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 TORN, a new book by Amber Lehman

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Posts : 1
Join date : 2010-02-03

PostSubject: TORN, a new book by Amber Lehman   Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:28 am


It was different this time; we weren’t acting on a dare. I knew our motive; we were practicing the act, hoping to impress the right boy when it came time. But then something happened—in the mix of the moment, in the mix of the alcohol. It wasn’t planned, but somehow our kissing experiment turned into something else. Things went further . . . and once they had, once I returned to earth from the euphoria . . . I wrestled with my feelings at that frank realization, questioning whether our said objective was entirely true.

When fourteen-year old Krista McKinley transfers from Catholic school in Ohio to California’s public Crestmount High, she discovers she has a lot to learn. Luckily, she is befriended by Carrie and Brandon and things start to look up. But when a simple dare tests Krista’s values, it sends her entire world spiraling into a confusing series of events that leaves her questioning her identity as well as the people around her.

With unshakeable frankness, Amber Lehman paints a memorable portrait of what it’s like to be a questioning youth in today’s world.

Chapter 13

Brandon called Saturday morning and invited me to join him for lunch that afternoon.

His ride had been recently washed and waxed—a ritual he performed often. Brandon took great pride in his possessions and maintained them at near-mint condition. At sixteen, he was the luckiest boy I knew. He had his own beautiful car—a sapphire blue BMW--and no car payment. The words “spoiled” and “Brandon” were synonymous and often used interchangeably.

As I hopped into the car. “Up, Up, and Away” by The 5th Dimension played on his CD player.



“Good, so am I. In the mood for Italian?”

“You have to ask?” I said through a grin.

His smile broadened. “Not really; I just thought I’d give you an opportunity to throw me off track. Angelo’s & Vinci’s it is, then.”

The restaurant was one of our favorites, and well worth the considerable drive outside of Laguna—the small, family-owned establishment made some of the best Italian dishes in Orange County. When we arrived, the parking lot was only half full. Our server led us straight to a table.

“May we sit somewhere with more privacy, please?” Brandon requested.

We followed her to an isolated corner of the restaurant. “Is this okay?” she asked.

“Perfect. Thank you.”

Brandon seemed out of sorts, distracted—he was quieter than usual, and stared at the menu without actually seeming to read it.

I finally asked, “What’s wrong?”

He gave me a wan smile. “Nothing.”

“Come on. What is it?”

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I need to talk to you about something.”

I wasn’t used to such a tentative approach from Brandon—tentative just wasn’t Brandon’s way.

“What about?”

“You,” he said frankly.

The intensity of his gaze made me uneasy. I felt like I sat beneath a microscope. “Me? What about me?”

“Krista, you know what I’m talking about. You haven’t said anything about it, but I know you better than that. I would think that you, of all people, could talk to me about it.”

My heart picked up its rhythm and I became aware of my breathing. Please, Brandon, don’t turn our luncheon into a nightmare.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I said carefully.

He continued to look at me, but didn’t speak. He had caught me off guard, and I hated surprises.

“If there’s anything you want to say, then you’d better just say it,” I said.

I wasn’t accustomed to the warmth easily recognizable in his eyes. “Why are you doing this, Kris? Is it really all that bad?”

I dropped my eyes. I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks. Of course he would bring me to a restaurant, where there was no escape, no chance to avoid his questions. Good ol’ Brandon. I didn’t answer him.

“Do you think something terrible is going to happen if you just admit and accept that you like girls?”

I was stunned into silence. The server approached with our drinks. The tension at our table was severe enough that she sensed it, and after setting down our beverages, she scurried away.

“Are you going to say anything?” he asked.

He had tricked me into coming here. Without looking at him, I announced, “I think this conversation is over,” and threw my napkin on the table.

“Why are you avoiding my questions, Kris?”

I flashed him a hostile look. “Why are you asking me this?”

“Because I care about you, and we’re friends.”

I tried to whisper, but it came out a hiss. “I don’t see how us being friends brings you to any of the assumptions that you’re making.”

“Are you really going to sit here and deny that you have a crush on Carrie?”

“All day long,” I said.

He shook his head slowly. “Why are you doing this to yourself?”

“Why am I doing what to myself?” I snapped.

“Torturing yourself like this. Don’t you think it was hard for me, the first time I realized I was gay? I had nobody to talk to, Kris. Nobody.” His eyes were beseeching, willing me to accept him as a confidant. “Is that what you want for yourself? It’s lonely, Kris. Maybe you don’t know that yet.”

I knew all too well. But he was off the track. What I wanted was so confusing that even if I cared to talk to Brandon about it that was impossible. It seemed like that word ‘phase’ that Marc had first talked about hit the nail on the head. Ever since the night of the party I had seen everything concerning sex differently. If Carrie could have been so passionate about Jalen, then did she really like girls? If I was interested in a first time with Eric, what was up with me? Most important, since the consequences could turn out as they had for Carrie, why even consider being intimate with anyone at fourteen? But I was not ready to talk to Brandon about this.

“Can’t you just talk to me about it?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“Just talk to me.”

I dropped my gaze and leaned back from the table. “I can’t.”

“Can’t, or won’t?”

“Either. Both. I don’t know. This is just too much right now.”

He stopped, allowing me time to gather myself, since I wasn’t exactly the picture of calm. After a few moments, I looked at him again, and his eyes held mine. He said, “Whether or not you admit it to me today, you and I—we both know it’s the truth.”

Arguing was useless, but I was far from any great confession. “I want you to leave Carrie out of this,” I said quietly.

“If that’s what you want.”

“I do.”

After a moment, he spoke again. “Kris, even if you never decide to tell me, I hope for your sake you’ll at least be honest with yourself.”

Our server brought the appetizer. She made room on the table, pushing utensils aside, and set down the hot dish. I didn’t look at her or Brandon. I had thoroughly lost my appetite.

“Can you just take me home, please?” I asked.

Brandon looked disappointed. “Yeah,” he said, his voice heavy with resignation.

I stood and Brandon followed suit; he withdrew his money clip from a trouser pocket, peeled off a fifty-dollar bill, and handed it to our server, who had been prepared to take our order. “That should cover it,” he said.

The server looked at us like we were crazy as we walked out the door.
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Posts : 18
Join date : 2010-02-03

PostSubject: Re: TORN, a new book by Amber Lehman   Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:36 pm

God bless you and write on. Pamela
Author of How I Became A Fearless Woman cheers
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