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Needs to be proof read! I apologize for the mistake x.

Chapter Eighteen: "You're Not Sexting Stone Are You?" 

The next morning I'm basically floating on cloud nine or higher, if you know, that actually makes sense. The stupid smile hasn't left my face since yesterday and all I can concentrate on is reliving the experience. Cole's coming to pick me up in about two hours and we're going to go lasso Nana Stone right back to the senior home. We have a plan, one involving tempting her with double chocolate fudge cake if she protests. I'm trying to convince myself that the reason I'm up at seven in the morning during my winter break is because I really want to see Nana Stone but seriously who am I kidding?

I want to look nice, exceptionally nice. The last thing I want is to look like someone from the set of the Walking Dead when Cole arrives so I made the decision last night. I'd showered and straightened my hair before going to bed so it's some what manageable. The blond locks fell in soft waves right to my lower back and if I do say so myself, when I twirl they bounce like they belong in a Pantene commercial.

Picking out an outfit is a challenge. I don't know if I should try hard, I don't want him to think I want to change myself for him. Of course I could wear my short skirt and even shorter tank top but who am I kidding? Fatty Tessie would never be able to wear clothes like that and so wouldn't I. It's important that I try to maintain a sense of self while I do, whatever it is that we're going to do. Yes, that's it Tessa, be a strong independent woman and don't let a boy get to your head.

Well considering how I'm sacrificing precious hours worth of peaceful sleep over him, I'd say he's already gotten inside my head and throwing a house party while he's there. Fudge this; I'll just wear the first thing I grab from my closet.

I'm contemplating the merits of such a decision when the doorbell rings and I jump. It's early; it is way too early for Cole to show up. He cannot ambush me while I'm still in my pajamas. I rush to my window from where I can get a pretty good view of whoever's outside. It can't be Cole, now that I think about it. He has his own key, much to my chagrin and he rubs the fact in my face every time he can. However, now with the weight of his confession between us, I wonder if he's going to stop teasing me all the time. The thought makes my stomach sink.

I pop my head out of the window just in time to see a figure sit down on my front porch. I know who it is almost immediately and when the realization hits, I rush downstairs without pausing once to take a breath. Throwing the door open, I find a very tired looking Beth who's now standing. Her appearance takes me aback. It's not like the three of us haven't seen each other at our absolute worst, we've had our fair share of sleepovers but this is something else entirely. She looks like she's just thrown on clothes in a hurry, a pair of too tight jeans with a mismatched t-shirt. Though it's not the clothes that worry me, it's her bloodshot eyes. She looks like she hasn't slept in days and it doesn't help that she's swaying on her feet. Her hair's a mess, like she's been running her fingers through it constantly and if you concentrate hard enough you'll see the tear tracks she's been trying to hard to cover.

"What happened?"

I know though. I know the answer even before she says it and it makes me feel both sad and ridiculously furious at the same time.

"Marie." She says simply and it's all she needs to say. I let her into the house and she heads into the kitchen, bracing herself against the counter. It's been a while since things have gotten this bad. Marie hasn't done anything too drastic in a while but seeing her like this makes me forget all that. It's not fair, its not. I know I didn't exactly win the lottery when it came to parents but she doesn't deserve the hand she's dealt.

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