Transcend (The Transcend Duet Book 1)

By: Jewel E Ann

CHAPTER ONE





Nevaeh. It’s Heaven spelled backwards and the name of the girl to my right with her finger five stories up her nose. I grimace while readjusting in my chair. It has nothing to do with her disgusting habit. One of the wings to my pad is stuck to my pubic hair. Mom worries about tampons and toxic shock syndrome. It can’t be more painful than this.

The receptionist keeps glancing at us through her owlish glasses, tapping the end of her pen on her chin. “Nevaeh, do you need a tissue?” she asks.

My parents are not the weirdest parents in the world after all. Lucky me.

Roy.

Doris.

Cherish.

Wayne.

With over ten thousand baby names in the average name book, how does one settle on such horrible names?

Backwards Heaven glances over at me as if I have the answer to the receptionist’s question. I’m not the tip of her finger. How am I supposed to know what it feels like up there? After inspecting her size—smaller than me—and her yellow hair in a hundred different lengths that looks like something my mom calls a DIY, I give the receptionist a small nod.

Without moving her finger, because it might be stuck, Nevaeh mimics my nod. The receptionist holds out a box of tissues. They both stare at me. When did I get put on booger duty?

“Swayze, do you need to go potty before we leave?” Mom asks, coming out of the office where I took my tests.

Swayze. That’s me. Worst name ever—until five minutes ago when Nevaeh introduced herself and offered me a gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, taste-free snack from her BPA-free backpack. My uncle thinks the millennials are going to ruin the world because they have no common sense, and all of their knowledge comes from the internet. He may be right, only time will tell, but then what’s my parents’ excuse? Or Nevaeh’s parents’ excuse? Common sense says you give your child a good solid name. Kids don’t want to be unique. It’s true. We just want to fit in.

I grab the box of tissues and toss it on my empty chair, turning before Nevaeh’s finger slides out. Some things I don’t need to know, like why it smells like cherry vomit in the waiting room, why there is a water dispenser but no cups, and what’s up Nevaeh’s right nostril.

“Restroom,” I mumble, tracing the toe of my shoe over the red and white geometric patterns of the carpet.

“We can’t hear you when you talk to your feet, Swayze,” Dad says like he’s said it a million times. Maybe he has.

I lift my head up. “No, I don’t need to use the restroom! Or potty. Do I still look four to you?”

His blue eyes, which match mine, ping-pong around the room before landing on me. “Shh … you don’t need to be so loud.” He smooths his hand over the top of his mostly bald head, like I ruffled his feathers, what few he has left.

“Let’s just go, dear.” My mom reaches for my hand.

I jerk away.

“Swayze.”

As if giving me such a stupid name wasn’t enough, she has to draw it out. “Swaaayzeee.” Who wants a name that rhymes with lazy and crazy?

“Well, you said you can’t hear me when I talk to my feet. Can you hear me now?!”

They hear me. The guy who tested me peeks his head out the door, squinting at me. He hears me too. I can’t find my inside voice. Something has tripped my volume and it’s stuck on playground voice.

“Potty is what toddlers do. I’m not a toddler! I’m eleven. And I know stuff that other eleven-year-olds don’t know. So what? That doesn’t mean something is wrong with me. You keep bringing me to places like this to take stupid tests and sit in stinky waiting rooms with weird kids who have crazy names and like to chant unsolvable riddles, pull their hair, and pick their noses!”

Balling my hands, I resist the rare urge to pull my own hair. My parents each take one of my arms and drag me out of the office. Just before we reach the door, I give Nevaeh a small grimace of apology. She slides her finger back into her nose.

“Am I a genius yet?” I ask in a much calmer voice as my parents rush me to the elevator and down fifteen stories like someone’s trying to kill the president. Next to our blue hybrid car is a red convertible. Maybe it belongs to Nevaeh’s parents. Then again, that car is a little too cool for people who would name their child Heaven backwards. Heaven in the opposite direction … wouldn’t that be Hell?