The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick
One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.
Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.
Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.
Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s new-found virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.
“Hey, you guys!” Marley plunked her ass down on the chair across the table from me. As usual, Kathy followed closely behind and hovered by her shoulder when Marley sat down. “I’ve got big news!”
We all turned to her at once. Josh even put down his walnut-grape-granola-goat-cheese-chicken-salad sandwich on focaccia to give her his full attention. “What’s up?” he asked between enthusiastic chews.
“I just heard some teachers talking in the hall. And they said that Friday is Miss Libby’s thirtieth birthday.”
Kathy pursed her green lips. “We can’t let it pass without doing something for her. She’s the coolest teacher at Appleton.”
“You know what would be so funny?” It was Josh again. “It would be such a riot if we set up a flash mob for her.”
We all laughed, just imagining it in our heads.
“No seriously,” Josh said. “We should set up a flash mob for her. Doesn’t she have lunch duty on most Fridays?”
Is this the Josh I know?
But, then, what did I have to lose? “I’m in.” It was the least I could do for Miss Libby, who’d given me a chance to redeem myself with Scotty.
“You’d do that?” Scott appeared absolutely scandalized. “What about those guys?” He again nodded toward the Superjocks. “They’ll never let you live it down.”
“Ask me if I care?”
Scott just sat there, his full spoon frozen just beneath his lips.
When Scott didn’t voice the question, David did. “D-do y-you c-care?”
I looked squarely at David. “Not even slightly. Plus, you should see me dance. It is something to behold.”
Josh rolled his eyes, because he’d seen it a time or two, but everyone else seated at the Social Justice League Table nodded and grinned.
“I’ll get together as many kids as I can and I’ll find some music. We can practice at the community centre right after school on Thursday. I’ll reserve it.” Marley was always on top of those kinds of things.
That posed a problem for me, though: basketball practice. But I had new priorities. I would work it out. “I’ll be there. How about all of you?”
Everybody nodded again. Scott had turned an enticing shade of pink.
Enter to Win!
- (2) THE RED SHEET digital copy
- (2) THE RED SHEET Swag Bag
Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five non-pedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.
Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.
Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.
Themes I always write about:
Sweetness. Unconventional love, tortured/damaged heroes – only love can save them.
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