dad died, her mom numbs the grief with drugs and alcohol, and her so-called
friends have slowly abandoned her.
should NOT have led to an unwelcome seduction attempt that made her desperate
to escape the final moments of Junior year. Lesson learned. Best to keep all
the sordid details to herself and trust no one.
and fellow summer camp employee. Though his quick wit and confidence draws her
in, she can’t let him get too close. And summer is just long enough and hot
enough to keep a boy like that at arm’s length.
He’s put Ellen on the “just friends” shelf and has shifted his
romantic attentions to the impossibly annoying and perky anti-Ellen. Even
worse, the teacher who tried to get her to sleep with him is still at it,
preying on other girls while Ellen struggles to come to terms with what
With her ability to trust as shaky as a chastity vow on prom night, Ellen
must decide if she has enough remaining courage to speak up about the
well-liked teacher and risk retribution, tell Rex how she really feels about
him and risk heartbreak, or hold all her secrets inside. After all, it’s the
only safe place she knows when the only thing louder than words is the fear of
Louder Than Words Excerpt — “Tacos, Toilets and Douchebags”
A line three women deep greets me. Of course there’s no line for the men’s room. “Screw it,” I declare and pop inside. It’s a single-toilet bathroom with a lock. Who cares, other than that the hygienic conditions are worse than the ladies’ bathroom. I take my time placing three layers of toilet paper on the seat before using it. I scrub my hands extra thoroughly. After I’ve stalled long enough and no one has pounded on the door urging me to hurry up, I exit.
Mr. Hamer looms over me. He’s very tall and close enough that I can smell the beer on his breath. I don’t meet his eyes. I don’t want him to think a repeat of THE KISS is likely to happen, ever.
“How are you?”
I can’t pass because he and the ladies’ bathroom line combined block my path. “I’m fine.” I can’t bring myself to ricochet the same pleasantry his way.
He gently takes my arm and backs up, pulling me past the ladies waiting but doesn’t release me. I should yank away but part of me warns that sudden movements would be bad.
When he’s effectively trapped me between him and the wall, he leans in and says, “I hope you aren’t beating yourself up over what happened. It was just one of those crazy things done in the heat of the moment that didn’t mean anything. Students often develop crushes on their teachers and sometimes they … act on those feelings.”
Wow. He’s trying to play me? Un-friggin-believable. I want to call him out, but he’s offering a return ticket to normalcy, the appearance of normalcy. As galling as his little fairy tale is, I take the ticket. “Right. Sure.”
“I hope there won’t be any lingering awkwardness. I want you to know I’ll respect your privacy, about what we discussed, you know,” he leans closer, “about your mother. That’s all.”
As he talks, I can see a ground of black pepper stuck between his teeth. I can’t tear my eyes away, until it occurs to me that I’m staring at his mouth.
“Uh, thanks. I appreciate that.”
God, why am I so lame? Why can’t I say what I mean? Why can’t I just open my mouth and say, “You kissed me, you asswipe. I didn’t, don’t, and have never had a crush on you.” Well, okay once upon a time I might have had a little crush on him. But not anymore, and it was never anything I would have acted upon. Ever. The curtain’s been ripped away and instead of Oz I see him for what he is: a douchebag. I just want to get my tacos and go home. I turn to walk away but he takes my arm again.
“It’s forgotten. Okay?” He smiles, but his eyes are two cold black pits.