Maria is a shy, normal girl of seventeen. her and her two best friends, along with her mother travel to New York, where a tragic event will change her life forever. But when a mysterious boy moves to her school, things start changing. Will Maria be able to control these changes? Or will she end up destroying everything she loves?


1. Chapter 1- Maria's point of view

All eyes were on me as I tiptoed up to the front of the church. My father delivered an encouraging nod in my direction but nobody else looked at me, there eyes seemed to be permanently glued to the floor. I wondered why so many people were there, clad in black but with no tears staining there perfectly made up faces. And then I realised, they were not here for her, they were there for me. Standing at the front of the church, gazing down at her beautiful face, tears filled my eyes. Once those cheeks blushed pink in the sunlight, those eyes crinkled as she laughed and those lips kissed my forehead so tenderly goodnight. As I looked down upon that face there is no trace that any part of her had lived, she was so pale, her skin snow white. Leaning down to place a kiss on her cheek, I felt a presence next to me. A warm hand slipped into mine and squeezed it reassuringly as my lips brush her cold face. Luke. My Luke. He, I am sure is one of the few people here I can trust, I leant my body into his as my head spun, I must not look weak. As a shy seventeen year old who just tries to fit in this is not going to be easy. I swept my dark blonde hair that hangs at my shoulders away from my green flecked blue eyes and snow white cheeks. Luke stood tall beside me, catching the eyes of many of the teenage girls in the crowd. This is not a surprise as he is good looking, tall, blonde with super sharp cheekbones, piercing blue eyes and a slight tan.


I turned to face the sea of black, the people who want to see me fall, to see me crumble.

But I had Luke beside me, supporting me both metaphorically and literally. I began to read:

“Thank you for being here today. Mum would be so happy to see you all here. She was such a caring person, a brilliant” I choked, unable to carry on. My dad walked up to me, taking the paper from my hands. He nodded at Luke as he placed a protective arm around my waist lead me back to my seat. I smiled up at him as tears filled my eyes. He gazed down at me, a frown playing on his lips as his forehead creased.

“Let’s get some air” he said, I nodded numbly as he diverts our course to the graveyard. As we got outside the flash backs begin.


“Morning,” I mumbled rolling over facing Lennie. Mum had booked an apartment, she and Luke single rooms and Lennie and I shared the double room. I rose sleepily, like a zombie. Caffeine, I needed caffeine. It was our last day in New York than we would be going back to England. There was this really cute coffee shop down the road so I pulled on my jeans and t-shirt, put on my boots, wrote a quick note to tell Mum were I was going and headed down the stairs.


I loved New York. I loved everything from the hipsters cradling star bucks coffee and Mac book airs with their infuriating beanie hats to the business men and women in their smart suits hurrying to and fro clutching black briefcases that couldn’t possibly contain all they needed. It was so wonderfully busy. The city that never sleeps. Everybody seemed to be going somewhere, nobody stood still to take in the view. From the dinky little coffee shops to the gigantic apartment and office blocks, everything seemed to have a new feel to it. A new, exiting feel. Something that made you believe anything could happen. Anything wonderful, exiting, thrilling but possibly terrifying.


I strolled down the street and stopped to admire the architecture. From the corner of my eye I noticed something strange, a man stood stock still staring in my direction. He was the only other person stood still and he was staring directly at me with a black trench coat wafting around his leather clad ankles. I started walking again to test my theory. Sneakily glancing behind me I spied him following me at a distance. I began to walk faster, and faster, until I was running, not back to the apartment, but to the coffee shop. It was closer then the apartment and I may have been able to get lost in the crowd, shake him of. I threw terrified looks over my shoulder but the man was nowhere to be seen.


I woke with a start, Lennie had joined us. Lennie and I have been friends for a while, but not as long as Luke and me. She joined our group as she was new to our school a couple of years back and didn’t have many friends. I guess I felt a bit reluctant to accept her into our group at first; it had always been Luke and me. Lennie is a tall, slim brunette, a perfect girl with a sun kissed complexion. This compares to my stubbiness and tom boy personality. It is a miracle that we are friends to be fair but I guess when you are an outcast; there are not many people to turn to. They both wear a look of concern as they whisper together. Luke steps towards me slowly, as if he is scared of startling me.

“Maria, are you okay?” I faked a smile and stand.

“When aren’t I?” he laughed and took my hand as I held mine out for Lennie. We walked like this for a while, leaning on my friends. I couldn’t have gone through the terror of the past few months without them. It had passed with a blur, I couldn’t remember much about that day, the day I lost a mother… all I could remember was me needing coffee and leaving the flat, I should have never left, never left her. Now she has left me, left me forever. My dad approached us as we knelt by my mums newly covered grave. Tears snaked down my face carving salty paths; I sniffed and tried to hide my sadness for his sake. He taped my shoulder and I turned to face him.

“Come on chicken pie, it’s time to go. Let’s go home.” I stood and followed him in a daze, hugging Lennie and Luke on my way. Yet it doesn’t feel like I’m going home, home is where the heart is as they say. She made our house a home. Her laugh, her smile, it feels empty without her. Not just the house but my heart, like a part of me is missing. Walking home, all I could think about was that day. And without Luke or Lennie to distract me, my mind began to wonder to that day again.


Throwing constant looks over my shoulder, I tried to shake the prickling feeling like a sixth sense tingling the back of my neck. Shaking my head, I pushed open the door to the coffee shop. Even though I don’t really like coffee, Lennie does, so we both discovered this amazing little shop, separate from any chain, to get her daily dose. I am a typical British tea person, conforming to the stereotypes. The chairs were mismatched, comfy battered leather armchairs mixed with colourful painted wooden benches. Round tables and square tables sat in every corner, decked with candles, painted sugar pots and vases filled with cutlery. A buzz resonated around the shop, as the customers sat drinking all kinds of beverages, some reading books provided by the shops bookcases, and some talking to friends or family. I strode over to the desk and ordered a large cappuccino for Mum, an Americano for Lennie and two teas for Luke and me.


My phone rang, Mums voice was on the other end when I picked up. She sounded worried. ‘Where are you Maria?’

‘Getting coffee. Mum what’s wrong?’

‘I’m coming to get you’ her voice shook, panic spread through me, what was going on? I began to talk again but she had already hung up.


I found myself standing opposite my mirror, brushing my knotted hair. I had my pyjamas on, spotty with a panda on the front. I don’t remember coming home, completing the everyday tasks that are so difficult for me at the moment. Understandable really but I have a habit of blaming myself for my unsatisfactory completion of the most mundane task. My phone buzzed, Luke’s name flashed up on my screen. ‘U ok?’ I read. ‘Yeah’ I texted back. ‘No’ I texted again. I couldn’t lie to Luke; he would know I was lying. His name flashed on my screen again, ‘Aw babe, what can I do?’ ‘Its K Luke, im going to get some sleep, cya tomorrow.’ I turned off my phone, but I didn’t go to sleep. I sat in my bed, thinking about Mum, thinking about the last thing she had said to me, about what had happened that day, about everything.


A tall black haired boy served me. I couldn’t help glancing at him more often then necessary. He was pale, like me, with shockingly black hair that swept over his chestnut eyes. His cheekbones were prominent and he had a rock star air about the way he held himself. He caught me looking at him and smiled. Blushing, I stared at the floor, feeling my cheeks get hot. The bell attached to the door chimed, Mum walked into the shop, her short course hair bouncing on her shoulders. And then someone screamed.


The man who had been following me burst into the shop. He had a handgun lifted over his head. ‘Get down!’ the boy behind the counter had run to stand beside me, grabbed my collar and shoved me to the floor. Children were crying, people screaming and a burning sensation ripped through my leg. But I didn’t notice. Because the worst thing was the silence amongst the noise, as if someone had turned the volume down on the radio. My mother. My mothers silence. Se wasn’t moving, screaming, doing anything. She just stood there. A look of pure and utter terror upon her face. And then she fell, as if in slow motion. I tried to reach her, my arms wouldn’t move, I couldn’t move. And then she hit the floor, a wound obvious in the back of her head, a bullet hole. I couldn’t breathe what should I do? What could I do? The boy grabbed my arm, the sound turned back up. ‘Come on!’ he yelled above the noise. He all but carried me out of the shop, ambulances were waiting outside, and police sirens pierced the usually calm corner. And the boy, the boy was nowhere to be seen. Luke and Lennie appeared around the corner, walking slowly, talking. They stopped in their tracks as they saw the sirens, and they ran. Then I was in their arms, shaking.


Dad and I decided that we wanted everything to be as normal is it possibly could be. So that meant school. I took a couple of months off, helping dad arrange the funeral and to aid the American police with their enquires. But that was over, as was summer term, so we planned for me to return at the start of the new school year in September, and that was tomorrow. I turned over and attempted to get some sleep. Dreams haunted me when I finally got some sleep, and I awoke more tired then when I had got into bed.


Walking down the stairs, I took deep breaths to steady my nerves. Chins up, smiles on. Thanks Effie for that tip. I strolled into the kitchen avoiding my Dads concerned gaze. "You don't have to do it you know, if you don't want to..." 

‘Dad, I want to go to school like the other kids. You know, I could at least try to fit in, be like them.’ He nodded and ruffled my dirty blonde hair. Grabbing my bag and giving him a quick peck on the cheek, I plugged my iPod in, switched to Imagine Dragons and closed the door as I left the comfort of my house to the un-known of outside.

This may seem a bit strange, that the outside is un-known. I have only left my house to walk as far as the garden gate since my mothers’ death. It took me the whole of the song Demons to force my shaking legs to carry my small frame all the way to the gate. Taking a deep breath, I pushed the gate open.

It took me an hour and many songs to walk to the school that was only fifteen minuets away from my house. I kept on turning back and walking half way home, and then turning back to school again. They do say two steps forward one step back but I think I took the saying a little too literally. But I did it. Even if it took me a whole hour I actually got to school. It may not seem like much but it was to me.

Standing among the crowd of lower sixth students, I attempted to gather my thoughts. My heart raced as I drew steadying, ragged breaths. All around me the milling crowd was dispersing, entering the main hall for assembly. I followed reluctantly. The year leader stood on the stage as the students filed in, taking their seats. I sat discretely at the back of the hall, hoping nobody would notice me.  Luke and Lennie saw me and sat at the back, neither talking, but Luke held his hand out to mine and Lennie rested her head on my shoulder, comforting me. I smiled, knowing I had such good friends helped my mind stop wondering to my mother.

The first few hours passed in a blur of teachers handing out new textbooks, and giving me sympathetic smiles. I spent break alone in the library, not wanting people to stare at me, whispering, looking on at me with those sympathetic faces. Lunch was different. There was no way to avoid the thronging masses of sixth formers whilst buying lunch. I sat with Lennie, Luke and a few other friends, including a mousy boy named Tom and a tall slim girl named Jess. We stuck together but we were not as close as Lennie, Luke and me. But then I saw him, the boy from the coffee shop. I blinked, wondering if I had just imagined it. But I hadn’t, he was really here. ‘Who is that?’ I asked Jess.

‘Oh haven’t you heard? His parents have just moved him here; he’s living with his uncle. American I think. He’s in our English lit class Maria!’ Lennie was staring at him, unflattering.

‘Lennie!’ I hissed

‘What?’ she replied innocently.

‘Stop staring, it’s rude’

‘But he’s rather nice if you know what I mean’ Jess nodded her head in agreement, Tom and Luke looked over to him too. Tom shrugged but Luke looked at me, I may have been imagining it but I swore a look of jealously passed behind his blue eyes.


The week passed by quickly, every day less people gave me the sympathetic face and apologizing for my loss declined. Everything seemed vaguely normal, that was until the first English Lit class of the year. Jess kept reminding me that the new boy, the boy who had saved my life, was in our class. All week she had been looking forward to it. And today she had made extra effort with her hair and makeup. She looked stunning, as I always thought, compared to me, my fringe was pinned up away from my face, and I had a little concealer, to hide my dark under eye circles (a constant reminder of my lack of sleep) and a dash of mascara. I liked to blend in, and that was my intention with my hair and makeup, plain, invisible.


But that day I wasn’t invisible to everyone. Sitting next to Jess, I looked like a mess compared to her neat outfit and expertly executed makeup. We were early so as we had said goodbye to Luke, Lennie and Tom in the library at break and walked the two minute journey to our classroom in near silence. Therefore we were two of the first few people there. The rest of the class arrived in small groups, all giggling and in their separate clichés. The popular girls, the popular guys, the nerds, and Jess and me, the loners. Then one person arrived on their own, Jess nudged me. I knew who it was instantly. The new boy. The boy who saved me. I looked up to smile at him but instead of feeling grateful like I thought I would, as I caught his eye, I felt a strong surge of hatred, pure and utter hatred. And the Stanger thing was, when he saw me, he looked at me in the same way. Before I could address this he sat down in the only empty seat, the seat at the back, a couple of rows behind Jess and me.


My thoughts were interrupted by my teacher welcoming us back to class ‘I hope you all had a pleasant summer, and I would like to welcome our newest student, Sam Emryss.’ Most of the class craned their necks to get a good look at Sam, including Jess. I, however, avoided his gaze, wondering why I felt such a surge of hatred towards him. I usually pride myself in seeing the best in everyone, never hating or despising anyone. As it is commonly said, I could never hurt a fly. But this felt different, like my very soul loathed every fibre of his being. I couldn’t understand it, why would I despise someone I had never truly met. And above all, why would he despise me?


I tried to avoid Sam for the rest of the day, it worked fine but I couldn’t help my mind wondering to the look he gave me when he saw me. His face contorted and his eyes narrowed his perfect bone structure which was considered a thing of beauty, a main discussion topic around the school for the few weeks to come deformed. He was no longer beautiful when that look passed across his face. ‘Maria?’ Lennie shook me out of my thoughts as she linked arms with me. We were on our way to Costa to get her daily fix of the liquid gold she called coffee.


‘Where you even listening to what I just said?’

‘Ummmm’ I replied guiltily. Lennie rolled her eyes in her trademark way and lifted a perfectly shaped eyebrow. It was the end of my first week back at school so I said I would join her at Costa to get a red berry fruit cooler. I would have got tea but it was weirdly warm for the usual rainy Yorkshire. Contrary to popular belief we don’t all have broad Yorkshire accents in the small town of Ilkley.

‘I was saying how that new guy, Sam is it?’ I nodded as she continued. ‘Just he’s really good looking and mysterious. Tall dark and handsome, just your type right?’ she smiled cheekily at me, as if she new something I didn’t. I nodded again.

‘Yeah he is good looking but I hardly know him. I have never talked to him so.’ I didn’t tell Lennie about the fact that this boy had saved my life, let alone the feeling of hatred that had rushed through me at the mention of his name. How do you explain to someone that you hate a person you have never spoken to? Who saved you? No. it was better to not tell anyone, even Luke. And I told Luke everything, well almost everything. I could never, would never tell him about the power I felt rush through my body as I felt the loathing towards Sam, pure and utter power. 

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