Authors: Angela Carlie
Tags: #fiction, #romance, #addiction, #inspirational, #contemporary, #teen, #edgy inspirational, #first kiss, #ya, #first love, #edgy, #teen fiction, #teen romance, #methamphetamine, #family and relationships, #alcoholic parents, #edgy christian fiction
Copyright 2012 by Angela Carlie
All rights reserved.
This book or any part of this book may not be
reproduced in any form, stored in a retrieval system, or
transmitted in any form by any means without prior written
permission of the author, except as provided by United States of
America copyright law.
The characters and events in this book are
fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, names,
places or incidents are coincidental and not intended by the
2nd Edition: July, 2012
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For the babes of addicts.
And for my family, always.
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Also by Angela Carlie
The Lords of Shifters Series
Land of Corn Chips
Friday, October 2nd
Hope, wrapped around my wrist in the form of
hemp and beads, created by the innocent hands of my mother as a
kid—a dream smasher in the making. Frayed and worn, it reminds me
that my mother hasn’t always been how she is, and lets me believe
that maybe she could someday be a real mom. That thought ranks high
on the totally-never-going-to-happen scale, but one can still have
hope. Besides, she did a wicked job at making it, so it’s a pretty
cool accessory. I haven’t taken it off since I found it stuffed in
a junk drawer in her old room.
“Autumn.” Grams’ phlegm-heavy voice snaps me
out of my thoughts. “Eat your breakfast.”
Jeannie, a lifelong waitress who escapes her
husband every morning by going to work, slides a plate of eggs and
hash browns under my nose. According to the whispers from the lips
of old ladies, Jeannie sometimes works double shifts to avoid going
It’s funny the things you notice that you
never noticed before when secrets touch your ears. Like a bruise on
an arm that could have come from running into a wall, but now seems
more than a simple accident, or a subtle limp that wouldn’t have
been given a second thought, but now weighs heavy on the heart.
The aroma of breakfast stirs the monster in
my stomach. “Thanks, Jeannie.”
She winks at me and walks away.
Grams turns back to her conversation with her
two lady friends, one a retired high school teacher, the other a
widowed hair dresser. Smoke billows from Grams’ cigarette, creating
thick smog around the group, and she slurps a cup of coffee while
they chat about the latest gossip. I never understand how they have
so much to talk about. We eat breakfast here every single day, and
every day they have at least thirty minutes of chatter to
It’s a typical Friday in the town of Cultus,
Washington, which is nestled like a nasty tick into the armpit of
the state. With a population of thirty-five thousand, it’s not a
small town, yet there is absolutely nothing to do here. Well,
nothing that won’t get you into trouble or destroy your life.
There’s a reason why this town has a high crime rate and is known
for its access to methamphetamine.
The bell on the door jingles, and my best
friend, Rainy, walks through. She waves her hand in front of her
face and coughs. “Dude, you’re gonna die of secondhand smoke and
Tell me about it. I don’t smoke, yet I’m
pretty sure nicotine seeps from my pores.
Rainy stops at the amber glass to check her
bleach blond mullet—ratted on top and long in the back—in the faint
reflection before flopping down next to my grandma on the green
vinyl bench. She grabs the cigarette from Grams’ hand and smashes
it into the ashtray. Grams is too enthralled with her conversation
“You really shouldn’t eat with them if,”
Rainy raises her voice, “all they’re gonna do is smoke like chimney
stacks.” She turns back to me. “Aren’t you even gonna ask why I’m
“What time is it? I didn’t notice it was
early.” Actually, she’s probably right on time, instead of late as
usual. “And why do you look so nice? Why are you wearing a
Rainy never wears skirts, but today she
sports a plaid hot pink and neon green schoolgirl skirt, complete
with a matching petticoat. The skirt may be new but her standard
t-shirt and Converse are the same. She says the eighties look makes
her stand out in the crowd. Not that she needs big hair and retro
clothes to stand out.
“I have a date after school,” she says. “And
so do you.”
Grams’ selective hearing must have zapped her
because she snaps her attention to Rainy.
“Yeah. Remember that website I was telling
you about?” Rainy pauses as if I should know what she’s talking
about. “You know the one where lots of kids hang out in chat rooms
and talk art crap and stuff?”
“No. You never told me, because I would’ve
remembered that.” Rainy talks to a lot of people, unlike me, and
thinks she tells me things when she really told someone else. She
won’t admit to it, but it’s a problem that emerges on a regular
“Yes I did. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. The
point is, we have dates and they’re from the chat room.” She grabs
a piece of toast from my plate and spreads jam on it.
“What do you mean, we? I don’t know anybody
from this chat room, so it looks like you’re on your own.”
“I set you up.” Her teeth crunch into the
Grams’ thin lips twitch from their ordinary
frowning position into a straight line, her effort at a smile. “Do
your parents know about this date?” she asks Rainy.
“Of course, Grams. Chaaa.” Rainy rolls her
Grams nods her head in thought. Her two
friends lean toward us, a little more interested in our
conversation—like this may be the best gossip of the day. News
flash: Rainy forces Autumn to go on a date. Better yet, Autumn
agrees to go on a blind date! But that’s not going to happen, so
they may as well find something else to whisper about.
“Sorry, I’m not doing that again,” I say to
Rainy. “Last time you totally ditched me with that freakazoid at
“Come on. He wasn’t a freak.” Rainy grins.
“You were just mad that I got the cuter guy, that’s all.” She
throws the crust from the toast onto the plate then reaches for my
water. “It will be different this time. I saw a picture and he’s
hot. Real hot.”
“I don’t care. I’m not going—I’ve got stuff
to do.” Well, I wish I had stuff to do.
Rainy scrunches her face in disbelief. “Like
what? What could you possibly have to do on a Friday night?” She
sighs. “I’m your only friend, dork. Remember?”
“For your information, I have plenty to do
and it’s none of your business.”
Grams hacks up a wad of phlegm and spits it
into a napkin—totally embarrassing me, as usual. Not that there is
anyone here to be embarrassed in front of. Rainy’s already familiar
with Grams’ smoking habits. The old ladies whom Grams hangs out
with smoke just as heavily as she does. Thus, every morning is a
chorus of hacking old ladies. The run-down Matt’s Café is regularly
filled with other hackers of the geriatric nature.
“You know you don’t have anything better to
do,” Grams says. Her friends nod in agreement. “What are the boys’
names?” Grams points an unlit cigarette at Rainy.
“Evan and Caleb.” Rainy shrugs and lifts an
eyebrow toward my direction.
“Their last names?”
“Laverne, I think. They’re cousins. Why?”
The three old ladies banter at each other.
“Evan’s Delores’ son.” “She volunteers at the Senior Center.” “Good
church-going folk.” “They’ll be safe.”
Rainy lets out an exaggerated sigh. I kick
her under the table.
“Go out with Rainy and have some fun.” Grams
gives me her serious look. “If you don’t, I’ll have you polishing
my spoons all weekend.”
My grandma is famous for collecting antique
silver spoons. She fills drawers and racks and cupboards and boxes
in storage full of the shiny pieces of metal. She is a member of
the American Spoon Club and gets spoons through mail order. She
travels to antique stores once a month in search of odd spoons or
to find what she perceives as exciting spoons.
“Each spoon has a history,” she once told me.
She owns a spoon rumored to have been Hitler’s and one from Abraham
Lincoln. She even found some freaky weird spoons that don’t look
like spoons at all from, like, ancient times or something.
The last time she forced me to polish spoons
was six years ago for stealing candy from the supermarket.
Rainy’s eyes light up. She points at me. “Ha!
You don’t really want to polish spoooooons, do you?”
“Gee, thanks, Grams.”
“And when you’re done with the spoons, you
can come to church with me on Sunday. You’re sixteen, sweetheart.
Take it from me…”
Oh, here we go.
“…you need to loosen up a little and enjoy
some good clean fun. You need to go out tonight with Rainy. You
also really should start coming with me to church because there are
some nice kids there you can make friends with and join the teen
church group after school.”
I roll my eyes.
Her finger slices through the air toward me.
“I mean it, Autumn.” She lights another cigarette and blows blue
air out of her nostrils. “You spend too much time at home worrying.
You don’t have to worry about the world, or about me, and you
especially don’t have to worry about being like your mother.”
That did it. I stand and grab my book bag.
“We need to go.”
“You’re not going to turn into her by going
out once in a while. Don’t run away every time I bring her up.”
“I’m not running away, we just have to go to
school.” Lie. I’m not really in the mood to talk about my so-called
mother. I jerk my head toward Rainy and she gets up.
“Fine, but just know that you are not your
mother. You’re nothing like her.”
Yeah, you said that. “I know Grams.” I bend
down to kiss her peach-fuzz cheek. “Don’t spend all day here. Get
home and take a nap or something.”
Dear Lord, please watch over and protect
Grams while I’m away. Keep her safe.
I march through the door, not looking back to
see if Rainy is following. Once I get to the end of the block,
Rainy’s footsteps on wet pavement and heavy breathing catch up with
“Would you slow down?”
“We’re going to be late.” I turn to wait for
her. “Do you even want to go today?”
She steps next to me, out of breath. “Not
“I only want to show up for art class. Do you
want to hang with me in the art room while I finish up an
assignment or do you have better things to do?”
“Nah, I’ll hang. So, what do you wanna do
‘til then?” She walks double-time to keep up with me. Her short
legs can never keep up with my long ones. “Do you wanna go to the
falls? Or, how ‘bout the pot-holes?”
I sigh. “Not really. Let’s just go to the