Thorn In My Side
by Mary Quinn
Senior year is hard enough. Add in demons, a sleeping curse, and an unwanted prince completely determined to marry you and what do you get? Chaos.
All Riley Owens wants is to get into a good college, survive her last year of high school and hang out with her friends. Now, she’ll have to fight her way through thorns to get there, but with her two best friends, some snacks, and a little bit of magic, she might just be able to do it. This time around, Sleeping Beauty is ready to save herself.
BUY THE BOOK
|MG / Teen|
Once upon a time I used to love fairytales. It seemed like an easy way to live life: pick up a hot prince, and happily-ever-after just happened. Our town was magical, and I was a princess (in a way). Racheston, Massachusetts had a population of about 26,000 people (I didn’t really pay attention to the last census) and my dad was the mayor; the king, if you will.
The streets were filled with pristine mansions that were so clean they sparkled on sunny days. But the older I got, the farther I moved away from the classic princess meets prince stories. The girls were dumb, the princes automatically assumed that any sleeping princess needed to be lip molested, and someone always wanted to ruin someone else’s life. By the time I got to middle school most of those things were already happening, so why did I need to read about them? My mom lived for those fairytales. She didn’t need to escape reality or dream of having the perfect imaginary life, because she already had it. She and my dad had already gone through the fictionally real romance. They had met and married at eighteen, then had me three years later. I even had an evil step-grandmother if you can believe that. But it took me a while to realize that not everything that glittered in Racheston was gold. Our town was dangerous, and each secret that was layered under the surface of the perfectly manicured lawns made it even more deadly. My family had a bigger part in this than I could have ever imagined, especially me. In this world of fairytales, the balance between reality and what lay in our shadows was precarious. All it would take to collapse our perfect lie was for someone to shine a light at the real Racheston.
~ * ~
Seven years ago
“Stop running around like that,” my mom scolded in her delicately anxious lilt.
Why?” I whined, drawing out the word, continuing to circle the kitchen.
“Because it’s not lady-like,” she answered, her serene green eyes turning back to the bread she was kneading.
I skidded to a stop by our kitchen table, a reproachful pout on my face.
“What if I don’t want to be a lady?” I asked, already knowing the answer. She turned around fully, leaning one perfectly manicured hand on the counter and placing the other one on her hip. Her eyes scanned my tie-dyed shirt, down my paint splattered jeans and rested on my ridiculously mud-splattered shoes. A crinkle formed between her eyebrows and her neatly symmetrical lips turned down at the corners. I was used to her disappointed looks by the time I was that age; it didn’t even faze me. I started running around in figure eights while I awaited her answer.
“How will you ever get married if you won’t act like a girl? Boys don’t like slobs, Riley.” Her unnaturally sweet voice left a bitter aftertaste in my mind, and I ran out of the kitchen crying. I hid under a pile of clothes in my closet until my dad came home from work and found me.
“She means well, Rye,” he said, taking me into his arms. “She just wants you to be happy.”
“Being married doesn’t mean I’d be happy,” I retorted, grumpier than I was mad at that point.
“It did for her, but we know it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be happy being a housewife. Your mom knows that, just give her time to accept it,” he replied and laughed, smoothing down my hair and kissing my forehead. “In the meantime, don’t worry. Not all boys want a submissive wife. Someone’s going to figure out how great you are and sweep you off your feet.”
“Who says that they’re going to be the ones doing the sweeping?” I asked, sticking my tongue out at him, and wriggling out of his arms.“True,” my dad agreed, setting me down and standing up. “Now come on, your mom made dinner.” We ate dinner as a happy family, and after clearing the dishes I went upstairs to my room to ignore everyone, (the warning signs of the angst-y teenager I was bound to become.) From where I sat on my bed I could hear my parents’ voices as a low hum in my ears. Abruptly my dad’s voice became harsher and louder; the loudest I had ever heard him been when talking to my mom. I leaned closer to my wall, pressing my ear against it. “It’s her life!” I could hear him say. My mom’s reply was too soft to hear through the plaster, but when my dad spoke again he sounded tired. “I know.” My fifth grader mind soon wandered away from wondering what they had been discussing and soon I forgot it altogether. But I still took karate and self-defense classes all the way to high school to spite my lady-like mother after that day.