Sunday, 9 January 2011
Blog Tour: Extract from The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
Behind me, there was the rough idle of a car and then a voice said, “Hey, Mackie.”
Tate had pulled up next to the curb in this absolute monstrosity of a Buick and was leaning across the front seat. Apparently, she’d decided she was done with school for the day. Or, more likely, done being a public spectacle. She put her hand on the edge of the passenger window.
“The rain isn’t going to stop. Do you want a ride somewhere?”
The car sat idling against the curb, its wipers flicking back and forth. Long primer-gray body, poisonous fenders. It made me think of a wicked metal shark. “That’s okay. Thanks, though.”
“Are you sure? It’s not a problem.”
I shook my head, watching the rain drip in a wavering curtain off the front bumper so I wouldn’t have to look at her.
Her face was softer and younger looking than normal. I stood under the dripping oak and debated complimenting the way she’d faced down Mrs. Brummel, just to have something to say—tell her I was impressed by the way she could be sad and stared at and still tell everyone to go straight to hell.
After a minute, she killed the engine and got out of the car. “Listen. I need to talk to you.”
When she came across the grass to me, she had this look on her face, like out in the parking lot, in the open, she wasn’t so sure of herself after all. Like maybe I scared her. Her mouth had a bruised look. Her eyes were blue underneath, like you get from not sleeping.
When she came up next to me, she turned so we were standing side by side, staring out at the parking lot. The point of her elbow was inches from my sleeve.
“Do you have a minute?”
I didn’t answer.
“Jesus, why don’t you ever say anything?” She turned and stared up at me with her teeth working on her bottom lip. It looked raw, like she’d been chewing it a lot. Even reeking like iron from the Buick, she still smelled crisp and kind of sweet. It made me think of flowering trees or something you want to put in your mouth. The kind of smell you shouldn’t notice about girls who are covered in tragedy and Detroit steel.
“You weren’t at the funeral yesterday,” she said.
Between us, the current seemed to hum louder. I nodded.
“Why? I mean, your dad seems like he’d be all about ‘pulling together as a community,’ and considering he pretty much organized the whole thing . . . And, I mean, Roswell was there.”
“Religion is my dad’s business,” I said, and my voice had a flat, mechanical sound that showed me for what I was— a bad liar reciting someone else’s lie. “Anyway, a funeral isn’t really an ideal social event. I mean, it’s not like I would attend one for fun or anything.”
Tate just watched me. Then she folded her arms tight across her chest, looking small and wet. Her hair was plastered against her forehead. “Whatever. It’s not like it matters.”
“You’re taking it really well.”
Tate took a deep breath and stared up at me. “It wasn’t her.”
For a second, I didn’t say anything. Neither of us did. But we didn’t look away from each other. I could see flecks of green and gold in her eyes and tiny spots so deep and cool they looked purple. I realized that I hadn’t really looked at her in years.
She closed her eyes and moved her lips before she spoke, like she was practicing the words. “It wasn’t my sister in that box, it was something else. I know my sister, and whatever died in that crib, it wasn’t her.”
© Brenna Yovanoff 2010
Tomorrow, the blog tour goes out with a bang over at the brilliant Wondrous Reads, so make sure to swing by there to check out the final stop.
You can check out my review of The Replacement right here.
A special thanks goes to Simon and Schuster UK for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.