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Authors: Eliza Jane

Bound Together

BOOK: Bound Together
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Bound Together

By Eliza Jane

 

Bound Together
Copyright
©
2012 Eliza Jane

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes only.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, or any events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously.

Cover Image used under license from iStock.com

 

Chapter One

Zoey

 

I sat up in bed, groggy and tired. My mind registered that I only had a few days left until
my
class trip to
Paris
and
th
at
missing
ounce of
enthusiasm
I needed
propelled me
out of bed. I threw on the closest pair of jeans and
grey
T-shirt
that lay crumpled on my floor and swept my hair up into a messy bun on top of my head.

I opened doors as I moved down the hall, avoiding my parent’s
room. “Ty, Charlie, Pete, Cora –t
ime for school.” I jogged
down the stairs, stepping over stray articles of clothes and
discarded toys
almost by instinct
.
An abandoned teddy bear winked up at me with one glass eye.

I did my best to clear the table of last night’s homework and divide
d
it
up
into the backpacks hung by the back door
, but kept out Pete’s list of spelling words
.
I set a stack of bowls and the cereal and milk on the table and went to call up the stairs once more.
My three younger brothers and little sister emerged one by one, messy
-
haired and tired and slid into their chairs.

“Pete.” He looked up in between bites of generic brand
Cap’n
Crunch. I consulted the spelling list. “Spell invention.”

He swallowed the cereal roughly, and wiped away the milk rolling down his chin. “I

v

“Take your time. Sound it out,
innn
vention
,” I
hinted
.
He started again and
I moved onto packing lunches while Pete spelled it correctly.
“Ty, straight home after soccer practice tonight.
I could use some help, I
still
have to pack.” M
y
fourteen
-
year
-
old brother
and second in command
looked up and nodded.

“There’s a birthday party at the arcade after school today,
Zoey
,” Charlie said.
“I need five dollars for pizza.”

“Fine.”
I went to our dad’s
Carhartt
jacket hung by the door and dug through his pockets for the
all the loose change I could find. “Here.” I set the mountain of coins
in front
of Charlie. “Be
home by six. I don’t like you walking after dark.”

I finished the bologna sandwiches
and
re
-
filled bottles of water for everyone then
braided Cora’s hair. We lived close enough to the school that we walked. Our town was so small that the elementary, middle and high schools were all in a row on the same
street
. I dropped off Pete and Cora at the elementary school, then Charlie and Ty at the middle school.

I headed into the high school
,
heard a
shriek and spun around.
Morgan
grabbed my upper arms and began jumping
up and down.

“What?” I
looked at her
.

“Brandon’s parents out of town tonight! He’s having a party at his place.”

“So?”

“So, it’s going to be epi
c and he personally invited me.” She put her hand to her chest. “
I t
hink he digs my new blue streak.
” Morgan ran her fingers through the single blue highlight framing her face in otherwise
lackluster
blonde
hair.

She
pulled me into her dancing embrace.

“You know I’m not a good hugger.”
I squirmed out of her grasp.

Morgan
rolled her eyes.

“I’m a pretty good side
-
hugger though, so hopefull
y that makes up for it,” I said,
squeezing her awkwardly with one arm.

She shrugged out of my half
-
embrace.
“It’s fine,
Zoey
.
You’ll come with me
,
right?”

“Tonight?”

“Yes, tonight

it’s Friday night. Don’t tell me you can’t either.
Your brothers and sister
will be fine without you for one night.”

“You’d think so, but when I go home to microwaved Barbie
dolls
and a
pregnant
flea ridden cat, like las
t Friday

then I’d argue different.”

She started walking and pulled me along towards our locker. “You’re coming

don’t try to get out of this. I’m sure Jordan’s going,” she said
,
like that would entice me. “What’s up with you two anyway?”

I twisted the lock, entering our combination and popped the locker open. “Nothing really.”

“Earth to
Zoey
.” She waved her hand in front of my face, breaking my concentration from inspecting my textbooks. “You guys had sex,” she whispered so loudly a few heads turned our way.

“Thanks for letting half
of
South Lake
H
igh in on that.”
I glanced over my shoulder, seeing who might have overheard, then decided I didn’t care.

She ducked her head behind the door of
our
locker, pretending it was providing us
the
privacy
we
needed
to have this conversation. “He’s not your boyfriend?”


Ah,
Jordan?
Last I checked, n
o.” I laughed and slammed the locker
shut
. “He’s, I don’t know

a shiny object to distract me from my crappy life.”

“God,
Zoey
, you’re more emotionally crippled than I realize sometimes.”

“Whatever, Morgan. Jordan’
s not exactly
a
prized
c
atch
if you haven’t noticed.”

Just then Jordan walked up, his jeans sagging down low, dirty
T-shirt
hanging on his lanky frame
,
and
a
skateboard stuck through
his backpack behind him. “Hey,
M
amacita
!” he said squeezing me to hi
s side
.

I wiggled my way free.
“Hey,” I returned.

“She’s not good at hugging,” Morgan
leaned in to remind
him.

“That’s fine. I can think of a few things I like better than hugs
.” He winked at me.

“I
gotta
get to class.” I turned and walked towards my AP
Global
S
tudies class, leaving them looking after me.
I deliberately avoided making eye contact with any of my classmates as I passed through the hall, which I had down to such a science that they didn’t bother with me either.

I sat down in my usual back row seat and
took out my notebook.
Mr. Rhinehart came in just as the bell
ra
ng
and closed the door behind him, shutting
Matt
Parker
, king of the jock
-
squad
out in the hall
. I didn’t even under
stand why he was in this
class;
it certainly wasn’t on the normal menu of classes for football players. This was the one class where I didn’t fe
e
l like I stood out. I could raise my hand and answer questions and people didn’t think I was a freak.
Matt
frowned
and knocked on the door. I
didn’t
think I’d ever seen him late before.

Mr. Rhinehar
t turned and unlocked the door.
“Thank you
for gracing us with your presence today, Mr.
Parker
. Take a seat.”

Matt
’s normal section of front row seating was occupied, so he made
his way to the back of the
room and
s
at
down
next to me.
He glanced at me once before dropping his eyes to the desk in front of him.
He was wearing his jersey today, like all the football players did on game day. A vein stood ou
t in his neck and I wondered if something had happened, maybe he’d been in a fight or something. Maybe Chelsey Martin
had
cheated on him again.
Whatever

I didn’t care. I turned my attention back to Mr. Rhinehart.

We were going to
Paris
in two days
, and
I couldn’t wait to get out of this town and see some
thing, even if it was only for eight days
. It would be good practice for my family to learn to survive without me for when I went away to college next year. As much as I tried to remind everyone that I wasn’t going to be around forever, I don’t think they really realized what that was going to mean.

“Instead of having a regular lesson today,” Mr. Rhinehart said. “
We’re going to
talk
about your assignment while we’
re
abroad
.” He sat down on the edge of his desk, and his too tight khaki pants budged in all the wrong places.
Ew
w
. “As you know, this is a college
-
lev
el placement
course. We’ve spent the last few months learning culture, politics, art,
and the
social
and
economic conditions that have shaped the world we live in today.
Your assignment while
we’re there
other than having fun,” he smiled at the class, “is to bring history alive. You will find
a topic you wish to explore and write a ten
-
page paper
, due
two
week
s
after we return. You will do this in pairs of two.”

He moved around the room, pointing at people sitting next to each other as he went. “
Bobby
and Brian.
Amanda
and Stephanie.” He continued down the aisle, coming closer to the back of the room.
I looked around me, and the only person near me was
Matt
. I wondered if I could quickly chang
e seats.
He couldn’t possibly mean for me and
Matt
to work together.
My mind went fuzzy
as Mr. Rhinehart move
d
in slow motion towards us.
No,
this
could not happen. This was not how I planned to spend my
Euro
-
adventure
, babysitting some over
-
pampered jock. “
Zoey
and
Matt
,” he said passing b
etween
us. I knew my face contorted at the sounds of our names spoken together, but I didn’t even care that he or
Matt
could see my look of disgust.

BOOK: Bound Together
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