I let it all happen. I hated her. I hated my father. I hated that house. I hated the grooming and the classes I was forced to take.

I hated my sister.

Sudden tears overtook me, and I stopped, breathing hard and my face aching with sadness. My five-year-old sister, who never knew me and wasn’t perfect. She would’ve made mistakes, and she would’ve been hit. I hated her for escaping.

And I hated myself for thinking that.

She hadn’t escaped. Not really. She’d died. I had the chance to live, and I was jealous of a sister simply because she no longer had to exist.

What the hell was wrong with me?

I wiped the tears from my cheeks before Shane could notice. Was I so scared to live? To take chances? To be anything other than gutless and helpless?

“I was actually upset when she wouldn’t welcome me home,” I told Shane, choking through the few tears I’d shed. “Now I feel nauseated that I was even in that house.”

“Juliet, seriously.” The concern in her eyes was true. “You need to confront her. You need to wig out. Get in her face. Scream. Throw shit. She deserves that and more.”

There was no love lost between my mother and her sister’s kid. In fact, my mother barely communicated with her sister and husband, since Sandra Carter was a closet racist. She’d hated that her sister had married someone nonwhite, and even though she never admitted it, she kept her distance and looked down on Shane’s family. It didn’t matter that her dad was a doctor, or that he’d attended Stanford. My bitch of a mother barely tolerated Shane.

Feeling the roll of nausea clench my insides, I began pacing again, slowing my breathing in an effort to calm myself.

It wasn’t working.

The last thing I wanted to do was think about that woman, much less lay eyes on her again.

“I want my journals,” I whispered, but it sounded like a prayer. As if they were going to magically fall into my lap.

“Then go get them,” she urged, her voice stronger this time.

I shook my head. No. I couldn’t. I’d rather stick my fingers in shit and make snowballs.

“Oh, of course.”

I shot my eyes to Shane. “What does that mean?”

“It means you’re a wimp, Ju-li-et.” She dragged out my true name, making her point.

And I glared at her, curling my toes into the hardwood floors. “Piss off,” I ordered.

And I flipped her off before spinning around to stomp upstairs.

I stared at Liam’s Facebook page, and I could see why he’d never unfriended me. I would have unfriended him, but I had abandoned all my social networking lately.

There were pictures of him and Megan. Out at the Loop last weekend, selfies of them kissing, and a picture he posted recently of them at a Christmas party. A Christmas party last year, while we were still together.

He’d wanted me to see all this, and I bit my bottom lip to keep from giving in to the tears.

“How could he?” I whispered, realizing just how long he’d been going behind my back. And then I saw the post about how I’d gone off at him at the club, how I was mad that we’d broken up, and how I was arrested and carried from the club kicking and screaming.

Which was a lie. I was picked up outside the club on my way home.

And then I did what we should never, ever do on the Internet. I read the comments.

I realized that Tate and Shane were the only people I really had. Everyone else thought I was a joke.

I just stared at the computer, not noticing that I’d been digging my nails into Tate’s wooden desk. Until I heard the scratching and looked down to see I’d left four abrasions where I’d dragged my nails across the wood.

And I slammed the laptop closed, hearing Jax’s music pounding the foundations of the house again.


Jared on the phone.

Liam in the Internet.

Mom in my head.

And Jaxon Trent in my ears!

Swinging open Tate’s doors, I squeezed the railing as I hollered over the side. “Hey, hello?” I shouted to the people in his backyard. “Turn down the music!” I bellowed.

A few of the guys looked up from their worktable that had engines or some such shit and then turned back to their work, ignoring my request.

“Hey!” I hollered again, and a couple of girls looked up and started giggling.

Barreling back into the bedroom, I grabbed my cell and dialed the police. Again.

I’d already called twice. Once, an hour ago after Shane had left—probably to go to the party next door—and again forty-five minutes ago when the music, coincidentally, got louder.

“Yeah, hi. Me again,” I chirped through my fake smile. “The music next door is so loud that I think my dead grandmother just shit her pants.”

The lady paused, and I barely heard her babble as Pop Evil’s

“Deal with the Devil” pounded and thundered out of the speakers next door.

Jesus. It was as if he knew every time I reported him!

I could feel the music in my chest, and I only knew the song because Tate had put it on the iPod.

Good song. But I needed quiet right now.

“What?” I jerked my attention back to the phone. “Um, yeah, I watched my language the first two times I called. I’ve listed my complaints. In English. You speak English, right?”

But then I heard a click.

“Hello?” I shouted into the phone. “Hello?”

Throwing my phone on Tate’s bed, I didn’t even watch where it bounced to.

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