From the Author
Simeon's smile grew wide as he extended his hand. Gemma took it with a polite smile.
"He's a senior also and will be attending school with you."
"Really?" Gemma squeaked. "You never mentioned..." She gave her mother a pointed look.
"Yes, well...surprise!" Her mother's laughter was phony and piercing. Gemma winced then turned to Simeon.
"Would you excuse us for one moment?"
Placing her hand firmly beneath her mother's elbow, she guided the woman from the room and turned on her with a fierce whisper. "What are you doing?"
"With Ruby and Dom gone, we've had no one to keep an eye on you. Simeon solves this problem perfectly."
"Mom! I'm eighteen. I can look after myself."
"Not with the friends you currently associate with."
"There's nothing wrong with them! You like Courtney!"
Penelope rolled her eyes, exasperated. "I just can't win with you, can I? You asked for a friend we were happy with, so I found you one. Please tell me you're not going to moan about this as well."
"How do you even know this guy?"
"He's an old family friend." Penelope blinked then looked at her imperiously.
Gemma felt her heart beat with foreboding, knowing a liar when she saw one.
"I don't like this."
"I don't care what you like," her mother snapped. "He's a good boy and you will treat him with respect. You are to be friendly and welcoming. No more weekends flouncing off with your friends. You have someone new to entertain now."
Gemma's jaw dropped. Pure horror stole all her vocabulary and replaced it with stunned silence.
"I'm thinking of your future, Gemma. This boy will most likely be your match."
And with that she left her shell-shocked daughter standing in the marble hallway debating whether to race to the bathroom to hurl or her bedroom to cry.