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Go Your Own Way

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Will Osborne couldn't wait to put the roller coaster ride of his public education behind him. Having suffered bullying and harassment since grade school, he planned a senior year that would be simple and quiet before going away to college and starting fresh. But when a reform school transfer student struts into his first class, Will realizes that the thrill ride has only just begun.

Lennox McAvoy is an avalanche. He's crude, flirtatious, and the most insufferable, beautiful person Will's ever met. From his ankle monitor to his dull smile, Lennox appears irredeemable. But when Will's father falls seriously ill, Will discovers that there is more to Lennox than meets the eye.

ISBN-13: 9781941530344

Media Type: Paperback(None)

Publisher: Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Publication Date: 05-01-2015

Pages: 326

Product Dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Series: Go Your Own Way #1

Read an Excerpt

Go Your Own Way

By Zane Riley

Interlude Press

Copyright © 2015 Zane Riley
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-941530-34-4


Will was late. It was a tradition for his first day of school. His dad had started it when he was little since he had to open the store hours before Will went to school. He went to work with his dad and sat on the counter playing with the trophy figurines while his dad got tied up on the phone checking orders. Since his first year of high school, Will had made his own way to school, but hadn't been able to break the habit his dad had begun. As a six-year-old, it had been funny to watch his dad curse, trip and spill coffee down his front when he noticed the time. Now, all Will wanted to do was sleep until mid-day instead of being forced awake by a trio of alarm clocks.

"Look out! Plowing through!"

Will dodged a television cart and ran past a gaggle of cheerleaders. His backpack flopped at his hip as he skidded into the Commons and then down the band hall. Only when he shoved the door open and a cacophony of tuning instruments greeted him did he realize that he'd left his own at home. Great. Another year started on the wrong foot. At least this was his last year of high school.

He twisted past the percussionists rolling their big drums in and stumbled into an open seat. Trombone, second chair. If any junior trombone players joined them this year, he'd end up as third or fourth. He was second chair now only because Natasha Eckhart and he were the only trombone players. In middle school, he'd tried to improve, but by eighth grade, he'd been content to hide in the back and pretend he could carry a tune.


He heard a high squeal and then he was bulldozed off his chair. Natasha Eckhart was one of his few friends, and she had been since they were five. Accidentally giving Natasha, the only kid in class with a peanut allergy, a peanut butter sandwich on the first day of kindergarten had solidified their friendship. At the time, she'd insisted that he owed her his friendship after what he'd done, but Will was glad to have her as a friend now. She was one of a handful of people at Eastern who was worth his time.

She also spent every summer far away from here.

"You won't believe what the Bahamas are like!"

Natasha helped him back into his chair and took the seat beside him. As Will fixed his hair and smoothed his shirt she gushed over the long cruise she'd been on with her parents, and then the second one with her grandparents and then another with the Girl Scouts.

"It's gorgeous down there," Natasha said. "I bought you this gorgeous scarf and this really neat belt. I wish you could have gone. Mrs. Walters would definitely let you join. You're not a threat to us girls."

"Is it a bandanna scarf? Karen found this online shop that sells a ton of them. And just because I can sew better than anyone else here doesn't mean I want badges for it."

Natasha rolled her eyes and opened her instrument case. She was a short girl with a long, messy braid, dirty fingernails and sleeves made of hair scrunchies.

"We could do Adventure Crew again," Natasha said. "We had lots of fun with that."

"Yeah, until everyone realized I was gay."

Natasha propped her feet up on her trombone case and nodded. "How was your summer?"

"The usual. Working at the store, playing with Oyster. Karen's mom came to visit. She still wants them to have a baby."

"Ew. Your dad's, like, ancient"

"He is not. Forty-eight isn't old"

"Is so" Natasha said. "I suppose Karen's still vibrant and young enough for it. You're so lucky you have a young stepmom around. Can you believe my mom turned sixty on our cruise? Ugh. I hate being the youngest. It just means watching them wrinkle."

"Karen doesn't want to have a baby. She says she's got no room for a baby in her or in the house."

"True, your house barely has enough space for you"

Suddenly, both of their chairs tipped forward. Will caught himself as Natasha tumbled forward and her case went flying. The group's only tuba player, Jack Hartlett, stumbled into them again; his tuba obscured most of him from view. Natasha snarled as she got to her feet.

"Watch it, lug-nuts!"


Natasha glared at him as he lowered himself into a chair on the end. "He's such a klutz."

"When did you two break up?" Last he'd heard, they were still texting each other hearts at three in the morning. Apparently, they'd switched back to communicating in English and insults.

Natasha opened her case. "Last week. Something about bubble gum and video games. He's an idiot. Oh, ew" Natasha grimaced and held up her trombone's mouthpiece. "I haven't cleaned this since last year"

"I'd rather clean that than take another year of gym," Will said. Anything was better than another nine months of getting knocked around the boys' locker room.

"I like the locker rooms. I get to find out where everyone gets the cute bras I like" Natasha said.

"You don't get hit or have shoes thrown at you either"

The band director swooped in from his office. Mr. Robinette was one of the youngest teachers at Eastern, with thick glasses and a side part in his black hair. Will liked him more than his other teachers. He was always willing to go out of his way to help his students.

Everyone settled down into their arched rows. The percussionists tapped away on the floor and their sneakers. They weren't a large band. Last year, they'd just tiptoed over thirty members, but this year, Will could see a significant drop. His fourteen fellow seniors and eight juniors couldn't fill a space meant for fifty.

"I should have taken up flute" Natasha said. Just behind them, one of the boys was attempting to stick his drumsticks into his nostrils. "Then I could sit by the piano instead."

Will glanced at the girls across the room from them. Tiffany, Maggie, Florence. The other two were juniors Will had never met. The piano was closed. No student had been talented enough to play it well as long as Will had been here. A few people had been proficient when he was younger, but never good enough to play for concerts. According to Mr. Robinette, the last person to play that piano in front of a crowd had been a girl who'd gone off to Juilliard when Will was learning to read The Cat in the Hat.

"At least Roxanne quit" Will muttered. The percussionists, despite the continuous tapping, were a lot quieter without their former leader barking orders. It was surprising not to see her in the class, but Will was glad, too. If the last three years were anything to go by, he and Roxanne would share at least half of his classes.

"Miss Perfect Pretty Princess Roxy." Natasha flipped her hair and batted her eyes until they watered. "Everyone lick my boots, please. Lick them until you're all hoarse, so I can direct everything!" She rolled her eyes and set her trombone on her lap. "I spent all of that stupid Girl Scouts cruise listening to her swoon over all the boys on deck. She thought all my retching noises were seasickness."

Will checked the clock. Two minutes until the bell and announcements. He dug out his music folder and a notebook and set up the music stand.

"Did you see that new guy earlier? He knocked Otto out cold by our lockers," Natasha said.

Will's head swiveled toward her. "What?"

Up front, Mr. Robinette called for silence. Will glanced at him, blushed and ducked his head.

As Mr. Robinette took roll call, Will flipped his notebook open and offered Natasha a pen. Anyone who kicked Otto's ass was worth finding out more about.

Natasha plucked the pen out of his hand. Some transfer from a D.C. boarding school. Landover or Lakeside or whatever it's called. I heard Mrs. Martinello talking about it after the fight. She met with him a few times over the summer. Otto was picking on him, and the guy punched him in the throat. Then his boots made love to Otto's stupid, ugly face.

He gave her a funny look as she handed his pen back. It wasn't every year Eastern High gained a new student. The last one had started during Will's freshman year and had left after winter break. He couldn't recall anything about that girl except that she'd been in his history class. Why anyone would want to move to this ghost town was beyond him. All he'd ever wanted to do was survive it long enough to leave, but most people weren't as smart as him. Some kid from a boarding school? A rich brat with a delinquency problem if what Natasha said was true. He was probably even stupider than the rest of the idiots who talked with their fists around here. But the new kid had done what Will had wanted to do since fourth grade.

"Natasha Eckhart?"


Will scribbled a note back. He sounds like an ass. I bet he's worse than Otto's ever been.

Natasha raised her eyebrows and glowered at him. Her supernova glare. The one that made his skin crawl as if it were blistering.

She dug her own pen out and scribbled, So? He's gorgeous. You'll be drooling in two seconds flat when you see him.

Will sat back and sighed. What did it matter to him if another gorgeous straight boy was stomping down the halls? The world was full of them. Too many around here.

Natasha jotted down a better account of the fight before the warning bell. Catching Otto off guard wasn't easy. He was a hulking boy, built as tall as a skyscraper and as wide as a canyon, with limp dark hair that was as long as any of the girls'. The hair probably came from his Native American mother, but Will had never bothered to ask. Normally, he was too busy preparing himself for a new bruise or five when Otto came around the corner.

Will was just skimming over Natasha's story when the band door opened and the victim clomped into the room. It couldn't be anyone else. Only Otto wore that stupid red and orange hoodie that was bigger than Will's bedspread. Otto shuffled up front and thrust a note at Mr. Robinette. An ice pack covered his left eye, and Will could see a dark bruise on his neck.

"Who did that to Otto?"

"Didn't you see the fight?"

Will frowned. The other kids continued to whisper as the announcements began. Otto flung himself into his spot behind Natasha and dragged his chair behind the bass drum.

"Welcome back, Cyclones, to the new school year! Today is Tuesday, September fourth and—"

Will twisted in his chair. Everyone else was trying to get a good look, too. It was important to know how much damage could be done to the biggest kid, and Otto had been the biggest in their class since second grade. He towered over Will and had arms as thick as Will's waist and thighs as powerful as a compactor. Around Otto's eye was a dark bruise like a coffee stain; a large gash split his scowl. The injuries made Will twitch in his chair. If someone could do that to Otto, who knew what would happen to him?

Otto was no friend of his, but since Will had finished his gym requirements in sophomore year, they'd lapsed into a habit of making lukewarm conversation. Some days, Will told Otto to get lost. Other days, Otto picked up a pair of drumsticks and drummed on the back of Will's neck until his skin burned. And if Otto was unfriendly in the morning, then his football buddies planned to corner Will throughout the day.

"Finally got on the wrong end of a fist," Will said, peering around the drum.

Otto growled and flipped him off. It was a pleasant reaction coming from Otto. Will breathed a little easier. No bloody noses or being chased all the way home today.

"This new guy must be a giant," Natasha said. "Did he—"

Everyone around them shoved their chairs back to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. The three of them stood as well. Will kept his eyes on Otto until they finished and then sat down for the regular announcements.

"So he's about seven feet tall, three hundred pounds, by my guess" Will said. "The black eye you gave me in seventh grade wasn't close to this"

Otto gritted his teeth as though what he was about to say hurt him. "He was about the size of a seventh grader"

"Everyone settle down!" Mr. Robinette said. "Here's the syllabus and tentative practice schedule through winter break"

The door flew open so hard it bounced off the stack of chairs behind it. Everyone jerked around. Will turned too as Natasha gasped.

"That's him," she said.


That was all Will could manage to say as the boy headed toward the front podium. This boy was gorgeous. He wore tight jeans, a wrinkled white shirt and a leather jacket. Long, springy curls hung around his face and his skin was a soft brown. His jacket bore a myriad of patches. Will caught a glimpse of a few—the Dead Kennedys, Pansy Division—before Jack's tuba blocked his view. He swallowed. This was beauty like in the stars late at night or on the pages of magazines. Nobody out here in Leon looked as captivating as this boy did. He chanced a short glance as the boy tossed a note onto Mr. Robinette's music stand. He wasn't the only one looking. The boy was watching him, too.

"Stupid shithead," Otto growled.

Otto dragged his chair away as the new boy circled behind Will to the only vacant chair. The kids in the percussion section whispered and clicked their drumsticks. Behind the bass drum, Otto snarled like a cat.

"Everyone" Mr. Robinette said as he eyed the note over his glasses, "we have a new student joining us this year, Lennox McAvoy. Mrs. Martinello says here you have experience in percussion."

"I have a lot of experience banging things" Lennox said. The words rushed over Will's head for the entire class to hear. They all understood the implication. What teenager wouldn't?

"So you can read music, Mr. McAvoy?"

"I read body language, too" Lennox said. His hand gripped the back of Will's chair. "You look a little tense, baby"

"Mr. McAvoy, stay in your seat or I'll send you back to the office"

Will swallowed and took the stack of syllabi from Natasha as Lennox's hand left his chair. He was attractive, but obnoxious, too. How could he be so forward with Natasha? Surely that comment was directed to her, even if Lennox's hand had been on his chair. No boy around here would ever flirt with him. Of course, Natasha barely seemed to notice. Her eyes twinkled as she winked at Will.

"His voice is like sex" Natasha whispered. Then she snorted and clapped both hands over her mouth.

Will glowered at her, his face prickling with warmth. What did that even mean? Voices weren't like sex. They weren't like much of anything when they didn't say anything worthwhile. Natasha couldn't make that comparison anyway since she had never—

Natasha elbowed him in the ribs. "Flirt with him"


"He's totally into you"

Will stared at her. Then Natasha yanked him around in his seat. For the first time, Will came face-to-face with Lennox and almost fell out of his chair. It wasn't the usual distance these rows allowed either. Instead, a few inches separated Lennox's face from Will's. He was so close that Will caught a whiff of peppermint and cigarette smoke. He had four piercings in his left ear, a small silver ring looped through the edge of his left eyebrow and a bar that reminded Will of a shower rod pierced through two spots in the cartilage on his right ear. What was that called? An industrial piercing? Will wasn't sure.

Will gulped as his heart stomped into his throat. Lennox smirked as he took the papers from his trembling hand. His eyes were scalding as they met Will's.

"Thanks, babe."

Natasha choked on her laughter.

Was this guy flirting with him? Hadn't he been into Natasha two minutes ago? Will cleared his throat and tried to say a friendly, "You're welcome" but ended up mouthing the words.

Focus on the syllabus. Will glanced at the sheet in his hands, but the words crumpled into each other. A boy was flirting with him! It was thrilling and unnerving all at once. No boy at Eastern had given him a second glance unless it was to aim a fist at his face. Already, he could feel a pointless crush creeping up his spine until it blossomed in his brain. Another year, another boy to moon over. A boy who seemed to be bisexual, or gay, and Will wasn't sure what to do with that idea. He'd never met another boy who wasn't ramrod, hyper-masculine straight.

Will shook himself. Focus.

Something heavy hit the back legs of his chair. Will stiffened. He glanced down at the sneaker resting against the chair leg. People accidentally kicked chairs all the time, but that same foot kept tapping. A moment later, a sneaker brushed his calf. Will yelped.


Excerpted from Go Your Own Way by Zane Riley. Copyright © 2015 Zane Riley. Excerpted by permission of Interlude Press.
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