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Authors: Melody Carlson

Trapped

BOOK: Trapped
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NavPress is the publishing ministry of The Navigators, an international Christian organization and leader in personal spiritual development. NavPress is committed to helping people grow spiritually and enjoy lives of meaning and hope through personal and group resources that are biblically rooted, culturally relevant, and highly practical.

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© 2012 by Melody Carlson

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ISBN-13: 978-1-60006-951-2

Cover design by Faceout Studio, Charles Brock

Cover image by iStock

Published in association with the literary agency of Sara A. Fortenberry.

Some of the anecdotal illustrations in this book are true to life and are included with the permission of the persons involved. All other illustrations are composites of real situations, and any resemblance to people living or dead is coincidental.

Carlson, Melody.

  Trapped : caught in a lie / Melody Carlson.

       p. cm. --  (Secrets)

  Summary: “As straight-A student GraceAnn enters her senior year, the stakes seem higher, the stress is mounting, and after bad breakup with her boyfriend, her grades begin to slip. Couldn't she cheat, this just one time?”--Provided by publisher.

  ISBN 978-1-60006-951-2 (pbk.)

 [1. Stress (Psychology)--Fiction. 2. Cheating--Fiction. 3. Christian life--Fiction. 4. High schools--Fiction. 5. Schools--Fiction. 6. Best friends--Fiction. 7. Friendship--Fiction.]  I. Title.

  PZ7.C216637Tr 2012

  [Fic]--dc23

                                                            2011046538

Printed in the United States of America

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 / 16 15 14 13 12

O
THER
N
OVELS BY
M
ELODY
C
ARLSON

S
ECRETS
Series

Damaged

Forgotten

Shattered

T
RUE
C
OLORS
Series

Bitter Rose

Blade Silver

Bright Purple

Burnt Orange

Dark Blue

Deep Green

Faded Denim

Fool's Gold

Harsh Pink

Moon White

Pitch Black

Torch Red

. . . [CHAPTER 1] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I
f anyone asks my opinion on categorizing personality types, I claim to be totally against labeling people and will say that everyone should be respected as an individual and not pigeonholed. But the truth is, I know I have a type A personality. In fact, I sometimes take the free online personality tests, and unless I cheat on my answers, which would be wrong, I score frighteningly high.

In all honesty, I am an uncompromising perfectionist who flirts with a tendency toward OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder). But will I admit this to anyone? Of course not. Because underneath my obsession with perfection is a very insecure little girl. A little girl who knows she does not measure up … and probably never will.

An ironic side of my type A obsessions is how much effort I put into my psychotic attempts to disguise myself as easygoing and laid back, like a type B. Crazy as it sounds, sometimes I almost manage to convince myself that I really am this carefree and unmotivated person. Or maybe I just hope acting like that will change me somehow. But my underlying feeling is that it's hopeless. I was wired to be intense and competitive and bossy. That's just the way my DNA dice were tossed. Unfortunately, this can be hard on relationships … and boyfriends.

“You're too high maintenance,” Clayton told me just last week.

“High maintenance? What are you talking about?”

“You're difficult, GraceAnn. You make everything harder than it needs to be. And it just gets old after a while. You know?” He peered at me with those big brown eyes, those sweet puppy-dog eyes, and I was ready to agree with him — and to be fair, he was probably right. But for some reason I just couldn't back down. I mean, what girl wants her boyfriend to call her “difficult”?

Besides, Clayton had promised to pick me up by seven o'clock. I'd rushed home from work, taken a shower, done my hair, and put myself back together — all in less than an hour. And at a few minutes before seven, I was ready to go. But Clayton didn't pull up until 7:28, which in my opinion is too late to make the 7:40 movie. And maybe that's my problem, because I hate to be late. But my idea of a good movie date is having my popcorn and soda in hand and being seated in a good spot in the theater just as the lights go down. Is that too much to ask? According to Clayton, it is.

“You think
I'm
difficult?” I tried to keep my voice calm and easygoing despite my rising blood pressure. “What about you? You're late and — ”

“I was a few minutes late — because of traffic — and you throw a complete hissy fit,” he snapped back at me.


A few minutes?” I held out my watch to make a point. “Maybe you haven't learned how to tell time yet.” Okay, that might've been a bit harsh.

And so, on we went, arguing like an old married couple until Clayton literally threw his hands in the air and proclaimed that we needed to take a break.

“What do you mean by a break? Like break up?”

“I don't know, GraceAnn.” He shrugged and looked down at his shoes like he was thinking it over. “I need a little break from your constant whining.”

Well, that just totally ticked me off. I mean, he was the one nearly half an hour late, yet he was accusing me of whining and being difficult.

“Fine,” I told him. “Let's take a break — in fact, while we're at it, let's just break up, Clayton. Let's throw in the towel, call it quits,
finito
.” Okay, I thought that would get his attention. Because I honestly believed Clayton loved me as much as I loved him, and I thought he would apologize and beg me to reconsider.

“Maybe that's a good idea,” he said way too easily. “For both of us.” Then he leaned over and pecked me on the cheek, headed back to his truck, and just drove away. End of story.

Well, not quite … because now I'm pining away for him. Secretly, of course, because I don't want anyone to know how deeply I'm hurt. Well, except for Rory, my faithful canine companion. I tell him everything. Rory is part golden retriever. And for seven years he's slept in my bed almost every night. I've had him since I was ten, and I seriously don't know what I'd do without my Rory.

Well, Rory and my best friend, Mary Beth. Mary Beth and I have been best friends for ages … probably starting back in grade school when we both got teased for having double names. Geoff Landers said we were “rednecks” and sometimes called us both Daisy May just to be mean. But that only tightened our allegiance to each other.

I don't know what I'd do without Mary Beth. And yet I still haven't admitted to her just how heartbroken I am over Clayton. Instead I've kept up a brave front, pretending the breakup was mutual. And really, wasn't it? As I recall, I was the one who brought up the idea in the first place. So seriously, why should I be upset? Yeah, right.

“You're taking it so well,” Mary Beth told me after youth group on Sunday night. It was just one day after the breakup, and I was acting like it was no big deal. “I'm really impressed, GraceAnn. I thought you'd be a basket case by now.”

“God is helping me with it,” I told her. And I wanted to believe that was true. Unfortunately, it might've been my spiritual pride talking, trying to appear stronger than I was, maybe even for the rest of youth group to see. It hadn't helped that Clayton was there as usual or that he stayed far away from me the whole time.

Anyway, I managed to keep up my little nonchalant act for a full week following the breakup. It wasn't easy, and by the next youth group, where Clayton was conspicuously absent, I grew thoroughly tired of the whole charade. However, I kept it up. A big part of being a type A is pride — caring too much about my image and what others think of me. It's a hard act to keep up.

But now it's another Monday morning, the start of my second week without Clayton, and I'm sick of faking it. In fact, I am considering going to Clayton, taking the blame, and apologizing for the whole stupid mess. It will be humiliating, but I think I can do it. I am ready to beg him to come back to me.

If I do it soon enough, like today, we might even be able to make it to the Winter Ball next week. The only problem is, I'll have to swallow my great big pride. The mere thought makes the lump in my throat feel bigger than ever this morning.

“Are you okay?” Mary Beth asks as we're going up the front steps to Magnolia Park High School.

“Sure,” I say in a blasé tone. “I'm just great.”

She frowns at me. “You don't sound just great.”

Now I look directly at her, feeling hot tears stinging my eyelids. “You're right,” I confess, “I'm not.”

Mary Beth reaches over, takes me by the arm, and leads me back down the steps to a nearby bench where we both sit down. “Talk to me, GraceAnn,” she says in that calm, quiet manner that makes her Mary Beth and my best friend.

Instead of talking to her, I just start crying. And really, I hate playing the drama queen and I'm just certain that other students are staring at me as they head in the front door. I imagine they're gossiping about how pathetic I am and how Clayton was smart to dump me.

BOOK: Trapped
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ads

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