Things had been going from bad to worse for Holly for several months. It started when her brother, Steve, died in a car wreck. He was her best buddy when they were not arguing. Steve was the only person in her life she could talk with about things that really mattered. He just listened and thought she was pretty.
Holly knew she would never get over Steve's leaving her but could have handled that and maybe even the stuff with her step-father. At least she did not have to worry about dealing with that filthy man anymore. Thank God he finally left.
Things got worse, though. She finally got up her nerve to try out for cheerleader and now wished she never had to go to school again. The competition was a disaster. She had thought it might be different in this school. "I should have left well enough alone. It does not get you many friends; but being the best math student in the school should have been enough." She could hardly stop shaking inside when she thought about her tryout; and that was only a thousand times a day.
The competition had been in front of everyone at a pep rally. It started out well enough until Holly's turn. Not only did she forget the words to the cheer, she fell into the pep band while trying to make a jump. If hurting herself had not been bad enough, she also felt like the joke of the school.
Weeks after the competition and when she knew it could not get worse, it did. A new boy in school moved in on her one special place: math. Not only was he a math whiz; everyone liked him, including the math teacher. Her teacher saying, "Being the second best math student in the school is nothing to feel badly about," only made her feel worse.
"There is nothing special about me. At least Steve thought I was pretty and now he is dead." It was all too much. Holly's world was out of control. "Being dead would be a relief. There is no way out. I can't stand this. I've got to do something to stop the pain. I just want out."