“She didn't mind a little rain. At least no one would see her cry.”
“One by one, drops fell from her eyes like they were on an assembly line - gather, fall, slide...gather, fall, slide...each one commemorating something she had lost. Hope. Faith. Confidence. Pride. Security. Trust. Independence. Joy. Beauty. Freedom. Innocence.”
“This is our big chance to see what people think of us. The real us. We have to show em there's nothing to be afraid of. If we don't get over our fears, they never will.”
“This isn't going to be pretty. Rules will be broken. Friendships will be tested. And huge risks will be taken. But they're small prices to pay for true love and freedom, right?”
"Yes," Candace asked expectantly, eyes fixed on the dark street ahead.
"Have you ever had to chose sides between a friend and a boyfriend?"
"Which side are you suppose to pick?"
"The right one."
"What if they're both right?"
"But they are," Melody insisted. "That's the problem."
"No." Candace slowly rolled past a police cruiser. "They both think they're right. But who do you think is right? Which side represents the thing you think is worth fighting for?"
Melody glanced out the window as though she was expecting the answer to be revealed on a neighbor's lawn. Every house except hers had the lights turned off. "I dunno."
"You do," Candace insisted. "You just don't have the courage to be honest with yourself. Because then you'd have to do the thing you don't want to do, and you hate doing anything that's hard. Which is why you gave up singing and why you have no life and why you've always been a -"
"Um okay! Can we get back to the part where you were sounding like Oprah?"
"I'm just saying, Melly, what would you do if you weren't afraid? That's your answer. That's your side." She turned into the circular driveway and put the SUV in PARK. "And if you don't choose it, you're lying to yourself and everyone around you." She opened the door and grabbed her purse. "Oprah out!"
The door slammed behind her.”
“I dunno." She sat on the bench and hugged the robe like a pillow. "I still think that Brett guy is cute."
"Good luck getting him away from Bekka." Cleo gathered her silky black hair into a high pony and pink-dabbed Smith's Rosebud Salve on her lips. "She's got more grip than Crazy Glue."
"More cling than Saran Wrap," Lala added.
"More hold than Final Net." Cleo giggled.
"More possession than The Exorcist," Lala managed.
"More clench than butt cheeks," Blue chimed in.
"More competition than American Idol," Frankie stuck out her chest and showed them her diva booty roll.
The girls burst out laughing.
"Nice!" Blue lifted her purple gloved hand.
Frankie slapped it without a single spark.
"I hate to be a downer..." Claudine shuffled back into the conversation wearing her slippers and robe. "But that girl will destroy you if she catches you with Brett."
"I'm not worried," Frankie tossed her hair back. "I've seen all the teen movies, and the nice girl gets the boy in the end.”
“It was an image Melody would never forget. Or was it the emotions the image conjured - hope, excitement, and fear of the unknown, all three tightly braided together, creating a fourth emotion that was impossible to define. She was getting a second chance at happiness and it tickled like swallowing fifty fuzzy caterpillars.”
“Because whipping an atlas at Jackson's head while he was flirt-touching that Frankie girl in geography would have been very satisfying. And beating him with the Eiffel Tower snowglobe while he kissed Cleo in French would have been tres cathartic. But she hadn't. Instead she'd been egg-like: a hard shell on the outside, and a runny mess on the inside.”
“The articles were extremely eye-opening. Not just in Teen Vogue but in Seventeen and CosmoGirl as well. They were all about being yourself, staying natural, loving your body as is, and going green! The messages were the exact opposite of Vik and Viv's.
Frankie turned to face the full-length mirror that was up against the yellow wardrobe. She opened her robe and examined her body. Fit, muscular, and exquisitely proportioned, she agreed with the magazines. So what if her skin was mint? Or her limbs were attached with seams? According to the magazines, which were - no offense! - way more in touch with the times than her parents were, she was suppose to love her body just the way it was. And she did! Therefor if the normies read magazines (which obviously they did, because they were in them), then they would love her, too. Natural was in.
Besides she was Daddy's perfect little girl. And who didn't love perfect?”
“Watching a make-out while wrapped in a blanket with a guy she wanted to make out with made her feel exposed. Obvious. Transparent. Like her thoughts were flashing before his eyes.
Finally Brett managed to pull away without consent of Bekka's lips. The confusion created a sloppy bite-a-juicy-peach sound. Everyone cringed.”
“She raced for him, propelled by the strength of a thousand regrets.”
“Sooo, I'm tired of people thinking I'm a freak. I know you can't relate to that but -"
"Get over it already, will ya?" Candace stood. "You're not Smellody anymore. You're pretty. You can get hot guys now. Tanned ones with good vision. Not geeky hose jousters." She shut the window. "Don't you ever want to use your lips as something other than veneer protectors?"
Melody felt a familiar pinch behind her eyes. Her throat dried. Her eyes burned. And then they came. Like salty little paratroopers, tears descended en masse. She hated Candace thought she had never made out with a boy. But how could she convince a seventeen-year-old with more dates than a fruitcake that Randy the Starbucks cashier (aka Scarbucks, because of his acne scars) was a great kisser? She couldn't.”
“Wearing nothing but sweats and a sheer coat of lip gloss, she wiggle through her frosted window and jumped six feet to freedom, feeling more charged than a Visa card at Christmas time.”
“Viktor was swinging a leather duffle and wearing a black Adidas tracksuit and his favorite brown UGG slippers with a hole in the toe.
"Worn and old, just like Viv," he'd say when Frankie made fun of them, and then his wife would swat him on the arm. But Frankie knew he was just joking, because Viveka was the type of woman you wished was in a magazine just so you could stare at her violet-colored eyes and shiny black hair without being called a stalker or a freak.”
“Something about Bekka and Haylee reminded her of Candace's line between ingenious and insane. Ingenuity inspired their dreams, and insanity gave them the courage to pursue them. It was something Melody wanted for herself.”
"Even before Brett?"
"Always," Bekka said. Her lively freckled face was dead serious.
"Wow," Melody said in surprise. They really were friends. Hearing it helped her feel it. And feeling it was like sinking deeper into a warm bath.”
“The confusing lesson whipped Frankie's anger into something she had never felt before. It was like an emotional meringue - the airy feeling of loneliness topped with the hard crisp of injustice. Yet its taste was far from sweet.”
“sodoyouthinkyoucouldtrustmetogotothedancetonight?" she blurted before losing her nerve.
Viktor and Viveka exchanged a quick glance.
Are they considering it? They are! They trust -
"No," they said together.
Frankie resisted the urge to spark. Or scream. Or threaten to go on a charging strike. She had prepared herself for this. It had always been a possibility. That's why she'd read 'Acting For Young Actors: The Ultimate Teenage Guide' by Mary Lou Belli and Dihah Lenney. So she could act like she understood their rejection. Act like she accepted it. And act like she would return to her room with grace. "Well, thanks for hearing me out," she said, kissing them on the cheeks and skipping off to bed. "Good night."
"Good night?" Viktor responded. "That's it? No argument?"
"No argument," Frankie said with a sweet smile. "You have to see this punishment through or you're not teaching me anything. I get it."
"O-kay." Viktor returned to his medical journal, shaking his head as if he couldn't quite believe what he was hearing.
"We love you." Viveka blew another kiss.
"I love you, too." Frankie blew two back.
Time for Plan B.”
“A burrito is a delicious food item that breaks down all social barriers and leads to temporary spiritual enlightenment.”
“Bekka treated her role has Frankenstein's bride more like an audition to be Brett's bride. Every part of her body had been colored bright kelly green - even parts that her mother had stressed were 'not to be seen by anyone except God and the inside of a toilet bowl.' Instead of wearing a wig, Bekka had teased and then shellacked her own hair into a windblown cone and she'd used female-mustache bleach to create white streaks. Her seams, made of real suture thread, had been attached to her neck and wrists with clear double-sided costume tape because drawing them on with kohl would not have been 'honoring the character.' Her Costume Castle dress had been exchanged for something 'more authentic' from the Bridal Barn. If Brett didn't see his future in her heavily black-shadowed eyes tonight, he never would. Or so she believed.”
“No, I'm serious," Frankie insisted, fed up with being silenced. "Why didn't you just make me a normie?"
Viktor sighed. "Because that's not who we are. We're special. And I'm very proud that. You should be, too."
"Proud?" Frankie spat out the word as if it had been soaked in nail polish remover. "How can I be proud when everyone is telling me to hide?"
"I'm telling you to hide so you'll be safe. But you can still feel proud of who you are," he explained, like it really was that simple. "Pride has to come from within you and stay with you, no matter what people say."
Frankie crossed her arms and looked away.”
“It was becoming more and more evident that Salem was a town that celebrated individuality, a real live-and-let-live kind of place. Melody felt a gut punch of regret. Her old nose would have fit in here.
"Look!" She pointed at the multicolored car whizzing by. Its black door were from a Mercedes coupe, the white hood from a BMW; the silver trunk was Jaguar, the red convertible top was Lexus, the whitewall tires were Bentley, the sound system was Bose, and the music was classical. A hood ornament from each model dangled from the rear view mirror. Its license plate appropriately read MUTT.
"That car looks like a moving Benton ad."
"Or a pileup on Rodeo drive." Candace snapped a picture with her iPhone and e-mailed to her friends back home. They responded instantly with a shot of what they were doing. It must have involved the mall because Candace picked up her pace and began asking anyone under the age of fifty where the cool people hung out.”
“The inaugural morning at Merston High was officially over. It was no longer a mysterious place in Melody's imagination, filled with endless possibilities and hooks on which to hang hopes for a better tomorrow. It was completely - boringly - normal. Like meeting an online crush after months of e-flirting, the reality didn't live up to the fantasy. It was dull, predictable, and way more attractive in the photos.”
“Hey, those look good! Can I have one?” a man she’d seen hundreds of times around Jason’s house asked, reaching out to take one.
“Back the fuck off! She brought them for me, you bastard!” Jason snapped.”
“Rule #1: You may bring only what fits in your backpack. Don’t try to fake it with a purse or a carry-on.
Rule #2: You may not bring guidebooks, phrase books, or any kind of foreign language aid. And no journals.
Rule #3: You cannot bring extra money or credit/debit cards, travelers’ checks, etc. I’ll take care of all that.
Rule #4: No electronic crutches. This means no laptop, no cell phone, no music, and no camera. You can’t call home or communicate with people in the U.S. by Internet or telephone. Postcards and letters are acceptable and encouraged.
That’s all you need to know for now. ”
“Wolves hate werewolves.'
'What? That can't be right! When she's wolf-shaped she's just like a wolf!'
'So? When she's human-shaped she's just like a human. And what's that got to do with anything? Humans don't like werewolves. Wolves don't like werewolves. People don't like wolves that can think like people, an' people don't like people who can act like wolves. Which just goes to show that people are the same everywhere.' said Gaspode. He assessed this sentence and added, 'Even when they're wolves.”
“For some reason he suddenly remembered that Hamfist Kitty’s real name was Raphael. The nickname Hamfist came from his monstrous bony fists, bluish red and bare, that protruded from the thick fur covering his arms as if from a pair of sleeves. And he named himself Kitty in complete confidence that this was the traditional name of the great Mongolian kings. Raphael.”
“In for a sheep, in for a gargant.”
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