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1 BACK TO NORMAL?

 

I awoke with a start to the sound of the alarm on my phone. Ugh. I was still so tired. I remembered having some really bizarre dreams starring a serious hottie. The only problem was I couldn’t remember any specific details about the dream or even what the guy had looked like. I only knew he had been hot… seriously so. I rolled over onto my back trying to recall even the slightest detail but it was just out of reach. Each time I started to form a picture in my mind it simply faded away. I finally gave up, swung my legs over the side of the bed, and caught a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror over Faffy’s tank. Yikes! My hair was a complete disaster. One glance at my phone told me I was already running late so there went any hopes of straightening my hair before school. Strangely enough, I was actually looking forward to school.

“Caiti, hurry up or you’ll be late,” Mom called from the bottom of the stairs.

I reached for my usual outfit consisting of a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes then changed my mind.  I felt like wearing something cute.  Not that there was anyone to impress. Ryan scared off anyone who showed even the slightest interest in me.  I guess everyone has a Ryan at some point in her life.  He’s the kind you go on a couple of dates with and then he decides you are soul mates – completely against your will.

I walked into my closet and sorted through hanger after hanger until I found the perfect shirt. It was almost like it called out to me.  It was a combination of sapphire silk and cream lace, and I paired it with a pair of skinny jeans and cream wedges.  I was really in a weird mood – I absolutely never wore heels to school.  Stairs and heels don’t mix well, and I had to walk a flight of stairs several times a day.  I pulled my bangs into a clip and applied my makeup in various shades of blue.  I took a step back from the mirror and smiled.  The effect was pretty good.  I normally gravitate toward black since it goes with just about everything, but today the blue appealed to me.  Leah, my best friend, would be thrilled.  She was always on my case about adding more color to my wardrobe.

I grabbed my phone and my favorite Vera Bradley backpack and headed down the stairs.  I walked into the kitchen and thumped my little brother on the back of the head while he sat at the island eating French toast sticks.

“Hey Brady, what’s up?” I asked as I passed.

“Ow! What was that for?” He rubbed the back of his head with one hand.

I reached over and gave him a squeeze. “Sorry Bud, I was just messing with you.”

He grinned at me. “S’ok,” he said around a mouthful of his breakfast.

Mom came into the kitchen and grabbed a travel mug off the counter before handing it over to me.

I savored the delicious aroma before taking a big swig. “Ahh. Thanks Mom.”

A good cup of coffee and a hot bubble bath could solve just about any problem I might come across.

Mom chuckled at me and shook her head.  She understood my weaknesses and loved me anyway.

“All right you two get your stuff together and let’s hit the road,” Mom said waving us toward the back door.

NB BCA short time later we were pulling up to the back door of the cafeteria.  Leah was waiting for me like every other day.  Things at Marcus High School were like any average American high school.  We had typical cliques, mediocre cafeteria food, and more than the occasional laugh thrown into the mix.

I stepped out of the car, hitched my backpack over my shoulder, and made my way to Leah’s side.

Her eyes widened as I got closer, “You know you look a lot like my best friend, just more colorful.”

“Har, Har… very funny,” I grimaced.

She gestured to my outfit. “So what gives today?  Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely love the color.  I didn’t even know you owned anything this shade.”

I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know.  I really felt like wearing it.  Quite frankly, I’m not even sure how I found it since it was crammed in the back of the closet.”  I pointed at her, “I could ask you the same thing.  I’ve never seen you wear this color before.”

Leah was wearing a silky fitted t-shirt in a stunning shade of violet. It really complemented her coloring and looked good on her.

“I know right? It was the strangest thing. I had the most bizarre dreams. I mean it wasn’t just that I had weird dreams; it’s the fact that I can’t remember any specific details. I know there was a super-hot guy, but as soon as I woke up, I couldn’t even tell you the color of his hair.”

I grabbed her hand, “Ohmigod.  I had the same thing.  Every time I start to remember something, it disappears just as fast.”

Leah’s eyebrows drew together, “That is way too freaky.”

The bell rang signaling our first class, and we rushed to first period to avoid being late.        I was still thinking about the irony of us both having mysterious dreams when I plopped into my chair in geometry.

“Well… well… well.  So nice of you to finally join the ranks of the semi-decently dressed,” Tami said with narrowed eyes and her lips curled up in a sneer.

I felt everyone turn to face us to see what my reaction would be. The fuse on my temper burned hot and fast. I was momentarily distracted when the classroom lights flickered wildly. Narrowing my eyes at Tami, a wicked smile crept across my face. She had finally pushed me to the brink.

“I really pity you. You are so pathetic,” I said with a laugh.

A collective gasp went up around the room while Tami stared at me in disbelief.

“What did you just say?” she demanded.

I laid my pencil down on my desk. “Here, let me say it again, and I’ll say it slowly this time so even you can follow along.”  Snickering came from somewhere behind me and I fought back a smile before continuing, “It’s pathetic you make snide comments and treat people like crap in order to make yourself feel good. It’s pretty freaking sad, if you ask me.”

Her face turned an unflattering blotchy red and then purple. “Exactly who do you think you are talking to? You are a nobody, and I am surrounded by tons of people. Now who is pathetic?” she waved her hand dismissively in my general direction.

I tilted my head and looked at her with my eyebrows drawn together. “You just don’t get it, do you? I surround myself with people I know I can trust and who love me for who I am. You, on the other hand, surround yourself with anyone who will tell you how good you look or agree with every word you say. My friends don’t talk about me behind my back – can you say the same?”

She looked at me with her mouth hanging open.

I smiled knowingly. “That’s what I thought. Now who is the pathetic one?” I shrugged my shoulders and turned around in my desk.

“Caiti,” a voice came from my left.

I turned and found myself face-to-face with Matt. I had known him since pre-school, and we always managed to have one or two classes together over the years. He was fairly quiet but had a great smile. Right now his smile was in danger of splitting his face in half. He gave me a high five, “Thank you.  Nicely handled, Caitlin. It’s about time someone did that.”

I snickered, “Sorry, I just snapped. Normally it’s just not worth the grief she doles out later.”

He continued to grin “All I can say is ‘well done.’”

Tami persisted in grinding her teeth with her face remaining a mottled purple while Mr. Von started class. I simply didn’t care enough about her opinion to give her another thought. Frustration emanated from her for the duration of class and that made me smile – right up until the bell rang.

Tami grabbed her things and stormed out of class.

As usual Leah was waiting for me outside class while people filed out of geometry – some of them patting me on the back and congratulating me.

Leah’s eyebrows rose in confusion. “Did I miss something?” she asked.

“Nah, not really.”

“She’s being way too modest,” Matt said shaking his head.

Now he definitely had Leah’s full attention.             Leah stomped her foot. “Ok, out with it, what happened?”

Matt leaned closer to Leah and proceeded to fill her in.

I searched up and down the hallway. What the hell was I doing? Who or what did I expect to see? It reminded me of one of those memory tests from elementary school. You had a certain amount of time to look at a photo and then it would be taken away, and you had to see what was missing in the new photo. It was incredibly frustrating. It must have something to do with the fact that I was unable to recall any details from that stupid dream.

“Caitlin,” Leah smacked me on the shoulder.

“What?”

“You freak.  Did you really say that to Tami?”

I looked at the ceiling and drew a line on the linoleum with the toe of my shoe, “Maybe.”

She burst out laughing. What has gotten into you today?  First with the cute outfit and then you tear Tami a new one – what’s the story?”

I toyed with my necklace. “Let’s just say, I woke up this morning with a whole new perspective on life.  Tami’s usual crap just seemed so juvenile and incredibly stupid today.”

Leah snorted. “Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond proud of you. She’s had that coming for years. I just never thought you would be the one to do it.”

I bowed at the waist. “Thank you, thank you.  I’ll be here all week.  Don’t forget to tip your waitress.”

Leah and Matt dissolved into laughter and clung to each other for support.

I grabbed them both by the elbow. “Come on you freaks, before we’re late to second period.”

Matt shot us a grin over his shoulder and headed up the stairs to his next class.

Leah and I continued on to the commons. As we passed by, we noticed several people whispering. Those who weren’t whispering were boldly walking up and giving us a high-five.

“Who was that?” Leah asked after the last in a string of strange guys walked by.

I don’t mean they were strange, just that I didn’t know them.

“I have absolutely no idea.” I was suddenly struck with a vision of Leah and me on a beach somewhere tropical surrounded by hot guys. I shook my head to clear my thoughts. That was totally bizarre. I mean we had been to Maui the summer before, but I certainly know I would have remembered a crowd like that. I looked at Leah’s stunned expression. Oh yeah. If I hadn’t remembered, Leah definitely would have been all over that.

Leah’s eyebrows drew together creating wrinkles in her forehead. “This may sound really stupid, but I have the strangest sense of déjà vu, like this has all happened before,” she tilted her head to one side. “Do you know what I mean?”

“Totally. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but all this attention is making me a little nervous.  I can’t say that I really like it.”

Leah fidgeted with her hair and shuffled her feet while she scanned the hall nervously, like she expected someone to jump out at her. “I know what you mean. They are all behaving like paparazzi. Since when did we become so fascinating?” She giggled. “Maybe you should have done this years ago?”

I snorted, “Yeah ‘cause you know how much I love to be the center of attention. Ugh!”

She smacked me on one shoulder before heading off to chemistry. “Oh, Caiti, just go with it for once.”

Somehow I thought I had heard that somewhere before.  I grunted and headed off to World Geography.

 

 

Available for purchase via the following retailers:

Amazon   BN

 

 

Synopsis:

What happens when the extraordinary fades into ordinary?

Caitlin awakens to find herself back in the normal life she shares with her best friend, Leah, in their small Texas town. Caitlin has no memory of the fantastic events of the last several months save a mystery man who haunts the shadows of her dreams. Constantly taken aback by strange occurrences: the sudden attention of the two most popular guys in school; Caitlin’s toe-to-toe showdown with Tami; and the constant coincidental run-ins with two mysterious strangers, keeps Caitlin’s nerves raw and on edge. Will she solve the mystery behind the strange events, or will the dreams be all that remains?

 

 

 

SA PictureAbout The Author:

Stephanie Amox attended the University of Texas at Arlington, where she met her husband. Her life did an about-face in January 2009 and the future of her career looked bleak. Her husband encouraged her to follow her dream and finally write the story which had been buzzing around in her head for a number of years, thus The Lumina Saga was born.

These days she spends her time in Flower Mound, Texas with her husband, two children and a couple of crazy Jack Russell Terriers. When she’s not writing she enjoys spending time watching her son play hockey or visiting her daughter at Oklahoma State University.

 

 

Connect With Her Online:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/painfullyordin
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PainfullyOrdinary
GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9781300-painfully-ordinary

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