Taking Chancespart #1 of Taking Chances Series by Molly McAdams / Young Adult / Romance & Love
Author: Molly McAdams 1
My face was stretched in a wide grin as I looked around my bedroom one last time. I was doing it, finally going to live my life however I saw fit to live it. I'd grown up with only my dad, and I loved him, but he didn't know how to be a parent. The only part he seemed to get was the word “no”. I promise I'm not just being a whiny teenager, that really was about the extent of our conversations. He is always around me, rarely talking to me and always silently expecting me to be perfect. Not that I could blame the way he is, he has been in the Marine Corps since he graduated High School, and apparently he's really good at what he does. The guys that came through his units respected him, and he always exuded pride for them. He’d kept me home schooled which resulted in me going to work with him every day and doing my work in his office. I learned early on that if I didn't understand something, it was just better not to ask. He'd look up at me from under his lashes with a raised eyebrow, sigh, and then go back to whatever he was working on. I was expected to finish by the time he started drills in the morning so I could go out there with him, but he still never said a word. The only interaction I really ever had was with his Marines. If anyone were to ask, I would let them know in a heartbeat I was raised by a bunch of immature jarheads that I adored, not my father.
And now, after eighteen years of struggling to achieve a perfection that couldn’t be reached in my father’s eyes, I was finally going to let loose, have the college experience – whatever that was – and hopefully find out who I am in the process. I could have easily gone to a college here, but to say that my dad was strict would be the biggest understatement of my life, and I wanted to experience things I knew I wouldn’t be able to if I stayed here.
“Are you sure you want to do this Harper? There are plenty of excellent schools in North Carolina. ”
I kept my eyes trained on his. “I'm one hundred percent certain Sir, this is what I need to do. ” Did I mention I'm only allowed to call him 'Sir'?
“Well,” he looked past me at my window, “it will be different around here. ” He turned and walked out of the room.
And that's as good as it was going to get, to be honest, it was one of the longest conversations we had in a few months. Four sentences. It was surprising that he could talk to his guys all day long, but we start talking and he's out of the room within minutes.
My phone chimed and I smiled again, my “brothers” weren’t thrilled I was leaving for California. I’d been getting calls, texts and messages on Facebook since last night begging me not to go. Now that I was older and closer in age with most of them, the guys no longer tried to raise me; they saw me as their sister or friend and taught me everything I needed to know when it came to other guys like them. It always made me laugh that most of them preferred to spend time with me rather than heading off base during their liberty, but I think they liked that I wasn’t one of those girls that tried too hard to get their attention. Not that they didn’t like that kind of attention, but apparently I was a nice break from the rest of the women they dealt with.
J. Carter - ‘DON’T LEAVE ME! I’m going to go insane without you here to keep me company. ’
Me - ‘I’m sure you’ll be fine Carter. Prokowski and Sanders seem to be taking it a little harder than most too…you can comfort each other ;) Or you can always take up one of the base skank’s offers. They’re sure to keep you better company than me. ’
J. Carter - ‘I think I got herpes just thinking about them. ’
Me - ‘Ha! Ew. I gotta go, Sir’s done loading up my bags in the car. ’
J. Carter - ‘I’ll miss you something fierce Harper. Have fun, don’t forget about me. ’
Me - ‘Never. ’
Jason Carter was twenty and had been in Sir’s unit for about a year, he and I had become close quickly. He was my best friend and if I was on base when they had liberty, he was always one of the guys that opted to spend time with me rather than hunt down women with some of his other friends. I had always been sad whenever one of the guys transferred to another base, unit, or finished their time in the Marine Corps. But I’m pretty sure Carter would have been one that would kill me to see go, so I wasn’t surprised that this was the sixth time he’s asked me not to leave within the last hour. He couldn’t have said it better, I would miss him something fierce too. I glanced around the house I’d grown up in one last time before meeting Sir in the car. That house was definitely something I wouldn’t miss.
Almost twelve hours, two cars and two planes later and I was standing in my dorm room at San Diego State University. My new roommate hadn't checked in yet, but from the e-mails we'd sent back and forth over the last few weeks, she lived close and would be moving in a few days from now. I picked my side of the room and hurried to settle in before taking a shower and falling onto my bed. Glancing at my phone I noted it was almost two in the morning and groaned, if I was back home I'd already be on base with Sir. It had been a long day of traveling and unpacking and it took all the rest of my energy just to curl up in my comforter and fall asleep.
“Harper? Haaaaarperrrrrr! Wake up!”
My eyelids opened just enough to see a smiling face directly in front of me. I shot upright and brought my arms up, my entire body already tense.
“Whoa, whoa! It's me, Breanna!”
“Do you have a death wish? Don't do that!” She'd better be happy I had still thought I was dreaming, growing up with my dad meant always being on the defensive when waking up.
She giggled and sat on the edge of my bed, “Sorry, I've been trying to wake you up for the last five minutes. ”
Weird, I was usually a really light sleeper. “I thought you weren't coming ‘til Sunday?”
“Well technically I'm not, all my stuff is still at home. . . ” She gestured to the still bare other half of the room, “but my brother and his buddies are throwing a huge party tonight and I figured I'd see if you wanted to go. ”
The closest I’d ever come to a party was the stories I heard from the guys on base. I tried not to show my excitement and shrugged indifference. “Sure, when is it?”
“It doesn't start until nine or so, so we still have a few hours. Want to grab dinner?”
“Dinner? What time is it?!” I grabbed my phone and didn't even look at the time, all I could see was the twenty missed calls from Sir. “Crap, I need to call Si – um, my dad back. But after that I'll get ready and we can head out. ”
Breanna didn't move from my bed so I decided to just let her stay there, I'm sure after she heard him yelling she'd leave. I caught the time just before I hit the send button and gasped. I'd slept for almost 16 hours, he was gonna kill me. As assumed, he answered on the first ring starting off in a disapproving lecture about not letting him know I'd made it to California and that I was okay, not answering my phone, and how bad of an idea it was to let me come here. I murmured apologies at all the appropriate times, and tried to ignore Breanna's laughing at the conversation. We may not ever talk, but when he was pissed, it wasn't something to take lightly.
“Oh my God, time to cut the apron strings, don't you think?”
I blew out a sigh of relief that the conversation was over, “Yeah, well, I'm all he has left. ”
“Where's your mom?”
“She died. ”
Her hand flew to her mouth, her eyes wide. “I'm so sorry! I had no idea!”
“Don't worry about it,” I waved her apology off, “I never knew her. ”
She simply nodded.
“I know my dad though, this is just the first time I've ever been away from him, and I think he's worried. Now that he knows I'm alive, I probably won't hear from him again for a while. ”
Breanna still wasn't talking. This happened every time I told someone I didn't have a mom. Instead of trying to tell her not to worry about it again, I got up and got dressed for the party. Thankfully, my thick auburn hair was already naturally straight so I was ready in no time. Grabbing my purse, I turned to see Breanna's horrified expression.
“Is that what you're going in?”
Shrugging, I looked down to my long jean shorts and black and gold infantry shirt. “Yes?”
“Oh no. ” she was now looking in my wardrobe, checking all my clothes. “Okay you and I are both a size two, how tall are you?”
“Five feet two. ” Yes, I know. I’m incredibly short.
“Just barely shorter than me. . . hmm. Okay come on, we're going to my place to get you changed. ”
“Is there something wrong with this?”
She raised one perfectly shaped blonde eyebrow at me, her blue eyes narrowed, “Let's just say I'm going to throw out your entire wardrobe and take you shopping tomorrow, because we obviously don't have time tonight. I'm guessing we have to get some make-up while we're at it?”
I nodded. To be honest, I'd never felt like I'd needed make-up. Not saying that I think I'm really attractive or anything, just never saw the need. I'd been blessed with a smooth complexion and had wide gray eyes hidden behind long dark lashes. I always thought anything else would have been too much. Plus, I'm sure Sir would've had a fit if I'd ever bought any.
We grabbed some sandwiches from a deli and before I knew it, I already had my make-up completely done and Breanna was holding different outfits up to my body. She settled on a faded, torn denim mini skirt that looked like it would barely cover my butt, and a black spaghetti strap.
“Okay put these on, and no peeking yet!”
“Is there something else to go over this undershirt?”
“Undershirt? No, that is the shirt!” She looked at me like I was crazy before walking into the bathroom.
Thankfully, the spaghetti strap was pretty long allowing me to pull the skirt down enough so I didn't think my butt was showing, but I'm pretty sure I'd never been this exposed outside of my bathroom in my life. If she was a couple inches taller, how on earth did she even wear this thing?