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Authors: Linda Palmer

Tags: #Mythology, #Romance, #Teen romance, #Young Adult

Somewhere in the Middle

BOOK: Somewhere in the Middle
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Somewhere in the Middle

 

By

Linda Palmer

 

 

Uncial Press       Aloha, Oregon
2014
 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events
described herein are products of the author's imagination or are used
fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
actual events, locations, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is
entirely coincidental.

ISBN 13: 978-1-60174-184-4

Somewhere in the Middle
Copyright © 2014 by
Linda Palmer

Cover design
Copyright © 2014 by Linda
Palmer
Photos: © Can Stock Photo Inc. /rustyphil
© Can
Stock Photo Inc. /jgroup
© Can Stock Photo Inc. /
BackyardProduct

All rights reserved. Except for use in review, the reproduction or
utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any
electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is
forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
punishable by up to five (5) years in federal prison and a fine of
$250,000.

Published by Uncial Press,
an imprint of GCT, Inc.

Visit us at http://www.uncialpress.com

This book is dedicated to some men with imagination:

Marvel Comics editor-plotter Stan Lee,
scripter Larry
Lieber,
and penciller Jack Kirby.

Also to Chris Hemsworth,
whose acting breathed life into
a legend.

Thanks for Thor, my favorite superhero.

Chapter One

Quiet to the point of being sullen, new guy Roone Thorsen had pretty
much ignored everyone at McAlister High since he started there two
Mondays ago. His standoffish demeanor was daunting to say the least. But
I still said "Hi" to him twice a day every day, once in fourth period and
again in seventh, the only times we shared classes. Why I did this, I
didn't know.

Maybe it was because he looked so lost or maybe it was because I was
obsessed with solutions and he clearly had issues. At any rate, while he
always nodded politely in response, he never actually looked into my eyes
or said anything to me. So when he unexpectedly tapped my arm during
study hall on his third Friday there, I had to slap my hand over my mouth
to hold in my startled squeal.

He struggled not to laugh at my blatant overreaction. "Sorry,
Sayers..."

"You know my name?" I kept my sarcasm to a whisper since Coach
Spencer, the teacher in charge, did not allow talking.

"Well, yeah. It's Everly Sayers, which starts with an S and is the
reason you're sitting next to a Thorsen, which starts with a T."

"Shhh!" All I needed was another dang D-hall. Dad would ground me for
life. "What do you want?"

"Do you have Groves for physics?" He whispered the words this
time.

"Did last year." We now avoided eye contact so Coach, who kept order
from behind the rows of stadium seating, wouldn't notice us.

"A little help please?"

I flicked a glance at the three-ring binder in his lap and recognized
the simple equation he'd scribbled on one of the pieces of notebook paper
in it. Only he'd gotten the thing wrong. "It's
distanc
e divided by
time
."

Roone immediately erased what he'd written and started over, slowly
working his way through a couple of easy velocity problems before he
stalled again. "Psst..."

A quick check of the back of the room revealed that Coach still
prowled, his attention currently elsewhere. So I peeked at Roone's
notebook again. "Force equals mass
times
acceleration."

With a heavy sigh, he started erasing again.

I shook my head, wondering how on earth he was going to pass physics
if he couldn't correctly copy the simple formulas Mr. Groves wrote on the
white board. As Roone worked, I noticed he wore one of those black
rubberized cause bracelets. Without thought, I reached over and turned it
so I could read the words:
somewhere in the middle.
That didn't
ring any bells with me, the girl with causes too many to count. Roone
gave me a look, probably because he was a lefty and I'd just nudged his
writing hand. I jerked my own hand back with chagrin. That ended our
hushed conversation.

We parted without goodbyes when the final bell rang shortly afterward.
I headed to the locker area several students behind Roone, who was also
going there. As I studied him from afar, I decided that I liked his
shaggy golden-brown hair, which almost appeared highlighted. I also liked
his wide shoulders, which were the only hint at his actual size besides
his height, since he tended to wear loose T-shirts and baggy-style jeans
that gave his body a blocky shape. As for his looks, if I'd been someone
who placed value on physical appearance, I'd have said he didn't suck in
that department though he wasn't exactly the school hunk, either.

That meant he fell...well...somewhere in the middle. I smiled to myself
since those four words described me, too, from my spot as second of three
children to my upper-mid ranking in the senior class. As for my own size
and looks, I was a little on the short side, but otherwise in the middle
on both scores, too.

In the locker commons, Roone went one way and I went another. Just as
I began turning my combination lock to open it, JR Winston swooped in,
snatched my books from me, and set them on top of the metal locker where
I couldn't reach them. His fly-by was nothing new, but annoying as heck
since I was way past ready to start my weekend.

"Go on, shrimp." JR gave me a smug grin. Tall and good looking with
carefully gelled hair, he thought he was a gift to the girls of McAlister
High. "Let's see you get them."

Before I could retort, a body brushed mine from behind. I ducked in
surprise as Roone, who'd come from nowhere, reached over my head and
retrieved the books, which he solemnly handed to me.

"Er, thanks."

"You're welcome." Before he moved on, he gave the guys a go-to-hell
look that made them take a step back and exchange surprised glances.

Kyle Hawkins, JR's buddy, waited for Roone to get out of sight before
he spoke. "You two have already hooked up?"

"No," I told him. "Thorsen simply has good manners, something you two
wouldn't know about."

Kyle thought that was hilarious.

JR didn't and glared him into silence before zoning in on me. "Wanna
hang out tonight? Brad Long's folks are out of town so we're partying at
his place."

"No thanks." I turned my back on them so I could finish opening the
door of my locker, put up the books I didn't need, and get the ones I
did. Stuffing them into my backpack, I slipped into the straps and turned
to find Thing One and Thing Two still standing there.

"You too good for us, Sayers?"

"No. I just don't do beer busts."

"So we'll go somewhere else."

"We?"

"Yeah," said JR. "Me and Kyle and you."

"What's that? Your take on a double date?"

Kyle the joker snorted. "Good one."

Sigh. "Sorry, but I really have to pass.
My
parents are home.
They have plans for me." And if they didn't we'd make some. With a wave,
I left them and darted down the steps and sidewalk to the west gate of
the school. A quick glance back told me they'd followed. What was it with
these guys? I wondered, even though I had a good idea.

Lover-boy JR basked in female adoration, and my refusing to give him
any apparently came off as a challenge he couldn't refuse. Even worse, he
hadn't gotten past the tease-her-if-you-like-her stage of male
development. So here they were, trailing me yet again and undoubtedly
thinking up more mischief. I shifted the straps of my heavy backpack and
abruptly stopped to confront them. "Why are you following me?"

"Sure you're not sweet on Thorsen?" JR asked, now at my left elbow.
Kyle was at my right.

Would a lie get rid of them? Maybe, but it wasn't worth the risk of
Roone hearing it. And he would. JR and Kyle had the biggest mouths in the
entire school, as in they were worse than any two girls I knew plus Eli,
my five-year-old brother. "I barely know the guy, okay?"

"You could still be hot for him," said JR. Kyle nodded quick
agreement.

"Well, I'm not." Yet, anyway. Any male who rescued me from these
idiots would definitely deserve a spot on my watch list...if I had one,
which I so didn't. "Have fun at the party. Goodbye."

I moved on, or tried to. JR's yanking on my backpack halted forward
progress and made me stumble to keep from overbalancing.

"Hey!" The three of us turned and found Roone striding up, clearly
pissed. Staring down my companions, who edged away, he worked my backpack
off my arms and hefted it onto his shoulder via one of the straps.
"What's your deal, dude?"

"What's
yours
?" JR straightened to his full height and glared
at both of us, but from a distance.

"Where I come from, men treat women with respect."

Kyle burst into derisive laughter. "Are you calling
her
a
woman?"

One hard look from Roone shut him down. "Where's your ride,
Everly?"

I pointed toward the lot at the end of the sidewalk.

He nodded. "Go. I'm right behind you."

I headed straight to my classic Trans Am, a gem of a ride my sweet
grandpop had bought new in the seventies and left to me when he died a
year ago. To say I cherished it didn't begin to go there. I kept that
vehicle as spotless as he always had, which meant it was still in perfect
condition.

Momentarily distracted from JR and Kyle, Roone whistled low when we
got to it. "This is yours?"

"Yes." I gave him a proud smile.

"Lucky you. All the--what's the word? Oh yeah,
classic
. All the
classic automobiles I see are amazing, and this one is stinkin'
sweet."

"Thanks." His oddly-worded compliment pleased me way more than it
should have.

Roone glanced over his shoulder at my hecklers, now intently watching
our every move. "Will you be okay?"

That made me laugh. "They're not dangerous, just hopeless rednecks.
Besides, I have a black belt." I pointed to that leather accessory, which
I'd bought at Old Navy.

Roone didn't get the joke. "What they are is bullies, and I despise
bullies."

Couldn't argue with that. "How do you like McAlister High so far?"

"It's okay, I guess."

"Where are you from?"

"Nowhere near."

"Guessed that." I waited for more. He didn't give it to me. The
silence quickly became awkward. "I should go. Thanks for the rescue. I'll
pay you back with study hall help anytime you need it."

Roone actually smiled and gave me his full attention. "Don't think
I'll forget."

Focused on his dimples, I didn't filter my thoughts. "I think I'm
hoping you won't." Was that shock on his face? If so, he wasn't any more
shocked than me, the girl who'd sworn off guys until after
graduation.

But something about Roone lured me in. Since I didn't know if that was
good or bad, I unlocked my car, took the backpack he handed over, and
slid behind the wheel. As I left the lot, I kept my eye on the rearview
mirror to see what Roone would do. He stood there watching me until I
couldn't see him anymore. Naturally I thought about him all the way
home.

It didn't take me long to realize there wasn't one thing I didn't like
about the guy, which was unusual. Did he like anything about me? More
important, why was I even wondering? For all I knew he had a girlfriend
back in NowhereNear. But he'd come to my rescue twice, which counted for
something even if he was only saving the girl who could help him pass
physics.

Just as I unlocked the back door of my house, my cell began blasting
the song I'd selected as Dayna Garza's ringtone, a classic by James
Taylor called "You've Got a Friend." My BFF for the past two years, we
were tight, as in she knew all my secrets, and I knew all of hers.

"Hey, Day." I shouldered open the door, which sometimes stuck when
humidity was high, which meant most of the time. When it abruptly gave, I
tumbled into the kitchen and burst out laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"My amazing style and grace." Tossing my backpack onto the table, I
headed straight for the fridge and the pitcher of lemonade I'd made the
day before. I also snagged a bag of organic mini carrots.

"You fell again?"

"Almost."

"Geez. You're as uncoordinated as Bella Swan. Too bad you don't have
an Edward in your life. Or do you? Is there anything you want to tell
me?"

Baffled by her mental leap, I thought for a sec. "Noooo... Why?"

"Did I see Roone Thorsen walking you to your car after school?"

BOOK: Somewhere in the Middle
7.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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