Name: Christy Hintz
BITTERSWEET is a 56,000 word novel about a seventeen-year-old girl who survives having snotty friends long enough to ditch them and make new ones—until the ex-friends play a prank that causes her to lose the only real friends she ever had. Friendless and suspended, she doesn't expect to find the peace she's craved since her parent's divorce seven years before. However, through the loyalty of a boy (who’s not her boyfriend) and an old man struggling with the onset of dementia, she realizes her happily never after story can end with a promising once upon a time.
I raised my eyebrows.
“Since we’re baring our souls here, I have something to tell you, too.”
I didn’t budge, waiting to hear what his melodic voice would tell me.
He shook his head.
This time I wouldn’t let him off the hook.
“On second thought, maybe I’d better follow your lead. I’m not all that eloquent of a speaker.” And he drew me to him for another round of blissful kisses.
“Mhmm. You do, however, have an eloquent way of using your lips. Oh, and your singing and guitar playing are almost equivalent. And you are amazing at both.”
This time he didn’t blush. “Well, I’m thinking up a new song as we speak. Or maybe when we don’t speak.”
More warm, toe-tingling kisses.
“Bring your guitar and the telescope next time we sit around the fire.”
“That is a very good idea.” He kissed the tip of my nose. “Isn’t this what we’re supposed to do after our date?”
“There’s no harm in being unconventional.”
“You’re right. It’s my favorite way to be.”
“But I am starving, and we don’t want to miss the movie.”
He held my hand and walked me through the falling snowflakes to his car.
While I buckled up, he said, “Oh, I forgot to give you this.” He handed me a baggy. “Grandpa gave it to me. Said you could use it when you’re ready to find yourself as a geologist. He thought it might help you make some impressive findings.”
I took the baggy. “What is it?”
Dane shrugged. “He said it was a little piece of heaven.”
Sure enough. On one side of the plastic, the words “Janice’s Little Piece of Heaven June 2008” were written neatly in black marker. Inside the bag was a small chunk of rock, the size of a fifty cent piece.
“Oh. My. Thank you.”
“You’re thanking the wrong person, but I can pass it along.”
“No. I can tell him myself.” I traced his profile with my eyes. “But thank you for sticking with me. Even though I didn’t deserve it. I never thought I was the judgmental type, but I was.” All along I’d been as critical and mean as The Terrible Trio had been to me.
He squeezed my hand and reversed out of my driveway.
As we drove through the white-covered streets, I thought about Ashleigh and how I knew this time she’d be happy for me, whether she had a boyfriend or not.
“You know. I’ve been wrong about a lot of people, including myself.” I looked over at him. “Including you. Luckily, my sorry self figured out how to see people for who they are. Even Ashleigh. There’s more to her than I ever knew, and we were friends for a long time. But, even way back when I thought she was less, she was right about something.”
“What was that?”
“I needed to grow up.”