New Places

Destiny, her mother had often told her, was not something that you can run from. Call me crazy, but it sure feels like we are. Cassie sighed heavily staring mindlessly out the passenger side window at yet… another… tree. After literally 1000 miles of driving the greenery became mind numbing.

This "new change of pace" as her mother so fondly called it all sprang to life one afternoon with a phone call. She preferred to think of it as leaving everything you have ever known because of some mysterious phone call. Cassie remembered walking in the door to her home after school, only to hear her mother, Amelia, in some kind of heated discussion.

"And this, John, is exactly the reason why I took Cassie away from Chance Harbor in the first place." Her mother only used that certain tone of voice with only one person. John Blackwell. Her father. Cassie had never outright asked her mother exactly why it was that she was forbidden to have any contact or communication with her father. But then again, it wasn't like he had ever shown any interest in her existence either. Just another deadbeat, she would tell herself on nights when she missed him. Probably wants money.

There was another two solid minutes of silence, and Cassie was concerned what with the way her mother's jaw and fist were clenched. It seemed like any more pressure and the plastic phone would crack cleanly in half. And then…

"Fine! But this doesn't change anything! I am only doing this for Cassie's wellbeing. As far as we are concerned, you can go to hell!" With an angry slam, the phone rattled on its receiver. Apparently, her wellbeing, as she was informed later that night at dinner, involved them moving back to her mother's home town of Chance Harbor.

And now, as she and her mother stood on the side of some highway, the Chance Harbor welcome sign silently mocked her. Gazing out over the Pacific coast and the small town that lined it, Cassie felt as though the secrecy of others' lives was slowly replacing the normalcy of hers.

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Chance Harbor was the very definition of quaint. Heck, old people would probably retire there if they knew about the tiny town. Oddly enough, Chance Harbor wasn't located on any printed maps. There were approximately five streets containing touristy shops and those which supported the small town. Surrounding these streets and the harbor, for which the town was named, was the sleepy suburbs, each two story house unique in its design.

Ten minutes much too soon for Cassie's liking, her mother's jungle green Outlander pulled up to an older almost Victorian style gray home, complete with wrap around porch and stone wall gate in the front yard.

"So what do you think honey?" Amelia inquired hesitantly of her daughter as they exited the car. The overcast sky was reflective of the wary glances Cassie kept giving the house. Slinging a backpack on her shoulder, Cassie shrugged dismissively.

"It's fine…I guess. But I still don't get why we even came here in the first place. I thought you hated it here."

Amelia shook her head in weak defiance.

"I don't…I don't hate it here… exactly. It's just…" Nothing more was said. There was something that her mother that wasn't telling her again. Something important, and Cassie wasn't sure what worried her more: the fact that her mother was keeping secrets from her, or the fact that her mother thought it was safer to keep this information from her.

In awkward silence, daughter followed mother up the front sidewalk, up the front porch stairs and onto the porch itself. A pair of antique cherry wood rocking chairs sat empty off to the side. Fumbling in her purse, Amelia brought out a pair of equally ancient looking house keys. With a creak and a squeak, the front door groaned and opened, musty air escaping after years of disuse. A sense of wonder washed over Cassie at the new discovery and suddenly the loss of her meager social life was long forgotten.

"So this is Grandma's old house. This is where you grew up." A wistful haze had overcome her mother's gaze, and Cassie knew that her mother must be lost in countless memories as Cassie was taking in her first. Suddenly remembering herself, Amelia shook her head, the light dimming in her blue eyes and was replaced with that careful ice that had settled in its place recently.

"Come on, let me show you your room," Amelia called as she bounded up the nearby staircase with an ease that only comes with experience. Cassie glanced around the old classic living room before lugging her bags up the old wooden stairs after her mother.

Opening the second door on the right of the upstairs hallway, a light blush tinted Amelia's cheeks.

"Okay, so we can pretty much get rid of whatever you want. Your grandmother was kind of a packrat. She never threw away anything." Expecting the worst, Cassie stepped past her and was instantly surprised. This room was actually kind of awesome in a kind of vintage way. There was a large white wrought Iron bed, matching furniture, a fireplace and get this… her own bathroom! This was definitely livable. But then if this place was so awesome …

"Mom…why'd you leave? I mean, it doesn't look that horrible here." Cassie's bright blue eyes searched her mother's guarded ones, looking for any kind of answer. In response, Amelia simply wrapped her arms about herself as though looking for some sort of security as she leaned against the doorframe.

"It was right after you were born. A lot was going on and the relationship between your father and I was strained at best. We got married young…too young…and for all the wrong reasons. I just…I just needed to get away."

Cassie was at a loss for words. She was so curious as to what happened in the past, but the heartbroken look on her mother's face was enough to squelch any further questions… for now. Clearly uncomfortable with the silence, Amelia pointed down the hall.

"I'll just let you unpack. I'll be just down the hall if you need me." Cassie nodded and watched as her mother retreated into the safety of the hallway.

After a much needed spaghetti dinner and steamy shower, thank goodness for the wonders of hot water, Cassie was toweling off her hair, when she felt a chilly draft coming from the window. Huh, I don't remember even opening the window. Walking over to it, her baby pink bathrobe secured and in place, Cassie was about to pull the window and curtains closed when she was met with a most unexpected site.

Across the lawn and in the next house over, a heated scene was unfolding. Wrapped in each other's arms, a teenage couple about her age were making out with scorching fervor, strongly suggesting that mature content was dead ahead. The girl with a caramel complexion and midnight curly locks leaned her head back sighing in ecstasy giving the pale blonde male better access to her neck. The boy had no shirt on and seemed determined on working off his partner's shirt as well.

Lost in the blaring music and each other, neither of the couple could be bothered with the flustered neighbor girl. Blood rushed to her cheeks and Cassie was about to close the curtains when the male lethargically looked up and pinned her with a glance, only…his eyes were glowing an unnatural electric ice blue. What in the world! Shocked, Cassie blinked and looked back at the boy, only to find very natural blue eyes and a cocky satisfied smirk.

Pissed off by his chauvinistic reaction, and the tricks her own eyes must have played on her, Cassie scowled and pulled the curtains closed marching over to her closet. That jerk, he's probably just using that girl…jerk…

Abruptly, she felt the draft again, and turned around in alarm to find that the curtains were opened again, as if she had never closed them. Her heart speeding, Cassie tiptoed over to the window. Cautiously, she glanced over to her neighbor's window only to find that the bedroom was empty. Eyes wide and eyebrows furrowed in confusion, Cassie was sure to close the curtains and window and then securely latch the lock, her heart still pounding in her chest.

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Dawn came far too soon for Cassie's liking but the anxiety of starting a new school and the delicious wafting scent of bacon were far too powerful for her REM cycle. Scampering out of the shelter of her thick comforters, and quickly getting dressed in a presentable outfit, Cassie grabbed her book bag and trudged down the stairs.

"Hey honey! Good morning!" Her mother always was downright chipper in the mornings.

"Hey," she replied trying to clear the sleep out of her voice. Her mother turned around from the counter, with a pair of warm pop tarts and a small bottle of orange juice in hand.

"I know it's not the most nutritious, but I haven't been to the grocery yet and I don't want you to be late to school on your first day." Cassie took the food offering with a small smile.

"Yeah wouldn't want to be late…" She repeated clearly unenthused. Amelia pinned her daughter with a mock glare.

"Oh come on, it'll be good for you, a fresh new start."

Cassie's smile was weak. "But I liked my old start. I finally felt like I belonged." Something shifted in Amelia's gaze when she heard the word "belonged," and suddenly that odd secret protective nature resurfaced.

"Cassie, when you go to school today, I want you to be careful. Don't go anywhere by yourself. Just...be careful."

The high school girl in question rolled her eyes dismissing her mother's warning entirely. Chance harbor was about as dangerous and exciting as her pink fluffy bunny slippers.

"Sure thing, Mom." Cassie turned, waved goodbye, and prepared herself for the torture that was high school.

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Chance Harbor High school had approximately one parking lot, Cassie noted with disinterest. Granted, it was pretty large for its size, but it informed Cassie that the student population would be drastically lacking. Closing the door to the outlander, the petite blonde took a deep breath and prepared for the worst.

Groups of teenagers were huddled in their own respective social circles near the entrance of the high school. Cassie kept her eyes on the pavement as she made her way past each of them, earning new stares with each group she passed. Is there…something wrong with me…Why are they all staring? Taking a quick glance back over her shoulder just confirmed her fears. Everyone was staring at her. Mortified, Cassie was frozen where she stood.

"They're just trying to tell if you're one of them."

Cassie jerked at the sound of a female voice. There before her stood a pretty African American girl dressed in cute preppy clothing.

"Wh-what?"

The girl smiled in a warm way that eased the tension out of Cassie's shoulders.

"Sorry, my name is Sally. You must be new here." Sally offered amiably. In return, Cassie gave her signature smile.

"Cassie. So uh, what's the deal? It's like they haven't seen a new student before." Both girls turned and walked into the school as if the whole ordeal had never happened.

"Exactly. This school never gets any new students. Those kids" Sally motioned to a particular group of students, "the Shore kids have all grown up together since they were in diapers, and then their parents before that. It's really weird; they're all in separate special classes and everything."

Cassie's brows furrowed. This was seriously bizarre.

"That is weird. Hasn't anyone done anything? Said anything? "Both girls stopped in front of the administrative offices. Sally shook her head and leaned in to whisper conspiratorially.

"It's cus their parents are in on it too. They run this town, so no one ever says anything. Everybody just kind of turns a blind eye. But don't worry too much about it; you've still got a friend in me. Catch up with you after school?"

Cassie smiled genuinely. Today was turning out a lot better than she thought, despite this town being a freak show.

"Sounds great."

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A tall blonde male of muscular build, who also happened to be Cassie's neighbor was gathering his books from his locker. To his left, another male with the same height and build approached him nervous apprehension clear in his stiff features.

"Hey, have you seen her yet?" His soft husky voice cut the silence between them. The blond turned to the brunette, a smirk gracing his features.

"She got in yesterday."

The boy with the stormy blue eyes and dark lashes shrugged impatiently.

"And?"

The blonde looked his friend up and down, satisfaction saturating his stance.

"You finally feel it, don't you? You finally feel the call. It'll be fun to watch you squirm for a change." With that said, he turned and walked down the hall leaving the scowling teen behind him.

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Fresh new schedule in hand, Cassie navigated through the sea of human bodies back to where her locker was supposed to be located. Ah, here we go. Cassie sighed in relief as she spotted her locker. Quickly, she approached it, hoping to set some of these heavy books down. Her back was screaming at her in protest.

But then something strange happened, she felt a tugging, or maybe it was a whisper urging her desperately to turn around, that she needed to turn around right now. Mindlessly giving into the bizarre sensation, her eyes immediately locked onto a stormy blue gaze across the hallway that was already upon her.

Cassie's breathing hitched. This boy was…wow. He was tall, possessed a lean muscular build, short spiked chestnut brown hair, and had the most spellbinding blue eyes she had ever seen. Eyes that were looking at her now in a similar kind of wonder. Heat rushed to her cheeks at being caught openly staring. Averting her eyes to the ground, Cassie turned and fumbled with the combination to her locker. Oh my gosh, he has to think I'm some kind of freak! However, she simply couldn't help but sneak a peek back over her shoulder, only to find that he was still staring at her. The wonder from his eyes was gone and it its place was an intensity that left her heart pounding against her rib cage.

Unable to look away, Cassie watched as he abruptly turned and walked briskly down the hallway as if the whole situation had never happened. Great, now he really knows I'm a freak. Way to go Cassie. Sighing, she took her frustrations out on the lock to her locker that just would not seem to budge in the slightest.

"So you're the new girl?"

Cassie looked up to see a tall brunette girl with sharp dark eyes and next to her…color rushed to Cassie's cheeks yet again. It was that girl who was making out with that guy from last night! And by the look of her smug grin, she recognized her too. Both girls were almost unnaturally beautiful. The girl from last night was short and petite, had full pouty lips that any girl would die for and effortless curls that defied gravity. The other girl was tall, had a flawless milky complexion, and had the build of a model. Cassie felt like a troll standing next to them.

"Uh yeah, that's me."

"You're very pretty." The way she said it gave Cassie the chills and set her on guard. It sounded more like she wanted to eat her than anything else. The tall girl dressed in an appropriate black leather jacket, gave a long look to Cassie's locker before leisurely walking down the hallway with the other girl at her side.

"Try it again."

Cassie scowled before yanking on the lock absentmindedly, only to find the lock slide open like butter. Cassie just stared at the lock in disbelief, a thousand questions running through her head.

"That's Faye, the town bad girl."

Cassie looked up from her lock to find yet another girl standing at her locker. This one radiated warmth. She was a little taller than her, had pin straight long chocolate colored locks, and wore stylishly preppy clothes as well. The small blonde only smirked wryly.

"I never would have guessed."

"Sorry about that, but hey, my name's Diana. It's nice to meet you." The girl's warm brown eyes radiated sincerity and Cassie couldn't help but feel at ease around her.

"I'm Cass.."

Diana was quick to interrupt, her excitement getting the better of her once again.

"Cassie Blake. Yeah, I knew your grandmother. It uh, is a very small town if you haven't already guessed. Both girls' giggles were interrupted by the sound of the bell ringing.

"Okay, well it looks like we both have to run but listen, you should stop by the Boathouse after school. It's where everyone hangs out. It's right on the waterfront. You can't miss it." Cassie just smiled as she watched the friendly brunette walk away. Today was interesting at the very least.

Cassie's heart rate picked up as she pulled into the parking lot of the Boathouse. The restaurant nestled directly in the heart of the harbor was stylish and quaint in a 50's esque kind of way. Well the parking lot's full. That's gotta be a good sign right?

Slamming the car door shut, Cassie was quick to realize that the whole weird group segregation element had followed her here from the high school. Various groups all made up the population of the parking lot surrounding the Boathouse. Currently, they all had one variable in common. They were all staring at her. Shifting her gaze like a hunted animal, Cassie walked briskly through the gauntlet of stares, only the sound of furious whispers and the clacking of her boots to spur her on.

The soft jingling of bells and the enticing scents of foods yet to be sampled, welcomed Cassie into the Boathouse. The latest hits on the radio and the twinkling lights of addictive arcade games kept the patrons' attentions diverted from her presence.

"Amelia?"

It was hopeful tone bordering on desperate, and it caused Cassie to stop in her tracks, turn around her eyes questioning. She was met by an adult male in his mid-thirties, clothed in a red plaid shirt and jeans. He was tall, had light chestnut brown hair and had eyes that twinkled like bright blue diamonds. The disappointment was clear on his facial features when he realized more or less who she wasn't. Sheepish embarrassment quickly took its place.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I just thought you were someone that I used to know." The older stranger turned around picking up a stray dish towel off the bar, only to wipe the station down.

"Oh. Well, that's okay, people always say me and my mom are practically twins. You actually even called me by her name." Cassie felt lame at first for offering that bit of information but was actually taken off guard when the familiar looking male literally whipped around, the excitement practically oozing off him in waves.

"Are…are you Amelia Blake's girl? I mean, you must be you look just like her."

Cassie extended her hand in cautious greeting.

"Cassie. Cassie Blake."

Trying to ward off the creepy vibe that was permeating the air, Cassie inquired carefully.

"Do you know my mother?"

The man before her grinned and looked at her as if she was missing some most obvious and crucial detail.

"Know her? Your mother and I grew up together! We…I," The man amended himself in that way she had seen her mother do often. "I loved your very much. My name is Ethan Conant by the way."

Cassie's brow rose.

"And how did my father feel about that?"

Ethan just smirked in an unrepentant, boyish sort of way that Cassie couldn't help but find endearing.

"He didn't like it one bit, but you can't fight what's written."

His gaze morphed into something more intense, like he was trying to discern something from her reaction. Was this another secret or perhaps an answer ready to be uncovered?

"Written? What is written?"

"Our families. Our families are destined. They're written in the stars."

Cassie's brows furrowed in further confusion. For someone who appeared to be completely sane, this Ethan Conant was saying some of the most bizarre things. Before another word could be uttered, a deep velvety male voice was quick to interject.

"Dad, what did I tell you about drinking before dinner?"

Cassie's breath hitched in her throat and she couldn't help the small blush and grin that erupted on her lips. It was that cute boy from school. Suddenly his stormy blue gaze slid towards her and he threatened to stop her heart with a lighthearted smirk.

"Oh hey. Sorry about that."

Ethan mirrored his son's smirk.

"But I wasn't drinking. This is Cassie Blake, Amelia's girl." The adult who was currently acting like a mischievous teenager moved to stand beside the petite blonde.

"She's beautiful isn't she?" Ethan stated pinning his son with a knowing look before walking off, a grin plastered to his face. This left the two teens speechless except for the awkward chuckles that the boy couldn't help from escaping. Cassie loved the sound and smiled wider.

"I'm Adam."

"Cassie."

The little blonde leaned against the bar, trying to fight the weak feeling in her knees.

"So I'm guessing your dad owns this place?" A genuine smile now appeared on Adam's face.

"Yeah, uh, so take a seat wherever. I'll bring you a menu."

Surprised by his seeming dismissal of her, Cassie nodded and walked over to a nearby booth that overlooked the water. What she couldn't see was the way Adam watched her and the sudden flash of icy blue that overtook the normal color of his eyes.

Fidgeting on the cheap leather of the booth, Cassie gazed out the large glass window kicking herself mentally for somehow deluding herself into believing that for one moment she and Adam had actually connected.

"So I saw you at school today." Adam's voice had Cassie's heart in a rollercoaster once again. Smoothly, he slid a glass of water and a menu in front of her. Cassie blushed brightly.

"So how was your first day?"

Incredible, bizarre, awkward…All of these flashed through her mind.

"It's not over yet, so I'll have to get back to you." Cassie praised herself mentally for giving such a witty response. Really, any response other than drooling with this boy was a plus.

Adam merely grinned and shook his head.

"Alright then. I'll be back in a minute." Cassie watched him go, her heart racing all the while. Suddenly, her very nice view of Adam's back was obstructed by the sight of a familiar black leather jacket.

"Adam is very cute, not to mention, very single."

Plopping down into the booth seats across from her, Cassie was beyond reluctant to see that it was Faye and the "make-out girl" from earlier. The little blonde just smiled tightly. What are these two up to now?

"Stop it Faye." The curly haired girl said dismissively while smiling and extending a hand to Cassie.

"I'm Melissa. It's nice to meet you."

"And I'm Faye Chamberlain."

Fearlessly locking gazes with said girl, Cassie noted that almost feral glint had returned to her dark brown eyes.

"Yeah, we met…sort of." Cassie replied carefully.

"I can totally see why Adam's so in to you. He practically can't help himself when it comes to the fragile loner types."

"Faye!"

Even her best friend apparently couldn't believe such an outrageous comment. Faye just rolled her eyes and completely ignored the practically steaming blonde across the table from her.

"What Melissa! I'm trying to give her a complement."

And that was the last straw. Stiffly, Cassie slid out of the booth.

"Well, no thank you. And since I'm not feeling very fragile right now, I'm gonna go."

The pretty girl known as Melissa looked completely apologetic.

"Hey look.."

But the plea fell on deaf ears as the scorned newcomer stormed out of the restaurant.

What a witch! What is that girl's problem! Cassie mentally fumed, flinging open the car door. Seriously! This town is a freak show! Sliding the keys into the ignition, she groaned in frustration when the engine puttered in defeat. Trying to rev it up again, Cassie was rewarded with wisps of smoke that billowed out from under the hood of the car.

"Really? Are you kidding me right now?"

Suddenly, her exasperation morphed into terror when angry orange flames erupted from the hood as well. Screaming, Cassie pulled the lever to free herself from her own personal deathtrap only to find that the car door wouldn't budge. Frantically pulling at the seemingly easy to open door handle, Cassie started to panic as the smoke flooded into the cabin of the vehicle.

"Help! Somebody help me! Please! Help!"

Widened in terror, the petite female noticed in horror that the parking lot was completely devoid of any human life. If someone didn't notice something soon, Cassie realized…I'm going to die!

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Unbeknownst to everyone, there were two witnesses to Cassie's ultimate misfortune.

"Come on Cassie, put the fire out." Faye urged breathily as she gazed out a window of the Boathouse on the fiery scene unfolding before her.

"But Faye what if she hasn't Flipped yet? Cus, I don't think she knows at all?" There was slight panic in Melissa's whisper.

"She just needs a nudge. Put the fire out Cassie," Faye continued, and it was the secret hope of both girls that they had just not made a colossal mistake.

This is an experiment based off a crazy dream I had. Please review and tell me if you like it!