Authors: Lindsey Iler
A novel by
(1st book in the Our Worlds Series)
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses,
places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s
imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
The use of artist and song titles throughout this book are
done so for storytelling purposes and should in no way been seen as
advertisement. Trademark names are used in an editorial fashion, with no
intentions of infringement of the respective owner’s trademark.
The following story contains mature themes, strong language
and sexual situations. It is intended for 17+ year old readers.
Some scenes in this book contain difficult
subject matter that could be a trigger for some readers. Please know that the
scenes are not written in strong detail, but sensitive subjects are depicted
throughout the body of work. If you or someone you know has been a victim of
rape please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE
Cover design by Paper & Sage Design
To my future ex-husband, Bryan. (I don’t think anyone
actually believed I would write that) I fell in love with you when we were in
high school, but I love you more today than I could have ever believed imaginable.
Two Years Ago
“How do they all look so flawless all the time?” I say to
myself as I turn to head towards the high school.
Something fishy is going on in this town. They pump hormones
into the water supply in the locker rooms is the only reasonable explanation.
The boys are unbearably beautiful around here. I don’t remember them looking
like this back in Michigan.
A handful of tall, gorgeous boys from the varsity baseball
team are surrounding my best friend, Violet. Tennessee’s hottest are giving
their undivided attention to my best friend as one of them swings her around in
the air as if she’s weightless. As her feet leave the ground her laughter rings
from the parking lot where I’m standing, watching in envy.
Violet is a force of nature making it impossible to not be
drawn to her. Even the upperclassmen can’t resist her charm. She’s drop dead
gorgeous with the deepest red hair that only causes jealousy in girls. Her
hypnotizing green eyes are what make it nearly impossible to say no to her.
We’ve been best friends, attached at the hip, since I moved
to Tennessee at the beginning of this year. I’m the new girl and she’s been the
only one willing to give me an ounce of compassion, befriending me when I
needed someone on my side the most. She’s been the main influence of breaking
me out of my shell, even though her quest hasn’t really been working.
She’s the reason I’m here tonight. I’m not here to cheer on
my boyfriend like most of the girls sitting on the metal bleachers. They’re all
wearing their boyfriend’s number on the back of their poorly sized t-shirts.
It’s a dead give-a-way for the ball chasers (Violet’s expression, not mine).
She refuses to call herself a ball chaser even when I point out time and time
again that she fulfills all the necessary criteria to be a part of the coveted
group of future ex-wives.
Busying myself watching Violet’s shameless flirting makes me
a single step away from colliding into a situation I would have preferred to
avoid. They haven't noticed me yet and neither seems too rushed to come up for
any source of air. I'm not surprised I’m going unnoticed. I'm nearly invisible
to these people. I flitter by every day, but no one turns their heads to
acknowledge me. I’ve grown to live with it.
Out of pure curiosity and some form of horrid punishment, I
can’t pry my eyes away from the two of them. I know I should have gone to a
different door---at the very least turn away until they’re done mauling each
other, whenever that could be.
He has her pinned against the metal door running his hands
up and down her nearly flawless body. He’s bold slipping his hand beneath the
fabric of her tight shirt. Her hands are pushing through his thick hair as she
stands directly between his legs. Only their clothes stop them from doing
something that only makes me blush thinking about it.
My only thought, an embarrassing one, is that I wish someone
would kiss me like he’s devouring her. As if it were the kiss to end all
kisses. I could feel the evidence of my embarrassment creeping up my cheeks as
I watch in on something that will never happen to me in this lifetime. Jealousy
is a normal human response I keep reminding myself as I continue to watch their
Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not miserable. I’m just not
content with where I’m at in this point of my adolescence either. I'm a
freshman in high school who just wants to fit in like everyone else. Being
asked out on a date or to go to a party should be a top priority for me like it
is for most girls my age. I just let it all go, writing it off as a fairytale
that will never come true.
I know…I’m pathetic.
I have this unrealistic fantasy that if I still lived in
Michigan, high school would be easier for me. I felt a part of something living
there. Everyone knew who I was. Here, I'm just the new girl that all the girls
ignore. The freshman guys in my class are too busy drooling over upperclassmen
and Amanda Drims with her freshman cackle of followers to notice someone as
boring and mundane as me. To sound more self-deprecating than I already do, I’m
The only reason why I'm even at the baseball field tonight,
besides being dragged by Violet is for the school newspaper. Mr. Randall, the
freshman English teacher, practically forced me into newspaper class after
reading my essay on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I like being creative
making the decision to join a no brainer. Plus, I know that it will look
promising on my college applications.
Yes, I'm also that girl who’s already thinking about college
essays and interviews
. No wonder no one notices me, right?
doesn't let just anyone in though. I’m going to have to work my butt off if I
want to get noticed. My grades, as stellar as they are, will not be enough to
make me stand out in the busy crowd of America’s elite. These kid’s parents are
alumni that purchase new wings in different corners of the campus to guarantee
admission. My parents graduated from state college. I can’t buy my way in. It’s
just not going to happen that way for me. I have to depend on my hard work to
make it there.
I roll my eyes as I see that the make out bandits still
haven’t come up for air. I’m still approaching their compromising position day
dreaming about the what-if’s of my life.
"Excuse me," I speak softly as I approach the door
that leads inside the school.
They don't dislodge themselves from each other even when I’m
right in front of them. Either they don't hear me or they don’t care enough to
peel themselves off of each other. I make an attempt to reach around them to
grab at the door handle hoping to sneak by unnoticed. He pushes her to the side
nearly trapping my hand beneath her bony body.
"You've got to be kidding me," I whisper to myself
rubbing my fingers on my temples in frustration.
He hears me, but doesn't bother to remove his lips from hers
to laugh. I can hear the convulsion of his laughter through their locked lips.
His smirk grows with my irritation. So happy he finds this amusing. That makes
one of us.
He turns to face me finally acknowledging that there are in
fact other people in this world. The smile that appears on his face sends a
chill up my spine. I've seen him before in the hallways, but never had the
nerve to speak to him. I’ve heard the stories that follow him around. I’m not
prepared to be this close to him. He is out of everyone's reach, completely on
a different level than the rest of us.
To say the least, boys like him are untouchable.
Guys like him can't be bothered to give anyone who they deem
beneath them the common courtesy that most human beings deserve. Instead of
using their popularity for good, they laugh at those who aren't in their social
circle. Most Dads’ would call them “Grade-A douchebags”.
Graham Black, one side of the duo in front of me, can get
away with his behavior for obvious reasons. Look at him, like really take a
good gander at him. Even as a freshman he has those type of masculine features
you only see on underwear billboards rivaling the David Beckham’s of the world.
A head full of sexed up brown hair paired with light brown eyes that make it
easy to forget what you are doing standing in front of him in the first place.
Not to leave out his strong jawline that ticks when he smiles. All of that is
enough to make a girl fall apart.
I stupidly allow my eyes to check out his body that’s tucked
into his baseball uniform. I may be an inexperienced virgin that embarrassingly
hasn’t had her first kiss yet, but I know that he has a body worth doing a once
over on. You have to admire him. It’s written in the rules in this town.
"Do you need to get by, sweetheart?" Graham
finally speaks with a confidence that sounds just as condescending as it is
endearing. I can see the amusement on his lips as he catches my blatant
approval of him in his tight uniform.
The girl who’s lucky enough to be twisted around him like a
pretzel looks over his shoulder at me. There’s a glare that could make the
strongest willed girl duck away in fear. I recognize her, but don't know
her…technically. She’s a senior on the cheerleading squad.
Their tangled limbs say more about Graham than her. He’s at
the top of the tier at school, even as a freshman. Every girl wants a piece of
him. It’s pathetic how they all follow him around just waiting for any scrap of
attention he’s willing to throw their way.
You wouldn’t complain if it was you.
That’s beside the point.
"If you don't mind moving this to another doorway that
would be great," I answer feeling immediately self-conscious by the way
he’s leering down at me as if he knows something I don’t. Waiting for a
response is my only option. I watch him just as intently, almost challenging him
as I pull on the hem of my tank top. I’m either extremely brave or utterly
"You know what, Marissa? I think we're done here."
Graham unhooks her arms from around his neck then looks to me like I’m in on
some grand elaborate scheme of his. Marissa looks to me with the same snarl she
was sporting just moments ago. Clearly she isn’t happy to have her claws out of
his back. Not many girls would be.
“But…” Marissa attempts to protest with the whiniest tone
"I said…We. Are. Done. Here," Graham barks with an
authority that you don’t have any choice, but to listen to. I jump at his sharp
tone as he keeps his eyes directly on me. I hate his obvious amusement at my
reaction to him. I play with the ends of my ponytail as she walks by bumping her
shoulder into mine. There was no mistake there. She was proving her point.
I reach for the door just as Graham's large hand shoots out
to open it for me. I slide past him into the hallway noticing that he follows
in after me. As I pass the doors for the locker room, I realize that he isn’t
heading that way. He’s only a few feet behind me. His cleats on the tiled floor
give him away.
"Do you need something?" I turn quickly to face
him. Graham stops a few strides behind me leaning his back against the wall. He
looks at ease. He acts as if following me isn’t anything out of the ordinary
when in fact it’s anything but normal.
"What's your name?" Graham asks quizzically
playing with the belt around his baseball pants. "I don't think I've ever
seen you around here."
For crying out loud…That's just perfect. If I don't already
feel invisible, he just put the last nail in my social pariah coffin.
"You probably haven't," I answer resentfully.
"Why would you?" I say the last part under my breath. I continue to
walk needing to get as much distance between us as possible.
Graham isn’t taking the hint. He pushes off of the wall
catching up to me. I can practically feel the heat from him against my back.
"I'll ask again. What’s your name, beautiful?"
I roll my eyes at the generic pet name. I’m clearly not his
type. What’s his angle with this? I think of a million scenarios in my head
where Graham would actually have a reason to speak to me, coming up with
zilch---nothing. There is no reason in this universe why Graham should be
speaking to me.
I’m glutton for punishment, so naturally I take the bait.
“Kennedy. What’s yours?” I ask pretending as if I’m clueless
to his popularity. I throw my hands on my hips for good measure trying to stand
my ground, seeming more confident than what I actually am.
Graham’s eyebrows crease together. “You’re fucking with me,
right?” He laughs straight from his gut like I just told him the funniest joke
he’s ever heard.
My body’s reaction to his laughter is infuriating. Some
laughs are simple, understated. You don’t think twice about those kinds of
laughs. Graham’s is hypnotizing and mind clouding. How is it possible to be
laughed at and still find the person insanely attractive? I hate myself right
now, which explains the sweaty palms and the heat rising up my cheeks and my
“What makes you think that I have any clue as to who you are
when you didn’t even know I went to school with you?” I ask with clear
confusion. Graham looks at me with a dumb struck expression that mirrors my
own. His jaw nearly bounces off the floor as it falls open, quickly shutting
with his slip in demeanor. “That’s what I thought.”
I turn on my heels leaving him standing alone in the empty
hallway staring at my receding shadow. There’s a painfully obvious pep in my
step. There’s a sense of pride that I stood up for myself. I never speak up or
out of turn, especially to someone like Graham. My job is to fall into the
backdrop, to not be heard or seen. For a split second, I got to feel what other
girls must feel around guys like him. Confident.
I pull open the door to Mr. Randall’s classroom, flicking on
the lights to try to find the batteries I need for my camera. As I tear open
the packaging, I reach up to turn the light off and run into a rock solid wall.
I instinctively throw my hands up to brace myself. Looking up I see an amused
Graham smirking down at me as I pull my hands away from his solidly built
chest. Clearly he’s worked for what he’s got.
“Don’t you have a game to play in?” I look at my watch with
pure irritation delighted with myself with how on the ball I am with the witty
comebacks. This never happens. “You’re going to be late, you know.”
“I’m Graham Black, it’s nice to meet you,” he says reaching
his hand out to shake mine ignoring my ploy to get rid of him.
He’s standing close enough that I can see every eyelash as
he blinks down at me waiting for a response. Making an attempt to walk around
him, he quickly slides to the side blocking my exit. I try my luck once more
but run right into his chest. Putting my hands up in defense only connects me
with his chest again. Flustered doesn’t begin to explain how I’m feeling.