You're To Blame: A High School Bully Romance (Haven Saints High), page 1
HAVEN SAINTS HIGH SERIES
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Copyright © 2019 by Brooke Jordan
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
“No! No!” he screamed.
I sat straight up. Air caught in my chest. Gripping the sheets, my mouth opened but nothing came out. Rocking back and forth, I shook my head until, until I choked. Tears poured down my face. This dream was the worst. The worst it's been in four years. My hands slipped through my dark silky hair.
“Facing him every day for a year. I can’t.” I cried out.
Swinging my legs over the side of my king-sized bed, I inhaled and exhaled. My bare feet padded across the dark wood floor. Flicking the thick curtains open, sunlight poured against my tanned skin. Gazing across the street, my eyes landed on Tate Forrester’s huge stone mansion. There was a time when he loved me. Now he hated me. He blamed me for ruining his life.
We hadn’t lived in my childhood home full-time since I was five. Tate’s mother Melissa persuaded my mom Jennifer, her best friend since they were little to return to Haven River, Georgia.
Mom accepted the chief of Cardiothoracic surgery position at Haven River General hospital.
Now the Cardiovascular surgeons could carpool together.
My new torture chamber for the next year Haven Saints High was about a mile away. Senior year was supposed to be epic. Nope, not mine.
My life hadn’t been normal since I was thirteen. Tate and I were the best of friends. We’ll maybe I felt like his best friend. We spent almost every summer together. He tortured me. Usually when boys tormented you, that meant they liked you. Didn’t matter. Now he hated me.
My Dad Chris opened his own firm upon returning. Haven River was a large affluent town. He was a criminal defense attorney. Mom and dad led busy lives. Why did they have two more children five years ago when they didn’t have time to spend with me? A nanny wasn’t a good substitute parent for Carson and Emma. They were a handful. Wait, it actually made sense to hire a full-time nanny. She wasn’t attractive, so I suppose that was my mother’s intention. Probably didn’t want dad checking out the nanny. A smile curled my lips. But dad never checked out other women. Not that I ever noticed. He loved mom. When he had an ounce of extra time, he’d run to the hospital to have lunch with her. It was sweet. They were the ideal couple. If I still believed in love, I’d want to be in love like they were.
Screw love. It was obvious love hated me.
I believed love and pain worked against me. Love stole Tate from me in an instant.
Sitting in the oversized window seat, I wrapped my arms around my legs. Maybe I should be late for my first day of school. I wouldn’t have to stare into judgmental eyes of the over privileged. I had the nerve to call someone else privileged. I had a private jet at my disposal. Not that I used it. But I could if I wanted to. Mom and dad tried to make my life simplistic as possible. Kind of hard when your grandfather’s an oil tycoon. Didn’t matter how I didn’t over indulge in expensive shiny things growing up. I was back in the land of the filthy rich.
“Chelsea.” Mom’s fist banged against the large wooden door. “Are you awake?”
“I’m coming in.” The door flew open.
“Chelsea, you should get in the shower.”
“I know. I’m going,” I sighed.
She strolled toward me. Her hand slid over my hair. “I love you, baby.” She pulled me close.
“I love you too, Mom. I’m scared. You know he still hates me.”
“Sweetheart, I told you not to stop your life because of what happened years ago. It wasn’t your fault. If Tate says anything out of the way to you, I want to know about it. Dad and I will sit down with Melissa and Brian.”
I hadn’t told them all the times he tortured me in the past, I definitely wouldn’t tell our parents now.
“I scheduled an appointment with a therapist here.”
Pulling back, I glared into her blue eyes. “Mom, you didn’t need to do that.”
“Yes, I did.” She turned my wrists upward, running her fingers across the faint lines.
“I’m proud of you. You haven’t had an outburst in a few years. I want to keep it that way. Get ready for school.” Her lips landed on my forehead. “If you need anything, call my service and I will call you back as soon as I can. I have two surgeries today. Dad will also be in court all day. Nanny Nina can assist if need be.”
“Ok. Have a good day, mom.”
Her eyes sparkled. “You, too, sweetheart.”
My eyes remained on her until the door closed.
Shuffling into the luxurious large bathroom, I flipped on the shower. Slipping out of my pajamas, I stepped into the shower. The piping hot water thudded my skin.
“You can do this, Chelsea. Keep your head down.” Nerd shit would probably keep me invisible. No cheerleading or track to put me on his radar. I ran track since eighth grade though. Hm, not sure I could give up track. I’d try out for shits and giggles.
Clutching my hands tight over my black hair, I squeezed the excess water to the ends of my strands.
I stood at the long silver marble counter, peering at my slender tanned five-six frame, brush and blow dryer in hand. Cocooning my face with my hair could help conceal my identity.
Standing in the oversized custom closet, my fingers swept across the cute dresses I barely wore. Nope, no cute dresses today. At the prestigious Haven Saints High, we wore uniforms. I had a choice of a pink or navy blazer. The White starched blouse with pink crest, navy pleated skirt with gray and pink stripes, knee high navy socks, and black shiny kitten heels was what I had to look forward to day in and day out. Yuck. The coolest thing about the south, school begin near the end of August. Not cool at all. This whole private school thing ended the dream of wearing blue jean shorts every day.
Slipping a hair scrunchie over my wrist, I tossed the backpack onto my shoulder, and teetered down the wide staircase toward the industrial kitchen. I hated wearing heels.
“Good morning, Carson and Emma.” I ran my hand over their blond locks. Their gray eyes landed on me. I dropped my bag on the floor beside the counter.
“Good morning, Chelsea. Mom and Dad already left for work,” Carson smiled, biting into the buttery toast.
I poured th
“Good morning, Chelsea.” Nina’s eyes slanted accompanied by a bright smile as she strolled into the kitchen.
“Kids, you have five more minutes then out the door,” she stated placing their backpacks on the long bench.
Leaning over the counter, I sipped the juice. “Are you guys ready for your first day?”
Their cute little faces lit up. “Yes!”
I pointed between them. “No getting into trouble. Or I’ll torture you both later.” I ran around the counter, tickling their bellies.
Their refreshing laughter echoed in the massive kitchen.
I snatched up my backpack. “All right, have a great day. I love you guys.” I kissed their foreheads.
“Love you, too.” They waved as I darted down the long hall and into the four-car garage.
Climbing into the white five thirty-five I BMW, I turned the key, and she purred.
Fifteen minutes later, I whipped into the huge student parking lot.
Jocks driving Ferrari’s, Lamborghini's, and Bentley coupes sped into the lot. The basketball, baseball, lacrosse, and football players hopped out their luxury cars that screamed money, slapping hands with each other. A group of cheerleaders strolled toward the jocks. Silly banter was exchanged and plenty of groping. Ugh. I slipped into a parking space in the middle of the parking lot. It was ideal. Fewer eyes on me meant I could dodge bullshit comments from the elite. I sashayed toward the orangish brown massive building without losing my balance. Tate wasn’t amongst the jocks. Where was he? Couldn’t imagine the star quarterback not being at the center of attention. I didn’t see his minions either.
Last week at the open house, I slipped in early, dodging all the jocks and cheerleaders. Mainly, avoiding Tate. I met my teachers, received my class schedule, and my assigned locker info. Dad hovered, introducing himself and providing his phone number to every teacher. He drove it home if any student bullied me, he wanted to be contacted right away. I knew my dad meant well. He only wanted to protect his little girl. But I wasn’t a little girl anymore. Soon I’d graduate and enroll into college.
Head down, I walked through the large bustling hallway then up the stairs to the second floor. My eyes widened the moment I turned the corner. Shit! I halted. Kids snaked around me. Leaning his lean back against my locker, his blue eyes met mine. His hand clutched his black backpack strap.
“Chelsea.” He cracked that killer perfect smile, motioning me over.
He was dapper in his navy blazer, dark tie, white dress shirt, navy slacks and black loafers. Eyes scoured the hall in search of who the most popular guy in school spoke to.
Slowly, I strolled toward my locker.
“I figured I’d personally welcome you to Haven Saints High.”
Every student whispered and stared in passing.
My eyes landed on the button on his blazer.
He glanced down at the button then back at me. “Yeah, I thought I’d wear Mason’s baseball button today. I wanted to remind you what you stole from me.” He hovered over me. His dark, straight hair dangled in his face between us. He’d always wore it curly. Matter of fact, it was curly earlier this summer when I’d seen him last. His woodsy, citrus cologne swept up my nose. The pain in his eyes was dark and unleashed.
“I told you earlier this summer I’d stay out of your way, Tate.” I pushed past him, opening my locker.
He caged me in with his hands on either side of my head. “And what did I say?” His deep vocals heated my core. Fuck, I need him to leave me alone.
“Tate, I agreed…”
His hand slammed against the locker, sending tingles up my spine. “I want to hear you say it.”
“You laughed.” I clutched my eyes shut.
“Our parents may have moved on since the incident with my twin brother, but I will never forget you are the reason Mason isn’t here anymore. I hate that I have to see your face…every day. The sight of you turns my stomach. You’ve been dead to me since that day.”
“You’ve made that clear, Tate.”
“You have no friends in this school. You’ll remain a loner.”
He stepped back. “If anyone befriends Chelsea Culver...” Silence fell over the long hall.
I turned to him.
His jaw ticked and his eyes fell upon the kids surrounding him. “…You’ll be on my shit list. And no one.” His gorgeous eyes fell on me. “I mean no one wants to be on that list.”
A short blonde stepped under his arm and flashed a wicked smile my way.
“Have a great day, Chelse.”
My childhood name falling from Tate’s lips felt like a dagger to the heart. Hate oozed off the word.
So much for being invisible. That fucker made sure I was tortured. I was angry and deserved to be angry. I no longer loved him either, I hated him too.
Whispering continued in the halls and in every class that morning. Stepping into the lunchroom, I peeked around the boisterous room. Standing in the long line, I scrolled social media on my phone. A slender body slammed into my back. My body tensed and my fingers curled. Spinning around, I grimaced at the culprit. A smile was plastered across her pink lips.
“What are you looking at reject?” she spat.
It was the blonde chick who cozied up to Tate this morning.
“You, bratty little bitch. You better watch it.” I closed the space between us.
“Brittany, knock it off. You’re such a puppet.” A dark-haired chick stepped between us. “Run over to your little squad.”
“Didn’t you get the memo, Connie? Oh, wait, how could you? You were probably under the bleachers with one of the losers you associate with.”
A crowd of kids surrounded us.
Brittany placed her hands on her hips. “News alert. No one is to befriend this…” Her eyes roamed my frame. “Garbage.”
I reached over Connie’s shoulder, tugging Brittany’s hair. “Who are you calling garbage, barbie bitch?”
Connie pried my hand from Brittany’s hair. “I don’t care about your dumb jock and cheerleader rule. She’s with us now. Let’s grab lunch.” She laced her arm through mine.
We filled our trays with gourmet chicken, spinach, and fruit salad. My stomach growled as the herbed chicken swept up my nostrils. The lunch lady cashier typed in our orders on the register. She rattled off the total.
Connie nudged my arm. “Type in your lunch number.”
I glanced at the memo pad on my cell then typed the six-digit number into the keypad. “I completely forgot about the lunch number. I only memorized my locker combo.” A smile curled my lips as I met the hard-lined face of the pale lunch lady.
Connie typed in her information then nodded toward the sea of chatty kids, hovering over their friends shoulders and eating their meals. “We’re seated to the left.”
Tate sat amongst his friends like the big man on campus. His smile dropped as his narrow-eyed gaze met mine. What happened to the boy who pulled my hair in kindergarten?
Over the years, Tate’s rage only heightened. I remembered he hated being blind-sided. If he wasn’t home and his parents invited our family over, the second he walked through the door he’d tell his mother in front of me, he wanted me out of their home. His dad Brian would talk to him en route to his bedroom, then return a short time later. He apologized to us for Tate’s behavior.
“Excuse me. I need to use the bathroom.”
“Sure honey,” Melissa said.
I strolled down the long hall and trekked upstairs. I passed a half bath and a full in route. The heaviness in my chest pulled me toward him. His bedroom was the last door at the end of the hall. Loud music poured out of his room.
“I tried so hard and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall to lose it all. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.” The classic Linkin Park song that helped me thr
Tate sang the song at the top of his lungs. My breathing leveled out as the words so eloquently flowed from his lips. The song came to a close, and I rose to my feet. My eyes darted toward the spacious balcony off the massive guestroom to my left.
Gripping the banister, my eyelids lowered, and I turned my head upward. The sun danced on my face. The heat on my skin reminded me how brutal Georgia summers could be.
“What are you doing out here, Chelsea?”
My body shook. “I’m not bothering you.”
He fell to my side. “That’s where you’re wrong. Every time we share the same space, you bother me. I don’t want to see you, Chelsea.” He ran his long fingers through his dark curly locks.
“You won’t ever have to see me again after senior year.”
His jaw ticked and his hand landed on the banister next to mine. My skin vibrated, and I tried, swallowing past the huge lump in my throat. Peeking at his chiseled square jaw, I held my breath in an effort to jumpstart my heart again. Didn’t matter, we hated each other. In that moment we shared the same space I could feel my body pulling toward him. Did he feel it too? Did a part of him still like me?
He glared at me. “Why are you wearing a red long sleeve shirt in ninety-degree heat?”
I couldn’t help but notice the vibrant blue over powering his black pupils. I needed to change the subject. He couldn’t find out about my problem. “How long will you hold me responsible?”
He leaned down. His breath grazed my earlobe. “Forever.”