College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.
For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes.
Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms.
I make it through the week otherwise unscathed. All my work is done, I seem to be maybe becoming friends with Kristen, and Derek’s on his way up to campus. I’ve been pacing for the better part of an hour.
“You need to relax,” Kristen says. “What could go wrong?”
For people who don’t need things in their places, it’s easy to relax. If something goes awry, it can always be fixed later. For people like me, though, everything can always go wrong. When I can’t control it, I panic. It’s the only thing I know how to do.
“What if something’s happened?” I ask for the third time. He was supposed to be here an hour ago.
“Nothing happened. He hit traffic, I bet.”
“But why didn’t he call?”
“Because he’s an idiot. Now sit down and stop pacing. You’re making me nervous.”
There’s a scuff on the toe of my shoes, so I do sit down. I scrub at it, but it won’t come out; my attempts end up making it worse, so now the entire toe is dirty. “I look like hell,” I tell Kristen.
“You look fine – just like you have for the last few hours when you’ve asked. How long have you been dating again?”
“Ten months, and you think he’s going to show up having not seen you in a week and realize he must have been crazy?” she asks.
“It’s just… he’s the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.”
How do I tell her about Rebecca Ellison, about Heather Yost, about Jill Pevarski, about Gina Frey, about all the girls Derek’s dated? How do I explain that nothing ever seemed to happen, that one day he was with them and then one day he wasn’t? How do I make her see that I’ve only wanted him and he fits into the puzzle and that I don’t have a backup plan?
“Never mind. Can I borrow your shoes? The black ones you wore yesterday?”
Kristen shakes her head and jumps down off her bed. “Lily, none of it matters. If Derek doesn’t want you, you’re good enough without him.”
Good enough is not good enough, I think. No one wants good enough. I don’t say anything, though, but I take the shoes and change them. There’s no sign of the scuff. Nothing is out of place, nothing out of order.
As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and ‘Dust’, an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, ‘Backward Compatible’. Most of Sarah’s work is about teens and college students, as it’s what she knows well.
Sarah’s passion in life is writing – weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips to, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Please stop by and say hello anywhere Sarah is online! You can find these places at http://sarahdaltry.com
Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, ‘Bitter Fruits’, is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.
Sarah has also written ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,’ a reimagining of one of her favorite poems in a contemporary setting.
She is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer and sarcastic nerd.