BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO. FOR REAL.
Despite the fact that I was an "early bloomer"--I was the weird girl who was 5'6'' and wearing a bra in fourth grade and developing inappropriate crushes on all my camp counselors by sixth--I didn't go on my first real date until I was sixteen. I was shy and had been raised by old-fashioned southern parents who insisted that girls did NOT call boys on the phone and ask them out. EVER. So I had to wait and wait and wait...until a boy finally called me.
The boy ended up being one of my early crushes. He was a year older and a great swimmer. I'd seen him in his swim team trunks once when I was in fifth grade and teased him for wearing girl panties for months. I'd thought he was cute and was doing the girl equivalent of pulling his pig tails, I guess. I don't know! I was just awkward. I realized it was a bad call after awhile, but it was already too late.
As a result of the girl panties teasing, he would barely speak to me for years. Years. And he made sure I knew how very lame I was every time I dared speak up at our church youth group. I'd never regretted opening my mouth so much and learned to keep it closed more often, to stop making jokes because I obviously wasn't very good at it. I was positive this boy hated me.
So you can imagine my shock when, come the beginning of my sophomore year, he started flirting and eventually called and asked me out. Even after our first kiss--my first real kiss EVER--I still had the vague suspicion that he was making fun of me, getting back at me for all the girl panties crap from years before. It wasn't until our third or fourth date that I finally realized this was for real. I was dating my old crush! It was amazing. He was so sweet and fun and cute. It was great...until it wasn't anymore.
There wasn't any one thing that was "wrong" with the boy. He was great, I felt lucky to be dating him...but we didn't quite connect the way I'd hoped we would. I'd also started to wonder what else was out there. My girlfriends all had a handful of ex boyfriends and I was sixteen and a half and still dating my first kiss. I started to wonder what other kisses were like...I started to look at other boys with an eye to "what if?"
Finally, around time for Christmas break, I broke up with him. I can't recall now what my exact logic was, only that I was tired of the pressure of being half of a "couple". I wanted to go out with my friends and be unattached and free. Despite my ingrained good manners and the fact that I'd tried my best not to deliberately hurt anyone before, I broke up with him one day after school without much preparation or planning or worry. I think a part of it was my own insecurity. Deep down I assumed that he couldn't really like me that much, that I wasn't that interesting and there was probably someone else he'd rather be with.
It was only when I saw the look on his face...how devastated he was...that I realized I'd made a huge, dumb mistake. I still knew that I didn't want to stay together, but I deeply regretted the casualness with which I'd broken the news. I went home and cried for hours. I remember bawling to my mom that "I hadn't understood it was such a big deal." She was great. She didn't judge me, she just said, "well, now you do, and you'll be more careful next time." And I was. After that, I did my best to do some careful evaluation and be honest about my feelings. I tried to date boys who I guessed had the same level of interest that I had--whether that was casual dating or something more.
I still broke up with other boys--and had a WHOLE lot of boys break up with me (which I found easier for some reason)--but that first break-up was the only time I ever took the decision lightly. Because breaking up is hard. For real.
Just because you don't have a pulse doesn't mean you can't be perky.
One second, freshman Karen Vera's on top of the most fabulous cheer pyramid ever. The next, she's lying on the pavement with seriously unflattering cranial damage. Freakishly alive without a pulse, Karen learns that she's a genetically undead zombie.
Suddenly, Karen's non-life is an epic disaster. She's forced to attend a boarding school for the "death-challenged," her roommate is a hateful wannabe-Goth weirdo, and she's chowing down on animal brains every day to prevent rot (um, ew?). Even worse, someone is attacking students and harvesting their brains for a forbidden dark ritual. And it might be the hottest guy at DEAD High, the one who makes Karen's non-beating heart flutter!
Armed with a perky smile and killer fashion sense, it's up to Karen to track down the brain snatcher and save her fellow students from certain zombie death. Buy the books on Amazon.
Stacey Jay is a workaholic with three pen names, and a sick sense of humor. She loves creepies, crawlies, and of course, romance. What would a zombie novel--or any novel--be without kisses that make your toes tingle? Stacey has been a full time writer since 2005 and can't think of anything she'd rather be doing. Her former careers include theatre performer, professional dancer, poorly paid C-movie actress, bartender, and waiter. To find out more about Stacey: http://www.staceyjay.com