Billionaire's Childhood Love

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IV. Last Call for New York

AGE

Hailey Vaughn: 14 years old

Joshua Greyson: 16 years old

Hailey’s POV:

I step on the scale, watching the number change, and smile.

It’s been a year since I last saw Josh.

Unlike all the previous years, we haven’t spent the holidays, birthdays, or breaks together. Josh had been busy with school and learning about his family business while I refused to come to visit him.

I know it’s wrong of me, and my heart drops whenever I hear Josh mumbling words of dissatisfaction over the phone.

I wiggle my toes a few times, feeling the cooling sensation under my feet. I stop and look at myself in the mirror. Running my fingers down my curves, I sigh, seeing the stretch marks. Mom said it’s because I lost weight a bit too quickly during fitness camp. That’s what I did the past year, went to fitness camp whenever I’m on break instead of visiting Josh.

I tiptoe downstairs, silently placing on my shoes, and open the door. The fresh morning air rushed past my skin, and I threw on my hood to start my morning jog. Exhaling cold air in the dark, I feel my body heating up with each step. After a few miles, I stop running and lean against the stone wall. Standing on top of the mountain, I watch as the sunrise splattering the sky with a bright yellow, orange, and red.

My phone vibrates, disturbing the peaceful morning. I grab it and smile. “Good morning, you.”

A low chuckle lingers in my ear. “Good morning, beautiful,” his voice is deeper than I remembered.

I turn around, leaning against the cold wall. “What got you calling?”

“What? I can’t call to hear your voice?”

I chew on my lower lip. “You can.”

He sighs, “I miss you, HayBug. I wish I can fly over there now,” he grumbles.

I slide down the wall, feeling the cold hit my bum as I scrunch my legs against my stomach, resting my head on my knees. “I’m coming in a few days.”

“A few days is too long,” he complains, and I can imagine him pouting. There’s a knocking sound on his end and some mumbling words. Silently, I listen to the incoherent sounds as my eyes close, feeling the cool breeze.

“I got to go to soccer practice. I’ll call you later, okay?”

My heart drops, “Okay.”

“HayBug?”

“Yeah?”

“I can’t wait to see you,” he said.

A smile breaks onto my face. “Me too.”

The call ends.

I stand up, stretching my aching body. “Three more days,” I mumble to myself, then jog home.

I clicked the front door open, hearing nothing, and I knew everyone was still asleep. I jogged upstairs and went into my bedroom to get ready for a fresh shower. Grabbing some clothes, a box slipped out and hit my head.

I rub my aching forehead, wondering why I decided to put my favorite clothes on the top column beside the dangerous-looking boxes. Squatting down, I gather all the stuff but stop when I pick up a sparkly looking paper. Unrolling it, I bit my upper lips and chuckle.

How to NOT fall for Joshua Greyson.

When I was five, I realized I love Joshua Greyson. He was seven at the time and the best friend anyone could ever ask for.

Due to my weight, other kids always tease me. If we were living in a fairy tale, Josh would be my prince charming. Unfortunately, even if we are in a fairy tale, he wouldn’t fall for a girl like me. He would save the beautiful damsel in distress.

I’m not beautiful.

As the years passed, my feelings for him grew bigger. I love how, when he laughs, his eyes scrunch up with a slight twinkle with tears—how cute tiny freckles dance across his face. I particularly like the single dimple on his cheek that reveals itself whenever he smiles.

When I was younger, I never noticed this, but Josh and I are worlds apart. If our parents don’t know each other, he would never be with a girl like me.

Josh...tall, handsome, intelligent, and wealthy.

Me...I’m passed as average, average...and everything about me is average.

So, I made a list of how not to fall for him.

Rule #1: Do not fall for the one who refers to you as “My Girl.”

Rule #2: Do not fall for the dimple.

Rule #3: Do not ever kiss Joshua Greyson.

Rule #4: If you do, kiss him, run, and think of an excuse later.

Rule #5: Minimize the amount of time spent alone together.

Rule #6: Avoid as much physical contact as possible.

Rule #7: Don’t take it seriously when he calls you beautiful.

Rule #8: Never confess.

Rule #9: If you do confess, run...far far away.

Rule #10: When all is crushed...lie to savor the friendship.

Quickly, the morning passes by, and I kiss my parents goodbye to go to my part-time job. Adjusting the cap on my head, I grabbed my navy blue bike and began peddling it downtown. I smile, passing by the park Josh and I always hang out, then the forest, and lastly the lake.

When I arrive at the ice cream parlor, I lock my bike and walk inside. The bell rang. “Hello Mr.Middleton,” I said, taking off my jacket and wrapping the apron around my waist.

Peter smiles, “I told you this many times, Hailey. Call me, Peter.” He glances at the clock, “Early as always, I see.”

Due to my age, there aren’t many places that hire me. When I was feeling low on job hunting, Peter offered me a position at his parlor.

“Early birds get the worm,” I respond, tying up my hair.

Peter unravels his apron. “Seems like the treatment is working.”

I place my hands on my face, feeling its smooth surface. For the past year, I’ve been seeing my dermatologist about my skin. We worked together to help me get rid of my acne and minimize the scars from all the excessive picking. She placed me on intensive medication and skin products, which can drain the pockets. Mom and dad have excellent medical insurance from their jobs, but it only covered 95% of the treatment. My parents said they could pay for the rest, but I told them they already did enough.

So, I became a working girl at thirteen years old.

That’s when I realized how hard it is to make money. I work at an ice cream parlor, so it’s not terrible, but sometimes people get nitpicky. That’s when I stopped taking an allowance from my parents. They already give me a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food on the table. That’s more than many others would get.

I’m determined to be a good daughter and get a good job so that they can retire early. If I could, I want to take care of my parents and tell them I love them whenever possible.

“Yeah, I’m glad it is,” I said, tapping my fingers on the counter.

Peter grabs his jacket and nudges my shoulder. “Joshua will sure be happy,” he teases.

My cheeks grow red. “Peter...Josh is just a friend,” I mumble.

He nods, “I got you.” He winks, then throws me the keys. “Lock up tonight.”

I nod my head. “Have a good day, Peter.”

Peter smiles and walks out of the door. I stand there, leaning against the counter, and watch Peter drive away. Realizing a sigh, I listen to the music danced in the background. The bell rang, and I stood up straight, planting a smile on my face. “Welcome to The Drippity Cone!”

The days passed by, and soon I found myself standing in the airport with a bag in my hand and a crying father on my side. “Sweetheart. Let go of Hailey, or else she will be late for her flight,” mom tries to pry dad’s fingers off of me.

He pouts, “That sneaky little bastard,” he mutters, folding his arms.

I throw my arms around him. “I’ll come back for the holidays.”

Dad hugs me back. “I’m counting the days, jellybean,” he mumbles on top of my head.

I look at Alvin, who’s playing his video games. Dad coughs, catching his attention. “Bye,” he said impassively, then looked at mom. “Can I have her room?”

Mom rolls her eyes .“No, your sister is coming back for the holidays.”

He snaps his fingers.“Darn it.”

I chuckle, then wrap my arm around his shoulder. “I know I’ll miss you too.”

He looked up and twisted his lips to one side. “I don’t like Josh now,” he grumbles.

We all take glances at each other. “Say what?” We all said. Alvin loves Josh, always interfering with the time between us to hang out with him. Josh had always been the big brother Alvin never had.

Alvin hangs his arms around my waist. “He is taking you away.”

I bit my inner lip, trying to be strong. “I’ll be back for the holidays,” my voice cracks, mentally telling myself not to cry since my little brother hardly ever expresses his emotions.

"Awww, sweetheart. Don’t cry,” mom coos. She wipes the tears from my cheeks, and I realize I fail at trying not to cry.

“Flight 354 to New York. Last call for Flight 354 to New York.”

“Are you sure about this?” mom asks.

I nod, “It’s a bit scary going to a new-”

She shakes her head. “No, about what you’re doing right now. Are you happy with all the decisions you made this past year?” she whispers while dad and Alvin debated on where they should go to eat afterward.

“Of course, I’m happy,” I said unsurely.

Mom hugs me. “Remember what I used to say?”

I hold her. “Don’t change for anyone else but yourself.”

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