Life is about making mistakes, but Ellie Nolan happens to make the hugest one of all when she puts her trust in Lucas Black.

Her life was all about black and white, and she craved color.

Lucas turned it red.


2. Shuffle


I had no clue why my parents had chosen to live in such a shit town. We had taken so many vacations to different parts of the country, and each time my parents would exclaim “We love this place! I never want to leave!” Yet on the day of leave they left so quickly as if they were eager to escape a beautiful paradise and return to a barren wasteland. At least, that’s how it was when I was little.

My life felt like an endless routine. I was the chief of police’s daughter—the supposed spitting image of the town’s model teenager. If I made a mistake, people knew about it. If I made an F, people gossiped about it. How dare the chief of police’s daughter, a fellow human like the rest of us, make a bad grade on an assignment? It was like I was famous, and God forbid I didn’t want to be. This town was so God damn judgmental. The stay-at-home moms didn’t have anything better to do than to gossip about the new teen pregnancy or bag on a person who wore white after Labor Day. They even talked about their supposed ‘friends’. It disgusted me.

Everyone wore a fake exterior. Including me.

                A smile here,

a smile there. 

It’s not like anyone knew the difference.

I’m up at six A.M. I’m dressed to impress by six thirty. I eat the same cereal. My dad comes in and kisses my head good morning. He reads the newspaper like every other typical dad in this town. The only difference is he doesn’t read the crime section, because he already knows what’s going on there. He suffocates me. He should’ve learned by now that wasn’t ever the best thing for me. I just want change. Nothing ever changes in this town. It’s the same rotten people who have lived here their whole lives and decided to raise their rotten kids here. It’s the same routine, and I’m tired of going in circles.


A new day, a new start. I fix my quiff as I look in the mirror, running a hand through my freshly dyed dirty blonde hair. The brown eye contacts that blocked my blue ones fit perfectly, although I could still feel them. I adjusted my flannel over my band t-shirt, sliding on a black beanie. This was the style I’ve seen around—it’s definitely the style. I had to blend.

                B L E N D.

It was such a familiar word, one that had to be repeated over and over before it would eventually sink into my skin and I would start to believe it, start to become it. I went over the record in my sixth similar folder for the sixth similar move, going over my apparent school information. It was a perfectly typed bullshit lie. I hated high-school. But it was my cover. Lucas. My name is Lucas. Lucas Black.

                L U C A S B L A CK.​

I repeated the name to myself as I walked out of the scarce house which had nothing but my packed suitcase in the small living room and a mattress laying on the floor. It was empty, oh so empty. I twitched slightly as I slid into the driver seat of my new car in my new name, putting the car into drive. I remained stone-faced as I drove to the high school in this barren wasteland, pulling into the parking lot. No one gave my car a second glance, and I smiled bitterly. Great job at blending, Lucas.


“Students, please pass in your homework from last night.”

Shit. I sighed as I got my binder out, completely unprepared for my AP history class. I grimaced as I heard the sounds of papers being flipped and settled into the basket that Mr. Ferguson carried as he went down our rows. When he reached me at the back of the class, I didn’t make eye contact.

“I’m afraid I don’t have it.” I breathed out as I looked up at him with a faux smile.

“Oh, Ellie, that’s okay. Just have it tomorrow, okay? Turn it into me first thing in the morning.” He smiled, patting my arm, and I kept the smile on my face till he turned his back and went onto the next person. I tuned into the conversation with the next student.

“I-I forgot the homework at home, Mr. Ferguson.” Penny stuttered, and Mr. Ferguson frowned.

“No excuses, Penny. You know the rules. If you don’t have the work, you receive a zero.” He stated, and I rolled my eyes. I felt bad for little Penny. She was a brilliant girl, and it amazed me that she had forgotten her homework. The rules were bullshit for me. Everyone wanted to be on my good side—only because they didn’t want on my father’s bad side.

                They were all fake.

                                                                So fake.

As Mr. Ferguson began the power point, I scrawled my name on my paper, preparing myself for notes. I glanced up as the door opened, knowing Mr. Ferguson grilled students if they were late. My eyebrows crinkled and my lips turned down as an unfamiliar face came in, looking like half of the other boys in the school. His dark brown eyes flashed around the room, dancing around all of the faces, before meeting mine. I glanced away quickly as he walked over to Mr. Ferguson, who looked just as surprised.

“Can I help you, son?” he asked, standing up.

“Yeah. I’m a new student. Lucas Black.” He introduced himself, and I could see all of the girls puffing themselves up like peacocks. I rolled my eyes again; if I had a nickel for how many times I rolled my eyes in a day, I could drop out of school and live pleasantly.

“Well, Mr. Black, I don’t normally allow new students in my class. Are you transferring from an AP history class from your old school?” Mr. Ferguson inquired. Cue the eye roll. He was trying to act the ‘big and bad’ teacher part, but truly Mr. Ferguson was a wimp. His wife wore the pants in the family, according to the gossip around town.

“Yes sir. I have a passion for history.” Lucas smiled, revealing pearly whites. All of the girls in the class seemed to be swooning by now. Mr. Ferguson even seemed to melt as Lucas said that one sentence. I hated history, so I couldn’t relate—I only took AP for my college credit so I could get the hell out of this place.

“Fantastic! Um, I believe there’s a seat in the back next to Ellie. Ellie, raise your hand, please?” My head snapped up from my notebook, my eyes meeting Lucas’ again. I hesitantly raised my hand, gritting my teeth.


 Penny was enough to handle with her nail biting—let’s see what bad habit the new boy had.


        F A K E.

Everyone in this classroom was fake. The way the girls immediately sat up, adjusting their shirts so they lowered, the automatic eye rolls of the boys but had hidden approval, the unbearable witty teacher. I wanted to barf. I had landed myself in another small town fueled by bullshit. But I kept a polite smile on my face as I walked towards the back of the class, taking my seat and setting my backpack on the floor. The girl, Ellie, didn’t look at me, but I could see how tense she was in her seat.

“Hi. I’m Lucas.” I whispered, figuring it wouldn’t hurt to make one possible accomplice in the class.

“I’m aware.” She stated back, scrawling in her notebook. I frowned when she didn’t take immediate interest in me. Everyone was always interested in the new kid; they wanted to get under my skin.

“So, Ferguson is kind of—“ I went to finish before Ellie caught me off guard with a glare as she turned in her seat.

“If you don’t mind, I’m trying to take notes. If you want a tip, new kid, you should be too.” She hissed, and my eyebrows rose in disbelief as she swiveled back in her seat. I stared at her curiously for a moment. I couldn’t recall the last time a girl was that rude to me—it had to have been grade school before I had blossomed.

I stared at her out of the corner of my eyes, chewing on the tip of my pen. Another nasty habit.

                H A B I T.

Ellie didn’t seem to have a bad habit. A model student with a bitchy attitude, perhaps, but she gave away nothing on the surface.

                What a shame.


Same old shit but a different day. That should be my motto. My dad was sitting in the front of the school as usual once I got out of biology. The gossip of the day? The new kid. That's all my friends talked about all day. That’s all anyone talked about today; even the teachers were guilty about it. Poor Lucas Black. He was

                                                                fresh meat.

“Hey, honey.” Dad said rather gruffly as I sat comfortably in the passenger seat, setting my backpack on my lap.

“Hey, dad,” I replied quietly as he started the car and gunned it out of the parking lot before any other kid could get into their vehicle. I rolled my eyes. The utter hypocrisy was embarrassing. Riding in my dad’s cop car practically flashed a “stay away from my daughter” signal; not that I wanted to date any of the buffoons here. I knew

                                                                                my worth.

The sky was gray today, hinting at a storm that would be coming. Mother Nature must hate this place as much as I do because the weather is never constant. It could be seventy degrees one day and the next it would be snowing. That’s the only thing that changed here, so my appreciation went to great lengths for the weather. The town looked bare as usual as my dad drove downtown, the brick buildings seeming to fade every time I passed. It’s like everything was so washed out, with the same fading people and the same fading stores. I breathed out as my dad pulled into the same familiar parking lot, feeling as if I had been holding the same breath the entire ride. The red brick building was crumbling on the corners, the hangover painted the same ‘calming’ yellow. It was hideous. It wasn't exactly the ideal place to host a therapeutic clinic. 

"I'll be waiting right outside when the session is over. Okay?" My dad said quietly, his eyes transfixed on his police scanner. I knew he was dying for something to come up. I didn't answer but gave a nod of my head before getting out of the car, slinging my school bag over my shoulder. I took a deep breath before pushing open the door to the clinic for the countless time, hearing my dad rev his engine before driving away.
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