Friday, September 27, 2013

After Alex Died by Dakota Madison


An overweight dorm manager handed each of the counselors a room key and we were each assigned a floor to co-monitor. The dorm only had five floors, so we were each paired with another counselor. In the chaos of the room assignments and everyone grabbing their stuff and trying to cram into the elevators, I didn’t see who was assigned to the third floor with me. I only knew it wasn’t Sofia because she got the fourth floor.

I dragged my bag into my room and threw it on the bed. The room was larger than the dorm I was used to sharing with Kellie. It was more like a studio apartment. I figured it must have been a room used by a resident advisor during the school year. The spaciousness of the room made me feel a little exposed and vulnerable. I had become accustomed to and enjoyed the feeling of being in more enclosed spaces. I liked the feeling of being entombed, maybe because it made me feel closer to Alex.

We were scheduled for our first group meeting at 10 a.m. across the quad in the Meriman Building. During the school year, a lot of Liberals Arts classes were held there and I had taken most of the English classes in the building, so I was already familiar with it.

I didn’t see any reason to get changed and my hair was already a frizzy mess from all of the suitcase lugging in the humidity. There was not too much I could do with it other than pull it back into a ponytail, which was my default style most of the time anyway.

I removed a framed photo of Alex from my suitcase and placed it on the shelf over my desk. I never had many decorations for my room but I always had a photo of Alex. It was taken the summer before his freshman year of high school. The summer when our family was still a family and we were all still happy. The summer before everything changed and broke our family beyond repair.

Mom and Dad had surprised us with a long weekend trip to the Jersey Shore. Alex and I loved to swim and splash each other in the ocean waves. We loved hanging out at the boardwalk and eating foot-long hotdogs and steak fries dipped in both ketchup and mustard. Some of my best memories were from summer vacations spent at The Shore.

I wiped at a stray tear that had escaped down my cheek. You’d think after nearly two years, I wouldn’t cry over Alex but I still missed him so much.

I sucked in a deep breath and tried to mentally prepare myself for my new job. This was the first real job I ever had. Sure, I’d done my share of babysitting, lawn mowing and car washing around the neighborhood but I never actually had a job that required income tax paperwork and an actual paycheck. My parents didn’t want me to work when I was in high school. They wanted me to concentrate on getting good grades and padding my resume with extra-curricular activities that would impress a college scholarship board. It paid off because I got a full scholarship to a fairly impressive school. The only expenses I had were books and incidentals.

As I exhaled, I opened my dorm room door and hoped I would also be opening a door to a new chapter in my life, or at least a chance at a new state of mind. As I was fiddling with the door lock, I heard the door of the other resident advisor room down the hallway slam shut.

I immediately froze when I saw Cameron Connelly staring at me. We both looked at each other, speechless.

Two years’ worth of every horrible thing I had wanted to say to Cameron flashed through my mind. I had fantasized about running into him somewhere, like in a supermarket or coffee shop, and telling him off. I always pictured myself screaming and waving an angry finger at him. But now that I was actually face-to-face with him, all the words I had committed to memory completely eluded me. I was struck completely speechless.

I could feel the air between us fill with awkward tension but neither one of us moved. We just kept staring at each other.

“We’d better get to Meriman Hall.” Cameron’s voice was so soft it was barely audible which surprised me. He was always such an outspoken asshole in high school and never had any trouble speaking his mind and being heard. 

I didn’t respond. I just turned my back on him and walked away.


The Summer Counselors were scheduled to meet in Room 226. By the time I got there, most of the other counselors were already seated. I saw Sofia give me a quick wave, so I took a seat next to her.

“You okay?” she asked. She seemed to have an uncanny ability to sense my mood even though I thought I was hiding it well.

“I’ve been better.”

She nodded.

A few seconds later Cameron made his way into the room. He scanned the small space but only two seats remained. One was next to me and the other was right in the front center of the room. His eyes bounced back and forth between the two seats as he was apparently weighing his options.

“That’s the guy, isn’t it?” Sofia whispered to me.

I nodded.

“He’d better not sit his ass next to you or I’m gonna tell him a thing or two. He’d better take that seat right up front.” It felt kind of nice to have someone be protective of me for a change. After Alex died neither one of my parents seemed to give a shit about me anymore. It was like the best parts of both of them died with my brother.

After one final glance in our direction, Cameron made his way over to the seat in the front of the room and awkwardly squeezed into it. The seats were the kind with the small desks attached to the front of them. As a former star basketball player, Cameron was tall, easily 6-feet 4-inches, and muscular. His long legs barely fit under the desk.

“He kind of looks like he’s full of himself,” Sophia whispered. “I hate guys like that.”

“Me, too,” I agreed.


After Alex Died

This NEW ADULT ROMANCE contains MATURE LANGUAGE and SUBJECT MATTER and is intended for readers ages 17+.

“Don’t be someone who defines her life by someone else’s death.”

Dee Dee DeMarco’s brother, Alex, was funny, free-spirited and creative. He was also gay. Tormented by bullies, Alex killed himself on his 15th birthday.

Two years later, and now in college, Dee Dee believes getting a summer job working with a college-prep program for disadvantaged high school students is a stroke of luck, until she discovers that the guy assigned to co-lead her group is Cameron Connelly, a star basketball player and one of the bullies who tormented her brother to death. How can Dee Dee possibly spend the entire summer working so closely with one of the boys she blames for her brother’s death?

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I think this is a little story with a lot of heart. I hope you think so, too!

Buy Now @ Amazon @ Smashwords

Genre - Contemporary/New Adult Romance

Rating – R

More details about the author

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