Home > The Illusion of Annabella (Honeyton #1)

The Illusion of Annabella (Honeyton #1)
Author: Jessica Sorensen


A Sea of Glass


I’ve always been a happy person. At peace with my life. Always wearing a sparkling smile, I was the kind of child who dreamed about catching rainbows and drinking glasses of sunshine. There wasn’t a day where I didn’t wake up thinking how wonderful it was to be alive.


I was fortunate enough to be born into a loving family. I grew up in a small town in the center of suburbia where life stood still in comparison to larger cities, but I loved the comfort it brought, that hometown feeling I got whenever I walked around. But my favorite part was how everyone celebrated the holidays. Christmases were dusted with handfuls of holiday magic, and everyone who lived on our street decorated their homes so the entire block was lit up. Fourth of Julys were spent at the park with neighbors, eating popsicles and pies, and gazing up at an explosion of fireworks painting the dusky sky, like a field of fireflies. When I was younger, I truly believed they were fireflies.


“I want to catch them,” I shouted while pointing at the sky. “Please, Daddy, let me catch them. I think they might secretly be fireflies.”


“That’s not a wise idea, Annabella,” my father, who was going through his overly protective phase, said. “You could get burned if you actually caught one.”


I sulked, and my mom chimed in, “Oh, come on, honey, let her go play for a while.” She urged me forward, and I ran across the grass with my hands in the air, watching the sky in awe.


My younger twin sisters, Alexis and Zhara, and my older sister, Jessamine, joined me while my brothers, Loki and Nikoli, stayed by my father, pretending to be uninterested. I felt sorry for them. They didn’t realize how much fun we were having, even if we never caught a single firefly—they always fizzled out before they hit the ground. Over the years, my father stopped being so paranoid and joined in, even going as far as buying us our own box of sparklers every year.


Despite the magic of the Fourth of July, birthdays were always my favorite time of year. When I was younger, birthdays were solely a family holiday, where the seven Bakers spent the day together doing whatever the birthday girl or boy wanted. It didn’t even have to be mine. I was always happy on birthday mornings, so thrilled to celebrate the day together, days that promised endless magical possibilities. My parents would do crazy things like pull us out of school to take us to concerts, let us spend a day on the beach sculpting sand statues—which they’d judge at the end—or my personal favorite, shopping at secondhand stores to see who could come up with the best find. I always felt so lucky all the time, and maybe that’s where I made the mistake.


“I found a vase that belonged to a princess,” I proclaimed to my mom on my tenth birthday.


The vase was black and pink with jewels and a small crack down the center. In reality, it didn’t belong to a princess. I just believed pretty vases were supposed to belong to princesses.


“Anna’s lying,” Nikoli said, pointing at me. “She’s making stories up again.”


“It could’ve belonged to a princess.” I cradled the vase to my chest. “Mom, tell him it could.”


“It can be whatever you want.” My mom smoothed her palm over the top of my head.


She always encouraged me to be whoever I wanted to be and believed whatever I wanted her to believe. She was the same way, full of ideas that didn’t always make sense. I dreamt of being like her one day.


All of that changed on the day I turned seventeen. The day that had held so much promise when I woke up, carried so much despair when I shut my eyes to go to sleep. Maybe it was because I knew nothing was ever going to be the same. That Christmases, Fourth of Julys, and even birthdays would never be magical again. Those days would be less promising. That the happy, sunny days of catching rainbows were dead.


Because it was the day I learned that I had been, and always would be, living my life in a sea of glass. That my life was a distorted reflection of what I wanted to see, and when that life shattered, I was left trying to figure out how to put the pieces back together.



Chapter One


A Glitter Rainstorm


I’m not the prettiest girl in the world or the most popular. I don’t have a fantastic talent that sets me apart from others. I rarely rebel. I do smile more than most, and I love to dance. I enjoy a lot of things, like books that you can get lost in, movies that make you happy, and music you can dance to. Most days, I’m average at best. Most days I’m okay with that. Today, not so much.


It’s my seventeenth birthday. Although I used to spend the day with my family, now that I’m older, my parents are throwing a party for me and my friends. And Ben Winsington, a guy I’ve crushed on since grade school, is coming. It took me days to work up the courage to invite him and all my willpower not to faint when he said yes. Ben, the star quarterback and one of the hottest guys at school, said yes!


The party hasn’t even started, and I’m already a bundle of nerves over what I’m going to wear, what I’m going to say to Ben, if I’ll be able to act semi-cool. Since it’s still early, I have another seven jittery, nausea-filled hours to suffer through before the actual fun begins.


The music in my bedroom is cranked up, a string quartet floating from the speaker, as I yank all my clothes off the hangers and toss them onto the bed. In the midst of the madness, my mom sticks her head into my room then snaps her fingers at me. “Annabella Baker, we need to go now, or we’re going to be late.” Her urgent tone doesn’t match the huge smile on her face.


“I’m hurrying as fast as I can.” I fasten my lengthy brown hair into a ponytail then put my hands on my hips and stare at the mounds of clothes piled on the bed. “I just can’t figure out what to wear.”


“Since when do you care about clothes so much?”


I hope my heated cheeks don’t give me away. “I don’t know.”


But she can read me like an open book. “Is this about a boy?”


I shake my head, but eventually I’ll cave and tell her about Ben and my huge crush on him. Hopefully she’ll give me some advice on how to chill out and act cooler than I feel.


“All right then,” she says skeptically. She starts digging through my clothes and holds up a pink, knee-length dress. “How about this one? You look cute in it.”


I scrunch up my nose. “I don’t want to look cute today.”


“Then what to you want to look like?”


“I don’t know . . . like you maybe.”


My mom is anything but ordinary. Her wild, brown curls that frame her heart-shaped face and cat-shaped eyes surrounded by long, dark eyelashes remind me of an Egyptian princess. She’s an amazing cook, too, the kind who can make cakes look like works of art. Plus, she wears a lot of edgy outfits that make her standout.

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