1 | Beginning of Summer
IT WAS THE THIRD DAY of the summer holidays. And the third day of me being stuck at home without so much as stepping a foot outside.
Well, that was about to change.
“Hurry!” Maya dragged my duffel bag down the stairs. Her dark hair was already sticking to her forehead from the humidity. “Remind me what you did again to be grounded for the summer break?”
I rolled my eyes. I wouldn’t call it grounded, merely a slight inconvenience that wouldn’t stop me from going on this trip, one way or another. Plus, how much trouble could you get in when you were nineteen from your parents?
My parents were adamant that as long as I lived under their roof, I’d follow their rules. Their rules were ridiculous. I won’t get started on those today.
“I blatantly pointed out that Mr Henderson was gawking at my boobs during an important meeting. It cost my father a ten million dollar deal.”
One out of many—my father could survive. I doubt it would even matter at the end of the year once all his other figures came in. My family was wealthy, there’s no doubt about that, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you otherwise.
My father owned a shit tonne of investment companies and properties all over the world. He worked hard for his money—a businessman from the age of twenty.
Of course, the money he inherited from his grandparents helped tremendously. But it wasn’t the only factor. His brains, determination and solitude were the driving force.
It wasn’t my father who was mad either for the events that occurred at the meeting. My mother was adamant that it’s not how a lady should act at an official event, especially not in front of the country’s wealthiest people.
I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to let some old bastard stare at me when his wife was next to him. This wasn’t the first time he has done this and certainly not the last. He deserved to be called out, and I’m not sorry that it was by me.
“Hudson, stay,” I told my five-year-old Alaskan malamute while motioning with one finger. He sat near the door and didn’t move. “Good boy.”
My parents brought him home when I was fourteen to teach me about my responsibilities. Hudson was the best responsibility I could have asked for. “Don’t look at me like. I’ll be back in no time.” I closed the door behind me.
“Your mouth always gets you in trouble, Sav. Have you ever tried keeping it shut?” Maya asked. She picked up her suitcase, which was hidden behind a bush once we were outside.
“Nope. I’m not going to start either,” I said. I couldn’t help myself. Perhaps I got that trait from my father. He was always very outspoken and assertive.
“Get back here, Savannah Marlene Elswood!” my mother yelled from the balcony. I glanced up. My mother glared at me, her arms crossed against her chest.
I took my time dragging my suitcase into the trunk of one of my father’s favorite cars. I knew for a fact that my mother wouldn’t risk running down the stairs and ruining her fresh perm.
“I’ll see you in two weeks. Tell dad I’m sorry for his deal, and thanks for letting me use his prized possession,” I rubbed the hood of the car. “Tell him to consider it as the end of my first college year gift.”
“Savannah! You cannot do this, absolutely not! Your father will be enraged. He’ll go utterly mad if he notices his car is gone!” she fretted. I knew the exact look on her face without having to see it. Her eyes were narrowed, trying to crease her forehead—but she couldn’t from the botox.
It did her well; she looked ten years younger! I hoped my father didn’t lose his fortunes; otherwise, my mother would age overnight.
“Goodbye, mother!” I yelled. I hopped into the passenger side.
“Bye, Mrs. Elswood!” Maya joined as she placed her foot to the pedal. The G Wagon burst to life, not wasting a second.
We sped down the long, sweeping driveway, and I held onto the roof handle when Maya went over the curb and onto the road. The car roof was off, and I leaned back into the seat, extending my hands above me. Ah, this is what I’d waited for.
Long summer nights, beaches, booze, and good company. We’ve had this trip planned since the start of the college year.
A whole year studying at Stanford Law School and attempting to attend all my dance classes every week took everything out of me. And yet, my mother wanted to send me to some extended program during the summer break. Yeah, right!
I connected my phone to the car Bluetooth and put some music on, turning it all the way up. The breeze brushed along my skin, welcoming me to join the escapade.
Maya grinned at me. Light brown strands of hair covered her face, obscuring her vision of the road. She flicked it back and began singing along with the music.
We had only known each other for a short two years. Her parents moved from Australia. Her father got a deal with some major finance company here, and we met through our parents.
It was friendship as soon as Maya opened her mouth. We were at a fundraiser with high profile business people. Maya told me my ass looked like I just sat in a pile of shit and then proceeded to drag me to the bathroom.
We couldn’t get the stain out with baby wipes. By the time Maya finished scrubbing my behind, it was a hundred times worse. I refused to go back out, even though the event had just started.
My five thousand dollar dress was ruined, and I wasn’t about to embarrass myself in front of everyone. It truly did seem like I had an unfortunate accident.
Maya had shrugged and sat on the tiled floor. I looked at her like she was insane. “What? You do realize this floor is probably cleaner than the last place you had sex.”
I raised my eyebrows. That was bold of her to assume, but she wasn’t wrong. Not particularly. We weren’t going to go there.
Maya had given me that look, you know I’m right! She then proceeded to rummage through her bag. Eventually, she pulled out a joint that’s seen better days. Then a lighter followed.
“Are you insane?” I hissed, looking towards the door where anyone could walk in at any given moment. Including my mother!
Maya didn’t bat an eyelid at my protests. She got up and walked to the door, locking it.
My mouth dropped open. “You can’t be serious.”
All she did was shrug and drop back down against the wall. She had placed the joint in between her full lips and continued to light it.
We had been friends ever since.
We pulled up into a lavish street to pick up Corina and Jake before we began our five-hour car ride. They both lived in the same street.
“We’re going to Malibu, not Hawaii,” I said to Jake as he walked out wearing a red t-shirt with colorful flowers scattered across it.
He walked towards the car, flicking me a vulgar gesture with a fake smile. Jake has been my best friend since the age of five. By this point, I considered him family.
“Oh, cheer up, Jake. This is going to be the best two weeks of your life!” I grinned at him.
“Find me a sexy guy with a big dick, and then we’ll talk,” he said, flicking his short hair to the side.
Jake was apprehensive about being spending the next two weeks with straight people and not getting laid. I reminded him that we’re going to Malibu and not the moon. He was bound to find someone who tickled his fancy, especially at the exclusive parties we had invitations to.
“Since I got the car...” I placed my knees on the seat as I leaned out the window.
“And I got the booze,” Maya chimed in as she climbed into the backseat, flashing me her hot pink underwear in the process.
“And I don’t have my license,” Jake says—knowing where this conversation is heading to.
“You’re driving, Cor.” I finish, handing her the keys.
“Hey! That’s not fair,” Cor pouts, her dark curls bouncing against her curvy chest.
“Life wasn’t made to be fair, babe,” Jake said, pushing her petite body towards the driver’s side and throwing his suitcase in the back.
Lucky this car had a big trunk—we all packed a lot more than necessary. But I’ve always been taught to be over-prepared than under. My mother’s doing.
I packed at least four outfits for each day. A girl needs options! And I’d rather be comfortable and have something to change into during an outfit crisis than to spend another night getting higher than the Empire State Building in the bathroom.
Lesson learned. Always be prepared.
By the time we pulled up to the coastal Malibu beach house, we have finished a bottle of Midori between Maya, Jake, and myself.
Jake had the most of it. “It’s summertime, baby!” He stood up, waving his hands above his head in the backseat.
I was pleased to know that his mood has drastically improved since our departure. However, I wasn’t looking forward to having to look after him for the remainder of the night.
He would be passed out near the toilet seat within a few hours if he didn’t slow down on the drinks. I took the bottle from him, and he scowled at me.
However, it was quickly forgotten as soon as we came to a halt. I held onto Jake’s shaved legs so he didn’t go toppling over through the windshield. Corina wasn’t exactly a smooth driver.
“If my dad saw the way you parked that car just then, he would’ve had a heart attack,” I said.
“Maybe he should teach me,” she sent me a wink, biting her lip.
“Gross!” Maya and I exclaimed at the same time.
Cor had always been into older men, and she assured me that she was joking when she made sexual remarks about my middle-aged father—but I wasn’t so sure that was the case.
My eyes traveled to the three-story house that we would be staying in for the next two weeks.
It had a white exterior with floor to ceiling windows. Palm trees surrounded the front, and I could already smell the salty ocean. My toes curled at the thought of spending most of my days on the private beach.
This place was also secluded from everyone else, meaning we could make as much noise as we wanted to. Something that we were determined on when looking for a place.
This was the only house the six of us agreed to. Of course, it came with a hefty price tag. Some of us had to save the whole year to pay our share.
I climbed out of the car, closing the door behind me. Maya was already out of her seat and dragging Jake out of the back.
It was going to be a long night. But I wasn’t complaining. Jake was a different sort of species when he was drunk. The life of the party.
I was about to head towards the trunk to get my suitcase out and meet the others inside when Corina’s voice halted me in my footsteps.
“Who. Is. That?” Corina slid her large black sunglasses down her nose, and her mouth gaped open.