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California Girl – Excerpt

From Ch. 2: 

On the day I left home, I came to Rush’s room to say goodbye. It was immaculate almost to the point of looking unlived in; there was nothing of his in there besides a picture.

But now it was clear that he and Maya were staying indefinitely. Car posters covered every available inch of wall space. Rush was just slightly obsessed with fast cars. Just slightly. Notebooks, hardcover books (mostly automotive manuals), and magazines (mostly car ones), covered his desk along with pencils, crumpled pieces of paper, and dozens of sticky notes.

His bed was unmade, his pajamas tossed on the floor beside it. A stack of running cleats sat in front of the opened closet, which was close to exploding with unwashed laundry. Tiny picture frames covered his dresser top, and I walked carefully through the minefield of crap on his floor to see the pictures.

They were mostly of him and Maya and Dad and me, but some were friends from back home, and one was of him and my two best friends, Tasha and Jenna. He had an arm around both of them, and they all had their faces painted.

He looked happy.

My conscience beat me down all over again. You’re a horrible, horrible person, Lexus Breckerson. He’s going to hate you and you’re going to deserve it.

Against my will, my mind transported me back to earlier that summer, when Rush Santorini, my childhood friend turned nemesis, the guy I loved to harass and vice versa, told me he loved me.

Just thinking it hit me like a pillowcase full of bricks all over again. I’d never seen him so serious, so vulnerable. And I’d run away. Like a little baby, I tucked tail and ran off to Barker, and I’d never answered his phone calls, and I barely even talked to our parents, or my best friends. I’d sequestered myself in Barker like it was a fortress that could keep everything out. 

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