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Chapter 17

Riley went down to San Diego with Grant to celebrate Valentines Day and I got to keep Marley, Riley’s dog for the whole weekend. He was basically my valentine, at least he was cute and cuddled me.

I woke up to a call from Weston in the morning, Marley barely reacted as he stayed in bed with me.

“Hello?” I yawned because I had just woken up.

“I wouldn’t have called had I known you were a late sleeper.” Weston says to me and I just yawn again.

“What’s up?”

“Wanted to know if you wanted to go on a walk before the beach fills up.” I look at the time, it’s seven in the morning. I groan.

“It’s so early. Who wakes up this early on a Saturday?” Weston chuckles at me. “The beach isn’t going to be busy until like noon.” I sit up in bed.

“Come on, vitamin C is good for you. I’ll get you breakfast since you obviously need some energy.” The mention of food perks me right up. I was always down for food, I was suddenly starving.

“From where?”

“Well come to your back patio and find out.” I quickly get up, Marley following right behind me, and open my blinds to the back sliding door.

Weston is standing there waving at me. Behind him is an array of breakfast foods. I open the door and step out.

“You did this for me?” I ask him.

“Yes. I know I’m waiting for you, but that doesn’t mean I can’t surprise you with nice breakfasts on Valentines Day.” I’ve never had anyone do anything for me on this day.

I find myself getting choked up. “Let me change, I’ll be right out.” It’s all I could say. He nods.

“Take your time.” Marley stays out here with him while I run inside and change.

I changed into shorts and a loose white T-shirt. Underneath I had on my pink bikini because I knew we were going to be out on the beach right after breakfast. It was really warm today. I wanted to start working on my tan for the summer.

“This was really good.” I say to Weston who just won’t take his eyes off of me. “Do I have food on my face or something?” I ask him.

“No. I’m just admiring how beautiful you are. I hadn’t realized your hair is naturally curly.” I usually straightened my hair. They weren’t tight curls anymore like when I was a kid, my father used to call me Shirley Temple. After years of straightening my hair, the curls were still noticeably curlier than just having wavy hair.

“Flattery will only take you so far.” I say to him as I sip my orange juice. I look down at Marley who is patiently waiting to go on his morning walk.

“I’d like to see how far exactly that would take me.” Weston smirks at me, I feel heat flush throughout my body, specifically a certain spot. He knew what he was doing to me.

Well two could play that game. “We should probably take Marley on that walk now down the beach.” He stands and that’s when I pull my shirt off. “You don’t mind, right?”

Weston’s eyes are huge, but he’s polite and looks away from my chest. I could tell how hard that was for him.

I hook Marley’s leash, leaning over to get it on his collar correctly. When I stand back up, Weston is facing my sliding door.

“You ready?” I ask him. He turns around like he wasn’t just trying to control himself around me.

“Yup.” He says and just follows me to the shore.

We aren’t far from my apartment, we are laying on the beach, there’s a couple of teenagers like twenty feet from us, but we’re mostly alone on the beach. Hardly anyone ever comes this early.

“I’m going to New York tomorrow for a whole week, so I won’t be at the office.” Weston says to me and I turn my head to look at him.

“Is everything alright?” I ask him.

“Oh yeah, my brothers wife just had a baby, and they’ve finally given me the green light to come and meet him.” That was really sweet.

I’m going to miss him. Even if it’s just for a week. I really liked Weston, he makes me feel different.

Something catches my attention right behind him. Or I should say someone caught my attention. I recognized the boy from the event a couple weeks ago, what were the chances I would be running into him again.

As soon as he realizes I spotted him, he nudges his friend, a girl, the same girl he was with last time. She glances at me, and I know that they’re about to leave. No. They obviously knew who I was, I wanted to know who they were.

I hand Marleys leash to Weston. “Take him for a minute.” I say, I don’t even let him respond, and I get up and catch up to them.

“Hey!” I yelled.

The boy turned around, the girl didn’t, but they both stayed in their place. “Yes?” The boy asks.

These were teenagers, maybe late teens. I could only go off the boy, I couldn’t see the girls face.

“Do I know you two?” I ask.

The boy looks panicked, and that’s when the girl turns around. The brown hair, the green eyes, my mind started putting it all together.

“I’m Hope Schuyler.” I freeze at her last name. This was my sibling. This was my sister. The one I didn’t want to know anything about. “My parents are Isabela and Ian Schuyler.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I lie to her. This girl didn’t look abused and starved, she looked healthy and happy.

“I asked my mom about you, she got really upset when I asked her if I had a sibling I didn’t know about.” Hope looked desperate for answers. I just couldn’t be the one to give them to her. “I got your name from a letter, I think it was a legal document dealing with custody. It was the only thing I could find about you.”

I could tell that Hope was excited that she found me, that she figured out the family secret. It’s clear to me that she didn’t grow up with the same family that I did, that was obvious.

I turned my head around to see that Weston was right behind me. He heard everything. He doesn’t know everything though, neither does Hope.

“Hope, I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t have come looking for me.” I could see the pain in Hope’s face.

“I was so excited to find out that I have a sister, I should have realized that you might not feel the same way.” I shake my head.

“Hope, there’s a reason you don’t know about me.”

I could see her spirit breaking. “Did my mom not put you up for adoption?” She’s made this whole narrative up, and it was far from the truth. She deserved to know what happened.

But I can’t be the one that tell her. “No. You should ask Isabela to explain to you what happened. This is something you have to hear from her.”

Hope was upset now. “She won’t tell me, she didn’t even want to tell me your name. You can tell me, I can handle it!”

I wasn’t about to ruin her whole world. “Hope, go home and ask your mom or dad for the story. When you know, you will understand. I’m sorry.” Hope was now crying into her hands, and her friend pulled her into him.

I took it as my chance to leave. Weston followed behind me until he could catch up to me.

He didn’t say anything the whole way back. As soon as I got to the comfort of my own home, that’s when I broke down.

I sobbed. “Hanna.” He grabs my hand from my face so I could look at him.

“I can’t breathe.” I cried. I was having a panic attack.

He intertwines his fingers with mine. Gives me a tight squeeze and starts whispering things into my ear that I can’t hear, when I have bad panic attacks I literally lose my hearing.

After a couple minutes of him squeezing my hand in an even beat, and talking to me, I start coming back.

“This is bad, I know, but it’s going to be okay.” I can finally catch my breath again, which I’m thankful for.

I’m still crying, now on the floor of my kitchen. He’s sitting right next to me. Marley is even sitting with us. I squeeze his hand back and he looks at me.

“Don’t tell Riley what happened, with Hope, and the panic attack.” I knew exactly what she would say and I didn’t want to hear it.

“Of course.” I leaned my head on his shoulder and finished calming down. I was glad that he was here with me, even though I was now sure that I was going to scare him off with this.

I told him my life was a mess. Now he knew exactly how messy. He just didn’t know how it got this way.

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