I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, or so I’ve been told. But I didn’t see it that way. Sure, I was lucky enough to have everything that I ever asked for. Instead of going to Disney World on family vacations, I went to places like Tahiti, Hawaii, and Australia. Unlike other kids, I didn’t have to scrimp and save for a car; I was handed one, and not just any car; an Audi A5 Cabriolet Convertible. To some, that may seem a little extravagant but in the affluent Connecticut community that I grew up in, it was the norm. My dad was a very successful orthopedic surgeon who had worked hard to make that lifestyle a reality. I tried to repay him by being the “perfect daughter”. I had just finished up my third year at Columbia University, studying pre-law with a 4.0 GPA. Yes, my life couldn’t get any better. Unfortunately to some, I came with a prepackaged label of “Stuck Up Bitch” which was so far from the truth. I didn’t date many guys. In fact, I was still a virgin at twenty-one years old. I didn’t have time for any of it with keeping up with my studies. The guys that would ask me out and that I had turned down would have a few choice names to call me behind my back, but I never really paid attention. They were just battling with the sting of rejection and their own insecurities. The truth was that none of them interested me. To me, they were only looking for one thing; the one thing that I wasn’t going to give away to just anyone. So I mainly kept to myself, keeping busy with classes and volunteering my time at a center for women and children of domestic violence. To the rest of the world, I may have been Becca Rose Keeton, spoiled rich girl, but to me I was just a normal twenty one year old girl whose family just happened to have money. I tried to remain as grounded as possible. Unlike most girls that I grew up with, I didn’t look down on other people for what they didn’t have, I saw everyone equally.
I raised my head from my laptop when I heard a knock on my bedroom door. “Hey, Mom!” I said as she walked in and took a seat on my bed.
“Hey Sweetie. Can I just tell you how happy I am to have you back for the summer?”
“Me too, and I am super excited that Lynn Barrett wants me to meet with her on Monday when she gets back to spearhead one of the children’s charities that she’s trying to start up.” Lynn Barrett’s husband was another doctor in my father’s practice. In addition to being co-workers, they were also very good friends with my parents. They were very well known in our community for all of their charity work. I grew up with their son, Ashton and although I admired his mother for all of the time that she had put into various charities, her son was a complete asshole.
“You absolutely amaze me, Becca!” My mother smiled and took my face in her hands. “You have such a bright future ahead of you. You’re beautiful, talented, as smart as a whip, and have the biggest heart I know. If I wasn’t your mother, I’d be a little jealous.” We both began to giggle. “Now, if some of that could just rub off on your brother.”
“He’ll grow up, someday….maybe,” I joked.
My brother, Jordan, and I couldn’t be more opposite if we tried. Physically, there was no doubt that we were brother and sister. We both had brown hair and the same crystal blue eyes. My mother would say that whenever she was missing the Caribbean she would just look into our eyes because they were the same color as the ocean. As much as I hated to admit it, Jordan was just like all those boys that I did my best to avoid back in high school. He thought he was God’s gift to girls and even at seventeen I was beginning to see how he would manipulate them, and I hated it.
“Your father and I are going out for dinner when he gets home. What are your plans?”
“Krista asked me to go to this party with her.” I didn’t dare tell her that it was at Ashton’s house or she would have been on the phone with his parents in a heartbeat. Even though I hated Ashton and could care less if he got into trouble, I didn’t want to look like a tattle tale to everyone else. It was bad enough that I was already labeled as a goody good. My mother raised her eyebrow at me in disapproval. “What?” I asked.
“You’re not going to be drinking and driving?”
“Mom! Seriously! I think you know me better than that!”
“I’m sorry, Honey. Yes, I do.” She kissed me on the forehead, before getting up from my bed. “Have fun.”
“Thanks, you too!”
We pulled into Ashton’s driveway. His parents were away for the weekend and Ashton was taking full advantage of the opportunity. I normally didn’t go to parties, but my best friend, Krista, begged me, and since I hadn’t spent time with her in months with both of us being away at school, I couldn’t say no. To say that Ashton Barrett wasn’t one of my most favorite people was an understatement. He had always been relentless with asking me to go out with him, even though each time I would shoot him down. He was a total snob, jock, and womanizer all rolled into one. All the girls fell at his feet, but I could see right through him. According to my mother, he had failed out of his last semester at Fairfield University because he was doing too much partying. There had always been rumors surrounding him regarding drug use, which only added to my aversion to him. It was wall to wall people when we walked through the double doors and into the marble tiled grand foyer. Half of the people I had never even seen before. My eyes instantly focused on the guy laughing away with Ashton. He was nice looking, no doubt. Normally, I wasn’t instantly attracted to people based on physical characteristics alone but something about this dark haired stranger made me think differently for the moment. Even from across the room I could see his well-defined muscles in his arms and chest through his form fitting tee shirt, making me stop and stare a little longer.
“Hello! Earth to Becca,” Krista said, waving her hand in front of my face.
“Oh, I’m sorry. What’s up?” I asked, breaking myself from my trance.
“Were you just checking out that guy with Ashton?” Krista grinned.
“What? No!” I played it off as best as I could.
“Well, well, well, the beautiful ladies finally showed up, now all the rest of these bitches can go home!” Ashton said as he approached us with a red plastic cup in his hand. Ashton Barrett was by no means ugly on the outside. He was a pretty boy, who had been spoiled his whole life and took advantage of his parent’s money. Any redeeming physical traits that he may have exhibited were immediately erased as soon as he opened his mouth. He moved closer to me and whispered in my ear, “So, beautiful girl, are you finally gonna give it up to me tonight?” I cringed at his warm breath that reeked of alcohol on my neck and pushed him away. He held his hands up in defense when two of his friends began to laugh at my reaction. “Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying?” He tried playing it off like he wasn’t bothered as he walked away, but I could tell that I had majorly bruised that huge ego of his.
Less than an hour into the party and I was ready to go home. This was so not my thing. I wasn’t into drinking and acting like a complete idiot. I stood around, feeling out of place as I searched for Krista, who had disappeared. I was praying that she didn’t go up in the bedroom with Jack VanNess, another one of Ashton’s high school buddies. I noticed him flirting with her all night. He ranked right up there with Ashton as far as assholes went. Ashton stood on the landing of his double staircase and got everyone’s attention. I could tell he was totally wasted as he swayed back and forth.
“I have something to say!” he shouted, getting everyone to quiet down somewhat and look up at him. “I just want to thank everyone for coming to what will be my first epic party of the summer.”
“Go Ashton! You’re the man!” a few kids shouted.
“Tonight we are privileged by a very special guest.” His glassy eyes stared into mine. “The ice princess, dick tease, Becca Keeton has honored us by lowering herself to be here tonight. Some of you may remember her from high school. Well, college hasn’t changed her much; she still has that same stick up her ass!” I felt my face heat up and was fairly certain that I was blushing when everyone began to laugh. I hate him! “So since she still won’t give up any of that sweetness, which one of you ladies wants to join me in my bedroom and take care of my throbbing dick? No need to fight over me, ladies, I’ll take more than one.”
I felt the tears welling in my eyes as I pushed through the droves of people and out the front door. I needed to find Krista so I could go home, but there was no way in hell that I was going back into that house.
I walked down the driveway and leaned up against Krista’s car, hoping that she would come out soon. I ran my hand through my hair and stared up at the starlit sky. As much as I loved being home, I missed school and being out of this pretentious town and all of the uppity people that came with it.
“Hey, are you okay?” I jumped at the voice that had snuck up behind me.
I wiped away the tear that was rolling down my face when I turned around to find the cute guy that Ashton had been talking to when we had first arrived, approaching me. “Oh yeah, I’m good.” I smiled, trying to play it off. He smiled back and I got butterflies in my stomach upon noticing that he was even cuter closer up.
“So do you like looking up at the stars?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do!” I said in defense, not knowing if he was being sincere or making fun of me for it.
“No need to take offense, I just thought I was the only one that liked star gazing.”
I let my guard down a little and gave him a slight smile. “In case you didn’t hear Ashton’s little speech, I’m Becca Keeton. The ice princess or dick tease, take your pick.” I extended my hand to him.
“I’m Drew Bryant,” he said, gently shaking my hand back.
“So, are you a friend of Ashton’s?”
“Yeah, college buddies.” I nodded and stared up into his deep blue eyes. “Why don’t you come back inside?” he asked.
“Umm….no. I think I’ll just wait out here for my friend.”
He leaned up against the car and stood next to me. “So, Becca, tell me about yourself.”
“Well, you already know that I’m a stuck up bitch.”
He shook his head and smiled. “I don’t believe one word of it.”
“Well, that’s very kind of you. But you’re going to take my word over your buddy’s?”
“I got a mind of my own. Plus, I’m really good at reading people and I can tell you’re not.”
“Well, thank you.” God, his personality is just as nice as his appearance. Still, I kept my guard up. He could just be a really sweet talker who was hoping to get lucky. I didn’t trust any of these guys, especially one that was good friends with Ashton. “So what’s your story?” I asked.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, you obviously go to Fairfield but where are you originally from?”
“California. What about you?” he asked with a smile.
“Born and raised in this uppity town my whole life; finally got away from it three years ago when I went off to college. Columbia. Pre-law.”
He raised his eyebrows as if he were impressed. “So, how long have you known Ashton?”
I rolled my eyes. “Too long. His parent’s and mine are really good friends. His dad and mine are both in the same medical practice. His parents are such nice people, I just can’t believe they have a son like that.” I placed my hand over my mouth to stop talking. “Oops sorry, don’t mean to be talking about your buddy like that.”
He shook his head and chuckled. “Nah, it’s all good. So –”
“There you are!” Krista shouted, cutting Drew right off.
“Oh hey!” I smiled.
She looked at me and then at Drew. “Well, I was going to see if you were ready to leave, but if –”
“Nope, I’m ready!” I said without hesitation.
Although Drew seemed like a nice guy, I was still a little leery. Yes, he was a total cutie that unleashed the butterflies inside of me, but I was sure under that sweet boy next door exterior there was a hidden agenda somewhere that included: Score with Becca Keeton….and that was a line item that I wasn’t allowing anyone associated with Ashton Barrett to ever check off.