Ever since the tragic accident that took her family away, Lana had only ever focused on ballet—it was the one thing that helped distract her from the pain and guilt she held inside. Sure, she had some friends, but her goal was always to dance in New York City, and after high school, she did just that. Now, four years later, she’s returning home to California for a job. The last thing she expects is to run into Luke, her old crush, who’s also just moved back and is ~very~ eager to continue where they left off…
Age Rating: 18+
A Chance to Have You by Lana Pearl is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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Ever since the tragic accident that took her family away, Lana had only ever focused on ballet—it was the one thing that helped distract her from the pain and guilt she held inside. Sure, she had some friends, but her goal was always to dance in New York City, and after high school, she did just that. Now, four years later, she’s returning home to California for a job. The last thing she expects is to run into Luke, her old crush, who’s also just moved back and is very eager to continue where they left off…
Age Rating: 18+
Original Author: Lana Pearl
I feel the water dripping down my body. My clothes are completely soaked with toilet water.
“Choke on that, Scar Freak,” Rita says.
This is the third time today Rita has done this. Some students stare and walk away, some stand and watch with sympathy, while the rest stand and laugh at me.
My name is Lana Owen. I am sixteen years old from Louisiana but I live in San Diego, California with my aunt, Alice, who is a veterinarian.
I was involved in a car accident that killed both my parents and my brother, James.
Due to the accident, I have a scar on my face, from the top of my left eyebrow, slanting down to my nose and ending on my right jaw.
That's why Rita, her boyfriend, Howard, and their minions, Jessica and Hannah, have bullied me since I started school at Sun Morph High School in San Diego.
I feel a hot sting on my face. I hold my face and look up. Rita slapped me with a gloved hand.
“I said never look uninterested when I'm having fun with you.” She laughs.
“Shit, Rita, the principal is coming,” Jessica warns Rita.
Soon everyone watching my humiliation scatters away.
I look at them running off. I feel a shadow over me. I look up at Mrs. Hathaway. We stare at each other, and then she squats to my height and says, “Lana, are you okay?”
“Yes, Mrs. Hathaway.”
She looks at me, waiting to hear more. When I don't say anything, she sighs and says, “You know you can talk to me, Lana. I can't help you if you don't say anything.”
I can't hold it in anymore; I put my head on my knees and start crying. She holds me in her arms until I stop crying.
“I will call your aunty while you go to the lost and found and get rid of these clothes. Meet me in my office.”
I nod at her. I stand on my feet and head to the lost and found. Even with the bullying, I never let my hair down. I always tuck it up in a well-packed bun.
I have never let anyone see my hair down. I don't hide my scar. I show it to the world. I guess that's one of the things that pisses Rita off about me. I don't hide behind my hair.
I walk down the staff hallway with my head bowed. As I reach the principal's office, I hear Aunty Alice's voice.
“She's been through a lot, Courtney. She is the most loving, sweet, and passionate girl that I know. Why can't they see that? Is it because of the scar? It's not her fault, and they should know that.”
“I hear you, Alice, but Lana refuses to report or say anything. I have my suspicion on the culprits but I can't help her if—”
Mrs. Hathaway notices me at the door and smiles. My aunty turns, sees me at the door, stands up quickly, and takes me in her arms.
“I came as soon as I was called. Are you okay”? We separate and I nod to her.
“Sweetie, why don't we sit and talk?”
“Please, Aunty Alice, let's just go home.”
“No, Lana. This has to stop. I can't just sweep this under the rug. It's not fair what these kids are doing to you. Just because they don't understand something doesn't mean they have to be mean to you.”
I am holding my backpack hard now. I hate it when she tries to put her foot down on me. I look away from her.
She sighs loudly. I know I should say something but I just can't. I don't want to give them a reason to hate me more.
“Lana, there are going to be days where you have to get up and fight. I hope when that day comes, you will be able to recognize it,” says Mrs. Hathaway.
I don't say anything but look between her and my aunty.
Aunty Alice picks up her bag, bids Mrs. Hathaway good-bye, and leads me out the door, out the school, and into the car. We don't talk until halfway home.
“So I was thinking I'll order pizza for dinner or Chinese food. What do you think?” says Aunty Alice.
“Anything will do.”
“Oh, Lana, I know it looks rough right now but it won't be like this forever. Soon you'll make a friend, and oh, oh who knows, a boyfriend.”
I can't hold it in anymore. I start laughing, “A boyfriend? No one wants me as a friend, much less a boyfriend.”
“What do you mean? Okay, okay let's get this straight. You are smart, brilliant, beautiful, and a talented dancer. You are even more than these things. It just takes a special person to see you for you.”
“Yeah, I can't wait,” I reply with sarcasm.
Just then her phone rings.
She drops me off at home and heads back to the animal hospital on a call. After showering and changing into my comfortable clothes, I check the time and it's almost time for my ballet class.
I take the duffle bag containing my ballet outfit and shoes and run out the door. I don't want to give Mr. Arnold Fletcher, my ballet teacher, any reason to think that I'm unserious.
With my earbuds in my ear, I start singing to Sia's “Eye of the Needle.” I reach the block opposite the ballet building and wait for the cars to come to a stop so I can cross.
Just then a black Chevrolet catches my interest; I watch as it comes up the traffic light and halts at the red light right next to me.
An older man is driving with an older woman in front who I assume is his wife and I notice a boy behind with a girl at the other end. The boy in the back seat catches my eye.
All I can see is his side view but he looks handsome. Just then the most beautiful brown eyes I have ever seen turn and stare at me.
My breath hitches, but we continue staring at each other. He has to be the most handsome boy I have ever seen.
His eyes are as black as a raven. His black hair looks soft and smooth. A horn from another car shakes me from my moment. I cross the road.
I head toward the ballet academy, I turn and look at the car, and I see the girl at the other end with earbuds in her ear nodding to a song.
“MISS OWEN!” Mr. Arnold shouts my name from the twin doors. I quickly turn to him and run toward the doors before he closes them.
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As usual, I occupy the front seat by the window.
I am so hungry. I hate eating alone, so Aunty Alice tries her best to come home early so we can have dinner together. Or I go over to her office with the food for the both of us.
Yesterday's dance class was very tedious. I got back home tired and fell asleep almost immediately.
Aunty Alice got back from work late. I don't eat late 'cause I have to maintain my figure. This means me going to bed hungry and tired.
Everyone starts entering and taking their seat as the bell goes off.
Just then a paper is thrown at the back of my hair. “Scar freak,” Rita says. And everyone laughs.
As usual, I don't turn my back; I keep my face straight ahead.
“All right, class, settle down. We have a new student,” Mr. Shawn says.
A girl with brown hair wearing blue jeans and a tank top stands in front of the class with earbuds in her ear.
“All right, introduce yourself to the class.”
“My name is Michelle Glass. I moved to California with my parents and my brother from New York.”
“Nice to meet you, Michelle. Take the empty seat behind Lana and we will begin our class.” Mr. Shawn gestures to me.
I don't need to look at Michelle to know she is staring at me as she walks toward me and takes the seat behind me.
Minutes into the class, Mrs. Hathaway enters and Mr. Shawn excuses himself.
Just then I hear Rita talking to the new girl. Wow, she moves fast to recruit her minions.
“I love your shoes. Where did you get them?” I hear Rita say.
“Oh, umm, my mom got them from Paris.”
“Wow, what a generous mother. You are so lucky,” Hannah replies.
“Yeah. Hey, do you know what happened to her? She has a…”
My heart starts beating fast 'cause I know she is referring to me.
I hear Rita and her minions laugh.
“I see you have noticed the scar freak,” Jessica says.
“Yeah, that's what everyone calls her. Well, we invented the name,” Hannah says.
“Why did you do that?” asks Michelle.
“Well, in this world, we have normal and abnormal people. Well, it's more like saying perfect and imperfect. It's the job of my friends and me to identify such people and put them in the place they belong to. You don't want them mixing up with perfection like us and denting our beauty, do you?” says Rita.
Mr. Shawn enters the classroom and the lesson continues.
After two classes, the break bell goes off. As usual, I am always the last person to leave the class. I wait for the silence to kick in.
When I don't hear any feet on the ground, the doors opening and closing, or the whispers, I leave the class and head to my locker.
After dropping off my books and closing my locker, I start walking cautiously, looking for any sign of Rita and her minions. I walk into the cafeteria.
Everyone is busy talking away and laughing. I take a tray and walk to the food stands and stand in line. I turn to look for a place to sit. I see an empty table at the far end.
Just then my eye catches Rita and her boyfriend with their minions at a table, surrounding someone, a guy. I don't see his face, only his black hair.
Somehow I feel like I know the person. I try bending a little to catch a glimpse of him and then Hannah catches me staring at them and whispers to Rita.
I turn around and wait my turn. I take my food and head toward the empty table at the far end. Just then I am pulled by my bun roughly and my tray crashes to the floor.
I slip on my food and hit the floor. The hall erupts and everyone starts laughing.
I try to stand but Jessica pushes my leg and I fall again.
“Where do you think you are going, Scar Freak?” Rita says.
I look at her, not in the mood for her games. “Rita, please, I am hungry. Let me go,” I tell her.
“Don't worry. We are going to feed you,” Jessica says. She picks up my little carton of yogurt and smiles mischievously at me.
I watch Jessica open the carton and walk toward me. Every day I go back home with a ruined shirt.
Everyone turns and looks at Michelle. She looks very angry. She walks past Rita and her minions and stands in front of me.
“What do you think you are doing?” she asks.
“What does it look like we are doing? We are putting the scar freak in her place,” says Rita.
“The only way that yogurt is going to touch her is if I drop dead. Now go away.”
The three laugh mockingly.
“Honey, being a hero doesn't fit you. Now why don't you move out of the way? We'd hate to ruin that top,” Jessica says.
I expect Michelle to leave by now but she doesn't budge.
Rita snatches the yogurt from Jessica and walks toward her. The most insane thing happens in front of me.
Rita is maneuvered and bent on the floor with her hand behind her back, with her shirt messed up with yogurt juice.
Hannah rushes to defend her and Michelle somersaults over Jessica's bent hand and throws her feet under Hannah's feet and she lands on the floor like a mashed potato.
Howard, out of nowhere, catches Michelle's hand but is stopped by a fist in his face.
“Get your hands off my sister,” a voice says.
He has his back facing me. He looks at his sister who smiles at him as he slowly turns to me. My heart starts beating fast when I finally recognize him.
The guy from the black Chevrolet.
I stare at his perfect face and body, and for the first time in my life, I am ashamed of my scar.
“What is going on here?”
Everyone turns and looks at Mrs. Hathaway and Mr. Shawn.
“I believe the principal asked a question. Why do you look all messed up, Rita?” asks Mr. Shawn.
“She started it. She spilled her yogurt on my perfect shirt on purpose,” Rita says, pointing at me.
“Yeah, we tried to get her to apologize and they both attacked us,” Howard adds, gesturing to Michelle and her brother.
“First day of school and you both are already causing trouble? To my office, your parents will be joining us soon,” Mrs. Hathaway says.
Michelle turns and looks at me. I can tell she wants me to say something but all I can do is look at her.
Her brother, whose name I don't know yet, holds her. She looks away from me and looks at him.
As they follow Mrs. Hathaway and Mr. Shawn out of the dining hall, I start to feel pain in my chest—the same I felt nine years ago after the accident, like my parents and brother leaving me behind.
Everyone turns and looks at me.
“I have been going to school here since the second grade and from my first day here till now, Howard, Rita, Jessica, and Hannah have been making my life miserable because I look… different.
“The pranks in the hallway, on the field, in the locker room, in the music room, in the girls' toilet, in the dining hall, at the school's parking lot, where you always find me soaked with water, smelling awful, lonely and scared has been the four of them.
“No one has ever stood up for me until today. Michelle and her brother stood up for me, Mrs. Hathaway.”
“She is lying, Mrs. Hathaway,” Jessica says.
“She's telling the truth.”
A girl from the photography club walks up to Mr. Shawn and hands him a camera. Mr. Shawn takes it from her and plays a video.
He shows Mrs. Hathaway who watches too. When the video ends, she finally says, “Mr. Scoffs, Miss Isaac, Miss Hunter, and Miss Donald, get your bags and meet me in my office. Your parents will be joining us for a very long talk.”
The four of them leave the hall with Mr. Shawn following them.
“Lana, why don't you follow me to my office? Your aunty will be joining us too.”
I nod at her.
“Luke, Michelle, thank you for today,” Mrs. Hathaway says.
I follow Mrs. Hathaway out of the hall. I look behind me. Michelle is smiling at me.
I look at Luke who just stares at me. I face forward and continue walking with Mrs. Hathaway. LUKE..
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