Her Dad's Friend(3)

By: Penny Wylder


I lean my head back in the chair and look up at the ceiling, trying to calm my roiling stomach. “Thanks for that visual. I just puked in my mouth.”

After manicures, we grab hangover smoothies and Emily is back on her phone. I’m like the Hulk when I feel like shit and right now I’m fighting the urge to rip that phone out of her hand. I’m getting so sick of the clicking sound as she speed-types. Seriously, hasn’t she heard of Swype? I don’t know why she even bothers taking me out if she’s just going to ignore me.

She says she wants to go out to lunch too, but at this point I’m fed up and don’t even want to go. Plus, my stomach is still a witch’s cauldron about to spew forth some black hell if I’m not careful.

How is it that every time I drink heavily and feel like shit the next day, I’m always ready to do it all over again by the time the next weekend rolls around? It’s starting to feel like I signed up for college just to not learn lessons.

“Look, Em, I’m tired,” I say, trying to tamp down the inner dragon lady I feel starting to rage up inside of me. “Maybe we can go to lunch some other time.”

“Are you sure?” She sounds somewhat relieved, which only pisses me off more.

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Can I drop you off at your parent’s house? Your apartment is out of the way and there’s kind of this guy—”

“Fine, I don’t care.”

There’s always “this guy” with Emily.

We head toward my parents’ house. It’s more of a mansion than a house, really. Eight bedrooms, five baths, a pool house. When I tell my friends where I grew up, they automatically think I’m some trust fund baby. A latchkey kid with a bottomless platinum card. But that’s not how it is. Yes, my parents are wealthy, but I don’t get anything from them. Hell, I don’t even own a car because I can’t afford the insurance and gas bill. My dad had to work for everything he has and he expects me to do the same. He thinks I’ll appreciate things more, and so far he’s been right. Everything I own I’ve had to bust my ass to get. I’ve scrimped and saved, and worked my fingers to the bone. Even if I wanted something from him, he’d never give it freely.

We go through the open gate, up the long driveway. There are clusters of cars parked off to the side. Emily parks in front.

“Who are all these people?” Emily asks. Instead of just dropping me off, she gets out of her Saab and follows me as I make my way to the front door.

“I don’t know. Maybe my mom’s having some kind of brunch for her friends.”

That must be why she was too busy to call me on my birthday, I think bitterly.

As we approach the front door, I hear music playing, but it’s not coming from inside, it’s coming from around back by the pool. My parent’s never use the pool. They spent a fortune on the damn thing, but they aren’t exactly outdoors people. It’s an Olympic sized lagoon style pool made out of rock—or something that’s make to look like rock. There’s a waterfall, natural slide, and a large cave for those who want to lounge around in the water without getting a sunburn, or if they just want a little privacy.

We head to the side of the house and go through the gate. When we get to the pool area, there’s a large gathering of people holding champagne glasses and looking in our direction. The barbeque is going, the smell of cooking meat and garlic salt wage war with my stomach. It gurgles and I can’t tell if I’m just really hungry or getting ready to projectile vomit.

I see my mom and dad in the crowd and I stop. Takes me a second to gather all the faces in my sleepy brain and realize I recognize most of them. There are friends from my old high school, and friends from college. Some of the guys here I recognize from the frat party last night.

“Surprise!” They all yell in unison, and my headache hates them for it.

“How pissed at me are you right now?” Emily says, smirking and shaking her phone. This whole time she’s been in cahoots with my parents, planning this thing, and I’m genuinely surprised. Especially when I see Paul standing among my friends and family.





Chapter 2




Paul is here.

Paul, the king of my wet dreams. The man I want so badly it hurts both physically and mentally when I think I might not ever be able to have him. The guy who didn’t return my text.

Shit.

Believe me, I’ve been ghosted a time or three, but never by someone I cared to see the next day. And not by someone who also just happens to be my dad’s best friend, someone I will eventually have to face in person. I just didn’t think I’d have to face him so soon after such an embarrassing text. I know my face is fifty shades of red right now and I want to jump in the pool to cool it off. I mean, what do you say to someone after a text like that?

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