hunt, while Sam glared at the teacher before giving Emme a sorry look and patting her on the back,

"I'll wait out side for you kay!" Sam said softly, before walking out, concentrating a look of pure evil in Mr Hunt's direction, before slamming the door shut.

Mr Hunt went to stand behind his desk and let out a huge sigh as he ran a hand through his hair looking out the window before facing Emme with an apologetic look on his face.

"Miss Brave." he started and Emme gulped, "I would like to apologize for my behaviour this morning. It was completely unprofessional and uncalled for and I hope that the incident this morning won't affect your success in this class."

Emme gave Mr Hunt an unsure look and bit her lip. There was a long awkward silence and Mr Hunt must've realised that she wasn't going to say anything, because he gestured towards the door,

"You may go!" he said, and Emme nodded before rushing as quickly as she could out of the room and right into Sam, but she didn't stop. The only thing on her mind was getting to the school office as soon as possible.

She had a course to drop.

Because the day she stepped back into that classroom...

...would be the day hell froze over