Read Taking Chances Online

Authors: Molly McAdams

Taking Chances

 

 

Taking
Chances

by
Molly McAdams

 

This book is a
work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, any place,
events or occurrences, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines
are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

 

 

 

Taking Chances

Published by Molly McAdams

Copyright 2012 Molly McAdams

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Cover art © by Stephanie Mooney. All rights reserved.

 

Table of
Contents

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

 

1

 

 

 

M
y 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.

“Wh-what?”

“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?

“Ooo MUCH
better!”

“Are you sure?
I feel like I'm naked.” I was still trying to tug the skirt down.

“Hah! No, you
look hot, I promise.” She spun me around until I was facing a mirror.

“Oh, crap.” Sir
would kill me, but I had to admit I think I liked it. Just as I thought, the
skirt barely covered a thing, and it was impossible not to have cleavage in
this shirt. I guess I had a nice chest, but when almost every top you own is
from the Post Exchanges on base, there isn't ever an opportunity to see
anything. I turned to look at my backside and smiled a little bit before facing
forward again. “Oh my God, look at my eyes!”

“I know, don't
you love them?”

“You're a
genius Breanna.” I looked at my smoky lids, and even thicker eyelashes making
my eyes look like dark thunderstorm clouds.

“Well it's
pretty easy when the model has your face and body. Mind if I steal your lips
and eyes for the night?”

I laughed but
was still mesmerized by my new reflection. “I can honestly say I've never worn
anything like this, and this is my first time ever having make-up on.”

“Are you
serious?” She looked appalled.

“My dad is a
career Marine. I've never even
touched
make-up. Hell, I haven't even
been to a mall.” I giggled when her face dropped to one of horror.

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