I'm so sorry I've been away so long! Senior Year is not as relaxed as I hoped. I actually put this story up for adoption, and was looking at the reviews tonight to see if there were any takers. But you guys reinspired me! So I will be continuing the story after all.
I have big thanks to shosho, who looked for the book online for me, and Icie911, who helped me with my blatant grammatical errors. That was very helpful guys, you're awesome! I'm sorry for my grammar guys, I promise that I'll slow down a little and proofread more. I have gone back and revised the prologue. Thank you guys for the help and I'll try to update more often.
One last think, I've decided to keep it in Juliet's POV, for convenient purposes, but my lovely reviewers get to choose you reads.
Reading Before I Fall
"Beep, beep," Lindsay calls out. A few weeks ago my mom yelled at her for blasting her horn at six fifty-five every morning, and this is Lindsay's solution.
"I'm coming!" I shout back, even though she can see me pushing out the front door, trying to put my coat and wrestle my binder into my bag at the same time.
At the last second, my eight-year-old sister, Izzy, tugs at me.
"Yea, I'm in the story!" Izzy proclaims.
"Well it was bound to happen sometime kiddo!" Elody laughs and gives her a big hug, both going into a fit of giggles. It just occurred to me how much Elody is child-like, it's kind of adorable. Lindsay's just keeps going as if nothing happened.
"What?" I whirl around. She has little-sister radar for when I'm busy, late, or on the phone with my boyfriend. Those are always the times she chooses to bother me.
"You forgot you gloves," she says, except it comes out; "You forgot your gloveths." She refuses to go to speech therapy for her lisp, even though all the kids in her grade make fun of her. She says she likes the way she talks.
"Which I'm proud of," Mrs. Kingston announces, kissing her rowdy child on the head, with a large smile to boot.
I take them from her. They're cashmere and she's probably gotten peanut butter on them. She's always scooping around in jars of the stuff.
"What did I tell you, Izzy?" I say, poking her in the middle of the forehead. "Don't touch my stuff."
The little girl in question furrows her eyebrows in confusion. "I don't remember it like that? Sammy was nice to me that day, she even gave me her necklace that grandma gave her." She pulls the necklace out of her shirt for proof.
"Huh, that's strange, I wonder how that happened," Ally questions.
Elody just shrugs it off, "Probably a glitch in the book, don't sweat it." Kent looks like he's in deep thought.
She giggles like an idiot and I have to hustle her inside while I shut the door. If it were up to her, she would follow me around all day like a dog.
"I sure would have," Izzy giggled.
"Alright Missy, let's let Lindsay finish," proclaimed Mr. Kingston.
By the time I make it out the house, Lindsay's leaning out the window of the Tank. That's what we call her car, an enormous sliver Range Rover. (Every time we drive around in it at least one person says, "That thing's not a car, it's a truck," and Lindsay claims she could go head-to-head with an eighteen-wheeler and come out without a scratch.) She and Ally are the only two of us with cars that actually belong to them. Ally's car is a tiny black Jetta that we named the Minime. I get to borrow my mom's Accord sometimes; poor Elody has to make do with her father's ancient tan Ford Taurus, which hardly runs anymore.
"Yes, it's tragic!" Elody says as she covers her eyes with her hand and throws her head back in a dramatic fashion, starting fits of laughter throughout the whole room. I'm just sitting here looking around awkwardly; this setting is very new to me. Usually when I'm in the room, everyone is too busy looking at me, even before Sam's death. Marain grabs my hand and gives it a squeeze. I then find myself smiling, if there is one person I can count on it's my sister. I can't believe I was so ready to leave her behind only a couple of weeks ago.
The air is still and freezing cold. The sky is a perfect, pale blue. The sun has just risen, weak and watery-looking, like it has just spilled itself over the horizon and is too lazy to clean itself up.
"What an odd observation," Kent decided to add in.
It's supposed to storm later, but you'd never know.
I get into the passenger seat. Lindsay's already smoking and she gestures with the end of her cigarette to the Dunkin' Donuts coffee she got for me.
"Bagels?" I say.
"In the back."
"Obviously." She looks me over once as she pulls out of my driveway. "Nice skirt."
Lindsay tips her head, acknowledging the compliment. We're actually wearing the same skirt. There are only two days of the year when Lindsay, Ally, Elody, and I deliberately dress the same: Pajama Day during Spirit Week, because we all bought cute matching sets at Victoria's Secret last Christmas, and Cupid Day.
"I never got why you guys did that, you just look like quadruplets," that came from Rob of course, cockiness and all.
"You shut it, Cokran! Before I shut it for you," Lindsay smirks at him in a playful matter. Here's a secret for you. Lindsay's had a secret crush on Rob since she met him at kindergarden. I wouldn't doubt it if she still does.
"Oh ho! I'd like to see you try, Edgecombe." He replied with his very own smirk. She laughs and continues reading; yes, I wouldn't doubt it at all.
We spent three hours at the mall arguing about whether to go for pink or red outfits- Lindsay hates pink; Ally lives in it- and we finally settled on black miniskirts and some red fur-trimmed tank tops we found in the clearance bin at Nordstrom.
Like I said, those are the only times we deliberately look alike. But the truth is that at my high school, Thomas Jefferson, everyone kind of looks the same. There's no official uniform- it's a public school- but you'll see the same outfit of Seven jeans, gray New Balance sneaker, a white T-shirt, and a colored North Face fleece jacket on nine out of ten students. Even the guys and the girls dress the same, except our jeans are tighter and we have to blow out our hair every day. It's Connecticut: being like the people around you is the whole point.
That's not to say that our high school doesn't have its freaks- it does- but even the freaks are freaky in the same way. The Eco-Geeks ride their bikes to school and wear clothing mad of hemp and never wash their hair, like having dreadlocks will somehow help curb the emission of greenhouse gases. The Drama Queens carry big bottles of lemon tea and wear scarves even in summer and don't talk in class because they're "conserving their voices." The Math League members always have ten times more books than anyone else and actually still use their lockers and walk around with permanently nervous expressions, like they're just waiting for somebody to yell, "Boo!"
Lindsay starts to laugh, "Ain't that the truth."
I don't mind it, actually. Sometimes Lindsay and I make plans to run away after graduation and crash in a loft in New York City with this tattoo artist her stepbrother knows, but secretly I like living in Ridgeview. It's reassuring, if you know what I mean.
I lean forward, trying to apply mascara without gouging my eye out. Lindsay's never been the most carful driver and has a tendency to jerk the wheel around, come to sudden stops, and then gun the engine.
Ally and Elody start snorting and laughing, and Lindsay shoots them a glare.
"Patrick better send me a rose," Lindsay says as she shoots through one stop sign and nearly breaks my neck slamming on the brakes at the next one. Patrick is Lindsay's on-again, off-again boyfriend. They've broken up a record thirteen times since the start of the school year.
"I had to sit next to Rob while he filled out the request form," I say, rolling my eyes. "It was like forced labor."
Rob Cokran and I have been going out since October, but I've been in love with since sixth grade, when he was to cool to talk to me.
Rob shuffles around uncomfortably and swifts his eyes down, maybe it was guilt; maybe it was all the eyes on him.
Rob was my first crush, or at least my first real crush. I did once kiss Kent McFuller in third grade, but that obviously doesn't count since we'd just exchanged dandelion rings and were pretending to be husband and wife.
Kent chuckles," Yea, those were the good ol' days." You could see the sadness in his face, poor guy, he really loved her. I wish she could have realized he would have been better.
"Last year I got twenty-two roses." Lindsay flicks her cigarette butt out of the window and leans over for a slurp of coffee. "I'm going for twenty-five this year."
Each year before Cupid Day the student council sets up a booth outside the gym. For two dollars each, you can buy your friends Valograms-roses with little notes attached to them- and then they get delivered by Cupids (usually freshmen or sophomore girls trying to get in good with the upperclassmen) throughout the day.
"I'd be happy with fifteen," I say. It's a big deal how many roses you get. You can tell who's popular and who isn't by the number of roses they're holding. It's bad if you get under ten and humiliating if you don't get more than five- it basically means that you're either ugly or unknown. Probably both. Sometimes people scavenge for dropped roses to add to their bouquets, but you can always tell.
"So." Lindsay shoots me a sideways glance. "Are you excited? The big day. Opening night." She laughs. "No pun intended."
"Now I remember! You're going to be in big trouble now, Cokran," Lindsay gets out between snorts and giggles, with Ally and Elody going right beside her. Rob is just trying to cover his face with his hat, though you could tell he's as red as a sunburn in the middle of July. Must be an inside joke or something.
I shrug and turn toward the window, watching my breath frost the pane. "It's no big deal." Rob's parents are away this weekend, and a couple of weeks ago he asked if I could spend the whole night at his house. I knew he was really asking if I wanted to have sex.
"You didn't! How dare you!" Mr. Kingston is furious, getting up and making his way over to Rob. Rob's just trying to make it off the couch and out of the way while Lindsay, Ally, Elody, and Kent are laughing at his unfortunate consequences. Marain and I don't know what to do and Izzy is trying to hide behind the couch. Mrs. Kingston is trying to get a handle of her husband.
"John, that's enough! It's all in the past now, so what ever happened, happened. There is no changing it and you're scaring our daughter. Calm down right now, this is about Samantha!" by the end she is in tears, "Please, let it go." With that, Mr. Kingston didn't have much room to argue afterwards and sits back down without a fuss.
"Lindsay, please continue before I go for the boy's throat again." Rob carefully sits beside Lindsay this time, the farthest seat away from Mr. Kingston. Lindsay takes a few seconds to recover from her laughing fit.
We've gotten semi-close a few times, but it's always been in the back of his dad's BMW or in somebody's basement or in my den with my parents asleep upstairs, and it's always felt wrong.
So when he asked me to stay the night, I said yes without thinking about it.
Lindsay squeals and hits her palm against the steering wheel. "No big deal? Are you kidding? My baby's growing up."
Mr. Kingston mumbled something around the lines of, "And they were encouraging her, no surprise there." Before Mrs. Kingston gave him a stern look that shut him up.
"Oh, please." I feel heat creeping up my neck and know my skin's probably going red and splotchy. It does this whenever I'm embarrassed. All the dermatologists, creams, and powders in Connecticut don't help. When I was younger kids used to sing, "What's red and white and weird all over? Sam Kingston!"
"Oh god," Lindsay breaths, and closes her eyes. She's probably remembering who made up that little song, the same person who nicknamed me Mellow Yellow and Psycho.
I shake my head a little and rub the vapor off the window. Outside the world sparkles, like it's been coated in varnish. "When did you and Patrick do it, anyway? Like three months ago?"
"Yeah, but we've been making up for lost time since then." Lindsay rocks against her seat.
"Wow, Lindsay!" Ally says between giggles, while Elody is rolling in her seat.
"You know it girl!" Lindsay says while making the same motion before Mrs. Kingston tuts her. Lindsay calms her laughter and the expression on her face changes. "I actually don't remember this conversation. It's weird, on Sam's day, she was acting so different. It's like she knew it was going to happen."
"I've been thinking about that, and I think I figured it out," Kent butts in. "One the back, it said she had seven chances to fix her last day, and how a couple of things are different than what really happen or things she wouldn't have done before. Like went from ignoring and avoiding me to purposefully seeking out my help out of nowhere and . . . did other things differently. I'm thinking that she was reliving her last day over again, Seven times to be exact. By then she probably figured out how to fix her day and come to some life-changing place in her mind where she was ready to die."
Everyone was quiet for a little while. I had to admit, it made since. How else could she have gone to bullying me, to trying so hard to save me. She had begged me to come back with me and promised that everything would be better. That it was never too late, and I never will forget that.
"Orrrrrr, you're just crazy," Rob proclaims, and just like that, all that popular kids in the room are laughing at Kent's expense. Though he doesn't look like he minds, he looked as if he expected as much. I never realized how much he was like me, an outcast.
"Whatever, let's just finish this stupid chapter and find the kitchen," Lindsay says before continuing to read.
"Don't worry, kid. You'll be fine."
"Don't call me kid." This is one reason I'm happy I decided to have sex with Rob tonight:
Mr. Kingston is back to glaring holes into Rob.
So Lindsay and Elody won't make fun of me anymore. Thankfully, since Ally's still a virgin it means I won't be the very last one, either.
Ally is sprouting a blush as the other two are giggling.
Sometimes I feel like out of the four of us I'm always the one tagging along, just there for the ride. "I told you it was no big deal."
"If you say so."
Lindsay has made me nervous, so I count all the mailboxes as we go by. I wonder if by tomorrow everything will look different to me; I wonder if I'll look different to other people. I hope so.
We pull up to Elody's house and before Lindsay can even honk, the front door swings open and Elody starts picking her way down the icy walkway, balancing on three-inch heels, like she can't get out of her house fast enough.
"Nipply outside much?" Lindsay says when Elody slides into the car. As usual she's wearing only a thin leather jacket, even though the weather report said the high would be in the mid-twenties.
"What's the point of looking cute if you can't show it off?"
Elody shimmies her boobs and we crack up. It's Impossible to stay stressed when she's around, and the knot in my stomach loosens.
Elody makes a clawing gesture with her hand and I pass her a coffee. We all take it the same way: large hazelnut, no sugar, extra cream.
"Watch where you're sitting. You'll squish the bagels." Lindsay frowns into the rearview mirror.
"You know you want a piece of this." Elody gives her butt a smack and we all laugh again.
"Save it for Muffin, you horn dog."
Steve Dough is Elody's latest victim. She calls him Muffin because of his last name, and because he's yummy (she says; he looks too greasy for me, and he always smells like pot). They have been hooking up for a month and a half now.
Elody's the most experienced of any of us. She lost her virginity sophomore year and has already had sex with two different guys.
"God! We're not going to have any secrets by the time we finish this thing, are we?" Elody laughs.
She was the one who told me she was sore after the first couple of times she had sex, which made me ten times more nervous. It may sound crazy, but I never really thought of it as something physical, something that would make you sore, like soccer or horseback riding. I'm scared that I won't know what to do, like when we used to play basketball in gym and I'd always forget who I was supposed to be guarding or when I should pass the ball and when I should dribble it.
"She's having a lot of flashback, I wonder if she always thought like that?" Ally says.
"I have a theory; I think this her dead, telling us her story." Kent announces.
Lindsay just chuckles, "You and your crazy theories, McFuller."
"Mmm, Muffin." Elody puts a hand on her stomach. "I'm starving."
"There's a bagel for you," I say
"Sesame?" Elody asks.
"Obviously," Lindsay and I say at the same time. Lindsay winks at me.
Just before we get to school we roll down the windows and blast Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama." I close my eyes and think back to homecoming and my first kiss with Rob, when he pulled me toward him on the dance floor and suddenly my lips were on his and his tongue was sliding under my tongue and I could feel the heat from all the colored lights pressing down on me like a hand, and the music seemed to echo somewhere behind my ribs, making my heart flutter and skip in time. The cold air coming through the window makes my throat hurt and the bass comes through the soles of my feet just like it did that night, when I thought I would never be happier; it goes all the way up to my head, making me dizzy, like the whole car is going to split apart from the sound.
"Okay, I think this is a perfect time to take a break and get some grub!" Before anyone knew what was going on, Lindsay was already down the mysterious hallway. We all looked at each other and just slowly made our way to the kitchen.
Alright, here it is! Man, that took a while. This would be so much easier if the website would let me copy and paste it. I hope you guys enjoyed it and let me know who you want to read next! And Happy Belated Halloween!