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Authors: Julie Prestsater

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Straddling the Edge

BOOK: Straddling the Edge
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Straddling
The Edge

 

By Julie Prestsater

 

 

Published by
Julie Prestsater, 2013

 

 

Copyright

 

© 201
3 Julie Prestsater

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of a reviewer using brief passages.

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, real products, and real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The author also acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of any and all wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction.

 

Cover Photo: © Moori | Dreamstime.com

 

 

Links:

Straddling The Edge on Goodreads

Julie on Twitter

Julie on Facebook

Julie’s Website

Table of Contents

 

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgements

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Epilogue

Dear Readers

Titles By Julie Prestsater

 

Dedication

 

 

 

This one is for my partners-in-crime at work.

 

To Ms. P, the other half of P
2

You’re truly one of the funniest women I know. And goofiest. Who else wo
uld call me a
Nerdsicle
or
Dorkapotamus
? Thank you for joining me in an endless amount of shit talking! I couldn’t do it without you. Well, I could. But, it wouldn’t be as fun.

 

To Doña Julia …

Thank you for trying to keep me professional
. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it. I know, I know. My love is abrasive. Too bad! Suck it up! Or I won’t help you find your papí in Miami.

 

To Ms. T …

You, my friend, are an amazing woman. Not only did you get to ring the bell, but
you drink beer and you can dance like you’re part of a Beyonce video. Why weren’t we friends sooner?

 

Thank you, ladies, for all your support and encouragement and for making work such a fun place to go to everyday.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

 

 

I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude to all the blogger
s and reviewers out there. Something special happened at the end of last year. My books started to take off and more and more people started reading them. I can’t pinpoint an exact reason for this success, but I know I owe a lot of it to all the reviewers and bloggers who talked about my books on their websites, Facebook, and Twitter. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I heart each and every one of you!

 

I’d like to give a special shout-out to Slick Reads of Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews. She has been one of my biggest cheerleaders with the best reviews any author could ever ask for. I loved her reviews so much I’ve included them on my paperback covers and on my swag. Thank you!

 

I’d also like to thank Jodi M. for joining my team of beta readers and giving this book a look through the eyes of an English teacher. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. Thank you for not covering it in red ink and marking it with a bleeding F.

 

To the rest of my beta team, Andi, Heather, Jodi N., Debbie, Sharon, and Lyndsi, thank you! I can never thank you enough!

 

To my family … what else can I say? I love you!

 

Chapter 1

Summer

 

 

 

Just one more week and I’m out of this place. Then I can mope in peace. In the comfort of my own apartment. Away from work, away from Chase and away from these bitches that torment me every day.

I slouch into my desk chair and glance around my classroom as I sing along with the old school mix coming from my computer. DNA and RNA projects cover the walls, along with a few models on the counters. I still need to get rid of all the student work after I decide which ones to keep as examples for next year. My teacher’s aide, Josh, offered to help after school but I shooed him away. He’s graduating in just a few days. I’d hate to keep him from his friends.

I wish I had such a tight-knit group of friends in high school. I admire him and his gang, who have been inseparable since their freshmen year. Four years together and their friendships are stronger than ever before. They’ll probably still be friends twenty years from now. All married, with tons of kids and meeting up just because.

Me? I never had friends like that in high school. I was the geeky tomboy who could care less about cliques, school dances, and parties on the weekends. I spent my time reading romance novels and studying math and science. While other girls my age were experimenting with makeup and push-up bras, I slathered Carmex on my lips and tried smashing down my breasts with sports bras. These D-cups started drawing unwanted attention when I was in middle school and I did everything I could to disguise them with hoodies and big t-shirts. I rarely wore anything fitted. At least not until the rest of my body caught up with my boobs.

Now, I wish I had some girlfriends to talk to. Not about my large breasts and my lack of friends in high school, but about my failed relationship. Whenever I see my colleagues, Shelly and Melissa, I crave what they have. Maybe I could have been friends with them, or ot
her female teachers on campus, but I ruined that chance when I started seeing Chase, Shelly’s ex-fiancé. He said he was single, that he and his fiancé had called it quits and he was ready to move on. I should have known better than to believe him. Instead, I got caught up in his charming sweet talk and his ridiculous good looks. Unfortunately, his charm wasn’t only reserved for me.

According to Chase’s teacher’s aide, Keesha, the man who I loved and thought I was going to marry has been cheating on me. I have to give Keesha some major kudos for even having the ovaries to come and tell me. She’s always had a major crush on her teacher and thought the world of him. But not now. I have to
wonder whom I feel sorrier for; her or me? Not only did he shatter my dreams, but also he killed the perfect image of the man this young girl believed in.

It’s been
well over a month since she came to see me, yet I can still picture it as if it was yesterday.

She came into my room after school, head down and a little fidgety. Totally unlike this beautiful girl who always overflowed with confidence.

“Hi, Keesh,” I had said. “Did Mr. Marino send you over for a drink or snack again? I swear he’s the neediest man I’ve ever met.”

She frowned. “No. He didn’t send me. I need to talk to you.” She had paused, looking at the floor and biting her lower lip. “Do you have a minute?”

Sensing something was really wrong I got out of my chair and walked around my desk to meet her. I slid into a student desk and motioned for her to sit as well.

“I’m not sure that this is my place, but I can’t keep it to myself. I know I would want to know.”

My stomach turned and my heart rate sped up. Whatever she was about to tell me, it couldn’t have been good. I assured her it was okay to speak freely with me and she’d feel better once she got it off her chest.

But I wasn’t expecting her to say, “Mr. Marino is cheating on you.”

After taking a shaky breath, I asked, “What makes you think that?”

“Josh and I saw him in the parking lot at the movies. He didn’t see us. We weren’t sure it was him at first, holding another woman’s hand. But the closer we got we realized it was him. When they got to her car, he kissed her. Josh wanted to tell you himself, but I thought it would be better if I told you. You know, we’re both girls and I know this isn’t something to take lightly and Josh is a goof and would probably say something stupid.”

I remember laughing. There is no way Josh could have made it through a conversation like that. “So you’re sure?”

“Absolutely. There’s no doubt. It was him. He was kissing a chick with long blond hair. Mr. Marino is a
lying, cheating bastard and I think you should sock him in the balls. I would do it for you, but I’m graduating in a few days and I can’t risk getting expelled. Don’t worry. I’ve already talked Josh down from knocking him out too. Just know that we’re both here for you if you need anything.”

My mind whirled with confusion and
unanswered questions, but the teenage girl in front of me wasn’t the one to answer them. “Thank you, Keesha. I really appreciate you coming to me. You’re right. I would have wanted to know. And now that I do, I have a few things I need to take care of.”

She put her hand on mine. “Ms. McGallian, we didn’t tell any of the rest of the crew. Meggie and Steph don’t know so you don’t have to worry about Mrs. Gelson or Mrs. Fuller finding out. In fact, we won’t bring this up ever again. I’ve already forgotten why I came to see you.”

Knowing they didn’t tell the rest of their friends was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. It would’ve been only a matter of minutes before other teachers found out and I wasn’t ready for the snickers or snide comments coming from my coworkers, especially Shelly and Melissa. I doubt I’ll ever be ready for that.

My heart broke when Keesha told me about Chase’s infidelity, and it’s been breaking into smaller pieces since. That bastard didn’t try to deny it when I confronted him. He didn’t even ask how I found out. It was like he was happy that I knew so he wouldn’t have to tell me himself.

Thank God I have always maintained a substantial savings. When Chase couldn’t even manage a decent apology, I packed a bag and went to a hotel. Not that I would’ve stayed even if he got on his knees and groveled. I’d already accepted that once in my life when I was young and dumb in college and didn’t know better. I sure wasn’t about to let history repeat itself.

The first thing I did when I checked into th
e hotel was head to the spa to get rid of my acrylic nails. I never liked them. It was Chase’s thing. He liked my long nails raking across his back. The thought of it now sends bile surging up my throat with a sting.

Then
, I pampered myself with room service, spent a few days surfing the internet, and made phone calls until I found an apartment that I could afford on my own and was close to work. There is no way I could have continued living in that condo with Chase any longer. Even if he would’ve left without a fight, I would’ve always wondered if some other woman had slept in my bed.

BOOK: Straddling the Edge
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ads

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