Authors: Casey Harvell
Copyright © 2013 Casey Harvell
All Rights Reserved
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events and companies portrayed are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously.
To my readers, you guys rock! Thank you for your support <3
To my kids: Thanks for your patience while mommy is off with her imaginary friends.
I’d like to thank all of the wonderful people who helped make this book possible
. To mah friend, you know who you are! To my awesome critique partner, CB, thanks a million! And to all my wonderful colleagues at Writer’s Carnival, thanks for your insight
’ve always thought of myself as a nice person, a good person. But these days, I’m not so sure. Even if you’re well aware that extreme situations can change people, you’ll still never be prepared for it. And here, now…nothing could have ever prepared me for this insanity.
ell, isn’t that brilliant?” Brianna complains, sarcasm dripping from her words.
“I don’t think he meant it
way, Brie.” I answer. “I know he wants us to play. Just not tonight, I guess.”
“Whatever.” Brie says. It’s her favorite go to expression when she doesn’t want to deal with a situation, such as the one we are in presently.
Brie and I make up a two person rock band. Think the White Stripes with chicks. Brie rocks the drums, while I play the guitar and sing. Our friend Joel said he had a gig for us tonight. Until we show up with our equipment in tow, just to find plans have changed. And I get it, beggars and choosers and all. But hello? A text message maybe?
“We should go. I still have to study for that biology test tomorrow.” Not really, but if I know Brie, she hasn’t studied yet.
“Ugh. I flipping hate biology.” She grumbles. “Let’s go.”
We pile everything back into the station wagon and head back to her house. At seventeen, Brie gets to do stuff like borrow her mom’s car. With my own seventeenth birthday a few days away I’m hoping to be able to obtain some kind of transportation of my own soon. First, I guess I need to obtain a driver’s license. But I like to consider both of those things minor details.
Brie flicks on the headlights and windshield wipers. It’s starting to rain, making this early fall evening switch from mild to chilly. It’s also going to change our quick twenty minute drive back to our sleepy town in the northwestern corner of Connecticut into a half hour at least. The winding roads and wet leaves make for slow goings. Luckily, Brie is a cautious driver to begin with.
“What did your mom say about this weekend?” Brie asks.
“The usual, keep my phone on and text her when we get back to your house.” I roll my eyes.
“Kickass, are you excited?”
I shrug. “I guess. It’s just another birthday.”
“Please. We are going to throw you the party of all parties. You’ll see.”
I decide to throw her favorite word back at her, “Whatever.”
“Mom, I’m home!” I yell, walking through the kitchen door.
“I’m in here, Kat!” I hear her call back from the living room, knowing what she’s doing before I get to her.
My mom has an affinity for sappy old movies. She can, and does, watch them for hours on end. Tonight, she’s watching White Christmas on DVD. It was only a couple of years ago that I discovered its odd to watch holiday movies year round. I don’t complain though. If this is her chosen idiosyncrasy than I guess it could be worse. Like poor Brie. Her mom collects porcelain clown figurines. I shudder; I won’t venture into Brie’s mom’s room for anything.
“That was an awfully quick show,” my Mom says, not tearing her eyes away from the TV.
“Yeah, Joel forgot to text us to tell us it was cancelled.”
“Yeah, it does. I’m going to head upstairs, goodnight, Mom, love you.”
“Goodnight, Kat, love you, too. Sorry about your show.”
I get to my room and drop my stuff on the chair by my closet. I’ve lived in this house, had this room, for as long as I can remember. For my fifteenth birthday, my mom surprised me by letting me redo my room. So, it was out with the frilly white curtains and pink walls and in with the steel colored paint and purple drapes. Overall it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. I grab my phone and text Brie again, to remind her to study, and smile when she texts me back with a grumpy face.
I set out clothes for tomorrow and grab my pajamas so I can go take a shower. When I’m done I grab my e-reader and get lost for a while. I’m not really tired, but when I see the clock says midnight, I know it’s time to get some sleep. I turn off my light and wait for sleep to come. I begin mentally reciting biology terms and I’m out in minutes.
Brie and I walk into school the next morning and she’s still griping about the biology test. I remind her that at least she has a study hall first period, where as I get to go to PE, my least favorite thing in the world. She admits I have the crappier deal, and she asks to borrow my notes and biology book. Being the great best friend I am I hand them over and watch her skulk off to study hall. I no sooner turn around, when I plow into a broad chest. Blushing, I look up into an unfamiliar, really gorgeous face.
I’m too busy collecting myself to say anything when he speaks. “Do you know where the office is?”
Still stuck on stupid, I point down the hall to the doors marked ‘Main Office’. He gives me a smile, that does nothing to help my brain kick back into gear, and moves a piece of my auburn hair out of my face before turning and disappearing into the office doors. I give myself a small head shake and continue down the hall. I mutter to myself under my breath. “Real smooth Kat, real smooth.”
“Talking to ourselves again, Kitty?” The voice makes me cringe inwardly. It also makes me want to hit something,-particularly its owner. “You do know that’s a sign of insanity, right?”
Kiera has been a pain in my ass for as long as I can remember. Ever since we were little, she’s made it her goal to mess with me. It’s not enough that her long, straight blond hair always behaves itself, whereas my wavy auburn locks are constantly doing things I don’t want. Or that she’s the most popular girl at school. Nope, she has to be a bitch, too.
“We already knew that, Kiera.” Her friend Shelby chimes in. “Why, just look at her. She’s the very definition of a hot mess.”
I’m already not in the best mood, so I decide to ignore them and continue on my way. I don’t think of myself as a ‘hot mess’. Granted I’m not as polished as Kiera, Shelby and their friends, but I’m not
out of it. My hair, well, I learned to accept that a while back. I have a baby face, much to my dismay, with big green eyes and pouty lips. It certainly doesn’t help me to be taken seriously. I’m not very tall, and my body is more curvy than most of the girls my age. Not fat, just full of hips, and other things that haven’t, er, popped on the other girls yet. I glance down at my jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. At least I don’t have on some micro-skirt, with all of my ass-sets out for the world to see.
Now I’m in the perfect mood for PE. I go to the locker room and hurry to get changed, making it to class just as the bell rings. My mood brightens minutely when I find out we’re starting basketball. I don’t totally suck at basketball. I did totally suck at badminton, which we were playing last. My mood brightens a bit more when I get picked for the team that doesn’t have to wear the stinky jersey.
By the end of class my team’s winning and I’m even scoring some shots. I get the ball and make one last three-point shot as the PE teacher blows the whistle signaling the end of class. My teammates, guys and girls alike cheer, making fools of ourselves. I’m just happy to be able to contribute after weeks of not. I’m still grinning when I feel the back of my neck tingling. I turn to look, and see the mysterious, gorgeous guy I plowed into and went mime on earlier. And, of course, I have to walk right by him to get to the locker room. Perfect.
I put my head down, hoping that he associates my flushed complexion to playing the game rather than seeing him. I’m almost to the safety of the locker room door when he speaks again. In my stupor before I didn’t notice how calming the baritone of his voice is. “Nice moves out there.”
My mom ingrained in me from a young age not to be rude. I turn around and glance up before settling my gaze on his sneakers. Maybe if I don’t look directly at him my brain will remain working. “Thanks…you must be new here. I’m Kat.”
His arm reaches out and his hand catches under my chin, lifting my face to meet his gaze. “That’s better.” He smiles and something in my brain fries a little. “Hi Kat, I’m Mason, it seems we keep running into each other.”
I can’t help myself, I’m a sucker for bad puns, “Quite literally at times. Sorry about that, by the way.”
He shrugs. “Never hear me complaining about having a pretty girl throw herself at me.” I feel my cheeks warm, and before my brain can wrap itself around the fact that he called me pretty I hear the bell ring.
“I should go before I’m late.” I motion towards the locker room.
“Yeah, maybe I’ll see you later.”
“Maybe,” I half mumble to myself as I turn and walk into the locker room. I get dressed in a daze before I head to meet Brie in Biology. She’s already there and gives me back my notes and textbook before we go into class and take our seats.
“Did it help any?” I ask.
“Yeah, thanks.” She turns in her seat to face me and strikes her gossip pose. Brie loves her gossip. “Did you hear we have a new guy?”
“Um, yeah, we’ve met actually.”
Her jaw drops. “Is he as cute as I keep hearing?”
The bell rings before I have a chance to reply so I nod my head and focus on Mr. Murphy who is handing out our test and giving us verbal instructions. Forty minutes later the test is done and I’m feeling pretty good about it. Brie must have done alright because instead of her usual bitching she jumps right back to questioning me about Mason.
“So, the nod was yes to cute, right?” She asks.
“Yes, Brie, he’s adorable.” I roll my eyes. “Our conversation lasted for all of two minutes.”
“I can’t believe you talked to him!” Brie practically squeals as we start walking down the hallway.
“Neither can I!” Kiera starts up again, always behind us at the wrong time. “Why anyone would want to talk to Kitty is beyond my comprehension.”
Brie goes on the offensive. “Please, Kiera anything that’s not slathered in cover-up or pumped full of silicone is beyond your comprehension.” The two glare at each other. While I take a passive approach to Kiera and her friends, Brie takes a more aggressive stance. I can’t say I don’t appreciate it.
“Says the weird girl, now move before you make me late,” Kiera struts off, an overwhelming cloud of perfume left in her wake.
“What a bitch,” Brie comments.
“Yeah, she really needs a hobby.” I agree. “Anyway, off to calculus. See you at lunch.”
Calculus is usually boring. But apparently being good at math has some advantages. Two rows over I see Mason take his seat. This, of course, grabs my attention. I try to look involved in my text book, and when I sneak a glance in his direction I see him smiling at me. My heart races and my insides swoon a little, but I do manage to smile back before the bell rings and class starts.
Spending my time alternating between paying attention to Ms. Fletcher, and staring (hopefully inconspicuously) at Mason, the class goes more quickly than usual. I’m surprised when I stand up to find him beside me. “Oh! Hi, again,” I try to act like I wasn’t staring at him this whole time.
He gives me that smile, again. “Hi…I don’t suppose you’re going to lunch now?”
“Actually, I am. Me and my friend Brie, you’re welcome to sit with us, if you’d like.” I catch myself right before I walk into the doorframe.
I see him shake his head a little. “That’d be cool. Um, do you walk in to stuff a lot or is it just for my benefit?”
Before I can answer Brie joins us, obviously overhearing Mason’s question. “Nope, she does that all the time.” She grins at me. “Hi, I’m Brie. You must be Mason.”
“Yep, I might as well have a sign that says ‘New Kid’.” Mason looks around. Sure enough we are attracting everyone’s attention.
“I think it’s more than just that,” I murmur, without really meaning to.
“What’s that?” Mason asks.
I turn to Brie, with a panicked look that she catches onto quickly. “She means this is a small town. We’ve all known everyone forever. So, when fresh meat arrives we know it.” Brie says, ending with a big smile.
I breathe a sigh of relief, giving her a look of gratitude before trying to focus, so I don’t say anything else that’s stupid or embarrassing. Now that we’ve hit the cafeteria, it’s too loud to talk anyway, until we get to our table. We’re almost there, when I hear Kiera again. Today just isn’t my day it seems, although it’s apparent from her sweet tone she is not talking to me.
“Hi, Mason!” She sticks her chest out more than usual, and I almost throw up a little in my mouth. “I saved you a seat.”