It's easy for her to say. The closest she's ever been to pain are the blisters from her pointe shoes. But she can't back out of her promise, not even when she realizes her hope is addictive to Alex.
Being Alex's friend means constantly hiding knives and razors, but Ella tells herself it's part of his grieving process. It'll pass. It has to. Because she has other plans, ones that don't entail being Alex's lifeline. She's just as determined to get out of small-town Madison as Alex was, only her attempts don't land her in the ICU. Instead she auditions for the prestigious Royal Ballet School in London--and gets in.
But Alex doesn't congratulate her. He gives Ella an ultimatum: stay in Madison, or he kills himself.
BREAKING POINTE is a contemporary young adult novel told from two points of view: the boy who wants to die and the girl who tries to save him. It's complete at 60,000 words.
First 500 words:
After her death, it snowed for the first time in years.
Alex Emerson lay sprawled on the locker room floor, watching the snow swirl outside. He tried not to focus on the blood running down his left arm. Instead he tried to focus on why the flakes were white. If he was supposed to feel something about snow in October.
But nothing could take his mind off Beth.
The cut on his arm stung, demanding his attention. His eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the sight of so much blood. Red on dirty white. Was that what the blood down by the railroad tracks would look like now? Would all that remained of her be covered by the snow?
The principal droned on inside the gym, picking adjectives for his best friend from a funeral-themed fridge poetry set. Beth Farlow was so talented. So kind. So depressed she threw herself in front of a train.
Alex dug his nails into his palm and blood gushed from the wound. Endorphins obliterated every trace of pain, and for a second he thought it would be over. That he'd cut deep enough.
But he wasn't as dramatic, as efficient, as Beth. With every passing minute the blood flow ebbed and the memorial service in the gym went on.
He had still lost her three days ago. He was still alive.
The door flew open and footsteps echoed through the silence. Someone hurried through the rows of lockers, heading straight for the entrance to the gym. Straight for him.
He glanced up just as the girl standing in front of him stopped dead. She looked like a doe in headlights.
Like Beth must have looked right before the train hit her.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" The girl rushed forward and kneeled beside him, extracting the razor blade from his hand and elevating his wrist. Like that would help. "I'll get you some tissues. Stay here."
Where the hell would he go--back inside the gym to sit with Mrs. Farlow? She didn't even know why her daughter had smashed herself into pieces.
The girl disappeared and took the warmth in the room with her. Alex stared at the mildew in the ceiling and waited. He grew colder with every heartbeat.
Then she scrambled back into sight, arms laden with paper tissues. She slumped down next to him and rummaged through her bag, pulling out a water bottle and a strip of bandage.
"I'm going to put this around your arm." She spoke slowly, like he was a little kid. He didn't care. His head weighed a million pounds and the endorphin rush was starting to die out. The sounds of the memorial service rubbed at his nerves: one voice after the other. Maybe they were all saying something nice about her.
It'd be lies, of course. They hadn't known Beth. They hadn't developed photos with her or dressed her wounds.
They hadn't gotten suicide letters.