The Ring

Sixteen year old Adriana Malone has been best friends with Abraham Desmond for as long as she can remember, but ever since she’s started seeing Duke, Abe’s been acting strange. Can she balance the needs of both of the guys in her life, or will she have to chose between popularity . . . and her own convictions?

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Sixteen year old Adriana Malone has been best friends with Abraham Desmond for as long as she can remember, but ever since she’s started seeing Duke, Abe’s been acting strange. Can she balance the needs of both of the guys in her life, or will she have to chose between popularity . . . and her own convictions?

A light came on and my next-door neighbor’s voice boomed, “Adriana Wesley Malone, get out of that bed! It’s time to go and I’m not leaving without you. If I don’t go, our moms and Eliza don’t either. And you know what they’ll do to you if they don’t get to go to church.”

I turned over in bed and hid underneath my pillow. “Abe! Who let you in? Go away; it’s too early, I’m asleep!”

Abe grabbed for the pillow and a tug of war ensued. He won. “Dear, it’s almost ten. Get up and shower, or I will pick you up and put you in the car and you can go to church barefoot and in your PJ’s. Your choice.”

“You wouldn’t!” He would. Abe never made idle threats.

Eliza came in. “Hurry up, Adriana. The big lug refuses to leave you behind.” At fifteen, patience wasn’t her strong point.

Groaning, I sat up and pulled myself out of bed, every muscle crying out in protest. I looked around, bleary eyed and sleep-sand crusted.

Abe steered me towards the bathroom. “Come on, we’re going to be late.”

I glared. “Abraham Desmond, you are a royal pain, you know that?”

“You’ll thank me later.”

I stuck out my tongue. My cheek anticipated a smart-aleck kiss even though Abe put that sort of behavior to a stop over three years ago.

By the time we reached the church five minutes after the services were to start, I was fully awake. I should’ve known better than to stay out so late. I needed to stop letting Duke talk me into these things. If Abe knew how late I was out the night before, he’d be furious. Thankfully, I was often difficult in the morning, so he didn’t seem to find my behavior out of the ordinary.

As we entered the sanctuary, Abe grabbed my left hand. “Where’s your ring?”

I blinked. “Eliza stole it out of the bathroom a month ago.”

Hurt flashed through Abe’s clear blue eyes. His mother frowned. “Abraham, come sit next to me.”

Sending another hurt look at me, Abe trotted to her side, clear on the other side of our party.

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