Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay – Android Books
One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?
Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.
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An Excerpt from Everything That Makes You
Fiona scooted low in her chair. Damn Mr. Phillips and his English project. Why did he have to assign Trent McKinnon, of all people, as her partner?
Half the class reshuffled, and screeching chairs fractured the room’s quiet. Books smacked onto reassigned tables. Trent started in her direction, and Fiona pulled her bangs as far forward as they’d go.
She’d loved this boy from afar since fourth grade, although they’d never said more than two words to each other at any one time. Now he was going to sit less than twelve inches away. God, and she woke up with an enormous red zit on the right side of her nose.
Lucy would be thrilled. Even now, her best friend was turning in her chair and mouthing Oh. My. God. behind Trent’s back. Fiona ignored her. Still, she couldn’t help notice how nicely he filled out his Union High School Lacrosse T-shirt.
He sat down on her right—damn it, she should have switched chairs, so he’d have to sit on her left. She slouched lower in her chair. From this angle, a pimple was the least of her problems.
“You do the reading?” Trent kicked his legs straight in front of him, ankles crossed. He gave a friendly, lazy kind of smile, like the earth wasn’t shifting directly underneath them.
When she remembered how to breathe, Fiona craned her face too far around to answer. She probably looked like an owl. “Yeah.”
Trent McKinnon’s eyes made a brief sweep over her face, hairline to chin. It was so quick and subtle someone not looking for it wouldn’t notice.
She pinched her arm under the table. Get over it, Doyle.
“Good thing you’re my partner,” Trent continued, like he hadn’t been caught ogling. “I need all the smart I can get.”
Fiona stared at him a few seconds longer than socially acceptable. Trent McKinnon actually seemed happy to be her partner. And—and—he knew something about her. Just the “smart” bit, but hey, it was something.
So why on earth did she say, “How’s the dumb jock thing working out?”
“So far, so good,” he said, with a little laugh.
“Well, rein it in. I have goals.” What are you doing? Shut up, you idiot!
This time, Trent glanced at her face—then gazed at her steadily. His eyes weren’t the pure blue she’d fantasized about for years, more a periwinkle with intermittent specks of green. A cowlick near his hairline made a subtle spiral pattern over his right temple.
She struggled not to faint.
Mr. Phillips handed out paper topics, interrupting the most awkward moment ever. Trent flipped through the packet before pushing it over. “You pick. Doesn’t matter to me.” He gave her another quick, heart-stopping look. “But I guess you knew that already.”
She took the handout. At some point, they would need to set a time to meet—she’d need his phone number, his email—but she wouldn’t mention it now. She didn’t trust her mouth from going traitor.
It felt like she’d been snapping at people all day—Ryan for running late, her dad for his corny joke this morning. If Trent McKinnon couldn’t restore her usual easygoing mood, the rest of the day was hopeless.
The bell rang, Trent gave a cool nod, and their paths diverged at the door.
Immediately after, Lucy grabbed Fiona’s left arm and hissed, “What’d he say? What’d you talk about?”
“Nothing. The project.” I insulted him for no reason. He hates me.
Fiona couldn’t work up any enthusiasm for her usual, exhaustive analysis of All Things Trent McKinnon. Lucy, herself not a fan of boys in the romantic sense, usually tolerated these in-depth breakdowns for only a few minutes. Eventually, she’d cut Fiona off with something like, “Good Lord, enough already!”
Anyway, besides her awful behavior, the only part of the conversation that really stuck with her was that subtle—it was subtle, wasn’t it?—sweep of his eyes over her face.
“Well, it’s about time, I say,” Lucy told her as they walked down the hall. “You have to talk to him, now.”
“I don’t want to talk to him.”
“You’re such a chicken.”
Fiona rolled her eyes, but only her left eyebrow lifted from the gesture. The right never went anywhere.
Lucy rolled her eyes right back. “I know what you’re thinking.” She gestured vaguely to Fiona’s right cheek. “But you make a bigger deal about those scars than anyone else.”
“I do not.” She blew it off most of the time—things like the new kid doing a double take in biology, or the coffee shop guy repeating her order loud and slow, like she was mentally challenged.
“What’s keeping you from Trent McKinnon, then?” Lucy asked. “You’re smarter, funnier, and prettier than nearly every other girl in this school.”
“I’ll be sure to share that theory with all the boys waiting to date me.” Now at her locker, she looked over both shoulders. “Oh, wait. There are no boys waiting to date me.”
“I’m not talking about your ridiculous hang-ups anymore today. Trent McKinnon. Specifics.”
Fiona didn’t want to play. Lucy didn’t seem to care. She kept throwing out questions—“When are you going to meet?” and “Did your elbows touch?” Fiona was ready to snap, firmly not in the mood, when Lucy asked, “What’s he smell like?”
“You did not just ask me what he smelled like,” she snorted.
“I thought that mattered.”
“Yeah, if he’s unwashed. Otherwise, what am I supposed to say? He smells like cantaloupe?”
“Who smells like cantaloupe?” said another voice. Fiona’s brother, Ryan, showed up, nudging her right shoulder. He was the only person she didn’t mind standing on that side.
“Trent McKinnon,” Lucy answered.
“He does not smell like cantaloupe,” Fiona snapped. “I don’t even think that’s possible.”
“My grandfather totally smells like cantaloupe,” said Lucy.
“Is that the orange one or the green one?” Ryan asked.
“Orange,” Fiona said.
“Oh, never mind. He smells like the green one. What’s that called?”
“Honeydew,” Fiona said. “Now that we’ve established the various melons, and the men they do and do not smell like, can we move on?”
“Why were you smelling Trent McKinnon?” Ryan asked.
“He’s her new English-paper partner.”
Ryan whistled, rocking back on his heels. “Maybe it’s your lucky day, after all.”
When Fiona and Ryan got home, their mother was standing at the kitchen counter, sliding flowers into a vase. “Did you two have a good day?” she asked.
As usual, she looked ready for an impromptu dinner party—shiny leather flats, sweater set, classic pearl earrings. Even the apron was ironed.
Ryan gave a generic grunt from inside the refrigerator. When he emerged, folded salami slices were hanging from his mouth. But it didn’t matter. Their mother always focused on Fiona.
“Sweetheart, please make a haircut appointment,” her mother said to her. “It looks terrible.”
Anger, irritation, and—God, self-pity—surged through her like hot tar, filling up all her crevices. “Fits the rest of me then, right?” she snapped. Ryan stopped midchew, a limp piece of salami dangling from his fingers.
“Fiona,” her mom said.
The stare-down went a few long seconds. Their golden-brown eyes would look identical, if it weren’t for the thick ridge of scars bordering Fiona’s right one. Maybe that’s why her mother always won these little staring wars. She didn’t have a ridge of inflexible flesh always tugging at her muscles.
Fiona stormed up the stairs and took her frustration out on her bedroom door. Luckily, the Doyles lived in an old house. Not only was her door solid enough to be slammed, it made a satisfying bang that would be heard downstairs.
“You’ve got to be freaking kidding me,” she mumbled, staring at her bed.
A pile of preppy pink waited for her—the same designer-y stuff her mother always bought, even though Fiona lived in old T-shirts. Pushing it all to the floor, she flung herself onto the bed, face-first. She had the urge to cry, but she hated crying. Instead, she took off her shoes and hurled them across the room.
There was a knock. “What?” she snapped, her head buried under her pillow.
The door opened with a slow creak. She looked up to see the top of Ryan’s head as he peeked in. With the same hair and eyes, they were constantly mistaken for twins. And both had fair, creamy skin, though Ryan had it all over his face, not just on the left side.
Ryan’s eyes darted around the room, as if looking for objects that might be launched at him. “You okay?”
He came in anyway. “That’s a lot of pink,” he said, looking at the pile of clothes on the floor.
“Clearly, she understands me.” She pointed to her navy Neko Case T-shirt and the black jeans she’d worn three days straight.
Ryan nudged her over on the bed, sliding next to her. They lay side by side, staring at the ceiling. “Bad day?” he asked.
“What tipped you off?” she snorted.
“I’m not having my period, Ryan.”
“Ew. Gross. That’s not what I meant.” He moved away—but then scooched back, so their shoulders touched. “You’re always cranky today.”
“What are you talking about?”
“What’s February twenty-seventh?”
“The day, you know. The zoo,” he said. “Your accident.”
It felt like a sandbag dropped on her chest. That couldn’t be right, could it?
“How do you know that?” she asked.
“I saw it a few years ago,” he said. “On Mom’s calendar, with the birthdays.”
The. Woman. Was. Obsessed. It might even be funny—if it weren’t so infuriating.
“Why are you just now telling me?” she asked. Their heads shared the pillow, leaving only a few inches between their faces. The angle was awkward, and the muscles under her scars pulled.
“I thought you knew.”
Uh, no. “That I’m cranky on the anniversary of an accident I hardly remember?”
“I remember it.”
“I mean, not well. I was”—Ryan lifted his hands in the air, counting on his fingers—“what, six? But I remember going to that snack bar. It was empty, I think—just us. The guy at the popcorn cart, he looked like a grandfather, kept trying to pat our heads whenever we ran past him.”
Fiona tried to picture it, but had no idea if the details coming to mind were memory or imagination.
“I remember the crash . . .” Ryan paused. His voice came out quieter when he spoke again. “Your scream. Mom trying to wipe the oil off with her scarf, and how your skin—” He cleared his throat. “Them tearing us out of there. How loud you yelled in the car. Nana buying me a milk shake in the hospital cafeteria.” He turned to Fiona again, looking guilty. “I was really psyched about that milk shake. Sorry.”
“You’re forgiven.” She even smiled.
He didn’t smile back. “I feel bad. About all of it.”
“It is what it is.” Fiona hated talking about stuff like this, so she reached across Ryan and lifted her guitar from its place at the foot of her bed. Sitting cross-legged, she strummed some easy chords—the calming, predictable ones. C. E. G.
Was she really this pathetic every February 27? She hated drama, and here she was wallowing in it. You’d think the scars were suffering enough.
“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck,” he said.
“I’m fine. It’s just today, apparently. Which is ridiculous.”
“Nah. This way, you get all the pissed-offedness out on one day.”
She snapped her capo on the guitar’s neck, at the fourth fret. “I don’t have . . . that’s not a word.”
“I’d be pissed.”
“Waste of energy. I can’t change anything.” She grabbed a Moleskine notebook off her bedside table. She’d been keeping these notebooks since seventh grade, around the same time her mom finally let her quit piano for guitar lessons. They weren’t diaries or songbooks strictly. Most of the back pages were covered in rhymes. She’d pick a word, make syllable count columns, and see what matched with it. Pride. Divide. Bona Fide. Jekyll and Hyde.
She flipped pages until she found a blank spot, jotting down some more words to add to the rhymes and lyrics scrawled everywhere—not to mention her goofy hearts and Trent McKinnon’s name.
“I can’t change that I’m short,” Ryan said. “It still annoys the hell out of me.”
Fiona moved between guitar and notebook, playing through chords and writing them down next to the words. “You’ll grow. Dad’s six two.”
“But I’m short now. Most girls want to be taller than their dates.” Ryan leaned over, trying to get a look at her writing. “When are you going to let me hear one?”
Fiona’s pen stilled against the paper. She stared at all the words she’d written—raw, aching phrases that explained her to herself, unfinished songs about unrequited love with Trent McKinnon. They told about her fears, which were many, and her hopes, which were unlikely. The words laid out her insecurities, her self-disgust, and, inexplicably, her pride.
Simply put, they were True. No way was she sharing them with anyone.
“Nothing to hear yet. Just scribbles, really.” She changed the subject back to Ryan. “Dad said he didn’t have his growth spurt until college. Freshman year he was five seven. By that summer, he’d grown five inches.”
“I didn’t come in here for you to solve my problems.”
“Your problem has a solution.”
“Yours might,” he said quietly.
She swallowed down the lump in her throat. “There’s nothing we can do,” she said, mimicking so many of the other doctors she’d seen over the years.
“Things change. Science changes. That’s what Dr. Connelly keeps saying.”
“He’s been saying that since I was five, Ryan.”
“You never know.”
She switched chord shape—A minor, C, E minor—wanting the notes off-center, like her. “Well, barring a miracle, this is who I am. Growth spurts and pink dresses won’t fix me.”
“You’re not broken, Ona,” he said, using the nickname only he used.
Tell that to Trent McKinnon, who will never love me.
He nudged her with his foot. “You’re not broken,” he repeated.
“I know. You’re right,” she said, knowing if she agreed, he’d let the subject drop.
She scratched out some lines and penciled yet another version on top of them:
I want love and skin.
I want to begin again.
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