The Simplicity in Ordinary: Simplicity (The Heartbreaker Society Book 2)Jessica Sorensen
The Simplicity in Ordinary
(The Heartbreaker Society, #2)
The Simplicity in Ordinary
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Copyright © 2019 by Jessica Sorensen
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About the Author
Also by Jessica Sorensen
My name is Ashlynn Wynterland, and about a month ago, I took down the evil queen of Fareland High School. I stole the crown she wore on her head and broke it in half. Then I watched her melt like a wicked witch.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. There really isn’t a queen. Just an ex-friend of mine that goes by the name Queeny. She’s one of the most popular girls in school, but mostly because everyone is afraid of her. I did manage to get her put on academic probation because she was cheating on tests, so in a way, I kind of took her down.
Not that she’s turned into a nice person. Queeny is still known around school as Queen Bitchton, the evil witch who thrives on making everyone’s lives miserable. She even makes her two best friends, Janie and Reina, feel like crap. But the two of them worship her and are desperate to be her evil sidekicks. Up until a couple of months ago, I used to be the same way. I thought I was Queeny’s best friend, but now I realize I was delusional and was more of her puppet than a friend.
It happened when a rumor was spread around school that I hooked up with Queeny’s crush, which I so didn’t. But no matter how much I tried to convince Queeny that the rumor wasn’t true, she refused to believe me.
She was set on making my life a living hell, and she did for a while, but then Maxon and his friends took me in, even though I’d treated them like crap in the past. They’re really good people and awesome friends. Well, Maxon isn’t just my friend. He’s my boyfriend, has been for almost a month now.
Just thinking about him gives me butterflies. And yeah, I know I’m being totally cheesy, but I don’t care. I love that my boyfriend gives me butterflies—hey that could totally be the title of an 80s punk song.
“Ash!” My mom knocks on my bedroom door. “Are you up yet?”
She scares the crap out of me, and I jump, my heart racing.
Holy crap, I was really deep in La La Daydreaming About My Boyfriend land.
“Yep! Be out in a sec!” I shout back.
Then I roll out the bed and put away the cheese stick wrapper I'd been fiddling with. The wrapper is attached to a memory of in fifth grade when Maxon gave me a cheese stick after I was pantsed in school and had to eat lunch by the dumpsters. I'd saved the wrapper because I had a huge crush on him. That crush carried on for years, and I'd occasionally take out the wrapper and daydream about what it'd be like to actually date Maxon. I never acted on my feelings, though, because I became popular after I became friends with Queeny, and being friends with her meant no dating nerds. And Queeny had labeled Maxon and his friends' nerds a long time ago. I had pretended to agree with her, but deep down, I envied the way Maxon and his friends always seemed to do whatever they wanted without caring about what anyone else thought. I often daydreamed about what it'd be like to be part of their group, and now that I am… Well, let's just say I'm much happier in my new, nerdy life.
After I put the wrapper away, I dig through my clothes, trying to decide what I want to wear to school today. While I still have a lot of the clothes my brother’s girlfriend Gabby gave me, I’ve managed to scrounge up enough money to buy a couple of new items. When I went to the store to go shopping, I’d planned on buying some clothes that were like the ones I used to wear; but after a bit of deliberation, I decided I kind of liked Gabby’s grungy look, so that’s the style I went with.
Today I decide to wear a black velvet top, black shorts, knee-high stockings, and a black choker. Then I top the look off with black boots with skeletons on them. The look is a bit Goth for me, but since it’s a handful of days before Halloween, I’m going to roll with it.
Once I get dressed, I pull my long brown hair into a high ponytail, dab on some eyeliner and lip-gloss, then grab my bag and call it good.
“Good morning, lovely parents of mine,” I say cheerfully as I enter the kitchen where my parents are eating breakfast at the table.
The trailer we live in is small, with wood-paneled walls and outdated flooring and cupboards. It’s located in a very rundown trailer park that has some sketchy neighbors. When we first moved here after my dad fell off the roof, I was really upset. Now it’s not so bad, but mostly because the trailer right beside ours is where Maxon and his mom lives.
“Someone’s in a good mood this morning,” my mom remarks as I cross the kitchen and open the fridge.
“Because it’s Friday,” I singsong, grabbing a bottle of orange juice from out of the fridge. “Which means is almost the freakin’ weekend, baby.”
My mom gives me an amused smile. “If that’s the reason you’re in a good mood then it must be Friday every day.”
I take a glass out of the cupboard. “What exactly are you implying? Because it feels like you’re implying something.”
She gives a shrug, but that amused smile remains on her lips. “That maybe your good mood has nothing to do with it being Friday.”
I arch a brow as I twist the cap back onto the orange juice. “I’m pretty sure I know what’s causing my good mood.” I put the juice back into the fridge. “But obviously you think it’s because of something else. I don’t know what, though, so maybe you should just say it and stop dragging out the suspense for dramatic purposes.” I throw her smirk.
She plucks a piece of bacon off a plate. “Fine. I think your good mood has to do with your new friends… And Maxon.”
“Maxon?” My dad’s brows furrow as he glances up from the newspaper he’s been reading. “Is that Miranda’s son?”
My mom nods. “You’ve met Maxon a couple of times, honey.”
My dad still appears confused. “I think my painkillers are making my brain a bit wonky because I have no recollection of meeting a Maxon.” He reclines back in his seat and stretches his injured leg out in front of him, gently massaging the muscles. “I think it might be time to stop taking them.”
The mention of his leg and painkillers makes my mood slightly deflate.
A couple of days ago, I received a text from someone in The Heartbreaker Society claiming that my dad's fall off of the roof wasn't an accident and that my ex-friends had something to do with
it. The sender of the message seemed to be toying with me because when I asked what they meant by that, they replied that I'd have to do a favor for them in exchange for answers. Then they informed me that they'd be in touch soon and to be careful who I trusted. I haven't heard anything from them since, and when I tried to message them yesterday, I never received a reply, but honestly, I'm not that surprised.
I hardly know anything about The Heartbreaker Society other than they have some sort of vendetta against the popular kids in school. I do think that Clarissa is part of it, but when I asked her about it, she told me we’re not supposed to talk about the society. Still, I might ask her about it today and also ask her about the message I received because it’s driving me mad, mad I tell you!
I open the pantry and grab a couple of granola bars. “Dad… Can I ask you a question?”
He readjusts his knee brace. “Sure, sweetie.”
I bump the door to the pantry shut. “What happened the day you fell off the roof? I know you were up there and you slipped and fell, but… Was that all that happened?”
I expect him to give me a confused look because my question is pretty weird, but instead, he swallows hard. "I actually can't remember much of what happened that day, even before I fell."
I gape at him. “What? Why?”
He shrugs. “Probably because I got a mild concussion. That’s what the doctors told me anyway.”
“Oh.” I guess that makes sense, and if The Heartbreaker Society hadn’t have texted me, I probably wouldn’t think it was suspicious. But with them speculating his fall might not have been an accident, I have to wonder if something else happened.
I get distracted from my worried thoughts as I receive a text. I dig out my phone to check it, half expecting it to be from The Heartbreaker Society, but it’s just from Maxon.
Well, just might be the wrong word to use since my heart flutters in my chest at the sight of his name on the screen.
Dude, I’m so cheesy.
Maxon: Hey, are you ready to go? Apparently, Clove needs to leave a bit early to do something for science class but didn’t tell me until two seconds ago, so sorry for rushing you.
My lips tug upward as I type back.
Me: I’m headed out now. And you don’t need to apologize, silly. It’s not your fault. It’s Bouncy McGee’s ;)
Bouncy McGee is what Maxon and I sometimes call Clove. The name is pretty fitting since most of the time Clove is like a clown jacked up on sugar.
Stuffing my phone into my pocket, I head for the front door. “I gotta head out. Clove has to be at school early for something.”
“Okay.” My mom twists in her chair to face me. “Just make sure to come straight to the store after school, so I can give you some instructions before I take off.” She looks more nervous than I’ve seen her in a while.
But I guess I can’t really blame her.
My mom owns an herbal shop downtown, and after her employee just up and quit on her, she's been relying on me to help her. Tonight, she's letting me run the store by myself for the first time ever so she and my dad can make the four hour drive to Fairtown City to see some specialist. My dad started going to her about a month ago, and ever since then, his knee has been getting a lot better. Before that, he'd had a few surgeries that seem to add to the pain instead of helping it. But right before he was supposed to go in for his fourth surgery, he went to a doctor in the city, something he probably should've done to begin with since Fareland is kind of behind times with a lot of things. But I think he and my mom were trying to save money since the accident left us broke. I'm not sure what changed their minds about going to a specialist or how they're affording it, but I'm glad they decided to go since my dad's no longer bedridden because of constant pain.
“I’ll be there at three,” I promise her as I pull open the door. “And stop stressing out about this. I can totally handle it.”
She smiles, but it looks forced. “It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s just that you’re eighteen-years-old and running a store while I'm out of town… Not to mention, you'll be staying overnight at the house by yourself."
My brows knit. “Why isn’t Lucky going to be here?”
"He and Gabby decided to go on some sporadic weekend trip." She stuffs a piece of bacon into her mouth and then wipes off her hands. "I almost thought about talking him out of it, but he's been working so hard and helping out with the bills… He deserves a vacation."
"Well, if it makes you feel any better, I'm not sure anything would be much different if Lucky were here." Which is true. My older brother is kind of aloof, and I could probably pretty much do whatever I wanted, and he'd barely notice, especially if he's stoned. "And I think you're worrying about this too much. I'm eighteen years old, so technically I'm an adult."
“Yeah, but I’ve seen you do a lot of un-adult like things over the years,” she reminds me with a pressing look.
“I know that, but I think I’ve grown up a lot over the last month.” Which is the truth.
Once I ditched my old friends, I started being more responsible and acting like a better person.
She nods but doesn't relax. "Yeah, I know. And I trust you not to do anything crazy. I just don't like the idea of you being alone all night by yourself. Sometimes some of our neighbors can be…" She wavers. "Strange."
Strange is an understatement. Some of our neighbors are straight up crazy, like the lady that lives close to the entrance who likes to walk around outside wearing nothing but a short, silk robe and fuzzy, high-heeled slippers. I think she might be a prostitute since I’ve seen quite a few men going in and out of her trailer, but I haven’t said anything to my mom, knowing she’ll just stress out more about where we live.
“I could always invite Clarissa to spend the night,” I suggest. “And maybe Kinslee.” Whether or not Kinslee will come, though, is kind of iffy.
While she’s warmed up to the idea of me being friends with her friends and dating Maxon, she hasn’t made any effort to become my friend. I’ve tried a couple of times to nudge open the friendship door, but she always holds it shut. Part of me wonders if it’s because she’s still hung up on Maxon. Not that I can blame her.
Honk. Honk. Honk.
"Oh, Ashlynn!" Clove shouts from outside. “Hurry your cute butt up.”
My mom gives me a funny look. “Does your boyfriend’s friend often refer to your butt as cute?”
I shrug. “Clove’s just weird like that.”
She continues staring at me funnily, and I can tell she’s trying to insinuate something, but I don’t have time to figure out what.
“I gotta go.” I throw her and my dad a wave then hurry out the door, calling out over my shoulder, “See you at three o’clock on the dot!” I close the door, trot down the stairs, and hurry toward a big beast of a car that’s parked in Maxon’s driveway.
The engine is running, and the windows are rolled down, even though it's a bit breezy.
I grin as I approach the passenger side door. “What’re you guys trying to do? Freeze my cute butt off…” My smile fizzles as I realize neither of them are in the car. “What the heck? Weren’t they just honking at me to hurry my butt up?” Scratching my head, I turn around and start toward Maxon’s trailer, figuring they went inside to get something.
“No way. Seriously?” Clove says from somewhere outside.
I twist around and scan the area, my confusion deepening as I spot him and Maxon standing in front of the trailer three spots down from mine.
Clove is dressed in his typical plaid shirt, holey jeans, and Converse sneakers look, and his messy brown hair is hanging in his eyes. As for Maxon, he's always had sort of an eccentric style and is always changing it, something I'm a fan of. Today he looks really good in black jeans with zippers on the front, and the bottoms are tucked into thick, black boots. The look is topped off with a long-sleeved grey shirt and leather bands cover his wrists. Like always, wisps of his black,
chin-length hair hangs in his grey eyes that are lined with eyelashes so long and thick they give the illusion he's wearing eyeliner. Maxon's eyes are probably my favorite part about him. Well, that and his hair, fashion style, sweet personality, and…
Okay, maybe I just love everything about him.
I stand there, admiring my boyfriend for a moment, before shifting my gaze to a third person standing by him and Clove; a girl with long, blonde hair who’s sporting old school square frame glasses. She has on a superhero T-shirt along with some torn jeans and unlaced sneakers. She looks around our age, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before.
Did she just move here?
Come to think of it, I think the trailer they’re standing in front of was for rent a couple of weeks ago, so maybe she did. But that doesn’t explain why Maxon and Clove are over there talking to her, looking like they’re having the loveliest time. Not that I’m jealous or anything. Just curious.
At least that’s what I try to tell myself until Maxon laughs at something she said.
Crap, I am jealous, which is so stupid. I mean, he’s just talking to her.
But she looks like one of those people that are nerdy cool, which is what Maxon is. Then there’s me. I may look the part of Maxon’s girlfriend, but sometimes I feel like a fraud, especially when Clove and him enter science experiment mode and I just sit there completely clueless as to what they’re talking about.
But who's to say this girl knows anything about science?
Deciding I should go over to see what’s up, I hike down the gravel driveway toward them.
“I swear I’m not lying.” The girl draws an x across her heart while smiling at Clove. “I totally met him in person. He even gave me his autograph.”