of her life, Lenni has been the perfect child, but still her parents
are divorcing. Invisible and angry, Lenni trades her innocent princess
image for the rebellious likeness of her favorite rock icon, Dizzy. In
an effort to shed the old Lenni, she turns her back on those
who love her most, trading true friendship for a dangerous affiliation
with a shady upperclassman. When deception and rumors threaten to ruin
Lenni’s life, she learns the value of good friends and the importance of
an honorable reputation. But can this realization save her from the
clutches of danger? Or was the lesson learned too late?
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Copyright 2014 Anna Marie Kittrell
The doorknob of the next room rattled as I passed. Misty swept from the doorway and knocked into me, glaring.
“The ogre took my phone. Thanks a lot, Miss Goody Two-Shoes.”She
huffed around me. “I don’t know what possessed me to let you tag along
anyway.” The echo of her footfalls slammed through the hallway even
after she’d turned the corner.
“You asked me to come,” I muttered, walking again. By the time I reached the waiting room, she was gone.
stepped through the automatic door, the cold, night air piercing my
lungs. Snowflakes, too waterlogged to float, splattered on the pavement
like wounded birds. I spied Dad’s sports coupe and watched the milky
snow plop onto the shiny red paint. On second thought, the stuff falling
from the sky looked more like what birds do.
parking space was two over from Dad’s, next to an iron lamppost. I
pulled my hood up, jogged to the champagne-colored car, and tugged the
passenger door handle. Locked. Pressing my forehead against the cold
window, I watched the tinted glass fog with my breath. I stooped and
cleared the side mirror with my coat sleeve, checking my reflection.
With a shiver, I drew in a frigid lungful of air then released it slowly
through pursed lips, scissoring my fingers around an invisible
cigarette. Impressed with how I looked, I shook back my hood and took
another invisible drag.
Misty’s cackle rang out through the hushed parking lot, causing me to
throw down my imaginary cigarette and bury my head in my hood.
are you doing, you dork?” she asked, her voice closer. I turned toward
her as she stepped into the light, her hair wet with snow, a wisp of
real smoke curling, rising above her. “You’ll like this brand better—it
has more flavor.” The red glow on the end of the cigarette grew brighter as she sucked on the filter.
“Won’t you get in trouble if your dad smells smoke on you?”
“What’s he going to do, send me to rehab? He already took my phone, thanks to you.”
“Cigarette rehab, is that a real thing?” I asked.
glared and took another drag. “You know, I used to be a lot like you. A
pampered little princess, my parents’ pride and joy. A good girl. Then
one day, I woke up and realized I was only being good because I was
afraid of being bad. I was a fake. Pretending to be perfect so I
wouldn’t disappoint my parents. So I changed. Now I call the shots.”
“Glad you can call something,” I muttered.
that a crack about my phone? Don’t worry, I’ll have it back by this
time tomorrow. Wait and see.” She flicked ashes to the wet pavement. “I
bet you’ve never done one bad thing in your entire pathetic life.
Seriously, how do you stand yourself?”
“Maybe I like how I am,” I said, knowing she could see right through me.
Sure you do. That’s why you’re standing out here in the dark pretending
to smoke. Here,” she said, offering her cigarette to me.
burning tobacco caused my pulse to quicken. Something tingled inside, a
maddening mixture of thrill and dread—like riding a rollercoaster up
the track. I formed a V with my fingers and extended my hand, on the
edge of the most exhilarating moment of my life.
handed the cigarette off to me and I brought it to my lips with shaking
fingers, knowing my next breath would leave me forever changed.