Layered (A Sample) (Chapter Four, page 1 of 4)

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When Hannah went back to school, she wondered how long it would take for her friends to stop looking at her strangely. It would be hard to go back to school, with all those pitying, sorrowful eyes aimed at her and everybody speaking to her in softer, sadder tones. Maybe it would be better to pretend nothing had happened and then people would not be so uncomfortable around her. Somehow, she would have to find a way to keep her sorrow concealed and to go on with her life.

At first, everybody treated her differently, but then as the weeks passed, her friends stayed talking to her longer than usual, talking more and even laughing. Soon her teachers were back to treating her the way they always did before her dad died.

In the days and weeks that followed Hannah realised the power of time because the ache in her heart turned into a lack of feeling.

Things that used to be important to Hannah now seemed small and petty.

Her mum became more distant than ever. She never asked about Hannah's school work and she never cooked one single meal. She seldom even came home to eat dinner with Hannah. Dinner, which Hannah quickly had to learn to cook, otherwise she would never have had a decent meal. Hannah had to start taking care of the bills, do the grocery shopping, and look after the trailer. It was as if suddenly Hannah was the mother and her mum was the rebellious teenager, staying out late and coming home drunk.

I am lost in the life of the girl on my screen, when my tablet makes a quacking duck noise and I know it is a text message from Sophia. I minimise the game and open my messages folder.

Sophia: OMG! Wish you were here. It is so hot!!

I let my fingers fly across the screen as I type a reply: The weather here is awful.

Sophia: What's new? The weather there is always crap.

Caitlyn: What are you doing besides being hot?

Sophia: Hot? Or Hot??

Caitlyn: :o) Hot. As in sun = hot.

Sophia: Tanning and swimming mostly.

Caitlyn: I started playing that new on-line game.

Sophia: OMG! At last!!

Caitlyn: I have been playing all morning and am getting into the virtual me's world.

Sophia: The only thing I hate about that game, is that when you are not playing, the game carries on playing. Stupid! If you ask me. I logged onto my game last night and there was total anarchy. My 'love-interest' killed my brother (by accident), and now my family wants to kill him. I don't know yet how I'm going to fix the mess they made.

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