A Fabrication of the Truth
by Katie Kaleski
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: 20 September 2016
The last time Lexie Stein saw Dalton Reyes he lay in a pool of blood, hovering somewhere between life and death.
Now, five years later, he’s the new guy in her high school. What happened between then and now is a mystery Lexie is afraid to explore. Just one lie uncovered from her past can cause the house of cards she’s so carefully constructed to come crashing down around her. And Dalton is the key to that past.
She doesn’t need her grandmother’s warnings to convince her that Dalton means trouble. But the bond they shared as kids seems to have only gotten stronger, transforming into something wonderful and powerful.
When Dalton opens up about the intervening years and what they mean for his future, Lexie is determined not to let him get away a second time.
“There he is,” my friend Caroline said, leaning against the locker next to mine and checking herself out in her phone. Pleased with her reflection, she made some kissy lips, and then slipped the phone into her back pocket.
“Who?” I asked, digging in my locker wasteland of old notebooks, crumpled papers, and library books long overdue.
“That’s right, you weren’t here yesterday. You were sick.”
I had faked sick so I could catch the From Rags to Fab marathon, every single episode played back to back (not available on streaming). How could I miss out on that? I couldn’t, not for my favorite show. It’s a fashion-design challenge show where the contestants are pretty much thrown a bunch of rags and old clothes and have to remake them into something fabulous. I would be a champ on that show.
“Well, there’s a new student, and everybody’s fighting over him already. Just look. You’ll see.” Caroline flipped her long amber locks over her shoulder.
“I don’t get involved in that stuff.” I found my English notebook and slipped it into my backpack.
“Quick, quick! Turn, before he walks away.” She tugged on my sleeve. Caroline was an actress, so everything with her had added dramatics. To date, she starred in nine commercials: seven of them local, but two national. Chicagoland knew her as either that girl from the car commercial who said, “That’s a deal, Grandpa,” or the girl from the carpet commercial who petted the carpet a little too provocatively. Nationally, she was the girl who drank some prune juice because she couldn’t take a dump. She was so good at pretending to have a stuck poop, that they brought her back for a second commercial.
I zipped up my bag, sighed, and turned. Then everything froze. There were no more slamming lockers, no more kids joking around. There was no Caroline blabbing on, no air, no breathing, no words. It couldn’t be him, but there he was, right there in the hallway. How? I wasn’t sure how long I stood there staring, but it felt like an eternity.
My mouth must have been hanging open because when I felt a hand on my shoulder, my lips smacked shut. My heart resumed beating, and air reentered my lungs. He saw me and stopped. Our eyes locked—my heart now pounding in my chest. I licked my lips trying to think of words, but none came. I just stared at him – the him of now, of the moment – standing there in the hallway, staring back at me with his arms hanging at his sides.
Caroline was right: he was cute, but then he always was. He was of average height, though much taller than he used to be, and his hair – black and short except for a length in front – stood up against gravity. His dark eyes looked up from under long lashes, his lips with the perfect amount of plumpness. My brain couldn’t process simple thoughts, let alone the right descriptors.
He slowly walked toward me, and Caroline asked, “Do you know him? Who is he?”
“My undoing,” I whispered. I didn’t move, and he didn’t move any farther than a few steps.
Our eyes stayed locked and for some reason I couldn’t comprehend, my heart fluttered. He was okay. I doubted my grandma’s constant reassurances, but he stood there in front of me, not saying a word or even blinking. Maybe he thought he was seeing a ghost, because that’s what I thought. An eleven-year-old boy had haunted me for the past five years, and suddenly he was in front of me. I let out a deep breath and closed my eyes; it all came back. That day, the fear, my sadness. The end of my life as I knew it. I opened my eyes again as Caroline shook my shoulder and called my name. Dalton Reyes was gone.
Katie Kaleski is a young adult author that hails from the midwest. A Fabrication of the Truth is her debut novel, but she will have plenty more books coming very soon. Her favorite food is cereal with milk, she holds cookies in high regard, and she loves all things cute and fuzzy.
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