Home > Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(6)

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(6)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

I turned back to my journal and opened it, looking over the list I’d written. I wondered if these bad things would make me a happy person. The intelligent part of me knew they wouldn’t. Not really. I didn’t deserve happiness anyway. But after pretending for so long and holding it all inside, I simply sought relief, just like I’d gotten at the open house when I’d let those hateful words come out of my mouth. And if saying bad things to people made me feel better, then how much better would I feel if I took it a step further? What would it take to bring me back from the shadow I’d become?

Whatever it took to save me, I was willing to do it.

Taking my pen, I marked through some of the items, getting it just right.

Mila knocked on the locked shop door, and I hurriedly tucked my journal inside my backpack before I got up to let her inside the closed shop. She came in and plopped down at the booth where we always sat, wearing a pink-and-cream Liz Claiborne-type ensemble with matching shoes and a purse. To complete the look, she’d pulled her straight midnight-colored hair back with a headband. Somewhere along the way, someone had forgotten to tell Mila she was still in high school, not a career woman. When it came time to elect class favorites this year, there was no doubt in my mind that she would take the title Most Likely to Be a CEO.

She smiled widely. “Finally, you’ve returned from the asylum! Gah, I’ve tried to call you like a hundred times.”

I sat down across from her. “I was grounded in my room with no phone. But hey, at least I got all my summer reading done, and I made Aunt Portia a new apron,” I said lightly, glossing over how much I’d hated being denied human interaction.

“Did they feed you bread and water?” she teased.

“Only on the first day,” I joked back.

What I didn’t say was that Mona, our housekeeper, had brought my meals to me each day. As per my parents, this meant oatmeal or a protein shake for breakfast, a thinly sliced turkey sandwich with a side salad of organic greens for lunch, and dinner was either grilled chicken or wild salmon served with precisely two servings of vegetables. I picked up the still warm cinnamon roll Aunt Portia had given me and took a bite, inhaling the buttery smell and savoring the sugary icing that melted on my tongue. This was heaven.

Mila leaned in over the table. “Well, I’m glad you’re free now because Emma Eason and her cheer crew are doing a back to school mixer, and moi and you are going.” She held her hand up when I opened my mouth to interrupt her. “I know you and Emma aren’t BFFs, but the entire senior class is invited.”

“Emma Eason slashed my tires last year, and she calls me Nerdy Nora,” I said, arching my brows. “And let’s not forget the other names she has for me: bee girl, geek girl, blonde bitch, and my favorite . . . Amazon girl,” I said, ticking them off on my fingers.

“You forgot brownnoser. And she started the rumor about you and the janitor.”

“Exactly! She’s hated me since I beat her out of class president. Why would I go to her party?” I asked.

Mila seemed surprised at my declaration. “When she started the rumor about you and Mr. Bronski, you just laughed it off. Everyone thought you didn’t care. I thought you didn’t care.”

True, her repertoire of insults had never hurt me. After all, I’d had other more important things to worry about, like my essay on the merits of Walt Whitman’s nature poetry or whether Finn would be coming home for a visit that weekend.

“You should go and break out of this serious funk you’ve been in since Drew. You haven’t even been out on a date all summer. You need some male meat, chica,” she said seriously.

I bit back a grin because Mila had never had any male meat. She was still a virgin, and if she knew what I’d done with my body, she’d never speak to me again.

I nodded. “You know what, I do want to go. There’s something I want to tell Emma about her quarterback boyfriend. I figured it out last year, and she deserves to know,” I said, tapping my fingers on the table, remembering what I’d seen.

Yeah, a bad girl wouldn’t let Emma Eason run over her.

“Don’t have a clue what you’re talking about, but if it gets you to go, then I’ll take it,” she said with a triumphant grin. “But you gotta tell me the scoop. You’ve got this evil gleam in your eye which means you know something on somebody.” Her gray eyes focused in on me. “Yep, you’ve been people watching again. Tell me what you know, chica.”

I laughed for the first time in over a week. “I’ll tell you this much: it involves her best friend April Novak,” I said, rummaging through my backpack. I pulled out dad’s silver flask. If I wanted to get to rehab, I better get started. I had some catching up to do.

I unscrewed the metal top and sniffed it gingerly. Mother had let me have glasses of wine and champagne on special occasions, but I’d never tried vodka. I poured a healthy shot into the glass of Sprite I had.

Mila’s eyes widened as she took in the flask. “Are you insane? What is that?” she whispered, furtively looking back over her shoulder for Aunt Portia.

“Grey Goose vodka,” I said, taking a test sip and shuddering at the harsh aftertaste. “I stole a bottle from dad’s liquor cabinet, and according to the Internet, this particular brand is expensive and made in France.” I raised my glass to her. “Therefore, it must be awesome, right?” I tossed back another big gulp, trying not to grimace.

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