The Broken One
Christine H. Bailey
Publication date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Sixteen-year-old Farris is picking up the pieces after the untimely death of her best friend. But even one year later, she can’t seem to find “normal” again—not until Lane Evans pops back into her life and pushes her to face reality.
When he offers her the chance to find the truth, Farris fears what will surface. Is it too much too soon or just what she needs to move forward?
“Dance with me.”
I looked up into his blue-green eyes that seemed almost sincere, but it was nearly impossible to tell with Paul. “No thanks. I’m fine here.” I cleared my throat.
“Come on, I’m not that bad.”
“What’s your deal anyway?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
I glanced back to the dance floor and spotted her—them. My blood pressure shot up immediately, and in a swift, unplanned move, I grabbed Paul’s hand. “Fine, let’s go.”
I led him to center of the crowd, to a safe but close distance to Alyssa and Lincoln. Of course, the music had to slow down. Thanks DJ Republic. The last thing I wanted was a slow dance with Paul, the narcissist jerk. Luckily, Paul was tall, giving me the perfect vantage point to stake out Lincoln while keeping a safe distance from Paul’s mouth.
“Hey, isn’t this the song you sang at the talent show last year?”
I stopped dead in my tracks and looked up at him. Over the mic, the DJ called out: “This song goes to an old friend of mine. Good to see you tonight. Farr-rus!” No need to answer Paul, I thought, as a bright spotlight bore down on me for a few, very long seconds. I turned away from Alyssa and Lincoln, hiding my face in Paul’s shirt.
“Guess so. I thought Trey had mixed it for you.”
The 80s song had been one of my mom’s favorites, or so she wrote in one of her diaries that Dad let me have. I mouthed the words I knew by heart and melted into Paul’s arms. As long as he kept his mouth shut, having someone hold me close was nice. I sang the Cyndi Lauper lyrics under my breath: “Sometimes you picture me/I’m walking too far ahead/You’re calling to me, I can’t hear/What you’ve said.” I looked over to them to make sure they hadn’t bolted, but they seemed pretty into the song. Then I saw something odd. I think I felt it first.
The crowd shifted. Right behind Alyssa and Lincoln, I saw Lane dancing with Kate. But he wasn’t looking at her. He was staring at me. Our eyes locked, and I had this sudden urge to run away, fast and far. But Paul pulled me in tighter as the song played on, and I couldn’t take my eyes off Lane. I couldn’t look away from those dark, telling eyes. The music, the lights, the amazing smell of cologne on Paul’s shirt—the same kind Lane used to wear all the time—threw me. Lane didn’t look away either. A part of me felt guilty for it. There I was dancing with one guy while completely intoxicated by another, who happened to have a super nice girlfriend.
Christine H. Bailey teaches creative writing and written composition at a private university in west Tennessee. Before teaching English, Christine worked as a journalist, a marketing/public relations writer, and a freelance editor. To learn more about the author and her work, visit her website at www.cibailey.com.
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