Absinthe Of The Heart (Sins Of The Heart #1)(4)

By: Monica James


Delores felt sick to her stomach. She had no doubt the word would spread about her, and by lunchtime, everyone would know she was the poor kid who didn’t belong.

A small voice made her remember why she was standing out here in the first place. “Th-thank you.” She turned to see the blonde girl tugging at her plaited pigtail. “I’m Kayla Sinclair. I live in Beverly Hills.”

Delores waved, ignoring the knot in her belly. “I’m Delores Brooks, and I live in…” But she abruptly paused, unable to bear another lie. Kayla waited for her to continue. There was something about her. Delores felt a kinship with her and lying to her suddenly felt like the worst thing she could do.

Hoping her mother forgave her, she started again. “I’m Delores Brooks, and I live in the hood.” She couldn’t pronounce her suburb, but she knew all the kids referred to their neighborhood this way.

She waited for disgust, maybe even a scream, but she got neither. Kayla pursed her rosy lips and nodded. “Groovy. Do you wanna be my best friend?”

Delores gasped, a breath whooshing from her lungs. Did she just have a lapse in hearing? But when Kayla smiled a matching toothless grin, Delores knew she’d found the Bert to her Ernie.

She nodded happily, squealing when Kayla threw her arms around her and hugged her tightly.

Delores never imagined having a best friend would feel that extraordinary. She had visions of them drinking soda by the beach and playing with their dolls. They would be best friends forever.

As both girls went to work picking up Kayla’s spilled possessions and talking about the latest shows on TV, Delores didn’t realize that her kindness had set off a chain reaction which would affect so many people’s lives forever.

Some for the good, but mostly…for the bad.



1988



“Delores, seriously, stop. You’re going to ace the test,” Kayla stated as she flopped onto Delores’s single mattress, belly first.

Delores giggled at her best friend’s melodramatics. “You’re just saying that so I’ll come to this stupid party with you.”

Kayla’s ears pricked up at the mere mention of Bobby Ferris’s party. Bobby was the star quarterback at their school, Harvard-Westlake, and Kayla had been crushing on him since the third grade. He was tall, dark, and handsome, everything a quarterback should be. All the girls wanted a piece of him, but he didn’t seem to be interested in anyone.

But Kayla was planning on changing that tonight, and she needed her best friend by her side to ensure she didn’t get cold feet.

“Please, Dee, please come with me. How can I win Bobby over without my wingman?” She propped herself on her knees and interlaced her hands together, praying Delores would say yes.

Delores had never been able to say no to her best friend. They’d been inseparable since they were five-years-old. Even when Kayla was old enough to understand where Delores lived, and even when her mother forbade them to be friends, she never turned her back on her. She didn’t care that she was dirt poor, or that her mother bounced from guy to guy; all she cared about was that she and Delores remained best friends forever.

Kayla never cared that she was rich—far richer than any of her classmates—because money couldn’t buy happiness, and every moment spent with Delores made her happy. They did everything typical sixteen-year-old girls did. They listened to music, went to the movies, and talked about boys. Well, Kayla talked about Bobby, while Delores just rolled her eyes and laughed.

Delores would never tell Kayla, as their friendship meant more to her than some stupid boy, but she too had a crush on Bobby since forever. She hadn’t told Kayla, but after school, while she was waiting for Kayla to finish art class, Bobby had stopped by her locker and asked if she was coming to his party tonight. Delores had never been good around guys, so she nervously squeaked out a maybe. Bobby smiled and said he really hoped he’d see her there.

There was no mention of Kayla, and that troubled Delores.

No question about it, Kayla was the better looking of the two. She was blonde, tanned, big busted, and had legs that reached the heavens. Delores was more the girl next door type. Long brown hair, probably too thin for her five-foot-five frame, and far too many freckles sprinkled across her pale skin.

They really couldn’t be more opposite.

But Bobby had asked her if she were coming, not Kayla, and Delores couldn’t help but wonder why. That curiosity was the reason Delores finally caved. “Fine, you win.”

Kayla squeaked in excitement, jumping from the bed and hugging her best friend tightly. “Thank you, thank you, thank you! We’re going to have so much fun.”