Generation 5 Chapters

Chapter 6.18

Ages of characters: Liam–16, Zack (his brother)–11, Brandy–5, August & Beau, Briar: 61, Lexie, James: 43

Ginny

My friends sidled up to me, Rosalin taking my hand.

“See what the cat brought me, guys?” I asked. “Two rats.”

“Oh good God,” Destiny said. “Does she have no shame?”

Suddenly, the two love birds shouted at each other and both were on their feet.

“Mala, please don’t go. I’m sorry,” the douchebag yelled.

My friends crowded around behind me.

“Guys,” I whispered. “They can’t see us–their backs are facing us.”

I couldn’t hear a word they said. Dammit! But Mala was blasting a finger in Oliver’s chest.

Then he spit something back at her. If only I had a microphone on them. I wanted to hear every juicy detail.

Then Mala pushed him away, like she was breaking it off. NO! This skank was not about to get rid of her adulterous lover. Was she doing this to be with Liam?

But then the heaven’s parted and God literally shone all his glory onto them. (Seriously, the sky grew the most beautiful shade of pink.)

Oliver was about to kiss Mala!

My girlfriends started squealing behind me as Mala and Oliver’s lips met. So, I did the only thing someone could do in this situation.

I got out my phone and snapped.

Destiny hissed, “What the hell do you think you’re doing, Ginny?”

I put my fingers over her mouth. “It’s called fate, Des. And if Liam won’t believe what a skanky ho his girlfriend is, I might have to show him.”

“You know he could get mad at you for not minding your own business.”

Des was always a worry wart.

“Oh, God. Poor Liam,” Justine said. “When I let Drew in on this…he’ll definitely tell Liam.”

“I hope he kicks her to the curb,” Rosalin mused behind me.

“Hey, guys, let’s go!” Ally whispered. “I don’t want to get caught.”

But I wasn’t moving a muscle until I got the full blown goods on a thot that needed bringing down.

Liam

I told Mom and Dad about my decision to stay in Brindleton Bay. They were totally cool with it and said Grandpa and Granddad would meet me at home. I had school the following day, so I needed to book it if I wanted to get back at a decent hour.

When the time came for me to leave, I had a hard time saying good bye. Especially to my siblings. We like hadn’t been apart ever in our whole lives. In fact, I was with them way more than either of my parents had been. Little Brandy didn’t really understand what was happening either. I bent down and took her tiny hand. “Hey, baby girl, you be good for Mom and Dad, okay?”

“I will, Lee Lee.” I was going to miss her sweet smiles and dimples.

“Your limosine is here, sir,” Marcus said, waving me to hurry up.

Both Zack and Brandy rushed over, giving me hugs.

I was shocked Zack was taking it this hard. “I’m going to…miss you,” he said into my shoulder.

Then Brandy’s lip quivered. “Don’t go, Lee Lee!”

“Hey…I’ll be back in a few weeks. Don’t worry.” Squeezing them, I whispered, “I love you guys.”

*****

The plane ride was freaking long and I took a Suber home. When I walked in, I was blasted with my grandparents kissing.

I smiled. I guessed even old folks still got it on?

Clearing my throat, I called out, “Hey, Grandpa and Grandad! I’m home.”

They both shot up and ran over to me. “You’ve grown a foot since the last time I saw you, Liam!” Granddad slapped my back. I guessed I had grown a lot. I was almost as tall as he was.

Grandpa enveloped me in a squishy hug. “You’re looking good, kiddo. So happy to see you.”

“Me, too, Grandpa.”

I sat down to chat.

“So…how’s Del Sol Valley?” Granddad asked.

“It’s amazing. No joke, my folks’ place has a pool the size of the whole town of Brindleton Bay.”

Granddad laughed. “Well, your grandpa and I are here for you, Liam. If you need anything from us, don’t hesitate to ask.”

“And let me know your favorite dishes, too, Liam,” Grandpa added. “I’ll have it ready whenever you want to eat supper.”

Did I just die and go to heaven? They didn’t know I was the one who usually cooked around here and it was mostly mac and cheese and nachos. “Thanks, Grandpa. Sounds awesome. And thanks for staying with me like this. I know it must be an inconvenience.”

“Are you kidding?” Granddad said. “Us old guys live for this stuff. What else have we got to do? Next weekend, we’ll show you around some places we used to go when your mom was little.”

“Awesome, Granddad. Sounds fun.” This already turned out to be the best decision I’d ever made. For once, someone was going to take care of me for a change.

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Chapter 6.17

Liam

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.

*****

Ginny

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.”

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Chapter 6.16

Liam

When I got to math class, Ginny Malcolm was sitting in Mala’s seat for some reason.

And top that off with some weird telepathic exchange those two gave each other, Mala left me there with her. Wtf?

Girls. Who could figure them out?

I decided to ignore whatever was going on with them. I’d just do my work and ask Mala about it later.

After I’d finished, Ginny said with a strange look on her face, “Hey, Liam. I was thinking about starting an archeology club. Want to join?”

Whoa. That totally came out of nowhere. But I was curious. “What’s an archeology club?”

She went on to explain that her parents were archeologists (I remembered her mentioning that before). They do excavations and find cool stuff–artifacts that no one else had discovered. Archeologists study ancient civilizations. Honestly, I’d never really knew what an archeologist was other than what I saw in movies. I actually thought they studied dinosaurs but that’s a paleontologist (Ginny was quick to point out).

“Okay…that sounds really cool. Let me know when the meetings are and I’ll come.” This archaeology thing was so interesting. I actually wanted to meet her parents one day. They were like real live Simdiana Jones’ types.

*****

I didn’t get a chance to talk to Mala though. It seemed like she was avoiding me all day. When I texted her about it, she said she had a headache and went home early. I guessed she was still sick?

I was going to chalk today up to one of those shitty days where nothing majorly exciting happened but when I entered my driveway, my family was waiting there for me.

My sister, Brandy, grinned like she was holding a first class ribbon from her preschool. “Lee Lee, we got you something.”

“What’s up with everyone?” I asked. “Why are you all staring at me weirdly?”

My brother pointed. “You, bro, are the proud owner of this incredibly super cool, 180 horse power, turbo charged Jeep.”

My brain caught up with my eyes. “You’re shitting me.” I gulped.

What was going on? I was supposed to buy an old jeep with the money I saved up but they were so expensive, I knew I’d never be able to afford one.

“It’s yours, Liam,” Mom said. “You deserve it.”

Dad added, “And besides, we’re tired of toting your ass around everywhere.”

I picked up Brandy, wanting to leap around.

“You like it, Lee Lee?” she asked.

My little sister was so freaking sweet. “Yeah, baby girl. It’s amazing.”

I felt like I was living in a dream state.

Turned out, my folks were buttering me up for the bomb they were about to drop on me.

We were moving to Del Sol Valley. Dad actually took the Robotron part and Mom was totally on board with the whole thing. But she assured me I didn’t have to move with them. It was my choice. She hated the fact that she was torn away from her high school, and she wasn’t about to do that to me. She’d already talked with Grandpa and Granddad–since Granddad retired from the FBI, they said they’d stay with me until I finished high school.

I was so conflicted. I didn’t want to move away from Brindleton Bay. But then I didn’t want to be away from my family either. It was going to be tough on me to figure out what to do.

The following weekend, we took a trip to Del Sol Valley. Dad’s production company, Plumbob Pictures, owned this ridiculous mansion in the hills, away from paparazzi. It was gated with manned security. Already the media was buzzing about my dad being the next big screen superstar.

When the company’s limo dropped us off, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

“Holy shit!” I cried. I couldn’t help it. “We’re going to stay there?”

“More than just stay here, Liam,” Dad said. “Plumbob Pictures said we could live here until we built our own house.”

Mom sighed. “Don’t you think it’s a little…extreme?”

Extreme? It freaking rocked. It was like we were royalty or something.

The place even came with its own staff, including a butler.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Sanderson,” the butler said, shaking Dad’s hand. “Welcome to Pinnacles Palace. I am Marcus Weatherby. I’ll be at your service during your stay.”

“Hi, Marcus. You can call me James. Glad to be here.”

The butler’s face drew up like Dad spoke heresy. “Oh, no, Mr. Sanderson. I would never dare to call you by your first name. Come…let me show you around.”

Mom made a groaning sound as we entered. I had to admit. The place was a little on the hoity toidy side for us. I grew up in a normal house in a small town. Was everything going to change now that Dad was set to be a big movie star?

“This is the bar area where you may entertain guests,” Marcus said.

He drew open the drapes. “The view here is second to none. And that is a state of the art olympic sized pool where you can relax or get some exercise swimming laps.”

I spied a ginormous pool that looked as if it was surrounded by pure gold.

“What do you think, babydoll?” Dad’s voice was crazy excited.

Mom winced. “I don’t see how the kids will feel comfortable here. It’s made of marble and gold and the decorations look like they’d break if we even looked at them.”

The butler bowed. “Oh, your children should be most comfortable. The boys’ rooms are set upstairs and your daughter’s room is next to this one. Please, madame, allow me to show you to your daughter’s quarters at once.”

“See, babydoll, they have rooms set up for the kids. I told you they’d think of everything.”

One of the paintings over the fireplace I’d recognized from one of my history books. “Damn. I think I could get used to living like this, Mom.”

“Can I order an ice cream fudge sundae, Marcus?” Zack asked, sitting at the bar.

“I can arrange for that.” He lifted his hand. “Your daughter’s room is…this way.”

Mom gave Dad a look, but he just smiled and said, “Brandy’s room is this way.”

As I entered, it looked bigger than my room at home. And it was filled with tons of toys–things Brandy would like.

The butler walked in. “If you are wanting anything else for Miss Brandy, please tell me and we’ll get it as soon as possible.”

Mom looked around the room. I couldn’t tell if she liked it or not. I mean, what would be the problem except maybe her room door was a bit too big and made of gold and the walls glittered with expensive tapestry. Kind of over the top like the rest of the place.

“I do hope this meets with your approval, Mrs. Sanderson.”

Dad rubbed Mom’s arm. “What do you think, babydoll? Can we stay?”

Mom stared into Dad’s eyes and nodded.

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Chapter 6.15

Lexie

I loved seeing James home and playing with the kids. It was a daily event now.

“Time for breakfast! Zack, I have your sack lunch ready to take to school.”

“Aw, Mom!” my husband whined. “Zack’s playing with us. Right, Brandy?”

“Right, Daddy.”

I chuckled and marched them all to the kitchen.

*****

While the kids were at school and Brandy was in daycare, I noticed James would hole up with his music, writing songs. He was such a creative person. So talented. But the music industry didn’t want what he produced anymore.

Even though what I heard brought tears to my eyes.

It was like I was seeing my husband die right in front of me.

And it crushed me. I felt trapped, not knowing what to do.

The weight of it seemed too much as a heavy feeling threatened to devour me. My head ached. God. Life wasn’t supposed to be like this, was it?

“Baby doll, why are you up?” James asked.

Shit. I thought he was asleep.

His warm body covered me as he came up behind. “Come back to sleep, sweetheart.”

But I couldn’t pretend. My feelings were so messed up. What the fuck was I going to do?

Warm kisses peppered my neck. God, he knew exactly how to make me feel better. “James…I’m not in the mood.”

Caressing me, he said, “Really? That’s not what your body is saying.”

And then I gave in like I always did.

It didn’t matter how many years we were married, he always knew how to make me swoon.

In the morning, I decided what I needed to do to fix things. I had been so ridiculously selfish. Of course, I had been. I was a selfish creature at heart. Would it really kill me to move? And we’d survive the paparazzi. Shit. I was the queen of dodging them in my early years. And so what if I had to use bodyguards? We weren’t strangers to fame. I could handle it. And so could our kids. I was so over making James’ dreams die. It was time for a change.

As the sun peeked through the dark clouds out our bedroom window, I stroked James’ soft beard.

“Good morning, baby doll,” James said, sleepily, rubbing my shoulders. “Last night was amazing.”

I giggled then stared at my wonderful husband. “I’ve been thinking, baby. What if we moved to Del Sol Valley and you took that acting job? Wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to be married to Robotron. Last I checked, he was my favorite superhero.”

Eyes popping, he said, “Really? Are you kidding me right now, Lexie?”

Cradling his face in my palm, I said, “I haven’t been more sure of anything in my life. I’m so proud of you. I think you’d make the best Robotron in the history of Sarvel comics. I’m damned serious. Sorry I didn’t come to that conclusion sooner.” Threading my fingers through his hair, I asked, “It’s not too late, is it?”

Swallowing, he shook his head. “No…God, no…my agent actually called me yesterday, trying to convince me to change my mind.” He grabbed my arm. “Are you sure, babydoll? I’m fine with not taking it.”

I stroked his face. “I’m sure. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I can’t handle knowing someone else will be on that big screen instead of you for my alltime favorite superhero.”

“Oh, God, Lexie! I can’t believe it! I love you so much!” The relief in his voice sent tingles through me.

“I love you, too, James.”

We lost ourselves in each other as storm clouds erupted over the surf. How I adored making love to a symphony of lightning and thunder.

******

Ginny

I couldn’t believe I was staring at my math class’ door, wondering what to do.

That THOT was at it again and poor Liam didn’t have a clue. I’d heard from my bff Destiny who’d heard it from her friend, Sandra, who’d heard it from her brother, Chad, who was Oliver Treadstone’s best bud, that Mala wasn’t sick while I was having a super fun time with her boyfriend this past weekend. No. She was doing it all morning like the ho she was and Oliver told all his buddies about his thrilling time. Super classy. Am I right?

When I entered the room, everyone was already working on the assignment that was on the board. But neither Liam nor Mala had come in yet. The tardy bell was about to ring, so I acted fast.

I grabbed Mala’s seat. She wasn’t ever going to sit next to him again. I didn’t care what kind of scene she pulled. She was guilty and I’d make her know what I knew. Mark my words.

Taking out my assignment book, I steeled myself for an all out war. Of course, Liam wouldn’t be happy, but I had to save him from that lying, cheating bitch. How I was going to go about it, I had no clue, but this was stage one in Liam Sanderson-Day Salvation Siege. I just hoped I’d survive the fallout.

But planning a thing and doing a thing were two different things. When Liam arrived, he shot me a puzzled look and I flinched.

“You think it might rain today?” I asked nervously. Distraction tactics usually worked in movies. Right?

“Hey, Ginny,” Liam said, as he sat down. “Mala is about to come in. Don’t you think you should sit in your own seat?”

Aw…what a nice boyfriend. Too bad he didn’t know her like I did.

Then in walked the guilty party.

It was like I’d sent telepathic messages to her and she’d heard me loud and clear.

“Ginny. You’re in my seat.” She didn’t say it very convincingly.

I stared her down. “Yeah? So?”

Liam swooped in like the knight in shining armor he was. “Like I said, Ginny, that’s Mala’s seat. I’m sorry…but maybe you could sit here another time?”

Walking away, Mala said, “Don’t worry about it, Lee Lee, I like sitting in the back.”

I hated the hurt look he gave as she went to my old desk.

The awkwardness was soooo thick, I was about to be crushed. What the hell was I doing? At this rate, not only would Liam not know the horrific things Mala had done, but he’d hate me to boot. God, I had to think of something and fast.

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Chapter 6.14

Warning: NSFW, sexual situations

Liam

We all took a ton of simstagram pictures (although none of them did the place justice.) I wished Mala could have been here to see this. I knew she’d really like it. Her favorite color was magenta.

Todd wrapped his arm around his girlfriend. “Hey guys. It’s been fun but we’ve got to go.”

Melina just giggled, so I figured they wanted a little alone time in the cool cave.

Watching them, I was pining away for Mala. It was such a romantic spot. Maybe I’d take her later on. Surprise her with a picnic.

Ginny’s voice brought me back to the present. “It’s early. Want to go somewhere else that’s fun?”

Not thinking, I said, “Yeah. Sure.” I had nowhere else to go at the moment.

Ginny took me to an old water tower in the middle of nowhere. Oasis Springs was just full of rocks, sand, and tumbleweeds. Maybe there was another cave lurking underground I didn’t know about?

“Where’s the trail?” I asked.

“No trail. We’re climbing. Remember?”

There was a huge rock but no hand holds that I could see. Then it hit me.

I groaned. “You don’t mean…”

“The water tower? Yeah. We’ll be able to see the whole town from up there! You’ll love it.”

I really didn’t want to explain my fear of ladders. Rock climbing was one thing. What we did at the cave was easy. But ladders gave me the feeling I could fall off of them at any second. And the wind was crazy when you went up a few stories.

My stomach knotted.

“Don’t tell me with your muscles, you’re worried about being able to climb it.”

I laughed. That wasn’t exactly it. I had to conquer a fear. But that was hard to confess.

And this freaky water tower had the most evil, scary looking ladder I’d ever seen.

But I couldn’t wimp out on her. If she wanted to climb it, I’d force myself to not look down or worry or do any of those weird things I normally did when faced with ladders. “No, I’m fine. Let’s do this.”

I was wondering if Ginny was a magician because before I knew it, she was on the ladder looking at me wondering what was taking me so long.

“Come on, Liam. It’s easy!” The gap in her tooth seemed to wink at me. She was really freaking cute. And crazy brave.

I tried to swallow down the willies I was getting by playing it off. “Who are you calling afraid? I’m just waiting for you to climb a little higher is all.”

When I didn’t move, she reached out and said, “Come on, Mr. Brave, I’ll give you a little help.”

I said about a million prayers as we ascended the ladder. It shook with the wind and squeaked all the way up, terrifying me. I was shaking so badly, I didn’t even care if Ginny knew.

“Isn’t this amazing, Liam? It’s like we’re on top of the world!”

I swallowed, trying to calm down. “Yeah. Cool. H-How did you find this place?”

Shrugging, she said, “My parents used to take me when I was twelve, but now they’re too busy with work and stuff. They’re archeologists, doing an excavation at the moment and really don’t have time to go on picnics like we used to do. So, I take my friends. Glad you came along.”

She poked my shoulder and smirked. “Why do I get the feeling you’re about to throw up? Just lean over the side. Might be fun to watch puke fall.”

That made me laugh. “You’re something else, Ginny. Don’t worry. I’m not going to puke.”

And when I got a hold of my nerves, I was blown away by the beauty of the desert. She was right. It was like we were on top of the whole world.

******

Ginny and I had a lot of fun but I couldn’t wait to see Mala. I’d felt so bad for her being stuck in her bed sick. I knocked on her door and she said for me to come in. She was laid out with her hands over her stomach.

I tried to smile to hide my worried feelings. Did her stomach hurt her? “Hey, Mala. I brought you something.”

When she didn’t budge, I sat next to her. “Hey,” I whispered. “If you don’t feel good, I’ll come back later.”

Looking at the flowers, instead of smiling, she just stared. “Oh, Lee Lee, you shouldn’t have gotten me these.”

I could see the circles under her eyes. “But you love roses. I was hoping they’d brighten your day.” It was weird. She wasn’t acting herself. “What’s wrong? I mean, is there something else bothering you?”

*****

Mala

Why did Liam have to be so sweet? I’d wanted to break up months ago, but every time I tried, he’d do something incredibly charming and I just…couldn’t. He was way too good for me. I couldn’t think of one thing he’d ever done wrong. Seriously. Who was so perfect like that? He’d always think about me above everyone else (except for his family). And that, too, was so infuriatingly nice.

When I’d gotten mad at him for helping out his mom, he should have broken up with me. I was being such a bitch!

But he didn’t. He’d never want to hurt me. So I had to hurt him.

And when I came to his house for that party, I was determined to stay cold. To not feel badly for breaking up with him. But…I saw him in the pool and jealous feelings welled up at the sight of him laughing with that ugly Ginny Malcom. I couldn’t help myself. I knew I still loved him. I’d always love him.

But I wasn’t good enough for him. He’d deserved better.

I bit my lip, forcing myself to be strong.

Oliver and I just couldn’t get enough of each other. I was going to go on that hike with Liam. Honest. I’d had every intention. But that morning, Oliver showed up with my favorite latte and breakfast croissant and I just…

Oliver knew how to make me zing inside. I’d never felt like that before. EVER! And Oliver was just playing around. I knew that. He was nothing like Liam. In fact, his reputation had bad boy written all over him, but…I just caved.

When I didn’t say anything, Liam got the hint. He wasn’t stupid. Watching him leave broke my heart. I couldn’t take it. What was I doing? He was the best guy I’d ever met. My first true love. Why was I going to throw him away for some random guy?

“No, wait, Liam!” I shouted. He stopped, sighing into his hand.

“I’m sorry I didn’t say anything…I was just so surprised and a little sleepy. I do love these very much! Thank you!”

The hopeful look in his eyes made me determined to do better.

“You do?” he whispered.

“Yes, of course I do. Now come here so I can thank you properly.”

He bolted to me, scooping me up. “I love you, Mala.”

He cradled me, stroking my face, telling me to relax, that he’d stay until I fell asleep. He promised to bring me chicken soup for supper and that I didn’t have to worry about anything. He’d already coordinated with Mom about it over the phone since Mom and Dad were at a convention this weekend. Omg…he was just amazing.

In the end, we both fell asleep. I decided I’d break things off with Oliver once and for all.

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Chapter 6.13

Liam

When Ginny Malcom asked me to go rock climbing, my first instinct was to say, hell yeah! But Mala was already steaming from Ginny taking her seat and I knew she wouldn’t like me hanging out with her. “Um…well, I probably shouldn’t.”

She cocked her head. “Worried about your wifey?”

I smiled, sheepishly. “Yeah.”

“Bring her along!”

“Really?” I asked, incredulous.

“Really. It’d be fun. My other friends, Melina Hays and Todd Monteira are already coming. The more the merrier! Meet me at Oasis Springs Park at 7:30 in the morning on Saturday. Okay?”

Just then the bell rang, so I said, “Hey, I don’t have your number. What if I can’t make it.”

She smiled impishly. “Show up. Then I’ll give you my number.”

Off she trotted out the door, shiny auburn hair bouncing.

Mala was mad for some reason so she wouldn’t speak to me as she walked toward her next class. But then I noticed she’d left her cell phone. I wondered how she ever survived without me on a daily basis.

Catching up to her after school, I said, “Hey…wait up. You left this.” I showed her the phone.

She took it, placing it in her pocket. “Thanks, Lee Lee. I was looking all over for it.”

Trying to look into her eyes, I asked, “Are you mad at me? You know I had nothing to do with Ginny taking your seat this morning.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Did you have to talk to her so much? I mean…what did you have to say anyway?”

I shrugged. “She wanted to know if we’d like to go rock climbing with her and her friends on Saturday. Sounds fun.” I knew Mala probably would say no but it was worth a try.

She hesitated for a second looking away then sighed and smiled. “Oh…okay. What time and where?”

I kissed her cheek. Wow. Thought I’d have to talk her into it.

We made plans to meet up at the park a little early. I thought it was strange Mala didn’t want me to pick her up. I sat on a bench waiting, but after a while, it was apparent she wasn’t going to show.

The sun grew hotter as it rose over the rocks. “What the hell?” I whispered to myself.

I punched her number, waiting for her to pick up.

“Mala, where are you?” I said after she answered.

“Oh…God. Sorry. Um…uh…I really don’t feel very well, Lee Lee. I must have slept through my alarm.”

I didn’t like how her voice sounded guilty as hell. “Okay…well, you want me to come by then? Make you feel better.”

Mala yelled, “NO! I mean…no, that’s okay. Liam, you have fun. It’s not fair to make you miss out since I can’t be there.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure. Have fun.”

“Okay,” I said. “I love you.”

Just then Ginny ran up in front of me. “Are you ready, Liam? Where’s Mala?”

“She’s sick. Look, Ginny, I don’t think I can go. Mala needs me. I think I’ll bring her chicken soup or something. It sucks being sick when your boyfriend is out having fun.”

“But you can’t leave now. You just got here.”

Ginny pointed then shaded her eyes. “And besides. Just take a look at that sun. It’s almost at the sweet spot. You’re going to love the cave we’re going to explore. It won’t take long. She’ll probably want to sleep in anyway and you can bring her lunch. Sound like a deal?”

Ginny

I should have known Mala would pull some shit on Liam. When he’d told me she agreed to come along, I honestly couldn’t believe it. She just didn’t seem like the outdoorsy type. And she was conveniently sick all of a sudden? Yeah right. But I was happy she couldn’t make it. I could just imagine her wriggling and freaking out over a spider or a worm or wobbling on a rock and Liam having to save her all the time–that would totally annoy.

“So, yeah, it’s going to be sweet. You’ll be upset you missed it,” I added.

Finally, I talked him into it. Can’t lie though. He was kind of pouty the whole hike to the mouth of the cave, and I was feeling bad for him. I was definitely friendzoned so I felt like I should at least act like a good friend. “Hey…Liam? If you really want to head back and check on Mala, I’ll understand.”

He pointed and asked, “Hey! Is that the cave?”

I put my hand on my hip. “Yep. That’s it. Are you scared, soldier?”

“No way. Let’s go.”

Liam

Ginny was right. Mala probably would want to sleep in this morning, so I decided to visit her later. Maybe buy her some flowers. I tried to not worry about her while we were hiking but Ginny could tell my mind was elsewhere. I didn’t want to be a total asshole around her, so I decided to put Mala out of my mind for a few hours.

The cave was dark, dank, and underwhelming to be honest. But all of the others thought we’d just discovered gold.

“Who gets to see this?” Melina whispered like we were going to disturb ghosts. “Miners left their pick axes and boxes right here hundreds of years ago.”

“Yeah,” Todd added. “And look at those stalactites.”

Todd never changed. We were fairly close as kids but had drifted apart in middle school. Back then we shared a love of Henry Puffer but he was always playing with his science experiment set instead of video games or Crossing Wands.

“I guess you were right, Ginny. It didn’t take long. The cave is cool though. Thanks for inviting me.”

I was about to give my good byes when Ginny snapped her fingers. “Didn’t I say we were going to go rock climbing? The coolest part of the cave is up there. We’ve got to get to it. Come on.”

She scaled the rock like a mountain goat then waved for me to follow.

It wasn’t as easy as she made it look. I almost fell a few times.

But Ginny wasn’t lying.

The cave was the most jaw dropping thing I’d ever seen in my life. Crystals glowed. Sun shimmered and there were even these cool glittering dragonflies buzzing around. Not kidding. Totally blew me away.

“Holy shit…this is AMAZING!” I crooned as we all took a breather. Rock climbing wasn’t for sissies.

“Told ya, didn’t I?” Ginny said. I could hear laughter in her raspy voice. But I deserved it. Good thing she didn’t know what I was thinking when I first entered the cave.

I totally got why this was a thing. And I was hooked.

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Chapter 6.12

Lexie

I didn’t know what to say to my own husband. We just stood there awkwardly. He came home as a surprise but it wasn’t going to change my mind. No way in HELL was I going to move and if he wanted to do his own shit, he could without me. I was done.

“Lexie…why won’t you say anything to me? Are you really that upset?”

That he even had to ask that question showed how messed up we were as a couple. Before, he’d protected me from paps and all the awful shit fame did to us but now? He craved it. He didn’t care what it did to me. To our kids.

I shook my head as tears stung the back of my eyes.

“What’s going on in your head? Talk to me, baby doll. Please.”

Staring at him, I said, “Why did you go ahead with this movie deal without telling me? I had to find out all the details from a fucking rag! Did you see what they said about me? And you don’t care.”

Raising his hands, he said, “What do you mean? I have no power over what the magazines get. I told my press agent to keep it quiet but I guess it got leaked.”

“And why don’t you think that’s a problem? They’ve been stalking me. They got a shot from our backyard! Next it’ll be little Brandy and Zack and Liam. God! Why is your fame more important than your own family?”

He sighed loudly, rubbing his temple.

He couldn’t answer that because it would incriminate him. I was watching the death of our marriage and I didn’t care. I didn’t FUCKING care anymore!

I walked closer to him, wanting to punch him for what he’d put us through the past few years as he chased the stars. I would have never married him if I thought he’d ever want to become an actor. Movie stars had a fandom that was way worse than we’d ever suffered back when he was a pop idol. It meant the whole world put you on a pedastal. I wouldn’t have it.

“Get this straight, James. I will NOT support you in this crazy dream of yours. If you want superstardom, go ahead. Become this Robotron. You know exactly what it’ll mean. According to that magazine, you’ll be contracted for at least seven movies. SEVEN! More than any of the other characters. That’ll guarantee paparazzi, body guards, and constant unwanted attention. It’s not worth it. I’ve thought about this for a long time but never wanted to face it. We are too different and I’m tired of it. I want a divorce.”

James’ face looked like I’d slapped him. Having the words out there crushed me, too. I didn’t want a divorce but what choice did I have? I wouldn’t go through that again. And he didn’t care what I wanted.

Shaking his head, he said, “You don’t mean that, Lex. You’re not thinking straight.”

Tears streamed down my face as my heart raced. I hated him. I wanted him gone. “I do mean it, you asshole!” I pushed him, but he held me back. “I do! Get the hell out of our lives. You don’t care about us.”

“Lexie…stop it! I won’t take the part, if it means that much to you. I promise.”

Stunned, I whispered, “What?”

“I won’t take it, sweetheart.”

And just like that all my anger fled, melting me into a puddle of goo. He kissed me with a passion that’d gone out of our lives for so many years.

Oh, God! I’d missed him so much. I didn’t realize how far apart we’d drifted. At that moment, I didn’t care about our problems or the consequences of me killing his dream.

A moment ago, I’d prepared myself to leave him, but now…more than anything, I just wanted us.

*****

Ginny

When my bff, Destiny Hoff, told me Liam Sanderson-Day was free from the claws of biotch-extreme Mala Murdock, I totally didn’t believe it. Until I found myself on top of him.

LMAO!

Who-da-thunk it? Not me!

And he was totally putting me in swoon-city afterwards. Even my butterflies had butterflies.

Then SHE crashed the party and cried “Lee Lee” and messed up my dream world. Gag. I was going to barf right in the pool. Who talks like that to their boyfriend anyway? But she had a body like that rich star, Sim Sardashian, and she didn’t even fake her boobs or that fat ass! Okay, so I totally coveted her big curves and huge tits. Is that a crime?

Liam seemed to like it.

But what he didn’t know was that Mala used her body to get what she wanted. All. The. Damn. Time. Seriously. I’d seen her flirt and show her big gazoongas even to our teachers!

And Destiny further told me that Mala had cheated on Liam with that douchebag, Oliver Treadstone. He’d gone through every cheerleader as well as the whole volleyball team. The guy was a real life manwhore.

Everyone KNEW Mala did it with him. And Liam took her back?

Sigh…He was SUCH a nice guy. Too nice. And nice guys always finished last. It wasn’t fair.

I’d sat on the sidelines long enough watching this train wreck because no doubt, she was going to hurt him. And although I didn’t like manipulation or playing games, I knew she was bad news. I was going to do this for his own good.

I got to our math class a bit early so I could talk with Mr. Walker.

“Of course, Ginny, you may sit in the front row.”

He motioned to the two seats near him. One belonged to Liam and the other, the THOT. I took “her” seat. Plan A worked like a charm. Thank you, bad eyesight, for helping me out.

Okay, so I lied a little and told Mr. Walker that my contacts were taking longer than we thought to come in, but I’d never lied before AND was an exceptional student. Why wouldn’t he believe me? Muahahhaaaa!

When Liam walked in, he beamed at me and said, “Hey, Ginny. What’s up?” He didn’t even ask what I was doing there.

And the look on the THOT’s face was…well…let’s just say “satisfying” didn’t cut it.

“That’s MY seat, Ginny.” Mala’s eyes bugged out along with her pinched face.

But before I could defend myself, Mr. Walker did it for me. “Ginny can’t see well today, Ms. Murdock. You may take her seat in the back.”

I grinned like I’d just won Olympic gold in the marathon. Marathon of LOVE! Bahahaaaa!

After we finished a quiz, Liam said, “So…I had fun the other day. Didn’t know you were so crazy strong. Do you work out or something?” He winked.

Was Liam FLIRTING with me? (Note to self: Write this in your journal with hearts and happy emojis. Don’t forget!)

“Naw…but I do a bit of rock climbing.”

He nodded. “That sounds fun. Where do you go?”

Shrugging, I thought of all the places I’d traveled to in the past year–Strangerville, Windenburg, Al Simhara, Sulani…my mom and dad were archeologists.

We were THAT close to moving to Selvadorado, but they wanted to settle down until I got out of high school. So, we took “working” vacations from time to time while they taught at the local Brindleton Bay college.

“I dunno,” I answered. “Around.”

I didn’t want to overwhelm the poor guy. Usually, when I told people who didn’t know me where I’ve gone, they think my family is stinking rich which is SOOOO not the case. Professors made jack squat. Instead of hotels, we’d camp out in mountains, or beaches, or jungles.

Off grid living. I liked it. I definitely wanted to follow in their footsteps. I’d hoped to get accepted into Sale University and become a puzzle chaser just like them.

A crazy idea formed in my head. Arching my eyebrow, I asked, “You want to go?”

dayandknight, drama, romance, romantic comedy, simlit, sims story, the sims

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Chapter 6.11

Liam

The Murdicks showing up was like someone popping a balloon. Everyone got uncomfortable, made excuses, and vanished.

That left me staring at my ex. I was so angry, I couldn’t say anything to her. What the fuck? Why was Mala here, ruining my party? It was a cool thing for Mom to do for me and I was having a blast. I wanted to scream for her to get out of my life for good but nothing came out.

So, she broke the silence. “I-I’m…um…sorry, Lee Lee. For everything.” Were there actual tears in her eyes? And what did that mean? Did she want us to go back being friends?

“Yeah, okay, you’re sorry.” That sounded dickish, but hell, I wasn’t in the forgiving mood. Especially since she ran off Ginny and the others.

“I mean it,” she continued, “I shouldn’t have gotten so mad at you. I know you have to help your mom out and I was being selfish. I truly am sorry. I hope you’ll forgive me?”

She rested her hand on my arm and I flinched. “So I’m just supposed to forgive you like you weren’t fucking inhaling Oliver Treadstone’s face yesterday?”

Her eyes shut. “I was just so mad. I went to the beach with some of my friends and a little part of me wanted to get back at you. I just…I don’t know…”

I was like a box of gunpowder thrown into a fire. I exploded. “So whenever you’re mad at me you’re just going to go fuck someone? That’s not how it works, Mala. Not ever!”

Tears rolled down her cheeks as she drew back. “No…I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

“You’re sorry? How do you think that made me feel, Mala? Because you were in your bedroom with him and who knows what you were going to do? I just…” God, I had to get control of myself.

She shook her head. “I wouldn’t sleep with him, Liam. Honest. I wasn’t even planning on it. I knew once I kissed him it was wrong and I was going to stop, but you…”

I drew away, looking at her hands. Those were my girl’s hands that loved to stroke my hair, my face, hold my hands at the movies….but…

How could I ever trust her again?

Slowly shaking my head, I said, “I can’t deal with this shit. It’s over. I can’t just worry that if we get into a fight you’re going to cheat on me. It’s not going to happen again because I won’t let it. I’m done.”

At that, she whimpered, putting her hands to her face. Watching her cry crushed me, but my mind willed me to be strong.

Turning away, I told my legs to keep going. Walk to your room, Liam, and never look back. She wasn’t worth it. She’d cheat again.

But her sobs pierced me. I knew I couldn’t leave her like that.

Did I really want to chuck everything away because she made one mistake? Wouldn’t I want her to give me another chance if it happened in reverse?

We’d made so many plans together. I wanted to marry her. Spend the rest of my life with her. My parents said I was too young to think like that but sometimes you know when a person is right for you. I didn’t want to be with anyone else.

So, I turned back, wrapped my arms around her and whispered, “Shh…it’s okay, baby. Don’t cry. I forgive you.”

She bawled even harder, shaking in my arms. “You do, Lee Lee? Oh, God, I’m so happy.”

I spent the next fifteen minutes calming her down and wiping her tears.

******

James

After a delayed flight and a messed up uber call, I finally made it to Brindleton Bay.

Home.

There was nothing better. I’d missed my family so much. I hated being away from them.

Immediately, I was greeted by my sweet baby daughter and my son, Zack.

“Daddy?” Brandy looked up at me with those big green eyes. Got me right in the heart.

“Yes, baby girl. I’m home!”

She charged at me making me feel one hundred stories tall.

I whisked her up and kissed her cheek. “Have you been a good girl for Mommy?”

She nodded like her head was going to pop off. Then she said in her cute voice, “I missed you!”

“Aw…I missed you, too!”

Zack hopped over to me and said, “I thought you weren’t coming home for a week. Glad you’re here though.”

He jumped into my arms and squeezed.

I answered, “I wanted to come home a little early as a surprise.”

Next, my stomach gave a little jolt. Liam’s face accused me of doing something wrong. I knew I’d been away a little longer this time because of the movie offer and there was some negotiations going on with my agent. I couldn’t give them a definite yes until I talked it over with Lex. But deep down in my gut, I knew her answer, although I thought she’d love it since I’d be playing her very favorite Vindicator character, Robotron. According to Liam, I’d messed up. Badly.

I gave a slight smile. “Hey, son. How are you? Got a hug for your old man?”

He grabbed me and patted my back. He was such a good kid. I couldn’t be prouder of him. “Thanks for taking care of your mom while I was away.”

He said, “Yeah, sure. Anytime.”

When I caught Lexie’s eyes, she looked down. She was upset with me. I knew it. But I didn’t know how to fix it. It seemed as if we were two ships driving hard but toward two totally different shorelines. It’d been that way for a very long time. I always swept it under the rug, not wanting to deal with our issues, and she did the same thing, but it looked as if we couldn’t do that anymore.

Liam’s face fell. “I-I’ll…uh…get Brandy to bed. Okay?”

He snapped at Zack to follow him. Zack whined until he looked at both of us then he raced up ahead of Liam. I waited until the kids were safely upstairs. I didn’t want them to hear us fighting.

Locking my eyes onto hers, I said, “Hello, babydoll.”

I braced myself for what she was going to say.

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Chapter 6.10

Liam

I was miserable. It was like someone kept punching me in the gut and there wasn’t any way to stop them. I kept seeing Mala kissing that asshole over and over in my mind and then my eyes would water and…shit. I couldn’t take this. I needed to get some time to myself. Usually on Sundays, I’d spend it with my siblings, playing with them, watching a movie or going to the dog park with our little puppy, Dolly. But I didn’t feel like doing anything. So I slept in until noon, ate a little, played on my keyboard and now, I got on my trunks, wanting to lounge at our pool in the backyard. By myself.

“Hello, stranger,” Mom said, noticing I’d been hiding out in my room all day.

My siblings were playing quietly, but I got a pang like I should be helping. Dad still wasn’t home. Next flight, my ass.

“Going swimming?” she said in a weird, perky way. Mom sometimes over did things to compensate for what was going on wrong around her. If she felt like crap, she’d throw on an over the top, happy smile which did the opposite in making anyone feel better because we knew it was an act.

“I was thinking about hanging out back but if you need help, I can stick around. Does Brandy want to eat? I’ll whip something up for supper.” Mom hated to cook. Even mac and cheese.

She threw me a plastic, Barbie smile. “No, bud, I got this. I’m the mom. Remember? You go have fun. Stop worrying about me.”

But catching a few rays didn’t help the awful, heavy feeling in my chest. I tried to distract myself on simstagram, but then I scrolled to Mala’s to check up on her.

She didn’t post anything since I stood her up yesterday. That was something. And she didn’t wipe me from her pictures. I whipped through the whole two years of who we were as a couple. My eyes blurred. What the hell? Did she not see how perfect we were together? I’d do anything for her. Did anything for her. Would that douchebag, Oliver, run back to school to get the books she’d forgotten to bring home? No way. But I did. So many times, I was picking up the purses she’d left or her cell phone she’d abandoned on counters at a store, a restaurant, the mall. I’d make sure she got to her piano practice on time–even if we were hot and heavy in her room. I did it all. Just for her. And she didn’t care.

She hated my guts.

And now, she was probably at the lake with that sorry piece of shit…God! Why did I care so much?

I hated myself for not ditching my mom and taking Mala to the beach like I’d promised. If I had, everything would be normal. She’d probably be here right now nuzzling my neck while I held her smooth, awesome body in this pool.

God, I’m such a jerk.

“Aww…looky at our mascot,” I heard one of my friends, Drew Hoff, say above me. “So serious. This is not allowed. Not on a gorgeous clear day.”

I squinted and saw him, Kaden Vargas, and Kai Kaluah, looking at me. And they were dressed in their swim suits. How’d they get the message I was brooding in my backyard?

“You know, your face will stay that way if you’re not careful,” Kaden said, his sunglasses glinting at me.

“I think he needs a dip in the pool,” Kai challenged. “That float is mine.”

This perked me up. Nothing like my best friends to clear my head. “Come on, dude. What are you waiting for? I bet your ass is in the water before mine.”

“Seriously?” Kai laughed. “You’re on shaky ground, my friend.”

He kicked my float, shoving me backwards. “Oh noooo!” I yelled.

I splashed into the water. My friends jumped in with me.

“Take that, losers!” I hollered, splashing them as hard as I could. Drew got the brunt of my onslaught.

“Dude! Chill! I’m not the one who launched your ass in the water.” Drew held up his hand, but I kept pummeling him with sheets of water.

“Boys. They’re sooooo predictable,” a girl’s voice rang out above me.

I stopped splashing immediately and looked up to see six gorgeous girls all dressed in slinky swim suits. Had I died and gone to heaven?

Three of them were my friends’ girlfriends–the ones standing. Carlee Langosta was Kaden’s. Justine Hawk was with Drew, and Ally Michaels and Kai had just made it official last week. The other three (who were stooped by the edge of the pool) were their friends: Rosalin Owen, Ginny Malcom, and Destiny Hoff (Drew’s sister).

“Why didn’t my boyfriend tell me he was having fun at a party?” Drew’s girl, Justine complained. “I had to hear it from Ally. Her boyfriend was kind enough for the invite.”

Ally put her hand on her cheek in a coy way. “I’ve got the best one of the bunch, girls. I’m sure you’re sooooo jelly.”

“You’re right, Justine, Drew is an awful boyfriend,” Drew’s sister, Destiny, moaned, making a face. “Why don’t you dump him?”

Ignoring the sibling rivalry comment, I asked, “Party? What’s going on?”

Drew snorted. “Surprise! It was your mom’s idea.”

“Now stop wallowing, Liam, and start having fun. Okay?” Ginny shot me a look. It was like I saw her for the first time. Big blue eyes or were they green? Long, shiny auburn hair. Cute as hell freckles. Rocking body. Had she always been this pretty or had I been in a cave this whole time and didn’t notice?

I arched an eyebrow at her. “Oh…you haven’t seen wallowing yet. I’m the owner of the wootube channel, Heartbroken Anonymous. You should check it out.”

She giggled, showing that trademark gap in her front teeth. I’d seen her smile in math class like a gazillion times, but why did it look so cute right now?

“Listen,” Kai waved his hand up at Drew’s girl, Justine. “I don’t want to be the reason for another break up. Drew was going to tell you.”

“Honest, babe,” Drew said. “Come here and let me make it up to you.”

“There’s only one way you can do that,” Justine said. “Come here and rub my feet.”

“After you play a round of chicken,” Drew countered.

I laughed. They’d been a couple for over a year and it showed. Although Justine liked to think she was in charge, Drew always got his way.

So, I found myself with Ginny Malcom’s legs surrounding me as I flung her at Justine.

“That’s it, Liam!” Kai cheered. “Way to make the most of Ginny’s arms!”

“Time to give up, Hoff. Ginny’s a fighter.” I didn’t know it, but she actually was!

She clasped onto Justine’s hands like a boa constrictor. “Help me out a little here, Liam!”

“On it!” I swatted at Drew’s head as I charged forward.

“Not fair, dude!” Drew yelled, struggling with the weight of Justine on his shoulders. Dude was way stouter than I was but I had a tiger on my team. “Just stay back!”

“Might as well give up, Justine. You’re about to go down!” Ginny pushed Drew’s girl hard.

“Oh my GOOOOD!” Justine howled. I watched gleefully as they plunged backward into the water.

“Way to go partner!” I slapped Ginny’s hand.

“Woop! All right, Team Giam!” Kai hollered.

“Ooooh, sounds like a ship name to me,” Ally cried. “I’ll board.”

My stomach plunged at the thought. I was still smarting from Mala. No way in hell was I going to get into another relationship no matter how hot Ginny was.

Just then I realized Ginny’s arms were wrapped around me. “Good job pushing Justine,” I said as my cheeks burned. “Didn’t know you were such a bruiser. Remind me never to make you mad.”

“You weren’t so bad yourself. Hitting Drew on the head was a stellar move.” Her lips were so close, it made me uncomfortable. I pulled her arm away.

“Hey! What was that for?” she cried, splashing me with water.

“I don’t bite!”

“That’s what happens when you cheat!” Drew called out to us.

“They didn’t cheat, babe. Liam’s just stronger than you.”

She looked up at me with a sexy gaze. Holy shit. What was she doing to me right now? I totally didn’t need to get tangled up with another girl. My heart was already mincemeat. A bleeding, bloody mess.

But damn. I didn’t know if it was the sparkle in her gorgeous green eyes or the pink in her lips but I couldn’t stop looking at her. And there was a moment like the world had stopped and it was just me and Ginny.

Ginny Malcom.

A girl I’d never even glanced at in math. She was always the gangly, studious teacher’s pet I knew growing up. Not this sex goddess making my head feel like it was stuffed with pillows.

And then my world shattered with the voice of an asshole.

“Uh…YO! Liam?”

I turned around to see the Murdick boys staring at me.

Dusty crossed his arms. “The party has just arrived. Where’s the food?”

Shit.

Mala came, too. And she was wearing the bathing suit I’d picked out with her at the mall only two weeks ago.

“Can we talk, Lee Lee?”

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Chapter 6.9

Liam

As soon as we got home, I booked it to Mala’s. Sure she was mad at me but I’d bet all the money I saved for my jeep that she’d cooled down by now.

I scrolled through how I was going to approach her. Wished I’d brought flowers but maybe that was a bit cliche. Begging. Dropping down on my knees. Pleading. Those were the things Mala liked. Yeah. Done that more than once but she was worth it.

I peeked through the door and saw no sign of her. Maybe she was in her bedroom.

Her brother, Uriah, came to the door followed by Dusty. Still hated their guts but they’d been decent to me lately. They left me mostly alone.

Surprise, surprise, Uriah stuck his hand out. “If it’s not the kid of the next Sarvel superstar. Let me shake your hand.”

Was there some snark behind that compliment? Uriah always gave me shit. “Cut the comedy, Uriah. Is Mala home?”

“No, I’m serious, dude. That’s like totally mind blowing your dad got a sweet gig like that.”

“So true,” Dusty said. This was the first time the guy did something other than smirk at me when I came over. “And to think we might become relatives if you and Mala get hitched.”

Hitched? I’d have to crawl out of the doghouse first. “Speaking of Mala, where is she?” I asked.

Uriah shrugged. “Dunno. Guess she’s in her room. Dusty and I just got home from working out. We haven’t seen her. But hey, come over any time, dude. Let’s hang out, okay?”

I did a double take. Uriah Murdick was asking ME, the biggest geeky loser, to hang out? (I think those were the terms he used for me the last time I’d visited.) He must have had a fever. Or caught the Flamer sickness. My Dad’s fame was already getting annoying and he hadn’t even accepted the job yet.

Uriah patted my back then took off for the kitchen. They guy could eat the contents of the whole refrigerator and then complain he was still hungry.

The door was open, so I peered in and…

I was blasted with the scene of my FUCKING girlfriend making out with Oliver Treadstone–a super popular dude from our high school.

“What the FUCKING HELL IS THIS?” I shouted.

They pulled apart like the guilty assholes they were.

“Oh, God, Liam. Why didn’t you knock? You know that’s rude.”

“How could you?” was all that came out of my mouth. My body was literally shaking and I felt like puking.

She looked away. “Y-You…made your choice. So…I’ve made mine.”

“Yeah, so get out of here, loser.”

“You couldn’t wait a few hours so we could talk?” I shook my head. Oliver was right. I was the most worthless loser on the planet. She just treated me like a piece of garbage.

Things didn’t get better when I got home. I wanted to scream, cry, punch things, tear my hair out, but instead, I got another face full of someone cheating. I was so sick of this shit! Didn’t anyone have any integrity anymore? I mean, come on!

Well, maybe cheating was a harsh word for what Mom was doing with Mr. Clavane. They were just talking and watching a movie.

But Mom hadn’t looked this happy in months.

I wanted to kick the guy’s ass right there but it wasn’t my place.

I could read his sneaky, wormy mind though. Since Dad was gone (and HE was in the doghouse like I was with Mala), this idiot thought he could sweep Mom off her feet.

But not on my watch. I had to do something about it. I certainly didn’t want my parents to split. And having Mom cheat? No fucking way.

I got up to my room, trying to figure out what to do. I mean, I didn’t think Mom would cheat but if things kept going like this, who knew what might happen? Mom was lonely and she was so miserable about what Dad was doing maybe half the world wouldn’t blame her.

There was only one thing I could do. Call Dad.

“Hey, Bud! How’s it going? This is a great surprise,” Dad’s cheery voice rang in my ear. “What’s up?”

“Nothing good. Do you know who’s sitting in the living room with Mom, watching a movie?”

“Hmm…her dad made a surprise visit?”

“Does Cory FUCKING Clevane ring a bell to you?”

I didn’t hear anything and then he said, weakly, “Her ex-boyfriend?”

“Yeah, so if you don’t want a trip to divorce court, I expect you to get your ass home. Pronto.”

“I know your mother. She’s just good friends with him. Always has been. You’re worrying over nothing, son.”

“Oh yeah? Want to bet? Because it wasn’t your shoulder she was crying on last night. She’s miserable, Dad. You should have seen her. And if you pulled your head out of your ass now and then and paid attention to your family, you’d know this. So, I’m giving you a warning and if you don’t want to listen then you’re a bigger asshole than the one who’s occupying your space on the couch next to Mom.”

I heard a scratchy sound like a moan. “She’s that upset, huh? No wonder she wouldn’t pick up when I called today.”

“Yeah. She’s hot. Like smoldering mad. I’d wear a teflon suit when you do come home. And a shield might help as well.”

“I hear you loud and clear, son. I’ll catch the next flight out.”

When I got off the phone, my misery overwhelmed me. My girlfriend cheated on me. My mom’s making goo goo eyes at her old high school boyfriend. And I had to threaten my dad to come home or lose his wife.

My life sucked.

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