S R Savell Paper Hearts

ISBN 13 : 9781605426907

Paper Hearts

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9781605426907: Paper Hearts

A pushy counselor, school bullies, a neglectful mother, and a dead father have ruined seventeen-year-old high school senior Michelle Pearce’s perspective on life. A social reject living in self-imposed exile, Michelle has little use for anything or anyone until Nathaniel comes along. A high school dropout who works three jobs to care for his dying grandmother, he’s all but convinced Michelle that there is some good left in humanity.

And then humanity proves him wrong. The unforgivable happens, destroying Michelle’s newfound faith in life and threatening to unravel a love in the making.

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

About the Author :

S. R. Savell is a writer pursuing an MFA. She lives in Hempstead, Texas.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :

Chapter 1

Day 12 of Convenience Store Hell. Nineteen customers, two terrified civilians, no fatalities.

I jot this in my worn notebook, bound in stains and tears, cindered from too many stubbed-out cigarettes. Dusky light feels along its surface, spotlighting empty pages and an equally empty mind.

From the display case of cigarette lighters I take the yellow one, swiping it through the dying light seeped into the countertop. Two green eyes disappear and reappear in the veneer of the metallic casing, warping the irises like a Halloween house of mirrors. The room blossoms fire with the flick of a gear, right as the remaining thread of light evaporates into the dim.

Today I’m sure Father Time has fallen and can’t get up. Too lazy to clean and too restless to sit still, I spend most of my time wishing the time away and failing to distract myself from the lagging minute hand on the adjacent wall clock.

On the far wall, where the roaches like to hide, squat rows of Monsters and Dasanis leer in cold fury from their glass cages. The fluorescent bulbs hum overhead, casting shadows so deep that for a minute I expect demons to materialize and rip my throat out.

With a smile I give them all the middle finger, roaches included, and slump in the hard plastic chair numbing my butt.

It’s reversing, the time is. No way is the minute hand still locked on the nine.
I flip through my iPod, but not even music can soothe these nerves. Thinking this is what hell will feel like. Not particularly liking the wall paint, and when was that history assignment due? Nose suddenly itches, so I saw at it until my back starts itching too. Drive a hand beneath the shirt just as the clanking of the cowbell rings out a customer’s arrival.

I feel the room inhale, squeeze out a groan. Even swelled to beast size, it can’t hold the presence in the door. He glances around and ambles over with hands submerged in his pockets, prompting me unwillingly to my feet.
“Can I help you?”

He’s unshaven, though not completely unkempt. Shaggy hair, combed back, touches the collar of a long-sleeved shirt. The fabric is almost a deliberate dirty, dried mud flaking every time he fidgets. He rests a monster hand on the counter, hiding all the scuff marks, the other still buried in his pocket.
“Uh, maybe.” Dark eyes, black eyes, make their second survey of the room, his focus coming back to rest curiously on my own. “Is anyone else here?”
“No, unless someone’s crawling around in the air vents.”
He nods. “When do you close?”

A glance at my cell announces the shift’s end in fifteen minutes. “I’m leaving in five. Then it’s Reggie’s shift.” Too stupid for fear, my mother always said about me. I’m not particularly afraid, but I’m not too keen on becoming a statistic either.

The paw returns to its pocket, a third look around the room his next move. “Did Peter mention me?”

“Nope.”

He shuffles a bit, tanned skin wrinkling across his brow. “You sure?”
I nod, wishing for him to either shoot or buy something, whichever.
“Is he coming by here tonight?”
“Don’t think so.”

“Oh.”

Bangs fall into his eyelashes and he runs them back into place with several backward sweeps. Some hair droops forward again, mimicking the set of his deep shoulders.

“Can I help you with anything else?”

“Well, uh, maybe.” He glances at the door.
“It’s almost closing time.”
“You said someone was coming to take over your shift?”
“I lied.”
He stares a second, startled.
I pick at my nails.

Finally a hand emerges from the pocket, quick, slides across the table and withdraws, leaving its token.

I stare first at it, then at him.
His face is sheepish, apologetic, and for this reason I stifle the laughter bubbling in my chest.

It’s not a gun or even a knife but a little slip of paper, a check.
Then humor vanishes like ice in a flame when the stupidity of the situation soaks in. It’s a check. And we don’t cash checks.

I’m all ready to tell the nimrod what physical impossibility he can go perform on himself when the blush he’s wearing makes me take another look at the paper.
The No Checks Cashed sign has no sympathy for the puny paper cowering on the counter, tipping a scale at precisely one dollar and eighty-three centavos. I’m in a good mood, or at least a reasonable one, so I dig out a buck and some odd change from my pocket and offer him the check and money.
He doesn’t move.

“You gonna take it or not?”
He reaches like I’m a piranha and he’s just hit the water bleeding.
I drop the paper.
Instead of retreating, the hand hovers. His face sags in uncertainty.
“You need me to tell Peter anything?”
The fist comes to a shaky close. “No, but uh, thank you for—”
The door clangs again.

“Michelle?”
An almond-eyed beauty with caramel skin and a disposition just as sugary all but sprints the distance between us, zebra-print purse slapping her hip. Nia Anderson, aka She Who Shits Sunshine, has just found the last place I thought safe from my secondary hell.

I don’t exactly dislike her. I don’t resent her or her life of excellence either. School cheerleader/student council leader/advanced placement student/volunteer worker—she’s all this and more, a willing slave to the idiocies of school life. Which is her thing, so more power to her, but Nia has a problem. She’s a fixer. Nia wants you to be like her, live like her, think like her, spewing inspirational quotes like Bible verses and inviting you to groups and clubs that never wanted you in the first place.
I give a halfhearted wave.

The guy’s still there, floor gazing.
She moves her purse from her arm closest to the man to her other one. “When did you start working here?”

“’Bout two weeks ago.” I wonder why she’s in this neighborhood. Charity, maybe.
Typical.

“You like it?” she asks.
“A job’s a job.”
“Don’t I know it. I just started working at McDonald’s, and it’s as hard as all get out. But it’s just one stepping-stone in the path to success.”
I grunt, blaring the music in my earphones.

She waits and, when I don’t answer, smiles and heads off toward the soft drinks.
The man lingers nearby, drooping bangs hanging shadows across his cheeks.
“Have a nice night, sir.”

Our eyes meet before he scuttles away, a prisoner pardoned. A deep exhale shrinks the room to normal, and we all can breathe again.
A headache’s coming on. A dull pressure sits in the back of my eyes, waiting to tear into my skull at any moment. I refuse to stop the music, though. The pain is never that bad.

“So, Michelle,” Nia says, sliding a V8 across the counter, “have you thought about joining student council?”
And the headache begins.

“Get your head outta your ass!” My scream is soundless against the blaring of the Mercedes’ car horn, its smoldering taillights my farewell before it rips up the asphalt like an ax grinder to a rubber ducky.

Tucking the fallen earbud into its cradle and cursing my mother for loving her shit job more than her shit kid, I let my feet bring me to the bus stoop of a gray-haired dame with a nice gray shirt and a glass eye to match. Deena lounges on her vinyl throne behind the leather steering wheel, her real eye watchful from beneath its prickly blanket. I pay her no mind as I pay her fee, ignoring the disgusted snort that trails me down the aisle.

I hate the city. I hated it when I was three, and I hate it now, especially with the eau de ass smell rising from the bus seat every time the potholed pavement meets poorly aired tires. I hate it all, every last puff of exhaust, each shrieking eggheaded brat, and most of all I hate that I’m at its mercy.
The song’s end bleeds in the outside racket. A belch, a sneeze, and the rustle of a damp newspaper continue until I bring in the peace with the click of the Next button on my iPod.

Every day after school, I worked from 4:00 till 8:00 p.m. at the Gas-N-Go, then waited for Mother Dearest to come get me because, apparently, it was too dangerous to walk two blocks to the bus station at night. Bullshit, I called it. “A seventeen-year-old who could not be trusted to get her own license because she was unreliable and dishonest.” That was how my counselors put it. This bad behavior, they said, stemmed from my need to rebel, my insecurities, my low self-esteem, my poor life choices, nah-blah-uh-blah-nuh-ah. These assumptions always led to the inevitable “Tell me about your childhood” bit, aka the psychoanalysis of a med school dropout.

So I fed them gravy, I fed them wine, but never everything. I found it was too hard for them to digest. Or rather, I was afraid that after searching through my Life Story of Unextraordinary Events, they would diagnose me as a nutzo without a cause and put me in a padded room, no furnishings or windows.
I was born, I grew up, and I came to this city, Cesspit 2, and started seeing a creepy counselor once a week because it got me out of class. That’s all I said, period.

I said nada about my talent for hot-wiring anything with a motor, cats excluded. How I couldn’t drive (legally) until I was eighteen because of my mother’s promise not to tell the cops of my midnight stroll with my grandma’s black Caddy at the bottom of the lake. About my parental units, Mother Cara and Father Michael, who conceived me in Cesspit 1, where Cara put herself through nursing school. Meanwhile, Michael le...

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Savell, S R
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Description du livre Medallion Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A pushy counselor, school bullies, a neglectful mother, and a dead father have ruined seventeen-year-old high school senior Michelle Pearce s perspective on life. A social reject living in self-imposed exile, Michelle has little use for anything or anyone--until Nathaniel comes along. A high school dropout who works three jobs to care for his dying grandmother, he s all but convinced Michelle that there is some good left in humanity. And then humanity proves him wrong. The unforgivable happens, destroying Michelle s newfound faith in life and threatening to unravel a love in the making. N° de réf. du libraire AAC9781605426907

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Description du livre Medallion Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. A pushy counselor, school bullies, a neglectful mother, and a dead father have ruined seventeen-year-old high school senior Michelle Pearce s perspective on life. A social reject living in self-imposed exile, Michelle has little use for anything or anyone--until Nathaniel comes along. A high school dropout who works three jobs to care for his dying grandmother, he s all but convinced Michelle that there is some good left in humanity. And then humanity proves him wrong. The unforgivable happens, destroying Michelle s newfound faith in life and threatening to unravel a love in the making. N° de réf. du libraire BZE9781605426907

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ISBN 10 : 1605426903 ISBN 13 : 9781605426907
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Description du livre Medallion Press, United States, 2014. Paperback. État : New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A pushy counselor, school bullies, a neglectful mother, and a dead father have ruined seventeen-year-old high school senior Michelle Pearce s perspective on life. A social reject living in self-imposed exile, Michelle has little use for anything or anyone--until Nathaniel comes along. A high school dropout who works three jobs to care for his dying grandmother, he s all but convinced Michelle that there is some good left in humanity. And then humanity proves him wrong. The unforgivable happens, destroying Michelle s newfound faith in life and threatening to unravel a love in the making. N° de réf. du libraire AAC9781605426907

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