Authors: Rachel Van Dyken
Tags: #seaside, #rock star, #contemporary romance, #new adult
I got in the back seat and sent out a group text to Demetri and Alec.
If I die on the way to Seaside, give my surfboard to Nat.
So now I’m suicidal…
So you’re killing yourself on the way to Seaside?
I glanced up as the taxi driver got back onto the car, put it in reverse, then drive, then reverse, then of course laughed his ass off, wiping tears from his eyes, and started going — all without asking me which direction I was headed.
Getting in this cab is suicide
dude’s higher than Demetri used to be.
Holy shit, really? That’s bad!
Let the countdown into Hell begin! Oh, and you’re both jackasses.
Love you too, bro!
Have fun abstaining from sex!
Maybe the car will run into a ditch? Fingers crossed.
The car jolted. I almost dropped my phone as I gripped the worn leather seat in front of me.
“Dude…” The guy nodded. “Where we headed?”
“Hell,” I said crisply.
“Uh…” He nodded. “How do we get there?”
“It’s easy.” I formed my hand into a tight fist. “Just follow the road to Seaside.”
“Awesome.” He grinned.
“Stop talking,” I snapped.
I was an ass, what did I care? He could report me to the media all he wanted. My life was about to be over. Peter said he’d send me information on my
while I was in Seaside. The plan was that I would to stay for two months. Peter also suggested I fly under the radar, and that if I just so happened to be seen helping old ladies carry groceries and saving cats from trees, it couldn’t hurt.
I know what you’re thinking. Two months, Jaymeson? Anyone can do two months by the ocean. How spoiled can a person be?
Hold that thought while I take a giant-assed bite of rat poison. It’s
, for those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, let me lay it all out there, you know, put all my cards on the table, drop all the chips into the pile, freaking bleed until I have nothing left.
Seaside is small. Everyone knows everyone. It’s a huge tourist trap at least seven months out of the year. Lots of screaming children, lots of shops that sell shit that nobody needs, homemade ice cream and fudge that are aimed at making you so fat and happy you forget that the sun isn’t actually shining and that it is, in fact, raining.
They have surfing, but you literally have to wear the most expensive wet suit to escape having your balls fall off from the temperature of the water.
They have one movie theatre — it smells weird.
How do I know all of this? I spent a summer there filming a reality show with AD2 and about drowned myself in the ocean once I found out my mom and Demetri’s mom were not only one and the same, but that Alec had once upon a time made out with her. Gross, right? It gets worse. She tried to blackmail Alec with pictures of them together in order to get drug money — it turned into a whole
… it was dramatic to say the least.
The only positive about that summer was finding out I had a brother — and getting three more movie offers once the webisodes were finished.
So this place? Bad memories for me, lots of bad memories. On top of that, the last time I’d set foot on the beach, I’d kissed an innocent girl, laughed in her face, then asked that same innocent girl — aka the pastor’s daughter — if she’d like to have a drunken threesome with another girl who,
, wasn’t so innocent, and whose name I still can’t remember to this day.
Seaside was my Hell. It reminded me of the shitty person I was, because it reminded me of
. And it reminded me of what my mom became once money and fame destroyed her.
I leaned my head against the window and pulled up my Facebook. I needed a distraction. I was probably one of the only celebrities that actually tried to have a Facebook account that focused on my personal life. It was my first name and middle name, nobody had figured it out, and my pictures weren’t close ups. Most people on it were close friends and family who knew my secret and, of course, Demetri and Alec.
But I’d added
It was a knee jerk reaction. At first it was because I wanted to check up on her, make sure she was okay and all that.
And then it turned into more.
I started talking to her. Nothing crazy — just leaving random comments on her pictures and liking her status updates. You know, real crazy shit.
I know, I know, I need to get my head out of my ass. But it was too tempting. She was too tempting, and those damn wedding photos? I’d stared at those like a creepy stalker for hours.
I was almost surprised Dateline didn’t call me up — I truly mean it was hours, no exaggeration.
I’d take it to my grave.
For the most part I’d just commented on photos and posted on her timeline. But I’d never made actual contact. Holy crap I sounded like an astronaut exploring a foreign planet. Was she that terrifying to me? My thumb hovered over the message button. Without thinking, I clicked it and typed in her name,
She may hate me. But Jamie Hudson? She would love him. Maybe it was the crazy talking — or maybe Seaside was already starting to seep into my veins, making me do crazy shit I would normally pass on.
But, I still typed, I typed one word, I had no bloody clue that one word — would be my downfall.
My footsteps echoed across the empty hall as I set my purse on the counter and leaned against it.
I hated the sound of my own breathing. It reminded me that I was alone, that I had no friends, and that it was four in the afternoon on a Saturday and I would most likely be in bed by eight.
I almost screamed when my phone ringtone went off — it was AD2’s newest song. I listened for a few seconds as Demetri crooned, then I answered. “Hello?”
“How are you, beautiful?”
I laughed. “Dad, I’m good. Feeling awesome. Guess how many calories I burned today carrying boxes?”
“Order some pizza, drink some pop, eat sugar, sweetheart. Feed your inner monster, you know you want to.”
“This is why I love you.” I laughed. “What’s up?”
“Well…” Dad hesitated — he
hesitates. My stomach dropped. “Your mom got a phone call from your brothers in the Philippines. The orphanage needs a new roof. We decided to forgo our vacation in Seattle, fly down, help out as much as we can, and then fly back to the States in time to see your sister’s competition. We’ll take a rental car back.”
I was silent.
“Pris…” Dad breathed. “I’m sorry. I know you hate staying by yourself.”
“It’s fine.” I mean, he was doing charity work. How selfish could I be? So what if I was still afraid of fires and the boogey monster? Not a big deal. “Dad, you need to go. It’s the right thing to do. Plus, you and mom haven’t visited the orphanage in a really long time.” And I knew they missed my brothers, we called them my brothers, but technically we weren’t related. They visited twice a year, and in turn, my parents would visit them twice a year. They were missionary kids that had, at one point, lived with us when their parents were overseas.
“I knew I did good having you as a daughter.”
“You had nothing to do with it!” I laughed.
“Aww, sweetie, of course I did. When a mommy and daddy—”
“Bye, Dad!” I interrupted. “Stop traumatizing me.”
“Stay safe, sweetie. Oh, and Mom says to make sure to take your vitamins, eat your pie, and not talk to strangers on the Internet.”
I rolled my eyes. “Tell mom I just made friends with a sixty-year-old man who lives in England. He promised to make me a princess and said all I have to do is send him my social security number and five hundred dollars — I think I’m going to do it. I don’t want to die alone.”
“Make sure he gives you the crown first.”
“Always,” I said solemnly. “A girl has to see the goods first.”
He said something to my mom and then got back on the phone. “Your mother says to make good choices.”
“Tell her I’m fine.”
“Eat your vegetables. Don’t talk to strangers—”
“I’m getting off the phone now.”
“—guard your virtue!” Mom shouted.
The phone line went dead. I rolled my eyes and tossed it onto the counter. My parents were out of control. I loved them to pieces. It always seemed weird to be at the house without them, like it was haunted — dead. I shivered.
My Facebook alert went off.
I pulled out my phone and smiled.
I’d never met him, and the only reason I even added him was because his mutual friend list included Alyssa, Nat, Alec, and Demetri, so I assumed he was safe and not the type of guy to friend you on Facebook, leer at your pictures, and then try to kidnap you or convince you to meet him even though he
some sick sixty-year-old pervert.
I grinned, his name sounded hot but his pictures had been snapped too far away for me to see what he actually looked like. You know your life is pathetic when the only good thing you have going for you on a Saturday night is a stranger messaging you on Facebook.
You’re going to be my date for the evening it seems
He didn’t reply.
Oh crap! I’d been kidding! I always forgot that people don’t get humor when you’re on instant message. The alert went off making me almost drop my phone.
Great, I was needing something to look forward to.
I scrunched up my nose and replied:
You could say that. But, it’s not a big deal, I’m just glad you’re online.
Promise not to laugh?
No, besides you can’t hear me even if I do.
Ha ha, I guess that’s true.
I’m so lonely that I’m contemplating listening to AD2 while I drown my sorrows in wine.
No, a low point would be putting on Justin Bieber.
I’d be doing you a favor by shooting you.
As my friend, it’s your duty to inflict harm on my person if I ever stoop so low as to listen to Boyfriend.
I laughed out loud. He was funny. Why hadn’t we ever talked before? I grabbed a soda from the fridge and plopped onto the couch.
What are you doing?
I was kidding.
I laughed again and turned the phone to me and took a full picture of my face, with clothes on, then typed,
Gorgeous. Your hair’s longer than last time.
Uh, last time, creepy stalker man?
Ha Ha, the wedding pictures, Alec’s wedding to be exact, I wasn’t there but saw pictures.
Your hair’s longer. I like it.
I should have ended the conversation immediately — mainly because he was making my stomach do that swirly thing it does when a hot guy gives you a compliment and you realize that it actually means more than it should.
The alert went off again.
A picture of Jamie stared back at me, only it wasn’t of his head it was a picture of his hand in front of his face as he waved. All I could see was dark hair curling out from underneath a baseball hat and part of a tattoo peeking from underneath his hooded sweatshirt.
He could be some sixteen-year-old cousin to one of the guys and I would have no idea. I was just about to click out of the app when he messaged again.
Want to watch a movie?
You planning on moving to Oregon?
I prefer Malibu.
Didn’t all rock stars and friends of rock stars?
Then I don’t see how that’s possible.
Easy, love. You have Netflix right?
Pick out a movie and I’ll watch the same one.
Are you serious?
He couldn’t be serious. I mean, we’d never even met and now randomly he wants to watch a movie, but not really watch a movie with me? I guess it was better than doing nothing.
Biting my lip, I typed.
Fine, as long as it’s not a Jaymeson movie.
Got a thing against Brits?
No, just jerks.
He was a jerk to you.
The way he typed it, it wasn’t a question, almost like he was stating that Jaymeson was, in fact, a total jerk to me and hadn’t ever apologized.