The summer before her junior year of high school, Kristina Snow goes on a court-ordered visit to Albuquerque to see her estranged father. It's understandable why her mom's reluctant to send her there: Kristina's dad isn't exactly a standup guy, and he lives in a disgusting apartment in a shady neighborhood, works at a bowling alley that clearly has some not-so-nice activities going on, and is addicted to drugs and booze. So yeah, not exactly the greatest place for an impressionable teen to spend her summer.
Being at her dad's pretty much stinks for all of these reasons, at least until Kristina meets Adam, the charming neighborhood bad boy, who introduces our previously sheltered protagonist to a whole new world of romance, alcohol, nicotine, and most of all, crystal meth. The two spend a good portion of her visit making out and getting high with her dad. Before she goes home, Adam even gives Kristina a homemade tattoo of a misshapen heart to represent his undying love. That's a nice thought, but we all know summer flings are usually fated to crash and burn.
Kristina only goes to Albuquerque for a few weeks, but that's plenty of time for her exposure to Adam (and crank) to transform her into a completely different person. Back in Reno, Nevada, Kristina struggles to return to her normal, good-girl life and leave Adam and his crooked vices behind. Ultimately, though, she caves in to her desire for romance and drugs. Desperate for attention (and potential ways to get meth), she seduces/befriends two different guys from her hometown, a squeaky clean-looking lifeguard named Brendan and Reno High's resident rebel, Chase Wagner.
At home, Kristina's relationship with her mother and stepfather quickly tanks. She becomes sullen and moody, refuses to divulge any details of her summer, and is frequently grounded for lying, mouthing off, and generally being disobedient. This, however, doesn't stop her from sneaking out to party with Brendan in his friends, make out in Chase's truck, and get high every chance she gets. Things take a frightening turn when Kristina bribes Brendan to get her an eighth of an ounce of meth and Brendan rapes her as part of the transaction.
We'd like to say that things get better from this point on, but they don't. Kristina returns to school for her junior year and struggles to balance academics with her relationships with Chase and drugs. Abandoning her old friends for the other stoners and smokers in the school, Kristina finds a whole new social group, including Robyn, a popular cheerleader who turns to crank to stay slim and peppy. When sneaking out in the middle of the night lands Kristina in juvenile hall, her activities take a whole new turn—she meets a girl with a connection to the Mexican Mafia and becomes a drug dealer.
Kristina's pretty content with her ongoing supply of crank, popularity with her new friends and clients, and growing fame at school, but things take another dive when a bombshell drops into her life: She's pregnant. The bad situation gets unbearable when she realizes that Brendan, not Chase, is the father of her baby. While she's initially tempted to get an abortion, her stomach flutters while waiting for the appointment, and although it's too early to feel the baby, she takes it as a sign that she is to raise her child rather than go through with the procedure.
At the end of the book, Kristina says she loves and is thankful for her son, Hunter. She's also managed to stay relatively clean, with the exception of a couple of times caving in during her pregnancy. She takes responsibility for her actions, realizing that although she might be able to walk away from it, crank's hold on her will never really go away.
Chapter 1: Flirtin' with the monster
- Kristina opens up our story by telling us the before and after of her relationship with "the monster." Things were good, but the drug made it better. For a while, anyway. Uh-oh… This sounds really foreboding.
Chapter 2: Introduction
- Since we're going to spending somewhere around five hundred pages with her, let's get to know our main character a little better. Kristina offers to tell us the real story behind her walk off the deep end, withholding zero of the sordid details.
- She also alludes to the fact that her actions have caused a lot of grief for a lot of people.
- Dude—we're only a few pages in and it already sounds like things haven't gone well.
Chapter 3: Alone
- Kristina tells us a little about her family, and it sure doesn't sound happy. She doesn't have a great relationship with her mom, who is going through some kind of midlife crisis, or her stepfather, who holds really high standards for her and really just stresses her out.
- She also has two siblings—an older sister, Leigh, who's a lesbian, and a younger, extremely spoiled little brother named Jake. So basically, middle child syndrome. Combine that with some messed up authority figures and you get a home life that doesn't look pretty.
Having gotten the fam out of the way, Kristina tells us about the person inside of her, whom she likes much better than who she really is: Bree.
- Bree pretty much sounds like the opposite of Kristina. She's crude, obscene, not a great student, and isn't quite all there mentally speaking.
- Still, Kristina's obviously sick of her own perfect, gifted and talented persona, and Bree seems to be her antidote of choice.
Chapter 4: On Bree
- Kristina imagines that even before the events of this tale unfolded, Bree was always there in some way. She tries to remember the first time she remembered feeling her presence and says she calls upon Bree when life for Kristina gets a little too overwhelming.
- Okay, wait a minute… What's going on here? Is Bree an alter ego? Does Kristina have schizophrenia? What kind of narrator are we dealing with here, really?
Chapter 5: More on Bree
- As if she can read our minds, Kristina reassures us that she's totally not psychotic. Bree's not an imaginary friend or a hallucination or a Three Faces of Eve kind of deal; she's just the person Kristina becomes when she's not quite interested in being her good girl self.
Chapter 6: My Mom Will Tell You
- Kristina now hits the throwback button and tells us a little about how this whole situation got started. The previous summer, a court-ordered visit sent her on an ill-fated summer visit to see her dad.
- Obviously, her parents are divorced, so things didn't go well with their marriage. Her mother says that she got married too young and found herself in over her head; Kristina's dad disappeared from her life eight years ago following the divorce.
- Then Dad came back into the picture after calling her mom and saying he wanted to see his little girl (except she's not so little anymore).
- Kristina begged her mom to let her go, even though she's aware of her dad's many vices and destructive habits.
- Giving into the court's decision, her mom sent her packing to see Dad. Meanwhile, to quote the immortal words of Han Solo, we've got a bad feeling about this.
Chapter 7: Aboard United 1425
- Kristina finds herself on one of those obnoxious three-hour plan flights complete with screaming engines, fussy babies, third run movies on the TV system, and That Seatmate Who Just Won't Shut Up. Oh, and the in-flight meal consists of pretzels—that's all.
- Albert, Kristina's talkative seatmate, tells her that he's been lonely since his wife died a year before. This causes her to reflect on how she's been alone and has felt neglected since her mom married Scott.
Chapter 8: Two Hours into the Flight
- Albert has dozed off. Left in silence, Kristina starts thinking about her dad and whether or not eight years is too long to wait to reform a connection.
Chapter 9: Hot Landing
- The plane touches down at a desert airport. Kristina says goodbye to Albert, thinking that the two of them are kind of alike, in a way—both have lost people that are important to them and are seeking ways to fill their lives.
Chapter 10: The Prince of Albuquerque
- Kristina lives in Reno, Nevada, where summers are pleasant. This is not the case in Albuquerque. It's really blazing hot, and to top it off, she's wearing a long sleeved black shirt—not the greatest wardrobe choice.
- She scans the faces at the gate looking for her dad. She finally notices a guy with hair like hers who must be him, though she isn't ready to believe it. She always thought he was better looking.
Chapter 11: Mutual Assessment
- Kristina approaches the guy she thinks is her dad, who's humming a song she remembers from bedtime years ago. He, too, is looking at the faces in the crowd, and she realizes that he's looking for a much younger version of her. Ha.
- When she greets him, he hugs her. Unlike Scott, who's pretty fastidious, Kristina's dad stinks of cigarettes, alcohol, and body odor. Kristina realizes that the visit is going to be more awkward than she imagined—after eight years, she and her dad really are strangers.
Chapter 12: I Got in a Car with a Stranger
- On the drive back to her dad's place, Kristina and her dad attempt awkward small talk. We learn some stuff about her family in the process, mainly that Leigh's in college and her parents aren't exactly accepting of her lifestyle.
- Kristina's mom also has a bunch of issues. She's decided to become a writer as part of her midlife crisis and is obsessed with working out.
- Although Scott has high standards and is always riding her about something, Kristina realizes that her stepfather has always been there when she's needed him, which is more than she can say for her own dad.
Chapter 13: Small Talk Shrank to Miniscule
- Kristina and her dad run out of things to talk about, and now the only thing for her to do is realize how totally gross his car is. For one thing, it's barely functional. For another, there's no air conditioning and the whole place smells like motor oil.
- As if that's not bad enough, Kristina's dad has the nerve to ask her if she's ever had sex. Um, none of your business, Dad. Then he starts smoking and talking about how her mom made him quit, but that he started up after the divorce.
- They arrive in an ugly-looking suburban neighborhood, home of Kristina's dad's apartment complex. Kristina begins to realize that this visit was one big, giant mistake.
Chapter 14: You Call This a Castle?
- Kristina's dad welcomes her to his "castle," which is an odd choice of words considering that the place is a dump. The building's made out of cracked cement and she can hear parents screaming at their kids.
- As they climb the stairs, things take a surprising turn of events when Kristina runs into a guy…
Chapter 15: Not My Type
- Kristina can tell the guy she runs into is kind of a bad boy—a first class violator of the No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service rule. While she finds him really hot, he's not exactly her type.
Chapter 16: At Least I Had Something
- While she may not want to full on pursue the shirtless guy, Kristina clearly enjoyed looking at him. That's more than she can say for her dad's apartment, which is about as disgusting as we imagined it would be.
Chapter 17: Dad Had to Go to Work
- After an awkward ride in his lemon of a car and arriving at his gross apartment, you'd think things couldn't get much worse for Kristina. Try again. Her dad actually goes to work and leaves her alone in that place.
- Her dad explains that he couldn't take any time off while she's in town because his boss is power hungry. Somehow, we have trouble believing him—especially when he tells Kristina that he didn't tell his boss that the guest he has visiting is his daughter.
Chapter 18: He Worked in a Bowling Alley
- Kristina's dad works under the table at a local bowling alley so he can still get disability checks.
- The alley is in a really bad neighborhood and he claims that no one will rat him out because the other employees have secrets of their own—apparently some shady stuff goes down in the back room.
Chapter 19: I Opted Out
- Kristina's dad invites her to join him at work, but she says she's too tired from the trip. Hey, after that description, we can't blame her.
Chapter 20: Not Quite Silent
- Alone in her dad's apartment, Kristina spends a fun-filled day listening to the creepy noises of water dripping in the apartment, tree branches scratching the glass, and neighbors yelling at each other.
Chapter 21: The Screaming
- The screaming neighbors transport Kristina back to her childhood before the divorce. She remembers huddling under blankets with Leigh listening to their parents fight.
- She particularly remembers her mom telling her dad that he didn't deserve his daughters and that he'd be lucky if he saw them ever again after the divorce.
- While it sure sounds like her mom had good reason for saying that, Kristina is still angry with her about it—her dad may have issues, but he's the only dad she has.
Chapter 22: Of Course, When I Was Little
- Kristina admits, however, that her dad did some bad stuff, particularly cheating on her mom and having some serious addiction problems. Still, the pain of being taken away from him feels fresh even eight years later.
- Meanwhile, back at home, Kristina's mom has been taking her frustrations over her failing writing career out on her daughter. As a result,
- Kristina's quick to blame her for her dad abandoning her. She feels like in spite of everything, it would be easier to forgive her dad than her mother.
Chapter 23: Okay, Over the Last Few Years
- While her mom seriously gets on her nerves, Kristina admits that life hasn't been exactly easy for her and is willing to cut her a little slack. Raising two kids on your own (until Scott showed up) isn't easy, after all.
- Kristina's brother Jake is Scott's son. Her mom loves him for sure, but doesn't love the fact that having another baby took more of a toll on the body she works to perfect. Meanwhile, Kristina recognizes that her dad has always loved drugs more than his own family.
Chapter 24: Dad Hadn't Paid His Cable Bill
- Given his love of television when she and Leigh were little, Kristina finds it ironic that her dad's been negligent with his cable fees. So to recap, she's stuck in the world's nastiest apartment with nothing to do except listen to neighbors fighting and nothing to watch on TV except fuzzy Friends reruns and Spanish soap operas.
- Kristina's understandably bored and decides to go outside, where she notices the hot, shirtless guy flirting with another girl. She stands in the shadows and watches them.
Chapter 25: The Rules
- Hot guy and the girl are arguing about whether to engage in sexual relations while simultaneously making out. The girl's mom yells at her to come inside but they continue with their activities.
- Finally Mom can't be ignored anymore so the girl goes inside, promising him they'll meet up later.
Chapter 26: She Went Inside
- The girl goes inside, and Kristina ponders her confusing emotions about the hot guy.
- On one hand, he's really sexy. But on the other, she's totally clueless about guys and doesn't want a boyfriend. She doesn't even really like talking to strangers, especially strangers who smoke.
- Mainly, though, she can see he's attached to the other girl and knows she shouldn't want a relationship with him just based on that.
Chapter 27: I Must Have Moaned
- Kristina makes some kind of noise that gets Mr. Hot's attention. He tells her that he's been "waiting for her." What? It sure didn't look like it a few minutes ago…
- Moving closer to her, he tells Kristina that he knows what she's thinking. She's thinking that he's a bad boy and not good enough for her (which is totally true). Then he actually touches her face and tells her she's wrong. Whoa.
Chapter 28: The Wind Blew Up
- Kristina shakes her head, but the guy pressures her to tell him why she's staring at him. Kristina describes it to us as feeling like there's another person inside her who can't stop looking at him, and she can feel that person coming to life.
- The guy tells her she's kind of a snob, but cute—we can't tell whether that's meant to be a compliment or not—and then he asks for her name.
- She tells him her name is Bree. Ah…
Chapter 29: Bree? Who Was She?
- Whoa, wait a minute. Who's Bree and why did Kristina just pull that name out of nowhere? Hot guy says it's pretty and Kristina says she can feel confidence rising in "our brain." Is she Gollum now or something?
- Kristina/Bree is confused, but she stays cool and asks for his name. He says people call him Buddy, but it says Adam on his birth certificate.
- Adam tells Kristina that he thinks she's kind of weird, but that he wants to get to know her. Meanwhile, Kristina is wondering who the heck Bree is and whether or not she's going to stick around.
Chapter 30: I Wanted to Know Him, Too
- Kristina realizes that in spite of everything she was just thinking, she actually does want to get to know Adam. She thinks about how Bree would probably just grab him and kiss him, but Kristina doesn't have that confidence.
- Adam's girlfriend calls for him. Adam asks Kristina how long she'll be in town (it's only a three week visit). He tells her it's not a lot of time, but might be "enough."
- Enough for what? This guy might seem nice, but something about him is still a little shady.
Chapter 31: The Return of Guinivere
- Adam's girlfriend shows up and demands to know whom Kristina is. She's obviously really upset about her presence and tells Kristina that her name is Lince, which actually means "lynx."
- Kristina decides to flee the scene and leave them alone, but Adam quietly tells her he'll see her later.
Chapter 32: That'll Teach Me
- Kristina figures the near-cat fight she's just experienced should teach her not to stare at guys. She runs back to her dad's apartment for a glass of water, only to discover a massive cockroach in the kitchen.
Chapter 33: Toss-and-Turn Night
- The cockroach is enough to leave Kristina totally unsettled and unable to sleep. That and the fact that her room is not quite hot and not quite cold and her bed has mildew. Sheesh. Is there any inch of this guy's apartment that isn't a different flavor of disgusting?
Chapter 34: Through the Keyhole
- Kristina finally goes to sleep and dreams she's in a meadow where a bunch of wildcats are mating. She watches them, afraid and fascinated at the same time.
- One of the female wildcats looks straight at her. Kristina is horrified to realize that the cat has her face.
Chapter 35: So Much for Sleep
- After waking up in terror from her dream, Kristina automatically searches the apartment and the landing outside for any trace of wildcats (or maybe she's looking for Lince).
Chapter 36: I Hid Out for Three Days
- The encounter with Lince combined with her nightmare is enough to keep Kristina on lockdown in her dad's apartment. She mostly spends the next few days sleeping and talking to her dad about his aspirations.
- He doesn't have many. He wants to marry "a good woman," but doesn't want to go on dates to movies or have dinner with women unless they are cooking, which kind of makes him a cheap, chauvinist pig on top of everything else.
- It's his final remark that kind of startles her, though: He says no one can measure up to her mother.
Chapter 37: I Even Spent Time at the Bowling Alley
- Kristina's so desperate for places to hide from Adam that she actually goes to work with her dad and hangs at the bowling alley.
- She quickly realizes that the extremely shady clientele is there to do more than knock down pins—In particular, they spend a lot of time disappearing into a back room and coming out stoned. Kristina's never experienced drugs, but she's not totally ignorant of them. She also realizes something really disturbing: Her dad is involved with the back room activities and really likes to party.
Chapter 38: He Hadn't Changed At All
- Kristina's realization that her dad is still doing drugs doesn't do much to dislodge her notion that he's still not such a bad guy. She even questions him about it.
- Her dad explains that he's smoked marijuana since he was thirteen. He's also had experience with cocaine, at least until the big drug crackdown of the 1980s. Now, he and his friends mainly spend time with meth, a.k.a. "The monster." Uh-oh… Where have we heard that before?
Chapter 39: You Fly Until You Crash
- Her dad tells Kristina that being on The monster is like flying for two days with no sleep and no food before you come down and crash.
Chapter 40: Dad Crashed
- True to his description, Kristina's dad crashes. Kristina wonders if drug use affects his work schedule. Does he go anyway when recovering from a high? Or does he just not have a schedule at all?
- With no trips to the bowling alley and no awkward conversation, Kristina is left to her own devices. She goes to the convenience store one day to get a magazine and a Pepsi—and runs into Adam.
Chapter 41: He Knew It, Too
- Adam suspects that Kristina's been avoiding him, and she tries to talk her way around the truth by saying she's been busy spending time with her dad. Adam, however, knows the score and doesn't buy it.
- Kristina doesn't have enough change for her Pepsi so Adam covers it, then asks if he can walk her home and maybe spend some time with her. He promises to be good. Somehow, we doubt that.
Chapter 42: His Mom Was at Work
- Adam and Kristina go back to Adam's place, where he smokes a cigarette and offers her some of his bad habit.
- Kristina takes a puff on the cigarette and almost throws up, all in the name of getting a guy to like her. Funny… Wasn't she just saying a few days ago that this guy was bad news?
- Things take a somewhat awkward turn when Adam pulls her into his lap. Kristina starts feeling sick for a whole different reason than the cigarette.
Chapter 43: He Wanted to Kiss Me
- Obviously, Adam wants to smooch, but Kristina's plummeted back into her previous dilemma of wanting/not wanting him. She fights with herself inside her mind and finally lets him kiss her.
Chapter 44: First Kiss
- Kristina's been told she'll always remember her first kiss, and she knows immediately that whoever said this was right. What she appreciates most of all is that Adam doesn't seem to want to take advantage of her or control her; he seems to respect her.
- Still, we're not completely convinced. Something about this guy is just a little too smooth for this to be real.
Chapter 45: The Week Flew By
- Kristina spends the whole week with her new, um, friend. They engage in a lot of activities that she probably wouldn't have done before becoming Bree, like making out in public, going skinny-dipping, and sneaking out of her dad's apartment. Wow. That escalated quickly.
Chapter 46: Somehow the Place Looked Different
- On Sunday, Kristina and Adam make plans to meet up at the shady bowling alley. When she arrives, Kristina realizes that she's changed a ton in the past week, enough that she doesn't seem interested in the sketchy behavior of the clientele. She's become part of their world.
Chapter 47: Choices, Choices
- Kristina compares the decisions she's made throughout her life to the ones Bree has made for her in the last several days. She realizes that she's been too cautious and that Bree has taught her to take chances and be more adventurous.
Chapter 48: You Have to Remember
- It's been an intense week for Kristina, with lots of serious emotions as she discovers what a real relationship is like.
- She thinks about how she came on the trip to reconnect with her dad, but it's been different from that—she's begun accepting her dad's world and now, rather than wanting to go home, she wants to stay.
- Love isn't the only thing Kristina's experienced in the last week. She also got high with Dad, but smoking marijuana was a big disappointment. She decides she wants to go big or go home. Kristina wants to meet "the monster."
Chapter 49: We Met at the Bowling Alley
- At the bowling alley, Kristina introduces Adam to her dad, who already knows him from the apartment complex and around the neighborhood.
- Adam asks Kristina if she's ready to really party—and if she's sure she really wants to. With only ten days left in her trip, Kristina's totally sure. Having been introduced to the wild side with the advent of Bree, she wants to experience all she can.
- They go into the dubious back room, and behind a bunch of crates, Adam introduces Kristina to meth.
Chapter 50: Just Before the Drop
- Kristina likens her first taste of the monster to going over the edge of a really big drop on a roller coaster—the same emotional high and anticipation.
- We can't help but notice a key difference, though: Roller coasters are carefully engineered and include safety harnesses but there's nothing particularly safe about the decision Kristina just made.
Chapter 51: No Time Like That First Time
- As the drug hits her brain, Kristina gives a graphic description of what it feels like to try it for the first time. She details the physical effects it has on her sinuses and nose, while also saying that she has the urge to dance and act a little crazy.
Chapter 52: But That's Not Exactly Cool
- If Kristina behaves the way she feels like she wants to, though, Adam might think she's a freak, so she decides to play it cool and sit still and look pretty.
- Adam seems to be trying to gauge her reaction. Kristina closes her eyes, and he kisses her then asks if she wants another line.
Chapter 53: If a Little's Good
- Kristina decides she wants more and gets transported to a place she describes as heavenly, with Adam leading her there. They engage in intense physical intimacy, but stop at the brink of actual sex.
Chapter 54: Although Maybe
- While high, Kristina thinks about the definition of the phrase "all the way," wondering if it can be applied to situations other than sex—you know, like drugs.
Chapter 55: Because It Wasn't That
- Adam is so gentle as they explore each other's bodies that Kristina doesn't feel coerced or intimidated at all.
- Well, until there's a bunch of noise and voices outside the door…
Chapter 56: I Didn't Want to Stop Either
- Things get super awkward when she realizes one of the voices is her dad's. She and Adam scramble to hide and her dad calls her name—her real name. Adam asks who Kristina is.
Chapter 57: For Some Crazy Reason
- While it would probably be more appropriate for Kristina to panic about being discovered (not to mention being busted over the whole Bree thing), she instead starts laughing hysterically. She just doesn't care.
Chapter 58: Not Until the Door Opened
- Things get a lot less funny when her dad opens the door and Kristina sees that Lince is there with him. Oops.
- Lince is pretty ticked off and starts demanding that Adam tell her what's going on. It should be pretty obvious, but he actually has the nerve to say, "Nothing."
- Kristina feels kind of badly for Lince because she can tell Lince really wants to believe him. She even says okay and asks him to fix her a line.
Chapter 59: Like an Idiot
- Kristina decides she wants a third line, and with that, things get kind of out of control. It hits her that she's doing drugs with her dad, her boyfriend, and his girlfriend. Um, yeah… That's pretty messed up.
Chapter 60: The Monster Loves to Talk
- As if the situation isn't awkward enough, everyone starts saying all kinds of stuff that's totally socially unacceptable, because apparently the drug totally puts you on no-filter mode.
Chapter 61: Dad Said
- For example, Dad tells everyone that he wants to sleep with his boss, while Adam asks if he could get in on a three-way with them. Lince gets ticked at this and tells him to keep it in his pants.
- This whole conversation really makes Kristina mad—after all, her boyfriend just asked to get in on a sexual encounter with her dad and his boss—so she decides to get up and leave, hoping Adam will come after her.
Chapter 62: I Was Pissed
- Kristina stomps out of the bowling alley into the night, still jacked up on the drug and anger. She walks for about five minutes, until she realizes she's more than "pissed"—she's scared.
Chapter 63: Night Had Hung
- There are a lot of problems with Kristina roaming the streets of Albuquerque at night while high. Probably the biggest is that the neighborhood has serious racial issues, and as a young, white, blonde girl, she stands out like a sore thumb. This can't end well.
Chapter 64: I Thought I Knew the Way Home
- Kristina is totally overwhelmed. She has no idea where she is and to make matters worse, the drug is making it impossible for her to focus.
- Then things take a dangerous turn when three guys show up, call her "baby," and ask if they can help her.
Chapter 65: I Tried to Be Cool
- Panicked by her situation, Kristina tries to act tough and asks for a cigarette. The guys may not be huge, but she definitely feels outnumbered by them and scared.
- The guys start making sexual comments toward her, but she can't formulate comeback lines or a way out of the situation. One of the guys tells her he knows she's on crank.
- They push her into a doorway and tell her that all three of them are going to rape her.
Chapter 66: Hands
- The guys start ripping Kristina's clothes and throw her to the ground while she screams for them to stop. Realizing that there's no way out, she closes her eyes and prepares herself for what's coming.
Chapter 67: And Then I Heard
- As if on cue, Adam steps out of the shadows and asks the guys what they're up to. Never thought we'd say this about the guy, but phew.
- He challenges the jerks to leave Kristina alone and persuades them to back away, telling them they don't want to know what happens to rapists in prison.
Chapter 68: Three Raiders Jackets
- The guys disappear into the night and Adam comforts Kristina. A cop drives by, which isn't exactly something you want to see when you're high. Kristina forces a smile at him and waves, while Adam tells her it's time to go home.
Chapter 69: I Held Tight
- Kristina clings to Adam the whole way back to her dad's apartment. Her dad isn't home and Kristina figures he's probably still high and at the alley bowling, so she invites Adam in.
- They stay up all night smoking cigarettes and talking about relationships, their family situations, and love.
Chapter 70: Dawn Broke
- As morning arrives, Kristina and Adam make up after the discomfort and awkwardness of the back room at the bowling alley. They tell each other they love each other, erasing all of it.
Chapter 71: About That Time
- Kristina's dad finally shows up and tells Adam and Kristina that they'd better get some sleep. Adam decides to split.
- Kristina's dad asks her if she and Adam did anything he wouldn't do. Given his confessions in the back room, we're not totally sure what he means by this—there just doesn't seem to be a heck of a lot her dad won't do.
- Still, he warns her that she could get into serious trouble. Which only begs the question, if that's the case, why is he allowing any of this?
Chapter 72: Clueless
- While her dad goes to bed, Kristina lies on the couch and replays the previous evening in her mind. She's depressed because soon she'll have to go home and leave this world and Adam behind.
- She wonders about what aspects of their brief relationship he'll remember, if the lows will stand out in his mind more than the highs, and if life will go on as if she'd never been there.
Chapter 73: I Was Supposed to Sleep?
- Manic from her drug binge, Kristina realizes sleep is just not going to happen. She gets up and cleans the bathroom and kitchen, then writes a letter to her sister telling her all about Adam, as well as an epic poem about how all this is her mom's fault.
- She feels too sick to eat anything, but does manage to drink four beers.
Chapter 74: After the Fourth
- With nothing left to clean and no paper left to write stuff on, Kristina gives in to the great American pastime of watching a six hour Jerry Springer marathon and delighting in all the screwed up people in the world.
- The drug is leaving her system just as the alcohol is hitting it, and as a result, she finally feels like going to sleep.
Chapter 75: Used Up
- With her brain totally burned out, Kristina finally tanks somewhere in the middle of the Springer-thon.
Chapter 76: Woke to Pounding
- Kristina wakes up to someone knocking on the door; she wonders how long she's been asleep, guessing around a few hours. Yeah… try twenty.
- Adam is at the door and tells her that there's been an accident and he needs her to open the door.
Chapter 77: Coming
- The thing about the accident doesn't seem to register with Kristina. She gets up and flushes her mouth with mouthwash, forgetting that her legs haven't been used in almost a day and nearly falling down. She looks in the mirror and is horrified by her own reflection.
Chapter 78: I Filled the Sink
- After filling the sink with cold water, Kristina dunks her head under two times, then goes and opens the door.
Chapter 79: His Demon Showed in His Eyes
- Adam stumbles into the apartment and clings to Kristina like a scared kid—he says that Lince either fell or jumped off the apartment balcony the day before.
- Kristina doesn't ask why she did it, just holds him and lets him cry.
Chapter 80: He Told Me Why Anyway
- Earlier the previous morning, Lince went looking for Adam and found him at Kristina's dad's apartment. She watched them talking and kissing from the window and waited for Adam to come out.
- When he did, she confronted him about Kristina and told Adam to forget about her. He said that was impossible. Still high, Lince got furious and screamed at him, and the next thing he knew, she'd fallen (or jumped).
- As of now, people are calling it a crank-induced accident. Adam wants to believe it was an accident, but feels like he should have seen it coming and stopped her.
Chapter 81: My Brain Somersaulted
- Kristina continues to comfort Adam, who thinks the Lince situation is all his fault. Inside, though, Kristina's kind of freaking out because she thinks she's the one to blame.
- Adam tells her she's wrong and that plenty of people share the blame for the accident. Still, Kristina feels like if she hadn't been passed out from drugs, she might have heard something.
Chapter 82: We Sat on the Floor
- Lying on the floor together, Kristina and Adam talk through their feelings about the accident. Kristina finds herself simultaneously admiring Adam for still being in love with Lince while also hating the fact that he ever loved her at all.
- Adam needs closure with Lince and decides to go visit her at the hospital. He asks Kristina to come along, and despite her anger, she agrees.
Chapter 83: Fifteen Blocks on Foot and a Bus Ride Later
- At the hospital, Adam lies to the nurse on duty at ICU and says he's Lince's brother and that Kristina is his fiancé. She says they've missed visiting hours, but being relatives (at least for the moment), they're allowed to go in.
Chapter 84: Lince Floated
- Adam leaves Kristina alone in the waiting room and goes in to make peace with Lince.
- As she waits, Kristina thinks about how badly she needs food, a shower, Adam, and most of all, her mother.
- All of this just ends up making her really need the monster.
Chapter 85: Evening, When We Left
- Adam and Kristina take the bus home and he drops her off at her dad's apartment. He doesn't kiss her when he says goodbye.
- Kristina wonders if there's any hope of their relationship being permanent.
Chapter 86: Dad Asked Where I'd Been
- Look who just decided to make an appearance: Kristina's dad, who's been notably absent for the last several chapters, asks where she happened to go with Adam.
- He's already heard about the accident. All he has to say about it, though, is that Lince is a pretty girl and that it's "hard to believe we just partied together." Really, dude?
- Kristina goes to get something to eat from the fridge but finds nothing edible. Her dad asks if she wants to go to McDonalds, which isn't much better.
Chapter 87: One Hour
- At dinner, Kristina and her dad eat a cholesterol festival of food and have empty conversation.
- Kristina feels incapable of telling her dad about the emotions she's experienced since the accident, as well as how her life has changed in just the last few days.
Chapter 88: Instead We Returned to Small Talk
- It's easy to see why Kristina doesn't want things to get real between her and dear old Dad—he's totally uninterested in her feelings or even her life before the Albuquerque adventure.
- The only question he really wants an answer to is whether she and Adam have done the deed. When she says no, he gives her a look like he doesn't believe her. Kristina wonders if her mom would have.
Chapter 89: Dad Went Out
- Kristina's dad really is totally oblivious. Completely tone-deaf to teenage girl emotions, he leaves Kristina alone to cry it out—like, snotty-nosed, big tears style.
- This particular brand of crying is even worse because Kristina is too apathetic to even blow her nose, so now there's snot all over her face. Um, gross.
Chapter 90: I Was Mid-Drip
- At the worst possible time ever, Adam decides to show up. Kristina thinks about pretending she's not home and continuing to wallow in her misery (and snot), but instead she decides to wipe her face, blow her nose, and go answer the door.
- After all, she has to go home in two days, and it would be nice if she could leave with her relationship with Adam intact.
Chapter 91: Okay, I Looked Awful
- Take Kristina's frustration and confusion, multiply it by ten, and you pretty much have what Adam is feeling. They cling to each other outside the apartment and apologize.
Chapter 92: So of Course I Did a Really Stupid Thing
- Adam takes a packet of fresh crystal meth out of his pocket and invites Kristina to share it. Kristina wants to say no, but Bree takes over and responds with a great big "Oh heck yes."
- They get high. In the midst of her heightened emotions and state of mind, Adam asks Kristina if she is Bree or Kristina.
- She replies that Kristina is the person people have made her into, but instead of giving into her parents' desires, she chooses to be Bree.
- In response, she asks Adam if he is "Buddy" or Adam. He tells her that with her, he's Adam and she is Eve. Smooth line.
Chapter 93: Adam
- Adam and Kristina engage in heavy, drug-induced making out. Things get out of control and clothes start coming off, and Kristina thinks she's ready to escalate their relationship to sex territory.
Chapter 94: But First I Had to Pee
- Kristina drops her pants only to realize that there's a slight problem: Her period has made an appearance. Talk about a buzz killer—especially since the drug use has made it heavier than normal.
- She goes back to break the news to Adam, who begs her to do it anyway and says he doesn't care. Still, Kristina's not interested in making her period a key player in her first time having sex.
- She alludes to the fact that she has regretted not saying yes. Uh-oh… Could this mean something worse is coming?
Chapter 95: But That Day
- Even though Bree wants to do it, Kristina still has enough morals and self-respect left to tell him no.
Chapter 96: So I Said
- Adam gets really upset. Kristina thinks that this is really his fault, though, because he's the one who brought drugs and let things get out of hand.
- As a compromise, he shows Kristina how to relieve his sexual pressure, and he says things are okay. At least for him, that is. Kristina still feels like something is majorly wrong.
Chapter 97: Girls Get Screwed
- Angered by what just happened with Adam, Kristina reflects on how often guys take advantage of girls. Apparently they think it's totally acceptable to build up girls' emotions and say they love them one minute, then discard them the next.
Chapter 98: I Considered That
- Kristina thinks about this stuff as she packs to go home. She thinks about how the suitcase is empty, just like her empty family life. She also thinks about her mom's selfish writing ambitions, her sister's unapologetic sexuality, and most of all, Lince, who is in a coma.
- Overwhelmed by her thoughts, Kristina decides to get packing.
Chapter 99: One Day and Counting
- On her last day in Albuquerque, Kristina gets three phone calls where no one wants to say what's really on their minds.
- Mom calls to see if she's ready to come home, which really means she's worried Kristina will choose to say with her dad.
- Dad calls and asks if she wants to go out to dinner, which really means that he recognizes that he hasn't spent any meaningful time with his daughter since she's been there.
- Adam calls from the hospital to say that he wants to see her this afternoon and has a surprise, which is really code for, "Are you still on your period?" and "I have drugs."
Chapter 100: To Speed or Not to Speed
- Kristina thinks about whether she should take Adam up on his offer. She decides that this is the last chance she has to leave Adam with a memory of her, so even though flying on drugs will probably be terrible, she decides to go for it.
Chapter 101: A Couple of Toots
- While high, Kristina thinks about how she doesn't care who knows that she's on drugs. Okay, that's not exactly true—she doesn't want her dad in on this, and she's also pretty sure the neighbors are looking out for suspicious activity since the Lince-ident.
- About that. Kristina continues to wonder if Lince really did fall or if she actually jumped or was trying to fly.
Chapter 102: But Right Then
- Kristina begs Adam to hold her and kiss her, and makes him promise to write and call. He says he will.
- He also says he wants to give her something to remember him by, so she'll always be a part of him. What? This sounds like it's about to go bad really fast.
- It does. He gives her a tattoo of a heart on her thigh. In our experience, homemade tattoos have never gone well…
Chapter 103: It Throbbed the Next Day
- On the plane, all Kristina can think about is the raw, throbbing pain coming from her tattoo. That can't be a good sign.
- She's also starving since her dad got high when he got home and deprived her of their dinner date. She thinks about how she and Adam are now separated, and how while Kristina wants to come down from her high, Bree wants to stay that way.
Chapter 104: I Still Wasn't Down When We Landed
- Kristina watches the landscape of Nevada unfold as the plane lands, thinking about how she might be home, but Bree has never been here before.
Chapter 105: Tightened Airport Security
- After her flight lands, Kristina walks through the airport, seeing the advertisements for Lake Tahoe and Vegas shows with Bree's new eyes. She feels herself come down from her high just in time to meet her family.
Chapter 106: I Saw Them
- Kristina sees her family before they see her. They've all turned out to meet her at the airport, including Leigh, who's home from college.
- She thinks that her mom actually seems prettier than she remembered, and wonders if she'll ever be that beautiful.
- Her mom finally looks in her direction and smiles.
Chapter 107: Then She Caught Sight
- For a brief moment, Mom looks unnerved, like there's something different about Kristina, and her smile fades.
Chapter 108: Homecomings Are Strange
- Kristina's family floods her with questions that they don't give her time to answer. Instead they all just end up talking about themselves, then forgetting all about her after they get in the car for the drive home.
Chapter 109: My Mom Says "I Love You" with Food
- The family goes out to dinner at a buffet restaurant. Everyone eats a ton, except for Kristina who eats only one plate of food.
Chapter 110: Home Sweet Home
- When they arrive home, Kristina sees her family's house through both her own eyes and Bree's simultaneously. She wants to somehow find who she was before the trip and return to her normal life, but also knows that it will be impossible to cast Bree aside.
Chapter 111: Despite All Trepidation
- At home, Kristina fights against the lingering effects of the drugs as her family helps her carry her things to her room. It's not exactly a successful venture, as her brother drops one of her suitcases and spills it and Leigh's fingers keep pinching hers.
- She's stunned by how clean Scott is after living in her dad's filth. Her mother tells her she's lost weight and looks fantastic, but Kristina can tell she's actually wondering if she's starving herself.
Chapter 112: Regardless
- In her bedroom, Kristina looks at her comfortable bed and inviting decorations, seeming to realize she's missed it.
Chapter 113: I Slithered Down the Hall
- Kristina goes to the bathroom to take a much-needed shower. She scrubs off her sweat and body odor, studying her tattoo, which is looking pretty nasty. It has green pus on it, which can't be a good sign.
Chapter 114: The Door Opened
- Discovering that your summer fling's do-it-yourself tattoo is infected stinks, but your big sister walking in on you naked just adds insult to injury.
- Now she has to explain the tattoo to Leigh, who's pretty concerned about the infection.
- She tells Leigh everything, leaving out the part about the drug use, and Leigh remarks that she hopes the tattoo is the only infection he gave Bree. She agrees not to tell anyone, though.
Chapter 115: Brain Lag
- Leigh does a little home-based nursing and cleans the tattoo, but Kristina doubts she's wiped out any significant part of the infection. She sleeps naked that night and lets herself slip into a dream world where she finds Adam.
- She wonders if people in comas—like Lince—can still feel emotion.
Chapter 116: Silence
- Kristina wakes up to find that she's the only person in the house. After everything she's been through, she's relieved to be alone.
Chapter 117: On the Nightstand
- Kristina finds a bottle of partially used antibiotics from Leigh, as well as a note from her mom saying her dad called to see if she was okay and a note from Jake saying that Adam called for Bree. The note asks who Bree is. Kristina is wondering that herself.
Chapter 118: I Went Straight for the Phone
- Meaning to call Adam, Kristina dials a wrong number and asks for the man of her dreams. The guy on the other end says something dirty and she hangs up.
- When she correctly dials Adam's number, she gets his mom on the line. He's at the hospital—Lince has opened her eyes.
- Kristina's reaction is complex: She feels relieved, but Bree feels anger and wants to get high.
- She thinks about the only time she talked to Adam's mom. She told Kristina that Adam's dad was a drug addict who abused her and then abandoned the family. Adam's older brother was a drug user as well and died of an overdose.
- His mother told her that Adam was all she had left and that she prays he makes better decisions than his dad and brother. Kristina thinks that maybe she should pray as well.
Chapter 119: Changed
- Her thoughts of praying are brief, though, because she can't understand why God would be interested in her. Still, she prays for safety for herself anyway.
Chapter 120: The Phone, Still in My Hand, Rang
- The phone rings in Kristina's hand. While she thinks for a moment that it might be Adam, it's actually Sarah, her best friend since the fourth grade.
- The thing about Sarah is that she won't shut up. She launches into a barrage of questions that she—much like Kristina's family—won't let her answer. While Kristina loves to listen to her talkative friend, Bree just wants to yell at her.
- Kristina thinks about how she can't tell her best friend anything about what's happened to her. It would be too dangerous and she doesn't know how she would react. She tells Sarah she'll call her later.
Chapter 121: At Least I Had the House to Myself
- Being alone in the house may be what she wanted, but Kristina sure isn't feeling too awesome right now. She takes one of the antibiotics and notes that the tattoo is feeling better and the infection is passing.
- She feels unbearably lonely and empty and realizes that there's only one thing that can truly relieve her—the monster.
Chapter 122: I Considered
- She may be new to the world of crank, but Kristina isn't totally ignorant of the fact that it has a pretty heavy scene in Reno—with adult entertainment, casinos, debauchery, and sexual promiscuity, the shady city is a walking drug magnet.
- Kristina is positive that the drug is in her hometown. All she has to do now is find out where to get it.
Chapter 123: Suddenly, However
- After going several days without food, Kristina is suddenly hit with the overpowering urge to stuff her face. Compared to the moldy, sparse contents of her dad's fridge, her mom's refrigerator is a virtual buffet.
- Mom is a great cook, but often goes through phases where she's too busy writing her novel and too selfish to consider her family's needs.
- Right now, though, she appears to be in a bake-o-rama stage: The fridge is packed with homemade goodies, which Kristina proceeds to pig out on.
Chapter 124: My Luck Ran Out
- After eating a ton, Kristina realizes that she has another craving to satisfy: She really needs a cigarette. She says that the strange thing about being addicted to cigarettes is that you don't realize you're hooked until you don't have a way to get them anymore.
- She certainly doesn't have an outlet for cigarettes at her house—Mom says they cause wrinkles, while Scott is obsessed with the health risks because his family is lousy with lung cancer. Leigh just says they make you smell bad.
Chapter 125: It Got Worse
- What could possibly make this situation more complicated? Having your mom and your big sister who knows about your tattoo show up. They've been shopping and got new bathing suits for Leigh and Kristina.
- Leigh picked out a hot pink bikini for her, even though her mom disapproves—Scott's company picnic is coming up and she doesn't want her daughters wearing anything too revealing.
- Of course, Leigh knows that skimpy bathing suits would also reveal her sister's secret, so she agrees.
Chapter 126: All Thoughts of Bad Habits
- Kristina's preoccupations with crank and cigarettes vanish with the mention of the company picnic. Every summer, Scott's computer business stages a massive celebration at Wild Waters waterpark, complete with go-carts, an arcade, tons of food, and of course, water slides (duh).
- This sounds completely fabulous on the surface, but Kristina has changed so much that she has a hard time getting jazzed up about it.
Chapter 127: I Went to Try on the Swimsuit
- Kristina tries on the swimsuit and looks at her body in the mirror. Like most teenage young ladies, she feels stuck somewhere between girlhood and womanhood.
- She feels like her body is too boyish, except when she has her period. Luckily, that's not a problem at the moment.
Chapter 128: The Tattoo, However, Was
- Adam's DIY tattoo looks better, but it's still problematic. It barely even looks like a heart, plus she has no way to hide it in this bathing suit.
- She considers Band-Aids, but realizes that it will just draw attention to itself and will probably come off in the water, which would gross a lot of people out. Furthermore, if the Band-Aid came off, the chlorine would just mess up the infection even more.
- It seems like the only real option is to not go, but Kristina knows that ditching her family would be a surefire clue that something's not right, plus she'd have to answer a lot of questions she's really not comfortable sharing with her family.
Chapter 129: As I Pondered
- All ruminations about her problem are interrupted when Jake announces that Adam is on the phone.
- On the phone, Adam makes Kristina melt inside by telling her he just called to say that he loves her. Just when she starts to feel all gooey inside, though, he ruins it by saying Lince is getting out of the hospital tomorrow.
- Then he makes things even worse. Because they live a long way apart, Adam thinks that they should be allowed to see other people.
- Um, what? The guy got her hooked on drugs and mutilated her skin and now he wants to date someone else? So not cool, Adam.
- We probably don't need to say it, but Kristina's pretty wounded by this.
Chapter 130: His Idea of Love
- When she hangs up the phone, Kristina thinks about how it's pretty interesting that Adam wants to "see other people" just as Lince is getting out of the hospital. Hmm… That does sound pretty suspicious.
- Mostly, Kristina just wants to cry. She thinks about how finding love was never the goal of her trip to Albuquerque, but losing it so fast certainly wasn't what she expected either.
Chapter 131: Mom Knocked on the Door
- Then something really bizarre happens: Mom knocks on Kristina's door and asks for permission to come in. Usually she just barges in whenever she wants, which is what makes this kind of odd.
- Mom notices Kristina's puffy, tear-stained face and says she thinks they have a lot to talk about—after all, they haven't had time to discuss her trip since Kristina came home.
- She says that even though it's not always easy to talk to moms, she loves Kristina and is there for her.
- Part of Kristina wants to share everything with her, but she knows that she'll get a lecture and that's the last thing she needs.
- Mom says she's making lasagna and garlic bread—Kristina's favorite meal. Kristina, however, is only thinking about how she's in desperate need of the monster.
Chapter 132: Over Lasagna and Garlic Bread
- At dinner, Kristina wills herself to give her family some details about the trip. She keeps it superficial—the lack of food on the plane, Albert the Lonely Seatmate, the shady neighborhood—all without discussing her transgressions.
- Most of all, she brings up Adam, leaving out all of the gory details Mom doesn't need to know. She's thankful that she's mad at him because otherwise she would probably be gushing about his sexy body and freak everyone out.
- As an explanation for her breakdown that afternoon, she also shares that they've decided to see other people. She's taken a step in talking to her parents—but we all know she's barely scratched the surface.
Chapter 133: Leigh Knew
- Of course, Leigh is aware there are multiple levels to the story that Kristina isn't telling. Kristina, however, trusts her completely, as Leigh has told her plenty of secrets that she's kept locked in the vault.
- Specifically, though, Kristina has never mentioned getting her period when she was about to have sex, Lince's accident, and her drug use. These things are exclusively hers.
Chapter 134: Later
- That night, Leigh climbs into bed with Kristina and asks if she wants to talk. Usually Kristina's happy to cuddle with her sister, but not right now.
- Leigh says she'll tell Kristina about her girlfriend, Heather, if she'll tell Leigh about Adam. Heather is a cheerleader and, according to Leigh, is about as close to perfect as you can get.
- The fact that she's a cheerleader makes Kristina laugh for some reason—mainly because she didn't know cheerleaders could be lesbians. Leigh says that not only can they like girls, but that cheerleaders are her type.
- This gets Kristina thinking: If squeaky clean, peppy cheerleaders can be lesbians, perhaps they do other things, too.
Chapter 135: I Tucked That Away
- Kristina tries to put this realization out of her mind and instead listens to Leigh gush about being in love with another girl, how she met Heather, how much they've connected, and all that gooey jazz.
- While she loves her sister and has accepted her sexuality, Kristina finds it hard to listen to her talk about their relationship. Maybe because Kristina's has just been snatched away and she feels unbearably lonely…
Chapter 136: Wild Waters Day Dawned
- The big day is finally here: It's time for Scott's company's annual Wild Waters Picnic Extravaganza. Kristina's about as stoked as she can get, considering that she has a partially infected tattoo. She's decided to cover it up with hot pink gauze.
- In addition, Kristina decides to take a shot at normalcy by inviting Talkative Sarah to join everyone—she hopes she doesn't regret it.
- At the park, she and Sarah run into their friend Trent from school. Trent is an outcast because on his sixteenth birthday, he came out as being gay; ever since, he's been the victim of hate crimes and bullying. Kristina, though, is cool with it, since having a gay sister has made her more open-minded.
- Kristina chills at the water park with Sarah and Trent, trying to look cool and trying to be herself.
Chapter 137: Mom and Scott
- Kristina is abruptly left alone when Mom and Scott go to socialize with his co-workers, Leigh and Jake race each other to the top of the highest waterslide, Trent goes to the wave pool, and Sarah goes to the locker room to shower.
- In their absence, Kristina hops an inner tube on the lazy river so she can get a closer look at the cute lifeguard. As she looks at him, she can feel Bree rearing her ugly head.
- She realizes that Bree isn't just some personality she's concocted—Bree is who she really is. We're a little skeptical, though, since anytime Bree shows up, things don't seem to go well.
Chapter 138: Whether That's Good or Bad
- In regards to Bree being the essence of Kristina's personality, Kristina's not sure whether that's a positive thing or not—all she knows is that she's able to do things she's not able to when Bree isn't in charge.
- Basically, it works like this: Kristina has been able to be in control of her life without the presence of crank. Still, she can feel Bree watching and waiting for the moment to emerge.
Chapter 139: Rather Than Face
- With the world's worst timing, Sarah and Trent walk over just in time to see Kristina staring at the hot lifeguard. She tells them she'll meet them at the waterslides—and they can tell exactly why.
- Kristina allows Bree to take over. With her newfound confidence, she walks up to the lifeguard and asks if he gets a lunch break.
Chapter 140: Before Bree
- Until Bree entered her life, Kristina wouldn't dare walk up to a hot guy and talk to him. As she talks to the lifeguard, though, she can feel girls staring at her and whispering, and she likes it.
- The lifeguard's name is Brendan. She gets his number.
Chapter 141: As If That Weren't Enough
- After scoring Hot Lifeguard Brendan's number, Kristina goes looking for her friends—but along the way, she runs into none other than Chase Wagner, her school's notorious bad boy.
- Chase isn't exactly hot in the traditional sense of the word—he's pale-skinned with freckles—but his blue eyes grab Kristina's interest in a way they never have before.
- She walks up to him and says hi. Chase says she looks familiar, but he's not sure if he knows her or not. Kristina tells him to call her Bree.
Chapter 142: Right Then, Three People
- In a moment of the Worst Timing Ever, three people shout, "Kristina!" at the same time. Kristina tries to play it cool and imagine they aren't referring to her. She says she'll see Chase later.
- She hurries off to join Sarah and Trent on the waterslides. She thinks about how she should be able to tell them how different she feels, how much confidence she's gained—but she decides not to since she imagines they would feel rejected and push her aside.
Chapter 143: Still, When Brendan Came By
- Brendan (the hot lifeguard) makes an appearance, and Kristina immediately ditches her friends to go talk to him. She bums a cigarette from him and he asks her if she's related to the people at the party.
- He also notes that Leigh is pretty, but the others don't look like Kristina at all. In perfect Bree fashion, she informs him that Leigh is a lesbian, but that she prefers what she calls "male hardware." Whoa. Where did that come from?
- Brendan says he likes what he can see of Kristina/Bree and makes a move to touch her hair. Just then, though, his boss calls him back to work; he tells her to call him and asks for her name.
- Wait a minute… Did Kristina just pick up two guys in one day? She thinks for a moment about telling him the truth, but instead gives him Bree's name.
Chapter 144: I Went Home
- Back home, Kristina seems to have had quite a day. She stuffed her face with barbeque, smoked a cigarette with Brendan, and drank stolen alcohol with Chase.
- It hasn't all been good, though (if you can call her behavior "good"). Leigh gave her a serious lecture, and stuff hit the proverbial fan when her mom noticed the tattoo.
- Still, Bree tells her that regardless of what lies ahead, the day has been pretty much perfect. Only a shot of the monster could have made it better.
Chapter 145: Grounded UFN
- Kristina is grounded until further notice—no phone calls, no hanging out with friends, no driver's training, and she has to pull weeds for the rest of the summer.
- Obviously Kristina thinks this is totally unfair. She feels like her mom gets mad whenever she fails to live up to her mom's image of her as a perfect, straight-A student.
- She even tells Kristina she wishes she could be more like Leigh. This is confusing to Kristina. Does she want her to go for a PhD like Leigh is? Or does she want her to be gay?
- Either way, Kristina's pretty mad and seems to fail to see how bad the decisions she's made really are.
Chapter 146: The Problem with Being Grounded
- There are obviously lots of problems with being grounded, but the worst for Kristina is probably that she has too much time to think. She spends most of her time plotting how to get even and make up for lost time.
- Mostly she thinks about how she'd rather be spending this time camping with her old friends—or better yet, partying with her new ones.
Chapter 147: She Cut Me Loose
- Two weeks before school starts, Kristina's mom un-grounds her and sends her to the mall with her credit card to buy school clothes.
- Kristina's usually not a big fan of trying on clothes, but she's been grounded for over a month and decides she's going to enjoy herself; she plans to make her shopping an all day adventure.
- She makes a stop at Victoria's Secret, where she runs into the Reno High cheerleaders. Again she begins thinking about what exactly could be making those girls so peppy. She has a few ideas…
- She says hi to Trent's sister, Robyn, then watches them from a distance to confirm her suspicions. The short version: They have to be using drugs.
Chapter 148: I Pondered That
- Kristina picks out underwear for herself and is at the checkout counter when someone taps her on the shoulder and asks to see her panties. It's Chase.
She stumbles out a lame comeback line and he asks where she's been and if she's been avoiding him. Kristina explains about the tattoo and being grounded.
- Chase invites Kristina to take a ride in his truck. No sex—just a ride. This sounds a little too familiar. She is about to say no when Chase mentions he has the monster.
Chapter 149: Did It Show?
- Excited at the prospect of being reunited with the monster, Kristina wonders if Chase can see just how pumped she actually is. She finds it amazing that after such a brief exposure to it and being away from it for over a month, it still has her in its grip.
Chapter 150: We Drove Down by the River
- Chase drives Kristina down by the river. On the way, she learns that in spite of his bad-boy persona, Chase is actually really smart—he quotes poetry and knows a lot of really awesome big words.
- By the river, Chase takes out a bottle with a spoon attached to it and notices that Kristina's shaking. He tells her they don't have to do this if she doesn't want to; he doesn't know that her desire for crank is literally making her tremble.
- He tells her to take it easy with the drug and that it can bring even the best people down.
Chapter 151: One Spoon
- Kristina goes for four spoons of the stuff and launches into a manic conversation with Chase about school, relationships, family, aspirations, and a massive amount of other topics.
Chapter 152: I Had to Explain
- Kristina is on the brink of explaining about Bree, but Chase interrupts by asking to kiss her. She lets him and is drawn to the fact that he asked her permission rather than just doing it.
- She asks him to do it again and they make out in his truck.
Chapter 153: In That Quite Hot Moment
- There's nothing like having the park ranger show up and peek in your truck to kill your buzz. Kristina says she has to get back to the mall so her mom doesn't get suspicious about how little money she spent.
- Chase asks if he can see her again. She says any time, but thinks about how just a few months ago, she would have told him to forget it. Still, she says she really likes him. Then he asks her a tough question, though: Does he like her or does he like Bree? She tells him it doesn't matter.
Chapter 154: Chase Wanted to Walk Around the Mall
- Chase tries to invite himself on her shopping spree, but Kristina tells him she won't get any shopping done if he comes.
- She then learns a valuable lesson: Shopping on drugs is a really bad idea. She can't find her way around even the most familiar of stores and tries on a massive amount of clothes. She even buys a few things she already has.
- Having had all the clothes shopping she can stand, Kristina decides to accessorize.
Chapter 155: A Second Word of Advice
- Shopping for jewelry on crank ends up being just as bad; nothing looks good at all.
- But things get a little more interesting when someone taps her on the shoulder: Brendan the Hot Lifeguard.
Chapter 156: Two Guys in One Day?
- Running into both of her conquests in one day is almost too much for Kristina to take, but Bree is totally game—she explains to Brendan about being grounded.
- Unlike Chase, Brendan looks like the kind of guy you can bring home to Mom and Dad, so she lets him walk her out to the curb to meet her mother.
- Brendan remarks that her mom is hot, which makes Kristina understandably angry. Luckily, he adds that she's not as attractive as Kristina.
Chapter 157: Mom Wanted to Hear All About Brendan
- Mom deluges Kristina with questions on the way home, including whether Brendan is her boyfriend, if he asked her out, and then finally gets around to asking whether she got some clothes.
- Kristina shows her mom the clothes, and Mom remarks about how consistent she is. Kristina has to laugh at this as they drive home, the drug still in her system.
Chapter 158: Inconsistent Me
- Back at the ranch, it's dinnertime, and Kristina has no interest in eating. The drug is wreaking havoc in her system again, so she lies to her mom and tells her she ate at the mall.
- Her mom tells her that eating junk food won't make her smart and that vegetables give girls a rosy glow. So now she's calling Kristina stupid and not glowing.
- She adds that Kristina got a letter in the mail. Hmmm.
Chapter 159: Dear Kristina,
- We now get the text of Kristina's letter. Surprise, surprise—it's from Adam. And boy does he have news…
- First of all, his mom is dating her boss and he's decided to control Adam's life and make him do respectable things, like consider what he wants to do with his life.
- Second, Lince is home and is doing better, if you can call being reduced to the physical and mental abilities of an infant "better." She's in physical therapy and has to learn how to walk and talk again. Adam has tried to spend time with her, but it's hard to see her like that.
- Adam apologizes for the phone call and chalks it all up to drugs. He tells her he really does love her and that she's the best thing that's ever happened to him. He tells her to be safe, be smart, and stay her—whatever her version of "her" is.
Chapter 160: Why Was Everyone
- Kristina wonders why everyone is suddenly concerned about how smart she is.
- She rereads the letter multiple times and cries, wondering why him saying he loves her makes her feel so depressed and considering whether the drug is affecting her attitude toward the situation.
Chapter 161: I Did Cry Then
- Just as Kristina's bawling over Adam, Chase times the situation perfectly and calls. He says he's checking up on her and wants to make sure she's okay.
- Instead of telling the truth, she decides to lie and say that everything's okay. Chase, though, is shockingly intuitive for a bad boy and knows she's lying.
- They talk on the phone until Scott makes them get off so he can use it. Chase tells Kristina she probably won't sleep much because of the monster and tells her to think of him.
Chapter 162: Chase Was Right
- As is par for the course for the monster, Kristina doesn't sleep for three days. Sarah invites her over, but she says she's sick. It's partially true, but she also doesn't want to have to deal with answering Sarah's inevitable questions.
- She weighs her options—Chase or Brendan… or perhaps somebody else.
Chapter 163: I Had to Pick Up
- School is starting soon and Kristina has to pick up her ID card. She lies to her mom and says she's going with Sarah, but really goes with Chase—he picks her up at a gas station, where they sit in his truck and kiss and smoke cigarettes.
- At school, Chase and Kristina wait to get ID cards, class schedules, and other fun back to school red tape. Then it's back to Chase's truck to smoke and make out some more.
- It would have been a perfect day… except Scott happens to see Chase drop her off.
Chapter 164: GUFN Again
- Just like that, Kristina's grounded again, and just like before, she has plenty of time on her hands to think about her situation.
- In particular, she thinks about how much she's changed over the summer, and where her previous life of innocence fits into the person she's become. She also wonders if she should come clean to her mom and break the news that her perfect image of Kristina doesn't exist.
Chapter 165: Leigh Headed Back to School
- It's time for Leigh to fly back to school. Everyone goes to the airport to see her off, except for Kristina, who claims she has cramps. Okay, she actually does have cramps.
- Mom says okay, but makes her promise to behave herself. The minute the car leaves the driveway, though, Kristina calls Chase and asks him to come over and bring the goods.
- Kristina and Chase get high and Chase actually has to tell her to take it easy. Kristina tells him she can't and won't.
Chapter 166: Chase Left Me with Goodies
- Against his better judgment, Chase leaves Kristina with crank, persuaded by the charms of Bree. After he leaves, she immediately begins plotting how to escape her imprisonment in her own home.
- Sweet-talking her mom is out, though, so the only option she has for one last free-for-all before school starts is to sneak away.
Chapter 167: I Watched the Window
- While looking out the window and plotting her escape, Kristina channels Bree and calls Brendan. She might really like Chase, but she figures it's time to see what this guy has in him, too.
- Brendan asks where she's been and she decides not to tell him that she's grounded again. While Bree might be a first class wild woman, the idea of having gotten in trouble twice doesn't sit well with Kristina.
- She does tell him, though, that she's sneaking out, so their meet-up has to be late enough to give everyone time to go to bed. Brendan says that's fine, provided she doesn't get caught. They make a deal that she'll bring the crank if he brings the beer.
Chapter 168: I Hid Out in My Room Until Dinner
- At dinner, Kristina eats all her veggies just like a good girl to keep her mom from nagging her. She decides to take advantage of the fact that she has her period and cash in her cramp excuse again and goes to bed early.
- As she waits for her family to go to sleep, Kristina considers the fact that every move she's taken this past summer might have started a landslide of bad choices.
- But then she thinks about the positives—that doing things she shouldn't do is fun, even thrilling, and might have even been worth it.
Chapter 169: I Hoped Not
- In spite of the height of her window and the basic wrongness of what she's doing, Kristina sneaks out. In hindsight, she speculates that climbing out her window might have been the safest thing she did all night.
Chapter 170: Brendan Was Waiting
- Brendan picks her up and invites her to go to Chamberlain Flat, an abandoned mine where people like to party.
- On the way, he tells Kristina about a guy named Evan Malone, who is notorious among students at their school for being a first class party guy and skinning goats. She's always believed he was an urban legend used by parents to keep their kids away from the Flat, but apparently he's actually real.
- Brendan tells her, though, that he's long gone and she shouldn't be scared of running into him. Which kind of makes us wonder—if Brendan's been acquainted with guys who skins goats, what is he capable of?
Chapter 171: We Bumped Up the Road
- On the way to Chamberlain Flat, Brendan and Kristina drink and drive while navigating some pretty treacherous terrain.
- In the midst of all this, Kristina checks out the model-worthy bone structure in his face and his Mediterranean skin. She thinks about how every guy she's kissed has a different style and smell. In the case of Brendan, she describes him as "Bree with a penis." That can't be good.
Chapter 172: Saturday Night
- It's just after midnight and the party is in high gear. Kristina does marijuana and crank and smokes a cigarette, which puts her in just the right frame of mind.
- She notices that girls she used to envy at school are now staring at her and want to know her. She is glad that instead of getting to know lame Kristina, they will now know Bree.
Chapter 173: Brendan Stoked the Fire
- Brendan asks Kristina to take a walk with him, which is pretty much code for "I want to make out." Things get a little more out of hand than Kristina would like, though, but when she tells Brendan to stop, he won't.
- He asks her why she called him if she didn't want to have sex and she responds by saying she's a virgin. He doesn't believe her.
Chapter 174: Paydirt!
- Kristina doesn't understand the whole mystique around what she calls "the v thing." She wonders if the idea of virginity turns guys on because they get to possess you, in a way, by taking something from you.
- Either way, Brendan tells her he'll forgive her provided that she lets him be "first." She's not sure what she needs forgiveness for, but agrees.
Chapter 175: Hair Mussed
- Kristina climbs back through the window with her hair messed up and her makeup smeared and is glad she's not walking through the front door like this. She lies awake in bed thinking about Brendan until the sun comes up.
Chapter 176: High
- The first day of school is a nightmare. Kristina almost gets lost several times and can't follow her teachers' explanations of expectations and assignment schedules.
- She also spends most of the day avoiding eye contact with anyone, especially the school police, teachers, and Trent and Sarah.
- Her body is also out of control. She's nearly starved from not eating since the Saturday night crank binge and just wants to pass out.
- Finally, the last bell rings.
Chapter 177: Day One
- With the first day of school behind her, Kristina rides the bus home and tries to anticipate her next move. She knows it's time to gear up for the new school year and get back into study mode, but the truth is that she has no idea how she's even going to make it to school tomorrow.
- Plus her family's waiting at home to hear all about how the day went. Gag. She finds that although she's spent the summer scorning the monotony of her life, she now kind of wants it back.
Chapter 178: Mom's Car Wasn't in the Driveway
- Thankfully Kristina's mom isn't home, so she doesn't have to face the inevitable barrage of questions. She goes to the fridge, pigs out on grapes and ice cream, then goes upstairs and crashes.
- Hours later, her mom finds her passed out and throws ice water on her to revive her.
Chapter 179: Which Roused Me
- The ice water in the face makes Kristina want to scream. Instead, she makes a really horrible decision: She drags herself downstairs for dinner and hurls an f-bomb at her mom.
Chapter 180: Major Mistake
- In general, saying the F word to your mom is a pretty bad idea. In this case, it makes Kristina's mom mad enough to slap her across the face and demand that she never say it to her again.
- Both of them break down crying and her mom asks Kristina what's going on with her; Kristina can't bring herself to tell the truth, though, so she just says she's sorry.
- Kristina's mom asks her if she's in trouble and if her new friends are "okay." Kristina considers telling the truth, but then comes to the decision that she can't handle the fallout.
Chapter 181: I Did
- Kristina sits at dinner like a zombie and tries to eat. Mom doesn't say anything to Scott or Jake about why her face is red.
- On top of that, she makes a surprising move by un-grounding Kristina and not leveling a further punishment. Seeing this as a reprieve, Kristina decides to stop screwing around and try to find herself again.
Chapter 182: I Mostly Managed That
- For the next week, Kristina makes good on her promise to leave Bree behind. She starts getting her academic groove back, hangs out with Sarah and Trent, and even makes honor choir.
- She also goes on a Labor Day camping trip with her family and gets into the rhythms of their weekly activities. Ultimately, she's able to do this without thinking much about Chase, Adam, Brendan, or the monster.
- At least until the day Adam writes, Brendan calls, and Chase shows up to give her a ride home. All in the same afternoon. It's a perfect storm.
Chapter 183: Backpack Bulging
- Kristina gets in Chase's truck. He hasn't been in school and tells her his family moved and he had to transfer. This doesn't explain why he hasn't called Kristina, though…
- With some prodding, Chase reveals that he knows about Kristina and Brendan—the whole "biggest little city" thing and all.
- Kristina tells Chase she really likes him and that she went out with Brendan because she was flattered; she never had a boyfriend before last summer and found the attention hard to resist.
- Chase asks her to tell him about last summer, and for the first time, she reveals the whole story to someone.
Chapter 184: So Why
- If Kristina trusts Chase and feels like she's falling in love with him, then why was she was so quick to call Brendan back? He says he wants to see her again and will bring the "refreshments" this time.
- All it takes is that word to make Kristina teeter on the edge of the normalcy she's spent over a week building.
Chapter 185: As I Considered My Answer
- While she thinks about whether to take Brendan up on his offer, Kristina notices Adam's letter. She opens it and begins reading it.
- Adam says he hopes he can make it through the school year. He's concerned about his mom's relationship with her boss, as well as Lince's recovery—she's getting along better and can go to the bathroom on her own now.
- He also mentions that he ran into Kristina's dad, who didn't mention her at all. He has a new girlfriend and probably doesn't want her to know he's old enough to have a teenager daughter.
- To make this already depressing letter even worse, Adam adds that there's a girl at school named Giselle who seems to like him. He also tells Kristina that he hopes she's going out with someone special, too.
- Adam admits that maybe Kristina doesn't want to know this, but he says he considers her his best friend and can tell her anything. Oh man—looks like our girl was just friend zoned.
Chapter 186: Giselle?
- The letter leaves Kristina super confused. She doesn't know what's up with her dad and why he hasn't called, or whether she should call Brendan and lose the "v thing" or call Chase and ask him to get drugs for her.
- Furthermore, she knows what's at stake if she goes further into this thing: She could lose her relationship with her mom and throw away her academic career.
- Is she really ready to get high for good?
Chapter 187: You Bet I Did
- Desperate to get high, Kristina calls Chase to see if he can hook her up with drugs. He's "busy," which probably means he doesn't want to play a role in getting her addicted. Kind of late for that one, buddy…
- With strike one in the books, Kristina calls Brendan and asks if he can get her an eight-ball, a.k.a. an eighth of an ounce of meth. It costs her two hundred and fifty bucks, and while she doesn't explicitly say it, it'll probably cost her something else, too.
Chapter 188: I Could Hardly Wait for Friday
- Kristina has this idea that when the subject of her virginity comes up, she can just say no to Brendan. She should be right—her body, her rules and all that good stuff.
- On Friday, Brendan arrives at Kristina's door looking as clean-cut as possible. They tell her parents they're going to dinner and a movie.
- They drive out of town and go back in a grove of pine trees and put a blanket on the ground. For a while, they snort and act silly and everything's okay… until it isn't anymore.
Chapter 189: It Started with a Kiss
- What starts out just as kissing eventually turns ugly. Brendan rips Kristina's shirt open and begins biting her. She tells him to stop, but he won't—he tells her she promised and to "put up and shut up."
- Brendan rapes Kristina as she lies there and endures the pain. When he's finished, he asks Bree what her problem is.
- She tells him that her name is Kristina.
Chapter 190: But It Was Bree
- Ultimately, Kristina has to summon Bree to get her back on her feet and in the car. It's also through Bree that she's able to clean herself up and try to pretend like nothing happened.
Chapter 191: Not a Blink of Remorse
- The ride home is agonizingly silent. Kristina looks at Brendan and notices all kinds of flaws she didn't realize were there—he's not so perfect anymore in more ways than one.
- When he finally speaks, he tells her that if he had known she would just lie there, he wouldn't have even bothered with her. Yikes.
Chapter 192: Have You Ever
- Kristina describes her emotions by asking us readers if we have ever been so overwhelmed and angry with our thoughts that we couldn't speak.
- She tries to find some words to say in response to Brendan's sharp remark, but can't think of a thing.
Chapter 193: Brendan Pulled Up
- Brendan drops Kristina off at her house, throws the eight-ball she ordered at her, and demands that she give him the money. In spite of everything, Kristina pays up.
Chapter 194: I Stumbled Up the Driveway
- Desperate to rid herself of every trace of Brendan, but afraid to draw attention to herself by running for the shower, Kristina opts for the hot tub. She stays in the water until she feels the chemicals peel her skin.
- On her way up to her room, she wonders if she'll ever feel totally normal again.
Chapter 195: Exhausted
- Too high to sleep, Kristina writes Adam a sarcastic letter where she calls her dad names, calls Adam a "regular well of information" that's always bad, asks him if he and Giselle have had sex yet, and tells him she has two boyfriends—one who isn't looking out for her and another who just raped her.
Chapter 196: It Was Mean
- Kristina knows the letter was a deliberate attempt to take her feelings out on someone and isn't surprised when it doesn't make her feel better.
The truth is, she knows only one thing can make her feel better. She opens the drugs Brendan gave her.
Chapter 197: Close to Empty
- The bindle is almost gone. Kristina figures that because there's no way they used it all up, though, so Brendan must have shorted her.
- With hardly any of the drug left, Kristina decides she has to conserve it in order to balance her double life as an A-student and an addict. Without the drug, she won't be able to do it.
- Sensing that Kristina is growing weak, she calls on Bree to take over.
Chapter 198: Brain Waves
- Kristina's mind is out of control and she's unable to sleep. She can't stop thinking about what she's done to herself, and more so, what she's allowed Brendan to do. She can't believe she allowed him to get the best of her.
- (Hey there, Shmoopers—just a friendly PSA to say that rape is never the victim's fault, no matter what the circumstances surrounding it are.)
Chapter 199: The Game Replayed
- The horror of the evening's events replay in her mind all night until the house comes alive the next morning.
- Kristina gets up, gets dressed, and goes downstairs to have coffee and lie to her parents about how great her date was.
Chapter 200 :Answer Before They Ask
- Kristina tells her mom she's too tired from her date to go to Jake's soccer game. Once the rest of the family is gone, she calls Chase and asks him to come over.
- When he gets there, it takes exactly one look at Kristina to tell there's something wrong—and it's more than just being on drugs.
- Kristina tells him the whole story of what happened last night and Chase gets indignant, saying he'll "kill" Brendan.
- Chase holds Kristina and cries with her, telling her he's sorry he wasn't there for her and that it wasn't her fault.
Chapter 201: Stunned
- Chase tells Kristina that he loves her. She says it back, and he warns her not to say it unless she means it. She wonders if she really does… Brendan is out of the picture, but what about Adam?
- He continues to tell her that she's beautiful and that he would never hurt her. Kristina asks him to prove it to her by making love to her, but he refuses.
Chapter 202: Relief, Disappointment
- Kristina begs Chase to have sex with her, saying that she needs to know what it's like when both people actually want it. He tells her that she needs to heal, though, so that when they finally do, Brendan is only a memory.
- They go outside and smoke a cigarette before her parents get home. Chase says that waiting only makes him love her more.
Chapter 203: Powerful Words
- Kristina feels safe with Chase and doesn't want him to leave. When he does, she feels slammed back down into reality and the pain of her situation.
Chapter 204: I Tried to Beat Mom Inside
- Mom gets home almost immediately and follows Kristina into the house. She saw Chase drive away and demands to know who he is.
- Kristina tells her he's her boyfriend, but Mom insists that he isn't her type, to which Kristina retorts that her mom just wants her to date someone more like Brendan.
- When Mom asks what happened to him, she says that he wasn't what he seemed to be and that he was "all over her." She doesn't reveal exactly how true this statement is.
- Rather than ask if everything's okay, though, her mom coldly asks why Kristina didn't tell her about this. Kristina says she thought her mom wouldn't care—and she was apparently correct.
Chapter 205: Leveled
- Kristina's enjoying the exhilarating feeling of actually having left her mom speechless, so she goes further and tells her that she's always taught Kristina not to judge others by appearances.
- Furthermore, her mom should take a lesson from their family photos. On the surface, they look normal, but there are serious issues lurking beneath the surface.
- Kristina wonders if that comment was mean, but when it comes down to it, she really doesn't care.
Chapter 206: Light-Headed
- Ultimately, Kristina's feeling way too victorious to have any remorse. She skips down the hall singing a Queen song and thinking about how Freddie Mercury's carefree lifestyle of sex ultimately brought him down.
- Still, this doesn't teach her any lessons about her own careless choices. She really just thinks that looking back on past mistakes is a waste of time.
Chapter 207: Northern Nevada Autumns
- High on Claritin-enhanced crank, Kristina spends that Sunday afternoon pulling weeds; as she works, she thinks about her situation and makes some decisions.
- First, she'll deliberately end whatever's left of her relationship with Adam by putting her sarcastic letter in the mail. She also decides to never tell anyone else about what Brendan did and put it behind her so she can have sex with Chase.
- She goes upstairs for a hit of the drug and realizes it's two snorts away from being gone, so it's time to take money out of the bank.
- She decides to send Jake to the store and call Chase while he's gone.
Chapter 208: No Answer
- Nobody answers on Chase's end, so Kristina hangs up the phone and tries to come up with other options for getting crank.
- She ends up riding her bike to Trent's house to see if his sister is home.
Chapter 209: Timing is Everything
- When Robyn answers the door, she initially thinks Kristina is there to see Trent. She's also pretty antsy about letting Kristina in the house, mostly because it smells like crank. Kristina reassures her that she's on her side, though, and won't rat her out.
- She takes the near-empty bindle out of her pocket and shows Robyn, who says she suspected that Kristina had lost weight and might be involved with the monster.
- Kristina offers to share the last of her drug and Robyn suggests smoking it instead of snorting it.
Chapter 210: We Went into Her Room
- In her room, Robyn explains the benefits of smoking crank, mainly that it gives you an incredible rush that won't cause you to be edgy and awake for days. She shows Kristina how to smoke it.
- Kristina thinks it tastes gross, but Robyn's right: The high is ultimately incredible.
Smoking crank creates an instant friendship between the two. Robyn seems eager to help Kristina get more drugs, provided that she has the money. They decide to meet up the next day to talk details.
Chapter 211: She Forgot to Mention
- Robyn might be a crank-smoking expert, but she forgot a couple of key details during their tutorial—like that exercising after smoking makes your lungs hurt and that when you come down from the high, you get a killer headache.
- Coming down also makes you extremely irritable. Kristina snaps at her brother for teasing her, then drops another F-bomb on her parents and tells them to leave her alone.
Chapter 212: This Time
- While the heart-to-heart talk department has typically been Mom's domain, Scott decides to take a shift and come talk to Kristina about what's going on.
- Scott confronts her about the fact that she's been a completely different person and asks her if something happened at her dad's. Then he goes a step further and directly asks her if she's doing drugs. Kristina lies and says no.
- This leads into a talk about fleeing from teen drug experimentation and thinking about everything she stands to throw away. She lies again and promises Scott she'll think twice before doing drugs.
Chapter 213: He Talked At Me Awhile Longer
- Scott lectures her for a while about drugs and making good decisions and Kristina apologizes for her temper. She's stunned that she manages to avoid getting grounded again.
- The minute he's gone, Kristina sneaks to the kitchen to eavesdrop on her parents' conversation. Apparently, she put on a good show—they believe she's telling the truth.
Chapter 214: The Next Few Days
- Robyn comes through with an actual eight ball instead of a partially empty one like Brendan cheated her with. She starts each day by getting high with Robyn in her car.
- Kristina also gets involved with the Avenue, the designated smoking area at her school where people deal and do drugs.
- She insists that everyone there call her Bree.
Chapter 215: I Gave Up the Bus
- With Robyn providing transportation, Kristina declares riding the bus unnecessary. On the afternoons when Robyn has cheerleading practice, Chase picks her up and they go to the park to make out.
- One day, Kristina offers to share her stash with him. He takes a couple snorts, but refuses to smoke. When Kristina asks why he refused, he tells her he has "set boundaries."
Chapter 216: I Meant
- That weekend, Kristina makes plans to analyze Chase's alleged limits and try to figure out how she might break him and make him cave in.
- Not cool, girl. Not cool.
Chapter 217: Okay, the Air Races Intervened
- The annual Nevada air races come up on the family calendar—it's been a tradition for the last ten years or so for all of them to turn out to see the event.
- Like the Wild Waters party, the Air Races are a highly anticipated event for her family, so Kristina can't very well skip out. And she doesn't want to, either. This year, she's thinking about how much fun it would be to go high. She even asks her mom if she can bring Robyn.
- Her mom is so excited that Kristina will attend the event that she not only says yes, she lets Kristina ride in Robyn's car.
Chapter 218: Robyn Was Game
- Robyn and Kristina arrive at the air races high and wired, wearing sunglasses to obscure their glassy eyes. They walk through the race area, conscious of the fact that they're turning the heads of every guy there.
- Robyn jokes that maybe the guys think they're lesbians, then tells Kristina that they should really turn their heads by kissing in front of them. Wound up on drugs, Kristina allows Bree to take over and kisses Robyn.
Chapter 219: Wolf Whistles
- The guys whistle and cheer at them. Kristina pulls away completely embarrassed, but still cracking up; it seems like the funniest thing she's ever done.
- Kristina tells us not to get her wrong—she totally likes guys—but she has to admit that she liked seeing the shocked expressions on people's faces.
Chapter 220: We Found Our Box
- In the stands, Kristina watches her parents behave like teenagers. Her mom is flirting with a guy sitting near them and shows off her cleavage, while Scott pretends he doesn't see what's going on.
- To make matters worse, Scott's boss and his wife show up and Scott starts flirting with her. Fortunately, Jake is oblivious to all of this and is too into the air show to even care.
- Kristina says the show is spectacular, but what's even better is seeing adults act like children.
Chapter 221: Three Races
- During a break in the races, Kristina and Robyn go to Robyn's car to meet up with the monster. On their way back to the show, Kristina sees Brendan walking toward them with a fourteen-year-old girl hanging off of him.
- Bree takes over, and she goes over to him and asks if he's raped anyone lately. Brendan tells her that it's not rape if the participant is willing, so she then turns her attention to his companion and tells her to watch her back.
Chapter 222: Robyn Wanted the Whole Story
- Kristina's vow to never speak of the Brendan incident again goes out the window when Robyn asks what the deal with their confrontation was. In exchange, Robyn shares her own story.
- She tells Kristina that she originally started doing crank to keep up with her academics and extracurricular activities. It was usually pretty available, but she occasionally hit a period of time where none of her usual connections had the drug.
- One time, she went to a casino to find a dealer and actually got in the car with him. He drove her outside of town and physically and sexually assaulted her in ways she still has scars from. She claims that she hasn't been totally sane since.
Chapter 223: Now, You Might Think
- If you're thinking that a story like that will make Kristina run in the opposite direction and leave the drug lifestyle behind, you'd be wrong. After all, Robyn didn't run away either.
Chapter 224: Before I Met the Monster
- Kristina describes her life before crank as having a particular rhythm of school and family activities, with a sense of comfortable familiarity.
Chapter 225: But Now Nothing
- Now, though, only getting high feels comfortable and familiar.
Chapter 226: Problem Number One: School
- Not surprisingly, Kristina can't function like a normal person at school. For one thing, she wakes up groggy and can't find clean clothes. She also has trouble eating breakfast and lunch and spends a lot of time cutting classes or being late.
- Before long, she falls into a whole new kind of routine at school.
Chapter 227: Problem Number Two: Relationships
- Kristina's other problem is that there are just too many people involved in this situation. She feels guilty for casting her old friends aside and knows that her new friends aren't exactly solid.
- In the romance department, she may have only had experience with three guys, but it's been plenty complicated.
- At home, Jake and her parents are a little too interested in her life and Leigh is too far away to confide in about any of this.
Chapter 228: Problem Number Three: Connections
- Kristina's so hooked on crank that she doesn't want to experience the pain of coming down. This means she has to be high as much of the time as possible, and that means finding multiple connections.
- Finding the drug isn't the problem—the problem is that drug addicts aren't exactly reliable or honest and you often don't get what you pay for.
- Worst of all, Kristina's running out of money. Her bank account is low and the birthday money she's saved throughout the years is completely blown.
Chapter 229: Problem Number Four: Feeling Good
- While all these problems stink, the worst of all is that Kristina's lost the ability to appreciate small things in nature that she used to find astonishing and beautiful. She operates only on one setting—the one she's on when she's high.
Chapter 230: Feeling Good
- Kristina's also begun to measure how good she's feeling by how high she needs to get. She has to take various increments of meth in order to keep herself stable and functioning.
- Once she does this, food begins to taste a little bit normal and she can almost sleep and look forward to things coming up, like her seventeenth birthday.
Chapter 231: I Would Celebrate Several Ways
- Kristina's birthday is in mid-October, which means a trip to San Francisco to visit her ailing grandmother as well as see the sights.
- Grandma isn't doing well, though, and during their visit, Kristina knows her dementia has begun a new downward spiral when she stands up in church and says she has to go to the bathroom.
- On the way home, Kristina, who is pretty high, laughs like crazy about this, causing her mom to question whether insanity is hereditary in their family.
Chapter 232: In One of Her Better Moments
- For her birthday, Grandma gives Kristina a family heirloom—a golden locket with her grandmother and her great-grandmother's wedding pictures inside.
- Grandma makes Kristina promise to pass the locket onto her own granddaughter. The gift touches Kristina and makes her feel emotions that have been dead to her for weeks.
Chapter 233: Celebration Two
- The second birthday celebration takes place on a Friday night, when Kristina's family gives her their presents. She gets jeans from Leigh, a sweater from Jake, and diamond studded earrings from her parents.
- At one point, she goes into the bathroom to try on the earrings and sees her mother come up behind her in the mirror. Her mom says she feels like she's lost Kristina and apologizes for any part she's played in it.
- What Mom means by this is that she's recognized how following her own motivations instead of caring for her family has hurt them. What she doesn't know is that the monster has done more damage than she has.
Chapter 234: Half of Me
- Part of Kristina wants to scream at her mom and ask her to think about how her bad decisions have shaped her daughter and are even responsible for what she's going through. The other part of her, which tells her to shut up, wins out.
- Instead she tells her mom that she hasn't made the best decisions lately and promises to do better.
- In reality, though, she's made plans to celebrate her birthday with Chase that she knows will test her ability to hold true to her word.
Chapter 235: Let's Just Say I Got to Go
- On the night of their birthday celebration, Chase shows up at Kristina's house and makes a serious effort to be a gentleman. He knocks on the door, shakes hands with her parents, and promises to have her back early.
- While he tells her parents they're going to a concert, they actually have other plans—a party at Chase's house, which has been vacated by his mom for the weekend.
- The party is also special because Chase has scored ecstasy. He tells Kristina she doesn't have to try it if she doesn't want to, but he seems to be a little dense to the fact that she's totally gone off the deep end.
- They arrive at Chase's house hours before the other guests and Kristina asks if they can take ecstasy together while it's still the two of them.
Chapter 236: Ecstasy is Hard to Describe
- High on ecstasy, Kristina attempts to describe the experience. Rather than feeling violent and destructive the way she expected to, she instead feels at peace with herself and her demons.
Chapter 237: Chase Was Right There
- Chase and Kristina make out while on ecstasy, then finally have sex. Kristina says he reveals to her what making love should feel like.
Chapter 238: I Was Aglow
- The house eventually fills with Chase's friends and the party gets underway. Probably due to the drugs in her system, Kristina has a burning desire to meet everyone and introduce herself to them.
- Someone offers her a second dose of ecstasy and she says yes. Later, someone breaks the crank out, which Kristina gladly adds to the mix.
- She feels like she should be terrified, but the drugs have taken away any inhibitions she would have otherwise had.
Chapter 239: Unforgettable Birthdays
- Kristina swears that if she lives to be ninety, she'll never forget turning seventeen. She tried ecstasy, willingly had sex for the first time, and took other drugs. She feels like she has approached infinity for the first time.
Chapter 240: Elevation
- The most memorable thing about being on ecstasy is how it makes Kristina want to dance. High on her cranktastic drug cocktail, she dances up a storm while drinking alcohol.
- Once word of her birthday spreads, the party gets more than a little out of control. She makes out with a lot of the attendees, both guys and girls alike.
Chapter 241: I Don't Know
- As if things aren't already out of control, someone gets out a blade and people start cutting themselves. Then they go all Twilight and start sucking each other's blood. What?
- In the midst of all of this, Chase finds her in the throngs of people and tells her he loves her.
Chapter 242: I Was Cinderella
- Kristina and Chase are on the verge of having sex again when his watch beeps and they realize it's two in the morning. They leave the party and make a mad dash for Kristina's house.
- Kristina remains hopeful that her parents went to bed already, but they haven't: Every light is on and she sees her mom looking out the window. Busted.
Chapter 243: If You Guessed
- As you probably expected, Kristina gets grounded. Again.
- Chase tried to sweet talk his way out of the situation with her mom, telling her that they'd lost track of time while deep in conversation, but his excuse doesn't fly. Her mom lectures him about responsibility and throws him out of the house.
- Then they turn on Kristina and lash out at her about how cops are on the lookout for kids like her. Whatever that means.
Chapter 244: Exiled
- One of the more bizarre aftereffects of ecstasy is that it doesn't allow you to be angry, even if your parents have grounded you and given you and your boyfriend a massive lecture.
- Actually, it kind of opens up Kristina's mind and lets her see her mom's point of view. They did stay out almost to the crack of dawn, and they did engage in just about every destructive activity teenagers can do. So really, her mom's anger is justified.
- The more Kristina thinks about this, the more she realizes that she can deal with the fact that she isn't really a very good person. What's more difficult to accept, though, is that Bree doesn't care about what kind of person she is.
Chapter 245: I Spent the Next Day
- Kristina spends the next day helping her mom can tomatoes. She still has enough ecstasy in her system that she's not a total brat about it either—both she and Mom are in a pretty good mood.
- Mom asks again about the previous night and whether Kristina has ever touched drugs. Kristina lies again and says she hasn't touched anything except a couple of hits of marijuana.
- Part of her, though, is screaming to ask her mom for help and to get off the roller coaster she's been on since the summer. Bree reminds her, though, that if she tells the truth, she'll be permanently exiled from her friends and Chase.
- At the end of the afternoon, she's still grounded, but her mom is at least a lot less mad.
Chapter 246: Burned Out
- Having reached the point of exhaustion, Kristina pops three aspirin and tries to take a nap. As the drugs leave her system, she questions whether backpedaling to where she was before her addiction is even an option.
- The euphoria of the previous night is now gone, leaving cold, stark emptiness. Kristina knows she is totally out of control.
Chapter 247: Jerked Awake
- Kristina wakes up later that night to sound of Scott and her mom fighting—Scott says that Mom is totally blind because Kristina's behavior lately points directly to drug use.
- While her mom is quick to defend her, probably out of denial, Scott lays down the law: No dates, no staying after to school, and searching her room, at least until she gets her report card. If things look good in the academic department, they'll let her off the hook.
Chapter 248: Report Cards?
- That detail about report cards is bad news for Kristina—her parents don't know it, but her grades are in the toilet. Furthermore, if they're going to search her room, she has a ton of stuff to hide.
- That's not even the worst of it, though: Kristina has no idea how she'll be able to live without seeing Chase. She refuses to allow her parents to keep her from him.
- And she means it, too. She decides to hitchhike into Reno to his house and climbs out the window.
Chapter 249: Anyone Could Have Come Along
- Wouldn't you know it? With all the shady characters that might pick Kristina up, she gets a cop. She waits for him to get out and hopes he won't be able to tell that she's buzzed.
Chapter 250: He Got Out of His Car
- Face to face with the cop, Kristina attempts to talk her way out of a bad situation, but it doesn't work. She tries to lie and say her parents are out of town, but if that's the case then the cop has to take her to juvie.
- When he asks for her name, she says she's Bree Wagner.
Chapter 251: I Wasn't Scared—Yet
- At juvie, Kristina gets asked a barrage of questions, which she responds to by lying. She finally asks if she can call her "brother" but we're pretty sure she doesn't mean Jake.
- Sure enough, she gets Chase on the phone. She talks to him like he's her brother and he eventually gets the drift and says he'll see what he can do.
- They assign Kristina to a cell, where she gets housed with some unsavory characters, including someone who was involved in a car jack and another person who beat her mother up with a gun. The one commonality is that all of them, including Kristina, have experience with meth.
Chapter 252: Tough Girls
- Kristina spends much of the next day listening to her new bad girl roomies talk about their bad behavior and need for drugs.
- Eventually Chase gets ahold of her parents to let them know where she is.
- They come bail her out. What they don't know, though, is that being in juvie has left Kristina with a whole new set of connections for acquiring the monster.
Chapter 253: Cause and Effect
- Rule number one about going to juvie: Don't lie about your name. The admitting clerk will get mad and make you wait for two hours while she redoes your paperwork.
- A counselor gets assigned to Kristina's case and orders twenty-four hours of community service.
- When Kristina finally sees her family, Scott is too ticked off to say anything, Mom keeps crying and shouting stuff at her about lying and STDs and drugs, and her younger brother is just infatuated with the fact that she has been in some form of jail for some period of time.
- Kristina, however, is okay with the situation. Her punishment could have been way worse than picking up trash, there are ways to sneak out of being grounded, and most of all, she has a legitimate connection with a crank manufacturer.
Chapter 254: Back in My Room
- After the trip home from juvie, Kristina returns to her bedroom to find that her mom has gone through all her stuff. The only evidence she finds is a crumbled Marlboro wrapper and a lighter.
- In response, Kristina gets more lectures about making good decisions, taking care of herself, not giving into peer pressure, and all that good parental be-a-good-kid stuff. Kristina makes some empty promises and her mom goes off to work on her great American novel.
- After three days of going through life at a panicked, hardcore speed, Kristina decides to crash.
Chapter 255: Resolutions
- Kristina wakes up the next morning feeling mostly better, and while getting ready for school, she makes a list of resolutions for going forward.
- With one week to go in the quarter, she'll ask for extra credit and apply herself to her studies.
- She'll also commit more to her family, helping out around the house and writing to her grandmother, as well as reconnect with her dad and old friends who have been deserted throughout all this madness.
- She had several creative projects in the works when things got out of control, including a portrait of John Lennon and a song about being on crank. Kristina vows to finish these.
- She also chooses to manage—not quit, but manage—her bad habits. She does, however, choose to stop drinking blood, which is a plus.
- She also wants to go to Planned Parenthood and get on the pill so she can keep doing the nasty with Chase and not worry about the consequences.
Chapter 256: Other Problems
- Putting her new resolutions into practice, however, isn't exactly easy. Most of her teachers aren't willing to give her make-up work or extra credit, and furthermore, Sarah and Trent have moved on and have new, more reliable friends (read: friends who don't hang out on the Avenue).
- At home, Kristina seems to have totally lost Scott's trust, and doing extra chores isn't helping her get back in his good graces. As for her mom, she just wants her perfect little Kristina back and is being emotionally manipulative.
- Kristina does manage to write to her grandmother, who she tells us will pass away in January. She hopes she made her grandmother's last days a little happier.
- As for her artistic projects, the Lennon portrait is a lost cause and the lyrics just make her want meth.
Chapter 257: Crank, You See
- Kristina describes meth as a monstrous octopus that can grab not just the outside of you with its tentacles, but actually reach inside you as well. Eventually, you get addicted to how the tentacles feel. Creepy.
Chapter 258: By Wednesday
- As the middle of the week approaches, Kristina is craving drugs and Chase. To take care of the first problem, she gets a snort from Robyn, then uses her cellphone to call her new connection: La Eme.
- La Eme, to be clear, is the code name for the Mexican Mafia. To make things worse, Kristina connects with a dude named Roberto who already knows about her from the girl she met in juvie.
- To solve problem number two, she calls Chase and asks him to pick her up last period and take her to the bank.
Chapter 259: The Good…
- Chase picks up Kristina and takes her to a secluded place up the road, where they have sex. He then drives her into town, telling her that he loves, missed her, and says his heart will "always belong" to her.
- Kristina notes that he's the second person to say that to her. The first was Adam, and we all know how that turned out.
Chapter 260: … The Bad…
- When Kristina gets back in the truck, she sees a letter lying on the passenger seat: Chase has been accepted to the film program at the University of Southern California with a full scholarship.
- This is awesome for Chase, but what about Kristina? She starts crying because it's so far away, while Chase tries to encourage her to calm down and be happy for him.
Chapter 261: … And the Ugly
- As if her boyfriend leaving for college several hundred miles away isn't bad enough, Kristina arrives at the bank to learn that her mom has locked her out of her own bank account—and she has to have cash for Roberto the Mexican Mafia dude the next day.
- Her lack of said cash combined with her desperate need to get high makes her incredible antsy. She asks Chase if he can lend her the money, but when he finds out the reason, he refuses and drives her home.
- Kristina slams the door of Chase's truck and checks the mail to see if her report card came. It did not—but something else did: two letters from Mom's bank. One has a new credit card, while the other has a PIN number. Uh-oh…
Chapter 262: I Did Think Twice
- Just in case you think Kristina has totally lost it, she does stop for a minute and consider whether stealing from her mom is a good idea. Nonetheless, it seems like too perfect a solution to her problem to just let it go.
- The next day, Robyn drives Kristina to meet Roberto. The deal goes down great except for the fact that he won't deal anything less than half-ounce quantities, and that's a lot of crank.
- Still, because it's relatively cheap, Kristina decides to sell some of it on the side to pay for her drug habit. While becoming a drug dealer is a huge step in her relationship with the monster, she doesn't seem too concerned with the seriousness of what she's done.
Chapter 263: I Became an Instant Celebrity
- Kristina becomes the hero of the Avenue when she begins selling crank to the kids at school.
- The not-so-great part is that Kristina goes back and forth between being wired and exhausted, and she begins to need more and more of the drug to feel the way she wants to.
- For a while, everything's going great—at least until one morning in November when she pukes the moment she wakes up. Oh no. We know what that sounds like.
Chapter 264: Clear Blue Easy
- A blue line on a pregnancy test confirms Kristina's worst fear. Immediately, she is overwhelmed with the question of what to do. Have the baby? Give it up for adoption? Have an abortion? More importantly, she feels like she has nobody to turn to, and on top of everything, drugs are part of the situation.
Chapter 265: I Went Through
- The next few days are a daze for Kristina as she struggles to go to school, sell drugs, and deal with her family while simultaneously trying to figure out how to solve her situation.
- Mom wants to know what's wrong, but Kristina can't respond. Even her cravings for the monster have stopped.
- On Friday night, she goes to bed and cries herself to sleep, overwhelmed by the decision she has to make.
Chapter 266: Saturday
- That weekend, Kristina is consumed with both the symptoms of pregnancy and drug withdrawal. Sick, sweaty, depressed, and confused, she tries to think through her situation while still trying to fight against two pretty serious conditions.
- On Monday, she finally makes the decision to call Planned Parenthood. And Chase. Because there's a good chance he's part of the picture, too.
Chapter 267: My Appointment Was at Two
- Chase picks up Kristina at noon so they can spend some time together before going to her appointment at Planned Parenthood.
- As Kristina cries, Chase tells her he loves her, is there for her, and will take care of her and the baby.
- Wait a minute… It's super easy to say that when you're heading to California for college.
- Oh, but then Chase asks her to marry him.
Chapter 268: Planned Parenthood
- Planned Parenthood is located in a scary cinder-block building that reminds Kristina of a jail.
- In the orange waiting room, she excuses herself to go throw up, then comes back and waits with Chase, watching the women in the waiting room come and go.
- A woman calls the fake name Kristina's given the check-in desk: "Bree Wagner." Chase whispers in her ear that he likes how Kristina Wagner sounds better.
Chapter 269: I Already Knew My Options
- A sickeningly sweet lady with the apt name of Ms. Sweetwater explains the options that Kristina already knows she has. She tells her that if she chooses abortion, it will cost five hundred dollars and her parents don't have to know.
- She also gives her the name of an adoption agency and encourages her to have the baby, then hand it over to parents who can't have one of their own.
- Then she asks Kristina the date of her last period. She does the math and comes to a terrible realization: Chase isn't the baby's father—Brendan is.
Chapter 270: The Realization
- Kristina describes the cold, electric shock of emotions at realizing that Brendan is the father. She then passes out.
Chapter 271: Passing Out
- Recalling the feeling of being unconscious after coming to her realization, Kristina describes how being passed out felt.
- She describes hearing voices and heading toward different patterns and intensities of light.
Chapter 272: Voices
- In her unconscious state, Kristina can hear a doctor, a nurse, Chase, and Ms. Sweetwater trying to revive her.
Chapter 273: Oh Yeah, I Was Fine
- Kristina sarcastically relates her difficulties—addicted, terrified, pregnant by her rapist—as evidence that contrary to what the doctor says, she actually is far from fine.
Chapter 274: Chase Steadied Me
- Chase helps Kristina back to his truck, where she breaks the news about Brendan being the baby's father and falls apart all over again.
- Chase tells her that it's okay and they can make the situation right, even though his face clearly says otherwise.
Chapter 275: He Drove Me Home—Slowly
- On the way home, Chase makes some lame jokes about how cute the baby should be and makes some very unhelpful comments about how life is full of tough decisions. Then he has the guts to tell her to talk to her mom.
Chapter 276: My Mom?!?!
- Kristina doesn't think Chase realizes the seriousness of what he's suggesting. She and her mom haven't really talked in months and he's asking her to break the ice by saying she's pregnant by her rapist she bought drugs from. Not exactly the easiest thing to explain.
She thinks through how she might do it and realizes she has no idea what to say—and doesn't think she can do it without getting wired on crank.
- She wonders if she really feels remorse for all of this and whether her mom will forgive her.
Chapter 277: The Kitchen Was Warm
- Back at home, Kristina's mom is baking and the inviting smell of the kitchen makes her remember the security and safety of being little and the relationship she had with Leigh and her mom.
- She thinks of how much she loved her mother back then and how perfect she thought she was, and wonders if her own child could ever love her that much.
Chapter 278: Somehow She Didn't Notice
- Kristina tentatively tests the waters by saying hi to her mom, but Mom doesn't seem to notice that there's clearly something wrong. Instead she asks how her day was. Kristina almost laughs and cries at once.
- Mom then starts talking about what they should get Leigh for Christmas. Kristina thinks about how life will continue for her family regardless of what she chooses.
- She finally offers the suggestion of a Palm Pilot (how dated is this book?) and Mom thinks it's a great idea.
- As the buzzer goes off for the cookies, Kristina comes to the edge of telling her everything.
Chapter 279: I Opened My Mouth
- Just as Kristina's about to tell her the whole story, Scott comes in the house ranting about politics and Mom turns on the radio to hear the weather report.
- Hearing this, Scott starts complaining about the snow as well. Not exactly the right time to drop several major bombshells.
Chapter 280: Omens! Great!
- For the moment, Kristina gives up on having The Talk with her mom and instead decides to make some phone calls. There are a few loose ends she needs to tie up.
- First she calls her dad. He isn't home and she gets an obnoxious voicemail saying that he's in Mexico with his girlfriend, Linda Sue, and that they're busy engaging in a particular intimate sex act.
- Next she calls Adam. She can hear Lince yelling at him in the background. Adam breaks the news to Kristina that he and Lince are back together and are going to have a baby. Kristina offers a half-hearted congratulations and hangs up.
Chapter 281: I Thought About Calling Leigh
- Kristina thinks for a minute that Leigh might be a good option, but then decides she'd probably tell Mom. She calls Robyn instead, using the old "I've got this friend" routine.
- Robyn tells Kristina that without support from the father or telling her parents, abortion is the only option. Then she tells her why—and it's not a nice story.
- Robyn had a friend who got pregnant and initially chose adoption, but she bonded a little too much with her baby when it was born and changed her mind.
- She quickly realized that being a parent is hard and that she wasn't really ready. The baby wouldn't stop crying, so she got high and shut her up… for good.
Chapter 282: Snow
- Snow begins to fall. Kristina uses it as an occasion to meditate on how drugs have taken her to places she never knew were real, but she, like the snowflakes, must fall down.
Chapter 283: Snow Day
- Snow day! Normally this is a time for celebration, but not when you're pregnant and addicted to drugs.
- Kristina's problem gets more intense when she reads in the paper about a drug bust involving La Eme and Roberto. She also reads an article in a magazine about the effects of meth and how it's next to impossible to quit for good.
- To top it all off, there's a footnote about how meth use affects pregnancy, including the defects and behavioral problems babies of addicts can have.
Chapter 284: Too Much
- The articles leave Kristina even more overwhelmed about her decision. She can't marry Chase and ruin his dream of college, nor is she certain she can be a good parent or be strong enough to give the baby away.
- She decides she needs to be brave—and only one thing can give her the courage she needs: She does crank and decides to have an abortion.
Chapter 285: I Needed Two Things
- To have the abortion, Kristina needs a ride home and five hundred dollars. The first part is easy—apparently Robyn is now aware that there is no "friend" and that Kristina herself is facing this issue.
- The second part is more complicated. Kristina's bank account is empty and Chase refuses to support her decision to have an abortion. So she goes to the only remaining logical place—Brendan, for a good, solid dose of blackmail.
- Brendan denies that he's the father and says he's broke until Kristina threatens to tell his parents, girlfriend, probation officer, Santa Claus, and just about every other person involved in deciding whether he's a good boy or a bad boy. Then he decides to cooperate.
- Kristina meets Brendan for the exchange of money and gets her chance for payback for what Brendan did to her: When he asks if the baby is really his, she takes a deft verbal swing at his manhood.
Chapter 286: How Big
- On that note, Kristina considers just how big her own metaphorical, er, man parts are and whether she can really go through with this.
Chapter 287: I Didn't Sleep
- The night before the abortion, Kristina can't sleep. She stares out the window at the snow and stars and wishes she could just make it so the last several months never happened.
Chapter 288: Mesmerized
- Inside Planned Parenthood, Kristina waits for her appointment, feeling shame and fear. She watches girls come and go from their own appointments, perhaps with the same regrets Kristina has about decisions made.
- Then something kind of creepy happens: She feels the baby move. Okay, maybe not really—she'll find out later that six weeks is too early to feel a baby move—but still Kristina takes it as a sign that she is under no circumstances to have the abortion.
- She changes her mind, choosing to have the baby and raise it herself.
Chapter 289: More Choices
- At last Kristina comes clean to her mom about everything—the drugs, the summer with dad, the pregnancy. Mom cries, but thanks Kristina for choosing to give her baby life.
- Scott and Mom decide that Kristina will finish school and she and the baby will continue to live in their house. Furthermore, Chase agrees to work multiple jobs while in school to help support the baby that isn't his.
- Over the next few months, the baby grows, and Kristina can feel her love for the child begin to snuff out her love for crank. She falls off the wagon a couple of times, but promises us that it was only one or two times and asks us not to tell.
Chapter 290: I Won't Bore You
- Knowing that we're probably not interested in every TMI detail of her pregnancy, Kristina agrees to compromise and offer top ten lists that relate the highlights (and lowlights) of her baby's development.
Chapter 291: Highs
- The highlights of her pregnancy involve many details about the baby's development, including feeling him move, seeing his heartbeat, and being told she's going to have a son. She chooses to name him Hunter Seth.
- She also makes things right with family members. She calls her dad to tell him he's going to be a grandfather, and Scott even softens up enough to teach her how to drive.
- Her grandmother is overjoyed at the news of the baby, telling her that every child is a gift regardless of the circumstances.
- Oh yeah—Kristina's also thankful for epidurals.
Chapter 292: The #1 Best Thing
- It's not exactly a shocker, but holding Hunter Seth at last after his birth tops off the list of Kristina's memorable pregnancy moments. For the first time in a long time, something about her life feels right.
Chapter 293: Lows
- The lows of Kristina's pregnancy are pretty predictable—morning sickness, her parents' arguments about whether or not the baby will be healthy due to her drug use, hearing about Chase's adventures in college—but there are other notable mentions.
- Kristina quits smoking after she finds out her baby's heart stops every time she inhales. Her father chooses not to accept her overture to rebuild a relationship, and her grandmother passes away.
- And then, to top all of it off, Kristina's water breaks. At Walmart. And so begins eighteen hours of labor.
Chapter 294: The #1 Worst Thing
- The worst part about the ordeal is that even in the midst of the process of giving life, Kristina's still hooked on the monster. She recognizes that quitting for good is a long battle, but she learns to silence Bree and listen to the voice inside her that tells her not to give up.
Chapter 295: Happy Endings
- Kristina would like to tell us that her story has a "happily ever after" tagged on somewhere at the end, but it's more complicated than that.
For one thing, being a mom is difficult, and it's even more difficult because Hunter cries a lot and sleeps irregularly. Kristina knows this is due to her drug use and accepts her share of the blame.
- She loves watching her mother with her son and how patient she is with him. Kristina wishes that she could be as nurturing and persevering, but she cuts herself some slack knowing that she's still just seventeen.
- Kristina stands on the front porch, thinking about how on the days when she just wants to die or escape, she feels the urge to shake hands with the monster again. She knows the urge will never completely go away, and on this particular day, it's stronger than normal.