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Unraveling You, Page 1

Jessica Sorensen

  Unraveling You (Unraveling You, #1)

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2014 by Jessica Sorensen

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  For information:

  Cover Design and Photo by Mae I Design

  By Jessica Sorensen

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  About the Author

  Chapter 1


  16 years old…

  The couple that lives next door adopts children like puppies. No joke. The Gregorys are bringing home kid number four today. The adoption process has happened so frequently over the years for them that it’s become a routine. They drive off in the early morning, cruising away in their sedan, and then late in the afternoon they return with a small human being sitting in the backseat, looking about as scared as a little puppy getting yelled at.

  While I do feel sorry for the little boy or girl, the sympathy quickly wears off. Because within a couple of months, the small human in the backseat will get over their fear and turn into their own person, who more than likely will take it upon themselves to annoy the crap out of me.

  I’d be fine with this. After all, they are my next-door neighbors’ kids, not my little brothers or sisters. But that’s the thing. They are kind of like the little brother or sister I never had, since the couple next door are my parents’ best friends and close to a second set of parents to me. I even call them Aunt Lila and Uncle Ethan.

  “I wonder what this one will look like,” I remark as I munch on my toast at the kitchen table. It’s late morning, but we’re late risers, so we’re just starting breakfast, even though it’s past ten. “And if it’ll be a boy or a girl.”

  “Lila said he was a boy,” my mother answers as she collects her mug and takes a seat across from me. “I think he’s about your age, too.”

  “All their adopted kids are older. Aren’t people supposed to adopt younger children?” I ask, reaching for the butter. “Like when they’re babies?”

  She sips the coffee then places the mug on the table. “Lyric, there are a ton of kids out there that need homes, both young and your age. Even older. You should realize just how lucky you are to have a roof over your head and parents who spoil the crap out of you. Some children don’t have it so lucky.”

  My mother is probably one of the strangest moms ever, but in the best way possible. She uses phrases like, “spoil the crap out of you,” and dresses cooler than I do half the time. Plus, she has fantastic taste in music.

  “I know how lucky I am,” I tell her. “So lucky in fact, that I know you’re going to let me paint my room purple and black.”

  “Let me guess. Purple walls and black skulls.”

  “Hey, how’d you guess?”

  “Because it’s exactly how my room looked when I was your age. You’re so much like me it’s frightening sometimes.”

  “Well, there goes my theory that I was secretly adopted.”

  I don’t really have that theory. I resemble my parents too much to ever believe I was adopted. I have my mother’s striking green eyes, so bright they sometimes startle people at first glance. And I have the same shade of blonde hair my dad does. They’re both tall, too, and passed that trait to me. At sixteen, I round in at five foot nine and tower over all of my friends at school. I inherited some of their talents as well, that is, if talents can be inherited.

  Like my mother, I have the hand of an artist, although she is way better than I am. She owns her own art gallery and has sold a lot of her paintings. Her work is usually described as raw, emotional, and realistic.

  Then there’s my dad’s talent of music. My father is a musician who used to perform in a band, and then later on as a solo artist. Now, he’s mostly retired and owns his own studio. I’m not sure if it was all the time I spent hanging out with him, or the fact that my parents named me Lyric, but music is branded into my bones. I love anything and everything that has to do with it. My favorite instrument is the guitar, granted the violin is a close second. Creating lyrics, though, that’s truly my favorite thing to do musically.

  “It seems like such a nice day to go out for a drive,” my mother comments, bringing me out of my thoughts and back to reality. “Maybe when Lila gets home, the three of us and the new boy can go for a drive. It’ll give you some time to get to know him.”

  I stuff the rest of my toast into my mouth. “What if he’s weird, though, like Kale?”

  Kale is the latest addition to the Gregory family. He was twelve when they brought him home two years ago, and he still hasn’t given up his obsession with comic books. And I mean obsession. He frequently dresses up like characters, his favorite being Flash. He also once wore a cape to school, which made him the subject of a lot of bullying.

  Then there are the other two kiddos, Fiona and Everson. At twelve, Fiona is the youngest and probably the chattiest. She loves to draw and has a deep fascination with butterflies. Everson is smack dab between Fiona and Kale at thirteen years old. He’s quiet, loves sports, especially football, and is probably the most normal of the bunch. They all have their weird little quirks, though, and shady pasts that I never really get to fully hear.

  It’s not like I have anything against weirdoes and shady pasts—heck, I can be a weirdo and sketchy sometimes—but as the sorta bigger sister, I constantly have to stick up for them, and sometimes it gets tiring.

  “Lyric, just because Kale’s different doesn’t mean he’s weird.” My mom reaches for the coffee pot. “Need I remind you of your little obsession with that boy band when you were his age.”

  “You promised you’d never bring that up. You even pinkie swore that you wouldn’t.”

  Her lips curl as she fills her cup to the brim with steaming hot coffee. “Then don’t give me reasons to break my promise.”

  “Fine, I’ll stop calling Kale a weirdo on one condition.” I swallow a gulp of milk then wipe my lips with the back of my hand. “If you let me go to the concert on Friday with Dad.”

  Her cheeriness diminishes. “Did he tell you that you could go with him?”

  I shrug. “He didn’t not tell me I couldn’t.”

  She shakes her head, restraining a grin. “You are way too good of a bargainer for your own good.”

  I perk up. “So does that mean I can go?”

  “Hmm … That all depends on if you’ll go on a drive with me later and warmly welcome the new Gregory.” She raises her glass to her mouth, but only to hide a smirk.

  “Touché, Mother. I see where I get my bargaining skills from.”

  I consider her offer. Going on a drive with my mother may not seem like the most fun thing in the world, but it kind of is. Her and my dad used to drag race, and they still have some of their badass cars we take out when we go for trips. Both of them drive fast, although I think they play it safe when I’m in the car. It’s still fun, though. />
  What makes me hesitate on the offer is the getting to know the new Gregory part. Like puppies, I never know what the new addition’s personality is going to be. He could be nice, or he could be a little weirdo who bites. The youngest, Fiona, actually bit me the first day they brought her home.

  But I want to go to the concert badly enough that the pros outweigh the cons.

  I chug the rest of my milk then agree. “Fine, I’ll go with you as long as you let me go with Dad.”

  “Go where with me?” my dad asks as he strolls into the kitchen carrying his guitar case.

  I scoot back from the table and stand up. “To the concert.”

  My dad drops his guitar case to the floor and lifts his hand for a high five. “See, I told you it’d be better if you asked her.”

  My mother’s head whips in his direction, and she scowls at him. “Did you put her up to that?”

  He shrugs as I slam my palm against his. “You have a hard time telling her no.”

  “So do you.” She narrows her eyes. “You spoil her too much.”

  “And vice versa.” He leans down and whispers something in her ear, causing her to giggle and blush.

  That is my cue to leave, because in just a few moments, they’ll start making out like they always do. So gross.

  I hurry out of the kitchen and up to my bedroom to change out of my pajamas. I select a black tank top and a pair of cut offs then braid my long, blonde hair before applying a dab of eyeliner around my eyes. I then blast some Rise Against and rock out on my drums for a bit. Uncle Ethan actually taught me how to play, but he says I’m a natural since I caught on really quick.

  After the drums comes the guitar. I turn on “Buried Myself Alive” by The Used and strum the strings to the tempo until my fingers are numb. Then I crank up some “Lithium” by Evanescence and go mad crazy with the violin while belting out the lyrics. I stop when I’m hoarse and flop down on my bed to draw covers for the albums I have yet to create.

  Once my hands ache, I move on to lyrics. Although it’s one of my favorite things to do, I sometimes feel like I lack in the lyrical department. Most of the music I love is angsty, emotional, semi-twisted, and moves the soul. Mine always seem to come out on the exuberant side. I’m hoping with time it will change. I know my dad wrote some of his best lyrics in his late teen years, when he was pining over my mom. He even told me once that the more I experience life, the more emotional my songs will get. Now, if I could just get those experiences like he said, life would be fantastic.

  I’m still figuring out how to attain that life, though. For the most part, my life is pretty boring. I have decent, pretty cool parents who support every dream I throw at them, whether it’s proclaiming that I’m going to create my own genre in music, or win a Grammy. I get to do a lot of things I want to do, like go to concerts, art shows, meet semi-famous musicians. I’ve spent a lot of time in my dad’s studio, watching artists record. I have a lot of friends, granted none of them I would consider a best friend, but there are still occasions where I feel lonely.

  Bored. Ordinary. That’s what my life is. And ordinary doesn’t make awesome music.

  Plus, even if I miraculously became the most killer songwriter ever, I could never sing in front of anyone. Just playing the guitar for my family makes me want to vomit. Singing is much more raw than playing an instrument. Much more real. Exposes the soul so much more. And as blunt as I am, exposing my soul freaks the living shit out of me, because I fear people won’t like what’s in me.

  By the time I look up from the notepad again, the sun is setting over the city of San Diego, and the sky is shades of florescent pink and orange.

  “Lyric, it’s time!” my mother calls up the stairs as I’m tucking my notepad under my pillow.

  Sighing, I slip on my black boots and trot down the stairs.

  “How long of a drive does it have to be?” I ask her as I wander into the living room where she’s stacking our entire DVD collection onto the coffee table.

  Movie watching is an adoption day tradition. We start off with dinner at the Gregory’s, where everyone gets reacquainted with each other. Then we come over here to watch a movie since we have a massive television in our living room.

  “I’m not sure yet.” She stands up straight and gathers lose strands of her red hair out of her face while she scans the room. She has spots of grey and blue paint in her hair and on her cheek, which means she’s been in her studio for most of the day. “I feel like I’m forgetting something.”

  “Batteries. You’ve been meaning to change them for like two weeks.” I chuck her the remote that I collect from the armrest.

  She catches it. “Yeah, that’s it. What would I do without you?”

  “Probably lose your marbles.”

  She pats my head as she rushes out of the living room. Minutes later, she returns with the remote and my dad in tow.

  “Everyone ready?” she asks as she tosses the remote onto the sofa. “Let’s go.”

  “Do I really have to go this time?” I whisper to my dad as we follow my mom out the door and into the dwindling sunlight. “It’s starting to get really old. I mean, I’ll get to see the newbie tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after that.”

  My dad swings an arm around me as we step off the front porch. “Lyric, I know you don’t get it now, but one day you’ll see the importance.”

  I look up at him. “In what?”

  “In the family you have,” he says as we round the picket fence on the line of our property. We hike up the Gregory’s driveway to their two-story home that is very similar to ours. The only noticeable difference on the outside is the shade of the siding—white and grey. “You’re really lucky to have every single one of us. And you should really get to know the new kid. He’s your age, and I’m sure he could use a friend with … some of the stuff he’s been through. You could be that friend for him. Do something good.”

  I wonder what he means by stuff.

  “I know I’m lucky, and I was planning on getting to know him.” Sort of. “And I do good stuff all the time. I go with Mom and Lila to the shelter every year on Thanksgiving and help out. I give my clothes away sometimes. I even befriended Maggie McMellford last year, despite the fact that no one was nice to her and she didn’t know who Nirvana was until I let her listen to them.”

  “Really? She didn't know who Nirvana was?”

  I shrug. “Unfortunately, a lot of kids don’t have an old man musician father who knows all the classics.”

  “Old man?” His brow arches. “Ha, ha, you’re a riot, Lyric Scott.”

  I innocently grin at him. “I wasn’t trying to be a riot. Just telling the truth.”

  He chuckles and I laugh with him. My laughter silences, though, as the Gregory’s enormous sedan rolls up the drive.

  I sigh as my gaze instantly drifts to the backseat, searching for the scared little puppy dog. All I find is what appears to be a guy crammed in with the rest of the Gregory clan. I’m not one-hundred percent sure what he looks like, since I don’t have a clear view into the backseat, so I wait in anticipation until the sedan parks and the clan piles out.

  Normally, the newbie remains in the backseat, too afraid to leave the vehicle. This one just hops right out and rounds the car toward us as if he doesn’t have a care in the world.

  He doesn’t look like the rest of them either. Honestly, he kind of looks like Uncle Ethan in the pictures I’ve seen of him when he was younger. Black hair, dark eyes, tall. He’s dressed head-to-toe in black, wearing a … I squint to see if I’m seeing things correctly. Yep, he’s wearing a leather collar around his neck.

  I’m not sure what to make of this. What it says about him. At my school, the kids who dress like this are the rebellious troublemakers. Is that how he’s going to be? Part of me is thrilled at the idea, while the other fears it.

  “Everyone, this is Ayden,” Aunt Lila introduces him with the proudest smile as she gently places her hand on Ayden’s shoulder.r />
  Ayden glances at her hand, and by the hardness in his eyes, I expect him to get angry with her, but he doesn’t utter a word.

  “And, Ayden, these are our neighbors, Micha and Ella Scott.” Lila motions her hand at me. “And this is their daughter, Lyric.”

  Smiling, I wave. “Hi.”

  He doesn’t say hi back. Doesn’t wave either. He just stares at me. And stares. He stares so long that I get a bit uncomfortable, especially because of the sadness radiating from his eyes. It’s kind of hard to endure and makes me feel subdued. I consider ducking behind my dad to escape his stare down, but I’m guessing I’d get scolded for being rude so I keep my feet planted and focus on my fingernails, picking at the black nail polish.

  I listen to everyone yammer, squirming more and more the longer Ayden’s sad eyes remain fastened on me, as if he’s daring me to figure out all of his secrets, his weirdo side, his shady past.