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Damaged Goods: Chapter 15


Three hours later, my parents are back from urgent care.

Mom’s foot is bandaged securely. She looks tired and miserable, suckling on Jamba Juice. I wait for them in the kitchen, head hung low and hands in my lap.

After Sydney popped in to sell me more drugs, I cleaned up all the mess in the basement and stairs. I made lunch—herbed salmon and broccolini—folded the laundry, and put fresh flowers in Mom’s office upstairs.

I’m sick with guilt and as high as a kite. My body is lax, relaxed, and pain free.

My mind is clear, like my thoughts are cruising through fluffy, white clouds in the sky.

As soon as Dad places Mom on a seat at the dining table, I drop to my knees and take her hand in mine. I can’t even feel the hardwood floor beneath my banged-up kneecaps, which means the pills are doing their job.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I didn’t mean to—”

“You’re checking into rehab.” Dad cuts into my words, pressing a hand over Mom’s shoulder behind her. Like I’m going to hurt her or something. “I’ve already paid the down payment.”

My head snaps up. “Why? Because Mom and I had a fight?”

“Because you’re acting like a stranger and one I don’t want under my roof,” he says matter-of-factly. “And because you invited over another stranger when we were at the hospital, which means I’m gonna cancel all my meetings for the rest of the day so I can play hide-and-seek with a bag of pills.”

I brick up, press my lips together, and sneer. “Sydney is a friend from high school.”

“We said no guests when we aren’t around,” Dad snarls.

Dad’s not gonna find anything. I’m smart enough not to hide drugs where they’d look.

I hide them in the studio in the basement, where I lock myself up. In the one-inch slit between the floor-to-ceiling mirror.

Mom grabs my fingers, bringing them to her lips. My eyes follow to where her mouth brushes my fingertips. “I’m sorry I pressured you into becoming a ballerina. Seems like I am full of good intentions and bad decisions where my daughters are concerned. I know an apology isn’t a magic eraser for everything that happened, but I’ll try my best to make it up to you. Please, I’m begging you, check into rehab. You are not you right now, and you are one of my favorite people. Juilliard isn’t important. It’s—”

“I’m not going.” I bring her hands to my mouth. Kiss them. Tears running down my cheeks.

I can’t lose Juilliard. I can’t go from Perfect Bailey to Pathetic Bailey. “If you want me to go live somewhere else, I will respect your wishes. I can crash at a friend’s house. You and I both know that if I go to rehab now, my Juilliard dream is over. I’ll never make it. The school is not going to wait for me. I’d have to drop out. Tell me it isn’t true, Mom. Tell me I’m exaggerating.”

The silence curls its cold fingers around my neck, cutting my oxygen supply.

My greatest fear has been confirmed. If I enter rehab—which, let’s admit it, I probably should—it’s game over.

The kiss of death to the thing I have lived for my entire life: ballet.

I drop my forehead in Mom’s lap, squeezing my eyes shut.

I want to get better. But I will have to get clean without going to rehab.

“Bailey, I—” Dad’s phone starts ringing. He frowns at the screen. “Fuck. It’s Vicious. I just missed a huge presentation.”

Dad cursed.

Dad never curses.

This house is falling apart, all because of me.

He walks out of the room, and we’re left alone.

Mom and me. A tour de force turned tour de crap.

“So this is what my child looks like when she’s high.” She peers into my face. But she doesn’t know. Not really. Only assumes because a stranger was in the house.

I’ll convince her otherwise. Lie through my teeth if need be. “I didn’t know you’d look so…happy.” Her face almost crumples before it goes blank.

I look away instinctively, my cheeks burning with shame. My eyes stare at the door hard, and I make a wish that Lev would walk through it and save me.

He doesn’t.


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