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Home > On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)

On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street #1)
Author: Samantha Young

Prologue

Surry County, Virginia

I was bored.

Kyle Ramsey was kicking the back of my chair to get my attention, but he’d been kicking my best friend’s, Dru, chair yesterday and I didn’t want to upset her. She had a huge crush on Kyle. Instead, I watched her as she sat beside me drawing a million tiny love hearts in the corner of her notebook as Mr. Evans scribbled another equation on the board. I really should have been paying attention because I sucked at math. Mom and dad wouldn’t be happy with me if I failed a class the first semester into freshman year.

“Mr. Ramsey, would you care to come up to the board and answer this question, or would you prefer to remain behind Jocelyn so you can kick her chair some more?”

The class tittered and Dru shot me an accusing look. I grimaced and shot Mr. Evan’s a pointed glare.

“I’ll stay here, if that’s okay, Mr. Evans,” Kyle replied with impudent swagger. I rolled my eyes, refusing to turn around even though I could feel the heat of his gaze on the back of my neck.

“That was actually a rhetorical question, Kyle. Get up here.”

A knock at the door put a halt to Kyle’s groan of acquiescence. At the sight of our principal, Ms. Shaw, the whole class grew still. What was the principal doing in our class? That could only signal trouble.

“Whoa,” Dru muttered under her breath and I looked at her, frowning. She nodded at the doorway. “Cops.”

Shocked, I turned to look back at the door as Ms. Shaw murmured something quietly to Mr. Evans, and sure enough, through the gap in the door, I could see two deputies waiting out in the hall.

“Miss Butler.” Ms. Shaw’s voice snapped my gaze back to her in surprise. She took a step towards me and I felt my heart leap into my throat. Her eyes were wary, sympathetic, and I immediately wanted to back away from her and whatever it was she was here to tell me. “Can you come with me, please? Grab your things.”

This was usually the part where the class would ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ about how much trouble I was in. But like me, they sensed that wasn’t what this was about. Whatever news was out in that hall, they weren’t going to tease me about it.

“Miss Butler?”

I was shaking now from a spike of adrenaline and I could barely hear anything over the sound of my own blood rushing in my ears. Had something happened to mom? Or dad? Or my baby sister, Beth? My parents had taken some time off work this week together to de-stress from what had been a crazy summer. They were supposed to be taking Beth out today for a picnic.

“Joss.” Dru nudged me, and as soon as her elbow touched my arm, I shot back from the table, my chair screaming across the wooden floor. Without looking at anyone, I fumbled with my bag, swiping everything off my desk and into it. The whispers had started hissing around the room like cold wind through a crack in a windowpane. Despite not wanting to know what was ahead of me, I really wanted out of that room.

Somehow remembering how to put one foot in front of the other, I followed the principal out into the hall and listened to Mr. Evan’s door snick shut behind me. I didn’t say anything. I just looked at Ms. Shaw and then at the two deputies who stared at me with a distant compassion. Standing near the wall was a woman I hadn’t noticed earlier. She looked grave but calm.

Ms. Shaw touched my arm and I looked down at her hand resting on my sweater. I hadn’t spoken two words to the principal before, and now she was touching my arm? “Jocelyn… this is Deputy Wilson and Michaels. And this is Alicia Nugent from the DSS.”

I looked at her questioningly.

Ms. Shaw blanched. “The Department of Social Services.”

Fear gripped a hold of my chest and I fought to breathe.

“Jocelyn,” the principal continued. “I am so sorry to have to tell you this… but your parents and sister, Elizabeth, were in a car accident.”

I waited, feeling my chest tighten.

“They were all killed instantly, Jocelyn. I’m so sorry.”

The woman from the DSS stepped towards me and started speaking. I looked at her, but all I could see were the colors that she was made up of. All I could hear was the muffled sound of her talking, like someone was running tap water beside her.

I couldn’t breathe.

Panicking, I reached for something, anything to help me breathe. I felt hands on me. Calm, murmuring words. Wetness on my cheeks. Salt on my tongue. And my heart… it felt like it was going to explode it was racing so hard.

I was dying.

“Breathe, Jocelyn.”

Those words were said in my ear over and over again until I focused enough to concentrate on just breathing in and out. After a while, my pulse slowed and my lungs opened up. The spots across my vision began to disappear.

“That’s it,” Ms. Shaw was whispering, a warm hand rubbing soothing circles on my back. “That’s it.”

“We should get going,” the DSS woman’s voice broke through my fog.

“Okay. Jocelyn, are you ready?” Ms. Shaw asked quietly.

“They’re dead,” I answered, needing to feel how the words felt. It couldn’t be real.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart.”

Cold sweat burst on my skin, my palms, under my arms, across the nape of my neck. Goosebumps rose up all over and I couldn’t stop shaking. A rush of dizziness swayed me to the left and without warning, vomit surged up from my churning gut. I bent over, losing my breakfast all over the DSS lady’s shoes.

“She’s in shock.”

Was I?

Or was it travel sickness?

One minute I had been sitting back there. There, where it was warm and safe. And in a matter of seconds, in the crunch of metal…

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