TITLE: Lost in a Heartbeat
GENRE: YA thriller
The late afternoon sun hugs me, a subtle reminder I'm still alive . . . for now.
At the traffic lights, I bike across the main road and enter the busy beach parking lot of the northern Minnesota lake. One of the bike racks near the beach has an open slot. I slide my bike in.
My muscles tighten, like they used to do before a swim meet, before I had a chance to do the relaxation exercises our swim coach taught us. I scan the faces for a familiar one. One I hope to never see again.
Several guys I recognize from school walk past, their words too faint to hear, other than, "Dude, you gotta be kidding me?" Kids run across the sand, giggling and screaming. A few families pack up to go home.
A shaky breath escapes my lips. He's not here, watching me, making sure I'm being a good girl.
I remove my sneakers and socks, and run across the warm sand to where Alejandra, my best friend, is unrolling her towel.
"Hey, you made it." She grabs the hem of her lime-green Camp Chippewa t-shirt, the dorky one the junior day-camp counselors wear, and yanks it over her head, revealing her bikini top and light olive skin.
I unzip my backpack and pull out my towel. "Sorry. Had to gone home first to change."
She eyes my jeans and hoodie. "I don't suppose there's a bikini under that?"