Peyton’s Choice: Sample Chapters

Prologue

I held the stick in my “urine stream.”

I thought that was a funny thing to call it: urine stream. But what else would you call it?

There’s this thing I do when I don’t want to face reality.

“It’s okay,” I tell myself.

“You’re freaking out for nothing,” I’ll say.

It never works. Ever.

After three minutes passed, I looked at the stick and my heart sank. My stomach was immediately in knots and I thought I would vomit—again.

I was pregnant. Seventeen and pregnant.

I was not ready to be a mother. But I wasn’t the only person in this scenario to consider.

 

Chapter One

Madison, Mickey, Zoe and I have been close friends since high school. We live in Torrance, a California beach town south of Los Angeles.

Madison was, and still is, my best friend. We get each other. We both have the same crude sense of humor. She has an earthy beauty and rarely wears make-up. We met when we were juniors and shared a science class. Our teacher, Mr. Jennings, would assign the class a chapter with questions at the end. Earlier in the year, Madison and I discovered the answers were in the back of the book. We’d finish in ten or fifteen minutes and spend the rest of the class talking about guys. Mr. Jennings would try to shut us up, but we’d argue that we were finished. Instead of assigning us more work, he’d just shake his head. We took advantage of the fact that he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the teacher’s lounge.

Madison was a lot more experienced with sex than I was. She and her boyfriend Kevin had sex all the time. I was the only one in our group who hadn’t gone all the way, and also the only one without a boyfriend. I had one—well kind of, in my junior year—for almost ten months. A tall, emo dude named Luis Sanchez. He wore stereotypical hideous outfits meant to shock people. I used to be completely obsessed with him. We fooled around a lot but never went all the way.

I broke up with him after I found out he was seeing another girl, Liz, while he was seeing me. Even worse, after we broke up, I heard Liz had gotten pregnant, then had an abortion and dropped acid that same night. Not long after that particular incident, they sent me an invitation to their six-month anniversary party. Their invitation shocked me. It was from both of them. I’ll never understand how she could have agreed to be a part of something like that, especially when she knew he was seeing both of us at the same time. How could she be okay with it? Did it make her feel better to taunt me? Did she feel like she had won?

Madison suggested I reply to him with “Why don’t you invite me to your six-month abortion party? I’ll drop a tab of acid to commemorate the joyous occasion.”

Filled with anger and self-pity, I decided to take Madison’s advice and sent it, but only to him. I knew it was dark and mean, but he deserved it. I must have really upset him because later he sent me a scathing, five-page letter. He did his best to rip me a new one. He’s quite intelligent and has a way with words, so his letter was acerbic and very well written.

Luis seemed to be under the mistaken impression I’d dropped acid after we broke up.

I hadn’t.

He even had the audacity to suggest I lacked the maturity to handle the invitation like an adult and wrote things like, “In all of your imaginary purity and egotistical blindness . . .” and called me a “worthless, mindless puppet,” as well as a “cruel fork-tongued bitch.” Maybe I had been cruel, but what the hell was he thinking, sending me the invitation in the first place? He ended his letter with, “I thought you would realize I sent the invitation as a way to say I’m sorry about the way things ended between us, but I’d hoped you’d accept it with grace and maturity. Only then could we be able to put the negative feelings behind us and be friends.”

What a dick! See what he did there? He put everything on me and he honestly thought I would see his bullshit invitation that way? This is why I call him Turd Sanchez.

Aside from being a wordsmith and smart-ass, he’s also a bit of an artist, and he included a drawing of me with his angry letter. In it, I was naked with my legs open and skulls were pouring out of my vagina. He wanted to upset me; however his attempt to piss me off failed miserably. It was so crude, so nasty, so dramatic. It didn’t hurt my feelings; it made me laugh. In fact, I took the picture and the letter to school and proudly showed it to everyone. It was incredibly entertaining and mock-worthy.

Madison pointed out if he didn’t care about me, he wouldn’t have taken the time to write to me. As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. He still had feelings for me despite also having feelings for Liz—which I hated—but it made total sense. It might sound odd, but his drama, intelligence and intensity are what initially drew me to him. He wasn’t the best looking guy—a little overweight, horrible dresser and long black hair with a severe white streak in front.

Some of my friends said they thought he was ugly or, at best, homely. In fact, many referred to us as Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t care what anyone else thought about his looks or crazy clothes; I loved him, or thought I did. I was immature. Sometimes though, I would still miss him and think about him. I had to force myself to remember what a jerk he is. I knew I had to be strong and move on. I just wished I would stop dreaming about him.

~

When I was little, I didn’t care about my looks, and my mom called me a “raggamuffin.” When I began looking at boys as if they weren’t pond scum, I started to pay attention to my appearance. Eventually I developed crushes on boys, and I wanted my crushes to crush on me. They didn’t. I’ve always stood at least a head taller than everyone in my classes, including the boys, and I carried some extra weight. It also didn’t help that I wore glasses. One day in seventh grade, all the boys were assigning numerical value to the girls in my class and my crush, Mark, made sure to let me know in front of everyone that he rated me a three out of ten. In front of my friends I acted like his words didn’t hurt me, but my heart was broken. My ego was crushed. He made me feel ugly, unwanted and unlovable. The deliberate cruelty of Mark’s insult blindsided me. It had a negative and lasting affect on my self-esteem and significantly impacted my self-confidence.

Turning thirteen was pivotal. I grew three inches that year, lost twenty-five pounds and went from awkward pre-teen to a pretty young woman. When I lost the weight, I thought I’d have an easier time with guys, but I was wrong. They still didn’t like me. They called me four-eyes or some other name that made me feel worthless.

When I was fifteen, I finally traded in my glasses for contact lenses. The very first day I wore contacts to school, a very popular senior, Danny Miller, flirted with me. I was walking out of gym class and he called out to me. I couldn’t believe it. Danny was not only popular, he was tall, had facial hair and a deep voice. I walked over to where he was sitting. He told me I was beautiful and asked me for my number. This was it. I’d arrived. It was as if the dark clouds parted and sunlight was streaming down directly on me. I would finally get to be like everyone else. For the rest of the day, I walked around campus with a new, more confident perspective.

That night, Danny called. We chatted for a while and then he brought up his girlfriend, Michelle. I’d seen the two of them walking around campus but I didn’t know them, so I assumed he was single when he asked for my number. He told me he loved her. I asked why he wanted to call me. His answer was like a punch in the gut. He explained that although he loved his girlfriend, he thought I was hot and he wanted to see me on the side. He wanted me to be his side chick and wasn’t even embarrassed to ask.

Rather than tell him off with a long, loud stream of profanity, I told him I wasn’t interested and hung up. Talk about feeling worthless. I should have recognized that he was an asshole right then and there. I should have realized that I was better off without him, but I didn’t. Even though he and I were the only two who knew of our conversation, I was humiliated and devastated. I thought he liked me. I thought that I finally got to join the dating pool and fit in with my friends. Instead, I was treated like some kind of dirty secret, and I thought something was wrong with me.

Guys my age never really liked me. They liked my friends, but not me. It isn’t as if I thought I was better than anyone, but I was truly puzzled. I’m a nice looking person. I have many friends and a decent sense of humor. My grades were excellent, but my love life might as well have belonged to a third-grader. I will say this: adult men liked me. They told me I was a heartbreaker. Thankfully, they weren’t pervs, but they took every opportunity to tell me I was hot. It was always kind of gross and flattering at the same time.

There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep because I felt like an outsider—nights when all of my friends had dates while I was home studying or watching television with my mom. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. I wanted to be loved like anyone else. I wanted to know what it feels like to be loved for who I am. It was tough and lonely at times.

I firmly believed it would be easier for me after I graduated high school.

~

Prom was a little more than two months away. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I didn’t have a date or a dress. The guys in my school were so infantile. They were either jocks or surfers/stoners. Ninety-nine percent of them were shorter than me, and most of them acted like children. I’m almost six feet tall and they called me names like “giraffe” or “amazon.” Of course all my friends were set with dates. It was painful for me. The only guy who was ever almost my boyfriend was a liar and a cheater. My mother told me it’s because I intimidated them. I wasn’t sure if she was right, but I was certainly looking forward to college men. I hoped my love life would improve when I had the chance to meet and mingle with men, not boys.

Spring break was approaching and I was going to spend it with my friend Kara and her family at the lake. She and I only see each other once or twice a year and we don’t talk as much as we used to, but we’ve remained friends since I switched schools after my sophomore year. She told me her twenty-year-old cousin, Brad, would be going. I saw a picture of him from a few years ago and he looked pretty cute, but I decided I’d reserve judgment until we were face to face.

~

Every Sunday morning the four of us girls went to breakfast. None of us were allowed to wear make-up. I’m not sure why we decided on that rule, but we all followed it. We’d roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and Zoe picked all of us up in her cherried-out silver ‘57 Chevy pick-up and we’d have breakfast at a diner by the ocean. I loved that we did this. I always ordered the same thing: Eggs Benedict with English muffins instead of toast. We drank a lot of coffee.

Sunday morning, I stood outside and waited for Zoe. I was always the last one to be picked up, so when I squeezed into the cab of her truck, the gang was all there. They were chirping about what they would be doing for spring break. Madison was going on a trip with her boyfriend, and Mickey was volunteering to be a counselor at a camp for physically disabled kids. As usual, Zoe was working. Zoe and I have the same last name—Andrews. She’s like a hardcore working woman compared to the rest of us. She’s tall and blonde like I am, and her boyfriend James is older and lives on his own. He’s twenty-two, has blonde, curly hair and a mustache. They look like Ken and Barbie. He works construction and she works in a department store, so she was busy and didn’t hang with us all the time. Zoe always looks very professional and super important, but really, she’s wild and parties like a maniac.

Upon our arrival at the restaurant, we were immediately seated.

Zoe had an announcement. “I have to tell you guys something and it’s totally gross.”

We all fell silent, wondering what it could be.

“The other day, James and I were in bed and I saw something crawling out of his mustache.”

Horrified, we all let out a collective “eeeewwwwwwwww!”

She went on, “It was a crab!”

“EEEEEWWWWWWWWW!”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Madison asked.

“No, I wish I was. But it gets worse. I have them too.”

“EEEEEEWWWWWWWWW,” we all groaned again.

The three of us sat there, stunned.

I asked, “How? What happened?”

Zoe explained that she thought she got them from trying on pants at the department store where she worked. I didn’t believe her and I could tell Mickey and Madison thought the same thing because of the way we looked at each other. We all figured James was probably having sex with someone else, but none of us said anything. We played along and tried to be supportive.

Madison asked if I was excited about my upcoming camping trip. She doesn’t like my friend Kara. They met at a party last year and immediately hated each other. I told Madison I was indeed excited, and was curious to see what Kara’s cousin, Brad, looked like.

Madison asked, “If he’s hot, will you fuck him?”

“You’re so crude.” I said. “Maybe, I don’t know. I might actually have my period then, so I doubt the lake will be where I pop my pristine cherry.”

After hearing Zoe’s crab story, I didn’t feel like I was in any hurry to have sex. I was very curious, but I was also frightened. The thought of having some living creature feasting on my genitals was rather disturbing.

Madison was impatient for me to get laid. She loved sex.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” she’d say.

“All I know is Kara told me he’s hot. And tall. She emailed me a picture of him from five years ago. He looked pretty cute, but I’ll have to see what he’s like now.”

Madison asked, “Does he have a Facebook page?”

“No. I asked. Kara says he doesn’t like social media. He thinks it’ll be the downfall of civilization.”

“He sounds perfect for you,” Mickey said.

Mickey always smells like strawberry body spray and is an eternal optimist. She’s a bit of a peace-loving flower child mixed with a dash of glamour-diva. At any given time you can find items like patchouli incense, pink feather boas and tie-dyed platform sandals in her perpetually messy room. She chooses to see the good in humanity and is crushed when people let her down.

“Just don’t let him give you crabs!” Zoe said as she reached down to scratch her crotch. “It’s awful!”

“How do you get rid of them?” Mickey asked.

“There’s a shampoo. Plus, we both shaved everything off. We don’t have them anymore but I keep itching. Oh my God, you should see James without pubes. His dick looks enormous! He looks like a porn star!”

Zoe cackled and we all burst out laughing.

I love my friends. It feels wonderful to be a part of this group. We’re like family and we’ll all be best friends forever.

 

Chapter Two

After breakfast, Zoe dropped me off at home. I was stuffed, so I took a nice long nap before I started my homework. School is a breeze for me. My mom tells me I’m an old soul and my intelligence comes from my past lives. She’s been reading all about reincarnation. She’s a smart, over-achiever and loves to read. A few years ago she was consumed with dreams and their meanings. When she finds a subject of interest, she jumps in and wants to learn all about it. Now she’s always trying to guess who we were in past lives.

The day flew by and by 4:30 my homework was completed. My mom knocked on my door and asked what I wanted for dinner.

“I don’t know. What do you want?”

“I don’t know either, that’s why I asked you.”

I sighed, “I don’t know.”

“Well, you’re no help,” she said with a sour face.

“I guess we can have chicken stew. I mean, since it’s just going to get warmer, we might as well get in one more pot of stew before summer comes.”

“Okay. Sounds good. I’ll start it. Oh yeah, your dad called while you were sleeping and he said to call him back.”

“Okay,” I said. “Did he say if it was important?”

“No, he just wanted to say hi.”

My mom and dad split up when I was three. They remained friends and he remarried ten years ago. He and my stepmom Rachel have two kids: Mason, who’s eight, and Nicole, who’s five. They live about ten miles away and I usually spent every other weekend with them. Things changed when I became a senior. I usually had plans with my friends and my dad took it personally. I’d remind him that I was almost a woman and our lives would be changing. I also kept reminding him if I had a car, I could pop over on weekdays and he wouldn’t have to always be picking me up and dropping me off. I thought I’d convinced him because my mom sells cars for a living and he’d been making comments about which used cars were the safest and best rated.

My cat, Vanilla, was curled up on my bed. I gave her a kiss and called my dad. “Hi Dad. Mom said you called.”

“Hey brat! I did. I just wanted to catch up with you and see how your weekend was.”

“It was okay. The girls and I had breakfast today and last night, I stayed home and watched movies with Mom.”

“I also wanted to know if I’m ever going to see you again?’

“Daaaaaaad, stop being so dramatic. You know I have a lot on my plate now and my camping trip is next weekend. I’ll see you guys the following week like we planned.”

“I know, sweetie. I’m just giving you a hard time. I’m looking forward to it. In fact, I have a surprise for you.”

“What is it?”

“How is it a surprise if I tell you?” he teased.

“Oy, okay. I’ll wait.”

We chatted for about a half an hour, and despite all of my subtle attempts to drag the surprise out of him, he wouldn’t budge. I had a feeling it was about my new car—my new used car, that is. But I played dumb. I think he hated the idea I was growing up and he wanted me to be his little girl forever. So I let him think he could outsmart me. Ha. No.

The smell of cooking stew filled the whole apartment. It made me feel homey and cozy.

Peyton’s Choice: Sample Chapters

Prologue

I held the stick in my “urine stream.”

I thought that was a funny thing to call it: urine stream. But what else would you call it?

There’s this thing I do when I don’t want to face reality.

“It’s okay,” I tell myself.

“You’re freaking out for nothing,” I’ll say.

It never works. Ever.

After three minutes passed, I looked at the stick and my heart sank. My stomach was immediately in knots and I thought I would vomit—again.

I was pregnant. Seventeen and pregnant.

I was not ready to be a mother. But I wasn’t the only person in this scenario to consider.

 

Chapter One

Madison, Mickey, Zoe and I have been close friends since high school. We live in Torrance, a California beach town south of Los Angeles.

Madison was, and still is, my best friend. We get each other. We both have the same crude sense of humor. She has an earthy beauty and rarely wears make-up. We met when we were juniors and shared a science class. Our teacher, Mr. Jennings, would assign the class a chapter with questions at the end. Earlier in the year, Madison and I discovered the answers were in the back of the book. We’d finish in ten or fifteen minutes and spend the rest of the class talking about guys. Mr. Jennings would try to shut us up, but we’d argue that we were finished. Instead of assigning us more work, he’d just shake his head. We took advantage of the fact that he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the teacher’s lounge.

Madison was a lot more experienced with sex than I was. She and her boyfriend Kevin had sex all the time. I was the only one in our group who hadn’t gone all the way, and also the only one without a boyfriend. I had one—well kind of, in my junior year—for almost ten months. A tall, emo dude named Luis Sanchez. He wore stereotypical hideous outfits meant to shock people. I used to be completely obsessed with him. We fooled around a lot but never went all the way.

I broke up with him after I found out he was seeing another girl, Liz, while he was seeing me. Even worse, after we broke up, I heard Liz had gotten pregnant, then had an abortion and dropped acid that same night. Not long after that particular incident, they sent me an invitation to their six-month anniversary party. Their invitation shocked me. It was from both of them. I’ll never understand how she could have agreed to be a part of something like that, especially when she knew he was seeing both of us at the same time. How could she be okay with it? Did it make her feel better to taunt me? Did she feel like she had won?

Madison suggested I reply to him with “Why don’t you invite me to your six-month abortion party? I’ll drop a tab of acid to commemorate the joyous occasion.”

Filled with anger and self-pity, I decided to take Madison’s advice and sent it, but only to him. I knew it was dark and mean, but he deserved it. I must have really upset him because later he sent me a scathing, five-page letter. He did his best to rip me a new one. He’s quite intelligent and has a way with words, so his letter was acerbic and very well written.

Luis seemed to be under the mistaken impression I’d dropped acid after we broke up.

I hadn’t.

He even had the audacity to suggest I lacked the maturity to handle the invitation like an adult and wrote things like, “In all of your imaginary purity and egotistical blindness . . .” and called me a “worthless, mindless puppet,” as well as a “cruel fork-tongued bitch.” Maybe I had been cruel, but what the hell was he thinking, sending me the invitation in the first place? He ended his letter with, “I thought you would realize I sent the invitation as a way to say I’m sorry about the way things ended between us, but I’d hoped you’d accept it with grace and maturity. Only then could we be able to put the negative feelings behind us and be friends.”

What a dick! See what he did there? He put everything on me and he honestly thought I would see his bullshit invitation that way? This is why I call him Turd Sanchez.

Aside from being a wordsmith and smart-ass, he’s also a bit of an artist, and he included a drawing of me with his angry letter. In it, I was naked with my legs open and skulls were pouring out of my vagina. He wanted to upset me; however his attempt to piss me off failed miserably. It was so crude, so nasty, so dramatic. It didn’t hurt my feelings; it made me laugh. In fact, I took the picture and the letter to school and proudly showed it to everyone. It was incredibly entertaining and mock-worthy.

Madison pointed out if he didn’t care about me, he wouldn’t have taken the time to write to me. As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. He still had feelings for me despite also having feelings for Liz—which I hated—but it made total sense. It might sound odd, but his drama, intelligence and intensity are what initially drew me to him. He wasn’t the best looking guy—a little overweight, horrible dresser and long black hair with a severe white streak in front.

Some of my friends said they thought he was ugly or, at best, homely. In fact, many referred to us as Beauty and the Beast. I didn’t care what anyone else thought about his looks or crazy clothes; I loved him, or thought I did. I was immature. Sometimes though, I would still miss him and think about him. I had to force myself to remember what a jerk he is. I knew I had to be strong and move on. I just wished I would stop dreaming about him.

~

When I was little, I didn’t care about my looks, and my mom called me a “raggamuffin.” When I began looking at boys as if they weren’t pond scum, I started to pay attention to my appearance. Eventually I developed crushes on boys, and I wanted my crushes to crush on me. They didn’t. I’ve always stood at least a head taller than everyone in my classes, including the boys, and I carried some extra weight. It also didn’t help that I wore glasses. One day in seventh grade, all the boys were assigning numerical value to the girls in my class and my crush, Mark, made sure to let me know in front of everyone that he rated me a three out of ten. In front of my friends I acted like his words didn’t hurt me, but my heart was broken. My ego was crushed. He made me feel ugly, unwanted and unlovable. The deliberate cruelty of Mark’s insult blindsided me. It had a negative and lasting affect on my self-esteem and significantly impacted my self-confidence.

Turning thirteen was pivotal. I grew three inches that year, lost twenty-five pounds and went from awkward pre-teen to a pretty young woman. When I lost the weight, I thought I’d have an easier time with guys, but I was wrong. They still didn’t like me. They called me four-eyes or some other name that made me feel worthless.

When I was fifteen, I finally traded in my glasses for contact lenses. The very first day I wore contacts to school, a very popular senior, Danny Miller, flirted with me. I was walking out of gym class and he called out to me. I couldn’t believe it. Danny was not only popular, he was tall, had facial hair and a deep voice. I walked over to where he was sitting. He told me I was beautiful and asked me for my number. This was it. I’d arrived. It was as if the dark clouds parted and sunlight was streaming down directly on me. I would finally get to be like everyone else. For the rest of the day, I walked around campus with a new, more confident perspective.

That night, Danny called. We chatted for a while and then he brought up his girlfriend, Michelle. I’d seen the two of them walking around campus but I didn’t know them, so I assumed he was single when he asked for my number. He told me he loved her. I asked why he wanted to call me. His answer was like a punch in the gut. He explained that although he loved his girlfriend, he thought I was hot and he wanted to see me on the side. He wanted me to be his side chick and wasn’t even embarrassed to ask.

Rather than tell him off with a long, loud stream of profanity, I told him I wasn’t interested and hung up. Talk about feeling worthless. I should have recognized that he was an asshole right then and there. I should have realized that I was better off without him, but I didn’t. Even though he and I were the only two who knew of our conversation, I was humiliated and devastated. I thought he liked me. I thought that I finally got to join the dating pool and fit in with my friends. Instead, I was treated like some kind of dirty secret, and I thought something was wrong with me.

Guys my age never really liked me. They liked my friends, but not me. It isn’t as if I thought I was better than anyone, but I was truly puzzled. I’m a nice looking person. I have many friends and a decent sense of humor. My grades were excellent, but my love life might as well have belonged to a third-grader. I will say this: adult men liked me. They told me I was a heartbreaker. Thankfully, they weren’t pervs, but they took every opportunity to tell me I was hot. It was always kind of gross and flattering at the same time.

There were many nights when I cried myself to sleep because I felt like an outsider—nights when all of my friends had dates while I was home studying or watching television with my mom. I often felt like I was on the outside looking in. I wanted to be loved like anyone else. I wanted to know what it feels like to be loved for who I am. It was tough and lonely at times.

I firmly believed it would be easier for me after I graduated high school.

~

Prom was a little more than two months away. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I didn’t have a date or a dress. The guys in my school were so infantile. They were either jocks or surfers/stoners. Ninety-nine percent of them were shorter than me, and most of them acted like children. I’m almost six feet tall and they called me names like “giraffe” or “amazon.” Of course all my friends were set with dates. It was painful for me. The only guy who was ever almost my boyfriend was a liar and a cheater. My mother told me it’s because I intimidated them. I wasn’t sure if she was right, but I was certainly looking forward to college men. I hoped my love life would improve when I had the chance to meet and mingle with men, not boys.

Spring break was approaching and I was going to spend it with my friend Kara and her family at the lake. She and I only see each other once or twice a year and we don’t talk as much as we used to, but we’ve remained friends since I switched schools after my sophomore year. She told me her twenty-year-old cousin, Brad, would be going. I saw a picture of him from a few years ago and he looked pretty cute, but I decided I’d reserve judgment until we were face to face.

~

Every Sunday morning the four of us girls went to breakfast. None of us were allowed to wear make-up. I’m not sure why we decided on that rule, but we all followed it. We’d roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and Zoe picked all of us up in her cherried-out silver ‘57 Chevy pick-up and we’d have breakfast at a diner by the ocean. I loved that we did this. I always ordered the same thing: Eggs Benedict with English muffins instead of toast. We drank a lot of coffee.

Sunday morning, I stood outside and waited for Zoe. I was always the last one to be picked up, so when I squeezed into the cab of her truck, the gang was all there. They were chirping about what they would be doing for spring break. Madison was going on a trip with her boyfriend, and Mickey was volunteering to be a counselor at a camp for physically disabled kids. As usual, Zoe was working. Zoe and I have the same last name—Andrews. She’s like a hardcore working woman compared to the rest of us. She’s tall and blonde like I am, and her boyfriend James is older and lives on his own. He’s twenty-two, has blonde, curly hair and a mustache. They look like Ken and Barbie. He works construction and she works in a department store, so she was busy and didn’t hang with us all the time. Zoe always looks very professional and super important, but really, she’s wild and parties like a maniac.

Upon our arrival at the restaurant, we were immediately seated.

Zoe had an announcement. “I have to tell you guys something and it’s totally gross.”

We all fell silent, wondering what it could be.

“The other day, James and I were in bed and I saw something crawling out of his mustache.”

Horrified, we all let out a collective “eeeewwwwwwwww!”

She went on, “It was a crab!”

“EEEEEWWWWWWWWW!”

“Are you freaking kidding me?” Madison asked.

“No, I wish I was. But it gets worse. I have them too.”

“EEEEEEWWWWWWWWW,” we all groaned again.

The three of us sat there, stunned.

I asked, “How? What happened?”

Zoe explained that she thought she got them from trying on pants at the department store where she worked. I didn’t believe her and I could tell Mickey and Madison thought the same thing because of the way we looked at each other. We all figured James was probably having sex with someone else, but none of us said anything. We played along and tried to be supportive.

Madison asked if I was excited about my upcoming camping trip. She doesn’t like my friend Kara. They met at a party last year and immediately hated each other. I told Madison I was indeed excited, and was curious to see what Kara’s cousin, Brad, looked like.

Madison asked, “If he’s hot, will you fuck him?”

“You’re so crude.” I said. “Maybe, I don’t know. I might actually have my period then, so I doubt the lake will be where I pop my pristine cherry.”

After hearing Zoe’s crab story, I didn’t feel like I was in any hurry to have sex. I was very curious, but I was also frightened. The thought of having some living creature feasting on my genitals was rather disturbing.

Madison was impatient for me to get laid. She loved sex.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” she’d say.

“All I know is Kara told me he’s hot. And tall. She emailed me a picture of him from five years ago. He looked pretty cute, but I’ll have to see what he’s like now.”

Madison asked, “Does he have a Facebook page?”

“No. I asked. Kara says he doesn’t like social media. He thinks it’ll be the downfall of civilization.”

“He sounds perfect for you,” Mickey said.

Mickey always smells like strawberry body spray and is an eternal optimist. She’s a bit of a peace-loving flower child mixed with a dash of glamour-diva. At any given time you can find items like patchouli incense, pink feather boas and tie-dyed platform sandals in her perpetually messy room. She chooses to see the good in humanity and is crushed when people let her down.

“Just don’t let him give you crabs!” Zoe said as she reached down to scratch her crotch. “It’s awful!”

“How do you get rid of them?” Mickey asked.

“There’s a shampoo. Plus, we both shaved everything off. We don’t have them anymore but I keep itching. Oh my God, you should see James without pubes. His dick looks enormous! He looks like a porn star!”

Zoe cackled and we all burst out laughing.

I love my friends. It feels wonderful to be a part of this group. We’re like family and we’ll all be best friends forever.

 

Chapter Two

After breakfast, Zoe dropped me off at home. I was stuffed, so I took a nice long nap before I started my homework. School is a breeze for me. My mom tells me I’m an old soul and my intelligence comes from my past lives. She’s been reading all about reincarnation. She’s a smart, over-achiever and loves to read. A few years ago she was consumed with dreams and their meanings. When she finds a subject of interest, she jumps in and wants to learn all about it. Now she’s always trying to guess who we were in past lives.

The day flew by and by 4:30 my homework was completed. My mom knocked on my door and asked what I wanted for dinner.

“I don’t know. What do you want?”

“I don’t know either, that’s why I asked you.”

I sighed, “I don’t know.”

“Well, you’re no help,” she said with a sour face.

“I guess we can have chicken stew. I mean, since it’s just going to get warmer, we might as well get in one more pot of stew before summer comes.”

“Okay. Sounds good. I’ll start it. Oh yeah, your dad called while you were sleeping and he said to call him back.”

“Okay,” I said. “Did he say if it was important?”

“No, he just wanted to say hi.”

My mom and dad split up when I was three. They remained friends and he remarried ten years ago. He and my stepmom Rachel have two kids: Mason, who’s eight, and Nicole, who’s five. They live about ten miles away and I usually spent every other weekend with them. Things changed when I became a senior. I usually had plans with my friends and my dad took it personally. I’d remind him that I was almost a woman and our lives would be changing. I also kept reminding him if I had a car, I could pop over on weekdays and he wouldn’t have to always be picking me up and dropping me off. I thought I’d convinced him because my mom sells cars for a living and he’d been making comments about which used cars were the safest and best rated.

My cat, Vanilla, was curled up on my bed. I gave her a kiss and called my dad. “Hi Dad. Mom said you called.”

“Hey brat! I did. I just wanted to catch up with you and see how your weekend was.”

“It was okay. The girls and I had breakfast today and last night, I stayed home and watched movies with Mom.”

“I also wanted to know if I’m ever going to see you again?’

“Daaaaaaad, stop being so dramatic. You know I have a lot on my plate now and my camping trip is next weekend. I’ll see you guys the following week like we planned.”

“I know, sweetie. I’m just giving you a hard time. I’m looking forward to it. In fact, I have a surprise for you.”

“What is it?”

“How is it a surprise if I tell you?” he teased.

“Oy, okay. I’ll wait.”

We chatted for about a half an hour, and despite all of my subtle attempts to drag the surprise out of him, he wouldn’t budge. I had a feeling it was about my new car—my new used car, that is. But I played dumb. I think he hated the idea I was growing up and he wanted me to be his little girl forever. So I let him think he could outsmart me. Ha. No.

The smell of cooking stew filled the whole apartment. It made me feel homey and cozy.

The Equal Rights Amendment – Women Matter Use Your Power

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The History of the pursuit of Constitutionally Guaranteed Gender Equality
(The Equal Rights Amendment)

The Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced by the Republican Party and remained in the party platform until the 1980’s. Presidents Ford and Nixon, and their spouses vigorously supported ratifying The Equal Rights Amendment. Alice Paul, the author of the Equal Rights Amendment, was a Republican.

​The 19th amendment and The Equal Rights Amendment, both written by Alice Paul have almost identical wording with the substitution of only four words in the text, (the “right to vote” shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of sex) versus (“equality of rights” shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on of account sex). The Equal Rights Amendment was supposed to follow the 19th amendment, not languish for 94 years.

Resistance to Constitutional Gender Equality has changed over the years but has continued to mirror its generation of origin

  • In the 1800’s women couldn’t own property and were relegated to perpetual guardianship by their male family members
  • In  the 1920s to pre-WWII it was “you have the vote, that’s enough”
  • In the 1950’s and 1960’s a female still could not have her own credit, sign a mortgage, or serve on a jury (“Mad Men culture”)
  • In the 1970’s resistance was built around  the draft, unisex bathrooms, fear of female clergy and women “losing femininity”

The man who killed ERA in the 70’s was Sam Irwin, a NC Democrat, who believed it was “folly to treat women and men legally equal.” Sam Irwin unsuccessfully tried to pass a bill to make it illegal to draft women.  This proved that the ERA has nothing to do with women being drafted, as Congress has always been able to draft women but has chosen not to.

Frequently Asked Questions about the ERA:

Women in the Military

Constitutionally protected gender equality would provide equal opportunity and redress to women bravely serving in the military..One of the primary reasons for the ERA’s failure in the 70’s and early 80’s was never a legitimate concern.

Selective Service for females (The Draft)
Congress has always had the right to draft women so  the passage of the ERA would not affect the draft.

Force religions to ordain women
Passage of the ERA would not require religions to ordain women, as the constitution provides for the separation of church and state. Religions would be unaffected by the ratification of the
ERA and would continue to exercise their authority over religious matters.

Religious liberty falls under separation of church and state, for example churches reserve the right to not marry divorced persons or couples who don’t complete premarital counseling etc. Thus churches will remain unaffected by constitutional gender equality.

Women will lose social security benefits
The Widow benefit was converted to a spousal benefit (male or female) in the 1970s in anticipation of passage of the ERA and continues to be the standard to this day.

Unisex bathrooms
Unisex bathrooms already exist at stores like Trader Joes, airplanes, trains and bus stations where single stall and family bathrooms are the norm. This would not change with the passage of the ERA and is not a valid reason to deny constitutionally protected gender equality to the majority sex, as women are 52% of the U.S. population.

Roe v. Wade
The passage and ratification of the ERA will have no effect on the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, as this case was decided on the constitutional right to privacy and not equality.

The 14th Amendment, the equality Amendment, already provides equality thus the ERA is no longer necessary”?

Section 2 of the 14th Amendment specifically includes the wording male citizen and male inhabitant 3 times and is very gender specific in its applicability to males. Female citizens and female inhabitants are not mentioned. A constitutional amendment (the Equal Rights Amendment) is needed to provide constitutionally protected gender equality for women.

“We already have enough laws for women”

Without the clear legal guidance provided by a Constitutional amendment, the incremental patchwork of laws addressing women and equality of opportunity and pay equity are “nails without a hammer”.  Sen. Kelly Ayotte stated when explaining why she voted against The Equal Pay Act”The reason that I voted against that specific bill is that, I looked at it, and there were already existing laws that need to be enforced“.  The Equal Rights Amendment would add strict judicial protection and enforcement to existing legislation.

Justice Scalia when asked why he voted against The Lilly Ledbetter Act stated “The Constitution does not prohibit discrimination based on sex, thus I was under no constitutional obligation to do so”.

The Benefits to tax payers of an Equal Rights Amendment
Constitutionally guaranteed equality of the sexes would reinforce existing laws and clarify women’s legal rights to economic and employment parity with men.  ​If women are allowed to be paid less for the same job as men, or are denied equal opportunities for advancement, ​it damages our economy and our community.

​Safety net programs ​such as SNAP (food stamps) and reduced cost lunches are needed in higher numbers by women when they do not have parity with male salaries or opportunity for advancement. Women deserve the same dignity as men in providing for their families without needing government assistance to fill in the wage gap

The ERA enjoys a bi-partisan history
The Equal Rights Amendment has a long bipartisan history and bipartisanship should be key to its final ratification.

  • 97% of Americans polled believe women should have constitutionally guaranteed gender equality (an equal rights amendment) and 72% think it’s already in place.
  • Supporting and championing this legislation will enjoy vigorous public support by the voting public once the voting public is further educated on the need for the ERA.
  • The Equal Rights Amendment is important Civil Rights Legislation which ensures unequivocal equality of all persons regardless of gender in the United States Constitution.
  • Women are 52% of U.S population; women love and respect the Constitution and want unequivocal inclusion in this bedrock document. We expect nothing less.

The Text of the ERA

  • Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
  • Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
  • Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Eileen Davis

Candace Graham

co-founders

Women-Matter.org

FB:  Women Matter

We Are Woman DC Rally – Pictures

The We Are Woman Constitution Day Rally was held on September 13, 2014.

 

Highlight Reel

It was an exciting day – despite the rain!

 

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Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal
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National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill
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My friend Madison Kimrey.
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I love this shot!

 

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Maryland Congressman, and all around awesome dude, Chris Van Hollen and me.

 

 

Keeping Maryland State Senator Roger Manno as dry as possible during his awesome speech.
Keeping Maryland State Senator Roger Manno as dry as possible during his kick-ass speech.
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What a day!

 

Excerpts From AMERICAN WOMAN: The Poll Dance

aacricMy latest book is finally finished and it has been a fascinating journey.

In November 2012, I lost my job as a sales rep and I wasn’t sure what to do. I was at a crossroads. I was already an author and had begun my role as an activist for women in April of that same year.

My mother and business partner,  Ann Werner, had been urging me to keep a diary of my activism. I took her advice and began writing  AMERICAN WOMAN The Poll Dance: Women and Voting.

The focus of AW is the importance of voting, women’s rights and feminism.  In a narrative that combines the history of the women’s rights movement, personal recollections and headlines of the day,  American Woman not only speaks to women, but to all those who cherish our democracy. It is a clarion call to arms and the weapon is your vote.

Below are some of my personal recollections:

1968 – 2012: My Political Evolution

A feminist raised me.

My parents separated when I was three. It was 1972 and a civil rights revolution was happening. Women were fighting for liberation, and the way women were being portrayed in society was changing. Women who were in the midst of redesigning the American landscape overshadowed the homemaker. I had no real idea about what was happening. I heard the term “women’s lib” and I saw commercials that said women were bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan, so in my mind, women were equal. My mother was a single mom who worked. She struggled but we always had dinner together in the evening and a very normal routine. When the sink was clogged, she fixed it. When the car needed oil, she replaced it. When we moved, and we moved A LOT, she set up the television and stereo. When we needed more money, she worked extra hard or took a second job. She is a smart over-achiever, so we also experienced times where, as a single working mother, she earned a nice living and we lived well. My life experience exposed me to a strong woman who never relied on anyone but herself. She made sure to drive that message home so that it was ingrained. She succeeded.
I am extremely fortunate that my father is also pro-women’s rights. He eventually remarried and my stepmother, Roz, is also a feminist. She believes in equality and is an Emmy award-winning editor in the news business. She kicks ass in her chosen profession.

***

Turning twenty-one was exciting for me. I was an adult in the eyes of the law and it was my time to figure out who I would be in the world. I didn’t give much thought to the enormous fight that had taken place to legally secure my rights as a woman. I knew women fought for the rights and freedoms I enjoyed, and I knew that we had come a long way from the 1950s way of life. I took it all for granted. I felt like a powerful badass woman who could do anything. My mother’s strength as a woman served me well. I chose how I wanted to earn a living, and I usually negotiated an above average wage. I never had any real reason to believe my rights would be repealed or restricted. If anything, I assumed they would expand.

In the 1980s we had conservative presidents for the entire decade. Ronald Reagan was president until 1988, and then conservative George H. W. Bush took over until 1992.  At the time, I was not politically aware. I was a young adult and what I experienced was the American dream. I didn’t become wealthy but I had opportunity and I knew it. The world was my oyster. I do remember hearing about the abortion issue now and then. Occasionally some anti-choice group made the news but it wasn’t plastered all over the media like it is today. I lived in a very liberal state and utilized Planned Parenthood clinics when I didn’t have insurance. Birth control was always extremely easy to acquire and there were a few different times in my life that I was on it. I felt free. I felt equal. I considered myself to be a proud American patriot.  I mistook being comfortable for being equal. 

In the 1990s it was more of the same. Life was good and I decided to pursue an acting career. My best friend at the time followed politics and I remember her going on about some politician named Bill Clinton. My father was working for the news division of a major American television network on Clinton’s presidential campaign and he invited my friend and me out for dinner one evening when the campaign stopped in Los Angeles. We drove to the hotel in Santa Monica and happened to run into Bill Clinton while on the way to meeting my father. He came over to us to say hi and shook our hands and of course, he asked for our vote. I was impressed for about five minutes and then I was back to not giving a shit about any of it. I believe I was still a registered Republican. I honestly didn’t even know what that meant and I didn’t care. As mentioned, my girlfriend was a lot more politically aware than I was and she helped to convince me I was a Democrat. I eventually changed my political affiliation and have voted in every election since I cast my first vote for William Jefferson Clinton.

***

Little things DO Matter

I used to be a sales representative in a field dominated by blue-collar men. Many of these men were great. They treated me with respect and never once made me feel uncomfortable. There were also the men who had to show me who was boss. One man, “John,” who was my employer, was giving me a lecture—after I had proven my worth at the company by selling a $30,000 machine to a water and power plant all on my own, with very little help from my male sales manager, “Adam.” I asked John for more information on oil filtration so that I could sell more big ticket items. He said yes and then he told me that in order to not be seen as a bimbo, I would need to understand what it was I was selling. I remember being shocked by his absurd, sexist remark.

Bimbo.

I didn’t say anything to him about his bimbo comment because I needed to process it. As I drove home, I became increasingly irritated. I had already sold the damn machine—with NO HELP from him. My customers never treated me as if I were a bimbo. I asked this man for some more education so that I could hone my sales skills. Rather than praise, rather than a pat on the back for a job well done, I was loosely referred to as a bimbo. I took a risk and called him after I gathered myself and had a few good workouts where I mentally beat the shit out of him. I knew flying off the handle would be of no help and would give him the green light to call me overly emotional and unable to handle the job. This man was very much the alpha male—very macho. So I called him on the phone and simply addressed the situation calmly. I told him I understood that he didn’t outright call me a bimbo, but his reference to the fact that I would be seen that way because I was not yet an expert in my field was insulting. I made the effort to make sure he understood that he was not ever permitted to address me in that way again, but I stayed centered, calm and measured. In that instance, it worked. He basically avoided me after our conversation. I embarrassed him. That wasn’t my goal. My goal was to make him realize he had been a sexist employer. He apologized and even though I am sure my reaction didn’t turn him into a feminist, it made ME feel better and more in control of my life, both personally and at work. If I would have said nothing, it would have chipped away at me and possibly would have manifested into misplaced anger. I hope that it also made him consider his words when speaking with his female employees. He isn’t a bad man. But he did need a good reminder that he wasn’t superior just because he has a penis.

 ***

Like what you read? Purchase the book on Amazon!

aacats

URGENT: Phyllis Schlafly Wants To Stop Constitutional Gender Equality – AGAIN!

She’s baaaaaaaack! And she’s rallying her troops.

There is a new movement to ratify constitutional gender equality, otherwise known as the Equal Rights Amendmentaacats

One of the most exciting developments is that it recently passed in the Illinois Senate and has moved to the House for a vote. To ratify an amendment, we need thirty-eight states. In the 1970s, thirty-five states ratified the amendment and then anti-feminist Phyllis Schlalfly came along with her STOP ERA campaign and successfully scared people about what gender equality would mean by lying about it.

A deadline was attached to the ERA and it expired in 1982. The one and only constitutional amendment that protects women from discrimination EXPIRED! Activists have been working tirelessly to have that deadline removed and while we aren’t there yet, it is only a matter of time. Federal legislation in the House and Senate to remove the ERA deadline for ratification in the states is gaining support as more co-sponsors continue to sign onto to the bills. Once that is accomplished, just three more states on board will finally afford equality to all people in this country, regardless of gender.

But there is a fly in the ointment. Schlafly is back and she is still lying. She has put out an urgent call to her followers once again to stop the ERA.  What’s worse, she is convincing some Illinois Democratic politicians who once voted in favor of the amendment in 2003, to back away from it. She is lying to them. LYING!

DO NOT LET THIS WOMAN KEEP US FROM THE EQUALITY WE ALL DESERVE.

It is no longer 1972. We have come too far to allow this toxic gender traitor to negatively influence our rights again.

The ERA is not specifically a woman’s issue. It is a civil rights issue. In fact the text of the amendment doesn’t even mention women. As you can plainly see, it protects everyone, including men:

Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Your action is requested. This is YOUR future no matter what state you live in. Please call the Illinois legislature and let them know you want the ERA. They need to know that you support and demand ratification. Keep in mind that staffers may dismiss you if you are unable to provide a zip code of the district they are in. This is not a just state issue. It is a federal one and therefore affects every single person living in the United States.

You can take it TO THE BANK that Schlafly’s loyal followers will get on the phone and urge legislators to vote no. Do you want them to win again? If not, call! This link provides you with all the names and numbers you need: ERA Illinois

Each lie that Schlafly uses as a fear tactic can be disproven:

Read the rest of article on  Liberals Unite