You’re Mine by Penny Brooks

Chapter 15


Harper. “I hate him! No, I loathe him. No, that’s not right either. I want to rip his spleen from his body and run it over with his precious car and then, then, I’m going to…” I scream into my pillow for the tenth time while a hungover Sadie pats me on the knee. We’ve been sitting in my room on our phones, watching Netflix all day and I’m still pissed off. I’m hurt. I’m ready to start a war. And I can’t even tell anyone why it bothers me so much. I mean, I could confide in Sadie but something about those stolen moments with Easton feel precious-like they’re mine-even though he’s so mean to me should get a medal for not killing him. Why is he so horrible to me?. “I mean, what have I ever done to make him so angry?” I throw my hands up. “So what, I’m Ryan’s twin, is that a crime? I’m not at popular so that makes me not worthy of his attention? I don’t get it, Sadie. It’s one thing to ignore someone completely, but now it’s. like he’s going out of his way to be mean!”. “Huh?” Sadie jerks awake and I glare at her. “I’m so sorry. It’s just, you’ve been talking about this off and on for the last three hours and I got sleepy. “Help me fix this,” I say. “Please. “Well,” she yawns behind her hand, “you could try making him. jealous. “Oh yeah, great idea Sadie, let me just stroll up to school in my brand new car with my model boyfriend and perfect designer body and make the most popular boy in school jealous. Where do I sign. up?”. She falls back against my bed sighing. I join her and stare up at the ceiling. “It’s hopeless. “It’s never hopeless, let’s just think about this from his point of view. he started being mean after the bikini issue, right?”. I should tell her. But would it matter? And how would that conversation even go?. Guess what, he actually does want me, but only in the dark. Gee, maybe we can be secret boyfriend/girlfriend?. Great start, Harper. Perfect. “Yeah, I mean. ” I tug strands of hair in front of my face and start searching for dead ends. “He seemed to react when Ryan got mad-like he was mad too, but he was probably just helping out his best friend. “I disagree,” Sadie finally says, I honest to God thought she’d fallen asleep again. We both turn at the same time, our cheeks pressed against the pillows. Her brown eyes are super blood shot, her face splotchy. “What harm would it do to, oh I don’t know, just attempt to put yourself together a bit for school on Monday? You know, no. more baggy clothes, some tight jeans or a skirt, add some makeup and

“And get locked in my room forever while Ryan tells my parents?” I finish for her. “Oh girl. ” She grins. “You just leave that to me. ” She stumbles out of bed and goes to the door. “Be right back, I’m going to beg your mom to let you stay at my house Sunday night. Things have been so hard. ” She starts to fake tears. “After pop -pop died, I’ve been failing math and history. Both are your favorite subjects. “That’s a complete falsehood! You don’t even have a pop- pop. “His name was Frank. ” She sniffles. “You should ha ve been in dra ma,” I grumble. She tosse s her hair . “I know, . ri gh t?” . Limagine my mom is going to see right through it, but I’m shocked when she not only says yes, but asks if she can send flowers in pop- pop’s memory. I’m not sure if I should be proud of Sadie or terrified . Monday morning comes soon enough and aft er a lot of arguing on my end when Sadie shows me my outfit, and even more arguing . when I see myself after she applies some light m akeup, I’m ready for war. At least th at’s what it feels like. My on ly mi ssion? . Gauge Ea ston’s r eaction. I keep asking myself what’s the worst that can happen, but every single time my brain comes up with about a dozen sce narios, all of them end up with me in tears or embarrassed. Too soon, we’re a t school and getti ng out of the car. I nearly make a run for it, but Sadie has a dea th grip on my arm that’s . most likely going to lea ve a bruise. She clenches h er teeth. “You’ re doing this. “I’m doing this,” I repeat in a weak voice that lacks any so rt of conviction or confidence. It was e asy in t he dark. Aren’t most things? . And it was even easier when I was in a cos tume. I could be anyone ! wanted to be, an yone but boring, smart, dark haired Harper . But today, I’m walking into school as a new version of myself, a self that Easton hated, one Blake drunkenly flirted with, and one my . brother woul d murder onc e he saw me. We walk th rough the main doors. And the we irdest thi ng happens. Literall y nobody stares. It’s not like the movies where the makeover happens and everyone starts to clap or peo ple part and let you walk down the middle of the hall as they silently appreciate your efforts. Nope, everything is exactly the same, which in my opinion is kind of awesome. I wanted to look good but not so good that it brought too much attention

I’m wearing black, ripped skinny jeans, matching short . boots, an off the shoulder vintage crop top that leaves about an inch of skin showing and my glossy, brown hair is pulled into a high pony tail. Sadie went easy on the makeup, only adding a bit of powder, gloss, mascara, and eye liner, so all in all I feel like a refreshed version of myself. I mea n, so rt of. I’m stil l way too exposed. I still feel this need to grab the nearest freshman and pry the sweatshirt from their scrawny little bodies and cover myself up. “So far, so good. ” S adie winks as we mak e our way over to our . lo cke rs. “Harper?” Bla ke’s voice sou nds behind me. She sp oke to o soon. Tglance ove r my should er. “Yeah?” . He stares. Hard. His green eyes aren’t looki ng at my exposed skin or the new makeup. He’ s staring as if he can see right through me. “Are you feeling better?” he finally asks. “W- wha t?” . “You were pretty upset at the party, so I jus t wanted to check in. ” His smile turns more s weet than perverted, setting the earth off its . a xi s. “Yeah,” I find my voice. “I am, thank you. “No problem. ” He shoves his hands in his jeans, and then winks. “By the way, you look really pretty, though I don’t mind the sweatshirts either… I like wondering what’s underneath. W ha t? . Sadie groans under h er breath just as th e warning bell rings. I grab my books bu t stop when Easton rounds the corner. He’s by hi mself whic h is rare. He throw s his bag over his . shoulder, his eyes roaming the hall and finally land on me. Momen t of truth. I suck in a br eath and wait f or his reaction . For an ger. Ye lli ng. Or may be… . Appr ecia tion? . Instead, he barely glances at me, his gaze col d, expression hard. Then, walks right into his class without a word, like I don’t even exist. Missi on. F ailed