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Chapter One

Sixteen…the year that everything was supposed to change for a girl...yet, I knew that this would be the same as all the others. I did not look like a supermodel, nor was I a genius. No I, Gabrielle Livingston, was a normal, one of the many that had to work their way to get what they wanted. Wandering throughout the halls of the prep school that I had worked so hard to get into, I knew that I stood out, especially when I stood next to one of the gold spoon toting, ass kissing richies that ruled the courtyard with a jewel encrusted fist. I was not blonde, or well-manicured and I especially was not a size zero, don't get me wrong, I'm not five hundred pounds, no, but being any higher than a size four and you were considered a heifer. Myself, being a size ten, I fell into that category, despite being able to still fit into the fashionable clothes, the fact that I filled it out a little better and the clothes didn't hang off me meant I was called a pig and a fatass on a regular basis.

Holding my books to my chest, I stared up at the painting of the founder of the school, a crotchety old man who seemed; in all the photos they had of him, to not know how to smile. Sighing, I turned head down and made to rush to my first class of the day, calculus; my worst enemy, next to the one bitch who causes me more grief than I should have to go through. And she happened to be in that class with me, a fucking double whammy if I ever saw one. Entering the class, which thankfully wasn't far from my locker that was conveniently located at the other side of the school away from all my other classes, I heard the onslaught of giggles that always came after I entered a room in this school.

"Oh…migod, look at her hair! Hasn't she ever heard of a salon?" came the shrieking half-whisper of Natalie, the one who was determined to make my life a living hell. Her hazel eyes rolled as her painfully perfect nails ran through her own chemically straight, bleach blonde hair. Taking my seat, I could see my own reflection; mousy brown hair, which never lay where it was supposed to, my own pair of navy blue eyes, stared back at me momentarily before I was completely seated in my chair. Looking down, I avoided the stares that came as every one of the girls broke down and critiqued my clothing, last year's jeans, three year old shoes, and one of my ever-faithful oversized sweatshirts. All around me I could hear them talking amongst themselves about how poor I must be to not be wafer thin and wear clothing they (now) deemed unfashionable.

This was a daily occurrence, and though I admit I never tried to talk to them, they made it very clear to me my first day that if I didn't look, act, or talk like them I wasn't one of them. Not that I hadn't thought about what it would be like, boys would be throwing themselves at my feet, party invites flowing my way...Instead, I was basically ostracized for not being wealthy, and for not having picture perfect features and body. Sighing I opened up my sketchbook and pretended to work, while really I was drawing different people I'd seen or wanted to know.

~*~ ~*~

As soon as the bell rang, I was up and out of there, on my way to my next class only to endure it all over again. The best part of my scholarship was that I had enough credits from my previous school to carry over to my new one so I had no afternoon classes. So when the bell for lunch rang I could go to my after school job at the coffee shop by my father's townhouse just at the edge of downtown, which is exactly what I did this day. Even though it was going to be my seventh day in a row, I needed the money and they needed the help so it worked out. Settling in on the bus, I nodded to the older woman next to me before taking my outdated Discman and turned on the music, drowning out the crying babies and loud conversations that filled the cramped space.


Stepping off the bus, my runners came in contact with a massive puddle of water left behind from the rain the night before, the only people who'd seen it were an elderly man who didn't look like he remembered what he had for breakfast let alone would he remember a teen soaking their foot and their pant leg, the other was an impeccably dressed man in his early to mid-twenties. His face looked like one of those on the cover or GQ or something, his hair and shoes both shined in the sun, practically blinding me. This man was the one who came to check and make sure that nothing had been hurt, other than my pride. My face was beet red and I could barely nod a yes to his "Are you alright? You look like you're in a little bit of shock at that drop..." His hands grasping my sides, he pulled me up onto the curb and proceeded to bring me to the bench.

" didn't need to do that..." my voice came out small and quiet. Not since I moved here had I received any sort of chivalry or consideration from anyone. For a small moment after I spoke he stared down at me, and then suddenly realized his hands were still holding me round the waist. Pulling away, he cleared his throat and adjusted his tie before looking away.

"The bus drivers around here need to learn to make sure they pull up closer to the curb when letting people off." My new-found hero spoke again, I hadn't realized, earlier but his voice had a slightly different tone than the other rich people that spoke to me on a daily basis. Mostly due to the fact that he didn't seem to be consumed in himself and everything he did.

Smiling sheepishly, I chuckled "It was more my fault than his...had I not been paying more attention to my music player I would have seen that the curb was lower there.." as I said this, I realized that my disc player was not attached to my head, turning to look I saw that it had fallen from my pocket and off the headphones into the puddle when I dropped. "..Oh no..." groaning, my feet carried me to where it half floated in the disgusting mud water. "Great, just great; now I have to spend my paycheck looking for a new Discman..." Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned; he'd followed and frowned at my ruined player as I stood. Holding it between two fingers my free hand dug around in my backpack for a plastic bag to put it in until I could get it home and try to salvage it before tossing it.

He took it from my hand and inspected it, "Well, I doubt you'd get it working," he noted and opened the up the player "At least the CD isn't broken. Here…" he handed the disc to me and I popped it into the case in my backpack before taking back my Discman. "Allow me to walk you where you were going? I'd like to make sure you're safe before I leave you." Nodding slowly, I motioned in the direction of where I was going.

~*~ ~*~

As we approached the beige and orange terracotta building, I was still at a loss for something to say to him. He was so kind and strangers don't usually take it upon themselves to help a highschooler, especially one who wasn't supermodel beautiful. Once we had reached the building, I turned to him, "W-would you like to come in, I'll give you a coffee on the house" My voice was small and not at all like it normally was when I spoke to potential customers.

"I'd like that, but please, allow me to pay, I can't let a pretty girl pay for me" He smiled a beaming smile at me as I directed him to the counter and poured him a cup. He handed over his credit card and I glanced down at the name Spencer Duncan it read, I knew that name from somewhere but I couldn't place it right away. He thanked me and bid me good bye. He was almost out the door when he turned "Maybe I'll come by and let you buy me that coffee sometime" and then he was gone.

It wasn't until a week later that I realized that he might never keep his word and his soon his face faded from my mind. His name however stuck and I asked my father who he was "Well Gabby, he's only the owner of four major hotels alone in this city." My face must have showed shock on it and he reached over and pretended to close my mouth. "How did you say you met him again?" I went over it for the umpteenth time and even I couldn't believe how ludicrous it was.

School was letting out in a week so I didn't have to spend much time with the kids in my classes since most of them skipped or spent more time in the library than I did. When I wasn't studying I was drawing. Since I'd met Spencer, I couldn't help myself, I had to draw him, though every time I drew him he changed a little; never staying the same. I was sitting in the café one afternoon on my break having one of my free coffees and had my drawing pad propped up on my table. I'd just started drawing, and was slowly becoming absorbed.

It wasn't until I heard a voice right beside my ear that I jumped and gasped a little "Who're you drawing~?" Looking up, I saw through my dark bangs the face I'd never thought I'd see again, he smiled and sat across from me. "Well, hi, I told you I'd be back, didn't I?"

For once, I was at an extreme loss of words, I nodded and motioned for him to wait while I got up and got myself a refill and brought him a coffee, my hand shook as I handed it into his well-manicured hand. Seating myself I took a long sip of my beverage, and finally managed to answer him, "Y-you…" I sputtered, and Spencer gave me a quizzical look, "I was trying to draw you, actually, I draw you a lot, but you never look the same." Realizing I was rambling, I clamped my mouth shut.

He let out a loud laugh, "Well, I must say, I'm flattered. I've never known anyone to take such an interest in me before." He didn't sound like he was being sarcastic, chastising me or angry, he was genuinely happy and surprised about it; which satiated my feelings of ashamedness and embarrassment over having been so fixated on him.

I laughed softly and handed over the drawing book, "You've been stuck in my mind, I won't lie. It's not every day that I get shown kindness like the kind you show me. Especially not from my peers who treat me like an outcast or something worse." Something about him made me trust him, not even my father knew about the teasings that I received. Sighing, I watched him look it over, he was enthralled, his image, well, pieces of his image everywhere. A chuckle escaped his throat and I let a small smile creep onto my lips.

"I like them, you're very good. You're a very bright girl, and talented, I think you'd excel in any sort of design process," he leaned back in his seat and handed back the book, "would you like to meet with my design artists and learn from them? I could set up a meeting if you like." Spencer placed his hands under his chin and moved his fingers into a small pyramid shape as he awaited my answer to his offer.

I didn't know what to say, this was a first. And he was a stranger, how could I accept such an offer, especially since he was so well known to everyone. "W-well, I'd be honored, but I don't know if I'd fit in…" Lowering my head I cast a sideways glance to a couple of people who'd taken an interest in our conversation. The second I caught their eye they looked away.

"Trust me, you'll fit in fine, here, I'll give you my card…" reaching into his wallet he pulled out a rather pretty cream colored business card and handed it to me. "…and you can call me when you're ready to meet." He smiled at me, and from what I saw it was a genuine smile, not one of those could fake ones my teachers put on to appease people.  

It was then that my father came out of the back hollering "Gabby! I need you in the back, Carlos needs to go home!" Spencer took his leave, shaking my hand and smiling at Dad. I thought maybe, no, it's just my imagination, but I thought maybe he held on too long. But I had to have been dreaming. Clearing the table of our cups, I wandered into the back and put in them into the dishwasher.

I guess I must have had a strange look on my face because when my father came back into the kitchen he stood there staring at me "What?" I asked him.

"You okay? You look like an awestruck fan of the Beatles or something." I shook my head at him and rolled my eyes.

"I'm fine Dad, just in shock a little, he wants me to come in and meet the hotel designers, and I don't know if I should or not." His eyes practically bulged out of his face and he brought his handkerchief to his face.

"Gabs, that...that's amazing, you should go for it. You're talented and more than capable to handle it. Besides, you don't want to be stuck here all your life, do you?" his face softened and he took a couple steps towards me.

Honestly I don't know what to do; this had never been something I had thought about. All my life I had it in my mind that I was destined to work in the café and take over for my father when it came time for him to retire. "But dad, I'm scared…what if they don't like me, or think I'm too immature to handle it?"

"Nonsense, they'll love you. Now, do these dishes and then I want you to go up to your room and call him and tell him that you'll be there Monday. I'll make an excuse for you, now get to work." Kissing my forehead, he disappeared back into the front of the restaurant. Maybe he was right; maybe I should take a chance, for once in my life. Who cares what anyone else thinks, right?

~*~          ~*~

Slipping my head through my shirt I contemplated just not going, I mean this was stupid, and I should never have thought I could do this. Twice I took my pants off and threw them into the closet, and each time I went back and picked them up. "Come on Livingston, you can do this. Dad's already made the arrangements and you're able to go, you're not going to fuck this up." Stuffing my legs back into my pants for the third time I turned to inspect myself.

Dark blue almost black jeans, a cute patterned tank top with a sweater over top of that and some flats to finish it. I almost looked fashionable. Smoothing my hair down, I slowly wandered down the stairs where my parents were awaiting me. Mom was standing in the kitchen, coffee cup in hand, smiling at me, and dad was stuffing bacon down his throat. "Mornin'…can I get to the coffee machine?" my mother moved and I swooped in to get my ritualistic cup or three creams and three sugars.

"You look like you haven't slept all night…what did you do pace all night?" came the gruff morning voice of my father, he chuckled to himself as I took a seat next to him.

"Not really, I didn't sleep well, but that's what coffee and food is for. By the way, I'll need a ride there, busing it wouldn't look good, right?" Mom nodded and vowed to drive me after I'd finished eating and getting my stuff together.  All I needed to take with me was my sketch book, purse and a note pad to write on if it was needed. Downing my coffee and nibbling on a bagel from the table, I wandered into the front hall to make sure it was all there. The only thing missing was my notebook…"shit, where is it?" Frantically, I ran around the house looking for it. Finally finding it on my vanity table, where I now remembered I put it for safe keeping, I grabbed it and hurried back downstairs to meet mom at the door.

~*~ ~*~

Standing in front of the massive dark wood door, I couldn't believe that I was still going to go through with this. Taking a large breath I opened it and stepped inside. A long ornate table stood in the center of the room, and around it were eight chairs that were equally elaborate, they were the most ostentatious things in the room, everything else was basic, right down to the ficus plant. There was no one else in the room, and I used that to my advantage, taking a seat near the middle of the table, I placed my bag in front of me and pulled out my sketchbook and my notepad and everything else. Carefully arranging and rearranging them multiple times.    

Twenty minutes later people all began filing in, almost all of them were female and looked like older versions of the girls from my school. They gave me disdainful looks and sat as far as the chair placements would allow them. Not long after that Spencer walked into the room, his phone attached to his face, he smiled at everyone, but when he saw me he gave me this lopsided grin and a thumbs up. All the girls couldn't believe, it, and now I was the only topic of conversation at the table.

Ending his call, Spencer took his place at the head of the table. "I am glad everyone could make it today, we have a special guest, Miss Gabrielle Livingston. I met her a couple weeks ago, and learned last week that she is quite the artist and could easily be of service to the designer team." He motioned for me to stand up and wave, I stood, but I barely lifted my hand before sitting back down as quickly as possible. All eyes were on me, and I could feel my cheeks burning from all the attention.

Eventually, as he began to talk, interest in me waned and I was able to start jotting down some notes. I was so enthralled in my note taking that I had not realized that the room was silent and everyone was looking at me again, "I'm sorry, what?" there was a small peal of laughter around the room.

Spencer laughed softly, and rubbed his fingers along the table, "I had said, I know you brought your sketch pad, and you were asked to draw something to show your design talents, did you complete the task at hand?" I nodded and fumbled around; blazing past the portraits of Spencer and people I'd seen around town. There were a couple odd looks as the girls caught glances of the drawings, but I paid them no heed as I neared the picture.

Finally, I landed on the drawing I'd done of a new look for the rooms. I'd pasted a current picture of one I'd seen on the internet and went from there. Standing, I turned the book and showed it to everyone as if it were show and tell in kindergarten all over again. "Well…" I began, as I did my best to avert my eyes from major eye contact, "I-I've noticed, that the rooms are predominantly masculine in style," I looked over at Spencer to see an eyebrow raise "not that there's anything wrong with that! Which in what I've learned over my weekend of going over the information available, that your female demographic is extremely low." My breath caught slightly so I paused for what could have been construed as waiting for their reactions, "So, what I came up with was creating a few rooms in a more androgynous or feminine so that everyone could be comfortable and would increase the amount of bookings for the year."

I showed a few pictures I'd done on the following pages and then abruptly blurted out a "Thank you!" and sat down roughly.

For a few seconds everyone just looked at me and then Spencer smiled and spoke "Thank you, Gabrielle, I think you brought up a fine point. What does everyone else think?" And with that, an explosion of ideas came forth, one of the girls asked me to take out the drawings I'd done so they could look them over. Thankfully, I had signed them quite close to the images so I gladly did so, and soon they were being passed around and spoken over.

I felt a tap on my shoulder, turning my head I saw Spencer smiling down at me and I slid my chair back and we wandered to the coffee cart to talk, "Well, I'm a hit...well, my ideas are at least."

"You don't give yourself enough credit, trust me. People loved you and your idea, you're just going to have to get used to the spot light, since they will be calling on you for help." He held out a cup of coffee to me and I took it as well as a cookie and thought a moment.

"I'm just a kid though, but, I guess you're right. I'll need some help though; I'm only good with drawing, not so much in picking out fabrics and shades heh…" Spencer reassured me that everything would be okay as he gestured to the table and we strolled back to it. I noticed someone had brought a book with swatches of fabric and paint colors; well at least something was getting done. I stood back and watched them, and when they asked me a question, I dove in and explained it.

It got to the point that by the end of the day, I'd actually made a friend or two, we didn't exchange numbers or Facebooks, but we talked about places to meet and discuss the project when we weren't in the offices.  Grabbing my bags, I hung back a few to talk to Spencer alone, You know," I told him, "I'm going to transfer to homeschool so I can be here all day everyday…I don't want to abandon the project."

"I'd like that, then you could work late and we'd get more accomplished. Not everyone here could be  as motivated about this as you, you're so…passionate Gabrielle…" I could have sworn that when he said passionate there was a ghost of a smile and his eyes had darkened a little, but it could have been a trick of the light the sun was setting.

We stood there staring at one another before I even realized that my Dad would be picking me up and was probably waiting for me. "I-I gotta go, but I'll see you tomorrow. Take care Spencer!" bolting out the door, I didn't realize that I'd forgotten my drawing book on the table in the room. And Spencer would find it, probably flip through it and find the hidden drawings I'd done in the back that were slightly more mature than my other works. A few of them contained pictures of couples doing things with one another. One of them closely resembled him and me but I would never own up to it.

~*~ ~*~

Sitting on my bed when we got in, I flopped back and closed my eyes, today was something I'd never experienced before, I'd been in a meeting, made friends, and somehow made an impression on women at least 10 years older than me. Quite a first for me, and it invigorated me, I'd never look like them per say, but, I could interact with them just fine. The way Spencer looked at me before I left though, it was like he was seeing me, not as a child, but as a…a woman. And it both excited and scared me. Boys didn't like me, I wasn't pretty or sexy, I was plain and normal. Perhaps, he was just being nice, trying to keep my spirits up, yeah, that was it.

Deciding I wasn't hungry, I rolled over on my quilt and closed my eyes, everything replayed in my dreams right down to the look he'd given me after everyone left. I had no idea what that look meant. All I knew was that it didn't creep me out as much in the morning.

~*~ ~*~

About a month later, it'd become common practice for Spencer and I to stay back after everyone had left to work on the project more. Though I wasn't aware of the whispers among the other girls until Samantha Rose approached me and told me to watch it or else people are going to be talking more than they already are. I didn't know what she meant and she went on to tell me "Ever since the first meeting, some of the girls think the two of you have been having an affair. And now, all the late nights the HR has noticed, everyone's suspicions have increased." My face was beet red, I couldn't believe my ears. They thought I was sleeping with him!

"Far from it," I told her "we're just working, and we'll order something from one of the nearing restaurants. Y-you've seen the progress, right?" she nodded, but her face told me she didn't quite believe my protests.  But then, as Shakespeare said 'The lady doth protest too much' so it wasn't completely inconceivable.

Though, when he asked me to stay, I saw the looks on the girls faces and they told me everything. When the last person left, he approached me, "What's wrong, you look like you saw a ghost!" I told him what Samantha Rose told me and he laughed darkly "It's true, it does look that way, and it's no secret that my marriage is on the rocks…" his face matched his voice, and I looked down, there was in fact a ring there, but I'd never noticed it before.

My eyes flitted up to his and I took a step back, "W-well, maybe we should take a break from the late nights…I don't want you to have your reputation tarnished…"

"Don't worry about it, just trust me and let's get to work, ok?" I nodded and sat next to him.

The mood this night was more strained than normal, and I couldn't help but feel like he was looking at me more than he usually did. We were going over the costs for some of the upgrades when I felt was I thought was my left leg falling asleep, but it didn't feel like pins and needles, it more like pressure, and I realized that it was his hand, on my thigh, and it was slowly moving across it, in small circular motions.

Letting out a small squeak, his fingers stopped briefly before starting up again, "S-Spencer…what are you d-doing?" I asked in a small voice, and poorly attempted to move away from him without drawing an angry look from him.

He looked down at me, I hadn't noticed, but his eyes had taken on a dark limpid look, and I was both scared and excited that he looked like that while looking at me. "You've no idea how much I wanted you to notice that I've wanted you over this month…" he ran his free hand through his hair and sighed, keeping the other on me, as if to keep me from running. "I told you my marriage is failing, and it's true, my wife has been sleeping with someone, I know it, and doesn't let me touch her in the way a husband should." By now, I'm sure I was as red as I could get, I gulped audibly and looked towards the exit.

"T-this is something you two should discuss, I don't understand what it has to do with me…" Spencer just kept looking at me, and I was as far back as I could go. For at least twenty minutes we sat there staring at one another, and it wasn't until the janitor came crashing into the room that he pulled away and I got up stiffly. "I-I'll see you tomorrow, Spencer." My face was still very warm as I almost ran out of the room, barely catching the parting greeting that he gave me.

As the elevator shut, I closed my eyes, trying to catch my breath. What was he thinking?! I don't understand, he has a wife and those beautiful women he works with. I'm just a kid. My head was reeling and I almost didn't notice the doors opening. Stumbling out into the lobby and then finally out the main doors, I took a deep breath and let the cool air rush over me.

Looking around I didn't see mom or dad waiting, so I pulled out the phone dad had leant me and punched in our number. "…Mom? Hey, could you come get me? We're done working now...N-no, I'm fine, I promise. …See you soon." Closing the cell, I rubbed my face to stop it from looking in shock still. Mom knew something was up, but I denied it for now, no one needed to know, at least not yet, anyways. When she pulled up, I climbed in and didn't say a word other than "Thanks" the entire drive. She kept trying to engage me in conversations, but I didn't feel like idle chatter tonight, I just wanted to go home and forget about it.

~*~ ~*~

Climbing up to my room I sat down, and thought over what happened again, his hand, what he told me, and the way he looked at me. I couldn't help but get shivers when I thought about it. For a second, I felt good about it, but then I realized how wrong it was to want the attentions of a married man, and I was only 16, I shouldn't be thinking about him like that. Shaking my head I quickly changed and climbed under my covers only to be plagued with the vision of his darkened eyes again.

Waking up the next morning, I knew I had not slept well at all, bags under my eyes and my body felt like I'd been fighting in my sleep. Dragging myself from my bed, I stumbled around lifelessly, getting ready. I shook of the invite for a drive, thinking I'd stop by a café near the building and grab a bagel and a coffee and watch and wait for him to arrive so I could walk in after him. I didn't want to be alone with him, but I had no choice, we had work to get done and it couldn't be all done during one day, it required extra effort.

I'd taken care to dress as conservative as possible while still maintaining a professional look. Sipping my coffee I saw his car drive up and waited for him to go inside and then a good five minutes after that. Before I left and wandered into the building, he was surrounded by a small group of women, and I slipped past them and into the elevator. He must have caught site of me because next thing I knew he had bolted from the herd and into the small space with me.

"I didn't see your parents car this morning, what happened?" I turned my head and stared at the lit up buttons, "Gabrielle, did you not hear me? I'm trying to make sure you're oka--"

I'd cut him off, "You're really going to act like you were not one hundred percent inappropriate with me last night?" I shook my head and as soon as the doors reopened, I walked out and went into the offices to set up my things. I knew he was right on my heels, but I didn't turn around until I'd finished with what I was doing. By then, there were more people in the room and surrounding the table, so he couldn't approach me again until later.

Sitting alone with my lunch and a book, I saw his custom fitted shiny leather shoes in front of me, I didn't even need to look up, "…Can I help you?" I asked and then looked up at him, taking a bite of my sandwich and raised an eyebrow.

"Look, I'm sorry about last night, I thought maybe you were sending a different vibe, and I really am lonely, I think all I need is a friend, really…" he looked like a lost puppy, but I had to stay strong, I didn't want to be one of those girls, who slept with their boss. It just wasn't me, but, he'd been so nice to me, and given me such an opportunity. I sighed and nodded, gesturing to the chair beside mine, and he sat, looking more like his usual self. With his mood brightened, he went on to talk about the things he wanted to see in the rooms, and I couldn't help but nod enthusiastically with him.

The others in the room noticed the atmosphere had changed and soon the whole group was chattering like they normally would be. The day started moving along faster and soon it was as if there had never been any tension between us.

At the end of the day, Spencer made an announcement "I'd like to congratulate all of you for your hard work over the last month and a half. And I'm proud to say that I'm going to be launching the more feminine design we've been working on in our East Coast hotels, and I've chosen a small group of you to accompany me. Let's see, when I call your name, come stand next to me…Samantha Rose, Julie Kentworth, and Gabrielle Livingston!" My face was red, and I was shaky, but I managed to make it up to the small group. He continued on to talk about what was going to be happening back here while we were gone.

Mentally, I started going over everything I needed to do, I couldn't just go, I had to let my parents decide if it was a good idea, and then there was funding. Oh, even with what they were paying me, I knew I still couldn't afford it. Everyone sat back down and I pulled Spencer aside, "I can't afford to go, I'm not making what they are…"

"Shh, I've got it covered, besides, it was all your idea, you deserve to go and see it put into action. Besides, it'll be good for you to get away for a little bit." He smiled down at me, squeezed my arm lightly and walked over to one of the other girls to discuss travel arrangements.

Watching him, I pulled out my phone and dialed my father at work to let him know what was going on. "…Daddy? Hi, Guess what? Mr. Duncan wants me to go with a small group to set up the new rooms over on the East, and" I turned away from the group a little "It's all taken care of, travel, accommodations, and the only thing I need to bring is any money I want to spend while I'm there." We were to finish discussing it when I got home, but he was almost certain it'd be fine with my mother, since it was work related and I could take my school work with me. I nodded and hung up before heading back to the excited group to talk about it more.

Spencer and I only worked for a couple extra hours, so I opted to bus to the café and help my dad close up shop, he looked like he was happy for me, and was telling me places I could look at while I'm there, but there was this look that came over him when he thought I wasn't looking, like he was worried for me. And I knew I should be too, since I'd be away from what I knew with Spencer and I couldn't go to the bars with them, but that meant he might hang around and then try something again, but I didn't want that to mar what seemed to be a great adventure for me. Not now, at least.

Turning back to the spot I'd been wiping, I began absently staring out the window; I hadn't noticed him come up beside me. "Sweetheart, is everything ok? You seem…distracted or a little shaken." Turning my head in looked up at him, his face barely veiling the concern he had, I made up an excuse about being nervous about the trip, and reassured him that everything was okay. He didn't believe me, and I knew it, but he dropped it, and soon after we finished and he drove us home.
A/N: Alright so, Chapter One of Ugly Duckling. Again, this was supposed to be my entry to NaNo but I never finished, I got like 4 chapters (7k+ words) into it and fumbled.

Keep in mind that I am a roleplayer (forum based; with paragraphs) so unintentionally it might read like a roleplay ^^;

Critques and Constructive Criticism welcome! I want to be an author and any feedback would help.

Trolls/Flaming will be hidden with no warning.



Main Character is Gabrielle Livingston, she's 16. And even though I haven't named a city, it's a metropolis, probably New York or Philadelphia, not sure which one yet!
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