Chapter 3

“Mom, I’m home!” I hung up my jacket and proceeded into the house. I passed the office where the door was fastened shut. I closed my mouth before I could yell out again; apparently Mom had been on another one of her writing spurts. I could just picture her at her desk, writing furiously with her black pen, sheets of paper pilling up beside her. Guess that meant I was going to make dinner for myself that night.
Throwing myself onto our couch, I lay there for awhile just thinking about nothing in particular, and then my phone vibrated. Picking it up, I looked at the message and automatically smiled. It was this guy I had met through an online school project. I had never met him in real life, but I knew he went to our school. I just called him Charming, because he definitely was charming. He called me Ams because I had given him my first, middle, and last initials: Amberlin Meria Scartic. Lucky for me there were a ton of A.S.’s in the school year book, so I didn’t have to worry about him finding out who I was until I was ready. I was worried about what he would think when he found out I was a Key’d. Our text went like this:

Charming: Hey Ams, I’ve been thinking about what you said about people not being real. I hope you feel I have been real through our conversations…
Amberlin (Me): I believe you have Charming. Sometimes I’m just afraid of people finding out who I am.
C: You shouldn’t be. You are amazing.
A: How do you know if we’ve never even met?
C: I don’t know. I can just feel it. But I do want to meet you. Please, I’m dying to know.
A: You don’t really want to meet me. I think once you know who I am, you’ll never want to talk again and I’ll miss our conversations…
C: Are you going to the masquerade dance being held by the Bio-health class? We should meet there. How about 9 o’ clock in the garden?
A: I don’t know…
C: Well, I’ll be there waiting for you, whether you come or not.
To that I didn’t reply. What was I going to do? I couldn’t disappoint him by not going, but what if I did and he found out I was a nobody? What if he’s expecting Cinderella and getting her ugly, unknown stepsister? But worse, what if he doesn’t care and likes me? Then, I’d have to worry about the drama and the rumors and dates and more dances… I gave myself a headache going over everything and once my over-imaginative brain ran out of how it could go terribly wrong, I glanced at the clock. Seeing as it was 11 o’ clock I decided to go to bed. Stumbling up the carpeted stairs, I trudged down the hallway with my backpack in tow until I reached my room at the end of the hall. Pushing open the door, I immediately headed for my bed, throwing my backpack next to the door. I threw myself upon my bed and felt a breeze wash over my body. Turning my head to the side, I realized my French doors to my balcony were open. Sliding off the bed, I walked over to the doors and was about to push them shut when a bright light shone through the glass. Peering through the door, I noticed the moon was full and there was not a cloud in the sky. Deciding to take advantage of the beautiful night, I headed out to the balcony with a blanket and some pillows. I had a mattress out there, so I just put the pillows and blanket on the bed and turned over to lie on my back. I had been there for quite awhile and I felt myself slowing drifting to sleep. As soon as slumber overtook me, a dream came upon that was nothing I had ever seen before.

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