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She’s right. She’s always fucking right. “I’ll come on Wednesday and stay until Sunday.”

“I have classes and work.”

“It sounds like you don’t want me to come.” My paranoia seeps through my already broken confidence.

“Of course I do. You know I do.”

I savor the words; fuck, I miss her so much.

“Are you home yet?” Tessa asks just as I turn off the ignition.

“Yes, I just got here.”

“I miss you.”

The sadness in her voice stops me in my tracks. “I miss you too, baby. I’m sorry—I’m going crazy without you, Tess.”

“I am, too.” She sighs, and it makes me want to apologize again.

“I’m a dumb-ass for not coming to Seattle with you in the first place.”

Coughing sounds through the speaker. “What?”

“You heard me. I’m not repeating it.”

“Fine.” She finally stops coughing as I step onto the elevator. “I know I couldn’t have heard you correctly anyway.”

“Anyway, what do you want me to do about Steph and Dan?” I change the subject.

“What can you do?” she quietly asks.

“You don’t want me to answer that.”

“Nothing, then, just leave them be.”

“She’s probably going to tell everyone about tonight and continue to spread the rumor about you and Zed.”

“I don’t live there anymore. It’s okay,” Tessa says, trying to convince me. But I know how much a rumor like this will hurt her feelings, whether she admits it or not.

“I don’t want to leave it alone,” I confess.

“I don’t want you getting in any trouble over them.”

“Fine,” I say, and then we exchange our good nights. She’s not going to agree to my ideas on how to stop Steph, so I’ll just drop it. I unlock the door to my apartment and walk in to find Richard sprawled out asleep on the couch. Jerry Springer’s voice fills the entire apartment. I turn the television off and go straight to my bedroom.

Chapter one hundred and eight


The entire morning I’m dead on my feet. I don’t remember walking into my first class, and I begin to wonder why I even bother.

When I walk past the administration building, Nate and Logan are standing at the bottom of the steps. I pull my hood up and pass them by without a word. I have to get the hell away from this place.

In a split-second decision, I turn back around and take the steep flight of stairs up to the front of the building. My father’s secretary greets me with the fakest smile I’ve seen in a while.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m here to see Ken Scott.”

“Do you have an appointment?” the woman sweetly asks, knowing damn well that I don’t. Knowing damn well who I am.

“Obviously not. Is my father in there or not?” I gesture to the thick wooden door in front of me. The fogged glass in the center of it makes it hard to tell if he’s inside.

“He’s in there, but he’s on a conference call at the moment. If you have a seat, I’ll—”

I walk past her desk and go straight to his door. When I turn the knob and push it open, my father’s head turns my way, and he calmly raises a finger to ask me to give him a moment.

Being the polite gentleman that I am, I roll my eyes and take a seat in front of his desk.

After another minute or so, my father returns the phone to its base and rises to his feet to greet me. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

“I wasn’t expecting to be here,” I admit.

“Is something wrong?” His eyes move to his closed door behind me and back to my face.

“I have a question.” I rest my hands on his almost maroon cherrywood desk and look up at him. Dark patches of stubble are visible on his face, making it obvious that he hasn’t shaved in a few days, and his white button-down shirt is slightly wrinkled at the cuffs. I don’t think I’ve seen him wearing a wrinkled shirt since I moved to America. This is a man who comes to breakfast in a sweater vest and pressed khakis.

“I’m listening,” my father says.

The tension between us is abundant, but even so, I have to struggle to remember the searing hate that I once felt toward this man. I don’t know how to feel about him now. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive him completely, but holding on to all that anger toward him simply takes too much fucking energy. We’ll never have the relationship that he has with my stepbrother, but it’s sort of nice to know that when I need something from him, he usually tries his best to help. The majority of the time, his help doesn’t get me anywhere, but the effort is appreciated, somewhat.

“How hard do you think it will be for me to transfer to the Seattle campus?”

His brow rises dramatically. “Really?”

“Yes. I don’t want your opinion, I want an answer.” I make it clear that my sudden change of mind isn’t open for discussion.

He eyes me thoughtfully before answering. “Well, it would set your graduation back. You’re better off staying at my campus for the remainder of this semester. By the time you apply to transfer, register, and move to Seattle, it wouldn’t be worth the hassle and time . . . logistically speaking.”

I sit back against the leather chair and stare at him. “Couldn’t you help speed the process along?”

“Yes, but it would still put off your graduation date.”

“So basically I have to stay here.”