1 | Homecoming

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six years later

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six years later

Watching Andrea Colton emerge from the backseat of the black Mercedes was like watching a movie star step out onto the red carpet. She moved with an easy grace that came from a lifetime of ballet, and she carried herself like a woman who could handle anything life threw at her, which -- so far -- had been quite a lot. Her vintage black shift dress and oversized sunglasses only accentuated her classic beauty and remarkable bone structure, something she'd been kind enough to pass down to me. My mother may have been a few years past forty, but she still had men half her age on their knees.

"Circle around," she instructed the driver as she stepped onto the curb. "This could take a while."

She pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head as she turned to me, revealing those all-knowing gray eyes. For once, the smile that always seemed to play around her mouth was nowhere to be found.

"You don't have to do this, honey."

I ignored her, choosing instead to busy myself by pretending to tie and retie the laces on my sneakers. I'd been doing this for the past minute to distract myself from the situation at hand.

"I mean it, Taliana. You don't have to go."

If the woman told me that one more time, I was going to scream.

"Mom, I know," I sighed, finally losing interest in my shoes and rising. "I want to do this. Really."

My mother still looked unsure. "No one is making you leave," she continued on, reaching out to take my hand in hers. "Honey, are you sure you want to go live with your father?"

I was anything but sure about it. I hadn't seen my father in close to seven years and now here I was about to get on a plane to go live with him, his wife, and their two daughters. We'd talked about it over the phone a few weeks ago and he sounded excited to have me back in Washington, D.C. with him, but it was still going to be odd, especially since I'd left so abruptly all those years ago.

After my expulsion from Georgetown Trinity Day School, my parents had decided it would be best if I went to live with my mother in California. It had a little something to do with the fact that no other private school in D.C. would accept me, and a lot to do with the fact that I'd worn out my welcome with my father and his family. So they'd sent me packing off to LA with mommy dearest, and that's where I had stayed -- until now.

"I'm sure, Mom," I sighed, knowing that if she asked me one more time I was going to throw myself at her and sob for her to take me home.

I couldn't let that happen. I desperately needed to get out of Los Angeles; the place had never really felt like home, and now there were too many bad memories attached to it. I needed a fresh start and D.C. could offer that, even if it did hold its own set of memories. But anything was better than the ones I had here.

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