Family but hell probably send at least half to shut

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family, but he’ll probably send at least half to shut her up and feel good about what an involved parent he is. Jake still won’t talk to me, and I miss him so much, it’s like I’ve been hollowed out by a nuclear blast and there’s nothing left but ashes fluttering inside brittle bones. I’ve sent him dozens of texts that aren’t only unanswered; they’re unread. He unfriended me on Facebook and unfollowed me on Instagram and Snapchat. He’s pretending I don’t exist and I’m starting to think he’s right. If I’m not Jake’s girlfriend, who am I? He was supposed to be suspended all week for hitting TJ, but his parents raised a fuss about how Simon’s death has put everyone on edge, so I guess
he’s back today. The thought of seeing him makes me sick enough that I decided to stay home. Ashton had to drag me out of bed. She’s staying with us indefinitely, for now. “You’re not going to wither up and die from this, Addy,” Ashton lectures as she shoves me toward the shower. “He doesn’t get to erase you from the world. God, you made a stupid mistake. It’s not like you murdered someone. “Well,” she adds with a short, sarcastic laugh, “I guess the jury’s still out on that one.” Oh, the gallows humor in our household now. Who knew Prentiss girls had it in them to be even a little bit funny? Ashton drives me to Bayview and drops me off out front. “Keep your chin up,” she advises. “Don’t let that sanctimonious control freak get you down.” God, Ash. I did cheat on him, you know. He’s not unprovoked.” She purses her lips in a hard line. “Still.” I get out of the car and try to steel myself for the day. School used to be so easy. I belonged to everything without even trying. Now I’m barely hanging on to the edges of who I used to be, and when I catch my reflection in a window I hardly recognize the girl staring back at me. She’s in my clothes—the kind of formfitting top and tight jeans that Jake likes—but her hollow cheeks and dead eyes don’t match the outfit. My hair looks tremendous, though. At least I have that going for me. There’s only one person who looks worse than me at school, and that’s Janae. She must have lost ten pounds since Simon died, and her skin’s a mess. Her mascara’s running all the time, so I guess she cries in the bathroom between classes as much as I do. It’s surprising we haven’t run into each other yet. I see Jake at his locker almost as soon as I enter the hallway. All the blood rushes out of my head, making me so light-headed I actually sway as I walk toward him. His expression is calm and preoccupied as he twirls his combination. For a second I hope everything’s going to be fine, that his time away from school has helped him cool off and forgive me. “Hi, Jake,” I say. His face changes in an instant from neutral to livid. He yanks his locker open with a scowl and pulls out an armful of books, stuffing them into his backpack.

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