Author Spotlight Week with S.M. Soto | Day 3 | Exclusive Sneak Peek - Chasing the Moon

2020. december 9., szerda

Hey Lovelies!

Today, we share an exclusive sneak peek from Chasing the Moon 🙂 I know you will love it ❤️

 “In ancient times, it was said that the goddess Selene drove the moon across the sky. Each night, she followed Helios, the sun, to catch his fiery rays and reflect the light back to earth. One night on her journey, she looked down and saw Endymion sleeping in the hills. She fell in love with the beautiful shepherd. Night after night, she looked down on his gentle beauty and loved him more until one evening, she left the moon between the sun and the earth and went down to the grassy fields to lie beside him.

For three nights, she stayed with him, and the moon, unable to catch the sun’s rays, remained dark. People feared the dark moon. They said it brought death and freed evil forces to roam the black night. Zeus, king of the gods, was angered by the darkness and punished Selene by giving Endymion eternal sleep. Selene returned to the moon and drove it across the night sky, but her love was too strong. She hid Endymion in a cave, and now, for three nights each lunar month, she leaves the moon to visit her sleeping lover and cover him with silver kisses. In his sleep, Endymion dreams he holds the moon.”




July 2007

            I fell in love when I was just eleven years old. All it took was one glance, three unsteady breaths, and five measly seconds to turn me to putty. There was a foreign swarm of butterflies so powerful it made me nauseous. My heartbeats were irregular, and since then, nothing in my life has been the same.

The first time I laid eyes on Endymion Black, I fell irrevocably in love with him. He was an enigma in our town—the stranger everyone wanted a piece of. On his fifteenth birthday, he moved to Dunsmuir, a small town in California, and he turned the quiet, familiar place upside down.

            I remember that first day like it was yesterday. The moment has ingrained itself in the deepest depths of my mind, playing on a constant loop. Even now, just thinking about it lights a fire in my soul.

My dad and I were at the grocery store picking out a dessert for my birthday. Each year, my dad would drive me to the local Grab-N-Go, and I’d head to the bakery section to find the best-looking cake. And each year, it was always the same. A triple chocolate cake with my name written in pink icing. That was another thing I’d later realize would connect me to Endymion. Among a handful of other things, we shared the same birthday—July twenty-second.

            As always, Mom and Dad were fighting, so when he took me to the grocery store, it was really just an excuse to get away from my mother. I don’t remember a time in my life when my parents weren’t at each other’s throats. They pretty much hated each other’s guts. They were always shouting, always arguing about bills and money, and to make matters worse, they didn’t even sleep in the same room at night. Surprisingly, they never laid a hand on each other, but sometimes, when I went to bed, I wondered what would happen if I wasn’t there. Would they even be together anymore?

            Did I even want them to be together anymore?

            I think there’s a point in every child’s life when they want their parents to stay together forever, even if the discussion of separation or divorce is on the table. I was past that point. I just wanted the fighting to stop and wanted them to be happy, even if that meant separately. I wanted a normal childhood instead of this farce of one I’d been given. Just one peaceful night when I didn’t have to listen to my iPod on full blast to block out their arguing. I didn’t want to take sides. I didn’t want any part of it.

            Dad split up with me at the grocery store, opting to get a pack of beer and letting me head toward the bakery. The glass display cases were in sight when I spotted him. With broad shoulders and muscles in his back that my dad didn’t even have anymore, I paused in the middle of the aisle and stared at the stranger in an odd state of shock. It rolled through my body in waves, paralyzing me. I was positive he was the most handsome boy I’d ever seen, just from what I saw looking at the back of him.

            He had light brown hair, long and messy at the top. It was styled in the I-just-showered-and-I’m-too-cool-for-school look. He was dressed casually in a plain white T-shirt and jeans. With a mind of their own, my feet inched closer and closer until I was standing in front of the packaged danishes. Using the shelf and packaged goods display as a hiding spot, I peered around, stealing glances at him. He was browsing the cakes inside the glass.

            Just like I was supposed to be doing.

            Even Mrs. Cahill, as she pushed through the doors from the back kitchen, stopped short at the handsome teen before her. I didn’t know what his face looked like yet, but that tug deep in my gut, coiling and tingling, told me he was handsome. And when he spoke for the first time? My heart’s normal pitter-patter turned irregular. I don’t think it’s ever beaten the same again—not since that day. He had a voice you could feel roll through your body in an exhilarating, otherworldly sensation. My eleven-year-old brain short-circuited, and all my attention was focused on the guy standing right in front of me. I willed him to turn and feel my presence. Anything to get a look at his face without feeling like a creeper.

            I grasped onto the crescent moon around my neck for courage. When I was nervous or needed an extra push, the necklace always gave me that extra something. It was a gift from my parents almost two years ago. For as long as I could remember, I’d been obsessed with the moon, and my parents? Well, it was no secret they indulged me in my obsession. The necklace was silver and dainty, a crescent moon hanging from a 3D moon with real meteorite dust inside. Strangely, since the first time I put the necklace on, it’d given me strength when I normally had none. A talisman of sorts.

            I’d always been the painstakingly shy and quiet wallflower who blended into the shadows, unseen and thoroughly unnoticed. I had a hard time speaking up for myself and an even tougher time separating my need to be liked by everyone.

            “Selene, sweetie, what are you doing over there?” Mrs. Cahill asked loudly, finally taking notice of me. Her attention caused him to turn, and a ragged gasp ripped from my chest when I got a full look at him. He was quite literally the most beautiful guy I’d ever seen. I didn’t think any boys my age were cute. There were a few celebrities I had crushes on, but no one, and I mean no one, compared to him.

I opened my mouth to speak, but the words got stuck in the back of my throat. He had defined cheekbones and a strong jaw that clenched as he took me in. He seemed angry or irritated to be standing there in the bakery section. As if this was the last place he wanted to be. But what catapulted him beyond any good-looking guy I’d ever seen before were his light green eyes flecked with white, or maybe gray. Bright, like the color of summertime moss. I had never seen such a color in someone’s eyes before. They were a kaleidoscope of greens.

            I could feel the heat of his gaze on my skin, and when his eyes clashed with mine, I forced a swallow that felt so overworked, I feared I might’ve swallowed my own tongue. There was a hardness in the depths of his eyes that softened when he saw me standing there. Shaking my head slightly, I hoped it would clear my thoughts as though I was seeing things. It wasn’t possible that this guy was this handsome. Surely, he’d be famous if that was the case. He’d have his own spread in Seventeen or J-14. I blinked rapidly when his plump lips twisted into a soft smile as he regarded me.

            “Hey, kid.”

            Two words were all he spoke, but they crushed me, nonetheless. The dart of his words was poisonous, burning as it spread. I didn’t want to be a kid. I didn’t want him to see me as a child. I wanted him to think I was as beautiful as I thought he was. Because that was exactly what I thought of this boy standing before me. He was damn beautiful.

I swallowed down the lump in my throat and risked a couple of steps toward him and Janet at the glass display. She was staring at me oddly, eyeing me with narrowed and scrutinizing eyes. This was the first of many here in Dunsmuir who would start catching onto my crush.

            Not wanting to look like a weirdo anymore, I inhaled a deep, stabilizing breath and closed the distance, coaching myself on how to act naturally as I stood beside this handsome guy, trying not to fidget.

            “Where’s your dad, Selene? Are you guys out shopping for your birthday treat?” She smiled, already knowing our routine.

Janet had been the baker here since this place opened. Each year, she rang us up and made sure the cake I chose always had my name and a moon drawn with pink frosting. I was, without a shadow of a doubt, the moonchild here in Dunsmuir.

I glanced at the guy out of the corner of my eye and ducked my head when I felt my cheeks heat. “Uh, yeah. He’s getting beer and after dinner snacks, I think.”

            “Well, what are you having? The usual? And what can I get you, hon? Are we still doing the birthday cake, too?” She directed the last portion of her question at him. A smile lit up her face as she pointed back and forth between us. “Happy Birthday to you both.”

            I felt his gaze lingering at the side of my head, so I turned to look at him. He stared down at me with an odd expression on his face, before turning back around. “Yeah, let’s do the cake, and”—he paused, glancing down at me—“Happy Birthday, kid.”

            “Happy Birthday…” I trailed off, waiting for him to tell me his name. As he dug into his back pocket, pulling out some cash from his weathered leather wallet to pay, he finally gave me what I wanted.

            “You can call me End.”

Without another word or even a glance back, he left, taking all the air from my lungs with him.

            That was when I first knew Endymion and I would never work. He was otherworldly, and I was…me. Too plain, too young, too quirky to ever capture his attention. That didn’t mean I’d ever stop trying.

Over the course of the years, while Endymion and his family got settled here in Dunsmuir from Lake Tahoe, my crush on him only grew, to the point I was sure everyone in town knew about it except him. He always called me kid, and he never looked at me twice. It was like I was insignificant.

I wasn’t smart enough.

Interesting enough.

Pretty enough.

Or maybe I was just too young, and therefore, off his radar.

For the first few weeks they were settling in, I did everything I could to run into him again. It wasn’t easy. I was still in middle school, and he was heading to high school. We didn’t exactly hang out in the same crowds. Fortunately, I did see him every once in a blue moon at the grocery store and at the mall, but each time, he never looked twice.

Not that I expected anything different. I wasn’t the kind of girl you looked twice at. I was the girl who would go most of her life unnoticed, and I had come to terms with it.

I took to writing his name in my journals and wondering if one day he’d notice me. Little did I know, the competition would make that feat nearly impossible. In a small town like ours, when a hot guy moved in, the girls, and even the women, flocked toward him. They tried to covet and steal what I laid eyes on first.

Endymion got the most male attention I’d ever seen in my entire life. It was probably his looks, his unique name, and the mystery surrounding him. Whatever it was, I wasn’t the only one in town fighting for his attention. And the likelihood was, I never would be. Endymion and I would never work out. We were destined for failure, that was all I was sure of.






August 2008 – Past

On my way home from school, I heave a deep sigh when I glance around at the groups of kids. Everyone who walks home has their own cliques. Everyone but me. It’s usually just me and my best friend, Julia. We walk to and from school every day, except when it rains or snows. That’s where our parents draw the line. But today, Julia missed school because she’s “sick,” leaving me to my lonesome. I don’t have very many friends besides Julia, and the ones I do have are more acquaintances than anything else. Which is precisely why I’m walking home all alone.

I let out a surprised squeak and clutch the thick book to my chest when a few of the high schoolers run past me, hooting and hollering. One of them clips me in the arm, nearly making me drop my pride and joy. A few years ago, my dad bought me this thick book filled with legends from Greek mythology. Those faraway tales speak to me on a different level than regular fiction, which is why I don’t enjoy reading anything else.

Right when I think their horseplay is good and over, another one of the jerks bumps into me as he runs by, and, this time, instead of my book almost tumbling to the ground, it’s me. I lose my footing, causing my knees to skid along the concrete. I let out a hiss of pain, my eyes slamming shut against the burning of my flesh. My kneecaps may be battered, but at least my book is safe.

“Hey! Watch it!”

My breath leaves me in a sharp gasp, and my body tenses at the sound of the voice I’d know anywhere. I feel someone crouch beside me, and when I glance up through the curtain of hair that’s shielding most of my face from view, my breath lodges in my throat.

Endymion Black.

He’s kneeling in front of me, peering through my dark strands, as those bright green eyes study me. “You all right?”

Forcing a thick swallow, I’m afraid my violently pounding heart is so loud he can hear it. Perspiration beads along my forehead, and when I brush my hair away from my face to get a better look at him, my stomach dips. He’s handsome. So incredibly handsome. It quite literally takes my breath away.

Suddenly remembering he asked me a question, I nod my head slowly. His brows draw together, and the muscle in his jaw flexes as though he’s suddenly angry. He looks around us, glaring at the assholes in the distance who knocked me over.

“You sure?”   

“Y-eah,” I whisper. My mouth is painfully dry. The saliva feels like sandpaper as it goes down. He places his hand between us and helps me to my feet. The second I place my hand in his, I feel a tremor wrack my body. Lightning slithers down my spine, damn near electrocuting me.

My knees ache a little when I stand upright, and he must sense it. His gaze homes in on my exposed knees, and he frowns. “You’re bleeding. Fucking assholes.”

Warmth settles in my cheeks, and I avert my gaze, unable to look at him for too long without feeling like I’m in a cartoon and have hearts floating above my head. I can feel his piercing gaze in the depths of my soul. I tighten my grip on the book in my arms, and he takes notice.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a mythology book.”

“Pretty big book for a little thing like you.”

Fighting to tamp down my shy smile, I lift my shoulder in a noncommittal shrug. “It’s interesting. I don’t mind carrying it around.”

He smiles then, and hell, it leaves a permanent mark on my soul. It etches itself into every fiber of my being until the very end of time. Endymion jerks his head over his shoulder. “C’mon, I’ll walk with you. Maybe this time you won’t get trampled.”    

I bite the inside of my cheek, so I don’t grin like a lunatic as I step in stride beside him. We walk in silence for a little while until he asks me more about the book.

“So what is it you like about mythology?”

I shrug. “The stories, I guess. The ability to believe in higher beings. Shooting for the stars, you name it.”

He grins. “My mom’s family was the same way. Hell, it was why she named me Endymion.”

“I like it. Your name, I mean. I think it suits you.”

He raises a brow. “How so?”

“He was a handsome shepherd, and you’re…” I trail off, the words getting caught in my throat when I realize what I almost let slip. He knows, though, because he chuckles. The sound is warm and deep, and it travels through me in waves.

I suddenly have the urge to reach for my necklace. I grasp it, rubbing my thumb along the silver to breathe past my nervousness.

“It’s a nice necklace. I take it you like the moon?”

My gaze shoots to his. “How can you tell?”

His lips twitch as if he’s fighting a smirk. “The necklace. Your shirt. The design on your backpack. Kinda gave it all away.”        

I smile, despite myself. I forgot about all that. Not many people ask why I dress the way I do or why I’m so obsessed with the moon. No one has ever truly cared. Until now.

“I do like it. The moon. My name…my name belonged to the moon goddess. Guess I’ve just always been a little obsessed.”

“Ah. Yeah. That makes sense. What did this goddess do?”

I want to tell him. It’s on the tip of my tongue to say she drove the moon across the sky and fell in love with a handsome shepherd by the name of Endymion, but I don’t say that. I don’t get the chance to because I’m suddenly nudged from the side, and when I hear the high, lilting laughter, I cringe.

“Endy! There you are. Why didn’t you wait for us? You know we hate walking alone.” Holly Matthews pouts. Her best friend Reina pouts right along with her. She’s also the one who bumped me out of the way with her hip, nearly knocking me down. Again.

I’m all but forgotten now that Holly and Reina are here. I slow my pace, falling back as I watch him walk away with them, a sharp ache slicing through my chest. Why does it hurt so much? Having crushes shouldn’t cause this much pain.

My heart shrivels in my chest when Endymion glances back at me with his brows drawn in. I sense he’s going to say something or maybe call out to me until Holly’s manicured hand forces his gaze back on her. Always her.

I spend the rest of the walk home gripping my mythology book and fighting back my tears with a sinking sensation in the pit of my gut. I’m a few blocks away from my street when I feel a presence behind me. The hairs at the nape of my neck stand at attention, and when I glance over my shoulder, my brows draw in, realizing no one’s there. Shaking the odd sensation off, I chalk it up to me being alone instead of me being followed.

As I round the corner of the block, I suddenly crash into something and let out a surprised shriek. A husky laugh follows, and my gaze treks up to the source. My eyes widen when I realize who it is.


He chuckles, his dark, inky locks hanging haphazardly in his face, as though he hasn’t had the time to brush it away in days. Thomas Wentworth has always been town royalty. Though it seems that title has never really sat well with him, so he became the town bad boy instead. I think he thrives on the attention and loves that the women in this town think he’s an unattainable miscreant. That is, until Endymion showed up in town. All the attention he basked under slowly went from him to End, and it’s obvious he doesn’t like it.

“Ah, always so formal. Always so sweet, aren’t you, Selene?”

I force a swallow. “I’m not always sweet.”

He smirks, clearly knowing better. “Coming home from school?” he asks, his gaze trailing up and down my body, taking in my outfit of choice. I adjust the strap of my backpack on my shoulder, feeling uncomfortable with his scrutiny.

“I am.” I make it a point to look at his clothes and quirk a brow. “Are you?”

Something glints in his eyes at my sass. He rubs his mouth absentmindedly, covering his grin. “Nah, I skipped today. Had some other things to do. You should try it sometime.”

“Try what?”

“Skipping school.” He steps closer to me. Close enough I can smell him and the distinct scent of marijuana. “With me.”

My gut clenches and not in a good way. “I can’t do that.”

He rolls his eyes as if I’m annoying him. “Fine, what about now? Instead of going home, come back to my place with me. We’ll hang out.”

Something about his proposition seems off. Everything about him right now seems off. Heck, we’re almost four years apart. I’m the last person he should be asking to hang out with him. I’m young. A nobody.

“You want to hang out with me at your place? To do what?” I ask dubiously.

He smiles then. It’s not soft or warm. It’s the opposite, actually. It has fear rippling down my spine. “Guess you’ll just have to wait and see, won’t you?”

I take a wobbly step away from him, glancing around the quiet neighborhood, searching for help. Conveniently for him, there’s no one to be found. “Sorry, but I can’t. My mom and dad are waiting for me.”

I try to hurry past him, but his hand shoots out, pressing up against my sternum to halt my progression. “Haven’t you ever lived a little, little moon?” he asks, stepping into me. I swallow the sudden lump in my throat and work to control my heavy breathing.

“Bye, Thomas.”

Rushing past him, I nearly run home as fear swirls in my gut. I force myself not to look back at him, not even once.





July 2011 – Past

Today is my fifteenth birthday, and I finally feel like I’m at an age where I can keep up with Endymion and stay on his radar. I’ve spent years watching the girls and women in this town gush over him as though he’s a piece of meat. I’ve nursed my battered heart time and time again as I watched him go out on dates with undeserving girls—just waiting, hoping, and praying he’d eventually take notice of me.

Sadly, he never did.

A few months after he turned eighteen, he left town for work, and I was sure I’d never see him again. Without having him in town, I felt the suffocating weight of my homelife creep in on me. I didn’t have anything to look forward to anymore with him gone. I didn’t have anything to distract me from the constant fights and bickering. There was only so much tension a teen could handle. I felt like I was walking on eggshells every day, trying to do everything I could to keep things civil between my parents.

Half the time, it didn’t work.

Since my parents got in a huge fight about money last night, any thought of sharing cake or dinner at the table together for my birthday was out of the question. So instead, I told them I was going to hang out with some friends. I wasn’t really interested in the party everyone planned on going to tonight. I was more interested in the man who, I’d learned only a few days prior, was back home for a few weeks. Since we share a birthday, I know today Endymion is turning nineteen, and even though the years between us might be a cause for concern to some, I don’t think it matters. I’ve loved him since I was kid, and that won’t change anytime soon.

I’ve never been more sure of anything.

I spend most of the night looking for him at Seth Ferguson’s party, but he is nowhere to be found. Even though I just started at Dunsmuir High, and, normally, attending parties is a rite of passage, they aren’t exactly my scene. It’s too much chaos for a girl like me. I prefer to be at home curled up with a good book or outside, staring up at the moon.

I finally give up and decide to head home. And almost as though it was meant to be, as I am crossing the street on my way home, too busy staring up at the moon distractedly, I don’t notice the guy running in my path. An oompf of air escapes my lungs and echoes down the quiet street. When I glance up, all I’m able to process is the blood rushing through my veins and my heart pounding violently in my chest. It is like the organ is trying to break free at the sight of a sweaty Endymion.

He’s shirtless, his broad muscles on display, and it’s an impossible task not to stop and gawk at all the muscles, protruding veins, and the droplets of sweat rolling down each rivulet.

“Shit, sorry,” he breathes out, plucking a white earbud out of his ear. The music on his iPod must be on full blast because I can hear the strains of rock music screeching through the earbud, even from here. His hair is a drenched mess, the longer strands sticking to his damp forehead in these cute little swirls that have me itching to reach up and tuck them back.

“No, you’re fine. I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention,” I ramble, and instead of brushing past him and continuing on my way home, I stand there, still gawking at him as though he’s a Greek god. His brows suddenly dip, his face clouding with a frown as he glances around us.

“What are you doing over here? It’s not exactly safe to be walking home alone at night.”

My stomach does somersaults and backflips at the fact he cares about my well-being. Heat creeps up my neck and settles on my cheeks, but I force a nonchalant shrug, shifting on my feet.

“Nothing has ever happened before. Plus, I know everyone in the neighborhood. I only live a few more blocks away.”

He still looks uncomfortable with the thought of me walking on my own. And be still my little heart, I don’t think I’ve ever felt this giddy.

“Which way are you headed?” I point behind him, and he follows the trajectory of my finger and nods. “C’mon, I’d feel much better if I knew you got home safely.”

It’s a struggle to pull air into my lungs as I walk alongside End. His breathing is still heavy from his run, yet it’s controlled, much more controlled than mine would be if I went for a run.

“So you run at night?”

He shrugs. “It helps me clear my head when I need to think. And there’s more privacy.”

I snort under my breath. “Too much fanfare during the day?”

He shoots a bashful smirk my way. “Noticed that, have you?”

A grin pulls at the corners of my lips. “You’ve been here, what, four years? I think everyone has noticed.”

He shakes his head, his gaze focused ahead of him. “I hate it. The attention.”

Surprise flits across my face. “You do?”

His gaze narrows as he stares off into the distance; the corners of his eyes pinching, and for a fraction of a second, he almost looks pained. “With all that attention comes expectations of me and what I’m doing with my life. I graduated high school, yet…I’m still here. In this small town I swore I wouldn’t stay in, no matter how much my family loves it.”

My heart cinches at the thought of him leaving again. He was gone for a while to community college a few towns over after he graduated high school, but he didn’t last long. His dad needed help in his automotive shop, and I heard through the grapevine here in town that his parents couldn’t afford the extra expense of college.

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” He lifts a shoulder noncommittally. “That’s the problem. I considered football, but that’s not a plausible career. At least not anymore. College is out of the question. I guess the second-best thing would be to continue working at the automotive shop with my dad, but the thought of fixing cars every day for the rest of my fucking life? I can’t stand it.”

I fall silent. In all the times I pictured myself talking to him, I never thought the conversation would get so serious. I like that he doesn’t have it all together—that he has higher aspirations for himself. A part of me also feels bad for him because, at nineteen, one would think you have everything all figured out, but Endymion? He doesn’t even know who he is at this point.

Dread settles in the pit of my stomach once we turn down my street, closing in on my house. The walk was too fast. There’s never enough time when it comes to being with Endymion.

“Well…” I let out a breath. “Whatever you do decide you want to do, just make sure it’s something you love. Something that’ll make you happy. Reach for the stars, Endymion.”

We pause in front of my house, and I fidget before him, anticipation swirling through my veins as I wonder what will happen next.

Nothing apparently.

End smiles. “Thanks, kid. I needed that.” He lets out a loud yawn, jerking his head back toward my house. “Well, good night. And maybe stop walking around in the middle of the night, yeah? The crime rate might be low here, but that doesn’t mean everyone in this town is a saint.”

With that quick parting statement, he breaks into an unhurried jog. I can feel the moment between us slipping away, so much so that I begin to panic. Swallowing thickly, I call out after him, causing him to jerk to a quick stop.


He turns, brows raised in question.

“I just wanted to say…Happy Birthday.”

He smiles then, and it’s the most beautiful sight. It settles in my stomach, causing warmth to filter through my veins.

“Happy Birthday, Selene,” he calls out, his gaze pinned to mine. I feel a current travel between us. It’s electric and damn near shocks me. He has to feel it, too. Right?

Severing the connection, he turns, and I’m left standing there, completely deflated as I watch his form disappear into the night.


Would he ever see me as anything else?

Once inside, I head straight for the bathroom in the hallway. Flicking on the light, I cringe at my reflection. With long, boring, wavy brown hair, alabaster skin that makes me look like I’m a vampire, and a face that won’t stop anyone in their tracks, I can definitely see why Endymion isn’t exactly falling over himself for me. When I was younger, my hair had a lighter tint to it, more like my father’s dirty blonde, but as I’ve gotten older, the color has evolved.

Placing my hands on each side of the vanity, I lean forward and scrutinize every part of my face. Making comparisons between myself and every other girl he’s dated. My skin is smooth, like porcelain, which means my cheeks are always unnecessarily rosy. My brows, though shaped and plucked, are still dark and bushy. In my younger years, my “caterpillar brows” were the cause of incessant teasing. My eyes, a simple caramel brown with a ring of green, are identical to my father’s, and I have a slender nose that upturns the slightest bit at the tip, just like my mother’s. My lips are much too big for my face, and when I smile, it only makes it worse. I usually try to keep my mouth closed when I smile, just so I don’t blind everyone by looking like Jim Carrey from The Mask. Even without lipstick or colored lip balm, my lips are naturally a pinkish red, which is annoying since half the popular girls in my class think I’m trying to one-up them. The icing on the shit-cake that are my looks? The smattering of freckles I was cursed with that decorate the bridge of my nose. My grandparents think it’s cute. Me? Not so much.

With one last self-depreciating glance at myself, I blow out a discontented sigh before heading upstairs. I jerk my gaze up at the sound of stomping feet. My mom’s face is twisted with anger as she flies past me without really seeing me.

“Fucking asshole,” she mutters under her breath, no doubt referring to my father and the fight they must’ve had. My grip tightens on the railing, and my chest squeezes in an agonized vise. Slamming my eyes shut, I force myself to remain impassive and think about anything else but my parents and their problems. Adult issues should be the very last thing on my mind. A tired huff slips past my lips as I head into my bedroom. For once, I wish I could go to my mom with my problems, instead of always worrying about hers. I wish I could ask her for advice, but chances are, that’ll never happen because her problems and her unhappiness consume almost all her thoughts.

Pacing around my bedroom for a while, I find my thoughts returning to the events of tonight. Still stuck on Endymion. I’m damn near wearing a hole in my carpet until I can’t stand it anymore. I need to talk to him again. About anything.

I make an excuse to my mom that I’m heading to my friend, Julia’s, to borrow her notes on an assignment for class. She only lives around the corner, so it’s not a big deal. Mom agrees, without question, because here in Dunsmuir, you don’t have to worry about your child walking around the corner to their friend’s house. Everyone in this town knows everyone and keeps their eyes out for the entire community.

I start down the street at a brisk jog, my gaze darting around, wondering where he could’ve headed next. If he was jogging around the neighborhood, I’d need to turn left on Stone Creek, but he was heading toward his house to finish his jog. Or at the very least, that’s what it seemed like. I opt to turn down Elm Street anyway and head toward his house, just to see if he’s home. Elm Street turns off Sunflower Lane, the road I live on, a few blocks ahead. If he is, I’m sure his window at the top of his two-story will be lit up, much like it usually is when he’s up there.

At fifteen years old, it’s no secret that I’m as unsuspecting as they come. And I’ve never truly known heartbreak until tonight. I jog down Elm Street, closing in on his house, and that’s when I see it.

I see them

I thought we might actually be getting somewhere after what I thought was a meaningful conversation, where he actually saw me and I was no longer that invisible girl anymore, but I couldn’t have been anymore wrong. He actually didn’t see me at all. I was nothing to him, and chances were I always would be.

The knife plunges in my heart when I hear the moan. I glance at Holly Matthews’ house, who lives a few houses down from Endymion, and blanch at the shadows I can make out on the side of the house. I pause along the sidewalk, and my eyes widen, my chest cracking open when I realize what I’m looking at. There at the side of the house are Endymion and Holly, damn near going at it. I can see her tan, golden skin peeking out from the shadows and his strong, bulky frame as he holds her up against the side of the house. I shouldn’t be all that surprised. Back in high school, Holly and Endymion dated and often couldn’t keep their hands off each other. It’s obvious that hasn’t changed.

A piercing ache settles in my chest, making it hard to breathe. It feels as if someone is taking an ice pick to all my vital organs and jabbing, tearing open my flesh and letting me bleed out.

I can’t believe I actually thought one stupid conversation between us tonight would turn into something more, something I’ve always dreamed of, but of course, that didn’t happen. This isn’t like the grand scenes in the books I read or the swoony moments in my favorite movies. This is real life, and it fucking sucks.

Grappling for the moon chain around my neck, I tighten my fist around the crescent shape and slam my lips together, holding in the sob that threatens to escape. I let my gaze linger for a few seconds longer before I turn on my heels, nursing my broken heart.

The entire walk back home on my fifteenth birthday is spent with hot trails of tears carving their way down my cheeks as I feel sorry for myself. I tell myself it doesn’t change things. I tell myself it just isn’t our time, but the little voice inside my head knows better.

Endymion and I were ill-fated and doomed from the start. I should’ve figured it out sooner, what with all the mythology I read, but I get it now. We are star-crossed lovers, never meant to be. He is the sun, and I am the moon. I’ll always chase him, and he’ll always run.

I wonder if there will ever be a day when he’ll chase the moon?

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