Stalk me, p.1
Friday, May 6th
Come play with Cush.
“Keatyn baby, come see The Cushman,” a tipsy Brandon Cushman says to me.
I stay where I am.
He walks over, slings his arm around my shoulder, and surveys the mess that is his house.
“Another epic party delivered. Saw your bff was hooking up in the guest room. Watched a little before they kicked me out. "
“Would that be Vanessa or RiAnne?”
“Vanessa. I don’t know why she got so pissed. It’s not like I haven’t seen it all before. ”
I nod my head. Vanessa has been with pretty much everyone.
“So where's your boyfriend?"
“Bathroom. ” I roll my eyes. “Puking. ”
“Sander’s the man. You crashing here?"
“No, I’m taking him home. I’m supposed to go surfing in, like, three hours. ”
Cush flashes me a grin so sexy it ought to be trademarked. “You looked hot dancing on the bar tonight. When you gonna dump The Sandman? Come play with Cush?”
Cush is a total player, and he doesn’t try to hide it. He’s good looking and popular, so his standard pickup line of Let’s hook up works on most girls. And why wouldn’t it? He’s six feet tall, has a soccer-toned body, and bright blue eyes. During soccer season, his dark blond hair gets buzzed, and he rarely shaves. Tonight there is a fair amount of stubble on his cute face.
He puts his face close to mine, like he’s going to kiss me, but instead he scratches his scruffiness up the side of my cheek and laughs.
I rub my cheek. “Gee, thanks. Now I have Cushburn. ”
Cush gently pushes my hair behind my ear and studies my cheek. “It is a little red. Why don’t you come up to my room? I’ll kiss it and make it feel better. ”
I roll my eyes at him again and point toward the bathroom. “You wanna make me feel better, go check on The Sandman. ”
On cue, Sander, my boyfriend of over a year, stumbles out of the bathroom. He drank too much tonight, as usual.
Cush grabs a bottle of water out of the mini fridge and tosses it to him.
Of course, Sander misses, and it goes skittering across the tile.
Cush and I try to hide our giggles as we watch him drunkenly chase it.
“Fuck you, Cush," Sander says, after he finally corrals the bottle. The guys do the drunken guy hug but skip the I love you, man. Cush isn’t drunk enough for that.
I survey the room littered with all the popular kids from my school and think back to how I imagined my life just a few years ago. How I begged my mom to let me stay in Malibu. How, for the first time in my life, I was going to put down roots. How I dreamed of being popular. I dreamed high school would be like what I'd seen in the movies. I wanted to live out one big high school musical.
I can honestly say, I never imagined a scene like this.
My best friend, Vanessa, is drunk, high, and hooking up with some guy she just met, but thought was hot.
RiAnne was making out on the couch with a guy from the lacrosse team, but a few minutes ago they headed into one of the bedrooms.
Cush's parties used to be fun back when there were about ten of us. Spin the bottle, beer pong, movies, some mild hooking up, all of us thinking we were so cool to be topless in the hot tub.
The more fun we had, the more people came, and the more wild the parties got. Tonight there were close to a hundred people.
“When’s your mom back?" I ask Cush.
“Saturday night,” he says with a frown, eyeing the beer bottles strewn all around.
"I'll come over after surfing to help you clean up. Cleaning ladies come Sunday?"
Cush gives me a hug. “You know it. You’ve got the code. Wake me up when you get here. ” He flashes his sexy grin at me again. “Or, better yet, join me in bed. ”
I help Sander stagger out to the gaudy purple Lamborghini he bought himself for his eighteenth birthday. He falls asleep the minute I start driving. I look at him, softly snoring in the seat next to me. With his hazel eyes, great smile, and hair that usually has more product in it than mine, the former child star has grown up quite nicely.
After traveling the world while my mom made movies, living in so many different places, and only having tutors, I was so excited to go to a real high school. I used to spend my days writing scripts for my perfect life. Scenes of becoming popular. Magical parties where I’d meet a cute boy, he’d kiss me, and we’d fall in love. Scenes where the captain of the basketball team would ask me to dance; we’d kiss, and fall in love. Scenes where that popular boy would kiss me in the moonlight and ask me to be his girlfriend. Scenes where we’re in the center of a school dance slowly swaying while everyone does a choreographed dance around us. Scenes where he’d shoot the winning basket and be on top of the team’s shoulders, but would find me in the crowd and blow me a kiss.
I wanted two things from my high school experience: I wanted to be the most popular girl and date the most popular boy.
And it all happened.
High school is a lot trickier than I ever imagined, and it sorta sucks sometimes.
It’s hard to juggle what your friends want, what your parents want, and what the guys want, and still get what you want.
Especially when you’re not sure anymore what you want.
And it doesn’t help that I’ve been starting to think that RiAnne and Vanessa only became friends with me because of who my mom is.
My mom is Abby Johnston. Yeah, that Abby, America’s favorite romantic comedy actress. America’s sweetheart.
And really, now that you know who my mom is, you probably don’t need me to tell you about my sort-of stepdad, action film star Tommy Stevens, or their four-year-old triplets (Avery, Emery, and Ivery) and two-year-old daughter (Gracelyn). They are all constantly photographed as they travel around the world making movies.
I’ve been lucky to avoid that the last few years. I’ve lived here in Malibu, gone to school, taken dance classes, played soccer, and surfed.
Sander came to school the middle of my freshman year. He had been a popular child star who decided to take a break and be a normal kid.
And, as one would expect, lots of girls were vying for his affections.
She was popular among our freshman class and lost her virginity to a cute junior boy, but it’s not like she ruled the school. She saw Sander when he was registering and deemed him her ticket to the top. She would date him, and they would become the most popular couple.
Obviously, we had written nearly identical scripts and were both trying out for the same role, but Vanessa was sure she’d get the part. And if she couldn’t win it on her own, she’d buy and scheme her way to the top.
I’ve never seen anyone plan so extensively. She bribed the receptionist into telling her when his first day was. She bought and planned multiple outfits for his first two weeks of school. She even had backup outfits for all the possible dates he might ask her on. She gave the school counselor a spa package she just didn’t have the time to use before it expired, so she could be his new student guide. She had RiAnne and me pore over his old fan sites and quiz her on his favorite food (Mexican), the color of his eyes (hazel), his sign (Sagittarius), and his dogs’ names (James and Dean).
He showed up a day earlier than expected. I was in the office dropping off some Tommy Stevens autographed memorabilia for a school auction when he said hi to me. We hit it off because we had so much in common.
Vanessa was extremely pissed when she found out he’d asked me to show him around. She texted me about my traitorous ways, but she was all smiles and my very best fri
Vanessa and I had met at freshman orientation. She and RiAnne had been best friends since grade school, and they were really nice to me. They knew who my mom was, of course, and I was super excited to be part of their group because they were both pretty and popular. As long as RiAnne and I did whatever Vanessa wanted us to do, everyone was happy.
But Sander changed the game. After a few weeks of hanging out, he asked me to be his girlfriend. Vanessa pretended to be happy for me. Or maybe she was; I’m still not sure. But either way, she was going to use our relationship to climb the school’s social ladder.
By the next school year, we were sitting at the popular table with Sander, the hottest senior guys, and the coolest senior girls. Vanessa turned into a bit of a bitch, but I didn’t say anything about it.
How could I? I had written the perfect high school script and was living it.
I didn’t care if she was bossy and always planning our next move, our next party, and our next outfit. I was happy with Sander. He was sweet, a gentleman, and my family loved him.
And I loved the attention and the popularity.
I was exactly where I wanted to be.
I just never pictured him getting drunk at every party we went to.
Saturday, May 7th
Abs to freaking die for.
I sleep for a couple hours, then get up, pull my hair back, brush my teeth, and throw on a bikini. When I step out onto the deck, I feel a cold morning breeze.
I run back inside, grab my full wetsuit, and then run up the beach. Damian is already in front of Brooklyn’s house. Damian Moran is one of my best friends. His dad is the director, Matt Moran, and I’ve known him for as long as I can remember. He’s also the voice and guitar behind Twisted Dreams, the band that recently got signed to a label and is going on tour in Europe. Pretty soon, every girl under fifteen will be squealing when they hear the name Damian because his voice is so dreamy.
“Hey, Keats,” he says. “What’s up?”
“Not me. ”
“Rough night? You been partying like a rock star?”
“Ha. No. You know I don’t drink much. I was just out until almost four. ” I smile at him. “But I couldn’t miss surfing with my two favorite boys. ”
“More like one favorite boy,” Damian says under his breath.
“Shut up. I have a boyfriend. ” I turn around and see Brooklyn walking out of his garage, carrying my board.
“S’up, Keats,” he says to me. “I just waxed your board to perfection. ”
“Thanks. ” I smile at the boy who stole my heart the day I met him. He’s eighteen, has shaggy blond hair and eyes the color of the ocean. He’s tan, almost six feet, and kinda thin, but he has the strong core of a surfer.
As in abs to freaking die for.
“Don’t give me any shit, okay. It’s cold this morning, so I’m definitely wearing my wetsuit. ” I roll the full wetsuit up my legs, over my waist, and then struggle with one of the sleeves.
Brooklyn grabs the sleeve, turns it right-side out, and smirks at me. “Helps when it’s not inside out. ”
Wetsuits are a pain in the ass to get into because they fit so tight. I turn toward Brooklyn, pull the sleeve on, and do a little shimmy to get it up over my shoulders. Brooklyn tries to help me just as I succeed, and his hand ends up sprawled across my bikini top.
I can barely breathe. I think all the air just got sucked off the beach.
Brooklyn removes his hand from my boob, grabs the big wetsuit zipper from down by my crotch, and slowly zips up the suit. His eyes are glued to the zipper as it snakes its way up my body.
I swear, I think he purposely tries to torture me.
His eyes move upward to my face, and he smiles at me, flashing perfect white teeth that contrast with his bronzed skin. That smile always makes my heart beat just a little faster.
“Now that Keats has her skirt on, we can get out there,” he says to Damian.
Damian looks down at his chest. “I’m nipping out just standing here. I don’t care if you think wearing a wetsuit makes me a girl. I’m cold. ” He runs back up to Brooklyn’s house, leaving us alone. It’s safe to say that I may have a teensy crush on the boy.
“You look tired,” he tells me.
“I didn’t get much sleep last night. I was at a party. ”
“With your boy-friend?” he drawls, making boyfriend sound like a dirty word. For some reason I’ve yet to determine, Brooklyn doesn’t like Sander.
“Yes, with my boyfriend and all my friends from school. What’d you do?”
“Just hung out with Damian. Played some COD. Chilled. You know he leaves in a week?”
“Yeah, I know. I’m going to the dinner his dad is having for him tomorrow night. You’re going, right?”
“I don’t know. You know I don’t like that ritzy shit. ”
“B, you live in a house in Malibu. That’s ritzy shit. ”
“You know what I mean. It’s at some pretentious hotel. Damian has to wear a fucking suit. How’s that a party for him?”
“Damian looks good in a suit. You would too. And I got the cutest dress to wear. And the shoes I got—ohmigawd, they’re adorable. ”
“Your boyfriend coming?”
“No, I’m going with Mom and Tommy. You could come with me. ”
Or you could stalk me.
Or kiss me.
Or date me.
Or love me.
Or take me to your room and attack me.
“Will you help me figure out what to wear?”
I smile at him. “That’s practically my specialty. ”
He shakes his head back and forth like it’s a tough decision.
“They’re having a seafood buffet before dinner. ” He loves seafood. I figure that will tip the scales in favor of his going.
Brooklyn grins at me and then touches my hand. “Bet it won’t be as good as our spicy shrimp. ”
I can’t help but grin back. Spicy shrimp at Buddy’s is kind of our thing. Brooklyn and I hang out a lot, but it’s always just as friends.
by Jillian Dodd / Romance / Young Adult / Literature & Fiction have rating 5 out of 5 / Based on40 votes