T. Marie Alexander
Publication date: January 27th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Have you ever craved something so badly that all reason was just an excuse getting in your way?
Have you needed something so desperately that you didn’t care how you got it or who you hurt in the process?
I have—and not that long ago.
Acceptance… from family and friends…
Acceptance of the person I am inside and not outright rejection.
It didn’t come easily for me, and now I believe the world needs to know just how ruthless life can be. How that overwhelming yearning for acceptance can mold you into someone you don’t recognize when you look in the mirror. I’m through hiding behind one façade after another—it’s time for the world to meet the real me.
I turn the music off, turn to face him, and ask, “What is it?”“I don’t know watcha talkin’ ’bout,” is all he says. Now, I could leave it alone and let him talk to me when he wants, but there’s no fun in that.
“Come on, Brad. Spit it out.”
He doesn’t spit it out, just keeps driving us wherever we’re going. When we leave town, I give up on talking to him. He’s impossible when he gets like this. It almost makes me wish I hadn’t started talking to him. Okay, so that’s a pretty terrible lie. My life got immensely better once I allowed Brad to take over, but when he gets like this, it is frustrating. I know what he’s upset about. Just want the thunder to be over so we can get back to the sunshine and rainbows.
After two hours of driving in silence, we finally make a stop at a funky looking shop with a day glow sign that reads, “I tell your past, present, future.” I glance over to Brad, a little worried. He brought me to a freakin’ fortuneteller. I hope he knows they are a bunch of con artists.
“I use ta come here for advice.” He finally says something to me. It’s not what I want to hear. This is ridiculous. But I don’t tell him that. “I think ya need some advice ’bout life.”
“Not from a con artist.”
“She’s not a con artist. Madame Mercy is different. She sees into ya soul. And she doesn’t charge.”
Madame Mercy? There’s no way I will ever talk to someone named Madame Mercy. She sounds like the Wicked Witch of the West. And a fortuneteller who doesn’t charge has to be up to something. She’s probably worse than the ones that do. Either way, there is no way I’m stepping foot into this overly hippied out acid house. I sit back in the seat, which I swear has other life forms growing on it, and cross my arms. If he wants me to go inside that whacko’s shop, he’s gonna have to drag me inside, kicking and screaming. I’m not goin’.
“Take me home,” I demand.
“No, Anna. Ya goin’. I’m tired of watchin’ ya destroy ya life. You’re better than dat.”
“This isn’t ’bout life. This is about Kaz and everyone else.”
“If by everyone else, you mean Nick.”
My face heats up at the mention of Nick. I shouldn’t be attracted to a married man. I know the consequences of wanting a married man. Besides the obvious, he’s a teacher and I’m only fifteen, being attracted to him will only derail my progress with Kaz. What I don’t understand is why Brad cares so much. He’s been getting on to me nonstop about older guys. Women are allowed to be attracted to older guys. Where is it written that is some taboo thing? I know I can’t do anything, not that I want to. I’m not ready for that. But there is nothing wrong with being friends. I want friends. I need friends. And they give me that.
“There’s something ’bout ya that makes a good guy give into temptation.”
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