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Sugar Baby Beautiful

By:J.J. McAvoy


Unleashing Felicity Harper


It was quiet.

I glanced away from the book in my hand to the cat-shaped clock, which sat on my bedside table next to a potted cactus and lava lamp: 8:53 p.m.

Sitting up, I listened, but I didn’t hear any giggling, moans, or cursing. Something was wrong. A person with normal roommates wouldn’t think much of this; however, I could think of a thousands words to describe Mark and Cleo, and normal would not be on that list. It was never quiet here unless they were up to something, and if they were, I would be the one suffering.

“Guys!” I called, jumping off my bed and rushing to the door. As I pulled it open, Cleo placed Mark’s laptop behind her back.

Shit. I knew it.

It was May. My birthday had already passed, so they couldn’t be planning a party. And I hadn’t gotten a new job or anything.

“Hey, Felicity, what’s up?” Cleo Owen lifted her dark, dyed red hair—this month’s color—into a ponytail before turning to face me. She had an oval-shaped face covered with little freckles.

“Why is it so quiet?” I asked, crossing my arms.

Mark, Cleo’s cousin, stood up and went to the kitchen. “I’ll never fucking understand you women. Didn’t you say you wanted to rest?”

“Nice try.” I eyed him. He stood about an inch taller than me. I was five nine, which made me tall for a girl, but as a guy around here he was considered short. He had messy blond hair and bright blue eyes, and was always rocking the California surfer look. It worked, seeing as how this was Los Angeles.

“Nothing is going on, Felicity. I swear, you’re so paranoid sometimes.” Cleo shook her head at me as I followed her.

I was screwed. Damn. Whatever they were doing, it was already done.

“I never said anything was going on, but thanks for confirming my suspicions. Spit it out. What did you do?”

Mark glanced at Cleo before reaching into a white kitchen cabinet to grab the margarita mix.

“Guys! Is it that bad?”

“Oh, calm down. It’s not bad. Just...” Cleo looked at Mark, who grinned as he grabbed the ice. She smacked his shoulders. “We said we would do this together.”

“Do what?”

They had a mental fight, and for a second, you would have thought they were both teenagers and not twenty-three. I was only a year older than them, and sometimes I felt as though I were their mother.

“Do what?” I repeated louder.

Mark rolled his eye. “For fuck’s sake, Cleo, you’re freaking her out more. Nothing, Felicity, we just made sure you were invited to a party tonight. We know you aren’t a party person, but we wanted to show you a new spot.”

“That’s it?”

He nodded, putting ice into the blender.

“Then why does she look like she stole something?” I pointed at Cleo, who was trying to pretend she was invisible.

“Because she’s a klepto.” He laughed and threw a small piece of ice at her.

“A reformed klepto, thank you very much!” she snapped.

She wasn’t lying. Cleo had been a kleptomaniac. She was diagnosed while we were both serving time at the Nidorf Juvenile Detention Facility.

She’d been only fifteen when she first came in, and her first big act was to steal Bambi’s lip-gloss. No one stole from Bambi. So she got her ass kicked. She came over to our bunk bed and cried, and the next morning I slipped her some extra meds. I don’t know why I did it. Maybe it was because she looked so pitiful, or maybe I was as lonely as she was—I’m still not sure. But after that, she followed me everywhere. When I was released on my eighteenth birthday, she and her cousin were waiting for me since I had nowhere else to go. She had been released a month earlier, but she hadn’t forgotten about me.

God, that was six years ago. Sometimes it really did feel like only yesterday. Since then, it’s been the three of us, our own weird little makeshift family.

“Felicity?” Cleo snapped her fingers in front of my face.

“Where did you go?” Mark asked.

“Nowhere.” I shook my head. “Fine about the party or club. Whatever. I’ll go. I’ve been working double shifts at the diner and high school all week. I need to blow off some steam.”

Cleo jumped onto me like a koala. “Really? You won’t bitch out?”

“Yes, really! I’ll go see what’s in my closet.” I laughed and pried her off of me. I made it three steps before I noticed the laptop on the couch.

If it was just about the club, why were they hiding this?

“Mark, can I use your computer for a second?” I asked, already moving toward it.

“No!” they both yelled, and like a fucking cat, Cleo leaped for it while Mark spun me around as if we were dancing. As a distraction, he handed me a yellow margarita.