Dani spins around on her heels and takes off running, pulling the rest room door open with force, startling an older gentleman waiting on the other side to come in. “Woah.”

“Dani!” She ignores the sound of Rick calling out to her.

“Excuse me.” She mumbles at him as she rushes past. Her words come out choked through the tears.

She can not believe that he was screwing Amber freaking Wagner. The biggest, nastiest slut in the senior class. Actually, she is the biggest skank in the school. She makes time with any boy who looks at her with lust in his eyes. Which is a fair amount, since she is tall, skinny, blonde and beautiful.

A tear drips from Dani's lashe and rolls down her cheek. How could he do that to her? He told her that he loved her. But he could not have actually loved her if he would cheat on her.

When she gets back to the theatre, she goes back stage to wait with her friends. Mel sees the tears and immediately pulls Dani into her arms. As her best friend's arms wrap around her, she feels the floodgates open, as the tears stream down her face. She sobs into Mel's shoulder.

“What happened, Dan?” Lia comes up behind her and wraps her arms around them too.

As she stands sandwiched between her best friends, she questions the tears. She does not even love him. She knows that. Rick is a pompous prick with a chip on his shoulder. He was selfish, entitled and smug. Dani had been going out with him for five months and if she was honest, that was four and half months too long.

She had long since grown tired of him. So it wasn't like she was heart broken that it was over with him. Dani was embarrassed that he had cheated on her, but it was worse that it was with Amber. Her second cousin and her nemisis since they were five years old.

All of her life, Amber had done anything and everything that she could to make Dani miserable. If Dani had a crush on a boy, Amber would go out of her way to get him. If Dani had a big birthday planned, Amber would throw a bigger party on the same night, inviting everyone. Things like that, just to cut at Dani and to hurt her.

But sleeping with her boyfriend was a little much, even for Amber. It was the slap in the face that Amber had been trying to deliver all year, but Dani had let everything roll of her back.

When Amber had dumped a soda on her brand new white dress on the first day of school, Dani had not said a word. She had the office excuse her to go home and she had changed.

When Amber had auditioned againt her in the school play, getting the lead, Dani had gladly accepted a secondary role, ignoring the weeks of bragging and rubbing it in her face. But this, she could not ignore. She hated Amber with every fiber of her being. She was taking no more abuse from that two bit harlot.

“Amber.. and Rick..” She tells them and they assume correctly what he is trying to tell them.

“That witch!” Mel mutters at the same time that Lia grumbles, “That slime ball!”

“And the winners of the Briarwood Institute talent show is..” Mr. Ratcliffe booms out. The sound of paper rustling can be heard over the speakers, before he clears his throat. “Danielle Millman, Lia Baynor and Melania Polk for their wonderful performance of 'Hold on' by Wilson Phillips. Girls, please come on up here!”

Mel and Lia both pull away, looking at each other. “We won?” Mel asks, surprised.

“We won!” Lia confirms, excited.

Danielle wipes the tears from her face, fanning it with her hands to hopefully clear up the red patchiness of her skin, although the knows that it won't help. Everyone will know that she was crying. Unless, she can stay behind the girls and keep her head down.

The three of them make their way across the stage to join Mr. Ratcliffe and principle Elsie Gaylord in the middle. Dani keeps her eyes on her feet, as her friends hold her hands, tugging her with them. They reached the two faculty members and stopped, taking the big check that the principle held.

“Congratulations girls! You ladies did amazing and are so talented. We present you with this check for three hundred dollars, as well as this prize basket of sponsored prizes, such as gift cards, meal vouchers and other items.” Mrs. Gaylord smiles at them. “We loved-”


Hearing her voice, she turns to see Rick running across the stage towards her, with Amber behind him, smirking. His hair is disheveled and his shirt is askew. He looks at her and pleads loudly, “You have to talk to me, Dani.”

“Rick, not now!” Dani whispers loudly at him, shooing him away. This was not the place or time. She would talk to him afterwards, if it would get him to shut the heck up, but not now.

“That is the problem! That is what you always say!” Rick mimics her voice. “ 'Stop', 'Not Now', 'I'm not ready!' That is all you ever say!” He shouts at her accusingly. “If you are too much of a dang prude to sleep with me, you can't fault me for finding someone that will sleep with me!”

Everyone in the audience gasps and begins to murmur, as Dani's whole body flushes. “Rick-” She says, feeling tears welling in her eyes.

“I am a man! I have needs! If you can't be woman enough to satisfy me, then you can't get pised at me when I turn to Amber-”

“No one gives a shit that you slept with Amber! Every guy in the school has slept with her! She is like a taxi! She gives everyone a ride!” The audience gasps again at Dani's shouted words. They are clearly enjoying this dramatic little conflict. “I don't care about you or what you did. I am angry at Amber for constantly trying to ruin my life. But the jokes on her, because I don't even want you. You kiss like a drunken sailor and have more arms than an octopus, always trying to feel me up! You suck and she can have you!”

“You bitch!” Rick shouts at her and Amber zooms forward, lifting her hand to smack Danielle across the face.

Lia catches her hand before she can make contact and pushes her backwards. “Don't even try it, skank, or I will beat your slutty ass up and down this stage!”

Mr. Ratcliffe grabs Rick, who is shouting obscenities and pulls him away, as Mrs. Gaylord pulls Amber to her feet. “Come on. This is ridiculous!”

They drag them away, as they both grumble and shout. Before they have them completely out of sight, Rick makes one final remark. “No one around here will ever want you, you prude! Being with you is like trying to cuddle up to a hunk of ice! Besides that, you are ugly and masculine! No one wants a boy for a girlfriend!”

A few chuckles can be heard throughout the crowd, but when Dani turns to look at them, she mostly sees sympathetic looks or empathatic grimaces. Tears spill from her eyes as she stands there frozen with mortification.

Everyone heard what he said. They know what happened and they are talking about her. Every eye is on her and it is too much! With a hushed sob, she runs from the building and through the halls. When she pushes out the front door, she looks around in a panic.

Finally she spots Edison, her personal driver and she runs towards him. He sees her tear and he comes forward, to take her in his arms. “Dani, what's wrong?”

“I have to get out of here, Eddy! Please!” She cries, holding on to him.

He nods, helping her into the back of the black limo, before he rounds the vehicle to get into the driver's seat. She sits there, sobbing, as he pulls away into the busy New York traffic.

“Wanna tell me about it?” Eddy asks her, turning in his seat to look at her. The divider is down, because she never keeps it up. Eddy is a great friend of hers ad the secret love of her life.

He is twenty-two, to her sixteen and he is a student at NYU. He works as a chauffer to support himself, to which she is thankful. He has worked for her father for three years now. She had been infatuated with him just as long.

He was tall and medium build, meaning that he is isn't too thin, but he isn't too big either. In her eyes, he is perfect. With his golden brown hair and his chocolate eyes. He has tanned skin and a great smile. He has a little dimple in his chin that she wants to kiss each time she sees it.

“I caught Rick having sex with Amber in the boy's bathroom while I was performing.” She tells him, then meets his eyes in the mirror as he gives her a sympathetic look.

“Ah, honey-”

“Oh, that's not why I'm upset. That was just the beginning of the story, to keep you up on current events.” She tells him and he gives her a strange look. She pulls the wig of her head, tossing it aside as she shakes out her long, chesnut hair.


“As we are up on stage, accepting our congratulations and the reward for winning, whne he and Amber, looking like they just got it on, come on the stage and he proceeds to shout at me!” She tells him, reliving the fresh trauma.

“He did what?” Eddy asks, getting upset. He is very protective of her. Like a big brother, as he puts it, which always stings a bit.

“In front of everyone, he tells me that the reason that he slept with Amber is because I am frigid and a prude. He claims that he is a man and he has needs. That the fact that I tell him 'no' is why he was driven into my slutty cousin's arms.” Dani seethes with anger at the memory.

“That bastard!” Eddy grumbles beneath his breath.

“Like I told him, I don't care that he cheated on me. He is not worth mine or any other girl's tears. What has me crying is that thousands of people witnessed it. They heard him talk about me, about my sex life. People I go to school with, parents, teachers.. everyone heard it. I was mortified.” Dani says and he nods, understanding why she is upset.

“At least Dad wasn't there..” She says quietly.

“Mr. Millman wasn't there?” Eddy asks her and she shakes her head. She was use to it. He never showed up to anything. Ever since her mother died when she wa ten, her father had thrown himself into work, scarcely remembering that he had a daughter at home that might need him.

Like right now. She needed a parent. She needed someone to hold her as she cried and listen to her pour out her heart. She needed to talk to her father, because she did not want to have to go back to that school. She did not think that she could face all those people on Monday morning.

Mostly she never wanted to see Rick Coster or Amber Wagner again for as long as she lived.

“Eddy? Will you take me to my Dad's office?”

Dani had no doubt in her mind that she would find him there. It is where he always is. He has even been known to sleep their some nights, while she stays home alone in their high rise apartment on the upper east side. She used to be scared to death to stay home alone, but she became good friends with the night doorman Phil and Mrs. Delmire below them.

If she gets nervous, she goes and plays cards with Phil, who taught her to play a mean hand of poker. She used to stay the night with Mrs. Delmire, the seventy year old widower. They would watch British comedies on television and eat pringles chips while drinking hot chocolate.

Now, she stays alone. Mrs. Delmire moved in with her son and daughter, when her health started declining. She and Dani write each other at least once a month, but Dani still misse her.

Phil retired a few months ago, which left her truly alone. She is happy for him, that he gets to spend more time with his family, but she misses him too. She no longer misses her father. By now they have drifted so far apart that he is a stranger to her. On the rare instances that he is at their home, they don't speak.

They tend to regard one another warily, staying silent since they have nothing to say to one another. But she has been making an effort over the last month. He is the only parent that she has left and she wants a relationship with him.

So she has made an effort to talk to him whenever he is home. She makes breakfast for the two of them and serve it to him. She engages him in conversation about his favorite thing in the world; his work.

Being the owner and editor of a national magazine like Chit Chat is a huge responsibility, as she well knows. He tells her that every time that he forgets her birthday or misses a function at school. She is well aware of what his priorities are and where she lies on that list. If she is even on it. Sometimes she wonders..

“Here we are. I will wait down here for the both of you.” Eddy tells her as he pulls up outside of the forty story skyscraper where her father's office is located on the twenty-ninth floor.

The security guard confirms that her father is in the office, letting her go up, despite the building being closed. He must feel sorry for her, with the tear stained face and red rimmed eyes. She walks across the polished marble floor to reach the elevator.

The ride to her father's floor is long and silent, which she finds kind of eerie. She is relieved when the elevator jerks to a halt and with a ding, the doors slide open.

The office is dark, all the desks sitting empty. Looking across the large expanse, her eyes scan the walls of glass to settle on her father's office. She can see through the frosted window that his light is still on, so she takes a deep breath and marches forward.

When she reaches the door, she turns the knob and pushes it open. “Dad, I really need to talk to you-”


Freezes in shock before she covers her eyes and turns away. “You have got to be freaking kidding me!”

Not again.

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