Chapter 1

"Oh hell. Dad's gonna kick my ass if I'm late again!" I'd completely lost track of time, hanging out on the bleachers with Sam after track.

"I'd love it if your dad punished me. God he's so hot." Sam's kinda in lust with my dad. Gross.

"Sam that's sick. Ugh. He's like 40! And, in case that's not enough, he's my fucking dad. I think there's a rule against flirting with your best friend's dad."

"Uhh, Charlie, my dad is 48, bald, 50 pounds over-weight, with glasses that look like they're made from coke bottles. If you wanna flirt with him, go right ahead." I rolled my eyes. She plays that card a lot. Seeing my eye roll, she continued with her rant as we walked back toward the locker rooms. "Unlike my very sweet but very unattractive father, your father is barely 40, still has perfect abs and perfect white teeth and blonde hair that I would pretty much kill for myself if I could even find someone that could artificially produce the same hue. Your dad could be a model for fuck's sake. And I for one would just like to lick him a little." She smirked.

"I swear to God Sam I will vomit all over you if you ever say that again. Gross." I took off running to get away from her, not that we had far to get to the locker room. I grabbed my stuff quickly and ran off to my car.

Just joking. Don't be mad. Sam's text didn't make my irritation lessen in anyway, but I told her I wasn't mad anyway. I parked in front of the house and grabbed my stuff from the back seat.

"Helloooo? I'm home!" I called out as soon as I opened the door.

"Charlotte!" Fuck. He's pissed.

"Umm… yeah, daddy?" Sweet little girl voice never hurts.

"Nice try." He appeared from the kitchen, shaking his head in disapproval. "Go get ready please."

"Dad? You okay?"

"Fine. Just tired."

My dad sleeps less than three hours a night. Sure, he goes to bed at a relatively decent hour, but he doesn't sleep. The few hours of sleep he does manage, I think, are just his body shutting down from exhaustion. He runs himself ragged, just trying to… I don't know, not remember I guess.

My mom died when I was a baby. And I mean, like a baby baby. They had this crazy relationship that shouldn't have worked but it did, and then she died of heart failure before her 22nd birthday. That was 17 years ago. Dad hasn't gotten any better.

"Daddy? Can't we just skip this thing?"

"Charlie, please don't start today. Please? Besides, it's here. Where exactly would you like us to go?"

"Let's go to the lake house!" I smiled, thinking of my grandparents' house at the lake. I looked at Dad and my smile faded. Something's very off about him today. "I'm just joking Daddy. I'll go get ready and come back with a smile and be your perfect daughter as always. Okay?" I flashed him the smile that, according to him, is the same one my mom used to get her way. He normally melted at it, but today… not so much.

"Okay. Thanks." He started walking in an almost zombie-like trance. I just stared at him in confusion, then he stopped and looked at me. "Your mom's smile is hardly going to save you from this party tonight Charlie." He suddenly had a strange smile on his face that confused me, then it hit me. I groaned.

"Dad! You suck! He's such a fu… freaking prick." I barely caught myself, not that he ever says anything. Ugh. Freaking Tommy Bryant, the bane of my existence for most of my life.

"Get your cursing out of your system before your grandma gets here please." Then he went into his office and closed the door. I swear I heard him chuckle as he closed it. Asshole. Okay, so he's not an asshole. As far as parents go, he's pretty much the best one that ever existed. But this shit with Tommy. Fuuuuck.

I stayed in my room as long as I possibly could, but I was forced to come downstairs when the guests started showing up. These fucking parties are so lame and un-fun. Just a bunch of boring people and their families, talking about the same shit they talk about at work. Half the women (at least!) try to hit on my dad. Half the men (gross!!) flirt with me. Apparently, they used to do the same thing to my mom, but at least she was of legal age then! Ugh. I'm a fucking minor for fu--

"Charlotte, come here please." Grandma. Fuck. I painted the smile on my face and went to see what she wanted. She introduced me to some people that I'd met no less than 20 times, and they said the same things everyone always says.

"Oh Charlotte, you look so much like your mother." I hear that a lot. I don't need to be told that. In fact, I'd rather never hear it again. I mean, I do look just like her. Our pictures look identical almost, except I have my dad's eyes. But looking so much like her makes my dad hurt. Sometimes I think it's hard for him to look at me at all. But I just keep the smiles on my face.

"Thank you very much."

"Charlie…" Ugh. I turned toward the voice, and Tommy Bryant was inches from me. At least he saved me from the boring 'adult' conversation that was going on with my grandmother and the repeat-meeters.

I walked away, holding the smile on my face, pretending to be listening to Tommy chattering away. We walked into the back yard, and as soon as the door was closed I jerked away from the hand he'd so conveniently placed on the small of my back.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I snapped. Idiot.

"You're such a bitch."


"And… ugh, whatever. Drew w—"

"I don't care about Andrew. I don't care why you're wasting my time with whatever dribble you have to repeat from Andrew. I don't care why you're even talking to me. Just go away." I walked toward the row of pool chairs and sat down, staring blankly at the pool. Tommy sat next to me and it annoyed me, despite his lack of babble at that time. I glared at him.

"What?" Truth be told, Thomas Bryant is hot. Very hot. He's the guy at every school—the hot jock that everyone adores even though he acts like a jerk. Yeah, that's him. Except, he's pretty charming to most people. And he's realllly smart. Apparently, he's a lot like my dad was. Although, it's still hard for me to think of my dad of ever being a playboy. He's basically a monk now, I think.

I took a deep breath before speaking. "Drew asked you to speak to me or something?"

"Yeah. He knew I'd see you here tonight. I told him it wouldn't matter, but at least I tried." He shrugged.

Andrew, my ex-boyfriend, is the other one of those guys. Yeah, Woodbridge Academy has two of 'those guys' and one of them is ruining my mom's pool, and the other is my ex-boyfriend who cheated on me (no big shock there) with the cheerleading squad. I'm not exaggerating. There was a video posted on YouTube. The entire squad. Some kinda initiation or something.

"Well look, I don't mean to be rude—"

"Since when?" His smirk infuriated me. Asshole.

"You're a fucking prick. I pretty much hate you. You hate me. We're not friends. And sure, I normally don't mind treating you like shit, but not here. If you just want to fight with me, then we need to go back inside. I won't argue with you here." He gave me a strange look and I rolled my eyes.

"Andrew's an idiot."

"Yep. He must be. He's your best friend."

"Yeah and he dated you for what, like forever? With no sex? What a waste of time. You're not even that hot." He smirked and leaned back in the chair. His presence in my mother's haven irritated me.

"Will you come inside please?" It made my skin crawl to be nice to him. He quirked an eyebrow at me, then he smirked again.

"You seem to have a real problem with me being out here. Don't like sharing the pool? What are you embarrassed? Or maybe you're just trying to act like you hate me, when really being out here makes you want to fuck me."

"You caught me. Busted." I rolled my eyes.

"Come inside and dance with me."

"No." I was staring into the pool, barely comprehending the words spewing from his ridiculously perfect mouth.

"Why are you such a fucking bitch?!" His voice were suddenly loud and it surprised me.

"I didn't sleep with Andrew. And I pretty much hate you. I'm not ever going to sleep with you. Why do you want to dance with me? It's not going to help you get laid."

"I don't need help getting laid." Simple response, and not at all false.

"Then what do you want from me?"

"I want you to dance with me. This party is lame and the only other person here our age is Macy Korson, and I'd like to avoid her."

Tired of the discussion, I gave up and went to dance with Tommy. It was a short dance, and my dad saved me (sorta) by taking me to introduce me to some other people that, again, I'd already met. As soon as I could get away, I snuck up the stairs to hide in my room for a while. I got my phone and started texting Sam.

This party is lame.

Anyone there worth drooling on?

Your favorite footballer is here.

Tommy? soooooo hottttt



That's what he said

he's a dick but he's fucking hot

There are more important things

says the girl that dumped the other hottest guy in school

he cheated on me!

Andrew was an idiot

He said that too


Your boyfriend


You're an idiot. I gotta go.

"Charlie?" Fuck.

"Yeah? Come in." I yelled through the door. Not that I want Tommy Bryant in my room at all.

Why are you going?

Tommy Bryant is in my bedroom and my only parent is distracted. Bye. I smirked to myself, imagining her reaction to that.

OMG you fucking whore! Tell me how good he is. I giggled and rolled my eyes.

"Umm… Charlie? What the fuck are you doing?"

"Not that it's any of your business, but I'm texting my best friend."

"What the hell? This is gross. You're a girl for fuck's sake." He was looking through my bag of gym stuff that I hadn't washed yet.

"Sorry." I wasn't being a smartass, it was a genuine apology. Then I wondered why I was apologizing to him anyway. I didn't say anything else. He plopped down on the floor, leaning against the bed.

"Your dad has a pretty sweet life. Have you seen all those hot women throwing themselves at him?" What an odd thing to say.

"You know we're not friends, right?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You're talking. Like… just talking."

"That was deep. Idiot." He rolled his eyes and I kicked him lightly. He grabbed my ankle and pulled my shoe off. I thought he was going to tickle me, and I felt my guts tighten as I prepared myself for the torture. But it didn't come. He just pulled my shoe off and rubbed my foot. What. A. Freak.

You better be fucking his brains out right now. That'd really piss off Andrew.

"Geezus Christ." I muttered when I read Sam's text. Then I laughed.

"What?" I'd almost forgotten Tommy was there. He was massaging my foot silently and it really felt great. But it also freaked me out when I thought about it. Feet are gross.

"Sam's an idiot." I didn't want to go into it any more, but it didn't matter what I wanted— he grabbed the phone from my hand and read the text. He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion, then he relaxed his forehead and smirked.

"She's right. It would torture the hell out of him." The smirk never left his face.

"I don't care about annoying him. He doesn't matter that much to me." That was 100% true. It didn't bother me at all to dump Andrew. the only thing I missed about Andrew was him carrying my bags when I shopped in the mall.

"You have crazy tiny feet. I wouldn't have though a track star would have such tiny feet."

"I'm not sure how to respond to that."

"Not everything requires a response."

We sat in silence for a while after that. Sam didn't text me anymore. Tommy grabbed my other foot and massaged it. I just stared down at his hands, not really even thinking.

Our silence was interrupted when my dad knocked on the door and opened it. He looked at Tommy on the floor with my foot in his hand, and then he looked at me holding my cell phone. He was obviously confused.

"Yeah Dad?"

"Umm… yeah, your grandparents are about to head out."

"Okay, I'll be right down." I smiled at him, but he still looked confused. I quirked an eyebrow at him but he just shook his head and left.

"Your dad's…" Tommy put my shoes back on for me and stood up.

"Yeah he has moments of weird, but mostly he's the perfect parent."

I walked out and Tommy followed. Then we separated into the party and I didn't see him again. What a freak.