Sneak Peek #3 of My New Book!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Again, thank you so much for reading my sneak peeks! Here's another one for you!
Just one more post until this chapter is over, and then the book will be out!
More info on pre-orders coming soon :)

Sunday – December 11th

I couldn’t even begin to tell you what had woken me up first—the faint, yet distinctive smell of cigarettes tickling my nose, the foreign languages echoing throughout the entire unit, or Dani yapping on FaceTime with her mom. I had finally given into the chaos surrounding me and opened my eyes, only to quickly shut them and pull the blanket over my face once I had felt the winter sun piercing into my corneas and warming my face. Once the green and pink dots had disappeared from my vision, I slowly sat up on the couch and let the faux fur blanket fall onto my lap as I stretched my arms above my head, letting out a long yawn. I had immediately noticed shopping bags scattered across the floor, all ranging from Bloomingdale’s, Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Dior. I nearly fell from the couch and face planted onto the floor when I saw all of that. Had Dani really convinced Hunter to go out and buy all of this for her? I figured he would give in and maybe buy her something small from Tiffany’s, but this was going over and beyond. Did he seriously have access to that much of his parents’ money? And if so, weren’t they going to be a bit ticked off by him spending such a huge amount of money on a girlfriend? I know my dad would be absolutely livid if I were spending that much on myself, let alone a friend or boyfriend.
Dani was sitting in the middle of the room, rummaging through her bags while showing my aunt everything she had went out and bought. I saw some purses, belts, wallets, makeup and for some reason, a silk robe. I know Aunt Amy was beaming with joy at this point—she was finally entering Phase 1 of the gold-digging handbook. So, so proud.
“Hey,” I ran my fingers through my hair, pushing it away from my face. “I see you did some shopping.”
Dani glanced over her shoulder, a sly smile growing across her lips. “Do you see this?” She picked up one shopping bag and then another. “This is tuition right here.”
I laughed and sunk into the sofa cushions, pulling the blanket snug around my shoulders. “How long were you two out for?”
“A few hours—hold on.” She turned her attention back to her FaceTime call and pulled her headphones from her ears. “I’ll call you back, Mom.”
“Wait, what time is it?” I asked, lifting my blanket and feeling around for my phone.
“Like, five-something.” She mumbled.
“You let me sleep until five?” I practically screeched. “I was supposed to go out into the city with Ava and enjoy New York and—” I paused and slapped my clammy palm against my forehead. “How did I sleep for twelve hours straight?”
“Jet lag?” Dani shrugged. “You can still explore the city, Chelsea. We’re going out to dinner in Manhattan.”
I shook my head and held up my hand. “No, I can’t be the third wheel at some romantic dinner.”
“You won’t be.” She ran her finger across the smooth leather of her new Louis Vuitton purse. “Ava can come if she likes.” Her eyes darted to me and then back towards the bag. “And Tucker will be there too.”
She said that last sentence so fast, I could have sworn it was in another language.
“Excuse me?” My throat went numbingly dry. “He’s in New York? I thought he was supposed to be in Ibiza?” 
“No, he’s here.” She scratched the back of her neck and turned her back towards me. “Downstairs.”
“What?” My words came out hoarse.
“Look, I had no idea this was happening.” She whisper-screamed. “He was here when we got home from Fifth Avenue—seriously, just chilling in the house.”
My eyes grew wide. “You left me alone with him?”
“He’s not a serial killer, Chelsea.” She narrowed her eyes.
I stood from the sofa, dropping the blanket onto the floor, and I felt as if the entire room was tilting. “Is that who’s speaking Greek down there?”
Dani nodded. “You should say hi so it won’t be awkward, you know?”
“No, I don’t know.” I glared at her.
Did she suddenly forget that this guy hated me? Okay, so I wasn’t 100 percent certain of that, but I’m sure he wasn’t too thrilled with me dating the guy he despised. And I can’t forget how he blocked me on social media—that was another way of saying “I don’t fuck with you”.
“You two are going to have to acknowledge one another, eventually.” Dani said. “Because I don’t want my first five-star New York dinner to be ruined.”
“Then I won’t go.” I huffed. “I’m sorry, but I’m not ready to deal with—” I turned in a circle with my arms up in the air. “This.”
“He knows you’re here.” She clucked her tongue. “And if you skip out, it’s going to look bad and make things even more awkward.” She said. “Plus, it’s been a year. I’m sure he’s over it.”
He may be over it, but was I?
“Whatever.” I rolled my eyes and crawled onto the floor near my suitcase. “What time are we leaving?”
“Our reservations are at seven, so we should leave within the next hour.” Hunter pokes his head from around the corner, and I wondered how much of our conversation he had heard. “What time is Ava getting here?”
“Why are you so concerned?” Dani snapped.
Hunter held his hands up, surrendering. “I’m sorry.” He flashed a sweet grin. “Oh, and Chelsea, my brother is here.”
“Mhm.” I simply said. “I need to take a shower.  I smell like an airport.”
“Right upstairs, and down the hall to your left.” He directed. “Our car will be here at 6:15.”
“6:15.” I repeated. “Got it.”

I was the definition of a fucking mess. A complete hot, ridiculous, anxious, hyperventilating mess. This entire situation was not supposed to happen. This was the one and only thing I was promised would, without a single doubt, not occur. This is what I have feared for over an entire year. This was something that I wasn’t even close to being prepared for. And this may be the day I completely lose my mind.
The closer the clock ticked to 6:15, the more I began to taste the bile climbing up the back of my throat. The simple thought of thinking about interacting with Tucker in any shape or form literally made me sick to my stomach. I found myself zoning in and out like I had been doing before hopping on the plane over here, trying to escape reality. I thought about throwing my sweats back on and telling everyone to go on without me, but Dani was right—it would make things far worse for me. I could hear my heart pounding in my temples and feel the coils in my intestines tightening with each passing second. My hands were trembling and my legs felt as if they were going to give out on me. Uneasiness pumped through my veins, as well as anxiety and a wave of unsettling nerves.
Ava arrived back at the penthouse while I was attempting to do my makeup, all glammed up in her hair and makeup from her photoshoot earlier in the day. She had told me she caught a glimpse of Tucker while walking through the door, and immediately wanted to head back out once she saw the look of disgust he was giving her. Obviously, Tucker still holds Ava accountable for bringing bat shit crazy Samantha Judd into his life, which I can’t really blame the guy for. I sometimes find myself side-eyeing Ava, as well, but that’s beside the point. The point is, Tucker was now in a shitty mood after seeing Ava, which meant this whole dinner was going to be even more awkward. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to survive this thing.
“What do you think?” Dani stepped into the second level loft, where Ava and I were straightening out our outfits. “Do I look NYC ready?” She gave a twirl, showing off the red bottoms of her thigh-high boots. 
“Chic.” Ava smirked. “I love it.”
“That jacket and those boots are hot.” I said. “I have to borrow this entire outfit.”
“I feel like I’ve accomplished something big today.” She placed her purse in the crook of her arm and smiled wide. “Ready to go?”
I stuffed my hands inside of my coat and shrugged. “Only if you are.”
Dani led the way as Ava and I followed down the steps behind her, Hunter and Tucker’s voices getting increasingly louder. I’ve been hearing his voice all while I was getting ready, and it only made me more nervous to actually see him in the flesh.
“The car is waiting for us.” Hunter said, as he spotted us taking our last steps.
My heart—God, it was slamming into my ribcage and I actually thought I felt a bit of pain for a few seconds. I stood at the end of the staircase, still gripping onto the railing, as I watched Tucker walk towards the door, not even bothering to look in my direction.
“I feel sick.” I whispered to Ava, as we all filed out into the hallway.
“You’ll be fine.” She linked arms with me and gave me a warm smile, although that wasn’t going to help the sinking feeling I had in my stomach. “So what type of food does this place have?” She asked, trying to ease the tension.
“Asian fusion.” Hunter answered. “We know the chef and we always get a private booth.”
“Fancy.” She grinned.
The elevator doors opened almost immediately after Hunter pressed down on the button, and the five of us gathered inside, not saying a single word, which wasn’t exactly helping out the situation. Tucker was on one side of the elevator and I was on the other, with the three of them in between us. I didn’t look at him, not even once. My eyes were fixed on the floor and nothing else, because if I were to look anywhere else, I would see his reflection staring back at me.
“I’d like to have a nice dinner tonight.” Hunter cleared his throat. “Chelsea and Tucker.”
Dani snickered and slapped Hunter’s arm. “Shhh.”
“I’m serious.” He turned around to face us. “I want to enjoy my tuna rolls and shrimp tempura without feeling like I can cut the tension in the room with my chopsticks.” I finally looked up from the ground, my eyes going directly to Hunter, who was staring his brother down. “At least greet one another.”
There was about ten full seconds of silence and then it happened.
“Hi.” Tucker finally spoke. It was dry and monotone, but I didn’t expect anything more.
“Hi.” I mimic his tone and slightly turn my head towards him, noticing how bronzed his skin was from all of his vacationing. He, however, kept his eyes straight ahead and away from me.
“It’s a start.” Hunter sighs, as the elevators door open and the lobby is revealed, saving us all from this tragic ride.

We ended up in the backseat of the same SUV that had dropped us off early this morning, with Hunter, Dani, and Tucker sitting in the first row of seats, and Ava and I sharing the back. Not a single word was exchanged between Tucker and I on our drive through Manhattan, and even if I did want to talk to him, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I had thought we left off on a cordial level, at least as cordial as it could get, considering he tried to run my boyfriend over with a car. I honestly thought if I were to ever see him in the future, things would go well between us and we might even strike up a good conversation. But after the whole blocking thing, it was clear he held some resentment towards me, and in a way, I could completely understand. I could only see the back of his head from where I was sitting, but he would occasionally look out the window and I could catch just a small glimpse of his face, and his profile was still pure perfection. But the one thing I noticed beside his flawless silhouette, was the way his jaw was clenched—tight. And that’s when I really knew his resentment wasn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
The restaurant we were dining at was absolutely stunning, right down to the warm lighting, Zen-like d├ęcor, modern music, and iPads as menus. Tucker and Hunter sat on one side of the table, while the girls sat on the other, Ava across from Tucker and an empty chair from me. How nice—Tucker rather sit across from the girl he literally hated, than me. Just like earlier, Tucker barely spoke, and when he did, he only talked to Hunter and Dani. I could tell Hunter tried to make this dinner go as smoothly as possible by getting us all involved in conversations, but I wasn’t feeling it. The awkward vibes were just too much and it pained me to stare at Tucker’s face because well, it was so damn gorgeous. How is it that this guy managed to look more handsome in only a year? I don’t know if it was his tan, the new way he combed his hair, or the tattoos that seemed to go all the way down his arms and onto one of his hands. I would be lying if I said I didn’t drool a little.
I was about halfway done with my meal when a woman entered our private booth, greeting everyone with smiles and waves. I thought she was the manager checking up on us, or a new waitress recommending desserts, but she took the seat right across from me and that’s when the entire room began to spin.

“Hi, everyone!” Her voice was sweet and cheery, with the slightest hint of an accent tingling throughout. “I’m Cassandra.” God, she rolled that r like no one’s business. “I’m so happy to meet all of you.”


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