Chapter 1

Hey kiddo,

By the time you read this you'll be eighteen years old. Right now, as I'm writing this, you're so big that you're making me look like I've smuggled a watermelon under my shirt. You're probably wondering why you're getting this letter. Well, baby, it's because I have a secret to share with you. The man you believe is your father, the man who has raised you, is not your biological father.

I know, I know, what the hell do I mean by that? Well, it started after we all graduated from high school. By "we" I mean me, your father, and our dear friend, Dakota Sakinsky. The three of us, wanting to stay together as long as possible, had applied to all the same schools. Lucky for us, we all got into Arizona State University. Your father, eager as ever, decided to head out to Arizona early to set up an apartment for the three of us.

"God dammit," Eileen muttered, dragging along her intoxicated boyfriend of one year across a stranger's lawn. She'd been called to play the responsible, designated driver for her boyfriend, Chris, and their good friend, Dakota, who held up Chris's other side.

"I'm sorry, Leena," Dakota said, straining to keep Chris's wobbling body upright, "I thought I had a better eye on him. I was only gone for two minutes."

"Two minutes can do a lot of damage," Eileen grumbled, unhappy about leaving a party she'd attended to pick up the stoners. "What'd he take?"

"Fuck if I know," Dakota's heavy lidded eyes said it all. He was blazed. Even if he had known at one point what his friend had taken, there was no way he would remember now. "Chris," Dakota caught the stumbling drunk's attention and looked him deep into his foggy eyes, "Whadya take tonight?"

"Muscle relaxers," Chris hung his head down, tucking his chin to his chest as the trio stumbled forward, "Coke," He spun his head up at his sober beau, "and I huffed something from Schneider."

"All of that in two minutes?" Eileen glared daggers at her friend, "More like twenty!"

"I may have been getting my wang sucked and lost track of time," Dakota rolled out slowly, feeling his tongue stick to the roof of his mouth, "Damn cotton mouth," He muttered.

"Great, just fucking great," Eileen reached for her keys in her pocket while Dakota held up his wingman, "I told you to watch him! I told you to really keep an eye on him. Thanks a lot, Kota." She bit sarcastically, opening the car door for Chris to climb in. As he did, he turned so suddenly, he smacked his head right into Eileen's nose. "Son of a bitch!" She exclaimed, "Shit, shit, shit," Holding her nose and tilting her head back. She could already feel the stream of blood coming down her face. "Get him buckled in now!" She said as she backed away from the duo and removed her t-shirt to hold against her nose. She felt self conscious in only her tank now, despite her fit form, and crossed her free arm over her chest to cover herself more. When Dakota was done buckling in the dejected and sobering Chris, he came around the front to Eileen.

"I'm really sorry, Leena," He said this time, more sincerely, "I thought he would behave himself and I haven't gotten laid in four months." He wasn't sure if it was the weed that calmed his usual nervousness he had around Eileen or if it was the fact that he'd let her down and truly felt sorry for it, but either way he pulled her in for a quick hug. "Let me drive you two home."

"But," Eileen objected.

"No buts," Dakota smiled softly, "I'm only stoned. Didn't drink a drop of liquor."

"Fine," Eileen handed over her keys and hopped into the passenger seat, still holding her nose with her now ruined t-shirt, "Let me know when I'm home." Shortly after that, she was out.

Dakota drove the two home and carried both to bed, only having to explain to Eileen's mother that the blood wasn't from snorting, but from getting knocked in the nose by her drunk boyfriend. He left her keys on her dresser, stole a sticky note from her mirror, and scribbled a message for her to read in the morning.

Eileen awoke to a pounding headache and the smell of sweat and cologne. She figured the combo meant a mess, but waved off the joke and rolled out of bed. She trudged over to her mirror, ready to poke and prod her crusted over bloody nose, but was surprised to see a sticky note in the way.

Call me when Chris is leaving

-Dakota

Then she remembered that Chris was leaving for college early so he could set up an apartment for the three of them. She checked the time on her watch and slapped her palm against her face, wincing at the pain of hitting her nose and cursed herself for falling asleep in the car and not setting an alarm. Chris had already left for the University of Arizona. Although they'd only be apart for three months, she'd really wanted to say her goodbyes to her boyfriend. Sure, he fucked up half the time, but the other half always made up for snorting coke the night before and saying dirty things to her busty classmates. That's what she loved about him. And now he was gone for three whole months.

Before she really got into her self loathing, her phone beeped in a text message. Squatting down in front of her purse, she rifled around until she found her cell and went through all her missed calls and texts.

From: Dakota Sakinsky

"Chris left. Why didn't you call me?"

Sent at 10:52 AM

From: Chris

"Sorry, but I've waited for almost two hours. I love you."

Sent at 10:49 AM

From: Dakota Sakinsky

"Leena, wake up!"

Sent at 10:30 AM

From: Dakota Sakinsky

"Hey, you up yet?"

Sent at 9:46 AM

From: Chris

"Babe, I can't wait forever. If you don't get up and meet me here, I'm just gonna leave."

Sent at 9:30 AM

She felt like shit. On top of that, she felt like a shitty girlfriend and a shitty friend. Not only did she miss out on saying goodbye, but so did Dakota. She decided to shoot him back a text.

To: Dakota Sakinsky

"Sorry, Kota :(

Coffee on me?"

Sent at 10:55 AM

Her phone beeped back:

From: Dakota Sakinsky

"Make it tea and it's a deal."

Sent at 10:57 AM