Shattered - By Sophia Sharp

Chapter One

~An Ordinary Life~

Laura Cubus lived an ordinary life, in a very ordinary school.

She went to a public high school in Vancouver, Washington, located the outskirts of nearby Portland. She had been in one place her whole life, and couldn’t imagine what it would be like having to move around while growing up. She knew every nook and cranny of the town she lived in, and wouldn’t have preferred it any other way.

She felt stable at her school. She felt normal. Nothing particularly exciting ever happened where she lived, and if that sometimes made things dull, so be it. There was nothing to complain about – but nothing to write home about either.

In fact, sometimes she found herself feeling bad for those people she’d read about in stories or see in movies – the kind who always founds themselves on the move, in a new environment, a new place, and always struggling to fit in.

Laura fit in at her school. She had a good group of friends who she had grown up with and loved with all her heart. At home, she had a happily married mother and father, a well-behaved younger sister, and one large, rather bulky dog.

She never felt herself to be one of those people destined for greatness; and by all indications that life had given her, neither did anyone else. While she wouldn’t consider herself beautiful by any stretch, she had been called pretty often enough in her 17 years of existence. She was pretty, but not spectacular. More or less like every other girl going to school with her.

If it all seemed a little bit ordinary, so what? She had fun with her friends, did well in school, and – as she knew all too well – everybody around here lived the same way.

In fact, she considered her life to be nearly perfect. Sure, it was a cookie-cutter kind of perfect, but it was hers. Now, if she could only get Brady Shell to look at her twice…

That was her biggest problem, and by far the most pressing. That Brady Shell didn’t seem to know she existed.

Brady – of course – was the typical all-American high school heartbreaker. A star on her school’s lackluster football team, Brady had golden flowing locks that Laura had fallen in love with the first time she saw them. Eyes as radiant as emeralds graced his face, and he had an easy smile whenever he was talking to someone he liked. The problem was, he was never talking to her.

Laura has been completely and hopelessly infatuated with him ever since entering high school. Back then, he was the shy kid sitting at the back of the class, the one who got picked on for being too small, for having hair too long. Back then, she had been his only friend. They sat together that year in English class, and Laura’s heart would start pounding every time he came near. And she was sure he felt something for her, back then. But, in their youthful innocence, neither had the courage to do anything about it.

That all faded the following year, when Brady came back to school tall, fit, and muscular. He had hit an unexpected growth spurt, and suddenly the same boy who was being picked on before transformed into the most popular guy in school. His athletic abilities developed just as much, and the same guys who were picking on him before became his best friends and teammates. And he became the jewel of every girl’s eye.

Laura thought she had some advantage, at first, for having known him before the summer transformation. But she learned it afforded her little in the way of standing out. Now, three years later, she was just one in a legion of adoring Brady Shell fans.

Which was why, at the start of spring semester in her junior year, she resolved to win back Brady’s attention.

But, on only the second day of the term, an unexpected turn of events forced her to postpone her plans.

A buzz had built among her classmates, as word spread that a new student would be transferring to their school next week.

It certainly wasn’t anything she expected. Her class hadn’t had a newcomer since the eighth grade, when preppy Joanne Stark enrolled for a few weeks before her parents pulled her out to place her in a private school. She had left as quickly as she came, yet people still remembered her brief stay. Which was to say, a new student was a