Authors: Hailey Abbott
Tags: #Romance, #Young Adult, #Chick-Lit, #Contemporary
With the beat of a Gwen Stefani song pounding in her ears, Madeline Sinclaire clipped up her long blond hair and slid into the hot tub on her parents’
deck. Steam rose up from the bubbling water, momentarily obscuring her friends’ faces. She inhaled deeply and eased downward. Suddenly, something grabbed her feet under the water.
“Brian!” Maddy screamed.
Her boyfriend’s sleek, wet head surfaced next to her, and everyone burst into laughter.
“What? Did I scare you?” Brian Kilburn asked, flashing his sexy little smile that curled just the edges of his mouth. After dating him for almost a year, Maddy still thought he was the cutest boy she’d ever seen. Brian’s sleepy blue eyes could always melt her annoyance.
“Yes, you did, jerk!” Maddy said playfully. She punched him on his well-toned arm.
“Don’t hurt him too badly,” Morgan Gainsley called from the other side of the hot tub. “He’s the only one left who knows how to tap a keg—Dave already passed out.” She pointed to a dark shape lying in a heap on a lounge chair, barely visible through the San Francisco night.
“How is that possible?” Maddy giggled at her best friend. “The party just got started!”
“She’s not going to hurt me,” Brian growled. “Not before I …” He trailed off as he stood up in the water, grabbed Maddy, and tilted her back in his arms.
“Eeek!” She giggled, hoping she wasn’t flashing the rest of the hot tub. Her D&G string bikini top didn’t allow for a lot of gymnastics.
Brian went for her neck like a vampire. He started to run his mouth lower, but Maddy struggled upright and shoved him away.
“Okay, hornball. Save it for later,” she said with a laugh.
Reluctantly, Brian released her and sat down again.
Maddy settled back contentedly in the hot water, Brian’s arm around her tanned shoulders. Light spilled over the deck from the open French doors behind her. The glow reached the manicured gardens at the edge of the two-acre lawn. Most of Richmond Country Day’s upperclass-men, plastic cups of Miller High Life in hand, were packed into Maddy’s living room, where the leather furniture had been pushed against the walls to make a dance floor.
On the deck, couples were cuddling on lounge chairs with beer bottles strewn on the ground next to them.
Rob Davis had started a game of drunken tackle football on the lawn. “Touchdown!” a huge, hairy guy screamed as he grabbed the ball and landed headfirst in the shrub-bery at the side of the yard.
Maddy smiled. Her first official house party of the summer was only an hour old, and she could already tell it was going be a great night. In fact, it was going to be a great
—maybe the best ever.
Maddy’s other best friend, Kirsten Owens, slid up next to her. “So when did your parents leave?” Kirsten asked, resting her elbows on the edge of the tub behind her, looking sleek and athletic in her navy blue Speedo.
Maddy laughed. Even though Kirsten’s idea of a relaxing Saturday was running a ten-mile race, Maddy still found it funny that she insisted on wearing a one-piece suit to a party full of bikinis and boys.
,” Maddy replied. “They should be arriving in Napa any minute now.”
“I cannot believe you have the house to yourself for two whole months!” Morgan squealed, splashing across the tub to join the other two girls.
“I know, right?” Maddy agreed. “You know, at first, they actually tried to tell me that I had to help them fix up that little midlife crisis—I mean,
. But they couldn’t resist my powers of persuasion—”
“And that A in AP English, you nerd,” Brian teased.
She gave Brian a push. “Go get me another beer,” she ordered playfully, admiring the muscles of his back as he climbed out of the hot tub and shook the water out of his dark hair. A tan line showed where the waist of his baggy navy trunks had dropped down a little. She heaved a sigh of delight as she thought of her and Brian—and her big, empty house—together, all summer.
“Girls, we’re going to have so much fun!” she declared, stretching out her long legs and watching her toes bob in the bubbling water as her two best friends flanked her on either side. “First of all, we finally got to throw the party we’ve been planning since finals. And for the rest of the summer, we’ll have shopping in Noe Valley, the beach every afternoon—”
“Parties at your place every weekend!” Morgan finished for her, sending a splash of steaming water toward each of the girls. “You have the best party house in San Francisco, Maddy.”
“No question,” Kirsten said, looking across the art-fully lit pool to the view of the bay. Behind them the sprawling six-bedroom Spanish-style house pulsed with Rihanna’s latest album.
Maddy smiled her agreement. Everyone was getting what they wanted: Mom and Dad were living their dream up in Napa, and
was experiencing sweet inde-pendence down here in the city.
“I should probably go mingle, guys,” she told everyone. “I
the hostess, after all.”
Brian splashed back into the tub next to her just in time to catch her last words. “Don’t go too far,” he said, winking at her meaningfully. Maddy laughed at him and pulled herself onto the deck, knowing he was enjoying watching the water run off her slim, tanned figure.
“If you tap that new keg, I might have a special treat for you later,” she said flirtatiously.
He grinned back. “Wait, I want my party favor right now!” He grabbed for her, but she dodged his grasp and draped a silk sarong around her hips, slipping a gauzy linen shirt on top.
As Maddy made her way to the foyer, she saw Brian’s best friend push through the oak front door. “Mad-eline!” Chad yelled, crushing her with a bear hug. The hall filled up with huge, brawny boys lugging an extra case of beer. Two skinny blondes appeared behind them, each waving a bottle of vodka. Maddy shook her head—
for two of the richest girls at school, Taylor and Sunny certainly managed to look remarkably cheap.
“We brought Grey Goose!” Sunny called.
“Your place is
awesome, Maddy!” Taylor squealed.
“Thanks,” Maddy said. “Why don’t you stick the vodka in the kitchen?”
“Oh my God, is that
?” Sunny screeched in reply, staring into the living room. “Doesn’t he play for UCLA?” She and Taylor hustled past Maddy, nearly knocking her over.
Within an hour, her house was filled with basically every person she knew—and a bunch she didn’t. Maddy felt like the queen of summer. When she looked around again, Morgan and Kirsten were dramatically debating something with Taylor. Sunny was making out with a guy from Cathedral Prep. Someone had put on the Ying Yang Twins, and couples were grinding in the living room and making out on the sofas. Rob Davis broke a Lalique vase, and Maddy was drinking vodka tonics
She needed a breather. So she made her way back onto the now-deserted deck, trying not to stumble too much. “Mmmm,” she murmured, collapsing onto a canvas lounge chair. She closed her eyes and let the pounding music behind her wash through her mind. She could feel someone standing over her.
“I’ve come to collect my party favor now, hostess,”
Brian whispered as he slid onto the chair next to her.
Maddy smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck.
He pulled her on top of him. “I am so glad your parents are gone.”
“Me too.” She loved the feeling of his whole body pressed against hers. She twined her fingers in the wavy hair at the back of his head and kissed him gently. His body tensed, and excitement shot through her. Mmm.
Brian was so yummy. His lips always tasted like cinna-mon.
He wrapped his arms around her and flipped himself over, taking her with him. Now he was on top, gazing down at her. “It’s going to be a great summer, Madeline Sinclaire,” he said softly as he pressed his hips against hers. She closed her eyes and he kissed her again, this time parting her lips with his tongue.
I couldn’t agree more,
she thought. She ran her hands up and down his bare back under his T-shirt as he shifted to the side a little and slid her shirt up. She shivered at the sensation of the fabric brushing her skin.
After a few blissful minutes, Maddy drew back and glanced at the diamond-encrusted Bulgari tank watch her parents had given her for her sixteenth birthday. Ten o’clock. By now, Mom and Dad would have unloaded all the wheelbarrows and pitchforks and whatever the hell they used to resuscitate a run-down vineyard and would be sipping wine, happily oblivious to the biggest party in Sea Cliff. “I should probably go make sure no one’s throwing chairs out of windows or something,” she said.
Brian groaned and reached for her.
“Don’t leave yet.”
She smiled and tried to pull him up. “Come with me!”
The packed living room was grinding to the heavy bass line. The crowd had spilled up the stairs—Maddy could hear some sort of thumping from her parents’
room overhead—and into the kitchen.
“Rob, what are you doing in there?” Maddy called over to the brawny football player. Rob Davis had apparently given up on running around the yard and had just taken the top off of the blender.
“A little something I like to call Robbie’s Late Night Bean Special,” Rob answered with a grin. “You’ll love it, Sinclaire.”
The whir of the blender was just audible over the music. In the very back of her mind, Maddy briefly wondered if he was trashing the kitchen but decided it didn’t matter. After all, she had two whole months to clean up, and right now, dancing to Beyoncé was her main prior-ity.
Your love’s got me looking so crazy right now.
Brian’s arm slid around her waist. He pulled her up tightly against him and handed her a cold beer from the freshly tapped keg. Maddy wrapped one arm around his shoulders, swaying her hips to the music, and took a sip with the other hand. “Mmmm,” she murmured and buried her face in his neck.
Your touch got me looking so
crazy right now.
From behind her, she could hear Morgan shrieking,
“Oh my God! She did not!” Somewhere, glass shattered.
Maddy shook her hair back from her face and raised her arms in the air, swaying to the music. Brian took her chin in his hand and leaned down.
“You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen,” he murmured into her ear, his lips brushing the side of her face. Their eyes met as he slowly brought his mouth to hers.
Maddy felt like her whole body was electrified. She ran her hands down Brian’s back as he dipped her backward.
“Ow! Ow! Go, Maddy!” Kirsten giggled, bumping her shoulder.
Maddy twirled around, her eyes closed, singing as loud as she could,
“Got me looking so crazy in love!”
In the distance, she could hear someone calling her name. But the music drowned out the voice. She’d deal with it when this song ended. Beyoncé could not be ignored. Then the call came closer.
“Maddy! Madeline Sinclaire!”
That sounds like my father,
she thought dreamily.
I wonder if they even have stereos in Napa
Wow, that really does sound like Dad
. Maddy smiled to herself. But when she opened her eyes, her father was not smiling back.
Maddy froze. She could feel the blood draining from her face. Brian stumbled into her.
“Wha—” Then he looked up and went totally
All around her, the party was still going on. No one else had noticed her parents yet. Morgan stumbled out of the kitchen, a bottle of vodka in her hand. “Maddy!”
she yelled. “Are there more glasses—oh, sh—Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Sinclaire,” she said, quickly regaining her compo-sure. “Happy Fourth of July. Isn’t patriotism just the best part of being American?”
Neither of Maddy’s parents had moved from the doorway. Her father’s face was beet red and his eyes widened to cover about half of his face. As his body tensed, his head looked like it was sinking into the collar of his shirt. Her mother’s face was completely white.
“Morgan,” she said in a strangled voice, “please turn off the music.”
“Right. Right away!” Morgan bounded over to the stereo and cut Beyoncé off mid-cry. Everyone stopped dancing and looked around.
Quickly sizing up the situation, Chad cupped his hands around his mouth. “Busted!” he bellowed.
Pandemonium broke loose as people shoved out the back door, yelling, “Get out!” No one had the nerve to go past Maddy’s parents, still standing in the living room doorway. Maddy’s mouth was dry and the walls were spinning. Through her fog, she felt Morgan and Kirsten squeeze her hands as they ran toward the back door.
“Call me,” Morgan managed to whisper.
And all of a sudden, everyone was gone. Only Maddy and Brian still stood together in the middle of the floor.
“Arrhmmm!” Bob Sinclaire cleared his throat pointedly.
Maddy winced. “You’d better go,” she muttered to Brian. “I’ll text you.”
“Um, bye, Mr. and Mrs. Sinclaire,” he tried weakly, giving Maddy a sympathetic glance. He awkwardly squeezed through the doorway.