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Authors: Adalynn Rafe

Ripple Effect: A Novel (6 page)

BOOK: Ripple Effect: A Novel
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“No World Civ again?” Hazel watched her best friends face closely. “You’ve been skipping a lot of school––”

“Shut your mouth,” Cecily ordered—her tone suddenly deadly. With a breath, she calmed down again. “I procrastinated my homework. Leison––” her jaw clenched slightly when she said his name “—is a beast when it comes to late work.”

“Glad I never had him,” Hazel commented, not seeing the sudden change in Cecily. “Whatevs. I’ll get your English homework.”

Cecily’s shoulders relaxed and she let out a long breath. “Thanks.”

“What about your mom?” she asked suddenly.

“She’s gone until five. So come over and pick me up after school and we’ll sleep at your house tonight.”

Hazel gave her a hesitant look, but nodded. “Yeah. Loves.”


Then they split up and went their separate ways.

On the way out, Cecily bumped into Darien, this kid who annoyed her for reasons that no one knew. He smelled like cheap incense and body odor and always wore the same Martin the Martian t-shirt that he got in eighth grade from his dead grandmother. Long tendrils of dirty blond hair were tucked behind his ears and his brown eyes were bloodshot from who knew what.

“Is he the one from the party?” Kelly asked me. “The one trying to rescue Hazel?”

I nodded, tense with anticipation. He was going to talk to me.

“Watch it,” Cecily snarled.

“Royalty coming through,” Darien snidely commented. “Madame Cecily.”

Tears filled Cecily’s eyes as she glared at Darien. “Shut up,” she demanded, her pride wounded from being called a royal. “You don’t know me.”

“I might not know you now, but I knew you then. Remember in elementary school when we would hang out and throw rocks into the river?” Darian questioned. Cecily felt embarrassed and her face turned red. “What are you doing talking to the duchess Sabrina anyway? Are you one of them now, a
” Darien looked disappointed. “You are going to go to that party, aren’t you?”

“I don’t have to explain myself to you!” Cecily barked. “And I’m not a royal, okay!”

He started counting on his fingers. “You treat me like a bottom feeder, you seduce teachers, and you’re caught in the middle of the cafeteria talking to the duchess. You are acting like a royal.”

Seducing a teacher?
My mouth gaped open and Cecily’s heart jumped. No one knew about that, not even Hazel. Tears suddenly filled her eyes and she covered her mouth, gasping.

“You don’t know me, Darien, not anymore! And I did not seduce that disgusting pig,” her voice cracked. “He

“I said that wrong, I’m sorry—” Darien reached for her. “I know what Mr. Leison did to you, Cecily. I’m sorry!”

Cecily started bawling hysterically and had to cover her mouth to stifle it.

My hands covered my mouth too, but in shock, and tears filled my eyes. Mr. Leison . . . now I remembered. He sexually assaulted me, but I didn’t tell because he had threatened me. That’s why I was so dark?

“Late work?” Kelly wondered as he looked at me. “I guess it wasn’t just that, was it?”

“That sick freak,” I whispered, my heart clenching in fear. “It’s Leison’s fault––”

Darien moved closer to comfort her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean––”

Cecily pushed him away. “Don’t come near me!” she screamed hysterically.

As she cried, running through the doors, it made me question what Sabrina had to do with it all. Why she had threatened me—as if she knew that Leison had assaulted me.

Sad and surely kicking himself now, Darien watched the doors slam shut behind her.

Chapter 10


I stood at the little white church again, the one I had seen so many times before. A black limo and a hearse were outside, awaiting their occupants––living and dead.

“Where are we now?” Kelly wondered.

As if I knew. “I’m not sure.” I sounded bitter—angry. Some horrible, dark man hurt me and scared me—how could anyone do something so horrible? My hatred for Sabrina had only grown stronger, that’s for sure.

Upon stepping into the foyer we found a large picture of a teenager, maybe fifteen. He had short black hair and kind grey eyes.

“Chase Drake,” Kelly said, examining the picture closely.

I made a sour face. “Sabrina’s brother.”

People stood in the halls of the church because the chapel was full. It was to be expected, because the Drakes owned the coal mine in which my father worked. Billionaires? Easily.

In the chapel stood Chase’s father, Gordon Drake, at the front as he shared the story of his son’s life. If I recalled correctly, it was Gordon who had shot his son in a freak accident on a hunting excursion. The tall and broad man had poker face and his gray eyes hid his pain away from the world.

A few pews from the back sat the Wolf family. Papa sat on the end with his arm around his wife. Next to Mom was Adie, then me, kicking at the pew in front of us in boredom. I had those shiny black Mary Jane shoes on that every eight year old loved to wear.

It was the weirdest thing to see my Papa alive. I touched the space around his face and tried to memorize his firm features. Life had a way of replacing the realistic faces of the ones you love most with the slightly changed figures that you so dearly remembered.

We continued toward the front. People sobbed and cried. Others were falling asleep. Funerals, right?

On the front bench sat Carmen Drake, the gorgeous Spanish woman with dark hair and exotic looks. At the moment she was forsaken by grief. Sabrina had definitely acquired her beauty from her mother. Next to her sat little Sabrina, fuming and crying at the same time. Her arms were crossed over her black lacy dress.

The question repeated in mind:
What does Sabrina have to do with my death?

“Is that––?” Kelly stared at the blond beauty beside her.

I stared down at Hazel. At the time she was Sabrina’s best friend. “Their parent’s knew each other,” I explained. “Rich people unite.”

“How old is she?” he asked in reference to Sabrina.

A little bit of sadness filled me. “Eight.”


Now we stood in a house, well, a mansion actually. Extravagant, with European flare and random statues of naked humans—unique could hardly explain it.

The large wooden door with brass insets opened behind us and in walked an eleven year old Sabrina, her shoes clacking against the marble floor of the foyer. She looked like a dork with braces and glasses and I tried not to laugh. And trust me, I looked worse.

She headed up a large staircase that followed the curve of the wall, her small hand gliding lightly on the rod-iron railing. Her shoulders sagged, like something had upset her that day.

We followed her to her ginormous pink bedroom, which had a princess castle for a bed and a vanity filled everything a girl could want in life. Even a giant unicorn!

She dropped her backpack on the carpeted floor and looked at the mirror. “I’m fat,” she said as she picked at her chin. Sabrina was not a fat child at all.

After poking at herself for a minute, she pulled a paper out of her backpack—a poem that she had gotten a good grade on. Beaming with accomplishment, she headed into the hallway and toward another part of the house.

She stepped quietly along a dark hallway lined with tall wooden doors, walnut in color. They contrasted the mustard yellow that splotched the walls. At last, she reached a door at the very end of the hall. Closed shut, it seemed rather uninviting. Regardless, Sabrina’s little hand reached to the brushed silver knob and twisted. Something was going on in that room, because when she opened the door we could hear heavy panting and rattling noises from the bed.

“Oh, crap,” I whispered.

“Gordon!” Carmen screamed from behind us, her Spanish accent thick with anger. She pushed her daughter aside to go through the open door and into the darkened bedroom. “Gordon Drake!”

Screaming sounded from the horrified little Sabrina.


*              *              *


Sabrina sat on the cold ground in the perfectly sculpted backyard. On the far end were trees, and only trees. As the yard progressed toward the house, it was more sculpted and filled with smaller bushes and plants. It had to be late fall. She was curled up in a ball, rocking back and forth, staring into the darkness of the forest beyond her.

“Do you not get scared out here, all by yourself?” Natasha asked her quietly. She stood behind her wrapped in a white blanket. Tall and sleek and blond, she possessed a unique beauty that was all her own.

Scowling, the twelve year old Sabrina looked back at her. “The only thing to be scared of is you. You chased my mother away and robbed my father of his empty heart.”

I nodded in remembrance. Really, her mother ran away because her husband shot her son on accident while on a hunting trip. Then she drew away from her family in her sorrow, and that caused her husband to cheat with Natasha. Carmen ran away. Though Sabrina always had a grudge toward Natasha, she hated her mother more. She abandoned her.

“What do you say we have a party with your friends?” Natasha sat down beside her. She was trying to be nice. “It will cheer you up.”

Sabrina wrapped her arms around herself even tighter. “You’re not my mom, Natasha. You’re married to my father, but that doesn’t make you my mother.”

Natasha wrapped her arm around her regardless. I felt sorry for Natasha, who was trying so hard to win the heart of the messed up child. “What about Hazel? She can come to the party.”

Her eyes filled with angry tears, she smacked Natasha’s arm away from her. “Don’t touch me!” Sabrina screamed. “I hate you!”

“Sabrina,” Gordon said from the stone porch. Lights filled the space behind him to reveal a glorious patio and covered pool. “Darling?”

After glaring at Natasha, Sabrina stood up and dragged her feet toward her father. “Daddy,” she cried, her voice thick with tears. “Hazel hates me!”

Gordon tilted his head. “Darling, Hazel doesn’t hate you.”

Sabrina started crying––her face contorted in emotional distraught––when she reached her towering father. “It’s Cecily’s fault!”


Looking at Kelly, I felt bad—I had done some heinous crime to Sabrina in my young life. Was it really my fault? Was she getting payback—is that why I died? He could only shrug and give an apologetic look.

“Hazel!” Sabrina, twelve years of age screamed, her face going red. Now they were in the field of the middle school. Of course, Sabrina sat atop the highest perch of land, the pitcher’s mound, and bossed people around.

Young Hazel booked it away from her, upset and crying.

“Hazel!” Sabrina screamed again. She ignored her, so Sabrina got off of her perch. She ran after her and shoved Hazel onto the ground viciously.

With alligator tears filling those beautiful green eyes, Hazel looked up at Sabrina with betrayal. “Why did you do that, Sabrina?” She stood up and dusted the dirt from her white dress. Adorable golden pigtails were now snarled.

Sabrina pointed a dictatorial finger in Hazel’s face. “You listen to me when I’m talking to you!” For a twelve year old, she was sure something else. “I should be the queen, not you!”

“I’m not the queen anymore!” Hazel yelled. “I’m not your friend anymore, duchess!”

Sabrina’s eyes widened and her mouth became a shocked O. She pushed Hazel to the ground again, angrier than ever.

“Knock it off!” Cecily yelled, blocking Hazel from any more abuse by Sabrina. “What is your problem, Sabrina?”

Cecily wore overalls, a striped shirt, and hand-me-down sneakers from Adie. Her hair was up in a loose ponytail, she had a little acne, and there wasn’t a trace of makeup on her face. Sabrina wore designer jeans, a fur coat, and leather boots. Her hair was straightened, her make-up expertly done, and an invisible retainer sat across her teeth.

Sabrina shoved Cecily out of the way. “None of your business, peasant!”

The thing was that I was tough as nails as a kid. So, Cecily pushed her back, twice as hard. “Don’t touch me, Sabrina!”

Laughing maniacally, Sabrina shoved her again. “Does this bug you, Cecily Wolf?”

Cecily turned her back to her and helped Hazel from the ground. “She’s a jerk, okay. Just, don’t hang out with her anymore.”

“Will you be my friend?” Hazel asked with hope.

Next thing going down was Sabrina tackling Cecily to the dirt ground on her stomach in pure anger. Cecily released a loud moan as she tried not to cry, holding her face out of the dirt.

“Don’t touch my friends!” Sabrina screamed into Cecily’s ear.

Cecily elbowed her in the face and pushed her off. “Don’t touch me!”

Sabrina, blood pouring down her face and neck from her nose, glared at Cecily, who had dirt all over the front of her. “My dad is going to fire your dad!”

Making a face at Sabrina, Cecily held Hazel’s hand in hers and they turned their backs.

“No one likes you, Cecily! You’re dad’s a loser and your sister is going to die of disease! And your house is ugly!”

Pausing, Cecily tried to remain calm but couldn’t. Her jaw clenched and her face filled with rage. No one talked about her family like that.

“How does it make you feel that your dad shot your brother?” Cecily yelled over her shoulder. “And that your mother left you all alone? No one loves you Sabrina and you’ll always be hated!”

My eyes widened as I stared at the feisty little nugget who said that.

Sabrina shook as she cried. She couldn’t even muster up a comeback.

“That hurts, doesn’t it?” Cecily turned around and glared at her enemy, pathetically kneeling on the dirt ground and crying. “That’s how you make people feel, Sabrina.”

I was shocked. I didn’t remember any of that . . .

“You’ll pay for this, Cecily Wolf!”

In the corner of the baseball field, Darien watched with sadness as he was replaced with Hazel, Cecily’s new best friend.

Kelly just shook his head. “So, this is why Sabrina is the way she is?”

“She’s a bully,” I said quietly, all the anger I had toward her returning to me. “She took every chance she could to make my life a living hell—including killing me, surely.”

We turned around and found ourselves in her house again, but this time it was in current time.

“Where’ve you been, Sabrina?” Gordon asked from his extravagant kitchen filled with recessed lighting and black cabinets. He was getting a drink for him and his wife, it seemed.

Sabrina froze in the dimly lit foyer, hidden from her father’s prying eyes. A portrait of Gordon and Natasha hung on the wall beside her. She looked down at her clothing and saw that her black shirt was ripped. She panicked inside.

Quickly, she buttoned her wool coat. “Studying,” she lied, heading toward the lit kitchen to greet her father, by force.

Her father shot a piercing look at her over the brim of his glasses as she entered. Sometimes she reminded him of her mother in the last days of their marriage––the way she walked so stiffly, so cold. His child always wore clacking shoes and the latest designer clothes and jewelry, something important to him and his image. She carried an air of fearlessness around her, one that she fought to hold on to as he stared at her now, one she thought would fool her father into letting her off the hook. Yet, Gordon knew better. Sabrina had always had an abundant amount of confidence, a natural born leader, but as of late, she seemed so fragile. His daughter seemed scared, unnervingly so.

“Sabrina.” After placing the drinks on the yellow granite counter, Gordon released a patient sigh, splaying his large palms and fingers against the cool granite. “Where were you?”

“Daddy!” Her foot stomped and she pouted. Dramatically, she threw her head back and whined. “Why don’t you believe me?”

Gordon just stared at her, noticing something beyond disturbing about her appearance. “Come here.” He stepped around the counter toward her. “What is on your face and neck?”

Sabrina’s eyes filled with fear and she rubbed her cheek. “It’s makeup. I fell asleep.”

Gordon led her into the light and observed his daughter. “Sabrina,” he said as he touched the spot on her cheek bone––broken, inflamed skin blotted over with concealer. “This isn’t just makeup, baby.”

She winced away from him. “Some girl was jealous and punched me.”

Her father followed the marks down her splotchy neck with his eyes; they led down beneath her coat. His gray eyes widened as he gently touched his daughters exposed, beaten skin. Tears filled Sabrina’s eyes and she pushed her father away.

“Natasha,” Gordon yelled, trying to sound like a strong, tough man, but scared for his daughter’s wellbeing. “Baby, come see this.”

BOOK: Ripple Effect: A Novel
10.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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