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About the author:
Hi, I'm Samantha Evergreen, 22. Author of YA novel Dasiy Chains. Currently looking for a literary agent for my second novel. I love talking about writing but don't get me started on what I'm watching because you will never hear the end. I love to cook, read and make music.
What inspired you to write your book?
Wanting to tell a story I wanted to read, a story that needed to be told, a story that will make people feel.
Here is a short sample from the book:
No one could tell you why someone would want to hurt a girl like Daisy Young. Everyone would say she was a kind, caring person. Helped Mrs. Johnson carry her groceries home, let the new kid sit with her at lunch.
She got along with everyone at school, the popular girls, the jocks, the nerds, the loners.
No matter who you were you would receive a smile and a kind word from Daisy.
So it was strange that no one could tell you what happened that night if their life depended on it.
But what they didn't know was that some lives did.
1975, Watkinsville, Georgia.
“Come on Rose, we don't have all night you know,“ Lily called, sounding bored. Rose rolled her eyes and looked at herself one last time in the mirror, she had curled her brown hair to perfection so that it sat high atop her head, looking just like the models in one of Daisy's magazines. Even her make-up had worked out tonight, her lips a deep red that went with her dark blue eyeshadow.
“Rose, come on, we're going to be late!“
“Lily, chil. Daisy and Violet will wait for us,“ Rose replied, coming out of the bathroom and stepping into her bedroom. Her bare feet warmed by the white shag carpet that Lily still sat on, painting her nails a bright yellow.
Rose wandered over to her closet and looked at the line of dresses. She let out a sigh and picked out a light blue one and slipped it on, the skirt going down to her knees. She stared down at her row of kitten heels and stepped into a black pair before turning around. “Do I look ready?” she asked.
Lily glanced up, her pageboy hairstyle swaying around her head in a blonde halo. “Looks like it to me, thank god,” she said, getting up to grab her backpack. Rose did the same, picking up her bag just in time as they heard her mother's footsteps on the stairs. “Damn,” Rose swore under her breath as her mother opened the door, her lavender perfume filling the room.
“Lily, Rose, there you are. I believe Daisy and Violet are waiting for you outside in that blue thing you call a truck.“
“Thanks, Mrs. Waters,“ Lily said, making a break for the stairs. Rose moved to follow but was stopped by a hand catching her arm. She was spun around so that she faced her mother, her blue eyes looking Rose up and down. “Well, at least you look better than last time,“ her mother said, most likely referring to last month when she’d tried wearing a pair of jeans and a simple top. An outfit her mother had made her throw away afterwards because it wasn't something she’d gotten her.
“Thank you, mother,” Rose said, looking down feeling her cheeks pinken.
“Have some fun tonight Rosalina, but don't drink too much or you’ll get a beer belly,“ her mother said with a smile.
“Yes, mother,“ Rose said making a break for the stairs, not daring to breathe until she was out in the darkening night.
Once outside, Rose stopped and took a deep breath of the night air, looking up to see Daisy already watching her from the front seat, her green eyes and strawberry colored hair were alight with the last bits of sunshine as it blew around her small, pale face.
“There you are! Hurry up and jump in the back, we need to book it to Mark's if we want the good drinks,” Daisy said, a bright smile on her pink lips.
Rose ran over to Violet’s old baby blue truck and hopped into the back along with Lily who was already busy rifling through her bag, most likely looking for her cigarettes. As the engine started up and they pulled away she found what she was searching for and lit one up, the smoke swirling around them as they drove.
“You want one?” Lily said, offering one to Rose.
“You know I can't stand those things,“ Rose replied, wrinkling her nose at the smell, “They’ll end up killing you someday.“
“Oh, please, my mom smoked when she was pregnant with me and I'm fine,“ She breathed out the words with a puff of smoke. “Are you sure about that?” Rose poked at her forehead, “Sometimes I'm not so sure there’s anything up there.”
Lily smacked her hand away with a smile and blew smoke at her. “Gross,” Rose laughed, waving a hand around her face and Lily couldn't keep a little chuckle oh her own from escaping as she put her cigarette out on the bed of the truck.
They pulled up to Mark’s house ten minutes later and had to park a few blocks away, seeing as he was hosting the last party of spring break. Everyone knew it was the one to be at, because tomorrow would be the first day of school and it looked like everyone had gotten that message. It seemed like everyone Rose had ever met was there.
She hopped down along with Lily and joined Daisy and Violet as they started heading for the two-story house that was blasting rock music. Teens of every age were coming and going, all with cups in hand.
“Oh, yeah, almost forgot I made these for you,” Daisy handed Rose a crown made of chained daisies. Rose took it and placed it atop her head, watching as Daisy handed one to Lily and Violet as well. Finally, she put on one her, beaming like a child.
“They're beautiful,” Violet said, tipping her's sideways, making Lily smile knowing it would piss off Daisy, but Rose watched as Daisy just shook her head. The girl acted as if she were the mature one, always tired of playing childish games, when in reality she was the youngest, sixteen when the rest of them were seventeen.
Suddenly, Lily grabbed her hand, as Daisy did with Violet's, and they all dragging each other down the sidewalk until they were on the front path leading to the party's wide open door. The people around the entrance were all either talking or making out, so they had to dodge and weave just to make it inside.
When they finally did make it in, they found it wasn't much better, a large crowd, thirty or more danced in the middle of the room. Even more lined the walls talking or doing so much worse.
“Welcome to Mark's Big Spring Break Blow Out Party! And, yes, you can take that however you want,“ Mark Hollow announced as he appeared them, his hair almost as long as Lily's, going down to his shoulders.
“Hello, Mark,“ Daisy said, carefully taking the drink he held out to her, “Love the outfit.“
Mark glanced down at his light blue bell-bottoms and deep yellow V-neck – Feel enough it showed off the little chest hair he had. Then, his gaze flicked back to her, checking her out. “Well, I could say the same of you Daisy doll. Love the oversized overalls.”
“Thanks,” Daisy continued to smile as she handed the cup off to Lily, not taking her eyes off of him.
“If you don't like the drinks,” Mark offered, “We have soda in the kitchen.“ Rose knowingly lowered her gaze, recognizing the reason for the growing tension in the room, until Mark turned his attention to her.to
“Oh, Rose, I just remembered. I saw your brother somewhere around here.“
She blinked, surprised that he would even speak to her, given that he hadn't in over a year. Still, the fact that her brother was unexpectedly there took priority.
“What do you mean? He shouldn't be home from college until October.”
“Well, go tell him that. Maybe then he'll stop drinking all my damn beer.“
“Where is he?“ she asked, her voice small. “In the kitchen,” Mark said, taking a long drink from his own cup.
Rose bit her lip and turned to her friends, they all looked uncomfortable just standing there.
“Go have some fun,“ Rose waved them away.
“You don't have to tell me twice, girl,” Lily said and quickly moved deeper into the house with Violet and Daisy following after her. Daisy was the only one to look back at her, a hint of worry showing on her face as the group made their way into the crowd of dancing bodies.
Rose turned, heading for the kitchen, slowly making her way through the waves of people and stopping in the doorway. She found her brother immediately even if he hadn't noticed her yet, too busy making out with one of the cheerleaders at her school.
“Hey, what the hell are you doing here?” She called to him watching as Jason pulled back from the woman with a smile on his lips. He met her gaze, his blue eyes as dark as his hair.
“Hey there, little sis. Miss me?“
Rose tried to give him a hard look, but she couldn't help the grin that broke out across her face. “You didn't answer me. And weren't you dating a girl named Linda Cross?“ Rose asked, during his new friend. Jason pushed the girl away at the mention of the name and the cheerleader gave an indignant huff, stomping away, leaving them alone.
“And you didn't answer me, Rosey. Did you miss me?“
“Of course I did, loser, but why are you home so early? You've only been gone three months.“
“What? A brother can't come and check up on his kid sister just because?”
She raised an eyebrow at him and he let out a loud laugh. “I just have some business to take care of with father, but I heard Mark was throwing his famous spring break party and just had to come and see his last one.“
Jason was right. Mark become locally famous for his parties these last five, years since his parents always left him on his own for the week before school started going on their yearly anniversary trip. But that would all be over after this year, since he would be starting his first day as a police officer this week.
“How is mother by the way?” Jason asked, taking a drink from one of the open cans that sat, abandoned, on the yellow countertop.
“She’s been worse since you left,” Rose said honestly, her gaze dropping to the floor.
“I'm sorry Rosey, maybe I can talk to her. For some reason she'll listen to me,“ A pained look crossed over his face.
“There's no point. She'll just go right back to it after you leave,” Rose sighed, tipping her head up to stare into the kitchen's overhead light.
For a moment neither of them said anything, both knowing it was no use rehashing the same issue they had gone over too many times to count. The silence was finally broken by Lily who came running in, beer in hand. From the looks of her, it was her second.
“Rose, there you are, you have to come and see this! Tommy is doing body shots off of May,” Lily words were slurred and, before Rose knew what was happening, she was being pulled away from her brother into the TV room. Immediately she was handed a beer and found that yes, Tommy Johnson was in fact, doing body shots off of May Jacobson, surrounded by about five other men who were all lining up to take their turns.
Rose could only shake her head at them, eyes pinned to her drink, before she downed it. The taste was bitter but she grabbed another one anyway, and another after that. She drank until she couldn't stand up without rocking from side to side. The next thing she knew there were people chanting her name as well as Jeff Marlow‘s. Then somehow the two of them were kissing hard and fast, touching each other, and Rose wondered what had happened to get her to that point. But as she kept drinking and dancing, with men she wouldn't remember the names of in the morning, she found that she cared less and less as the hours passed them by.
The whole night felt unreal to her because, in reality, she would never let herself do this, kiss random men, drink until she could barely see straight. But her mother's words kept playing back in her head and maybe her mother was right, act like a normal teenager that hadn't been missing for six months for once.
Well, maybe coming home drunk would make her mother happy, unlikely, but the thought of her mother being happy for once almost made her want to laugh.
“Hey, Rose, are you spaced out or what, girl?“ Violet asked, bringing her back down to earth. She looked away from where she had been diligently counting the boards of dark wooden paneling that hung on the wall only to see a mostly sober Violet. “Did you seen where Daisy went? “ Violet questioned her as Lily came over to stand next to them, her hair a mess and make-up now ruined.
“Wasn't she with you?” Lily asked, sucking on another cigarette. “No, she went to go get me another drink but never came back,“ Violet said, looking at them with worried eyes.
“I'm sure she's just getting it on with someone,” Lily offered. “She most likely went outside to pick some daisies or just got tired and had to go home,“ Rose added, knowing how tired Daisy got at times.
“Yeah,“ Violet said, looking tired as well.
“Want to look around, and if we can't find her after fifteen minutes we go home?“ Rose asked.
“Why not?” Lily gave a shrug a little off balance.
“I'll take the upstairs,“ Rose said, and with that, they broke away. Violet headed for the basement turned smoking room for whatever you wanted and Lily went to go check the kitchen and backyard.
Rose made her way through the crowd of people who sat on the steps, halfway-conscious, until she reached the first bedroom. She opened the door and found two bodies on one of the beds doing…well, what you do on a bed besides sleep, before quickly closing it as quietly as she could, her cheeks heating.
She moved on to the next room, finally only an empty guest bedroom decked in bright green wallpaper and an orange carpet that hurt her eyes. She shut that door and moved to open the next one in the long hallway, but stopped when she heard her brother’s voice.
“What do you want me to tell you, Mark?“ Jason hissed, his voice rising, “What do you want me to say? 'Sorry?' Is that it?”
“No, I want you to tell me why. Why are you here?“ Mark asked, sounding angrier than Rose had ever heard him, “You left without a word after months of hating me.”
“All I can tell you is that my plans changed and you don't want to know the reasons.“
Suddenly the door swung open and Rose came face-to-face with her brother, looking disheveled. “Rosey, what are you doing?” Jason asked looking down at her, anger washing away in seconds.
“I-I was just looking for Daisy. We want to go home but we need to find her,“ Rose stammered, her words coming out too loud.
“How much have you been drinking?” He suddenly asked, with eyebrows raised. “A beer or two,“ Rose lied, and it was a pretty bad one at that given how poorly she was doing at walking at the moment. She'd almost tripped over her own feet as she tried taking a step back, and would have fallen on her face if it weren't for Mark catching her arm to keep her upright.
“I'm taking you home,” Jason said, taking her from Mark. “I-I still need to find Daisy,” Rose tried to argue with her brother, looking up into a pair of blue eyes that matched her own.
He began pulling her downstairs, “If your friends haven't found her by now she most likely went home, Rosey.“
She didn't respond, too preoccupied with trying to make sure that she didn't fall over.
As they reached the bottom step, Lily and Violet approached them, “Rose, did you find her?"
“No, she didn't, and now I'm taking all of you home,“ Jason announced to the group. “But-” Violet started, but he cut her off. “Like I told Rosey, if you haven't found her by now someone most likely took her home already.“
Jason took Violet's car keys and started for the door.
“She wouldn't do that,” Lily sounded defensive, “Daisy would tell us if she wanted to leave early.“
He shoved people out of his way as they made their way outside, “What can I tell you? Maybe she hooked up with someone and they went somewhere more private.”
Rose made a face, but the world had started to rock and she felt as if she was going to vomit, so she stayed silent. The two of them made it outside into the night air, Violet and Lily following close behind. Her friends quickly moved out of the way, however, as Rose pushed past them and emptied her stomach into the grass at their feet.
She heard a few people laugh, along with a few other nasty comments, but her brother's voice rang out, clear as day telling her to meet them at the truck when she was done.
Rose was left alone and, after a few more minutes of clearing out her system, she looked up with blurry eyes to see one of the daisy chains Daisy had made just lying there in the middle of the yard, broken and stepped on.
She looked around,half-expecting to spot those familiar green eyes. See that familiar smile on lips telling her how happy her mother will be to learn her daughter was coughing her guts up like a normal teen. But she saw nothing, and her headache kept her from wanting to check things out further.
So she didn't. Rose turned away, and oh god how she would hate herself for that. Because no matter how much pain she was in she should have looked for Daisy. Daisy had been there for her through so much, and what did she do when she was missing? Nothing.
The drive home was quiet as she sat in the front seat next to her brother, the soberest one out of everyone. They had already dropped off Lily and Violet, Jason telling the latter that he would drive out tomorrow morning and return her truck.
“I knew I shouldn't have left for college,” he said, breaking the silence, “I knew you wouldn't be able to handle that big of a change, not so soon after-”
“Stop,” Rose cut him off, “Jason. I'm fine.”
“Really? You call drinking until you throw up 'fine?'“
“I was just doing what mother has been wanting me to do. Act like the last year didn't happen.“
“I'll talk with her, “ Jason said, his voice softer.
“Go ahead and try, but like I said before she’ll never get over it. I'll always be the crazy girl that made her mother look bad.”
Before Jason could reply they pulled into their driveway and she jumped out of the truck, running into the house and up the stairs.
She heard their parents call up after her, but she slammed her door and fell into bed. Rose knew that if Jason hadn't been there, their mother would have bathed in and demanded to know what happened. If she had shown everyone just how fine she was.
But Jason was there, and she fell asleep to the sound of her mother's excitement over just how surprised and happy she was to see him, her golden boy.
The next morning, Rose awoke to a headache that only seemed to get worse as she got up and showered, the too bright sun hurting her eyes.
She could barely think as she dressed, throwing on her new lime green dress and red heels, a pair of rounded sunglasses perched high on her nose.
“There's my angel,” she heard her father cooed as she walked into the kitchen and sat down at their old oak table, a piece of furniture far too big for her family of four.
“Good morning, father. How was work last night?”
“Don't try and change the subject, Rosalina,“ her mother snapped, sliding a plate of eggs in front of her before moving to sit down across from her father at the end of the table. Mother immediately started picking at her own food, her blue house dress fanning out around over her knees, blonde hair curled up in waves that looked perfect as always.
“Tell us what happened last night.”
Rose took a breath and turned to her mother with a smile, “It was everything you could have asked for in a spring break party, Mother, drinking and dancing to music you couldn't stand. I was the perfect little party girl. I drank until I couldn't stand.“
“That’s good to hear. And did anyone ask about last year?“ her mother asked coolly.
“Of course not mother, You did amazing work telling everyone I was just seeing our aunt,“ Rose looked down at her food, her face warm.
“Don't act as if I did it for myself, Rosalina, I did what I needed to for this family.“ As her mother took a sip of coffee, Rose noticed the dark bags under her eyes for the first time. Rose opened her mouth to reply, but decided it was better to not start things all over again. Daisy was right, it wasn't worth her time. And her mother always seemed to get so much joy out of it.
“I need to get going,” Rose announced and got up, only having eaten half of her eggs. She really didn't care, though, as she grabbed her book bag and headed outside so she could spend the ten minutes it took Violet to pick her up in peace and quiet. Sitting on the steps, and away from her mother's eyes, the early spring air could freeze her to the bone, but it still felt better than listening to her mother's go around and around in her head.
Rose stood as Violet pulled up, jumping into the old brown passenger seat and glanced over to see that her friend was looking as bad as Rose felt. Her normally high waves were down and didn't look to have been washed. Her brown eyes had deep bags under them, standing out even against her olive skin.
“You look awake,” Rose joked, passing Violet her sunglasses. She took them and yawned as they pulled away, heading for Daisy’s house.
“I was up all last night. My dad wasn't too happy about Jason taking my truck.”
“I'm sorry Violet. He wasn't drinking, was he?“
“No, luckily, but he wasn't…happy.” Rose looked at her, all humor gone, “You know my offer still stands right?“
Violet said nothing and, Rose knew why. Violet couldn't stand charity. Couldn't stand the thought of being given things for free. She worked a part-time job at a bookshop six days a week to buy her own clothes, school supplies, sometimes even food, when her dad didn't remember.
But the day Violet came to school covered in fist-sized bruises, Rose had offered to take her in.
She didn't care that her mother wouldn't like it, they had more than enough money to help. But Violet had given her a flat out "no." That her father hadn't meant to hurt her, and she wouldn't leave him. Not after her mother had just passed away a few years back.
“You already know my answer,“ Violet said with finally as they pulled up to Daisy’s house. Rose didn't argue, looking out of the yellowing window at the bright green grass of their friends yard. The one filled with the wild white daisies that Daisy used to make her chains.
The memory of another spring day in second grade came to her the time when Daisy had tried teaching Rose how to make them. Unfortunately, she had never gotten the hang of it. They would always fall apart at the lightest breeze, but Daisy would always try to make it all better by throwing her own chain away. It would just lay there as they say together in the grass, Daisy braiding her hair in the grass, making her smile.
“Why the hell isn't she coming out? We can't be late on the first day back,” Violet grumbled, eyeing the large house with frustration.
“I don't know,” Rose answered, confused herself, Daisy was almost always on time.
“Let's go knock.“ Violet started getting out and Rose quickly followed after her.
They ran up the grassy path and stopped on the doorstep, Rose giving the doorbell a few quick rings, but heard only Mrs.Young’s gray, husky barking to go away.
“Her mother probably took her to school this morning,” Violet offered with a shrug, turning back for the truck. No, Rose thought, No, she would have called and told me she was going to school with her mother. She had a bad feeling, and it had been growing since last night. Still, she couldn't say that now, could she? It sounded crazy, and that was the last thing she needed.
“Come on, Rose, let's get going,“ Violet called out to her, Rose gave one last look at the door before she turned and ran for the truck.
They rode to school in silence, as Violet was too busy driving and Rose was lost in her own thoughts. She was unsure of why she had such a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach, but hoped it was just some lingering effects of her actions last night.
She was brought back to reality as they pulled into the school's parking lot, hopping out to make their way towards their high school's wide, open doors and into the main hallway.
Suddenly, Rose was jumped on from behind. She made a sound and found Lily standing there, a lively smile on her face as if they hadn't gotten drunk the night before.
“Morning. Sunshine,” Violet said opening her locker to put her books away. Rose proceeded to do the same.
“Oh lighten up the both of you. It's not like it's your first time with a hangover. Remember last Halloween?“
“Barely, “ Violet admitted, tired, and Lily laughed like a little kid. Rose smiled a bit to herself before that sick feeling hit her again, making her stop and look around. Teens passed them by, going to class or their own lockers, but she didn't see who she was looking for.
“Have you seen Daisy today?“ Rose asked, glancing over at Lily who was now leanimg against her yellow locker looking down at her nails. She looked up and gave Rose a confused look.
“What do you mean? She came with you guys right?”
“No,“ Rose saif feeling worry take hold of her, “We went to her house, but she wasn't there.”
Lily frowned, “That's weird. Do you think she's staying in with a hangover?“
“No way,” Violet argued, “Her mother would kill her if she tried skipping on the first day.”
“More like she would hate herself if she missed a day of school. Remember that time she almost passed out in math when she had a high fever?“ Lily asked.
“Not helping,” Rose condemned turning away from her friends to walk over to a familiar figure down the hall. It was May, one of the cheerleaders that Daisy had helped with homework a few years back after the girl broke her arm, at practice. Afterward that she made sure that no one messed with Daisy.
“Hey, May," Rose asked, crossing her arms as she leaned against one of the lockers, "Did you hear if Daisy left with anyone last night?”
May looked down at Rose, her lips a bloody red and eye shadow an apple green, “I didn't see it myself, but I heard she was talking with an older guy last night on the phone. They made plans to go somewhere, though it could just be a rumor. But my congratulations if it isn't she’s really stepping up her game.“
Rose opened her mouth to ask when this had happened, but May continued, “There's no need to worry, of course if anyone's stupid enough to try and say anything about it to her, I'll make sure to stop them.“ There was truth in her words.
All Rose could do was nod, knowing Daisy has this ability to make everyone love and want to protect her, no matter what, because she did everything in her power to help them in return. She did so for the simple reason of being able to see them smile.
“Come on Rose, we need to get to English before the bell rings,“ Lily said grabbing her arm and pulling her away as May left to find her own class. Rose had no choice but to race down the hall with her friends, making it to their seats just as the bell rang.
They sat down right as Ms. Ball started roll call for the first day of class, but Rose wasn't as relieved as she should have been. She felt her heart freeze as she saw that Daisy's desk was empty no books, no backpack, no smiling girl nothing.
She looked over at Violet, who normally sat next to Daisy, and for the first time today her friends looked worried. It would have to take something very bad for Daisy Young to not to show up to class.
Rose was forced to sit there as their teacher called her own last name, and in a hoarse voice she answered. Then the whole room went quiet as everyone's eyes turned to Daisy’s seat, a sea of raised eyebrows.
“I see Miss Young is running later today,“ Ms. Ball said, and after a moment of silence she moved on to Violet, but Rose could hear the whispering all around her. Questions about sicknesses or worse, and she couldn't do anything about it because she didn't know why Daisy wasn’t there. Even when she knew how much Rose needed her.
But, halfway through the class, she got her answer. Rose looked up as a knock came from the frosted glass door, hopeful that it would be Daisy. But a second later it opened to reveal Police Chief Thompson, and behind him an uncomfortable Mark Hollow who was fidgeting in his new black uniform, refusing to look any one of them in the eye..
“Ms. Ball, may I talk with you a moment? “ the grayed-haired chief asked. “Of course, sir,” Ms. Ball complied, leaving the classroom and closing the door.
The room didn't stay quiet for long.
“What the fuck?“ someone exclaimed from the back of the class, and suddenly the room was filled with excited chatter. All Rose could do was look at her friends, both of whom looked freaked out.
“Do you think this is about last night?” Violet hissed, getting up and coming over to Rose.
“I have no idea,” She admitted. Lily came over as well, seeming equally scared, “You don't think Daisy is hurt, do you?“
Rose felt the blood drain from her face and opened her mouth to reply when the door opened once more. Their teacher returned looking pale, and the whole room went silent.
“Rose, Violet, Lily. Chief Thompson would like to talk with you in the principal’s office.“
Rose felt everyone's eyes on them as all three of them slowly got up and made their way toward the door, stepping out into the hall to find Mark looking paler then they had ever seen him, along with Mrs. Young's tear-stained face.