“Mario is your father?”
Her eyes narrowed at my question as if she had the right to be suspicious of me. “Do you know my father?”
“Not quite. His name came up few times.”
“Interesting.” She twirled her finger in her hair, feigning indifference. “About what?”
“This and that.”
“So are you going to tell me your name?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Because I hear you are a very special girl.”
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Don’t you want to know why?”
“Sure,” I answered impatiently. I had little interest in what she had to say. “Why?”
“Because it takes someone special to actually throw away cock as good as his.” She grabbed her receipt from the self-checkout machine at the same time I did and flounced from the store. I followed behind her at a slow pace hoping she would be gone by the time I exited the store.
When I finally did, it was in time to see her hop in the familiar black muscle car. The engine roared to life before speeding away, taking my stomach and heart with it.
* * *
“That bitch!” I watched Sheldon pace back and forth across the floor of her bedroom. Willow was curled around a pillow with me, rubbing my back. “Ugh. What a smarmy bitch,” she continued. I’d just finished telling them about my encounter with Diana at the store. “I knew she was no good.”
“Wait… You knew about her?”
A guilty flush spread over her skin as she sunk down on the bed. “Yes. I didn’t mean to keep it from you. It’s just that I’ve been so wrapped up in everything that happened with Keenan, I—”
I touched her hand to stop her. “It’s okay. I understand.”
Sheldon had just begun to come out of her shell, and I think it had everything to do with Keenan being released from the hospital a month ago. He hadn’t been back at school because of his lung. The patch on his lung was fragile at best, and the condition of his release required he stay in bed. I talked to him at least once a week, and according to him, anything was better than the hospital.
I wondered if Keiran still planned to go along with his idea to get Keenan a lung. It had been three months and nothing had happened. Finding out today that Keiran was still dealing with Mario, and even worse, babysitting his daughter, had me reeling.
“No, it’s not okay,” Sheldon’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “That wouldn’t be the way I would want to find out.”
“How long has she been staying with him?”
I felt my heart drop to my stomach, which twisted in pain. She was there when he was with me. Granted, we were only together for a week, but he laid claim to me long before.
“Yes, but I really don’t think he has touched her.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Other than the fact that he can’t stand her?”
I nodded. “Well, I think her and Quentin have history.”
“What? How?” This came from Willow, who had been silent until now.
Sheldon ran down the entire story of the day she had met Diana, and by the time she had finished, I was as stumped as I was when I met her.
“Well, you know what they say—if you lay down with dogs, you are sure to wake up with fleas.” I laughed at Sheldon’s apparent dislike for the girl who was intent on making sure she wasn’t liked. My laughter died when I thought of an idea.
“I think I know how to make myself feel better.”
“How?” Willow questioned suspiciously.
* * *
Rihanna’s S&M blasted from the speakers as I made my way to school the next morning with my plan fully formulated. I bounced in the seat to the beat of the music.
All day, I rehashed my plan over and over, and when lunch finally came, I was bouncing with vindictive excitement. I skipped the cafeteria altogether and made my way to the tree where Collin sat with his usual abundance of books.
He looked startled as he looked up at me. “H—hi.”
“I kind of have a favor to ask you.”
“Yes. I know we don’t know each other well and this may be wrong of me to ask but I’m pretty desperate.”
“What do you need?”
“Fleas?” He pushed his glasses up his nose and peered up at me. “Why?”
“Revenge,” I answered truthfully. He didn’t react. In fact, he barely looked bothered at all by my answer. Being picked on and ridiculed for the last four years probably stirred similar feelings a time or two.
“Well, it’s winter so they will be pretty hard to get…”
“But I bet you know how, don’t you?”
He reluctantly nodded and then took me by surprise when he asked, “What do I get in return?”
“What would you like?”
“Well… um.” He blushed and ducked his head, which gave me a pretty good idea of what he was thinking.
“I’m not paying for fleas with sex.”
His eyes widened when he looked back up. “No. Not sex. A kiss.”
“Yes. I’ve never kissed a girl before.”
I mulled it over and just as his face started to burn redder from embarrassment, I made my decision. “Sure. A kiss it is, but when and where I say. Deal?”