Sequel to Order in the Court
Corey Nguyen definitely doesn’t need antidepressants. For a girl who went through a tragedy last year, everything seems to be coming together for Corey. She has everything a college sophomore could ask for: a loving partner, a couple of cool new friends, a great relationship with her parents ... and she even managed to keep her grades up while testifying in a murder trial last semester! She should be happy and carefree with that weight off her shoulders!
So why does she always feel like the world is about to end?
In this final installment of Corey’s story, she must face up to the fact that stories don’t end when you get the guy (or girl) and promise to live happily ever after. After a summer living in a bubble with her new beau, Corey discovers that the world has kept turning for everyone else. The people around her are moving forward without her and if she doesn’t catch up quickly, she’s going to risk losing everything -- her friends, her relationship, or even somebody’s life.
NOTE: This book mentions suicide, gun violence, and mental health crises.
The outside air hit my face, and I took a deep breath of it. Some partygoers were smoking weed around the back, but the smell didn’t quite reach the door. I thought they may have been trying to be considerate by keeping their distance from the exit.
“Are you okay?” A girl from the group approached me. “Do you need an inhaler?” She waved off her friends, who took a few steps farther away. She smelled sweetly of smoke, not the skunky smell I was used to.
I hadn’t realized I had been breathing so hard. I shook my head. “No, I’m alright. It’s just crowded in there.” I pushed off the hood of my unicorn onesie and let the cool hair get at my sweaty neck.
The girl nodded. She had purple hair and kind eyes. I felt like I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn’t pinpoint from where. My head felt fuzzy. Maybe she was in one of my classes?
“First time?” she asked.
I gave a kind of non-committal shrug that may have been an agreement. I didn’t know how safe it was to talk to strangers at this kind of party, or if I was supposed to tell them if I was new or not. I didn’t know the protocol. Marco had walked in with us and then spun Abby onto the makeshift dancefloor, leaving Sasha and I alone by the wall.
“Don’t worry, they’re not usually this bad. Normally we rent out a warehouse and only go to smaller places for the after party.”
“It’s a fire hazard to have everyone down there without a clear path to an exit,” I said before I could help myself. Foot-in-mouth-disease. If there was something incredibly nerdy or weird to say, I was going to say it. And of course it was to a pretty girl I’d just met.
But the girl just looked at me seriously, and then nodded. “You’re right. That’s really unsafe.”
She was wearing a ton of plastic jewelry. Not the kind you could buy at a store, either, but layers and layers of beaded friendship bracelets and necklaces. A lot of people downstairs had been wearing them too.
She noticed me looking and smiled brightly. She had dimples in both cheeks. “You want some Kandi?” she asked, then began to run her fingers over the beads covering her left arm. “Let’s see ... this one.” She pulled off a beaded wrist cuff, about seven beads thick and in shades of purple, pink, and teal. It looked a bit like the bisexual pride flag.
I held out my arm and she slid the cuff over my hand, her fingers lingering on my knuckles.
“There,” she said, still holding my hand. “Now you don’t look like such a newbie.”
I looked down at our hands. There were four letter beads in a wonky vertical line down the middle of the cuff. P-L-U-R
“What’s PLUR?” I asked.
“Peace, love, unity, and respect,” she said, touching each letter slowly. “The raver’s creed.” She let go of my hand and looked at me a little sadly. I couldn’t quite place her expression -- it seemed wrong, somehow. Like somebody I knew a long time ago.