Did you freak out? Okay, maybe you were a bit taken aback (if you weren't/ not reading this and scrolling down to the giveaway I applaud/ don't blame you)
We live in the 21st century. Sex has been happening for centuries and centuries and centuries. Before we were TALKING English, men was having sex. And STILL it's one of the MOST hush-hush topics in the world.
Which is why, when I read the description for Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's Firsts, I knew I HAD to have it. And this makes me even more excited to have Laurie herself on the blog today, with a DELETED SCENE from her debut novel, Firsts.
I barely sleep all weekend. My brain is too busy to sleep, too busy thinking of all the ways I have messed up. I screwed up my chance to be myself around Zach, to show him that I care about him beyond somebody to have sex with, and I know I really hurt him. I talk myself out of walking over there about a thousand times before I’m even out of bed in the morning. I can’t stand on his doorstep and choke on my words again. I can’t keep putting him through that.
And when I can’t stand to think about Zach anymore, I think about Angela. Angela, the only person that I felt safe enough to call my friend. Our friendship was in my life that was sacred—and not in the religious sense. This is the big weekend, the two-year anniversary, when Charlie’s big plan is supposed to happen. And even though I don’t believe in God and I have been kicked out of prayer group, I say a prayer on Saturday. Please, if anyone is up there, or out there, let Angela see who Charlie is. Don’t let him take anything from her. She doesn’t deserve it. Heap it a hundred times on me, but not on her.
I say another prayer on Sunday, when my period still hasn’t arrived. I’m not bloated or having cramps either, which usually happens when it’s right around the corner. I tell myself that if it hasn’t arrived by the evening, I’ll do something about it.
So when six o’clock rolls around and it still hasn’t come, I drive to the drugstore in oversized sunglasses and buy a pregnancy test. The cashier, a silver-haired woman, gives me a sympathetic look. I recognize her from the many times I have bought condoms here. The first time, I expected her to judge me for buying two boxes, but instead she congratulated me for making safe decisions. But today, she has a different message for me.
“God be with you, honey,” she says as I take my bag and leave.
“I don’t need God. I need science,” I say under my breath.
But when I get home, I can’t bring myself to pee on the stick. I need to figure out what I would do if it gives me two lines first. I can’t see myself being a mother at seventeen. I can’t be in this situation. Whenever I close my eyes I see every different guy whose baby it could be—every guy whose life this could ruin.
I take a seat in my swivel chair and close my eyes. This is where I was sitting when Charlie lunged at me, when he tried to kiss me. In that moment, I didn’t know my life would be turned upside down and shaken out. I had no idea that a hurricane was about to rip through everything I thought I knew.
I pick up the phone to call Faye and put it down again. I can’t tell her the whole story. I can’t tell her that this is the second stick I’ve had to ready myself to pee on. Faye might not be the judgmental type, but even the least judgmental person would have the right to judge me for that.
I tuck the kit away under my bathroom sink, behind half-empty shampoo bottles and shaving cream. I figure that buys me at least a few days to put off worrying about something I can’t control at all.
Then I go into the backyard with a pair of pruning shears I found in the garage. I use them to hack down the rose bushes Charlie planted. I chop at thorny stems, tearing leaves and petals and throwing them into the dirt, where I proceed to stomp on them with my bare feet. I rip apart the roses that have opened and crush the ones that haven’t. I won’t give them a chance to be alive. I kick up the garden until all that’s left is mulch and pieces of stems and red petals. Thin scratches emerge on my arms and blood beads from my fingertips, but I don’t feel any pain, just intense hatred. And I don’t stop until the roses my dad said were beautiful are dead. The roses Charlie planted, the ones he probably thought would stay here forever. But I’m determined for there to be no reminder Charlie was ever here.
Kim knocks on my bedroom door later. When she opens it and steps in she’s wearing a cocktail dress and a perplexed expression.
“Honey, do you know what happened to the roses?”
I stare at my hands concealed behind my textbook, scratched and raw and red.
“Yeah, I saw the gardener digging it all up earlier. Something about being overworked and underpaid.”
Kim presses her fingers between her eyebrows, where a furrow is building. “Charlie? Underpaid my ass. He got twice what most gardeners get paid.”
I grip my hands together. My palms sting.
“It’s time to fire the gardener, Kim.”
If she hears anything besides nonchalance in my voice, she doesn’t show it. She walks over to my window, presumably to check out the mangled remains of what used to be our garden, and drums her nails on the windowsill. “I think you’re right,” she says with a sigh.
It might be the first thing we have ever agreed on.
Laurie Elizabeth Flynn writes contemporary fiction for young adults. Her debut, Firsts, is out now with Thomas Dunne Books/St Martin’s Press.
Laurie went to school for Journalism, where the most important thing she learned was that she would rather write made-up stories than report the news. She also worked as a model, a job that took her overseas to Tokyo, Athens, and Paris.
Laurie now lives in London, Ontario with her husband Steve, who is very understanding when she would rather spend time with the people in her head. Laurie can mostly be found writing happily at her desk, with the world’s most spoiled Chihuahua on her lap. Laurie drinks way too much coffee, snorts when she laughs, and times herself when she does crossword puzzles.
Laurie is represented by the amazing Kathleen Rushall of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.