As part of the Avery Shaw Experiment, Spanish Fork High science club president, Avery Shaw, and her new recruit, Spanish Fork High basketball star Grayson Kennedy were required to keep journals throughout their study. I happen to have a few of those journal entries, and am very excited to share them with you. Before I do, just in case you haven't read the book yet, (For which there is no excuse because it's on sale for $0.99 this week. ;) ) I believe I should give you a tiny bit of insight as to what, exactly, The Avery Shaw Experiment is. But since this is the day to get to know Avery and Grayson, I'll let them explain it in their own words.
"I See London, I See France"
Though I am clearly past the shock, denial, and bargaining stages of grief, I have not attained guilt yet. If I had to describe myself as anything right now, I would say I’m simply empty. Sad, hurt, and empty.
What happened between Aiden and myself was tragic, but, really, it was nobody’s fault. Aiden has as much right to his feelings as I do mine. He did what he did because it’s what he needed, not because of something I’d done. Even Grayson agrees that I did nothing wrong. He’s told me a hundred times already that I have nothing to feel guilty about.
Grayson’s right. I have nothing to feel guilty about. And I don’t. Feel guilty, that is. It’s been days and still the guilt won’t come. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to feel guilty about. I just know it’s the next stage in the grieving process.
As part of the Avery Shaw Experiment, I have decided to try and let the stages of grief occur naturally. However, that doesn’t mean that I will sit around waiting for acceptance and a cured heart to find me. No one has ever achieved results by being stagnant.
I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do is that which true mourners do—try to move on with my life. I need to stop dwelling on the past. I need to accept that my relationship with Aiden will never go back to the way it was, and that my life has changed in a very permanent way. I will never be the same.
I figured step one of “moving on” was to purge my life of all things Aiden Kennedy. Tonight I had Grayson come over to my house and help me remove everything that reminded me of Aiden. My theory was that if I see nothing that sparks a memory, then I would be able to think of Aiden less and it would be easier for me to forget him.
This experience was much harder and more painful than I thought it would be. I never could have done it without Grayson’s support and encouragement. Crying in front of him was embarrassing, but he didn’t seem to think any less of me for it. I’m grateful to have such an understanding partner.
After it was all over—Grayson had to pry the garbage bag full of memories from my hands and drive away with it, or all of that stuff would have ended up right back in its place—I expected to feel better. I expected some sort of closure or sense of relief. Instead I looked around at all the bare walls and dust outlines on the dresser and cried even harder.
The empty spots where the pictures and souvenirs once were now stand as reminders themselves—big empty voids just like the one in my heart that used to be filled with my best friend. Part of me is missing. It’s as if I am an amputee missing an arm or a leg.
The spot on my wall where I used to hang a poster of Albert Einstein that Aiden had given me after I’d dressed as the brilliant physicist for Halloween in middle school was the most obvious gaping hole. I took one look at that spot and broke down.
When I lost it, Grayson wrapped his arms around me, told me he knew how to fix the problem, and then disappeared slamming my bedroom door shut behind him. After a minute, he came back and I watched, bewildered, as he pinned a pair of smiley face boxer shorts to my wall where Einstein used to watch over me.
I couldn’t help the way my horrified gaze dropped to Grayson’s pants. He burst into laughter, knowing what I’d been thinking, and insisted that the shorts now on my wall were his emergency pair—clean and washed—that he kept in his gym bag, and that this was most definitely an emergency.
I asked why he tacked his underwear up on my bedroom wall and he told me because now every time I looked at that spot I would think of him and laugh instead of thinking of Aiden and crying. He was right. I can’t help smiling at the ridiculous smiley faces.
He also told me that they would help me have good dreams. When I asked why he said because I would dream about him being mostly naked instead of having nightmares of Aiden leaving me. I’d freaked out so badly that he’d had to prompt me to breathe again. I don’t know that I’ll have any dreams at night, but the daydreams are already ridiculous. I can’t stop picturing him in those shorts! I’m going to have to get something to replace them. Soon!
Avery is crazy. Girls are slightly insane in general, but Avery is especially nuts. She called me up tonight and asked me to help her purge Aiden from her life. I have been asked by a lot of girls to do a lot of things, but never to help them purge. Whatever she meant, I was sure it wasn’t going to be all fun dates and playing like she’d promised me when I agreed to this whacked-out experiment.
Apparently purging was smart-girl talk for throwing out your ex’s junk. I know this is like some kind of sacred ritual among chicks—they have scenes about it in movies and everything—but I don’t get what the big deal is. It’s just stupid crap. Pictures, CD’s, lame stuffed animals, and in Avery’s case, old science projects, reports, and even a Civil War diorama that she and Aidan had done in the 3rd grade. The thing was practically biodegrading and yet Aves nearly had a panic attack when I shoved the old shoebox into a garbage bag.
Avery was a freaking train wreck through the whole thing. I had to do all of the actual throwing out because she wasn’t really capable of anything more than pointing at stuff and bursting into tears. She couldn’t even explain why half of that crap reminded her of Aiden. (I’m still at a loss with the Diana Ross CD.)
I thought her attachment to all of it was stupid, but I have to admit the concept had merit. She needed to get over my idiot brother already. The dude was not worth the emotional pain Avery was putting herself through. If I could, I’d wipe Aiden clean from the Earth, but since murder is a felony and I’m too hot to go to prison, purging him from Avery’s life was the next best thing. Aves may have found the evening emotionally scarring, but I thought it was mildly satisfying. Punching Aiden in the face would have been more satisfying, but there was some consolation in burning his pictures.
The more stuff we got rid of, the better I felt. When I carried the garbage bag out of the house—I had to pry it from Avery’s fingers—I thought Aves would feel better too. I thought for sure there would be some kind of relief for her.
Not so much.
I came back inside and found Avery staring at her bedroom wall like some kind of mental patient. When I walked in the room she turned to me and my heart almost broke for her. Her tears were pouring down her face again and the look in her eyes was so devastated that I felt her pain with her.
In a single stride I pulled her against me and wrapped her tightly in my arms hoping that feeling her there would stop the throbbing in my chest.
Crying girls have always been my biggest weakness. I pretty much hate this about myself, because it makes me vulnerable to them. But I seriously cannot stand it when girls cry. It’s like there is something in me, some kind of physical part of me that reacts when I see a girl cry. It makes me crazy and the feeling doesn’t go away until I’ve made them stop. I have to make them stop. I have to do whatever it takes to put a smile on a sad girl’s face no matter what it does to my dignity.
I’m such a sucker.
Tonight was no exception. Actually, it was one of my least dignified moments ever. Curse my stupid hero gene.
Aves was falling apart and I had to make it better. While she buried her face in my chest, my brain spun frantically searching for some sort of solution. I wasn’t even sure what had set her off this time, but then I looked up at the wall and everything fell into place.
Avery had had this lame poster on her wall of an old dude with crazy hair. I think it was Albert Einstein or someone. I’d taken it down, but it had been in that same spot for so long that you could see the outline of it where the sun had bleached the paint around it over the years.
The big empty rectangle spot was worse than the poster. It was practically jumping off the wall, mocking me in the worst way. I may as well have painted the words AIDEN LEFT YOU in the poster’s place when I took it down, because now it was obvious that it was gone. Just like Aiden was.
I had to fix it. I had to get rid of that spot. But I couldn’t put the poster back. I had to put something else there. Something that wouldn’t remind her of Aiden. More than that—it had to be something that would cheer her up and put a smile on her face when she saw it. It was the “smile” thought that gave me the idea.
Now, this is the part where my dignity comes into play. I was so desperate to cheer Aves up that I’d have given her the shirt off my back if I thought it could help. Unfortunately, in this case, my shirt wouldn’t do any good. But my underwear…
That’s right, I gave Avery Shaw my underpants. The stupid, dorky ones Aiden got me for Christmas a couple of years ago because he’s a tool like that, that I kept in my gym bag. They were white with rainbow smiley faces all over them. Ridiculous. But they would make Avery laugh.
Before I could think better of it, I strolled into Avery’s room and tacked those dumb shorts right over that stupid poster spot. After they were securely fastened to her wall I turned around and grinned at her as big as I could. The trick was confidence. I had to act like I thought this was totally normal, and the most brilliant idea ever or Avery would know how stupid I suddenly felt and then she’d get embarrassed.
Avery looked slightly horrified and her eyes dropped to my waist. I burst into laughter and pulled up my shirt, exposing the band of the boxers I was wearing as proof that I was still dressed beneath my pants. Once she was assured that the shorts on her wall were at least clean she, of course, asked me why I’d just decorated her room with underwear.
I explained my theory of them making her laugh and think of me instead of the Einstein poster making her cry over Aiden. It worked. She looked up at my shorts and actually smiled. It was the first smile I’d seen on her face since I’d arrived. I felt five hundred pounds lighter all the sudden and my smile reached goofy status.
Then, because I’m a jerk and couldn’t help myself, I made a comment about her dreaming of me in nothing but those smiley faces. She totally freaked of course. I knew I shouldn’t have done it, but I love watching her blush too much. She turned so red that I was sure she had a very clear mental image stuck in her head.
I waited until she started breathing again, then I kissed her bright red cheek and told her to have pleasant dreams tonight. It was classic. There is no one on the planet more adorable than Avery.
The Avery Shaw Experiment is on sale this week only for just $0.99. I promise, it's worth the dollar! Amazon * iBooks * B&N * Kobo And The Libby Garrett Intervention is now available for preorder at the early bird price of $2.99. (Regular listing price $4.99 after it goes on sale, so order now and save yourself some money!) Amazon * iBooks * Kobo
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Kelly wrote her first novel at age fifteen--a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy. Connect with Kelly