Kelly McClymer-Must Love Black

Must Love Black

 

ALSO BY KELLY McCLYMER

The Salem Witch Tryouts

Competition’s a Witch

She’s a Witch Girl

Getting to Third Date

This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

SIMON PULSE
An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
www.SimonandSchuster.com
Copyright © 2008 by Kelly McClymer
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
SIMON PULSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Designed by Cara E. Petrus
The text of this book was set in Aldine.
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Simon Pulse edition September 2008
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Library of Congress Control Number 2008921517
ISBN-13: 978-1-4169-4903-9
ISBN-10: 1-4169-4903-8
eISBN-13: 978-1-4424-3014-3

 

To Brendan—
my not-goth boy in black

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My thanks to Nadia, Anica, Michelle, Annie, and Mike,
who all helped me reach my inner goth.

CHAPTER ONE

Your intractable independence is a state of heart and mind, I fear, Addie. Not something to be cured, but something to be endured.

—Lady Margaret to Miss Adelaide Putnam,
Manor of Dark Dreams,
p. 3

I learned a long time ago that the most insignificant-seeming thing may cause big change. The butterfly effect, it’s called, according to Mr. Heck, who taught ninth-grade social studies like he knew every butterfly that ever broke out of a chrysalis, but only liked the really pretty ones (i.e., the brightly colored ones).

Me? I asked if there’s any such thing as an all-black butterfly. He said, “Butterflies don’t do goth.” Naturally, the rest of the class laughed. I wanted to prove him wrong. But when I searched the Internet, I only found a few “black” butterflies with lots of yellow, green, and white. Oh, and a rock band and a movie. I guess I wasn’t the only one who wished there were some solid-black butterflies in the world.

Whenever anyone asks me why I like to wear black, or calls me “goth girl” (I’m not), or asks if I’m auditioning to be a stagehand or a mime (yeah, right), or tells me to get pierced (no extra holes needed, thankyouverymuch), I just shrug and say, “I like to be prepared. Black covers everything from prom night to the end of the world.” Most people are wise enough to blink twice and move on.

“Be prepared for the butterfly crap of life to drop on you at any moment” is my motto, which was why I was able to watch without drama, as my dad and stepmother (thirty minutes and counting) danced their first dance as a married couple. Almost.

I condensed my feelings into a single snarky comment to my best friend, Sarah. “If this was a horror movie, now comes the moment when she kills him and inherits it all. Whatever
all
is.”

Sarah, looking as comfortable in her frilly emerald and pomegranate dress as I felt uncomfortable in my shiny pink bridesmaid gown, happily took up the game. “If it was a romantic movie, this would be the moment when they walk off into the sunset and she makes him as happy as your mom did.”

“Not a chance. Mom and Dad were perfect for each other.” I watched Krystal (who names their kid Krystal?) laugh and blush as my dad dipped her and kissed her nose. “If this was a science fiction movie, she’d be an alien or a mannequin.”

“As stepmothers go, she seems pretty much human.” Sarah was highly influenced by her do-gooder parents to think positive thoughts. It was a wonder we’d become friends.

“Wait until they come back from their honeymoon cruise
extravaganza. I’ll never be able to eat another apple without wondering if she’s poisoned it.”

“Poisoning apples is so last millennium,” Sarah teased. “If you’re that worried about the insurance money, you should have gone on the cruise with them instead of taking that weirdo nanny-to-the-spoiled-rich-kids summer job.”

“Right. I already feel like the third wheel from nine to five, do I need to make it twenty-four/seven?”

“Don’t let it bother you,” Sarah said.

“I’m not.” I turned away from the sight of the happy couple; the image of my dad’s bright smile lingered a little against my eyelids as I blinked. “It’s his life.”

“You only have to deal until you finish high school.” Sarah always liked to point out the silver lining to the garbage heap of life.

“Hey, I’m free of the lovebirds for the summer. Maybe by the time they come back, they’ll be done with the kissing and cuddling, and life can get back to normal.”

“Maybe you’ll like her living in the house?”

“Doesn’t matter whether I like it or not, she’ll be there, just like a cockroach, a spider, and a fly—all rolled up together.”

Sarah waved her hand and laughed. “Even if she pulls two ugly daughters out of the closet after she gets back from the honeymoon, at least you know you have only one year left before you head to college.”

It stung that my best friend on the planet didn’t understand how terrible my life had become. “Thanks for the cheer-up. You almost match my dress for nauseatingly bright and—”

Again with the hand flap. “You look pretty in pink.”

“Don’t ever say that again.” I had known this day was going to be bad, but I’d thought Sarah would be in my corner. Instead, she kept piling on the sun and light.

“When I get married, my matron of honor will wear black.” I grinned as I said it, knowing that the very thought would make her hyperventilate.

She grinned back, her gotcha grin. “Don’t you mean
maid
of honor? And I thought you weren’t getting married.”

“I never said I wasn’t getting married. Just that it isn’t my raison d’être like it is for some people.” I nodded toward the happy couple on the dance floor. “And I meant matron of honor. You’ll be married way before I am. You’re not nearly as discriminating.”

“True.” Sarah didn’t even blink at the dis. She takes the seesaw approach to what people think. If it matters to her, she cares; if not, she doesn’t. That’s why I put up with a girl who likes pink and thinks happy rainbow thoughts 99.9 percent of the time. “But I hope by that time you’ll have stopped hating all the colors of the rainbow.”

Sigh. Rainbow thoughts again. “Spare me. Rainbows are for people who don’t know the dark side of life.”

“On the contrary, rainbows are for people who do know the dark side of life. Rainbows come after the storm, remember? At some point you have to live your life and let go of your grief.”

Easy for her to say. “Thanks. I thought you were supposed to be the sensitive one. Word of advice: Don’t tell the folks you’re building the house for this summer that you think they ought to get over being poor and dance around the empty lot.”

She frowned. One thing Sarah cares about is doing positive things in the world. “They’ll be working hard to build their home along with us, you know. It’s part of the deal. You should come. Ditch the nanny gig and learn some useful skills. Do a little good for real people instead of spoiled brats.”

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