Nobody Screws Up a Second Shot

Disclaimer: I don't own Persuasion. I don't own Barns & Noble. I don't own The Da Vinci Code. I don't own Forster, Keats, or Nick Hornby. Is that enough?

Summary: Persuasion. Cameron Lewis already has more than she can handle: no job out of college, no plan, a family that hates her, apart from one needy younger sister. Then life throws her a curve: an ex-fiancé with a best-selling novel and a grudge. Maybe it's karma. Or maybe it's a second chance.

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0. Prologue

Mark Salvo may have written a book about me.

Actually, there's really no maybe about it. He wrote a book about me. I read it the day it came out, April 22, two years ago. Even took the morning off Restoration Literature for the occasion. I read the whole thing in one sitting, cowered in the back corner of Barns & Noble. It was awful: like a long, seething letter outlining just how much he hated me. He'd taken no pains to disguise things either. Named his character Cam (a nickname I've never gone by, but still). I was so shocked I couldn't stop reading until it was over. And then I bought it, and took it to my dorm room, and plowed through it again.

Totally blew my finals that semester.

You've probably read it; everybody has. People who hadn't picked up a book since The Da Vinci Code was such a big deal picked up Judas Kiss. Critics loved it. Barely literature dime-store addicts loved it. Everyone love it: they just identified with the adorable, broken-hearted protagonist and hated that bitch Cam who broke of their engagement without so much as a warning or an explanation.

You hated her, didn't you?

Hey, no judgment here. I hated her too. I hated myself.

The booksent me into a funk that summer only comparable to the funk I'd suffered after I'd broken off the engagement in real life. But like that time before, and like everything else, I survived. In August, when classes began I again I threw myself into Advanced Grammar and 19th Century British Lit with energy I didn't even know I had. I diagramed sentences. I read Keats. I even dated a couple of guys. Nothing serious though. Nothing stuck, that's all.

I tucked Judas Kiss between EM Forster and Nick Hornby on my shelf of all-time favorite novels. I decided it was something to be proud of: I'd inspired a book that swept the nation.

So now, Mark Salvo's novel and I can peacefully co-exist. I've made rules: once every third month I'm allowed to take the book from its place on the favorites shelf. I'm not allowed to read the whole thing from front to back. But I can page through it, skim the meanest, most spiteful parts—paragraphs and sentences that are highlighted and underlined. There are comments scribbled all over my margins. There are passages I know by heart. It's masochistic, sure, but how can I help it? What would you do?

Besides, it's only every third month. Four times a year. That's reasonable.

Oh, you've probably heard but I'll tell you anyway: they're making it into a movie. Ever played that game where you ask: if someone played you in a movie, who would it be?

It's not just a game for me. I'll get to see in real life.

Which is cool, you know? So it's not all bad, having a bitter ex-fiancé expose your cruelty and cowardice to the world. I'm totally fine with it. I'm having a blast.

Take that, Mark Salvo.

Take that.


A/N: Hello, hello! So Persuasion it is. I feel kinda bad 'cause some of you were rooting for S&S… but I just reread Persuasion and I just couldn't help myself. Awkward ex-es rock! I realize this chapter was really short, but it was the prologue. The rest of the chapters will be regular chapter size, scout's honor.

Um, so another disclaimer before we get started. If you've read my other stories, by now you know I tend to not stick to the books in every particular. Subplots may be modified. Supporting player may be characterized way different than they were in the original (Johnny Mansfield being a prime example). I do and will try valiantly to stick to the spirit & major plot arcs of Jane Austen's awesomeness, but I don't like to simply regurgitate in modernized vocabulary. So I may as well warn you now: things I'm especially considering tweaking are the Mr. Elliot timeline & arc (because I really feel that Mark here needs some legitimate competition) and Mary's character (because I don't want everyone in my protagonist's life & family to be so god-awful; she needs someone she can remotely like). So if you find yourself thinking, "This person is OOC" or "Wait, this didn't happen in the book" you're probably right, and your welcome to tell me so, but it's probably on purpose.

That said, review! Review, review, review!