FEATURING THE AH-MAZINGLY TALENTED MARIE LANDRY
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAND DRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM ROOOOOOOOOOOOOOLL!
Standalone Companion to Waiting for the Storm
By Marie Landry
New Adult Contemporary Romance
Coming April 2014
For most people, starting senior year at a new high school would be a nightmare, but for Ella O’Dell it’s the new beginning she desperately needs. Two months after her mother’s death, she’s ready to leave behind the rebellious, unhappy person she became when she found out her mom was dying.
When Ella meets River Maracle and Sadie Fitzgerald, she begins to learn it’s okay to be herself, even if that means being different. River and Sadie aren’t ashamed of their misfit status—River grew up on a reservation, and his mother is the school counselor; Sadie stands out with her funky homemade clothes, and is a master at ignoring the whispered rumors that have plagued her since the beginning of high school.
Ella finds a kindred spirit in Sadie, and something more in River. After almost a year of pretending to be someone she’s not, she finally embraces life and allows herself to have fun without constant guilt. But despite her budding happiness, something is off with her new life. She doesn’t want to dwell on the past, but Angel Island is a small place, and she soon realizes her demons are harder to outrun than she thought…
After the Storm is a standalone companion novel to Waiting for the Storm.
After the Storm Book Excerpt
By Marie Landry
When I see Sadie waiting for me at my locker at the beginning of our free period, I know my luck has run out. She always waits for me so we can study together, but today something about her demeanor tells me it’s time to take a trip to the school counselor.
“Do I have to go?” I whine when she hands me the slip of yellow paper with the words ‘Please come to my office during your free period’ written in small, neat script.
“She’s not so bad, I promise.” She links her arm through mine and walks me to Mrs. Maracle’s office. I don’t even have time to collect myself before she knocks on the door, gives me a little salute, and disappears down the hall.
Mrs. Maracle opens the door and steps back to let me in. “Welcome, Ella. I’m glad you could make it.”
As if I have a choice. But of course I can’t say that, so I give her a lame “Thank you” instead. She leads me to the comfy chairs we sat on last time, and I sink down into one.
“Tea?” she asks.
“Sure. Thanks.” I don’t know why she bothers going to the effort of doing something that’s supposedly meant to put me at ease, when I’d be much more relaxed if she just acted like a human being instead of a robot.
A few minutes later she brings two cups of tea to the table and sits down across from me. She blows on the steaming liquid in her cup, looking at me over the rim before taking a sip. “So. I apologize for not meeting with you sooner. I intended to have you into the office on Tuesday, but I got called away unexpectedly. I think from now on we should make a set schedule so you’re not wondering when I’ll be calling you in.” She almost smiles, and the muscles in my shoulders loosen slightly. “How are you finding your first week and a bit at AISS?”
“Good. Really good. I’m enjoying my classes, and my teachers are all really nice.”
“Good.” She nods and takes another sip of her tea. “And you’re making friends?”
“Mmhmm.” I take a gulp of my tea to avoid saying anything else, scalding my tongue and throat.
“Sadie has wonderful things to say about you.”
My eyebrows wing up. “Oh. Well. She’s been great to me. Made me feel really welcome. I-I didn’t have many friends back home, so it’s nice to meet someone like Sadie.”
“Have you made any other friends?” Her dark eyes remind me of a hawk: sharp and keen. She must know by now that I’m friends with River. Has he talked about me? Has she seen us together at lunch and between classes?
“Well, I’ve talked to Kyla Winters a few times. She’s asked me to hang out with her and her friends, but…”
I shrug one shoulder. “I’m not really interested in being part of the popular crowd. That was what started my issues last year.”
“Your issues,” she says slowly. She sets her cup on the table and crosses one leg over the other, resting her elbow on her knee and cupping her chin in one hand. “Why don’t you tell me about your issues.”
“I thought you already knew about my issues from my file.” I regret the words instantly, knowing they sound hostile. But this is exactly what I don’t want to do—talk about last year. I want to forget those ten or eleven months ever happened; it’s bad enough that my mind won’t stop dredging up those thoughts and images, but talking about it makes me feel worse.
Mrs. Maracle’s eyes narrow slightly. “A file can only tell me so much. But…if you’re not ready to talk about that just yet, we can talk about other things.”
I don’t relax just yet. I’m sure there’s more to come.
“How are you doing with the journal? Have you written in it?”
“Yes.” It’s not a lie, I have written in it…just not much, and not since the few crossed out lines I wrote Saturday night before Sadie came.
“May I see it?” She holds out her hand. “Not to read it, of course, but just to see how you’re coming along.”
I freeze in panic. Even if all she does is flip through, she’ll see that I’ve only written on the first page. I consider telling her I left it at home, but I can see the notebook peeking out from the side pocket of my bag. I glance at Mrs. Maracle from under my lashes and see her eyeing the book. I pull it out and cradle it in my hands for a moment before thrusting it toward her.
She opens it in the middle and flips through to the beginning, her brows drawing together until she reaches the first page. Her eyes flick up to meet mine, and then she closes the notebook, handing it back to me. She doesn’t say anything, and I begin to fidget in my seat.
“I didn’t know what to write,” I blurt. “Everything seemed wrong. I felt stupid writing my thoughts in a book, and I didn’t know where to begin or what to include.”
Mrs. Maracle leans back in her seat and crosses her legs again. “I like the idea you had of starting it as a letter to your mother. That doesn’t seem like it should be too hard.”
I scoff. “It obviously was, or I would have kept going.”
She purses her lips. “Then maybe talking to me will be easier than writing down your feelings, hmm? What would you say to your mother if she were here right now?”
“What does it matter? She’s not here.” I know I’m being rude, but I don’t care. I don’t want to talk about my mom with this woman who doesn’t seem to have a motherly bone in her body.
My attitude doesn’t seem to faze her. “Pretend she is. Pretend she can hear you right now. What would you say? What would you want to tell her?”
My heart starts to race and my hands begin to shake. I tuck them under my legs so she won’t see. “I would…I…I…” There are too many thoughts in my head. It feels like they’re crowding in, swelling in size and volume until my temples pound from the pressure. “I can’t do this.”
“You need to, Ella. You need to talk to me.”
“Why?” I snap. “What do you care? You don’t know anything about me, but you’ve made all these assumptions based on a stupid record that couldn’t possibly tell you anything important about what happened last year. What does it say anyway? That my mom got sick? That my sister left school to take care of her? That I started hanging out with the popular kids, and then the smokers, and then the kids who were into drugs and alcohol? Does it tell you that I spent months avoiding my mother as much as possible? That I made my sister’s life a living hell because I thought our mother loved her more and I wanted to punish them both for that?”
Her eyes are wide, stunned. I’ve shown more emotion in the last minute than she’s shown in all three of our meetings, and for some reason that pisses me off even more. I scan the wall, looking at her university degrees, the proof that she’s supposedly suitable for this job. But her coldness, her bluntness, the way I feel like she’s judging every word that comes out of my mouth, makes me want to rip each frame from the wall and smash it.
“Do you feel better?” she asks quietly.
I gape at her in disbelief. That’s it? If someone had lost it on a teacher like I just did at my old school they would have had detention for a month, or been suspended. A month of detention would almost be preferable to having to meet with Mrs. Maracle two or three times a week.
Finally I say, “No. What would make me feel better is not having to talk about this at all. It’s over. I don’t know why you can’t just let it go. Let me move on.”
She slides to the edge of her seat and waits until I meet her gaze. “Because you’re never going to truly move on until you address your feelings, Ella. You’re trying so hard to bury all your hurt and anger and guilt, but instead of actually forgetting about it, it’s eating you alive.”
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