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Authors: Stacy Claflin


BOOK: Deception

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DECEPTION - The Prequel


by Stacy Claflin

Copyright ©2012 Stacy Claflin. All rights reserved.

© Cover Design: Bryan Hufalar


This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, businesses, events, or locales is purely coincidental. The author has taken great liberties with locales including the creation of fictional towns.

Reproduction in whole or part of this publication without express written consent is strictly prohibited.


For Delia,

Though we never had the chance to meet in person

Your friendship was a true treasure.

I will never forget you and I wish you weren't taken so young.


I suppressed the rage living in me, which had become a life of its own and begun to force its way out. I clenched my fists and tightened my jaw, fighting to keep it inside. I could barely see straight as I fought to restrain myself. No matter the cost, I would not let let my fury win.

These feelings were foreign to me, because I was always the calm and rational one.

"Oh thank you, Daddy! Thank you, Mom!" Natalie, my younger sister, gushed as she ran to her new car with her blonde ponytail swaying back and forth. "This is the best birthday present ever!"

Our parents were beaming as they watched her throw open the driver's side door and explore everything that the shiny red BMW had to offer.

I looked over at my very used and hard-earned Ford that languished next to my sister's new BMW in the driveway. I was a very strong person with an iron will, but I was beginning to wonder if even I could fight the rage that was battling to escape. I thought about all of my academic awards on the walls of our house, trying to calm myself down. I thought about the notebook full of report cards with straight A's.




I looked up in shock as three of the six driveway lights exploded into tiny pieces all over the cement, not too far from where we were standing.

The shock of the lights didn't last long, because my oblivious sister ran from the car to our parents and gave them each a big hug and a perfect smile.

"Daddy, can I take it to practice and show my friends?" Natalie asked with a sparkle in her eye.

"Sure, sweetheart. Let's get a picture first," my dad replied. He turned to me. "Alexis, will you take a picture of us with your sister's new car?"

How could they treat their own flesh and blood like this? Why were they provoking me? They were fueling my fury, giving it life and energy. Without their actions, it would be non-existent.




The other three driveway lights exploded into a glassy mess.

"What on earth is going on with those lights?" my mom exclaimed. "And who is going to clean up this mess?"

"Let's just get that picture taken." I grabbed the camera from my dad's hand.

They posed in front of the car and looked like a picture perfect family straight from a magazine.

Without me.

My dad wanted to make sure that it was exactly right, so I had to take several shots. When I was done, he asked me if I wanted to be in one. I wanted nothing to do with my little sister's new car. They may as well have told me that they loved her more than me.

"I have homework," I said, handing him the camera, and went into the house as calmly as I could.


Once inside my room, I sat on my bed and tried to do some homework to get my mind off of the massive show of favoritism.

There was a knock on my door and I groaned. Why couldn't they just leave me alone? I ignored it.

The door opened. It was my mom. "We are all going to go watch Natalie's practice."

Was she serious?

"It's her birthday and she would enjoy having a cheering section, even though it's just a practice."

"I. Have. Homework."

My mom glared at me. "It's your sister's birthday. Can't you stop being selfish for just one day and do something to make her happy? Did you even get her anything for her birthday?"

I desperately tried to remain calm. "What money was I supposed to use? The money that I had to use for insurance on the car that I bought myself?"

They adored my sister and I was a burden. That was why I had to focus on building a life that did not include my parents or sister. I had plans of going to an Ivy League college
away. I had to keep getting all A's in my honors classes and studying for college entrance exams and interviews. Then I would never have to return to this house ever again. I couldn't wait.

"It's always a competition between the two of you – and you are always the poor unfortunate soul. Poor Alexis!"

It was obvious where my sister got her dramatics.



The two lights in my room exploded. Now shattered glass was all over my room.

"Ugh!" I did not want to have to clean up that mess.

"Be ready to leave in 15 minutes, we are going to cheer her on as a family." She left the room before I could say no.


My parents and I were in my dad's Escalade, driving to the high school. I had hoped that they would leave me alone and forget that I was in the back seat.

No such luck.

"Jack, the two bulbs in Lexi's room exploded while I was in there talking with her a few minutes ago."

I could almost hear him raise an eyebrow. "Those ones too? I'll have to give my cousin a call since he just got his electrician's certification. Maybe he can help us figure out what's wrong."

"Don't you think it's weird that the lights keep exploding?" asked my mother in a demanding tone.

"Yes of course, beautiful. But there's not much we can do about it now, so we may as well just enjoy Natalie's game."

"Practice," I muttered.

"Why can't you ever be happy for your sister?" my mother asked. "Whenever she gets something you pout because it's not for you."

"Oh look, we're here!" I exclaimed and got out of the Escalade as fast as I could. I ran to the gym before my parents could bark any orders at me.

When I got there, I was not surprised to see that the stands were nearly full for the volleyball practice. At least half of our small town was there for nearly every game
practice. The girls' varsity volleyball team was Delphic Cove's pride and joy. They had been the undefeated Washington state champions for years.

This year was looking to be no exception and my sister was one of the stars of the team. She was not only the the favorite of our family, but of the school too. And she was only a sophomore.

I saw my two best friends sitting in the bleachers, so I walked over to them and took a seat.

Amanda looked up from the book that she was reading. "Lexi, what are you doing here?"

I sighed for dramatic effect. "You don't even want to know. Trust me."

Emma looked up from texting and smiled. "Oh I want to know! You avoid Natalie's games like the plague."

I looked at Emma. "Fine. I'll tell you if I must. It's Natalie's birthday and our family is here to give her a special birthday cheer."

Emma laughed. "I gotta see this! This is going to be hilarious."

Amanda rolled her eyes at Emma and turned to me. "So what did they get her this year, another Louis Vuitton purse?"

"No, a thousand dollar purse is nothing compared to this gift. They got her a new BMW."

Both Emma and Amanda stared at me, speechless. I waited for someone to say something. Emma was not one who was ever short on words.

She didn't leave me disappointed. "They got her a beamer? A beamer! No freakin' way! I definitely chose the wrong sister to be friends with."

Amanda shoved her and she nearly fell off the bleacher. Which was pretty impressive because Emma was not a small girl.

"At least you two are here," I said. "That will make this more tolerable."

"It must be hard to pull yourself away from studying on a weekday afternoon," Emma said, smiling.

"This is just going to put me behind," I complained. It wasn't that my studies were difficult. Even my honors courses were easy for me, they were just very time consuming. I had reports and projects every week. It was like being in college. I didn't have friends in my classes because everything came so easily to me. I was the curve-killer in the honors classes. It made me unpopular--even among the nerds.

I looked at the two of them and they were both staring at me. "What?"

"There's something different about you," Amanda said.

"There really is," Emma agreed.

"Like what?" I asked.

"I can't figure out what it is exactly," Amanda replied. "But there is something different about you. Can you tell, Emma?"

"That's what I'm trying to figure out," she said. "There's definitely something, but I don't know what. You look and act exactly the same, but something is different." She shrugged her shoulders.

I opened my mouth to say something, but then my parents sat down next to us. I groaned.

"Hello girls," my mom said to Emma and Amanda. "How are you two doing?"

"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Ferguson," Amanda said. "We're just fine and how are you?"

"We're here to watch Natalie practice. Did you know that it's her birthday today? It's her sweet sixteen!" My mom said proudly.

"We'll have to wish her happy birthday," Amanda said.

"Is she having a big party?" Emma asked. "I didn't get an invite!" Emma was always obnoxious, but I enjoyed it when she aimed it at my parents.

I could see my mom try to stifle a dirty look and she said, "No party this year. We got her a big present instead."

"Yeah, I saw that shiny, new BMW in the parking lot," Emma lied. "That's quite the present! What did you get Alexis for her sweet sixteen last year? Wasn't it an iPod?"

My mom's face became distinctively red. "I need to get some refreshments. Jack, do you want anything?"

My dad looked up from the practice and said, "I'll have whatever you're having."

As soon as my mom was out of earshot, my friends and I burst into laughter.

"Emma, you are so obnoxious!" Amanda said in between laughs.

She stopped laughing. "I don't think it's funny. I may joke about how I chose the wrong sister for a friend, but it's crap how they treat you compared to Natalie. She can play volleyball and she dresses well, but she doesn't have much else to offer."

"They'll never see it that way," I said. I thought about my dad sitting right next to us, but he had tunnel vision and was zoned in on Natalie's practice. He wasn't hearing a word that we said.

"You get all A's in your honors classes, you have a job. And you have some great friends!" Emma smiled. "She barely gets C's, hits a ball and doesn't even want to go to college. Normal parents would be telling her to act more like you."

Amanda adjusted her glasses and said, "Heck,
parents tell me that I should be more like you!"

"Exactly," Emma said. "Your parents are the freaks Alexis, not you. It makes no sense."

"It does make sense because the only thing my mom cares about is how things look," I said. "You see how she is always dressed well and wants to impress everyone. Natalie is clearly her mini-me golden child."

"Natalie will probably end up marrying someone rich who can buy her all of the nice things that she expects, and she won't work a day in her life," Amanda said. "Just like your mom!"

When my mom came back, my friends and I sat and whispered while my mom kept telling me that I wasn't there to socialize, but to cheer on my sister for her birthday.

At the half time break, my mom turned to me and said, "Since you didn't buy Natalie anything for her birthday, you should go buy her a watermelon smoothie because that's her favorite. What a wonderful half time treat for her."

"That's a great idea," my dad chimed in.

"Especially since you haven't been paying a bit of attention to her game," mom said.

"It's a practice!" I sighed.

"Just go get the watermelon smoothie for her," my mom ordered.

"I'll go with you!" Amanda said. "Let's go!" She grabbed my arm and practically dragged me to the concession stand.

"Can you believe them?!"

"Just think about it this way; after next year it's graduation!" She said. "Then you can go to any college as far away as you want: Princeton, Harvard, Stanford or Yale!"

"Don't try to talk me down. I don't want to be talked down. I just want to pour that watermelon smoothie all over them, inside that BMW!"

"I would love to see that!" she said, giggling.


I ordered the watermelon smoothie using the last $5 from my clearance-rack purse. Then I started walking toward the bench for the volleyball players.

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