Once we reached Colorado, I met up with my parents at the Baggage Claim room.
“You’re riding in a separate limo.” Mom said coldly.
“Great.” I replied just as coldly. Okay, I know they’re my parents, but at that moment, they were like complete strangers to me. I never felt more alone.
Two hours later, I was at our six-story (the basement was the first and the attic was the last), 30 bed and 32 bath house. Or as I called it, my prison, for the next two years. The limo driver opened my door and said, “Your parents had to go to a business meeting. They said they’d be back later, so for me to take your bags to your room, which is the biggest room on the fifth floor .”
Great, farther away from my parents the better! “Fifth floor it is.”
“Yes, Miss Gibson.” As he grabbed my bags he followed me into the house and to the elevator. Yes, we had an elevator and every upgrade appliance know to man. At least the house is better than the one in San Francisco.
I sat in my room for the following four hours. I noticed they had everything shipped and set up the way I use to have it. Well, they did something right. Now, you have to understand, when your parents care more for the company business, than they do about you, life is pretty much hell. And there is no getting out of it.
hotchik411326: drea I need help
luvzcookies01: that bad?
hotchik411326: worse, I start skool Monday & its gonna suck
luvzcookies01: hows the house
hotchik411326: ok bigger than our old one… I live on 5th floor
luvzcookies01: 5th floor? how many floors r there?
luvcookies01: well at least ur away from ur prents
luvzcookies01: I know we just started talking but Brandon just came over and tonights the night
hotchik411326: night for wat?
luvxcookies01: u know for IT
hotchik411326: oh well good luck and congrats
luvxcookies01: thanx bye
luvzcookies01 has signed off.
I closed my laptop and just stared at my ceiling waiting for my parents to return. When my parents finally did come home, they didn’t even bother to ask if I was hungry, or if I was okay. They didn’t even say they loved me. That night I truly believed I was going to seriously hate this new life. But that was before I started Falcon High.
“Are you Melanie Gibson?” Mr. Hopkins, the principal, asked when I went into his office Monday morning.
“Yes, sir.” The one thing my parents did teach me was that manners matter most.
“It is a pleasure to have you attend our school. I’m sure you’ll fit in just fine.”
As he led me out of his office and to my first period English class, I muttered under my breath, “I seriously doubt that.”
“Mr. Peterson, this is Melanie Gibson. Her father owns Gibson Corporations.”
“Well, then it is certainly a pleasure to have you in my class.” Mr. Peterson remarked.
Everyone in the class was just dead staring at me. I couldn’t have felt more out of place. Yet there was one guy who looked oddly familiar, I just couldn’t put a finger on how I knew him. After that class came Trigonometry HP, AP Euro, Chemistry AP, Lunch, Shakespeare Tragedy, and French III. Lunch I spent alone, walking around campus, memorizing where my classes are. Ever since English, I couldn’t get that guy out of my head. It was weird.
It was a week later, when I learned who that mysterious guy was. It was the end of the day and I had just come out of French, when he approached me. “Hey.”
“Hey.” I said sweetly.
“I guess we weren’t just two people, now were we?”
“Well, the last time we met, I didn’t think we’d see each other again, but here you are.”
“I know you?” I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t recognize him at all.
“Not really. I’m a TA in your English class, but I met you on the plane form. Don’t you remember?” I shook my head. “I’m Jeremy Sherwood.”
“I’m sorry, I still don’t remember.”
“Oh. Maybe if we talked a little, you’d remember.”
“As tempting as that offer is,” I said a little too sarcastically, “I’m going to have to take a reign check. I have to get home.” It was like magic. My limo seemed to appear just as I had said that.
“Well, Melanie Gibson, I will be seeing you.”
I walked away and entered the limo thinking about what he just said. “I will be seeing you.” He didn’t say “I hope to see you around” or “See you around?.” He said “I will be seeing you.” What did he mean by that? Is he like a stalker or something? God, I hope he isn’t like Mr. Hill or Mr. Whiggins. How old is he anyway? Older than me that’s for sure, but younger than Mr. Hill. Did I see him on the plane? No, it couldn’t have been him; that guy on the plane looked a lot older. But his name does sound familiar. Jeremy Sherwood. But it probably sounds familiar, because I heard some kid in my English class that first day call him Mr. Sherwood.
Sure enough I did see him and he saw me. Every day in my English class, there he was. He’d always walk by my desk and whisper, “Do you remember now.” I’d shake my head, wishing I did remember. See Jeremy is attractive. He’s about seven or eight inches taller than me, athletically built, black slicked back hair, golden hazel brown eyes, and an exotic golden tan.
About two weeks after that, during lunch, Larry says very flirtatiously, “So, Mel, do you have a boyfriend, you forgot to tell us about?”
“No.” I said uninterestedly.
“Are you sure?”
“Oh wait. You know there is this guy he’s like so hot, and I gave him a quickie once and now we’re together.” I said very sarcastically.
“You know, you could dump him for me.”
“Wait, you think I was serious?”
“Well, you said you hooked up with a guy-”
“I was being sarcastic.”
“Oh. So you don’t have a boyfriend?”
“Do you want one?”
“No! Geez Larry, you’re a cool guy, but I didn’t want you when I first met you, and I don’t want you now.”
“You didn’t have to be so rude about it.”
Evelyn came to my rescue by saying, “Larry, she’s not a skank. And if she was, I doubt she’d be with you.”
John and I started laughing, because she was right. If I was a skank, I definitely wouldn’t be with Larry.
Larry, changing the subject says, “Did you hear, Mr. Sherwood is seriously interested in a sophomore.”
Evelyn, very interested by this says, “Who?”
“Why do you care?” John asks, though I think he already knew the answer.
“Well, hon, though you’re highly attractive, Mr. Sherwood is so much hotter than you.”
It was Larry’s turn to laugh at John.
“How old is he anyway?” I asked.
“Turned twenty-one in October.” Evelyn said.
“Well, who is it?” John said questioningly, with that look that said It better not be my girl.
“Don’t know.” I just heard some people talking about a girl who has made Mr. Sherwood get very horny.” Larry said smirking mischievously at me.
“Larry, why are looking at me like that?”
“‘Cuz word has it that, when he walks by your desk during English, he gets hard.”
“And who would know that?”
“Mel, you’d be surprised at how many girls look at Mr. Sherwood package. And it was kind of hard not to notice the enormous bulge in his pants. But, what I really want to know, is what does he whisper to you as he passes by?”
“Yeah, what does he whisper?” Evelyn and John said in unison.
“Nothing.” I said, as my cheeks suddenly became very pink.
“He obviously said something, ‘cuz you’re blushing.” Larry said, yet again smirking at me.
“All he said if I remembered him, because apparently we met on the plane that I took over here. Okay?” I said quickly
“So do you remember him?” Evelyn insisted.
“Does that matter?”
“Yes it does.”
“I don’t know, okay? I might.” I replied remembering the man I sat next to on the plane.
Before I had time to reply, the late bell rung for the second time. Saved by the bell. Yes!
Winter break came seven short days later. And you know what that meant. I was about to spend every waking hour with my parents or so I thought. But that was before my parents told me that they were going away for a while since their anniversary was Christmas Eve. On Christmas day around twelve-thirty, I was on the second floor in the living room when…
Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong. Ding-Dong.
“I’m coming! I’m coming.” Please don’t be Mr. Hill or Mr. Whiggins. Please don’t be-
“Please call me Jeremy,” He said gazing intently into my eyes. God, I love his eyes.
“Er, Jeremy, you come bearing gifts?” I asked looking to the box in his hands.
“Oh, right. Here,” he said handing me the box.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Open it, but open it inside. It is freezing out here.”
“Uhh, sure, come in.” I stepped aside to let him in. As he passed his crotch gently touched mine.
Once I closed the door, I beckoned him, “This way.” I led us to the right of the door and into the living room where several couches sat.
“You’re house is amazing.” He said looking up at the stairs that circled the living room.
“Thank you.” I said as I took my seat on a couch. He did the same as he sat beside me.
“So are you going to open it?”
“Oh, yeah.” I had almost forgotten that he gave me a gift. When I opened it, it was a golden locket. On the inside was a quote, “Once you learn to let all your guards down, trust with everything in you, and surrender your heart, you have learned to love.”
“It’s beautiful, thank you.” I said almost on the verge of tears.
“Just not as beautiful as you.” As he said this, I became a deep shade of red. So, I am the girl he wants. “Here let me put it on you.” He said taking the locket from me and motioned for me to turn around. As he was putting it on me his hands were cold against my warm skin. It sent a shiver down my spine. I turned around when he was done.
“It looks stunning on you.”
“I forgot to ask, are your parents here.”
“No, they’re away.”
“So, if I hadn’t come along you’d be spending Christmas alone?”
“Pretty much, yeah.”
“Well, since I’m here what do you say we make ourselves a Christmas dinner?”
“I don’t know. I mean I was kind of planning on just having pizza,” I said looking down. It was kind of weird having him in my home- I take that back, it is not a home, it is just a house- but I didn’t want to be alone on Christmas either.
“Oh come on. It’ll be better than having pizza.”
“Why don’t we go out and buy the traditional Christmas meal?” He said as he rose and held out his arm.
Placing my hand on his forearm I said, “There’s no need. I have the food in the fridge.”
“If you had the necessary items in the fridge, why were you going to have pizza?”
“I didn’t want to eat Christmas dinner alone.” I answered his question with bitterness. See, although I was flattered he came by, I still wanted my parents there, even if we were fighting. And I’m pretty sure that my tone made it obvious.
“Well then show me to the kitchen, and we’ll get started.”
“Okay,” I said; my voice a little softer. I led him to the kitchen that was to the left of the front door. The problem with having a huge mansion: everything is so far away from each other.
He motioned for me to sit on the stool at the overly large island counter. “Do your parents really cook in here?”
“They haven’t yet, but that’s probably because they’re never here.”
“Oh, so then what do you eat?”
“I cook for myself.”
“Well not today.”
“What? But I thought you said ‘we’ as in the both of us.”
“Yes, but I want to cook for you. Now, you just sit there, while I create an amazing meal.”
I did what I was told. But I was going to sit in silence. “You sat in 32A didn’t you? You were the man sitting next to me.”
“Yes, but I thought you didn’t remember.”
“I didn’t until a couple days ago.”
“I’m the girl everyone says you’re into, aren’t I?”
“Everyone says that?”
“Well yeah. But that doesn’t answer my question.”
“You know, you should go freshen up, put something a little fancy on so we can have a formal meal.”
I wanted to protest, but the look he gave me told arguing was going to do anything so I just exited the kitchen and went up to my room. I took a twenty minute shower, blow dried and straightened my hair, which took an hour and a half, did my make-up- black eye-liner and mascara, light blue eye-shadow with a dark blue one above that, red lipstick, pink lip-gloss, and a little blush- which took another hour, because I was trying to decide how I should do it, then I put on a black dress that went four inches above my thighs, V-necked, and a bare back, then I put on the locket he gave me, with my long straight hair behind my shoulders, and a pair of strappy black high heels, that put me at 5”9’- about four inches shorter than Jeremy- I actually looked over eighteen.
I was coming down the stairs when I saw Jeremy waiting for me. “Shouldn’t you be in the kitchen cooking?”
“The turkey needs about two hours more to cook, and everything else is already cooked, wrapped up, and stored away.”
“You look, absolutely beautiful.” He said as I stood before him. He spent a couple seconds on each part of me: neatly straightened hair, dark blue eyes, red plump lips, the gold locket the rested between my breasts, my breasts, my nicely tan thighs and legs, and my red glossed toenails. After he looked me up and down, he gaze rested on my eyes.
“Thank you.” Though older men have always been attracted to me, I was not affected by their declarations about my beauty, but Jeremy’s words went straight to my heart.
“Shall we?” He held out his arm once more, and I gladly took it. “I thought we’d take a walk outside while the food is cooking.”
“I’d like that.” I can’t possibly have a relationship with him. Can I? No, of course not. But, I can at least enjoy spending Christmas with him.
We were headed to the park about ten minutes away from my house. And it was absolutely freezing. Noticing how cold I was, he placed his left arm around my waist and his right arm on my shoulder. I felt the heat coming off his body and it quickly warmed me. We walked in silence the whole way there. We both looked ahead of us, lost in our own thoughts. But every once in a while we’d look at each other and smile. It melted my heart.
Once we reached the park, it started snowing and there were couples riding horse carriages and snuggling together beneath the blanket set out. One approached us, and the horseman asked gently, “Would you two lovebirds like a ride on this glorious Christmas day.” He was an older gentleman.
Jeremy looked over at me and replied to the man, “Yes, thank you.” As we boarded the carriage, Jeremy asked, “Sir, how much does it cost for an hour?”
The elderly gentleman replied, “For you two, nothing.”
“Sir, you have to let me pay something.” Jeremy insisted.
“It’s Christmas, think of it as my gift to you.”
“Well then, think of this as my gift to you,” Jeremy said handing the man a hundred dollar bill. Well, he’s definitely wealthy.
“Oh, thank you sir.” The man exclaimed with gratefulness in his eyes.
About ten minutes passed before we said anything to each other. We just sat there: his arm around my shoulder, my head leaning into his chest. I felt his chest rumble when he said, “So, is this better than spending Christmas alone?”
“This is way better. But can I ask you a question?”
“I think you already did,” he said in a playful tone, “but you can ask anything else you want.
“Umm, what is it exactly that you do?”
“I don’t follow.”
“I mean, you just handed the horsemen a hundred dollar bill, you can’t be making that much as a TA. Can you?”
“No,” he said with a laugh, “My father owns Gates Incorporated, though it is not out actual surname, but my mom’s maiden name. And I guess you can say he let me inherit part of my trust fund now.”
“Wait, you father owns Gates Incorporated?” I said disgustedly.
“Yes, but why does that matter?”
“Because my father is your father’s lead competitor. Your father’s company is the reason why we moved here in the first place.” I said bitterly. “So, what? Am I just a prize, a scandal to up your father’s points in the polls? First my parents use me to up their points in the polls by doing advertisements and associating me with some men who have strong influence over the polls. And just when I start to trust him, when I start to feel something, he uses me, just like everyone else. I’m not some toy they can use whenever they want.
“Melanie, I’m sorry you had to move from your home town, but that’s not my fault. And you’re not a scandal to up my father’s points in the polls.”
“How am I supposed to believe that? My whole life I’ve been used. I thought I could trust you. I thought that after all you’ve done for me and the way you pursue me, that you at least cared for me, a little.” I cried
“Melanie, I do care for you, and I know what you mean by being used your whole life.”
“How can you possibly know how I feel?” I said wanting to cry.
“Because I moved here two weeks before you did. I, like you, grew up in San Francisco; I went to high school there and two and a half years of college. Yes, my dad’s headquarters were always in Colorado, but my mom and I resided in San Francisco. When I turned eighteen my mom moved over here with my dad; I stayed behind to go to college there, but when my dad told me your father was moving his headquarters and his family here, he insisted I move over here. And as much as I hate being part of their so called ‘competition’, he is my father, and he and my mom are the only family I have.”
Considering I hadn’t cried since that night back in San Francisco, tears had been bottling themselves up inside me. And at that moment, I couldn’t hold them in any longer. “At least your family actually wants you,” I said as tears started spilling out.
“What do you mean?” He asked gently.
“My family doesn’t want me!”
“That’s not true. I’m sure they love you.” He said looking over my face searching for something.
“Oh yeah, well why didn’t they believe me when I told them two of their most trusted employees almost tried to rape me!”
“What? What do you mean tried to rape you?”
“Mr. Hill… and Mr.Whiggins…, they’re like… family…to my parents,” I said in between sobs. “The night my dad… told me we’re moving… they came into my room… and made the effort….. to try and… rape me!”
“Did they? Rape you?”
“No… I threatened them…. told them I’d scream really loud… and I’d tell my dad…but before they left… Mr. Whiggins backhanded me… twice…”
“What did your parents say when you told them?”
“That they couldn’t have… done such a thing because…because they were too good for that.”
“Have they tried anything since then?”
“Did you tell anyone else?”
“You need to tell the police-”
“No,” I cut him off, “I don’t need that right now, it’s too much!”
“Okay, okay.” He said pulling me close to him. I cried uncontrollably into him; he just held me there whispering in my ear, “Everything’s going to be okay. I won’t let them ever hurt you again.” About ten minutes or so passed before he spoke to the horseman, “Sir, can you take us to 21345 Tenth Ave.?”
“Certainly.” The man replied, with concern in his voice.
“When we get home, I’m going to finish up dinner, and I want you to just relax, okay?” He said to me, cupping my face in his hands.
“They will never lay hands on you again. Do you understand me? I will protect you and keep you safe.”
“Thank you.” I whispered, as he leaned down and kissed me. I parted my lips, slightly, and his tongue began dancing with mine. I could taste the wine he must have drunken in the kitchen. His masculine scent filled my body; he smelt of red wine and man. My heart pounded in my chest. I’ve been kissed before, but never like this. I pulled away gazing deep into his eyes. Minutes passed, though it felt like hours. Before I knew it, we reached my house. He got out first, and then held out his hand to help me down.
As we walked in his said to me, “Melanie, I’m so sorry that they hurt you, and I know it’s hard for you to trust me, but please believe me when I say that from here on out I will always protect you. I swear to you, no one will ever hurt you again.” He leaned down to kiss me once more. It wasn’t as long as the previous one, but it was just as great.
Shortly after the kiss, we ate the dinner he prepared. It tasted a lot better than any Christmas meal I’d ever eaten. I told him about me and my life back in San Francisco, my likes and dislikes. He told me his. He is an only child; he has an aunt and uncle on both his parents’ sides and both his grandparents on either side are deceased. He had a serious girlfriend back in California, but they broke up because the distance was going to be an issue, and they both knew it. That I understood, because physical separation often leads to emotional separation, and either way, the relationship fails. He is in fact, 6”3’ and his ethnicity is Scottish. He much enjoys playing football and he loves to swim. He’s very intelligent, but I already knew that.
It was around eleven-thirty when he left. “So, I should probably leave now,” He said glancing up at the clock that was placed on the wall above the dining table.
“I hope today was at least a decent day for you.”
“It was better that I could have ever imagined. Thank you so much.”
‘Oh, you’re welcome. But I have a confession. My intentions were kind of selfish; I came over here today to-” he paused searching for the right words to say “-subject myself to the pleasure of being with, I mean, around you.” He said grinning. In other words, he came over here hoping to get laid. Which, by the way he didn’t.
“Whatever your intentions were,” I shot a grin back at him, “I’m glad you came by.”
I walked him over to the door, before his kissed me one last time. “Goodnight, Melanie.”