Authors: S Gonzalez
I would first and foremost like to thank my family for
always allowing me to be the best me I can be. I thank
my husband, Tony, and my kids from the bottom of my
heart, for picking up the slack and helping out while I
was locked away for hours on end. John and Cassandra,
you are the best kids I could ever ask for. Your constant
selflessness is admirable and I will be forever in awe of
your kindness and generosity. I love you both more than
words can say.
And to my friends and family who have supported me
from day one. Taryn Wilson, Charlene DePrizio, Denise
McCarthy, Jennifer Williams, Nora Zebrowski, LeighAnn Burgos, Kathleen Quinlan, Kelsey Hummel, Jodi
Blazas, & Colleen Kenny. And to my online friends,
Chrissy Sharp, Andrew French, E.A. Stanbridge, Amber
Slagle, and Sophie Monroe, I am honored to know each
and every one of you.
Finally, I would also like to thank my readers, online
friends, and followers. Without your encouraging words
and constant faith in me, I would have never had the
courage to finish.
“Mommy, Mommy! When is my playground
going to be finished?”
I was watching the men in the yard, put up my
new playground today. My daddy bought it for me, for
my birthday. It is so pretty and really big. Just like the
playground at the park.
“Soon Emma. It will be done in time for your
birthday party next weekend. 5 years old already, baby
girl. Where did the time go?” Mommy says while
hugging me and kissing my cheeks.
“I want to play on it now!”
“I know sweetie, but it’s not done. How about I
drop you, Mark, and Mrs. Cross at the park before I get
my oil changed and the garage?”
“Mrs. Cross look how high up I am!”
“Very good, Emma. Be careful,” Mrs. Cross tells
me. She is always afraid I am going to fall and get hurt. I
really like having Mrs. Cross as my nanny. She always
plays tea party with me and we bake cookies when
mommy is out running errands.
“Hi, my name is Holly,” says a very pretty girl
with black hair. Her hair is not blond like mine, but it is
very nicely pulled into pigtails with fluffy bows made of
“Hi, I’m Emma. I like your hair bows. They are
“Thank you. Your dress is pretty too. Is that your
mom?” Holly says and she points to Mrs. Cross.
“No. Mrs. Cross is my nanny. My brother, Mark, is
sleeping in his stroller and she is sitting with him.“
“Oh! My mommy is over there,” Holly points
towards the place where the older kids are playing,
“pushing my brother Glen on the big kid swings.”
“Do you want to play with me?”
“Sure. Lets go.”
“Emma! Sweetie, its time to go,” my mommy
yells, standing next to Mark’s stroller.
“Holly, I have to leave. My mommy is here. I hope
I can play with you here again soon.” I tell her as I sit on
the yellow, plastic slide
“Did you have fun?” Mommy asks me as she
catches me at the bottom.
“Oh yes, mommy. I met a nice girl named Holly,
and we played princess.”
“Really. That’s great baby,” she tells me as I
wiggle out of her arms.
“Mommy! You are in trouble. You always tell me
not to wipe finger paint on my clothes, and you put your
hand on your butt.” Mommy looked at the back of her
pants and saw the black smudges. She pulled out her
jacket from the trunk of the car and wrapped it around
“It’s not paint, baby. I must have gotten some
grease on me at the garage.”
“Daddy, daddy! You’re home.” I hug my daddy
tight around his neck. I missed him so much. He is
always at work and I hate when he is away.
“Yes, baby, I’m home,” Daddy said as he gives me
a hug so big his arms wrap all the way around me. “Mrs.
Cross can you please take the kids outside to the
playground for me. I would like to speak privately with
Mrs. Hill. Any idea where she might be?
“Mommy, where is Daddy? He hasn’t been home
in a long time.”
“Daddy has been busy with work, baby. Look, I
have a friend coming over today and he has a daughter
about your age. Would you like to meet her?”
I hear the doorbell. Mommy’s friend is here. I like
new friends. I run to open the door and mommy is right
behind me telling me to slow down.
“Holly! Mommy, it is the girl from the park.”
“Hi, Emma! My daddy brought me over to play
with you today. This is my brother, Glen.”
“Oh jeeze, now there are two of them. Dad, do I
have to be here? Can’t I go back and stay with mom?”
“Kids why don’t you go and play at the
playground.” My mommy says.
“Sure. Come on, Holly. We can be princesses and
pretend my tree house is our castle.”
“No gurlz in da’ twee house,” Mark whines as we
run out of the house.
It is Saturday, and Holly and Glen are sleeping
over again. I like when Holly sleeps in my room. We
have fun. Holly and I are playing dolls in the TV room
and Glen is sitting on the couch watching TV. Glen is
screaming. Why is Glen screaming?
Mom and Paul come in the room to see what Glen
is screaming about. Everyone is starring at the television;
they look scared. The man on the TV is saying something
about a woman who drove off a cliff near our house. The
TV man is showing a red car that looks like Paul’s, being
pulled up by a big machine. I love Paul’s red car. He
drives it fast, it is very loud.
“Oh my God,” says mom. She looks at Paul, who
is holding onto Holly. Everyone is crying. I am scared. I
stand next to Mrs. Cross and hold her leg. I don’t know
what is happening but I don’t like it.
Mom and Paul are yelling again. I don’t like when
they yell. Since Paul, Holly, and Glen moved in, they
always yell. I wish Daddy were here. I miss him. I walk
across the hall to Holly’s room to see if she wants to sleep
with me. I jump and run faster when I hear glass
“Holly? Are you awake?”
“Get out of my room.”
“Holly, I’m scared. Can I sleep with you?”
“No! Get out. It’s your mom’s fault they are
“I am sorry that your mommy died, Holly.“ I start
to cry and run back to my room. I see Glen standing in
the doorway of the room next to mine.
“Leave my sister alone you little bitch.”
“Glen, I’m scared.”
“You should be.” He closed his door and leaves
I run down the hall to Marks room, where he is
sleeping, and I climb in next to him. I drape my arm over
him because I don’t want him to wake up and be afraid,
too. I cannot hear any more yelling from Marks room, so
I fall asleep.
The sound of
The Z100 Morning Show, echoes through
my room, startling me from my sleep. Opening one eye, I
see the time on my alarm clock, 7:30 am. I reach over and
turn off the offending noise, while stifling a moan into
my pillow. On a typical Saturday, I usually get up at 7:30
am and go for a run with Max before my morning class.
However, as of yesterday I am officially a college
graduate. Today, I am able to sleep a few extra hours and
believe me I am going to take them. I roll over and clutch
my pillow. Desperately trying to fall back to sleep,
noticing that my head is throbbing from all the
celebratory drinks last night.
“Morning sleepyhead!” bellows Wanda as she
barges into my room.
Wanda Lopez has been my roommate since
freshman year in college. She is energetic, beautiful,
smart, and unlike me, definitely a morning person.
Wanda always has this determined drive towards
everything in life and she does everything with gusto.
God I hate her sometimes.
“Errrhhh,” I groan hoping she gets the hint and
leaves me alone.
“Oh, does someone have a headache?” she mocks.
“I guess you will
be going on your morning run with
“No! It’s too early,” I whimper into my pillow.
“Told you not to drink that last pitcher of
margaritas, Emma,” Wanda chuckles.
“ERRHHH, you are too chipper for me Wanda,” I
manage to squeak the endearment out of my extremely
dry mouth, proving that once again, she is correct. I
should have quit while I was ahead.
Wanda, Max, and I went out last night with some
friends to a trendy bar in our area that has the best
margaritas in Brooklyn. We were all out drinking and
singing and dancing until 2 a.m. Today, Wanda being
Wanda, looks as fresh as a daisy while I feel as though a
truck ran me over.
“What do you want so early?”
“Clothes, silly. I heard your alarm so I thought
you were getting up. I need something to wear to your
graduation party today. Oh and-“
Out of the corner of my eye I see Max in the
doorway. All six feet of handsomeness, with wavy brown
hair and bright blue eyes, Maxwell Reed looks like he
just stumbled off the cover of a magazine. Max has been
Wanda’s best friend since they were kids and after she
moved in with me he soon became a very good friend to
me as well.
“I was hoping to walk in and see someone naked
in here,” Max pouts.
“-Max is here,” mumbles Wanda as she rolls her
eyes after popping her head out of my closet.
“You going to get up Hill,” Max asks as he flops
on my bed next to me. “Or are we staying in bed today?”
Max raises his eyebrows up and down in a suggestive,
yet playful manner, and I know that he would be far too
happy for me to invite him into my bed. “I would prefer
we stay in. Who needs a run when I can get all the cardio
I need right here?”
“Not a chance buddy, now get off my bed.” I push
him over so he twists to his side, his body facing mine.
“I’ll get up…but no run. Not today. Shower, coffee, food.
That’s about all I can manage before I have to face the
crazies of Hill House.”
“Crazies of Hill House. I love how you say that
with such enthusiasm,” laughs Wanda as she holds up
two designer dresses my fathers wife Mia sent me for an
early graduation present. “Which one are you wearing
“The green one I guess. On second thought you
wear the green one. I’ll take the blue. The green one is
more clingy and with show off your ass,” I giggle
knowing how much Wanda enjoys compliments about
her greatest asset.
Wanda’s Puerto Rican, flawless, light caramel
skin, long, black curly hair, and gorgeous, light brown
eyes, perfectly outlined with long black lashes, make men
swoon. Standing five foot six, with a perfectly shaped,
coke bottle body, and an ass that most men can’t keep
their hands off of, she is every mans wet dream. Bitch.
“Good deal. Thanks Emma.” I give her an
unenthusiastic thumb up and toss my arm over my eyes.
I feel Max squirm closer to me and toss his arm over my
torso, reminding me he is still on my bed. And I have to
“Um, Mr. Reed, could you kindly exit my room
while I get out of bed,” I say very sweetly. “I am only
wearing my panties and tank top and although I know it
would be the highlight of your day to see me half naked,
you have to go and I have to get up.” My eyes meet his
as he stares back at me, contemplating weather he wants
to tease me or just do as I ask. “Please.”
“Hummm, I don’t know… but since you asked so
nicely, I will be a gentleman and go. Can I peek through
“Out Max!” I yell playfully as I hit him with my
“OK, jeez. So rough. I’m going,” he protests as he
walks out of my room closing the door behind him. “But
I won’t guarantee I won’t peek through the key hole,” he
says on the other side of the door.
I pull off my comforter and throw on a pair of
sweats so I can exit my room without giving Max a peep
show. Max and I are always very flirty and although
neither of us ever sought out to be more then friends, we
do enjoy the cat and mouse game of teasing and
seduction we often play. Max is extremely sweat, and
definitely easy on the eyes. He is going to make some
woman very happy one day.
I exit my room in route to the bathroom and I hear
the familiar banter coming from the kitchen.
“Max! Dios mio, what the fuck?” Wanda scolds
him, “ You are making a mess in my kitchen.”
Max and Wanda have a different relationship then
Max and I have. They were childhood friends and after
he turned 16 he moved into the Lopez house
permanently. They have been siblings at heart ever since.
“Relax, chica. I’ll clean it up. It’s just spilled juice.
Chill out,” he states while holding up his hands in
defense of Wanda smacking his arm.
Wanda and Max both come from very poor
families. Both are also the first of their family to graduate
from college. Max lived with Wanda the last two years of
high school. He was taken from his parents at a very
young age due to neglect and shuffled from foster home
to foster home. By the time he was 16 his new foster
parents no longer cared what he did. Wanda’s mother
Maria is like a mother to him and always made sure he
had a safe place to lay his head at night and food in his
stomach. After a while Max stopped going home all
together and Maria spoke to his foster parents. Maria
made a deal with the foster family, the Lopez's would
take Max into their home permanently and they would
still be able to keep the money they state was giving
them for Max living there. As the story goes his foster
parents jumped at the opportunity for easy money and
one less mouth to feed.
He had never had a real family and Wanda’s
family is the best anyone could hope for. Maria and Juan
Lopez are the most loving and affectionate parents I
know. And Max, even though he had a rough start in life,
he is always kind and gentle, never lets life get him
The two stooges, making a production of cleaning
up spilled juice in the kitchen, made a pact their senior
year of high school, they would do this together. They
agreed to go to the same college in hopes if they had each
other to rely on they would push each other to go the
distance and finish school. And finish they did, both with
honors. Juan and Maria Lopez couldn’t be more proud of
them, unlike my family who didn’t even bother to show.
Not that I made a huge effort to invite them but still;
your kid graduates, you insist.
When I step into the bathroom I can see the after
effects of a night of hard drinking. My eyes are puffy
with black eye-makeup smudged all around the rims, my
skin splotchy, and my hair is a disaster. I reach for the
Advil in he medicine cabinet and down two pills before
pealing my pants off and turning on the shower. I
remove the rest of my clothes and climb under the steady
stream of hot water, washing the previous evenings good
Times like this make me glad when my father was
apartment hunting for me, he bought an apartment with
more then one bathroom because if I did decide on a
roommate I could spend as long as I want in the shower.
Wanda’s room is considered the master suite because it
has a bathroom attached, but my room has the bigger
closet so I conceded to let her have the master. An
anticipated knock at the door tells me Max has
something to ask me. He always has something
important to ask me as soon as I am in the shower.
Seeing as the glass is frosted and smoked all the way
around the floor to ceiling glass enclosure I always let
him come in. He can’t see anything so if it makes his day
to be in the same room with me while I am wet and
naked, then whatever.
“Come in Max.”
“How did you know it was me?” he says after he
peeking his head in.
“It’s always you. I think you purposely wait until I
am in the shower to ask me something.”
“Ah…good point. I brought my clothes with me
so I can get ready here. Can I use your shower after your
done? Wanda said I boy up her bathroom and after I
used her expensive shampoo last time she refuses to let
me back in. “
“Of course. As soon as I am done.”
“How about we conserve water and I join you?”
“How about you get out before I tell Wanda that
you are the one who jammed her printer last week and
almost made her miss her deadline for her final project.”
“NO! Please. She’ll kill me. She thinks I am a nice
guy for offering to take it to Staples and print it off for
her. Let’s not piss her off. I’m going.”
Max reminds me of my little brother Mark. It
makes me miss him even more. Thankfully he is going to
be staying with us for a few days in Brooklyn before
Wanda and I move out next week. My father is
graciously giving me an apartment in his building in the
city, so not only will I be closer to work but I can see my
father more often. When he offered I jumped at the
opportunity. Who wouldn’t? Besides Wanda is coming
along with me which is a bonus. I got so used to living
with someone I don’t think I would want to be alone in
that big place. Free apartment in one of the best areas in
Manhattan, living with my best friend. Score!
I am so excited to be working at my fathers
company because hopefully one day I will run Hill
Marketing, but first things first. I have to work from the
ground up. My dad offered me a cushy assistant job to
one of the VP’s but I refused. I want to be an intern and
learn the ropes from scratch. I know I will always have
the stigma of being the owner’s daughter but I don’t care.
I know if I work my way up on my own merit I will have
earned it. I will earn my promotions and work my way
up the ladder myself, at least until daddy retires. Than I
hope to take the whole damn thing.
As my father says, what good is money and power
if you don’t share it with the ones you love? And boy,
does he love me. I have never been all that interested in
material things. I would much rather be sitting on the
beach at the Jersey Shore with just my father and me then
on some fancy vacation. I love my dad; his love and
acceptance mean everything to me. It’s hard being a kid
of divorce but my dad has somehow managed to keep in
the loop with everything Mark and I do. Martin Hill is a
great man and a wonderful father. I am privileged to call
him my dad.