Read Stay Online

Authors: Deb Caletti

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Social Issues, #General, #Adolescence, #Suicide, #Dating & Sex

Stay

BOOK: Stay
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D
NATION
E
AL BO
B

O K A W A
C

R D F I N A
A
LIST FO
L
R
HON
E
EY, BA
T
BY, SWE
T
ETHEA
I
RT

When lov
S
e become
ta
s obsession . . .
y

S Simon & SchuSter

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10/16/09 3:27 PM

SIMON & SCHUSTER CHILDREN’S PUBLISHING

ADVANCE REVIEWER COPY

TITLE:
Stay

AUTHOR:
Deb Caletti

IMPRINT:
Simon Pulse

ON-SALE DATE:
4/19/2011

ISBN:
978-1-4424-0373-4

FORMAT:
Hardcover

PRICE:
$16.99/$19.99 CAN

AGES:
12 and up

PAGES:
352

THESE ARE ADVANCE PROOFS BOUND FOR REVIEW PURPOSES.

All trim sizes, page counts, months of publication, and prices should be

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Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Simon Pulse • Simon Scribbles • Simon Spotlight

Also by Deb Caletti

Queen of Everything

Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Wild Roses

The Nature of Jade

Fortunes of Indigo Skye

The Secret Life of Prince Charming

The Six Rules of Maybe

Stay

by DEB CALETTI

Simon Pulse

NEW YORK LONDON TORONTO SYDNEY

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

the product 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

First Simon Pulse hardcover edition April 2011

Copyright © 2011 by Deb Caletti

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.

For information about special discounts for bulk purchases, please contact

Simon & Schuster Special Sales at 1-866-506-1949 or [email protected]

The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event.

For more information or to book an event contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau

at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at www.simonspeakers.com.

Designed by Mike Rosamilia

The text of this book was set in Scala

Manufactured in the United States of America

2 4 6 8 10 9 7 5 3 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

TK

ISBN 978-1-4424-0373-4

ISBN 978-1-4424-0375-8 (eBook)

Acknowledgments TK

Chapter 1

First off, I’ve never told this story to anyone. Not the

entire thing anyway, and not entirely truthfully. I’m only telling

it now for one reason, and that’s because an untold story has a

weight that can submerge you, sure as a sunken ship at the bot-

tom of the ocean. I learned that. This kind of story, those kind of

things kept secret—they have the power to keep you hidden for-

ever, and most of all from yourself. The ghosts from that drowned

ship, they keep haunting.

So here is the story. Sit back and make yourself comfortable

and all that.

I met him at a basketball game.

Wait. You should also know that another friend of mine,

Annie Willows, had asked me to go with her and her friends

to El Corazon that night to hear some band and that I didn’t

go. If I had gone, all this might never have happened. The way

Deb Caletti

two people can end up in the same place, find each other in a

crowd, and change their lives and the lives of the people around

them forever . . . It makes you believe in fate. And fate gives

love some extra authority. Like it’s been stamped with approval

from above, if you believe in above. A godly green light. Some

destined
significance.

Anyway.

My school was playing his, and I was there with my friend

Shakti, who was watching her boyfriend Luke, number sixteen,

who was at that moment sitting on the bench and drumming

his fingers on his knee like he did when he was nervous. Inside

the gym there was that fast, high energy crackle of competition

and screaming fans and the squeak of tennis shoes stopping

and starting on shiny floors.

He was with another girl; that was one thing. I was aware of

her only vaguely as she moved away from him. She maneuvered

sideways through the crowd, purse over her shoulder, heading

to the bathroom, maybe. His eyes followed her and then landed

on me, and by the time she came back, it was over for her,

though she didn’t know it. That sounds terrible, and I still feel

bad about it. But something had already been set in motion, and

I wonder and wonder how things would have been if I’d have

just let that moment pass, the one where our eyes met. If I had

just taken Shakti’s arm and moved off, letting the electrical jolt

that passed between us fade off, letting the girl return to his

side, letting fate head off in another direction entirely, where he

would have kept his eyes fixed on the girl with the purse or on

another girl entirely.

* 2 *

Stay

My father, Bobby Oates1*, said that love at first sight should

send you running, if you know what’s good for you. It’s your dark

pieces having instant recognition with their dark pieces, he says.

You’re an idiot if you think it means you’ve met your soul mate. So

I was an idiot. He looked so
nice
. He
was
nice. After Dylan Ricks,

I was looking for nice. Dylan Ricks once held my arm behind my

back and then twisted so hard that I heard something pop.

“Thirsty!” I yelled to Shakti, and she nodded. I moved away

from her, followed the line of his eyes until I was standing next

to him. I wish you knew me, because you’d appreciate what this

meant. I would never just go walking up to some guy. I would

never ignore the fact that his girlfriend was right then in the bath-

room putting on new lip gloss. Never. I was nice and my friends

were nice, which meant we lacked the selfish, sadistic overconfi-

dence of popularity. But I didn’t care about that girl right then. It’s

awful, and I’m sorry, but it was true. I kind of even hated me for

it, but it was like I
had
to do what I was going to do. I can’t explain

it. I wish I could. He was very tall and broad shouldered, white-

blond hair swooped over his forehead, good-looking, oh, yeah, with

those impossible, perfectly designed Scandinavian features. Still,

it wasn’t just his looks. It was some
pul
. The ball hit hard against

the backboard, which shuddered and clattered. The ref’s whistle

shrieked and the crowd yelled its cheers and protests.

I held my hands up near my ears. “Loud,” I said to him.

He leaned in close. His voice surprised me. He had this

1 It sounds familiar because you have heard of him. Crime writer, or, as the critics say,

“contemporary noir.” Her Emerald Eyes, among others. Yeah, you saw the movie, too.

* 3 *

Deb Caletti

accent. It was lush and curled, with the kind of lilt and rich-

ness that made you instantly think of distant cities and faraway

lands—the kind of city you’d see in a foreign film, with a snow-

banked river winding through its center, stone bridges crossing

to an ornate church. Ice castles and a royal family and coats

lined with fur. The other guys in that gym—they watched ESPN

and slunked in suburban living rooms and slammed the doors

of their mothers’ minivans. See—I had already made him into

someone he would never be, and I didn’t know it then, but he was

already doing the same with me, too.

“I don’t even know what I’m doing here,” he said. “I actually

hate sports.”

I laughed. “How many people here are secretly wishing they

were somewhere else?”

He looked around. Shook his head. “Just us.”

I was wishing that, all right. I was wishing we were
both

somewhere else. A somewhere together. A warm heat was start-

ing at my knees, working its way up. “I’ve got to . . .” I gestured

toward Shakti.

“Right,” he said.

I made my way back to Shakti, who was standing on her toes

at the sidelines, trying to see Luke, who had been called in to the

game and who was now dribbling the ball down the court in his

shiny gold shorts. “He’s in,” she said. “Oh, please, God, let him

not do what he did last time.”

But I was too distracted to actually watch and see if Luke

would accidentally pass the ball to an opposing teammate as

he had during the last game. My focus had shifted, my whole

* 4 *

Stay

focus—one moment he wasn’t there and then he was, and

my mind and body were buzzing with awareness and hope

and uncertainty. You have ordinary moments and ordinary

moments and more ordinary moments, and then, suddenly,

there is something monumental right there. You have past and

future colliding in the present, your own personal Big Bang, and

nothing will ever be the same.

That was the point, there, then, when I should have shaken

it off and gone on. I see it like an actual road in my mind, fork-

ing off. I should have kept my eyes on Luke with his sky-length

legs and skinny chest; I should have cheered when he passed

that ball just as he should have, to number twenty-four, who

shot a clean basket, I should have stayed in that moment and

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