Authors: Teresa Toten
Also by Teresa Toten
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Text copyright © 2016 by Teresa Toten
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Published simultaneously in hardcover by Doubleday Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto, in 2016.
Delacorte Press is a registered trademark and the colophon is a trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Toten, Teresa, author.
Title: Beware that girl / Teresa Toten.
Description: New York : Delacorte Press,  | Summary: When a scholarship girl and a wealthy classmate become friends, their bond is tested when a handsome young teacher separately influences the girls in order to further his less-than-admirable interests.
Identifiers: LCCN 2015028074 | ISBN 978-0-553-50790-4 | ISBN 978-0-553-50791-1 (glb) | ISBN 978-0-553-50792-8 (ebook)
Subjects: | CYAC: Friendship—Fiction. | Secrets—Fiction. | Mental Illness—Fiction. | Psychopaths—Fiction. | Teacher-student relationships—Fiction.
Classification: LCC PZ7.T6458 Be 2016 | DDC [Fic]—dc23
LC record available at
ISBN 9781524700324 (intl. tr. pbk.)
eBook ISBN 9780553507928
Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.
For Ken, again and always
“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly.
Neither girl moved. The young blonde on the bed didn’t move because she couldn’t, and the blonde in the chair didn’t because, well, it seemed that she couldn’t either.
Two doctors, a nurse and an orderly barged in, disturbing their silence. They lifted the body in the bed using a sheet, changed the bedding, checked her pulse and heart rate, tapped, touched and shone lights into unseeing eyes. This time they removed the long cylindrical tube that had been taped to the girl’s mouth. The withdrawal of the tube was ugly.
The body seized, arced and then spasmed.
When they left, the girl in the chair resumed her vigil numbed by the reek of ammonia and latex. The doctors never told her anything, so she’d stopped asking. The bedridden girl was attached to a tangled mess of tubes and wires. They led from her battered body to several monitors and a single pole that branched out like a steel tree blooming with bags of IV fluid. Things beeped and hummed on a random timetable that neither girl heard. In the forty-eight hours since their arrival, the girl in the chair rarely broke her vigil to stretch, sleep or go to the bathroom. Her normally perfect blond hair clung to her scalp, greased darker now with sweat, mud and dried blood.
She sat spellbound by the monitors, by the ever-changing colored dots, the indecipherable graphs and especially the wavy green line. The green line was important. She didn’t waver, not in all those hours—not until Detective Akimoto cleared his throat in the doorway. She struggled to meet his eyes.
“I’m sorry, but I’m going to need you to step outside for a moment.”
The girl turned to her friend, whose mouth was red and angry from where the tape had been ripped away.
The detective flipped open a small black notepad.
He clicked his pen several times.
Other men were outside, milling about the corridor. Cops.
“We have a few questions about your friend, and also about a…Mr. Marcus Redkin.”
She rose slowly. The room swayed in the effort. “Yes, sir.” She stole one more glance at the wavy green line.
The girl on the bed was no longer inert, not entirely. But no one saw. Words fell out of her mouth, silently slipping off the sheets and onto the ground.
But no one heard.
I’m not a pathological liar and I don’t lie for fun. I only lie because I have to. Thing is, I’ve always lied, because I’ve always had to. I’m comfortable with the weight of my lies. So I’m good. That’s all there is to it. Well, that and I want a better life. Wait, that’s a lie. I want a
And another thing—dogs and little kids love me, so there goes that lame old saying. Demented rich girls love me too. I am
friend, the how-did-I-live-without-you friend. The you-are-such-a-riot friend. The friend with the shoulders that are soggy from your tears. I am the lifeline friend, and lifelines come with a price. But I digress. Love that word,
It’s snotty and not as easy to work into a sentence as you’d think.