Authors: Monica Murphy
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Coming of Age, #Teen & Young Adult, #Love & Romance, #Contemporary, #Romance
I’m all alone but what else is new?
“Did your daddy buy you this necklace with stolen money?” He strides toward me, reaching out to grab hold of the delicate chain that’s around my neck. A necklace with a simple gold locket that Mother gave me a long time ago, that once belonged to my grandma. Justice’s fingers curl around the fragile gold and I try to jerk out of his touch.
Instead I rear back so quickly the necklace breaks and I gasp, watching as the old locket falls to the floor. I dip down to grab it but Justice is faster, bending over and sweeping the locket into his palm.
“Give that back,” I say, my voice shaky, holding out my hand. My fingers tremble and I curl them inward, hating the sign of weakness. “It’s mine.”
“You want it?” He dangles it from his fingers, the smirk on his face ugly. Mocking. “Come and get it.”
I stare at him, contemplating what I should do, what I should say. Tally is gone. It’s like the going got tough and she took off. I have no idea where Rachel is. She’s the loosest of my two new friends. She’s probably naked in a stranger’s bed somewhere upstairs.
“It was my grandmother’s,” I tell him, trying one last time to gain…what? Sympathy? We’ve drawn a crowd. Glancing around, I see the anger on all their faces. I don’t know any of them. I’m at some random party that’s far from where I usually hang out. I go to private school and when I first arrived for my senior year, I shunned my old friends. Found new ones that I thought would fit better with my new lifestyle.
Now I wished for those old friends. At least they’re loyal. I wouldn’t even be at this stupid party with people I didn’t know if I’d stayed with them. Vanessa and Valerie. We were silly together. We called ourselves the “V” girls because we all have Vs in our names and we were virgins. Stupid.
I’m not a virgin anymore. I don’t even belong with the “V” girls.
I don’t know who I belong with.
“You’re a liar,” Justice practically snarls, throwing the locket at my face. It bounces off my cheek and I reach up, hold my hand against my face as I bend down and grab the locket from where it landed by my feet. “Get the fuck out of here.”
I scurry out of the house without another word, not once looking back as the tears stream down my cheeks, the locket still clutched in my hand. I walk blindly down the street and grab my cell phone out of the back pocket of my jeans, hitting speed dial and hoping like crazy Evan answers. It’s late and he’s probably with a girl.
He’s always with a girl.
“It’s midnight,” he growls when he answers. I swear I hear a female’s voice in the background. I’m sure I do. My brother has gone hog wild lately.
So have I so I guess we’re just rebelling against the crap that’s been thrown at us.
“I need you to come get me,” I say, stopping as I glance around the street. The homes are nice, the neighborhood older. I rode over with Rachel and Tally and I really don’t want to find them and ask them to take me home. I don’t even think they would. They’re too wrapped up in their own stuff and Tally ran as fast as she could when the argument started. I bet she’s mad that I blew her chance with that jerk named Justice.
Stupid name. Stupid guy. Stupid new friends.
The heavy sigh that I hear tells me Evan isn’t pleased. That makes two of us. “Where are you?” he grumbles.
“I’ll text you the address. Plug it into your GPS.” I pause, hating how vulnerable I feel, how vulnerable I sound. “Please, Evan. Hurry.”
“I’ll get there as soon as I can.” He ends the call before I can say another word and I practically collapse onto the sidewalk, sitting on the edge as I type in the address and text it to Evan.
This is my life now. It’s done a complete one-eighty from a year ago. Heck, six months ago. I started the summer innocent and hopeful. I yearned for something. A change. A chance. I found both in Nicholas Fairfield. I rebelled against my parents and did what I wanted.
And what I wanted to do was Nick.
Then he was taken away from me. I was taken away from him. I went after him, went to see him right after the cops took him away but I was told he didn’t want to see me. The finality of those words, the finality of the situation…nearly broke me.
My entire life ended up being taken away from me and now we have nothing. All of our assets are frozen, Dad can no longer tend to his flock—his words—Mother is weeping all the time and I can’t live with them anymore. Neither can Evan. It’s too stressful. Too awful.
They lost the house. Temporarily, they say, until the investigation is over. But I know the truth. Dad stole all that money and Mom knew all along. We lost the summerhouse too. We’ve lost…everything.
Somehow Dad had the foresight to pay for the entire year’s tuition at my school so I can’t get kicked out. Instead I do something worse. I go against my friends and hang with the bad girls. I move in with Evan and do whatever the hell I want because my big brother really doesn’t care. He has his own issues he’s dealing with.
I’m fighting against myself and I’m losing.
I’d been kept in the dark for a long time. My entire life, really. She’s too young, they said. She doesn’t need to know about
. Keep her innocent. Keep her pure.
More like keep her stupid.
My parents sheltered me and I knew it but I never protested. I liked living in that warm, fluffy cocoon where nothing could touch me. Hurt me. We took care of each other, Mommy and Dad and Evan and I. Dad’s flock took care of us too and we took care of them. It was one big happy family.
Until it wasn’t.
The cracks were there, growing with each passing day, week, month. Slowly but surely and I was oblivious.
I’m not anymore though. My eyes are wide open and I can see everything.
Every little thing.
Reverie, are you there?
Did they shut off your phone?
I wish you would answer me. Are you mad at me? I get it. I do. And I’m sorry.
They put me in jail. I was trying to protect you.
I miss you Daydream. I miss you so bad my entire body hurts.
I wish I could hold you. Smell your hair. Touch it. Touch you.
I love you.
m cramping your style,” I say sarcastically as I stand at the kitchen counter and wait for my bagel to pop out of the toaster. He’d picked me up last night alone, mumbling on the drive back to his place how I ruined his chances with a really hot girl he’d been trying to score with for months.
Ew. Not what I wanted to hear from my brother. I know he’s a bit of a player but I don’t need any of the details.
“Kind of. But I’ll live.” Evan ruffles my hair as he walks by, headed straight for the coffeemaker which I’d started right after I woke up, feeling bleary-eyed and worn out even after a good night’s sleep.
“Like you would bring any girl around me anyway,” I tease. My brother is almost two years older than me and he’s good looking. I know this because I see the way girls stare at him as he walks by. There’s always some girl texting him or calling him and he goes out all the time, sometimes with his friends but mostly with a girl.
But he’s not the type to get serious. That’s why I never meet any of the girls he sees.
As I watch Evan pour a cup of coffee wearing only sweatpants, his golden hair a disheveled mess, his eyes narrowed as he scratches his chest, all I see is my slobby big brother who’s given me nothing but a bunch of grief for most of my life.
Since everything that happened with our parents though, he’s really come through. We’ve become closer. We’ve had to. I feel like he’s all I have and I think he feels the same.
“Just…you need to find new friends,” he says cautiously as he dumps a butt load of sugar into his coffee cup and then pours in a glob of creamer before he dunks a spoon into the liquid and rapidly stirs. “Or go back to your old ones. Those sluts you’re hanging out with now are doing you no favors.”
“Evan. They’re not sluts.” The bagel pops up and I pluck it from the toaster, rubbing my fingers against each other to ease the burn from the hot bread. I start to slather on the cream cheese, irritated that he would call them names. “You’re so mean.”
“I just call it like I see it.” He turns to face me, leaning against the edge of the counter as he takes a sip of his coffee. “They left you all alone in a neighborhood you didn’t know. You went to a party where you knew no one and they abandoned you.”
“And you’ve never done that before? Gone to a party where you knew no one?”
He makes a face. “I’m not a seventeen year old girl. Someone could’ve raped you, Rev.”
Evan’s right. I know it. But I don’t like hearing it. “My friends aren’t sluts,” I say again as I put the lid on the cream cheese container and set the knife into the sink. Rachel might work a little fast and loose but I wouldn’t call her a slut. I don’t like calling girls that at all. It’s a horrible word. Life is so unfair when a boy can go out and bang a bazillion chicks and no one bats an eyelash. A girl goes out and fools around with a few guys—boom, instant slut status.
“Stop rebelling.” He’s suddenly behind me, his big hands clutching my shoulders and giving me a little shake. “Just…be you. You’re not this girl you’re pretending to be. Rolling up the waistband of your uniform skirt so it rises higher and pisses off the teachers. Wearing all the makeup on your eyes and making yourself look like a raccoon on acid when you used to wear no makeup at all. Ignoring your old friends so you can hang out with ones who are out partying and giving random guys blow jobs.”