TITLE: Nowhere to Belong
GENRE: YA Contemporary
Recently orphaned Bailey Scott sucks at lying and has always been protected by her older brothers. Devastated when they're separated, she must now protect them by lying convincingly about the dangers she faces in her foster home, or risk permanent separation when the oldest turns eighteen: her ticket out.
I'd still be standing on the other side of the fence if Jake hadn't raced out of his doghouse, begging me to open the gate. Well, that and the fact that I was out of clean underwear.
After I grabbed our key from under the rock, my trembling hand stopped in front of the keyhole. Jake barked with anticipation, prancing back and forth behind me. I pushed the key into the hole, but couldn't bring myself to open the door.
Frozen in place, I pictured my mom on the other side. What would she be doing at this exact moment if she were here? I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the frosty door, imagining her emptying the dishwasher, wiping down the table and doing a hundred other insignificant things.
Jake whined, bringing me back to the present. Unclenching my fingers from the ice cold doorknob, I yanked the key out of the hole. I was not going into my house without my parents waiting on the other side of that door. Jake and I settled on the cold ground leaning against the porch steps--well, I leaned against the steps and Jake leaned against me.
"Jake, they're not here," I choked out.
He stiffened, looking up at me with anticipation.
"Buddy, you've g-got to understand," I sputtered. "Mom and Dad aren't coming back."
At the mention of their names, Jake bolted up the stairs and eagerly stared at the door, wagging his tail.