Monday morning I woke up feeling like shit. Or maybe I should say poop. Luke told me that I should start watching what I say not only around Anna but also so that I won't be a bad influence on my own kid. Anyway, earlier that week, Blake and I went to the local high school to figure out how I would get my diploma, and the only solution was if I actually went to the school for the month, therefore causing me to have to change my work hours at Dicks to after school and the weekends. Which sucks ass… butt.

So this Monday morning would be my first day going to this new school.

Luke barged into my room with Anna, asleep in his arms. I assume he was going to sit down on my bed, but when he saw that I was awake he stopped and looked down at me.

"I'm about to give Anna a bath. Breakfast is already cooked, but don't eat anything that you're going to throw up later." He smirked a little, "I'm leaving the house at 7:30, so be ready."

And then he left the room.

I stretched and rubbed my eyes, delaying the initial awakening. I was too damned… darned tired to get up this early, it was 6:00 in the morning! It didn't take me an hour and a half to get ready to go since I'd taken a shower the night before so after eating the muffins that Luke cooked, throwing them up, and then stuffing down some ice cream instead, I waited for him in the front room with my bag all ready to go.

In a whir, Luke came in and set Anna down in the seat next to mine, walked away, then came back with her backpack, placing it beside her. Then he opened up one of the cabinets and patted around muttering something about his wallet and his phone.

Anna smiled up at me.

"Are you my new mommy?"

I looked down at her, surprised, "No."

She frowned, "Jolie, at school says that mommies live at your house with your daddy."

"Mommies and daddies are married, Anna, I'm not married to your daddy."

Just then Luke rushed back in and placed a baggie with a muffin in it for Anna in her lap along with a sippy cup. Anna took them and put them in her bag as Luke walked off again. He was really uptight in the morning,

"Do you like my daddy?" Anna presses, zipping up her backpack.

I sent her a tight lipped grin, "Sure."

Anna yawned, satisfied and laid her head on my lap. She was so small. Within the minute, she fell asleep. Eventually, Luke stopped in the front room with his keys in hand. He looked down at Anna and smiled shortly. Then he looked up at me.


"We were waiting for you."

With my bag on my shoulder, I picked up Anna and we walked out to the car. I fastened her up in her toddler seat and I took my place in the passenger seat.

He looked back at a sleeping Anna before pulling out of the parking spot.

"She likes you."

I smiled… surprisingly, I'd never really cared.

"You think?"

He smiled at me, his green eyes bore into mine for a quick moment, "Yeah. She talks to you, and she lets you put her to bed. She even lets you hold her dolls." He laughed, "She says I hold her dolls wrong."

I laughed too, "Yeah, doll holding is an art very few have mastered."

A couple minutes later, Luke stopped the car and took Anna in. Then we were off to his old high school. He told me which teachers to watch out for and he also bought me some lunch from a restaurant on the way because apparently, the cafeteria food sucked. Although he was technically 3 years older than I was, he was only 2 years ahead of my class. So he was a senior when I was a sophomore. He told me that he vaguely remembered some of the current seniors… and I think he muttered something about someone named Tiffany being a 'feisty one,' whatever that meant.

I was surprised when we walked into the school only to hear whispers along the lines of, 'Luke's back!', 'Wow he is so hot,' 'Is that his girlfriend?' Just a few seconds of being in that school told me that Luke must have been at the top of the food chain when he went here.

I was by his side as we marched up to the front desk with swarms of curious students looking at Luke, then at me, then back to Luke.

"You didn't tell me you were popular." I hissed.

"Didn't think it was that big of a deal," he smirked, "But you can thank me later when you actually get friends." I rolled my eyes as he leaned on the receptionist desk and smiled, "Hi Ms. Jones, this is Riley, my friend and she's needs her schedule."

She smiled— almost dreamily— at him and pulled out a folder. "Hi Lucas!" He nodded in acknowledgement, then she smiled at me, "Hi, we've been expecting you. Here is your schedule and a map of the school campus. Elliot Masters volunteered to show you around so he should be here in," she checked the silver watch on her chubby arm, "a minute or so."

I took the folder, "Thanks."

Then a boy maybe two inches taller than me with raven hair and brown eyes walked in and smiled at the chubby receptionist. Then he turned his chocolate eyes to me.

"Hello there." His voice rumbled, "Riley, I presume."


Luke was glaring bullets at this guy as Elliot got into a conversation with the receptionist about where to take me. I subtly stepped on his foot and whispered.

"Don't glare."

He whispered back, "Then don't flirt."

"I'm not." I said a little too loudly.

"You so are."

By now the receptionist, Elliot, and a handful of bystanders were looking at Luke and me.

"No, I wasn't."

"Don't lie."

"You can't call me a liar— you're in denial!"


"I think you're in denial." I smirked.

"What are you even talking about, I'm not in—"

"Ah…" I interrupted him, "You just denied it."

"Well I'm not in—"

I laughed lightly, "There you go, denying it again."

"That's not fair!" Luke ran his hand through his brown hair, smiling at me.

I pushed him lightly on the shoulder, "Go to work, I've got it from here."

He blinked for a second, coming back to this world and nodded, backing up. "Yeah, Okay. Be careful." He looked at me softly. I think he was telling me that I should try not to work myself too hard. For the baby.

I smiled at Elliot who was giving me some look I didn't recognize. His expression changed when I walked up to him though.

"Hey, so what's your first class?" Elliot asked, looking over my shoulder at my schedule.

"AP Chemistry."

He nodded, "Okay, so I'll take you there. I have a free period now so I'll be back to pick you up and we'll walk to your next class together."

"Sounds like a plan."

He scratched his nose, "So, how do you know Luke?"

"Um." I needed to come up with a non suspicious answer other than, 'Oh I'm living with him!' So instead I said, "He's really good friends with my brother."

"Who's your brother?" Elliot turned his curious eyes to mine.

"Blake Hamilton."

Elliot's eyes widened and he gasped, "You're a Hamilton? You're already halfway wedged into the popular group with all of your connections. Blake and Luke were like kings here. But I was pretty sure that Blake's little sister is that rebel chick who ran away from home."

I snorted at the title, 'rebel chick.' Is that what people thought of me now? I had to come up with a lie quick, because if Elliot was by any means smart he'd realize that the 'rebel chick' and I had the same names allowing him to collect the dots.

"Well no, I'm not a Hamilton technically." Lie. Lie. Lie. "I'm a close cousin who lived with them. My last name is Marlo, and my first name runs in the family."

Elliot nodded, "Yeah, you look kind of like your cousin on T.V. only she has the dirty blonde hair and blue eyes…" He looked me up and down, "I swear she didn't wear glasses either."


We stopped in front of a classroom, Chemistry, I presumed, with students walking inside.

"Well, it sucks about your cousin being missing."

I sniffed dramatically, "I know, but she's strong." I rubbed my nose, "I think she'll make it… somehow."

Elliot awkwardly patted me on my back

"Well here's your class, I'll be back to pick you up for your next class."

I looked up at him gratefully (not acting), "Thanks Elliot." I smiled and walked into the class. If starting in a new school with only one month left wasn't hard, I had to work to keep up the charades and to keep my baby healthy.

I'd grown used to the idea of having a kid. I mean, Luke has a girl, who he obviously loves. If he could do it… I could too.

I reached over and tapped Daniel on the shoulder again. This guy was fun to antagonize. He was smart, but I wouldn't peg him as a nerd, I mean, he wasn't a nerd. Daniel had the bad boy thing going for him… and he hated the way I called him Daniel instead of Danny, but it sure was entertaining. He had brownish red hair with black died in and snake bites, so most people would probably find him intimidating. But he was indeed smart, proven by the way his book was closed, yet he answered all of the questions the teacher asked him correctly.

When Daniel didn't answer to my first shoulder tap I tried again, only harder.

"What do you want now? Do you need me to tie your shoes for you?"

I stifled a laugh, "No, Daniel, you're so smart to you think you could explain this trig problem for me again?"

Daniel groaned

"If cosign a plus cosign b equals cosign b plus cosign a then the field axiom is straight up commutative, associative, and it proves identity! It's straight forward. If you don't understand this then you have no way of getting your diploma by the end of the month! I mean, any monkey understands this! You're too stupid!" Daniel, my new trigonometry buddy practically yelled at me, almost breaking his pencil.

"So I take it you're any monkey in this equation."

He looked up at me, fire obviously blazing in his grey eyes, "Okay. I'm done here." He turned back around in his seat.

Okay, I wasn't going to lie, I already knew what he was talking about. I'd always been a whiz in math and science. Frankly, however, it was fun getting this kid worked up. He got pissed off at everything.

The bell rang, so I stood up and walked to the front of the room.

Daniel bumped purposely into me as he walked past. What a douche.

Lunch was next and Elliot should've been there in the hallway. However some other guy, a much hotter guy (something I felt I should point out) stepped out from his position, leaning on the opposite wall.

He smirked at me and held out a hand, "Carter."

I shook his hand, "Riley."

He took my bag from my shoulder and hauled it over his own. "Elliot had to go to a student council meeting, so I'm taking his place. "

"Fine with me."

"So you're Blake Hamilton's sister?"

I nodded, "Cousin, technically, but he's like a brother to me." I said, sticking to the story.

"And you're living with Luke?"

"Yeah," I cocked an eyebrow up at Carter, "You haven't been stalking me, have you?"

He laughed, "No, you're just the talk of the school right now."

I shrugged, "It's no surprise that the weird girl who decides to enroll during the last month of her senior year would be on topic for a little while."

Carter opened the cafeteria door and led me to the lunch line then inside to a long table in the middle, all eyes were on me, not only from the people sitting at the table, but also everyone else.

"Hey guys, this is Riley," Carter was more talking to the whole cafeteria rather than just the table, his voice was loud enough.

I grinned a little and sat down next to him with my food. I was so hungry. Luke told me, that to keep people in the unknown about my baby, I should try to eat regular. So I just got a piece of pizza and I would pray later that it would agree with me and stay in my stomach.

People around me introduced themselves; I'd always had good memory, so I could probably point out each person and their name. But there was this one group of girls in the middle who all had straight blonde hair who I couldn't really tell apart. They all had salads in front of them too. It was probably the cheerleading squad here.

The immediately ambushed me with questions. Was Blake single? Was Luke doing fine since the accident? (something I need to remember to ask him about) Was I Luke's new girlfriend? What happened to my runaway cousin? Did Blake know where his sister was?

The questions went on and on.

"Hi I'm Tiffany." The girl in front of me said, interrupting the interrogation. I think she was Indian; she had long straight, dark brown hair, dark pretty skin, and sharp features.

"Hey." I smiled at the fact she had a huge (and quite delicious looking) burger in front of her.

"Sorry about them, they don't know what boundaries are." She said loudly, retrieving a couple stares from the blondes.

I smiled at them, making one of them roll her eyes and look away with the rest.

"Thanks—no offense if they're your friends or something, but they're annoying," I told her.

Tiffany scoffed, "Not my friends." She then smiled, "So what school did you come from?"

"Same as my cousin's, they sent me out here to find her since I know her best."

She nodded, taking that answer. "I guess that makes sense."

Carter, who I completely forgot was sitting by me, shook his hair and wrapped his arm around my waist, pinning me to his side, I pulled away causing him to smirk. Carter was the touchy feely kind of guy. Just like Sean.

"So Riley, you're the replacement for Beth?"

I'd never heard of her, "Beth?"

"Yeah," I glanced at Tiffany whose eyes were down on the table, studying it as if it were the most interesting thing in the world. Carter continued, "Beth and Luke had the cutest thing going on. She was the school nerd, quiet and shy, and Luke, being prince charming swept her off her feet."

Tiffany leaned on the table and smiled softly at me, "She was in eighth grade and he was in tenth when they got together. In the middle of her sophomore year, she got pregnant. So Luke worked double jobs for her during his senior year, barely making it through. After the kid was born, they moved in together." Tiffany sighed, "Everything would've worked out except when Beth moved in with Luke, her dad was pissed off. Come to find out, he had been abusing her. One night, when Luke was away at work, Beth's dad took a visit, raped her, and beat her up pretty badly." Tiffany was biting her lip now, to keep from crying.

Then I realized how lucky I was. Sean hadn't been strong enough to beat me up, he could only pin me down until my body responded. Beth had been helpless.

Carter picked up the story, "Beth got a concussion and was bruised up really bad. When Luke got home, he rushed her to the hospital but they couldn't do much for her."

I gasped, "She died?"

"No, but she was diagnosed with this mental disease thing. Now, under stress, she hyperventilates and freaks at any contact. That's why she's not around anymore. Taking care of Anna was too stressful for her to bear. She's still in contact with Luke and her close friends though. When she's calm, she's just fine."

Tiffany nodded, "Yeah, Luke calls her for advice about Anna all the time."

Wow. I hadn't realized that Luke had been through so much, or more importantly Beth. Poor Anna would never really know her mom. I knew what it felt like to have no mom. I'd never seen Natalie as a mother figure. Just a rat in high heels.

"How do you guys know all of this?"

Tiffany twisted a long lock of her hair. "Beth is my best friend."

I nodded. I expected that. "How is she?"

Tiffany shrugged, "She's fine. I should take you to meet her."

"Um, no." I said bluntly than rephrased when Tiffany frowned, "She doesn't know me, and how would she take me living with Luke?"

"You're related to Blake. We were all close friends, Blake, Luke, Beth and I. She wouldn't mind meeting you."

My stomach growled I hadn't started to eat yet, so I took a big bite out of my pizza.

"This morning, at the house, Luke's girl, Anna, asked me if I was her mom." Tiffany's eyes darkened, "I'm not taking the place of Beth, but I don't want her to think that I am."

The bell rang for the next class so I stuffed my food quickly. Who cared if eating was unattractive these days?

Elliot appeared again behind Carter to take me to my next class, and with one final glance at Tiffany, I took Elliot's arm and he escorted me away.

My next class was a World History class, translation for boring. Back home this was this was the class where I caught up on my sleep.

I had been feeling extremely nauseous since I entered the room. I knew it was a mistake eating that pizza; this was exactly what Luke warned me not to do this morning.

I raised my hand, "Can I go to the ladies room?"

The teacher paused and looked at me, frowning, "No, you may hold it." He said. How rude. He turned back to the class.

"Excuse me; if you want to mop up a floor, I suggest you let me go."

He frowned and sent me off. I rushed thorough the hallways until I found a restroom and I ran to the toilet. I made a big mistake eating that pizza today. Stupid little nugget in my stomach didn't like it.

I heard a gasp outside of the restroom. I'd forgotten to shut the stall door behind me.

"You're pregnant?" Tiffany stood at the door, mouth wide open.

So the rest of the afternoon went smoothly. After convincing Tiffany that the kid wasn't Luke's (which I understand why she would be mad if it were), the commodity himself picked me up and drove me home.

I had to bring all of my papers with me to work, hopefully Zeke, my new boss, wouldn't do a background check or anything. I knew that it was hopeless to think that, but I would have to just cross my fingers a bit and work on my lying skills. I wasn't exactly sure how Luke managed to get me in school without any suspicions; actually I wouldn't be surprised if he just told the headmaster the truth. I knew that I had to finish school and I had to have some money of my own. I wouldn't be able to use Natalie's card all of the time, I hadn't even taken it out of my wallet yet though.

The bell rang when I opened the door, "Hi Zeke." I smiled at the tall guy at the register and handed him my sheets.

He smiled and glanced down at them, "Hamilton? I thought it was Marlo."

I nodded, already prepared for this question. "My dad was a douche bag, so I go by my mom's last name instead."

He nodded, not even moved by my use of profanities. "I'll take these back to the office, and I just want you to help stock the bike helmets."

I smiled, "Sounds cool."

Where was Luke? He asked me to watch his girl so he could go out or something. But I couldn't stay up all night waiting for him to get back. I mean, that was what you're supposed to do when you babysit, right? Is he on a date? Scratch that. I don't care if he's on a date. It doesn't affect me. I just wanted to get to bed. It was alright past midnight, and a girl could only take watching Scooby Doo for so long. I had hit that breaking point.

I turned off the television and looked out the window. After about five minutes of more waiting, I guess my psychic ability kicked in, because Luke pulled into the garage. I couldn't help but notice that he was driving pretty badly. Before he'd pulled in, I'd observed that he'd pressed the accelerator hard, and then braked. Then it hit me. He must have been drunk or a little loopy.

The front door slammed, and a completely disheveled, wide-eyed Luke came through the threshold. He rubbed his face and looked at me, and then he looked at the floor.

"Look who's finally home," I quipped. "I'm going to bed."

Luke unbuttoned the first button on his shirt. "She's not getting any better."

That stopped me, I blinked. "Who?"

"I did everything for nothing." Luke ran a hand through his hair, and continued to unbutton his shirt, button by button. "I paid for her and the damned doctors can't do anything." His shirt was off now, revealing his sculpted chest. He threw it to the ground then held his hands up to his head. "I tried everything and they can't do a damned thing." Luke sank down in one of the kitchen chairs. "God."

I'd swear that he was almost crying.

I picked up his shirt, ignoring his scent that loomed above it and tossed it into his bedroom. Then I walked back into the kitchen to get him some water.

"Here," I held the cup out to him and sat down beside him.

Luke looked at the cup for a second before he took it and drank it all as if it were medicine. Then he slammed the empty cup back down on the counter.

"Better?" I bend down and looked in his green eyes.

He smiled a bit. It was small, but it was still something. "Yeah."

I swallowed, forcing my eyes to stay up despite the current that was pulling them down. Luke positioned himself so he was completely facing me. My eyes were traitors; they trailed down to his abs. I took a deep breath and looked away. My will power was completely weak though. I had to force myself to get up and get out.

Not helping my cause, Luke grabbed my arm.

"No, Riles, wait."

I gulped again, trying to ignore the tingles I felt on my arm, "Yeah."

"Thanks." He said seriously, he stood up, and he wrapped his arms around my body. I was suddenly warm.

"Um," I cleared my hoarse voice, "Don't mention it."

I wiggled to get out of his hold but he held me too tight. I looked up back into his eyes, "Luke let me—"

He pressed his soft lips to mine. It was rushed, I shouldn't have been doing this; and, truthfully, I'd never really thought of Luke like that. Well not in that way. Okay, so I thought he was attractive, but that was only because of my hormones. My stupid, betraying hormones.

When Luke's tongue came to my lips I tasted the beer. I knew I couldn't drink, but would this hurt me. I didn't want to know. I pulled away from him. Luke was drunk and mad. I was a distraction. I pushed him away.

"You need to go to bed."

"Riley I'm—" He rubbed his face, looking worse than he did when he first got home.

I gathered my bearings, went to my room, and shut the door behind me.

Hi guys. Sorry for the wait... lol not like i have anybody reading this story anyway. I just wanted to say thanks to Gilly Bean2... your comment forced me to keep on going, by the way, i'm a teenager... only 15, so i know nothing about all of that social security stuff. The credit card tracking thing i did know though. It's going to be important in the future of this story. So, thanks again!

( :