Lily Proctor ducked into the girls’ room, already yanking back her rebellious hair. Aiming for the toilet through a blur of tears, she vomited until her knees shook.
Lily had been symptomatic all day, but she knew she’d rather eat her own foot than get sent home. Tristan would never take her to the party that night if he knew she was having another one of her epic reactions, and Lily couldn’t afford to miss this party. Not now. Not when things between her and Tristan had so recently—and so wonderfully—changed.
Tristan Corey had been Lily’s best friend all her life. They’d grown up together, building tent cities out of his mother’s clean sheets and space stations out of sofa cushions. Most kids drift apart when they start to grow up—Lily knew that. Some figure out the trick of being cool, and others stay runny-nosed geeks for the rest of high school. But to Tristan’s credit, no matter how popular he got over the years, or how isolated Lily became as her allergies intensified and embarrassing rumors about her mother spread, he never once backed away from their pinky-swear promise to be best friends forever. He never tried to hide how close they were or pretended not to care about her because other kids thought she was strange. The only reason he rarely let her go to parties with him was because lots of kids smoked at them, and Lily’s lungs couldn’t handle smoke.
Or at least, that’s what Tristan said. Since Lily had never been to one of these parties herself she couldn’t know for sure, but she had a sneaking suspicion that Tristan didn’t bring her with him because he was usually going to hook up with a girl. Or several girls.
Everyone in their graduating class knew that Tristan was the biggest player in Salem, Massachusetts. Sophomore year, he’d come back from summer baseball camp a foot taller and achieved legendary status by dating a senior. Ever since then the girls—and women—of Salem had passed him around like a pair of traveling pants. Unfortunately for Lily, she’d had a crush on Tristan since she first realized that there was a difference between boys and girls—way before he rode the testosterone rocket to studliness. And she’d suffered for it.
For years, she’d had to pretend that she was okay with being his girl Friday. They’d run everyday errands together—driver’s ed, shopping for cleats, studying—and then, inevitably, some girl would call and he’d leave. Lily never told him how much it killed her to see the excited flush grazing his cheekbones or the hungry shine in his blue eyes when he’d give her a distracted hug good-bye and dart off to meet his latest conquest. Tristan had never looked at Lily like that. And as she heaved monstrously into the toilet, Lily had to admit she couldn’t blame him for taking so long to finally kiss her.
The kiss had come out of the blue. They’d been hanging out, watching TV, and Lily had fallen asleep on his leg like she’d done a thousand times before. When she opened her eyes, he was staring down at her with a stunned look on his face. Then he’d kissed her.
That was three days ago. Even thinking about it still made Lily shake. One second she’d been asleep, and the next Tristan was on top of her—kissing her, t
The likable Lily is guided by strong convictions, and a startling conclusion will have readers anticipating the next chapter in the Worldwalker trilogy.