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CHAPTER 1. THE ADVENTURES OF SOBER GIRL

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And your eyes become corridorsWhere I wander with a candleCalling out to you

And your eyes become corridors
Where I wander with a candle
Calling out to you.
– Something For Kate, "You Only Hide" 


"I guess I started smoking because I wanted a habit," her breasts say—braless, perky, and perfect underneath a skin-tight bodysuit. I know I'm being crude and objectifying, we girls ought to show more respect each other and all that... But honestly? The boy she's talking to isn't looking at her face.

"I mean, you know, it was, like, something to do," she adds.

I hate girls like her. But I hate myself even more for being a tiny bit jealous... And I really hate not knowing what exactly I'm jealous of. Her popularity? Please. I've never wanted to be popular. Her looks? I'm pretty decent looking. I mean, I know I'm not hot—but I'm not fugly, either —and that somewhere-in-the-middle-place has always worked for me. I think.

Through the haze of her smoke—she's not even inhaling properly—I see she's talking to Hal Haven. Of course she is. Girls like her always hone in on the most desirable boy in the room, and Hal is that boy in this room: the notorious party-boy son of the famous Doctors Alec and Lianna Haven, heir to the throne of Haven Corporation, and... I must admit... he's cute.

Braless is doing a pretty good job of hiding it, but I can tell that she's extremely pleased with herself for capturing Hal's attention, which is noticeably rapt. It's disgusting, since everyone here knows Hal's mother is dying in a hospital bed—and yet here he is, partying and engrossed in a conversation with a pair of breasts. The thought of Hal inheriting HavenCorp and controlling GAIT is as scary as Braless's insights into the habit-forming aspects of smoking.

Hal is shameless and his mother deserves better. She was one of my idols growing up. There are three things worth knowing about me upfront—I am a coder, a fangirl, a gamer. Dr. Lianna Haven was the ultimate girl who codes, she had fans, and she wrote some of the best virtual worldgames in history. Sure, after teaming up with her neuroscientist husband her focus shifted to more lofty goals—they created GAIT together, after all—but she never gave up on the power of worldgames or stopped working on them. She was brilliant and bad-ass. I never had the chance to meet her, but I literally cried when I heard about the accident and the coma. But they say that her brilliant, inspiring brain is still working inside that coma—so I can't help but wonder what she would think if she knew what her son was doing right now.

In case I sound like a judgmental bitch, let me say that I've earned the right to pass judgment on Hal. Because I've been there. When my own dad was dying, I spent—

 When my own dad was dying, I spent—

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