Peeling Layers (Lizzy and Michael I)

Synopsis

Throughout her life, Elizabeth Hartley has gotten used to being stared at; having strangers point fingers at her features; even catching none-too-softly whispers as people speculate of her origin. Known as Lizzy to those closest and dearest to her, the first offspring of a pure blood Caucasian father and a petite Chinese mother stands at five-foot-nine, the height she has inherited from her male parent. Her skin colour is a perfect blend of her Father’s fair and her Mother’s light olive complexions. Her cheekbones are unusually high, a prominent, unmistakable feature passed down from her Mother’s Asian heritage. And despite her best efforts, her completely widened eyes will remain slightly smaller and slanted than those of her Father’s.

As she embarks on the exciting-yet-daunting journey of high school, her rather peculiar appearance has attracted further attention. She is instantly befriended by Michael Bradford, the sole heir to the multi-billionaire advertising tycoon James Bradford whom admires the uncanny ability the girl possesses to seemingly brush the countless stares off her back effortlessly. And almost as instantaneously, she becomes the sole target of a high school bully named Gordon Crane, his sense of prejudice and discrimination run so deep within his vein he was determined to do anything and everything in his power to make her life a living hell.

But Lizzy refuses to let Gordon believe he has gained the upper hand, even if an incident at a summer camp almost claims her life. Picking herself up little by little, she manages to seek other avenues to shine, uncovering friends and comfort in the last places she thought she’d find them.

Excerpt

Her heart jumped to her throat as her fingers scratched slick, solid flesh half-way through her sixth lap. As if this wasn’t surprising enough, two more sixteen-year-old boys jumped into the pool, taking a firm hold of each of her arm.

“Hey! Let go!” Lizzy snarled, twisting her arms this way and that.

“You think you own the pool, Hartley?” Gordon asked, assuming a menacing stance as he moved forward.

Lizzy pursed her lips and swallowed. Truth be told, had she known that Gordon and his two sidekicks would like the sole use of the pool, she would have gladly stayed out of the way.

She yelped as Gordon grabbed a handful of her damp hair on her nape and tilted her head back.

“Gordon…” She whimpered. “What… is your problem?”

Gordon made a derisive noise on the back of his throat, his green-gray eyes narrowing disapprovingly.

“Half-breed,” he growled. “You don’t deserve to be here. People like you should never be allowed to mix with people like us. And you’re certainly not good enough to befriend someone like him!”

Her eyes shifted to the direction where Gordon had just jerked his head towards, catching a glimpse of thick brown hair, bopping along the neatly trimmed hedge covering the other side of the pool gate.

Michael!

Before she could find her voice, she felt the water from her waist below rippled violently like a tidal wave. Dimly, she realised that the wall of the pool was coming close to her sight at an incredibly fast speed.

Then, everything became very dark.