I Hate Love © 2013 by Foxglove Lee
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design © 2014 Foxglove Lee
Photo Credit Natara
Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
First Edition February 2013 by Prizm Books
Second Edition March 2014 by Foxglove Lee
I HATE LOVE
By Foxglove Lee
“Ugh! I got pro.” Laura dropped her chin to the cradle of her hands. “What did you get, Mila?”
“Pro.” Mila clicked her teeth. “I hate debates. I always get stuck arguing a case I don’t agree with.”
Jaden turned around in his seat. “You two are nuts! How can you not be pro-Valentine’s Day?”
“It’s stupid,” Laura said.
“Uh, good point,” Jaden teased. “I’m so glad you’re on my team.”
“You got pro, too?” Mila asked, snatching the little piece of paper out of his hand. “Well, at least you’re debating something you actually believe in.”
“Freaks!” Jaden grabbed back the slip of paper he’d picked out of Mr. Godfrey’s hat. “You’re just anti-V-Day because you hate love.”
Laura knew Jaden was just kidding around, but that off-the-cuff joke was like a knife in her heart. She couldn’t believe how fast the tears welled in her eyes. God, she didn’t want to cry in class, but the tears were coming.
No. No way.
Bolting from her desk, Laura muttered “Bathroom” to Mr. Godfrey and ran out. The moment her foot crossed the threshold, tears raced down her cheeks. She felt like such an idiot. This wasn’t her. She wasn’t the kind of girl who cried in the hallway, but Jaden’s jab really hurt.
Laura’s locker wasn’t far from class, and she stuck her head inside, digging around for tissues. When the bell rang, she kicked herself for leaving her books on her desk. Now she’d have to go back to Mr. Godfrey’s room looking like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer… if he was drunk and high. She grabbed her compact and tried to pat on enough powder to cover up the redness.
“Hey, you!” Mila’s voice was unmistakeable over the clatter of students. “I brought your books.”
“Okay, thanks.” Laura didn’t even look out from behind her locker door. “Just toss ‘em on the ground.”
Her cracking voice must have been the giveaway because Jaden pulled her locker wide open. “What’s with you, pooh?”
“Wait, are you crying?” Mila cackled, then covered her mouth. “Sorry, sugar. Just, I didn’t think you had room for tears in that teeny-tiny body, there.”
A stream of anger coursed through Laura’s body, and before she could stop herself she’d smashed her locker shut. “Well I do, so why don’t you shut up?”
The whole hallway went dead quiet.
People were looking. Everybody was staring at her. God, why was she acting like such a freak?
Laura’s head buzzed as she yanked her books out of Mila’s arms. She was trying so hard not to look Mila in the eye that she ended up brushing the back of her hand against her friend’s big breast. It was just an accident, but the touch shocked her body. Even after she’d stormed away, her hand kept getting warmer. By the time she’d stomped through the stairwell doors, her skin was actually tingling.
From the top of the stairs, Laura looked down at the stream of students. Thank god it was the end of the day. If she had to get to another class right away, she’d have wanted to jump.
Resting her books against the railing, Laura looked at her hand. It didn’t seem any different than usual: short stubby fingers, chipped purple polish, nails chewed to the bone. But it felt different -- like it was glowing or something.
“Look at Laur-the-bore,” said a guy from her bio class. “She’s staring at her hand!”
Laura turned just in time for another guy to say, “You on drugs, Laur-the-snore?”
“The Ice Queen’s high!” a third guy grunted. They all brushed by her, laughing as they pounded down the stairs.
Where’s a girl to go when every direction is the wrong direction?
Without really thinking, Laura raised her hand to her nose and inhaled deeply. Was she totally nuts, or could she smell Mila’s body spray on her skin? It was like mangos and vanilla and field berries -- everything Laura loved. That’s what Mila smelled like.
“Ice Queen!” Somebody smacked Laura’s hand against her face hard enough to drive her head into the wall.
A shock of blackness streaked across Laura’s field of vision. It was so pronounced she almost didn’t know whether her eyes were open or closed. By the time the stairwell came hazily back into view, the crowds had dispersed. She didn’t know who’d struck her, but the jolt had dropped her books from the railing. They’d slid down the stairs, all the way to the landing, and Laura followed them, picking them up and hugging them tight to her chest.
Mila and Jaden were watching through the glass doors. When Laura caught the pitiful looks on their faces, she felt like a total dweeb. Had they seen the whole thing? It was so weird that they weren’t racing to her, asking if she was okay, but they both looked frozen in place.
“I left my backpack in my locker,” she said, walking by them and hoping they wouldn’t follow -- but knowing they would.
“Are you okay?” Mila asked.
“Yeah,” Jaden said. “That girl hit you pretty hard.”
Laura touched the back of her head, where it had slammed against the wall. “It was a girl?”
“You sound disappointed,” Jaden said with a stifled laugh. “Uh, yeah, it was that redhead Tracey. The one with the big bazongas.”
Mila punched Jaden in the arm. The motion made her breasts sway. Her tight purple top wouldn’t have looked low-cut on someone like Laura, but Mila’s boobs rested so heavy against the fabric they actually stretched it down. Laura tried not to stare, but Mila’s little gold cross glowed like sunlight against her brown skin, tempting Laura’s eye into that danger zone of cleavage. From there, she was transfixed.
“Can you believe him?” Mila asked. “Even gay guys be staring at boobage.”
Laura’s hand throbbed, and she shook it out at her side. No, that wasn’t good enough. She had to look away from Mila. Snapping open her locker, she buried her head inside.
“Well, sorry for living!” Jaden said, checking his hair in the mirror on Laura’s locker door. “But if boobs are around, you know I’m gonna look.”
“Do you look at mine?” Mila asked.
“All the time!”
“He does,” Laura said. “I’ve seen him.”
And if Jaden stared at boobs, maybe everybody stared at boobs. Maybe Laura wasn’t weird after all. Maybe people were all just giant babies who couldn’t resist the sight of big breasts.
That didn’t explain why her hand was hot as hell, though.
Grabbing her coat from her locker, Laura pulled it on and then dragged her bag up her back. One of these days, her spine was going to collapse under the weight.
As she summoned her strength, adjusting the heavy straps on her shoulders, her gaze accidentally met Mila’s, just for a second, but in that second she saw way more than she wanted to.
Mila looked quickly to Jaden and asked, “Want to come over and teach us freaks the meaning of Valentine’s Day?”
Jaden’s cocked his head. “Ooh, kinky!”
“No, not kinky.” Mila smacked his shoulder. “For the in-class debate tomorrow. Come over, and we’ll prep for pro.”
“Sorry, can’t!” Jaden said, taunting. “I’m ringing in V-Day with my candy-man Stan!”
“Ugh, I hate that guy,” Laura said. “Why do you hang out with him?”
“He’s a total pedo,” Mila agreed from down the hall. She kept talking while she opened her locker and pulled out her coat. “And he’s, like, a thousand years old. Can’t you hook up with someone who was at least born in the same decade as us?”
“He’s losing his hair,” Laura added as she zipped up her coat.
Jaden’s eyebrows arched down in the middle. “Shut up. No, he’s not.”
Laura giggled. “He is, at the back.”
“And the front,” Mila shouted across the hall. “I bet he has ED. Does he need a little blue pill to get it up?”
“Fuck off!” Jaden cried. His boots squealed as he turned around… and came face to face with Mr. Godfrey.
“Three-forty,” their teacher said, looking at his watch. “Why are you still haunting the halls?”
“I’m outta here,” Jaden said, storming past Mr. Godfrey. He pushed open the glass door to the stairwell, then turned swiftly around. “Those two hate love so much they can’t stand to see someone else happy!”
Jaden fled down the stairs before the heavy glass door slammed shut behind him.
Mr. Godfrey stood in the middle of the hallway with his corduroys tucked into his winter boots. Laura stared past the dorky sight, to the place Jaden last occupied. She and Mila had really hurt him. Even though she’d meant every word, she felt bad. She wasn’t just teasing him out of jealousy.
“Ladies,” Mr. Godfrey said.
“Yeah, we’re leaving,” Mila muttered, stomping toward the stairwell.
“Just one moment, please.” He held out his hand, escorting them into his classroom. “I’d like a word, if you don’t mind.”
Laura’s stomach plummeted. “We didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Yes, I know. You’re not in any trouble.” Mr. Godfrey tramped into his classroom, pulling his knit vest down over his belt. His boots looked like they were from the ‘70s, and they squeaked against the floor every time he moved. Normally, Mila would have laughed behind his back, but even she went silent.
Laura didn’t know what to say, so she didn’t say anything.
“I know this is a sensitive topic and you’re inclined to feel a certain loyalty toward your friend, but a teacher has a responsibility…” Mr. Godfrey leaned back against his desk. He ran his hand through his greying beard before saying, “We have a legal responsibility to report these speculations to Child and Family Services.”
Mr. Godfrey seemed really uncomfortable, and that made Laura’s stomach churn so hard she thought she might throw up. She wanted to look at Mila for some indication of what this might be about, but Mila was standing behind her and she couldn’t bring herself to move.
“I couldn’t help overhearing your… uh, conversation with Jaden.” Their teacher kept tripping over his words. “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds as though your underage friend is involved with in a sehhh… uh, an intimate relationship with a maaa… uh, a person who is quite a lot older than himself?”
“You’re just picking on Jaden because he’s gay!” Mila said, so abruptly it made Laura jump.
“No, no, I assure you, Ms. Ngatu, that is not at all the case.” Mr. Godfrey’s eyes looked tired. Laura felt sorry for him. “It’s a teacher’s legal obligation to report any suspicion of assault or abuse to Child and Family Services. It isn’t a choice, you see. Jaden is a minor. I would be breaking the law if I didn’t report what I just heard.”
“That’s true,” Laura said, turning toward Mila. “He isn’t making it up. I’ve heard of that before. Anyone who works with, like, kids or whatever, they have to report stuff like that.”
Mila’s hard expression fell, and Laura could see the panic in her eyes.
“We were just teasing him,” Mila said, toying with the cross around her neck, pressing it hard against her skin. “He’s dating this dude he works with part-time at the movie theatre, right? He’s not really old old. He’s just, like, a year older than us. We don’t like the guy, that’s all.”
Mr. Godfrey considered them both. His soft gaze moved between them like angels’ wings, gauzy and giving.
“Sorry we got you all worried,” Laura said. She knew her face went bright red when she lied, but at least she could blame that on her heavy winter coat. “Jaden’s our friend, but we tease him. That’s all.”
“That’s all?” Mr. Godfrey asked. It made Laura nervous, the way he looked at her without moving, without even blinking. “You swear to me it was only a joke?”
Laura nodded fast while Mila said, “We swear, Mr. Godfrey. Can we go now, to start our debate homework?”
Mila was pulling at Laura’s arm even before Mr. Godfrey said, “Thank you for your time, ladies. Safe home.”
“Oh my god,” Laura moaned when they got to the stairwell. “I think I’m gonna puke.”
“Not on my watch.” Mila zipped up her jacket with one hand and pulled Laura along with the other. “That was seriously not good! Was he for real?”
Laura burst through the metal double doors and out into the crisp February afternoon. “Yeah, my aunt works in a daycare, and it’s the same for her. If she thinks a kid is being abused, she has to call it in.”
“But we’re not kids,” Mila said, adjusting her backpack on her shoulders. “It’s none of their business what we do.”
“I know, right?”
When Laura pictured comb-over Stan doing all sorts of nasty things to one of her best friends, she shuddered. She didn’t agree with Mila, not completely, but she didn’t want to argue. Poor Mr. Godfrey. Did he really believe them, or was he going to call Child and Family Services after all? It would suck if Jaden had to go through some weird investigation just because he’d slept with a dirty old man. Shouldn’t that be Jaden’s choice? Shouldn’t a horny teenager get to screw whoever he wants?
“Are we going to your place?” Laura asked, trying to shake all that Jaden stuff from her head.
“I thought so. Aren’t we?”
“Yeah, just checking.”
The two-bedroom apartment Mila shared with her father wasn’t the fanciest place on earth, but Laura liked going there. Mila’s dad worked the night shift at a cookie factory on the other side of the city, so they always had lots of privacy and lots of treats.
“What’s on tap?” Laura asked, pawing through the bags of broken cookies on the counter.
“Those are the vanilla wafers you don’t like.” Mila pushed a different bag in Laura’s direction. “Here -- the chocolate-covered ones with that stuff in the middle.”
“Ooh, my favorite!”
Mila turned on the TV, and they vegged-out completely before starting homework. Laura couldn’t believe how fast time had gone by when her mom called at six-fifteen.
“What’s wrong?” her mother asked, sounding so suspicious Laura wondered what she’d done wrong.
“What? Nothing. Why?”
But Laura knew what she’d done wrong. She’s lied to Mr. Godfrey, and her mother always knew when she felt guilty about something.
“Your voice sounds… I don’t know… have you been drinking?”
“What? No! I’m at Mila’s.”
“Oh.” Her mom’s voice always changed when she mentioned Mila. “How’s she holding up? How’s her poor dad?”
Laura turned away from her friend and walked as far as the bathroom. “Mom, they’re fine. You don’t have to ask every time…”
“It isn’t easy for a girl to lose her mother so young.”
“Mom, it was like five years ago…”
“I can’t even imagine,” Laura’s mother went on. “When I was a girl, my sickly aunt lived with us, and, well, losing an aunt is one thing.”
It made Laura squeamish when her mom started talking about mushy stuff -- death, love, anything emotional. And she wondered why people called her the Ice Queen…
“And then selling the house to settle up medical bills? Laura, can you imagine if we had to move into an apartment at this stage? How would you feel?”
“Mom, I don’t care.” Laura bit her lip. What a thing to say. Of course she cared; she just didn’t know how to say so without… falling apart. “We’ve got debate homework. Can I stay over?”
“Not on a school night.”
“But Mila…” Laura knew which cards to play. “She doesn’t like to be alone.”
Worked every time.
“Okay, but eat something real for dinner. Not just cookies.”
Laura’s mother knew her too well.
“I like your mom,” Mila said without looking away from the TV.
Laura wasn’t sure why she took that as such a high compliment, but it made her smile. “Yeah, she’s okay. But she feels so sorry for you. It’s kind of annoying.”
Mila didn’t respond. She sat on the couch with both feet propped on the coffee table, her Spanish exercise book in her lap, the textbook open beside her.
“What’s for dinero?” Laura asked.
Mila laughed. “Dinero doesn’t mean dinner.”
“Fine.” Laura shrugged, then grabbed the fridge door. “I tried.”
“Do you have any money?” Mila asked. “I feel like pizza.”
The fridge was empty. Not empty as in there was nothing good to eat. Empty as in there were condiments in the door and milk in the jug, and pretty much nothing else.
“Yeah,” Laura said, closing the fridge and rifling through her backpack. “There’s a wallet in here somewhere.”
Pizza was a good idea. Laura ordered more than enough, pretending she was super-hungry, just so there’d be leftovers for Mila’s dad when he got home. Cold pizza was just as good as hot pizza. Maybe even better.
By the time they’d finished eating, it was getting kind of late and they still hadn’t prepped for Mr. Godfrey’s debate assignment. Every time Laura thought about it, her stomach turned. Had he called Child and Family Services? Had he made a report about Jaden and candy-man Stan?
“You okay?” Mila asked.
Laura was holding her stomach with both hands, curled up in the big-bear embrace of a tattered recliner.
“Yeah, fine. Just ate too much.”
Laura sat up straight as Mila unzipped the hoodie she’d been wearing all evening. Oh no! Not the cleavage! Mila’s purple top dipped down so low Laura could see the black lace of her bra. Mila either didn’t notice it was showing, or didn’t care, because she did nothing about it.
“Want to start on the V-Day debate stuff?” Mila asked.
Laura’s hand warmed as she ogled the bit of Mila’s bra that was showing. Why couldn’t she stop staring? She was acting like a total perv. Had Mila really not noticed?
“Huh?” She grasped her hot hand with her cool one. “Debate? Yeah. Where should we start?”
Mila leaned back on the couch. “Well, we already know the enemy. We are the enemy. So, if we were arguing that Valentine’s Day was crap, what would we say?”
“That’s easy,” Laura said while Mila took notes. “V-Day is just an excuse to sell greeting cards, overpriced chocolates, fancy meals, crappy date-night romantic comedies, you name it. It’s a made-up holiday.”
Mila chewed on the end of her pen. “Okay, then we could say Valentine’s Day has roots in, like, Roman times when the emperor outlawed marriage because single men made better soldiers.”
“Yeah, and Valentine was a priest who was like, ‘No way, that’s not fair,’ so he performed marriages in secret. When the emperor found out, Valentine was put to death.”
“Really?” Laura asked. “Where’d you learn that?”
Mila shrugged. “I don’t know. History Channel?”
“Kind of reminds me of today, how some priests or whatever perform gay marriages even where it’s not legal, just because they think it’s the right thing to do.”
“Yeah, for sure.” Mila jotted it down while Laura joined her on the couch to see what she was writing. “I don’t know how that fits with our argument, though.”
“No, true.” Laura closed her eyes, because that was the only way she could stop staring down Mila’s top. “Okay, we can say the obvious: that all those purchases of flowers and candy contribute positively to the economy.”
“I know, but it’s a solid defense.”
Mila’s pen raced across the page. “What else?”
“Umm…” Laura pressed her palms against her eyelids, until she saw swirling stars across a black background. All she could think about was Jaden. Why was he so hot for V-Day? “Maybe if you’re greedy and you like getting presents, then it’s good?”
“Or if you like romance,” Mila said. “Or, like, if you’re shy and you don’t know how to tell someone you love them. Or if you want to do something special like cook them dinner but any other day they’d think it was cheesy? You can do all kinds of stuff on Valentine’s Day that you wouldn’t get away with the rest of the year.”
“That’s kind of dumb,” Laura said.
“No it’s not.”
She pulled her hands away from her eyes, but the stars still swirled around Mila’s face, sparkling and popping like magic.
Snapping her pen onto her notebook, Mila looked Laura plain in the face and asked, “Why do you hate love?”
“Why do you?” Laura shot back. Why was she being so defensive? She shook her head. “Sorry. I mean… I don’t hate love. I just think it’s, like, overrated or something.”
Mila didn’t pick up her pen. She didn’t move. “Did you love Ryan?”
A groan streaked from Laura’s throat, and she tossed her head back on the couch. “I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Never?” Mila asked. “Come on. I’m, like, your best friend, and you never even told me what happened.”
“Nothing happened,” Laura snapped. “Nothing. At all. Why do you think the whole school calls me the fricken’ Ice Queen?”
“I heard he wanted to do it, and you didn’t. So what? That’s not exactly headline news.”
Laura seriously didn’t want to talk about this, but she’d held it in so long it just exploded out. “It’s not just that I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to do anything. I didn’t even want to, like, kiss him. He’d try to warm me up, but everywhere he touched just turned to ice. It was so wrong.”
“But you loved him,” Mila said. “Or, you told me you loved him. Did you?”
“Yeah.” Laura chewed her fingernail as she thought about Ryan. “I mean… I think so. He was my favorite person to be around, to talk to or whatever. He’s really smart and funny and all that.”
“But something was missing,” Mila said as Laura tucked her warm hand under her chin.
“The heat,” Laura said. Her hand was on fire. “I thought there was something wrong with me. There wasn’t any passion or tingly… stuff… oh my god, I sound like such a dweeb.”
“Do you think Jaden feels the heat for candy-man Stan?” Mila asked. “I mean, if he works part-time at a movie theatre, he can’t be rich. He can’t really be a candy man. Maybe Jaden actually likes the guy.”
“There’s no accounting for taste,” Laura said. “Do you think it’s wrong, what they’re doing?”
“Why? Because they’re gay or because of the age thing?”
“No, not because they’re gay,” Laura said quickly. They were sitting so close to each other on the couch she could hardly breathe. “I don’t care about stuff like that. I mean, do you think comb-over guy’s taking advantage of Jaden? Or do you think they’re a real couple and they’re going to grow old together and adopt fourteen golden retriever puppies?”
“I really have no idea.” Mila set her notebook on the coffee table and turned toward Laura. “Can I tell you something?”
“No.” Laura tried not to look into Mila’s cleavage, but she couldn’t face the dull glow in those beautiful black eyes, either. Her heart was hammering in her throat. She was practically choking on it. “Please don’t.”
Mila took her hand, the warm one, and held it tight. “What are you so afraid of?”
Everything was melting. Laura struggled to keep the ice castle together, but there was no use. She was a hot, wet mess in Mila’s hands.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” Mila whispered. Her full lips hovered close. So close.
But it was too late. The moment Mila’s lips met hers, Laura knew what she needed. It wasn’t much. Just this. Just this, for now.
They leaned into the couch and kissed deeply. Laura wasn’t brave with her hands, and neither was Mila, but that didn’t matter. Mila’s heat flooded Laura’s system and fried her brain -- singed her hair, probably. Her whole body felt hot, right down to her toes.
Mila was right. There was nothing wrong with her. Ever since Ryan, she’d thought she was broken, but here was proof -- proof that she wasn’t. New joy bubbled through her limbs, making her feel light as air.
They kissed forever, or what felt like felt like forever, until Mila pulled away, laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Laura asked.
“I feel like my tongue just ran a marathon.” Mila massaged her jaw. “You’re a good kisser.”
Laura knew her cheeks must be crimson. “I am?”
“Yeah.” Mila pointed at her mouth. “Oh my god, your lips are huge.”
“Oh.” Laura covered them with the one hand that was still hotter than the other.
“No, you look good. They’re really red, too. People pay big money to look like that.”
“Thanks.” Laura tried not to smile because her jaw ached from kissing, but she couldn’t help herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt this happy. “Do you think this is how Jaden feels when he’s with mister comb-over candy-man?”
“I don’t know.” Mila picked up her Spanish books from the floor. “What do you care? What difference does it make?”
“Just…” Laura’s mind was so inflamed from the heat of their kisses that she couldn’t find the right words. “I keep wondering if we should have told Mr. Godfrey the truth. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong. The law obviously says it’s wrong. Do you think Stan would go to jail for, like, corrupting a minor or something?”
Mila’s expression went blank, like she’d never considered that possibility. “Maybe they’re not even sleeping together. We don’t really know. We only know what Jaden tells us.”
Laura’s mind turned over like an engine, again and again, until her brain hurt. She would do the right thing in a heartbeat, if only she knew what the right thing was. “Ugh, I can’t think about this anymore.”
“Fine,” Mila said, kissing her warm hand. “Then think about me.”
They sat together, so close their bodies touched every time they breathed. Another kiss consumed them, like they couldn’t help it, like a giant that gobbled them up in one big bite.
When their lips parted, it was Mila who said, “You know what? I’m glad we got pro-V-Day. I don’t feel like arguing against it anymore.”
“Yeah,” Laura agreed, closing her eyes to the night. “Me neither.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Foxglove’s fiction has been called SPECTACULAR by Rainbow Reviews and UNFORGETTABLE by USA Today.
Foxglove Lee is a former aspiring Broadway Baby who now writes LGBTQ fiction for young adults. She tries not to be too theatrical, but her characters often take over. Like Rebecca from her debut novel Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye, who is convinced an evil doll is trying to ruin the summer of 1986. Or Kenny from her Evernight Teen book Truth and Other Lies, who keeps secrets from everyone in his life when his first novel hits it big! Or Noah from OmniLit Bestseller “The Secret to a Perfect Latke,” who comes out live on national television. Or Mila and Laura, who celebrate Valentine’s Day in “I Hate Love” and destroy a family member’s kitchen in “Happy Birthday, Klutzface!”
Follow Foxglove on Twitter @foxglovelee or stay tuned to her blog http://foxglovelee.blogspot.com for new releases!
Also by Foxglove Lee
For Middle Grade Readers:
The Secret of Dreamland
Ghost Turkey and the Pioneer Graveyard
For Young Adult Readers:
Sylvie and the Christmas Ghost
Tiffany and Tiger’s Eye
For New Adult Readers:
Truth and Other Lies
Embarrassing Period Stories
Where's a girl to go when every direction is the wrong direction? Half the school calls Laura "The Ice Queen." Even her closest friends have never seen her cry... until she's assigned to debate a Pro-Valentine's Day position in class. As far as Laura and Mila are concerned, V-Day's just an excuse to sell chocolate. Their friend Jaden says they're against Valentine's Day because they hate love. Maybe he’s right. Laura's never wanted the things teens are supposed to want most. Why is she so different? On the eve of Valentine's Day, warmth creeps into Laura's life from unexpected sources. By midnight, life might not feel quite so icy. A short story for teens.