YA Contemporary Supernatural
The Life You Stole
Time to walk the plank. The long concrete breakwall stretched out into
Caseville Harbor, in front of me and Darcie. "He'll be here," Darcie
promised as I scanned the parking lot for Dave's truck.
Deep breath. Take the plunge. Short walk off a long dock or whatever. On
either side of us Lake Huron rippled with tiny waves, blue and glassy, under
the dusky pink of the sun hanging low in the west. The first weekend of the
summer before senior year, and my boyfriend of two weeks might break up with
me. No biggie.
At the end of the walk, a pile of large boulders in the water, and voices.
"It's just Kelsey and Darcie."
I ducked through the railing and stepped over lapping water to the first
rock. Just Kelsey. Not someone they wanted to see. Like Dave.
"Hi all!" I forced confidence into my voice, and sat with Darcie. One of the
guys tilted a beer can in our direction. "Thanks," I said, as Darcie held up
her hand to decline. This was a mistake. What if Dave didn't want to see me?
The icy aluminum in my palm made me shiver.
"Too early for shorts in Michigan," Darcie commented, cozy in her
buttoned-up flannel and black jeans.
"They're not shorts, they're capris," I argued, looking at my self-pedicured
toenails in Parlez-Bleu Francais, feeling overexposed.
A ripple of laughter came from Bree, queen of everything. "Kelsey, are you
giving Darcie fashion instruction again?" She sat bridging two rocks, her
legs elegantly stretched out in pink jeans, Sperrys propped against the
other rock. Around her, her loyal subjects laughed in appreciation.
Darcie laughed too, unconcerned about being mocked. "She's a very determined
instructor. But I'm afraid I flunked my final exam by wearing black for my
"Well, you'd have to, otherwise how would we recognize you?" said Cate,
Bree's bestie, and clone, right down to her Sperrys and gauzy scarf and
More laughs. Cate turned to me with a haughty swish of her hair and scarf.
"Seriously Kelsey, did you really think you were going to get her to wear
pink or something?"
"Ugh," Darcie groaned, "The day I wear pink, kill me. Slit my throat, drench
me in my own blood and bury me in a garbage bag. A black one."
Everyone laughed, as Bree and Cate exchanged a smirk. I sipped my beer, the
way Dave had taught me. "Just drink a sip or two," he told me at my first
high school party. "Don't finish it, hold it for a while, then put it down
somewhere. You can do that all night long, and never get wasted."
No matter how many beers I abandoned, he always claimed I was buzzed when I
tried to flirt with him. Always said he'd never take advantage of me. I
always pretended to be grateful for that. Welcome to the friend zone. Our
friendship was too important to screw up with a relationship. Yeah, he
really said that. But for one wonderful week, I thought I proved him wrong.
And then I proved him right.
"Just talk to him," Darcie kept telling me on the drive up to Caseville.
That's what I dreaded. I knew what he'd say. This was a mistake, let's just
stay friends. I knew what would happen, the awkward conversations, the
I knew what I'd feel. I was feeling it already, waking up from unsettling
dreams where Dave refused to listen to me or take my side. But Darcie was
right about one thing. I couldn't avoid him any longer.
"Look who's coming," Jarrod muttered from his place on the lookout rock,
where he sat watching for the police or the harbormaster. I knew from
Jarrod's grumble, it couldn't have been Dave, but my heart still thumped in
anticipation as I stood up.
The thumping rang in my ears and my breath stopped. Not Dave. Calvin. Calvin
Baker. Slouching as he came towards us, in his denim jacket, with his
scruffy dark hair obscuring his eyes. Just the way he'd looked in my dreams.
He wasn't supposed to be here. He belonged with the stoners and the losers.
Not with us. Not in my dreams.
Darnell hopped past me across the rocks, meeting Calvin before he was in
earshot. The two of them walked towards the parking lot, talking. I took a
breath, fighting off the panicky, adrenaline-charged feeling I'd been waking
up to every day.
"What's wrong?" Darcie's voice came through all echo-y. I turned. Everyone
was watching me stand and stare like a slack-jawed loser. I sat down
"Nothing," I said. I wanted to tell Darcie about it, but not in front of
everyone. I could hear it now. Kelsey thinks stoner Calvin is dreamy.
Thankfully, Darnell came back alone, and settled back in with a few of the
other football players. There was a flicker of a lighter and a smoky sweet
smell drifted towards me. Darcie coughed, uncomfortably.
"Wanna walk a bit?" I suggested.
She nodded and we scrambled back to the breakwall, where we leaned on the
blue metal railing, gazing at the setting sun.
"I had a dream about him," I said.
"Dave?" she asked. "He'll be here soon, I promise. It'll be all right. Don't
Don't worry. How could she be so sure of that? "He was in it too. But I
"Yeah, that's why I freaked out. I dreamed he died in a car accident."
"That is freaky," she agreed.
"But he showed up at school, and everyone was all excited he was still
alive. But it wasn't him. I knew it, and no one would believe me." Why do
you have to make everything a confrontation Kelsey? Dave's dream-voice
"Who was it?"
"That was weird too. . . . "
"Sa-weeeet!" Jarrod called out, standing up. "Check out Dave's ride."
Under the lone parking lot light, Dave's height and short blond curls were
unmistakable as he got out of a gleaming red convertible. He set the car
alarm with a beep-beep and blink of headlights, and headed out to us.
The football players swarmed past us and surrounded him, asking if he'd
traded in his truck for the Camaro. "Just trying it out," he said. His dad
owned the car dealership, and I could tell everyone wanted to check out the
car, or get a ride, but Dave didn't offer.
He walked past me and Darcie with a friendly "Hey," and headed out to the
rocks, and we all followed. Somehow, Darcie made sure we ended up sitting
across from him, where I could try to analyze his brief glances in my
direction as he cracked open a beer.
"I can't wait to ride in that," Bree cooed at Dave. "Is that one of the
cars for the parade?" She couldn't let anyone forget for a second that
she'd won the Miss Atwater crown. I didn't know how I was going to stand
being on the dance team with her all summer, listening to her fake laugh and
her fake friendliness. Darcie kicked me gently, like that was going to
inspire me to speak up. I gulped another big swig from the beer.
"Look who's back," Jarrod muttered.
It was Calvin again. My spine tingled and Darcie and I exchanged glances.
"Hey," he said, making his way through the railing. "My ride ditched. Need a
ride back with one of you."