By: Brynna Gabrielson

In loving memory of my mother, Marjorie Gabrielson.

Chapter One

“Mom!” I scream, storming back into the house.

“What now Sydney?” she strides out of the kitchen, her briefcase in one hand and a coffee mug in the other. “I’m already late for my 8:30 showing.”

“My car is gone.”


“My car isn’t in the driveway.”

She frowns, then almost immediately perks up. “That’s right. Ava needed it to drive into Albuquerque this morning. Something about recycling...” She ponders a second then shrugs. “Or maybe it was buying clothes. That girl talks so fast sometimes.”

“But, but…it’s my car. You just let her take my car?” I don’t know why I’m surprised. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Ava can pretty much sweet talk her way into anything, including other people’s belongings.

“She seemed to really need it. Sorry sweetie. You can walk to school can’t you?”

“Maybe if I left half an hour ago. I’m going to miss first bell. You have to drive me.”

 “I wish I could but like I said, I’m already late. Call Caroline.”

She heads to the front door and I call after her. “You’re a terrible mother, you know that right?”

“Well that’s my cross to bear” she sighs, then grins. “I won’t see you before you leave for the airport. Have fun in New York. Don’t give Alyssa too much trouble.” She kisses me on the forehead.

I fold my arms across my chest and snort. “I won’t steal her car, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Don’t be silly. Alyssa doesn’t have a car.”

She disappears out the front door. I grab my cell phone from my pocket and dial. “Caroline, I need a ride to school,” I exhale into the phone. “And no I don’t care if you won’t be able to get your Starbucks.”


“I’m just saying,” Caroline smirks as we walk down the hall before first period, “you really ought to start hiding your keys a little better.”

“They were in my bag, under my bed...I don’t know how I didn’t hear her take them. She’s like a ninja or something...”

“Those vegetarians are sneaky.”

“Vegetarians? No. Just Ava. Annoying, sneaky Ava. I really wish she’d find some other purpose in life other than stealing my stuff and condemning all of us for eating meat and not recycling.” We stop in front of my locker and I spin the dial while trying to come up with ways to get back at my sister. Three years my senior, she should be off at college or getting a life. She was, for a while there, getting a life that is. She went to Peru after she graduated last year to help bring water to rural villages or something like that. But she’s been back for seven months and since then she’s barely done more than spend Mom and Dad’s money and annoy the hell out of me.

Caroline shakes her head and laughs. I yank my locker door open, shove my bag inside, and slam it shut.

When I look back up at Caroline she’s gazing off over my shoulder.

“Check out your sister.” She nods.

I follow her sight line and spot one of my other sisters, Angelina. She’s fifteen and a year below me in the tenth grade. You’d think being so close in age we’d be friends or something. We’re not. At all. She’s pressed up against some senior I vaguely recognize. He’s wearing a letter jacket so he must be a jock of some variety. Just her type. She grazes her lips over his, teasing him the way she’s so well known for. She pulls away and looks up. For a second her eye catches mine and we stare at one another, but she quickly looks away, pretending I don’t exist. Fine by me. Most of the time I’m pretending she doesn’t exist either.

“I thought she was dating Liam?” Caroline remarks with an unconvincing attempt at nonchalance. Caroline’s been in love with Liam Walker for six months. Angelina and he started dating about five weeks ago and it’s been driving her nuts ever since.

“Uh, they broke up a few days ago, ” I bite my lip. It’s not that I’ve been deliberately lying to Caroline, just kind of hiding the truth. Because well...