Crank, p.8
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       Crank, p.8
 

         Part #1 of Crank series by Ellen Hopkins
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  observations, hers and mine.

  Wild Waters Day Dawned

  Mom and Scott

  wandered over to the group

  picnic area to join the company

  brownnosers and nibble.

  Leigh and Jake went off together,

  racing to see who could reach

  the top of Black Widow first.

  Trent hit the wave pool.

  Sarah hit the bathroom—she always

  showered before entering the pool.

  I opted for an inner-tube float along

  the Lazy River, mostly because of this

  very cute lifeguard, perched overhead.

  And there was Bree, smiling seductively,

  and I swear that poster boy lifeguard

  smiled right back.

  And in that righteous moment, complete

  clarity. Bree was not an invention,

  not a stranger.

  Bree was the essence of me.

  Whether That’s Good or Bad

  I can’t say. I just know it’s true.

  Bree opens doors

  Kristina wouldn’t dare

  knock on,

  like that cute lifeguard’s—

  not to mention Adam’s,

  even if that one had recently

  slammed in her face.

  But Bree insists on having

  things all her way.

  So when Trent and Sarah

  came trucking up,

  bickering and tittering

  and doing all those little

  cutesy friend-type things,

  Kristina never minded.

  Bree wanted to tell them

  to shut the hell up, go

  away. Let her play.

  For a while,

  without the monster

  whispering sweet

  and terrible

  nothings,

  Kristina was still in charge.

  But Bree was watching.

  Rather Than Face

  total embarrassment, I

  told Trent and Sarah I’d

  meet them at Black Widow.

  They looked at me,

  looked at what I was looking at,

  hard-bodied and tan on his tall tower.

  Trent gave me a thumbs-up.

  Sarah broke out in giggles.

  Then they graciously provided space.

  I invited Bree to take over while

  Kristina took cover. She bent forward

  from the waist, shook her dripping hair,

  straightened, flipped it backward,

  and without a single thought to the

  puffy pink heart on her thigh

  (let alone its artist), she marched right

  over to that lifeguard tower, looked up

  and, without drooling at all, asked,

  “Do you get a lunch break?”

  Before Bree

  that would never have happened.

  Whatever she’d done to me,

  for me, and basically

  in spite of me,

  she’d given me a whole

  new sense of self.

  I never knew

  I could play the vamp,

  do it so well, flirt

  with total aplomb,

  and not only that, but

  look good doing it.

  Before Bree I never

  knew such sheer, depraved

  forwardness could

  be so much fun.

  So I went with it,

  jumped right into the role

  of shameless flirt.

  Girls responded

  with pointed whispers,

  haughty laughter and, as

  I myself have often done,

  with evil eyes.

  Bree, of course, couldn’t

  care less. In fact she thrived

  on any and all attention.

  Guys responded

  to that with solid

  once-overs, come-on smiles, and

  in Brendan the lifeguard’s case,

  with phone numbers.

  As If That Weren’t Enough

  I sprinted off in search of my friends

  and (literally) bumped into Chase

  Wagner, Reno High’s stoned bad boy.

  Kristina would have offered a quick

  apology and scurried away.

  It’s not like Chase was in

  the running for Mr. America.

  He looked like a linebacker,

  one who didn’t play much

  in the sun—the freckles on his

  cranberry skin almost pulsed pain.

  But Bree found his bedroom

  eyes—glacier blue—and brooding

  demeanor quite the turn on.

  “Hey, Chase,” she cooed.

  He scoped me out like an old

  tomcat, ogling a brand-new canary.

  Do I know you?

  Kristina knew enough about him

  to think she ought to flee.

  Chase Wagner could be

  hazardous to a person’s health.

  You look familiar, but not, so maybe

  I’m thinking of someone else.

  What’s your name?

  Just like that, she had him.

  If she wanted him. Her game was no

  less dangerous than his. “Call me Bree.”

  Right Then, Three People

  shouted, “Kristina!”

  Time to beat a face-saving retreat, so

  I smiled and told Chase I’d catch him later.

  I looked around and saw Mom,

  waving to come and eat,

  Leigh, minus Jake,

  gesturing to come share a towel,

  Sarah, at the top of Black Widow,

  watching Trent’s wet ride down.

  “Not hungry yet,” I shouted to Mom.

  To Leigh, “Be there in a few.”

  Then I joined my oldest, bestest

  friends in the world, tried to think

  of something to talk about

  besides lifeguards, bad boys,

  and this person named Bree,

  growing stronger inside me,

  convincing me to be someone

  I never dreamed I’d want to be.

  I know you should be able

  to share such news with best friends,

  but I felt pretty sure they’d never

  relate and maybe refuse to forgive

  me for trading in the tried-and-true

  for a test drive of the dark side.

  Still, When Brendan Came By

  I left my friends with my sister, took

  a walk to the back of the park, the eyes

  in back of my head noting envious stares.

  Brendan noticed, too.

  You related to those people?

  “Pretty much.” I bummed a cigarette,

  inhaled like it was the healthiest

  thing a person could do.

  The pretty one looks like you,

  but the others don’t

  My turn for a jealous jolt. But I had a secret

  weapon. “The pretty one is my lesbian

  sister. The others are my cousins.”

  Lesbian! Really? I never met

  one before. How about you?

  I laughed. “Of course I’ve met one, if my

  sister is one. Oh, you mean do I lean that

  direction? No way. I prefer male hardware.”

  I like what you’ve got, too, li’l

  sister. At least, what I can see.

  Male hardware? Must have read it in Cosmo.

  Whatever. Brendan touched my hair, made

  a move like he just might kiss me….

  Damn. There’s my boss. Back

  to work. Call me, okay?

  I wondered if I could. I’d always waited

  for boys to call me. Which is why I never

  talked to any except Trent. And Adam.

  By the way,
beautiful, what’s

  your name? In case you call.

  Twice in one day! I almost told him

  the truth but realized the fantasy was better

  and rested completely in Bree’s hands.

  I Went Home

  tired, tanned, and

  stuffed on barbecue,

  Scott insisted

  high on life,

  nicotine, and

  purloined booze,

  Chase invited

  elated, pumped

  up, full of Bree’s

  magical ego,

  Brendan inflated

  chastised, brought

  back down

  a notch or two,

  Leigh instigated

  then all the way,

  chest-deep into

  shit when

  Mom finally noticed

  the tattoo, my

  meaningless, forever

  symbol of love. Still,

  Bree swore

  whatever

  punishment

  lay ahead,

  only one thing

  could have

  improved

  that phat,

  fabulous day:

  a big bite

  of the monster.

  Grounded UFN

  Until further notice. No

  excursions, no calls.

  How unfair could you get?

  Couldn’t she just decide how mad to be,

  then mold the consequences to fit?

  I’m so disappointed in you!

  What else was new? She was only good

  with “all I could be” when it involved

  a straight-A report card.

  Don’t you realize this could

  scar you forever?

  Well, duh, Mom. It already had,

  though not in the way you imagined.

  Couldn’t you have asked about that?

  Why can’t you be more

  like your sister?

  Did she mean look more like her? Be

  PhD bound? Or maybe she wanted me

  gay? Lesbians and pregnancy rarely mix.

  How can I trust you to make

  good decisions?

  Oh, great. Here it came. No driver’s

  training, no driver’s license. Their

  way of keeping me cooped up forever.

  Driver’s training is on hold.

  And to keep you from feeling

  cooped up, you can pull weeds.

  Fine. I was almost 17, would never

  drive, and now I’d spend my summer

  yanking goats’ heads.

  The Problem with Being Grounded

  is it gives you a whole lot of

  unavoidable time to

  think.

  Not even pulling weeds can

  take away your ability to

  plot

  all the varied and wonderful

  things you might do to

  get even,

  or at least to make up

  just a smidgen

  for time lost

  to TV and yard work

  and house cleaning.

  Time better spent

  camping with old friends

  (even slightly annoying ones),

  partying

  with great-looking new friends,

  and expending a few brain cells

  with the monster.

  She Cut Me Loose

  Two weeks before

  Back-to-School,

  gave me her credit

  Didn’t matter much.

  card and a ride to

  Summer had dissolved.

  the mall, her way of

  New clothes and a few

  apologizing without

  new tunes just might

  saying she was sorry

  improve my “sour

  for trashing my summer.

  outlook,” as she so

  lovingly termed it.

  Jake wanted to come

  along, but I told him

  I’d crawl into bed

  I usually despise trying

  and stay there rather

  on clothes but, finally

  than haul my little

  free, I meant to make it

  brother around the

  an all-day affair, shop

  mall. He went fishing

  every store, including

  with Scott instead.

  Victoria’s Secret. Guess

  who I ran into there?

  The Reno High Varsity

  Cheerleaders, all buying

  new undies and bras to

  I waved to Trent’s sister,

  shape those tight tanks

  Robyn, then pretended

  and sweaters (football

  to browse, watching them

  weather in Reno is an

  yak a hundred words a

  exceptionally mixed bag).

  minute, and I knew my

  suspicions were accurate.

  Those goody-goody girls,

  flipping perfect cartwheels

  and pert little ponytails,

  most definitely accelerated

  their metabolisms. The only

  question was: how?

  I Pondered That

  while I picked out

  my own underwear.

  As I handed the saleslady

  Mom’s credit card, someone

  tapped my shoulder.

  Hey, Bree. Can I see

  your panties.

  Chase! I tried to think

  of a witty comeback,

  managing mostly to look

  like a stuttering fool.

  “Uh-oh, uh—old or new?”

  Either, or. Better yet, both.

  What’s up? Where you been?

  Like he’d been looking

  for me since Wild Waters.

  Like I’d been avoiding him.

  You haven’t been avoiding me,

  have you?

  Why would I? What

  he might lack in looks,

  he more than made up for

  in fringe benefits.

  I explained about the tattoo.

  You really wanna piss her off,

  try a piercing. Want to see mine?

  I couldn’t find studs in his

  ears, lips, or tongue. Which

  pretty much left one place.

  “Didn’t it hurt?”

  Like a mother. But it feels

  awesome now.

  He guided my hand

  just south of his zipper.

  Kristina recoiled.

  Bree—well,

  Bree was Bree,

  to Chase’s great pleasure.

  Hee hee. So want to take

  a little ride? Got my truck outside.

  I started to protest.

  I had some serious

  shopping ahead.

  And Bree or no Bree,

  I wasn’t about to do

  Chase Wagner.

  No strings. I just want to get

  to know you better.

  Where had I heard

  a similar tale?

  I was about to give him

  a definite no when he

  sweetened the offer.

  I’ve got a little toot, if you’re

  so inclined.

  Did It Show?

  I mean I’d

  thought

  about

  the monster

  dreamed

  about

  the monster

  lusted

  for

  the monster

  regretted

  knowing

  the monster

  but I hadn’t

  touched

  the monster

  in over a month.

  Hadn’t even seen it.

  Thought I might be over it.

  Was it still alive in me?

  Could it still have such

  a solid ho
ld on me?

  We Drove Down by the River

  parked beneath towering cottonwoods.

  Strange, how intensely desire

  builds when the monster waits

  at the far end of a drive.

  On the way I learned, for a bad boy

  Chase was incredibly smart. Webster

 
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