Hi! We're the NAturals - six authors who read and write New Adult books. We'd like to introduce ourselves to you this week with a story we've written. The first part of our story is written by Sophia Bleu, author of Catching Liam. Stick around to the end - we have some awesome prizes!
When your Friday afternoon plans involve being crammed in a half-squat between hanging shirts and pants while stark-freaking-naked, it’s time to reevaluate your life. And I was going to do just that as soon as Derek rescued me from the closet. It had occurred to me before that dating a guy who still lived at home was going to be a problem, but it was hard to be choosy when nearly every guy my age had already taken off to college. I was on the delayed-start plan myself, trying to save up enough money by working temporary and part-time jobs to go away next year. That’s how I’d met Derek and wound up naked in his closet. I had a knack for situations like this.
“Make sure you water the rhododendrons every afternoon or they’ll die, and do it today, please.” His mother had been listing all the chores she needed done when she left on her Alaskan cruise in the morning. So far she’d been here for what felt to be an hour. I didn’t actually have a watch. Hello, naked. But I had a cramp in my thigh that was getting worse by the minute, and it felt like I’d achieved a level sixty in discomfort.
“And no overnight visitors,” she finished.
“Of course, Mom,” Derek said.
“Especially not that Natalie girl. I don’t think she’s a good influence.”
The joke was on her, except it sorta felt like it was on me now. I’d lowered my own standards by dating Derek and now I was listening to his mom bad-mouth me in the same room.
I could barely make anything out between the door slats, but I could imagine the condescending look on her face. She’d worn the same look each of the two times I’d met her in person.
An ex-boyfriend told me once that I looked like sex on a stick, which at the moment curried favor right into my pants, but on closer reflection, having plump Angelina Jolie lips and bedroom eyes wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It got me into more trouble than it ever helped me, except for the time it got me out of speeding ticket. And it was definitely the reason I was hiding right now. Derek had realized pretty fast how his mom felt about me and our recent dates had felt more like illicit trysts. Him begging me to hide in his closet? That was the final nail in this relationship’s coffin.
When the closet door finally opened an eternity later, I fell onto the floor, blinking against the light.
“You know my mom’s rules, I—”
“Yeah, I know.” I sat up and grabbed for my jeans. I had to do this now. There was no point in dragging things out any longer. Derek had made it clear that he wasn’t taking me home to meet Mom anymore, and no matter what I looked like on the outside, I expected a helluva lot more on the inside than being treated like that.
“Look, I have an early thing tomorrow. Maybe...”
His passive-aggressiveness distracted me from the it’s-not-you-it’s-me speech that was scheduled to begin as soon as I was dressed. “On a Saturday?”
He shifted his feet, his eyes refusing to look away from the wall. “I don’t think this is working out. You’re nice, but—”
“Wait!” I stopped him. “You’re breaking up with me while I’m still topless in your room?”
“Natalie, I really like you, but I’m going to be a junior manager soon.”
“For a video rental store,” I reminded him. I had a better shot at being employed as a temp than he had at a long-term career at a video store.
“You don’t have to be a bitch about it,” he said, throwing me my shirt.
“I’m sorry. I’ve been in your closet for half an hour listening to your mommy assign your chores list and now you’re telling me I’m not good enough for you? Let me save you the trouble, Derek. It’s not me, it’s you.” I’d managed to snap the back of my bra during my rant and, before he could say anything else, I marched--shirt and sandals in hand--out of his room, down the stairs, and right past the living room where his mother stared at me in horror.
“Don’t worry. Derek won’t be having me over this weekend,” I told her. “But you should make him wash his sheets so he can get all the sin off of them.”
I slammed the front door behind me for emphasis and quickly pulled on my shirt before any of the neighbors happened to see me. I actually hadn’t had sex with Derek. Ever. We’d come close a couple of times, but something always stopped us. I should probably go back in his house and thank his mom for her cockblock tonight. If I’d actually gotten as far as screwing him, I would have been more pissed off than I was right now.
As it was, I was pissed enough to be shaking, and the trembling in my fingers hadn’t abated by the time I’d reached my car parked at the end of the street in front of someone else’s house. It was so bad that I dropped my keys twice trying to unlock my pre-modern car with its manual everything.
I spun around to spot a guy on the porch, watching me.
“Fine. I’m just going home.” The truth and the lie mixed into a nasty cocktail in my mouth. I was going home, but I wasn’t fine. I was bored and angry and tired of being stuck in this town.
But it was too late, he was already striding toward me like some knight in shining armor. Except he wouldn’t be a knight in shining armor. I’d learned that was a childhood fantasy sold to me by princess movies. When he finally reached me, I’d managed to stick my key into the lock, but when I turned around to tell him his chivalry was unnecessary, I realized I knew him. It was Ben Simons.
It would be bad form to call Ben Simons the one who got away, because he was two years older and he’d spent his whole life swimming in an entirely different pond than me.
Sophia Bleu would rather be walking on the beach than watching television. In real life you can find her catching a plan, chasing two kids, or making out with the love of her life, all 6 foot 3 inches of hotness that he is. Life is pretty good.
Her NA novel, CATCHING LIAM, is available now.
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