realizes she may not have the talent to pursue a scholarship for the most
prestigious art school in Australia, she turns to pink hair dye as a
fellow art student, Kat, who introduces Ingrid to the LGBT clubbing scene, and
although Ingrid enjoys partying with her new friend, she becomes caught up in
confusion about her sexuality. Her fear is overwhelming—she can’t think about
that she is pregnant.
of being pregnant at seventeen, Ingrid is shown the true definition of courage.
It motivates her to come out about her sexuality—she likes girls. Only girls.
Now she just has to work out what that means for the other areas of her life.
chin is tucked into my neck. I am leaning against the brick wall as I watch her
sing. It takes every ounce of strength I have to keep my face still, hiding any
expression that bubbles to the surface. Any reaction I have to her lilting
voice is shoved down, adding to the pit in my stomach.
respectfully in their seats. They are still too naive to question the teachers
when they are told they must be present. I know better than to think that this
school performance is anything special to Amber Freeman. She’s been singing
since before she could walk, and although I am always the first viewer, her
YouTube videos are gaining more and more popularity with every upload. This is
just practice to her. A warm-up.
she throws her hands up whilst the climax of the song cascades from her
talented lips. I let my eyes flicker shut and Amber’s voice surrounds me,
caressing my ears as she sings deeply. Her voice is crashing through me,
tingling across the skin on my arms and seeping through my body, calming me.
wall, and I remain frozen there as I listen to her sing. In this moment,
nothing else matters. With my eyes closed, she’s right next to me. Singing
softly, untying the knot that’s sunken deep into that pit in the bottom of my
voice that hisses right next to my ear jerks me out of my daydream.
open, tearing myself away from the peaceful moment. In front of me, my best
friend Summer stands, her arms folded across her chest and her eyes wide in
that you are busted expression.
better things to do than sneak up on people. Way to give me a heart attack.”
than stand here creepily at the back of the gym listening to Amber sing,”
Summer challenges me, an amused smile dancing across her full lips.
me the creep?” I snort. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
this gym, the quicker I can shove away the fact that she caught me watching
Amber’s performance. We duck behind the last row of seating and out of the door
in the corner of the room, swiftly ignoring the Emergency Exit Only sign. We’ve
done this so many times now that it’s like second nature.
building. The wind howls so loudly that I’m surprised no one noticed our little
escape from the gymnasium—then again, they never do. For Summer, there’s more
to life than just sitting in a desk at school. Any chance my best friend has to
escape the mundane restrictions of life is an opportunity she must take. She’s
never been the kind of girl to follow the traditional paths.
through the car park and head out to the tin shed at the back of the school.
Summer knew exactly where to find me during Amber’s performance. She knows that
I watch Amber. While everyone else in our grade snuck off to make out in
abandoned classrooms or smoke cigarettes behind the main building, I followed
the crowd into the gymnasium with one intention.
I shrug off Summer’s curious stare as we take shelter under the tin roof. The
rain really lashes down now, bouncing off the pavement and whipping through the
trees. “It was better than watching you make out with Jackson for an hour
I’ll do anything to take the attention away from me.
listen to Amber sing?” Summer rolls her eyes at me. “Makes sense.”
scarf, staring out into the rain. Maybe I’m not the only one who is trying to
avoid things today.
half-heartedly. “What’s your obsession with her?”
obsessed?” She snorts. “Ingrid, honey, if I’m obsessed, then you’re deranged.”
end of that particular conversation. “Whatever. Your deeply disturbing issues
are the least of my problems right now. Look, Ingrid, I think I’m going to have
to take a test.”
cheeks, and I watch her carefully. She tugs on that scarf like it’s strangling
harsher than intended, and I brush it off with a blunt laugh. “A pregnancy
You and Jackson really need to invest in some efficient birth control because
this I’m pregnant freak-out that you have every month is getting boring.”
tense, and she blinks back emotion. “But right now, I’m pretty sure I have the
devil’s spawn growing inside of me, so I’m allowed to freak out. I’m two weeks
this late before. “Jackson is not the devil’s spawn. You know he loves you. But
I highly doubt you’re pregnant. It’s all the stress from thinking you’re
pregnant every month starting to get to you.”
throwing her hands up in defeat. “I knew I shouldn’t have said anything. I
don’t know what you’re moping about—we got a free class and you got to watch
Amber singing. It’s a damn good day for Ingrid Harper right now.”
headache. I don’t care about Amber’s singing. And you and Jackson were quite
obviously distracted. You didn’t seem to have pregnancy on your mind during
that public make-out session. Or maybe you did. Either way, I think it’s a damn
good day for both of us, don’t you think?”
ultimate denier of reality. More than that, she is aware that I will follow
along with every topic change she throws at me. I get distracted easily,
quite reach her eyes. Distraction is inevitable right now, for both of us.
These are not issues we should be faced with at seventeen years old. Summer’s
mother is getting married soon, so that’s just one more thing to top off what
I’m coining Summer’s Distressing Summer.
the sides of the flimsy tin roof. Muddy water pools right to the edges of the
door. It’s mid-December. While politicians are throwing around the term climate
change like it’s currency, I stare at the pools of water near this emergency
exit, wondering if our town has sufficient flood safety plans.
return. The truth is, I have my own things to worry about, whether Summer is
pregnant or not. She’s been with Jackson for three years—that’s three years
they have successfully been together and prevented pregnancy. It’s not a
possibility. It just isn’t.
light-brown hair is constantly tangled, but her dominating blue eyes seem to
sky and nervously chews at her lip, clutching that damn scarf so tightly that I
know she’s already certain about this pregnancy. More so than I’ve ever seen
before. Her blue eyes don’t seem so bright today.
transferring to the art school. I didn’t think that boy had an artistic bone in
his body.” I smirk, desperately trying to relax Summer. I don’t know what to
say when she’s so shut off like this. My lie is smooth, slipping off my lips
guess they’re funny.”
Surely he’s left it a bit late?” I frown in earnest now.
known Jackson a lot longer than she has. I know that he’s been wanting to do
art since he started high school, but his military-driven father would never
allow it—he’s all about physical education, mathematics, and science. He used
to drill that into Jackson every time I was around; none of this fairy fluff
nonsense, he would say pointedly.
talk about Jackson right now,” Summer snaps, finally releasing the titan grip
on her checked scarf and running a frustrated hand through her frizzy hair.
then?” I throw back. “I can’t deal with you when you’re being like this. Either
let me in or let me go. I’ve got shit to do.”
as she turns to face me. “Just shut up and come and sleep over at my house. I
need your brutal honesty, but I also need you to do literally everything I say
right now. You know I’d do the same for you.”
her position, I’d actually have to get closer than two feet to a guy, but I think
she already knows that.
Jackson the devil before. I don’t care if he’s annoying sometimes, if you
are…pregnant…it’s definitely not the devil’s spawn that could be growing inside
of you. And that’s all I’m going to say about that,” I huff.
number-one cheerleader, but whatever.”
NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Meet the Author
Gemma Gilmore is graduated from university with a degree in Journalism and a passion for writing and travelling. In 2016 she was awarded a highly competitive residency with the Tasmanian Writers Centre. When she’s not writing YA fiction, she’s spontaneously booking trips across the world so she can draw inspiration from new cultures and places.