I don’t believe this. He didn’t want me to come down to Boston earlier. What happened? What changed?
Dad mumbles over the phone, “Of course you are welcome to come back. It’s just—I think you should spend more time with your mom. When was the last time you visit her? Maybe this is a great chance for you to bond.”
I don’t buy that. “How long do you want me to stay here?”
He falls into silence.
My mouth goes dry. And my heart is falling into a bottomless pit. After a long wait, I decide to make this easier for him. “Dad. What is the real reason?”
Another painful silence. He finally speaks up.
“…Hallie wants to move in with me.” His voice so low. Almost hard to catch up, “I thought it might be awkward if you two are both here at the beginning.”
My mind went completely blank.
I don’t know what to think, nor what to say. But I guess my reaction doesn’t really matter to these people anyway.
“So, this is it?” I grip the phone till my knuckles turn white, “You are kicking me out because you want to please your girlfriend?”
“No!” Dad’s voice is squeaky, seems like he’s trying to hide the guilt, “I’m just afraid that you’d be uncomfortable. And I talked to your mom, Boston has better education. Maybe you’ll have a greater chance getting into a better college if you stay there.”
So mom is in this too. And it’s a long-term plan.
Oh yes. Just looking out for me. As they have always been.
When they first got divorced, mom also kindly suggested me go to Miami with my dad because she was afraid that I would be “uncomfortable” here.
And the same excuse again.
I am a soccer ball to them? They can just kick me aside whenever they don’t want me around?
“Nat?” Dad calls my name, “This is up to you really. If you want to come back—”
I quietly hang up on him.
I put away my phone and walk out of the room. Mom is standing in the hallway, twisting her frail fingers, looking nervous.
“Nat. Did he tell you?” She comes to me, “About his girlfriend Hallie?”
“Yes. And his plan of getting rid of me.” I grip my first and ask through my clenched teeth, “Have you ever thought of what I want? Why do you have to decide my life for me!”
Mom takes a sharp inhale. Her eyes are filled with tears and sadness. But I don’t really care what she thinks right now.
I rush out of the townhouse.
I don’t really know where to go. I thought I could stay with Zack when I came here, but that plan went to drain; I wanted to go back to Miami, but I was kicked out; my mom and that fancy townhouse shut the door on me long ago, so I don’t really want to stay there either.
Guess I am homeless.
I wander around aimlessly and end up on a bus going out of town. The bus bumps up and down for more than two hours. I cry and fall asleep during the trip. When I wake up again, the bus has already stopped.
“Final stop, kid!” The driver shouts at me.
I stumble off and find myself nearby a city park. Through the woods I can vaguely see the sea. It’s getting dark now. Might not be a good idea going into the park.
I slump onto a bench and start to question the point of this runaway. It’s silly. Can I really live a life on my own without ever returning? I have exactly $529 on my account, which can’t last a month. Not to mention I will start college next year…
I want to scream, cry and smash things. What have I done to deserve this life?!
My phone has been buzzing nonstop. I take it out and find a ton of missing calls: mom, dad, Jenna…even Eason and Mr. Ramirez.
I can’t believe mom told everyone about this.
I lay back on the bench and gaze blankly into the air. Maybe I’ll go back and suck up with whatever plans they’ve made for me. But tonight, just tonight, I want to be alone.
Suddenly I hear heavy footsteps. I look up and find a group of drunk men coming around the corner. They are pretty wasted, I can smell the vodka as they approaching me. It’s an open street. But there’s no one around except us.
“Hey!” one of the men spotted me, “What are you doing there!”
My pulse quickens. I quickly stand up, ducking my head down to avoid eye contact, and hurry down the road.
I pray for them to get lost. But today isn’t my lucky day. Heavy footstep tags along as they keep teasing me with whistles and dirty jokes. “Hey where are you going? Get back there!”
They all burst into laughter.
I start running as I fumble in my pocket in search of my phone and call someone. The phone slips through my fingers during the chaos. I crouch down to find it. But someone suddenly grasps my shoulder from behind.
“No!” I scream, “Get away from me!”
“Shush…” someone locks both of my hands and presses my body against the tree. I start yelling for help, but he covers my mouth to muffle my words. “This one is feisty. I like her.”
His friends chortle and gather around.
My body is shivering. I tried the kicking and biting, but none of those works. These are tough-built man and, even drunk, are still way stronger than me.
I’ve never thought of this even in my worst nightmare. Desperate eating me alive. I bite my tongue till copper taste fills my mouth, as tears drop down my cheeks and falls on a man’s hand.
“She’s crying!” someone shouts in excitement, “Go gentle on her.”
I can smell his terrible breath, like rotten fish and putrid water. I hold my breath and close the eyes, giving up on any useless resistance.
Headlights pierce through darkness as a sport car flies around the corner making a shrill noise. Everyone is startled and turns back to look. The car full speeds towards us and makes a sudden stop, almost hitting a drunk man.
“Hey!” shouts the man, “look where you are going!”
The driver’s door bursts open. A tall figure immerses from the bright headlight. My eyes squint at the strong light but, the next second, I recognized him.
It’s amazing how you can feel so desperate and fear one moment and the next totally safe and secure. My vision is blurred by tears as I take in a shuddering breath.
As shocking and miraculous as it may be, he found me.
He marches towards us without any hesitation and pulls a heavy punch on the man closest to him. The man yells in pain and staggers back. This all happens so fast. Before they realize, he has knocked down a few of them with ease.
I dive aside. At first, I was still worried since they clearly outnumbered him. But a few moments later I realize there’s no way they can beat him.
“Get the fuck out of my sight!” he deeply growls, pulling me into his arms.
No one dares to challenge him. They immediately turn on their heels and run off into the darkness.
As soon as they disappear, the last bit of strength that keeps me standing vanishes. I almost collapse onto the ground, but he catches me.
“What the hell are you thinking?!” he roars onto my face. “What if I didn’t get here in time? What if I never found you? Before you shut off you phone, have you thought of the consequences!”
My heart’s still pounding from what happened earlier. The way he looks at me right now makes me want to scream and disappear. But his hands are still holding my arms firmly. Having nowhere to hide, I am forced to look back at him as tears scream down my face.
He freezes. Gradually, the fury in his eyes fades away, giving way to a more complex emotion.
“Stop crying.” He rigidly orders. But he sounds way less commanding than he needs to be.
Then I go from sobbing to wailing. I bury my face into his shoulders and let my tears wet his clothes. He didn’t push me away. Instead, he holds on to me tighter, one arm around my waist and the other gently holding the back of my head.
I feel safe in his arms. So I cry and cry, venting out all my sorrow and suffering.
Between the choking sound I made, I hear his husky low voice mutters into my ears. “I was worried sick.”
It takes me a long time to quiet down. Then it suddenly occurs to me that my eyes are all red and puffed. Feeling embarrassed, I slightly push him away.“Can you not look?” I said in a whisper.“Your eyes are what you are worried about?” Great, the sarcastic version of him is back.I heave a long sign and groan, “Please let me know if you are going to begin the judging. So I can be prepared.”He glares at me. But I’m not afraid. Somehow his angry face makes me want to laugh.“Glad to entertain you.” He taunts.“…Sorry.” I manage to push my lips down, “How did you find me?”He signs. “Your mom called me. I don’t think you would take the taxi. And there’s only one bus stop near the house. So I followed the route, searched every bus stop.”My heart twitches with guilt. What I did was childish. And he’s right, if he didn’t get here in time, something horrible could have happened.“Maybe I should call mom.” I stutter.I know I should call her and put her mind at ease. But my head is still
I slightly open my mouth, but no words come out of it. I completely lost track of what I’m going to say.A moment later, I stutter, “isn’t it obvious? You chase me out of your room. You shout at me at the restaurant. And you—”“And I drove around crazy trying to find you, I fought for you, and I risked getting a ticket just to cheer you up.” He shrugs, “yeah, I must have hated your guts.”I flush. That’s why he confuses me. “Thanks.”He grins, “as long as you feel better.”I truly do. The way I feel around him…it’s so new and exciting and thrill. Being with him is such an adventure that it blows my head off. I know that’s partially because he comes from a different world than I do. But I don’t hate it when he gets his rich on, not the way I hated Zack.And that’s why he’s so different.We talk for a while and finish the beer. And he leads me to the guest room.“Bathroom is inside. You’ll find anything you need…towels included.”I giggle. “Anything in particular that I should keep my h
When I finally clean myself up and step out of the room, the party has already started. Loud music is on, and a couple guys have laid out the bar section with bottles of vodka and beers. They are heavy drinkers given by their age. I’m not against party. Back in Miami, I often have small and intimate gathering with my friends. We would grab couples of cold beers and head to the beach, enjoy the evening sea air. We talk, we drink, and we dance. We always have a blast. I sign at my sudden nostalgic feeling. I miss Miami, and it’s easy and relaxing vibe. Boston is a busy and bustling city. It suits people like Eason, not me. We are indeed from two totally different worlds. I push through the crowd and try to find Eason. I want to talk to him about me staying here, which seems like a terrible idea now. Judging by the speed people pour alcohol down their throats, I better find him soon. I walk pass by two girls smoking joints and try not judge them. Then I finally spot Eason, sitting
My whole body freezes in shock. What the hell is going on?!Millions of questions whizz past my mind, as he presses my neck and keep kissing me. I know I should feel shocked or mad or even disgusted, he’s my brother for God’s sake!But I still lost myself momentarily in this kiss.His lips are cold. I can even taste vodka and fresh lemon in his breathe. His eyes closed, long eyelashes touching mine, causing my heart to flutter. I’ve never felt anything like this with anyone before.But before I get to react, he pushes me away again. Without looking at me, he returns to the couch and sits down, like nothing has happened.I gulp. And suddenly realize I’ve been holding my breath for so long that my lungs are exploding. Everyone else is clearly in shock as well. Especially Val. Her face distorts with anger.“What the hell are you doing!” she voices out my question.Eason is surprisingly calm. Still not looking at me, he takes a sip of his drink, “You wanted to see her kiss. Now you have i
Katherine lets out an audible gasp. Signed, I look up and meet Eason’s eyes in the air. He’s looking at me coldly, expression undetectable.Valerie lets go of him and walks towards me, as people hurry clear out a pass for her. She stands a few inches above me with her high heels. She looks down at me, lips curved into a sarcastic angle.“This is no place for people like you. Drop out now and leave Eason alone,” she mouths a threat.I look straight into her eyes and reply, “I earned my place in here. Fair and square. You can’t force me. And it’s none of your business anyway.”She sneers, “how? By that pathetic transcript of yours? You got in because Eason’s father pulled some strings and wrote huge check to the board. Do you have no self-esteem? Using his family like this?”My face flashes red under her question. On some level, I know she’s right. But I’m already too far deep into the war to back out right now. So I stare her back, while remain in silence.She squints at me, and sudden
“Help! Somebody helps!”I yank the door with all my might and yells. My voices and the sound of door rattling echo in the dark and empty corridor. But only death silence falls upon me.It’s getting dark outside. The tour must have left hours ago. So I’m all alone in this observatory right now. Doesn’t this fancy school have a security guard or something? But on the second thought, this is summertime. Who patrol during summer vacation?I panic a bit at the thought of that. I’m not exactly afraid of ghosts. But the thought of being left alone in an empty building with no food and water terrifies me.Mr. Ramirez said he’ll meet me after the tour. But the tour ended hours ago, and he still hasn’t come and find me. Maybe he thought I left with Eason. Maybe something turned up and he must leave in a hurry.If that’s the case, then I’m screwed.“Fuck!” I pound on the door, feeling more frustrated than ever. Nothing good has happened since I moved back to Boston and met Eason again. Maybe Val
His one hand presses me to the mirror, while the other pulls me impossibly close to his body. His lips mold with mine, taking away every shaky breathes that escaped my mouth. And as if it wasn’t enough, he sucks my bottom lips and bites it, quietly urging me to open my mouth and let him in.My mind is cloudy. All sense is lost. So I shakily part my lips, as he immediately snakes his tongue in and tangles with mine.A sign of pleasure leaves my lips as I find myself melting away in his arms. He groans and travels his hand upwards, longer fingers playing with those thin stripes on my back, causing me to shudder under his touch. The thin layer of clothing becomes nothing, I feel as though I’m naked and my panties felt dam.“Eason…” I gasp and tilt my head to escape from the kiss, trying to call back some senses to us. But he refused to listen. His hot lips trace my check, my neck and down to the upper part of my chest. I cry out as he suddenly bites on my collar bones and suck it hard. I
The clouds are dense and opaque on the first day of my senior year, which kind of mirrors the state of my feelings. In my entire lifetime, I’ve never detested going to school so badly. Mr. Ramirez kindly offered to drive me to school in his Rolls, which I can’t say no to, since he had made it clear that he wants to send me off on my first day. Looks like the secret of me being the Ramirez’s freeloader won’t be kept for long. During the drive, Mr. Ramirez tried his best to easy off my nerve, but I kept tailing off from our conversation. As we approach the front gate of school, my symptom of nausea is getting worse. The parking area is already packed with fancy cars when we get there. In my old school, everyone had limited budget for cars, and as a result it was common to see dingy second-handed Honda and Pirus everywhere on campus. But things clearly work different here. Mercedes and Porsche would still be considered as normal. I just saw a flashy sport car with doors opened like win