Dedicated to aJuneBug for the banner. Fun Fact: this was the first cover I ever fell in love with, and I was extremely hesitant to let go of it.


Chapter 10: Exotic Things Come From Walmart

"Luke, when you're done with college, are you going to stay in Addison or are you going to some exotic place, like California."

He chuckled. "California isn't that exotic, Charlie."

"They have exotic Nutella."

"Nutella isn't exotic. You can get it at WalMart. But they do have some lovely strippers, don't they?"


"I'm joking! You don't have to get so worked up."

"I'm not getting worked up," I mumbled.

"Of course not."

I sulked and sank back into the coach cushions, stuffing my face with Ritz and spray cheese. We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together came on—my ringtone. The number calling wasn't in my contacts list, but I answered it anyways. My dad might've needed to borrow someone else's phone; charging his phone wasn't a priority for him.


"Hi, is this Charlotte?" a feminine voice asked.

"Um...yes. Who is this?"

"Honey, It's your mom, sweetie."

I almost gagged. She didn't get to call me 'sweetie' or 'honey' or any other sickly sweet endearments. No, those were for people that I cared about. I had no feelings for her. She was like a complete stranger to me—wait. She was a complete stranger. Only worse. Because I wanted nothing to do with her.

Before I hung up, I said emotionlessly, "I don't have a mom."

Needless to say, I wasn't in a very happy mood after that. And Luke, being the bestest best friend that he is, didn't bring the subject up.


I was sitting in the living room, wracking my brain on figuring out how to do this math problem. Even though I said it wasn't awkward between it was Beckett, I was still kind of uneasy about that. I mean, what kind of gay guy has crowds of girls swooning over him? And to think, I almost fell into that trap...I wasn't going to sleep with him, but I could maybe feel a potential relationship brewing.

And then the doorbell rang. I glanced at the clock on the TV screen: 11:53 p.m. My first instinct was to run upstairs and grab a weapon or something. Should I answer it? What if it's a some stranger creeper or a weird telemarketer? Or worse—my mother. But then again, it could've been Luke wanting to borrow toilet paper or something, so I went to open the door.

And that was my first mistake.

Standing on my front porch was a nerdy, pimply looking guy in a dolphin costume. Yes, a full our dolphin costume. I couldn't even see his feet. He looked pretty nervous, the note card in his hand shaking. "Um...hi. Are you Charlotte?"

I narrowed my eyes and stiffly nodded, ready to shut the door and call 911 if needed. I sighed once more and broke out into a song and did a little dance with it. He seemed bored the entire time, although it was still entertaining.

"Hey I just thought of you.

I must be crazy.

But here's an invite.

To my party."

The guy handed me an invitation and was away in one smooth stroke. I opened the envelope and in Ian's messy scrawl, was a note. Midnight swim with your not-so-prince charming? Time: now.

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