Every life has a different path full of sharp turns, smooth curves, and steep drop offs.
Hollis Murphy has a plan—college, career, boyfriend, love, marriage, family. A predictable, normal life. She’s on track until an outside force causes her to crash and burn. They call it an accident, because that’s the only word they know to explain what happens to her. It helps everyone move on with their lives, except for Hollis. She holds on to the belief that she’s been targeted for a reason.
Risher Stevenson is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the hottest boy Hollis has ever laid eyes on. He fits perfectly into her original plan for a normal life. Everyone loves him.
Benton Daniels is intelligent, caring, sweet, and the bravest boy Hollis has ever met. He doesn’t fit into her life but gives it purpose and makes it extraordinary. Everyone hates him.
One is bullied. One is tormented. All are judged. How will it STOP?
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About the author:
Alison was born and raised in Charleston, SC. As a child she used her imagination to write additional scenes to TV shows and movies that she watched. She attended Winthrop University and graduating with a BA in Theater. While at Winthrop she began writing one act plays which she later produced. Throughout the years she continued writing and producing several one act plays, but then life got in the way and she hung up her pen for a while. On the advice of a friend, she started writing again. In January 2013, Alison sat down at her computer and began writing her first novel, Present Perfect.
Alison lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband, Jef, and their two furry children (dogs). She’s addicted to Diet Pepsi and anything with sugar.
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The incident happened the early part of the summer before senior year. By the time the school year started, my doctors felt my face had healed enough that I could go back and not miss out on my last year in high school. I was nervous to say the least, but everyone knew what had happened to me and I had gone to school with these people for years. So once I got over the initial jitters, I figured things would go back to normal. I lasted one week before begging my parents to either home school me or let me earn my GED.
The stares were relentless. They weren’t the good kind either, like when a boy saw a hot girl. Some people looked at me as if they had encountered the elusive Sasquatch. Their face went slack, their eyes grew wide, and their mouths dropped open. I became somewhat immune to being Sasquatched. Usually, once I turned and looked directly at the person, he would quickly dart his gaze away and go about his day. Then there were others who I could tell by the look in their squinted eyes that the word ew was playing on a loop in their heads. They held their ground and let me know in no uncertain terms that I didn’t belong. I was shocked and hurt that these people, who just a few months ago I considered to be friends, were acting like I had the plague. I thought the staring would be the worst of it. That it would fade away after the newness of the freak show wore off. So I went back. The stares continued and were amped up by classroom snickers and hallway snide remarks.
Then there were the rumors. One claimed the doctors had gotten the skin for my graft from my behind, which garnered me the nickname, ass-face. There was also meat grinder, splotchy, and the timeless freak. I wore long sleeves to hide the scarring on my arms. Mentally, the long sleeves made me feel more secure and comfortable. Living in the south, though, where it was warm most of the year, short sleeves were the norm. Because of my fashion choice, the rumor started that I was a cutter. Maggie tried to set the record straight, but it was useless. I didn’t understand what everyone’s problem was with me. I didn’t do anything to warrant their cruel attention. I just wanted my life back. Once the name calling came into play, it didn’t take much convincing to get my parents on board with the home schooling idea.
For the rest of the year, I kept myself fairly isolated. I’d go out with my mom or Maggie shopping, to a movie, or to grab a bite to eat. Maggie came over almost every day or we’d talk on the phone. She was my link to the young adult world. I lived through her, going to all the football games, school dances, and senior prom. I had become quite talented at using my imagination to live a life until a few months ago.
Maggie and I were hanging out in my room. She was telling me about the college campus visit she had made over the weekend. Maggie had already applied and been accepted to a local university, so why she kept visiting out of town campuses was beyond me.
Leaning against the headboard of my bed, with my legs stretched out in front of me, I said, “I don’t get why you keep going to these different campuses. You know you’re going to Southern U.”
Maggie was lying on her stomach across my bed, flipping through the latest issue of Vogue. “I like to keep my options open.”
“You like to go boy scouting and have college recruiters kiss your ass.”
Maggie ran track and was damn good at it, winning all the local and state championships. She had her pick of any college in the country. They all wanted her to come save their women’s track and field programs. But she liked Southern University and didn’t want to leave her family just yet.
“SU not only has a great track team, but the Greek parties are legendary. The boys are super-hot. I’m sure my husband is among them. And the connections I’ll have after graduation are endless.”
I suddenly felt jealous of my friend. She wasn’t just making plans for her next date, track meet, or party. She was making plans for her future. My mind raced ahead to what my future looked like. I had applied and got accepted to Chambers toward the end of my junior year. Then the incident happened and with the bullying at school, I figured I’d stay home and take online classes. Better to be safe than sorry. But after taking all the classes, then what? I couldn’t see a future beyond the walls of my house. All I wanted was to live the life I had planned on before my world was turned upside down. I made up my mind that day it was time to start living again.