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Made of steel (made of s.., p.12
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.12

           Ivy Smoak
slower 1  faster
Chapter 12


  I stood under the water until it started to get cold. And even once it had, I stood there for another few minutes.

  I was grateful to Kins for not making a big deal out of me ditching her last night. Apparently she had a great time with Eli's friend, Patrick. And I was glad she had something to occupy her mind. It made her stop asking questions I didn't know how to answer.

  When the water felt like ice on my skin, I finally turned it off and wrapped a towel around myself. Tomorrow was my first day of classes. I had done it more times than I could count. But my stomach was still twisted into knots. Usually I avoided talking about myself by choice. Being forced to not talk about myself seemed a lot harder. What if I let something slip? I wasn't sure I could do this.

  It was tempting to call Mr. Crawford. I could just tell him that I saw someone I knew. He'd transfer me. But a new school wouldn't fix anything. I knew that.

  I walked out of the shower stall and stopped at the mirror. Years ago I had transformed the Sagitta keychain into a necklace. I never went anywhere without it. It reminded me of my parents more than anything else. It reminded me of the night I lost them. I touched the arrow pendant on the center of my chest. It reminded me that they were the last people that truly thought I wasn't invisible. And for some reason, it made me feel hopeful that maybe I would be able to find myself again.

  I pushed my hair behind my shoulder and stared at the bruises on my neck. It was like I could still feel his fingers. It was like I could feel my throat constricting. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. If I could survive that, I could survive this. I didn't need to find myself. I needed to recreate myself. I can do this.

  I opened my eyes and moved my hair back over my neck. This was the start of my new life. I could be whoever I wanted to be. And Sadie Davis was done living in the past. I nodded at my reflection in the mirror. Summer Brooks was gone. There was nothing left of her. I nodded once more before grabbing my things and walking out of the bathroom.

  This time I kept my head held high as I walked through the hallway. No one was there to witness my sudden confidence level, but I was still proud of myself.

  "You just missed our RA," Kins said as soon as I stepped into our room.

  "I have no idea what an RA even is, so I guess I didn't miss much."

  "It stands for Resident Assistant. It's basically just a college student a few years older than us that helps us adjust, you know? Keeps us in line." She winked at me.

  I laughed. "What was she like?"

  "First of all, it was a he, not a she. A very dreamy he." She jumped onto her bed.

  "I thought you were already in love with Patrick?"

  Kins laughed. "I never said I was in love with Patrick. And just because I like him doesn't mean I'm suddenly blind to hotness."

  "Fair enough." Kins really was a huge flirt. "What's the dreamy RA's name?"

  "Matt, I think he said. It doesn't matter." She waved her arm dismissively. "I'm going to call him Mr. RA. That's hot right? Anyway, he was just walking around meeting everyone. He's hosting this pizza party thing tomorrow for everyone on our floor. It sounded like fun. You'll come, right?"

  "Actually, I was probably going to go try to apply to some more jobs tomorrow night." I had spent most of the day applying to jobs around campus. But most of them were already full or were work-study jobs for students with financial need. I wasn't exactly sure how I was paying for college. Mr. Crawford had said it was part of the program I was in or something. I hadn't really heard all the details. Either way, it probably meant I didn't have financial need even if my bank account said otherwise. I'd have to venture out into the city tomorrow. I was way more nervous about that than my classes.

  "No." She gave me an exaggerated frown. "Please come with me? I need to see his hotness again. And it's a sin that your eyes haven't experienced him yet. Please?"

  I laughed. "How about you show me some cool local places that I should apply to after classes tomorrow? Then we can go to the pizza party together after?"

  "Deal." She slid under her covers and hit the switch on her bedside lamp. "Goodnight, Sadie."

  "Goodnight." I quickly changed into my pajamas and climbed into bed too. The darkness settled in around us. Just because I told myself I could forget, it didn't mean it would just happen overnight. I needed to actively become Sadie Davis. I stared up at the ceiling. I wished I was staring at the stars. Apparently the new me had insomnia.

  "Sadie?" Kins whispered. "Are you still awake?"


  "I know it's silly. I'm only like half an hour from home. But I'm really homesick."

  "Me too." I had been homesick for the last ten years. "It gets easier, though." I realized my mistake as soon as it slipped out. Sadie Davis had lived in North Dakota her whole life. She had never moved. I held my breath until she responded.

  "You've been away from home before?"

  Crap. "Just for overnight summer camps and stuff. It does get easier, though. I promise." Please let that be enough information.

  "Yeah. It doesn't help that I'm nervous about tomorrow. Like, really nervous."

  I exhaled slowly, relief washing over me. I needed to be more careful. "Just remember that at the end of the day you get to hang out with our hot RA."

  She laughed. "I am looking forward to that."

  "Besides, we have our first class together. It's going to be fun."

  "You're right. I don't know what I'm so worried about. At least I'll have someone to sit next to. Goodnight, Sadie."

  "Night, Kins." I continued to stare at the ceiling. Maybe I had been lying to myself for years. It didn't feel easier tonight. All I wanted was to go home. I squeezed my eyes shut. I wanted another chance. I wanted to tell my parents I loved them one last time.

  I touched my necklace. It was so painful to remember. So why couldn't I make myself forget?

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