Authors: Penelope Douglas
Copyright © 2016 Penelope Douglas
Cover Design © 2016 Cover to Cover Designs
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written permission of the author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Proofreading & Interior Formatting by Elaine York
, Allusion Graphics, LLC/Publishing & Book Formatting
“Bad Girlfriend” by Theory of a Deadman
“Bleed It Out” by Linkin Park
“Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” by P!ink
“Colors” by Halsey
“Dirty Little Secret” by All-American Rejects
“Do You Know Who You Are?” by Atreyu
“Happy Song” by Bring Me the Horizon
“I Think We’re Alone Now” by Tiffany
“Lose Yourself” by Eminem
“Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem
“More Human Than Human” by White Zombie
“Mudshovel” by Staind
“Sk8er Boi” by Avril Lavigne
“So Cold” by Breaking Benjamin
“Square Hammer” by Ghost
“Stupid Girl” by Garbage
“True Friends” by Bring Me the Horizon
“Where’d You Go” by Fort Minor
“Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift
To Claire and Bender
and what would’ve happened Monday morning...
So, have I ever told you my secret shame?
And no, it’s not watching
like you. Go ahead and try to deny it. I know you don’t have to sit there with your sister, man. She’s old enough to watch TV by herself.
No, actually, it’s far worse, and I’m a little embarrassed to tell you. But I think negative feelings should be released. Just once, right?
You see, there’s a girl at school. You know the kind. Cheerleader, popular, gets everything she wants… I hate to admit this, especially to you, but a long time ago I wanted to be her.
Part of me still does.
You would absolutely hate her. She’s everything we can’t stand. Mean, cavalier, superficial… The kind who doesn’t have a thought stay in her head too long or else she needs a nap, right? I’ve always been fascinated with her, though.
And don’t roll your eyes at me. I can feel it.
It’s just that…given all of her detestable attributes, she’s never alone. You know?
I kind of envy that. Okay, I
It feels like shit to be alone. To be in a place full of people and feel like they don’t want you there. To feel like you’re at a party you weren’t invited to. No one even knows your name. No one wants to. No one cares.
Are they laughing at you? Talking about you? Are they sneering at you like their perfect world would be so much better if you weren’t there, messing up their view?
Are they just wishing you’d get the hint already and leave?
I feel like that a lot.
I know it’s pathetic to want a place among other people, and I know you’ll say it’s better to stand alone and be right than stand in a crowd and be wrong, but... I still feel that need all the time. Do you ever feel it?
I wonder if the cheerleader feels it. When the music stops and everyone goes home? When the day is gone and she doesn’t have anyone to entertain herself with? When she removes her makeup, taking off her brave face for the day, do the demons she keeps buried start playing with her when there’s no one else to play with?
I guess not. Narcissists don’t have insecurities, right?
Must be nice.
My phone buzzes from the center console of my truck, and I look away from Ryen’s letter to see another text roll in.
Dammit. I’m so late.
The guys are no doubt wondering where the hell I am, and it’s still a twenty-minute drive to the warehouse. Why can’t I be the invisible bass player no one cares about?
I stare at her words again, running over the sentence in my head.
When she removes her make-up, taking off her brave face for the day…
That line really hit me the first time I read this letter a couple years ago. And the hundred times since then. How can she say so little and yet so much?
I go back and finish the last part, already knowing how the letter ends but loving her attitude and the way she makes me smile.
Okay, sorry. I just had a Facebook break, so I feel better now. Not sure when I turned into such an idiot, but I’m glad you put up with it.
So just to set the record straight from our last argument, Kylo Ren is NOT a baby. You understand? He’s young, impulsive, and he’s related to Anakin and Luke Skywalker. Of course he whines! How is this a surprise? And he’ll redeem himself. I’ll bet you on it. Name your price.