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Chapter I - Becoming Abby

  • ABBY
  • Three years later…
  • I have to flex my neck a couple of times after hours of review for my finals tomorrow, and I feel drained. I study hard to get good grades and to make my parents proud.
  • I don’t have to go to college to get a job to pay my bills. I don’t have to work at all. My parents are loaded, and I can have everything I ask for. I can buy whatever I want, travel around the world, dine in the most expensive restaurant, spend summer in a yacht, drink the most expensive wine, and have the most luxurious penthouse in Manhattan or have the fastest car in the world, and date the world sexiest man.
  • My parents own the biggest hotel chains in the world, King Hotel chains, and Restaurants, and I’m the only heiress. My dad is Michael Aaron King, the best dad every girl can dream of, and Catherine Elizabeth King is the most beautiful woman and the world’s number one mom.
  • I don’t need an annoying private tutor because I excel academically. Yeah, I’m on my third year in college at Boston State University, two hundred and sixty-six miles away from home, away from my parents, and away from friends.
  • My life sucks! Just kidding.
  • I am with my roommate/best friend in an apartment that’s not world-class, but not that bad either. I don’t have a friend. I know it sounds pathetic, but whatever.
  • I met Andrew three years ago during my therapy. He’s also seeing a doctor who was just another floor down my shrink’s office. We met at the reception, and we clicked right away. I guess we have something in common.
  • “Hi, um, you’re seeing a doctor here?” he asks me shyly.
  • “Yeah. For a couple of weeks, you?” I answer and ask back with a little smile. Not all people are good at sharing that they are seeing a therapist, but why should I be ashamed of I if I need one.
  • “Dr. Peters.” He smiles.
  • “You?”
  • “Dr. Wallerman,” I tell in a low voice.
  • “Hmm. Rich people.” He scrutinizes me from head to toe. Dr. Wallerman is famous for her practice, and I don’t look like I can afford to pay a doctor like her.
  • “Excuse me?” I ask him when he raises an eyebrow.
  • “She’s like a celebrity doctor. I’m Andrew, by the way.” He offers his hand for a handshake. I hesitate, but he keeps his hand and waits for me to shake it.
  • “I’m Ma— I’m Abbygail. Please, call me Abby.” I shake his hand, and then we walk me out of the building.
  • “Sure, Abby. It suits you. Beautiful name.” He winks at me, which makes me blush. I don’t talk to strangers, and I don’t mingle too when someone gets close to me. The bodyguard Dad’s assigned will automatically shoo them away.
  • “Thanks.”
  • “I’ll walk you to your car,” Andrew offers.
  • I pause and face him. “Actually, I’m walking to a coffee shop.” 
  • His eyes widen as if he has an idea. “Would you mind if I tag along?
  • “I don’t mind at all.” 
  • “Good. Just only been here for a couple of weeks. I’m an ex-military, and you know this PTSD kind of shit. Oh sorry, I swear a lot. Used to in the military. How about you?” he says easily without a single flinch. 
  • “If I swear a lot? Not much,” I answer.
  • He laughs at me.
  • “Just came here a month ago, and I’m still in college,” I cut it short. I’m still not comfortable sharing that horrific night even to my Doctor. It takes a while, but I feel better that there’s someone who somehow listens to what I experienced.
  • “It’s okay. You don’t have to tell me if you’re not ready. I completely understand. It took a while for me, too.” He sounds apologetic.
  • I shrug. “Soon, hopefully. Thanks.”
  • We talk as we walk to the nearest coffee shop where I always dropped by after my session. Andrew mentions that he crashes the couch of one of his friends, and he’s still looking for a decent apartment with a decent price and that he needs a roommate.
  • I offered without even telling dad who was so pissed at me after that.
  • “Are you insane, Mackenzie? I thought we already talked about not talking to strangers, and you’re not just breaking my rules, you let a stranger live with you, and a man for God’s sake. I’ll talk to Howard later. How he didn’t report this to me?” He sounds so furious over the phone.
  • I bite my lip. Howard is going to lose his job.
  • “Jeez, Dad. Just calm down. And it’s Abby’s dad. You can meet him if you want to and do a background check. He’s a good person, trust me.” I roll my eyes because he’s overreacting again. He thinks all the people around me are dangerous.
  • “You want me to calm down? You are hundreds of miles away from me and your mom, and you want me to calm down? You’re living with a stranger who could be a psychopath. You’re not an adult yet Mackenzie. Does he even know?” he continues yelling to my ear.
  • “Dad, please, try to meet him and just give him a chance.” 
  • He sighs. “Fine I would like to meet him, and if I don’t like him, he’ll be out of your apartment and end of discussions.” 
  • My smile widens. “Great. I’ll let him know. Thanks, Dad. I love you!” I grin and jump.
  • “Don’t celebrate yet, and don’t thank me yet, young woman, and don’t tell him that I’m coming over.”
  • I stop. My brows furrow. “And why not?”
  • “That’s for you to find out.”  He snaps.
  • I jolt in my seat when someone pats my shoulder. And speaking of the devil.
  • “You’ve been glancing at the clock for a few minutes already. You didn’t even notice me coming in. What’s with zoning out?” His brows creased, but he looks happy.
  • “Oh, I was just thinking about my exams tomorrow.” I lie.
  • “Hmm. You don’t have to worry about it. I’m sure you’ll ace your exams.” He gives me an enigmatic smile.
  • I rise from my chair. “What do we have for dinner? Or would you cook for us tonight?” I follow him, passing by our small living room to the kitchen.
  • “I got you your favorite pizza. I’ll cook next time, but not tonight.” Yeah, my best friend can cook. He could make something from scratch, and good thing, I have fast metabolisms otherwise, he’s turning me into a hippo because of his cooking skills.
  • He’s already sitting on the stool, leaning his elbows on our granite countertop. I open our dark brown cabinet that matches the color of our cupboards.
  • “What do you mean you got me pizza. How about you? What you’re gonna eat?” I take plates and cutlery for us.
  • “The best way to eat pizza is directly from the box. Why bother the plates, Abby? You’re so rich that sometimes you forget to have some fun.”
  • I grab him a soda and water for me from the fridge. “You still didn’t answer me. Why aren’t you going to have dinner with me? Going out with friends?” I sit beside him and open the box of Greek Pizza. I grab one slice and start digging.
  • “Actually, ivadet.” 
  • I stop. My brows crease. “What?”
  • “I said I have a date tonight.” He didn’t look at me in the eyes.
  • As soon as the words came from his mouth, my eyes grow big in surprise.
  • “Oh, wow! My God, my best friend is dating. I mean, you start dating. That’s good news. I’m happy for you.” I put down my pizza, pull him into a hug. 
  • “You’re going on a date tonight with a woman. Do I know her? What is she like? I mean I’m sure she’s pretty. How did you two meet? When did you replace your condom in your drawer? I’m sure they’re expired two years ago. Do I need to leave before you come home? Or do I just need to pretend I’m sleeping and wear a headset?” I grin like an idiot.
  • “Silly. You’re so funny. Did you check that I have a condom on my nightstand? I’m not getting laid tonight, Abby, and it’s our first date. Jeez, you’re far too excited than me.” He crunches his nose, and I can see the glimmer in his eyes.
  • “Why not? Why torture yourself until the third date when you’re both attracted, duh!” I roll my eyes. 
  • He laughs. “Jeez, Abby. Not everyone went out on a date just to have sex. Of course, when you’re serious about dating her, you can wait until you both are ready, so start on getting to know each other first.”
  • I’m already on my second slice of pizza, and it’s nice to eat directly from the box. No hassle.
  • Rich people like to make their life so difficult. 
  • “Isn’t it most men think sex like every seven seconds?” I inquire and laugh at my question.
  • I add, “So, you’re really serious with this one and not just a fling or maybe a one-night stand or a one week in heaven?”
  • Andrew dated girls but not too serious. I didn’t even get a chance to meet anyone he dated, and that was over a year ago, then he stopped dating all of a sudden. The reason? I don’t know.
  • He snorts. “She’s different, Abby, and I like her. I met her last week. She’s our new client. I happened to be the one who installed the security system in her apartment. She’s beautiful. I even follow her to the grocery store like a crazy stalker.”
  • Andrew works at a security agency for three years now, but I didn’t meet his co-workers yet. He said they would just hit on me. 
  • “How different? Like so tall, blue skin, yellow eyes, with tail, and says I see you,” I mimic Neytiri, but fails miserably. I love that movie.
  • He laughs again and sips his soda. See, he even laughs at my lame joke. We always choose the same movie to watch, even a crappy rom-com—no arguments.
  • “I better go get a shower. Enjoy your dinner, Abby.” He kisses my head and tickles my side with his huge fingers before he bolts out of the kitchen.
  • I narrow my eyes and yell even my mouth is full. “I will kill you! You know I’m ticklish, you dick!”
  • “Where are your manners, young lady? Did you just say “dick”? Such a filthy mouth. I’ll tell your mom not to send you copies of the book she’ll purchase!” he warns me.
  • “Don’t you dare, asshole! You know Mom always listens to you, and I’ll spray pepper to all of your boxers if she’s not gonna send me copies.”
  • He doesn’t look amused. He presses his lips together before he says, “I’ll really spray pepper in your mouth right now if you’ll keep calling me names, Abbygail!” He comes back and tickles me. “That. Is. Not. So. Nice. Coming. From. You’re. Mouth. Young. Woman.”
  • I fall from my seat and try kicking him off, but he’s too big than me with his six feet and two inches tall, wide shoulders and all muscles. He goes to the gym every day as his therapist has suggested, and he was already in good shape before he even started.
  • “Leave me alone, Andrew Clayton Tennings!” I laugh so much that I almost pee in my shorts.
  • “Say it again, and you’ll see if I’m joking!” he warns me again, and I know he’s true to his words. He treated me like his little sister he’d never had. He threatened everyone who tried hitting on me. He even said that they just want to get into your panties, and I know that looks, Abby. Stay away from those types of men. They’re all assholes.
  • “You’re the one who taught me every name. They’re all in my head, now, and you’re blaming me?” I can’t just stop laughing.
  • “I have to shower before my date think I’m ditching her.”
  • I’m still sitting on the floor, wiping my tears before he walks to his room. “Fine. You’ll be late anyway!” 
  • After almost an hour, he comes out of his room and walks to me to our couch.
  • “Well, look at you. All well cleaned up. You look good, and you’re definitely getting laid tonight.” I raise my hands to surrender. “Oops... sorry. I mean you’re definitely getting a second date.”
  • He rolls his eyes. His curly brown hair is slightly disheveled in a stylish way. His blue eyes glimmer. There’s a little-crooked on his nose from a fight, but it gives him a better look.
  • He looks handsome with his button-down blue shirt that fits perfectly with two buttons open that show a little hint of his well-defined chest. Both sleeves rolled up to his elbows, and he matches it with dark fitted jeans.
  • “Hmm. Behave at home, okay? Lock the door behind me, Abby. If you need anything, I mean anything calls me immediately.” He never forgot to remind me every day when he found out what happened to me three years ago.
  • “Ugh. Just go, and I’ll be fine. I won’t wait for you. I need to wake up early for my exams tomorrow, remember?” I wave my hand to shoo him away.
  • “Okay. I have to go. I love you, sweetie.”
  • “Enjoy your date and good luck, I love you too, Drew.” After kissing my head, he walks out and locks the door after him.
  • I go to my bed and tuck myself in my blanket. I call Dad, but he doesn’t answer. I call my mom, and it goes to her voicemail. I guess they’re still on their honeymoon. I close my eyes, hoping to get good sleep without interruption.
  • ***
  • I wake up in the morning just a minute before my alarm. I check my phone, only a message from my best friend, and still no call from my parents. 
  • I reply to Drew.
  • Abby: missed you already. Thanks for not waking me up. Got a good sleep.
  • A few seconds later, he texts back.
  • Drew: Glad to know you slept well. Missed you too, sweetie. Don’t your breakfast before you go to school. Tc.
  • Abby: Don’t forget the details of your date. I’ll have my breakfast. No messages from Dad and Mom. Did they call you? 
  • Drew: No, sweetie. They didn’t. They’re probably enjoying their trip. Or no cell service. Be patient. Gtg. Luv u.
  • Abby: Maybe. Luv u 2. Tc.