Chapter One

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I know how I die. I know when, too.

It's going to happen less than two months from now, a few weeks after my eighteenth birthday and right before my family thinks I'm supposed to start college. My aunt will be devastated. Not because of the death thing, but because she hates wearing black. Plus, me dying means she won't get to host The Event of the Year to impress all of her friends before sending me off to Harvard. She's been counting on outdoing Mrs. Jensen, my ex-best-friend Selena's mother, since my sophomore year. That's when the Jensens had their big moving-to-L.A. party that robbed my aunt of her Best-Hostess-on-the-Cul-de-Sac title, or so she thinks. I'm pretty sure no one else cares. It was the same night Selena had it out with me.

My uncle might be sad for a while, but he'll get over it. He's a surgeon. I've never seen him cry.

I'm not sick or anything, and I'm not planning my end. I just know what's going to happen. Just like I knew my parents wouldn't be coming home that afternoon when I was six and that the days of Disneyland and ice cream floats would end the second my aunt got ahold of me. And just like I know right now if the concert I'm at is the last one I'll go to, I'm going to be mega-pissed. I can't see anything. Typical.

I'm certain there's some universal law that if you're under five-foot-four and standing close to the stage at an outdoor concert, some insanely tall person will come stand right in front of you. It rarely fails. Tonight's answer to the law is blond and around six feet tall, give or take an inch. He looks to be about my age, which means he should have the decency to at least pretend to be a gentleman and not stand in front of a girl. L.A. boys are the worst, I swear, even though I once thought no boys could be worse than the brats I went to school with in Boston. I changed my mind last week when some clown at the LAX baggage claim stepped on my foot before pushing me out of the way. And I mean that literally, since he was actually dressed as a clown. Welcome to L.A. and the start of my summer vacation.

The guy in front of me now is cute and all—hot, actually, in that way where I can just tell most girls would let him get away with almost anything—but I'm not most girls and he's still in my way. I'd much rather be watching the stage than studying his ironic T-shirt and the back of his head, both of which are annoying me to no end. Buddy, move over.

He's glued to his phone, though, completely oblivious and texting away. I think for a second, blowing a strand of my chestnut-brown hair out of my face. Then I try stepping to the side. My foot lands right on the foot of the girl standing next to me.

"Sorry," I mumble, retreating. The girl's lips smile, but her eyes don't. She has one on me, though, because I'm not smiling. I'm back to staring at this guy's head. He's still texting.

I lift my heels off of the ground so I can stand on tiptoe. Just when I can see the band's singer, an arm shoots up, phone in hand, obstructing my view once more. Great. Him again. It figures he's part of the camera phone fanarazzi. He's probably live-tweeting the entire show, too.

I have two options here that I can see, other than giving up and moving farther away from the stage to watch the show. I can stay here and fight the urge to kick this guy, or I can try to squeeze in front of him. Maybe I can accidentally connect my foot with his leg on my way by. Option two it is. I square my shoulders and turn my body sideways, then try to wedge myself between him and the girl standing next to him.

He barely glances at me when I bump into him, but the girl fixes me with what I'm sure is her version of a death stare. I force the corners of my lips to turn up into a smile, or at least what I hope passes for one.

"Sorry," I say. I'm not, but she doesn't need to know that. "I'm not trying to get in front of you, I just couldn't see over the guy beside you."

A knowing look appears on her face. She gets it—she's even shorter than I am. "No problem," she replies, taking a step to the side to give me more room.

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