Clifford has stopped drinking, but small-town gossip is a hangover that won’t quit. So when he meets Sydney and sees that he’s not the only one struggling, there’s an instant bond — one he risks losing if she uncovers the truth about him.
I don’t hate writing essays, I just hate writing them on Fridays. Not only because the bell rang three minutes ago, and I still haven’t gotten a word down, but because Ms. Farley—winner of this year’s Most Hated Teacher award—is watching me like she’s a snake and I’m her prey. I stab my pencil to the paper.
Honestly, the last thing any teenager wants to hear from their parent is I’m disappointed in you. I’m disappointed you didn’t water the lawn. Disappointed you failed your math exam. Disappointed you drove the car into the neighbor’s pool. Those two words are basically the devil—and not the hot-girls-with-horns-at-Halloween kind of devil, but the now-I-shall-burn-you-to-dust kind of devil.
My pencil taps against the desk, like an out-of-sync drum beat. Avoiding the urge to either snap it, or chew on it, I continue scrawling out words in my notebook.
I’m disappointed in you is the bane of any teenager’s existence because unlike other things your parents say, it sticks with you. Forever. ‘I’m embarrassed of you’, ‘I’m upset with you’—anything is better than your parents spilling the dreaded D word. Yeah, profuse moping might ensue, but at least deep down, you know they still (kind of) tolerate you and your pizza-face.
But as soon as the classic I’m disappointed in you is put on the table, it’s all hell inside. Because you’re sure whatever you’ve done isn’t what you should’ve been doing.
Before I can finish my free-writing paper, Ms. Farley has ripped it from my hand.