“I was a puppet on a string and he gave me the scissors to cut them off.”
Before Bentley
CHAPTER
1
Meeting Bentley
Papa runs this house like a ship in the Marines. It’s strict, proper, and has been and always will be in order. My little sister, Diane and, I are home schooled and we never leave the house without Mama or Papa. The only friends we’ve ever had are each other, although I faintly remember some of the students in headstart.
We have a large estate that sits smack dab in the middle of a huge neighborhood of wealthy people. It’s three stories high, not including the attic and basement. It starts at the big brass gate and fountan. Then on floor one is the kitchen, living space, and ballroom, along with Papa’s office. The second floor holds all the bedrooms, as well as a large library, and a few extra offices. The third floor holds mostly storage space and empty rooms tht we don’t really need. I guess that comes with being wealthy.
My room is the seventh room on the right of the second floor. When you open the door you are greeted by the end of my bed. The desk is on the side wall along with my dresser. The bathroom and walk in closet are on the opposite side of the bed. A huge bay window rests at the front of the house that lets in a lot of natural light, which I love. Diane’s room is similar except her theme is bright colors where mine is soft lavender.
Diane and I have very different personalities. Ana is all about showing who you are without hesitation. She’s bright and bubbly all the time, and she always is looking for ways to make the world a better place. I’ve told her that a fifteen year old girl with the most strict parents in the world can’t possibly do that much. She just replied with some stupid uplifting quote that she found online and walked away.
I’m the opposite of her. The only thing we have in common is our love for books, which came from Mama.
I can hear the click clack of her shoes as she walks across the smooth tiles. She’s probably taking a stroll around the house, making sure the maids didn’t miss anything. She has to, because if Papa sees something wrong he’ll burst into an outrage. He has a horrible temper, and I’ve been told that it’s among the many things I inherited from him. You see, his company will naturally be mine, because I’m the eldest. Although, I’m not too sure I want it yet.
There was a scuffle and squeal, which I recognized as Ana’s before the door swung open and she ran in.
“What-cha doin?” She asks, and I knew she needed to tell me something. This is how most of our conversations are these days.
“Reading,” I say, as if it wasn’t obvious.
“Well, stop reading, I’ve got gossip!” She exclaims jumping in her seat a little. With I sigh I plop down the poetry book Papa wanted me to read for my studies and fix my gaze on her face.
“I just overheard Mama on the phone, and it sounded serious. The woman on the other line was crying. But that’s not the most exciting part! We’re going to have a boy! In the house, we’re going to have an actuall real live boy!” She laughs and claps her hands, while I’m still confused.
Papa has never allowed Ana or I to bring anyone in the house before. Especially boys. If we happened to meet any while we were out with Mama or Papa we were just supposed to ignore them.
“Ana, what do you mean?” I ask, the confusion clearly showing on my face.
“Bentley Princeton is going to be staying at our house! For the whole year!” She squeals again just as our signals are called. The house is so large that if Mama or Papa called us by our names we’d never hear them, so Papa came up with a way for us to call each other. He bought us each a whistle. My signal is two long blasts, Ana’s is two short blasts, Mama’s is one short blast and one long blast, and Papa’s is two long blasts followed by a short one. This way we can call whom ever we need without having to search the whole house.
Ana and I quickly stand, straighten out our uniforms and, as quickly as we can, make our way down to the lobby. Mama is there, she looks calm, however Papa’s vein is popping out of his forehead, which is not a good sign. We stand at attention in front of them.
“As you may already know,” Mama pauses to look at Ana, who’s cheeks flush red. “Bentley Princeton is going to be staying with us for a while. His Mother and I are great friends and this is a favor we are doing for her. Bentley is not in a good place right now, he has no happiness or order in his life, and we are going to provide it for him while his Mother gets back on her feet.”
“If he lays one finger on my girls he’s leaving!” Papa says shaking an angry finger.
“Just so.” Mama says, and places a hand on Papa to calm him.
“What room will he be staying in?” I ask, suddenly aware of how Mama’s mouth has twisted into a frown. She fidgets with her fingers, something she never does, and doesn’t answer. “Which room?”
“We concluded that because you are the lightest sleeper, he should stay in the room next to yours, in case he tries to slip out, you’ll hear him and contact me immediately.” Papa says for Mama because she’s still too nervous to say anything. The room is now so silent that you could hear a feather hit the floor.
“Well,” I start, taking a breath, “This is going to be interesting.”
I start to walk away. I need to or I’m going to get myself into huge trouble.
“We’re not finished” Mama says. “He’s coming today, Papa will be picking him up in a few hours.”
My hands are trembling so hard that I have to ball them into fists to stop them.
Papa has never allowed something so out of order like this before. It makes absolutely no sense to me. We don’t owe Beatrice Princeton any favors. And why did Mama say it was our favor to her. Its not our favor its more like Mama’s favor.
Bentley Princeton, to get straight to the point, is a jerk, player, heartbreaking bad-boy. The only thing he cares about is himself and he never listens to anyone. He drinks too much, listens to loud screamer music, and smokes. He’s slept around with all the sluttiest girls in the city and I’m sure most of the timid ones too. He’s been to jail before, on multiple occasions, and I’m sure he’s been on drugs before. The only color he wears is black, with the occasional white T-shirt. Its completely horrendous. And I hate to say it but there’s one thing we both have in common.
Our love for converse.
Converse shoes are my favorite, you can wear them with anything and anywhere. However, Mama thinks they’re too ‘flashy’ and therefore won’t let me wear them. I do have one pair though, black high tops, that I only wear around the house. For some odd reason I find myself putting them on when Papa’s car rolls into the driveway with an extra person in the backseat.
Ana is already downstairs, her and Mama have study time at four, and Ana stays behind to do any work Mama might have left her.
I watch from my bay window as the car door swings open and he climbs out, rather gracefully for a bad boy. His hair is white, as well as his skin, and even from the distance I can see he’s got gorgeous blue eyes.
I finally understand why all the girls fall for him.
He slams the door and scans the house, and out of all the windows he could look into of course he has to choose mine. So I do the only thing that comes to mind. I snap the curtains closed as a rush of adrenaline makes my heart beat faster.
My signal is blown, along with Ana’s and I scramble down the stairs. Ana gets there first looking terrified. I, however, am able to look calm and sophisticated.
The first thing I see when I look at Bentley’s face is the smirk occupying his face as his eyes slide over my body. I suddenly realize just how short my skirt is.
“Cyra, Diane, this is Bentley.” Papa says once I reach the group. He turns to Bentley, “Dinner will be served at six sharp, I expect you to arrive at least ten minutes early, Breakfast is always served and seven sharp, and lunch is served at twelve sharp. You are expected to wear the clothes we have provided for you, although you may keep the ones you brought. Study hour is at eight after breakfast, and you are expected to study the full hour. You may not leave without My or Naomi’s presence. Lights are out at nine thirty and under no curcumstances are you to leave this house whenever you feel like it. We have a strict and busy schedule here and I expect you to follow it.” Papa finishes.
“Cyra will take you to your room and the maids will bring you all your things.” Mama says, and my frown deepens.
I turn sharply, and once I’m sure I hear Bentley’s footsteps behind me I speed up.
“Your room is there, right next to mine. I’d like to warn you in advance, I am a very light sleeper, if you try to sneak out I will hear and notify my parents.” I say, struggling to keep in my temper.
“Guess what?” He asks stepping into the room. “I don’t care.”
Then he slams the door in my face.
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