From Bad Girl To Worse

From Bad Girl To Worse

by L.R. Farren


Publisher L.R. Farren

Published in Literature & Fiction/Coming of Age, Children & Teens (Young Adult), Literature & Fiction

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Book Description

Sandra Porter, knows loneliness better than anyone. Home life had always been more like survival. Things should have gotten better the day her alcoholic father left, but that didn't happen. Instead, her abused mother is in a catatonic state, and Sandra is more alone than ever. Until she finds 'the crew', a group of misfits who seem to offer an end to the solitude.

What part of herself will she have to give up to keep her newfound friends?

In this coming of age story, Sandra must find the real meaning of courage and learn that self-respect means more than acceptance from others.

Sample Chapter

On a sunny autumn morning, I left my house for school, excited about seeing my friend Lexie and Mack, the cute guy I met over the weekend. I never dreamed my short-lived relationship with the two would end in murder a few days later.

I ran downstairs with my backpack slung over my shoulder. I wanted to be at school a little early, so I hurried into the kitchen for a quick breakfast of whatever I could grab. I brushed past my aunt Joanne, who was making breakfast for Mom, and only Mom. She cooked two eggs over easy and three strips of bacon—Mom's daily breakfast menu. The delicious scents wafting from the stove made my stomach growl. I grabbed a banana and a glass of water to start my day and shot her a dirty look as she fixed her attention on the frying meat.

No, I'm fine, Aunt Joanne. I don't want any eggs this morning. Do I want any bacon? Never. Bacon lasts a moment on the lips and a lifetime on the hips. Don't you know that? What? Oh no, I can starve, no problem. Keep taking care of Mom. Yeah, love you too.

I bumped into my beloved aunt on my way to the living room, to force some kind of response out of her. Even if she yelled at me for being so clumsy, I would have appreciated her verbiage. Instead, she sidestepped to the left without saying a word.

Hey. An excuse me, or an excuse you, would be nice, Auntie.

Aunt Joanne never said a word, not to me anyway. That was the problem: She didn't talk to me. She never acknowledged my presence in the house. She acted like she was upset with me and expressed her gross displeasure by pretending I didn't exist. Why in our great universe did she not want to speak to me? I craved to hear her say something, such as, "Hello," or "Hey, Sandra. Have a lousy day at school today," or maybe, "Hope you die on the way home." Something. Anything.

I should've been grateful to have Aunt Joanne living with us, though she ignored me. She came to stay with Mom and me almost a year ago, not long after my father made his unexpected exit out of our lives. Aunt Joanne started doing everything I used to do. Things like cleaning house and cooking for and taking care of Mom. She made sure Mom took her medications—all fourteen of them—and she also made sure Mom remembered to go to the bathroom several times a day. Being relieved of my duties gave me freedom that I hadn't had in a long time.

Before Dad's sudden departure, Mom’s total breakdown, and Aunt Joanne's subsequent arrival, I kept the house and everyone in it. Mom possessed a little more sanity back in those days, but Dad still kept her terrified of doing much of anything. Everything Mom did infuriated him. She lived in fear of getting berated or screamed at if she didn't do something the right way, meaning, something to his satisfaction. So poor Mom decided to opt out of her domestic duties and saddle me with them.

Every day after school, I’d rush home to clean the house and throw dinner together by five o'clock sharp. Not a second later. Dad expected to have dinner waiting for him the instant he came home from work. Neither Mom nor I wanted to face the disastrous consequences of not having dinner ready when Dad expected it.

Striving to maintain a spotless house and fix dinner on time every night consumed a large part of my teenage life.

Gee thanks, Mom. Thank you so much for thrusting me into a crash course in Dysfunctional Home Economics 101. I appreciate the wonderful learning experience.

Before heading out the door, I stopped to study Aunt Joanne and Mom for a moment, observing the cold interaction between them. Mom sat in her beige high wingback chair. Aunt Joanne set Mom's breakfast and morning medications on a TV tray. Mom swallowed her pills and ate slowly, calculating every movement from her hand to her mouth.

After a few agonizing moments of watching Mom dawdle, Aunt Joanne tried to encourage her to finish eating her bacon, but Mom refused. Instead, Mom went into one of her panic episodes, where she opened her eyes to the size of dinner plates and sat upright in her chair, stretching her neck as high as it would go. Her knuckles turned white as she clamped her death grip on the ends of the armrests. She looked like she was bracing for a head on collision with an oncoming freight train. Aunt Joanne called out to her several times, "Barbara? Barbara?" But she refused to respond.

What terrifies you much, Mom? What has you so afraid?

Aunt Joanne said to Mom with an exaggerated sigh, "Fine then, Barbara. Sit there and starve. I don't care."

Her block-heeled footsteps thundered across the living room floor and onto the kitchen tiles, leading me to believe she had become as frustrated with Mom as I had. I didn't blame her. Mom sat in her chair from the time she woke up until the time she went to bed. For hours on end, she stared off into space and didn't move a muscle. If I had to deal with a sitting mannequin all day, I would go crazy.

I had to admit one thing: Aunt Joanne might have been as frigid as the Arctic Circle, but she still did a halfway decent job at being Mom's caregiver.

The two of them spoke to each other as little as possible. Their mutual silence disturbed me. They carried on like they were the only ones in the room, like I wasn't there. Truth be known, to Mom and Aunt Joanne, I wasn't there. I'd disappeared from their view. I didn't exist.

My family vanished from my life. Each of my parents left in their own way. Dad left by walking out the door. Mom left by going into some kind of permanent trance. And Aunt Joanne proved to be as relationally disconnected as Mom. Watching them play out their solemn daily ritual was like watching a disturbing TV show I couldn't turn off.

Some of my classmates might have envied my home life. No parents, no rules. "You're so lucky. Nobody tells you what to do. You have so much freedom, you can live the way you want."

Not me. I loathed my home life.

As hard as I struggled to wrap my head around our living arrangement, it never made logical sense to me how I could live in the same house with two other people, yet feel so unloved. No one bothered to remind me to do my homework or not to stay out after ten o'clock or not to wear my jeans so tight. Neither adult bothered to ask me who my friends were or where I went after school every day. Weren't parents, and even aunts, supposed to care about those things?

I faced a harsh reality: Nobody cared about what I did. Nobody cared if I lived or died. Not Dad. Not Mom. Not Aunt Joanne. Not anyone. Except Lexie: Maybe she cared about me.

The broken china hutch in the kitchen caught my eye. It stood as another reminder of how my inability to please Dad with my wonderful cooking skills ended up pushing him right out of our lives. For the rest of my life, I would pay for all of the stupid mistakes I made while trying to run the Porter household.

Life at the Porter house was unbearable. Life outside of the Porter house was almost perfect. I had a great friend and a potential boyfriend waiting for me at Foxworth High. What more could a girl ask for?

I thanked the moon and the stars for one great thing in my life—my friend, Lexie. She came into my life when I needed a friend the most. We had sixth period American Government and Economics together. Our teacher's name was Mr. Mugford. A couple of weeks after the school year started, we struck up a friendship by commiserating about things like the ridiculous amount of homework Mr. Mugford gave us, or how he spoke with a forced Yankee accent. He talked like he was trying to sound like more of a New Englander than he already was. Lexie said he sounded like the old doctor on a popular murder mystery TV show we liked to watch. We'd laugh until our bellies ached, mimicking Mr. Mugford.

It didn't take us long to become close. She made life more bearable. And when I was around her, I wasn't a total failure.

At school, everything would be right with the world. There, I'd meet up with Lexie, and the cute guy I met at the party Friday. It turned out Lexie knew him. His name was Mack. He looked incredible that night, with his long brown wavy hair, a cutoff flannel shirt, faded blue jeans and black motorcycle boots. He looked like he should've been playing guitar for an underground grunge band.

I didn't know who I wanted to see more when I got there—Lexie or Mack.

When I stepped out onto the porch, an image flashed in my mind. We were all at a park where Mom and Dad used to take me for picnics when I was little. Mom wrapped her arms around me, and while we sat together on the lush grass, Dad snapped a picture of us. Then he smiled and said, "My girls, captured in the vivid colors of summer forever." The loving words he spoke to me burned in my mind; I would treasure them until I went to the grave. Several years after Dad spoke those words, I learned that they came from a popular old song from back in his day. Some girls my age might have thought those words were silly, but to me they carried the sweetest tune.

It was the only picture I had of Mom where she smiled. I cherished that picture of Mom and me.

I dropped my backpack on the porch and ran upstairs, snatched the picture from the dresser, and hurried back down to the living room. I set the picture on the end table next to Mom, hoping she would notice it and remember how things used to be. Maybe if she remembered, she'd finally snap out of the trance she lived in and be my Mom once again.


Excerpted from "From Bad Girl To Worse" by L.R. Farren. Copyright © 2018 by L.R. Farren. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Author Profile

L.R. Farren

L.R. Farren

L. R. Farren is a huge fan of story and wields its potent magic with great wisdom and respect. When he isn’t throwing his protagonists into seemingly impossible situations just to challenge their self-destructive misbeliefs, he loves to study the craft of writing. For fun, he reads the occasional tale of tragedy, tribulation and triumph. His favorite tools of the trade include a fountain pen, high quality paper and a manual typewriter.

View full Profile of L.R. Farren

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