An Excerpt from Saving Avery
Copyright © 2015 Angela Snyder
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this excerpt in any format.
My footsteps slow as I near the room. Avery’s voice floats out into the hall. I can’t really hear what she’s saying, but Jacob giggles. A grin pulls at the corners of my mouth. I want to talk to her again and see if she responds with more than just a smile. It’s not that I mind her usual engaging smile that seems to instantly turn me to mush; it’s just that I love to hear the sound of her voice.
“Hey, Avery,” I say as I walk into Jacob’s room.
She looks up at me with those hauntingly beautiful blue-gray eyes. Her dark hair glistens in the sunlight cascading through the window, highlighting the deep shades of red. Her smile dims a bit, and I feel a profound sense of sadness radiating from her. I just can’t quite shake the feeling that she’s constantly on edge around me. I just wish I knew why.
Avery remains quiet, barely acknowledging that I’m even there. I know she was just talking to Jacob right before I entered the room, so I wonder why she won’t talk to me. Maybe her foul mood is because of something I’ve done and has nothing to do with last night at all. The thought of me upsetting her in some way puts me into a panic. “How are you?” I ask, trying to strike up a conversation.
Her eyes go to the floor and dart left and right as if she’s trying to decide. I wonder what’s going on in that pretty little head of hers. She opens her mouth, but closes it almost immediately. I can see the tears in her eyes as she runs out of the room. I look at Jacob, and he just shrugs.
I dart into the hall and see Avery disappearing into the break room. I follow her, catching the door before it can close. Her back is to me, and she’s slumped over the sink with her hands gripping the counter. “Avery,” I say as the door shuts behind me.
She immediately straightens her spine, and it reminds me of what she does on the beach after she’s let out all of her emotions. It’s as if she’s rebuilding a hard exterior around herself that no one can penetrate. “I’m sorry,” she says so low it’s barely above a whisper.
She’s sorry? For what? I don’t even know what she’s apologizing for. Confused, I walk over to her. “Hey, if I did something to offend you, just tell me.” I’m behind her now. She’s staring straight ahead out the small window above the sink. Her breathing is shallow, and her shoulders are bunched up around her ears from being so tense. “Did I do or say something wrong? Is that why you’ve been avoiding me? Is that why you won’t talk to me?” I’m asking a lot of questions, but I’m desperate to know the answers. There is some kind of connection between us, and I need to know that I’m not imagining it. I just want her to tell me that she feels the same way. Even if it’s just friendship, I’ll take it. I just want to help her with whatever it is she’s dealing with.
She turns and looks at me for a fraction of a second, but it’s long enough to see a million emotions flash behind those piercing eyes. She steps around me to leave. She’s always running away, but I’m not going to let her today. I’m going to get to the bottom of this right here, right now. “Wait a minute,” I say as my hand darts out and grasps her wrist in a firm, but gentle grip.
Crying out in pain, she jerks away from me quickly. In the process of pulling away, the sleeve of her cardigan slides up her arm, revealing purplish-blue marks on her exposed skin. Even though I don’t want to frighten or upset her, I reach out and gently pull the sleeve up a little more. I quickly inspect her skin before she pulls away. She has bruises the whole length of her forearm. Some are fresh, and some are old based on their color. My brows furrow as I meet her gaze. “Who did this to you?”
Her eyes are wide as she looks up at me, and I realize I just saw something I wasn’t ever supposed to see. “I…I fell,” she says, her voice catching.
She’s lying right to my face. Those bruise patterns are not from a fall. And I bet if I placed my fingers over the elongated bruises around her wrist, they would almost match. What is she trying to cover up? Who is she trying to protect?
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Release Date: July 21, 2015
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