*Bridget*


I looked at the magazine in my hands. My eyebrow arched upon seeing the cover, which was a picture of Chance Olson flashing a crooked smile. I wanted to throw it away, but my dad was watching me, waiting for me to pour over the pages with rapture. (Seriously, does he even know his daughter?)

With a sigh, I opened it and found the Celebrity Spotlight article. It was a couple weeks old because it was all about how well Chance treated women. It read, "Unlike the many assumptions made after a woman was found with a harsh bruise to last weeks, rest assured that our beloved Chance Olson had nothing to do with it. Still Brimwell's Prince Charming, Chance treats women of all kinds with respect and tenderness."

I gagged as I shut the magazine. I glanced over my shoulder to make sure my dad was consumed in whatever was on TV. When I saw that he was, I threw the girly teen magazine away and went down the hall to my bedroom.

Another sigh escaped as I looked in the mirror. The bruise on my cheek had faded and it wasn't as tender to the touch anymore. But you could still see it. I had to wear a bunch of concealer and blush to cover it up.

When Tabitha and Adelade had seen me, they'd started freaking out and demanded to know if I was okay. They followed after me as I rushed into the bathroom. When I saw the bruise and acknowledged the pain that was throbbing on the right side of my face, I burst into tears.

I had never been hit that hard before in my life, and on purpose. Sure, I got a fair amount of bruises from hanging out with the Brewsky brothers but those were all accidents and mostly my fault. But this was different—she wanted to hit me. And that was what made me cry. That, and it hurt like hell.

Tabitha and Adelade handed me paper towels while I tried to slow my tears. Once they stopped, my friends asked what happened and how Chance could do such a thing. I assured them Chance never hit me and that Gina had been the one to slap me, because she wanted Chance and wasn't getting him.

Then I told them about my weekend: the disaster at the race track and the question in the park. They proclaimed, "I knew he was into you!" But soon they were demanding why I had said no. Even two weeks later they were saying, "I can't believe you said no. To that!"

I rubbed my face, trying to rub away the memories. I focused instead on getting ready for school that Friday.

For the past two weeks, Chance had been avoiding me, aside from the sheepish smile he'd flash at me whenever we'd accidentally run into each other. He had also been hanging out with Gina, who would look at me with those devil eyes.

I was thankful that the male model was hanging out with Gina. Those two were made to be together, with their matching heavenly looks and suffocating self-importance. Plus, it got him off my back and the attention shifted to Gina—right where it belonged.

As I left the house, dad informed me, "I'm gonna fix the sink after school today. You'll help me, right?" He practically glared at me.

I gave him the best smile I could manage without irritating my bruise—it still got to me if I stretched the skin too much. "I'll be there."

Our kitchen sink was leaking and dad had been meaning to fix it for over a week now. We even had to put a bucket under the leak to catch all the water. We'd emptied the bucket twice already and dad finally got tired of washing both his hands and the vegetables in the bathroom sink.

At school, Gina was doing her normal thing: clinging to Chance's arm and giggling wildly. She wore the typical miniskirt with a revealing top that matched—she was all about color coordination. When I entered the hallway, she caught my eye and sneered.

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