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Made of steel (made of s.., p.3
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.3

           Ivy Smoak

  Chapter 2

  I tiptoed down the hallway and peered around the corner into the living room. Julie was asleep in front of the TV. Her notes were strewn across the coffee table and she was snoring from the couch. Phase 3 was definitely complete. I tried to stifle my excitement as I ran back to my room. I pushed the window open while I slid my feet back into my bunny slippers. For just a moment, I thought about changing them. Bunny slippers were for children. I thought about Julie's new Converses that she couldn't stop talking about at dinner. I wanted Miles to think I was sophisticated. He was two years older than me. Maybe he liked Converses too. I bit my lip. But I loved bunnies. There was no better footwear than the slippers I was currently wearing. I climbed out the window without another thought.

  With one last look at my house to make sure the coast was clear, I ran through my backyard. I opened up the gate to Miles' backyard and closed it as quietly as possible. The light was already on in his tree house. I climbed up the rickety ladder and knocked twice on the boards above my head.

  "Secret password?" Miles said from the other side.

  The password was different every month. It was always a constellation that was easy to see in the sky during whatever month it was. It had taken me a long time to memorize them. But I preferred this method over what his password always was a couple of years ago: boys rule and girls drool. When I first moved in next door, I'm pretty sure he hated me. I had worn him down though. Now we were best friends.

  "Lyra," I said. He had a habit of choosing the smallest constellations that were the hardest to see. It just so happened that I liked those ones the most. The ones that he had to point out in order to show me where they were hiding.

  "Access denied. It's September first, Summer. New month, new secret password."

  I laughed. "It's Sagitta then." It was one of my favorites. It looked like an arrow in the sky and reminded me of cupid's arrow. I had been waiting for it to hit Miles for two years.

  The board lifted above my head. I climbed up into the tree house and he closed the floorboard door behind me.

  "Nice slippers, Summer."

  I smiled up at him. Yes, he used to hate me. Yes, we were friends now. But what Miles didn't realize was that I was hopelessly in love with him. Every time I thought about him, my heart raced. Every time I saw him, I was momentarily speechless. I loved the way he smiled out of the corner of his mouth. And the way his brown eyes lit up when he talked about the stars. For me, it was love at first sight. It was like all the fairy tales I read about. Despite what Julie said, it was real. Now I just had to wait for him to realize he loved me back. It would happen one day. There wasn't a doubt in my mind. That arrow was coming his way.

  "What are you staring at?" He pushed his shaggy brown hair off his forehead.

  "Nothing." I laughed awkwardly and looked down at my slippers. Bunny slippers were always a good choice. I knew it. "How was soccer practice?"

  "Fantastic." He lay down on the blanket in the center of the tree house and put his hands underneath his head. "I get to be a striker in the first game tomorrow."

  "That's awesome." I really had no idea what it meant, but I knew he had been wanting it, and therefore I was just as happy as he was. I lay down on the blanket next to him and looked up at the stars. That was the coolest thing about Miles' tree house. It had no roof. Every night that the sky was clear, I'd sneak out of my room and meet him in his tree house. We never had a set plan or anything. It's just how it was.

  "You're coming to my game tomorrow after school, right?" he asked, breaking the silence.

  He wants me at his games. I smiled up at the stars. "Of course. I'll ask my parents if it's okay once they get home."

  "I thought I saw Julie's car. Did you annoy her to no end tonight?"

  "Not to no end. Just until she fell asleep."

  He laughed.

  The sound made my insides flip over.

  "My parents can drive you home after. We'll probably get dinner somewhere if we win."

  It wasn't a date. But he technically had kind of asked me to dinner. Maybe he reciprocated my unspoken feelings. I thought about what Julie said about her new boyfriend. She had asked him out. It wasn't exactly how fairy tales went. But she certainly seemed happy.

  "I got you something," Miles said as he sat up.

  He bought me a present too?

  He pulled something out of his pocket and then put both his hands behind my back. "I got it from that quarter machine at the grocery store. I thought you might like it." He put both his hands out in front of him with both his fists closed. "You have to guess which hand it's in, though."

  So he hadn't actually bought me a present. He probably tried to get something for himself and failed. But he thought of me when he opened it. That counted for something.

  I looked into his eyes. He had always been really hard to read.

  A smile spread over his face, like he already knew I was going to choose wrong.

  I slapped his left hand. He opened it up. It was just an empty palm.

  "You're lucky that we're friends." He opened up his other hand and tossed a small object at me.

  I caught it and opened my hand. It was a small keychain with an arrow on it. Sagitta. "I love it."

  "Thought you might." He lay back down, not reading into my words at all. "Can you see it tonight?"

  "See what?" How much you love me back? My eyes were glued to the arrow keychain. It was the perfect present.

  "Sagitta." He pointed to the stars.

  I lay back down and looked past his index finger at the arrow in the sky. The constellation was as bright as could be. I nodded.

  It was like he knew my response even though he couldn't hear it. He dropped his hand on the blanket between us. Without thinking, I slipped my hand into his.

  And then I held my breath. For one second. My heart is going to beat out of my chest. For two. What did I just do? For three. Should I say it was an accident? For four. He's never going to speak to me again. For five.

  His fingers tightened around mine.

  I exhaled slowly. Miles Young was holding my hand. It felt like I was dreaming, because I had dreamed of this exact moment for years. Miles Young is holding my hand!

  Neither one of us said a word. We just looked at the stars in the sky.

  Thank you, Sagitta.



  "I like this."

  I swallowed hard. "Me too." My life was complete. I could already picture the wedding. My dad would walk me down the aisle. Miles would wear a blue tie to match my bridesmaids' dresses. It would be the best day of my life. Besides for this one. It would definitely be hard to compete with this one.

  "Maybe we could do this more often?" Miles said.

  I nodded.

  He squeezed my hand, hearing my nod even though he couldn't see it. Miles could read me much easier than I could read him. Maybe he knew I was in love with him for the past two years. I was glad he finally got hit by that arrow.

  He really was perfect, because he never made me feel like I was one of the smallest constellations in the sky. That's how I knew it was true love. I stared up at Sagitta. Suddenly the sky turned red and blue.

  Miles' hand fell from mine as he sat up. "What is that?" He looked out the window of the tree house. "Summer..."

  His voice sounded strange. I sat up and looked out the window too.

  There was a police car. The officer walked to my door and knocked. Why was he knocking on my door? Why was Julie's hand covering her mouth? Why did it look like he was trying to comfort her?

  My feet started moving before my mind could even process what was happening.

  "Summer!" Miles called after me as I climbed down the rickety ladder and started running back toward my house.

  Once I was through the gate into my yard, I kicked off my bunny slippers so I could run even faster.

  Julie turned toward me. The police officer turned toward me. And then I froze. Because he s
tarted walking toward me. He wasn't there to tell Julie something. He was there to tell me something.

  The officer crouched down in front of me and I held my breath for one second.

  "Your parents were in an accident."

  For two seconds.

  "We rushed them to the hospital."

  For three seconds.

  "I'm so sorry, Summer."

  For four seconds.

  "They didn't make it."

  It took five seconds for me to realize that my whole world had suddenly changed. Five seconds to realize that my life was no longer complete. Five seconds to realize that everything was broken.

  Chapter 3


  I know your grandmother said you could come visit sometime soon. My soccer team made it into the playoffs. If you could come to our next game, that would be amazing. I know it's a long drive, but you're my good luck charm.

  Hope you're doing well. How is your new school? I'm trying to convince my mom to move to Colorado. She's not thrilled with the idea. Give me all the highlights and maybe I can sway her.


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