Read Cross My Heart Online

Authors: Katie Klein

Cross My Heart

 

 

 
C
opyright 2011
by Katie Klein
 

Cover image
: Copyright 2011
by
Gemma
Hart

http://rockgem.deviantart.com/

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

All Rights Reserved

 

No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Katie Klein.

 

 

 

 

 
Cross My Heart
 

 

 

by

 

 

 

Katie Klein

 
Chapter One

 

Never underestimate the
power of glitter. It

s Kindergarten 101, really. Squeeze an unrealistic amoun
t of glue on construction paper. D
ump a pile of glitter on top. Shake.
And l
e
t dry.
Glitter is like . . . little flecks of brilliance caught in a tube. A miracle in a jar. Because glitter can take
any work in progress
to that next level. I
t
hide
s
the mos
t glaring of imperfections
,
work
s
to bring out th
e best in
every
thing.
I
t
take
s
the ordinary and turn
s
it into something interesting and beautiful.

Refrigerator-worthy.


Perfect.

I stand back, hands perched on my hips, admiring my handiwork.

RAFFLE—$
5.00 PER TICKET.

The pink words twinkle beneath the tarnished, gold-plated chandelier welcoming guests to the front office.
I flick
the edge of the
poster board
, and
a few specks of
glitter fa
ll, shimmering
to the
tile floor. A trail of the rosy
sparkles
chas
ed me the entire morning:
from my bedroom to the car, across the parking lot
,
and down the hallway to here—the foyer of my high school.

I sweep
my hands together, then smear
my palms across my jeans
. Wrong move. I brush
my pants vigorously.
When this doesn

t work,
I remove a miniature
lint roller from my purse, peel off the old adhesive layer, and run it across my lap until I

m sparkle-free.

The first bell rin
g
s
and
I
bounce to attention
,
shoving the roller back into my purse. As classmate
s trickle inside, I si
t up straighter, adjusting the cash box in front
of me
and planting a pleasant
smile across my face.
Business Friendly. They
ignore
me, pushing
through the glass doors,
cell phones pressed
against
their ears, mid-
conversation,
twirling through their iPod playlists in search o
f anthems to begin their day.

M
y cell phone buzzes
,
lighting,
the vibration
exaggerated against
the wooden tabletop.
Right on time.
A
photo of Blake, my
boyfriend, flashes
across the screen.
The
picture
draws
a
smile—his gray-
blue eyes
,
blonde hair glowing beneath the fl
uorescents, giving him an ephemeral
,
angelic
appeal
. I read the
early morning text mess
age
wishing me a Happy Monday.
He is nothing
if not dependable, and
I try to think if a school day has
passed since we began
dating where he
has
n’t s
ent a
morning
message like this. I can’t, and craft
a response.

A
s I

m typing, a
book
bag thuds
to the floor
and
Savannah, my best fr
iend, crashes
into the chair
beside me. She
immediately
lowers her head to the table, burying it in her arms.

“You’re here early. I
’m
kind of
impressed,

I say
, sending my text message and
shutt
ing the phone
with a snap
.

She groans
.
It’s muffled. F
ar away.

I glance
over at her
,
not
concerned
in the least
.
I love
Savannah
,
but
she
i
s
prone to melodrama.
“Good weekend?”

She
lifts
her head
. H
er
straight
,
blonde hair
is
pulled away from her face with a headband
. “Two days away from the love of my life and my weekend is supposed to be
good?

“I know you’re not tal
king about me,” I tell her
. “Because I just saw you Saturday.”

“Let’s just sa
y
I can’t wait for lunch, k
?”

“I believe you.

She turns in her seat, studying the poster taped to the wall.

I guess you talked to the Wal-Mart people,” sh
e says
.

“I did. They offered an amazing
discount on the game
and the
console—I mean, they’re practically giving it to us.”

She frowns
.
“They should. P
eople were trampled over tho
se things
the
day after Thanksgiving.”

“Which fully explains their willingness to give ba
ck to the community.
And rightly so. I
t is a
family
store
.”

“I don’t know why they don’t sell bullet-proo
f vests. God knows you need one
to make it in and
out safely.”

I
force back the knowing
smirk
pulling at my lips
. “Which is why I do all of my shopping . . .”

“O
nline. We know,” she interrupts
, rolling her eyes
. “It sucks that the rest of us haven’t reached your level of enlightenment, yet.”

“Keep striving,” I tease
.

Mr. Connelly, one of the history teachers,
navigates
the crowd of students
, weaving in and out
as he
passes
through the lobby, a cup of coffee steaming in his
hand
. He pauses
in front of us
,
t
h
e chandelier light reflecting in
his shiny, balding forehead
.

“Good morning, Jaden. Good morning, Savannah. What ar
e we saving this time?” he asks
.

I smile brightly
, the spiel I memorized weeks ago poised on my lips
. “The children
of Bangladesh. Did you know
malaria is one of the leading causes of death in children? It’s a totally preventable disease. If we can get treated mosquito nets in every home, the cases would cut dramatically.”

“Sounds
like a worthy cause,” he replies
. “
As always.
What are you raffling?”

“An ‘A’ in your American G
overnment class,” Savannah grumbles, arms folded
.
I can almost read her
mind
:
Because that’s the only way
to
get an ‘A’ in your class
. Which is not entirely true . . . b
ecause I have one.
In fact, it

s safe to say I

ve aced all of Mr. Connelly

s classes.

I thro
w her a
dirty look. “
Wii
Fit
.


I wonder which would bring in more donation
s,” he mutters
thoughtfully
,
lift
ing his I READ THE CONSTITUTION FOR THE ARTICLES mug
and sipping slowly.

“The ‘A,’” Savannah and I reply
in unison.

He swallows
.
“Yes, well, thankfully there are laws in pla
ce for that sort
of thing. So . . .
I will buy
my ticket,” he continues
, reaching for his wallet, “in hopes that I win a Fit.”

Savannah snickers
, turning her head
away
and covering her mouth to conceal
her smile.

“I suppose you wouldn’t need an
‘A’ in your own class,” I muse
, jabbing my elbow into
her
arm
.
She straightens, rubbing
the affected area.

He shakes
his head.
“N
o,” he replies
. “
Not today.” He hands
me a floppy
five-
dollar bill,
soft and stained, which
I trade for
a ticket.


Thank you, Mr. Connelly
.

“Thank you, ladies.”

Savannah burst
s
into giggles the moment
M
r. Connelly walks
away
, the smell
of his black coffee
still
lingering
in the air around us
. “Oh my God. Did he just call it a ‘Fit’?”
she asks.

“Yeah,
I think so.
But
,
you know, it’s five dollars.”

“The children of
Bangladesh thank u
s.

She tosses
her blonde
hair
over her shoulder.


Jaden?

I sit up straighter.

Yes
,
Mr. Connelly?


Will I see you in peer tu
toring this afternoon?

he calls from across the busy hall.


Absolutely,

I reply, lips stretching into my trademark
smile: wide enough to show off
straight
and exceptionally white teeth—thank you, Crest
Whitestrips

but
not fake. Just . . . happy to help. Always.

Whe
n the two-minute warning bell ri
ng
s,
we split up. Savannah heads
toward
her fir
st period class, while I stop
by
the school office to turn in our
cash box for safekeeping
and say hi to the secretaries
.
The halls a
re
abandoned by the time I finish

silent

the
locke
rs standing dormant and passive.
A
trail of crumpled p
apers and empty candy wrappers steer
s
me to English.
I
bend down to pick up some of the larger pieces, dumping them in the trashcan by the water fountain on my way to Ms.
Tugwell

s
room.

I check
the time on my cell
phone just outside the door,
lips pulling into a
frown.

Ms.
Tugwell
wo
n’t count me late
, though
. She never
counts
me late. No teacher
counts
me late. Ever.
I
slip
inside the classroom
and guide
the door shut
, easing it closed with my hand
. Still, every head turns to
me as the lock clicks. I
feel my cheeks flush with heat and
tiptoe
to my
seat at the back of the room
as
discrete
ly
as possible
.

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