Home > Losing Grip(7)

Losing Grip(7)
Author: Scarlett Haven

Maybe the gifts are also hush money. They don’t want word to get out that their precious son has a daughter—that would make him look bad, considering he didn’t want anything to do with me.

I sigh, closing my closet door so I can get dressed.

I’ve never wore this dress before, not because I didn’t want to—I’ve just never had the opportunity. It’s not like I can just wear a fancy dress like this to school. I’m surprised by how well it fits me, it’s almost like it was tailored exactly for me. Maybe it was. I wouldn’t be surprised if my grandparents had my measurements.

The dress is bright red with no print. It is a skater style, so the skirt flares out. The top goes off the shoulders. I’ve always looked good in red—it makes my brown eyes really pop out for some reason.

When I look at myself in the mirror, my jaw drops.

While Harper was fixing my hair, Laura did my makeup. Between the dress, the hair, and the makeup, I look… well, pretty. My hair is pulled back, a few shorter pieces are pulled out and framed around my face. The black mascara somehow makes my lashes look so long. And my eyes—they look so big. I really need Laura to teach me how to do makeup. I wonder what my mom would say if she could see me now. Would she point out that my boobs aren’t big enough? At least by her standards. Would she say I’m too skinny? Or maybe she’d call me fat because she’s done that a few times too.

I step away from the mirror and take a moment to breathe.

Who cares what my mom would say? I think I look pretty and that is all that matters.

Getting up the courage, I step out of my closet. I am surprised when I walk in my room and spot my brother standing in there, flirting with Laura and Harper.

Liam’s eyes grow big as he looks at me. “Coco, wow. You look beautiful.”

Harper smirks. “Stunning.”

Laura nods. “All the boys are going to be fighting for a dance.”

My cheeks grow warm and I lower my head. “Thanks.”

“Seriously. You’re a knockout. I’m going to have to keep an eye on you.” Liam grins.

Harper sighs, so I look over at her and see her looking at my brother.

Ew.

I’m used to girls falling for my brother’s charms, but the last thing I want is for one of my new friends to fall for him. Inevitably, Liam would break Harper’s heart, then she’d probably resent me for introducing her to him.

“What are you doing here, Number Four?” I ask, putting my hands on my hips.

“Number Four?” Harper raises an eyebrow.

Liam rolls his eyes. “I’m William Bradbury IV, but everybody calls me Liam. My sister calls me Number Four because she knows it annoys me.”

I shrug. “What else are siblings supposed to do if not annoy you?”

Harper nods. “She’s got a point. It’s my little brother’s mission in life to torture me every waking second.”

Laura furrows her brows. “I’m an only child.”

“Consider yourself lucky.” Harper rolls her eyes.

I don’t know about that. I can’t imagine life without Liam—he’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m lucky that he turned out to be so nice and not at all like his father.

Liam and I were eight when our parents got married. My mom had always treated me badly, but it got worse when she and William tied the knot. They often locked me in my bedroom and mocked me. Liam always stood up for me. He would even sneak into my room and sleep with me because he knew I was scared of the dark. He’s the best brother that I could ask for.

“Ah, Coco isn’t so bad. She’s little so she doesn’t take up much space.” Liam rests his arm on the top of my head.

I push it off. “I’ve told you a thousand times before, I am not your arm rest. And I’m not that short. You’re just a freaking giant.”

5’5” is average, just like everything else about me.

I try to push the negative thoughts of myself aside. I can’t let my mom’s words control me for the rest of my life. I can’t be as awful as she thinks I am.

Liam chuckles as he sits back down on my bed. “You have a date tonight?”

I put my hands on my hips. “And who would ask me?”

“Maybe Preston Lomax.” Harper points her curling iron toward me, looking at Liam. “He was totally hitting on her. They exchanged numbers and everything.”

Liam raises an eyebrow. “Did they?”

“Mmhmm.” She gives me a pointed look before turning back to work on Laura’s hair.

Liam smirks. “How did my sister get a boyfriend before I got a girlfriend?”

I roll my eyes. “You don’t do relationships. But also, I’m not dating Preston. Not that it’s anybody’s business, but I told him no when he asked me to the dance tonight.”

Harper gasps, turning toward me. “He asked you to the dance?”

I nod.

“Look, Preston Lomax just doesn’t ask girls to dances. I mean, one time, he literally brought five dates and they took turns dancing with him throughout the night.” She laughs. “It was pretty entertaining. Ever see two cheerleaders get into a fistfight?”

Liam groans. “I wish I had been there to see.”

I don’t know whether to be impressed or repulsed. On one hand, the fact that he got five girls to agree to share him as a date is impressive. But the fact that he put the girls through that? Repulsive.

The more I learn about Preston, the less I like him.

Still, I can’t deny the chemistry that we have. My heart races around him and my stomach feels full of butterflies.

Of course I would come to boarding school and fall for the Casanova of the school.

“What about you?” I ask, turning to Liam. I’m desperate to talk about anything but Preston and my non-existent relationship. “Do you have a hot date?”

He smirks. “I like to keep my date card open.”

I shake my head.

Harper clears her throat. “I wouldn’t mind a dance.”

I turn to glare at her.

She shrugs. “What? Your brother is hot.”

Liam chuckles.

I groan. “Harper, trust me, do not fall for my brother.”

Harper laughs. “Who said anything about love. I just want a dance.” She winks at Liam. “And maybe I’ll steal a few kisses.”

Ew. That was the absolute last thing I wanted in my head.

“I promise I won’t try to dance with your brother.” Laura turns to face me, her blonde hair now styled. She winks. “Teenaged boys aren’t really my thing.”

Right. Of course. Why would she like boys her own age?

What kind of boarding school did my parents send me to?

Harper laughs. “Cove, you look so traumatized.”

Laura grins. “I am going to corrupt you, young one.”

I roll my eyes, crossing my arms over my chest. “Whatever. Just because I don’t have a lot of experience with boys doesn’t mean I’m an innocent little snowflake.”

Laura, Harper, and Liam all laugh. Probably because they know that I am, in fact, completely innocent. I’ve never had a boyfriend and I’ve never kissed a boy. I don’t even think I’ve ever held hands with a guy, at least not since kindergarten.

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