Authors: Kiera Stewart
Also by Kiera Stewart
Copyright © 2015 by Kiera Stewart
Cover design by Maria Elias
Cover illustration © 2015 by Emma Trithart
All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher. For information address Disney • Hyperion, 125 West End Avenue, New York, New York 10023.
Princess Leia and the Eskimo forever
Breaking of the Hearts
First, the word floats in the air, like a satellite scouting out the most vulnerable areas. Your eyes, your neck, the ticklish spot under your arm. Anywhere open and unguarded, unspoiled—at least as of yet.
Then, the missiles hone in, and once they do, watch out. They launch into your soft spots, blasting through the skin, the bone, anything that lies in the way of the heart. Once they pierce that all-important organ, it will feel like something has been shattered, crushed, bludgeoned, maybe even ripped out. Excoriated. Now there’s a word. You may feel that word. You may never know exactly what it means, but oh, you will know how it feels.
And even though your heart is the ultimate victim, every cell in your body and brain will cry out for sympathy. You will feel pain in the roots of your hair, the knuckle of your thumb, your appendix. Various fluids will start to pour from the holes on your face. Tears. Snot. Slobber. You will become a most unattractive version of yourself—red, puffy, swollen, and unkempt. Needy, insecure, clinging.
This, my friends, is love. It should be wrapped in yellow caution tape. Surrounded by orange cones. Labeled with a skull and crossbones. It should be kept out of the hands of minors. If love were an actual drug, the FDA would not approve.
Love. Flip it over and here’s what you have: heartbreak. The remainder; the ruins of love.
ristina is sitting on the edge of her bed, holding a rock and crying—a picture of tragic perfection. Her tears are plump little drops that travel down her face with dignity, leaving her perfectly applied makeup respectfully in place. The camera pans to the rock, which is cradled in both palms. The etching reads
“So what happened—he’s dead or something?” Sirina asks. She’s talking about Cristina’s husband, Luis.
“No,” I say, wanting her to be quiet. “Missing.”
“Wow,” Sirina says, standing up. “Okay, I’m going.”
“No!” I say, and pull her back down to the couch. “Stay.
She crosses her arms. “Fine. But only if you’re going to pay attention to me and not your stupid telenovela.”
“It’s almost over,” I tell her. On the screen, Mariela, the Queen of Heartbreak, is packing up her suitcases, her
. She shows no emotion, but Armando, the rich, powerful guy who owns most of Suelo, their town, is turning into a train wreck. He’s practically on his knees, professing his love and pleading for her not to go.
“¡Te quiero! ¡No te vayas!”
And then the credits for
La Vida Rica
start to roll.
“That’s Mariela?” Sirina asks.
“I think I like her best,” she says.
“Why?” I ask, feeling a little betrayed. “Cristina’s so much better. She’s so strong, so loyal, so passionate—”
.” She looks at me. “
She’s always so pathetic.”
I say, offended.
“Well, you know. It seems like she’s always crying over something. Mariela’s just—I don’t know—more powerful.”
“Yeah, well, Mariela doesn’t really love anyone, that’s why!”
“She definitely seems to be doing okay.”
“You don’t get it.” I sigh and slump back on the couch. “You just don’t believe in love.”
My dog, Hunter, is lying on the couch next to Sirina. He stretches, straightening his four legs. “Who doesn’t believe in love, Hunter? I love
, don’t I? Yes I
,” Sirina says in her gooshy voice. And then she leans over and starts kissing his big chocolaty-Lab head. “You’re a sweet boy, aren’t you?”
She looks over at me and I smirk back at her. “Not the same,” I say.
I can’t really blame Sirina. She’s never had a boyfriend. She’s never been in love. I almost feel sorry for her—she really doesn’t know what she’s missing. I mean, what’s life without passion? Without romance? Without love?
Love—that’s something Sirina and I don’t have in common, at least not yet. I think she just hasn’t met the right guy. I mean, we’re thirteen, so there’s a little time, but
. I can’t wait till we have boys in common. Me and Nick, her and some awesome guy with a name like Romario, going out to a fabulous dinner—one with special forks and fancy napkins. Maybe even salsa dancing or something. I will be wearing a short but flouncy skirt and daringly high heels, and my honey-colored hair will shine under the light of the moon. And I’ll throw my head back and laugh, and show off my full lips (ruby red) and straight teeth (white, very white), and Nick will gaze at me admiringly and—
My phone hums from between the couch cushions.
“Let me guess. Nick,” Sirina says, sounding less than supportive.
I look at my phone.
, the screen reads. My Spanish translation of him. I smile.
I say, song-like, into the phone.
My nerves jolt awake like I’ve been jabbed with a sharp needle. It’s a woman’s voice!
Oh. My. God.
Nick must have a secret girlfriend. An older woman!
this?” I say to this other woman. I hear my heartbeat in my ear. My skin feels tingly. My armpits itch. I bet her name is Rocío and she has dark, flowing hair that actually
shimmer in the moonlight. And possibly cleavage. HOW CAN I POSSIBLY COMPARE!?
“This is Mrs. Wainwright.”
Oh. Okay. No need to panic, then. But wait. Why is Nick’s mom calling me? Is he in trouble? Is he in the hospital? What if he’s in one of those full-body casts like Enrique had after he got in the airplane crash in episode four? What if he’s completely wrapped in bandages, mummy-like, and my very first kiss
has to be through his breath-ing hole?
This is the man I love! My heart races. “I’ll be right there!” I say.
” She sounds confused. “Uh, well, no, Mabry, you don’t need to come over—Nick’s not even home.”
he isn’t! “Not to the house,” I say. “The
Sirina shoots me a look of concern.
“What? Who’s in the hospital?” Mrs. Wainwright asks.
“Uh, well, I mean, I just thought,” I stumble. “Um. Where’s Nick?”
“Nick’s at karate.”
“Oh, right,” I say. I laugh a little, relieved—although the hospital scene was starting to seem kind of amazing. The room would smell of fresh lilacs, and I would gently cradle his bandaged head so he could drink his dinner through a straw. My love would help him heal.
Sirina widens her eyes at me and mouths,
I shake my head and come back to reality.
Bad idea. Because then Mrs. Wainwright says, “But he did want me to call you.” She pauses. “Look, Mabry, Nick’s now a purple belt. He really needs to focus on that. We both think it might be time for you to take a break from each other.”
“A break?” My mind starts going in all directions. “For how long?”
She sighs. “Mabry, he thinks you two should break up.”
“Break. Up?” I croak. My heart seizes up with protest. I look at Sirina, who is statue-still and staring at me. “But—but. But, we’re in love!”
“Oh, honey.” Her voice delivers nothing but pity. “Bless your dear heart.”
“He loves me!” I cry out. “He told me!”
“Well, okay,” she says. “But he also loves karate.”
“But what about the Cotillion?”
She seems a little surprised. “That—that’s almost two months away. He’s already asked you to the Junior Cotillion?”