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uliette had just taken the final cut when her mother burst into the bathroom.

“Oh!” Cora said, like it was all a big accident. “Sorry. We need to get a lock….”

It was only then that her mother seemed to focus.

“What the hell have you done to your hair?”

Juliette shrugged, like it was no big deal. Like she hadn’t been standing there working on it for the past four hours.

“I’m cutting it. And I just made it a little darker. And straightened it.”

“Jesus, Juliette.” Cora came closer, her face contorted, and lifted one of Juliette’s new black spikes. “Your beautiful long wavy hair. Why on earth would you do this?”

“It was time for a change,” Juliette said, all nonchalant. “Isn’t that what you keep telling me? That I have to be open to change, to new experiences? Well, here I am.”

Now her mother’s eyes were moving down her body.

“What is that you’re wearing?”

“It’s cool. I bought it at the thrift store.”

It was an idea she and Darrell had cooked up, standing behind the bleachers during lunch period. Since he was stuck wearing his stupid Malcolm X suit, she was going to start dressing exactly like him. See if they could start some kind of crazy fad together. She’d found this suit in a little boy’s size, made for a kid’s confirmation or graduation or something like that, for $2 at the church thrift store, which had vintage clothes people would pay hundreds of Euros for in Paris. In fact, just as soon as Juliette could scrape the money together, she was going to buy up a bunch of stuff from there and ship it to Hugo to resell for her. Then she’d use the money to get herself a ticket back to Paris and out of this hellhole forever.

“You look ridiculous,” Cora said. “You look like PeeWee Herman or something.”

“PeeWee….you don’t know what you’re talking about,” Juliette said, pushing past her mother and going to retrieve her backpack. “I’ve got to go to school now.”

“You can’t go to school looking like that.”

“I’m going.”

“Don’t you need a ride?”

“I can walk.”

Darrell walked. In fact, she had to hurry to meet him on their designated corner, out of site of both their houses.

Was he really a murderer? Juliette found that hard to believe, but she liked it that everyone else thought so. Today, she was going to take a picture of the two of them in their weird matching outfits, with her new haircut, and send it to Hugo. See what he did about that.

“You’re breaking my heart,” said Cora.

“Yeah,” said Juliette, “well, you’re ruining my life.”

Read Juliette’s side of the story.

Peek inside Juliette’s Secret Diary.

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