Home > Four Years Later (One Week Girlfriend #4)(2)

Four Years Later (One Week Girlfriend #4)(2)
Author: Monica Murphy

“Which I can’t believe,” Fable says, causing me to look at her. Ah hell, she’s pissed. Her green eyes—which look just like mine—are full of angry fire and her mouth is screwed up so tight, I’m afraid she’s going to spit nails. “You’ve always done so well in English. Once upon a time, you actually liked to write.”

Once upon a time, I had all the hours in the world to write. Well, not really, but I could carve out enough time to get the words down. It was therapeutic. I copied Drew at first with it. The guy used to always scribble a bunch of nonsense that made my sister look like she wanted to faint, and I wanted to do the same. Not faint or make my sister faint, but touch people with my words.

So I became a carbon copy of Drew Callahan. I played football, I wrote, I studied, I tried my best to do the right thing. I’m a little more outgoing than Drew, though. Girls are my thing. So are my friends. And beer. Oh, and weed.

All of that equals not doing the right thing, despite my intentions.

I tried to kick the drug habit, as they call it. And I did. But then Mom came back around, and now I have a smoking buddy.

That is all sorts of f**ked up.

“I don’t have any time,” I say with a shrug.

“Right. Working a job you don’t even need, you little shit.” Fable hisses the last word at me, and it stings as if she’s lashed at my skin with a whip. Drew settles his hand on her arm, sending her a look that says “chill the hell out.”

So she does. He has that sort of effect on her. The two of them together are so perfect for each other it’s kind of disgusting. I miss them. I’m alone, adrift in this town I grew up in, going to school here because this is what I wanted. Independence from them.

Now I wish I’d moved with them. Gone to Stanford like they originally wanted me to. Well, like Fable wanted me to. Drew told her not to push. The more she pushes, the more I pull away.

And I did. With the Stanford thing, with the move-in-with-my-sister-and-her-husband-in-the-big-ass-mansion thing. All of it, I said no to.

I’m one stupid ass**le aren’t I?

“We’ve found you a tutor,” the counselor says, pretending as if my sister’s outburst hadn’t happened. “You’re going to meet with her in an hour.”

“I have to be at work in an hour,” I start, but Fable butts in.

“No, you don’t. You’re on probation.”

“Probation from work?” I turn to her, incredulous. What the hell is she talking about?

“Until you get your shi—your act together, you’re not working. You need to focus. On school more than anything,” Fable says. When I open my mouth to protest, she narrows her eyes. I shut the hell up. “They’re benching you on the team, too. You need to move fast before you lose everything. I mean it.”

Shit.

Chelsea

The classroom is quiet and smells like old books and chalk dust, even though I bet there hasn’t been a chalkboard in here for years. We’re meeting in one of the original buildings on campus, where the air is thick with generations of students past and everything is drafty and old, broken down and historic looking.

I feel very shiny and brand new, and that’s a feeling I haven’t had in a while. I’d almost forgotten what it was like. I got my hair cut yesterday—splurged for the blow-dry treatment, too, so it falls in perfect waves just past my shoulders. Waves I don’t normally bother to make happen since my hair is boringly straight. I’m wearing a new pair of jeans and a cardigan sweater I picked up at Old Navy yesterday with the 30-percent-off coupon they emailed me. Mom would be proud of my newly found thrifty ways.

I don’t have a choice. Being frugal has become a way of life.

Now I’m waiting for the new student I’m going to tutor for the rest of the semester. It’s already October, so we don’t have much time to turn his grades around; not that I’m worried. I’m good at my job. So good, I get the tough cases, and supposedly this one is extra tough.

I’ve been a tutor since I was a freshman in college, and considering I graduated high school over a year early and I’m now a junior, that’s going on three years. I have a lot of experience. I’m not bragging when I say I’m smart. I’m what some people might call a prodigy.

More like I’m too smart for my own good.

All I know about the guy I’m going to tutor is that he’s a football player and he’s failing English. Considering I don’t pay attention to any of the sports teams at my college, I have no idea who he is beyond his name. My first instinct is that he’s a punk with a chip on his shoulder who hates the idea of being tutored by little old me.

Whatever. I don’t let it bother me. I’ll simply collect my check every two weeks and send what I can to Mom. I’ve dealt with plenty of punk athletes in the past who are resentful that they have to do schoolwork in the first place. More than one whined at me in the past, “Who cares about my grades? I just wanna play ball.”

They think they can get by on playing ball and that’s it. Doesn’t matter what ball it is, either. Football, baseball, basketball … if they’re good at it, they think they’re invincible. They believe it’ll take them so far they’ll never need anything else.

Relying on one thing and one thing only for your happiness, your expenses, your entire life, doesn’t work. Mom is living proof of that.

So am I.

Glancing at my phone, I see my new student is almost ten minutes late. I’m only giving him fifty minutes, then. I have to go to my other job after this and don’t have time to wait for him. I work some nights and weekends at a crappy little diner downtown and I don’t really like it there. The boss is an arrogant jerk and the customers are grouchy. But the tips are decent, and I need whatever dollars I can get.

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