Wreck Me Page 1

Author: Jessica Sorensen

Series: Nova #4

Genres: New Adult , Romance



I’d heard stories of near death experiences, although the tales never seemed to be the same. Some say their life flashed before their eyes. Others claimed they saw nothing. Then there were those who felt more than saw—a new beginning and path for their life.

Me, I saw many things.

My son.


My sins.

The stars.

And I also felt.

The feeling wasn’t about me, but about another, as if someone was calling out to me, begging me to come back. That they needed my help.

That they were waiting for me.

Then the stars burned out.

And I thought I had died.

But I was wrong.

It was only the stars telling me my story.

Four years earlier…

Chapter 1

The beginning of the end.


Life is confusing.

Life is hard.

Life is… life.

I wish life was more. I wish it was like dreams, the happy daydreams I have all the time whenever I’m gazing up at the night sky, eagerly waiting to make a wish on a shooting star. It’s something I do every night, but my wishes have yet to come true.

Still I wait.

Keep trying.

Because if I don’t have stars and wishes then I have nothing.

When I was younger, I often wondered if the stars were trying to whisper a secret to me, maybe about the world or about my life. But that might have been me searching for unreal answers, instead of facing the real truth.

Because even now, I don’t like the real truth.

The truth is loud.

The truth is ugly.

The truth is hard.

The truth is there’s a reason why I search for answers in the stars—because it’s the last thing my father ever told me. And I’ve held on to that notion because letting go of it means letting go of the dream that one day life will get better.

“Whenever you’re confused, Avery,” he said before he gave me a final hug goodbye. I’d been lying in bed, the stars shining brightly outside my window. I can remember staring up at them as he wrapped me in his arms. “Just look up at the stars. They have the answers. They’ll guide you to a better life.”

“Really?” I asked, glancing hopefully at the midnight sky outside my window. “Is that what you do?”

He nodded. “All the time. You’re a good girl, Avery. A dreamer, like me. Always hold onto that.” He seemed sad before he walked away, never to return, leaving me with so many unanswered questions, ones the stars never reply to no matter how hard I stare at them.

Deep down, I know that the stars won’t ever answer me, that it’s about as possible as my wishes coming true. It’s nice to dream, though, otherwise I only have reality.

Like right now.

Music screams from my rooftop where I’m perched, attempting to focus on the vivid stars sparkling in the darkened sky instead of what’s going on in the neighborhood. But it’s difficult.

It’s always difficult.

A full-on rager is going on next door. It’s well past four o’clock in the morning but the people who live in the nearby houses don’t give a damn about the noise. It’s the main rule in The Subs—the nickname for the rough side of town where I live. I won’t complain about your shenanigans, and in return, you won’t complain about mine. That rule makes the area sketchy. There are always parties going on. Loudness. Little huddles. Exchanges taking place on the corners of streets. Everyone seems to be in on the sketchiness, including my mother who is having her own party downstairs at this very moment.

The nineties grunge music she listens to is clashing with the neighbor’s deafening emo/rock and the combination is starting to give me a headache. At sixteen-years-old, I feel more like an adult than the person who’s supposed to be raising me and teaching me life lessons. Instead, she acts like a teenager and I can’t help wishing I can get out of this place and away from her.

“What do you think?” I ask the stars illuminating the charcoal sky. “Will I ever get out of here?”

They twinkle but don’t offer me a real answer. They do offer me a sense of peace, though, which is what I need right now.

That and direction.

“Turn the f**king music back on!”  The sounds of angry voices cause me to cringe.

“Okay, thanks,” I mutter. “But for future reference, that wasn’t direction. Just noise.”

Deciding that it’s time to retreat back into my bedroom so I can go to bed and dream for real, I stand up and walk across the edge of the rooftop toward my bedroom window.

“Hey, Avery! Mind doing me a favor!” My neighbor Zack hollers as I’m about two steps away from making it inside.

So close.

Sighing, I turn back around. Zack is standing on the space of grass between our driveways, smoking a cigarette. Zack is a senior at the same school as me, and while we talk a lot to one another, we’re not really friends. It’s difficult to have any real friends or a boyfriend for that matter when I have to spend time juggling bills and keeping an eye on my little brother and druggie mother. I do, however, know Zack well enough to ask about his favors before agreeing to do them.

“Depends on what that favor is,” I call back down to him as I move cautiously to the edge of the roof and peer down at him.

He slyly grins up at me from the ground. “You know me too well Avery,” he says and I’m pretty sure he winks at me, but it’s too dark to tell for sure. “But this time the favor is innocent. I just need to borrow your stereo system.”

I cup my hands around my mouth and holler back at him. “My mom’s using it. Sorry.”

His grin crumbles as people grow restless inside his house, banging and shouting and destroying furniture. “Can you just go check?” he pleads with me. “She might not be using it anymore.” He pauses. “Or she could be passed out by now.”

I loathe that he knows that about my mother, but the entire neighborhood does, along with half the Carrisonville County Police Department since they receive a call out here on a regular basis.

“Fine. Give me a few minutes.” I glide my window open and duck into my room. It’s late August so the air is breezy outside, but with no air-conditioning in the house it feels like a sauna inside. I have to slip off my jacket before I do anything else. Then I grab a tie to pull up my tangled mess of long brown hair before I cross the room and open the door. The music is turned up louder than I thought and I sigh, knowing Zack is right—that everyone is probably passed out by now.

On my way to the stairway, I crack a door open and peek in on my younger brother, Jax. His bedroom light is off, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s fake sleeping. At twelve years old, Jax has been exposed to the harsh reality of our home life at way too young of an age, just like I was—still am. And just like me, he tries his best to pretend that he’s anywhere but here.

“Jax, are you okay?” I whisper through the crack.

A moment goes by before he responds. “If they’re passed out,” he mutters sleepily, “could you turn the music off? It’s too loud to sleep through.”

I hate that he knows what I know about my mother. Hate that he has to go through this. Hate that I do too. But one day I will get us out of here—I promised him that and I vow to keep that promise. Besides, I have plans; graduating high school, going to college, getting a career either in astronomy or something else I enjoy. I will create a life where I can pay my bills and live in a nice home, in a good environment. I won’t turn out like my mother.

“Okay,” I tell Jax. “I’ll see what I can do, but if it’s too bad you can always use your earplugs.”

“I hate them… They hurt my ears.”

“Sorry, Jax. I really am.” It’s all I can think of to say to him. “I’ll try my best to get the music turned off.”

He doesn’t say anything else so I close his door before starting down the stairs. I kick some empty beer bottles out of the way as I head down. At the bottom stair, I pick up an ashtray before veering left into the kitchen. I set the ashtray down on the counter that’s overflowing with trash then suck in a deep breath and turn around to enter the living room.

Music slams against my chest the second I endeavor over the threshold. The sound is so deafening that my eardrums feel like they’re bleeding. And the smell… The smell is the worst, like people who haven’t showered for days crammed into a room bursting with the foul stench of cigarette smoke mixed with gallons of alcohol.

The sight… God, the sight is nearly indescribable. There are six of them today, some half-dressed, some fully dressed, but all of them look like corpses. Even my dreamer side can’t make anything out of reality other than what it is. I have to force myself to walk around and check that they’re all still breathing and haven’t died.  Once I’m satisfied that their chests are moving, I pad over to the stereo in the corner of the room on the floor, making sure not to step on any syringes on my way there.

I unplug the speakers and the music clicks off. Then I collect the stereo, relief washing over me when no one wakes up. Holding my breath, I sprint back across the living room and bolt out the front door into the fresh night air, the screen door banging shut behind me. I rush to the sidewalk and toward Zack’s house, but halfway there, my foot catches on the cord. With no shoes on, I end up stubbing my toe.

“Dammit,” I curse as warm blood oozes from the scrape. I start to set the stereo down so I can inspect the damage.

“Need help with that?”

My head whips up at the sound of a deep male voice. A tall, sturdy looking guy is watching me from the end of my driveway, beside the fence and beneath the stars.

“No, I’m good,” I tell him, gathering the stereo in my arms and backing away toward my house.

“You’re taking that to Zack’s, right?” Enough light floats over from Zack’s house that I can tell the unfamiliar guy is staring at me.

“I was going to…” My gaze dances back and forth between the guy and my home as I debate whether to duck back inside or not.

“I could carry it for you.” He moves toward me and I counter his movement with a step backward. He halts then elevates his hands in front of him. “I promise I don’t bite.”

I hesitate, torn between being polite and being overly safe. “It’s not that I think you bite…” I cast a glance at the rundown houses surrounding us. Some are boarded up, while others are starting to crack and fall apart, like mine. “It’s just that it’s late and this neighborhood is … Well, this neighborhood, and I don’t know you. For all I know, you could be a creepy pervert.”

He chuckles. “Well, I’m not. My name’s Conner and I’m an acquaintance of Zack’s and not from this neighborhood.” I can tell he’s smiling even though I can’t actually see his mouth. “See, now you know me.” When he starts to head toward me again, I shuffle back, still skittish and untrusting.

“Well, Conner, it’s been a pleasure, but I need to go.”  I spin for the stairs to my house. “Tell Zack if he wants the stereo he can come over and get it.”

“Avery, what the hell is taking you so long?” Zack asks from seemingly out of nowhere. “I just got a beer bottle thrown at me because of your slow ass.”

I reel back around. Zack is standing in the middle of the lawn and a few feet in front of the Conner guy, who’s now chatting with some other person from the party.

“I was hurrying as fast as I can,” I lie to Zack. “Sorry.”

“Why? I sent Conner out here to help you.” Zack frowns as he steps into the porch light.

I sigh, feeling silly. “Yeah, sorry, but I didn’t know who he was.”

“Always so cautious,” Zack says with a lazy grin. “You need to loosen up more, Avery.”

I note his glazed eyes, his blonde hair sticking up straight, and that goofy lopsided grin he always has whenever he’s been toking up. “You’re stoned.” I hate that he does it, hate drugs and alcohol. Never do them myself, but I’ve also seen the ugliest side of substance abuse.

Zack shrugs, softly laughing. “Just a little bit. Sorry.”

“You suck.” I shift to the bottom of the stairs, quickly glancing over at Conner, who is looking at me again. “Here. It’s all yours. I’m going to bed.” I hand Zack the stereo then turn back to go inside, even though part of me doesn’t want to, doesn’t want to have to go back into the smell and the rotting.

“Wait,” Zack calls out. “The speakers.”

“Don’t you have your own?” I ask, gripping onto the railing.

“No, the whole thing got trashed during a fight just barely… damn drunk ass**les landed on it.”

I sigh for the millionth time tonight and look back at him. “I’m way too nice to you, Zachery.”

He rolls his eyes at my usage of his full name, but then he gives me a goofy stoner grin. “That’s because you secretly like me, Avery.”

I roll my eyes. The last thing I will ever do is date a guy from The Subs because I’m not going to end up here like my mother. I will do everything in my power never to let that happen.

Sucking in a deep breath, I rush back into my house and into the living room. This time I’m in such a hurry I almost step on a syringe, but thankfully, I’m able to dodge around it. I struggle to get the large speakers in my arms before I maneuver around the people passed out on the floor and make my way to the front door, bursting outside and into the cool night.

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