Never a Ever After

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I knew you were trouble

“Ugh, mother. Why do I have to be here for dinner? Mrs. Bergetti is your friend, not mine,” Maia complained.

Having had quite enough of Maia’s whining, Shanna didn’t bother to turn around as she replied, “Because she is bringing her grandchildren with her. They are about your age, and I think it would be nice if they had someone to hang out with tonight. Besides, her grandson goes to your school, and it might be nice to see a familiar face on your first day. He may even be inclined to introduce you around next week if you’re nice to him.”

Maia sighed. She hated it when her mother made a valid point. As big of a fuss as she made to be allowed to attend Middleton Heights, she needed it to work out. She couldn’t give her parents any reason to regret their decision to enroll her there. While a change of environment would be exciting for the teen, it was also scary.

Thus far, all of her friendships except for Victoria were superficial. At Oak Hills, what your parents did for a living meant much more than who you were as a person. That was why the kids of celebrities were always on the top of the social hierarchy.

Maia wasn’t the most popular girl at her school, but she wasn’t the most unpopular either. No matter how unpopular one was, no one was deemed lower than the scholarship kids. While these students were usually super smart or amazingly gifted in some other fashion, they were looked down upon because their parents couldn’t afford to pay their tuition out of pocket.

Grumbling incoherently, Maia turned to leave her parents’ bedroom. However, just before she made it to the door, Shanna called from over her shoulder, ”Oh, and why don’t you wear that cute khaki crop top that I just bought you last week. It flatters your figure. From what Mrs. Bergetti says, her grandson is rather easy on the eyes.”

Maia resisted the urge to roll her eyes as she walked out of the room. Naturally, a grandmother would say that her grandchild was attractive. They were understandably biased. Surely her mother must understand this as well, so then why did she suggest that she dress up to impress Mrs. Bergetti’s grandson?

What made him more special than all the other sons, grandsons, and nephews of her parents’ friends that she met thus far? Still, there was no denying that her mother was right. The ruffled khaki crop top did show off her flat stomach and slim waist. It didn’t do much for her cleavage, though, regrettably, she didn’t have any.

Although her mother had reassured her many times that she had been a ‘late bloomer’ and needless to say, Shanna now had a rather ample bosom. Maia slipped the suggested top over her head and stepped into a pair of navy blue skinny jeans. Maia meticulously ran a curling iron through her dark tresses, ensuring that no strand had been left unattended before pulling half of her luscious mane back into a dark brown barrette. She slid a pair of gold hoop earrings into her earlobes.

Maia had just slipped her feet into a pair of cream ballet flats when she heard the doorbell chime. However, by the time Maia reached the bottom of the landing, Pemberly had already answered the door. Maia took a deep breath and let it out slowly while her mother and the Bergetti matriarch exchanged pleasantries.

As Shanna caught sight of her daughter, she gave Maia a curt nod to indicate her approval before stretching a hand towards her saying, “Darling, come meet our guests for the evening.”

Maia started tentatively towards her mother, who draped a loving arm about her shoulder as she continued, “Maia, you remember Mrs. Bergetti from church.”

The elderly woman studied her for a moment in a manner that made the teenager feel slightly uncomfortable as she said politely, “It’s a pleasure to see you again Mrs. Bergetti.”

Bella Bergetti was one of those lucky older women whose physical age was ambiguous. Most likely the woman was in her sixties but looked to be in her 40s at best. There was not one wrinkle anywhere on the elderly woman’s porcelain skin leading her mother to suspect that Mrs. Bergetti has had some ‘work done’.

Until now, Maia had only ever seen her mother’s friend from a distance. Now that she was closer, the teen was stunned by how beautiful she was.

Bella was a timeless beauty with a heart-shaped face framed by short platinum hair that fell to the nape of her neck in soft, voluminous curls. In striking contrast to her flaxen locks, she had perfectly arched dark brown brows hovering above piercing greenish-blue eyes. Bella’s high cheekbones were colored with just a hint of rouge, while her lips were painted with a ruby red lipstick.

Maia hadn’t realized that she was staring slack-jawed at Mrs. Bergetti until the sound of a pair of heavy footsteps padding in their direction yanked her out of her daze. The brunette’s fair orbs flitted towards the direction from whence it came just as an attractive man in his mid-thirties with short, dark hair parted in the center and slicked to one side entered the foyer.

He was dressed traditionally in a long black tailcoat worn over a white, formal button-up shirt and fitted black slacks. Coming to a stop beside Mrs. Bergetti, the man extended his arms towards her, and cleared his throat gently but authoritatively. Offering him a gentle smile, Bella shrugged off her mink coat and placed it tenderly in the man’s outstretched arms. He then turned towards the young girl with Mrs. Bergetti saying softly, “Young miss.”

Obediently, the dark-haired pre-teen slipped off her silk jacket and placed it in the butler’s arms. As the middle-aged man shifted his focus to Mrs. Bergetti’s grandson, Bella turned her attention back to Maia.

Smiling graciously, Bella replied, “The pleasure is all mine Maia, I assure you. Your mother speaks so highly of you that I’ve been looking forward to meeting you properly. Please allow me to introduce my granddaughter Alyssa and my grandson Alex.”

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