Other Side of Beautiful (A Beautifully Disturbed #1)

BOOK: Other Side of Beautiful (A Beautifully Disturbed #1)
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other Side of Beautiful


A Beautifully Disturbed Novel

Book One

Sarah Zolton Arthur


Other Side of Beautiful


Copyright © 2015 by Sarah Zolton Arthur.

All rights reserved.

First Print Edition: July 2015



Limitless Publishing, LLC

Kailua, HI 96734



Formatting: Limitless Publishing


ISBN-13: 978-1-68058-218-5

ISBN-10: 1-68058-218-6


No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.


To every Elle, you are strong.

We get tested daily, it’s okay to ask for help.

To every Ben, thank you for never giving up.





Only one thing in my life makes me lose sleep at night. Only one thing brings on the panic attacks and makes me wish I actually had invisibility as my superpower instead of the superpower I'd been born with.


Okay, so as far as superpowers go it’s kind of a biggie, and could encompass so many aspects of life. How could failure be considered a superpower? Because I’m so proficient in it—a failure badass. I could fail at anything. My mother Cricket would be more than happy to tell anyone who asks about the litany of ways I've failed her in my twenty-one years.

Not everyone is born with a superpower, so I’ve embraced my gift to see it for what it is. Wait, maybe I shouldn't embrace it. Cricket put out all that money for me to see Dr. Packard—of the Packard Medical Group—he's the leader in treating, well, my condition. Wouldn't acceptance negate my superpower? Or would it still be failure for not fighting it more? I'll go with that.

Unlike Superman or Spiderman or Batman, my superpower controls me, not the other way around. And I can feel the power humming beneath my skin, just waiting to be unleashed where it can find the greatest impact on humanity—a party. I fail mercilessly in social situations, so why my roommate Kelly insists I go with her all the time is beyond me. She’s supposed to be my friend. But aren't friends supposed to help conceal a person's superpowers, like Lois Lane or MJ or…or Robin?

"Come on," she begs. "It's New Years. You have to go."

I shake my head, vigorously protesting.

"You're my wing-woman. Keep me from going home with some loser when I get too drunk to see through my beer goggles."

Deep cleansing breath in. Deep cleansing breath out. I've got this. I've got this. I so don't have this.
"But it's no fun for me. Yay, another night planted against the wall while you drink and flirt your way into oblivion."

"Please." Kelly stands, drumming her fingers in a serpentine ripple along her hip bone. “It’s really not
bad.” If we hadn't been paired as roommates freshman year, and if I hadn't decided there was too much work involved in breaking in a new roommate so I just became her friend, there'd be no way she'd ever talk me into going tonight. But since arguing with her is about as productive as digging a hole in quicksand, she knows I’ll acquiesce. I always acquiesce. Nobody gets between Kelly and a good time. She loves to get her party on and take her clothing off, pretty much the exact opposite of me. Well, maybe not the exact opposite. I might like to get my drink on if I didn't have to continuously save her from her life choices. “Now that's settled, go put something on.”

Put something on? Easy for her to say. She's one of those lucky girls—the beautiful Barbie kind with the big, round Barbie eyes, and the flowing, blonde Barbie hair. Tonight she wears it curled and swept up into a loose pile on the crown of her head, owning the look like those modern, clubbing, sparkle princesses of Europe, the kind who “winter” in Monte Carlo, the kind we read about in the rag mags at the supermarket checkout. She's exquisite.

I've actually never seen an outfit hang awkwardly from her body, and tonight, tonight is no different. Perfect push-up boobs barely hidden under a skin-hugging black lace and sequined spaghetti strapped sheath so short, if Brazil hadn't perfected its waxing technique, the world would know.

New Year’s or not, what am I supposed to wear? She’s the über primper, not me. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I pull the rubber band from my ponytail, letting the golden blonde hair fall to my shoulders. Trying to work a little magic, I fluff the fringe layers with my fingers. We've all been handed a bill of goods about blonde hair, a conspiracy felt ‘round the world, the lie that makes girls like me think that blondes have more fun. Apparently “they” didn't mean all blondes, only the ones who look like Kelly.

The reflection staring back at me isn't hideous. I’m able to roam the streets without people grabbing up their torches and pitchforks, but my face will never be perfect. My lips look a little too full, my nose a little too pug. Nothing a little decoration can't distract from. I love piercings, body art in general, but stick with the jewelry, though, and adjust the hoop through my nose, shining all silvery. Then I change out the pink gem for my diamond Monroe, a piercing named after the blonde who started the conspiracy women like me have been sucked in to.

I’ve chosen a real diamond, a Christmas present to myself for making it through another holiday season unscathed. Plus, it sparkles. Isn't that what New Year’s is about, the sparkle? My favorite glasses sit in the case on my dresser in the bedroom. Cute tortoise shell frames—the ones Kelly calls “hipster.” I’m no hipster, and no longer a glasses wearer because my best friend nagged me to get contacts until she wore me down. Nobody else knows. I'll be debuting the look tonight, although she wanted me to get the colored contacts. Blue like hers, of course. But most of the world has brown eyes, so I feel in good company.

“Tick tock,” she calls from the hallway.

Tick tock, yes, I got it. Wouldn't it be a shame for someone else to get that shot of whatever she’s missing out on by me taking so long? Before going, I take extra time to brush mascara along my lashes, outline my eyes with a retro cat-eye look, and brush on some passion-pink blush and a ruby-tinted lip gloss to put a little effort in
to put off the inevitable a bit longer. Getting dressed is the tricky part. Almost all I own are Tshirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts. But Tshirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts won’t cut it tonight.

“Come on, Elly. Let’s go.”

I stand in front of my closet, ready to unleash my superpower until I remember the cute little peasant blouse I picked up from the cutest little vintage shop last week—white with brown embroidery and elasticized cap sleeves, showing just enough cleavage to pass Kelly’s “going out” criteria. Paired with one of the unfortunate pair of skinny jeans, the black ones, bought under peer pressure from her and our friend, Zena, the one throwing the party. My everyday jeans have rips or holes. She hates when I wear them to class, and I hate being uncomfortable, so I’ll keep right on wearing them until they completely fall apart.

The blousy top conceals my hips and butt. Most women hate something about themselves; the bane of my existence happens to be my hips and butt. Sabrina, another one of my closest friends, bless her heart, loves to show me pictures of beautiful 1950’s pinup girls, saying how my curves resemble theirs.
. I prepare to just wear my black ballerina flats, but Kel drops her three-inch heel gladiator booties in front of my door, yelling at me to hurry up.

She is waiting for me by the front door, clutch in hand, tapping her silver platform on the parquet entry. I thought I looked pretty good, but Kelly eyes me up and down, looking like I’ve put her out somehow. “That’ll have to do, I guess.” Wow, don’t hold back, Kel. Tell me how you really feel.

We take my car, because like always the designated driving duties fall onto me. Kel’s pickled liver could probably be cadavered and used as one of those cautionary tales about how not to live your life. Always one shot away from total alcohol poisoning, and me literally dragging her away from the beer pong. I really don’t mind driving her around, although the decimated liver we could both do without. She turns on the radio and begins singing wildly off key to some ridiculous pop song by some new generation boy band, bouncing in the seat, pumping herself up. Sober Kelly at her finest. At least the music keeps her busy enough to be able to pep talk myself into why the party will be fine.


One—Familiar location.

Two—Our friends will be there.





Well, two reasons aren’t so bad. At least that’s the story to stick to as I move my hand into my coat pocket, running a thumbnail over the ridges of my prescription bottle. I carry it like a lucky rabbit’s foot. Not one refill in over a year and a half, because just like having his foot lopped off wasn’t so lucky for the rabbit, being on meds wasn’t so great for me. So I keep the bottle to remind myself of the life I never want to lead again.

Half of me wishes nothing more than to be Kelly tonight, bursting through the front door to Zena’s apartment, making New Year’s my bitch. And the thought makes me smile. The other half of me has ridiculous rituals, rules, and codes of conduct driven into my overly susceptible brain by Dr. Packard, like I suffer from a form of Stockholm syndrome, only I’ve never been kidnapped and I quasi-agreed to his treatments. But still, to make it through tonight, I have to listen to that half, otherwise the consequences could be disastrous. My superpower gains so much strength I could hulk out into some monster my friends no longer recognize.

Kelly looks annoyed per her usual, sighing loudly specifically for me to hear, but I have my rituals to get through whether she sighs, sings, or shouts hallelujah. I force a deep breath into my lungs and let it out slowly, very slowly. Only once the breath has completely emptied am I ready to walk through the door. She puts up with a lot, because I have to complete this ritual every single time I walk into an uncomfortable situation.

And right now, right now is an uncomfortable situation. Every girl inside conquers the night like a freaking dominatrix—confident, calculating, and beautiful, always beautiful. Kelly fits in nicely. Zena’s furniture has been pushed to the side walls to make room for a dance floor. If my apartment had been decorated in all white, I don’t think I’d be throwing parties. But then again, her daddy funds everything, so she can replace anything or everything at will. My daddy funded my college education, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful, because it got me out from under the disapproving eyes of Cricket.

My superpower gears up. I feel it thrumming beneath the surface, tightening the coil in the pit of my stomach, impatiently waiting for its release. How awkward will Elly be tonight? Can she outdo herself? Always. But no matter how awkward, I soldier on. Don’t want to embarrass the good name of Cricket. Over the years she’s become an evil “Jiminy Cricket” sitting on my shoulder, reminding me of what a disappointing daughter I’ve been, and it takes everything to push back the wave of nausea threatening to ravage tonight’s festivities.

BOOK: Other Side of Beautiful (A Beautifully Disturbed #1)
5.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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