Chapter 1

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Chapter One

It was clear that beer didn’t make my boyfriend a deep thinker.

            “I never thought about it before, but Jesus was adopted.” Colton nodded slowly, as if realizing something very profound. Or he didn’t want to move too quickly in case he got the spins. “Joseph was, like, his step-dad.”

            I tried to push down my sense of annoyance. He’d promised he wouldn’t get drunk tonight and he’d already moved past drunk and into wasted territory. Then there was the fact that just about everything Colton did lately annoyed me.  “What’s your point?”

            I could see the wheels in Colton’s brain trying to churn their way through the waves of Budweiser and come up with a clear thought. “I’m pointing out you’ve got something in common with Jesus.”

            “That is so cool,” Colton’s friend, Ryan said. “It’s like that six degrees of separation thing.”

            I managed to avoid rolling my eyes at the both of them.  The party at Ryan’s was lame and the revelation I had an inside connection with the Son of God wasn’t making it better.  We were playing a game, two truths and a lie.  You were supposed to say three things about yourself and make one of them a lie.  The other person had to guess which one was made up.  If they guessed correctly you had a drink. If you fooled them, they had to drink. When it had been my turn I’d listed:

- I’m in love with Colton

- I’m adopted

- I’ve already met my future roommate at Duke

            “I can’t believe you’re adopted,” Ryan said again. This was at least the third time he’d said it since I told him he guessed wrong. “How come you never told me before?”

            My friend Lydia shoved him in the side. “Maybe Avery didn’t tell you because it’s none of your business Mr. McNosy. Drop it already.”  She shot a smile over to me. She had picked up how uncomfortable the whole conversation was making me. Lydia was one of those people who always tried to make things better for other people. She was like the Mother Theresa of our high school. Assuming Mother Theresa was a cheerleader and capable of tossing back Jagermeister shots.

            There was no big reason I hadn’t told Ryan I was adopted before now.  It wasn’t a deep dark secret that I didn’t want people to know; after all I’d been the one to make it a part of the game.  To be honest, I couldn’t always remember who knew and who didn’t. Now I wished I hadn’t brought it up at all. I’d assumed he would know that the lie was about Duke. Although I was obsessed about getting into Duke, I hadn’t even been accepted yet, let alone been assigned a roommate.

            “We should get going,” I said to Colton.  I didn’t say anything about how earlier he had begged me for a ride so that he wouldn’t be out too late since he had practice the next day. “Or you can stay, it’s up to you.”

            Colton sighed as if the weight of the world was pressing down on him. “Why do your parents treat you like you’re ten? We’re seniors. You’re the only person who has to be home by midnight on a Saturday.”

            Proof of why my parents didn’t want me out late came bursting into the room. A group of guys from the football team ran through the living room carrying some poor junior on their shoulders who was laughing hysterically. They went through the French doors that led outside and tossed the junior into the deep end.  A cheer went up from the crowd.  Someone had already dumped packets of Crystal Lite into the pool dying it a faint orange in honor of our school colors.  Go Tiger Cats.  Now that we were seniors and creeping closer to graduation, we were starting to get nostalgic for the place we all kept saying we couldn’t wait to leave behind.  When Ryan’s parents got back from Hawaii he was going to be grounded for life.

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