Lexi Cocker - Faleena Hopkins Page 0,1

— a fact I knew the moment I met her on day-one of her existence — and I cannot do anything without sharing it with Sammy.

We’re both very close to Zoe, too, and I’d include her name in my shout, but it’s not my first instinct because Zo tends to be a little…hmm…floaty-headed.

An intense sigh of relief deflates my lungs as my pretty, tow-headed sister appears from out our kitchen, blonde, straight hair she inherited from Dad up high in a ponytail since, from the looks of her, she’s been working out something fierce — snakeskin spandex dark in the sweat-zones, beads dripping from her hairline, brown eyes blinking to my unexpected limp. “You’re hurt!”

I wave it away, “Just a sprain,” and hobble toward her, muttering a less convinced, “No biggie,” because it hurts like a motherfucker, but that’s not what’s important right now!

Floaty-Head appears down the hallway, gasping, “Lexi’s hurt?!” and abandoning her forest — aka her bedroom — with our fluffy white cat, Ralphie Rooster, cradled in loving arms, purring like a Mercedes Benz on idle as she tenderly pets him nonstop.

Our living room and kitchen are split by one wall and from that extends an endless hallway like the stretched base of a letter “t”. Framed photos of fun moments in our lives keep you entertained while choosing which of the four doors you’re most interested in — one of three bedrooms, or an inadequate single bath we’ve made prettier with too many candles.

I take that back.

You can never have too many.

More than one person has walked into Zoe’s wonderland forest of flora and fauna when searching for the loo, and found themselves in awe, and never wanting to leave.

It smells delicious in there except when lilies are in bloom, then it can suffocate you. Open a window! I’ve cried out more than once.

I give her shit, but I love her to pieces. How can you not?

Samantha and I have normal bedrooms, a fact I’m not proud of but don’t spend time in enough to care.

I’m usually at Brad’s.

Or, I used to be.

Those multiple-night sleepovers have dwindled to a pitiful number, a fact I’d been in denial about until I saw that damn yellow elastic tonight!

Standing where the “t” is crossed, I’ve got Samantha to my left and Zoe smack in front of me.

Leaning weight on my good ankle, I throw out my arms. “I broke up with Brad!”

Sam sucks on her teeth.

Zoe offers a half-smile. “Sorry, Lexi.”


I look at Sam and repeat, “Good?”

“Yes, good!” She turns around and disappears into the kitchen. “I was getting water when you walked in. Left my thermos at the gym.” Her voice goes distant, “Now it’s gone.” sounding much sadder than the loss of a thermos she bought at Starbucks should warrant. “I’ve got to be more careful. Have to stop losing things that are important to me.”

I follow her, “Samantha!” and Zoe follows me, never pausing the petting.

Sam twists the kitchen sink’s modern faucet, dark of night seen through the window facing North above her head, blinds up. “What, Lexi?” Cold water sprays more messily than it should since we lost the little cap-thingy and now our dishes get a better shower than we do.

Sam dips down, squeezing her eyes closed to drink from the powerful faucet as her face gets sprayed.

I throw my hands on my hips, white pajama shorts tugging down a little with the impact of my irritation, “We’re not talking about Logan right now, that’s what!”

She chokes and sputters, “What??!” Straightening up and blinking hard, Sammy snatches one of our questionably-clean dishtowels from the counter where it lay in a heap. “Why are you bringing up Logan?!”

I parrot, “Have to stop losing things…”

She blinks, “I wasn’t…” and wipes her wet cheeks and nose, playing innocent.

“Yes, you were! I know you.” She’s about to object, but her open mouth snaps shut as my hand flies up with an accusing finger aimed at the culprit. “Don’t deny it, Sammy!”

Zoe offers, “But Logan just left the country for the first time. Germany is a lot farther away than New York is, Lex. They speak a whole other language!”

I cock my head. “Yes, they speak German. Because it’s Germany.”


Shaking the floaty-sparkles out of my brain (they’re contagious) I focus back on my sister. “I know you’ve never been this far from him, but his flight was a few days ago, and this happened tonight! Look at me! I’m half naked with a limp! Wait…Sammy, are you in love with