A love song for my badboy
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When I met Timothy Adams, he had nothing but a guitar. I was rich. He was poor. I was plain. He was beautiful. I ached for the spotlight. He made his music in the dark. Yet he looked at me in a way my rock star father and rich, snobby classmates never did: like I mattered. I never saw it coming... When Timothy moved in with us to work with my dad and attend Oakwood prep, he seduced my enemies and claimed their crown.He betrayed my friendship and crushed my heart to become their rebel prince. They can keep him... I'll never forgive the bad boy I used to ache for... But some nights... He makes me want to...
I hate Timothy Adams. Hating him would be my religion if music wasn't. But he's here, facing me, his hair falling across the pillow in a dark cascade. His eyelashes are thick and so long it's unfair. His mouth is parted in sleep, the top bow firm and the bottom lush. I'm freaking out, my heart racing a mile a minute. He's warm.
His heat emanates from his body, inviting me closer. I hate how much I want to. I want. I want. I want. My thighs press together because if there's a response to that realization that doesn't involve a rush of heat flowing south, I don't know what it is. Of course I'd never let him know that when he's awake, but he's not. Thank God he's not. I shift in bed, wincing as my muscle ache. Perfect.
There's a reason I've never had sex, and If I were going to, he's the last guy I'd slept with. He could have so much more than this stupid place, this stupid school... Instead he sold me out for a bunch of dumb, rich assholes. Timothy groans, and my heart leaps. When he shifts, rolling onto his back and exposing even more beautifully carved torso, the covers ride low on his hips. Not quite low enough to see if he's wearing anything. I swallow. I could look... Don't fucking look... I pressed my hands to my eyes as if it'll erase the image of the beautiful guy next to me.
Two days ago, all I cared about was being on stage, impressing my rock star father who's Eddie Carlton, and not falling for Oakwood Prep's Rebel Prince, Timothy Adams. But when his eyes start to open... I know I'm well and truly screwed. - Two Days Earlier - " Are you going to fuck it or just fantasize about it all day? " The syrupy sweet voice makes me cut off my chorus halfway through a line.
" Your spoon. " The platinum blonde in the front row crosses one tan leg over the other, making her plaid skirt ride up. " Your staring at it like you want to -- " " She's a mermaid, Carla. She wants to be a human. It's an emotional moment. " My hands tightens on the flatware from the school dining hall. " Whatever, Little Virgin Emily. And you? " Carla turns to the corner of the stage, where Jessy's reading her lines behind a curtain of straight, dark hair. " You're wearing a garbage bag for a tail. You look homeless. "
" Emily made it. " Jessy blurts, turning pale under her freckles. " I was afraid I'd trip when we got our costumes, so I wanted to practice first. " I step between them. " First off, Jessy? Frank Craig slept on park benches and J.Lo couch surfed at our age, so that's a compliment. " She finds a nervous smile before I turn back to Carla. " Second, Jessy has conditional acceptance to Stanford, and your fast track is to Real Housewives, but that's no reason to be jealous. "
Our school's queen bee edges forward in her seat. " I don't know why you're even rehearsing, Emily. Being a dumb teenager who'll never be what her daddy wants must be super relatable. I bet every night the groupie Eddie Carlton wishes he hadn't fucked that groupie and ended up with you. " I could beat Carla over the head with this spoon. Not hard enough to do permanent damage, assuming there are cells inside to damage but hard enough to mess up her perfect waves.
Maybe hard enough the made-up minions on either side of her would lift their over twee zed browse in surprise. But I won't let her see her words get under my skin. " Girls, I hope you've been practicing while I've been gone. " Miss Norma strides through the auditorium doors, returning from checking on a burnt-out stage light. Our drama director shuffles up the aisle, her black sheath dress hugging her full figure, and takes a seat a few rows behind Carla and the others. She pushes her purple glasses up her nose expectantly, eyes narrowed on the stage. When the music starts again, I will myself to focus on my performance.
To be a mermaid far away from the catty comments of bitchy school girls who wouldn't have the first idea what to do with themselves if they ran out of people to torture. But when I see Carla unscrew the top of my water and tip a tiny brown bottle to pour something inside, my voice wavers. " Stop! Emily, I thought we had this section. " Miss Norma calls from her seat a few rows back. Frustration flaws through me.
" We do. We did. " " Why don't we try it with the understudy? " Carla smiles as if the idea just popped into her head. " Good idea. " Miss Norma folds her arms, and I swallow the anger as I trade places with Carla, who holds out her hand expectantly. I shove the spoon into her hand before flipping her off. " Wash it when you're done. " I step out of my garbage bag and retrieve my water bottle, sniffing it before shoving the thing back in my bag. " That part never should've been yours. " Laura, one of Carly's minions, whispers. " The only reason Miss Norma picked you is because your dad's a rock star. There's no way you got his talent. "
" Carla's still the understudy. " Thalia, the other minion, points out. " A lot can happen in five weeks. " " Shut it, Flotsam and Jetsam. " They should've been Ursula's eels, not Ariel's sisters. Watching Carla perform, I wish she sucked, but she's actually good. " That's enough rehearsal today. " Miss Norma says when Carla finishes. " Emily, a moment. " I get up and cross to her seat. " Where's the girl from auditions? The fearless one, the focused one? " I shake my head. " She's here. I swear. " She sighs. " We're running out of time. " It was my decision to audition for the lead in the school musical and cross our school's reigning queen, but what even Carla doesn't know what she can't know is how much I need this role. This year, everything is going to change for me. I feel it the way you feel spring in the air before anything blooms. I cling to that conviction as I head to the front of the auditorium to pack up my things. " Hey, Princess! " I glance up to see Chris Albright, a senior, standing over me. With his perfect dirty blonde hair and bright white smile, he's athletic and has a decent voice. It's a curse for the rest of us because he landed the male lead and begged out of almost half of rehearsals for sports. Of course, if any of the girls missed that many rehearsals, we'd get cut. But its hard to find guys who're both willing and capable of doing the part. " Look forward to seeing you at the party this weekend. " " The mid-production cast party? Cancelled. " Jessy offers with a look toward Carla and her minions. " Carla's solarium is getting renovated, and her parents won't have people over until it's finished. " " What about your place? "
Chris' blue eyes dance. If looks could melt skin, mine would be peeling off from the evil stares of Carla and her minions, and I swallow an incredulous laugh. " As much as we're all BFF's that's as appealing as waxing my eyebrows off. " He laughs as I head for the doors, falling into step next to me. " I know I've been busy with practice, but we should rehearse together. Maybe at the party? " He squeezes my arm before holding the door for me. " Maybe? " I pass him and head to my locker to grab my books and sunglasses, the feel of his touch lingering on my bare skin. Chris' attractive, and a lot of girls would love his attention, but he's not my type. He's sports and parties and being seen. But right now, I'll take my allies where I can get them.
I pull out a pen and lift the front hem of my skirt to write a single word on my thigh in blue ink, then I shut my locker and head for the main doors. If I'd thought Oakwood Prep would be simpler than the public school I attended most of my childhood, I was wrong. It's full of people with too much money and too many expectations and too many liposuction. If I could go back to public school, go back to being normal...
I'd take it in a hot second. Because the difference between them and me is I grew up with less than nothing until I was plucked from that existence and told I was meant for another one. Outside, I slide my sunglasses on as I head for the parking lot. The campus is sprawling and beautiful. I soak in the spring day, the expanse of green grass, the mature trees. It's hot for Dallas, and all I want is to get home and jump in the pool.
I reach the modern steel fountain that marks the middle of the quad, the halfway point between the school and the parking lot, when a familiar form blocks my way. I swear I've hit my daily quota of assholes. " There are consequences for taking things that don't belong to you. " Carla stands between me and the parking lot, flanked by minions. " Roles don't belong to people. " " I was talking about Chris. " She retorts. " People definitely don't belong to people. " My focus falls to Laura's dirty manicure, the black smudges up her arm that were there during rehearsal. Oakwood Prep is like society, the rules supposedly apply equally to everyone. They don't. Not even close. Even amongst the rich, there are circles of power, of influence. Carla's dad is the head of the school's board, which means she can do what she wants.
To whomever she wants. " If Chris' your pathetic attempt not to die a virgin, good luck with that. " she goes on, leaning in as she senses the kill. " No guy at Oakwood will touch you. " I close the distance between us and meet her predatory gaze head on. " Promise I can get that in writing? " " Carla. " A low, smooth voice at my back has the baby hairs on my neck lifting. The minion's attention snaps to behind me.
Uniforms are an attempt to make everyone look the same. In this case, they come up short. All three guys coming down the stairs toward us are good looking, but one stands out. You'd feel this guy's magnetism in a blackout. He's tall, with ropy arms his navy jacket can't hide, and broad enough he could carry the entire school's baggage without breaking a sweat. He has an angled jaw and cheekbones, brown eyes a little too serious to be kind, and dark, wild hair. If Chris is this school's preppy king, Timothy Adams is its rebel prince.
He has the easy grace earned by being a senior, gorgeous, and a musician. When he speaks, everyone listens. When he plays the guitar, everyone worships. " Timothy. " Carla breathes. " Wanna give me a ride home? " I don't wait around for the answer but use the distraction to dodge all of them and head to my car. I want to get the hell out of this toxic place before I burn it down. I shift into my silver audi, turning the key in the ignition. It doesn't start. My forehead falls to the steering wheel as I remember the minions' black-streaked arms.
They probably rummaged under the hood for the shiniest parts to stab at with their manicure sets. " The little mermaid. A girl who has everything but it's still not enough. " My attention snaps toward the guy leaning in the passenger window, and I immediately regret leaving it down. If Timothy Adams and my co-star Chris Albright share top billing on the " Senior boys every Junior girl would give their BMW to bang " list, it's for different reasons. Chris' full of charm, the golden boy who comes from money and radiates ease and promises of good times. Timothy's gorgeous. Talented. Mysterious. He comes from nothing and doesn't blink before taking everything. But no matter how fascinating he is, it's a lie. " Being a daughter of a king doesn't mean her life is perfect. " I answer at last. " If you think so, you're dumber than you look. " He rubs a hand through his dark hair, the chunk of blue at the front that sets him apart. " But you told me I had a great future. You put on a scarf and held my hand and ogled my fate line. "
" It was a charity carnival. I was fourteen. " " I paid five bucks for that spiritual advice. Don't tell me I wasted it. " I hit the start button once more. It makes a grinding noise until I slap a hand against the dash. Please, don't let me be stranded at school. When I blink my eyes open, Timothy's nodding through the windshield, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt dress, the jacket are already gone. I don't want Timothy Adams under my hood. But if I have to call my dad, it'll invite questions as to why my almost-new car wont start.
So, I pop the hood before rounding to the trunk for my toolkit, dropping it at his feet after I find it. Timothy yanks off his loosened tie and holds it out. I take the tie from him, draping it around my neck for safekeeping. I don't notice his height, his hard body, the careless way he rubs a hand over his neck as he surveys what's under my hood with a relentless intensity. " You know why Carla fucks with you. " I shift against the front fender, twisting one end of his tie around my fingers as I watch. " She's jealous of my fashion sense. "
He spares me an incredulous look. " You bait her. You walk around this place with your heart on your sleeve, begging to bleed. It's impossible for her to resist. " You could teach an AP course on making me bleed. I knot the bottom of my shirt up around my navel to get relief from the heat. " She can't handle anyone having anything that could be hers, including the stage. " " The spotlights not all its cracked up to be.
Fans don't want you, they want what they think you possess. And the more you posses, the more people feel entitled to take. " The edge in his words catches me off guard. I work a coiled elastic off my wrist, twisting my long hair up in a messy knot and fanning my sweat damp neck. " Careful, Timothy. Someone might think being Prince of Oakwood is getting old. " Timothy shifts to stand in front of me in a heartbeat. He's in my space, tall and built and intent, the weight of his attention moving from the car to me.
The crisp white shirt, rolled at the sleeves, makes him look gorgeous and a little reckless, like some pirate on a mission to charm and destroy. But it's the expression on his face, that knowing smirks, that pins me in place. It's as if he just caught me doing something filthy. " Careful, Emily. Someone might think you give a shit. " Once, I held his hand and told his fortune. Never again. He betrayed me. Hurt me more than Carla's teasing and pranks ever could.
I want him to back the fuck up, but I can't speak. Right now, all I can do is take in Timothy's light cedar scent, his half-lowered lashes, his voice a soft murmur on my skin. I clear my throat, arch a brow. " Do you need something? " " Yeah, I do. " Finally, he moves. Down my body. My breath hitches as his face is level with my chest, my waist. I pressed my thighs together when his face passes my bare legs. The heart is supposed to propel blood to your vital organs. Mine a traitor. It doesn't give a fuck if I live or die.
When he's this close, it beats for him. He drops his wrench in the toolkit at my feet, and I shut my eyes in humiliated relief. Get a grip. If he ever finds out how I feel, the last of my pride and self respect will go up in flames. " What's this? Don't tell me you cheated on our English test. " Timothy lifts the edge of my skirt, and I smack his hand away. " What's under my skirt is none of your business. " He huffs out a breath as he straightens and returns to work. " There it is. " he murmurs moment later under the hood. " They yanked the coupling for your...never mind. " he says at my blank expression. " Carla's better at politics than car. "
He lowers the hood, wiping the rolled-up arm of his dress shirt on his forehead. " You should be fine. If it gives you any grief, let me know. " " Thanks. " The word sticks in my throat, and he holds my gaze for a beat, two. I hurry to slide in through the driver's door. When I hit the start button, the engine roars to life. Relief washes over me as I stuff my blazer in the back seat and unbutton my shirt another button while the A/C kicks in.
Sweat beads on my chest, and I'm fastening my seat belt when Timothy leans his muscled forearms on the driver's door. " You get slapped with community service? " He nods toward the black garbage bag on top of my books. I shift my sunglasses up on my head. " Oh, I led the litter pick up for Young Environmentalist at the park last week, but no, that's my practice costume for the musical. It has a hole in the bottom so I can walk. " " I see. You'll have trouble evading horny sailors. " " Yeah, well, Hans Anderson was pre-Me too. " This time, Timothy's smile is genuine. I can tell because it lands in the center of my chest like a blow.
I wish I could lick my suddenly dry lips without him taking credit for it. He reaches into the car, and my breath hitches as he lifts his tie from around my neck, drawing it out in a long ribbon. The silk strokes my neck for what feels like minutes, and I force my gaze away when he finally pockets the tie. My attention lands on the lone motorcycle across the parking lot. " Next time Carla gets creative with my car, I'm borrowing your ride. "
" No, you're not. " He straightens, shoving a hand through his messy-is-sexy hair. " Eddie Carlton would destroy me for letting his baby girl near it. " There it is. The reason I can't avoid Timothy completely, even I want nothing more than to cut him out of my life. Oakwood's rebel prince doesn't live in a brick mansion with a closet full of V-necks and two Ivy-League-educated parents. He lives in our pool house, thirty feet from my bedroom.
"Sorry I'm late. Car trouble." I trip into the cafe, and Avery looks up from her table. "I did bring you presents, through. Check your e-reader." My friend grabs her tablet from her bag. "Oooh! How many books did you get me?" "Ten? Twelve?" I laugh. "You're going away. You'll need some new material." "You're the best!" She informs me when I finish telling her about the mix of fiction and non fiction I picked out. We go to the counter, and I order a peppermint tea. "How was rehearsal?"
Avery asks while we wait. I fill my friend in on what happened with Carla, and her eyes widen. "The bitches tried to stop me driving away from the crime scene." I finish. "Sabotaging your ride is a new low. She's escalating." I roll my eyes. "Carla can't stand people taking things she wants." "It's more than that. You're a traitor to an income bracket." Avery says, mock chastising. "Writing essays about how her dad and a bunch of others are destroying the middle class through their greedy empire
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