Going into the her second year of high school in the rural town of Laton, Reese was ready to come out of her shell, experience life with her best friends and find a way to tell Titus she wanted to be more than friends. When Josh, the new student, shows up on the first day and a whirlwind relationship starts between him and Reese, she was in her own world and barely noticed her friend spiraling downhill. The night Josh pushed her to far her best friend died, causing her own world to spiral.
Trying to move on from losing her best friend and ignore what Josh did to her, Reese pulls away from everyone. She had to overcome her fears and face her demons to be able to move forward.
I always thought I would end up with Candice. She was the girl everyone wanted to be with and I was her best friend. Sure, we were boyfriend-girlfriend in elementary school; but by fifth grade, we had become just friends. Good friends. That’s when she introduced me to Reese. Reese was this shy little girl. She’s still shy, if you didn’t know her; and I suppose that is why I didn’t think things would happen as fast as they did between her and Josh.
Anyway, the day Candice had made me promise to never date Reese, she also kissed me.
It was one day last summer, she and Reese had one of their fights and Candice asked me to go with her to Black Bridge.
“Come on, Ty, there’s a train coming. Let’s hide by the track.” Candice’s eyes sparkled with excitement. “It’s the best rush, come on.”
I’d never been able to say no to Candice. After grabbing my shirt, we crawled up the levee and headed down to the train tracks.
The rusted metal bridge had braces every four feet, creating the perfect niche for teenagers looking for an adrenaline rush to hide. “Let’s duck down into this first niche,” I suggested.
“No way. To get the full effect, you have to be in the middle.” She pulled me along behind her to the center of the bridge. Smiling, she ducked down into the alcove.
I pushed back against the bridge wall and stared at the graffiti on the other side. The newest was a funny fish with sharp teeth, signed SPAZ. Everyone left their signature, here. Whether it was a gang sign, like F-14 for the Fresno County Dogs, or just a name and date, it was immortalized in spray paint for all to see.
I leaned forward looking left and right for the train that Candice swore she heard. It was coming from the south and I heard it before I felt the vibrations or saw it. I hoped it would be an Amtrak. They were shorter. I took in a lung full of air, wiping my sweaty palms on my shorts to hide my shaking.
Watching Candice chew her upper lip and search the track, I knew this was her first time. Screeching metal on metal and the whirl of the train’s engine had her clutching my hand. My heart raced in panic, my chest tightening.
Burying her head in my shoulder, Candice said, “Hold me, I hate trains.”
Candice had always been one to do overly stupid things—things that scared her, things that made absolutely no sense, just to seem brave. I never completely understood it.
A Thunderous roar filled my ears as screeching metal grated on my every nerve. Each one of them was alive and pulsing in rhythm with the train. I opened my eyes to catch the tail end of the train pass by. Thank goodness, it was an Amtrak. My shoulder was sore where Candice had dug her nails in deep.
“Candice, we’re safe. Open your eyes.” I lifted her head, my finger on her chin. That was when Candice kissed me. I expected it to send my head reeling and my heart pounding, but it never happened. I didn’t feel a thing.
“Thanks for keeping me safe.”
She quickly jumped up and trotted down the tracks, heading home. Kissing her had proven to me there were no longer any feelings other than friendship.
As we headed home, Candice grabbed my hand, stopping not far from her house. “I need to ask you something.” Her big hazel eyes searched mine as I nodded and waited for her to continue.
“I need you to promise me two things.”
“What?” My brows pinched together in concern. I never knew what to expect from Candice.
“Promise me you won’t tell Reese about our kiss, today,” she pleaded, dropping my hand and holding hers together in front of her as if praying.
Nodding, I said, “What else?”
“We’re best friends. The three of us. I think that.” She let out a long sigh and I rolled my eyes.
This was not new news. We’ve all been friends for quite a while, now. What was she getting at? “And?”
“And I think it’s best if we promise to never date each other and you promise me you’ll never date Reese.” She paused and I didn’t react or comment. If she didn’t want to date me, then why did she just kiss me? We’re sophomores in high school, I don’t play little kid games. Crossing my arms over my chest, I waited for her to continue. She quickly spat out the rest of her reasoning. “I need both of you. Neither of you realize how much I’m going to need you this next year. And if you date, and I know you like her”—
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Huh?”
“I know you like her. I see the way you look at her. Watch her. I just need to know that you won’t date her this year. Not yet. In case, if you break up and never speak to each other again. I need you. I need you, both.”
“It’s that important to you?”
Candice nodded. “It is.”
Shaking her head she answered, “It just is. Please Ty, please promise me.” Candice blinked away the tears in her eyes and I wondered what had her so worried.
Review by Venture
When I started reading this book, I was amazed about how adult the topic was. It wasn’t that long ago I was a teenager. Nowadays kids are in a huge hurry to grow up….and of facing topics that shouldn’t happen at all but especially as a sophomore in high school. The story starts with Titus who is best friends with two girls, Candice and Reese. Titus is a sweet guy who really likes Reese but can’t tell her how he feels since he made a promise to Candice. Candice and Reese start dating boys who are seniors but at this age there is a big maturity level between sophomore and senior year. Also these boys are not exactly what any mama wants dating her daughters. The girls are manipulated into abusive relationships that have destructive repercussions. The story is heartbreaking.
The story was very well written. I found the story very upsetting. It bothers me that girls can find themselves in these predicaments and allow these things to happen. It makes me want to be even more protective over my children. Since I’ve been told I’m overprotective, that says a lot. I’m not a big fan on the ending. It was rather abrupt. I give this book 3.5 books.
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out the Author
I’m a wife and mother of four. I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I use to write fairy tales when I was in grade school, but now I love writing about those tough high school years and how one decision can change the course of your life. Friendships, first loves and over coming the odds all interest me.
Three years ago, I decided life was too short to waste my stories by letting them collect dust on my shelves. I researched querying, took a few writing workshops and wrote the whole time. I first ventured away from what I normally wrote and tried a Paranormal Romance. That novel is tucked safely away. A year ago I chose to go back to my roots and write what I love – friendships, love and choices – how speaking out can save a life, maybe yours or a friends.
I talked to other authors and made wonderful friends. That’s when I learned about self-publishing. I’m glad I followed through. I was so nervous to hit publish, but now I am grateful for the encouragement. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I’m usually in front of my laptop. When I’m not writing I am either trying to catch up on a weeks worth of laundry or on Facebook. I am a huge procrastinator. Usually close to a deadline, you can find me actually cleaning house just so I don’t have to hit send. I think sending my books out to betas and my editor is the second scariest thing in the world. I love Rockstars and PB&J sandwiches. (Not the healthiest I know but it’s the fastest and it tastes good.)
I love meeting new people, find me on the links below.