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[Chapter 1]

Why can't I just have a normal life, one like everyone else? What did I do? Have I committed a terrible sin to receive this cruel punishment? Why put me through all this pain and suffering? Just let me crawl into a corner and die, for in sooth... I am nothing to no one in this fragile world of ours.

"Landon! Sweetheart, your breakfast is ready!"

Landon sighed, as his thoughts were interrupted by the words of his mother, Donna Marie Kenney-Cash, calling him at the bottom of the stairs. He wiped the tears that streaked down his face; he arose from his bed, grabbing his backpack and headed down the stairs.

Landon Donovan. A student and senior at Northbrook High School. A member of the National Honor Society and Captain of the Varsity Soccer team. 4.0 GPA, ranked number 1 at the top of his class. Most popular, best-looking, and most loved senior in all of Northbrook.

"Morning sweetheart."

"Morning mom." He said, forcing a smile upon his handsome face. He set his backpack next to the couch and walked towards the dining room.

"Did you have a good night last night?" Donna always managed to ask the same thing, she felt so much pity for her son, he just didn't deserve it.

Landon shrugged his shoulders. "It was the same as all the other nights." He sat down and started eating his breakfast.

Donna frowned as she looked at her son. "Oh sweetie. It'll be ok."

Landon set his fork down. He looked up at his mother. His beautiful eyes filled with tears. "When mom? When will it be ok?"

Donna set her cup of coffee down on the counter and wrapped her arms firmly around Landon's trembling body. "Shh... It's ok honey."

Landon sobbed as he held onto his mother. "When mom? When?"

She kissed his forehead and lifted his chin, so that his eyes were looking right back into hers. "Soon sweetie. Only Hope that everything will end soon." She kissed his forehead once more and wiped the tears that streamed down his face and hers. "Now finish your breakfast or you'll be late for school."

Landon nodded. "I love you mom."

Donna smiled. "I love you too sweetheart." Both smiled as they finished their morning routine.

--_ _ -- _ _ -- _ _ --

"Romeo and Juliet... One of the greatest stories written by William Shakespeare." English 4 AP teacher, Mr. Richards said, as he lectured his 3rd period class. "Can anyone tell me what the story is about..." A student raised her hand. "Abigail."

"Romeo and Juliet is a love story that ends in a tragedy. Two teenagers, from rival families fall in love with eachother and wed behind their parents back. Many violence goes on through the story and at the end, both Romeo and Juliet die for love."

"Very good Ms. Abigail... Now, can someone tell me, if they believe they know what love is?" He walked up to the front of the room and sat on his desk. "Landon...?"

Landon looked up from the notes he was taking and looked up at his teacher. "I don't think I believe in it."

Mr. Richards crossed his arms over his chest. "Don't believe in what Mr. Donovan?"

"In love."

"And why is that?"

"To me, love is a myth. A word that doesn't even exist. A word that was only made up to bring happiness into someone's life. Love isn't true, when no one in the world loves you in return."

Mr. Richards looked at Landon. A surprised and shocked looked across his face. "Mr. Donovan, do you think, there isn't anyone in this world that... Well, doesn't love you?"

Landon sighed. "It isn't that Mr. Rich... I know there's many people in this world that loves me. But it isn't the love that I want. The love, where I fall in love with someone and they love me in return. A love where I know that nothing in the world will ever go wrong. A love, where I know I can keep it deep within my heart and take it with me, even when I am laid to rest."

Mr. Richards looked at Landon surprised. Never in his 25 years of teaching AP English, did Mr. Richards hear someone talk with such passion and emotion, as Landon did. "Well." Mr. Richards cleared his throat. "That was very interesting... very touching... that was a very good answer Mr. Donovan, very detailed."

Landon half smiled, as he continued to pay attention to his teacher's lecture.

--_ _ -- _ _ -- _ _ --

"Hey Landon!"

"Yo, what up Donovan!"

"What's going on LD!"

"Hey D man! What up!" Throughout the lunch period, all the guys, popular, semi popular, and the soccer players greeted Landon as they passed by the Oak Tree, where he was sitting by himself.

"Hi Landon." Landon looked up from his novel. He smiled, as he saw the person standing in front of him.

"Hey Riley."

Riley smiled, as she sat down next to Landon. She liked everything about him, his personality, his sense of style, his pride in school work, his passion for sports... he had it all. "What 'cha reading?"

"Bless Me Ultima."

"Is it a Spanish novel?" She asked, as she looked at the cover.

"It has some Spanish in it, but mostly just English."

Riley smiled, as she looked at Landon. "So, what was up with you this morning?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, your little speech in English... about not believing in love."

"Nothing's up, it's just what I believe..."

"Well, I bet I can change that..." She said, as she started caressing his cheek.

Landon moved his face away. "It's alright."

Riley slightly frowned. "Well, if you ever change your mind, you know who to look for." She winked her eye and kissed his cheek, just slightly missing his lips. "I'll see you later." She stood up and walked away.

He sighed heavily, blaming himself for everything. How could he not have feelings for Riley? She was beautiful, graceful, loving, popular, everything a guy could ever want, yet it was nothing that Landon wanted. He watched Riley walked to her group of friends.

Oh god. How much I wish I could have accepted her into my life. Or any other girl. How much I wish I could let myself find someone and love her. Why? Why must I be punished like this? I can't let myself fall in love, knowing that I have received such a harsh punishment and knowing that I will hurt her if she ever found out.

He took a deep breath, as a few tears trickled it's way down his cheeks. He quickly wiped them away, as the bell echoed off the walls. He gathered his belongings; he stood up and made his way towards the stadium for soccer practice.

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