Warning: this is the first draft of the novel, written about six years ago when I was fifteen (: A much better version will be published with Inkitt later this year.
I couldn’t believe this was happening.
My cheeks were burning with embarrassment as I stood there, clutching my lunch tray in my shaking hands. I couldn’t control the rapid pace of my heart, while it pounded and resonated loudly in my ears.
They were all laughing—every single one. I wasn’t sure why. I was completely blindsided. All I did was step in the room, and everyone in the cafeteria fell into hysterics.
Their eyes shot through me like daggers, and it seemed as if I were an animal ready for slaughter. Even though Valerie was right beside me, I was completely singled out. The spotlight was on me and there was no way to escape its scorching heat.
“Evelyn, Evelyn, Evelyn,” a sickeningly, sweet voice cooed as a blonde figure emerged from the crowd. My jaw clenched, and my eyes narrowed. Grace Hawthorne—my ex-best friend and current best friend’s girlfriend.
My eyes suddenly widened. Adam. Where is he?
Hastily, I whipped my head around in all directions, furiously scanning the faces of the rest of the student body. Each one held the same expression: complete and utter amusement. There was something I was missing here, and I never wanted to find out what it was.
My teeth gritted together harder when I brought my attention back to Grace. To think me and the girl who was now the head of this band of hyenas used to braid each others’ hair at sleepovers.
Suddenly, the blonde placed a hand over her mouth to clear her throat while pulling a paper from her back pocket. With a devious smile, she glanced up at me and then to either side of her before reading, “If only you could see that it’s you and me. Me and you. If you could only see that I do everything for you while she—”
At that moment, my heart fell deep into the very pits of my stomach. I tried my best to tune her out. That’s my song, I screamed in my head. That is my song.
“Grace, stop!” I wished right then that I could’ve ripped my strangled cry out of the air. Without thinking, I threw my tray onto a nearby table and charged over to her to rip the notebook leaflet from her manicured fingers.
As I got closer, Grace quickly spoke the last line of the chorus. “And baby, it’s you. With me is just—” She let out a loud guffaw before she finished, “Just where you belong.” She looked up at me then, a hard look plastered on her face. “Why? It’s looks like we have ourselves a little composer. This wouldn’t happen to be about Adam, would it?”
When Grace and I finally came nose to nose, I tore the page away from her. Doing my best to make it seem like I wasn’t on the verge of a breakdown, I sneered, “Where did you get this?”
This song—she should’ve never been able to see, touch, or even hear about this song. It was securely hidden in a notebook buried in the depths of my room. No one knew about that book except for—
Just then, I took the time to look away from Grace and survey the crowd again. Somehow I spotted him, standing there behind a dozen kids. Adam’s face was a pale red, and what seemed to be a disappointed expression dawned his features. He locked eyes with me, my desperate gaze begging him to save me and get me out of this mess. But when he looked away as if he didn’t know who I was, I felt a sharp pang surge through my chest.
Glasses beginning to fog up slightly, my resolve was deteriorating quickly. Oh my God, I cried in my mind, breath rapidly picking up speed. This is not happening. Not here, not now. But internal pleads were not enough. Wetness rolled down my cheek, and I wiped it away quickly.
Wicked grin splitting her face, Grace obviously picked up on my show of weakness. “Aww, is wittle Evie alright?” The icy, insincerity in her tone sent a shiver down my spine. “Should I give you some time to write a song about it?”
That was it. I was done. “I’m out of here,” I whispered harshly. Spinning on my heel, I ran away just in time for the tears to cascade down my cheeks without my control. I tried to push them away, to get them to stop, but I couldn’t. I felt so helpless.
On my way out, I passed Valerie who had been staring at me with a dumbfounded expression the entire time. She may have been one of my closest friends, but she never knew that I wrote music. That or that I had feelings for my best friend.
When I found myself out of the cafeteria and safely en route to the girls’ bathroom, my mind wen into hyper drive.
This was Adam’s fault. All of it.
No wonder he couldn’t look me in the eye. He was the only one who knew about my music. He knew about the book. Although he’s never read it, that did not say he snooped around my room when I wasn’t around and gave it to Grace.
How—how could he?
There were so many things in the book. All my deepest thoughts and feelings wedged in the worn pages. My greatest secrets were now property of the entire student body. My fear I’ll never be good enough compared to my sister, my insecurities, my rejections … my “love” for the one guy I thought ever really understood me.
Shaking my head, I clenched my fists and turned right into the girls’ restroom. One malicious thought circulated through my mind.
I hate you, Adam Fields. I absolutely hate you.
I had absolutely zero idea what to do.
What was supposed to be just a routine lunch period turned into one of the most bizarre moments of my life. My feet remained cemented to the floor as students brushed past me to get back to their lunch tables. There was only about ten minutes left until we were corralled back to class, and if you didn’t eat now, you wouldn’t get to for another three classes.
My mind was working at a furious pace. Evie wrote about me—that much was clear. Those songs she kept hidden like her life depended on it were about me. Well, one of them at least.
No, it couldn’t be, I kept telling myself. Evie hated things like this. The sappy love songs. The mushiness. Whenever I talked about how things were going with Grace she’d pretended to gag then punch me for being a “love sick puppy”. This Evie—the one that wrote about me—this wasn’t the Evie I knew.
A blonde head of hair soon appeared in my vision, and I realized Grace was talking to the Valerie girl Evie would hang around with. Without a second thought, I bounded up to her, stomach uneasy.
Almost like she sensed me approaching, she whipped around with a grin. “Adam,” she said kindly, placing a hand on my arm.
I shrugged her off. “What was that?” I questioned sternly, eyes narrowing. “Where did you get that song?”
Grace remained calm despite my hostile demeanor. Waving a hand, she motioned Valerie to leave us alone. Like a puppy, she nodded and walked out of the cafeteria. Probably to go find Evie—which was what I should’ve been doing.
The second I lunged to go track down Evie, something held me back. I looked down to find Grace’s arm extended on my shoulder again.
“Where are you going?” she asked me indignantly.
“To find Evie. Where does it look like I’m going?” I snapped back. My gaze averted to the cafeteria exit, where I was hoping Evie would emerge from at any second. When I felt like I was looking too long, I brought my concentration back to the blonde in front of me. “Why did you just do that?”
Her demeanor changed again, and she began to rub my arm. Cocking her head to the side, she widened her eyes innocently. “Do what?”
Scoffing, I broke away from her and started to the door. “Forget it.” I didn’t mean to be so crude, but honestly, I felt slightly responsible for what happened. I should’ve backed Evie up.
“Adam, wait,” Grace called to me with a huff. I didn’t turn around, so she continued, “And what are you going to do when you find her, huh? That’ll only make it worse.”
Her words made me stop in my tracks. I spun on my heel. “Worse?” I repeated. “How could I make things worse?”
Slowly, Grace sauntered up to me with crossed arms. “Her crush—you—just found out how she feels. The last thing any girl would want would be to see him after being rejected.”
“I didn’t reject her,” I corrected.
“You didn’t?” Grace bit harshly. “Really? Because I’m pretty sure you have a girlfriend, Adam.”
“I’m pretty sure I don’t date girls who do that,” I pointed to the café door. “to their friends.”
“Evelyn and I stopped being friends a long time ago.”
“Doesn’t make it right,” I retorted, and for the final time I turned around to walk out the door.
But it wasn’t before Grace warned me again. “You’ll only make it worse for her, Adam,” she shouted at me, and although I felt stupid for doing it, I heeded her warning.
I gave Evie space.
Days went by—weeks even-since the whole songbook incident, and I hadn’t heard from Evie since. I contemplated calling her house, but after figuring her parents would answer and ask questions, I debated against it. I felt like that would only make things worse. She didn’t have a cell phone, so that was ruled out. And I didn’t know who else to talk to. The last thing I needed were more problems than I already had on my plate. I just started high school and now I had to deal with losing my best friend. Sure, I was making friends, lots of them, but there was a difference between the people you talked to at school and the ones you could talk about stuff other than math homework.
The thoughts and swirling questions of Evie continued to plague me for about three more weeks—where she’d been, what she was doing, why she completely cut ties with everybody. But during Mr. Jones’ Algebra class after the third week, all of my questions were finally answered, and not in the way I wanted them to be.
“Does anybody have any idea where this girl is?” Mr. Jones asked, propping his glasses up on his nose and staring at the attendance sheet.
“She moved!” someone suddenly blurted, and my eyes snapped open wide. Whipping around to find Valerie sitting in the last seat of my row with a solemn expression on her face, I gulped down hard.
I swiveled back in my seat to face Mr. Jones who had a raised eyebrow and was tapping his pen against his desk. “To where?” Curiosity was etched onto his face.
“To Los Angeles.”