Chapter Three - Part 1

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Her eyes sparkled, compassion held onto them. "What happened?"  

Exhaling heavily, I closed my eyes for a short moment before replying in a slow whisper. "My dad cheated on my mom. I saw him with another woman." 

"Oh my god..." Samantha tightened her lips together in a thin line before unlocking them once again and starting to ask even more questions. "Did you tell your mom?" 

I nipped the inside of my jowls, the blame for my parents' divorce tracing its way all over me, just like a heavy burden I could hardly bear.  

"I don't want you to judge me, but..." I decided to cut myself short and try to figure out the wiser words to say. "What was I supposed to do? I was 13 back then. My father was the one who always taught me to speak out the truth as huge and destructive the consequences might be, he only tasted of his own venom... Besides, I wasn't capable to act all happy and peaceful like I hadn't seen anything. That was too much to handle." 

Samantha fixed her big brown eyes on me for a long time, speechless. I could put my hands on fire that she was mentally cursing and blaming me for breaking my parents' long lasting relationship and destroying something that was none of my business - but the thing is, it was somehow also related to me. They were my parents. I was their daughter. I'd caught up my dad kissing another woman. Oh, that was obviously something of my business. I mean, how could someone live knowing something so disrespectful and consuming in secret?  

"I understand." She finally said, the low tone of her voice catching me by surprise. "I really do. I just don't think I would have the courage to face the situation the way you did. I admire you." 

Wow. Did she just say she admires me? This definitely got me without words to say.  

"Eh, I hum..." I stuttered. "Thank you I guess?" I half-asked, arching my eyebrow in both confusion and diversion. We managed to laugh at each other's faces in the middle of the hall when suddenly, reality hit me hard and I realised I was locked up between Samantha's arms. 

It wasn't neither clumsy or a simple hug of sympathy. The way her arms gently squeezed me against her, pulling me closer, evidenced no further more than an embrace of honesty, trust and friendship. A smile automatically grew on my face as I realised I had a real friend I could count on.  

"Oh, is this a group hug?" I heard Ashton's voice shouting out that beautiful Australian accent of his. "I want to join in!" 

I burst into laughter the moment Ash spread his long arms towards Samantha and I, joyfully enwrapping us and pressing our bodies together against his tight and muscled chest.  

"Ashton, I-I can't breathe!" Samantha loudly gasped, her face literally being smashed to his steady body. As soon as he released us from his lengthy arms, both I and Samantha started laughing even harder. "You screw up all my makeup, you bastard!" She raised her thin elbow and slightly guided it towards his chest, bringing him to curve his body ahead. 

"Ouch, that hurt so much!" Ashton moaned in mock pain, leading his giant hand to the spot that had been hit not long ago. He shook his head while throwing an amusing gaze at her which she returned by sticking out her tongue. "You guys know Danny Winters is throwing a party tonight, don't you?" 

My eyebrows joined as one, curiosity flattened through my face. "Who's Danny Winters?" 

"An old pal of mine." Ashton's sparkly eyes met mine as a smile curled in between his lips, his dimples showing up. I knew in the first place that Ashton and I were only friends, but honestly, that smile always made my insides melt. "And th-" 

"And the richest kid in town." Samantha cut off, crossing her arms over her chest and coving one eyebrow. "Wanna come with us?" 

The way my eyes widened felt as unreal as the question I had been asked just now. Were they really inviting me to go to a party? With them?  

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