Authors: Christy Sloat
Who We Were
By Christy Sloat
All rights reserved.
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.
Published by Anchor Group
PO Box 551 Flushing, MI 48433
Edited by Melanie Williams
Cover photography by Georgia Skies Photography
Cover design by Najla Qamber Designs
This one is for my Kyleigh. You’ve gone through so much and still you stay strong. You’re my brave girl. I’m continually amazed at how with every obstacle you face, you hit it head on and push through. I am blessed to be your mother. I love you more than you know.
I am always w
ary about this part so I’ll do it like this; if you helped make this book possible and supported me throughout, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
A gigantic thank you for friends who not only motivate but helped me get this book in shape; Lynn Shaw, Angie Roberson, Stacey Rourke and Kate Polillo.
Readers: a huge thank you for sticking with me and reading book number eight!
Family: I love you. You make me happy every day, and you are the reason I write.
Friends: You’re friendships make it possible for me to stay sane. I applaud you for putting up with my craziness.
Key Keepers; You’ve read the book before anyone else and all of your input really helped make it a better book all around. You’re the best street team a writer could ask for.
My editor; Melanie Williams who whipped the book into literary shape. It needed a good cleaning, and you got it done!
The school parking lot was a complete mess. I pulled in hoping it would be organized like
school’s lot was. We each knew where to park our cars: the geeks got the far lot, the preps had the center, and the popular kids, or
, got the upper lot closest to the school. Since the sixth grade, I had called them
as it referred to their needy desire to get noticed in school. They would do anything to become popular, even turning themselves into status hungry demons, therefore the name stuck.
There was no designated space for my kind because well, I didn’t have a category. I wasn’t a geek. I was definitely not preppy. I sure as hell was not a
either. I was one of a kind. My spot was usually where the last possible space was. Usually late to class, my best friend, Lily, and I would hit the doughnut shop for our usual coffee and sour cream doughnut. When we rolled up to school after scarfing our breakfast and rocking out to the newest song by our favorite band of the month, we’d find a parking spot wherever it was available. We’d walk as slow as we could to our first period class and just barely make it before the tardy bell rang. To put it simply, we were not excited about getting to class, ever!
But this school was totally different. I sat in my Honda with the air conditioning on full blast watching the mad chaos ensue in front of me. Most of the kids were waiting for other people to park their cars while they were stuck behind them. The cars blocking the entrance were there because the drivers were merely chatting it up with friends, planning out their summer on the first exciting day of summer school. I sighed heavily when I noticed my chance. Far off in the distance a lone spot was open. I jammed the gear shift into drive and took off swerving around students and cars until I smoothly slid into the tight spot.
I killed the engine and grabbed my new bag. I refused to go to summer classes with my junior year backpack. No way! I had purchased all new items for the next four weeks. This was a new school and a new chance to actually become someone different. A clean slate. No one here knew me, so my past history was erased. I would be Sadie Peters, popular and outgoing, instead of Sadie Peters, a shy nobody that no one pays any attention to.
I looked up at Alcott High’s newly rebuilt entrance. It was the town’s oldest school, but it held the most history. It was the very first school built in
Laurel Lakes when it was a small town. Now that the town has grown immensely, they needed a new school built, and that’s how Ridgeline High, my school, was built. While I liked my school for various reasons, I loved the history of Alcott. To me it held hope and immense change. After a complete and utterly disastrous junior year, I could only see promise staring me in the face.
I would be taking courses that were required for senior year now, so that when next year started, I would only have a half-day session. Then, after school I would be taking creative writing courses at the local college, preparing me for a university and hopefully an internship at a publishing firm. I had it all planned out. This was just the first step in my well thought out plan. A plan devised with Lily many years ago. We hated this town and wanted to get out as soon as our diplomas were in our hot little hands. I frowned at the thought of Lily at home sleeping in while I was here. She was spending her summer serving ice cream at Scoop’s while I was here. Scoop’s was the best place to meet guys in the hot weather, and she had been looking forward to this summer job all year. While I was jealous she was going to be surrounded by town hotties all day, I knew I had to do this. Besides we planned to meet up at the lake after school.
It will be fine. You’ll meet new people and have a fresh start.
I told myself.
Take that first step.
I took it with my eyes forward and head held high. But I failed to miss the hot guy walking straight into me. His books flew out of his hand, and I fell on my ass. Everyone in the quad looked
directly at me and laughed. Not the start I had hoped for, at all. I looked up from the gravel into the eyes of the hottest guy I’d ever seen in Laurel Lakes.
“Are you all right?” hot guy asked me. I stared in astonishment. His blue eyes dug into mine like he was searching through my soul.
“Uh, yeah. I’m good, you?” I mumbled.
“I’m actually doing great. I’ve never seen you before,” he said as he pulled me from the ground. “I would remember a face like that.”
I smiled from ear to ear as I brushed myself off. Maybe it was too soon to say I failed my fresh beginning.
“I’m Sadie,” I told him even though he didn’t ask my name. He threw me off by noticing my face. “I go to Ridgeline.” He smiled and rolled his eyes upward. “That’s where they’re hiding you, huh? I hate Ridgeline, but I won’t hold it against you,” he admitted. “I’m Nash Rylan. Nice to meet you, Sadie. What are you doing here? Did you fail Economics?”
You’d have to be an idiot to fail Economics.
“No, I’m taking English Lit now, so I don’t have to take it next year,” I confessed. His wide smile actually faltered slightly, but not slight enough that I didn’t notice. “I want to have half a day next year that way I can get extra credits.”
I looked down instantly feeling shy at telling him all of my plans. Then I wondered why he was here in summer. Did he fail a class?
“I totally get it,” he said as he rubbed his neck with his hand. “I wish I was that ahead of the game. I actually failed Economics.”
Oh my God!
I just called him an idiot. Thank god I didn’t say it out loud. That was another thing I was working on with myself, thinking before I speak.
“Too bad we won’t have a class together,” I blurted. I mentally kicked myself for not thinking before saying that. Still I had to work on it obviously.
“I was gonna say the same thing,” he said with a smile.
. I’d love to get to know you more, Sadie.”
I was not prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for
guy interaction, let alone guys this hot. The most I had was my guy friends. I never dated, so I had zero experience when it came to guys. I just stood there dumbfounded.
“Can I get your number?” he asked finally.
“Sure!” I said eagerly. He pulled out his cell and handed it to me. I added my name and number to his contacts list. I even added a small heart next to my name. That way he’d remember me.
I handed him back his phone and realized my hands were shaking. He took it and bent down to pick up his pencil that fell, no doubt, when I ran into him.
“Can’t forget this!” he joked. “I can’t fail now, I have my trusty pencil, and I got the prettiest girl’s number. It’s gonna be a good day for me.”
The bell rang out loudly. I wouldn’t be late at this school. Another rule for myself: no more slacking when it came to class.
“I should go,” I said walking away. I didn’t want to. I wanted to stay with him and keep talking. Keep staring at his beautiful face.
“Okay. See ya!” He waved at me and then turned to join his friends. They all greeted him, and at that moment he turned to look at me again, showing me his bright smile. I waved at him and smiled back. I hardly ever smiled like that, not unless it was something extremely funny or I felt really happy.
Nash made me smile because he’d given me just what I was looking for when I signed up for summer school. He gave me optimism. I would be whoever I wanted to be without anyone or anything to hold me back.
The class was small in size, and that was a good thing. Too many students meant too much pressure. I walked in with my new rosy pink dress swaying across my legs. I found a seat at the back of the class, soon after, before anyone could notice, I moved up front. Usually the
sat up front while the losers, like me, sat in the back. Not today. Not at this school.
I pulled my folder and pens out from my floral bag and noticed the cute girl who sat next to me. She was pretty and petite and wore her pink lipstick just right. I could never admire make-up with Lily. Lily was anti-product. She thought it held a girl back from her full potential. Even though I disagreed, I never told her. Here at Alcott I could think whatever I wanted.
“Hey,” I said to the girl. “I love your lipstick. It’s the perfect shade for your skin tone.”
Her eyes lit up. “Thanks. It’s new, and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be for me, ya know?”
I nodded. “Totally, I get it.”
She looked down at her nail polish and thus held her nails up to show me. “This is new too.”
I laughed and showed her mine. They were the same color. “We match.”
“Great minds think alike and all that,” she laughed. “I’m Kyleigh, what’s your name?”
“Cool name. I like it. You new here?”
I thought for a second. I could go on and on about where I went to school, or I could just be simple. “Yeah.” Simple it is.
“Nice. Well, if you want to hang sometime, let me know. I usually work the summers, but I’m trying to get rid of these credits so I can have an easier senior year.”
“Me too! Well, getting rid of the credits. But, yeah, we can definitely hang out.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. I’d only ever hung out with Lily. Kyleigh seemed nice though. Lily would understand if I hung out with a new friend, right? Then maybe we’d all get to know each other and hang together.
Before I could say anything else the teacher came in and placed her coffee mug down on the small desk. She was late, and we were early. That was something I’d never experienced at my school since I was always late to class.
“Hey guys, I’m Mrs. Bentley, your friendly English Literature teacher for the next four weeks. Sorry about being late, but when you have a three year old having a temper tantrum, you tend to run a little behind.” The whole class laughed. I liked her instantly. She was one of those pretty teachers, too pretty to be stuck in a classroom teaching for the summer. Her hair was pulled up high in a small round bun, and her eyes smiled when she did. She was going to be a good teacher for me; I just knew it.
“I’d like to talk a little bit about what we will be covering for the next month,” she explained as she pulled a few papers from her leather bag. She handed the papers to Kyleigh and asked her to take one and then pass the others. When mine got to me, I scanned it. It was the lesson plan.
We would be reading
The Picture of Dorian Gray
. I’d never read it, so I felt excited about finally reading something new. Mrs. Bentley explained the lesson plan, and I listened intently.
“I’d like to compare the trials Mr. Gray goes through with high school life.” A laugh erupted in the classroom. I didn’t understand. I guess I would get it once I read the book. “You’ll be reading and exploring the text, and at that point we’ll compare it to our lives now. Then we’ll be writing an essay about it for final grade, sound good?” Everyone groaned, “Yes,” including me, and she clapped her hands together. “Wonderful. Let’s get started.”
The crowd for lunch was bigger than I expected, so I headed for the bathroom to check my make-up and hair. I knew I was going to run into Nash, hence I wanted to look my best. I pushed open the door and was surprised to see the brand new paint job and clean porcelain sinks. They really outdid themselves when they remodeled last year. It looked like a fancy golf club bathroom. I know only because my parents were once members at Laurel Resort and Golf Club, or just the LR as the members call it. It was the best two years of my pre-teen life. I got to swim everyday while my dad golfed and my mom socialized. Then they separated and dad took the membership when he moved out. I rarely visit him on the weekends, but he never takes me to the LR anymore. He thinks I’m too old. “Oh, you don’t want to go to the LR now, Sadie. It’s full of little kids and old people.”
I didn’t care what he said. I knew the
frequented the LR; it was all they talked about. I’d like just a shot at being able to be noticed, but that wouldn’t happen if I didn’t hang at the same places they did.
I stood in front of the mirror and stared at my pale complexion. I needed to apply a little blush and wipe the mascara from under my eyes, but all in all, I looked good. I ran a brush through my dark blonde hair. I had spent an hour straightening out the curls until my hair was nice and smooth. I was so thankful it finally grew to a good, long length. Last year in an attempt to fit in, I did a bob cut. It did not work out well for me; I was not meant to have short hair.
I kept light on the eye make-up today. Skipping the usual dark smudge and going with a cream base, mascara, pink rosy cheeks and light gloss. It was a whole different look for me. My usual was smoky eyes and no lipstick. A whole, hide behind yourself look.
I fixed my dress, which was new for me too. I never wore them except when they were totally necessary. When I went shopping for clothes for the summer, I bought four dresses and several floral tank tops. Lily couldn’t make it that day, and when I finally showed her what I got, she laughed at me saying, “You’re going to look ridiculous in those.” She was wrong apparently because what I saw in the mirror looked pretty good. I leaned in close and saw the gap between my front teeth. Lily always said I should get braces and have it closed, but it never bothered me. I actually liked it. It was a small gap, and it was actually sort of cute.
I left the bathroom after one final check and headed toward the food court. I saw Nash instantly. He waved at me, and I waved back. Then, before I could head over to him, my phone started ringing. I pulled it out, and Lily’s name and picture came across the screen. I stopped dead in my tracks. Did I answer or head over to Nash who was now standing and making his way over to me. I hit talk before I could change my mind.
“Hey, shorty,” I said to her. She laughed. “Hey, behemoth. How’s the first day?” Our nicknames symbolized our size in comparison with each other. Lily was tiny, standing at only five feet, and I was tall at five foot eight. When we stood next to each other, it was almost comical. We decided to give each other nicknames before anyone else did.
“My first day of summer school has been a massive success,” I whispered in the phone. “And as we speak the hottest guy on the whole planet is walking toward me.”
She laughed again. “Is he walking to the bathroom? Or like, actually to you?”
I frowned. “Are you surprised that he’s actually walking to me?”
“No, no. Not at all. I am happy for ya,” she giggled. I wasn’t convinced. “Before the planet’s hottest guy gets to you, I wanted to ask if we’re still on for the lake today.”
“Awesome. Meet me at Scoop’s, okay?”
Nash was almost to me. He smiled, and I noticed he had a tattoo on his biceps. Then I stared at his biceps. They were larger than any teen boy at Ridgeline. In fact he was larger than any boy at Ridgeline. He was tall and built like a machine.
He must play football.
“Yep, Scoop’s. Got it. Bye.” I hung up the phone before she ended her goodbye, but Nash was now standing right in front of me. He smelled like sexy boy scent mixed with hot school lunch. I totally didn’t care.
“Pressing call?” he asked. I smiled and put my phone away.
“Yeah, kinda. My best friend,” I explained. “She works at Scoop’s, and we’re meeting there then going to the lake today.”
He looked down and then up at me from under his long lashes. “Ah. I was hoping I could take you out for ice cream today.”
Holy hell! I’d gone seventeen years without being asked out, and now on my first day I’ve been hit on and asked out by a god.
“Well, her shift ends at three, so that gives you and me an hour to hang. If that’s all right?” I suggested smoothly.
“Yeah. That’s all right with me,” he reached out and grabbed my hand and pulled me through the crowd to his table. Once at the table, he let it go. I missed his touch already. I was definitely pathetic.
“Hey guys,” he shouted over the noise. They all quieted down and faced Nash. “This is Sadie.”
“Hey Sadie,” a girl with blonde hair said. I waved. Then they all greeted me with hellos and names that I could never remember. Not yet anyway. I hoped that I’d get the chance to.
“You hungry?” Nash asked sweetly.
“Yes. Starving.” I started to pull out my sack lunch and saw Nash slide his uneaten cheeseburger in front of me. “You like cheeseburgers?” It was such a silly question. Who didn’t?
“Um, yeah! Thanks.” I slid my lunch back into my bag. I’d throw it out before I got home. I knew my mom would flip if she found out I didn’t eat it. Wasting food was a huge pet peeve for her. I understood, but who in their right minds would turn down a cheeseburger from Nash?
I took a bite and listened to everyone talk about their classes. I couldn’t believe this many kids were doing the summer school thing. It made me wonder if they all failed a class or if they were like me.
The boy at the end of the table stood up and scooted closer to Nash. “Hey, we still on for today?” he asked him. I got a good look at him. He was gorgeous as well, but there was something about him I couldn’t quite place my finger on.
“Nah, man. Today I’m gonna pass. I’m taking Sadie for ice cream,” Nash answered simply. It was like we were already a couple. It sounds lame, but it was how I felt. He used my name so easily in the few short minutes of our time together, and I couldn’t help but love the way he said it.
“Sadie, huh? You must be her then. I’m Oliver,” he said as he slid closer to me now. “Oliver Kasen.” I knew the name. He was the big shot football player for Alcott. The quarterback if I wasn’t mistaken.
“Hi,” I said as plain as ever.
Oliver had lips that were bigger than the usual male, but not in a bad way. They looked kissable actually. Almost like he had just gotten done sucking face with a girl. They were red and swollen. His face was peppered with freckles, and his hair hung in his eyes. He was perfection just like Nash.
perfect as Nash though. Nash was all that Oliver wasn’t. He was polite and gentle while Oliver was pushy and rough around the edges.
“Got any friends, Sadie?” Oliver asked.
Yep, definitely pushy.
“My best friend, Lily. She works at Scoop’s.”
He nodded, and his smile grew larger. “Total hotties work at Scoop’s. Tell me about her,” he urged.
Then before I could contain myself, I told him all about Lily.
“She’s Latina. She has long hair that comes down to her waistline, although she may have cut it since I saw her last week. She said she was going to,” I mumbled. “Her eyes are like dark chocolate, and she’s anti-product.”
Oliver looked confused. “What’s that mean?”
“She doesn’t wear make-up,” Nash answered for me then looked at me. “I must have heard the term somewhere.” He blushed.
“What else? Is she single?” Oliver asked excitedly.
I nodded and took a bite of the burger.
“Cool. Hook me up,” he suggested.
I swallowed and said, “Sure. Let me just talk to her first. She is kind of anti-football players.”
Nash laughed, but Oliver didn’t.
“Who isn’t into football players? I mean, look at us.” He stood and showed off his very strong physique while patting Nash on the back. I had my answer, Nash played football. The difference between the two boys was apparent. Nash wasn’t into flaunting his terrific body, but Oliver was.
“Okay, Oli, I think she gets the idea,” Nash said with a roll of his eyes.
The bell rang ending lunch just in time. I didn’t think I could listen to Oliver’s cockiness any longer. I stood and tried to grab the lunch tray, but Nash took it first. He smiled at me and said, “I got this.” I pulled back and ran my fingers through my hair. He was so polite. The typical gentlemen.
“So, you think I may have a chance with your friend?” Oliver was standing so close that I could actually smell the onions he had in his burger. I pulled out a stick of gum and gave it to him.
I rolled my eyes. “Sure. About my friend, Lily, she’s … picky. So don’t get your hopes up.”
“Sadie, I have never, ever, struck out with a girl. I can promise you that once she sees Oliver Kasen, that girl will be in love,” he said with satisfaction dripping from his voice. I really seriously hated boys like Oliver, but there was something about him that I couldn’t shake. That something made me actually like him a little. I found him interesting and humorous. It would be funny to see Lily’s reaction to his arrogant attitude toward women. He didn’t know her like I did. She would never fall for a guy like him, not in a million years.