A beautiful, thought-provoking, coming of novel featuring a teenage boy with vitiligo and learning how to survive high school with a condition that still bears heavy social stigma, Patches is a funny, fast-paced Young Adult contemporary novel by Valicty Elaine. Thank you to Enchanted Book Promotions for letting me be a tour host for this beautiful story.
Michael Bull Jr. is best friends with the most popular guy in school, his father is a famous politician, and he’s just started his last year in high school. He is the perfect student with the perfect life…except for his face.
When you’ve got a disease that changes the color of your skin, turns your hair grey, and threatens to blind you, high school can be tough. It also doesn’t help when your crush decides to blackmail you and expose your secret. But hey, what can you do except try to survive?
About The Author
Valicity Elaine is the owner/creator of The Rebel Christian Publishing. She is an avid reader and loves to write just as much! She grew up in upstate New York in a beautiful Christian family and loves using her writing and illustrations to express her wonderful faith. When she isn’t writing, she is spending time with her family or helping out her church. Random fact; Valicity LOVES pasta, haha!
You can find more about her at http://www.therebelchristian.com/our-books
Read An Excerpt From Patches By Valicity Elaine
First, I give myself a clean wash. I like to use ice-cold water because it feels refreshing, makes my skin come alive. Then I use a tiny, little sponge applicator to dab on the foundation. I start on my forehead and work my way down to my cheeks in circular motions. I’m not really sure why I use circular motions, I saw it in a video once on YouTube. My cheeks have the most discoloration, so I spend a lot of time there, working on the thick liquid. The makeup comes in 1-ounce bottles, I go through at least one a week. At $38.00 a bottle, that’s 150 bucks a month, about 1800 dollars a year on foundation alone.
The makeup has to go halfway down my neck, almost to my Adam’s apple. Once I finish the liquid, I put on a little powder, so I don’t shine. When I know I won’t be cramming my hands into my pockets, I put some on my fingers. It’s only tiny, little specks but I have a few white patches on my knuckles here and there. My eyebrows are really fair, so I learned how to use a brow liner to fill them back in. The makeup kind of blends them in with the rest of my face so without the liner, I look blank after a fresh coat.
Last are my contacts; one of them is plain and clear and the other is a gentle green color. My left eye started to fog out right after the patches appeared. My doctor said this only occurs in a very, very small percentage of vitiligo patients. I guess I hit the anti-genetic lottery. Both of my contacts have a prescription, but the left one is mostly to fill in the greying color. I’m practically blind in that eye.
Once I blink back the eye drops after putting in the contacts, I’m ready to go. It usually takes me 90 minutes to get ready for school; before the vitiligo I could be ready in half that time.
I wake up to hear birds singing outside my window on Saturday. Joy, what a beautiful way to start off the weekend except it’s about to be seriously ruined. The smell of coffee lets me know my father is home before I even crack open my bedroom door. He may have woken up early just to brew a pot, hoping the smell would alert me of his presence so I’d know to put on my face before stepping out. Good planning, because it actually works.
I stroke on my makeup, fill in my eyebrows, and throw on a shirt and slacks before entering the kitchen to get myself some breakfast. Much to my surprise, my father isn’t the one who made the coffee, it’s Regina Michaelson—Bradford’s mother.
“Morning, Mikey,” she purrs. I feel like she’s been waiting there for me, the way she’s standing, her hip pressed against the counter as she lazily stirs a mug of coffee. That’s innocent enough except she’s wearing nothing but a see-through nightie and no underwear. The fact that she knows where my dad keeps the coffee, sugar, and cream only means she’s been here enough times in the morning to figure that out. Bradford’s mom has had a cute little affair with my dad since we were kids. It’s always been an on and off thing … I guess they’re on again.
“Morning, Regina.” I yawn and accept the mug she offers. I don’t much like Regina, but she does make good coffee.
“Oh, come on, sweetie, you know me well enough to call me Mom.”
“Except you’re not my mom, you’re my father’s mistress,” I reply, grabbing a doughnut from the big box on the counter. I don’t care about being polite to Regina because she’s a terrible person—as terrible as my father is, yes, but he could actually punish me for being so blunt.
It’s also worth noting Regina is a tease; she would easily become my mistress given the chance. She’s basically naked at 7:30 in the morning, in front of her son’s best friend. The woman doesn’t even try to hide the affair from anyone except her stupid husband.
This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her like this. Some mornings Regina just walks around stark naked, but only when she knows my father won’t be around. He’ll share his fling with another man, but he will not share them with his son. Not that I’ve ever been tempted by her. Just … yuck.
My daily routine consists of moping in bed, sneaking out for a shower, moping in bed some more, eating whatever plate of nasty Regina has concocted, then popping some pills I got from the hospital and moping until I inevitably fall asleep. Sometimes I try to read or clean my dirty room; one day I was rummaging through my things and found that painting Broccoli made for me. I still remember meeting that withered old man in the park with Shay. That was when I’d kissed her in the rain. That was when I’d felt I could truly trust her because she didn’t care about my face.
The painting had gotten ruined in the downpour, but I’d kept it for some reason. It looks blurry, the two halves blending together in a mess of color. Sometimes I stare at the painting, wondering if there’s some message I’m missing. Sometimes I flip it over, so I don’t have to look at it. It’s ruined anyway.
Whenever I’m not looking at that cursed painting, my time is dedicated to avoiding Bradford. My phone will ring every now and then but not even Shay’s tried to reach me. I’m not sure if she wants to give me space or has gone back to hating me. Not that it matters if she hates me or not; I’ve decided I’m never going back to school so our relationship is as dead as my place in the election. There’s no way I could ever show my face at MA Prep again. Everyone’s seen me and pointed at me and laughed at me. I won’t ever gain enough confidence to go back.
Correction, I’ll never gain enough confidence to go back this week. Even though my dad hasn’t said a word to me I know it’s only a matter of time before he barges into my smelly room and demand I go back to school. It’s my senior year after all, this is my last chance to score a big scholarship—not that I even need it. It’s more for bragging rights than necessity.
“Good morning, Michael.” Regina’s smooth voice speaks from the other side of the door. She’s been a mistress for so long even a ‘good morning’ sounds seductive coming from her. “I made waffles this morning, they’ll be outside whenever you’re ready, hon.”
I don’t say thank you, but Regina’s used to that. I don’t say much of anything lately. We’ve worked out a routine these past few days; she saves me breakfast in the morning and then checks back in the afternoon. If I haven’t made any noise around dinner, she’ll leave me alone, assuming I’ve fallen asleep. Sometimes she’ll leave a late snack if I miss dinner. I don’t want to say I’m starting to like Regina, but we do have one thing to bond over; my father has screwed both of us repeatedly. Maybe there’s an unspoken understanding between us that Bull Sr. is not a man capable of loving us.