Breathe chapter 1

Breathe chapter 1

A Chapter by LunalitSol


"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us, cats look down on us, pigs treat us as equals."
                 ----Winston Churchill

Chapter 1: Skipping Stones


1.Ariana:

   Sunlight cut through the smog ridden skies as Ariana glanced through the window.  She sighed and flipped her long blond ponytail over her shoulder, biting her lip nervously. Her dad still hadn’t come back from work, and he was her ride to school. There was no way she was missing the first day of school again. He’d promised sophomore year would be different. She brought her fists up to her eyes and rubbed furiously, yawning. "C’mon dad," she muttered to the fogged glass. "Come on. Please."

    Talking to yourself, never a good sign. She rubbed her fingers over her temples and squeezed her eyes shut. 'Fantastic'. A loud slam drew her attention to the window once more and she breathed a sigh of relief as she caught sight of her father’s tall, thin frame and windblown blond hair. She smiled thankfully and hurried towards Ashton, where he was playing with a ring of plastic colored keys. "Come on honey," she cooed, lifting him into her arms. 

   "Ariana?"

   "In here, dad," she called back.

    He entered the living room looking worn out as usual. Thin blond hair dusted over sparkling blue eyes, same as hers, just a bit darker. He was scruffy looking and hunched over, with thin pink lips and a wide nose. She smiled.

   "We going?"

     "Sure thing munchkin. You sure you have everything?"

     Ariana rolled her eyes and hitched up her little brother on her hips. A chubby hand pulled at her and she laughed slightly. "Course I do dad. You took forever..." Her tone became slightly accusing on the last part and he shrugged apologetically. 

    "Aywi". Ashton mumbled tugging at her neckline. She laughed again and ruffled his feather soft blonde hair affectionately. "That’s my name kid. Don’t wear it out." She laid a soft kiss on his forehead and started towards the door. "Yeah. Let’s go."

  
    Ariana climbed into the back seat with Ashton and his car seat with one last, lingering thought: ‘Sophomore year...God help me....’

2.Lucas:

    "I SAID GET UP!"

    Lucas bolted up and immediately proceeded to crash from his bed to the floor with a loud thump and a stifled yelp. The usual first day of school routine...actually it was more like any day of school routine...but whatever. He groaned and dragged himself up, bringing his hand up to his mouth and sucking on the fingers that had attempted to cushion his landing. 

    "I SAID-"

   "I’m up! I’m up! I swear mom! I am!"

    "If you’re not out here in fifteen minutes you can walk! And no dinner!"

   Lucas grimaced. He just had to be a heavy sleeper. He’d missed both lunch and dinner yesterday as well, so losing those privileges today would be a very bad thing. Thank God for school lunch....

    "LUCAS!"

    "Yes mom!"
   
   He threw off his old boxers and grabbed a clean pair from the basket, then grabbed his favorite worn-out blue jeans and dragged them on, before groping at his closet and eventually yanking on a faded blue shirt with a picture of a box on it, with a cat’s tail popping out, declaring "Stop reading this shirt or I’ll make you the new Schrodinger’s cat. Seriously."  

   He dove from his room into the bathroom, raking a comb through his hair with one hand, whilst the other turned on the faucet and grabbed his toothbrush. Lucas threw the comb down and squeezed some Colgate onto his brush’s bristles. 

    "LUCAS!"

   He sighed, swiping the toothbrush over his teeth a final time for good measure, spit, and bellowed back, "On my way mom! I swear!"

   Sophomore year. He was so not ready for this. Lucas tugged at the sleeves of his t-shirt nervously, then settled for grabbing a jacket. Just to be safe... He slid his phone into his pocket and fiddled with his key ring for a moment, trying to ignore that anxious, need-to-keep-busy-and-moving feeling that was settling over him like a suffocating pillow. He took a deep breath.

   The bedroom door opened and his mom emerged, hair in disarray and wearing just a tank top and short shorts. Crap. He suppressed the urge to comment on her far-too-casual-for-public choice of appearance, not in the mood to deal with the consequences.  

   His mom was anorexic skinny and tall, tall, tall, with thin brown hair and a sharp look to her ice blue eyes. She had eye shadow smeared on each eyelid and vibrant blood-red lipstick coloring her mouth. 
   
    "You’re finally ready?" Her voice was rough and annoyed. He chewed on the inside of his cheek.

    "Yeah."

     "Well then?" 

    Lucas grabbed his binder and went for the door quickly, diving out and sprinting towards the car. His mom took her sweet time following him and glowered as she finally slid in. She placed the key in the ignition, then turned to him, eyes narrowed, and said witheringly, "What was that Lucas?" 

    Lucas swallowed hard and said, voice strained, "Sorry Mom. I just don’t wanna be late...y’know...first day and all that....sorry...." 

    She fixed him with one of her looks and said softly, "I’ll deal with you later.", before putting the car in reverse and backing out.

3.Beth:

   The chord hit the air with a striking resonance. Beth smirked as she drew her bow over the strings of her cello in a single precise, determined movement. The angle of her elbow in relation to her cello and her instrument’s perfect tilt formed planes of absolute sequent... 

"Beth!"

   Beth sighed at her sister’s obnoxious voice. 

   "What is it Bella?"

   Isabella walked in, running a brush through her thick, sprawling red hair. Her light blue eyes were outlined in shimmery gold and she was wearing a thin black tank top with tight blue skinny jeans. Her red bra showed a bit through the slightly sheer fabric of her tank. 

   "Do I look OK?"

   Beth rolled her eyes. She was not serious...

   "Do I look like I care?" she asked acidly. 

    Bella scowled and placed her hands on her hips, her gaze turning furious.

    "Do you always have to be such a b***h?"

     Beth looked menacingly up at her then drew her bow over her cello’s upper strings roughly, relishing in the screech of the shrill note and the sound of her sister’s steps as she stormed away.  Freshman. What a baby.

   Beth sighed and glanced at her watch. It was 7:23; in other words, time to go. She tucked her cello and bow into her case and grabbed her bag from the floor. As she was heading out, Bella grabbed hold of her elbow. 

    "You’re still taking me."

    Beth nodded, scowling, and jerked her arm from her sister’s grasp. 

      "Whatever," she muttered.

   Beth climbed into her dark-purple Pontiac with a sigh of pleasure. This car was the second love of her life, the first, of course, being her cello (although some days she just  wasn’t sure anymore). She placed her bag on the seat beside her, motioning, at her sister’s glare, for Bella to climb in the back. Bella hmph-ed truculently from the back as she settled in her seat, pulling on a short-sleeved jacket as she went, and Beth rolled her eyes. 

       "Shut it, fish."

       "You first, your highness," Bella shot back.

   Beth smirked malevolently as she started the car. 

   "Don’t forget, Iz, while you’re in my car, your life is in my hands. All I have to do is                                         ever so casually go into reverse and hit the gas just a smidge too hard, maybe ram into that huge oak tree and it’s bye-bye Izzy, at least for a little while.'

    Isabella’s mouth hung open for a moment, before snapping shut with a very audible click. She scowled darkly at Beth, then sat primly upright and began applying strawberry lip-gloss. Beth chuckled quietly and pulled out from the driveway and began down the street, still snickering softly every now and then, until finally she and Bella reached the student parking lot and emerged from Beth’s Pontiac, eyes fixed on the redbrick building looming stoically in the distance.

4.Blake:

   "--The morning comes, I’ll forget about our life. I feel so much better now that you’re gone forever, Tell myself that I don’t miss you at all. I’m not lying, denying that I feel so much better, now that you’re Gone Forever. First time you--"

     Blake rolled over and slammed his hand repeatedly on the volume button, grumbling angrily to himself. Holy crap was that loud! He groaned as the sound of his sisters’ voices whining about--what else-- his choice of an alarm and it’s timing assaulted his ears. Again. He pressed a huge yawn into his pillow and stretched out, groaning. He was so tired....maybe he’d just do his first day tomorrow...

   "Blake! Mom said get up or no pancakes!" Daniela shrieked from beside him. He tore up. 
  
    "S**t Danni! Do ya have to be so loud?"

    Daniela peered at him from behind her thick lenses, brushing back a strand of the platinum blonde hair characteristic of everyone in his family, excluding him. 

    "What’d you expect? A holy choir? You know I’m loud," she reminded him easily, hands automatically going to his bedside table and organizing things absentmindedly. He sighed, resisting the urge to yell at her.

    "Yeah well...Hey...did you say pancakes?"

    Danni grinned up at him. 

    "I was waiting for you to catch that! Yeah mom made a bunch! And they’re chocolate chip!"

    He immediately jumped up and slammed his head on the bed above him. {Yes he still had bunk beds....}Blake stumbled from the bed, rubbing grumpily at his head. 

     "That hurt," he muttered irritably. Danni sighed.

    "Blake. Focus. Pancakes?"

     He nodded and raced towards the kitchen, his little sister hot on his heels. 

      The chocolate chips were melt in your mouth and the pancakes had that whole perfect fluff thing going on. All Blake could do as he made his way to his 18 year old sister, Sarah’s, car was thank God that he had a baker for a mom and a chef for a dad, as well as three sisters with cooking talent. He, too, had received the cooking gene, however his talent for being ridiculously lazy at home tended to negate it.


   The ride to school was uneventful. His sixteen year old sister (seventeen in five months, she frequently reminded them), Christina, was taking her own car. Ashley had gone to college this year so she was no longer there to drive everyone insane with her permanently anxious air and frantic studying every ten seconds (she was now majoring in neuroscience at Harvard University, go figure). This left just him, Daniela, and, of course, Sarah (whose powder blue with random rainbows paint job never failed to draw attention. She was an actress-type though so it was expected.) Sarah had just turned eighteen two days ago and so, as the oldest child still in school, Sarah had been deemed the responsible one in Ashley’s stead and was officially in charge.

   Once they dropped off a moping Daniela, they headed for the high school. Blake glanced over his schedule, mentally listing all the people he knew who would be in that class. First period he had geometry pre-ap, which was awesome since math was definitely his best subject AND three of his best friends (Mathew Garza, Tyler Weslips, and Parker Addsin), as well as his girlfriend, Haley Knowles, were in it

   Blake weaved through the halls eyeing faces as they passed him. He recognized most of them, every now and then pausing to exchange the usual, stilted "so how was your summer" chat with a few acquaintances and exclamations and hugs with friends. Finally he caught sight of Haley lounging on one of the outdoor tables with her girlfriends and a few guys, including Matt, Tyler, and Parker. He made his way towards the table, smirking. 
   
    "Guess who," he sang into his girlfriend’s ear, hands folded over her eyes. 

    Haley laughed softly. 

     "No need to guess," she replied, taking his hands from her eyes and turning to kiss him soundly on the lips. 

     Blake grinned and plopped onto the bench  beside her. 

  "Yo man," Tyler said from across the table, his arm looped around his own girlfriend, Kylie Marshall, who smiled at him and waved slightly.

   "’Sup. Hey Matt. Dude, Parker, you ready for this?"

    Matt rolled his eyes and ran a hand through his short dark hair, shooting a look at Parker.

    "Ready for what?"

     "I’m gonna kill you in track this year, that’s what."

     "You don’t have a chance," Parker laughed. 

Kylie’s best friend, Amy Carter, chuckled from the side. 

   "I’m gonna kick both your asses."

  Blake sighed inwardly. He had no doubt she would at least a few times this year. Amy was a fantastic runner, whatever else she did. It was as if she was made for that sole purpose. She had long shapely legs that worked perfectly for it and she had shoulder length brown hair cut up in this strange pixie-esque style that  suited her just right and fell perfectly into her aqua-green eyes. Guys were after her nonstop, which definitely made for some fun times, as she almost always turned them down in the best ways. Amy had some high standards. 

   "I’ve gotten better," Parker said firmly. "I’m going to beat you this year Ames."
  
    "Not in your dreams, Park. Besides, you look like you’ve gained some extra weight."

    The group snickered slightly at this. Parker was definitely one of the best runners and  typically in great shape. However, after a bad injury toward the end of freshman year, he had been ordered by the doctor not to do any running until he went back to school, so Parker wasn’t in as great of shape at the moment as he had been. Parker’s face reddened slightly, but he laughed a bit as well.

    "Yeah I know. I’m just a fatty."

    Tara Vance, from the volleyball team, sighed loudly. 

     "Seriously Park. You need to tone up again." He laughed and grabbed her side, making her squeak loudly. 

    "Shut up."

5. Kiwi:

 Vibrant crimson splattered the crisp white, closely followed by drips of midnight blue and splotches of lime green with veins of brilliant yellow. Kiwi eyed the vibrant blast of rainbow bursting from the blinding white of her canvas critically, then extended her fingers absentmindedly towards her paints and flicked some black into the color. It dripped down, spidering out through the lively shades and she smiled slightly, dabbing a sponge onto the center of the brightest parts and twisting dark grey onto them, watching as it formed into a sort of hourglass-shaped black hole surrounded by pulsating brilliance. 

   She frowned at the painting a moment before slapping her hands into some red paint and then throwing them onto the very middle, where it was darkest, as hard as she could, and preceding to trail them lightly down into the color. She exhaled deeply and grabbed a red sharpie from the shelf, scrawling her name ornately at the bottom. 

       KIWI HANSON - an Original

   She sighed deeply. It was done. ‘And just in time too,’ Kiwi thought as the first bell ground it’s way from the school’s old intercom.  She groaned slightly and tugged off her painting apron. The school art teacher, Ramona Watts, danced in and smiled at Kiwi. 

     "You better hurry Kiwi. You don’t want to be late."

      "It was only the first bell," Kiwi scoffed, attempting to clean up her paints.

   Ms.Watts rolled her eyes and grabbed Kiwi’s arm.

      "Nope. No more. Get out of here, and I don’t wanna see you again until lunch. I’ll take care of it. And don’t worry about that painting. It’s staying right where it is, and I swear no one will come within so much as a foot of it, with the exception of you and me. Now get out of here. Scat, scat!'

  Kiwi bit her lip, but grabbed her things and headed for the bustling halls, albeit reluctantly. Just as she’d left the room she found herself being pushed back into it as a very hassled looking Colby Spencer rushed into the door, and, of course, into her. She winced as her back slammed into a table and Colby winced with her, having promptly toppled to the floor and dropped all his books and binders. 

     "Ohh...Look I’m really sorry. Really, really sorry! That was a total accident. Crap. Are you okay???" Colby panted out as he pulled himself to his feet. 
    
    Kiwi nodded briskly, raking her fingers shakily through her shoulder length glossy black hair.
    
      "I’m fine."

      "You sure? Ummm-"

       "It’s Kiwi. And yes I’m sure. Now if you’ll excuse me," she squirmed under the smolder of his light grey eyes and the waves of black  that added a tone of mystique to his blazing persona....She shook her head dazedly and jerked up her bag. 

      "Bye," she said sharply. 

     She brushed past him into the still-crowded hallway, feeling his eyes burning into her back. 

    First period history could not be any more boring. Kiwi’s fingers itched for the feel of her brushes and the wetness of paint the entire time. Even attempting to pay attention to the usual read-through of class guidelines was pretty much out of the question, seeing as she found herself sketching grey, almond-shaped eyes into her notebook absentmindedly, and then having to scratch them out when she realized what she was doing, only to end up drawing them all over again. It was ridiculous and annoying and she found herself wildly frustrated, not to mention completely distracted, by the time the bell finally rang for the end of class.

    Of course, she shouldn’t have been so happy. It had just been asking for trouble. Plus she should have known that second period chemistry pre-AP would be even worse. Her hopes of being seated with, or at least close to, her best friend Lucas, were quickly dashed when the teacher chose to organize them by shirt color and correlation of that color to the rainbow, also called the visible light spectrum and ROY G. BIV, as the teacher reminded them ever so brightly. She was definitely new to this, one of those twenty-something idealists who thought they could make learning fun and get a bunch of kids to worship a subject that wasn’t really all that spectacular to anyone else. Except for when you were blowing stuff up, of course.

    Anyway, she was wearing a yellow v-neck with blue jeans and a light blue jacket, whereas Lucas was wearing his stupid dark blue Schrödinger’s cat  shirt with a black jacket. Bright yellow and dark blue ended up being put pretty far from each other, effectively crushing all hope of a fun class as she was surrounded by people like Loren Collins, Haley Knowles, Kara Plat, and some strange new girl named Jennifer Faye who was wearing a light green shirt that somehow ended up being the closest to hers in terms of ROY G. BIV. 

    The getting to know everyone game inevitably emerged after the overly exuberant teacher skimmed the guidelines with them for a few minutes before declaring that it was "nothing they didn’t already know" and it wasn’t like they couldn’t "just read it for themselves should they feel the need" , so it was "time for the fun to start." Kiwi had prayed to Zeus that this would mean something along the lines of free period, but instead she’d merely received another one of those papers with a list of traits, talents, hobbies, etcetera, and blanks for people’s names . The teacher shouted "GO!" (as if it was some sort of thrilling game, just because she’d pulled out some tootsie rolls for the people that completed the list the quickest) and Kiwi immediately stood, grabbed Lucas’s arm, and dragging him to an unpopulated corner of the room. 

      "Here. We’ve never met before, remember? Sign it," she told him. Lucas smirked and brandished his own paper at her, which she took with a sigh. 

        "Hmmm...shall I not only be a total stranger, but also speak at least four different languages and have been to at least two countries other than the U.S.?" Lucas asked amusedly.

    Kiwi nodded, making to do the same on his.

    "Make sure your aliases work this time though Luke. Remember last time you signed Loren’s name on mine incorrectly and made me look like some sort of freak in front of the whole class. I swear that was why the teacher hated me."

    "No," he corrected easily, "She hated you because you refused to listen to her rules and constantly contradicted everything she said, not to mention calling her an Art groupie and charcoal-w***e under your breath."

     "She was a crappy teacher," Kiwi reasoned, signing Stacey Farber’s name with a flourish, and adding Jake Epstein’s for good measure. 
     
    He rolled his eyes. 

     "You say all art teachers are crappy teachers."

      "Not true! I adore Ms.Watts!"

       He laughed.

       "Yeah, now! You hated her the first month last year, when she kept trying to get you to be organized and listen to instructions. Then she gave up and just let you do your thing, as long as you didn’t ruin the whole class, and you were happy as a clam."

     Kiwi crossed her arms.

       "Details, details. Does it really matter? Anyway, I’d like to congratulate you on your fifth consecutive year wearing the same exact thing to the first day of school. Does it feel good to know you are that painfully predictable?"

     Lucas stuck his tongue out at her. 

       "Stuff it," he said pointedly.

      She shoved him playfully, and watched as he grimaced, a flash of pain stealing over his features

     "Lucas?" she asked carefully.

      He sighed.

     "I fell down some stairs yesterday," he informed her, face a mixture of annoyance and stony defiance.

      She nodded. "Whatever you say Lucas."

   "F**k you, Ki."

  She smiled sweetly at him as the bell rang, before slapping him on the shoulder, grabbing her things, and rushing towards English, his quiet gasp reverberating dully in her ears.  

6. Lucas:

    Lucas made his way towards his own English class, on the opposite side of campus, ears buzzing. 

    Resentment seared through him, the only clear thing in the fog of his mind. He kept his chin out and head high, his face expressionless except for a small, humorless smile. He’d show her. He’d show everyone. He was different, he screwed things up, yeah, yeah. He’d heard it all. But one day he’d be something, he had to be, and they’d all see. They’d all love him. And Ki might stop being such a b***h. And such a success. He would win and she would lose and she’d see that for all his bad fashion and lack of anything resembling true talent, and eccentricities, he was no failure. He couldn’t be. He refused. He wouldn’t let them win.

    The warning bell rang, and he quickened his pace. He was so not going to be late on the first day. He looked desperately at the class numbers around him. Where the hell was his class?? The bell rang again just as his eyes found it and he groaned loudly, dashing for the room.

    Everyone stared at him as he entered the class and he flashed the room at wide a dazzling grin before slinking to an empty seat in the back. He could feel their thoughts flying at him. ‘What a freak’ they were thinking. ‘Weirdo.’ 

    He’d show them all. Someday.

7. Alyssa:

     Maria was breaking up with Travis today, as if the whole first day of freshman year thing weren’t enough to deal with. Maria said it was the start of their new life as high-school hotties, and so they needed to drop all their old  baby stuff. Make a new identity, a new life. They were all grown up now and she needed to move on from the past. Personally Alyssa thought that was a load of bullshit. And a very bitchy move on Maria’s part, especially since she’d promised when she decided to ask out Alyssa’s best friend since forever that she wasn’t going to do anything mean that might ruin things for Alyssa. Which, of course, she was doing now. Maria didn’t often keep promises. Alyssa would know. It just sucked that this time she’d probably be losing Alyssa an amazing and extremely important friendship in the process. The best part was that Alyssa would have to side with her sister. Twins stuck together, after all.

   She tapped her pencil on her desk impatiently. She wanted to get out of here. Travis had been trying to talk to her all period and feigning ignorance was becoming very difficult. Only the first day of school, and already the drama was on overload. It was horrible. This was what maturing, growing up, looked like? Yeah sure, and she was secretly Orlando Bloom and the supreme master of tacos. F**k.

     The bell rang. At last. Before she could even stand to execute her quick getaway, Travis was there. F**k again.

     "Travis," she stated dumbly.

     "Yeah..." he gave her an odd look. "Why are you ignoring me?"

     Alyssa ran her fingers though her hair nervously, avoiding his warm brown eyes. 

     "Look, it’s nothing. I gotta go...Lunch y’know. Maria’s waiting for you."

     He stopped her. "Is this about Maria?" his eyebrows were drawn up and he looked both surprised and amused. 

     She groaned. "Don’t do this Travis. Not right now."

     "Do what?" Now he was genuinely bewildered. "Are you PMS-ing or something?"
        
      "No!" she exclaimed, fury washing over her. At what, she wasn’t quite sure. 

      "Are you sure?" he asked, the corners of his mouth twitching upwards as he fought a smile,

      "Yes I’m sure! Gosh, just shut up Travis. Please. Just shut up. Look I have to go."

      "What did I do?" he asked incredulously.

      "Nothing," she told him roughly.

      She shoved her way past him, trying to ignore the guilt boiling it’s way through her gut. It was necessary. She was not going to deal with the awkwardness and not going to deal with his hurt and the accusations. How the hell was it only the first day of freshman year? She felt old.

      Alyssa moved into the cafeteria and allowed herself to be lost in the crowd. It was all for the best.

  8.Parker:

  "You going to eat all of that, man?" 

   Parker scowled slightly, before forcing a tight-lipped smile. 

    "Nah, man. You take it."

    Peter, Kylie, Amy, Tara, Matt, Mike, Haley, Tyler, Abigail, Loren, and Blake all gasped and he suppressed the urge to glare at them. 

    "Seriously?" Pete asked, gleefully.

    "Yeah. Is that so hard to believe?"

     A chorus of "yeah"s and "duh"s and "yup"s filled his ears. He closed his eyes. Was he seriously that out of shape? 
 
    "I had a huge breakfast, so I’m not that hungry."

   Peter shrugged. 

      "Whatever." 

    He grabbed Parker’s lunch tray and immediately began stuffing his face, while Amy looked amusedly at him. 

     "A big breakfast’s what’s stopping you? Wow Parker. I’m stunned." 

     Parker forced a laugh. 

     "I know. It’s shocking isn’t it?"

     Everyone laughed. 

      "Mmmmhmmm. You bet. Fatty boy, like you." She poked him in the stomach and giggled.

         "It jiggles," she pronounced, cracking up.

   The word "Fatty" rang in his ears.
     
       "Speaking of fatty,"  Loren cut in when the laughter had died down, "Did you see Casey McClure today? Can anyone say baby bump?"

        Kylie laughed. "I know right?! What a s**t."

      "It’s disgusting," Loren said earnestly.
 
"I bet she aborts it. She’s going to hell for sure."

 "Better pray for her," Tara snickered.

  "As if," Loren said, taking a bite of cheesy broccoli. "I’m not wasting a single prayer on that w***e. Jesus can’t help her anymore, anyhow. Besides, it’s not up to me to help her. Let her get fat."

    When he got home, he was working out. End of story. He’d go the whole ten miles. Parker smiled. He’d be back at the top soon, better than ever. Fatty. ‘My a*s’ he thought. ‘They won’t be saying that anymore. I’ll show them’ 

    Parker stood and grabbed his stuff, absentmindedly making a comment about needing to find his sister and find out how her first day was going, and walked out the door, past the light of the dying Summer’s sun and into the shadows of the track, where he began to run as fast as he possibly could. He sped into the fading light, leaving all his thoughts behind in the dust.



© 2010 LunalitSol


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Added on October 9, 2010
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LunalitSol
LunalitSol

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Now a twenty-something mom, wife, employee, and student- still chasing that same dream. Still a writer from the inside out. more..

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