4. Dinner and a Swim

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Peyton frowned at the cloth draped over his passenger seat

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Peyton frowned at the cloth draped over his passenger seat."You didn't have to do that you know."

"I don't want to mess up your car." I was covered in a generous amount of grime, a combination of mud, sweat and filth. Normally, I would've showered in the employee locker room, but I didn't want to risk running into anyone. It wasn't just Kylie and Miranda. More than them, I didn't want to see the people who had witnessed my humiliation.

I didn't want to see the pity in their eyes.

"It stinks like pigs in here doesn't it? Don't lie to me."

"I don't smell anything."

The smell was unmistakable and I knew he smelled it but he would never ever admit it. That was Peyton, polite and gracious to the very end.

"Well, you might not mind, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be welcome anywhere in public."

"The usual then?"

I nodded.

At Sonic, he wolfed down a hamburger and an order of chicken fingers while answering my questions about the fall. No, Harvard didn't let them choose their roommates but a few of his friends from high school were going there too, including his best friend, Jack.

He hadn't chosen his classes yet, but planned to take the ones needed for his intended major, Economics. Yes, he was sure. And no, he didn't want to talk about that anymore.

Then he told me stories about the graduation parties he'd attended, painting me pictures of pastel colored people cavorting around pristine swimming pools, set in perfectly manicured lawns in estates like the ones you saw in expensive fashion magazines.

What a world that must be.

He sipped his strawberry limeade. "What kind of grades did you end up getting?"

I took another bite of my grilled cheese and chewed before I answered him. "Not good. Mostly C's."

And I'd had to work hard for that. Academics didn't come easy for me.

He seemed disappointed. "Oh."

"I definitely won't be getting any merit scholarships."

He desperately wanted me to come east for college. I desperately wanted to go, but had neither the the money nor the grades for it. So I was thinking a community college in Dallas. Tuition was much cheaper if you stayed within your state of residence.

Once we were done with dinner, we drove up to his family's land and parked by their lake. Yes, their lake. His father had built a lake on their property, a little ways off from the main house where the Bishops lived.

Peyton's mother was from a prominent family in New York City. His father was a third generation Texan landowner with a lot of business dealings in oil. The family split their time between the two states, and had done so for as long as Peyton was alive. Well, his father usually stayed here, but that's a story for a different time.

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