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Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.
After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.
While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time, and thinking about the future.
An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.
Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.
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“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Blue Oyster Cult
“Bad Habit” – The Kooks
“I Wanna Be Sedated” – Ramones
“Girls” – The 1975
“Get It On” – T. Rex
“Liability” – Lorde
“Heart of Glass” – Blondie
“Teen Idle” – Marina and the Diamonds
“What Is and What Should Never Be” – Led Zeppelin
“Adore” – Amy Shark
“Because the Night” – Patti Smith
“Tear in My Heart” – Twenty One Pilots
“Don’t forget the corn chips!” yelled Georgia, hanging out of her car window.
“And hot salsa, Edie. None of that mild crap, you coward.”
I flipped her off and kept walking, watching the ground.
Rain had turned every pothole in the Drop Stop’s parking lot into a mini-swamp. We were finally out of a drought, so yay for rain. Bottle caps and cigarette stubs were floating like tiny boats on murky waters. The Northern California wind made waves, blurring the yellow light reflecting off the Open sign. Everything else was dark. Things were quiet in Auburn around midnight. Georgia and I were forced to drive across town to meet our movie marathon snacking needs. Watching all eight Harry Potter films in a row being our contribution as citizens of the Endurance Capital of the world.
As if I’d forget the Oreos, I said to myself, entering the shitty little store.
What you’re most likely to drop at the Drop Stop are your standards. And I had. It had been my black yoga pants, a sports bra, and a baggy old blue T-shirt versus Georgia’s satin unicorn-print slip. In the jammies most likely to be mistaken for normal clothing competition, I was the clear winner. I don’t think it occurred to either of us to actually bother getting dressed. Too much effort for summer break.
Inside, the fluorescent lights were dazzling, the air-conditioning cold enough to give me goose bumps. But there it was. An aisle’s worth of every bad food choice you could possibly make and as my ass could testify, I’d made them all. Happily and repeatedly.
I grabbed a plastic shopping basket and got busy.
There were only a couple of other customers. A tall guy in a black hoodie and some other kid, talking in low voices, over by the beer fridge. I highly doubted either one of them was of legal age to be drinking. One of the local college students manned the shop counter, identifiable by the textbook he’d chosen to hide behind. Note to self: Study like crazy all through senior year if you want an offer from Berkeley.
Hershey bars, Reese’s Pieces, Oreos, Gummy Bears, Milk Duds, Skittles, Twinkies, Doritos, and a jar of salsa. The bottle proclaimed it to be hotter than hell; there was even a demon dancing on the side. It all went into the basket, each and every major processed food group represented. Still, there was a little room left and it’d be silly not to go all in since we’d driven to the other side of town. Why, it’d take a good ten to fifteen minutes at least just to get back to Georgia’s parents’ place. Sustenance for the journey alone would be required.
A tube of Pringles for good luck and prosperity, and we were done.
I dumped my basket on the counter, making college boy jump. Guess he’d been seriously engrossed in his studies. Startled brown eyes gawked at me from behind wire-rimmed glasses.
Shit, he was cute.
Immediately, I turned away, only to be facing an entire stand of titty magazines. Wow. I sincerely hoped a percentage of sales went toward helping women with lower-back problems. Some of those breasts were scarily big. Nothing much could be seen through the filthy window, but it might have started raining again. So wearing flip-flops had probably been a mistake.
Beep, beep, beep went the sales register, adding up my purchases. Excellent. Cute clerk guy and I were ignoring each other. No further eye contact was made. This was the best of all possible outcomes. Human interactions in general were a trial, but attractive people were far and away the worst. They unnerved me. I always started sweating and turning red, my brain an empty, useless place.
All of my loot got shoved into a thin white plastic bag, guaranteed to tear halfway across the parking lot. Never mind. I’d hold it against my front, stretch the bottom of my T-shirt out to bolster it or something. Easier than asking him to double-bag it.
I shoved the money in his vague direction, mumbled thank you, and got moving. Mission accomplished.
Except a scrawny guy entering the store was in an even bigger hurry than me. We collided and I lost, my flip-flops sliding out from under me, thanks to the wet floor. I stumbled back into the shelving before dropping, hitting the cold, hard ground. The plastic bag broke and shit went everywhere. Fother mucker.