Blog Tour: Chapter One of Fault Line by Christa Desir
Hello blog readers. I’m excited to share with you the first chapter of Fault Line as part of the book tour hosted by Mundie Girls. Hope you enjoy!!
I thought Ani could be fixed. The pieces of her recemented so everything could be how it was. How we were. Until I saw her on her knees in front of Mr. Pinter, his fingers clenched around her ponytail. His face contorted and his head tipped back. He’d been in such a hurry, he hadn’t bothered to close all the blinds in his classroom. Or maybe he left the last one open on purpose.
She locked eyes with me as she stood, her hand wiping her mouth, but nothing registered on her face. She tightened the belt on her dark blue winter coat and brushed away the dust it’d picked up from the floor. She smoothed down her collar with steady hands and still held my gaze.
Disgust and anger and so much brokenness swirled together inside me, collecting in the pit of my stomach. I stumbled back a step. This was my Ani. My Ani as she was now.
She blinked twice and finally turned away to grab her faded green backpack from off one of the student desks. A haze of nothingness clung to her.
I stood shaking, my eyes adjusting their focus from the inside of the room to my own reflection in the window. The overlarge hat Ani had knitted me tilted too much to the side. I snatched it off and turned to the bushes behind me. Cold wind sliced across my face, but I didn’t feel it like I should have. I took one step and crumpled, as the image of Ani slammed back into my mind. Fingers pawing at the frozen ground, I puked until my stomach had nothing left. Until my insides mirrored Ani’s empty face.
I lifted myself on wobbly legs and realized for the first time since I’d met her, I was never going to be able to save my girlfriend.
Six months earlier
It was stupid to hang out in the mostly deserted parking lot of the 7-Eleven. The cops always showed up and sent us away, threatening us with charges of loitering. But Kevin wanted a cherry Slurpee and none of us wanted to get home before cur- few. I sat on the bright yellow parking bumper block, tossing pennies at a Dr Pepper bottle I’d set up and listening to the guys argue about where to buy beer without getting carded.
The pennies jingled in my hand as I launched another one at the Dr Pepper. Plink.
“Nah, man, that chick got fired last week for not carding. We can’t go to the KwikMart.”
“That blows. That girl was a guarantee. Should we try the grocery store, then?”
“Hell no, they’ve got video cameras at that place. And all those frickin’ ‘We Card Because We Care’ posters on the walls. We gotta go somewhere small.”
Plink. Saturday nights sucked. The conversations never changed.
A faded blue minivan rattled into the parking slot next to my Dr Pepper setup, and a leggy girl opened the passenger door and slid out. Too-loud zydeco music poured from the van as she leaned in to grab her wallet. Her dark blond hair was pulled into a knot on top of her head. She had on a black clingy tank top and jeans with too many holes in them. I stopped toss- ing pennies and slowly checked her out. Pink toes in flip-flops, curvy hips, too-skinny waist.
“Your hair makes you look like an asshole,” she said as soon as my eyes reached her chest.
Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. Pennies dropped beside me. I ran my hand through the tight curls of the Mohawk I’d been sporting since the beginning of summer. She followed my movement and smirked.
“Your mouth makes you sound like a bitch,” I answered.
“Huh. Decent comeback.” She placed her hand on her hip and looked me over like she was assessing a car. I wanted to throw my shoulders back and puff out my chest, but I knew the guys would never let me hear the end of it. So I dropped my hands to my sides and let her look. Her gaze locked on the fly of my jeans.
Whoa. Ballsy girl. I probably would’ve blushed if the guys weren’t watching me. Instead, I dropped my knees open and her gaze quickly shifted to the side. Ha. Thought so.
“Do you live here?” Her focus returned to my face. “At the 7-Eleven?” I asked. She turned to the guys, who’d obviously forgotten their beer-finding mission to watch me fumble through a conversation with the hot girl none of us had ever seen before.
They shook their heads and grinned at me. Ass munches. They loved to give me shit when it came to the opposite sex.
“Do you live here?” she asked me again. “Yeah,” I finally answered. “Well, now so do I. I’m Annika,” she said, and grabbed a hoodie out of the open door of the van.
I didn’t stand up. I should have, but that sort of thing would’ve sent a definite message to the guys and I wasn’t up for spending the rest of my night getting crap from them. “Ben . . . but most of my friends call me Beez.”
She tapped her finger against her lips and looked me up and down again. “Of course they do. I’ll see you around . . . Ben.” She slipped her hoodie on and sauntered into the 7-Eleven like she had no idea five guys were checking out her ass. She looked back when she opened the door and gave me a little wink.
“Beezus,” Kevin said, smacking me on the shoulder, “looks like you’ve found yourself a little hottie.”
I gathered up my pennies and tried to hide the red on my cheeks. Kevin dropped to the space on the parking bumper next to me.
“I don’t know about that. I don’t normally go for girls who call me an asshole the first time I meet them.”
Kevin laughed and snatched one of the pennies from me. “Dude, you totally do.”
But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.
Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?
Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.
I’m a YA author who loves dark contemporary books. My debut novel FAULT LINE comes out from SimonPulse October 1, 2013. My second novel BLEED LIKE ME will be released from SimonPulse in Fall 2014.
I am also a feminist, rape victim activist, and romance novel editor. I live outside of Chicago with my awesome husband and our three small children.