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Charade

By´╝ÜNyrae Dawn

~CHAPTER ONE~

Cheyenne

I stare, unable to take my eyes off the scene in front of me as I try to process what my boyfriend just said.

“How exactly is being naked in bed with another girl not what it looks like?” My voice comes out completely smooth even though my stomach is a mess. It’s dropped to my feet and I feel like I could throw up at any second.

Please don’t let me throw up in front of them.

I stare at him, in bed next to some redhead and all Gregory can do is stare back. This is the guy I’d stupidly allowed myself to begin to trust after so long together—against my better judgment since I know, I’ve always known you can never really depend on someone.

Panic threatens me. Like the burned edge of a paper, wanting to take me over. My heart speeds up. My chest hurts. My vision starts to blur.

No. I cannot have a panic attack right now. I haven’t had one in years and I refuse to let this bastard get the best of me. But still, my body’s trying not to listen. My hands curl, opening and closing into fists. It’s like a flood of energy sent to every part of me, sending me into overdrive.

With everything inside me, I fight to stamp it down.

“Cheyenne, baby...I’m sorry,” Gregory says.

I shake my head back and forth, take a step back, more pissed and petrified than I’ve been in so long. He jumps out of bed. Naked.

“You know I love you. It was so hard last year…” He’s reaching for his boxers, tugging them on while he talks and moves toward me. “When you were still in high school and I was here. I just missed you so much, but this was the last time. I told her this was the last time.” He glances at her like he wants her to verify this fact, but she just scowls at him and starts to yank on her clothes. Gregory looks back at me. “I screwed up, but you know you’re the only one I love.”

Nausea hits me again. Lies.

“You missed me so you screwed some other girl?”

Red huffs, but we both ignore her.

“I’m a guy, Chey…” He shakes his head as if I’m being unreasonable for making a big deal of a little mistake.

“You’re a guy? That’s the worst excuse I’ve ever heard. We were together all summer at home, and we’ve been here at college two weeks already, and you’re still screwing her? That makes perfect sense! And yeah...thanks for not making me ask how long it’s been going on. A smarter man might have waited to see if I assumed this was the first time.”

Gregory’s eyes stretch wide as he realizes his mistake. Never admit more than you have to. With his attorney parents, he should know that. Jackass.

My eyes sting, but there’s no way I’m giving either of them the satisfaction of tears. I stopped giving people the satisfaction of knowing how they affect me a long time ago.

Red stands and glares at me, bumping Gregory’s shoulder as she passes him, saying, “I’m outta here.”

“Wait,” I say, recognizing her. “Didn’t you introduce me to her at the welcome party two nights ago?”

Red has the nerve to blush at this before she stomps out. She definitely has no right to toss any evil glares in my direction considering she knew Gregory has a girlfriend. Had. The word leaves a bad taste in my mouth. He was supposed to be safe. Our families are friends. He treated me so good when we were together. What is it about me that makes people think they can take advantage and toss me aside? Why am I so easy to betray?

A wave of dizziness hits me as I think about my mom. I try to shake the thoughts from my head. I’ve worked so hard not to be that girl—the girl whose own mother couldn’t love her enough to stay around. This isn’t the way my life is supposed to go. Not anymore. Everything’s been perfect for the past ten years. I’m a new person now and things were supposed to keep getting better. An easy, simple, perfect life to make up for what I didn’t have before.

I’m Cheyenne Marshall. The captain of the dance team. Voted most popular girl in my high school. I have friends. Tons of them.

But that was then...in high school. And now I’m here with Gregory in his territory where I have no friends yet. Every single person I know here, I know through him. I close my eyes and reach out a hand to steady myself against the wall as the reality of my new life slams down. I’m stuck here. Alone.

No, no, no. I can’t cry. Can’t lose it. I’m going to lose it.

The muscles in my fingers tense, trying to curl again.

“Chey…come on, baby. You know I love you. We belong together.” He steps toward me and there’s a second—one second where I consider holding my hand out to his. This is Gregory. I lost my virginity to him. I planned to marry him, because we fit. He wouldn’t leave me. I worked hard to be the kind of girl people don’t walk away from. I…oh God. I trusted him. How could I have let myself trust someone?

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