Almost three weeks had passed by since I went to the Warehouse, and they were filled with frantic moments as I tried to move everything to my small, bright apartment and tried to figure out what to do next. I didn’t have to worry about not having an adult to deal with the serious business anymore, since Michelangelo and Rafael both counted as legal adults and decided to be my guardians when my parents weren’t around.
Michelangelo hadn’t really done anything other than help us move things into the apartment and moving furniture around, but Rafael handled every little thing efficiently. He determined how much money we were allowed to spend each month and for what, my bed time and everything in between. It was as if I hadn’t run away at all, but I liked it this way. I liked to know that someone cared about me.
Gabriella shared the one bedroom with me, and Rafael and Carlos slept on the couches in the living room. Brian, Olivia’s husband, had interrogated them when he found out they were going to live with me. He only let them stay when they flashed some money in front of his face, which meant that we just lost a good deal of the meager amount of money they’d saved up. There was barely any time to think about the mysterious guitarist either, as the beginning of school was looming closer by the day and I had no idea what to do. I was telling Liz my problem one day as we sat on the couch in the living room of the penthouse, eating cheese puffs as I was talking.
“I don’t know any of the schools here,” I was saying, nibbling nervously on a cheese puff. “And I’ve been homeschooled all of my life. What if they don’t like me there?”
“Don’t worry about it,” Liz said, relaxing. “You’ll just go to my school. I’ll show you and Carlos around. He is in high school, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, but he’s in tenth grade,” I replied.
“It’s okay. I have a thing for younger guys anyway.”
“What school is it, anyway?” I said, ignoring Liz’s comment. I did not want to go there.
“It’s this big snooty public school called Glenwood. Kind of looks like a castle, you know. Yuck, and it’s full of snobby rich kids, too.” she scoffed. She leaned forward and grabbed a bunch of cheese puffs, stuffing them into her mouth.
“Did someone say Glenwood?” Eric said, swinging into the apartment in his swim trunks. He was dripping wet, and he looked even tanner than the last time I saw him. It was impossible not to stare at him when he was shirtless. I blushed as he caught me in the act and flashed his white teeth into a sweet but cocky smile. Then he grabbed the bowl of cheese puffs from Liz, wolfing into it.
“Hey! I was eating that!” she exclaimed indignantly, swatting him with a couch pillow.
“Your loss,” Eric said.
“Pig,” Liz muttered under her breath. She slumped into the couch and crossed her arms, glaring at him. “And I was just telling Natalie before we were rudely interrupted, that I was going to show her around Glenwood if she wanted.”
“You’re going to Glenwood?” Eric said. “Sweet. You should hang out with me and my friends at lunch. It’ll be fun.”
“Aunt Olivia’s going to kill you for getting the carpet wet,” Liz said. Just as she observed, he was already leaving a puddle of water in the place that he was standing.
“I’ll go change clothes. See you guys later,” Eric said, disappearing into the hallway and leaving the bowl completely empty.
Olivia entered the room right after Eric left, hefting a large load of shopping bags onto the empty couch by me. She pointedly sighed and stared at Liz and me, pouting and trying to look helpless. She sighed again, slumping into an armchair.
“Shopping was absolutely horrible today,” she complained, fanning herself with her hands. “This is when I need a shopping buddy. Oh, if only someone was a keen shopper like I am.” Her gaze flitted to us, giving us another pleading look.
“Well...I guess I could shop with you every now and then,” I said politely. From the TV shows I’d seen, house guests were always polite, and that was what I was determined to do: be a normal house guest.
Olivia shot up from her seat and beamed at me, clapping her hands in excitement. “Oh, you would?” she exclaimed. “Wonderful! We’re going to have such fun, Natalie. Mother was right, you are a good person!”
|Barbara Palvin||as Natalie Primero|
|Francisco Lachowski||as Richie Costello|
|Ariana Grande||as Liz Sparks|
|James Franco||as Michelangelo Primero|
|James Franco||as Rafael Primero|
|Megan Fox||as Gabriella Primero|
|Zac Efron||as Eric Sparks|
|Jake Austin||as Carlos Primero|
|Sonny Moore||as Don Costello|