3.

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Chapter 3.

"So you've never gone to public school before?" Luke asked, trying to break the awkward silence that had grown between us. He'd just finished giving me a tour of the school, and now we were just standing in front of Dad's office waiting for him to finish up.

I shook my head, looking down at the ground and resisting the urge to play with my charm bracelet again. "Nope, Dad's way too protective for that," I laughed looking up at him. His chocolate eyes met mine, and my stomach did a flip.

"So what changed?" Luke asked.

"My mom..." I started. "She left last year. She was always the one who was home to help me with my schoolwork. After she left, my grades got a little sketchy, and my dad decided sending me to public school was better than letting me fail out of school."

"That must have been tough," he said.

I shrugged in response. I didn't really like to talk about my mom. It was too weird. She'd run off to tour the country with her new musician boyfriend. It was hard not to feel abandoned by her, since she had always been the voice of reason with my dad. Since she had left, Dad's rules had become more confining than ever. It almost seemed like he was trying to force me to stay with him so he wouldn't have to worry about me leaving like mom did. Even though in three years, me leaving would be pretty normal, since I would be heading to college.

So needless to say, Mom and I didn't talk much anymore. When my parents first got divorced, I had wanted to live with her, and she had refused me. My dad could be a little intense and overprotective, but at least he was always there. I couldn't say the same about my mom. But all of that was way too personal to share with a guy that a barely knew, so I just said, "It's alright, I guess."

Luke didn't push, he just reassuringly grabbed my hand and squeezed it, gently. My knees felt weak. I couldn't do this--I couldn't deal with him being this nice to me. He was making me like him way too much, and that was crazy. I was younger than him, and the coach's daughter, completely off limits. Not that he would ever like me that way anyway, since he probably thought I was just some socially awkward kid.

I jerked my hand away, even though part of me didn't want to. "Too personal," I reminded him, looking at my dad's office door. "If my dad caught us holding hands like that, even if it wasn't romantic, he would flip his lid. You don't understand how overprotective he is. Being one of his star players wouldn't exempt you from his wrath."

Luke let my hand go and winked at me. "I bet I could pull it off," he smirked. "But no reason to test that theory, right? Your dad makes a great football coach, strict but fair. I can see how that strictness would make him overprotective though. You're lucky to have a dad who cares so much."

"I guess," I mumbled, even though I wasn't sure I agreed. I loved my dad, but I really wished he would listen to me and trust me a little more. I'd never done anything completely horrible. I wasn't perfect, but I wasn't a rebellious child either. He could give me a little more freedom.

Just then, my dad walked out of his office. "Hey there you two," he said, smiling. To Luke he said, "Thanks for showing Lilly around while I finished up. You've been a really big help."

Dad put his hand on my shoulder, pulling me toward him. He flashed me a grin and said, "I'm sure Lilly here appreciates not having to wait for me." I rolled my eyes at his over-the-top display of affection, which had also conveniently moved me about 3 feet away from Luke. Wouldn't want to let a boy stand too close to his little girl, now, would we?

Luke returned the smile, his eyes meeting mine for a split second. "No problem, Coach. It was my pleasure. She's a good kid."

My heart fell at that word. Kid. He only see's me as a kid? The Coach's kid, no less. I may have been a sophomore, but I wasn't a kid. I was a teenager: fifteen--only 2 months away from being old enough to get my permit. Luke was only 2 years older than me. Seriously? I was a good kid?

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