Not going to lie but the mansion was so extra I could hardly stand it. The pool was bigger than any public pool I’d been to–including the Super Swirly Water Slide park. I held tightly onto Brandy. She’d been learning how to swim back home but it still made me nervous.
“Let’s splash, Lee Lee!” Brandy said in her cute little voice.
Mom and Dad were soaking up the West Coast rays. It was way hotter in the fall here than back home.
“You two better watch out,” Zack said, running toward the diving boards. “Cannonball is about to rock your world.”
I wrapped my arm around Brandy. “He can’t get us, can he, Brandy?”
“Nope!” She giggled.
I splashed into the cool water. “Come to me, baby girl.”
“I can do it by myself, Lee Lee.”
“I know you can, but I want to play helicopter.”
Zack tried to splash us with his cannonball, but the pool was so big, it barely made ripples.
I twirled her around and around with the warm wind floating over us.
“Wee!” she cried, kicking her feet with glee.
After I’d whipped her through the water a dozen times, I started to get dizzy and my arms were wearing out. “Okay…that’s enough.”
“Again, Lee Lee!”
Brandy would love it if I’d never stop playing a game. “But my arms are noodles. Let’s do something else.”
Luckily, Zack came to my rescue. “Hey, guys! I’m going to take a picture! Could you pose?”
I pulled Brandy out of the water. She loved to strike a pose. I told mom I thought she’d be a natural model. But Mom was opposed to doing anything like that. She hated what the limelight did to her back in the day. And child stars, actors, and models wasn’t a way to raise a kid.
“Good one, guys!” Zack beamed. He loved taking pictures of everyone and everything. He had a ton of simstagram followers already. I wondered what was going to happen when people found out he was James Sanderson’s son. Were our lives going to really change?
A part of me didn’t want the fame–just like it freaked Mom out–I understood. And even though I had a blast in this mansion full of everything any of us could want, I really missed Mala, our home back in Brindleton Bay, the beach, the cool breezy coastline…I only had two years left of high school. It wouldn’t be that much time away. And I’d come back to my family as much as possible. Dad could afford flying me out at least once a month on the weekends.
And Zack and Brandy had each other to keep company. Zack was a great kid who loved Brandy and he was good at watching over her. He looked so silly wearing her hat and playing around today. And she adored him.
Yeah. It’d be good for Mom and Dad, too, not to rely on me so much. I decided right there that I had to go back.
While Brandy was taking a nap, I spent some time in Zack’s room. We were messing around with Crapchat filters. “There,” I said. “Is that a good enough picture? You look like a goofy frog.”
Zack sighed. “Hey, cut it out. I want a normal one. To remember you by.”
I put my phone away and we both got on our stomachs. “Hey…I won’t be gone that long. You’ll see me every month. And with school, time will fly.”
He shrugged. “I know, but it’s not fair. I don’t want to move here either. Why can’t I stay with Grandpa and Granddad, too?”
I told him he needed to watch over Brandy. She’d be sad if both of us left. He got it when I put it like that. It did kind of suck. I felt like a huge jerk, abandoning my family. Was I being too selfish? I didn’t know. I had so many mixed emotions, I didn’t know what to do.
Today was a super fine time with my gal pals. Destiny had a debutante thingamajiggie to go to and we were honor bound to help her pick out something that was fancy but not TOO fancy. I didn’t get that whole upperclass world. I was toted around the globe like a beat up suitcase (not complaining here–I miss traveling and have ITCHY feet real BAD!) In my family, dumpster diving was a delicacy as well as an art form. But Destiny had been raised with a Brindleton Bay silver doodad in her mouth. And although she had money, she was for reals and didn’t really like all the hoopla her mom made her do.
“I think I found IT!” she cried as we entered Vintage Violet’s Boutique. God, I hoped so. We’d been in no less than ten shops, and I was DYING for a chocolatte with soy whip and a comfy seat, preferably with my shoes OFF.
I had no clue what she was swooning over though. Everything in there looked as if it was from the renaissance period.
“I think I’m in love,” Destiny said in a sultry voice. “Wait on me, kittens. I’m going to try it on.”
I laughed. Destiny was the only person I knew who could get all worked up over finding the right sandals or trying on a pair of swanky sunglasses.
After she came out of the dressing room, she asked, “What do you think? Does it make me look fat, guys?”
“Oh my God. Do you want me to bitch slap you, Des?” I asked. “You look like royalty. Buy it and let’s go.”
“Are you sure?” she asked.
Destiny was a notoriously slow shopper. If I didn’t snap my fingers, tap my toes, and huff, she’d make us stay in that place all night.
“Des…you’re kidding me, right?” Maybe my death glare would send a message.
“I think it looks great,” Justine said. “Right guys?” Her approach was a little more subtle.
“Are you sure sure?” Destiny asked again.
Was it illegal if I put a noose around her neck and pulled her out of the store?
Rosalin swooped in like Wonder Woman. “Honestly, Des, it’s the most beautiful, stunning piece of art I’ve ever seen on you. The emerald color brings out your eyes and hair. Seriously. I wouldn’t lie.”
Destiny laughed. “I know, right? That’s what I was saying all along!”
After she paid a criminal price for that outfit, we beelined it to the coffee shop. But then I saw something that made my jaw drop, stomach plunge, and head swoon all at the same time. “I cannot believe my eyes.” I pulled my hair just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.
There in broad daylight was that ho-slash-skank making swoony eyes at none other than Oliver Treadstone.
“What is it?” Destiny asked, coming up behind me.
“Just a little karma,” I said. “And it’s got bitch written all over it.”