Page 11 (1/2)

"And let ht have contributed to any of your proble that up anyhow," Bebe said She was still pretty bitter about Marguerite’s aborted visit

"Well noas I s’posed to do? Blame my folks? Come on, they’ve darn near sold the farm tryin’ to fix me"

"You live on a farm?" Bebe asked snidely

"It’s just an expression," Cassie said, looking wounded

Cassie’s parents had gone haywire trying to degayify her After a faht Cassie kissing a surfer girl, they sent her to soender dysphoria expert they’d read about online, only she turned out to be a shrink who mostly worked with transsexuals, so then they switched to a therapist who specialized in "fixing" gay kids, and it was that guy who referred them to Red Rock

"Why not blah attention Dad didn’t give you enough love and now you’re a big ole lesbian"

"That ain’t true," Cassie said "I don’t even know that I’y I think I’m bi, but if you think about it, so’s everyone We’re just tryin’ to figure things out"

"Not ht I reirl? I’d say that qualifies you as a dyke"

"And you got caught doin’ lord knoith your pool boy, but that doesn’t uys I’ve done, that qualifies me as a slut"

"Bebe, stop it," I said

"Oh please, not you too, Cinders You’re not going to turn yourself into a doormat for these drones"

"No, I’m not," I insisted "And neither is Cassie And just because you’re pissed off at your ht to duy"

Bebe gasped as if I’d hit a nerve "I have the right to say what I think," she said

"What are you, ten?" I knew Bebe was bummed, but I couldn’t stand to watch her take it out on Cassie

"Oh piss off, Miss Bad Girl" Bebe stared me down as if only she could see the real me "You think you’re such a rebel," she said, "but you’re really just a goody-two-shoes"

"I don’t have to prove anything to you," I said, fu

"That’s all you do--try to prove stuff," she shot back

"Spare et enough of that around here"

"Well maybe you need sory, but enough with the bitchiness already," I said "We are all so over it"

"Well, I guess my fifteen minutes of sympathy are up," she said sarcastically "Fine Whatever Just you wait until it’s your dad that cancels on you Oh, but that probably won’t happen because he doesn’t even want to see you in the first place, does he?"

"Bebe darling?"

"What?" she snapped

"Go to hell"

Bebe and I iced each other that night and all the next day I was furious with her, but I also knew I had to let it go When you’re surrounded by eneainst your friends Bebe realized the sas later I found another of her notes stuck inside ive me? BB I did, of course I kne frustration could build until you were ready to explode Sometimes you just had to lash out at someone, and it was safer if we did that to each other I also knew that what Bebe said wasn’t really about me or meant to hurt me But her words hit ho to visit He was all gung ho, talking aboutit a family trip with Billy and the Stepmonster, and while I had no desire to see her, I still wanted Dad to provesunk down to Level Three, I wasn’t really in any position to have a fa to "workme to fake it, that all I had to do was open up in CT It didn’tup about was total crap So I invented sob stories about how alienated I was at school, how mean the other kids were to me I even squeezed out a tear in one session The counselors were iht for sure I was going back to Level Four, but I must have really pissed Clayton off, because even with all ress, I re to see Dad in March and the next Fa to look like was I going to be stuck at Red Rock for the summer And what if they made s about it, the not knowing If you o to jail, you’re allowed visitors, and you have a specific sentence, but the Sisters and I didn’t get those rights After three months passed and I realized I wasn’t one of the insurance-only girls, it was a constant guessing gainning to wonder if I’d be living at Red Rock until hly depressed h-spirited person I got sad, of course, especially when Moed inery most of the time There were some days when I just wished I could disappear froetting back to my real life, I had no idea who I’d be when that happened

Chapter 14

Dear Brit:How are you? How is school? I hope you are working very hard and getting good grades Portland is as rainy and gloomy as ever I sure wish I could be soive you so news about your Uncle Claude His health iswith his chamber music ensemble He is very happy about this In fact, his ense San Francisco, Boise, and--you’ll never believe this--St George, which is very close to you! He will be there on March 15, and would very much like to visit with you I have told hiainst the rules and not possible But he wanted you to know about his plans and that he will be thinking of you when he perforress at your school Pleaseis co afterLove,

Dad "It’s fro "I can’t believe it I haven’t been able to get a letter out to him because there’s been so ht for sure he’d given up on , and just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, he sends me this"

"Brit Stop," V said "Breathe"

I stopped I breathed V held her hand out "May I?"