Read Fire Girl Part 1 Online

Authors: Alivia Anderson

Tags: #Coming of Age, #mormon, #LDS, #lds romance, #inspiration and romance, #lds teen

Fire Girl Part 1 (5 page)

BOOK: Fire Girl Part 1
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I laughed.

Antone’s face lit up and he took another
puff. “She likes Antone. She finds him
fascinating
.”

I clutched the cigarettes tighter into my
palm.

He nodded in the direction of the school.
“Antone is in shop class right now. His favorite class. The only
class he understands. Molding metal, fixing cars.” He jerked his
thumb toward his chest. “Manly stuff.”

I couldn’t help the giggle that escaped me,
and the small sympathy I felt for poor Antone—the third person
talking boy. It would be pretty hard to swallow being sent to
America and ending up in Sugar Valley. I shrugged. “I lived in
Florence for a stint.”

Antone threw his cigarette onto the ground.
His eyebrows shot up. “What?”

I thought about the sightseeing tours my
parents had made me go on. “It was only for a couple of months, but
it’s beautiful there.”

His chocolate eyes sparked with interest.
“Yes, Italia is beautiful. More beautiful than I realized. How do
you say, ‘you don’t know what you got, ‘til it’s gone.’”

I giggled again, finding that I didn’t know
this giggling girl I’d suddenly become.

He flicked his fingers at the pack of
cigarettes. “Please, go ahead, smoke your cigarette.”

I’d forgotten about them. “Naa—it’s . . .The
moment’s over. I-it’s . . .” I looked into his happy, chocolate
eyes and decided to tell the truth. “I don’t smoke. I-I just
thought it might make me feel better. Ya know a bad habit worth
trying out.”

Antone frowned. “I know. I know too well what
you describe.”

A flicker of skin and black hair played at
the edges of my peripheral vision.

I jerked around, not wanting to get
caught.

A laugh puffed out. “New girl’s
jumpy
.”

I stared at the girl, completely baffled.

She wore heeled baby doll shoes and a black,
tight spandex dress. It had a black layered afghan over it. Her
face—white, pale, kohl-lined eyes. This must be the goth girl
Chance had told me about. For a split second I marveled how
seemingly unimportant information had a way of turning useful in a
small town.

She inspected me.

I took note of her black lips and long, dark
hair. It parted down the middle.

The side of her lip-ringed mouth curled as if
she’d just noticed the stench of the dumpster. “Am I interrupting
something?”

Antone delayed and took a long drag from his
cigarette. “You have come to taunt me.”

She hissed and threw two fingers up like
snake fangs.

I stared between them. I didn’t want to get
in the middle of whatever this was. I moved past her. “I think I
better go back.”

She sidestepped in front of me and lifted a
match into the air. “Where ya goin?” She spoke out of the side of
her mouth and puffed gently on the cigarette.

I thought about the other goth kids at my old
school—kind of smart, kind of crazy.

Antone let out a sharp, ripping laugh that
made me jump.

“Geez.” I breathed out.

Antone maneuvered between us. “No Maddie,
don’t try smoking.” He blew a puff into goth girl’s face. “Bad
habits are never worth it.”

“Oh, go
die
somewhere.” She puffed her
cigarette and glared at me. “He’s just bitter I said no to him. But
I guess he found you.”

I tried to move around them. “Look, I gotta
go.”

Antone danced in front of me.

Every step I took he matched. “Don’t listen
to her. Sometimes destiny has a plan.”

The knot in my stomach tightened.

She let out a small laugh. “Oh, that’s right
everybody’s buzzing about the new girl.”

I stopped trying to get around Antone and
whizzed back to her. “What do you mean buzzing?”

She puffed out smoke. “Look, everything’s not
about you,
new
girl.”

The whole small town everyone knows
everything had gotten old. I shoved into her face. “What have you
heard?”

She gave a satisfied smile. “I’m Trina, by
the way.”

She liked this. She liked getting people to
notice her—by whatever means necessary. I moved past her. “I don’t
want trouble.”

Trina shoved her shoulder into me—hard.

I teetered on my stilettos and caught myself.
“Back off.”

“You sing.” She spat it out but took a step
back.

All my anger concentrated onto her words—what
did she just say?

“I overheard your cousin telling his
obnoxious girlfriend last hour all about how you used to sing and
now your grandma’s worried because you won’t go to church and bla,
bla, bla.”

Fury burned through me. How dare he? How dare
he talk about crap like that in class where anybody could just—

“So let’s hear it.” A wicked smile pinched
her lips.

I swerved back to her, ready to give her my
fourth grade hook.

Trina widened her eyes and gave a mock smile.
She flicked the edges of her fingers up. “Bring it.”

Antone moved behind me. “Stop this.”

Trina shoved a lit cigarette into my hand.
“You say you don’t want trouble but if you ask me—trouble usually
finds you.”

I fumbled with the cigarette and then hot
potatoed it. Who in the crap was she?


Smoke it
.” Trina shouted at me.

I chucked the cigarette into the dumpster. I
hardened my best ‘don’t mess with me’ glare into place. “Stay out
of my way.”

A taunting smile stretched her lips. “Oh,
right, of course I will. Because you’re new and you deserve
anything you want, right?”

I hardened my glare for an extra second and
then moved past her. “I so do not need this.”

“Wait!” Antone called to me.

I stomped toward the school. Crazy—the whole
town had to be completely insane.

“Maadie!” Antone gained on me.

I turned around. “I’m going back in.”

Antone’s eyes widened like he’d just seen a
space ship crash land. “Stop!”

But it was too late.

The thud of hitting something really solid
was more surprising than I ever expected.

I fell backward; knife-like pain went through
my back. I couldn’t breathe.

“Tarnation, girl!” Principal Schmidt stuck
his hands on his overly large hips. His ruddy cheeks looked even
bulgier from my position on the ground. He didn’t move to help me
up, but kept his gaze fixed on the emotionally charged Antone that
knelt beside me.

“Maadie!” An overly dramatic lovesick face,
like out of some sappy movie, rippled over his features.

Principal Schmidt put out a hand to help me
stand. “What in the Sam hill are you doing out of class,
Antone?”

Reluctantly, I took Principal Schmidt’s hand.
This whole day had just gotten even worse.

Principal Schmidt turned a cocked eyebrow to
me and did a quick sniff of the air. “Is that smoke I smell?”

Antone puffed out his chest like a warrior
ready to come to my defense. “I am the one that smells of smoke, do
not blame her.”

My heart pounded in a pitter patter beat. I
really, really, really didn’t need this!

The sound of something falling echoed behind
us. A haze of smoke filled the air and blackened above one of the
dumpsters.

Trina stepped out and pointed a finger at me.
“It was her! She’s trying to burn the place down!”

***

Grandpa stalked up the cement steps and threw
open the screen door. He didn’t hold it for me.

I caught it just before it clunked back into
place. He hadn’t spoken to me the whole ride home. He hadn’t even
looked at me during the meeting in Principal Schmidt’s office.

I sauntered into the front room.

Grandma stood in the middle of front room,
her eyes puffy. The knick knacks surrounded her like soldiers ready
to wage battle.

She’d been crying? My heart fell into a flat
line. The only other time in my entire life that I’d seen her cry
had been that day.

Grandpa moved to her side and took her hand.
He scowled and the creases on the edges of his eyes deepened.

“Maddie,
what were you thinking
?”
Grandma’s voice held an honest sadness to it.

I reached for my sunflower. “I don’t know.”
What could I tell them—I wanted to leave town and thought smoking
might make me feel better?

“That’s right you don’t know.” Grandpa
snapped. “Do you know the good name you’re dragging through the
mud? Of course you don’t because you don’t know the respect that
your Grandma and I have worked long and hard to earn in this town.
Your first day of school you skip class.” He touched one finger.
“You smoke cigarettes.” He let out a puff of air in exasperation
and lay out a second finger. “And, you start a fire!” He threw both
his hands into the air and roared. “You’re lucky Principal Schmidt
goes way back with your father. He could have pressed legal charges
against you.” He shook his finger in my face. “And you’re going to
do his student work program as long as it takes. And did you know
that Officer Justice, our local Sheriff, has agreed to escort you
to and from school?”

“What?” How would I escape if I had a cop on
my tail the whole time?

Grandpa’s face soured even more. “Do
not
act that way!”

My mind flashed to that night. The rising
smoke. The way his thick glasses stared back at me from behind
those blue curtains. The way Carrie had yelled at me. I shook my
head and tried to clear it.

“You don’t know the trouble you’ve
caused.”

My vision started to blur, blood whooshed
through my ears in a pumping frenzy, I staggered back.

“The past year has been hard on your
grandmother!”

I stumbled back. Carrie had grabbed my arm
and shoved me into the car before I could stop it. Before I could
stop any of it. “Shut up!”

Grandpa’s face contorted into something
fierce and angry and vicious. “Watch your mouth!”

I backed into the wall right next to the
antlers. I sucked in a breath. In through the nose, slow, out
through the mouth.

Grandma clenched her jaw and looked from me
back to grandpa. “Frank, calm down. You know this isn’t good for
your heart.”

Grandpa gave her a suffered pause and then
turned his clouded eyes back to me. “She has to be dealt with,
Star.”

My head cleared and I honed into Grandpa’s
words.

“I want to make it understood that farm work
is not an option for you. You will work after school, and then
you’ll come home and work here.”

“I never smoked it.” I inhaled and studied
the brown, faded spirals in the carpet.

Grandpa let out a long sigh. “That boy told
us you were there. That you were talking to them before the fire
started. If you think I’ll stand for you lying to my face, if you
think your behavior will be tolerated in this house for one second,
you better have another think coming. If you’re going to fit in
here and belong in this town—”

“But I don’t
belong here
. Isn’t that
what you said?” The memory of his words. The words that had been on
permanent repeat the past year.

Grandpa and Grandma both stared at me in
stunned pause.

I pointed at him, accusing him. “I heard you.
That’s what you said, right? You told Aunt Sylvie to take me. You
said to take me because I don’t
belong here
.”

Grandma gasped.

Grandpa’s face froze into a mask.

A surge of emotion caught inside my throat
and I couldn’t stay for another minute. Another second. Another
instant. I shot from the room and down the hall. Down the stairs
and slammed my cupboard room door.

“Maddie!” Grandma yelled.

I heard grandma on the stairs and quickly
locked the door.

“Come out and talk to us, Sweetie.”

I couldn’t get a full breath of air. I shut
my eyes and slumped against the freezer. I pressed a hand against
my chest. It hurt. It hurt even worse than before. The words
connected to the scabbed over wound inside my heart.

Finally, I heard Grandma pad up the
stairs.

I let myself collapse face down on the bed. I
wished I could forget the last year. I wished I could see my
parents. I wished I could just die.

I fished through the events of the day in my
mind and took apart each one like a doctor inspected organs. I
thought of the grumpy wheelchair girl, the tight, controlled fear
in her eyes. She didn’t know it but I could see through her. I
could see through the anger she used to cover her fear.

I looked at it every day in the mirror.

The faint sound of buzzing brought me out of
my desperate thoughts. I dove for my backpack and bumped against
the unopened iphone box next to the freezer. I hadn’t even cut the
sticker. I wanted Uncle Bill to be able to take it back when I
left.

I pulled my phone out and touched the front
of it. “Please tell me you got the money—”

 

Chapter 5 Long Gone

Cop or no cop, I
would
be leaving
Sugar Valley today. The last breakfast. That’s what I could call
this day. I scraped cereal out of my bowl and tilted it to drink
the last of the milk.

Carrie said Jimmy had a contact and they
would get the money this morning. They would pick me up by two
o’clock this afternoon, and I would finally be free. I could
finally get away from the last year and the courts and this stupid
town.

I told them I would meet them at the bus
station right outside of town. There would be no way I could chance
Carrie and Jimmy coming into town, especially now that everyone
would be watching my every move. So I had to get away. I had to
take my chance and split. I had to plan it perfectly.

I tapped my spoon against the bowl in
pattering tings. The few necessities I needed were in my backpack.
I didn’t want to alert anyone that I wouldn’t be returning. A trick
Carrie had told me she’d used during her foster home escapes.

BOOK: Fire Girl Part 1
6.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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