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Mountain High, Valley Low
When my phone chimes with a text message on Monday morning, I’m still in that dreamy state between sleep and awake where you can pretty much convince yourself of anything. Like that a teen Mick Jagger is waiting in your driveway to take you to school. Or that your favorite book series ended with an actual satisfying conclusion, instead of what the author tried to pass off as a satisfying conclusion.
Or that last night, you and your boyfriend didn’t have the worst fight of your relationship—correction: the only fight of your relationship.
Or that it wasn’t completely your fault.
But it was my fault.
I blink out of my trance and scramble for the phone, knocking over the cup of water on my nightstand. It splashes onto the stack of textbooks and papers next to my bed, soaking the extra-credit AP English paper on King Lear that I spent the entire weekend working on. This was my only hope of turning my borderline A to a solid A before first quarter grades are finalized.
I hastily swipe at the lock screen of my phone.
Please be from him. PLEASE be from him.
We didn’t talk at all after I stormed off from his house last night. Some hopeful part of me thought he might call, not wanting to leave things the way we did. While some slightly delusional part of me thought he might have taken some unknown back roads and alleyways, driven twice the speed limit to beat me to my house, and would be standing in the front yard with his guitar, ready to play me an apologetic “I’m a jerk, please forgive me” love ballad that he just happened to write on the way over.
(Okay, a really delusional part of me.)
Regardless, neither had happened.
My fingers fumble to open the text message app and I nearly collapse in relief when I see Tristan’s name. Twice.
He sent me two text messages.
The firdst says:
Tristan: I can’t stop thinking about last night.
Oh, thank God. He’s a mess, too.
This makes me so happy I want to cry.
Wait, that didn’t come out right. It’s not like Tristan’s misery makes me happy. But you know what I mean.
I want to grab Hippo (the stuffed hippopotamus on my bed that I’ve had since I was six) and waltz around the room with him while “At Last” by Etta James plays soulfully on my life soundtrack. (The sixties really were the best decade for music.)
But then I see the second text message and Etta screeches to a halt in my head.
Tristan: Let’s talk today.
Okay, deep breaths.
Don’t jump to conclusions. This could be a good thing. This could be like “Let’s talk today so I can apologize profusely for everything I said last night and confess my undying love for you while I run my fingers through your hair and a four-piece band serenades us. Or maybe a six-piece band. You know how much I love the sound of the trombone.”
Ugh. That sounded crazy even to me.
Honestly, since when does “let’s talk” ever foreshadow good things? It’s like the universal sign for impending doom.
This is it. He’s going to break up with me. I said all the wrong things last night. I overreacted. I’ve turned into the very thing that Tristan hates.
A drama queen.
And really what happened last night wasn’t that big of a deal. I don’t know what got into me. I just, kinda … flipped. I chalk it up to stress. Severe stress. And hunger. It was a moment of stressful hangry weakness. And now the whole relationship is probably over. The best thing to ever happen to me (okay, pretty much the only thing to ever happen to me) and I screwed it all up.
I suppose it was only a matter of time, really. I mean, Tristan is Tristan. Gorgeous. Funny. Charming. And I’m … me.
No. Stop. Self pity party over.
I can still turn this around. He hasn’t broken up with me yet. I can still save this. I have to save this. Tristan is everything to me. I love him. I’ve loved him since our second date, when he took me to his band’s show and I saw him singing up on that stage. He just oozed sexytime and poetry.
Can one ooze poetry?
Or sexytime, for that matter?
Whatever. One fight does not a breakup make.
We will persevere. Our hearts will go on!
I send Tristan a quick text back. I infuse it with nonchalance and free-spiritedness. I am Ellison Sparks, Drama Free since 2003!
(Okay, so technically I was born before that, but the first few years of anyone’s life are, by nature, dramatic.)
Me: Morning! Can’t wait to see you today!
I press Send with a flourish. Then I find “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in my “Psych Me Up Buttercup” playlist and set the volume to Blast!
It’s almost impossible to feel down when Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell are cheering you on from the sidelines. It’s like this song was written specifically for impeding a breakup. It’s the Relationship Saver’s Anthem.
I prance into the bathroom, place the phone down on the counter, and sing along at the top of my lungs while I shower.
“Ain’t no mountain high enough … To keep me from getting to you, babe.”
On second thought, this song might also be the Stalker’s Anthem.
But it doesn’t matter. It works. As I step out of the shower and grab a towel, I actually have the nerve to think:
Today is going to be a good day. I can feel it.
Text copyright © 2016 Jessica Brody Entertainment, LLC