"If all you can do is crawl, start crawling. Soon, you’ll be able to stand. First, just crawl."
S’renaty James lives a privileged life most her age only dream of living. She is beautiful and popular with her entire life ahead of her. Life could not get any better.
Until her entire life shifts, crashing around her...
Bound by devastation, persecuted by the ones she used to call ‘friends’, haunted by disturbing nightmares, and filled with self-blame, she vows to overcome.
Stefan is everything S’renaty swears to avoid. He is carefree and charismatic. He is primitive, complicated and a total badass. He makes her melt like fine chocolate under a hot summer’s sun the first time their eyes meet. There is something about him, and she makes it her mission to find out.
When he meets S’renaty James, he is not prepared for what comes over him because for the first time ever, a girl leaves him breathless. Now, his primary responsibility is to keep her safe. He will do anything to protect her. Even lie...
Stefan is the one person she has trusted with her heart. After keeping an unforgivable secret, he could be the one to shatter it to pieces. In fact, he may even destroy her beyond repair. Will she overcome and forgive, letting go of the pain, guilt and shame? Or this time, will she be stronger than the hardest lesson of her life — and, become totally ShameLess?
Cover Designer: Mae I Design and Photography
“Asshole! You fucking asshole!” Ella screams directly at Derek, as she shoves past him, storming off, staggering in a drunken state. Tears streaming from her eyes are the last thing I see as I take to staring after her, shocked, humiliated and past the point of being embarrassed. Tears now appear in my own eyes as I call after her, “Ell! It is not what you think. Wait!”
Without hesitation, I grab my black form-fitted prom dress by its edge and pull it up enough to make my legs more mobile. Derek attempts to stop me, begging me to let her go. I push him away with a force and race after her. Her turquoise sequins shimmering in the dark of the night proves my only clue I am almost catching up to her.
As I exit the row of trees, lining the area where our circle of friends gathered for our after-prom party, I see Ella climbing into her red BMW. “NO! Elle wait! Don’t drive. You’ve been drinking – WAIT!” I shout into the blackness. The only thing my ears hear as she squeals her tires on the damp macadam is, “Fuck you, Ren!” Burnt rubber wafts amid the air.
Thankful I still have my clutch, I dig for the keys to my black BMW, matching Elle’s red one. The instant memory of how lucky we both felt when our parents allowed us to get matching cars for our sweet sixteen’s purges more tears from my ducts. “NO!” I release a piercing shrill of total shock while I seize the key in my hand. Jagged edges cut into my palm, leaving a valid reflection of the anxiety in my heart. Quickly, I snap my clutch closed and head to my car, slipping inside. Without thinking, I dash off after my best friend. She knows I love Tuck. I am with him. I would never do anything to hurt her. She has to know me better than this.
I have to talk to her. I have to explain I only went to get Tuck a beer and Derek cornered me. He forced himself. She HAS to understand I would never do this to her! I. Did. Not. Do. This. To. Her.
Finally! After several minutes on route 5, I see her taillights ahead of me. I flash my headlights, trying to get her attention. I can see her swerving from the centerline over to the right berm. I flash her again. Slow down, Ell; slow down. I allow this sudden concern to process without further delay.
“Shit! No, no, no!” My voice penetrates inside the car bouncing off its interior. I push on the accelerator. I have to get closer. If she knows I am trailing her, she may slow down, maybe even stop. I have to get her to pull over.
The alcohol swirls around in my head, mixing with the depth of the misery curdling there. I literally feel sick, as if I could throw up at any minute. My eyes are blurring. I blink. No! I shake my head, slightly, forcing myself into the reality of the here and now. Once more, I flash my headlights, only this time frantically blinking them over and over again.
At first, I did not notice the sudden rainfall beating against my windshield. It's drops strike down forcibly snapping my dropping eyes wide open. Instinctively, I run the wipers onto fast setting and suddenly notice Ell is slowing down as she approaches the first curve on Waggoner’s Bend, otherwise known as ‘Dead Man’s Bend’ because so many accidents happened here over the years. She is still several feet from entering the curve, so if I can reach her in time, I might make her pull over at the park-n-ride. I hit the gas, increasing speed. Reckless rain pelts against my windshield as my cell phone vibrates from inside my purse. I ignore it and continue pressing forward.
Ell is literally almost at a standstill now. Curiosity immediately alarms me. The hair on the back of my neck stands at attention as goose bumps instantly appear on my arms. Then, through a combination of powerful raindrops and thick fog forming on the mountain, I see her put on her right turn signal. Thank God.
Relieved she is definitively pulling over, I start to slow down as well and start edging off to the side of the road. She parks but remains inside the car. I pull in beside her. Again, my cell phone vibrates. I quickly reach inside my clutch and, upon pulling it out, note that it is my dad. I mute it and let it ring straight to voicemail. I’ll call him back after I talk to Ell.
As I raise my head and dart my eyes back to Ell’s car, a curdling scream releases! ”Noooo!” Large, bright white headlights are coming right at us. Within seconds, a speeding semi slams into both of us, pushing us directly over the edge of the steep mountainside.
It is a devastating moment of intense shrieking of metal meeting metal as heavy rain continues to explode against the night. Descending at accelerating speeds both of our cars move downward, smashing into the embankment – side over side, thrashing into various trees along the way.
Coming to a complete rest at the bottom, I cannot feel much of anything. I can barely focus at all. I fight against the pain trying to hold me, wanting to stop me, and struggle to find my cell. Thankfully, it remains in my purse that has not moved.
Somehow, despite being blood soaked and dazed, I am able to call 9-1-1. I do not remember. I do not remember saying or doing anything at all after that. I only remember hearing Ella screaming before everything goes black.