Home > Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4)

Size 12 and Ready to Rock (Heather Wells #4)
Meg Cabot

Chapter 1

Leave Alone
I’ve been called a fattie
I’ve been called big-boned
I’ve been called a leave-alone
As in “leave that one alone”
Sometimes love can suck
It can really, really suck
Sometimes love can suck
The life right out of you
Even fatties feel things
Big gals feel things too
And leave-alones feel so alone
Their hearts can break in two
Sometimes love can suck
It can really, really suck
But life has sucked a lot less
Since I finally met you

“Leave Alone”
Written by Heather Wells

Racing up the stairs to the second floor, my heart pounding—I’m a walker, not a runner. I try not to race anywhere unless it’s an emergency, and according to the call I received, that’s what this is—I find the corridor dark and deserted. I can’t see anything except the bloodred glow of the EXIT sign at the end of the hall. I can’t hear anything but the sound of my own heavy breathing.

They’re here, though. I can feel it in my bones. Only where?

Then it hits me. Of course. They’re behind me.

“Give it up,” I yell, kicking open the doors to the student library. “You’re so busted—”

The bullet hits me square in the back. Pain radiates up and down my spine.

“Ha!” shouts a masked man, springing out from an alcove. “I got you! You’re dead. So dead!”

Movie directors often cue their heroine’s death with flashbacks of the most significant moments from her life, birth to the present. (Let’s be honest, though: who remembers her own birth?)

This isn’t what happens to me. As I stand there dying, all I can think about is Lucy, my dog. Who’s going to take care of her when I’m gone?

Cooper. Of course, Cooper, my landlord and new fiancé. Except that our engagement isn’t so new anymore. It’s been three months since he proposed—not that we’ve told anyone about our plans to get married, because Cooper wants to elope in order to avoid his unbearable family—and Lucy’s grown so accustomed to finding him in my bed that she goes straight to him for her breakfast and morning walk, since he’s such an early riser, and I’m . . . not.

Actually, Lucy goes straight to Cooper for everything now because Cooper often works from home and spends all day with her while I’m here at Fischer Hall. To tell the truth, Lucy seems to like Cooper better than she likes me. Lucy’s a little bit of a traitor.

Lucy’s going to be so well taken care of after I’m dead that she probably won’t even notice I’m not there anymore. This is disheartening enough—or maybe encouraging enough—that my thoughts flicker irrationally to my doll collection. It’s mortifying that someone who is almost thirty owns enough dolls to form a collection. But I do, over two dozen of them, one from each of the countries in which I performed back when I was an embarrassingly overproduced teen pop singer for Cartwright Records. Since I wasn’t in any particular country long enough to sightsee—only to go on all the morning news shows, then give a concert, usually as the opening act for Easy Street, one of the most popular boy bands of all time—my mom got me a souvenir doll (wearing the country’s national costume) from each airport gift shop. She said this was better than seeing the koalas in Australia, or the Buddhist temples in Japan, or the volcanoes in Iceland, or the elephants in South Africa, and so on, because it saved time.

All this, of course, was before Dad got arrested for tax evasion, and Mom conveniently hooked up with my manager and then fled the country, taking with her the entire contents of my savings account.

“You poor kid.” That’s what Cooper said about the dolls the first time he spent the night in my room and noticed them staring down at him from the built-in shelves overhead. When I explained where they’d come from, and why I’d hung on to them for all these years—they’re all I have left of my shattered career and family, though Dad and I have been trying to reconnect since he got out of prison—Cooper had just shaken his head. “You poor, poor kid.”

I can’t die, I suddenly realize. Even if Cooper does take care of Lucy, he won’t know what to do with my dolls. I have to live, at least long enough to make sure my dolls go to someone who will appreciate them. Maybe someone from the Heather Wells Fan Club Facebook page. It has close to ten thousand likes.

Before I have a chance to figure out how I’m going to do this, however, another masked figure jumps out at me from behind a couch.

“Oh no!” she cries, shoving her protective eye shield to the top of her head. I’m more than a little surprised to see that it’s a student, Jamie Price. She looks horrified. “Gavin, it’s Heather. You shot Heather! Heather, I’m so sorry. We didn’t realize it was you.”

“Heather?” Gavin raises his own face mask, then lowers his gun. “Oh shit. My bad.”

I gather from his “my bad” that he means it’s his mistake that I’m dying from the large-caliber bullet he’s shot into my back. I feel a little bit badly for him because I know how much I meant to him, maybe even more than his own girlfriend, Jamie. Gavin’s probably going to require years of therapy to get over accidentally murdering me. He always seemed to relish his role in the May-December romance he imagined between us, even though our love was never going to happen. Gavin’s an undergrad film major, I’m the assistant director of his residence hall, and I’m in love with Cooper Cartwright . . . besides which, it’s against New York College policy for administrators to sleep with students.

Now, of course, our romance is definitely never going to happen, since Gavin’s shot me. I can feel the blood gushing from the wound in my back.

I’m not even sure how I’m still able to stand, given the size of the bloodstain and the fact that my spine is most likely severed. It’s a bit hard to see how deep the wound is, since the room—along with the rest of the second-floor library—is in darkness, except for what light is spilling in from the once-elegant casement windows overlooking Washington Square Park’s chess circle, two stories below.

“Gavin,” I say in a voice clogged with pain, “would you make sure my dolls go to someone who—”

Wait a minute.

“Is this paint?” I demand, bringing my fingers to my face so I can examine them more closely.

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