Chapter 1

Knox hated moving. He hated it more than being forced to eat brussel sprouts. More than rap music. More than the overly flirtatious girls that mistook him for a 'bad boy' and refused to leave him alone. But of all the things he despised with the fury of a raging alcoholic, he hated being moved halfway across the country most of all. All because his dad had felt that they needed a change of scenery. Because Nebraska was such a change of scenery compared to Washington.

Glancing around the mass of cardboard boxes piled against the walls of his new room, Knox sighed. "How could you do this to me dad?" he groaned, unceremoniously flopping back onto his bed, sending the packing peanuts littering the sheets flying onto the hardwood floor. The few that were crushed between his back and the mattress crunched and squeaked, a sound that made him grate his teeth in irritation. Despite the disgusting sounds of the styrofoam-esque cylinders the teen was simply too tired and too frustrated to move. It was nearly eleven o'clock and his parents actually expected him to unpack his entire room before bed? Seriously? Sure, the same request had been made three days ago but...

From the moment they'd stepped into the red brick two story, Knox had gotten it stuck in his head that if he refused to unpack, refused to accept the move, then he wouldn't have to stay here. Knox had never given up the hope that his father would realize the mistake he'd made and move them back Washington. Back to the house both he and his brother had grown up in. Back to his room and the tree house he had long outgrown. Back to the streets he could traverse with ease even while blindfolded. Washington was where he'd learned to walk, where he'd broken his arm the first week as a seven-year-old. It was where he made his first friend and where he'd learned to skate. With so many memories there, why on earth had his parents decided to move he and his brother 1,700 miles away to start a new life? Especially at the start of his senior year of high school. Which just added to the level of suckitude this whole situation was drowning in.

Such childish hopes had proved foolish of course. Nothing he did or said was going to change his parents minds. He would just have to deal with it like the almost adult he was. Knox spared his alarm clock a passing glance, groaning when he saw it was now past eleven. Whether he liked it or not, he had school tomorrow. New school, new teachers... New friends. He wasn't quite sure he was ready for all that yet.

The nearly eighteen year old pushed himself up onto his elbows before ultimately forcing himself off of his bed. He landed unsteadily on his feet, crossing the room to the boxes that held his clothes. After a few minutes of rummaging and shoving cardboard and even more packing peanuts around he found the box he was looking for. Digging out a ratty old pair of navy patterned sleep pants and a black short sleeved shirt he shuffled back to his bed with his would-be pajamas. He took little time discarding his clothes and replacing them with the cardboard smelling pj's. Brushing his teeth could wait till morning, as could finding the rest of his underwear. For now sleep was his top priority.

Knox flicked off the lights before making his way back to bed where he abruptly and rather roughly shook the blanket atop his sheets, dumping the rest of the annoying peanuts onto the floor. He'd clean them up later- he decided as he climbed into bed, settling down on his back with one arm supporting his head. He could only hope that his new classmates would be less annoying than the ones he had left behind in Seattle.


It seems that even a move can't change some old habits, Knox thought with a small grin as he watched his mother bustle around the kitchen. Ever since he could remember his mom had always been a morning person, almost annoyingly so. Not a day had gone by where she wasn't awake before the rest of the family- and nine times out of ten she had breakfast on the table by the time the remaining members had stumbled out of bed. Today appeared to be no different as no more than twenty minutes ago Knox had been awakened by his overly chipper mother. She had come bearing a hot cup of coffee though, which he supposed made it a little less irritating. Shaking his head slightly at the fresh memory he shoved the last spoonful of his cereal in his mouth and promptly pushed away from the breakfast bar.

"Are you finished, Knox." He heard his mother ask. Knox paused, stifling a groan at having been stopped before he could even make it out of the kitchen.

"Yeah, mom. I'm done."

"Well then it would be much appreciated if you would put your dishes in the sink."

Sighing, he did as he was told, stepping past his mother and reaching around his little brother to pick up his bowl. Dropping them into the sink perhaps a bit more forcefully than he needed to Knox turned back to his mom.

"Now can I go?" He asked, his voice filled half with annoyance and half with exhaustion. He had not slept well the previous night. The woman shook her head, dismissing her son with a wave towards the stairs. He headed straight for them, stomping up the carpeted steps. Pausing on the landing he glanced down at his brother.

"Hey, Elijah."

The younger boy lifted his head from his breakfast, his jaw moving slowly as he continued chewing his cheerios.

"Try not to take too long, alright? I have to take you to school remember?" He waited until he'd received a nod in response before he continued his way up to his room. The sight of the boxes still cluttering the space annoyed him, but there was little to be done at the moment. He had to get ready for school. Oh Joy. . .

Dragging his feet, Knox rooted around for his clothes, deciding to wear whatever his fingers came into contact with first. Thank goodness he didn't grab the more shabby of his clothes, coming up instead with a pair of dark wash jeans and a slightly holey Breaking Benjamin shirt. This would do just fine as far as he was concerned. At the very least his wardrobe should give his new classmates, as well as teachers, an idea of who he was. Or at least he hoped it would. As he dressed Knox found himself spacing out a little, contemplating the possibilities of today. Perhaps he would make a fair amount of friends, people wouldn't be so bothersome and the administrators would leave him alone. Then again, he felt that was more than just a little too much to hope for.

After pulling on his shoes, a pair of rather old but well cared for black boots, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror balanced atop his still empty dresser. Knox had always hated his hair. The waviness of it had always bugged him, often prompting him as a young child to take a pair of scissors to it. Yet no matter how many times he cut it, the black waves always came back with a vengeance. He had shaved his head once in an attempt to stop it once and for all but... he hadn't liked the way it had looked and neither had his mother. It made him look too much like a serial killer, she had said. He ran his fingers through the unruly mass of waves, fighting the urge to give them a trim as they brushed his cheekbones. To this day it still amazed him how fast it grew.

He heard a knock from behind him and turned away from his reflection, finding his brother standing in the doorway with backpack in hand.

"You ready to go?" he asked, pushing away from his dresser. Elijah nodded, shifting his weight to his other foot. The younger boy frowned slightly, eyeing his brothers appearance.

"Are you really wearing that?"

"Yeah. Why shouldn't I?" Knox inquired, searching for his own school bag. It had to be somewhere in this room, he was sure of it. Maybe under the bed? He knelt down to look, his brothers reply barely acknowledged as it entered his ears.

"Well... it's old dude. It's got holes for God's sake."

Knox sighed, shooting Elijah a bored glance over his shoulder. "It's fine. A few holes doesn't make it unwearable."

"Just because you can still wear it doesn't mean you should. Besides, you're not going to attract much attention wearing that."

Once again, the older of the two narrowed his eyes at his brother. "Elijah... leave it alone."

The fourteen year old shrugged, turning away from the room. "Whatever dude. Just trying to save you from social suicide on your first day."

Left alone, Knox resumed his search, reaching around the dark abyss that was under his bed. When he finally found what he was looking for, a leather backpack emblazoned with both silver studs and a large union flag, he got to his feet- brushing the dust from his pants as he did so. He threw his wallet, a notepad, and his iPod into the bag before swinging it onto his back. It was then that he caught sight of his alarm clock, and released a curse. If he remembered correctly, class started for him in less than ten minutes. Grabbing his keys and his phone he all but jogged down the stairs. His brother was waiting for him, leaning against the wall beside the front door. Knox shook his head, fisting a handful of the boys sweatshirt in his hand before dragging him out the door. He vaguely heard Elijah yelling a goodbye to their mother but he was too preoccupied with getting in the car to give his own farewell.

His car wasn't much more than his fathers old one, a silver Subaru he didn't hate or particularly like. A car was a car though. He certainly couldn't ride his skate board to and from school.


My name is Holly. Holly Ann Mason, in case you were wondering. Why Holly, you may ask? Because my mom wanted me to have a unique name. So why not something that comes from nature? She's good like that- my mom. At the very least I haven't had to worry about being mistaken for someone else. I've never met another Holly. Not once in all my years of school had there been someone else in my class with the same name as me. Speaking of school...

For as long as I've been able to remember, school has been the bane of my existence. I'm certain that nearly every teenager my age, which is eighteen by the way, has said the same. I however, mean it wholeheartedly and without the slightest bit of exaggeration. After nearly fourteen complete years of school behind me I was more convinced than ever that 'school' was just adult speak for 'where your childhood goes to die'. It sure had robbed me of my childhood innocence early on...

Given my generalized hatred for such idiotic practices, I'd been ignoring both my watch and the early morning sun that peaked its way between the thick blinds covering the window behind me. I'd been awake for hours, not that my mother needed to know that, and was determined to try- yet again- to weasel my way out of going to classes for the day. It had worked in the past so... why not give it another try?

I lean closer to the tv, paying little attention to anything but the action unfolding on the screen. In the two hours since I'd crawled out of bed I had cleared two caves, enchanted a full suit of armor against fire damage, and harvested enough nightshade to surely knock a dragon on its ass faster than even dragonrend could. I can't help but grin at the thought as I mount my horse in game and turned to head back to the city where my house was located. God I love Skyrim...

"Holly Ann Mason!" Maker save me...

I hang my head, pausing the game and setting the controller down on top of my old tv. My thumb finds its way between my teeth, my age old nervous tick making itself known as I spin around to look at my mother who stood in the doorway of my room.

"Heh... hello, momma..." I chuckle, giving her a sheepish grin. My mom crosses her arms, her lips quivering ever so slightly as she fought a smirk. She knew better than anyone that after eighteen years my habits couldn't be changed overnight. It still didn't mean she wasn't going to give it a try though.

"I'm sorry to interrupt what I'm sure is a very intense fight-"

"Oh, no. No fighting whatsoever. Just heading back home actually..." I interrupt, turning halfway towards the game, my eyes flickering between the controller and her face. My attention was always only half there whenever video games were around.

"...but you've got school in twenty minutes," she continues, seemingly not offended by my lack of focus. Her eyes drift over me and almost immediately her hands smack her thighs as she sighs exasperation. "And you're still wearing your pajamas!" she groans, gesturing with one hand at the flannel sleep pants I wore.

I cannot resist poking my bottom lip out, looking up at her over the rim of my glasses. "Do I have to go to school? It's not like I have any tests today or anything..."

She narrows her eyes at me, her smirk now back in full force. "Yes, Holly. You have to go to school- and I know for a fact that you have an essay due for government today." I knew I shouldn't have told her about that... damn it.. My mom steps into the room, leaning over to kiss the top of my head as I glance at the floor. "I expect you dressed and in the car in the next ten minutes. And don't forget to grab something for lunch, please?" She murmurs, her voice soft as she makes her request. I can't help but nod, knowing that as much as I may not like it she was trying to do what was best for me.

"Yeah.. I'll get ready momma." I reply with a sigh, meeting her toffee colored eyes. She kisses my head once more, whispering a 'thank you' before leaving me alone in my room. I briefly glance at my screen once more, unwillingly to shut off the system. I do as I promised though. I unpause it long enough to save my progress, shutting off both the xbox and the television before I get up from my chair and head to the bathroom to get ready. As I dressed, pulling on my favorite skinny jeans and a blue and black flannel shirt, I mentally ran through the items I'd prepacked in my backpack the night before. Let's see... government paper? check. english folder? check. math notebook? double check. Everything else hardly left the bag unless I was using it, and that included my ipod. I slide my feet into the black suede ankle boots my mother had gotten me at the start of the school year and grab my phone, rushing out of my room. I backpedal on my way to the kitchen, ducking into the bathroom again, just long enough to run a comb through my long hair and brush my teeth. I could apply my makeup in the car. Thank god for contact lenses. Trying to apply eyeliner without my glasses would be a pain in the ass.

My mother was already stepping out the door, my sister just behind her when I snatched my freshly refilled water bottle from the counter. Mom must have done it for me, which I greatly appreciated. I throw a few granola bars into the front pouch of my bag, followed by a large shiny honeycrisp apple before practically running out the door. I took just enough time to lock the door behind me, a tiny grin escaping me at the sight of my tiny string pig attached to my key. It was an inside joke between me and my mom, but it still made me smile sometimes. Quickly but carefully I jog down the cement stairs to the car and throw myself into the front seat. I was going to be late anyway, but if I ran as soon as I got out of the car I should be able to make it before first period got fully started.

I'll post the next part tomorrow or sometime in the next couple of days. Have a nice day ;)