1 Chapter One.

"Bella Winters, do not make me come in there!" My older brother Jedd bangs on my bedroom door which has become a daily routine of his. I cover my exposed face with the warm sheets, sinking back into dreamland.

"Bella!" He warns me through the cracks in the door and I sigh, feeling myself pull deeper away from sleep and merging further into the grim reality of my life. I'm not a morning person . . . At all.

"Leave me alone Jedd!" I murmur sleepily, my voice groggy. I hear him sigh behind the door, his footsteps retreating.

"If you're not up in twenty minutes Bella, I'm breaking down your door!"

"Keep your hair on Grandad, I'm getting up!" I yell in response, throwing my duvet to the side and groaning from the sudden cold that hits my warm sleepy body. I hear Jedd mumble something about difficult teenagers outside my bedroom and I roll my eyes at him. He's twenty, making him three years older than me but acts like the age difference between us is years apart.

I pull down my hair from its ponytail and head to the bathroom, pushing open the door. The strands of my hair cascade down my back, tickling the exposed skin. I rotate my head left and right, relieving the tension from sleeping in one position all night. I reach for my toothbrush, applying some toothpaste before getting to work on my teeth.

My eyes wonder over to the small photo pinned on my bathroom mirror. It's a picture of Jedd, Dad and I taken a few years ago at a summer BBQ. I'm holding a burger in my right hand, Dads arm swung over my shoulders. The smile on my face is the definition of uncomfortable from having my picture taken.

My parents divorced when I was five but truthfully it didn't affect me. My mother and I never seem to get along. She's into dresses, I prefer hoodies. She's into perfect makeup, I like the natural look. She's into long hair extensions and I religiously wear my hair in a ponytail every single day. My mother also loves her heels whereas I love and treasure my converse.

After a quick shower I lazily walk over to my dresser, tugging my hair out of the towel. I begin to blow dry it, glancing in the mirror every so often to make sure I'm getting every strand.

My eyes drift down my nose which is tall, rounded at the end with a button like shape. My lips are slightly fuller and a natural pale pink colour. A few freckles littered across the bridge of my nose and cheeks that I sort of like. I feel uncomfortable. . . out of place when my hair isn't tied in a ponytail. I chew on my bottom lip before grabbing a hair tie and scraping back my hair before securing it in place. Much better. My choice of outfit is pretty much the same every day.

Hoody, denim jeans and good old converse.

It saves time in the morning and most importantly it's the definition of comfort.

What more can a girl possibly want?

I finish off with some deodorant before grabbing my school backpack and heading out the door. I run down the stairs two at a time and hear Jedd's old car rumble to life outside signalling he's ready to go.

"Shoot," I mumble under my breath, bursting through the kitchen door. I dive for the last piece of toast that looks like it's seen better days.

"It'll have to do," I groan, balancing it in my mouth as I sprint down the hallway and outside. I open the passenger door with my free hand, wobbling unsteadily from everything I'm juggling. I slide in, throwing my backpack to the floor beside my feet. Jedd sighs, slapping his palm to his forehead in a dramatic manner.

"Morning sunshine," I say, biting into the toast and grimacing from its texture. I chew slowly, avoiding Jedd's scrutinising glare.

"Bella we have this conversation like every day. You need to start waking up earlier, I can't be late for college anymore." Jedd lectures me, keeping his eyes trained on the road ahead as he begins to drive. I swallow the toast in my mouth, feeling slightly guilty.

"Sorry. I was up late studying for my maths exam today." I tell him truthfully. I crammed hours of revision inside my brain and fingers crossed, it's going to pay off.

"Don't stress about it Bells, you always ace your exams." Jedd responds, boosting my confidence. He's partially right, I'm a straight A student and proud of it. I work my bottom off studying every night after school because I have nothing else to do really.

I'm not exactly what you call a . . . social butterfly.

I distance myself from pretty much everyone in school due to simply being socially awkward. I don't have a single friend. The idea of even keeping up friendships causes me to sweat and worry.

What if I say the wrong thing?

What if they decide they don't like me after all and ditch the friendship?

There are way too many risks with having friendships so I avoid everyone. I'm the person that waits in class a little longer so the hallways are empty before I run to catch my next one.

I'm the person that always sits at the back of the class, avoiding eye contact with the teacher the entire lesson. . . I'm sure 90% of the school don't even know my name, teachers included.

I feel the dread inside of me begin to increase the closer we get. Eventually Jedd slows down, pulling up to our regular spot. He turns towards me, giving me a smile.

"Good luck on the exam, remember to breathe." He tells me before reaching over and ruffling my hair. I groan playfully, swatting his hand away and reaching down for my backpack.

"Thanks, I'll see you after school," I smile at him, stepping out of the car. Before I leave, I narrow my eyes at him, pointing in his direction.

"Stay out of trouble." I warn him. Jedd replies the same way he has done for the past four years. It's a daily habit of ours, a special sibling goodbye.

"I'm an angel, you don't have to worry about me. Bye Bells." He waves at me before driving away. I watch his car descend in size until it's impossible to make out anymore. I sigh and turn in the direction of school, bracing myself for six hours of uncomfortable hell. I observe the front, watching as crowds of students spill inside the doors of Heywood High, laughing and chatting.

It takes me a while but I finally pluck up the courage to make my way towards the building. Just another year to go and I'm out of here. In the meantime . . .

Here goes another lonely day to add to the countless others.

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