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Chapter 11

Finally, it was summer! I loved Seattle but the amount of rain was ridiculous, but it hadn’t rained in two weeks! Touchwood. Please, no rain. I loved the sun!

It had been great recently. Everybody’s birthday always seemed to be during the summer, so there had been parties and days out and I’d had loads of fun. Last week, Callie, Arizona, Sofia and I had all gone to the zoo, which had brought on Sofia’s new obsession with lemurs. I loved her loads, but if I had to watch Madagascar one more time…

“Poppy! Grace’s here!” I heard Arizona’s voice ring through the hall of my bedroom, and I smiled. I loved how Grace had just been showing up at random times as of lately.

At school, we didn’t keep it a secret that we were together, but that didn’t mean everybody knew. When one of the most hated but obsessed over girl in the school, Madison Bryson, who kind of reminded me of Regina George, found out, she’d proceeded to call us names like ‘dyke’ and had even gone as far as to call me ‘unwanted’. I had been able to brush it off easily but Grace had taken it more to heart for some reason which I couldn’t figure out, because she was normally the one who had to calm me down.

“Hey, stranger!” I greeted her when I entered the living room. It had only been a week since I’d seen her last, but it felt like ages. We said hello through a quick hug.

“We’ll leave you two alone…” Callie smiled as she and Arizona slipped out of the room, leaving us alone. I grabbed Grace’s hand and pulled her down onto the couch with me, and we both just stared into space for a while.

“So, uh, Kyle Jamieson is having a party tonight.” She informed me.

“Oh yeah?” I said. As I said I’d been to a few parties over the last few weeks, and I wasn’t really in the mood.

“You wanna go?” She asked, and I wasn’t sure how to say no.

“Hmmm, I dunno…” I yawned, stretching out over the couch, putting emphasis on the pint that I didn’t want to.

“Oh, come on!” She laughed, using my hair to pull me back up into a sitting position.

“Can we just stay in? We went to a party last week.” I pointed out, getting up and heading to the kitchen to get us drinks.

“Yeah, but I had to practically drag you there.” She countered, sitting on one of the stool around the island. I could tell that she was getting annoyed, because I’d passed on going to the fairground the other day too.

“Can we just skip it, please?” I asked again, sticking out my bottom lip in a put, trying to get her to lighten up. I knew Grace; once she got even a little bit annoyed then it took ages to get her back in a great mood.

“But I really wanna go!” She murmured, batting her eyelashes. It appeared two could play at this game.

“But I don’t!” I exclaimed, handing her her drink. I sat down on the opposite side and took her hand, and was slightly hurt when she pulled it away. Was she really getting upset over this? I didn’t want her to be. Should I just give up and go?

“You never do though.” She pointed out.

“Excuse me, I went to one last week, and then there was that day at the theme park the weekend before, and Carrie’s pool party!” I reminded her, but she was having none of it.

“But I was looking forward to it!”

“Oh, please.” I rolled my eyes. “You probably got the invitation yesterday. And if you really wanna go, then go. You don’t need me to do that.”

She did a kind of double take, and it appeared that that had stung. But it was true, if she wanted to go that badly.

I sighed and stood up, instantly feeling sorry for what I’d said. I knew Grace liked to do things together, to prove that our relationship wasn’t any different from anyone else’s. “I’m sorry, I really am. And if you really want to go, then I will too.”

Her whole face lit up. “You will?”

“Yeah.” I agreed. I guess it couldn’t be that bad. “But you have to help me pick out what to wear.”

“Okay!” She giggled, taking my hand and leading me through to my room.

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“Back by midnight.” Arizona told me strictly. Her and Callie had been really lenient about parties and things, unlike Sarah and David, which I was thankful for. When I’d still lived with them I’d hardly been able to ever go out at all, because all I’d do was study, because of their obsession with me getting the top grades. I get that they wanted me to do well, and if I wanted to be a doctor then I’d need the good grades, but it was like holding me hostage in my room while everybody else went out and had fun.

“Okay. Thank you for letting me go!” I thanked them as I hugged them both before taking Grace by the hand and leaving.

I was surprised, when we got there, at how busy and upbeat the party was. It was like the parties you only ever saw in the movies, and I doubt Kyle’s neighbours would be very happy with the volume of the event. However, I decided to quit worrying about everything and joined the party with Grace, and we easily fit in with the crowd of dancing people.

However, the good time could only last for so long. All of my worrying reappeared as soon as I saw Madison Bryson strutting up to us, holding a half full cup, and I was obvious from the way she was walking that she’d had a bit too much to drink.

“Aw, look! It’s the sinned lovebirds!” She shouted, attracting the attention of a few people around us, who began laughing at the state of her.

“Get lost, Madison.” I snapped, taking Grace by the arm and trying to pull her away, but Madison stopped us.

“Actually, I no. I’m not gonna take orders from a little dyke like you.” She sneered. I laughed internally; was that really the best she could do?

“And I’m not gonna take insults from a drunk bitch like you.” Grace countered, to a chorus of ‘oooh’s from our now rapidly growing audience.

“Jeez, Torres, you should control your girlfriend.” She mocked me, half tripping over her own feet as she did so. She turned red as everyone laughed at her.

“You should control yourself first.” I spat, and I hate to admit that that was a pretty lame comeback.

“Maybe you should control your parents. Oh wait- you don’t have any!”

That was what got me angry. “Well you need to get a reality check, because as you’ll see, I do!” I began to raise my voice, and was Grace’s gentle hand on my shoulder that kept me from marching forward and bitch slapping this idiot.

I need a reality check?” She laughed incredulously. “You’re the one that actually thinks that all of this new happy family stuff is real! That they actually want you.” She sneered.

That was it. I wasn’t going to hit her, she was too drunk and I’d probably get in deep shit for it. Instead I pushed past the crowd and headed upstairs, Grace hot on my heels.

“Are you okay?” She asked me, pulling me into a tight hug.

“Do I look okay?” I snapped, instantly regretting it. I sighed and hugged her back. “I’m sorry. It’s not your fault.”

“It’s not.” She agreed. “But it’s not yours either.”

“I just hate her so much.” I cried, collapsing into a nearby chair.

“Yeah, she’s a real bitch.” Grace giggled, and I soon found myself laughing too. Who cared about Madison? I had Grace, and Callie, and Arizona, and Sofia, and Olivia, and that’s all I needed.


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