Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined


By @novel_enthusiast


So my parents thought it’d be this amazing idea to have this back to school extravaganza the weekend before school starts. They even were so hospitable as to invite the family that moved in behind us a month ago.

I know they have a little girl and a son who my parents say is my age and who Izzy said was hot while I rolled my eyes.

My room is in the back of the house upstairs so I can look down into the yard. They’ve got lanterns strewn about, there’s a speaker in every corner of the yard serenading them all in smooth jazz and threatening to put me to sleep. I grab my flask and quietly open my door.

No one’s in the hallway so I slide out of my room.

“Where are you going?”

I turn to my sister, hiding the flask behind my back, under my sweater.


“What’re you hiding?”

“Nothing,” I say with some edge.

She approaches me. Isadora and I look nothing alike. My hair is wild and brown to the point where it looks black, hers is limp and blond. She has milky white skin while mine is golden and tan. My eyes are almost narrow, hers are round. I was the only one with dimples. The only thing I had in common with my family was the green eyes.

Things had changed since they told me last year that I was adopted. I started to notice all the differences. So I started to act the part; different. 

I’d stopped listening to them. I started acting out, I guess. I started partying, drinking. And worst of all, I stopped dancing.

Then at the end of the school year, my best friend told me he was moving away. That was the last straw.

Joy reaches behind my back and snatches the flask.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she hisses. “You have to stop this.”

“Keep it.” I walk around her.”

“You’re not allowed out. You’re grounded, remember?”

“I remember,” I say going down the stairs.

“Is it really that bad knowing that you’re adopted?”

“Don’t be so dramatic!” I holler going out the door.

I get into my car in the driveway and Dominic is already sitting in the passenger seat. His camo pants stand out against his black Jordans and t-shirt. Earrings shine against his dark skin. I see his smile in the gradual night fall.

“Hey, stranger.”

“What’re you doing here?” I ask reaching under my seat.

“Come on, Lace. How many times do I have to apologize?”

“You have nothing to be sorry for. Your parents are moving you away.”

“Then why have you been avoiding me for the past three months?”

“Why hold on to you just to say goodbye at the last minute? It was hard but easier to imagine you already gone.”

“I fought with my parents to at least give us the summer. When they realized we weren’t talking, we moved.”

“So what are you doing here then?”

“I came to say goodbye in person. Plus, I thought we should talk. I heard from some friends-

“And Linc.”

“And Linc, that you were having a rough Summer.”

“My Summer’s been great.”

I take a long drink from the flask that was under my seat.

“Partying, drinking, sneaking out…drinking? That’s not you, Lace.”

I get out of the car and go lean on the hood. I take another drink as he gets out of the car.

“What’re you running from?”

“You’re no longer privy to that type of sensitive information.”

“I want to stay in touch. We can still go to college together like we always planned.”

“Since you’ve been hearing about me, you must know that I’ve stopped dancing.”

“Yeah and I’m really disappointed.”

I shrug and take another drink. He snatches it from my lips and empties the remaining contents.


“Don’t do this to yourself, Lacey. You’re better than this. Being adopted doesn’t change you. What you do with the knowledge of your adoption is what matters.”

“Shut up, Dom. You sound like everyone else. That’s how I know this is over. Whatever it ever was,” I add under my breath.

When he doesn’t say anything, I grab his shirt and push him without letting go.

“Give me the flask and leave me alone.”

He slowly returns it to me and I get back in the car. He follows unfortunately.

“Please, talk to me. I didn’t want to believe my friends or Lincoln. I don’t like seeing you like this.”

I would love nothing more than to talk to Dominic but I don’t see any real reason. He’s leaving again and I, at the very least, will feel alone again.


I reach for the glove compartment where I’ve stashed yet another flask. He gets it before I can and I literally climb over into his seat reaching for it. I look at him and he’s already staring into my eyes.

He presses his lips to mine, his left hand resting in the curve of my side. When I don’t resist, he kisses on. I rest my arms around his neck and allow myself to be pulled in. He drops the flask and places his other arm around my waist. I feel his left hand touch my butt and pull away.


“This is what I wanted this summer. We always thought we’d have time to be together and now I live on the other side of the country. I wanted us to be together.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“You were doing a really good job of ignoring me.”

“I mean before this Summer.”

He shrugs, “I don’t know. You’ve always been so careful, I never thought you’d want to risk it.”

I start to move off of his lap and back into the driver seat but he holds me there.

“I’ve always loved you, Lacey. We’re good together, right?”

“We are but this is the worst time to tell me this. I’m already crashing and burning.”

“Then let me save you.”

I let my head fall into his shoulder and his arms tighten around me.

I don’t know how long we sit like that. All I know is that the door opens.

“Hi, Mr. Benjamin.”

“Hello, Dominic. What’s going on here?”

“Nothing. Just saying goodbye.”

“She’s grounded.”


“I haven’t gone anywhere, Dad. Geez.”

“I don’t want to hear it, lady.”

“Go away.”

“Alright. That’s enough. Inside. Now!”

“Meet me in my room,” I whisper to Dominic.

I get out of the car and head inside.

“I’m just going to sneak back out. I don’t know why you bother.”

“Because I love you,” he says.

Dominic’s in my room before I get there. He’s on his back in my bed and it brings back memories. We used to hang out in my room all the time but when we turned thirteen, my parents put a stop to that.

So I started sneaking him in. Sometimes he’d even spend the night. I just never thought much of it because we were friends. There are some great memories of us in this room.

“What’s wrong?”

I shake my head, “Just remembering.”

He stands and pushes my hair out of my face.

“I’m sorry, Lace.”

I lean into him, picking up where we left off in the car. His hand finds its way under my sweater and he runs his hand along my back. I move back.

“Don’t worry. I just wanted to touch you. I always imagined that you had soft skin. Now I know.”

We sit on my bed and as soon as his lips touch mine again, my bedroom door flies open.

“What?!” my little brother shouts.

“I’m going to kill you, Lincoln.”

My little brother is sixteen. He’s blond like Isadora with a buzz cut because he plays football. His green eyes shine through the darkness. His 5’10 frame fills my doorway and the way the light struggles to get around him, he looks completely ominous.

“Since when are-

“We’re not.”

“So what do you call-


He narrows his eyes at me.

“Do you have my iPod?”

I pull it out of my boot and hand it to him.

“You know I hate when you do that. And the only reason you have my iPod, usually, is when-

“Wishful thinking.”

“You’re right.”

He eyes Dominic before leaving and closing my door behind him.

“Maybe I should go,” Dominic says.

“Yeah. Good idea.”

He presses his lips to mine.

“Keep in touch?”

“Sure,” I reply, unsure if I mean it.

I watch him leave and sit on my bed.

“You okay?” Linc asks, ducking his head in.

“Yeah. Thanks.”

“You know I love you, right?”

I chuckle, “Yes, little brother. I love you too.”

He smiles and closes my door.

Join the conversation

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
Post a comment
5 Likes 3 Comments
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Become a Book Nerd

When you’re not reading books, read our newsletter.

By clicking Sign Up, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to Penguin Random House's
Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.