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OFF LIMITS by Renee Pace
Lindsay looks and acts like the perfect fifteen year-old, but she’s hiding a dirty little secret that no amount of fashionista coverings can make better. Telling her mother her sCtep-father is molesting her is not an option. Trying to kill herself again haunts her more than the scars on her wrists, and pretending to be perfect at school might very well drive her over the edge.
Megan knows all about lying. It's been part of her life ever since she realized the only way to escape her poverty-stricken neighborhood was to work hard, keep her mouth shut and wear a mask no one can penetrate. All that changes when Lindsay befriends her.
Can two girls who have little in common discover the value of a real friendship or will the secrets they dare not speak destroy them both?
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Chapter One: Lindsay
“You coming over tonight, Rebecca?”
I make the question casual, like it’s no sweat off my back if my best friend can’t come over tonight. Inside my gut twists and rolls with the thought of being alone. She plays with her dyed blonde ponytail, pulling the strands tight to her head to fluff it up higher. She’s not paying attention to me. Rebecca’s one focus is Blair. Blair’s main focus is Rebecca. They make me sick.
“Can’t Linds. I’ve got plans.”
I hate that nickname and no matter how many times I ask her not to call me that she doesn’t listen. She dismisses me with a swish of her ponytail and walks over to plant one on Blair’s lips. I cringe with disgust. For the life of me I can’t understand what she sees in him, besides his muscular body. Muscle or not, he’s not something I’m into.
I re-read the text from my mother and resist the urge to type a pleading note back to her not to spend another night away. Mom’s been at a conference all weekend. I had Friday, Saturday and even Sunday night covered. It’s Monday. She was supposed to come home tonight. Now I’m left scrambling for an excuse to spend the night somewhere else or begging a friend to come to my house for a sleepover. Worse, I have to make my impromptu sleepover sound casual, like it’s an afterthought that me, the so-called perfect girl in this Prep school, wants a friend or better yet friends to spend Monday night at her house. No one has sleepovers on Monday. Even I know that. Thing is, I’m all into bucking the trend. Especially when a friend will keep me safe and they won’t even know it.
Taking the time to look at my reflection staring back at me thanks to my handy-dandy locker mirror I reapply my pink lipstick, add a bit more black eyeliner around my bottom lids and flick my long blonde hair off my shoulders. I look cool and sophisticated thanks to Mother’s recent shopping spree and my practiced ‘I’m fine’ look. I’m totally decked out in designer duds, from my shoes to my new hot purple matching bra and underwear, although no one’s going to see that. It’s the top of the line on this bod. But just once I wish I didn’t feel like trash. They say clothes make the woman. My clothes, like the makeup I carefully apply, are my body armor. They protect me and conceal me. Even my scars—carefully hidden thanks to my long-sleeved sweater. They are my shame. My dirty little secret I can’t tell anyone.
Armed with my new Coach purse, another gift from Mother-dearest, I saunter to class. It would not be cool for me to be late so I never am. Appearances must be maintained and just like my good grades, which are totally expected, I play my part to a T. The class is totally boring and I can’t absorb one freaking word the teacher is droning on about. Something to do with DNA, mitochondria and cellular fusion. I hate biology. You of course would never know that. My last test was a ninety-eight percent and I participate in class even though inside it kills me.
“Mr. Turner, I didn’t catch the last part of what you were saying, do you mind repeating it?” I make sure to bat my eyelashes at him and throw in a flirty smile. Sometimes using the way I look makes me sick. Not today.
“Sure Lindsay, as I was saying…”
This time I take notes. It helps me concentrate on his class, forcing my mind not to wander into that dark place. An itch starts on both of my wrists but I don’t scratch. Scratching would ruin the plastic surgeon’s work and piss my mother off to no end. My mother and I don’t talk about the “incident”. That’s her word, not mine. I have another word I like to use, but uttering that makes her angry. Trust me, that’s not pretty.
We went from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Mexico, just the two of us, but not once did we talk about anything important. The five and a half hour flight might have never happened. But it did. The “incident” happened and now…now, I am supposedly all better. As if! And like all mistakes, we wiped all memories of it clean from our lives. Well, that’s how Mother viewed it.
Me, I’m not so sure.