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Chapter Four

Alarms were never my favorite sound in the world especially when they continuously go off after a late night. I was exhausted and hearing the sound of beeping was enough to annoy anyone this early. 

I was up until two o'clock hanging out with West last night, so hearing that beeping wasn't exactly my favorite thing to hear three hours later. Therefore, this morning was starting off like hell already.

West knocked a few times, entering my room with a cup of coffee in his hand. "Ah, rise and shine." He looked all sweaty, probably from his morning jog.

I pouted. "Where's mine?"

He chuckled, ruffling my already bedridden hair. "In a container waiting to be made."

In response, I threw a pillow at him and started getting my stuff together for school. "What are you doing up so early anyway?" 

"I have to make that stop and check on my mom's friend and get whatever she wanted to give me and then I have to catch my flight," he said.

I don't get why his mom's friend couldn't just mail whatever it is she's giving him, but since he got a nice visit here, I'd have to say I didn't really mind.

"I wish you could stay longer," I said sadly as I tried to brush out all the knots in my hair. He walked over and gave me a side hug, and I pretended to gag, pushing him away.

"Okay, you smell like sweat. You can go now," I said, plugging my nose and shooing him away.

He only chuckled. "That's what happens when you go jogging on a hot day." 

I couldn't help the snort that came from me. "It's always a hot day in Long Beach," I said before walking into my closet and grabbing a pair of leggings and a long t-shirt to cover my butt.

When I walked out, my cousin moved to just sitting back on my bed with his phone in his hand. 

I raised an eyebrow. "Do you mind?" 

"Nah, not at all. Continue with your little morning routine." 

I rolled my eyes, but still did exactly that, taking a shower, I quickly washed my body and hair before getting out. I knew I'd have more time to enjoy the hot water later after my jog.

I brushed out my wet hair and then blow dried it. Once it was completely dry, I got dressed and then headed out to my vanity, doing my usual braids and then the bun before putting on the wig cap and the wig.

I moved onto the nose part and easily put it on before I added my glasses just as my phone rang loudly throughout the room.

"Hello?" West said into the device, since it just so happened to be right next to him. I attempted to grab it out of his hands, but once he stood up, it was nearly impossible, even for me, being 5'10.

He pulled the phone away from his ear and covered it with his phone. "Clove, Tori said that the key's not in the rock. Therefore, you have five seconds to open the door before she beats your ass."

I punched his arm. "Well, go replace it and let her in, you idiot. What were you going to do? Take it with you back to Seattle?" I asked, shaking my head. 

He only stuck his tongue out at me before telling Tori that he'd be down in a sec and hanging up the phone.

A minute later, my favorite brunette friend was in my room. "Hey, I thought I was driving today?" I asked curiously as I grabbed my bookbag and made sure my history book was in there since I forgot it yesterday.

"Yeah, I thought about that, but I didn't want to be without a ride if you got another detention," she said with a serious face, causing my jaw to drop.

"You bitch," I said, throwing a pillow at her.

She only burst out laughing. "Please, you know I'm only kidding. I just have my own shoot today so after I drop you off, I'm going straight there." 

"Okay, well, I'm ready to go then," I said and she smiled, handing me my usual Starbucks drink. When I walked downstairs, I was surprised to see my parents sitting at the dining room table, drinking coffee. My dad wasn't talking as he read the newspaper and my mother was talking to West, who was seated right next to her.

Hearing me enter the room, my mother and West looked over at me, pausing their conversation. 

"Mom," I said with enthusiasm that even a crazy person could see wasn't real.

"Hi, darling," she said, standing up and doing the faire la bise, the kiss on both cheeks. "How have you been? I called Mary; she said you've been late recently to your photo shoots." Her smile turned into a look of disappointment.

I frowned. Was she serious? She made it sound like it's a constant thing. It happened once.

"Nothing you should worry about. It happened once and it won't happen again," I said.

"I know it won't," she said, narrowing her eyes slightly before looking down at her wrist, showing off her expensive Apple watch. "Well, as always, I was only stopping in to see how everything was going and to grab more clothes. Oh, and it was a pleasure seeing you again, Tori."

I watched as she picked up her purse and her suitcase before heading out the front door with a small wave.

"Hey, Dad," I said softly as I grabbed an apple from the bowl located on the table.

"I'm leaving as well," he stated monotonously. A sad smile appeared on my face and I couldn't find myself to speak so I only nodded, watching as he closed the newspaper and grabbed his briefcase, leaving in his perfect suit.

If anyone wanted to see what it's like to not live up to your parents’ expectations then my parents were the ones to have. My mom constantly traveled around the world to her many boutiques. She sold the best clothes, clothes everyone wanted. Clothes I've even seen people at school wearing. She was like the new Michael Kors or the new Coach. You just had to have her clothes. Now, my dad was a different story. He's a surgeon, so he didn't come home often. He was always doing surgery or he was always at the hospital doing paperwork. At least, that's what he said he did. I wasn't stupid, though, I know that a surgeon can come home eventually even in the busiest hours, but part of me knew he just didn't want to.

I mean every surgeon has to come home for clothes eventually. That is, if they're even still at their so called "home."

He didn't want the responsibility of a daughter who did something as stupid as modeling. He wanted a daughter who was working hard in school, getting perfect grades, going to a school like Harvard or Yale. He wanted the child who would be worth talking about, worth seeing.

A daughter who wasn't me.

"Clove," Tori mumbled softly, pulling me into a hug.

I wiped off a tear that I didn't realize had fallen and pulled away from Tori. "I'm okay, don't worry about it," I said, slathering my own fake smile on my face.

"You know, you could always come live with us. My mom would love to feel like she has a daughter," West said, trying to make light of the conversation.

I chuckled, "No offense, West, but your mom is a little too crazy." 

"Yeah, I'd say so," he said, and I grinned. West and his mom were the ones who actually made me feel like I was a part of a family. I should really visit them soon.

I glanced at the time on my phone and knew we had to leave now if we wanted to make it to school on time. "We have to get going, but I'll come visit soon." 

He bobbed his head up and down. "Definitely." He gave me a hug and stole the apple from my hand, taking a huge bite out of it. "Bye, thanks for this," he said with his mouth full, making me scrunch up my nose in disgust.

"Bye, West," Tori said while sending him a wave as we headed out to the car. We both got in and buckled up and made light conversation the whole way.

"Wait, so you're telling me the Andrew Carter was in detention at the same time as you? You're so lucky, " she said with a look of veneration.

I raised an eyebrow. "He was completely drunk." 

What was so great about sitting in the same room as a drunk idiot?

"I know, but he paid attention to you the whole time. That's a rare thing for him. He usually talks to the girls who will put it out just by him breathing as he walks past," Tori said. 

I couldn't hold back a laugh. She had a point.

"Kind of like you?" I asked, causing her to look at me with a glare and smack my arm before focusing back on the road.

"Please don't let me die with my last conversation being about the school's player," I said, pretending to look up at the sky.

"You're a jerk," she said, shaking her head in amusement as we arrived at school.

Together, we walked up to the front of the school. No one bothered to glance in our direction, but I did notice Andrew was standing with Stacey, leaning over her, probably flirting endlessly.

"No," Tori said, quickly noticing where my attention was at. "He may be incredibly hot, but you're not allowed to even be interest in him. That guy will break your heart quicker than you can say sex." 

I looked away from the couple and nodded. "I know. I just met the guy yesterday. I'm not interested in him, and I probably never will be. I have Damien, remember?" 

"He barely counts as a boyfriend. I mean, long distance relationships don't work. You haven't seen each other in over a year," she said honestly.

"He'll be coming home soon," I said, letting the conversation end there.

He was only gone for training again. That's it. He'd be back soon.

But what about after training? He'd eventually be sent off somewhere else. I didn't mention that to Tori since she probably already knew. I seemed to be the only one denying it at this point, but it’s because I cared for him. He wasn’t just some random guy, though. He held a part of my heart and in some way, he probably always will.

"Listen, I'll see you at lunch. Keep your thoughts away from the gutter, aka Carter, missy," she ordered.

"The thoughts are long gone, Tori. Now, I'll see you later," I said, making her eyes narrow slightly, a sign she didn't believe me.

But it was true. I wasn't interested in Andrew Carter. He's just some delinquent.

"Goodbye, Tori," I said, not even looking at her as I reached into my locker to grab my last book and shoved it in my locker.

"Last time I checked, my name wasn't Tori, but I guess people do get that mixed up with the words tasty or talented when describing me," an annoyingly familiar voice said from next to me. 

I jumped, hitting my head on the top of my locker. I squeezed my eyes tight and pressed my hand to the top of my head. Yeah, that hurt like a bitch. I opened my eyes and stepped back, looking at Andrew.

"Hey, babe, miss me?" he asked.

"Sorry, do I know you?" I asked, faking sincere curiosity.

"You know you do," he said, leaning against the locker next to mine. Today, he looked back to normal. Instead of completely wasted or hungover, he looked freshly showered and smelled a bit like mint instead of cigarettes and even like some Calvin Klein cologne.

"Sorry, I don't think I do," I said, continuing with the fake attitude as I now pretended to actually be apologetic.

"We spent time together in detention. Remember? You owe me because I didn't tell Stacey about you leaving early," he said, and I cringed.

It was impossible to forget about that, but I was hoping he was too drunk to remember. I didn't even tell Tori about it because I thought it would all blow over. Apparently not, though.

"I've never had a detention," I said as I closed my locker and focused my full attention on him, hugging my books to my chest.

"You're playing with me right now because I was drunk yesterday, right?" he asked, stepping away from the locker. "Mike," he called over his friend and I panicked. There goes my 'make him think he's crazy' plan.

"I'm going to be late to class. I hope you find the girl you're looking for, though," I said before heading in the opposite direction just as his friend from yesterday showed up.

I glanced back only for a minute and made eye contact with Andrew, who was looking at me with a smirk.

He totally knew I was lying for sure now.

I quickened my pace and got to Mr. Stark’s room before any of the bells went off. I took my usual seat in the front of the room. While I waited patiently for the bell to ring, I started on the homework.

********************

On my way to lunch, I had another encounter with Andrew, who was waiting at my locker.

I wouldn't be surprised if he’d never left the spot this morning.

"What do you want?" I asked, opening my locker.

"You were good earlier, I'll admit that. I almost thought I was that drunk yesterday, but it doesn't matter now because I figured out what you're going to do," he said, making me stop what I was doing and look at him, raising an eyebrow as a signal to continue talking.

"Oh, and what am I going to do exactly?" I asked, not at all amused or excited.

"You're supposedly some nerd, so you'll do my homework. I have a book report due Friday along with a history project. You'll come over and do both," he said. 

I burst out laughing. "You can't be serious." I shook my head as I grabbed my last few books for the day before shutting my locker. "Why would I come to your place to do your homework?"

He shrugged. "You owe me."

I thought it over, and it wouldn't be that bad. Only those two things? Seemed easy enough. Plus, I’ve already seen a couple different sides of this Andrew Carter. Maybe spending some time with him could make me discover who he actually was. The drunken fool? Or something more?  Either way, for some reason I was curious and I definitely wanted to know the answer. 

"So, only those two things and then I'm free?" I asked, although I couldn’t care less about this deal. It was my goal of knowing more about the rumored delinquent than anything else.

He shook his head. "Oh, my bad. I forgot to mention. You'll be doing it for the next month."

I scoffed. "No way in hell. One week."

"Four weeks."

"Two," I argued and he thought it over.

"Fine, two it is," he agreed.

"And I'll do it at my own time at my house."

This time, it was his turn to argue. "No, because you need to do quality work. Not your AP quality work." 

I smirked, tilting my head to the side a bit. "So, I just need to forget to dot my I's, write my name, and only do half the assignment then?" I asked sweetly, causing him to glower.

"You're not funny. I'll see you at my house after school," he said. 

I stared to argue, but he had already started walking away.

"I don't have your address," I yelled and he just kept walking.

"I'll text it to you," he said before walking out of the building. Yes, in the middle of a school day.

I started heading toward the cafeteria where Tori and possibly Katy were waiting. I wasn't sure how he'd text me since he didn't have my number, but I didn't bother to question it. When I entered the cafeteria, it was obnoxiously loud due to all the booming voices from my classmates. I spotted Tori and Katy in their typical spot and headed over there.

"Oh, my gosh, Tori. I am never listening to you again," I groaned, sitting down on the bench.

"Why? What'd I do now?" Tori questioned.

"I may have failed to mention earlier that I left early from detention like you told me to, and Mr. Ollie wasn't there, but Andrew and his group were there, so he blackmailed me that he would mention it to Stacey if I didn't do something for him. Now, I'm doing his homework for the next two weeks." 

Katy leaned over the table, her eyes sparkling with something I wasn't sure of. "Oh, my gosh, you are so lucky! He can, like, mke you have a make-out session with him for hours. I'm not seeing the problem with this." 

I cringed. Didn't she see that was the last thing I wanted to do?

"Wait, why would it be a big deal if he told Stacey?" Tori asked, confused.

I sighed. "She has some mysterious vendetta against me just like the rest of the school population, so she'd be pissed if she found out she didn't win round of 'Who's the better bitch' yesterday. I mean, she purposely did all that so I'd be late and she'd look better."

"She has a mysterious vendetta against everyone," Tori agreed. “I heard she already had two girls running off crying after an encounter today.”

“Oh! I heard about that too! Apparently, one was the new girl and the other was Clancy, that really spunky girl with purple hair. Head of the dance team?” Katy said.

I nodded, recognizing the name immediately. 

"And still, it's Andrew Carter. You get to see where he lives. Who he lives with. Haven't you heard that the most secret part of a boy is where he lives?" Katy gushed once again. 

I only shrugged, playing it off like it wasn't that big of a deal. Although, in reality that’s how I’d probably learn the most about who he really is. 

"I don't like him, though. Plus, he is the school's player who's constantly getting in trouble. I don't want to get involved with that. No one around here would want me to either because, apparently, I'm the school's nerd. The player and the nerd don't mix." I was partly telling the truth since I really didn’t need the attention, but curiosity was a little more ruling in this situation. 

Katy pouted, turning her head to the side. "Only a few people think that. It's something Stacey's friend, Hailey, started a while back when you did all the work for the project you were paired up for." 

"Thanks for letting me know," I muttered.

"Well, you still don't have to talk to him exactly. You just do his school work," Tori said and I silently agreed. She did have a point. If things all go downhill, that’ll be my escape route.

"Okay, you've got a point there, but I'll be right back. I have to make a call, and I'm going to go get a salad," I said and the girls nodded.

"Wait, Clover! Can you grab me a cheeseburger?" Tori asked.

"Sure," I said and went to get my lunch. See, that's the wonderful thing about Tori. She can eat whatever she wants and will never gain a pound. It's nice for her, but I have to admit, I sometimes felt jealous since I have an agent who makes me run a few miles a day because I gained one pound.

One, not two, just one.

Ever since that one time, she's made me run almost every day to keep in shape and gave me a strict diet. One I broke last night with those fries and burger, but she won't ever know that.

"What do you want?" the lunch lady asked, staring blankly at me. Her flat tone showed off just how much she really likes this job of hers.

"Can I have a cheeseburger and a chicken salad, please?" I asked sweetly.

"$7.50," she said, handing me my lunch.

"Thank you and keep the change for yourself," I tell her, handing her a twenty-dollar bill, hoping it will brighten up her day a little. I walked over and handed Tori her burger, and I set down my own salad before heading off to make that call.

I had to call Mary back since I missed a call from her earlier. I stepped outside and dialed her number, waiting patiently for her to pick up.

"Hello," Mary said into the phone.

"Hey, sorry I missed your call. I was in class," I apologized.

"It's fine. I just wanted to let you know you're going to New York this coming weekend. We're leaving Friday." 

I squealed from excitement. 

"You can also tell Tori that she has been chosen to model one set, but since she doesn't have her wings yet, it will be only the swim line. It's the best Megan could get for her.”

I squealed again. "Oh, my gosh! Yes! I can't wait! I'll make sure to tell her. Thank you so much!" 

I could hear the smile in her voice. "You're welcome. Now get back to class." 

I nodded before remembering she couldn't see me. "Okay, see you later," I said before hanging up and squealing once more, jumping up and down.

I calmed down before going back inside, sitting in front of my salad. "I'm back; sorry, guys, had to call my manager for work.”

They nodded. 

"Oh, and Tori, I have to tell you something important later, so make sure to meet me at my locker at the end of the day," I said, trying to hide my excitement.

"Okay and you're not going to believe this. My mom called me and told me I have to have dinner with her new boyfriend tonight. She thinks he's 'the one,'” Tori said, rolling her eyes. 

I gave her an apologetic look. Her mom did that often, bringing home her boyfriends and claiming they were the one for her. It always sucked for Tori, since she lost her dad when she was little.

"I'm sorry, girl. Good luck and make sure to call me about it after," I said, standing up as the bell rang.

"See you later, Katy," I said before heading to science with Tori.

"Okay, I can't wait until the end of the day, so guess what!" I said, grabbing her arm and forcing her to stop and look at me.

"What?" Tori said, looking slightly amused as I was almost bouncing with every step I took. "I'm going to New York this weekend for the fashion show!" I whispered quietly.

"Oh, my gosh, you're so lucky!" Tori whisper-yelled. Then she winked at me. "See what I did there?" she added, making me laugh.

"I know right! But that's not it. My best friend, Tori, is going, too," I said, squealing. 

This time, Tori joined in. "You're kidding, right? You have to be. There's no way I made it." She shook her head and I grabbed her hands, jumping up and down, not caring about the weird looks we were getting from passing people.

"Call Megan. She'll tell you," I said and she nodded.

"Uh, I totally will," Tori said before squealing, "I can't believe this is happening!" 

She suddenly looked at me seriously. "You have one problem. What are you gonna do about Andrew all weekend?" Tori questioned as we began walking to our class again.

I frowned. "Forget about him. I can just tell him I won't be home, no big deal." I waved her off before letting a wide smile appear on my face. "We're going to New York, baby!" I whispered quietly, and she smiled so widely that I don't think it would disappear even if someone were to smack her right now.

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